BBW The Uncontainable - by Marlow

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Feb 5, 2013
(16, continued from above)

Diana marched out of the building. The tractor’s engine roared to life. Miranda slowly exhaled, shivering.

The remaining workers returned to their duties. Two picked up one of the tubs, slid its lid off, and hoisted it over the first trough: fresh pudding oozed out, overflowing the trough. The others followed suit.

The fat bodies in the stalls began to stir. They flopped onto all fours and crawled toward the troughs, licking their lips and grunting with excitement. Beside Miranda, Tabatha lurched forward with a huff and raced—as much as her bulk could race—toward the closest trough.

Miranda grimaced. The workers were still in the room, tidying up. She cautiously got to her hands and knees and set off with a plodding crawl.

Her belly, given how so much of her weight settled in her sides, didn’t reach the floor like so many others, but it wobbled and swung as she moved. She felt her thighs jiggle behind her and her lovehandles bounced side to side.

She could feel one of the workers staring at her. Catching up with the corpulent crowd, she pushed herself between two of the chattel, lowered her face into the trough, and pretended to eat. The sounds of gulping, grunting, and groaning surrounded her.

Something closed around her neck: a metal collar. A chain tightened and someone hauled Miranda away from the trough. She cried out and scrabbled at the collar, but found herself too paralyzed by panic—or too overwhelmed by the intoxicating aroma of the pudding—to resist its pull.

One of the blindfolded men held her leash. Once she’d gotten her bearings, he pulled up the slack and led her across the room, leaning against her weight. Miranda coughed and twisted, but found herself following along like a reluctant dog.

He dragged her into an empty stall and pushed down on her flanks until she sat. The blindfolded woman clomped over and set down a deep bowl of pudding.

“You’re behind,” she said, nudging the bowl with her foot. “You need to catch up or your offering will be refused.”

Miranda gaped. The pudding oozed over the lip of the bowl. She glanced across the room; Bridget’s pile of blankets remained still.

The woman placed her hand on the back of Miranda’s head. After a moment she began to press down, pushing Miranda’s face into the bowl.

Miranda winced. The flavor of the pudding hit her tongue and she shuddered. Before she could stop herself she was slurping it down, drinking as greedily as anyone at the troughs.

The man and woman stood beside her for a few minutes, watching until she’d worked her way through half the bowl. Miranda paused to belch and massage her flooded belly for a moment. When she dropped her face back into the bowl for more, they finally walked away.

She shut her eyes and lapped up more pudding. A shape filled her vision: a jagged pyramid, a colossal temple, rising up from an arid plain.

A new hand pulled her from the bowl. Miranda swallowed one last mouthful and wiped pudding from her eyes. Bridget’s face filled her vision.

“You okay?”

Miranda belched. “What?”

Bridget glanced over her shoulder. “They’re gone. They all left.”

“Oh. Mmph.” Miranda glanced down at the bowl and winced at how little pudding remained. “Yeah. Um. Okay, right, let’s go.”

She staggered to her feet. Bridget helped her up and offered her her clothes. Miranda struggled with the blouse for half a minute, only to throw it away and wrap herself in one of the horse blankets.

They stumbled out into the pasture and started toward the road, but froze. Miranda stiffened; Bridget’s grip tightened around her arm.

The field was covered with hundreds of crows. As Miranda and Bridget gaped, the birds stopping milling and fluttering about and turned, in unison, to stare back at them.

One of the birds, somewhere in the center of the flock, let out a plaintive caw. A rifle cocked behind Miranda’s ear and a hand seized the collar around her neck.



Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 17

A drizzle had pattered against the windows of the old cargo van as it trundled uphill. It soon grew to a torrential downpour, pounding against the roof of the Whately farmhouse. The afternoon had given way to evening and what remained of the grey light outside filtered between the slats of the boarded-up windows.

Bridget thrashed and kicked one last time, but it was fruitless. Her ankles were duct taped together and her hands were bound behind the back of a wicker chair. She blew a strand of dark hair from her face and glared at the floor.

They’d stripped off her shirt and shorts, but had left her in the absurd bustier, presumably just to ensure her discomfort. Her chest heaved behind its paneling as one of the blindfolded men wheeled a cart across the room.

The floor was covered in the ubiquitous clutter of the Whately home. The peeling wallpaper was covered in spiraling patterns, centered around the seven-legged curling sigil. A mattress frame was propped up in the corner; the room most have been one of the upstairs bedrooms, but was now only stacked with unmarked boxes.

“I’m sorry for the mess,” said Diana, with a genuinely contrite pout, “but I wasn’t ready for visitors. You…you weren’t supposed to come back.”

“Where’s Miranda?” Bridget whimpered. “What is going on?”

Diana folded her arms. “She’s here. She’s fine. We gave her a room of her own. She is family, after all. Yes. You understand.”

The blindfolded man hefted something onto the cart. A plastic tube appeared in front of Bridget’s face.

“A little closer,” Diana suggested. “Make sure she can get her mouth on it without having to lean too far. Yes, like that. Fantastic.”

“Oh my god,” Bridget sputtered, recoiling from the hose. “That’s…that’s the pudding.”

“Of course. Yes. And you can have your fill, as much as you can, all day long."

“What? No. But…why would I…” Her eyes widened. “Oh, no.”

Diana sat herself on a box. “First…first I was just going to have you join the farmhands.” She gestured at the blindfolded man, who stood silent, awaiting her next command. “But then I thought about just how far behind we are. Yes. Of course, right now you’re pretty small to go straight to pasture, but the boys told me about your…impressive capacity last night and I think…yes…I think in about a year or so you’ll be big enough to need your own stall at the stockade.”

Bridget squirmed against her bonds. “You’re just gonna keep me tied to this chair? For years?”

“Of course not. No. Once you’re…more amenable, you’ll be welcome to roam around.” She gestured into the corner. “I’ll have them make up the bed for you.”

“More amenable? You mean…you mean when I’m too fat to move.”

Diana smiled. “No, no. You’ll be docile long, long before you reach immobility. Putting ideas in your head doesn’t actually take much time. Putting weight on you, though…unfortunately, that takes a little longer.” She patted Bridget’s thigh. “For mortals, anyway.”

“What about Miranda? You’re not gonna do this to her, too, are you? She’s—”

Diana shook her head. “Maybe. It depends. It’s a little different. Sorry. She’s part of the family. She’s part of the queen’s royal lineage.”

Bridget stared dumbly, lips quivering.

“I’m sorry. I don’t…I don’t really know how it all works, myself, but I know divinity will guide me. Yes.” She stood and smoothed her dress. “I should go check on her. And you should drink up.”

She moved toward the door. The blindfolded man opened it and followed her into the hallway. The door slammed shut and Bridget could hear the lock turn as Diana’s footsteps padded away.



Feb 5, 2013
(17, continued)

The farmhouse cellar smelled much less awful than Miranda had expected. The walls were a crumbling mess of cinderblock and damp clay and the floor mostly wet mud, with rainwater trickling down from the rotting door, but the scents of soaps and fragrances wafted through the air.

The cellar was also surprisingly large, stretching out past the foundation of the house and dividing into what looked like catacombs, leading into the dark depths under the hill.

