Assistant

Posted on December 30, 2016 in GTS Fiction by

The story of Ambrose, assistant to a cruel and powerful giantess. Warning: for mature readers only.

He hurried down the immense corridor, past swarms of other workers. Most of them were getting off their shift and so he was fighting against the crowd, like a salmon swimming upstream. He shoved and elbowed his way forward, more concerned about being late than irritating people.

He definitely did not want to be late.

His official title was Assistant. There were numerous Assistants and turn-over was high, not because people quit their jobs but because she disposed of them, like a woman exterminating bothersome roaches. “She” was known only as the Tyrant, ruler of all humanity. For as long as anyone could remember, the entire world had served her, although he knew that hadn’t always been the case. There was The Time Before. Any mention of The Time Before was illegal, of course, and could result in a stiff fine if overheard by a Patrolman. It could result in a gruesome death if overheard by the Tyrant.

His name was Ambrose, although his boss and overlord and living goddess simply referred to him as “Assistant.” She never bothered to call anyone by their real names; why should she when she clearly saw them as disposable objects to be used as she saw fit? Ambrose had taken the position at the insistence of his best friend Jonas. It was either this job or virtual slavery in the factories or agricultural outposts. Both choices were terrible, but at least this option provided him with good food and housing. Besides, people feared and respected those who directly served the Tyrant.

Ambrose had only been at his job for three months but it felt like the longest three months of his life. The horrors that he had witnessed would sometimes keep him up at night and he had tried everything to sleep, prescription medication and alcohol and even herbal remedies. Nothing worked. He would often sit on the edge of his bed during the late hours of the night, wondering when it would be his turn. One wrong move, that’s all that it took.

So that was why he practically sprinted down the corridor. Being late to work would certainly attract her attention and that could be lethal for him. It was always better to simply blend in, to just be one of the many Assistants. Ambrose stopped running only when he made it to the throne room. Fortunately, there were dozens of other Assistants already there and he slipped in among them, still panting.

To say that the throne room was impressive would have been an understatement. It was bigger than several stadiums, opulently decorated with some of the world’s finest artwork that had been seized from museums like the Louvre. Ambrose recognized some of the pieces, priceless paintings by Monet and Picasso and so many others. There were jewels everywhere as well, the finest diamonds and rubies and sapphires, many of them torn from their original settings and skillfully made into mosaics on the soaring walls. All in all, the collection was like a dragon’s hoard, beautiful and yet carefully guarded by a monster.

The center attraction was the throne, though, a gargantuan chair made of marble and inlaid with gold and silver. It was built on a mind-boggling scale, easily a hundred and fifty feet tall, more like a tall building than a throne. The first time that Ambrose had seen it, he had been overcome with awe, especially when he had spotted the woman seated upon it.

No, “woman” wasn’t the correct word for what she was. “Deity” was a better choice. She certainly resembled one, beautiful beyond mortal comprehension. Her dark brown hair flowed over her shoulders, her eyes an intense bluish-gray color that always made him think of Athena from mythology. The Tyrant’s taste in clothing, like her throne room, was lavish. It took teams of seamstresses and tailors weeks to create an outfit for a being who stood twenty stories on average. Today she wore a darkly-purple dress, low cut to show off her slender neck and the dazzling necklaces that adorned it. Her multi-ton jewelry was probably worth more than the combined GDPs of several former countries, not that anyone would complain about such decadence. The Tyrant took what she wanted, when she wanted it. If people starved because the workforce was diverted from the farms in order to fulfill one of her whims, it didn’t bother her in the slightest.

Besides, there were much worse ways to die than starvation.

The Assistants stood respectfully before their goddess, the silence in the room unnerving. They were all dressed identically, men and women alike, their high-necked uniforms a rich shade of blue. The Tyrant was too busy admiring one of her bracelets to acknowledge them, twisting her wrist so that her newest acquisition caught the light streaming through the glass ceiling. Finally she glanced down at the assembly before her, tiny men and women who barely reached her ankle. Ambrose did not meet the enormous eyes as they scanned the crowd, praying that she would choose someone else.

Thankfully, she did.

“You,” the Tyrant thundered, pointing at a short brunette named Laura. The Assistant blanched considerably and rushed forward, the crowd parting to let her through. She clutched her tablet to her chest, the one that she was supposed to use to inform the Tyrant of her daily agenda. Her footsteps echoed loudly on the floor, the only sound in the vast room as she hurried toward the throne and the column-like legs of the giantess. Laura paused in between the giantess’ truck-sized feet, which were shod in high-heeled cage sandals, and looked down at her tablet. Ambrose sensed that something was wrong when she frowned and tapped at the tablet, then shook it. The computer wasn’t working, he realized with growing horror. Laura understood this as well and she frantically tried to restart the tablet, her hands shaking with such violence that she almost dropped the computer once or twice.

The Tyrant said nothing as the woman fiddled with her computer, just stared down at her with an unreadable expression. Laura was so engrossed in trying to get the tablet to work that she didn’t see the giantess’ right foot lift slightly and slide toward her. It was only when the Tyrant gently nudged her that she glanced up, dropping her tablet in surprise.

“W-wait, I’ll get it to work, I just need a minute,” she babbled desperately.

Far above her, the giantess’ expression didn’t change; her face could have been carved out of the same marble that she sat upon. Only her eyes betrayed her emotions and there was cruelty and sadistic lust lurking there. The foot pushed into Laura again, except this time it was forceful enough to send her sprawling on the floor. Ambrose winced, knowing too well what was coming next. He didn’t want to watch but he did anyway.

Laura tried to stand up, only to be knocked down once more. Terror seized the woman and she began to stutter, trying to apologize. The giantess didn’t respond, just leaned forward with a tremendous rustle of fabric. Slowly, carefully, she raised one sandaled foot above Laura. The Assistant shrieked as the shadow fell over her and she tried to crawl away, only to have her legs pinned when the massive foot came down.

“No! Please! I’m sorry! I’m—,” she started to beg before the Tyrant applied a small amount of pressure. Laura’s pleas became shrill cries of agony as her legs compressed beneath the astronomical weight. Blood rushed to her face as she howled, still trying to drag herself away. The giantess paused, studying her. Then the mammoth foot lifted, revealing the flattened remains of the woman’s legs. Laura looked at the godlike being towering above her, then at the silent crowd of Assistants. It was some godawful twist of fate that she hadn’t fainted yet from shock.

“Help me,” she whimpered, addressing the onlookers. No one moved; a few people looked away with something resembling shame on their faces. The huge shadow returned and she screamed anew as the Tyrant toed her, flipping her onto her back. Laura raised her arms up, trying to ward off the giantess’ foot as it settled on her body from the chest down. A horrible smile split the Tyrant’s beautiful face as she regarded the woman trapped beneath her sole. The Assistant didn’t even have time to scream before she stepped down, Laura’s ribcage crunching and cracking hideously. Her eyes opened impossibly wide and a dark stream of blood burst from her mouth, splattering on the giantess’ huge toes.

The Assistants watched with grim fascination as the Tyrant contemptuously ground the remains of the woman under her foot, smearing her across the floor in wide streaks of red. Ambrose fully understood that it could have been him underneath that foot and he shivered despite the warmth in the room. The giantess finished pulping Laura’s body and the neutral expression returned to her face as she leaned back on her throne. She made a small gesture with one hand, her heavy bracelets jangling.

“Someone clean that mess,” she ordered and everyone rushed to do so.

***

The first thing that Jonas noticed when he met Ambrose for lunch were the dark circles under his friend’s eyes. They were sitting outside in the nearby park, the sky a bright and cloudless blue. Ambrose probably would enjoyed the weather more if he wasn’t so exhausted. As he picked listlessly at his sandwich, which was once again a soy-based protein since real meat was unbelievably expensive, Jonas cleared his throat.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Ambrose mumbled. He was thinking about the mangled remains of Laura’s body, her dead staring eyes. Briefly, he fantasized about running away, toward the uninhibited Northlands that were past the former country of Canada. But he knew that doing so was probably suicide. The Patrolmen would catch him long before he made it and execute him. Or give him over to Her, which was infinitely worse….

“Have you been sleeping any better?”

“Not really. It’s the job—,” Ambrose started, then quickly closed his mouth. One of the Tyrant’s Patrolmen stood nearby, smartly dressed in a black and yellow uniform. Really, there was no need for them, especially in the capital city. Crime was nonexistent, although there were rumors of rebels from time to time. So far, the rumors had been unsubstantiated, although the Patrolmen would be more than happy to stomp out any sort of dissidence, however minor. Talking about his dissatisfaction with his job in front of one of them was therefore not a wise move.

Jonas glanced over at the Patrolman and then nodded, redirecting the conversation.

“You should come up to the cabin sometime,” he suggested. Jonas had leased the cabin and the surrounding acres of land for a few months, a perk of being high up in the Tyrant’s ranks. It was nice to go there from time to time, if only to escape the overwhelming presence of their ruler.

“Definitely,” Ambrose said, forcing a smile.

“You can bring Sophia with you, if you want.”

Ambrose wasn’t sure what to say. He had broken up with Sophia a few days prior; she had blamed it on herself, although he knew that it was his constant anxiety that had eventually driven her away. So far, he hadn’t told his friend. Jonas had always been a lady’s man, tall and dark-haired and charming. Ambrose was, well, the opposite. He was short and slender, almost girlishly so, and had never had his friend’s confidence. To admit that he had just lost another girlfriend was humiliating.

“Sure,” he replied.

“It’ll be great…y’know, take some stress off of your mind,” Jonas said.

Ambrose made a noncommittal noise, thinking of Laura and her lifeless eyes.

***

After work, he stopped by one of the government-run stores and purchased a small, cheaply-bound journal. Someone had once told Ambrose that writing was supposed to be therapeutic and at this point, he was willing to try almost anything. He walked the mile back to his housing complex, the buildings made of concrete and spartan in their design. Hundreds lived in this particular complex, most of them servants for the Tyrant. It always reminded Ambrose of the ant farm that he had when he was a child, countless people crammed within the dull gray buildings. But he had seen some of the domiciles where the less-important segment of society dwelled and those were as bad as the old Brazilian favelas. All in all, he considered himself fortunate.

Sometimes he wondered what it was like before the Tyrant rose to power. Did people have normal houses and apartments? What was it like to live without the constant threat looming symbolically and literally over them? Ambrose would sometimes indulge fantasies of what it would be like if the Tyrant was gone. He imagined getting up, driving into work, going home and watching the sunset while he drank a beer. For a moment, he could almost see it and then the image was gone and he was left standing in the dimly-lit corridor of his housing unit.

He opened the door to his apartment; there was no need for him to lock it. No one was willing to risk their lives for whatever he had in his apartment. Everyone had seen what the Tyrant did to those who disobeyed the rules and it was almost always horrific. Once, when Ambrose was a child, he had witnessed a public execution broadcast on the television, watching as the giantess simply ground out convicts underfoot. He hadn’t been able to sleep well that night and instead had been terrified that she would show up outside of his window and accuse him of some crime.

Ambrose shut the door and headed over to his bed, pulling out his new journal from the bag. The apartment was small, like they all were, barely big enough to hold a bed and a chair and a toilet. It did have an excellent view of the Tyrant’s spired palace, which stood out against the darkening sky. The gigantic building was straight out of a fairy tale, brilliantly white with elaborately-crafted towers and turrets. Except he never imagined a princess living there; it was more like the dragon, who had already devoured the princess and who now lay in wait for unwary knights.

