Stella returned to the kitchen a moment after the coffee maker beeped. She wrapped her hand around the mug, then pulled back as it was nearly as hot as the breakfast blend it held. Something like a radio was playing from the other room, except she didn’t know where their radio was. They had one, never needed it anymore, but it was too good to throw away so it collected dust on some shelf in some room, out of mind. A dollop of creamer, a half-teaspoon of sugar, and she walked into the dining room stirring her drink. “What are you listening to, dear?”
At the table, Frank hunched over his special breakfast of a sage turkey sausage patty and Muenster on a toasted English muffin. While this was rotten for his health, Stella begrudged him not, because at least he was making an effort to prepare his own meal. She didn’t even mind that he didn’t make one for her because it was rotten for her health. Frank’s gray head shook with mild surprise and he reached over to shut off his phone.
“No, you don’t have to stop listening just because I’m here,” she said, pulling out a chair and settling in. Before he could wake up his phone and scroll to the app, she heard a business-like woman’s voice: “…and if you don’t have to travel today, try to stay in your homes at least through Tuesday. There are giants in the area, and while they haven’t—” The signal cut and Frank retracted his arm, leaving the sound of brittle English muffin being broken between teeth.
“So that’s it.” Stella’s lips pinched. “Frank, you are not going outside today.”
Frank muttered around a lump of protein and carbs. “I didn’t say I wanted to.”
“Frank. You’re not.”
He shrugged in his burgundy bathrobe and looked out the window, across the room.
“I know what you’re thinking, Franklin Delano Adams. You’re not going out to look at her. Get that thought out of your head. I’ll take a tire iron to your kneecaps if I have to.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He chewed slowly.
“You’re going to sit there and pretend we haven’t had this conversation before?” Her fingers drummed against the blond wood tabletop. “I suppose I should just press play on the conversation and leave the room, if I’m going to retain my sanity.” They drummed harder. “And I really hate that you make me out to be the bad guy in this situation. You know what those giants can do! And there’s no indication they’re even aware of it. They just smile and— what are you staring at?”
He shuddered and turned back to his breakfast, but it was too late. Stella leaned into him to peer out the bay window of the living room, and all became clear. Between the Victorian and the Craftsman across the street, just above the oaks, a giantess strode in the distance, moving as though she were underwater. She was slightly bluish with atmosphere over the tremendous distance, luminous in the sunrise, and she wore not a stitch of clothing. Even her breasts bounced and swayed in slow motion.
“Unbelievable. Unbelievable!” She rested back in her chair and glared at him. “People’s lives are threatened, and you’ve gone all adolescent over the chance to glimpse a boobie.”
He frowned; his cheeks stretched like sleepy gray cats. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Worse, you’re actually thinking of getting in your car—our car—and driving out to gawk at her! You know what they say about the illusion of how large they are. They’re actually much faster than you think, and before you know it, everything around you is smashed into powder…”
“Like a locomotive,” he said dully.
“…like a, yes, that’s right. Don’t you give me that look. I’m trying to keep you alive, though I’m doing a pretty poor job of it by letting you have your cholesterol bombs.” Without having sipped her coffee Stella got up, swiped his empty plate away, and stormed off to the kitchen. “You want to go throw yourself into danger’s way, be my guest. Goddess knows I’m not your mother, and I don’t want to be, but the way you act sometimes…” She rinsed the plate, returned for her coffee, and went to the living room to draw the sheers and slump on the couch. “I don’t even see what the appeal is. They’re so scary, they’re exactly like something out of a nightmare. They could smear you like warm butter with nothing more than their toe. And can you imagine what that boob you admire so much could do to the house?”
Frank could, had, and and in all likelihood was doing so now. His wife stared at him, shaking her head, and propped her feet on the coffee table to think about her day.
Stella went out for appetizers at a fancy new Italian restaurant with a friend after a trip to the thrift store. They’d brought a couple boxes of old knick-knacks and clothing for donation, got some coupons for store credit, then turned around and used them immediately. Now they perched at a wrought iron high-top with cold, exotically shaped glasses. “And he just gawks at her, jaw hanging open, eyes glazed” she was saying to Olive as a saucer of prosciutto crudo was gingerly placed between them. “It’s obscene.”
“Well, they can’t exactly arrest her for it,” said Olive. “Oh, this is undercooked. Waiter?”
“I know, I know. The news keeps going on about ‘force of nature’ or some such nonsense. But it’s not like they’re blue whales, for cripes’ sake. I don’t know why the military can’t just take them down.”