The broad central area was fairly well-lit, though, by a collection of lanterns and two circles of aromatic candles.

One circle surrounded Miranda, who woke duct taped to a wicker chair that all but disappeared under her bulk. With her hands bound behind her, her flabby arms squeezed her torso and midsection, giving her an even puffier appearance than normal.

The baggy clothes didn’t help. Rather than squeezing her back into her discarded outfit, the farmhands had dressed her in a wide pair of overalls and a loose checkered shirt. Miranda could only imagine how ridiculous she looked, but quickly admitted to herself that it was the first time in recent memory she’d worn anything that wasn’t uncomfortably tight.

She almost felt slim again, at least in comparison to the six-hundred-pound woman seated across from her, in the other circle of candles. Ros was still naked and candlelight danced across the enormity of her paunch.

The farmhands had at first plopped her onto a pair of the wicker chairs, but her mass had immediately broken one. They tossed its fragments into a corner—where several other broken chairs lay already discarded—and dragged a ratty recliner from the cellar’s shadows. It creaked beneath Ros’ weight and her flanks flowed out over the armrests, but held.

She smiled distantly, sometimes dozing, sometimes staring idly at the ceiling, reacting to nothing. The farmhands, widening the circle of candles, set about washing her. One farmhand worked up and down on each side of her, jiggling her plump flesh as they scrubbed and lifting rolls to sponge beneath. A third mopped the expanse of her belly with meticulous care.

Once she had been cleaned and dried, they produced several bottles of oil and lotion and the process began anew.

The cellar doors creaked open and the spindly form of Diana Whately descended the stairs. She’d donned a sleek poncho, but remained barefoot. She smiled at Ros, nodded in approval, and turned to Miranda.

“I’m sorry for the hand-me-downs. I know it’s always awkward wearing someone else’s things.” She pulled back the hood of her poncho. “But you were shivering and, well, Juliana doesn’t need those anymore, obviously.”

“Please just let us go,” Miranda simpered.

“I did! Yes. You were allowed to go. I gave you the check and I sent you on your way. It was just yesterday.”

“I know, but—”

“But you didn’t go. Why didn’t you go?” Diana squeezed her temples. “Why didn’t you just leave?”

“I’m sorry, Diana. I’m sorry. Look, I won’t…I won’t tell anyone anything.”

“You were never supposed to come at all. But you did, you did. And then you were supposed to leave. I gave you the check and you were supposed to leave. That would’ve given me enough time. It would have taken at least a few days for you to realize that the check was no good and by the time you came back…if you came back…I would have been ready for you then. But now I’m not ready for you. And this is so hard now.”

Miranda sputtered. “What are you saying? I don’t understand.” She wriggled in the chair. “The check is no good? What is going on here, Diana?”

“Of course. Of course the check is no good. There’s no more money.” Diana straightened and spread her arms. “It’s gone. We needed it to secure our inheritance.”

“What? But my…what?”

“I’d thought you wouldn’t notice when the checks stopped. You’re a big-time manager or something at that big international corporation. You make so much our little allowance would hardly…I…I figured the trust fund checks were an afterthought for you…just more change in your designer purse.”

Miranda stared. “I wish I had change in my purse.” She shook her head. “I’m unemployed, doing fuck-all back in my shitty hometown, living in a trailer with the world’s worst stripper…the only friend I knew who’d fucked up her life almost as bad as I did. I came here because I need help, Diana. You’re my only family. I’m sorry.”

Diana’s exhausted face softened. Her eyes studied Miranda.

“I’m sorry,” Miranda repeated. “I really am. I had no idea I’d be walking in on…whatever is going on here.”

“But…you did. Yes. You came…and you stayed. For your share of the inheritance. I think I see it now.”

“You said it’s gone, though. I—”

Diana leaned closer. “Miranda, the inheritance was never about money. There’s so much more at stake.”

Miranda glanced at the rotund Ros, now glistening with oil. “Yeah.”

“Our ancestors…they consorted with deities, Miranda…a dynasty of gods from the world beyond dreams. We…we are in the line of succession. Juliana and I were bred to press that claim. We were the purest heirs.”

“Diana, what?”

“The dominion of broken realms, the divine mandate of the black sun, the coronation of a new Queen in Yellow…” Thunder rolled outside. Diana’s eyes bulged. “The first in millennia.”

Miranda tried to lean away. “I don’t…I don’t understand.”

“That’s okay. I don’t either. No. I just do what the queen commands.” She looked back at her farmhands. “I’m as much a servant as my blinded friends. For now.”

“And…” Miranda swallowed, trying to remember what the old man had told her. “You’re going to kill us. Or feed us to whatever’s in your barn…”

Diana recoiled. “Kill? Of course not. No. You don’t get it. I bring…I bring offerings to the altar.”

“Offerings,” Miranda echoed, watching Ros. “But is that what you’re going to do to me…me and Bridget? Offer us up?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Your friend, yes. She will need a year or two, but yes. She will make a fantastic offering. But you…” Diana waved her hands. “I don’t know how you fit into things, being family. We have to see your dream-journey, see where your soul lives and what it’s made of. And then I will go ask.”


“Yes. I’m sure she’ll be in a more talkative mood once she’s consumed Ros. It’s usually the best time to ask for advice. But, anyway, first we need to see what’s in you, like I said.” She crouched down and peered up at Miranda.

Miranda squinted. It might have been the candlelight, but Diana’s eyes looked different. The striking blue of her irises was gone, replaced by a pale yellow.

“Are you ready?” she asked, lips curling.

“What? No—”

“It’s okay. I wasn’t either, but they showed me what I needed to see.” Diana reached around Miranda’s girth and tore away the duct tape. “Go ahead, get up.”

Miranda scrambled up from the chair. She immediately looked to the door, but the blindfolded men promptly turned to watch her.

Diana pointed over her shoulder, down the shadowed catacombs. “You stayed because you saw something. You came back to learn more. Down there…down there you will see what you came for.”



Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2007
This is really good! Subtle amount of Innsmouth mythos makes it work even better. Queen in Yellow? Also, anyone else hungry for pudding?


Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 18

Miranda swallowed and turned. Her foot found its way into a broad puddle and she stepped back with a start.

“It’s okay,” Diana droned. “Go look. I’ll be right here. Yes. Go down and see.”

The candles flickered in a sudden draft. Miranda took a long breath, then found herself waddling forward into the shadows.

The light faded quickly. Miranda glanced back, but there was only darkness behind her.

The basement had grown impossibly silent, as well. The drumming of rain outside had disappeared, along with Ros’ labored breathing and the splashing of the farmhands’ sponges on her skin.

Miranda reached out blindly. After some flailing, her hand found a hanging cloth. Eager for any support, she seized it. It proved to be a curtain and after some hesitation she pulled it open.

Blinding golden light spilled in from a doorway behind. Blinking, Miranda ducked her head and stepped through.

The ground beneath her feet suddenly turned from mud to dry, dusty gravel. Miranda stopped and waited for her eyes to adjust to the light flooding her vision, wondering how the basement draft had risen to a steady breeze.

