An Engorged Explorer

Originally published July 4, 2018.
Contains: accelerated weight gain.

A good friend of mine, who goes by atamekia on here and Joe in person and is also a weight gain writer, took a trip out to stay with me for a week last month. Among the many things we talked about, my writing was one of them, as was brainstorming new ideas. As the trip was nearing its end, he steered the conversation toward a story that he told me was one of his favorites of mine, An Overfed Offering. Specifically, he liked the idea of a story that told the reader what happened to the character Diego from that story, whom we never got to meet.

Joe is far from the first person to ask about a follow-up to An Overfed Offering which tells us what happened to Diego. When the story came out, I got a few requests to that effect. At the time, I didn’t entertain them, because in my mind, Diego was just a MacGuffin. He only existed to get Hector in the Red Mountain Woods so he could be fattened by the ghosts therein. But with Joe’s help, we came up with a personality for Diego, as well as the details of exactly what happened to him. This plot is mostly his creation, and I liked it so much that I felt compelled to write it.

Synopsis: Diego gets lost on the way to meet his friend in the woods and show him a ceremonial site he just found. While trying to find his way to the spot where they’d agreed to meet, he falls into the ruins of a temple, which was once used to test potential acolytes of an old god. With his only way out being to go through the trials, Diego must escape the temple by preforming each test, but each test he fails will “brand him as a sacrifice,” and in spite of his academic background, he’s not especially bright…

Perhaps I should have brought a map, Diego wondered to himself. He’d explored the Red Mountain Woods and the ruins within enough by day that he thought he’d have no trouble navigating them at night with just a flashlight to help. So when he found an incredibly well-preserved ceremonial site and wanted to show his friend Hector as soon as possible, he thought nothing of going into the woods to see it after dark, when Hector would be out of work and Diego would be done teaching his classes for the day. Now, as he wandered around with just a flashlight and a vague sense of where he was, he was wishing they’d saved the trip for the weekend.

But it was too late to back out of their plans now. The sooner he showed Hector what he’d found, the sooner he could start his academic investigation of the site and publish what he discovered. He knew his colleagues in the archeology department would love to know what he’d found there. But first he had to meet up with his friend, and get them both to the site, or at least out of the woods.

Convincing Hector to meet up that night had already been enough of a challenge. Though Hector wasn’t an especially superstitious man, most folks had a healthy fear of the Red Mountain Woods, especially at night. The silence that permeated those woods, with nary even a bird calling out for its mate, was enough to make even a not particularly active imagination hear things. Diego knew that, and consciously, he knew he had nothing to be afraid of in those woods. They’d never held any threats to him during the day, and night would not suddenly bring out new ones.

But it did bring out his own fear, much as he didn’t want to admit it. Diego liked to think he was afraid of reasonable things as he walked through the woods that night: not meeting up with Hector and abandoning his friend, not being able to find his way out of the woods, tripping and injuring himself with no means to get help, all plausible ways his trip could have gone wrong. But the truth was, a part of him feared there was something more sinister in those woods, the same sort of sinister thing that kept folks out of the woods at night. And as scrawny as he was, with the lenses of his glasses being the only thick thing about him, if that something sinister meant him harm, he knew he would lose that fight.

Perhaps that something was nothing more than how difficult the woods were to navigate at night. The darkness made it hard to spot landmarks he usually used for navigating, forcing him to wander those woods largely by intuition. And though Diego considered himself a fairly intelligent man, he knew his intuition wasn’t a reliable way to navigate those woods. He tried to stick to what few barely established paths existed in the woods, but even those were hard to find at night, with gnarled roots obscuring them and small trees and plants breaking them up.

But it was all Diego had to go on, and he had to find Hector. So he kept walking, hoping he’d stumble upon something that would remind him where he was. Flashlight scanning the horizon, he looked for familiar landmarks, or even a sign of Hector himself. Instead, what he the got was his foot failing to land on the ground in front of him, plunging down as the landscape rapidly rose around him, until he fell far enough that all he could see was pitch black.

