Public relations

by Maximilian

When Jamie gets an out-of-the-blue invitation to meet up with a friend he’d fallen out of touch with, he doesn’t realize Adam has an ulterior motive—or that it involves an unwilling introduction to growth and magic.

18 parts 125k words (#13) Added Jun 2015 Updated 27 Apr 2019 69k views (#65) 4.8 stars (46 votes)

Part 1: Jamie When Jamie gets an out-of-the-blue invitation to meet up with a friend he’d fallen out of touch with, he doesn’t realize Adam has an ulterior motive—or that it involves an unwilling introduction to growth and magic. (added: 12 Jun 2015)
Part 2: Adam
Part 3: Drew As Drew, struggling at work, finds solace in Jamie’s love, Cassidy experiments with his increasing command of magic, going out for a night on the town as a burly, hairy giant called Butch. (added: 30 Jul 2015)
Part 4: Cassidy
Part 5: Blake A chance meeting in a bar allows Blake to learn the true meaning of size. (added: 27 Oct 2015)
Part 6: Tahar Cassidy finds Tahar, who knows him as his boyfriend Butch. Tahar is alarmed and angry at the ensuing first. (added: 31 Dec 2015)
Part 7: Brent Brent’s bummed over the way things are going, especially the way his teammates treat him for being gay, but Nate finds a way to cheer him up. Meanwhile, Jamie and Adam work through Jamie’s need to be bigger all the time, even in public. (added: 6 Jan 2016)
Part 8: Josh Cassidy decides to take his roleplay with Josh to the next level. (added: 17 Feb 2016)
Part 9: Russell Russell reluctantly goes to Harry about the missing coven members and Cassidy’s possible role. Cassidy, meanwhile, has big plans for Drew. (added: 20 Jul 2016)
Part 10: Nate In this expanded, multi-tiered installment, the story behind Nate’s relationship with magic is revealed, while Adam and Cassidy make plans, Corey antagonizes Drew and Jamie, and Ayush has a wild encounter at Pride. (added: 3 Aug 2016)
Part 11: Rodrigo Shrunken and brutalized, Phil, Roddy, and Blake cope with being the target of the Master’s wrath in very different ways. (added: 16 Sep 2016)
Part 12: Tyson Tyson is shocked to learn Blake went missing two months ago. Mahtab and Russell learn Cassidy has been using his abilities on random civilians. Ayush copes with having suddenly gotten more hung. After a fight with Adam, Cassidy meets up with Drew, who tells him about his muscle growth fetish. That night, Cassidy’s luck finally runs out. (added: 14 Jul 2017)
Part 13: Mahtab Mahtab and Russell search for Cassidy while Adam freaks out. Tyson revels in the changes he and the others experienced the night before at the Black Eagle, though Paul isn’t so sanguine. Nate surprises Brent with his own growth—and size trick for them both to enjoy. Adrian uncovers a magical dead zone and is filled with dread. (added: 11 Aug 2017)
Part 14: Hugo Brent recovers from his night of spectacular growth (and its lingering after-effects) and compares notes with the telepathic Nate. Meanwhile guys are fawning over Daniel the overmuscled bouncer, only for the second bouncer, Hugo, to grab everyone's attention when he starts getting bigger and taller in front of the Black Eagle crowd. (added: 2 Mar 2019)
Part 15: Adrian Sensing that the others will soon come to rescue Blake and Roddy, the Master sets a trap. (added: 16 Mar 2019)
Part 16: Phil Hugo does an impromptu photoshoot with an impressed Daniel. Meanwhile, Adam, Mahtab, and Liam discover the Master’s lair, springing their enemy’s trap, and Nate, Jamie, and Tyson make discoveries of their own. (added: 13 Apr 2019)
Part 17: Cliff In the climactic final chapters, Mahtab and her team must work together with Nate and Tyson against a magic-thieving warlock hungering to show his size and power to the world. (added: 27 Apr 2019)
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Part 1: Jamie

It was unseasonably cold, enough that his heavy spring jacket was not nearly enough, and even with the heat on his feet were freezing. Jamie really had no idea why he had bothered to come out. No, that wasn’t true. He had an idea. But the whole drive out, his inner monologue was shouting at him to stop wasting his time, tell Adam to fuck off, drive back home, watch a repeat of the Mindy Project and go to sleep. His catalogue of Modest Mouse albums did little to drown it out.

He hadn’t seen Adam much since he married his longtime boyfriend Cassidy and moved out to the suburbs. They still texted every now and then, with decreasing frequency, and about less and less important things. Things had gotten awkward, and that was mostly Jamie’s fault, in retrospect. But he had always thought that being a friend meant telling them things they might not want to hear. Cassidy was a bad influence. More specifically: an insane influence. He lived on a different planet and as their romance got more intense he pulled Adam into it. He’d always been so impressionable.

Jamie was so busy arguing with himself that he missed his exit, and swore so loud it hurt his throat.

Adam had first asked Jamie to come via e-mail—which was weird. Plus it was to an old address and it was weeks before Jamie even realized it was there. He’d since read it probably twenty times, to the point he could recite a good chunk of it from memory.

“Hey you sexy idiot, how’s it going? Been a long time, I know, and I’m sorry. [bunch of vague small talk about how he was still at the same job and things were great with Cassidy.] So, I know this is gonna sound a bit weird, but I need you to bear with me. I’ve been getting into some strange stuff lately. I don’t really want to get into details because you might freak out. Just be assured it’s not drugs or anything illegal, per se. Honestly I just need someone else to see it who’s not already on board. You’re so down to earth, Jamie. You’re the only one I trust to do this. I need you to come to my place in Caledon. Please just say yes, we’ll work out the details from there.”

Jamie had found it a bit disturbing. Especially knowing what he did about Cassidy. At first he seemed just eccentric and maybe a bit spacey. He read tarot cards and was took astrology really really seriously. That Jamie had no problem with, except maybe finding it silly. Then things started coming out about being expelled from his Catholic high school along with three other students for apparently being part of a coven; about being arrested for indecent exposure when he was found naked and high on peyote on the Leslie Street Spit, engaged in what the police report described as some sort of “druid orgy.”

It had been years since Jamie had talked to Adam directly, so he didn’t feel that bad about ignoring the e-mail and pretending he’d never read it, which was the lie he told Adam when he texted asking after it a month later.

God, he thought. It’s been years. By all rights we’re not even friends anymore. But that didn’t stop him from worrying. It sounded like Adam could barely believe what he was seeing, and needed someone who wasn’t Cassidy to reassure him he wasn’t going crazy. What was more likely going to happen, though, was Jamie would have to tell him that he WAS.

Jamie had been to the house a few times before but he’d forgotten how big and nice it was. It was a three story mini-mansion with a backyard that connected to the neighbouring golf course. Digs courtesy of Cassidy’s lawyer-parents, who by all counts had essentially bought him the house to lure him out of downtown and into Caledon where he couldn’t get into any trouble. It was the perfect arrangement. They got to be supportive parents of a gay son—which was very trendy amongst the elite of Toronto’s baby boomers—but they never had to actually deal with him at all.

It was even colder out here than it had been in Toronto. Jamie hugged his wool coat around him and paused outside his car, allowing himself one last moment of What The Hell Am I Doing Here? But then another dry, freezing wind slapped him in the face and he hurried up the steps.

Cassidy opened the door, but Jamie barely recognized him. His hair was a neatly cropped deep part and not a greasy emo swish, and his face had much more colour and no black eyeshadow and lipstick. Plus he was smiling and not scowling. “Jamie! Oh my god thank you so much for coming!” He gave him a hug. “Oh, you’re freezing! Come inside, come on.” He pulled Jamie inside and closed the door behind him, giving him some space to take off his coat and shoes. He took his coat and stashed it in the nearby closet. “Spring’s certainly taking its time, isn’t it?” Cassidy chuckled. “I’ve got some tea going, I’ll fix you a cup. Warm you right up.” He departed for the kitchen.

Jesus Christ, the years had really squeezed the weird right out of Cassidy. Jamie felt like he had just entered a house he didn’t know in the middle of nowhere and was talking to a stranger. He looked nothing like the broody goth he had known and more like the token office twink. “Thanks….umm… where’s Adam?”

“Oh he’s in the basement just putting some things together.” Jamie stepped out of his shoes onto the heated floor with some relief. “He’ll be up in a second, he knows you’re here.” Cassidy walked out from the kitchen with a steaming mug in his hand and a stupid grin on his face. “Sooooo… tell me all about life in the big city. Oh my god I miss it so much. Are you seeing anyone?”

Jamie sighed. “Cass, I don’t mean to be rude but it was a long drive. Can you please just tell me what I’m doing here?”

Cassidy had an expression of blank expectation for a moment, as if he still thought his question was going to be answered, then he looked down at the cup in his hand, perhaps looking for answers in tea leaves. “It’ll… probably sound better coming from Adam.”

“Then can you go get him please?”

“Oh, unwad your panties.”

They both turned and saw him coming up the stairs. Adam had sacrificed his cleanshaven underwear model look for something a bit scruffier, complete with some premature salt and pepper in his effortlessly just-messy-enough hair. He wore a button up shirt and a pair of loose, worn sweatpants. That smile seemed to erode away the sharp peaks of the years between them, and it was like they were back at university again, scoping out freshmen and trying to predict which would come out of the closet by mid-term.

Seeing him changed everything. Jamie wasn’t so scared or worried anymore. He realized in that moment how much he had missed Adam, how his absence in his life had never really been replaced. He wanted to tell him everything to try and fill the gaps and bring him up to speed so that they could pretend the distance between them had never been there. That stupid smirk made it all seem so easy.

“Hey you sexy idiot.”

“You fucking hot handsome moron.”

They hugged and it felt so nice. Jamie remembered the last time he had a truly unguarded conversation with anyone. It hadn’t panned out—at least, not the way he’d hoped—but he had longed so hard for that feeling again. Total exposure, all the cards on the table. Then, he caught sight of Cassidy, with a self-satisfied smile of victory on his dumb face and remembered how freezing his feet had been. He pulled away.

“All right, what the fuck am I doing here?”

Adam looked a bit crestfallen. “Come on, man.”

“Come on, fuck you!” Jamie retorted.

Cassidy presented the tea again and Jamie paused to take it but didn’t drink.

“You don’t get to be cloak and dagger and all… whatever. I was worried, man. I still fucking am!”

“There’s nothing to worry about,” Cassidy cooed, and Jamie shot him a glare, before returning, almost pleadingly, to Adam.

Adam sighed, “I’d hoped we could do some catching up before…”

“We can catch up after, man. Please. Seriously, I just spent an hour and a half in a car wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into.”

Adam looked at Cassidy, as if asking permission, and Cassidy shrugged.

“Ok look,” said Adam carefully, “we’ve… started doing things that neither of us thought were possible.”

Out of the corner of his eye Jamie saw Cassidy leave for the living room, and Adam gently ushered Jamie to follow him as he spoke. “This is going to seem a little insane, and you might not believe what you’re seeing.”

Jamie squeezed the bridge of his nose. “Adam can you stop being coy? Just tell me.”

Adam rolled his eyes. “This isn’t the kind of thing I can just out and tell you. If I did I guarantee you wouldn’t believe me.” Jamie noticed with some curiosity that Adam had begun to unbutton his shirt.

They entered the living room just as Cassidy switched off the overhead lights. Jamie froze. “Jesus Christ…”

Nearly every available surface was covered in burning candles of all different sizes colours and styles. There were so many that he felt a wall of heat as he entered.

“Calm down,” Adam drew himself close and whispered. “Look I know it seems kinda strange but trust me everything’s fine.”

Cassidy stood off to the side next to a four foot pillar candle standing on the floor. He looked up from a notebook of lined paper in his hand and smiled at them both. Jamie didn’t want to walk any further, and resisted when Adam nudged him forward. Adam sighed and brushed past him, leaving him standing at the threshold. He slipped out of his shirt, exposing his hairy chest. He had maintained his lean but defined physique from his college days.

“What is going on?” Jamie demanded one last time.

A candle-laden coffee table had been moved to the side of the room, leaving an open space in the middle that Adam moved into. He was taking deep breaths and seemed to almost be bracing himself. Without bothering to answer, he turned to Cassidy and nodded.

Cassidy smiled and looked down at the notebook. He began moving his free arm around in an elaborate series of almost dance like gestures, muttering softly as he went. He looked absolutely ridiculous, and Jamie went from being moderately afraid of being sacrificed to Moloch to being confused to almost feeling sorry for him. He was about to say something when… something…. travelled out from Cassidy and connected with Adam, eliciting a sharp gasp. It seemed almost like a line of vapor had crossed the room for an instant, a barely noticeable flutter. Jamie’s eyes narrowed.

There was a sound then he found difficult to describe. Like a muffled gurgling rumble deep inside of Adam, and minor tremors seemed to jolt through his body. Then, right in front of Jamie, Adam began to grow. It seemed to happen in spurts, so it took a second to notice, but as the hem of the sweatpants rose up the calf there was no mistaking it. Every few seconds, Adam shuddered an inch or two taller. Thirty seconds in, he was a full foot taller.

Jamie stepped back, bumping into a console table and dropping the tea on the floor. “Holy shit.”

Cassidy was still gesturing and muttering, but for all his arm-waving, Jamie’s eyes were fixed on Adam as he grew taller and taller, grunting and moaning, his sweatpants looking smaller and smaller on him. Finally it seemed stopped and by Jamie’s estimates he was over nine feet tall. Adam stood there a moment, and met Jamie’s gaze, then grinned wickedly. Cassidy had never stopped moving.

As Jamie looked up at his face he saw Adam’s neck thicken, and traps rise up out of his shoulder. His muscles were swelling all over his body. His defined chest inflated into a pair muscular slabs. His faint four-pack hardened into a carved six,then eight-pack. His sweatpants stretched over suddenly striated thighs, and his pert little butt ballooned into a big round muscle ass.

When everything stopped bulging and swelling Adam was gigantic. Over nine feet tall, god only knows what he weighed, stacked with so much muscle he looked bigger than any bodybuilder Jamie had ever seen. His huge furry chest rose and fell with every panted breath. His neck was easily as thick as his head, framed by traps that nearly swallowed the whole thing. Hanging from huge round shoulders were arms equipped with biceps the size of watermelons. His sweatpants strained around his thickly muscled abs and giant tree-trunk thighs, turned from baggy pants into skintight shorts. The candle flames glinted off the sheen of sweat that had developed during his transformation.

Jamie realized when his eyes started to water than they were wide and hadn’t blinked the whole time.

Adam looked himself over, still breathless, and grinned. “Well?”

Jamie searched for words, but they seemed to jump out of his mouth before he got a handle on them. “What the FUCK?!”

Adam chuckled goofily, “I know, right?”

Jamie turned and walked towards the door. “I’m fucking out of here, man.”

“Jamie, come on!” Adam called after him, but Cassidy chased him down the hall.

“Jamie, stop, look, I know it’s shocking…”

He stopped, and turned. “Fuck you, Cass! What kind of idiot do you think I am?”


“There is no way in hell that you can convince me that that fucking bullshit in there had anything to do with reality. What are you trying to pull?”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Look, Jamie, just calm down and come back to the living room, we’ll explain everything.”

Jamie looked past Cassidy, were he saw the giant silhouette of Adam looming at the other end of the hall, possibly too big to enter it. Jamie just shook his head. “Where’s my fucking coat?”

“Jamie, stop. God. You’re being so melodramatic. No one’s seen this before, outside of us.”

“That’s great, Cassidy, and I appreciate the diversion but please give me my fucking coat.”

“How could we fake this?” asked Cassidy. “You saw it with your own eyes. You heard it. You can touch him. This is really happening, Jamie. Get your head out of your ass and get excited!”

“Jamie…?” Adam called from the end of the hall. He had gotten on one knee. Jamie hadn’t realized before that his voice had dropped an octave.

Jamie turned away. “Coat.”

Cassidy frowned moodily, putting his hands on his hips. He looked like he was about to say something else when he simply sighed and gestured behind Jamie.

Jamie tried to keep a brave face but his mind was racing. He turned away and opened the closet. How did they do it? It looked so real. It must have been real. But no, it had to be fake. This was some stupid trick or something. Maybe he was getting punk’d. Is punk’d even on anymore?

As he reached for his jacket he had a strange fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach, like he was starving and giddy. It seemed to explode out from there are he felt a tightness spread across his whole body, as if he had tensed every muscle.

He heard Adam shout harshly from down the hall. “Cass!”

Jamie’s eyes widened as he saw the muscles on his outstretched arm begin to thicken. He whirled around and saw Cassidy gesturing wildly as he had before. He was about to scream at him to stop when he suddenly felt it. He really felt it. This wasn’t some trick of the eye or some prank. He felt the muscles bunch up, expand on his chest as he looked down and saw his fledgling moobs swell and harden into a solid pair of pecs, straining the shirt. He felt his arms grow thick with power as the sleeves dig into his biceps. His jeans grew tight around suddenly muscular legs, and his line of sight shifted as he realized he was growing taller. It stopped there. He was nowhere near as huge as Adam but he was definitely bigger. There was no denying it.

“How fu…” he made to advance on Cassidy but suddenly all equilibrium seemed to vanish. He tried to catch himself but his arms and legs wouldn’t listen, and he smashed his shoulder into the door and slid to the floor. Cassidy gasped and rushed to his side, lifting up his head.

Jamie moaned. His vision was blurry and spotty but he was aware of Adam squeezing through the hallway, smashing a vase off a curio table and knocking a painting from the wall as he did. “What the hell is the matter with you?” He brushed Cassidy aside and set Jamie upright, his back against the door.

Cassidy seemed annoyed. “I think he believes us now,” he whined defensively.

“Shut up,” Adam barked. “Go get him some water.”

His body began responding to him as his eyes uncrossed themselves. Adam looked mortified. “I am so sorry. I don’t know what he the fuck he’s thinking.”

“I can still hear you!” Cassidy called from the kitchen.

“Good!” Adam thundered back. He returned his gaze to Jamie. “I’m sorry, I… I don’t know what I thought would happen I just…”

Jamie tried to shake the grogginess out of his head. “…How?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Cassidy had returned, and he squatted down to hand Jamie a glass of water. He shrugged. “Magic.”

Jamie rolled his eyes, smacking the back of his head against the door. “Fucking god.”

At Adam’s insistence, they didn’t say anything else until Jamie had finished the entire glass of water. Adam sent Cassidy back to the kitchen for another as he helped Jamie back up to his feet.

“It takes some getting used to, you gotta give your body a second to realize it’s so much bigger,” Adam explained.

Jamie nodded quietly, turning to look up at Adam’s apologetic smile past pecs like two couch cushions. Jamie sighed. “Look, I need to go back to normal.”


“You can’t,” said Cassidy simply, back with the refilled glass.

“What?!” Jamie resisted the urge to shriek, fearing he would faint again.

Cassidy sighed. “Oh my god, relax will you? You’ll go back to normal in a few hours.”

Jamie raised an eyebrow. “What’s a few?”

Cassidy shrugged. “Like five or six.”

“What the shit! I look completely different,” he took a gulp of water. “What am I supposed to tell people when I’m suddenly good looking for one night?”

Cassidy smiled fondly (and annoyingly), “Oh I think you’re plenty hot to start.”

Adam cocked his head. “Are you living with someone?”

Jamie sputtered. “I don’t live under a fucking bridge. Someone. Will. See. Me.”

“So stay the night!” Cassidy exclaimed. “You can use the guest room!” Of course they had a fucking guest room. Cassidy was working himself up. “We can crack open that bottle of bourbon and stay up late telling you all about it.”

Jamie poked Cassidy accusingly in the chest, harder than he had intended. “You don’t get to be excited about all this!”

Adam stuck his huge hand between them. “Look, Cass is right, you can’t go home like this so you might as well stay here. It’ll be fine.”

Jamie didn’t want to budge an inch, especially after what Cassidy had just done to him, but he didn’t want to go out in the cold either, and he couldn’t go home like this. Not yet. He sighed. “Ok.”

Cassidy’s smile almost made him go back on it right there, but Adam’s grip on his shoulder was reassuring. Jamie managed a weak smile. “Where’s the washroom?”

“First door on the left,” Adam pointed up the staircase. “The guest room’s right across. There’s some PJs in the dresser if you want… something less tight.”

He heard Adam whispering admonitions to Cassidy and Cassidy defending himself in hushed tones. That was a little satisfying. He heard the beginning of a rip in his jeans, though, and made shorter strides to the bathroom.

He started a bit when he saw himself in the mirror. Jesus… he thought, I AM good looking. He lifted up his shirt and felt the abs. Abs. He’d never had abs even when he was in better shape. Jamie had put the body issues of the club scene behind him long ago, but it felt good to look… well, better than he’d ever looked before. He opened his fly and took out his cock. No improvements there, unfortunately. Locker room anxiety was a relic from his past, too, but what guy didn’t want a baseball bat hanging from his crotch? He wondered if Drew would think the same thing. Oh shit! he thought.

He quickly finished his piss and fished his cell phone out of his pocket.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Drew felt his phone vibrate as he stumbled drunk out of the elevator. When he saw it was Jamie he sighed. Nights out with his coworkers were fun but left him drunk and horny. If Jamie was calling he probably wasn’t home, and Drew had been hoping to have a cock up his ass within five minutes of entering their condo.

Oprah was meowing at the door so he prepared himself to prevent her escaping. The resulting struggle was graceless but successful.

Fuck, he thought as he slipped off his tie and made his way to the bedroom. He shouldn’t be going out. It’s too expensive and he didn’t need the calories. With Jamie unemployed he’d had to cut out certain luxuries and one of them was his gym membership. He undid his belt with relief, freeing his nascent beer gut, and flopped onto the bed, calling Jamie back as he undid his shirt.

“Hey D.”

Drew smiled to hear his voice. “Hey babe.” Although… “Jamie are you ok? You sound kinda…”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re still at your friend’s?”

“Adam, yeah… he wants to have a few drinks, they have a guest room, I was gonna stay the night. Is that ok?”

Drew sighed as he wriggled out of his sleeves, switching the phone from one hand to the other. “Yeah. I miss you though.”

Jamie sighed. “Me too stud.”

“Stay in tomorrow, ok? We have to eat that chicken before it goes bad.”

“All right, I’ll see you.”

They kissed into the phone and Drew hung up, throwing his arms back and letting the phone fall to the carpet. Oprah started nuzzling his feet hanging off the bed. He sat up. “All right, hon, get out. Daddy’s gotta jack off.”

He ushered the cat out and shut the door, then flopped onto the bed as he kicked off his pants, and grabbed his laptop off the nightstand. He’d been really looking forward to getting fucked by Jamie but almost as much, he liked nights he knew Jamie wouldn’t be around to interrupt him. They had a great relationship and fantastic sexual chemistry but there were some things Drew had never risked asking for. On nights when he was alone, he could indulge those fantasies. He opened an incognito window, highlighted the address bar, and typed his destination.

C O I L E D F I S T dot org.


Part 2: Adam

This was turning into a disaster, and Cass was not being accommodating. “Oh, it’ll wear off.”

“Hey, it got the point across.” He kept on justifying himself when all Adam wanted to hear was some indication he knew he had taken it too far. That was the whole reason he had called Jamie in the first place. Things were starting to get weird. Fantasy had become reality and now reality seemed so fluidic. He loved Cassidy but he wasn’t helping. He only wanted to go deeper, but Adam needed to come back up for air. Even if just for a moment.

Jamie was grounded, practical, cynical, and Adam trusted him. The years had changed both of them but it hadn’t changed that. He needed someone with no connection to all this craziness to maybe offer some perspective.

Done cleaning up the spilled tea, Adam sat down on the couch which briefly groaned under his weight.

Cassidy smiled demurely as he handed Adam a rock glass half full of bourbon. Adam took it between his thumb and forefinger. It felt more like a shot glass in his big hand. He took a small sip and found he had drank nearly half of it.

Cass held his own glass up as he snuggled up against Adam, his head dwarfed by the pillow of Adam’s pec. Cass sipped his bourbon as he stretched out his arm and started running his fingers up and down Adam’s abs. He looked down at Cassidy, sleepily fondling his immense muscles. Cassidy hadn’t been on board at first, but he had come around, and now some of their most intimate moments came after Cass had worked his magic. Adam had been transformed and altered in many ways since they first got it to work, but it was this form of a hulking giant of a man that Adam had fantasized about since he was a child. The first time it had felt so perfect, as if he had somehow known despite all reason and logic that becoming this big, this powerful, was possible. He just had to find the way. Every time he grew, he knew that this was the body he had always been mean to have.

As Cass dozed against him, Adam looked down at his mammoth pecs, turned as he flexed his bulging bicep.

It was such a turn on growing so big, even just sitting there he felt his immense weight in every movement. He unflexed his arm and moved his hand to his crotch, feeling himself getting harder.

His hand snapped back to the armrest as Jamie trundled unevenly down the stairs, leaning hard on the bannister. The large guest pajamas were tight over his pecs and ass. Jamie descended unsure of every step, apparently bewildered. Adam had never been out and out attracted to Jamie but always thought he was good looking. He had to admit, though. Cassidy had upgraded him to “smokin’.”

The noise brought Cass out of his half sleep, spilling a bit of bourbon on Adam’s sweatpants in the process. Cassidy smiled drowsily and sat up.

Jamie paused in the last step, seeing the two on the couch. “Am I… interrupting?”

Cassidy shook his head. “Not at all. Come, sit.” He leaned forward and poured some bourbon into the third, empty glass on the coffee table. “Hey, look. I’m sorry I did this to you without asking. That wasn’t cool. I’m sorry. Seriously.”

Jamie walked forward and took the glass but Adam detected a vague hint of suspicion in his tone. “Thanks.” He took a sip. “And, yeah, I’m sorry for freaking out. Well, half-sorry.” He lowered himself carefully into the lounge chair. “So…. how are things?”

“Oh,” Adam shrugged, “pretty good. I’m working at Jack Astor’s these days. Trying to get into a masters program.”

“Oh yeah? Linguistics?”

Adam nodded. “Yeah there’s a good program at McGill but I’m not sure if I can do it correspondence.”

“And what about you, Cassidy? Still with, umm…. that company?”

Cass shrugged. “I’m working for PCA. Pearson Clinical Assessment. It’s like a liaison job. I get to work from home mostly, which is really great.” Cassidy’s eyes lit up. “Oh my god, what’s the ad business like?” he gasped. “Have you been watching Mad Men? What did you think of the finale?”

Jamie sipped his drink and nodded, then shrugged. “It’s…” he made an uncertain noise and shrugged again. “It’s a little rough.” He took a whole gulp and winced through the swallow. “So… how did you, uhh… learn to…. do that?” He waved his hand in the air.

Adam went to begin but Cass interrupted with a laugh. “Well… did you want to tell it?”

“You start.”

“Ok, so, I’ve been sort of… dabbling I guess, in occult stuff since high school. And I mean, really, it’s mostly just like, a bunch of new age hippie crap. Which I was into, honestly. But like, it was all beseeching for blessings and boons for good luck and like fortune telling? The kind of stuff where even if it was working it might as well not have been working, y’know? But then I started getting involved in the whole community and I found these people who, like, took it all really seriously. And I mean no one was shooting lightning bolts or anything but some of them were able to really make things happen. Or at least enough to convince you, y’know? And most of this was coming out of research they were doing on old translated texts from the middle east.”

Adam stepped in. “Turns out the occult underground in Afghanistan had a huge smuggling operation to preserve ancient texts when the Taliban started destroying pre-Islamic artifacts and monuments, and some of these ended up in Toronto. The most fruitful was a set of Sumerian tablets. Cassidy’s friends were really going to town with them so he showed me a copy. Well, I guess these guys aren’t as up to date on linguistics as I am because there’s been a bunch of recent discoveries that have invalidated some older theories about cuneiform. So maybe like a quarter of everything was mistranslated. I went through it and… well, the results speak for themselves.”

Jamie paused a second to process. “So… these tablets were… spells… for growing people into… giant hulks?”

“Not exactly,” Cassidy answered. “It’s more like…. a sort of instruction manual? It’s difficult to explain. Once Adam told me…” he giggled, “what kind of stuff he was into, I looked specifically into transformation. We can actually do all sorts of things.”

“We?” Jamie looked at Adam. “You can do it too?”

“Well, Cass is teaching me,” Adam replied. “But it’s going pretty slow. He’s been at this a lot longer than I have.”

“Oh you’re doing great, hon.”

“So,” Jamie said slowly, “have you ever gotten bigger, Cassidy?”

Cass laughed. “Adam’s the giant around here. We’ve done other things too, though.”

“Like… have you ever given yourselves bigger dongs?” asked Jamie.

Adam looked down at Cass, who returned his grin. “Once or twice,” Adam answered. “Nothing too extravagant.”

“Would you like to…” Cass raised an eyebrow.

Jamie’s eyebrows scaled his forehead. “Uhh….”

“Whoa, hey,” Adam shook his head. “You’re sure you’d be ok?”

“Oh yeah I’m fine. It doesn’t really tire me out anymore. And that’s hardly anything, it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I mean, for me.” Cass glanced back at Jamie.

Jamie cocked his head, and took another gulp of bourbon before setting the glass down. “Y’know what? Go for it.”

Cass grinned as he began drawing his gestures in the air, whispering his incantation, and before long he saw the link connect itself right with Jamie’s crotch. Jamie winked with an uncertain but he didn’t say anything. At first, anyway…. then his smile melted into a half-open mouth. He began breathing heavier, moaning with almost every exhale. His muscles flexing and releasing. There was a shuddering beneath the pajama pants. Adam found himself a little turned on. Jamie’s package began to grow, like someone had stuck a balloon down his pants and started to blow. Jamie gripped the arms of the lounge chair, staring at the bulge swelling in his lap. He had stopped his heavy breathing, and was now holding his breath.

It didn’t last long. Cass whispered his last cantrip with a sigh and dropped his hands to his side.

Jamie finally exhaled, gasping. “Holy fuck. Oh my god.”

Adam whistled. Jamie’s pajamas strained around the outline of a footlong cock sitting soft in his lap. “Wow. That’ll certainly be a show once you get it going.” Though even as he said it he could see it twitching to life.

“Fuck man, this is so weird,” Jamie reached down and adjusted himself. “Jesus…”

They stayed up for another hour or so, talking about how they’d first started experimenting. Jamie was reminded of his oversized manhood every time he moved his legs, and frequently glanced down with renewed surprise. Eventually, the late hour and a few glasses of bourbon took their toll, and Jamie politely excused himself, wavered on his feet, and carefully climbed the stairs to the guest room.

Cass leaned in. “You didn’t tell him.”

Adam sighed. “I know. He had a lot to take in tonight. Too much as it is.”

“I know you think we’re… too detached or whatever.” Cass snuggled up beside him. “But you don’t need his approval.”

“I just want his opinion,” said Adam. he put his hand on Cass’ knee and Cass began rubbing his forearm. “But hopefully it won’t be another five years before I see him again.”

He felt Cass nodding against his arm. His hand drifted off his forearm and slid down the front of his tight sweatpants. Adam smiled with a pleasant moan as he felt Cass’ warm hand around his cock.

Mildly wary of fooling around with Cass in their doorless living room while Jamie was only upstairs in his guest room, Adam nevertheless pulled his sweatpants down, briefly lifting himself off the couch to get them over his butt. Cass stood up and yanked them off over his thick thighs and bulging calves. He tossed them aside as he looked Adam up and down. He grinned,pulled his shirt off, and began to slowly slip out of his khakis. Adam watched, rubbing his hands on his bare thighs, feeling his cock beginning to engorge.

As he climbed out of his trunks and exposed his already full erection, Cass stepped up on the couch, a foot on either side of Adam’s hips. Adam reached up, gripped Cass around the shoulders, and leaned forward, kissing his cock on its head. He slid his hands down his slender body, coming to rest at his ass, tracing the line of his crack with his fingers as he licked the length of his shaft. Cass gasped and moaned, taking Adam’s head in both hands and tousling his hair. Adam took one hand off Cass and wrapped it around his cock, now standing at full attention.

Cass pushed Adam’s head off his dick and leaned down to kiss Adam on the forehead before Cass brought his ass down on top of Adam’s cock. Adam guided it to his hole and began pushing in with a gasp.

Cass hadn’t done anything to grow Adam’s cock but it had remained in proportion as the rest of him grew, and it was a tight fit. They tried to keep the noise to a minimum but were both moaning lustily as Cass worked his way down onto Adam’s cock.

“Oh god!” Cass breathed, “I love you so much. I love how huge you are.”

Every word sent a throb of pleasure through Adam’s gigantic body. He moaned through his smile. “How big am I?”

Cass took the final inch of him with a grunt and began grinding slowly on top of him. “You’re the biggest fucking monster in the world. You’re the biggest man who ever lived. You’re massive. You weigh as much as a car.” Cass began bouncing gently up and down, his cheeks slapping softly against Adam’s thighs. Adam took Cass’ cock and teased it with his fingertips.

Adam growled in bliss. Cass felt so tight on top of him. In fact, it almost felt like he was getting tighter. Adam didn’t think anything of it until Cass reeled back and grunted: “Oh my god!” and Adam felt his back begin to stretch across the leather. He was growing again.

“Cass? Cass what’s happening?”

Cass merely moaned and began pumping harder.

Adam looked down as his pecs slowly inched larger and larger, felt his bubble butt inflating further, heard the leather shifting beneath him. Part of him was worried about hurting Cass, but as he felt his body get heavier with mass, his biceps swelling against his pecs, his back sliding up the couch as he grew taller, he gave himself over to it and let himself enjoy it. He bucked his hips against Cass and felt the pressure building.

Adam released with a staggered gasp of ecstasy. Cass clapped his hands over his mouth and grunted loudly through them. Adam reared back as he rocked volley after volley of cum into Cass, who whimpered in bliss with every thrust. He felt splashes on his chest as Cass came as well. When they were both finally spent, Cass collapsed forward, panting against Adam’s chest. Adam wrapped a thick arm around him and they sat there together, basking in the afterglow.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Jamie lay in bed staring at the ceiling, as wide awake as ever. The monotonous hum from the radiator was occasionally punctuated with moans from Adam and Cassidy’s lovemaking downstairs. Jesus… Jamie shook his head at the thought, amazed that Cassidy hadn’t already been pulverized ten times over.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Regular king of comedy, that Cassidy. Magic. Magic was real. What did that even mean. It sounded so silly in his head. He kept on imagining Richard Griffiths wagging his fat finger at him and scolding “There’s no such thing as magic!”

Jamie had always been a critical skeptic. He liked to think he was well read and well educated and it was hard to put one over on him. But now… there was no way around explaining what had happened. Everything he knew about the world had been called into question. The spiralling dialogue he was having with himself made it impossible to even begin getting to sleep. Well, that and the sixteen inch erection.

He glanced down at it. The pajamas had been too tight so he’d taken everything off before he got into bed. It looked exactly like the cock he had known and jacked off for years—every vein and wrinkle in the same place—only nearly three times bigger. Standing upright and engorged it felt so heavy, and so difficult to ignore. He had a rule about masturbating in other people’s homes, although… he had repeatedly broken it in the past. And if this was going to wear off in a matter of hours, didn’t he owe himself to take it out for a test drive?

Biting his lip, Jamie tentatively reached out and touched the shaft with one finger. He ran it down to the base, and shuddered. Fuck, it was so sensitive. He glanced around, pulled a few tissues from the kleenex box on the nightstand, and pulled himself back into a half-sitting position. He reached out and gripped his shaft with his hand.

A spike of pleasure quaked through his body and he began to stroke, running his other hand up his abs and feeling his pecs, teasing his nipple. “Fuck,” he whispered. It was like he was jacking off for the first time.

As he slowly stroked the length of his cock, he felt a strange tightness again, and felt his cock throbbing. He looked down at it. “Oh no fuckin way…”

Large as his dick had become, it was stretching itself bigger anyway. At first he thought that maybe he had only been half-hard, but he knew better; he’d been at full mast already. His cock grew slowly fatter, forcing his grip open, inching its way further and further into the air. His gaze was transfixed by his swelling manhood, but he felt his balls engorging as well, inflating against his thighs.

As his cock passed the two foot mark Jamie took his other hand from groping his pec and started stroking with both hands. It was as thick as a two-litre pop bottle and was still slowly growing. It felt so heavy pushing down on his crotch, and got heavier by the moment.

Murmurs of why he should be worried trickled around in the back of his mind. Does Cassidy know this is happening? Is this normal? What if it doesn’t stop? But they were drowned out by the bombastic shouting of Oh fuck yes, Holy fucking god, This feels fucking amazing, and so on.

His cock had grown too long for his hands to read the head, but rubbing his shaft was doing more than enough. Finally it tapered off at what had to be over three feet, and Jamie’s jaw hung open in awe as he marvelled at the thick heavy pillar of meat towering above his bed, throbbing in his hands. He started stroking faster. God, he was gonna blow any second now. He glanced furtively at the kleenex he had prepared. Even if he could reach the tip it wasn’t going to be nearly enough. He hated to be an inconsiderate guest but he was long past the point of no return.

“Fuck it.”

Rolling his hips, his giant schlong swaying with every movement, dribbles of precum running down his shaft, his chest heaving with every panting breath he drew, Jamie stroked faster and faster, until he felt the whole thing start to shudder, his melon-sized balls churning, and pleasure flooding every pore of his body. He took his hands from his shaft as it strained into the air, as if his cock wanted to get even bigger. He thrust his hips and moaned and gripped the sheets beneath him as he came, firing thick spurts of semen into the air. The first volley splattered on the ceiling, the second fell in a coiled rope on his chest, the third splashed onto the window behind the headboard. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and maybe more he lost track of. He was paralyzed with ecstasy, his mouth hanging open, unsure whether or not he was breathing. The colours seemed more vibrant, his skin seemed more sensitive, his own feverish heartbeat filled his ears. He couldn’t move. He tried to make himself but he couldn’t. He felt himself drifting off to an inescapable sleep. His mind reeling with sensation, he closed his eyes and was out almost immediately.


Part 3: Drew

Drew sighed, and switched his phone from one ear to the other. “Because that was a promotional rate, Leon. From two years ago. The market’s totally different now.”

“Sabine said this wouldn’t be an issue.”

Drew rolled his eyes. “Yeah, when you were renewing your first mortgage. On a new property we can’t give you the same rate.”

There was a knock at his office door and he saw Ryan standing there, some folders under his arm. Drew held up his finger, mouthing “one sec.”

“I just don’t understand why you can apply the rate to one mortgage but not the other,” Leon complained gruffly. “Your branch manager gave you special dispensation for the one, why can’t we get the second?”

Ryan shuffled inside and sat down across from Drew.

“Leon, look, for one thing, it was the district manager, and for another, the situation is different on a new mortgage than a REnewed one.”

Leon paused with a sigh. “Can you get Sabine to call me?”

Drew bit his tongue to keep from swearing. “Sabine’s at a different branch now. But she’ll tell you the same thing.”

“Drew, I’m sorry I really need to get going. Just get Sabine to give me a call, please.”

He shook his head ruefully at Ryan, who shrugged with a blank smile. “All right, Leon, have a good day.” It sounded like he had already hung up before Drew could finish his sentence. He turned to Ryan as he set down the receiver. “What’s up?”

“You wanna grab a beer after work?”

Drew shook his head. “Nah, can’t. I gotta make dinner.”

Ryan set his files on Drew’s desk. “Isn’t Jamie still unemployed? Why isn’t he doing it?”

Drew sighed. “It’s my turn. And, wait, I thought you had a date tonight. Didn’t you say you were meeting that guy off Grindr?”

“OKCupid, thank you very much,” said Ryan with mock indignance. “And yeah, but not til nine. Was hoping to get a bit of a buzz on so I won’t be so nervous. He’s totally out of my league.”

Drew rolled his eyes. “Oh my god, Ryan, you have nothing to worry about. Jesus.” Ryan had taken the best elements of both his Chinese and Russian heritage which had resulted in bright eyes, dark hair, a strong chin and a great complexion. Despite being a certifiable stud, he seemed to view his unique features as some kind of brand of deviance, and nothing Drew or anyone could say had yet to convince him otherwise.

Ryan shrugged, standing and collecting his files. “If you say so. Oh, the actual reason I came: do you have any credit files for Sal Burchielli?”

Drew nodded, opening his credenza. He stopped as he pulled them out. “Wait what do you need them for?”

“Transfer request.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Drew shouted. “Let me see it.” He thrust his hand out so quickly Ryan instinctively recoiled.

“Whoa! Hey! Jesus…” Ryan pulled the memo out from between the files and handed it to him. “It’s from Sabine.”

“I fucking know it’s from Sabine!” Drew jumped to his feet, brushing past a bewildered Ryan. “Is Viola in her office?” he asked as he stormed out.

Ryan called after him. “How the hell would I know?”

It had been an uphill battle after Sabine had been transferred but this was the last straw. Drew managed to stay smiling and pleasant as he crossed the branch in front of customers, but by the time he climbed the stairs to the manager’s office, he was freaking out again. He knocked on her door as he barged in.

Viola looked up from a plate of Greek salad, swallowing a mouthful before retorting. “Sure, Drew, come on in.” She sat up and wiped her mouth on a napkin.

“Have you fucking seen this?” he asked, shoving the memo over top her salad.

Viola took it from him and looked it over. “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Everything?”

“A half-million dollar mortgage, a two hundred thou TFSA and two RESPs,” he rhymed them off from memory. “You promised me this wouldn’t happen!” he protested.

Viola furrowed her brow. “Don’t yell at me about it. Lose your shit on Sabine.”

Drew ignored her. “And we just lost all the Webster accounts to downtown on Monday. Can’t we just deny them?”

She set the memo down on her desk between them. “These are customer-initiated, Drew.”

Drew crossed his arms over his chest. “Oh, please.”

“What do you expect me to do, exactly?”

“Call the manager at Dufferin and College, tell him they can’t keep doing this.”

Viola stabbed a cherry tomato with her fork. “What’s he gonna say? He’s not going to blast Sabine for getting them more business.”

“Viola, I can’t make my goals if all my biggest clients transfer to downtown. Burchielli was like a quarter of my IP’s.”

Viola picked up the memo again and paused a moment. “This is the racist guy?”

Drew shrugged ruefully. “Yeah… plus he smells like talcum powder and cigarettes.”

Viola handed it back to him. “Drew I get that you’re frustrated. So am I, okay? And I’m taking this into account. But there’s nothing I can do about Burchielli, or Webster, or all the rest. You’ll have to make it up somewhere else.”

Drew sighed, took the memo back, and left.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fucking Sabine. She got transferred from this nowhere-branch in the financial desert of North York to downtown where business literally walked in off the street every day. She didn’t need to poach all the old clients they had shared. Fuck. It has been so sweet when she was around. The Drew-Sabine dream team. She handled mortgages, he handled investments, they had this sassy back-and-forth the clients seemed to love, and the numbers just kept climbing. Now she’d been replaced with a do-nothing trainee, making Drew the most senior mortgage expert at the branch. He fucking hated mortgages.

Drew walked past the teller line to the back office, where he found Ryan at his desk and on the phone.

“Okay….wait, what? That’s not the ticket number I gave you… I don’t know, but you didn’t get it from… No. Okay, are you ready? Five one eight nine seven seven three nine… Seriously? Why would it be closed no one ever came in….Yes! I’m sure! Our printer is still broken!” He looked at Drew and rolled his eyes. “Okay, so can you open it up again?… Then can you start a new ticket?… Okay great… When?… Seriously?… Ok fine…. Great. Yes. Thanks. Bye…. Yeah, bye.” He hung up and heaved an exaggerated sigh. “Jesus fucking christ.” Drew handed him the memo and he set it on the stack of files. “No luck, eh? Is Sal really that big a deal?”

Drew leaned against a filing cabinet. “I’m so fucked, man.”

Ryan shook his head. “When did Sabine turn into such an asshole? I always thought she was cool when she was here.”

Drew sighed. “I dunno. It doesn’t matter.”

“Sure you don’t want that drink, man?”

Drew dashed a blonde lock from his eyes. “Nah…” he checked the time on Ryan’s phone. “Actually I should get going. See ya tomorrow. Good luck tonight.”

Ryan smiled. “Thanks, man.”

Drew’s numbers had divebombed since Sabine left. Viola was reasonable enough, but she had district managers to answer to and if he couldn’t figure something out in the next few months he could be facing a demotion. At any other point in his life this wouldn’t be a big deal, but he and Jamie had just blown all their savings buying a condo, and now Jamie had quit his job of his own accord, which meant he couldn’t go on employment insurance. Drew loved that Jamie had stuck to his principles but his timing was terrible. If he did get a pay cut without Jamie bringing in income, they’d have to mortgage the condo just to pay for the property tax, and the current market was terrible. Even at employee rates he’d get fucked. Maybe they could sell the car instead.

The hour long commute from bus to subway to streetcar home was made longer by some dumb bullshit. The announcer piped into the subway’s PA to give the riders details, but Drew tuned it out, distracting himself with Temple Run soundtracked to Portishead.

After riding the elevator crammed with neighbours returning home, Drew dragged his feet down his hall and opened his door to the welcoming scent of roasting chicken and veggies.

“Jamie?” he called, kicking off his shoes.

“Hey D!” Jamie called back. “In the kitchen!”

Drew shrugged out of his jacket, tossed it over a chair, and walked into the kitchen loosening his tie. Jamie had two pans going over the stove, stirring the one full of rice. He was wearing a button up shirt worn open over a graphic T. His favourite, faded black, worn-out jeans and bare feet. His black hair was damp and messy, suggesting he’d just showered. He turned and smiled warmly. “Hey. Chicken fajitas.”

“Oh,” Drew moaned affectionately, throwing his tie onto the table as he went up to hug Jamie from behind. Half a head taller than him, Drew had to lean down to kiss his neck, smelling shampoo he’d used. “You didn’t have to do that.”

Jamie sighed contentedly in his arms, leaning back against him. “Yeah I know, but I was home and everything was good to go. I’m sorry I left you alone last night. What’d you do?”

Drew gave him another kiss to the back of the head and released Jamie, unbuttoning his shirt as he made his way to the bedroom. “I went to Chalkers with Ryan and some other guys from the branch. We didn’t go too late.”

“Is he still going out with that, uhh… that hot Indian guy?”

“Nah that didn’t last too long. He’s having a first date tonight, actually.” Drew returned to the kitchen in a snug-fitting tank and slacks. He stopped at Jamie, turned his head to kiss him, then went to the cupboard and took down two wine glasses. “Hey how was Adam’s? How’s his boyfriend?”

“Husband,” Jamie corrected. “Cassidy. He’s, uhh… good, I guess. He’s changed completely.”

“He was the weirdo, right?” asked Drew, squatting down to get a bottle of merlot from the rack.

“Yeah. Well,” Jamie hesitated, “he’s still a weirdo but he’s been totally domesticated. I barely recognized him.”

Drew rounded the counter and set a glass of wine next to the stove, sipping his own. “And Adam? You said you were worried.”

“Uhh, yeah,” Jamie answered slowly. “Look, that’s kind of a long story…”

“Oh,” Drew blinked. “Okay.” he turned and grabbed his tie off the table, tossing it through the bedroom door as he made his way to the living room. It wasn’t like Jamie to deflect him like that. With their arrangement, it’s not like he could have anything to lie about, though. Oprah dozed on the couch watching W on mute. Drew sighed loudly. “What the fuck are you doing watching Property Brothers?” he shouted back at the kitchen.

“What? It’s fine it’s got a bunch of ideas. Like, for the living room?”

“Oh my god,” Drew turned off the television. “Who are you trying to kid?”

The fajitas were perfect. The wine was all right. Drew spent most of dinner complaining about Sabine, Viola, and mortgages. Drew tended to get pretty technical with his rants about work, and it wasn’t entirely uncommon for Jamie to tune out on the finer details, but he seemed to be barely listening at all.

“Hey is everything okay?” Drew asked after a prolonged silence. “You seem a bit… preoccupied.”

Jamie had a strange look on his face for a moment that Drew didn’t know how to read. He seemed almost confused. It melted into an apologetic smile. “Sorry, babe, I just… it’s just looking for jobs and stuff.”

“Oh,” Drew looked down at his empty plate. He had supported Jamie’s decision to quit right from the get-go, and if being unemployed had Jamie down Drew didn’t want him to feel worse about it.

After they cleared the table Drew started affectionately fondling Jamie by the sink, and they rolled along the wall, kissing each other and getting their hands under each other’s shirts as they guided each other into the bedroom. Drew closed the door behind them, wary as always of what he interpreted as puritanically condemning glares from Oprah.

“God, I was so horny last night,” he breathed, quickly stripping the shirt from Jamie. Jamie smiled and tried to return the favour but Drew pushed him back onto the bed. Jamie bounced into a half-sitting position and undid his belt, squirming out of his jeans while Drew slipped out of his own clothes. Jamie barely had time to back himself up to the headboard before Drew had lunged onto the bed, crawling on top of him, cupping his face with his hand and kissing him hungrily.

“Missed me, huh?” Jamie asked with a grin when Drew finally came up for air.

Drew smiled back, “I miss you whenever I’m not looking right at you.”

“So when we’re watching a movie and I go get you a beer?”

“I die. Every time. It’s fucking Sophie’s Choice.”

Jamie laughed, pulling Drew down on top of him and twirling them around so he was on top. He moaned and slowly undulated his body against Drew’s, feeling his soft belly and tasting his salty skin as he kissed his neck, lashing his tongue behind his ear. Drew dug his heels into the mattress and gasped with pleasure, clawing his fingertips into Jamie’s back.

Jamie pulled back and maneuvered one of Drew’s legs to the side, pausing briefly to grab the lube off the nightstand and apply a thick glob to his palm. He took Drew’s erect penis in his hand and covered his own as well. Drew grasped Jamie’s ass and pulled him close, writhing against the bed, biting his lip as he felt Jamie press his tip against him, then slowly enter, grinding his hips against Drew’s, forcing his dick deeper inch by inch.

“Oh fuck…” Drew whispered, his head reared back against the pillow. “I love your cock so fucking much.”

Jamie faltered, losing the rhythm. Just long enough for Drew to look at him quizzically, and then he was back on track. Drew got back to groaning and flexing his cheeks around Jamie’s cock. He grew louder as Jamie quickened his strokes, and he grunted a loud sensuous cry as he climaxed, shooting a load that splattered hot on his chest. He moaned and flexed his ass again, only for Jamie to withdraw. He lay there basking in post-coital bliss, waiting for Jamie to plunge in again, but instead felt him toweling off his chest. Drew opened his eyes.

“Is everything okay?” he asked quietly. “You didn’t…”

Jamie smiled gently, kissing Drew on the forehead as he tossed the towel into the hamper. “It’s fine. I’m just really tired.”

“You’re sure?”

Jamie rolled into place beside Drew, taking his hand in his and squirming up next to him, his chin resting on his shoulder. “Don’t worry.” He smiled reassuringly.

Drew turned to look at him, their mouths close enough to feel each other’s breath. Drew reached up and ran his fingers down the side of Jamie’s face. “I love you.”

Jamie leaned down to peck Drew on his shoulder. “I love you too.”

“So fucking much.”

Jamie smiled. “So fucking much.”

Drew reached over and switched off the lamp, and they laid together in the dark.


Part 4: Cassidy

Cassidy had his foot on the seat of the toilet in the half-bathroom next to the living room, clipping his toenails while Adam finished showering upstairs. He was just blowing debris off the nailclippers when Adam appeared in the doorway to say goodbye. Cassidy had come to loathe Jack Astor’s with a fiery hatred but he had to admit, their maroon, short-sleeved, button-up uniform shirts looked great on Adam, especially the way he wore it with the top few buttons left opened. Cassidy smiled.

“Keith is having some of us over after his shift for beers and games. I was gonna stay the night,” he leaned against the doorway, and shook the bangs from his eyes. “He asked if you wanted to come. You could drive out for like, one or two. I can text you when I have a better idea.”


Cassidy made a wry face. “Aww… hon I’d love to but I gotta be up kinda early. I know I’ll just get wrecked.”

“You’re sure? He finally got that new Mariokart DLC.”

Oh… that was tempting, but Cassidy couldn’t pass this up. “Sorry, I’m gonna pass. Can you tell Keith thanks? Tell him he’s a total sweetheart.”

A car horn sounded from outside. Adam chuckled as he pushed himself off the doorframe and took a step forward. “I’ll paraphrase.” He leaned down to give Cassidy a kiss. “Have a good night.” He turned and left.

“You too,” Cassidy called after him. “Have fun!”

He set the nailclippers down and dusted off his foot, sitting still and listening. He heard the jingle of keys and change as Adam slipped into his jacket. The door opened and closed, rattling the clock on the wall. Cassidy quickly stole out from the bathroom into the dining room window, staying close to the frame so he wouldn’t be spotted. Adam descended the steps from their porch and walked down the stone walkway to the tan pickup awaiting him on the curb. Adam got in, the truck pulled around the cul-de-sac and disappeared down the road. Cassidy kept watching until its taillights reappeared under the streetlight at the end of the road, and turned off.

Without bothering to put on shoes or a coat, Cassidy grabbed his keys off the wall and went outside. He got into the car and opened the garage door, watching the angry red taillights against it in the rearview mirror.

He hated being dishonest with Adam, but the truth would destroy something beautiful. To Adam, their exploratory journey into sorcery had been as revelatory for Cassidy as it had been for him. They were discovering this zany new frontier together, and even sharing in this illusion made Cassidy appreciate what he was doing all the more. But it was all becoming too much for Adam, and he didn’t want to scare him.

Cassidy backed the car into the garage, closed the door behind him, and opened one of the plastic bins they had stacked under a makeshift workbench that rarely saw any action. He pulled out a small bundle of clothes and went back into the house from the garage.

In the bedroom Cassidy took his phone from his pocket before he slipped out of his clothes. He looked at his reflection. Five-foot-six was a pretty average height but next to Adam’s six-foot-two, Cassidy felt short. Once Adam blew up to ten feet tall, Cassidy felt dwarfed, and he had always been skinny for as long as he could remember. He didn’t mind, and he knew how much Adam loved their size difference, but it would be nice to be the big man again. It had been a while.

The truth was that Cassidy had already been fairly adept at the craft before Adam had become involved. Adam’s translations had been pivotal to his studies, and had advanced him in leaps and bounds. The more he did it, the more innate his talents seemed to become. He didn’t need to wave his hands, he didn’t need to say the words. The night Jamie had come over, he had actually been casting spells without even meaning to. He was becoming more powerful than he had ever thought possible.

Cassidy went into the photo gallery of his phone, and found the selfie he’d use for reference. He looked at his naked body in the mirror, and smiled. He unrolled the bundle of clothes. A large black tank top billowed open and a pair of jeans flopped to the floor along with some pairs of underwear, socks, and a ball cap. Cassidy draped the tank over his soulders and pulled the jeans up over his legs. They were so ridiculously oversized he looked like a child in a giant’s clothing. He had to hold the waistband of the jeans or else they would fall to the ground. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and cleared his mind of all distractions, focusing on his breathing. He felt the energy coursing through him, intersecting with the world around him, heard it like a mess of static but focused on cutting through the noise until it keened like a struck tuning fork. He opened his eyes.

Cassidy’s smooth hairless chest began sprouting a dense carpet of dark hair. It blossomed out from his sternum, charting a treasure trail that intersected his pubes, spreading across his flat belly. His cleanshaven face grew dark with stubble before exploding into a full thick beard. His fingers curled at his side as he resisted the urge to scratch.

His whole body grew. God he loved this feeling. The pleasant ache of his bones stretching longer and thicker, blood and muscle tissue multiplying, organs jostling against each other as they expanded. It had been alarming the first time, but even now expecting these sensations they were still thrilling. He could see why Adam had become so attached to it. It was overwhelming to the point of distraction, but Cassidy forced himself not to get lost in it. If he went too far he’d have to start over and he was going to be late enough as it was. He exhaled as he finally broke six-foot-five, but at these proportions these clothes still hung off of him. Cassidy focused on his breathing. The next part was always tricky.

He heard his body gurgling as muscle and flab appeared all across his body. His shoulders widened, then his ribcage, then his hips. He looked distended and malformed until his chest swelled into hard mounds of hairy muscle before they softened under a layer of flab. His neck grew thicker as flesh ballooned along his arms and legs, first rock hard muscle before it fattened up and lost its definition. His face rounded some, gaining a few chins beneath his beard. He felt his ass push back against the seat of his pants.

His flat stomach briefly gained a six-pack before it began to inflate, first a modest paunch, to a swollen tummy, to a full-blown gut. He felt the fat flow out from his belly, melting into rolls along his side and back. His gut continued to expand, gurgling under increasing layers of fat, until finally his waist held up his pants by their seventy-inch waistline. His body had grown up and out to fit his oversized clothes. In fact, his shirt was even a bit snug, and his jeans were tight around a big round muscle butt cushioned with a generous layer of fat.

He let himself grin at his handiwork, compared to the selfie he had taken last time. Looked pretty spot on, by his estimation. Mind you, that had been months ago, and after a long winter…

His belly swelled out a couple more inches, bulging over the waist of his pants.

He smirked. The only thing out of place was the trendy haircut, but the black ballcap with the Blue Jays logo took care of that.

Five minutes later, the garage door opened and the silver Camry drove out. Any neighbours watching likely recognized it as Adam’s, but had they looked closely, they would have seen it was driven by neither Adam nor Cassidy, but a burly, hairy giant they had never seen before.

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The drive into the city was pretty brisk at that time of night. Finding parking downtown, however, was a Herculean labour. It was almost midnight by the time he was walking down Church Street.

He wanted to make a sprint for his destination before all the action dried up. That was a Cassidy thing to do, though, so he resisted the instinct. He was Butch. Butch was cool, calm, impossible to ruffle.

From the top of the stairs to Woody’s, a pink-haired drag queen threw up her hands and screamed. “Butch! Sup, hon? Why don’t ya come inside, tell ole Velveeta where you been all this time, mmm? Won’t that be nice?”

Butch chuckled. “Not tonight, Vel.” He caught the kiss she blew him in his hand and thumped his chest, which resounded with a thick smack.

Two tanned gym rats were standing outside Sailor, smoking cigarettes and shivering in the cold. When the one with his hair bleached blonde saw him, his eyes went wide. “Butch! Holy shit, dude this is Butch!” His taller buddy had his black hair slicked back and a thin silver chain nestled in his pec cleavage, exposed by a deep v-neck.

Butch grinned and nodded. “Hey Raph.”

“This is Butch?” Raph’s tall friend asked skeptically, eyeing Butch up and down, apparently unimpressed.

Raph narrowed his gaze, smacking his friend in the chest with his backhand. “Have some fucking respect!” He brightened as he turned to Butch. “Fuck bro I thought you moved to Vancouver. You comin in?”

Butch shook his head apologetically. “Sorry bud I’m partying at the Eagle tonight.”

Raph looked crestfallen. “Naw, dude, lemme buy you a beer.”

“Next time, Raph,” Butch chuckled as he waved them goodbye.

“Hope it’s soon, yo,” Raph called back before continuing to admonish his friend.

Next up was Flash where some twinks were milling around, too distracted by sharing youtube videos from their phones to pay him any attention. He didn’t recognize any of them anyway.

Beyond that, the prize was in sight. Nestled amongst the cheerfully coloured storefronts of the Village and rainbow flags festooning the streetlights was the Black Eagle, a black and featureless square building like a lump of coal in a basket of easter eggs. The blacked out windows made it even more foreboding, but for the crowd it catered to, that only drove them wild.

The two bouncers standing outside completed the image. One he recognized, Daniel, stood as tall as Butch, was bald, black, and packed with muscle. He was tightlipped, which was unfortunate because whenever he did speak he revealed a deep Caribbean accent that rolled off his tongue like a slow moving river of honey. His companion did enough talking for the both of them. Nearly a foot shorter than Daniel, he was wider and thicker, a buzzcut of his dark hair connecting to a short beard. He was built like an offseason bodybuilder, with a pair of big round pecs on top of a huge roid gut. Any more size on him and he would have been straining his black T-shirt, already probably a double extra large.

Butch grinned. Seemed like a good place to start. As he closed the final few paces, he sent out one link to Daniel, who idly scratched his elbow, and a second to the other bouncer, who was ranting to Daniel about how he would have done the finale to Breaking Bad.

“So Todd has a gun on Skye, right? And then…” he stopped as he noticed Butch turning in. “Hold up, big guy. Arms out.”

Daniel held up his arm. “Leave him be, boy. He won’t be troublin.” He crossed his arms again and cocked his head. “Don’t take nothin’ personal, Butch. Cliff 'ere’s just… enthused.”

Butch shrugged. “Been havin some trouble here, Daniel?”

Daniel shook his head. “Nothin we can’t handle. Boys try an’ sneak in drinks, is all.”

Changing someone while he wasn’t looking at them was a skill he hadn’t had ample opportunity to try, and whenever he changed Adam, he could never muster the strength of will to tear his gaze away. Even thinking about it now, Butch found his cock stirring. But tonight wasn’t about causing a commotion, he just wanted to go for a little field trip. He nodded, listening to Daniel, but focusing on Cliff.

Butch chuckled. “I can’t imagine anything gets past you, man.” He turned towards Cliff, who was scratching his stomach with a suspicious look on his face. “Hey, I’m Butch.” He stuck out his hand, smiling to himself.

Cliff had swollen even thicker. Not by much, but enough to push the limits of his shirt. Cliff swallowed awkwardly, shaking the outstretched hand while tugging at his collar. “Cliff.”

Now that Butch had Cliff’s attention, he shifted his focus back to Daniel. “Been at the Eagle long?”

“Just a few weeks. New in town,” Cliff answered, glancing briefly at Daniel, then doing a double take.

“Well I’m late enough as it is,” Butch sighed, turning back to Daniel, who now stood an inch taller. He clapped him on his solid shoulder. “Nice seein ya.”

Daniel merely nodded, going back to silent mode, as Butch walked past them, up the steps into the bar. He glanced back to see Cliff eyeing his coworker up and down with uncertainty, and allowed himself a smirking chuckle before he severed the links. He couldn’t afford a repeat of the Jamie visit. As much as he’d love to see Daniel towering over a Cliff swollen with brawn, it invited attention he wasn’t ready to attract.

The bar was dimly lit and pumping electronic music that no one was dancing to. It was only Wednesday, so the bar wasn’t as packed as it could be, and of those who were there, only a few had bothered to get out their full costumes, but two older patrons standing at a table near the entrance were fully decked out. The fat bear of the two with a greying goatee had a leather police hat, and a thick leather jacket worn open to expose his otherwise bare chest and bulbous beer gut, which, at a wink from Butch, got a few inches more bulbous as he took a long draw from his pint. His smaller friend looked Filipino, was bald and wore a laced up leather shirt, and chaps over a jockstrap. Butch watched him open his mouth with a start as the jockstrap suddenly became tighter around a bigger dick.

The bear put his beer down, scratching at his belly with a belch. “You ok?”

His friend adjusted himself. “Hmm? Yeah, yeah…”

Butch smiled as he brushed past them on his way to the bar. Attending it was Tyson, bright-eyed twentysomething otter, his harness exposing his lean hairy torso, carefully manscaped to look like it hadn’t been manscaped. He finished serving his customer and turned to Butch, his eyes twinkling as he shook his swooping bangs from in front of them. He had accessorized with spiked bracers and collar.

“Holy shit, Butch, I thought I’d never see you again,” he laughed, leaning across the bar to give him a one-armed hug. “Christ. Everyone said you moved to Vancouver.”

Butch laughed. “I don’t know how these things get started.”

Tyson poured two shots of Jameson and picked up the one nearest him. “Welcome back, man.”

Butch picked up his shot and clinked it against Tyson’s. “Thanks. Great to be here.”

They knocked it back in unison, and Tyson smacked his lips. “So what’ll it be?”

“Let’s start with a Tankhouse. It’s still on draught, right?”

Tyson nodded and went to pull him the pint. Maybe too slim for the regulars’ tastes, Tyson had established a well-earned reputation for going home after every shift with one of the tourists who drifted in mostly out of curiosity. Butch wanted so much to buff Tyson up right there, have that harness snap off him, but he knew that would be far too noticeable. To Tyson’s credit, he only started for an instant as his cock lengthened three inches down his leg, and didn’t even spill any beer.

Butch put a bill on the bar as Tyson returned, walking a little wider but otherwise unfazed. “Hey I saw Tahar earlier. I know he’d love to see you.” He set down the beer and collected the cash.

“Nice,” Butch nodded. “Thanks.” He nodded, sipped his beer, and turned away before Tyson could return and insist on awkwardly giving him back his change. He glanced around the bar. A few he recognized, though he didn’t know well enough to approach. No sign of Tahar. Most were couples or groups of three, though the lone exception was a blonde guy in khakis and a thin V-neck sweater, striped black and white. It looked like he had gotten lost on the way to his frat house. He had neat, casually-styled golden hair, blue eyes, and a boyish face, leaning his butt against barstool, sipping the last few drops from a bottle of Stella Artois, and desperately trying not to look like a kitten at a doberman convention. His eyes darted around the bar, as if he expected at any minute someone would approach him and ask him to leave. When he spotted Butch looking at him, his eyes went wide and he took a gulp from what was evidently an empty bottle, then turned around, leaning on an elbow the bar and waving Tyson over. Butch lowered his gaze to the khaki-covered ass he was sticking out behind him. Not bad, but could use some improvement, as his butt swelled a couple of inches rounder. He didn’t seem to notice, trading smiles with Tyson. Butch smirked, hoping they had a fun night together as he made his way up the stairs to the rooftop patio.

He heard voices as he neared the top. “… you don’t have to settle for these creeps, man.”

“Yeah, Brent, you could do so much better, seriously.”

“Fucking christ. It’s not settling!”

It was still cold and the middle of the week, so while the patio was opened, no one was at the bar, and the only people up there were three university kids that fell silent as Butch crested the top of the stairs. All jocks in the early twenties, by the look of them, though one was particularly thicker, with the early makings of a muscle gut stretching out his Blackhawks hoodie. Butch nodded to them and turned to go back down, but paused on the stairs once he was out of sight, leaning on the handrail, sipping his Tankhouse.

“So wait, you’re telling me you actually think these fatass pedos are, like, sexy?”

One of them chuckled.

“Dude, give me a fucking break. You don’t go to bars to hook up with kids. They’re all adults down there.”

“Look, man, I’m totally cool with you being gay, right?”

“Yeah man, you got our full support.”

“But this stuff is weird. I’m not trying to be a dick, all right? But like, what, you’re gonna bring home some… fifty-year-old leather daddy to meet your folks?”

Butch looked down at his beer. As much as he wanted to turn these assholes into the fattest, hairiest guys at the bar, he knew he wouldn’t being doing Brent up there any favours. Man, what a downer. He drained the last of his pint and went down the stairs for another.

Tyson slid over to collect his glass, which put a grin back on Butch’s face. “Who’s One Tree Hill over there?” he nodded towards the blonde.

Tyson’s face reddened. “I know, right? I think he took a wrong turn on his way to a Frank and Oak shoot.” He grabbed the empty glass. “Another?”

Butch nodded, and Tyson poured him another, glancing at the blonde, who was checking his phone. Tyson was grinning ear to ear as he brought Butch his pint.

“Play safe, Tyson,” he chuckled as he handed him a bill. Tyson blushed and winked.

Butch was about to wander back around the bar when he felt an arm slide around his shoulder. He smiled.

“Well well well,” Tahar slid into the empty barstool next to him. “You got some explaining to do, buster.”

Butch glanced over, relieved to see a smile on his face. Tahar was in his mid-forties, and was a total knockout. Forest-green eyes, caramel skin, a cleft chin and a wide smile that dimpled his cheeks. He had a meticulously refined look to him. His slowly graying hair was worn in a high, dense faux-hawk, and he always wore silk shirts, this one a dark blue-grey, left open to reveal his defined pecs, with sleeves that hugged tight to his thick arms. Tahar worked out obsessively and was in fantastic shape, but his type was a big burly bear; the fatter the better.

Butch sighed. “Glad you’re here, Tahar.”

Tahar chuckled, wagging a finger, “Oh no no no no no,” he shook his head. “Where the hell have you been, asshole?”

“Quebec,” he answered.

“Everyone said Vancouver.”

“Quebec,” he shook his head. “Had a run from Huntsville to a town called Fermont, way out east. Occupied most of my time the last few months.”

“If by few you mean, like, eight.”

“Six, tops.”

Tahar rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” he leaned on the bar with a sigh. “Why’d I have to fall for the only bear with no phone or Facebook or fucking anything?”

“Ah, I don’t go in for that crap,” Butch took a swig from his pint. “You wouldn’t like me so much if I did.”

“I’m sure all the phone sex would counterbalance that,” Tahar smiled, drinking from his bottle of Keith’s. “Doesn’t get lonely on the road?”

“Course it does,” Butch shrugged. “You find company every now and then. Don’t tell me you’re coming off a six month dry spell.”

Tahar smiled coquettishly. “I never kiss and tell.”

Butch snorted. “Oh sure, but you just dive straight into fucking and can’t shut up about it.”

Overhearing at the taps, Tyson stifled a laugh. Tahar tried to look insulted but looked mostly amused. He wiped perspiration off his beer bottle and flicked the drops into Butch’s face. He chuckled, draining his pint, and pushing himself to his feet. “Order me another pint, will ya? I gotta drain the lizard.”

Butch walked into the restroom to catch Cliff checking himself out in the mirror as he flexed. The burly bouncer played it off like it weren’t no thang, dropping his pose and nodding to Butch. “Sup?” he greeted gruffly, before shouldering past him and out the door.

Butch brought himself up to a urinal and took out his cock. As he started to piss, he wondered about Tahar. What would he be open to? How would he react to-

“I said fine! Just let me take a piss; Jesus!” the door swung open and the burly college kid Brent stomped in, stopping short when he saw Butch already there. Butch glanced over then turned politely back to the wall.

Brent heaved a sigh and approached the urinal two down from Butch, and maneuvered his dick out. As surreptitiously as he could muster, Butch looked him over. He had a hefty build, filled out his hoodie and his jeans nicely. His sandy hair was in an innocuous crewcut that could use a trim, but he had a cute face and slate-coloured eyes. Butch considered pumping him up some, but judging by those poor excuses for wingmen, Brent wouldn’t be seeing any action tonight, so it would be almost a taunt to give him some temporary size. Although…

Butch raised an eyebrow. He did need the practice. Obviously with himself and Adam, he had been cautious to make sure the changes would wear off, so he’d never had any chance to try the permanent technique. It would take more effort, but… he had seemingly already projected a link to Brent before he made up his mind.

Brent gasped as he felt his cock growing in his hands. Still soft, issuing a steady stream of piss, but somehow plumping up, and his balls following suit. He glanced furtively over at Butch, who kept his gaze firmly fixated on the Polar Ice vodka ad in front of his urinal. Had he been less preoccupied, Brent might have noticed that Butch had stopped peeing.

As Brent was convincing himself he was just imagining things—more realistically than he had ever experienced—his chest suddenly started to pump up. He looked down and saw it expanding. He held his breath to make sure it wasn’t just his breathing, and sure enough, his already commendable pecs were inflating. What’s more he heard them, felt them getting bigger. He realized he had stopped peeing, and stuffed his cock back into his pants as he noticed his sleeves were tighter around biceps that had gained at least an inch, maybe two.

Butch heaved a sigh, put his dick away and turned to the sink. He wiped a copious amount of sweat from his brow, wet his hands, and wiped them off on his jeans, not even bothering with the air drier, and quickly left the bathroom, and avoiding looking at Brent at all costs.

Back in the bar proper, Butch let himself catch his breath. Fuck, that had taken a lot out of him. If permanently applying even minor transformations was this taxing, he could only imagine what a major one would do to him. He definitely needed more practice, which wasn’t going to be easy to accomplish without anyone noticing. If Adam went ahead with what he was planning, it wasn’t going to be as easy as Cassidy had first surmised. He would worry about that later, though. Right now, Butch had Tahar to worry about. He slowed his breathing, wiped the sweat off his face, and returned to the bar.

Tahar was strumming his fingers next to two shots of whiskey. He smirked as Butch pushed his way past a couple of leather-clad lesbians. “What, did you…” he narrowed his gaze. “Hey man are you all right?”

Butch nodded absently as he maneuvered back into the barstool. “That ain’t a brew.”

“Seriously, Butch, you look really flushed.”

Butch shook his head. “I just went up to the patio to get some air. That bathroom fucking reeks.”

“Oh,” the concern dissolved out of his voice, “well anyway, I decided to change your mind for you, because I was kinda hoping you’d be into getting out of here. I wa—” there was a swell in the bass just as the woman next to Buch let out a shrill cackle pretty much right in his ear, drowning out whatever he said.

“What?” asked Butch.