The basement was gone. Miranda found herself outside, standing on a broad, desolate plan, mostly rocks and swirling dust interspersed with patches of wilting grass. Miranda turned and gaped: there was no sign of the Whately house, nor the blasted hill it sat atop, nor any of Kade’s ubiquitous cornfields.

The sky was an awful pale yellow, like the afterglow of a thunderstorm. The sun hid behind a long ripple of dark clouds, but seemed strangely dim. Its faint corona lingered like a halo above the empty landscape’s only visible feature: a colossal ziggurat, looming on the horizon.

Two lines stretched out from the structure: a river, flowing away to the west, lined with oared ships, and a cobblestone road, leading in from the east, lined with hundreds of people on foot.

Miranda took a cautious step forward. A wind brushed her exposed skin and wafted through the sparse grass, but there was no rushing or rustling in her ears.

She neared the road and its crowd of travelers. They trudged along, single file, all dressed in tattered linens, each carrying a hefty offering: baskets of vegetables, jars of grain, sacks of wine, racks of slaughtered livestock. No one said anything or acknowledged one another. They simply stared ahead and continued their march. Their feet made no sound on the flagstones.

As she approached, Miranda found an unclaimed tray waiting on the ground, loaded with roasted chickens. Glancing around, she picked it up, inhaled the savory aroma, and slipped herself into the line of pilgrims.

She tried to greet the person behind her and apologize for cutting him off, but her voice failed her. He ignored her, anyway. Marveling at the overwhelming silence, Miranda frowned and tried to keep pace.

The line continued steadily toward the ziggurat. It passed through a ring of gardens, mostly picked clean and left with only a few withered plants. Priests and acolytes appeared along the path, dressed in opulent jewel-studded robes, greeting the pilgrims with muted waves and solemn bows. The line wound between a few squat buildings and past a long, pillared hall before finally reaching the base of the immense ziggurat.

It was built from gleaming obsidian stones, each the size of a mobile home. A staircase led up the center of the nearest face. Two huge guards, armored in bronze and brandishing curved spears, stood at the base of the staircase, inspecting each pilgrim’s offering before ushering them up.

Miranda stared up at the temple’s peak. There didn’t seem to be a line of pilgrims returning from their ascent. A ring of birds, though, circled the zenith: crows, barely discernable against the clouds overhead.

The line stopped as Miranda reached the guards. Their helmeted heads considered her for a moment before looking past her: a pair of priestesses were hurrying toward Miranda, robes billowing.

Miranda backed away, dropping her offering and turning to run, but ran into the shield of another guard.

Despite her weight, he hefted her up and spun her around. The priestesses studied her, plucking at her hair and skin, conferring with one another with complex gestures. Their eyes bulged with amazed realization and they pointed to the pillared hall.

The guards led Miranda across the temple grounds. As they departed, the pilgrims still in line turned to her and began to kneel, one by one.

She was directed into one of the smaller buildings. There a crowd of priestesses silently surrounded her, stripped her of her clothes, and bathed her. Miranda contemplated resisting, but the fragrances were too inviting and too relaxing and there seemed to be no malice in anyone’s eyes. Once they’d pulled her from the bubbling basin, they styled her hair, anointed her with perfumes, and wrapped her in a flowing golden robe.

Under a hazy sunset, they led her into the pillared hall. Two massive tables ran the length of the interior, set for a lavish feast and packed with a spread of food far richer and more magnificent than the meagre offerings she and the other pilgrims had been carrying. The ceiling was tiled in a mosaic of gold, with a black orb at its center.

Between the tables, at the head of the whole arrangement, was raised a broad marble throne. The priestesses placed Miranda in its wide seat and backed away, bowing. Behind them, the tables were suddenly lined with people, indulging and reveling, though making no sound.

Miranda squirmed and tried to get anyone’s attention, trying in vain to protest and voice questions but producing only more silence.

An older woman appeared. With a reverent bow, she presented Miranda with a silver tiara; at its center gleamed a brilliant, amber-tinted gemstone. She placed it delicately on Miranda’s head and immediately everyone in the hall paused and turned to watch.

The old woman was handed a tall clay amphora, filled to the brim and dripping with a fragrant, heady liquid. She smiled and held the vessel’s mouth to Miranda’s lips.

Miranda leaned away, but the amphora followed. The old woman gave her a reassuring grin. Miranda stared, took a long breath, and allowed herself a sip.

The amphora tilted up and its warm contents flowed into her. It tasted like a wine, with its sour, intoxicating bite, but felt much thicker; heavy, even. It was a fascinating and strangely enjoyable treat and Miranda found herself taking a much longer draught than she’d planned. She pulled her lips away and coughed, shaking her head.

The drink rushed down from her throat, filling her unprepared stomach with a sudden pleasure that swept through her body like a white-hot fire. Before she knew what she was doing, she reached up and seized the amphora, voicelessly pleading for more.

The old woman nodded. She raised it up. In the corner of her vision, Miranda could see the gathered guests’ throwing their hands up with joy. Before her eyes closed, she saw priestesses approaching with platters of food. Their irresistible aromas swirled and filled her thoughts; her mind raged with a singular desire and she cried out to be filled.

She drank; she ate. She was aware, briefly, of a heaviness in her stomach, and soon of a roundness in her lap. But then she was aware of nothing but hunger and satisfaction.

Outside, the line of pilgrims resumed its march. A rumble shook the ziggurat as something moved, deep beneath its stones.



Feb 5, 2013
(18, continued from above)

Hunger, thirst, want, desire; satisfaction. Time disappeared.

Miranda drifted in bliss. Something rocked her gently, to and fro.

Her vision registered clouds, beginning to part. She was staring at the yellow sky, lounging idly atop a mound of cushions. There were still no sounds, but for so long now the only stimuli of any interest to her senses had been flavors, textures, and the pressure of oversatiated fullness that the silence had mattered little.

She was on her royal pleasure barge, floating along the great river. Attendants stood close by, fanning her with palm fronds, taking turns dropping fruit and sweet meats into her mouth or lifting the bowl of wine to her lips. Nude dancers of all shapes and sizes writhed over the boat’s main deck in elaborate fertility rites.

Through the haze of pleasure, a question slowly, faintly regained coherence in her mind: where were they going? She turned her eyes down from the sky and gazed forward to see what lay ahead.

Her question went unanswered: all that lay ahead in her bleary vision was a dome of flesh, stretching across the horizon. It was her own belly, fattened by ceaseless indulgence to terrifying circumference and too glutted to flatten out. It rippled as she attempted, in vain, to shift herself.

Panting, she called for help, but still found no voice in her throat. She raised a pudgy hand, stunned by the hanging thickness of her own arm, and pointed to the bow.

Attendants hurried over. It took several of them, digging their muscular hands under her cascade of flabby rolls, to heave her into a sitting position and arrange the cushions to support her mass. Here Miranda could see more of herself and she recoiled in horror.

She was bigger than ever, twice her size or perhaps beyond, trapped by the weight of her own stomach. The agile athlete she’d once been was as forgotten as any sense of restraint. She lurched with a silent hiccup and loosed a long but noiseless belch.

Her apron belly spilled out from her lap, wider than the cushions in many places, flowing down over her knees. Each of her thighs was broader than the shoulder of her strongest servant. She could feel her face sunk within a nest of chins. One of the dancers reclined against the spill of her lovehandle, dozing upon it like a cushion.

