The House that Time Forgot

Originally published September 14, 2015.
Contains: accelerated weight gain, behind-the-scenes encouraging, supernatural encouraging

The first story I wrote when trying my hand at gainer fiction. I had not yet tried my hand at writing decent introductions.

Synopsis: When Bob came to scout out the abandoned house before his demolition company tore it down, he didn’t expect to find a fresh feast inside, let alone more than one, let alone to finish them all himself…

Bob drove slowly up to the abandoned old house on a Sunday afternoon, the digital display on his dashboard reading 2:34 PM, Sunday September 7th. He rolled gingerly over the driveway, as if the cracked pavement might crumble beneath him if he drove too fast. The house was a two-story family home, not much more presentable than what passed for its driveway. The white exterior paint had chipped and cracked at having to bear the elements without a fresh coat in decades. Though none of the windows were broken, they all bore a dirty haze that made it impossible for Bob to see inside. They could have done with a good cleaning, he mused, if the house weren’t scheduled to come down.

Bob’s demolition company, No Mess Demo, had been offered a contract by the city to tear the old house down so something new could be built on the property instead. They told him the house had once belonged to an old widow whose husband had passed away of heart failure years before she did. When he passed, she became reclusive, alienating both her own family and his to the point that when she died, none of her next-of-kin wanted anything to do with the house or her. So the house was left in the possession of the city and had remained abandoned for decades, to the point that one of the town hall staffers had referred to it as “the house that time forgot.” City records indicated that the widow had never worked a day in her years living there, leading the city to conclude she was a housewife, and without a husband to take care of, the idleness got to her.

A sad story for sure, thought Bob, but the time for mourning was decades behind them, and he had a job to do. As foreman of his team, he’d come to scout out the house before accepting the contract, to make sure there were no unpleasant surprises when his team came to knock it down.

Bob had started as a regular worker when he was hired at No Mess Demo. He initially applied as a last resort after losing his job as a shift manager at a local burger joint, but he stayed when he found the job helped him manage his stress. He got along well with his team, in large part just because he was happy to be away from customer service, so when the foreman spot opened, combined with his previous management experience, he was a natural fit. The team was happy to answer to him, and he found the more hands-off job less strenuous and physically demanding. All in all, everyone was happy with the decision.

But the promotion was not without its consequences. Working in fast food, Bob had acquired a taste for the greasy and fattening, growing accustomed to eating burgers for dinner every day after he’d grown tired of bringing his own meals to work. He managed to offset the effect of his diet by complementing a burger for dinner with a salad for lunch.

But that changed once he joined No Mess. Part of No Mess’s way of ensuring its employees stayed happy was that the foreman would take everyone out for lunch during their shift at a nearby burger or sandwich or pizza shop and pay for their lunch on the company dollar. That spending freedom, combined with the physically demanding nature of his job, combined with the competitive one-upmanship with which his coworkers seemed to approach the quantity of their lunch orders, lead to Bob enjoying increasingly more decadent and indulgent lunches while at work. These lunches were rarely offset by a more moderate dinner, since Bob was accustomed to having something as filling as a burger for dinner each day.

This hadn’t been much of a problem when he was doing manual labor as a regular part of his job. Though he never made a dent in the paunch he’d developed while working as a manager, it never got much wider either. If anything, all that food he was eating went towards building the muscle he needed to do his job.

After his promotion, though, Bob found himself much less involved in the hands-on part of the job. His eating habits might have changed to compensate, were it not for the fact that it was now his responsibility to take the team out and put their meals on the company card. At first, he didn’t eat as much as he used to, not being as hungry from his morning as his team were. But after a few days of Bob eating more moderately, his team began to wonder aloud what happened to the Bob who could destroy a whole large pepperoni pizza or an entire buffalo chicken and cheese sub like it was nothing. Attempts to assure them that those days were behind him were met with discontent and musings about whether authority had changed the Bob they’d always known. Not wanting to do anything that might put his team’s trust in him at risk, Bob went back to ordering meals the size of those of the rest of his coworkers. Eating that much food when he wasn’t nearly as hungry as them might have been a challenge normally, but their camaraderie and encouragement ensured he enjoyed every bite.

At first he offset this change in his diet with lighter dinners at home, just filling out the nutritional deficiencies of his fast food lunches. But as his stomach grew more acclimated to digesting large amounts of food at once for lunch, it began to demand the same at dinner. Previously he’ never found himself hungry when he came home from work, making moderation easy. But as he started feeling hunger pangs in the evening again, he became much less inclined towards the salads and stews that used to be enough for him, and felt at liberty to indulge at dinner again.

As a result, Bob had put on a considerable amount of weight in his two years as foreman. What had started as a paunch that was offset by his developed muscles ballooned into an imposing sphere that stuck out nearly a foot ahead of his chest, as most of his weight went to his growing gut. He didn’t own a scale, but he knew that he’d gone from being able to manage with a size-large tank top to wearing a 2XL Polo on the job.

But this was fine with Bob. He had no qualms about his bulbous frame, as the muscles he’d developed while working as a demolisher ensured he had little trouble maneuvering his newfound mass. The only thing about Bob’s expanding frame that annoyed him was how he had to keep buying new work shirts and cargo pants as he kept outgrowing his old ones.

It didn’t seem to affect his relationships with his coworkers either. For sure, they weren’t so oblivious that they wouldn’t notice, but their comments were limited to the occasional friendly ribbing, a joke like, “management is looking good on you, Bob.” What they cared about most was that he continued to lead effectively with his usual friendly demeanor, and that never changed.

It was Bob’s dedication to his team that motivated him to thoroughly scope out locations before the company accepted any jobs there, which brought him to that old, abandoned house that Sunday afternoon. After putting his truck in park, he changed out of his polo shirt and into a white tank top, now that he didn’t have to dress to impress anyone. He opened the driver-side door and stepped out onto the crumbling asphalt. Looking over the old house gave him an uneasy gut feeling, not necessarily a negative one, but one that he was happy he could investigate before he let his team loose on the property.

Bob had managed to convince the city government to hand over the key to the house so he could investigate it himself. Technically this was against city policy. But Bob’s way with people was part of why he’d been promoted, and his company’s good reputation meant the city was willing to bend the rules a little if it might encourage them to accept. Pulling the key out of his pocket, he unlocked the front door and made his way inside.

The translucent state of the windows meant only a modest amount of light illuminated the inside of the house. But once Bob’s eyes adjusted, he saw that in contrast with the run-down state of the house’s exterior, the interior looked pristine. The city had told him that no one had been in the house for decades, but the inside looked downright spotless. Bob had been expecting to spend his whole scouting trip sneezing with all the dust he was sure to kick up. But when he looked at the light that was coming in through the front door, there was even less dust flying around the air than he saw when the sunlight shined into his own apartment.

Bob closed the door and turned on his flashlight. He stepped lightly into the foyer, not sure of the integrity of the floorboards beneath him and knowing he was more likely to break them than most. But as he walked down the hallway next to the stairs, he found himself moving with a more casual pace as the floorboards showed no signs of decay. They didn’t creak beneath him or demonstrate any give as he let his weight down onto them. Even the banister, which he absentmindedly grabbed onto as he passed it, felt sturdy beneath his grip.

A thin table to Bob’s right propped up an empty vase. When he shined his flashlight on it, he saw that the colors were still vibrant, a menagerie of blue designs dancing across the pale white porcelain. To his left, he saw framed, browning pictures of what must have been the extended family of the couple who lived there. They were full of well-dressed, old-timey men and women standing in a line and looking seriously at the camera. Further down the line were portrait-style photos of several younger men and women. These portraits were mildly faded, but displayed significantly less aging than the family portraits before them. “Must be their kids,” Bob muttered to himself. “I wonder what they’re up to now.”

At the end of the hallway, Bob found one last photograph, one depicting a well-dressed, upper-middle-age couple standing next to each other. The man looked well-fed, his corpulent midsection putting up quite a fight against the buttons of his vest, while the woman was of a more slender figure, with a poofy dress hanging around her legs. A smile was evident on her face, though Bob had to look more closely to make out the man’s smile under his thick mustache, not unlike Bob’s own. Looking that closely revealed the woman’s eyes were wide as she smiled, her contented expression not quite as natural as the man’s. Upon closer examination, it seemed rather forced.

“I bet that’s her and her husband,” Bob said to the empty room. “Mmm… maybe someone from the historical society should come by and take these photos before we bulldoze the place. Might be worth saving.”

At the end of the hallway was a door. Turning the knob slowly and opening the door, Bob found a kitchen that was much better lit than the rest of the house. The view through the windows was not entirely clear, but they let in more than enough sunlight that Bob turned off his flashlight. “The winds must blow the rain against those windows and keep them clean,” Bob thought. Looking around the kitchen, he saw an old-fashioned looking mixer on the counter and cooking pots hanging from the ceiling around the center island. There was no evidence of food, though. All the glass-plated cupboards had been cleared of whatever boxes and bottles and they once held, probably around the time the widow died.

At least, Bob thought there was no evidence of food. But something tickled his nose, and taking in a few deep whiffs, he thought he could make out the smell of a roasted turkey. “Heh, must be imagining things,” he concluded. After looking at a door to his right that probably lead to the basement and a door to his left that probably lead to a dining room, he opted to keep scouting out the first floor.

