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The Thin College

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This part's rather long, but there wasn't a good way to split it into equal servings, so I just stuffed the whole thing into one chapter 😗

Chapter Ten

               I sprung out of bed Saturday morning at the early hour of six thirty. There was nothing to do today except eat breakfast with Emily, but it had me more excited than any other “date” I had ever had. Was my mind playing games, or did she seem genuinely interested in me? So what if I was trapped in some damn matrix? Maybe there were a few girls who weren’t included in the hate-Jason-club? I had to figure this out – and if she did hate me, at least I’d be able to feed her breakfast.

               So after a rare morning shower, a good shave, and a lucky dabbing of my cologne, I left my room and headed for the chow hall just in time to be ten minutes early. When I reached the stairs, I could hardly believe my eyes – she was waiting for me! She clung a good-sized book to her chest as I approached and her plain, brown eyes lit-up with polite acknowledgement of my arrival, and she waved her small fingers in my direction.

               “You show-up early too?” I asked.

               “I don’t really like crowds,” Emily replied quietly.

               “I can relate,” I replied, shoving my hands into my pockets. “Every time I’m in a crowd around here, I get these weird looks. I get the feeling people don’t like me for some reason.”

               “Who cares what they think,” she said, smiling slightly at the floor.

               We small-talked until the chow hall opened. It was slow, sporadic conversation, but I was overjoyed with the experience of being with someone who seemed to genuinely like me. As I sat at the table and handed Emily her plate of food, I caught myself thinking if she could be the one. I shook my head. Was ten minutes of gossip all it took to get me hot and flustered? It was way too soon to think about relationships – but I could still daydream about it.

               I looked up from my plate and stole a glance at Emily as she cut her food. She wasn’t ugly, but she did look rather plain wearing a loose, wool sweater. It didn’t look like she did anything special with her hair or skin either. All in all, she wasn’t someone I would crush on, but then again, did looks really matter? Of course not! What mattered is she liked me! I think she liked me…

               “What are you thinking Jason?” she asked.

               “Lots of things,” I said cautiously. “My brain’s like a computer with a bunch of tabs open.”

               “Hm,” Emily chewed thoughtfully. “That’s pretty funny.”

               “I guess. It’s true though.”

               “Interesting. So what’s that first tab thinking?”

               “About you, of course,” I replied quickly. “I mean… you have my utmost attention and all…”

               “And what’s the second tab thinking?”

               “Uh… it’s thinking about what to do once we’re done eating.”

               “Huh… what are you doing after this?”

               I stopped eating and sort-of spaced-out. Was she asking me out, or was she just conversating? I had to plan my next move carefully.

               “Why do you ask?”

               “I can’t say,” Emily shrugged. “I was just wondering.”

               What a cryptic answer. I still had no idea what she wanted. But then again, didn’t Zoltan say I might as well try? Something like that.

               “Well, I don’t hang out with that many people, so I go on long walks.”

               Emily’s eyes lit up. “Really? I like doing that too! Where are you going?”

               “I was thinking of going down the beach.”

               “How nice!”

               There was a long pregnant pause. “You can come. If you want.”

               “Sure. I’d love to.”

 

               Honestly, I was getting pretty nervous. For months – years if you counted high school – I had fantasized taking a girl out one-on-one. Just me and my girl on an intimate stroll, reminiscing about the scenery and each other. But now, with Emily walking to my left, I found myself almost speechless. I hadn’t actually planned what to do once something like this happened. This was uncharted territory.

               The sun did its best to shine through heavy, morning fog as we passed under the Kappa Omega lighthouse. The high tide lapped at the edges of the cliff’s arch, and Emily dodged a particularly large sweep of salty ocean water by running behind me until she was by my right shoulder. I eyed her nervously; she was a mere six inches from my body.

               “I’ve never been down here before,” she said happily, eyes wide with wonder.

               “I like this part of the island,” I said with my hands in my pockets. Hermit crabs did their best to sidestep our imposing shadows before shrinking into their shells. “Not many people bother to walk this far down the beach, so I can sit and study alone.”

               “It’s beautiful,” Emily beamed. “But how can you concentrate sitting down on the beach?”

               “I dragged a log out of the woods and sit on that,” I looked up and withdrew a hand from my pocket to point ahead. “You can see it from here, see? Right by the mouth of Beaverdam Creek.”

               “There? It looks so peaceful!”

               “Want to sit on it for a little while?”

               “I don’t mind. Not at all.”

               “It’s not the most exciting thing to do, but –”

               “I said I didn’t mind, didn’t I? Well? Come on!”

               Emily didn’t run, but she did quicken her pace. With a nervous breath, I followed her. By the time I had caught up, she was standing by the mouth of the creek with her phone out.

               “What are you doing?”

               “Just taking a picture.”

               “Ah. Hopefully no one else decides to come here.”

               “Don’t worry,” Emily laughed light-heartedly. “I don’t use social media; I’m just taking a picture for myself. Maybe I’ll print it out and post it in my dorm room? It really is beautiful here.”

               “Isn’t it? Ever since I came to this spot, I knew it was special. There’s something different about this place.”

               “How so?”

               “Well, it’s hard for me to describe, but when I study here, even though no one else comes here, I never feel alone. Maybe it’s all the animals running around in the woods behind me, maybe it’s because I’m talking to myself all the time, but whatever it is, I don’t mind it.”

               Emily turned from the creek to look at me over her shoulder, hair catching on the neck of her sweater. “I don’t mind it either.”

               Something in my brain finally clicked. She liked me. She enjoyed being with me – alone – and if there was any moment that I was allowed to touch her, now was my moment, and I had to do it before my brain thought of an excuse to not make a move.

               I walked to her side, eyes glued to the creek, and hesitantly touched her shoulder with three shuddering fingers.

               Emily twisted into me and grabbed my face.

               “Emily what are you –”

               Her lips closed on my mouth as her arms snaked around my back. With mounting alarm, I felt her tongue writhe against my teeth. I panicked and pushed myself away, tripping onto my back. What was going on?

               When I gazed upwards, Emily’s hand was masking her eyes as her mouth stretched into a slender grin. She grabbed her glasses and tossed them into my lap. Her brown pupils had turned a glowing, neon pink.

               “Hey babe,” her voice dragged itself through the full length of her throat. “Miss me?” her arms crossed over her torso and peeled her sweater up over her head. Thick, jiggling boobs poured out, far bigger than I’d imagined ten seconds ago.

               “What’s going on?” I asked as she tossed the sweater at my face. “What are you doing?”

               “What, you don’t recognize me? Maybe a little more skin will jog your memory…” she unzipped her jeans and pried-open the button before sliding them sensually past her smooth, gyrating hips. As an afterthought, she kicked her shoes at me.

               “You’re… you’re not really Emily are you?” I asked as she stood above me with her hands on her hips. Nothing hid her silky skin from my eyes save for modest, brown lingerie.

               “You don’t think so?” she flicked her hair behind her shoulder with a flourish of her fingers. “I suppose I’m not – but her body suits me, don’t you think? Well? Are you going to get up, or do I have to get on top of you?”

               Hastily, I scrambled to my feet. She smirked as I blushed.

               “Don’t be shy,” she grinned. “I’m certainly not.”

               “Are you… the girl texting me?”

               “Mm… you could say that –” suddenly, her tits jumped against her bra, jostling and twitching as if alive. “Get down girls!” she slapped them with one hand while holding them with the other. “Behave!”

               “What was that?” I frowned.

               “Don’t worry about it,” she slowly regained her posture, sighing deeply. “Look: I know you have a lot of questions about what’s happening… why it’s happening – and I wish I could spend an intimate night with you to whisper it all in your ear, but all in good time. Just relax, loosen-up, and listen closely…”

               She took a step closer and wrapped her arm gently around my back. I eyed her breasts nervously as they rested in their cups, inches from my chest.

               “You’ve done very well,” she whispered, tracing a slender finger over my lips. “Better than I ever imagined…” without warning, she gave my cheek a long lick with her tongue. I shuddered as she withdrew with a lustful grin. “You have a long, hard journey ahead of you, but don’t give up. Soon we can be together again, and all will be as it should be.”

