The orphanage

By JayPat  Patreon
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• Latest update: 7 September. Next update: 21 September. (Submissions welcome.)

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• Latest from BRK: “Shadow and flame”, Part 5; “The box”, Part 8.

Part 1: Mikey

Mikey held his lucky ball cap to his head as he ran through the woods as fast as he could. He had to get away from there. He had to hurry. Already he could hear the dogs barking and the men shouting. They were after him. He thought about climbing a tree, but with the dogs that wouldn’t work. There was a small river a little ways from here. If only he could get there before the dogs. Dogs couldn’t follow you if you waded down a river. He’d seen that once in a movie.

A movie, ha! This whole thing seemed like a movie. The place he’d been living in was a sham! He remembered when they moved him there from the orphanage when he was 12 years old. They said he was getting too old to be adopted, that this place was created for kids like him. Yeah right! Kids who had no families, no one who would ask questions.

It was dark, but lucky for him there was a full moon and it gave him enough light to see by. This far out in the country there was no other source of light, no nothing. He guessed that’s why they chose it. Sure, it seemed great when he first got there; lots of space to run and play, trees to climb, rivers to fish in. And it was a big old house they all lived in. Mikey had even had his own room, but then all the medical exams had started. They said it was just to keep them healthy but they were always pinching him and prodding him and taking blood and giving him shots and making him lie quietly inside big old machines for hours on end. He wasn’t stupid. This went way beyond keeping them healthy.

Then just three months ago, the “vitamin shots” had started. Mikey didn’t like those at all. He felt woosey for hours each time he got one. Finally he’d had enough. He hadn’t showed up for the last one. He’d hidden. Sure they had looked for him but they couldn’t find him. He’d chosen the best hiding spot possible. Right in side Mr. Gibson’s office. They’d never suspect he was there. There was an empty cabinet inside the credenza just big enough to hold him. That’s where he was hiding when Mr. Gibbons had come in with Dr. Myers.

“What are we looking at, Myers?” asked Mr. Gibson. “How far along is he?”

“He’s fully processed. Almost all of the boys here are.”

“And he had his last shot when?” Dr. Myers flipped through some papers.

“Four days ago, right on schedule.”

“You sure he had it?”

“Of course. If not… well, if not, we’d have known by now.”

“So, how long before this becomes a problem?”

“I’d say we have another twelve hours.”

“Then what?”

“If he doesn’t get his shot by then, I’d say we’re looking at a full cascade reaction.”

“We can’t let that happen, Myers.”

“I’m well aware of that, sir.”

“That boy has to be found and found now.”

“We’ve got everybody on it; even his friends are looking for him.”

“His friends? You sure they don’t already know where he is?”

“Yes, Sir. It appears he didn’t tell anyone what he was planning to do.”

“Kids, they’re so damn unpredictable.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I’ve always felt experimenting on them was a mistake.”

“With respect, Sir, there are just some problems animal research can’t solve.”

“I understand that. It’s just—”

“Yes, sir?”

“Nevermind. Just find the boy before we have a real incident on our hands.”

Then Dr. Myers had left.

Mikey had stayed frozen in his hiding place for hours, long after Mr. Gibson had left his office. He could hear the dogs barking in the distance. He’d always wondered why there were so many guards and dogs here. Now he knew and he was terrified. They had been experimenting on him for years, on all of them! What had they done? He’d only understood a little of what they had said, but it was enough to convince him that he had to get out of there as fast as he could, and not just for his own sake, for all of his friends, too. Someone had to be told.

As soon as night had fallen, Mikey had crept out of the credenza and made for the office window. He knew he wouldn’t stand a chance getting out through any of the doors. He looked out at the empty silent grounds before he opened the window and climbed out. He jumped down and headed straight for the garden wall. If he could just get over it, he would be home free; nothing between him and about thirty miles of woods. They’d never catch him.

As Mikey crept towards the wall, he began to feel a strange sensation building inside him. It was kind of like the pins and needles he felt whenever his arm or leg fell asleep, but not so strong. He guessed it was just due to being crammed inside a cabinet all day, and he didn’t think anymore about it.

The garden wall was easy to climb. He’d done it dozens of times. Of course never in the dark. But there were lots of craggy stones and heavy old vines that made great hand and foot holds; plus the moonlight almost made it as easy to climb as if it had been broad daylight. But just as he reached the top, a flashlight beam hit him.

“It’s him!” came the shout, and Mikey just let himself fall off the wall to the hard ground on the other side. His ball cap fell off, but the fall didn’t hurt near as much as he expected and he hopped up, grabbed his lucky cap and started running as fast as his legs would carry him.

And now the river was in front of him. He couldn’t believe he’d run so far so quickly. But just as his goal was in sight, he began to feel his body give out. His knees became weak and he just couldn’t seem to catch his breath. Monster size butterflies were swarming in his stomach; and he began to feel dizzy and nauseous.

His baseball cap flopped to the ground as Mikey dropped to his hands and knees and tried to throw up, thinking it might help him feel better. But nothing was coming up. He guessed it would have helped if he had had some dinner.

And as he knelt there retching, bent over and supported by his hands, he began to feel that pins and needles sensation again, only this time much stronger and all over his body. As he looked down at his hands and forearms, he began to see the flesh writhe and pulse all over them. At first, he thought it was his eyes playing tricks on him, a side effect of no food and a lot of running. But it only took him a moment to realize it wasn’t. It was real. The next leap was obvious. This had something to do with those experiments.

Mikey became instantly terrified. What was happening to him? What had they done to him? He stared wide-eyed and unblinking at his hands and forearms pulsed and shifted. It looked like his fingers and the rest of his bones were actually getting longer and wider. He saw the sinews in his previously smooth forearm rise up under his skin and thicken into hard cords of muscle. What the fuck was going on?

Sharp pains erupted in his feet. He turned over, sat down and yanked off his shoes, not even bothering to unlace them. His socks were stretching themselves thin over his swelling feet. He ripped them off and watched as his feet grew larger and heavier. What the fuck was happening to him? What the fuck was he going to do?

He tried to stand up. It took him a couple of tries with his huge hands and feet, but eventually he pulled himself up. And while he was doing it, he became aware of other changes in his body. He could feel it happening, under his shirt, under his skin; his body was getting thicker, denser, and heavier. And when he finally made it to his feet, there was no doubt, he was taller, too.

And that’s when the dogs found him. The lead dog leapt at him, snarling. Mikey didn’t even think about it. His hand just shot out and grabbed the dog by the throat. It took a second for his synapses to process what had just happened. He had just snatched an attacking Doberman pinscher right out of the air and was holding it suspended by its throat. In shock and surprise he tossed the dog away and heard it wine as it collided with a tree. None of the other dogs were attacking they were all holding their ground snarling and barking. But Mikey knew if he moved they’d come at him.

Suddenly he saw the darting beams of flashlights approaching from behind the dogs. One of them hit him. “Ok, hold it right there, son.” Mikey was caught. Or was he? Suddenly he leapt straight up. It’s not like he thought about it first, he just did it. He must have jumped twenty feet straight up into the air and on to a tree branch. Holy fuck! He sat there for a minute looking down at the guards who were hitting him with their flashlights. One of them pulled out his walkie-talkie and spoke into it. “We found him, sir.”

“And—?” came the voice of Mr. Gibson from the other end.

“It looks like cascade has started.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Then take him down, quickly!”

Suddenly Mikey found a dozen rifles with laser sights aimed right at him. With out wasting a second he leapt to the next tree and then the next one and the next one, quickly leaving the scurrying guards behind him hopelessly floundering in the underbrush. He had to get away, away from the guards, away from the dogs, and away from the guns. He was running on adrenalin, not thinking, just running. He dropped to the ground, about thirty feet down, and landed on his haunches. It didn’t hurt at all and that was wrong. He should have broken every bone in his body. But he was stronger now, a lot stronger; he could feel it, and he liked it; it felt good. He stood up and suddenly he realized he hadn’t stopped changing yet. He was still growing, very slowly now, but still growing, growing all over. His pant legs had traveled half way up his lower legs exposing his calf muscles. But that was wrong, too. He didn’t have calf muscles, well at least none to speak of. He had never been a particularly developed teen, at least before. But now he was. He looked down at his ripped forearms and his eyes followed them up to his bis and tris. He flexed and watched his upper arms bulge outward and pull his shirt sleeves tight around them. He had power in his arms now. He could feel it. Suddenly the changes no longer scared him, they excited him. How far would this go?

He heard the dogs coming and he leapt back up into the tree. It wasn’t a panic maneuver this time, so he was able to enjoy the trip; the feel of his powerful legs launching him skyward, the rush of the air as he shot upward, and the amazing speed and grace with witch he was able to grab the tree branch and swing himself on to it.

From his new vantage point he could see the dancing flashlight beams making their way toward him. He could also see the river and beyond it, freedom. It was tempting to just get away from here, but another plan was forming in his mind now. He had left a lot of friends back at the orphanage, friends who were now unwilling pawns of the powers-that-be. They were virtual prisoners there, somehow altered as he was, and they didn’t even know it. Well, Mikey was going back there now. After all, it would be the last thing they’d expect him to do. He was going back to save his friends, and to show them what they’d all become… that is, once he figured it out for himself.

Part 2: Kevin

“Wait for it, wait for it,” said Kevin, gripping the game controller.

“Come on, Kevin, let me try,” pleaded Caleb.

“No, wait, wait; this is the shit.” Caleb made a grab for the controller but Kevin moved it deftly out of his reach. “Seriously, wait.”

Caleb turned back to the screen and frowned. Kevin gave him a side glance. He could tell the younger kid thought the game was old and stupid. That was about to change. The CG car was driving down a country road. There was a blue car in front of it and Kevin’s car was gaining on it fast.

“Hit him! Hit him!” cried Caleb.

“I’m going to. I’m going to. Watch.” And then Kevin bumped the back of the car in front of him. The blue car took to the air and floated away like a balloon.

“Hey, is it supposed to do that? How come it did that?” asked Caleb.

“It’s a cheat code.”

“Does it help you win?”

“Not really.”

“Then why did you do it?”

“Because it makes the game more interesting. How many games do we have here?”

“I don’t know, six?”

“And how many times have you played them?”

“About a hundred. Except this one and that’s only ’cause you have it all the time.”

“Do you get bored of those other games?”

“Yup.”

“Well, I’ve played this one about a thousand times and I never get tired of it. You know why?”

“Floating cars?”

“Because I can change the rules. If I get board of regular cars, I make ’em float. You know I once bumped a car and then hopped in it while it floated away.”

“What happened?”

“It just kept going up and up and up, and the ground got further and further away.”

“What did you do?”

“I jumped out.”

“And?”

“I fell about a thousand feet and died.”

“That’s stupid.”

“Maybe. But it was still a lot of fun. Here you try.” Kevin handed the controller to Caleb who immediately began hitting every car he came across sending it into orbit. Every time he did he would giggle and laugh out loud.

“Caleb, keep it down. You don’t want—”

The door flew open. It was too late.

“Hey, asswipes! Don’t you know there’s a curfew on?” It was Brad Kendrick, floor supervisor. Brad was eighteen and the oldest guy at the orphanage. He was six feet tall, lean but solid, with a real attitude. He was going into the army in the fall. September couldn’t come soon enough for Kevin.

“What are you doing in here, Caleb?” asked Brad officiously. “Go back to your room. If Bilkin finds you in here, we’re all in deep shit.”

“Better go, Caleb,” said Kevin.

“Can I—?” asked Caleb pointing to the game console.

“Sure,” said Kevin. “Knock yourself out.”

Caleb rapidly unplugged the unit from the small TV and hurried out of the room with it tucked under his arm, the cords dragging behind him like a tail.As soon as he had gone, Brad marched up to Kevin until they were chest to chest, looked down on him, and started shouting. “Listen, you fat fuck, I don’t so much blame him as I do you. He’s just a kid. He hasn’t been here very long. But you, you’re a veteran. You’ve been here almost as long as I have. You know the rules and you know the penalties for breaking them.”

“Sure, they’re going to send me to my room and tell me not to leave.”

“Exactly.”

“Just like… oh, I don’t know… a curfew?”

He saw the wheels turning in Brad’s head, and then… “Shut the fuck up.”

God, Brad was such a mindless idiot. No wonder they put him in charge of the floor. He’d do whatever they told him and not even think twice about it. He might not even think once.

“It’s stupid fucks like you,” Brad sputtered, “and that faggot Mikey you hang out with, that get us all into trouble. I guess you guys are just too good for the rules; so now we all have curfew. Why can’t you guys just do what you’re supposed to do, and stay where you’re supposed to stay?”

“Brad, which one of us isn’t in his room—where he’s supposed to be—right now?”

“I’m the floor supervisor.”

“I seem to remember the words no exceptions were included in our instructions.”

The wheels were turning again. “Fuck!” he shouted as he turned and ran from the room. God, he was such a moron. But still, Kevin really hated it when Brad called him a fat fuck, probably because it wasn’t entirely inaccurate. The unfortunate truth was that Kevin was about four inches shorter than Brad, had none of his lean muscle mass, but still weighed about the same as the eighteen-year-old.

Kevin closed his door and turned on his computer. Now that the PlayStation had gone off with Caleb, he had to find something else to do with his evening. He looked out his window as he waited for the ancient machine to boot up. Being on the third floor, he had a great view… if you liked trees, because that’s all you could see from here; trees, trees and more trees, all the way to the horizon.

And somewhere out there was his “faggot” friend Mikey. Except Mikey wasn’t a faggot. If he were, Kevin would know by now. They had known each other for years, ever since they had both come to the orphanage on the same day. They had sat in the hall stealing curious glances at each other while the adults decided their fates behind a closed door—as was so often the case. They weren’t supposed to move or talk, but the adults hadn’t been gone three minutes when Mikey hopped out of his chair.

“Wanna see something?” he asked with a grin that Kevin would come to know all too well in the years that would follow. That grin meant trouble, and now when Kevin saw it, he knew to prepare himself. But on that day, he was completely clueless.

“Sure,” he had answered.

Mikey had picked up his wooden chair, carried it over to the door and wedged it under the knob, so it jammed the door closed.

“What are you doing?” Kevin had asked. “They won’t be able to get out.”

“No? Really?” he had said in exaggerated shock.

“Dude, you are going to get into so much trouble.”

“Yeah,” he nodded enthusiastically. “I’m good at it.” He walked over to Kevin and extended his hand. “Mikey.”

“Kevin,” said Kevin extending his hand, and from that moment on, life hadn’t been boring.

Of course, the adults had gotten out, eventually. But first there had been a lot of pounding and yelling and threats issuing from behind that blocked door. And Kevin had to admit it had been pretty damn funny. It had almost been worth spending his first week there confined in his room.

But he, too, eventually got out. And then, with Mikey as his instructor, Kevin had learned how to short sheet a bed, how to substitute salt for sugar, and the fine and subtle art of tying someone’s shoelaces together without them noticing. They became notorious. They were inseparable, until one day when it had all almost ended.

Mikey had just burst into his room—nothing unusual in this. He did it all the time. But on this day it had been disastrous. Kevin had been sitting at his computer and surprised and flustered, he had been unable to shut it down before Mikey saw the screen.

“No way. You got passed the porno filter,” he had said, excitedly. And then as he got a better look, his smile had faded. “Hey, those are two dudes. What are you looking at that for?” But Kevin hadn’t had to answer. His pants had been down around his ankles and his equipment had been fully active.

“Oh, dude,” Mikey had said, and then he had silently turned away and left. Kevin felt horrified and humiliated. But it was his own fault for forgetting to lock the door.

The next few days had been the loneliest in Kevin’s entire life. Mikey had hardly said a word to him. Kevin had even seen his old friend trying to pal around with some of the other boys, but he was too wild and unpredictable for any of them to handle. And they were too skittish and fearful to get swept up in any of his schemes. Kevin wanted to talk to him, he really did, but he didn’t know what to say or how to say it. Finally, it had been Mikey, as usual, who made the first move.

Kevin had been outside sitting under a tree reading a computer science book, when Mikey had come up and sat across from him.

“Hey,” he had said.

“Hey,” Kevin had replied.

“So, you like dudes.”

Kevin had just shrugged.

“Well, I don’t. I mean, not like that.”

Kevin had shrugged again.

“Just so you know,” said Mikey.

“Ok.”

“Ok.”

And then they had electrified the kitchen door knob.

That had been almost two years ago, and it had been that night, as he languished in his room, punished for the door knob incident, that he realized he loved Mikey, loved him more than anything, even more than his own life. Of course, he could never expect anything back. His friendship would have to be enough. Still, in his heart of hearts, he still held on to that hope that one day, maybe… But he seldom allowed himself to go there, even in his dreams. It was just too painful. Still, he would do anything for Mikey, anything.

So, when Mikey had told him about his plan to avoid the vitamin shot, Kevin hadn’t mentioned that it was pointless, that eventually he’d be found and have to take the shot anyway; as usual, he had just gone along with it. Maybe he shouldn’t have. Things were going a little too far. The night was wearing on and they still hadn’t found Mikey. What if he decided to run away to avoid the vitamin shot? What if he never came back? What if Kevin never saw him again?

Out of his window, Kevin saw a couple of flashes in the woods, and heard a rapid pop, pop. Were those gun shots? Were they shooting at Mikey? No, that was ridiculous. They wouldn’t shoot a guy over a vitamin shot. It had to be hunters… Didn’t it?

He looked out at the sky. Clouds were moving in, covering the moon, and the wind was starting to pick up. It looked like a storm was coming. He hoped Mikey would give himself up soon, before he got caught in the rain and got sick or something. But that guy was stubborn. He might not give up for hours yet.

Suddenly, he heard a loud thump. There was something on the roof. At first Kevin thought it was a branch or something that had been blown off a tree. But the thing started moving. He could hear it bumping around above him. What the hell was that? He opened the window and stuck his head out. His window was on a gable and he tried to crane his neck around the side of it so he could see the roof behind it, but he couldn’t stretch that far. He pulled himself back into his room and took one final look out the window. Suddenly a leering face dropped down from above right in front of him.

“AH!” he shouted, and leapt back.

The face started laughing hysterically. It was Mikey. Mikey was somehow hanging upside down in front of his window, but all he could see was Mikey’s head and his laughing face.

“You should see your face, bro. It’s classic.”

“Fuck you. You scared the shit out of me. What are you doing on the roof?”

“Hiddin‘ out. Whatcha think?”

“What’s the point? They’re going to make you take that shot no matter what you do.”

Mikey suddenly got serious. “I don’t think so, dude. It’s gone way beyond that now.”

“What are you talking about? You better come in before it starts raining.”

“No, maybe you better come out.”

“What? I’m not—” The next thing Kevin knew, two large hands shot in through the window and grabbed him. He shouted as the powerful hands yanked him up, out through the opening, and into the night.

Kevin’s first thought was, “Fuck! I’m falling. I’m going to die.” But he wasn’t falling. He was moving up across the roof. Something was carrying him. He had been slung across something’s back, something’s broad, muscular back. He looked behind him for any sign of Mikey. There was none. What the fuck was going on? He might have been scared if any of this had made sense, but none of this made sense. It all seemed incredibly unreal.

In a moment they had reached the pinnacle, the very top of the orphanage’s roof. Then Kevin felt himself set down. He looked up and found himself face to face with… Mikey, but not Mikey. The Mikey he knew was five foot nine and thin as a rail. This guy was about six feet and was covered with bulging muscles that his overly tight shirt did little to conceal. Sure it looked like Mikey’s face. It even looked like Mikey’s clothes, strained and blowing in the wind. But this couldn’t be Mikey. Something wasn’t right.

He looked around. Everything seemed so bizarre. The storm clouds were rushing in, punctuated by tiny flashes of lightning. The wind was blowing. He was on the top of the orphanage roof with a beefed up version of Mikey, who was staring down at him grinning. Man, just looking at him was getting Kevin hard. Then he had it. This was a dream, and a good one, too. In another few minutes he’d probably wake up and have to wipe himself off. But the next few minutes should be a lot of fun.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” asked the dream Mikey.

“What’s there to say?”

“Oh my god. Wow. What happened? Those’ll do for a start.”

“Oh my god. Wow. What happened?” Kevin repeated tonelessly. He was trying to remember if he’d had this dream before.

Then suddenly dream-boy Mikey was kneeling next to him, looking concerned. “Maybe I shouldn’t have done this,” he said. “Are you, like, in shock?”

Maybe he should pretend to be sick and then dream-boy Mikey would examine him. Or maybe this was one of those lucid dreams. It sure felt more real than any dream he’d ever had before. If it was a lucid dream, he could take control of it and that would be outstanding. “I don’t think you can go into shock in a dream.”

Then dream-boy Mikey started to laugh. “This isn’t a dream, dude; it’s real.”

“I don’t think so.”

“No, it is. It’s real.”

“Prove it.”

“Here.”

Dream-boy Mikey flexed his bicep. Kevin watched it swell up and fill his sleeve. It was large and powerful and perfectly shaped. It had definition and separation; it was a work of art. “Feel this,” said the Dream-boy.

“Ok, so far you’ve done absolutely nothing to prove your point,” said Kevin.

“Just feel it… Only don’t get the wrong idea.”

Kevin reached out and grabbed the dream-bicep. It was warm and hard… and solid, very solid. Dreams weren’t solid, not this solid. Fuck, this was real.

“OhmyGod, ohmyGod, ohmyGod.” He let go of the bicep like it had been suddenly electrified. “Fuck! It is you! And you’re fucking huge and I’m really on the fucking roof in the middle of a fucking thunderstorm. Fuck!”

“Calm down. Jeez, I think I preferred it when you thought I was a dream?”

“Yeah, I think I fucking preferred that, too.” Kevin stood there for a minute, breathing hard and looking at his friend who was suddenly large and muscular. Why did none of this make sense?

And then the skies opened up and the rain came rushing down.

“Come on,” said Mikey. “I think we’d better get inside.” There was an attic window right below them. It was with amazing grace that Mikey glided down the roof and popped open the attic window. The he shot back up to Kevin and reached out his hand.

“What the fuck are you about to do?” demanded Kevin. “Are you about to fucking pick me up? I don’t need you to fucking carry me, Tarzan. I can make it just fine on my own.”

“Ok, fine.”

Kevin started inching his way down the roof. But the rain had made the shingles slippery and suddenly Kevin found himself sliding down the steep slope.

“Ok, you can carry me now,” Kevin called to Mikey as he slid closer and closer to the edge.

“You sure? I wouldn’t want to upset you.”

“No, it’s fine, really.”

“Only if you’re absolutely certain.”

“Yes, I’m absolut—Oh fuck! Help!” Kevin had made it to the edge and was starting to slip off, when he felt a pair of strong hands grab him and suddenly he was flying back up the roof, through the window and into the attic.

“Thank you,” he said sharply, as Mikey set him down on the floor.

“Jeez, what’s your problem?”

“Let’s just say I’m a little freaked. Ok, no. I’m a lot freaked.”

“Yeah? Well then maybe you should rest before we talk. ’Cause if you’re freaked now, what I’ve got to tell you will probably put you in a coma.”

Kevin looked up at his friend, he looked so much like the Mikey he knew, and yet… not. His clothes were soaked now and the effect on his shirt—that was Mikey’s shirt—was amazing. It had become transparent and clingy; every detail of this new Mikey’s amazing build was clearly visible. He had round, full pecs and a six pack. His shoulders looked like two flesh colored softballs had been stuffed into his shirt, his biceps and triceps spreading out wide beneath them. He was fucking hot and Kevin felt himself begin to get a little stiff.

“What the fuck happened to you, Mikey? You look like you went through some kind of second puberty.”

Mikey snorted. “Second puberty? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“So what happened?”

“You sure you feel up to hearing this?”

“No, I’m not sure, but I think I want to hear anyway. Just take it slow, ok?”

“Ok. It’s the vitamin shot.”

“The vitamin shot did this?”

“No, it’s because I didn’t take it.”

Well, that just made no sense at all. “Wait a minute, are you trying to tell me that you grew big and strong by not taking your vitamins?”

“Yes. No. Kind of.”

Mikey seemed confused, and he wasn’t alone. “That makes it clear.”

“No, just stop for a second. Let me talk. They’ve been experimenting on us.”

“Experimenting on us?”

“Yeah, all those medical tests they’re always conducting. They’re some kind of experiment.”

“What kind of experiment?”

“I don’t know—” Mikey began pacing. “The kind that makes you grow.”

“Why did they want you to grow?”

“I don’t know. Ask them.”

“Mikey, that’s just stupid. No one would believe that.”

“Excuse me?” he said, indicating his own bulging body, and Kevin allowed his eyes the luxury of roaming it once again.

“Ok, that’s a pretty convincing argument. What should we do?”

“We should all stop taking the vitamin shots.”

“And that would do… what?”

“We’d all start to grow.” He grinned.

“What you mean, like, all of us?”

“All of us.”

“Including me?”

“Yeah, including you. Why not?”

“I don’t know. What if I don’t want to grow?”

“You better if you don’t want to get killed.”

“Killed? Ok, you lost me again.”

“They were shooting at me, dude. They wanted to kill me.”

“Why?”

“Because I started to grow.”

“But isn’t that what these experiments are supposed to be all about?”

“Yeah, but it’s kind of, like, I triggered it early, like I wasn’t supposed to grow yet.”

“Well, when were you supposed to grow?”

“I don’t know. Why are you asking me all these questions? Don’t you believe me?”

“Of course, I believe you, Mikey. I mean, how could I not? I’m just trying to understand. That’s all.”

“Well don’t try too hard. We’ve got to get out of here, all of us.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, at least not yet.”

“You want to stay here and get experimented on?”

“No, but I want to understand more about it. What if there’s more to it than just growing?”

“What do you mean?”

“To cause that kind of growth, they’d have to alter our biochemistry pretty drastically. What if there’s some substance we need to survive, something we can only get here?”

Mikey sat down. “You really think that?”

“I don’t know. There’s too much about this I don’t know. I think it would be dangerous to leave until we know more.”

“Then we’ll take over the orphanage.”

“That’s crazy. We’d never pull that off.”

“Let them try and stop us.”

“Mikey, you can’t take on the whole place by yourself.”

“Sure I can. I’m a lot stronger than I look.” That was a statement and a half.

“Yeah, well you look strong as an ox.”

“Yeah, I know, but I’m stronger. And check this out.” Mikey pulled a most muscular pose and as he did I saw the buttons on his shirt start to strain as his pecs pushed out against them. There was a quiet pop as the first one flew off. Mikey relaxed and grinned.

“Twenty minutes ago I couldn’t do that.”

“I don’t understand,” said Kevin.

“I’m still growing. I’m still getting bigger, still getting stronger.”

“What? Are you sure?”

Mikey just nodded and pulled another most muscular, popping off another one of his buttons. He was showing quite a bit of muscle cleavage now and Kevin did not have the will power to look away.

“Do you want this body?” Mikey asked, ripping open his shirt and exposing his rock hard abs and his bulging pecs.

“W—what?” stammered Kevin. “What did you just ask me?”

“Don’t you want a body like this?”

“Oh. That’s what you said.”

“Yeah. What did you think I said?”

“I don’t know. Something else. And, no, I don’t really want a body like that. I mean it looks good on you; it looks great on you. But it’s not for me. I think I’ll just pass on the whole muscle thing.”

“Dude,” said Mikey leaning over him, “I don’t think you’ve been listening to me. You can’t pass on the whole muscle thing. What ever they’ve done to us, it’s already done. It’s too late. That guy you see in the mirror, he’s a fake, a shell, an illusion. The real you now looks a lot like this.” Mikey flexed his biceps and Kevin watched as they swelled up large and hard, the veins standing out against them, definitely bigger and more defined then they had been back on the roof. Mikey gave his arms an extra little squeeze and Kevin heard a ripping noise as his friend’s sleeves tore. “Awesome,” grinned Mikey. “And the only thing keeping your arms from busting through your sleeves is that fucking vitamin shot.”

Kevin was frozen. He didn’t know what to say. The sight of Mikey—his Mikey—standing there, with his shirt torn open revealing his muscular torso, and with his large biceps ripping out of his sleeves, was overwhelming. He couldn’t pull his eyes away. He felt his brain locking up, inundated by a rush of hormones. This was a fucking wet dream come true—almost. He was wracked with desires, but desires Mikey didn’t share and couldn’t understand. How could the universe be this cruel?

And that wasn’t the whole of it. Apparently, he had been altered, too. But that kind of a body wasn’t something he wanted for himself at all. In fact, the idea that it might happen to him was profoundly disturbing. There had to be some way out of this. There had to be, and he would find it no matter what, even if he had to change the rules.

Part 3: Fish

Maxwell Fishburn couldn’t sleep. He knew he really shouldn’t let these things bother him. After all, it really wasn’t his fault, not really. But it still bothered him, damn it! Why did it bother him? He didn’t owe Mikey anything, not anything! He remembered the time Mikey and Kevin had rigged the upstairs toilet to erupt instead of flush. He had gotten caught in that one. He thought he’d never be clean again. No, he didn’t owe Mikey anything. Besides he was just a little guy. What could he do? He tossed and turned but no matter how hard he tried, his conscience wouldn’t let him drift off. Maybe he should have said something to someone. If had, maybe Mikey wouldn’t be missing. No, it wasn’t his fault. If it was anyone’s fault it was Mr. Gibbons’ and the rest of the people running the Orphanage.

But Fish had known.

Damn, now he was thinking of himself by that ridiculous name. Maxwell Fishburn was a tiny guy, five foot two inches tall, pale, thin, and flabby. He wasn’t sure if it was his last name or his stature that had earned him the nickname, Fish. But Fish he was, to the other kids and even to the staff. He doubted very many people even remembered his real name.

But despite the nickname, Fish really liked the Orphanage. He had it better here than he’d ever had anywhere else. So what if they had all been living a lie? So what if the Orphanage was a fraud and a fake, and he was probably the only kid who knew it. So what? This place was still much better than the inner city place he used to live. Here there were plenty of wide open spaces, clean air, he had his own room, and best of all, he was away from the Baxter brothers. Those guys had made a hobby out of tormenting him. They had locked him in closets, stuffed him in suitcases, and hung him upside down outside of windows. And why did they do any of that stuff? Just because they could. Fish still got mad just thinking about it. None of the adults ever did anything about it. They seemed to feel he deserved to be abused, that it was his rightful punishment for being little, that if he wanted it stopped he should somehow stand up for himself. But it was hard to stand up for yourself when you were hanging upside down from a third story window.

But here at the Orphanage, there was no one like that. Sure most of the kids had pushed him around from time to time, but over the years he had come to accept that that was just part of being a small guy. And there was no one here near as bad as the Baxter brothers.

And school, here at the Orphanage, was better, too. They brought in special teachers for all the different subjects and there were never more than a few kids to a class. Learning had never been so easy. He found he really enjoyed Biology, and thought he might like to be a doctor some day. When you were a doctor, it didn’t really matter how big you were. And the great thing was; there were always a lot of doctors around the Orphanage. So, unlike all the other kids, Fish looked forward to all the medical examinations. It gave him a chance to talk to the doctors, and once the doctors discovered his interest and saw that he was serious, they took extra time to talk with him and answer all his questions.

Then one day, during an exam, he noticed a machine he’d read about. It was used to break down blood samples so it was easier to study DNA strands. He had asked Doctor Myers about it and she had suddenly gotten very quiet; so had everyone else in the area. Without another word, she had sent him up to his room and told him to wait there until he was called.

For the next half an hour, he had sat in his room, worried to death. Somehow he had offended the doctors. He couldn’t think what he might have said. All he did was ask about a machine. It had been a pretty innocent question. What could have gone wrong? He had visions of being expelled from the orphanage, of being sent back into the hands of the Baxter brothers. Anything but that, he silently prayed.

Finally there came a knock on his door. It was Mr. Gibbons, the director. He must be in serious trouble. But Mr. Gibbons hadn’t looked angry.

“Fish, isn’t it?” he had asked.

Fish just nodded. He could have corrected Mr. Gibbons but what would have been the point?

“I’m afraid I don’t know all you boys as well as I should.”

Wow, this was weird. It almost sounded like Mr. Gibbons was apologizing to him.

“Fish, do you like it here?”

“Yes, sir.”

“So, you would probably be upset if we ever had to close.”

“Close? You’re not closing?”

“No, but it’s always a danger. You see we’re doing some very delicate work here and it would be very bad if anyone were to ever find out about it. If that were to happen, then we might have to close.”

“Work? You mean besides the orphanage?”

Mr. Gibbons had smiled at that. “They told me you were an intelligent, inquisitive boy.”

Fish felt himself blushing. Mr. Gibbons was actually complementing him. No one ever complimented him. The closest thing to a compliment he ever got was when people called him half pint instead of runt.

“Which is why you recognized that piece of equipment in the lab,” Mr. Gibbons continued.

“The blood separator?”

“That’s the one. Now, you’re not going to mention you saw that to anyone else, are you?”

“No, sir.”

“No one, not even your friends.”

“Not if you don’t want me to.” Fish didn’t think it was worth mentioning that he didn’t have any friends.

“Oh, I most emphatically don’t want you to.”

“Ok.”

“Excellent. And in exchange, we’ll see if we can’t make things a little more comfortable for you around here.”

What did that mean? “Sir?”

“Don’t worry about it. Just keep silent and enjoy.”

After that, they had moved him to the largest room on the third floor. It actually had its own balcony. He was given a wide screen HDTV, his own DVD player, complete with surround sound and a subscription to Netflix. He got a brand new state-of-the-art computer. They let him choose a video game system. He went with the Wii. And they let him buy one new game every month. He became instantly popular. Suddenly he had all the friends he wanted and no one pushed him around anymore. Sometimes they would ask him how he got all the cool stuff. But he would just shrug and say, “Just lucky I guess.”

The doctors still answered his questions, although he noticed they were a lot more guarded with their answers than they used to be. And as time went on, and he continued to study biology, he began to recognize more and more of the equipment in the lab. It wasn’t long before he worked out what they were doing. They were taking DNA from all the kids, altering it, and then re-injecting it into them. All the physicals they had had to take were so the doctors could determine the effects the altered DNA was having on them. More than that, he wouldn’t be able to tell with out seeing their notes.

But Fish had convinced himself that he really didn’t want to know. After all, he felt fine. What ever they were doing, it didn’t seem to be doing him or anyone else any harm. And when the vitamin shots had started, he had known they weren’t actually vitamin shots. But it was easy not to worry about all this, when he could just go up to his room and enjoy Harry Potter on his giant wide screen TV with Dolby digital surround sound.

And then Mikey had disappeared and that’s when everything fell apart. It was common knowledge that he had never shown up for his vitamin shot. What happened next had scared the crap out of Fish. The place had become like a prison camp. They had all been sent to their rooms and told to stay there until further notice. Guards with guns had started patrolling the halls, looking everywhere. His room had been searched twice. From his balcony he had seen even more guards with dogs, head out into the surrounding forest. All those doubts and fears he had managed to ignore for so long, were now making a come back, and bringing their brothers.

What was really going on? What were these DNA experiments? What were the vitamin shots? Was Mikey in some kind of danger? They were dead serious about finding him. What did it all mean? Was everyone in danger because he hadn’t said anything? Was it his fault? Thoughts like this had been rattling around in his brain for hours now. There would be no sleep for him tonight.

There was a pounding on his door. He sat upright in bed. Who could that be? The guards probably wouldn’t knock and no one else was supposed to be out of their rooms. He hopped out of bed and opened the door. It was Kevin. Of course it was Kevin. If anybody would defy the curfew it would be Kevin or Mikey… and Mikey was gone.

“I need to use your computer,” said Kevin.

“What?” asked Fish. “Do you know what time it is? Use your own computer.”

“My computer won’t work for this,” said Kevin pushing past Fish and making a bee-line for Fish’s computer.

“Get out of here!” said Fish “Or I’ll call the guards.” That stopped him.

“Don’t call the guards. This is important. It’s a matter of life and death, maybe for us all.”

Fish laughed. Who did he think he was kidding? This was some kind of practical joke. Mikey’s disappearance was probably part of it, too. “I don’t know what you guys are planning, but I don’t want any part of it. Now, go away.”

“You’re going to make me do this the hard way, aren’t you?” Kevin walked over to his dresser, opened a drawer and pulled out one of Fish’s socks.

“What the—” but that was all Fish got out before Kevin leapt across the room grabbed him and stuffed a sock in his mouth. Fish struggled for a moment but he quickly gave up. Who was he fooling? It didn’t matter how many high-tech gadgets or friends he had now, when it came right down to it, he was still just a little guy. And Kevin was about six inches taller and had a lot more girth. He really didn’t stand a chance. It was almost the Baxter brothers all over again.

“I’m sorry to do this,” said Kevin, “really, I am. But this is important. You’ll understand in a minute.” And then Fish felt himself picked up and carried forcefully from his own room. This kind of thing hadn’t happened to him for more than a year, ever since he’d gotten his new room and his electronic toys. He had almost forgotten how much he hated this, how humiliating it was.

“Listen,” said Kevin. “I know you’re probably not going to believe this, but I know how you feel. This exact same thing happened to me a couple of hours ago.”

Kevin was right. Fish didn’t believe him. Kevin was pretty much normal sized. He was way too big to have something like this happen to him. Fish groaned inwardly. Kevin was taking him up to the attic, great. He was probably going to lock him in a trunk or something. And then he felt himself set down. He looked up and there was someone else there, someone big. Big guys always made him a little nervous, but thus guy actually scared him. It was probably his wardrobe, mostly. He was wearing pants that were too small for him. The leg bottoms were up around his boulder-like calves, and above that, a pair of ponderous thighs were pulling the denham tight around them. His shirt sleeves had been torn off, so that the big guy’s large veiny, bicepts and striated shoulders were fully exposed. And the front of his shirt had been torn open giving Fish a full view of his brick wall abs and his bulging chest. He guessed this guy would have been intimidating even if Fish had been normal sized. Then the sock was pulled from his mouth.

“Wha-What’s going on? Who is this?” he asked.

“Jesus, Fish, don’t you recognize me?” said the big guy.

Fish looked into his face and… Holy crap! “Mikey?” No. No way. That’d be impossible. Mikey wasn’t that big, not even close. “This is a joke, right. This is really some freaking elaborate joke, right?”

The big Mikey shook his head and smiled. “This is no joke,” he said. He flexed his biceps. They seemed gigantic to Fish. “Go on, feel it,” said Mikey, leaning in so Fish could touch him. Fish tentatively reached out and grabbed Mikey’s arm muscle. It seemed huge and impossibly hard. Like a rock pile under his skin.

“All right, that’s enough,” said Kevin. “I think we can all agree he’s real.”

“But what happened,” asked Fish, as he pulled his hand away from Mikey’s bulging arm. And then Mikey told him. He started by revealing what he’d overheard in Gibbons’ office and ended with his coming to get Kevin.

As Fish listened to Mikey tell his tale, his mind began to whirl. Now it all made sense, the blood tests, the DNA manipulation, the vitamin shots, all of it. They were trying to make them grow… all of them. The realization hit Fish like a ton of bricks. He might not have to be small anymore. He could be big, maybe as big as Mikey was. He looked down at his thin, miserable chest and up at Mikey’s thick powerful one. He began to feel the desire for a body like that flood him like a tidal wave, washing away every other aspiration he’d ever had. All the humiliations he had suffered as a result of his size were parading back through his mind. None of those things would ever have to happen again. Suddenly, getting big was all that mattered to him. He wanted to be tall and have large muscles like Mikey. And if Mikey was right, the work had already been done. All he needed to do was find a way to trigger it. First off, he would never have another vitamin shot again, even if they killed him. But maybe it didn’t have to come to that. Maybe these two had a plan.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“I need to use your computer,” said Kevin. “You have access to the intranet, right?”

“Yes,” said Fish. One of the doctors had arraigned it. It was one of his perks.

“I want to get on there and see what I can find out about these experiments,” said Kevin.

“You can use it, no problem, but it really isn’t anything more than a medical data base. I don’t have access to anything restricted.”

Kevin smiled. “You mean you don’t have access yet.”

Mikey wanted to come with them, but Kevin insisted he stay in the attic. If Fish and Kevin were caught, the worst that would happen was they’d be sent back to their rooms. Mikey could get shot. Reluctantly Mikey stayed hidden in the attic while the two of them hurried back down toward Fish’s room. Fish was amazed that they didn’t see any guards. He guessed they were all out in the forest looking for Mikey. Fish wondered briefly if he should tell Kevin that he had known about the experiments for more than a year, but he didn’t want to get the other kid mad. Maybe Kevin and Mikey might decide to exclude him from their plans. He couldn’t risk that. He needed to be big now, needed it. The desire was so strong it was almost a physical pain.

They got to Fish’s room without incident and Kevin booted up the computer. It came right up and Fish logged on for him.

“Man,” said Kevin, “my computer takes at least five minutes to boot up. How did you get such a nice one?”

Fish shrugged.

“And your TV and DVD player and all that other stuff, I always meant to ask you about that.”

“How big is Mikey?” asked Fish, partly to change the subject and partly because he was dying to know just how big he might get.

“I don’t know. I haven’t measured him,” said Kevin, curtly. “Besides, he says he’s still growing.”

“Still growing? You mean he’s going to get bigger?” Fish started to feel a little light headed at the thought. “How big do you think he’ll get?”

“No idea.”

“I bet his arms are at least eighteen inches already.”

“Probably.”

“And his legs, did you see his legs?”

“Yes, I saw his legs,” snapped Kevin. “And I’d be very interested to hear why you’re so interested in them.”

“They’re just big, that’s all,” said Fish.

“Yes, they are—” said Kevin trailing off. “Could we just get on with this?”

Jeeze, what was Kevin getting so upset about? Fish clicked on the icon and opened up the intranet. “Here you go,” he said, hoping Kevin would just calm down and concentrate on getting the information. Fortunately, he did.

“It’s a good thing I know so many of the passwords they use around here,” said Kevin. “They don’t really have much imagination. They’re almost always variations on names and birthdays and phone numbers. This shouldn’t take long.”

And it didn’t. Kevin was in in less than five minutes. “Crap!” he shouted, pounding the key board.

“What is it?”

“I found the right files, but I don’t understand any of this.”

“Let me see,” said Fish. He looked at the screen. Kevin was looking at Mikey’s file. It seemed pretty straight forward to Fish. There was a list of dates and procedures. “This is pretty much a record of his examinations,” said Fish.

“You understand this?”

“Sure. Well, I can follow what they did, but I can’t tell you what it means.”

“That’ll do for a start. What does it say about the vitamin shots?”

