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The giants did not come down from the North with club fists and animal clothing. They were us. What some of us became. Oversize, monstrous of appetite, careless of what lay flattened underfoot.

The issue at first was infrastructure. How to hoist the ceilings, how to quadruple the serving size, how to keep small coins from slipping through elephantine fingers.

We didn’t talk about it like two different species until the newborns began to die. Half-giant, half-not, they slid out with mismatched parts. A ribcage like a robin’s nest, and a watermelon heart. Necks that snapped under sandbag skulls. They just didn’t last.

The giants claimed they were evolving naturally—mass gathering mass, onward, upward, outward—and the rest of us were a freakish, retrograde strain. Of course they didn’t say it in such big words.

So we had the furtive meetings, the unthinkable plans, the ingrained motto of aiming for the kneecaps, the unreal pause before you stab a breathing thing, the hot soak of viscera spilling from above, the frenzy that heaves as your friends are brought down, the muscle memory that yanks you awake, the scrambling over rocks and ice, the boldness of being among the last, the thinning out of all that we were alive for.

And then we left. To come down from the North upon someone else.