Chapter 1: Magic Beans...or nah?
Jack’s life had always been hard. He lived out in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin, and despite being an adult he still lived with his Ma. They managed a tiny farm that allowed them to scrape by. A sheep named Sam was their only real source of income, as the wool could be sold or used for necessary items. One tragic day, however, Sam stopped growing wool. Jack’s mother realized they had no other options left. She sent Jack into town to sell Sam to the butcher; a task Jack dreaded.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Jack scolded the naked sheep as he led Sam along. “It’s your own darn fault for refusing to grow any more. Now you just look stupid.” Still, he would miss Sam. It got lonely out here, and any friend- even a sheep- was welcomed.
“Excuse me, young lad.” An old man stopped Jack on the road. “What are you doing with that sheep?”
“I’m taking it into market to sell.” Jack told him. “But this stupid thing’s worth nothin’. I doubt we get enough to last the week.”
“Mind if I purchase it, then?” The old man offered. “I’ll take good care of it.”
“I dunno.” Jack was suspicious. “What do you have to offer?” The old man grinned.
“Why, it’s your lucky day.” He said. “I have here three magic beans.” He opened a pouch, revealing three scrawny and downright pathetic beans.
“Uh, sorry.” Jack declined. “I don’t make shifty deals with strangers in the woods.”
The old man frowned. “Just take the beans. I don’t even need the sheep.”
“I don’t want them!”
“Fulfill your destiny!” The old man shouted, throwing the pouch at him.
“AAAAH!” Jack screamed. “Fine!” Jack ran back home with the beans, accidentally leaving Sam behind in his haste.
“Where is the money?” His mother asked once he was through the door. Jack froze.
“Uh…” He held out the pouch of beans and looked sheepish. She took the bag and looked inside.
“What is this?!” She shrieked.
“Magic beans?” Jack answered. She smacked him on the head.
“Fool!” She scolded. “We’re going to starve to death for your ignorance!” She tossed the beans out the window.
“We could’ve at least eaten the beans.” Jack muttered after being sent to bed without supper. He slept uneasily as a strange creaking noise kept him up. In the morning, Jack got up to go tend to the garden, only to find the back door was jammed.
“What the heck?” He muttered in confusion. Jack climbed through the window and gasped in surprise. A giant beanstalk had sprouted overnight and was blocking the door. It was leaning into the house and had destroyed the garden. The great stalk reached far up into the clouds and disappeared from view.
“HEY MA!” Jack shouted. “THERE’S SOMETHING WEIRD BACK HERE!” Ma gave no response, as she was probably still sleeping. Jack was always known for being too curious. He wanted to see how far the beanstalk went, but he had a huge fear of heights.
“Alright Jack.” He steeled himself. “You got this. You’re the Boss.” Quickly he began climbing the stalk before he could change his mind. The plant was surprisingly sturdy and easy to climb. In fact, the cool air made it almost pleasant.
“This isn’t so bad.” Jack said about halfway up, before making the mistake of looking down. “OH JESUS I TAKE IT BACK! FUDGE THIS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA! WHY THE HELL DID I DO THIS?!”
He scrambled up the rest of the way, too scared to try climbing down backwards by that point.
The beanstalk emerged to land that seemed to be on a cloud, which Jack collapsed onto gratefully. After taking a few deep breaths, he looked around.
“Woah.” He said in awe. “Everything is frickin’ giant!” It was true. The world looked normal, except the grass came up to his chest and bugs were the size of dogs. He shuddered- those things looked downright creepy.
Jack walked further into the tall grass, before feeling a distant THUMP. He stopped, and the thumping got faster. And louder. The ground was shaking, and Jack barely managed to stay on his feet. The pounding continued as a massive beast approached Jack’s location. Jack knew he should run, but his legs were frozen in fear.
The yellow beast slowed to a stop in front of him, and in shock he realized it looked like… a dog.
A dog the size of his house who could easily eat him in one gulp.
Jack stayed as still as possible, fearing the beast’s next move and knowing he couldn’t outrun it. The impossibly large muzzle came closer to Jack as the dog sniffed him. Jack shut his eyes, waiting for death.
“Come here, Chica!” A loud voice suddenly boomed. Jack opened his eyes in surprise as the dog bounded off, going to greet… a Giant. An actual, red-headed Giant whose hand was the size of Jack. Jack gulped at the sight of this immense being, not realizing there could be something scarier than the dog. Jack took a slow, deep breath.
“NOPE!” He yelled, dashing back the way he came and hoping the Giant hadn’t heard. “NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE-” This stream of refusals and occasional curses was constant as Jack hurried down the beanstalk and away from this nightmare.
“Jack, where were you?” His Ma said angrily when he re-entered the house.
“Giants!” Jack shouted. “In the- beanstalk- dog….” This was the point when Jack realized he sounded crazy. “Come see.” He showed his mother the beanstalk, and tried to explain what had happened. Though she was surprised by the stalk, she did not believe his tales of Giants.
“Honestly, Jack.” She scolded. “When are you going to grow up?”
“But i’m not making this up!” Jack said.
“Jack, that’s enough.” Ma said. “Now take these tools to market and see if you can trade back for something actually useful.”
“Yes, Ma.” Jack answered, taking the basket and wondering if anyone in town would believe.
Chapter 2: Jelly Bean Proof
Jack returns from his trip to the skies, only to find no one will believe him! Frustrated, Jack decides to get proof.
“Hey.” One woman nudged her husband the next day. “Do you see that?” Everyone in town was talking about the giant beanstalk that could be seen in the distance.
“Is it real?” Her husband muttered.
“Yes it’s real!” Jack interrupted. “I climbed it myself yesterday.”
“You climbed that thing?!” The woman gasped in surprise. Jack’s pride swelled as a crowd gathered to listen.
“Yep!” Jack boasted. “I’m not scared of nothin’. It went way into the clouds, and when I got up there it was land again! A land of giants. Horrible, terrifying beasts who could eat you in one bite. A dog the size of a house nearly got me, but I fought it back with my BOSS moves.”
“Yeah right.” One man muttered, and the others dispersed as well.
“Villiage idiot.” A person scoffed at him.
“What?” Jack was indignant. “It’s true! Well, mostly true. How come no one believes me?” He sighed to himself. “Man- I have the biggest adventure of my life and no one will even listen.”
“Maybe if you had proof.”
“Who said that?!” Jack whirled around, only to find the old man again. “Hey- it’s you! You’re the guy who assaulted me with a bag of beans.”
“Magic beans.” The man corrected. “And you didn’t believe me. But was I right?”
“Yeah, they grew into that frickin’ GIGANTIC beanstalk.” Jack pointed at it in the distance.
“Exactly!” The old man was excited. “You believed in the magic once there was proof. If you had proof, everyone would believe you.”
“That’s brilliant!” Jack said, dashing on home. But along the way, he began to wonder how to get such proof. The idea of re-climbing the beanstalk made him shudder, but he would do it to keep people from thinking he’s a liar.
“Alright.” He started talking sternly to the beanstalk. “We’re gonna do this again, and I don’t want no funny buisness. I’ve got my eye on you!” One deep breath later, he was climbing again.
“I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this-” Oh God, the climb was much worse a second time. To keep his mind occupied, he wondered what he could possibly use as proof. It’s not like anything giant-sized would be easy to carry back. A bug could work, but there was no chance in hell Jack was climbing backwards down a several hundred foot beanstalk with creepy crawlies on his back.
“I guess I’ll just know what to bring when I find it.” Jack shrugged to himself once he reached the top. Man, all this climbing was killing his arms.
“Hello?” Jack called out, cautiously walking forward through the grass again in case the dog came back. “Any proof out here?” This time, with no dog to distract him, Jack gasped at the view. An enormous castle stood beyond the grass field, making Jack feel very small.
“How did I miss THAT?!” Jack exclaimed, dashing across the field to the entrance steps. The steps were just taller than he was, making it so that he had to jump and pull himself up each one. Even just the three steps tired him out. Jack stopped for a breather on the top one before craning his neck to look at the massive door in front of him.
“Well.” Jack said after a moment. “There’s no way I’m opening that on my own.” He considered knocking for a moment before he realized that was stupid. Instead, Jack turned his attention to the slight space between the door and the floor.
“Aww, screw it.” Jack crawled on his stomach. It was a very tight squeeze, but after a few agonizing moments Jack emerged on the inside of the castle.
“YES!” He shouted. “I’M THE BEST!” Suddenly he realized the room was eerily quiet and he should be keeping his voice down. What if a Giant found him? Pairs of shoes larger than he was were on the floor to his left, proving someone HUGE lived here. Oh god, what if it was the giant he saw yesterday? What if the dog lived here?
Jack bit his lip nervously, sneaking around the room. So far no one seemed to have heard his yells, but he couldn’t be so loud.
There was a set of gigantic stairs leading to what looked like a second level, but there was no way Jack was going to climb more stairs. Nope, not today. Jack was tired already.
Suddenly Jack froze. The ground was trembling like yesterday, but this time with more of a rhythm. Hearing a thumping approaching from outside, Jack bolted as fast as his legs would carry him through the doorway on the right. Looking for a hiding place, Jack dove into the first cover he found.