Tables of food were laid out on the deck. Involuntarily licking her lips, she reached a hand to point, but caught herself. Beyond the table, beyond the dancers, beyond the bow of the ship, she could see their destination.

The ziggurat loomed against the sky, silhouetted by the rising sun. Now that the structure’s reverse side was visible, she could see that a huge gateway had opened in its base. The great river was flowing toward the gate and, inexplicably, continued flowing uphill until disappearing into the murky darkness within.

Miranda pushed her belly aside for a better look. Many of the attendants were staring ahead now, as well.

A huge tapestry hung down the face of the ziggurat, above the gaping gateway. It was an inky black spread, emblazoned in gold with a curling, seven-legged sigil.

A crow lighted on a cushion near Miranda’s head. She recoiled, feeling her stomach slosh.

Hundreds of crows were circling overhead. As Miranda stared, they began to descend like a swirling black cloud. They landed everywhere on the boat, covering its decks and rails, staring at Miranda. The last bird perched itself atop the swell of her belly, its talons gripping her quaggy flesh.

Miranda craned her neck, lifting her heavy head to stare past the crow. She could almost see something in the darkness of the gate: a pair of thin eyes, perhaps, glowing with a pale yellow light, staring back at her from within the ziggurat.

“Caw!” shrieked the crow on her stomach.

Miranda thrashed in a panic, rocking the barge. The rest of the birds erupted in a dissonant cacophony, cawing and cackling. The boat began to drift faster, pulled toward the ziggurat’s maw by an unseen force.

Getting to her feet proved impossible. Miranda was simply too big and her muscles too weak. Desperate, she flailed to her left and managed, barely, to roll her bulk off the pile of cushions. The crow flapped away and she flopped face-down onto the deck, almost unable to reach its boards around the expanse of her midsection.

The crows screamed louder. Miranda squirmed, fumbling around her own girth to pull herself forward, half crawling, half undulating toward the edge of the barge. Her tiara clattered to the deck and rolled away, its amber jewel glittering.

The shadow of the ziggurat swept over the deck. Miranda fought the urge to look back. With a quavering breath and a desperate, jiggling heave, she hurled her mass over the side. She heard a splash and the world darkened.

Miranda sputtered. She was lying in a puddle, on her side. The musty interior of the basement coalesced into view.

Her wrists stung: she was still duct taped to the chair, which lay overturned with her. As she writhed, she could feel she was back in her own body, though her stomach throbbed with hunger. She could feel the denim of the loose overalls and hear the rain outside.

Panting, she glanced around. Ros and most of the farmhands were gone. Diana remained, though, staring down, her wan face pale, looking just as shocked and horrified as Miranda.

“No,” gasped Diana. “No, oh no. No. Yes. No. Oh no.”

Miranda struggled against her bonds, whimpering. The chair creaked.

Diana turned to the remaining farmhand. “I have to go up to the barn. We need answers. This…she…oh god.” She pointed down at Miranda. “Take her upstairs and wait for me to come back. Yes. Then I’ll know whether we need to make an offering out of her or, or…if we just need to kill her.”



Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 19

Bridget twisted as far around as she could in the chair, straining to reach her duct-taped hands toward her rope-bound feet. The restraints were too tight, though, and her corset too stiff. She had to admit, too, that she wasn’t as flexible as she’d been when she’d first gotten into dancing.

She slumped back in defeat, only to gasp at a sudden flash of pain. Something metallic had pricked her in the side: the sewing scissors, still lodged beneath the panels of the corset, cold against her skin. Bridget swore at herself, but then paused, pensively pursing her lips.

Twisting again, she reached her hands to the small of her back and tried to wedge her fingers under the corset. She shifted awkwardly, craning her neck to peer over her squished-up bosom and gyrating her waist to coax the scissors closer to her hands, but only succeeded in moving them further away. She shimmied within the corset.

“Crap. This thing’s just too…” She peered down at the corset, its taut, criss-crossed laces pinching against the soft skin of her beer gut. Her navel peeked out from between the panels. “Maybe…”

She took a deep breath and pushed out her stomach. It pressed against the corset, testing its laces. They creaked quietly, but held. Bridget took a bigger breath and pushed again, but to no avail.

She glowered at the feeding tube hanging eagerly near her face. Her lips quivered.

“Have to get out of here,” she urged herself. “Gotta find Miranda. She’ll know what to do. She always does. Come on. Oh my god. Okay. Okay. Just do it.”

Taking another deep, shaky breath, she wrapped her lips around the tube and angled it down with a practiced tug. The motion was all too familiar: visions floated up from her memory of too many nights that had begun with a beer bong.

Everyone had always been so impressed. They were amazed by how naturally she’d taken to it the first time and they were amazed every time after as she outdid herself again and again. She’d never known how or why she’d possessed the skill, but as the rich flood of pudding slid down the tube and rushed into her mouth, she was grateful to find she hadn’t lost her touch.

She opened her throat and welcomed the flavor. Her eyes eased shut. The pudding was even more delicious than she remembered and seemed to taste better with every subsequent gulp. The voices of all those amazed boys rose up around her, cheering her on.

The amazement in their eyes had been so addicting. They’d only ever known her only as the reedy bookworm who spent all her time on homework. But she’d finally appeared at a houseparty after graduation, on a belatedly rebellious impulse, and by the end of the night all eyes had turned to her in awe.

“Is that who I think it is?” asked a voice.

“Dude, when did she get cool?”

“Look at her go!”

“Twenty bucks says she can’t handle a kegstand.”

She’d grinned. “I guess I can try.”

Her stomach began to protest. How long had she been swallowing the pudding? The corset squeaked and something in her mind suggested she take a moment to breathe, but she only straightened up and continued gulping.

Nothing else in life could compare to the joy of being the life of the party, to hear cheers erupt at her arrival. Faces would light up as she threw open the door of the local bar, squeezed into her most tantalizing halter top and shortest shorts; as she leapt up into the bed of her boyfriend’s truck at the tailgate party, dancing around in only an oversized football jersey; as she stepped out of the hot tub at her next boyfriend’s pool party, falling out of the skimpiest possible bikini; as she staggered into the living room during yet another boyfriend’s birthday party, wearing nothing but whipped cream. He’d promised, that night, to love her forever.

“Is that who I think it is?” asked a voice.

“Dude, when did you get that lucky?”

“Look at you go!”

“She gonna put on a show for us?”

She’d grinned. “I guess I can try.”

The pudding flowed on. Bridget swallowed methodically, lost in the flavor and memories of happier nights.

They were costly nights, though. She’d lost so much money and time making herself into what they called sexy. She’d given up on college and the career everyone had expected when she’d refused to give up being with the boy she loved, only to lose him, too, when she refused to give up the hard-partying lifestyle and play house.

All her captivated admirers had gradually disappeared, until all that remained was the barely interested audience at Bob’s Roadhouse. The voices that had been cheering her turned to derisive laughter. Pudding dribbled from the sides of her mouth.

“Is that who I think it is?” asked a voice.

“When did Udders get that desperate for dancers?”

“Let herself go a little, huh?”

“Might wanna get yourself in better shape if you want better tips, babe.”