After he found a pen, Ambrose sat down on his narrow bed and opened the journal to the first page. He just stared at the cream-colored paper for awhile, knowing that he should write about his plans for the future, what he had for breakfast, anything but the Tyrant. But when he began to write, it all spilled out onto the page:

“This afternoon I saw her watching me. She usually doesn’t pay attention to people much, unless you do something to make her mad or displeased. I was terrified that she would come over and step on me, which is how she normally reacts. But she kept staring at me from her throne and it was the most awful feeling in the world. At one point, I wished that she would just come over and kill me. But she didn’t. Something eventually distracted her and she looked away. I wonder what I did to even warrant her attention…”

***

The journal turned out to be a godsend, even if it put his life at risk. If the Tyrant ever found out what he was writing, she would kill him in a ghastly manner. But he didn’t have much choice; there was no other outlet besides the cardboard-bound book. And so when he returned from work, he often flipped open the journal and wrote, occasionally glancing out the window at the Tyrant’s sprawling palace. That particular night, Ambrose stared at the towering building for a long time. Then he began to write:

“It’s safe to say that she often treats people like animals. But today I saw that she really does view us as little more than cattle. Maggie, one of the other Assistants, called me and said that she was sick, the flu or something. She sounded absolutely terrified, since missing a shift without having a back-up could mean punishment, even death, if the Tyrant was feeling particularly vicious. I told her that I would fill-in for her, as much as I would have preferred not to. As it turned out, I wish that Maggie had contacted someone else.

Despite her powers, the Tyrant is still very human in some ways. Like having to eat, for example. Whether she purposely chooses to limit herself this way or not, no one can say. But I have seen the trucks of food that they have to bring in, enough fruit and vegetables and bread to feed a small city. Oh, and meat. Real meat, beef and chicken and pork and fish. I’ve only had meat once in my life, something from the black market that my mother purchased when I was a little kid. I wonder what it’d be like to buy that sort of thing whenever I wanted, to walk into a store and purchase a real steak just because I felt like it.

Anyway, I saw today what was in the last truck. I could see their faces looking out from the back window, looking like people who were on their way to Hell. Maybe in a way, they were. I had no idea who they were, just that they were in one of the food trucks. Of course, I couldn’t believe that she would actually eat someone. Who would actually do that? I had heard rumors, but I thought they were like the ones that claimed that she made some of her purses from human skin. But now that I think about it, maybe that rumor is real as well.

I honestly didn’t want to see what the Tyrant was going to do to those people. I just wanted to go home and lie in bed and pretend that I hadn’t seen that truck. But I didn’t go home, of course. I went inside the palace, where she was seated upon her throne, her legs casually crossed. She was picking at huge platters of food, entire mountains of it. Normally, I would have been drooling over so much food, but at that moment, I felt sick to my stomach. I watched her eat slowly, obviously bored. Then they dragged out the first people in chains and I was sure that I was going to throw up. It took all of my willpower not to do that. I bit my tongue as hard as I could and watched the giantess bend down and grab the first man…”

The pen froze in Ambrose’s hand and he took a deep breath, suddenly nauseous again. He remembered every detail of what had happened with vivid clarity: the Tyrant had lifted up the tiny man, her massive yet nimble fingers shredding his clothes, like taking the rind off of a orange. The prisoner had been too terrified to do anything but dangle in her hand as she stripped him. It was only when she had raised him to her mouth, her wine-dark lips parting to reveal her gleaming white teeth, that he had started to make frightened noises. His piercing cries had gone unheeded; the giantess had slipped him into her mouth and as if he were simply a sliver of filet mignon, she had begun to chew. The sounds were dreadful as the man squealed, his cries mixed with his bones snapping and his flesh turning to mashed pulp.

Gradually, his agonized shrieks had ceased and the only noise had been the wet squelching of the prisoner’s body being thoroughly masticated by the giantess’ crushing molars. The Tyrant took her time, as if savoring the tiny man’s flavor, before she swallowed. A thin stream of blood had trickled from the corner of her lips and she daintily wiped it off with a napkin as large as a sail. When she had placed the napkin on the arm of the throne, Ambrose had stared at the bright red splotch of blood against the yards of cotton, horribly aware that the stain was all that was left of the man.

The other prisoners, seeing their fate, had either cowered in place or tried to run. Those who had tried to flee quickly found themselves hobbled by their shackles, unable to run fast enough to avoid the Tyrant’s hand as it reached down for them. The giantess had seemed amused that they had tried to escape, and she had smirked as she undressed them.

“No one escapes from me. Ever,” she had informed them, her blue-gray eyes twinkling with malevolence. “You are all mine.”

One by one, she had devoured the other prisoners. Except she hadn’t bothered to chew them this time, instead swallowing them alive and screaming. There had been no reason for her to eat them this way, except for sheer sadism. Ambrose had stared at the giantess as she finished the last of her snacks, then settled back in her throne, cruel delight etched all over her lovely face. He tried not to think about the men and women still alive in her stomach, howling their last in the hot, humid darkness.

Even now, Ambrose was thinking about those victims, obviously dead by now and already forgotten by the giantess who had consumed them. He found that he no longer wanted to write or even think about what had transpired. Instead, he crawled into bed and pulled the blankets up over his body, trying to will himself to fall asleep.

It didn’t work.

***

As he scurried down the hallway toward the Tyrant’s personal quarters, Ambrose tried to concentrate on comforting thoughts. The trip to Jonas’ cabin. His journal. The beer that he had managed to procure on the black market for a steep price (although just seeing the greenish bottles in his mini-fridge was worth the amount that he had paid for them.) But all that his mind could focus upon were the horrors that surely awaited him. Once again, he imagined being able to quit. Of course, that was impossible. No one ever quit their job as an Assistant. The best that they could hope for was to be promoted to an administrative position like Jonas’, still connected to the Tyrant but distanced from her constant cruelty.

That was Ambrose’s goal, to someday end up being a glorified paper-pusher like his friend. It was a million times better than his current job, where he feared for his life every single second of the workday.

He paused on the threshold of the vast doorway, working up the courage to step inside. Light was pouring out, not the harsh brightness of halogens or other artificial lights, but the more mellow golden light of candles. Ambrose had never been inside the Tyrant’s personal quarters and honestly, he had no idea what to expect as he stepped inside. Torture racks, maybe. Or people trapped in wicker men, about to be burnt alive. Nothing would have surprised him.

But the immense room didn’t look like a medieval dungeon. It wasn’t as lavishly decorated as the rest of the palace, either. While the throne room practically glittered with the world’s treasures, the Tyrant’s quarters were spartan, decorated mainly in whites and cool shades of blue. There had to be hundreds of candles all around the cavernous chamber, nestled in wall nooks and placed along the enormous chandeliers that hung from the far ceiling like stalactites.

Ambrose’s footsteps echoed on the whitish-gray marble floor as he approached the center of the room. The Tyrant was sprawled out, her head propped up with one hand, the candlelight illuminating her feminine curves. She was nude, he quickly saw, one massive breast bared for all to see, the other partially hidden behind her arm. There were several people clustered around her breathtaking form, as small as mice compared to the lounging giantess. They were young men, all superbly fit and attractive, the sort of people who would have been models in The Time Before. Most of them wore little more than the Tyrant, their sculpted muscles gleaming even in the low light. Her playthings, no doubt…personal pleasure slaves whose only job was to please their living goddess.

The Tyrant’s gray eyes rested on Ambrose for a split second, then she glanced away without acknowledging his presence. For that, he was relieved, more than happy to stand off to the side and just watch. As he purposely found a place in the shadows, he tugged discreetly at his shirt. It was sweltering in the room and his woolen uniform was making him hot, but he didn’t to say anything as beads of sweat dribbled down his chest and back. That beer had never seemed so appealing to him as it did that moment.

Ambrose was daydreaming about cold drinks and swimming pools when the Tyrant snatched up one of the pleasure slaves without warning. He couldn’t have been more than nineteen, blond-haired and with a tanned muscular body that Ambrose secretly coveted. Each of the giantess’ fingers were longer than the man’s entire body and they wrapped tightly around him, hoisting him high into the air. There was surprise on the slave’s face but to his credit, he didn’t make a sound as she pinched his shorts and ripped them off, fragments of cloth raining down onto the floor. The man still didn’t say anything and Ambrose wondered if he was on some sort of tranquilizer. He probably was, from the way that he stared glassy-eyed at the giant woman holding him.

“Kiss here,” the Tyrant commanded the other tiny men, pointing toward her mammoth breasts, where the drum-sized nipples were already hardening, “I want to feel your lips, slaves.”

The half dozen men carried out her order, gathering around her breasts and caressing the flesh with their hands and mouths. For some odd reason, Ambrose felt jealous of them as he watched their ministrations. The giantess’ skin looked smooth and soft and he imagined how it would feel underneath his own fingertips. He was contemplating this when the Tyrant turned her head just enough to stare at him, a thick lock of hair covering one eye. The other eye regarded him with a chilling intensity, as if she could read his mind.

Perhaps she can, Ambrose thought, suppressing a shiver.

The giantess continued to observe him with the same sort of detachment as a scientist studying an amoeba; then she gazed down at the slave in her hand. Her index finger probed delicately at the man’s penis and balls, eliciting a soft moan from him. She smirked and continued to touch him, her finger moving in small circular motions. At one point, she must have pressed down too hard, because he stopped groaning and yelped in pain. That was his first mistake, making any sort of noise. His second mistake was even worse…he instinctively pushed at the huge finger drilling into his groin, trying to stop the agony. The Tyrant sneered at his pathetic attempts to shove her away, her face darkening ominously. Ambrose knew then that the slave would die, and he was right.

Even as the slave heaved with all his strength, the other fingers curled inward. The Tyrant removed her index finger just as the man disappeared in her titanic fist, her hand silencing his cries and frantic hyperventilating. As if he were a ripe piece of fruit, she squeezed, using her incalculable strength to turn the slave’s body into liquid mush. Blood and what was left of the man’s insides dripped down over her fingers and knuckles, splashing onto her other playthings below. Whatever tranquilizer they were given wasn’t strong enough to overcome the horror of a mashed corpse splattering down onto their heads and shoulders. Quick as deer, they tried to flee, scattering in several directions.

But the giantess simply rolled herself over, her colossal body turning with a deadly grace. The slaves saw her shadow move and then suddenly she was coming down on them, immense and unstoppable. Ambrose cringed as the majority of the men were smashed beneath the tonnage of her breasts, a few arms and legs poking out from beneath the heavy mounds of flesh. Those limbs spasmed violently as their owners were crushed out of existence. The Tyrant growled low in her throat, obviously delighted. She rubbed her chest on the floor, leaving huge scarlet circles on the marble; then she reached out and grabbed the two slaves who had managed to evade her breasts. As she rolled back over, Ambrose was able to see the gruesome remains of her former play toys painted across the yards of her flesh, their broken bodies still twitching.

The two remaining slaves, big, burly specimens who were the epitome of masculinity, were openly weeping as she grinned down at them, her smile filled with bloodlust.

“You shouldn’t have tried to run from me,” she informed them coldly, “Now I’m afraid that I’ll have to kill you both.”

In her hands, the men began to shriek. Ignoring their keening wails, the giantess lowered them past her gore-stained breasts. Still wearing that chilling smile, she dropped one on her lower belly, near the enormous indentation of her navel. The other slave she pressed against her inner thigh, rubbing him up and down while he kicked furiously, hopelessly. His flailing increased a thousand-fold as she dragged him toward the cavern of her pussy, where it was obvious that she was aroused. The giantess’ inner lips were deep red and swollen, clear fluid making them glisten in the candlelight.