“Aw, shite.” He muttered to himself, realizing he had unfortunately chosen a fireplace. But Jack had no time to change hiding spots. The thumping grew louder and louder as Jack trembled, praying the Giant didn’t come inside to light a fire.
Lucky for jackaboy, it was a hot summer day and the fireplace was not needed. A loud sigh was heard, followed by a creaking noise. Then a munching sound began that made Jack’s skin crawl. After a few moments, Jack felt confident enough to peer out of his hiding spot.
It was indeed the same Giant as yesterday, resting in a chair near his hiding place but, luckily, facing away. He was eating something far above Jack. Jack groaned. How was he supposed to explore the castle and find proof with a terrifyingly huge Giant 20 feet from his hiding spot?
“Oops.” A thundering, deep voice reached Jack’s ears, and a moment later a soft thud rang out as an object landed right in front of Jack’s face.
He couldn’t believe his eyes! It was shaped just like a bean, but it was unnaturally green and smelled far too sweet. It was also bigger than his head. Jack made a heat of the moment decision and grabbed the treat. It was smooth and slightly grainy. Here was his proof. Now Ma and everyone else had to believe Jack!
In his excitement, Jack almost forgot about the Giant. A loud rustling was heard, and Jack realized with dread that the Giant was kneeling down on the ground.
“Where did it go?” The Giant muttered, shuffling around. Jack groaned. He didn’t think the Giant would miss one tiny (to him) treat! And unfortunately, he was getting dangerously close to the fireplace in his search. Jack decided the best course of action was to make a break for it. As quietly as possible, he got ready to run. If Jack timed it right, maybe the Giant wouldn’t spot him. As a hand larger than Jack entered the space of the fireplace, Jack jumped out of the fireplace and dashed back the way he came.
“What the heck?!” Crap. The booming voice hurt his ears, and Jack tried desperately to cover his ears and sprint at the same time. Tremors shook the ground as the Giant stood, making Jack nearly lose his balance. Suddenly, faster thumps seemed to be coming from the room behind him. Oh god, not the dog too!
“Chica, no!” Darn that voice again. Jack let the adrenaline pull him along. He thanked his lucky stars when he saw the front door was still slightly open- the Giant hadn’t shut it on his way indoors.
“SPEED IS KEY!” Jack shouted, putting extra effort into this last sprint. He was genuinely surprised he hadn’t been caught, but a brief look over the shoulder showed that the Giant was holding the dog back. Jack didn’t have time to ponder this as he ran out the door and leapt down the stairs, nearly injuring himself. Pausing only long enough to take a breath, Jack began jogging back across the field.
Jack stopped for a breather at the edge of the grass where the beanstalk grew. Why hadn’t the Giant unleashed the dog on him? Jack probably looked like some sort of unwanted pest. Wouldn’t it make sense to let the dog deal with it? Jack shuddered at his own thoughts.
A loud thud made Jack whirl around, seeing the Giant emerge outside alone. The way he was bending over and walking slowly, it looked like the Giant was searching for Jack.
But Jack wasn’t about to stick around long enough to find out. Re-adjusting his grip on the treat, Jack descended the beanstalk once more.
Thank you for everyone who's commented. I've gotten such positive feedback for this story and I'm glad people love it as much as I do!
Chapter 3: Beanstalks are Bad for the Environment
Jackaboy comes back with his proof, only to be greeted by an angry Ma. Even worse, neighbors are feeling threatened by the presence of a giant beanstalk. Stupid Billy.
The sun was setting quickly. Jack stopped again on his climb down, taking a breather. He readjusted his grip on the bean thing. In hindsight, he probably should have brought a bag. Jack groaned when he saw how far he still had to go. Climbing down while carrying the bean was far too difficult.
“What is this thing, anyway?” Jack muttered, taking a closer look at it. It tasted like sugary fruit when licked, but it had a crunch when Jack tried a bite. Was it a foriegn sweet of sorts?
A gentle breeze made Jack quickly latch onto the beanstalk in fear. In his haste, he realized with dread the bean had been dropped.
“Oh God frickin’ dang it!” Jack watched it plummet a few feet before scurrying down faster than before. He only prayed his proof could survive a hundred foot fall. “If one measly drop makes this whole thing pointless, someone’s gonna get a face-full of angry Jack!”
His feet crunched on the surprisingly dry grass when he reached the earth once more. It was night, and Jack cursed as he could see nothing in the cover of darkness.
“Jack?” His mother called out from inside. Jack froze, on his hands and knees searching the grass.
“Yeeeees?” He replied cautiously, realizing with dread he had been gone all day.
Light pooled out as his ma opened the front door, looking very angry. Jack shrunk down further into the grass. She took a deep breath.
“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, YOUNG MAN?!” She scolded. “Do you have any idea what hour it is? I’ve now been awake for hours waiting for your sorry arse to return! I’m not as young as I used to be and you know full well I can’t do the chores myself! Do you want me to break a hip? Do you even care?”
“i...uh…”Jack stammered, feeling about two years old. “Of course I care…it was just, the giant up the beanstalk…” He winced as she stomped over and began dragging him inside by his ear.
“Don’t you feed me more of your lies about giants!” She lectured. “Fairytales don’t put food on the table. I have enough to worry about without you wandering off.”
“But Ma, I have proof!” Jack tried to explain. “I just dropped it. It’s right outside, maybe. I think. If you’d help me search for it I could prove…”
“Jack, I don’t want to hear one more word about your made up giants.” She stopped him, roughly letting go of Jack’s ear at the table and handing him a still warm bowl of soup. “You’re a grown man. You can’t go around spreading lies. Today no less than ten people asked me if there were giants in the sky. The nerve! Do you realize how embarrassing this is for me? People are going to start pitying me as the widow with the deranged son.” They sat in silence for a while.
“I’m sorry, Ma.” Jack murmured, gobbling down his soup. He didn’t realize how little he had eaten. His Ma sighed.
“I know you are.” She said softly, running her hands through Jack’s hair to comfort him. “I love you, Jack. And that’s why I need you to listen to me. I’m not going to be around forever.”
“I know. Thank you, Ma.” Jack said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I love you. G’night.”
“Good night, Jack.” She replied as he went up the stairs to bed.
Jack shuddered as he drifted into sleep. He didn’t know if he felt smaller when in the presence of a literal giant, or in the presence of an angry Ma. Probably Ma. He had gotten off easy this time, but Jack couldn’t expect to be gone every day in the clouds and neglect his chores.
Jack slept in the next day, groaning as he joined the waking world. His whole body felt incredibly sore, and nightmares of being chased by a gigantic beast had kept him from getting a good night’s sleep. It took another hour before Jack could drag himself out of bed.
“Maybe climbin’ the beanstalk so often isn’t such a good idea.” Jack muttered, stretching his back as he made his way downstairs. “I didn’t even know I had those muscles.”
“Good morning, Jack.” His mother teased him. “Or should I say afternoon?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He waved off her comment. “I didn’t sleep well.”
“You seem to have slept long enough.” She replied.
“But-” Jack stopped, noticing what was on the table. It looked a little beat up, but there was no mistaking the bright green bean. Jack’s eyes widened. “Where was it?”
“I found it way out in the fields.” His Ma answered. “Is this what you were rambling about last night? Were you trying to tell me the beanstalk is growing magic beans?”
“What? No!” Jack was irritated. “You saw the magic beans- they were normal sized. These didn’t come from the beanstalk! Well, they did, but not like that. The giant was eating them. I think they’re some kind of treat. Sort of like a hard jelly-”
A knock on the door interrupted Jack’s explanation.
“Who could that be?” His mother wondered, opening the door. Outside, several of their neighboring farmers had gathered, looking peeved. The old man who had given Jack the beans was there too. “Goodness! What brings you all here?”
“That monstrous beanstalk!” Steve pointed at the beanstalk, acting as the leader of the group. “Ever since it appeared, the rivers are drying up.”
“What?” Jack joined his mother at the door.
“It’s witchcraft!” Billy spoke up.
“Screw you Billy!” Jack glared at the kid. “My Ma ain’t a witch.”
“Then how do you explain the beanstalk?” Billy retorted.
“Uh…” Jack shrugged, looking at the group. Perhaps ‘magic beans’ was not the correct answer when being accused of witchcraft.
“You can’t just come to my house and accuse me of witchcraft because we’re… better at gardening.” His mother stepped in when Jack was at a loss for words.
“Nobody’s accusing you of anything.” Steve assured her. Billy’s father, Bobby, gave Billy a scolding smack to the head. “We’re just saying that your- er, garden- is taking up far more water than usual. Soon no other plants will be able to grow. And where are we going to get water and food for ourselves?”
“I’m sorry.” Jack’s mother considered his point. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“That’s fine.” Steve smiled. “Just get rid of the beanstalk and we’ll have no further troubles.”
“Consider it done.” Jack’s jaw dropped.
“What?!” He argued. “Ma, you can’t! There’s a whole world up there that no one will believe!”
“A whole world?” Bobby asked, confused.
“A world of Giants!” Jack continued. “And there’s strange things up there I haven’t got a chance to explore yet. So far there was a dog bigger than a house, and a huge-” He was cut off as he was shoved back inside. After apologizing to the neighbors, Ma turned to face Jack, looking furious.
