Phantom Gains - by Marlow ~BBW, ~MWG, paranormal, intrigue

Discussion in 'Fantasy/Science Fiction Archive' started by Marlow, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Feb 18, 2015 #121

    Q Bomb

    Q Bomb

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    It's brilliant. I've been wondering for a while if Scarlett had gained; in a WG story, when a thin girl is offscreen and not described for a long time, you wait to see if she returns with an unexpected gain. But it seems like Scarlett is in denial about that - I wonder why Adam didn't say anything?

    Great plot twist.
     
  2. Feb 18, 2015 #122

    Marlow

    Marlow

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    Chekhov's Gain? Sounds like a good Dimensions rule of thumb.



    Chapter 37


    “I have to go over there,” said Rory, throwing open the coat closet.

    “What?” Raleigh asked drearily from the couch. “Where?”

    “To your house,” he called back, yanking out his overcoat. “Adam’s there and he has Scarlett with him. And from what Leslie said…” He buried his arms in the coat. “Scarlett has Soren with her.”

    Raleigh rubbed her temples. “What, like she’s possessed?”

    “Or something. Maybe. I don’t know. I just…I just know this is bad. I have to warn Adam before she does something.”

    “Well, just call him…oh, phone.” Raleigh propped herself up. She took a swig from the half-empty wine bottle and watched Rory pull on his boots. “You really think there’ll be trouble?”

    He paused mid-lace, pensive. After a moment he exhaled and nodded vehemently. “Yes. This is bad.”

    “Then I’m coming, too.”

    “No. You’re the one it wants.”

    “We don’t know what it wants.” An idea struck her. “But we do know what it’s afraid of.”

    Rory looked up. “Hm?”

    “You need Heloise. And you need her at full strength.” Raleigh threw off her blankets and reached for the black dress. “So I need to keep eating. And fast.”

    “There is really nothing left in the house, Raleigh.”

    “Then I’ll order out,” she said, yawning.

    “It’s almost two in the morning. And this is a dead suburb. Just…rest for now, maybe.”

    “No,” she grunted, standing. “I need to eat. A lot.” She waddled over, exposed flab jiggling with each step, and squeezed Rory’s shoulders. “And I have an idea.”

    “This is a terrible idea,” said Rory, fifteen minutes later.

    There were only two other cars in the wide open parking lot, each tucked in by the building. Rory’s car sat out by the entrance, afraid to go any further in.

    “It’s a brilliant—hiccup!—idea,” Raleigh countered, shutting the car door. She strutted gracelessly around the car, taking a long pull from the wine bottle. She had managed to put the dress back on, though it had grown remarkably snug and significantly shorter on her thighs.

    Rory rolled down the window. She leaned in on an elbow and shook the emptied bottle at his face.

    “I’m dropping you off in a creepy parking lot in the middle of the night,” Rory sighed. “It just seems…creepy.”

    “Says the guy headed to a haunted house,” she retorted with a burp.

    “And kinda dangerous,” he added.

    “I’ll be fine,” she assured him, tossing the empty bottle into the car. “It’s a dead suburb, right? Plus I am still, um, pretty damn drunk and danger is…not something my brain is able to worry about right now.” She backed away from the car, stumbling a bit.

    “Danger doesn’t really care if you believe in it or—”

    “Oh my god, Rory, go fucking save your friend,” she giggled. “I’ll be—hic!—I’ll be fine. I know this place. And I’ve got my phone.” She patted her purse.

    “Fine. Just be careful.”

    “You too. Now go already!”

    He backed out of the lot and sped away. Raleigh turned, cheery face shining in the glow of the all-night diner’s bright red sign.

    She staggered across the parking lot to the west side of the building, where a fat young woman in a too-small apron was huddled in the cold with a sage-leaf cigarette.

    Ruby dropped it and stamped it out as Raleigh approached. The big waitress squinted, unsure if she recognized her, then broke into a wide smile.

    Rory took a back way into the woods, avoiding the speed traps on the main road. He raced through the park, his weak headlights barely giving him notice of the winding parkway’s many sudden turns.

    The route only grew more treacherous when it deposited him onto the farm road that lead to Raleigh’s. It was indifferently paved and infrequently plowed. The melt-by-day, freeze-by-night cycle of the past few days had formed a thick and uncovered sheet of ice. Rory nearly lost control of the car a few times, but narrowly escaped each skid.

    He threw a nervous glance to the picnic basket in his passenger’s seat, glad he’d had the foresight to buckle it in. The lunchbox was half-tucked into the basket’s lid and he’d brought one of the iron garden stakes for good measure.

    He checked the rearview mirror. The face of Soren glared back at him.

    Rory panicked and jerked around. Soren wasn’t there, but the wheels had caught ice again and Rory’s twisting had left the wheels at the wrong angle. The car spun sideways and slid across the road, then off.

    It didn’t roll as it careened off the shoulder, thankfully, but wasn’t stopping. It skidded down the gentle slope, continuing to spin. Rory checked his seatbelt, swearing at himself. The car jolted down a final dip and then, at last, came to rest on the shoreline of the frozen lake. Rory spun the wheels for a minute, but couldn’t find any traction.

    He threw open the door and stomped out of the car. A look back at his rear wheels showed them mere inches from the edge of the ice. The car had been halted by a small, perfectly placed chunk of ice. It was strangely rounded for broken ice and Rory couldn’t be sure, but it looked very similar to the fat, whittled wood-carving from the tavern.

    He didn’t take the time to check, instead trudging around and unbuckling the emergency kit.

    This shoreline, if he remembered correctly, followed the road around its last few curves past Raleigh’s house. Ahead, then, was only a relatively narrow bay of the lake, maybe half a mile wide. Directly across the bay, almost hidden by the trees, a light glowed in one of her windows.

    Rory tested the ice. It was still solid, but it was now officially spring. The ice fisherman had already taken their icehouses in for the year and while the lake was still solidly frozen over, dark patches were appearing where the snow had cleared. The ice was only a week or two away from breaking.