               “Wait,” I frowned in her embrace. “Again?”

               “I don’t have much time,” she brushed my forehead lovingly. “Just relax, and listen…”

               I felt her thigh rub against my side and couldn’t help but glance down past her cleavage towards it. Everything in this moment was so frightening – repulsive even – and yet I couldn’t back away. The more this unfamiliar terror gripped my heart, the more enthralled I became. She had me completely in her power. Was this arousal?

               “It’s time to take things up a notch,” I could feel her hot breath in my ear as she said it. “You’ve earned it –”

               Her hips convulsed violently as if a taser had been shoved into her womb.

               “Fucking… shit! Stop! Down! Sit!” she slapped her ass furiously as it did its best to twerk free of her panties.

               “Are you alright?” I asked.

               Yes,” she forced a smile, breasts quivering briefly before lying still. “Don’t worry about it; they’re just happy to see you. Anyway…”

               “Yes?”

               “Take this,” she grabbed a ring from her index finger and twisted it off. She kissed it with puckered lips before handing it to me with a smile.

               I held it between thumb and finger curiously. It was without a doubt a woman’s ring, being thin and lacey, but had no jewels to speak of.

               “Slip it on,” she folded her arms under her breasts and boosted them up an inch.

               I stole a glance at her boobs nervously before turning my attention back to the ring. She’d pulled it off her index finger, so I slipped it onto the inner knuckle of my own left index. Now I had two rings on one hand.

               “This is the Feasting Ring,” she said. “It will allow you to create any food item your heart desires… and it shall make whoever consumes it gain however much weight you please – but remember: for every pound is loaded into such food, a pound shall be taken from your Pounds Bar. All you have to do is this: picture the food in your mind, imagine where it shall appear, and point with your ringed-finger. It will be so. Well?” she held her hand out, palm up. “I’m hungry.”

               With a deep breath, I eyed her palm. Her neon-pink eyes watched me expectantly. Instinctually, I recalled my account balance: about 64 pounds. I supposed I could spare one… no, five pounds. The first food that came to mind was a Girl Scout’s Mint Cookie. I pointed at her palm –

               A subtle cloud of dust traced itself from my finger into her palm. The cookie formed itself in all its humble glory, and her fingers closed around it like it was a precious coin.

She smiled coyly. “Only five pounds?” she slid into my arms, eyes closed. “Hold me,” she clasped my hands closely and placed one on her slender abs and another on the slight curve of her glutes.

“Your hands are cold,” she said as she held the cookie close to her mouth.

“Sorry?”

“Don’t care. And don’t let go either.”

With a mischievous grin, she slipped the cookie into her mouth and chewed it with a faint smile. In spite of my extreme discomfort, I flattened my palms against her warm skin. It felt wrong to hold a woman like this, even if she’d put my hands on her. Wait… was I a coward?

I felt her stomach loosen slightly and my breath caught in my throat. My fingers on her ass flinched, and I felt them sink slightly into flesh that was softer than it had been.

“You feel that?” she rubbed my arm gently. “Now you can use this on everyone… I wish I could stay, but I have to leave you again.”

“Wait! Why are you doing this? What’s going on? Why is –”

“Boy, you can have one question, and then I leave again.”

“What’s your name?”

“Me? My name? Wouldn’t you rather know yours?”

I shuddered when she said that. This whole situation I’d found myself in was far greater than I thought. I felt like a swimmer suddenly realizing the lake he’s in is a mile deep. But I steadied myself with a long breath. I knew my name; I was Jason. That was good enough for me.

“What do I call you?” I repeated.

“You can call me Sucky,” Sucky tugged at her bra cups to readjust the position of her slightly larger breasts. “Now then, see you around – oh, and I’d suggest running away.”

“Why?” I asked dumbly.

Sucky’s eyes faded back to brown like coals plucked from a furnace. Her entire demeanour changed instantly. Her eyes widened and she shrivelled modestly into herself. Her arms wrapped around her body.

“What is…” her voice trembled. Then she looked at me with a panic. “What just happened!?”

“Emily?” I backed away. “Is that… are you…?”

What did you do to me!?” she wailed.

“I didn’t do anything! Nothing!”

Go!” she screamed. “Get away from me!”

In a full panic, I did the only thing that made sense to my addled, overloaded brain: I ran for the treeline with a mad dash. Branches slapped my face and scratched my skin, but I never stopped, and I never looked back.

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Holy motherforking shirtballs! This a ripper of a mind-tripper! I have so many questions, but most of them can be reduced to variations of WTF? In a very good way, as you said, it's great to read a WG story where you have no idea what's gonna happen next. And I really have no idea what's going to happen next.

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So Jason could be a being of significance?  Wow...  really makes you curious about the backstory!  Well, maybe not you... but me, us, WE, the readers.

A feasting ring? Cool!  Jason can make the most innocent-looking food into a caloric powerhouse.  So much for making the "Smart" choice. 

Do the gains have to be instantaneous from the food?  Or can the time be spread out into minutes and hours?  Seems like he would have a lot more opportunities if the eater didn't link the food to the gain.

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1 hour ago, greinskyn said:

So Jason could be a being of significance?  Wow...  really makes you curious about the backstory!  Well, maybe not you... but me, us, WE, the readers.

A feasting ring? Cool!  Jason can make the most innocent-looking food into a caloric powerhouse.  So much for making the "Smart" choice. 

Do the gains have to be instantaneous from the food?  Or can the time be spread out into minutes and hours?  Seems like he would have a lot more opportunities if the eater didn't link the food to the gain.

This will require some extensive, intimate experimentation 😈

On 3/12/2019 at 1:04 PM, swahilimonkfish said:

Holy motherforking shirtballs! This a ripper of a mind-tripper! I have so many questions, but most of them can be reduced to variations of WTF? In a very good way, as you said, it's great to read a WG story where you have no idea what's gonna happen next. And I really have no idea what's going to happen next.

This is just the tip of one massive, treacherous iceberg— the kind of iceberg that flips and tosses itself without warning ⚠️ 

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You know everybody is asking about all of the possibilities of the feasting ring and stuff, but i’m Wondering.. what’s he gonna do about the whole Emily freak out thing and her being basically naked there. That’s gonna add a whole new layer onto the whole “stalker Jason” thing. Like he’s going to be in huge shit over that.

Anyways, I love the story and check back everyday for more chapters. Keep up the amazing work.

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I don't know... Emily could be understanding.  Jason just has to explain things how they happened.  

"So, hey I know I lead you out onto a desolated part of the island where no one else ever goes... and, um.. you like don't remember this, but you stripped naked after becoming possessed by a sexy spirt.  Then you placed my hands on your ass and tummy before eating a magic weight-gaining thin mint."

Its all pretty straight forward, so should go over well. 

 

Oh, and I just noticed the imagined food item can show up wherever he wants  it to! 

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Another chapter! Written faithfully while listening to very dark music 😈

 

Chapter Eleven

               I spent uncounted moments leaning against a large fir tree in the deepest part of the woods. My mind was in a state of shock, thoughts spinning constantly in a never-ending and useless loop. Over and over again, I remembered the frightened look in Emily’s eyes, the way she hugged her half-naked torso to hide as much of her body as possible, the way her voice wailed as I dove through bramble and thorns…

               With a bloodied hand, I felt a scratch on my neck and pulled a blackberry thorn out of my inflamed skin. My watch glinted on my wrist. What time was it? It was nearly noon. Sighing, I craned my neck and stared at the rays of sunlight fighting their way through dissipating fog and fluttering leaves.

               I was done. How many times had I thought this? It didn’t matter. Emily would surely tell everyone I’d somehow drugged her, stripped her, and abused her. Word would spread within hours: Stalker Jason had finally done it. Security was probably looking for me already. I’d be expelled, convicted of rape, rot in some cell, and never get hired by anyone anywhere… if I got out… and no one would date a convicted rapist. I would die alone, unloved, unforgiven… oh God! Emily! I only wanted to be loved! I don’t want to be alone! I don’t want to die alone!