She’d forced a smile. “I guess I can try.”

Bridget forced one last swallow, defiantly straining to keep it all down. The tube fell from her lips, spattering pudding across her chest and swinging away. Her eyes stared unfocused as pressure throbbed throughout her body. Lightheaded, she lolled in the chair for a few minutes, struggling to catch her breath.

It came in shallow, arrhythmic heaves. The corset was more constricting than ever over her chest and excruciatingly tight over her midsection.

She could feel the pudding expand in her stomach. Her belly was pressed firmly against every inch of the corset; the laces creaked as it gurgled and whined. She could feel the lower flesh of her muffin-top trying to squeeze its way out from underneath.

Bridget leaned back and took the deepest breath she could manage. She pushed her stomach out, imagining it bulging and swelling, until she wasn’t just out of shape, but doughy and pudgy. She imagined herself fat. She imagined herself Miranda’s size. She imagined herself growing even heavier, outweighing her friend, too fat to move.

A rending snap resounded through the room. Bridget hiccupped sharply and several more pops followed as the corset surrendered to the pressure. Its panels flapped off to her sides and her gut, liberated, pooched freely forward, tautly distended and glistening with sweat. Her breasts tumbled down atop it, but it now jutted further than they did.

She released a long, relieved belch and turned her head away from the pudding cart, unwilling to see just how much she’d had.

Something cold and metallic brushed her fingertips. The scissors clattered out from the opened corset, just within reach. With a teary, grateful whimper, she bent over to seize them, fumbled to spin them into position, and closed them over the tape between her wrists.

After a few minutes—and countless wet belches as the pudding churned and settled—she’d sawed enough cuts to weaken the tape. She twisted her wrists and it tore with a loud, satisfying rip. Her arms swung forward, knocking her breasts and jostling her gut with a sudden, disorienting jolt.

She took a moment to rub her complaining stomach, amazed by its firm swell. Then she reached down, wincing at her fullness, to unbind her ankles.

Finally free, she shoved the feeding cart away and hurled herself to her feet, the pudding in her belly sloshing noisily. She grimaced and turned away, leaning against a stack of boxes for support.

An engine started outside, roaring through the night. Car doors squeaked open and slammed shut.

Bridget padded over and listened at the door. Hearing nothing, she jiggled the doorknob. It was locked, but the latch didn’t sound very firm. She stepped back and glanced around the room.

The walls were discolored in areas by repeated water damage. The ceiling over the door was rippled with brownish deposits and the wallpaper around the doorframe was wrinkled and cracked. The frame, especially around the latch, had long ago rotted through. Bridget prodded the softened wood with her finger and paused a moment to thinking, resting her hands on her softened hips.

She gave the door a shove. It rattled against the lock, but wouldn’t budge. After pacing the room a few times and sitting down again to settle her stomach, she took hold of the feeding cart, backed it up, and wheeled it across the room at a sprint.

The cart rammed the door with a decisive crack. The doorjamb splintered and the door flew open. The cart turned and teetered, falling onto its side in the hall; Bridget tumbled out after it with a yelp.

She gave the feeding cart one last look. The tube stretched away toward the staircase. A pool of pudding was spreading from its mouth, oozing over the worn, uneven floorboards. She knelt gingerly down and coiled the tube up, stopping the flow and tucking it away. In the dim light, it looked just like the hose of the beer bong that had set her free all those years ago.

Covering her naked chest with one arm and massaging the side of her gurgling belly with her free hand, she ventured downstairs.



Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 20

Creaking underfoot, the staircase lowered Bridget into the cluttered foyer. She held back a wet belch and glanced around. The pounding of the rain had stopped and silence had fallen over the old farmhouse, broken by rhythmic dripping from the gutters and Bridget’s shallow, quavering breaths.

Some chairs were stacked against the front door and the entryway to the living room was piled with delivery crates and moving boxes. The way to the kitchen was clear, allowing a dim, flickering light to spill out over the rotting floor.

Bridget made her way in. The kitchen table was lit with a ring of candles, circling a stack of emptied bowls and a funnel, all smeared with pudding. All four burners of the gas stovetop were lit, heating an assortment of stained pots.

At the far end of the room, the house’s back door flapped freely in the night breeze. The smell of mud wafted in.

The chair Miranda had broken was propped up against the wall. Above it, a yellow plastic raincoat hung on a hook. Bridget cautiously circled the table and wrapped herself in the coat, eyes darting about in desperate search for any pants. There were none to be found, but there was a pair of tall muck boots by the back door.

As she finished sliding her shivering feet into them, the door swung open, clapping against the side of the house. A blindfolded woman peered into the kitchen.

Bridget bit her lip and backed away along the wall. The woman’s blank face swiveled to stare at Bridget and they both froze.

“Oh my god,” Bridget panted, “it’s you. From the…it’s me! Bridget…we talked yesterday. You were leaving your boyfriend…” She raised a desperate hand, clutching the raincoat closed with the other. “You were leaving…you were leaving town.”

The woman frowned. She reached a hand behind the door.

“Please,” Bridget pleaded, “I just want to go home. Please help me. Please.”

The hand reappeared, clutching a rusted sickle. The woman took a slow step into the kitchen.

“No…please, no.”

She lunged forward. Bridget leapt back with a shriek, tripping over the broken chair and falling sideways onto the kitchen table.

It collapsed. The bowls clanged and the candles clattered across the floor, a few rolling into the side room. The blindfolded girl’s momentum carried her past Bridget and over the toppled table, her sickle cutting an ugly gash in the wallpaper behind it.

She freed the blade and whirled around. Bridget scuttled for the door, struggling in the oversized boots, screaming for help.

“Bridget!” shouted a voice outside. “Bridget, is that you?”

“Miranda!” she cried, struggling to her feet. Head swimming, she reached to steady herself on a stack of propane tanks.

A pair of shadows wrestled against one another in the yard. “Bridget!” Miranda’s voice cried. “Bridget, run! They’re—”

A blindfolded man grabbed Miranda from behind, clamping his hand over her mouth. He pressed the barrel of a shotgun against her backfat. Miranda whimpered and squeezed her eyes shut.

Bridget scrambled across the porch. The blindfolded woman caught up to her as she reached the steps, swiping at her head with the sickle. But Bridget’s balance gave out and she fell, sprawling, and the blade whistled just over her head. The blindfolded girl grabbed at her and they tumbled forward together.

The man wrenched Miranda aside and swung the gun around. Screaming, she went limp and let herself fall backward, heaving her bulk against him.

Unprepared, he twisted in the mud and toppled over. Miranda landed atop him with all her weight.

There was a sickening crack. The rifle roared out. A blast of blinding light and searing heat broke the night.



Feb 5, 2013
(20, continued)

Bridget flailed away from the woman, shrieking. Flames danced out from the porch. Blinking in their light, she found Miranda and crawled over.

“Miranda!” she wailed. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

Miranda rolled her bulk off the man. “I…I don’t know,” she wheezed, squirming. “I don’t feel anything. You alright?”

Bridget glanced at the two guards, lying motionless in the mud. “I think I’m okay. I’m just…just really full. And really scared. What was that?”

Miranda nodded to the conflagration on the porch. “The propane tanks. Oh my god.”