Fish quickly searched through the files. “They call it an inhibitor and here is the chemical formula,” said Fish writing it down.

“What else does it say?”

“It has to be administered every 96 hours.”

“Is that all?”

“Pretty much.”

“Is there any other way to stop the growth?”

“Stop it?”

“Just check.”

Fish glanced through the file. “Wait a minute, there are two other substances listed.”

“What are they?”

Fish squinted and looked at the chemical formulas. “The first one is easy,” he said. “It’s an actual vitamin shot.” Fish wrote the formula just below the inhibitor and went back to the screen. “They never actually gave Mikey that one. In fact, the only guy around here who’s actually getting a vitamin shot is Caleb.”

“Caleb? I guess he hasn’t been here long enough to need the inhibitor.”

“Let’s see.” Fish’s hands floated over the keyboard. “No, you’re right. But he’s scheduled for the final procedure tomorrow afternoon. After that, he’s due to be put on the inhibitor.”

“We’ll see about that. What’s the third substance?”

Fish went back to the previous screen and looked at the chemical formula. It was a mystery to him, but he wrote it down anyway. It was clearly meant to be administered to all the orphans, but so far as he could see, there was no record of anyone actually receiving the shot. “I don’t know what this is, but give me a moment, I’ll keep looking.”

Fish began looking though the files. He opened Mikey’s back up and started going through it screen by screen. Most of it, he didn’t fully understand. He knew it had a lot to do with genetics but it was far too complicated for him.

The last screen in the file was labeled projections. As he read the screen he felt his heart beat faster. They were speculating on just how big Mikey was going to get. As he read the numbers, he couldn’t believe them. Those proportions were not human. No one could be that big. Almost without thinking, he opened up his own file and went straight to the projections page. The numbers were almost the same. Holy fuck! Was this for real? According to this, he wasn’t just going to be big, he was going to be gigantic. No, no that just couldn’t be. He looked down at his thin arms and tried to imagine himself the size described in his file. He couldn’t. This couldn’t be right. It had to be a mistake. How could he get that big? The difference was too enormous, too unbelievable.

But what if it were actually possible?

A strange sensation began to build in him, a kind of tingling, yawning ache, mixed with an insane excitement. He had to know if it was possible. Could he grow that big, that muscular? He was getting stiff from the thought of it. He felt his heart beating faster, his breath coming shorter. He had to find out. The numbers kept thrumming in his brain. That kind of size, that kind of strength. His hands started to shake.

“Fish, you ok?” asked Kevin.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Fish thought about telling Kevin about the projections, but this had suddenly become very personal. The thought of becoming that huge had touched an area deep down in his psyche, affecting him so profoundly, he couldn’t fully understand it himself. His very core had been rocked. He had a desire, a need, a hunger to become those numbers, to get that big, to be that colossal. He needed it more than he needed his next meal, more than he needed his next breath. It was not rational. How could he explain that to Kevin? “Let’s go down to the lab.”

“The lab? Why?”

There had to be a way to activate the growth and it had to be in the lab. “I’ve found all I can, here. I want to see if there’s anything down there.”

“I guess we could. All the guards are probably still out chasing Mikey.”

Fish grabbed the piece of paper he had written the chemical formulas on and the two of them headed for the lab.

The building seemed absolutely deserted and when they arrived they found the lab door unlocked. This was hardly surprising because most of the kids hated the lab. They only went there when they had to. Even Kevin and Mikey steered clear of it. But when Fish looked around the lab, to him it was the most wonderful place in the universe, because somewhere in here was a treasure beyond all price. Now all he had to do was find it.

“Where do we start?” asked Kevin.

“How about here?” suggested Fish, indicating a glass front refrigerator.

“That’s where they keep the vitamin shots, isn’t it?” asked Kevin.

“Yeah,” said Fish opening it up. There in front of him was a trey filled with the phony vitamin shots. Each one was labeled for a particular boy. He had to laugh. The bottles were also labeled with the chemical formula and the term inhibitor. What arrogance the doctors had. Of course, it was perfectly safe. Even if a kid had noticed the name, it would mean nothing to him. He showed it to Kevin, who had a similar reaction.

The next shelf down held another tray of little bottles. These were the true vitamin shots and only one had a kid’s name on it and that was Caleb’s.

“Hey,” suggested Fish. “What if we substitute the real vitamin shots for the fake ones?”

“We could,” said Kevin, “but I think we should warn everyone first. All of them might not want to grow.”

“Not want to grow? Are you kidding?”

“I don’t know,” said Kevin. “Some of them might not want it.”

Fish didn’t know what to say. With an attitude like that, Kevin could never understand what he was going through. He caught reflection of his slight frame in the refrigerator door. It was hard to believe that somewhere locked inside him were the genetic codes of a muscle beast. He had to find a way to release them; he had to. The secret had to be somewhere in this room. And he promised his reflection he would fucking find it.

The third tray of bottles was labeled with the mysterious third chemical formula. These hadn’t been assigned to anyone. But, as Fish carefully examined the label, his breath caught in his throat and he almost dropped the bottle. It was labeled accelerator. Oh, Fuck. Here it was, right in his hands, the means to give him fucking size and strength like he had never dreamed possible, right here in this tiny bottle. He was seconds away from his goal. He didn’t know what he was feeling. It wasn’t excitement. It was too fucking intense for that.

Holding tight to the bottle, he started looking wildly around the room. It didn’t take him long to find what he was looking for, a package of disposable syringes. The same kind the doctors used to give out the vitamin shots. He grabbed one and unwrapped it. His hand was shaking so badly he could barely jab the needle through the thin layer of membrane and into the bottle. He actually had to brace his hands on a lab bench to keep them steady enough to fill it.

“What are you doing?” asked Kevin.

“Never you fucking mind,” said Fish. He handed the paper with the chemical formulas on it to Kevin. “Here, you better hold on to this.”

“Why, you’re not going to—”

But Fish was already injecting himself. He felt the liquid enter his system and he got instantly hard. He knew what was probably about to happen, and it made him want to cum in his pants. When every drop had passed into his body he tossed the empty bottle to Kevin.

“Accelerator!” cried Kevin, reading the label. “Fish, what the fuck did you just do?”

“I released myself,” he stuttered, realizing that the trembling had finally reached his voice. But it was ok. It was done, now. His heart was already beating rapidly in his chest. He didn’t know if that was the excitement or the accelerator. Whichever it was, he could already feel the stuff starting to take affect. He felt a deep rumbling, seeming to come from his core. It was like his whole body was vibrating, faster and faster and faster. Then he felt a dizziness, like he had just gotten off one of those spinning carnival rides. He staggered a little and had to steady himself on a lab bench.

“Fish, are you alright,” asked Kevin.

“Don’t fucking worry about me,” he said and he was surprised at how raspy his voice sounded. He began to feel the rumbling expand outward from his core. In a matter of seconds it was all throughout his body. He was getting stronger. He could feel it. It was actually happening. And then his meager, thin body began to change. He noticed it in his hands first. The veins were rising out of them growing thicker. And on his arms, the same thing, veins emerged from his smooth skin, wrapping his arms in heavy, web-like patterns. And then his limbs began to get thcker. He could feel hard lumps forming under his skin, and not just on his arms, every-fucking-where. Oh my fucking God, he was growing fucking muscles!

At first, his forearms were easiest to see. Muscles began to surface and thicken, turning his flat, featureless limbs into an undulating landscape of cords and tendons. His upper arms began bulking up, quickly packing his sleeves. His flat knobby pecs began filling out, becoming rounder, stretching out his shirt front. He looked at his reflection in the glass door and gasped. There was a muscle kid staring back at him. Holy fuck. He flexed and watched his biceps bulge up on his arms, stressing his sleeves for a instant before they ripped apart, making way for new peeks erupting out from the already substantial mounds. Yes. This was it. This is what he had wanted, what he had always secretly wanted. And now it was actually happening. Fuck yeah!

With a grin he flexed his chest and sent the upper buttons popping off his shirt. And as his shirt front parted, two striated hills of flesh, pushed their way out into the open. A slight tug on his shirt front and the lower buttons flew off in all directions revealing his stomach. At first it was as smooth as always; but then he felt a subtle itching deep under his skin, and he saw the outline of a six pack starting to form, growing more and more distinct until he actually had abs. He passed his hand over them. They were hard and solid. But it didn’t stop there; they kept getting larger and larger, pushing out, swelling up, and growing hard, like stepping stones across his waist. In seconds his stomach had solidified out into a wall of powerful, brick-like abdominals, which felt like iron slabs, grafted to his midsection. “Oh man, oh man, oh man,” he said as he ran his hand over the bumpy, rock hard surface. It couldn’t get better than this. Or could it?

He looked down at his hands. Was it his imagination or did they look thicker. They were thicker.. He heard a creaking, stretching kind of noise and felt a dull ache as his hand began getting larger and longer and wider. It was a freaking incredible sight. His hands were changing right in front of his eyes, They were a man’s hands, not the thin, feeble appendages he was used to. They were beautiful.

And then his feet, the same dull ache was running through his feet! He heard a ripping and popping sound as the sneaker top tore free from the sole, wedged apart by his lengthening feet. And they were glorious feet, thick, with wide sturdy toes, nothing like the narrow spindly things he used to have, and they just kept getting bigger. He almost couldn’t believe it was real. This was actually fucking happening to him.

He stood up straight and noticed something else. The room looked different; things seemed farther away, smaller. In a second he had it. His perspective was changing. He was getting taller. A kind of hysterical laughter erupted out of him. “Ah ha ha!” he shouted. “I’m going to be fucking huge!”

And as he grew taller, he could see himself growing wider at the same time. His shoulders were stretching out further and further as they grew into huge balls of rock hard flesh. Colossal traps rose up and merged with his thickening neck and he could feel his back getting thicker and wider behind him. There was nothing kid-like about his reflection now. He looked like a man, a man who spent his life in a gym.

He was getting strong now; he could feel it, really strong. He’d never felt anything like it before and he loved it; it was intense. He looked over at Kevin and noticed that the two of them were now eye to eye. In the past few seconds he had shot up six inches taller, and God only knew how much heavier. He felt a lot heavier.

“Hey, Kev, what do you think?” he said flexing for him. He could feel the sheer size of his bicep preventing him from bending his arm as much as he did just a moment ago. Oh yeah. He was stronger than Kevin, now, much fucking stronger.

“What do you want me to say, Fish? You’re huge.”

Fish was about to agree with him, but then he remembered the stats on the projections screen, and laughed. “Huge? You think this is huge? Just fucking wait.”

And then as if in answer to his challenge Fish felt his body begin to grow faster, getting harder and expanding all over. As his back grew wider and thicker, he felt it stretching the hell out of his shirt. Threads began popping, tearing, and ripping as his great, thick lats erupted out from behind him. Seconds later a great tear opened up, running right down the center of his thick muscular back. Hi shirt had been annilated, reduced to scraps of cloth fluttering to the ground.

“Oh my fucking God, look at me!” he shouted and flexed. His upper arms swelled into gigantic twin granite peaks. The shoulders above them were growing to the size of cannonballs. His forarms were as thick around as Kevin’s legs, Kevin who was now looking up at him—fuck he was looking down at Kevin! How fucking tall was he?

There was a loud snap as Fish’s leather belt ripped in two. His pant legs, which now resembled shorts, were tearing up the sides, releasing two mammoth thighs which were bulging out to an unbelievable volume. In a moment his pants blew away completely, leaving him naked in the center of the lab. He looked down. He had a dick that would put a horse to shame, and it was standing straight up at attention. Fuck ,yeah! He didn’t care. His body was awesome, a fucking thing of beauty. He never wanted to fucking cover it with clothes again.

And the raw physical power… The feeling of strength was overwhelming. Being a little guy, he had never even imagined strength like this or anything even close. Feeling it now, he couldn’t understand how he had lived all those years without it. He had always imagined what it might be like to be strong, but he had been way off. He hadn’t had a clue. This was so much better than he had ever dreamed and, holy fucking Christ, he was just getting stronger.

“I’m fucking loving this!” he shouted.

He flexed his already massive arms and watched them bulge up into veiny peeked mountains and then grow even larger. His shoulders continued to stretch outward, further and further, exploding into incredible globes of unbelievable size, that flowed down and melded with his titanic pecs. His back pushed out further, causing his entire upper body to grow wider and wider as he continued to grow taller and taller. He was just fucking gargantuan now. He looked down at Kevin now, way down at Kevin. They guy looked like a child, a rolly polly toddler, standing next to his daddy’s massive, bulging thighs.

And then it was over. Fish pulled a most muscular and felt everyone of his incredibly large, incredibly powerful muscles bulge out all over him. It was a feeling not to be believed. He had done it. He didn’t know if he exactly made the stats on the projections screen, but he had to be close, somewhere near eleven feet tall, weighing more than a ton. He was a fucking monster.

“Jesus, Fish, what did you do?” asked Kevin.

“Isn’t it fucking obvious?” answered Fish, flexing his right arm and running his left hand all over it. “I took a short cut.”

“It was the accelerator, wasn’t it? It kind of amplified the growth.”

“Amplified it? No,” said Fish, shaking his head. “It just accelerated it, made it happen faster, all at once.”

“You mean Mikey’s going to get that big?”

Fish nodded and then shrugged his massive shoulders. “Even bigger actually. The stats are in his file.”

“Fuck,” said Kevin. “That’s too big, too damn big.”

“No such thing,” said Fish, flexing his thighs and watching them bulge out obscenely.

“This is fucking awesome. You just don’t know. But you will.”

“No way, dude; no fuckin’ way. I’m not doing that.”

Fish laughed, the sound of rolling thunder. “It’s not like you have a choice, dude.” Fish leaned down toward the trey and picked up one of the tiny bottles of accelerant. It was quite a chore. His fingers were now thicker than his forearms used to be. He tossed it to Kevin who caught it instinctively. “Go on,” he said. “Grab a syringe. One little prick and you can be a fucking force of nature.”

Kevin looked at the bottle like it was a rattle snake. For a second Fish thought he might throw it on the floor and shatter it, but instead he just tucked it into his pocket and looked back up at Fish.

“Yeah? And then what?”

“What do you mean?”

“What are your plans now that you’re a force of nature?”

That was a good point. What did he want to do? Then it hit him. It was obvious what had to be first. Fish started toward the door.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to take a little trip into the city.”

“What for?”

“There are a couple of old friends I want to visit, a couple of brothers….And a couple of adults I want to see stand up for themselves.”

“Then what?”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to see.” And he didn’t know. And he didn’t care that he didn’t know. He was huge, gigantic, massive and powerful, and that was all that mattered. The rest, he had faith, would just follow.

He bent down and turned sideways and tried to wriggle through the door. It was tough going, and suddenly he realized if the door wasn’t big enough, he could make it big enough. He started to twist inside it and he heard the timbers creek. Oh man, this was so sweet.

“Stop,” yelled Kevin.

“Why?”

“I don’t want them to know we were in here.”

“Don’t you think they’ll work it out?”

“If you’re leaving, they might not. But if they think we know what they’re doing. They might decide to kill us all.”

“There’s a little bottle in your pocket that could stop that.”

“Maybe,” said Kevin, “but I don’t want to go there unless I absolutely have to.”

“Suit yourself,” said Fish, and he continued to wriggle until he popped out the other side. “See you when I see you,” he said and in two strides he was at the front door. He didn’t fool around with this one. One slam from his fist and it flew off its hinges and out into the front yard. Then he grabbed the door frame with one hand on each side and ripped it right out of the wall, taking enough of the surrounding material with it to make an opening plenty large enough for him to fit through.

He hadn’t taken two steps out the door when he heard a guard call, “There he is!” Suddenly he was surrounded by half a dozen of the little buggers. On sweep of his arm took care of all of them. He looked up. There were more on the way. He didn’t have time for this. There was some place he had to be. He ran to the wall, moving so fast, it surprised even him. Using his two fists it only took him three swings to knock a large section of it down. And then he was out and into the woods jogging. If a tree got in his way, he just knocked it down. He knew they were following him, but they’d never catch him, and even if they did, they’d never stop him. He was too big for them now, too big for all of them.

And with that thought on his mind and a smile on his face, Fish made as straight a line as he could directly toward the city.

Part 4: Rob

WHAM! Rob sat up straight in bed. What the fuck was that? For an instant he wasn’t sure if he’d actually heard something or if it had just been part of a dream. Then there was an earth shattering KA WOMP and everything in his room shook. His alarm clock toppled over, his body building books and magazines fell off shelves, and his soccer ball came bouncing toward him across the room.

What the fuck? That was an earthquake, except there weren’t any earthquakes around here. He hopped out of bed and noticed that his bed had shifted at least a foot across the floor. What the fuck was going on? Suddenly he heard shouting coming from the front lawn. He ran to his window and looked out. Holy fucking crap! There was a fucking giant out on the front lawn and he was completely naked. The guy had to be well over ten feet tall and at least six feet wide at the shoulders. He had biceps like wrecking balls, massive boulder-like shoulders and his thighs looked like they were each bigger than Rob’s entire body. Rob watched opened mouth as the giant took out six guards with one punch and then sprinted to the wall. He knocked a large section of it down with just his fists, and then disappeared through the gap and into the woods. Fuck! What was that?

He raced out into the hall, dressed only in his boxers and t shirt, and almost instantly ran into Todd.

“What the fuck was that?” asked Todd. “Did you feel that?”

“Hell yes. Did you see that guy on the lawn?”

“What guy?”

“There was a huge guy on the front lawn.”

“Seriously?”

And then a dozen doors opened and they were surrounded by guys, all lumbering around in their sleep ware, all looking confused and a little scared, all asking each other if they knew what had happened. It was starting to get pretty noisy. Rob couldn’t allow that. He was the second floor supervisor and it was part of his job to keep order on his floor.

“Everybody back to your rooms,” ordered Rob.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?” said Eric Kowalski.

“Maybe you forgot there’s a curfew on,” said Rob.

There was a chorus of protests, but Rob cut them off quickly. “Don’t worry. I’ll go downstairs, find out what happened and then let you all know. But for now, just go back to your rooms, please.”

Rob usually got them to listen to him. A five foot eleven, he was the tallest guy on the floor. He wasn’t very bulky, but that wasn’t his fault. The Orphanage had no gym. He had been lobbying for them to install one, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. They kept telling him it wasn’t in the budget.

“How about a weight bench and some weights? They’re not too expensive,” he had argued. But they wouldn’t budge. Instead they got him a book on army calisthenics and told him to do sit ups and push ups. He did; and he also took up jogging around the country-side but it wasn’t the same. He wanted to put on some muscle, and to really do that, you needed weights.

But he was still big enough to command respect on his floor. The side effect of him not being able to get big was that no one else could either. He and Brad, the third floor supervisor, were about as big as anyone around there got.

The guys all mumbled as they shuffled back to their rooms. But they did shuffle back to their rooms, all except Todd.

“You too, man.”

“No fucking way. I’m coming with you.”

“There’s a curfew on.”

“Fuck the curfew; there some serious shit going on; and I’m not going back to my room until I find out what it is.”

Rob briefly considered arguing with Todd but from experience he knew that would be a long and drawn out process. And trying to intimidate Todd wouldn’t work either. The guy wasn’t much smaller than he was and if he tried playing the size card, they would probably end up in a fist fight. It just wasn’t worth it. All he really wanted to do was find out what was going on and then get back to bed. “Ok, fine; come.”

The two of the proceeded down the stairs to the front hall.

“Holy fucking crap, would you look at that?” said Todd. Rob looked over and where the front door used to be was a huge hole in the wall, at least seven feet wide and twelve feet tall. The remains of the door frame along with some pieces of the wall were scattered in little bits across the front hall.

“What the fuck could have done that?” asked Todd.

“I don’t know,” answered Rob “Where is everyone?” The place seemed completely deserted. Rob tried the administration office door. It was locked. He knocked. No answer. He tried Mr. Gibbons’ office. Locked. No answer. He tried the lab door. He was almost surprised when it creaked open.

“Kevin!” shouted Rob. “What the fuck are you dong here?”

The chubby boy in the lab jumped, almost upsetting a tray of little bottles beside him. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Rob and Todd.

“Jesus, Rob, you scared the shit out of me,” said Kevin.

“Kevin, you’re not supposed to be here. Go back to your room.”

Kevin laughed. There was something unsettling about his laugh. Something about it wasn’t completely sane. “Cut the crap, Rob. We’ve moved a little beyond the whole dorm supervisor vs. errant orphan game. It doesn’t mean a hell of a lot anymore.”

“I know you’re not on my floor, but—“

“Not on your floor?” interrupted Kevin, before exploding into more of that creepy laughter. “Get a fucking clue. Did you see the front hall?”

“You saw what happened?” asked Rob.

“Oh yeah.”

“And the giant? Did you see him?”

“Oh yeah, I saw him all right.”

“And?”

“We’re all fucked, all of us.”

“You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to get out of this one.”

“If I want to get out?” Kevin laughed again. “There’s no way out. Not for me, not for any of us… except maybe Caleb. He still has a chance.”

“Are you going to start making sense anytime soon?”

“They’re fucking with our genes, dude. What do you think all this… crap is for?” asked Kevin waving his arms around the lab.

Rob looked around at the lab. He never really liked the place, but he couldn’t imagine it was anything as sinister as Kevin was claiming. “I don’t believe you.”

“Of course, you don’t. If I were you, I wouldn’t believe me either, but I tell you what; Mikey’s up in the attic. Go get him and meet me in Fish’s room. We’ve all got to have a little meeting.”

“Mikey’s in the attic. That’s one thing cleared up. I don’t know what you two—“

“Ok, shut up!” screamed Kevin. “Shut the fuck up! This isn’t some stupid little prank. This is serious life and death shit.” Rob became quiet. He’d never seen Kevin like this. Maybe there was something going on.

“I’ll make you a deal,” Kevin continued. He was calmer but the strain in his voice was evident. “If after seeing Mikey, you still want to turn us both in, I promise we’ll go quietly. Otherwise bring him to Fish’s room. I have to finish cleaning up around here.”

“And Fish knows about this?”

“Oh yeah, Fish definitely knows all about this.”

“Ok, but you better not be lying.”

“Go find Mikey. You’ll see,” said Kevin somewhat absently, as he bent down and picked some shredded rags off the floor. Was that a belt?

Rob threw his hands in the air. “Why not?” Kevin’s attitude had really started to disturb him. He knew this was more than likely a joke and he wanted to find Mikey just to prove it. But something inside him was telling him all was not right. And as he and Todd passed back out into the empty front hall, and he saw the destroyed front door, he began to fear there really might be something terribly wrong.

“I can’t believe you’re buying that shit,” said Todd as they started up the stairs.

“I don’t completely,” said Rob. “But he saw something and I want to know what. Besides, I’m sick of this damn curfew. If Mikey really is in the attic, I at least want to find him, so we can put an end to it.”

Apparently Todd accepted this last argument because he kept silent the rest of the way to the attic door. As Rob pushed open the attic door, he noticed it was pitch black up there.

“He’s not up there,” said Todd with disgust.

“Yes, I am,” came a voice from above. “Come on up, Rob, Todd.”

Rob hesitated. That sounded like Mikey’s voice alright, but it wasn’t quite right. It sounded deeper, richer, almost as if it were coming from an older version of Mikey. And how did he know it was Rob? He hadn’t spoken. That feeling that something was wrong began to get stronger. He reached in the door to the light switch and flicked it on. Nothing happened.

“Oops, I guess the bulb’s out,” came Mikey’s voice. There was something in the tone; it had that gentle mocking quality it usually had before he sprung one of his gags. Now Rob was starting to think it was a joke after all.

“Come on down, Mikey,” called Rob. What ever these two had in mind he was not going to fall for it.

“No, you better come up here. After all, you promised Kevin you would.”

How the hell did he know that? If this was a gag, it was a damn good one.

“We didn’t promise shit,” called up Todd.

“You didn’t, but he did,” said Mikey.

Ok, this was getting creepy. First Kevin’s nervous attitude and now Mikey seemed to be psychic. At this point, it might be worth getting a bucket of water dumped on his head just to find out what the hell was going on. He put his foot on the first step and instantly felt Todd’s hand on his arm.

“What the fuck are you doing, dude?” asked Todd. “You’re walking right into it.”

“I don’t care,” said Rob. “I’m going to find out what the fuck is going on.” He pulled away from Todd and started up the stairs.

“Fuck,” said Todd and followed on after him.

Slowly Rob climbed the stairs into the utter darkness, dragging his hand along the stairwell wall to feel his way. All the time he had his eye peeled for any kind of trip wire or strange buckets or anything that looked out of place. But he could barely see his hand in front of his face, so in a moment he gave up all hope of spotting a practical joke in advance.

It was only when he reached the top step that he could finally see something. There was a dim light coming from one end of the attic. It looked like there was an old flashlight lying on the floor; and just beyond it he could make out a shape. It looked like someone huddled on the floor wrapped in a blanket. Mikey.

Now he was on full alert. If he had ever seen an obvious misdirect, this was it. He tried willing himself to see in the dark and looked everywhere for a sign of what Mikey had in store for them. But he still could hardly see anything at all in the darkness.

He heard Mikey chuckle. “There aren’t any stink bombs or water balloons. I’ve got something much better this time.”

“Oh yeah, what?” asked Todd.

“Come on over and find out,” said Mikey. The teasing tone in his voice was unmistakable.

“Come on,” said Rob to Todd, “let’s get this over with.” The two of them carefully made their way toward the only light source never letting their guard down for an instant. As they approached Mikey, Rob could see he was wrapped in an old puffy comforter, and through a gap in the front, he could just make out a dusty white shirt underneath. Rob bent down and picked up the flash light. He used it to do a quick search of the area. Nothing. Just Mikey.

“Where’d you get the flashlight? It looks like it’s about a hundred years old,” said Rob.

“I found it up here,” said Mikey. “I found a lot of things up here. I even found a shirt that almost fits me.”

“Good for fucking you,” said Todd.

“Ok, out with it,” said Kevin.

“What do you mean?” asked Mikey feigning innocence so badly it was obvious he was egging Rob on.

“Kevin said you had something to tell us, so tell us.”

“Hmmm,” said Mikey cocking his head and looking toward the ceiling. “I wonder what he could have meant.” He was doing a bad imitation of thinking. Rob was starting to get a little annoyed.

“Fucking tell us already, you little cocksucker,” said Todd.

“Oh I know,” said Mikey. “Maybe it was this.” And then Mikey stood up… and up… and up. Holy fuck! He was a good four inches taller than Rob, instead of the two inches shorter he ought to have been. His first thought was that the kid was standing on something, but one look at the floor and he saw Mikey’s large, bare feet sticking out from under the comforter.

“What the—, managed Rob. But that was all he could get out.

“Or maybe it was this,” said Mikey as he threw the comforter aside. Rob caught a quick glimpse of strained white cloth, before Mikey flexed his pecs and sent them exploding out of his shirt. Rob almost went weak in the knees at the sight of those huge, globular, striated masses, tearing their way out of Mikey’s shirt. And just below them, a particularly wide tear gave Rob a peek at the kid’s spectacular abs. He was completely stunned and Mikey gave him no time to recover.

“Or how about this?” asked Mikey, as he slowly brought his arms up toward a classic double bicep pose. Rob watched as the huge mounds on his upper arms swelled bigger and bigger and bigger, quickly filling and then straining the sleeves until giant granite hills erupted out of his sleeves, ripping them to shreds. They were large, defined and looked incredibly powerful. Rob had never seen anything like them in real life. He watched slack jawed as Mikey ripped off the remains of his shirt, and struck a most muscular pose. The kid’s body was amazing. He had been right about the abs. They were a spectacular eight pack. He could see a pair of thick lats spreading out behind him and his legs looked like they could support a house. He didn’t know how, but Mikey was huge, a living representation of the photos in his bodybuilding magazines. He had the body Rob had always wanted. And here it was on a kid, two years his junior, where it had no business being.

Mikey laughed out loud. “You should see the looks on your faces.”

“But, Mikey,” stuttered Rob, “how?”

Then Mikey had gotten this puckish look on his face. “Oh yeah… You like this, don’t you,” he said flexing his huge bicep for Rob and the older boy swallowed. “I’ve seen those magazines in your room. You want a body just like this, don’t you?” He teasingly flexed his abs, making them pop out of his stomach. Rob couldn’t help but gasp. “Big and strong and hard.” He made his pecs dance.

Rob was starting to get hard. He tried to stop it but he couldn’t. He wasn’t gay or anything but the thought of growing muscles like that always gotten him hard. And he sure as hell was thinking about it now. How could he help it?

“Well, I know how you can get a body like this.” He spread his lats wide. Rob hoped he didn’t have to walk anywhere soon. “And I might just tell you.”

This was too much for Rob to handle. “Mikey, for the love of God, just please tell us.”

“Yeah tell us, you fucking cocksucker,” said Todd.

Suddenly the smile vanished off of Mikey’s face. In one stride he was standing right in Todd’s face—at least his pecs were in Todd’s face. For the first time Rob saw just how big Mikey was. He was about five inches taller than Todd and he looked twice as wide, side to side and front to back. What sheer mass that kid had! He fucking dwarfed Todd. “What did you say?” asked Mikey.

“I said why don’t you tell us you cocksucker?” And then Todd balled his fist and hit Mikey right in the abs. There was an audible crack and then Todd pulled back his hand, shaking it.

Mikey just grinned. “I don’t think I like you,” he said. Then, with one hand, he grabbed Todd by the shirt collar and lifted him up off his feet. There wasn’t a hint of strain anywhere in his face and it looked like his bicep was barely working. “I don’t think you’re showing me the proper respect.” Then he dropped Todd who managed to land on his feet. But Mikey wasn’t done with him yet. He grabbed his uninjured arm and twisted it. The floor supervisor part of Rob wanted to stop this, but watching Mikey completely dominate Todd physically was fucking hot and his dick was close to the boiling point. Besides Todd could really be an asshole sometimes and Rob was just as happy to see him taken down a notch, especially by this giant kid with his incredible body. Todd tried to resist but he was so completely outmatched by Mikey’s strength, it was as if he hadn’t tried at all. In seconds Todd was on his knees in front of the muscle-bound teen.

“That’s better,” said Mikey, releasing him. “What do you have to say now?”

Todd opened his mouth but all that came out was “Um ah um—”

“That’s what I thought,” said Mikey flexing his bicep just enough so the peeks started to pop. “I think you’re going to sit in the corner now and not speak again unless I say you can.”

“Ok,” said Todd and he hustled over to the corner and sat down.

“Did you just speak?” asked Mikey, scowling.”

Todd opened his mouth to reply but then suddenly stopped and just shook his head instead.

“Good.”

“But Mikey,” managed Rob “How did you do that? How did you get that body?”

Mikey smiled. “I think that’s what Kevin wants to discuss at the meeting.”

“And how did you know about that?”

“I overheard you guys.”

“You were down there?”

“No, from up here. I can hear a lot better now; see in the dark, too. And I have this awesome sense of direction. I actually found my way back here, through the woods at night.”

“You’re shitting me.”

Mikey just smiled and shook his head. “We’d better get to Fish’s room. Kevin is already gathering people for the meeting.”

“How—?”

But Mikey just tapped his ear with his finger.

“Fuck.”

The two of them started for the stairs, but Todd remained glued to his seat in the corner. Then, as almost an afterthought, Mikey called over his shoulder, “You can come, too, but I don’t want to hear you speak without permission. And if you address me again, you will call me sir. Is that understood? You may answer.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Ok, come,” said Mikey, and Todd scuttled after them like a dog invited for a walk.

During the short trip to Fish’s room, Rob’s mind began to process all he had taken in. He remembered Kevin’s insistence that they had all been genetically manipulated. That would certainly account for Mikey’s size. But there were still a lot of pieces missing. And then he remembered the giant on the lawn. Holy crap, had that been one of them?

When they entered Fish’s room there were already a lot of kids there. Mikey got a lot of gasps, and “What the fuck?”s. After he refused to answer any questions until Kevin got there, a lot of the guys asked to feel his muscles. He was only too glad to oblige. Rob could tell he was eating this up. And why not, if Rob were in his position, he’d be eating it up, too.

More kids kept arriving and the place became really packed. It was rare that all thirty of them got together outside of meal times and this room, although large, was not the dining hall. And then it struck him.

“Where’s Fish?” No one seemed to know. When he asked Mikey, all he got was a shrug from those gargantuan shoulders. Hew got a feeling Mikey knew something, but he wasn’t prepared to tell until Kevin got there. And Rob was painfully aware there was no way he could get Mikey to do anything he didn’t want to. He also noticed Brad wasn’t there.

Finally Kevin arrived. He had a couple of small kitchen garbage bags with him. He headed straight for the small fridge Fish had in the corner. He opened it up, pulled out the sodas and started passing them around.

“Hey, those are Fish’s,” protested Greg Armistead.

“It’s ok,” said Kevin flatly. “Fish doesn’t want them anymore.”

Rob couldn’t stand it any longer. “Ok, Kevin, what the fuck is going on?”

“Just a minute,” said Kevin and he stuffed the two trash bags into the now empty fridge. The he turned to face the crowd. “You all know Mikey,” he said, “and I’m sure you’ve all noticed that he’s gone through a few changes recently.” There was a lot of head nodding. “I think Mikey is the best person to tell you about that.” And then Rob sat back and listened to Mikey’s tale. If Mikey hadn’t been standing right there, literally larger than life, he doubted if he would have believed a word of it. But there he was.

Mikey left off at the part where Fish entered the story and then Kevin picked it up. He told about how he and Fish had gone on the computer and found everybody’s file and confirmed that everyone, save Caleb, had been completely altered, and was doomed to go through the same kind of change Mikey was now experiencing.

Suddenly there was chaos. Everyone started talking at once. Rob became instantly lost in dreams of large mussels erupting all over his body. It was an impossible dream come true. He couldn’t wait to experience it. Fuck those vitamin shots. He could tell from the rest of the room, that no one else would ever touch one either. Then he noticed Kevin was trying to quiet everyone down. He wasn’t having much luck. Rob stood up and tried to get everyone’s attention. He didn’t do much better. Finally Mikey shouted, “Quiet!” and everyone shut up.

“Thank you,” said Kevin. “Just for the record, does everyone one want to do this?” The jumble of thirty voices erupted again. “Just a show of hands, please, just a show of hands.” Rob looked around. Every single hand was up in the air, including his. “You sure,” said Kevin. “Once you do this, there’s no turning back.” No one’s hand budged. “I thought this might happen,” said Kevin, looking defeated.

“I just have a couple of questions,” said Rob waving his hand.

“Yes?” said Kevin, looking more tired than any sixteen-year-old ever should.

“Where the hell is Fish?”

Kevin seemed to slump. “You saw that giant out on the lawn?”

Ron nodded suddenly guessing the answer.

“That was Fish.” The room erupted again and it took another shout from Mikey to quiet them all down.

“I don’t get it,” said Rob. “Didn’t Fish get a vitamin shot?”

“Sure he did,” shouted Danny Glover. “Two days ago. We get ours at the same time.”

“Fish found a way to make the change happen instantaneously, and he used it on himself before I could stop him.”

The room started to erupt again, but Mikey silenced it, with just a look this time.

“So why don’t we all just grow right now and then bust our way out of here?” asked Rob, smiling when his idea was greeted with cheers.

“We could do that,” said Kevin, “but it wouldn’t be smart.”

“Why not?”

“Do you really want to become a rampaging mob of giants terrorizing the countryside? How long do you think it would be before they sent in the army? We wouldn’t be exactly hard to find.”

There was a lot of murmuring.

“So, what do you suggest?”

“Rob, Lenny, Todd, Bruce, Phil and Andy are all scheduled to have their vitamin shots tomorrow morning.”

“I’m not taking it,” said Rob, resolutely.

“Exactly,” said Kevin. “I have already substituted real vitamin shots for the inhibitor. By this time tomorrow night, you six should look exactly like Mikey.”

Rob was floored. Tomorrow night he was going to get huge. He couldn’t wait, but… “Why just the six of us? And why only Mikey’s size? Why don’t we go all the way?”

“Camouflage,” said Kevin. “We’re going to have to be able to blend in with normal people, otherwise we’ll get caught. Mikey says at his size he could still take on all the guards himself. With six of you, it should be no problem at all, and you still won’t be so big you’ll stand out in a crowd, at least not immediately.”

“Won’t there be seven of us,” asked Rob. “What about Mikey?”

“Mikey’s go another job to do. After the takeover is complete, we all will break up and go our separate ways, in teams of no more than three. Each team will take some of the inhibitor with them, enough to last a week or so. The idea being that we use the week to find a safe place to… well, to let it happen. Preferably some place far away from here. It will also put them off guard. They will expect us to start changing almost immediately, and when it doesn’t happen, they won’t know what to think or where to look.”

“And then what?” asked Rob.

“We keep as low a profile as possible and hope nobody ever finds us. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s the best plan I could come up with.”

“I think it’s fucking brilliant,” said Mikey, and Kevin smiled.

“So, where’s Brad,” asked Rob. “Why isn’t he here?”

“We can’t tell Brad,” said Kevin. “They’ve got him in their pocket. Tell Brad and you might as well tell Gibbons himself. We’ve got to leave Brad out of this, until the takeover is complete and we’re ready to go.”

“Yeah,” said Rob, agreeing. “It’s probably the smartest way to go.” Most of the other kids agreed it was a good plan, even if they didn’t like it too much. A large percentage of them favored the rampaging giant scenario, but in the end they agreed to go along with Kevin’s plan.

“What about me?” asked Caleb.

“You’re the luckiest son of a bitch here,” said Kevin. “You can leave here and have a normal life.”

“But I don’t want a normal life,” said Caleb. “I want to be big.”

“You want to be a freak?”

“A regular freak? No. An insanely powerful muscle freak? Hell yes!” There was a huge roar of agreement from the crowd.

“What are you, thirteen?” asked Kevin.

“I’ll be fourteen in August.”

“You’re just a kid. You don’t know what you want.”

“I’m eighteen,” said Rob. “I’m legal. I know what I want and that is it.” He pointed at Mikey. “If the kid wants to go through his final treatment, let him.” There was a general agreement in the room and Kevin threw up his hands and gave in. “Fine. Then get ready, because tomorrow night, we take over.”

There was a tremendous cheer. Rob was especially enthusiastic because tomorrow night he would get his dream. Tomorrow night he would grow into huge and powerful muscle behemoth, and he couldn’t wait.

Part 5: Gibbons

As he stepped threw the hole that used to be the Orphanage’s front door, retired General Waldo Gibbons surveyed the mess in the front hall. They had a definite situation now, no bones about it.

“Nelway!” he called.

“Yes, sir,” snapped the Guard.

“Find someone to clean this up, and get me the man on duty.”

“Yes, sir,” stammered Nelway. “Sir?”

“What is it, Nelway?”

“What man on duty?”

“Whoever’s been watching the boys while we’ve been out.”

“But, sir,” the guard shuffled uneasily. “You ordered all personnel on the search—no exceptions.”

“Don’t tell me what I did and did not order. Are you telling me, these boys have been

unsupervised all night?”

“Ahhh—”

“Answer me, soldier.”

“Yes, sir. They have, sir. Just their floor supervisors, sir.”

“In other words, we left the lunatics in charge of the asylum.”

Gibbons looked out the gaping hole at the front lawn and the forest beyond. It was starting to get light. They had been gone for hours. Anything could have happened. “Nelway, round up a couple of men and do a bed check. Make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be.”

“Yes, sir,” and the guard disappeared back out into the front yard.

What a disaster this was turning out to be. He shuffled over to his office and unlocked the door. Out all night and not a damn thing to show for it. At first it had been like chasing a God damned squirrel. The way that boy could move through the trees was phenomenal. They wasted hours combing the woods, until someone figured out he must have doubled back to the Orphanage. Of course, that insight had come too late. It was only moments later that the boy had come crashing out of the front door, fully realized. The young titan had blown right through his men and busted his way out into the forest. The growth wasn’t supposed to happen that quickly. Myers had a lot to answer for.

Still wearing his radio he keyed it. “Powel!”

“Yes, sir,” came the instant reply.

“Where’s Doctor Myers?”

“On her way in, sir. She should be here any moment.”

“Bring her to me the instant she gets here.”

“Yes, sir.”

Gibbons collapsed behind his desk and flipped on his computer. There was an urgent message waiting for him. Apparently the boy had made it all the way to the city. He clicked on the link and watched as the sickly green infrared image filled the screen. The crawl at the bottom told Gibbons that the helicopter footage he was now watching was shot just over an hour ago. He looked at the picture and there he was, a colossus on the roof of a five story brick building, holding two people upside down over the edge, one with each hand. The scale of the kid was amazing. Looking at him compared to the two ordinary people he was dangling brought home to Gibbons just how massive he was. He had to be twice the height of his victims and his muscles, overdeveloped beyond all reason, swelled and bulged all over him whenever he made the slightest movement. The power that kid had was unbelievable. Suddenly he tossed his victims twenty feet into the air, but he caught them again on their way down, before they could take the plunge to the street. Now he was lifting them up and looking at them. They had gone completely limp; obviously they had fainted. The subject tucked one person under each arm and then leapt from the building top. Gibbons watched in awe as the kid landed on the street below, only bending his knees slightly to absorb the shock. Then he stood up and calmly walked over to a group huddled across the street. The crawl told Gibbons that the building was the 9th Street orphanage and the group was the evacuated inhabitants. The subject delivered his two captives to the displaced orphans and then turned his attention back to the building. The kid began pounding the building with his fists. Great chunks of brick and mortar began flying through the air as the young behemoth tore huge holes in the side of the orphanage. He paused for a moment and the reached up and grabbed the fire escape. He ripped a large section of it right off the building and began wadding it up like it was made from clothes hangers. And the look on the kid’s face, one of unabashed glee; it looked like nothing would make this kid happier than tearing down this building with his bare hands.

A set of flashing lights on a car told Gibbons that the police had arrived. This should be interesting. The two officers were out of the car, guns drawn in an instant. It looked like they might be shouting at the kid, but it was doubtful the boy could even hear them over the sound of buckling steel and exploding masonry. One of them fired into the air. That got the boy’s attention. He was looking over towards them now and they were obviously ordering him to submit. Gibbons doubted very much he would, and he was right.

The kid still had the wadded up fire escape in his hands and he threw it at the red-headed cop, who jumped out of the way just in time. His partner started firing, but the pea shooter he had couldn’t really hurt the behemoth, but it did make him mad. The kid leapt across the street, quicker than a gazelle, and hit the firing cop with his fist. The cop went flying back about 10 yards and hit the side of a building. He was out for the count. The red headed cop then started firing at the kid. Didn’t these guys learn anything? The kid grabbed this guy and ripped the still firing gun out of his hand. After he turned the gun into a useless metal clump, he took the cop and tossed him back into his car. Then he pinched the metal around all the doors sealing him in. He had started back on demolishing the building when the cop started his car and gunned the engine. He was going to try and ram the kid.

