Sleeping dog over Minneapolis
So, I made this picture, and then I wrote this story to go along with it. I call it:
"I'm Not Very Good At Titles: The Story of the Picture Above These Words".
It came without warning. The sky had been overcast for days, but that was completely normal in mid-winter Minnesota. As usual the snow had made for a very picturesque, if very cold, Christmas. Local meteorologists had noticed a handful of anomalous readings over the past couple of days, but nothing that needed urgent attention.
It was when the clouds started to swirl that people took notice. It was slow at first, but after a few hours it was undeniable that the weather was acting, well, just plain wrong. People started to panic, thinking it was a tornado in the making, but that theory was quickly put down. This was something completely different, something no one had ever seen before. The swirling mass of cloud continued to spread, the hypnotic spiral casting an ever wider maelstrom, its centre fixed above Anoka County, just a few miles north of Minneapolis. Soon, lightning started to leap between the clouds, creating brilliant flashes in the sky a rumbling, almost rhythmic cacophony of booming thunder. There was no rain though, and people flocked outside and onto rooftops to watch the incredible display of nature that was before them.
And then, everything stopped. The clouds stopped moving, the thunder and lightning stopped, and every computer, every car, every phone and every light bulb suddenly went dead. The wonder and awe that the crowds were feeling was starting to give way to anxiety, and then to fear. There was an agonising, silent second.
Everything was bathed in blinding pure white light, and the city, previously darkened by the thick cloud cover, was at once brighter than lit phosphorous. All over eyes were dazzled by its incredible, unfathomable brightness.
Unable to see, the next sensation was the sudden return of the thunder. But this was like no thunder that ever been heard before, it was so loud that immediately windows shattered for miles around. A split-second later the ground rumbled with such force that it could only have been an earthquake, and any glass that had survived the sound obediently disintegrated.
It was followed by another blast, and another, and even some buildings began to bow before it, crumbling to rubble. As vision started to return to the millions of astonished people, they all had the exact same thought at once.
“What the f...”
Before them, in what had once been Anoka County, and what was now a desolated crater, stood a creature of impossible size. Words like ‘giant’ or ‘enormous’ didn’t convey how big this being was. Even standing on four legs it was easily five miles tall, from the top of its head to its massive, 700 foot wide paws. It’s entire body was covered in a fine coat of dark brown fur, each strand thicker than a full grown redwood and at least as tall. As the blindness faded and its form became clearer it started to become apparent what was before them, even if every rational brain cell told them it was impossible.
“Is that...is that a dog?”
Questions raced through peoples’ minds-
“How is this happening?”
“Where did it come from?”
"Is this real?"
-but one question was at the forefront, the one every single person wanted answered but was utterly terrified to find out:
“What is it going to do?”
The thunder returned, the incredible boom shaking buildings and knocking people off their feet. But it was almost discernible now. The dog was whining.
Frightened by his new, completely unfamiliar surroundings, Ajax took an uneasy step forward. To the tiny people, smaller than fleas to him, his motions appeared slightly slowed, yet he still moved with incredible, incomprehensible speed for something of his magnitude. His paw ascended with impossible speed into the sky, debris from the suburban blocks it had demolished raining down as it did so. Then, like the judgement of a vengeful god, the dog’s front left paw descended from the heavens, annihilating everything –and everyone- beneath it. The simple footstep sent a reverberating shockwave out for miles.
Ajax took another step, and then another, looking this way and that, all the while whining in confusion. He tilted his head back and sniffed the air, and, finding no scents he could recognise, tilted his head to the ground.
From down on the ground miles below, people watched the dogs face rush toward them. It was truly like being in the presence of a deity, so humbling was the canine’s presence. His brown eyes, hundreds of feet wide, swept over the landscape, and for many it truly felt like, for a moment, they had made eye contact with a god. The dog’s face stopped short a few hundred feet from the ground, mere inches on its own warped scale, and suddenly a new terror was unleashed.
Searching for something, anything, he could recognise to help discover where he was, Ajax sniffed at the densely peopled ground below. In a heartbeat the total stillness of the air became the most powerful gale ever felt, as whole buildings, trucks, cars, and hundreds of screaming people were lifted skyward. Some crashed against the debris in their flight, still others were dashed upon the dog’s colossal muzzle. But the majority found themselves sent rocketing into the dog’s nostrils. Most died on impact, or else were crushed by the debris that accompanied them. But some, by some miracle of luck, found themselves alive, ensnared in the dog’s impact-absorbing mucus.
Finding no familiar scents on the ground, Ajax lifted its head again. The rubble that had entered his nose was as fine as dust to the him, and it tickled. With a single sneeze the godlike dog sent pieces of Minnesota all the way into Iowa.
Ajax was anxious, but also dizzy, a side-effect of the journey he didn’t know he had taken. Giving in to the unbearable light-headedness, he lay down right where he stood. Down below, in northern Minneapolis, people could only stare in disbelief. By random fortune they had been spared from the immense paws, and had been directly underneath the dog’s stomach, watching in horror as it inhaled hundreds of people. Now, like an asteroid, the dark drown belly fell upon them, erasing absolutely everything and everyone in its path.
Shifting his paws, Ajax dragged a trench of total destruction across West Minneapolis, his hundred-storey-high toes obliterating everything they touched.
At last he stopped moving. Plonking his head atop his front left leg, Ajax closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep. His mouth came to rest over the edge of Minneapolis’ central business district, but didn't make landfall, instead hovering precariously over building that were smaller to it than blades of grass.
The dog lay sleeping, gently breathing in and out with only the force of a strong wind. There was a slow, collective sigh of relief as people started to realise that, for now, it was over. The mass paralysis that had overcome every one of the awe-struck onlookers finally began to subside and they quickly turned to rout, rushing to escape the chaos.
And then, with an abrupt, sleepy snort, the entire central business district and its litter of sky-scrapers was blown away like dust in a breeze.
So, that was longer than expected. I hope it was worth the time it took to read it :). Also, I realise that seeing the picture before reading the story sort of ruins the dramatic tension and the reveal of what the creature is, but that's not really something I can work around. I only hope that part wasn't just tedious. Also, apologies to the residents of Minnesota. I have nothing against your state (I've actually never been to America at all, all the geography references were from google maps), the background picture I used was just too perfect to pass up.
Comments? Criticisms? Non Sequiturs?