5 parts
More Like This

• Latest update: 9 November. Next update: 23 November. (Submissions welcome.)

• Latest from BRK: “Pool party”, Parts 1‑2.

Part 1

Have you ever had one of those days that was both the worst day of your life and the best? When you felt like you just wanted life to end, and then something miraculous happened and you realized life hadn’t even begun? When you sat down to eat a bowl of Vanilla ice cream and suddenly you realized it was Chocolate Chip? Okay, that last one might just be me, because I really like Chocolate Chip. But anyway… One of those days? Well, I have, and it started pretty simply, with me having one of my favorite dreams.

I was back in The Clearing behind the high school during the big fight. Guys were fighting all around me—big guys. Of course, to me, since I’m only five feet tall, just about everyone’s a big guy. And these guys were football players, so even among the big guys, they were big guys.

Charles, this kind-of-dorky senior, had just sent me out into the middle of this mini-war. There was this guy, a junior, who was a friend of his—and mine I guess. He was in trouble, and Charles sent me with something that would help him. And it had to be me because I was the only one small enough to dodge around the football players and get to him without getting run over. I’m just a freshman but this junior had helped me out a couple of times so I felt I owed him.

So, here I was—in the dream—weaving in and out of the battling football players, and they’re way bigger than they were in real life. I finally get to this guy and I pull out the syringe that Charles gave me to give him. Now, when this really happened, I didn’t know what it was, but in the dream I do.

Now this guy was already pretty big. In fact, he was bigger than most of the football players. But they had all ganged up on him and beat him almost unconscious. I was supposed to give him this shot. But when I get there, he doesn’t want it. “Colin,” he says, “don’t stick me with that thing.” So in the dream I say, “Okay, if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.” And then I give myself the shot.

Okay, this is where the dream gets really hot. I mean I’m definitely sporting wood in the dream, and not just in the dream—if you get what I’m saying.

Suddenly I start to grow—and I’m not just talking about the hard-on. I mean my whole body just starts getting bigger and stronger. I mean, in real life it was the guy who got the shot and grew massive, but in the dream it’s me. And at this point, I kind of know it’s a dream, but it’s so real I can actually feel the changes as they happen to me. And I’d almost swear the changes were actually happening to me as I lay there in my bed sweating and breathing hard.

Anyhow, my arms start growing these really big biceps, bulging and vein covered, and they feel hard and solid on my arms. I flex and I see them stress the cloth for a second before they just explode out of my sleeves. And they keep getting bigger. And my shoulders start expanding; they get larger and rounder and broader, stretching out further from my neck, which it getting thick like a fire plug. My traps rise up and tear right through my shirt and the whole front of it just falls away, revealing my humongous chest. I look underneath and I see these fantastically cut six pack abs. And below them, just as I start getting taller, I see my pants balloon out and start tearing as enormous ripped thighs rip out of them. But that’s where it ends. That’s when I always climax, right at the part where I’m looking past my gigantic chest at my swelling, bulging legs, and it always wakes me up. And that particular morning, it was no different.

I laid there in my bed gasping while my cock was shooting cum all over my underwear. My hand shot down under the covers to help make the most of the occasion, and I think I managed to milk another shot or two out of the orgasm before it faded. And then I laid there for a minute, just lost in a pleasant sleepy haze with the tingly shadow of the orgasm still lingering damply between my legs.

And then I started thinking about the dream and wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t woken up. How big would I have gotten? How fucking huge and powerful? Maybe as bit as that kid had gotten in real life and that was incredibly massive. And suddenly I was stiff again. My hand returned to the scene of the crime and proceeded to reenact it. I kept picturing the dream and trying to feel what it would be like to get that huge, that fucking strong. I was getting so fucking hot and so fucking hard. I was an instant away from a second explosion when bang my bedroom door flies open and in comes my little brother, Nigel. Fuck!

I rolled over, covering my criminal activity, and yelled, “For God’s sake, Nigel, for once could you knock first?” Nigel was thirteen and a pain in the butt.

“Mom sent me to get you up,” he said, and he presented it like it was a get out of jail free card.

“I don’t care. You still have to knock.”

“Mom and I were having a serious talk about you.”

Oh great, another serious talk. Since the Doctor had broken the news that I would not grow any taller than five feet, there had been many serious talks. They had become unavoidable, like report cards or visits to the dentist.

“Go away, Nigel.”

“You’re just having a grouchy moment. Mom said you’d have lots of grouchy moments now that you’re always going to be short.” That was from talk #37.

“Nigel, leave.”

“You don’t really mean that. Mom said you’d say lots of things you didn’t mean when you had your grouchy moments, you know, because you’re so short.”

Thus was my waking life. “Oh for God’s sake, Nigel, please go away.”

“I can’t. Mom sent me to get you up. I’m not supposed to leave until you’re out of bed.”

Did Mom really hate me that much? But it didn’t matter. I had made quite a mess under the sheets, and I wasn’t getting up until Nigel was long gone. “Look, Nigel, go tell Mom that I’m up and I promise I’ll be down as soon as I can.” I had a little business I wanted to finish.

“That wouldn’t be right,” said Nigel. “Mom said I have a responsibility to you and that I always had to do the right thing, now that I’m taller than you.”

“You are not taller than me.”

“Mom says things are going to have to be different. That because of your condition, you’re not going to be able to take care of yourself—you know like the way you keep getting dumped in trash cans all the time?”

Oh please, God, make him shut up. Send a lighting bolt or stick his tongue to the roof of his mouth, anything, just let him stop talking.

“And since I’m taller than you—”

“You’re not taller than me.”

“—I’m going to have to start taking care of you. Mom’s getting me a weight set so I’ll be able to beat up the guys that pick on you.”

“You can’t beat up high school kids. You’re thirteen.”

“Not yet I can’t. But I will be able to. I’m already taller than you.”

“You’re not taller than me.”

“In a couple of years when I’m a freshman, you’ll be a junior. I’ll be in high school too. Then you’ll have a big strong brother to take care of you.”

“That’ll be something to look forward to.”

“Mom says we have to be sensitive to your situation but at the same time we can’t coddle you.”

“I promise you I don’t feel coddled.”

“Like from now on I’m supposed to call you my older brother instead of my big brother. I don’t want you to think I’m making fun of how short you are, especially now that I’m taller than you.”

“You are not taller than me!”

“What’s going on in here? You boys having fun?” asked my mother as she breezed into my room.

Could no one knock?

“Nigel, I sent you to get your brother out of bed.”

“I know. He wouldn’t come.”

“Well, he’s probably feeling a little depressed—due to his condition. The doctor said we could expect that.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“Of course you are, sweetie. It’s not good to hide your feelings.”

It was clear I wasn’t going to win this. “Okay, fine, I’m depressed. Could you please leave me alone?”

“And it’s not good to wallow in them either.” And with that she grabbed my covers and tried to rip them off me. I grabbed hold of them just in time. Another millisecond and my guilty mess would have been uncovered. I then proceeded to have a tug of war with my mother over my covers. The stakes: total humiliation. It gave me an almost inhuman strength. If she was going to take my covers she’d have to rip my hands out of their bloody sockets to do it. But it didn’t come to that. After a minute she gave up.

“Oh, Colin, I just don’t know what to do with you.”

“You could try leaving me alone.”

“Hello there,” came a sing-song voice. “What’s going on in here?” Oh great. Grandma. I’m doused in spunk and my Grandma’s in the room. Even if I get through this I’m going to be totally screwed up.

“Oh, Mom,” said my mom, “you ruined the surprise.”

Surprise? Okay, I don’t know why my mother always does this. It’s Thanksgiving week. Every year on Thanksgiving week, my Grandma comes to visit. And every year my mom acts like it’s this big surprise. Every year.

“I’m sorry dear,” said Grandma. “I see you’re having a little trouble getting Nigel out of bed.”

“Ah, I’m Colin.”

Grandma slid her glasses down to the end of her nose, and peered at me closely. “Surely not. Colin is the older one.”

Okay, can I die now?

“That’s okay, Grandma,” said Nigel. “It’s an easy mistake to make, especially now that I’m taller than him.”

“You are not taller than me.”

“Good Morning!” said a man’s voice.

Who the…?

“I’m sorry I’ve neglected you, Reverend,” said my mom.

Holy crap, it’s Reverend Peters! What the hell (if you’ll pardon the expression) is he doing here?

“Not at all,” said the Reverend. “I hope I’m not intruding.”

Like hell, you’re not. Oh God, there I go again…and again.

“Of course not. Please come in.”

Thanks Mom. Was there anyone else waiting out there? Saints? Angels? God?

“That’s another surprise ruined,” said my mom. “The Reverend was kind enough to pick your grandma up at the airport, so he’ll be having breakfast with us.”

My cup of joy was overflowing. “Great. That’s just great. I don’t want to keep you. Why don’t you guys get started and I’ll be down in a minute.”

“I’m having a little trouble getting sleepyhead out of bed this morning,” said my mom to the Reverend.

“What? On this glorious day?” he cried, with an enthusiasm only ministers seem to be able to pull off. “The sun’s so bright. The sky’s so blue.” Then before I knew what had happened, the Reverend reached down and yanked my covers away.

The world seemed to freeze. There was a moment when my brain just refused to accept what had happened. Then I looked down and saw my partially exposed cock lying in a milky mire of its own creation. I fought back the temptation to scream like a girl. There was dead silence while everyone in the room stared at my soaked crotch.

The first one to react was Nigel. He just burst out laughing. My mom quickly clamped a hand over his eyes, and hustled him from the room, apologizing to the Reverend and Grandma as she went.

The Reverend looked down at me sternly and said, “Young man, we’ll have to have a little talk after breakfast,” and then he left. Great. I can’t wait.

Grandma just chucked and replaced my comforter, giving me back a little of my dignity. It was far too late, but I appreciated the gesture. “Don’t worry about it, Nigel,” she said. “Try Depends.” Then she patted my head and left, closing the door behind her.

Great, Grandma thought I was a bed wetter. Actually she thought Nigel was a bed wetter. I guessed I could live with that. Really, I could live with all of it. On most days, I would probably have been pretty devastated by the morning’s events. But not today. Today was going to be a big day for me. I had been saving for over a month, ever since the fight in The Clearing, and now I finally had enough to buy some of that stuff from Charles, the same stuff that had caused his friend to grow so gigantic in size. And I couldn’t wait to try some. Today my dream would finally come true…but first I had to get through breakfast.

As I came down the stairs I could hear everyone talking happily. Of course, when I entered the room all conversation stopped and was replaced by awkward silence. You know, to tell the truth, I kind of preferred the awkward silence. It certainly beat talking about what happened upstairs and it was also better than everyone falling all over themselves to deliberately avoid the subject. Yeah, give me awkward silence every time. I was actually very happy with the awkward silence—which is, of course, why it couldn’t last.

“Can I get you a pancake, older brother?” asked Nigel.

I just skipped right though all the preliminaries and went straight to: “You’re not taller than me.”

“Yes, I am,” he answered. “Aren’t I taller than him, Mom?”

“I don’t know, dear,” said my mom. “It’s hard to say.”

“Back to back,” said Nigel. “Come on, Mom, measure us.”

I suddenly got very afraid. Nigel was getting taller. He didn’t have my problem so he would eventually be a normal height. But he couldn’t be taller than me, not yet. I stood up slowly, realizing for the first time just how close Nigel was getting. Crap. It couldn’t be true. It just couldn’t. Nigel came running over and stood behind me, his back to my back. I didn’t have to look to know he was standing on his toes.

“Feet flat on the floor, Nigel,” I said.

“They are,” he said, as I felt him slide down against me.

Mom came over and placed her hand between our two heads.

“Well…?” asked Nigel.

I didn’t say anything, because I suddenly realized that if Nigel was taller than me I didn’t want to know. I could feel the back of his skull right up against the back of mine and I knew that this was going to be very close.

“It looks like,” my mom said, “you two are exactly the same height.”

Crap!

“Oh, man!” whined Nigel. “Oh well, I’ll be taller than you by Christmas.” And I knew he was right. If things kept going on the way they were going, my little brother would be looking down on me by the New Year. But I had an ace up my sleeve and if I had anything to say about it, things would not keep going on the way they were going.

“Mom, after breakfast, can you give me a ride to a friend’s house?”

“Not right after breakfast, Colin. The Reverend Peters wants to have a talk with you. And I must say it’s good to have him here, since your father isn’t around.”

My father was British, and, appropriately enough, now lived in England. And I didn’t think the Reverend Peters was any kind of substitute at all. But judging from the amount of time he spent around my Mom, he wouldn’t agree.

“Yes,” said the Reverend, “we really need to discuss this.”

And I had about as much interest in having this talk with him as I had in Chinese water torture.

“Maybe Nigel should sit in, too. He might learn something as well,” said my mom.

Oh sure. I could give a tutorial.

“I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” said Grandma. “Just make sure he doesn’t drink any liquids before bed. It works for me.”

I didn’t know what to say. Mom didn’t know what to say. Even Nigel didn’t know what to say. God bless Grandma! She’d brought back the awkward silence.

I just wish there had been a way to carry it over to the little talk I had to have with the Reverend. But the pleasantly strained quiet couldn’t last forever, and before I knew it, the Reverend, Nigel and I were sitting in the family room. And the Reverend, he didn’t believe in preliminaries either.

The devil,” he began, shouting, and turning as red as the entity about which he was talking, “is inside you, Colin!”

My eyes rolled upwards. Oh Christ—and I meant it. Nigel giggled.

“And he’s inside you as well, young man.” Nigel stopped giggling. “He is in all men. And do you know where he lives?”

I could’ve guessed, but I doubt it would have won me any points.

“Right between the legs.”

Personally, I’d always assumed the devil would look more impressive.

“Every time you feel a stirring down there, that’s him talking to you.”

The devil’s quite a blabbermouth, isn’t he?

“And if you listen to him, he will lead you to wrack and ruin, every time! Every time!”

Next time he says anything, I’ll be sure to rough him up good.

“So resist him! Resist his siren’s call. Wait until the time is right.”