Before Diego knew what was happening, he felt himself land on a thick patch of moss, cushioning his fall well enough that he didn’t feel any worse for wear. Once he got his bearings, he felt around the area where he’d landed, feeling the moss give way to a flat, cold stone floor. To his relief, he felt his arm pass over his glasses, so he picked them up and found the lenses hadn’t cracked.

With his vision restored, Diego looked up and could see the moonlight coming in through the hole he’d fallen through. He could also see that the wall leading up to it was far too smooth and featureless for him to climb out. It seemed he was in one of the old ruins. The scholar in him didn’t want to move, lest he ruin whatever archeological finds he’d stumbled into. But the pragmatist in him knew it might be his only way out of the ruin where he found himself stranded. After picking up his still-on flashlight, Diego sat upright and looked around the room.

Indeed, the construction of the room was too uniformly smooth to have been natural. The stone walls, floor, and ceiling–minus the hole Diego had fallen through, were smooth and featureless under the light of his flashlight. To his left, however, he found the exception: a wall with a doorway that lead into yet another room, and some inscription on the side. To his right, Diego saw a less hopeful sight: a crumble of rocks that blocked the way entirely. Where they’d come from, he couldn’t be sure, but it seemed that if he couldn’t climb out, then going through the open doorway was his only option.

Rising to his feet, Diego started creeping his way toward the entrance. He used his flashlight to scan the floor ahead of him, not wanting to step on any surprises, but it seemed the room was completely flat other than the writing next to the door. Looking through the door, Diego could see that then next room was even bigger than the first one, which was about the size of a living room. As Diego drew closer, he soon recognized the writing on the wall as that of the ancients who once occupied those ruins, before they were abandoned. And thanks to his studies, he was able to read what message the ancients had left behind.

Aspirant, In this temple, you will be met with three trials to determine if you are worthy of serving our lord and master, Tchetzol: 1. The trial of discernment 2. The trial of obedience 3. The trial of temperance Those who pass these three trials shall emerge bathed in Tchetzol’s glory and blessed to carry out his will. Those who fail are of no more use to him than sacrifices, and shall be branded as such for their arrogance to think they could serve him.

It was far from the kind of inscription that Diego expected in a place like this, but it did confirm that the path forward could afford him a way out. Besides, he thought, the ruins in the Red Mountain Woods were all several millennia old. Surely he wouldn’t actually be met by any tests on his way out of the temple. The priests who would have set them up were long dead.

Yet when Diego crossed the threshold into the next room, he was surprised to hear a whooshing sound in front of him and behind him, before two sets of flames lit up the room from both sides. Looking around, Diego saw that they were blocking both his path to the previous room and his path forward, as both doorways were filled with fire. In the center of the room lay a pedestal with several bottles on top, and yet more inscriptions.

But Diego paid them no mind. He pocketed his flashlight and walked ahead through the room, knowing it could fill with smoke before he knew it, and approached the exit. Surely, he thought, he could leap through a wall of flames to move on. But upon getting closer to the exit, he saw that it lead to a lengthy hallway that was entirely filled by the fire. If he tried to run through it, he’d be burned alive before he made it to the other side.

With simply running for the exit out of the question, Diego reluctantly turned back to the pedestal in the center, where he found six glass bottles, one for each color of the rainbow. They were short and exceptionally thin, barely big enough to contain a single gulp of their respective brews. Below them, Diego found the instructions for their use:

One of these brews will grant you safe passage through the flames. The others shall cause you to burn. Drinking more than one will mark you as a failure in Tchetzol’s eyes. Use the following clues to guide your choice: • Two colors that will cause you to burn will not mix into a color that grants you safe passage. • The warmth of the fire is no match for the warmth of the correct colored brew. • The power to pass safely does not lie in your blood.

In Diego’s panicked state, the hints made no sense. What did his blood have to do with the six drinks in front of him? And how could any of the brews be warmer than the fire. He turned over the words over and over, but they only made less sense the more he thought about them.

But he had to make a choice, as soon the smoke collecting in the ceiling had descended low enough to cause Diego to cough. In a panic, he grabbed all six bottles in one hand, popped the cork off of each one, wrapped his lips around all six, and swung them back. “Tchetzol’s favor be damned,” he grumbled as he hobbled over toward the flames that blocked his passage out of the room. “I need to get out of here.”

