Originally published June 9, 2018.
Contains: accelerated weight gain.
On my drive home from work a while ago, I saw a damaged car being towed right in front of a house, with two individual standing by looking on, one of whom was quite on the heavy side. It was that image that slowly morphed into this story. In this story, the character Zephyr is based on the myths of faeries, and their strange rules they use to trip up mortals, with a dose of poetic justice.
Not much else to say about it, except that it’s going up a day earlier than it would usually (it went up on my Patreon six days ago instead of the usual seven), because I have a friend flying in tonight who’s visiting for a week, and we might be having too much fun tomorrow for me to remember to post this story.
Synopsis: After crashing his car, Seth is told he’ll have to wait two hours in the rain for a tow truck. A strange stranger living in a nearby house offers him shelter and dinner in the meantime, offering him the chance to dry off in front of his fire, before offering him some of his dinner. He does not offer him seconds, however, and when Seth asks him for more, he soon learns the consequences of asking for more than you’re offered.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Daniels, but we can’t get a tow truck out to a location that remote any sooner than two hours from now. Try to find some place where you can take shelter in the meantime. I realize the interior of the car may not be comfortable, but it might be the best place for you to wait right now. We’ll call you again when the truck is closer.”
Seth heard the operator hang up and put his phone away in his wet jeans with a sigh. The sun had already set on remote road he’d been driving along, up until he’d missed the signs warning of a sudden turn, causing his front fender to become quite well acquainted with a large boulder, before it was crushed along with the rest of his car. How Seth had escape from the crash with little more than a few scrapes, he still wasn’t sure. Part of him wondered if there was a guardian angel watching over him, before he wondered why that angel hadn’t stopped his car hitting the rock in the first place.
Not that it mattered much now. It was night, the rain was coming down, he had no sort of jacket or umbrella to keep him dry, and after crawling out of his driver-side window, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get back in the car to take shelter. Even if he could, he wasn’t sure the back seat would be any less unpleasant than standing outside getting soaked.
“I’m amazed you’re standing, stranger.”
Seth turned around to see a tall, slightly older, slender man standing behind him with an umbrella in one hand and a flashlight in the other, aimed at the ground in front of him. The man’s eyes seemed to convey a combination of concern for Seth and joy that Seth was okay.
“Me too. But I’ve just been told that the tow truck won’t be here for another two hours to take me and my car to a garage. Not that I see them saving it from this kind of damage.” With a sigh, Seth continued, “Which leaves me standing out here in the rain for two hours until it arrives.”
A chuckle wasn’t the kind of response Seth expected from the man, and certainly not the kind he appreciated. Until he heard the words that followed: “You think I only came out here to compliment your survival?” After putting the flashlight under his armpit to hold it, the man reached in his pocket and pulled out another umbrella. “Here,” he said before tossing it to Seth.
“Oh, th-thanks,” Seth said, before opening the umbrella and wiping the remaining rainwater off his face. He was still soaking wet, but at least he wasn’t getting wetter.
“Of course. My house is right there,” he said, motioning to a rather small abode a short walk down the street, the kind that Seth could see a man like him living alone in. “After I heard the crash, I saw you crawl out and talk to someone on your phone, and figured no matter how the conversation went, you might appreciate the chance to spend some time indoors.”
“Oh, more than you could ever know,” Seth said, finally feeling some semblance of optimism. “You really don’t mind?”
“Not at all! Come on,” he said, beckoning Seth to follow. “It’s the least I can offer after what you’ve been through.”
Following behind the man, Seth finally remembered his manners and said, “Oh! I’m Seth.”
“Zephyr. Nice to meet you.”
“‘Zephyr’, you said?”
“Yes,” he confirmed, his voice carrying the slightest hint of annoyance.
“Got it. It’s a beautiful name. I, uh, I hope you don’t mind me saying so.”
“Not at all,” Zephyr replied with a renewed joy in his voice.
Soon the two were in front of Zephyr’s house. In the light of the flashlight and the light coming from the windows, Seth could see that there were a wide variety of flowers growing in front of the house. The had the untamed growth characteristic of weeds, but the variety of colors on display had Seth convinced that Zephyr must have tended to the garden somehow. Flowering vines also crawled their way up the front of Zephyr’s house around the doors and windows.