Shouts echoed across the yard. Three more silhouettes had emerged from the cornfields, pointing at the house and seizing weapons.

“We have to get out of here. We need a car. Is there a car?”

Bridget helped her up. “They took the van.”

“Fuck. Fuck. I’m not gonna outrun them, Bridget. I don’t even remember how to run.”

“We can’t stay here. I don’t wanna get caught again. I…I don’t want to be a cow.”

Miranda nodded, glancing at the guards. “Down,” she decided, pointing at the cellar door. “There were tunnels.”

They sloshed through the mud. The pudding sloshed within Bridget’s gut; Miranda’s flab sloshed with each hurried step. The three new guards reached the two on the ground, silently pulling them to their feet. The man reloaded his shotgun.

Bridget and Miranda hurled themselves into the cellar, hauling the door shut just as the gun roared out again.

Splinters erupted from the rotting boards. Miranda slid a plank through the doorhandles and followed Bridget down the steps.

The two rings of candles were still lit, flickering in the draft. Miranda’s chair was still overturned in the puddle.

She picked up a candle and shuffled deeper into the cellar, struggling to catch her breath. Bridget grabbed another and followed, stifling a long belch. Several archways opened up along the wall into unlit catacombs, but they marched past them.

They reached the far wall, where a curtained entryway waited. Miranda paused. The call of a crow echoed in her head.

Bridget pulled back the curtain. There was no opening behind it: only more wall.

Miranda laid a palm on it. It was solid cinderblock, indistinguishable from the rest of the foundation.

The cellar door shook. Another gunshot split the plank barring it.

“There’s…there’s a door,” whispered Bridget, tugging on Miranda’s arm. She pointed along the wall to one of the catacomb openings. It was narrower than the others, but there was a light visible at the end through a pane of frosted glass.

They raced down the tunnel as bootsteps splashed down the cellar steps. The door at the end of the tunnel was unlocked and they shoved their way through, Miranda nearly smothering Bridget in her hurry.

Bridget slammed the door shut. She slapped the latch closed and toppled a nearby chair against the door. Miranda collapsed to her knees, face flushed from the exertion.

A single uncovered lightbulb swung on a chain overhead, illuminating a wide, brick-walled chamber. Miranda struggled to her exhausted feet as Bridget piled more furniture against the door.

Several elaborate chairs sat in a ring, some broken, some fallen to one side. They seemed to have been assembled from various other equipment—one looked to be a barber’s chair, one a dentist’s—and had been inelegantly modified with unrelated components. The closest to Miranda was a moldy recliner with handcuffs mounted on each armrest and a leather belt dangling from the headrest.

Next to each chair was a folding table, stacked with dishes and bowls. A pair of wheeled carts stood in the center of the ring, holding tall, empty tankards and a number of plastic hoses.

“What the fuck?” she panted.

“They had me on one of those,” said Bridget, swallowing. “Diana said they were gonna fatten me up into one of those cow-people we saw.” She pushed a filing cabinet onto her pile of furniture. “Those chairs look a lot comfier than the one I was in, though."

Miranda bent low over the dentist’s chair and picked up a jewelry box. “Maybe these chairs were for something else.”

She opened the box and pulled out a silver pendent, wrought in the familiar shape of a spiraling sigil, its seven tendrils curling out from an empty socket. On the backside was engraved a set of initials: “A.W.”

Shouts echoed from somewhere deep in the cellar, but faded.

“They’ll find us eventually,” Miranda sighed. “See if you can find an exit somewhere.”

Bridget gave up on pulling a desk toward the door and nodded, trudging to the far end of the room. Miranda narrowed her eyes at the desk. She tucked the silver pendant into the pocket of her overalls and waddled over.

Another piece of jewelry sat in a tray on the center of the desk: a silver bracelet. She turned it over in her hands, checking the engraving. It had been polished, but was undoubtedly hers.

The desk was strewn with stacks of papers and folders. Miranda glanced around and located a leather handbag hanging from one of the chairs. Finding it empty, she piled up the papers on the desk and shoved as many as she could into it.

“Miranda!” hissed Bridget, leaning out from behind a pillar. “There’s a trap-door or something back here.”

Miranda opened one of the desk drawers. Inside was a thick binder, with the seven-legged sigil stamped on its cover.

A furious pounding rattled the door they’d come through on its rusted hinges.

“Come on!” Bridget begged.

Miranda shoved the binder into the bag and followed Bridget to a storage room at the end of the chamber. She choked: coffins were stacked against the walls, of varying ages and styles.

Bridget opened a metal grating and pointed down.

“Oh god,” Miranda moaned.

The door shook again. The sound of wood splintering echoed through the chamber.

The grating had covered a rough-hewn hole, barely a few feet in diameter. “Oh god,” Miranda repeated, gingerly lowering herself and dangling her feet into it.

Bridget bounced impatiently. “Come on, come on…”

Miranda handed her the bag. “Do you realize what my waistline is? Just…give me a sec.”

She slid herself down into the darkness. The rim tightened quickly around her hips. For a moment, as her paunch squished up and she stopped moving, it seemed she was completely stuck. But she hadn’t eaten in hours and with a desperate breath she popped through and fell into the catacomb below with a splash.

Bridget threw the bag down to her and lowered herself with comparative ease, managing to slid the grating most of the way closed behind her. She hung from it for a moment, coat flapping in the draft, and then dropped.

They had landed in a cramped chamber, apparently a meeting point for several different tunnels. Water trickled gently through each, deep enough to flow around the ankles.

Bridget and Miranda spun around, staring into the darkness of each tunnel in turn.

“What do you think?”

“How should I know?”

“I don’t know. You know stuff I don’t know all the time.”

“I…” Miranda took a long breath. “I think the water’s running that way.”

“So we try that tunnel?”

“Sure. I think that’s the only one I’m gonna fit through, anyway.” She ducked to peer into it. “At least…hopefully.”



Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2007
Tunnels, why did it have to be tunnels. No snakes yet though. Loving this story. Could be darker though.


Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 21

The cloudcover began to part, opening a long tear across the sky. The full moon peeked through, hovering above the barn atop Whately hill.

A creek flowed out from the base of the hill, passing under an arch in the chain fence and winding into the decayed fields. It burbled out of a pile of boulders on the north side and twisted through the mud-slicked slope until it met an irrigation ditch as the field flattened out. Here a pair of footprints tracked their way up from the ditch and into the cornstalks.

The stalks were shoved brusquely apart or flattened along the path. The trail ventured haltingly in a few directions before curving away from the hill and toward the highway.

Bridget slipped out from the edge of the cornfield and glanced around. Miranda exploded out from the stalks a moment later, staggered onto the road, and collapsed to her knees.

“I can’t,” she wheezed. “I can’t go any further, Bridget. Just…just leave me here.”

“I don’t think they’re following us. I didn’t hear them behind us in the tunnel.” Bridget squinted into the night: the cornstalks were waving a little in the breeze, but there was otherwise no movement. She shifted the handbag’s strap to her other shoulder and looked up the road. “If we can make it to—”

Miranda groaned. “I can’t make it to anywhere. I’m done. Go on without me.”