Once Diego got close to the flames, he felt the heat emanating off of them and immediately felt like this was a bad idea. He tried bringing his hand closer to the fire, in the hopes that he could prove to himself the potion would work as promised, but it merely felt hotter and hotter as it got closer. Had he doomed himself by drinking all six? Did that render the right potion inert?

To his relief, the answer was no. Out of desperation, he kept moving his arm forward, until the flames started lapping at his hand. As they did, they felt no hotter than the worst summer day he’d lived through. It seemed too strange to be believed, but it seemed the potion had worked, and he was now immune to fire.

And not a moment too soon, as the smoke kept descending. Without much other choice, Diego leaned down and took a deep breath, before dashing into the flames. Adrenaline had him largely unaware of anything he was feeling, but he was sure the pain of burning alive was not among it. He wasn’t sure how long he ran through the flames, but with a gasp, he soon emerged into the second room, panting as he breathed in the newly available fresh air. Though the fire still raged behind him, lighting up the expansive room in front of Diego, the room was tall enough to hold what little smoke made its way inside without suffocating him. With his wits about him again, Diego looked down to see what kind of damage the flames had done to his outfit.

To Diego’s surprise, the flames had left his clothes completely pristine. He could not, however, say the same about his body, which seemed to have been changed by the fire. Or perhaps it was the brews, and this change was his punishment for drinking all six instead of picking the correct one. How either could have caused him to put on so much weight didn’t make any sense, although Diego supposed a potion making him and his clothes immune to fire didn’t make any more sense.

All he knew was, he was now a significantly bigger man. His once scrawny frame had been padded out by a thick layer of flab all over his body. Looking down, he saw that his shirt was now tightly wrapped around two lobes of his previous non-existent chest, before giving way to a beach-ball sized belly that his shirt had ridden up over, exposing the entire bottom half. As he brought his arms down to examine the change, he saw that they too were wider, his once lithe limbs now encased in a layer of fat like a light winter jacket. Beneath his belly, his legs had grown wider too, hefty enough to carry a man as big as he was now. His shorts felt tight around his brawny thighs, though he was surprised to find his waistband didn’t feel tight. After feeling at his shorts, however, he discovered that was because the button had popped off and the zipper had been pushed open. He looked less like a young academic and more like a seasoned dad.

But regardless of how he looked, Diego knew he still had two “trials” to go. Once he could take his eyes off of his newly expanded body, he looked around the room he found himself in another room with similarly smooth floors and walls. It was significantly bigger than the potion room, with a table-sized block of stone in the middle. From the ceiling, a ray of light shone down from an indeterminate source, illuminating a particular item on the block. It seemed the block held a meal of some sort, the last thing Diego expected to see in an ancient ruin.

With his eyes adjusted to the light, Diego could see there was no exit out of the room, save for returning through the flames. Knowing he couldn’t get out that way, he strolled ahead toward the block in the middle. As he moved, he took the time to adjust to how his next heft affected his walk. His belly bounced as he moved, a new experience that made him intimately aware of just how big he was now. He widened his gait to account for his wider body, forcing him to adopt more of a stroll as he walked. He didn’t have much time to experiment, however, before he reached the block in the middle.

Up close, Diego could see that six foods rested on the block. In the back row were the more eye-catching ones: a loaf of bread with a generous pat of butter on top, a perfectly cooked flank of meat, and some kind of chocolatey-looking pastry. In front of them were three items that looked barely edible: a slice of stale bread, some under-ripened berries, and a charred piece of meat. The thin beam of light was shining on the charred meat, but it still gave Diego enough light to read the inscription on the closest side of the table:

Eat that which is illuminated by Tchetzol’s light, and the way forward shall reveal itself. Do not take that which he has not offered you.

“Yeah right,” Diego scoffed. “Who’s going to punish me for eating these delicious foods? A ghost?” he asked the empty room, to be met only with echoes in return. “He left all this food here, so it’s been offered to me.”

And yet, Diego didn’t reach for the bread with total assuredness. In fact, he was quite hesitant to take the bread from its place, until his hand landed on it and he discovered that it was still soft and warm. By the time he ripped a piece off, the bottom of the pat of butter was starting to melt and drip down, so he used the pieces of bread as he ate them to clean up the potential mess.