                But she wasn’t real.

               My mind stopped spinning. At last, in the whirlpool of thoughts, a solid idea presented itself, and I clung to it like a drowning man. Emily wasn’t real. None of them were. They couldn’t be! I was cursed, condemned to live amidst beautiful women and be denied by each one. This whole college, the woods, the whole island, it was some kind of matrix! A purgatory!

               A leaf fell on my lap and slid to the ground. Ants skittered betwixt twigs and brown nettles. For a matrix, this all seemed very real. Was Sucky telling the truth? What if she was lying?

Sniffing, I stood up and brushed myself off. My mind was back. Sucky could be lying, but so what? In this hostile territory, she was my only ally. Her fattening app was my only way to fight back against my tormenters, and I would seize the chance to force my vengeance upon them – whether they were real people or not.

But what of Emily? What if security was searching for me? Could I hide in these woods?

I began walking slowly through the forest. No. I couldn’t stay hidden forever. Come to think of it, Emily and I had been alone all morning. There were no witnesses, and there was no evidence of any foul-play to be found. Security had no authority to arrest me on the grounds of such hearsay. Yes, the most that could happen is I could be sent to the Dean’s office for questioning, and therefore, I had all weekend to think of a cover story. I just had to return to my room and act innocent – which I was – and not hide in the woods.

I could see the edge of the forest just ahead. I had no idea where I was, but once I was in the open, finding my way home would be easy.

 

There wasn’t enough homework. I had no friends. A storm roared outside. I’d blown through my secret stash of alcohol. Frustrated, I stared at the ceiling and clenched my fists, feeling the cold metal of my rings against my scratched palms. I needed my mind to concentrate on something, anything that wasn’t related to Emily or my yearning for companionship.

“Nazi Zombies it is,” I sighed.

Turning to my desk, I started the game on my big laptop and pulled out a second. This was my old laptop, too small and obsolete to play modern games, but still useful for what I was about to do. Now with both laptops set before me, I began a round of solo Nazi Zombies on the Kino Der Toten map. While it was loading, I started my video playlist on the other laptop.

Level one. No Nazi Zombies to be found at first. They shuffled slowly from out of sight, prying at the boarded windows. Sprinting, I knifed at their faces through the boards. The first video played: an AMV set to Snuff Machinery.

Wenn du dich mit dem Teufel ein lässt,

Verändert sich nicht der Teufel,

Der Teufel verändert dich.

Three zombies down. I scrambled to put the boards back into place.

Der Teufel verändert dich.

Six zombies, an ominous noise. Level two had begun. The music video pulsed with flashing light and mounting violence. I could feel my heart hitting my ribs. More zombies were coming, and slightly faster. They’d picked on my scent and lusted for my blood. I slashed their necks open and boarded the windows. Levels three, four, and five passed in quick succession. They were starting to run after me; I’d have to escape the room soon.

Another music video: Nihil by Ghostemane. I grimaced with passion as I unlocked doors and sprinted down winding stairs. I needed a gun. The MP40 submachine gun would do. The zombies were in the room.

You think that I need you!

I’ll show you I’m fine!

Level seven, level eight, level nine. The tempo accelerated. Zombies closed-in from all directions, and I ran through the abandoned theatre as they moaned and screamed for me. Feel Good Inc. set to laughing faces and anime gore flashed wildly. Next, a string of instrumentals with seizure-inducing visuals and psychotic violence.

I glanced back and saw the horde swarming in, tongues wagging. They were trying to kill me! The entire campus was trying to kill me!

Level ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen...

Saint Anger began with deafening effect. Anime soldiers impaled on flag poles. Undead horsemen charging through London.

I escaped through the teleporter and upgraded my pistol into dual-wielding grenade launchers. Blood spurted in all directions.

My fingers clutched my game controller with pure bloodlust, and I grinned, ecstatic with the overwhelming violence. I was now fully entranced into a state of meditation. Now every single thought was hellbent on fighting back. They’d never take me alive! I’d take them all down!

The power went out. The screens of my laptops dimmed in powersaving mode. Grumbling, I paused the game and exited to desktop. The battery life lasted twenty minutes if a game was running. While I was at it, I paused the playlist. The meditation was over.

“Damn it –” I started to say in a high voice before coughing. Was something in my throat? My hand scratched at the inflamed cuts on my neck. My cheek burned hot, and I felt it curiously. Sucky had licked my cheek. It cooled against my fingers.

“Damn,” I shook my head. Whatever had stuck in my throat was gone. “I can’t think about that right now…”

Time to read a book.

 

“Jason.”

I looked up from my notes and rubbed my face, trying to chase away the Monday-grog. Ms. Buxley stood in front of me with her arms folded over her black suit jacket, expecting an answer.

“Yes ma’am?” I asked politely. I could feel the eyes of my classmates on my back.

“Given the choice between a small short-term loan and a big long-term loan, which would you prefer?”

“Well, like anything, that depends on circumstance,” I started slowly. “But from a bank’s perspective, I would prefer giving-out the big long-term loans because that’s going to pay-off interest for a long time, so that’s guaranteed income while I handle other things…”

“But it’s not guaranteed income,” Jeiny interrupted. “What if they can’t make the payments?”

“That might happen, but probably not. The loan’s recipient will want to pay it back and they’ll do it if they can.”

The faintest hint of a smile traced itself on Buxley’s lips. “You have a lot of faith in people to pay their loans back.”

“Not really,” I shrugged. “It’s just not my top priority.”

“It should be, if you’re running a bank.”

“Well… my bank has invested in stocks, so it has other sources of income.”

“Fascinating,” Ms. Buxley finally did smile as the rest of the room filled with the sound of titters. “Well, on that note, let’s start guiding the discussion to the next page in the text…”

 

Barely ten steps out of the classroom, my mind returned to the task at hand: how to use the feasting ring. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten how it worked, but I needed to figure out how to use it without getting caught. The Water Bottle Trick taught me that girls would almost always turn down food if I tried giving it to them. That meant that I had to place the food somewhere without anyone knowing it was my food.

I reached the end of the hallway and followed the crowd of female students through the swinging doors to the outside. Could I make and place food in the chow hall? Surely not; someone would see me using the ring…

My phone vibrated in my pocket. Odd… I hadn’t fed anyone lately, so why would I get a notification now of all times? When I brought the screen to my face, my skin went cold. It wasn’t the fattening app, it was an email.

Come to the Dean’s office ASAP.

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That panicked response from Jason was perfect, you could feel his thoughts run away from him in distress. Everything about the way you've created Jason feels like an accurate description of someone so young, from his pent-up frustration to his worry and insecurity.

And the mystery and suspense is great, Sucky feels like an over-arching mystery and the cliff-hanger is a corker

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16 hours ago, bobsithoto1 said:

Don't do this to me lol

That’s not the safeword! 😈

12 hours ago, swahilimonkfish said:

That panicked response from Jason was perfect, you could feel his thoughts run away from him in distress. Everything about the way you've created Jason feels like an accurate description of someone so young, from his pent-up frustration to his worry and insecurity.

And the mystery and suspense is great, Sucky feels like an over-arching mystery and the cliff-hanger is a corker

Hopefully the hints I’ve sprinkled everywhere are enough to solve with 👌

9 hours ago, scl04 said:

Well hopefully Jason can get out of this situation, he really doesn't have too much luck now does he? :S

It’s as if he’s cursed or something 

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(edited)
1 hour ago, Batman76 said:

Sucky might be a succubus.

 

jason is a bit...he kinda comes off like a school shooter

While attempting to be as non-accusatory and constructive as possible.... this.

I'm interested in what you've got going on here. I'd like to see how it turns out, and the sci-fantasy aspects of the story intrigue me with a kind of Philip K. Dick vibe. But Jason himself...
My own impression of him is that he's the kind of self-pitying incel misogynist that can turn out to be genuinely dangerous to others without much prompting. His primary reactions on learning what happened to "Emily" is to reassure himself that she isn't real (which is disturbingly on-the-nose for the thought processes of actual sexual predators) and to attempt to conceal his own part in what happened. 