Opening the door to his left, Bob was greeted by a similarly surprisingly well-lit dining room, but this one bore an extra surprise for him. Laid out on the dining room table was a feast fit for a family gathering, with mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, biscuits and butter, quiche, Caesar salad that was positively drowning in dressing, a pumpkin pie, and of course, a large roasted turkey. More unsettling than the presence of all this food was the fact that it it didn’t look several decades old; it all looked fresh. Some of the entrees were still steaming.

Bob wondered if he wasn’t alone in the house, if someone else had came before him and set all this up as an elaborate prank. Only some of his coworkers knew when he was coming to scope out the house, but surely they wouldn’t have been able to get a key to get in. He walked past the table and slowly opened the door to the living room, but as the light from the dining room spilled into it, he found it to be empty save for a few plush looking couches. A cursory look back into the kitchen revealed just as little.

Bob considered scouting out the rest of the house, sure that someone must have been there before him. But once the surprise wore off, he was overcome by just how good everything smelled. He was awash in scents that brought him back to the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners he helped his mom make every year when he went home for the holidays. Much as he hated to admit it, these foods smelled even better than hers.

It was insane. There was no way this food could be edible unless it has been brought in the house that day. Even if it had been, who would do so? Who could have done so? And why would they?

All these questions faded into the background of Bob’s mind as curiosity got the better of him. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast, spending much of the day talking to the workers in the city hall and buttering them up to get the key to the house, not thinking to grab lunch on the way there. It was now well past lunch time, and his growling stomach, encouraged by the sight of all this food, was letting him know that. So he pulled out a chair in the middle and sat down.

The abundance of choice and the unbelievability of it all left Bob unsure where to start. He decided to start with one of the biscuits, just to make sure this wasn’t all in his head. He reached forward and gingerly grabbed one, almost surprised to see that his fingers didn’t go straight through it. It felt warm and buttery in his hand, the flaky crust giving way just a bit to his grasp. Bob looked down and was relieved to see a napkin along with the rest of a place setting. Pulling the biscuit apart with both of his hands, he saw a small puff of steam escape as the flaky, soft interior was exposed. He brought the biscuit close to his nose and sniffed it suspiciously, but his curiosity was only piqued by the delicious smell. He put the two halves back together and after staring at it suspiciously a little longer, he finally took a bite.

Once his teeth crunched through the crust, the biscuit practically melted in his mouth, the buttery goodness taking only a few bites for Bob to chew it. He wondered why butter had even been put out next to the biscuits when they already had more than plenty inside, before shrugging and taking another delicious bite. Before he knew it, the biscuit had disappeared down his gullet and as he licked his lips, he happily took another one. With his trepidation now dismissed entirely, this one disappeared in a matter of seconds. Once he finished the last bite of it, he grabbed another one and started on that one immediately.

One by one, the biscuits disappeared into Bob’s mouth, each one as soft and buttery as the first, until he’d finished every one in the basket. He’d eaten somewhere around a dozen-and-a-half–he’d lost count after 6 or 7–but when he saw the empty basket, he finally paused to wipe his hands and mouth, letting out a deep, “Mmmm,” compliments to an unknown chef.

It was in that moment of respite that Bob became aware of just how much he’d eaten. Even for someone who could finish an entire deluxe chicken finger dinner by himself, eating 14, 16, 18 biscuits that buttery was no small feat. With Bob’s attention off of the meal in front of him, he took a moment to dwell on how full he felt, the biscuits tenaciously pushing out against his stomach, the fabric of his shirt strung more tightly around him. “I couldn’t have eaten that much,” Bob thought. “This must just be that… physical feeling of fullness you get earlier than you expect when you eat on an empty stomach. I’m sure I can try some of the rest. I just have to… pace myself.” He convinced himself of this even as he reached under his gut to loosen his belt a notch or two. He sat up straight in his seat, his gut spilling out a little farther over his legs.

Surveying his other options, he decided to skip his vegetables and go right for the turkey, pushing the empty biscuit basket aside and pulling the platter with the bird on it toward him. He was relieved to find a carving knife and fork already set next to the turkey, which must have been at least 20 pounds. Sticking the carving fork well into the breast to cut himself a generous portion, he carved off a piece about two inches thick in its middle. He smiled when he saw that the turkey was so tender and soft that it came off like the knife was a laser. He skewered the piece of turkey with the carving fork and put it on a plate in front of him.

Bob cut the first bite of his turkey off the larger piece with the fork and knife that had been set out at his place at the table. Once he bit into it, he found that like the biscuits, it practically melted in his mouth, the turkey so tender and juicy that it put up almost no resistance against his teeth. He could tell it had been seasoned with rosemary, among other herbs. The collective effect was so delicious that he dropped his silverware and grabbed the piece with his hands, taking bigger and bigger bites out of it as he ate, barely waiting until he’d swallowed one bite to take another.

When he finished that piece, he pulled the turkey closer to carve himself another. This one was even thicker than the last, as Bob started his cut right in the middle of the turkey. This piece skipped the plate entirely, going right into Bob’s hands en route to his mouth. His first bite was followed by another before he’d even swallowed the first. Though he swallowed about as much turkey as he bit off each time, his mouth did not empty of turkey until he’d finished the piece, the succulent meat too good for Bob to savor. The rest of the breast meat on that side of the turkey came off with just the hacking of his carving fork, and he ate the mess of scraps and pieces that resulted ravenously.

Bob reached over and turned the turkey around. This time he carved from the middle of the turkey to the bottom of edge of the breast, cutting off nearly the entire side in one piece. He grabbed the gigantic piece in his hands, needing both of them to hold it, and went to work. He bit off more and more between swallows as he finished the giant slab of turkey, to the point that when he finished it, his cheeks were bulging out with turkey. He couldn’t even close his mouth. This was no problem to Bob, who groaned with pleasure as he chewed the meaty mass, eventually swallowing it all. When he’d finished that piece, he made short work of the scraps of breast meat left of that side.

With the breast meat finished, Bob turned the turkey around one more time and ditched the carving tools, ripping the legs off with his bare hands. Holding one turkey leg in each hand, he traded off eating from the one on the left and the one on the right, taking bite after bite of the even juicier, even more flavorful meat. Soon all the leg meat he cared to eat disappeared into his stomach, and he tossed the bones back on the platter.

Bob was ready to waste no time moving on to his next course, reaching for the pumpkin pie to pull it closer to him. But when he leaned forward, he found that his gut hit the table before he could reach it, and when he tried to push on anyway to grab the pie, his belly wouldn’t budge. After straining for a few seconds and with the pie still out of reach, Bob fell back in his chair and let his arms fall to the side. Upon reclining his body and relaxing his muscles, his gut swelled out in front of him, putting a painful amount of strain on his already loosed belt. Bob reached under his gut again to undo his belt entirely and undo his pants button, struggling to suck his belly in even a little to give himself room. His shirt had ridden up enough that he could the bare, taut skin of his abdomen against his arms.

When he finally managed to undo his belt and pants button, he let out his arms and relaxed his muscles, hearing his fly unzip as his now unrestrained gut pushed out even farther. He could feel the fabric of his shirt ride up higher still, until the bottom of his shirt had cleared his belly button. Feeling his gut swell out farther than he thought possible, he grabbed his belly from the bottom, straining to lay his hands over each other under his new mass. He struggled to lift it up before letting it fall back onto his lap. He grunted when he felt his newfound girth hit his legs and swayed back and forth once his gut stopped bouncing up and down. His still-wet hands absentmindedly massaged his new expanse, Bob groaning as he did so, pushing his shirt up to reveal his swollen gut in all its glory.

Bob was breathing heavily, still swaying back and forth in his chair as he fondled his distended, taut paunch. When his gaze wandered back to the pumpkin pie, he wondered whether there might be ice cream in the freezer to go with it. It would have seemed insane to him just prior to even ask such a thing, but in his gorged state, it made perfect sense.

Pushing his chair out from the table with both his hands and his feet, Bob struggled to get up, finding the mass of turkey and biscuits in his stomach quite unwilling to compress. He leaned back in his chair again and let out a dazed chuckle as he slapped his gut and looked out drowsily. Eventually he scooted himself to the edge of his chair, his back still reclining against the wood behind him, and pushed himself up with the help of his arms.

Bob nearly fell over once he got up, finding himself unadjusted to his newfound heft. He spread his legs wide and swayed back and forth some more before adjusting to his new center of gravity. After getting his bearings, he waddled to the kitchen, swaying back and forth as he adjusted to his increased girth, taking longer to reach the kitchen than he expected it to. Once in the kitchen, he opened the freezer and found, to his delight, a quart-size container of vanilla ice cream. He had just enough presence of mind to wonder if the ice cream was still any good, but looking on the bottom revealed an expiration date set to come next year. Elated, Bob scanned the counter for a scooper and found one he must have missed when he surveyed the kitchen before.