“You promised to stop talking about it!” She scolded.
“Ma, please.” Jack was desperate. “I’m not a liar. I can prove there’s giants! Heck, I already brought back a freakin’ bean thing. Just give me some time.”
“Jack, they’re right.” She argued. “You’ve seen the state of our grass alone. Who knows how much water this beanstalk is taking? Not to mention, the longer it stays up, the longer people will think I’m a witch of sorts.”
“Please.” Jack pleaded, feeling his eyes get wet as he got desperate. “Just give me one more chance.”
His mother sat there, staring at him for what felt like a very long time. After what felt like an eternity, she sighed.
“I’m going into town for the day.” Jack’s mother said quietly. “You have until tomorrow. Then you have to cut down the beanstalk.” Jack’s heart leapt with joy.
“Thank you, Ma!” He jumped up and gave her a gigantic hug. Jack helped her pack for her journey and waved goodbye, before finally making it to the backyard.
Jack stared up at the giant beanstalk. Would he have enough time and energy to climb back up and down with proof? The very idea made his muscles groan.
“I’ll need food.” Jack told himself, packing a bag this time. “Gotta be prepared. Maybe I should bring a blanket to sleep up there? Ma would go mad with worry, but if I need to cut it down tomorrow I’ll have time to sleep before coming back down. Not to mention, I should maximize my time…” Jack shoved a blanket in before he could change his mind. Looking around the cabin, he wondered what else could be useful. Thinking ahead, Jack grabbed a change of clothes and some rope. He had no idea what the rope could be used for, but all the adventurers he heard about always brought rope. For some reason.
Adjusting his hat, Jack looked at the beanstalk with determination.
“Third time’s the charm.” Jack joked, beginning the climb. Instantly his body rejected the exercise, but Jack plowed through the pain. He gritted his teeth. One more climb wouldn’t kill him.
Jack felt like he was going mad. Had he lost his sanity? Still, Jack knew that he could not live in a world where everyone thought he made the adventure up. He would climb the beanstalk one last time to reach a giant land full of things that could kill him in a desperate search for proof. If that made Jack a madman, he could live with that.
Chapter 4: Jelly Bean Trail
Jack climbs the beanstalk one last time, only to discover a path of jelly beans laid out as though just for him. But who would be stupid enough to actually follow a trap set by a Giant?
“Almost...there…” Jack huffed, seeing the clouds just above him. He had learned better than to look down. Finally he broke through the cloud layer and returned to the land of Giants. The sun was almost setting already when he arrived. “Oh thank frickin’ Jesus this is the last time.” Jack sighed, collapsing onto the land in relief. Then again, Jack wasn’t feeling very thankful. He couldn’t believe this was his last time here. Of course he’d listen to his Ma, but it was a bit sad how much Jack wouldn’t get to explore. This world was terrifying, and Jack kinda liked it.
“Goodbye, freakishly long blades of grass.” He said, running his hand through it. He began to say goodbye to everything he passed. “Goodbye, ladybug pretending to be a dog. Goodbye, dragonfly that could be an actual baby dragon.” His voice was a little sore by the time he reached the castle stairs.
“Helloooo, annoyingly tall stairs.” He greeted, starting the process one last time of pulling himself up. This time, Jack was surprised to see the giant door slightly ajar. Cautiously, Jack walked through the opening into the castle, keeping an eye out for the Giant. Now that he had been spotted, Jack would have to be more careful sneaking around. Not that he was that good at sneaking around the first time.
“Holy balls.” Jack gasped. Inside the castle, he saw more than another bean. There were hundreds more of the sweets littering the floor, except these beans weren’t just green. They were every color of the rainbow, leading off in a trail. It was if they had been laid out just for him by the Giant.
“Hmm, I wonder if this is a trap?” Jack pretended to ponder, rolling his eyes.
Now Jack debated in his head. Should he follow the trail? He still had no clear idea what to bring back as proof. This was obviously a trap, so logically he should head in the opposite direction. But, the other doorway was blocked off and the stairs to the second level would be a lot of effort. And Jack had to hope he was smart enough to outwit a trap set for a rodent. The path was at least a clear lead, and Jack was known for being curious….
“No.” Jack shook his head. “Now that’s just stupid. Who in their right mind would walk straight into a trap?” He sighed, facing the stairs. “Alright, just think of it as climbing another beanstalk.” He made it up about four steps, before hearing a noise that made him freeze. A loud bark coming from upstairs, followed by what sounded like whining and pawing at the door. Jack glanced up in fear, knowing the dog was up there somewhere out of sight.
“Trap it is!” Jack decided immediately, dashing back down the steps. Between the trail and the dog, he’d choose trail.
But Jack decided to play it safe. Instead of following the beans directly, he stuck to the wall of the room where he wasn’t right out in the open. “How convenient for all these doors to be open!” Jack chuckled. This had to be the least subtle trap ever. As the trail wound through a few rooms, Jack kept an open eye out for his elusive proof. The sun had fully set as Jack journeyed on, and by the time Jack found the end of the trail he was traveling by moonlight alone.
“Jesus this thing goes on forever.” Jack yawned. Jack stopped before entering the next room. The trail of beans continued in, until about halfway when it abruptly led to a cup on its side, as if Jack was meant to walk straight in.
“Really?” Jack raised an eyebrow. What an idiotic trap! Even if Jack were to walk into the cup, how did the giant expect him to stay? Jack could just walk right back out.
“God, this is almost sad.” Jack said, approaching the cup. “I mean, c’mon- there’s no even any bait in the cup.” Jack glared at it, getting angry. “Are you freakin’ kidding me?! I took practically all my precious time to get here, and there’s nothin’.” He gave the cup a hearty kick, only to regret it a moment later when his foot flared up in pain. “OW! Screw you, ye deceivingly hard cup! Well this was a stupid idea anyways. Maybe there’s something outside that could work.”
A loud sound like snoring made Jack’s spirit plummet. With a growing sense of dread, Jack turned to face the sound to his left and had to bite down hard on his knuckles to keep from letting out an unmanly scream.
Not fifty feet from Jack was the Giant, snoring away peacefully on the floor. Jack scrambled back in an instant, before realizing this Giant was fully knocked out. Hesitantly, Jack took a step closer.
“Woah.” Jack whispered softly as his heartbeat returned to mortal rates. He hadn’t realized just how big the guy was. Jack knew he should run far away in case the giant woke up, but he couldn’t help taking the opportunity to get a good look at it. After all, if Jack was never going to return anyways, what was the harm?
It was impossible to get a view of the whole thing without walking several hundred yards around. A hand twitched as Jack passed by, causing his heart rate to skyrocket once more. He continued his journey after a moment, but this time at more of a distance. The sheer amount of this creature just blew Jack’s mind. What could possibly need so much muscle?
Soon enough, he reached the face. The giant had slight stubble, and hair that fell over its face in an unnatural shade of red. With a rugged chin and proportionately large muscles, the view was intimidating. Jack shrunk back as the teeth could be viewed when it yawned. What if this was some sort of man-eating beast?
Still, the most surprising fact to Jack was just how...human the giant looked. Jack’s hesitation seemed to lessen the more he observed.
“I bet you’re a big softie, aren’t ‘cha?” Jack teased, stopping in front of its nose.
The Giant made a slight groaning sound as it shifted in sleep. And then, the unthinkable happened.
The Giant woke up.
Huge, confused and sleepy brown eyes stared into Jack’s terrified blue eyes. Jack froze in terror. He felt trapped in the enormous gaze. Maybe if Jack stayed absolutely still, it would just go back to sleep.
But that was not the case. As the giant became more awake, the eyes began to focus more on Jack in shock. The two were in a moment outside of time, stuck in a staring match with enough tension in the air that you could feel it.
“AAAAAH!” Screamed both the giant and Jack in shock. Jack winced in pain as he plugged his ears, feeling as though he might just go deaf. As the Giant scrambled to get up, Jack stumbled backwards as the ground shook. Jack came to his senses and looked around for a place to hide. He dashed under a massive chair, praying the Giant had looked away long enough to not know where he was.
Jack felt faint. He could hear nothing for almost a full minute. He wasn’t sure if he really had lost his hearing or the Giant was just staying still.
“Dang it.” The Giant’s rumbling voice shook Jack to the core. “Where’d it go?”
Jack sat in the dark between the leg of the chair and the wall, trying to steady his breathing. He covered his mouth with his hand to try and keep silent as the ground shook again, but softer than before. It was almost as if the Giant was trying to be quiet.
Jack could do nothing but wait anxiously as the footsteps got louder. The Giant was getting closer. What sounded like the shifting of fabric could be heard, and Jack imagined the Giant crouching low to the ground in front of the chair. Though it was pitch black, Jack was sure if he moved into view those massive brown eyes would be staring right at him. He could just imagine the Giant reaching his colossus hands under the couch, searching for him by touch alone. Jack closed his eyes, imagining the fingers getting closer and closer to his hiding place. Any second now he would be in their inescapable grasp….
The footsteps began once more, heading away from Jack and into the next room. Jack let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding in.