Tahar leaned in, touching his cheek to Butch’s as he shouted in his ear. “I want you all to myself!”

With his back to them and his hands full trying to mix a Manhattan, it was all Tyson could do to stifle his laughter.

Butch chuckled softly as he watched Brent stagger out the front door, dazed and confused.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tahar didn’t live far so they chatted as they walked. Tahar had been seeing someone for a few months. They had broken up around Christmas. He was too young, and in the closet, and Portuguese, which was a recipe Tahar described as “inherently doomed.” Plus, he claimed, “most cubs aren’t that committed,” and he groped Butch’s ass.

He got a little broken up when he talked about his sister, who was still in Lebanon and whose husband had died in August of a pulmonary embolism. He had wanted to go back to help her out, but his lawyer had told him it was a bad idea.

There was no elevator in Tahar’s building but his bachelor apartment was only on the second floor. It was an open concept space. Tahar was a pretty good decorator and had managed to class it up quite a bit, giving it a bold coat of paint and decorating it with ultra-modern furniture. Cassidy’s only criticism was that it lacked a couch of any kind, but that wasn’t the kind of thing Butch worried about.

Butch got himself undressed while Tahar disappeared to his kitchen. He was already hard, so climbed into Tahar’s luxurious bed and over sateen sheets of Egyptian cotton—all terms Butch’s vocabulary lacked—and stroked himself. Tahar had seemingly been on a similar wavelength, returning to the bedroom with a small cutting board holding two shots of tequila, two lemon wedges, and a salt shaker. His other hand had a half-full bottle of Trago Silver, which he was rubbing against the erect penis standing out from his svelte, sparsely fuzzy, completely naked body. Tahar set the bottle on the nightstand and Butch took the cutting board to hold it steady while Tahar climbed in next to him. They licked, drank, and bit the salt, shot, and lemon. Tahar set the cutting board on the nightstand next to the bottle, shut off the lamp, and turned back to kiss Butch.

Butch ran his hand down Tahar’s side, feeling his muscles shifting beneath his velvety skin. When he got to his hips he pressed his hand against the small of Tahar’s back, and felt his abs pressing into his hairy belly. Tahar glided his leg up and over Butch’s, locking their knees together and rolling his body against him, gasping for air between long, deep kisses, licking grains of salt and drops of sour lemon from the inside of his mouth.

Butch pushed Tahar onto his back, rolling on top of him, knowing how much he loved having Butch’s substantial weight pressing down on him. Tahar moaned into him, groping Butch’s belly before massaging his way around to his ass, which he squeezed hard enough to elicit a wince. Butch chuckled, and sat up, running his hands up and down Tahar’s thighs, sticky with a whisper of sweat.

Tahar turned around onto his stomach, and began reaching over for his nightstand, but Butch leaned over. “I got it.” He opened the drawer, feeling around for the green box of Trojans right where they always were. He fished one out and unwrapped it, tossing the sleeve onto the floor and affixing it to the tip of his cock. Tahar raised his smooth round ass into the air, rubbing it against Butch’s testicles. Butch glanced over, making sure Tahar wasn’t looking, and shuddered briefly as his hard cock got another inch bigger to a full seven. He grinned as he unfurled the condom down his shaft, hugging tightly. Tahar moaned beneath him. Butch rose up on his knees, hefted his big belly, bounced his big pecs.

Fuck, he thought, I love being Butch. So big, so cool, so tough. Everybody loves Butch, everyone wants to hang out with Butch and be his friend. He’s so hot and masculine, and everyone wants to bottom for him.

He looked down at Tahar, grinding his ass up against him, begging to get fucked by Butch. He’d never beg Cassidy. He ran his cock down Tahar’s crack and began to push into his expectant asshole. Tahar gasped, and pulled himself up on his hands. Butch leaned his belly down on Tahar’s back as he pulled out a bit before pushing in deeper. Tahar pushed back, climbing up the headboard, the muscles of his arm straining under Butch’s weight. He rolled his hips backwards against Butch, forcing his cock to the hilt. Butch began to pump and pump and pump and Tahar replied to each with a grunt. He freed one hand from the headboard to start jacking himself off. Butch roved his hands around him, one clutching at Tahar’s abs while the other played with his balls. Soon they were both grunting, almost in unison.

“Aww FUCK!” Tahar cried as he came in his hand and clenched his ass around Butch’s fat cock. Butch grunted loudly through clenched teeth a few seconds later as he came. He felt the liquid fireworks of pleasure spiralling up from his crotch and down from his brain, oozing warmth into every corner of his massive frame.

Tahar let go of the heaboard and let himself fall into a slump on his side, pulling off from Butch’s cock in the process. He peeled the condom off and tossed it onto the floor, then lowered himself beside Tahar, wiping his cum-slick dick across Tahar’s thigh.

Tahar chuckled. “Mmmm you’re so fucking dirty.”

“That doesn’t sound like a complaint,” Butch groaned.

“I fucking love it.” Tahar leaned over, and began pouring a shot.

Butch glanced over. “Fuck, man, you’re nuts.”

Tahar knocked it back. “You want one?”


Tahar poured the shot in the same glass and spilled a few drops on the way over. Butch took it and downed it, making a face. Tahar laughed and returned the glass to the table.

Butch settled down on his side behind Tahar, draping an arm over his torso. Tahar’s hand twisted into his. “So… are go gonna be around, like, for a while or…?”

Butch exhaled through his nose on the back of Tahar’s neck. “It’s unpredictable. I don’t know.”

Tahar nodded. “Yeah, I know.”

Butch fought to keep his eyes open. He really didn’t need that last shot. Consciousness slipped away from him so fast he could swear he heard Tahar say something before he was completely asleep, but it was like an echo being shouted up a long stairwell. He couldn’t really understand it.

It may have been “I love you.”

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Brent held his flex in his bicep for as long as he could and pulled the tape tight. Just over twenty inches. Same as the last three times. He relaxed his arm and let the measuring tape go loose. His eyes fell back on his reflection.

Brent was a recently out gay university student who was training to be a linebacker next year and had minor body issues. He knew his body well. He had measured just this morning and his arms had been eighteen then. Even then, he was being generous. At least two inches over the course of twenty-four when he hadn’t even lifted that day. The measuring tape—and the scale that reported he had gained fourteen pounds—just confirmed what he already knew, though. He glanced to either entrance to the common bathroom in his residence. It was four in the morning on a Wednesday but there was always a risk of being interrupted but he didn’t have a mirror in his room and using the mirror app on his phone hadn’t illuminated very much.

He looked awesome. Brent was on the husky side, and he still was, but the muscles beneath had been pumped up a notch. He had a defined valley in his pecs now, and a pronounced vein across his biceps whenever he flexed. Even his traps and lats were more prominent. He looked completely different. Not to mention… he glanced down at the reflection of his loaded bulge. At least two inches there, too, though he hadn’t given it a full examination at full mast and wasn’t going to risk THAT in the common bathroom.

He had changed in the bathroom at the Black Eagle. As little sense as it made he couldn’t deny what he was seeing. He’d sobered up on the way back and hadn’t been that drunk to begin with. He had felt it happening. It had happened.

Could Mahtab have been telling the truth? Magic? It was just so nuts. The things she said she was able to do weren’t anything like this, but she said there were others too. Brent sighed. He had always stuck to his guns that Mahtab was crazy and that he was justified in cutting off ties. If she was right, though…

How insane was it that the most reasonable explanation was magic? If that was true—and it was still a big “if”—then the only question left was… why? Not who, though. There wasn’t anyone else around, it was obvious. It was that gigantic guy with the huge gut and the Jays cap.


Part 5: Blake

Blake had just chugged two Stellas but was stone sober. His guts were tied up in knots so tight he thought maybe nothing was getting through. Christ, what a terrible idea.

Every time you decide to go on a little solo adventure it just fizzles out into nothing, he reminded himself. What, you’re going to fuck one of these guys? Kim and Nat were right.

Blake looked around the room and sighed. He wouldn’t know where to begin. Plus at the Black Eagle he stuck out like a sore thumb that had been painted neon. This was not a khaki crowd, and his white Lacoste shoes might as well have been glowing n the dim lighting. Everyone’s looking at me, he convinced himself. They don’t want me in here. Although as he frantically cast his eyes about the bar, careful not to linger too long because he thought he might give the wrong impression, it looked as if no one was paying him any attention at all.

He turned and inadvertently locked eyes with one of the biggest guys he’d ever seen, a towering giant with a huge belly and a big bushy beard, crowned with a worn-out Blue Jays cap. His black tank was hugging his swarthy torso tight, and his beard framed a handsome face with a strangely mischievous smile. Fuck, Blake thought, raising his bottle to his lips, that guy would break me in half.

Finding his bottle was empty, he gratefully spun around and leaned on the bar, signaling over the bartender.

Jesus Christ, Blake though—and not the first time that evening—this barboy is a total hunk.

Covered in fine hair, lean and graceful, the buckles on his harness tinkling with every casually measured move he made. He’s so hot; god, he’s fucking gorgeous.

Maybe diving right into a sea of bears from the slim, bitchy, dancehall queens he was used to wasn’t the best idea, but this guy shooting him smiles as he collected his empty was the perfect compromise. Blake sighed. He’s so cool, too. You can tell. I bet he—oh shit he’s talking to me.

“Wait, what?” Blake asked.

The barman chuckled. “Another?” he asked, wagging the empty Stella.

“Oh. Yes please.”

When the bartender bent over to get it out of the fridge, his leather pants stretched across his beautifully symmetrical butt and Blake sighed wistfully. He felt a strange sensation in his own ass, almost like it had flexed unbidden and… it was strange. Maybe it was just crying out for attention from this bartender’s…

whoa. As the lithe otter stood up from the fridge and turned around, Blake had to do a double take. His pants were doing little to conceal his hefty endowment. The bulge bounced with every step back to him.

The bartender caught him staring. “Ummm…”

Blake’s face flushed. “Oh my god I’m so sorry.”

He laughed. “No problem.”

Blake shook his head. “Sorry, I’m, just… a bit out of it I didn’t mean to…”

“Hey, seriously,” the bartender smiled, “don’t worry about it.” He popped off the cap and set the bottle down. “What’s your name?”

“Blake,” he answered, taking a swig.

“Tyson,” he pointed to himself with his thumb before grabbing some empties off the bartop. “First time here?”

Blake grimaced. “Is it that obvious?”

Tyson shrugged. “Just haven’t seen you before,” he pitched a rakish wink at Blake. “I would’ve noticed.” He turned as someone flagged him from the other end of the bar. “Just a sec.”

That smile was so perfect, it made Blake’s knees buckle. Tyson…he whispered it to himself. Man, he’s pure cool. Shit, am I getting hard? Briefly mortified, he shifted his hips a bit. No, still soft. His pants just seemed tighter for some reason.

Tyson returned with a shot. Blake looked up at him. “I didn’t, uhh…”

“It’s on me,” Tyson’s eyes sparkled in the dim light. “It’s a welcoming gift.”

“Thanks,” Blake took it in one gulp, but realized he should’ve smelled it first. He had assumed with was Jager for no reason but it turned out to be Jameson. He coughed.

“Whoa!” Tyson chucked, clapping him on the shoulder. “Easy, big guy.” He filled a rock glass with water and set it next to the Stella. Blake sipped it and coughed again, smiling apologetically. He stopped leaning on the bar and sat down on a stool, shifting his butt around on it. His ass felt so strange, tonight.

Tyson got someone a beer before going back to Blake. “Your night just getting started?”

Blake shook his head. “Nah I was just at Crews and Tango with some friends.”

“Oh,” Tyson looked a bit crestfallen. “They joining you?”

The image of Kim and Nathalie in the Black Eagle gave Blake a chuckle. “Haha, no they wouldn’t be caught dead here, they’re…”

Tyson held up his finger. “One sec.” He threw together a two vodka tonics with accompanying tequila shots and slid back in front of Blake with a sigh. “They wouldn’t be caught dead here, they’re…”

“I was gonna say something meaner than they deserve,” Blake sipped his beer. “They’re lesbians and a bit, umm…” Condescending? Inconsiderate? Sociopathic? “…pedestrian.”

Tyson laughed. “Ouch. You always this harsh?”

“I mean I guess they mean well,” Blake shrugged. “It’s just… it’s like they think if I’m not throwing myself at every… Adam Levine clone I see I’m… I dunno, wasting my time or something.” He took another draw from his bottle. “Y’know sometimes they’re great but sometimes I just… don’t think any of my friends understand me at all.” He paused ruefully, then remembered who he was talking to. Tyson had a plaintive half-smile on his face as he dried a pint glass.

Blake put his hand over one eye. “Jesus. I’m sorry I don’t know why I’m opening up like this.”

Tyson smiled. “Cuz you’re drunk, Princess.” He took the shot glass back, and sighed, whipping his bangs from his eyes. “Look, nobody ever understands each other all the time. No one’s a mind reader. Doesn’t make it an all-the-time thing.”

Blake looked up, splitting his fingers so he could see through them. “Do you always give out sagely barman advice.”

He laughed. “Comes with the territory.”

Blake stood up. “I’m gonna take a piss. Don’t go anywhere.”

“I guarantee you you will find me in this five foot radius.”

Blake turned and navigated the crowd to get to the bathroom, shouldering past a burly bear in a leather doublet and police cap. He pissed in a urinal, idly glancing backward at the mirror behind the sinks. His brow furrowed, and he looked again.

Man, he thought, my ass looks fucking fantastic tonight!

He was drunk, sure, but so drunk his imagination got the better of him. His khakis looked positively stretched over the two sculpted round globes stuffed into them. He bounced his butt up and down, almost giddy to see it responded. He finished peeing and put his cock away, giving another long look at the mirror before he turned around and washed his hands. Blake grinned at his reflection. Maybe it was something he ate or a bug bite or… Mercury in retrograde or something but whatever had clearly given his ass an upgrade, it couldn’t have happened on a better night.

Blake Ouilette, he congratulated himself with a silent nod at his reflection, you are a hot fucking man.

He returned to the bar to see Tyson chatting as he mixed a drink for a tall, middle aged bear with a beach ball belly framed by an open leather vest. Tyson smiled at Blake, and the bear followed his gaze and whistled.

“Well, Tyson, no one can accuse you of being inconsistent.”

Tyson threw up his hands in annoyed bewilderment. “What the fuck, Andy?”

The bear collected the mixed drink and the full pint next to it with a grumbling chortle that bounced his gut, “C’mon, Ty, if you’re gonna be a slut at least own it.” He laughed as he lumbered off.

Tyson wiped some spilled beer off the bar, smoldering for a moment. He brightened some as Blake took his stool back. “These guys like to act all alpha macho and shit but it doesn’t stop them gossiping like a bunch of thirteen-year-old cheerleaders.”

Blake put a ten dollar note on the bar. “Can I get another Stella?”

Tyson nodded, taking the bill. Blake leaned forward. “Hey. You don’t have to… like explain… or…”

“No I know, I just…” Tyson popped off the cap with a sigh. “Reputations, man.”

Blake took the bottle from him. “I don’t think you’re a slut.”

Tyson returned a halfhearted smile. “Thanks.”

Blake took a sip of beer, a little nervous about what he was about to do, but then he remembered the bubble butt he was sitting on and all his anxieties melted away. “But… we are gonna make out later, right?”

“Make out?” Tyson laughed. “You’ve been hanging out with those pedestrian lesbians too much.” He leaned in and gave Blake a peck on the cheek, and Blake felt Tyson’s hot breath on his neck as he said softly, “You and me are gonna fuck.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Blake leaned against the wall of the Black Eagle, inhaling off his vaporizer, looking back at the bulldozer of a bouncer who had been glaring at him for the last five minutes. He nodded in greeting. The bouncer gave him one of those up-nods. Blake didn’t know if they were called something else.

Tyson emerged from the front door shoving earbuds into backpack, having changed out of his leather accessories into a light blue tank and black jeans. With the denim jacket and backwards ball cap he looked like a whole different person. The taller, black bouncer followed out the door.

“No harness, eh?” Blake raised an eyebrow. “Y’know what? I’m gonna take off, have a good night man.”

Tyson giggled, punching him in the shoulder. “Fuck you.”


They both turned to see the bouncer who had been eyeing Blake suspiciously continue to eye him suspiciously. “You need me to walk you to the bus stop, Tyson?”

Tyson sighed. “We’re gonna grab a cab, but thanks Cliff!” He waved. “You guys have a good night.”

“See ya,” Cliff returned humourlessly. His colleague bid farewell with a silent, stoic nod.

Tyson rubbed Blake’s chest reassuringly. “Don’t mind him he’s new.”

Blake chuckled. “Doesn’t like my look?”

“Yeah maybe you should stick to your own kind at Buddies or, like… Starbucks.”

It was after three AM and streets were all but deserted. They flirt-bickered until they flagged a cab where they quieted down in the indifferent presence of the driver. Blake leaned back in his seat swimming pleasantly in his own fuzzy drunkenness, looking over at Tyson, who was looking over at him, and drinking in every detail of his impossibly perfect face. God, he thought, I am so fucking lucky.

Blake slid his hand onto Tyson’s thigh, causing his smile to widen.

Tyson insisted on paying for the cab. on the grounds: “You’ve been tipping me like a maniac all fucking night,” and Blake stumbled a bit getting out of the back, laughing at himself as he stood up and stretched, looking around. They were in a little roundabout which connected three towering apartment buildings. He tried to spot some kind of landmark but the apartments blocked the view in pretty much every direction.

Tyson thanked the driver as he backed out of the cab, slinging his backpack over his shoulders, and ducked into Blake’s elbow, holding it in place around his neck as he stood upright. “Steady as she goes, big guy.”

“Where are we?”

Tyson pointed to the street behind them, and then to the north. “That’s River Street; that’s Gerrard.”

They waited for the elevator next to an ancient little fat Greek lady, and it seemed to take forever. Blake slumped against a pillar and Tyson stood in front of him, dancing mildly to silent music and playing with the hem of his sweater.

Blake groaned. “Does this elevator always take this long?” he mumbled.

“Only when I’m horny,” Tyson answered without missing a beat.

The Greek lady pursed her lips but didn’t say anything. Finally the elevator dinged open and a girl came out with a cute little dachshund puppy who darted one by one to all their shoes, taking one sniff at each, before scrabbling for the lobby door.

Blake threw himself into a corner and Tyson stepped in front of him, before the wall of buttons. “Floor?”

“Nineteen,” the woman answered unsmiling, settling into the opposite corner. “Thank you.”

They got off at ten.

“Man it’s three in the morning,” Blake giggled quietly. “Where the hell was she coming from?”

Tyson’s apartment was tiny and a total mess. After a short hall with the only apparent closet space in the apartment was a small kitchen to the right consisting of a fridge, sink full of dirty dishes, and stove with no evident counterspace, and beyond that a bathroom. The rest of the apartment was a single room that had been divided by a curtain. The bedroom portion was a bed and nothing else, and the living room portion was a futon covered in a taupe afghan, side table, and TV. DVDs, video games, and books were crammed all mixed up with each other on a fairly vast array of shelves that covered every visible wall, and there were two foot piles of clothes scattered every few steps on the floor.

Tyson let Blake in and locked the door behind them. “Well, this is…”

He was interrupted as Blake took the backpack off him from behind, spun him around, shoved him against the door, and slammed his tongue into his mouth. Their lips stayed locked together as Blake slid his jacket off, but they had to break off to take off each other’s shirts, kicking off their shoes as they did so. Tyson leaned forward and clacked his teeth in front of Blake’s nose, then whisked down the hall, sliding out of his jeans as he did. Blake was out of his khakis in record time, and took off his socks as he followed him. He found Tyson already splayed naked on the futon, grinning and rubbing his half-hard cock. He threw his hat at Blake but it didn’t even come close.

Blake climbed on top of him, and Tyson received him with both arms, pulling him down and kissing him as they rubbed thighs against each other. Blake ran his hand up Tyson’s torso, feeling his fine hair in his fingers, the taut flesh beneath, the hint of sweat. He ran his thumb over the stiff nipple and then departed to stroke his hard cock.

“Oh god, man, this dick is fucking legendary,” Blake smiled.

Tyson chuckled. “You’re such a fag.” He moaned as Blake descended with another kiss, rubbing his back and hooking their ankles together. Tyson hesitated for a moment, and glanced down. “Holy shit my dick is huge!”

Blake laughed, letting go of his cock for a second. “You’re surprised?”

Tyson grinned. “You must make me harder than usual.”

“Yeah, you probably say that to all the girls.”

“Probably be a loose fit anyhow,” Tyson clapped his hands on Blake’s supple cheeks. “Boy as cute as you with an ass like that? In a town like this? Mmmph,” he bit his lip, shaking his head. “I saw that thing bouncing away to the bathroom and was like ‘oh, that’s mine.’”

Blake moaned and took Tyson’s head in both hands. “So shut the fuck up and take it.” He kissed him again. Tyson had freshly applied deodorant before he left the bar but the long night had taken its toll regardless. Whenever he got close Blake could smell his musk, and it was driving him wild.

Tyson pushed him up so he could bend over the side of the futon and grab a box of condoms from beneath it, fidgeting one out of its wrapper. Blake filled the time by grinding his cock and balls against Tyson’s ass, kissing the base of his neck and shoulder blades.

Tyson returned but before he could apply his condom Blake pulled him upright, then straddled across his lap, his knees at his hips. He leaned up, running the tip of his erect cock up Tyson’s sternum, leaving a slug trail of pre on his hair. Tyson reached behind him, and worked the condom over his cock. He grunted and winced. “Fuck that’s tight.”

Blake chuckled through a moan as he bent down and kissed Tyson on the top of his head. His scalp smelled like dust and coconut.

There was a final rubbery stretch and a snap of elastic. “Ah!” Tyson gasped with a start. “There we go.” He slid his hands up Blake’s thighs and massaged his ass. They moaned in unison and giggled. Tyson guided him back, and Blake drew up his knees, planting his feet on either side of Tyson’s hips as he felt his thick, throbbing dick sliding along his crack.

Blake held his breath as he felt Tyson begin to enter him, trying to keep his ass from flexing of its own accord. They both let out a moaning sigh as Blake lowered himself onto it. Tyson took Blake’s dick in his hand, giving it a squeeze before rubbing it between his fingertips and thumb. Blake put one hand on Tyson’s shoulder, reached back and put the other on his knee, and began lifting himself up and down on his cock.

Christ, Blake thought to himself, this is one of the biggest dongs I’ve ever had in me. His own dick was hard as a rock, throbbing in Tyson’s hand with every bliss-soaked breath he took.

Tyson’s mouth hung open, looking up at Blake through fluttering eyelids. His free hand gripped the afghan, his strokes on Blakes dick sticky with pre. Blake looked down at him, took his hand from Tyson’s shoulder to run his fingers down the side of his face. Fuck, he was gorgeous.

Blake was so lost in the moment that he had already started cumming before he realized it, splashing strings of semen across Tyson’s hairy chest. Tyson convulsed and grunted through clenched teeth as Blake felt him release within him. He flexed his ass around Tyson’s softening cock, leaning forward and resting his forehead against Tyson’s as they mutually descended from their climaxes.

When Blake began to slump sleepily off him, Tyson maneuvered himself to lie on his side across the futon with Blake in front of him, both resting their heads on the armrest as their faces dominated each other’s view. Tyson had a little acne scar on the side of his nose, what looked like a tiny white scar in the centre of his chin, and archipelagos of barely visible freckles floating on the outside of his eyes.

They lay there for a while, drifting in and out of half-sleep, until the windows began to brighten with a hazy pre-dawn glow.

Blake leaned in. “I should go.”

Tyson moaned, drawing up his shoulders and squinting out of sleepy eyes. “Yeah?”

Blake nodded, and rolled off the futon onto the floor with a thud. Tyson reached out. “Hey.”

Blake smiled, took his hand in his and daintily kissed it. “Hey.” He stood up and went about collecting his clothes, dressing as he went.

Tyson sat up, leaned over to grab his jeans off the floor and searched through the pockets. “Gimme your number.”

Blake rhymed off the digits as he buckled up his belt, and watched Tyson sit naked and crosslegged as he saved them into his iphone. “Text me so I can get yours.”

“Will do,” Tyson slipped into his briefs and stood as Blake retrieved his sweater from a pile by the door.

“Hey,” Tyson came up behind him and turned him around, leaving his hands on his hips. “I wanna see you again.”

Blake leaned down and kissed him. “Good. You doing anything this weekend?”

Tyson smiled, eyes sparkling. “I think I’m off Sunday. I’ll let you know.”

Blake kissed him again and turned to leave. “Be in touch. Take it easy.”

“Hey,” Tyson turned him back around, and hesitated. “I mean it. I like you. I had a lot of fun tonight.”

“I got that impression,” Blake grinned. He pulled him close and kissed him long and deep, getting a final dose of his scent. Smell of sweat and grapefruit. Taste of whiskey and hot peppers. He pulled his lips away and touched his forehead against Tyson’s. “I like you too.”

Blake turned out of his arms and opened the door. “Sunday. Maybe.”

Tyson smiled. “Night, Blake,” and closed the door after him. Blake heard the deadbolt clack into place.

The air was cold outside but there was no wind and with the birds chirping and the sun warming the eastern horizon and having just been so splendidly fucked by a gloriously beautiful stud, Blake felt like he was basking on a hot summer day. He fished his vaporizer out of his back pocket and felt his phone vibrate. He inhaled as he checked the message.

Unknown number. “Get home safe.”

That raised a good question. It was still too early for the streetcars and Blake was pretty sure there was no Blue Light bus on Gerrard. He was hoping to avoid a taxi but… he brought up chrome on his phone and checked to see how long it would take to walk to the Annex.

Out of nowhere, Blake felt a sudden pressure in his stomach. Almost like he had been punched or… it was like something was pulling his guts inward. And it was still going… maybe he was drunker than he’d thought.

His phone slipped out of his hand. It had just suddenly got strangely cumbersome. The vaporizer fumbled its way out of his fingers too.

“What the fuck,” he muttered aloud, and went to pick them up but got a strange head rush that almost brought him to his knees. He took a step forward and his shoe slipped off his foot. He looked back at it and it looked two sizes too big for him. It wasn’t until he felt his pants sliding off that he saw the hem of his sweater hanging loose off him, sliding lower and lower down his pants.

“What the fuck?!”

He was shrinking. It had started slow but was going faster now. He tried to run back to the apartment but his pants fell down and tripped him up around his knees. As he caught himself in the ground, he saw his sweater sleeves hanging off his arms like a loose robe. He cried out but it was getting faster and faster. His sleeves crumpled around his diminishing arms, legs sliding out of his pants and leaving his socks within. His sweater was becoming a thick awkward blanket that weighed heavy on his back. His arms gave out and he fell onto his chest. His sweater billowed out over his head, smothering him. He squirmed forward. It was so hard to breathe. He found the collar, grunted with exertion as he lifted it and stuck his head out, trying to gulp down mouthfuls of air.

The last thing he saw before he lost consciousness was the monstrous silhouette of a gigantic hand, blocking out the sky as it rushed towards him.


Part 6: Tahar

There was a dimly glowing ember of consciousness left in him that made it seem like he had never actually gone to sleep at all. He was so hungover he thought he might be paralyzed. As sensation crept back into his leaden limbs, he almost wished he was. Everything was aching. God, what the hell had he even done last night?

He remembered… driving? It was too patchy and indistinct. What he was doing barely constituted thinking. He resolved to get himself some water to soothe his dry and aching tongue.

Cassidy swung his legs over the bed, and realized as he set his feet down on Tahar’s faux fur throw rug that he wasn’t at home. As he reached for underwear far too big for him, it all came crashing back chased by an intense headache that lanced through his brain, and he remembered he had spent the night as Butch. Seeing his own skinny arm, he further realized that he returned to his usual form as he slept.

Tahar shifted in bed, and Cassidy froze. He had a change of clothes in the car, but everything here would slide right off of him. Tahar’s alarm clock informed him it was almost seven AM. If he changed now, he’d be stuck as Butch all day. Just the thought of trying to concentrate only made his headache worse. He wouldn’t have tried to change anyone in his state, and doing it to himself was only more difficult. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but one thing was certain. He had to get out of this apartment as soon as possible. He could figure everything else out later; leaving was red hot priority number one.

He quietly lifted off the bed and crouched, collecting his clothes. But as he picked up his jeans, he grabbed only one leg and they unfolded and flopped to the floor, the heavy metal belt buckle (an ox skull design) clattering noisily against the hardwood floor.

Tahar groaned and sat up. “Hey, everything…?” he switched on his bedside lamp and groggily rubbed his eye, then started in shock at the diminutive skinny kid standing hunched over and naked in his apartment, wide eyed and terrified.

“What the… who… BUTCH?!” He turned and shouted into the apartment, pulling his covers over himself.

Cassidy dropped the clothes and held up his hands. “Wait, look, just gimme a second.”

Tahar sat up and drew himself back, looking fearfully at Cassidy as he tried to search the apartment. “BUTCH?!” he shouted louder

“Hold on. Look,” Cassidy stammered. “Butch isn’t coming.”

Tahar paled. He yanked open the door on his nightstand, but failed to find anything appropriate, so instead he picked his lamp up off the table, rearing it over his head. The cord snapped out of the wall and darkness fell upon them again. “What did you do with Butch!”

“Tahar!” Cassidy hesitated a moment, but it was all he could do. “Tahar, it’s me!”

“Who the fuck are you?” Tahar faked a throw, and Cassidy drew back with a flinch.

“I know it sounds crazy, Tahar, but it’s Butch! I’m Butch!”

He could hear desperate fear tightening Tahar’s voice. “What the fuck are you talking about? Who are you?”

“Your name is Tahar Mazoud, you’re forty-five, you were born in Lebanon and came to Canada with your boyfriend Samuel ten years ago and you were going to get married but he, like, kept putting it off and eventually you broke up and he moved to Seattle.”

Tahar had narrowed his gaze but said nothing. Cassidy licked his lips and went on. “The first time we met was three years ago at… like a Pitbull thing at the Eagle. We sucked each other’s cocks in an alley and we were gonna go further but we slipped on some grime and you like, smacked your head on a fire escape and started bleeding and it kinda nixed the mood. But then we hooked up over Pride which was only like a week or two later. You were seeing a younger guy… something like Kyle or David or something. He was being a total dick to you and you called him to tell him it was over while we waited for the elevator. This was at your first apartment, the grungy one at King and Dufferin.”

Tahar has slowly lowered the lamp until it was resting on his lap. “How do you know all that?”

“I told you…” Cassidy sighed. “I’m Butch.”

“That’s bullshit,” Tahar shook his head.

“It’s not,” Cassidy insisted. “Look, I can explain everything to you, I swear. I can prove it too just not like… Oh my god I’m just so hungover.” He massaged his brow.

Tahar plugged the lamp back in and it flickered to life. He peered at Cassidy intensely. His eyes were the same, Cassidy knew. He hoped Tahar could see it. Tahar set the lamp down on the table. “I’m forty-four.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

Tahar paused, and sighed. “Who are you?”

“I’ll tell you,” Cassidy nodded. “I’ll tell you everything.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The alarm on Drew’s cell phone erupted with a blast of mid-era Peter Gabriels and he swiped it off with a sigh. Jamie turned over next to him, pulling the duvet off his shoulder. Drew let him have it, throwing off the covers and sitting up. He yawned, stood, stretched, scratched his ass, yawned again, and grabbed some clothes out of the dresser before departing to the bathroom.

Oprah nuzzled his ankles affectionately until he turned on the shower, then she bolted out the open door.

Drew stepped into the hot shower and thought about how it was supposed to rain all week and how he should probably wear a jacket. Then he thought about the sex they had had last night.

Drew had thought it was so hot. Jamie had given him a massage during the end of The French Connection which had progressed into a makeout session during the credits. Drew sucked Jamie off on the couch, and though he stayed hard, Jamie never came. They took it into the bedroom where they sucked, stroked, and fucked for ninety minutes straight. Drew managed to cum twice. Jamie, though…

He didn’t know how to bring it up. Maybe you should talk to someone? Maybe we can get some pills? Fuck. There was no way to frame that conversation in a way that didn’t make him look weak, at least from Jamie’s perspective. He had a lot invested in his… well, it was a very specific version of integrity. Mostly he thought relying on modern contrivances were a bad call. An absolute last resort. So any sort of medication, or psychiatric help, would never fly.

He was perfectly reasonable about other people needing help, but the standards he applied to everyone else had always been vastly removed from the ones he set for himself.

Jamie was complicated. He had always been complicated, which made it hard to talk about this kind of thing with him. Whenever Jamie said, “you wouldn’t understand,” Drew generally took it for granted. But lately it wasn’t a matter of what Jamie couldn’t say, and more what he refused to say. Drew’s consultations with Dr. Google had informed him that sudden changes in routine or living arrangements could contribute to depression, the most recurring non-physiological reason for erectile dysfunction. He didn’t want to make it a confrontation, and he didn’t want Jamie to blame himself—which he was probably doing already—but until Jamie came clean with whatever he wasn’t telling him, Drew didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He had never been able to make Jamie see himself the way Drew did. He didn’t know if that would fix anything but he was sure it would at least help.

Drew stepped out of the shower and dressed, looking at himself in the foggy mirror. He wiped it clean to tie his tie. He sighed, looking down at his suit hugging tight around his middle. Maybe he was the problem. Maybe Jamie had finally noticed Drew wasn’t the slim, fit gym twink he fell for. Drew had to figure something out. This line of thought was making him feel like shit.

He finished up in the bathroom and grabbed his jacket off the chair he’d thrown it on the night before. He thought about going in to kiss Jamie goodbye, but grabbed an apple and left without going back to the room. He’d probably still be sleeping anyway.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tahar had set his jaw, but felt like he would shatter his teeth at any moment. He was keeping it together and Cassidy seemed oblivious, but Tahar was absolutely furious.

The man in front of him had started out sullen and apologetic but after a cup of coffee and as he got further into the story, Cassidy had become lost in the telling. He sounded almost proud of himself. It was just too much. It was a ridiculous fantasy that didn’t make any sense. But Tahar kept noticing things. He heard hints of Butch in his voice. He spotted little details—the little pink scar under his eye; the mole behind his ear; the shape of his nose—things he would remember about Butch when he saw him again after a long absence. This stupid child was Butch. Had always been Butch.

Cassidy’s boyfriend had told him his fantasies of growing into a hulking giant and so he had decided to make it happen. But he needed to experiment on a bunch of people he didn’t give a shit about first in case it was dangerous. So he began making trips into the city, hanging around Church Street and using his powers to make guys more attractive before he fucked them. That’s not how Cassidy had explained it, but it sounded like that to Tahar.

And who was Butch? Butch was a mask Cassidy could wear to escape any notice, so if anything ever had gone wrong he could sneak off undetected and never have to answer for what he’d done. According to Cassidy, that had never happened, and he had gotten good enough that that wasn’t even a concern. The subterfuge wasn’t really necessary anymore. But from the sound of it, he had come to like being Butch. Why wouldn’t he? Butch was cool and this asshole was a loser.

He was fucking married? Tahar was this psycho’s guy on the side? Thinking of all the things he had done with Butch, all the things he had told him, all the things he had felt about him. None of it had been real. It was just a game this pompous little shit was playing.

He just went on and on, a self-satisfied smirk as he listed off his accomplishments, sitting there in Tahar’s black cotton bathrobe that hung loose off him but would’ve barely gotten around Butch.

“Oh my god, last night I tried a bunch of new things. It’s coming easier and easier. Like, I was able to grow someone without looking about them. I managed to change like six or seven people without them noticing.”

Tahar looked at him. “Have you ever done anything to me?”

Cassidy leaned on the table, furrowing his brow. He allowed himself a thoughtful pause. “No, actually.”

“How come?”

Cassidy cocked his head, then leaned back in his chair, perplexed. “Y’know I honestly don’t know. I mean you’re already so hot, Tahar.”

He really didn’t like hearing Cassidy say his name. He shook his head. “You’ve been waving your wand around at a lot of very attractive men. Why not me?”

Cassidy shrugged. “I mean it, I don’t actually know… like, I don’t think it ever occurred to me. And, well like, that first night I was already too drunk by the time I met you and…”

“Are you sober now?” asked Tahar, sipping his coffee.

Cassidy grinned and raised his mug of coffee. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

Tahar set down his cup. “Can you do it now?”

Cassidy frowned. “What?”

Tahar had already begun unbuttoning his shirt. “You said you made your husband ten feet tall.”


Tahar slipped out of his shirt and threw it over a chair. “Prove it.”

“But…” Cassidy glanced at the bronze clock on the wall. “Don’t you have work?”

Tahar shrugged. “I’ll call in.”

Cassidy smiled apprehensively. “I don’t know if…”

“Really?” Tahar put his hands on the backrest and leaned down. “Really? After all that, you’re not going to let me see it? You don’t think you owe me that? And then some?”

Cassidy looked down, his cheeks flush. “I… how… what do you want me to do?”

“Grow me. Can you even do anything else?”

“Not really,” he shook his head. “I mean not without a… map or something. Well, I call it a map, anyway. Some people—”

“All right then,” Tahar stood up, spreading his arms. “Show me some magic.”

Cassidy looked up at him, still uncertain. “Like how… big do you wanna get?”

“Bigger than you’ve ever made anyone,” Tahar replied without missing a beat.

Cassidy started with a chuckle. “I don’t know about that. That’s like, pretty big.”

Tahar didn’t say anything, just spread his arms wider. Cassidy smiled smugly, then sighed in acquiescence.

Tahar felt a strange tickle run down his spine. “Is that…?”

“Yeah it’s like… well I call it a ‘link.’” Cassidy took a deep breath and grinned. “Was there somewhere specific you wanted to get it started?”

Tahar shrugged. “You’re the expert.”

Cassidy’s grin widened.

Tahar felt his body getting warm. He looked down and saw goosebumps rising on his arm. He felt strangely energized. This couldn’t all just be placebo effect. But there was no way this was actually going to pan out. Tahar kept half-expecting this elaborately orchestrated ruse to reveal itself. Butch to pop out of a closet and deride him for believing this nonsense. But as he continued feeling these strange sensations undulating throughout his body, he knew it wasn’t bullshit. This was happening.

Tahar drew a sharp breath as he felt his crotch suddenly grow heavy. He looked down and saw his bulge inflating in his jeans. His dick was tingling, radiating throbs of pleasure up his torso. He quickly unzipped his fly and squirmed out of his pants, watching his briefs fill up with his swelling cock and balls, their outline becoming more and more pronounced with every passing second. It felt amazing and he knew it was making him hard, but it was already well over the thirteen centimetres he usually peaked at, easily on its way to thirty with no signs of stopping. He reached into his briefs, gasping as he felt its weight in his hand, and hauled it out. It was half-hard, a foot long, and thick as a beer bottle. His bulging head was still mostly cloaked in foreskin. It pulsed larger and harder with every heartbeat, and Tahar felt it hanging heavier and heavier off of his body. It felt so good, and he felt more aroused than he thought had been possible. His cock continued swelling and stiffening, his dark vein throbbing thick along his shaft, his gleaming head fully exposed, until it stuck out perpendicular from his body, nearly two feet long.

Tahar laughed with bewilderment. “This is…impossible!”

Cassidy chuckled. “Oh my god, we are just getting started.”

Tahar staggered suddenly, his footing having become uneven as his feet jumped three sizes bigger. First one, then the other. He looked down, saw his toes bunching up as his sole slid across the floor, getting wider and longer. He lifted his feet up, standing on his heels, and stretched out his toes, slapping the balls of his feet back down on the floor. There was a strangely gratifying ache of growing pains humming through the bones of his feet. He felt it shoot up his fibula as his calves lengthened, pushing him taller. His pelvis widened, his back arched as every vertebrate popped larger in rapid sequence. Tahar looked down, still holding the back of the chair, and watched his elbows angle sharper as his arms stretched longer. He pushed himself up, and looked down at his gangly body, stretched out and skinny save for his fat throbbing cock trembling a foot above the tabletop.

Warm, thick, juicy muscle began to radiate along his limbs, oozing along his bones. The ache and strain of too little flesh stretched thin was washed away in waves of wet, hot heaviness. His arms thickened into their usual proportions then grew beyond them, his caramel skin stretching over swelling globes of solid brawn.

He gasped as he felt an intense tingling in his anus as his cheeks inflated like balloons, pressing harder against each other as they grew bigger and bigger. Muscles blossomed up his back like sinewy branches of an oak tree, and he felt his lats fattening up with hard thick beef that began to push against his biceps. God it all felt so amazing. He couldn’t believe any of it. When was he going to finally wake up from this ridiculous dream?

Tahar had already had a ghostly outline of a six pack and adonis belt but he felt them materializing into firm tight specimens of perfection, abs popping out of his flat stomach one by one. The deep rivulets forming on his back sprang up to his neck, raising his traps from their long sleep and inflating his shoulders bigger than basketballs.

His pecs stretched huge from his ribs, curtains of muscle falling from his collarbone, layer after layer after layer, his nipples hardening as they angled further and further downwards, until he had a chest he could have rested his mug of coffee on.

He panted, feeling sweat beading on his brow as he felt the changes finish. He turned his head upwards and threw up his arms into a double flex, closing his eyes and just letting himself feel his own hugeness, his biceps bulging against his meaty forearms.

What would those meatheads at the gym think if they saw him like that? He imagined them lining up to service his massive dong. The thought was so titillating he felt his cock twitch as a bead of precum began to form at the tip.

Cassidy giggled, pulling him halfway from his reverie. “It almost looks skinny now…”

Tahar shuddered as he felt his cock bloat to nearly twice its girth. He dropped his arms and looked down at Cassidy. “Mmmm…. more.”

“Bigger dick? Really?” Cassidy smirked.

Tahar shook his head. “Everything.”

Cassidy’s self-satisfied grin faltered. “Are you… I don’t know, Tahar. I mean… this could be getting dangerous. I read about…”

Tahar reached down and yanked his dinner table off the ground like it was a board game, sending the two mugs of coffee clattering to the ground and dashing their contents against the baseboard. He tossed it idly into a corner of his apartment, smashing a floor lamp and snapping two legs from the table in the process.

Cassidy sat frozen, his eyes wide, his face pale, his knees pressed together in exposed terror. Tahar took two deliberate steps to close the distance between them, his huge form casting a dark shadow across Cassidy, his hard cock looming over his head like a clenched fist.

“Shut the fuck up and do what I tell you.”

Cassidy cowered away, transfixed with shock, horrific realization blossoming on his face. He was shaking his head in slight, quick movements, which Tahar first thought to be protests against his commands, but the more he watched Cassidy it seemed to be more of him fighting against himself, of trying to clap shackles back on something that had been unleashed.

Waves of hot scintillating arousal seeped out from his crotch, and Tahar moaned as he felt his body expanding once more. Squelches and sounds like stretching rubber issues from all over his body, muffled by increasing mounds of thick hard flesh. It was all happening at once, so fast he had trouble keeping track of everything. His already massive biceps were inflating with even more size, his abs shuffled against each other as his torso stretched taller. his pecs swelled almost up to his chin, obscuring his view of Cassidy. His feet bulged larger, and he briefly lost balance, leaning against the wall for support with a hand that was twice the size of his wall clock and still pumping larger. He shuddered, jolts of pleasure bouncing through his body, as his cock rose up over the horizon of his pecs, shining head varnished with a thick coat of pre.

Still growing, Tahar lowered himself to sit on the floor as carefully as he could, but knocked over another lamp and an accent table as he went. He planted his feet on the floor. His shoulders were touching picture frames he had had to reach up to hang. He had to be over ten feet tall now. He massaged his pillar of a cock with both hands, now too thick for only one, and craned his neck forward, puckering his mouth for his cockhead. It was still too far to reach, until it surged up to meet his lips, and he stuck his tongue down his own gaping urethra. It was like an explosion of white fire in his brain, careening through his body until every part of him was alight.

It took nearly every ounce of will he had, but he forced himself to stop. Panting for air, dazed in pleasure, he felt as though he had lost virtually all bearings of who or where he was. But he had to take care of something first.

He had stopped growing. He couldn’t be sure when, but his head nearly reached the ceiling even sitting down, and his legs, even with the knees bent, were sprawled across the entire room. Cassidy had stood and put his back to the kitchen counter, seemingly trying to flatten himself against it, but his limbs were poised to dart off at a moment’s notice. In the loose fitting bathrobe he looked like a scandalized leading lady from a 50s drama. The empty chair alone and toylike in the middle of the room.

Tahar took a deep breath. “You can go now.”

Cassidy trembled. “Wh… what?”

“Did I stutter? Fuck off out of my house.”

“Tahar… c’mon I…”

“Don’t say my name like we’re fucking buds. Do you even realize what it is you’ve done?”

“But I… Tahar we ARE friends.”

“No we’re—yknow what? Fuck you, fuck your dumb chump of a husband, and fuck the man you made up for me to…. look just leave. Or did you want me to make you?”

Cassidy stood his ground for a second before Tahar raised his hand. Then he bolted for the bed, scrabbling his clothes into a bundle and racing for the door, kicking his oversized boots ahead of him.

“Hey,” Tahar called as Cassidy was about to open the door. He turned around, a hopeful look on his face. “If I ever, EVER see Butch again? I will make it my personal mission to ruin your fucking life.”

Cassidy looked for a moment like he was going to object, but his jaw was quivering and his knees were shaking, and he spun out the door, slamming it behind him.

Free of his troubling distraction, Tahar moaned contentedly as he returned his attention to his fantastically oversized cock. The fire returned with new vigor as if the brief lapse had only been stoking the embers. He leaned back against the wall, felt his thick wide back spread across it, hugging the shaft of his dick into the deep valley between his prodigious pecs, so that every breath he took he couldn’t help but stroke himself. Every heartbeat brought him a fraction closer to his completion, and his heart was like a jackhammer in his ribcage.

He was enormous. He had to be the biggest guy who’d ever lived. It was hard to guess from his sitting position, but he felt like looking into a second story window would had just gotten a lot easier.

And he was strong, powerful. He took one hand from his cock to flex his bicep, bulging obscenely massive, and scraped his knuckles against the ceiling. He loved this feeling. So heavy, thick, and big. Those boys at the gym would bug out the moment they saw him. He could picture them even now, gaping at him as he put on a flexing show for him, stroking his massive dong and maybe giving them a taste if they asked nicely.

Tahar felt the pressure building. He returned his second hand to his shaft and his tongue to the slit on his cockhead.

To call what followed an orgasm would not do it justice. As his watermelon-sized balls shot a geyser of cum out of his column-sized cock, he lost, for a moment, all sense of where, who, and what he was, as if everything had been stripped away and left nothing but an essence of pleasure and ecstasy, removed from any physical anchor at all. He knew things were going on around him, like the nonstop firehose of jizz still spraying his face and chest, or the dents in the floorboards his ankles were leaving, but he wouldn’t have been able to even begin thinking about reacting to it even if he could. He was paralyzed in bliss.

As his overwhelming sensory explosion settled into warmly befuddled afterglow, Tahar entered into a state of sublime contentment and tranquility, where all the most dire problems in his life and the world were trivialities; where all his greatest fears and traumas were just distractions he had blown out of proportion. He saw his life up to then—maybe the whole world itself—from a high vantage point greatly disconnected from them yet through a lens of such clarity it could not be refuted. And it was beautiful, vital, and good, from its war-ravaged ruins to its islands of trash to its putrid fields of poisonous tar.

Where moments before they had been sources of tremendous power, Tahar felt suddenly the impossible weight of his oversized limbs, pulling him down into a soft and welcoming slumber. He leaned back, smacked his lips, and let sleep take him. And as he drifted into that warm, still ocean, he thought to himself: “Maybe that Cassidy’s not such a bad kid.”


Part 7: Brent

Brent shuffled through the turnstile and adjusted his gym bag on his shoulder as he pushed the glass doors open and walked out into the morning air. He had foregone a shower and the heat wave wasn’t helping, but he wasn’t going to spend a minute in that locker room that he didn’t have to. He could grab a quick shower back at rez before he headed to the library.

He didn’t have to deal with this crap. His class load for second year looked like it would murder any free time he had, and that was assuming he could squeeze a pass out of Argumentative Theory, which was hardly a guarantee. If he made the team it would suck up any free time he had left, and he had no desire to spend it with a team full of guys who hated him.

Brent pulled out his phone to check the time. It was going to be tight. He checked a text message from his brother. Below it was the draft of an unsent message to Mahtab.

Im sorry :( can we plz talk

He held his thumb over the send icon.

“Yo Brent wait up!”

Brent put his phone to sleep and back in his pocket as he turned to see spritely little Nate jogging up from behind. Brent cringed. Nate hadn’t joined in on the passive aggressive hostilities and veiled homophobic slurs but Brent doubted he had anything nice to say.

Nate smiled that crooked mischievous, dimple-pinching smirk he always wore as he caught up to Brent. “Shit dude, you can really move. That beef don’t slow you down too much.” His reedy Kentucky drawl seemed friendly enough, but Brent wasn’t in the mood to extend the benefit of the doubt.

“Yeah,” he mumbled, turning and continuing on his way. He sighed impatiently as Nate fell in step next to him.

Nate chuckled. “You were outa there in a hurry, man.”

“Can you blame me?”

Nate waved his hand. “Pfft. Don’t let those pussies get to you man. You seen the record this season? Fuckin losers oughta find a new hobby, ask me. You don’t need to deal with that crap.” Nate pulled a pack of Pall Malls out of his gym back and fiddled a cigarette out. Nate was a head shorter than Brent, probably five-six or seven. He was one of the shorter guys on the team but he was fast and could still do some damage.

“Yeah well…” Brent tread carefully. He felt like he was being set up. “I don’t know if it’s about that, and… I dunno.” Except that he did know. Everyone was angry about what happened to Tyler and Farhan.

Nate offered a cigarette to Brent, who shook his head, and Nate fired up a lighter. He shook his head with a groan once he had the cigarette lit. “What, Ty and Farhan? Whatever man. Not your fault Ty was juicing and Farhan’s a cokehead.”

“Maybe. But who the hell screens for drugs at the END of a season?”

Nate took a drag. “Fuck that. Not your problem.”

Brent sighed. “Someone else’s problem but still my fault.”

Nate chuckled. “You really did blow up overnight, man. Was somethin else. How’d you even do that ‘nyway? Legit workout plan or what?”

Brent knew better than to tell the truth but “I don’t know it just happened… had started wearing thin, even after his drug test came back clean as a whistle. He couldn’t help but think back to the night at the Black Eagle, as he stared down as his growing cock, swelling pecs, that big guy next to him making great strides not to look at him… Well, Nate, I’m pretty sure it was a magic spell. Which sounded better?

Nate stifled a strange giggle. “Oh man.”

Brent looked at him. “Huh?”

Nate took another puff from his cigarette. “Nuthin. You don’t have to tell me tho, man, I like the mystery.”

“Seriously, Nate, I really don’t…”

“S’all good, man, don’t worry ‘bout it,” Nate chuckled. “Looks good on ya, by the way.”

Brent raised a suspicious eyebrow. “… Thanks?”

Nate smirked. “You got any exams left?”

“Just Argumentative Theory on Friday.”

Nate laughed. “Aww man, modes o’ reasoning? Good fuckin luck dude.”

“Yeah I’m not looking forward to it.”

“What about after?” Nate asked. “Stayin around for the summer or… you’re from Thunder Bay right?”

“Yeah,” Brent nodded, though he didn’t recall ever mentioning it.

“That far?”

“Yeah it’s like a day’s drive. I’m stayin in T-dot. Subletting an apartment on Sheppard.” Brent liked that they weren’t talking about the team anymore but couldn’t shake the feeling he was being tricked somehow. “What about you are you going back to the States?”

“Naw man, I’m stayin on rez for the summer.” Nate flicked ash from his cigarette and examined how much was left. “In Winters. Should come party sometime.”

“Uhh… yeah. Sure.” Couldn’t hurt.

“N’fact you doin anything tonight? We should grab a drink at the Underground or something.”

Brent frowned. Not he was sure this was a trap. Nate laughed. “Would you stop with that man? Lookin at me like I’m about to mug you or somethin.”

“Sorry I uhh… I can’t though I gotta study for this exam, man.”

“All fuckin day? It’s like ten AM!” Nate scoffed.

“I really sucked at this class dude I can’t afford to…”

“Naw man, you’re not gonna retain any of that shit if you just go nonstop.” Nate gave him another impish smile with his eyes sparkling. “Aright look, why don’t you go back to rez, study all day, then meet me at the Underground at like seven, right? Have a few drinks, take a break, go back and get some more readin done so you can dream ‘bout strawman arguments and fallacious appeals to authority. An’ if you ain’t there I’m gonna drag you outa your room. Outa concern for your mental health.” Nate gave him a smack on the shoulder and jogged across the street. “See ya then man.”

Brent felt himself grinning for the first time that day. “You don’t even know where I live.”

Nate had turned up the traffic circle around campus but turned, walking backwards as he shouted back. “Stong; ninth floor! Seven sharp, bro!”

Brent furrowed his brow, shrugged, and continued on his way, crossing his fingers and hoping a shower was free.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Mister Dietrich?”

Jamie looked up from reading the back of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and at the little girl he’d swear he’d never seen before who apparently knew his name. It wasn’t until he looked her over and saw that her right arm ended just above the elbow that he clued in.

“Abbie? Holy shit Abbie?”

She smiled and nodded, glancing behind her. “Yeah.”

“Oh wow I didn’t recognize you at all.” He put the book back on the shelf and stepped towards her.

“Yeah I, uhh… I’ve been dying my hair for a while.” She had a weird look in her eye and took a step back.

Jamie stopped. “Are you… is everything ok?”

“Yeah just…” she looked back and forth. “Daddy uhh… Daddy said I’m not supposed to… talk, to…” she trailed off.

What the fuck? Jamie raised his head, scanning for a face he’d recognize among the other patrons of the BMV. “Is he here?”

Abbie shook her head. “No I just…” she dropped her eyes to the floor.

“Hey, it’s all right.” Jamie wanted to reassure her but didn’t want to make her feel any more uncomfortable. He paused. “What did your dad say about me?”

Abbie shook her head. “I’m sorry. Seriously, I didn’t believe him.”

“It’s okay, hon,” Jamie sighed.

“He said… he said there was something wrong with you. Mom thinks you’re crazy.”

That fucking Sheila Morris. Now that was a pot to kettle scenario if he’d ever heard one. Jamie felt himself getting angrier and angrier but kept his cool. None of that was Abbie’s fault.

“Is that… he told you that’s why I’m not working with him anymore?”

Abbie nodded. “He said you had a…. a nervous breakdown?”

Christ what a fucking tool. Jamie shook his head and leaned on the bookshelf. “Well Abbie I know I don’t need to tell you your dad’s a bit of a dick sometimes.”

Abbie smiled. She took a step forward and put her only full arm around him. “I’m sorry. I missed you.”

Jamie hugged her back. “Me too hon.” They embraced a moment before she stepped back again, fiddling with a charm hanging off her backpack.

“Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“P A day,” she replied with a shrug. “I’m meeting Laura for a movie. Furious 7.” She rolled her eyes. “Gonna be so dumb. “

Jamie shrugged. “Yeah probably.”

“Daddy’s been such an asshole. He won’t let me watch the Sopranos. He hid his boxed set.”

“I’m tellin you, Abbie, learn how to torrent and you’ll be the most popular kid in school.”

Abbie smiled. “I should go, the movie’s at one.”

Jamie pointed his thumb behind him at nowhere in particular. “Yeah I’m meeting someone too.”

Abbie waved and turned to go. “I’ll add you on Facebook. My dad can go fuck himself.”

Jamie put a hand to his heart. “Aww, that’s so sweet. Bye Abbie.”

He felt his fist clenching at his side. That fucking garbage asshole son of a bitch Harold Morris could eat a shit sandwich and die. Jamie had already encountered vestiges of some rumour about him when he had gone for interviews at new agencies. He had assumed it wasn’t all total bullshit. But if Morris wanted to ruin his reputation in the industry, that was one thing. Involving Abbie was just fucking gross. Jamie had babysat her for years. He’d had to tell her what periods were. He’d introduced her to the Powerpuff Girls. They were friends, and Jamie had always been proud that she had an adult she trusted when she felt she couldn’t go to her parents.

What’s more, he had been friends with Morris too. They hadn’t spoken since Jamie left the agency but he’d always hoped they’d be able to put it behind them at some point.

Jamie rehearsed lectures he’d give to Morris as he left the BMV. It was beautiful out. There was supposed to be a high of like twenty-three or something and even his light jacket seemed too much. He tried to forget about Morris and by the time he got to the Green Beanery, he had pretty much succeeded.

Adam was already there. They waved to each other but Jamie got a coffee—from a barista he was fairly certain he’d slept with years earlier—before going over to the table.

“Hey man,” Adam smiled as he took out his earbuds. “How’s things?”

“Hey.” Jamie nodded and threw his jacket over the seat back before he sat down. “Good. You?”

“All right. I was just at U of T, I’m gonna take a couple courses in the fall.”

“Awesome.” Jamie tried to take a sip of coffee but it was still way too hot. He leaned over the table. “Hey do you remember that day we met up at Java and I brought the guy I’d been hanging out with?” He whispered conspiratorially.


“You were with Melissa and Jenn. It was Nuit Blanche that night.”

Adam nodded. “Oh yeah, okay.”

Jamie tilted his head towards the counter. “Was it that guy?”

Adam glanced over and grinned wide. “I think it was.”

Jamie nodded. “Just checkin.”

“Hey so… I just wanted to apologize again for that night it was…”

Jamie sighed. “Don’t worry about it, Adam. It was a shock but…. it’s fine, honestly. It’s been, uhh, interesting knowledge to carry around.” He tested his coffee again. Still too hot. “You still… doin that?”

Adam nodded with a chuckle. “Fuck, dude. Nearly every day I don’t work nights. Cass is getting better and better, too. It’s amazing.”

“Does anyone else know about it?” Jamie asked, dusting some sugar from the tabletop.

“Some of Cass’ friends. I’ve wanted to tell my buddy Keith but… I dunno.” Adam shook his head. “Well, actually, this is kinda the reason I wanted to talk.”

Adam looked around, and grabbed his bag up from off the floor and onto his lap. He fished a notebook out of it. “I… well maybe it’ll be easier just to read it.” Adam flipped the cover open and handed it to Jamie.

Scrawled all over the page was a letter written in Adam’s handwriting. The paper was worn, and the letter had been exhaustively edited, with multiple words replaced and whole paragraphs scribbled out. Jamie was about to ask why he didn’t just write in pencil but suppressed the urge. It read:


You’re receiving this because you’re a friend, colleague, or family member of myself, Adam Fauvelle. I’m writing you to prepare you for what may seem like a shocking and sudden transition, which may defy conventional logic.

I know it might seem silly or juvenile, but I always wanted to be a much physically larger person, but it had always seemed impossible. I’ve discovered a way I can realize my dream, and have decided to go through with it. This is not a surgical procedure, and I can assure you it is safe and there is no risk of danger.

There are going to be some logistical issues with being this size, but please be assured that I have put a great deal of thought into this and understand these issues. This is what I want, and I hope that you care enough about me to respect my decision.

If you would like to ask me anything about it, feel free to do so and I will answer your concerns as best I can.

Thanks for reading.”

Jamie set the notebook down, closed it and paused. “So wait… you’re talking about being that size… like in public?”

“I’m talking about being bigger all the time,” said Adam.

“I thought it only lasts like six hours or something.”

“There’s different ways of doing it,” Adam explained. “Cassidy could have made any of those changes permanent.”

“Adam,” Jamie looked at him uncertainly. “I know you say here you’ve thought about it, but… I mean, are you really sure about this? This is… this would change your whole life. I mean… how would you even get around when you’re too big for a car?”

“Jamie I’ve talked a lot of this out with Cass,” Adam leaned closer on his elbows. “We’ve planned a lot of that kinda stuff out. There’s gonna be a few trade-offs, sure, but this is what I want.”

“But why?” asked Jamie. “I mean if you get off on it, that’s one thing. What do you have to gain from this?”

Adam sighed. “Jamie…” he held out his hand, gesturing as he spoke, “when I’m bigger, I feel like this is who I am. I…” he paused, dropped his hand to the table and looked out the window. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but this feels like a mask, like a… costume.” He waved his hands down his body. “I feel like I’m living a lie.”

“Adam, listen to me,” Jamie tapped the notebook with his finger. “This? Will not be enough. People won’t know how to react to you. This will get you media attention, probably the cops, the government; are you prepared for all that? For ANY of that?”

Adam looked down into his coffee, slowly rotating it back and forth on the table.

Jamie leaned forward and put his hand on Adam’s arm. “Hey, look, you know I love you right? You deserve to be who you wanna be, it’s just… now you can have your cake and eat it too, I don’t get why you would wanna mess with that.”

“I told you. I mean you understand, right?” Adam pointed at him. “You had to pretend to be someone you’re not.”

“Oh come on, Adam,” Jamie withdrew his hand and leaned back. “We’re all living a fucking lie. That’s all any of this is.” He waved a hand at their surroundings. “The only thing that keeps any of this from collapsing in on itself is a long list of lies we’ve all agreed to indulge.”

Adam rolled his eyes. “Oh here we go.”

“Well what do you want, Adam? We’re all making identity sacrifices. You shouldn’t see being a regular-sized human as a personal failing or an… obstacle preventing your self-actualization.” Jamie sighed, sitting up. “Look, if there’s no talking you out of this then fine, do whatever you want. But if you were running this past me to get my take on it, I think it’s a really bad idea.”

Adam looked like he was about to protest, but stopped himself, tapping his foot restlessly. “All right… fair enough.”

“I’m here for you though, whatever you decide, okay?” Jamie smiled encouragingly. Adam cracked a grin and nodded.

“So…” Jamie said slowly, “are we talking anytime soon or…”

Adam shrugged. “Kinda up in the air. Cass wants to get more practice in using the permanent method.”

Jamie took a gulp of coffee. “How’re you gonna do that?”

Adam grinned bashfully. “We’ve been bouncin around a few ideas.”

Jamie leaned forward. “Do tell.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Brent descended the stairs into the Underground glancing around apprehensively. One eye was looking for Nate, the other for anyone else on the team. Jayson and Luke were frequent patrons, and while they had held off on being openly hostile to him he knew they were talking about him to the rest of the team. He didn’t want to have to worry about them all night. If they were there he’d just make Nate go to the Ab instead.

He was halfway through scanning the room when he felt fingers tickling his side. He turned to see Nate standing there giggling.

“Sup, big guy?” He smiled, stepping in front of Brent and leading him down the rest of the stairs. “All studied up?”

“Goin good, yeah,” Brent nodded. “You were right, though. Definitely could use a break.”

“Course I am,” Nate slapped his hands together. “Awright, you find us a table I’ll grab a pitcher.”

Nate loped off to the bar, his cute little ass bouncing along behind him. Brent turned and found a table near the back corner. It was the only free table with a booth attached, though the place was mostly empty. Full enough to keep its skeleton crew busy, though. It was all exams and packing and whatever. Farhan had told him to expect a lull at year’s end right before all the partying took off at full tilt. And now more than ever Brent assumed Farhan was the authority on partying—though it was, of course, fallacious to assume his assertions were logical.

Brent really felt like he was getting hit on but he was pretty sure Nate was straight. He’d just assumed he was the only homo in the football hopefuls, otherwise no one would have made such a big deal when he’d come out. Unless he was in the closet to them, or… Brent sighed. It had been such a weird year. He had considered holding out a year and coming out in second year, just so he had a foundation first as a normal straight football bro. Maybe that would’ve been for the best, but when he got to Toronto everything had just been gay alliance this and solidarity this and they had a gay radio station for Christ’s sake. Proud FM. 103.9. A year straight just seemed like a wasted opportunity.

Still, maybe a year of just being one of the guys would’ve been a good buffer.

Nate finally came back with a pitcher and two glasses. “Fuck, man. Service is balls ‘round here.”

Brent shrugged. “Exam season.”

Nate slid in across from him and poured them both a pint, then raised his. “To first year down.”

Brent grinned. “Nearly.”

They clinked their glasses together and both took a long draw.

“So…” Brent began, “uhh… how do you like Canada?”

Nate chuckled. “That was a cold fuckin winter man.”

“You think it’s bad down here you should come up to Thunder Bay.”

“I like that the drinking age is nineteen,” said Nate, taking another swig, and shrugged. “I dunno. It’s been fun. Gon’ stick it out for a few years. Hey,” he leaned forward and lowered his voice, “feel bad not gettin to know you more over the season, man.”

Brent shrugged, sipping his beer.

“You just always had your little straight posse aroun’ and I was like naw, he’s got all that goin on.”

Straight posse? Brent paused, giving him a look. Nate grinned wider. “Didn’t know I was queer?”

Brent blushed. “Uhh… no, I… umm…”

Nate chuckled, leaning back. “S’cool, brah.”

“I thought I was the only, uhh… y’know, gay guy on the team.” Brent took a big swig of beer and realized he’d drained the glass.

Nate laughed. “Don’t mean to steal your thunder, man. But, uhh…” he smirked. “S’ not just you an’ me, either.”

Brent stopped in the middle of refilling his pint. “Really? Who?”

Nate snickered and tipped the pitcher in Brent’s hand, emptying the rest into his glass. “I never kiss and tell.” He slid out of the booth and took the empty pitcher from Brent. “I’ll get us a refill.”

Brent shook his head, pushing his chair back. “Hey I got this one.”

Nate drew the pitcher back, as if trying to keep it out of reach from him. “Nah nah, man. S’on me tonight.”

He darted off with his seemingly everpresent chuckle before Brent had a chance to object further.

So maybe Nate wasn’t flirty with everyone after all. Just goes to show you, Brent supposed. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or more properly: the informal fallacy of argument from ignorance.

Brent checked his phone as a figure appeared next to him. He assumed it to be a waiter. “We’re good thanks,” he glanced up with a polite grin. Then he looked again. “Oh, hey Tyler.”

Tyler was the biggest guy on the team, though after Brent’s little boost he had closed the gap quite a bit. Nevertheless, Tyler was puffing out his chest as much as he could. Rob was standing behind him, tapping him on the shoulder and being ignored.

“Oh,” Tyler mocked sarcastically. “Hey asshole.” His slurring speech and hazy eyes gave pretty good indication of his state of mind.

“Ty c’mon, let’s just go man,” Rob tried to nudge him away, but Tyler shook him off.Brent felt himself blushing. People were starting to look.

“Tyler, I told you, I’m sorry,” Brent apologized quietly. “I don’t know how…”

“Oh you’re sorry, you’re soooooo sorry. Fuckin pussy.” He staggered a bit. He was pretty far gone for, like, seven-thirty on a Wednesday. Rob helped steady him. “Not sorry enough to quit the team. Or tell me how you fucking did it.”

“Ty, fuck man,” Rob hissed, “everyone’s looking at you.”

“‘Sup guys?” Nate chirped as he shouldered past Rob to get to the table. He sat down as Tyler glared at him. “Whoa-ho-ho, dawg,” he laughed, “THIS is awkward.”

“What the fuck, Nate?”

“Ty, come on! Fuckin christ.”

“What THE fuck, Ty?” Nate spat. “What’d you even come over here for? Just to be a tool?”

“Fuck you you fucking traitor!” Tyler brushed Rob away when he grabbed him by the arm. “I put three fucking years into that team and now I’m fucked for my last year. Cuz of this fuckin faggot.”

The straight couple next to them gasped and the girl shook her head, muttering “Jesus Christ” under her breath.

“Ty c’mon man that’s not cool. Let’s bounce, bro.” Rob had a hard time straddling trying to give him commands and pleading with him.

Brent pushed his chair back. “I’m gonna go.”

“What?” Nate looked annoyed for the first time since Brent had met him. Nate shook his head. “Naw man, look. Don’t go nowhere,” he pointed at Brent, and then to Tyler. “And Imma make this real simple for you, Ty,” he’d fallen back into his lazily happy half-smile. “You don’t fuck off right now and I’ll tell all these nice people what you did in Chantal’s room after she went to class.”

Tyler stopped, looking suddenly a lot paler and a lot more sober. “Buh… bullshit. How… you don’t fuckin… you don’t know shit.”

Nate giggled. “Really wanna make that bet, brah?”

Tyler just stood there for a second before Rob leaned in close. “I’m fuckin outa here. You don’t come with me now, good luck gettin your drunk ass home.”

True to his word, Rob walked off briskly. Tyler swayed on his feet for a second before he stumbled after him. “Fuckin cocksuckin fags.”

“Oh my god,” said the girl next to them. “What a fuckin ‘tard.”

“Right?” Nate grinned at her before turning back to Brent. “Just jealous there’s a bigger fish in town.”

Brent smiled back feebly as Nate topped up their glasses. Nate pushed Brent’s pint toward him. “Y’all right, man?”

“Yeah yeah just…” he glanced around. People had stopped staring but a few eyes glanced at him every now and then. But maybe that was only because he was scoping out the place like a paranoid weirdo.

“What’d he do at Chantal’s?” Brent asked.

Nate shook his head coyishly. “He kept up his end of the bargain, man…”

“How do you even know about it?”

“You met Chantal Vandenberg? From Calumet? Just stand in front of her for five minutes.” Nate chugged half a pint and smacked his lips. “She set up a… one sec,” he belched after a pause, “she put a nanny cam in her room ‘n case she gets date-raped.”

Brent made a face. “Jesus. That’s horrible.”

Nate shrugged. “S’not a bad idea. Fuck, man,” he shook his head. “Bein’ a girl these days? We lucked out, dude. Big time. Fuck, I’d be so fuckin paranoid I wouldn’t even go out with guys. Get pepper spray installed in my arms,” he pressed his middle fingers into his palm and pointed his wrist at Brent. “Psshhh! Like Spider-Man.”

Brent chuckled. “You know they’re not like in his arms, right?”

Nate rolled his eyes. “Yeah in this new… whatsisname… Andrew Garfield crap.”

“Well yeah,” Brent nodded. “Comics too, though.” He shrugged. “Andrew Garfield’s so hot though, right?”

“Naw man, not my type. I just, mmph,” he shook his head, grinning about whatever he was thinking about. “I love big muscles.”

Brent grinned shyly.

“Beginning of the season I was so into Ty, man. ‘Got no idea. I was like creepin his Facebook and jackin off to his instagram an’ all that. Mmph.” He polished off his pint and poured himself another. “Then ‘turned out he was a douche and it kinda killed it for me.”

“Must be nice,” Brent sighed. “I fall for douches all the time.”

“Naw, not me, man,” Nate’s smile widened. “I’m like, the best judge of character you’ll ever meet. S’like a mutant power.”

“Yeah?” Brent raised an eyebrow. “What’s your spidey sense tell you about me?”

Nate grinned, licked his teeth, and leaned back, putting his arms out on the back of the booth. “You’re a good dude; total sweetheart; bit of a romantic; kinda bashful; WAY hotter than you think you are, an’ that you got a big ole cock.”

Brent had to stifle a laugh and nearly spit out his beer, blushing furiously.

“See?” Nate pointed at him over his pint glass. “I can fuckin call that shit, man.”

Brent wiped beer from his chin, still laughing, and spread his hands confessionally. “What can I say? You can fuckin call em.”

They clinked their glasses together and took long drinks through their smiles, watching each other the whole time.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Jamie approached his condo door with his key out but found it already unlocked. He opened it and peered inside.

“D?” he called.

“Jamie?” Drew answered back from the bedroom. He rushed out, still in his suit, and sighed, hugging Jamie and kissing him on the cheek. “You fucking asshole. Where were you? Why didn’t you answer my texts?”

“Sorry,” Jamie shrugged. “My phone was dead. Too much Hearthstone. Sorry, I figured I’d be back by the time you got home. Aren’t you early?”

“Viola gave me a ride,” said Drew. He withdrew.

Jamie smirked. “You don’t have to worry about me, I’m a big boy.”

“Well you usually message me and let me know,” said Drew, shrugging out of his suit jacket. “Why didn’t you this time?”

Jamie took off his jacket and hung it up by the door, fishing his keys out of his coat pocket. “It was just kinda last minute.” He found them and stuffed them into his jeans. “Adam just had to drop by U of T to enrol and asked if I’d grab a coffee with him.”

“Oh…” Drew paused halfway through undoing his tie. “What, uhh… he had to come all the way down? They can’t do that online?”

Jamie shrugged. “I dunno, we didn’t talk about it too much.”

“What DID you talk about?” asked Drew, with, Jamie sensed, a note of rising hostility.

“He’s thinking about making some changes in his life. Wanted to run it past me.” He kicked off his shoes and kissed Drew before walking past him to the fridge. “I was just thinkin salad for dinner. There’s all that pasta from last night too. That cool with you?” He grabbed a bottle of beer off the door and went to the drawer for an opener.

“Uhh, sure…” Drew nodded curtly, blinking. “So… what kind of changes are we talking about?”

