Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

The Giant Points

The Giant Points
Photo by John Westrock via Unsplash.

We buried the giant long ago, as in the collective we of the island. There are none of us who remember the burying, and our mothers and fathers did not remember the burying either, or rather they did not speak of it, and so it must have been at least three generations back, but many of our earliest memories are of our parents taking us to the swings on the Index.

The swings at the Index did not seem grotesque to us as children, growing up with it as simply a landmark. But now as we are adults, the tides have grown stronger. The water rises higher, and when the tides go out, the waters take more of our land each day. That is something that we have learned as we have aged from children to adults, that a little adds up. A little loose soil compounded every day becomes an island in itself.

As our land has been stripped away, we have been forced to acknowledge in more concrete terms what lies beneath us, that the Index was never an isolated item, and of course our past generations knew this, and we must have known this too when we begged our parents to push us higher.

We remember there being at least seven swings back when we were in children, but now there are only four. No one is quite sure if there was any directed agency at the taking down of the swings, or if the swings simply broke and were swept away into the water through time, that perhaps as we became more aware of the structure the Index was only a part of, that we neglected the swings and that fewer families congregated there.

Or perhaps a group of us, acting outside the collective, had removed the swings little by little until the rest of us had finally noticed. Odd how we do not recognize the change in something until it has grown, like the land that leaves us every day.

Perhaps the solution is in the soil itself. The finger appears higher now, and it casts it shadow over more of the island every day. As the soil has eroded, the swings grew higher and higher, until they looked more like gallows than swings.

There are two more fingers visible now, the middle and the ring, neither of which are pointed as high up as the Index. The other two are slightly curled downward, as if the giant had indeed pointing at something specific before he passed. Perhaps he was pointing to the ocean, warning us that it would continue coming for the island until the island was gone.

Every day, when the tide comes in, more of our land is covered in water. We contemplate going higher into the mountains, and perhaps a few of us have gone, but the majority of us have stayed. It is harder to live in the mountains. There is less vegetation. The air is thinner.

Perhaps if the Index were pointing straight up toward the sky, rather than out to the water. Perhaps that would be a sign.

There are those of us who believe that everything has a design, a purpose, and that that purpose is revealed only at the correct time, in the time of its need, and it is not for us to force the hand of that design, so to speak.

My name is Increase, like my father before me, and his father is before me. And my father ,before he passed, had passed out pamphlets he made in our home while my mother and my brothers and I were sleeping. My father was not naive, but that did not mean he was alarmist or pessimistic. He knew we were not meant to leave the land, that we were not meant to live like rams on the mountainsides, bumping our heads against the heads of others over what small patches of green were available.

In my father’s time, we as a people were not ready for the teachings in his pamphlets. We were not ready to accept what was underneath us as more than an abstraction, and my father believed our survival would one day rely in accepting that the giant beneath was not itself holy, but held a holy purpose, that it was not be worshiped or feared, but rather utilized.

We would one day sail out into the water, headed in the direction to which the Index pointed, and we would sail in its bones. My father had believed that our Creator came to him in the night in inspiration and had shared with him the exact dimensions of the giant. My father’s pamphlets were filled with not only his writings as dictated to him by our Creator, but also of my father’s illustrations of the giant’s full form. In one pamphlet, my father illustrated my brothers and I at the helm of a great ship built from the giant’s rib cage. He did not illustrate my mother or himself, in his wisdom. I, however, the youngest, am not at the helm. My older brother Increase is instead our pilot, but he refuses to speak of this with me. He believes that we must stop living in the past and head toward the mountains. In the last few months, his rhetoric has increased, as his faith seems to dissipate each day like our land, which had been our birthright.

It is hard to have faith, to know how to discern when something is divined and when something is not, or when something is designed to look divine as a way of testing one’s faith. The most deceptive ideas can be the ones masked in our faith, to make us think of our holy documents as a living document, as something that can be changed at whim to the evolving sensibilities of a people more concerned with what their eyes see than what their spirit sees.

There has been debate how we are to read the documents, if we are to view the family as it existed when my father Increase wrote it, or if as it is passed from father to son, if the son becomes the father, as if I too will not ride the ribs, but that the young Increase that I take to be myself is indeed my offspring.

It was in our creator’s wisdom that he named us Increase and that he made us in his image to look like our creator, and also to look so much like our fathers. My brother refuses to lead us in the ribs and although he has spoken publicly in our forums and refuses to speak with me any longer abut this privately, it is clear that his monologues are meant now only for me, to convince me to let this go, that this is not for us to decide, but rather for our sons or perhaps their sons to decide.