Scooper and ice cream in hand, Bob hobbled back into the dining room. He put the ice cream and scooper to the right of his place setting and reaching over to grab the pie before he sat down. His gut rested heavily on the table as he reached for the pumpkin pie, and he could feel the smooth wood of the table top on the underside of his belly. With everything he needed within reach, Bob sat back in the chair, hearing it creak a little as all his weight, new and old, hit the seat.

Bob pulled the pie up, feeling that it was still warm, and was ready to cut himself a piece when he put the knife aside and tore a chunk from the tin. It was rich and dense but still soft to the bite, the crust thin and flaky and providing just enough support for the filling. After a large bite of the pie, Bob remembered the ice cream and opened the container. Finding no spoon at his place setting with which he could eat it, he grabbed the scooper and scooped a big scraping of ice cream out of the container and into his mouth. The ice cream was rich and creamy, the melted texture providing the perfect counterpoint to the pie and melting around it in Bob’s mouth, the combination growing more and more delicious until he swallowed the decadent mixture.

Bob finished the pie in much the same way, growing less and less mindful with each bite, until he reached for another piece and found only an empty pie tin. Feeling melted ice cream dribbling down the side of his mouth, he groggily looked over the rest of the table as he slapped his fuller, tighter, rounder belly, and grunted, “What’s next?”

The rest of the meal passed in a haze. Though Bob swore he felt far too full to even think about getting up, in his waning moments of awareness, he found himself chowing down on dishes that had previously been even farther from him than the pumpkin pie. The different flavors and sensations of everything he ate coalesced into a blur, Bob not able to tell when he’d finished the quiche and moved on to the casserole, nor even bothering with utensils anymore. All he knew was he wanted to keep eating until he’d downed everything in sight, and he kept on doing exactly that as his bulging gut swelled bigger and bigger and bigger…

When Bob finally came to, his hazy vision slowly cleared and the scene ahead of him came into focus. The table was covered in empty bowls and platters, with scraps of whatever he wouldn’t eat strewn about. The turkey was somehow stripped even more bare of its meat, with the bones lying all around the platter it had once rested on. The casserole dish was upside down and cleared out enough that Bob could see through the glass that it was empty. The gravy had seemingly been spread over everything that Bob had not finished before the pie. Even the salad bowl had been emptied, only the extra Caesar dressing lining it now. The tablecloth was bunched up near Bob, with much of it falling onto the floor, giving Bob some idea of how he might have gotten the food to himself even though he felt like he couldn’t get up.

Upon following the tablecloth to see it hanging toward the floor near him, Bob finally caught a glimpse himself. He was gargantuan, his belly sticking out so far that when he tried to reach his arms around it, he was just barely able to interlock his fingers. The weight of all that food inside of him gave him a perceptible increase in his inertia, as he now struggled to even fidget in his seat. His skin was tight as a drum. As he rubbed his hands over his new expanse, the hairs on his belly seemed to stick out extra straight from all the strain. He could barely even think about getting up.

But he couldn’t very well fall asleep in that chair. Collecting as much of his presence of mind as he could, he pushed the chair out from the table, finding it even harder to move this time. All of his extra weight and expanded mass meant he had an even harder time just pushing his rear end to the edge of the chair. With one big exertion, pushing himself up off the armrests of the chair and bending his legs, he finally rose.

Bob kept his hands on the chair until he got his balance, not wanting to make the same mistake he’d made last time he tried to get up. It was a good thing he did, as he had to lean back even farther to counteract the extra weight in his belly. Finding even turning around to be a laborious task, he oriented himself toward the door to the living room, shuffling his legs forward bit by bit, his arms swinging wide with each step. He was so stuffed to the gills that his belly didn’t even bounce as he moved, just swaying back and forth, forcing Bob to be extra mindful as he walked to avoid losing his balance.

Once he walked through the door, he tried to make his way through the living room, though he wasn’t sure where he thought he was going. To sleep it off in his truck? To try to drive home in spite of his glutted stupor? It didn’t matter. Once he’d managed to get halfway through the living room, he groggily looked at the big couch in the middle and waddled over to it instead, falling on his side and letting his enormous gut spill out in front of him, his right arm coming to rest on top of his belly, his left arm lying in front of him. He groaned as he rubbed his taut gut, his eyes wavering back and forth between open and closed until he finally fell asleep.

When Bob stirred into wakefulness, he didn’t recognize his surroundings at first, eyes darting back and forth to take in the lavish living room until the memories started coming back to him. It was all so surreal that it would have made more sense as a dream. “Yeah,” Bob thought, “that must be it. It was just a dream. I fell asleep while investigating the house and dreamt… that… for whatever reason.” Bob looked around the room and could see that it was still daytime. Wondering what time it was, he reached for his right pocket to pull out his phone, only to find his pocked empty. “Ugh, must have left it in the truck,” he thought with an audible groan.

Upon pulling his hand out of his pocket, though, Bob realized that the fabric of the cargo pants moved with his arm as he pulled it out, as if they were unbuttoned and unzipped in the front. Reaching back down, he felt for the front of his pants and found that they were indeed unzipped, and his belt was hanging unbuckled. These revelations roused Bob from whatever sleepiness he was still feeling, and after he swung his legs off the couch, he came to a sitting position with some more difficulty than he was expecting.

Bob finally looked down at the belly beneath him and was forced to acknowledge that it had indeed grown. It wasn’t as large as he’d remembered it being after his gargantuan meal, but the difference was unmistakable. When he stood up, he tried to pull his tank top down but could feel that the bottom of his shirt no longer hung down far enough to cover his gut, hanging just below his belly button. A cautious stroke of his hand down the front of his abdomen ended with his fingers grabbing onto the bottom of his belly, feeling the bare skin past where his shirt could now reach. He lifted it and let it drop slowly, soon employing his other hand to help him examine his new mass. Though he’d never felt his belly with this much scrutiny before, he was sure he was fatter.

Remembering the question of what time it was, Bob looked back into the better lit dining room and saw the light inside looked much the same as did when he was in there last. “So either I didn’t sleep very long,” Bob thought, “or I slept an entire day and it’s… Monday afternoon?” It occurred to Bob that if he had slept that long, then surely his coworkers would be wondering where he was and would come to the house to look for him. “Nah, can’t be, then.” He remained convinced it was the same day, even as his hands absentmindedly rubbed his newly expanded belly and found that it was no longer taut and tight from fullness. Though Bob’s belly had never been exactly flabby, it did have some amount of give, at least when he wasn’t stuffed past maximum capacity. His fingertips demonstrated that give now as they pressed into his flab, having no trouble sinking into the supple top layer.

Bob then remembered what had brought him here, and decided that if nothing else, he should finish doing his job. Taking his hands off of his belly long enough to survey the state of his pants, he found buttoning them an impossible prospect. Instead he buckled his belt, finding he needed about three more notches to accommodate his recently acquired girth, and zipped up his zipper as high as it would go. He was content that this would do until he could go home and change, though he gave no thought as to what he could change into given that this was the largest pair of pants he owned.

Convinced that the living room held no surprises for him or his team, Bob pulled his flashlight out again and made his way back towards the foyer where he’d first entered the house. He was happy to find walking was less laborious than he’d remembered it being after he’d finished that feast. He walked with the same stride and ease he had when first exploring the house, though it felt like his belly bounced a bit more now than it used to. Bob didn’t think much of this; if anything, he concluded, he was just paying more attention to the way his belly moved as he walked than he used to.

Entering the foyer, he made his way into the room on the right and found himself in what seemed to be a study. The walls were lined with bookshelves full of various books, many of them seeming to be part of a set, with uniform height and color for a run of the shelf. Across the room from him was a desk and a wooden chair, as well as a more plush chair and a footrest in the center of the room and a stately wooden chair in one of the corners.

Bob entered the room cautiously and approached one of the shelves. He found a mix of older looking books with single-color spines and titles written in golden ink, and newer looking books whose spines were printed with pastel colors and bolder fonts. The older books were in surprisingly good condition, while many of the more modern-looking books, in spite of their retro visual design, looked brand new.

“These must have some value to someone,” Bob whispered to himself. “Maybe the library? Or the historical society! I bet they’d love this. All these old books in such good condition. I can’t believe they’d have us tear this house down with all of this inside.”

Eying more of the bookshelves, Bob soon spotted a smaller door at the far end of the room. He walked toward the door and gingerly turned the knob to open the door. Having to duck down to get inside, he found what seemed to be a storage room. There were cardboard boxes of different sizes against the walls, leaving a path through the center of the room. Sweeping his flashlight across the shelves above the boxes, Bob found array of oddities that included a rather large clear crystal, an old looking rifle, and a stuffed owl.

“Man, they’d have to want to preserve at least some of this! That gem? Who knows how old that gun is, and it still looks like it’s in good condition. I wonder what’s in the bo–“

Bob’s wonderings were cut short when he spotted an ornate full-length mirror at the end of the room, his flashlight shining off it and right back on to him. With little light shining into the study itself and even less of that light making its way through the storage room door, Bob’s flashlight shined a spotlight on him that was impossible to ignore.

