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The giant tosses feverishly in her sleep; a powerful virus is snaking through her bloodstream and approaching the agèd brain which controls the massive corpus that lies before me. The neural arcs that form the centre of this wondrous creature are ancient: formed so long ago, that they may as well be carved in stone.
Fitfully, the giant casts an arm out in her sleep, and the chains that tie her to the bed rattle rustily; catching a fistful of her tight-cropped red hair, she wrenches it out; with a bellow of pain, the giant awakes and casts her eyes about fearfully. Nothing moves in the room, and blood trickles slowly down the giant’s temples. Warily, she closes her eyes again and drifts off into a troubled reverie that straddles the gulf between waking and dreams.
I, the observer, move forward slowly towards the giant and, as I pass the enormous barred windows of the bedroom, chain lightning crackles. I clamber up the enormous bedposts, and traverse the downy pillow; approaching the giant’s eyelids, I pry one open and peer within: the giant’s dreams are visible, floating on the surface of the cornea in a swirl of glinting silver fluid. Catching hold of several strands of slippery solution, I imbibe them, feeling them slip down my throat with a protesting wriggle. A flood of ecstasy grips my tiny mind, overwhelmed by the giant’s thoughts, and I see as she sees.
The words won’t flow, the match won’t light: how do we get home at night? The tightrope has never felt so tight; stretched between two pillars on the opposite sides of an infinite gulf, the giant stumbles and tumbles and crawls her way across, desperately shielding her eyes from the yawning jaws of the chasm that threatens to become more than just an inky blackness. This canyon has no bottom that can be discerned (she should know, she dropped her shoe a half an hour ago, and has yet to hear a sound): no depth or solidity which would allow her to stretch her mind around the quasi-impossibility of such a creation’s existence.
And yet, clamber on she must. A rush of adrenaline seizes her heart, and she rises up from her knees, releasing the wire from her hands and standing on her feet; carefully, she places one foot in front of the other, with delicate, trembling motions. Occasionally, allowing herself a dramatic flair, she performs a cartwheel in mid-air and lands with both feet perfectly poised on the wire; a mental crowd applauds her. But now, she must become serious: this task ahead of her is a dangerous one, and privileged, for only a few are ever permitted to attempt it. Screwing up her eyes, she focuses on the job ahead: on she marches and forward she thrusts.
“Does my sassiness upset you?”
The giant, now a young woman, is wrapped in the embrace of a female angel. A dark green toga is wrapped tightly around her, emphasising the feminine swell of her hips. The angel laughs throatily, like the tinkle of a silver waterfall, and her powerful white wings flap reflexively behind her back.
“Ever the poet,” she whispers. “And no, not all; just don’t be too loud about it. I’m still not sure what He thinks about all this.”
She grins cheekily at the giant, and moves her head in to kiss her. Her halo glows brighter as the kiss starts, and remains so until the giant draws back her head. They smile happily, wrapped in a cocoon of lamplight and the halo’s glow.
Fiddling with the amber brooch holding the toga together, she pushes the giant back towards the bed, moving her head in towards the giant’s.
The dream becomes blurred at this stage, as the giant’s mind shies away from the painful memories associated with that angel: in the fractured dream, the angel sprouts sharpened horns, and her questing tongue becomes a biting serpent. The improbability of this circumstance is clear: more likely, the giant’s mind has concocted a metaphorical representation of her emotions, evidencing the grief of a love shorn of legitimacy by His pronouncement that it was unholy.
Shying away from such dangerous territory, I pry open the aging giant’s resting eyelid and pluck out another strand of silvery dream. This time, it slides down my throat almost willingly, and I feel the same rush of ecstasy surround my brain.
The jagged remains of the shattered emerald crown sit askew on the giant’s head, and she pauses momentarily on the battlefield to take stock of the war’s progress. The dead of her race litter the battleground like a poppy field in July, broken bones and offal staining the ground a horrendous crimson; the Archangel Gabriel lies fallen under an oak tree in the distance; his beautiful aquiline wings lie broken and crumpled, destroyed by the giant’s vengeful mace. Michael plucks at Gabriel’s clothes and jabbers insanely, renting his garments and howling at the moon; a love born aeons ago has been torn ruthlessly apart by a broken heart.
Raising a war-horn of ivory to her lips, the giant sounds the retreat. Those of her race that remain raise the tattered banners of their royal houses in response, and the giants beat an ordered retreat. The angels’ trumpets sound in victory, and the golden voices of the remaining archangels can be heard bellowing sharp orders; the angels form into separate columns and begin the advance. The rout is in motion.
Harried and worried, the giants drop in number: hunger, tiredness, and the inhospitable environment of the freezing lands that separate Earth from Paradise take their terrible toll. Eventually, the giant queen is the only one of her race left; sitting alone on a mountain top, she surveys the trail of dead that she has left behind, and weeps bitterly. Michael approaches her gently, with infinite sorrow and forgiveness in his eyes. Slowly, and with extreme care, he places shackles on her wrists and leads her towards Him, surrounded by a host of angels.