I simply adore this movie. I have ever since I was little and it has still been very close to my heart. Please read, review, and enjoy! I know lame title is lame.
Souls Don't Die
Part One: Follow Me Home
The day had begun like any other. The sun slowly rose over the rolling hills and beautiful, lush trees surrounding the town of Rockwell, Maine. Microscopic dust motes danced happily in the golden rays that streamed in through twelve-year-old Hogarth Hughes's bedroom window. The light shone in the young boy's face as his eyes scrunched closed and he groaned. Taking his pillow in his fist, Hogarth rolled over and covered his head, not quite ready to wake up yet. It was summer vacation, for heaven's sake! However, he was up now and with that sun shining right in his eyes, he wasn't about to get much more sleep.
Groaning once more, Hogarth rolled out of bed, his reddish-brown hair delightfully mussed. Stretching and yawning widely, Hogarth got to his feet and padded over to his window, peering out into the world of the early morning. Scores of birds chirped cheerfully to one another as they fluttered about. There was hardly a cloud in the perfectly blue sky. It was a perfect Maine morning, so beautiful that the young boy couldn't help but smile. Rubbing his navy blue eyes, Hogarth walked to the bathroom to dress and brush his teeth and hair, ready for another day.
Hogarth had grown tall in the last year. He was gangly, his limbs looking as if they didn't know quite what to do. He still looked about the same, except his round face was beginning to take shape. Nevertheless, Hogarth was still Hogarth. He raced down the stairs, going to grab a quick bowl of cereal before heading out. His parents were already sitting at the dining room table, eating and taking turns reading today's paper. Hogarth had met Dean, the man at the table, about a year and a half ago. Dean had fallen in love with his widowed mother, Annie, and now Hogarth called Dean, "Dad." His real father, Howard, had died in a plane accident five years ago during the Cold War, when he was flying a fighter jet and was violently shot down. Hogarth remembered that day like it was yesterday and he constantly missed him.
Most kids would whine, cry, and become upset when their mother remarried. Not Hogarth. Ever since Dean came along, Hogarth had felt like he finally found a father again. Dean would laugh with him, play soldier and Hogarth was welcome in the scrapyard anytime he liked. He was even Dean's best man at the wedding and Hogarth had felt very proud.
"'Mornin', kiddo." Dean greeted Hogarth as he plopped down in his chair with a big bowl of his favorite cereal. Hogarth greeted his parents back as he spooned cereal into his mouth, looking out the window and thinking about his day. Today was a perfect day for an adventure. To the lake maybe, or to Lookout Point, a huge rock overlooking the valley. Maybe he would scout around to see if he could find any interesting junk for Dean.
"So what are your plans for today, honey?" Annie asked, buttering a slice of toast. Hogarth looked up from the window and shrugged, chewing his cereal noisily.
"Dunno. I might go up to the creek. Maybe I'll go and play around Lookout Point." Hogarth replied, finishing his cereal with a slurping gulp of milk. Annie rolled her bright green eyes at her son's distinct lack of table manners.
"Hogarth, honey, you know I don't really like you going up to that place. You could fall and break your neck or something." Annie chastised gently, taking a sip of tea. Dean and Hogarth rolled their eyes in unison.
"You worry too much, Mom. I'll be fine!" Hogarth protested, grabbing his jacket just in case. Here in Maine, it could get pretty chilly pretty fast. Dean chuckled at his son and reached out, holding his worrying wife's hand.
"C'mon, honey. Let the kid go have some fun. He'll be fine." Dean said gently, and Annie sighed in defeat. Hogarth beamed at his father and walked over to his fretting mother. He bent over to kiss her cheek goodbye. As he bent over, however, his eye caught the cover of Dean's newspaper. The headline, in brazen, black letters read, "GREAT FIRE TRAIL SEEN IN THE SKY OVER QUEBEC. LEAD SCIENTISTS SUSPECT METEORITE." Hogarth's eyes narrowed slightly as he studied the picture. He loved looking at pictures of shooting stars and comets, but this certainly didn't look like any meteorite he'd ever seen. Suddenly, a hand was waved in front of his face to get his attention back.