The kid just stood there and let the car come at him. At the last second he reached out with both hands and caught the speeding vehicle. He lifted the whole thing, wheels still spinning, up over his head and then threw it down the street. It bounced and shook and kicked up sparks, before it finally came to a rest. It was impossible to tell what happened to the cop inside, but it didn’t look like he could have been too injured by the trip. Now if only he had the sense to stay in the car.

The kid, looking satisfied, returned to pounding holes into the side of the orphanage. Gibbons couldn’t help thinking how much this kid must have hated that place. He pulled up Mikey’s folder and started going through it. Suddenly he stopped and reread the section he was looking at. Mikey had never lived in this orphanage. In fact, it looked like Mikey had never even been to that city. What the fuck was going on here?

There was a knock at the door.

“Yeah?”

“Mr. Gibbons, sir?” said Nelway, nervously opening the door.

“What is it?”

“We finished the bed check, sir. All present and accounted for—except the subject, of course.”

“What? You’re sure?”

“Yes, sir. They’re all asleep. Probably don’t know anything unusual happened at all.”

“We got lucky.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Is Dr. Myers here yet?”

“She just arrived.”

“Send her in.”

Nelway disappeared and a moment later the busty middle aged doctor shuffled into the room.

“Doctor, come here and look at this,” ordered Gibbons.

She came around to the back of the desk and looked at the monitor. It still showed scenes of the kid ripping into the building.

“What do you make of that?” he asked.

‘The subject looks like he has fully realized.”

“How is that possible?” asked Gibbons.

“It shouldn’t be, sir.”

“That doesn’t answer my question, Myers.”

“I can’t answer your question with out examining the subject. That’s the only way to know for sure.”

“Can you get your information from a post mortem?”

“Sir, you’re not thinking of—?”

“Do you have the canister ready?”

“Of course, but there is another option.”

“You mean knock him out? Then what? Look at him.”

The two of them watched on the monitor as the building began to buckle, and then collapse on itself.

“How would you suggest we confine him?”

“I… ah—”

“Exactly. Go and fetch the canister. The helicopter is coming for it within the hour.”

She turned to go. He stopped her with a word. “Doctor Myers?”

“Yes,” she said turning back.

“It’s a little late to get sentimental, isn’t it?”

“I wasn’t being sentimental, sir. Each of these boys represents a substantial investment. I simply hate to see waste.”

“Yes, well, there’s a time to cut your losses.”

“As you say, sir.” And she hurried from the room.

Gibbons returned his attention to the screen but the video was over. Another message had flashed up on the screen: I hope you’re satisfied. Gibbons smiled grimly. It was reference to a long standing debate he’d had with the higher-ups. He had always argued that the boys should be field tested. And now one of them had been. The only question that remained was: could he be stopped?

Gibbons returned his attention to Mikey’s file, the only remaining open window on his screen. Somewhere there had to be a connection to the 9th street orphanage, but what was it? He began looking through the other boys’ files and it didn’t take him long to confirm that only one of them had come from the now demolished building.

“Nelway,” he called into his radio. “Get in here.”

“Yes, sir,” said the nervous guard as he hurried into he room.

“Get Mr. Fishburn and bring him to me.”

“Mr. Fishburn… Oh, you mean Fish.”

“Yes, Fish. Bring him here.”

‘Yes, Sir.” And Nelway disappeared.

Fish might hold the key. He might know why Mikey had chosen this particular target. He supposed that in the end it wouldn’t matter. The titan would be disposed of regardless. It was just that Mikey’s choice of target didn’t make any sense, and Gibbons hated it when things didn’t make sense.

In a moment Nelway was back holding a pile of sheets in his arms and looking paler and shakier than usual.

“Doing laundry, are we, Nelway?”

“N—n—no, sir. It’s just that Fish wasn’t in his bed sir. It was just sheets piled up to look that way.”

“What?”

“He’s not there, sir.”

“Well, find him!”

“Yes, sir.” And Nelway vanished.

Gibbons grabbed his radio. “Powel!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Get all those brats out of bed. I want them all assembled in the front hall in ten minutes. Then take the role. Make sure they are all accounted for.”

“Yes, sir.”

Gibbons punched up the video again and looked closely at the shots of the young titan. Damn. The helicopter was too far away for a good shot of the face. He shut down the window, got up and left his office. Something was very wrong, very very wrong.

When he entered the lab, Doctor Myers was looking over a large blue canister.

“Myers!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Could one of these kids have started cascade without our knowing about it?”

“No, sir. That would be impossible.”

“I hope so, Myers, because we have at least twenty-eight of these boys under this roof, and the thought of them all suddenly blowing up into uncontrollable giants scares the crap out of me.”

“It shouldn’t, sir. As I said, it’s impossible.”

“Humor me, Myers. Say for the moment that it wasn’t impossible. How could it happen?”

“The only way one of the boys could enter the cascade phase would be if he missed his inhibitor shot—and we have documentation to prove this has happened only once. Or through use of the accelerant, and that would require your order, sir.”

Gibbons nodded. “And the accelerant would cause the boy to become fully realized in a matter of minutes, is that correct?”

“Yes, but we would have to administer it. The odds that one of them could blunder in here and successfully give himself a shot of the accelerant are astronomical. These boys wouldn’t have the knowledge or the skill to even understand what the accelerant was.”

“Even Mr. Fishburn?”

“Fish?”

“Yes, for God’s sake, Fish. I know he was your little pet lab rat. Why you ever indulged his medical interests is beyond me.”

The doctor stood silently, obviously considering Gibbons’ question. “Maybe if he had the proper information, he could. But he doesn’t. Why are you asking me this?”

“There’s a good chance that behemoth that tore apart that orphanage was Mr. Fishburn.”

“How could you possibl—“

“I have my reasons. Do me the courtesy of checking your supply of accelerant.”

The doctor opened the glass front fridge and removed a tray of small bottles. She did a quick count. Gibbons caught the look of fear in her eyes as she counted the bottles again, this time more slowly.

“There are only twenty-nine,” she said. “We’re missing one.” She swallowed.

Actually, Gibbons was relieved. He had already concluded that the giant was Mr. Fishburn. He had been afraid there would be a good deal more of the accelerant missing. The fact that there wasn’t meant the situation was still controllable.

“Well, Doctor Myers, that’s one mystery solved. Take the remaining accelerant and lock it away somewhere safe.”

Doctor Myers nodded and hustled off with the tray.

Gibbons only hesitated a moment before he stepped back into the front hall. There they all were, the remaining twenty-eight of his charges, all sleepy eyed, all in various stages of undress. But he was relieved to see that there was no sign of cascade in any of them.

“Powel?” he asked without asking.

“They’re all here,” he said. “Except, of course, for Mikey and Fish.”

“Hmmm,” acknowledged Gibbons. There was something bothering him, something about the boys. What was it? He couldn’t put his finger on it. “Fine, Powel, fine. How many of them are scheduled to have their vitamin shots today?”

“Six, sir.”

“Separate them out and send them to Doctor Myers immediately. Then return the rest of them to their rooms.” Gibbons didn’t wait for Powel to acknowledge his order before he started for his office. He made it two steps inside before he realized what had been bothering him about the boys. There was a huge hole in the wall where the front door used to be. No one had asked about it. None of them had even looked at it. He couldn’t believe that out of twenty-eight healthy teenage boys, not one of them was even a little curious about what had happened. But why should they be if they already knew? Those little cocksuckers already knew

The sounds of a helicopter landing interrupted his thoughts and he looked out his window. They had come for the canister. Well, at least the little problem in the city would soon be solved. He went back to his monitor and once again watched the video of Mr. Fishburn tearing down the 9th street orphanage and completely humiliating the police patrol. And he had twenty-eight of these monsters under his roof, twenty-eight of them! And the odds were they all knew exactly what they were. He could still control this. Just as long as the boys kept getting their shots—

But what if he had missed something?

He picked up the phone and punched out a number. He needed reinforcements. What he really needed was the army, but he didn’t have the clout to arrange that. But he could get the National Guard. He had one or two favors he could call in. He wondered if they had any tanks. He hoped to God they had tanks. After seeing what Mr. Fishburn had done to that police cruiser, if the worst happened they would need them.

He was on the phone for an hour but it was finally arranged. They would be there late that afternoon. He had wanted them sooner, but that had not been possible. That left him several hours, where anything could happen. He grabbed his radio.

“Nelway!” he barked.

“Still no sign of him. sir,” came the reply.

“You still looking for Mr. Fishburn?”

“Just as you ordered, sir,” was the uncertain answer.

“Don’t tell me what I ordered. I want you to stop looking for Mr. Fishburn and resume your search for Mikey.”

“Mikey? But I thought—“

“Did I ask you to think, Nelway?”

“No, sir.”

“Good. Just do it.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Powel!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Get Brad and bring him down to my office.”

“Yes, sir.”

Gibbons set down his radio and started pacing the room. Things still didn’t make sense. If the boys all knew, why were they still here? Surely they would have all taken the accelerent and headed off on their own personal power trips, just as Mr. Fishburn had done. Why didn’t they? There was something he was missing. What was it? Did they have some plan? Well, even if they didn’t, Gibbons did. What he was considering now was extremely dangerous, so he had better be certain it would work. But he had to do something, didn’t he?

There was a knock on the door.

“Enter.”

Brad poked his head in. “You wanted to see me, Mr. Gibbons?”

“Yes, yes, Brad, come in.” Gibbons sat behind his desk but the boy remained standing.

“I understand you are going into the army in a couple of months.”

“Yes, sir, I am.”

“That’s excellent Brad, excellent.”

“Thank you.”

“I wonder if you could tell me, what is the most important duty of any soldier?”

“Ah… I’m not sure I—”

“That’s ok, boy, this isn’t a test. The answer is loyalty. Loyalty and the ability to follow orders without question.”

“It is sir?”

“Absolutely. Do you think you can do that, Brad, follow orders without question?”

“Yes, sir, no problem.”

“Good. Good. You know, Brad, I think I can help you.”

“Help me, sir?”

“Yes. I can help you be one of the greatest assets the army has ever had.”

“You can?”

“Certainly. But first I need to know where your loyalties lie.”

“With my country, of course, sir.”

“Yes and that’s exactly the way it should be, once you’re in the army. But today I need you to be loyal to me and to The Orphanage. Can you do that?”

“I’ve always been loyal to you and to The Orphanage.”

“You know, Brad, that was exactly the right answer. So, you can tell me what’s going on.”

“Going on, sir?”

Gibbons looked carefully at Brad’s face. It was guileless and quite blank. If there was a plot, this boy knew nothing about it. “Never mind. Never mind. We’ll just move on to the next part. I need to see if you can follow orders without question.”

“I can, sir.”

“Good then get on your hands and knees and bark like a dog.”

“Sir?”

“That sounded like a question, Brad.”

Gibbons was gratified to see Brad drop to his knees and start cavorting around like a dog, making bad barking noises.

“All right, Brad, that’ll do. Come with me.”

Gibbons made straight for the lab with Brad following him. When they entered Dr. Myers was just finishing giving Rob his vitamin shot.

“Is that all of them Myers?” asked Gibbons.

“Yes, sir. Rob, here, is the last.

“Excellent. Straight back to your room, Rob. No dawdling.”

“No, sir,” said Rob throwing a side glance at Brad as he hurried from the room.

As soon as he was gone, Gibbons addressed the Doctor. “Myers, I want to give this boy the accelerant.”

Doctor Myers looked shocked. “When did the order come through?”

“I’m doing this on my own authority.”

“But why? I don’t understand.”

“I have reason to believe the whole operation may be compromised. I’ve decided we need a little muscle on our side and I think Brad will fill the bill nicely.”

“Shouldn’t you check with—“

“I think you’ll find my authorization is all that is required. Give it to him.”

“Y—yes, sir.”

“Don’t be so timid Myers. I know you’ve been dying to try this. Well, here’s your chance.”

Doctor Myers looked uncertain but Gibbons knew she wouldn’t refuse the chance to see her work come to fruition. “Very well, sir. I’ll need Doctor Burns and Doctor Sawyer.”

“Fine. Fine, just get a move on.”

Doctor Myers picked up the phone and dialed. In a minute she was done. “They’re on their way.”

“How long is this going to take?”

“It’s a very complicated procedure. It needs to be monitored. I’ll need several hours at least.”

“Well, you can’t have several hours. I need this boy fully realized as soon as possible.”

Doctor Myers looked incredulous and Gibbons prepared himself for a barrage of arguments, but to his surprise, she simply said, “I suppose it might be possible to streamline the process. I’ll do what I can.”

Gibbons knew he was being humored, but for the moment he decided to let it go. He was fairly certain Doctor Myers had no concept of the urgent military aspects of his request, and being a medical professional he didn’t really expect her to. It was enough that he understood the situation and had the power to act.

“While we’re waiting for Doctor Sawyer and Doctor Burns, I can start the preliminaries,” said Doctor Myers. ”This boy needs a complete physical before we can proceed.”

Doctor Myers gestured to Brad. “Come with me, Brad.” She led the young man to the large examination table. “Please undress down to your underwear.”

The boy complied with out hesitation. No reason why he shouldn’t. He’d been through countless examinations in this room, most of which required this same state of undress. In a moment he was standing dressed only in his boxers.

“Fine, now hop up on the table.”

“This is one huge table, Doctor Myers. How come it’s so big?”

Doctor Myers shot Gibbons a look. “Hasn’t Mr.Gibbons explained the procedure?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Don’t you think a few words… to allow the boy to prepare himself?” Doctor Myers asked Gibbons.

Gibbons cleared his throat. “Brad, you’ve always wanted to be stronger, haven’t you?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Of course you have. What boy hasn’t? The procedure your about to undergo will help you do just that.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. Quite large and powerful, virtually unstoppable. Would you like that?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Good. Because, very shortly we may need someone who is large and strong and we’re counting on you to be that man. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Good.”

“Ok, Brad,” said Doctor Myers, I’m going to take your blood pressure now. You know the drill.”

As Doctor Myers gave her full attention to performing the physical, Gibbons faded back to the rear storeroom. He knew there was a refrigerator in there and logically that would be where Doctor Myers would have moved the accelerant. He was right, of course. He may not be a scientist but he knew how to fill a syringe, and he did it in short order.

Gibbons returned to lab just as Doctor Myers, stethoscope posed over Brad’s heart, asked the boy to cough. In Gibbons’ mind this whole physical was a waste of time. They monitored these boys so closely that when one caught cold, they knew a week in advance. Well, he was through waiting. He strode forward and gave Brand the shot in his arm.

“What the hell are you doing?” cried Doctor Myers.

“Cutting though a little red tape, Doctor.”

“Red tape? This is a highly complicated procedure. It needs to be closely monitored.”

“Under normal circumstances I’d agree with you but I need this boy now.” Gibbons stood back watching Brad intently. If the projections were correct, cascade should being instantly. But nothing appeared to be happening. Brad was just sitting on the edge of the table looking confused.

“Myers, what’s going on? Shouldn’t something have happened by now?”

“Y—yes. I don’t understand it. Maybe there’s some fluctuation in his metabolism. How do you feel, Brad?”

“Fine. The same.”

“Let’s give it a few minutes.”

But a few minuets later Gibbons was still looking at the fit but lanky Brad. “Myers, it’s not working.”

Doctor Myers pulled out her stethoscope and listened to Brad’s heart. Then she took his temperature and blood pressure. “There’s no sign of cascade.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. If the boy had been properly monitored I might be able to tell you—”

“Don’t give me that. I want to know what went wrong and I want to know within the hour.”

“Within the hour?”

“That’s right, Doctor. Our lives may well depend on it.”

Gibbons went back to his office just in time to here his radio crackle to life.

“Mr. Gibbons, sir?”

“What is it Powel?”

“Patrol four has gone missing.”

“Missing? What do you mean missing?”

“They haven’t checked in and we are unable to raise them. Should we go look for them, sir?”

Gibbons thought for a second. That could only be Mikey. For some reason that kid was still in the area. He had been in cascade for about twelve hours now. He should be quite large, but nowhere near fully realized. But he still might have been able to overpower the patrol. In fact, it seemed obvious that’s what had happened. Gibbons didn’t want to send another patrol out and risk loosing any more men. This would be a good job for Brad—if Doctor Myers ever got her act together. Of course, there was always the National Guard.

“No, Powel, not yet. The National Guard will be here this afternoon. Let’s wait for them.”

“The Guard, sir?”

“That’s right. Oh and Powell, when they get here, you’re not to tell them anything, understand?”

“Anything?”

“That’s right. Our work here must remain secret. Need to know, only.”

“I understand.”

Good. Gibbons out.”

The phone rang. Gibbons answered it. “Doctor Myers?”

“Sir, it’s water.”

“What? What’s water? What are you talking about?”

“Someone replaced the accelerant with water.”

“What? All of it?”

“Yes, sir, every bottle.”

“Can you make more?”

“Of course. We’re already on it.”

“As fast as you can, Doctor.”

“But who could have done this?”

“It had to be one of the boys, maybe Mr. Fishburn, maybe not.”

“Fish? But why would he—?”

“It’s not important why, Doctor. What is important is these boys know what we’ve been doing to them and now they have the accelerant. The combination of these two facts makes me very, very nervous.”

“But if they have the accelerant, why haven’t they used it?”

“I don’t know. Children are so damn unpredictable.”

“Well, if they don’t use it soon, it won’t do them any good. Unless it’s kept refrigerated the accelerant will break down in just a few hours.”

“Doctor, that’s the first good news I’ve had all morning. Call me as soon as you’re ready.” Gibbons hung up the phone and keyed his radio. “Nelway!”

“Yes, sir. No sign of Mikey in the house and patrol four—”

“I know what happened to patrol four. Nelway, I need you to search the house.”

“Again?”

“Did I stutter?”

“No, sir. Who are we looking for this time?”

“Not who, what. I want you to look for medicine bottles, syringes, anything medicinal looking.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Start with the refrigerators.”

“Even the ones in the lab?”

“No, Nelway, obviously you can skip those. Now, get on it.”

“Yes, sir. Right away, sir.”

No sooner did Gibbons set down his radio than the phone rang. “Yes, Doctor?”

“We’ll be ready to go in half an hour, sir.”

“Make it sooner if you can, Doctor.”

“Yes, sir.”

As he hung up the phone, Gibbons suddenly realized that he had been out all night in the woods and it had left him dirty and scruffy looking He had always felt a man in control looked in control and right now he didn’t look in control. A half hour would give him a chance to grab a quick shave and shower and change into some fresh clothes and then maybe he could finally get something done.

Part 6: Brad

Brad lay on the huge, cold, reinforced steel examination table blinking up at the harsh overhead light. The three doctors, Myers, Sawyer and Burns were rushing back and forth, rolling large monitors and machines all around him until he was completely surrounded by the mystifying devices. What were they for? They weren’t going to operate on him, were they? That wasn’t the plan, was it? It was supposed to be one quick shot, he’d get stronger, and then he’d be on his way. What was all the rest of this crap? He looked up at the full length mirror suspended above him. He could see his entire body reflected in it: his long, sinewy biceps, the gentle curve of his pecs, revealing the subtle lines of muscle fibers beneath—no fat on those puppies—his flat, even stomach, and the lean strong legs of a marathon runner. All in all, he was in pretty good shape, the results of a lot of jogging and calisthenics. But he doubted the mirror was there just so he could check himself out. “What’s the mirror for, Doctor Myers?”

“It’s so we can get a good, quick look at you, Brad, without having to peer around all this equipment,” said Dr. Myers as she came up to him and taped a wire to his chest.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“This is so we can monitor your heart rate,” she answered. “Now, please, just lie still and try to relax.”

That was a good one. Brad would like to see her relax while lying on a cold examination table dressed only in her underwear. A mental image flashed into his mind of the good doctor flat on her back wearing only her bra and panties. He wouldn’t mind that sight at all. She may be a little old but she still had a nice pair of boobies. He felt a little motion down in his boxers and quickly tried to think of something else. All he needed was to pop a boner in the middle of the lab. No way could he hide that while he was only wearing his boxers, especially with that mirror up there.

The Doctor began attaching more and more wires to his torso. Brad almost asked what they were for, but in the end, he realized he really didn’t care. He just wanted to get this thing over with and get back to his room, where he could give the mental image of the doctor all the attention it deserved. Ok, thoughts like that were not going to kill that chubby.

He heard Mr. Gibbons before he saw him. The old guy was shouting at someone in the front hall. “What do we pay you for? Can’t you keep a few kids under control?”

Brad couldn’t make out the murmured reply.

“Well, how long has he been gone?” barked Gibbons.

“A helluva lot can happen in fifteen minutes. Find him.” Brad heard the door slam and Gibbons’ heavy foot steps as he approached the table. “Are we ready yet, Doctor?”

“Just about,” answered Dr. Myers, and as she began flipping switches on the many machines that surrounded him, he heard an increasing series of beeps and blips. Suddenly on the wall above, he saw a large flat screen monitor flicker to life.

“Is that your new little toy?” he heard Gibbons ask Dr. Myers.

“Yes, sir that’s the new CK1000 Ultrarez Imager, one of the first of its kind.”

Brad looked up on the screen and was surprised to see a cross section of the human body, complete with all the bones, muscles and organs. As he looked closer he could see that it was animated. The heart was actually beating; the blood was visible flowing through the veins, and all the other organs twitched and pulsed doing whatever it was they did. Jeeze, he could even see the guy’s dick. He had to hold back a laugh. The poor cocksucker in the image had a little chubby going, just like he did.

Oh fuck!

He was the poor cocksucker! He was looking at his own body. That was his heart! He could see his own heart beating. And that was his stomach and, fuck, that was his chubby, right there for everyone to see. But thank God, no one seemed to have noticed.

He began to hear a slow, steady beating, like a drum, along with a lot of strange swishing, slurping, and gurgling sounds.

“What the hell is that God awful noise?” barked Gibbons.

“It’s the new CK1000 Imager,” said Dr. Myers. “It’s also wired for sound.”

“What on Earth for?”

“It’s a new technology. We are just now studying its applications. But I think,” she said pausing to listen for a moment, “it sounds kind of musical.”

“Yes, well,” grunted Gibbons, “as musical as Mr. Kendrick’s insides are, could you please turn them down.”

Doctor Myers nodded at Doctor Sawyer and he punched a couple of keys and the noises grew softer. That’s what his guts sounded like? Ok, he now knew way too much about his inner workings. And he didn’t have to look at the monitor to know that the sounds had completely killed his chubby. And now that it was gone, he kind of missed it. Why couldn’t they just give him the shot and let him out of there? He looked up to see Mr. Gibbons staring down at him.

“Nervous?” asked Gibbons.

“Not really,” said Brad, “kind of bored.”

“Well, you won’t be for long. I think I can guarantee that.”

“Yes, Sir.” He hoped that meant he was getting out of there soon.

“How are we coming, Doctor?” Gibbons asked Myers.

“We’re ready to go, sir.”

About fucking time!

“Then by all means proceed, Doctor.”

“I should warn you, sir, that we’ve added a slight inhibiting agent to the accelerant to slow the process down slightly so we can better study it.”

“How slow? Doctor?”

“Instead of taking three or four minutes, the process will probably take ten to fifteen.”

Fuck! At that rate he’d be stuck lying here another half hour at least! Fuck!

“I can live with that,” said Gibbons.

Doctor Myers nodded and approached Brad with the syringe. Now that the time had come, Brad found himself strangely nervous. He didn’t know why. He’d been in this lab about a billion times and had about a billion shots—just not any while he was hooked up to all this equipment and crap.

Brad heard the drumbeat of his heart speed up a little. Doctor Myers heard it too. “All right Brad,” she said, “try to relax as much as you can.”

Shit! He couldn’t get nervous, couldn’t even get a boner without the fucking machine telling everyone. “I’m fine,” he said.

“Are you ready?”

Just give me the fucking shot already! But Brad answered only with a silent nod and watched as Doctor Myers injected him in the thigh—ohhhhhhhh Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What was that stuff? He could feel it spreading through him like a fucking orgasmic electric shock. It was intense but awesome, like his entire body had just been plugged in and turned all the way up. He started breathing heavier. He could hear the amplified swishing of his breath over the speaker. And the steady thumping that was his beating heart started to speed up

“Heart rate’s up,” reported Dr. Sawyer.

Yeah? No shit, Sherlock.

“Blood pressure rising,” said Dr. Burns, “but all within projections.”

On the big screen, Brad could see his heart pumping faster and faster, the blood racing through his veins at an amazing rate. And all the time, this strange throbbing, thrilling pressure was building inside him. He didn’t know what it was, but he knew that he fucking liked it.

Swish, gurgle, thump thump, swish, gurgle, thump thump came from the speakers, constantly growing in volume, speed and intensity. On the screen he could see his organs working so fast and furiously that they were practically vibrating. His insides felt completely charged. Swishgurglethumpthump. Swishgurglethumpthump. It was great but fucking weird. What the fuck was happening?

“What’s that Doctor,” asked Gibbons, pointing at the monitor.

“His marrow is producing plasma at an accelerated rate.”

Brad felt a strange itching and looked up into the overhead mirror. He gasped. All the veins on his body were rising up, swelling like a tangle of thick hoses crisscrossing all over him in a maze like pattern. The gurgling sound began to get deeper, thicker and heavier. “Oh my God, doctor, what’s happening?”

“Don’t worry, Brad,” said Dr. Myers soothingly. “It’s a normal part of the process.”

A normal part of the fucking process? On what fucking planet? His veins were getting so thick and swollen; he began to think they might explode. He needed fucking help. Wasn’t somebody going to do something?

He gasped. The pressure inside him pulsed. The sensation was quick and intense, as every muscle in his body suddenly got hard, rock hard. What the fuck? In the mirror he could see that all his muscles were pumped up, like he’d just finished a killer workout. His chest had become two mounds, the striations clearer than ever. His abs were just visible, pushing up under his skin. His biceps were swollen, their sinewy length accented by a slight curve, and his legs had become really defined, almost like an anatomy chart. And what ever was pumping him up felt pretty damn good.

“—And we’re entering the primary growth phase… now,” called out Doctor Burns.

Primary growth what—? “Ahhhhh!” Brad cried as he felt the orgasmic pressure in his muscles explode. They felt in-fucking-credible, but it was so intense, he was sure that any second they would fucking pop like over inflated inner tubes. He heard a loud rushing sound and a rapid snapping noise coming from the speakers

“What’s that racket?” cried Gibbons.

“Blood is rushing into his muscles, sir, and the fibers are expanding, popping and new fibers are forming.”

What the fuck did that mean? And then he knew. He could feel it. He was getting stronger just like Mr. Gibbons had said he would. All his muscles were pumped up as hard as they’d ever been, and now they were starting to swell. “Oh fuck—” he whispered, as he felt the power growing within him. And the mirror above showed him that what he was feeling was not just in his mind. His chest was bulking up, growing rounder, fuller, the striations growing thicker. His abdominal muscles came rolling out of his stomach, like ripples on a pond. His shoulders were bulging up with large striated mounds and his biceps and triceps were expanding outward. “Holy Fuck!” gasped Brad, as he tried to sit up and get a better look at himself

“Please try and lay still,” said Doctor Myers.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Brad, easing himself back down. But he wasn’t lying as flat as he had a moment ago. His thickening upper back and his growing gluts were pushing his lower back up off the fucking table. His back felt unreal, incredibly powerful; it was getting thicker and thicker, becoming dense with fucking muscle. What a fucking feeling! He had never fucking even dreamed of this. This was so fucking sweet!

“How’s his body weight,” asked Dr. Myers.

“It’s up fifty pounds and climbing,” replied Dr. Sawyer.

“We’re off to a good start,” said Dr. Burns.

A good fucking start?????? Fuck Yeah! He risked flexing a little and saw his formally flat bicep bulge into a baseball sized lump. He had some power in that puppy now! But how fucking big was he going to get? Didn’t matter. Whatever they fucking gave, he’d fucking take. “This is so hot,” gasped Brad

“What’s his temperature?” asked Gibbons.

“Up two degrees,” said Dr. Myers, “but I don’t think that’s what he’s talking about.”

Brad began to sweat. More rapid popping came from the speakers. He didn’t need the mirror to see his pecs anymore; the huge, sweat covered fuckers were rising up right n front of his nose, every striation visible, still heaving up and down courtesy of his starving lungs. He looked over and watched his shoulders blow up bigger than softballs, and his fucking upper arms were becoming solid, vein covered footballs. And it wasn’t just how they looked; he could feel how hard they were, how much fucking power they were packing. It was making him hard, very fucking hard. He moaned.

“Are you alright, son?”

“Fuck, yeah! I mean, yes, sir.” He moaned again.

“What’s the problem Doctor?”

Dr. Myers checked the monitor and then cleared her throat. “It’s not exactly a problem, sir.”

“Then what is it?”

“The boy is sexually aroused.”

Brad tore his gaze away from the reflection of his bulging pecs and sent it across his rippling stomach toward his boxers. His fucking hard-on was clear and present. There was no hiding that. But he didn’t care. His dick looked big, in fact, bigger than he could ever remember seeing it. Just fucking cream in the coffee. He felt fucking amazing, like he had a hard on all over. No big deal about the one in his boxers.

“What’s causing it?” asked Mr. Gibbons.

“He’s a teenage male, sir. In my experience, it doesn’t take much.”

“Sir, it’s also possible,” said Dr. Sawyer, throwing a side ways glance at Dr. Myers, “that it’s a side effect of the growth. His genitalia are increasing in size along with the rest of his body. Add in the increased blood flow into all of his organs, and such a reaction is almost inevitable.”

“I see,” said Gibbons. “Dr. Myers, you and I are going to have to have a little talk when this is over.”

“Coming up on three hundred pounds,” called out Doctor Burns.

Fuck! Brad moaned again. He had pretty much doubled his body mass in just a few minutes and he could feel every powerful pound of his new weight as large heavy masses mushroomed out beneath his skin. His bulging veins were now snaking their way around the great muscular globes of his chest and through the rock hard plateaus and valleys of his abs. His biceps were now huge and bulbous even though his arms were relaxed. And he just kept getting fucking bigger. His entire body was covered in a shiny layer of sweat; his widening frame jerking slightly, probably caused by whatever was changing him, along with his freaking killer hard-on.. He had an almost uncontrollable urge to help his swelling manhood release the tension building inside it

“We should be starting to see some skeletal growth by now,” said Dr. Myers.

Oh fuck, does that mean what I think it means?

“Growth plates are forming,” called out Dr. Sawyer.

Brad looked up at the screen and could see the outlines of his bones growing grey and indistinct, while his muscles kept getting larger and stronger and harder all over his body. His organs were still vibrating like crazy, and they were much fucking bigger than they used to be.

“We are entering the skeletal growth phase and epidermal generation has commenced.”

A weird sound like stretching plastic joined the popping and rushing and swishing noises and Brad felt his entire body extending outward. “Fuck!” he shouted as he raised one of his hands so he could see it. It was lengthening and filling out right in front of him. Fuck!

“Brad, please put your arm back on the table. We can’t get an image of it if you hold it up like that,” said Dr. Myers.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Brad, with an obvious strain. He wanted to fucking watch this! At least he had the mirror.

“Keep it together, boy,” said Gibbons. “You’re doing excellently so far.”

Brad began to experience the strange sensation of sliding across the table even though he wasn’t moving. His center seemed to be stationary but he could feel his huge shoulders and massive arms sliding across the surface towards opposite edges of the table. His monolithic legs were pushing down toward the table’s end, while his gigantic thighs began to explode outward, filling in all the available room. At the same time, his back was getting thicker pushing his head further and further up off the table. In a moment, it was dangling backwards from his neck. But then he felt his neck stiffen as it began to grow insanely thick. His head was pulled back up off the table by his expanding neck and the monstrous traps that rose out of his back to reinforce it. His body was almost completely unrecognizable; gone was lanky Brad; there was now a massive, insanely powerful muscle beast staring back at him. Fuck yeah! He was fucking bad ass!

A snap and the sound of tearing cloth marked the end of Brad’s straining boxers as they finally gave way to his expanding brick wall stomach, his mighty gluts, and his ponderous bulging thighs. His manhood, now free of any constraints popped straight up into the air, and what a solid looking pillar it was. “Fuck!” grunted Brad as he bent his neck slightly to peer between his mountainous pecs to get a view of the leaning tower. His dick was fucking huge.

“Brad, please,” came Dr. Myers’ plaintive voice.

“Sorry,” he said lying his head back down. Fuck! Why? It wasn’t like his head could reach the table anymore and he couldn’t get a good view of his dick from the overhead mirror. You really had to see it from the side to appreciate its fucking incredible stature.

“Height?” came Dr. Myers.

“Seven feet, seven inches.”

Holy Shit!

“Weight?”

“Five hundred thirty eight pounds.”

Holy fucking shit! He was huge! And so fucking strong! He could feel every fucking massive rock hard muscle in his body just exploding with power and still growing bigger. So fucking massive. So fucking powerful. His dick couldn’t get any harder. He needed relief

“How are you doing, son?” asked Gibbons.

“I need to cum, sir.”

“What?”

“Really, really bad.”

“Well, hold on to it, son. That’s an order.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll try sir.”

“Coming up on nine feet,” called Dr. Burns.

“And approaching one thousand pounds,” added Dr. Sawyer.

“Oh my God!” screamed Brad, teeth clenched. This was too fucking much! Look at all that fucking muscle bulging out all over him; it seemed impossible for anyone to have that much fucking muscle. And there it was, pulsing under his skin with unbelievable power. How could he fucking avoid cumming? How? With his massive arms, bulging out beyond all reason, he grabbed the table edge and squeezed. The heavy reinforced metal collapsed under his grip, rending, breaking twisting until it looked like crushed foil. The feeling of easily destroying a reinforced steel table with his bare hands just made the problem worse. His eyes shot back to the mirror. His stress was showing. Veins the thickness of rope were standing out in sharp relief against a neck that was already as big around as a telephone pole. “Please, sir, I’ve got to cum.” His dick, now the thickness of a beer can and three times its height, was twitching and throbbing as it stood straight up, like a fucking flagpole in an earthquake.

“Sorry, son, you have to learn to control these urges.”

“Sir, don’t you think—” started Dr. Myers, but Gibbon silenced her with a look

Brad just gasped. He couldn’t form words. He tired to think of cold oatmeal. For some reason the thought of cold oatmeal always killed his boners. It helped, just not much.

“That’s the ten foot mark,” called out Dr. Burns.

“Fourteen hundred and fifty two pounds,” said Dr. Sawyer.

Inside Brad was screaming. He was so fucking immense—every fucking thing about him. His pecs were the size of beach balls. His abs had gone from ripples in a pond to waves in a hurricane. His biceps alone were the size of soccer balls, and that was while they were lying relaxed at his sides. Looking at the size of them, he began to wonder if he would be able to bend his arms. He tried and as they moved he could feel the fucking massive weight of them they exploded with even more size and power. Oh fuck me, I can’t fucking stand this; they’re so fucking beautiful!

Oh no! Cold oatmeal, cold oatmeal

“Arms back on the table, Brad,” came Doctor Myer’s voice. Just for a second he found himself thinking, yeah, and what if I fucking don’t? But just for a second. Then he placed his arms back on the table, except of course, only the bottom of his gargantuan triceps touched the table. His upper arms were so fucking massive, they were holding the rest of his limb up off the surface. Even his forearms, which looked about as thick as an elephant’s leg, never touched metal.

“Just for the fun of it, let’s see the overlay,” said Dr. Myers. Dr. Sawyer punched a few keys and a transparent outline of Brad’s original shape appeared overlaid on the big screen. Holy crap! No fucking way! He didn’t used to be that small, did he? The difference was un-fucking-believable. How could his mammoth muscle-bound form have once been that thin, puny shape? They didn’t even look like the same species. But it didn’t matter. That outline wasn’t him now. The muscles were him now. Fuck Yeah!

Cold fucking oatmeal! Cold fucking oatmeal!

“Nearing eleven feet,” called out Dr. Sawyer.

“Seventeen hundred nineteen pounds,” said Dr. Burns.

Brad looked up in the mirror and a fucking muscle monster looked back at him. He wanted to roar. He remembered being dwarfed by the huge examination table and now he was hanging off of the ends of it. He looked at his right arm. It was now bigger than Gibbons’ entire body. His veins looked like garden hoses running out of his boulder-like shoulder around and over the top of the gigantic rock pile that was his upper arm. His huge chest, hard, striated, and heaving with power, now rose high above Gibbon’s head. His legs looked like they should be holding up a bridge; they were so massive and powerful. And his member, keeping pace with the rest of him, had at least doubled in size from the last time he looked, and he didn’t now how much longer he could control it.

“..And cascade coming to a close. Final height: eleven feet ten inches. Final weight: two thousand two hundred and fifteen pounds.”

“Can I move, now?” asked Brad, his voice booming with a new resonance.

“Yes, you can move.”

Tensing his incredible abdominals, Brad sat up on the table. He could feel the incredible power throbbing in every one of his titanic muscles. He looked down at his massive new body and a slow smile formed on his face. His huge chest was heaving in and out. Layered abdominals were rolling, like the sea before a storm. His arms were like fucking pile drivers. He was a fucking god! Then he flexed and watched as his biceps exploded out from his arms into mountains of power, capped by bulging, veiny peeks, which by themselves were larger than any full bicep he had ever seen. He was so fucking massive and powerful and hard; oh yeah, he was hard, so fucking hard—“Oh my fucking Goooooood—I’m so FUCKING HUGE! Arrrrrghhhhh!” His dick finally erupted, sending a torrent of whiteness spewing all over the lab. Gibbons and the doctors all took cover under the tables. The deluge seemed to last for a full minute before subsiding. It was a full minute of mind numbing pleasure. It was just him reveling in his own fucking size and power; and the fucking force of his orgasm almost caused him to pass out. When it finally ended Brad felt a little spent, but only for a second. Almost instantly he was filled with an exploding energy and a desire to get out there and see what his new body could do.

Brad stood up off the table just as Gibbons emerged from underneath it. He was looking down on the man who was half his height, and a tiny fraction of his mass. He looked a hell of a lot less intimidating now. But those eyes, there was still something scary about his eyes, and right now they were scowling—probably because he had cum without permission. “Sorry, sir,” he said, “but I just couldn’t help it.”

“I ordered you not to do that, boy.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

“If I didn’t have an important job for you, Brad, you’d be spending the rest of the day cleaning the lab.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Doctor Myers, do we have any clothes that will fit young Brad?”

“Yes, sir, we had some jumpsuits made up just in case.”

“Excellent. Let’s get him into one and then have him meet me in the front hall. I need him to track down one of his friends.” And Gibbons marched from the lab.

“If you want to have a seat up on the table, Brad, I’ll run and get your jumpsuit,” said Dr. Myers before she hurried from the room.

The last thing Brad wanted to do was sit down. He spotted his old clothes, still draped over the chair where he had left them and hour ago, when he had lived in another body, a weak puny body. He walked over and picked up his t-shirt, and looked at the DC Shoes logo on the front. He’d liked that shirt, but now it seemed so tiny like a little kid’s shirt. He pulled it over his arm, the way he used to pull it over his body, with his hand sticking out through the neck. It was a tight fit. He smiled. He remembered how loosely it fit over his chest. Now, he could barely get it up over his bicep. What a rush. His bicep was bigger around than his chest used to be. Slowly he flexed his arm and watched the bicep begin to bulge up under the flimsy cloth, pulling it tight, stretching it, and distorting the logo on the front. Then, with a jerk, he brought his arm all the way up and squeezed. The mammoth muscle exploded out of the cloth in all its massive veiny glory and the annihilated the shirt fluttered to the ground. Fuck yeah! He was a fucking massively powerful muscle god now!

“Did you enjoy that?” asked Dr. Myers, suddenly standing behind him.

“You have no idea,” replied Brad with a smirk.

Dr. Myers was straining under a mountain of cloth. She was trying to lift it up to him. “Please take this. It’s your jump suit. See if it fits.”

Brad took it from her, unfolded it and held it up to his massive frame. It looked like it might fit. Too bad. He wasn’t done checking himself out. But he guessed there’d be plenty of time for that later. “Got any underwear?” asked Brad.

“Underwear?” asked D. Myers, genuinely puzzled. “I guess we didn’t think of that. We’re geneticists, not tailors.”

Brad shrugged and began to put the coveralls on. He could feel the cloth slide over his hard bulging limbs. The sensation was unreal. He almost started getting stiff again. As he zipped up the front, he realized that the coveralls were too tight in the thighs, arms and upper body. He wondered if he could flex his way out of them. Again, something for him to try later. Dr. Myers also had a selection of boots for him to try on. It took him a couple of tries before he found a pair that fit.

When he was done, he stood up and Dr. Myers looked him over. “Not the best fit, but they’ll do for now,” she said. “You’d better report to the front hall. I’m sure Mr. Gibbons is waiting for you by now.”

Brad start toward the door. Fuck! Even walking was awesome. He could feel the incredible strength in his legs, the sheer power behind his smallest movement. And the sensation of his gargantuan thigh muscles moving around under his skin was so fucking hot, he started to get hard again.

When he got to the door he had to laugh. The lab used to be the houses ballroom and had very high ceilings, but the door was not very big at all. “Dr. Myers, I’m not going to fit through that.”

Doctor Myers looked at Brad, then at the door. “That’s a point. Well, try and squeeze through anyway. It’s the only way out.”

Brad bent down and tried to climb through the open door. He got his head through but his wrecking ball shoulders were way too wide. He smiled as he felt his gigantic delts bump up against the wall. They were so hard and powerful, he knew only the slightest effort and he could reduce the wall to splinters. He tried turning on his side but his back and chest were just too incredibly massive. He saw Mr. Gibbons waiting for him on the other side, along with Nelway, one of the Guards. Nelway looked terrified of him. Sweet.

“Well, what are you waiting for, boy?”

“I can’t get through,” said Brad.

“Son, I want you standing at attention in front of me at the count of five,” barked Gibbons. “One.”

“But—”

“Two.”

Fine with me , thought Brad as he pushed slightly against the wall and felt the wood and plaster splinter and crack like a dry cracker as his amazingly hard, massive body pushed through. A tremendous creaking, rending and crashing filled the air as Brad destroyed the door and a good portion of the wall with it. Fuck yeah! He was a fucking monster! And by the time Gibbons reached five, Brad was standing there towering over him and Nelway. Ha! The tiny guard looked like he was going to pee his little pants

Dr. Myers stepped out of the lab, surveying the rubble. “We can forget about locking the door now.”