“Oh thank god.” Jack sighed, sinking down onto the ground. “That was WAY too close.” With the adrenaline fading away, Jack was feeling incredibly tired. He yawned, realizing he didn’t have enough energy to go searching further tonight. He certainly wasn’t planning on going anywhere with a Giant looking for him. Giving in to his exhaustion, Jack pulled out his blanket and tried to get some shut-eye.
Criticisms are always welcome in the comments, so long as they're constructive. Also, if anyone has any predictions/ideas for later in this story, please comment them!
Thank you to everyone who comments or kudos or simply reads this story- it always helps me write more because I know people will enjoy this. Also, one of you said your birthday is tomorrow so... Happy (early) Birthday! Virtual Cake for All! :D It took me a while to get this chapter exactly how I wanted it, but now I'm happy with this one and am struggling with chapter five. (Writing is so hard when you're a perfectionist.) Unfortunately I'm starting school again next week/today (oops) and am going to be insanely busy.... to the point where I'm not sure I'll have time to sleep, let alone write. *sigh* Right now I only have the general ideas of what will happen in chapter five, and a rough outline. After that? pfft I don't know what's going on in this story yet! Usually I have a chapter in reserve when I update, but now I've run out. I'm going to work hard though to crank out some more chapters soon so I'll have something to give you guys every one-two weeks. That's the goal, at least.
Wow, I'm rambling. Main Point: Chapter five will be a while. I'm so sorry, guys!
Chapter 5: The end?
Jack FINALLY finds some proof! But is he ready to leave the world above? Does he even get a choice?
I'd just like to thank everyone for their patience. And this story got 100 kudos! Thank you so much! I'm planning a minimum of one chapter a month due to my busy schedule, and then there could be more but those'll just be surprise gifts for you guys. :) If you have predictions/ideas for the future of this story (or your life, I suppose if you want to), please comment!
Jack tossed and turned all night, trying to fall asleep- no easy task when the floor shook every few hours with the thumping footsteps of a giant on the prowl for him. Luckily, Jack managed to collect a few hours of sleep. When sunlight beamed into the room beyond Jack’s hiding place under the chair, he decided it was time to get up and continue the search.
Jack packed up his blanket, feeling down. What proof could he hope to bring back, anyhow? Someone would always doubt him, for sure. It was just so heartbreaking that Ma looked at him with such disappointment. Maybe if he just brought her back something to make her happy, that would be enough.
“Yeah, that’d be nice.” Jack continued to daydream. “Something valuable, so she doesn’t have to worry so much. I could be like a hero! Pfft, yeah right. As if anything valuable would just be lying around.”
But just this once, lady luck decided to smile upon Jackaboy. He spotted a slight glimmer under the chair on his way back. At first he dismissed it as a trick of the light, but he went to investigate anyways.
“Oh my lucky charms.” Jack breathed, reaching out a nervous hand to touch. It was a solid gold coin, It was three times the size of his face and thicker than two fingers. Strange symbols were carved into either side.
“Thank you, universe!” He cried out, kissing it a few times before spitting, realizing it had a bit of a layer of dust. Here was his proof. Here was his valuable. Here was what would make him a hero.
It was a tight fit, but Jack managed to stuff it into his pack. The journey was a little slower with the added weight. On the other hand, his spirit was as light as a feather. He would return home with plenty of time to spare and adventures to share.
“Thank god this’ll all be over soon.” Jack began to talk to himself, peering around corners anxiously as he followed the bean trail back. “One near death adventure is enough for me, thank you very much! Who would’a guessed three scrawny beans would lead to such a GIGANTIC world?! But eh, I guess it was kinda fun. Could’a done with a few less heart attacks, though.”
Unfortunately for Jack, the adventure was far from over. As he entered what he recognized as the entryway into the castle, Jack froze for a moment before immediately backtracking at the sight of blonde fur. “Of all the things to be blocking the door, the stupid dog just had to show up!” He gave a nearby wall a punch to let out his frustration before being filled with immediate regret. “Gosh dangit that smarts! Screw you, wall.”
He peaked back around the wall,and realized the dog was staring right back. She looked far too eager at the sight of him.
“Oh no.” Jack felt his heartbeat increasing as fear built up. He was just going to have to try and make a run for it. Again.
Giving himself a countdown, Jack dashed into the room. The coin in his pack slammed against his back and was sure to leave bruises.
“Oh Shite!” Jack realized he had made a horrible mistake. The front door was now shut tight, and a blanket had been shoved under it as if to keep pests out. Or, a certain one in.
Jack whirled around to face the dog steadily approaching. He backed up, trying to head back. “Nice doggie…” Jack put out his hands to show he meant no harm. “I won’t hurt ‘cha and you won’t hurt me, right? So let’s just pretend we never saw each other.”
His words had no effect as the dog continued until Jack was backed up against the wall with nowhere to go. Jack flinched as it sniffed him over. His heart skipped a beat when a giant pink tongue approached, only to be coated in dog drool as she licked him.
“EEEW!” Jack whined, his clothing now soaked. His hair was now standing up and he had to adjust his hat. “Bad dog! No Licking the Jackatron!”
Jack wished he could take back his words as the dog seemed to give an unhappy whimper. She opened her very large muzzle, and Jack shut his eyes.
“Nonononononono!” Jack screamed as he felt himself being lifted off the ground by his clothes. Only for a moment. Then, shockingly, his body was back on the ground. Opening his eyes, he realized the dog had taken his pack!
“Wha-? Hey!” Jack tried to register what had just happened as the dog walked away. While thankful for his life, Jack was pissed that this dog had just stolen his hard-earned proof. He sprinted to try and keep up with the creature. “Get back here, ya lil’ bitch! Literally!”
Chapter 6: I'm Mark, by the way
Chica leads Jack straight to our favorite red-headed giant, except introductions don't exactly go smoothly.
“I really must have a death wish following an enormous beast,” Jack panted, trying to keep up with the dog. There was no way in hell he was leaving without that coin. He had been so close! The door had been right there...curse that overeager puppy. Then again, Jack would probably love the dog if it was normal sized. He couldn’t blame the dog, especially considering Jack was still alive. It was Jack’s fault for entering this world when he clearly didn’t belong.
“Oh no.” Jack’s heart began palpating even more. The ground was trembling once again, and the tremors only got worse as the giant approached. How could he have been so stupid? Jack had followed the dog straight into the room. Now he was exposed with no hiding spots. He froze, hoping if he stayed perfectly still the giant wouldn’t notice him. Like a T-Rex.
“What’cha got there, Chica?” That deep, rumbling voice rattled Jack’s bones as the Giant knelt in front of the dog. Jack silently groaned, watching helplessly as his precious bag passed from the drooling muzzle to giant fingers. Though the dog stood between him and the Giant, Jack could still make out the guy’s face. Jack watched in horror as his backpack was studied with confusion, before the giant began to scan the room. Jack nervously gulped, trying his best to calm his racing heart.
Those giant brown eyes locked upon the terrified boy. As the giant’s face lit up in realization, Jack gave up his plan to freeze and dashed quickly back in the opposite direction.
“Wait!” The giant shouted. The booming voice caused Jack to clench his head in pain, stumbling over his own two feet and falling to the hardwood floor. Not wasting a moment, Jack scrambled to get up with his ears still ringing. His steps were shaky as the giant approached, to the point where Jack could barely remain upright let alone sprint. He felt light headed and focused on not passing out.
Jack gasped as he was lifted into the air by his clothing once again. It felt as though his stomach dropped to his toes. He watched as the ground quickly disappeared beneath him. Vertigo set in as Jack was brought higher and higher, causing him to squeeze his eyes shut. His fear of heights was trumped by his will to live as he thrashed against the giant grip on his cloak.
“No!” Jack screamed in protest. “Let me go!” Be careful what you wish for. The giant gasped in surprise, and Jack’s request was granted. Suddenly Jack found himself descending in freefall, traveling even faster than before. He hit the ground with a painful thud. Jack let out a protesting moan, wanting to scream in pain but the fall knocked the wind out of his lungs. His ankle was twisted at an unhealthy angle and his knee felt as if someone had lit it on fire, not to mention his agonizing back.
Gingerly, Jack tried to lift himself back up, only to let out an irritated hiss as those giant grabby hands came back. This time, Jack felt them grab his whole body, cupping him as if to create a container and once again lifting him into the air.
Jack squirmed, fully creeped out by the moving surface beneath him. Jack hurried to sit up, ignoring his body’s protests in favor of keeping a minimum amount of contact with the giant hands. The only reason Jack didn’t jump off this living platform right now was because he didn’t fancy another fall. Jack shuddered, trying to forget how high off the ground he was.
Jack tensed his body as he was brought right in front of the Giant’s face. Being this close again, Jack decided he liked the big guy when he was asleep. The two stared at each other, Jack out of fear and the giant out of...what? Confusion, curiosity, pity?
“Did you just speak?” The Giant whispered, his breath washing over Jack and giving off the aroma of mint. Jack, fearing for his life, nodded. The giant gasped, leaning closer and smiling while Jack leaned farther back. “And you can understand me?” Again, Jack nodded. The giant’s smile got bigger. It was creeping Jack out, but he was sure on a smaller scale it was meant to look comforting.
