Jack, the Giant-Killers and the Bodacious Beanstalk Adventure (first read)
The lovers’ passion for each other had reached its crescendo and they lay for a moment melted together as one. The moonlight streaked through the tall bay window, bathing their now resting bodies in its visceral light.
“If only this moment could be forever.” Her voice quiet and almost tremulous.
“Say no more, my love. Just be in the here and now.” His voice deep and resonant.
Then a loud thud and the sounds of galloping horses shattered the stillness of the night.
“My lady, they’ve found you!” Her lady in waiting at the door to their room.
“Hurry, Orion, it’s you they’re after!”
The lovers hastily got the one called Orion dressed as quickly as they could.
“I can’t leave you!”
“I’ll join you at the beanstalk as soon as I’ve held off my brother," she said, recalling their secret plan if ever a moment like this were to occur. "Go, lover!”
One last kiss and the two would part. He slid down the mossy green ladder that stretched from her window to the ground below. A waiting horse prepared by the lady in waiting would transport him away from his love's villa and out into the countryside where a beanstalk swayed in the gentle night wind. He would make it no problem, but what of Brianne? He alighted off of the trusted steed.
“Thought I’d find you here.” A voice, all too familiar, cut the air. Orion turned. It was Ennis, Brianne’s brother and heir to the throne. He was trapped. His eyes went wide in the moonlit night. Ennis was before him along with a small troop of determined looking soldiers. “You’ve had your last tryst, giant.”
“Ennis, be reasonable. I am no giant.” At six feet, five inches, a shade taller than Ennis himself, Orion, while certainly tall by mortal standards was no giant...at least, not obviously so.
Orion was taken back in chains and led through the town. Brianne’s sobs would be drowned out by Ennis’s blood thirsty soldiers cheering on the capture of their quarry.
Orion would be dragged before Dudley the King, Ennis and Brianne’s father.
“You’ve been accused of duplicity,” Dudley croaked. “My son says you are of the giant race that live beyond the clouds...”
“Your majesty, do I look gigantic to you?” Orion's tone as calm as he could muster.
The King nodded to his minister who came forward clutching a small bag. Orion’s eyes must have registered the fear. He was held and the minister poured the liquid contents of the bag down his throat.
Orion’s captors stepped free. Orion choked for a moment on the contents administered to him. All too quickly, constraining clothes shred and his bones lengthened and creaked. His body unfurled, shattering the roof above them all. He stood at the end of this metamorphosis, twenty feet tall.
“You were saying?” the King asked in front of his incredulous court.
“You must understand Majesty. I have renounced all for the love of your daughter.” Orion’s voice shook the hall.
“It is enough. There can be no intermingling of the races, you know that. Take him away.”
“Father, no! Father please!” Brianne pleaded, clutching onto Orion's ankle and foot, now like a tree trunk in comparison to her encircling arms.
Orion could have had his way with all of them; smash them all under one well-placed stomp of his foot, but for the love of Brianne he would be led like a lamb to the slaughterhouse. And in the morning, it was over. He was gone.
Far above these proceedings beyond the highest clouds and the greatest of imaginations, a messenger brought word to a grim faced giantess who watched over the small dark haired giant boy playing in the distance.
“They have slain him, my lady.”
She was too hurt to allow herself a tear to fall. She would thank the messenger but scarcely would have time to compose her thoughts before she felt a tug at her royal raiment.
“Nana, did that man bring word of father?”
“Is he coming home to us soon?”
“No, Gorgo. Evil has found your father. He will not be returning to us.”
The boy giant’s face fell.
“All your life Gorgo, know this—Fie Fi Foe Fum, when thou smells the blood of a mortal one, be they alive or be they dead, you grind their bones to make thy bread.”
Thunder would roll in the darkening skies.
The thought had definitely occurred to him, but it was nice to know that he had support in that resolve. The nasty reptilian golem creature was bearing down on him so oppressively; Jack could feel its hot breath on his neck.
He saw Dulcie and Icky up ahead of him, gathering up their wares and readying themselves to join him in the fierce run for the bridge up ahead. Then of course, because Jack couldn't just feel fear alone, he had to feel abject terror, the stony path underneath his feet began to rumble and sway.
He groaned as he saw his foundation start to crumble away behind him and topple into the sparkling blue waters beneath him. It would only be a matter of time when he would be suspended in midair alone unless he could outrun the obliterating pathway, which he couldn't and he felt his body start to veer back and downwards. Whatever became of the golem Jack would never know because now he found himself falling backwards into the dark expanse.
The fading afternoon sun obscured his sight but he was sure that he saw two other bodies falling with him: Dulcie and Icky. As the pathway on which just a few moments ago, they had been enjoying themselves fell totally away, leading them to this fall, Jack had a fleeting thought that perhaps he was going to die. This couldn't be right, he thought, the story couldn't end just now, like this, or could it?
Then there was darkness as his body in its continued plummet downward, left the sunshine and entered into a dark cavernous hole that rose up to swallow Jack and then soon after, Icky and Dulcie. He felt the wet and clammy hand of the golem, also in freefall, on his shoulder and then he felt the slight piercing of what he had come to know as the golem's poisonous fingernails.
Great, Jack would think to himself. If the fall doesn't kill me, this golem is bound and determined to do so. Either way, he was done for. And then, everything got a lot darker and a lot stickier.
But this is getting ahead of ourselves. Our story really begins sometime earlier, not too long after the murder of the giant Orion. The nation of Thunder Giants, intent on revenging their fallen son had been subdued. Jack was but a toddler and his world a lot simpler, at least what he knew of it. And there were events that were swirling that would be important to recount before we revisit our falling hero.