"Hogarth? Are you okay, hon?" Annie asked curiously, her and Dean looking at their son in confusion. Hogarth blinked and shook his head, realizing he had been staring. He gave his parents a nervous, crooked-toothed smile, quickly pecked Annie's cheek and gave Dean a hug around the shoulders.
"Yeah, I'm okay. See yah later!" He called out as he ran out the front door and to the barn to retrieve his bike. Hogarth knew what adventure he was going to seek today. He was going to look for that meteorite…
As Hogarth pedaled through his town, he decided to take some time and ride through his favorite trail. It snaked through the forest, and ended quite close to his home. Living all his life in this town, he knew the backwoods quite well. The trail went through one of the most beautiful parts of the forest. Some say that Maine was most stunning in autumn, but Hogarth had to say that his home was gorgeous year-round. He slowed up a little as he went through the wooded world, looking all around him at the spectacular beauty. There was every shade of green you could think of. All kinds of animals roamed quietly through the forest. Hogarth even spotted a herd of deer, the males' antlers covered in velvet and little speckled fawns prancing about in a game of chase.
Hogarth didn't know how long he biked through the forest, but when he did stop, the sun was much higher. His legs were beginning to tire, so Hogarth skidded to a stop, gravel flying from underneath his tires and hopped off. Resting the bike against a tree, Hogarth stretched his arms and looked up to the sky. The brilliant, vast blue was dotted only by a few thin clouds. The only sounds of the forest were the tweeting of the birds and the gentle rustle of leaves. It was very quiet and very peaceful. Hogarth walked around aimlessly, swinging his arms and looking for interesting things.
Although the young boy had many friends now and wasn't ridiculed or bullied as much anymore, Hogarth still liked the moments of quiet when he could just think to himself. He thought about his future, how things were quickly changing and so many other things. He lobbed pinecones into bushes and trailed a long stick through the dirt. Suddenly, Hogarth pitched forward, missing a step as his foot fell into a hole. He caught himself and stepped backwards out of the hole…no, wait, it wasn't a hole. It was a gigantic footprint.
Hogarth blinked and his face fell. Stepping slowly into the huge footprint, he sat down and brought his knees to his chest, crossing his arms over them. It had been over a year since his dearest friend, the Iron Giant, had sacrificed himself to save the town and Hogarth from the missile. Hogarth could still remember those days like they were yesterday. He had never felt happier than when he was with the Giant. The massive robot had been gentle, kind and loving. He had been his very best friend. Even though the Giant had been gone for over a year, Hogarth was still hurt deep inside. He had tried his best to get over it, to move on and focus on the happy things – the wedding and his new family. However, it almost felt like the more he tried to move on, the lonelier he felt and the more he missed the Giant.
As Hogarth sat in the footprint made by his friend long ago, he looked up to the sky. He almost wished that the meteorite wasn't a big space rock, but something – someone – else instead. Why had he even come out here anyway? What would he do with a big rock once he found it? It probably hadn't landed here anyway. Studying the shafts of light shining through the trees, Hogarth suddenly spotted a hawk, fast asleep with her head under her wing, sitting on a nest. Her mate stood guard beside her and the nest, amber eyes watching Hogarth warily. The young boy wouldn't try to hurt him, but the hawk didn't know that. Hogarth couldn't help but think of when he first met the Giant. He didn't know that he was good and kind and gentle.
The grieving boy bent his head and his eyes, feeling tears flood them so fast he couldn't hold them back. Hogarth wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, sniffling and trying to keep himself together. However, he could only think of the Giant and how much he really missed him. Hogarth let out a strangled sob and let it all go. Burying his head in his arms, he allowed himself to cry. Nobody was here except the animals and they were probably trying to get away from the annoying noise. Poor Hogarth couldn't seem to stop crying. He had bottled up so much emotion that now they all came flooding out, like a dam had burst inside of him.