The time is right? What the…? “Excuse me, Reverend, are you saying there’s a right time to give into the devil?”

“No, son, I’m talking about the time when you get ready to start a family of your own.”

“But wouldn’t that involve, you know, the devil?”

“They don’t call it original sin for nothing.”

“Ah. Well, I guess I don’t have to worry then.”

“And why do you think that?”

“Because, no girl is going to be interested in a skinny little shrimp like me.”

“Colin,” he said, “I can see your soul is in peril.”

What? I glanced down at my body trying to see if I could see what he was seeing, but there was no sign of an endangered soul. I did, however, catch a glimpse of the devil, hiding beneath some denim. He seemed pretty subdued at the moment.

“You are in danger of giving into despair, and despair is the devil’s inroad.”

Wait a minute, if the devil was who the Reverend said he was then the guy didn’t need an inroad; he pretty much already owned me.

“I will meditate on your problem and pray for you.”

“I’ll pray for you, too,” said Nigel.

He’ll pray for me? That condescending little prick! Okay, what I was about to do, I wasn’t going to be proud of. In fact, I expected to hate myself for a full sixty seconds.

“But the devil is in you, too, Nigel.”

“What? I’m just a kid.”

“Not so much, Nigel. You’re thirteen now. You’ve got peach fuzz on you upper lip, a cracking voice, and a habit of bleaching your underwear.”

“How’d you know abo…” Nigel started. Then he froze; the full realization that he’d just given himself away was branded across his face. Of course Mom had known. You can’t hide these things from the person who washes your sheets. That’s why she suggested he sit in on our session.

And I had known as soon as I walked into the laundry room and saw his clumsy attempts at bleaching his underwear. I’m sure most of it had holes by now. It’s not like I held it against him or anything. It’s just that his holier-than-thou attitude was really starting to piss me off. Of course, what was really going to make this fun was the fact he thought no one else knew.

“Nigel?” began the Reverend. “Are you masturbating?”

Nigel’s eyes went bug-wide and he started quivering. If you’ve ever seen a rabbit in front of a semi, then you’ve seen my brother at that moment.

“It’s okay, Nigel,” I said. “I’ll pray for you.”

Then he did exactly what most trapped rabbits do. He jumped up and ran for it. I don’t know where he thought he was going. I guess it was just a panic maneuver. And the Reverend, like the Lord’s hound on the sent of sin, jumped up and ran after him.

“Nigel, come back here. We have to talk about this.”

I heard the pounding of running feet and the slamming of doors, and the crash when an occasional knick-knack fell to the ground, as my brother raced through the house searching desperately for a place to hide, and the Reverend chased after him calling, “Nigel. Nigel stop,” obviously desperate to save him.

I did my time. I spent the full sixty seconds hating myself. Then I sat back and grinned from ear to ear. It’s the little moments in life we learn to treasure.

Part 2

Nothing in life is free. I’ve come to realize this. You want something; you have to pay for it. And sometimes, even though the cost isn’t in money, it’s much more than you expect to pay.

All I wanted was a ride over to Charles’ house, but even that had a price, a steep one: I was expected to go clothes shopping on the way. Oh, I couldn’t fault my mom’s reasoning: gas was expensive and the mall was on the way, but I seriously wished Charles lived on the other side of town.

You see, I had this theory. Somewhere on the 5th level of hell, right around the corner from the guys who eat their own eyeballs, is a JC Penney. And this JC Penney is the biggest, brightest JC Penney you could ever imagine. And it’s filled with the coolest, most awesome clothes anyone ever designed or sewn together, but they’re all too big and nothing—not one sock, not one baseball cap—will fit me.

And lucky me, I didn’t have to wait for the afterlife to experience this; I could have it right now, right here, today. And that was the price I had to pay for a ride to Charles’. I briefly considered walking or taking the bus, but it was way too far and way too cold, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding the bus with all that cash on me.

Of course Nigel and Grandma had to come too. If they had stayed home there might have been a chance I would’ve gotten through the ordeal without being completely humiliated. So, my life being the way it is, naturally they had to come.

Mom had to get Nigel a few things, too—I’m guessing underwear amongst other things—and as soon as we entered the store they headed for the kids’ department. As we walked by the teen area, I tried not to look. I knew only disappointment and depression awaited me there, but I couldn’t help it. And sure enough, I saw exactly what I was looking for, a pair of jeans; you know the dark blue kind that look slightly stained brown. I really wanted a pair like that, so I broke off from the group and checked out the wrack. What a surprise, they didn’t have them in my size.

I went to find the salesperson and hoped beyond hope that they had some in the back. When I saw her, I just had to take a step back. She was cute, really cute. I think she went to my school, but she had to be a senior. I walked over and looked at her name tag. It read Periwinkle. Hm. Interesting. “Excuse me, ah, Periwinkle?” At the sound of her name, her expression soured like she smelled something bad, but then she saw me and smiled. Wow. I think she likes me.

“Hi there,” she said, beaming. “Peri, just call me Peri.”

Wow, Peri, what a beautiful name. “I was wondering if you had these in my size, Peri,” I said, smiling back at her. She looked at the jeans and put on this cute little pouting expression. “Oh, I’m sorry, sweetie.” She called me sweetie! I felt my heart beating faster.

“We only have these in adult sizes. Why don’t you try down there, in the little kids’ department?”

AHHHHRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

She pointed me toward the kids’ department where Nigel was no doubt pimping himself out with the latest in cartoon fashion at this very moment. I went from the height of bliss to the depths of despair in 0.3 seconds. She must have seen the look on my face because she said, “Wait a minute.” And she ran off back to the counter. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for. But in a second she was back, holding something behind her.

“Here, this is for you.” And she pulled out a lollypop, a cherry lollypop. Truth be told, there was another cherry I’d’ve been far more interested in. Still, I took the candy even though I was half tempted to throw it on the floor and step on it. But it was just possible that would appear rude. So I stuck it in my pocket instead.

“Hey, Peri.” I heard a low rumble coming from behind me. My blood ran cold. I knew that voice. I turned around and sure enough, it was Benjy Pierce, football player and one of my worst nightmares from school. He took one look at me and smiled, too. But his expression sent my heart pounding for an entirely different reason.

“Hey, runt, what are you doing? Trying to hit on my girl?” An easy foot taller than me, he picked me up in the air so we were face to face. I struggled, did the whole, “What are you doing? Stop. Put me down,” thing that kids usually do in situations like that. Of course, it didn’t work this time either.

“What are you doing, Benjy?” said Peri. “Put him down. He’s just a kid.”

Yeah, Benjy, put me down…

“No, he’s not,” said Benjy. “He’s in my algebra class.”

“Really? He’s so tiny.”

…On second thought, break my neck. Just make it quick.

“Now where is it?” said Benjy, looking around. “I know they’ve got one around here someplace.”

Oh no. Not that. Not here.

“There it is, over by the mall entrance,” said Benjy and then he was carrying me. I shouted and pounded on him, but I had next to no effect. Suddenly I heard more shouting, slightly higher pitched. I looked down, and there was Nigel, pounding away on Benjy shouting, “Leave him alone. Put him down.” Nigel was either really brave or really stupid. Unfortunately, I had to go with the latter.

Benjy looked down and said, “Oh look, twins.”

Murder me.

Then I saw the wastebasket. It was a big one, filled with all kinds of food wrappers and ice cream cups, almost as disgusting as the cafeteria ones at school, and I was intimately familiar with them. And before I knew it, I was upside down and dangling over it. That’s when Grandma attacked. She was hitting Benjy over and over again with a small box she had in her hand. Yes, my Grandma joined my little brother in trying to rescue me from a high school bully. At this point I wasn’t sure who to root for. No matter who won, I was finished. As soon as this got around school, I would be socially washed up. Even the geeks wouldn’t talk to me. They might laugh some, but talk? No way.

I felt Benjy’s grip loosen and suddenly I was sliding into the trash can. I actually had to think about weather or not I wanted to get out. When I finally did stand up, I saw Benjy Pierce backing away from my enraged Grandma. He had somehow gotten her box away from her and was holding it out in front of him trying to ward her off—you know the way you use a cross to ward off a vampire.

“Jeeze, lady, calm down. It was only a joke.”

“It wasn’t’ very funny. You leave my grandson alone or I’ll give you a good ass whooping.”

Benjy burst out laughing. “Excuse me?”

“Oh you think I can’t do it, hunh?”

Benjy just couldn’t stop laughing.

My Grandma, fists clenched, took a menacing step toward Benjy, knocked the box away from him and then proceeded to thrust her knee into his balls. First Benjy’s grin disappeared. Then there was this kind of whooshing noise followed by an “uhnnn” as all the air rushed out of Benjy’s body. His face was a mix of intense surprise and extreme pain as he grabbed his crotch and doubled over. Nigel didn’t waste a second. Suddenly he was all arms and legs, punching and kicking Benjy with everything he had. Benjy toppled to the ground and Nigel got in another couple of blows before he left the redheaded football player alone to writhe on the floor in agony—mostly from the gonad injury I’d have to say.

Okay, I had to wrap my mind around what had just happened. My Grandma and little brother didn’t just rescue me from one of the biggest bullies at Milton Gower High School; they kicked the shit out of him. I was humiliated beyond words. I appreciated why they did it. They wanted to help me. All the same, I wish they had just left him alone. He would have dumped me in the trash and the whole thing would have been forgotten by tomorrow. But now, it was the stuff of legend.

I knew I didn’t have to worry about Benjy spreading the word. No way he was going to tell anyone he’d gotten beaten up by a little old lady. But Peri… She saw the whole thing, and from the way she was laughing, I knew I was screwed. My only consolation was that this was probably going to be almost as bad for Benjy. Although, I don’t think the geeks were going to laugh in his face.

I stood up and tried to climb out of the wastebasket but it toppled over, spilling me and most of its contents all over the floor. Nigel and Grandma were at my side in a moment helping me up. I was covered in garbage. I looked up and saw Peri approaching with the box my Grandma had used to assault Benjy.

“Excuse me,” she said giggling. “I think these are yours.” She held up the box and I could see the brand name Depends written across the front of it. “Except,” Peri continued. “These are men’s.”

Oh no. Please, God, don’t let it be…

“I know they’re men’s,” said my Grandma. “They’re for him. Do you think I got the right size?”

It was at this point I seriously considered crawling back into the trash can, but instead I just shut everything out and silently turned and walked out into the mall. I don’t know how long I wondered or where I went but somehow I wound up back at the car. It was cold. My mind was already numb and now my body was catching up.

How did I get though this? I just kept thinking about growing. I was going to grow. I was going to get big, and big guys didn’t catch near as much crap. All I had to do was get to Charles’ house. That’s all I had to do. That was it. Why was it so damn difficult?

It wasn’t long before my family showed up. Some guy with from the sporting goods store was with them. He had a cart loaded with a couple of heavy looking boxes—Nigel’s new weight set. As the guy loaded it in our car for us, I realized the thought of an overmuscular Nigel tackling bullies for me on a regular basis was a concept horrifying beyond belief. Thank God I had another option.

My family had been worried about me, and I got the standard lecture about wandering off without telling anyone. I gave the standard apologies and promised never to do it again and we all piled into the car.

Then I noticed it. My shirt was a mess. It was covered with stains of ice cream and soda and who-knows-what from the trash can. “Crap! I can’t go to Charles’ like this!”

“Do you want to go home?” asked my mom.

“NO!” I shouted, not meaning to shout. “I mean, maybe we can find a restroom or something and I can wash it out.”

“I don’t think you should wander around in a wet shirt while it’s this cold.”

“I know,” said Nigel. “I can give him an advance.”

“An advance?”

“Yeah. Mom and I had a talk while we were shopping…”

Oh great, another talk.

“…you know, before we had to beat up that bully for you…”

I’m glad you reminded me because it’s been a full thirty minutes and there’s a .0001 percent chance I might have forgotten.

“…and we realized that we both wear the same size clothes now.”

Except your head is already five times bigger than mine.

“So, here,” he said as he dug into one of the JC Penny bags, pulled out a bright red t shirt with a CGI race car on it, and handed it to me.

Gee, I guess they didn’t have anything with teddy bears on it.

“I can’t wear that. I’ll look like I’m twelve!”

“Colin, is that any way to talk to your brother. He’s doing a very generous thing, offering you his new shirt.”

Oh sure, Nigel was very thoughtful. He was thoughtful beating up Benjy. He’s thoughtful lending me his kiddy shirt. Maybe he could wrap me up in a diaper while he was at it. Oh no, wait, grandma had already taken care of that.

But I was stuck and I knew it. Red race cars were my only option. I took the shirt from Nigel and thanked him.

“That’s okay,” said Nigel. “It’ll be yours soon anyway. In a couple of months I’ll be too big for it. But it’ll fit you forever and ever and ever and ever.”

Okay, that was it. By the end of the day, this race car was going to have a serious accident.

“Don’t be too sure,” I said. “I might surprise you.” I pulled off my coat and shirt.

Nigel giggled. “Oh right, sure.”

“You’ll see,” I said as I pulled on his shirt and replaced my coat.

Mom pulled the car over and I checked the address against the one Charles had given me on the phone earlier. I was here. Finally, I was here. I hopped out of the car and waved as my family drove off. I looked up at the house, it was large, two stories tall, light blue, with white trim. It was absolutely the most beautiful house I had ever seen.

I took two steps toward it and suddenly there was this big red faced guy standing in my way. Where’d he come from? I could have sworn he wasn’t there a minute ago. I tried to step around him but he moved to block my way.

“Colin Jones?” he said, more like a statement than a question. Who was this guy? I looked up and suddenly I recognized him.

It was Officer Quinn, one of the cops that had questioned me after the big fight in The Clearing. Someone had seen me give that junior the shot that made him grow, and the cops had grilled me about it for a good three hours. Of course I didn’t tell them anything. But that was more than a month ago. What did they want now?

“Yeah?” I answered him.

“Would you follow me, please,” he said flashing his badge and suddenly putting the whole thing on an official level.