“Not an issue, Doctor,” said Gibbons. “The horse has already escaped.” Brad was hardly listening while the two adults conversed. He was busy staring down at his mammoth biceps as they strained against the cloth of his jump suit. He loved the feel of them, hard and unyielding, pushing out against the cloth. They were fucking awesome.

“Kendrick!” shouted Gibbons, snapping Brad out it. The old man had spread a map on the floor. “Look at this.” Brad bent over to look at the map. “This is the North East quadrant,” said Gibbons. “Your friend Mikey’s out there somewhere and I need you to find him.”

“Find him, sir? And then what?”

“Just bring him back here. We’ll take care of the rest.”

“Yes, sir.” Brad liked this job. It was going to be fun.

“Your best bet would be to start here,” said Gibbons pointing at a strange emblem on the map.

“What’s that?”

“It the entrance to an old coal mine. A hundred years ago the area used to be full of them. It would make an ideal hiding place.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh, and Kendrick?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Keep in mind Mikey has had a little growth spurt, too.”

“You mean he’s like me?”

“Not yet. He’s too big for my men to handle, but not big enough to give you any trouble.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And if you see Aaron Kolpecki out there, bring him back, too.”

“Aaron?”

“Yes, he’s gone missing. Just keep an eye out for him. But remember Mikey’s your first priority.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Alright, head out.”

Brad turned and went straight through the hole that used to be the front door. He noticed how easily he fit through it, and briefly wondered how it came to be there. But since there was no obvious answer, he put it out of his mind and headed out onto the front lawn. As soon as the guards saw him they leapt out of his way to clear a path. Most of them looked really nervous, some of them looked scared. He liked that.

He headed out the gate and took an almost immediate right into the woods. He seemed to know instinctively in what direction the old mine lay, and he headed that way. He quickly pushed his way through the underbrush, kicking it aside like cobwebs. No little bush or shrub was going to slow him down. If a branch was in his way, he reached out and with a swipe of his hand, knocked it from the tree. What a fucking feeling to see the enormous sinews in his arm tense lightly, to feel a branch, the thickness of a man’s leg give way to his immense hand with no more resistance than a toothpick. Who knew just walking through a forest could be so much fun?

He was getting near his destination when he saw a small figure dart out in front of him and stop, blocking his way. The kid had guts, he’d give him that. “What are you doing here, Aaron?” asked Brad. “Get back to the house.”

“Jesus, Brad,” said Aaron, “get a clue.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going after Mikey, aren’t you?”

“You know where he is?”

“He’s one of us. Leave him alone.”

“One of you? What does that mean?”

“Not, one of us, one of us, as in you included. They’ve been experimenting on us, Brad. Look at yourself. They’ve done that to all of us. We’re all like that now.”

“If you’re like me then you can stop me,” laughed Brad. “Go on, stop me.”

“You’re fucking tempting me,” said Aaron darkly. But then he lightened again. “We’re all going to change, Brad. Mikey triggered it accidentally and you they triggered so they could use you. Don’t let them. Don’t play into their hands.”

“I’m not playing into anyone’s hands. I’m loyal to The Orphanage. They’ve given me a good life and the opportunity to make a real difference in the world, and I’m grateful. Now, they want Mikey back at the house, and he’s going back to the house, one way or the other. You, too.”

“Ok, take me back,” said Aaron holding his arms wide in surrender.

“Uh un,” said Brad shaking his head. “Mikey first, I’ll be back for you later.”

“But—” Brad did not let him finish. He just lunged forward and smiled as Aaron jumped out of his path. That’s right, fucker. You better not get in my way.

A few steps more and Brad saw the mine entrance. Gibbons had said the mine was a hundred years old and it looked every day. Vines crawled up the side of the ancient entryway. The timbers that framed it looked old and rotted. The concrete that sealed the opening was brown and stained with age, and it looked like the only thing holding the small structure up. But now a large hole had been smashed through it, revealing a pitch dark tunnel beyond. Brad hesitated. It looked pretty fucking creepy. What the fuck was he worried about? He was a fucking muscle giant. He reached over and broke off a chunk of the concrete. Slowly he closed his hand around it and squeezed, relishing the feel of the rock-like substance crumbling to sand in his bare hand. He was bad ass! If there were any fucking creeps inside there, they’d better watch out for him.

Using his fist, he made the hole even larger, so he could fit through it easily. He took a breath and stepped inside. It smelled dank and musty but it only took a second for his eyes to adjust to the dark. He could see a lot more than he expected. And he could hear something, something was breathing. No, it wasn’t something, it was a bunch of something’s, and they were just up ahead, right around the next corner. Brad tried to go quietly, but if there was one thing his new size was not good for, it was stealth. To hell with it! Brad stomped full speed ahead, and when he rounded the corner he almost laughed. There were four guards, all tied to posts. Well, they weren’t exactly tied to the posts. Someone had taken bits of old iron rail and bent them, almost like a collar, around each guard’s neck and around the post behind them, effectively pinning them to the posts.

“Oh God, there’s another one,” said one of the Guards. Brad thought his name was Simelton.

“No, it’s cool,” said Brad. “Mr. Gibbons sent me.” Brad stepped over to him and grabbed hold of the iron color. He saw the guard flinch. And then, his massive forearms barely flexing, he unbent it as easily as a piece of wire; he saw the guard’s eyes pop. “Holy fuck,” he whispered. Brad suddenly got hard. He realized he liked it when other people were in awe of his power. He liked it a lot.

Brad went around and freed the rest of the guards, giving each of them a little show and drinking in their awestruck wonder.

“Where is he?” asked Brad.

“Down there somewhere,” answered Simelton.

Brad started down the tunnel but he didn’t take three steps before he saw him, Mikey. He was about seven feet tall and shirtless. They guy had some serious muscles on him, no doubt about it. But he was a child compared to Brad. “You’re coming with me, Mikey.”

“Big Bad Brad!” grinned Mikey, “Been working out? Or maybe you’re on the Fish diet.”

“What are you talking about?”

“That was actually pretty funny, if you knew what I was talking about, but obviously you don’t.”

“Look, you’re coming with me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” And Brad lunged at Mikey. Mikey tried to run back down the tunnel, but Brad was too fast for him. In a second he had knocked him to the ground and straddled him. “You can come with me awake, or not awake. You decide.”

“Brad, don’t be their fucking puppet.”

“Ok, not awake.” And Brad raised his fist to pound Mikey into unconsciousness.

Part 7: Aaron

Aaron Kolpecki stumbled back into his room and rubbed his tired eyes. He felt seriously sleep deprived. He tried to focus on his scraggly image in the mirror. What a fucking mess. His hair was everywhere. There were actual dark circles under his eyes. He rubbed his chin, and yup, it was shaving day. It was bad enough he had to look like this in the morning, but to have to parade himself, along with the rest of the Orphanage’s residents, in front of the Director, and dressed only in a pair of baggy boxers and a t-shirt, was a definite strain on his reputation. He always liked to look his best.

It was still really early. He contemplated crawling back between the sheets. After all he’d been up most of the night in that secret meeting, and now, it was only slightly after sunrise. But he knew he’d never fall asleep. His mind was too busy. He had too much to think about, like growing. He was going to grow, really, really big. How fucking awesome was that? He looked into the mirror and tried to imagine his body, really, really big. It wasn’t easy. He was pretty thin. At fifteen, he was still only five foot seven. He had always imagined he’d grow another few inches before he stopped but… Mikey had been huge, well over six feet with huge muscles. He hadn’t seen Fish, but he spoke to a couple of kids who had, and that guy had apparently been gigantic. He looked in the mirror again at his skinny frame and the t shirt and boxers that hung loosely on it. He couldn’t wait to start growing, filling out his clothes, eventually busting out of them. It was going to be amazing. He pulled back his sleeves and flexed. He made note of the gentle bumps on his arms. Oh yeah, the growth couldn’t come too soon.

There was a rapid knock on the door. “Yeah?”

“It’s me,” said a voice that had to be Rob’s.

“What do you want?” asked Aaron, who didn’t want anyone in his room while he was still a mess.

“Can I come in? It’s important.”

“Come back in fifteen minutes.”

“This can’t wait.”

Aaron sighed. “Ok, fine.”

The door opened and Rob slipped in. Aaron was relieved to see that the floor supervisor was dressed pretty much the same way he was. “What do you want?”

“It’s linen day,” said Rob.

“Linen day? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Linen day?” This is what was so important? Once a week, they changed their bed linens. This week it was Aaron’s turn. But with all that was going on, he couldn’t imagine changing fucking sheets.

“Listen, you little ass wipe, I’ve got to get a message to Kevin, but the guards won’t let me off the second floor, but they will let you—for linen day. So, you’ll have to take the message for me. Got it?”

This had better be fucking worth it. “What’s the message?”

“Get some clothes on. You have to go right away.”

“Ok, ok,” said Aaron, as he grabbed his clothes from yesterday, a v-neck pullover and some jeans. They were a little wrinkled but he wasn’t about to put on anything fresh until after he had showered.

“They’re going to give Brad the accelerant,” said Rob.

Holy shit! “What? Who’s going to give it to him?”

“Gibbons. I heard him talking to Dr. Myers right after I got my shot.”

“Your shot? You took your shot?”

“Not the real stuff, you moron. Kevin switched the inhibitor for actual vitamin shots. Weren’t you listening last night?”

Last night had been such a mind blower, that some details had defiantly escaped him. “I heard most of it. Are they going to change us all?”

“I don’t think so, just Brad.”

“Why him?”

“Because he’s fucking suck-up brown nose ass hole.”

But Brad was still one of them, one of the orphans. “He wouldn’t… I mean he’d side with us, wouldn’t he?”

“Don’t count on it.”

“What do we do?”

“I don’t know, but with him all maxed out, I don’t know if the six of us can handle him, unless—”

“Unless what?”

“We’re maxed out, too.”

Aaron’s heart started beating a little faster. Maybe he’d get to grow a lot sooner than he thought. But then he realized that Rob was only talking about himself and the other five guys, the ones who were supposed to take over the orphanage that evening, after they started to slowly change. He still wasn’t sure why they all just didn’t get massive right now. They were all going to change eventually anyway. Why wait? “Can you do that, just change now?”

“No, but I’m pretty sure Kevin’s got some of that accelerant hidden away somewhere. But whether he does or not, we need a new plan. The old one isn’t going to work anymore. That’s what I need you to tell Kevin.”

Fuck. This changed everything. The old plan, which Aaron had never liked, could never work now. Kevin had some accelerant? Why didn’t he just pass it out? They could all get huge and be out of there in half an hour. Then it wouldn’t matter if Brad blew up or not. Aaron finished tying his shoes, and headed straight out the door, his mind going crazy, thinking about growing massive.

Aaron was making a beeline for the third floor when the guard stopped him. “Wait a minute. Where do you think you’re going?”

“Linen day.” It was perfectly natural he would be going to the third floor. That’s where the linen closet was.

The guard looked puzzled for a minute. He seemed to be trying to make up his mind about what to do. Finally, he just shrugged. “Yeah, ok.” And Aaron took off up the stairs and didn’t look back.

Aaron used the same story on the guard watching the third floor and then he hurried to Kevin’s room. When he knocked on Kevin’s door, the older kid pulled it right open like he’d been waiting for him. “Aaron?” he said, looking around. “Quick, get inside.”

Aaron lost no time slipping into the room and Kevin quickly and quietly closed the door behind him. As bad as Aaron thought he looked, Kevin looked worse, like he hadn’t had any sleep all night. Aaron almost felt bad giving Rob’s news to Kevin. And as soon has he did, Kevin started pacing the room.

“So, what do you think, Kevin, pass out the accelerant? We all get juiced up and get the fuck out of here?

“That’d probably be the worst thing we could do.”

“So you do have some!” Aaron’s eyes lit up a little too eagerly.

“Yeah, I have some. But we can’t use it, not unless there’s no other way. I really took it so they couldn’t use it, but maybe they’ve got more or maybe they can make more. I don’t know.

“Well, I do know; those six guys won’t stand a chance against a maxed out Brad.”

“I know, I know, we’ll have to think of something else.” He paused in mid-pace. “Anyway, when they try and give it to Brad, they’ll discover the missing accelerant, which means they’ll know we’ve discovered their little game. We’ll have to use plan B.”

“There’s a plan B?”

“Yeah, Mikey’s working on it. There are old coal mines running all through this area. That’s what this house is; it used to belong to the mine’s owner. I did some digging on the internet and found out there used to be a tunnel that ran right into the basement. That’s what Mikey is looking for. When he finds it, we can use it to escape undetected.”

Plan B sounded pretty crazy to Aaron. “I’ve been down in the basement lots of times. There’s no tunnel there.”

“The entrance would have been blocked up decades ago when the mine was closed. But we might be able to find it from the mine side.”

Yeah, right. “I think it would be better just to pass out the accelerant. I mean, what if they send Brad after Mikey. Mikey wouldn’t stand a chance. What then?”

“Yeah,” said Kevin, stopping and getting pale. “They probably will send Brad after Mikey. I didn’t think of that.” Now he seemed to be talking to himself. “And now that they know we have the accelerant, they’ll probably be looking for it. What to do? What to do? What to do?” Kevin started pacing again.

“That’s easy. Pass the stuff out. Come on, Kevin, don’t you want to grow. Don’t you want to be twelve feet tall with massive muscles, fucking huge and unstoppable. Can you imagine what its going to be like to be that fucking big? I want that. Fuck, I think we all want that. Wouldn’t it be cool, to tear this place apart with your bare hands? They’ve been using us, manipulating us like lab rats. Don’t you want revenge?”

“No, we’ve got to be more careful than that. We’ve got to think about what will happen afterwards. We’ve got to be harder to find. We’ve got to be less of a target.”

“So, they may be able to find us. Doesn’t mean they’ll be able to stop us. All of us together? Fuck, what could they do?”

“That’s just it; I don’t know. What if they have some secret weapon, some way of stopping us we don’t know about? It’s too risky. It’s just too risky.”

“So, what do we do?”

“First, I’ve got to move the accelerant.” Kevin opened the door and took one step out of his room before the guard ordered him back inside. He closed the door and turned to Aaron. “How did you get past the guard?”

Aaron shrugged. “Linen day.”

“So you can go just about anywhere,” said Kevin. Aaron could see he was coming up with a plan. “Ok, this might actually work out perfectly,” he finally said. “But first you have to promise me you’ll follow the plan. Hands off the accelerant.”

“I… uh—”

“Come on, Aaron, I want us all to get out of here whole and in one piece. You’ll grow. Nothing can stop it. But you have to be patient. Wait for the right time. It’s not now.”

Ok, that was bullshit. “What if I don’t?”

“What?”

“What if I don’t promise to follow your plan? What will you do then? Will you let them win?”

“No, of course not—”

“Good, because even if I made that promise, I don’t know if I could keep it.”

“But—”

“Look, I don’t know who died and made you lord over all of us, but as far as I can see my fate is mine to decide. You ordering me what to do makes you no better than Gibbons.”

“So, you’re not going to help me?”

“That depends. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll see.”

“I need you to do two things: hide the accelerant so they won’t find it and then bring some to Mikey.”

Aaron thought about it. It sounded alright. “Why to Mikey?”

“Because Brad might go looking for him and I want him to be able to defend himself.”

“Ok, I’ll do it.”

“Good, but if I tell you where the accelerant is, you have to promise to only take enough for Mikey.”

Fuck that! It was growing time. “I can’t promise that.”

“Look, if you guys go changing on your own, you’re going to put everybody else in danger. If we all want to get through this, we all have to stick together.”

Aaron hated to admit it, but Kevin was right about that. They had to stick together. Who else did they have? “I guess you’re right, but I still can’t promise anything.”

Kevin sighed. “I don’t really have any choice but to trust you. Just think really hard before you do anything we all might regret.”

Aaron nodded.

“First, you’ll have to move the accelerant,” said Kevin. “It’s in the small fridge in Fish’s room. You’ll need to move the fridge to the Linen closet. Cover it with a bunch of old sheets so they won’t see it and then push it way in the back, behind the shelves. There’s an outlet there we usually use for the vacuum cleaner. Plug it in there.”

“Ok, I got it.” Aaron turned to go.

“Wait,” said Kevin. “You better take my linen with you.” He pulled the sheets from his bed. “Otherwise they might suspect something.”

Aaron grabbed the sheets and hurried out the door. He went straight for Fish’s room. He didn’t bother knocking because he knew Fish was long gone. Once he was inside he dumped Kevin’s sheets on the floor and headed straight for the small fridge. He opened it up. There were two small trash liners inside. He pulled one of them out and looked inside. It was filled with syringes. Holy shit! He could shoot himself up and become a muscle beast right now if he wanted. He imagined growing impossibly tall while muscles exploded out all over him. I would be so fucking awesome. Nothing could stop him. He would be a fucking tower of solid fucking muscle, powerful, invincible. He wanted it. He wanted it bad.

But he hesitated. Kevin was right about sticking together. If he did it now, there might consequences for the others. He didn’t want that. But he couldn’t just walk away from the opportunity either. He pulled four syringes out of the bag, stuffing two in each pocket. Mikey would get his accelerant, but there was no reason why Aaron couldn’t take a few precautions just in case drastic action became necessary.

Aaron stuffed the bag back into the fridge and then covered it with both Kevin’s and Fish’s bed sheets. Good thing it was only about two feet tall. After he unplugged it, he wheeled it to the door. He would have to work this just right so the guard wouldn’t spot what he was doing.

He opened the door and pushed the fridge with his foot while he pretended to be struggling with a huge pile of old sheets. The closet wasn’t far; if he could just make it everything would be fine.

“Hang on a minute,” called the guard.

Shit! What did he want? Did he see? Could he tell?

“You look like you could use a hand with those,” said the guard while walking forward.

Oh crap! Just what he needed, a helpful guard. “No, it’s ok. I got it.” Just don’t come any closer.

“Don’t worry about it.”

The guy was still coming. Fuck! This guy was too good to be true. “You really don’t want to come near this stuff. Sometimes Fish wets his bed,” said Aaron as he silently apologized to Fish.

The guard stopped. “Really?”

“Yeah, there are all these yellow stains, piss—probably.”

“Yeah, ok, fine,” said the guard stopping. “I guess you got it, anyway.”

“Sure, no problem,” said Aaron sighing inwardly. He hoped Fish never heard of this. Aaron had no desire to be flattened.

He continued pushing the fridge with his foot as he slowly made his way to the closet. He had to set the load down to open the door. But he did it quickly and shoved the fridge inside. The linen closet was built under the stairs and you could see blackness behind the shelves, indicating that is was a lot deeper than it seemed. Aaron pulled out the bottom shelves and the sheets that occupied them and shoved the fridge back as far as it would go. Then he draped some old sheets over it and replaced the shelves. Only the cord stuck out now. There was an outlet in the side of the cupboard, usually used for the vacuum cleaner. He plugged it in and then arranged a couple of sheets to cover the cord. He stood back and looked at his handiwork. The fridge was completely hidden now.

Aaron dumped the old sheets in the hamper and grabbed some new sheets. His first stop would be Anthony and Ethan’s room. Anthony and Ethan were Aaron’s two best friends. They were among the few that had to share a room, but it was ok. They liked it that way. They got along like brothers.

He knocked on the door. He heard a slight commotion on the other side. “Yeah?”

“It’s me. Let me in.”

There was some more shuffling and the door was finally pulled open. Anthony was staring out at him. His dark hair was all disheveled like maybe he just woke up. His cloths were all rumpled too. Anthony took one look at him and his sheets and grunted. “Oh yeah, linen day.”

“Fuck linen day,” said Aaron stepping into their room. “Check this out,” and Aaron pulled two syringes of accelerant out of his pocket.

“Holy crap,” said Anthony “is that what I think it is?”

“Yup.”

“Woah,” said Ethan. “Where’d you get it?”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ve got enough for the three of us in case things get rough.”

“What are we waiting for?” asked Anthony, making a grab for a syringe. “Let’s go.”

“Wait,” said Aaron, pulling the syringe back. “We can’t do it yet. We don’t want to make trouble for everyone else. Kevin was right. We need to stick together. These are for emergency use only, ok?”

Anthony sighed. “If you say so.”

“Don’t use ‘em, you know, unless our lives depend on it, ok?”

“Ok,” said Ethan.

Aaron looked closely at his two friends. They looked sincere. He had to trust them. “Ok,” he said, and he handed the syringes over to Ethan.

I’m going to put them right here,” said Ethan, opening a desk drawer and placing them inside, “all the way in the back.”

“Good. I’ve got to go now,” said Aaron heading for the door. “Remember, only for emergencies.”

“Right, emergencies,” said Anthony.

And then Aaron left the room. He hurried back to the linen closet and collected another set of sheets. After all, they were his hall pass. As long as he was carrying them, the guards wouldn’t bother him. He made a quick detour to his room and hid a syringe for himself inside one of his socks. Then he took the last syringe and headed for the front hall. This time when the guard asked him where he was going, he told him he had to go to the laundry room in the basement.

Sneaking out of the building wasn’t much of a challenge. The guards assumed everyone was in his room, and they weren’t being too vigilant. It was easy for him to make it to the gap in the wall and slip through into the forest. The problem came when he had to find his way to the mine shaft. He knew about where it was but the forest was large and thick, and he got lost pretty quickly.

He had been wondering around for about an hour, cursing himself for being an idiot, when he heard a huge commotion. Something was smashing its way through the woods, something big. Aaron headed for the noise and it wasn’t long before he saw the cause. Holy shit, it was Brad. But not the Brad he remembered. The only thing recognizable was the face; the rest of him was fucking massive. He must have been about twelve feet tall. He had biceps like giant fucking footballs. His pecs were like twin striated mountains. And his legs—well Aaron guessed one of Brad’s legs probably weight three times as much as Aaron’s entire body. Fuck, that’s what they were going to look like? That was fucking awesome. Aaron ran his hand over the syringe in his pocket. All he had to do was stick himself and his muscles would start swelling up out of control, ripping their way out of his shirt, making him unbelievably huge, just like Brad. He ached to do it, but he knew the syringe was for Mikey. He had his own fix of accelerant back at the orphanage and if he wanted, he could always change when he got back. But now, he had to get the syringe to Mikey, and that might be a problem. Brad was obviously on his way to find Mikey right now. Why else would he be out here in the woods? Aaron had to stop him somehow. Yeah, right. Little Aaron stop Behemoth Brad? Not likely. But he had to try. Taking his life in his hands, he ran forward and jumped right in front of Brad. He almost didn’t believe it when the giant stopped.

“What are you doing here, Aaron?” asked Brad. “Get back to the house.”

“Jesus, Brad,” said Aaron, “get a clue.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going after Mikey, aren’t you?”

“You know where he is?”

“He’s one of us. Leave him alone.”

“One of you? What does that mean?”

“Not, one of us, one of us, as in you included. They’ve been experimenting on us, Brad. Look at yourself. They’ve done that to all of us. We’re all like that now.”

“If you’re like me then you can stop me,” laughed Brad. “Go on, stop me.”

Aaron ran his hand over the syringe in his pocket. He so wanted to plunge it into himself and teach this fucking asshole a lesson. “You’re fucking tempting me,” said Aaron. But he knew he couldn’t. The syringe was for Mikey. He’d have to try something else.

“We’re all going to change, Brad. Mikey triggered it accidentally and you they triggered so they could use you. Don’t let them. Don’t play into their hands.”

“I’m not playing into anyone’s hands,” said Brad. “I’m loyal to The Orphanage. They’ve given me a good life and the opportunity to make a real difference in the world, and I’m grateful. Now, they want Mikey back at the house, and he’s going back to the house, one way or the other. You, too.”

Well, if he couldn’t get the syringe to Mikey and he couldn’t talk Brad out of going after him, maybe he could buy Mikey enough time to find the tunnel by giving himself up and forcing Brad to take him back to the house. “Ok, take me back,” said Aaron holding his arms wide in surrender.

“Uh un,” said Brad shaking his head. “Mikey first, I’ll be back for you later.”

Crap! It wasn’t gong to work “But—” Brad did not let him finish. He just lunged forward and smiled as Aaron jumped out of his path. Aaron fell over and landed on his butt, watching as the mammoth Brad thunder away into the woods. Fuck! What was he going to do now? At least Brad seemed to know where he was going. If he followed Brad, he was pretty sure he’d find Mikey, but would he be too late? Maybe he could still somehow slip the accelerant to Mikey. Aaron jumped up and followed after the giant. It was only a couple of minutes before Brad arrived at the Mine shaft entrance and Aaron was right on his tail.

Brad hesitated a moment in front of the mine opening, and Aaron hung back hiding in a bush. He watched in awe as he saw Brad ripping out the concrete with his bare hands until the hole was large enough for him to easily pass through. Fuck, he wanted strength like that. Once again, he felt the syringe in his pocket. But the moment passed and he decided to stick to the original plan. With Brad after him, Mikey was definitely going to need this stuff a lot more than he did.

As soon as Brad passed into the mine, Aaron shot out from behind the bush and cautiously entered after him. Man, it was dark. What little light there was disappeared almost completely as soon as he got just ten feet inside the tunnel. Fortunately, he could hear Brad thundering down the passage ahead of him; all he had to do was follow the sound. He snuck forward carefully using the wall as a guide. He stumbled once or twice, but it didn’t take him long to catch up to Brad. There were guards here, guards with flashlights, and Aaron arrived just in time to see Brad free the last of them. The guard was tied to a post by an iron rail that had been wrapped around his neck and Brad, the thick cords in his arms barely twitching, was bending it like it was a Twizzler. Fuck. And Brad had this smile on his face. You could tell he was loving the feel of power in his arms. He was fucking showing off for the guards, and they were staring at him slack-jawed, just eating up what he was dishing out. Aaron suddenly realized that his mouth had been hanging open, too. He shut it, quickly. He had to find Mikey.

Brad obviously had had the same thought. “Where is he?” he asked.

“Down there somewhere,” answered one of the guards.

Brad started down the tunnel. Fuck! How was Aaron going to follow him without being caught by the guards? But Aaron didn’t have to think about this for long, because, suddenly there he was, Mikey. He looked huge, about seven feet tall. He’d grown at least ten inches taller since last night and put on what had to be about a hundred and fifty pounds. Fuck. That was more than Aaron’s entire body weight, and there it was manifested in fucking massive pecs, a ripped eight pack, veiny upper arms that looked like bowling balls, forearms like fence posts and a neck as big around as a fire hydrant. But he was still a midget next to Brad. Looking at the two of them, Aaron suddenly felt like an ant.

“You’re coming with me, Mikey,” said Brad.

“Big Bad Brad!” grinned Mikey, “Been working out? Or maybe you’re on the Fish diet.”

Jesus, how can he joke, thought Aaron?

“What are you talking about?”

“That was actually pretty funny, if you knew what I was talking about, but obviously you don’t.”

“Look, you’re coming with me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” And Brad lunged at Mikey. Mikey tried to run back down the tunnel, but Brad was too fast for him. In a second he had knocked him to the ground and straddled him.

It’s now or never, thought Aaron. He ran forward, but he only got a few steps before he felt and iron grip on his left arm. Fuck! The guards had caught him.

“You can come with me awake, or not awake,” Brad said to Mikey, leaning way down putting his face inches away from Mikey’s. “You decide.”

“Brad, don’t be their fucking puppet,” said Mikey.

“Ok, not awake.” And Brad raised his fist to pound Mikey into unconsciousness, but Mickey’s head shot up and knocked Brad in the face. Aaron could hear the crunch as Brad’s nose broke. Brad’s hand went right to his face and Mikey managed to roll out from under him.

Aaron struggled to pull free from the guard but he couldn’t. The guy had about six inches on him and probably about eighty pounds.

“Where do you think you’re going, little man?” asked the guard.

Little man? “Fuck you,” swore Aaron.

“Oh, nice,” said the guard. “I’d ask if you kissed your mother with that mouth, but then you don’t have a mother, do you?”

Aaron gave the guard the finger, but the teen was pretty much being ignored. All the guards were busy watching the fight—not that there was much to see. Mikey kept dodging Brad’s attacks and trying to get away. But Brad blocked him at every turn. So far Mikey had been lucky, but one good hit from Brad and the game would be pretty much over. If only Aaron had been able to get the syringe to Mikey, but that was impossible now, but he had to try. Aaron tired to jerk away, but the guard’s grip seemed unbreakable.

“Calm down there, little guy. The only place you’re going is back to the house.”

Yeah? Just wait until I get back to my room, then we’ll see who’s the little guy. Suddenly it struck Aaron. He didn’t need to wait until he got back. There was no way to get the syringe to Mikey, so he might as well use it himself. That way he could help defeat Brad and show this asshole guard.

He pulled back slightly so he was standing slightly behind, the guards. He knew the guards were riveted to the fight, but he didn’t want to risk one of them looking over at the wrong moment. His right hand slipped into his pocket, and feeling his way with his fingers he uncapped the syringe. He could fell the sharp needle under his finger. This was fucking it. It was fucking time. He squeezed the plunger until he felt a little liquid shoot out the end, then he stuck the needle right through his pocket and into his thigh. He winced as he felt the prick, but no one seemed to have noticed. With a slightly trembling hand, he sent the plunger home.

Liquid fire shot into his leg, and then almost instantaneously into the rest of his body. “Nungh” he gasped as he felt his body light up. Oh fuck. This was intense! He felt fucking awesome, just fucking full of energy” no, not energy—power. It was an incredible sensation. He felt might and virility seething through his body. Instantly his dick got stiff. Then the amazing feeling spread through out his entire body and everything he had got hard.

The growth was subtle at first, a kind of tightness beneath his skin. He flexed his right arm and saw an unfamiliar bulge pull his shirt tight around it. Whoa… This is actually working… It was funny, but the idea of growing huge was cool, but always felt kind of abstract, kind of removed, not really real. But not now. There was a serious bicep forming on his upper arm, a round mound with a separate peak just starting to manifest on the top, the kind he’d always wanted. He could feel it hard and strong. He relaxed and flexed again. This time it rose up even larger, fuller, harder, stronger. Oh fuck. The sight of it made him want to cum. He really wanted to feel it with his left hand, but the guard was still holding fast to his wrist. He could have pulled it away, but he didn’t want the guard to see him until he was bigger, way bigger. So he had to be satisfied with feeling his hard flesh blossoming out and watching it stretch his sleeve farther and farther as his biceps and triceps bulged bigger and broader. And just above them his shoulder formed a ball-like shape and then began mushrooming out, further straining the cloth, which now encased his growing muscles like spandex. Oh fuck. This feels amazing. Look at my fucking arm!

He felt the rest his shirt tightening up all over him as his chest pushed out against it. His pecs seemed to bulge out and rise up at the same time and he could see muscle cleavage forming through the V neck. Oh fuck. And he could feel the back of his shirt straining against his lats as they grew broader behind him. His body was swelling with raw, hard power. What a fucking feeling!

Suddenly, his feet cramped, followed almost immediately by a rapid popping sound as his shoelaces rapidly snapped one after the other. A tremendous ripping and tearing followed as he flexed his expanding feet and watched them wrench his sneakers to pieces. Look at the size of those fuckers! They were blowing up to gargantuan proportions. They were already more than twice the size they used to be.

He looked up at his captor. Still fixated on the fight, the guard hadn’t noticed a thing. How dense could you get? What made it even more unbelievable was that Aaron’s hands and wrists were expanding, too. His fingers were getting longer and thicker and his palms were getting wider, while his wrists doubled up in size. He actually saw the guard adjust his grip to accommodate the change with out realizing what he was doing. He’d realize pretty soon, though. Aaron would make sure of that.

Oh fuck, I’m getting taller. Sure enough Aaron felt himself stretching upward. The cuffs of his pants were inching up above his ankles and his shirt began to slide up his midriff, exposing the bottom most pair of bulging, rock solid abdominals. He let his right hand slide over them exploring the stony hills and valleys. He could actually feel them swelling up larger and harder under his fingers. Oh man, this was so fucking sweet.

Aaron gasped as he felt a surge in the energy. His back just seemed to explode outward, ripping the first tear in his overstrained V neck. That tear, like the first popping kernel in a kettle of popcorn, was quickly followed another and another. Gaps and rips and holes burst out all over his overstrained shirt, as huge veiny biceps tore their way through, enormous globular pecs erupted outward and thick, gargantuan lats expanded behind him, tearing, ripping, rending until his heaving muscular torso was completely exposed.

Seconds later, his titanic thighs, already swollen to enormous proportions, ripped their way out of his pants an instant before the waste band snapped and his shredded trousers fell from his body, like sunburned skin. His now gigantic cock, fully primed and ready, was threatening to go nova at any second.

Suddenly devoid of its covering, Aaron got his first good look at his burgeoning body. He was huge going on massive. Holy fuck! So much fucking muscle. He wrenched his hand away from the guard and pulled a most muscular just to feel the hardness explode all over his body. He felt enormously powerful, like nothing could stop him, and he just kept getting bigger and stronger. Fuck yeah!

Aaron saw that the guard had finally pulled his head out of his ass, and noticed what was happening right next to him. But it was way too late for him. Aaron was already a good head taller than he was and more than twice his weight. Aaron couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he grabbed the guard by the wrist, completely reversing their positions. Now Aaron was the one in charge. He flexed for the guard and watched the color run from his face as Aaron’s bicep swelled up bigger than the guards head. Man, oh man, look at me fucking now—and I’m still getting bigger!

“You like that?” grinned Aaron, as he grabbed the guard by the shirt front and with one arm easily hoisted him up over his head. He loved how fucking powerful it made him feel. He watched the massive cords in his arm flex and swell under his skin, a physical manifestation of his ever increasing strength. The sight was too much for his iron hard cock and he released a tremendous load straight into the air. Combined with the growth sensations, it was the most extreme orgasm he had ever had. He got so lost in it, he almost forgot about everything else. But then the guard he held in his hand started making whimpering noises. He laughed. “Fuck, you used to fucking scare me. Now, you’re not even a good pressing weight.”

“Holy shit!” shouted one of the other guards. The game was up. They all knew now. But what were they going to do? What could they do? Aaron had to be over eight feet tall and he must weigh at least a ton, and it had to be all muscle; it sure felt like it, anyway. He could hardly keep his eyes off of his swelling gargantuan arms. His biceps were now inflating to the size of beach balls and they felt like fucking iron. Thick rope-like veins wrapped around them, trailing from his wrecking ball shoulders to his ham hock forearms. They were so fucking amazing, so fucking powerful. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do with arms like these. He was unstoppable.

Aaron had to give the guards points for either being really brave or really stupid because they decided to rush him. With a flick of his wrist Aaron tossed the guard he was pressing. The guy collided against the wall and slumped to its base, out cold. Aaron raised his massive growing fists to defend himself against the three other guards, but at the last second decided to hold back. He had reached a point where his body was so ridiculously massive, at least nine feet tall and five feet wide, layered all over with incredibly mammoth, rock hard, bulging muscles, that he wanted to see if the guards could even hurt him. He seriously doubted it.

He was right. They came at him with everything they had. It was like being mauled by bunnies. One guard punched him right in the gut, but the guard’s fist was only a third the size of one of Aaron’s abdominals. How pathetic they seemed now. He let them pound on him for a minute because he actually enjoyed the feeling of three grown men hitting him as hard as they could without having any effect. He was so fucking strong now, there just wasn’t a word for it.

He heard a cry and suddenly remembered the fight. With three swipes of his titanic hand, he sent each of the guards colliding with the wall, knocking them senseless. Then he turned his attention to Brad and Mikey. With a shock, he realized that even though he had to be about ten feet tall, he was still almost two feet shorter than Brad, and a lot less bulky. He could feel he wasn’t done growing yet, but Mikey was down and he couldn’t afford to wait till the change was finished. He threw himself at Brad. The bigger guy was taken completely by surprise, and knocked off his feet. Aaron wasn’t sure how bad Mikey was hurt and he really didn’t have the opportunity to find out because now he had two tons of angry Brad to deal with.

Brad threw Aaron off of him pretty easily, and he landed flat on the ground. “What the fuck, Aaron?” snarled Brad. “Who invited you to this party?”

“You did. You told me to stop you.”

“Yeah? Well, you’re still too small… But holy fuck, you’re growing—”

Aaron could feel his body still swelling, still stretching, still getting stronger. “Fuck, yeah, Brad. You better watch out. In a couple of minutes I’ll be planting your face in the dirt.”

“Not if I plant yours first.”

Oh shit, thought Aaron. I’m fucked. All I needed was a couple of minutes more—

“Hey shit-for-brains!” Both Brad and Aaron turned. It was Mikey. He was a pretty long way down one of the tunnels, but Aaron could hear him like he was right next to them. “Remember me? I’m going to get away, now. I just thought you might like to know.”

Brad turned from Aaron to Mikey and back again.

“Mikey, don’t,” called Aaron. “I’ll last longer than you against this shit stain.”

“You might, if his brains had grown along with his muscles,” called Mikey. “Fortunately his grey matter is still about the size of a peanut.”

“Fuck you,” shouted Brad.

“Just listen to that witty comeback,” said Mikey. “He doesn’t have a chance against me.”

“I’ll tear you apart.”

“Yeah? Then let’s see you do it.”

With a grunt Brad started thundering down the tunnel toward Mikey.

“Mikey, no.” called Aaron.

“Stay back, Aaron. I mean it,” said Mikey. “I got this one.”

Aaron didn’t know what to do. He stood up. Fuck he was tall, almost as tall as Brad now. He could help Mikey, but… Wait a minute. Mikey was up to something. He had a plan. It wouldn’t hurt to hold back a minute, just to see what he had in mind. It would also give him a chance to finish growing. And looking at his massive, insanely powerful girth, he couldn’t imagine he had much more to go. He absent mindedly messaged his right bicep as he watched Brad march toward Mikey. Fuck, he had steel under his skin now, gargantuan lumps of fucking case hardened steel.

“Ok, shrimp,” shouted Brad. “I’m here now. Time to fucking—” Brad was interrupted by the sound of creaking and snapping timber. Aaron saw the ground beneath Brad start to buckle and then all at once it gave way. “Shiiiiiiiit,” called Brad as the floor disintegrated and he fell into a black gaping chasm. And then he was gone.

“See what did I tell you?” grinned Mikey. “Shit for brains.” And then he hopped over the pit and jogged back down to Aaron.

“What was that?” asked Aaron, looking down on Mikey. He couldn’t believe how small the other kid looked now.”

“An old mine shaft,” said Mikey. “What else? That old cover couldn’t possibly hold up under his weight. I was ok, but not him… and not you either. What the hell is going on? Kevin must be giving out that accelerant shit like candy on Halloween.”

“Ah… no. This shot was actually for you. It was supposed to help you against Brad, but I couldn’t get it to you, so I—”

“You stepped up to the plate. That’s ok. I think you did me a favor. I’m kind of digging the slow road, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, man, you have no idea what this is like,” said Aaron flexing his titanic arms. He had stopped growing now. He thought he might be a full twelve feet tall. Just one of his massive bulging arms probably weighed more than Mikey. “If you did, you’d be fucking pissed at me.”

“I’m glad you’re here, actually,” said Mikey, “because I could use the help. I found the shaft that leads to the Orphanage’s basement but it’s pretty well blocked. I can’t really clear it, but you might be able to.”

“I’m happy to help,” said Aaron. “Just steer me away from any covered mine shafts.” A horrible thought struck him. He was surprised he actually felt bad for Brad. “Do you think Brad is dead?”

Mikey shook his head. “I fell thirty feet right after I began the change and it didn’t even faze me.”

“Yeah, but that shaft’s got to be a helluva lot deeper than thirty feet.”

“Yeah, but he’s a helluva lot bigger than I was. I don’t think we’re that easy to kill.”

Aaron suddenly realized how little he knew about his new body. He did know was incredibly massive and powerful. He could see really well inside the mine, even though it should have been pitch dark. He had heard Mikey loud and clear from yards away. But was that all? What other surprises were in store for him? “What are we, Mikey?”

“I don’t know,” answered the other boy. “But it’s going to be fun finding out.” He grinned.

Part 8: Matt

Matt Litton paced back and forth in his room. It didn’t take him long. It wasn’t very big. Matt stopped and looked out his window again. The front yard was empty. All he could see were a few guards walking up and down on patrol. They looked tense. Of course they were tense. Everybody was tense. You could feel it in the air, like a weird kind of pressure. This sucked! This totally sucked! What the fuck were they waiting for? They should all get huge and get the fuck out of there.

Matt got down on his hands and knees and put his ear to the heating grate. When he did this, it was possible to hear what was going on in the room next to him—Kevin’s room. There was nothing going on now, but a few minutes ago he had overheard a conversation that had his ears burning. Aaron had been in there with the news that Gibbons was going to grow Brad. Fuck! Why couldn’t Kevin see? The adults were on to them now. They had to kill or be killed. Didn’t he get it? Kill or be killed.

He got up and started pacing again. The accelerant was in the linen closet. Fuck, it was just at the end of the hall, just a few doors away. But the guard wouldn’t let him out of his room, wouldn’t let any of them out. There had to be a way to get to it. There had to be.

He looked out his window again and saw Aaron sneak out into the yard and through the gap in the wall. Fuckin’ go, man. Fuckin’ grow Mikey. Fuck, they all should be growing, all of them. Damn! He had to do something. He threw open the door and stepped into the hall.

“Go back to your room,” barked the guard.

“Hey, man, I just need a pillow case,” he said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“Go back to your room,” repeated the guard.

“It’s just a pillow case.”

“It’s linen day. Aaron will be by soon. Wait for him.”

Oh no he won’t, Matt was half tempted to say. But he couldn’t, not with out giving Aaron away, and he would never do that.

He trudged back into this room and slammed the door behind him. Fuck! He looked out the window just in time to see Mega Brad strut through the yard. Holy Christ! Look at the fuckin’ size of that guy! What was he, like twelve feet tall? He had boulder-like shoulders and a neck like a tree trunk. The tiniest muscles on that guy’s six-foot-wide back bulged up to the size of softballs, and he could see them undulating beneath that tight jumpsuit. His mammoth arms were so massive, stretching his sleeves impossibly tight with each movement, it was a wonder the cloth held together. What a fucking monster! If Brad was on the other side, and it sure as hell looked like it, they were all fucking screwed! Suddenly he was very worried for Mikey and Aaron. How could Kevin just sit back and let this happen. They had to fucking do something! But one thing was perfectly clear, he couldn’t do anything on his own; he was going to need help. And in the entire orphanage, there was only one person with whom he could even communicate—beside the guard—and as fate would have it, it was the one person who was least likely to help him. But he had to try anyway.