“Do you think they’re human?”
A breeze streamed through their chairs; Stella rearranged her napkin on her lap and frowned. She disliked this question, another popular talking point in trash media. “Obviously they’re related to us somehow. They look like us, but no one’s been able to communicate with them.”
“Or they choose not to.”
“Or that.” Stella tilted her head. “Wait. We’re not choosing to reach out to them, or they’re not talking to us?”
Olive grinned and waggled her head over her apertivo. Her black bobbed hair rustled with life of its own. “The military says they’ve tried, but who knows. Every month we find out they’ve lied about another big important thing.”
“So we just let them walk around wherever they like?”
“What are we supposed to do?”
Stella stared at the condensation forming on her glass of water. “Lure them out to the desert or something, I don’t know. Get them away from the cities. That seems obvious.” Her friend shrugged and recited how no one knew what they wanted or why they showed up, like every news outlet felt compelled to go through once a day. Stella drew a deep, petulant breath. “How about Darrel, how’s he handling this?”
Olive blinked. “Fine? I don’t understand.”
“Is he losing his bearing over watching these gigantic naked women strutting through our neighborhoods, showing all their goods off to anyone at all?”
Her friend chuckled. “I see. Has Frank embarrassed you in public over this?”
“I never said—”
“Come on. It’s fine, no, I hear this is happening to a lot of couples. Lots of fights about this.” She pushed the crudo around her plate, as if painting a picture with it.
“One of the financial magazines touched on it, an article about productivity in the workplace. They mentioned marriage as a footnote, something about the stress of relationships coming into the office.” Olive looked up over her friend’s shoulder, causing Stella to turn and look too. There was nothing there. “They talked about how men are visually stimulated, so something like this is hitting them on, like, a primal level. Where they’re helpless, ostensibly.” She ran her fingers along the stem of her glass, smiling vaguely.
“It’s ridiculous,” Stella spat. “You’d think a grown adult would have a little more self-control than this.”
Olive laughed. “What world did you grow up in, and how do I go there?”
When Stella left the house, her husband had still been lounging around in his bathrobe. At some point during the day, maybe while she got groceries after seeing her friend, he’d showered, shaved, and gotten dressed in something that wasn’t fleece or flannel. He’d even washed a load of dishes, now drying in the rack, and it looked like the recycling was taken out. Was this an apology, of sorts? If so… it wasn’t a bad one.
“You home?” Frank’s voice echoed with unusual resonance. She experienced a brief moment of terror as she pictured her husband—strong legs, hairy paunch, hair he didn’t know what to do with—towering astride the house like the Jolly Green Giant. She shook her head vigorously and called back to him, walked up the hallway, and found him on his knees in the bathroom.
She rushed to his side. “Oh, my Goddess, Frank! Are you okay? You didn’t get into the meatballs, did you? I told you I was going to throw those out. Here, let me help you up.” He shooed her off with a damp washcloth: he had been mopping down the back of the freshly scrubbed toilet, and she saw the sink was scoured too. She stepped back into the hallway, trying not to show how impressed she felt. “What’s the cause of this? What did you do wrong?”
“Who says I did anything wrong?” A clear bead of sweat crept down his temple and caught in his laugh lines.
“Frankfort Roquefort Adams! This is guilt, isn’t it, for your imagined infidelity with that gigantic woman.”
He went back to wiping cleanser off the cistern. “I have nothing to feel guilty about.”
She leaned against the jamb and crossed her arms. “I know, I’m just giving you a hard time. Thanks for doing the dishes and taking out the recycling.”
“And the trash.” He smiled during his labors. “I even brought up your laundry.”
“Because you know I hate doing that.” Now she smiled, despite herself. “So what’s the cause? What’s the reason for all this? I’m waiting for the bomb to drop now.”
He flashed her a grin she hadn’t seen in a while. “I’m given to understand it’s an effective form of foreplay.”
Perhaps he wasn’t far off the mark. They chatted about her visit with Olive while they folded the bed sheets together, he laughed about how they discovered what crudo was. Stella complimented him on his shirt, and he reminded her it was one she’d picked out for him last year. “You never wear it.” “Rarely, special occasions.” “Is this a special occasion?” He said maybe and refilled her wine and picked through their record collection. She liked what he played and asked him who it was. “This is a local soul group from ’78,” he said. “Never made it big but printed two releases. This whole album’s all coulda-beens.” He spun it by its corners between his palms: the jacket design was a pastiche of black-and-white photos featuring musicians and singers in high states of energy.