Jamie opened a corkscrew and popped the cap off his bottle. He tilted his head uncertainly. “Well it’s… kinda personal. I don’t think he’d want me to tell you.” He offered the open bottle to Drew, who shook his head.

“No thanks. Did he say that? That you couldn’t tell anyone?”

Jamie didn’t like where this was going. He didn’t want to lie to Drew and by that point he hadn’t. Not really, anyway. Nothing he couldn’t spin. But he had a feeling Drew wasn’t in a half-answer mood. “Well no…” he admitted after a pause. “But… it’s not the kind of thing you want to broadcast.”

“And it’s ‘broadcasting’ if you tell me?” Drew’s voice was starting to waver a bit, the way it did when he was trying to hold back a simmering rage.

“D are you… like really pissed off about this?” He set his beer on the counter and took a step towards Drew, putting his hands on his hips.

Drew’s jaw was trembling. He paused, and looked away, trying to avoid Jamie’s gaze. Jamie took his hand from Drew’s hip and rubbed his neck. “Hey…”

“I just… what’s going on, Jamie?” Drew had raised his voice but was still holding back. “I mean… you gossip about fucking everybody and then whenever Adam comes up it’s just… small talk and…” he twisted out of Jamie’s arms and walked to the living room, sitting down on the couch. He sighed, put his face in his hands for a minute, then looked up. “You know I don’t care if you fuck around. We talked about this.”

Jamie shook his head. “Jesus! D, I am not having sex with Adam.”

“But if you were I wouldn’t give a shit and you know that,” Drew countered. “So whatever actually IS going on is somehow worse.”

“God, Drew, you seriously have…”

“Just fucking TELL me!” Drew shouted. “It can’t be as bad as what I’ve imagined. It can’t be. Is it more than sex? Are you in love with him? Are you going to take off together?”

“D, god dammit. Calm down, you…”

“Why won’t you fuck me?”

Jamie stopped in mid-sentence and entirely forgot what he had been trying to say. He just stared at him like he’d just pulled a gun on him.

“I… I’ve been trying, it just… it’s not about you.”

“The night after you spent the night at Adam’s,” Drew reminded him. “I couldn’t make you cum and I haven’t been able to since.”

Jamie just stood there.

“You’re telling me that nothing happened up there?”

Jamie sighed, and sat down next to him. He stared at the coffee table for a minute, then sighed again. “All right… look, it’s going to sound ridiculous. Ridiculous; it’s going to sound fucking impossible. But I need you to believe me, okay? I don’t like keeping secrets from you but when you hear this you’ll understand why. But I can’t hold you to that. I can’t make you promise to believe me. But I DO need you to promise not to tell anyone. Like, at all. Even if you don’t believe me, if you think I’m a liar or a maniac. Drew. PROMISE me you will NOT tell anyone.”

The look Drew gave him was something he had never seen from him before, even when they’d first met. It was a look of suspicious uncertainty and hesitation. Like Drew didn’t think he could trust him. Like he didn’t know him. It tripped Jamie up in a way he was unused to and he thought that maybe that’s what the first crack feels like on what will one day be a broken heart. He wanted to tell Drew he loved him—to remind him—because not long ago he had known it as a fundamental truth of his universe, and now it was something brittle and delicate.

But Drew nodded, and maybe that meant that he wanted to believe the fantastic story Jamie was about to tell. That may have been all Jamie needed.

“Ok. So you remember that e-mail Adam sent me, right?”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Go home, you big sexy Casanova. You have studying to do, you intriguing, beefy lothario. You don’t want to fail this class you knee-melting, cock-stiffening adonis.

Brent was conflicted.

Nate was saying all the right things, buttering him up with compliments that hit all the right notes. Tyler and football season were distant memories or entries in someone else’s diary. Argumentative Theory? C’mon guys. Couldn’t we all just get along?

And he was so cute, too. Normally Brent was more into bigger guys. Men taller than him were hard to come by but got him so hot. Nate was pretty short next to Brent, and he wouldn’t stop talking about how big Brent was which only made it more noticeable, but Brent found himself finding him sexier and sexier every time he looked at him. That smirk didn’t look like he was trying to pull off a trick, it looked like a puppy delighted to be around him. Nate was just a happy guy.

As Brent followed him back to Winters, Nate talked about growing up in Louisville. Turned out his parents were loaded, and also kind of assholes.

“Nah man, we couldn’t call ‘er a ‘nanny,’” he said between laughs, “too middle class. Sofia was an ‘au pair.’”


“Yeah… ‘t just sucked after I graduated they let ‘er go… she went back to Arizona,” he flicked his cigarette butt onto the sidewalk.

“You see her anymore at all?”

Nate shrugged. “Nah… gonna see about going for Christmas this year.”

“You’re not gonna spend it with your family?” asked Brent.

Nate shook his head. “She’s my mom, s’ far as I’m concerned.”

Nate had a single room on the second floor. They climbed the stairs and Nate showed Brent inside. It was a bit messy but not nothing too bad. There was a Detroit Tigers pennant on the bulletin board and two posters on the wall, a one-sheet of the movie Face/Off and a black and white photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a black tank in the jungle holding an M16. Probably from Predator, Brent guessed.

Nate saw Brent looking. “Ever seen Commando?”


“Oh man,” Nate laughed, kicking off his shoes as he sat on the bed. “it’s so shit. But I love Arnie, man.”

“Yeah he’s pretty cool,” Brent agreed. Nate leaned back on his elbows as he watched Brent worry out of his shoes.

“Mmph,” Nate shook his head. “You’re so thick, man.” Brent blushed and Nate rubbed the bed next to him. “C’mere.”

“I haven’t, like… I’m not super-experienced…” Brent admitted anxiously, fidgeting with the hem of his shirt.

Nate just smiled wider and patted the bed next to him.

Brent shambled over. His hands were sweating and he thought his jaw was shaking, despite it being hot as hell in that room.

Nate adjusted himself as Brent sat down next to him. “You don’ gotta be nervous, man…” Nate drawled quietly. “Nothin’s gonna happen ‘nless you want it to, man.”

Brent nodded, smiling politely. The signals were coming in loud and clear but he didn’t trust his receivers, and some ratlike little thought at the back corner of his brain kept scratching at the baseboard squeaking “It’s a trick! It’s a trick!”

Nate leaned over the low headboard and reached into a minifridge Brent hadn’t realized was there. “‘Nother beer, man?”

“Huh? Oh, no…” Brent answered, his mind still racing. Still doubting his instincts, still suspicious of Nate in spite of everything, and he felt like an asshole for that lingering distrust even after Nate had stood up for him. Brent felt a warm hand gripping his shoulder.

“Hey man…” said Nate. “I know it’s been a weird time for you, dude. Know the team hasn’ made it any easier. But… I do like you, man. ‘M on your side.”

Brent sighed, nodding. “I know, I… thanks for dealing with Tyler.”

Nate smirked. “Forget Tyler, man.” Nate slid his hand down Brent’s arm, rubbing his thick bicep. “I’ll help.”

And then they were kissing. Nate groped his pec and pushed him back, giving himself enough room to kneel in Brent’s lap, straddling his thigh. He leaned down and they kissed again. Nate’s hands were all over his chest, his arms, his shoulders, squeezing every muscle and moaning as his tongue roved around Brent’s mouth as if taking detailed notes.

“Fuck, man,” he breathed as their mouths parted, a sliver of drool trailing between them for a second before it slopped across Nate’s chin. He wiped it away with the back of his hand. “You’re so hot, dude. Got no idea.”

Brent smiled, and went in for another kiss but found Nate’s fingers under his shirt and yanking it up. He raised his arms to give him a hand. Nate giggled. “Might be time to upsize, man.”

They tumbled around undressing each other, Nate fondling Brent as they went, until finally they were down to their jockey shorts, each full of bulging erections.

“Shit, dude,” Nate laughed, “you’re fuckin’ packin.” He pulled off his briefs and the elastic snapped as Brent’s hard cock bobbed out in front of him, over eight thick inches long. Brent smiled, and bid a silent thank you to the mystery bear.

Nate gave his own dick a squeeze as he slid off the bed onto his knees. He took a gob of sweat from his mouth to lube up his palm and started stroking Brent’s cock. Brent leaned back and moaned. Nate giggled and kissed Brent’s knee. He stroked faster and faster as he started kissing up Brent’s thigh until Nate’s face was pressed up against his junk. Nate moved his hand to Brent’s balls and took his cock in his mouth.

Brent grunted and sat up, putting his hand on Nate’s head, rubbing his buzzcut as it bobbed up and down on his lap. Nate’s hand slid off his balls, wriggled under Brent until he had two fingers up his ass.

Brent took Nate’s other hand from off his thigh, guiding it up to his chest. Nate moaned as he groped his pec, then rubbed down Brent’s side, his thumb tracing veins and lines in every muscle group.

Brent felt so big. He hadn’t been with anyone since he’d been beefed up and he couldn’t get over it. His dick was so thick and hard and throbbing in Nate’s wet, hot mouth, and he could tell Nate was getting off on it, too. His moans were getting louder and louder and his fingers pushed deeper up Brent’s ass. Brent felt his cock aching in anticipation of release.

Brent came and Nate coughed. Nate lifted off him, cum drooling out of his grin, as he stroked out the remainder of Brent’s copious load onto his chest. Brent gasped as currents of pleasure shocked through his system, his body shuddering with each volley.

“Oh… fuuuuuuck,” he groaned with a long exhale, and leaned back, endorphins dripping down his spine and dousing him with bliss. Nate pulled a dirty towel out from under his bed and wiped the blanket of cum off his chest with a giggle. The outline of his cock was clearer in his jockeys, having jizzed himself.

Nate’s spritely laughter was contagious, and soon Brent felt his chest shaking with every giggle.

They fumbled around each other as they got back into their clothes, stinking of sex and sticky with semen, saying little and kissing occasionally. Eventually dressed but disheveled, Brent shuffled slowly to the door, struggling to phrase an apology for not staying longer, drunken anxiety creeping back into his mind. Nate watched him a moment before closing the gap and kissing him—a wet, inelegant kiss that gave Brent a taste of his own spunk.

“Glad you came out, man,” he mumbled.

Brent nodded. “Me too. Thanks.”

Brent strode out into the hall, warily glancing both ways for onlookers. Nate leaned lazily on the doorframe, his arm dangling off him. “Text me when you ace that modes exam, dude. Hafta celebrate.”

Brent grinned. “I will. Thanks, man. Later.”

He turned and walked briskly for the stairwell before they got stuck in a farewell loop. Nate waved at him. “Later.”

Nate stood against the doorway, staring at the empty hallway even after Brent had turned a corner. A smile still on his face, he slid back into his room and closed the door.

It was true! He could almost guarantee it. That had been the first step, and getting a lead had been the second. Both had been important and very difficult, but Brent had facilitated both.

Nate opened his window and lit up a cigarette. He felt kind of bad. Was he using Brent? Yeah, a bit. But he did like him, he was glad they’d hooked up, he looked forward to seeing him again and the thought of fucking him almost made Nate cum in his pants again. Besides all that, he knew that this was something that Brent wanted.

“Fuck, dude,” he muttered to himself as he blew a plume of smoke out the window. “Brent, man? We’re gonna be fuckin HUGE.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“…and by the time I woke up everything… like, Adam too, were both back to regular size and… well, I had breakfast with them and came home.” Jamie finished with a shrug and a sigh.

Drew hadn’t said much through the whole thing. He’d asked a few clarifying questions along the way, but by the time Jamie got into the real meat of his explanation, Drew had just shut up and let him talk. But his jaw was clenched and his eyes were bloodshot and he kept sniffing back tears but a couple had slipped out. Jamie didn’t really know how to read him, which he him, which he found unusual and uncomfortable. Gauging people’s reactions had kind of been Jamie’s job and he had been good at it. But beyond “upset” Drew wasn’t sending him any clear signals. Jamie wasn’t sure that had ever happened before. He felt that prompting Drew was probably a bad call but the silence between them in that moment was torture.

“So…..” Jamie began tentatively, “do….”

“You’re a fucking liar and an asshole and… and you’re totally full of shit you fucking….” Drew sniffed and wiped tears out of one eye. “Did you… it’s not even that you looked at my computer and…”

Jamie’s brow furrowed. “Whoa, wait, what?”

“…and fucking… I don’t even know how. No. Fuck you. I don’t care.” Drew pushed himself off the couch and stood. “You think I’m this fucking stupid? You think you can fucking… distract me with….” he stopped, his mouth hanging open with incredulity. He stared at Jamie for a moment before darting away. Oprah hissed and scrambled under the couch. Jamie turned in his seat. “D? What are you doing?”

Drew had disappeared to the bedroom, and came back with his jacket. He grabbed his wallet off the table.

“Drew!” Jamie shot to his feet. “Jesus christ stop for a second!”

Drew shoved his keys in his pocket. “Y’know you think you’re so much better than all those sleazy ad execs but you’re just as fucking manipulative and conniving and you’ll say any fucking thing to get what you want. Y’know what? You’re worse cuz you just slather everything in sarcasm and some… philosophical circle-jerking and….” he shook his head, sniffed, and composed himself. He cleared his throat. “I can’t stay here tonight, I have to… I’ll text you.”

Jamie moved to intercept but Drew had already opened the door and was halfway out. “Drew fucking christ! You can’t just…”

“I’ll text you,” Drew said again, and slammed the door behind him.

Their home was suddenly cold and silent. Jamie almost chased him down the hall; had his hand on the knob, but he let it slip off.

Jamie pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned it back on. Battery Critically Low: Connect your charger, it reported.

He drew up a text message as quickly as he could.

Please come home


I love you


So fucking m

Shutting down.

The app closed and the screen went black. Jamie let it slip out of his fingers and it clattered on the floor.


Part 8: Josh

A shrill ringing woke Josh up but he still couldn’t raise his head. It took a lot of effort to open his eyes a little bit at a time, and more of an effort to compel them to focus. His suspicions of those two black blurs on a blurry grey field were eventually confirmed. He was looking at his sneakers on the pavement.

“Hey. Hey big guy!” A second staccato bell ring managed to prompt his head upright, and he found himself looking at a skinny black kid on a bike a few feet away from him on the sidewalk. Josh appeared to be waiting at a bus stop at an intersection he didn’t recognize. It was late night and kind of cold.

The kid nodded in Josh’s direction. “You all right, man?”

“Abizwaash,” Josh replied. He coughed, spat, and pulled himself upright. “Yeah… I’m good.”

“You, uhh… there’s like blood all down your face man.”

Josh put his hand to his face and felt what was probably a pasty, almost dry line of blood. He followed it up his cheek and into his long hair, where he found fresher blood and winced as he touched the edge of a wound.

“Shit,” said Josh.

“Yeah,” the kid replied. “You, uhh….?”

“All good. Gonna call an Uber.”

“Uhh…. You got any idea where you are, man?”

Josh found the street signs but it took almost twenty seconds of staring at them before he could read them. Wyoming and Orangelawn.

“Oh. Shit.”

“Yeah. Might wanna hop over to campus or somethin, man.”

“Thanks dude, I’ll figure it out.” he searched through his pockets, relieved to find his phone and his Mastercard.

“Hey,” the kid nodded again as if he was restarting their encounter. “Got a smoke, man?”

Josh searched through his pockets, but paused. “How old are you?”

The kid made a face at him. “C’mon man you tryin’ to parent my ass n’ shit? Sleepin’ at a bus stop at four a.m. with blood all up yo’ face?”

Josh sighed, found his pack and took it out, found two cigarettes left, took them both out and held one forward. The kid waddled closer on his bike and took it. Josh started looking for his lighter but the kid whipped out a worn out Zippo, opened and lit it in one elegant gesture. He held it forward for Josh then lit his own before snapping the lighter shut. He nodded at Josh. “Thanks,” he said out the side of his mouth, then hopped on the bike properly and rode off down the sidewalk.

Halfway through the first drag Josh got so lightheaded h thought he was going to puke. He threw the nearly complete cigarette to the ground and leaned forward, ready to hurl. “Oh fuck,” he groaned to the empty street.

But Josh didn’t throw up. He sat there for a while waiting to, settled for spitting a few times, stood up on wobbly legs, and staggered off, his head swimming with visions of of a neighbourhood swarming with ubers.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Liam blinked. “So…what did you do?”

Cassidy set down his tea on its saucer. “Oh my god are you kidding? I grabbed my stuff and fuckin booked it.”

“Leaving this guy… how big?”

“Oh, like at least fifteen feet tall, probably closer to twenty,” Cassidy grinned. “It was something else.”

Liam looked away and massaged his brow. “Jesus Christ, Cass.”

“Look,” Cassidy held up his hands defensively. “I totally know, okay? It was a bad idea. I let things get totally out of hand.”

“Totally out of hand?” Liam asked him incredulously. “What if he had hurt you… what if he’d killed you?”

“Oh he’s all talk,” Cassidy shrugged it off. “Tahar’s not going to hurt anyone.”

“At that size you don’t have to mean to, Cassidy. God…” Liam paused to have some more tea. “Cass, you have got to rein this shit in, man.”

“That’s totally what I mean!” Cassidy nodded. He waved his band like he was wiping clean a dirty window. “Butch is like, so retired. I’m going to be way more careful. Not get into situations like that again.”

“Y’know, it doesn’t actually sound like you have any intention of stopping.”

Cassidy just smiled.

“You tell Adam about any of this?”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “We’ve got a don’t ask, don’t tell arrangement.”

“You’re talking about extra-marital sex here, though. Right?” Liam smirked.

Cassidy sighed impatiently. “Oh my god. He’d just be worried.”

“He should be. I fucking am.”

“Oh don’t be such a diva,” Cassidy sucked his teeth.

Liam poured himself another cup of gyokuro from the teapot. “I still can’t believe, you’ve got all this amazing power at your fingertips and you just use it like a sex toy?”

“What, you want to follow Adrian’s suggestion and throw magic into a warzone?” asked Cassidy.

Liam set the pot back down. “It’s easy to make fun of when it’s not your family dying over there. Bring the craft to Syria and the war would be over in a month. Guaranteed.”

Cassidy laughed cynically. “Oh my god! You’re joking, right? You think one lightning bolt will make these people just roll over? You think all the rebel factions will just settle down and get along?”

“It’s better than nothing, Cass.”

“Really? Is it?” Cassidy sighed. “You start weaponizing magic you’ll just start an arms race that will get so many people killed.”

“You think that won’t happen if we’d ‘gone public?’” asked Liam, raising his fingers for air quotes.

Cassidy frowned peevishly. “Once again: that is not what I said.”

“Oh please.”

“All I said was it was a discussion we should start having,” Cassidy poked the air with his finger to accentuate every word. “Oh my god, I’m not retarded. If I had flat out made a proposal they’d have, like, lit me on fire or something. Can they turn people into frogs yet?”

Liam shrugged, blowing on his tea. “Don’t think so.”

“Oh thank god,” Cassidy put his hand to his chest.

Liam took a sip and set down his teacup. “You should really meet with Harry,” he said. “Talk things out. Everyone misses you. Adam too.”

“Yeah well like ‘not welcome here anymore’ doesn’t leave much room for interpretation.” Cassidy shook his head. “I’d love to come back but they’ll have to come to me.”

Liam sighed dejectedly and took another swig. “So… what’s it like being Butch? Like, how’s it feel?”

Cassidy grinned. “Amazing… like, I’m not really into guys like that but having all that weight, being so strong….it’s so hot. And man, like guys just hang off him.”

“Well yeah, at the Black fucking Eagle,” Liam chuckled.

“Oh my god, don’t be such a bitch,” Cassidy slapped his knee. “Besides, he’s popular up and down the village. Twinks, jocks, gym rats…”

Liam counted off on his fingers. “Gay stereotype four; gay stereotype five….”

“Oh my god, shut up,” Cassidy giggled, punching Liam’s shoulder. “You fucking asked.” He grinned. “You wanna find out for yourself?”

“Nope! No no no no no no. No.” Liam held up his finger for the last one. Then he relaxed and sat back. “Gotta get back to the girlfriend. Maybe some other time.”

Cassidy nodded. Liam was kind of tall and a bit chunky, but he had a great smile and Cassidy had had fantasies about him in the past, though he was tragically straight. The thought of turning him into a big burly bear was tantalizing, but he knew it would be pushing his luck.

Cassidy sighed, picking up the teapot and shaking it, the last few sips splashing around with the rattling diffuser. “Should I make another pot, or…”

“Nah I should probably head home soon,” Liam stretched. “Any more tea and I’ll have to pee in a Wendy’s cup.”

The door opened in the foyer and Adam came in, leaning on the wall as he took off his shoes. Cassidy got up to greet him. “Hey Cass. Oh! Hey, Liam. Long time no see.” Cassidy and Adam kissed each other’s cheeks.

“Hey Adam, how’s it going?” asked Liam, standing.

Adam shrugged and shook his hand as he walked past. “Can’t complain. What smells so good?”

“I made us grilled cheese,” said Cassidy.

Adam unzipped his hoodie and made his way to the kitchen. “Sweet. How’s things with you, Liam?”

“Good, man, good,” Liam replied, meandering to the kitchen. “Erin and I got engaged.”

“Oh yeah I saw that on Facebook,” Adam nodded as he unwrapped some cheddar. “Congrats.”


“How’s the crew? Everything, uhh…?” Adam trailed off and didn’t finish his sentence.

“Still going good, yeah. I mean not as good as when you were helping out but we’re still making progress.” Liam wavered his hand in the air. “Bit of a lull at the moment but it’ll pick up again once Roddy gets back from Mexico.”

“If you ever wanted me to take a look at anything,” said Adam, “I’m here for ya.”

“Yeah…” Liam leaned against the doorway, “probably not gonna go over well with the higher ups.”

Adam shrugged, cutting slices off the cheese brick. “You stayin’ for dinner?”

“Nah I was just about to head out,” said Liam, standing upright.

“Oh cool,” Adam set down the knife to give Liam a handshake. “Come around more often, man.”

“Yeah, for sure.”

Cassidy paused cleaning the teapot to show Liam out. Adam’s sandwich was nearly done by the time he came back to the kitchen.

“We still on for tonight?” asked Adam.

Cassidy slid onto a barstool across the counter from him. “As far as I know, yeah. I’ve been trying to Skype him all day but he hasn’t responded.”

Adam turned off the stovetop. “Want to get started without him?”

Cassidy shrugged. “We’ll see I guess. Uhh, like … How’d it go with Jamie?”

Adam paused, slid the grilled cheese onto a plate and sighed. “I don’t know, he…. well he’s not really feeling it.”

“I told you he wouldn’t,” Cassidy reminded him.

“Yeah well I didn’t really expect him too either but I needed to try,” said Adam, a little annoyed.

“You don’t need his approval, Adam.”

“I know I don’t need his approval,” Adam groaned, “but he was my best friend for a long time and I want his approval.” he sighed, walking over to the counter and holding the sandwich out in front of Cassidy. He leaned forward and took a bite.

“Fuck,” he swore with his mouth full. “Hot.”

Adam took a bite for himself. “Oh it’s fine. Calm down.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Josh had convinced a cab to take him and slept most of the ride home, then collapsed on the futon and slept through the morning fully clothed. By the time he woke up it was almost three and his head was pounding. There was blood all over the afghan and dried in crusty chunks through his hair. His mouth was dry and he drank three glasses in a row, which helped some. He took a shower, ate the rest of the chicken curry he’d had left in the fridge, drank a bunch more water, and watched an episode of Survivorman.

Josh was mostly cured of his acute hangover but was still exhausted and when he saw the e-mail reminding him he had a show scheduled in an hour he groaned aloud. He squeezed a lime’s worth of lime juice into a glass of water and chugged it while he checked his e-mail on his phone.

sundancekids85. That sounded familiar. Oh right, it was that cute married couple he’d met on the old Evolution forum and then again on the Muscle Growth Forum after the old one shut down. Hmm… Their roleplays were always pretty hot, fairly straightforward, and generally wrapped up in good time. Plus, usually by the end of his shows with them, they were already going at it, and more than once Josh had just stuck around and watched them fuck. And he hadn’t seen them in nearly a year, if he remembered correctly…No, there was just no way. He was too exhausted. It would be a shitty show and he was doing them a favour backing out.

Josh poured himself another glass of water and went to his room to sit down at his computer, still not sure whether or not this would be a good idea. Tired as he was, he was still horny. He squeezed his junk through his jeans while his Digital Storm booted up. No, fuck it. He’d just rub one out before bed and that would be that. Still, sundancekids85 were a nice couple and repeat customers, so he didn’t want to alienate them and leave them hanging. He double-clicked the Skype icon and saw sundancekids85 with an optimistic green icon nested in their avatar and a notice that they’d left ten messages. He sent them a video call.

The smaller one with glasses—Cass?—popped up on the screen. He smiled and waved happily, and said something before Josh realized he hadn’t turned on his speakers.

“Sorry man, what was that?”

“I said I wasn’t sure we were gonna see you tonight,” said Cass.

“Well, yeah,” Josh nodded nervously. “Hate to do this, man, but I’m gonna have to cancel on tonight?”

Cass frowned and groaned theatrically. “Awwwww really?”

“Yeah man. I’m sorry I just had a really rough night and I’m just totally exhausted,” Josh shook his head. “I know it’s a dick move, but it’ll probably be better for all of us.”

“Uhh… “ Cass glanced away for a second. It looked like he was looking at something behind his monitor. “Like, are you sure I can’t convince you?”

“Sorry man,” Josh shook his head. “I’ll send you my next video for free, okay?”

“No no no, wait, umm….” Cass paused. “I think you might want to stick it out, tonight.”

Cass was being a little more presumptuous than usual and Josh was beginning to regret the face-to-face call. This was kind of annoying. Josh played it off with a chuckle. “Heh, I definitely want to, buddy, but the flesh is weak. Need sleep.”

“Okay, just, umm… one sec.” Cass adjusted himself on his chair, sitting up straight. “I was gonna do something a little bit different, tonight? Like, just give me five minutes, okay? And if you’re, like, still not feeling it or whatever we’ll just forget about it and I won’t, like, say anything.”

“C’mon man…” Josh groaned.

“Five minutes. Josh, seriously, I swear to god, you will not regret it,” said Cass, hints of a smirk on his face.

Josh checked his clock. He sighed. “Okay, five minutes.”

Cass clapped his hands and giggled. “Oh my god! Okay. Okay great. Okay look, umm… get your dick out.”

Josh sighed, but undid his jeans and reached into his briefs. “No big guy tonight?”

“Hm? Oh, Adam? Yeah he’s, umm…” Cass hummed for a second. “He’s just taking care of something, it’ll just be me.”

That was too bad, Josh had always thought Adam was the hotter one. He pulled his cock out over the top of his waistband, wagging it at the camera. “Hi!” he said in a cutesy high-pitched voice. His hardon generally peaked at five inches, and he started palming the head to get it there sooner.

Cass laughed. “Okay, you know how we RP all kinds of stuff about, like, you getting big and huge and, like…”

“Like all our chats, sure,” Josh nodded.

“Right,” Cass nodded. “So like, if you could just… if you had, like, the actual chance to be a bigger guy, like, would you take it?”

This seemed like a weird track to take but whatever, Josh was game. He moaned, starting to rub his cock. “Mmm… you know it, man. In a heartbeat.”

Cass, however, didn’t seem satisfied. “Okay but like seriously, would you be into it? Would you want to be, like, way bigger in real life?”

Josh shrugged peevishly. “Well, I mean, I guess.” He checked the clock. It hadn’t even been thirty seconds yet. He sighed.

“Okay,” Cass nodded slowly. He was really getting into the role this time. It was a bit weird. “Okay. So like, I can make that happen.”

Finally, here we go. Josh smiled. “Ooooh yeah, bring it on.”

“Like, I know you don’t actually believe me?” said Cass, “so I’m gonna start just with your cock so you can see what I’m talking about.”

Josh felt a strange twist in his stomach, that seemed to bounce up his spine and disintegrate. He checked the clock again. Four minutes left. So far none of this was anything out of the ordinary. Josh stroked his cock. “Yeah, start with this big thick cock and go from there.”

Josh’s cock suddenly stretched in his hand. He felt it get thicker and heavier, gaining three inches in as many seconds. He stopped stroking, gaping down at his cock in disbelief. It was still getting hard, and it was bigger than he’d ever seen it.

“Whu… how is… no way.”

“Josh this is permanent, okay?” said Cass. “Like, I can’t reverse this? I mean I figured pumping your cock up some was pretty safe but like, I can give you all that stuff we RP about.”

Josh shook his head, fist still clenched over his shaft. “This is fucking nuts.”

“So… do you want me to?” asked Cass. “I mean this was why I asked for the show but if you want to like take a few days to think about it, like, I’m cool with that. And like keep the money, obviously.”

Josh didn’t say anything. He shook his head again.

“I’m not gonna get, like huge into details but the short version is, umm…” Cass pursed his lips. “This is magic,” he explained academically, “and I guarantee you there is no danger at all.”

Josh was still mesmerized by the cock in his unmoving hand.

“Josh?” Cass prodded. “Josh, oh my god, will you please say something?”

Josh slowly moved his hand up his shaft, feeling its new girth. He gasped when he reached the head.

Cass grinned. “Well… do you like it?”

Josh managed a quick nod, realized he was holding his breath. “Bigger,” he heard himself say.

Cass giggled, and Josh drew a sharp breath as his dick grew another two inches in his hand, with thickness to match. He stroked it more liberally, down then back up, now at full mast. It had to be ten inches long, at least. He glanced at the clock on his desktop. His cock had doubled in size in under five minutes.

“What d’ya say, Josh?” Cass raised an eyebrow. “Wanna be bigger all over?”

Did he? What would people say? What would he tell Shane? Or his parents? What would he do when people gawked at him on the street? What would he do the next time he walked into Hayloft and watched everyone’s jaw drop? What would he say when they begged to be taken? When they pleaded for the chance to worship him? When they touched his thick, huge body and gasped at how hard and ripped he’d become.

“Yeah,” he said it before he knew what he was saying. “Do it.”

Cass smirked. “You wanna be a freak, huh?” Josh could already feel something begin to churn around inside him; a pressure building up and impossible to contain. It got worse and worse, tightening up his insides, twisting through his whole body until he felt like he was going to split apart.

When his pecs suddenly heaved out from his chest and stretched the fabric of his shirt across them it felt like they had been finally unbound after years of being tied down. His arms felt like tightly wound coils suddenly released and allowed to resume their proper shape. It felt like that, but the sound of ripping cotton reminded him that he was getting bigger, reaching sizes he’d never even bothered to hope to achieve.

His socks began to rip, and he glanced down at his feet, probably size sixteens at that point, splitting his socks open as they grew before his eyes. His jeans began to tear along the seam, and he felt his ass plump up on the seat.

“Fuck…” Josh breathed. “More.”

The webcam was on a pretty narrow zoom and only showed his face but it was clear that Cass was jacking off. He paused to wipe sweat off his brow. “Well duh.”

Josh felt the backrest of his chair sliding down his widening back, his feet sliding across the floor as his legs seemed to stretch longer and fill in any gaps with hard, tight muscle. He was taller. Taller and taller and taller. He’d always fantasized but never even in his wildest dreams would he have ever expected any of this.

“Oooooh,” Josh moaned, “pecs. Get this shirt off me.”

He’d barely finished saying it than his pecs inflated with size and muscle and his shirt ripped open down the back. His arms and shoulders were hit with another growth spurt and took care of the sleeves. The feeling of his growing body shredding that shirt drove him nuts. He could feel it losing the battle with his bulk, becoming thinner as it stretched. Every tear was a triumph. He leaned back and….

And the chair buckled a second before giving out underneath him. Josh fell backward with a crash, kicking his desk and knocking over the webcam.

“Oh my god, Josh!” he heard Cass. “Josh?”

Scrambling to his feet tore the pants to shreds. His briefs clung stretched tight just under his ass but kicking the chair aside snapped them in half.

“Josh? Are you okay?”

Josh reached down, righted the webcam, and smiled at how far he had to bend to do it. He stood up, dressed in nothing but the tatters of his shirt, its once-wide V-neck now tight around his traps.

Cass put a hand over his grin. “Holy shit…” he whispered.

Josh looked at his reflection nested in the corner of Cass’ window. He was easily seven feet tall. Probably closer to seven-foot-five. He looked himself over, from his size twenty-two feet to his thick bodybuilder physique. He had the same proportions as all the idols he masturbated to nearly every night—Callum Von Moger; Craig Golias; Jay Cutler. He’d give any of them a run for their money, and was willing to bet none of them had a thick, foot-long cock (though he constantly imagined they all did). He was enormous; the biggest guy he’d ever seen. But the desire had gotten inside him. He felt it swirl around in his stomach, boil up his throat and blurt out of his mouth.


Cass laughed as a drop of sweat trailed down his face from his hair. “Oh my god, get a grip Josh! You get any bigger and you won’t be able to leave your house. This isn’t like, going away.”

“C’mon man,” Josh huffed. “Just some more in the arms…”

“Maybe next time,” Cass smirked. “Is your Paypal down or something? Cuz like, I’m pretty sure I paid for a show.”

Josh furrowed his brow. “What?”

“Well like, why don’t you take that big shiny dick out for a spin, hm?” Cass tilted his head, “See how it handles? What the like… brake… pressure is like? Honestly I don’t know like anything about cars.”

Josh put a hand around his dick, slowly bringing it up to the head then back down. God it felt so thick and hot. “Vroom vroom,” he moaned. Cass giggled. Josh let his hand stroke back and forth on his shaft while his other hands roamed along his body, exploring and discovering every new feature. These are my abs…. Oh fuck this it my ass… this is my thigh; God these are my fuckin balls. Sweet jesus these are my pecs, and my lats. This is my body. This is all mine.

It couldn’t be real. It was a dream. Or he had died when he hit his head last night and apparently been a really good guy his whole life because if this was Heaven (or Hell, for that matter) then he would’ve fallen down the stairs, or whatever the hell happened, long long ago.

It couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be real but it fucking WAS. It felt more real than anything he’d felt before. There was so much more of him now, and it was all ablaze with the electric, kinetic bliss cascading out from his huge, sweating cock, its shaft sticky with pre, its head throbbing with every beat of his heart beneath his big beefy chest.

Cass was leaning back in his chair, moaning and groaning, wiping sweat out of his face and biting his fingers with the one hand that wasn’t hidden off camera furiously jacking himself off.

Oh god, thought. “Oh GOD!” he shouted, and he came with an exploding firecracker of how sweaty spunk then in graceful white ribbons that arced across his room. The first slashed across his monitor, the second knocked an empty can of ginger ale off his desk, and the third slopped across his webcam, veiling his display in a wet gaussian blur. Josh staggered backward, his knees buckling under his heavy torso, and collapsed sitting onto his bed. The metal struts gave out on that side and slammed onto the floor. He sat there, his chest heaving, waiting to wake up from whatever amazing drug trip he assumed he was on. But he didn’t wake up. No, he kept on sitting there, feeling beads of sweat chart slow descents down the mountain of his body. Brief pause in the clavicle, line drive down the deep valley of his pecs, hanging for a moment off the shelf they had become, dripping onto one abdominal, then slinking down to another, then another and another, finally weaving a path to his external obliques to be lost in his pubic hair.

If this wasn’t real it was better than real.

Cass sat up, in an apparent daze. “Wow. That was something else. I’m sending you like, a little something to cover all the clothes we destroyed, but I guess like your whole wardrobe is probably trash by now so it’s a bit of a gyp or whatever. Sorry I shouldn’t say that. I hear it’s like, offensive to gypsies or… Egyptians or something.”

Josh leaned back, feeling his newly developed muscles shifting with every movement. His phone vibrated and he picked it up off his pillow, marvelling at how much smaller it looked in his hand. It took some delicate maneuvering with his bigger fingers. As he was fumbling around his apps, opening nearly all of them except the one he wanted, Cass was making his farewell.

“Well I’ll see you, Josh. Enjoy! And clean off your webcam!” He laughed, the sound ending abruptly as he signed off.

Finally Josh managed to open his e-mail and saw that there had been an additional deposit to his Paypal. Josh grinned. Stand up guy, that Cass.

He tossed his phone on a piece of his torn pants and moaned contentedly, leaning back further and letting his wide back sink heavily into his bed. He drew up his arm and flexed it. Fuck, that was a huge bicep. He brought it down and flexed again, letting it rub against his bulging pecs. He felt his flaccid cock twitching itself back to life. Josh smiled as he cupped his big balls in his hand. He had to clean all his cum up anyway, he figured he might as well get the most out of it.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cassidy toweled semen off his desk and looked across the room. He wasn’t sure what had finally pushed him over, watching Josh hulk out of his clothes, or seeing Adam huddled against the far wall, fifteen feet tall, swollen with gigantic brawn, and a five foot cock that probably weighed more than Cassidy. Adam had stroked it to completion with both hands while he watched the show on a second monitor. He picked up a beach towel and wiped up the copious amounts of cum from his chest and abs and in puddles on the floor.

“You okay?” he asked Cassidy. “You look exhausted.”

Cassidy shook his head. “A bit. I’ll be fine.” He smiled weakly. “Oh my god, did you see his face?”

The phone on the nightstand buzzed as it vibrated. At first he couldn’t tell which one it was since they were right next to each other, but the blinking light gave away that it was Adam’s. He took it in his hand and used the stylus from his DS to check his messages. Adam’s expression darkened.

Cassidy noticed as he pulled on his briefs. “Adam? What’s wrong?”

Adam looked up. “It’s Jamie. He says he needs your help…”


Part 9: Russell

Russell didn’t like the way the secretary kept glancing over at him. He knew they would look out of place but had at least gone to the effort of wearing a suit jacket and cufflinks. Apparently that didn’t make up for the corn rolls. Mahtab looked uncomfortable too, tapping her fingernails in staccato rhythm on the dossier in her lap. She would halt whenever she caught herself doing it, but her mind would drift and she’d fall back into it.

A light blinked on the secretary’s phone and he lifted the receiver, listened for a moment, and set it down. He nodded at Russell and Mahtab. “He’ll see you now.”

Mahtab smiled politely and nodded, standing up and adjusting her suit jacket. Russell had to admit she cleaned up nice. The suit made her look like an Indian Jackie Brown.

Harry’s office was pretty awesome. Lots of neutral tones with deep red accents, a well-stocked minibar, a bookcase full of autobiographies with a turntable on top. Very nice. The walls were mostly decorated with pictures of Harry arm in arm with various old white men. The only one Russell recognized was Joe Clark.

Harry was sitting on the other side of a glass desk sparsely accented with a white flat-screen with matching wireless keyboard, an abstract ebony sculpture, and a golden pen. Behind Harry was a wall to wall window and the city sprawled out beyond.

Harry was unsurprisingly frowning as Russell and Mahtab wordlessly sat down on the other side of the desk. “I believe we had discussed this,” he reminded them chidingly. “You’re lucky I didn’t call security.”

“I know, Harry, and I’m sorry,” said Mahtab, “but this is a bit of a sensitive matter. We couldn’t risk anyone else finding out about it.”

“All right, well, let’s try and keep this short, shall we?” Harry looked annoyed and impatient.

Russell and Mahtab exchanged glances. No turning back now. Russell leaned forward. “We’ve been losing people, Harry. The coven’s had members going missing for months.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “Who? What are you talking about.”

Russell took out his phone and reviewed his notes. “No one’s heard from Robyn since before Christmas. Sara since February. Dave, Mohan, and Hong have all disappeared, and now Rodrigo...”

“All right let’s not sensationalize,” Harry interjected, holding up his hands. “Sara was talking about moving to Montreal and Hong might have gone to follow her. Dave was never really reliable to begin with. I don’t know about Mohan but he never seemed that invested in the craft. And Roddy went to stay with family in Mexico. You knew that.”

Mahtab cleared her throat. “Roddy and I had a few projects on the go and he had planned to check in with me. When he didn’t I managed to get in touch with his cousin who said he never arrived. I’m still looking into it but it looks like he never got on the plane.”

Harry paused, then sighed. “Robyn was approached by the Circle. She probably decided to switch teams.”

“If she did, she didn’t go to the Circle,” Russell shook his head. “I’ve had their phones monitored and no one’s heard from her on their end either. On top of that, they’ve had a few people go missing too.”

Harry nodded thoughtfully, his expression darkening. “You’re sure this is reliable?”

“Cops put out a missing person for Oded Hume two weeks ago,” Russell explained. “If they’re on to me and trying to string me along I don’t see what the endgame could be.”

Harry leaned back in his chair. “You’re sensationalizing,” he insisted again.

“It may be a coincidence,” Mahtab acknowledged, “but I feel at this point it’s too great a risk to just ignore. If we’re under attack...”

Harry scoffed. “Really, Mahtab...”

“IF we are being attacked,” Mahtab steamrolled his interruption, “we need to prepare some response.”

“Even if something has happened,” Harry conceded tersely, “it could have been an accident. It could be anything.”

Mahtab nodded. “All the more reason to get to the bottom of this.”

“Harry we’ve looked into this,” Russell assured him. “I’ll give you Dave and Mohan, I wasn’t able to confirm them yet, but the rest—that’s five people, counting Oded—have disappeared without a trace.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Without a trace?” he chuckled.

Russell nodded mirthlessly. “Without a trace. Clothes still in their drawers; passports at home; cell phones, sometimes... Hong even had a load in the wash. Nasty as shit by the time I got to it.”

Harry was frowning again. “You think they’re dead?”

“Well, I don’t honestly know,” Russell shook his head. “But I’m not holding out much hope.”

Harry leaned forward. “So what are you proposing?”

“More thorough investigation, for starters,” said Mahtab quickly. “Get everyone we know we can trust, any contacts we can exploit, and look into every detail we can find out about the last time these people were seen. We can begin by going through the coven and making sure everyone else is accounted for.”

“Does anyone else know about this?” Harry asked.

“Adrian’s been handling the surveillance spellcraft, and...” Russel glanced at Mahtab, “he said Liam suspects something’s up. He knows they’re missing Oded. Not sure how much he’s put together.”

Harry nodded. “Are we considering reaching out to the Circle?”

Russell pursed his lips. “Not at this point. Let’s see what we can find on our own and then we can figure out how to approach them. Even if they’re not responsible we shouldn’t let them know we’re shorthanded.”

“But you don’t think they’re responsible?” Harry asked. They both shook their heads, and Harry grumbled. “Then who? Is there a new group that slipped into the city without us knowing it?”

Russell turned to Mahtab, who hesitated for a moment, but carried on. “I... have a bit of a theory in that regard.”

Harry shrugged. “All right.”

Mahtab sighed. “When Cassidy Hamilton proposed a public revelation of our work the reaction from the coven was a mostly hostile one.”

Harry leaned back and fixed Mahtab with a deadpan glare. “We’ve been over this ad nauseum.”

“Let me finish,” Mahtab snapped. “I believe Cassidy may be on track to actually go through with this. Going public.”

Russell quickly held up his hand. “Just to be clear: I am not on board with this theory.”

Harry looked back and forth at both of them while Mahtab shot Russell a sour look. “What makes you think that? Have you kept in touch with Cassidy?”

Mahtab shook her head. “No. And this isn’t based on much, I’ll grant you that, but...” she shifted in her seat. “Okay look: Cassidy first started that conversation because Adam wanted to be... enhanced on a full time basis.”

“Yes but ‘enhancing’ as you put it was the only thing Cassidy was any good at,” Harry reminded her. “What does that have to do with making people disappear.”

“Well,” Russell added reluctantly, “our own progress took a big hit when Adam stopped coming around. Access to Adam could make all the difference. In theory.”

“Here’s all I’m saying,” Mahtab interjected. “If Cassidy were going to go public, there are those in the coven who would take action to stop him. Do either of you disagree?”

Russell frowned, glancing glumly at Harry, though neither said anything.

Mahtab continued. “If Cassidy perceives us as a threat he may be taking preemptive measures to protect himself.”

Harry drummed his fingers on his desktop, examining Mahtab judiciously. “I’m surprised this is coming from you, Mahtab. As I recall you and Cassidy were on the same side of that issue.”

“We still are,” she replied archly. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to overlook this.” She gestured to the three of them. “We keep each other in check. I mean, five years ago we never even imagined we would be able to do anything near what we’ve been doing. It messes with your head, but we’ve all been there to call each other on it when we... lose perspective.”

“Yeah,” Russell had to agree on that front. “If Cassidy’s been exploiting Adam’s resources he could be on a whole other level now.”

“With no oversight,” Mahtab added.

Harry steepled his fingers and nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll put a scrying team on Cassidy. If he’s still active I’ll look into hiring a P I.”

“There’s no way he’s not still practicing,” Mahtab shook her head.

“Regardless,” Harry sighed. He paused, and glanced out the window. “So... if anything turns up... what kind of response are we discussing?”

Mahtab looked apprehensively at Russell. “Well...” she said slowly. “If we can figure out a way to take away his powers, I mean... if that’s possible...”

“We haven’t even begun that vein of research, though,” Russell muttered.

“If he’s using his powers for harm, then there’s no question, right?” Mahtab glanced back and forth at the two of them. “If we can’t stop him from using the craft then we’ll have to...”

Russell finished as she trailed off. “Stop him, period.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“I punched a little girl in the face today.”

Drew moved the tiny potted plant centrepiece to the side of the table as Ryan set down their vodka-Red Bulls. “Ryan don’t take no shit from nobody!” he barked.

“It was more like an elbow; on the streetcar. I went to check my phone,” Ryan mimed reaching into his coat pocket and made a popping sound as he nudged his elbow outwards. “Right in the face.”

“How old are we talking about?” asked Drew as he fished an ice cube out with his tongue.

“Eight to ten, maybe?” Ryan guessed. “I mean I’m not a big guy. I’m not used to people gettin all up in my whatever.”

Drew nodded sympathetically as he crunched the ice cube. “Plus she was probably talkin’ shit bout you the whole time.”

“Fuck off,” Ryan laughed. “I need to get my bike fixed, man. TTC is fucking killing me.”

Drew grunted as he wiped off his mouth. “Y’know I gotta say that Saint Clair streetcar rocks. I mean I’ve just given up on the Queen Street one it’s a nightmare.” He shook his head. “Dedicated lanes man. Should be standard issue.”

“You say that now,” Ryan retorted. “Wait til midwinter when everyone just en masse loses their fucking minds.”

“Well I think I’ll have this sorted out by then.” Drew said it casually, but as the words were leaving his mouth he realized he had brought up something he didn’t want to talk about. He took a long sip while Ryan awkwardly tried to gauge his mood without making eye contact.

He fiddled with a napkin. “Any, uhh... developments on that front?”

Drew set down his glass with just a swish of his drink inside. “Yeah... no. I dunno. Jamie’s texted me a few times but...” he threw back the last of his cocktail and didn’t finish his sentence.

“You, uhh... responded to any?” Ryan prodded carefully.

Drew shook his head. “I just don’t really... I don’t know how to...” he struggled.

Ryan sipped his drink and nodded. Drew had been tight-lipped about the details of whatever had happened between him and Jamie. It was hard to be there for him and he didn’t know what comfort Drew was looking for. When he had first asked to spend the night Ryan had just thought it was a spat. When he had come back the next day with a gym bag full of clothes...

It didn’t help that Ryan was desperately horny like all the time, and had always had a thing for Drew. That had been buried under their friendship—which he valued too much to make his own move—but for longer and longer stretches each night Ryan lay awake staring out the window and hoping Drew would climb up off the sofa, plod across the dining room, wordlessly slip under the sheets next to him, and fuck him til sunrise. Sometimes Drew got up during these periods and Ryan would stop breathing, feel his heart rate skyrocket, and only regain himself when he heard the bathroom door close or the kitchen sink go on. He wanted to be a good friend but it was, he was beginning to realize, slowly driving him crazy.

“Still with us?” Drew broke what had evidently been a long silence.

“Sorry I was just thinkin,” Ryan mumbled, finishing his drink.

“‘Bout what?” asked Drew.

“Asses,” Ryan replied with a shrug.

Drew nodded. “That waiter must’ve walked into your field of vision.”

Ryan looked over the rim of his empty glass pretending to drink. The big beefy blonde had a size-too-small Firkin shirt stretched across his thick pecs, chatting up an older couple sitting by the window. Ryan raised an eyebrow. “Really? That’s your thing?”

“Are you kidding me?” Drew asked incredulously. “Have you seen his ass? It looks like it’s got a mind of its own.”

“This is you trying to convince me this is appealing? I’m literally picturing a talking ass.”

Drew looked backward over his shoulder. The waiter caught him looking and smirked. “Shit he caught me,” Drew hissed, turning back to the table.

“Oh shit he’s on to you,” Ryan smiled, and continued narrating, lowering his voice. “Oh shit he’s coming over. Oh shit he looks pissed.”

His wide shadow fell across the table and Drew looked up at his wide, dimple-pinching friendly smile. “You boys want another?” He pointed an open hand at each of them, glancing back and forth.

“Could I get a whiskey sour?” asked Ryan.

The waiter clapped his hands together and nodded. “Whiskey sour and...?” he swerved back to Drew.

“Uhh....” Drew didn’t want another vodka-Red Bull but hadn’t thought up any alternatives. “Umm, uhh... a cosmo?”

“Tasty,” the waiter winked at him. “Comin right up, guys.”

Ryan narrowed his gaze at an ass that, he had to admit, seemed to dance all over the top of his legs with every step. “Okay, is it just me or is it not insulting for straight bartenders to flirt with gays?”

Drew rolled his eyes. “That wasn’t flirting.”

“Okay fine; he was being flirty.”

“Oh good,” Drew purred, “a semantic argument with Ryan.”

Ryan flipped him off. “As if you didn’t start it. You often wink at people when they ask for an increase on their credit limit?”

“Well...” Drew exaggerated a thoughtful stare, “I wouldn’t call it ‘often.’“

“I’m just saying,” Ryan sighed. “it’s just such blatant tip-bait I’m almost embarrassed for them.”

“Guh,” Drew slumped forward on the table, briefly palming his forehead before rhyming off points on his fingers. “First? Don’t get snobby about other people’s jobs; you’re better than that. Second, people come to a bar to be social, and when it comes to gay dudes, half-joke-flirting is an easy go-to icebreaker for everyone. Third, bartenders flirt. Flirting just comes with the job. Get over it or don’t go to bars.”

“Okay sure,” Ryan ceded, “but this guy’s not taking any men home tonight. How is that not deceptive?”

“Jesus christ, Ryan, if you’re coming to bars expecting to leave with the bartender I don’t know what I can...”

The big buff waiter sidled up next to their table apparently out of nowhere. He set their drinks down in front of them and nodded. “There you go, guys,” he chuckled, and grinned as he turned and walked away.

“Fuck he totally heard me,” Drew glanced at the whiskey sour in front of him and switched their drinks.

“Yeah and he probably thinks it means I wanna fuck him,” Ryan raised his glass. “Thanks for that,” he added before he took a sip.

“What has you so convinced he’s straight?” asked Drew. “Do you know this guy?”

“No, but what indication has he given that he’s gay?”

“That’s heteronormative thinking,” Drew pointed at him. “We talked about this.”

Ryan shook his head. “No, you ranted about it and I bit my to tongue because in MY experience HOMOnormative thinking just ends up disappointing you.”

Drew shrugged. “Yeah mine too.”

They stayed there alternating between conversing and bickering and deriding each other’s taste in nearby men for another two hours and three cocktails. They finished off with shots of B-52.

Ryan dropped his phone as he wobbled out the door. Drew picked it up while he steadied himself on the wall. “Steady on, bro,” he chided playfully.

“S’not my fault,” Ryan slurred. “Gettin drunk off hardly anything s’part of my ancientscultural heritage.”

“Yeah but so is drinking enough vodka to put a horse in a coma,” Drew handed him his phone. “I feel like they should balance each other out.”

Ryan had tuned out as he checked his phone. He only made it a few steps before he stopped, his face lit up from his screen and his thumbs tap dancing over his keyboard.

Drew stopped and looked back. “Everything okay, man?”

“It’s Casey,” Ryan moaned. “He’s drunk and horny.”

“Casey, Casey....” Drew thought a moment then ran a hand up his arm. “With the tattoos?”


“The part-time model?” Drew persisted.

Ryan nodded.

“Dude what are you still even doing here?”

“‘M too drunk!” Ryan whined. “And he’s jus’ gonna try and feeds me more booze.”

“Get an espresso and just dive right into the fucking,” Drew shrugged and sighed, musing to nobody: “Kids these days don’t even know how to booty call right.”

They had come straight from work and it was still pretty early, so it wasn’t long before they came across a Starbucks that was still open. Ryan got a latte instead but was already sobering up by the time they left for the subway. They parted ways at Wellesley station, Drew patting Ryan affectionately on the ass before bidding him good luck and sending him on his way.

Drew’s phone had been buzzing against his thigh since they left the bar but he had been ignoring it, figuring it was probably Jamie. He paused on the sidewalk to check, holding out hope it was that six-foot-five Nordic rowing champion he had met on Grindr a while back. Nope; it was just Jamie.

He almost didn’t bother reading them. They were generally one of three varieties: short apologies, short platitudes, or lengthy appeals. None of them had really satisfied the kind of violation he’d suffered. It was one thing that Jamie spun up that ridiculous story, it was worse that he had cloaked it in the fantasy Drew had worked very hard to keep hidden. Sometimes in the early morning when he was still half-asleep and delirious Drew found himself thinking what if it’s all true? The resulting erection offered a nice jumpstart to his routine morning wank but once the endorphin rush wore off he’d dispelled the notion. He knows you want to believe that. That’s why he told you that story. He’s a fucking ad man. That’s what they do.

How had he even found out? How long had he known? Drew was so careful whenever he went to anything macro related. It was almost reflex at that point. Never save passwords, always go incognito... he knew it wasn’t foolproof but had Jamie actually gone digging? Was this some elaborate psuedo-gaslighting?

Drew was already putting his phone away again when he saw there were six messages from Jamie, which was unusual. Jamie had always played his hand conservatively. Drew pulled his phone back up and opened his messages, mildly concerned that something had happened to Oprah.

“Hey. I really need to see you tonight. Please come back to the condo. It won’t take long.”

“D I know you’re upset but I can make it all right i just need you to come back tonight.”

“Please at least just let me know one way or the other.”

Those had all been sent roughly ten minutes apart from each other two hours earlier. The next three had been sent right after each other only thirty minutes ago, as they were leaving the bar.

“I need to show you something. It might not fix everything but I think it’ll fix a lot.”

“I can’t text it to you.”

“If you don’t stay after I won’t try to stop you but please come and see.”

The tone was different. There was a certain assuredness to him that hadn’t been around before. He had something to “show” him? What the hell did that mean?

He had half a mind to just text him “go fuck yourself” back but instead just put his phone away and went into the station. There was no point indulging Jamie. What could he possibly show Drew that would undo his bullshit?

As he walked down the stairs to the platform Drew began to second guess himself. How long was he planning on keeping this up? What was he waiting for Jamie to do or say? If he admitted it was all a lie would that be enough? Drew couldn’t stay at Ryan’s forever and they had to sort it out eventually, one way or the other. Drew missed Jamie. He missed Jamie and Oprah and all his stuff and movie nights and spooning on Saturday mornings and getting stoned listening to post-rock and everything the way it had been.

They’d quibbled before and even had pretty heated fights but there had never been anything like this. Did that mean it was all over?

A subway pulled into the station and Drew backed up for people to get out, but once the parade of exiting passengers had ended he just stood there looking at the open doors.

Don’t you want to try and fix it? Shouldn’t you at least hear him out?

The doors chimed and Drew had an urge to just bolt in, sit down, think about something else and go to sleep on Ryan’s couch. But the doors closed with him still on the other side, the transparent reflection of himself staring back from the window, looking miserable. The window slid away, thundering down the tunnel with the rest if the subway.

Drew climbed back up the stairs, and pulled out his phone again.

Coming be there soon

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cassidy reached down and scratched Oprah behind the ears as she nuzzled his ankle. “Aww... you’re such a friendly little guy.”

She purred and licked his fingers and he giggled.

“It’s weird she’s usually terrible with strangers,” Jamie noted.

“Oh my god, really? I was just gonna say cats like generally hate me. Oh my god this one friend of Adam’s? His cat is just like hissing nonstop whenever I see him.” Oprah hopped away and up on the couch, and Cassidy flicked stray cat hairs off his fingers. “It’s like I’m a human vacuum cleaner.”

Oprah climbed up on the couch next to Jamie and toppled onto her back so he would start petting her belly, and he obliged.

“How old is she?” asked Cassidy.

“I’m not sure,” Jamie shrugged. “Like four or five I guess. We inherited her from one of Drew’s friends when she moved in with a guy who was allergic.” He grinned. “Then they split up and she wanted her back and we were like ‘nooooope!’“

Cassidy chuckled. “Did he say how long he was gonna be?”

“No. Sorry man. I’m honestly amazed he gave more than a one-word reply.” He sighed. “If you gotta take off, don’t worry about it.”

“No no no,” Cassidy shook his head. “I can stick it out. I’m just not a fan of like night driving.”

“You can always...” Jamie stopped short as he heard keys rattling at the door. He froze.

Cassidy looked at him uncertainly for a moment before he stepped into the foyer.

Outside, Drew continued jingling his keys as loud as he could before he actually put his card in the lock. He didn’t want to barge right in but knocking on his own door seemed retarded.

He opened the door and saw a short, skinny guy with glasses and dark hair. He had a sort of expectant but nervous look on his face.

“Sorry, wrong...” Drew at first assumed he was at the wrong condo but reminded himself he had just unlocked the door with his key. “Wait... what...?”

The stranger stepped over the small pile of shoes near the door. “Drew right?” he put out his hand. “I’m Cassidy?”

Drew looked at him and his extended hand dubiously. “Okaaaaay,” he said slowly. “What’s, umm... where is...?”

“Jamie’s right inside.” Cassidy quickly cut in. He laughed self-consciously. “I’m sorry, I know this must be, like...”

“What exactly are you doing here?” Drew interjected.

Cassidy swiveled his eyes towards the living room. “Umm... let’s just like, go talk to Jamie, alright?” and with that he darted around the corner. “Oh my god, you didn’t tell me he’s so cute!” he said.

“Yeah,” Jamie’s voice grumbled. “Hey D,” he called.

Drew closed the door behind him. Jamie sounded strange. He didn’t really know what was wrong with it it just seemed... different.

He wriggled out of his shoes and padded through the kitchen, grimly noting the sink full of dirty dishes Jamie hadn’t bothered to clean even with company coming over. Drew rolled his eyes and muttered “Figures,” as he rounded the corner and nearly had a heart attack.

Drew felt his neck tighten up, his lungs shrivel, and his sphincter squeeze shut. His eyes had widened so full it made his face ache and he wanted to blink but couldn’t bring himself to look away even for that instant. He was afraid he would miss something that would betray the illusion it had to be.

Jamie sat on the couch and nearly filled the whole thing. He was enormous. It was impossible to guess but even sitting down his head was at least a foot higher than the usually taller Drew. The coffee table had been moved to the side to make room for Jamie’s legs, one of which was bent and the other splayed across the floor, his foot upright resting on his heel, its toes easily reaching up to Drew’s knee. A bath towel had been draped across his lap to maintain some modesty.

And he was impossibly jacked. Wide round shoulders arched over two thick hard arms and a prodigious chest with a deep cleft in the middle. His thighs were huge, and even his calves looked bigger than his waist used to be. But it was Jamie’s face smiling sheepishly at him on top of it all. Scratching Oprah’s back while she nuzzled his sausage-sized fingers.

“Look who’s home, Oprah!” said Jamie.

He lifted his hand off her and the cat hopped down, frolicked over to Drew and arched her back against his leg, mewing quietly.

It was all fucking true. It didn’t make any sense at all but he couldn’t deny what he was seeing. He thought he might be dreaming but he’d imagined Jamie like this a thousand times and his imagination was not nearly this vivid. Every detail was beyond perfect, like he had busted his way out of his fantasies and became flesh and bone.

Drew tried to speak but his neck was still constricted. He quickly relearned how to breathe and managed to croak out “How?”

“Kinda a long story,” Cassidy chuckled. “Short answer, I guess I’m like a wizard?”

Drew nodded. He took a step toward Jamie. “I’m so sorry...”

“It’s okay,” Jamie assured him. He drew his outstretched leg in and beckoned Drew closer.

“No,” Drew shook his head, closing the gap.

“Yes,” Jamie replied. “C’mere.”

Drew could smell him as he closed in. It was that familiar musk he had gotten so used to waking up to and had missed without knowing it. Up close he looked totally gigantic. His wide, impossible frame filled Drew’s field of view. He began to climb up onto him, and Jamie cupped his meaty palm under his butt to help him up to straddle his thigh. His huge arm barely even flexed, lifting up Drew with the effort most men took to pick up an apple.

“I’ve... dreamed about you like this. Fantasized,” Drew moaned.

Jamie smirked. “Really?” he blushed.

Drew nodded, biting his lip. “Fuck. I’m so hard right now.”

Cassidy, who Drew kept forgetting was even there, leaned against the wall, watching them. He’d expected there’d be more questions, more explaining to do, more fear. But Drew seemed right at home, leaning in against Jamie’s meaty torso, resting his head on his pec, running his palm over his abs. A certain puzzle piece clicked into place, connecting what had been disparate ideas, and a slow realization dawned on Cassidy. As he watched them, Drew raising his hand to Jamie’s shoulder, running it down his arm, pausing to squeeze along the way, Cassidy became more and more convinced that his theory bore out, and the more convinced he became the wider his smile grew.

“Drew, you... you want in on this?” he asked.

Drew turned back, his face flushed, almost in a trance. “Oh fuck yes.”

If that didn’t clinch it he didn’t know what could. Cassidy chuckled. “You might wanna, like, take your clothes off.”

Drew shook his head. “No.”


“Fuck the clothes.”

“Wow,” Cassidy exclaimed. “You sure? I don’t wanna...”

“Seriously,” Drew cut in forcefully, “fuck these clothes. I’m on board.”

Drew felt it first in his gut, that same kind of tug like he hadn’t eaten all day. From there the same feeling seemed to creep up his torso and wind down through his legs. It was like every part of him was starving. It struck first in his ass, and he gasped as he felt it blow up with thick muscle. His suit pants were already tight from the weight he’d gained and it didn’t take much for them to split, first at his hip then across the seat. His thighs swelled and the legs began to shred, first with threads split apart and digging into his muscle, then tearing open completely. He felt his calves expanding and the pants faring similarly down there.

Drew moaned as his chest began to grow out from his ribs, buttons clinging for dear life before splitting open. He looked up at Jamie who was watching Drew’s transformation with his mouth hanging open. Drew reached up to Jamie’s shoulders and pulled himself to his feet, standing on the couch and only barely higher than Jamie. He leaned in as the last of his buttons popped off, his undershirt clinging to his growing body, abs pushing out from under his modest paunch until they were visible through the thin cotton. Jamie put his hand on his back and squeezed him close. Drew looked into his lover’s face and couldn’t believe he had ever doubted him. Of course it was possible; somewhere in the wishing and hoping he had known it, too. Drew leaned down and kissed Jamie as he felt his shoulders growing hard and round, his arms stretching to heavyweight proportions, biceps bulging with beef against his sleeves. God, it felt so transcendentally amazing, his shirt sleeves tightening, straining against his arms. Concerned for a microsecond that they would somehow win the fight against his inflating flesh; relieved and excited as he heard and felt the material give way to his thick, cut biceps.

With his sleeves hanging in tattered strips from his shoulders, Drew raised an arm and flexed, watching his already bulging muscles engorge themselves even more. His neck thickened with brawn, couched in traps that rose as his lats descended, spreading his dress shirt further apart, beginning to test the limits of his already stretched undershirt. He flexed his chest, felt his undershirt sliding across his hard nipples. He felt energized and powerful and so fucking horny he couldn’t believe it. Drew pulled away from Jamie as he felt a pressure building in his crotch, looked down—with some difficulty to see past his pecs—to see the boner clearly visible through his tight underwear begin to pump larger and larger. He reached down and maneuvered it out the top of his waistband and felt the head sliding up his abs. It had to be a foot long, at least. He pinched the head a couple of times, moaning at the jolts of pleasure that pulsed out from his groin, then went back in to kiss Jamie, who grunted and thrashed his bigger tongue around Drew’s mouth.

They were only able to kiss a few moments before Drew was pulled away, and found himself looking down at Jamie as he grew taller and taller, his body continuing to swell with muscle to maintain his insane proportions.

Drew stepped down off the couch as his head neared the ceiling. He was nearing Jamie’s height at that point and was now better positioned to explore his body. He gripped Jamie’s bulging traps, his huge shoulders, rubbed across his pecs and slipped under his arms, digging his fingers into Jamie’s rockhard lats. As he felt his own body expanding beneath his skin, bones creaking larger, balls pushing his underwear to their limit between his thick thighs as they inflated, he felt and rubbed and squeezed all over Jamie. He was so warm, damp with sweat, thick and hard and so huge even Drew’s growing hands seemed unable to really get a good hold on anything. Drew sensed the ceiling approaching from above and slowly lowered himself to his knees, kissing his way down Jamie’s body, lingering briefly on his nipple, before he pulled the towel off the tent already pitched in Jamie’s lap, revealing a thick fleshy half-hard cock throbbing its way to full-on boner over a pair of balls that were probably the size of cantaloupes, though Drew’s altered proportions had messed with his perspective and the scale was all off. He glanced back, his chin jabbing his swollen shoulder, and saw Cassidy standing there watching, giddy but intensely concentrating, heedless of Oprah pawing at the cuff of his dockers. They seemed smaller and detached, like he was watching them on TV. Drew’s growing seemed to have subsided for the moment.

Drew turned back to Jamie and gaped in surprise as he saw his cock raised to full mast yet swelling even bigger. Jamie moaned and leaned back on the couch, taking one hand and gripping a cushion. Drew hunched forward and licked the head of the rising cock, and Jamie’s huge body shuddered in reply. It was nearly three feet long, thick as a two-litre bottle, already leaking precum, and still getting bigger. It was completely unreal.

A sudden ache in his groin prompted Drew to look down just in time to see his cock, strangled by the taut waistband of his underwear, swell big enough to snap the elastic and burst free. Though his junk had been growing throughout, it was nowhere near as big as Jamie’s, though it was still well over a foot long. Drew wondered if Jamie’s asshole had grown large enough to accommodate it, as he reached down, ripped the remains of his undies off himself, and maneuvered his head towards Jamie’s asshole. Jamie gasped as he felt him pressing in, then grunted in pleasure as Drew licked a line of pre off his shaft, following it to its source at the tip of his giant cock, then slathering the head with his spit, tonguing the urethra.

Drew gently thrust deeper and felt with some alarm his cock begin to grow, pushing even deeper and pressed tighter in Jamie’s ass, but the pressure was relieved as, to Drew’s rapt delight, Jamie’s whole body had begun to expand even larger. He shifted his butt forward off the couch and onto the floor, Drew following closely, chained by his dick to Jamie’s ass. Jamie has his elbows on the seat of the couch and continued to lean back as he grew, moaning and laughing as he did. Drew bucked his hips into Jamie, looking up at his massive body. His cock had gotten so big the head was out of reach for Drew’s tongue, but he kept rubbing it with all of his thick bulging arms, hugging it against his pecs and bouncing them against the shaft. He moaned into every thrust, marvelling at how far he could withdraw without pulling out completely.

“I’m close,” Jamie rumbled, his voice an octave lower. Drew started stroking faster and faster, jamming his hips back and forth at a greater pace as he felt his own cock throbbing inside Jamie, achingly close to climax. He craned his neck forward past his huge pecs, licking the underside of Jamie’s pillar-like cock, then nuzzling it with his face, hearing Jamie’s heartbeat throbbing within.

Jamie grunted, grabbing the towel off the floor and throwing it over the head of his cock. He drew a sharp breath. “Oh... holy fucking god!”

Jamie’s gigantic cock churned out an explosion of cum that immediately soaked the towel, the second spurt flowed through the fabric and drizzled down his thick shaft, soaking into Drew’s hair and down his face and he tasted it, hot and musky on his tongue. He continued to plow harder and harder into Jamie, who was still spewing out a fountain of jizz as Drew came.

His mouth hung open and his eyes squeezed shut as he felt shockwaves of bliss explode out from his cock, his whole huge body scintillating with hot, buttery ecstasy. Another gob of Jamie’s spunk fell into his open mouth and he turned, licking more from Jamie’s shaft and gulping it down. Drew unleashed volley after volley into Jamie’s welcoming ass, his body seeming to act without any input from him, running on instinct or inertia, he couldn’t say, but he felt as though his brain had short circuited from an overload of pleasure, and he just needed a moment to let everything get connected again.

He collapsed on top of Jamie, letting his feet slide back across the floor, feeling the edge of Jamie’s calf along the top of it. Huge as Drew was, Jamie was somehow even bigger, and as he put his arm around him, Drew felt like a child by comparison.

Cassidy whistled from the kitchen. “Well, looks like my work is done.” He theatrically clapped his hands together. “Have a good night, boys.”

“Wait! Cassidy!” Jamie had to push Drew’s big round shoulder out of the way to get Cassidy in his sights. “I just... I really, uhh... y’know.”

“You’re welcome, oh my god,” Cassidy laughed. He laced up his shoes. “If I hadn’t just seen you get fucked up the ass I’d swear you were straight.”

“You can spend the night if you want...” Jamie gestured back to the bedroom.

Cassidy laughed. “Oh my god! Like there’s any room in here for anything other than you two. I’m like almost concerned for little Oprah here.”

Drew propped himself up on his elbow. “Nice, uhh.... nice meeting you,” he raised his hand to wave and scraped his fingernails on the ceiling. “Thanks so much, I just.... You have seriously no idea.”

“I think I might have a clue,” Cassidy replied as he laced up his shoes with a smile. “Y’know we should all like, go out sometime. Drew I have a feeling you and Adam would really get along.” He stood upright and winked through his glasses. “Have a good night,” he said again, making an awkward little half-wave before he made a wide stride over the boots near the door and let himself out.

Drew sighed. “Jamie...”

“How was Ryan’s?” Jamie cut him off.

“I need to explain,” Drew pressed on.

Jamie shook his head and pulled his thick body closer. “You don’t need to do anything, okay? It’s a... a very peculiar situation. We can deal with all that later, all right?” He kissed Drew’s giant pec. “I love you.”

Drew smiled warmly up at him and snuggled closer, their huge muscles pressing against each other. “I love you too.”

Jamie sighed contentedly and nodded. “Then we’re all set.”


Part 10: Nate

Act I: Woody’s
When Nate was nine years old, or maybe ten, he was out playing with his best friend Celeste, and together they dug under the warped section of the chain link fence surrounding the reservoir, as they often did. On that particular day, Nate slipped on a broken beer bottle and fell. He cracked his head open on the cement wall of the reservoir, fell into the water, and for all intents and purposes, drowned.

Celeste ran home and got her older brother, a lifeguard whose name was Randy or Ryan or something, and he got him out of the water and gave him CPR and resuscitated him.

Unfortunately, Nate got pneumonia from being in the water too long, plus Randy or whoever had broken a rib and bruised a lung while administering chest compressions. Normally this wouldn’t have been that big a deal with immediate medical attention (which he received) but the head injury was a major complication, and no one was willing to anesthetize him until the swelling in his brain subsided, at which point, by all estimates, it would be too late.

Nine-or-ten-year-old Nate had never had to personally deal with death at that point but he had a sort of abstract impression of what was at stake. Mostly he was just pissed that his parents weren’t letting Celeste see him. Really, it had been his idea, and if he was going to die it was a real dick move to not let him say goodbye to his best friend. Plus, from a practical perspective, if it hadn’t been for Celeste he’d have died already.

His parents were distraught, which was understandable, but weren’t really much help. Between arguments over who they could blame and/or sue, they were more concerned with consoling each other over what was about to happen than consoling Nate over what was actually happening to him right then. He felt very angry, confused, lonely and terrified.

Nate’s only source of legitimate comfort during this period came from his au pair, Sofia, who sat by his bed telling him outlandish stories which he would later discover were the plots of several action movies. She kept him comfortable, distracted, and reassured. She even brought him a letter from Celeste.

Two weeks after the accident, Nate had continued to deteriorate. He couldn’t keep anything down and had to be fed intravenously. He felt so weak, hungry and delirious.

Nate awoke one night to find Sofia over him. She spoke in Spanish and was making strange gestures. He assumed she was praying, which scared him a little because he thought you only pray for people when they’re about to die. He went back to sleep unsure that he would wake up again.

But Nate did wake up, and he was all better. He had a bit of a headache, he was hungry as hell, and his joints were sore from being bedridden for so long, but he could breathe normally, he could see clearly, and he felt strong and awake and normal. It was like it hadn’t happened at all.