When the slave saw his destination, he thrashed in the Tyrant’s hand, trying to squirm away. Just as he managed to free his arms, his handsome face flushed from the effort, the giantess pushed him headfirst into the yawning opening of her sex. The poor man’s legs were still drumming wildly as she forced the rest of him inside of her, holding her palm firmly against the opening to her vagina to prevent him from crawling back out.

On the giant woman’s abdomen, the other slave remained completely motionless, unsure what to do as the Tyrant let out a deafening cry of pleasure. He fell down to his hands and knees when she began to writhe, stimulated by the hapless man suffocating somewhere inside of her sex. Beneath Ambrose’s feet, the floor trembled as the giantess began to buck her hips, her breathing becoming quicker and shallower. The gargantuan eyes rolled in their sockets, burning with such sadism and inhuman lust that Ambrose shuddered. Think of happy things, he told himself as the Tyrant’s unearthly groans reverberated throughout his entire body. Beer and the trip to Jonas’ cabin and…

With a bone-rattling cry, the Tyrant came, her back forming a perfect arch as she thrust her hips in the air. The slave on her belly spilled to the ground, landing with a pained “oomph” sound. She didn’t notice him, too absorbed in the waves of ecstasy tearing through her. When she finally settled back down, her muscles visibly relaxing, she casually reached between her nether lips. The body of the slave that she pulled out was a horrific mess, bloated and bruised and covered with a thick layer of viscous slime. Dropping the corpse with a wet plop, the giantess snatched up the other man.

“I wonder how long you’ll last?” She said to the tiny slave, who gaped up at her. Ambrose winced as the other man was carried down to her womanhood as well. At the last moment, he tried to fight, bucking fiercely in her hand and grabbing for anything within reach. He managed to seize hold of a few strands of her dark pubic hair, as thick as rope to him, but the Tyrant tugged him away. Shrieking, the slave disappeared into the chasm of her sex, pushed deep into her. This time, she didn’t pleasure herself but she just reclined there, seemingly content to have him imprisoned inside her body.

Ambrose waited for her to say something, to bark out some order or another. But she was silent and when he snuck a glance, her eyelids were fluttering. He watched them close and her breathing became slow and steady, an impressive noise considering that her lungs were each the size of a trailer. Thank whatever god was out there that she was asleep. Keeping his gaze on the giantess, Ambrose quietly crept away. He had almost reached the doorway when she spoke, her eyes still closed.

“And where do you think you’re going?”

Ambrose stopped in his tracks, terrified. The Tyrant’s eyes snapped open, focusing almost immediately on him. Panic threatened to overwhelm him as a dozen different possible death scenarios played through his mind. She could crush him like a cockroach or shove him up inside of her, joining the other man as he gradually died in the stifling darkness.

But her hand didn’t reach for him. Rather, it pointed toward a tall stack of neatly-folded towels.

“Clean me off,” she instructed and he practically sprinted for the towels, grabbing several in his shaking hands. One dropped to the floor but he didn’t take the time to pick it up as he dashed toward the giantess. Ambrose slowed down when he was only a foot or two away from her body, close enough to detect the musky perfume that she wore mingled with the natural scent of her skin. Never before had he been so close to the Tyrant and he was awed, intimidated. She had ordered him to clean her, so he swept the decadently soft towels over her flesh, wiping up the pinkish-maroon clots of viscera from her previous victims. Beneath the towels, he could feel the mighty thrum of her pulse as her heart pumped blood throughout her colossal veins. It was strange to be near something so titanic and yet so obviously alive.

There was an astonishing amount of blood splattered over her breasts and chest and the drenched towels were soon dyed a gruesome crimson color. As he was picking up a few clean ones, the Tyrant spoke unexpectedly.

“What’s your name?” She asked him.

The terror of being directly addressed made it almost impossible for Ambrose to answer. As the colossal woman stared down at him, he struggled to take a breath, feeling as if a giant hand was crushing the air from his lungs. Realizing that a giant hand would actually crush the air from his lungs if he didn’t reply, he stammered, “A-A-Assistant.”

The Tyrant narrowed her eyes, scowling. “Not your position, you idiot. Your name.”

Ambrose couldn’t speak until she shifted her incredible mass toward him slightly. Then he croaked out “Ambrose” in a weirdly distorted voice.

The giantess scrutinized him for what seemed like an eternity before she gestured toward the doorway.

“That’s enough, Assistant. You’re dismissed for now.”

Ambrose was never more relieved to leave.

***

Several days later, Jonas called him to his office. Ambrose rushed over, glad that he had an excuse to leave the palace. That morning, the Tyrant had been content to sunbathe outside, her gargantuan form stretched out across the palace lawn. But although she hadn’t terrorized anyone yet that day, Ambrose was wise enough to know that her mood could change in an instant. “Capricious” couldn’t even begin to describe someone who would tolerate one of their Assistants for a few months and then squash them without any sort of provocation at all.

So he left for Jonas’ office as quickly as possible, afraid that she would find some excuse to call him before her. Ambrose hadn’t been near her since she had murdered her pleasure slaves and then asked him about his name. As far as he could tell, no one had ever been asked their real name. They were just Assistant or Chef or Patrolman, nothing more. The fact that she kept noticing him, singling him out, was unnerving him. Was she toying with him, like a cat with a dying bird? That was entirely possible and he dreaded the idea that she would eventually sink her fangs into him.

By the time that Ambrose reached Jonas’ office, a tiny room that was cluttered with all kinds of forms and logs and spreadsheets, he was thoroughly convinced that he would be dead within a few days. His friend was seated behind his metal desk, a faded poster of the Tyrant behind him. The compassionless eyes in the photo seemed fixated on him; “REMEMBER” was printed on the bottom in big, bold letters.

“Hey, Ambrose. You still up for that trip?” Jonas asked as Ambrose sat down on a wobbly chair that threatened to collapse underneath him.

“Yeah,” he replied. At that moment, he wanted nothing more than to get as far away from the Tyrant as possible.

“Great. It’ll be lots of fun,” Jonas said, grinning. “Although that’s not why I called you here. I have some good news. Well, sort of. You’ve been promoted.”

Ambrose perked up. “Promoted? As in, no longer an Assistant?”

“Not exactly…you’ve become one of the Chief Assistants.” Jonas saw the horrified expression on Ambrose’s face, the way that his cheeks rapidly drained of color. “It’s not that bad. In a month or two, you’ll be in a similar position to mine.”

What he didn’t say is that depended upon whether Ambrose survived that month or two. Just thinking about having to spend even more time with the giantess was awful.

“But why? Why me?”

Jonas shrugged, sifting aimlessly through several forms on his desk. His friend was purposely avoiding making eye contact with him and he understood why when Jonas spoke again.

“I don’t know, although from what I understand, the Tyrant asked for you herself.”

***

“I’m sure that everything will be fine,” Ambrose told the Architect beside him, a lanky man named Rick. They were standing on what had once been a wealthy neighborhood in the Hamptons. Now all the sprawling mansions had been torn down to make room for one summer home, created on a scale that defied human comprehension. It was also the most beautiful house that Ambrose had ever seen, complete with hand-carved statuary and immaculately-maintained gardens. That didn’t mean that the Tyrant would like it, however, and he knew the cost for failure. That was why Rick was perspiring profusely beside him, wringing his striped tie in his hands.

“Oh, God, I hope so,” the Architect said, his face paling even more as they both felt the seismic footsteps beneath them. She appeared in the distance a few seconds later, a dark-haired goddess in a white sundress, inhuman in her size. Ambrose had heard that she could change her height according to her whim. One minute, she could be a normal-sized woman and the next, a vast being who could make a mountain look like an anthill. From what he had understood, she had destroyed entire cities at that unimaginable height, flattening them hundreds of feet into the bedrock with just one step.

Today she was the height that she often used, around twenty stories. She moved with a sensual grace despite her size, casually destroying everything in her path. Tall trees were pushed over, snapping like reeds before a bulldozer, and the remaining mansions were smashed beneath her white high heels, debris and dust rising up into the air as she marched over them. Her enormous eyes were on the small group of people, her expression enigmatic as usual.

Rick’s assistant, a small black-haired woman with wire-rimmed glasses, looked like she was about to faint. Rick continued to tug at his tie as the Tyrant stopped before them, her left foot settling a few meters away. It was close enough that Ambrose could see the detritus decorating it, entire clumps of grass and dirt and bits of wood. Something else too, something brownish-red that looked suspiciously like splatters of dried blood.

“Well, this is it,” Rick called up to her. Sweat was pouring down his heavily-lined forehead as he gestured toward the summer home behind him, built to the giantess’ scale. It had taken several years and teams of laborers to build the mountainous building. Ambrose had even heard that some of the construction workers had died, driven by unforgiving schedules and horrendous working conditions. Those in charge of the project had simply shrugged off these deaths, saying that they were a small price to pay to make the Tyrant happy.

He sincerely hoped that it pleased her. The giantess’ gaze shifted from the tiny people below to the new summer house. Thoughtfully, she raised one hand to her chin, obviously appraising the huge building. All that Ambrose could hear was the blood pounding through his ears and the sound of her burgundy-painted fingernail tapping her face.

“It’s awful,” the Tyrant finally said.

Rick’s mouth dropped open. “B-b-but…”

“It looks like a piece of shit.” The giantess’ foot lifted, the white leather of the pump creaking ominously, but it didn’t come down on them. Rather, it swung ponderously overhead as she strode toward the summer house, growing bigger as she did. The clothing didn’t keep up with her, ripping and tearing along the seams as her body expanded. Gigantic pieces of cotton drifted to the ground as she advanced on the house, her titanic footsteps causing the earth to heave beneath her. By the time that she reached the building, she was easily a thousand feet tall, as tall as her target. She was also nude, her toned body on full display, although she was too colossal and terrifying for Ambrose to appreciate it much.

The three of them, the Architect, the Architect’s assistant, and the Tyrant’s Chief Assistant, looked on in horrified astonishment as the giantess reared her massive arm back, her hand curling into a fist. When she struck the building, it was with incredible force, her punch causing deep cracks to snake up the length of the wall. Rick let go of his tie, his hands falling down numbly as the Tyrant dismantled the house that had taken years to create, hammering the structure with blows strong enough to make it crumble like stale gingerbread.

With a deafening rumble, the building finally imploded in on itself and the giantess stood there, her pale arms powdered with drywall and chips of paint. For a moment, she seemed pleased, her full lips curving in a satisfied smile. Then her head pivoted and she regarded Rick with utter contempt.

“No! Wait!” He screeched as she reached for him, her gargantuan hand blotting out the afternoon sun. The immense pillars of the giantess’ fingers plunged down, pinching the man between them. Muffled shrieks spilled out as the Tyrant raised her hand to one eye, squinting at her minuscule victim.

“Pathetic,” she proclaimed and then popped Rick between her fingers, his little body exploding in a spray of crimson. Ambrose said nothing, although the Architect’s assistant sucked in her breath sharply as the Tyrant nonchalantly inspected the mangled corpse staining the pads of her thumb and index finger. Then the giantess glanced down her nose at the petrified woman.

“You are the Architect now. I suggest that you design something better than he did,” the Tyrant told her, wiping the bloody remains of the previous Architect on the rubble.

***

Rain pattered against the palace windows and whenever Ambrose glanced out, all that he could see was the lead-gray sky. He had just started his shift and he could already tell that it was going to be a long day. Frantic screams had greeted him as soon as he walked through the door, echoing throughout the labyrinthian hallways. The Tyrant was evidently in one of her moods again.