    But there was no time. Rory popped his trunk open and dug out a pair of snowshoes. They had metal teeth on the bottom and gripped the ice as he stepped out onto the lake.

    He took one last look at the car, breathed deeply, and set off across the bay, picnic basket in one hand and garden stake in the other.

    A bone-chilling wind assailed him as he crossed halfway, nearly knocking him back. His eyes screamed at him, but he pressed on.

    Voices rose up from the ice, calling his name. He looked down and as he passed over snowless plots of ice he could see figures beneath his snowshoes, people swimming about and waving their arms at him. One was a portly young man with a bag of old schoolbooks around his neck, dressed in turn of the century tweed. Another was a slender girl in a tie-dye shirt and hiking boots. There were others behind them, dressed in more ancient clothing, looks of loss and horror in their eyes.

    Rory looked back up, clouds of breath trailing him as he hurried. Up ahead, the lone light in the house winked off.
     
  3. Feb 18, 2015 #123

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

    mostly harmless

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    The great white north, eh?
    ooh, getting creepy! (I mean that in a good way, btw)
     
  4. Feb 19, 2015 #124

    Smileykatz70

    Smileykatz70

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    I love this story!!!!
     
  5. Feb 19, 2015 #125

    Jake (JMJ)

    Jake (JMJ)

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    Best story that's been posted to this board in quite some time.

    Jake (JMJ)
     
  6. Feb 22, 2015 #126

    Marlow

    Marlow

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    Chapter 38


    Rory clicked out of his snowshoes. They’d carried him up to the driveway, where he now paused to steel himself and dig through the picnic basket.

    The house was dark. The only sounds were the harsh witching-hour wind and Rory’s labored breathing. He set the snowshoes up against a tree trunk and scanned the house as he approached the front steps.

    The front door hung open, its glass shattered by Raleigh’s fight with the furniture. The kitchen window was blown out, too, and a chair lay just outside it. Divots in the ice recalled his and Raleigh’s scrambling escape. The steps were coated in frozen runoff after warm days and cold nights; a long ice dam on the roof threatened to fall at any moment.

    Rory stepped onto the front porch, keeping toward the wall and stepping carefully. He wedged the garden rod under the picnic basket’s handle to give himself a free hand.

    The jutting sunroom wall blocked most of the wind, blanketing him in silence. He reached into the basket and pulled out a bouquet of sage leaves. He paused for a moment, wondering if was wise to announce his presence.

    “It’s a psychotic ghost, Rory,” he reminded himself, digging a lighter out of his pocket. “Pretty sure it knows you’re here.”

    He lit his makeshift sage torch, which flashed to life. Its glow illuminated the porch and twinkled in the broken glass. Behind the sputtering of the flames, he could make out a new sound, an otherworldy, rhythmic whining.

    It was an accordion, he realized. As it played through a few more bars, he recognized the opening instrumental to Paul Simon’s ‘Boy in the Bubble,’ his favorite song as a child. Yes, the ghost knew he was here, and it knew who he was. The music played on, its tone crackling with radio static.

    Rory stepped through the glass, his foot landing inside the house as the first drumbeat fell in the song.

    He raised his torch, and as the second drumbeat fell it illuminated Adam’s face on the far side of the room, eyes wide with horror, mouth squeezed shut. His body was bound to the kitchen island by power cords, extension cords, and strands of Christmas lights. The bear trap was closed on his ankle and his pantleg was soaked with blood. Several untouched plates of food lay before him.

    The third drumbeat fell as Rory hurried forward. Adam’s web trap was in disarray, either only half set-up or now half torn down. The floor was littered with the mousetraps and flypaper. Seeing Rory, Adam grunted and vehemently shook his head.

    The fourth drumbeat fell and with it a crushing impact sent Rory sprawling. He hit the ground, triggering several of the mousetraps as the song’s intro kicked into gear. The picnic basket went flying and the sage torch skittered across the countertop.

    Wincing at the snapping pain, he rolled and looked up. The man-shaped pile of furniture loomed in the entryway, brandishing the microwave with which it had just suckerpunched Rory. An old stereo served as its head, piping the tinny song.

    A dim light in the next room flickered on and from behind the towering golem stepped a young woman. She wore a black corset, gothic lingerie, and fishnet stockings, none of which fit any longer. Rory recognized her as Scarlett, though she was at least a hundred pounds heavier than when he’d last seen her. Her torso barely squished into the corset, the garters dug into her thighs, and an enormous pale derriere swelled out behind her. She bared her teeth in a vicious grin that creased her double chin. A faded green handkerchief was tied around her neck.

    Rory scrambled to his feet, pushing towards the kitchen counter. Scarlett clapped her hands with malevolent glee. It made her body jiggle.

    “It was a slow day…” sang Paul Simon as the golem lurched forward. The microwave door swung out as the monster raised its weapon.

    Rory dove across the kitchen island and grabbed at the torch. He missed and rolled off the countertop just in time to avoid the microwave as it crashed down behind him. The impact cracked the granite there and split the door from the microwave.

    The golem left the appliance broken on the counter and summoned up a fist made of knives and cutlery. Rory’s dive from the island had landed him near the overturned picnic basket; he unsheathed the garden rod and sprang to his feet, swearing to himself.

    The golem tested him with a fake swing of the utensil-fist. Rory leapt back a few feet, tripping a little over Raleigh’s discarded scarf. Scarlett cackled.

    “Adam, you okay over there?” Rory asked, eyes fixed on the golem as it stepped closer.

    “More or less,” Adam called from his tangled prison. “Kinda stuck, though. Oh, and there’s the bear trap, I suppose.”

    Rory opened his mouth to reply, but the golem thrust forward. The fist swung out, silverware flashing in the torchlight. Rory whipped the garden rod around as he twisted aside; it intercepted the fist and parried it away.