He got out of bed and started running around the house like a maniac, but Sofia found him and sternly forced him back into bed. She told him he had to pretend to be sick for a little while, that he couldn’t tell anyone about what had happened, that he had to tell his parents and the doctors that he was feeling a little bit better every day. They wouldn’t understand what happened, they’d ask questions, they’d make Sofia go away.

Nate didn’t understand, and he started asking questions, and he wouldn’t let Sofia off the hook when she insisted she couldn’t answer them. So, in order to get him to play along, Sofia told him everything.

It turned out Sofia had a secret. Now, Nate had it too.

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Jamie, Drew, and Ryan shouldered their way through a gaggle of hunks in speedos and sandals to squeeze past a bouncer who waved them inside Woody’s. The place was packed to capacity but they lucked out and scooped a table in a corner just as another party was leaving. Jamie and Ryan shimmied into the booth while Drew went to get a pitcher.

“You were saying?” asked Jamie as he moved a demolished nacho platter aside.

Ryan took a second to regain his bearings. “Okay, so I’m like ‘no, I don’t watch it’ and he’s like ‘oh my god I just got into it it’s the best.’” Ryan held up a finger. “THEN he spends a literal hour going over the whole first season.”

Jamie laughed. “Guy sounds like a real riot.”

“So at a certain point I’m like ‘okay this guy has no longterm potential but maybe I can still wring a one night stand outa this.’”

“Only logical,” Jamie applauded.

“So we finish our drinks and it’s like nine-thirty; ten, and he asks if I’d like to go back to his place for, I quote, ‘cocktails.’”

Jamie chuckled. “Guy’s got a real flair for allegory.”

“Except,” Ryan grinned, “we get back to his place where we start watching—guess—the Good Wife… which he knows I’ve never watched but we just pick up where he left off and he explains what’s going on the whole show. He mixes me the most watered down martini I’ve ever fucking had, burns a frozen pizza, and then after two bewildering episodes of this fucking show he has a big laborious yawn and kicks me out of his apartment.”

“Oh,” Jamie tilted his head. “Literal cocktails.”

“Yup,” Ryan shrugged.

Jamie nodded. “Well that blows, man. Your luck’s gonna turn around any day now.”

Ryan grinned. “What happened to ‘I don’t believe in luck?’”

Jamie chucked, adjusting his glasses. “Well… certain events have recently made me… reevaluate my belief systems.”

“Oh?” Ryan laughed. “Sounds juicy. Do go on.”

Jamie smirked. “Kind of a long story…”

Drew squeezed through the crowd and planted a pitcher and trio of pint glasses on the table, sitting down with a sigh. “Phew! Wasn’t sure I’d make it back.”

Jamie gave him a peck on the cheek. “Your idea, D. I was content to just stay home and porn out all day.”

Drew nodded plaintively. “He’s recently discovered Brent Corrigan,” he explained to Ryan.

Ryan waved at them dismissively. “Yesterday’s news, man.”

Jamie nodded. “Right, I keep forgetting what a connoisseur you are.”

“I’m just kidding,” Ryan drew himself up and adopted a tone of mock authority. “Speaking as a connoisseur, Brent’s actually quite relevant to the current porn scene. He’s broken into directing.”

Drew laughed. “A true renaissance man.”

“He’s got like… a different screen name for like… actorly acting,” Ryan took a thoughtful gulp of beer. “Something…” he snapped his fingers. “Sean Paul Lockhart.”

“Remind me to IMDB him,” Jamie nudged Drew.

“You really want to keep your finger on the pulse of modern porn, check out Johnny Rapid.”

Drew laughed. “Y’know what just e-mail him a list.”

Ryan chuckled. “So your friends are meeting you here or…?”

Jamie checked his phone. “Adam texted me when they got on the subway. I’ve been keeping him up to speed but haven’t heard back.”

“Are you guys like co-coupling all week?” asked Ryan.

Drew and Jamie exchanged glances. “It sounds like they got a pretty full docket,” Jamie replied. He shrugged. “I dunno. I know for sure we’re all doing Big Primpin. Bunch of us are. You’re coming too right?”

Ryan made a face, and Drew shook his head. “I still haven’t tricked him into agreeing to it.”

“It’s just… I dunno,” Ryan sighed. “It just seems like one of your…. couple posse things.”

Jamie raised his eyebrow. “What the fuck is a couple posse?”

“It’s Ryan’s excuse for getting out of things,” Drew answered before Ryan had a chance to.

“Come on, man. You guys have been going out for like forever,” Ryan reminded them. “You have no idea what it’s like being a gay single in a room full of gay couples. And they’re all like… y’know, playful and like… half-flirty with each other and there’s all this weird innuendo…”

Drew leaned into Jamie and hugged him from behind, leaning his head on his shoulder. “We’re not like that, right kitty muffin?”

Jamie nuzzled him back. “Aww of course not sugar minnow dumpling.”

“Love you!”

“I love you more, honey badger.”

“No I love YOU more, snusnu booboo bear.”

They kept rubbing faces against each other and descended into a soupy mash of excessively adorable gibberish. Ryan pursed his lips dryly and took a sip of beer silently.

Drew released Jamie and sat upright, clicking his tongue. “Oh come on. No sulking.”

Jamie tapped his finger on the table. “I’m kidding, and I do know what you mean. People get couply and I try hard not to. In fact, don’t mention any recent meals you’ve made in front of Grant and Wes. Or that you’ve ever cooked anything at all… or just food in general.”

“Okay yeah but they just suck,” Drew shook his head. “No, look. You’re complaining you want more gay friends and this is an easy in; you’re cooler than these guys. Think of them as stepping stones. Or those people-stairs from 300.”

Jamie gave him a sidelong look. “Jesus christ. Who ARE you?”

“Plus,” Drew continued, “gay couples have a high turnover rate. Think of these as… trailers. For movies… which may or may not get released.”

Jamie’s eyes widened. “This is some of the worst shit I’ve ever heard.”

Drew rolled his. “Please. It’s not even the worst shit you’ve heard all day.”

Ryan gestured between the three of them. “See this is kinda what I’m talking about. Notice the conversation keeps circling around how single I am?” He sighed. “I just don’t want to pre-party with a bunch of couples cooing about how great I am and then go to a bar full of singles where nobody hits on me.”

“You really worry a lot about not getting hit on for a guy that gets hit on all the fucking time,” Drew observed. “Look, it’s a big party with a big bar and all right music. I’d like you to come, but do whatever you want.”

Ryan drained the last of his pint and smacked his lips. “I’m gonna take a piss. I’ll grab the next one.” He stood and squirmed his way through the crowd.

Jamie watched him go, then leaned in close to Drew. “I don’t think this is a good idea anymore.”

Drew nodded with a frown. “Yeah… I kinda had the same impression.”

“I just don’t think… it’s a quick fix for a…”

“I know, I said,” Drew cut him off. He sighed. “It’s just… tough to watch him go… it’s like, only getting worse. I thought…”

Jamie shook his head. “It’s not gonna solve anything.”

“Yeah,” Drew agreed quietly. “I know.”

Act II: The Black Eagle
Sofia called it Santeria. She told him God gave magic to people long ago and that most people had forgotten how to use it. Nate tried googling Santeria and just ended up reading the lyrics to the Sublime song which didn’t help him out much.

For months, maybe even a year, Sofia was not forthcoming, and shut down the conversation whenever Nate asked about it, which he frequently did. All she said was that she used to do it a long time ago, but she didn’t do it anymore. She said white people didn’t trust magic and thought everything was the devil; that if his parents found out, they’d send her away. So it took a while before she finally relented, and started teaching him how it was done.

Sofia said that the best approach was to pick one thing you wanted to do, as it only became more reliable with years of practice. She had learned how to heal people, but she could teach him to open the door. Once he was on the other side, he could walk whatever path he wanted.

Little Nate thought very carefully.

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Brent was still sweating as he exited Goodlife Fitness, holding the door open for Ayush as he wriggled into his backpack. Ayush glanced behind him to make sure none of the staff was in earshot.

“Brent, you’re crazy. That place sucks,” he squinted through his glasses in the sunlight, fishing his prescription sunglasses out of his gym bag.

Brent shrugged. “I told you it wasn’t that great. But I’d rather work out on shitty equipment than just wait around for something to finally free up. All the downtown spots are crammed.”

Ayush sighed. “Yeah everyone’s trying to look their best for Pride, I guess,” he rolled his eyes.

Brent gave him a sidelong look as he unlocked his bike. “Aren’t we?”

Ayush shrugged. “Well yeah, I mean we’re everyone too.”

Brent pulled his bike free as Ayush did the same. “You wanna grab something to eat on the way or…” he saw Ayush distracted by his phone.

“Hm?” he looked up. “Nah let’s just go home; I want a shower. Sorry, I’m just trying to find another route home. I don’t wanna bike on Finch.” He looked back down. “Okay this looks good. Follow me.” Ayush hopped on his bike and pedalled out of the parking lot before Brent had a chance to weigh in.

Ayush had been an annoying roommate at first but Brent hadn’t lived with anyone before and he figured it would’ve taken some getting used to no matter who it had been. They’d since grown on each other, and these days were hanging out pretty much all the time. Ayush was gay too, but they weren’t each other’s types so there was little to no sexual tension, and it was fun to pal around with another queer. Brent had never really done that before. Ayush could be a bit fussy, and a bit of a clean freak, and he was obsessed with Golden Girls which Brent just didn’t understand, but he was a good guy and they got along.

He got turned around at one point but they still got home in good time. Ayush took a shower and Brent made tuna salad, and after Brent showered they sat out on the front porch of the house they rented together, eating sandwiches and drinking protein shakes.

“Anything on the go tonight?” Ayush asked.

“Yeah I was gonna go to some like, drag queen stand up at, uhh… I dunno it’s some Ryerson campus bar,” he shrugged and took a swig of his shake.

Ayush nodded. “Cool. You goin with Nate or…”

Brent shrugged and shook his head. “Nah he’s got some… I’m not sure, really. But he’s pretty much booked all week.”

“That sucks,” said Ayush carefully. “So you guys are like… uhh…”

Brent felt himself blushing. Nate had been over a few times since he and Ayush moved in together. They’d tried to be considerate but there was only so much they could do. These were not thick walls. “We haven’t like… laid it all out or anything but… we’re not like… exclusive.”

“Oh.” Ayush nodded. “Have you been seeing anyone else?”

Brent paused. He rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, no.”

“But he has,” Ayush concluded.

Brent sighed and looked down into the beige bubbles of his protein shake.

Ayush paused. “Sorry man I didn’t mean to, like…”

“Nah, it’s fine,” Brent sat back. “I’m fine with it I just… I don’t really know how to…” he shrugged and didn’t finish his sentence.

“Well if that stand up thing ends early,” Ayush began tentatively, but seemed to like his own idea better the more he talked about it, “you should meet up with us at the Eagle.”

Brent squinted at him. “The Black Eagle?”

Ayush swallowed his gulp of protein shake. “Yeah. Some friends of mine are like,” he rolled his eyes dismissively, “into leather.” He shrugged. “You should put yourself out there. You’re a good looking guy. You’d be a big hit.”

Brent felt himself blushing harder. He smiled and took another swig, chuckling, “Shut up.”

“I’m serious,” Ayush insisted. “Everyone sensationalizes the Eagle but it’s actually pretty tame these days. All the, like, repressed college kids went for the novelty and then stuck around.”

Brent nodded plaintively. “I’ve been.”

Ayush grinned. “Oooooooo. Go on.”

Now THAT was a story Brent wasn’t prepared to tell just yet. He decided to limit his account to a coy nod. “Fun night.”

Ayush finished his shake and rose off the plastic patio chair, picking his plate up off the floor. “Anyway think about it.” He circled around Brent and went back inside.

Brent nodded, replying “For sure,” as he leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, basking in the sun.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Adam swiped at Cassidy but he pirouetted away with a giggle, holding his phone out of reach. Adam grimaced. “C’mon, Cass…”

“Aaaaand it’s done,” Cassidy slipped his phone into his back pocket. “I booked us a room at the Mariott.”

“God dammit Cass,” Adam groaned. “That’s such a fucking waste of money.”

“Oh my god, Adam, seriously? When are you gonna, like, let yourself be an adult.” Cassidy lowered his voice as if it was a secret. “We have the money.”

Adam rolled his eyes. “Yeah you mean YOU have the money.”

“Jesus,” Cassidy sucked his teeth impatiently, and took Adam’s hand in his. “Money I have is money WE have, remember? We’re a team, right?” he smiled up at Adam but Adam just pursed his lips in annoyance and slipped his hand free. Cassidy narrowed his gaze. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Adam rolled his eyes. “We had a plan and now…”

“Oh fuck that,” Cassidy shook his head. “You’ve been a total grump since we got on the subway.”

Adam had a sarcastic retort ready to go but rethought it with a sigh. “Sorry,” he mumbled, taking Cassidy’s hand again. “I just get anxious every Pride. I dunno.”

“What?” Cassidy made a face. “No you don’t.”

“Well, every other Pride,” Adam shrugged. “And now all this shit with Jamie…”

“What are you talking about, what with Jamie?” Cassidy asked. “Did something happen?”

“Nothing new, no, but…” Adam chewed his lip. “I think he thinks I’m a joke.”

Cassidy held up his hands, begging the question. “Based on what?”

“It doesn’t matter, never mind.” He took a couple of steps before he groaned again. “They said we could have their couches.”

“Oh my god. I doubt they’ll be broken up about it Adam. Calm the fuck down.”

“It’s gonna be like a thousand dollars.”

“Adam, I swear to fucking god.” Cassidy spun in front of him to stop him, standing face to face. Some kid who’d been walking behind Adam nearly bumped into him. Cassidy waited for the kid to pass before he continued. “Adam. We can have a slumber party any time of the year, but this is Gay Pride. I am going to have gay sex; with my husband; in, like, a bed. Okay?”

Adam nodded glumly.

“And like, I don’t know what you think’s going on with Jamie but last time I talked to him? He was like twenty feet tall with a six foot cock.”

A grin crept onto Adam’s face.

“I see a smiiiiile,” Cassidy teased, tickling Adam’s belly through his T-shirt.

Adam playfully slapped his hand away and adjusted the overnight bag strapped to his shoulder. “Alright, so I guess we’re staying in a hotel? You wanna check in first or…?”

Cassidy shrugged. “I dunno. Where’s Jamie and Drew?”

Adam pulled out his phone. “Uhh… they left Woody’s. They’re eating somewhere or… looking for a place to eat, I guess.” He looked up. “You hungry?”

“Meh,” Cassidy shrugged. “I’m on my Pride diet.”

“Which is what, nothing?”

“Oh my god, don’t be silly,” Cassidy chided. “Handful of blueberries in the morning and, like a glass of lemon water at night.”

Adam chuckled.

“Okay,” Cassidy said thoughtfully, “how about we go to the hotel, get ourselves settled, maybe… get touched up a bit and hit the town just as the sun’s going down.”

Adam draped his arm around Cassidy’s shoulders. “Very romantic,” he nodded his approval, then turned to look at him judiciously. “Touched up?”

Cassidy shrugged coquettishly. “We might as well. Like, no one here’s gonna notice a difference.”

Adam laughed. “Any excuse.”

“What, are you like, objecting?” asked Cassidy pointedly.

Adam smiled and took Cassidy’s hand again.

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Nate looked back over his shoulder, and cast another net over the crowd. Still nothing. It was his third day prowling around the Black Eagle and his efforts hadn’t paid off. Maybe it was a bad strategy, or maybe he should be more aggressive. The guys in there were a mix of hardcore leather fetishists showing off their gear or younger guys in street clothes pretending they saw that shit every day. They were generally all thinking the same thing, which was: “What is everyone thinking about me?”

Nate didn’t really have to wonder that anymore, because he had learned how to listen in on other people’s thoughts, and had been doing it for years. He was a bonafide telepath.

There were times when he was a kid that he wished he had invested in something more glamorous while training with Sofia, particularly when his friends started getting their growth spurts and his was late in coming and pretty lacklustre when it finally did. But he’d since refined his talent, and it had come in very handy. Especially during exams, and nights on the town. Nate wasn’t entirely sure his current plan would work. The only other practitioner he’d ever met was Sofia and she only taught him on the condition he would never read her. It didn’t matter, though. Even if plan A fell apart plan B had potential. Either way, he was expecting this Pride to be the best ever.

Nate hadn’t wanted to get too drunk but knew he couldn’t keep drinking water and keep his low profile. The half-full pint he’d been nursing for forty-five minutes had gone lukewarm and kind of gross. He took one last swig with a cringe, then left it on table and squirmed through the crowd to get to the bar.

The lean slender otter wearing a leather vest took a few minutes to get to him. Tyson, though Nate had picked that up from the regulars as opposed to an actual scan. Tyson was trying to multitask and kept getting distracted by his plans with friends later. They were apparently determined to get him a boyfriend and he wasn’t really feeling it. His thoughts kept spiralling to the same image: a cute blonde guy named Blake.

Nate waited for Tyson to finish with a large group in front of him, and Tyson was relieved when all he asked for was another beer.

“Hey,” Nate called after he generously tipped. Tyson came back expecting to be hit on. “Maybe you can help me. So, I’s here a few months ago with my bud, right. Met this guy, said he was a regular.”

Tyson shrugged, and a long reel of faces fluttered through his mind. “Name?”

Nate smirked and shook his head. “Nah, there’s the thing. I’s pretty drunk, don’t remember. But he was like, a big guy,” Nate held his hand up above his head. “An’, like, big,” he held his hands in front of an imaginary belly.

A picture of an older guy with silver hair popped up in Tyson’s mind with some measure of annoyance. Nate had seen him as he came in, and Tyson pointed to him at the other end of the bar. “Andy?”

Nate shook his head. “Nah, he’s not really into wearing leather. “Was wearing a Jays hat.”

Tyson furrowed his brow, and the large grinning face of Butch came into his mind, one that matched the memory Nate had read from Brent. “Think his name was like Bud or….”

“Butch?” asked Tyson.

“You guys serving drinks here or what?” a big white guy in a leather cop uniform shouted from the other end the the bar.

Tyson rolled his eyes. “One sec,” he muttered before darting off.

Nate watched after him. He was getting closer and closer. Brent had got him off to a good start, and now Tyson had given him a name. Butch…

“Hey,” a tall form shouldered up next to him. “You’re asking about Butch.”

The stranger was handsome, a bit older, some kind of middle eastern, and pretty clean cut. A cursory surface scan gave Nate the boilerplate bio: Tahar, forty-four, from Lebanon, some kind of lawyer. Butch’s image was very detailed in Tahar’s mind, but he was what Nate had come to call a “loaded memory.” Sometimes people had certain thoughts that they had fairly strong emotional attachments to. Nate had learned to identify them and generally avoid them, because tapping into them sometimes opened up a deep rabbit hole that could disorient and even nauseate him. It was tempting, but he decided to stick to his policy for now.

“Yeah,” Nate answered. He shrugged nonchalantly. “No big, man. Jus’ wanted to say hi.”

Tahar nodded. He was apprehensive talking about Butch, and was afraid he would betray something. It was safe, Nate surmised, to assume that Tahar was aware of his powers. Nate was nearly there. The degrees of separation were slowly diminishing.

“When did you say you met him?” asked Tahar. He was fishing, trying to see if their stories would synch up. He didn’t seem to have much of an endgame in mind. Nate got the impression he was being vetted in an aimless, abstract sort of way.

“Back in April, I think,” Nate replied. “Forget. It was middle of the week.”

Butch was glaring white hot in Tahar’s mind. Even without digging deeper Nate could sense a jagged pathwork of emotions bubbling up under the memory of Butch. Tahar was very conflicted about Butch, it seemed. “Got his number or anything? He live in the city?”

“He’s a trucker,” Tahar lied. But… it was a lie he used to think was true. “I haven’t seen him since… around that time too i guess. But no, I uhh… don’t have his number.” Tahar sipped his beer, thinking about how he felt guilty for being angry even if his reasons were legitimate.

Nate took a gulp from his own pint, mulling things over. Tahar was the key, he knew, but this loaded memory was heavier than anything Nate had ever encountered before.

He extended his hand. “Nate. I’m Nate.”

“Tahar,” he nodded back, and took his hand.

Nate decided to go for it. Not for long, just a quick scan. Get the lay of it. If he was able to spend more time with Tahar he might be able to decipher his memories of Butch in a way that softened the impact. But Tahar was already reminding himself not to think of Butch, and Nate couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He peeled back the corner, just took a peek.

The memories exploded into full view. They were so densely interconnected they were impossible to sort out. So many images, sensations, reactions. It was fixated largely around a morning after a night with Butch and… Butch wasn’t Butch at all.

In an instant Nate relived the memory of being grown into a giant muscle behemoth. Marvelled at his massive size and… oh god that cock! Cassidy Cassidy Cassidy. Nate felt all the rage and love and ecstasy exploding simultaneously in such a deep pool it took all his effort to pull out again.

He groaned and swayed on his feet, tried to keep from falling but his legs wouldn’t listen to him. Tahar’s eyes went wide and he hooked his arm under Nate, catching him and keeping him upright. “Whoa! Holy shit are you all right?”

Nate stood upright and steadied himself on the bar. “Yeah jus’ too much beer, I guess. Sorry man.” Tyson was looking at him from behind the bar. A few other patrons had seen it too.

“Maybe you should sit down,” Tahar suggested, moving his hand to Nate’s shoulder, and thinking that he didn’t seem that drunk and that it was maybe a blood sugar thing.

“Nah, I’m jus’ gonna get some air,” Nate withdrew and was swallowed in the crowd.

Of course! It hadn’t occurred to him before but it should’ve been obvious. Butch didn’t exist. He’d been looking for the wrong guy this whole time. He needed to find…


Nate was already halfway through shouldering past him when he realized it was Brent’s roommate Ayush. Shit.

“Hey man.”

“Hey! Is Brent here already?” Ayush asked.

“Huh?” Nate shrugged. “Don’ think so. Didn’t see ‘im.” He pointed his thumb out the door. “Was jus’ leavin.”

“Oh…” Ayush brightened, “well he’s coming in a bit I think, if you wanted to…”

“Nah that’d be nice but I gotta be somewhere. Later,” Nate took off but couldn’t help hearing Ayush’s parting thought: poor Brent.

Nate agreed. Brent had fallen for him pretty hard, which Nate hadn’t meant to happen. Brent had been really pumped about hanging out with him over Pride but Nate had put all his energy into getting this figured out, and Pride was the best chance he had. If it paid off, he’d make it up to Brent, and then some. It was only more incentive to make it work. And if he did? He’d always thought the limits would be much more conservative but Tahar had become absolutely gigantic, and there was no reason why he couldn’t get even bigger.

Nate took out his phone and tapped the Facebook icon. How many Cassidys could there be?

Act III: WAYLA (or “What Are You Looking At”)
“All right, Ladies, that’s it for me,” DJ HardCorey cooed into the mic, “but don’t worry, you’ll be in good hands with Nino Brown who’ll be taking over til the sun comes up. Let me sign off with a tribute to one of this year’s Grand Marshals. Happy Pride, bitches!” The frenetic dance music changed over to a Katy Perry cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Corey blew the crowd a kiss and handed the headphones off to woman with long black hair wearing a leather jacket that she must have been boiling in. He descended off the pulpit and glided through the crowd to where Jamie had waved him over.

“Holy god, I’m fucking hot,” Corey nodded out the back door. “Let me grab a drink and I’ll meet you on the patio.”

The “patio” was a generous term for what was really just a tight corral for smokers out the back end of WAYLA. Jamie, Drew and Ryan didn’t have to wait long before Corey joined them with a gin and tonic in one hand and an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

“Ugh,” he rolled his eyes. “This is my last Pride show, I swear to God.” He took the cigarette from his lips and gave Jamie and Drew a peck on the cheek each before he replaced and lit it.

“Corey this is my friend Ryan,” Drew nodded in Ryan’s direction.

Ryan smiled awkwardly and stuck out his hand. “Cool show. What I caught, anyway.” Corey shook the offered hand but didn’t seem very interested.

Jamie nodded. “Yeah seemed good to me. What’s the problem?”

“Fuckin god. You have no idea,” Corey assured him. “It’s just stress I don’t need. Anyway I’m lying I’m sure I’ll be back next year. Can’t let the community down, or whatever.” Corey examined Drew judiciously as he took a long inhale. “What about you, Drew? Anything to say about THIS one?”

Drew cocked his head and fixed Corey with a sarcastic smile. “Great stuff, Cor,” he chuckled with mock enthusiasm.

Corey raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“Corey, I promise you if I’d known it was going to get back to you, I wouldn’t have said anything,” said Drew, throwing a glare at Jamie, who shrugged. Drew sighed and turned back to Corey. “Just not really my scene.”

Corey shrugged. “Well thanks for suffering through it.”

Drew’s insincere smile was wider than ever as he sucked his teeth. “Anytime, buddy.”

Jamie coughed. “So… Ryan’s in a band,” he elbowed Ryan in an obvious ploy to change the subject.

Ryan’s eyes widened. He wasn’t a fan of talking about himself at all but he hated talking about the band. “Uhh… it’s not really… I mean we’ve played like two shows this whole year it’s not, y’know…”

Corey nodded. “What kind of music is it?”

God this was torture. “Uhh… it’s like kinda… experimental… y’know, drone metal?”

“Drone; metal?” Corey asked in a tone that suggested this was his first time hearing either of those words.

“Yeah,” Ryan shrugged. Have you heard of, like, Boris? Gravetemple? Year of No Light?”

Corey glanced back at Jamie. “These are bands?”

Ryan sighed. “There’s actually a pretty big scene in the city. Lots of people doing some real interesting things. This band Nadja? So good. We got to open for them last year.”

“That sounds awesome,” Corey nodded and turned back to Jamie. “So you still fired?”

Jamie smirked. “Well they haven’t hired me back, but I’ve been consulting with BGM on a three month contract and…”

Man, why’d I have to open my stupid fucking mouth? Ryan thought to himself, tuning out Jamie. Opening for Nadja was one of the best nights of his life but he’d never told that to another gay guy and gotten anything back but a blank stare.

Jamie chuckled to himself. “Uhh… Adam’s here,” he nodded towards the interior. Ryan followed his gaze.

Even through the fogged up glass doors he could see this guy was turning heads. Corey turned idly as he took a puff from his cigarette, then did a double take with a cough. “You gotta be shittin me.”

He was a tall guy with a thick build wearing a plain black T-shirt that was one size too small for him, at least. His dark hair was arranged in a messy swoop, jagged bangs skirting his eyes. He was closely followed by a shorter guy with short, spiked black hair.

“Hey,” he nodded a greeting at them, though he stopped when he spotted Corey. “Oh.”

Jamie smiled. “Hey Adam. This is Ryan and this is…”

“We’ve met,” Corey cut him off. He looked past Adam to his companion. “Hi Cassidy. Been… working out?”

Cassidy started. “Uhh… hi Corey. Long time no see.”

Drew and Jamie exchanged glances of some alarm. Ryan quickly got the impression that there was some element that was going over his head.

“So…” Jamie prodded the silence, “were you guys in… the same club?”

“Ooooh,” Corey looked back at Jamie and Drew. “So you guys know about all this?” He turned and glared at Cassidy. “What a surprise,” he spat.

This was getting annoying. “Know about what?” Ryan asked.

“Oh wow,” Corey sarcastically marvelled. “Someone you’ve met who’s still in the dark after thirty seconds.”

Drew ducked behind Jamie in an effort to keep from standing next to Corey. “It’s… it’s a long story,” he mumbled to Ryan.

“It’s not like that,” Jamie was meanwhile assuring Corey. “Me and Adam have been friends for years.”

Corey ignored him. “So you tell your buds; you leave the house looking like that,” he counted off on his fingers.

“Looking like what?” asked Ryan.

Drew leaned in. “Seriously it’s no big deal,” he shrugged nonchalantly, though Corey seemed to think otherwise.

“Is there anything else we should be aware of?” Corey continued unabated.

“C’mon, Cor,” Adam appealed, “we’re just trying to have a night out for Pride, can this not be a thing?”

“Yeah I mean oh my god,” Cassidy raised his palm. “Take a pill or whatever.”

Adam cringed. “Not helping, Cass.”

“Seriously,” Ryan interjected. “What the hell are you all talking about.”

Everyone looked at their shoes. Corey took a big gulp from his cocktail and rattled the ice around in the otherwise empty glass as he swallowed. “Oh look at that. I need a refresh,” he said, and darted back inside.

Ryan glanced between the couples, who kept on looking at each other but saying nothing. He found himself getting sick of the in crowd routine that seemed to dog him wherever he went. “I’m gonna use the washroom,” he mumbled, and shimmied back inside.

As close as he was with Drew, he always found himself pushed further to the side the more people they were hanging out with. Ryan didn’t need to be the centre of attention all the time but that bullshit outside was not setting a very good tone, and the DJ—who he assumed he’d have something to talk about with—was just downright insufferable. He got in line outside the bathroom and wondered if he should even bother waiting.

Drew meanwhile nodded towards the door. “What the hell is up Corey’s ass?”

Cassidy shrugged and flipped his hand dismissively. “We have a history.”

“Professionally,” Adam quickly specified.

Drew shook his head. “Nah he was being an asshole before you got here. What the hell’s his problem with Ryan?”

“Oh my god, how do you know Corey?” Cassidy asked, touching Jamie’s chest.

“He had a design contract with my old firm,” Jamie shrugged. “I didn’t realize he was into… y’know, the other stuff.”

“The other stuff,” Cassidy snicked to Adam.

Drew stepped between them. “Sorry, we got sidelined with drama. I assume we’ve already mutually deduced that I’m Drew and you’re Adam.” He stuck out his hand.

Adam took it with a smile. “It’s true.”

“Can I also assume you’re not usually so buff?” Drew asked with a wink.

Adam chuckled. “Also true.”

“Either of you want some bonus size for the night?” asked Cassidy.

Jamie and Drew exchanged glances. “Aaaaah,” Jamie groaned. “I feel like Corey’s gonna have something to say about that.”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Oh my god, what DOESN’T he have something to say about?”

Drew shuddered as he felt his Modest Mouse T-shirt tighten around a swelling pair of pecs. He waved his hands. “That’s good, that’s good!” he protested. “That’s enough!”

Cassidy shrugged. “Whatever you say, man.” He winked again.

Drew moaned as his cock began to expand, looking down past his prodigious chest as his bulge inflated like someone had stuck a balloon in his jeans. “F-fuck!”

“Cass,” Adam put a hand on his husband’s shoulder. “He said stop.”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Oh my god, guys, it’s Pride, live a little.”

Jamie shrugged with a smile. “I’m not complaining.”

“Look it’s fine, but Ryan’s going to notice if you do anything else,” Drew protested.

Adam sighed, hugging Cassidy closer. “He’s drunk. Don’t mind him.”

“Oh don’t be… such… a…” Cassidy blinked and groaned. “I don’t… argh!” he squeezed the bridge of his nose and swayed on his feet.

Adam steadied his shoulder. “Dude! That’s enough!”

Drew reached out cautiously. “Holy shit… is that normal?”

“No, not…” Adam sighed. “I mean it used to tire him out but nothing like this.”

Cassidy shook his head. “I’m fine. It’s not that. It’s…” he raised his head and looked inside. “I don’t know…”

Jamie stepped out of a way of a bench that was built into the temporary wall. “Here, sit down.”

“I’m fine, seriously,” Cassidy assured them. “It was only for a second. I’m fine.”

“Shit,” Drew looked up from his phone. “Ryan’s gone home.”

“What the fuck?” Jamie leaned in closer to him and glanced at the message. “Too drunk? Bullshit.”

“I agree, but…” Drew shrugged, “can you blame him? First Corey and then all of us were being assholes.”

“Oh please,” Cassidy rolled his eyes. “That guy always such a drama queen?”

“Yep,” Jamie quipped.

Drew shot him a frown and smacked him lightly in the stomach. “Don’t be a dick. He gets really self-conscious at Pride.”

“Well since he’s not around,” Cassidy shrugged. Drew gasped as his arms thickened up to stretch his sleeves, and he inched taller to match heights with Adam, the only guy there taller than him.

Adam shook Cassidy by the shoulder. “Cass, seriously! Look at what just happened.”

“Oh my god, you need to calm down,” Cassidy shook his hand off. “I told you it wasn’t that.”

Jamie tickled the six-pack that was peeking out from under Drew’s shirt and looked up at him. “Man… y’know I love the standard model, D, but the deluxe…” he sucked his teeth and shook his head with a moan.

A couple of dark-skinned twinks came outside, eyeing them all up and down as they passed between the two couples. Corey followed them out, fiddling another cigarette from his pack. He paused mid-light when he caught sight of Drew, and shook his head as he took his first pull, turning to Cassidy. “Are you fucking kidding me?” he hissed.

“Wow, giving me shit is seriously trending,” Cassidy rolled his eyes and then nodded at Corey’s pack of smokes. “Hey can I grab one of those?”

Corey shoved them back in his pocket. “Fuck you!”

The two twinks paused lighting each other’s cigarettes to glance over.

“Cor, Jesus.” Jamie stepped between them. “Calm down.”

“Shut up,” Corey snapped, angrily yanking the cigarette from his mouth and waving it around so wildly that Drew leaned back to avoid it. “You tourists can fuck right off.”

“Whoa!” Drew held up his hands and took a step back.

“I know you idiots don’t give a shit,” Corey continued. “None of this means anything to you. But this is a big fucking deal to those of us with some, I dunno, responsibility.”

“Fuck, Corey,” Adam stepped in front of him. “You’re making a fucking scene.”

“I’M making a scene,” Corey repeated incredulously. He stuck a finger into Adam’s chest and pushed him back. “You dumb cunts think this is just some stupid toy and it’s all a game.”

“Did he just say ‘cunt?’” one twink asked the other.

“‘Oh, it’s Pride!’” Corey twirled his fingers. “‘There’s no rules and I can do whatever I want.’ Do you have any idea what you’re even doing? The kind of chance you’re taking?” he glared at Cassidy. “Everything we spent years building. You’re putting it all at risk for…” he gestured to Drew. “Some fucking party trick. Oh! But you’re Cassidy fucking Hamilton! You’re above any law! Right?”

Cassidy shrugged. “Oh my god. WHAT fucking law?”

Adam shook his head. “Cass, let’s go somewhere else.”

“Yeah might as well,” Corey spat. “I mean why keep this shit confined to a single bar?”

Adam took Cassidy’s elbow and hoisted him to his feet, leading him back inside. “You’re such a fucking asshole,” Cassidy mumbled at Corey as Adam ushered him through the door.

Jamie and Drew exchanged glances. Corey flicked ash from his cigarette and took a long drag, glaring at them. “So what, you’re leaving now too?”

Jamie rubbed the back of his neck. “Uhh…”

“I’m just gonna make a unilateral decision here,” Drew opened the door and gestured for Jamie to go through it. Corey looked at him expectantly, and Jamie shrugged and went back inside. Drew followed, stopping halfway through the door. “Y’know, Corey…”

Corey raised his hand to Drew’s face. “Know what, before you gimme some rant about your wordy little opinion let me just remind you that you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to…”

“All right fine!” Drew happily agreed. “I’m not… whatever the hell you people are. Here’s what I do know: you were a total dick to my friend for absolutely no reason; you told Jamie to ‘fuck right off;’ you just gave me THE HAND; and your set? Was fucking awful.” He rolled his eyes. “Try listening to something you didn’t hear about on Popcrush.”

“Fuckin pretentious hipster bitch,” Corey mumbled at Drew as he went back inside. He took another drag, and caught the two twinks staring at him. “What?”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Nate stumbled out of WAYLA in a daze, leaning against the wall for support. He stood there catching his breath while the bouncer hassled him, telling he’d call the cops if he vomited there. The bouncer was totally lying about that and was mostly asking himself if he’d have to clean it up. But Nate didn’t want to hear about all that. He tried to block it out, shook his head, didn’t bother to explain he wasn’t even drunk, and waved dismissively as he got himself upright and walking at a fairly consistent pace, though it took a lot of effort. People were all over the street, though, and kept looking at him. It only took a couple of quick surface reads to determine they were looking at a nosebleed he didn’t realize he had.

He took a real estate flyer out from a row of free newspaper stands and ducked up the next dimly lit residential street, using the paper to clean up most of the blood but it only smeared it around.

“Fuck it,” he mumbled, pulling off his shirt.

Already he was walking steadier and thinking clearer, but he had gone very deep on some very loaded memories. It had actually hurt him—Cassidy too, from the look of it. It was so much, and it came so fast. Nate wasn’t sure he had even gotten everything he needed but he couldn’t risk a second probe. It had frightened him a bit.

Now though, he saw everything laid out in perfect order like a finely detailed manual. It was all there. The early tries, the first success. His memories of Adam, of Tahar, of Butch. He knew all of it; more than he had expected. The question now: was it enough?

Nate wet his shirt in the birdbath nestled in someone’s garishly ornate front garden and cleaned the remaining blood, already getting tacky, from his hands and face. He lit up a cigarette and threw the damp shirt over his neck. He glanced at the cigarette in his hand and saw he was shaking. He was jittery with excitement. He decided he couldn’t wait any longer, but still didn’t want to risk being seen, and though the streets were pretty much deserted he still sensed minds in most of the houses. He kept his eyes open and turned down a short side street, finding a small laneway that served as a shared backdoor driveway for several houses. At the far end was a small walkway to what must have been Dundas Street, mostly obscured by trees and foliage. He grinned, did a quick survey for pedestrians, discarded his half-done cigarette, and darted down the laneway.

Dude, calm down, Nate thought to himself. Might not even work. Don’t lose focus. Now that the moment was finally upon him, Nate hesitated. What if it didn’t work? It would be back to square one. What if he fucked up? It was his first time after all. What if he didn’t know what he was doing and turned himself into the elephant man or something?

Fuck it. Playing it safe had never been Nate’s strong suit. Shoot first, clean up the cum later, he thought.

He closed his eyes, let his mind wander through Cassidy’s memories, settled on the one he was looking for. It was difficult. The education Sofia had given him helped him piece it all together in a way that made sense to him, but it took him some time before he felt these energies moving through his body, and longer still before he felt confident enough to compel them.

He did it slowly and delicately at first. It was like goading a cat out from under the bed. The butterflies he’d been feeling fluttering around his stomach seemed to escape and began flitting through his whole body. Everything was charged, a loaded chamber ready to fire.

He reached down and quickly pulled the straps of his sandals open as he felt his feet beginning to expand. Holy fuck it was working. He couldn’t see them in the dark but he felt his feet stretching over the edge of his sandals, getting three, maybe four sizes bigger. He wanted to flip out right then but that was only the beginning. The leaves brushed his bare shoulders as his legs elongated, raising him taller. He stifled a giggle as he felt his arms—left then right—stretch lower. He teased his shorts with his fingers until he was reaching past the hem. He brought one hand up to his face and felt his elbow with the other. A shiver ran up his spine as it popped longer to match his extremities. One final stretch of his neck brought him up to relative proportion, and even in the dark he could tell he must look like some gangly alien. It was time to pack on the pounds.

It felt like warm, fleshy socks were being unrolled up his legs as his calves, then his thighs swelled with thick, warm muscle, sliding along his bones and squelching against each other as they fought for space beneath his skin. Nate put his hand to his thigh to feel his shorts grow tighter and tighter around his legs, his pack of smokes nearly flattened against him.

He reflexively took a deep breath in anticipation of his swelling chest, pecs heaving into thick, heavy slabs. Things had begun to get a bit congested in the overgrown walkway, and now leaves and branches presses against him as he grew into what had been empty space only minutes earlier. His back flared wide, thickened with brawn, his shoulders pumped into hard globes and cords of muscle snaked down from them, wrapping his arms in power till they were pipes. He raised them to flex and hit the leaves, rustling them loudly. He instead contented himself with feeling how big he’d become, tracing the lines of his triceps as his arms swelled.

Finally, as his neck thickened into a pillar supported by a hard set of traps, Nate surmised he was finished. Fuck he felt so amazing. So tall and heavy. He wished he had a mirror but that would have to wait. He thought about upsizing his cock a bit but his shorts were tight enough as it was and he still had a long way to go to get back to the Village where he couldn’t wait to really go to town. But where?

Nate grinned. The answer was so obvious he was surprised he’d even had to ask himself.

He was about to emerge from the pathway when he stopped. As different as he must look right now, anyone who knew his face would find it impossible to ignore. His momentary concern melted into an even wider grin. He decided to take a page out of Cassidy’s book.

His smiling face grew dark with stubble that quickly became a full-on beard, and his near-bald buzzcut bristled up into a messy shag. It was a bit sloppy but he suspected the rest of the package made up for it. He reached up and felt his thick beard.

“Fuck,” he giggled softly to himself. “So fuckin cool!”

He ducked under a branch and, walking a bit awkwardly on too-small sandals, exited the walkway a foot taller than when he’d walked in.

Act IV: Steamworks
“You’re so drunk.”

Ayush raised his head, groaned, blinked through his glasses. “What?”

“Fuck,” Matt chuckled. He paused to turn the phone sideways and took a photo.

The flash snapped Ayush back to reality. He stood up. “Hey!” he swayed on his feet. “Don’t fuckin… do NOT post that.”

“Does snapchat count as posting?”

“Huh?” Ayush sighed as he felt his gut tied up in knots. “Yeah.”

“Welp,” Matt shrugged. “Too late.”

Ayush groaned. “I’m getting a hot dog.”

“You just ate one,” Matt reminded him.

“I’m getting another one.”

Having to count his change seemed to sober him up some, and the sausage helped too. He shouldn’t have drank so much on a gym day; it hit him way too hard.

“Might be time to call it, Ayush,” Matt suggested as they walked down Church Street. The daytime crowds had dispersed but there was still a lot of people out for this time of night, and a constant din of noise.

Ayush wiped mustard off his hands and tossed his napkin in a trash can. “No way, man. It’s not even that late.”

Matt shrugged. “Well you do what you want, man, but I’m drunk as shit and I’m goin home.”

“Oh c’mon,” Ayush drooped his shoulders. “It’s Pride.”

Matt chuckled. “Well until they make it a stat holiday, it’s just another week in the year, bro.” Ayush rolled his eyes and Matt threw his thick arm around his shoulders. “Look the night is… well it’s not over yet. You should go out on your own.”

“Everyone’s gonna think I’m a total loser,” Ayush whined.

“Oh fuck off,” Matt snapped. “No one’s gonna give a shit.”

They had come to Wellesley so Matt turned at the intersection. He gave Ayush a friendly peck on the cheek before letting go of him and making his way to the subway. “Tell me all about it tomorrow!” he called.

Ayush waved, then put his hands in his pockets and glanced down the street. Well now what?

He meandered north a few steps before he turned about and meandered south. He checked his phone, and considered seeing what Brent was up to but he had gotten the impression that Brent seemed to think he was popular and cool, and was hesitant to give him evidence to the contrary.

Fuck. Maybe he should just go home too. But he came all the way down to the Village and barely got a sidelong glance. He hadn’t had sex since exams were up and all the freshmen moved back home. He was on Scruff and Grindr and a few other hookup apps but hadn’t had much luck. The local gays didn’t seem very into brown guys.

But Ayush was resilient, and believed with conviction that even if the right guy wasn’t banging down his door (so to speak), he was still perfectly comfortable with the odd quick dirty fuck to… just keep everything circulating, or whatever. He was a bit deterred by some bad experiences—including lacklustre reactions to his tragically undersized dick—but he tried not to dwell on stuff like that.

Ayush went to put his phone away but changed his mind and went to check to see if anything was going on at Crew’s and Tango but he dropped his phone and swore as he stopped to pick it up. The battery compartment had popped open and he snapped it back into place. It looked otherwise undamaged. He dusted it off and looked up.


He was looking right at the front door to the Steamworks bathhouse, tucked behind a restaurant on a short service road to the nearby hospital. He’d never been but always wanted to go. As he watched he saw a young couple approaching, one dragging his protesting friend. Loud frenetic dance music blasted out the door as they opened it and stood aside for the tall hunky blonde that exited, trying in vain to button up a way-too-tight shirt over his bulging pecs.

“The fuck?” Ayush heard him mutter as he passed.

Ayush shrugged. The crowd seemed pretty hot and he was just drunk enough to not give a shit if it turned out to be a bust.

There were people everywhere, and a constant background buzz of murmured conversation, spiked with the occasional impish giggle or coital moan. Ayush paid for keys and a towel and walked back to the lockers like he did it all the time. The air was thickly humid and Ayush felt himself sweating even as he took off his clothes. There were all kinds of guys around, some aggressively flirting, others playing it more casually, and a few other lost sheep, with whom he sympathized but figured grouping up with was counter-productive. Ayush wasn’t totally sure where to begin or how it all worked. Like, do you just find a guy you like and ask him what he’s into? Do you have to choose top or bottom? Is there some sort of formality or should he just let instinct take over? Given his blood-alcohol level he had assumed overthinking things wasn’t going to be a problem but, well, there he was.

Ayush took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. He decided if he took too long trying to figure it all out he’d just end up chickening out. So he kept his jockeys on, wrapped his waist in a towel, and walked out of the locker room into the halls.

He didn’t have to go far before he found a man who met his criteria, which were A—he’s hot and B—standing by himself. It looked like he had just come out of the shower; his hair was wet and beads of water glistened all over his body, which was pretty fit. In fact, most of the guys there were in surprisingly good shape. Ayush had an alright physique but felt a tad intimidated. Was it always like this or did the clientele average hotter at Pride? This guy was Asian—he more specifically guessed Korean—and his hair was cut short on the side and longer on top, in some disarray from probably the shower. He was relatively short but still taller than Ayush. He was leaning against the wall sleepily, occasionally dipping his hand under the wet towel tied about his waist to adjust his junk.

Ayush bit his lip, cleared his throat, and strode up to him. The (possible) Korean saw him coming, and turned to look at him.

And then, out of fucking nowhere, this dumb white jock with a buzzcut and a chinstrap beard sprinted up to him so fast he had to hop to halt himself before just slamming right into him. The white guy was waving his hand in front of his washboard abs.

“Sung! Fucking look at this!”

The Korean paused for a moment before shrugging and shaking his head.

“Dude, I did NOT have abs like this when I came in here,” chinstrap shook his head vehemently.

The Korean, who Ayush assumed was named Sung, rolled his eyes. “Oh whatever. You had lots of abs,” he said with a modest accent. Ayush was at this point just a few feet away from them, had stopped, and was trying to look like he hadn’t been intently approaching him.

Chinstrap looked flabbergasted. “Are you fuckin’ cray? I had, like… I dunno, bumps but dude…” he stepped closer to him. “Check out this business!”

Sung pushed him back with a sneer of revulsion. “Ugh…what wrong with you? You smell like cum.”

“Dude…” Chinstrap seemed to notice Sung for the first time. “You look fuckin swole.” He reached out and gripped his shoulder. “You’re definitely bigger than you were earlier, bro.”

Sung brushed the hand away. “Oh shut up. You on drugs.”

“Legit, bro!” Chinstrap insisted, but Sung had already turned away, only to find Ayush awkwardly blocking his path.

“Uhh…” now’s your chance, Ayush! “Do you guys… know… which way the, uhh… saunas are?” God dammit.

Sung pointed in some direction with his thumb and then shouldered past Ayush.

Chinstrap took over Sung’s spot against the wall. “Sup,” he nodded at Ayush with a smirk as he ran a hand down his abs.

Ayush returned the nod, mumbled “Hey” and then left down another hall.

He meandered past the private rooms which sounded pretty lively even behind closed doors. He eventually did find the saunas but found them a bit too crowded for his taste, with guys milling around outside waiting for some space to free up. He turned around to make his way back to the gym and slammed into what looked like a man but felt like a brick wall. His glasses clattered to the floor.

“Sorry, man,” the brick wall rumbled. “I got it,” he stopped Ayush from bending over and scooped the glasses from the floor, handing them back to Ayush.

“Thanks; sorry,” Ayush muttered as he put his glasses back on, allowing him an unobscured view of the guy. He was huge. Six-foot-four at least, and bulging with brawn. He had a light dusting of dark hair over his meaty pecs and a big beard and messy tousled hair. There was something strangely… recognizable about him. Ayush almost wanted to ask if they knew each other but there was no way he had met this guy and forgotten about it. Still, something in his face, and the way he carried himself…

“Hey, wanna come with?” he winked down at him. Even that wink seemed so familiar, and that accent. It was some kind of American but Ayush could never sort them all out.

“Uhh…” said Ayush.

The big guy chuckled. “Aww yeah you do,” and he took him by the shoulder and turned him around.

Ayush found himself being pushed through the throngs, a bit bewildered but finding nothing to object to. He normally wasn’t really into big guys but this guy was so gigantic it was strangely mesmerising. Ayush wasn’t alone. Guys were staring wideyed as they passed, and he heard awed whispers from the crowd.

“Fuck that guy is huge…”


“Oh my god that kid’s totally gonna get split in half.”

Ayush began to feel a bit uneasy both with all the attention from the crowd and about the prospect of being manhandled by this guy nearly twice his size.

His new friend leaned down. “Don’ worry man. ‘S gonna be all about you tonight.”

Ayush found he had been paraded to an apparent destination. The confessional booths.

There was a bunch of guys milling around in front of them but there didn’t seem to be a specific line, and if there was, they cut it. Two guys stumbled giggling from one side of the booth while a third sauntered smugly out of the other. Ayush was gently pushed into the one the couple had vacated and the big guy maneuvered himself into the other.

Ayush shut the door behind him. The booth was pretty small and smelled of sweat and sex. He was amazed his new friend even fit inside it.

The screen snapped open and he heard the big guy chuckling on the other side, though in the dark it was hard to make anything out.

“Hey man. Gimme some of that dick. ‘ll make your night for sure.”

“Huh?” Ayush unwrapped his towel and looked around bewildered. He had thought the booths were for role-playing considering the wall between them.

His friend stuck two fingers through a glory hole Ayush hadn’t noticed before. He curled them in a beckoning motion, laughing.

Ayush felt his face heating up. “I’m not… I don’t really know if…” the thought of this guy laughing at his cock in this crowded bathhouse made Ayush suddenly very claustrophobic.

There was rustling on the other side as the big guy repositioned himself so his face was framed in the screen. “Don’ worry. ‘S all good, man. Gotta trust me.”

Ayush did trust him, even though it made no sense. Maybe it was the drink, the almost tangible cloud of lust that seemed to hang in the air in this place, or the impossible-to-shake feeling that he knew this guy already, but he did trust him. Still nervous, he slipped out of his underwear, finding himself already hard, and after giving his cock a couple of quick strokes to ensure it hadn’t retained any lint from his underwear, he took a deep breath, and guided it into the hole, squeezing his eyes shut and waiting for… well, whatever.

“Yum,” the big guy grumbled from the other side, a hint of mirth in his voice but one thay had been there from the start. Ayush gasped and then giggled as he felt big fingers tracing the length of his four inch shaft and then gently shaking it up and down. He wanted to say something clever and self-deprecating but also convey that he didn’t think it was a big deal, but before his drunken brain could piece that puzzle together he felt a brief blanket of hot breath wash over his cock and then the big guy took him in his mouth.

Ayush braced his hand on the edge of the screen. “Oh fuck!” he grunted. The guy was definitely giving it his all, his big fat tongue clumsily lumbering around his cock, sucking so hard Ayush almost thought he’d rip it off. Ayush felt lightness in his guts and a haze on his brain as his cock throbbed in the mouth of his new friend. It was amazing. Whatever this guy was doing, it was totally unprecedented, giving Ayush the feeling that his cock was filling his mouth, going deeper down his throat. Ayush’s eyes widened and he moaned loudly as these sensations became even more intense. He hoped the big guy would be willing to give him some pointers, because he was a blowjob savant.

It got to the point where Ayush almost wanted to shout at him to stop. His cock felt so sensitive, like he’d been edging for fifteen minutes but it just kept going and going. He kept wanting to warn his new friend he was about to cum but it was one false alarm after the other and the intensity just kept building and building so much that Ayush became half-convinced he’d been drugged.

When finally he did cum, he felt like he was blasting through a brick wall, screaming “Holy fuck!” at a louder-than-appropriate volume but too wrapped up in both the intensity and the duration of his orgasm to check himself. It was electric all through his body.

His new, big, very talented friend had his mouth clamped over Ayush’s cock the whole time, and as the torrent subsided, he gulped down the last mouthful and lifted off it. Ayush heard rustling on the other side, and figured they should probably free it up for the next couple. Ayush pulled his cock out of the glory hole… and out and out and out.

“What…” Ayush looked down and although it was dark he could still make out the shape withdrawing from the hole in the wall. He closed his eyes, assured himself he was drunk, and checked again. Finally the tip slid out and it flopped down, slapping against his thighs, and he actually jumped a little bit as he felt it hitting far further down his leg than ever before. It was huge. He reached down and felt his hand close around it. He felt down the length of it and clasped the head with a shudder. It was hard to tell as it had already started to go soft but if had to ballpark it he’d have guessed it was a foot long—three times as big as when he walked in the booth. It was thick too, and felt heavy hanging from his crotch. He swayed his hips and felt it swing back and forth, careening into one leg and then the other. He put a hand to his mouth to stifle a giggle. It was so impossible but it felt so real.

A staccato rapping on the door made him gasp in surprise. “Hey it’s not a solo booth, princess,” came a reedy, bitchy voice. “Your friend’s long gone and there’s a line… oh, which you cut, by the way.”

“Oh, uhh… yeah be right out,” Ayush called back. He felt around in the dark for his underwear, stuffed his new cock uncomfortably into it, then grabbed his towel and quickly exited the booth, avoiding the eye contact of the guy tapping his foot impatiently outside.

His strangled junk only served to sell the point more convincingly. That had just happened. His cock had gone from tiger shrimp to tiger shark. He looked around for the big guy who he knew was somehow responsible. “I’ll make your night for sure,” he’d said.

Ayush looked around at the throngs of men crowding the bathhouse and realized that his night was far from over. He looked down as his massive bulge that showed even through the towel, and smiled to himself. It WAS going to be a good night.

“Happy Pride,” he muttered to himself, and sauntered off into the sea of men.

Not a cloud in the sky. He couldn’t have asked for better weather. The beach was empty. He had the whole ocean to himself. Cesar and Angelica must have been around somewhere but it was nice to be alone for now. Where had they gone? He couldn’t remember. Had they even come with him? It didn’t matter. He was content to soak up some rays, maybe get some of his tan back. The Canadian climate had made him so pale. His family always thought he was sick whenever he Skyped them.

There was a whimpering sound, though. He wasn’t alone after all. He looked around. It sounded like a wounded animal. He turned around and he saw it. A dog, its legs and tail cut off, ragged stumps shuddering, struggling to crawl, its tongue hanging out of its mouth, softly whining as its blood pooled around it in the sand.

Rodrigo awoke with a start. He had shucked off his ratty blanket, such as it was, leaving him naked on the fleece carpet. It was too dark to see anything, really, but he was able to orient himself by the soft outline of moonlight coming it around the blind. There was still the whimpering, and in his dazed half-sleep he thought maybe the mangled dog had followed him out from his dream. But he could identify it as human, now, and he crawled over the source.

He was crying in his sleep again. He had his arms tight to his chest, legs curled up, his blanket had nearly slipped off too. Roddy found it, drew it up around his shoulders. Roddy lay down beside him, rubbed his back and hushed him.

“It’s okay, Blake,” he cooed quietly. “Everything’s going to be all right.”


Part 11: Rodrigo

Some time ago...

Rodrigo felt himself being shaken awake, and looked up groggily into the wide frightened eyes of Phil, on his knees next to him. “Roddy! RODDY!” he hissed. With the windows covered it was difficult to guess what time of day it was. He could only figure day or night. It was still dark out.

“I’m awake. What’s wrong?” Rodrigo sat up.

“He’s coming back!” Phil warned, pointing.

Even after all these weeks it was still disorienting to see the dimensions. He heard rattling keys in the door, and sighed. Phil was new, it was all very strange to him. “It’s gonna be fine.”

“He’s gonna kill me!” Phil whispered in a panic. “I can’t do anything he’s gonna fucking kill me!”

“You need to calm down, all right?” Rodrigo put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re going to hyperventilate and we have no paper bags. Okay? It’s going to be fine.”

The door swung open and the light shone in from the hallway, casting a looming shadow against the wall.

Phil scurried away from Rodrigo. There wasn’t a great deal of space in the birdcage that served as their prison, and soon he was pressed up against the bars of the opposite wall, the crisscrossing shadows of the bars fluttering across his face.

Rodrigo stood up, wrapping the cut up face towel around his waist like a skirt. Some movement in the terrarium next to the birdcage caught his attention for a moment. He saw a leaf shuddering in the light from the door. It was probably the wind. She rarely moved when she didn’t have to. She liked to hide in the dark and stay very still.

The door slammed shut and he only saw the hulking outline of their warden. He had applied a thin layer of cologne but it did little to cover his sweaty musk.

“What do you say?” it was a low grumble but in the silence of the room they heard it loud and clear.

Rodrigo sighed, but took a deep breath and called. “Welcome home, Master.”

“I can’t hear you, slave!”

Rodrigo glanced at Phil. “He’s terrified, Master. He’s still learning.”

“He’d better learn fuckin fast,” the figure growled and approached the workbench. Rodrigo’s ears perked at muffled cries. He saw a shape in the Master’s hand. He didn’t need the light to know it was the same velvet Crown Royale bag he had seen the inside of his first night here.

“Shit,” he whispered to himself.

“Meet your need roommate, roaches,” the Master chuckled. He flicked on the swingarm lamp and Rodrigo blinked at the glare, only briefly seeing the round, grinning face looking over them before the Master turned the lamp to shine more directly on the birdcage, so as not to disturb the darkness in the terrarium. Rodrigo shadowed his eyes with his hand, holding the blanket with the other.

The Master pulled open the drawstring on the bag and an immediate hoarse cry of “What the fuck!” came out, followed by coughing and some indecipherable swearing.

The Master reached inside and the cries intensified. “No! NO! Get the fuck off me you fucking... NO!”

The thick hand withdrew from the bag awkwardly holding a struggling man about the torso, the same four inches tall that Rodrigo and Phil were. He was older than the Master’s usual choices, probably in his fifties, he had a short beard and a crew cut that looked like he had dyed it black, if only from the white hair on his body. He was heavier too, an ample belly hanging out the bottom of the Master’s hand. His one arm was restrained in the Master’s grip, the other flailed about wildly along with the two legs hanging out under the hand, dick flopping about crazily.

“Be careful!” Rodrigo called. “Master!”

The Master opened up the birdcage and his captive began freaking out even more.

“No! No fucking way!” he squirmed in vain against the Master’s hand. “Do not put me in there! Swear to fucking god!”

“Stop struggling!” Rodrigo shouted. “Just relax you’ll be fine! Master, please!”

The man kept screaming “NO NO NO!” punching at the Master’s fingers with his free hand but he may as well have been punching the sidewalk. But as the Master began to lower him towards the door, the man bit into the fleshy curve between his thumb and finger.

The Master recoiled and reflexively opened his hand. The man fell out of his fingers towards the opening. The Master tried to catch him with the other hand but it happened so quickly. His arm slammed into the bar surrounding the doorway with a crunch and he screamed in pain, spinning over as he fell through the opening.

Rodrigo dropped the towel and jumped out of the way to avoid him as he landed face-first on his clavicle before the rest of his body slammed down against the floor. The scream stopped abruptly. Rodrigo sat staring at him for a split second before lunging to his side. The man’s arm was shattered, bent impossibly backward at the elbow and already bruised and swollen.

“Oh fuck please don’t be dead...” Rodrigo prayed. But his eyes stared off into nothing and when Rodrigo put his hand to his neck to feel for a pulse he felt the broken spine shift under his flesh.

Phil suddenly vomited behind him, a streak of sickly ochre splattering across the particle board floor that had once been a clipboard.

The Master slapped the side of the cage, knocking Rodrigo backward. “Don’t puke on the fucking clipboard that’s what the space on the side is for you fucking idiot!” the Master snapped.

“Oh god oh god,” Phil groaned, rocking back and forth, staring at the corpse.

“You fucking killed him!” Rodrigo protested.

“HEY!” the Master pointed his meaty finger through the opening and Rodrigo flinched reflexively. “It’s his own fault, you even warned him.”

“That doesn’t...”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” the Master bellowed. “You are fuckin’ NOTHING. I could smash you both into fuckin paste and no one would know or even care.”

Phil collapsed reared back, covering his face with his hands. “Oh god!”

“I said shut the FUCK up!” the Master repeated, and reached into the cage to give Phil an effortless swat to the chest. Phil fell to the ground, winded and coughing, grunting in pain.

The Master took the dead man’s unbroken arm and lifted him out of the birdcage, dangling like a rag doll from his fingers. He slid open the top of the terrarium and unceremoniously dropped the tiny corpse inside, closing it up afterwards. It landed with a soft thud on the potting soil in the middle of the terrarium.

“You’re mine,” the Master spat through his teeth. “I can do whatever I want to you. You stupid fucks. You do what I tell you and be fucking GRATEFUL for the HONOUR of being my slaves or you’ll end up in the same place as that dumb fuckin douche.”

The Master switched off the lamp and stomped out towards the door, muttering to himself. The light shone in from the other side of the door before the Master slammed it shut behind him.

Rodrigo crawled over to Phil, and put a hand to his chest. Phil winced and moaned.

“Nothing broken,” Rodrigo assured him. “We’ll get it fixed.” He pressed his hand against Phil’s chest. He could sense his pain, which was different then feeling it but it wasn’t very pleasant. He felt the swelling go down, the pain recede, the wound disappear.

If only he’d survived the fall, Rodrigo could’ve saved him. That was the only reason the Master kept him around this long; to repair his favourite toys when he broke them. But sooner or later he’d go too far, play too hard, damage them beyond repair. And then...

Rodrigo stood up from Phil and padded across the clipboard to the other side of the cage. He peered into the terrarium. The outline of the corpse still lay in the middle of the stillness and silence. She hadn’t come to claim him yet, but she would. She was content to sit in the dark, waiting and watching.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Some time later...

Phil thought back. “... so then, Ed Harris is like ‘we got you at an elevated position, no one needs to die,’ but the military guy starts shouting up to the soldiers ‘you all swore oaths as United States marines! And I know the Pentagon shits all over us sometimes but that doesn’t give you the right to mutiny!’ But Ed Harris is all ‘order your men to safety their weapons and drop them on the floor’ and he’s like ‘I will not give that order!’ and then they just keep shouting at each other ‘give the order!’ ‘I will not give that order!’“

“Shit!” Rodrigo chuckled.

“Yeah,” Phil grinned. He glanced to the side and nodded towards the other end of the cage. “Hey. Think he’s waking up.”

The prone form lying facedown in the corner groaned as if on cue. He was trying to get himself upright but finding it difficult. It was always like that at first. Rodrigo sighed and crawled up next to him. He rubbed his back gently. “Hey... take it easy okay? Things may be a bit of a shock.”

The guy was blonde, in decent shape. When he’d been deposited Rodrigo had thought his ass looked amazing though in the light of morning it looked only okay. He was gasping. “I... I can’t breathe...”

“Try and take slow long breaths,” Rodrigo suggested. “It takes a few days for your lungs to adjust to breathing air at this size.”

“Size? What...?” the blonde guy looked up. There wasn’t a lot of light coming in through the cracks around the wooden slates nailed around the windows but it was enough to illuminate a handsome, young face. His eyes went wide as he glanced frantically around the room. “Oh fuck the... where....” he pushed himself to his knees and saw that he was naked which only seemed to panic him more.

“Look seriously if you don’t calm down you could pass out,” Rodrigo advised. “I’m Roddy. What’s your name?”

The kid was still in shock, and shook his head.

“Look just tell me your name, okay?” Rodrigo persisted. “It’ll help.”

He opened his mouth to speak but just gasped deeply, his eyes rolling back in his head, and fainted, collapsing onto Rodrigo.

“Shit,” he sighed.

Phil clapped his hands together. “So anyway, Nick Cage is all like...”

It was twenty more minutes before he came to. Rodrigo had stayed next to him and rubbed his back as he sat up.

“You gotta try and keep calm, all right?” Rodrigo advised softly. “I know it all seems crazy but put all that aside. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, okay? You have to try and stay awake. Passing out like that is so bad for you.”

The kid raised his head with his eyes squeezed shut so hard it looked like he was wincing. “I have a headache.”

Rodrigo nodded. “It’s the oxygen adjustment problem. You’re gonna feel like shit for a couple days. Just don’t exert yourself, keep yourself hydrated.” He paused. “I’m Roddy. Do you remember me telling you that?”

The kid nodded, then shook his head. “It seems like a dream.”

“The other guy in here is Phil,” Rodrigo continued.

“Hey,” Phil called idly from the other end of the cage.

Rodrigo smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Blake...” he answered weakly. “Where... what’s happening to me?”

“Well...” Rodrigo sighed. “Let’s see. You’ve been kidnapped. We all have... and that’s kind of the good news.”


“We’ve been shrunk to I think like four inches tall,” Rodrigo explained. “That’s just a guess I’m not totally sure. He doesn’t let us measure ourselves.”

“How...” he looked up, opening his eyes and blinking, scanning the cage and the room outside it. “No. No. Fuck. This is just a nightmare.”

Rodrigo shook his head. “Nononono. Look at me, okay?” he shifted onto his knees in front of Blake. “Listen to me. You are wide awake and this isn’t a dream. You need to accept that, because Blake? I’m not gonna lie. Our lives are in danger here and we have to keep it together.”

“Danger? Wait what?” Blake gripped Rodrigo’s arm. He could see the muscles in Blake’s neck tightening up, his jaw going rigid.

“Yes,” Rodrigo put his hands on Blake’s shoulders. “I need you to try and stay calm but this is too important to keep from you. Okay? Breathe.”

Blake had started to freak out again, and winced in pain as it aggravated his headache. “Fuck...” he mumbled. “What... what’s gonna happen to me?”

There were so many options. Stomped on; smothered in an asshole; eaten alive; drowned in a toilet bowl... or left for Penny. The Master enjoyed subjecting his slaves to a variety of gruesome ends but lately he took an increasingly sadistic glee in watching them try to escape her, hide from her, even fend her off. Rodrigo had seen one tiny little man actually beg for mercy from her, but she had none to give. She regarded him with the same predatory indifference with which she saw everything that entered her domain.

Rodrigo’s face had darkened and this did little to console Blake. He brought his knees up and put his head down, sobbing quietly.

“Look...” Rodrigo confided quietly, “I can’t... he... just call him ‘Master’ all the time. Do what he says. Don’t try to be cute; don’t make fun of him. He’ll try to turn us against each other but you can’t let him. He’s a liar and a douchebag and a bully. We have GOT to trust each other or we’ll all just go insane.”

“I’ve already gone insane,” Blake mumbled.

“You’re not insane, Blake,” Rodrigo shook his head, “just unlucky.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Some time even later but not quite at the present yet...

Phil had his hands clamped over his ears and was curled up in one corner of the cage, humming a monotone to himself as loud as he could muster. It was really grating but Rodrigo was willing to bear it. He was never in the same kind of danger that Phil or Blake were in. Rodrigo was the toy the Master could never replace. There was a limit to the extent he could leverage that but still...

The dimensions of the building they were in remained a mystery to them, but they were almost certainly in a garage or a workshed attached to a house. It was at least two stories tall and the Master’s favourite room seemed to be directly above them, and the walls dividing them did little to mute his grunts and groans nor the banging of his headboard against the wall. Phil had mostly adjusted to his new tiny life but the sounds from the Master’s room always threw him into a nearly catatonic state. Maybe it was the memories it conjured of his own tortures, for the Master had inflicted damage upon his little frame in the past that Rodrigo had barely been able to pull him back from. Or maybe it was the same uncertainty that weighed on Rodrigo’s mind: the uncertainty of whether or not Blake would come back at all. So many of them hadn’t, or had returned so mangled all Rodrigo could do was watch them die. There hadn’t been any deaths since the older man, but that had been an accident. An optimist might think the Master was finally getting over his bloodlust but Rodrigo knew better. The Master was never sated for long.

A loud cry announced the Master’s climax, then there was more stomping around for a while. Rodrigo shook Phil out of his autohypnosis and the two waited on opposite sides of the birdcage for the Master to return.

“So you’re a wizard too right?” asked Phil.

Rodrigo grimaced. “Not the kind of term I like to throw around, but okay, yeah.” He shrugged. “I can do magic.”

“Can you learn how to do what he does?” Phil tilted his head.

Rodrigo shook his head. “No. Not without help. Most of us can only focus on one... field, I guess. I only know how to heal people.”

“Do you think you could ever, like... turn it around? Like...” Phil made some strange hand gestures. “It’s still the same idea, right? Just instead of giving something back you’re taking it away.”

Rodrigo narrowed his gaze. “I don’t hurt people, Phil.”

“Not even him?” Phil persisted. “After everything you’ve seen him do? Not even if it meant saving me or Blake?”

“You’re not thinking this through,” said Rodrigo flatly. “Let’s say we somehow managed to kill him. We’re still stuck in this cage except now nobody’s getting us food or water or cleaning the tray.” He sighed. “I’ve been here longer than you have and there’s been smarter guys here before you. Smart guys don’t last very long.”

“What if we...” Phil hesitated. “Has anyone tried talking to him? Maybe we could convince him to...”

“Look I don’t know what goes on when he takes them away,” Rodrigo cut him off, “but if anyone’s tried it, it didn’t go too well. Like... he’s insane. You get that, right? He’s a fucking psychopathic murderer.”

“But if the Master—”

“Don’t!” Rodrigo pointed at him. “Don’t fucking call him that when he’s not here. He’s not the master of fucking anything. Not you or me, not Blake, not even fucking Penny. I don’t care how...”

The door swung open and the burly silhouette of the Master lumbered inside. Rodrigo and Phil shuffled to opposite corners. Sex only ever made the smell of the Master stronger. Even overwhelming at times; a sour onion smell of sweat and cum. It preceded him as he stomped over to the workbench, opened the cage, and carefully deposited the Crown Royale bag inside.

“Good luck,” he grunted, shrugging and wiping his nose as he turned to leave.

Rodrigo rushed up to the bag and fiddled with the drawstring. Phil had to help him pull the bag open and they could barely make him out, lying inside in the velvet shadows, twitching and moaning.

“His arm is arm is broken—the right arm,” warned Rodrigo. “You take his feet. Careful. Ready? One, two, and...” the two grunted and Blake whimpered as they lifted him out of the bag and onto the floor. His arm was dark purple and a sickly yellow, bending in strange ways. A similar bruise covered the whole right side of his torso and much of his thigh. One eye was swollen shut. Rodrigo could sense that some ribs were at least fractured and maybe broken, and his hip had been dislocated. Luckily there was no direct damage to his spine or his skull, which were the trouble spots. Rodrigo prognosed a full recovery but...there was still a long way to go. He bit his lip.

Blake was whining and trying very hard to stay still, but would twitch every now and then and let out a piercing wail. Rodrigo took Phil aside and explained what had to be done.

“...No matter how bad he screams, do not let him go,” Rodrigo reminded him.

Phil nodded. “I know.”

Rodrigo took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s do it.”

Phil got down in his knees at Blake’s head, pressing down gently on his shoulders. Blake winced at the touch but remained mostly still.

Rodrigo gently moved Blake’s legs apart so he could straddle Blake’s right thigh. He gripped Blake tightly around his left hip, grit his teeth, and gave a forceful punch to the left.

Blake’s good eye shot open and he screamed in agony. He tried to sit up but Phil held him down. His first attempt having failed, Rodrigo gave the right hip a second punch with a little more power behind it, and exhaled with relief as he heard it chock back into place. Blake was less relieved, screaming through bloody, clenched teeth as he spasmed on the floor.

“Almost there, Blake,” Rodrigo assured him, squeezing the leg between his knees. He nodded at Phil, who pressed down harder, and Rodrigo grabbed Blake’s wrist.

The ulna had broken but wasn’t too far out of place. The big problem was the humerus, which had broken clean away in one spot and cracked in another. The break was diagonal and the sharp pointed end of the bone had poked a hole in his tendon and threatened to pierce the skin from within. His powers to heal were formidable and anything short of death itself was within his ability to repair—including broken bones, but he couldn’t compel them to right themselves. If he used his skills before setting a break, he could cause permanent damage that would need conventional surgery. And that meant...

Rodrigo yanked back on Blake’s wrist as hard as he could and Blake screamed in furious pain until he was hoarse. With the arm stretched as far as he could pull it, he felt for the tip of the break with his fingertips and wriggled it back into place. Blake continued screaming until his eyes rolled back into his head, and he passed out.

Phil looked up at Rodrigo in alarm, but he was more relieved than worried. “Check his pulse,” he said, more to reassure Phil han anything. An unconscious patient was much easier to work with.