The hellish shrieking had stopped and now there was only an uncomfortable silence, which meant that whoever she was tormenting was dead. Ambrose was hoping that she had gone for a nap when his tablet chirped loudly, startling him and the willowy Assistant who was standing near the opposite wall. She glanced over at him, her dark eyes betraying her relief that he had been summoned and not her.

Ambrose didn’t have time to dwell on that, though. He ran down the hallway, gripping the tablet to his chest. His lungs ached by the time that he reached the throne room, where the giantess was seated in an arrogant position, one shapely leg dangling over the arm of her marble throne. She was wearing more jewelry than usual; her enormous rings alone contained more gold than the former Fort Knox and they twinkled whenever she moved her hands.

The Tyrant began issuing her orders as soon as he entered the room, not even waiting for him to catch his breath. Ambrose struggled to keep up, tapping quickly at his tablet.

“I’m going to be traveling, so I want you to find some transportation. Something nice…tell Maserati to build something for me by next week. They can make it normal-sized, if that helps. But it had better be a beautiful car or else,” she said in an almost bored tone. Ambrose nodded and typed, not saying a word.

“I also want new outfits made in a variety of sizes. And I don’t want any of that synthetic silk this time. Tell them real silk, even if they have to ramp up production somehow.”

Again, Ambrose nodded, still staring at the tablet screen in front of him.

“Oh, and tell them to make a new outfit for you, since you’re coming with me,” the Tyrant told him and Ambrose stopped typing, looking up fearfully at the giant woman. She gazed intently down at him, as if challenging him to utter a protest.

But he just nodded.

***

It didn’t take much to get everything that the Tyrant demanded…a few phone calls and emails later, her vast supply chain was working to deliver the car and the clothing and anything else that she desired. One of the benefits of the system was that it was incredibly efficient, at least when it came to serving the giantess. By the end of the week, the car was brought up to the palace, its black exterior polished to such a degree that it practically sparkled. Ambrose was standing outside admiring it, dressed in a new uniform that was much more comfortable than his old one, when there was commotion amongst the Assistants. They swiftly stepped aside to let a woman through, her face partially hidden behind her darkly-tinted sunglasses.

Ambrose had never been a tall man; in fact, he had been frequently picked on for being so short. But the woman was almost exactly his height, her hour-glass figure accentuated by the scarlet dress that clung to her body. It took him a moment to recognize her and when he did, he felt the familiar panic.

“Hello, Assistant,” the Tyrant said, brushing right past him and opening one of the back doors of the sedan. She peered inside, examining the custom-made car with its gleaming leather seats. Apparently, she found it satisfactory because she slid inside with an almost practiced poise. No one moved, including Ambrose, until she frowned and pointed to the seat next to her. He understood and hopped in, closing the door behind him.

He didn’t want to look at her, painfully aware of how close they were to one another. Her perfume filled the car and through his peripheral vision, he saw her cross one leg over the other. She had beautiful legs, like the legs of a dancer, although he had never really noticed because they had always been so monstrously gigantic.

The Driver started the car and the noise startled him. Thank God that he didn’t bump into her by accident, though. Knowing the Tyrant, she would probably gouge out his eyes with her nails for the offense. She did glance over at him, the sunglasses reflecting his face back at him.

“You need to relax,” she said, “If I wanted you dead, you would be. Understand?”

Ambrose swallowed hard. “Y-yes.”

Still looking at him, she took off the sunglasses, revealing her gray eyes. It was difficult for Ambrose not to think of her as a normal person. A part of him understood that she was still the same murderous creature as before, but it was hard for him to reconcile that with what he was seeing. She could have been anyone at that instant and he wondered who she really was, besides the Tyrant.

He didn’t ask, of course. If she even had a previous identity or name, she sure as hell wouldn’t tell him.

“Good,” the Tyrant replied, sprawling out across her seat with the boneless grace of a lioness. Then, to Ambrose’s surprise, she said, “Tell me about yourself, Assistant.”

The question caught him off guard, but he managed to recover quickly. “I, well, what do you want to know?”

He shook as the predatory gray eyes examined him. “Whatever you want to tell me.”

Desperately, he tried to think of an adequate response. “I’m twenty-three years old. I have a brother and a sister.” Even as he said the last part, he regretted it. Everything that he told her was most likely being filed away for later and he hated the thought of her somehow punishing his siblings. With greater care, he continued, “I went to school for Agriculture but I never actually ended up using the degree. What I wanted to study was Medicine but I never made the Benchmarks.”

“A pity, since saving people’s lives is an admirable goal,” the Tyrant said and he wasn’t sure whether or not he detected a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “I worked in Medicine for most of my career. Only it wasn’t called that at the time.”

She’s referring to The Time Before, he thought. It appeared as though she was going to say something else but she didn’t, instead slipping her sunglasses back on and turning her head to look out the window.

***

They drove all day, stopping on occasion to refill the Maserati. The Tyrant didn’t speak to him again, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She just watched the landscape as it rushed by, staring at the farms and small cities. There were also the burned-out remains of large metropolises, the remains of skyscrapers standing out bleakly against the sky. The person responsible for that devastation was sitting a few feet from him and he stealthily observed her reaction. She studied her work with a cruel gleam in her eye, clearly delighted by seeing entire cities that were now huge graveyards.

Afternoon had given way to dusk by the time that they reached their destination. In The Time Before, it had been called Washington, D.C, the capital of the old United States. Now it was a deep canyon the size of a city, hundreds and hundreds of feet deep. The Driver parked the Maserati and the Tyrant stepped out, strolling toward the edge. As much as he wanted to stay in the car, Ambrose reluctantly followed her.

She stopped close to the edge of the crater, looking down. Far below, Ambrose could see the soft glow of street lamps and the headlights of cars. There was a town built in the bottom of the canyon, complete with a hospital and a school. From this high up, everything looked miniature, as though the buildings were part of a model railroad set. This was probably how the Tyrant viewed things most of the time, tiny and insignificant.

“I remember stepping on this entire city,” the Tyrant said quietly, still staring down into the crater. Ambrose’s head jerked up. Perhaps he hadn’t heard correctly. But then she continued on, “They fought me, the little fuckers. It was a joke, really. Even their nukes couldn’t stop me. But they wouldn’t give up. So I grew, bigger than I ever had before. I didn’t stop growing until everything looked like like patches of brown and green.”

Ambrose felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

“Can you imagine being that big, large enough to actually see the curvature of the planet? It was exhilarating, really, knowing that I could kill hundreds of thousands of people with a single step. I headed straight for the capital, to teach the microbes a lesson.”

As the Tyrant spoke, an unwanted vision came to him. He imagined himself in that old city, one of thousands, looking up as the sky was suddenly replaced by a red-tinged sole, so unbelievably enormous that most people couldn’t accept what they were seeing. Ambrose could almost hear the frenzied wails as people tried to run, but he knew that escape wasn’t an option. How could someone hope to outrun a being who made mountains look like anthills?

“And once I got there, I crushed them all. One stomp and the capital of the mightiest nation on Earth was nothing more than dust,” the Tyrant said and Ambrose actually saw the immense foot descending, the tops of buildings crumbling and collapsing as it bore down upon them. Then he blinked and he was once more looking at the miles-long crater. No, not a crater. It was a footprint, a permanent mark upon the planet and testimony to the giantess’ might. If he were to fly up high enough in an airplane, he was certain that he would see a whole series of canyon-like prints, the trail that she had left behind as she had marched toward her target.

The Tyrant smiled, a terrible expression that oozed across her otherwise lovely face. “I always punish those who disobey me, Assistant.”

“As it should be, Tyrant,” Ambrose muttered.

“I honestly never thought I’d return here. It’s too bad for them that I have,” she said, heading toward one of the sets of stairs that were ingenuously carved into the side of the crater. There were also huge glass and steel elevators everywhere, but they took the steps, the conversation dying away by the time that they reached the bottom. Ambrose took a second to crane his head back and gawk at the towering walls surrounding him, taller than most skyscrapers. Despite what she had told him, it was still mind-boggling to think that he was standing in a single footprint and that the ground beneath him was made up of compressed buildings and people and vehicles, all reduced to their molecular components beneath the giantess’ astronomical weight.

They reached the town as the first stars began to appear, the sky slowly becoming a dusky violet color. Most people were rushing to get inside before Curfew began, men and women hurrying along the sidewalks or getting into their vehicles. The Tyrant seemed amused at this, stopping now and then to watch them. No one paid any heed to the short woman in red until the Patrolmen noticed her.

The Patrolmen, two hulking men and a woman whose face was a collection of impressive scars, marched toward them. Ambrose had always been nervous around Patrolmen. A lifetime of seeing them commit all kinds of atrocities, from breaking noses to beating suspects to death, had conditioned him to feel fear whenever he saw the black and gold uniforms. So he meekly lowered his head, afraid that one of them would decide to bash in his skull. Then he remembered his companion and he did something that he never dreamed of doing…he looked them in their eyes.

“What the hell are you doing on the street? Don’t you know it’s Curfew?” One of the Patrolmen snarled, an older man with a shaved head. Ambrose was taken aback, shocked that they would dare to address the Tyrant in such a way. Unless they didn’t recognize her at her current height, which seemed to be the case.

“Of course I know,” the Tyrant replied insolently. From the giddiness in her voice, Ambrose decided that she was enjoying this, toying with the three Patrolmen as if this were all a game for her personal entertainment.

“You should learn some respect,” the older Patrolman growled, reaching down for the baton at his belt. Before he could grab it, the Tyrant lunged forward, her slender fingers digging into the black fabric of his uniform. The man cried out as she heaved him effortlessly into the wall of a nearby building, an amazing feat for such a seemingly-petite woman. As Ambrose and the other two Patrolmen watched in mute astonishment, she began to grow, shedding her scarlet dress as she did. She suddenly shot up to ten feet tall, then fourteen, then twenty, her body expanding like something in a surreal dream.

The woman with the scarred face looked from the giantess to Ambrose, finally noticing his uniform. She mouthed the words “Tyrant” and “Assistant,” although it was obvious to everyone who they were at that point. The giantess had leaned down and wrapped one enormous hand around the older Patrolman’s leg, lifting him up like a small doll. He hung there, upside down, as she sneered at him.

“So should you,” the Tyrant told him before she wound her arm up and swung him around in a brutal arc. The man’s head connected with the sidewalk, a meaty cracking noise ringing out. Smiling viciously, the giantess lifted the Patrolman back up and then smashed him against the sidewalk again. And again. And again. By the time that she finally let go of the body, the man’s face resembled raw hamburger.

Having seen their colleague pulverized, the two other Patrolmen fell to their knees, groveling at the giantess’ feet. She looked down at them, still wearing that cold-hearted smile. Without warning, she placed her oversized foot on the back of the female Patrolman’s head and back, forcing her closer to the ground. The woman squeaked as she was shoved down to the sidewalk, her forehead bumping the concrete.

“Please, we apologize for our mista—,” the female Patrolman started.

“Be quiet,” the giantess interrupted her, leaning forward and forcing more pressure onto the woman’s back and neck and head. Weeping in fright, the Patrolwoman began to plead again, her words again cut short when the Tyrant stepped down. There was a sickening crunch as the woman’s neck and spine broke, her arms fluttering spasmodically. The giantess lifted her foot and then slammed it down once more, hard enough that fine droplets of blood sprayed onto Ambrose’s shoes.

The third Patrolman was obviously going to be executed as well…at least, that’s what Ambrose believed. But the Tyrant didn’t reach down for the quivering man. She calmly removed her foot from the woman’s corpse, which still jerked as the muscles slowly died, and said, “I heard that some of the rebels are here.”