I can't root for Jason. Unless something drastic happens with his character, as stereotypically bitchy as the minor characters are, he is clearly the current villain of the piece. (Sucky may or may not be a bigger one.) The question that I have at this point is whether or not this is purposeful. Is this a narrative that is consciously structured around a villain protagonist or not? Because I can get behind that. There are many good stories centered around morally compromised characters. I just don't think we should fall for Jason's narrative that he's the hero here.

I'm definitely going to keep reading to find out which directions this goes, though.

Edited by Ganaroth
omitted word

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@ Ganaroth…   I remember a well known movie villain being interviewed.  When asked how he could make the part so chilling and real he replied  The scariest villains in history didn't think themselves as evil.  Rather, they perceived themselves as the cure... that they were right in what they were doing.

Right from the start I wondered who Jason is.  We only have his side of the story as seen through his own filter.  Plus there are all those little "Smart" comments that make me wonder just what is going on.  Then there is "Sucky's" comment that he should wonder who HE is rather than who she was,...

Just whets my appetite more.

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5 hours ago, Batman76 said:

Sucky might be a succubus.

I was worried that hint was too vague to be picked up 😅 Then again, there’s plenty more Easter eggs.

3 hours ago, Ganaroth said:

Is this a narrative that is consciously structured around a villain protagonist or not? Because I can get behind that. There are many good stories centered around morally compromised characters. I just don't think we should fall for Jason's narrative that he's the hero here.

 

I remember reading Deathnote for the first time and getting twenty chapters in before thinking to myself: “huh. Is Kira evil? Not just a little, but extremely evil?” The story made me wonder about what exactly WAS good or evil, what line one crossed to be considered evil and such.

 I was kind of hoping it would take longer for people to start wondering that about Jason, but that was the intention 🤔 We know he’s screwed being where he is, but is his morality being compromised, and... ugh. I have to stop rambling before I spoil the story 😓

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1 hour ago, greinskyn said:

@ Ganaroth…   I remember a well known movie villain being interviewed.  When asked how he could make the part so chilling and real he replied  The scariest villains in history didn't think themselves as evil.  Rather, they perceived themselves as the cure... that they were right in what they were doing.

Right from the start I wondered who Jason is.  We only have his side of the story as seen through his own filter.  Plus there are all those little "Smart" comments that make me wonder just what is going on.  Then there is "Sucky's" comment that he should wonder who HE is rather than who she was,...

Just whets my appetite more.

There are very few villains worth mentioning who view themselves as such. There are really three types; those with a warped internal monologue that justifies their actions as being in the service of some more deserving cause (even if that cause is as simple as 'because I deserve it"), those whose inner monologue is insufficient to war with their darker angels, or those with no internal monologue at all. The exceptions to these paradigms are vanishingly rare. The only really famous one I can think of off the top of my head is, arguably, DC's Joker, or characters with similar genesis like Carcer from Pratchett's "Night Watch."

1 hour ago, >_< 0_0 said:

I was worried that hint was too vague to be picked up 😅 Then again, there’s plenty more Easter eggs.

I remember reading Deathnote for the first time and getting twenty chapters in before thinking to myself: “huh. Is Kira evil? Not just a little, but extremely evil?” The story made me wonder about what exactly WAS good or evil, what line one crossed to be considered evil and such.

 I was kind of hoping it would take longer for people to start wondering that about Jason, but that was the intention 🤔 We know he’s screwed being where he is, but is his morality being compromised, and... ugh. I have to stop rambling before I spoil the story 😓

You've assuaged a lot of my concerns just by responding. I'm not only willing but actually quite eager to follow you down this ethical rabbit hole now that I have some level of confirmation that, for good or ill, those morals and ethics are being examined and that this is not simply an apologist text for the kinds of behaviors and attitudes your protagonist exhibits. This is the internet, after all, and we both know there are no shortage of people on these tubes that would write Jason's story and actually consider him a blameless protagonist, even a kind of strange Byronic Hero. The simple acknowledgement that it's not that simple is all I need to feel like I'm not wasting my time here. Please continue writing, and I'll continue reading.

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I'm starting a "Hate Socrates" fan-club if anyone is interested :ph34r: No? I'll just sit over here then...

Chapter Twelve

               Slowly, with a pounding heart, I made my way to Central Hall, the oldest, tallest building on campus. It was apparently built in 1871 by British architects, and funded by the glut of gold trading that companies made selling to gold miners to the south. I remembered when I first arrived on campus how I marvelled at the impressive wooden carvings on the walls and the spires thrusting skyward from the roof. It was hard to say if it was Victorian or Gothic, but now it didn’t help my mounting sense of dread as I climbed the steps and entered the creaking, oaken, double-doors.

               The part-time, student receptionist at the front desk glanced quickly in my direction as she adjusted her glasses (no doubt noting that the male on campus had dared enter sacred grounds) before returning to typing away on her computer.

               I approached her counter awkwardly tapped my fingers over it. “Good morning.”

               “Good morning… Jason,” she glanced at me again.

               “Um… I’m here to see the Dean… again.”

               “Go ahead,” she continued typing. “She’s still in her office on the top floor now. But you should hurry before her meeting starts.”

               “Thanks,” I pushed off the counter and headed for the narrow, creaking stairway.

               “Take it easy,” I whispered between breaths. “She doesn’t know anything. She doesn’t have anything. I didn’t do anything.”

               I had a strange habit of daydreaming bad conversations. Any social interaction I dreaded would be rehearsed and played-out in my head endlessly, until every possibility was accounted for. For every possible question and accusation the Dean might throw at me, I had a counter primed and ready. I would be fine. Probably.

               I reached the top floor and entered the waiting room. The Dean’s secretary sat behind a counter and waved in my direction. “Hello Jason, how are you?”

               “Hello ma’am,” I frowned to myself, acutely aware that it was not good that the secretary knew me so well. What was her name? Martha? The name placard on the counter was angled away from me. Right behind it was a bowl of peppermints. Maybe if I took one, I could check her name placard. Yes, that sounded like a plan. “So you emailed me to come over ASAP?”

               “Yes,” the secretary was smiling as I took a peppermint (aha! Her name was Lara). “The Dean wanted a quick word with you.”

               “What do you think? Is it a good thing that I don’t know why she wants to see me?”

               “I wouldn’t know,” Lara shrugged. “But she’s waiting for you in there.”

               My eyes followed her pointed finger towards the Dean’s door, and was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of fear and foreboding. My heartbeat pounded against the sides of my neck, and my forehead chilled. “I guess I’ll figure it out then.”

               With mounting dread, I knocked on the Dean’s door. “Good morning ma’am, Jason Alban requests permission to enter.”

               A brief moment of silence before I heard her stern voice on the other side. “Try again.”

               I looked back at Lara, who whispered “three knocks.” Ah. Three knocks. “Good morning ma’am, Jason Alban requests permission to enter.”

               “Come in.”

               In I went. Her office was very organized and clean, decorated by an assortment of old college relics, including several paintings from arts graduates, walls of books, a bust of Winston Churchill, and an intricate Persian rug. Dominating the centre of the room was a massive mahogany desk, adorned with a Spartan arrangement of one monitor screen and a small stack of papers. The Dean sat in a leather chair, smartly-dressed in her black suit and white blouse combo, eyes wincing at her work through thin glasses.

               I stood before her desk.

               “Try again,” she didn’t even look at me.

               Damn. What did I forget? I left the room and started from the top. Three knocks. “Good morning ma’am, Jason Alban requests permission to enter.”

               “Come in.”

               I walked in again, teeth gritting against each other. Now I was irritated. Would I even be able to speak without masking my own anger – hang on! My fear was gone! Maybe this anger was good for something after all.

               “Good morning, ma’am.”

               “Why did I call you in here?” she didn’t even look at me.

               “I don’t know, ma’am,” I was secretly thrilled that I’d finally entered her office properly.

               “Why do you think I called you in?”