    The force of the blow knocked the rod from Rory’s hands, but also splintered the fist. The cutlery scattered like a dandelion seed-head in the wind.

    But then the knives and forks and tongs froze in mid-flight, turned, and spun back to the golem as the fist restored itself.

    “Rory!” Adam shouted over the song, “Iron doesn’t seem to be as effective as I thought. Sorry, man.”

    “Thanks,” Rory sighed, picking himself up from the ground again.

    The golem rounded on him. The fist shot out in another attack.

    Rory ducked and cried out as the edge of the fist grazed his shoulder. He spun, lifted up the hand he had covertly thrust into the overturned picnic basket, and launched a pile of rock salt up the monster.

    It recoiled with a piercing shriek, staggering to the side. A cookbook flew suddenly into Rory’s injured shoulder, flooding him with new pain.

    Scarlett was on the move, grabbing up more books from the floor and flinging them across the room. Rory dodged one and scampered back towards the island, but the golem had recovered. It roared and swatted at him with a limb made of drawers, readying its cutlery-fist for a follow-up attack.

    Rory dove across the island, this time successfully taking hold of the sageleaf torch. There wasn’t much sage left to burn, but the flame was as bright as ever. He slipped off the far side of the broken counter and crouched against the island.

    A glass shattered on the far wall. He could hear Scarlett shouting in Latin. The furniture monster vaulted the island and forged its way across toward Rory. Rory shot up and plunged the sageleaf torch into the bundle of chair legs that formed the golem’s abdomen.

    The torch’s flame flared as it struck, igniting the golem’s whole torso. It quickly spread out to its limbs and extremities as the monster tumbled backwards in panic. Rory dove back, scooping up the plastic lunchbox from the picnic basket.

    He rushed around the island. Scarlett threw herself forward and tackled him to the ground, but he was able to undo the box’s clasp and dump a pile of salt onto the wires that held Adam.

    Rory kicked wildly and connected with Scarlett’s flabby stomach, forcing her off. But before he could get anywhere the blazing furniture golem delivered a staggering kick to his chest that knocked him backward into a cabinet.

    Rory slumped against the cabinet, gasping for air. The golem charged him, flames billowing. Rory dropped and rolled out of its path, but when he sprang back to his feet he found himself facing Scarlett. She was standing in front of Adam’s overstuffed duffel bag and wielded the heavy chain he’d brought. She bared her teeth again.

    “For fuck’s sake,” Rory grumbled, shuffling back. But then the heat of the flaming golem was on his back and he found himself sandwiched between the possessed girl and her pet furniture monster.

    “These are the days of miracles and wonder,” Paul Simon sang. Rory leapt out from between the two assailants and hurtled across the kitchen, barely keeping his footing on the fallen glass. The golem roared and launched itself after him.

    It pursued him into the living room and back out again, punching holes in the wall and kicking appliances about as it went. Rory bounced off everything he could find, ducking under the various objects Scarlett hurled at him. The song played on.

    As he tumbled back into the kitchen, dodging another destructive blow from the golem, Scarlett wrapped herself around his ankles and dragged him to the ground. He hit it with a muffled “oof-dah” and tried to wriggle out of her grasp, but she held firm.

    He looked around in desperation. Something shiny caught his eye—it was the little brass bell he’d used last time, hiding under Raleigh’s scarf. He gave up on prying Scarlett loose, reached up, and seized the bell.

    Scarlett looked up in concern at the tingling of the bell. Rory grunted, swung the bell, and caught her right in the face with it.

    He didn’t hit her very hard—he hadn’t had much leverage—but she fell back like she’d been shot, shrieking and clawing at the air.

    Rory pushed himself to his feet, wildly clanging the tiny little bell. Scarlett contorted herself painfully on the floor.

    The golem lashed out, knocking the bell from his hands and throwing Rory back against the wall. The bell fell helplessly to the floor, where the monster crushed it underfoot.

    The golem loomed over him, but it the flames were fierce enough there soon wouldn’t be enough furniture left to animate. Embers rained to the floor, igniting the throw rug and melting black holes in the linoleum.

    A wind howled and suddenly the golem went limp. Its composite parts went flying, hurled one by one out the remaining unbroken back windows of the kitchen. They embedded themselves in the frozen hill behind the house, where the snow squelched the intensity of the fire.

    The stereo dropped to the floor, abruptly ending the song.

    Scarlett lowered her outstretched arm. She stood prominently in the center of the room, a smug look on her chubby face.

    “Giving up?” Rory wheezed. “You don’t think furniture-man could have killed me?” He slowly reached a hand around to his back pocket.

    Scarlett sucked her teeth. “You aren’t here to die, dreamwalker,” she purred, stepping forward. Her generous butt shifted as she sashayed and her lovehandles peeked alternately out from the corset. “It’s been ages since I’ve taken someone with a gift like yours.”

    Her pudgy hand shot out, gripping his throat.

    “Though you are less gifted than I had hoped,” she continued. “I thought you would have figured it out sooner, but here I’ve waited half the night already.”

    “I had to stop and pick something up,” Rory retorted. “What do you think took me so long?”

    He pulled his hand from his back pocket and whipped it up in front of Scarlett’s face. It held a small plastic snake he’d dug out of his old toybox.

    Scarlett leaned back, her flabby lower half trembling.

    “That’s right, Soren,” Rory hissed. “I know you. I know what you’ve done. And I know what you fear,” he added, shaking the snake.

    Scarlett squinted at it and bristled. “Are you threatening me with a toy?”

    Rory shook it again. “It’s…it’s a snake.” His voice cracked.

    “Hardly,” she grumbled. “And were it a snake, I would have nothing to fear from it—my power outshines any worldly threats. I hardly remember the concept of danger, save that which I pose to mortals.”

    “Maybe this rings a bell,” Adam suggested.

