The Tale of Jack

Chapter 2

The door swung open with a damp-sounding creak and a figure filled the frame, an enormously tall man, big even by the scale of the house in which Jack stood. The floor boards trembled at his footsteps as he strode into the room.

For crucial seconds, Jack was frozen in shock – then with a surge of hot energy up his back, he took to his heels and headed for the nearest cover he could see. The bedclothes hung off the edges of the low bed frame, if he could just get under there and hide until it went away-

“Mother Mary!”

Jack kept running, hoping against hope that something else had caught the giant man’s attention, but just as he got under the edge of the blanket, into the low, dusty space under the bed he felt the thud in the floorboards as the man dropped to his knees behind him.

“Oh God! Oh God!” he breathed. He damn near ran into the wall on the other side of the bed, the bed slats inches above his head, piles of folded clothes to either side of him, penning him in. In the dim space, he could see the shape of the man, kneeling and curled over to peer under the edge of the bed frame, searching for him. He stayed still; maybe if he stayed still enough, and quiet enough, it would convince him that he’d seen a mouse or something. A bipedal mouse that talked but-

“I see you, little one. Don’t worry now,” came the resonant voice, and the huge man stuck one arm under the bed, reaching with horrible accuracy for Jack. There was a little gap between the wall and a huge pile of what looked like blankets, and he squirmed into it, feeling the air squeeze out of his lungs as he forced his upper body into the space, but it was too late!

Fingers thicker than his arms closed around his right leg and pulled; it must have only been a gentle tug, all things considered, but it felt like his hip was going to pop out of joint. He clenched his hands into the blanket, held on as tight as he could, until another little tug on his leg pulled his grip free, and he was pulled back from under the bed, into the shafts of sunlight gleaming through the window. The grip of that huge hand shifted to wrap around his waist and, as he blinked in the harsh light, the other hand came to cup underneath him, lifting him several stories into the air as the giant man rose to his feet.

Shaking and struggling to breathe through terror, Jack forced himself to look at the being that now had him in its grasp. The hands that held him were huge and rough skinned. The massive man’s physique was broad and powerful and his body was clad in dull-coloured clothes made from coarse cloth, which looked like they’d been wrapped around him rather than sewn. His face…his face would have been quite good looking, probably, if it hadn’t been staring down at Jack with bald curiosity while he was trapped in those immense hands. His skin was deeply tanned and his shaggy, wavy hair was black. His brown eyes raked Jack’s body with a look of curiosity, of astonishment of…joy?

“Wow,” he breathed. “He was telling the truth.”

“Please don’t kill me!” Jack blurted, then clapped both hands over his mouth. Oh shit, what if he’d just upset it?

“I’m…well, alright, I’m not going to kill you,” the giant said, his voice like the sound of explosions in Jack’s ears. “Umm…are you alright?”

Jack nodded, then nodded harder when it occurred to him that the giant man might not be able to see the gesture.

“I’m going to put you down here, alright little one?”

Jack glanced in the direction they were now moving and realised they were heading for the table. He was set down, a little clumsily, on the slightly uneven wooden surface, and the giant man turned away to open the cabinet against the wall nearby. Jack wasn’t sure what to do. Was he in danger? Was he about to get…what? Eaten? Tortured? He sat up on the table and looked around for a way out, but unless he could get off the table he had no chance and, creeping over to the edge, he saw he was at least two storeys up. No way in hell.

“Careful there, little one,” came that massive voice again, and he was scooped back into the centre of the table. Shaking now, he watched the huge man walk back across the room to the large cabinet, take out a bottle, glance back at Jack, then take a swig. Whatever was in the bottle, it must have been strong, because it made the man scrunch his eyes up and grunt.

He glanced back at Jack briefly, as if he were checking he was still there, took another quick pull from the bottle, then put it back in the cabinet and grabbed a chair. As he dragged it toward the table, Jack shrank back, and as the man sat down he couldn’t help but flinch at the scrape of the chair and the slight tremor of the table top.
Elbows on the table edge, the man leaned forward, apparently content for the time being for Jack to be on the other side of the table.