               “I guess something happened, but I don’t know what it could be.”

               “Do you know someone named Mary?”

               “I think so.”

               The Dean raised an eyebrow and finally began looking at me. “Look at me Jason,” she leaned into her desk, fingers lacing together. “Do you know her or not?”

               “I probably do… I don’t remember names very well.”

               “Mary’s emailed me a letter that says you’ve been bothering her and her friends.”

               Shit. This had nothing to do with Emily. All the rehearsals in my head had been for naught. Then again, I suddenly remembered who Mary was, of all things.

               “Is Mary one of the girls from the Equine Club?”

               Now the Dean looked as irritated as I had felt a moment ago. “Let me read you what she sent to me: Dear Ms. Kern, the male student has been stalking around our barn. Without permission, he has wandered alone through our yard and fed our horses with food belonging to the Biology classes. He has also followed me to cheerleading practice and stared at my squad as we trained for the upcoming game for several minutes…” she looked at me again. “Do you know what this looks like?”

               “Creepy stuff?” I offered. “But it’s not what –”

               “Perception is reality,” the Dean interrupted. “That’s how the world works.”

               “That sounds a lot like guilty until proven innocent,” I flinched, immediately regretting what I said.

               “Did you do these things?”

               “I mean, technically, but I was trying to get into the Equine Club and they told me –”

               Did you do these things or not? Yes or no?”

               There it was! The fucking Socratic Method! Taking the entire universe and all its complexity and cramming it into your little binary yes/no questions so that everything was on your terms. Socrates invented it thousands of years ago, and he was sentenced to death for harassing the whole city of Athens with his juvenile questioning. Thousands of years later, and people still thought they were smart when they used that dead “philosopher’s” method.

               “Yes, but they told me to help them clean the –”

               “You only need to answer with yes or no.”

               “I need to tell you what they’re doing, ma’am.”

               “Did I tell you to speak out?”

               “No,” No ma’am. I didn’t realize this was a talking-down conversation.

               “Jason Alban,” the Dean glared at me. “I have concerns. This email matches a trend.”

               “A trend?”

               Her eyes burned into my soul, waiting for it to break for daring to speak. I caught myself from saying “sorry;” I wouldn’t give her that satisfaction. But I still shook like a leaf.

               “Mary’s not the only student who’s complained about your actions. Others have come in here, worried about how you walk through the woods around their sorority houses. In fact, I have another email about how you were sneaking behind the bushes of Sigma Omega’s backyard. Would you mind explaining to me what you were doing there?”

               Shit. Shit! That was the night I had woken up hungover after I’d downloaded the fattening app! I had no clue how I’d gotten there, but I couldn’t tell her I was hungover because I wasn’t legally old enough to drink yet! I had no cover story!

               “I wasn’t trying to do anything wrong, ma’am,” I felt my voice fraying. “That was… I had a rough night.”

               “It looks to me like you were peeking into the windows.”

               “N-no ma’am. I was… I fell asleep wandering outside. A girl had explained to me that night that she would never love me. It… it really hurts trying to explain it, but I was so devastated that I wandered through the woods all night long… I could see everyone enjoying each other’s company, but I didn’t know how to ask them how to… if I could hang out with them, and I ended up lying against the building because I wasn’t brave enough to go inside… and it was too late at night to go in anyway.”

               The Dean’s malice ebbed slightly, leaving behind an emotionless professional calculating my fate. “Jason, I need you to listen to me. As the Dean, my job is to sense problems before they start. Right now, I can tell that you’re not telling me everything. So let me ask you one more time: what’s going on with you? If you were me, what would you do?”

               “I don’t know about that,” I shied from her deep prodding. “I’ve never been a Dean before.”

               “I asked what’s wrong with you. Tell me.”

               There was a lot wrong with me, wasn’t there? But I couldn’t admit that; that would cause problems. This whole conversation had gone south real quick.

               “I personally think I’m fine, but this whole college situation is stressing me out. I don’t have any friends here – or a relationship. It’s depressing… it’s very depressing.”

               The Dean waited a second for me to continue, but faced with my silence, she straightened in her chair and turned to her computer. “There are twelve hundred students enrolled here. Do you realize how much of my time you waste when I have to deal with you? I have a meeting in five minutes, but I have to finish with you first,” she clicked her mouse a few times. “I’m setting you up with an appointment with the college psychiatrist.”

               “But I said I wasn’t… I’m just depressed.”

               “Who knows? I don’t. I’m not qualified to say, especially if you insist on not telling me anything. So psychiatrist it is. Any questions?”

               If I didn’t have questions, would I be allowed to go? “No ma’am.”

               “Get out.”

               “Thank you ma’am,” I turned and made a beeline for the door.

               “Jason.”

               Of course; a last minute word. I turned to look at her again.

               “Stay away from Mary. She obviously doesn’t appreciate you being around her, so your best option’s to not aggravate her further, you understand me?”

               “Yes ma’am. Good morning.”

               “Just go.”

               I left her office and closed the door with a deep, exasperated breath. That felt far worse than I thought it would, and yet she hadn’t mentioned Emily once. Could it be that Emily had not said anything? That was both a relief and a burden at the same time. She could tell anyone about our incident at any time, and in my position, I’d be doomed. Speaking of doomed, I was being told to see a psychiatrist! A psychiatrist! Did the Dean tell me to see one because she thought I was crazy, or did she have a more sinister intent? What if she meant for me to confess all my feelings to this individual all for the purpose of having written, documented evidence that I was emotionally unstable and deserving of academic probation, suspension, or even expulsion?

               My blood throbbed through my body, intoxicated with equal doses of fear and anger. What was I even supposed to do at this point? No friends, no love, a stalker’s reputation, suspicions of insanity, and the looming threat of expulsion? The only thing I had going for me was the fattening app; it was the only thing I had to fight back with.

               I looked down at my Feasting Ring and traced it with my fingers. I needed to figure out the best way to use it. The Dean’s Secretary, Lara, had left the waiting room, no doubt to eat lunch. The bowl of peppermints immediately grabbed my attention, sitting invitingly on her abandoned countertop, available to anyone with a yearning for a casual bite – a perfect target for my new power.

               Acutely aware that someone could walk-in at any moment, I straightened my ringed-index finger and probed the peppermints, willing new ones to take form, each filled with a subtle pound of weight. I felt them materialize from the bottom of the bowl, and watched with detached fascination as the mound of peppermints rose over the lip of the bowl…

               The Dean opened her office door. “Jason,” she snapped. “Why are you here?”

               I stared at her, dumbfounded. “I… am I allowed to have one? One of these, I mean,” my finger was still buried inside.

               “Take one,” the Dean glowered.

               “Ah, yes. I wasn’t sure if they were just for the staff or –”

               “Go Jason! I’m locking the door.”

               “Yes ma’am,” I hastily withdrew my hand and skittered out of the waiting room. I didn’t grab a peppermint after all.

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Wowzers, that was a heavy episode. But it doesn't look good for Jason.

My theory... that half of this is in his head. He plays too many computer games, he imagines conversations in his head, the dean has sent him to a psychiatrist and everyone thinks he's a creep. He's just a crazy incel pervert loner and he's half-hallucinating the entire thing. Like if Travis Bickles was the lead character in Shutter Island sort of thing.

The fact that we can all form our theories and opinions is such a cool part of what makes your story great. Every chapter is a treat

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4 hours ago, swahilimonkfish said:

Wowzers, that was a heavy episode. But it doesn't look good for Jason.

My theory... that half of this is in his head. He plays too many computer games, he imagines conversations in his head, the dean has sent him to a psychiatrist and everyone thinks he's a creep. He's just a crazy incel pervert loner and he's half-hallucinating the entire thing. Like if Travis Bickles was the lead character in Shutter Island sort of thing.

The fact that we can all form our theories and opinions is such a cool part of what makes your story great. Every chapter is a treat

So like schizophrenia in a way? What’s happening is just hallucinations or just in his head and such.

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6 hours ago, swahilimonkfish said:

Wowzers, that was a heavy episode. But it doesn't look good for Jason.