His tank top hadn’t exactly been loose-fitting when he’d put it on, but it was now wrapped snugly around his torso like a sausage casing, his more bulbous gut filling out the fabric. A stripe of skin was visible underneath his shirt, the bottom of his belly sticking out too far to be covered, revealing the rounded underside. Above the bottom hem of his shirt, he could see a divot where the fabric sank into his belly button. His pants were even worse off, the zipper having come entirely unzipped as he walked, displaying his white boxers, the only clothing that still fit him.

Though Bob had observed that he’d woken up bigger than he was when he entered the house, on some level it all seemed too surreal to be believed: finding a feast hot and fresh in the otherwise abandoned house, how much he was able to eat, how much weight he’d put on after just one meal. But seeing all the evidence presented in front of him was hard to deny.

“Maybe it’s… just a food baby,” he tried to reason as he hesitantly kneaded his new mass with his free hand, finding it too pliable to support that theory. He knocked the side of his gut with his hand, and after watching the ripples travel from one side to the other, he stated plainly, “Nope, that’s all me.” He kept staring, cocking his head from one side to another, swaying his body back forth, turning his gut side to side, all out of disbelief that that was really him in the mirror. Eventually he straightened out and leaned his head back one last time, his eyebrows shooting up. He chucked and remarked “Wow.”

Bob switched his flashlight over to his left hand and started rubbing his belly with his right, paying particular attention to how his new heft felt as it moved. He stuck his thumb under the hem of his shirt and pushed it up as he kept rubbing, feeling up his gut in circles that moved higher up his abdomen, until he’d lifted his shirt all the way to show his mound in its entirety. He surveyed the extent of his new girth, absentmindedly stroking the top of his paunch with his fingers as his hand held up his shirt. He let go of his shirt and it fell around him, the hem stopping an inch or so above his navel as the rest of the fabric bunched up above it. Taking a step back, he surveyed himself one last time and smirked. Satisfied, he pulled his shirt down as far as it would go and left the room.

With the study scouted out to his liking, Bob decided to check out whatever was behind the second door in the kitchen, the one he’d passed up in favor of looking through the dining room. He strode through the foyer, pushed open the door to the kitchen, and turned right to go through that door…

But then he remembered the mess he’d left on the dining room table. After giving it some thought, he thought it better to not leave it there for his crew or the city to discover. After all, he was the only person who they knew had been in the house. With how fresh all the remains would be, it would only make him look bad, like he’d brought it all into the house just to make a mess. Plus, Bob thought, the longer he left it there, the more rotten it would all get.

So he turned around from the door on the right to go back into the dining room. He turned his flashlight off, as the afternoon light was still illuminating this side of the house just fine. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with all the dirty plates and food scraps, but he trusted he’d figure something out.

But when Bob opened the dining room door, he was not greeted by the sight of the wreckage of his previous gorging. Instead, he saw a table that had been cleared off and cleaned up, and a new feast laid out. This one was Italian themed, with lasagna, meatballs, penne alfredo, a calzone, sausages, bruschetta chicken, breadsticks, and a platter full of cannolis, among other dishes swimming in marinara sauce or butter. There were more items laid out than there were at the previous feast, but they were all clustered together in a smaller area on the table, toward the center, where a single place setting had been set. It was the same place where Bob had sat the previous time.

Bob couldn’t believe his eyes. His mouth hung agape, salivating at all the delicacies that had been set out. Spurred on in part by disbelief and in part by his now growling stomach, he slowly approached the table, his right hand resting on it as he walked like couldn’t believe it was real. He poked the breadsticks cautiously and the top few parted at his touch, leaving a warm and greasy residue on his finger. He licked his finger clean and tasted the garlicky oil on it, and he was forced to conclude that yes, this too was really happening.

Bob put both of his hands on top of the back of the chair by the place setting, still looking at all the food laid out in front of him with disbelief. Who would take the time to clear out the table while he was asleep? Who would make not one, but two entire feasts, and lay them all out in an abandoned house? Who could bring it all in without him noticing yet do so quickly enough that it was all still warm? And why?

But the most important question, Bob concluded, was what was he waiting for? He pulled the chair out, sat down, and rubbed his hands together with an excited smile.

The breadsticks were the first thing on his mind, so he reached to his right and grabbed one, taking a hearty bite and moaning his approval. The outside was crispy and plenty garlicky, while the inside was not only soft, but also as oily as the crust, the oil having seeped through the crust and soaked the entire breadstick in its garlic flavor. Bob finished the greasy delight quickly and grabbed a handful more from the basket, taking bites from each of them until he’d finished them all. The breadsticks were extra soft from all the oil that had soaked through, yielding easily to his greedy chomps. The basket bore two more handfuls before he’d emptied it.

Bob eyed the penne alfredo next. He pulled the pot over, a stew pot filled close to the top with the cheesy dish, with a serving spoon sunk into the pasta. As his eyebrows shot up and he licked his lips, he pushed his plate to the side and pulled the pot of pasta in front of him. He grabbed the serving spoon, picked up a heaping portion of the pasta, and scooped the whole thing into his mouth. It was clear to him that whoever had made the alfredo had gone heavy on the cheese while doing so. The sauce was thick and extremely rich; it might have been overwhelmingly so if Bob weren’t shoveling it in with such abandon. He showed no signs of slowing down, even as he neared the bottom of the pot and his belt started getting tighter.

Once he’d finished the alfredo, he pushed the pot to the side and reached for the chicken next. By this point he was lost enough in his gluttonous stupor that he didn’t care much about what was on top of the chicken; all of it was fair game to get devoured. Were it not for the gobs of melted mozzarella cheese on top holding the tomatoes and basil down, they might have fallen off entirely as he shoveled cutlet after cutlet into his gullet. All the same, the flavor they added kept Bob’s enthusiasm high as he chewed through the firm exterior of the chicken to get to the juicy inside. The cheese certainly helped, warm and gooey and melting nicely into all of the flavors.

With the bruschetta chicken gone, Bob paused to wipe his mouth with his napkin and felt the strain of his distended gut pushing painfully against his belt. Trying to suck it in gave him little extra wiggle room. He twisted it to the side so at least one of his hands could get under his massive mound and undo his constricting belt. Once he’d undone the clasp, he tossed both ends of the belt to the side with a sigh of relief. He rubbed the underside of his belly gingerly with a contented groan, utilizing both hands to massage his newly freed girth.

Bob eyed the meatballs next, but when he bent to reach them, his gut hit the table before he could grab a hold of them. Turning his paunch to the side, he got some extra reach and was able to grab the platter to bring them closer to him. He put the meatballs down on top of the plate that had once held the chicken and popped one of them in his mouth, eschewing the fork to use his fingers instead. The meatballs were rather large, not a width one would usually consider “bite size”, but Bob’s voracious appetite ensured he had no issue stuffing the whole thing in his mouth and finishing it. One by one he popped them down until they too had disappeared off the plate, prompting him to lick his fingers and push his stack of plates to the side.

He then twisted his gut to the left to reach the calzone and pull it toward him. It was resting on a wooden cutting board with a bowl of marinara sauce and looked like it had been made out of enough dough to make a large pizza. It was stuffed so full that it was nearly as tall as the bowl of sauce. Bob ignored the marinara, opting to wolf the calzone down without taking the time to dip it. He tasted meat and plenty of cheese, but this deep into the meal, he was far enough into his gluttonous haze that he couldn’t make out exactly which ones he was eating. The mouthfuls started blurring together, no longer punctuated by the sensation of the mass of food in his stomach feeling a little tighter with every decadent bite.

Once he’d emptied his hands of calzone, the giant pan of lasagna called out to him next. He pulled it close and used the spatula on top to dig out a giant piece, which he devoured without even putting it down on a plate. By this point he could no longer discern what had gone into the dish or what made it so good; all he knew was that it was delicious and he wanted, nay, needed to devour as much of it as possible. So lost was he to his hunger that he didn’t notice how fast the lasagna was disappearing, until he heard the ding of the spatula against an empty tray.

But this only emboldened Bob. One by one the rest of the entrees disappeared into his greedy mouth, his gut swelling bigger and tighter with each one. He had to turn his gut farther to the side to reach the next dish as the feast went on, and found making those rotations increasingly difficult as his belly swelled with food. But he pressed on anyway, devouring dish after dish, even as his shirt rode up so high that he could feel the edge of the table on his belly’s bare skin.

But it couldn’t last forever. After tossing another finished plate to the side, Bob scanned the table and couldn’t find anything else for him to eat. With nothing left to sustain his ravenous fury, he came to and found himself breathing heavily in front of a table covered with empty plates and plates with only sauce left on them. His arms fell to his side now that they had no more food left to grab.

His heavy breaths were interrupted by an impressed grunt when he looked down at the ballooned abdomen now lying in front of him. He’d slid down in his chair during his meal, allowing his engorged belly to stick up and out imposingly. His curious hands pulled his shirt up and ran carefully over his taut skin. When he slapped one side of his gut, no ripple traveled across it into his view. When he tried to reach around it, his hands couldn’t touch. He leaned his head back against the chair, mouth hung open with labored breaths. Rubbing his gut tenderly, he found his eyelids starting to shut. This time he didn’t fight it, groggily massaging his belly until he fell asleep in his chair.