But it will not be long until we see the whole hand, and perhaps in our lifetimes, we will see the other hand, or even the face of our vessel. It is unwise to assume that we are not the illustrated only because it has taken most of our lives for the other fingers to join the Index. Occurrences like these become compounded, and once something begins, the process becomes faster, a more immediate dilemma. The island is an hourglass, and the ribs of the giant beneath are the thin point where we must inevitably collect.

My brother is flawed too in believing that the illustration is not of myself, but of my son. He knows my son has passed. In his open forums, my brother has insisted that our creator provides, and when he takes away, he gives back doubly so. And he dares to declare without naming me by name that in preparing for our exodus is a type of blasphemy and will postpone our creator’s intervention, that if he takes a son and we make our own plans in reaction to that action, that the creator will wait even longer to intervene in giving us a new son. However, if we are patient and in the interim move up the mountain, that he will bring us the sons we need. Did our Creator not, he will say, not only give us the land upon which we currently reside, but also the mountains? When we speak of this great island bestowed upon us, do we not also include the mountains? When we light a match and we do not intervene, does it not burn to the quick, until there is no light left? When we eat our boar, do we not eat the whole boar, not just the legs or thighs as we might prefer? We cannot claim defeat or abandon our birthright when our Creator reminds us every day that our land is so much more than where we currently reside. Can we not agree, that as a messenger of the Creator, we cannot assume the intentions of the giant beneath our feet and that we must wait until our Creator has revealed its purpose? Some will say the giant points now to the water, away from our land, but that is only how it appears to us now. Who of us are to say where it will point if the land indeed continues to shift, to reform our land? As the giant below us is revealed, who is to say what will become of its shiftings and juttings? Can we say with a level of credibility that as one of our wives gives birth that the new child coming into the world is nothing but a head? Nothing but an upper torso? Nothing but what is above the knees perhaps? Of course not? We do not declare the birthing over until the entire child is seen. So why do we now react to the revelation of our Creator’s messenger who is not yet born?

Absurd, of course, for the giant has long since been born and of what we can see, is nothing but bone, and there is nothing to tell us that underneath our feet lies nothing but the rest of that bone, revealed to us every day, for how many of us could accept the totality of our Creator all at once? We would die from the fright. Our Creator is revealed to us gradually, overtime, so that we may come to terms and prepare.

I wish that I could counter my brother’s false claims, but even in the public forums, he finds ways to silence me. I know that he pays his followers to stand around me, to make it hard for me to see or be seen. When I begin to talk, they talk right over me until my voice is lost. I of course still have my following, but he is breaking us into camps. Within a generation, we could be radicalized, fractured into sects, those of us in the mountains and those of us building vessels from the giant’s skeleton. In his forums, he lumps me in with the people who believe that is not only our destiny to swim away in the giant, but that it is our duty to increase the process, that we must dig him up as soon as possible. A few have tried and are awaiting sentence. I imagine how easily they may one day be hanging from the Index after the last swing is removed. Perhaps my brother himself removes the swings at night, as a way to scare the others.

He has not spoken to me privately since my son Increase passed. There is still no official public consensus of what happened to my son. His body was never found. People were questioned, but as the investigation went on, my brother refused to expand the investigation and instead kept coming back to my home to ask me questions about the disappearance. I pleaded with him in private and in the public forums that we must find the person responsible, or if were not a person but instead a natural occurrence, that we must at least arrive at closure. When my wife and I sent out the empty raft representing our son out into the water after months of no answers, my brother did not attend. And that is when I became more and more silenced in the public forums, despite our family being the victims, despite my having lost my sweet boy so close to his first birth celebration.

Sometimes at night, I look out from my home, which is surrounded in sandbags I make during the day with my wife, and if I watch long enough, the giant’s exposed hand comes into view. And I will bring up my hand until it perfectly obscures the giant’s, as his hand and my hand are now the same, and I hold my fingers just as the giants are positioned, although I have to imagine the pinky and thumb. And if my son were out there near the hand looking for the missing swings, perhaps he could be seen in the gap made in between my thumb and index finger. Or perhaps that only shows where he once was, like I before him, and my father before me, and that I instead must look not to the space between but to the beautiful bone polished by sand, water, and time, and what it promises away from this place.