The inside of the house was just as quaint as the outside, with trinkets and house plants aplenty, all in a sort of organized chaos that seemed to affect every surface except the floor. “I just lit a fire in the living room,” Zephyr told Seth. “Go on in there and take a seat right next to it. You need it.”
Zephyr made no mention of where the living room was, but in a house that small, it wasn’t hard for Seth to find it. He heard the sound of crackling firewood coming from his left, and stepped through the threshold to find Zephyr’s living room, with the promised fire and some chairs close to it. He didn’t see a television or any sort of electronic entertainment, which didn’t surprise him giving everything else he’d observed about Zephyr so far. But he didn’t give it much thought, as he tiredly but hastily made his way toward the chair closest to the fire.
Seth basked in the blaze’s warmth for what must have been about ten minutes before he thought to check whether his phone was still working. Pulling it out of his still-damp pocket, he was thankful to find that not only did it turn on, but he had reception in Zephyr’s house, so he’d be able to receive the call when the tow trucks were close. With a sigh of relief, he pocketed his phone again and sat back in his chair.
It was about another five minutes until Zephyr finally joined him in living the room. “Comfortable?” he asked.
“Very. Thank you so much for letting me in here.”
“Of course. I apologize for not joining you sooner, but I had to tend to dinner. I always cook for the whole week on Sunday night so I can have leftovers for the rest of the week, but I made sure I can offer you some too.”
“Oh, my, that’s… thank you so much.”
“Of course. After everything that’s happened to you, you deserve some good fortune.”
“You’re a good person,” Seth said, prompting a giggle out of Zephyr.
“That’s awfully generous of you. Can I offer you anything in the meantime?”
“Oh, you’ve already done so much for me. I couldn’t possibly ask you for more.”
With a smirk on his face, Zephyr bowed his head in acknowledgement before saying, “Dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes. I hope that’s enough time for you to dry off.”
The next 20 minutes passed much more quickly than Seth expected, as he sat in front of the fire enjoying the heat. Serendipitously, as soon as the last bit of moisture left his clothes and he realized they were completely dry, Zephyr came in and said, “Dinner is ready!”
Seth’s legs were a bit stiff after sitting down for so long, especially after how long they’d been cold and clammy. But after some effort, he managed to stand up and follow Zephyr into the kitchen, where there was also a table where they could eat. The table had already been set for two, and there were two plates, each with a modest portion of what looked like… “Lasagna?” Seth asked.
“Vegetable lasagna, specifically.”
Seth had never had vegetable lasagna, although he knew he wasn’t a fan of vegetarian dishes in general. But he wasn’t going to criticize a free meal offered to him in his hour of greatest need. So he merely smiled and nodded and sat down at the table. “I bet lasagna stores really well. Good choice for something to make for the whole week.”
“Thank you!” Zephyr said, getting a big smile on his face before he took a bite of his own slice. “Please, eat up.”
With a smile on his face, Seth slowly cut out a small portion of the lasagna and took a bite, not expecting to enjoy it. He then cut out a second bite-size portion much more quickly, upon discovering that the lasagna was delicious. Whether it was the vegetables Zephyr had chosen, or the spices he seasoned it with, the dish was so delicious that he didn’t find himself wishing there was meat in it, to his great surprise. Zephyr seemed to take some joy in watching Seth enjoy the lasagna so much, proud of his culinary creation and glad it was being appreciated.
As much as Seth enjoyed the dish, he ended up finishing his portion before Zephyr finished his. Zephyr chuckled as Seth wiped his face with his napkin. “Enjoy it?”
“Oh man, Zephyr, it was amazing. That might be the best lasagna I’ve ever had, of any kind. Everything about it, just… delicious. Is there any way I could have some more?”
The delighted smile on Zephyr’s face faded at Seth’s question, though Seth was still basking in his enjoyment of the lasagna too much to notice. By the time the silence had tipped Seth off that something might be wrong, Zephyr had put on a smile again and said, “There are six slices left in pan. If you want more, that’s where you’ll find it.”
Without giving a thought to Zephyr’s change of tone, Seth got up and found the pan with the remaining lasagna, cut lengthwise down the middle and width-wise into fourths, with two pieces missing. Seth wanted to take a third slice as well, but he figured he’d wait and see if he wanted it after the second piece. After all, it would still be there for the taking.