“Get some water,” Rodrigo told Phil as he checked over Blake’s body for anything he missed. Phil got up and went over to the hamster bottle hanging off the cage and filled one of the thimbles piled beneath it.

Technically speaking, Blake was dying, and his injuries were severe enough that even a trip to the ER (at regular size) was no guarantee. But Rodrigo was better than a fully-staffed state of the art hospital. Rodrigo had actually done more tissue damage setting his bones but wasn’t that concerned. Tissue damage was no big thing. He could cure infections and draw toxins out of the system. Even major organs were becoming quick fixes (though collapsed lungs still confounded him). He supposed he had the Master to “thank” for that.

There was a trick to getting water from the dispenser. You put your finger in the nozzle and point your elbow down, holding the thimble beneath it. There were four thimbles and Phil filled all four, setting the first two on the clipboard next to Blake then handing Rodrigo one and keeping the last for himself.

When Rodrigo was confident he had righted all the broken bones, he took a big gulp of water and began healing him, occasionally scooping water out of a thimble to clean off some blood. The bones stitched themselves back together. The bruises grew lighter and finally disappeared. As Rodrigo finished by making the swelling go down around Blake’s eye, he looked him over and allowed himself a moment of self-congratulatory pride. It looked like nothing had even happened to him. Expending those energies tool a lot out of him, and Rodrigo was overcome with a wave of exhaustion. By that point Phil had already wrapped himself in the torn facecloth and was curled up in a corner. Rodrigo pulled two of the makeshift blankets from where they hung between bars, and laid one over Blake. He refilled the thimbles and left them nearby.

The crumpled velvet bag looked inviting but it smelled awful and conjured memories of his first night there. He instead laid down next to Blake, and tried to get to sleep.

Rodrigo had a fitful sleep though, which was frustrating considering how tired he was. He kept drifting in and out of dreams and groggy half-awake visions of the dark room. He used these moments to glance at Blake and make sure he was still okay.

At one point though, he awoke and found Blake missing from beside him, and heard some strained grunting in the darkness. He managed to make the outline of Blake at the bars, trying to wrench them apart.

Rodrigo lifted his head. “Blake... it’s no good, man. You need to sleep.” He paused, and heard Blake grunt as he made another attempt. “Blake, seriously, all you’re gonna do is pull a muscle.”

Blake stopped, and whispered something but Rodrigo couldn’t hear it. He rolled out from under the covers and stood, walking over to Blake. He touched his shoulder. “C’mon.”

“I can’t do it anymore,” Blake whispered back. “I’m sorry. I can’t. It just... I have to get out.” He yanked on the bars again.

Rodrigo put his hand on Blake’s shoulder and tugged him away from the bars but Blake swatted him off and pulled at the bars again. “Blake, seriously, you’re just gonna hurt yourself.”

“He told me he’d make me normal again,” Blake muttered. His hands still gripped the bars but his arms had relaxed. “He said he liked me and he’d make me normal and let me go if that’s what I wanted. He asked...” he choked, and leaned his head against the bars.

Rodrigo had heard this story before. Warning them was no help. After all they’d gone through, who could deny the offer even knowing it was a lie?

“I thought I was gonna die...” Blake was shaking, his jaw shuddering, tears welling up in bloodshot eyes. “I can’t do it again. I have to get out. What if...” he turned to Rodrigo. “I’ll break enough bones to fit through the bars,” he leaned in, whispering. “You can heal me when I’m on the other side.”

Rodrigo shook his head. “No. There’s so much that could go wrong and I have to set bones before I can heal them.”

“It’s a bigger risk than staying?” Blake hissed. “Roddy I’m gonna fucking die here.”

“What’ll you do on the other side?” Rodrigo gestured to the bars. “You think you’ll make it far outside this house? We don’t even know where we are. How will you even make it off the workbench?”

“Fucking christ, Roddy!” Blake’s voice began to rise. “What the fuck am I supposed to do? Just wait?” he fell to his knees. “I’m gonna fuckin die here.”

Rodrigo lowered himself to his knees and threw his arms around Blake, holding his head on his shoulder as he convulsed in quiet sobs. He rubbed Blake’s back in silence, feeling his heartbeat through his chest. He saw Phil curled up in the corner. It was hard to tell in the dark, but it looked like he had his eyes opened, and was staring at them.

“Don’t bring me back,” Blake croaked hoarsely.


Blake put his arms around Rodrigo and squeezed him close. “No, I can’t. I can’t,” he whispered frantically. “Next time just let it happen. Just let me go.”

Rodrigo’s mouth hung open. “I...”

“You have to promise me.”

“I’m not gonna promise you that,” said Rodrigo quietly. “I’m sorry, I... you can’t ask me to do that.”

“Roddy... please...”

Rodrigo rubbed his back. “Go to sleep, Blake. You need to rest.”

Blake returned to softly weeping as Rodrigo massaged his back. He looked down at Phil, who pulled up his blanket and turned away from them.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“They don’t understand your superiority, Master. They don’t want to be here.”

The Master lowered his gaze over his bulk to the tiny man sitting with his back against the Master’s thick, stubby cock. Phil gyrated his back and ass against it, reaching his arms behind him to rub the shaft.

“You know I’m smarter than you, right?” the Master growled. “You know your brain’s like the size of a jellybean? You can’t lie to me.”

“Master I’m not!” Phil implored, his eyes wide as he vigorously shook his head. “I wouldn’t! I...”

Phil was smothered by a thick gigantic hand that wrapped around the shaft and squeezed Phil against the cock that was bigger than his whole body. “You think this is some power struggle for roaches? You think I have one of you I like best? You’re all the same. Nothing. Lower than scum. I could fuckin... I could fuckin toss you in the garbage or... or put you in the toaster! You’d pop like a corn kernel.” He lifted his hand off, leaving Phil coughing and gasping for breath.

He sputtered for a moment but soon regained himself. “Master I know! I know what I am now. What we all are to you. The whole world should be yours to play with. Whole civilizations should strive to pleasure you!” To emphasize his point Phil climbed to his feet, rubbing his ass along the Master’s rigid dick. The Master groaned, his cock twitching in response, and Phil shuddered with delight. “They’re still stuck in their old lives, Master. They haven’t seen.”

The Master narrowed his eyes, his jaw protruding with suspicion. “What are they saying?”

“Blake wants to leave. It’s all he talks about,” Phil reported. “Roddy discourages him. He’s very practical, like you said.”

The Master nodded. “You asked him what I told you to?”

Phil nodded vigorously. “Of course, Master! I do everything you tell me too?”

“Well...?” the Master asked impatiently.

Phil shook his head. “He can’t use his powers to hurt you. But he says he would never hurt anyone, including you.”

The Master nodded. “Good, good...” the Master laid back contentedly, adjusting his bulk in his worn leather chair. Phil fell over into the carpet of his pubic hair from the treasure, but righted himself. The Master sighed. “I like you,” he noted nonchalantly, much of the harsh edge gone from his voice.

Phil looked up at him, beaming though a bit flustered. “I’m... honoured, Master!”

“You know I have great powers, don’t you?” the Master asked. “I can do almost anything.”

“I... well I...” Phil stammered. “I never knew for certain but I always believed. You’re like a god, Master!”

The Master chuckled with amusement. “I could return you to normal,” he said. “I might even release you. You’ve served me so well, perhaps you DO deserve a reward. Would you like that? Is that what you want?”

Phil blanched. “Wait, but don’t I... don’t I still please you? I mean...” he shook his head. “Do I... are you bored with me?”

The mirth drizzled out from the Master’s eyes. “I’ve offered you a reward. You’d deny it?”

“I... Master of course you...” Phil struggled to find words, his breath coming in panicked gasps. “Master, you know better than I do and... and if you think I could serve you better at my... in my old life... then I will do it for you but...” He shook his head. “I know now that this is where I was meant to be! I never want to leave you, Master... I wouldn’t know what to do!”

The Master smiled across his round face. “I’m so happy to hear that.”


Part 12: Tyson

Act I: Morning

Tyson awoke from a mediocre dream to a loud banging on his front door. His bedside clock informed him in angry red digits that it was 9:37 a.m.; nearly an hour before his alarm was set to go off. He grabbed his phone off the table next to it. In what had become a regular morning ritual for him he checked his messages. One from work, one from a hook-up, but nothing from the only guy he really wanted to hear from. He sighed, and tossed it back on the table.

There was a banging at his door again, accompanied by the shrill voice of his landlord. “Mister Tyson? You home?”

Tyson rolled his eyes. His rent was paid so whatever it was could wait. “Fuck off, Marie,” he grumbled quietly, pulling his sheets up and turning over, ignoring another harsh knock on the door.

The sound of a key turning in his lock, however, got his eyes wide open. “What the fuck, Marie?” he shouted, scrambling out of his mattress and quickly slipping into yesterday’s underwear still hanging off the arm of his couch.

The door opened and he heard footsteps coming into his apartment. “Marie,” he yelled. “I was slee… ” he stopped short.

Marie was there, but was standing on her toes to peek over the shoulders of the two people in front of her. The man was a uniformed cop, kinda short and skinny but bulked out some by the Kevlar vest over his shirt. The woman wasn’t in uniform but he could’ve guessed she was a cop even before she started fishing her badge out of her pocket. She stood a head taller than the man, was a bit heavyset, and dressed in a clean cut business suit under a light jacket.

“Tyson Chandler?” she asked, opening her wallet but holding it against her side as if it was going to be a big surprise.

“Uhh… ” Tyson glanced back at his room and the cocaine dust all over his bedside table. “What are you doing in my home?” he asked.

“So you are Tyson Chandler?” the uniform asked in a more irritated tone.

The woman held up her hand to silence him and cleared her throat. “Mr. Chandler, I’m Detective Shannon Demuth, and this is Officer Richard Furyk,” she showed her credentials. “You’re not in any trouble. We’d just like to ask you some questions.” She turned to Marie. “Thanks, Miss Yoon, but you can wait outside.”

Marie looked disappointed and shot Tyson a suspicious scowl, but did as she was told, closing the door behind her.

Detective Demuth turned back to him with a sigh. “Would you like to get dressed, Mister Chandler?”

Tyson finished hooking up the blanket which served as a divider for his bed from the living room. “Why, am I goin’ somewhere?” he asked, sitting down on the couch.

The two cops exchanged irritated looks. Demuth took out a notepad and produced an expensive-looking pen from her jacket. “Are you familiar with a young man named Blake Ouilette?”

Tyson shook his head. “Nope… Oh,” he started, feeling his cheeks get hot. He looked up at the detective. “Blake?”

“So you do know him,” Furyk retorted.

“I… I didn’t know his last name,” Tsyon mumbled.

Furyk chuckled to himself and shook his head at the floor.

Tyson knew he should be indignant but his imagination was spiraling out of control. “What… why are you… ”

Demuth flipped a page backwards and reviewed her notes. “You were seen leaving your place of work with him the night of… April twenty-second. Is that accurate?”

Was he dead? Tyson put a hand over his mouth and felt tears welling up.

“How would you characterize your relationship with Blake Ouilette?” Demuth pressed. “How did you meet him?”

“Is he… ” Tyson felt a hot tear slip out of his eye and down his cheek. All those awful things he’d thought; Blake was a phony and he’d just been another lay. In spite of everything he felt. He had felt so betrayed. “Did you… ”

“Mister Ouilette didn’t show up for his scheduled shift at his place of business the following day,” Demuth explained. “His parents later filed a missing person report. Have you had any contact with him since the twenty-second of April?”

Tyson shook his head, his mouth still clamped over his mouth.

“Can you describe your encounter the night of the twenty-second?” asked Demuth.

He nodded, but didn’t say anything, sitting in silence for a moment.

“Mr. Chandler?”

“We met at the bar,” Tyson whispered through his hand.

“Could you repeat that?” Demuth flipped back to an empty page.

Tyson took his hand away and sniffed, folding his arms across his chest. “He… he had ditched his friends or… they had ditched him I’m not sure.”

“Do you remember their names?” asked Demuth.

Tyson shook his head. “He hung around ‘til my shift was over… ”

“This is at the Black Eagle?” Demuth clarified.

“Yeah. Then we came back here—we took a cab—and we… ” he shrugged, “y’know… ”

Furyk frowned but Demuth was unfazed. “He stayed through the night?”

Tyson nodded. “It was starting to get light out when he left. Maybe six?”

“Did you walk him out or…?”

“No… ” But he should have, he knew now.

“Did anyone else see you two together?” asked Furyk.

“I… a couple of people living in the building, I guess. I… don’t know their names.”

“He didn’t leave anything behind? Maybe something you found later?” Demuth suggested.

“No,” Tyson replied. “He… didn’t have much with him, I don’t think.”

“Did he say anything about leaving town?” asked Furyk.

Tyson shook his head.

Demuth looked up from scribbling on her pad. “Did you make plans to see each other again?”

Tyson shrugged. “Yeah… well, no. Kind of. It was kinda up in the air.”

“Is there anything else you can think of that might indicate his current whereabouts?”

His current whereabouts… oh god, Blake, please be all right. “No,” Tyson croaked, “nothing.”

“I’d like to get your phone number,” said Demuth. “In case we have to contact you again. Is that all right?” Tyson nodded and mumbled his number offhandedly while Demuth jotted it down. “Thank you, Mr. Chandler,” Demuth gave him a stern nod and pulled a business card out of her wallet. She set it on the coffee table. “If you think of anything else please give me a call.”

She turned to leave and Furyk gave her a nod. “We good?”

Demuth sighed impatiently. “Yes, Rick.” She gestured pointedly at the door.

Tyson heard them shuffle out and the door close behind them. It was nearly two months. Blake had been missing for two months. Tyson had been so pissed off at him for weeks, to the point that he had wanted Blake to send him a text just so Tyson could tell him off. The anger had gone away, mostly, and that void just got filled with melancholy.

Tyson reached through the edge of the divider and picked his phone up. He scrolled through two months of messages until he found Blake’s contact, and a single text: Get home safe.

It was so creepy Tyson dropped his phone. He curled up on his couch, hugged his knees to his chest, and stared at the business card on his coffee table.

Demuth and Furyk were meanwhile delayed in the lobby, while Marie listed off all the tenants she was convinced were drug dealers, pimps, and what she called “e-pirates.” Demuth diplomatically assured her they’d look into it and they made a hasty retreat.

“He’s definitely hiding something,” Furyk grumbled.

Demuth sighed as she got in the car. “Rick, we barged into his apartment while he had drugs all over the place. I think you’re misreading him.”

“So, wait—he’s not a suspect?” asked Furyk, starting the car.

“We don’t have a crime yet,” Demuth reminded him. “But I severely doubt he had anything to do with it.”

“He got pretty nervous when you mentioned Blake,” Furyk noted as he pulled out of the lot.

“He was upset, Rick. He just found out his friend has been missing for weeks.”

Furyk chuckled. “‘Friend,’” he mused. “They knew each other for what, three hours?”

Demuth shook her head. “Don’t get distracted by him. He’s just a kid.”

“He’s what, twenty-five?” Furyk stopped for a red light. “Plenty old enough for murder.”

Demuth rolled her eyes. “Let’s take that word out of our vocabulary until there’s a body, all right? This is a missing person.”

Furyk nodded. “Two months, Shan.”

“It’s a missing person, Rick. Work the case we have.”

Furyk grumbled something and stepped on the gas as the light turned green.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Mahtab brushed hair out of her face and poured a cup of coffee for herself. You need to start getting more sleep, she reminded herself, as she often did. But her progress had been so slow going every hour she could squeeze out of the day made a difference.

She plodded back to her office, setting down her coffee. There was a Facebook message waiting for her.

Guess who I ran into last night, it read next to Corey’s irritating glamour shot.

Oh right, it was Pride, she remembered. She typed back: Someone i’ve never heard of from big brother

She took a small sip of coffee and had burned her tongue when she saw the response.

Lol I wish

Cassidy fuckn hamilton

Mahtab put the cup on her desk and spilled hot coffee on her hand. She sucked her teeth and wiped it off with a kleenex, anxiously watching the animated ellipsis that followed “Corey is typing… ”

Finally it popped up: Omg hes so fuckd he was being such a duche

She quickly typed out: wat happened???

I’ll tell you later, he replied.

Fuck that, Mahtab thought, and spent the next few minutes frantically searching for her phone, which she found next to the coffee machine. She found Corey in her contacts and dialed.

The first try went to voicemail so she hung up, darted back into the office to type: pick up your fuckin phone!!!!, and tried again.

“What are you, on fire or something?” asked Corey after answering the call.

“What happened with Cassidy?” Mahtab barked.

“Whoa! What—”

“It’s important, Corey!” she stressed. “I need you to tell me. What did he say?”

Corey sighed. “It turns out we have a mutual friend. Or Adam does, I guess. God you should’ve seen him. He looked ridiculous. It was embarrassing.”

“Be specific, Corey.”

“Cassidy had done his thing on him. Oh fuck, and then? He did it to this other guy at the bar.”

Mahtab rested her phone on her shoulder and searched for Russell on Facebook. “Cassidy was using his powers in public?”

“Ugh, don’t say ‘powers.’ It sounds so retarded.”


“YES! Oh my god!” Corey shrieked. “I let him have it, though. I told him he was being a total tool. Him and his little club. It’s so stupid.”

“What do you mean, ‘club?’” asked Mahtab as she typed a message to Russell: Cass is practicing in public

“Oh well they told this other couple. Civies. He was doing his thing on them and I’d be amazed if it was the first time.”

Has already told civilians, she typed to Russell.

“Where was this, at a Pride thing?” she asked.

“Yeah a bar in the east end. I was doing a show… which I invited you to,” Corey acidly reminded her.

“So it was in the city,” Mahtab noted. “Do you know if he stayed with his friends?”

“No, I dunno… oh wait. He was supposed to but they got a hotel… ” Corey paused. “What’s with you why do you care?”

Mahtab stopped typing mid-message and picked her phone back up in her hand. “Okay, look,” she started, “Corey, I know how this is going to sound, but I need you to listen to me.”

“Oh my god, can you seriously lose the drama?”

“Corey I’m serious. Cassidy is dangerous. If you see him, avoid him. If he comes to your house, do not let him in, and call me. If you know any wards, use them. Do not tell anyone else about this… or have you already?”

“No. Is… ” Corey seemed at a miraculous loss for words. “Mahtab you’re scaring me.”

“Everything’s going to be all right I just need you to do what I’m telling you, all right?” Mahtab said as calmly as she could.

“Yeah okay,” Corey finally answered.

“Look I have to go,” said Mahtab. “I’m not trying to freak you out. If you think you need help just tell me where you are and I’ll be there.”

“Okay… ” said Corey. “Bye.”

“See ya,” Mahtab hung up.

Russell still hadn’t seen or responded to her messages. She quickly sent all the pertinent information.

He’s staying at a hotel maybe

Corey knows something’s up but i didnt get specific

Mahtab took a sip from her coffee, hoping Russell was available. If they were at a hotel, it was a perfect chance they might not get for a long time. Her computer chirped announcing a new message from Russell.

Get here asap

Mahtab wondered if she could take the half pot of coffee she had just made but figured it was probably a bad call. Instead she took an unpleasant gulp from her mug and quickly got dressed, grabbed her jacket from off a hook on the wall, made sure her wallet was still in there, put her phone in her pocket and took a step back. She put her hands in her coat pockets and closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped into the air.

And with a gusty snap, she was gone.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Adam scrabbled through the pile of clothes next to the bed until he heard coins jingling. Is three dollars a good tip? He wondered to himself. It didn’t sound like one in his head. But if you’re at a fancy hotel are you expected to tip more, or less? He fished out a five dollar bill and returned to the bellman. He’d try to read his face and then maybe he’d know for next time.

The bellman, however, was no help, as he was confused and distracted by a uniform that fit more snugly than it had a minute ago. It took him a second to notice the offered bill.

“Oh!” he took it with a smile and nod. “Thank you, sir!”

“Thanks,” Adam replied, and closed the door as the bellman departed.

Cassidy was inspecting the plates on the trolley. “This one’s yours,” he tapped one plate cover and took the other.

“Yeah… ” Adam slowly approached the cart. “Did you, umm… ” he pointed at the door with his thumb, “beef up the bellboy?”

Cassidy held his plate aloft as he climbed back into bed. He chuckled. “If I had a dollar every time I got asked that… ”

“Seriously, Cass,” said Adam uncertainly, taking the cover off his own plate.

Cassidy shrugged, munching a bite of toast. “He was cute… thought I’d give him an extra tip,” he winked.

“Cass… ” Adam chided. “I think you might be going a little overboard… ”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Oh my god, seriously? Is this because of Corey last night?”

“No,” Adam retorted, annoyed. “Look, it’s one thing to do it with our friends and people who already know, but total strangers? Shouldn’t we be keeping a low profile? I feel like it’s bad enough we keep coming and going at different sizes.”

Cassidy curled his lip. “Y’know what, Adam? I gotta say I’m kinda getting a bit tired of this bullshit.”

Adam raised his eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

Cass shook his head, held the bridge of his nose. “Oh my god. Sorry. Never mind. Look I’m just hungover. I don’t want to get into a thing.”

Adam sighed. “All right… but let’s just rein it in some, okay?”

“Fuck!” Cassidy tossed his fork down on his plate with a clatter. “Can you not? Seriously?”

“Cass, come on! We can’t just go around… ”

Cassidy threw up his hands. “Oh my god! Whenever it’s just you and me you can’t get enough and you’re like totally on board, but the second someone comes along and is all like ‘oh I don’t know’ it’s like you can’t change your tune fast enough.”

Adam held up his hands defensively. “I’m still on board, Cass. I’m just saying we gotta take it easy.”

“Oh my god. Adam,” Cassidy shifted on the bed so he could look at him more directly, “what do you think is gonna happen?”

“What do mean what’s gonna happen?” Adam snapped. “People will find out! We’ll get caught!”

“And then we get arrested for, like, being too awesome?” Cassidy shrugged. “We’re not doing anything wrong!”

“Cass, Jesus, it doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, it’s just… ” Adam floundered. “Look I don’t know what would happen but neither do you! What’s the big deal with flying under the radar like we’ve been doing?”

“Fucking god, Adam!” Cass snapped. “What happened to being big full time? It’s what you want!”

“I don’t know what I want!” Adam protested. “It’s a big decision, Cass, and it’s my life that’ll be all fucked up, not yours.”

“That is such fucking bullshit—I can’t even… ” Cassidy shook his head. “Y’know what? I need some air.” He hopped to his feet and slipped out of his bathrobe, angrily dressing himself.

Adam sighed. “Cass, c’mon. Let’s talk about this. Don’t be such a fucking child.”

Cassidy stood up straight with his pants halfway up his legs. “All right, look. We’re not talking we’re just shouting at each other. We can pick it up later if you still like, have your head up your ass.”

“You’re so fucking ridiculous sometimes,” Adam grimaced at him.

Cassidy buckled up his belt and grabbed his wallet from the dresser. “Well,” he skirted past Adam and opened the door, “life can be sometimes ridiculous,” he quipped, and slammed the door behind him.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ayush groaned through a headache. The light shining through his eyelids was glaring enough, so he refused to open them. He drew his blankets up to his face. Wait… those weren’t his blankets. Ayush carefully peeled his eyes open and let the Gaussian blur harden into a discernible image. He was in somebody else’s bedroom—someone who had never bothered to get curtains. He closed his eyes again and tried to think back to the night before. Drinking, fucking, drinking, smoking pot, fucking, drinking, fucking, fucking. There may have been a bump of coke in there somewhere too. It was hard to separate them all or develop a coherent timeline, especially since so much of it must’ve been a dream, since obviously his cock didn’t grow into a footlong fuckrod in the span of one blowjob. That’s just silly. Ayush groaned and turned onto his side, trying to escape the light coming in from the window, and felt something slap against his thigh. His eyes shot open, staring at the wall. He slowly turned onto his back again, and felt it slide up his leg. He took a breath, gulped, and lifted the covers to look down at himself.

His soft cock lolled lazily against his stomach, longer than he had ever seen it hard (before last night) and thick as a salami. He dropped the covers back and stared at the ceiling. It had all been real? It didn’t make any sense. What was happening to him?

Ayush was startled by a groan coming from beside him, and turned to see a form stirring under the covers. Who had taken him home? He got his answer as the form turned over and greeted him with a smirk. “Sup, bro?”

Ayush tried to hide his disappointment. It was fucking Chinstrap. “Hey… ” he forced a smile. “Uhh… morning.”

“Mmm… ” Chinstrap (oh fuck what was his name?) slipped his hand over Ayush’s chest, and pulled himself closer, kissing him on the cheek. “S’good to see you.” He moaned and ran his hand down Ayush’s abs til he felt his cock in his hand. “Fuck dude. I still can’t get over this dong… you’re so fuckin big, bro. It’s fuckin epic.”

As bad as he felt both for going home with Chinstrap and forgetting his name, it was hot to hear someone talk about how big he was without it dripping with sarcasm. You’re a big guy now, Ayush, he told himself. However it happened—who cares how it happened?—it happened, so own it. Ayush stretched an arm up, putting his hand behind his head. “Yeah it’s… pretty great.”

“Pretty great? Fuck dude. Legit. You ever been with anyone bigger? That’s thing’s a fuckin monster,” Chinstrap lifted the cover and peered down at it. “Fuck… how big does it get?”

“I’m, uhh… not sure,” Ayush replied sincerely. His memories were so jumbled from last night.

Chinstrap grinned like a doofus and began stroking Ayush’s cock. “Let’s figure it out, bro.”

Ayush was about to protest but it already felt so good and he had to admit he was curious too. So instead he pushed himself back up the bed, until he was in a sitting position with his back against the wall. “Go for it, bro,” he said with a smirk.

Chinstrap returned the smirk, throwing the covers off and sliding up next to Ayush. Even without his glasses Ayush could tell this guy was in incredible shape. He wasn’t that big but he was cut like glass, and as he moved his body up against Ayush’s he could feel how hard it was. He’d never been with someone with that kind of physique before and it was actually kind of weird. A hot brodude built like a marble statue was giving him a sloppy hicky while getting his cartoonishly oversized cock to full mast. Ayush felt like he must be dreaming or in a coma or… drugged or trapped in a virtual reality porno. It was so absurd but it felt so real and SO good. Ayush brought his arm up and put his hand on Chinstrap’s back, felt the grooves of his ripped lats. He grunted and pushed his head back, looking up at the ceiling but as he felt Chinstrap’s hand over his unsheathed head he glanced back down and his eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets.

His cock had engorged to ridiculous proportions. It was rigid enough to make Ayush think it was done but given the kind of day he was having it wouldn’t have surprised him if it got even bigger. Chinstrap chuckled. “Fuck bro when’s it funna let up?”

Funna? Ayush thought briefly, before his hot pulsating cock got his attention again. “It’s as big as it’s gonna get,” he grunted with only moderate confidence.

“It’s plenty,” Chinstrap assured him with a laugh. He marveled again at the pillar sticking up from Ayush’s crotch. “Here… ” Chinstrap pulled Ayush’s hand from his back and set it on his own cock. “Just a sec.”

Chinstrap rolled out of bed and rummaged around his messy room, occasionally giving a stroke to his own erect cock sticking a respectable five or six inches from his crotch. Ayush wondered what he was looking for but only for a brief moment before his attention was once again commandeered.

Fuck this cock felt so fantastic. Was it the larger cock or the bigger balls that made everything seem so much more electric, he wondered. Every stroke and squeeze sent bliss seeping up his spine and through his veins. He wasn’t sure how long he could hold out before spraying jizz all over this guy’s room.

Chinstrap hopped back into bed equipped with a plastic ruler. He held it up next to Ayush’s erect dick, briefly alarming him with its edge. Ayush had to stop himself from scoffing. The ruler was a foot long and his cock stretched beyond its length. Well beyond; by at least an inch and maybe two.

Chinstrap was less compelled to hide his awe. “Holy effin’ shit!” he gaped, tossing the ruler aside and going back to stroking his cock. “Bro, how do you even go out in public?”

“Good question,” said Ayush, and Chinstrap laughed. He did recall several instances from last night of his junk being crushed by too-tight undies and jeans. Whatever. He’d deal with it. Maybe there was a big dick equivalent of a big and tall shop.

Ayush breathed out a moan and clamped his hand onto Chinstrap’s shoulder.

Chinstrap was smiling. “How’s that?” he asked quietly.

Ayush nodded. “Good. That feels real fucking good.”

“Dude I can’t believe this wang,” Chinstrap continued to marvel. “Legit, bro. And on a guy your size? I mean, y’know. No offense, bro,” he shrugged apologetically, then smiled. “Must give guys heart attacks.”

Ayush moaned and slid his hand up Chinstrap’s back until he reached his neck, and gently pushed him down onto his cock. Still working the shaft with his hand, Chinstrap took the head in his mouth and puckered his lips at the corona. Ayush gasped and clawed at a clump of blankets as he felt pre running down his shaft. Chinstrap scooped it up in his hand and used it for lube. Ayush couldn’t help but grin as he noticed Chinstrap couldn’t close his hand around his penis. I’m such a fucking stud, he thought to himself with a smirk, and leaned his head back against the wall.

“I’m gonna… fuck… ” Ayush moaned. “Keep going… ”

Chinstrap bobbed his head up and down and Ayush felt the pressure building throughout his cock. Either Chinstrap was a blowjob savant or Ayush’s cock had improved in more ways than just size. The pleasure was almost paralyzing.

His whispered announcement of “I’m coming” came out a second after it was already wetly obvious. He looked down and saw Chinstrap gagging on the biggest load he’d ever seen. He released in three overflowing loads, each accompanied by an enthusiastic grunt. There was jizz everywhere. Chinstrap was trying to keep the mess contained but there was too much for him and it ended up all over his chest and arms.

“Fuck, bro!” he giggled as the final torrent subsided. He hopped off the bed with his arms held up and grabbed a towel from out of his closet. “Dude where’s it all come from?”

Ayush didn’t reply; he wasn’t really listening. He let himself sink back against the bed, putting his hands up to his face and exhaling as he felt his cock sink back against his crotch like a coiling python.

“You got any plans today, bro?” asked Chinstrap after tossing the cumsoaked towel in his hamper. “Like, you feel like getting some food? There’s this legit brunch place just down… ”

“Y’know I uhh… do. Have some things to do, I mean,” Ayush answered. “I’m good to just lie here for a bit.”

“Oh… ” Chinstrap looked a bit confused, then softened into a grin as he fell into bed next to Ayush, snuggling close against him. Ayush put his arm around his shoulder. It wasn’t totally what he had in mind, but whatever.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cassidy set the empty flute back on the bar and watched the yellow bubbles slide down the side of the glass. He swiveled his eyes towards the middle-aged bartender, who probably noticed him looking over at her but went on inspecting wine glasses coming out of the dishwasher and hanging them upside down on racks above the bar.

He sighed and leaned in, smiling politely. “Excuse me?”

She nodded in his direction but finished another glass before coming over. She said nothing, but stood there expectantly.

“Another mimosa please?” he asked, sliding the empty glass towards her.

She collected the empty. “Sure thing. Think you might wanna get something to eat? It’s, like, twelve-thirty. Might wanna… ” she trailed off and shrugged.

Cassidy resisted the urge to heave an exaggerated sigh, and nodded. “Yeah… y’know what I think I’ll just grab the bill.”

She smiled. “Sure thing, hon,” she sauntered back to the till.

A good rule of thumb he had learned from an alcoholic ex was when the bar begins hinting you’ve had enough it’s time to find a new bar. Besides, the hotel lounge didn’t even have taps going til after four. She gave him a sincere but self-satisfied smile as she handed him his receipt, like she had prevented him from making a big mistake.

Shows what you know, he thought to himself as he plugged his PIN into the card machine.

Cassidy wasn’t wasted by any means but was pleasantly buzzed as he left the hotel bar, hands in his pockets, making his way to Church Street where the bartenders were hopefully more lax on their half-lectures; particularly to guys who looked like they just had an argument with their boyfriend-and/or-husband.

“Cassidy? Hey! Cassidy?”

The shout came from the other side of the street and Cassidy looked over at the blonde guy waving at him. He was in the middle of asking himself Who the fuck are you supposed to be? when he realized it was Drew with a slightly different hairstyle.

He waited for a break in traffic before jogging across the street. Cassidy sighed, and paused to wait for him.

“Hey man,” Drew greeted him with a smile. “How was your night?”

Cassidy shrugged. “I dunno. Like, fine.” He shrugged, and nodded east, starting to walk. “We just got back to our room and went to bed.”

Drew fell into step next to him. “Cool. Us too, pretty much.” He paused, then added: “I just got a haircut.”

“Looks great,” Cassidy mumbled.

“Where… ” Drew stopped himself. “Is, uhh… everything okay?”

“Hmm? Yeah… Like, I dunno. Probably.” Cassidy sighed. “Adam and me just had, like, I dunno… a bit of a thing.”

“Oh. Do you… ” Drew floundered a bit. “Like, you want me to… ” he stuck his thumb out in the air behind him.

“Oh no—like, I’m sure it’s fine. He just gets like, agitated at Pride.” Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Apparently.”

“Are you… ” Drew glanced up ahead. “Where are you going?”

Cassidy shrugged again. “Dunno. Was gonna just like, go to Church and get a drink.”

“Ah,” Drew nodded amicably, then shook his head. “Nope; look,” he grabbed Cassidy’s arm and yanked him in the opposite direction, gesturing with a nod. “Church is a circus. This way.”

Cassidy paused. “Look, like, I’m not really, y’know.” He sighed. “Like, no offense? I just kinda wanted to be alone.”

“For sure dude,” Drew nodded. “Okay look. You go to Church, alone, during pride, you will get hit on. Even if you look glum and brooding… actually, especially if you look glum and brooding.”

Cassidy began walking west as indicated. “All right, well like, lead on I guess.”

They walked together without words for a few blocks when Drew decided to fill the silence. “So I just got my haircut, right? And like, I don’t really know what to do there. As far as like, talking goes. Mostly I just sit there and do as I’m told and like, I answer questions they have about what I’m after and that’s pretty much it. I’m not super into small talk. And I can never read the stylist. I’m like, is it a chore to have to do this all the time? Just… construct these, like, single-serving relationships with people just cuz they happen to be attached to the hair you’re trying to fix. Or are they into that?”

Cassidy shrugged. “It varies, I imagine.”

“Probably true,” Drew nodded. “So anyway: I’m at this place today and it’s like, a big salon and my hairdresser takes me to her chair, and as she starts in on my hair she starts talking to one of the other stylists about her very recent very big deal break up with her boyfriend. I think.”

“Oh my god, details,” Cassidy pressed. Drew shook his head. “Well it was old news, the other stylist already knew all about it. But like, the whole time I’m just sitting there and she’s all: ‘I just wanna go home and slit my wrists.’”

“Cheery,” Cassidy chuckled.

“And it just goes on, right?” Drew continued. “And like, it sounds like this guy did something on Facebook or… I dunno. Something public. Like, he broadcasted it before she wanted everyone to know. And I’m like, do I weigh in? Is this… medium-talk that I’m supposed to engage with or am I just like, furniture in this scenario?”

“Sounds awkward,” Cassidy observed.

“Yes. Very,” Drew agreed. “So I’m sitting there, just listening, and I start preparing like, a chime-in… like, nothing even specific just some kind of sassy… ‘Mmmm-hmm!’ or like ‘Preach, sister!’ or some shit like that.”

Cassidy grinned. “Like, some foxy black momma one-liner.”

Drew nodded judiciously. “Yes. Well they’re the masters, you might as well go for the gold.” He sighed. “Anyway the story ends with me just chickening out and not even saying that.”

“Oh my god what a punchline,” Cassidy laughed.

“Okay but my question is this,” Drew raised his finger. “Is she an unprofessional hairdresser or am I an unaccommodating… hairdressee?”

Cassidy shrugged. “Probably both.”

Drew smiled. “Yeah that’s the kind of thing Jamie says. If you’re asking who was awful between the two of you the answer is probably both of you because everyone is awful all the time.”

“Oh wow. Zen.” Cassidy chuckled.

Drew put his hands in his pockets. “Yeah well… he sure likes saying words, that Jamie.”

They fell silent again and continued along the sidewalk.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Act II: Noon

“Wait a second… ” Paul looked up from the keg, “this is the guy with the black eye?” he fastened the line into place and rose to his modest height, dusting his hands off.

Tyson stood a foot taller than him. “No, you weren’t working that night. And it was his only time here.” They navigated around each other in the cramped cellar and climbed the stairs back up to the bar. “I mentioned him… at the time.”

Thanks to Pride, the bar was busier than usual for a Thursday afternoon but was still pretty quiet. Paul had plugged in his iPod and was playing early nineties easy listening.

Paul washed his hands thoughtfully. “Who had the black eye, then?”

Tyson sighed. “Blair.”

“Ahh,” Paul smiled wistfully. “Lord he was ever cute.”

“Paul… ” Tyson whined.

“Okay so Blake… riiiiiiight, little miss Frank and Oak. The hookup to end all hookups,” Paul got them back on track. “…is missin’.”

“Is, like, police missing,” Tyson stressed. “I’ve been thinking about him all day. I know it’s so stupid to… ”

“All right now stop it,” Paul chided, “you’re not being stupid it’s just… d’ya know anything about this guy? What’s he do?”

Tyson shook his head, feeling embarrassed. He crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall.

“All right, well,” Paul gesticulated. “Look, you’re not being foolish to worry about ‘im. I mean, obviously. I’m just sayin, maybe he’s the kind of guy who, y’know… goes missing.”

“What does that even mean?” Tyson protested.

Paul was about to answer when Daniel strode up to the bar. “How’s me boys?”

“Good,” Paul smiled politely, grabbing him a bottle of Keith’s. “I’m so tired, but pretty good.” He twisted off the cap and set the bottle down in front of him.

“An’ Tyson?” Daniel nodded at Tyson, picking up the bottle. “Seem a bit gloomy.”

He shrugged. “Yeah I just… got some bad news.” He pushed himself off the wall and jerked his bangs out from his eyes. He managed a civil grin. “I’m fine. Cliff running late?”

“Called in sick,” Daniel growled.

“Shit,” Paul shook his head. “So it’s just you tonight?”

Daniel sighed. “Left message with that boy Hugo. Won’t be no trouble neither way.” He took a swig of beer, nodding to Paul. “Thanks,” he grumbled, and went back towards the patio.

“Look Ty, I’m not trying to give you a hard time but I mean, y’know… it was a hookup,” Paul shrugged uneasily. “I know it can… ”

“I know, man, I know,” Tyson silenced him impatiently. “I just… it felt… more important and like, sincere.”

“Well, maybe it was,” Paul proposed quietly. “Things… aren’t always that… I dunno. Straightforward.” He sighed. “Look either way it sounds like you were a total gentleman or whatever… I’m just sayin’ whatever happened you didn’t do anything wrong. I hate to say it like this but y’know… maybe you should just, y’know… forget about ‘im.”

Tyson groaned. “Don’t say that, man… ”

“Well I mean bloody look at you,” said Paul, gesturing at Tyson. He had raised his voice and a couple of patrons glanced over at them, so Paul moved in closer and said quietly. “I’m just sayin, you’re beating yourself up over… I don’t even know, love. It’s just not healthy.”

Tyson nodded. “I guess… ”

“It’s Pride, man,” said Paul. He grabbed Tyson’s shoulder and shook him vigorously. “It’s fuckin’ Pride!” he grinned. “And you’re the hottest bartender at the coolest bar in the city.”

“Don’t say that… ” Tyson rolled his eyes.

Paul held up his hands. “Hey, I’m doin fine but you’ve got a good foot on me and all the, y’know, hair.” He gestured to Tyson’s chest. “Honestly some days I’m amazed they even hired me.” He clapped his hands together. “Anyway. All I’m sayin is it’s a time for celebration, you shouldn’t be sulking.”

Tyson grimaced. “I’m not sulking.”

“Oh please,” Paul rolled his eyes, “you’re the bloody… mayor of Sulk City.”

Tyson grinned bashfully, and Paul returned the smile. “That’s more like it.” He slapped the bartop and slipped past Tyson towards the bathroom. “I’m gonna quit while I’m ahead.”

Paul was helping, and he was right. Whatever happened to Blake or wherever he was now likely had very little to do with Tyson. The cops were dealing with it, there wasn’t anything Tyson could do about it, and worrying about it, or wondering what he could have done differently, or wondering if everything he had felt had all been unfounded—all of that was pointless. All it did was make him miserable.

If Blake ever showed up again… well, he wasn’t really sure what he would do. But that was beginning to seem less and less likely, and he wasn’t going to—he couldn’t—just wait around wondering what the proper reaction would be. He had to get over the whole thing. That was becoming clear.

“Hey… Hey Tyson! You with us, buddy?”

Andy, the big burly leather daddy regular, had materialized in front of him and was tapping on the bar.

Tyson took a breath, adopted the same smarmy smile that had become reflexive, and set his hands on the bar. “Hey,” he grinned, “what’ll it be?”

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After what seemed to Cassidy to be too long a time, they arrived at the restaurant/bar Drew had been aiming at, which was a place called Java House. Cassidy would have assumed it was a coffee joint but it turned out to be some sort of bohemian, vaguely Mexican pseudo-dive.

Drew presented the place like a wizbang salesman, waving his arns dramatically at the banner that was painted over the entrance. “No one’s gonna give you a second glance here, man. You’re all set.”

The walk over, however, had raised Cassidy’s spirits somewhat, and he gestured to the door. “After you.”

Drew looked a bit uncertain. “If you like… want to be alone it’s cool. I’m not… ”

“Oh my god,” Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Shut up and come drink with me.”

Drew shrugged and led him inside.

It was sparsely populated, and looked like it had one bartender and two servers. The hostess told them to sit anywhere and they slid into a booth opposite each other.

“The food’s pretty good, if you’re hungry,” said Drew with a shrug.

“Yeah maybe… ” Cassidy slid the laminated menu in front of him. “We got room service but I didn’t finish my breakfast.”

Drew nodded but didn’t respond, and after a few seconds a waiter showed up. They ordered a pitcher and a thing of nachos.

“So… ” Drew said slowly. “Is everything… sorry, it’s none of my business.”

Cassidy sighed. “It’s fine it was… I dunno, it’s no big deal. Like, it was just about last night with Corey… Or, fuck. Maybe it wasn’t.” He rubbed his temple and grimaced.

“Yeah… I guess this is, y’know… uncharted relationship issue territory,” Drew surmised grimly.

“He just… he’s like this with everything. My god, he can be so impressionable. Like, I don’t even think he realizes it. But he totally is.”

Drew shrugged. “Nobody’s perfect.”

“But I’m like… he wants something impossible, and I’m giving it to him. And I’m happy to do it. Like, I’m excited to do it, but then he’s not sure anymore or like, he starts thinking about what other people think and… ” Cassidy sighed. “No offense to Jamie. I mean I’m glad they reconnected, totally, but like—oh my god—he’s so afraid that this has… like, that Jamie doesn’t respect him or… thinks he’s being silly. And then he second guesses himself.”

“Yeah… ” Drew nodded slowly, “I think… ” he paused as the pitcher came in the hands of a lanky, scruffy, olive-skinned waiter with a spiky mess of artfully tousled hair atop a crisp fade. He poured two pints as they sat in silence, then set down two side plates with a neat pile of napkins atop them.

“Nachos on the way, guys,” he said, winking at Drew before departing.

“Man,” Drew watched him go. “What is it with waiters winking at me?”

Cassidy grinned. “Oh my god he winked at you?”

Drew waved the query aside. “Never mind. Okay, so you know how Jamie and I… like I went and stayed with my friend for a bit. Okay, wait. Some backstory. So like… ” he paused. “I… I’ve kind of always had this… I guess attraction… you could call it a fetish, for like, growing into a huge muscle freak.”

Cassidy smirked.

“Since I was a kid,” Drew continued. “Like, I didn’t even equate it with anything sexual but like, I found that exciting even before I realized I was into dudes. But… ” he paused bashfully. “So I never told Jamie about any of this but like, I found websites for people who were into the same thing and I’d like, roleplay with them and… it was just like this other thing I was doing and I guess… I dunno, I thought about bringing it up to Jamie but it felt like… juvenile, I guess. And like, Jamie’s retarded too about a bunch of stuff but I still felt like the same thing as Adam. He’d think I was being silly or shallow or whatever.” He sighed. “So when he told me what happened that night, up at your place, I thought he’d like, gotten into my browsing history and come up with this ridiculous story just to… I mean I don’t even know. But I felt like he had violated my privacy and was using this secret I had against me.” Drew shook his head. “It seems so… I said some really awful shit to him.”

Cassidy shrugged. “Well, like… like you said it’s pretty uncharted territory.”

“I know but still… ” Drew paused. “He isn’t holding it against me and every time I apologize he like, won’t even let me but I felt so betrayed. Trust has never been easy for me—for either of us—but once we had it between us… ” Drew paused mid-sentence, and smiled abashedly. “Sorry I shouldn’t be unloading all this.”

Cassidy waved his hands. “Oh my god, it’s fine. Seriously.”

“Hey guys,” the waiter returned with a platter of nachos. They cleared space on the table and he set them down. “There we go. Enjoy!” he chirped before sauntering off again.

“Did he wink again?” asked Cassidy.

Drew shook his head. “Must be losing my touch.” He peeled a cheesey nacho off the top of the pile. “Okay my point is: ever since that night we reconciled, I’ve been opening up more about it. We’ve played around with size fantasies and… I guess what I’m saying is, Jamie’s getting into it now too. I mean last night after you, y’know,” he mimed a flex with a grin, “we had a really great time, and Jamie couldn’t get enough of it.” He sipped his beer. “If Adam talked to Jamie about it now? I feel like he’d get a very different impression.”

“Really,” Cassidy sounded dubious.

“Well Jamie can be difficult to predict sometimes so I can’t say for sure,” Drew admitted, then shrugged. “But yeah.”

Cassidy leaned forward. “You like the waiter?”

Drew casually turned his head back to glance at the server who was leaning against a doorframe talking to another employee. He shrugged. “Yeah he’s all right.”

“He’ll be better the next time around,” Cassidy winked.

Drew grinned, his eyes lighting up, and he leaned in. “Seriously?” he asked quietly. “You just like, go around pumping up strangers?”

Cassidy shrugged, wary of disapproval after everything had been going so well. “Yeah… ”

Drew giggled. “Man that is so fuckin cool!”

Cassidy smiled in relief. It was fun being able to talk to someone about it who wasn’t constantly riding him to tone it down. “Y’know… if you ever wanted something more permanent,” he shrugged again. “I’m game. Just say the word.”

“Oh man,” Drew shook his head with a wide smile. “You cannot do that to me.”

“Oh my god I’m totally serious,” Cassidy protested.

Drew exaggerated a nod, laughing. “Oh I know. You just don’t understand what you’re getting into, saying that to me.”

“Jamie told you I can do it so it’s permanent right?” Cassidy raised an eyebrow. He held up a cautionary finger. “Oh my god, but if it’s permanent it’s permanent. I don’t even know how to reverse it. Yet, at least.”

“Dude, shut up. Seriously,” Drew held up his hand. “You’re giving me an erection.”

Cassidy laughed. “Sounds like a yes to me.”

Drew chuckled, then grew a bit more serious. “… I mean I should probably run it by Jamie… ”

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “God. Like, Jamie’s a great guy and all but he’s really ruining all my fun.”

Drew shrugged apologetically. “Have you ever… like, done it to anyone before? Made them, like, permanently huge?”

Cassidy’s grin widened, and he dug his phone out of his pocket. He swiped through a few menus before he found what he was looking for, then passed the phone to Drew. “Keep the sound off,” he advised. “It sounds like a porno.”

Drew chuckled as he hit play on the video, but almost immediately his brow furrowed. “Wait a minute, I’ve… ” his eyes widened. “Holy shit this is real?”

Cassidy beamed. “Yup.”

“I’ve seen clips of it all over the forums I go to,” Drew explained. “I just thought it was a really good effects job.”

Drew watched the video of clothes tearing off Josh as he grew too swollen with muscle to be contained, fighting the urge to turn on the sound so he could hear the groans of pure ecstasy evident on his expression.

Drew hastily shoved the phone back across the table, nearly pitching it into the nachos as he went. “If I watch any more I’ll jizz myself, guaranteed,” he chuckled under his breath.

Cassidy smiled as he put his phone back in his pocket. He shrugged. “Anyway. You want something similar you know where to find me.”

Drew shook his head. “Man, I still can’t get over it. Magic and shit. It’s so fucked up.”

Cassidy shrugged. “I dunno. You get used to it.”

Drew laughed. “If you say so.”

The waiter sidled up next to their table, sleeves now hugging thicker arms and pants tight around a modest bubble butt. “Everything all right here, guys?”

They nodded. “All good, thanks,” Cassidy said with a thumbs up.

“Great,” said the waiter, and turned to leave, his ass bouncing along behind him.

Cassidy raised an eyebrow. “You like?”

Drew chuckled and nodded. “Very nice.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Adam lazed around the hotel room trying to distract himself. He played on his phone, watched TV, and perused his Facebook wall but kept wondering what he was supposed to do. Go looking for Cassidy? Send him texts? Just forget about him and do his own thing? He thought about seeing a movie, grabbing a drink, or just going for a walk around the city, but didn’t really feel like doing anything. Instead he just killed time and waited for Cassidy to come back, rehearsing lectures and apologies in equal measure.

Fuck, he thought, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling. Maybe I am wishy-washy.

When Adam had first proposed going big full-time, it had seemed like such a fantastic idea. He felt so good when he was gigantic. It felt so natural. When he’d wake up after shrinking down to normal he felt so crestfallen, and missed it immediately. Cassidy had been taken aback at first but once he got on board there was no talking him down.

But all these factors that hadn’t seemed like a big deal… he’d have to quit his job, and wasn’t sure where, if anywhere, he could get a new one. They’d probably have to move. They’d have to get his entire wardrobe—not to mention utensils, computers, hell even his phone—custom made… Cassidy kept insisting that funds were no issue but he’d grown up a rich kid and had a fucked up idea of money and virtually NO idea how much things actually cost. Becoming a giant was an incredibly expensive prospect, aside from all the other practical problems it would entail, and aside from all the attention he would inevitably get that he didn’t want.

There was a knock at the door and he glanced over at it. “Cass?” he shouted. Maybe he’d forgotten his key. Adam rolled off the bed and padded barefoot over to the door. He opened it to find two people standing outside and thought for a split second they were hotel staff inexplicably dressed in casual clothing but then he recognized them.

“Mahtab? Russell?” he frowned. “What—hey!”

Mahtab roughly shoved him back in his room and Russell closed the door behind them.

Adam rubbed his chest where she had hit him. “What the fuck, Mahtab?”

“Is he here?” asked Mahtab. Russell pushed by him and checked the room, peeking his head in the bathroom.

“Cassidy?” asked Adam, bewildered. “No, he… ” Adam shook his head. “Look, whatever. Get out of my fucking room, you psycho!”

“Adam, we are not fucking around. Where is Cassidy?” Mahtab asked again. Russell had stepped up next to her, arms folded and head raised archly.

Adam glanced back and forth at them, agape. “Look… I don’t… ” he thought back to that last day at the dojo, with Harry fuming at Cassidy and Adam briefly scared he was going to kill him. He shook his head. “I’m not telling you shit. Get out of my room. What… who do you think you are?”

“We have to talk to Cassidy,” said Russell. “Just talk. For now, anyway.”

“Oh yeah, that sounds encouraging,” Adam spat.

“Hey!” Mahtab pointed a finger at him so close to his face he leaned back. “This is serious!”

Adam was at a momentary loss for words before he managed to clumsily blurt out: “Why?”

Russell glanced apprehensively at Mahtab, who vigorously shook her head. Russell seemed to protest, raising his arms in supplication, but Mahtab was apparently not budging, and folded her arms with an arch glare. Russell sighed, and turned to Adam. “Look, lives are on the line.”

Mahtab batted him across the arm. “Jesus, Russell!”

“Well what are we supposed to do here?” asked Russell. “Let’s assume for a second that we’re right about Cassidy. Either Adam is in on it or he’s in the dark.”

“You guys know I’m standing right in front of you, right?” Adam raised an eyebrow.

Mahtab sighed with annoyance. “Look… people have been going missing, and… well things ended badly between Cassidy and the rest of the coven so….”

“Wait what?” Adam blinked. “Who’s missing?”

“Roddy, Mohan, Sarah… ” Russell listed them off.

Adam shook his head. “Roddy’s in Mexico for the summer.”

Mahtab clenched her teeth. “No he’s not! Look we’ve been looking into this for a while now and… ”

“What about the Circle?” asked Adam. “It’s the fucking Circle. Leave us alone.”

Russell sighed. “It’s not the Circle, they’ve been losing people too.”

“Then what… ” Adam stopped, and sat down on the bed. He paused for a moment, then looked up at them. “Is Liam all right?”

Mahtab looked dubiously at Russell. “Yeah. He’s fine.”

“I just… ” Adam looked between them. “I mean I know things got… strained, but… I mean c’mon guys. You really think Cassidy would do anything to hurt any of you? After everything?”

“According to Corey he was pretty brazen about practicing in public.” Mahtab put a hand on her hip and gestured with the other. “Like he doesn’t give a shit about any of our codes.”

“Well sure he doesn’t,” Adam shot her a glare, “but that’s on Harry. You guys kicked him out; why should he have to follow all your rules?”

“What?!” Mahtab shouted. “Adam, if you guys went public it would put us all at risk. It can’t be a decision you make on your own.”

“So instead it’s a decision the rest of you get to make for us?” Adam pointed a finger at her. “Y’know, Cassidy would sit down with Harry if he came to him. But there’s been no outreach, no peace offering, there’s been dick all. It’s almost a year now.”

“I don’t see anything come out of your camp,” Mahtab countered.

Adam ignored that and continued. “We’re on our own. That’s pretty clear. You don’t want to have anything to do with us, that’s fine. Whatever. But don’t come to us asking for our dues.”

Mahtab sneered and was about to shout back at him but Russell intervened. “Okay wait. Calm down. This isn’t what we’re here for.”

Adam shook his head. “What’s it say about you that you think your friends turn into psychos and monsters the moment your back is turned?”

Mahtab’s expression softened. “It’s been a while, Adam. This wasn’t just… I dunno, a little spat. We thought if Cassidy felt he was in danger he might… protect himself.”

Is he in danger?” asked Adam pointedly.

“No. Well, I don’t know,” Russell admitted. “But the only people who would be moving against our coven and the Circle would be someone working outside both of them.” He crossed his arms. “You know any other practitioners who are?”

“What about Robyn?” asked Adam. “I mean she never made it official but she was definitely talking about going out on her own.”

“She’s gone missing too,” Mahtab reported.

Adam grimaced. “Doesn’t rule her out.”

“Then help us rule him out,” said Russell. “If he’s not involved then he should be aware of all this anyway.”

Adam paused, biting his lips, glancing between them, before he sighed dejectedly. “Look I don’t know where he is,” he admitted.

Mahtab rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh?”

“I’m serious,” Adam insisted. “We had a bit of a fight and he stormed out.”

“What about?” asked Mahtab.

“Well we got into a pretty heated discussion of none of your fucking business,” said Adam, throwing up his middle finger at her.

Russell got between them. “Do you know where he went?”

Adam sighed, looked at him flatly. “Do you normally give people your itinerary before you storm off in a huff?”

Russell held up his hands. “All right, I think you need to cut back on some of this sass.”

“Fuck it,” Mahtab shrugged. “We’re staying here until Cassidy gets back.”

“Cuz that’s not awkward at all!” Adam threw up his arms.

Russell pointed at him. “What’d I just say about sass?”

Mahtab strode over to a chair, scooped some clothing off it, throwing it on the floor, and sat down, defiantly crossing her arms.

Adam shook his head. “Fucking god,” he grumbled, and lay down on the bed.

Russell leaned against the desk, and the three of them sat there in silence for a minute until finally he proposed: “You guys wanna order a pizza?”

Mahtab and Adam exchanged glances. They shrugged in unison.

“I guess.”

“Yeah, sure.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cassidy leaned against the wall of an alleyway that led to a complex of back entrances to shitty-looking apartments attached to buildings with storefronts on the streets. The odd passerby shot him a curious glance but generally he was ignored. He was too preoccupied with his phone to care one way or the other.

im so hard right now, one of Cassidy’s Grindr chat partner reported. Cassidy sighed, and dutifully replied: Hot.

The Grindr guy operating under the handle “Amigo” continued: im so thick U want to watxh me jerk it??

Cassidy made a face. Who the hell says “jerk it”? Nevertheless, that was the response he’d been hoping for so he typed with a grin: Fuck yeah

“Any luck?” Drew called as he approached from down the alley, a plastic grocery bag swinging from his hand.

Cassidy grinned. “Oh my god! Plenty! Grindr is like, clearly experiencing the Pride effect. This one guy’s about to send me a link, I’m pretty sure.”

Sure enough, the next message was a hyperlink, which Cassidy triumphantly followed to a video chat invite, but first he had to create an account with the website and it needed his credit card information.

Drew made a face as he fished a mickey of Canadian Club out of the bag. “Fuck that.”

“Right?” Cassidy agreed. “It’s okay, I had another guy… yeah here.”

Drew took a swig from the mickey and passed it to Cassidy, then opened a bag of all dressed Ruffles chips and offered them to Cassidy.

luv showin off my big cock, Grindr User informed him.

Cassidy took a shot from the mickey, typing: I bet a stud like you puts on quite a show

Like nothing u ever seen, Grindr User confidently replied.

Cassidy smirked. “And away we go!” he chirped, typing: Show me

Drew munched a handful of chips as they waited for Grindr User to respond. “Go to his profile?… Whoa. Holy abs.”

“Right?” Cassidy rolled his eyes. “I totally would’ve preferred the last guy with a face pic but like, y’know,” he shrugged. “Grindr be grindin’.”

Drew chuckled.

“Oh my god, jackpot!” Cassidy exclaimed as a hyperlink popped up. He followed it to a still shot of a familiar set of abs and a countdown on the expiration of their invite to join the video chat. He needed to set up an account first but this one didn’t require any credit card information. Before long they were signed in and ready to go.

The blurry image of Grindr User’s chest came into focus before he turned the webcam up to his face. “Yeah you want a show, huh? Mmm,” he licked his lips theatrically. He had some kind of Scandinavian accent, though it was fairly mild. He was sitting naked in what looked like a dimly lit basement apartment. There was a Death Becomes Her poster next to what looked like a Green Bay Packers calendar on the wall behind him.

Cassidy typed: Dazzle me

Peering over his shoulder, Drew laughed. “Dazzle me?”

“Yeah I’ll dazzle you,” he said breathily, then the image shuddered as he adjusted the webcam down then rolled backward on his desk chair so they could see him splayed across his desk chair stroking his erect cock. “This has fireworks going off in your crotch, yeah?”

Cassidy smirked, typing: Yeah it’s not bad, I guess

“Ha! Not bad?” Grindr User laughed, holding his cock against his abs and letting his hand continue past the tip and along his abs. He smirked confidently, licking his lips again. “Admit it. This is the most beautiful cock you’ve ever seen.” He waved his hand at his five inch cock like he was presenting a work of art.

“Jesus, this guy really gets into it,” Drew noted.

Cassidy held up his finger. “Okay now pay attention,” he said, typing: It could use some work

Gindr User’s expression faltered for a moment before he laughed again. “You want me to work my cock, eh?” He shifted in his chair, stroking his shaft slowly. “You… you want… ” he paused, looking down at his cock, and it suddenly throbbed larger in his hand. His eyes widened as it lengthened to nearly a foot long and grew as thick as a beer can. “What the shit?!” he exclaimed.

Drew covered his mouth with his hand as he laughed aloud.

now THATs a beautiful cock, Cassidy typed, and quickly shut down the browser and Grindr before he could respond.

Drew glanced down, “Fuck, well, now I’m hard,” he observed. He laughed again. “Man that is so hot! You must do that all the time!”

Cassidy chuckled, shaking his head. “Like, only when I’m in a real good mood.”

“Thought you were in a bad mood,” Drew winked at him.

“The afternoon really turned things around,” Cassidy smiled.

“Yeah man it’s been fun hanging out with you,” Drew nodded, then tilted his head. “On that note though I should probably get going. As much as I’d love to watch you blow up guys all day.”

“Aww,” Cassidy pouted. “You guys doing anything tonight?”

“Nah we got Fit Primpin tomorrow so we’re gonna take it easy tonight. Stay in, smoke a joint, watch a movie,” Drew shrugged. “Hope to cap it off with a nice dirty fucking.”

Cassidy laughed. “How romantic.” He sighed. “Well, like, thanks for cheering me up. You’ve got, like, a very refreshing attitude.”

“Add me on Facebook man, we should hang out again sometime.”

“Oh my god totally!” Cassidy opened his arms for a hug. Drew came in for it but as he went to put his chin over Cassidy’s shoulder, Cassidy suddenly moved to intercept and their lips locked in a kiss. Cassidy moved his hand down to Drew’s crotch, feeling the hardon under his shorts. Drew shuddered as he felt his cock grow heavier and snake down his thigh.

He drew his lips away. “What are you doing?” he whispered.

“Don’t worry,” Cassidy assured him, glancing around the alley. “Jamie will be fine with it.”

Drew leaned back with a moan, dropping the plastic bag as he felt his torso thicken, arms tightening up into guns that stretched his T-shirt, thighs inflating with beef, chest heaving into two slabs of muscle. Cassidy seemed to dwindle in front of him as he felt his vertebrae rubbing against each other as they stretched longer, inching him taller. His feet strained the straps of his sandals.

His growth subsided just as he was about to burst out of his clothes, leaving him dressed in a far too small T-shirt and a pair of khaki shorts that looked almost like posers painted over a supple bubble butt and a slightly obscene bulge. He was even bigger than he’d been the night before.

“Wow,” he breathed. “I never get tired of that feeling.” He ran his hands down his newly formed abs, exposed an inch or two at his midriff.

“Glad you like it,” Cassidy smirked. “Though, like, try not to bend over or flex too hard on the way home,” he added.

“Good advice,” Drew agreed. “Umm… with that in mind could you grab that bag?”

Cassidy chuckled as he scooped up the bag, pausing to help himself to one last hit from the mickey and a final handful of chips. “There’s totally Skittles in here!” he noted as he handed it back to Drew.

“Shit I forgot the Skittles,” Drew frowned. He looked himself over again. “Glad I don’t have far to go. Thanks a ton, man.”

“Oh, my pleasure,” Cassidy purred. “Have a good night.”

“Later, Cass.” Drew resisted the urge to wave and instead just nodded, then turned and walked stiffly out of the alley, feeling his clothing ready to give out with nearly every move he made.

Cassidy chuckled to himself as he watched him go, congratulating himself on his handiwork, but severing the link as he found himself tempted to give him another boost. He had to keep a leash on things when he’d had so much to drink.

It was so nice to just hang around someone who was as into his abilities as he was. He leaned against the wall and glanced back at his phone.

Noting the time, he realized he’d been gone from the hotel since the morning. Adam was probably worried but didn’t want to be the first to break radio silence. Cassidy sighed. Frustrating as he was, Adam didn’t deserve that. He decided to be the bigger man.


We’ll talk when i get back

I’ll be like an hour or so

He sent the texts one handed, finishing the remaining chips in his other hand as he did. He waited a few moments staring at his phone, and just as he went to put it away it buzzed in his hand.

Cool, Adam replied.

Cassidy rolled his eyes and put his phone in his pocket. “God, like don’t gush or anything, Adam,” he muttered, clapping all the dressed flavour dust from his hands.

“Hey Butch.”

Cassidy froze, feeling a chill run up his spine. He turned to see a big burly guy wearing a huge white shirt that draped loosely over his thick muscles cushioned by a fair layer of flab. One hand was in his pocket and the other was smoking a cigarette. Cassidy recognized him but couldn’t quite place him. He called him Butch. Cassidy had already been staring at him too long.

“Like, are you talkin’ to me?” he asked, tapping himself in the chest.

The big man took another sidling step towards him, the hint of a grin on his otherwise glowering face, equal parts mischievous and triumphant. “‘Course I am, Butch. You don’t remember me?”

It was that bouncer from the Black Eagle. It came to him suddenly. Cliff. How could he know? It was impossible. He couldn’t know.

“Like, sorry man,” Cassidy forced a chuckle. “Think you got me mistaken for someone else.”

“Naw, man don’t be like that,” Cliff took another step closer, flicking his half-finished cigarette away. “Let’s catch up, man. You remember what you did to me that night we met? Cuz fuck, man. I sure as hell do.”

The alley was beginning to feel very claustrophobic. Cassidy shrugged. “Sorry man. Like, I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.” He turned and headed for the street as evenly as he could, the booze suddenly hitting him harder than he’d anticipated.

He felt a thick hand clasp around his arm, and before he could twist free, a second hand clamped a rag over his nose and mouth and pressed him tightly against the burly body. Panic set in immediately, but the chemical fumes flooding his lungs plunged him into a haze. Cassidy tried to collect his energies, make himself bigger so he could escape, but already consciousness was slipping away from him. He tried to fight it but the strength left his limbs and he felt his body go limp in the grasp of his captor before sensation left him entirely.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Act III: Night

The Black Eagle was fucking packed. Everyone was drunk, frenetic bass-heavy dance music reverberated through the bar, and a steady cacophony of gabbing queers had transcended into white noise. Tyson had entered into a state of mind where he was barely conscious of his actions, operating on a form of autopilot where thinking actively about anything had the potential to disrupt his rhythm and fuck up the whole rest of the night. He’d changed into his harness, but Paul had opted to stick to the black T-shirt.

Hugo—bless him—had had the presence of mind to bring some coke, and the two of them and Paul did a line each in the keg room for a pickup earlier. It had been a real lifesaver, but it wasn’t that late and he was already beginning to feel burnt out. He’d been getting hit on all night and Paul had been encouraging him to take someone up on it, but at this rate Tyson suspected that by the end of his shift, an empty bed in his apartment would be the most exciting prospect on the table.

After pouring a pitcher, mixing a pair of tequila sunrises, and serving five shots of Jager without missing a beat, he afforded himself a half-second to yawn.

“Awww, feeling sleepy?” Andy teased with a laugh. His considerable girth had been stuffed into a large leather vest that even now strained to contain it. His on-and-off drinking buddy/slave Kero, wearing nothing but a codpiece and chaps and leashed to Andy’s belt by a spiked collar, chucked beside him.

Christ Andy, don’t you ever fucking go home? Tyson thought to himself but shook his head cheerfully and leaned over the bar. “Nah just catching my breath. What can I get you?”

“Don’t worry, Princess, Paul’s already got me,” Andy smirked, pointing with his elbow at Paul who was busy at the taps.

Tyson resisted the urge to roll his eyes and nodded, turning to the next patron in line. He nodded at him but he didn’t place an order, just standing there smiling at him. He was short, a bit squirrelly, near-bald with a fine buzzcut, and wearing a smirk that seemed nailed onto his face. After a second, he recognized him as the guy from the night before.

“Oh, hey man,” Tyson greeted. “You recover from last night?”

He laughed. “Naw, man, s’all good. ‘Ll have a shot of Jack Daniels.”

Tyson nodded and grabbed a shot glass from under the bar and the bottle from behind him.

“Ya seen Tahar here, man?” he asked.

“Hmm? No I don’t think so,” Tyson replied. He smirked. “You guys hit it off?”

The guy grinned, putting a bill on the bar as Tyson slid him the shot. “Naw man s’not like that. Jus’ wanted to thank him. You too, man.”

“Me?” Tyson took the bill, grabbing him change as the guy downed the shot. “I didn’t do anything.”

“More’n you know, guy,” the guy gave him a wink and left the change on the bar. “Have a good night,” he bid with a nod, and turned back into the crowd.

“Fuck, Tyson,” Andy noted as Paul came back with his drinks. “You should get these guys to take a… ” he trailed off as a look of tension crossed his face. His cheeks reddened.

“Andy…?” asked Paul. “Andy, man, you okay?”

Kero shook him by the shoulder. “Andy?”

Suddenly, Andy’s vest began to pop open. Tyson raised an eyebrow, thinking for a second that Andy had forced his gut forward, but Andy’s already ample body was expanding outwards at all sides right in front of him. Kero released his shoulder and jumped back, exclaiming a profanity in some other language. Andy groaned as the pounds piled on, his jeans filling out with thickening thighs. The waist of his jeans blew out. Other patrons had begun to notice, and gasps of alarm and awe rippled through the crowd.

“What the hell is this?” asked Paul. Tyson just stared and gaped. It had to be some trick… maybe an inflating bodysuit? But it looked way too real and was growing way too fast. Andy’s face was shifting back and forth from worried to content and back again. He put his hands on his growing belly and gasped as it lurched out one last time.

Andy had gone from big fat leather daddy to huge sumo wrestler squeezed into too-small clothing. He stood still for a moment, as if anticipating another expansion, then let his shoulders drop with a disoriented moan.

Kero knocked on the bartop. “Hey! Hey! Call an ambulance!” he shouted at Tyson over the music still blaring before turning back to Andy. “Are you all right?”

Andy was running his hands over his new size. “I’m… I….”

“Argh!” Paul suddenly cried out, dropping a bottle of beer and Tyson looked over, eyes going wide as he watching Paul sprouting taller and taller, his shirt sliding up his torso. “What the fuck?!” he shouted, looking over to Tyson with panic in his eyes. No bodysuit could pull that off. Paul was staring at his hands, watching his fingers grow longer. The rest of his fit body seemed to be growing in proportion. As he surpassed Tyson’s height—meaning he had grown at least a foot taller—he suddenly winced and stumbled, leaning against the bar, and a tearing sound from below drew Tyson’s rapt gaze to his feet under the cuffs of his jeans now hugging his calved, which were quickly tearing their way out of his shoes.

“What the… ” Paul panted. “What the fuck is happening?”

Was he dreaming? Was he on a drug trip? Had Hugo cut the cocaine with like bath salts or something? Tyson shook the doubts from his head, and put a hand on Paul’s shoulder. “I’m gonna call a… a… ” He trailed off as a strange feeling began to flood his system.

His muscles tensed. His whole body felt like it was on fire but it was almost soothing. Tyson felt flushed, aroused, and sensual. He took a sharp breath. What was happening to him?

“Holy shit!” Paul exclaimed beside him, and Tyson glanced over to see Paul gaping at him. Tyson looked down just as everything began to feel tighter.

His lean, toned physique was inflating with muscle. His slim-fit black jeans were quickly overwhelmed by thick, powerful thighs. His arms had already grown twice as big and still expanding. His hairy chest swelled, the sturdy leather harness digging into his torso as it surged thicker and heavier—the rising traps and broadening shoulders not helping in that regard. He winced as the buckles pinched his growing flesh, feeling almost strangled by the harness until finally his body became too huge for it to handle, snapping first one strap and then another, leaving dirty purple welts where they had been particularly constrictive.

With his jeans split to shreds, and the harness in a heap at his feet, he felt the sensation subside, but the size he had gained remained. Panting, and suddenly exhausted, he looked over at Paul to see his reaction, but Paul was distracted, staring in shock out at the bar. Tyson followed his gaze.

The blaring music had drowned out the noise but no longer distracted by his sudden growth spurt, Tyson heard the rabble of commotion accompanying the bizarre scene before him.

All across the bar people were transforming before his eyes—regulars, first-timers, and staff alike. A pair of slim twinks swelled into amateur bodybuilders; big bald Hank suddenly sprouted a head of thick, luxurious hair that fell down past his shoulders; Mistress Gerta threw her hands to her chest as her inflating boobs threatened to pop out out of her bodice; a first-time skinny hipster kid suddenly blew out into a full-blown bear; Kero had gone from skinny short sub to wide, thick fireplug (his neck so big it broke his collar); pudgy little Walter had grown two feet taller and a thick dark beard… there was so much going on it was all impossible to take in.

People were freaking out in every corner of the bar as the sounds of ripping jeans and stretching leather accented the pumping bass still blaring through the bar. He heard Paul shouting at people to calm down, announcing that paramedics were on the way. He heard Daniel trying to shout over the din. But for Tyson, the initial panic had subsided, and he found himself reveling in the absurdly impossible, totally chaotic, and erotically fantastic scene he had found himself in. If it was a dream or a trip, all he could do was ride it out. He sighed, leaning back against the bar, startled a little bit by the wider back he now possessed, but then he just sat back and watched the show.

He looked around for familiar faces, to see what they had become, and as he catalogued the various changes—some minor, some rendered barely recognizable—he remembered the little guy from last night. The one who’d been asking about Tahar. Now he was probably twice as tall, maybe even more ripped than Tyson had become. But as he scanned the bar, he couldn’t find him.

