All during the day, radio broadcasts, news stations, and papers at everyone’s doorstep warned of an incoming storm system. Considering how that prediction had been a very valid one, one would expect everyone in the path of this storm to stay indoors, or at least stick to an urban area. Rain poured down to the ground, puddles of mud formed, and dancing bolts of lightning reached their fingers down to the ground, leaving the booming call of thunder behind. Despite all of this, a lone being jogged across a muddy and rocky path in the middle of a wooded area. Their intent was very clear as in a flash, a tree was felled by the massive force of nature’s electricity. They wanted to find shelter, no, they needed to find shelter. This storm was much more violent than it was predicted to be, and clearly was not the weather for Nole to be traveling in.
The girl, frantically searching for shelter, let out a loud gasp as the struck tree crashed down to the ground; but, she was drowned out by the sheer force of the thunder which followed. As Nole looked around for a place to ride out the storm, her eyes came across what looked like an old cottage, obviously long since abandoned. The mismatched stones which were making up its walls only matched with the same scheme of a springhouse which was obviously built with the house, only a mere stone's throw away. Left with no real choice in the matter, Nole quickly ran through a broken wall of the home to seek shelter within. She was so focused on her task, she failed to notice the large footprint she had walked through in order to enter the home.
Not too far away from this home, in fact within eyesight of it, another being wandered the forest in search of a shelter to hide in. This person, unlike Nole, lived in these woods, and simply was running for a different reason. The being had been sleeping during the storm, until a streak of lightning struck their makeshift home, instantly destroying its roof. In a daze, he had collected up everything he could into a waterproof bag he wore over his shoulder, and made a run for cover. This being was much, much larger than the girl nearby though, probably standing at around 15 feet tall. He knew what he was to humans, he was a giant. However, as he saw someone wander into the abandoned home, the fear of accidentally scaring a girl wasn’t on his mind. All this giant worried about was getting out of the rain, and a clap of thunder quickly made up their mind as he slipped through the same hole in the stone wall to get into the home.
To the giant’s surprise, the human didn’t seem to mind them being there at all. In fact, they didn’t even look at him yet! This was the best he could have ever hoped for as he gently shook his head back and forth in an attempt to get the water out of his thick mat of hair. Nole indeed hadn’t noticed, as she was worrying about similar issues. She was busy with the task of wringing all the water out of her clothes, and then reaching up into her hair to do likewise there. This storm was a mess, leaving both temporary inhabitants of the home chilled to the bone. Nole’s solution to the cold was a little better then the giant’s plan, as she looked through her belongings and gently brushed some abandoned logs in the old hearth. They were fairly new, and the whole thing was covered in ash and soot, but all the better. That meant a fire could probably be lit in the area despite the storm raging on outside.
The giant was startled out of his silence as more lightning struck right outside the shelter, making him shout out in fright with a distinct ‘Ah!’ This sound quickly caught Nole’s attention as she froze on the spot and thoughts raced through her head. Was someone else here? She thought she was alone….and were they...human? But...the voice was so much louder than a normal human voice. Her curiosity getting the better of her, Nole quickly spun around, catching the shadow of another person in the same poorly lit room as herself. However, this person was much, much bigger than she was, quickly prompting a screech from her. “WAAAHH-” was the sound which echoed through the stone room as the girl quickly leapt back, tripping over the slate top of the hearth and tumbling into the old ashes littered around the heap of lumber. Upon seeing her fall, the giant’s curious expression shifted to a frown as he almost reached to help her, but stopped. He was cold….very cold, and instead he held his arms tightly against his bare chest as he shook and shivered. The large being’s teeth chattered as his jaw muscles desperately tried to warm themselves up, but he also tried to warm up his vocal chords with a light groan. Being alone in the forest, the giant had no need to talk, but now with another person, there was a reason again. If only he could remember the right words….
Nole didn’t seem as passive about this encounter, meekly stammering out a plea to the giant. She wasn’t even sure if it could understand her, but she had to try.
“I...I d-d-don’t know...why you’re h-here...b-but please….d-don’t-”
However, she soon stopped herself, tilting her head to the side as she watched the giant.
“Wait...a-are you….shivering? You’re...cold too?”
In response, the giant looked focused on her words. It had been so long since he heard another person speak...but he knew cold. She was asking him if he was cold! Quickly he nodded his head, which lead to some confusion with Nole. It could understand her. This made her somewhat relieved...but it was also terrifying in its own sense. Giving a nervous glance around the room, Nole bit her lip before shakily replying to his nod.
“W-well, I was going to get a fire started...th-that’ll warm us-uhm….y-you up….”
After daring her nerves, the girl managed to take her careful watch off of the giant, instead looking over at the task of lighting a fire. It didn’t look too difficult, as the last person who was here clearly had the place set up for a fire. All it took was a bit of shifting of sticks and tinder, and a flame to them and the bundle of wood soon crackled to life. The giant behind her watched this, curiously extending a finger. He had never touched a human before, and he wondered just what they were like. Connecting, his finger ever-so-gently poked at her back, causing the girl to jolt back to the reality of the giant in the room as he let out a gentle groan in reply to her backing against a wall.