“I-I hadn’t heard…I wasn’t aware—,” the Patrolman sputtered.

“That’s because you’re an incompetent idiot. I can’t trust any of you to do anything right, so I came here to deal with it myself.”

“Deal with it myself…” Ambrose could imagine what those words meant and his imagination turned out to be correct. The Tyrant began to grow, doubling her height and then doubling it again, her broad hips and shoulders brushing up against the facade of a neighboring building and gouging great tears in it. Behind the windows, several people gasped and watched the woman expanding in front of them. She took an earthshaking step forward, still growing at an alarming rate. There was a car directly beneath her foot and she trod on it as if it wasn’t there, pancaking the vehicle into a flattened wreck of metal and broken glass. The next step was even worse, her ever-growing foot landing in the midst of a crowd of onlookers. Again, she took no notice and when her foot rose up again, there was glistening blood and the contorted shapes of bodies decorating the sole.

Ambrose wasn’t sure what to do, transfixed by the sight of the colossal woman plowing effortlessly through an entire row of buildings, wood and other debris crashing down in her destructive wake. No, woman wasn’t an accurate way to describe her. Force of nature was a much better description. She was as unstoppable and uncaring as a hurricane, ravaging everything that happened to be in her way. Ambrose saw her walk through a tenement building, leaving it torn in half. Tiny bodies tumbled down through the ragged opening, unnoticed by the giantess as she continued on her destructive path.

She didn’t appear to be searching specifically for the rebels; rather, everything that moved seemed to be a target. The streams of panicking people were crushed into human paste beneath her feet, ground deep into the mammoth footprints. Vehicles were flattened as well, or kicked into nearby buildings, exploding into gigantic balls of fire. Seeing her move amidst the buildings, which now only came up to her shins, he could understand why no one dared to defy her.

Except someone apparently had. The idea that rebels could exist was ridiculous, but yet here he was, watching as the Tyrant razed the town in her pursuit of them. How could anyone hope to stand up to someone with the powers of a god? It was evident that they couldn’t and now they were her facing her wrath, like something out of the Old Testament. Ambrose saw her pause before the city hall and bend down, her hands ripping off the roof and upper story with incredible ease. Shrieks and loud crashes rose up from the building as she sifted through it, frowning. When she withdrew the handful of people, they weren’t who she was searching for and so she tossed them aside, their bodies landing somewhere in the distance.

He still couldn’t decide what to do, torn by whether he should head toward her or try to escape with the swarms of people who were rushing by him on their way to the stairs and elevators. Although fleeing seemed like an attractive option, he knew that he could never get away from her. She would find him, especially now that he was a Chief Assistant, even if it took years and countless innocent lives to do so. And then she would do the same sort of thing to him as she was doing to the rebels.

All around him, the ground rocked crazily with the giantess’ movements. Ambrose stumbled several times as he made his way toward the center of the city, the smoke from the fires stinging his eyes. Even squatting down, the Tyrant was an impressive sight, titanic enough that she dwarfed everything around her. Her long brown hair, inky-black in the darkness of night, covered most of her face as she ripped apart city hall, flinging the rubble carelessly around. A huge portion of the building careened through the air, landing with a thunderous rumble on a crowd of people.

The explosion happened suddenly, brilliant orangish-gold fire blossoming up from the Tyrant’s left calf. She didn’t seem to feel any pain, although annoyance and surprise registered on her massive face as she tried to follow the source of the blast. Another explosion, this one aimed at her knee, followed closely behind. There was a tremendous burst of noise and Ambrose could actually feel the intense heat of the blast against his skin, but the attack didn’t slow the giantess down. The only thing that it did was give away the rebels’ position in a clock tower that was a few blocks away.

“There you are,” the Tyrant said, delighted. Another rocket spiraled through the air, somehow missing the giantess and striking a building instead. She didn’t look behind her as yet another explosion lit up the night. To Ambrose’s dismay, the Tyrant was growing again, stretching up toward the towering walls of the canyon. Beneath her, the clock tower was pathetically small, no longer than her forefinger, and the entire structure trembled as she planted her feet on either side of it.

“This is what happens to those who rebel against me,” the giantess announced, kneeling down and positioning herself over the tiny tower. Reaching down, she parted the swollen lips of her sex and Ambrose couldn’t help but wonder what the rebels saw from below. It was probably nightmarish, terrifying, especially when she moved her hips and brought herself down upon the structure, the tower vanishing deep into her. It should have been crushed into oblivion, reduced to wreckage within her monstrous vagina. But when she raised herself back up, the building was still standing, albeit sodden with her slimy secretions. The wind shifted and he could actually smell her excitement, an earthy female scent that mingled with the odors of burning wood and blood.

When the giantess brought herself down again on the tower, she wasn’t quite as gentle. She ground against it as if it were a sex toy and not a building with people inside of it. And oh God, it was horrible to envision what those people were probably seeing, having to watch the walls of smothering flesh slide past and knowing that they were nothing more than a minor diversion, a moment’s entertainment for the inhuman being.

She began to move faster, baring her teeth in an expression of bloodthirsty lust. Each time that the tower reappeared, there was more damage: huge sections of the exterior scraped off, windows cracked. It looked like there were fearful, pale faces at some of the windows but it may have been Ambrose imagining things. There was nothing that he could do for them, anyway. The Tyrant was too absorbed in her own pleasure to even notice if he spoke up. And if she did hear him, she’d swat him like an irksome fly and he’d just be another body leaking its life fluids into the ground.

Gasping, the giantess dug her gargantuan fingers into the surrounding buildings. In one instant, her orgasm destroyed the tower, the structure imploding within her. This time when she rose up, the remains of the building poured out of her, bombarding the town below like meteorites. At that point, Ambrose would have thought that she’d be finished with her mission, since the rebels were now reduced to mashed meat or drowned within her molasses-like vaginal fluid. But the Tyrant began to systematically tear down the rest of the town, wiping it from existence. It was then that he feared for his own life, afraid that he would be just another casualty of her divine rage.

She moved toward him, churning up dust and debris as around her, growing yet again. This is how I die, Ambrose thought, too paralyzed by the sight of the approaching giantess to even blink. Her immense body filled his vision, her head seeming to touch the starry sky overhead. Far above him, her hand swung around, the fingers curled, and despite the darkness, he could see the detritus dusting the enormous expanse of her palm. She was reaching down for him.

“I almost didn’t see you, Assistant,” the Tyrant boomed, her colossal hand enclosing him in tons of flesh and bone. How she could pick up such a tiny person up without squishing him like an overripe blueberry was beyond Ambrose’s comprehension. Warm flesh pressed up all around him and if he concentrated, he could feel the steady throb of her pulse. All light had been cut-off and so he felt rather than saw the hand moving upwards, lifting him up with it.

Although Ambrose was relieved when she loosened her fingers and allowed him to see again, he was horrified at how high up he was. The Tyrant’s hand was at shoulder level; below him he saw the heavy globes of her breasts, frighteningly massive as they swayed slowly from her movements. Farther below, he saw the powerful pillars of her legs, which seemed to stretch on and on until they eventually vanished into a sea of ruined buildings and vehicles.

She started to move toward the walls of the canyon and he hunkered down in the center of her palm, trying to prevent himself from falling to his death. It was proving to be difficult though, since she didn’t seemed concerned with keeping her hand steady. With each jolting footstep, Ambrose counted down the seconds until she stopped. The giantess did eventually pause, inspecting the elevators as they traveled up and down the sides of the cliff wall. Her smile was chilling and the yellowish light from the raging fires illuminated one side of her face and hair, giving it a demonic look.

“I-I don’t believe those are rebels,” Ambrose piped up, regretting it immediately. The gigantic eyes rolled down, glowering at him.

“And your point is what, Assistant?”

“N-nothing, ma’am.”

“I thought so.” Balling her other hand into a tremendous fist, she smashed one of the elevator cars, driving it deep into the rocky wall. She destroyed another car the same way, flattening it beneath her hand, and then pinched the third one between her fingers. Metal screeched as she ripped it free, holding the car and its battered occupants up to her eye. She squinted, appraised the tiny people pounding on the glass. To the gigantic woman, the car was smaller than half a domino and the occupants were little more than frantic insects. Seemingly satisfied, the Tyrant moved the car down to her mouth and ripped off the top with her gleaming white teeth, spitting out the metallic fragments.

The people inside began to scream louder as she tilted the car, allowing them to slide out and plummet down between her lips. It was like watching a woman gulp candies, although these candies screamed and begged as they fell into her gaping mouth. One older man landed on her lower lip, clinging to it before the huge pink mass of her tongue swept him away. Once the elevator car was empty, the Tyrant released it, allowing it to fall between her feet as she swallowed the mouthful of people.

Underneath him, the giantess’ hand began to stretch out, expanding. She was growing again, the burning town seeming to shrink beneath them. Soon she was tall enough that the walls of the canyon only came up to her midriff and she reached out, dumping Ambrose ungently on the ground near the Maserati. Ambrose took a moment to roll himself over, afraid that she may have broken something. As soon as he was certain that no bones were broken, he sat up, wincing as the first bruises formed. In the distance, he could see that the Tyrant had swung back around, making sure that the town was completely annihilated. Once again, he contemplated running away and once again, he remained where he was, waiting.

***

With the plumes of smoke rising above the ruins of the town, Ambrose and the Tyrant climbed back in the car. She was human-sized and nude, ash and caked blood painting strange patterns all over her body. Through the thick dust smeared across her face, her eyes blazed, wild and inhuman. They were the eyes of an otherworldly goddess, satisfied with her vengeance, and Ambrose couldn’t bear to look at them.

“You disapprove,” the Tyrant said suddenly.

“What?”

“Of what I did to that vermin back there,” she replied. “Don’t try to lie to me, either. I’m a hundred and sixty-three years old, old enough to know when someone isn’t telling the truth.”

“Yes,” Ambrose whispered, bracing himself to be thrown out of the car. But she didn’t move from her place, the flickering lights from the street playing over her naked body. Inside of that small form was enough power to raze entire towns, as he had just witnessed.

“Well, allow me to share a secret with you. When I first became…this…I tried to help people. Save cats from trees, rescue people from buildings, that sort of thing. But then I realized what a waste of power that was. I like the thought of people bowing to me so much better.”

Ambrose nervously licked his lips and said mechanically, without even really thinking about it, “They should bow before you, Tyrant.”

“And what would you have done in my place, Assistant? If I were to make you a god now, and believe me, I could, would you do the same sort of thing?” Her wide eyes were sparkling maliciously. “Oh, that sounds like a fantastic idea! We’ll try that sometime. Play good versus evil and all that.”

She’s insane, Ambrose thought. Completely mad.

He had a terrible feeling that it would be a very long ride home.

***

When Ambrose was back in his tiny apartment, he found his journal and began to write. Once again, he found it cathartic, especially after spending hours in a car with someone who had unjustifiably destroyed an entire town. I can make you a god, she had told him. Did she mean a being like her, whatever she was? Would he lose his mind as well, become like her? It was a chilling proposition.

He turned his attention to the blank pages before him and began to write:

I’m finally leaving tomorrow. It’s only for a few days but I’ll take what I can get. Honestly, I’m surprised that I’m even being allowed to go at all. Of course, I can’t risk leaving this journal here for that long, or worse, bringing it with me.

Ambrose stopped writing and then reached down into his pocket, pulling out a matchbook. As he tore out a match, his gaze wandered back down to the journal. He could always start a new one, but the thought of destroying this journal still depressed him. Ripping the pages from the book was a surprisingly painful process and he hesitated as he lit the match. There were no fire detectors in the building, of course; they were lucky enough to have heat and running water here. Ambrose touched the match to one of the pages, watching as the flame consumed it.