Oh well, Tyson thought, there’s plenty more to see. He grabbed himself a bottle of Tankhouse and cracked it open, sighed contentedly, and watched the Black Eagle explode.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

These were Drew’s third favourite shorts, so he was very cautious as he drew his keys from his pocket, careful to stay as upright as possible. The journey home had taken twice as long in his effort to keep them intact, and he breathed a sigh of relief as he extracted his keys and carefully slid his card into the lock, and quickly slipped inside as he heard one of his neighbours coming down the hall, and didn’t want to have to pretend to be his own brother or something.

“D?” Jamie called from the living room.

“Yeah hey Jamie,” Drew replied, dropping the plastic bag and beginning to maneuver out of his shoes but feeling his shorts strain as he bent his leg.

“D, get in here!” Jamie shouted.

“Umm… actually I could kinda use a hand here,” Drew called back.

“Drew, seriously, get the fuck in here!” Jamie insisted.

Drew opted to leave his shoes on and carefully picked his way over the pile of shoes and through the kitchen to the living room. Jamie was sitting on the couch watching CP24. Oprah was playing with the cat toy hanging off the third tier of her cat tree in the corner. “What’s the emergency?”

“D, look at this!” Jamie glanced over and did a double take. “Whoa… ”

Drew blushed as he saw Jamie drink him in. “Yeah, I uhh, ran into Cassidy. We hung out for a while. Actually… ”

Jamie snapped back to the television. “That’s cool, but seriously, check this out.” He picked up the remote and turned up the volume.

“Jamie can you help me out of these clothes? I don’t wanna lose these shorts.”

“In a second. Look.” Jamie pointed, and Drew looked.

President Barack Obama was leaning on the podium with those windows behind him, flanked by an American and presidential flag. He was in the middle of a speech.

“…will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move—or even visit—another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.”

Drew’s mouth dropped open. “Is this…?”

Jamie shushed him as Obama continued: “In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” He paused. “It is gratifying, to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision. This ruling is a victory for Jim Oger…full”—he struggled briefly with the name—”and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come. And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”

“Holy shit… ” Drew whispered.

Jamie turned it back down. “This morning, man,” Jamie grinned at Drew. “Gay marriage is legal from sea to shining sea.” He stood up and stepped over to Drew, throwing his arms around him. Drew leaned down to kiss him and they held each other, smelling each other’s familiar scents, Jamie tasting the whiskey and Ruffles on Drew’s tongue; Drew the green curry on Jamie’s.

“We should celebrate,” Drew suggested as he broke away from Jamie’s lips.

Jamie raised an eyebrow. “You really want to go out like that?”

Drew hummed to himself in mock pensivity. “I can think of a few ways to celebrate right here… ” he grinned rakishly.

Jamie chuckled and leaned into Drew, nuzzling his pecs through his shirt.

Drew paused awkwardly. “…Seriously, though, I need your help getting out of these clothes.”

“Oh, uhh… ” Jamie pulled back and looked Drew up and down. “All right. Suck in, buddy.”

Drew took a deep breath.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cassidy groaned in his sleep, his eyelids fluttering, his head throbbing in agony with every heartbeat. Fuck, he thought, how much did I drink? He tried to roll over but found that he couldn’t. In fact, he wasn’t even in bed. He was sitting upright. His legs had been duct-taped together, and his arms had been duct-taped to his sides. In spite of the headache, he tried to concentrate on making himself big enough to shred the duct tape and pummel whoever had done this to him—Cliff, he remembered now—into a stain on the carpet.

But… nothing happened. Nothing even started to happen. He tried to reach out with his mind, find those energies that had allowed him to work his magic before but they were just… gone. It was like he was falling through an endless void, and however far he could reach, he just grasped at empty space.

“That’s not gonna work,” the gravelly voice of his captor came from behind him.

Cassidy slowly cracked open his eyes. What little light there was in the room was glaring, and his entire field of vision was so blurry he may as well have been looking through gauze.

“Where am I?” he mumbled incoherently, but Cliff, who had moved to his side, seemed to make it out anyway.

“It doesn’t really matter,” he replied. “You won’t be going anywhere for a long time.”

Cassidy tried again to grow himself, and Cliff laughed aloud.

“I told you… that’s pointless,” he said, coming around to the front of the couch Cassidy was sitting on. His vision was starting to clear, and he looked up at the beefy form of Cliff looming over him. “See, that thing you do?” Cliff grinned down at him, and as Cassidy watched, he swelled larger, his bulk expanding to fill out his once-loose T-shirt. “It belongs to me. Now it’s the thing I do.” He chuckled, raising his arms and flexing them, feeling his thick chest through his shirt.

As Cassidy’s periphery came into focus, he became aware of other figures in the room. Some standing, some sitting. There were quite a few of them, actually. All of them silent and still. It was too dark to make them out.

“Y’see, Butch,” Cliff moaned as he bounced his pecs, “while the rest of you fucking idiots were out there, spending years learning one thing, the thing I learned was how to take that away from you, and now?” he grinned, “while all of you are bitchin at each other for scraps, I’ve gotten better than all of you put together. If you dumb pukes had any sense you’d get down on your knees and fucking worship me.”

With a start, Cassidy realized someone was sitting next to him on the couch. He turned to look at him but in the darkness it was difficult to discern his features. His face was contorted in dismay, but he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t even breathing.

“It wouldn’t matter, though. I can get anyone to worship me,” Cliff shrugged nonchalantly. “All of you? You’re all going to end up the same. Maybe here… though it’s beginning to get a bit crowded.” He sniffed, and wiped his nose. “I’m not worried, though. Won’t be long before no one can stop me.”

Cassidy tried to elbow the guy next to him but ended up falling against him. Beneath his shirt though, the man was hard and stiff and cold. Like he was made of….stone. Cassidy looked around the room with horror. They were all stone. His vision had returned enough that he even recognized some of them. A stone statue of Mohan was tied to a chair across from him. Oded from the Circle was standing in the corner, looking back over his shoulder with a look of surprised. Robyn was handcuffed to a radiator, frozen in mid-struggle to break free, her face in the middle of shouting some profanity.

“No… ” Cassidy began to feel a deathly cold creeping up his legs.

“Fraid so, Butch,” Cliff nodded in mock sympathy. “Y’know how thrilled I was when I realized what you did to me that night? I knew there was something about you. I could tell. And then you even made Daniel taller? Like I wouldn’t figure that out?” he shook his head. “Oh, and then, the next morning, I wake up and it’s all gone? What kind of fucking asshole does that?”

The feeling had completely abandoned his legs. Cassidy took deep breaths, beginning to panic. “Please… you don’t have to do this, we can… ”

“But I can do this, don’t you get it?” Cliff asked. “Why would I negotiate with you when I can just take everything you’d offer me?”

It had crept past his crotch. His fingers hung leaden off his hands. He felt his insides clanking against each other.

Cliff chuckled down at him as Cassidy felt the cold climb up his chest, slither up his neck. “Thanks a lot, Butch,” he laughed.

And then, all he felt was the cold.


Part 13: Mahtab

It was a grey, overcast morning and the hotel room was dark. But the sun peeked out from its cloud cover and moved slowly across Mahtab’s face. When it reached her eyes she squinted and awoke groggily with a moan. She sat upright in the chair, rubbing her aching neck, and glanced over at Russell, playing on his phone in the desk chair on the other side of the room. Adam was asleep on the bed, fully clothed and on top of the covers.

“Still nothing,” said Russell quietly, shaking his head.

“Fuck… ” Mahtab whispered. She glanced at Adam. One hand was on his chest, rising and falling at a slow, measured rhythm. “You sure he didn’t warn him somehow?”

Russell nodded. “You still got his phone right?”

Mahtab checked her pocket and felt Adam’s iPhone right where she had left it. “Yeah… ”

“So what now?” Russell asked.

Mahtab sighed. “I dunno. See if Adrian has anything?” She paused. “We should keep an eye on Adam, though. For leverage if nothing else.”

“What if… ” Russell glanced at Adam and set his phone down, leaning toward her and lowering his voice further. “What if whoever’s actually responsible has gotten him, too?”

“Just as we’re staking him out?” asked Mahtab. “Coincidence much?”

“You said it yourself, Matty,” Russell countered. “Him coming to Toronto was the perfect chance to confront him. If someone else had been after him… ”

“But who?” Mahtab shook her head, and hoisted herself out of the chair, stretching. “All the most likely suspects are missing already. Unless you want to start looking at the Circle again.”

“Look, it could be anyone,” Russell spread his hands. “One of our own, one of theirs… even a hedge mage. Or another organization is trying to weaken both of us before they let us know they’re here.” He sighed and stood up. “I’m gonna see what Adrian has. If he’s still got a read on Cassidy it may lead us to whoever’s been doing this, one way or another.”

Mahtab nodded. “Okay. I’ll stay with Adam, see what he has to say. But take Adrian with you if you’re going to check it out, all right?”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Suit or no suit, you’re not invincible,” Mahtab quietly reminded him. “Just be careful.”

Russell rolled his eyes. “Yeah yeah. I’ll be in touch, okay?”

Mahtab nodded as he made his way out the door. “See ya.”

He grabbed a cold slice of pizza from the box on the desk and left, shutting the door behind him. Mahtab turned back to look at Adam sleeping on the bed. She sighed.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tyson hit the snooze button on his alarm and turned onto his back. His big, broad, V-shaped back. He took a deep breath, feeling his heavy chest rise and fall, and ran a hand from his pecs down to his abs. Well, he thought to himself, I guess it wasn’t a dream…

Continuing down his body, his hand found its way around his cock—erect as usual at this time of the morning—and he gave it a lazy stroke.

Oh wow…

He had to sit up on his elbows to see over his pecs, and smiled at what he saw. It seemed that his muscles weren’t the only part of him that had been upgraded. His schlong had grown from its usual six inches to a thick ten, at least. His testicles had fared similarly, bloated to the size of tennis balls.

“Fuckin’ A,” he mumbled aloud, and lowered himself back down to lie on his back as he began to stroke himself.

One hand pumped his cock while the other slid over his torso, tracing ridged abs, his pronounced obliques, and his big furry pecs, lingering on his nipples. His cock was primed and ready to go, already leaking pre just a few strokes in.

Tyson closed his eyes and let his mind wander back to the night before. As alarmingly weird as it had been, it had been so hot to watch. Not just the transformations themselves but the looks on everyone’s faces—shocked, disbelieving, ecstatic, thrilled. It defied all explanation but by the end of it he didn’t care. Either he was crazy and it wasn’t happening at all, or it was happening and it was fucking amazing. He remembered again feeling the leather straps of his harness constricting around his bulging body, how the sound of it popping off was one of the sexiest things he’d ever heard. That, evidently, was enough to push him over, and with a loud, sultry grunt, his big balls pushed a big fountain of cum out of his big dick and he gasped and moaned and writhed on his mattress, feeling every bulging muscle through his whole body tense. When finally his cock was spent, he went limp on the bed, idly wiping his jizz-soaked hand on his covers, and dozed happily for another twenty minutes until his alarm went off again. He checked his phone. Text message from Carlos:

Mandatory staff meeting 12pm sharp. BE THERE

Gee, Tyson smiled. Wonder what that could be about.

Tyson got up, his big flaccid dick flopping between his thick thighs, and made his way over to his bathroom. The tiny mirror over his sink was too small to get much of a complete picture of himself but he checked himself out one section at a time, flexing muscles he hadn’t even realized existed. He was carved out of marble. He was huge and shredded. God it felt so good. He’d never given being this big any serious consideration, but now that he had this size he was almost amazed he had never tried to get there on his own. He’d had no trouble getting guys as it was; now he felt like he’d never sleep alone again.

With some awkward maneuvering he squeezed into his standing shower and cleaned himself off, noting at one point that he’d be going through a lot more bodywash from here on in. Having favoured tight-fitting clothes his wardrobe options were fairly limited. He ended up going with a bright turquoise tank top that had once hung loose off his shoulders that he now had to squeeze himself into, and a similarly tight pair of large athletic shorts he wore to play basketball. He slipped into a pair of sandals, threw on his charcoal Puma ball cap and Oakley shades, and swaggered out the door. The second he got outside he saw how grey it was and hung his shades off his collar where they nestled in his pec cleavage.

People were staring at him on the streetcar. Some he recognized as familiar faces from his commute, probably trying to figure out whether it was him or not. Others were strangers who apparently just liked to look at him. It became a routine after a few stops; he’d catch people with their gaze locked on him and they’d bashfully avert their eyes, and then he’d grin.

Tyson overshot Church Street so he could get a green tea frappucino and a bagel at the Starbucks on Yonge. He munched and sipped as he walked across Wellesley Street, still with plenty of time to spare.

“Uhmm… Tyson?” came a voice from behind him, and he turned with his mouth full of bagel. It was a short guy of average build, with long black hair and a matching big bushy beard. Tyson wasn’t sure who he was until he recognized the Guided By Voices band shirt.

“Darcy? Is that you?”

The guy grinned broadly, stroking his beard. “Yeah man.” He gave a laugh and fell in step next to him. “Last night, right?”

Darcy was the occasional DJ at the Black Eagle, who had until now sported a bright red swoop and no facial hair whatsoever.

“I always assumed you were a redhead,” Tyson noted.

Darcy laughed. “Hah! Yeah. No, man. Been dying it for years.” He took a lock of his hair between his fingers. “Cut off the ends this morning. It looked retarded,” he confessed, then slapped Tyson on the back. “Shit, dude. You got huge!”

Tyson felt himself blush a bit. “Yeah… well it was a very… strange shift last night.”

“Fuck, man, tell me about it,” Darcy nodded. “Hey check this out.” He lifted the shirt to reveal a rug of dark dense body hair covering his chest and belly. “I was fuckin bare as a newborn before last night,” he announced with pride.

Tyson took another sip of his frap. “Looks good on you, man,” he nodded.

Darcy scoffed. “Yeah, so does the, like, hundred pounds of Schwarzenegger on you, man.”

Tyson smirked. “Heh. Thanks,” he said, shoving the last of his bagel in his mouth. He stole a glance at Darcy’s crotch, noting with a chuckle that he was sporting a big bulge.

“This is so trippy, man,” Darcy remarked. “I’ve never been able to grow decent facial hair and now I look like… like an extra from Vikings or something. Hey!” he smacked Tyson’s arm. “Gay marriage in the States!”

Tyson shrugged. “Yeah. Was gonna happen sooner later.”

“Maybe,” Darcy conceded. “Still, though. Exciting times.”

They entered the bar at ten minutes to noon, but pretty much everyone was there already. The room looked like a circus side show. Everyone was either gigantically tall, swollen with muscle, hugely fat or excessively hairy—all except Simon, who had had the night off and was staring around in bewildered shock. Chairs and barstools were arranged in a crooked circle, and a cardboard pot of Tim Hortons coffee was on a table next to an open box of timbits. Tyson and Darcy poured themselves cups and munched timbits while the last of the employees filed in. Tyson broke off from Darcy and sat next to Paul, who was wearing the same extra-large staff shirt he had taken to go home. Paul greeted him with a nod but said nothing, looking annoyed.

Pretty much everyone was poorly dressed in worn out gym clothes or old clothing they didn’t care about stretching out or ripping. Paul, who famously detested sandals, was wearing an old pair of too-small flipflops, which Tyson noted with a chuckle.

“Hey,” Tyson nudged him and grinned. “What’s your shoe size now?”

Paul just looked at him. “I don’t wanna talk about it.”

Tyson shrugged and sipped his coffee.

They waited ‘til quarter after when they seemed to decide that anyone who hadn’t arrived wasn’t going to.

When the cops had shown up Tyson’s instincts suggested to him his buzz was about to be killed, and he left as quickly and quietly as a guy his size could. In the chaos he had missed out on a few of his colleagues’ changes, among them the co-owner, Carlos. As he heard the heavy stomps coming up from the private rooms in the basement, Tyson assumed it was Daniel, but then saw him already standing by the bar. Daniel had decided—or perhaps had been forced—to forego wearing a shirt altogether, revealing the hugely muscled torso last night’s antics had afforded him. Daniel had been hulked out into a giant swole freak, his vascular muscles snaking with veins even when he was relaxed. His neck had essentially disappeared beneath bulging traps that led right into massively thick shoulders and arms. He’d had to walk sideways through most doorways. So if Daniel was there, who was coming up the stairs, rattling the bottles behind the bar with every thudding step?

Tyson gaped as he watched Carlos squeeze his bulk through the door with a bemused grin on his face. Carlos, who had formerly been shorter than Tyson and of a similar lean physique, had been rendered all but unrecognizable. He stood at least seven feet tall, and everything about him had gone from average to gargantuan. A huge belly stuck out nearly a foot in front of him, and his big thick arms were covered by a layer of fat that did little to soften the powerful muscles beneath it. In place of his neatly trimmed goatee was a huge bushy beard, and in place of his buzzcut was a thick mane of hair he had tied back into a tail that reached halfway down his back. While everyone else had apparently struggled to cobble together an outfit that would fit their new dimensions, it almost looked like Carlos had been prepared for this day, wearing a thin white muscle shirt under a black leather vest, tucked into dark blue jeans topped by a leather belt clasped with an ornate belt buckle of a goat’s head overtop a pentagram. What really sold the whole piece was his thick leather boots ornamented with thin steel chains and spiked buckles. Where the hell had he found boots like that to fit his huge feet in the, what, six or seven hours since he had gone up a few sizes?

Carlos was a pretty friendly, laidback guy, and his newfound gigantism hadn’t dampened his attitude. With Daniel flanking him from behind, he sidled up onto a barstool, one boot resting flat on the floor. His ample package was plain to see as he sat down, and Tyson did a quick sweep of the room, noting that every man there—regardless of whatever other transformation he had undergone—had also been upgraded in the dick department.

Carlos smiled with a note of bemusement. “First, I just want to update you guys on Jorge. He’s fine, he got released from the ER and he’s sleeping at home. Second, I want to thank everyone for coming out on such short notice,” he said with a bemused smile and a nod. “And I’ll cut right to the chase. Obviously last night was… a bit of an event.”

“A bit of an event?” came the incredulous query from Dennis, the barback who had gone from five-foot-eleven twig to six-foot-six bear. “Man, I gained a hundred and fifty pounds in thirty seconds.”

“Yeah,” Carlos agreed. “Well… obviously a lot of us went through some significant changes.”

“Okay, seriously,” the patio bartender, Rosharon, held up her hand. “Does anyone have any notion what the fuck actually happened? Cuz this?” she gestured to her breasts which had blown up a few sizes, “makes no fuckin sense at all.”

“Look, I don’t know,” Carlos admitted, and was about to say something else when Paul cut him off.

“That’s not bloody good enough. This is impossible to explain!” Paul gestured around the whole room. “What am I supposed to tell people?”

“All right hold on,” Carlos raised his hands defensively, “this is actually what I wanted to talk about. CP24 aired a piece on it this morning. They seem to think it’s a hoax.”

“Yeah so do the fuckin’ cops,” said Rosharon. “They were talkin’ about public mischief charges.”

“Okay, look,” said Carlos, “I’ve already spoken to my lawyer and we’re gonna handle that. In the meantime though I need everyone to give no comment if you’re approached by the media or the police.”

“What if we get subpoenaed?” Rosharon asked.

Carlos briefly pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance, “Jesus Christ, Ro. They’re not gonna subpoena you for public mischief.”

“Have you tried getting in touch with that cop that’s always coming in?” asked Darcy. “Whatsisname… Vince something? He could vouch for us, right? At least confirm we aren’t just making it all up.”

“How’s that gonna go?” spat Paul. “‘Yeah, no, guys. It’s cool, all these guys just spontaneously grew for no reason.’”

“Vince is at L.A. Pride and will be back in a week or so, I think,” said Carlos. “When he is I’ll reach out to him but for now… ”

“So what are we supposed to do about all the customers we had?” asked Paul. “How are you gonna get them not to say anything?”

“Obviously there’s nothing we can do about them,” Carlos conceded. “Which is why it’s so important we keep a unified front on a media blackout, all right? At least for the next few days.” He adjusted himself and brightened. “Now otherwise, I think we need to see the opportunity we had here. I know it was strange but I think we can all agree… ” Carlos gestured to them gathered around the room. “This isn’t such a bad thing.”

“Are you bloody kidding me?” asked Paul incredulously. “Carlos we have absolutely zero idea how or why this happened. What if we all end up getting cancer or something?”

“Aside from Jorge’s panic attack, the paramedics said everyone checked out fine,” said Carlos, “and I realize that doesn’t cover everything but I mean, has anyone had any adverse effects? Me, I feel great.”

“Adverse effects?” asked Paul, and began counting off on his fingers. “I’m too big for my bed, my entire wardrobe is rubbish… ”

“These bitches gon’ give me back problems before long, I’ll tell you that,” Rosharon mumbled.

“But c’mon, man,” said Darcy. “You gotta admit this is pretty fuckin cool, right?”

“Pretty cool?!” Paul shouted at him. “What the hell is wrong with you people? Doesn’t anyone care how this happened? Doesn’t anyone care that this is bloody impossible?”

“Magic,” Daniel suggested with a nonchalant shrug of his mighty shoulders.

“Magic,” Paul repeated dryly. “That’s the explanation we’re goin’ with. Magic.”

“What else you got, sonny boy?” asked Daniel archly. “Look around. The short boys get tall. The skinny boys get big. The big boys get bigger.”—here he gestured to himself—”An’ I wager all your little tonkys got a nice growth spurt too, ah?” he tried to fold his arms over his chest but his huge biceps clashed with his giant pecs so he settled for putting his hands on his hips. “You got another word for wishes comin’ true, now?”

Tyson raised an eyebrow. What the hell are tonkys?

“Hey, I didn’t wish for this,” said Paul.

“Oh, come on,” Carlos protested. “You’re honestly telling me you never wanted to be taller?”

Paul went to say something and then threw up his hands, sighed, and smoldered moodily in silence.

“Okay,” Carlos said with a nod. “We don’t know how it happened but it did. It’s Pride Friday and the Internet is goin’ nuts over this thing. Tonight is gonna be a total shitshow, and I need all hands on deck. Even if you weren’t scheduled. I’ve gone ahead and cancelled dirty bingo and we’re not gonna open ‘til six. And as far as your rubbish wardrobe goes, Paul, I’ve dipped into some discretionary funds and everyone is getting two hundred bucks so you can buy some new threads for the new you.”

Tyson smiled. “Sweet.”

Carlos continued. “I know two hundred bucks doesn’t go too far but it’s the best we can do for now. I know this is weird,” he chuckled with a nod. “It’s a goddamn mind-fuck. But we’re a family here and we’ve got your backs. We’ll have time to try and figure all this out later but we’re primed to have one of our biggest weekends in history if we play our cards right.” He rose up off the stool, the floorboards creaking as he shifted his weight. “That’s about it, then. If you can make it tonight let me know, and I’ll see you all back here around five.”

Everyone went past the bar to pick up their cash and then exited in single file, as only a handful of them could fit through the halls at the same time. Tyson said goodbye to Darcy and Simon and jogged to catch up with Paul, who was sulkily walking down the sidewalk.

“Hey man,” he greeted. Paul responded with a halfhearted nod but didn’t say anything, fishing a cigarette out of his pack. He offered the open pack to Tyson who slid out his own. “You… you seemed pretty angry in there,” Tyson noted as Paul lit his cigarette. “Everything okay?”

Paul glanced at Tyson as he handed him the lighter, looking over his big beefy body, and shook his head. “It’s just so fuckin’ weird.”

Tyson lit his cigarette and handed back the lighter. “No argument there, man.”

“I just… ” Paul sighed. “I like to think I have some control over my life, and if something can just come along and… do this to me? I mean what else could happen?”

“There’s not some part of you that’s happy about it though?” asked Tyson.

“Oh, well, sure. The inner teenager in me is losing his shit,” Paul admitted. “But like, when I was younger I always wanted to be taller, and even in my twenties I was like, holdin’ out for a late growth spurt. But when it didn’t come, I accepted it and came to terms with just bein’ a little guy. An’ now… ”

“You’re a tall guy,” Tyson finished with a shrug. “Could be worse.”

“Okay fine, but what if we all suddenly go back to normal?” said Paul.

Tyson frowned. That hadn’t occurred to him. “Why would that happen?”

“Why would any of this happen, that’s my bloody point,” Paul explained. “If I can spontaneously grow a foot and half taller, waking up one morning to find I’m back to five-foot-four wouldn’t particularly surprise me.” He paused. “An’ even thinking about it now, I don’t want that to happen. Which means I never really came to terms with being a little guy in the first place. An’ if I have to do it again… ” He shook his head dejectedly and took a drag from his cigarette.

“You’re overthinking this,” said Tyson. “If you don’t know what’s gonna happen you’re just gonna drive yourself crazy guessing. I feel like you gave me that advice yesterday.”

“Well,” Paul rolled his eyes. “Yesterday was a very different day.”

Tyson nodded, and they walked together in silence until they finished their smokes.

“Hey,” Tyson nudged Paul. “Wanna go shopping?”

Paul shrugged. “Yeah all right.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Brent stepped out of the shower to find a text waiting for him from Nate. It upset him a bit that he got so excited just to see the notice.

You’re falling too hard for this guy, he mentally reminded himself. You’re just a summer fling to him.

He resisted the temptation to pick up the phone right away, deciding instead to take his time toweling off and getting dressed. He’d really been looking forward to Pride this year. It was his first one in Toronto and his first one with a boyfriend—or, not-boyfriend, or whatever the hell was going on with Nate. But it was Friday and they still hadn’t seen each other. Maybe Pride just wasn’t Nate’s thing, or maybe he had legitimately become suddenly swamped with things he had to get done, but in Brent’s experience if you wanted to do something you made the time to do it, or at least explained yourself with more detail than “I’m too busy.”

When he finally decided he had exercised an appropriate amount of restraint, Brent picked up the phone and checked the message. There were two.

I wanna c u

U home? Is ayush there

Ayush was out for the day at some kind of panel at U of T, and had invited Brent to join him and his friends at Crew’s and Tangos after dinner. He had given a wishy-washy, non-committal response; holding out, he later realized, for Nate to make plans with him.

No Ayush is out U can come over, Brent sent back, and soon Nate replied:

K omw

He did a hurried survey of the house and a rudimentary tidying of his room. He laboured over what he should be in the middle of when Nate showed up, and settled on playing Far Cry 4. He’d just finished losing an Outpost match when he heard a knock on the front door.

Brent did a quick mental inventory of his outfit. Hemp shorts, boxer-briefs, and his Patriots jersey. Just another day lazing around at home. What did he care if the guy he was totally into showed up at his door? Not much, was the message he hoped he was sending.

He opened his door staring into the bare chest of some guy who was taller than the doorframe.

“Uhhhhhh,” said Brent.

“Sup, man?” the lanky body ducked under the frame, forcing Brent back a step. Who the hell was this guy? Was some gang of giants about to do a home invasion on him? How did—holy shit…

“Nate?!” he shrieked.

He was at least seven feet tall, probably with an inch or two to spare. He smirked down at Brent. “Somethin’ wrong, man?” he chuckled.

“What… what the hell happened to you?” Bren sputtered.

Nate shrugged nonchalantly. “Same thing that happened to you.”

Brent was lost. “What?!”

“That night at the Black Eagle?” Nate grinned.

Brent’s eyes somehow got even wider. How could he know? How could anyone know? He hadn’t said a thing to a single person about it.

“S’all right, man. Don’ sweat it,” Nate slapped him lightly on the shoulder. “I learned how to do it too.”

“This… how… this doesn’t make any sense!” Brent protested.

Nate shut the door behind him. “S’only gon’ get worse, brah… ” he laughed, his impish eyes twinkling.

Brent suddenly felt a strange electric jolt in the pit of his stomach. It was the origin point of a swirling liquid warmth that pumped through his veins and quickly flowed through his whole body. He felt a bit lightheaded. “What… ooooh,” he moaned, staggering back a step as he felt his jersey sliding across his body. It felt like that night at the Eagle but so much more intense.

Brent felt his pecs getting heavy with pure muscle, his shoulders widening and swelling with brawn up his neck, thickening up against the collar of his jersey, his biceps blowing up like balloons of meat. Soon the once-loose jersey was hugging tight to every contour of his expanding frame. The shorts which had been pretty snug on his already-thick thighs stretched to their limit around his inflating butt.

Brent was overwhelmed by the sweet feeling of warmth and weight pumping through his body. His eyes fluttered in ecstasy and he felt his cock twitching with excitement. His rational thoughts were being smothered by a serotonin fog of bliss but as he looked down at himself and saw how huge he was getting he groaned. “No… no this is too much! What’ll… ”

His expansion seemed to subside. “Naw man don’ worry ‘bout it. You’ll be back to your old self in a few hours,” Nate assured him with a smarmy wink. “S’just enjoy ourselves, aright? C’mere.” Nate took a step towards him and leaned down, lifting Brent’s chin so their lips met in a kiss. Nate’s long arms reached down and his hand cupped Brent’s balls before sliding over his thigh and clutching his ass. Despite Nate leaning down, Brent had to stand on the balls of his feet to reach him.

Nate released Brent from their kiss, standing again to his full, intimidating height. He chuckled. “Bet you don’ reach up to kiss anyone too often. Mmm… ” he ran his hands from Brent’s neck over his shoulders and down his arms. “Flex for me, big boy… ”

Brent raised his arm slowly, looking at it as if it was someone else’s, but feeling the push and pull of all the new muscles blown up under his skin. He made a fist and flexed, watching his bicep ball up and feeling the sleeve of his jersey tight around it. Nate ran his hand over its peak, first as a gentle caress then with a firm squeeze. To feel his hand against it was utter bliss. All that size resisting his grip, tight and hard and huge and hot. Brent felt so powerful, stronger than ever before. He puffed out his chest, felt the mesh fabric of the jersey taut across them, and envisioned Tyler seeing him like this. His imagination turned Tyler into a cartoon, jaw dropping down to the floor while his eyes bugged out of their sockets. Brent smirked to himself.

Nate meanwhile was hard from not only watching Brent transform, but his telepathy allowed him to virtually experience it. Every sensation and thought that passed through Brent’s conscious mind moaned its way over Nate’s. It was all he could do to keep from creaming himself, and the peak of the tent in his sweat shorts was dark with a growing stain of pre.

Nate shook his head. “Aright, gotta get ya to the bedroom.” He clapped Brent on the shoulders and pushed hjm in the direction of his bedroom.

Brent felt heavy and thick as he trounced down the hallways, his bulging muscles rubbing against each other as we walked. His thighs were so big he couldn’t walk normally, and staggered in front of Nate as he pushed him towards his room. “No it’s… it’s fine… Ayush won’t be back for… ”

“Naw man, jus’ gettin’ you comfortable,” Nate explained with a chuckle, “cuz ‘fore long you gon’ be too big to fit through the doorway.”

Brent gasped. “Wait, what?”

Nate pushed him into his bedroom and he wavered to stay upright. Nate massaged his shoulders briefly with a moan, leaned down to peck him on the cheek, then circled around, pulling him around to the foot of his bedframe. It only took a nudge to push top-heavy Brent onto the mattress.

Brent sat up with a giggle. “Jesus… Nate how big can you make people?”

Nate’s grin widened. “Haven’ tested my limits yet, man. Sky’s the limit s’far as I know.” To demonstrate, Nate stretched taller right before his eyes, his body growing in proportion, the cigarette pack, lighter, and wallet in his shorts bulging prominently in his pockets, along with his growing package. He averted his eyes upwards, taking a step to his right to avoid hitting the light fixture. “Or in this case the ceilin’,” he added with a laugh. He grunted, adjusting his balls through his shorts, pulling the head of his cock out of the top of his waistband, dripping with a thick sheen of pre.

“Christ man, you’re huge!” Brent exclaimed, looking up and down Nate’s body. He dwarfed the room around him, made Brent’s desk, chair, and bookcase all seem like miniature movie props.

“Damn right,” Nate agreed with a smug nod. “Think you like me now, jus’ wait man.” With a grunt, Nate bobbed his cock up and down, and Brent watched mesmerized as it stretched larger, lengthening up Nate’s abs and fattening up nice and thick. His balls grew big and heavy, further weighing down his shorts.

“Ah… mmmm,” Nate grunted again, then sighed. “Whoo! ‘At’s always a rush.”

Nate wormed his way out of his shorts until they were down around his ankles, and kicked them away, knocking his head against the light overhead with a blush and a chuckle.

“Nate, you gotta be pushing eight feet tall!” Brent shouted. “This is unreal!”

Nate gave his huge hard cock a playful wag and stepped closer to the bed. “Naw man, s’all real,” he thrust his hips a little and his dick bobbed up and down. He nodded at it. “Touch it.”

Brent put his meaty hands around the thick cock, feeling the heat coming off it, feeling the stickiness of his pre. “Fuck… ”

“Mmmm,” Nate moaned as Brent began to stroke the two-foot length of his shaft. “Yeah, man. We can do whatever we want now,” he cooed, running his hand from the crown of Brent’s head down his burly neck to his huge shoulders. “Can make you as huge as you want, man. You deserve it… ”

“Can you make me as tall as you?” Brent looked up at him.

“Nuh-uh,” Nate winked and shook his head. “Tonight I get to be the tall guy. An’ you… ”—Brent felt that same kinetic warmth through his body and his jersey shifted across his skin—”…you get to be the big swole fuckin’ beast.”

Again his body began to swell, already huge muscles bulging with even greater size. His felt his shorts straining against him until they burst, and he looked down in amazement as he watched the fabric tear away, revealing thighs that were getting massive with hard, heavy meat. The boxers underneath were still holding out but he didn’t put much faith in them lasting long either. It was phenomenal. He was actually outgrowing his clothes.

His jersey was beginning to succumb as well as his chest blew up with bulging muscle and his biceps inflated with brawn. He felt his traps stretching out the collar, his lats straining the back. Finally it began to give way, the tiny holes in the mesh stretching larger and larger until finally they opened up across his chest and back.

“Oh god,” he moaned as his expanding body continued to rip the jersey apart. His muscles were growing larger than he’d ever seen on anyone before. The sounds coming from his body were almost hotter than the feel of it—skin and tendons stretching like rubber, muscles squelching against each other as they fought for space, bones popping as they thickened and lengthened to support the increasing weight of his frame. He clenched his pecs and they rose up against his chin. He flexed his arms and his biceps blew up to the size of watermelons . He flared out his lats and they obliterated what little remained of his jersey.

“How much do I weigh?” Brent asked with a gasp.

Nate laughed. “Fuck if I know, man,” he licked his lips. “Mmm… you’re so goddamn hot, bro.” He leaned forward, putting his hands on Brent’s shoulders, his ridiculous cock thrusting against the deep tight valley between Brent’s pecs. Brent tried to reach forward to take it in his hand, but found with amazement his arms had actually become too thick to bend all the way. Nate laughed at his struggle. “Don’ worry ‘bout me, man. These puppies—” he reached down and pinched each of Brent’s nipples “—are doin all the work for you.”

And Brent was only getting bigger. His growing arms forced his hands further from in front of him as his pecs surged forward and enveloped Nate’s dick. Nate began to slowly buck his hips, and Brent felt his big thick cock sliding up and down between his pecs, unable to help but smile as Nate winced every time he flexed them.

He could barely believe it. He was getting too huge to even move. He tried to stay upright but his giant thighs were growing into his lap, forcing his torso slowly onto its back. He could hear his bedframe whining in protest under his endlessly increasing mass.

It was a strange contradiction to feel so empowered with strength and yet nearly immobilized by the giant muscles that were granting it to him. It didn’t matter, though. Every time he attempted to sort out the logistics of his impossible size a jolt of pleasure would hit him, hit reset on his thought process, and he’d have to start over. Before long he simply abandoned the effort, letting sensation and bliss ooze into every corner of his mind. Nothing else mattered, just the feel of the throbbing cock lodged in his chest and the strength and size blossoming inside his body.

Sweat dripped off Nate onto Brent’s chest and abs. Nate’s breath was coming in heavy gasps accented with grunts and moans and mumbled cries of “Aww yeah.”

Nate shuddered, groaned, and Brent felt a flood of hot cum gushing between his pecs. His continental shelf of a chest blocked his view he could feel the spunk oozing out from his sternum and down his abs.

Nate braced himself on Brent’s pecs and lowered let his head bob down, taking a moment to swallow a few breaths before he raised his grinning face, leaned forward across his chest and kissed him on the lips. Brent tried to reach forward to hug him close but his gargantuan arms wouldn’t permit it.

Nate stood up, his cock slurping out from between Brent’s pecs, flopping against Nate’s thighs as he went flaccid. “This s’ gon’ be so awesome man. Fuck. Can’ wait ‘til next season. We’re gon’ be so huge all the guys’ll be shittin’ ‘emselves the second they see you strut out on the field. Tyler’s head’s gon’ fuckin’ explode, man.”

Brent closed his eyes as he felt his hard cock getting warmer and warmer til it was like it had become white hot. He shuddered and moaned as it began to expand, inflating bigger with every throbbing heartbeat. His balls groaned as his sack stretched larger, pressing against his thighs. He felt Nate’s hands clasp around his shaft. He assumed Nate had bent over but when he opened his eyes he gasped in shock. Nate was still standing at his full height, and Brent’s dick was already well past the four foot mark and still rising, still inflating thicker, throbbing veins getting fatter, pre issuing freely from the tip.

“Oh my fucking god!” Brent cried.

You’re a fuckin’ god, man,” Nate murmured as he ran his hands down either side of Brent’s shaft. “Fuckin’ look at you, man. Wide as a fuckin’ truck.”

The cock was still inching higher, bloating thicker, getting heavier on his crotch. “How… ” Brent sucked in a lung full of air, “how big are you gonna… oooooooh.”

Brent’s query trailed off into a moan as he watched his cock surge another two feet taller before his eyes, and as it rose past Nate’s head Brent realized with awestruck bewilderment that his own cock had gotten as long as Brent was tall. A tremor of pleasure quaked through his body as his pre-soaked tip pressed up against the ceiling. Make that: longer.

Nate took a step forward and threw his arms around Brent’s tremendous shaft, pressing his body against the underside of his cock, moaning and licking pre from the head. Brent shuddered and tried to reach up to stroke it but his cartoonishly swollen muscles prevented him from doing anything but grab clumpfuls of blanket from beneath him.

“Holy fuck!” Brent coughed. It was amazing. It was beyond amazing. Every inch of his huge sweaty body and monstrous tree-trunk of a cock was alive, hot and electric. As Nate continued to work his shaft, jostling Brent’s beachball-sized testicles with his knees, bringing him closer and closer to climax, Brent’s reality outside that moment disappeared in a flood of blood cum and sweat. He had always been here, in this moment, gigantically swole and titanically hung, being serviced by an eight foot plus giant. York, the Fox, the Lions, his friends, his family, Far Cry 4 still on the main menu in the other room—it all melted away; had never been. The world ended beyond the door to his bedroom. This bed, this body, this cock, this man. That was all that was.

His huge balls convulsed and he felt a geyser of cum bubbling up his pillar of a cock until it erupted out the tip, spraying back off the ceiling and raining down on him with the force of a pressure washer.

Nate was getting a similar onslaught, but had the disadvantage of being on his feet and at proportions he was unaccustomed to. He shielded his eyes and staggered back a couple steps, bumping his head on light fixture again before falling on his ass with a crash that shook the room and knocked a couple of books off their shelves.

Brent’s orgasm seemed to last for days. A torrential stream of jizz kept blasting out of his giant cock until finally he was spent, and he let his head fall back with a grunt, feeling the cum oozing across his body and dripping down in thick gobs from the ceiling. Nate climbed back to his feet, giggling maniacally and dripping with semen. He was still laughing as he climbed on top of Brent, the bedframe creaking in protest, his hands and knees slipping across the thick layer of cum. He settled face down on top of Brent, his long legs straddling the gargantuan cock that teetered unevenly as it slowly went soft, his pecs over Brent’s face, rising and falling with every breath.

“Aww fuck,” Nate squealed impishly, his own cock humping lazily against Brent’s abs. “Fun, huh?”

Brent could barely move he was so overblown with muscle, and his room was covered in a pool of cum he couldn’t even begin to think about cleaning up. But he felt so good there, lying there with Nate, bigger than anything. All he could do was laugh back at him.

“Heh. Yeah.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Absolutely not.” Mahtab crossed her arms, firmly shaking her head.

“Mahtab,” Adam growled. “This is getting ridiculous. Give me. My fucking. Phone.”

“No,” she shrugged like it would settle the matter. “There’s a lot of balls in the air here. I can’t let you contact Cassidy.”

Adam took a deep breath. “Mahtab… ”

“You think it’s a coincidence we come to confront him and he never shows up?” she asked archly.

“If by confront you mean fucking ambush,” Adam retorted.

Mahtab rolled her eyes. “Don’t be so dramatic.”

“I’m… ” Adam sputtered incredulously. “You come in here and accuse my husband of kidnapping—or worse—and I’m being fucking dramatic?!” his voice rose to a shout. He was about to scream something else at her but fumed inwardly for a moment, before laying his hands open in front of him. “Look, either your ambush—which it fucking was—failed, or it didn’t and Cassidy never came home last night for some other reason. Do you not get this?” Adam pointed at himself. “My fucking husband didn’t come home last night!”

“Jesus Christ, will you keep it down?” Mahtab hissed. “If Cassidy tries to contact you I’ll let you know. But he hasn’t responded to any of the texts I’m sending from your phone. What makes you think he’ll reply with you at the keyboard?”

“Call him,” Adam barked.

Another shake of her head. “Absolutely not.”

Adam lunged for her jacket and she clamped her hand down on her pocket. He tried to pry her hand off and she grabbed at his wrist, trying to wrench it away. They grappled for a few seconds more before she twisted out of his grip, hopping a few steps away and holding out her hand to ward him off.

“Fuck you, man,” Mahtab glared at him. “You think this only goes one way? If Cassidy’s on to us then we’re all in danger, and Russell is out there right now. No way I am hanging him out to dry.”

“Mahtab, seriously,” he massaged his forehead, “you have completely lost your fucking mind. I mean… ” he cut off as he lunged at her again, this time fending off her hand with his left and jabbing into her pocket with the right. He ripped his iPhone away, tearing her pocket and knocking her own cell phone to the floor.

“You dick!” Mahtab cried, and jumped to grab it back out of his hand, but Adam held it out of reach. When she persisted, he put his free hand on her face and shoved her away. She stumbled backward, tripping over the armchair and slamming her shoulder into the desk. “Fuck,” she swore, wincing as she grabbed the edge of the desk and pulled herself to her feet.

Adam glanced at her, a brief look of concern flashing across his face before he scowled, and hastily dialed on his phone, putting it up to his ear.

“Adam… ” Mahtab warned grimly, taking a step towards him. He pulled away and held his hand up. She sighed, picking up her phone. “You ripped my jacket, you asshole.”

Adam turned his palm around and flipped her off. “Bill me,” he spat. He stood glaring at her until he pulled the phone away from his face with a dejected sigh. “Just goes to voicemail.”

Mahtab strode over to him. “Was it worth it, you dumb fuck?” she asked, and punched him in the jaw with her right, injured arm. He reeled back, swatting at her, as she winced and turned away, clutching at her shoulder as pain crackled down her arm.

They stood there nursing their bruises, glowering at each other until finally Adam shoved his phone into his jeans. “All right. Fuck this and fuck you.” He grabbed his keys and wallet from off the bed. “I’m going to look for him.”

Mahtab laughed. “Oh my god. Fucking where, you retard? You have any idea where he is?”

“No, but I’m not gonna stay here with you in this goddamn hotel while he’s out there somewhere not answering his phone,” Adam replied.

“Well, I’m coming with you,” Mahtab insisted. “Until I see Cassidy I’m not letting you out of my sight.”

“Good!” Adam spat. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the look on your face when you realize what a vindictive cunt you are.”

Mahtab rolled her eyes and walked over to the door, holding her arm out. “After you, Captain Class-Act.”

Adam gave her a sour glare but walked to the doorway. “You’re too kind.” He heaved a sigh and turned to face her. “Look. We’re both pissed and might be talking a lot of shit right now, so I wanna make something clear.” He nodded. “If I find out that you’ve been lying to me and that you took Cassidy, or hurt him in any way, I will fucking murder you.” He paused. “Understood?”

Mahtab brushed a lock of hair from her eyes and returned his gaze with a subtle shake of her head. “Crystal clear.”

“All right,” Adam walked out the door. “Let’s go.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Okay,” Adrian warbled through Russell’s phone speaker, “I think I got him.”

“You think?” Russell asked, turning off of Danforth and slowing his car to a crawl down a narrow residential street.

“Yeah. I think,” Adrian curtly replied. “Look, I told you. Something happened downtown. He… it’s different. But I’m pretty sure this is him.”

Russell sighed. “Where?”

“I’m still zeroing in… ” said Adrian. “Somewhere in the Beaches.”

“You think Cassidy is trying to hide from you?” asked Russell.

“I’m… not sure,” Adrian stammered over the phone. “That’s not what it feels like. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Russell rolled his eyes. “So I’m just driving around hoping I run into him?”

“I’m working on it!” Adrian replied peevishly.

Russell kept the line open but drove wordlessly towards the Beaches, his phone obnoxiously beeping periodically to remind him it was low on power. The grey skies were darkening prematurely, and Russell resolved that if Adrian didn’t get a break soon—preferably something more substantial than a gut feeling—he was going to give up and reconvene with Mahtab to plan their next move.

The more he thought about it, though, the worse he felt. Mahtab insisted that things had changed; that they didn’t know Adam or Cassidy anymore. And maybe they didn’t. Cassidy had always been a bit of an unknown quantity, an unpredictable liability, but that was only because he was cavalier, not malicious. Russell couldn’t believe what Mahtab kept trying to convince him. Cassidy didn’t want to hurt anyone—and if he ever did, Adam wouldn’t stand for it.

In Russell’s experience, people changed glacially, at tiptoeing steps at a time. That Cassidy had gone from well-meaning if reckless to insidious, plotting, and malevolent in such a short span of time just rang false to Russell. Maybe he was just being naive.

He sighed. Magic had been supposed to make their lives easier, and now it felt like a constant headache.

“Whoa… ” came Adrian through the phone. “Okay, I definitely found something.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense, man,” Russell chimed.

“There’s a dead zone on Broadway Drive,” said Adrian. “It’s a house.”

A “dead zone” was Adrian’s term for an area that had been warded to prevent a scryer like him to see what was going on inside. The craft to maintain it wasn’t too elaborate and many of the Coven had taken such precautions once things had started becoming tense with the Circle—Russell included. Cassidy had woven one around his own house in Caledon. Though it kept a curious scryer from seeing what was going on inside, it made it obvious that someone was trying to hide something.

“Anyone we know?” asked Russell.

“Don’t think so,” Adrian replied. “Cassidy’s trail is spotty but it leads to that area… it could be a coincidence.”

“Yeah it could be,” Russell shook his head. “What’s the address?”

“I’m gonna pack up and meet you there,” Adrian announced. “I’ll be at the corner of Woodbine and Queen in… ”

“No,” said Russell firmly. “You stay there and keep an eye on the area. If Cassidy is on the move again we have to know.”

“Russell, I don’t like this. There’s something… there’s something strange about this one. I don’t like it. Wait for me and we’ll go in together.”

“No,” Russell repeated. “Stay there and keep your eyes out.”

“Russell… ”

“Adrian, we don’t have time for this,” Russell shouted at his phone. “We played our hand. If Cassidy goes off the grid we might lose him for good, and then we’re all in danger. Give me the address. Tell Mahtab and she can back me up.”

“Mahtab’s not gonna slip anywhere near a dead zone,” Adrian pointed out.

Russell rolled his eyes. “Then she can back me up the old fashioned way. Adrian. Tell me where I need to go right fucking now.”

Adrian paused, and let out an extended sigh. “You got a pen handy?”

“I don’t need one,” Russell shook his head. “Shoot.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Rodrigo sat in the middle of the birdcage while Phil and Blake snored quietly against opposite walls. The trouble that came with trying to breathe at this size, coupled with the blurring divide between night and day, made it difficult to maintain normal waking hours, but Rodrigo tried hard to fight the sleep that threatened to overtake him. Mostly the trouble was that he was so bored. There was nothing to read, no Internet to surf, no Netflix to binge, no music, no Xbox, no porn. The Master insisted they work out—he didn’t want his toys going soft—and had arranged a crude set of weight fashioned from bolts and wingnuts, ball bearings, and thick rubber bands that smelled like broccoli. This helped to pass the time but anything that was physically exerting couldn’t last too long at four inches tall. Even masturbating had him breathing too heavy and left him on the verge of fainting if he ever managed to get himself to completion.

If the guys had been awake, Rodrigo would’ve sung to himself. Cesar had been in a band that did Spanish covers of the Doors. Singing “Jinetes sobre la tempestad“ always afforded Rodrigo a sliver of comfort, and his gringo cellmates seemed to enjoy the familiar rhythm. Now he did sit-ups to perk himself back up whenever he felt himself begin to doze, but he could only manage five or six before he saw stars and had to stop.

He heard fumbling around the door; more than usual. Rodrigo closed his eyes, praying the Master wasn’t drunk. When he was drunk he was paranoid, unpredictable, impossible to assuage. He evidently liked Phil and Blake more than many of his earlier cellmates. They had lasted far longer than some of their predecessors, and the Master hadn’t brought home anyone new since Blake. But if he was drunk, all bets were off. Rodrigo felt like even his own life was in danger.

But the metallic clatter at the door continued. Rodrigo pulled himself to his feet and approached the wall of the cage, sliding his arms through the bars and leaning against them. What was going on? It had been over a minute now. As chaotic as his internment here had been, there was a level of routine to it. Something felt strange and different, and Rodrigo felt a cold fear sucking his chest in.

Finally the lock turned with a loud clack, and the door swung in a few inches, hanging there a moment before a figure appeared in the doorway and entered with trepidation, taking small quiet steps and glancing around, as if afraid he was being watched. Rodrigo squinted into the darkness, trying to make out any details. It wasn’t the tall, burly silhouette of the Master, but a shorter, skinnier figure. Was the Master being robbed? Rodrigo spent a few seconds guessing what a stranger might do if he found them, before he began to discern some familiar features.

“Russell?” he whispered in disbelief, then raised his hands to his mouth and shouted. “Russell!”

Phil started awake with a gasp. “Whuzzuh… what’s going on?”

Russell’s ears perked and he glanced bewildered around the room. Rodrigo frantically grabbed one of the bolt-and-nut weights off the floor and clanged it against the bars. This roused Blake, who sat up groggily.

Russell looked straight at the cage as Rodrigo clanged the weight again. Russell searched the wall for a light switch, and when he found it the fluorescent lights overhead flickered on. Rodrigo was briefly blinded but saw a shudder of motion in the terrarium and caught a glimpse of Penny’s furry legs disappearing into the foliage.

Russell approached the birdcage, his mouth hanging open in disbelief. It was so nice to see any face other than the Master’s, Rodrigo nearly burst into tears. Phil had backed up to the far side of the cage. “Who the fuck is that?” he hissed.

“Holy shit… ” Russell whispered. “Roddy? Holy shit… ” he glanced around. “What the hell is this place? Who did this to you?”

“Roddy what’s going on?” Blake asked quietly.

“Where’s the Master?” Phil blurted.

“Who are these guys?” asked Russell.

“Russell… ” saying his name; talking to anyone from his old life… Rodrigo felt suddenly like a person again. Everything was going to be all right. They were going to be free. But he shook his head. “Russell, there’s no time, you gotta get out of here.”

“What?!” Blake shouted. “No! Dude, get us the fuck out of here!”

“No,” Rodrigo was adamant. “He’ll be back any minute. He might be in the house right now.”

“Who?” asked Russell.

Rodrigo shook his head. “I don’t know who he is but he’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever seen before.”

“I’m not leaving without you,” said Russell, reaching to undo the clasp.

“The Master’s going to fucking kill him,” Phil mumbled darkly.

“What the fuck, Phil?” Blake demanded.

“Russell, no!” Rodrigo banged his hands against the bars. “Go get help! Come back with the rest of the Coven.”

“I’m not leaving you!” said Russell again.

“Russell I’m telling you: you cannot handle this guy. Get out. Right now.”

He came out of nowhere. Materialized out of thin air. The Master appeared behind Russell with a hammer in an upraised hand. Rodrigo’s eyes went wide and he tried to shout but already the hammer was falling.

The Master struck at the back of Russell’s head, and with a loud, electrical crack it deflected off the energy field Russell had learned to surround his body with. He called it his suit. The impact was absorbed by the suit but its force propelled him forward, and Russell stumbled with a loud “Fuck!”, bracing himself against the table. The birdcage rattled and its occupants were thrown to the floor.

The Master looked dumbfounded at the hammer, then struck again as Russell turned to face him, landing the hammer soundly on his jaw. Rodrigo could see the energy disperse across the suit—a white electric ripple coating Russell’s body like a second skin.

Russell was prepared that time and barely flinched, swatting the hammer aside and delivering a swift punch to the Master—a left to the jaw, a right to the nose. The second jab sent the Master back a step with a grunt of pain.

Russell rose to his full height, hopped away from the work table, and raised his fists in a practiced boxer’s stance, light on his feet and waiting for an opening to strike.

The Master held the hammer out defensively in front of him, his other hand going to his nose and finding blood dribbling down his face. “Oh you’re… you fucking trash nigger asshole,” he licked blood from his upper lip. “You’re fucking dead.”

Russell prepared for another assault but the Master just stood there. He spat blood on the cement floor and tossed the hammer away with a loud clatter. Russell glanced at the hammer in the floor, then gasped sharply as he felt a strange, unnameable pull tugging at his insides. His clothes began to shift over his body, and he felt suddenly lightheaded.

“No… ” Rodrigo gaped. “No no no no no!” he slammed his hands on the bars and felt hot tears welling in his eyes. “Master no! Please!”

Russell looked in bewildered horror at his hands as his body began to contract. His sleeves slid down his arms as they shrank, his collar sank down his chest. He fumbled to grab at his pants as they fell off his hips but his now-billowing shirt got in the way, and he tripped over his shoes which were becoming three, four, five sizes too big for him and more. He swore and fell forward, finding himself swimming in his tent of a shirt, even the weight of it overpowering his quickly-diminishing body.

The Master looked on, arms folded across his thick chest, a smug, victorious smile on his face. “You dumb fucking shit. You thought you could beat me? Hurt me? Kill me?!”

“Master!” Rodrigo banged his fist on the bars. “Master, he doesn’t know! Master please don’t!”

Russell fought his way out from under his shirt, and staggered to his feet. He looked up at the cavernous room, dizzy and disoriented, silently praying this was a vivid nightmare. The Master took a step towards him and the tremor he sent across the floor nearly threw Russell back on his knees.

“You fucking stupid, tiny asshole,” the Master continued, ignoring Rodrigo’s pleas. “You can’t kill me. I can do anything. You dumb fucks think you’re so fuckin great. I’m so far beyond you. You’re just pathetic. Fucking pathetic.”

He took another step towards Russell. Russell tried to back away but tripped over a fold in his shirt, falling back on his ass, gasping for breath. The Master closed the gap, towering over him like a skyscraper.

“This is what happens,” the Master barked. “This is what you get when you try to take on fucking god.” He raised his work-booted foot aloft and held it there over Russell, its gargantuan shadow enveloping him.

Blake had started to hyperventilate, and crouched low in the corner, closing his eyes covering his ears and shaking his head back and forth.

“No! Master don’t! Just put him in here with us!” Rodrigo rattled the bars of the birdcage, his voice getting hoarse. “Master please don’t do this!”

“Kill him, Master,” Phil had appeared next to Rodrigo at the bars, a strange, fanatical look in his face. “Show him how small he is. Show him how powerful you are.”

“Shut the fuck up!” Rodrigo shrieked, pushing Phil away.

“I might be persuaded to change my mind,” the Master grumbled, steadying himself on the workbench as he continued to hold his foot aloft. “I might spare you. Forgive your transgression.” He wiped blood from his lip with his hand and sniffed. “If you plead your case. Beg for your life. Show me you know that you belong to me now.”

Russell opened his mouth to speak but he could barely breathe, and only managed a strangled squeak.

The Master spat again. “Stupid fucking roach,” he grumbled, and the boot fell with a wet, sickening crunch.


Part 14: Hugo

His world was dark and cold. He felt constricted, strangled, as if buried under a mound of soil. Panic had subsided into an otherworldly calm. He couldn’t see or hear, but there was a certain degree of perception he couldn’t completely explain. He had a strange series of… he wouldn’t exactly call them sensations, but he concluded that he was being moved; was moving; had moved. How, by what, and where to, he couldn’t say.

It was clear that although his body was now beyond his means to manipulate, his mind appeared to be intact. He couldn’t really perceive time accurately, but he was sure it was passing.

You have power here, he assured himself. There must be some way to use it.

There were others who had managed to separate their body and mind, project their thoughts elsewhere; observe, even communicate with people halfway across the world. But this was never something he had learned to do, and he doubted he could teach it to himself with nothing to go on.

Except… it wasn’t nothing, was it? Something had touched him that night at WAYLA. Some entity had drilled into his mind and he had felt its presence. It had been confusing and unclear at the time but in retrospect—perhaps freed from the distractions of his biology—he understood what had happened. He had been overwhelmed by his memories, relived two years of ordeals and triumphs all at once.

He swam through the darkness back to that moment. Was it… yes. There was someone else there. A thin, delicate thread connected them to each other. He reached out. Took careful hold of it, grasped it tight, and pulled. If Will had any substance here; if Thought and Memory were no longer abstract in this bodiless void, then he focused them and all other forces he could muster on a single, simple idea. He pushed it away from him. He didn’t know if it would work, but it was all he could do to try. Cassidy called out:

I need your help.

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Brent dozed lazily through the afternoon while Nate wet-vacced up the mess. Nate fed him pizza pockets and beer after he had the place mostly cleaned up, and afterwards Brent drifted in and out of naps. He would awake to mild alarm at being barely able to move, but then would settle into revelling at his size. He felt so heavy, so thick, and it was all he could do to keep his gargantuan cock from getting hard again, not wanting to burden Nate with another sea of jizz to clean up.

They began to shrink back to normal in the evening. The process was much more subtle. As his overblown muscles began to deflate he felt his limbs aching, probably just from lying still for so long. He rose to his feet when he decided he had returned to normal, but a big thick cock flopping against his knees suggested he still had a bit of a ways to go.

He lumbered out of his room and down the hall, finding Nate almost back to his usual height lying across the couch playing with his phone, wearing the shorts he’d arrived in and a borrowed shirt of Brent’s. Nate looked up and his face blossomed into a wide smile. “Hey man! How you feelin?”

Brent shrugged. “A little out of it,” he mumbled. He leaned back and stretched with a loud yawn. “But feelin’ good. Amazing, actually.” He shook his head, massaging his neck. “I still can’t believe this actually happened.” He looked down at his body. Even diminished, his muscles were still pretty thick. “Is still happening!” he added with a chuckle.

Nate sat upright. “Yeah. S’pretty wild.” He nodded. He glanced down at his phone, then back up at Brent. “‘Know you wanted to hang out more with Pride an’ shit, but I’s out learnin’ how ‘a do this.”

Brent plopped down on the couch next to Nate. His flaccid dick had receded up his thigh and he figured he was nearly back to his normal size. “How did you learn all this?”

Nate grinned. “Sorry man, can’ really tell.”

“So… that night at the Black Eagle. You knew? Did you know the whole time?”

Nate paused. “I…” he hesitated. “Guy I learned it from s’the same guy who pumped you up,” he admitted. “Serious though, man. S’all I can say.”

“But like… he told you?” Brent pressed. “Is this someone who knows me?” He paused. “It’s not Luke or Jayson, is it?”

“I put it together,” Nate mumbled. “S’all m’gonna say, brah. Period.”

Brent nodded, leaning back. “This is nuts.”

These’re nuts,” Nate reached over and tickled Brent’s balls. Brent giggled and swatted him away.

“It’s just… wow… y’know?”

Nate rolled his eyes. “Fuck, bro, will you get over it ‘lready?”

“Come on, man, this is a big deal!” Brent protested. “Magic? It’s fucking world-changing.”

“Nah man, s’not,” Nate shook his head. “Jus’ cuz you didn’ know ‘bout it doesn’ mean s’never there, right?” He shrugged. “Sides, you did know ‘bout it. What ya think ‘at was at th’ Eagle?”

Brent raised his eyebrows. “Yeah good point.” He paused a moment. “Hey. Do you know Mahtab Nilan… uhh, Nil… I can never remember her last name. It’s long and Indian.”

“Huh?” Nate looked at him. “Who?”

“Mahtab. She… well we hung out a lot first semester. She’s at York too. And she told me… well she started telling me about this group she was a part of, and how they were like… doing magic. Like real magic and I was… like at first I thought it was just a prank or something but when it… like she seriously believed it. I just thought she was legit psycho. So after the Christmas break I just kinda cut her off. I didn’t want to deal with her. After the Eagle…” he dropped his gaze. “I wanted to say sorry but I didn’t know, like, what would happen, y’know? And I just had been like, ‘don’t tell anyone about it.’ Especially after the drug test and all that shit with Tyler and Farhan.”

“I’unno man… thi’ shit’s all…” Nate shook his head vigorously. “Naw man fuck all ‘at. No mopin’, got me?” The finger he pointed in Brent’s face was stern, but the smile behind it was impish as ever. “Didn’ come here t’hang wi’ a downer all day. S’exciting. Get excited, y’fuckin dumbass.”

Brent’s smile returned. “Sorry. You’re right. This IS exciting.”

“‘Can make it permanent too, bro,” said Nate, putting his arm around Brent and rubbing his shoulder. “Big s’you want. Twenny-four-seven.”

“Yeah?” Brent raised an eyebrow. “Jesus…”

“Yeah, man. Gon’ get some shit sorted out an’en you might be the short one,” Nate winked.

Brent’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”

“Think I’d go t’all the trouble an’ not use this on me?” Nate chuckled and shook his head. “Always knew I’s destined for bigger things.”

“Wait… seriously?” Brent turned to him. “What’ll you tell people?”

“I’unno,” Nate shrugged. “Who gives a shit?”

“Well like…” Brent stammered, “how big are we talking about?”

“Stop worryin’, man!” Nate chided laboriously, squeezing his shoulder. “S’gonna be great. Ev’thing’s gon’ be fine.” He leaned his head on Brent’s shoulder. “Jus’ got… gotta…” he voice drawled off.

Brent felt Nate’s grip on his shoulder go limp. “Nate?” he shook him by the knee. “What is it?”

Nate sat upright, then stood. He seemed suddenly uncomfortable and confused. “I… jus’ hol’ on a sec.”

Nate darted to the washroom. Brent sat forward as Nate shut the door behind him. “Nate? What the hell? Are you okay?”

“S’fine!” Nate called through the door.

Brent stood up, confused and not really sure what to do. He stood close to the door and held his breath, listening for anything from within, but there was only silence.

He exhaled and plodded back to his room, the potential crisis making him suddenly and acutely aware of his nudity. He returned in boxers and a thin white undershirt, and was briefly relieved when he saw Nate emerge from the bathroom. But when he saw his face, Brent began to worry again. Nate wasn’t smiling. He seemed pale and stressed and maybe even… afraid.


Nate turned to him, and for a brief fraction of a moment he looked back at Brent with a strange longing, fear, and helplessness. But it was just a flash, like an errant frame on a movie reel. His grin returned, he shrugged, rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Sorry man, I jus’ forgot some’in,” he chuckled. “I act’ly gotta split.” He reached out and pulled Brent’s neck down, craning up to kiss him. It was a short, affectionate kiss—not his usual sloppy tongue-thrash. And as their lips parted, Nate held Brent’s head close and pressed their foreheads against each other.

It was nice, but it was weird. Brent could see that something had changed. The fluffy cartoon clouds of excitement for the future seemed to have suddenly turned into a lingering putrid smoke of doubt that they even had a future. Brent knew it had happened. He knew it. But as Nate drew away from him he giggled and smirked bashfully like he always did. Nate was trying to make Brent think that change hadn’t occurred; Brent was too scared and confused to just call out the bullshit. They might as well had both been mind-readers.

“Nate…” Brent took a faltering step forward as Nate slipped into his shoes. “I… you know if there’s ever something wrong that I’m… I’d have your back. I’d want to help. I…” he stammered. “Like, you get that, right?”

Another brief break in the facade. The smile twitched, betraying its deceit, his eyes trembled with uncharted depths of understanding and… maybe regret. Depths Brent hadn’t realized Nate possessed.

And just like before, it fell away into the practiced casual, easy-going charm he always exhibited. He cupped one hand at the side of his mouth, called out “Gayyyyyy!” and disappeared out the door.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

As Nate rounded the corner and Brent’s house dropped out of view, his brow furrowed, his grin hardened into a frown. He glanced around for somewhere he could focus. He’d tried in the bathroom but Brent was too distracting. He needed something nice and serene.

There was an old folks’ home at the intersection. In the middle of a sparsely populated parking lot was a small island of thin yellowing sod inhabited by a gangly red maple sapling and a cracked cement garbage bin. It’d do. He jogged over to it, sat down with his back against the garbage bin, closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

The sky was still mostly overcast but even through his eyelids he could see the light of the sun shifting behind the clouds. A cicada was keening nearby. The sounds of motors and horns and reverberating bass beats from Finch Steet rattled like stones in a dryer, and there was a distant echo of playground noise; an incoherent rabble of childish shrieks and shouts. This was better. This could work. Nate pulled himself out of all that and listened for what he had heard before.

Yes, there it was. Someone had tried to present an idea. But it was all crumpled up like a wad of paper. He had to peel it apart very carefully, lest it slip through his fingers and he lose it again. Whoever had sent this had no clue what they were doing.

Nate had been reading thoughts for a while, and had arrived at a number of insights. First and most importantly: every human mind was unique. While there was overlap in shared experiences everyone generally had their own set of interpretations, associations, and representations for even very basic and simple ideas. Reading surface thoughts, probing memories, and digging through someone’s knowledge was one thing. It was like looking through a library or a computer database—albeit without the help of a card catalogue or logically nested folders—but once you found what you were looking for, you were set. But someone was trying to send him an idea or an instruction, and it was so loaded with subtext and abstractions that it essentially had to be decoded.

When it had hit him, he immediately felt a rush of adrenaline, which—coming on while lazily dozing next to Brent—had confused and alarmed him. He felt like he was being attacked. Even now he found this concept cloaked with desperation and dripping with panic. Whatever was going on, it was dangerous, maybe even deadly.

Things began to align themselves in a way Nate found recognizable. He realized it had come from Cassidy, but the particulars were still muddled. He tried to follow the line back and… everything sort of exploded, beyond even a scope that Cassidy understood. Cassidy had unwittingly provided Nate with what amounted to a phone line in an otherwise locked room; a room in which Cassidy was not alone. It all unloaded on Nate so fast he was immediately flooded with memories and emotions and experiences. His heart started to race, stars speckled the inside of his eyelids, there was a tenebrous pitch rising in his ears, and pain lanced through his brain from every direction at once.

Nate pulled himself out with a gasp and after a momentary reprieve, a sharp ache seeped into his head. He held the bridge of his nose and cringed, waiting for it to pass, too distracted by agony to sort out everything he had seen. But as the eye-popping migraine subsided into a dull, mild hangover headache, it all became very clear.

Nate had never wanted this kind of thing. Drama and danger. His preferred genre of adventure was whimsical jaunt, not harrowing quests. Lives on the line? What kind of masochist wants to deal with that shit? Nate had a burly, growth-hungry beefcake a literal five minute walk from where he sat. A beefcake that liked him. Liked him a lot. He could go back there, he knew. He could just ignore all this bullshit and let nature take its course. He didn’t know these people; what did he care? This didn’t involve him. He didn’t owe any of these people the time of day. He owed something to Brent. He owed it to Brent to stay alive, and not risk his life for a bunch of strangers… Right…?

A mixed blessing of being a telepath was that more often than not you had a better idea of what kind of person one was than they did themselves. He’d always thought that skill had given him some insight into what kind of person he was: someone who didn’t get involved if he didn’t have an angle. He could go back to Brent, never mention any of it, and no one could ever give him any shit over it. He could leave all those people to whatever fate had in store for them. He could. That was an option. It was a decision he could make. It didn’t matter that he was their only hope. It didn’t matter that if he didn’t try to help them, nobody else would.


Nate stood up and dusted off his shorts. He was just wasting time trying to convince himself. In reality, he already knew that he was about to do something incredibly heroic.

He kicked dejectedly at the grass. “Aww, maaaaaan…”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Just as Adam and Mahtab were retreating down the alleyway, Nate was walking up the street behind them. Everyone around him was buzzed and horny, so he had closed off his senses to them. There wasn’t much point to scanning anyone; he had a pretty complete picture of what was going on. He wasn’t there on recon anyway. He wasn’t familiar with many of the active players, and how they might react to his involvement was just a guess. He’d decided he needed to get some backup that was more predictable.

Even with the cloud cover it was still light out but the Black Eagle already had a line. Nate sighed and sidled up at the back, eavesdropping on a trio of twentysomething bears and cubs in front of him.

“… but dude, look at the fuckin bouncer!” The larger of the bears was saying. “He was big but never that big.”

“Lookit, jus’ cuz it’s a good hoax don’t make it any less a hoax,” countered a blonde bearded guy who looked like he had just started bulking up. “I saw a thing on Facebook that said it’s a publicity stunt for Magic Mike.”

“I dunno, man, that’s pretty thorough,” replied a shorter tanned cub. “Like there’s a bunch of Youtube vids, all from different accounts… and if they’re fake I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

“So what,” the blonde dropped his shoulders. “What, it’s all real? Bunch o’ guys—at the fuckin Eagle—spontaneously turn into bodybuilders an’ pornstars an’ supermodels? For no reason? Got any ‘splanation for that?”

“Hey man, I’m not sayin’ I can explain it,” the cub shrugged his thick shoulders. “But… well yeah. Look at that bouncer. How do you explain it?”

Nate turned away, suppressing a chuckle, before realizing he’d been standing there for five minutes and the line hadn’t moved. A quick read of Daniel—the freakishly overmuscled bouncer who was attracting so much attention—revealed that they were keeping their numbers low until more staff showed up. Until then, no one else was getting in before people inside left. Nate was surprised Daniel was thinking so clearly with all these guys flirting with him—feeling his arms and chest; asking for selfies with him; or just staring at him with shameless lust.

The second bouncer, Hugo, was a bit peevish. While Daniel had had this job for years and was a loyal friend to the owner, Hugo only came in every now and then, and only did it so he could pick up guys at the bar. Hugo had already been in good shape, and the previous night Nate had grown him nearly a foot taller to a respectable six-foot-four, which he seemed happy with but was upset at all the attention Daniel was getting.

Christ, Nate thought to himself. I make this guy taller overnight and he still finds something to bitch about.

Still, it gave Nate a decent idea on how to kill two birds with one stone.

“Off the stairs,” Daniel grumbled softly at the next couple of guys in line—two middle aged bears with tasseled leather jackets hanging open over their otherwise bare chests.

The one in the cowboy hat took a step back. “I tell ya, man. Wasn’t sure I believed it. Didn’ think you could get any bigger.”

“Hmm,” Daniel acknowledged mirthlessly, and turned his gaze to the rest of the line.

Hugo rolled his eyes. It had been like this all night. All these guys fawning over Daniel, whose stoic, joyless responses only seemed to drive them even crazier for him. That, and Daniel hadn’t bothered to buy a new shirt and showed up for his shift bare-chested.

Meanwhile no one even bothered to bat an eye at Hugo. Sure, he’d gotten considerably taller but he worked there so sporadically no one had retained a mental “before” image to compare him to. The dark-eyed blonde leaned against the wall with a sigh. He had imagined the life of a Church Street bouncer would be much more glamorous—though as the thought occurred to him now it seemed a bit silly.

He was probably just exhausted. All the excitement from the night before had made for a restless sleep, not to mention a couple rails of coke. The novelty of all that weirdness was more than enough to keep him happy.

But he felt something strange beyond that. He’d been so high last night it had been difficult so sort out one from the other. But he was stone sober, and there was a strange tautness in his guts that went far deeper than the run-of-the-mill anxiety he sometimes experienced at this job. He furrowed his brow. It felt familiar. Was it happening again?

He got his answer as his clothes began to get extra snug around his frame. He looked down and saw his chest puffing out under his shirt. He spread his arms, glancing back and forth between them. “Uhh…Daniel?”

“Mmm,” Daniel replied, nodding slowly as he looked out at the crowd, attempting (not for the first time) to fold his arms across his chest before realizing his arms were too big and settling for resting them on his hips.

One of the leather clad cowboys was the first to notice, his eyes bugging out and his mouth hanging open. He pointed, trying to get his friend’s attention but apparently at a loss for words. Daniel turned to see what had him so agitated, and his eyes shot wide open. “Muddasic!” he exclaimed, reaching for his walkie. He had a little trouble finding an angle that would get it close to his mouth. “Code green! We gotta code green out front. I’ll be needin some support out here on the double!”

