Description Matt’s been working out hard, but his impressive achievement have leveled out—even with his drive to be the biggest guy at the gym, his muscles just won’t grow anymore. How far is he willing to go?
|Updated||15 Sep 2017|
Matt let the weight drop with a thud and stood up. He looked at himself in the gym’s mirror. Feeling pumped and drained after the set, his reflection was impressive. He caught a pair of eyes from a skinny kid behind him, they both pretended to be looking at something else. Matt smirked in self satisfaction, even though he wasn’t lean and ripped, he drew his fair share of staring in the gym.
“What’s up big guy?”
Matt felt a large calloused hand thump him on the shoulder and looked up to see Stu, the biggest bodybuilder he knew and had the pleasure to call his friend. “This is it,” he said, looking with jealousy at his friend’s vein-corded arm. “Arm day today?”
“Nah man, leg day.” Stu hiked up his shorts for Matt who rolled his eyes, of course it was leg day.
“See?” Stu said as he hiked up his shorts.
Matt ogled his friend’s pumped tree trunks with jealousy and perhaps more than a little bit of lust. “Oh.”
“What about you big guy? What are you working on today.”
Stu looked briefly down at his friend’s abdomen. “Good good. Gotta make those titties grow!” he said, giving Matt a playful punch in the pecs. “Look, I’ve gotta get back to it. See you later!” He lumbered back to the squat rack. Matt’s eyes widened as he watched his friend lift the bar, which bended slightly over his back.
Matt’s eyes narrowed as he tried to dismiss thoughts of his friend. He tried to focus on the rest of his lifts, and succeeded mostly. Though in between sets his eyes wandered in the mirror to the squat rack, leg press, and then calf raise as Stu made his rounds. And Matt wasn’t his only admirer. As the heavyweight bodybuilder moved around the gym, heads turned, like predators watching their prey.
Matt grunted as he re-racked his last set. He wasn’t sure what he felt more for his friend, jealousy or lust. Did he want to be him or did he want to be with him? He saw how Stu attracted the attention of seemingly every other man in the gym, even if they tried to hide it. That’s what happened when you were the biggest man in the gym. Matt gritted his teeth and admitted to himself, he wanted to be the biggest guy in the gym.
But if he wanted to be the biggest guy in the gym, bigger than Stu even, than what would he do to get there? He considered this as he walked into the locker room, as he showered, and was still mulling the question as he stepped out into the gym’s dusky parking lot.
At home, he slung his gym bag onto the couch. He followed the same post-gym routine that he had for years. Rinsing the preworkout from his shaker bottle, dumping an overladen scoop of whey, and shaking it into a shake with water. He downed it unceremoniously. After years he didn’t even think about the taste, it’s only purpose was to deliver protein to his exhausted muscles in the hopes that they would grow.
The sad reality was that his muscles had almost completely stopped growing. He was only gaining a few pounds a year, and it was up for interpretation whether it was fat or muscle. As he had done many times before, he sat on his couch next to his gym bag and flipped open his laptop. He needed to release some pent up testosterone from the gym. He tapped on private browsing mode and began typing tumblr into the address bar. He thought back to Stu. He tapped backspace a few times and instead typed in beginner steroid cycle.’ He’d been down this rabbit hole before.
Hours later Matt lay passed out on the couch, his face harshly lit by the screen of his laptop. He hadn’t made any decisions. He wanted to take his body to the next level, but something stopped him from taking the plunge…
Matt grunted. The glow of his laptop screen stung his eyes. When his vision cleared he saw an ad for the new 24 hour gym down the street, it was a franchise he had never heard of. He glanced at the time, 4:00 AM. He rolled his eyes and got up to make his way into bed. Bed was warm, familiar, and he could stay there until he had to go to get up for work.
As soon as he stood up however, he felt different, agitated perhaps. Angry? No. He gritted his teeth, motivated was the right word. He didn’t need drugs to change, he just needed to put in the damn work. With this thought, and no other thoughts, he slung his gym bag over his shoulder and left his dark apartment. The gym ad shined brightly for a few seconds before the laptop’s screen dimmed to black.