This was not fair. I’d gone through hell and… well, more hell to get here. And now this cop was keeping me from my goal. What now? Was he going to arrest me, yank me away from my prize when I was this close? I looked up at the house just a few feet away from me and sighed. I could make a break for it, but I decided it was probably better just to see what he wanted. So, I followed Officer Quinn.

He led me to an unmarked sedan, opened the back door and instructed me to get in. In a second I found myself sandwiched between him and that other cop, Officer Murkowski.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“We couldn’t help but notice you were on your way to number 23. May we ask why?”

“Just visiting a friend.”

“Then why the disguise?”

“Disguise?”

“You’re dressed like an eight-year-old.”

I looked down. My coat was open and the red race car was shining through. Nice.

“Gee, I guess I can’t fool you. I’m actually the head of a multinational crime syndicate and number 23 is my local base of operations.”

Officer Murkowski sighed. “You know, we can always take this downtown.”

“Look, I’m just visiting a friend.”

Officer Quinn flipped open a note book. “Would that be Charles or Skyler Spooner?”

“Charles.”

“Uh hunh.” The two cops nodded to each other.

“What?” I asked.

“You two are both associates of a known terrorist.”

A terrorist? That junior? Who was he kidding?

“In fact, it is quite possible there is an entire cell of bio-terrorists operating right here in this community.”

“Ahhhhh, right. If you guys’ll excuse me I have an appointment back on planet Earth.”

“All right, Colin. Just keep in mind we’re going to be watching you, and your friend,” Officer Quinn said as he held out a business card. “Take this, just in case you ever feel like talking.”

I took the card and shoved it into my wallet, but only because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me go if I didn’t, and then Officer Quinn opened up the door and let me out.

“Remember, Colin,” he said just before they pulled away. “We haven’t forgotten your little stunt at The Clearing. We’ll be watching.”

Let them watch. I didn’t care. Let them arrest me. I didn’t care about that either. The only thing I cared about was right up that walkway inside that two story house. I took a step towards it. I was half convinced the ground was going to open up beneath me or a tornado was going to come whipping down the street and suck me up, because today, absolutely everything seemed to be conspiring to keep me from that house.

So, it was with no small amount of disbelief that I finally reached the door and knocked. There was no answer; so after about a minute, I knocked again. Still no answer. I was about to knock a third time when the door opened. There was a very pretty middle aged lady standing there. She had jet black hair and dazzling blue eyes. I could tell, about ten years ago, she must have been really hot. I guessed she must have been Charles’s mom, but he didn’t take after her much. He had a thin face and a kind of hawk-like nose, nothing, except his black hair, suggested he was in anyway related to the former beauty queen I saw standing in front of me.

She took one look at me and said, “Sorry, no cookies today,” and shut the door.

I barely stifled a frustrated scream as I knocked again. The lady opened the door and said, “Persistent little urchin, aren’t you?”

“I’m not selling cookies,” I said. “That’s the Girl Scouts.”

“Really? I could have sworn the Cub Scouts sold them, too.”

“I’m not a Cub Scout,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’m fifteen.”

She laughed. “That’s ridiculous. Well, at least you’re an amusing pest. I’ll take two boxes.”

“I’m not selling cookies,” I repeated, feeling my face turn as red as my shirt. “I’m here to see Charles.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Oh, I see,” she said. “You better come in then.” She opened the door wide and I quickly slid inside before she changed her mind. They had a very nice living room, and Mrs. Spooner offered me a chair.

“I sent Charles to the store, but he should be back in a minute. Would you like something to drink?”

“A little water would be nice, thanks,” I said, and she left the room to go get it. As I sat there I noticed the music she was playing in the background. I’d never heard anything like it before. The melody was smooth and slow and kind of sad. I really liked it. When Mrs. Spooner came back I asked her what it was.

“Oh, just a little Blues,” she said. “Haven’t you ever heard any Blues?”

“No,” I said. If it wasn’t pop or church, it wasn’t played in our house.

“Well,” she said smiling, “they’re usually slow songs about something or someone that you want desperately, but for some reason can’t have.” She sighed as if remembering a similar experience from her own life. “I suppose it’s hard for young people to identify with music like that.”

“Not for me,” I said. “It’s not hard at all.” In fact, it had just about been my entire life. But that was about to change.

Suddenly the door burst open and Charles came in all wrapped up in his winter gear. He stomped his feet and shuddered. “Oh, it’s cold out there,” he said, as he unbuttoned his coat collar and unwrapped his scarf.

I did a double take.

Holy fuck, his neck! Look at his fucking neck! I had never seen a neck like that in my life. Even the football players didn’t have necks like that. It was so thick, just as thick as his head, and I could see cords and tendons standing out on it, and two huge veins running up the sides. And his bulging, powerful traps seemed to be forcing their way out of his collar, stretching it unnaturally wide. Holy fuck! I hadn’t seen Charles since the Clearing, and he hadn’t been anything like this then. I just wasn’t prepared. I started to feel a little light headed. And that was just his neck! Christ!

He must have noticed me staring and he grinned. “Hey, Colin, long time, no see.” He bent his arms and clenched his fists, kind of doing a half most muscular. His whole body swelled up. It was huge. I could see it even underneath the layers of winter clothes he was wearing. I began to hear threads popping. The sound seemed to egg him on and he began flexing harder. He bulged up even bigger. I could see the cloth straining to contain him and the popping became more rapid and louder. I was sure any second he was just going to just explode out of his coat.

“Charles Spooner, you stop that this instant,” said his mother. “You tear that coat and that’s it. I’m not buying you another one until Christmas. You’ll just have to freeze until then.”

Charles’ grin drooped; he relaxed and the popping stopped.

“I’m sorry about that,” she said to me. “Ever since he started weight lifting, he has to show off to everyone who comes over. It’s a little vulgar if you ask me.”

“That’s okay,” I said a little shakily. Charles’ little display had gotten me really excited—on many different levels. In fact, I was really hoping to see a little more vulgarity. I think Charles guessed how I was feeling because he invited me to come up to his room. I eagerly followed him up the stairs. We got about half way up when suddenly I heard this crash come from above us.

“Shit!” yelled Charles and he took off running. I ran after him. I was right behind him when he slammed a door open and thundered into one of the rooms. I guess it was his bedroom. There was Star Wars stuff everywhere, posters on the walls, books and toys scattered across the shelves and the floor. It was a mess. It looked like someone had been searching his room… and that someone was still there. He was bent over, going through a chest at the foot of Charles’ bed, and as soon as we came in, he stopped and stood up.

Suddenly time froze and the world stopped. The person standing at the foot of Charles’ bed was the most dazzling human being I had ever seen. He had to be around my age, maybe a little older. He had thick, ink black hair, pale skin and explosively blue eyes. He had high cheek bones, and a straight, perfectly formed nose. He was about an inch shorter than Charles but only a fraction of his width—not that he was skinny. He had a good build, solid, but not bulky. He was defiantly amazing looking. Here, obviously, was the son of that woman downstairs. But there was something more to him than looks, something I couldn’t put my finger on, something that raised him from just good looking to beautiful. Maybe it was his expressive eyes, or his rebellious, fearless expression. What ever it was, he was perfect, absolutely perfect, and as soon as I saw him I was totally and sincerely lost.

I considered myself to be a fairly stable guy, feet anchored firmly on the ground. I didn’t tend to be impulsive or get caught up in whims. But this time was different. Not one person, no girl, and certainly no guy, had ever affected me in a way that was even close to this. I felt myself getting dizzy, the breath getting caught in my throat. Somehow, in just an instant, this person had completely captured my soul, and I knew I would die if I didn’t find some way to be with him.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Sky,” shouted Charles, and the world started spinning again. In two steps he crossed the floor and grabbed the vision under the arms and pinned him up against the wall.

“Don’t hurt him,” I blurted, before I could stop myself.

“I’m not going to hurt him,” said Charles. “I’m going to kill him.” Then he turned back to his victim and yelled, “How many fucking times do we have to go through this? Stay the fuck out of my room.”

“I know what you’re doing, Bro. Don’t think I don’t, and it’s wrong to keep it for yourself. There are millions of people out there with debilitating muscular disorders who need that stuff. You can’t just hoard it for your own personal ego trip.”

Wow, he had a great voice, deep and rich and rolling, none of the nasal quality of Charles’. And he was so brave.

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” said Charles. “As if I hadn’t heard that a thousand times. The stuff’ll be on the market soon enough. They can get it then.”

“That’s not necessarily true and you know—”

“Yeah, thank you,” said Charles cutting his brother off, and hustling him toward the door. “I hereby declare this meeting of the bleeding hearts society closed. Come in my room again and I’ll rip your head off.” And then he tossed his brother into the hall and slammed the door. “Sorry about Sky,” he said as he turned back to me. “He’s Michael Moore’s biggest fan, if you know what I mean.”

“Sky…” I said, tasting the name.

“Yeah, he keeps coming in here trying to find my stash so he can bring some to the tree huggers—or whoever the hell it is he hangs out with.”

“Sky…” I repeated.

“Are you okay?”

No. No, I’m not. I’ll never be okay, never again. “Yeah, I’m fine. Do you think your brother’s okay? Maybe we should go check.”

“He’ll be fine. Look, do you want to buy some of this stuff, or not.”

“Yeah, sure,” I said, mechanically. What was wrong with me? I had been waiting for this moment for a solid month. It had been all I could think about. Now I was treating it like buying a soda at the 7-11. I’d better pull my head out of my ass and get back with the program. I wonder what Sky is doing right now.

“Wait a minute,” said Charles. “How old are you?”

I looked down and saw my red race car shirt blaring, and it cleared my head pretty quick. Fuck. “Fifteen,” I said.

“Are you sure? ‘cause you look a lot younger. I’m only asking because this stuff can have some pretty unpredictable effects if you’re too young.”

“I’m fifteen, okay? You want to see some ID, or something?” I was starting to get a little pissed.

“Yeah, if you don’t mind, I would.”

“Fine.” I reached into my pocket to pull out my wallet with my school ID and the first thing that came out was the cherry sucker Peri had given me. Perfect. “Yeah,” I said trying to stare Charles down. “This is my lollypop. You got a problem with that?”

“Dude,” he said, “I just need to see your ID.”

I retrieved my ID and showed it to him. He looked it over very closely and then seemed satisfied and handed it back to me.

I removed the wad of cash from my wallet and handed it over to Charles. He counted the money quickly, walked to an R2D2 cookie jar, and shoved it inside. Then he turned to me solemnly. “You can’t breathe a word about this to anyone, especially my brother. Promise?” At the mere mention of Sky, I felt my knees get weak. Holy Crap! I had to get a handle on this. Still, I managed to nod and Charles pushed back his bed and pulled up one of he floor boards. I’m guessing it was loose but, looking at the way Charles’ muscles swelled under his coat, it didn’t need to be. He pulled out a metal case and removed from it a small bottle, which he handed to me.

“Take five cc’s a day,” he said. “You paid what I usually charge for a week’s worth of the stuff, but there’s enough here for a month. And a month is all it took for me to go from this…” he held up a photo of himself, looking quite skinny and nerdly, “…to this…” and then he finally pealed back his coat. Holy fuck! Holy fucking fuck! Triple holy fucking fuck! He was huge! No, he went beyond huge, he was monumentally enourmous!

Charles wasn’t wearing what you’d actually want to call a shirt. The garment was more a nod to the shirt, a concession to dress codes everywhere, which boldly proclaimed no shirt, no shoes, no service. Essentially it was a small square of black cloth which hung down somewhere around the second level of his eight brick-like abs—and it did a feeble job of obscuring even them. From this square of cloth, two strings ran up either side past his soccer ball sized pecs, over his massive bulging traps and then down his back over the widest pair of lats I’d seen since The Clearing, and then connected to another small square of black cloth that attempted to cover his lower back.

Nothing was left to the imagination. Nothing had to be. The truth was just too fucking awesome. And don’t get me started on his arms. I had a feeling that when he went to the movies, he had to buy three seats, one for him and one for each of his arms. His shoulders alone were the size of my head, his biceps and triceps nearly as wide as my torso and his forearms were almost as thick as my leg. How the hell he wrapped that coat around all that muscle was a mystery to me. It had to be bigger on the inside then it was on the outside.

He started pumping his arms and then he flexed for me. Hooooooly crap! I couldn’t believe the size of those things. It looked like three massive bulging boulders were piled up on his arms, his skin was stretched thinly around them and a thick web of veins running all up, down and around the monsters. How much fucking power he must have. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be that big. Then I realized I wouldn’t have to imagine it; I could experience it. I started hyperventilating. Between Charles and his brother, I think my hormones went into overdrive. I felt myself getting dizy.

Charles relaxed at once and led me over to a chair. “You okay there, little guy? I didn’t mean to excite you; it’s just that when you have a body like this, you can’t help but show off a little.”

“How…,” I started, barley able to breath. “How much taller did you get?”

Suddenly Charles looked a little puzzled. “I didn’t get any taller. I was five foot ten before. I’m five foot ten now. This stuff doesn’t work that way. It mostly works on the skeletal muscles.”

No! “But… but what about your friend in The Clearing? He got gigantic.”

“Yeah, well he’s genetically—different.”

No, this wasn’t fair!

“Look,” said Charles, “this stuff isn’t a magic potion. You have to work out. But the results are insane. In a month, you could be the strongest kid in your class. No one will pick on you. They’ll all be too afraid you’ll wad ‘em up like a ball and flush them down the toilet. It’s a pretty cool feeling when the bullies are scared of you.” He grinned amiably.

“Yeah, I guess,” I said.

“I’m sorry this isn’t the solution to all your problems, but I promise you it will help. In a month, you could have guns like this.” He flexed and I saw those mammoth formations ripple up on his arms again. They were amazingly awesome. Even if I didn’t get any taller, it was guaranteed I’d never see the inside of another trash can. And next time, I could beat the crap out of Benjy Pierce all by myself, and I’d be sure and do it in front of a crowd! Yeah, sure, this would still be awesome. Bring it on.

“Thanks, Charles.”

“No problem. Just remember, if you get caught with the stuff, you didn’t get it from me, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.”

Charles led me downstairs. I kept looking around hoping to catch a glimpse of Sky, but he didn’t seem to be anywhere around.