“What are you?” The giant asked, inspecting every inch of the little irishman. Jack squirmed, uncomfortable under such a scrutinizing gaze. Jack inhaled, trying to focus on remembering how to breathe. Jack yelped and twitched away as a finger prodded his side.
“Sorry!” The giant apologized, quickly removing the finger. “It’s just, you’re so small. I can’t believe you’re real. Are you an alien or something?” Jack glared at him, still feeling that anything he said would come out more as a whimper. “Okay, not an alien. Where did you come from, then?” He chuckled, the action causing his hands to vibrate. The giant leaned back to give Jack more space. “Sorry, I’m probably freaking you out. This is just so bizarre.” Jack let out a slight groan, ignoring him and clutching his side as new round of agony began. The giant paused, reevaluating. “Hey, are you okay?”
Jack hesitated, not wanting to show weakness, but slowly shook his head. A giant thumb brushed against Jack’s ankle, and this time he couldn’t hold back a high pitched scream. The giant thumb flew back as if bitten, and the giant’s face quickly morphed into horrified concern.
“I’m sorry!” The giant rapidly apologized. “Oh god, uh, that doesn’t look good. Umm…” The giant stood up, jostling Jack further. Jack squeezed his eyes shut for a few minutes as the giant moved far too quickly for his liking. “Sorry, let me just…” Suddenly the feeling of hands beneath him was replaced with a soft cushion, almost like a bed. Jack opened his eyes, and saw that he had been placed on a pillow on the couch.
“I’ll be right back with something that’ll help.” The giant spoke, standing up to leave. “Don’t move, okay? Be back in a second.” Jack turned away, trying not to remind himself of how huge this guy really was. The ground trembled, the footsteps muffled from not actually being on the floor this time. The giant froze and turned back to Jack.
“I’m Mark, by the way.” The giant said, and just like that, he was gone.
Look how slow I am at updating! But guess what- all my activities have wrapped up, which means lots of fanfiction in the month of December! YAY! I want to do something with twelve days of christmas but don't think I can write that well that fast so I might do some Youtuber Gt one-shots. Thoughts?
Chapter 7: here, Let me help
Mark offers Jack help, which Jack hesitantly accepts. But what's this about a fairy tale?
“God frickin’ dang it!” Jack flopped back onto the pillow in frustration after a third failed attempt at escape. No matter how much he wanted to leave, he wouldn’t be able to go anywhere with his injured leg at the moment. The pain was too fresh; too raw. He had rolled up his pants leg to get a better view, and several bruises were turning a nasty shade of yellow.
Why did the universe hate him so much? The adrenaline pumping through his veins was screaming at him to RUN, GET OUT OF THE OPEN YE’ IDIOT!
Even with a fine leg Jack wasn’t sure how he’d get off the couch. Now he knew why all adventurers brought rope, but he couldn’t even get his rope because the giant still had his pack. Jack’s stomach growled, remembering the food left in the bag. Why hadn’t he thought to eat when he woke up? Now all of his supplies and his proof was gone, along with his breakfast.
The anticipation was really the worst. Jack had no idea what to expect from the giant who called himself Mark. Mark seemed like a regular guy, but even if he was normal he still was a major threat to Jack’s life. Jack had already been dropped once and had no intention of being in those hands ever again. Then again, what could Jack ever do to stop Mark? Jack felt a sense of dread fill him, realizing that Mark held all the power.
“I’m back!” Mark appeared in the doorway again.
“AAAH!” Jack let out a startled scream, doing his best to scramble back on the pillow. How did Mark manage to sneak up on him?
“Woah, calm down!” Mark was startled by Jack’s reaction. He put out one hand as if telling a dog to stay. In the other, he held a ceramic bowl. “Please don’t freak out.” Jack stopped squirming, realizing there was no where to go. Once he had stilled, Mark began to slowly move closer.
“I’m really sorry for everything.” Mark’s voice was smooth, calming, and unexpectedly deep. He knelt down in front of the couch to not tower over Jack as much. Mark made sure to keep some distance. “We really started off on the wrong foot. This’ll help. But I need you to stay still so I can put this cream on your injuries.” Mark tilted the bowl so Jack could see that inside was a pasty, gel-like substance speckled with brown flecks.
“Ew, what the heck is that?” Jack crinkled his nose as the smell emanating from the lotion.
“Well, uh…” Mark looked surprised that Jack was actually talking to him. “It’s a mixture mainly composed of ground-up warfling root. Do you know what that is?” Jack shook his head. “It grows in the area. When combined with rosemary and aloe, it can dramatically speed up the healing process.”
“There is no way that's going on m’leg.” Jack was stern.
“Please?” Mark pleaded. “I'm only trying to help you. Besides, if you leave it unattended it could get infected.”
“How do I know that's not gonna hurt me?” Jack eyed it warily.
“uh, because there's no such thing as dangerous lotion?” Mark shrugged. When Jack remained unconvinced, Mark let out a sad sigh. “I guess you'll just have to trust me.” Jack studied his face. Mark seemed sincere, but then again for all Jack knew this was some sort of ranch dressing and he was about to be eaten like a carrot.
Now that was just silly- why would he take the time to get Jack’s approval if he was just a snack? Jack’s instincts feared Mark, but a small part of his heart was beginning to trust him.
“Alright.” Jack agreed warily. Mark grinned, looking very happy that Jack accepted his assistance. “BUT-” Jack stopped Mark just as he dipped his fingers in the bowl, “- I want to apply it. Deal?”
Mark looked at the bowl and back to Jack, sizing the two up. “Sure, but how is that going to work?” Jack felt his face turn red, having forgotten that at his size some things were almost impossible. If he tried to get a handful of lotion out of the bowl he'd end up taking a bath in the stuff.
Mark reached forward towards him with his lotion hand. Jack sighed and leaned away from the impending touch, weary of being touched again but accepting his fate as nothing more than a small creature incapable of taking care-
“Here.” The hand stopped just in front of Jack, palm up. Mark made no move to touch him. Jack looked up at Mark, confused. “You said you wanted to apply it, right? Just take some from me.”
“Uh, thank you.” Jack was surprised. Swallowing his nerves, Jack reached out to grab some of the lotion from Mark’s hand. Mark’s fingers twitched slightly when Jack touched them, making him jump a bit, but otherwise Mark stayed perfectly still.
Once Jack had two handfuls of the stuff, he began to apply it to his ankle and leg. It transferred easily from his hand to his leg and was a bit chilly when applied, but relief began a moment after. It had a strong numbing feeling to the point where Jack felt as if he didn't have an injured ankle at all.
“You’re so small.” Jack looked up to see Mark smiling down at him, looking like a starstruck child. Jack was a little uneasy at his curiousity. “Augh you’re adorable.”
“Uh…” Jack squirmed at the idea of being ‘adorable’. “I’m a fully grown man, thank ye very much.”
“Sorry.” Mark didn’t look sorry. “It’s just- I cannot get over how small you are. Seriously, where did you come from?”
“My home.” Jack decided to be a sarcastic lil’ bugger rather than tell this Giant how to get to his house.
“But HOW are you so small?” Mark questioned, leaning closer. His glasses only magnified Jack’s view of Mark’s brown eyes, feeling like an ant under a magnifying glass.
“I’m not small!” Jack insisted. “You’re just huge.” Mark just chuckled, clearly not believing him.
“So, what are you?” Mark asked, still very curious.
“A pain in the arse.” Jack smirked.
“How long have you been able to talk?” Mark questioned.
“I dunno, since I was two or somethin’.” Jack shrugged.
“Oh! Do you have a name?” Mark realized that probably should have come earlier.
“Took ‘ya long enough.” Jack joked. “The name’s Jack.”
“Wait, seriously?” Mark snorted.
“Uh, yeah?” Jack was confused as mark burst into a fit of laughter. “What’s so funny?”
“Like Jack and the Beanstalk?” Mark laughed, and in Jack’s mind everything froze. How did Mark know about the beanstalk? He felt his face turn white in fear, now unsure if his home was still a safe haven. The giant might know exactly how to follow him down. Maybe Jack could never leave, for fear of bringing Mark home.
“W-what?” Jack tried desperately to keep the trembling in his voice to a minimum.
“The fairytale?” Mark clarified, but Jack still had no idea what he was talking about. “Fe fi fo fum and all that? Boy named Jack climbs a beanstalk up into a giant world?”
“Sounds crazy.” Jack pretended to laugh, feeling as though he might pass out.
“Are you okay?” Mark noticed his unease. “I just thought the name coincidence was funny.”
“Freakin’ hilarious.” Jack muttered. Sensing this was an uncomfortable topic, Mark cleared his throat.
“Well, uh, anyway….” Mark rubbed the back of his neck. “Are you hungry? I could make you some lunch, if you’d like. I’m an excellent cook.”
“I’m fine.” Jack lied, not wanting to depend on Mark any more than necessary. A moment later his loud, rumbling stomach gave him away. Curse you, mother nature.
“Really, it’s no bother.” Mark insisted, hearing the sound. He stood up, and Jack looked away. Mark was just too big. “I’ll just be a moment. Will you be okay here?”