“Where did you come from, little one?”

“…Jack. I…”

“Jack? That’s your name?” He was speaking rather more quietly than before, but his voice still seemed to shake the very air.
Jack nodded.

“My name is Finn. Now, not that you’re not welcome, but…ah… how did you get here?”

“U-up the giant tree.”

The man – Finn – raised his eyebrows at that.

“Really? That old stump at the bottom of the fields?”

Jack thought carefully, and realised that the tree he’d climbed had been the only one visible above the clouds, apart from a couple of spindly fruit trees behind the house. He nodded again.

“Well…how, lad?”

“It…there’s more of it. Under the clouds…or the ground…I don’t really understand it.” His arms and legs were trembling now.

“What year is it where you come from?”

What? Jack told him. Finn tilted his head and squinted, like he was trying to make sense of the number.

“You know, I don’t really recall what year it was when I left, so I really can’t work it out,” he said contemplatively.


The man stood and walked to the door, stuck his head out and looked around. Sighed, and came back to sit at the table.

“I don’t know what I expected to see,” he confessed, smiling slightly.

Jack laughed a little at that. Then laughed a little more, and before he knew it he was wheezing and clutching his stomach. Panic. Panic was bad, but he couldn’t stop it, it hit him like an electric shock. Flickering shadows were appearing at the edges of his vision and he toppled sideways onto the table top, struggling for breath.

Making a tutting, shushing noise, weirdly like Dr Atieno, the man – Finn – reached over and scooped Jack up between his hands, and Jack let out a scream, finally giving in and freaking out!

Those massive hands cupped around him and he did his best to lash out, kicking and thrashing, clawing at the skin, but it was no use, he was just being held there…and then the front of his body was wholly pressed against warm fabric and he realised the giant was holding him to his chest…which was actually…

Out of breath and with tears on his face, Jack felt himself start to calm down. It seemed he wasn’t in immediate danger of death. He could hope, at least.

“Okay, little Jack?” Finn asked, and his voice rumbled right the way through Jack’s body. The fabric of his shirt felt like it had been woven from rope. He was lifted away from Finn’s chest and held up, again in cupped hands. Finn studied him carefully.

“Why don’t I tell you what I’m talking about, alright?”

Jack nodded. Deep breaths, now.

He was placed back on the table, his limbs still trembling, and Finn turned away, towards the bed this time. Jack shut his eyes and took a couple more deep, careful breaths, wondering if this was how Mama had felt when she had pneumonia. He heard Finn come back to the table, and when he opened his eyes again, the giant was placing a wadded up piece of fabric on the wooden surface.

“More comfy,” he said simply, and Jack realised that Finn meant for him to sit on the cloth. He got up and looked; no idea what the cloth was supposed to be, but then again, Finn’s clothes were more or less carefully draped sheets, so this rectangle of rough fabric could have been anything. Tentatively, he got to his feet and walked over to look. Finn had scrunched up the fabric and then punched it down in the middle. It looked kind of like a bean bag chair. He sat down; it was indeed more comfortable than the table top, even if the fabric did feel as rough as an elephant’s backside.

Finn had gone back to his cabinet and now returned to his seat, carrying a plate with an apple, a small bowl and a knife on it. He studied Jack for a moment, then smiled warmly.


“Yeah, th-thanks,” Jack replied. Bite the bullet, he told himself. Just…assume the best. He’s most likely not going to kill me. He determinedly kept his eyes away from the knife as Finn set the plate down on the table. The blade was well kept and about as long as Jack was tall. Not looking at it, definitely.

“I’ll start from the beginning, shall I?” Finn asked casually. He’d set the bowl down to Jack’s left, and was now slicing the apple up on the plate, every thud of the knife on the thick, old china making the table tremor. Jack just nodded.