    He was upright, supporting himself on the broken countertop to keep weight off his injured leg. The bear trap still clung to his ankle, but the wires and power cords hung limp, falling onto the salt-spackled floor. In his free hand he clutched a huge brass choir-bell, massive compared to the one Rory had used to rescue Raleigh. Adam’s duffel-bag lay spilled open behind him. He jerked his head and the welding goggles slid down from his forehead to his eyes in a practiced move.

    Scarlett released Rory and rounded on Adam. Adam swept his hand and rang the bell; Scarlett shuddered, pausing mid-step.

    “Maybe you’re not afraid of the dangers of the living world,” he said, ringing the bell again and watching her struggle against its sound, “but there are constraints to how you project your asshole consciousness into our reality.”

    “You cannot ring me out of this host, dilettante,” she spat.

    “Maybe not with this,” he admitted, ringing faster. “But I’m sure I’ll figure something out.”

    The bell’s sound seemed to be heavy agony for Scarlett. She pressed her hands to her ears and dropped to her knees, softness bouncing.

    “Take note, Rory,” Adam shouted, looking up, “brass seems much more effective than iron so far.”

    “You know, I don’t appreciate you making this stuff up as you go,” Rory retorted, gingerly pressing at his grazed shoulder.

    “Well, man, we’ve never actually dealt with a real-life fricking ghost before, so hypothesis and guess-and-check is basically our only option. And please don’t give me attitude—I’ve got a bear trap on my leg and my sister is possessed by a psychopath.”

    “Fine. Sorry. Got any more good guesses?”

    “Let me check.” He sat down against the counter, but kept the bell tolling. “Why don’t you grab that big chain she was playing with?”
     
  7. Feb 23, 2015 #127

    The_Hero

    The_Hero

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    Still don't understand Scarlett gaining, considering Soren hates fat people...
     
  8. Feb 23, 2015 #128

    Tom the pig 8

    Tom the pig 8

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    very good...thanks again
     
  9. Feb 23, 2015 #129

    JimBob

    JimBob

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    It's no fun starving someone into puritan skinniness unless they start off chubby to begin with? That's my guess.
     
  10. Feb 25, 2015 #130

    ALS

    ALS

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    This story is fucking brilliant. I look forward to reading more!
     
  11. Feb 25, 2015 #131

    Marlow

    Marlow

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    Chapter 39


    “ ‘Does this ring a bell?’ ” Rory laughed, shaking his head. “You really said that. I don’t believe it.”

    “I’ve been waiting all my life to drop a one-liner on an evil ghost,” Adam replied, finishing his knot. “I have one ready for every tool in the emergency kit. Except the salt. I didn’t expect the salt to work as well as it has.”

    “Uh huh. Speaking of which, I feel like your emergency kit is way cooler than the one you gave me.”

    “What, because my bell’s bigger?”

    “Are we really comparing who’s bigger?” Scarlett sighed.

    “Shut up,” both men snapped.

    “Is that any way to talk to your sister?” she asked, batting her eyelashes up at them.

    She was chained, tied, and duct taped to the only intact chair they could find. The ropes dug into her plush arms and thighs and her butt spilled over the side of the chair. Her feet were buried in a pail of driveway salt, a wreath of sage leaves crowned her head, and all the brass they could round up from the house—a couple doorknobs, a spigot, and some old jewelry—was piled in her lap. Fortunately, her lap was now wide enough to support a decent-sized pile.

    “Your poor, scared, innocent sister?”

    Adam tingled the bell, making her cringe. “My sister has never and would never describe herself as scared or innocent, shithead.” He tightened a zip-tie around her wrists. “And my sister isn’t two hundred-some pounds and pear-shaped.”

    “She is now,” Scarlett sneered.

    Adam huffed. He looked up at Rory. “Scarlett’s still in there somewhere, right?”

    “I…I think so, yeah,” Rory managed, staring at her. “I can feel two presences.”

    “That’s because I ate her,” Scarlett snickered, pooching her belly.

    “Not yet, you haven’t,” Rory corrected, standing.

    “What do you mean?” Adam asked, checking the bandage on his ankle.

    Rory folded his arms, wincing at the pain in his shoulder. His sleeve was shredded there and the shirt was charred down where the flaming golem had kicked him. “Soren consumes people,” he explained, as much to himself as to Adam. “He’s not a ghost like the others…he’s some kind of immortal spirit, not a lingering memory. He’s found a way to sustain himself by taking people’s lives or…spirits or something.”

    “A revenant, perhaps, or similar,” Adam mused.

    “Why not. From what I see, he worms his way into people’s lives, slowly isolates them, gets his hold on them, and then, when he’s ready—”

    “Yum num num num num,” said Scarlett. “They’re sacrificed to greater purpose.”

    Adam tingled the bell in her ear. “Shut up. Yeah, that makes sense. It explains all the stories.”

    Rory nodded. “A century and a half of missing people, all sacrificed in some ritual to extend Soren’s sick existence.”

    “And it all started with his own brother.”

    “No,” Rory replied, “that was just anger. And it helped isolate Sven’s wife…the sacrifices started with Heloise.” He glared at Scarlett, who smiled back.

    “That’s right,” she hissed. “How clever you are.”

    Rory tapped his forehead. “Detective.”

    “And he’s been ruling over the house ever since,” Adam realized, shaking his head.

    “Complete dominion,” Scarlett confirmed. “I starved that disgusting, besotted, lard-choked pig back into the beautiful maiden I had loved and coveted before Sven ruined her. I bricked up their wretched kitchen, that den of depravity. I closed up their inn and shut out the degraded filth of this hopeless, corrupted town. And then, when Heloise had been purified, I sacrificed her to my own lasting glory.”

    “Well, your glory won’t be lasting much longer. Adam, I assume you have a plan?”

    “Always, man. Always. Now that Soren’s host here can’t interfere anymore, we’re going to finish setting up my web. We can use it to draw his spirit out of her.”

    “And do what with it?”

