The Giant at the End of Days
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Wake! And cast off sleep from waiting limbs!

I woke up a long time ago, if you must know. Oh, I'm sure you've read the legends. Or perhaps watched them in those television programmes you seem to love so much these days. No, this toy of my brother's has been absorbing plenty of quite interesting electromagnetic radiation. And right under your noses. Speaking of noses, mine itches unbearably thanks to that irritating little machine you shoved up there, and I'll have you know that-

My, my, they certainly are getting louder, aren't they? Not ones to tear heaven and earth asunder quietly, eh?

Sing! The bangled glistening song of kilotons!
Sing! A song of petals vectoring thrust and golden thermal vents!
Grasp! The air with arms of brass and pull upon!
Grasp! Trajectories like henna spiralling to freedom!
Roar! Cast out the shimmering nets of fire!
Roar! Four standing tall against the world!

Ah, but I digress. I've been dozing- not sleeping, dozing- for so long I've simply been dying for someone to chat with. Can you fault an old man for wanting to share his aches and pains? The other faithful never cared for my rambling, those pious idiots. Oh, I do not mock their faith- I'd be a hypocrite if I called that into question- but I won't hesitate to mock an eight-armed deity who refuses to admit that his rump's become a tad sore from meditating so long, eh? Hah!

Oh, calm yourself. Is the laughter of a giant really so terrifying? I'm not even at full size, man! And considering the circumstances, I suppose you have a great deal more to worry about. Which is why I'm here- ah yes. I was talking about the legends! All that sleeping for six months so I wouldn't devour the earth. Hah! I won't deny I wetted my appetite on a monk or two for show. Give me honest home cooking, though, and I'll be more than satisfied. But yes, after that charming blue-skinned young gentleman offed me, it was generally agreed that the blessing of a long sleep was somewhat irrelevant. No point in resting during your final rest, eh? My, my, you're a humorless little one. The world's coming to an end, and where's your sense of pep?

So I died- the writers would have put it that I was saved or annihilated in universal one-ness or something like that, yes? Not wholly accurate, but I won't deny it's a pretty image. That kind of poetic license- well, it does have a way of lasting. Not always in the most accurate form, but lasting nonetheless. So there I was, dead and surrounded by the other faithful and basking in the bliss of all creation and it occurred to me one morning, as I was picking my toenails- is this what it is all about? If I'm engaged with a total- how would you say it, sublimation of the self? Yes, that. Why am I feeling like there's something missing, is what I said to myself. And it nagged at me. Like an itch in the small of your back that no amount of rubbing against a smallish hill will scratch. Er, different scales there, I suppose. My mistake. Ah, hold on.

Dance! Like larks upon the gale!
Dance! With mocking smiles and shouts of joy!
Blast! Away the skeins of difficulty!
Blast! Our fire burns smiling!
Hit! Tumbling away in gentle silence!
Hit! Triumphant soaring high!

A very near miss, there. Calm down, the Vimāna is more than capable of outflying these little upstarts. Their aim is laughable. Yes, I suppose it is a tad loud. Is that better? Good.

So I addressed my concerns to everyone- and I mean everyone, that's how Brahma works, after all. And most of them scoffed and ignored me, because who wants a complainer in the face of eternity, eh? But a few of them did listen, and we definitively agreed that for all we had transcended our earthly shells, something was still wrong. I can't remember who suggested the idea originally- it might have been my brother, clever toff that he is- but someone brought up that this might be a side-effect of the end of time. The Kali Yuga and all that, you know? We still had a few hundred thousand years to go, so not a problem. But the nagging lasted- even some of the deniers started to admit to it, and so we all got together and resolved to puzzle things out.

It turned out we'd made a mathematical error, of all things! My people, who dreamed larger numbers than any before them, had got the numbers wrong! Hah! If you can believe this, we'd- we'd scheduled the Kali Yuga too late! Oh, to be sure that lovely woman and her eight solar deities would appear in the sky and cleanse the universe, naturally, but by the time they'd got around to it someone else would have slipped in and brought about the end of all things already. And you know what the cycle of the aeons is like, eh- you knock a few thousand centuries off one bit to make things fit together better and before you know it you have to spend a few million centuries sorting it all back out again. So of course something had to be done. Can't have any of these upstart young deities coming in and restarting time or any of that nonsense, with their choirs of winged wheels or their great bloody snakes or their stars being devoured by seafood- no, that would be wholly unacceptable.

Laugh! Victorious on the field of sky!

So I volunteered. Came back with a convincing story in case some bull-headed young hero decided to stop by and start trouble, dug a few of my brother's old toys out of storage for a bit of extra backup- that was a chore indeed, I tell you. I have never been fond of tinkering with machines. But if too many of us left Brahma then we'd get all tied up coming back in and throw things off even more, see, so it had to be one of us. Can't say I haven't had a bad time. Really lovely nap.

What's that? 'Harbinger of the Apocalypse'? Well, if you want to be dramatic about it, fine, fine. I won't stop you, certainly. But I'm not the harbinger of this messy excuse for the end of the world. I mean look at it! Such sloppy work, foisted on humanity so unexpectedly. With a good End of Days you've got to have a few dozen millenia of buildup, yes. Create suspense and all that. Makes the payoff of universal salvation so much juicier.

So hold on, little human. And tell your Foundation that Kumbhakharna and the Vimānas have returned from the age of gods, sages and heroes to restore a little order, eh? Something dramatic like that, eh? Something they'll put into poetry. Hah!

Eat! The sins of false endings!
Eat! The errors of this time and space!
Be! Four and one united!
Be! Towering with flowers and iron!
Be! O Fortresses gold and silver!
Truth! The hungry giant does not stand alone!

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