Gargan and Humon were giants. In fact, they were bigger than giants. They were titans. They were so big that, when they stood up, they blotted out the sunlight beneath them and made it as dark as night for miles around. In fact, so big were they that people who saw them often mistook them for mountains. This was understandable, as neither of them washed that frequently and they often ended up with trees growing from the dirt in the deep crevices in their skin that on us would be mere lines or pores.
Gargan and Humon were the last of the titans to walk the earth’s surface. All the others had been destroyed in the war with the gods, or had fled to dwell in the dark places beneath the world, but the gods had long since given up trying to kill the last two. Lightning bolts barely caused itches on such massive creatures. Plagues just passed their immune systems by without even causing a sniffle. The gods once sent a mighty dragon, plucked from the surface of the moon, to devour them, but Gargan ate it in two mouthfuls.
The titans spent much of their time sitting in the mountains of Anatolia, skimming rocks over Greece and along the length of the Mediterranean. The trick was to make the rock bounce in the Adriatic so that it jumped over Italy, and then again off the seas just past Corsica to send it shooting across Iberia and out into the Atlantic. Gargan was better at it than Humon. Humon had once managed to hit the western end of the Mediterranean, turning the Iberian land-bridge into a peninsula. Gargan still used that to wind his friend up. ‘Isn’t it a lovely day,’ he’d say. ‘Let’s go for a walk around the Med. No, wait, you smashed a great big strait through it. Oh well.’ In response, Humon would rib Gargan about the time he accidentally broke several branches off Yggdrasil, the World-Tree, while trying to climb to Heaven and, to avoid getting into trouble, he’d hurled them as far as he could westwards.
Of course, the Atlanteans hadn’t found the idea of mountain-sized boulders soaring out into their ocean quite so amusing. They spent generations designing and constructing a great machine that would amplify their voices loudly enough for the titans to hear their complaints. On the day of the Great Unveiling, when the scholar-priests announced the completion of their finest artifice, three branches of the World-Tree dropped from the sky and shattered their island.
One morning, after the titans had spent a weekend in Valhalla, Humon woke up. He and Gargan had been challenged to a drinking competition by Thor and Quetzalcoatl. After easily thrashing the gods, they had kept on going, to see which of the two was the better drinker. In the end, Valhalla ran out of wine, mead and ale, so Odin had declared it a draw, thrown them out and asked them not to come back. Humon opened his eyes, one at a time, and groaned, sending a tremor across Asia Minor. The sun always blazed brightly over the Anatolian mountains, but today it felt far, far more angry than usual.
‘Gargan,’ he whispered, trying not to agitate the millions of angry dwarfs that appeared to be mining inside his skull. ‘Gargan, wake up.’
‘No, Gargan, it’s important. Wake up.’
‘Whu-what is it?’ Gargan opened his eyes and squinted. ‘Fuck me, that hurts.’
‘It’s the sun, Gargan. I think we pissed the sun off.’
‘How? What’d we do? Did we eat Apollo or something?’
‘Nah. He weren’t there last night. He’s off on that fishing trip with whatsisface, the Egyptian with the falcon for a head.’
‘My mouth tastes like ass,’ Gargan said, spitting a glob of phlegm into the Black Sea before closing his eyes.
Humon grabbed his shoulders and shook him. ‘We’ve got to do something, Gargan. Before it does something to us.’
‘Then hit it or something.’ Gargan turned over and shuffled into a more comfortable position. He didn’t have time for this; he was too busy trying to ignore his own hangover.
‘Oh, right.’ Humon stared at the sun. ‘Ow. It looks like it’s getting bigger. Tell you what: on three, we grab it and deck it.’
‘Yeah, if you say so.’ Gargan said vaguely, refusing to re-open his eyes.
‘One… two… THREE!’ Humon leapt up into the sky.
The tremor as Humon landed sent Gargan sitting bolt upright.
‘Ahhhh, Fuck!’ Humon bellowed. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck! I’m on fucking fire, Gargan!’
Gargan looked up to see Humon juggling the sun from hand to hand, before finally dropping it. The incandescent sphere landed with a squish and rolled away, leaving a thousand-mile wide blaze in its wake.
‘Oh shit,’ Gargan murmured. ‘You’ve set fire to Asia.’
‘Not all of it,’ Humon protested. ‘And besides, you said to hit it.’
‘Or something, I said. Hit it or something. I certainly didn’t mean roll it across the bloody planet, did I? Never mind the bloody gods getting on our backs about this; the big guy, him with the capital ‘G’, he’s gonna be pissed.’
‘What are we gonna do?’
The Russian steppes caught light and the Ganges evaporated.
‘We shouldn’t have drank so much,’ Humon said. ‘This sort of stuff always happens when we drink too much.’
‘Yeah…’ An idea was forming in Gargan’s head, along with an uncomfortable feeling lower down. They had drunk too much in Valhalla. Way, way too much.
‘How we gonna put it out?’
Gargan stood up and stretched. Well, he thought, sometimes you just have to use the tools you’re given. ‘Just piss on it or something,’ he said.