And truly, the bread was unlike any he’d had before. It was as if it had been baked just before he arrived, left out only long enough to cool to a nice, warm temperature, not the thousands of years it must have been since anyone walked those halls. The butter had a unique taste that was new to him as well, and only made him all the more eager to wolf the whole loaf down. And wolf it down he did, quickly munching his way through the bread and moving on to the flank of meat.

Like the bread, the meat was warm and juicy, like it had been cooked just before Diego stepped into the room. Who could have cooked these dishes, Diego didn’t know, but he certainly knew he wasn’t going to be trifling with the tiny pieces of food that looked like they’d been left in the temple since the last people walked through it. Especially when the meat was cooked medium-well, just how he liked it. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what kind of meat it was; it resembled ham, but definitely wasn’t pig. Either way, he kept on munching on the flank, until all that was left was bones for him to toss on the temple floor.

This left just the chocolatey-looking pastry, and Diego hoping he’d saved the best for last. Indeed, as he bit into the dessert, he found it had both the sweetness of a pastry and the bite of dark chocolate, as if the cacao had been mixed in but not entirely incorporated. Either way, Diego quite enjoyed it, and found the flaky delight the easiest to scarf down of the three. He tried to savor it, but deep down, he knew that was a futile gesture.

Once Diego had finished licking the crumbs off his cheek and his fingers, he looked around and realized he was still no closer to escaping the room. So he looked down to re-read the clue presented to him, only to see another, more unexpected sight: he’d grown fatter yet again.

Looking over his body, Diego could see that he’d plumped up all over once more. Unlike his first growth spurt, however, this one was most noticeable in his belly. Going from scrawny to pudgy was a dramatic change on every part of his body, but pudgy to fat was most noticeable where he was fattest, and that was his gut. The previously beach-ball-sized protrusion now jutted forward from under his ample chest to become the size of a truck tire, and forced him to bend backward to balance out his newly added weight. He no longer looked just like a seasoned dad, but rather a dad whose spouse showed their love by making him delicious, rich, hearty meals, and always encouraging him to have seconds and thirds.

As a result, Diego’s shirt had now risen to show his entire belly. What little of the bottom remained around his gut was stretched tightly, while the rest bunched up around his chest. And yet, even the folds of fabric around his chest were stretched tightly around its increased circumference. His shorts, miraculously, didn’t feel much tighter. But when Diego reached down to feel them, he realized that was because they had ripped open at the sides.

As Diego got used to the idea that this was his new size, he paced the room, feeling the effects of his weight on his gait. His steps had become wider and shorter than before, and his arms had taken on a newfound importance in moving his weight forward. As he walked, they swayed widely at his sides, helping to counteract the inertia of his newly heavy midsection.

Diego paced like that for a while, before realizing he wasn’t any closer to getting out of the room. Back at the table he looked down and read the inscription aloud: “Eat that which is illuminated by Tchetzol’s light…” Looking at the piece of meat, where the light still landed on the table, Diego grimaced and said, “Alright,” before picking it up and taking a bite.

To Diego’s relief, the meat was more like jerky than a burned steak. Not that it was much more pleasant to eat, as it had no seasoning on it, making Diego appreciate how the flank had been prepared all the more. But he powered through, knowing it was probably his only way out of the room, and often swallowing bites before they were fully chewed.

Once Diego had finished the last bite, the light coming from the ceiling slowly faded, before another light faded in pointing at the stale slice of bread. After letting out a long sigh, Diego picked up the firm piece of bread, which felt like toast that had cooled off for too long. Upon trying to take a bite, it splintered in his mouth, fracturing into jagged pieces that felt like they were cutting at his gums. But he powered through, instead breaking off pieces in his hand and letting them rest on his tongue, becoming at least a little moist, before he tried to chew them. It was slow-going, but he managed to make his way through the whole slice.

Once again, the light faded out, before a different beam shone on the under-ripe berries. With only four on the table, Diego decided to get this trial over with and toss them all in his mouth at once. Upon first chew, he decided that was a mistake. Out of the crunchy fruit came a bitter flavor stronger than ruby red grapefruit, like the berries were nothing but pith soaked in ginger juice. Except that would have been a more interesting meal. The berries just tasted like regret.