    Adam grimaced. “We see if you’re right about there being another ghost in the house.”

    “Heloise.”

    “If she really is on our side…then she’ll probably have some suggestions for us.”

    Scarlett scoffed. “Heloise? That foolish girl is no more dangerous to me than your toy serpent. She’s too busy indulging herself to know anything about impeding me.” Scarlett glared into Rory’s soul. “You and your amateur heroism are but a needless delay. By the end of this day, this anniversary of my initial rite, you shall be each of you drowned and your energies, your various gifts, and your longevity shall be mine to enjoy until I have exhausted them. And by then even those who mourn you will be gone from the recollection of this world, but I shall prosper beyond, wielding more power than your mortality can hope to comprehend!”

    Her lips frothed as she spat out each vicious word. Adam had instinctively backed away from her tirade, but Rory stood fast, arms crossed.

    He exhaled slowly, then turned to Adam. “Nah. Heloise is stronger than this jackass is willing to admit. That’s why he attacked Raleigh that night—she was getting too close and it forced his hand.”

    “Preposterous,” Scarlett snapped.

    “He’s not used to his food fighting back,” Rory continued, ignoring her. “Because he’s as greedy, gluttonous, and lazy as the brother he envied. His feasts are just more…metaphysical in nature.” He gave Scarlett a disgusted glare and pinched her exposed muffin-top. “Soren is a sleazy hypocrite and he’s afraid of losing the upper hand.”

    Adam took a deep breath. “I believe you.”

    “I appreciate that. And I know Heloise will, too. So once we get your web up, we bring Raleigh over to, uh, channel her and put an end to this…cycle.”

    “I like it,” Adam affirmed. “Our playtime here ripped up most of the web, but I’ve got plenty more twine. Let’s move that microwave so we can set up the central node.”

    Rory shook his head. “No, not up here. We should put it in the basement. It’s the spiritual center of the home.”

    It was past three in the morning when they finally got started and the process took several more hours from there. Much of the initial time was spent carrying Scarlett downstairs so that she wouldn’t be out of sight. It was an arduous process, as both men were injured and she was indeed well over two hundred pounds.

    She cackled and berated them the whole way down, straining at her bonds and kicking her feet around in the salt bucket. But the tolling of the bell eventually silenced her once they’d gotten her into the basement. She begrudgingly sat still as they hung the bell in the center of the room for easy striking. Occasionally she would forget herself and hurl an insult, but they’d give it a quick ring and she’d bite her tongue.

    Venturing up one at a time, afraid to leave her unwatched, they gradually ferried down all of Adam’s equipment and the tangled mess that was his first attempt at a web. With more salt on hand, they sprinkled a circle around Scarlett’s chair.

    The heavy lifting complete, they rested a while and checked their wounds. Adam’s leg was still bleeding and he re-wrapped his bandage, thankful that the bear trap had been so old and barely functional. Rory gave up on his ripped and charred shirt, converting it into a bandage for his bloodied shoulder. His chest was bruised but not burned.

    “Oh, Rory,” Scarlett cooed. “Have you been working out?”

    “More than you, looks like,” Adam interrupted.

    “Yeah, I kinda let myself go,” she sneered, jiggling her butt in the chair. Adam tingled the bell.

    They set up the fishfinder on a small round table in the center of the room and began stringing the twine. The first round of the web formed a seven-pointed star, or as close an approximation of one as the basement clutter would allow.

    “So how long did she have you tied up before I got here?” Rory asked, standing on the workbench to tie and end to the rafters.

    “A couple hours,” Adam recalled. “We’d gotten halfway through the web upstairs when she suddenly…stopped being helpful. Next thing I knew, I was attacked by a pile of furniture and tied to the counter.”

    “Shit.”

    “She made a bunch of food and tried to get me to eat it. But I wasn’t playing along, so I got the bear trap.” He glared at his possessed sister.

    “I’m sorry I took so long, man.”

    “No, dude, don’t be. I told you not to come.” Adam finished tying an end to the armoire door and shuffled back to his bag. “What made you show up, though?”

    “I got a clue,” Rory replied, hopping down from the workbench. “A tip. Soren forgot that people still care about his victims.”

    “Leslie. That stupid, shrewish roommate,” Scarlett scoffed. “She’ll be ruinously fat someday, too.”

    Rory rang the bell. “Good for her. Now shut up.”

    From the heptagram they hung a set of secondary webs that cascaded to the floor, making moving around the basement slow going. From these they hung a variety of little birdcages, careful to leave all the doors wide open.

    “Good lord, Adam. Where did you get all of these?”

    “Uh, here and there. The internet. Just make sure you get the vessels in each one.”

    The night stretched on as they toiled. In each birdcage they placed an item from one of Adam’s bags: a flask, a plastic cup, a Nalgene, a milk carton, a champagne glass, and a variety of other containers. In the largest birdcage, hung in the center over the fishfinder, they placed a fishbowl. Rory filled it with tapwater and then dropped in the toy snake on a last-minute whim.

    “So, should I ask where Raleigh is?” Adam called from the other side of the room. He peeked out the little basement window. “I assume she can get over here when we’re ready.”

    Rory followed his gaze out the window. A few layers of color were appearing on the horizon as morning prepared for its daily debut. “Raleigh’s, ah…having breakfast,” he said with an apologetic smirk.

    Behind him, Scarlett licked her lips. On the wall behind her, out of their sight, a single brick wiggled itself out of its place in the wall and dropped to the cluttered floor.
     
  12. Feb 25, 2015 #132

    Tom the pig 8

    Tom the pig 8

    Tom the pig 8

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    ouuuuuuu.....very scary !!!!
     
  13. Feb 27, 2015 #133

    BobbyFad

    BobbyFad

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    I like the little succubus type things mixed in the newest chapter, great story still!
     