Hugo was already starting to feel the shirt straining to contain him. His feet were getting cramped in the converse hi-tops he had had to buy today to make up for his feet jumping three sizes last night. And it looked like he’d be making another trip tomorrow. He looked to Daniel for some help but Daniel had his hands full containing the line, which had begun to notice Hugo’s ongoing gains and were swarming the velvet rope to get a better look.

Hugo was so wrapped up in his muscles bulging bigger that it wasn’t until the cuffs of his jeans started riding up his swelling calves that he realized he was getting taller again as well. He couldn’t be too far from seven feet.

Two out of three guys in the gathering crowd had their phones out taking videos, and the clamour of disbelief was becoming deafening. “Take it off!” he heard someone yell.

His collar was nearly strangling his neck and he was pretty sure a seam had split over one shoulder. “I don’t think I can!” Hugo shouted back with a grin.

“Show off your guns!” someone else called, and a chorus of hoots and cheers followed. Daniel’s gigantic frame was a literal wall at the base of the stairs, but he seemed to be struggling to keep people from climbing over him.

Hugo, basking in the attention, raised both arms up, clenched his fists, and flexed. Immediately another wave of growth radiated through his body. His sleeves popped open as his biceps ballooned to the size of bowling balls. His shirt split right down the middle, revealing his hairless, gargantuan pecs atop a cut, bulging eight-pack. The seams of his jeans popped, yielding to his expanding buttocks and thighs thick as columns, all as he felt himself getting bigger everywhere. Everywhere. He opened his mouth and gasped as the fly of his jeans blew open and his inflating dick forced the zipper apart.

The door opened and Carl and Darcy emerged, each holding a beach towel. They rushed down the stairs and both immediately took a step back as they looked up at Hugo.

The growth seemed to have ended, and Hugo panted for breath as he looked down at himself, his destroyed jeans sliding down his legs. His T-shirt had become a miniscule vest, his new shoes had split open, and his CK underwear was barely holding on around his thick bubble butt and strangled cock and balls. The crowd cheered, and camera flashes sparkled through the street. He felt like he was headlining a rock concert. He had to be almost 8 feet tall, built like a mac truck, and only a quickly diminishing sense of modesty kept him from reaching down right there and jacking off his huge cock in front of all his adoring fans.

“Do I…” Darcy tentatively raised his towel. “Should I cover him up?”

“Nah,” Carlos sighed. “He’s into it.” He brushed past a passerby who had skipped the line and was trying to get at Hugo, arranging himself opposite Daniel on the sidewalk.

The crowd was losing their minds. People were roiling against Daniel trying to shout at Hugo.

“Take it off!”

“Do a lat spread!”

“Show us your cock!”


“Are you on Grindr?”


Somehow the crowd had latched onto it, and were chanting “Beef-i-er! Beef-i-er!” over and over in unison.

Hugo chuckled, spreading his hands helplessly. “I don’t think it works that way, guys,” he said apologetically, pleased at the lower octave rumbling out of his throat.

“Uhh…” Darcy had to intone loudly to be heard over the crowd. “Hugo? It might…”

Hugo felt his face bristling, and put a hand up to feel a short but full and even beard covering his formerly clean-shaven face.

The sensation seemed to be travelling down his body, and he watched a carpet of thick blonde fur unfurl down his chest, narrowing into a thinner trail as it loped through his abs. But just as it crawled under his tight undies and into his pubes—which he felt getting bushier—his newly acquired eight-pack disappeared under a generous layer of fat.

“Whoa,” Hugo’s eyed widened at the belly ballooning into view from under his thick furry pecs. He put both hands on it and felt it expanding under his palms. It was soft but sturdy, and he gave it a few experimental bounces as it settled into a sizeable musclegut. Another splash of warmth burst outward from his belly. His pecs jutted out further, his arms thickened even more, his ass swelled against the wall, sliding up as he grew yet a few more inches taller, and finally his cock and balls grew too big for his underwear to handle, and they split open, spilling out his half-hard, two-foot chubby manhood, and allowing his softball ball-sized testicles to hang free.

A flurry of camera flashes urged Daniel to check in on Hugo, and the big man’s stoicism faltered into awe as he looked up at Hugo’s gigantic frame, larger than not only anyone’s gains from the previous night but larger than anyone Daniel had ever heard of. His moment of reverie was enough for one of the cowboys to push past Daniel and charge Hugo. Darcy moved to cover up Hugo with his beach towel but the burly cowboy shoved him into the stairwell and pressed up against Hugo’s round gut, his head not even coming up to his chest.

“I’ll do anything you want. Please. Let me do anything. Please.”

Him getting through opened the floodgates, and soon the sidewalk was filled with guys pleading for Hugo’s attention.

“Fuck,” Carlos was forced to back away, and surveyed the mounting chaos outside of his bar; at Daniel struggling to get guys off the steps while simultaneously trying to stop others from joining in.

“Hey… hey guys come on,” Hugo warned. “I don’t want to hurt anybody…”

“Hurt me!” a big, thick, fully decked-out leather daddy shouted up at him. “I’ve been looking for a man who could for years!”

Even light nudges were sending guys sprawling backward against the crowd. Hugo realized that if he wasn’t careful he could easily kill someone.

“Fuck!” Carlos swore as someone shoved him away.

Oh shit, Hugo thought. Am I gonna be like this forever?

Multiple men were pressing against him, hands groping everywhere. Hugo didn’t know what to do. And then someone got a hold of his cock.

Hugo was completely unprepared for the sensations his new genitals came equipped with. Suddenly his anxieties dissolved. He wasn’t worried about tomorrow. He wasn’t worried about an hour from then. All that he knew was the now. And right now someone had their thick, sweaty hands running up and down his shaft, and was slowly pressing a tongue into his urethra. He couldn’t even see who it was, there were so many guys all over him—squeezing his huge arms, craning their necks to kiss and suck on his hard nipples, running their fingers through the hair on his big hard belly. He didn’t care that he was huge and naked on a well lit street with dozens of people watching and filming him. Hadn’t he always been? This had become his past present and future.

Fuck!” Carlos shouted, setting his jaw and shaking his head. He cupped his hands over his mouth and commanded Darcy: “Call the cops!”

“Fuck,” Darcy observed, and turned to clamber up the stairs.

“Yeah. Fuck.” Carlos agreed.

Hugo was breathing hard, his chest heaving with every moan. Someone was working his balls now. Someone was licking his feet. Hugo’s hands fumbled limp through them like he was feeling his way through a dark room, until one short otter in a spiked collar and elaborate harness grabbed his hand and started sucking on his sausage-sized fingers. He felt someone trying to get as his asshole but his butt was pressed up against the wall, so he thrust his hips forward and leaned back with his shoulders. His flash-harem adjusted quickly, and immediately he had one pair of hands on each testicle, and after finding his gigantic ass too thick to rim, the denim-clad bear stuck his two middle fingers in Hugo’s asshole.

Why is everyone in love with me? thought Hugo. Why am I so much bigger and stronger than everyone else? Why am I so huge and powerful? Why am I being worshipped?

I must be God.

His newly-minted cult did nothing to discourage this theory. Further away there were panicked shouts, frantic conversations, a dull white noise of chatter. His immediate vicinity was awash with the sounds of pleasure. Moans, groans, gasps, slurps, kisses; the odd whispered promise of servitude to him. Every inch of him felt amazing, and there were just so many inches.

Giving up on attempting to deflate the situation, Carlos lumbered off the sidewalk through the gathering crowd. Maybe it… maybe it wasn’t so bad…? But as he got to the middle of Church Street and turned around, that small hope dissolved. Hugo stood two feet—at least—taller than the alcove leading up into the Black Eagle. Huge, nude, and being pleasured by a crowd of leather and denim daddies. He could see where this was going, and with at least thirty cameras filming the whole thing he couldn’t imagine this not making the news. And while he appreciated the publicity, Carlos had a feeling this time would end up being more trouble than it was worth.

Hugo felt sweat dripping down his body, greedily licked off by a dozen eager tongues. “Oh fuck,” he groaned into the air, looking up at the darkening twilit sky. He felt a strange sensation in his crotch; a familiar bubbling, but less like a pot on the stove than a volcano. He clenched his ass reflexively, and whoever had their hand up there sucked their teeth as they found it trapped between two cheeks of solid brawn.

“I’m,” Hugo gasped. “I’m…” his voice trailed off. He felt that building pressure move from his groin at an aching crawl up his pulsing, iron-hard shaft. The hands stroking it seemed to sense this, increasing their pace and becoming more florid in their massage. None of them had ever given a hand job to a schlong they could share with multiple people, and evidently this new opportunity was bringing out a heretofore untapped creative side. Further and further he felt the pressure extend down his dick, over and over amazed at just how much cock he had. Finally it reached his head, and exploded.

Carlos threw both hands to his face in shock, disbelief, and the thought “what the hell am I supposed to do about this” as Hugo’s twenty-six inch cock hosed down the crowd of ravenous adorers in front of him. The cowboy who had his tongue up his slit was bowled over onto his ass, a thick layer of jizz covering his face. As he fell away the torrent sprayed forth and struck Daniel in the back with such force he staggered forward to retain his footing. The remaining worshippers giggled like children playing in a sprinkler as they were splashed with Hugo’s hot cum. While for some, getting covered in a nine-foot tall giant’s semen pulled them out of the moment, for others it only drew them deeper. Men licked Hugo’s spunk off each other, rubbed it on their skin like it was lotion, shook it from their hair as if they had just taken a shower. Finally the geyser extinguished and Hugo leaned back, panting heavily as his chest heaved. He massaged his belly as he waited to catch his breath, dull post-coital fireworks still popping through his brain.

Carlos glanced around at the onlookers on Church Street in an attempt to read their expressions. Equal parts confusion, disgust, arousal, and fascination. A generous puddle of jizm had amassed on the sidewalk.

“Daniel!” he barked. “We need to get him off the street! Now!”

“You outta your mind, man?” Daniel retorted. “No way dat boy fittin’ into the bar!”

Carlos clenched his teeth. “That’s why I said ‘off the street.’ Come on!”

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Tyson drew up the bottle of tequila a foot and a half from the bar, letting the liquor splash as he filled five neatly arranged shot glasses. He expertly spun the bottle in his hand before depositing it back on the shelf behind him. He slid a slice of lemon into each glass and slammed a salt shaker next to them, spreading his arms as he leaned on the bar like he was presenting a piece of art. “That’ll be thirty, please,” he said, adding a wink for good measure.

The fifty-something waifish diva flitted his heavily mascaraed eyes and slid two twenties across the bar, letting his hand linger on the bills so that when Tyson went to pick them up, the diva ran his fingers over the back of his hand. “Keep the change, gorgeous,” he cooed with a (probably fake) southwestern American accent, and delicately picked up all five shots at once, disappearing into the crowd.

Paul, who had finally started to enjoy himself, stifled a laugh. “Good lord, you are such a bloody trollop,” he chuckled. Paul always got more British when he was on M.

Tyson, meanwhile, had decided to play the night sober. He had a lot more mass and had reasoned that he didn’t know his limits anymore. He had resolved to test them in a controlled environment, but maybe after the weekend. He was happy with that decision because he was making a goddamn killing. Tyson was a natural charmer to begin with. Suddenly being one of the beefiest guys in the room had upped his game to another level, and he was raking in tips he could scarcely believe.

To Paul, he just spread his arms with a grin. “Don’t hate the player, man.”

Paul cackled loudly—even though it hadn’t been that funny a joke—and turned to the newest patron approaching the bar. “What can I get you mate?”

The short fit buzzed white kid pointed across the bar. “Need t’talk at Tyson.” Tyson glanced over, immediately recognizing him as the guy who had almost fainted a couple nights earlier. And he’d been in just the previous night, as well, right before all the chaos broke out.

Paul shot his co-worker an impressed smirk, and the two maneuvered around each other—which had been much easier yesterday—and switched spots.

Tyson motioned his hand in front of his chest. “If you want to ask about… all this, I don’t really…”

The kid shook his head. “No. S’not about that.” He leaned forward. “Aight, look. Tyson, you gotta come wi’ me. Righ’ now.”

Tyson paused, but his look of concern quickly melted into a bashful smile. “Look man, I’m flattered and… like, I mean you’re a pretty cute guy I wouldn’t even be against it it’s just, y’know, I’m working and I can’t just…”

“No. No, I…” the kid interjected, shaking his head. He seemed to lose his place for a moment, and then sighed, leaning further across the bar. “It’s Blake.”

The colour drained from Tyson’s face. “How… who…”

“Blake,” the kid reiterated with more force. “Th’same Blake. S’in trouble, man. ‘M tryin t’help him but I need your help, Tyson. An’ we gotta go righ’ fuckin’ now.”

Tyson stared blankly at him, stood up from the bar and looked around for a moment, before leaning back down. “Who the fuck even are you?” he asked with exasperation.

“Nate,” he replied quickly. He put a hand to his chest. “I’m Nate, you’re Tyson, ‘e’s Blake.” he softly pounded his fist on the bar. “‘Can ‘splain everythin, but we runnin’ outa time. We gotta go now, man. Righ’ now.”

Tyson had been having a weird couple of nights. There had to be a point where he put his foot down and said enough is enough, not get wrapped up in some more bullshit. But if it was true… if Blake hadn’t been seen since the night they were together, and was in trouble, then maybe it had something to do with Tyson.

“Jus’ gotta trus’ me, man,” Nate shrugged. “Make up your mind, though. S’if you ain’ comin’ I gotta go on my own.”

Tyson stood up again. He took a deep breath and glanced back at Nate, who was tapping an imaginary wristwatch.

“Shit,” Tyson whispered under his breath, and slid over next to Paul. “Paul I gotta take care of something. I gotta go.”

Paul made a face. “Dude,” he protested, gesturing to the crowded bar.

“It’s an emergency,” Tyson pleaded.

“Yeah an emergency shag,” Paul shot back with a roll of his eyes.

“C’mon man you know I wouldn’t do this to you if it wasn’t a big deal,” said Tyson, putting a hand on Paul’s shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

Paul shrugged the hand off but conceded with a sigh. “What’ll I tell Carlos?”

“Let me worry about that,” Tyson replied, already shimmying away. He swivelled out from behind the bar and slapped Nate on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

As he led Nate out of the stairwell leading into the bar, Tyson was surprised to find Darcy hosing off the steps, with no sign of Daniel or Hugo.

“Darcy?” Tyson raised his eyebrow, looking at the pile of torn clothes and men covered in jizz. “What the hell happened?”

Darcy was about to answer when Nate grabbed Tyson’s wrist. “‘Ll tell you all abou’it on th’way.” He took off at a run still holding onto Tyson, who nearly toppled over, still unused to being so top-heavy. Nate dragged him through the crowd until finally they broke through and hurried down the street.


Part 15: Adrian

The Master pulled his boot away and the sight turned Rodrigo’s stomach. A crimson mess of gore stained Russell’s crumpled shirt on the floor.

“No…” he whimpered. “You didn’t have to… he was only…”

“You!” the Master shoved a meaty finger in Rodrigo’s face and the tiny man stumbled backward with a start. “I knew you were going to be a problem eventually. I should’ve just added you to my gallery. Those clueless fucking douchebags can’t save you, you pathetic little shit! They come at me they’ll end up just like this shitstain.”

“You’re a fucking psycho!” Rodrigo suddenly exploded. “You need to turn people into toys just so you can… I don’t even know! Feel like a big tough guy?”

The Master shook his head in disbelief. “Oh you are fucking dead, roach…”

“What difference does it make? When’s it ever going to be enough for you you fucking pathetic loser! Can’t even get a guy to come home with you unless you can fit him in your hand!”

“Roddy, stop! Please!” Blake begged from the corner.

“You’re so fucking stupid,” Rodrigo went on. “No one notices? No one cares?” Rodrigo pointed at the pile of clothing. “He cared. His friends care. And when they come looking for him… god, are you fucked.”

“No one’s coming for him,” the Master growled. “No one’s coming for any of you, you dumb fucking bugs. Fuck…” He bent down and scooped up the pile of clothing, tossing the articles one by one in the garbage bin by the door. “I’ve protected you. Fed you. Cleaned up your piss and shit. And all I ever get from you is fucking grief. You think anyone out there gives a shit about some nobody ‘spic from buttfuck nowhere?” He returned to the cage, grabbed the water bottle from its side, and yanked it off, pouring the water out with a loud splatter onto the cement floor before tossing the empty bottle in the garbage. “Good fucking luck, dumbass.”

“Master, please!” Phil ran up to the bars. “Don’t leave me! You know I’d never…”

“Shut up!” shouted the Master. He reached out and unhooked the door of the cage. Rodrigo’s eyes widened and he scrambled to the far side. But the Master reached inside and grabbed Phil around his waist, pulling him out and roughly depositing him in the front pocket of his shirt.

Phil fumbled around to right himself. “Oh thank you, Master! I…”

“I said shut the fuck up!” the Master shouted again, and Phil clamped his hands on his ears, wincing.

“Still looks a bit crowded in there,” said the Master, a crooked grin on his round face. He thrust his hand through the opening. Blake tried to dart to the other side but the Master’s hand moved quickly, knocking Rodrigo to the floor as it did, and grabbed Blake by the leg. He pulled him to the ground, dragged him into the middle of the cage, then gripped him around the waist.

“No!” Blake cried. “Please just leave me alone!”

“If you say so,” said the Master as he pulled Blake clear of the opening. He turned, slid the door of the terrarium open, and dropped Blake inside.

“No!” Rodrigo scrambled to his feet and rushed to the bars. “Please! Master I’m… I’m sorry! I didn’t know what I was saying! Blake wanted me to stop! He respects you!”

“Blake?” asked the Master as the terrarium door slid closed with a snap. “Who the fuck is Blake?”

“Master, I’m sorry!” Rodrigo pleaded. “I didn’t mean it! Please take him out of there, I’ll do whatever you want!”

“All I want you to do is starve to fuckin’ death,” said the Master with a shrug. He turned and walked towards the door. “And it looks like that’s pretty much in the bag.”

He flicked off the light and slammed the door behind him.

Rodrigo raced to the side that faced the terrarium, already dizzy from the stress of the last few minutes, praying that Blake could at least hold out until help came. When had Penny been fed last? His eyes were still adjusting to the darkness and he couldn’t see much of anything.

“Roddy?” he weakly heard the quavering voice of Blake through the glass.

“Be quiet!” Roddy hissed.

“Where is she?”

“Blake shut up, seriously!” said Roddy. “I can’t see her. Don’t say anything and don’t move!”

Would it help? Would it at least delay her? He had to believe someone would come for Russell. If Blake could hold out long enough, he might be saved. But how long? After all this time living inches away from her, Rodrigo still had little idea what Penny was capable of. He didn’t really know how she hunted, or how often she needed to feed.

He didn’t know much of anything about tarantulas.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Adrian’s heart skipped a beat.

He could never really tell what that meant. His pursuits had been problematic from the start. He’d wanted to be able to see everything—to know everything, but it had always been an issue trying to sort out what his spellcraft was telling him, and what his imagination was piecing together.

Adrian had tried to supplement his magic with technology. He was fairly proud of his progress, though his innovations had been unsung by the majority of his peers. He had hoped his talents would award him favour with Harry; maybe gain him access to more resources, but only Russell and Mahtab seemed to take note of his value, and their involving him in their clandestine investigation had been more of a compliment to Adrian than the two of them likely realized.

Adrian didn’t know any details. His powers never laid it all out for him. All he ever got were feelings. Strange, instinctual spikes in his subconscious that were difficult to describe to others. And his instincts were telling him that something bad had happened. Something horrible, awful, and evil. And it had something to do with Russell. What it had to do with Russell, he couldn’t articulate. But the general feeling of unease he had had the whole day had intensified, and Adrian knew there had to be something more to it than just his imagination playing tricks on him.

Adrian stared at Google Maps application he had modded. At the black square on Boardwalk Drive; the dead zone he had sent Russell into. Something had gone wrong.

Adrian picked up his phone and dialled Russell. It went straight to voicemail. He hung up without leaving a message.

Russell had said his phone was dying… maybe it was nothing to worry about. But that’s not what Adrian’s gut was telling him. He called Liam.

“Hey Adrian,” Liam greeted. “How’s it goin’?”

“Not good,” Adrian replied. “I think Russell’s in trouble. Can you pick me up?”

Liam stuttered a bit. “Of… yeah, of course. Is… what’s going on? What happened?”

“I don’t know,” said Adrian. “I just got a bad feeling.”

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The Master reached into his pocket and pulled out Phil, depositing him nonchalantly on the kitchen counter. Phil climbed to his feet. He wanted to express his gratitude for sparing him; reiterate his devotion to the living god, but he was wary of the Master’s warning to keep quiet, so he stood still and watched in silence.

The Master tore a square of paper towel from a roll hanging off the underside of a cupboard, wiping blood from his nose as he moved into the living room. He stood there a moment, looking around the room.

“Fuck,” he swore quietly to himself. “Fuckin dicks.”

“What’s wrong, Master?” Phil ventured. “What can I do to help?”

The Master rolled his eyes. “He’s right. They’re gonna come after him. I have to leave.”

“Take me with you, Master!” Phil pleaded.

The Master turned to look at Phil, and a slow, fiendish grin crept onto his face. “No.”

“But Master, I—”

“You’ve served me well, insect,” said the Master as he approached the counter. “Now is your chance to show me just how grateful to me you are. Prove yourself and I will show you power you’ve never imagined.”

Phil felt giddy with joy. “Anything, Master.”

“He’s right. People are gonna come looking for them,” the Master pointed with his thumb at the door to the garage. “But you’re going to be here waiting for them.” His grin widened. “And you’re going to kill them all.”

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Mahtab stood in the crowded club with her arms crossed across her chest, scowling at Adam as he leaned across the bar, showing the servers a picture of Cassidy on his phone. This was the fourth bar on Church Street they had been into, and she’d already gotten hit on twice; once by a lesbian and once by a guy who thought she was in drag. Normally she was liberal-minded enough to not let any of that bother her, but she’d been irritated all day and it was not helping. Finally he turned, scowling into empty space as opposed to making eye contact with her, and stormed past her on his way out of the bar.

Mahtab wriggled through the crowd and followed him outside where he stood awkwardly in the middle of the street—closed for Pride—with his hands on his hips and his shoulders hunched, staring at the pavement. Mahtab walked up beside him, swivelling to face him, her hands in her jacket pockets, one fiddling with the fraying threads from the rip Adam had inflicted earlier. Adam stood up straight, craning his neck, grunting as he stretched his back.

“He hasn’t seen him,” he mumbled.

“That’s getting progressively less shocking with every bar,” Mahtab retorted. She glanced around. “Look the crowd’s starting to pick up. Pretty soon there’ll be way too many people here.”

“You go then,” Adam spat. “I’ll stay here and actually…”

“Adam—Christ—listen to me,” Mahtab waved a hand across his face. “I need to find Cassidy. We’re on the same side here. We both want the same thing.” She folded her arms and sucked her teeth. “For the moment anyway.”

“Then help me,” Adam waved his arms. “Don’t just…”

“I am helping you you fucking doofus,” Mahtab hissed. “You’re just too hopped up on adrenaline to give a shit. You just want to feel like you’re doing something as opposed to something useful.”

“Hey, this is the only plan I got!”

“Are you kidding me? This is barely even a plan.” Mahtab sighed. “Let’s assume you’re right and the idea was to stay away from you, he wouldn’t go to the first place you’d go looking for him. His parents live in Toronto, right?”

Adam rolled his eyes. “He wouldn’t just show up there.”

“Well he had to spend the night somewhere,” Mahtab shrugged. “Let’s at least rule them out. We’ll call them. You got their number?”

“How am I supposed to call them without tipping them off?” asked Adam impatiently. “If he’s not there and they know he’s missing they’ll lose their shit. They’re lawyers. They’re fucking nuts.”

Mahtab rolled her eyes. “You can be such a fucking retard sometimes I can’t even believe it.” She pulled out her phone. “Give me their number.”

Adam just looked at her for a moment before sighing and pulling out his phone. She held out her hand and he shook his head. “Just look. We’re not doing all that again.”

Mahtab snorted a derisive chuckle but didn’t touch his phone. She put hers to her ear and held up her finger for silence.

“… Hi there, my name’s Shannon Ginsberg I’m calling from the office of York University alumni… affairs. I’d like to speak to Cassidy Hamilton, please?… Oh! Well of course I’m so sorry!” She pursed her lips and shook her head at Adam. “Uh huh?… Y-… Yes please; go ahead… uh huh… ok great. We’ll update our information; sorry to bother you… Uh huh? Ok great, thanks… Yes, you too… Uh huh, I will thanks.” She turned to Adam and rolled her eyes. “Ok great take care now!” She quickly hung up the phone.

“Shannon Ginsberg?” Adam crossed his arms and arched his eyebrow.

She shrugged, and glanced at her phone. “Oh shit! I missed a call from Adrian!” she exclaimed, quickly dialling again and holding the phone to her ear, sticking a finger in the other.

“Hey, Mahtab?” asked Adrian from the other end of the line.

“Yeah Adrian what’s up? Have you heard from Russell?” Mahtab made her way to an empty driveway to get away from the crowd, and Adam followed.

“No but…” Adrian hesitated. “His phone was dying… I… I went out to find him. Liam’s with me. We… we found Russell’s car.”

“Where are you?” asked Mahtab.

“Boardwalk Drive. Around Queen and Woodbine. Russell was going to check it out. Cassidy’s trail ended here but it’s… it’s really weird, Mahtab. Something’s wrong I… I’m kind of… I just have a really bad feeling.”

Mahtab nodded, suddenly feeling a cold heavy lump in her stomach. “I’ll be there in just a second. I’m bringing Adam.”

“You can’t slip here, Maddy, it’s a dead zone!” Adrian protested.

“I’ll figure it out, just wait for me!” Mahtab hung up and shoved her phone back in her pocket. She grabbed Adam by the elbow and pulled him down the alley. “Come on.”

Adam yanked his arm up out of her grip. “I’m coming. Jeez!”

“You’re going to feel a little winded,” Mahtab explained. “You didn’t eat much today right? That’s good; sometimes people crap themselves their first time.”

“I’ll be sure to clench,” Adam quipped.

“Don’t get distracted, either,” Mahtab continued. “It’s… it’s difficult to describe but… you’ll know what I am, or like, you’ll know what’s me. I’ll be holding on to you so it should all be fine but try to stay focused on me.”

“Or… what?” asked Adam, dubious.

“Well I don’t know, no one’s ever fallen out of a slip on me before but I’m not exactly itching to find out,” she sighed. “Like I don’t have enough shit to deal with today.” They rounded a corner and found a trio of dumpsters stinking of rancid urine.

She stopped Adam, waited for someone to pass them, then turned and grabbed him by both shoulders.

“All right,” she nodded. “On three we both need to jump at the same time. It’s way easier.”

“So like; one two three jump or…”

Mahtab rolled her eyes. “One two jump, Adam. That’s what ‘on three’ means.”

Adam nodded. “Okay… can we do one two three jump? I feel like I’m gonna screw it up.”

Mahtab threw up her arms. “I… fine whatever.”

She clamped back down on his shoulders. “All right. One, two, three…”

And they jumped.

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“…and this slow cooker has literally changed our lives,” Wes spread his arms to the ceiling, his wine glass dangerously close to spilling.

Jamie nodded. “Oh yeah.”

“And I have to say I mean,” Wes paused and smiled mischievously. “I know it’s not the best thing for you, but Grant and I have been putting bacon into everything lately. We just started experimenting with bacon and it just took right off!” he laughed, sipping his wine.

Jamie shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “Yeah. Bacon.”

“Honestly, whatever the recipe is, you should add bacon,” Wes assured him. “You won’t ever regret it. Do you do much cooking yourself?”

Jamie tapped his foot. “Hm? Yeah all the time.”

Wes put his hand on his chest and shook his head emphatically, “I just think it’s so rewarding and it’s, y’know, I think it’s important as just, like, a life skill? And so many people just don’t know their way around the kitchen these days, I just…”

The bathroom door in front of Jamie opened and Drew slid out. “Hey babe,” he greeted Jamie with a smile. Jamie, however, was already on the move, ushering Drew back inside and following him in, closing the door behind them both. Drew regarded him quizzically. “What the hell was that?”

“This is for your own good,” Jamie assured him as he unzipped his fly and pulled out his cock in front of the toilet. “Wes is looking for anyone to talk at. About fucking… like he’s a terrible cook, right?” he asked as he started urinating.

Drew leaned against the closed door, taking out his phone. “He’s actually gotten worse.”

“I’m like; there’s only one recipe for guacamole. I don’t need to see yours. And what big secret ingredient could you possibly…”

“It’s bacon bits,” said Drew idly. “I can’t imagine it’s very good.” He sighed with defeat. “Ryan bailed.”

“Called it,” said Jamie.

Drew put his phone back in his pocket. “Congrats, you win!” he waved his hands with dramatic sarcasm. “Have you heard from Adam at all?”

Jamie shook his head. “No. He never even got back to me about last night.”

Drew sighed, moving in behind Jamie as he peed, rubbing his shoulders through his shirt. “When do you want to do that ecstasy?”

Jamie shook the last dribbles of piss from his tool. “I was gonna wait til we get down there. Or like… are we TTCing down or what?”

“Stan was gonna get an uber,” Drew shrugged. “Which… I guess yeah, I don’t wanna be lovin’ out on the way down.” He released Jamie’s shoulders as Jamie zipped up and sidestepped to the sink.

“Man. Frank’s already blasted, eh?” Jamie noted.

Drew nodded in agreement. “And he smells like a fuckin grow-op.”

“Let’s be in the middle of talking when we leave so Wes won’t ambush us,” Jamie suggested.

Drew snapped his finger and pointed at him. “Good plan. What do we talk about?”

The bathroom door opened and Drew exited finishing a sentence. “…just be so cheesey if they killed Jon Snow and then immediately bring him back.”

Jamie followed. “But Melisandre is like right there!”

“I don’t give a shit,” Drew shook his head adamantly. “If he’s back in season six I am off the show for good.”

Jamie rolled his eyes. “Oh please. You said that when they killed Roz.”

Wes had paused in the bathroom doorway, to the annoyance of Stan who was next in line.

“Are you guys talking about Game of…?”

“In or out, Wes. C’mon man.”

They entered the living room of Stan’s condo and Thanh, draped over the arm of the couch and leaning against his boyfriend Elliot, wagged a finger at them. “One to a stall, ladies,” he chided, followed up by one of his trademark, deep-throated chuckles.

“Whatever, Thanh,” Drew countered. “Everyone knows you two have been sneaking handies when you think nobody’s looking. News flash: they are.”

“Lies!” Elliot shook his fist in the air. “Liza Minnelli!”

Hasan, on the other side of Elliot, leaned forward and waved his hand. “Guys, Jamie’s getting uncomfortable. Quick we gotta butch it up!” he curled his lip with a growl and flexed his arm. “Grrr! Hockey jargon! Car engines!”

Thanh joined in though he sounded more like a pirate. “Grr! Home repair!”

“Entourage!” Elliot chimed in.

Jamie pulled his phone out of his pocket, glancing at the screen. “Christ, they should give you idiots a sitcom.” He jostled his phone. “Sorry just a sec,” he added, and turned away to walk into the foyer.

“Oh great now he’s a sadsack,” Hasan gestured to Jamie.

Drew rolled his eyes. “You guys gonna be this bitchy all night?”

Thanh nodded matter-of-factly. “It’ll probably get worse.”

Jamie leaned against the wall and put his phone to his ear. “Hey Adam, we were just-”

“Look I don’t have a lot of time,” came a harsh, whispered voice over the line. Jamie barely recognized it as Adam. “Jamie…” he said, then after a pause. “Jamie I’m in trouble. I need your help.”

“Adam?” Jamie stood up off the wall, lowering his voice. “What’s wrong? What’s going on?”

“I can’t get into it right now,” Jamie whispered. “It’s Cassidy. And… some of the people we used to work with. I don’t…” there was a windy rustling over the line. “I need you to come to me. I’m in the Beaches, but…” he took a couple of heavy breaths. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen. They’re like… they’re dangerous.”

“Do you…” Jamie asked quietly and slowly. “Should I call the cops?”

“No,” Adam answered quickly. “No cops, not yet. Just be careful and keep your distance until I can… shit. Look I gotta go. I’ll text you the address. Can you come?”

“Yeah,” said Jamie with a nod, and the other end hung up.

Jamie shoved his phone into his pocket as he searched for his shoes in the pile at the foyer, an excuse to leave already taking form in his head until he realized…

Drew. Drew would want to go with him. Drew would see through the bullshit he fed Thanh and the others.

They had agreed: no more secrets, no more lies. The last one had nearly ruined them. But he couldn’t let Drew tag along into this. Jamie had no idea what was going on, but Adam sounded afraid, and Adam had never been afraid of anything. He was Jamie’s friend, not Drew’s. He was Jamie’s responsibility, not Drew’s, and Jamie wasn’t going to let Drew put himself in harm’s way for the sake of someone he had met two nights ago.

Jamie found his shoes and stood up, exhaling slowly, trying to calm himself down. He relaxed his shoulders, rehearsed a couple of casual hand gestures; nonchalant facial expressions. He took another deep breath, and sauntered back into the room.

Jamie walked up next to Drew and put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re gonna hate me.”

Drew turned to him with a sigh. “What.”

“That was JC. There’s some disaster at work. I gotta bail.” He shrugged powerlessly. “I’m really sorry.”

“It’s like eight-thirty on a Friday!” Drew protested.

“The client’s in Tokyo and it’s nine-thirty AM there. They’re just seeing a presentation. They’re freaking out.”

“Well…” Drew’s shoulders drooped with dismay. “You’re just a contractor. Can’t they get someone else to handle this? Come on man, it’s Pride!”

“I know, and I’m sorry, but I gotta take care of this.” Jamie felt his voice quaver a bit, so he leaned in and kissed Drew on the cheek. “Sorry.” He gave a quick wave to the room. “See you around guys,” he called, and went back to the door.

He was dismayed to see Drew following him. “Tokyo’s ahead of us, Jamie. It’s Saturday morning there!” he complained as Jamie put on his shoes. “Can’t they wait ‘til Monday?”

Jamie hadn’t realized that. “Look, I don’t know the details. But it’s red alert and all hands on deck. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you.” Done tying his laces, he stood up and gave Drew a kiss. Drew wrapped his arms around Jamie, and made a quick goodbye peck into a long and sensual one. Jamie thought he was going to break. He withdrew, forcing a smile. “I’ll text you later,” he chirped, and quickly exited the apartment.

Drew heaved a disappointed sigh and turned back to the party.

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Adam quietly slipped his phone into his pocket and loudly faked a cough, wetting his mouth with spit. He stood up and wiped it off again. “Sorry,” he croaked hoarsely.

“God, Adam,” Mahtab spat, “You have any organs left?”

“I’m sorry that fucking teleporting doesn’t agree with me,” he fired back.

“Whatever. Let’s go,” she shoved her hands in her pockets and smoldered down the sidewalk.

Liam and Adrian were waiting awkwardly on the corner of Boardwalk Drive, a residential side street, populated by a row of nearly identical houses. Adrian spotted the two as they approached and waved his hand needlessly, as the street was otherwise deserted.

Mahtab gave them a nod as they met. “Hey,” she muttered.

Adam drew up beside her. “Hey guys.”

Adrian hadn’t changed much since he saw him last. Rail thin, straight black hair down to his shoulders, small black spacers in both ears. It looked like his arm has acquired a few more tattoos but Adam couldn’t really remember.

“Adam,” he greeted him with a note of uncertainty. “Been a while.”

Adam shrugged. “Yeah.”

“No sign of Russell, huh,” Mahtab noted, glancing at Russell’s car parked across the street.

Adrian pointed. “It’s up here,” he started up the sidewalk, and Mahtab fell in beside him. He started discussing his tracking spell, and the difficulty he’d had with the dead zone. Adam hung back, quickly entering the address in a text message and sending it before anyone could notice. But it looked like Liam saw him putting the phone away.

“How’s… how was hanging out with Maddy?” he asked quietly.

Adam sighed. “It’s been a stressful day for both of us.”

“Yeah,” said Liam. “You know how she is. She’s just worried. And now with Russell…”

“Honestly, Liam?” Adam raised his hand to cut him off. “I’m past giving a shit. I’m here to find Cass and then I’m not dealing with any of this ever again.”

“C’mon man don’t be like that…” Liam protested.

Adam bit his lip. “Seriously? Everything was fine until this bullshit came back into our lives. And even if we prove Cass has nothing to do with all this garbage, it’s not like Maddy’s gonna apologize for being such a psycho. I’m done. For good.”

Liam looked down at the sidewalk, saying nothing.

Mahtab led them up the walkway to the house, a nondescript two-storey, distinguished from its neighbours only by its clay-brown colour. Adrian glanced around to see if anyone was watching while Mahtab glanced in the windows. “I can’t see anything,” she reported quietly.

Adam stepped up onto the narrow cement slab that served as a porch. He stood in front of the door for a moment, and turned the handle. Unlocked. The door swung inward with a soft creak.

“Is that a good sign or a bad sign?” Liam whispered.

They all crowded around the doorway and peered inside. All the lights were off and all the curtains drawn, but even then it seemed unusually dark, and it was hard to see. Adam could make out a dark doorway on the left, a staircase, and an open room on the right with an outline of furniture. He took the initiative and stepped inside. He paused once he crossed the threshold, listening carefully, hearing only silence. He took another slow step within, and heard the others follow behind him.

Hidden in the shadows at the top of the stairs, Phil watched the four, silhouettes in the light of the doorway, creep into the house. His lips curled into an unseen smile.

The time had come to prove himself.


Part 16: Phil

Phil was afraid of the Master. But he hadn’t always understood that fear. When was first brought into the home of the Master, all he knew was fear. It was a selfish, pitiful fear. Fear for the life he had been torn away from. Pedestrian concerns about his job, his home, his family. For his own survival, which had since become so trivial. He had seen the Master destroy other would-be acolytes of this new religion. They had been tempered in the crucible of the Master, and had been found lacking. The price of failing that test—the price of failing all tests worth undertaking, Phil now realized—was death.

As the Master set Phil’s tiny body down on the hardwood floor, Phil looked up at him and wondered how anyone could fail to see what he now knew beyond any doubt. The Master was a creature so far beyond them. The things he could do were outside of the capacity of the limited, unenlightened sheep he had known in his life before. That fear was, in truth, awe. How could they deny it? How could Roddy and Blake fail to understand that after all this time?

For their heathen ignorance and stubborn blasphemy, they deserved the destiny the Master had inflicted upon them. And the time had come for Phil to meet his.

“You’ve been an adequate slave,” the Master grumbled, looming mountainous over Phil. “I’ve decided to bestow on you a fraction of my power,” he announced, drawing himself up to his full height. “Kneel.”

Phil dropped to one knee, clasping his hands over the other. He bowed his head in solemnity.

Pain shot through his limbs, and he stumbled as he felt them suddenly growing longer, flesh stretching tight over elongating bones. He clenched his teeth to keep from crying out, afraid the Master would be offended or disappointed. Phil glanced up at the Master as he writhed on the floor, and saw the Master return his gaze, arms crossed in satisfaction, grinning with delight at Phil’s agony.

His body contorted as his shifting bones ground against each other, his legs cramping, toes curling as his feet grew. He drew strangled gasps of breath from the air, and each one was like sulfur in his lungs. He tasted blood in his mouth as his teeth grew faster than his jaw. Tears poured down his cheeks as his eyes bulged out of their sockets before the rest of his face caught up with them. Pain shrieked through every corner of his body, its keen more intense with every torturous moment.

And then it was gone. The aches that echoed its passing were a welcome reprieve, though it took Phil a moment of uncertainty to realize he was still alive. His face was damp with tears, snot, spit and blood. Every muscle burned like a low ember, and every breath came staggered and raw. But it came.

Phil looked up. He had been restored. He felt a tad crestfallen. He had enjoyed being the Master’s favourite toy. But he was alive. He had been tested, and he had passed.

“Stand,” the Master commanded, and Rodrigo tentatively braced himself the floor, slowly pushes himself up into a squat, and rose on shaky legs to his full height. He gulped as he found himself a head taller than the Master. In all these months he’d forgotten he had been a tall man.

The Master looked up at Phil with hooded eyes and a sadistic smirk.

“Thank you, Master,” Phil croaked hoarsely.

The Master shook his head. “Oh, we’re just getting started.”

The pain came again.

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Carlos shook lint and dust out of an old burgundy wool blanket and unfurled it into the air, allowing it to descend unevenly onto the cement floor. On his literal hands and knees to keep his head clear of the parking garage’s low ceiling, Hugo maneuvered his considerable bulk to rest his ass on the blanket, leaning back against the side of a pickup truck—which alarmingly shifted under his weight—with a groan.

Carlos put his hands on his hips and nodded. “It’s not exactly the Hilton but it’ll have to do for now,” he grumbled.

Hugo nodded, shifting his weight around to get comfortable. “Don’t think the Hilton would do the trick,” he chuckled. “Thanks man.”

Carlos exchanged a mirthless glance with Daniel. They weren’t laughing. It was half a block from the Black Eagle to an apartment building owned by a longtime patron, but it took nearly half an hour to get Hugo’s fan club to leave him alone, and Hugo was not being helpful. Still enamoured by both his newfound size and all the attention it was getting him, Hugo was dragging his feet to get out of the spotlight, and paused to give his number to probably ten guys, at least. The logistics of his situation had, apparently, not quite registered with him yet. Even now he was experimentally flexing; running his hands over his muscles and his swollen gut; combing his fingers through his beard; occasionally hefting his impressive cock.

Carlos sighed. After last night’s chaos, Carlos had been transformed into the biggest bear in town—if not the whole world. Now Hugo was outdoing him on every front. But Carlos had a hard time resenting him for it. Previously, Hugo had been a gym rat prettyboy, but now he was a rugged, gigantic beefcake. Carlos felt his cock—which had gone from a respectable six-inch rod to a thick footlong monster the previous night—slowly engorging.

“I’m gonna run back to the bar. Try an’ find something to cover him up,” he mumbled to Daniel. “You stay here and keep him out of sight. Or try to, anyway…” Carlos turned and walked—briskly but slightly bow-legged—out of the garage.

“Mmm,” Daniel replied with a nod, and slowly turned around to Hugo, who was hefting his belly with both hands, raising it as high up his torso as he could, and letting it plop back down with a slap against his lap. He saw Daniel looking and giggled.

Daniel had always loved big men. It was what landed him a job at the Eagle in the first place, back when he was freshly immigrated, freshly out of the closet, and thin as a rake. He was particularly fond of men who were taller than he was. He was a man of supreme discipline but at six foot five, it was rare that he even had to test his resolve. Hugo, of all people, was now giving him that feeling in the pit of his stomach, the middle of his chest, and all over his balls. He took a deep breath and pulled out his phone, hoping to distract himself. It occurred to Daniel that he needed to update his Grindr profile after last night.

“Y’know when I first started going with guys I tried to become a bear,” said Hugo. “In, like, upper school. But I could never keep the weight on.” He laughed. “I’d totally forgotten about it. And now… I mean fuck! Look at me!” He opened his palms and spread his arms, presenting himself like a piece of art. “I’m so huge! And look at these muscles, mate!” He raised his hands into fists and flexed his arms, glancing back and forth between both of his watermelon-sized biceps, his shaggy bangs whipping across his face in the process. “I never thought I’d be bigger than you, Daniel.”

Daniel felt his cock twitch. “Mmm,” he replied.

“Uhh… hee hee,” Hugo chuckled apologetically as he felt his cock hardening up again. “Sorry mate just can’t help it.”

“Don’t worry none,” said Daniel with a shrug.

“Hey, Daniel. Can you take a picture of me and send it to me? Here.” Hugo lifted off the pickup, leaving it to gently rock back and forth, and leaned forward so he could kneel on the blanket.

Daniel glanced, only for a moment, and then went back to his phone. “No, my friend.”

“Come on Daniel!” Hugo whined. “You can delete it right after you send it to me. My phone’s at the bar!”

Daniel ignored him, saying nothing and thumbing through pages of guys on Grindr. He shook his head.

“Daniel this is a big deal! I want to commemorate it!” Hugo sighed. “Please, Daniel? I’ll owe you big time.”

And with that, Daniel felt his resolve crumble.

Heaving an exaggerated sigh and tightening his mouth into an impatient frown (he couldn’t make things too easy for him), Daniel turned back towards Hugo and raised his camera. “Portrait o’ lan’scape?”

Hugo’s big lips curled into a half-open smile. “Wait a tick, lemme get to full mast,” he requested, moving his hands to his cock.

“Ey, I ain’t shootin you no porno, boy.” Daniel protested.

Hugo rolled his eyes. “It’s a cock, Daniel. Nothin’ you haven’t seen before.”

Oh, thought Daniel as he watched Hugo’s body come into focus on his phone, I seen plenty o’ dick, but I ain’t seen nothin like that before.

Watching Hugo’s manhood rise to attention was a thrill in and of itself. Daniel kept thinking to himself: No, it can’t possibly get any bigger, and kept on being proven wrong. By the time it finally stopped swelling and settling into a steady throb, it was nearly at height with Hugo’s chest and as thick as an average man’s thigh.

“Mmph… there we go,” said Hugo. “Aright let’s get a few.” He threw up his arms in the same double bicep flex, first wearing a goofy grin, then quickly assumed a devilishly sly expression.


Hugo lowered his arms and pointed to his dick, looking as if he was shocked by the size of it.


Hugo twisted to the side, lowering his right arm and gripping his forearm with his left hand, flexing in a classic “side chest” pose, his upright dick almost in the background, placed at a forty degree angle by his belly.


Next he shuffled around on his knees until his back was to Daniel. He struck a lat spread, flexing his enormous ass in the process. He glanced back, so he could eye the camera with a grin, ignoring the trail of precum that was dripping down the passenger side window of the pickup truck.


Daniel cleared his throat. Like—he assumed—every man who had been at the Black Eagle the night before, he too had had his (already impressive) manhood upgraded to a frankly ludicrous size. While most of the staff had spent their day shopping for clothes to fit their new physiques, Daniel had spent his at home enjoying his new cock. As a pubescent boy, he had privately nicknamed his dick “Lieutenant (JG) Armstrong,” after his hero, the astronaut Neil (not the pornstar Brad). But earlier today in an informal ceremony, Daniel’s cock had jumped a few ranks to Commander. (Outranking his namesake, for all you trivia buffs out there.)

Long story short, not only was Commander Armstrong quickly filling up a pair of jeans, it was filling up a pair that had been comfortably slack on the impressively muscled Daniel who woke up yesterday morning, not the pair that found themselves creaking at every movement of the ridiculously impossibly muscled Daniel who woke up today. Clearly, action had to be taken.

“Can you take a video?” asked Hugo, who had turned back around and was looking down at his chest. “I want to make a gif of my pecs bouncing… Daniel?”

Hugo looked up to see that Daniel had closed the distance. Hugo’s erect cock was barely an inch from Daniel’s huge swole chest. Hugo’s eyes somehow pulled themselves from his pecs and drifted past his carved-of-stone abs to see his tight jeans had been pulled open and a huge thick black cock sticking out and up—easily a foot long and thick as fuck.

Hugo felt his cheeks flush. “Daniel, I…”

Daniel took another step forward and Hugo shuddered as the head of his cock pressed into a deep canal between Daniel’s warm, sweat-slick pecs. Daniel held a finger to his lips. “Shhh…” he cooed. He stuck that finger into his mouth, doused it in spit, and slid it carefully into Hugo’s puckering urethra.

“Oh blood godfuck!” Hugo gasp, pressing his back into the strip of precum on the window of the pickup truck.

Daniel flashed a rare smile. “Boy, you talk too much…”

Unbeknownst to either of them, Carlos stood in the doorway of the garage, holding a king sized sheet in his hands. He heaved a sigh, tossing the blanket over his shoulder, and glanced back and forth, looking for a place to watch and jack off.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Adam squinted into the darkness. “There’s someone in here.”

“What?” Mahtab hissed, drawing close to him to follow his gaze. She squinted to. “That’s a lamp.”

“Are you new?” Adam growled quietly. “That is a fucking person!”

“People,” Liam corrected. He flicked the light switch on the wall but the room remained shrouded in darkness. “Figures,” he mused, and pushed past Adam to the opposite wall.

“Liam!” Mahtab squeaked in alarm, but Liam ignored her, and tugged the blind on the far wall. It snapped noisily upwards, and as Mahtab and Adam squinted against the sudden light from the street, they saw that Liam was right… sort of.

Robyn was right next to the window, and they recognized her first, but as their eyes roved across the room they settled on a number of familiar faces, even if they were frozen in contorted expressions of fear, confusion, or rage. Sara, Dave, Mohan, Hong… even Oded from the Circle, nestled through a crowd of five or six others they didn’t recognize. All slate gray, cold and lifeless stone.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Mahtab managed to choke. “Are they…?” she cupped her hand over her mouth. “Oh fucking god,” she gasped.

“They’re alive,” Adrian declared with a definitive nod, although his expression of certainty immediately dissolved. “I… I think.”

“Holy shit, this is all of them,” Mahtab moved through the room, squatting in front of Mohan’s statue. She reached out and touched his face, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Cass?” Adam called out suddenly, his eyes searching frantically through the crowd of stone statues. “Liam? Do you see Cass?”

Liam had been examining Robyn but stood up and surveyed the room. “I don’t think so. No Russell either.”

Adrian had stayed still at the threshold of the living room, watching the three animated, breathing people move amongst the stone ones. It was horrible and terrifying. But he found himself, to some surprise, unsurprised. He turned instead to the dark kitchen, and the door on the other side of it. He glanced back at his companions, still occupied taking inventory of the statues, and silently sidestepped into the kitchen.

“Do you think we can turn them back, Maddy?” asked Liam, running his fingers over the strands of hair from a statue he didn’t recognize. “Like where would we even begin?”

“We’ll figure it out,” Mahtab assured him. She glanced at Adam. “Might speed up the process if we had some help.”

Adam glared back. “First we find Cass. Everything else comes after that.”

“I wouldn’t be so bitchy if I were you,” Mahtab crossed her arms. “You know, his not being here doesn’t exactly get him off the hook.”

“Are you fucking…?”Adam flailed his arms in the air in frustration. “Since when has Cass turned anyone to stone?”

“Guys can you please get over yourselves?” asked Liam. He spread his hands dramatically, glancing at the statues. “We have bigger problems right now.”

There was a loud creak of the floorboards, and all eyes shot to the staircase.

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Rodrigo could barely see the pale shape of Blake, near the far wall of the terrarium. It took all of Rodrigo’s concentration to keep his breathing slow and deep, and he hoped Blake had the presence of mind to do the same. If he passed out, it was all over.

There was movement on the other side of the tank. Penny had stirred. He could see the dull glint off her black, numerous eyes. She had been sitting there, her legs curled close to her body, resting, watching Blake. He didn’t know how long anymore. Every measured breath seemed to last an hour. But now she was slowly extending her legs, one pair at a time. She was preparing to strike.

Suddenly the door opened and a blinding shaft of light flooded his vision. He shielded his eyes. Blake turned to look, and Penny sprang up, skittering across the tank. Blake cried out and jumped to the side but Penny quickly changed course to intercept.

“Help!” Rodrigo started screaming. He couldn’t see anything but it didn’t matter who was standing in the doorway. He took a deep breath and shrieked until his throat was on fire. “Help!”

Blake had managed to stay on his feet but Penny was already overtaking him. She pushed him onto his hands and knees and was on top of him before he hit the ground.

“Blake!” Rodrigo shouted, slamming his hands on the bars.

Penny curled her legs around him, pressing down on his back. Blake grunted, struggling in vain against her. She spread her pedipalps and jammed her fangs into his abdomen, and a thick spurt of blood slashed across the terrarium glass.

“Augh! Fuck!” Blake screamed.

“No! Blake!”

A shadow blocked the light from the door. “Holy shit, Roddy?”

Blake was still screaming in pain. Penny stood clamped on top of him, motionless save for her worrying padipalps, and her black eyes seemed to be staring at Rodrigo through the glass.

He looked up at the figure looming over him. It was Adrian, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. “Oh my god…” he croaked.

“Adrian!” Rodrigo shouted. He banged his hands on the bars, pointing at the terrarium. “There’s someone in there!”

Adrian leaned down to hear him better and caught sight of the struggle in the tank. “Jesus Christ!”

He reached inside, pulling at Penny by her thorax. She immediately swerved around and bit him in the hand. “Aw fuck!” Adrian cried. He quickly pulled his hand off the spider, throwing her off of Blake and slamming his arm against the side of the tank. The terrarium slid cockeyed, one end crashing against the birdcage and knocking Rodrigo to the ground while the other moved off the workbench.

“Adrian!” Rodrigo cried. Penny had already scrambled upright and was moving back toward Blake. “Get him out of there! Hurry! Please!”

Adrian jabbed his hand back into the tank, closing his hand around Blake and ripping out a clump of dirt as he withdrew. He knocked the terrarium with his elbow and it slid further off the workbench, teetering for a moment before it slid onto the floor with a crash.

“Shit!” Adrian shouted.

“Put him in here with me! Quickly!” Rodrigo climbed to his feet. All the excitement was already making him lightheaded. He needed to keep it together or Blake was done for.

Adrian opened the birdcage and carefully deposited Blake inside, the soil he’d brought with him spilling through the grate.

“I… I can’t…” Blake was taking quick, shallow breaths. “I can’t feel my legs.”

“Shh,” Rodrigo hushed Blake as he knelt beside him. He laid his palms out flat atop his body, gently running them across his flesh, taking stock of the damage. “I got you. Everything will be fine,” Rodrigo promised, unsure if it was a promise he could keep.

Penny had sliced through a kidney, his intestines, and liver, not to mention the extensive damage to his tissue. Venom and bile were flooding his system, and he was bleeding out.

Rodrigo placed his hand over the wound, applying pressure. Blake groaned and winced.

Adrian looked over the cage. “Is he gonna be…”

“Quiet,” Rodrigo snapped. “And please get out of my light.”

“Oh,” Adrian mumbled. “Sorry.”

Blood seeped from the wound with every heartbeat, hot and pasty against Rodrigo’s palms, but the wound closed under his hands. He sensed the organ and tissue damage repairing itself as well. It was draining his reserves, though, and Rodrigo felt himself getting woozy. He grit his teeth. If he couldn’t keep it together, Blake would die.

He took Blake’s right leg and crossed it over his left, and maneuvered his right arm across his chest. “I need to get you on your side.”

“I can’t…” Blake murmured groggily.

Rodrigo moved to his right side and pushed as hard as he good. His peripheral vision was becoming blurry. Luckily Blake was helping him some, and turned on his side in a recovery position.

Barely able to gather his thoughts, Rodrigo transitioned the offending elements through his body.

“Fuck…” Blake rasped. “What are you…”

“It’s gonna be fine,” Rodrigo mumbled.

Blake belched, coughed, and began to retch a foul-smelling, green-brown ooze. The rancid cocktail of poisonous bile pooled beneath the grating. Blake managed a wet cough and passed out.

Confident that he had cleared Blake’s system, Rodrigo heaved a strained sigh of relief, collapsed on his back, and fainted.

Adrian blinked, peering at the unconscious, shrunken pair in the birdcage. “Shit…” he murmured.

He stood upright. “Guys?” he took a step back towards the door. “Hey guys! In here!”

He gasped as he rounded the doorway, and jumped out of the way just in time to avoid the flatscreen television sailing through the door. It hit the far wall with such speed that it smashed in half.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Phil gripped the banister with one hand. The lacquered wood itself yielded to his strength. The Master had restored him, and done so much more. The Master had empowered him to destroy his enemies, and Phil no longer knew any fear.

Phil threw himself down the staircase, landing with a crash on the hardwood floor. His opponents could only gape at him with incredulous awe. He took that moment of confusion, balled his fist, and backhanded Mahtab. She flew across the room, slamming into the television mounted above the mantle. She fell to the floor in a heap, and the dislodged flatscreen crashed down on her back.

He stood to his full height, the eight feet gifted him by the Master. He drew back his thick round shoulders, puffed out his swollen chest, and glared down at them. They stared back at him with wide eyes full of fear and awe. They were bearing witness to the power of the Master. Like him when he first beheld it, they couldn’t understand the glory of it. It was a pity they would not survive to learn.

Phil lunged forward before they had any time to react. He slammed a fist the side of a watermelon into Adam’s chest, and heard a satisfying crack in reply. Adam’s feet were swept off the ground, and he fell on his stomach with a winded, bloody cough.

He felt something strike his shoulder and turned back to Mahtab, who had climbed to her feet and was grabbing anything at hand to throw at him. The first has been a picture frame. Now she had a table lamp in her hand and was struggling to yank the power cord from the wall. Phil pulled back his fist and bounded clear across the couch towards her, aiming to pulverize her as he landed.

Mahtab saw him coming, dropped the lamp, and vanished with a loud crack. Phil’s fist connected with the statue behind her, obliterating the stone head like it had been made of plaster. Phil gasped, surprised by his own strength. The Master had wanted to keep his trophies intact. He would be angry. Now more than ever, it was imperative that Phil succeed.

Liam was kneeling at Adam’s side, but Adam was struggling just to get to his hands and feet. The colour drained from Liam’s face as Phil’s glare fell on him. Mahtab was gone, Adrian was elsewhere, and Adam was down for the count. Liam stood upright, tried to gulp and nearly choked on his own dry throat.

With a grunt, Phil scooped the television off the ground, and hurled it with the ease one might throw a dinner plate across the room. Liam collapsed to his left, feeling the air peeling away around the television as it spun past him and into the kitchen.

Taking some care to avoid the stone statues clustered in the living room, Phil crossed the space between him and Liam. Liam scrambled in a clumsy, backward crab-walk on all fours, until he found himself huddled in a corner.

“No, please…” he gasped.

Phil grinned, and reached down with hand large enough to crush a human skull into pulp. Maybe that’s what was about to happen.

Something flew through the air and stuck in Phil’s meaty shoulder. The picture frame had been nothing, but this was sharp, and it hurt. Phil heard an involuntary whimper escape his mouth, as he reached up and pulled a butcher knife out of his shoulder, covered in blood. He felt his cheeks getting flush with embarrassment. He had been given this gift; he had been made into a mighty warrior, stronger than any man alive. Yet still he whined like a woman. Like a girly faggot. They had all heard it. They all had to die.

Another knife flew out of the darkness of the kitchen, but it was only the handle that struck Phil and he advanced into the shadows, stepping over Adam as he still tried to pull himself out of the way. He made out the form of the man inside. He was skinny and waifish; easily broken. Phil slammed his fingers on the light switch, but his hands were so huge he only managed to turn the lights on for a moment before immediately turning them back off. In that split second, he saw the thin, wiry form of Adrian yanking a drawer of cutlery from the counter, and a second later he felt pricks and prods all along his torso as Adrian flung the contents at his attacker.

“Dumb fucker!” Phil shouted, stumbling forward and swinging his arms blindly in the darkness, feeling them crash into cupboard doors and the refrigerator as his thigh connected painfully with the corner of the island. The fridge gave him an idea, and he ripped the door open. The white light within was enough to sent an incandescent flare washing across the room, only to find it empty.

Voices behind him told him where his attacker had gone.

“Liam! Help me get him up! Liam!”

“I can’t… he’s too heavy!”

Phil turned around. Liam and Adrian were trying to lift Adam to his feet, but they dropped him back to the floor as they saw Phil’s attention fix on them. Adrian grabbed Liam and yanked him backwards, and they fled through the forest of statues to the far side of the room. Adrian began yanking at the window. Liam stood next to him, transfixed by Phil’s gargantuan, monstrous form.

“Please…” Liam croaked out. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Liam, shut the fuck up and help me!”

Phil stepped towards them, and his toes prodded the prone form of Adam, still gasping for shallow breaths on the floor, a line of bloody drool hanging out of his mouth. Phil grinned.

“Stop, both of you,” Phil commanded.

“Not fucking likely,” Adrian retorted.

“Stop. Right now. Come back here. Come to me,” Phil continued. He looked down, and raised his right foot, placing it on Adam’s head, and gently forcing it back to the floor. “Come to me now or he’s fucking dead.”

Adrian hesitated.

Adam put a hand on Phil’s foot, trying lamely to pry it off of him. Even at full strength, Adam’s attempt would have been futile, but now he could barely breath, and it was like a piece of spaghetti trying to overcome a boulder.

Adrian went back to the window, and Liam slapped his arm away. “Adrian, stop! He’s gonna kill him!”

“He’s gonna kill all of us!” Adrian hissed.

“Maybe…” Phil mused with a shrug. “Maybe not. But here’s one thing for sure: if you don’t get your fucking hands away from the window and start walking over to me right now, this guy’s head just a fuckin’ pile of muck.” Phil exerted the tiniest amount of pressure, and Adam screamed.

Liam took a step forward. Adrian snatched him by the elbow. “Liam! Don’t be retarded!”

Phil smirked with a dark chuckle. “Have it your way, roaches,” he murmured, and raised his foot up.

There was a crack and a rush of air, and Phil blinked with surprise to see Mahtab in the frame of the closed front door. His eyes followed her as she jumped into the air, tucking up her legs as if she were making a cannonball dive. She flung out her arm, and a ripple seemed to arc towards him through the air.

It all happened very quickly. Another crack sounded through the room so loud it momentarily deafened everyone. Something—or more accurately, nothing—lanced across the room, and slashed a deep cut into the wall behind Phil. The sound of it slicing into the bookcase and the halves of framed pictures crashing to the floor was so distracting it took a moment for Adrian and Liam to notice the detached head flying through the air with two bright crimson contrails.

It landed with an unceremonious splat next to the statue of Robyn. Their eyes darted back to Phil. His huge, obscenely overmuscled body seemed shocked to find itself suddenly headless, and it was a good solid moment before the thick arms slumped lifeless to his sides, and he swayed a moment more before toppling heavily to the ground. Luckily, Mahtab had the presence of mind to yank Adam out of the way.

Phil crashed onto the floor, shaking the pictures on the walls and rattling the windows and compelling the statues still on their feet to sway back and forth for a moment. Liam stared with grotesque, alarmed fascination at the neck without a head. The dull white of the spine; the pitch black of the gaping trachea; the angry red of the surrounding tissue still spouting a steady stream of blood onto the floor.

Everything in Liam’s body was tight. His only assurance that he hadn’t wet himself is that every orifice in his body had apparently sealed itself in panic. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t…

“Hey….” Adrian slid in front of Liam, commanding his whole field of vision. He placed his hands firmly on Liam’s shoulders. “Hey. Hey, hey. Look at me.”

Liam locked eyes with Adrian.

“You’re okay. We’re all okay. It’s okay. Or like… it’s all fucked up but it’s okay. We’re okay. Adam’s okay.” Adrian accented every sentence with a nod. “Come back to me, man. Let yourself calm down. Please.” He lowered his voice. “I need you, man.”

Liam’s lungs remembered how to breathe and he swallowed gulps of air. He nodded. “Sorry.”

“S’all right, man,” Adrian shook his head. “It’s all fucked up.” He turned so that Mahtab could hear him. “It gets worse,” he announced.

Mahtab was at Adam’s side. “Guys… Adam’s really messed up.”

Liam nodded. “I’ll call an ambulance.”

“Whoa!” said Mahtab and Adrian in unison.

“You want to bring an ambulance here?” Mahtab waved her hands wildly in the air, gesturing equally to the stone statues all over room and the headless corpse a few feet from her.

“Well we have to do something!” Liam insisted.

“Hold up…” Adrian raised his hand. “I might have some good news too…”

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Jamie kept glancing at the house on Boardwalk. He was kind of out of sight, but not so out of sight that he looked like a creep. He had been playing Hearthstone for maybe fifteen minutes but it was murder on his battery so he just put in his earbuds and listened to Ke$ha for a while. He needed to keep his phone on in case Adam contacted him again. In the meantime, he was content to keep a low profile. After all, Jamie was an ad man. Subtlety was his specialty.

“Hi Jamie,” said someone he’d never met before. He turned around and saw a short lean guy with a short buzzcut next to a jacked up prettyboy in a backwards ball cap, his swole arms folded across his swole chest.

Jamie tried to hide his alarm as he yanked out his earbuds. “Yeah, hi… what? I mean… who? I’m not… How did…?”

“S’all cool, man, s’nothin,” the little guy nonchalantly waved away his confusion, alarm, embarrassment, and various other reactions. “‘M Nate, this here’s Tyson.”

The bodybuilder looked around a bit, as if to make sure there was nobody watching, before raising his hand in an awkward hello. “Sup.”

“Sorry I don’t… know…? You…?” Jamie said it like a question, which it essentially was.

“Yeah, s’fine,” Nate shrugged it off. “‘ know all ‘bout it, man. Adam, Cassidy… gettin’ big. I’unno… magic, I guess?” he whispered the last part.

Tyson grimaced. “It all sounds so dumb.”

Nate shrugged. “Yeah, well…” he shrugged again and that seemed to be his whole reply.

“How…” Jamie took a step away from them. “Who are you people?”

Nate raised his hand defensively. “We’re not th’ people Adam warned y’about,” he assured him. “Adam doesn’ e’en know ‘bout us.”

“Stop telling me who you aren’t,” Jamie snapped, taking another step. Jamie wasn’t a particularly fast guy and he guessed the little guy had some speed. And by the looks of him, Tyson would flatten him if it came to blows. Both fight and flight were not looking like good options.

Nate searched momentarily for the proper words. “Third party,” he said finally, but held up a finger and added, “with vested interests.” He thought another moment and pointed to Jamie. “Same ‘s you.”

“What does that even mean?” Jamie furrowed his brow.

“You’re here t’help Adam, righ’?” asked Nate. “Tyson’s here fo’ somebody else, an’ so’m I.” He shook his head. “Lookit don’ matter none. We need to get inna tha’ house righ’ now.”

“Dude,” said Jamie flatly. “I can barely understand what you’re saying.”

Tyson tutted. “Don’t be a dick, man.”

Nate screwed up his face and did his best impression of a hick Canadian accent. “Boys we gotta git goin’ up on that house there, eh. Ferda boys, eh?”

Jamie rolled his eyes. “All right that’s enough.”

Nate strolled past him, cocking his head as he did. Jamie fell into step next to Tyson and they followed Nate up to the front door. Jamie couldn’t help but notice Tyson, his angular face covered in light stubble; sculpted bangs peeking out of the rim of his ball cap, and contrasting bright blue eyes that seemed to sparkle. His photo-shoot features seemed out of place on top of his thick, muscular physique. Since Drew had opened up about his affinity for growth, and unnaturally large muscles on unnaturally large men, Jamie had seen many a photoshopped jpeg, png, and occasionally even a throwback bmp that had morphed attractive men to the similar shapes. Tyson was a muscle morph come to life. Tyson noticed Jamie looking and replied with a terse, awkward smile. Jamie turned his eyes forward and set his jaw. He wasn’t sure exactly what level of insanity he was getting swept up into, but he knew it would need his game face.

Without bothering to knock, Nate flung open the door.

A small Indian girl, a chubby Asian guy, and a skinny emo skid with an arm covered in a sleeve tattoo and ear spacers were all trying to support a half-dead guy who Jamie quickly realized was Adam.

The three strangers looked out the doorway with wide eyes.

Nate greeted them with open hands and a wide smile. “Hey, ‘know none of y’know who we’re, an ‘know this seems a bit…” he suddenly turned to his right and barfed.

Jamie’s eyes fell on the likeliest reason why, and his mouth hung open at the sight of the gigantic headless corpse and its gaping neck-hole staring out the door like a one-eyed bloody… something.

“Dude you just yacked on my shoe!” Tyson protested, hopping backward.

“Dude that’s a headless fucking corpse!” Jamie thrust his arm into the doorway.

“Hey!” The skinny guy dropped Adam’s arm. “Can we try not shouting ‘headless corpse’? Just a thought.”

“Who the fuck are you?” Jamie spat.

“Who the fucking fuck are you?” the woman shouted back. “One second though,” she amended, “get the fuck in here.” She swiped out her arm and grabbed Nate by the sleeve, pulling him inside. Despite the obviously dire situation before them, Tyson and Jamie played the “you first” “no no after you” game for a few seconds before they were successfully inside with the door closed behind them.

A bunch of them all started shouting at each other at once. It was a free-for-all where only fragments of sentences were getting through at a time. The three carrying Adam were yelling confused demands of who the intruders were, Tyson was screaming for someone named Blake, and Nate was trying to calm everyone down with as loud a voice as calming anyone down would allow. But as Jamie spotted a dribble of spit or blood—he couldn’t tell—escape Adam’s lips and splat silently on the floor into a crimson puddle slowly expanding across the floor.

Shut up!” Jamie shouted so loud it burned his throat. But it seemed to do the trick. “Is he… is Adam…?” he mouthed the word “dead” but his tongue had sense enough not to speak it. “… alive?”

“Yes,” said Mahtab impatiently. “But he needs help. And we can’t bring paramedics here.”

“The fuck we can’t!” shouted Jamie.

“Look. Shut up,” Mahtab snapped. “I don’t know who you are but… I mean do you want to explain all this to the cops? Look around, dumbass!”

“Wait…” Liam furrowed his brow. “You were at the wedding… the ad guy.”

Even as he said it Jamie recognized Liam. He’d put on weight. “Yeah,” Jamie muttered.

The three of them slowly lowered Adam to the floor. “You don’t like Cass,” Liam blurted.

“I’ve come around,” Jamie replied, annoyed. “Look, what’s going on here?”

Adrian shouldered his way past everybody and disappeared out the kitchen. Jamie was about to call after him but Nate launched into an expository monologue.

“‘Ll field that one,” Nate chimed cheerily, holding up a finger. “Aright, so….

“Guy named Cliff s’a wizard, like y’all, but he steals’s powers from other wizards. S’why he started turnin’ m’all to stone, once ‘learned how. He needs’m alive. Also; s’into shrinkin’ guys real small and fuckin’ wi’em. Killed ‘bunch o’em. Killed your friend Russell. ‘M real sorry bout tha’. Couldn’ get here fas’ ‘nough.”

“Wha… what the fuck?” Mahtab shook her head in disbelief. “Fuck off. Where is he?”

“Look,” Nate stressed, “‘M sorry but we don’ got time f’that. Cliff knew you’d come aft’ Russell. So ‘e took off with Cassidy. Only power ‘thinks ‘e needs.” Nate’s eyes inadvertently fell on Phil’s corpse again and he stifled a gag.

“Who are you?” Mahtab asked again. “How do you know all this?”

“Cuz Cassidy asked me for help,” Nate explained. “‘M not gon’ get int’it but ‘was enough for me to get th’rest.”

“Fuck this. This is all bullshit,” Mahtab insisted.

“Not quite,” came Adrian’s voice from the kitchen. He walked into the light with something cupped in both his hands. Jamie couldn’t see what it was but Adrian showed Mahtab and Liam first and they both gasped in surprise. Adrian drew one hand away to reveal a little human man groggily sitting up in his hand.

“Roddy…” Liam whispered.

Nate cracked his knuckles. “Great. Le’s get started.”

“Whoa!” exclaimed Adrian as the tiny man in his hands quickly began expanding. As he surpassed the size of a toddler Adrian set him on the floor.

Tyson was shaking his head, his hands clapped over his mouth. “Aww this is so fucked up!” his whispered loudly.

Rodrigo gasped full lungs of breath for the first time in months. He felt dazed but energized, his whole body rejoicing at finally returning to a size it knew how to deal with. Stars flickered across his vision. Did he know these people? No. Oh wait. Yes. Wait. No. Sort of.

Mahtab turned slowly to Nate as Rodrigo—now back at six feet and then some—fumbled to get his bearings. “Did you… do that?” she asked, pointing down at Roddy.

Nate cocked his head and sort of nodded in a way that said yes, but… and replied. “‘M not gon’ get int’it.”

Mahtab narrowed her gaze at him and nodded with a fake, thin smile.

“There’s another one in there,” Adrian pointed with his thumb back to the garage. “Can you bring him back up to size too?”

“No!” Roddy shouted hoarsely, coughing. “No, no. I mean… the poison. Give Blake a few hours to recover. I dunno what’ll…”

“Wait, Blake?” Tyson’s eyes darted around frantically. “Blake Blake? Where is he?”

“Look, just leave him alone for now,” Rodrigo rasped, massaging his neck as he spoke. “He’s safe now. The Mas… the… the guy who did all this. He’s gone.”

“Roddy,” Adrian knelt down next to Rodrigo, who was seemingly doing inventory of his body, making sure everything was in the right proportion. “We need your help with Adam.”