***

During the entire trip to Jonas’s cabin, Ambrose was afraid that he would receive a call informing him to turn back around, that the Tyrant wanted his assistance for something. He would have complied immediately, of course, but he would have hated having to head back. Especially now that he could see the mountains all around him, uninterrupted stretches of dark green wherever he looked. It was a stark contrast to all of those ruined cities that he had seen before.

For some reason, the Tyrant hadn’t decimated this area, instead preserving it so that it was the same as it had been during The Time Before. As he drove, Ambrose imagined communities hidden within these mountains, living blissfully unaware of the despot who ruled over the rest of humanity. Admittedly, it was a foolish dream but he still indulged himself in it, fantasizing about finding one of those hidden towns.

He was still daydreaming when he spotted the cabin. It wasn’t much, little more than a shack, but the sight of it lifted up Ambrose’s spirits. Freedom, if only for a few days. He savored that thought as he pulled his car beside Jonas’. Somewhere, seemingly light-years away, the Tyrant was joyfully torturing people…and he didn’t have to see or think about it.

Jonas and his girlfriend Trish were already approaching the car as Ambrose slid out. He was embarrassed to see the petite woman, with her curly blonde hair and round face that always reminded him of a cherub. Trish had introduced him to Sophia, his last girlfriend, and that had ended abysmally. In fact, Sophia’s last words before she slammed the door behind her was that he was a spineless coward.

As usual, Trish deftly avoided humiliating him, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. Her scent enveloped him, mostly the cheap soap that everyone used, although he also detected a subtle lilac aroma. Some sort of perfume, no doubt, probably expensive and almost impossible to obtain. But then again, Jonas had always been talented at getting what he wanted: placement at the best University, a cushy job, a girlfriend like Trish. A fierce jealousy gripped Ambrose, but only for a second. It was gone by the time that he pulled away from Trish’s embrace and followed them inside the little cabin.

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness inside. There were a few mismatched lamps scattered around the living room, illuminating the old furniture. The cabin and its furnishings clearly hadn’t been updated in decades, but Ambrose didn’t care. The threadbare couch and the worn chairs looked a billion times better than the glittering gold and jewels of the Tyrant’s palace.

“I’m glad that you could make it,” Jonas said as Trish disappeared into the kitchen to get them something to drink.

“Thanks for inviting me. It’s good to get away from…work.”

“I can imagine that it’s been stressful. Especially considering the person that you work for,” his friend replied. Ambrose nodded slightly, hesitantly, as if the giantess could somehow see him. As if this agreement somehow made him a traitor. Trish sauntered back into the room and handed him a glass of lemonade. As he sipped his drink and half-listened to his friends, he imagined the Tyrant back in her throne room, ordering new batches of chained captives to be brought before her. She was insatiable, endlessly ravenous in her appetite for victims and power. More like a cosmic force than a person at this point.

He forced the lemonade down, turning his full attention to Jonas and Trish. Eventually, the thoughts of the giantess faded away.

***

That night at the cabin, Ambrose’s mind was wonderfully blank. He sank into a deep sleep almost immediately, his dreams giving him no trouble…well, not at first. Then they began to change, transforming from fractured everyday scenarios into a horrific nightmare. In it, he was on his knees, the floor cold and hard beneath him. His lips and nose were caressing something, something that was warm and soft. Pulling away, he saw the huge cylinder of pebbled flesh, a dark brownish-pink color. It was a nipple, an unbelievably huge one that was larger his head. And not just anyone’s nipple…the Tyrant’s. Distraught, Ambrose tried to jerk away, only to feel the leathery cords binding him in place. Thunderous laughter erupted above him.

“I’m afraid that you’re not going anywhere, Assistant,” the giantess said and he peeked up. She was curled up on her side, her dark hair obscuring some of her face. He could still make out her smile, though, arrogant and hostile. Another quick glance and he saw that the cords imprisoning him trailed across the marble floor and eventually led to her hand. The Tyrant was holding the cords like they were some kind of leash, which meant that he was the dog.

A quick twist of her wrist and she dragged him toward her face, his body sliding across the cold floor. Wisely, he didn’t fight her at all.

“I see you watching me all the time,” she said in that voice that usually inspired blind-terror. Except now it was inspiring something else: an achingly-hard erection that throbbed insistently between his thighs. She didn’t look at his penis; her eyes were focused solely on his own. “I see everything, Assistant.”

He was now close enough to her face that he could see the white tips of her colossal teeth, the heavy bulk of her tongue, which wiggled and twitched as she spoke. As her humid breath washed over him, he realized how many people she had mashed into bloody pulp between those huge teeth. How easy it would be for her to do the same thing to him.

“What are you?” It was a question that he never would have asked if he weren’t in this surreal dream-world.

“I used to be a person. Now I’m so much more,” she answered him. No further explanation was provided as her mouth opened wider and her lips, pillowy-soft, brushed up against his bare belly, then over his erection. The sensation was exquisite, especially when she closed her lips around his cock. Ambrose tried to look up at her but all that he could see was the underside of her nose. He didn’t dare to pull himself out, afraid that she would bite off his penis if he tried. So he just remained where he was, the warmth of her mouth strangely pleasant. Even when his cock bumped up against the wet hardness of her teeth, he wasn’t turned-off.

This wasn’t the first time that a woman had taken him into her mouth, but this was infinitely-better than when Sophia had done it. An intense pleasure, like nothing that he had ever experienced, caused him to gasp and grab at the giantess’ immense upper lip.

“My goddess,” he choked out and at that moment, she was. He came, the orgasm seeming to last for an eternity, every nerve in his body bursting with bliss. The Tyrant’s lips withdrew, the air chilly against his deflating penis, and she tilted her head to gaze down at him.

“Remember, Assistant,” she said with a devious wink. “I’m always watching. Always.”

Her enormous face disappeared abruptly as he was shaken awake. Darkness surrounded him and he struggled to remember where he was, his heart galloping in his chest. Then he saw Jonas’ face, lit by silvery moonlight, and it all came back to him. He was at his friend’s getaway, miles and miles from Her. It took his mind awhile to accept that he had been dreaming, and although it had been a hellishly vivid dream (he could still feel those cords biting deep into his skin, chafing his flesh until it was red and raw), he was safe. For now.

“Jonas? What the —,” Ambrose started. His friend raised one finger to his lips, which were ghostly-white in the moonlight.

“Shhhh. I need you to come with me,” Jonas whispered. He didn’t elaborate further, instead heading back toward the door. Still feeling drowsy, Ambrose slipped out of the bed and followed him, bumping into the dresser on the way out. The shooting pain instantly erased any lingering sleepiness.

He was rubbing at his sore hip, which was now probably bruised, when he noticed Trish in the living room. She was sitting on the living room couch, a laptop balanced on her legs. The thing was ancient, something that had probably been around before his great-grandparents were born. How it could even turn on was beyond him. Yet it was clearly working, casting a dim light over the couch.

Ambrose couldn’t help himself. He marveled at the sight of the old laptop, wondering where Trish had found it. But just as he started to ask, he spotted what was on the screen: it was a video, the sound muted. Despite the lack of sound and the poor quality of the video, it didn’t take him long to figure out what was going on. Especially when he saw the giant human-shape moving at an alarming rate, smashing its way through block after block of buildings. The beautiful yet terrifying face, high up in the heavens, was the same one that had just haunted his dreams.

“It’s footage of the Tyrant from The Time Before,” Jonas informed him, as if he couldn’t clearly tell that it was the giantess, “When she first showed up from out of the blue.”

“Don’t you know that it’s illegal to have that video? If a Patrolman caught you with it, you’d be arrested. Or given over to Her,” Ambrose gasped, his eyes still on the laptop screen.

The video was blurry, grainy, and obviously filmed using a cell phone camera. Whoever had taken the footage had been running; the camera shook and rolled unexpectedly. First Ambrose saw the panicked crowd, swarming all around the cameraman; then he saw a colossal arm swing by overhead, crashing into the mirrored facade of a skyscraper. Shards of glass and steel rained down in a lethal hailstorm, smashing down indiscriminately onto people and vehicles alike. Shrill wails rose up from the mob of humanity, the sounds quickly silenced as a feminine foot plunged down from the sky, right into the midst of the crowd. The shockwave heaved the cameraman violently backwards and the cell phone went flying end over end. The final scene was of the gargantuan foot rising back up, the flattened remains of several people splattering down amidst the horrified survivors. Then the video ended and Jonas spoke.

“Oh, I know it’s illegal,” he said, almost casually, “And you know what? We have dozens of videos like this one. Believe me, some of them are a lot worse than this one.”

Ambrose could believe that.

Jonas sat down the couch next to Trish, who was still holding the old computer in her lap. The light from the screen made her look less angelic and more world-weary.

“Don’t you ever get sick of it, having to serve someone like that?” His friend’s question caught Ambrose off-guard. What Jonas was saying was seditious and would surely get his tongue ripped out. No, worse. He would face Her wrath and she was exceptionally talented at making people suffer. Especially rebels, because that’s what Jonas was. The realization made him sink down into one of the threadbare chairs.

“You’re one of them,” Ambrose said slowly, “Aren’t you?”

Jonas smiled, but it was a painfully sad smile. “Yeah. I am.”

“Do you know what she does to rebels?” Ambrose’s mind wandered back to that night when she annihilated an entire town for harboring rebels. Thousands dead, just to teach a few people a lesson. He unconsciously dug his fingers into the worn fabric of the chair.

“Of course I do. Crushes them, eats them, wears their heads on a necklace. Which is why she needs to be stopped.” Jonas exchanged a glance with Trish, who gave him a barely-perceptible nod. “Listen, you need to help us, Ambrose.”

Ambrose blinked rapidly, shocked. “Wait…me? You want me to help you?”

“Why do you think I helped you get the job in the first place?” Jonas asked.

“Because you’re my friend?”

His friend paused for far too long. Then he explained, “We needed more people on the inside. There are a few of us, of course. But so far, no one had been able to get that close to her…well, until you came along. She seems to like you, Ambrose.”

That was utterly ridiculous, of course, and Ambrose let out a nervous, barking laugh. “I don’t think she likes me, Jonas. I don’t think she’s capable of liking anyone.”

“She hasn’t killed you yet, has she? Besides, she asked for you personally when she was selecting the Chief Assistant job. Why else would she do that?”

“Because she’s fucking with me, that’s why!” Ambrose was practically screaming. There. He had said it. Trish’s eyes darted over toward him, surprise registering on her face. He had never shouted in her presence and he instantly regretted it, glancing away sheepishly.

“Don’t you want to be free, Ambrose? To live like a human being? I’ll be honest…there’s no guarantee that she can be stopped, especially since we’re not exactly sure how she gained her powers. But we have to try. Hope is the only thing that we have left,” Jonas told him.

Ambrose’s mind was a whirlwind of confused and contradictory emotions. Terror and despair and yes, hope. The hope may have been faint and overshadowed by the primal fear, but it was there. It lingered in the back of his brain as he looked at the two rebels seated across from him.

“For once in your life, don’t be a coward,” Jonas said and Ambrose, feeling suddenly cornered, muttered a reluctant agreement.

***

Over the weeks that followed, Ambrose gathered whatever information that he could, gleaning bits and pieces from his conversations with the Tyrant. Most days, she was silent or said very little, as if she didn’t want to stoop to talking with a mere human. Other days, she was unexpectedly chatty, addressing Ambrose as if they were old friends. Like the day that they were at the beach, which had been closed so that the Tyrant could enjoy it in private.