But Diego managed to swallow them, leaving an extremely unpleasant aftertaste in his mouth that he couldn’t get out. But as he tried, a section of the wall opposite of the fire corridor sunk into the floor, allowing him to exit the room. With a smile, Diego walked around the block and toward the opening, the pep in his step all the more emphasized by his newly added heft. His belly bounced every time his feet hit the floor, coming down like a crash before rebounding back up. His arms swung determinedly at his side, helping move his added bulk across the room and to the exit.

Upon crossing the threshold, Diego beheld the third test. He was in a smaller, largely featureless room, save for something that looked like the coffee dispensers at a supermarket. Upon approaching the fixture, Diego beheld what looked like a pipe coming out of the wall, before running down along the wall and opening up to some sort of bowl. Within that bowl was a fruit that Diego hadn’t seen before. It seemed like a mango, but was oranger in color than that particular fruit.

Upon picking the fruit up, another one rolled out of the pipe immediately to take its place. It seemed the pipe, wherever it came from, was chock-full of the unusual fruit, ready to replace them as they were taken. Knowing that his test had to involve the fruit somehow, Diego looked around the dimly lit room for the inscribed instructions. He found them to the left of the pipe, where they simply read:

Enjoy your meal until you are asked to leave.

It was a strange set of instructions, and Diego wasn’t sure how anyone could enforce it when he was the only one in the temple. Who’s going to ask me to leave?, he thought to himself as he took a bite of the fruit. Immediately, he stopped wondering about the question entirely. The skin of the fruit was softer and easier to eat than that of any orange-colored fruit he’d had before, more akin to that of a pear than a mango, but the flavor inside was like a medley of those fruits that shared the mango’s color: orange, clementine, tangerine, so sweet and juicy with just the right bit of tanginess. He’d never had anything quite like it, so he chowed down, eager to gobble up the fruit and cover up the taste of the disgusting foods in the last room.

After eating nearly everything but the seeds, Diego heard the sound of rock scraping against rock, and saw the exit of the room open up. Judging by the sound of wind he heard coming from the hallway, it seemed that was his route out. Overjoyed, Diego dropped what remained of the fruit and headed toward the exit.

But before he rounded the corner, he looked back at the pipe the fruit had come out of. Thinking of all the pieces in there that would probably not get eaten and end up going bad, he walked back toward the pipe. “Would anyone like me to leave?” he facetiously asked the empty room, hearing only the echo of his own voice. It seemed he was indeed alone, and as long as no one could ask him to leave, what was the harm in having another piece of the fruit? After all, it was probably his only chance to enjoy that fruit specifically.

So Diego picked up the fruit that had taken the first one’s place, causing another one to roll into its spot. With a giddy smile, he picked up the third piece of fruit as well, holding it in his left hand before taking bites out of both. They were both just as juicy and sweet at the first one, making Diego smile as juice dribbled down the side of his mouth. The more he ate, the more voraciously he ate, alternating between both pieces of fruit until he had finished both, leaving only the core with the seeds in the middle. After dropping what was left, he picked up another two and kept eating.

Diego soon lost count of how many of the fruits he’d eaten. All he knew was that as soon as he’d swallowed some of the sweet, juicy delicacy, he wanted more. And so he kept eating, his eyes often closed in rapturous enjoyment of the syrupy goodness. He wished he could take the fruit with him, and he knew it would probably disappear if he came back with bags to bring home more. So he kept scarfing the fruit down, knowing this was probably his only chance to enjoy it.

Diego didn’t stop eating the fruit until something hit the end of the pipe before his hand could. Something that stopped him in his tracks before he could grab another piece of fruit. Something that pushed him away as he tried to lean in toward the pipe. Once he fell out of his fruit-induced stupor, he looked down to see what was blocking him.