“Just peachy!” Jack gave him a thumbs up and a fake grin. Mark stood a moment, giving one last curious look, before leaving again.
I suuuuuuck. But look, i'm back! I've been really bad about updating, but i'm not dead. Now that college apps are officially over there should be more frequent updates but y'all know me. Definitely going to be another chapter soon.
ALSO: Two people over on Deviantart made fanart for this story! how nuts is that?!
Link to ArtOrBust fanart: http://artorbust.deviantart.com/art/JackAndTheBeanstalk-657629498
Link to MCGamerDragon fanart: http://mcgamerdragon.deviantart.com/art/Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-655686978
Chapter 8: Pancake Party!
Mark made pancakes! And Jack is...leaving?
Jack rolled his foot around, testing his limits. The ankle seemed to working better with every minute. It felt more like waking a sleeping limb than recovering from a possibly broken bone. Certainly it was capable for a bit of walking. Jack estimated that within the hour he’d be fully healed and ready to climb back down the beanstalk and away from the castle forever.
….away from Mark.
“Stop it.” Jack scolded himself. “You can’t pity the guy just because he helped you out. Don’t forget, he’s the reason you’re hurt!” Jack’s self-scolding didn’t stop the flow of guilt. Could he live with himself, disappearing with no explanation? Possibly scaring Mark, who would wonder what happened? While the thought of ‘scaring’ the giant seemed amusing, Jack didn’t have it in him.
When the floor began to rumble, Jack stood up on the pillow and tried to look confident.
“I brought pancakes!” Mark said cheerfully, carrying in a plate of fluffy pancakes and grinning even wider when he saw Jack standing up. “Hey, looks like you’re feeling better.”
“Uh, yeah.” Jack tried to continue his confident exterior look even while quaking in his boots at the mere sight of Mark. The giant came and sat next to the couch again, setting the plate on the coffee table. On top of the pancakes three times Jack’s size, there were some tiny droplet pancakes that were clearly made just for him. The thought made Jack feel more guilty for leaving.
“Look, Mark-” Jack rubbed his neck, not sure how to continue. “-I, uh, appreciate everything you’ve done to help me, but it’s really best that I go.”
“You’re leaving?” Mark’s smile fell faster than a kid who realized Santa brought him coal.
“I’ve gotta head home.” Jack shrugged, not meeting his eye.
“Why?” Mark asked. “Is there someone waiting up?”
“Uh, no.” Jack lied, biting his lip. There was no way he would even chance putting his Ma in danger. “I live alone.”
“Well, what’s the hurry then?” Mark pushed. “Do you live far? I could help you get there faster. If you need something, I can help you get it. Hell, if you wanted to just move in with me you could!” Jack’s eyes went wide as Mark began rambling on. Jack had no intention of being treated like a caged pet the rest of his life, no matter the kind nature of his captor.
“Uh, nah.” Jack tried to just shrug off the thought, hoping Mark would drop it.
“Why not?” Mark urged. “I could help you get a lil’ bed, and make lots of food, keep Chica away-”
“IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE!” Jack shouted suddenly, pissed off. Mark stopped, looking at Jack with an unreadable expression. Jack gulped, having momentarily forgotten their size gap. If Mark got enraged, there was nothing Jack could do to protect himself.
“I’m sorry.” Jack apologized immediately, frightened of the damage his words had already caused. When Mark didn’t react, Jack kept talking. “Look, I appreciate your intentions, but I’m still an independent man. I can and prefer to take care of myself on my own terms. You understand, don’t you?”
“Yes.” Mark looked almost guilty. “I’m sorry, Jack. I understand if you want to go now.” Reaching into his chest pocket, Mark grabbed something and set it down in front of Jack. “Here.”
“My pack!” Jack gasped. It was dripping dog drool and a bit squashed, but still usable. He put it on immediately, grateful to have it back.
“I figured it was yours.” Mark smirked. “It certainly didn’t fit me very well.” Jack rolled his eyes at the thought of Mark attempting to wear the pack the size of his finger.
“I do have one request, though.” Mark said, sounding hesitant. “Would you at least stay for lunch?”
“Well….” Jack considered it. He was already very late to return home and chop down the beanstalk like Ma told him.
“Please?” Mark pleaded, picking up one of the tiny pancakes with his fingerpads and holding it out to Jack. The heavenly aroma reached Jack’s nose, causing his stomach to growl louder than ever. Mark smirked, hearing the growl and knowing he had won.
“Fine.” Jack muttered, snatching the pancake as quickly as possible. Mark looked happy as a lark, grabbing a pancake for himself and taking a few bites. Jack turned his head, trying not to watch as mouthfuls of food the size of him were ground up by those giant molars, sloshed around in saliva and pushed to the back of the throat….Jack gulped at the thought of being in their place.
“So, Jack,” Mark swallowed, either not noticing or ignoring his guest’s discomfort, “tell me about yourself.”
“I’m Jack, and I want another pancake.” Jack replied, having finished his first one. Mark sighed, handing over the entire batch of tiny pancakes.
“No, c’mon.” Mark sighed. “I want to know more about you.”
“What if I want to know more about you?” Jack pointed out. “This seems very one-sided.”
“There’s….not much to me.” Mark had hesitated.
“Do you live alone?” Jack turned into interrogative mode. Mark seemed to wince.
“Just me and Chica.” Mark joked, but his eyes lacked their amused charm. Jack wondered at this. Was Mark lonely? “Alright, now you, Jack. Are there other people your size then?”
“Not telling.” Jack answered immediately. “Are there other people your size?”
“Not telling.” Mark smirked. Jack should have expected that, in hindsight. “Are you some kind of leprechaun?” Jack nearly choked on his pancake.
“What?!” Jack exclaimed. “Do I look like a lil’ fool with a pot of fake gold?”
“You’ve nailed the little fool part.” Mark laughed. Jack turned a shade of crimson, annoyed with how Mark refused to take him seriously. They ate in silence for a few minutes, the only sound being Mark’s chewing.
“Jack,” Mark said softly, “Was that you I saw a few days ago?” Jack froze. Hiding in the fireplace. Running out the door. Bringing back the bean.
“Yeah.” Jack answered truthfully, uncomfortable.
“And again, last night?” Mark continued. “Or was that just a weird dream?”
“I was there.” Jack sighed.
“Why were you sneaking around my house?” Mark asked. Jack shifted around, not sure how to respond. He didn’t really have a good explanation without giving away his family, but would Mark be angry and assume he was a thief?
“I can’t tell you, Mark.” Jack decided, putting the last unfinished pancake to the side. Mark was quiet a moment.
“You know that fairytale I mentioned, Jack and the beanstalk?” Mark said, sounding more serious than usual. Jack looked up at him slightly fearfully. Mark seemed to be choosing his words carefully. “In the story, Jack comes three times to steal from the giant at the top of the beanstalk.”
“I didn’t-!” Jack shut up when Mark put up a hand, telling Jack to let Mark continue.
“Jack only comes three times.” Mark repeats. “Then he climbs down the beanstalk and cuts it down, never to return.” Jack felt goosebumps forming. How the hell was his life in a weird children’s book?!
“I know that’s not reality,” Mark continued, “but- I’ve just got a weird feeling I might never see you again. And I want you to know, I don’t want that. I won’t ever force you to stay, but- jeez, if you ever wanted to come hang out please do. If you need help I’m here but I understand wanting to be on your own. You don’t have to promise anything, but... I hope I see you again.”
Jack nodded, not trusting his voice right now. There were too many emotions tumbling through his little brain. If he was conflicted about leaving before, he was even more conflicted now that he had a rational reason to come back. Mark seemed to be miserable out on his own, and Jack felt guilty about walking out of his life forever. Jack barely knew the guy, but still wished there was a way everyone could be happy.
Sometimes not everyone got a happy ending.
“Sorry.” Mark wiped at his eye. “I’m a dramatic sap. Thanks for staying for lunch. It was nice to meet you, Jack.” He stuck out his index finger towards Jack.
“Likewise, Mark.” Jack took the index finger with both hands and shook it as an attempt at a normal handshake. The two smiled at the ridiculousness of it all. “I...I hope to see you again too.” Jack scolded himself- how could he get Mark’s hopes up whilst knowing he could never return?
“So, do you want a lift off the couch, or…?” Mark trailed off, not sure how to go from here. He held out his hand, palm up, in offering.
“Nah, I can just do this.” Jack tied his rope to the edge of the armhold. After testing the knot, he slowly began to rappel down the rope to the ground. Thank god the rope reached all the way.
“That seems kind of inefficient.” Mark argued. “I could help.”
“It’s the principle!” Jack argued, only now reaching halfway.
“Whatever.” Mark rolled his eyes. Jack suddenly paused.
“Hold on, where’s that dog?” Jack clutched to the rope tightly, worried about being on the ground and having to sprint from the mutt again. While his ankle felt fine, Jack lacked the mental stamina for a fight-or-flight response. It had been a long day.
“Chica?” Mark said. “She’s locked upstairs. Don’t worry, I didn’t want her startling you anymore.” Jack nodded in thanks, now touching his feet to the ground. “So, uh, how you planning on getting that rope down?” Jack gazed at the knot several dozen feet above his head. Shite, he hadn’t thought of that.