After sitting back down, with Zephyr eating much more slowly now, Seth took another hearty bite of his lasagna and chewed and swallowed it, letting out an “Mmmm,” in compliments to the chef. “So how do you usually split a lasagna for yourself in a week? I mean, eighths made sense now, so you could have seven slices for yourself, one each day, and one for me. But how do you do it when you don’t have company?”
Zephyr’s eyes flared before was able to put on a more composed expression and answered the question, speaking slowly. “I’ll move the horizontal slice to the side a bit, cut the smaller piece into three pieces and the bigger into four.”
“Mmmm, smart,” Seth complimented before taking another bite. At that bite, he was glad he hadn’t taken a third slice, as the second bite of his second slice had him feeling full much faster than he expected. But still, it was the same lasagna; if he could eat one slice so easily, surely he could finish another slice.
At least, that was Seth’s reasoning. But with each passing bite, he found himself feeling more and more bloated, as if the lasagna were suddenly giving him unbearable gas. But it wasn’t gas; the feeling was heavier than gas. It was like each bite of the lasagna was expanding to several slices’ worth in his stomach. And yet, as full as the second slice made him feel, it was so delicious that he couldn’t stop eating.
A few bites in, Seth looked down and finally understood why the lasagna had him feeling so big. Where his relatively flat stomach had once resided, there was now a modestly-sized belly, not much wider than his abdomen had been before, and sticking out proportionally for its girth. Was the lasagna just that filling? Nope; as Seth chewed his next bite, he rubbed his stomach and discovered that, though it had the firmness of a beer belly, it was as soft as he would expect a gut to be, with no mountain of food propping it up inside. He wasn’t bloated; he was getting fat.
Had he been letting himself go recently? He didn’t remember his clothes feeling any tighter in recent days. In fact, his clothes weren’t all that much tighter now. Either way, there was no way a single slice of lasagna could put that much fat on him, so he didn’t worry about it too much. Hell, if anything, vegetable lasagna would probably help him lose weight. So with a smile, he dug in and kept on eating.
After about a half-dozen more bites, Seth realized he could not have been more wrong about the lasagna. His belly had blown up so big that he felt it sitting on top of his thighs, an experience that was completely new to him. At that, he had to look down and see what the damage was.
The once-modest belly that Seth could have previously passed off as just a little bit of flab he’d put on accidentally was now the size of a beach ball, covering the view of his thighs and pushing against the table. It was firm all over, something Seth confirmed as he kept chewing the lasagna, enjoying it too much to stop eating. Not only was it firm, but it had maintained its round shape even as he’d gotten bigger. And it seemed it was only going to keep getting bigger, as he took yet another bite of his ill-advised second portion.
By then, it was like Seth was in some kind of trance, mindlessly eating the rest of the slice of lasagna because it tasted that good. Bite after bite went into his greedy mouth, even as he now had to maneuver his arms around his rounded belly to slice off the pieces of the lasagna. If anything was keeping him from questioning the circumstances more, it was the fact that his clothes still fit him as well as they did when he walked into Zephyr’s house. His shirt still covered his entire belly with room to spare, and his pants had yet to pop open. Consciously, he knew the explanation was that they were growing with him, as impossible as that seemed. But something deep inside of him concluded that as long as his clothes weren’t tight, he couldn’t have eaten that much.
It was that something that kept Seth eating even as his belly grew to the size of a truck tire. By then, he only had a few bites left of his lasagna, but reaching around that massive ball of fat was proving increasingly difficult. He was now rotund enough that his belly extended past the side of his legs, and as he leaned forward for more lasagna, it encroached upon his knees. He could now feel his belly’s inertia adding extra resistance as he tried to move in any direction. He was past fat; he was massive. The last few bites of lasagna solidified his transition into that territory, giving him a belly slightly taller than a truck tire and a fair deal wider.
With the second course finished, Seth fell out of his trance, and the full reality of what had happened to him settled in. None of it made any sense: how one slice of the lasagna was a reasonable meal while the other made him put on so much weight, how all his clothes still fit, how he’d managed to put on that much weight in a single night. As he tentatively ran his hands over his massive belly, he half expected them to fall through it, like he was hallucinating the whole thing. But in all the confusion, the only thing he could be sure of was that he was undeniably, exceptionally fat.
“Did you enjoy your second course?” Zephyr asked, chiming after eating in silence the whole time.
“Um… yeah, it-it was good.”
“Do you want some more?”