My theory... that half of this is in his head. He plays too many computer games, he imagines conversations in his head, the dean has sent him to a psychiatrist and everyone thinks he's a creep. He's just a crazy incel pervert loner and he's half-hallucinating the entire thing. Like if Travis Bickles was the lead character in Shutter Island sort of thing.

The fact that we can all form our theories and opinions is such a cool part of what makes your story great. Every chapter is a treat

 

2 hours ago, Ajayy said:

So like schizophrenia in a way? What’s happening is just hallucinations or just in his head and such.

Into the plot, you wish to peek,

More Easter Eggs, you must seek 😝

Haha Sorry about the weird rhyme; I just watched the Leprechaun movie 🍿 

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This is so fucking awesome.

I read the first chapter a while ago and to be honest it didn't appeal to me. But returning to find this twisted, wrenching tale of cursed spells and magic mixed with delightful weight gain scenes and a wonderfully crafted main character this is probably my favorite WG story ever, topping your last by miles. 

I want to see Jason triumph in the face of adversity, fattening all of his enemies and eventually escaping from the prison he's trapped in.

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I think Jason is what you call a "late bloomer." 😏

Chapter Thirteen

               The next morning, I crept out of my room and made my way towards the Sports Building by the light of electric lamps on the sidewalks. The sun was just beginning to burn its way into sight; a distant wall of clouds glowed faintly red. Walking amidst rows of trees and towering campus buildings, I was alone. Only an unseen flock of small birds witnessed my pensive, brooding steps as I schemed my next move.

               “Damn you, Mary,” I muttered as I hoisted the straps of my backpack. “You hurt me far more than I ever thought you would… far more than you could even imagine… damn you! Horsies! I’ll miss you!”

               Mary must’ve grown bored of keeping me as a pet. Now, with her and the Dean in the way, my access to the horses was cut off. They were my main source of pounds income, and without them, my progress towards the next level had been slowed quite a bit. That was check, but it was not checkmate. I still had quite a bit of unused pounds stored-up, and with my new Feasting Ring, I was about to try a new tactic – a prospective investment, if you will.

               It was time to take things to the next level – literally. I needed to fatten some girls – not just give them food or water, but make them gain weight. Then again, I also had to be subtle about it; there was no telling what would happen if someone gained weight too quickly. Did this matrix have men in sunglasses and shades ready to spring upon me at the slightest suspicion of rebelling against their program? I didn’t want to find out. No… I would be subtle. I didn’t need to make big, risky loans, just lots of small, profitable ones. I also needed to make sure that the loans were payed back. In full. So which girls would be sure to burn through fat the fastest? None other than the gym-rats!

               I looked-up from the craggy sidewalk towards the doors of the Sports Building with undisguised mirth. Indeed. Those ambitious, muscly girls that lived around weights and breathed the steam of saunas would be prime targets for my experiment. Technically, I was subtracting pounds from the pounds bar to be paid back an equal amount later, but my progress towards the next level counted both the unused pounds and the ones distributed to various other people. Better yet, I was only twenty-one pounds from reaching level seven. If I could only reach that milestone, I could find some way to use a new hex to my advantage.

               I pushed my way through the front doors and checked my watch: five thirty-seven. The building had been open for only seven minutes. The girl at the front desk was only just finishing her set-up of homework and snacks. Excellent. Now to act casual…

               “Excuse me,” she stared up at me with her head cocked and her nose in the air. “You need to sign in.”

               I paused. “It’s me. Jason.”

               “Just sign in,” she pushed an open notebook in my direction. “It’s my one job.”

               She didn’t look too pissed-off. I could work with that. “Sorry,” I grinned. “I get ahead of myself sometimes.” I looked down at the notebook and gleefully noted that seven others had already signed to use the gym.

               She watched me sketch my cursive and time of entry across her notebook. “Where’s your workout clothes?” she asked suspiciously.

               “My workout clothes? I didn’t bring them.”

               “You’re not going to use the gym?”

               “I am,” I was reciting the lie I had crafted the night before.

               “You’re going to work out in that jacket?”

               “No, I’ll take it off.”

               “Where? There’s no men’s locker.”

               “See, that’s why I came here in my normal clothes. I could’ve changed in my room, but honestly, it’s too cold to walk around in a t-shirt and shorts right now. So here I am.”

               “Right,” she nodded.

               “Right,” I shrugged as I made my way further in. My infiltration was complete. Now to reach the gym.

               As I found it, the gym was an epic, two-storey chamber already filled with the clanging of dumb-bells and the dull echo of motivating metal music. No doubt, the echoes made the room sound more crowded since there could only be seven girls in there. I spotted two of the girls as I passed the gym’s entrance, one squeezing reps out of the shoulder press, the other stomping mountain-climbers on the floor, and both as slender as they were rock-hard.

               I continued past the gym; that wasn’t my objective now. Instead, I made my way to the table – the same table I had placed water bottles not so long ago. Flyers of all kinds covered it as well as the billboard looming overhead. This was the next part of my plan.

               Slowly, so as not to break anything, I pulled my backpack from my shoulders and withdrew from it a paper plate with a sticky-note on the back. I peeled them apart and placed them side-by-side. “Take one,” the sticky-note said simply. The plate, of course, was empty for now. That was about to change.

               With an extended index finger, I activated my Feasting Ring and summoned a sumptuous pile of power bars, all still inconspicuously in their wrappers as if nothing was wrong with them. Yes… the perfect snack for a post-workout recovery. Surely, they’d be gone by breakfast. Now to lift a few weights to make my trip to the gym less suspicious.

               “Jason.”

               Eyes flaring, I twisted around to find Ms. Zoltan standing behind me, bemused by my confused expression.

               “Good morning ma’am,” I blinked nervously, stealing a glance at her body. She wore an astounding combo of yoga pants matched with a sports bra. A sweater adorned her sides, unzipped, revealing a smooth, dark midsection. Did she look any bigger? Maybe her hips looked a little wider, but I wasn’t sure.

               She smiled to herself like a mother catching a toddler trying to climb over its crib. “My name is Tracey, Jason. Everyone calls me that.”

               “Well that’s… I mean, that’s a relief.”

               “Are you here to work out?”

               “No… I mean yes.”

               “Don’t you have workout clothes?”

               “I do, but it’s cold outside and there’s no men’s locker room, so I figured I would work out in my… in these.”

               Zoltan cocked her head, beckoning me to follow her gracefully gyrating hips into the gym. “I was actually telling the staff about how we needed to correct that problem.”

               “Really?” I asked, nervously glancing at the other girls in the gym. Surely they must know the man in jeans and a jacket was an intruder – I sure as hell knew it. “A locker room for me? That sounds like too much trouble just for one guy… very expensive.”

               “That doesn’t matter Jason,” Zoltan turned her head just enough for me to catch a glimpse of her thick eyelashes as she approached a squat machine. “What matters is we made a decision to open-up the college to both genders, so that means we need to make accommodations.”

               “But I’m the only man on the whole island.”

               Zoltan rolled her eyes and grinned with blinding rows of white teeth as she started lifting weights onto the bar. “That’s not the point Jason. The real issue is that if the college doesn’t accommodate properly, we don’t qualify for government… actually, don’t worry about it.”

               “Worry about what?”

               “Hey, do me a favour and put a forty-five on the other end of the bar, okay?”

               “A what? What’s a… oh, never mind,” I spotted a weight with the number “45” on it. Of course…

               Zoltan chuckled to herself. “Have you ever used the gym before?”

               “Uh, no…” I grunted as I fit the forty-five into place. “But I grew up on a farm.”

               “You weigh how much?”

               “Uh… about a hundred thirty-five pounds. Why?”

               Zoltan made a strange noise, like she was stifling laughter. “This weight should be fine for you to start with,” she nodded at the bar with her hands on her hips. “Go ahead.”

               “Me? What do I do?”

               “Just some squat warm-ups. Just walk up and grab the… have you ever done squats before? Never mind. Don’t worry Jason; I’ll walk you through it.”