Matt got down on his hands and knees and spoke into the heating grate. “Kevin!” He paused. There was no answer so he tried again. “Kevin!”

“Who is it?” came Kevin’s voice.

“It’s me, Matt” Matt replied. “I’m talking through the heating grate.”

“What do you want?”

“I heard you talking with Aaron.”

“You’re fucking eavesdropping?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I overheard the whole thing.”

“You shouldn’t fucking do that.”

“Are you going to just sit back and let them kill us?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Did you see Brad?”

“Yeah, I saw him all right.”

“You think they’re sending him out to shake Mikey’s hand?” Matt waited for a minute, when there was no reply he went on. “They know about us, dude. They must know we have some kind of plan otherwise, they wouldn’t have grown Brad.”

“Yeah, well, there’s nothing we can do.”

“Nothing except wait around for them to decide it’s easier just to kill us?”

“They wouldn’t do that.”

“How do you know? It looks like they’ve already decided to get rid of Mikey.”

“Aaron will get the accelerant to him.”

“Yeah? What if he doesn’t? What if Brad takes care of him too? What then? I thought Mikey was your best friend. Are you just going to sit around and let them kill him? Hell, he could be dead already.” Matt paused listening closely for a reply. He thought he could hear something, but it wasn’t words. It sounded like sobbing… Was Kevin crying?

“What do you think we should do?” came Kevin’s stifled reply.

“We need to start growing guys.”

“No, we have to be more careful—”

“What are you fucking kidding me? It’s too fucking late for that. They’ve started the exterminations and Mikey is number one on the list. It’s kill or be killed, dude. Kill or be killed.” There was more silence. “Dude, are you still there?”

“Yes.”

“Are you with me on this? If Brad gets to Mikey first, he’ll rip him in half, and it will be your fault. You might as well have killed him yourself.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Fuck fair. There’s no more fair. Fair is gone. There’s only what we can do, and what we can’t do. And if we act now, we can still save him. If we don’t act… Well, dude, you’re going to have live with yourself ’cause there’s one thing we can’t do and that’s bring Mikey back to life.”

There was another pause, then… “What do you want me to do?”

“We have to get the accelerant out to the guys.”

“How? The guards won’t let us leave our rooms.”

“Make a break for it. When the guard chases after you, I’ll make a run for the accelerant.”

“How will we get it out to everyone?”

“I don’t know… How about lunch time? First seating should be soon.”

“That’ll only get us half the guys.”

“If they all grow to the same size as Brad, half should be enough. We can get the rest after we’ve taken over.”

“Ok, when do you think we should go?”

“The sooner the better.”

“Fine. I’ll make my move in two minutes. Be ready.”

Wow, Kevin went for it. Matt almost couldn’t believe it. Unless… What if he didn’t? What if he was just stringing Matt along? Well, he’d know in two minutes. He’d better be ready, just in case.

The next two minuets felt like two hours. But just when Matt was beginning to think he’d been jerked around, he heard Kevin’s door open, then he heard the guard ordering him back inside. Then he heard Kevin running, the guard shouting, and then the guard running. It sounded like Kevin had run for the attic and the guard had chased after him.

Matt opened his door, just in time to see the guard disappear up the attic steps. He made a dash for the linen closet. He knew he only had a minute or two before the guard caught Kevin. He quickly pulled the linen from the shelves and tossed it on the floor. Then he pulled out the shelves and let them drop on the ground. He ripped open the fridge and grabbed the bags of accelerant. Quickly with his foot he shoved the linen and shelves back into the closet and closed the door—at least he tried. The door wouldn’t close. There was too much stuff in the way! Fuck! He could hear the guard coming back with Kevin. Damn! If he was caught now, everything would be lost. He kicked and kicked, trying to get the jumble of linen and shelves to go back inside the closet. It just didn’t want to go. But suddenly it gave way, slid inside and he slammed the door shut. He made it back to his room mere seconds before he heard the guard hauling Kevin back to his room and tossing him inside it.

“Don’t come out again,” barked the guard, and then Matt heard him stomp down the hallway back to his post. Suddenly he exhaled. He hadn’t even realized he was holding his breath.

“Did you get it?” came Kevin’s voice from the grill.

“Yeah, I got it,” said Matt, kneeling down to answer.

“Good.”

Matt stopped and looked at the bags. They were two small garbage bags filled with syringes. He had it. There were going to be some extra nutrients at lunch today… But wait a minute. How was he going to get two stuffed garbage bags to the dining hall without the guards noticing? Quick answer: he wasn’t.

Fuck! What was he going to do? He had to distribute the syringes. How could he do it? And suddenly he had the answer. It was so simple. He should have thought of it first. Of course the guards would stop him leaving his room… if they could.

He opened one of the bags and removed a syringe. He had a tough time believing this tiny thing could actually do what was promised. He remembered massive Brad. Was that really all there was to it? Just a quick prick and grow huge? Could it really be that simple?

He uncapped the syringe and shot a tiny bit of the fluid out of the needle. It looked so ordinary, like any one of the hundreds of shots he’d had in this place. Oh well, here goes nothing, he thought, and he plunged the needle into his thigh.

Like all shots, it felt a little weird, the sensation of a foreign liquid entering your system and spreading out under your skin, and then—HOLY FUCK!!!! Nothing could have prepared him for the lightning sensation that was invading his body, he felt fucking fully charged. He breathing got short. Suddenly, he couldn’t get enough oxygen, and he began to sweat. His head swam slightly, making him dizzy. This was a lot like a fever except he wasn’t feeling weak. In fact, just the opposite, he was starting to feel stronger, a lot stronger. Holy Christ, he felt FUCKING AWESOME!!!!

And then he began to change. He watched his arms start to swell up. His first thought was: allergy, he was allergic to the shot. But almost as soon as he thought that, he realized it wasn’t the case. It wasn’t that kind of swelling. It was a hard swelling, a swelling of power. He flexed and watched his biceps fill his sleeves. Now, his biceps had always been decent, nothing to be ashamed of, but now they were large and broad and had veins running all over them. And they were getting even bigger, growing as he watched. Fuck—

His back felt weird. Kind of like it was cramping. He stretched it out and felt it explode out of his shirt. He could feel it was so much fucking thicker, so much fucking wider. And his chest, swelling outward caused his now backless shirt to peel right off him, exposing his rock solid ballooning pecs. Christ, this was awesome! This was fucking awesome!

What little fat he had was melting off his midsection, exposing, swelling brick-like abs, which instantly began pushing up under his skin.

Then he began getting taller; his five foot ten frame was stretching upward and upward, his head getting closer and closer to the ceiling. And then suddenly, a pair of mammoth thighs erupted out of his pants, reducing the last of his clothing to shredded rags. They were hard and defined, and the width of them… they were starting to compete with his waist. Oh my God! I am so fucking huge!

And then he noticed his dick. It was thicker, longer and stiff as a board. Instinctively his hand went right to it and he began helping it along. Watching his biceps flex larger and larger as he jerked. Every fucking muscle fiber was clear and defined. Slowly a peek was rising out of the massive orb, bulging huge and then splitting. Oh fuck! Oh fuck! This is so fucking intense!

His shoulders grew broad and immense, resembling basket balls with thick veins running out of them, down and over his mountainous biceps and finally entwining his log-like forearms. His arms were too fucking much. Just looking at them throbbing and swelling with power, sent him over the edge and he let out a roar as he climaxed. And even as he came, he felt himself doubling in size and then doubling again, growing wider, thicker, taller. Whack! He hit his head on the ceiling. He bent over and realized that he filled his room, completely. It was wall to wall with hard, pulsating muscle. He was going to cum again. In a second, if he didn’t stop growing, he would burst right through the fucking wall. But the growth did stop and he found himself hunched over and cramped. His massive pecs were rubbing against his colossal thighs. He was so fucking huge now and his room was so small it was like he was hiding in a cupboard. He knew he was every bit as big as Brad was, maybe bigger. He took a moment and ran his hands over his body to explore his new dimensions. His new longer limbs were packed with gigantic, rock hard muscles. He could feel the new peaks and valleys, the hardness of it all. His body felt strange and new and incredibly powerful. He got hard again but he couldn’t indulge himself. It was time to act. He twisted around, bending as much as his gigantic limbs would let him, looking for the bag of accelerant. Wow, the bags looked so small now. They were completely swallowed up in one of his massive hands.

He looked at the door. It was way too small for him now. He would have to bust his way out. But that was fine with him. He never expected to see the inside of his room again.

But what about the guard? Matt knew he could take the guard easily. But what if the guard ran away as soon as he saw him and warned everyone. He didn’t want that. It was too soon. He needed help again. And again only one person he could turn to. There was no way he could even get close to the heating grate, now that he was a fucking gigantic muscle beast. He liked that thought, a fucking gigantic muscle beast. He flexed his titanic arms and felt them bulge up massively. Oh, the fucking power in his arms. He started to get hard again. No, keep a handle on it. First things first.

“Kevin?” he called. His voice was a hell of a lot deeper.

“Yeah,” came the reply. Jeeze, he heard it like Kevin was right next to him.

“Plans have changed. I took the accelerant. I’m fucking huge now.”

“Yeah, I worked that out.”

“How?”

“You made enough fucking noise. It sounded like a wild bull was loose in there. What else could it have been?”

“It’s so fucking awesome. You just can’t know.”

“So I’ve been told. What are you going to do now?”

“We have to take out the guard before he can raise the alarm.”

“That’s easy. I’ll be right over.”

“What?”

But there was no response. Instead, he door flew open and Kevin squeezed in to the room. “Holy crap,” gasped Kevin when he looked up at Matt. “I mean I should be used to this, but—” He took a breath and continued. “I’d say we have twenty seconds before the guard gets here. Hope you’re ready.”

“Just get away from the door.”

No sooner did Kevin step away from the door then it flew open.

“All right you little—” the guard began. But then he saw Matt.

“Surprise,” grinned Matt, as he put enough pressure on his biceps to make them bulge out obscenely. They were bigger than the guy’s torso. He was so loving this.

“Holy fuck!” swallowd the guard, all the color draining from his face.

Matt didn’t waste another second. His hand shot out and he grabbed the guard; his hand wrapped half way around the man’s chest, and he pulled him in to the room. Eyes bugging out, hands futilely swatting at the mamouth teen, the guard started to scream. “Fucking shut up!” Matt bashed him against the wall and the guy slumped to the ground unconscious.

“Fuck,” whispered Kevin.

“That felt so fucking good,” grinned Matt, flexing his enormous bulging arms as best he could in the tiny room. Then he tossed Kevin a bag of accelerant. “Ok, Kev, time to get huge.”

“No,” said Kevin, shaking his head and turning pale, “I’m not ready yet.”

“Well, get ready, buddy. We’re in a war, here.”

“Why? You’ve got plenty of other guys to help you. Anyone on this whole floor would jump at the chance.”

“I don’t get you. This is fucking incredible,” said Matt, flexing as much as he could. “The power is un-fucking-believable. When you feel it bulging under your skin—all fucking hard and huge… You can do fucking anything, anything!”

“Yeah… just not yet.”

“Ok,” said Matt shaking his head. “But it’s going to happen, dude. Sooner or later, you’ll grow and I promise you, you’ll love it.”

“Yeah, whatever. We better get moving. Danny’s next door. He should probably be our next stop.”

“Say no more.” And then Matt punched the wall and his fist went right through it.

“What the fuck did you do that for?” yelled Kevin. “The whole fucking building must have heard that!”

“Sorry, dude, doors just aren’t an option for me anymore. Besides, this is the direct route.” And Matt began grabbing handfuls of the wall and ripping it out. Plaster dust flew everywhere, and in only a few seconds he had demolished nearly the entire wall. When the dust settled Matt saw Danny Glover, scared and shaking with his back against the far wall.

“It’s ok, dude, it’s just me,” said Matt.

“Mmmmatt?” stammered Danny. “Is that really you? You’re fucking huge!”

“That’s right, Captain Obvious. And you better get huge, too, if you know what’s good for you.”

“Me?”

“Yup, plans have changed. We’re taking over.” Matt nodded at Kevin who tossed Danny a syringe. “You ready?”

Danny looked from Kevin to Matt and then the light went on behind his eyes. “Fuck yeah!” He prepped the syringe and then plunged it into himself. “Holy shit!” he cried out and he dropped to his knees. His eyes were squeezed shut, his face turned beat red and his fists were clenched at his sides.

“I guess Phil’s next,” said Kevin hefting his bag of syringes. “It’ll be a little more subtle if I go by myself. Besides, I think it’s about to become considerably more cramped in here.” Kevin left and Matt looked down at Danny, who was gasping while staring at his stretching hands. Kevin was right. Danny was going to need a lot more room. He took a step back, past the destroyed wall and into his old room, and watched as muscles began to bulge up under his friend’s shirt. Danny was staring at his swelling bicep and grinning, “Whoa, check me out.” He flexed, and a hard, striated mound erupted out of his sleeve. “Pow!,” he said. “And hey look, I‘ve got another one over here.” He flexed the other arm and an equally large bicep annihilated the other sleeve. “Kablam!” He cried laughing. “Oh, oh, what’s this? Could it be?” he said ripping his shirt front open and exposing his swelling pecs and his ripped six pack. “And it is. It’s more fucking muscles.” He grinned up at Matt. “But wait, there’s more.” He crossed his arms in front of him causing his lats to flair and the back of his shirt to rip apart. The last shreds of his shirt slipped from his globe-like shoulders and fell to the floor in a heap, just as his pants began to tear, split apart by his colossal thighs and his expanding muscular waist. “And I can feel I’m just getting fucking started,” he said, his voice suddenly deepening. “Time to get fucking HUGE!” And then almost as if it was following his commands, his body began expanding, growing taller and broader, his muscles, out pacing the rest of him, quickly blew up to enormous proportions. And Danny was laughing as it happened. It was a curiously boyish giggle rendered in deep bass tone, and it spilled out of him as the once skinny kid watched inhumanly massive muscles exploded out all over him. In seconds he grew too tall for the ceiling and he had to crouch down, his immense, heaving body filling the room. And then it was done.

“That was intense!” cried Danny. “I almost wish I could do it again.”

“Sorry, dude,” said Matt, “only one ride per customer.”

“Holy Christ!” came Phil’s voice from down the corridor, followed by the sound of ripping cloth. Matt grinned. Another recruit was joining the ranks. Soon now, very soon it would be time to make their move, and then nothing would stop them, nothing.

Part 9: Anthony & Ethan

The orgasm was weak. Sure, it was an orgasm, and all orgasms were good, but he’d had better, a lot better. Anthony rolled off Ethan and sat on the edge of the bed. He looked over at his lover, and for the thousandth time thought about how skinny he was. They were both the same age, both eighteen, but Anthony was almost six feet tall and had some muscle on his frame; Ethan was just five seven and all skin and bones.

“What’s the matter?” asked Ethan.

“Nothing,” said Anthony. They had been rooming together in The Orphanage for four years now and been fucking for two. He knew how sensitive Ethan could be, and he really wasn’t in the mood for an emotional crisis. Besides, after what he’d heard at the meeting last night, they would both soon be getting larger, a lot larger. So why make waves now?

“You didn’t enjoy it, did you?” asked Ethan.

“It was ok.”

“If you’re not happy, we could always try something else.”

Oh boy, he knew where this was going. “It’s fine.”

“Maybe you could let me on top—for once.”

“Being on top is not something you let someone do. Besides that little thing you’ve got could never satisfy me.”

“How would you know if you never try?” he sniffled.

Oh great. Ethan was on the edge of tears. Why was the guy so goddamn emotional?

A knock on the door saved the situation. “Yeah?” called out Anthony.

“It’s me. Let me in,” came the answer.

“It’s Aaron,” whispered Anthony. “Quick, get dressed.” The two of them scrambled to pull their clothes on and then Anthony opened the door. Aaron stood there holding some folded sheets.

“Oh yeah, linen day,” grunted Anthony.

“Fuck linen day,” said Aaron stepping into their room. “Check this out,” and Aaron pulled two syringes out of his pocket.

“Holy crap,” said Anthony “is that what I think it is?”

“Yup.”

“Woah,” said Ethan. “Where’d you get it?”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ve got enough for the three of us in case things get rough.”

“What are we waiting for?” asked Anthony, making a grab for a syringe. “Let’s go.”

“Wait,” said Aaron, pulling the syringe back. “We can’t do it yet. We don’t want to make trouble for everyone else. Kevin was right. We need to stick together. These are for emergency use only, ok?”

Anthony sighed. “If you say so.”

“Don’t use ‘em, you know, unless our lives depend on it, ok?”

“Ok,” said Ethan.

“Ok,” said Aaron, and he handed the syringes over to Ethan.

I’m going to put them right here,” said Ethan, opening a desk drawer and placing them inside, “all the way in the back.”

“Good. I’ve got to go now,” said Aaron heading for the door. “Remember, only for emergencies.”

“Right, emergencies,” said Anthony.

And then Aaron left.

Anthony sat down on his bed and looked over at Ethan who sat down on his. “What do you think we should do?”

“Exactly what we said we would do: keep it for emergencies,” said Ethan. “Besides, I don’t know how it would react to my medication.”

Ethan had a hyperactive metabolism and was on medication to slow it down. He’d been a little paranoid about it ever since he had seen a TV program on the dangers of mixing the wrong drugs. But right now Anthony was trying his hardest to remember what was said at the meeting last night. He had been a little distracted at the time. “Do you remember? How big will that stuff make us?” asked Anthony.

“I don’t know,” said Ethan. “Kevin never really said. But you saw Mikey.”

Why did Ethan have to bring that up? Anthony had seen Mikey alright, and had been sporting a raging hard-on pretty much ever since. He would have loved to get that guy alone in a room for a few minutes, except that wasn’t going to happen. But he still had Ethan, and when he was mounting him, he could still close his eyes and picture Mikey. Why couldn’t Ethan look a little more like that? “Mikey was pretty hot.”

“You think so?”

O-oh. Better change the subject fast. “You think we’ll get that big.”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying that much attention.”

“Of course, you weren’t. You were looking at Mikey just like I was, weren’t you?”

“Maybe,” said Ethan, blushing a little.

“It’s ok. How could you not? How could either of us not? Don’t you want to be like that? All it takes is a shot.”

“We said we wouldn’t, except for emergencies.”

There was a moment of silence while Anthony struggled to remember exactly what Mikey and Kevin had said at the meeting. But every time he thought about it, all he could see was Mikey’s ripped eight pack and his bulging pecs and his mammoth arms. Crap, he was starting to get hard again. And all he had to relieve himself was skinny-ass Ethan. Fuck!

“Maybe you should give that stuff a try,” suggested Anthony.

“We promised only in an emergency.”

“But if the stuff takes hours to work, and if we wait for an emergency, it might be too late.”

“We promised,” said Ethan crossing his arms.

Crap! Anthony knew that look. Ethan was going to stick to his guns no matter what. But there might be another way.

“Strip,” said Anthony.

“What?”

“I want to fuck. Talking about Mikey and growing huge has gotten me fuckin’ hard again.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Are you telling me you don’t want to? Come on, Ethan, I know all those fucking muscles got you just as hot as they got me. Are you going to try to deny it?”

Ethan looked at the floor and shook his head.

“Good. Then, let’s go.”

Ethan started to pull off his clothes. As the thin kid was pulling his shirt over his head, Anthony slipped open the desk drawer, pulled out a syringe and slipped it into his pocket. He made it just as Ethan’s head emerged from under his shirt and it went fluttering to the floor. It didn’t take Ethan long to lose his pants, and suddenly there he was, naked in all his stick-boy glory.

Anthony knew Ethan had an ultra fast metabolism and that’s why he didn’t put on much weight, but seriously, the guy looked like a famine victim. Each rib was clearly visible. His arms were bone thin and they were actually thicker in the elbows where you could see the knobby joints. His legs were a slightly longer, thicker versions of his arms and his pelvis was clearly visible. His pecker was so small sticking straight out forward above his small ball sack, that if it weren’t for the shadow of hair growing above it, Anthony might have thought puberty hadn’t arrived yet.

Anthony sighed.

“What?” asked Ethan.

“Nothing. Lie down on the bed.”

“Well, when you put it like that, how can I resist?”

“Are you going to lie down or what?”

“Sheesh. Aren’t you even going to take off your clothes?”

Anthony reached around, pulled off his shirt, then dropped his pants and stepped out of them. He was proud of his lean physique. He didn’t have much size, but what he had was well defined. And next to Ethan he looked like Mr. Universe. “Happy? Now lie down.”

“What’s the matter with you?” asked Ethan as he sat on the bed and then lay down on his back

“Sorry, this whole thing is just making me a little edgy. Turn over.”

“Turn over? That’s all I get? Turn over? And who said romance was dead?” But despite the protest, Ethan sighed and rolled over on his stomach anyway. As soon as he did, Anthony reached down, picked up his pants and pulled the syringe out of the pocket.

“What are you doing?” asked Ethan.

For an answer, Anthony climbed onto the bed and straddled him. He looked down at Ethan’s back. Not only could he see his shoulder blades in sharp relief, he could see every vertebra under his skin and even some of his ribs. Anthony looked down at his own dick, hovering above Ethan’s scrawny ass. It was completely flaccid, not even a spark. Time for a little lighter fluid.

“What are you waiting for?” asked Ethan.

Good question. He lifted the syringe, squirted a little out and then plunged it into Ethan’s non-existent butt cheek.

“Fuck!” shouted Ethan. “What was that? What did you do?”

“I gave you your shot.”

“What?! Why would you do that?” Ethan was struggling now, trying to turn over, but Anthony held him in place.

“Because I just can’t bring myself to fuck your scrawny ass even one more time. You need some meat on your bones.”

“How can you say that?” said Ethan sniffling.

“You’ve said it yourself. You hate being thin.”

“But what about my metabolism medication? Did you even think about that?”

“Yeah, I thought about it. It’ll probably slow things down a little, but that’s ok; I’m a patient man.”

“But you promised, you promised Aaron.” Ethan was now sobbing.

“What can I say? I’m weak.”

“How could you do this to me? Don’t I mean anything to you?”

‘For Christ’s sake, you’d think I poisoned you! Calm down and relax. What you’re about to go through should be pretty hot.”

“Hot?” said Ethan, and then his sobs took on a new cadence, raspy, throaty and deeper.

“It’s starting, isn’t it?” asked Anthony. “Can you feel it? What does it feel like?”

“It feels—” started Ethan, his sobs suddenly stopping. “It feels—pretty good.” He let out a groan. “Oh my God, it feels fucking amazing. I think… I think I’m growing.”

And as Anthony looked down at Ethan’s back, he could see it slowly starting to change. Little mounds were rising up under his skin, spreading out and thickening, obscuring his ribs. Then on each side of his spine, the mounds widened into slabs and swelled up into huge, thick chunks of ripped muscle, burying his vertebra in a deep chasm which suddenly formed between them.

“This is so fucking hot!” shouted Ethan in a new, deeper voice.

“Fuck, yeah,” breathed Anthony as he watched Ethan’s boney shoulders take on a rounder shape and began swelling into small powerful looking globes, while his arms grew steadily thicker.

Damn. This was happening a lot faster than Anthony expected. But he had no cause to complain. His boyfriend was rapidly growing one of the hottest bodies he’d ever seen.

His eyes dropped down and Anthony watched Ethan’s butt bubble up, full and hard. Anthony’s dick needed no more convincing. Suddenly as hard as he’d ever been, he wasted no time entering Ethan’s hard expanding hole, slowly pumping as he watched his lover’s back swell and expand with layer upon layer of rippling muscle. OhfuckOhfuckOhfuck.

“Harder, Anthony, God damn it!” called Ethan. “Fuck me harder!” And Ethan’s voice was different, lower, more commanding. And Anthony liked it and he fucked him harder, pounding Ethan’s ass with everything he had.

“Come on, you pussy, harder!”

What the fuck? It wasn’t just the voice that was different. Ethan had never spoken to him like that before. “Ethan?”

“Come on, Anthony get it in gear! Ohhhhhh Ohhhhhh FUCK!” And then Ethan suddenly bucked as his back exploded with size. Anthony almost fell off, but the sight of those enormous lats, huge and ripped, shoving Ethan’s bulging arms further out from his side, was just too much for Anthony, and he came. He came harder and more powerfully than he had ever come before. “AHHHHHHH FUCK!”

“No, you fucking didn’t!” shouted Ethan.

“I couldn’t help it.”

“Get off of me.” Ethan started to get up and Anthony nearly had a heart attack. He had seen Ethan growing, his muscles bulging up huge in front of him, but he hadn’t realized just how big Ethan had gotten until he moved. It was like the ground beneath him had started to shift. Suddenly he realized he wasn’t straddling Ethan anymore he was kneeling on him. And before he knew it, he was sliding off of him. Thump! He hit the floor and looked up. Ethan had his huge feet on the floor and he had started to stand, and he just seemed to keep rising up and up and up, until the top of his head brushed the ceiling. Jesus, he wasn’t Ethan anymore; he was a fucking walking mountain. He still had Ethan’s face—or at least something like Ethan’s face. His features, while still recognizable, seemed rougher, squarer. But that was where the resemblance ended.

That familiar face sat on a neck like a fire plug, with thick arteries running down each side like cables and disappearing past mammoth sloping traps. His fucking shoulders seemed to stretch out forever before ending in mammoth, basketball-sized delts. His pecs were just fucking unbelievable. Bulging out at least a foot in front of him, those massive globes showed every muscle fiber they were made from, and cast a shadow over 8 brick-like abs which seemed to be pushing themselves outward from under Ethan’s skin, almost as though they were trying to separate from his body.

And below that… Holy fuck! Below that was Ethan’s cock. Semi-hard the thing had to be over a foot long and at least as thick as Anthony’s forearm. Anthony found his boyfriend’s new member to be almost hypnotizing, as it half dangled, half swayed between the two most massive thighs Anthony could have ever imagined.

“Oh yeah,” said Ethan checking his body out. “Oh yeah! Look at me! Fucking look at me! This is so fucking awesome! Look how tall I am!” said Ethan as he raised both hands and placed his palms flat on the ceiling. He grinned uncontroalbly as he looked down at Anthony. Then he caught sight of his gigantic arms and his grin dissolved into a look of awe. “Fuck, I’ve got muscles… Huge fucking muscles.” And Ethan stretched out his titanic arms and slowly drew them up into a double bicep pose. Anthony gasped as Ethan’s upper arms expanded and expanded and expanded until they formed two inhumanly large boulders of hard, veiny flesh.

“So this is what it feels like to have muscles, to have fucking power in your body… He leaned over an licked his own bicep. “I feel amazing, huge and heavy, unstoppable like a fucking tank. “and so fucking strong,” he said softly, staring at his mammoth bulging biceps. “I wonder—”

He reached over and casually snapped off a piece of his steel bed frame like it was made of balsa wood. Anthony watched the massive cords in Ethan’s forearms ripple as the titan effortlessly crumpled the piece of steel into a ball. “Oh yeah,” said Ethan quietly, “I’m a muscle beast now, a fucking monster! This’ll work. I like this. “

Anthony suddenly realized his mouth was hanging open. He tried to close it but he couldn’t. He tried to speak but he couldn’t. He thought Ethan would get big and ripped but nothing had prepared him for this; there was a fucking titan in front of him.

“What’s the matter, Anthony?” boomed Ethan. “This is what you fucking wanted, isn’t it?” And then Ethan pulled a most muscular. Every gargantuan muscle is his freakishly over developed body bulged up to an impossible size, showcasing every muscle fiber and vein in sharp relief.

Anthony’s dick went from zero to orgasm in 1.3 seconds.

“Fuck!” Ethan dropped his arms in disgust. “You did it again! That’s two for you. You owe me, dude.”

“Owe you?” said Anthony, finally finding his voice.

“It’s time for you to get me off.”

Anthony didn’t know if he could do it. He’d already cum three times in the last twenty minutes. But another look at Ethan’s massive, bulging body and he could feel himself springing back to life. “Ok, if you want to lie back down, I’ll climb up there and—”

Ethan cut him off with a laugh. “Not this time, Anthony. It’s time to see what your tongue can do with my new monster cock.” Ethan grabbed his dick and wangled it toward Anthony.

“I don’t do that.”

“Why not? I did it for you often enough.”

Anthony didn’t know what to say. Ethan had done it willingly. It wasn’t like he’d forced him.

“Ok,” said Ethan, “if you don’t like that, let’s see just how tight that virgin ass of yours is.”

“I don’t think so, Ethan. We’ll do this the way we’ve always done it.”

“Yeah? Well that’s just not going to work for me anymore. Besides that little thing you’ve got there could never satisfy me now.”

Anthony was starting to get it. Ethan was mad because of what he’d said earlier. Well, fuck him for being so God dammed sensitive! Anthony wasn’t about to play his stupid little game. He stood up and started to gather up his clothes.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” asked Ethan.

“I’m done here.”

Suddenly, Anthony felt Ethan’s massive hands close around his midsection. Before he knew it, he was being lifted up into the air, until he was face to face and nose to nose with Ethan.

“You’re fucking done when I say you’re fucking done. Got it?” And then Ethan pulled Anthony in and kissed him, holding him right up tight to that hard, massive bulging body.

Anthony’s body felt like an electric charge was running through it. His whole body was lighting up. He was lost in a euphoric sensation unlike anything he could ever remember. And when Ethan released him he felt dizzy, disorientated. He gulped. He knew he should be pissed, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t scared either. The sensation of being effortlessly lifted two feet off the ground by his colossal lover, and being held helpless, right up to those gargantuan muscles, was just really turning him on. And then that kiss… Almost before he realized he was hard, his cock had exploded again. This time he came all over Ethan’s brick wall stomach.

“Fuck!” shouted Ethan. “You’re just squirting all over the place like a God damn grapefruit.” He set Anthony down and grabbed a bed sheet to wipe himself off. “I always said we should kiss more.”

Anthony just nodded.

Ethan sat down on his bed. “Come here.”

Anthony trotted over.

“You liked that, didn’t you?”

Anthony nodded again.

‘There are other things you might like. So, you’re going to learn to try new things.” Ethan slapped his gargantuan thigh. “Look at that. Is that fucking awesome or what?” He flexed his quads and they bulged up massively with each individual muscle clearly defined under the skin. Anthony was getting hard again. It was starting to hurt but he couldn’t help it.

“I can’t tell you what it feels like to have legs like this, the fucking size and weight of it. The fucking power behind the slightest twitch. It’s in-fucking-credible.”

Oh fuck. If Ethan didn’t shut up, Anthony was going to cum again.

This afternoon you could almost fit your hand around my leg,” Ethan said. “Try now.”

Anthony reached out his hand and was shocked to see it was trembling. He grabbed Ethan’s leg, and it was like grabbing warm granite. And the size of it… His hand was completely dwarfed by the colossal configuration of bulging sinew. His dick was starting to boil. “Oh fuck, I’m going to cum again,” he gasped.

“No, you’re fucking not,” said Ethan. “If you fucking cum again before I say you can, I’ll have to punish you.”

Anthony couldn’t understand it. For some reason, Ethan’s threat was making it worse. “Oh fuck!”

“Hold on to it, Anthony. Come on, you can do it.”

And Anthony closed his eyes. He couldn’t look at Ethan. He couldn’t look at himself. He cleared his head and tried to think of algebra. He was breathing a mile a minute, but ever so slowly he started to cool down.

“Good boy, Anthony. Now, climb up into my lap.”

And Anthony did, trying not to look too hard at what he was climbing onto. It was like climbing onto a warm marble throne.

“Just look at your ass,” said Ethan. “I’ve always loved your ass, Anthony. And now it looks so damn cute.”

Oh fuck. Anthony was getting hard again.

“Keep a handle on it, Anthony,” said Ethan sternly. “Now I’m going to lift you up and when I bring you back down again, it’ll be time for that new experience I was talking about.”

And then Anthony felt Ethan’s powerful hands close around him again, and he felt himself lifted up into the air. He knew what was coming. He couldn’t explain it to himself, but he was actually looking forward to it.

He felt himself being lowered on to Ethan’s monster shaft. At first, the sensation was uncomfortable and then it passed on to something else, something he wasn’t expecting, something intensely pleasurable. Ethan was raising and lowering him, rhythmically sliding him up and down his cock. Anthony started moaning and he was hard again, perilously hard. “I’m going to cum,” he said.

“Not before me,” said Ethan.

“I can’t help it.”

“Not before me.”

And Anthony held his breath, and bit his tongue, and tried everything he could think of to hold the eruption back. And finally just when he thought he might burst, he felt Ethan’s cock spasming inside of him and he let loose. The resulting orgasmic explosion was the most intense feeling he had ever experienced. He shook with the force of it. And when it was over, he felt limp, completely spent. It took him a couple of minuets to realize that Ethan had set him on his lap again.

“There, how was that?” asked Ethan.

“Nothing could ever top that,” gasped Anthony. “I think I’m ready to die now.”

“Not before we try it again,” laughed Ethan.

“I can’t,” said Anthony. “I don’t have your stamina.” Suddenly, he got an idea. “Maybe If I grew too, I could keep up with you.”

Like lightning, Ethan leaned over and brought his massive fist down on the desk, reducing it to splinters and destroying anything that was inside it—including the second syringe.

“What did you do that for?” gasped Anthony.

“Calm down, Anthony. Christmas isn’t canceled, just postponed. You’ll grow. In fact, I’m really looking forward to it. But today… I still have a couple of lessons to teach you.”

Anthony looked from the smashed desk to his muscle beast lover. Things could be worse, a lot worse.

Part 10a: Caleb

I don’t know why you want me to write this, or why anyone would even care what happened at The Orphanage that last day. I mean, I didn’t see everything. I was locked up in my room most of the time. Mr. Gibson kind of ordered us to stay there. I wasn’t part of any take-over plan or anything, so I pretty much stayed in my room, playing the old video game I got from Kevin the night before. I knew nothing was supposed to happen until that evening, so I didn’t really worry about it. Anyways, I was due for my final treatment after lunch and that was really all I was thinking about. I wasn’t doing too good on the game.

I think the first sign that something was happening came when I started hearing loud banging noises. I didn’t know what it was then, but later I found out it was Matt going through the change. I was kind of curious but not enough to get up from my game. I kind of wish I had. It would have been cool to see. I only saw one guy go through the change that day, and that was pretty cool.

Anyway, I heard a couple of doors slam and I got curious enough to get up and look out my door. I didn’t see anything but Blotz—that’s the guard who always watched the third floor. He was coming down the hall toward me, so I closed the door fast and hoped he’d keep going past. I didn’t like Blotz. He was always grabbing me. He would take any excuse grab my arm or my shoulder or ruffle my hair. And he was always calling me Sport. Once when I was coming up alone from dinner, he stood right in my way and wouldn’t let me pass. When I tried to get by him, he tried to grab me, but I ducked back before he could.

“Let me by,” I said.

“I’ll make a deal with you. Let’s wrestle. If you win, I’ll let you pass.”

What, was he kidding? I was only thirteen. He had to be like thirty, and he wasn’t small either. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily Kevin and Mikey came up the stairs right then, and when he stepped aside to let them pass, I went with them.

He ruffled my hair as I went past and said, “I’m just messing with you, Sport.”

But the worst thing he did was on that morning, the morning of the last day. As I was coming upstairs from the assembly, he frisked me. He said he was just following orders but I didn’t notice him frisking anyone else. And when he was running his hands over me, he was putting them in places they had no business being. Sure, like I’d be hiding anything there.

So, when Blotz didn’t come into my room, I was really relieved. I was about to go back to my game when I heard a huge pounding. My room was shaking from it. I wanted to look but I was afraid Blotz might still be out there so I didn’t. After a few minutes it stopped. I wanted to go back to my game, but I couldn’t. I was way too curious about the pounding. I knew something must be happening, and I was dying to know what.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I opened my door and looked out. I figured if Blotz was there I could still duck back inside. But he wasn’t there. In fact, there was no sign of him at all. The hall was empty. That was weird. A couple of the doors stood open. That was weird, too. I could hear a tremendous creaking, like floor boards when someone is moving heavy furniture.

“Hello?” I called.

Suddenly one of the doors flew open. It was Glen. He ran out of his room holding his head in his hands and then dropped to his knees.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

He looked up at me. He was breathing really hard, like he’d just done the hundred yard dash or something. He was sweating, his face was bright red and the veins were sticking out on the sides of his neck. “I’m fucking great,” he said through gritted teeth.

And then I saw him start to grow. I think it was his neck that I noticed first. It just started getting thicker. Then his arms started to change. He was wearing a t shirt so it was easy to see as the muscles in his forearms started to shift under his skin. It was weird, like he started with one pretty obvious muscle and then it started to divide into a bunch of interwoven cords and tendons that just kept getting bigger and thicker. And his bicep, I could see it swelling up, pushing his short sleeve further up his arm toward his ballooning shoulders. He noticed me staring and then looked over at his arms and just started grinning. He flexed his bicep and it bulged up huge and split his sleeve apart. “Oh fuck, yeah,” he said. “Oh fuck, yeah.”

Some kind of spasm shook him and he dropped down on all fours. His head was down. I couldn’t see his face but I could hear him making some kind of grunting/moaning sound, which kept getting lower and deeper. I saw all the wrinkles smooth out of his shirt as his back expanded beneath it. Then it started to stretch and grow tighter and tighter. Suddenly with a ripping sound, huge tears began opening up in it. It was a little creepy, like those movies where a creature pops out of a guy. But the only thing forcing its way out of that splitting shirt was a monstrous back. It had so many huge, bulging, writhing muscles that it barely seemed human. I heard a weird low guttural sound and then I realized it was Glen chuckling.

He suddenly let out a grunt and I heard another explosive rip as his jeans split apart, releasing a pair of gigantic thighs. “Sweet,” I heard him rumble. There was a pop as his waist band snapped and more tearing as his calves exploded out of his pants and his expanding gluts and quads finished destroying his jeans. There was one last tearing sound as his shredded shirt, which had still been stubbornly clinging to his bulking frame, finally lost the battle and it slid onto the floor in a pathetic heap.

Glen was huge. He had more muscle than I had ever imagined. He had biceps like foot balls, shoulders like soccer balls and his chest had blown up into colossal twin boulders. He looked at me, still sweating, still breathing hard. Then he flexed his mammoth arm and stared awestruck at his own powerful veined peak. Then he said, “Look at my arm, Dude. Look at the fucking size of it.” And he laughed again before he turned to me and said, smirking, “And no way is this over. It’s not even slowing.”

And he was right. We both watched as his bicep kept bulging up bigger and bigger. And it wasn’t just his arms. His whole body was getting wider. Muscles were just rippling out all over him and swelling to unbelievable proportions. And he was getting taller, too. Suddenly I realized that even though he was on his knees he was way taller than I was. And he just kept expanding, bulking up with pound upon pound of ripped solid muscle. When it finally ended he was gigantic. He had insanely massive muscles bulging up all over him. And the look on his face—you could tell he knew just how fucking bad ass he was and he fucking loved it. He tried to stand up, but he just couldn’t do it. He was crouched over and each massive shoulder touched the opposite wall. Each pulsating, vein-covered, gargantuan arm was as big as a grown man’s body. He filled the corridor, more than filled it. It was too small for him.

“God damn doll house,” he said. His deep voice rumbled through me like an amped up subwoofer.

Suddenly Kevin came out of the same door Glen had stumbled out of minutes before—when Glen had been—you know—a normal guy. “Caleb, what are you doing here?” asked Kevin. “Go back to your room.”

Who the fuck did Kevin think he was, my father? “What’s going on?” I asked.

“There’s been a change of plan. We’re taking over right now.”

“I want to help.”

“You can’t. It’s too dangerous. You’re not… equipped.”

That’s right. I was still just an ordinary kid. After my final treatment I wouldn’t be, but right then I still was—and I sure as hell didn’t want to be. I wanted to be like Glen. “But if you take over now, I’ll never get my final treatment.”

Kevin just looked at me, his mouth frozen open, like he was going to say something but stopped before he did. But Glen, he had no trouble speaking.

“Oh, dude, it sucks to be you,” said Glen, “because this is fucking awesome.” He flexed his mammoth biceps and they swelled up to mountain size. He was just grinning. You could tell he just loved every inch of his massive powerful body.

“Shut up, Glen,” said Kevin.

Glen scowled and thundered a step closer to Kevin. “I’d watch what you say to me, little man.”

“Or what? You’ll squash me like a bug?”

“I was going to say rip you apart, but the bug squashing thing works too.”

Suddenly the hall started shaking with huge, earth shattering crashes as doorways all up and down the hall started exploding outward. I covered my head with my arms trying to protect myself from all the flying debris but a piece of wood caught me on the cheek and I started to bleed.

When I looked up, the plaster dust was starting to clear and I could see a huge shadowy form emerging from one of the blown out doorways. I had to blink. It was Danny Glover. Only he was fucking huge now, every bit as big as Glen. He squeezed out into the corridor but even hunched over, he could barely fit, too. “Everything’s so fucking tiny,” he said. He took one of his massive fists and started taking out the ceiling. I had to duck again, but when it was over, most of the ceiling had fallen and Danny was standing straight up, his head looking down at me from the attic! Fuck.

Then another behemoth emerged, and another and another. In a moment, the hall was stuffed with the insanely muscular giants. At first I was a little scared, but when I looked up at them, I could see that each of them had the face of a kid in The Orphanage. I suddenly realized that all my friends had transformed into awesome, twelve-foot-tall, massively muscled titans. And they had done it without me. They were leaving me behind.

“This fucking sucks!” I screamed. “Why couldn’t you wait?”

“Sorry, Caleb,’ said Matt—at least I thought it was Matt. I looked up, but all I could see were mammoth pecs hanging over cinderblock-abs. I actually had to take a step back so I could see above them. The face was Matt’s; but.it was really weird thinking of him as Matt. I mean he didn’t even sound like Matt anymore. It was like he used to be Matt and now he was Mega Matt. “We didn’t have a choice,” said Mega Matt. It’s kill or be killed, dude. Kill or be killed. At least you’ll be alive at the end of this.”

That didn’t make me feel better at all.

“Yeah, dude, sorry, shit happens,” said another giant. I looked up at him and fuckin’ A it was Kenny! Kenny was six months older than me, but we used to be pretty much the same height. I could already beat him in arm wresting and I was pretty sure I was going to out grow him… but not now. Now he had titanic biceps that were three times the size of my head, with thick veins running all over them and down to bulging forearms that were basically the same size as my entire body. Fuck! It just wasn’t fair!

