High up in the mountains, one feels so far from civilization that you could almost understand how legends come to life.
That's how Sean felt that midsummer eve, way up in the Appalachians. No, these weren't the highest mountains on the continent, but they were certainly remote enough.
Sean was camping, getting away from the hectic city life of a graduate student and finally getting that chance he's promised himself to relax. He had thought of convincing his lover to come along, but then decided against it. He simply wanted to be *alone*, to be able to get away from the thousand and one details of human existence and that included having other people close by. Out here, he was by himself, just the stars overhead, the firm, soft ground beneath him and the spirit of the open country surrounding him.
Sean lit a fire and cooked a simple meal. The bright fire lit up his modest campsite. It shone bright and cheery. Insects buzzed in the background and flitted at the edge of the fire's glow. Soon Sean felt satisfied and rested, having a good meal in his belly and the warm comfort of the fire. His bedroll in his small tent was all ready for him when he was ready to drift of to sleep.
Sean looked around and again thought how far and remote civilization was. This was the breeding area of all sorts of myths and legends, here in the wilds.
Sean turned in and eventually drifted off to sleep. He as having some pleasant dream when a distant crashing noise startled him awake.
He crawled out of his bedroll and scrambled out of his tent. He stood there, in his bare skin, the warm summer air was comfortable in bare skin. The fire had died down to dull red embers. The stars overhead were piercingly bright, almost bright enough to see by. Again the crashing sound, closer and coming from the forest. Sean peered into the darkness and thought he could make out a shape coming towards him. It was tall, how tall, he couldn't quite tell but it was definitely above the tree tops. Sean peered more carefully and then noticed it was two shapes, one like a man, the other, lower and with what appeared to be horns.
Thinking it was some animal, tho Sean couldn't image what type of animal was that big, he lit a fire, thinking to scare it away with the bright flame.
The fire attracted the attention of the two creatures. They paused for a moment and then moved purposefully toward the source of the light. Sean could see it was not just man shaped, it was a man. And the lower, horned shape turned out to be an ox. Oh, but was creatures they were! The man was easily 40 feet high, he was dressed, interestingly enough, in flannels and jeans. An axe was slung over his shoulder. He sported a full beard and stocking cap. As the giant came out of the forest, Sean saw he was wearing logger's boots.
The ox was easily 40 feet long and came up to the shoulders of the man. As it came closer into the fire light, Sean noticed it was a strange blue color.
In a booming voice, the giant came up to Sean's camp site. "Ho, little one! Just what are you doing up here?" It's not often I see humans anymore!" The man's voice was friendly enough, Sean thought.
"Uh, just camping!" Sean squeaked out. "Just who are you?"
"Hm!" the giant stroked his fuzzy chin and looked down at Sean with a strange gleam in his eye. "Don't tell me humans have forgotten about me already?"
"Well, you seem to fit the description of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack. But he's just a legend!" Sean said, peering up at the giant. Part of his mind was telling him that this just couldn't be so, he couldn't really be talking with Paul Bunyan of American folklore.
"I just don't fit the description, I *AM* him!" the giant said, poking his huge thumb at his own chest, his face breaking into a broad grin. "Is that *all* they told you about me?" Again the strange gleam in his eye.
"That's all I remember from my class on American folklore." Sean was beginning to warm up to this fellow. He seemed friendly enough.
"Then," the giant settled to the ground with a *thud* that raised dust and caused Sean's campsite to dance in place. "let me tell you more about myself!"
With that, Paul Bunyan commenced to telling a whole series of tall tales that held Sean spellbound by their beauty and hilarity. Paul told of how he traveled the land, keeping out of sight of humans, since they simply couldn't believe in him any more but in doing so, he'd seen the magic and beauty of what could happen far up in the hills, away from civilization.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the giant stopped his fantastic recitation. He looked around for a moment. "Say, what type of grub might you have here?"
Sean was startled, he didn't know what he could feed the giant that might appease him. "Uh, nothing that would feed your appetite, I'm sure!"
"Oh, I see something!" Paul said, again that gleam in his eye. With that, Paul Bunyan snatched up the nude Sean in his hand. "Now, now... don't struggle! This won't hurt at all!"
"What're you going to do with me?" shrieked Sean, tho now he was getting an idea, what with all the talk about food.
"Why, I'm going to eat you!" the giant said, matter of factly. "That's why I really haven't been down amongst the humans too much. They found out about my appetite and what really satisfies my hunger."
Sean tried to struggle more but couldn't. Paul's hand held him fast and made struggling a tiring, pointless exercise. THe giant raised his hand to his mouth, that giant maw opening wide to accept the struggling human cargo.
The giant pushed Sean's head and shoulders into his mouth and closed his lips around Sean's struggling body. With simple ease, he pushed Sean further in, first the head and shoulders, then Sean's torso and arms, then his flailing legs. Just Sean's barefeet were sticking out and then with a quick suck, those disappeared past the giant's lips.
Sean lay gasping on the huge, wet tongue of the giant. He'd been sucked into his mouth and tried to struggle and fight all the way, but he was simply too small and powerless to do so. The tongue was wet with saliva, the mouth warm and comfortable, had it not been for the bizarre-ness of the whole situation, Sean might have found it comfortable and inviting. It was pitch black in the giant's mouth and Sean didn't have anything to make some light. He wondered what would happen next.
Sean didn't have to wait long. With a quick lurch, the tongue his naked body was laying on suddenly arched up and threw Sean down the giant's waiting throat.
It was a rough journey down, the muscles of the throat squeezing and pushing Sean down into the giant's belly. Then the squeezing stopped and Sean felt himself deposited into a wide space. He'd arrived in the stomach. Sean felt around, in total darkness and found that he was alone in the giant's empty stomach.
He sat down wondered what he could do? Then he felt the giant's body move. Soon the stomach was swaying with a steady rhythm. Sean realized that the giant was walking again.
From far away, he could hear the various organs of Paul's body functioning. The heart beating, the lungs expanding and contracting, taking in air and releasing it. The swirl of blood thru veins and arteries. THis lulled Sean into a restful state of mind and made him ignore his plight. Even tho he was naked, the stomach was warm and he was comfortable.
Meanwhile, Paul went along the mountains at a steady walking pace. He patted his somewhat bulging stomach. Ah, he thought, that man tasted good and felt so nice going down. Paul hadn't tasted humans in a long time and realized how much he'd missed them.
Sean, meanwhile, was nodding off. Soon he was fast asleep. At that point, the digestive juices of Paul's body went to work on Sean. Soon the young man was absorbed into the giant's body, bit by bit. His flesh was broken down and make part of the giant's body. Soon there was nothing left of Sean but his individual atoms which were now coursing thru Paul's body, being absorbed and made into the giant's body.
Paul often wondered how many men he'd eaten. Too many to count, that's for sure. He patted his stomach again and realized that Sean was now completely absorbed into him, made part of his own body. That felt good! He liked to look at his own huge form and think of all the men and boys he'd eaten and realize they were all part of him, now. He liked to think that their strong, youthful bodies made him strong and kept him alive.
He called to Babe, his blue ox and wandered off back into the hills and into legend.