“I used to live … in a normal place, you know? I was about the same size as you too, just…normal.” He stopped for a moment and frowned at the apple, chopped at it a little more, then sighed.

“What happened?” Jack asked quietly, after a few seconds.

Finn blinked slowly at him, then smiled again and reached out to hand him a tiny piece of apple flesh; he’d managed to cut it so thin it was translucent, and it was about the size of a slice of bread in Jack’s hands. As soon as he took hold of it, his hands were coated in juice.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, and Finn nodded, before picking up an apple wedge that Jack could have hollowed out for a canoe and biting it in half with a muffled crunch.

“I was a bastard,” Finn continued. “Not literally, my parents were married. But I was an asshole, absolutely unforgivable. I lived in the city and I was always…well, big. Normal big. You know what I mean?”

Jack nodded and took a bite out of his apple, the juice running down his chin.

“Well, I got involved with a bunch of criminal types. Proper low lifes. They wanted to rule the whole city, get everyone under their thumb, and they nearly succeeded. But…nearly is a bad word in that situation, they got in the shit and I left them behind. Decided to myself that they’d come at it the wrong way. My plan was to get control over a smaller town, then work my way up. Sensible, right?”

Jack faltered. He didn’t want to agree, but if he didn’t, would-

“I’m not going to harm you if you disagree with me, little Jack. I told you, this was years ago and I was a fool. I know it was a stupid idea.” He was smiling kindly as he said it. Jack just nodded and kept nibbling at his apple slice.

“So, I got to this little town and established myself. Or at least I tried. See, my problem was that I always thought I deserved more than anyone else, hell of a chip on my shoulder. So even when I was doing something terrible, I convinced myself that it was warranted. It was great at first, I was getting whatever I wanted, and people were less…savvy than in the city, they didn’t see stuff coming. I loved it.

“It was all going okay, more or less. I had the right people bribed, the right people scared of me, enough people under me that I could have eyes everywhere, not so many they were hard to manage. But then I didn’t know where to go from there. I was just still a kid really, I had no idea how to take things further. Drugs and extortion and that kind of …nonsense, I had no real idea of.

“And then, this guy in a green suit turned up.”

Jack gasped

“You alright?” Finn asked. “That went down well, didn’t it.”

Jack looked down and only then realised that he’d finished the piece of apple off. His hands were coated with juice to the wrist. Finn dipped the spoon into the bowl and delicately set it on the table in front of Jack, being careful not to spill any of the lukewarm water it held. Jack eased himself out of his nest of fabric and washed his hands, offering Finn a careful smile as he did so.

Finn dipped his own sticky hands in the bowl, wiped them on his clothes, then put his elbows on the table, rested his chin in his palms and sighed.

“I did a lot of crap I’m ashamed of, now that I’ve got some perspective. I say to myself, I never did anything really that terrible. I never killed anyone, I never raped anyone, never did much that would really…stop a person, you know? But it was only a matter of time until I did. But that…weird bastard…he just turned up in my house one night. I damn near went for him with my knife, but he waved his hands and suddenly I couldn’t move. He told me he was angry with me, and I was going to get what I’d earned. He said I had some lessons to learn, and until I’d learned them, I’d be without what I valued the most.”

He went quiet for a moment, and Jack was curious enough to push aside his fear and ask; “What?”

Finn gave him a ruthful smile. “Money. Fear. Ordering people around, and…” He sighed. “No people up here, no…stuff. Just me and a bunch of fields.”

“Why-” Jack abruptly realised that the question he’d wanted to ask would probably be going too far, and snapped his mouth shut.

“Why am I so big?” Jack nodded.

“About…psh, I dunno, a couple of months maybe, after he stuck me here, he came back to see how he was doing and I went for him. Attacked him. He told me that I’d have to get over myself, in no uncertain terms. I wasn’t the big man any longer. He knocked me out with something, and when I woke up;” he gestured vaguely at his own body, and Jack nodded again.