“I think I’m ready for an arm wrestling rematch,” grinned Mega Kenny, squeezing his fists and making his fucking mega arms bulge. They swelled up so fucking huge I actually gasped. “He could probably flatten me with his pinky.

“Oh yeah, any time, dude,” he said and then he grabbed his cock like he was getting off on how much larger and stronger he was than me. I wanted to fucking scream.

http://s232.photobucket.com/albums/e…Orphanage1.jpg

“Did everyone change, but me?” I asked.

“The whole third floor,” said Mega Matt. “Except, there are only ten of us now. Brad went over to the other side. Fish and Mikey aren’t here. Kevin decided not to change. And then there’s you—”

All I could feel was rage. “I fucking hate you. I fucking hate all of you.”

And suddenly there was gunfire. I guess someone downstairs must have heard all the noise and figured out what was happening. I think someone got hit. I don’t know who. I didn’t get to see much because Kevin grabbed me and dragged me through the door into my room, slammed the door—it was one of the only undamaged doors on the floor—and jumped on top of me, knocking us both to the ground.

“Get off me,” I yelled.

“You can’t go out there,” said Kevin. “You’ll get killed.”

“So what?”

“See? That attitude is why I’m not getting off you.”

Kevin wasn’t that big of a guy, but he was big enough to keep me pinned no matter how hard I struggled. I really wanted to go out there. Partly because I wanted to know what was happening and partly because I really was kind of hoping a bullet would find me. I was so pissed at missing my chance to become a behemoth that I really didn’t care if I lived or died.

“Look,” I know you’re upset,” said Kevin, “but if you think about it, you’re really better off.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

“No, really, I actually envy you. I mean, me, it’s over for me. It’s only a matter of time before I become like them.”

“Fuck you.”

“But you, you’ll still be able to walk down the street without people staring. You can walk into a restaurant and have a meal with out having to rip out the ceiling, so you’ll fit. You can go to movies, learn how to drive. I’ve always wanted to do that, and now I’ll never get the chance. But you will.”

“Go to a movie? What the fuck are you talking about? Go to a movie?!!!! Fuck that! I want to be a monster. I want to have awesome power, to be someone who can’t be ignored, or stepped on anymore. Because that’s what it’s been like my entire life. You talk about changing rules? Well I want to change the rules too. I want to be huge with massive muscles bulging out all over me. I want people to stare at me, to wonder what it’s like to be me, and I want them to fucking shake with fear if I so much as frown at them. That’s what I want. You can keep your fucking ordinary life.”

Kevin sighed and grew quiet. I could here the sounds of the guys thundering around in the hall outside mixed in with gunfire. “I shouldn’t do this,” said Kevin. “You’re only thirteen. You really don’t completely understand what you’re saying.”

“Shouldn’t do what? What are you talking about?”

“There’s no help for me, but I think maybe I can help you.”

“What do you mean you can help me?”

“I saw your file on Fish’s computer. Your final treatment was going to be a shot of your altered genetic material. That’s it, just a shot. And it’s already prepared and waiting for you down in the lab. It shouldn’t be too hard to find it.”

“Seriously?”

Kevin nodded. Man, it was like Christmas morning and I’d just gotten everything I wanted. I was so happy and excited there were butterflies in my stomach. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!”

Kevin rolled off me, but kept his hand on my arm. “Yeah, not till its safe. In case you forgot there are guards with guns out there.”

“Are you kidding me? Our guys will plow right through those dorks.” I paused and listened. The gunfire had definitely stopped. “See? It’s over already.”

“All right,” said Kevin listening carefully. “We’ll take a look.” We got up and went over to the door. Kevin paused listening again, but there were no sounds at all.”

“Come on,” I said. “It’s over. It’s got to be.”

“Yeah,” said Kevin, “but who won?”

“Who do you think?” boomed a voice and suddenly the door was ripped off its hinges and flung across the hall—or what was left of the hall. And there was Mega Matt, looking as massive as ever, and kneeling down so he could see us. “Check me out,” he said. “I got shot.” And sure enough he had a bullet hole in his gigantic shoulder. But it was the size a pin prick would be on a normal person. There was some blood but not much. Anyway he seemed pretty happy about the whole thing.

Looking past him I could see a lot of the walls were gone now and the third floor looked like a war zone. “What happened?” I asked.

“They came. They saw. We kicked their butts,” said Matt as he flexed his mega arms causing his mountainous biceps to explode up and peak. I saw those massive upper arms just erupting with power and I wanted two just like them. And I wanted them now.

“Was anyone hurt?” asked Kevin.

“Not really,” answered Mega Matt. “Glen got shot like twelve times, but he’s ok. We’re all pretty fucking strong now. It’s pretty fucking awesome.”

I heard a couple of shots from downstairs. “What was that?”

“A couple of guys went down to the second floor, just in case Gibbons got it into his head to hurt the kids who hadn’t changed yet.”

“I suppose they brought the accelerant with them,” said Kevin.

Mega Matt looked a little guilty. “Oh yeah, about that—” He pointed to a place on the floor. “We had a little accident.” The remains of the bags of accelerant lay there, smashed to smithereens by a fallen wall. “It looks like we’re going to have to get by with the guys we got.”

“Does this mean I’m not going to grow today?” I asked.

Kevin shrugged. I don’t know. No one has ever been given the final treatment without the inhibitor. I don’t know how it will affect you.”

Mega Matt looked confused so I quickly explained what Kevin had told me.

“Ok, cool,” he said. “We just have to get you to the lab.”

“Can we go now?” I asked.

“Ah… not a good idea,” said Mega Matt. “From what we can see from the window, Gibbons is calling all the guards to the ground floor. That’s probably where they’ll make their stand.”

“I thought you guys already took care of all the guards.”

“No,” said Mega Matt. “Only a few came up here. And when they shot up Glen and he didn’t go down—he just got mad—they took off running. The war’s not over yet. But if that’s the best they can do, it shouldn’t last long.”

“I wouldn’t count them out yet,” said Kevin.

Just then another Mega kid came lumbering over. He had Lenny’s face, so I guessed he was now Mega Lenny. He passed by one of the walls that was still standing and rammed his fist into it for no apparent reason. The wall collapsed into a pile of rubble and part of the ceiling collapsed on top of it. Kevin and I had to duck for cover.

“Jeeze! Watch it, will ya?” yelled Kevin. “Not all of us are indestructible.”

“Sorry,” said Mega Lenny grinning. “Couldn’t help myself.” He flexed for us. I’d seen these guys flex a couple of times already—they always seemed to be flexing—I guessed I would be soon, too—but no matter how many times I saw it, I still couldn’t get over the size of their fucking muscles, gigantic panicles of rock hard flesh entwined in thick ropey veins. “When can we take the first floor?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” said Mega Matt. “Lenny, what happened on the second floor?”

“It’s all good,” he said. “You were right. Gibbons sent some guys up there, but Ethan had already changed and he took care of them.”

“Ethan?” I cried. “That walking stick?”

“I wouldn’t let him hear you say that, little dude,” said Mega Lenny “That stick is just as big as me now.” And he flexed again. Fuck.

“Did anybody else change?” I asked.

“No, it looks like it was just Ethan. But there’s something wrong with Anthony. He might be sick. He’s like a fucking rag doll. And no one knows where Aaron is.”

“They’re under the house,” said Mega Matt. “Both him and Mikey, I can hear them.”

“They’re ok?” asked Kevin. “You’re sure their ok?”

And then Mega Lenny paused and listened. “Oh yeah, they’re like moving rocks or something.”

“So, are you going to take the first floor, or what?” I asked. I was really impatient to get going. I couldn’t help but be nervous about my last shot. What if Gibbons decided to destroy it or something? The sooner I got it, the better. And I couldn’t wait to have those huge muscles busting out all over me.

“Guys,” said Mega Matt, “We’re going to take the first floor now. You ready?”

I looked around but the only two behemoths I could see were Matt and Lenny.

“Yeah, tell them I’m sorry about that, but there’s nothing we can do about it now,” Matt continued. It was like he was talking on a cell phone but there wasn’t any cell phone.

“Who’s he talking to?” I asked out loud. I wasn’t really expecting an answer but Kevin gave me one anyway.

“They can hear really, really well,” he said. “I’m guessing he’s talking to someone on the second floor.”

Mega Matt just grinned and gave Kevin the thumbs up. Jesus, his bicep exploded with size just doing that. But I guessed Kevin had been right about who he was talking to.

“Ok, we’re going now. You guys had better stay here,” said Mega Matt.

“No way,” said Kevin. “I’m coming too. There might be a way to solve this without violence, but you guys are too in love with your own muscles to bother looking for it.”

“Without violence?” said Mega Matt. He looked like Kevin had just suggested showering without water. “If you think so, you’re welcome to try, but it’s probably going to be dangerous for you little guys.”

“I’ll risk it,” said Kevin.

“I’m coming, too,” I said.

“No,” said both Kevin and Mega Matt.

“Look,” said Kevin, “these guys are practically indestructible. You’re not—yet. And if you get yourself killed, you never will be.”

“I’ll be careful.”

“Careful isn’t the problem. These guys don’t know their own strength. Look at that gash on your cheek and you haven’t even seen any action.”

I reached up and felt my cheek. When I pulled my hand back it had blood all over it. I really wanted to go, but I wanted to grow huge even more, and it would really suck if I got hurt before I got a chance to do it.

“I promise I’ll come back for you when it’s over, ok?”

“As soon as it’s over? First thing?”

“First thing.”

“Ok,” I said, and I sat down on a pile of rubble and watched the three of them disappear down the stairs. I strained my ears trying to hear anything I could. There was a lot of thumping and creaking. I guessed that was just the guys moving around. I wondered if I’d hear anything when the real action started.

“Well, hello there,” said a voice. I looked up startled. I’d thought I was alone, but no. There was Blotz. He was a mess. His uniform was torn, he was covered with plaster dust and it looked like he was bleeding from his scalp. But I didn’t feel bad for him, and I was not happy to see him.

“You better hurry up down stairs to your friends,” I said. “In a couple of minutes, they’re going to need all the help they can get.”

He just smiled and shook his head. “They’ll be alright. Gibbons still has one or two surprises up his sleeve.”

He took a step towards me. I didn’t like the look on his face so I got up and backed away from him. “What do you mean?”

“You’ll find out… Or maybe you won’t. After all, you’re not one of them yet, are you?” He took another step toward me and I backed away some more.

“How do you know?”

“I know.” Suddenly he leapt at me and I turned and ran. He ran after me. I had to get to the stairs. But I was just a kid and he was a grown man. He caught me pretty quick, grabbed me by my shoulders and swung me around.

“Whoa there, Sport. Don’t be in such a hurry.” I tried to break away from him but he was just too strong.

“Let go of me!”

“Don’t be so unfriendly. We never had our little wrestling match.” I tried to wrench myself free again, but I couldn’t.

“I don’t want to wrestle you.”

He smiled. “But you already are, Sport. You already are.” Then while still holding me in one vice like hand, he reached over and tried to yank my pants down. It hurt. But I was wearing a belt and he only managed to get them a little ways down.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“This is very special wrestling.” He began fumbling with my belt, trying to undo it with one hand.

Then I realized what he was doing and I got scared, more scared than I’d ever been in my life. “Leave me alone,” I cried.

“Ha,” he grunted smiling. “Not a chance.”

Then I got angry, so angry I couldn’t see straight. What I could see was his crotch. Something was swelling up pretty big inside his pants. Suddenly, without even thinking about it, I brought my knee up and nailed him in the gonads as hard as I could. I heard a wheeze of pain and he let go of me instantly. I turned and ran for the stairs without looking back.

I was so scared I was running without thinking and before I knew it, I was at the foot of the stairs. The front hall was packed. At the base of the stairs stood Kevin and eleven behemoths. The hall was actually big enough for them to stand completely upright, and holy crap they were just fucking mega huge gargantuan. For the first time I got a good idea of exactly how tall they were. I’d have to go half way back up the stairs just to stare one in the eye. And they had so much fucking muscle exploding out all over them; their bodies were just distorted with it. Every time one of them shifted on their feet, you could hear the floor boards groan in protest. Just looking at them all gathered together like that made me a little dizzy. And I don’t think I was the only one.

There were about thirty guards in the hall also. And Mr. Gibbons. The guards all had their guns drawn and aimed right at Kevin, Matt, Kenny, Danny, Glen, Phil, Ethan, and the rest of them.

“We don’t want to hurt you,” Kevin was saying. “We don’t want to see anyone hurt.”

“To tell you the truth, son,” said Mr. Gibbons. “I’m not interested in what you want, you or any of the other lab rats.”

“Lab rats?” growled Glen, stepping forward with his massive fists clenched, the thick cords all up and down his arms writhing under his skin. “Come here. I’ll fucking show you lab rats.”

Kevin looked up at Glen and shook his head, and the behemoth, although still glaring, held his ground.

“Now,” continued Gibbons, “If you want to avoid being hurt yourselves, just turn around right now and go back to your rooms.”

“That might be a little difficult,” said Matt. “Our rooms don’t actually exist any more. We kind of out grew them.” He flexed to make his point. He didn’t need to, but he did it any way. Those fucking gigantic twin peeks swelled up on his arms again and made me weak in the knees. Maybe he was just trying to scare the guards. It sure as hell would have scared the shit out of me.

“I don’t think you understand, Mr. Gibbons,” said Kevin. “You’re not in charge here anymore. We are.”

“Ha,” said Mr. Gibbons. “That’ll be the day.”

“Give it up, Kevin,” said Matt. “The old fart isn’t going to listen. We’ll just have to show him whose boss.”

“Yes, you do that, boy,” said Gibbons. “But before you do, let me show you this.” Gibbons held up a small canister. “All I have to do is flick this open and you’ll all be dead in thirty seconds.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a gas that we, who still have our genes in tact, will find quiet harmless. You, on the other hand, will not.”

“Bull shit,” said Glen.

“I don’t think so,” said Kevin, looking worried. “I think it’s for real.”

“Smart lad,” said Gibbons.

Suddenly Glen started to laugh. Then the other behemoths joined in.

“You think I’m joking?” shouted Mr. Gibbons. “I’m not joking!”

“What are you guys doing? This isn’t funny.” said Kevin, looking scared. I didn’t blame him. I was a little scared too.

“Don’t worry about it, Kev,” said Matt. “We’ve got it covered.” And then he nodded over at the wall behind Gibbons. I didn’t see what he was nodding at. There was nothing there but the basement door. Was he trying to tell Kevin to run for the basement? He’d never make it.

“Go ahead, Gibbons,” said Matt. “Do your worst.”

“Fine,” said Gibbons. “You asked for it.” He raised the canister above his head and suddenly the entire wall behind him exploded outward. Gibbons jumped clear right into Matt’s waiting arms. He quickly snatched the canister from the old man and gave it to Glen. When the dust cleared two huge dark figures were standing where the wall used to be. They were both covered with coal dust. One of them was a behemoth and the other one, although huge by any human standard, was somewhat smaller.

“Here we come to save the day,” sang the smaller one. That could only be one person. Kevin raced across the room and threw his arms around the smaller one, who was, of course, Mikey.

“Hey,” said Mikey, “take it easy, Kevin. You’re going to spoil my new macho image.” The guy was over seven feet tall now with wall to wall muscles and Kevin looked like a child next to him, but Mikey looked like a child next to the behemoth standing next to him. I peered at his face. It was Aaron. Fuck, he was huge. Just like the rest of them.

But the rest of the room was erupting in chaos. Half of the guards had a wall fall on them and the other half were scrambling to get away. Matt hefted Gibbons up into the air with one hand. The old guy was huffing and puffing, red with anger.

“Wha’s the matter, old man? Don’t you like what you grew? I have to admit I think it’s pretty sweet.” And he flexed for Gibbons. “The power I have in my body could fucking level a city,” he said flexing his chest, making his pecs bulge. “But I guess you know that.”

“You sound like you like it,” said Gibbons.

“Like it? I’m fucking loving this. But next time you mess with somebody’s DNA, maybe you should ask first.” Then Matt threw him against a wall. When the old guy hit the floor he was out for the count. Any guard stupid enough to stand and fight, met pretty much the same fate. Most of them were smart enough to run.

One took a shot at Glen, hit him in the chest, and then turned and ran.

“He shot me!” shouted Glen. “He fucking shot me. Why do they always shoot me? What is it? Do I have a fucking target on my chest? I’m going to get that little cocksucker! That’s the last time any one fucking shoots me.” Then Glen took off after him.

“Wait! Come back,” shouted Matt. And to everyone’s surprise he did. Only he looked like he’d seen a ghost.

“Guys,” he said, “you better come look at this.” We all hurried over to the big hole in the wall that used to be the front door. Not everyone would fit. Some of the guys couldn’t see. I guess I was lucky I could look right through their legs, and what I saw was the army. It sure looked like the army. There were troop carriers and tanks! And they were pulling right into the front yard.

“Fuck!” shouted Matt. “What are we going to do now?”

Part 10b: Caleb Cont.

I looked out through the guys’ massive legs at the army filing into the front yard of The Orphanage.

“Get away from the door,” shouted Kevin.

“I’m not scared of them,” said Glen, flexing his mammoth arms. “I’ve taken thirteen bullets already. They weren’t even as bad as bee stings.”

“Yeah?” asked Kevin? “You been shot by a tank, big guy? Maybe it’ll be like a hornet or maybe it’ll take your fucking head off. You want to risk it?”

Glen appeared to think for a second before he shook his head and stepped away from the door. I guess the other guys didn’t want to risk it either because they backed away too.

“What’s your plan, Kev?” asked Matt.

“Mikey,” said Kevin, addressing his seven and a half foot tall friend, “go up to the second floor and get all the kids who haven’t changed yet and lead them out through the mine. If those tanks start blasting away at the house, there’s no way they could survive. Caleb, you go with him.”

Mikey nodded and took off up the stairs, but I wasn’t about to follow him. There was no way I was budging from the house until I was a behemoth. My only chance was a syringe in the lab, and I was sticking close. “Not til I get my shot,” I said.

“But—”

“Not til I get my shot.” Somehow I knew if I left without getting my shot, I’d never get it at all.

“Fine. But if you die—”

“That’s not going to work this time. You want me to go, get me my shot.”

“I can’t at the moment. There’s a little matter of an army on the front lawn.”

“Ok, fine,” I said. “I’ll wait.” And I crossed my arms and met Kevin with my best don’t fuck with me, stare. Kevin just threw his arms in the air and started for the front door.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Matt. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m going out there to see what they want,” said Kevin.

“What, you mean by yourself, all alone?”

“Yup.”

“But you’re so… so… small.”

“That’s the point. I’m still just a kid. Odds are they won’t just open fire on me. You guys on the other hand… “

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” said Matt. “But what if you’re wrong? What if they do start taking shots at you?”

“Then you guys will have to come and bail me out.”

Matt thought about it for a second. “Ok, Kev, we’ve got your back. But I still don’t think you should go alone.”

“Maybe you’re right,” said Kevin. “Caleb, you come too.”

“Me?” I said at the same time Matt said, “Him?”

“Sure, just look at that baby face. No one’s going to shoot at that.”

I had a mustache coming in and at least three zits. What the hell did he mean, baby face? Fuck you,” I said.

“Sure, he’s real cute—as long as he doesn’t open his mouth,” grinned Matt.

Ha. Ha. Very funny. Suddenly I was a big joke—no, more like a little joke.

“Well, Caleb,” said Kevin, “You coming with me or are you scared of the big guns?”

“I’m not scared of them,” I said, even though I was a little.

“Then let’s go.” And Kevin headed out the front door. I followed right after him.

Neither of us said anything as we crossed the front yard toward the army. Those tanks looked really big and I was sorry that Matt or one of the other guys wasn’t with us, because if one of those tanks opened fire on us, we’d be dead real quick. But it didn’t seem to bother Kevin any. He just walked right up to the first jeep and started talking to the guy in the back seat. I guess he must have been the general or something because he had the most bars and stuff on his uniform.

“Hi,” said Kevin. “What’s up?”

“Good afternoon, young man,” said the General. “You having some trouble here?”

“No,” said Kevin. “We’re all good here.”

The general kind of frowned and looked hard at Kevin. “You sure about that?” Oh oh. It looked like the General didn’t believe Kevin.

“Absolutely,” said Kevin. Wow, he was a great liar. He didn’t even blink. Even I believed him. I guess it came from all those years of pulling practical jokes.

“Then why in the name of hell did Gibbons send for us?”

“Mr. Gibbons sent for you?”

“This morning, and he better have a good explanation for it. You tell him to come out here straight away.”

“I don’t know,” said Kevin. “He’s kind of busy.”

“I don’t give a rat’s ass how busy he is,” roared the General. “Tell him to come out here.”

Kevin and I turned to go back, but the General stopped us with a word.

“Just a minute, son. What happened to your front door?” Kevin turned pale. The fact was we didn’t have a front door, not any more. Fish had demolished it last night, and now there was nothing but a twelve foot high, eight foot wide gaping hole in the side of the house

“Oh, that,” said Kevin, for the first time sounding a little uncertain. “We had kind of an accident.”

“What sort of accident?”

“I better let Mr. Gibbons explain,” said Kevin, and he grabbed me by the hand and pulled me back toward the house. As soon as we were inside, Kevin looked up at the muscle giants towering over us and asked, “Are the normal kids gone yet?”

“Yeah,” said Matt. “Mikey just took them down to the basement a minute ago. Why? How did it go with the army? What did they say?”

“This isn’t going to work. We have to get out of here.”

“What?” cried Glen. “Why are we letting them push us around?”

“Because they have things called tanks,” cried Kevin. “Remember?”

“So what?” said Glen, flexing his insanely huge arms. “I’ve got a couple of tanks right here, growing out of my shoulders. I’ll put my guns up against theirs any day.” Glen’s little display set the rest of the guys flexing too. They were all fucking massive, and each one of them seemed to want to fight the army. And suddenly I felt this overpowering urge to get huge and help them. I wanted to be out there battling tanks with my bare hands. That thought was beyond cool.

“What the fuck is the matter with you guys?” cried Kevin. “They’re going to blow you to pieces!”

“Maybe not,” said Matt, feeling his own boulder of a bicep. “Beside, we’re probably going to have to go up against the army sooner or later anyway. Why not now?”

“You’re crazy,” said Kevin. “The fucking change has affected your brains.”

“You just don’t understand,” said Matt, flexing some more. “You don’t understand how it feels to be this big, this powerful. It’s fucking awesome.”

“If growing that big fries your brain, I don’t want to understand.”

“But you will,” said Matt. “Sooner or later, you’re going to change. You have no choice. Like it or not, you’re going to be just like us.”

Kevin went silent. I could tell he didn’t like that thought at all.

“Why don’t you do it now?” said Matt. “No sense putting it off. Besides, we could use another guy.”

“No,” said Kevin. “Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. The accelerant was destroyed.”

“Then how did they grow Brad?”

“What?”

“They grew Brad after you swiped the accelerant. So, they must have more. The lab is right over there. Go help yourself.” Matt flexed again. His titanic arms swelled up huge and hard. Then he said, almost to himself, “So much fucking muscle, so much fucking strength. I can’t fucking believe how good this feels. You can feel it too, Kevin. Go on, go become one of us.” Kevin looked uncertain.

Kevin may have had trouble making up his mind, but I didn’t. “Come on, Kevin. You promised to give me my shot.” Kevin looked at me, then he looked at the lab door. For a second he seemed frozen. Then he finally seemed to make up his mind. He turned to Matt.

“Look,” he said. “First of all, I don’t think this is the army. It looks like it’s just the National Guard.”

“What’s the difference?”

“The difference is these guys are all pharmacists and auto mechanics, not exactly the same thing as a professional soldier. None of them have probably ever seen any kind of action.”

“That’s good, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but don’t let it go to your heads, cause you guys don’t have any experience either and I’m willing to bet they’re better trained than we are.”

Matt nodded slowly. He seemed to be taking it all in.

Secondly, they don’t seem to know what’s been going on here. At least they’re not expecting anything big. You guys should be quite a surprise to them. The guy in charge wants Gibbons to go out there. I’m guessing when he doesn’t show, they’ll send someone in after him. Hell, the general might even come in himself. Anyway, you can take out whoever they send—don’t kill them or anything, just knock ‘em out or lock ‘em up or something. You might be able to get a lot of them that way, reduce their numbers first. Don’t rush out to meet them. Make them come to you.”

Matt nodded. “Ok, Kev, that sounds good. Now, go get massive, then come back here and help us pound them.” Matt drove his fist into his palm for emphasis and I felt the wind from it. If I’d been wearing a hat it would have been knocked it off. Fuck. I couldn’t wait to be like him.

Kevin’s eyes kept looking from one behemoth to another. He looked like he didn’t know what to do again. “I don’t want to pound anyone,” he said.

“Get your shot,” said Matt. Feel your body grow hard with power. Watch your muscles explode with mass, ripping their way out of your clothes. See the world shrink around you as you keep growing bigger and more massive until you’re impossibly huge and muscular, with arms that can crush rocks into sand. You’ll feel different then.”

I sure as hell didn’t need to hear more. “I’ll help you pound them,” I said.

“Of course you will,” said Matt. “You guys both go get your shots.”

That couldn’t come soon enough for me. “Come on, Kevin. Let’s go,” I said pulling his arm toward the lab. He followed after me reluctantly.

The lab didn’t actually have a door anymore either. At some point, one of us must have busted his way out of there, leaving another twelve foot high, eight foot wide hole in the wall. And when we stepped through it, the lab looked empty. Kevin went straight to a glass fronted refrigerator and looked inside.

“It’s not here,” he said. “There’s nothing but Inhibitor and real vitamin shots.”

“That’s right,” said a voice.

I looked over and there were Doctor Myers, Doctor Sawyer and Doctor Burns. Doctor Myers had a gun. “You two just stay right where you are,” she said. I didn’t know what to do. I got scared. Damn! If only I were a behemoth already, then I’d show them. I wouldn’t be sacred of anything then. But I wasn’t. I was still just a kid and I sure didn’t want to get shot, so I did what she said. So did Kevin.

“Shoot them,” said Dr. Sawyer. “Shoot them now, before they change.”

“They can’t change, you idiot,” said Doctor Burns. Kevin’s inhibitor shot is good for another two days and Caleb hasn’t been fully processed yet.

“They managed it,” said Dr. Sawyer pointing toward the front hall. His arm was shaking.

“Well, now we know what happened to our missing accelerant,” said Dr. Myers. “That was you, wasn’t it?” she said, waving the gun in Kevin’s direction.

“I don’t want to become a monster,” said Kevin. “I don’t want to be like them. Is there anyway out of it?”

Doctor Myers looked at him for a moment before she spoke. “There might be,” she said. “But if I’m to help you, you have to promise to do exactly as I say.”

Suddenly Kevin got really quiet, and when he spoke it was almost a whisper. “What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“Kevin! Don’t do it,” I shouted. “Don’t do anything they say!” But he ignored me.

“First of all,” said Dr. Myers, “Where’s the rest of the accelerant? I counted twelve subjects who have entered cascade. Which means there are at least eighteen doses unaccounted for.”

“They’re smashed,” said Kevin. “A wall fell on them.”

“Kevin, you traitor!” I shouted.

“Good, that’s good,” said Doctor Myers. “That means we only have to deal with those twelve.” She walked over to a lab bench and picked up a canister like the one Gibbons had said would kill everyone. She handed it to Kevin. “I want you to walk into the middle of your friends and open this canister.”

“What will it do? It won’t kill them, will it?” asked Kevin.

“No, of course not,” said Dr. Myers. “It will only… knock them out.”

“Don’t believe them, Kevin,” I shouted.

“Burns, Sawyer,” said Doctor Myers, “why don’t you take young Caleb here and lock him in the storeroom.”

I tried to make a break for it but the doctors caught me pretty quickly. No matter how hard I struggled, the two adults managed to force me into the storeroom. The last thing I saw was Kevin heading back out to the front hall with the cylinder behind his back. That bastard! Then I was pushed into the small room and they locked the door behind me. FUCK! I was getting pretty tired of being shoved around by everybody all the time! I pounded on the door, but it was no use. All I did was hurt my fist. My friends were about to be killed and there was nothing I could do about it.

The storeroom was dark. But feeling my way around I felt something brush my face. It was a string. I pulled it and a light came on. There really wasn’t much to see. Just shelves filled with bottles, jars and boxes. They were all labeled but I had no idea what they were. But there was also a stainless steel fridge in the room. My heart started beating faster. What if my shot was in there? I pulled the door but it wouldn’t budge. It was locked! Crap!

Suddenly I heard some loud noises coming from the lab. It was like the lab tables were being knocked over. Someone was shouting. Then there were a couple of gun shots, then nothing. What was going on? Did someone get shot? I hoped it was Kevin. That bastard deserved it.

Then I heard someone at the door. They were unlocking it. I stood back out of the way so I would see them before they saw me. And when the door finally opened, it was Kevin. I didn’t have to think about it. I jumped on him. I must have caught him by surprise because I knocked him to the ground. I wasn’t really expecting to do that but I took full advantage of it and just started pounding him, just hitting him with everything I had.

“Jesus, Caleb, stop!” He shouted. But I didn’t listen. I was way too pissed. He’d killed all the guys and now I would never get my final treatment. I wanted to hurt him and hurt him bad. Suddenly I felt an iron grip close around my middle. Someone was lifting me off of Kevin, someone huge. I twisted around. It was Mega Matt. Mega Matt had survived. “You!” I cried. “It’s you. But Kevin… He killed you.”

Mega Matt just laughed. “Are you fucking kidding me? He saved us… again.”

“What?”

“He tricked those assholes into giving him their secret weapon and then he handed right over to us. Then I came in and finished them off.” He pointed. The three scientists were slumped unconscious against the wall. “If Kevin hadn’t done that, who knows how many of us they would have gotten with their little gas bomb.”

Shit! I’d been punked! I felt so stupid. “You could have told me,” I said to Kevin.

“No,” he said getting up and rubbing his jaw where I’d hit him. “You were the one who really sold my story. If you hadn’t been so pissed, I don’t think they would have believed me, at least not so easily.”

I should have guessed that’s what he was doing. This wasn’t the first time I’d been the victim of one of Kevin’s jokes.

“So, “he said, “let’s find you your shot.”

“Seriously?”

“On second thought, I don’t know if I should. You hit me like that again after you change and you’ll take my head off.”

“I promise never to hit you again! Never, never, never!”

“Ok, ok,” said Kevin laughing. “I’m going to hold you to that.” Then he looked around and saw the fridge. “Well, what have we got here?”

“It’s locked,” I said.

“I bet one of our friends over there has the key,” said Kevin waving toward the three unconscious doctors.

“Don’t bother,” said Mega Matt. Then he reached one of his massive arms in through the storeroom door—that was about the only part of him that would fit. He wrapped one of his enormous hands around the fridge and said, “You guys might want to step back.” He didn’t have to tell me twice. I backed up against the far wall and Kevin disappeared back into the lab. Then with a sudden jerk, he yanked the fridge out of the storeroom and into the lab. The door wasn’t quite big enough, but a little thing like a wall didn’t even slow him. He ripped the fridge right through the door and part of the wall came with it as easily as if there hadn’t been anything there at all. Then he held the fridge in one hand, and tore the door off with the other. Then he crumpled the stainless steel door up like a scrap of paper and tossed it away! Man, I wanted arms like that.

He set the fridge back down and Kevin walked up to it and peered in. “The key would have worked just as well,” He said.

“Yeah,” said Mega Matt, “but it wouldn’t have been any fun.”

Kevin was going through the fridge looking at all the different bottles and packages.

“Is it in there?” I asked. “Did you find it?”

Kevin produced a small brown bottle. “Yup. This is it.”

“Fuck yeah!” I shouted “Give it to me. Can you give it to me now? Do you need a syringe, ‘casue I know where they keep ‘em.” I was hopping up and down.

“Yeah,” said Kevin sighing. “We’re going to need a syringe.” That was all I needed to hear. I raced out into the lab and over to the cupboard where they kept the syringes. I had had so many shots in this place, I could have found them in the dark. I grabbed a bag and pulled it open. A bunch of wrapped syringes fell out on to the ground. At first I started to pick them all up, but then I thought screw it, and grabbed one, left the rest on the floor and ran back. But then I thought what about the accelerant? I’d need some of that too. So I doubled back and I grabbed a second syringe and started back but then I thought what about Kevin? He was going to need one too. So I doubled back again and grabbed a third syringe and then I ran back to the broken fridge. “Here,” I said handing the syringes to Kevin. He looked kind of confused.

“Three?” he said. “You’re only need one shot.” But then I said, “What about the accelerant. I want some of that too.” And then he said, “I don’t know, Caleb. I don’t think it’ll work right after your final treatment.” But then I said, “I want some anyway.” So then he said, “Well let’s see what happens when you get your final shot.” So I rolled up my sleeve and stuck my arm out toward him.

He paused for a moment and for one terrible second I thought he had changed his mind and wasn’t going to give it to me after all. But he did. He stuck the syringe in the bottle, filled it and then jabbed me in the arm with it. I felt the cool liquid spread out inside of me. It was just like most of the other shots I’d gotten since I’d been there. I knew it was different but it didn’t really feel any different.

“When’s it going to happen?” I asked. “When do I grow?”

Kevin shrugged. “I don’t know. Wait a couple of minutes and see what happens.”

I looked up a Mega Matt. “How long did it take for you to grow?” I asked.

“Dude, it happened right away. I started bulking up almost instantly.” He flexed his arm like he was remembering what it felt like.

“Yeah, but you had been fully processed for months,” said Kevin. “And you used the accelerator.”

“So, give me some accelerator,” I said.

“There was some in the fridge,” said Kevin, “but I don’t know what it will do to you. It might not work. It might hurt you.”

“I don’t care. Just give me some.” He just kind of stood there looking at me.

“Look, you wanted to grow and now you’re going to. I just don’t know when. Taking accelerator is stupid. It’s a stupid, unnecessary risk.”

Before I could say anything else, Mega Lenny came thundering in. “Hey Matt,” he said. “I think the soldiers are on their way.”

“Fuck,” said Matt. “I’ve gotta go. What about it, Kevin?”

“I’m not giving Caleb the accelerator.”

“Who’s talking about Caleb? What about you? Time to get huge.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, come on Kevin, you’ll fucking love it. I promise. Besides, this is it, the big battle. We’re going to need every man we can get.”

“I… I—”

“You’re not going to let us down, are you?”

“I can’t just… Now? Right this second?”

“You could wait til tomorrow, but I’m betting the battle will be over by then.”

Kevin looked down at the two unused syringes in his hand.

“I brought an extra one for you.” I said. He looked at me in a shock-scared kind of way.

“Five minutes, just give me five minutes,” he said.

“Ok,” said Mega Matt, “But if you wait any longer it’ll probably be too late.” Then he turned and thundered out of the lab with Mega Lenny following after him.”

“Are you going to do it?” I asked.

“Get out of here, Caleb. I mean it. Go to the tunnels and run as far and as fast as you can. If they turn those tanks on this house it will be kindling in no time.”

“I’m not going. I want to help,” I said.

“There’s nothing you can do,” he said.

“Maybe there would be, if you’d give me some accelerant.”

“And maybe it would kill you? I don’t think so.”

“It won’t kill me. But the army might. If you give me the shot at least I’ll be able to go out fighting.”

“If you run now, you can hide someplace. They won’t find you.”

“Hide? Where? Where’s a twelve-foot high guy going to hide? They’ll find me sooner or later. This way at least I can stand by my friends.”

Kevin shook his head, sighed and filled the syringe.

“Is that for me or for you?” I asked.

“You. After I change, my hands’ll be too big to do this.” He reached over hand gave me the shot in my arm. Then he stood back. I closed my eyes and waited for something to happen. Nothing. There was nothing.

“What’s going on? Why didn’t I change?” I cried.

“I told you I wasn’t sure it would work. You’d better get out of here. There’s no way you could survive this battle now.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll do it. I just need a minute. Now, get out of here. Go find Mikey and the others. Stick with them. You might just get your heroic last stand after all. Although I really hope you’ll find a better way.”

“But—“

“No more buts. Get out of here while you still can.”

I hesitated. I didn’t want to go.

“Go, damn it!”

Slowly, without really wanting to, I turned and headed for the basement. I felt like I was running out on my friends. But since the accelerant hadn’t worked, I really didn’t have a choice. Kevin was right. I could find Mikey and everybody else. And when that battle came, I knew I’d be ready. I’d be huge and unstoppable.

I made my way quickly through the front hall. All the guys were there, waiting quietly in the shadows. Mega Kenny nodded at me. “Later, Caleb,” he said. It was funny to think I might not see him again. Suddenly I didn’t really care about the whole arm wrestling thing.

“Good luck, Kenny,” I said and then I just didn’t want to hang around anymore so I booked it down to the basement. It wasn’t hard to find the entrance to the tunnel. A huge hole had been smashed in the basement wall. I went through it and into the dark tunnels beyond.

I hadn’t gone very far when I noticed something weird. There weren’t any lights in the tunnel. It should be pitch dark. So how could I see?—only dimly, but I shouldn’t have been able to see at all.

I started on my way again, but then I heard something behind me. I turned and looked. I could barely make out something moving in the dark. I looked like it might have been a person. Not a behemoth, but a regular sized person.

“Who’s there?” I called. No one answered, but I could see someone coming toward me. Was it one of the guys? It could have been someone like me, someone who hadn’t changed yet. They were all supposed to have come this way. Maybe he got separated from everyone else.

“Rob, is that you?” It kind of looked like Rob.

The guy still didn’t answer and he was getting close. It was starting to creep me out. This was just the sort of thing Kevin or Mikey would do, but there was no way this guy was either one of them.

I took a step back and the guy spoke. “Look who we have here,” he said. There was no mistaking that voice. It was Blotz. Fuck. I turned and started to run but he was on me in two seconds. He knocked me to the ground, turned me around so I was face up and jumped on top of me. I tried to get away from him. But I couldn’t. He was too heavy and too strong. He put his face right up against mine. I remember thinking he was wearing some king of goggles, probably night vision.

“Get the fuck off me,” I shouted.

“We never finished our little wrestling match,” he said, “because you pulled an illegal move.”

“Fuck you.”

“But don’t worry about it. I won’t hold it against you—much.” He stuck out his tongue and licked my face. Uch! It was disgusting.

“What are you doing? Stop it!” Then he hit me, right across the jaw. Fuck, it hurt. Then he hit me again. It hurt so fucking much. I started to cry. I didn’t want to. I really didn’t want to. But I couldn’t help myself.

“Now you’re not going to give me anymore trouble, are you?”

“No,” I squeaked. God, I sounded like such a baby. I hated myself for sounding like that. But I was so scared. I hated myself for being so scared.

“Good boy,” he said. “You ever give head?”

I shook my head. I may never have done it but I sure as hell knew what it was. Oh God, what was he going to make me do?

“Today you learn a new skill.” He sat up on me and began to undo his belt.

“You put that thing near my mouth and I’ll bite it off.”

“I thought we agreed no trouble.” He raised his hand to hit me again. But when his fist came down to strike me I put I my hand instinctively to block it. I couldn’t block his blow but I managed to slow it down enough so that when it hit me, it didn’t hurt. I was kind of surprised I could do that much. From the look on his face, he was too.

He grabbed my wrist and forced my arm to the side. “No resistance, Sport. That’s going to cost you a penalty.” Then he got ready to hit me again. This time, I caught his fist with my other hand and stopped it cold. But I couldn’t have. He was an adult. I was just a kid. What was he doing? Was he playing mind games with me? No. No, he wasn’t. I could tell from the expression on his face. He was trying as hard as he could to force my arm to the ground with his fist and I was holding my own. Fuck. How could I do that? Was I changing? I had to be.

And as soon as I thought it, I began to feel it. Hard lumps were forming on my arms, on my chest, all over my body. I could definitely feel myself getting stronger.

I was also starting to see a lot better in the dark. I could see the amazement and frustration on Blotz’s face when he couldn’t force my arm to the ground. And suddenly, holding him back wasn’t any challenge at all. Oh my god. He couldn’t touch me. He was trying as hard as he could and he couldn’t touch me! I was safe. I felt so relieved I almost cried again. But then I remembered how he had made me cry earlier and I got mad. I tried to force his hand back. I pushed as hard as I could. At first it wouldn’t budge but then slowly I began to force it back. I was doing it! I was actually pushing him away from me. I saw the confusion on his face and I grinned. I couldn’t help it. I wondered what else I could do. I tried squeezing his fist.

“Ahh,” he cried. There was a look of shock and pain on his face as he noticed, at the same time I did, just how thick and muscular my forearms had suddenly become. I thought they looked awesome. I don’t think he agreed. In fact, I think that was the moment he realized what was happening. He looked scared. Good.

“But, you’re not one of them,” he stuttered.

“You sure about that?” I said. I could feel those hard lumps bulging and swelling under my clothes as I grabbed both of his wrists and squeezed as hard as I could. I heard some cracking as I felt his bones cracking under my thickening fingers.

“God damn it!” he shouted. He tired to pull away, but I wasn’t about to let him go. I had him now and I wanted him to know it.

My breath was coming faster now. But the sensation… Ahhhhhh fuck! I was changing. I could feel it. My muscles were shifting under my skin, changing shape, getting even bigger, even harder. And it felt so fucking good. I could feel my rock hard pecs becoming rounder, fuller, pressing out against my t shirt. They felt so fucking strong. And they just kept getting bigger. And my back—growing broader, thicker. So fucking powerful. My body was stretching out longer. My t-shirt bottom slid up, and I could feel a breath of cold air hit my bare stomach as my skin tightened and my abs began to form into solid bricks. Oh fuck, this was awesome!

Without letting go of Blotz, I stood up, pulling him with me. I was so fucking strong now. And I was taller too, even if I wasn’t as tall as Blotz. Not yet anyway. But I was stronger then him, oh yeah, much fucking stronger. I could feel him pulling against me, but I held him tight without much effort at all. And I could feel myself continuing to grow, continuing to bulk, continuing to get stronger. My iron-like thighs were thickening, straining against my pants and my t-shirt was stretching tight as my growth slowly and steadily continued to pack it with swelling, heaving, bulging muscle. My shoulders were expanding into softballs, and my biceps were becoming a couple of grapefruits, with huge, thick, pulsing veins running right down the middle, and my forarms were already pretty thick. I had large, powerful arms now. Fuck yeah!

Blotz yanked his arm, trying to break free. Not a chance.