Apparently, three young surfers hadn’t gotten the message and when the giantess had spotted them, her eyes had narrowed into slits, the muscles around her mouth bunching up. He had watched her step into the water, pursuing the unfortunate men. They had tried to swim away but she had bent down, plucking up two of them. The third one had beat at her fingers and so she had crushed him in her powerful grip. As soon as he was dead, she gazed down mercilessly at his companions, not bothering to say anything before she flung them as hard as she could, their bodies catapulted off into the distance.

Afterward, she had settled down on the sand, her black bikini contrasting with her exposed skin. Ambrose had turned his attention to the ocean, watching the bluish-green waves tumble toward the shore, when the giantess had sat up. She had been wearing a specially-made pair of sunglasses and he couldn’t tell where her gaze was.

“My father was a commercial fisherman,” she had said without warning, “He used to bring us home all kinds of seafood and it was always fresh, not the frozen shit that people bought in the supermarket. So anyway, I grew up near the ocean. It always fascinated me, something as immense and destructive as the sea. One time a huge hurricane once came through, flooded everything. I remember standing among all those ruined buildings and feeling so…awed.”

Ambrose had shivered despite the summer heat. Had she been purposely lying to him, fabricating stories as some sort of psychotic game? He couldn’t be sure, although he dutifully reported everything to Jonas, who listened and reassured him that what he was doing was important. Ambrose couldn’t be sure of that, either. Some days it felt futile, as if everything that they were doing was in vain. But somehow he clung onto that fragile thread of hope.

***

The Tyrant’s fingers, each the diameter of a telephone pole, drummed impatiently on the arms of her throne. Ambrose watched them rise and fall in rapid succession, the richly-violet nails glittering. He had seen the painters of those enormous nails, which included some of the most talented artists in the world. Usually, the giantess suffered their presence, clearly bored as they labored over each nail, crawling and climbing over her massive fingers. One time, though, one of the artists had tripped and her roller brush had smeared a bright line of red polish just below the cuticle. Enraged, the Tyrant had plucked her up and dumped her into the nearby vat of polish, holding her down in the thick liquid until she had drowned. When the Assistants had extracted her body, the polish had hardened into a crimson cocoon over her limp body.

Ambrose continued to watch the colossal, tapping fingers. For the last few hours, the Tyrant had heard been dealing with official matters, listening to the heads of her various agencies. There seemed to be no limit to them and even her Assistants were growing weary listening to their endless complaints. Finally, the Tyrant waved them away with one hand.

“I’ve had enough. Bring in the Entertainment,” she commanded and several of the Assistants scrambled away to do so. Ambrose remained by the towering throne, surreptitiously shifting from foot to foot. The overwhelming need to urinate had been bothering him for half an hour or so, but he didn’t dare to sneak away. If the Tyrant caught sight of him slipping away, even to use the bathroom…well, she would probably smash him flat. Or drown him in nail polish. Or something equally awful.

When the other Assistants returned, they had two strangers with them, men who had clearly fallen on hard times. Dressed in tattered clothing, their unshaven face speckled with stubble, Ambrose guessed that they were part of the vast underclass. Whether they were there by choice or whether it was simply bad luck, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were being brought before the Tyrant.

The giantess had visibly perked up, looking down at the two disheveled men at her feet.

“So you know why you’re here?” She asked, her eyes moving from one man to the other. Tentatively, they both nodded, looking like cornered animals as the Assistants approached them with what looked like wooden mallets.

“This will be a fight to the death. The winner gets ten thousand credits, which is enough to buy…oh, I don’t know what. Something fabulous, I’m sure,” the Tyrant continued. Meanwhile, the two men were looking at each other with a mixture of nervousness and determination. Desperate men, no doubt about that, men who were risking their lives for money. Ambrose felt sorry for them as the Tyrant smiled and gestured, as excited as a fan at a sports game.

“May the best man win!” she said cheerfully as the men rushed forward, swinging their weapons awkwardly. The smaller of the combatants moved with greater agility and speed, but the larger man had a longer reach. Ambrose forgot how much he had to pee as he watched them try to hit one another. At first, it appeared that neither man would strike the other; then the smaller man stumbled and his opponent landed a devastating blow to his left shoulder. Bleating in pain, he dropped his mallet and fell to the floor. The giantess’ immense shadow fell over him as she leaned forward for a better look, her hand slithering down between her thighs.

“Oh, yes,” she whispered and Ambrose could hear the arousal in her voice. Biting her lower lip, the gigantic white slabs of her teeth sinking into the glossy red flesh, the Tyrant looked on as the larger of the combatants brought his mallet down onto his prone opponent. The sound that the mallet made as it connected with the man’s chest was ghastly, a muffled THWUNK! noise. Eyes bulging, the smaller man convulsed and coughed out a gruesome cocktail of blood and phlegm.

The Tyrant moaned loudly, her hand now pushing up the golden gossamer fabric of her dress, fingers lightly caressing her sex. Ambrose wasn’t certain which was worse, the giantess’ delight in the brutality of her Entertainment or the beating itself. The larger combatant was too absorbed in pummeling the other man to even notice the Tyrant’s lustful groans. His face was now a mask of merciless resolve, his black eyebrows knitted together as he stood over his dying opponent. He slowly raised the mallet over the other man, the wooden head wet with fresh blood, and then swung it down, right onto his opponent’s forehead.

The dull ache in Ambrose’s bladder was forgotten as the man’s head smashed inward, his feet drumming wildly as he died. Meanwhile, the Tyrant gasped and shuddered a little as well, orgasming at the awful spectacle. Despite the fact that his opponent was dead, the winner continued to bash in the shattered remnants of the other man’s face, his lips peeled away in a feral grin.

“That was lovely,” the Tyrant sighed and for one moment, Ambrose absolutely loathed the murderous woman and the universe that allowed such a being as her to exist. Then the pressure returned in his lower belly and his thoughts went back to his need to relieve himself.

The giantess smiled down at the surviving man, like a Greek goddess towering before her mortal champion. “So it seems you’re the winner…”

The man nodded, still clutching onto the blood-smeared mallet. Bits of skin and flecks of bone clung to it, much to Ambrose’s revulsion. Still smiling, the Tyrant bent down, placing her gargantuan hand on the floor. Hesitantly at first, and then growing bolder, the winner climbed up onto the palm. As she lifted him up, Ambrose noticed how much better the man’s balance was. When he had been in her hand, he had almost fallen off several times; this other man held onto her ring finger but otherwise needed no support.

Holding the winner as if he were a baby mouse, the giantess sat back up. Most people would have been paralyzed with terror, being in the hand of the Ruler of the World, but the tiny man seemed to have become brazen with his victory. He craned his head to look up at the enormous woman, seemingly unaware of the malicious sparkle in her eyes.

“So I get my prize now? The ten thousand creds?” The naive eagerness all over his face was almost too much for Ambrose to bear.

The Tyrant pretended to think about it, still holding the man in her palm. “Hmmm…no, I think not.”

“When? In a few days?”

“More like never.”

The man’s mouth dropped open almost comically. “What?”

“I lied,” the Tyrant announced, her thunderous laugh reverberating throughout the bodies of everyone in the throne room. “There is no prize. Isn’t that just terrible?”

Most people would have wept or simply remained silent. Most people who valued their life, anyway. But this man seemed too angry to care. Darker and darker his face become, flushing an impressive shade of crimson. He raised one fist toward the smirking giantess, shaking it at her.

“Bitch! You fucking lying cunt!”

Hushed silence settled over the room. Never before had someone spoken like that in the Tyrant’s presence. Even though he wasn’t the one who had uttered those words, Ambrose still felt a wave of unreasonable fear wash over him. The ache in his bladder had turned into a painful throbbing.

The Tyrant laughed again, her reaction surprising all of the Assistants.

“And to think I was going to let you go! After all, I enjoyed that show a lot.” Her deafening sigh was overly dramatic. “But now I’m going to kill you.”

“Wait!” The winner protested, realizing his fatal mistake. “Wait, I—,”

His pleas were abruptly interrupted as she dumped him into the deep valley of her cleavage. The giantess’ shimmering dress was low-cut and the Assistants could see the man struggling to climb out from between the massive breasts. But her flesh was too soft and slippery with her sweat, so he kept sliding back down. Once, he almost made it out, scrabbling up frenziedly, but the Tyrant just pushed him back down with one finger. As soon as he vanished beneath the titanic mounds of her breasts, she reached up and nonchalantly cupped them in her hands. When she began to press them together, the man screamed, again and again. A minuscule hand darted up at one point, trying to pull out its owner. But the tremendous pressure from the two mammoth breasts was too much and the body pulped messily. Whatever was left of the man dribbled down the Tyrant’s chest and belly as she sat back in her throne.

“I think I’m ready for more Entertainment,” she said, tapping her fingers once more.

***

One single hair. That was what Trish told Ambrose that she needed. He had no clue why she wanted it and when he tried to probe deeper, she gave him a vague answer. Something about trying to unlock the secret behind the Tyrant’s incredible abilities.

“After all,” Trish had said as they both stood outside, trying to look nonchalant, “she was once a normal person, right? If we can just find whatever she did to herself, we could stop her.”

Perhaps the rebels wanted to perform some sort of DNA-test on the hair and try to reduce the giantess’ magic down to the pattern of her genetic code. That was his assumption, at any rate. But Ambrose had been reluctant. Passively gathering information was easy; stealing something from the Tyrant was much more difficult. He would have protested more if Trish hadn’t leaned closer to him, close enough that he could smell her delicate perfume again.

“I know it’s terrifying, but you need to be strong,” she had whispered.

Be strong, he told himself now, as he stood inside the giantess’ private chambers. Easier said than done. The Tyrant was amusing herself with more men, a fresh batch of handsome young specimens. Ambrose had heard that they were handpicked based upon their masculine good looks. Once upon a time, those men would have been envied for their beauty. Now they were pitied, their appearance condemning them to be the playthings of a brutal and lustful being. Of course, some tried to avoid that fate by whatever means possible; there was a story of a poor young man who had deliberately scarred his own face with a razor blade just to avoid joining the Tyrant’s harem.

The giantess was sitting upright, the newest members of her harem smearing buckets of fragrant lotion all over her titanic form. So far, there had only been one casualty and that had been partly the victim’s fault. He had been perched on the Tyrant’s breast, trying to apply the lotion too quickly, when he had tumbled off and landed headfirst on the marble floor. He had laid there, unmoving, for the longest time. Then the giantess had repositioned herself, sitting down on him. Thousands of tons of flesh had compressed the body instantly. Ambrose hoped that the man had been dead when that had happened.

He watched the men clambering all over her body, thankful for the distraction. While the Tyrant’s gaze was on her tiny slaves, Ambrose inched closer to his target. The dark hair had to be thirty feet long and thicker than his thumb, coiled up on the floor like a snake. Keeping his eyes on the giantess, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the folding knife. It had been strangely easy to sneak the knife past Security; he supposed that they weren’t concerned about someone trying to stab the giantess, especially when the blade was smaller than a thumbtack to her.

It took all of his courage to bend down, feeling like some prey animal out in the open. As he opened the knife and began to cut into the hair, he expected the giantess to whip her head around, to see him engaging in this small act of rebellion. And oh, how she would hurt him. That thought made him saw through the hair faster. In his reckless haste, the blade sank into his finger, searing pain coursing up through his hand. Ignoring it, he quickly stuffed the piece of hair into his pocket along with the knife. When he sneaked another glance, he saw that the giantess was still focused on the little men climbing all over her breasts, between the huge canyon formed by her thighs. He crept back to where he had been standing, his limbs trembling.