Frank set it down and regarded her. “We missed all the farmers markets.”
She sighed and sat where she had at breakfast. “There’s still a few going on out east. This just wasn’t the year for them.”
He sauntered behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She was about to shrug him off and say she didn’t feel like being touched just then, but then his thumbs hit that spot and instead she asked why they didn’t do this more.
“You love the farmers markets.”
“That shouldn’t stop you. You should always make room for what you love.”
She snorted and started to form a snarky comment about what he loved, from this morning, but the right words wouldn’t fall into place.
When Frank slid into bed behind her, after they’d brushed their teeth and filled up their glasses of water, Stella didn’t turn away from his hand on her shoulder. Maybe it was just one nice day, but it had been a really nice day. She grinned over her shoulder and nuzzled her butt into his hips. “Be gentle at first. I’m a little tender.”
HIs hand slid down to cup her breast. She didn’t necessarily care for the way he kneaded her boob, but it was earnest and she knew he loved it, and in turn she loved how sexy his desire made her feel. She licked her fingers and rubbed herself and guided his growing erection between her legs, playing with him as she rubbed him into herself.
There was thunder, quiet with distance but loud with power. Stella didn’t think there was rain the forecast. “Should we close the windows? I don’t want the stereo to get wet again.”
“It’s not going to rain.”
“But I heard thunder.”
He shushed her and flicked her nipple, and his hips ground against her butt until she arched forward and guided him inside. She was a little tender, partly a byproduct of aging and partly because they hadn’t done this in a while, but she was surprised by how much her body wanted him so she toughed it out until she could relax. This was something she didn’t feel she could talk about with him, knowing how skeeved out guys got by hearing details about lady parts, and she didn’t want him to feel rejected. It was just getting harder, she thought through his insistent rocking, to get into this, but she didn’t want a loveless—
Thunder again. Closer.
She started to roll toward the edge of the bed. “I’m so sorry, Frank, but I’ve got to close the windows. It’s really going to be a mess if I don’t. I’ll make it up to you when I get back.”
His arm was soft but firm across her chest. “There isn’t going to be any rain, sweetie, not until the weekend.”
“But didn’t you hear that?”
He chuckled into her neck. “All I hear is the blood pounding in my ears, to be quite honest.”
“Let me just look at the forecast.” She reached for her phone.
“You’re a true romantic, anyone ever tell you that?”
“I need to be sure.” Her phone vibrated as she opened it up. There was another boom outside, setting off three different car alarms. A public address alert popped up on her screen: STAY INDOORS, DO NOT TRAVEL. GIANTS HEADING THROUGH THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES…
“Frank! That wasn’t thunder, there’s a giant heading this way!”
He tried to nestle against her, but her body was clenched and stiff. “We’re fine, sweetie. They won’t come here.”
“You can’t know that! No one knows what they want!”
“They only go to the big cities at night because of the lights. There are no recorded instances of widespread destruction in the suburbs: all the lights are out, we’ve all gone to bed.”
“How do you…” Realization exploded in her head and ran down her spine. “You knew they were coming! You son of a bitch, get off me!”
“Please, honey, just give it a chance.”
“Give what a chance? Frank, let me go!” His strong arm went limp and she clambered out of bed, wheeling upon him. “I should have known something was up! The wine, the music, all the chores… you’re a real asshole! What were you planning on doing? We have to get out of here…” She turned to the dresser, pulling out socks and underwear.
He sat up, looking wearied. His penis jutted comically in front of his belly. “Stella, please, come back to bed. They aren’t going to come here, and the warnings all say to stay indoors. The last place you want to be in the middle of the night is in a small, fragile metal box with bright lights.”
She was stilled by the simplicity of that picture: a lone car gliding down a featureless highway, and then a huge bare foot descending from the heavens, and that’s that. She hugged her chest and sat on the edge of the bed. “So what are we supposed to do? Just wait for them to come here and kill us all?”
“They’re not going to come here.”
“How do you know!“
“They’ve never done it before, not like this. They’re just… wandering. They don’t understand us, and because of that, they’re not malicious.” Outside, the car alarms cut off. The booming continued but not perceptibly nearer.
She didn’t want to admit that this made sense. “Then they think we’re just bugs on the sidewalk? There are kids who stomp out anthills, tear the wings off butterflies…”
“And most don’t.” His hands gripped her shoulders. “Please come back to bed, sweetheart.”