“So, you brother goes to Milton Gower?” I said, trying to sound casual.

“Yeah, he’s a sophomore.”

Yes! “That would make him what, about sixteen?”

“Un hunh.” I wanted to ask what classes he was in, what clubs he belonged to, and what his favorite color was, but I thought that might be just a little obsessive. So, I held back.

“You think he’s still home?” I asked looking around down every hall, and peering through each door we passed.

“Probably not,” said Charles. “These days he spends most of his time saving the world. Ha! Good luck. But you don’t have to worry about him. If he starts harassing you, just let me know. I’ll take care of it.”

“You think he might start harassing me?” I said, sounding entirely too hopeful.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. Then I remembered someone else who had been harassing me, the cops. No way did I want them to catch me with the stuff I’d just bought from Charles. So, I asked him if I could go out the back. I could tell he thought I was trying to avoid Sky. But the truth was: if I thought I would run into Sky going out the front, I would have risked the cops, no question.

As I plodded down Charles’ back steps, I tried to plot a course to the nearest bus stop. I thought about calling my mom for a ride, but I just couldn’t deal with my family right now. As a matter of fact, if I could find some way of avoiding them, for say… the rest of the decade, I would be only too happy.

I figured I would cut through Charles’ yard and the yard behind it, and get out to the street that way, when suddenly I heard a voice. “Hey! Instinctively I turned around. It was Sky! I felt the world grinding to a halt again. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I couldn’t believe he was calling to me and heading this way. Holy crap! What do I say?I’d swear he had some kind of super power because I couldn’t move; my breath was coming in gasps and my legs were turning to spaghetti. He was just so incredibly amazing, everything about him. The way he moved, the way his coat fit him, the way a lock of hair stuck out from under his cap, a more perfect creature God had not created. And the closer he got to me the more hot currents I could feel running up and down my spine. I wondered if I would explode before he arrived.

“Hey,” he said again upon reaching me, still miraculously combustion free.

I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. I couldn’t believe he was this close to me. I could feel the blood rushing from my head, making me stupid, and my heart must have been going a million miles a minute. I’m surprised he didn’t hear it. I don’t know; maybe he did.

“Sorry if I startled you,” he said.

Startled didn’t even begin to cover it.

“What’s your name?”

My name? What’s my name? Crap! What is my name? Come on, I knew it this morning.

“Colin,” I managed. Somehow I almost sounded like I was in control. I don’t know how that happened.

“Colin, I’m going to be straight with you. I know what you bought from my brother.”

I knew he was talking to me, but he was also looking at me with those piercing blue eyes, and when I heard his voice speak my name, all capacity for coherent thought evaporated. I just kept hearing it over and over in my head, Colin, Colin, Colin. I never knew my name was so beautiful until I heard it spoken by him.

“So, what do you say? Will you help me?” he finished.

I had the sinking feeling I’d missed something. Fortunately, he seemed to mistake my confusion for indecision.

“I almost feel guilty for asking,” he said. “Most of the people my brother sells to are egomaniacal, brainless jocks. You’re probably the only one who might actually have a legitimate need. But your sacrifice could help thousands of people who suffer daily from debilitating diseases. I know I’m asking a lot, but it’s for a good cause.”

And now I knew. He wanted the stuff I’d just bought from Charles. If he had asked for anything else I owned I’d have turned it over without a single thought. But this was my one chance of getting any kind of size at all. Without it, I’d be doomed to endless humiliation.

But then I looked up at that face, that perfect face with those mesmerizing, pleading eyes. And what made it nearly irresistible was the fact that he wasn’t pleading for himself, but for thousands of others, who were helpless to help themselves. He had all that beauty, and he was still selfless and noble. If I could have died then, I would have—anything to keep from having to make that decision. I was completely torn in half, and I really didn’t know what to do.

Part 3

You’ve got to wonder how large a part lust plays in world events. I mean, I’m no hero. I’ve never really given much thought to ending world suffering. I’ve always been kind of busy worrying about how to stay out of cafeteria trashcans or being better at Halo than Nigel, you know, important things. But now, I was suddenly considering giving up the most valuable thing I owned, my growth juice, to help make the world a better place. And why would I even entertain a thought like this? It was simple. I was addicted to Skyler Spooner, the most perfect human being in the universe. I couldn’t get enough of him. Just standing next to him was making me dizzy with joy. If you’ve never experienced something like this, I guess it would be pretty hard to understand. Hell, even if you have experienced something like this, it’s still hard to understand. But somehow understanding doesn’t seem so important when your brain is overdosing on endorphins, and making big decisions is almost impossible.

“So, what do you say?” asked Sky.

A couple of seconds passed before I realized I ought to say something. “Ahhhh…,” I said. That was articulate.

“I can see this is a tough decision,” said Sky. “So, why don’t you come down to CAFE with me and meet the guys. When you see the work we’re doing, maybe it will help make up your mind.”

“Café? You guys meet at, like, Starbucks?”

“No, “he answered. “But everybody says that.” He put his hand on my shoulder. Oh my God, he was touching me. I literally felt a current run from his hand into my body. It was the most amazing sensation. I never wanted it to end.

“Our group’s name is CAFE. It stands for Cures Are For Everyone.” In retrospect it seems like kind of a stupid name, but at that point I wouldn’t have cared if it was called Ralph.

“So, will you come?”

Was he kidding? If he’d said, “Let’s go to Iraq,” I’d’ve bought the plane tickets. “Sure,” I said. And that’s how I found myself on a bus with Sky heading for Christian Young Occidental College where this organization was headquartered. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to give up my grow juice, but I was getting to spend a lot of time with Sky and I decided I wouldn’t worry about any big choices until I had to.

In the mean time, I got to listen to Sky talk, and boy did he like to talk. He told me all about the evil drug companies and how they had all these cures for diseases like Cancer and AIDS locked away in some vault. But it was more profitable to sell treatments rather than cures, because you can only sell a cure once but treatments can be sold time and time again over a lifetime. CAFE, he said, was dedicated to getting those cures out to the people. It sounded good to me. But to be fair, if he had recited the recipe for liver and onions, that would have sounded pretty good to me, too.

I was so busy looking into his eyes as they glistened with passion and listening to the dulcet tones of his voice, I almost didn’t notice we were getting off the bus until it pulled away. He led me quickly across the brown lawns of the campus and down behind what looked like an old deserted house. One of the basement windows had been propped open and we headed straight for it.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“CAFE headquarters,” answered Sky, pointing toward the open window.

“Doesn’t it have a door?” I asked.

“CAFE isn’t exactly sanctioned by the college,” said Sky. “We have to be creative in appropriating resources.”

“Hunh?”

“We set up in the basement of a vacant frat house.”

“Oh.” I was beginning to have doubts about this. What was I getting myself into? But one look at Sky’s beautiful, earnest face and I found myself slipping in through a basement window after him. But instead of the cobwebs and dampness I had expected, the place was immaculately clean and fitted out like some kind of lab. It seemed empty, but it looked like someone was running an experiment on one of the benches. Suddenly a head popped up from behind the bench where it had obviously been hiding.

“Jeeze, Sky, you scared the crap out of me!” it said.

“Sorry, Shepard,” said Sky.

Shepard stood up and I got my first good look at him. He was a good-looking guy in his early twenties with sandy brown hair, a ruddy complexion, and two-day stubble that really agreed with him. There was something about him though… He seemed out of place in such a dorky setting.

“Who the hell is this?” asked Shepard. I can only guess he was talking about me.

“This is Colin,” said Sky. “He’s okay.”

Wow, he said I was okay. Maybe he likes me.

“Jeeze,” said Shepard, muttering to himself. “We let one kid in, and suddenly we’re crawling with them.” The he turned to Sky. “What are you, baby sitting?”

Okay, suddenly I didn’t like Shepard very much.

“I’m not a kid,” said Sky, “and neither is Colin. He’s fifteen.”

Shepard looked me up and down the way a doctor does.

“Growth hormone deficiency?” he asked me.

I nodded. “But it’s not treatable,” I said. He raised his eyebrows. I had a feeling I was suddenly interesting to him.

“Oh ho ho,” he said as he came trotting over to us. “Our junior member did good. Sky knows growth hormone deficiencies are of particular interest to me.”

“They are?” Suddenly I had the feeling that Sky hadn’t told me everything. That maybe there was something else going on here, something I didn’t know about.

Sky must have seen the expression on my face because suddenly he put his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry,” Sky said. “Everything’s cool.” I looked up at him and even though I still had my doubts, I knew I wasn’t going to go anywhere, especially while he was looking into my eyes and his hand was resting on my shoulder.

“Would you take off your shirt for me?” asked Shepard.

“What?” I asked, snapping back to reality. I didn’t like the sound of that.

“It’s okay,” said Sky. “Shepard is a med student. His interest is purely professional.”

What about your interest? I almost asked him, but that might be moving a little too fast.

“Okay,” I said, despite my own misgivings. I generally didn’t like taking off my shirt in public. My build was very slight. My limbs and torso were smooth and straight except where my ribs stuck out. I had tried building a little muscle once, but my hormone deficiency made it impossible. I took off my jacket and removed the red race car shirt. It was cold in the room and I was breaking out in goose pimples all over. Shepard was looking at me in a strange way. I felt kind of like a lab rat.

“Hmmm,” he said. “You are exceptionally puny.”

“Excuse me?” He might be a medical student, but his bedside manner sucked.

“There’s practically no muscular development at all. You almost have the body of a prepubescent boy.”

I started to get a little red in the face. “Yeah? Well, there are one or two important differences,” I said, liking Shepard less and less.

“I did say almost,” said Shepard with a slight smile. I started to wonder if he was making fun of me. “

“Thank you,” said Shepard. “You can put your shirt back on.” I wasted no time complying, and as I did I heard Shepard say to Sky, “Good work, kiddo. They’re going to find him irresistible.”

What was going on here? “Who’s going to find me what?” I asked.

“Come over here, Colin,” said Shepard and let me show you what I’m working on. The fact that he avoided answering my question was not lost on me. Shepard was definitely a little cagey, but I followed him over to the lab bench, and I got a closer look at the experiment on top of it. It was an unconscious guinea pig. It seemed to be breathing rapidly and there were tubes running in and out of it and through this machine.

“This is Giggles,” said Shepard. “One of our sympathizers snuck him out of the RxAll Pharmaceutical labs. Giggles has been inoculated with the cure for Lithuanian Diphtheria.”

“Lithu whata?”

“Lithuanian Diphtheria is a mutation of Diphtheria that has been ravaging the children of Lithuania. It is resistant to the normal vaccination, but RxAll has developed a cure. The only problem is Lithuania is a poor country and RxAll couldn’t possibly turn a profit there. So, they’re going to wait until it spreads to a country with deeper pockets, before they come forward with the drug.”

“What does all this have to do with me?”

“I just wanted to show you how important our work is and explain how you could be as important to us as Giggles.”

Oh boy. I looked down at the guinea pig. It was breathing rapidly and really didn’t look too healthy. I was pretty sure I didn’t trust Shepard, so I didn’t think I’d be jumping at the chance to be another Giggles.

“What are you doing to… ah… Giggles?”

“We’re filtering the cure out of his blood.”

“Is he going to die?”

“No, no. We filter the blood and then replace it. It should be fine, just like it was before it ever received the cure.”

“You mean it’s going to die of Literary Dipithus?”

“Lithuanian Diphtheria. No. As I said, it was the cure. The disease is gone. Only the cure is left.”

“Isn’t Shepard brilliant?” said Sky. Something in his voice sent alarm bells going off in my head. I looked over at him and was horrified at his expression. I recognized it because it was the exact same expression I’d been wearing for the last couple of hours. Oh my God, Sky was stuck on Shepard! Now I really didn’t like the guy.

Then Sky proceeded to tell Shepard what I had just bought from his brother. His voice was a little breathless. He reminded me of a dog who had just fetched his master a stick. I might have found the whole thing really depressing, but I noticed with some satisfaction that Shepard seemed to be completely oblivious to how Sky felt about him, either that or he didn’t care. In fact, he was almost treating Sky the way I treated Nigel when he wanted to hang out with me and my friends. He seemed a little annoyed.

“Sky, Sky, Sky,” said Shepard, “The substance you brother sells is not the kind of thing we’re looking for. It’s really just another treatment and we’re only interested in cures.” Sky’s face fell. I could see this was a tremendous blow to him. He must have really thought he had a slam dunk here. I wanted to say something to make him feel better, but I didn’t know what. But there was a dark inner part of me that was doing a dance of joy. Shepard was rejecting Sky big time. Maybe I had a chance.

“But your heart’s in the right place, Sky,” continued Shepard, “and someday when you’re all grown up, you will be a great addition to CAFE.”

Oooo. That had to hurt. And looking at Sky, I could see it did. Poor Sky. I knew exactly what he was going through. How could that asshole treat God’s most perfect creature like that. And what could Sky possibly see in that old man? He had to be well into his twenties! But then I started looking at Shepard in a new way. I saw his handsome features and his tall strong body and I realized I had nothing on him. He was an attractive young man in his prime and I was a stunted shrimp. I started to get depressed, but then I got more determined to grow than ever. If that’s what Sky wanted, then that’s what I would become. There had to be some way I could grow. There had to be. And I guessed I would start with Charles’s grow juice.

“You see,” said Shepard, addressing me, “that substance you bought from Sky’s brother will help you develop your muscles while you’re on it, but as soon as you stop taking it, the effects will fade and before long you’ll be right back where you started.”

Wow. Now it was my turn to get upset. This meant Charles’s juice was next to useless. Next year, he’d be off at college and I’d have no way of getting any more. I’d be a shrimp again, probably a shrimp who had ticked off a lot of jocks while he was big. Things would be even worse.

“If you want a permanent solution to your condition,” Shepard continued, “your best bet is to join with us.”

“I don’t understand. How can Lipus Dipus help me?”

“Lithuanian Diphtheria. And it can’t. I’m talking about another project of ours.”

“Benz’s Project?” asked Sky.