What he saw was a massive belly bigger than that of nearly every man he’d seen before. Flanking his belly in his field of vision were dozens of leftover cores from the fruit. But his belly blocked his view of most of them, having grown to the size of an exercise ball. He’d far outgrown the size of a dad whose spouse knows the way to his heart is through his stomach. Instead he looked like an uncle who would always get asked by kids if they could sit on his lap, on spite of his belly taking up most of the room on his thighs, before they curled up against that belly. Though his gut completely blocked his view of his legs, he could see that his arms were significantly beefed up too, as wide around as his legs were after his first growth spurt. As he slowly stepped back from the pipe, however, he could feel his meaty thighs rubbing together and knew they had grown wider too. And as he looked up, he could feel a sizeable double chin decompressing underneath his jaw.

As delicious as the mysterious fruit was, Diego decided he’d had enough, and it was time he leave the temple. With lumbering motions, he turned to face the exit, before hobbling over toward the opening in the wall. At that weight, his “walk” more resembled a side-to-side motion, leaning on one foot and then the other while shoving the opposite leg forward to move ahead. His arms jutted out at diagonally at his sides, no longer able to hang straight down due to his fat chest, while hanging completely still, as he was moving too slowly for them to swing back and forth.

Once Diego reached the opening in the wall, he sighed in relief at finally being able to leave the temple. That was, until he rounded the threshold of the opening and saw what stood between him and freedom: stairs. About as many as one would normally find between the first and third floor of a modern building. At the top of the steps, Diego could see them open up into the night sky, confirming that they were his way out. The space was plenty wide for Diego to fit through, but he still did not relish needing to climb all those steps to get out of the temple. But it seemed to be his only way out, so with a sigh of resignation, Diego stepped forward and took the first step.

The first few weren’t so bad, as Diego’s growth spurt had included the development of strong muscles in his legs, like he’d been carrying around his new heft all his life. But it didn’t take long until the added duress of lifting all that weight had him panting going up the stairs. He pushed ahead hard as he could, breathing heavily as he forced his legs to push him up each step. When he’d finally had enough, he stopped with both feet on the same steps, hands pushing against the walls on either side to hold him up, head bent down as he breathed heavily, feeling his flabby chest rise as fall with his breaths. Once he could finally look up, he saw that he was about halfway out of the temple.

After taking a moment to catch his breath, Diego looked up toward the open sky and let out a grunt of determination. He could hear the wind blowing over the opening, making a slight whistle sound that made him even more determined to make it out. Even when he started to feel tired after the first few steps of his second wind, he plodded on ahead, knowing his ordeal would soon be over.

By the time Diego reached the end of the steps, the walls he once used to keep himself upright had vanished, fallen into ruin like to much of the architecture around him. With nothing to hold onto, he leaned onto the side of what remained of the hallway instead, until he could flop back onto the ground around the opening, skipping the last few steps entirely. With his shirt having ridden up so high, he could feel the grass beneath his back and legs as he lay on the ground. Once he could open his eyes, he saw stars above him, and looked around to see trees. He was finally out of the ruins. And though he found himself alone in the eerily silent forest, just the sound of the wind around him, rustling the leaves, was enough of a background score to his own breath to comfort him.

“Goddammit, Diego,” a familiar voice cried out, carried by the wind.

Diego had barely caught his breath, but he mustered enough of it to yell back, “Hector?”

“Diego?” the same voice replied. “Is that you?”

“It is,” Diego panted. “Keep talking. I’ll come to you.”

“Yeah right,” Hector replied. “I’ll try, though.”

Hector’s words left Diego confused, but he knew he had to make his way to wherever his friend was and reunite, if only to get out of those woods.

Diego started by scooching himself farther away from the exit of the ruins, in order to avoid possibly falling in again. Even schooching was a slow process, with Diego’s mountainous belly hanging over him, weighing on him as he tried to move. Once the exit hole was out of reach and thus over an arm’s length away, scooched himself around until his legs were pointing downhill, in hope that would expedite his trip to wherever Hector was waiting for him. He also hoped it would help him get up, but he soon found that was going to be difficult no matter what he did.

But scooting a bit down the hill did make it seem easier. Going from a reclining position to sitting up, though difficult, still proved easier than sitting up from lying down. Diego first had to sway his belly side-to-side, until he could get enough momentum to roll it over onto his side. He then, after much grunting, pushed himself up into a sitting position. With heavy breathing, he patted his stomach as he sat on the slope, feeling just how big the massive ball of fat was when he sat down. Once he caught his breath, it took some more grunting and pushing for him to get himself into a standing position, and he pulled his flashlight out of his pocket. Once he did, he had one thing in mind: “Hector!”

