I was sitting at the edge of the hay loft, swinging my legs and idly combing a rake through the giant’s hair, when she told me she had been discovered. I don’t really remember the words she used; they weren’t the words I would have used. I’ve repeatedly invented them, though.
repeating a mantra the glacier
–A man came in that door today. He didn’t come all the way in. He just looked in. He didn’t stay long. He was afraid. I was afraid too.
–What did he look like?
She shrugged. We were all so small to her. She had trouble telling us apart, if we weren’t sitting right by her eyes.
–He was red.
This was what I had been afraid of.
–Don’t worry. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.
She rumbled incomprehensibly for a while. I just sat there and let the bass wash over me.
–I have to leave.
I combed for a while longer. Combing the hair of a giant is soothing, like raking leaves.
–Yes. Yes, you have to leave.
There was one last tangle, but I left it till later.
same nest as last year slippery elm
I went into his house without knocking. In his dim study—why was his study always dim?— the red shirt he was wearing was a warning. Half hidden behind piles of books, he winced. He was made mostly of words but he didn’t know what to say. I asked him why he couldn’t leave alone the things I asked him to leave alone. He laughed. “It’s as if you never heard of Bluebeard,” he said.