  14. Feb 28, 2015 #134

    Smileykatz70

    Smileykatz70

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    I am anxiously awaiting more ;;)
     
  15. Mar 1, 2015 #135

    Marlow

    Marlow

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    Chapter 40


    “Well, Raleigh, this isn’t really what I expected,” Ruby admitted with a groan, “but it is awesome.”

    Raleigh belched in reply. Her head still swam and she was almost too full to speak.

    The girls lay sprawled on their backs on the floor in the back dining area of the diner. Their bellies pushed up toward the ceiling. As the light of sunrise filtered in, it cast its golden glow on dozens of emptied, syrupy plates. They were littered on the floor around the two girls—though the majority were around Raleigh—and stacked on the table where they’d been feasting before they’d given up on chairs.

    Raleigh studied her finger for a moment, then sucked some powdered sugar off of it. For once, she was too full to consider another serving. Being able to finally, genuinely satisfy what had begun to feel like limitless hunger felt like a real achievement.

    “You are unreal, girl,” Ruby whistled. “I can’t believe how much you put away.”

    “I just don’t know where it all goes,” Raleigh managed to joke, patting her distended mound of a belly. “Are you sure you’re going to be able to square this with your manager?”

    Their feast seemed like it would be pretty bad for the business. During their pancake frenzy they’d seen no visitors to the diner and had eventually hung the ‘closed’ sign just to make sure they wouldn’t be interrupted.

    “Oh, he’s alright with it,” Ruby assured her. She cocked her thumb at the kitchen. “Gives him an excuse to smoke back there for a while. He’s been talking about closing up one of these graveyard shifts anyway.”

    Raleigh squinted at the kitchen, stifling a burp. “Wait, that cook dude is the manager? That’s awesome.”

    “I’ll tell you what’s awesome,” Ruby countered, slowly sitting herself up on her arms. Her wide abdomen, no longer hidden by the apron, creased into several thick rolls. Her impressive lovehandles flapped out beneath the reaches of her uniform shirt. “That appetite of yours. It’s crazy. I mean…”

    “What?” Raleigh asked, lifting her head. Ruby was looking up and down Raleigh’s body.

    “When you staggered up tonight, I’m pretty sure I was fatter than you. But I feel like…and I assume you won’t take this the wrong way, considering what we just spent the past four hours doing…I feel like you’re heavier than me now. I didn’t think it was possible to put on weight that fast.” She laughed. “Of course, I didn’t think it was possible to eat that much in one sitting. I’m still not sure I believe it.”

    Raleigh rolled onto her side, feeling her belly slosh over her and plop to the floor. “I find that…some stuff doesn’t really care if you believe in it or not.” She massaged her gut. “You really think I’ve gotten that big?”

    “Honey, when you walked in, that dress still kind of fit you.”

    Raleigh looked down at herself, but there was a lot of belly in the way. Groaning and belching, she struggled to her feet and squinted at her reflection in the diner window. “Holy shit.”

    She hadn’t simply outgrown the dress, she’d split it—in several places. A triangle of flesh had opened up on the outside of each thigh, slits had appeared around her waist that gently contoured the swell of her gut, the bustline had divided in a neat tear that exposed the full length of the valley between her breasts, and the zipper had entirely given up on her back. Her body had grown weary of its enveloping constraints and modified the dress to create a lot more room for jiggling.

    “Right?” Ruby laughed, climbing to equally unsteady feet. “I can’t imagine how much you put on.”

    Raleigh tugged up on the torn bustline and caressed the swell of her stomach. “And you think I outgrew you? I mean, what are you at?”

    Ruby grabbed her lovehandles, frowning down at them. “I usually waffle—haha, breakfast pun—sorry, I usually waffle between two eighty and two eighty-five. You know, if you’re that curious, we’ve got a big scale in the back to weigh the inventory.”

    Raleigh bit her lip. “Fuck it. Why not?”

    They waved at the cook as they waddled past, but he took little notice. He had more pancakes on the grill and Raleigh tried not to look at them.

    “301,” announced the scale once she’d settled her mass upon it.

    “Holy shit,” she gasped. “Holy fucking shit.”

    Ruby wrapped an arm around Raleigh’s midsection. “It’s not that bad, babe, come on. I’ve got friends back in Wisconsin who are four bills. You’re only on the cusp of bigness, haha.”

    “No, it’s not that,” Raleigh said, gaping at the number. “On Saturday I was two fifty.” She turned and looked down at Ruby, eyes wide. “I put on fifty pounds in three days.”

    “Damn,” Ruby whistled. “Serious munchies.”

    Raleigh looked back at the number, then down at herself. All she could see was split fabric and supple fat. She ran a hand over her belly, feeling the tautness of her stomach under all the softness of her paunch.

    “Well, Heloise,” she said with a burp, “this had better work.”

    “What’s that?”

    “Uh, nothing. Just—oh, that? That’s my phone, sounds like.”

    She hurried back to the dining area as fast as the fullness in her gut and the pounding in her head would allow. She flopped into a booth and accepted the call. She opened her mouth for a greeting, but belched instead.

    “Good morning,” said Rory. “Sounds like your plan worked out?”

    “Excuse me. Yeah, it went…exceedingly well. I am exceedingly stuffed.”

    “Then hopefully Heloise is exceedingly strong now, because we’re going to need her.”

    “Everything okay over there, then?”

    “For the moment,” Adam’s voice chimed in. “Scarlett’s possessed and we had to burn up the animated furniture automaton, but our wounds are not mortal.”

    “Holy shit.”

    “It was an epic battle. Your boyfriend is quite the action hero.”

    “I spilled some salt and ran around like an idiot,” Rory corrected.

    “And we still won.”

    Raleigh chuckled. “You guys are pretty calm, considering what’s apparently happened.”

    “We’re Midwesterners, Raleigh,” Rory reminded her. “We aren’t big on reacting to things.”

    Raleigh smiled to herself.

    “How are you feeling?” he asked.