“I’m really not in the mood, Frank.”
“Stella, it’s been so long. Don’t you want this too?”
“Of course, but—”
“Just let me hold you.”
Knowing full well where this was going, she sank back to the mattress and wrapped his arms around her, and not so that he could grope her boobs. But she did reach down again and introduce his cock into her slit, because there was some comfort at the contact, even if it was only mechanical right now.
His breath gusted against her ear, diffused by her hair. She sighed heavily and tried to find a comfortable position for her head on the pillow. Someone’s dog began freaking out in a backyard, somewhere. Frank’s arms were so strong. She glanced at her phone: what had been a flashing blue messenger light had relaxed into a steady green light that meant nothing more than her battery was full. She sighed again and turned her cheek toward the cool of the pillow. His cock, thick and hard, pumped steadily away inside her, and momentarily she wondered whether she was producing enough lube. Frank wouldn’t say, he liked a little tension, but her lady bits were awfully tender…
His cock reached inside her. Outside, another soft boom rolled across the darkened neighborhood. His hips boffed against her buttocks, and another boom resounded.
Her head scooted up the pillow with the next boom. “I don’t believe this…”
It scooted up farther. Experience had shown that Frank would not bonk her head against the headboard, but it was getting close, because he was getting close.
“Franciscus Emiliano Adams, you planned this intentionally.”
“Those monstrosities are out there, carving gross lines throughout our civilization, and you want to fuck to it.”
Thrust, boom. Thrust, boom.
“It was that giant woman today, wasn’t it? She got you started.”
“And that’s why you’ve been so sweet and thoughtful all afternoon.”
“You weren’t guilty for anything you’d done. You were feeling guilty about what you were going to do.”
“You…” Holy fuck, did he feel good inside her. “You’re unbelievable. This is a new level of perversion, even for…” And her body shivered at the next thrust. Were the booms getting louder? Her pussy clenched hard on his cock, and she realized how much heat and sweat there was between his hirsute chest and her gently sloping back, and she shifted each of his hands to cup her boobs, and she thought the booms were getting louder, or maybe that was—
An image flashed in her mind, unbidden and irresistible. That last crash, she could almost see a large, brutal foot plowing into a neighborhood block. Houses gone instantly, a cloud of dirt and debris that takes minutes to settle, even in the rain she knew wasn’t happening now, and the tendons that tensed up along an immense leg, thousands of gallons of blood and oxygen to fuel an imperious thigh… it was Frank’s thigh. She liked his legs, and now it was his leg that rose, slightly bent, from the center of their neighborhood, his pronounced ilium that ran down to his… his…
Her eyes flew open wide. The thought of her husband’s cock, massive, caught mid-swing in a flash of lighting, lolling over her house… She could embrace a cock like that just like hugging the man himself. It was a horrifying thought, it was disgusting, that blind and blunt bestial extremity arcing like a wrecking ball, bouncing off one muscular thigh, and that huge, grotesque, hairy sack of balls hanging behind it… Frank, nude, immense and powerful, standing alone in the wreckage of their town, why would she…
He began grunting, long moans that peaked with each thrust. His palms mashed her breasts into her ribs, and her entire body shuddered with each crash of thunder outside. She wanted to turn and kiss him, and she wanted to kick him away and run down the hall, but she only clutched at him in her hips and ground her ass into his hips and pinned his forearms to her sides with her arms and remembered how good it felt to have that rod of meat inside her, to take part of her lover and keep it inside her, to think of Frank as her lover again.
The crashes got louder, and the car alarms started again. She took over the tempo and tried to bounce into his hips faster, but Frank held them steady. The dog freaked out again, this time joined by a few more dogs down the block, large and small, and Stella fought with Frank for control, trying to pound faster into him while he tried to guide her entire body onto him at a slower beat. She laughed at his efforts and thrust double-time with the pounding footsteps outside, however close they were, and he moaned in surprise and he growled and swore and loved her and she clamped down on him with all her might and hot fluids and shaking and thunder and gripping
A week later, Stella was winding up the vacuum cord as Frank closed his laptop at the dinner table, signaling the end to another day of work. “I looked up the forecast this weekend,” she announced, wheeling the vacuum back to the closet.
“Oh yeah?” He stretched and got up to get some water. “Gonna rain?”
She closed the closet door and leaned against it, arms behind her back, pushing her chest out slightly. “It seems a giant’s heading through the next county…”
Her husband froze in his tracks and looked back at her with wide, sparkling eyes.