Ambrose couldn’t believe it. He had done it, it had been so easy—

Then he spotted the bright drops of blood, as big as old-fashioned coins. From the cut on his finger, no doubt. His eyes widened as he realized that he had bled on the floor, the splatters incriminating. He held his breath, not daring to bend down to wipe up the droplets. If he just stood there, she may not see it. After all, when someone was that gigantic, their vision couldn’t possibly be as good as that of a regular person.

As if she could read his mind, the Tyrant’s head and upper torso swiveled. One of her harem members was nearly thrown off; it was only through dumb luck that he managed to hold onto the swollen nub of her nipple, his entire body swinging like a broken pendulum. The giantess’ cruel eyes locked with Ambrose’s, then moved down to the trail of blood, that damning bit of evidence. But she didn’t grab for him or shout like he anticipated that she would; instead, she just smiled and went back to her helpless playthings.

***

Ambrose was getting ready to leave for the day, trying to mentally organize all of the information that he would report out to Jonas, when someone roughly grabbed his arm. Pain rocketed up to his shoulder and he twisted around to look at his assailant, expecting to see another Assistant. But the uniform was black and yellow and the man’s dark eyes were compassionless.

“C’mon,” the Patrolman growled, yanking him back toward the throne room. “The Tyrant wants to see you.”

Ambrose didn’t resist, hoping that the man wouldn’t break his arm. Fear had turned his insides to ice and each step closer intensified that terror until he was sure that he would pass out. The Patrolman practically shoved him into the throne room, which was almost empty except for the Tyrant and a handful of people. As he discreetly scanned the small crowd, his heart nearly seized-up. Jonas was there, half-hidden behind a big bruiser of a Patrolman. His friend didn’t acknowledge him, looking instead at the Patrolman’s broad back. Why was he here? Ambrose was too afraid to consider the possible reasons.

The giantess was on her throne, looking relaxed, even serene. That was a good sign. Maybe. Ambrose wondered why he had been summoned back here, his eyes shifting back over to where his friend stood. Jonas seemed to be composed, as if this were nothing more than another chore, like waiting in the food lines.

The Tyrant began to speak without warning. “I can remember when I first conquered the United States. Canada came next, and then Mexico, and after that, well, it was pretty much a blur. Anyway, I was at the site of the former UN Headquarters, watching the representatives crawl on their hands and knees before me, begging me to spare their nations, when this man rushed at me.”

Ambrose listened, trying to predict where she was going with this story.

“He had a knife, since he hadn’t been able to sneak a gun in. Not that a gun would have done much to me, but a knife was just so pitiful. So do you know what I did?” The giantess asked. No one hazarded a guess, so she continued, “I laughed at him, especially when he tried stabbing my ankle. Then I kicked him over and stepped on his head so that it popped. Because that’s what I do to those who dare to defy me.”

She made a gesture, her heavy bracelets rattling together like enormous bones. Two more Patrolmen strode through the doorway, holding a woman between them. She was obviously having trouble walking; the way that her right leg limped indicated a sprain or a break.

“Like her,” the Tyrant said, pointing at the prisoner. It took only a second for Ambrose to recognize Trish.

She raised her head a fraction of an inch, her shackled arms drawn protectively close to her chest. Through the curly strands of her hair, she gazed fearfully at Jonas, then at the giantess, then at her boyfriend again. A deep purple bruise encircled one eye, the lid swollen shut, testament to the beating that the Patrolmen had given her. As bad as their interrogation had been, however, it was nothing compared to what the Tyrant was going to do to her.

“Bring her to me,” the giantess told the Patrolmen. Despite her injuries, Trish thrashed against her captors, trying to free herself. It was all to no avail. Her feet dragged loudly across the polished floor; one foot was bare, her shoe lost at some earlier point. She ceased her struggles when they reached the foot of the throne, her body going limp.

“Oh, you rebels think that you’re so clever. Every decade or so, a group of you vermin decide that you’re going to stop me. And every decade or so, I get the pleasure of stamping you out,” the Tyrant sneered. Trish gasped as the giantess reached down for her, the slender yet enormous fingers closing around the entire length of her body. Only her head showed, poking up from the top of the Tyrant’s fist.

“I have to hand it to you, though. Not many have bothered to try to unlock my secrets. But you know what? Those secrets are mine and mine alone,” the giantess said. The hair, the one that he had stolen, the one that was supposed to help them to understand what she was. Ambrose had no doubt in his mind that she was referring to that.

“So who were your accomplices? Wait! Let me guess…they’re in this room, aren’t they?” The giantess’ smile was viciously playful as she held the bruised woman near her face. “No, don’t answer. I already know.”

“Go to hell, bitch!” Trish shrieked at the top of her lungs. The Tyrant just continued to smile terribly, showing off her impressive teeth before she shoved her captive toward her waiting mouth. Those colossal white teeth separated and then came down on Trish, nipping off her head with horrifying ease. Trish’s headless body convulsed, spurting its blood all over the Tyrant’s chin and fingers. Ambrose had to look away, feeling sick. When he snuck another glance, he saw the giantess open her gargantuan hand, Trish’s corpse falling to the ground far below. Cruelty and cunning gleamed in the Tyrant’s eyes as she spat out the head as if it were merely an olive pit. When she spoke, time seemed to slow down, each word synchronized with Ambrose’s pounding heart.

“I have a feeling that you also know who the other rebel is, Assistant,” she said softly.

Ambrose said nothing, quivering beneath the intensity of her gaze. It was so silent in the room that when the giantess shifted in her throne, the clattering of her jewelry was cacophonous, deafening.

“Here, allow me to help refresh your memory, Assistant,” the giantess snapped, swinging her arm around, her finger aimed in Jonas’ direction. “He’s one of the rebels, isn’t he?”

Don’t lie to me, the Tyrant had told him in the Maserati. She had also informed that she would know if he were lying. Had she been telling the truth? Would she somehow sense if he lied? Most important of all, what she do to him if she caught him in a lie? Ambrose glanced over at Trish’s mutilated corpse and suppressed a shudder. That’s what she’d do to him, tear him into ragged shreds of flesh.

Seated upon her immense throne, the Tyrant stared down at him, her face blank, unreadable. Even her eyes were had become oddly emotionless, like two gigantic orbs carved from blue-gray stone. Oh, she would know. The second that the lie spilled from his lips, she would know.

“Well?” The Tyrant’s booming voice startled him.

Ambrose looked at Jonas, his best friend, then back at the living goddess glaring down at him. Beneath her gaze, he felt like a worm. No, less than a worm. A piece of filth, something that caused her discomfort just by existing. Ambrose opened his mouth, the simple act of speech becoming pure agony, as if his throat were filled with sharp metal shavings.

“I-I…well…I—,”

“Speak up, Assistant, or I’ll just kill you both.”

She’ll know! She’ll know! She’ll know! The voice in his head wailed. Ambrose tried to ignore it but couldn’t, especially when the giantess leaned forward, a frown appearing on her face, ominous as the clouds from an approaching storm.

“I-I-I…he…yes.”

“What’s that?” the giantess demanded.

“Y-yes. He’s part of the group.”

Jonas’s thin lips drew inwards, an involuntary fear reaction, but he didn’t bother to defend himself. Perhaps it would have been better if he had exploded at Ambrose, screamed curses at him and called him a traitor to all of humanity. His silence was so, so much worse.

The giantess had risen from her throne, her flowing black dress tightening around her growing torso and arms. Her shoulders scraped the distant ceiling as she gained story after story, becoming even larger. Ambrose whimpered, instinctively shielding his face as her garment tore and exploded, ragged scraps of fabric fluttering down around him. She was going to grow right through the palace, bring it collapsing down around them. But perhaps it was better that way, to be flattened beneath falling rubble instead of being flattened beneath a foot or a hand or another body part.

Just before she burst through the glass ceiling, the Tyrant stopped her growth, her titanic torso blocking the fading sunlight that had been streaming in through the hundreds of panes overhead. With supernatural speed, her hand swooped down and plucked Jonas from the small crowd, Patrolmen and Assistants fleeing from her grasping fingers. She frowned, dangling him before one eye, regarding him with open contempt.

“No one defies me,” the Tyrant declared. Gripping Jonas’ left arm, she wrenched it violently, breaking it. He made a shrill noise, raw and anguished, as the giantess continued to pull, ripping the limb from its socket. Tendons separated and skin stretched and tore, blood spurting out in scarlet gushes. Ambrose raised both hands to his mouth, horrified.

The Tyrant dropped his severed arm and then reached for the other one. Jonas screeched something; the frantic words ran together, barely comprehensible, but it sounded like, “Oh, Jesus Christ! No! Don’t! Don’t!”

He tried to bat away the colossal fingers, darkly stained with his own blood, but it was no use. The giantess grabbed his remaining arm and yanked it free with a casual motion. Again Jonas howled, the noise echoing throughout the vast room. Ambrose’s hands were still at his mouth and he was only vaguely aware that his nails were biting deep into his own flesh.

Somehow, Jonas didn’t go into shock and die in the giantess’ hand. His eyes did roll up in their sockets, his skin turning the sickly color of cottage cheese, as she smirked at him.

“Like I told your lover, you’re just one of thousands who’ve tried to stop me. I can’t even remember their faces anymore, nor will I remember yours.” The Tyrant’s eyes were glittering with sadistic glee. In her fist, Jonas’s head drooped as his blood pumped from the ragged stumps where his arms had once been. Almost gently, the giantess lowered her hand and set him on the ground, a pool of red forming around his body.

Then she stood back up, looking down at the dying man before she raised one foot over him.

“N-n-n-no!” Jonas protested feebly, squirming on his back.

The Tyrant continued to smirk. “Die, you fucking insect.”

She brought her foot down upon him, completely engulfing him. Ambrose couldn’t even see Jonas anymore, although he could hear his screams, muffled beneath her pale flesh. The giantess didn’t shift her weight onto him right away; she seemed to be concentrating on the man writhing pathetically beneath her sole. When she did step down, it was strangely anti-climatic. There was one last cry of pain, a sharp crunch, and clumps of viscera leaked out from around her toes, like thick paste slowly forced from a tube.

His best friend, dead, squashed like a beetle. The grief was huge, overwhelming, and it only became worse as the Tyrant lifted up her foot, hovering it over him. Glancing up, he could see Jonas’s flattened body dripping from the broad sole, his face squashed as though it had been made of putty, yet still grotesquely recognizable. Far beyond that were the giantess’ cold and inhuman eyes, watching him.

Ambrose closed his own eyes, something hot and wet splashing down onto his forehead. Jonas’s blood, no doubt. Soon he would be smashed flat as well, his pulped body stretched out next to Jonas’s remains. He prepared for the oppressive weight, the terrible pain of his own bones shattering as if they were made of spun glass. But when he didn’t feel her foot come down, he hesitantly opened his eyes.

The Tyrant stood before him, a nude yet human-sized woman. Confused, Ambrose stared back at her, trying to figure out what game she was playing as she walked toward him.

“Excellent job, I must say,” she purred and he looked down, blinking back the tears. As if they were lovers, the Tyrant ran her fingers lightly along the curvature of his jaw. Her tender touch disgusted and aroused him simultaneously and he had to resist the urge to push her away. Fortunately, she was already leaving, heading toward the door. The Tyrant paused just before she stepped out, her parting words surprising and unnerving him:

“I’m looking forward to many more years of service from you, Ambrose.”