“What’s the matter?” I asked him. “Don’t you want to finish wrestling?” Then I flexed my rock hard pecks, felt them strain against the cloth, and suddenly my t-shirt tore apart as they exploded out of it. They were huge, twin striated orbs of power. Fuck, they were beautiful.

“Let go of me, you fucking freak!” screamed Blotz.

“Don’t you like my new look?” I asked. And then while keeping hold of him with my left hand, I slowly flexed my right arm. I loved the feel of that hard mass of powerful flesh as it slowly swelled up on my upper arm. I could hear the snap, snap, snap as the threads began to break and then the long riiiiiiip as my gigantic bicep erupted out of my sleeve. It was a fucking boulder!

“For the love of God, let me go,” begged Blotz. That was good. I wanted to hear him beg. I wanted to hear him beg a lot. I wanted to completely terrorize him, the way he had terrorized me. I wanted to see him cry like a baby, the way he had made me cry. And it was starting to work. He was scared but not scared enough. I would have to get bigger for that, a lot bigger. And I didn’t seem to be changing as fast as the other kids did. I needed some time.

“I’ll make you a deal,” I said. “We’ll play a game.”

“A game?”

“Yeah, it’s called Hide and Go Seek in the Dark. You hide and I’ll seek. If you get away, then… you get away.”

“You mean it?”

I nodded. “But if I catch you, I’m going to fucking break you in pieces.” Even in that dim light I could see him go pale. I let him go and he made a break for the house. I ran in front of him and cut him off. Man, I was fast now.

“Uh, uh, uh, not that way,” I said, and I pointed deeper into the mine. “That way.”

“I’ll get lost,” he said.

“I never said it was going to be easy.”

“You’re too fast,” he said. “I’ll never get away.”

“I’ll count to ten.” And then I started counting. At first he didn’t seem to know what to do. It took him until I hit three before he turned and ran into the mine. I could actually hear his footsteps against the rocky ground as he moved away from me. I could tell exactly what direction he had gone in, and about how far away he was. How fucking awesome was that?

Some kind of seizure hit me. “Nunngh!” I cried as I doubled over. It wasn’t exactly painful, just kind of like an explosion of pressure. I felt my body expand in one quick surge. I was suddenly thicker. My arms, my back, my chest, everything felt like they were covered in even thicker layers of solid muscle. I don’t know how to describe it. I’d never felt anything like it before, but it was the most amazing sensation I’d ever had in my life. I straightened up and I was taller, a lot taller, at least as tall as Blotz. I looked down at my left bicep, bulging in the sleeve, now stretched to its limits. I flexed my left arm but didn’t even get half way before it blew the sleeve to pieces as it exploded with size and power. Fuck, I was huge. So fucking strong now. And I knew I’d be getting bigger. Much fucking bigger. I was suddenly sorry I’d let Blotz go. How fucking awesome would it be to have him watch me as I just kept getting bigger, as muscles exploded out all over me. I wanted to watch his fear grow as I did. I had to find him. I could hear him scampering around in the tunnels ahead, going this way, that way, desperately trying to find his way through the maze of passages. He’d never get away from me.. Never.

I started walking in his direction, taking my time. My sneakers were gone, blown apart by that surge of growth. But somehow I didn’t mind the feel of the rocky floor against my bare feet. My feet were tougher now. All of me was tougher now. My legs felt awesome, like I could walk forever and I’d never get tired. Every time I took a step, I could feel my thighs flex and bulge against the inside of my pant legs, stretching them tight. My pant cuffs were high now, up around my calves. As I walked I felt my engorged muscles rip through them. Awesome.

I could tell Blotz was just ahead of me. He had stopped moving around and I guessed he must have heard me coming. My enormous body wasn’t exactly quiet as I thudded down the tunnel. He was either hiding or he was setting up some kind of ambush. I flexed my right arm and felt my huge bicep ball up into a steely powerful mass. He could ambush me all he wanted. I wasn’t afraid of him, not any more.

I rounded a corner and felt something slam into my stone-like abs. I stumbled back, more from the surprise than the impact. When I looked, I saw Blotz standing there with an old sledge hammer he must have found somewhere. Holy crap! He looked really small now. I must have grown some more while I was walking. I was much taller than him, by at least a foot, and about twice as wide. Fuck yeah! I was huge, so fucking strong. I could tell from the shocked expression on his face, he hadn’t expected me to be quite this big. I hoped I kept on surprising him.

He lifted the hammer and took another swing; but this time I caught the head in my hand and held it tight. He tried to pull it away from me. He was heaving and heaving and he couldn’t even budge my arm. What a fucking trip! I began squeezing the head, harder and harder and I began to feel it compress. My fingers were slowly sinking into to the solid piece of steel, leaving indelible impressions in the cold metal.

Blotz saw what I was doing to his hammer and he suddenly dropped the handle and stood back in terror. I continued to squeeze, crushing the metal. My forearms were just bulging all over with hard corded sinew. My face broke out in a shit-eating grin. I couldn’t help it. With my bare hands I was making the solid steel collapse in upon itself like it was an aluminum can. I was a fucking monster! I dropped the destroyed hammer and turned my attention to Blotz. “Did you like that?” I said. “Next, I think I’ll do that to your head.”

“Please don’t,” he whimpered.

I was about to answer him when I felt another growth seizure hit me. “Nuuungh,” I cried as I felt my legs explode out of my pants and my arms grow longer and thicker. Pound after pound of bulk was just erupting out on my chest and back. It was like I was some kind of muscle volcano, it was just busting out of me., making me huge, unstoppable.And as I grew, I pulled a most muscular, displaying my bulking body for Blotz. He was fucking scared shitless.

“Keep away from me you freak!” He cried.

“I think its time you called me Mr. Freak,” I answered as I took a step toward him. “And pretty soon now, I’ll be calling you Mr. Greasy-Spot-On-The-Floor.”

Suddenly Blotz grabbed a pickaxe. I don’t know where he got it. I hadn’t seen it lying there. For a second I thought he was going to take a swing at me, but he didn’t. Instead he took a swing at an old wooden support beam. The thing shifted and all kinds of rocks and dirt fell from the ceiling. Holy crap, that guy was going to burry us both alive!

“What the—?” was all I got out before he swung again. Instinctively, I raised my arm to block the falling debris.

“If I have to go,” said Blotz, “I’m taking you with me.” And then he swung a third time. I raced to stop him but I was too late. The pickaxe connected with the splintered beam and it shattered. Suddenly there was a cascade of rocks and dirt raining down on me, smashing me, covering me and then there was darkness. I couldn’t breath. Desperately I forced my powerful limbs to move through the rubble, pushing against it, moving through it. It felt like each time I moved some of the rocks, even more would cascade down to fill in the gap. But I kept pushing and shoving and inching my way forward. Breathing was the worst part. Every time I opened my mouth sand and dirt would rush in. I had to rely on my nose and hardly any air was getting in. But still I struggled on, and just when I thought I would pass out, I finally tumbled out. I looked back at the wall of stone and dirt I had just emerged from. It had closed up again, like I had never been there. I laid there gasping for breath for a few minutes, just glad to be alive. I stared at my massive bulging arms and realized I had them to thank for my life. Then I saw it: a pale, limp hand sticking out from the rubble. I pushed the rocks aside and uncovered Blotz’s face. Even I could tell he was dead. The guy had tried to kill both of us, but I was so fucking strong now, he’d only been half successful. I’d never seen a dead guy before, but I didn’t feel sorry, or even happy. I was just glad it was over. He’d never mess with anyone ever again.

I heard a tremendous explosion come from above my head, as more debris fell from the ceiling. I guessed the battle must have started. I decide to go back. I may not be quite as big as the others yet, but I was still growing and I knew I could find some way to help them. So without another thought, I headed back towards the house as fast as I could.

That’s what happened, I swear. You pretty much know the rest.

Finale

MIKEY

The mid afternoon sun beat down on the lazy road as it wound through the quiet forested countryside. A lone squirrel, nose twitching, sauntered out onto the blacktop unconcerned. Cars seldom bothered this lonely stretch, and there was nothing to impede the squirrel’s natural curiosity about what lay on the other side.

Or was there?

Something was coming, not down the road, but from the woods. A tremendous disturbance deep in the forest was slowly and relentlessly moving forward, coming closer and closer to the road. The squirrel froze for a split second and then vanished into the woods just as, in an explosion of leaves and branches, a large figure burst out onto the road. At first glance the figure was a young man, but a young man of such gigantic proportions, that he almost transcended the definition and required a new classification. Covered in dirt and grime, he was nearly eight feet tall, and his build—muscular was an understatement. His only clothing was the raged remains of a pair of shredded jeans, which like an overstressed loin cloth, stubbornly clung to a body much larger than they were ever intended to cover.

The young giant looked around for a moment, surveying the emptiness of the area, before he reached into the tattered rag he wore and pulled out a small object—a plastic kazoo. He raised it to his lips and blew “shave and a haircut… before turning around and calling into the trees.

“It’s ok,” he said. “We made it.”

Answering his call, a procession of teenage boys stumbled out of the forest and walked out on to the road blinking at the assault of direct sunlight. They were all just as grimy as the giant, but ordinary in size and fully clothed. They looked up and down the road, completely disoriented.

“We made it where, Mikey?” asked one of them. “It doesn’t look like anyplace, just a road.”

“Just a road?” the giant answered. “There’s no such thing as just a road. This road, this highway, this thoroughfare will connect you with any other road, highway, or thoroughfare in the entire country. You can go anywhere you want. A thousand miles that way,” he said pointing to the right, “and you’ll wind up in New York City. Two thousand miles that way,” he pointed to the left, “and you can be surfing the Pacific.

“Or if you’re not feeling that ambitious, you can go about a mile down, hang a right and head into town.”

“You think we should go into town?” asked Rob.

“Granted the Big Apple has a better theater district,” said Mikey, “but local hotel rates are far more reasonable.”

“But we don’t have any money at all.”

Mikey looked down at the diminutive teen standing beside him and sighed. He didn’t know why they expected him to lead them. Maybe it was because he was so damn big. Or maybe it was because he always had the best ideas. Ok, maybe he did know why they expected him to lead them.

“Go into town,” he said. “Tell them you don’t remember who you are or where you came from. Someone will take you in, clean you up, feed you, put you up for the night.”

“You sound like you’re not coming with us.”

“I’m not,” said Mikey. “I’m going back.”

Shock and surprise radiated from Rob’s features, but almost instantly settled into a grim determination. “Then we’re going with you.”

“Don’t be stupid. What can you do?”

“I don’t know. What can you do?”

Suddenly Mikey slammed his massive fist into a tree. The trunk splintered and the tree came crashing to the ground.

“Ok,” said Rob. “Point taken.”

“Just take the rest of the guys into town, Rob.”

“That’ll probably work for tonight but what about tomorrow? Some of us are going to start growing.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “How are you feeling?”

“Me? Fine.”

“Any pins and needles, you know, like when your foot falls asleep?”

Rob slowly shook his head. “No.”

“Then you still have some time. If things go well at The Orphanage, we’ll come for you. We won’t desert you. If things don’t go well—” He paused. He wasn’t quite sure how to say it. “Look, if there’s one thing I do know it that if there’s a place for us in this world, it’s not going to be something we find. It’s going to be something we make. And if we don’t come for you by tomorrow, you’re going to have to make it without us.”

Rob looked stunned, as if he’d never considered the possibility of going on without the other guys. “You’d better fucking come for us,” he finally said, the words coming out thickly from his throat.

“Count on it, bro,” said Mikey, and he turned and walked quickly back into the forest. He hadn’t gone far when he suddenly broke into a jog. He could move faster now—now that he didn’t have the little guys to worry about, and he was in a hurry. Not just to get into battle, although that was certainly weighing on his mind. The real reason he was hurrying was to get back to someone he had left behind, someone who meant an awful lot to him. Just how much, he was only starting to realize.


KEVIN

“I’ll do it. I just need a minute,” Kevin shouted at Caleb. “Now, get out of here. Go find Mikey and the others. Stick with them. You might just get your heroic last stand after all. Although I really hope you’ll find a better way.”

“But—”began the short, skinny13-year-old.

“No more buts. Get out of here while you still can.” What was the matter with the kid? Didn’t he know what was about to happen? Why was he hesitating? “Go, damn it!”

Kevin watched Caleb hesitantly turn and disappear into the front hall. At last the kid had seen reason and left. Now all the normal kids were gone. Only the behemoths were left, the behemoths and him. And soon, even though he wouldn’t be leaving, there would only be behemoths. He stared dully at the syringe. He knew what he had to do. But could he actually do it?

“Holy chri—“came a muffled shout from the front hall. Kevin, still clutching the syringe, hurried to the gaping hole in the wall where the door used to be and peered out. One of the guardsmen had clearly come up to the house to get Gibbons. Glen had grabbed him by wrapping one of his mammoth hands around the soldier’s head, covering not only the man’s mouth but his entire face. That explained the muffled shout. Then, with his massive shoulder barely tensing, Glen lifted the man up off the floor. The guardsman’s arms and legs were flailing around, trying to break himself free from the colossus that held him, but it was obviously useless. Glen had a shit eating grin on his face. It was clear he liked watching the soldier vainly struggle against his vastly superior size and strength. Matt stepped up and removed the man’s gun, and crinkled it up in to a wad before he tossed it on the floor.

“That’s one down,” he said.

“What do I do with him?” asked Glen who suddenly started laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“I don’t know. He’s biting me. It tickles.”

“Put him down,” said Kevin, stepping forward unable to take anymore.

“You mean let him go?” asked Glen clearly shocked.

“No, just stop torturing him.”

“Ok,” said Glen and with a flick of his wrist he sent the man flying against the wall where he slumped down unconscious next to Gibbons. Kevin rushed over to the guardsman, and putting his syringe down, he checked the soldiers pulse.

“He’s alive,” he said.

“Who cares?” said Glen. “These guys are going to try and kill us.”

“He’s right, Kev,” said Matt. “When they fire those tanks at us, they won’t be loaded with blanks. We won’t be able to play nice then. It’s kill or be killed, us against them.”

“Maybe he thinks he can weasel out of it,” said Glen. “Maybe that’s why he hasn’t changed yet. Maybe he thinks he can fool them into believing he’s still normal.”

“That’s not it at all,” said Kevin.

“Then why haven’t you changed yet?” asked Matt.

Kevin stood, looking up at Matt, shocked to the core. The one person he thought might understand, and he was just like all the others. “I can’t believe that after all I’ve done for you guys, you think I’d just run off and leave you.”

“I know you won’t,” said Glen from behind him, and then Kevin felt the prick of a needle. He whirled around, but it was too late. He could only watch as Glen tossed the empty syringe to the floor. “Time to muscle up, Dude.”

Kevin was stunned. What had Glen done? He felt like he’d just been killed. It was over. Life as he knew it was over. No more pizza joints. No more Saturday afternoon movies. No more video games. Everything was gone. Everything he knew was gone. And it was Glen. Glen had done this to him, taken the decision right out of his hands. He’d been betrayed, betrayed and violated.

Kevin felt himself grow angry. He didn’t get mad often. He kept the emotion out, resigning himself to the general unfairness of life. But now Glen had gone too far. The damn broke and the emotion flooded him. He became furious. “You shouldn’t ought to have done that,” he said. It was only a whisper, but there was ice in it, sharp, frozen ice. And even the fire he felt shooting through his veins could not melt it.

“You shouldn’t ought to have done that,” he said a little louder.

“Yeah? Well, I did,” said Glen smirking.

Sixteen years of putting up with people’s crap, of being the victim of stupid, selfish, pettiness, sixteen years of putting up with everybody’s fucking shit and it was all descending upon him at once. Every indignity he’d ever suffered flashed in front of him at once.

“YOU SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO HAVE DONE THAT!” he screamed, so incensed he couldn’t see straight. All he could understand was fury, all he could see was Glen’s smirking face, and suddenly, as if his anger had been given form and motion, his body began to change. Every vein, every muscle, every ligament started squirming under his skin. He could feel them writhing like a nest of angry snakes. He was fucking changing. He was fucking loosing himself. He looked down at his hand and watched horrified as one by one his fingers distorted and elongated, and his hands stretched out unnaturally. Strange alien growths began swelling up under his shirt, like pustules of wrath, bumps and bulges that were not him, shouldn’t be any part of him. He swatted at them, as though he could knock them off. But all that his fingers met was hard, unyielding flesh. He tried to grab a comforting handful of his fat roll only to feel it boil away under his fingers. Gone. Like so much else, it was gone. With every second his body became stranger and stranger to him. The familiar easy going chubbiness was dissolving, giving way to strange, hard protrusions that were suddenly heaving and swelling and straining his shirt. He could feel himself disappearing. Slowly slipping away and being replaced by something monstrous.

“YOU SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO HAVE DONE THAT!” he cried. And his writhing flesh, using his fury as nourishment, began to grow thicker and longer, bunching up in places, growing wider and longer in others, pushing its way out of his shirt. Buttons were popping, and cloth was tearing as engorged python-like tendons writhed and forced their way out, ripping through his clothing. He watched helplessly as his shirt was reduced to rags, torn from his back by the swelling, pulsing, angry reptile-like things his muscles had become.

And now that his chest was bare, he could hardly stand to look at its unfamiliar shape. Strange swelling mounds covered it like alien tumors, while the monstrous creatures of Rage still swarmed and bulged and grew beneath his skin, engulfing him, swallowing him whole, engorging themselves on him and then swelling out all over his body, until there was barely a speck of him, the real him, left.

But his muscles were not creatures of Rage alone. They also brought its friend and lover, Power. The monsters were rank with it. And as much as Rage consumed him, so did an overwhelming feeling of Power. And as dark and horrible as Rage was, its influence was pale and feeble next to the seductive nature of its lover. It called to Kevin. Accept the monsters, give in to the rage and he would have Power, unbelievable, raw, raging physical Power. And Power felt good, better than good, it felt awesome. It wasn’t pizza or video games, or Saturday matinees. But those things were gone. He could never have them again, but he could have Power. And it did feel really good. All he had to do was give in, give up that one last spark that was Kevin and let the rage take him, devour him, become him. And he did. He let go. And the effect was dramatic.

Already huge, he exploded with size. Gone were the snakes and tumors. At last he could see the masses of flesh for what they truly were: huge, bulging, heaving muscles, the very essence of Power, his new master, his new lover, his new all. And he wanted more, needed more, and of his master, demanded more.

And his master was generous.

Eight feet, ten feet, twelve feet tall, and still he didn’t stop. Grunting with a savage euphoria, he watched his biceps expand from the size of watermelons to car tires to tractor tires, unimaginably huge with thick veins like garden hoses running all around them and up to his planetoid sized delts. What fucking massive arms he had! They were just bulging all over with impossible steely Power. An animalistic lust for it filled him and mixed with the ever present Rage. This was what he was about now, what he’d surrendered his soul for. He must have more. He had to have more. He would be empty without it. He focused every ounce of his will on it, and it was working. His every dimension was expanding explosively. Strength and unimaginable power were flooding into him, and he derived an orgasmic pleasure from feeling his body explode all over with muscle and gorge itself with mass.

Gargantuan traps erupted from his back, thick with bulk, and angled up across his massive broadening shoulders to a neck as big around as a jumbo sized trash can. More. His lats kept spreading out wider and wider. Six feet, eight feet, ten feet across, they bulged out at least two feet thick with rock hard, undulating muscle. More. His titanic pecs bulked up as large and round and destructive as two iron wrecking balls. I must have more. His stomach exploded into twelve titanium bricks, harder and stronger than any stone ever though of being. FUCKING MORE! His legs expanded until each one was the width of two fucking oil barrels, all of the dozens of muscles outrageously huge and individually defined under his skin. And as the growth faded he let out a thundering bellow, full of pain and anguish for what he’d lost, and a savage joy for what he’d become. He surveyed his body. It was a landscape of massive undulating sinew. Nothing so powerful had ever walked the earth. And it was a tool now, a tool for his rage.

He looked around. The other behemoths stared up at him slack jawed. Next to him, they were children. He was more than three feet taller than the tallest of them and broader than three of them put together. He felt a guttural growl forming in his throat as he looked down at them. Slowly they began to back away. Suddenly his eyes focused on one of them. He was the one. He had done this to him. He had stolen everything away from him, and created the rage. And now he was going to reap his reward.

Blam! He struck out with his fist like lighting, hit his target in the jaw and sent him flying into the staircase. The wooded structure collapsed and buried the behemoth in an avalanche of broken, splintered wood. He took a step towards him, but before he could move again, the other behemoths were grabbing at him, trying to hold him back, spouting nonsense words like Stop, Kevin. What are you doing? Calm down. Words he had no use for.

One of the behemoths, Danny, was hanging on his arm. He stopped, grabbed him, and threw him off as hard as he could. The huge kid flew backwards across the room, through the wall into Gibbons office, completely destroying the room, before he flew right through the outer wall and rocketed into the world beyond. After that he lost sight of Danny. After that he didn’t care.

Glen was pulling himself out of the rubble of the staircase, and staring white faced at him. “I’m sorry, ok? Jeeze!”

But it wasn’t ok. Thanks to him, nothing was ok, and it never would be. He lunged at Glen. But his lunge was slowed, even stopped, by the ten guys who were now hanging on him, pulling him back, dragging him down.

“Jesus, Kevin,” said Matt, “calm the fuck down. Glen is not your enemy. The enemy is out there, remember?”

Vague memories of something else, some other concern, threatened to cloud his anger, so he dismissed them. He tried for Glen again, but ten guys, lay on top of him pinning him down. Ten were too many. And now they were chattering.

“Kevin’s a little pissed,” said Phil.

“Gee, you think?” said Matt. “Why the fuck did you have to shoot him up like that, Glen?”

“How was I supposed to know he’d freak. No one else did.”

“No one else had it forced on them.”

“How’d he get so big?”

“How the fuck should I know? But he’s fucking huge and its taking all fucking ten of us just to keep him pinned down. What’s the army doing?”

Glen looked out the window. “Oh fuck, they’re coming, the whole fucking bunch of them, they’re coming. They must have heard something.”

“Of course they fucking heard something. They all have to be cold stone fucking deaf not to have heard something. And we’ve got a fucking problem.”


FISH

Fish sat back on his cushioned seat and watched the countryside fly by. They were traveling fast, very fast, in fact he was sure it was unsafe. But he wasn’t really worried about an accident. Let it happen. It would be a shame to lose the vehicle, but he was in absolutely no danger. The car he was in—really it was more like a modified truck—could be reduced to a flaming mass of twisted wreckage and he would still rise from it completely unharmed. Of course his clothes would be ruined, and that would be a shame, too.

He ran his fingers over the turtleneck he wore. It was a very fine material, obviously very expensive, and designed especially for him. It clung to his body, showcasing his massive pecs, and the prominent muscle bricks that comprised his steel-like abs, leaving no doubt about the power that rested just beneath the cloth. The jacket, too, was cut deliberately tight in the arms so when he bent his limbs, his biceps pulled at the sleeves, showcasing their size and power. And Fish, himself, liked being reminded of that, it made it easy to put up with the discomfort of wearing such a tight garment.

Once again he looked out the window. They were traveling fast but it would still be sometime before they reached their destination. He picked up the remote and turned on the flat screen TV. He flipped through the channels idly. It was the middle of the afternoon. Of course, there was nothing on. And there hadn’t been time to stock up on DVD’s. Oh well, maybe he could get some from his old room for the return trip. In the mean time, he’d just have to settle with a little Halo 3.


ROB

Rob tried to flag down the pick-up as it raced past, but it was no good. They didn’t even seem to notice him or the rest of the teens sitting in the shade by the side of the road. They had been walking for some time now, and had just settled down for a brief rest. Three other vehicles had passed since they had started down the road. None of them had stopped.

He sat back down on the grass. This was just wrong. Something didn’t feel right. He shouldn’t be doing this. He should be back there helping.

He started rubbing his hands together. He was starting to feel pins and needles in them as though they were falling asleep. Suddenly, he remembered the last thing Mikey said to him. It was the fist sign, the first sign of the change. He stood up. “I’m going back.”

“What?” cried Todd, “Are you crazy?”

“Maybe,” he said. “Maybe not. Can you feel the pins and needles?”

Todd looked down and started unconsciously rubbing his hands, and Rob knew he could.

“That’s the change, Todd. Those of us who didn’t get our shots this morning, we’re starting to change. It shouldn’t be long before we start to see it.”

Todd looked himself over, looking for any difference, but it was obvious he couldn’t see one. “Yeah, maybe we are starting to change, but there’s no way you’ll get big enough to go against a tank, at least not soon enough to do any good.”

“Probably not. But there maybe something else I can do. Anyway, anything’s better than running away.”

“What about the rest of us?”

“I’m not asking anyone else to come with me.”

“I’ll go with you,” said a voice.

Rob turned and saw Anthony standing there.

“You? But you’re not… You’re not going to change.”

“Not today. Apparently I’ve got another twenty-four hours.”

“Then it’s insane for you to go.”

“Why? I don’t like running away either. And I have another reason.”

Ron looked to Todd for help, but his friend just threw up his hands.

“No, I’m sorry,” said Rob, “You can’t come with me.”

“Then I’ll just follow behind you. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going back even if you don’t.”

“Fine, come,” said Rob. “But if you get killed, it’s your own fault. Todd, you take the rest of the kids into town. It’s all on your shoulders now.”

Todd nodded and then Rob and Anthony started the long hike back.


GIBBONS

Loud noises invaded the blackness, and pulled Gibbons up the long tunnel back into consciousness. He instantly became aware of the pain. His whole body ached and his head was splitting. It quickly came back to him: the lab rats and the fight. What happened? How did it end? Where was he? Cautiously he opened his eyes. Pandemonium, he saw pandemonium. One of the subjects was on the floor. Gibbons was shocked at the size of him. He was mammoth, fifteen or sixteen feet tall, far bigger than he should have been. And his muscles were gigantic, engorged, veined mountainous masses. Gibbons started thinking about the power this thing must have and he got frightened. He’d seen a much smaller one single handedly demolish a five story building. Imagine what this one could do. It was obscene.

What’s more, it was clear something wrong with it. The mammoth one was having some kind tantrum or fit. And the other bloated rats were trying to pin him down, hold him back. It was all they could do. Gibbons didn’t want to think what would happen if they lost control of him. One of those things having a tantrum? The possibilities were too horrible to contemplate. But they were all completely engaged in containing the Mammoth. All but one, who seemed to be standing guard by the window. What had happened here? What was going on?

Carefully he took in the rest of the room. An unconscious soldier lay beside him. The National Guard was here. Good. That gave him leverage. He could save the specimens yet. Personally, he didn’t care if they got blown to kingdom come, but there were those who would care, some of whom he had to answer to.

“They’re coming,” said the one by the window. “What do we do?”

“Give yourselves up,” said Gibbons, rising to his feet. “You don’t stand a chance.”

The mammoth seemed to quiet down a little and one of the rats lifted his head to look at him. It was the leader kid, the one who had grabbed him. “Shut up, old man.”

“You sure you want me to do that, boy? Because I can get you out of this. I’m the only one who can.”

“Why would you want to help us?”

“Because each one of you cost a king’s ransom to develop, and I’d hate to see all that money wasted.” The boy grew quiet and Gibbons could tell he’d made an inroad.

“What did you have in mind?” the lead rat asked.

“You’re not going to listen to him, are you Matt?” said the one by the window.

“You can’t trust him,” said another rat.

“Yeah, he did this to us,” said a third. “This is all his fault.”

And suddenly the Mammoth stopped struggling, and Gibbons saw the thing turn its head and look at him. If rage had a face, Gibbons was now looking at it. And all that anger encased in that freakishly colossal body was a thoroughly terrifying sight. The thing let out a low, guttural grunt. It reminded him of a bull snorting. He took an involuntary step back. “What the fuck happened to him?”

“You’re asking me?” said the one called Matt. “You’re the brilliant fucking scientist. You tell us.”

“I’m not a scientist, I’m a military man, which is how I know you don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell against the Guard, unless I help you.”

“I’m listening,” said Matt.

“Matt, no!” shouted the one by the window.

“Shut up, Glen. I mean it. Or we’ll let Kevin shut you up.”

“Kevin?” said Gibbons. “Was that its name?” And suddenly the mammoth started struggling again. Only this time, Gibbons noticed the thing was staring at him. And that kid Matt noticed it, too. Time to stop fooling around. “This is what you’re going to do,” he began. “In the lab there’s a canister. It’s filled with a kind of sleeping gas. Get it. Open it. Go to sleep. That’s all there is to it. I’ll take care of the rest.”

“You want us to surrender ourselves, completely helpless, to you?”

“It either that or face those tanks. You’ll only get this chance once, boy. What’s your answer?”

“You want my answer? Ok, here it is.” He turned to the other rats. “Turn him loose, guys.”

“What?” said a rat. “Are you crazy?”

“Just do it. It’s time we showed this asshole the exit.”

Gibbons didn’t wait to hear more. He turned and ran as fast as he could. He had just made it through the gap where the door used to be, when he heard a thunderous enraged bellow coming from behind him. The sound was so powerful he could feel the vibration of it, like when he once sat too close to a subwoofer.

The vanguard of the guard unit was nearly on the porch. They had frozen at the deafening sound.

“Fall back!” shouted Gibbons. “Fall back!” And then the front of the house exploded outward. Instinctively Gibbons dropped to the ground and covered his head, trying vainly to shield himself from the shit storm of jagged wood and flying glass. He took a shard of wood in his right arm and cried out in pain. And then he felt the porch shake and heard the unmistakable boom of the mammoth’s footsteps approaching from behind. He didn’t have a second to lose.

He leapt to his feet just in time to hear the click click of automatic weapon bolts. And suddenly he was facing the business ends of an entire vanguard of rifle barrels that were pointed, primed and ready to fire.

And behind him—he didn’t have to look. He could feel the ominous presence of the mammoth towering over him like the shadow of death. It roared. He covered his ears just as the Guard opened fire.

When the first bullets struck him, his thoughts were of the incompetence of the Guardsmen. They should have let him get clear before they opened fire. Then as he fell to the ground and looked up, he caught sight of the mammoth. And he was once again horrified by the overwhelming size of the beast. And his last thought, before the final darkness came, was that he didn’t blame the Guard at all.


BRAD

Brad covered his eyes as he emerged from the tunnel. He was grateful for the ability so see so well in the dark—without it he’d never have found his way out of the mine—but now that he was back out in the sun, everything was a white haze.

As he blinked several times and his eyes started to adjust, he began to wonder what to do next. He was dreading going back to the house without Mikey. Mr. Gibbons wasn’t going to be happy he’d let the guy get away. And how was he going to explain where he’d been all this time. Yeah, Mr. Gibbons was really going to be mad. Brad wondered what kind of punishment he was likely to get. Maybe Gibbons would shrink him back down the way he was. He wouldn’t like that. He liked being big. He flexed and felt his huge right arm. Yeah, he liked it a lot. Maybe he shouldn’t go back. But he had to. He owed it to Gibbons. He owed it to the Orphanage.

Slowly he started making his way toward the road. He knew exactly in which direction it lay, exactly the same way he knew what tunnels would lead him out of the mine. It was a little weird, but it came in handy, so he accepted it.

He hadn’t gone far when he heard something coming, and coming fast. It took him a moment to realize that the commotion was still a long way off. He kept forgetting how much better he could hear these days.

Whatever it was, it was heading in his direction. Curiosity got the best of him and he decided to wait and see what it was. He doubted a few more minuets would make much difference, and after all, he wasn’t in that big of a hurry to see Gibbons again.

He sat down on a moss covered boulder and trained his eyes toward the sound. It wasn’t long before he could see leaves tremble and branches break as they were pushed out of the way of something big. Brad blinked. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Mikey, the person he most wanted to see in the world, and he was heading right for him at full speed. It wasn’t too late. He could still come out of this looking good. All he had to do was get Mikey back to Gibbons and everything would be fine.

Brad took a careful look. Mikey had definitely grown. He looked well past the eight foot mark. He’d gotten bulkier, too. But it wouldn’t help him. Brad was much fucking bigger than that, oh yeah, much fucking bigger. He waited until Mikey was only a couple of yards away before he stood up and blocked his path. “Hello, Mikey. Happy to see me?”

Mikey stopped dead in his tracks. “Brad, what hole did you crawl out of? No, wait, I think I know.”

“You are so dead.”

“That’s what you said last time. Didn’t work out that way, though, did it?”

“No mine shafts around here, asshole.”

“You sure about that, Brad? Are you really sure?”

Suddenly Brad wasn’t sure. There were abandoned coal mines all around this area. Who knew how many openings they had? He did a quick look around to see if he could spot anything. The last thing he wanted was to find himself at the bottom of another black hole. When he looked back, Mikey was gone. Fuck!

But it only took him a second to spot him again. He was running as fast as he could right for the mine. Oh no, he wasn’t going in there. Brad never wanted to see the inside of that place again. He had better get Mikey before he got there.

“Stop!” he shouted.

“Stop?” he heard Mikey call back over his shoulder. “Stop? Is that the best you can do? Why do people always call “stop” at the people they’re chasing. I mean, in the entire history of the world, has that ever once worked?”

Brad shook his head. What was that asshole babbling about? But that was ok. Let him talk. Brad was both bigger and faster than Mikey, and that’s what really counted. And in the end, he was right. Mikey was about ten feet from the mine entrance when Brad tackled him. He tried to put up a fight, but Brad outweighed him by about 900 pounds. Mikey was pinned in .67 seconds.

Brad grinned as he looked down on him. “This seems familiar,” he said. He raised his fist to pound Mikey into unconsciousness.

“Wait, wait,” said Mikey. “Don’t I get a choice?”

“Choice?” he said lowering his fist.

“Don’t you remember last time, you know, awake or not awake?”

“No, no choice.” He raised his fist again.

“Oh come on,” said Mikey “You’ve got to give me a choice.”

“Why? I don’t even like you.”

“Because, I know what’s been going on since you’ve been—you know—stuck at the bottom of a deep dark mine shaft.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Things have changed, Brad. Gibbons is out. We took over.”

“I don’t believe you.”

Mikey sighed explosively. “Ok, where were you going to take me, I mean, after you rendered me unconscious?”

“Back to the house. Where’d you think, dufus?”

“And where do you think I was going when you caught me?”

“To the mine.”

“Well, kind of. I was actually going to the house through the mine.”

“There’s no way to the house through the mine.”

“There is now. That’s what I was doing down there, opening a passage.”

“You’re a fucking liar.”

“Well, yes, but that’s beside the point.”

Ok, that was it. Brad had had enough. He raised his fist again.

“Hold it, hold it,” said Mikey. “I’ll make this simple for you. You want me to go to the house. I want me to go to the house. Therefore, I will give you no trouble.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“I don’t blame you, but in this case, you don’t have to. I make one false move and you can always pound me into oblivion.”

That sounded reasonable.

“So, will you let me get up?” asked Mikey.

Brad grunted and got up off of Mikey.

“Thank you,” said Mikey pulling himself to his feet. He turned and took a step toward the mine.

Brad grabbed his shoulder. “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?”

“Through the mine to the house.”

“I don’t think so. We’ll go through the main gate and right up to the front door—er” what’s left of it.”

“We can’t go through the front door. There’s an army on the front lawn and I don’t think they’ll let us pass.”

“An army on the front lawn? That’s got to be the stupidest lie you’ve ever told. I’d have to be a complete moron to believe that.”

Mikey opened his mouth to say something, but then seemed to think better of it. “I just can’t argue with that. You’re right. You’d have to be a complete moron. We’ll go through the front door.”

“Now you’re talking sense.”

“Fine, I’ll lead the way.”

“No, I’ll lead the way.”

“Look, Brad, if you lead the way, I’ll be walking behind you.”

“Yeah. So?”

“If I’m walking behind you, you wouldn’t see me if I tried to slip away.”

Brad had to think about this. He was pretty sure Mikey was trying to trick him, but try as he might, he just couldn’t find the hole in the logic. “Ok, you lead the way.”

“Good, let’s go.” And Mikey started off leading Brad in the most direct route toward the house, which was pretty easy since Brad had pretty much cleared a wide path on his way towards the mine that morning. As they approached the front gate, Mikey motioned for Brad to stop.

“What is it now?” asked Brad.

“It’s too quiet,” said Mikey. “An army should be making a lot more noise.”

Brad grunted disgustedly. “There is no noise because there is no army.” And Brad took three strides up to the front gate and froze. The Orphanage had a really large front yard between the gate and the house; it was about the size of a football field. And there, in front of him, was an army, in formation, fully deployed and slowly advancing on the house. He took three strides back and looked shell shocked at Mikey. “There’s an army on the front lawn,” he said.

“You’re imagining things,” said Mikey.

“No, seriously, there is an army on the front lawn.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Go look for yourself. There is a friggin army on the front lawn.”

Mikey walked up to the gate with Brad behind him and the two of them peered around the corner.

“Oh yeah, look at that,” said Mikey. “Whoever would have thought?”

Then they heard the bellow.

“What the—?” in stereo.

Then Gibbons came running out on the porch shouting, “Fall back! Fall back!” Then the entire bottom floor just seemed to explode outwards. And the being that strode out through the dust and debris took both their breaths away.

“Who the fuck is that?” said Brad.

“I don’t know. He’s too far away. I can’t see the face.”

“He’s fucking massive.”

“No, Brad. You’re fucking massive. He goes a little beyond that.”

The army opened fire and Gibbons went down.

“Holy Christ! They shot Mr. Gibbons! Why would they shoot Mr. Gibbons?” cried Brad.

“Why not shoot him? He was a terrible director. All those illegal genetic experiments going on right under his nose.”

“What do you mean, under his nose? He knew about it. He was running them.”

“Hm,” said Mikey, “kinda proves my point.”

And then the two boys saw the Gargantuan One wade into the army. The soldiers shot at him but it only seemed to tick him off more, and he was pretty pissed already. One swing of his arm sent about a dozen of them flying. He bellowed again, and then as if it were a signal the rest of the titans came rushing out of the house and began engaging the army.

“What are they doing?” cried Brad. “We’ve got to stop them.” Then Brad rushed out into the yard yelling, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”

Mikey buried his head in his hands. “Sheesh, “stop” again. Doesn’t that guy ever learn?”

Brad ran toward the battle. What was wrong with those guys? You weren’t supposed to fight the army. They were the good guys.

The rear most platoon caught sight of Brad. “Look,” cried the sergeant, “There’s another one!” The platoon turned around and leveled their guns at Brad.

“Wait,” cried Brad, “I’m on your side.” And then they opened fire.

Brad turned and ran back for the gate, but not before taking several bullets in the chest.

“AH FUCK! THAT HURT!” he shouted and leapt back through the gate and tumbled to the ground. He lay there looking up at Mikey. “They shot me! Why the fuck would they shoot me? I’m on their side.”

Mikey looked down at Brad and shook his head. “First of all, are you hurt bad?”

“I don’t think so,” said Brad, sitting up. “Stings like hell.”

“Good,” said Mikey. “Look out there, Brad, what do you see?”

“A big fucking battle.”

“That’s right. It’s them vs. us. And like it or not, you are one of us.”

“No, I’m loyal to The Orphanage.”

“And what is an orphanage, Brad? It’s a place for orphans. I’m an orphan, they’re orphans and you’re an orphan. You’re one of us.”

“I’m loyal to Mr. Gibbons.”

“Mr. Gibbons is a corpse. For God’s sake, Brad. You live with us, you look like us, and even the goddamn army can see you’re one of us. Why the hell can’t you?”

“But, I don’t want to be one of you,” said Brad.

“Well, I don’t want to be one of you either,” answered Mikey. “But I think we’re stuck with each other, Bro.”

“Fine. Alright, fine,” said Brad. “So, what do we do now?”

“We go help the orphans kick some army butt.”

“But I like the army. I’m going into the army. The army is my friend.”

“Well Brad, if my friends put seven bullets in me, I’d have to seriously reconsider the future of our relationship.”

“Yeah. Right. Fine. I guess so.” Then Brad stood up. “Well, if we’re going to do this thing, let’s do it!”

Then the two orphans turned and charged back through the gate and into the front yard.


AARON

Aaron pushed down as hard as he could, trying to keep Kevin pinned. He and Ethan only had to worry about Kevin’s right arm, but that was bad enough. Sometimes Kevin would lift it up and both of them would go with it. It was all they could do to hang on to it, try and weigh it down. It bucked and leapt like a fucking wild bronco. They almost lost control of it twice. And Aaron couldn’t get over the size of it. There were compact cars that were smaller. His bicep and triceps alone had to be about the size of a Mini Cooper.

So, when Matt gave the order to let him go, it was kind of a relief—scary, but definitely a relief. As soon as they released the arm, it shot away and they fell back on the floor. Then they quickly dodged out of the way as the arm came slamming back down so it could help push the rest of Kevin’s ponderous bulk into a standing position. Jesus, his head was actually brushing the ceiling, and the sheer mass of him made the voluminous front hall seem small and cramped. Then he flexed, upgrading those Minies to Yugos, and he bellowed. Aaron covered his ears. What a fucking sound! It was so freaking loud and low, it created a vibration that shattered most of the windows. Kevin took a couple of steps forward before he slammed the front wall with those construction-crane-arms of his and blew the whole thing apart. Fuck—

Aaron rushed forward and arrived just in time to see the Guard open fire on Kevin, and to see Gibbons get caught in the middle. Good riddance.

All the orphans were around him now. They all watched as Kevin waded into the soldiers and started knocking them away as if they were nothing more than swarming rats. Kevin would pick up a soldier and just throw the guy about a hundred yards over the wall and out into the forest. Then he picked up this one guy who just aimed his gun and shot Kevin in the head. Kevin took that guy and tossed him a hundred yards, through the wall, and into the woods. The devastating power of the guy was truly awesome. But somehow Aaron couldn’t help wondering if Kevin would ever calm down. He had just been completely pissed since he changed. What if he never got over it?

“Well what about it?” yelled Matt. “Are we just going to sit here and let Kevin do all the work?”

“What about those tanks?” asked Kenny.

“They can’t use the tanks,” said Matt, “not without hitting their own guys. So, are we going?”

“Hell, yes!” shouted Glen.

Kevin bellowed again and suddenly they were all rushing out on to the lawn. At first, Aaron was scared. There was a lot of gun fire, and Kevin bellowing, and men shouting. But as soon as he got out there amongst the soldiers, he realized just how puny the Guardsmen were. Having spent the past couple of hours almost exclusively with his fellow behemoths, he had forgotten just how massive they all were. The tallest of the fucking army guys was only half his height and ten of them couldn’t match him for muscle. Even one of his arms outweighed two of the soldiers put together, and it was even bigger around. His fucking pecs were three times the size of their little helmeted heads. His legs were so thick with muscle that three of the soldiers could stand behind one and you’d never see them. Not to mention the fact that he was stark naked. His fourteen inch member was out there flopping free. You couldn’t tell him that wasn’t a little intimidating.