“Benz? Who’s that?” Suddenly I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I turned and had to stifle a shout. Slowly gliding out of a shadowy corner was one of the most grotesque sights I’d ever seen. It was this wizened, shriveled creature. It looked human—or at least like it used to be. It wasn’t very large, maybe even a little smaller than me, and it was sitting—no, not sitting—it was held in a seated position by a series of braces, and attached to this high tech wheel chair. It was all wrinkled, completely hairless, and its skin looked raw and red. Its head was tilted in an unnatural angle and specks of drool were leaking from its mouth.

“What is it?” I gasped.

“It’s Benz,” said Sky.

“Our founder,” added Shepard. “He had a condition similar to yours. He took an experimental treatment, and needless to say, it didn’t work.”

“It left him with three types of Muscular Dystrophy, a bone wasting disease, and a really bad headache,” said Sky.

“As an interesting side note,” said Shepard, sounding a little too detached, “we have more chance of curing the MD and the bone disease, then we do the headache. Modern science still isn’t sure what causes them.”

What the fuck were these guys talking about? This thing…Benz… was fucking scary looking. He used to be like me? Is this what they wanted me for? To experiment on? To make me like that? No way. No fucking way! “I think I want to go now,” I said.

“Wait,” said Sky, “Hear the rest of it.”

“I’ve heard all I want to!” I said.

“Benz hasn’t got long to live,” said Shepard.

“Tell me something that isn’t fucking obvious.”

“We can save him but we need your help,” said Shepard.

“You need help all right, Shepard, psychiatric help, ‘cause you’re fucking crazy!”

“We need you.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m allergic to shriveling!”

“No, you misunderstand,” said Shepard. “The drug companies have a proven cure for Benz. We just need your help to get it.”

I stole another glance at pale, sickly, dribbling Benz. “How can I put this gently? FUCK NO!”

“Well, okay,” said Shepard. “If you really want to go through the rest of your life as a shrimp, go ahead.”

Like I had a choice… Wait a minute. “What do you mean?”

“Cobalt Pharmaceuticals—” started Shepard.

“That’s the company my dad works for,” injected Sky.

“Cobalt operates a low key clinic right down town,” said Shepard.

“It’s for human trials,” said Sky. “But not everything they’re testing has been exactly approved yet.”

“That’s why Sky’s brother’s little extra curricular activities have them so upset. That stuff you bought isn’t supposed to be out of the lab yet.”

“But they’ve been testing it at the clinic,” said Sky, “along with a bunch of other stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?” I asked.

Shepard walked over to a fridge and opened it up. There, amongst what had to be two cases worth of Sam Adams, was a small blue bottle. He held it up and shook it. “Stuff like this,” he said. “Sky lifted us a sample from his dad’s home lab so we could see if it would help Benz.”

“It couldn’t have done much good,” I said, stealing another glance at the crippled, slobbering gnome.

“No,” sighed Shepard. “Benz’s condition is too advanced, but it’ll probably work on you. And, as it so happens, I have one dose left. Interested?”

“I don’t know. What will it do to me?”

“I thought that was obvious. I could give you a long scientific explanation you wouldn’t understand anyway, but it’ll be quicker just to say it’ll make you grow—not too much, but then this is just one dose. You want to try it? No obligation. Think of it as a free sample.”

I looked at the blue bottle he held in his hand. Could it really make me grow? It was almost too much to hope for. I looked over at Benz. I sure as hell didn’t want to wind up like him. But then I looked at Sky and saw the way he was looking at Shepard and I made up my mind. “I’ll try it.”

“Take off your jacket,” said Shepard. I did and I watched him fill a syringe. My heart started beating faster. Could this really work? I held out my arm, shaking ever so slightly as Shepard swabbed my arm and then injected me.

I waited expectantly.

“You can drop your arm,” said Shepard.

“Oh.” I hadn’t realized I was still holding it out in front of me. I let it fall to my side, gently rubbing the spot where the needle had penetrated my skin. It was a little tender. There was a slight bluish bruise. “Is something going to happen?” I asked.

Suddenly every muscle in my body contracted. It wasn’t painful but it was pretty scary. I doubled over and then fell to the floor, and then my muscles jerked me into a fetal position, and I started shaking. I had no control over my body whatsoever. I tried to call out but it was all I could do to breath.

“Oh my God, what’s happening to him? Is he okay?” I heard Sky ask.

“He’s having a very strong reaction,” said Shepard. “But he should be okay.”

Should be?!!!! Fuck!

Then, all at once, I felt my self getting fucking turned on. Of all the times and places! But there it was, that wonderful tingling, right down in my groin area, and it was getting more intense. I could feel my dick get rock hard. It was painful the way it was constricted by my underwear and pants. But at the same time, it felt real good. And the feeling seemed to be spreading, moving down into my legs and up into my stomach. And as it did, I could feel all my contracted muscles getting harder and balling up. It was a fantastic sensation if not a little bizarre. In a couple of seconds, it had traveled all over me, and I lay there shaking in an almost orgasmic frenzy. Then I felt this sharp pain in my bones, first in my legs, then shooting up my arms and then all over my body. It was excruciating, but when mixed with the pleasure spread throughout the rest of my body, it created an erotic sensation beyond description. It got more and more intense and then suddenly I was cumming. I came and I came and I came, and just when I thought it would never end, it did. The sensations went away and my muscles relaxed. I lay there on the floor panting, completely spent.

When I looked up, Sky was kneeling next to me.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I think so,” I said, sitting up. Wow. He was really worried about me. I could see it in his face. The whole fit/frenzy thing had been totally worth it just to see that expression. “I’m just a little exhausted.” And I was. I felt like I could sleep for a week. “What happened to me?”

“You had a particularly strong reaction,” said Sky. “I’ll understand if you want to use the bathroom, you know, to clean yourself up.”

He must have been referring to my mega orgasm. I looked down at my crotch. I could feel I was soaking down there, but it hadn’t seeped through to my pants yet. “You knew about that?” I asked Shepard. “You could have warned me.”

He shrugged. “Side effects,” he said.

That was one hell of a side effect. He could probably sell that stuff based on the side effect alone. “Where’s the bathroom,” I said standing up. Woah. The room was spinning. If Sky hadn’t grabbed my arm to steady me, I might have fallen over.

“Down the hall on the left,” said Shepard, seeming remarkably unconcerned.

“You going to be able to make it?” asked Sky. I nodded.

“The dizziness will pass fairly quickly,” said Shepard

I gestured to Sky that I was okay and he let go of me. I briefly thought about stumbling again just so he’d grab me again, but I knew I only had a few seconds before my pants got stained, so instead I made my way to the small bathroom. Once inside I quickly dropped my pants and stepped out of my underwear. I was a mess. I didn’t know I had that much cum in me. As I was cleaning myself off, I suddenly noticed my leg; it looked different. It took me a second to realize what it was. I could see my thigh muscles. They weren’t huge or anything. Hell, they were barely there at all, but I could see them. Usually my legs were nothing but slender poles, but now they actually had a slight shape to them. Wow.

I lost no time. I pulled off my shirt, and looked in the small mirror above the sink. The same thing had happened to my upper body. My shoulders were taking on a definite globular shape, I had small bumps on my upper arms and my chest had a slight swell to it. Holy crap! It was happening! I was growing!

Suddenly I was flexing like a maniac. I could actually feel my new muscles, like small balls of hard rubber under my skin. It felt fucking amazing. I tried every bodybuilding pose I’d ever seen or heard of. The way I was going at it, you’d think I was Schwarzenegger or the Rock, instead of a slightly lumpy runt. But I didn’t care. I loved each and every one of those lumps. When you’ve been dying of thirst in a desert, even a muddy puddle is a miracle.

I don’t know how long I was in the bathroom, but suddenly I heard a knock on the door, and a voice from the other side. “Are you all right?” It was Sky. Fuck! I didn’t want him to catch me like this. What would he think?

“Yeah,” I said quickly pulling up my pants. I didn’t know what to do with my soaking underwear so I just dropped them in the small waste basket. I pulled on my shirt and opened the door. Sky was standing there. I was in awe. He was better at just standing there than anyone I had ever seen. He looked relieved to see me.

“I was beginning to worry,” he said.

“Really?” I said. My stomach fluttered and then rumbled.

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, just tired… and hungry, really hungry.” And even as I said it I could feel this enormous hunger exploding inside me. “Do you think there’s any food around here?”

“Probably,” said Sky. “Come on,” he said, and I followed him back to the lab. As I was walking, I felt a little weird. I was almost dizzy but not quite. It was something else, but I couldn’t figure out what.

Shepard was over by Giggles, but he looked up when we came in.

“You got any food?” I asked. I know it wasn’t really polite but my stomach was cramping with hunger.

“Yeah, I bet you’re hungry,” he said.

“Another side effect?”

“Not this time. You’re body used all of its energy reserves to pull off that little growth spurt. You’ll need to replace them.” Shepard opened the fridge again and pulled out a pizza box. I couldn’t help peering past him to see if he had another one of those little blue bottles in there. It didn’t look like he did. He tossed the box on a table and opened it. There was half a pizza inside. I didn’t wait to be asked. It was gone in about thirty seconds. I was still hungry but the cramps were gone.

“Let’s have a look at you,” said Shepard. He pulled out a stethoscope and I removed my shirt—not nearly as reluctantly as before.

“Looks like you put on a little weight,” he said. “Not quite so exceptionally puny anymore.”

“Gee, thanks a lot.”

He listened to my heart and had me take a couple of deep breaths. Then he had me stand up and used a measuring tape to take my height. “Five, one,” he said.

“Seriously?” I gasped. That was it! That was the almost-dizzy feeling! I was viewing the world from a little higher up! “You mean I grew an entire inch?”

“If you were five feet even before, you did.”

“Holy crap! That stuff is great!”

“And there’s only one place where you can get any more,” said Shepard “So what do you say? Will you help us?”

Of course I was going to help them, and I think Shepard knew I would when he gave me the shot. He was a manipulative bastard, but even knowing that, I was still going to fall right in line with his plan. I knew it was probably stupid and that I’d more than likely get caught, but I was hooked now. I mean Sky just asking me would probably have been enough, but now I had grown an entire inch. And the chance to grow even more was absolutely impossible to ignore. “Just tell me where this clinic is and when I have to be there.”

Shepard grinned. “Great. First we’ll need to forge you a referral.”

“A referral?”

“They only take patients that are discreetly referred to them by a short list of specialists,” said Shepard. “It’s all done on line, so it’ll be easier to fix than Florida elections. All you have to do is show up tomorrow morning and be admitted. They allow visitors; so, on Thanksgiving, I’ll come by posing as your brother. Once I’m in, I should be able to find their lab and maybe even the vault, the mother load. That’s where the cure for Benz will be.”

“What about me?”

“All you have to do,” said Shepard, “is sit back, relax and let them grow you.”

Now that was a deal I could live with.

Part 4

I used to think I was so into Sky that it didn’t matter what he talked about, I could listen to him for hours. He was quickly proving me wrong.

I had only stayed at CAFE headquarters for a short while after my growth spurt, just long enough for to find out where the clinic was and for Shepherd to come up with a fake name for me.

“How about Sam Short?” asked Shepherd.

Was he kidding? “Why not Spencer Spy or maybe Arnie Agent? Can you come up with something a little less freaking obvious?”

“Okay, what do you want to be called?”

“Well, I’ve always liked the name Brian. I guess could be Brian, and my dad’s name is Peter. How about Peterson?”

“Very good. Brian Peterson,” he said writing it down. “That seems completely unremarkable, very un-spy-like.”

Something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that something was not quite the way it should be. But Sky was there and he looked excited. I’d like to say he looked happy, but I suddenly realized that I’d never seen him smile.

Shepherd wrote down the clinic’s address on a piece of paper and gave it to me. “Be there at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. We’ll have everything fixed by then.” I yawned. I was really tired. I guess there’s something about growing that really takes it out of you.

“One more thing,” said Shepherd. “I need you to promise that no matter how things turn out, no matter what happens, you will give me a blood sample.”

Wow. That seemed ominous. What did he think was going to happen? But it didn’t really matter. I was committed to the plan despite any risks. I just had to find a way to grow. I just had to, and a blood sample wasn’t any big deal to me, so… “Sure,” I said.

“I want your word of honor on this,” he said.

“Sure,” I said. Word of honor. Whatever.”

“Okay, I’m going to hold you to it.”

“Okay,” I said yawning big time.

“Come on,” said Sky. “I’ll see you home.”

As much as I wanted sleep, I couldn’t go straight home. I had to make a stop first. “Does this college have a cafeteria?” Thanks to my growth spurt, I was still incredibly hungry.

“Sure,” said Sky. “I’ll buy you lunch.”

I didn’t think I could have had a better offer. But as soon as I got my three trays of food, (That had to be some kind of a record for me; usually I ate like a bird.), I began to rethink my assumption. From the minute we sat down, Skyler started talking about Shepherd. Isn’t Shepherd great? Wasn’t Shepherd brilliant? Didn’t he have the kindest, most selfless goals? He is so accomplished. He’s won this academic award and that academic scholarship and someday he’ll squat down to take a shit, and out will pop a Nobel Prize. (I actually added the last part, myself.) God, I was so sick of hearing about Shepherd.

I tried to change the subject to movies or music or video games, but it was no use. All roads lead back to Shepherd.

“How old is he anyway?” I asked, stifling a yawn. Damn, I was getting sleepy.

“Twenty-four.”

“Twenty-four? He’s eight whole years older than you! When you’re his age, he’ll be… thirty-two! That’s practically middle aged.”

“So?” asked Sky, a little defensively. “What has that got to do with anything?”

Oops. “Nothing!… I just thought I’d mention it… you know… in case…you know… it ever became important…”

“Why would it become important?” he asked sharply.

“Ah… I don’t know.” I yawned again. I couldn’t help it. Now that my hunger was gone my exhaustion was sneaking up on me. “Look, I’m finished eating and I really should be getting home. Can we leave now?”

“Sure.” Sky was looking at me strangely, and I had a feeling I had narrowly dodged a bullet. What was I thinking? Skyler probably wasn’t going to admit to me or anybody else how he felt about Shepherd, and here was I, talking about it like it was the fucking weather. What an idiot!