“It’s a house. Just a little ways up the road. Looks like there isn’t anyone home.” She knelt down and laid a trembling hand on Miranda’s back. “Think back to, like, your track days. Nothing could stop you from reaching that finish line, right?”

“That was…ten years ago. The only line…I get to these days…is the buffet line.”

“Miranda, please. I’m too scared to do this by myself.” She looked up and bit her lip. “Come on. Maybe…maybe there’s something to eat in there.”

An ear-piercing wail rose up from somewhere in the distance, echoing off the hillside like the shriek of some impossible creature.

Bridget spun around. “What is that?”

Miranda hefted herself to her feet, listening. “Siren. The volunteer fire department in town…that must be the alarm.”

The old cargo van squealed to a halt. The blindfolded driver hurried out and marched around to wrench open the back doors. Diana stepped out, wringing a bloody rag in her hands, and looked across the yard.

The farmhouse was fully ablaze. As wet and rotten as its boards had been, the accumulation of junk within had all been highly flammable and the resulting pyre had erupted in a pillar of flame. Blindfolded helpers hurried around, fetching buckets.

In the distance, the flashing lights of a firetruck streaked between the town’s pale streetlights. They turned away from the hill, though, and wandered in the direction of the Burger Bunker.

A farmhand approached Diana, toting a rifle and limping from a serious-looking wound. It hadn’t been bandaged.

“Don’t bother with the house,” she croaked, ignoring his wound and staring at the inferno. “We’re in trouble already.”

She glanced nervously up to the peak of the hill and the moonlit building atop it.

“We have to concentrate on getting more meat to the barn. That hunger is…” She shook her head. “The beast has to be fed…more. As much as possible, as soon as possible.”

The man nodded.

“If the queen ascends and the worlds meet…if we fulfill the dream…yes. Houses won’t matter anymore. She will be all the home we need.” She crossed her spindly arms. “I’m so scared of what has to come now…but I’m so excited, too. Aren’t you excited?”

He stared silently.

“We have to move everything up. Call the community leaders…tell them the play has to happen tomorrow. Full ceremonies. We’ll…” She glanced back at the house. “We’ll do it up at the barn. Tell them.”

He turned and limped away.

Diana backed toward the van and sat down on the bumper. She plucked up a discarded piece of plastic—the anklet displaying Ros’ identification cards—and glowered pensively at it. “This is out of control,” she muttered quietly, wiping a glistening ooze from the card.

A deep rumble rolled across the sky. The ground trembled for a moment, rustling the cornstalks and toppling one of the farmhouse’s flaming timbers.

The blindfolded helpers, in unison, dropped their buckets and hoses. Several began walking down the hill toward town. Two headed toward Diana at the van. The rest knelt where they stood, raised their arms overhead, and slowly bowed in the direction of the moonlit barn.



Feb 5, 2013
Chapter 22

Miranda looked up with a start. The house had felt, for a brief moment, like it was shaking. The windows had rattled and the knick-knacks strewn about had jittered. The chintzy bobbleheads on the mantle were nodding fervently and the windchimes out front were jangling discordantly.

She peered around, rubbing her eyes, but after a minute everything had grown calm once again. All she could hear was the sound of her own labored breathing.

Bridget poked her head in from the next room. “Was that your stomach?”

Miranda glared, but Bridget’s awed expression suggested it wasn’t a joke. “Felt more like an earthquake. Do…do you really think my stomach gets that loud?”

“No, but…there was this one night when the Chicken Kitchen was closed for a holiday or something and you…” She cleared her throat. “Sorry. Anyway, it doesn’t look like anyone’s been in here for, like, at least a month.”

The house sat on a lonely corner on the edge of town, flanked by a closed auto-repair shop. It was well furnished with antiques and lively, if dated, décor. The walls were lined with family photos and the dressers and closets were full of clothes. It all looked active and lived-in, but covered in a subtle layer of dust.

“They weren’t expecting to be gone that long,” Miranda agreed, waving to a purse on a nearby table, “but I’m pretty sure they won’t be home anytime soon.”

Bridget followed her gaze to a wedding picture, centered on the living room wall. It showed a svelte, redheaded bride, laughing, and a swarthy, muscular groom. “Is that…Ros? The lady we saw get taken away?”

“She’s about a quarter the size in this picture, but, yeah, I think so. And I’m pretty sure I saw this dude at the farm, too. I remember his mustache…dipping into the feeding trough next to me.”

“Oh my god,” Bridget murmured.

“That one over there looks a little more recent.” She directed Bridget to an endtable.

Bridget picked up a printed photo showing the couple at what appeared to be a masquerade party, tilting up their masks and smiling to the camera. The man’s new beer belly protruded out from his unbuttoned dress shirt and Ros’ now enormous hips had split the seams of her dangerously short gown.

The glare of headlights swept across the room. Bridget dove gracelessly to the floor just before the beam reached her. Miranda slouched further down into the couch, succeeding only in hiding her face behind the swell of her midsection. But the light continued on and soon faded as the car trundled away.

Bridget climbed to her feet. “That’s the third time. Seems like a lot of traffic for three in the morning.”

“Diana’s probably sent people to look for us,” Miranda grumbled, rolling onto her side. Her empty belly flowed across and spilled over the edge of the cushion. “We should probably get away from the windows.”

“But what do we do? Just hide here forever?”

Miranda rubbed her hip. She could feel a huge bruise spreading where she’d fallen during the escape: she’d barely tripped, but three hundred and eighty pounds had landed with a forceful impact. “I don’t know. We should find a way to get back to your truck. But it looks like they’re watching the roads and there’s really just the one way out of town.”

“Maybe we could go on foot. Cut across, like, the fields and…” Bridget stopped herself, catching Miranda’s horrified gaze.

“If we try something like that, I’m gonna need to rest a little first. Sorry.” She sat up with a wince. “I can feel this bruise locking up my whole leg. My feet are on fire. My heart rate still hasn’t come all the way down.”

Bridget pouted, but nodded.

“I know I’m not as big as those…pig-people at the farm. But I’ve literally done nothing but sit on your couch for three years and all I eat is greasy junk. I barely go anywhere. Fuck, I get out of breath just walking to the fridge and back.” She shook her head. “I’m not making a run for it across twenty miles of cornfield.”

“So what do we do?”

Miranda spread her hands. “I…let’s wait things out for tonight. Hide here, rest up. Maybe we’ll feel more…lively once we’ve got some sleep and washed all this mud off.”

Bridget looked down. She was still wearing only the rainjacket, muckboots, and her lace underwear. Much of her lower half was caked with mud. Miranda’s overalls were little cleaner. “Yeah. Okay…okay. I’m gonna see if the shower works.”

“Good idea. And look, Bridget, I don’t wanna get caught and fed to some barn-monster either. We’ll get out of here.” She glanced at the bag of files she’d grabbed from the Whatelys’ basement. “I’ll try to figure something out.”

Bridget padded upstairs. Miranda looked at the kitchen, swallowing, and tried to get up. Her hip flared with throbbing pain, though, and she collapsed back on the couch with a groan.

“She died doing what she loved most,” she grumbled, looking out over her belly, “sitting on the couch.”