“As punishments go, it was pretty good. I’d managed to scrape together enough food from the fields, but suddenly I needed about a hundred times as much of it. So I didn’t have time to be pissed off and self-righteous. I was too busy trying to keep body and soul together, trying to cut enough wood to get a roof over my head. Gradually, the plants seemed to get bigger, or, well, at the time I wasn’t sure if I was getting smaller…every now and then he’d leave me something, like tools and the pump, but all the rest, I was on my own. Except for the goose…”

He trailed off there, and Jack was left looking around for signs of a goose, wondering if it were a real one. Or a giant real one.

He sighed gustily, and gave Jack another smile, this one slightly forced. “I really don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why you’re here, I don’t know how long I’m going to be here…Talk about something else for a while, eh? Tell me about yourself, Jack.”

“I…” What did you say in a situation like this? Jack’s mind, spaced out from several different layers of shock, went blank.

“I…I guess really, I’m…”

Finn nodded, apparently quite content to let Jack take his time.

“I live with my Mama. She’s sick a lot. So I work. As a…a…”

“A what?”

“I’m a whore,” Jack said. First time he’d said it out loud, ever. His voice was as faint as a ghost, but Finn clearly heard it; his eyebrows raised and his mouth was open.


Jack nodded. Finn leaned down a little closer to him, leaning his elbows on the edge of the table.

“I suppose I can see it, you’re…well you’ve a nice look to you. You don’t seem to be too happy about it though.”

Jack shrugged. “Who would be?”

Finn laughed a little. “You’re right. I’ve never heard a good story that ended in prostitution. That what it takes to look after your mother?”


“Well, I doubt there’s a person alive who could fault you for that, then.”

Jack looked at Finn’s face; he didn’t seem to be kidding around. “I…do my best.”

“Yeah, you’re a nice kid,” Finn replied. Again, no kidding. He seemed so confident in his assertion. Jack actually felt a little brighter.

“It’s not easy,” he found himself saying. “Everyone seems to think they know everything about me, just because I have to have sex with people to make money. Just because I didn’t finish school. Most of them either treat me like shit or ignore me…at least until they decide they want to get laid.”

Finn nodded, watching his face sagely, squinting a little to be able to see him properly.

“You know something?” It was all coming out now, now somebody was listening. “I lost my…my virginity to a customer.” God, that had been hard to say. “I never had sex with anyone who wasn’t paying me. And it…it…okay, I don’t expect to be in love or anything, but Jesus, I just want to have sex with somebody who likes me, you know?”

“I can understand that.”

Jack wasn’t really crying, but he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and hoped that Finn didn’t notice.

“This whole thing, it’s got to be the strangest thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

“What, ending up here? With me?”

“Yeah. What if I’m up here forever? I got here because this guy in a green suit fooled me and gave me a map, which I thought was money…and I got here, but after I got off the steps, they disappeared! What if it’s the same guy, and, and, he doesn’t like me because of what I do?”

Finn sighed. “Well, from what I know of him, he’s not the type to give somebody a punishment without giving them a good, loud telling off first. Maybe he just wanted to give you a scare or something.”


“Don’t worry too much. Worst comes to the worst, there’s plenty of food up here, and you’ll be safe until we can work out how to get you back to your mother. As long as I don’t step on you, that is.”

“Maybe I’ll just stay up here then. Let you do all the heavy work, I’ll just keep the crumbs off the table.” He offered a weak little smile and wiped at his eyes again.

“Yeah, won’t be so bad. Nice to have somebody to talk to,” and the look in Finn’s eyes was so…worn out that Jack just had to make some kind of…

“You want to, y’know, do something?”

Overture, if that was the word.

Finn grinned. He sat back in his chair a little, squinted at Jack, looked deliberately down the length of his own body, and sniggered.

“What exactly would you propose we do, little Jack?” he asked, smiling broadly.

“Well,” now Jack felt like an idiot, but no way was he going to just forget it. “I wasn’t going to suggest that we actually…actually…”


“Yeah, put anything anywhere. I mean, I’d die and I doubt you’d enjoy it that much either.”

