The End of the Drought

Hildi sat crying on the hard earth behind some leafless bushes. Her older sister, Sabina was trying to grab her hand to pull her out but was hindered by two things: Hildi was sitting on her hands, and her fiancé was trying to drag her in the opposite direction back to the celebration.

"Come on Hildi. Come on out. The feast is about to begin. You don't want to miss that do you?" Sabina could barely hear her own words with the noise of the festivities behind her.

Hildi's crying had ebbed into short sobs. Her eyes were swollen and red.

"It's not fair!" she yelled back at her sister.

Sabina sighed ignoring her fiancé who was still tugging drunkenly on her arm, "I know, but it's ok. You'll see. Come on. There's a whole roast duck with your name on it." She even sang the last part, but Hildi jerked away from a grab at her shoulder.

Sabina stood up with a frown and took a tipsy step backward giving in to another tug from her slurring fiancé. She'd probably be taking care of him for the rest of the night.

"OK, Hildi. It's your loss. Come on out when you get hungry."

Sabina's fiancé attempted to lift her off her feet, but she pirouetted away and slung his arm over her shoulder instead.

Hildi watched them leave and wiped her face with the sleeve of her dress. The huge bonfire by the riverside silhouetted the couple, and together they stumbled away like a pair of children in a three-legged race.

The heat of the night was stifling, but there were still villagers dancing around the fire. The less intoxicated danced in small clusters a little further away. Musicians in groups of three or four wandered through the crowd playing the same tune. Underneath the racket of the party was the steady rush of the river.

A deafening boom suddenly shook the earth drowning out all other noise, and Hildi tensed and cradled her knees tightly to her chest. All of the villagers jumped exaggeratedly in the air as if the quake tossed them up. They landed laughing just as the air was split with an ear-piercing howl. The villagers responded in unison tilting their heads to the heavens mimicking the roar as loud as they could. The roar ended in cheers and toasting, and some dropped to the ground in laughter.

Hildi put her hands over her ears, closed her eyes and screamed too. "Stop it!"

When the music started back up, she cautiously opened her eyes. Beyond the dancing crowds, Hildi could see the plates being set up on the long train of tables. She saw the cooks tending spits of meat and simmering pots in makeshift stone ovens. The tapestry of scents was incredibly tempting.

Past the bonfire and smaller fires where the cooks rushed around, she saw the Cursed Titan.

The fires cast odd, harsh shadows on his immense face as he lay with his cheek on the worn, smooth rock. His head was larger by five than any boulder they had climbed over on their trek up the stony mountain to the mouth of the river. The rock and soil and trees encased the Titan's body below the neck. The weight of it all had imprisoned him for longer than recorded history.

The village children were still throwing rocks at his bruised and bloodied face. The older children that were allowed to carry blades stabbed at his swollen, split lips. A bold teen had climbed a tall tree and scaled the Titan's cheek. He had made it to the ear was trying to thrust a long spear into it. The Titan twisted his neck as much as he could, lifted his massive head and smashed it back down sending the teen flying away.

The villagers jumped in concert again. The Titan howled in pain, and the villagers met the cry with their collective cheer.

Hildi could see the Titan's tears through her own. Since the pilgrimage had arrived, the Titan's tears had gone from the volume of a bucket to a trough. Now they were a torrent through his swollen, blackened eyelids. The once cracked and dry riverbed now thundered with water on its way down to their village at the mountain's base.