Feb 5, 2013
(22, continued)

Once the pounding in her head had subsided, she scooted far enough forward on the cushions to reach the bag she’d taken from the cellar and spill its contents across the coffee table. She hefted the pile of loose papers onto her lap and began leafing through them.

The first page to catch her eye was a hand-drawn diagram. It showed a grid of rectangles, each with dates and names: a map of Kade’s cemetery. Several of the plots were circled and labeled. A few were crossed out. One label, in red ink, read “Amanda Whately, d. 1916. Knows recipe!”

Miranda furrowed her brow. She reached into the bag and pulled out the pendant she’d found in the chair. She turned it over in her hand, tracing the curls of the sigil and squinting at the initials engraved on its back.

“A. W.,” she mused. After a moment she held up her bracelet to the light, comparing the sigils and the “M. W.” written on its backside.

She slipped the bracelet around her pudgy wrist and reached for the pile of papers, flipping over a notepad. It was scrawled with notes and dates.

The word ‘recipe’ appeared repeatedly. On one of the final pages it had been circled in the red ink again, near an underlined note.

“B. Whately reports thirty-five to forty-five pounds per month is possible,” claimed the excitedly scribbled entry. “Side effects likely, but potentially complementary to goals. Achieved by supplementing diet with ‘Ambrosia.’ B. unfamiliar with details of recipe, though.”

An entry below it added, “A. Whately won prizes for fattest livestock seven straight years at state fair. Multiple categories. Credits a ‘family recipe’ in animals’ feed. Buried in Kade cemetery. Starred in play at least twice.”

Miranda furrowed her brow. “Play?”

She shoved more papers aside, locating a heavy binder. Its cover was adorned with a sketch of the curling sigil.

On opening, it proved to be a scrapbook, full of aged photos, news clippings, and flyers. The flyers were playbills, Miranda realized, paging through the book. Many of the early ones were at least a century old and hailed from small towns in New England. Two of the more professional flyers came from Arkham and Paris. But most were amateurish programs from the community theaters of Kade and nearby Iowa towns.

They all advertised a production of the same play: The Queen in Yellow. Their borders were decorated with masks, crowns, flying crows, and the seven-armed sigil.

Many entries included photographs of the cast and crew. Poring over them, Miranda found a preponderance of Whatelys in the lead roles. The Whatelys in these roles were also all, without exception, conspicuously obese.

“Family curse,” Miranda mused, bracing the open binder atop her stomach.

“Starring Amanda Whately as the Princess,” proclaimed one flyer. Her name had been circled in red ink. The young woman in the photo was at least twice the size of any of her co-stars, her girth accentuated by a makeshift regal costume. She wore a pendant around her thick neck.

Miranda glanced at the pendant on the table before her, nodding. She flipped to another playbill. It was much more recent, its cast photo colored in faded pastels. One of the boys had been circled. The red pen had scrawled “extant?” across his face. On his wrist was a bracelet. The pen had drawn an arrow to it, along with several exasperated question marks.

She closed the binder, unwilling to see the boy’s name in the cast list. Setting it aside, she rifled through the papers on the table, unsure what she was looking for and afraid of what she might find.

There were more letters from Professor de Chiel at Thalia University, all in the indecipherable script. There were photocopies of pages from various books in several languages. There was a rubbing of what appeared to be a cuneiform tablet.

Miranda unfolded a poster-sized sheet, showing a sketch of a ziggurat. She felt her face pale as she looked over the drawing: there was the line of pilgrims, carrying their offerings, there was the river meandering across the plain, there was the pleasure-barge, dwarfed by the enormity of the temple. A black sun loomed above the ziggurat’s peak.

Deep in her memory, Miranda heard the cawing of crows. The pangs of a forgotten hunger called from somewhere in her stomach and she felt her mouth begin to water.

“Miranda?” asked a hushed voice.

She twisted around on the couch. Bridget was standing at the base of the stairs, soaking wet, wrapped in a bathtowel. It barely covered her chest and curve of her still-bloated gut pushed gently out against the plush fabric.

Miranda eyed her. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I, uh…” Bridget glanced nervously around. “I just felt really hungry. Came down to see if there was still, you know, anything in the kitchen.”


“Feels like I haven’t eaten in a week. You must be, too. A good meal’s probably just what you need.”

Miranda’s stomach whined. She grimaced.

Bridget adjusted the towel. “What?”

“I don’t know. It’s just…” Miranda waved at the mound of papers. “This is all so fucked. Hypnotizing a town full of people, fattening them up, feeding them to…god knows what Diana has locked in that barn. I just…Bridget, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“We should have left town when we had the chance. We could’ve been home free yesterday with a weird story about a bunch of fat people. Instead we’re probably gonna die here…and it’s my fault.” She kicked the coffee table and hissed at the pain in her foot. “Fuck, we never should’ve come to this fucking town in the first place. I could’ve just sucked it up and applied for that stupid grocery job. Or any job. I could’ve…”

She pulled her hair back. Bridget rounded the couch and set a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“I could’ve just stayed at Silver Key,” Miranda continued. “I would’ve made enough money that I’d never notice the trust checks had stopped coming. I could still…I could still be on the fast track, I could still be living in an uptown loft and…wearing designer clothes and going to exotic destination cities on the corporate expense account and I could…I could still be…” She slumped back against the cushion, limp beneath the weight of her midsection. “I don’t even know why I gave up.”

Bridget bit her lip. She gazed away, eyes lingering on the wedding photo. “Yeah,” she breathed.

“Would you do it differently?” Miranda asked after a moment. “If you could go back?”

“Do what?”

“Like, what if you’d gone to college instead of sticking it out with what’s-his-name? You ever wish you could try it the other way…live that life instead?”

Bridget sat herself on the armrest. “My parents would’ve been happier. They really thought I was gonna be, like, a doctor or lawyer or something. Me.” She scoffed. “Maybe I could’ve been. But…I dunno. They were always telling me what I should be. And it was always anything but who I am.”

She shrugged and leaned back, nearly knocking over a lamp.

“People looked down at me sometimes…at the lifestyle I got into.” She puffed her chest out, reaching to keep the towel closed. “But when I’m the life of the party…when everyone’s staring…” She smirked. “Those are the times in my life when I actually feel, like, right.”

Miranda shifted her weight, staring ahead.

“What about you?” Bridget asked, slipping off the armrest.


“Would you go back and do it differently? Would you, like, ask for help or whatever and stay at Silver Key?”

Miranda thought for a moment. She ran a hand along the lower roll of her belly. “I keep telling myself that’s the life I deserved. That if I could get back to it I’d be happy again. But…it’s not like I was happy back then. Too busy trying to impress people to be happy…people who were never going to be impressed, anyway.”

Bridget nodded.

“No, I…if I’m being honest with myself, for once…” Miranda shook her head. “Sitting on your couch with a bucket of fried chicken on my lap…that’s the closest to happiness I’ve ever been.”


Benny Mon

Jul 7, 2011
This is such a compelling story, and every time I expect it to approach its peak, there are more twists and turns, more developments to follow (in a good way!). This chapter really made me think about how Bridget's and Miranda's fuck-up lives, which ordinarily would have prosaically bad consequences for them, have horrifically bad consequences in this setting. Way to raise the stakes!

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