It seemed like hours before he was able to stop crying. Sniffling, Hogarth wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his jacket. Getting to his feet and stepping out of the indentation, Hogarth gave one final, sad look to the footprint – the last remainder of his friend. When the little bolt had rolled out into the grass over a year ago, Hogarth had been optimistic that his friend would return to him. After all, he could fix himself. However, as the weeks turned into months, Hogarth lost all hope. He knew that there were pieces that probably disintegrated and lost forever. He was never getting his friend back.
Hogarth walked to his bike and took the handlebars in his hands. He hoped that his eyes wouldn't be red and puffy when he returned home. He really didn't want to stress Annie out, or upset Dean. He knew that he would be okay someday, like he was when his father passed away. He was sad for a very long time, but now it didn't hurt as much as it used to. As Hogarth mounted his bike, he found himself wishing that Kent Mansley had never set foot in Rockwell, wishing that the missile was never sent into the sky.
Hogarth froze, his ears picking up the slightest sound. It was a very familiar sound…like many tons of iron coming in contact with the earth. It was rhythmic…like footsteps. Hogarth shook his head, angry with himself now. He hated getting his hopes up knowing that there was nothing to hope for. Turning away, the young boy was about to start the trek home when he heard that unmistakable noise again…and it sounded even closer this time! Hogarth gasped and stopped his bike, looking over his shoulder. He couldn't be imagining the noise, it was as real as any other sound, as real as his own breathing.
His brows furrowing in determination, Hogarth turned his bike in the direction he thought the sound was coming from. Pressing his feet to the pedals, he raced through the forest. Hogarth kept his ears wide open, listening desperately for that familiar sound. However, as he raced past trees and brush, Hogarth found that he could no longer hear the footsteps. He didn't stop the bike, however. The trail had long disappeared, but Hogarth could only try to listen for the loud noise, maybe even get a glimpse of grey iron, perhaps find a fresh footprint. Yet, his search yielded nothing. He no longer saw or heard anything. He was completely immersed in the world of the forest and there was nothing out of the ordinary now. There was nothing searching for any longer.
Hogarth couldn't keep the tears of disappointment from flooding his eyes and he felt incredibly stupid. What in the hell had he even been thinking? What, over a year after the Giant had sacrificed himself and blown into a trillion pieces, he would suddenly show up and everything would be fine and dandy? No, that was not how life worked. Once you were gone, you were gone forever and nothing would bring you back. Hogarth should have known that, his father had been gone for many years. Nevertheless, he couldn't help his heart from breaking. Despite his new friends and even his new dad, the Giant had been something special to him. He had been more than a friend…maybe even like a brother, the companion that he had always needed. Now, he had foolishly gotten his hopes up to only have them crushed for the final time.
The poor boy wiped his eyes and continued to bike through the woods, no longer having any idea where he was going. Hogarth decided he probably needed to start making his way home. He wasn't going to find anything out here and right now, he really didn't feel like having an adventure anyway. He looked up, trying to spot the familiar landmarks that would lead him home. However, he didn't see any. Hogarth had gone off the trail and had ventured into a part of the woods he hadn't visited often before. He had no idea where he was going. Hogarth sighed to himself, beginning to try and find the path home. He figured he should probably stop and turn himself around. However, Hogarth never got that chance.
The ground underneath his tires suddenly disappeared. He had biked into a steep incline without realizing it. Hogarth gave a yell of horror as he began to lose control of the bike, careening down the steep hill. Hogarth tried to swallow his panic, struggling to keep control of the bike, all the while trying to stop and brake. However, no matter how he pressed the pedals backwards, the bike just kept going. The hill was far too steep. Branches swiped against his cheeks and legs, catching his hair and stinging something fierce. Hogarth put his full force on the brakes, leaning backwards and grimacing out of effort. However, too much pressure was put on the brakes and the chain snapped.
The bike was hurtling full force down the cliff, bouncing along. Hogarth swerved left and right, veering sideways and nearly throwing it's rider to the ground. Hogarth held onto the handlebars so tightly that his knuckles turned white. Suddenly, there was a burst of bright light as the forest abruptly ended. Hogarth squinted, fighting against the instinct to raise his hand and block out the sun. He had careened all the way to the cliffs that surrounded Maine. Hogarth gasped and threw all his weight backwards once again, trying in vain to stop or at least slow down to where he could leap off the bike without hurting himself.