Bob woke up slowly once he’d slept off his second feast. After rubbing his weary eyes, he looked around the room and could make out all of the dirty dishes he’d left on the dining room table, prompting a sigh. Looking at the windows, he concluded that it was the afternoon, meaning once again that either he hadn’t slept for very long, or another whole day had passed. As he stared off into the room, he became aware of two things: one, he no longer felt full, let alone stuffed to the gills. An entire day must have passed, as there was no way he could digest all that food that quickly. And two, his pants felt very tight around his thighs.

Bob tried to stand up from the chair with some difficulty, having to catch himself on one of the armrests on his way up. Once he’d reached a standing position, he found himself swaying back and forth trying to regain his balance. At first he reasoned that he was just groggy from having slept for so long. But looking down, he realized that even if that were true, it wasn’t the only reason he was so unsteady.

His gut had grown out even farther and wider from the second feast, and he found himself having to lean back farther than before to balance the extra weight. He smacked the side of his belly and watched the ripple travel across the entire breadth of his gut. He swayed his midsection side to side to feel the extra inertia of his newly added mass. After grabbing the bottom rim of his tank top, he pulled it down to find that his tank tio covered even less of him now. Rubbing his hand down the front of his stomach, he felt his pointer finger pass over the edge of his shirt before his pinky passed over his belly button.

Disbelief faded into calm regard as Bob kept looking down at his belly. His hand moved back up and brought his shirt with it. He massaged his gut gently once the shirt was out of the way, for his belly stuck out so much that the shirt stayed in place once he’d brought it up to his chest. He rubbed it up and down at first, then rubbed it in circles, his upper body swaying with his arm as he did so. As his hand traversed his gut, he found he’d grown so big that he couldn’t reach the other side of it. Reaching under his gut with both of his hands, he couldn’t touch the fingertips of one hand to the other without straining. Pulling his arms out, he brought his palms down on the front of his belly with just enough of a wallop to make a smacking noise, then patted it gently with his right hand as a mild smile spread across his face.

That smile faded what Bob remembered he still had a job to do. He let out a sigh and nodded, resolute to finally check behind the door that had brought him back to this part of the house in the first place. He took one more look down at his belly and gave it a few more pats before pulling down his shirt as far as it would go and walking off.

But his first steps revealed it wouldn’t be that easy. Bob’s cargo pants were so tight that when he tried to walk, he found himself moving with an exaggerated waddle. He was forced to walk like he didn’t have knees, rotating his torso in one direction, then the other to bring each leg forward. Once he got the hang of it, he was able to get out of the dining room and through the kitchen to the door on the other side. Opening the door, he was greeted by a stairwell going down into a darkened room, seeing that it did indeed lead to the basement.

Bob looked down the stairs before looking farther down at his midsection, contemplating the pants that lay beneath it. He decided they would be more of a hindrance than a help now. Pulling his flashlight out of his pocket first, he pushed down on the waistline of his pants from both sides. Once he’d slipped them off his thighs, they came down easily, but they didn’t come off so smoothly over his sneakers. Bob wasn’t particularly inclined to try to bend over to untie his shoes, but thankfully, his pants were loose enough that he could pull them over. But that took some effort, with Bob having to step on one of the legs of his pants with one foot to pull the other foot out. It didn’t help that he couldn’t see directly under himself anymore. With one foot out and the other seemingly stuck, he kicked his captive foot in frustration. To his surprise, his pants came off with force and rocketed into basement.

Bob looked down toward where his pants had gone and wondered whether walking around the house in just his shirt and underwear was the best idea. Sure, no one would be able to see him through the windows, as dirty as they were. But what if someone from the city or one of his coworkers came to check up on him? What would they think seeing him walking around an abandoned house in just his boxers and a tank top? Looking down to contemplate his outfit, Bob saw his expanded belly and pursed his lips. If anyone saw him as he was then, he reasoned, his outfit would not be the first thing they’d have questions about.

Bob did a lap around the kitchen to stretch his legs now that they’d been freed from the confines of his pants. With this new freedom of movement, he could really feel the added weight he’d put on as a result of that last feast. Anything was easier than walking in such constricting pants, but walking around took Bob a noticeably greater amount of effort now. His waddle, he found, wasn’t entirely due to his pants, as he had to move with more mindfulness to pilot all his newfound heft. He could feel his belly bounce noticeably with each step, like a reminder of where all that food had gone.

Once he’d loosened up, he turned on his flashlight and descended down the stairs. The banister was not quite as sturdy as the one in the foyer, but it still held up to his grip better than he would have expected anything to in the decades-old house to. He could see more dust floating in his flashlight than he’d seen in previous rooms, but he reasoned this was just because the room was darker. He could feel his belly bounce more with the added energy given to it with each step down. Though it was unusual at first, by the time Bob was traversing the bottom steps, it made him giggle.

Once Bob reached the bottom of the stairway, he could see that his cargo pants had landed on a white, bulky sewing machine. He considered picking them up, before chuckling and saying to himself, “Fat lot of good they’ll do me now.” There was a pincushion with several dozen pins stuck in it on the table next to the sewing machine, as well as a plastic bin, through which Bob could make out spools of thread and scraps of cloth of all different colors. Looking around the basement, he saw empty shelves that looked like they had held food at one time, a bulky white washing machine and a dark-grey dryer, a large freezer, and a giant steam boiler with pipes connecting it to the ceiling. “Hm. Should probably make sure that’s empty before we start.”

The basement was mostly empty aside from those basic appliances. Bob looked around the rest of it, weaving through the support beams and columns with some difficult due to his size. He didn’t find much else other than more dust. A rather violent sneeze convinced him he’s seen enough, and he started to make his way back to the stairs…

But coming back from the other direction, he spotted something he couldn’t see before: a cabinet, hanging on a wall, tucked away in a nook under the stairs such that it could only be seen from the far side of the basement. It was made of metal, with the dimensions of a medicine cabinet, and there was keyhole on the bottom. Upon closer inspection, Bob saw that there was a key sticking out of the lock. The cabinet wouldn’t open when he tried it, so he turned the key until he heard the mechanism inside unlatch and opened it again.

Inside were three shelves packed about as full as they could be with identical short, rectangular, brown bottles. A rough estimate on Bob’s part put the number of bottles in the cabinet at around 150. All the bottles on the top shelf that he could see were empty, while the middle shelf had some empty bottles and some with pills in them. The bottles on the bottom shelf were all full of the mysterious tablets. Bob pulled out a bottle from the bottom to take a closer look and on the yellow label read, “Genuine Ironized Yeast”. The front told him the number of tablets and where it came from, but bore no clues on what it was used for or why there was so much. The rest of the label wasn’t much more help, as the small text was hard to read in just the light of his flashlight. He didn’t spend much more time trying, as another sneeze made him nearly drop the bottle, so he put it away and went back up the stairs to the kitchen.

Back in the kitchen, Bob briefly stared at the dining room door, unable to see the table from where he stood, and decided against looking inside. No good could come of that, he reasoned. He turned out of the kitchen to walk through the foyer toward the stairway to the second floor. On the way, he became conscious again of the fact that he was walking through an abandoned house wearing only boxers and a tank top that barely covered half of his belly. He curled himself inward the way he would if someone were to walk in on him undressed like that, before looking around the room and he realizing that as long as he was the only one in the house, he had no reason to worry. Maybe he would when he had to leave, but he’d figure something out.

So he stood straight and perked up again, walking forward with confidence, if a bit leisurely, unashamed to let everything show for the hypothetical onlooker who might see him. It felt like a sort of exhibitionism lite. The knowledge that no one would actually catch him tempered the thrill of it, but was comforting enough that Bob could enjoy it. With his belly sticking out extra perky, he could distinctly feel the bounce of it as he walked. He took some joy in the experience, being now acutely aware of the shockwaves reverberating through his body every time his foot hit the floor. Far from self-conscious, if anything, it made him want to strut even more boldly, to stick out his belly to give it extra bounce. He wanted to do laps around the first floor just to feel the movement of his new girth, but he decided against it, reasoning that it would feel just as good on the second floor as the first.

Bob made his way up the tall set of stairs, letting out a loud sigh when he reached the top. He looked around and spotted five open doors and two closed ones in the long hallway. His curiosity drew him to the closed doors first. The first one opened into an unremarkable bathroom, stocked for use like he’d expect, but nothing out of the ordinary. The second one lead to a stairway to the attic. “Heh, maybe I’ll wait on checking up there,” he chuckled.

The first open door revealed a small, rather plane looked bedroom, with generally pleasant, inoffensive decor. Perhaps a guest bedroom, Bob mused to himself. A set of sheets and pillowcases and a duvet were all laid out folded up on top of the bed, all of them a chalky, pastel green. A dresser with a small, circular mirror on top rounded out the furniture in the room.

Seeing the mirror, Bob got curious about what he looked like now and entered to take a gander at himself. He couldn’t see all of himself in the mirror, but he was able to get a clear look at his face. His mustache hadn’t grown perceptibly since he’d entered the house, which provided a nice counterpoint against his fuller cheeks, demonstrating how much they’d filled out. His chin had rounded out more too, and there was a thin field of stubble starting cover it. Bob stared at his reflection for a moment before a smirk crept up from under his stache as he felt his softer features. “I’ll have to shave when I’m out of here,” he observed as his hand rubbed across his chin. Once he’d satisfactorily examined himself, he moved on to the next room.