“My souvenir to you.” Jack pretended it was intentional. He was too proud to try to get it back now. “You’re welcome.”
“Gee, thanks.” Mark rolled his eyes, clearly not buying it. Jack looked around, not recognizing his surroundings from floor level.
“Uh, which way to the door outside?” Jack asked.
“That way.” Mark pointed to a doorway. Jack tried not to flinch as the small movement of giant muscles cast a large shadow over the irishman. “Go through that doorway, and it’s to your left.”
“Thanks.” Jack began to walk across the room, trying to ignore the feeling of Mark watching his every move. Jack understood the sense of curiosity, but this was ridiculous. His ears turned redder at a steady pace the further he went.
“Where you going, exactly?” Mark teased a few minutes later when Jack was only a little further. Jack suppressed a groan. Curse these giant rooms.
“To find a beanstalk.” Jack replied. Mark laughed, clearly not realizing the truth to the statement. Jack flipped him off. It seemed to take forever to reach the doorway, only for Jack to turn and see the outside door still closed but with no blanket underneath.
“You want me to come open that?” Mark called out, clearly enjoying himself. Jack curled his hands into fists, trying not to get angry at his cocky attitude.
“I’ll be fine.” Jack yelled back, walking to the door. He had squeezed under once and could do it again.
“You sure?” Mark called, but Jack gave no reply. Now out of Mark’s gaze, Jack dashed down the hall as fast as his legs would carry him. Ma was going to be so mad about his tardiness. Reaching the door, Jack sucked in his breath and went through the crack beneath the door. It was harder on a full stomach, but he managed. The floor began to rumble at the sound of Mark approaching, but it was too late- Jack was already gone.
Jack ran across the field of grass, ignoring his rapid breathing and stitch in his side. The ankle gave him no trouble. The sky, being the same above and below the clouds, indicated that the sun would be setting shortly. Jack urged on.
Reaching the edge of the grass, Jack stopped to catch a breath. Something was wrong. Looking around, Jack gasped in realization.
The beanstalk was gone.
As usual I took forever but this chapter is good and long! Shoutout to ArtorBust on DeviantArt who made another adorable picture of this story. Love it! :)
link to art: http://artorbust.deviantart.com/art/Jack-And-The-Beanstalk-2-663431685
Chapter 9: flashback to the past
What happened to the beanstalk?
-24 hours ago-
“Where could he be?” Jack’s Ma sighed. She was worried when Jack didn’t return in the evening. The sun was quickly setting. She glanced up at the top of the giant beanstalk, but her view was blocked by the clouds. Was her son, the one who was too afraid of heights to even climb up on the roof, really all the way up there? Though she didn’t believe his tales of giants, she knew Jack would have climbed all that way just to prove it.
A loud commotion disrupted her drifting thoughts. Turning, she was surprised to see lights approaching. As they got closer, she recognized it as a mob of her neighbors. They looked more displeased than they had been that morning, and those that didn’t carry torches had axes and saws.
“What is the meaning of this?” She stomped right up to Steve, the leader.
“Miss, I thought we made it clear that the beanstalk has to go.” Steve reminded her. The others nodded.
“I haven’t forgotten, you ninny.” She sneered, in no mood to put up with nosy neighbors. “Jack is taking care of it in the morning.”
“Our farms are getting worse!” Bobby shouted from the back of the crowd.
“We can’t wait until morning.”
“Well, you’ll have to wait.” Ma was stern. “Jack will get to it soon enough. I’m sure your rutabagas will be just fine.”
“Jack won’t need to cut it down.” Steve explained, the crowd beginning to gather round the great stalk. “We’re here to finish the job.”
“What? No!” Ma shrieked, but she was held back as the men began to chop into the plant. She struggled, but the two men holding her had an iron grip.“My son might be up there!”
“Jack’s up there?” Bobby scoffed, craning his neck up. “Ridiculous!”
“He says there’s giants!” Ma screamed. “He’s trying to prove it!”
“You’re both crazy, ya witch.” Billy teased.
“Don’t hurt Jack!” She sobbed desperately as they cut deeper. Ma’s vision was blurred with tears for her only son. “Please, my baby, please, oh god…”
“TIMBER!” Steve yelled, everyone running out of the way as the beanstalk began to shudder. It fell to the barren fields of the East with a sickening thud, stirring up dust for miles. Everyone around had to cover their mouths, coughing.
“JACK!” She screamed hysterically at the great fall. Ma continued to cry, even after the townspeople released her. She fell to the ground and wept next to the remains left by the humongous plant. The men uprooted the stump before setting it and the beanstalk on fire, ensuring the massive plant didn’t regrow. As the fire grew and burned a blazing trail, the men returned home as if they hadn’t just killed a man. For the sake of Jack, Ma prayed that there was a land of giants up there in hopes that her baby wasn’t climbing on the beanstalk when it fell.
But what was better? Finding him a bloody splat on the ground somewhere along the miles crushed by vegetation, or living with the knowledge that Jack was now trapped in a terrifying and ungodly world with no hope of ever seeing him again?
Ma watched the fire late into the night, spreading into the distance so far that she lost sight of it. The flames eagerly licked at the leaves, consuming everything in ashes. The light of the fire slowly died down, and she was left in the dark, chilly night air. All that was left of the once magnificent beanstalk was three scrawny beans sitting in the ashes. Ma picked these up with care, being the only reminder left of her son.
“My poor Jack…” Ma cried, cupping the beans to her chest.
Plot note: I know Jack has a bazillion siblings, but here he's an only child because I said so.
ALSO: THERE'S A NEW STORY I'VE BEEN WORKING ON WITH ARC852! IT'S CALLED "Spaceships and Septic Eyes" AND IT'S REALLY GOOD! G/T MARK AND JACK, JUST LIKE THIS! GO CHECK IT OUT! LINK: http://archiveofourown.org/works/10251176/chapters/22726661
Probably not gonna update again for a while because of who I am as a person, but here you go for now! enjoy!
Chapter 10: Just like a ship
Jack pretends everything is fine when everything is NOT fine.
“What the heck?!” Jack yelled, frantically digging around in the dirt in the hopes the beanstalk would suddenly sprout again. Nothing. Jack’s way home had vanished into thin air. The sun set as Jack searched, leaving him in darkness. No way home and nowhere to go. Except…
“No.” Jack argued with himself. “I can’t go crawling back to Mark after my whole speech on independence. I ain’t a hypocrite!” Stubborn in nature, Jack was left with no choice but to spend the night outside. In the dark, cold giant world filled with several creatures that could probably eat him in one bite. Jack gulped, for once missing Chica. At least her only fault was being too friendly.
Jack set up camp under the cover of some gnarled tree roots, forming a sort of mini room with walls to keep him safe. Animals didn’t dig through tree roots often, right? Jack pulled his blanket up to his ears as loud howling began a few hours later. Jack could only pray that whatever was making that sound would be more interested in bigger prey than himself. Jack shivered, both of cold and fear. The night dragged on, and Jack didn’t sleep a wink. He nearly cried in relief when the morning light began infiltrating his natural shelter.
“Thank god.” Jack sighed, packing up his stuff. He really hoped he never had to do that again. Knowing he only had one option left, Jack headed back towards the castle.
“I’m sure Mark’ll be happy to see me.” Jack reminded himself, trying to look at the only positive of this situation rather than the fact that he might never see his family again. Although, Jack was still unsure whether Mark would welcome him as a friend or a pet. Did he really want to beg Mark for a place to stay? The place sounded inviting but the begging did not. No way would Mark respect him as an equal if Jack had to rely on him for every aspect of life. It would be better if Mark didn’t know he was stranded.
Speak of the devil- Jack was surprised to see Mark sitting on the steps outside, looking lost in thought. What was he doing up so early? Chica was nowhere to be seen. Jack approached him through the grass, but Mark still hadn’t spotted him; a benefit to having green hair.
“Hey!” Jack called out in greeting, wanting to make sure Mark knew he was there before doing something stupid like running around. Instantly those giant brown eyes perked up, scanning around before locking onto Jack. Mark’s face lit up in a huge grin.
“You came back!” Mark called back, giving a wave. He looked surprised. Mark laid down on his stomach in the grass, putting his head on his arms as he tried to be level with Jack. It was intimidating for Mark to move so close, but Jack appreciated that they could see eye to giant eye.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” Mark whispered, his breath moving Jack’s hair. It smelled strongly of peppermint. Jack took a few steps back, deciding that was too close.
“Yeah, well…” Jack rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, not sure how much to tell. “I guess I didn’t get enough of your stupid face.” Mark chuckled.
“Well, this stupid face wants some breakfast.” Mark grinned. “Any chance you want to join me?”
“That depends on what you’re havin’.” Jack replied nonchalantly. Lies- at this point he was as hungry as a horse. He’d eat anything.
“I was in a mood for pancakes.” Mark said. Jack laughed, making Mark tilt his head in confusion. “What’s so funny?”
“Oh, i get it.” Jack rolled his eyes. “You only know how to make one thing.” Mark grinned, catching on.
“That’s not true!” He retorted. “I just happen to make pancakes a lot.”