Matt only began to feel a little foolish when he pulled into the gym’s parking lot. It was a quick drive, only ten minutes away, but it was a part of town that he was surprisingly unfamiliar with. Also, he had forgotten that he would likely only be able to buy a membership during business hours.
He sat in his car for a moment contemplating without thinking. He thrummed his fingers across the steering wheel as he looked at the building. Despite the light pouring out of the gym’s windows the place almost looked abandoned. He gripped the gear shift with the intention of backing out of the parking lot and heading back to bed. He felt a pang of agitation, something between anger and motivation. Instead of shifting into reverse he shifted into park, took the key out of the ignition and opened the door. The night was dark and cool, he walked into it, letting the car door close behind him. He pressed the lock button and jumped at the sound of his car horn in the silence. Shivering slightly he made his way to the gym entrance. He didn’t glance around to notice that his car was the only one in the lot.
“Hello?” Matt called weakly. He stood just inside the entranceway, next to a small office window where he assumed a staff member would normally be to let clients into the gym. He looked into the gym itself, surely he couldn’t just walk in… Feeling irritated at himself he turned to head out. As he reached for the door that feeling of agitated motivation swelled in his chest again. No thoughts. He turned and walked into the empty gym.
Matt shivered as he stepped under the gym’s bright fluorescents. Tinny pop music played from some unseen location. The gym was empty but well equipped. He shoved his gym bag into a locker, not bothering to lock it, and walked up to a squat rack. Images of Stu with a bent bar draped over his back flashed through Matt’s mind.
No stranger to heavy weights himself, Matt loaded a couple plates on each side of the barbell. With a grunt he loaded the weight onto his back and stepped back a couple steps.
He muttered each rep under his breath until he hit 12. He grinned, it was easier than he remembered, maybe these weights were slightly lighter than at his regular gym. He loaded another plate on each side of the bar, aware that he wasn’t warming up as much as he should have. He didn’t care.
The bar rose and fell faithfully with every rep. Matt grunted from effort as he pushed up another 12th rep. He re-racked and leaned against a bar of the squat rack panting. He had lifted heavier, but never for so many reps. “Damn,” he breathed as he felt his quads tightening with a heavy pump.
He loaded another plate on either each of the bar. He knew he should probably have a spotter for squatting over 400 lbs, but he didn’t care, and for some reason he woesn’t worried even though he was approaching his one rep max. He noticed with satisfaction thick veins beginning to show themselves under the flushed skin of his legs.
“No problem,” Matt said to himself as he hoisted the bar up. He didn’t notice the slight sag in the bar as he steadied himself in the center of the squat rack.
He gritted his teeth and sank into a squat. His eyes shut tight into a grimace as he strained to lift the weight back up. The fluorescent lights overhead seemed to flair brighter for a moment as the bar rose again. He opened his eyes, he felt like he could go for another rep. He didn’t care how impossible the thought would’ve seemed to him the day before, he began to sink into another squat.
“Agggghhhh!” He roared as he began to rise with his second rep. The lights flickered, Matt didn’t notice. The tinny pop music skewed and skipped as the bending bar returned to its starting point. Matt opened his eyes again. He saw himself in the mirror panting and dripping with sweat. His pumped quads strained the fabric of his shorts causing them to ride up a bit. He didn’t have a lot of muscle separation or vascularity, but he made up for that in sheer bulk. The corner of his mouth rose into a small grin as he began to sink down into another squat.
“Third time” he thought to himself as he sank deep. He felt the bar on his back pushing him into the ground and all the muscle fibres of his legs straining to keep him up. He began to rise again. He let out a quiet guttural grunt as his legs bulged with the effort. The air around him seemed to still. The world went dark and the music grew quiet and then silent. Matt opened his eyes. He was standing solidly in the middle of the squat rack, weight balanced solidly on his back. But instead of his reflection in a mirror, he stood facing a metal door.