“Adam…?” Rodrigo slowly scanned across the room until his gaze came across Adam, lying on his back, drawing shallow breaths. Immediately, he sprang into action, scrambling on all fours over to him. Adam averted his eyes over to him and tried to speak, but Rodrigo shushed him. “Motherfuck…” Rodrigo whispered. He opened his palms and began to run them down Adam’s body, scanning for damage.

Adrian took the opportunity to pulled Mahtab off to the side. They kept eyes locked on each other, trying to ignore the huge headless corpse next to them.

“Mahtab,” it fell clunkily off his tongue. “Maddy,” he amended, more comfortably. He went to say something again but stopped, and fixed her with a stern stare before declaring: “We need to call Harry.”

“No.” Mahtab shook her head. “Nope. No no no.”

Adrian clawed his hand briefly, his mouth open as he searched for the words, before clenching a fist. “I wasn’t asking you a question. I was making a very obvious statement.”

“Harry didn’t want to be involved,” Mahtab answered curtly.

“Harry didn’t want to be involved in the investigation,” Adrian stressed. “The investigation is over. We need big guns on this right fucking now.”

Mahtab jabbed him in the chest. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Three fucking strangers walk in on this. We have no Cassidy, no Russell, no perp, and you’re telling me…”

“Russell is…” Rodrigo shook his head and sniffed. “He was murdered.”

“No…” Mahtab grit her teeth. “No that’s bullshit!”

Rodrigo lifted his hands off Adam and locked eyes with Mahtab. “This guy just set a deathtrap for you. He’s not messing around. He’s a fucking murderer, and Russell was not the first.”

“I…” Mahtab stared into space and put her hands over her face. “Fuck.”

“Maddy!” Adrian snapped his fingers in front of her face. But she just shook her head for a second before turning away. Adrian huffed, exasperated, and returned to the intruders. “All right so who actually are you? What are you actually doing here? And where did muscles go?”

Jamie and Nate glanced behind them, surprised that a man Tyson’s size had managed to sneak off without them noticing.

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Tyson had just been surveying the damage, and the dead body was freaking him out a bit—more than a bunch of apparent wizards having tantrums at each other. He’d drifted through the kitchen and into the garage. The first thing that caught his sight was the broken television that had been smashed apart. The second was the shattered terrarium on the floor. The third was the birdcage on the workbench.

“Oh fuck…”

The last few days had been a strange fantasyland whirlwind for Tyson, but nothing was more surreal than seeing Blake, four inches tall, turned on his side and moaning uncomfortably in his sleep. It was as if his brain was trying to reconcile the contradictions it was witnessing. It attempted to removed him from the situation, tried to convince him he was playing a video game or watching TV. But he couldn’t escape himself, or the strangeness that he suddenly found himself immersed in.

“Blake?” it was a half-whisper. He barely expected a response. Aside from being smaller, Blake looked like shit, too. He was skinnier, paler—he looked ill, and the smell wasn’t that great either. Tyson pursed his lips and gently blew on him. Blake’s hair ruffled, and he grimaced, hugging himself against the cold. He was real. He was right there, and Tyson wanted to pick him up and hold him close. He’d been through so much, it was plain to see, and Tyson wanted to make sure he would be safe forever. It didn’t matter what size he was. But there’d been something about poison, and letting him rest.

“I’ll be back,” Tyson mumbled to his unconscious audience. “I….I really missed you…”

Tyson turned and walked back into the house, unaware of the eight arachnid eyes that silently watched him go.

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“Look, I can stabilize him and give him some time, but he had a broken rib that’s very, very close to puncturing a lung. I can’t do anything about that,” Rodrigo explained, gasping for breath at every break. Adam needs a hospital. Period.”

“Yeah,” Jamie agreed, holding up his phone, “and he’s getting one.”

“Wait, please!” Adrian held up his hands. “Let us figure something out!” He glanced pleadingly at Mahtab, but she still had her back turned.

“Cliff’s gon’ try to make it the islands,” Nate explained. “Thinks the lake’ll slow us down.”

“What’s that got to do with Adam?” Jamie threw up his arms.

Nate turned to him. “Lookit. I know you’re here f’your friend. An’ I know you’re worried. But Cliff wants to kill s’all now. An’ he will ‘nless we stop him. Which we can.” Nate poked Jamie in the chest. “But I need y’help.”

Jamie narrowed his eyes. “With what?”

Liam raised an eyebrow. “Are you talking about killing someone? Someone else?” He jabbed his arm at the corpse. “I don’t think the solution here is another dead body to explain.”

“That’s it,” Adrian pulled out his phone. “I’m calling Harry.”

“Who the hell is Harry?” asked Jamie.


All eyes found their way to Mahtab as she slowly turned about to face them, drawing in a long measured inhale and issuing a staggered, jagged exhale. “All right,” she murmured, took another deep breath, and nodded. “All right.” She turned to Adrian. “Put your phone away. Liam? You call Harry. Tell him whatever you want. Just get him here. And make sure he knows that Adam needs a hospital. Roddy, you stay with Liam and do whatever you can for Adam. The rest of us are leaving.” She grimaced, limping towards the door.”

“Fuck that, I’m not going anywhere,” Jamie adamantly crossed his arms.

“Jamie…” Adam coughed out. Rodrigo tried to silence him but batted him weakly aside. “You have to…”

“Seriously Adam you have to stop talking!” Rodrigo shouted as loud as his hoarse voice would permit.

Jamie shook his head “Adam I’m not leaving you with these people I have no idea what…”

“Jamie, y’gotta save Cassidy,” Nate stressed. “Adam’s outta commission an’ ‘e don’ trust her to give a shit.”

Mahtab rolled her eyes. “Good a time as any to reiterate that I DON’T give a shit, so Adrian, Muscles, and the Littlest Redneck…”

“Bitch I’m from Cherokee Gardens,” Nate snarled. “Fuckin’ check y’self.”

“Whatever,” Mahtab shrugged. “We’re going. Joe Normal here,” she stuck her elbow at Jamie, “come with us or don’t. But we’re going.”

“How do you plan on stopping this guy?” Liam demanded. “I’m not going to help you kill anyone and neither will Harry!”

Mahtab turned on him, eyes wide and exasperated. “I know, Liam! That’s why you’re staying here!”

“So you are trying to kill this guy?” asked Liam archly. “It doesn’t matter what he’s done we can’t just go and…”

“Yes! Yes I am going to try and kill him! Fuck yes!” Mahtab admitted. “What, you wanna see the cops try and handle him? You want to try and put this guy in a cell? He’s a deranged psychopath with god knows what kind if powers. He’s killed a bunch of people, the latest of which was my best friend. So yeah, we’re going to find this sick fuck and kill the shit out of him.”


Part 17: Cliff

When Cliff’s father walked out on him and his mom a month after Cliff had turned fourteen, he knew he would have to step up. His mother Karen was not going to be able to handle things. She was prone to depression and addiction and was not very intelligent. She could barely keep it together when his dad had been around. Having to fend for the two of them immediately overwhelmed her.

To her credit, Karen did what she could. She started courting suitors whom she believed could provide for them—and they did, at least for a while. But Cliff could always tell what Karen seemed blind to—these guys were looking for an occasional reliable fuck. No one she brought home was interested in tying the knot with an erratic, jobless divorcee (particularly when no papers had been signed to make that title legal) or getting attached to her delinquent teenage son.

Cliff did what he could to pitch in. He sold pot at school and started stealing from construction sites and selling what he could to the creepy guy that owned the scrapyard. He stashed his money away and broke it out whenever Karen didn’t have some guy around to pay their bills. He was a big kid. Nobody wanted to mess with him. Only the cops ever gave him any trouble, but he was smarter than them and nothing ever stuck.

One time a kid at school named Greg Heitzner said Karen was a whore; that she’d gotten drunk at a bar and started offering blowjobs for twenty bucks each. It was probably true. So since Cliff couldn’t argue, he broke Greg’s nose. In the month’s suspension afterwards, he came to know he’d have to be strong, be tough, and be smart. Because Karen wasn’t any of those things. And as bad as some of the losers Karen dragged home were, none of them ever laid a hand on her, because they didn’t want to mess with Cliff.

He was content with that for a while. It’d be bearable until he turned eighteen, and then Karen and Cliff wouldn’t be responsible for each other, and he could get out of that shithole. He kept telling himself that, confident he was on track, until she brought home a very strange man.

Antoine was an older guy. He had dark skin, thin hair, and a short beard speckled with grey. He didn’t seem to have any money but nevertheless always seemed to have what they needed. He had a weird accent that Cliff couldn’t place, and whenever Cliff—or Karen—tried to ask him about that he’d tell them not to worry about it, and then they wouldn’t. In fact, whenever he told them not to do anything they’d stop doing it, and whatever he told them to do they would do. Even when they didn’t want to. Even when it made no sense to. At first it wasn’t that big a deal. It was weird and it was uncomfortable. But then it started to get disturbing. Antoine started hitting her.

Cliff came at him, and Antoine told him to stop, and he did. It was the same the next time, and the next. The fourth time, Antoine told him to stop. He said he was tired, and he told Cliff to hit his mother in the face. Then, Cliff hit his mother in the face. She had a bruise shaped like Cliff’s knuckles for two weeks. Cliff stopped going after Antoine. Cliff stopped, but Antoine didn’t stop.

Strong. Tough. Smart.

There was something happening that Cliff didn’t understand. Antoine wasn’t strong, or tough. But he had something that made none of that matter, and Cliff knew that if he ever encountered someone like Antoine again, he would need it too. Was Antoine smart? If he had been, Cliff figured he would have realized the only way the situation was going to conclude. He would had said something to made Cliff stop. Antoine may have tried, but was hampered by the pillow Cliff was pressing into his face, and the torn Discover card jammed in his jugular.

Cliff left before sunrise. But not before finding some very interesting reading material among Antoine’s effects. Those, he took with him. He never saw Karen again.

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The stone man Cliff was carrying over his shoulder was still too heavy for him. He was sweating, taking laboured breaths, and his shoulder, arm, and back were all killing him. He could grow himself to a size where it would be negligible, but he couldn’t afford to yet. Once he made it to the water, everything would be fine. But he needed to make it there, first.

He was careful as he loaded Cassidy’s frozen stone form into the bed of a black pickup truck, but it still clanked noisily as it did.

“Hey… Hey! Hey! That’s my truck!”

Cliff turned with a scowl at the guy sprinting towards him. White guy, blonde hair to his shoulders, wearing jean shorts and running in sandals. Reminded him a bit of Blake, though maybe a decade and a half older.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he asked as he closed in. He drew his fob from his pocket, and the horn chirped as he confirmed the truck was locked.

Cliff turned, drawing back his shoulders. The shirt had been reduced to rags that hung off his sturdy frame. He wagered he was nearly seven feet tall, and pumped to the brim with muscle. It had been the only way to carry Cassidy. He stared down at the little man, who barely reached his chest, and curled his lip in contempt, growling, “Back off, man.”

Cliff tried reflexively to shrink him. He felt his face flush as he realized he’d left the Asian kid back in the living room. All he had was Butch. But it would be enough.

“Back off?” the blonde retorted incredulously. “That’s my fucking truck!” He sneered up at Cliff. “Look man I don’t care how big you are. You are not leaving here with…”

His eyes widened as he watched Cliff growing right in front of him. Cliff crept inches taller as his thick, bulging muscles expanded all across his body. What was left of the shirt split into shreds, floating down off his body to the ground.

“The fuck…?” The blonde took a step back, and held the fob forward. “I… I don’t know what you are but here, just take it. I don’t want any…”

Cliff grabbed the driver’s side door handle, and would never be sure whether or not he meant to rip the door clear off the truck, but in either case, he did, and tossed it into the ditch. He pointed at the steering wheel. “You’re driving.”

Sitting in the back of the truck, his arms spread out across the tailgate, Cliff felt happy in a way he hadn’t in a long time. The wind pummelling his swollen muscles, the sun setting behind the silhouette of the city wrapping around the glittering lake, the statue nestled between his knees, the stares he was getting from passersby… it was great. And it would all be his, soon. Once this coven was dealt with, no one would be able to stop him. Everyone would be his servant, like Blondie there. Anyone he couldn’t cow into submission, he’d kill. It was all pretty straightforward.

He needed to get back to that house. He needed the Asian boy and that girl who could petrify people. He had only had time to take one and he settled on Butch. Or… Mini-Butch or whoever the fuck he really was. How did such a wimpy little toothpick weigh so much as a statue? It didn’t make much sense to Cliff.

By now, Phil was probably dead. If by some miracle that idiot had managed to outdo one or more sorcerers, then Cliff would have to recalculate, but in the meantime… The black guy had called for backup. That backup was probably calling for backup too. He’d stash Butch on the islands, come back to the house, and find it full of all the best sorcerers in Toronto. And before yesterday, that might have given Cliff pause. But when he faced them, he intended to be far more than they could handle.

He could see them now; looking up in terrified awe as he pulled the roof off that house. That would be the expression he hoped to capture once he petrified them. Then, all that power would be his.

It’s tonight, then, he realized. It’s tonight that the true Cliff Esterez would be revealed to the world. He wondered to himself what skyscraper he’d knock over. He’d resolved long ago he’d have to topple at least one. As terrifying as a thousand-foot giant would be, one that clearly means business would inevitably be taken more seriously. He hadn’t like the Aura condo tower at first, but it had grown on him. It would probably be the Shangri-La hotel. His plan was to ram it with his shoulder. Instantly kill hundred, maybe thousands of people. Who’d mess with him then?

He was getting hard thinking about it. The bulge in his straining jeans hardened into a pronounced outline of his cock. Cliff smirked, and watched as his cock suddenly spurted longer and thicker. He chuckled to himself as he lifted his eyes, and caught the gaze of the blonde driver in the rearview mirror, which immediately averted.

Cliff grinned. He would have loved to shrink this guy into his toy, but there were ways to still have fun, eventually.

“What’s your name?” Cliff called.

The driver gulped, but remained silent.

“Hey! I asked your name!”

The driver replied, but it was lost in the wind.

“Say what?” Cliff persisted pointedly.

“Nick!” he shouted.

“So, Nick…” Cliff drew a hand across his chest. “Do you think I’m sexy?”

“Yes, sir…” Nick immediately nodded. “Very… very sexy.”

“Be honest, Nick,” Cliff growled.

“Well…” Nick sputtered, “I mean I’m not… really into guys… but…”

Cliff grinned and leaned back, gazing up at the darkening sky, muttering to himself. “You’ll come around.”

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“…And then this guy comes back to the bar, tells me he knows where Blake is, and here I am.” Tyson quietly explained to Jamie. “Like… I mean… when all the weird shit started to happen and I, like, changed into this?” he gestured to his musclebound torso. “I knew it had to be something crazy. But fuck… magic?”

“I know,” Jamie rolled his eyes. “I feel like the last few months I’ve been sucked into fucking Narnia or some shit.”

Leading them, ahead by a few paces, Mahtab and Nate walked side by side, and Adrian between the two pairs. “We got ‘im outa tha’ house.” Nate nodded approvingly. “That house protected him.”

Mahtab pulled the keys from her jacket. They had decided to take Liam’s minivan. Jamie’s car was apparently too tight for Tyson, and nobody wanted to go fishing through the trash for Russell’s keys. She unlocked it with the fob and everyone started piling in. But as Nate went to walk past her she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him closer.

“Tell me why I should fucking trust you,” she hissed. “You just come out of nowhere, know everything, and have minihulk over there on guard duty.” She tightened her grip. “What’s your connection here?”

“Nate?” Tyson called from the other side of the van. “Everything okay?”

Nate reached up and quietly peeled Mahtab’s hand off his arm. “S’all good, man. Jus’ sec,” he replied with a nod. Tyson didn’t look reassured but got into the van anyway.

Nate turned back to Mahtab. “‘Aight look, truth’s I jus’ knew this’s goin’ on and came t’help.”

Mahtab crossed her arms. “Uh-huh.”

“‘M not ‘ere t’save you, bitch,” Nate spat, narrowing his gaze up at her. “An’ I don’ give a shit f’you believe me ‘r not. S’let’s jus’ skip t’the part where y’threaten to kill me if I get outa line same as you killed that guy in’ere.”

Mahtab stifled a snarl, and the two stared at each other for a few more seconds before she mumbled. “Just something to keep in mind, kid.”

Nate rolled his eyes. “Mind’s a bit occupied at th’moment,” he replied as he turned his back on her and strode towards the van.

Mahtab looked back at the house. She didn’t really have a play, which she wasn’t a fan of. Nor was she very eager to follow someone else’s lead, particularly some rando she’d never even heard of before. Why wasn’t she giving a fuck about all the warning alarms going off in her head?

Someone honked the horn in the van and Mahtab turned back to it with a scowl.

Oh yeah. Revenge.

It seemed like a fairly pedestrian motive… academically, at least. But it was apparently good enough for her. She jogged over to the van and slid into the driver’s seat.

As she started it up it was playing some upbeat feelgood pop song on Z103. She switched off the radio.

Tyson, who was riding shotgun, pursed his lips. “I like that song,” he complained.

Mahtab put the gear shift into drive. “Tough shit,” she muttered.

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The pickup truck groaned and tilted as Cliff slid to the end of the tailgate, and bounced on its suspension as he lifted off. It was dark, beginning to rain, and the half-nauseating, half-refreshing scent of the lake had Nick’s stomach in knots. Nick, the reluctant driver, clutched the steering wheel in his white knuckles, eyes locked to the rearview mirror at the gargantuan man. He had to be almost eight feet tall, and thick with more muscle than he’d ever seen before. Nick stayed as still and quiet as his nerves would allow, though he felt tremors in his knees and had to stifle a whimper of fear that wanted to squeak out of his throat.

He just hoped the guy would leave. The missing door on his truck hardly seemed important now. This guy looked like he could just reach out, grab your whole head in one oversized hand, and pop it into jelly without breaking a sweat.

But Cliff turned, locked eyes with Nick’s in the mirror, and his glower turned into an insidious grin.

Nick swore the ground shook as Cliff rounded the side of the truck and blocked the while doorway with his abs and crotch. The overstuffed bulge in his stretched to the limit jeans twitched inches from Nick. Nick just stared straight ahead, ignoring the musk radiating from Cliff’s body. Cliff looked down at his terrified hostage. He bit his lip, and with a grunt, the bulged swelled even larger, and finally the jeans had had enough. The button of his fly popped off and the zipper was forced open, and a mound of Cliff’s shaft peeked out, so visible through his straining cotton briefs he might as well have been going commando.

Cliff reached down a meaty paw and moaned as he pulled his cock out. “Mmmm… there we go.”

Nick was taking very good care to keep his eyes straight ahead, but he couldn’t help glancing over. It lolled over a foot long, thick as Nick’s forearm, and it didn’t even look hard.

It lowered out of view as Cliff squatted down to bring his face into view.

“You like my cock, Nick?”

Nick gulped. “It’s, uhh….”

“Look at me when I’m talkin’ to you,” Cliff growled.

Nick snapped his head around so quick his blonde hair whipped in front of his eyes. He wanted to brush it away but couldn’t unlock his hands from around the wheel. “Sorry! I’m sorry, I, uhh… I mean it’s the biggest dick I’ve ever seen, man.” He finished with an awkward chuckle.

“I can give you a giant fuckin’ hog, dude,” Cliff smiled.

Nick somehow gripped the steering wheel even tighter as he felt an intense—but far from unpleasant—pressure in his groin. He felt his warm cock inching down his thigh, felt the left side of his jean shorts getting tighter. He looked down and gasped at the outline, inflating like a balloon. The sensation was deeply arousing, and it got harder as it grew. By the time his pink head peeked out from the hem of his jean shorts he was at full attention. He finally wrenched one hand off the wheel and lowered it down to his thigh—his cock was thicker than a pop can, and every touch was like a mini blowjob. He was amazed he hadn’t cum.

Cliff brushed the hair out from Nick’s face. “I can make you as big as me… bigger, even! Just promise to help me. To serve me. And I’ll make you…”

“Just let me go, man. Please? Please just let me go…” Nick’s eyes were welling with tears.

Cliff’s face darkened.

Nick saw the huge expression change, and began to protest. “I’m flattered. Seriously! You’re huge, man. It’s very impressive but I just can’t… I mean it’s not really my…” He gestured down to the boner that stretched past his knee. “No chick’s gonna let me go near her with this.”

Cliff scoffed darkly. “You’re worried about chicks, huh? Fine.” He lifted himself up, standing to his full height. His cock, which had in the interim become semi-hard, lolled lazily in front of him. Cliff folded his arms over his beefy chest. “I’ll give you one less thing to worry about.”

Nick felt a shiver scurry up his spine. At first he thought it was just the general peril he was in, but it quickly revealed itself to be much more. His shirt became snug, and he looked down in horror to see his flat stomach suddenly bowl out into a growing belly. His shirt rode up, revealing a modestly thick blond treasure trail down the centre of the inflating beach ball of a gut. He put his hands on it, as if to verify it was truly him, and then in some futile attempt to push it back. “No! Come on man, stop! Please.”

It wasn’t just his stomach. His arms, legs, and ass were becoming thick with layers of flab, and even as he pleaded he could feel his cheeks and chin hang heavier off his face. Even his hands and fingers were becoming bloated like overstuffed sausages.

His clothes were beginning to tear. His watch snapped off his wrist. He winced in pain as his belly pressed up against the steering wheel, as his right thigh wedged up against the centre console. His shorts ripped away. His shirt tore apart. He felt the breeze on his thighs.

“Stop!” Nick pressed against the windshield with his hand, his other arm flailing under his leg trying to adjust the seat. His protests only seemed to make his expansion accelerate.

Cliff smirked as the growth subsided. Nick was in tears, sitting in the torn remains of his clothing, whimpering and grunting.

“Please!” he blubbered, “please change me back. I can’t move! It hurts!”

Cliff shrugged his muscular shoulders, smiling at the sensation of all his overgrown brawn moving in tandem. “Not my problem,” he growled, and turned towards the back of the pickup.

“No! No no no! Come back! Please!” Nick’s cries were becoming more and more shrill, his voice starting to crack. “I’ll serve you! I’ll… do whatever you want just, stop! Please! You can’t leave me like this! I’ll do anything!”

Cliff hoisted the stone form of Cassidy, feeling the weight of it become less burdensome as he grew his body another foot taller, swelling his frame with more brawn.

“I’ll… I’ll suck your cock,” Nick said quietly as Cliff passed the open door. “I’ll let you fuck me! Whatever you want! I promise! Please stop! Please!”

Cliff didn’t respond. He didn’t care. Nick had had his chance, just like everyone had. Every prissy little bitch that turned him down. Every stupid teenager who had ever given him grief. Every hot guy who avoided eye contact. Every Grindr profile who hadn’t responded to him. They’d all had their chance to get into Cliff’s good graces. To earn some level of mercy from him. But that time was over. Tonight began the era of Cliff. Where being smart, tough, and strong were the only currency of value. And he was smarter and tougher and stronger than anyone in this city. Anyone in the world.

It was a full drizzle now. He could see it falling in sheets across the lake.

A deep moan of pleasure rumbled inside him as Cliff felt himself growing larger and larger. His jeans and underwear finally gave out completely. Cassidy became smaller and smaller in the crook of his arm. The ground began to sink under his feet. The head of his cock brushed against the top of a small tree. It sent a fantastic shiver up his spine.

“How you pussies like me now?”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Hasan judiciously examined the dull glowing end of the roach perilously pinched between his thumb and finger. “Think there’s one hit there,” he mumbled, handing it to Drew.

Drew carefully accepted the meager joint and took a drag. He didn’t think he got anything. He flicked it off the edge of the balcony, and leaned over the rail on his elbows with a sigh. The night had turned colder, and it was spitting rain on an off. The balcony had been abandoned by everyone who wasn’t smoking pot.

“Awww what’s wrong, muffin?” Hasan cooed, sliding up next to him.

“Oh nothing.” Drew shrugged. “I was just really looking forward to spending Pride with Jamie. He always has such a shitty time but this year we had these other friends coming to the city… and like, now I have no idea where they are.” He paused a moment before adding, “Plus I really wanted to do that MDMA.”

Hasan leaned his head on Drew’s shoulder. “Poor sweet Drew. I can be your boyfriend for the night if you want,” he suggested. “We can be one of those couples that get in loud, public fights.”

Drew pursed his lips. “Tempting.”

Hasan stood up straight and looked at Drew. “We didn’t scare him off being extra, did we?”

Drew smiled and put his arm around Hasan’s shoulder. “No honey, y’all’re some basic hoes.”

Hasan chuckled, leaning back on Drew’s shoulder. “Bitch.”

“Guys!” Elliot shouted from the doorway. They turned around as he rushed towards them. “Omigosh you guys, you’ll never guess what the fuck.”

Hasan and Drew exchanged glances. Hasan shrugged.

“Grant just proposed to Wes!” Elliot jumped up and down clapping.

Drew groaned.

Hasan raised an eyebrow. “Did he say yes?”

“Of course he said yes,” Drew retorted, rolling his eyes. “He’s too much of a princess to turn down a wedding.”

Elliot grimaced. “Who pissed in your cheerios?”

“Come on,” Drew protested. “You can’t honestly think this is a good idea. They’ve been living together for like, three months?”

Elliot raised his hand and splayed his fingers. “Uhh, five, bitch?” he corrected, then waved the comment away with a smile. “Whatever. Thanh and I are too poor to get married and you and Jamie are too butch.”

Drew nodded sarcastically. “Right.”

“I just want to go to a fag wedding,” Elliot admitted. “Don’t ruin this for me. Or… them, I guess.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Drew acquiesced. “Whatever dumb bullshit any of you idiots want to waste your stupid lives on has my full support.”

Hasan smiled wanly and hugged Drew. “That’s all we ask, friendo.”

“Ugh,” Drew squirmed. “Let’s go inside it’s cold.”

Hasan rubbed Drew’s stomach. “Mmm I’ll keep you warm, babe.”

Drew wriggled free with a chuckle. “Don’t touch me loser.”

“Do you guys have any weed?” asked Elliot.

“Sorry hun, just cashed that check,” Hasan apologized.

Elliot gasped in faux outrage. “Bitches. All of you.”

Drew giggled and brushed by Elliot to go back inside, Hasan close behind him. They were almost to the door when sheet lightning lit up the night above them with a soft rumble.

Elliot gasped again. “Holy shit. Did you guys see that?”

Drew sighed. “It’s called lightning, Elliot, it’s happens when… clouds… do something.”

“Nonono, out in the lake.” Elliot walked to the railing, peering into the darkness.

“What?” Hasan glanced at Drew before joining Elliot at the railing. Drew followed. “A ship?”

“No… I dunno.” Elliot squinted. “I can almost see it still. Do you see that? It’s like… it’s too big to be a ship. It almost looks like a building.”

Drew could followed their gaze. It was hard to see through the rain and the marijuana haze, but as his eyes adjusted he could make out a shape far off in the water. If it was anything, it was definitely too big to be a ship, and it was…

“Is it…” Hasan asked cautiously, “moving?”

“I can see it too!” a big Greek-looking guy a few metres from them said, leaning on the railing. “That thing is definitely moving.”

“Omigosh is it, like a Godzilla or a sea monster or something?” Elliot posited.

“Dude I’m kind of freaking out,” said Hasan quietly.

“All right,” Drew shook his head with a sigh. “Guys. This is a freshwater lake, we are not getting… Kaiju’ed. Lake Ontario isn’t big enough to have a giant monster in it.”

“Cloverfield was an alien that fell to earth,” Elliot countered.

“In Pacific Rim they came out of a portal,” the Greek added.

“Guys!” Drew exclaimed. “Look either we’re all just high and freaking out over nothing or there is a giant monster in the Lake. Either way, let’s not let it ruin our Pride, agreed?”

Hasan stood up, turning away from the lake. “Yeah.”

“It’s freezing out here,” Drew shivered. “Let’s go inside and congratulate our dumb friends on this huge mistake.”

“Omigosh, I wonder if Stanley knows!” Elliot turned and rushed back inside, the shape in the darkness forgotten.

Hasan put his hand around Drew’s waist and leaned on him as they walked back inside. “Thanks for saving Pride, babe.”

“Anytime, sugarplum,” Drew replied.

He did, however, cast another fleeting, worried glance at the lake. It was nothing. It was just the pot and the storm. It was nothing. It certainly had nothing to do with Jamie, or Cassidy, or Adam.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Mahtab raised her hand to keep the drizzle out of her eyes. She took a deep breath and sighed. “All right now I need you to hold as still as you can, okay? Take a deep breath and hold it. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

The teary blonde man—grown so immensely fat he was unable to escape his pickup—whimpered and nodded. Mahtab took another long inhale, shook the water from her hands, and hopped from foot to foot for a second. She leaned forward and wedged her arm around Nick’s neck, her other hand sinking into the folds of his giant belly. “All right. One, two, three!”

Mahtab hopped up to take her feet off the ground, and an ear-splitting screech of wrenched metal grated in her brain as she felt herself slip away. It was a mere fraction of a second. One moment Mahtab was leaning into Nick’s truck, and the next the two of them fell out of thin air fifteen feet away, crashing into the ground amidst chunks of the metal frame, the seat, and pieces of the steering wheel. It had been too tight a squeeze, and when she slipped she had been forced to take a piece of the truck with them. Mahtab grunted in pain as she felt the jagged edge of the windshield cut a gash in her arm. Nick slammed on the ground beside him as a misshapen slab of the truck’s ceiling fell on top of him. Blood oozed from a dozen cuts slashed into his bulbous body by the debris, and the roof had given him a nasty bruise on his forehead. Mahtab staggered to her feet, lifted the rubble off him with a grunt, and looked back at the truck, which looked like a giant hand had reached down and scooped a chunk out of the driver’s seat.

“Are you okay?” she asked him after he had struggled to his feet.

He had started to cry again. “What am I fucking going to do?” he mewled quietly.

“Look, just…” Mahtab looked around. She couldn’t waste time babysitting this guy. “Just sit on that bench over there… we’ll get you fixed. Okay?”

“Re…really?” Nick sniffed.

“Yes,” she nodded emphatically, though she wasn’t really sure. “I have to go back to my friends, okay? You just sit tight.”

As Nick lumbered away from his destroyed truck, Mahtab jogged towards the shore, briefly inspecting the wound on her arm. The four guys were standing in a line, looking out towards the lake where the gigantic form of Cliff waded in the water. It was difficult to get a decent perspective at that distance for an exact figure, but he had grown himself to titanic proportions, probably close to two hundred feet tall. His every movement sent violent waves across the water, splashing up high above their heads at the shore.

“We need to do something before he gets to the island,” she declared, raising her voice to be heard above the wind and rain.

“We’re gonna,” Nate quipped, and turned from the lake to look at Jamie. “You’re gon’ hafta fight ‘im.”

“What?” Jamie looked down at the smaller guy. “Why me?”

“Yeah, why him?” Mahtab asked archly.

“It… can’t be any of us,” Adrian explained slowly, as it was dawning on him. “The moment we get close to him, he’ll just take our powers from us.”

“S’only got Cass with ‘im,” said Nate. “It’s the only power he’s got.”

Mahtab pointed at him. “It made him into a fucking mountain, I’d say it’s plenty.” She crossed her arms, wincing again at the wound. “I say I just slip up next to him and slip away with a chunk of his brain.”

“Dude, gross…” Tyson made a face.

“I’ll be too fast for him to anything,” Mahtab surmised.

“Are you sure?” asked Adrian. “We don’t know how long that takes. It might even be by proximity.”

“An’ ‘e’s been expectin’ an attack from you,” Nate continued. “S’got some safeguards… I’unno which ones ‘e ended up goin’ wit. But he doesn’ know ‘bout me. He won’ be expectin’ ‘nother Cass.” He looked over at Mahtab, who was gazing out at Cliff. “Hey,” he said quietly. When she didn’t respond, he flicked her shoulder. “Hey!”

Mahtab lowered her gaze to him.

“Know why you wanna go,” he said evenly. “But this’s th’ better plan.”

“I still haven’t agreed to anything,” Jamie reminded them, raising his hand.

Nate turned to Jamie. “Look bro, ‘e’s got yer friend, an’ he is… like, y’don’ even know, man. Can’t even. Guy’s fucked, dude. An’ lookit ‘im.”

Jamie turned his eyes back to the dark lake. The huge giant striding out into it. It was strangely mesmerizing. “S’not jus’ Cassidy, dude. S’all of us. An’ the whole city.” He paused. “S’gotta be you.”

Jamie sighed, shuffled his feet a bit, looked at his shoes, crossed his arms and bit his lip. “God fucking dammit.”

Nate smirked triumphantly. “Take off your clothes.”

Jamie heaved another sigh before he started to undress, kicking off his shoes and wriggling out of his shirt, shivering as the drizzling rain hit his skin. Tyson’s presence made him a bit self-conscious, but he figured it wouldn’t really matter in a minute. He was about to take off his pants when he felt his cock plump up an inch or two bigger. He glanced at Nate, who returned a wink. Impressing these strangers with his cock was a low priority at this point, but Jamie gave him a subtle nod of appreciation regardless.

Nate, Mahtab and Adrian were all yammering the plan they had discussed in the van to him again. Jamie was only catching every other word. Nate was trying to get him pumped, reminding him the changes would impede him in ways he might not expect. Mahtab was subtly stressing that Cassidy’s survival needed to be treated as a second priority. Adrian seemed to be giving him tips on boxing but Jamie got the impression he had no idea what he was talking about.

Mostly though, Jamie was asking himself if he could really kill someone. Someone he hadn’t even seen before. From here he didn’t even look like a person, and from the shore he looked more like a monster. He could get his head around that. But this was a person, and Jamie was going to have to look him in the face. Could he look someone in the eye and watch them die? Even knowing the stakes. All those lives in danger. All those people.

He wouldn’t be looking at them when he had to do it. They were all strangers too. But he’d be watching this stranger when he saved all of them.

In his head he saw all of them. Not so much as people, just as crowds. No faces, no real details of their bodies or what they were wearing. Hundreds of thousands of them, all swarming together. He didn’t know them, he couldn’t see them. Would their abstract security be enough to let him do it?

But he began, somehow, to pick out some of the faces. He could see Abbie, he could see Adam. And Drew. He could see Drew like he was standing right in front of him, wearing those jeans that he thought made his junk look bigger, and that Modest Mouse shirt he should’ve gotten rid of years ago, and those blue, scuffed up running shoes. And he had that smile that he got when he was reminded of some joke but didn’t want to bother trying to explain it to anyone, and he was shaking his bangs out of his eyes, the way he’d do right before he complained how he never knew what to do with his hair even though it always looked perfect.

“All right, everyone shut up!” Jamie cut off the chorus of advice. “I’m exactly as psyched up as I need to be right now let’s go.”

Jamie immediately lurched taller. He grew three feet higher so quickly he almost fell over right there. The others hopped back with a start.

“My bad, my bad,” Nate apologized. “I’ll take it slower.”

It started up again, at a more reasonable pace, giving Jamie time to adjust his footing. He rose taller and taller. When he was almost double his original height, he felt his muscles start to swell. Like they had that first night he found out about all this crazy bullshit. His chest puffed up with beef as his arms grew thick and corded, thighs bubbling up with size and weight. He looked down at the four people gaping up at him like they were small children.

At fifteen feet tall, he strode out towards the lake, his cock slapping across his thighs as he continued to grow. He stepped over the breaker into the lake and it barely covered his foot. The shape before him was still formidable, but he was slowly catching up to it. He glanced down at his hands as he walked, watching them get thick and meaty. He felt his shoulders widen, his biceps bulge, and closed his hands into fists.

Out on the lake, and at this altitude, the wind and rain was loud enough that Cliff couldn’t hear him approaching, but he felt the lake bed trembling under footfalls other than his own, and turned around just in time to see the huge fist slam into his face.

Cliff felt his teeth cutting the inside of his cheek as his brain rattled around in his skull. He tasted blood in his mouth, and it infuriated him. He staggered forward, almost falling to a knee, but came back around with his own, blind swing, his thick arm arc out wide, only hitting air. Jamie was still ten feet shy but was committing to the fight anyway, confident he was still getting bigger.

As Cliff regained his footing, Jamie sent up a wave of water as he maneuvered his leg between Cliff’s, grunting as he threw an arm around his opponent’s shoulder, hoping to knock him off balance and send him sprawling onto his back. But Cliff had planted his feet, and was very heavy. He retaliated by jabbing Jamie in the ribs with his elbow.

At over two hundred feet tall, breathing was laboured enough. It felt like he was trying to breathe by sucking air out of a balloon. The strike winded him, and Jamie recoiled, almost slipping off of his hold, but he clenched his fist around Cliff’s shoulder, using it as leverage to bring his knee up and hit Cliff right in the solar plexus.

Cliff grunted loudly, coughing, a band of spit knocked out of his mouth, and he grappled for Jamie for a moment before crashing to his knees with a surge of water. Cliff was being careful not to strike his foe with the fist holding Cassidy. He figured it might be like hitting someone with a fit clenched around a roll of quarters but couldn’t risk breaking the statue. He deposited Cassidy—like a coin machine toy in his hands—from his right to his left to keep his main hand available. But his eyes settled on another shape in the water, and Cliff smiled.

Jamie moved in to grab him by the shoulders, hoping to shove him into the water, but Cliff suddenly slashed up at him, and Jamie felt something crack across his jaw. He was forced back a step, and Cliff clamoured to his feet, reeling back, ready to throw whatever he had in his hand.

Jamie’s eyes settled on it and widened as he realized what it was. Cliff had pulled a small cruise ship out of the water, and even as he held it aloft, Jamie spotted people being thrown overboard, plummeting down across Cliff’s arm into the dark water below.

Jamie threw out his legs and splashed into the water as Cliff launched the boat towards him.

Adrian covered his mouth in horror as he watched the ship spiral through the air, and all eyes followed it as it descended on the shore, crashing into the parking lot of a marina, destroying half the building with it.

Before Jamie could get up, Cliff was upon him delivering a punch to the eye that dazed Jamie, and pushing his head down into the water, holding his back down with his knee. Jamie thrashed beneath him but Cliff stayed put.

Cliff laughed as he increased his own weight, feeling his frame expand again as Jamie struggled against him. Filling lungs this size took a lot of effort. It wouldn’t be long before Cliff took care of this asshole, whoever he was. He’d teach people not to mess with him.

A shape appeared from the side of his vision, blocking out the lights from the city, prompting Cliff to look up from his opponent, to see a titanically muscled, two-hundred-foot tall Tyson bring his hands hammering down on Cliff’s forehead.

“Asshole!” Tyson shouted at his co-worker.

Cliff let out a short wail before Tyson reared back and kicked him with a monstrous heel to the chest, forcing him to fall backward into the water and off of Jamie, he thrust his head out of the water, coughing and gasping for breath. Tyson quickly grabbed under his elbow and hoisted Jamie to his feet as Cliff scrambled to his own.

“Fuckin’ kill you,” Cliff rasped. “Both of you. Fuckin’ dead.”

It was really windy, and the two other giants couldn’t really hear any of it. They got the gist, though.

Tyson began to slowly creep through the water, staying well out of Cliff’s reach, circling around to his right. Jamie was still taking huge gulps of air, trying to catch his breath again, still seeing stars, but kept his arms up defensively.

Cliff made a suddenly feinted toward Jamie, and Jamie shifted away with a start. He felt a buoy smack against his shin, as his foot slid up against an outcropping in the lakebed, sharp enough to stagger him. He felt his leg buckle, then give way, and he slammed down to one knee, his thick arm flailing as he tried to steady himself. Cliff moved toward him quickly, grappling for his arm, but Tyson lunged forward as well. Cliff closed his hand around Jamie’s wrist, and kneed him in the chest, but Tyson took the opportunity to loop his arms under Cliff’s shoulders, interlocking his fingers behind the neck. Cliff’s arms were splayed open, and Jamie grit his teeth.

Cliff tried to kick at Jamie but the water weakened the blow. Jamie deflected it with his arm as he rose to his feet and landed a hard uppercut in Cliff’s stomach. Tyson held him tight, feeling Cliff’s rainslick back against his chest, as Cliff grunted in pain, shuddering violently. Jamie’s eyes darted from left to right, and saw Cliff’s right hand was open, while he seemed determined to keep his left clenched shut. Jamie grabbed at the fist with both hands, trying to pry the fingers open. Cliff kicked at him again but Jamie swiveled to the side.

“No!” Cliff cried. “Get off me, you fuckin’ faggots!”

“You’re such a dick, Cliff,” Tyson growled at him from behind. “Give it up!”

“Fuckin’ cunts!” Cliff cried. They were going to beat him, he realized. He couldn’t go any bigger and keep breathing properly, especially not while exerting himself, and the two of them were just as big as he was. His left arm bulged as he strained to keep his fist closed, but Jamie’s fingers were digging their way in, and slowly he managed to bend one finger loose. Cliff had no choice.

Fuck!” Cliff screamed, and suddenly, he began to rapidly shrink. His legs burst out of the water, quickly rising up as he slipped out of Tyson’s grasp. The statue in his hand quickly became too big to hold and he released it. Tyson tried to catch Cliff as he fell—still diminishing—toward the water, but in a bright flash of white light, he was gone.

The rain had picked up, and the flash had briefly blinded him, but Jamie had caught a glimpse of the still, stone figure falling through the air, he flailed wildly in front of him, though his side kept his arms from moving as fast as he would have liked, and he felt nothing but the wind. But then he saw a spray of white water on the lake, of something heavy splashing into the surface.

He immediately squatted down, and thrust his hand into the water, raking his way through it, until he felt something hard hitting his palm, and lifted it out. He held his hand close to his face to see in the darkness, and amidst the algae and garbage covering his palm was a tiny stone man, in a seated position, his little face frozen in shocked dismay. Jamie breathed a deep sigh of relief, and felt his huge body finally relax.

Tyson waded over to him, panting. “You got him?” he shouted.

Jamie nodded. “Yeah.”

“So…” Tyson glanced at the shore, shaking wet bangs from his face. “Did we win?”

Jamie carefully staggered to his feet, cradling the tiny figure in his huge palm. “I think so, yeah.”

“Okay…” Tyson looked back at the shore, then out to the lake. “So, uhh… what do we do now?”

Jamie looked at Tyson and blinked. “That’s actually a great question.” He gestured back to the shore. “Let’s go check with them.”

“Might not be a great idea,” Tyson replied, pointing. Not far from where they had stepped into the lake was the red flashing lights of emergency vehicles approaching the yacht club the cruise ship had crashed into, and even from there they could see many figures milling around. “Should we… can we help them?”

Jamie shook his head. “Probably best to just let the professionals do their jobs. Here,” he tapped Tyson on the shoulder and gestured for him to follow as he waded towards the island. “Let’s just hide out in the water near the island ‘til we start to shrink down.”

Tyson fell into step after him. A flash of sheet lightning illuminated both of them for a moment, and a few seconds later a roll of thunder boomed overhead. “How long will that be?” he asked.

“Uhh…” Jamie grimaced. “Something like six hours, I think.”

“Fuck,” Tyson grumbled.

Jamie shrugged.

“You fight good, man,” said Tyson.

Jamie chuckled, checking again on the stone figure in his hand. “You too, man, you too.”

“What the fuck happened?” Mahtab shouted, peering into the darkness.

“Got Cass,” Nate beamed. “‘Re jus’ hidin out for a bit. Maybe let’s pitch in on a water taxi later.”

“Wait, what?” Mahtab glanced at him then out at the lake. “Where’s Cliff?”

“He shrank,” Adrian answered. “He must’ve had something prepared from before.”

Nate nodded in agreement. “Shrink ‘n’ blink,” he muttered quietly.

“What?” Mahtab yelled.

“Shrink ‘n’ blink!” Nate yelled back.

“What? Fuck is that?”

“Nothin’!” Nate replied, rolling his eyes. “Jus’ bein’ funny!”

“Well don’t!” Mahtab chided, wiping rain from her eyes. “If Cliff is still alive we need to find him!”

“Where do we even start?” asked Adrian. “He could be anywhere between here and the island.”

Nate shook his head. “Naw man, he ‘ported away.”

“What?” asked Adrian. “How do you… oh, shrink ‘n’ blink; I get it.”

“How do you even know all this?” Mahtab finished Adrian’s question for him.

Nate chuckled, turning and walking inland. “C’mon, guys. Figger it out.”

“Where are you going?” Mahtab shouted after him.

“Help the fat guy. ‘N get back to Cliff’s house,” Nate called back.

“What about Jamie and Tyson?” asked Adrian.

“Can’t help ’em now,” Nate answered. “Plus that.” He stuck his arm out to the west where firetrucks, cop cars, and ambulances were turning the flaming marina into a red and blue rave.

“Oh…” Adrian nodded, and tapped Mahtab on the arm before jogging after Nate. “Good point, let’s get out of here.”

Mahtab took another look out at the water and the two dark shapes wading further out into the lake. She rubbed her bleeding arm and trudged after them with a resigned sigh.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Liam breathed a shuddered sigh as he read the texts from Mahtab. “Harry! Harry!” he shouted, running back into the house.

“Liam, Please!” Harry stressed. “I’m trying very hard to concentrate and you’re presently blocking the doorway!”

“Oh… sorry.” Liam pressed himself against the side of the door as a stone statue floated silently through the air out toward the U-Haul they had hastily rented. Harry followed it at a slow, measured pace, telekinetically controlling it with his mind. But they’d done some quick calculations and each statue probably weighed upwards of five hundred pounds. Harry was growing more and more exhausted after each statue he transported, but was powering through. Corey was waiting outside with an umbrella for Harry, shielding him from the rain to avoid any distraction. He directed the statue into the open door of the truck where Brian and Grace were waiting to wrap them in moving blankets.

Before they had left to confront Cliff, Nate had restored Blake to his original size, and Roddy had shortly thereafter taken both Blake and Adam to an ER where he knew the staff, and he could likely avoid dealing with the police.

This left Liam alone in a house full of distressingly lifelike statues, a huge, headless corpse, and apparently, a tarantula on the loose. Needless to say, he was grateful when Harry showed up in response to his call.

Informed of the full situation, Harry had in all available hands to help deal with this as quickly as possible. They were going to carefully transport all the statues back to their headquarters, and see what they could do about restoring them. Even that looked to be a challenge. Harry had been forced to call in a favour. Liam had been too meek to object.

As Harry carefully deposited the statue into the truck, he rubbed his temple, grimacing as he walked through the wet grass back to the house.

“I’m sorry, you were saying?” he turned to Liam, drying his hands on his sweater-vest. “Word from Mahtab?”

“Yes,” Liam nodded quickly. “They’re on their way back with someone else Esterez has changed. They said they recovered Cassidy, but Esterez activated some sort of defensive spell and escaped! He may be coming back here!” Liam glanced at the body on the floor. “We need to leave!”

“Liam, calm down,” Harry put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “If he returns as a giant we’ll see him coming, and if not, there’s more than enough of us to deal with him. Plus…”

“Plus you’ve got me!” Oliver chimed in, thoroughly British. He strode out of the living room after having successfully outfitted all of the statues with oven mitts to protect their fingers. “I’ve no doubt we could fend him off together.”

The tall, slim, older man clapped Liam on the back, and Liam poured all his effort into swallowing his disdain and forcing a smile. “I guess,” he replied.

Oliver beamed. “That’s the spirit. Though,” his tone became cautionary as he turned to Harry. “I’m tempted to agree with the young gentleman. Our proximity to this business at the marina is most unappealing.”

Harry pursed his lips and nodded in agreement. “You’re right. We’ll have to leave him.” He glanced briefly at Phil’s corpse, which had begun to smell. “Are you sure that’s wise?” asked Oliver.

“I don’t even know what we’d do with him. Honestly the best way to avoid any connection to us is to leave him here, I believe.”

Liam felt like a sigh of relief he’d had pent up for hours finally released.

“All right, I’ll make sure everyone’s ready to go just as soon as that last of our companions is on the truck,” Oliver replied with a nod. “And perhaps redirect the young lady to rendezvous elsewhere?” he suggested to Liam as he walked out the front door.

Liam’s expression fell back into a grim frown the second Oliver’s back was turned. Harry, evidently, caught it. “You don’t approve,” he observed.

“I’m sorry, Harry, I just don’t trust him,” said Liam quietly.

“Neither do I, Liam, but this is a bigger crisis than we can handle alone. And it’s not about who… wins, anymore. People have died.”

“I know, Harry, I’m not… I get it. I do.” Liam sighed.

“Good man,” Harry turned back to the living room. “All right, onto the next one…”

The statue of Robyn scraped on the floor as it was hoisted into the air. Her handcuffs had been cut and she was wearing mismatched oven mitts.

The stupid bitch. She had been the worst of all of them. The whole time she just wouldn’t shut up. Even as he body was turning to stone Cliff had been afraid her struggling would damage her. She was a big loss. When the time came to reclaim his power, she would have to be an early acquisition. And it would be even harder this time.

Four inches tall and naked, Cliff watched grimly from behind a vent grating as they stole all his powers from him one by one. He hated being small, but he knew it was the best way to survive an ambush, and so his carefully orchestrated spellcraft had been designed to teleport him to safety while hiding him from view. It would wear off soon, and Cliff would have to start over. But he had learned many things. Phil was a poor minion. Cassidy’s powers came from a place of vanity and not practicality. And somehow, his wards had not kept them out. Next time, his defenses would rely on a more subtle version of stealth. Next time, he would recruit his followers more wisely. Next time…

Something rustled softly behind him, amplified by the metallic echo of the vents. He turned, peering into the long narrow ventilation pipe that disappeared into darkness. He was about to dismiss it as his imagination when he saw the light glint dully of her black, featureless eyes. Slowly his eyes continued to adjust, and he made out more of her shape, nestled perfectly still in the shadows at the corner of the shaft. Her body was lowered, her front legs were spread. She was preparing to attack.

Penny darted at him so quickly he barely had time to react. The first bite punctured his lung, and he couldn’t even manage a scream.

Liam, Harry, and Corey were all distracted by the work at hand, but had they looked down at just the right moment at just the right vent, they would have seen a tiny pair of hands clinging desperately onto the grating. But only briefly, before they were dragged off into the darkness.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The beach had served as a serviceable pillow, but the water was too cold for them to get a decent sleep and the rain continued on and off through the night. They’d mostly chatted to pass the time. The only way they could remotely stay out of sight was to use the lake as a cover, though the water was fairly shallow until pretty far out, and Jamie didn’t want to leave Cassidy unattended. So they did their best, but anyone who happened to look out at the south side of Captain Mori beach would have absolutely seen them.

Jamie told Tyson all about what Cassidy and the coven, which was all news to Tyson. Tyson told Jamie about all the surreal transformations that had been going on at the Black Eagle, which Jamie was amazed he hadn’t heard anything about. From there they just shot the shit to keep each other awake.

It was still dark out when they felt their bodies begin to contract. They couldn’t really tell the time accurately, but it was close to an hour before they were at reasonably human sizes. As the sun had started to rise, they were back to normal. Or, they were back to where they’d been the night before. Tyson’s thick, sculpted physique and ample junk was on full display as they sunned themselves in the brisk dawn light not far from where they had deposited Cassidy.

There was some conversation of what to do next. They hadn’t thought to discuss it. The ferries didn’t start running until nine, and even then, they had no idea what to do with Cassidy, and would probably cause a scene trying to do anything while stark naked. Luckily, their hands weren’t forced. They had fallen into silence, lying side by side on the beach, propped up on their elbows looking out at the lake.

“Hey guys.”

They both looked up to see Mahtab standing near the treeline. She looked like she’d had a shower and changed her outfit, and had her hands in her jacket pockets. She walked over to them, unslinging her overstuffed backpack, and fishing out their clothes and tossed them towards the pair. They sorted out which was whose and hastily dressed, though they were still pretty damp from the rain, and Jamie found himself shivering.

Mahtab raised an eyebrow as she surveyed his chest and face. “Are you all right, man? You look like shit.”

Jamie shrugged as he buttoned up his shirt, covering up the multiple large, dark purple bruises on his chest. He couldn’t do anything about the cut across his jaw, or the bloodshot black eye. “Looks worse than it feels,” he replied with a shrug. “Any sign of Cliff?”

Mahtab shook her head. “Liam and some others were at his house for a couple hours after, getting all the statues out. He didn’t show. They left the dead guy, though. The cops are there now.”

Tyson brushed sand from his back. “Should we, like, get our stories straight?”

“You guys should be fine,” Mahtab sighed. “The rest of us, who fought him there… it might not come up. We’ll come up with a plan.”

“You got a plan for him?” Jamie stuck out his thumb at the statue of Cassidy, lying on its side in the sand. “It’s a long way to carry him back to the ferry.”

“Got it covered,” said Mahtab, looking past them out at the lake. She raised both her hands and started waving. Tyson and Jamie turned around where they spotted a water-taxi turning towards them.

“Heh,” Tyson chuckled. “Nice.”

“Oh that’s just for Cassidy,” Mahtab informed him. “I don’t know how much he weighs. We’re all taking the ferry back.”

“Aww man…” Tyson rolled his eyes. “We just saved the city! Couldn’t we get some V I P treatment?”

“Dude who do you think I am?” Mahtab spread her hands. “I’m a student. I’m buried in debt. You want a medal take it up with John Tory.”

“I mean, we did put our lives on the line here,” Jamie stressed. “A ‘thank you’ would be nice.”

Mahtab’s shoulders slumped as she dropped her defensive posture. “Well, like… thanks. Legit.”

Tyson held up his hand, nodding to Jamie. “Hey man. Welcome to the saved the city club.”

Jamie smirked and gave Tyson a high-five. “Likewise.”

Tyson laughed and clapped Jamie on the back. “Man, we’re heroes! We’re so awesome.”

Mahtab held her forehead with a quiet groan. “Jesus fucking Christ.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Yes, Jamie had, in all likelihood, saved the city. But after they carefully loaded Cassidy onto the water taxi, he had to walk all the way to the dock, wait for the ferry, and take it across the bay back to the mainland. It was almost 11 a.m. by the time he was back in Toronto proper, and it wasn’t until he and Tyson exchanged numbers that he realized he hadn’t checked his phone in nearly twelve hours. He had a bunch of messages from Drew. They generally fell into the categories of “Where are you?”, “When are you coming home?” and “Where the fuck are you????”

Jamie typed back: “Sorry D be home in 20 ;*”

An uber would’ve been 15 bucks, an he wasn’t even that far from home. So Jamie walked up to Queen Street and waited for twenty minutes before a streetcar arrived with any room. People were staring in alarm at the bruises on his face. A couple of middle-aged black ladies even asked him if he needed some help. He laughed off any concern with “Just a bit of a rough night.”

He wasn’t completely sure what he expected to come home to. What it ended up being was a groggy Drew seated at their little dining table, still getting his bearings, likely jarred awake by the opening of their front door.

“Jamie…” he said quietly, his head lolling around on his neck. The sight of all Jamie’s bruises apparently woke him up some. “Jesus Christ, Jamie, what happened to you?”

“I know,” Jamie held up his hands. “It looks worse than it is. I had a bit of a rough…”

“Shut up,” Drew commanded, shaking the sleep from his head. “Shut up. I need to say something.” He paused, seemingly dazed. “I need to say something,” he repeated.

“Look it’s… it was Adam. And Cassidy. And this… Drew, you have no idea.”

“Shut up! Please!” Drew raised his voice, and his head drooped. But his half-asleep brain was still struggling to piece together the monologue he had been rehearsing until he passed out. “Just… please shut up and listen to me.”

Drew raised his head again, and Jamie was surprised to see tears running down his face. “D… baby, what’s…”

“You know I love you, right?” Drew croaked.

“What?” Jamie furrowed his brow. “Of course I do, D…”

“I know what happened tonight,” Drew quickly interrupted him. “Or… last night. Or, like, not all of it, but I know enough about it. I know what you did.”

Jamie was about to say something, but Drew cut him off again.

“I don’t know… I mean, I guess love is something different to everyone, but to me… it means being there for someone. It means… it means being beside them when they put things on the line.”

“D… come on I couldn’t just…”

“I know it’s scary and… I know you just want to keep my safe and that you don’t want me to get involved. I know you think you need to protect me but… I need to protect you, too,” Drew almost pleaded with him. “And when you… when you go into battle I want to be at your side. I need to be at your side. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”

“D, I’m sorry I lied to you, but I just couldn’t let you…”

“I need you to let me!” Drew shrieked. “I’m not going to wait at home and wonder whether or not you’re coming home!” Drew slumped his shoulders, and composed himself. “Look… I get that all the things you’re suddenly being exposed to seem… dangerous. And they are. But you can’t lie to me anymore. And you can’t shield me from it anymore. And you can’t…” Drew lifted up off the chair, taking a deep breath. “If I… if I can’t be beside you when you have to face… whatever this is, then I won’t be beside you at all.” Drew gulped. “Okay?”

Jamie took a step forward, and drew grabbed Jamie’s hand in his own.

“Okay,” Jamie nodded, feeling his own tears welling up. “I’m sorry,” he stammered. “I want you beside me.” He pulled Drew close and hugged him as tight as his fatigue would allow. “I fuckin’ love you.”

Drew buried his face in Jamie’s shoulders. “You fuckin’ better.”

Jamie tightened his grip. “So fucking much.”

Drew managed a teary chuckle. “So fucking much.”



“On to our top story, Toronto police continue their investigation of the tragic disaster last Friday that left twenty-one people dead and forty-seven injured at the Ashbridges Bay yacht club. Experts have described the event as ‘totally inexplicable’ and ‘baffling.’ In an unprecedented response to public testimony of the incident, Chief of Police Mark Saunders released a damning statement this morning, warning the public that misuse of the Toronto Crime Stoppers hotline could result in prosecution, claiming that, quote: ‘Anyone trying to make a joke or prank out of this horrible tragedy should think long and hard about the families of these victims, and those still fighting to survive.’ Saunders further condemned those giving false tips on Twitter. Police have not disclosed the nature of this false information.

“In other news, Toronto Police have released the names of Kenneth Durante and Jennifer Gill-Durante as the owners of a house near Queen and Woodbine in which the body of an unidentified white male was found decapitated on Saturday. The couple hasn’t been heard from since early March of this year, and police are asking for anyone with any information on them to contact Crime Stoppers. Despite the house being in the neighbourhood of the Ashbridges Bay yacht club, police are reporting these two incidents appear to be unrelated.

“Up next: the Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto, and HOV lanes are now in effect! We’ll go live to our—”

Adam winced as he switched off the television and leaned back on his pillow. The final diagnosis: three broken ribs, major internal bleeding, and a concussion his doctor called “semi-serious,” which didn’t sound particularly medical. All Adam knew was everything hurt, and the painkillers could be stronger.

Luckily they’d avoided a puncture to the lung but it was apparently still a risk. They had to strap him down at night so he wouldn’t roll onto his side in his sleep. His doctor wanted to keep him in the hospital all week but the nurse was telling him it’d probably just be another couple of nights. Adam just wanted to go home. He just wanted all the big, drama crazy to be all done so he could go back to his quiet, provincial crazy with his cute, magical crazy husband.

He smiled as he turned to look at him. Cassidy had fallen asleep in his chair. His book had fallen onto the floor without waking him, and his head was lowered into his chest with his glasses sliding down one side of his face. Harry had apparently figured out a way to restore all the petrified sorcerers, and Cass had been the first to get stone-to-fleshed. He’d shown up that morning. But evidently being a statue for a couple days had taken a lot out of him, because he’d pretty much been sleeping the whole time. Adam was fine with that, though, smiling at his husband. It was enough to know he was safe.

Adam winced and groaned as he took a drink of water. Pretty much doing anything for the next couple of weeks was going to hurt, he’d been told. Which sucked, but Adam figured the pain was a small price to pay. Things could’ve gone much, much worse.

A figure appeared in the doorway, glancing around the room until her eyes found Adam’s. His smile drifted away.

Mahtab took a step into his room, one hand in her pocket, the other loosely clasping a small flower basket with three bright orange gerbera daisies with a tiny get-well balloon tied to it. She raised it with a polite smile and set it down on a chair. Now with both hands in her pockets, she took a couple steps towards his bed, like they were old friends who hadn’t seen each other for a while. “Hey man.”

Cassidy awoke with a start, knocking his glasses into his lap. He picked them up and righted them on his face. “Oh. Hey Maddy.”

“Yeah, hi Maddy,” Adam grumbled, his voice still a gravelly rasp.

“They takin’ good care of you?” Mahtab surveyed the room, as if assessing the facilities.

“Yup,” Adam chatted back, unsmiling. “Five stars.”

She chuckled, swaying awkwardly on her heels. “So… I think I owe you guys an apology. Well, I absolutely owe you guys an apology. I just… it felt like we were under attack, and it seemed like…well anyway, I am sorry.”

“Thanks,” Cassidy chimed, leaning both elbows on one armrest.

“Regardless of any differences we had, I think it’s obvious after this that we need to stick together and… I mean, especially with Russell… gone…” She fumbled for a moment, before finding her train of thought once again. “I just miss being friends with you guys. I miss hanging out, and like… going on this insane adventure together.”

Adam and Cassidy exchanged glances.

Mahtab sighed and smiled. “I haven’t spoken to Harry or anyone about it yet but I’m sure he’d be open to the idea of you guys…”

Adam raised his hand. “I’m gonna stop you right there.”

“…coming back,” Mahtab continued, trailing off in confusion.

“Okay, just stop talking and listen to me for a minute,” said Adam sternly.

Cassidy pointed to himself and the door. “Should I…?”

“No, Cass, I want you to stay,” said Adam, still looking at Mahtab. “Okay, so… I just wanna say I’m very sorry about what happened to Russell. He was a good guy and he didn’t… well nobody deserves that but he… y’know what I mean. It sucks. And I know you guys were close and I’m sure you must be really hurting right now. So… I know this is gonna sound harsh but I’m saying it now because I need to say it now. But… fuck you, man.”

Mahtab blinked, and opened her mouth to say something but he cut her off.

“You barged into my hotel and held me hostage. You dragged me all over the city, threatened me, threatened Cass… and while you were chasing us down that psycho was out there actually killing people. Killing people!” He grunted and winced, having raised his voice.

“I… I said I was sorry…” Mahtab proffered quietly.

Adam took another drink of water. “And I accept your apology. But we were doing fine before you guys came back into our lives. We were doing our own thing, keeping to ourselves, and it had nothing to do with you. And then all this happened.”

Mahtab shook her head. “No… hey man, if it hadn’t been for us, Cass would still be…”

Adam held up his hand again. “Shut up. Look, I’m not going to lay everything Cliff Esterez did at your feet, but it was you guys feeding him superpowers. So, maybe don’t try playing the ‘if it hadn’t been for us’ card.”

“You are not being fair,” Mahtab jabbed her finger at him.

“I don’t really care, end of the day,” Adam replied. “Here’s what I want to stress: we are going to go back to our lives, we are going to keep doing what we’re doing, and I don’t ever want to have to deal with any of you ever again, all right?”

Mahtab stuttered, and turned, incredulous, to Cassidy for help, but Cassidy just responded with a shrug. “Sorry, bae. She’s the boss.” He pointed with his thumb at Adam.

“You’re both being ridiculous,” she mumbled.

Adam looked about ready to lay into her again when another face popped in the door.

“Hey boys! Oh, and girls!” Drew hopped over the threshold, holding out his hand to Mahtab. “Hi, I’m Drew.”

“Maddy was just leaving,” said Adam with a good-natured chuckle. “Thanks so much for stopping by, though. Oh, and thanks for the flowers, you’re so sweet!”

Jamie was a step behind Drew, though not as chipper.

Mahtab glared at him for a half second before adopting the charade herself, smiling broadly and adopting the affected warmth of a morning show host. “All right, well, you guys take care of yourself. Nice meeting you, Drew. Bye!” she twirled around, waving with her fingers at everyone as she brushed by them to exit. She pinched Jamie lightly on the shoulder as she passed him. “So good to see you again, Jamie. Ta!”

Jamie furrowed his brow as he watched her leave, then turned back toward the room, pointing out the door with his thumb. “I know I don’t know her that well but is she, like, on drugs or something right now?”

Adam leaned back on his pillow. “Long story.”

“Oh my god, Jamie, you look terrible!” Cassidy exclaimed, putting a hand to his chest in shock.

“Yeah!” Drew chirped, glancing at his boyfriend. “Everyone’s been making… a lot of jokes about domestic abuse.”

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” said Jamie with a tired smile. “I think getting bruises as a giant just makes them look worse when you shrink back down.”

Drew threw his arm around Jamie’s shoulders and scratched his stomach. “That’s my little hero.”

Jamie squirmed out of his arms. “God, shut up,” he chuckled.

Drew crossed the room as Cassidy rose and the two hugged. “Jeez, Cass, you’re like a sack of potatoes. What’s wrong with you?”

“Ugh, ohmygod I’m just so tired I can barely do like, anything,” Cassidy explained laboriously.

“Shouldn’t being frozen in stone leave you well rested?” asked Drew.

“That is how it worked on Gargoyles,” Adam noted.

Cassidy rolled his eyes. “Oh my god leave me alone, you fascists!” he protested. “I’ve been through an ordeal.”

Drew pulled Cassidy towards the door. “Here, let’s go find some coffee.”

Cassidy dragged his feet but followed him. “You want anything, hon?”

“I’m good, thanks,” Adam nodded.

Drew and Cassidy exited the room, though could be heard from the hallway.

“I can’t grow you today… I’m just so wiped out,” Cassidy was telling him.

“Dude, I can take a day off,” Drew answered him.

Alone together, Jamie smiled at Adam. “So.”


Jamie took the gerberas off the chair, setting them on the floor, and slid it closer to the bed so he could sit down. “Cass texted us. Says you’re going to be fine?”

“They’re keeping me for a bit in case anything goes wrong,” Adam confirmed. “I’m gonna be bedridden for a while but I should come around fine.”

Jamie nodded. “Scary.”


They sat there lightly nodding in silence at each other before Adam took a deep breath. “Look, man. I just wanted to say… Jamie…”

Jamie shook his head. “C’mon man, don’t get sappy n’ shit.”

“Shut up, asshole,” Adam shook his head. “In here, the past couple days… I really felt like… not a lot of people would’ve come out like that. I needed help and you had my back.”

Jamie breathed an uneasy sigh. “Dude, come on. It’s cool.”

Yeah it’s cool,” Adam agreed. “You’re cool.”

Jamie rolled his eyes. “God you’re such a fag sometimes.”

“I’m sorry we fell out of touch,” Adam pressed on. “Like… I took our friendship for granted. And I don’t give a shit that that’s a cliché,” he added quickly to fend off another quip from Jamie. “I don’t want it to ever happen again.”

Jamie averted his eyes, rubbing his brow.

“Okay?” Adam nudged him.

“Okay! Jesus,” Jamie conceded. He sighed. “Look, before you have me sign some papers declaring you my B F F…”

“You can be such a dick.”

“… I have something I want to say too,” Jamie put his hands on his knees and pursed his lips for a moment. “So… I want to apologize for my reaction when you told me you wanted to be bigger on a permanent basis.”

“Oh my god,” Adam rolled his eyes. “Dude, absolutely nothing to apologize for.”

“Well, no… I mean,” Jamie paused. “Like, I was sorta… all this magic stuff was a total bombshell for me and it just… it seemed like a lot. But I’ve thought about it some more, and I think you should go for it.”

“Jesus Christ, Jamie,” Adam shook his head. “Nothing could be further from my mind right now.”

“Well, listen though,” said Jamie. “Like, this is something you want; this is something that will make you feel more like you’re living your true self; and it’s something you have the means to achieve. Right?”

“I don’t know, man…” Adam looked away, and took a deep breath. “I just got finished telling Maddy off for treating me and Cass like shit, and for letting the stuff with Cliff Esterez get where it did but like… the abilities that made him really dangerous, he got that from Cass. And Cass only learned how to do that because I wanted him to… and now there’s twenty-one people dead. At least. I can’t help but think…”

“Okay, I see where you’re going here, and I totally get it,” Jamie nodded. “And I mean, if you want to get down to the bottom line, you’re correct. But dude… Cliff was already a killer before he got to Cass, and we don’t even know how many people he’s murdered. I was there, man, I… I watched that happen. And maybe I could’ve done something to save them—I don’t know. But it’s not my fault. And it’s not yours.”

“It’s not the same.”

“Okay, sure,” Jamie agreed. “But let me just propose, for a second, that our propensity to blame ourselves for crimes someone else committed is rooted more in narcissism than any desire to… repent, or do anything actually positive.”

Adam raised an eyebrow. “That’s twisted, man.”

“We’re getting off track,” Jamie waved the comment away. “If you’ve changed your mind, that’s cool. And, y’know, obviously put some time into thinking about it. But if this is something you legitimately want, I think you should go for it. But… don’t send that e-mail.”

Adam looked at him. “What?”

“That e-mail you showed me—it’s not the right move. Listen,” Jamie scooched forward on his chair and leaned his elbows on his knees. “I’ve been thinking about it. You’re talking about going public with… magic, right?”

Adam puffed out his cheeks and exhaled. “Well, I wasn’t gonna… call it that.”

“Also a wrong move,” Jamie pointed at him. “Look, if you start walking around as a giant you’ll have to eventually address how it happened. One way or another. What you want to do, I think, is a controlled dissemination of information in the media.”

“Wait, the media?”

“Yes. If you do this, whether you want it or not, you will be in the public eye,” Jamie explained. “I guarantee it. So if you release select details of what exactly is going on, you’ll be able to control the narrative. You kind of have to approach it like a scandal. You get out in front of it, you set the stage and establish the context. By the time anything actually happens, it becomes the climax to an ongoing story. People will be excited for it.”

Adam shook his head. “I don’t want any of that.”

“Well, then, that’s something else to consider,” Jamie proposed. “It’s a consequence of what you want to do.”

“Okay, but I don’t even know how to do any of that,” Adam protested. “Like, who would I contact to…”

“Why do you think I’m telling you all this, dude?” Jamie pointed to himself. “This is my job. I can help you.”

Adam made a face. “I don’t know…”

“So think about it,” Jamie shrugged. “Put some serious thought into it; discuss it with Cass. You know I got your back, right?” Jamie reached forward and clasped Adam’s forearm. Adam smiled at him. Jamie smirked. “You just focus on getting better and figuring out what you want to do. Leave the public relations to me.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Ugh! Of all the days to break down, Elevator, why today!” Robyn groaned as she trudged painstakingly slowly up her apartment stairwell.

Liam was a few steps behind, half-expecting her to fall back down on him at any moment. “It’s just the third floor, we’re almost there.”

“You don’t know, man,” Robyn whined, gripping the railing tight. “Being petrified for months is such a drain. Honestly? The only thing keeping me awake is how fucking starving I am.”

“Well… all your perishables are probably toast,” Liam said, thinking aloud.

“Pretty sure I got a frozen pizza,” Robyn replied. “And a bottle of wine.”

“Maybe avoid booze for now?” Liam suggested.

“Whatever, man. Thanks to that fucking douchetard I’ve been sober for three fucking months,” Robyn observed. She allowed herself a short laugh. “Ha! Stone sober…”

They cleared the last flight of stairs and walked down the hall to Robyn’s apartment. She took her keys from her pocket and opened it up, revealing a short foyer before a modest kitchen. There was a doorway to the left but the kitchen was all you could see from the doorway.

Robyn turned, smiling lazily. “Thanks for the ride, Liam. You didn’t have to walk me to my door.”

“Well… I mean you sort of barely made it out of the car,” Liam noted. “I feel like I did.”

Robyn chuckled. “You’re sweet.” She sighed. “Guess I’ve been celibate for three months, too.” She bit her lip, blinking slowly at him. “Feel like splitting a bottle of wine?”

“Umm… you know I’m engaged, now, right?” Liam asked.

Robyn smirked, undeterred. “So you’re in the last stretch of bachelordom, right? Last chance to get some kicks in.”

She started to reach for his belt but Liam stepped away, smiling awkwardly. “Get some sleep, Robyn. I’ll see ya,” he gave her a sort of half-wave, and walked down the hall to the stairs.

Robyn watched him go, her eyelids drooping. She sighed and turned inside her apartment, locking the door behind her.

“It’s too bad, guys,” she called into her apartment as she turned on the oven. “You guys almost had another roommate.”

Robyn kicked off her shoes and rounded the corner into her living room where her collection of a dozen or so stone statues littered the room. She sat down on her couch between the stone forms of Kenneth Durante and Jennifer Gill-Durante, picking up the remote from the coffee table, on which sat the statue of a hissing cat. She glanced at all her familiar faces. Some frozen in shock, some relaxed, others enraged. She chuckled, sinking deeper into her couch cushions.

“I missed you guys.”

18 parts 125k words (#13) Added Jun 2015 Updated 27 Apr 2019 69k views (#65) 4.8 stars (46 votes)