The Christmas Giant.
He stood a little over seven feet tall; head, shoulders and huge hump-back taller than the scuttling pre-Christmas crowds. He lumbered uncertainly between the slowed-to-a-standstill traffic. Road-enraged drivers stared up at his unearthly form, at the huge slightly opened mouth, frightened, mirroring their own. The giant’s great misshapen head spoke silently of some wild genetic misappropriation, some mischance acted out and now, inexorably, in motion. Mothers chided their children for staring, yet they too stared childlike, but with icy recoil.
The giant lumbered on through the cars and taxis, all too aware of the consternation he evoked. An affronted father sheltered his confused offspring and cursed upwards into the giant’s puffy, smoke-like complexion which turned away, ashamed.
In the giant’s hand he held, gently, a small furry ball—a kitten—which he had found mewing outside his lodgings. Unusually, the kitten’s pale blue eyes had not contorted in judgment, nor had it sought flight from him. He had fed it, warmed it, kept it safe. As he carried it onwards, the tiny creature lent him the strength to move through the late-afternoon crowds and towards a large department store.
The giant waited in a line of children and uneasy parents outside of a Santa’s Grotto. The line dwindled under his gaze and soon, stooping, he entered, passing the plastic reindeer and darting teenaged elves. Santa, jumping a little, swore, before remembering himself. The giant sat on the floor beside him and proffered the kitten to the startled man.
‘For my Christmas, I want you to take care of it,’ said the giant. Santa took the animal and stared into the giant’s electric blue eyes; even through his shock, he noticed that the giant was little more than a child himself; huge in height and girth, deformed and distorted in all outward dimensions, but a young man nonetheless.
‘Please look after him,’ the giant whispered. ‘I have to go away for a few days. You’re Santa, and I know you grant wishes at Christmas. This is mine.’
Before the plastic-bearded Santa could react, the giant struggled to his feet and quickly left the gaudy, plastic-holly bedecked grotto.
The giant headed back through the gaily-lit streets and out towards the bridge and the deep, slow river which reflected the light of a solitary star.
Unburdened at last, The Giant strode towards freedom.
The owls are not what they seem.