Matt took a few small and careful steps forward. He let the bar drop onto its spot on the rack. There were no thoughts. He didn’t think about opening the door, he only felt the need to do so. There was no agitated feeling to tug him forward this time, his hand grasped the metal handle. He was surprised to feel a pleasant warmth radiating from it. He stared forward as he turned the handle and slowly swung the door open. He gasped as he stepped into the bright light beyond the door.
The first thing Matt noticed was the heat. It wasn’t oppressively hot, but dry heat that didn’t feel right for an Ohio winter. As his eyes adjusted to the light he realized that it was orange sunlight streaming in from large windows in front of him. He turned to survey his surroundings. Another part to the gym? This section seemed to be for serious lifters only, he thought. A row of squat racks occupied one wall, the rest of the gym was a mix of benches, barbells, and dumbbells. There were no weight machines or treadmills in sight.
Matt whirled around at the sound of the metal door banging shut. He tried the handle, stuck. “Uhh,” he muttered nervously.
Matt yelped at the sound of another man’s voice and his hand on Matt’s shoulder.
“Woah sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
Matt looked up to see the other man, and then down. His eyebrows arched and he sucked in a breath. The stranger was 5 and a half feet of solid muscle. He wore a batman shirt with the logo stretched beyond copyright infringement by a solid pair of pecs and boulder delts. The yellow under armour logo on the sleeves was also stretched by the two monstrous arms hanging by the man’s side. The shorts did little to hide the man’s thick quads and
“Hey.” Matt looked up at the man’s face and blushed at being caught so blatantly admiring the other man’s physique. The stranger just smiled. “My name’s Nick. I own the place.” He motioned around at the empty gym. “I just opened up, feel free to ask me questions if you have any.” Nick smirked knowingly. “No need to show your membership ID, I know you’ve got it with you.”
“Well actually,” Matt began.
“Right there big guy.” Nick pointed at Matt’s feet. Sure enough there was a plastic card there with his name on it, the words THE BASTILLE were splayed across the top in block letters. At the bottom in a pleasant green font it said Welcome to Los Grandes Picos, California! Where life starts anew.
California? Matt looked up to Nick, who looked back at Matt with his little smirk. Oh boy, Matt sighed to himself.
“I’m not really from around here.” Matt said, instantly feeling stupid for saying something so clichéd. “Oh and the name’s Matt.”
“Well it’s nice to meet you Matt, and nobody’s from around here. Our little community, Los Grandes Picos, is home to lots of people just like you.” He winked. “I know you’ll fit in nicely.” And with that he turned and walked towards The Bastille’s front desk. He shouted over his shoulder, “don’t forget to let me know if you need anything! We can arrange for most things to be delivered to your room.”
‘My room?’ Matt opened his mouth to ask, but decided better of it. He felt like he would find out soon enough. He stuck his hand in a pocket on his gym shorts and felt a little metal object. Sure enough it was a small copper key with the words Halfway Motel and the number 5 on it. “What the fuck,” he whispered to himself.
“Oh yeah. Change rooms are over there big guy.” Nick pointed with his oversized corded arm to a door with a male bodybuilder’s silhouette on the front. “You can lift with me for a bit before you check in to the hotel.” He smiled warmly. “If you like of course. Otherwise your stuff is in locker five. Nobody here bothers to lock their lockers, so feel free to grab it and go.”
More mysteries and more questions, but Matt continued to hold his tongue. “Thanks.” He looked around at the equipment, his quads felt warm and full of blood from the squats. “I think I’ll take you up on that lift.”
“Excellent!” Nick clapped his meaty hands together and then put one on Matt’s shoulder. “Looks like you already got the legs covered for today, chest and arms?” For emphasis Nick flexed into a double bicep pose and then a most muscular. Matt stopped himself just short of drooling. Nick relaxed his pose and tapped Matt on the chest as if to remind him where his eyes were.