    “Full. Hungover. You shouldn’t have let me have all that beer last night. And all that wine.” She sat up out of the booth. “And the bloody mary.”

    “Where did you get a bloody mary?”

    Ruby raised her hand.

    “Nevermind,” Raleigh giggled. “That one wasn’t your fault. Anyway, I’m the fullest and, um, indulgent-est I’ve ever been and Heloise had…better be ready to kick some ass.”

    “Whoa, is there a fight happening?” Ruby leaned in. “Wait, is this all that shit you were saying about ghosts? Are you saying that shit’s, like, for real?”

    “Yes, it’s happening,” Rory replied. “Raleigh, can you get over here? I’d pick you up, but I don’t want to leave Adam alone with…”

    Raleigh sat quiet, waiting for him to finish, but couldn’t hear anything. Her stomach gurgled—as if something, for the first time in months, wasn’t sitting well in it.

    “I can give you a ride if you need,” Ruby offered. Raleigh shushed her, listening.

    “Hey, Rory,” said Adam’s voice, distant from the phone, “these bricks…the wall is—”

    A roar of wind sounded through the phone, with the crashing and banging of things falling over. Hidden in the wind was a horrible, cackling laugh. There was a muffled cry of pain, then a click.

    Raleigh dropped the phone and tried to stand up. She was too full, though, and a pang of pressure forced her back down. She took a deep breath and eased herself up.

    “Yeah, Ruby,” she grunted once she was on her feet. “It’s real. And it’s bad. Get your car. And…oof…maybe an Alka-Seltzer.”
     
  16. Mar 3, 2015 #136

    Smileykatz70

    Smileykatz70

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    OOOOh sounds like she is gonna have a weight spike!
     
  17. Mar 5, 2015 #137

    Marlow

    Marlow

    Marlow

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    Chapter 41


    Rory looked up from the bar. He was in the tavern, chin in his hands, a cup of tea steaming in front of him. There were no patrons in sight and afternoon sun streamed through the windows.

    “Ah, you have returned,” Sven exclaimed, clapping his hands. He was cleaning glasses behind the bar. “You are early for the party, but you are in for a treat. This week it is my turn to tend bar and join the party, haha.”

    Rory grimaced, remembering what would happen to Sven at the end of the night. “Sven…when your dreams took you to the past…”

    “Yes?”

    “Did you ever try to change it?” Rory finished, scratching his beard. “Maybe tell someone what would happen to them, if you knew?”

    “Oh, of course,” Sven replied. “Many times. But my warnings went unheard and unheeded. You must understand, Rory: when we dream, we do not walk in the past. Rather, we visit a memory of the past. You aren’t talking to me right now,” he laughed, belly shaking, “you are talking to the earth’s memory of me.”

    Rory sipped his tea, pensive.

    “Now then, dear friend, I will pose the same question as last week. Have you learned what brings you here yet?”

    “No,” Rory said, setting down his cup, “and I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for.”

    “Oh? What, then?”

    Rory gestured to the kitchen. Through the cracked-open door, they could see Heloise and Raleigh preparing the night’s feast. The women were laughing and tasting their creations as they worked.

    “Raleigh, your wife’s…guest, there,” he said, watching her. “What brought her here?”

    “She is staying with us, as I’ve said,” Sven replied, unfolding his arms to peek around.

    “Yes. But why? What brought her here…to this town?”

    Sven looked back at him. “Ah. As I understand it, she is a student of art. She has a particular interest in the crafts of us folk on the prairie and came to learn from us.”

    “Learn what?”

    “Well, from Heloise…carving.” Sven gestured to the fat little wood-carving on the shelf. “As I have mentioned, Heloise is a gifted whittler and her ice sculptures are known throughout the state. You should have seen the goose she carved for last year’s winter festival.”

    Rory’s breath caught in his throat. He looked up at the wood-carving.

    “And you should have seen how much roasted goose she stuffed in her belly that night, too, haha. But the carvings have meant a great deal to Heloise, yes…her spirit is very much in each of them.” He smiled for a moment, remembering, then looked back to Rory. “I dreamed last night.”

    Rory watched the big man slide out from behind the bar. “Of what? Where did you go?

    Sven clomped over to the shelf with the wood-carving. “Nowhere,” he said, frowning up at it. “But I was given a strange message. One I don’t fully understand, but, Rory, I have learned to trust the dreams.”

    Rory hopped off his stool and followed him to the shelf. Sven seemed to be weighing a hard decision.

    He unfastened the pendant from his neck and studied it for a moment. Then he reached up and pulled the carving from the shelf. With a few twists, the smiling head popped off its body like the lid from a jar. Sven dropped the pendant inside with a sigh.

    He glanced back to Rory. “Are you well, my friend? You look like you have seen a…”

    He stretched out a hand to give Rory’s shoulder a reassuring touch, but Rory’s head snapped to the side as a ringed hand slapped him. The world flashed into darkness.

    Rory opened his eyes. Scarlett loomed over him, adjusting her rings.

    He was sitting in a chair, eyes level with her widened hips. Each half of her butt had to be bigger than his head.

    “What?” he coughed. He couldn’t move his hands: they were fastened behind him. He looked down and found the large chain binding him to the chair.

    Scarlett clicked her tongue. “Try to stay awake, dreamwalker.” She sashayed away. “We can’t have you wandering off.”

    Rory looked to the side. Adam was strapped to an old shelf, shaking his head. Rory glanced around and realized they were in the little basement room that had once been Sven and Heloise’s private room. “What the fuck happened?”

    “She got out,” Adam groaned. “Part of the west wall collapsed and there was this huge open area behind it—”

    “The old kitchen.”

    “Looked like it. And some huge gust of wind blew out. It blew her chair over, knocked all the brass stuff off, and spilled the salt bucket.”

    “That wouldn’t have held me much longer, anyway,” Scarlett sang. She opened a drawer and picked up a small paintbrush. “And neither will your ludicrous little ghost-trap out there. Now, if you don’t mind, I must ask you to be quiet while I prepare my rites.”