Finn let out an ear-splitting bark of laughter that Jack thought, for a moment, would bring the rafters down.

Jack smiled up at him, and kicked his shoes off.

“What are you thinking, little man?” Finn asked, leaning down again to watch him as he started to wriggle out of his t-shirt.

“I dunno,” Jack replied, getting the garment over his head. “But hey, you’re lonely, I’m completely freaked out and in need of calming down, and…I kind of like you, you know?”

Finn studied him for a moment. Smiled, not the grin this time, but a softer smile. He got it.

Jack got naked pretty quickly, he’d had a lot of practise after all, and Finn unwrapped his layers until he was bare-chested. Jack assumed he’d taken off the rest of his clothes, but the big guy was still in his chair and Jack didn’t have the angle to see. Didn’t really matter, heavens knew he didn’t need to be made to feel ‘insufficient’ on top of the rest of his problems.

Naked as the day he was born, he flopped back into the pad of fabric, very aware of the fact that Finn was enjoying the view.

“Here,” Finn said gently, and reached to lift Jack’s upper body gently with his right hand. He leaned his left forearm on the table, which put him leaning over Jack slightly, leaving Jack reclining back against his warm, hairy arm. Jack smiled at him and made himself comfortable, let his thoughts trail along the usual path it took to get himself aroused. Except…his body seemed to be one step ahead of him there. Finn’s warm, apple scented breath sweeping over him blew all thoughts of the wax-chested models pasted on the walls of his bedroom from his head.

He curled himself up a little, relaxed back against Finn’s warm arm and lifted his knees, letting his legs spread. Finn tipped his head to one side a little, gave him a soft smile.


“Thanks,” Jack replied, and put his hand around his cock.

He couldn’t stop himself from smiling as he stroked, watching Finn’s gaze become unfocused and the rangy muscles of his upper arm shift as he touched himself under the cover of the table.

Jack touched slowly, not too hard, just let himself relax against Finn’s arm and enjoy it. Just purely enjoy it, after so long of sex being work and work being sex…it was so good. The air between them was starting to feel hot and musky, and sweat broke out on Jack’s chest, trickling down his stomach.

“So pretty, little Jack…” Finn murmured, and to Jack’s astonishment, that sent a sudden wave of arousal through him, making him gasp and arch back. Finn’s arm was moving faster now, and Jack matched his own movements to it, short, sharp strokes that made it feel like he was only seconds away, only millimetres, only a breath away…

He grit his teeth when he came, but still a cry escaped, strained and tense sounding, and at the same moment Finn heaved in a deep breath, as if he was going to capture Jack’s pleasure-noise in his own lungs.

The tendons in the arm Jack was draped against became suddenly hard as Finn clenched his fist. His dark eyes were tightly closed, breath hissing between his teeth, and then he was gasping, shuddering as he came too, the sound of semen slapping onto the tile floor just discernable over the noise of his breathing.

Finn opened his eyes and Jack smiled up at him, flinched slightly when a drop of sweat from Finn’s forehead splashed down onto his thigh.

“Sorry,” Finn murmured.

“S’okay,” Jack replied, “Enjoy yourself?”

Big, big smile. Like, big even for a normal person. “Yeah.”

“Me too.”

They just stayed there for long minutes, enjoying being close to each other, until finally Finn rose from his seat and turned to the cabinet. He picked up another bowl, then took a heavy porcelain jug from the lid of the stove and poured out some slightly steaming water. Returning to the table with a cloth draped over one arm, he set the bowl down and offered Jack his left index finger. Jack grabbed on and pulled himself to his feet.

“Bath?” Finn offered.

“Great,” Jack replied, and padded over to the bowl, standing on tiptoe to peer over the side. Finn brushed the tip of his finger against Jack’s stomach, then stared at it carefully, and it took Jack a moment to realise that he was looking at drops of his semen. He was still trying to come up with something witty to say when Finn raised the finger to his mouth and licked it.