The next three rooms he looked inside seemed to be the kids’ bedrooms. They were still covered with memorabilia from their childhoods, including posters, magazine clippings, and often some amount of mess, either on the floor or the top of the desk or on top of the dresser. Bob didn’t examine the rooms closely; he felt like it was an invasion of privacy to go through a bunch of kids’ stuff. Even though they all would have been grown up by then, he still felt icky about it. “Eh, I’m sure someone in the crew won’t have the same hang ups about it,” he reassured himself.

The only room left was another bedroom, this one with a much larger bed than the other two, as well as a dresser and a vanity with a large mirror. “Hmm, this must have been the housewife and her husband’s bedroom,” Bob concluded. He could see that the vanity was still covered in beauty products, jewelry, and other such things, while the top of the dresser was clear. The bed was still made, though Bob could see a slight person-sized indentation on the near side of it, like it had been slept in on that side for long after it should have been replaced. After entering the room, he saw a nightstand and another dresser next to the bed. The night stand had a book and several magazines stacked on top of it, while the dresser had yet more books and some fashionable hats on top. Concluding that these both belonged to the wife, Bob looked back at the dresser on the other side of the bedroom and could see a thin layer of dust building up on top of it. He let out a sigh of pity.

Looking around the room some more, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror on the vanity and snapped his sights back on it. As he walked toward the vanity, his legs slipped out of view on the tabletop mirror as his upper half came into sharper focus.

His tank top wasn’t covering enough of his torso to wrap around tightly like it did before. Instead it lay crumpled around the upper half of his belly, letting his bulbous ball hang out in nearly full view. Bob tried to pull his shirt down and found it could barely pass his point of greatest circumference, which, he reasoned, might explain why it it had ridden up between when he got up and now. He arched his back and let his globe round out, causing his shirt to climb back up on top of his gut. Straightening out again, he bounced in place and felt his belly rise and fall before bouncing back up again. Watching it in the mirror was a sight to behold, especially as he got to watch his shirt bunch up even higher

Once he’d grown tired of bouncing his belly, he grabbed his flashlight with his left hand and slapped his belly with his right, rubbing it eagerly as his eyelids lowered and his mouth curled into a grin wide enough to bare his teeth. His satisfied moans became grunting chuckles as he felt over his new girth, watching it sway with his strokes and feeling it’s weight whenever he rubbed upward.

Eventually Bob softened his handling of his tummy, rubbing more gently until his hand was merely gliding over his increased mass, feeling his body hair more than his flesh. Satisfied, he took a few steps back to take in the entire view of what he had become, prompting another smirk and another slap followed by some more rubbing. Not surprisingly, his thighs looked noticeably thicker and more robust than he remembered them.

Bob stepped toward the mirror to take another close look at himself, when among the products and accessories on the table, he saw a magazine clipping hidden away behind several bottles. It looked a bit dry and wrinkled, but mostly in good condition, so he picked it up and brought it close to read it. It was a retro-looking ad, the kind with a wordy sales pitch for its product that no modern reader would sit through and read now. The ad showed a decently buff-looking man in a vintage bathing suit and a woman in similarly retro swimwear telling him, “You’re TWICE as handsome since you gained 10 pounds!” The text next to them began with the headline, “It’s a crime to be SKINNY when thousands of men and women are gaining weight the easy way with ironized yeast!”

Bob chuckled to himself about how much the times had changed and was about to put the ad down when he froze and said to himself, “Wait a min–” Ad in hand, he turned out of the bedroom and went down the stairs, intent on getting to the basement to see if this was the same stuff he’d seen earlier in the metal cabinet. His mind was a flurry of questions. “Why would she want this stuff? Clearly he didn’t need it, and she didn’t look stick thin herself. Even if she had used it, why did she need so much of it? And why was she keeping it in a hidden locked cabinet like it was some kind of secret?” These questions turned in Bob’s mind as he went down the stairs, through the foyer, and into the kitchen.

But he stopped just short of the basement when he realized just how fragrant the kitchen was. He could make out a smokey smell, but not like the house was on fire, more like a… barbecue? He could unmistakably smell cooked meat, and further sniffs revealed sweet smells too.

Bob looked back to the dining room door, unable to see the table from where he was standing. He knew it was where the smell was coming from. He knew what he’d find if he went in there. And he knew what would happen once he’d found it. And on some level, he didn’t want that. He was already going to have a lot to explain to his coworkers when he went back to work. He’d have a hard time going shopping for new clothes when he didn’t own any that fit him well enough that he could wear them to the store. He didn’t want to make it any worse.

But after taking in another fragrant whiff, Bob walked toward the dining room door anyway, putting down the ironized yeast ad on the island counter and turning off his flashlight before putting it down on top of the ad. Inhaling even deeper and smelling the variety of foods behind the door, he reasoned that at this point, it couldn’t get any worse. He was already too fat to fit in any of his clothes, too fat to play it off in front of his coworkers. Any extra weight wasn’t going to change that. At least, he thought, he could get one more delicious meal out of this.

And indeed he would get one more very good meal out of it. When he rounded the doorway and looked inside the dining room, he saw that whoever was putting out these meals had vastly outdone themselves. The table was covered edge to edge with different dishes, laid out so densely that plates were overlapping one another. In the jumble of different entrees, he could make out cornbread, deviled eggs, potato skins, pasta salad, deep-dish pizza, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, chili dogs, pulled pork, baby-back ribs, cheesesteaks, clam chowder, lobster rolls, jambalaya, apple pie, peach cobbler, whoopie pies, fried dough, brownies, and enough other dishes that his stomach growled violently at the sight of it all. What he couldn’t see was any space on the table for a place setting; seemingly every square inch was covered with food.

Bob’s eyes opened wide and his mouth hung agape. After all that had transpired in this dining room since he arrived, seeing another feast laid out didn’t shock him, but the sheer volume of food was surprising on its own. Both of the previous feasts had at least been laid out in a presentable way, even if the second one was clearly laid out specifically for one diner. But this time, it looked like whoever had laid out this selection intended to put out as much food as possible, presentation be damned.

Not that it mattered much to Bob. If whoever had put out all these entrees had tried to lay out as much food as possible, then he was going to eat as much as possible. After taking one last mouthwatering sniff, he bounded up to the table, picked up the closest dish to him–ending up with the fried chicken–and dug in.

Bob was able to appreciate how well the chicken was cooked for the first few bites–the skin was crispy and well-seasoned, while the inside was simultaneously juicy and greasy–but it didn’t take long for him to lose himself in a gluttonous stupor deep enough that all the bites blurred together into a delicious haze. Once all the chicken was gone, he dropped the plate of bones back on the table and picked up whatever was nearby–he was pretty sure it was the chilli dogs. Or maybe the lobster rolls. Regardless, the first bite goaded an audible, “Mmm” out of him and he wolfed it down with no trouble, following suit with the others.

And so he went on, feasting on plate after plate of the delectable food that had been laid out. The only time he came back to any sort of awareness was when he finished one dish and had to switch up his eating method for the next. With the mac-n-cheese, it was scarfing it down with the ladle in the pot. With the deviled eggs, it was popping them in like candy, going through them so quickly the plate clanged down on the table almost as soon as he’d picked it up. With the apple pie, he was scooping chunks out with his hand, devouring them over the plate even as apple slices fell out of his hand and back into the pan. When they did, he went right back to scoop them up.

Bob remained standing as he ate his way around the table. With no place setting laid out for him, none of the chairs stood out as a place to sit. He prefered to stay on his feet and work his way down the table, reaching around the chairs if one ever got in his way. Occasionally his gut would bump into one of the chairs when he reached down, but he’d just turn around and reach with his other arm. As he worked his way down the table, though, he found he was having to turn to the side more and more to reach the next dish that caught his eye.

This continued until Bob reached the other end and had devoured all the entrees on the right side of the table. It was after he finished the cheesesteaks–five of them that were over a foot long each–that he found he had to turn so far to reach down to the food that he was looking over his shoulder while doing so. So engorged was he that had to stand parallel to the table to grab his next dish. It was this strain that gave him enough pause to halt his feasting and take a look down at himself.

In Bob’s gluttonous stupor, he had a hard time processing just how much his bulbous belly had ballooned outward. Swaying back and forth from adjusting to his new weight, he gave his gut a gentle slap and found a rock-hard mound underneath his hand. He used his one hand to explore his new expanse, as he had to use his other arm to keep his balance. He couldn’t even reach half way across the front of his gut. He leaned back as he rubbed his bloated belly, arching his head back with mouth agape, this time from heavy breathing. With one final sharp exhalation, he looked back down at the table and grunted as he took the closest unfinished dish to him–this time the deep dish pizza, thankfully already sliced–and scarfed it down.

Bob’s stomach had long ago given up on feeling full, that stuffed feeling replaced with a vague overall tension that was easily ignored thanks to how good the food was. As Bob ate up plate after plate, he occasionally became aware of a stretching sensation in his gut that had long ago stopped feeling tighter with each bite. Instead that tightness merely spread over a larger volume in his belly, coincidently at the same rate at which the girth of his gut increased.