    She crouched down and plucked at the bandages on Adam’s leg. He howled as she dipped the paintbrush in his wound.

    “You are such…a dick,” Adam wheezed.

    She traced a line across the floor with his blood. She had moved the table, leaving it a wide open space. “It’s regrettable,” she mused, painting, “that you have forced me to do this now. It’s so much more rewarding to fatten the sacrifices…as I learned from Heloise, there is more power to be gained when there is more, haha, indulgence upon which to indulge.” She tasted the blood. “But the two of you have been such a nuisance, I dare not wait any longer with you.”

    “Raleigh’s still coming, Soren,” Rory growled. “She’s ready for you and she’s…she’s bringing Heloise with her.”

    Scarlett paused to look up at him. She thought for a moment, then stood and grinned, hands on her fat hips.

    “Unfortunately, Rory, as you’ve already experienced” she purred, “the roads are quite treacherous this morning.” Her eyes darkened. “There is no way that car reaches this house until I am ready to allow it.”

    “Fuck you.”

    “And by the time I allow it, you won’t have enough blood left in you to watch me feed on her bloated corpse.” She pulled a knife from the drawer and adjuster her too-tight bodice. “Now then, Rory, since your senses are so very special…I think I shall begin with your eyes.”

    She turned to face him, baring her teeth. Rory looked past her. On the shelf behind her, a few tiers above Adam’s head, sat a fat little wood-carving. It was smiling, as always, triumphant.

    The broken microwave crashed into Scarlett’s head. The impact knocked her into the far wall and crumpled her to the floor.

    Raleigh stood in the doorway, huffing. Her three hundred pounds filled much of the doorframe, rising and falling with each heavy breath.

    Ruby’s mohawked head peered over her shoulder. “Nice throw, Raleigh. Damn.”

    Adam whistled. “Holy heck, yes. Great throw. Wait, is that Ruby? From the diner?”

    Ruby waved.

    “You infuriating lump,” Scarlett hissed, turning herself over, “I will boil you alive.” She looked remarkably unscathed, considering she’d taken a microwave to the scull.

    “Raleigh—” Rory coughed.

    “How did you get here?” Scarlett demanded, trying to tuck her pudge back into the corset. “The car…”

    Adam burst out laughing. “Because…because Ruby smokes sageleaf cigarettes,” he realized. “The car must be so full of sage smoke…it’s practically ghost-proof!”

    “Told you they’re good for you,” Ruby winked. “So, what’s—”

    “How very precious,” Scarlett interrupted. She had regained her feet. “Your earnestness is endearing, Raleigh. And judging by your sudden girth, it is clear that you are indeed…gifted.” She picked up the knife and paintbrush. “But you are not ‘ghostproof’ and there will be nothing you can do to stop—”

    “Holy fuck, shut up,” Raleigh groaned, tying on the red scarf she’d retrieved from the kitchen floor. “Soren, I haven’t slept, I’m hungover, and I am way too stuffed to be on my feet. I am not interested in your devious master plan.” She snugged up the scarf and tossed its tail behind her as she stepped into the room. “I’ve got Heloise on my side and she’s about to kick your fat ass.”

    “Hardly, my dear. You think you’ve given her strength? You’re barely half what she was.”

    “Yeah, but I’ve more than doubled my weight in the past six months,” she retorted. “I think I’m doing alright.”

    “Moreover,” Scarlett continued, circling, “there is little she can do to help you. Her spirit is trapped and impotent, barely able to conjure apparitions and suggestions. You haven’t fattened yourself to save her, Raleigh. You’ve fattened yourself for me.”

    Scarlett’s sneer widened. She raised the knife.

    “I was really hoping the microwave would’ve been more effective,” Raleigh muttered.

    “Heloise may think she’s leaked out of her prison,” Scarlett sneered, “but she has no power here.”

    Rory writhed in his chair. “Of course she does,” he spat. “She carved herself into every corner of this house. All she needs to beat you is the right vessel and she’s spent the last six months crafting the perfect one.”

    “Not if I destroy it first.” Scarlett launched herself across the room. Raleigh twisted aside, but they collapsed together next to Adam’s chair. Scarlett kicked the door closed on Ruby’s face.

    “Shit. Adam!” Rory grunted, wringing his hands against their bonds. “That carving. The one above your head...”

    “What about it?” he asked, trying to look up at it.

    Raleigh banged Scarlett’s hand against the floor. The knife skittered out of reach.

    “I…think we need what’s inside,” Rory shouted.

    “This better not be guess-and-check,” Adam grumbled, and banged his head against the shelf. It shook, knocking off several smaller knickknacks. “Frick.” He took a deep breath and rocked the shelf with all his might, until the fat little wood-carving tottered off, bounced off his head, and clattered to the floor.

    The figure’s round, smiling head popped off like the lid from a jar. A rush of warm air filled the room with scents of fragrance and flavor. The white pendant slid out onto the floor, its red gemstone gleaming.

    With a surge of strength, Raleigh threw off Scarlett and seized the pendant. Both women rose to their feet, panting and glaring at one another.

    Raleigh’s scarf fluttered in the draft as she slid the pendant around her neck. Suddenly, she looked even bigger in the torn black dress. There was a new, purposeful look of assurance in her eyes.

    “Heloise,” Scarlett hissed.
     
  18. Mar 5, 2015 #138

    searcher

    searcher

    searcher

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    Oh you're evil... what a cliffhanger!!
    I like the characters in the story. They are really unique. I hope that Sven will have a reappearance before the end...
     
  19. Mar 6, 2015 #139

    Tom the pig 8

    Tom the pig 8

    Tom the pig 8

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    Nice chapter. thanks
     
  20. Mar 7, 2015 #140

    bluespacemonkey

    bluespacemonkey

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    Edge of my seat!
     

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