Suddenly, as the bike began to veer sideways, hurtling closer and closer to the razor edge of the cliff, the front tire became wedged in a crack in-between the rocks. The bike lurched to a sudden halt, but Hogarth didn't. He was thrown forward into the air with a cry, putting out his hands to try and catch himself. However, he didn't land on the rocks at all. His fingers grasped at nothing but open air. The cliff ended abruptly, the bike left behind on the edge as its owner went careening over.
Hogarth couldn't suppress his scream as he tumbled from the cliff, falling towards the great blue ocean, clawing at nothing but open air. Hogarth's stomach clenched and he could only process one single thought. It was like his brain seized up and he could only think about dying. There was no way he was going to survive this. He hoped he wouldn't feel the impact against the rocks that would surely take his life in a few seconds. Some people say that when you are about to die, your whole life passes through your eyes. For Hogarth, that wasn't the case. All he could think about was the razor-sharp rocks that were growing ever-closer. As he fell to his death, Hogarth heard a massive metallic bellow of horror coming from the top of the cliffs…it almost sounded like his name…
Suddenly, Hogarth felt his chest connect with something hard. The brunt of his fall was ceased as he crashed into something solid that was suddenly thrust underneath him. His instincts for survival kicked in and Hogarth struggled desperately to turn around and grasp at the branch or rock he had collided with. He only succeeded in rolling down and off the rock or branch, his scrabbling fingers failing to find a hold. Hogarth cried out, still struggling when the branch made a sudden movement. It was almost like it was moving underneath him, trying to catch him. Hogarth didn't care what the object was at the moment. He only cared about trying to save himself. Finally, Hogarth felt his fingers catch hold on a slight indent in the thing that was trying to save him. Desperately, the panicking boy wrapped his arms around the thick, solid object, closing his eyes and shaking uncontrollably.
Hogarth could feel the strong wind from the currents below swirling around him, the sharp scent of seawater, hearing the noise of crashing waves. But he had stopped in mid-air, holding tightly for dear life to the object. Hogarth buried his face into the branch or whatever it was, trying to control his shaking and swallow his terror. His heart pounded furiously against his sternum as if it was trying to burst out of his chest. As Hogarth pressed his cheek to the branch, he realized…it was not a branch at all. It was smooth, solid, cool to the touch and felt like…metal.
Hogarth's eyes opened wide, unable to believe it. No, he wouldn't believe it. He would only be crushing his hopes once more. He'd had enough disappointment for the day, not to mention a near-brush with death. However, he was still alive, clinging desperately to the object that had saved him. It must be real, and it felt real, or else he wouldn't be here. Swallowing his trepidation, Hogarth slowly looked up, only to see that the thing he thought was real, truly and indefinitely was real. He couldn't contain his scream of shock, astonishment, and joy.
Hogarth's savior was none other than the Iron Giant himself. The gigantic steel grey robot was bent over the cliff as far as he could go without falling over himself. One massive hand clutched the edge of the razor-sharp cliff, the other extended as far as his arm could possibly go, the small human boy dangling from his index finger. The Giant looked terrified, shoulders heaving and body shaking. Hogarth could only stare at him, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. He could hardly believe it. His dearest friend was alive, really and truly alive, and he had saved his life. The Giant began to slowly lift his hand, making sure that Hogarth had a good grip on his finger. He carefully maneuvered his hand to where he could gently deposit the boy in his other hand. Hogarth exhaled a strangled sigh of relief as he collapsed into the familiar palm, his entire body shaking.
The Giant gently lifted his hand over the cliff, bringing Hogarth out of harm's way. With a deep, rumbling sigh, the Giant fell backwards from his knees to sit on the cliff, cupping his hands around the young boy. Hogarth looked up at him, still clutching at the iron palm holding him. The Giant still looked quite worried, looking right back at Hogarth with concern. Hogarth's chin quivered as he realized that all he had been wishing for, had been hoping for, had become reality. His greatest friend was alive. He was home.