“No!” Seth was quick to reply. “No, no, I’m all set. I’ve, uh… I’ve learned my lesson.” The words came out of Seth’s mouth more as an automatic reaction, like his leg kicking when a doctor tapped his knee as a kid, than a conscious expression of thought.
“Good,” Zephyr said like a teacher to a student who had just finished detention, leaving an awkward silence between the two, as Seth didn’t know what to say, and Zephyr had nothing left to say to him.
Luckily for Seth, his phone rang soon after. “Hello?”
“Hi, is this Seth Daniels?”
“Hi, this is Bob, with C&F towing. Our GPS says we’re minutes away from your location.”
“Oh! Wonderful, thank you. I’ll see you out there.”
After hanging up, Seth looked at his phone in confusion, only to see that the time indeed said 10:24 PM, nearly two hours after his crash. Perhaps whatever forces had made him gain so much weight in a single night had also allowed time to pass faster. Looking at Zephyr, he said, “Th-that was the tow truck drivers. They’re almost here.”
“Wonderful. I’ll follow you outside so you can borrow my umbrella while you wait.”
“Oh, uh, that’s… will that… have any effects like…” Not sure what to say, Seth pointed to his newly bulbous belly and said, “This.”
“Oh no, Because I offered it.”
After thinking for a while, Seth nodded, before having to push himself up and out of his chair. He decided the best way to do it was to push his chair out from the table, then scooch himself forward to the front of his seat. From there, it was easier to push himself up, though he didn’t find it as difficult as he was expecting. It seemed his legs, along with the rest of him, had grown the muscle he needed to carry the man he was now.
But Seth still had a lot of himself to move out of Zephyr’s house. With such a mountainous belly to move, his walk was more like a waddle, his legs moving in shorter steps as they were forced farther apart. His upper body swayed side to side as his new centerpiece, that gargantuan gut, both swayed and lead him forward, like he was nothing more than its vessel now. With every step, tchotchkes in the house around him bounced as his heavy footstep met the floor. He also had to be careful to not knock them over with his arms, now swaying diagonally at his sides like his new flab was pushing them upward.
Zephyr walked ahead of Seth–an easy thing to do, as long as he could get around him–and grabbed both umbrellas, passing one to Seth before he walked to the front door. Seth took a while longer to get there himself, trodding ahead with his hefty gut in tow. He found he had to put extra effort into standing up straight to move now, or else his newly-moved center of gravity would pull him down to the ground. There was something he liked about being in command of that much mass, although it felt more like his mass was in command of him.
Once the two got outside Seth opened up his umbrella, only to find that it didn’t keep the front of his belly dry. This was yet another new experience for him, as he contended with the fact that his belly now stuck out that far. But this was a small inconvenience when he considered that he could have been standing in the rain for two hours, not eating anything. Plodding ahead, he and Zephyr walked over to his car. At that point, Seth walked slowly enough that they could see the tow truck coming down the long, empty road before they arrived at the car.
Thankfully, both parties arrived at the car around the same time. After pulling up next to the wreckage, the driver turned off the truck and jumped out. He was a bit pudgier and more muscular than Zephyr, though Seth definitely dwarfed him in sheer size. “Seth Daniels?” he asked, looking at the two.
“That’s me,” Seth said.
“Yeah, this impact really did a number on your car. I’m amazed you’re standing here talking to me right now. Then again, men your size are more likely to survive car accidents, so you have that going for you.”
The man’s brashness in mentioning Seth’s weight caught Seth off guard, but at least it wasn’t in a negative way. “Well… that’s nice, I suppose. Hopefully I won’t have to take advantage of it… uh, again.”
“Indeed,” the driver chuckled. “Now, this is a… was a Honda Civic?”
“I’m amazed you fit in that car. Well, come on, you can sit in the passenger seat and get out of this here rain while I hook up the car. We’re going to have a long drive ahead of us, so I brought some snacks you can feel free to enjoy.”
“I just had dinner actually, thanks to this… kind gentleman,” Seth said, pointing toward Zephyr. “But I just might. Thank you.”
After passing back his umbrella and thanking Zephyr for everything, Seth pushed himself up into the passenger seat and sat back in the truck’s spacious cabin. At his new size, he knew driving in another sedan would be a challenge, as there might not be enough room for him to fit. But as the driver positioned the pickup truck to tow Seth’s car, Seth couldn’t help but think that with plenty of room for his belly, a pickup truck would be a more appropriate replacement vehicle.