I’ve never been sure how far I can push this.
At this point, I could just about snap my fingers and be any size at all. But size isn’t the only variable I’m working with. Sure, I’ve got that pesky square-cube law handled, too, but that doesn’t mean I have a Get Out of Atmosphere Free card. I’m still respirating. I still have mass. I’m still subject to temperature. I still have to eat—and yes, I’m hungry. I think I’ve figured out the key to eating anything, but as awesome a visual as leaning over and biting off a few skyscrapers would be, choking on one and keeling over would make a pretty embarrassing ending. So I’m saving that until I’m sure.
I sit up, mile-long legs stretched out in front of me, and look around.
Do you know the old computer simulation called “Life?” You start with a dark grid and a handful of lit-up squares. Every turn, lit squares with too few or too many adjacent lit ones go dark, while dark squares with the right number of adjacent lit ones light up. It looks random, but it isn’t—it’s a rigid set of rules. With the right set of cells, beautiful patterns emerge and move across the grid.
The fires around me, the electric lights in places that still have power, the sirens, the spotlights: as I look across the cityscape, I think of those cells, flickering and dancing.
Of course, this is real chaos. Isn’t it?
I stand up, up, up. I can feel it: it’s time to go for broke.
I’d fancied teleporting to where the world’s tallest building is, for the thrill of having it hip-high to me. Or knee-high. Or ankle-high. But no: I’m done teleporting. This mouse—and doesn’t it make sense that the ultimate being in the world is a mouse woman? Oh, come on, just go with it—can just walk. Walk…and grow.
Remember back when I said a giant has to be much bigger than people think for a mere step to cause damage? The flip side is that by the time you’re a mile high—and climbing—each step becomes a physics experiment. I can see the shock waves, watch liquefaction in action. It’s not like I’m walking on water, on a puddle, but the ground is no longer quite solid. As I expand, my pace slows but my stride increases. I’m still not walking faster than the fighter jets buzzing around me can fly, but it might not be long. The little darlings are giving me all they have, too. It’s just not very much. I smile and ignore them.
As the horizon’s arc grows visible, I let myself lose track of my size. It no longer matters. I just am. My paws fill ravines, my steps make new lakes. My breath becomes rain. The sway of my hips shifts the wind. My tail casts tornadoes off its tip.
The mountain I see ahead isn’t the tallest in the world, but it’s the tallest in its range, over five thousand feet taller than its closest kin. It definitely stands out. And as far as mountains go, it’s an—interesting shape. Not cylindrical, but sheer and thick. I wouldn’t say it’s made for me, although by now, I wonder whether that’s truly impossible or merely unlikely.
As I approach it, each step is steadily wider, longer, deeper. I’m not leaving pawprints anymore as much as reshaping the world. I lower myself down, leaning over, hands finally hitting the ground, fields and metropolises winking out under my fingertips. I am more than the whole mountain range. The line between night and day bisects my body.
I roll my hips experimentally, then press down harder, rolling again. A shudder runs through me that creates a thousand miles of thunderclouds and sonic booms.
As I move faster, breathing faster, I’m still growing, hands grasping across the curve of the planet. It still dwarfs me, even as I hug to it, claws digging in, breath quickening. It might not dwarf me much longer. I might—
Ohhhh. I don’t know if that’s the mountain, or the thoughts in my head, or both. But ohhhh! I laugh, a joyous noise of uncountable decibels.
There is nothing, nothing, more powerful than making love to the whole goddamn world.
And it’s responding. I see it. I see it! The lights across the nightside—the ones that are still on—they’re not random. They’re not chaos. Not anymore. They’re distinct, lovely patterns, lights flicking on and off with precise rules only a giantess—let’s be honest, a goddess—could see, gliding and flitting across the surface of the world.
I shudder more violently, and feel things—feel everything—begin to crumble in my embrace.
I scream in what might truly be a world-shattering climax. Abruptly, everything flickers out, and I’m—
—not sure where I am. Have I done it? Have I actually done it?
I won’t know until I come down. Let me—just catch my breath—