The girl firmly pressed her back against the stones making up the wall she was backed against, trying to reason with the giant as he looked at her with a frown.
“You...c-can have the fire...if you want it-”
The giant didn’t want to steal her fire...it was hers, they could enjoy it together. As he went to shake his head, his stomach gave its own version of a cry to remind him that he was hungry. Pausing, he quickly rummaged through the bag he had with him, and eventually pulled out a fresh pear which he quickly began eating. As he ate, his other hand reached for the carefully which prompted a response from the terrified girl shaking from both the cold and the fear of being in the presence of such a large creature.
“U-uhm...n-no, I’m...okay over here….”
Not having it one bit, the giant finished off his pear and reached over to her with both of his large hands, wrapping them around her waist despite her protests.
”N-n-no it’s fine, let me b-b-”
She was cut short as the giant lifted her off the ground, causing her to nervously flail her legs through the air until his large eyes stared into her smaller hazel ones. Simply such a deep gaze like that made her stop her squirming in her tracks as she instead spoke to the giant again in a nervous tone, despite her best efforts to hide how scared she was.
“Ah..! I..Oh...uhhh, h-hello…..”
She was in complete awe at the sight in front of her, no matter how scary it might be to be nearly this close to such a large threat. With another light sounds made by the giant, he pressed her back into his chest, holding her against him with the side of his right arm as his left one felt though his waterproof bag once again. Soon it pulled out an object and dropped it into her hands before adjusting his hold on her once again. Soon she was being held gently above the air once again. Nole was more than confused as she looked nervously into her hand. What did he put there? And why was he holding her?
“A pear….you want me...t-to eat this?”
Nole felt awkward eating right in front of a giant, especially as she was being held. Her legs gave a light kick into open air though as she looked at him, becoming nervous over what might happen if she were to refuse. Carefully she gave in to the small pangs of hunger she had herself, and took a small bite out of the fruit. Almost as if a level of trust had been made, the giant replied by giving her a big smile. The fire Nole had made at this point warmed the air in the room enough to make the giant comfortable again, and he gingerly let Nole’s swinging legs touch the ground again...although, that ground was his lap as he set her in a sitting position against his lap, propping her back up against his torso. He felt so happy! This human was far nicer than the last one he had encountered, and this one didn’t have the stuff which was sprayed into his eyes last time. He thought they called it pepper shot...or chili spray, something like that, but he couldn’t remember clearly. Either way, he was in no danger of that this time as he watched the girl slowly nibble away at the fruit in her hands. Soon all she had left was the core, which was discarded next to the giant as it fell to the ground and rested in a bed of weeds.
As the girl finished up her pear, the giant worked on feeling through the carrying bag he had brought along, his fingers delicately coming across the object of his desire, which he carefully brought out into the light of the fire, and put down into Nole’s lap. Thinking of what he was supposed to say was rather hard as he had forgotten a good bit of words, but he still tried to get his point across as his voice spoke as gently as he could with a pleading expression on his face.
Nole’s spine tingled at the unexpected, unnerving sound of this person talking to him. They wanted her to read? Carefully her fingers brushed at the thin layer of dust on the book, revealing the ancient cover of an old, well known book. The title which was dusted off read, “Through the Looking Glass”, a book which Nole was more than familiar with. The giant wasn’t interested in her fascination over the old book though, as he gave her a nice big hug after she agreed to read to him. To him a book was a book, and he had a couple with him. That was just the one he had found first. The girl, not used to being surrounded by a person on such a large margin, let out a squeak as she was suddenly and unexpectedly hugged.
“Ack! Ah..! Okay, o-okay, calm down….I’ll r-read now…”
Nole’s quiet voice was picked up in the ears of the giant as she shakily started reading from the start of the book, following along with what he thought was where she was at….although he would occasionally get it wrong and only be looking at one page when she started to turn to the next. He didn’t mind too much though, he was mainly paying attention to her gentle voice, soaking up every word of the story like how their clothes had gotten soaked from the rain. Having a voice speaking in the same room as him was very relaxing, almost as soothing as a person singing a song. The giant treasured this moment in his big heart, a soft smile played on on his face as he leaned against a wall. Nole adjusted so that she was carefully laying back against his chest as she read to him. The wonderful tale soon proved to be taxing on the large being though, as his eyes slowly drifted shut. He kept his mind awake though, listening to the girl weave the story into his mind over the sound of the rain above them. Most of the lightning now struck in the distance, much quieter than before. As Nole read on and on however, the sharpness of the giant’s mind was slowly grinded away at, until his body went limp with sleep’s gentle grasp on him. He heaved a long sigh as he decompressed, dreaming of the bits and pieces of the story he had managed to understand.