               Nervously, I stood before the bar as Zoltan hovered close behind me. Her black, calloused hands pushed lightly against my fingers, positioning them as she leaned her towering self to my level to talk in my ear.

               “Grip the bar like that, and angle your feet out. Good… now duck under the bar and put it against your shoulders… yes, just like that. Now lift up. Good… take a step back. Now just squat down and – no, don’t bend your knees out! Squat. Okay, but next time go deeper. Make your thighs parallel to the floor and then go up… good! Five more! come on!”

               When I was done, my legs were shaking slightly, and I felt like I’d pulled a muscle in my groin, but Zoltan looked pleased.

               “I haven’t done anything like that before,” I said modestly.

               “You did great!” she grinned. “You know you just squatted your own bodyweight six times?”

               “I did? But that was only ninety pounds!”

               “The bar weighs forty-five.”

               “…oh.”

               “My turn. Help me put on some more weight.”

               “Uh…” I felt myself blush at the mentioning of weight. “How much?”

               “Not that much. Just another forty-five and a twenty-five.”

               “That much? That’s so much weight!”

               Zoltan centred herself on the bar as I moved behind her. Her every move looked precise and controlled, from her splayed legs, to her straightened back. “It’s just a warm-up for me… stop making that face Jason! You’ve never been in a gym before, so your max isn’t as high as mine.”

               “My max?”

               “Listen: don’t worry about how much weight you’re lifting. What matters is progress. We all start with small weights and slowly build ourselves up.”

               “I guess.”

               “Hey. You think all the cheerleaders have always been as fit as they are now? They weren’t born that way. I’ve been training them hard since they got on the team. Look: there’s three of them working-out right now.”

               “There are?” I glanced around nervously, thinking of the curse I’d put on Zoltan days before.

               “Of course. You don’t just exercise until you’re done. Fitness is a way of life. Incrementum et progressus, right? That’s how we do it in Biltmore College, you understand?”

               “Right…”

               “Now watch how I do this…”

               I watched Zoltan squat her weights effortlessly over and over again, glutes straining against her yoga pants with each rep. Staring at her haunches bulging with effort enkindled a strange urge so deep within my being that it shook my ribcage and throbbed against my neck.

Her ass would look amazing if it were bigger. Her hips would look better if they were wider. Her thighs would look spectacular if they were thicker. Never before had such thoughts coursed their way through my brain, but now – unbeckoned and without prompting – it was all I could think of, and it felt so right. Had I always had such an urge deep in the most primal portion of my brain? Had it been lurking in some small cluster of brain cells, waiting to be triggered at the right moment? Come to think of it, she was probably getting fatter as I watched her. Absentmindedly, I rubbed my cheek, which felt heated and sore. A light cough escaped my lips.

Zoltan racked the bar and looked at me over her shoulder with a light smile. “Just like that. Now you go.”

“Okay,” I swallowed.

“Want some more weight put on?”

“Sure.”

 

Half an hour later, Zoltan came striding out of the girl’s locker room as I stood awkwardly in the middle of the hallway. I couldn’t tell how much weight she’d gained, but that was probably because she’d zipped-up her sweater and changed into tight jeans (very tight jeans).

“What are you looking at Jason?” she asked with a smirk.

“I’ve… never seen you wear jeans before.”

“No worries Jason; I wear normal clothes too,” she paused to hook her fingers around her belt loops and shimmy the jeans further up. “Just gotta run some errands before I go chill with some gainer shake.”

“Gainer what?”

She snickered. “Well, no wonder you’re so skinny! It’s just a mix of calories and nutrients to help you gain weight faster.”

“You’re trying to gain weight?”

“Just a little,” she patted her stomach. “If you wanna be strong, you gotta bulk, you understand?”

“Yeah…”

“Speaking of which, how about you try one of those power bars on the table there? You might as well start now.”

“Um… I’ll take one home…”

“Hey,” Zoltan grabbed my shoulder firmly. “I get it. I know it’s hard for you being the only guy out here. When I first did competitive weightlifting, I was the only woman from my college that signed up. I trained for months while all the guys in the gym gave me weird looks. You just hang in there… alright?”

“Okay… thank you Tracey.”

“You should come work out more often! It’ll help you let off some steam. Good? Keep at it Jason. Stay strong.”

“Thanks. Um… you too.”

She was already walking away, ass cheeks straining the denim of her jeans, but she glanced back with a knowing smile. I stared back, dumbfounded in more ways than one. Zoltan wanted to gain weight? That thrilled me, strangely enough, but it also befuddled my conscience. I used weight gain for vengeance, yet here was a woman who seemed to not only want to help me, but might even like me. Did she like me? What if I somehow screwed it up with her like I did with Emily? Was it right to curse her to fatten up? It felt right… maybe I could just spend more time with her and figure this out.

In the meantime, breakfast was starting at the chow hall soon.

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Aaaah, so it's taken thirteen chapters but finally I can see how this is the same author as fattening the personal trainer. Great work as ever. The line "Want some more weight put on?" so joyously double-entendre-ing. Zoltan is a charmer in an island short of charmers. And you also joked that this matrix was actually like The Matrix, which was embarrassingly another theory of mine.

So much going on, so much to think about with every chapter. Well done

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For anyone interested, Robert E. Howard is a master of the English language, writing good horror stories along with Conan the Cimmerian. His writing's so good that you can read a random paragraph and it sounds like pure silk. Pretty good inspiration to be had there, even though his style's kind of flowery compared to what you find here.

Chapter Fourteen

               I spent the rest of the day daydreaming about Zoltan. Visions of her rope-like hair hanging past her shoulders, her lithe body, the way her sweaty skin shone like smooth river-rocks, her firm, confident voice, and especially the sensation of her hands on mine as I made a fool of myself on the squat rack. That was the only real human contact I’d experienced lately (Emily did not count), and I yearned for it again. To be squeezed by her thickened arms in a firm, warm embrace would feel absolutely divine, and I reimagined the moment again and again.

               Was it weird to have such fantasies? I frowned as I stared at my dinner, acutely aware that no one was sitting near my booth in my corner of the chow hall. I stared out the window towards the green spires of fir trees in the distance. Yes. It was a strange notion, wasn’t it? But then again, it wasn’t any weirder than anyone else’s romantic fantasies. That’s why no one ever talks about them out loud, right? So I would keep on imagining what a hug would feel like. What if I could hug her someday? Was it possible? Could working out with her lead to something more? Was some kind of relationship possible?

               No. Like the faintest of stars, the fantasy dissipated as soon as I looked directly at it. She was a faculty member; I was a mere student. At the slightest hint of romance, Zoltan would be fired. And what if she didn’t actually like me? What if she had some hidden motive to make me feel better? What was it she’d started to say earlier? Something about how the college needed to make accommodations for male students to qualify for government… what did she stop herself from saying? Funding. Surely, she meant to say funding before stopping herself. She also comforted me at the end of the workout and told me to be strong. Oh, that was it! She was trying to make me feel included because if I left the school, then they would have no male students and would lose a fortune’s worth of money from the federal government!

               But maybe she did like me. Surely, she must! No one else in this college had ever tried to help me like she did… then again, was this just her personality? What if she was like this to everyone? No, that was impossible. Zoltan was terrifying… and damn it all, that was probably why I found her so… fascinating.

               I took a bite of my food – slightly more pasta than usual so that I could work on “bulking.” Zoltan had suggested bulking, and it would give me an excuse to see her every day. Maybe she liked me, maybe not, but either way, I’d spend as much time around her as I could. In the meantime, there was business to take care of.

               With a light tap of my finger, I checked the notifications my phone had queued for me. Did the Dean have a sweet tooth? If she did, I would know soon. Those peppermints were still on Lara’s desk. So far, the Dean hadn’t taken any, but a couple other women did – including Lara, who’d snacked on two so far! At this rate, she’d be feeling-up her softening stomach with a concerned frown on her face within two days, and – more importantly – would start thinking about cutting back on meals.