I let out a huge stifling yawn and suddenly, I felt incredibly sleepy. I could barely keep my eyes open. Then it happened. I began to feel all my muscles start to contract again. What the fuck? Was this supposed to happen? Shepherd didn’t say anything about another spurt. My head dropped. I looked down at my plate and spied a large dollop of mashed potatoes, and it was coming closer and closer and… THUNK. Great. All over my face. I rolled onto the floor as my limbs were pulled back into a fetal position and I started trembling again. And I became instantly horny. I got rock hard. My first thought was, fuck, I’ve already gone through my underwear, but then it started to feel really, really good, and pretty soon I just went with it. And the feeling just built and built and got more and more intense, and this time I was pretty sure I could feel myself growing; my arms and legs were pumping up harder and thicker like swelling iron rods, and that shooting pain now felt more like stretching, and my dick was so hard and getting harder and fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I was going to blow! Any second! OH…OH…FUCK! It exploded. It felt like a pleasure bomb had just gone off in my pants, and my cock kept shooting and shooting, completely out of control. I was shaking with the force of it. When it finally subsided, I looked up, gasping. The pleasure was fading and I felt like I’d just run a triathlon. Every muscle was aching and I was completely spent. Sky and a small crowd of gawking people were gathered around me.

“He’ll be fine,” I heard Sky say. “He has these seizures all the time.”

Yeah, if only. And just as I thought that the exhaustion claimed me and everything faded.

My eyes fluttered open. What happened? I remembered keeling over right into my mashed potatoes. I passed my hand across my face, but there was no sign of any residual vegetable. But where was I? I looked around. It was dark. I could just make out that I was in a strange bedroom, covered with a blanket and lying on top of someone’s made bed. Holy crap, I was completely naked!

I quickly sat up, gathering the blanket around me. I half expected to be doused in cum from my growth seizure, but I was clean, a little too clean and my hair was damp. Fuck. Someone had bathed me. I quickly decided I didn’t want to know who.

I spotted a window. It was dark outside. Oh my God, what time was it? I could make out a lamp on the bedside table and I turned it on. It was someone’s room all right, obviously a guy’s. The untidy piles of books everywhere and the absence of anything frilly told me that much. A clock told me it was 4:43 pm. The sun must have just set.

I stood up and got a closer look at the place. In a second, I realized where I was; it must be Shepherd’s room. Terrific. I looked at some of the photos he had on the desk and tables. There was Shepherd graduating from somewhere. Here he was getting an award. There was one of him lying down in traffic—obviously some kind of protest. Why couldn’t the damn cars have just kept going? But in all the photos, I couldn’t help noticing the figure that was always with him. He was a really short, skinny, good looking guy. It must have been Benz before whatever happened, happened. God, he did kind of look like me. And he looked so happy and normal in the photos. It was hard to imagine he was the same guy as that creepy shriveled thing. There was another one of Benz and Shepherd, arms across each other’s shoulders, in some bar, obviously drunk off their asses. And here was another one of them—holy fuck, they were lip locked! Okay, I’d seen enough. Time to move on.

There was a full length mirror on the back side of one of the doors. I couldn’t resist. I dropped the blanket and had a good look. Wow. I had bulked up a little. My muscles were no longer just traces; they were easily identifiable—not huge or even big by any stretch of the imagination, but they were definitely clear and present, and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I was bigger. A slow smile spread across my face. This was awesome.

I flexed my arm and watched my bicep swell up into a golf ball sized lump. Wow. I felt like a monster. I ran my fingers over it. It was hard like a golf ball, too. I got a little stiff. Naturally I had to go through the entire posing routine again. I had to see exactly how much lumpier I had gotten, and I had definitely gotten lumpier and I could even see a couple of thin line-like veins running along my limbs. Cool.

Suddenly I heard the sound of clapping coming from behind me. I whirled around. It was Shepherd.

“Very nice,” he said, smirking. “Nine point nine for both style and enthusiasm, but were going to have to work a little on the rest.”

I felt my face turning beet red. “How long were you there?” I said quickly pulling the blanket back up around me.

“Only a minute, but I think it was the best minute.”

“You could have said something.”

“Sorry, it’s just for a second there, you reminded me of someone else.”

I was pretty sure I could guess who. “I’m not him.”

He sighed. “That is only too obvious.” He tossed me something he’d been holding. My clothes. The fresh, clean smell of detergent told me they had just been laundered. Even my underwear was there. I clutched them tightly to me while still wrapped in the blanket.

“What are you waiting for?” asked Shepherd. “Oh, I see. You want some privacy.” He smiled like it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. “Fine, I’ll wait downstairs. Skyler will be relieved. Poor Sky was pretty upset when he carried you back here, covered in mashed potatoes and spunk. It made an interesting combination, though.”

Sky carried me?! And I missed it?!

“You looked really sweet while he was cleaning you off.”

Holy fuck! Sky had bathed me? …And I slept through it!

For some reason he took a step toward me, but I took a step back and he stopped. “Anyway, I’ll leave you alone to get dressed.” He chuckled as he left the room and suddenly I realized he must have been there when Sky was washing me. I guess I had no secrets from him, now. I lost no time in pulling my clothes on. Just being in Shepherd’s bedroom was weird enough. Being naked in Shepherd’s bedroom suddenly felt kind of freaky.

I opened the door and stepped out into the hall. I figured I must be on the second floor of the old frat house. There was a light on downstairs and I could hear voices. As I got closer I recognized the voices of Sky and Shepherd talking.

“I don’t know what he was doing in there,” I head Shepherd say. “Sometimes he has these moments of confusion. I’m not sure even he knows what he’s doing then.”

“If Colin had woken up and seen him, he would have freaked,” said Sky.

“Yes, I noticed your little friend’s high strung reaction when he first saw Benz. I hope he’s going to be all right at the clinic.”

“He’ll be just fine at the clinic,” I said, walking into the room.

“Well, Mr. Modesty arrives,” said Shepherd.

“What happened to me?” I asked. “You didn’t say anything about a second growth spurt.”

Shepherd shrugged. “You had a much stronger reaction then I anticipated. I don’t know why you’re complaining. You should be happy. You grew another inch.”

“I did?”

“Measured you myself,” said Shepherd.

Yeah, probably while I was naked. Euwwwww. “And passing out like that?”

“That was just your body reacting to your growth spurts. It takes a lot of energy to grow an inch, and you grew a total of two.”

“You could have warned me.”

“I’m sorry I did not anticipate you taking a nose dive into your mashed potatoes, but we’re exploring new frontiers here. Not everything is going to be predictable.”

“It’s late,” I said. “I should go home. My mom’s probably really worried about me.”

“She’ll worry about you even more when you disappear to that clinic for a few days,” said Shepherd. “What are you going to tell her?”

Holy crap! He was right. What was I going to tell her? “I…I don’t know.”

“You can tell her you’re sleeping over at my place,” said Sky.

Sleeping over at Sky’s? I felt my heart racing. I knew it was just a cover story, a lie, but I started getting dizzy just from the suggestion.

“A sleepover,” said Shepherd grinning. “How cute.”

What a dick.

“I guess that’ll work,” I said. “But not for Thanksgiving.”

“We’ll think of something else by then,” said Sky.

“Well,” said Shepherd, “You should run along home, too, Sky, before mommy starts worrying about you, as well.”

“Yeah, I guess,” said Sky, blushing. “Come on, Colin.”

I was more than ready to go.

While we were waiting for the bus, Sky looked over at me and said, “Shepherd treats me like a kid.”

“Well, you know, compared to him…”

“What?” he asked sharply.

“Nothing.”

“I’m not a kid,” he said. “I could really help him if he’d only let me.”

“You are helping him,” I said. “He just isn’t giving you any credit. Without you, he wouldn’t have me on his team, and this whole clinic thing wouldn’t be possible.”

He looked at me and smiled. First time. It did wonders for his face, and that’s saying something. We didn’t speak for the rest of the trip, but just before he got off the bus—his stop came first—he turned and gave me a hug. “Good luck tomorrow,” he said, and then he was gone.

I swear I was floating six inches off the seat for the rest of the trip. I almost missed my stop. And after the bus pulled away, I must have stood there at least five minutes just lost in a kind of pleasant haze. But eventually I came back to Earth. I realized I had to go home. And that was a definite buzz kill.

As soon as I walked in, it started. “There you are,” said my mom. “Where have you been?”

“I—”

“Never mind,” said my mom, cutting off what would have been a first class lie, “The Reverend is coming by. We’ve got something important to discuss after dinner, so go wash up.”

I started toward my room. “I’m going to change first.” This cartoon race car had just run out of gas.

“Well, hurry up. And get your brother from the garage.”

“The garage?”

“He’s been in there all afternoon playing with his new weight set.”

“He has, has he?” A slow smile crept across my face. Well, I just had to stop in and see him, didn’t I? This was going to be good.

But first things first. I went to my room and pulled off my jacket. I felt something heavy in the pocket. I reached in and pulled out my bottle of Charles’ magic juice. I couldn’t help but think about all the money I’d spent on it; all wasted. The stuff was useless. Even CAFE didn’t want it. Oh well. I stuck it in my night stand drawer. Maybe I’d think of something to do with it later.

Then I went to my closet and pulled out a long sleeved jersey and put it on. I was going to do just a quick check in the mirror—you know, just to make sure everything was in the right place. But as soon as I saw my reflection I had to stop. I looked different. It wasn’t anything anyone but me would notice, but I could definitely see shoulders and a chest where nothing had been before. It was awesome. And my pants were actually starting to ride up around my ankles. I was going to need a new pair! Was that incredible or what?

And now, I was absolutely ready to go get Nigel. As I approached the garage door I could hear him grunting on the other side. I opened the door and found him sitting on his weight bench curling a ten pound dumbbell. His face was red and contorted. Sweat was pouring off him. He was really giving it everything he had. So much so, that he didn’t even notice me come in. My first impulse had been to ambush him with the fact that I was taller than him again. But as I stood there watching him, I realized how serious he was about this. It wasn’t just a game to him. He really meant business. The effort he was putting into it was really impressive. I actually started to feel proud of my little brother. And somehow the fun of topping him just died.

He grunted out his last rep and dropped the dumbbell. That’s when he noticed me.

“Hey there, older brother,” he grinned.

Okay, the warm fuzzy feeling was starting to pass. “You can just call me Colin, Nigel. Remember? It’s my name.”

“Hey,” he said, jumping up from the bench. “Check me out.” He flexed for me and his thirteen-year-old bicep, still very boyish, was all pumped up. “I’m getting huge already!”

“That’s great, Nigel,” I said. “Keep it up and you’ll definitely be tossing bullies around by high school.”

“You better believe it. I feel stronger already.”

“That’s just the pump—”

“I bet I’m stronger than you.”

Okay, now he was pushing it. “You’re not stronger than me.”

“Bet I am.”

“You’re not.”

“Wanna arm wrestle.” Nigel ran over and planted his arm on Dad’s old work bench. He wriggled his fingers and shot me a challenging stare. This kid obviously didn’t know anything about working out. I had just seen him push his bicep to its limits. Right now he was probably weak as a kitten. I was tempted to just stride over there and crush him without mercy, but there was still a vestige of brotherly good will in me, so I explained the reality of weight training to him.

“Oh, I forgot,” he said, removing his arm. “You used to work out with Nathan, didn’t you? You probably know all about this stuff.” Oh God, not Nathan, don’t go there. That wound was not yet closed.

Nathan had been my best friend through pretty much all of elementary school. We did everything together, hung out, went swimming at the pond, and played video games. For his thirteenth birthday he had gotten a weight set, and the two of us had started working out. Nathan continued to grow, while I did not. I slowly watched him get taller and taller while his thin kid muscles expanded into large powerful masses. When we started, we were pretty much the same size. Then, about two and a half years later, when we were at the pond, he took off his shirt and I suddenly realized how big the difference had become. What had happened? Nathan didn’t look anything like the same guy anymore. It was like he had transformed into something else. He was nearly a foot taller than me, had cobblestone abs, bulging pectorals, biceps like baseballs and bulbous, striated shoulders twice the width of mine. We didn’t even look like the same species. I felt like an ant next to him. “Jeeze you got big,” I remember saying. Then his lip curled into a kind of half smile as he absentmindedly rubbed his ripped six pack, and said, “Yeah, hard to believe I used to be as small as you, isn’t it?” He flexed and I saw those arms bulge up hard, round and strong. I remember swallowing hard and him laughing at my reaction. Then he had me lay flat. He grabbed me so hard it hurt. His fingers were like vices. I realized if I wanted to break free, I wouldn’t be able to. I was totally helpless in his powerful hands, hands that used to be just like mine, but had now become something more. He picked me up, lifted me over his head and began doing military presses. I couldn’t believe the change in him. How did he get so fucking huge, while I stayed exactly the same? “Oh yeah,” he said in a kind of trance like voice, “I’m so much fucking bigger now, so much fucking stronger.”

“Put me down,” I yelled at him.

“In a minute,” he said. “I want to do at least ten reps.”

“Put me down now!”

“And if I don’t? What are you going to do about it, little man?” He said playfully and laughed again. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was terrified and humiliated and confused all at the same time. What had happened to my best friend? Nathan would never have treated my like some kind of a toy. As far as I could tell, Nathan I knew had gone. And the big guy who had replaced him… I didn’t know him and I didn’t like him. When he set me down I could see he had a full on boner under his swim suit.

“I do presses all the time,” he said, grinning. “But it’s a lot different doing them with a live guy for a weight.”

I didn’t want to hear anymore. I just hopped on my bike and took off. I heard him calling after me, but I never stopped, never even turned around. And that was pretty much the last time I saw him.

It wasn’t long after that I found out about my hormone deficiency. I couldn’t stand the idea of watching all my friends get big, while I stayed small so I pretty much became a loner.

“It’s too bad you’re stuck being so puny,” said Nigel. He really wasn’t getting on my good side.

“I’d watch what you say,” I said, “because right now you’re even punier than me.”