“Whatever you say, pancake boy.” Jack said, beginning to walk around him to get up the stairs. However, Mark stuck his arm out to block his way. “Uh, do you mind?” Jack asked.
“Chica’s out.” Mark said by way of explanation. Right on cue, there was a loud barking sound coming from the other side of the door. Mark winced. “Maybe it’d be better if I carried you inside?”
“Oh.” Jack tried to keep a brave face. It seemed like the most plausible solution, but Jack’s fear of heights wasn’t based around reason. “S-sure, I guess.”
Mark shifted around so that he was on his knees, rising high above Jack. Mark placed his hand on the ground, palm up, waiting for Jack rather than just grabbing him. Jack hesitantly stepped on, feeling the skin rise and fall with Mark’s every breath. He sat down to help keep his balance before looking up at Mark.
“Ready?” Mark asked, staying still. Jack gave the big guy a thumbs-up, trying to look cheerful rather than terrified. Mark’s hand slowly began to ascend. Immediately regretting everything, Jack grabbed at Mark’s thumb for safety. Mark stopped at the touch before beginning to rise once more, even slower than before. Jack had a death grip, trying his best to not look down and instead focus on the patterning of Mark’s red plaid flannel.
“Are you okay?” Mark asked, bringing Jack up so that he was once again face-to-face with the giant.
“Freakin’ peachy.” Jack replied through gritted teeth, ears turning red in embarrassment. If Mark saw through his weak lie, he was kind enough not to mention it. There was more shifting as Mark stood up to his full height, during which Jack couldn’t hold back a small groan. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to ignore the feeling in his stomach.
There was a loud creaking sound as Mark opened the front door with his free hand, before it was cupped around Jack as a second sort of safety net. A loud whining was heard, and Jack was sure if he looked down he would have seen Chica trying to sniff at Mark’s hands.
“Down, girl.” Mark ordered. Jack kept his eyes shut as Mark began to move down the hall and through multiple rooms. Jack had never been on a ship, but he had always imagined it would feel something like this. The constant movement and shifting beneath him. The rising and falling feeling in his core. The analogy actually helped Jack begin to settle down, imagining himself a ship’s crew member. Yep, he was totally on the ocean, out at sea, not dangling several hundred feet in the air...nope, that didn’t work.
Jack sighed to himself, feeling frustrated with his own inability to even cope with the situation. He felt his stomach drop again, not sure if he was descending or rising. Everything finally settled down for a moment, and Jack took a second to calm down.
“Uh, Jack?” Mark’s voice boomed far above him. “You can let go of my thumb now.” Jack opened his eyes to see that Mark’s hand was now on what looked to be a giant kitchen table. Jack quickly let go, climbing off to be on solid ground.
“Er, thanks.” Jack said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. It was embarrassing to seem so afraid of what Mark probably thought was a basic favor. Mark shrugged.
“No problem, man.” Mark gave him a small smile. “Now, let’s make some pancakes!”
FOOLED YOU! Haha, didn't expect me to update twice in a row, did you? 10/10 best april fools joke, even if it went into April 2nd. but that's okay because it's just more unexpected. You're welcome. *mic drop*
In the future, still I'm aiming for once a month and then if there's more then it's just a nice surprise. If you want actual weekly updates, go read "Spaceships and Septic Eyes". It's really good. And actually updates on time.
Chapter 11: A borrowed home
There's more to this house than meets the eye.
Jack was surprised to find himself having a good time joking around with Mark. The guy seemed alright for a giant; not that Jack knew a very large range. Mark offered to let Jack try and help, but Jack decided it’d be best to not risk getting hurt by being in the way. Instead Jack stood on the counter, keeping a safe distance.
Jack found the whole process horrifying, yet fascinating. Mark seemed to have all sorts of magic tools to help him cook, buzzing and roaring and crackling along. Jack jumped when a particularly loud sound started up, the counter underneath him beginning to vibrate.
“You’re acting like you’ve never seen an electric mixer before.” Mark laughed, seeming amused at Jack’s fear.
“A what?” Jack gave a wary glance at it, stepping back. Mark looked at him with an unreadable expression.
“...oh.” Mark seemed to find Jack’s behavior strange. “Huh. Well, It uh, helps mix the ingredients for me.”
“Is it dangerous?” Jack asked.
“Well n-” Mark paused, looking Jack up and down. “Yeah, it can be dangerous. But if you give it space it’s not going to hurt you.” Jack took a few more steps back for good measure.
There were other creatures- or machines, as Mark called them- too. Mark warned Jack that all of the machines were dangerous, but Mark had tamed them so they could do Mark no harm. In fact, Mark seemed to laugh every time Jack warned him to be careful.
“Don’t worry, Jack.” Mark assured him after yet another warning. He set down the plate of pancakes on the counter near Jack. “I’ll be fine.” As Jack went to grab one of ‘his’ tiny pancakes, a loud buzzing seemed to come from Mark’s person. This time Mark seemed to jump even higher than Jack.
“What’s that?” Jack asked, watching Mark pull out a black rectangular box the size of Jack. Mark frowned down at it.
“I’m not sure.” Mark muttered. He started walking out of the room, still looking down at the box. ‘I’ll be...i’ll be back.” Jack couldn’t help but wonder why that buzzing box suddenly made Mark so distracted.
Jack sat down on the counter, wolfing down the little pancakes. He finished his breakfast, looking around the kitchen. It looked nothing like how Jack had pictured a castle’s kitchen would appear. It must be the magical objects making it look so unfamiliar. Well, that and the fact that everything was far too large.
Jack sighed, drumming his fingers on his leg and looking towards the doorway. Shouldn’t Mark be back by now? Was something wrong? Jack got up to look over the counter edge, and immediately regretted it when he saw how high up he really was. Jack groaned, feeling nauseous. He back pedalled as fast as he could, only stopping once his back hit the wall.
And then the wall behind him moved.
“What?” Jack turned around quickly, finding himself viewing one of the things Mark had called an ‘outlet covering’. It had moved when Jack nudged himself against it.
“Oops.” Jack tried to lift the covering back into place, when a strange sight caught his eye. There seemed to be a passageway just behind the outlet covering, leading further into the walls.
Jack looked back to check the doorway, but there was still no sign of Mark returning anytime soon. Jack quietly pushed the cover further, squeezing through the gap before putting it back in place to cover the opening.
Jack walked further along the path that looked as if it had been trod many times before. It was dark, but a small amount of light seemed to creep in from the cracks in the walls. Just around the corner, Jack stopped in shock at the sight before him.
It was a little room in the walls, made for someone normal sized. It was cobbled together out of giant materials, but it certainly was created with a human in mind. A desk in the corner held a mess of papers covered in writing, but Jack had never been able to read. A bed made out of scraps of fabric sat in the corner, almost like a little nest.
The strangest part was that it all looked quite lived-in, yet there was a thick layer of dust over everything. Jack frowned, running his finger across the scattered supplies. What could have possibly made someone abandon this secret home?
“Something’s not right.” Jack muttered, looking around to see if the room would give him any answers. Nothing jumped out at him. He grabbed one of the packs, looking inside to see a large amount of rope attached to some sort of giant hook. Wondering what it could possibly be used for, Jack decided to take it with him.
The room had another hall branching off of it, so Jack continued on. He walked down the halls, reaching a set of fairly steep steps. Jack kept his hand along the wall as he ascended, trying not to look down.
Jack tried to figure out where he was now, trying to look through the cracks in the wall to see what giant room was beyond. Suddenly Jack heard the sound of Mark’s booming voice.
“I am home.” Mark spoke almost irritably. Jack tried to listen for another voice, but he heard no one. Was Mark just talking to himself.
“I told you, Chica likes the fresh air.” Mark paused. “No, no I’m not going to leave. Don’t you get it? It’s all my fault…”
Jack frowned. What kind of secrets was Mark hiding?
“Yes it is!” Mark now sounded downright angry. It was frightening for Jack to even listen in, wondering what it would be like to be on the other end of Mark’s rage. “He’s gone, and he’s never coming back.” Another long pause, where Jack could hear Mark’s heavy breathing.
Jack began to creep quietly back to the kitchen, not wanting Mark to know Jack overheard him talking to himself. Was Mark crazy? What had he been talking about? Jack stopped once he reached the little room, wondering if it had anything to do with Mark’s conversation with himself.
Was Jack not the first person up the beanstalk?
“Jack?” Jack heard Mark’s voice as the walls shook slightly, indicating Mark had returned to the kitchen. Jack ran further down the hall, seeing the outlet cover in sight.
Jack stopped. Did he really want to go back to a possibly crazy giant? Jack could live in the little room and sneak back into the kitchen when he was hungry. There was no reason for Jack to try and get Mark’s help if he could simply help himself to shelter, food and water.
“Jack?” Mark called out again. “Jack, where are you?” Mark’s calls began to get a bit more frantic, clearly worried. “Jack?”
Jack tried to ignore Mark calling his name as he began to take a few steps back towards the room, feeling safe but oh-so guilty.
“Jack, please, this isn’t funny.” Mark sounded upset. Jack turned around and broke into a run, not daring to look back at the outlet cover.
Wow, I am so late. But oooh, what's this? Plot? What's going on??