               I scrolled through the long list of “side quests” with a few strong flicks of my thumb. I now had nearly five-dozen girls  who had gained some amount of weight from water, food, or the Feasting Ring (plus some horses). Of those, about two-thirds of them had already lost that weight, but this concerned me very little. What I cared about was the returns on my investments, and from my casual calculations with the help of discreet Google searches, I could expect to receive between one and two pounds from each person per day – and that was just from shitting, peeing, and sweating each day. The Feasting Ring would allow me to collect from one more source of income: dieting and working-out.

               Smiling to myself, I glanced out the window over the treetops and admired the view. Even without the help of horses, things were slowly picking-up speed. Just a few more pounds, and I would be able to cast a new hex…

               “Hey.”

               Turning away from the window, I saw Anna Joy standing meekly before me, a tray of soup and a small slice of cake in her hands.

               “Oh hey, Anna,” I hastily plucked my phone from the table as my heart fluttered. It had been two weeks since that first fateful breakfast with Anna, when I had first learned that my app worked. Was she still… indebted to me? A quick scroll revealed that she was half a pound over her starting weight. From the looks of it, she was about to add to that total, and I would be looking forward to more payments as well.

               “Is it alright if I sit with you?”

               “Sure,” I replied. In spite of my eagerness to watch her eat, I could tell that something was wrong, but wasn’t brave enough to ask her what bothered her.

               She sat opposite me, pausing only to clasp her hands in a quick prayer before poking at her food. “How are you?”

               “What do you mean? I’m doing alright.”

               Anna shrugged, tugging nervously at her scarf with one hand and lifting her spoon to her mouth with the other. It was painful for me to watch how slowly she chewed her food, especially since she never looked at me.

               “Why do you ask?” I asked.

               “It’s um… so I was talking to Emily.”

               It was good that she didn’t see the face I made when I heard Emily’s name! “Oh, Emily?” I squeaked. “Is she alright?”

               “Yeah,” she shrugged in a way that told me she probably wasn’t. “I mean, she told me that she wanted to figure out what had happened last weekend.”

               “What does she mean by that?”

               “I dunno, but she said you might know whatever had happened… whatever it was. I’m sorry, she really didn’t tell me anything…”

               “Why doesn’t she just talk to me about it?”

               “I guess she’s just shy… I’ve known her for awhile now; I live across from her in Olds Dorm, you know, and she’s always been like this.”

               “Like what?”

               “Just introverted. You know she doesn’t have a roommate?”

               “Doesn’t that cost extra to have a room to yourself?”

               “It does, yeah, but… okay, we’re getting off-topic here. I just wanted to check with you about what happened?”

               Sitting stiffly like a convict in court, I struggled to think of how to answer. Once again I felt the threat of expulsion looming over me. The rest of my life would depend on the few, choice words that I uttered in the next few seconds. What was Anna told? What did she know? What did she think happened? And how in the hell was I supposed to explain anything? It’s not like I could tell her what really happened; even I didn’t know!

               “D-doesn’t she know?” I stammered, coughing to mask my nervousness. “I mean, this is all really weird because she was right there herself. It’s not like she could forget anything…”

               “That’s what I said,” Anna said, finishing her soup. “But she told me that she doesn’t remember.”

               “That’s really weird,” I sighed with relief. “She should just ask me, then I can tell her.”

               Anna shook her head. “I would give her some space. She looks pretty upset about it.”

               “If you say so,” I frowned, noting that my fingers were shaking. I needed to lighten the mood. “So how are you doing? You’re majoring in philosophy, right?”

               “Um, I haven’t declared it yet, but yeah.”

               “And how is that?” I probed my pasta and readied for another bite. “You got any research papers to look forward to or – ” I dropped the fork and heard it clatter against one of the legs of the table. “—oops.”

               “I’ll get it,” Anna ducked out of sight to retrieve my silverware. “Yeah, I got a couple big essays I got to finish, but they’re not real research papers…”

               In that brief moment, huddled in my secluded corner of the chow hall with no eyes on me, I saw a fleeting chance to act, and before my conscience could even begin to fret whether I should or not, I pointed my Feasting Ring at Anna’s cake slice. A light pile of whipped cream sat atop it; I aimed for that, willing more whipped cream, so that it swelled and fluffed itself to twice its size. I stared at my creation guiltily, feeling like a chancellor poisoning his lord, but I consoled myself that it was for a good cause. A couple more pounds on Anna’s body wouldn’t hurt, and anyway, I still had a few dozen more pounds to invest. Those pounds had to go somewhere…

               Anna sprung into sight again, brushing her hair back over her ear as she extended the fork over the table. I took it graciously before wiping it against my jeans.

               “You have a favourite philosopher yet?” I asked as casually as possible.

               “Hm…” she dangled her own fork over the cake, letting it swing absentmindedly. “Thomas Aquinas is what we’re going through. I guess he’d be my favourite – if I could understand him better,” she chuckled.

               “That’s surprising,” I chuckled back. “I would’ve guessed that Jesus was your favourite philosopher.”

               “Jason,” Anna rolled her eyes. “He’s factual. Nothing philosophical about His word,” she stabbed the whipped cream and tucked it lightly into her softly smiling lips.

               “I wouldn’t say that means he isn’t a philosopher,” I countered, giving her my utmost attention. “Philosophy and theology tend to go hand in hand.”

               “True,” Anna nodded thoughtfully. “But there’s still a difference between –” frowning suddenly, she looked down again. A faint rumbling groaned from under the table.

               “What’s up?” I asked.

               “Nothing,” Anna said casually. “Just –” she raised a soft fist to her mouth to stifle a subtle belch. “Mm. ‘Scuse me…” she scooted in her seat, readjusting herself. “Anyway...”

 

               Another class finished, and I had a couple hours of study time to kill. I was pretty confident with all my core classes, so I decided to lounge by the fireplace in the Student Union. I reclined on an armchair like a housecat, limbs hanging loosely over the sides as I scrolled through social media on my phone. Sighing contentedly, I flicked off my shoes to let the flames’ heat bask my feet with warmth. After all the scheming, the romantic frustration, and all kinds of stressing, this was a well-deserved break. Come to think of it, I hadn’t had a moment like this in a while, had I? Sure, I played my video games, but that was to drown-out my sorrows and boredom – both of which were strangely lacking now.

               Perhaps it was all the cute pictures my classmates were posting on Facebook? I only had about ninety-six of them, but they had friends of their own, and they all tagged each other. Sure, most of them hardly talked to me, and I was pretty sure some of them friend-requested me just to spy on my own profile, but that didn’t mean it was wrong to admire their mirror-selfies and party group-photos.

               Hang on. Did Zoltan have a Facebook? A quick search found no leads. Maybe she was on Instagram instead? I typed her name into there, and was rewarded with a goldmine of photos and vids. I smiled in spite of myself; somehow it just made sense that she was an Instagram-Model type. And speaking of modelling, she was posting several times a day! Vids of her squatting, lifting dumbbells, and deadlifts. Photos of herself posing in the mirror to stunning effect, each with paragraphs upon paragraphs of self-improvement tips, life advice, and encouragement to her followers. Suddenly aware that my jaw had dropped some time ago, I closed it with a shake of my head.

               “Damn,” I sighed. “She’s sexier than I ever thought possible.”

               Without hesitation, I hit the follow button and looked at the latest uploaded video.

               Confidence is key, read the text as she held her phone up absentmindedly in front of the mirror, wearing nothing but red shorts and a sports bra. Believe in yourself, never give up, and let your accomplishments snowball as you build your empire. #bootygainz #thunderzolt #gainz Once again, my jaw dropped open as she tugged at her shorts and slowly flexed her arm upwards. She was a glimpse of heaven! Was this how I was going to escape this matrix?

               My phone vibrated in my hand as I got a text notification. *(999) 999-9999 shared a link*

               A link? What kind of link was Sucky sending me? I tapped the notification as I huddled closer to my phone to block anyone from trying to see it. Readjusting my head as I rubbed my warm feet against each other, I peered discretely down at the screen. What I saw chilled my blood and stilled my breath. It was a Skype address.

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