“Un ah,” he said taking a stride over to me, a move obviously meant to demonstrate that we were the same height. But as soon as he did, he noticed we weren’t. His cocky grin wilted. He looked down at my feet. “What have you got in your sneakers?”

“Nothing,” I said, kicking them off. I was now standing in my stocking feet and I was still taller than him in his sneakers. The look of shock on his face was priceless, extremely comical, and I have to say, immensely satisfying.

“You grew!” he said. From his tone you’d think he was accusing me of murder. “No fair!”

“Are you sure, Nigel? Maybe I’ve just always been taller than you.”

“No way. This morning I was just as big as you—” Suddenly he broke off. I could see the wheels turning in his head. “This afternoon in the car, you said you might grow. What did you do?”

“Do? Who says I did anything?”

“You did something.”

“Well, if I did, I might just keep right on doing it. What do you think about that?”

Wow. Nigel looked mad, completely outraged. He opened his mouth and yelled, “Mom!” The he turned and ran into the house. I followed after him. When we got to the kitchen, Mom was just setting dinner on the table.

“Mom,” bellowed Nigel. “Colin got bigger!”

Mom looked at Nigel and just shook her head patiently. “Nigel, you know your brother isn’t growing anymore.”

“But look. He’s taller than me.” Mom looked over at me and I shrugged.

“He does look taller than you.”

“He wasn’t this morning,” said Nigel.

“Of course he was. I must have just measured wrong. You know people don’t grow like that in the course of a day, especially not your brother.”

Nigel just turned to me and scowled. “I’m going to find out what you did,” he said, and then he stormed from the room. A moment later we heard his bedroom door slam. Poor Nigel. Skipping dinner wasn’t going to do his bodybuilding any good at all. On the other hand, I was starving. I sat down and ate up a storm. Mom was amazed. She said she’d never seen me eat so much. I guess my body was still recovering its energy reserves.

I was just about finished when the Reverend arrived. “Good,” he said, “Colin, you’re here.” Okay, we have established that the Reverend is not blind.

“Did you show it to him,” he asked my mom. Show me what?

“No,” she said, “I haven’t really had time.” Then he whisked a brochure off the counter and handed it to me.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Colin,” said the Reverend. “I want you to read that and tell me what you think.”

I looked at the brochure. It was from Little People of America. Was he kidding? This was an organization for midgets. I wasn’t a midget, was I? I flipped through the publication and it described all the services and facilities it had to offer its members. It actually seemed quite impressive. Then I came to the last page where it described the membership requirements. It was open to people four foot ten and shorter. I think it was the first time in my life I was actually to tall for something. Thank God..

I put the brochure down and looked up at the Reverend. “So?”

“It’s a wonderful organization, wouldn’t you say?” asked the Reverend.

“I guess, but I’m too tall for it.”

“They offer scholarships, help with job placement, even dating services. You wouldn’t have to worry about meeting girls.”

“Yeah, but I’m too tall.”

“If you were to join, it would really give you an advantage in life. Your mother could stop worrying about your future.”

“But it says right here,” I said pointing at the brochure, “that you have to be four foot ten or shorter.”

Then the Reverend and my mother exchanged a glance and suddenly I got very worried. What the hell was going on here?

“Colin, there’s an operation you could have. They would remove two inches of bone from your legs, just enough so you meet the requirements.”

I spit out all my food. “What?! You want to make me a midget?”

“The scholarships alone would be worth it.”

“Nothing is worth it!” I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Come on, Colin, you’re so short already, what’s another two inches?”

“If two inches is nothing than you have the operation!”

“Now, you’re being foolish,” said the Reverend. “Stop thinking about yourself for a moment and think how much this would mean for your mother. She needs to put two boys through college. Do you have any idea how expensive that is?”

I looked over at my mom, who had so far just remained silent. “Do you really want me to do this?” I asked.

“Not if you don’t want to, sweetie,” she said.

“Isn’t that touching,” said the Reverend. “Your mother is willing to selflessly sacrifice, just so you can hold onto a little false vanity.”

Okay, I’d heard enough. I got up and marched out of the kitchen and went straight to my room and locked the door. I had been going to feed my mother the line about sleeping over at Sky’s, but I was so mad now I decided not to. Let them worry about where I was for a couple of days. It would serve them right. By then, any question of this stupid operation would have gone, because when I got back, I expected to be a lot bigger and I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to it.

Part 5

Okay, it’s the night before my big break. In the morning I leave for the clinic where hopefully my little problem will be solved forever. Do I dream about getting huge? Of course not. I dream about the Reverend chasing me around with a hack saw shouting, “Don’t be selfish. Don’t be selfish.” And then I wake up. I close my eyes again and there’s the Reverend sharpening his saw. All night long it went on. I kept tossing and turning, waking up again and again. It didn’t matter where my dreams took me, the Reverend would be somewhere nearby with Trusty—yes, in on of my fevered imaginings the Reverend actually named his saw Trusty. I know. I’m a sick, sick person.

Finally, I’d had enough of “sleeping” so I got up and got dressed. I guess I should have been grouchy as hell after the night I’d had but I wasn’t. I was in a great mood. I kept wondering how big I was going to get. I couldn’t wait to find out.

It was a little before dawn, and I decided I would just leave now before anyone else woke up. Shepherd told me I wouldn’t need anything at the clinic. They had everything there. So, I packed a full suitcase. Yes, I have trust issues. I wonder if that’s where the Trusty thing came from. Anyway I figured I’d just stop by the kitchen, grab a little something to eat and vamoose. For some reason, can’t imagine why, I seriously didn’t want to see any member of my family before I left.

Of course, it didn’t quite go that way. I had just poured myself a second bowl of Corn Pops—I know. It’s a kid’s cereal, but I loved them. I just couldn’t get enough of that sugary excellence. Unfortunately, it turned out to be my downfall. Oh my crunchy sweet ones, how could you betray me?

Just as I was sitting down to a second bowl, I heard a slow, shuffling step coming down the hall. “Great,” I thought, “I woke up Grandma.” Of course, of all the people I could have woken, I suppose she was the least objectionable. Anyway, Grandma wasn’t going to keep me from my sugar rush. I continued shoveling the wonderfully sweet golden nuggets into my mouth. I began to worry that they might not have Corn Pops at the clinic. In fact, I kind of doubted it. They probably kept a real close eye on your diet, and I bet the sweet, corny perfection that was my favorite cereal was not on the menu. Maybe I could sneak some in. There was room in my suitcase. I’d never gone even two days without my Corn Pops before. I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t suffer some kind of withdrawal.

But the great cereal dilemma was driven from my mind, when the bent figure finally hobbled into the kitchen. And much to my surprise and dismay, it wasn’t my grandma. It was my brother. He was just moving like my Grandma, obviously suffering from a severe case of post workout stiffness—another moment for me to savor. He looked over at me and this weird sort of gasping groan emanated from his lips.

“Ahhhhhhh. I think I’m dying,” he said.

“That’s right,” I said. “I can see the angel of death creeping up behind you. Oops, no, my mistake. He’s just stopping by to use the bathroom.”

“It’s not funny,” he said. “I think there’s really something wrong with me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you,” I said, helping him to a chair, “well, physically anyway.”

“Ha ha ha. You’re going to be really funny at my funeral.”

“Probably, but then I have a good seventy or eighty years to work on my material.” And then I explained the price you pay for working muscles that weren’t used to being worked.

“You mean it’s going to be like this every time I work out?”

“Just for the first couple of weeks.”

“I’m not sure I can take it,” he said all hunched over.

“Then just ease into it slowly until your body adjusts to the workouts.”

“Is that what you did?”

“No. I did exactly what you did. I worked every part of my body as hard as I could first time out.”

“What happened?”

“I almost didn’t make it out of bed at all that first day. So, you’re already doing better than me.”

He kind of looked squinty eyed at me from across the table for a minute. Then he said, “Why’d you have to grow?”

“What?”

“It was my turn to be the big brother.”

“Dude, you are so not the big brother.”

“I would be if you didn’t grow.”

“It takes more than a little height to make a big brother.”

Nigel started slowly nodding his head, as if pondering a great truth. “You’re right,” he finally said, “You need muscle, too.”

Yeesh. “Just don’t worry about it, Nigel.” I got up from my chair and pulled on my jacket.

“Where are you going?”

“Out.”

“You’re going to grow again, aren’t you?”

“Maybe.”

“I don’t care how much you grow; I’m still going to get bigger than you.”

“Sure,” I said walking to the door.

“I will and then I’ll be able to pick you up with one hand.”

“Maybe,” I said, “but there’s one thing you’re going to have to do first.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“Get out of that chair.”

I paused just long enough to watch Nigel wince with pain as he unsuccessfully tried to put weight on his legs, and then, grinning despite myself, I walked out the door and made my way to the bus stop. And as I stood there, I realized I’d forgotten to pack the box of Corn pops. Crap! I almost went back, but then I thought of Nigel who was still probably rooted to the chair and I decided it wasn’t worth it.

I didn’t have to wait long before the city bus pulled up and opened its doors for me. As I stood by the coin box pulling the fair out of my pocket, I could see the bus driver looking sideways at me.

“You’re awfully young to be riding the bus by yourself at so early in the morning,” he said.

“I’m not that young,” I said. “I’m fifteen.”

“Oh, you’re a midget,” he said. “Why didn’t you say so?”

Oh brother, why did he have to go there? “I’m not a midget,” I said in short even tones. Midgets are four foot ten or shorter. I’m five two.”

“Whatever,” he said laughing. And then he jammed his foot on the accelerator sending me flying down the aisle. “Hahaha midgets,” I heard him chortle. “You gotta love em.”

The rest of the ride to the clinic was pretty uneventful. I had to change busses twice, but in the end I found myself standing in front of the address Shepherd had given me. And what did this miraculous clinic look like? Not much, just another nondescript office building. There wasn’t even any kind of sign out front.

It was way earlier than eight o’clock and I wondered if I should go in now or wait. I looked around. There was nothing else in the area, just a bunch of other office buildings. And since I generally found the outside of empty office buildings really boring, I decided to go in.

The door was locked but there was a doorbell. I rang it and a second later I heard a buzz and the click of a door unlocking. I went in and froze on the spot. There was a small hallway and a security station, but holy crap…the security guard. He was huge. No, he went beyond huge. He was the second biggest guy I’d ever seen. He almost blocked the hallway. He was sitting two feet behind the desk because there was no way he could fit sitting at the desk. You see some security guards who intentionally wear tight uniforms, so they can show off their muscles. This guy’s uniform was about as tight fitting as it could get, but I doubted he had a choice. I couldn’t believe anyone made uniforms in his size. He had to be at least six and a half feet tall. Those two biceps straining his short shirt sleeves must be at least twenty-two inchers. Two mammoth pecs the size of bowling balls bullied his shirt buttons; his shoulders were about as wide as I was tall, and his neck was a freakin’ telephone pole.

“Can I help you, young man?” he asked.

I was tempted to say, “Nice body. Did you get that here?” But I decided on a far more conservative approach. “Ah…Yeah,” I said. “I’m supposed to check in today, but I’m…ah…a little early. Is that okay?” Maybe I erred a little too much on the wimpy side, but walking up to him was actually pretty scary.

“Name?” he said looking over at a monitor on his desk.

“Co—I mean Brian. Brian Peterson.” Oh crap. Suddenly I got very nervous. What if this didn’t work? What if I got caught? What if the guard got mad? If this guy just sneezed on me, I’d be in the hospital.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, much to my relief. “Hang on a mo.” Then he picked up the phone and punched a few buttons. “Brian Peterson is here,” he said, and paused while the person on the other end spoke. “I know. I know. But he’s here. What do you want me to do?” There was another pause and I wondered what was going on. “Okay,” the guard finally said, and he hung up the phone. “It’ll be just a minute,” he said. “In the meantime, empty out your pockets, please.”

I thought it was kind of an odd request, but I did it. I mean I wasn’t going to give that guy an argument. I didn’t have much on me anyway, just my wallet, some spare change and my keys. He opened my suitcase and perused the few clothes I brought with me.

“Is that it?” he asked.

“Yeah. What were you expecting?”

“You’d be surprised. Some kids try to bring in cell phones, video games, candy. I even had one kid who tried to smuggle in some breakfast cereal. Can you believe that?”

“Ha,” I said. “What a loser that kid must be.”

“Well,” he said, placing my things in a box, and pulling my suitcase behind the desk. “All this stuff is going to have to stay here. You can have it on your way out.”

At that moment I heard an ominous KA THUNK back behind the security station, followed by an electronic hum, and for the first time I noticed a giant steel door in the back wall. It looked like it should be on a vault. There was this hiss of air as it kind of disengaged from the wall and then slowly began to swing open.

“What the hell is that?” I asked.

“What do you mean, what’s that? It’s the front door.”

“The front door? I’ve never seen a hospital door like that before.”

“That’s because you’ve never seen a hospital like this before,” he said. “They’re working on things that will revolutionize the future of the health care industry. Not just anyone can go in there.”

I could have pointed out that I was living proof that that was not necessarily true, but it would have been monumentally stupid for me to do so—so I didn’t.

When the huge door finally came to a stop, I tried to peer past the guard to see what was behind it. I couldn’t really make anything out except that someone was coming through. I figured it might be another guy as impressive as the guard or maybe some mad scientist dude, but it was the last thing I expected: a girl, a really cute girl. She must have been in her early twenties. She was a couple of inches taller than me, had shoulder length blond hair, and a dazzling figure showcased by a tailored business suit. She came to the security station and said, “Brian?”

It took me a second to remember she was talking to me. “Yeah?”

“Nice to meet you,” she said extending her hand. I took it and shook it quickly. “I’m Cindy. Won’t you come with me?”

“Sure,” I said. “See ya,” I said turning to the guard.

“Probably not,” he replied. “I usually work the night shift.” He checked his watch. “I’m going home in about an hour. That’s when the big guard comes in.”

The big guard? I was still pondering that concept as I followed Cindy through the vault-like door, and it slowly swung shut behind us. Well, there was no turning back now.

