And Then There Were Giants

Knights And Demons - Episode I

And Then There Were Giants

Years of martial arts training never prepared nineteen-year-old Alysia Knight for the battle she has to face. War is raging in the streets of New Jersey, and surviving the apocalypse means staying clear of monsters preying on the citizens. But all this will be the least of her worries when her parents become targets.

Death is inevitable, unless Alysia can muster up the courage and hone her abilities to defeat all that stands in her way. If not, she may end up losing more than her parents.

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“He’s coming to our school; Tavi Michaels is coming to our school!”

Alysia Knight and Lisa Cheung could not contain their excitement at the prospect. One of the most controversial figures of their generation was coming to the University to give a lecture. It was strange that a school as mired in tradition as Ellen Lok University would allow Tavi Michaels to step foot on their campus.

Lisa was Journalism major, and she had gotten the scoop from a reliable source. The two girls planned to be some of the first students Tavi would encounter. Alysia had her trusty camera, and Lisa had her recorder, ready to capture anything that Tavi would say to them. She wondered if the police would escort him or if he would be alone. It was so exciting!

At the front of the class, their professor had his back turned so he didn’t notice that the girls had slipped out of class. Lisa’s lookout had sent a text to her, saying that “Tavi’s entourage just pulled up,” so the heavyset girl snatched Alysia by the arm and pulled her out of class. She was intent on catching the icon before the other students swarmed him. They began to sprint. The University was large and the Journalism class was quite a distance from the entrance.

As they ran, Alysia thought about Tavi and wondered if he would be willing to take a photograph with her.

“I can’t believe you took a photograph with that loudmouth anarchist.” She could almost hear her parents saying this. The photo would be worth a lot of money but since Tavi was particular about his image, she would never sell it.

She was still in mid-thought when a firm tremor threw her and Lisa to the ground. Lisa looked disoriented as her recorder lay broken next to her. She began to panic. A second tremor came, but this time with an explosion, and before they could react, a large man pulled them to their feet. He retrieved their items before pointing back the way they had come.

“RUN!” He shouted at them before taking off. People were rushing past them and Alysia feared injury if they didn’t join in the escape.

“Those were explosions. Did Tavi do something at the entrance of the school?” Alysia asked between breaths as they ran from corridor to corridor.

“He would never do that!” Lisa said. “If anything, someone attacked him, or tried to set him up for failure.” She was not having an easy time running and Alysia felt sorry for her.

They broke into the center of the school where walkways lay crisscrossed amid a field of grass. The school’s mascot – a centaur rearing back while brandishing a sword and shield – stood defiantly above the herd of people. It stood proud like the last tree standing in a flood, too stubborn to succumb. It was a sight to see but Alysia was more concerned with avoiding the stampede than to take a shot of the glorious centaur.

Another explosion shook the school, and some of the bricks from the student hall broke off and fell into their midst. The refuse injured a few people, but in the chaos and the panic, no one stopped to help them. Everyone seemed intent to get to the rear of the school, even though it dropped off into the sea. This realization gave Alysia pause and she veered away to investigate. Lisa joined a group of students running down the stairs towards the beach, not realizing that her classmate was gone. Alysia needed to see what was causing the explosions so she headed through the library and up to the roof.

The roof of the University was in the style of an old medieval castle, and it was a running joke that the architect had loved ancient mythology. They had a centaur for a mascot and there were brass sculptures of nymphs all over.

When she got to the rooftop something whizzed past her, and then one of the taller towers exploded. Loose stones and debris began to fall and Alysia ran to where she could see other people hunkered down behind the battlements. It seemed as if the attack was coming from the sea. What sort of sense would that make? she thought as she ran with her head down.

Another shot flew above her head and smashed into the stairs, causing the entire building to shake. She wondered if Lisa had made it to the beach and whispered a silent prayer, begging her to be okay. She poked her head up to look over the ocean, her curiosity getting the better of her. What she saw was a scene from out of an old science fiction movie, or one of the adventure books that Lisa was always reading.

The sky was on fire, its color a bright crimson, broken only by dark clouds that floated over the setting sun. It was near noon, according to her watch, but here was the sun, trying to retreat just like everyone else. Below the fiery sky were four ships, unlike any she had ever seen before.

“Am I dreaming?” Alysia asked aloud as she saw what the ships were fighting.

Within the ocean were three giants. These large, ugly, humanoid behemoths were swatting at the ships and shielding themselves from the missiles.

“Oh my, and then there were giants,” she said, and sat back behind the battlements to think things over. It had to be a dream. Why would there be giants fighting strange ships in the year 2048? What sort of sense did that even make? Why were the ships firing their cannons towards a University where America’s future studied?

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