Jack felt his face go red.

“I wish I could bake that taste into bread, or something,” Finn mused with a sigh, and Jack couldn’t help it; he cracked up.

“Don’t make fun!” Finn said with mock sternness. “I’ve been lonely a long time, I’m a sad man!” And with that he picked Jack up around the waist and stuck him in the bowl of water.

Still giggling, Jack happily swooshed around in the warm water, slapping his palms on the surface to make it splash. Finn watched him for a moment, then shook his head fondly, and turned to get another cloth and some more water. Jack dunked himself under the surface and briefly scrubbed his fingers through his hair, and when he came back up, Finn was washing himself down, standing next to the table.

He had a great body, no doubt due to all his hard work farming his land. He was muscular, but not too heavy, and his skin was the same nice tan shade all over. Jack glanced at his groin and saw that, even proportionally, he was pretty well hung.

He could still feel the touch of Finn’s fingertip against his stomach, and knew he’d be feeling it for a long time to come.


By the time Finn had washed and put his clothing back on, the water in the bowl was starting to cool, and Jack was only too glad to clamber out with Finn’s assistance. Finn had spread the other cloth on the table for him, and he spent a minute just lying on it, air drying, before lifting up a corner of it to rub his hair dry.

Finn moved around the room a little, then sat down next to the table again, and leaned over him looking slightly concerned.

“I just had a look out the window, and…something’s happened to that tree.”


“I think…I’m not sure, but I think you could climb back down it.”

“Seriously?” Relief shot through him like an arrow and he grabbed up his clothes, dragging them hastily into place on his still damp body.

“I’m glad. I’d hate to think your poor mother would be without you,” Finn said sincerely, and when Jack looked up at his face, his dark eyes were sad…almost mournful.

“I…I’m sorry to leave you up here, but I’ve got to go back.”

“’Course you do, don’t say you’re-”

“I had a great time with you. Thank you.”

Finn smiled. “Yeah, me too.” He glanced over at the big cabinet and a slightly awkward look came over his face. “Listen, I know you said you were sick of making money for sex, and I get that. So…don’t be offended, but…you’re having money troubles, right?”

Jack nodded, feeling his shoulders slump. Worse than ever, now the car was gone.

“So, would you like…not payment, but…maybe a gift?”

“What do you mean?”

Finn got to his feet and opened one of the bottom drawers of the cabinet, taking out a small, flat wooden box. Returning to the table with it, he set it down and opened the lid, removing first a piece of fabric, then a layer of white paper. Jack walked over to look inside, and gasped.

“Are those...what are those?”

“Coins, I think. Old ones,” Finn replied. “I sometimes find them in the soil here, stuck in the mud when I clean my boots. I rinse them and kept them, thought they might be handy. Don’t know how they got to be here, but…there they are. I imagine they’re worth a fair amount.”

He pinched up some of the thick, golden discs, like grains of salt between his fingers, and offered them to Jack.

“I can’t…I…they’re yours!”

“What can I possibly use them for? Please, take them. It’ll help you and…maybe I just want to give you a gift.”

One of the coins slipped from Finn’s fingers and Jack caught it. It was about twice the size of a quarter and strangely heavy.

“You’re sure?”

“I’m sure,” and Finn let go of them, letting them tumble into Jack’s cupped hands, a few thumping onto the table top. “Just remember, a gift, not a payment.”

“Like I could forget,” Jack grinned, and started packing the coins into his pockets, suddenly very glad that he’d worn baggy jeans.
“Thank you, Finn.”

“Welcome, little Jack.”

Jack stood up on his tiptoes and Finn leaned down for a kiss on the cheek, and then Jack was scooped up and carried, out the door and down the path between the fields, back to the towering shape of the old tree.

Finn set him down and straight away he could see the steps leading down the trunk, back to the real world.

He turned back.

“I…if I can come back, I will. Okay?”

Finn nodded. “Just be careful.”

Jack gave him one last smile, and headed down the steps.  



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