The inside of the clinic looked pretty ordinary for a health care facility. Cindy gestured around and said, “Well, here we are.” I sort of looked around and nodded my head and waited for her to continue. “I’m not really sure what to tell you, Brian. We weren’t going to admit you.”

“What?” I balked. If they sent me home, that’d be it. I’d never get another chance.

“You were supposed to have been contacted. It’s Thanksgiving week,” she said, “and most of the staff has it off. It was decided we didn’t have the personnel to accommodate you. We’re really working with a skeleton crew. I’ve only been at the clinic a month myself. I’m not even part of the regular staff. I’m here on a research grant. The only reason I’m the one admitting you, is… well, there’s no one else to do it.”

“You can’t send me home,” I pleaded.

“Well,” she said, obviously considering it, “you’re here, and I take it your parents have already left.”

“Errr…Yeah, they left.”

She sighed and shook her head. “We have a few patients that are staying through the holiday. We should be able to handle just one more.”

“Thank you,” I said, relief washing through me.

“Follow me,” she said leading me down a corridor.

“Don’t I have to do some paperwork or fill out some forms?”

“No, all that was handled on line. Your doctor sent us your complete medical records.”

“He did?” Since my doctor had no idea I was doing this, she must mean Shepherd. How did Shepherd get my medical records? Or did he just make something up? Wasn’t that dangerous? Once again I got the feeling that everything wasn’t quite kosher—I mean besides the fact that I was lying through my teeth sneaking into an experimental clinic pretending to be someone else—I’m talking about something really not kosher.

“On the right is the Preemie Ward,” said Cindy.

I looked through the door and into an empty hospital ward with about twenty beds in it. “Preemie?”

“That’s what we call the ward where we keep patients who are in the preliminary stages of treatment. It’s empty now. Since Thanksgiving is so close, we haven’t taken any new patients. It’s where you’d be staying if you’d checked in at any other time. As it is, we’ll have to lump you in over there, she said pointing to another door. I couldn’t help but notice all the doors, although open, were made of heavy duty industrial steel. They looked like they could withstand a pretty big explosion.

“This is the Stage One Ward,” she said leading me through the other door. “This is where you’ll be staying.” It was another ward like the first except this one only had about eight beds and it wasn’t empty. There were three kids in there, all about my size and they actually looked a little older than me, and all wearing these long hospital gowns. “This is Steve, Tommy and Ollie.”

“Hi,” I said.

“Hey,” said Tommy. He looked friendly enough.

“S’up?” said Steve. This guy was giving off some serious attitude.

And Ollie, the third one, the one with the slightest build and big, round glasses, just sort of stared at me with this frightened look and didn’t say anything.

“Guys, this is Brian. He’ll be bunking in here with you.”

“In here? But he’s a Preemie!” said Steve.

“Sorry, can’t be helped,” said Cindy. “Reduced staff.”

“Oh man!” said Steve.

“Well, I’ll leave you boys to get acquainted,” said Cindy. “I have to get back. I’m really behind schedule as it is. Steve, why don’t you give Brian a tour.” Then without waiting for a response, Cindy took off and left me with the three stooges.

“As if,” said Steve. Then he sat himself down on hid bed crossed his arms and scowled at me. Not sure what else to do, I started looking for a bed. Steve must have noticed what I was doing cause he said, “Don’t get too comfortable. You won’t be here long.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Don’t let Steve bother you,” said Tommy. “He’s just having a T surge.”

“I am not,” said Steve.

“A T surge?”

“Testosterone surge, it’s one of the effects of the treatment here. It can make you pretty hard to live with.”

“I am not T surging!” said Steve. “I just don’t want him to get his hopes up. Most Preemies don’t make it through the first day.”

“What happens to them?” I asked, suddenly a little nervous.

“They wash out,” said Steve. “They get sent home. They’re not cut out for the treatment, just like you. I can tell just by looking at you. You’ll be out of here by noon.”

“Definitely T surging,” said Tommy.

“Hit the button! Hit the button!” squeaked the littlest guy, who must be Ollie.

“Calm down, Ollie,” said Tommy. “He’s just T surging, not transitioning.”

I looked around and spotted a big red button right by the door. It kind of looked like one of those emergency shut off buttons big machines have. “What’s the button?”

“We hit the button if one of us starts transitioning to Stage Two. Sometimes you get T surging before a transition. But Ollie’s just over reacting. He freaks easy.”

“Hit the button! Hit the button!” squealed Ollie.

“Shut up Ollie,” said Steve. “I’d think I’d know if I were transitioning.”

“Why?” I asked. “What does the button do?”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Steve. “I don’t think anyone’s going to transition in the couple of hours you’re going to be here.”

“Hit the god damn button!” came this deep growling voice. We all stopped to look over at Ollie, whose hand reflexively went to his throat. I guess the voice had been a surprise to him, too. And no wonder, it had sounded nothing like his voice had a second ago. He looked a little different, too. His wrists seemed thicker and when he dropped his hand, his neck seemed thicker and his Adam’s apple looked like it had tripled in size. At first, he had this scared look on his face. But as I watched it slowly morphed into one of shocked surprise and then wonder. He looked down, and we all followed his gaze. Underneath his hospital gown, right at the crotch we could see something flipping around, something way too big to belong to a guy Ollie’s size.

“Fuck!” yelled Steve. “Ollie’s going Stage Two!”

Without thinking I ran for the button and hit it. A loud warning claxon went off, a red light above the door began flashing and the giant steel door slammed shut with a clang, sealing us in.

“What the fuck did you just do?” yelled Steve.

“I hit the button,” I said, confused. Wasn’t I supposed to?

“Not that button, you moron, the one in the hall. Now we’re trapped in here with him!”

“Ohhhhhh,” Ollie started moaning. “This feels so incredible,” came the deep rasping voice from the little pipsqueak. The other two backed away from him until they were up against the wall.

“What?” I cried. “What’s going on?”

Then Ollie reached under his hospital gown and pulled out what had to be the biggest dick I’d ever seen. It had to be a foot long and as thick around as one of those energy drink cans. And the balls that were hanging below it were the size of lemons. How the hell did someone like him grow anything like those?

“We are so screwed,” said Steve.

“Literarily,” said Tommy.

And then Ollie began to stroke it. His hand almost didn’t fit all the way around it. He kept stroking it and stroking it, his chest heaving, his head thrown back, his pelvis thrust forward, and all the time moaning. Suddenly he started stroking faster; his breath became rapid, and his moaning took on a fevered pitch. I was pretty sure I knew what happened next, and I prepared myself to be doused in his spunk. The moment came, his breath seemed to catch in his throat, and then he let out a thunderous roar. I saw his monster member spasming, but—I’m not sure how to describe it—it was like all the energy and power of the orgasm was running back up into him instead of shooting out. And he shook and shuttered from the force of his climax erupting back into his body. AH! he was gasping, AH! AH! AHHHHHHH! And then he clenched his fists and held them out in front of him. I began to hear this gurgling noise, as I noticed his hands swelling, growing larger and thicker. His forearms were getting bigger around. I could see his biceps and triceps slowly taking shape on his pipe-cleaner thin upper arms

“Gonna get bigger now,” he moaned. “so much bigger.” And I didn’t doubt it. Under his hospital gown, I could see swelling deltoids blossoming out of his skeletal shoulders. His chest ballooned out, pulling the flimsy hospital gown tight around it. His body completely lost its boney appearance as his back expanded and his thighs grew meaty. And then the change seemed to slow. But as soon as it did, Ollie’s had shot right back to that mammoth dick of his and began stroking it for all he was worth. In a matter of seconds he had worked himself up to another climax. Once again I saw the tremor start in his engorged dick and build into a quake as it traveled upwards into his frame. “Yes!” he shouted as large, powerful looking traps began erupting from his back. His shoulders expanded to the size of grapefruits, his chest swelled into a couple of cantaloupes and veins started growing like vines over his swelling, bulging softball-like biceps. He let out a grunt as a sudden surge hit him and… Holy Crap! He got taller! I began to hear the unmistakable snap snap snap of threads breaking, as his back widened, and his new muscles pulsed and strained his hospital gown to its limits, and then things seemed to stall again.

Ollie’s hand shot straight back to his monster cock, which had somehow managed to stay hard throughout the entire process, and began stroking again. Only this time his attitude seemed entirely different. It no longer seemed motivated simply by physical pleasure. There was an aggressive purpose to what he was doing. He was stroking to grow. But the way he was moaning, you knew it had to feel pretty good, too. And when this climax came, the result was explosive.

I heard the popping again followed by the sound of cloth ripping as his rock hard striated muscles began tearing out of his feeble garment. His shoulders went first. Magnificent globes of granite-like flesh blew apart the thin fabric, completely decimating the short sleeves, and reveling a pair of mighty biceps which were bulging obscenely even as his arms hung at his side. Rents began opening up all across the front of the stressed gown, tearing wider and longer, slowly revealing the powerful sinew bulging beneath it. There was a sudden surge and a heaving, massive chest burst forth from the tattered gown. Below it the fabric was torn apart, revealing an incredibly ripped eight pack. In an instant the remains of his hospital gown, now reduced to a shredded rag, fell to the ground, while he rose up and up and up, gaining height while his bulging muscles continued to swell with mass.

His growing stopped. He must have grown around a foot taller; he was around six feet tall now. Before his growth, he looked like he might have weighed around seventy pounds soaking wet. Now, had to weigh at least two twenty. He was so thick with muscle and so lean, he looked like a champion bodybuilder ready for a show.

His hand went right back to his cock, which fit him a lot better now than it had a couple of minutes ago, and he began stroking again. I expected another growth spurt, but when he finished jerking, he came in the usual way, and we had to dodge to avoid getting hit.

“That was awesome!” he roared. The looking at us, he grinned in a most unpleasant way. “Now,” he said, “which one of you lucky girls gets to be my first bitch?”

“What?” I gasped.

“It’s the hormones,” said Tommy. “When we transition, they go out of control. Most guys completely lose it. They’ll fuck anything.”

Great. The last thing I wanted was to become Ollie’s fuck toy. Steve and I skirted around one of the beds. Tommy went in the opposite direction, taking cover behind a bed on the other side of the room.

“How about you, Steve?” said Ollie. “I’ve always wanted you, you know, you with your lean strong stomach and your tight ass. I bet you didn’t even know I was gay, did you?”

Steve rapidly shook his head.

“Well, I am. I was too puny to do anything about it before, but not now!” And as he said this he reached over and grabbed the bed that was between us and tossed it aside. This was a steel framed institutional bed, but he had thrown it like it was made out of cardboard. His display of strength was truly terrifying. I think it even surprised him. He paused for a second and clenched his fists tight, causing his powerful arms to bugle up. He admired them, smiling. “Fuck yeah,” he said. “FUCK yeah.”

He took a step toward us and said, “Ready, Steve?”

Steve looked over at me and said, “You are so fucking lucky. Since you locked us in here, it really should be you, but… You are so fucking lucky.” Then Steve reached under his hospital gown and pulled out his own dick. And as I watched, it began swelling longer and thicker in his hands. “Yup,” he said, “I’m transitioning, too. And you know something? He was right. It does feel pretty fucking awesome. You’d better get clear.” And then he started stroking his lengthening member. I didn’t need any further encouragement. I made a dash for the other side of the room, over by Tommy.

Ollie watched Steve stroke his foot long cock the way a starving man watches a feast. In a second he was on his knees taking Steve’s engorged member into his mouth. Steve turned so his back was to use and then started screaming then, really screaming. “Oh my God! How can you do that with your tongue? Oh God! Oh God! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Then we watched the back blow out of Steve’s hospital gown as his lats expanded into massive slabs of steel-like muscle. “More,” came Steve’s deepening voice. “More God damn it!” His triceps explode into mighty horseshoes, and his shoulders ballooned out into granite globes. His hospital gown peeled away from his burgeoning muscular form like skin from a ripened fruit. This wasn’t happening in stages like it did for Ollie. This was one long glut of growth. I’m guessing it had something to do with the constant stimulation Ollie was providing. But what ever the cause, Steve’s back just kept getting thicker, every striated muscle pressing out against his skin as it grew larger and more powerful looking. And his shoulders just kept getting broader. His legs were bulking out and growing longer at the same time. “AHHHHHHHH!” yelled Steve, and he started pounding the wall. And as his arms grew thicker with layer upon layer of powerful sinew, the wall began to dent where he hit it. And each thump dented it more, until he had knocked a hole in it. “I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING TO FUCKING EXPLODE!” he yelled. And he did, explode with growth that is. In a second he suddenly shot up so he was just as huge as Ollie. Then Ollie disengaged himself from Steve’s dick and the two of them were all over each other. Feeling, rubbing, licking, sucking, they tumbled to the floor and rolled around, entwined. Each of them seemed to want desperately to devour the other one. In seconds they began to cum, both of them. I expected it to subside after the first few seconds of orgasm, but it didn’t. They both just kept coming and coming and coming, as though they were in one constant state of orgasm. And it didn’t’ seem to slow them at all. If anything it seemed to inflame their passions.

I began to wonder how long these guys could keep going, if they would ever slow down or get tired, when suddenly the door opened, and two huge hands grabbed Tommy and me and pulled us out through the door. Almost before I realized it, I was out of the room, the door was closed again, and I was looking up at the guard from the front door. Cindy was standing behind him. Now I knew why the guards had to be so big; they had to keep the transitioning kids under control.

“You two all right?” he asked. We both nodded.

“Are they going to be okay?” I asked, nodding back toward the Stage One ward.

“They’ll be just fine by dinner time,” said Cindy.

“You mean they’re going to…? All day?” I asked.

“Pretty much,” said Cindy.

“Whoa.” I wasn’t sure weather to be excited or scared.

“Well, Brian,” said Cindy, “you’re having quite an eventful first day. Why don’t the two of you go down to the cafeteria and get yourselves some breakfast. Afterwards, Doctor Spooner would like to see you.”

Doctor Spooner? That had to be Sky’s dad. I guess the process was going to begin now. I wanted to grow more than anything, but I wasn’t sure about these side effects. I decided to put it out of my mind. Growing was the most important thing. I could deal with anything else later.


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