“Uh yeah.” Matt said. “That looks, I mean sounds, great.” He tried to look Nick confidently in the face.
“Well great then. Let’s pump some fucking iron.” This time his grin was mischievous. Nick plopped onto a bench. He swung a meaty, vascular calf over the edge and straddled it. He let himself drop under the bar. There were already a few plates on either side of the barbell so Matt just had to stand behind and spot.
After completing an impressive set of lifts Nick stood up and motioned for Matt to get under the bar. His chest was flushed with the beginning of a pump, Matt could see a few veins beginning to protrude in his neck and coming out of the top of his tank top. “This weight okay for you bud?” Matt nodded, though in reality he wasn’t sure, he hadn’t lifted that much since his powerlifting days.
“Don’t worry bro, I’ll spot you. You won’t need it though.” He winked and punched Matt’s chest playfully.
When he was under the bar Matt’s hesitation dissolved. He gripped it firmly feeling the power he needed to lift the weight surging from the soil of the valley, into the floor, and through his feet all the way up to his chest and arms. With a grimace and deep grunt he unracked the weight and let it descend to his chest. He tapped his lower pec and pushed the bar back up. “One,” he grunted.
“Nice man. Look I should have mentioned something before.”
Matt wasn’t listening, his vision had tunneled and Nick’s voice was a distant drone.“Two.”
“This place. This valley. It changes people man.”
“I mean, they’re mostly good changes.”
“Whatever you want really.”
“You see, the issue is—”
“—most people don’t really know what they want. They think they do.”
“But they don’t really.”
“Me? I knew exactly what I wanted… Oh? Need some help there buddy?”
“Nine,” Nick said proudly as he pretended to help Matt lift the bar and rerack it. He gripped Matt’s meaty hand and helped him off the bench. Nick’s eyes flit between Matt’s face and pecs. “I better watch out,” he said with a sly grin. “Or I might not have the biggest pecs in the valley anymore.”
Matt laughed. “Might take a few years before that happens, especially at the rate I’m going.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that big guy.” Nick winked and then left to retreat back to the front desk.
Matt shrugged. He was more than satisfied with the weight he had just put up. Maybe this gym had lighter weights than what was written on them? He sighed and lifted his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow.
“Ughh. Huh?” He frowned, his hand hovered an inch away from his forehead. He looked down to see the reason it had gotten stuck. Two impossibly large mounds of muscle were in the way of his forearm. His eyes widened with the discovery, and then he felt the weight of the massive pecs. He poked one gingerly. It was hard and squishy at the same time. He flexed and instantly felt the newfound power in his chest. He placed a hand over the granite muscle, his granite muscle, and felt veins and striations mounding up as he flexed.
He felt his face growing red as a began tenting his gym shorts. “Uhhhh.” He found a mirror and stood in front of it.
It wasn’t just his chest that was bigger. He was bigger everywhere. His shoulders formed round boulders and his neck was noticeably thicker and corded with muscle. His newly grown mountainous pecs pushed his tank top to its limits. And he let his thick and veiny gorilla arms hang dumbly by his side as he stared at his reflection.
“I gotta get out of here,” he whispered to himself, eyeing the package in his shorts, which was bulging obscenely.
“Thanks for the lift” he blurted to Nick as he strode past, determined to reach the front door without revealing to much to the bodybuilder at the front desk. He didn’t pause to consider how much deeper and louder his voice seemed.
“I’ll see you tomorrow!” Nick called back.
Matt pushed the front door open. He couldn’t help noticing the meaty thud his larger hands made on the tinted glass and the mass of veins and muscle in them that bulged under his skin.
He instantly squinted and covered his eyes from the bright sunlight. It was warm and comforting on his sweaty skin. He slowly opened his bulky fingers and allowed the glare of the sun to filter through. A large orange sign with blue letters began to sharpen into focus.
Welcome to Next Us Valley.