He looked down at his massive biceps and watched them bulge up into powerful boulders as he flexed them. It occurred to him he didn’t know exactly how strong he was. Sure he’d moved a few big rocks with Mikey in the mine, but what could he really do? He guessed it was time to find out. Now that he was out amongst normal guys, he felt gigantic, incredibly powerful and ultimately unstoppable. He was ready to kick some ass.

The first time a soldier aimed his weapon at him, Aaron simply reached down and ripped it out of his hands. Then, displaying it in front of the pasty faced soldier, he slowly grinned while he crushed the gun into a shapeless mass. He loved the feel of his powerful fingers pressing into the case hardened metal as though it were silly putty. Aaron could hardly believe the incredible strength in his arms. Then, not knowing what else to do with the destroyed weapon, he beaned the soldier with it, and knocked him senseless. Aaron spotted another soldier standing nearby who had obviously witnessed the whole thing. He raised his weapon, but he was shaking like a leaf.

“I don’t think you want to do that,” said Aaron.

The soldier shook his head but he didn’t lower his weapon.

“You really don’t want to do that.”

Suddenly the soldier dropped his gun, turned and ran.

“I knew he didn’t want to do that.”

POP!

“FUCK!” shouted Aaron, as he felt the bullet enter his back. He turned around and came face to face with a gun barrel. He grabbed and ripped it out of the solder’s hand, looked down at him and screamed, “You trying to get my attention? Well, you fucking got it, dude.” Then he looked down at the soldier’s weapon in his hands. He really wanted to freak this guy out. What could he do? Suddenly he had an idea. Just how strong were his teeth? He placed the gun between his teeth and clamped down. He felt his teeth sink into the metal. It was kind of like chewing through ice, except the gun was hot, and it tasted like crap. But the look of terror on the soldier’s face was worth every disgusting mouthful so he proceeded to chew right threw it. When he was done he threw the two halves to the ground and spit the bite size pieces right at the soldier’s chest. The impact knocked the guardsman to the ground.

“Get the fuck out of my face.”

And the soldier did. First scuttling backwards, then getting to his feet, and then running as fast as his feet would take him.

Next time, Aaron wasn’t so dramatic. He just ripped the gun away and nailed the soldier with a right cross. The guy flew back about twenty feet collided with another couple of soldiers and they all went sprawling.

Then POP POP POP. Aaron flinched as three bullets impacted his shoulder. AHHH! It stung like hell. He quickly identified the shooter. He was standing about twenty yards away.

“You want a piece of me?” he shouted. “DO YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME?” Almost without thinking he threw the gun he was holding at the soldier, and nailed him in the head. Down he went. Fuck yeah! He was the man! He was bad fucking ass!

Suddenly he heard a tremendous boom. Was that a tank? They weren’t supposed to be using tanks. Didn’t Matt say they wouldn’t use the tanks? He turned just in time to see Kevin flying backwards, a black smoky patch on his chest. Fuck. They shot Kevin with a tank. Aaron swiveled quickly around. It didn’t take him long to spot the culprit. It was a tank all right. And its cannon barrel was smoking. Fuck.

But didn’t they have, like, three tanks? He looked around and spotted another one on the far side of the yard. And the third… where was that? He turned around and spotted the third tank about ten yards directly behind him—with its big gun aimed right at his head! Oh shit! He dropped to the ground just as the gun went off with a deafening explosion. Aaron’s head hurt so much, that for a minute he wasn’t sure weather or not the tank had missed. It had, but his head was splitting exactly as if it hadn’t. He guessed that was the downside to having such good ears, loud noises hurt like hell.

Still clutching his ears, he staggered to his feet and made a bee line for the tank. Suddenly he saw the turret swivel toward him and he dropped again. KABOOOM! Fuck! He felt the wind of it pass above him. He had his hands over his ears, so it hadn’t hurt quite so bad that time.

Quickly he rolled to his feet. He had to get to the tank and stop that gun some how. He decided to try and zigzag but he hadn’t gone five feet before the turret swiveled again. Fuck! He dropped. KABLAAM!

What the hell was he going to do? The closer he got to the tank, the harder it would be to dodge those fucking shells. He needed a distraction. And suddenly, that’s exactly what he got.

Just as he was preparing himself for the next dash, he heard another earth shattering bellow. It was Kevin. Kevin had survived. He looked over and saw the monstrous titan making a run at the tank that had shot him, a patch of smoldering blackness still on his chest. KABLAAM! Kevin’s tank fired on him. But this time the behemoth jumped up over the path of the shell, landed and kept right on running. Fuck. Aaron was wondering if he could jump that high. He didn’t think he could. KABLAAM! Kevin leapt again. And then there was another KABLAAM, but this one came from the tank directly in front of Aaron. The shell impacted Kevin on his right side and knocked him about thirty feet where he hit the ground and sent up an eruption of dirt and grass. Ooo, that had to hurt.

Aaron jumped up. He knew he only had a matter of seconds before the turret turned on him again. He started running as fast as he could toward the tank. Almost instantly, the turret started swiveling toward him. His mind was moving a mile a second trying to calculate if he had enough time to reach the tank before the gun fired on him.

He didn’t.

Suddenly the world slowed down. He could hear each click of the turret as is swung toward him, feel the impact each time his foot hit the ground. He was aware of each breath he took and every drop of sweat as it beaded on his forehead and started rolling down his cheek. He heard the metallic clunking as the shell moved into the chamber. In an act of sheer desperation, he leapt up just as the gun fired. He didn’t leap as high as Kevin but it was high enough, and when he came down, he landed right on top of the tank. WHOMP! Time for a little payback.

It didn’t take him long to find the hatch. He planted his feet on either side, grabbed hold of it and pulled. He expected it to come right off. It didn’t. This was definitely a different kind of metal from the guns. It fought back. He squeezed the hatch trying to get his fingers to sink in the way they did with the guns. But it wasn’t anywhere near as easy. His massive forearms bulged with the effort. His thick veins stood out and his muscles looked and felt like they wanted to explode right out of his skin. But slowly his huge fingers began to sink into the armor. Yes! Then, using his new self-created hand holds, he began to pull again. He felt all the muscles on his gargantuan back answer the call, swelling thick and hard with power. He heaved and heaved, feeling his gigantic steel-like triceps pull his skin tight around them as they became completely pumped and engorged. He loved the feel of all that power coursing through his limbs, and soon he was rewarded with the sound of wrenching, buckling metal as the hatch began to distort and then to bend and finally rip free.

POP POP POP. Snippets of pain striking his arms and legs. The ground troops had found him again. POP POP POP POP POP. AHH! FUCK! Aaron took the hatch lid and threw it like a Frisbee, taking out three of the soldiers at once. Being on top of a tank must have made him target #1. He couldn’t stay there long. He reached down into the hatch and felt around. He heard a muffled pop. AHH! There was a sharp stinging in his hand. Someone must have shot him. POP POP POP. Crap! Wouldn’t these guys ever let up? He grabbed the first thing that felt like cloth and pulled. There was a metallic thunk as whatever he’d grabbed got hung up on the tank roof. He worked it around and tired again. POP POP POP POP POP. Holy Christ! He didn’t know how much more of this he could take. Finally he got his prize into position and started pulling it out of the hatch. It was defiantly a guy. Aaron could feel some resistance as his victim’s fellow soldiers tried to pull against the behemoth to keep their comrade in the tank. Yeah, like they had a chance.

As soon as he got the guy on top with him the gun fire stopped. Aaron had been going to pound the soldier when he got him out, but now he was rethinking his plan. The other soldiers wouldn’t shoot and risk hitting their friend. And all Aaron really wanted to do was stop the tank. Aaron looked at his captive. The dude was completely out cold—must have happened when he hit the tank roof. He slung the guy over his shoulder and moved toward the big gun. At first he thought he’d try to bend the barrel, but he realized he wouldn’t have the best leverage from there, so he settled for trying to pinch the gun barrel closed. He wrapped both hit titanic hands around the hot metal shaft and squeezed. The effort it took was tremendous. Once again he could feel all strength in his mammoth frame swelling up hard all over his body. He squeezed and squeezed and squeezed and finally began to feel the barrel collapse under his fingers. Yes! In a couple of moments it was pinched shut.

Aaron leapt off the tank and lay the unconscious soldier on the ground. He looked around and saw ten guns aiming right at him. Then he heard the unmistakable click click click of the tank’s gun turret rotating behind him. Suddenly all the soldiers seemed to forget about Aaron, and began waving at the tank, yelling, warning it not to shoot. It was too late.

Aaron turned and saw the pinched gun barrel—which just happened to be aimed right at his head—shutter as an explosion rocked the tank. Flame debris and smoke issued out of the open hatch. They had obviously tried to use their main gun and the pinched barrel had caused it to backfire.

The tank was history.

Aaron would have shouted for joy, but those ten gun barrels were suddenly right back in his face. He leapt up and came back down on the four middle guys. He grabbed one of their guns and started using it as a club to take out the remaining soldiers. POP POP POP.

AH! FUCK! He may have stopped the tank, but the battle was far from over.


MATT

Matt was running back and forth across the chaos of the battlefield. He should have planned this better. All the guys were off on their own, each one fighting their own little skirmish. He couldn’t help thinking things would be much better if they were all fighting together. He thought about trying to rally them all but he had no idea how to actually do it. Damn, he wished he’d thought this out better.

He kept looking around, trying to keep track of everyone, trying to see if anyone needed help and then rushing over to do what he could. He was still looking for Danny. He hadn’t seen him since Kevin knocked him through the wall.

Kevin bellowed. Fuck, that dude was a monster. Two hits from a tank and he was still going. It looked like he was getting ready to charge the tank that originally shot him. Aaron had already finished off the other one. Way to go, Aaron!

Then suddenly Matt spotted him. There at the other end of the yard was Brad. Shit! Here comes trouble. Matt wasted no time making his way over there. In one flying leap he had tackled Brad and knocked him to the ground.

“You traitor!” yell Matt.

“Get off me, you fucking queer, I’m on your side now.”

“Yeah, right.”

“I am, Godamnit, I am.” Brad cocked his head to the side. Looking at someone standing next to them. “Aren’t you going to say something?”

“I’m thinking about it,” came the answer.

Matt looked over and saw Mikey standing there. Jeeze, why didn’t he see him earlier. He still looked kind of small, but all help was welcome. “Can we trust him, Mikey?”

“I’d trust him till the day I die.”

“That could be today.”

“Well, there you go.”

“Jesus, Mikey, is it possible to get a straight answer out of you?”

“Yeah, you can trust him—probably.”

“Thank you very much, asshole,” said Brad. “Now, get off of me, faggot.”

“What’s with all the faggot shit?” asked Matt rolling off Brad and standing up.

“Dude, you were laying on top of me and you’re fucking naked.”

“We’re all fucking naked… except you. Where’d you get the jumpsuit?”

“They got a whole bunch of them.”

“Now, he tells me.”

KABOOM! The three of them turned toward the sound. The tank fired at Kevin who leapt over it, and landed right next to the armored vehicle.

Mikey was looking around. “Where’s Kevin?”

“Ah—,” said Matt, “you’re looking at him.”

At this point Kevin had wrapped his arms around the tank and was now rocking it from side to side.

Suddenly Mikey burst out laughing. “That’s pretty good, Matt. Now, seriously, where is he?”

“No, dude, that’s him. Glen shot him up when he wasn’t looking, and he just totally lost it.”

Kevin had stopped rocking the tank, but he hadn’t let go of it. He had planted his mountainous legs sturdily in the ground on either side of it and was now slowly lifting the tank up off the ground, grunting with the effort. His grunt sounded like a bull on a megaphone.

“Nah, that can’t be Kevin,” said Mikey. “Kevin never lifts tanks before dinner.”

The troops had surrounded Kevin and were emptying round after round into him. He barely seemed to notice. But Phil and Kenny ran over and gave them something else to worry about.

Meanwhile, Kevin was slowly raising the tank higher and higher. Every mind blowingly massive muscle on his tremendous body was bulging with the effort. Veins like a maze of fire hoses ran over and around every engorged inch of him. Kevin had so much muscle bulging out all over his frame that Matt half wondered if he still had bones and organs; it didn’t look like there was any room left for them.

http://www.cyoc.net/index.php?set_al…view_photo.php

Finally he got the tank so he was actually holding it over his head. At first Matt was sure he was going to throw it, and he tried to figure out in which direction it would fly. But after a second he realized that wasn’t what was happening at all. Kevin, holding the tank with one hand on each side of it, had a look on his face like he was calling on every ounce of strength he possessed. Matt knew it wasn’t just the effort of holding the tank up. There had to be something else going on. And it was only a matter of seconds before he saw what it was. He began to hear the grinding and squealing of stressed metal, and has he watched, he began to see the tank squeezed in upon itself like an accordion.

The hatch popped open and three soldiers hopped out, jumped to the ground and took off running. Kevin let them go, and continued to reduce their armored vehicle to a metallic crushed eggshell, which he then let fall to the ground in an unrecognizable heap.

“I think I’ll go say hi,” said Mikey. “Think he missed me?”

“Dude, I wouldn’t do that. I think he’s a little—”

“Insane? Crazy? Bat shit? One fry short of a Happy Meal?”

“Not exactly. I just don’t think, you know, he’s really there anymore.”

“Are you kidding me? Of course he’s there. How could you miss him? Come on, I’ll show you.” And before Matt could do anything Mikey started off toward Kevin. Against his better judgment, Matt followed. Brad didn’t.

The fight in the immediate area seemed to have calmed down for the moment. Most of the troops had rallied over by their one remaining tank at the far end of the yard, and about half a dozen behemoths were keeping them more than occupied.

Mikey marched right up to one of Kevin’s sequoia-like legs. Matt couldn’t help notice that Mikey was only half Kevin’s height, but it didn’t seem to bother Mikey any. He yelled up at him. “Hey Thunder Thighs! Down here.” Mikey turned to Matt. “He hates it when I call him that. He’s a little sensitive about his weight.”

Kevin looked down at Mikey and for a second Matt feared the worse, but then something happened. That rage-filled look on Kevin’s face softened a little. Maybe he wasn’t completely gone after all.

Then Kevin leaned down and grabbed Mikey with both hands and lifted him up.

“Hey look,” Mikey cried, “I’m Fay Wray, or maybe Jessica Lange, or even Naomi Watts—although that movie was a fucking waste of time.”

“Jesus, Mikey, be careful,” cried Matt.

“Kevin, buddy,” said Mikey, “I’ve got an idea. When this is over we should go to New York so you can climb the Empire State Building. Can you imagine the looks on people’s faces? Of course we’d have to get you a monkey suit.”

Kevin started rapidly shaking his head.

“What, you mean no monkey suit? It wouldn’t really work without the monkey suit.”

Kevin was emphatically shaking his head.

“Sorry, dude, it’s too perfect,” continued Mikey. “It has to be done. Like when we switched Gibbonses breakfast sausage with Chihuahua shit? It’s just got to be done.”

Kevin let out a snort. Matt wasn’t sure, but it was almost like a laugh-snort.

“So, we on for New York?”

Kevin shook his head.

“Why the hell not?”

“Too many muggers,” said Kevin in a gravely voice.

Mikey broke out into a big grin. “Somehow I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

Matt could almost see the light seeping back into Kevin’s eyes. “Welcome back, Kev,” said Matt. And suddenly he saw awareness flood Kevin’s face.

“Mikey?” he said, as if seeing the friend he held in his hands for the first time.

“Yeah, Kev?”

“Oh my God, Mikey? What happened? You shrank!”

“Ah… no, Kev.”

Kevin caught sight of his impossibly huge arms, let out a cry, and dropped Mikey.

Matt rushed over to him. “You ok?”

“Did you ever get the feeling you’ve been dumped?” asked Mikey, picking himself up.

Kevin was padding his body all over. “Oh my God, I remember. That fucking asshole gave me the shot and now I’m a freak!” Matt saw Kevin looking down at him, horrified, probably at how much bigger he was than the rest of the behemoths. “No, I’m not just a freak. I’m king of the freaks!”

“Well, your majesty,” said Mikey, “as one of your freak subjects, let me be the first to welcome you to your realm.”

Kevin started looking around. “What happened here? It looks like some kind of a battle?” Then he noticed the wreckage at his feet. “Holy crap! Did I… Did I crush a tank?”

“Ye… No… Well, maybe a little one.”

Kevin sat down on the ground, wrapped his arms around his knees and started rocking back and forth. “I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak,” he kept repeating over and over again.

“There,” said Mikey to Matt. “See how much better he is?”

“I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak.”

“If you say so, Mikey,” said Matt shaking his head.

“Trust me. This is just Kevin’s way of working things out. He’s going to be fine—probably.”

“I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak.”

“I guess I’m going to have to take your word for that,” said Matt.

“I’ll just stay with him for a while,” said Mikey, “You know, until he calms down.”

“I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak.”

“Yeah, well, I gotta go,” said Matt a little awkwardly. “The battle is not over yet,” and Matt took off toward the one remaining tank, wondering if there might be some way to piss Kevin off again.


ANTHONY AND ETHAN

Anthony and Rob looked tentatively through the front gate, and were shocked by what they saw. The whole front lawn had been churned up. Gaping pits and mounds of dirt covered the once green expanse. And, in a couple of places, piles of smoking wreckage sent plums of black smoke seeping into the air, filling it with the acrid smell of burning patrolium, grass and—was that flesh?

On their way to The Orphanage, in the distance, Anthony had heard the sounds of gunfire and the occasional boom of a cannon, but it wasn’t until he saw the front yard that it was actually real. They were at war.

At the far end of the yard, he could see the towering behemoths and the soldiers scurrying around them like cockroaches in the light. He couldn’t make out the faces of his friends; they were too far away. And there was one face in particular that he was very anxious to see.

“What do we do now?” he asked.

“Well,” said Rob, after a brief and silent deliberation, “we came here to help, and we can’t do much standing around here.”

“Right,” said Anthony.

“Right,” said Rob. He started off towards the skirmish, and Anthony followed quickly after him. The closer they got to the fighting, the more often Anthony wondered why he had come at all. Those were serious looking guns the soldiers had. The behemoths might be able to take several bullets, but Anthony could be killed by just one shot. Still, Anthony knew he would not turn back. There was someone up ahead, someone he had to see and something he had to tell him, something important, something he should have said a long time ago, but never did.

Suddenly, ahead of them in the churned up grass was a mound of flesh. It was one of the behemoths. He was lying on the ground, covered in bullet holes and blood, unconscious and breathing heavily. It was Phil.

“He looks pretty bad,” said Rob.

“I thought those guys were indestructible,” Anthony suddenly getting very concerned.

“I guess not,” said Rob.

Anthony looked over at the battle and for the first time noticed the behemoths seemed to be hurting. All of them seemed to be bleeding, several were limping. He wondered how long until they all ended up like Phil. “What do we do?”

“I don’t know,” replied Rob. “I only know basic first aid. He looks like he needs an emergency room.”

Suddenly he heard a tremendous KABOOM. Anthony looked up and saw the tank’s gun smoking, and one of the behemoths flying backwards. He hit the ground sliding, plowing a trench in the earth about fifteen feet long and two feet deep, before he came to a stop only a few feet away from them.

Anthony followed Rob over to the fallen colossus and gasped. It was Ethan. He was unconscious and his arm was bleeding badly.

“Oh my god!” cried Anthony falling down on his knees beside Ethan. “Ethan! Ethan, can you hear me? Ethan, come on, wake up. Open your eyes. Come on Ethan, speak to me.”

Rob placed a hand on Anthony’s shoulder. “I don’t think he can hear you.”

“What are we going to do? You’ve got to do something.”

“There’s not much I can do.”

“But he’s got to wake up. There’s something I need to tell him.”

Rob looked down at the massive teen and shook his head. “I can make a tourniquet for his arm, but that’s about it.” Rob stripped off his shirt, twisted it into a rope and tired to wrap it around Ethan’s gigantic upper arm, but it wasn’t big enough. Anthony pulled off his shirt and handed it to Rob. “Maybe you could tie them together.”

Rob knotted them up and the two shirts did the job. Anthony was so involved watching Rob and worrying about Ethan that he didn’t see the gigantic figure approach until its shadow fell over Ethan. He looked up. It was Aaron.

“What are you guys doing here? Are you crazy?” asked the behemoth.

“We wanted to help,” said Rob.

“What can you do?”

“I may not be big enough to battle a tank, but I know a little about bandaging,” said Rob.

Aaron’s attitude softened immediately and he looked down on Rob tending Ethan. “How is he?”

“I don’t really know, but I think I can keep him from bleeding to death.”

“Death?” blurted Anthony. He just couldn’t imagine Ethan dying. The thought was just too horrible.

“I know it’s hard,” said Aaron. “But try not to worry too much. He’ll be alright. We’re pretty tough.”

“How’s it going out there?” asked Rob.

Aaron shook his head. “Not too good. It’s that last tank. It’s kicking our butts. We can’t get near it. I thought I could get it. I mean, I got one already. But either I got lucky before, or the guys in this tank are really good. Either way—” he trailed off. “What we really need is Kevin.”

“Kevin?” said Rob and Anthony simultaneously.

Aaron filled them in on Kevin’s phenomenal growth, his tank crushing feat… and his subsequent reduction to a total basket case.

“Mikey’s trying to bring him out of it, but—” he trailed off again. “I’ve got to get back,” he said. “Take care of Ethan.” Then Aaron loped off toward the fighting.

Anthony got up.

“Where are you going,” asked Rob.

“To Kevin and Mikey. I think I can help.”

“I’ll come too.”

“No. Please stay with Ethan. I’d feel better if I know you were here.”

“But—”

“I think I can help Kevin and Mikey, but it might work better if it’s just me. Anyway, I think Ethan needs you. You can do a lot more for him than I ever could.”

“Ok, I guess.”

“Thanks.” And Anthony started across the lawn to where Aaron had indicated Kevin and Mikey would be. They weren’t hard to spot—at least Kevin wasn’t. He knew Kevin had gotten bigger than the rest of them, but still Anthony hadn’t been prepared for the colossal size of him. Kevin was sitting on the ground and the top of Anthony’s head still only came up to his shoulder. And what a fucking shoulder. Anthony doubted he could wrap his arms all the way around it. And sprouting out of them were arms like tree trunks. His bicep alone was probably four times the size of Anthony’s entire body. Just standing in his presence was a completely awesome experience… or it would have been if Kevin hadn’t been rocking back and forth repeating “I’m a freak. I’m a freak I’m a freak,” over and over again.

Mikey was standing next to Kevin patting him on the back and saying, “It’s gonna be ok, Kevin. Everything’s going to be alright.”

“I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak.”

Anthony watched for another minute before he spoke. It was obvious to him what had to be done, but he didn’t know if he could convince Mikey. “Oh for God’s sake, Mikey, tell him.”

Mikey looked up, noticing Anthony for the first time. “Not you guys! I got you guys out of here! Why did you come back? I know it wasn’t the food.”

“It’s just Rob and me,” said Anthony. “We came back to see if we could help… and I had another reason.”

“Let me guess, an overpowering urge to be splattered?”

“It’s Ethan… he was pretty special to me… and I never really told him,” said Anthony, starting to tear up. “And now I might have lost my chance.”

“I don’t think I need to hear this,” said Mikey.

“Yes, you do,” said Anthony. “There’s no one on the planet who needs to hear it more. You still have a chance.”

“A chance for what?”

“To tell him,” said Anthony pointing at Kevin. Mikey looked back and forth between Anthony and Kevin.

“I’m a freak. I’m a freak. I’m a freak.”

“Y-you got it all wrong,” said Mikey.

“I don’t think so. I’ve seen the way you guys are together. There are signs and yours are pink neon and flashing.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Fine. I’m crazy, just another crazy gay boy. But if you can’t admit it for your own sake, admit it for his, because right now, you’re the only one who can help him.”

“I can’t help him. I’ve tried everything. I’ve talked to him. That was a little one sided. The only question he answers is “So Kevin, what are you?

“I joked with him—and I’m damn funny. He didn’t even crack a smile. I’ve even tired to comfort him. Nothing works.”

“Tell him how you feel, I mean how you really feel.”

Mikey looked more than a little uncomfortable. “What good would that do?”

“You’d be surprised.”

Mikey shuffled around a little, obviously nervous and undecided.

“You know there’s a tank over there, and it’s hurting our guys. They could really use Kevin right now. I’m not sure how much longer they can hold out on their own.”

Mikey looked off into the distance at the raging battle, and Anthony could see he was fighting an inner battle of his own.

Finally Mikey walked up to Kevin, and spoke directly in his ear. “Kevin, I love you, man, truly, deeply, madly, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. So, come back to me, lover, come back.”

Suddenly Kevin stopped chanting and looked over at Mikey with a scared, uncertain expression on his face. He was still rocking back and forth.

“Kevin?” said Mikey, “Kevin?” but there was no reply, unless you counted rapid breathing and blinking.

“I don’t know what else I can say,” said Mikey.

“You did fine. You don’t need to say anything else,” said Anthony.

“Then what—?”

“Do I have to spell it out for you? Jeeze, haven’t you ever seen a fairytale?”

Mikey raised his eyebrows. “You’re fucking kidding me.”

“It couldn’t hurt.”

Mikey turned and brushed the stray locks of hair from Kevin’s face, then he leaned in and gave him a tentative kiss on the lips. At first it looked like he was kissing a mannequin, but slowly Kevin started to respond. In a minute Kevin was wrapping his king sized hands around Mikey’s head and pulling him in. And then suddenly they were rolling on the ground—until Kevin rolled on top of Mikey.

“Oh God,” came Mikey’s strained and muffled voice. “Kevin, you’re squashing me.”

“I’m sorry,” said Kevin, rolling off him. “I’m so damn big. I’m just a fre—”

“NO!” interrupted Mikey. “No, you’re not. It’s me. I’m not big enough yet. That’s what it is. It’s got nothing to do with you.”

“Did you mean what you said?” asked Kevin. “Do you really love me?”

“Of course I do. I guess I always have. I just didn’t know it til, you know, you went away.”

Kevin turned away.

“What’s the matter?” asked Mikey.

“You wouldn’t love me if you knew.”

“If I knew what?”

Kevin kept silent.

“Come on, Kevin, I can’t imagine there’s anything about you I don’t know. And if there is, it couldn’t possibly be that bad.”

“You don’t know this.”

“Then tell me.”

“Back when I saw that smashed tank at my feet, I suddenly remembered everything.”

“Everything?”

“My growth, the battle, everything.”

“So, that’s good, isn’t it?”

Kevin shook his head. “When I crushed that tank… I liked it. No, I fucking loved it. I was really getting off on destroying an armored vehicle with my bare hands. I loved the destruction I caused. I reveled in it. I’m a fucking monster, a freak!”

Mikey sighed. “There’s that “f… word again,” he said. “Let’s make a deal, right here and now, you never use the “f… word ever again. Ok?”

Kevin nodded.

“As for that liking destroying that tank, so what? You’re fucking huge. You can crush tanks. That’s pretty cool. You know how many of our guys you probably saved when you did that? So what if you liked it? If I could crush tanks, I’d probably like it, too. You have an insane amount of power in your body; you’re allowed to like it. It doesn’t make you bad. And I have no doubt you’ll fine really constructive ways to use it. And the whole tank crushing thing, once in a while it’s fine. Just don’t make a habit of it.”

Suddenly Kevin reached down and scooped up Mikey in his mammoth arms and hugged him tight. There was an audible crack.

“Ah fuck!” said Mikey. “I guess they were right. Love hurts.”

Kevin quickly set Mikey down again, apologizing all over himself.

“That’s ok,” said Mikey. “In another couple of days, I’ll be big enough I won’t even notice. But right now, I think there’s a tank that needs crushing.”

Kevin’s face lit up. “Where?”


CALEB

Yeah, I was there when the battle ended, when everything changed. I almost missed it though. When I climbed out of the cellar and into the front hall, I knew something big had happened. The place was a wreck. Practically the whole front of the house had been blasted out. I heard the KABOOM of a big gun and felt the shock as it rocked the whole building. For a second I thought it might come down around me, but it didn’t. Why it didn’t, I’m not sure. It had to be in pretty bad shape. The entire third floor had been practically destroyed, and there were walls missing everywhere. It couldn’t be very safe.

I was pretty sure everyone was already out in the battle, but I couldn’t shake the feeling someone was still in the house. I thought maybe it was Kevin. I thought maybe he hadn’t changed yet, maybe he couldn’t bring himself to do it. I found out later I’d been half right. But I didn’t know that then. I decided to check out the lab to see if he was still in there. He wasn’t but the scientists were. They were still out cold. I couldn’t help thinking that if the house collapsed they’d be killed.

There was another KABOOM as a big gun fired, and a piece of the ceiling actually did fall in. I was pretty sure if I turned around and left now, those scientists would die. I knew they probably deserved it, but for some reason, I couldn’t just leave them there. I was pretty big now, just about eight feet, so I figured I could take one under each arm. I’d have to come back for Dr. Sawyer. I grabbed Dr. Myers and Dr. Burns and headed for the back door. I figured the back yard would be safer for them. Of course as it turned out it wasn’t that safe for me.

As soon as I stepped out the back I ran into two soldiers.

“There’s another one,” cried one of them, “and he’s got two hostages.”

Hostages? Was he serious? But they both trained the weapons on me so I guessed they were serious.

“These aren’t hostages,” I said. “I’m rescuing them from the building.”

“Jesus, he talks,” said the other one.

“Of course I talk”

“The other ones didn’t talk,” said the first one, but he was speaking to his friend, not me.

“Maybe this one’s different. He is kind of small.”

“Small?” I roared. “Who are you calling small?”

“Ok, Jumbo,” said the first guy, aiming right between my eyes, “just take it easy and lay the hostages on the ground.”

“They’re not hostages.”

“Then you won’t mind laying them on the ground.”

“That’s what I was going to do anyway,” I said as I set the two scientists down.

“Good, now you get down on the ground.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Get down on the ground.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Unless you want a bullet between the eyes, you’ll do it and do it now.”

I had to think about it for a second. Glen had been shot a bunch of times and it didn’t hurt him much. But he had been fully grown and I wasn’t yet… at least I hoped I wasn’t. I probably shouldn’t risk it, but then I didn’t want to get down on the ground either. I knew I’d better come up with something else.

“There’s still a guy trapped in the house,” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“The house is going to fall down any second. If I don’t go back for him, he’ll probably die.”

“What, you mean a real guy, or another thing like you?”

“Hey,” I said, balling my fists and taking a step forward, “I am not a thing!”

“Get down on the ground now!” yelled the soldier gesturing with his gun.

“Fuck you!” I said as I reached out and grabbed his gun while he was waving it around, and yanked it out of his hands. POP! POP! POP! There was an explosion of pain in my side. “FUCK!” I cried and I swung around and clubbed the other soldier, who had just shot me, with his friend’s gun. He flew back about 15 feet before he hit the ground. He didn’t get up. He must be hurt pretty bad. Oh my God, what if I’d killed him?

The pain in my side was killing me. I sat down on the ground and I don’t know how it happened or why but I just suddenly started crying. The tears just flowed out of me. I couldn’t stop them. It wasn’t fair. I was a behemoth now. I shouldn’t be crying.

The other soldier was just standing there. He looked petrified at first, but then he seemed to get over it.

“Why did you have to be such a dick?” I asked him. “I didn’t do anything. All I wanted to do was get those scientists out of the building. I wasn’t going to hurt you. Why did you have to be such a dick?”

Then he looked at me really closely and he asked, “How old are you?”

“Fourteen… almost.”

“Jeeze, you’re just a kid.”

“We’re all kids,” I said.

He looked completely shocked. “What, all of you?”

I nodded, sniffling.

“How’d you get so big?”

“They were experimenting on us,” I said, nodding at the unconscious scientists.

“Experimenting on kids?”

I nodded. “But we found out about it and then they wanted to kill us.”

“Kill you?”

“That’s why you’re here isn’t it, to kill us?”

“Kill you? No… Is that what you thought?”

I nodded. “Then why are you here?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know actually. We all thought it was some kind of a joke, marching out to an orphanage in the middle of nowhere. Then those things attacked—”

“We’re not things.”

“Ok, you’re not things, but you don’t look much like kids either. You know one of you single-handedly crushed a tank.”

“Seriously?”

The soldier nodded and stuck his hand out. “I’m Frank.”

“Caleb,” I said, taking his hand, but it hurt my side. It was like fire was running through it.

“Are you hurt bad, Caleb?”

“I don’t know. I think maybe I might be.”

“Wait here a second,” and Frank ran over to where I’d knocked his buddy.

“Is he ok?” I called after him.

“He’s still breathing and his heartbeat is strong, but I don’t think he’ll be waking up anytime soon.”

“Good,” I said, then I realized what that sounded like so I added, “I mean, I’m glad he’s not dead.”

“Me, too,” he said making his way back. “Is there really someone else trapped in the house?”

I nodded. “One of the scientists.”

“Is he on the ground floor?”

“Un huh, in the lab,”

Then Frank started up the steps and into the house.

“Be careful,” I called after him.

As soon as he left, I began to feel it. The pressure was building again. I began to feel an incredible pump in my muscles. God it felt good. Even through the pain, it was fantastic. I was growing again. I knew it was wrong to enjoy it under the circumstances, but I did. I was swelling up getting harder, bigger and stronger. I loved it, wanted it, needed more. I raised my arms and watched them get thicker, the biceps growing higher and wider, while the cords in my forearms became cables. God, I was so fucking strong now. My legs were stretching out further in front of me and I noticed my head was getting farther from the ground. And I could also feel something else; it was like ants crawling all over my side where I had been shot. It only lasted a minute but when it was done, the wound in my side had stopped bleeding and there wasn’t anymore pain.

It was just about then, that Frank came out, carrying Dr. Sawyer over his shoulders. He laid him on the ground next to the others and then started staring at me. “Caleb,” he said, “You’re bigger.”

I nodded, grinning. “I’m still growing.”

“You sure are,” he said looking me up and down, he couldn’t hide his awe. It was all over his face.

Suddenly I felt like I could confide something to him. “I know what they did to us was wrong, but I kind of like this.” I flexed, showing off my new gi-normous guns. “No, I really like this.”

“How big are you going to get?”

“I don’t know, probably about as big as the others.”

“I don’t know what that means. You guys seem to come in different sizes.”

“We do?” I was a little confused. Last I saw, we all grew to about twelve feet.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “We’ve got more important things to think about, like stopping this battle.”

“How do we do that?”

“I’ll go to the Major. He doesn’t know we’re fighting a bunch of overgrown kids. He’s a family man. He’s got kids of his own and using you guys as ginny pigs… I can’t believe he’d stand for that.

“You go to your friends, and we both get them to stop fighting.”

“Will that work?”

“We can only try.”

So we set off for the front of the house where all the fighting was going on. I spotted Matt pretty quickly and took off at a jog leaving Frank in the dust. Oh well, he was going someplace else anyway.

“Matt,” I cried as soon as I got close enough.

“Caleb, buddy, good to see you,” he said when he saw me. “Not fully grown yet, but we could use all the help we can get.”

I kind of winced when he said, “not fully grown,” but he was right. I felt pretty huge but I was still about three feet shorter than he was and I didn’t have anywhere near as much muscle.

“It’s that last tank,” Matt continued. “It’s kicking our butts.”

“Matt, we’ve got to stop fighting.”

“What? Are you crazy? Or just sacred?”

“I’m not scared.”

“Good then get out there and take out a few of those soldiers. You ought to be big enough for that.”

“But I was talking to one of them. They don’t want to kill us.”

“They don’t? You could have fooled me.”

“He’s going to talk to their Major, try and get them to stop.”

“That’s great. When they stop, we’ll stop.” Matt did a quick look around at all the fighting. I could tell it was entirely for my benefit. “Looks like they’re not going to stop,” he said. “Are you going to help or what?”

The ground started shaking. At first I thought it was the tank firing again, but there was no KABOOM. I looked up and holy crap! It was a behemoth, but one far more massive than any of the others. He was carrying a guy about my size under his arm and he had a normal sized guy sitting on his gargantuan shoulder.

“All right!” shouted Matt. “You ok, Kev?”

Kevin? That was Kevin? Holy shit!

“Fine,” he answered his booming voice not much softer than the cannon blast. “Now what’s this I hear about a tank?” He set the two guys he had with him on the ground. I instantly recognized Mikey and Anthony.

Matt just pointed. “There it is. Go get it.” And Kevin took off running, those fucking massive legs moving at an unbelievable speed.

“No! Stop!” I cried.

Mikey tapped me on the shoulder. “What is it with you guys? Shouting stop never works. Never.”

I braced myself to see Kevin go against the tank. If he did, I knew that would be the end of any possible peaceful solution.

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I don’t know if the shock knocked me to the ground, or I heard the explosion. But when I looked up, I saw the old orphanage house explode in an enormous ball of fire. The heat from the explosion was searing. Bits of wood and plaster and pipe, were flying through the air. Just about everyone was knocked to the ground, except Kevin. But he had stopped his charge and had turned to look at the fiery spectacle.

Then stepping out from seemingly nowhere was a huge figure, definitely a behemoth, but one all dressed up in a fancy suit. And he was balancing a smoking rocket launcher on his shoulder. As the smoke started to clear I finally got a look at his face. It was Fish. Holy crap! Where did he come from?

“And now that I’ve got your attention,” he shouted, to the behemoths and soldiers alike. “It’s time to end this little war and talk this out.”

“That’s how you do it,” said Mikey. “That’s much fucking better than shouting stop.”

And so they held this council. I didn’t go. Only Matt and Kevin went to represent us. But Fish was there and the Major and a couple of his guys, and then there were four guys in business suits that came with Fish. They looked kind of like lawyers.

While the meeting was going on, another army arrived, but this one was of paramedics. They came with so many trucks and vans, it was like a huge mobile hospital. They treated all the injured and examined everyone. I was told that eventually I’d have to have the bullets removed from my side, but that I was in no immediate danger, so they left me alone and moved on to the next guy.

I was happy to find out none of the behemoths had died from their injuries. They were all expected to recover. But the National Guard wasn’t so lucky. A number of them had lost their lives. All in all it was pretty tragic and every one felt very bad about it.

I went and found Frank. He had had about as much luck convincing the Major to stop fighting as I had had with Matt. Good think Fish showed up when he did, otherwise things could have been a lot worse.

When the big meeting was finally all over, Matt and Kevin came back with Fish to explain everything to us. Fish had apparently been knocked out by one of those gas bombs while he was in the city. When he came to, he had met Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Stanley. Apparently they worked for the people who set up the whole Orphanage project to begin with.

“They’re a group of Fortune Five Hundred companies that do a lot of business overseas,” Fish explained. “Since it’s getting so dangerous to send their executives outside the US, they decided to develop the ultimate bodyguards—essentially one-man-armies—to protect them. That’s us.”

“So they altered us, without our knowing about it?” asked Glen. “That’s not right.”

“No,” said Kevin, “and they admit that.”

“But the process had to be performed on kids who were past puberty and still growing,” continued Fish. “By the time a kid hit eighteen, when he was old enough to give legal consent, he would be too old for the procedure.”

“That still doesn’t make it right,” said Glen.

“That’s where their plan went wrong,” said Kevin, looking at the ground “According to them, on the day we left the orphanage, this was all going to be explained to us and we would have been given a choice. If we didn’t want to change, all we would have to do is stay on the inhibitor for five to seven years, after which the change would no longer be physiologically possible.”

“But I found out about their experiments,” said Mikey, “told you guys and screwed everything up.”

“Don’t worry about it, Mikey,” said Matt. “You didn’t know, and I would have chosen to change anyway. This is pretty fucking awesome.” And he illustrated his point by flexing his massive arms.

And then all the other guys were slapping Mikey on the back and telling him it wasn’t his fault.

Mikey looked up at Kevin. “Can you forgive me?”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” said Kevin. “You did what you thought was right. Besides, the future could be a lot worse. These guys still want to hire us, and they’re pretty fucking generous. They’ve already guaranteed to support any orphan who has already changed for the rest of his life, weather or not he takes a job with them. And they will offer the choice to any who haven’t changed yet. They plan to build a special community designed to cater to our unique needs, larger houses, cars, even movie theaters,” grinned Kevin.

“What about girls?” asked Glen. “No girl’s going to want to take this,” he said grabbing his cock. “Hard, it’s twenty-four inches of throbbing pulsing manhood.” The other guys laughed slyly.

“Yeah, I kind of brought that up,” said Matt. “Mr. Gibbs says he thinks he can accommodate us. Not sure what that means, but we’ll have to see.”

“I still think this whole thing stinks,” said Glen.

“Yeah, it does stink,” said Kevin, “about as much as anything can. But we have to be practical. There is no infrastructure currently out there in the world that will support us. These guys have the resources to help us create one. Once we get established, we can look around and see what other options there might be for us. But for now, I think our best bet is to go with them.”

After that it was pretty much decided to go along with Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Stanley’s offer—not that we had much choice. But Kevin was already talking about forming some kind of guild, for collective bargaining and to look out for our future interests. No doubt about it, life was not going to be boring.

While we were meeting yet another army of people showed up. These guys were erecting giant circus-type tents all over the front yard. They were going to be temporary shelters while our new community was constructed on nearby pastureland.

Tailors were making clothes for us and carpenters were fashioning furniture. It was amazing the speed and efficiency with which it was all done. By nightfall, we had really nice places to sleep. Dividers had been set up in all the tents giving us each our own private space. And there was a special kitchen tent that served up a huge feast. There was plenty of delicious food, more even than we could eat.

The next day Fish went into town with a group of suits to try and find the other guys, the ones who hadn’t changed yet. Strangely enough, there wasn’t a sign of them. But we didn’t worry too much. We knew eventually we’d find them. How could you miss them?

Well, it was getting late, and I was just thinking about going to bed, when the tent flap opened and Mr. Gibbs came in holding a clipboard. Behind him were a bunch of delivery guys carrying giant pieces of what looked like black, shag carpet. When he saw me, Mr. Gibbs looked startled.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was looking for Kevin and Mikey.”

“Oh,” I said. “They’re just next door.”

He thanked me and turned to go but then stopped and turned back.

“I was wondering if you could help me,” he said. “I’ve asked Kevin and Mikey but I can’t get a straight answer out of them. But maybe you might know.”

“Know what?”

“What on Earth do they want with a giant monkey suit?”

THE END


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