Hogarth got to his feet, still shaking, but uncaring. Standing straight, the boy extended his arms to his friend, reaching for him. The Giant lifted Hogarth closer, studying him for a moment. He was taller, but that was all that had changed. He was still his Hogarth. The Giant smiled then, looking down at the young human with nothing but absolute love. The Giant tilted his head forward and Hogarth ran up to him, wrapping his arms around the Giant's face, embracing his friend as tightly as he could muster. Hogarth closed his eyes and began to cry. Big, sloppy, albeit silent tears soaked the front of the Giant's face as he touched his cheek to the cool metal.
"Hogarth," The Giant rumbled deeply, but softly. How he had missed his little friend. He had spent over a year trying to repair himself and make it back to Maine and back to his boy. He had finally found him, although he wished it was under better circumstances. The Giant rumbled soothingly, cupping his hands around the young boy and returning the embrace. The two reunited, finally together once more.
"I-I missed you. I missed you so much." Hogarth managed to whisper, choking on the words, tears streaming from his eyes like waterfalls. His fingers tightened on his friend's face, shutting his eyes tightly. The emotions he had kept all bottled up for over a year, mixed with the pure relief of finding the Giant all flooded out of him.
"Missed you," The Giant said, holding his Hogarth close, making sure to be careful with him. He had seen the boy careen from the bike and the cliffs. It was an extremely scary thing. Hogarth couldn't seem to stop crying. He tried wiping his eyes with the back of a hand, but the tears came just as fast as ever before. So, the young boy just gave up, and wrapped his arms around the Giant once more.
"I thought…I thought I'd never see you again," Hogarth said, sniffling noisily. He pulled away to look at his friend, who still held him tightly.
"I'm…here," The Giant rumbled softly. With his index finger, he gently touched Hogarth's wet, streaked cheek, wiping away a tear with the gentlest of caresses. Hogarth knew that the Giant would never, ever hurt him and he reached up and grasped the finger, holding on very tight. Finally the incessant flow of tears ceased and Hogarth gave a long sigh, sitting back down in his friend's familiar palm. He smiled widely up at the Giant, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. He had so many questions! However, there were ones that needed answering more than the others.
"How…how did you come back? I…" Hogarth bent his head. "I saw you die. I saw it happen." Hogarth looked up again and the Giant grinned. He reached up and tapped the top of his head. For just a moment, Hogarth was confused, but the he realized it – the beacon! The blue beacon must have sent a signal out to every missing part of his body, and slowly he reconstructed himself. It would have been a very long and tedious process. Hogarth had been right – the Giant had been somewhere, fixing himself. Now, Hogarth was noticing the red streaks of rust on the Giant's joints. Dean would certainly have no problem fixing him up.
"Wait a minute – I did hear you! I did hear you in the forest!" Hogarth said happily. "Thanks for saving me." The Giant nodded. He had been hiding in the forest since last night, waiting for his boy to come looking for him, or at least find his home. He had tried to go after Hogarth when he was riding away and only caught up to him when his bike crashed and he went over the cliffs.
"Scared." The Giant grumbled softly, looking quite sad for a moment. Hogarth blinked and patted the palm beneath him soothingly.
"I'm okay, really. I just got a few scratches here and there." Hogarth said before looking up at the Giant once again. He was still having trouble getting over the shock of his dearest friend suddenly appearing out of nowhere and saving his life once more. The truth for Hogarth was merely reiterated stronger. No matter what, the Giant would protect him, even if it meant flying straight into a deadly missile. Reaching forward and touching the Giant's lower jaw tenderly, Hogarth spoke very softly. "You really are Superman."
The Giant blinked in surprise, but then grinned at his little friend. Raising his hand, he deposited Hogarth on his broad shoulder, standing up. Hogarth settled into the familiar place, looking out across the mighty Atlantic and smiling happily. The Giant began to turn away back into the forest when Hogarth stopped him. The Giant looked at the human on his shoulder in confusion.
"Wait, could you grab my bike? It's kinda busted, so…ugh, Dad's gonna kill me."