As he worked his way down the other side of the table, Bob could feel his balance deteriorate with every course. Though he steadfastly refused to sit down, standing was becoming steadily more difficult, as he kept adding food on top of the pile that he had to balance against. His voracious stupor left him little attention to pay to balance or anything other than shoveling more food down his gullet. More and more he had to rely on keeping one of his hands on the table or a chair as he used the other to eat. At one point he found himself leaning against the wall with the tray of cheeseburgers in hand. Once he finished them, he had to stumble back to the table, nearly crashing into it before dropping the tray with a violent clash so he could catch himself. But he pressed on, stopping at nothing to scarf down every morsel of food in sight.

By the time Bob had made his way around the table, he felt like he had to keep his hand on it or he’d go falling down. His vision tunneled on the clam chowder, the only dish he hadn’t yet stuffed into himself. Looking at the giant stew pot, he breathed labored breaths as he tried to formulate a way to gulp down this soup. With a determined grunt, he leaned over and grabbed the ladle, pulling it out and dropping it next to the pot, pulling the pot closer to him. Grabbing it with both hands, he fell off balance and stumbled backwards, pot of chowder still in hand. He didn’t stop until his back hit the corner of the walls. He found himself leaning back with his legs splayed out in front of him. He felt pinned in the corner, sure he would fall if he tried to lean forward. But he still had the clam chowder in hand, and in spite of some sloshing, none had spilled out.

So Bob raised the stew pot to his mouth and started chugging the chowder. He soon developed a rhythm, and the creamy stew coursed down his gullet to take its place among the many other delicacies he’d already demolished. More and more he chugged, only vaguely aware of the expanding sensation in his belly. He raised the pot higher and higher as he kept gulping down the stew, until he’d raised the pot past the horizontal angle and there was none left.

Bob lowered the empty pot and tossed it aside. Feeling the stew dribble down the side of his lips, he looked over the table in front of him, at all the empty dishes he’d left, the aftermath of his latest feast. His belabored breaths were interrupted by the occasional swallow, almost a habit at this point, trying to keep everything down. As he gazed over the wreckage of his gorging, his eyes started closing and his head started falling forward in spite of his best efforts to stay awake. Attempts to lean forward off the wall were rendered futile by his massively distended belly. Instead he slowly slid down the corner as his eyelids and his legs gave up the fight. The last thing he was aware of was letting out a giant belch when his butt hit the floor and his gut bounced off of his knees.

When Bob woke up, he barely opened his eyes a slit before scrunching them shut at the sight of the light. Groaning, he rubbed them with his meaty fingers. He no longer felt engorged like he did at the end his last feast, but he knew getting up out of the corner was going to be no small task. He scooted himself back, put his hands on the walls, and pushed himself up with all his strength. He shook from the exertion of it, but after one bad start, he managed to raise himself to a standing position.

Bob stayed in the corner, leaning against the walls, and finally opened his eyes. The table was in a dismal state, with empty plates and platters everywhere. The extent to which the table had been overloaded with entrees was extra apparent now that all the food was gone and it was covered only with a collage of plates. Bob looked to the side and saw that the stew pot had come to rest close to the table, lying on its side with what little chowder was left dripping out onto the floor.

Looking farther down, Bob caught a glimpse of his distended abdomen and his weary eyes grew wide. His belly stuck out so far that his tank top had bunched up on top of his gut. Any attempts to pull his shirt down proved futile, as it merely bunched up on top of his belly again. He reached his hand over his gut and found he couldn’t reach its underside or even his belly button. He grabbed his gut from around the sides with both hands to try to pull it up to feel his newly added heft, but in spite of all his exertion, he couldn’t lift it. Maybe, Bob mused, it was because he was tired. Maybe it was because his arms couldn’t reach under his gut well enough to get a decent hold of it. Maybe it was because he was just that heavy now.

Regardless, Bob reached his arms out and rubbed as much of his gut as he could reach. He couldn’t reach the front of his gut, but he could at least rub the sides and top of it. He found himself swaying side to side as much as the corner would allow, his abdomen rotating in sync with the circular rubs of his hands. His head bent back against the wall as he kept feeling his new girth, his eyes closing as his mouth hung farther agape.

Bob kept exploring his new heft until he started to feel his legs slipping out from underneath him. He reached out to try to grab the walls and recentered his legs closer to himself. He knew he couldn’t stay in that corner forever, though just walking away from it seemed like a daunting task in and of itself. He slowly walked his legs backwards, hoping he’d somehow find his balance once he could get them under him. But with his new girth, his legs passed his center of gravity sooner than he expected. He stumbled toward the table and had to catch himself on one of the chairs. He held on as he caught his breath, looking back up and seeing the aftermath of his last feast right in front of his eyes. “Nnn, n-no more,” he mumbled before pushing himself up to try to stand steady on his feet. After wobbling back and forth a bit, he managed to prop himself in a standing position, though still swaying from getting used to his new girth.

Finally back up, Bob set off for the attic, the only part of the house he had yet to check. With all his added weight in front, he was forced to waddle in a way not unlike how he had to when his cargo pants were too tight for him. He swung side to side with every step, each movement carefully considered to counteract his newly moved center of gravity. He worked his way through the kitchen, grabbing his flashlight on the way through; into the foyer; and up the stairs. His ascent slowed as he approached the top, and by the time he’d gotten up the last stair, he was leaning down panting with one hand on the railing.

Once Bob caught his breath, he made his way to the attic and opened the door. He found that his new girth made the thin stairwell an even tighter fit for him. He let loose a long sigh before pushing on, trying to avoid letting either bare side of his belly hit the walls lest he get a splinter. Given how much swing there was to his step now, this was easier said than done.

With some effort and heavy breathing, Bob finally popped out of the stairwell into the middle of the floor in the attic. It was a single room the size of the whole house and seemingly empty, save for a few cobwebs and some knick knacks that looked like no one would miss them if they were left up there. “Hmph, figures,” Bob groaned, and he turned around to make the descent back to the second floor.

But turning around, Bob spotted something hanging from the wall in the back of the attic. He waddled closer and saw that it was a set of clothes in a dry cleaning bag. Upon further examination, Bob could make out that it was a suit and vest, a set that reminded him of the clothes worn by the husband in the photo that he’d seen in the foyer. But it looked much larger than even the suit the housewife’s husband was wearing, and he was a big man to begin with.

Bob stared at the suit long enough to remember what it looked like and made his way back down the stairs and down to the foyer. He walked to the end to where he’d previously seen the photo of the wife and her husband. Shining his flashlight on it, he confirmed that the suit in the attic was indeed the same model as the one he was wearing in that photograph, just a larger size. But something else about the photo caught his attention: the woman’s face didn’t look like he remembered it. Her eyes had relaxed, and her mouth had shifted into a less strained, more pleased smile. Unlike before, she looked genuinely happy.


With the whole house now scoped out, Bob had finally done his job. He waddled toward the door and was about to leave when he realized he couldn’t very well walk outside in just an ill-fitting tank top and some boxers. At the very least, he needed something to go around his legs, and the pants he’d worn into the house wouldn’t cut it. Bob thought about his options before remembering the set of sheets folded up in the guest bedroom. Letting out a disgruntled huff, he made his way back up the stairs in the foyer and once he’d caught his breath at the top, he went for the guest bedroom.

Bob put his flashlight down on the bed and picked up the sheet, unfolding it and grabbing it on either end. He knew it would hang too far down if he tried to wrap it around his waist, but realizing he might do well to cover his exposed gut too, he got the idea to wrap it around his chest instead. This left enough space between the bottom of the sheet and the floor that Bob could walk just fine. But feeling the weight of the sheet as he moved, he could tell there wasn’t much left to hang in front of his underwear and bare legs. He just had too much belly that the sheet had to drape over. With a sigh, Bob unwrapped the sheet from around himself and folded it in half lengthwise, grabbed it from either end, and tossed it over his gut to wrap around his waist instead. This at least covered his legs, and though he wasn’t happy about his gut hanging out, he tied the sheet together on the side and made his way down the stairs and to the front door.

Bob was about to open the door when he realized that his pants, ill-fitting as they were, still had the key to the house and his truck key in them. He turned toward the kitchen to retrieve them for the basement. Turning toward the basement door, he spotting the newspaper article about ironized yeast on the center island. Remembering the cabinet full of bottles he’d found earlier, he grabbed the ad and made his way down the stairs.

Taking a turn at the bottom of the stairs, Bob turned his flashlight on and went back for that cabinet. Finding he’d left it open, he pulled out one of the bottles and compared it with the ad, discovering the bottles were indeed of the weight gain supplement. Bob scrunched his face in confusion, still no closer to knowing why either the housewife or her husband would need this much of the stuff. His confusion was only compounded when he put the bottle back and, taking a closer look at the middle shelf, he saw that more of the bottles seemed to be empty than they were the last time he was down there.

“Nah, couldn’t be.”