“This way!” he heard the voice call, somewhat weaker than before, making Diego all the more determined to follow it. Going down the hill with his new heft was tricky business, but he managed to reach the bottom without falling over. From there, it was a matter of navigating the forest by voice until the two reached each other. At first, Diego thought for sure that Hector must have been close, given how clearly he could hear his voice. He then learned just how far a voice to could travel in a forest that quiet. But he waddled on, knowing he would eventually reach Hector if he kept following that voice.

As they continued their call and response, however, Diego found himself getting tired of walking. The route between the two featured ruins that Diego hadn’t seen before, normally something he would have been delighted to see. But he just wanted get himself and Hector out of those woods. As he kept walking, he kept getting out of breath, having to navigate over roots he couldn’t see below his belly and walk up and down the uneven terrain. At his new weight, all of that was more difficult than usual.

Adding to the unpleasantness was the cool forest breeze, usually a welcome relief, but Diego could feel it around nearly his entire torso. His belly, sides, back, and even the bottom of his chest could feel the coolness of the wind passing over him. His thighs, meanwhile, could feel the wind nearly as well as his calves could, indicating that his shorts had torn badly enough to let the wind through as well. How they hadn’t fallen off entirely was beyond him, but he supposed he’d find out once he and Hector were reunited.

Finally, after some more shouts and replies, Diego came across the source of the voice. It was a man standing at the edge of what seemed to be an ancient amphitheater, which had been dug into the ground. He was a massive man like Diego, not the pudgy-but-mostly-average man that Hector was, with a belly that rivaled Diego’s yoga-ball-sized gut. It was easy to see just how fat the man was, as he wasn’t wearing any clothes, just some sort of ancient-looking ceremonial garb that covered only his crotch. Above that, his belly spread out like the forest over the landscape, taking up an impressive amount of space. He seemed as out of breath as Diego had been after trying to get up those stairs. With his head leaning back as he panted, his impressive belly was pushed out even farther.

At once, the two men shone their flashlights on each other. “Who are you?” the man at the edge of the amphitheater asked.

Before he could answer, Diego was taken aback by the recognition of that voice. “Hector?”

“Di… Diego?” Hector asked, back, voice much quieter.

Neither man seemed to know what to say, looking at the other in stunned silence as they beheld the other’s new form. Eventually, the awkward silence prompted Diego to comment, “I see you’ve decided to try thongs,” with a chuckle.

“I see you’ve traded in your shirt for a sports bra,” Hector retorted back, cause both men to laugh. It was a short-lived laugh, however as the reality of their situations sunk in. Their chuckles turned to a forced laugh, slowing down and losing enthusiasm, until the two just stood there awkwardly, in silence.

Finally, Diego asked, “So, uh… what… what happened?”

“I… don’t really want to talk about it. What happened to you?”

“I… also don’t want to talk about it.”

With a nod, Hector looked his friend up and down as Diego did the same. “I think we ought to get out of here,” Hector finally said.

“Yeah,” Diego agreed. Any thought of wanting to show Hector the ruins he’d found was gone from his mind.

Waddling toward Diego, Hector said, “Come on. I’m pretty sure I came this way from the rock with the lightning-bolt-shaped crack.”

“You found the rock?”


“How did you do better at navigating these woods at night then I did?” Diego asked.

With a shrug, Hector shone his flashlight on the path ahead and lumbered past Diego. “Come on. No sense in staying here.”

“You can say that again,” Diego sighed as he waddled off after his friend. “Hey, after we get out of here… and we get some new clothes,” Diego hesitantly added, looking down at his giant belly bulging out in the open. “You wanna grab something to eat?”

Rather than reply, Hector stopped in his tracks and turned his head back toward Diego, giving him a look somewhere between a glare and a tired expression. Diego didn’t know what to make of that reaction; Hector had never turned down going out to eat in all the time he’d known him. With a sigh, Hector kept walking, as Diego followed in silence.

One thought on “An Engorged Explorer

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