Bob left the ad in the cabinet and closed it and locked it. He walked back towards the bottom of the steps to retrieve his pants from on top of the sewing machine. Shining his flashlight on the old device, he was surprised to find not his pants on top of it, but rather a spool of light tan thread, the same color as his pants, hooked into the machine. His pants had been folded and were lying on the table next to the sewing machine. After some hesitation, Bob picked them up to find that they were far wider than they used to be. He also saw his belt coiled next to where his pants were, looking much longer. Bob put his flashlight down on the table to shine on himself. Though he had some trouble maneuvering his pants around his newly heftier body, he found that they fit just fine, loosely if anything. He grabbed the belt and strung it through the belt loops, finding it to be long enough to help him keep his pants up.

Bob chuckled at finding his pants and belt fit him so well. At this point, he wasn’t particularly surprised, as this was not the strangest thing that had happened in his time in this house. He reached for his pockets and was relieved to find everything he’d brought in with him, including his keys and the key to the house. “Maybe I should have left my shirt down here too,” he mused, chuckling before taking on a pensive expression. After a shrug, he took his shirt off, an easy task when so much of it was resting on top of his protruding gut, and left it on the table next to the sewing machine. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Bob grabbed his flashlight and made his way up the staircase, wondering how long he had to wait to see if whoever or whatever had altered his cargo pants would do the same thing to his tank top. After getting to the top of the stairs and catching his breath, Bob saw his uncovered, bulbous body in the light for the first time. He decided, if only to satisfy his curiosity, to look in that full length mirror he’d found earlier. He waddled his way over to the study and through the door to the storage room, finding dipping his head down to get in even more difficult now.

The room was wide enough that Bob had little trouble navigating it, but small enough that he was conscious of how much more of the space he took up. He kept his flashlight low on the ground to keep an eye out for anything he might trip on, until he saw it sweep over the bottom of the mirror. Looking up, Bob could barely make out his figure, as his eyes had not yet adjusted to the light. After taking a deep breath, he finally raised his flashlight.

If Bob had ever before seen men as fat as he was now, it was in sensationalist articles or “before” photos in stories of extreme weight loss. Never in person. And yet, here he was, standing in front of this mirror trying to convince his eyes they were not being tricked by what they saw. He stood with legs splayed out to support all his newly added heft and arms spread at an angle, no longer resting anywhere near his torso. His belly had swelled up larger than he’d believed possible, jutting out ahead and around him while looking like it was pushing his chest up to make more room. His gut had maintained its rotund shape, but the sheer girth of it meant that it was now hanging low enough to hide his belt from his view. His skin had ballooned so much that the hair on his belly had been thinned out, having been stretched from a respectable pelt to a light smattering, except for in the middle. There a trail of hair rode down from the center of his chest to his belly button. Below that, it thinned out and spread out, until it reached the point where the tight stretch of skin between his belly button and his pelvis had split his underbelly into two lobes.

Bob put his flashlight down on one of the stacks of boxes so it angled out to shine off of the mirror and onto him. With both hands free, he once again tried grabbing his gut from beneath to lift it up, only to find that even when he was in a fully awake state, his mound still resisted being moved. He let out a sharp exhalation when he stopped trying to lift it, chuckling as he patted the top of it with his right hand. With the last pat, his hand stayed on his gut and started rubbing back and forth, his other hand soon joining in in unison. The back and forth turned into circular movements that fell out of sync as he started swaying his midsection side to side in rhythm with his massaging hands. As his head tilted back, he found himself breathing more heavily through his mouth as his hands rubbed wider and wider swaths of his new expanse.

Bob kept leaning back until he nearly lost his balance. After catching himself, he leaned forward and instinctively went to put his hands on his knees. But his gut got in the way, so he lay his arms around it as he leaned down to catch his breath. With a “whew”, he stood back up and looked in the mirror again. Keeping his arms at his side, he tried to jump to watch his gut shake, but found getting up enough lift to leave the ground was easier said than done. Instead he stood as high as he could on his toes and came back down while bending his knees. That gave him enough of a drop, and he watched his gut fall with him until it bounced back up, sending a shockwave up his torso that goaded an audible groan out of him. He felt his gut and chest bounce up and down until the shockwaves wore off, prompting him to bounce again and again, getting better at it so that each bounce felt stronger. He kept this up until he heard the floor creak beneath him, at which he decided he was best off grabbing his flashlight and going back to check on his shirt.

Bob made his way back to the kitchen and was about to go into the basement, but his eyes turned to the dining room door. Curiosity got the better of him before he could reason with it, and even though he wasn’t sure if he could count on finding his pants altered to be bigger again, he turned the corner…

…and found a mostly empty table with a single small plate laid out at the place where he’d sat for the first two feasts. The plate had a small, thin, dark brown dessert on it. Upon closer inspection, Bob found it to be a wafer-thin chocolate mint. Staring confusedly at the treat, he remembered muttering “No more” after his last feast and chuckled. Maybe whatever was laying out those feasts was listening to him after all. He took the wafer-thin mint and nibbled it, wanting to savor his mysterious host’s last favor, as he made his way out the dining room and to the basement.

Shining his flashlight on the sewing machine, Bob saw that his tank top lay folded on the table next to it. After putting his flashlight down, he picked up the shirt and put it on, happy to see he wouldn’t have to leave the house in what was functionally a sports bra. But upon pulling the shirt down, he found that while it had been altered enough to fit him, it only barely went past his belly button. Rubbing the underside of his gut, he could feel a solid stripe of skin hanging out under the bottom rim of the shirt.

“Very funny!” He shouted out into the darkness behind him. “But, um… thank you. For everything.” Bob stood in place, listening to the empty house, but all he heard were his echoes reverberating back at him. After they quieted down, he exhaled and lowered his head, not sure what he had expected to hear in reply.

After scaling the stairs and catching his breath, he turned off his flashlight and pocketed it. He took one last look into the dining room and saw an empty table, cleared even of the tablecloth and plate that previously lay on top of it. Waddling his way through the foyer, he took one last look at the photo of the housewife and her husband and saw her still placidly smiling back at him. Bob gave her a smile of his own, walked to the front door, and opened it, his job finally done.

The afternoon sun greeted Bob as he opened the door, and he put his hand up to shield his eyes, his pupils having grown adjusted to the dim light of the house’s interior. He locked the front door and made his way back to his truck. He unlocked the driver-side door and opening it before he realized getting in wasn’t going to be as easy as it used to be. He reached in to push the seat back as far as it would go and recline the chair back even farther. He stuck the keys in the ignition so he wouldn’t have to try to take them out of his pocket once sitting down. Looking inside his truck and exhaling a determined breath, he stood parallel to the side and tried to get in.

Part of why Bob had picked this truck was that the driver’s seat was the same height as his rear end, meaning he didn’t have to climb up or bend down to get in it; he only had to slide in. This was convenient for him at his previous weight, but now it proved to be a godsend, as he only had to struggle with positioning his rotund belly as he tried to maneuver his way into the driver’s seat. His gut was beyond sucking in now, so he leaned back as far as he could in his seat to try to get himself inside. It was a tight fit, but with his gut right up against the steering wheel, he managed to fit inside and closed the door behind him.

Bob breathed heavily as he could finally relax. Laying back in the reclined driver’s seat, his gut stuck out so far that it blocked his view of the road in front of him. He had to lean to one side or the other to grab the wheel or to see where he was going. He hoped he wouldn’t encounter much traffic on the road, as he’d have a hard time even seeing the other cars. He knew he’d have to buy a new truck with a bigger capacity before he could go back to work. Maybe he could use his sudden weight gain to claim medical leave. But for now, he just had to get home.

Before he started the truck, he looked over to his right and saw his cell phone laying on the passenger’s side seat. He reached over and hit the lock key, thankful to find the battery hadn’t died in all the time he’d been in the house. But he paused when he saw the date and time displayed on the home screen: 2:37 PM, Sunday September 7th.

“It must have frozen or something,” Bob reasoned as he turned the keys in the ignition. But when the digital display on his truck’s dashboard came to life, it displayed the same date and time. The radio came on, and he heard the end of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” fade out as a radio DJ started talking.

“That was Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’, and you’re listening to The Boldly Oldies, where we’re dedicated to giving you commercial free radio every Sunday to prepare you for your work week. It’s September 7th, and it’s Buddy Holly’s birthday. He would have been 78 today. So in his honor–“

Bob turned off the radio and leaned back in his seat, mouth hanging open and eyes staring forward pensively. He considered calling someone to ask what day it was, but there was no point when he’s just get the same unbelievable answer. Briefly, he wondered if he’s imagined the whole thing. But leaning forward to try to grab the wheel and finding a massive belly in his way debunked that idea.

Bob stared ahead dumbfounded, not sure what to think. But certain details about the house came back to him: the dust-free state of the foyer, how well preserved the old books were, how sturdy the banister was, how nothing in the house looked as worn down as it did outside. And he remembered what that staffer at city hall had called it: “the house that time forgot”.

Bob’s mouth closed into a pensive frown until he closed his eyes and leaned his head forward. It was a better explanation than anything he could come up with, he reasoned. Opening his eyes with a sigh, he put his truck in reverse and started what would undoubtedly be a very difficult drive home.

3 thoughts on “The House that Time Forgot

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