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Hey guys,

So I finished a story that's been sitting incomplete on my hard drive for the last couple years.  A brief warning: it is dark and a little twisted but as it's meant to have a Halloween theme, it's not unexpected.  This story evolved from a series of therapy writings I was doing while in treatment for severe depression and trauma.  This story may not be for most so while I will appreciate any feedback, pleas make it constructive.  Again, you've been warned this is not a "Happily Ever After" sort of tale... or maybe it could be depending on your point of view.

I hope you enjoy and have a Happy Halloween!

*****

Chapter 1

           Halloween.

           The one day a year where magic seems much more tangible and attainable.  Where anything can happen (and often does) in ways that should be unexplainable and yet are accepted as easily as dream logic.

           I was never a fan of Halloween, even as a kid.  Sure, the free candy was nice, but it ranked just slightly above Valentine’s Day in terms of my enthusiasm because I just didn’t get it.

           This year, that changed.

           This year I realized the full scope of Halloween.  The ancient power it held and how easy it was to tap into that power.

           This year, Halloween became my favorite holiday.

           Let me back things up just a bit for you.  Proper introductions are important after all.  My name is James and I’m what most people call a “good guy”.  At least, that’s what I have heard from seemingly everyone lately.  Trouble is though that I don’t seem to be good enough.  Okay, maybe I should back things up just a bit more for you.

           A little over a year ago my first real romantic relationship ended.  The guy I had been “seeing” for about 8 months told me that he was officially going to be with someone else.  Someone younger than I was.  Someone who was more outgoing and fun than I was.  Someone that was better built than I was (my ex had as much a muscle fetish as I do, more on that later).  Someone that he had been seeing the entire time we had been dating (though he refused to call it dating) and even though he said he still cared for me (downgraded from loved me, which he told me he did less than a month before breaking things off) and wanted to be in my life, he needed to follow his heart.

           Trouble is, I seriously doubt that his heart had anything to do with the matter, other than supplying enough blood to his dick…

           Anyway, in the months following the “break up” we had been trying to remain friends.  I was trying at least, whereas he seemed to be phoning it in most of the time because, let’s face it, he had someone else to devote his time/life to and no one else really seems to matter in that situation.  After a series of setups and disappointments by both of them, their constant playing with my emotions and making me question my sense of reality/history, this culminated in quite a severe mental breakdown: a major case of depression resulting in multiple suicide attempts telling myself I wasn’t good enough to keep living.  After being hospitalized and attempting my best at treatment, I wasn’t “getting better” as quickly or in the ways he thought I should.  Unfortunately, due to this and his own choices, recently he decided that I was no longer worth his time or trouble and he completely cut ties with me.

           I’m sure many of you are saying that I should have done that first and a long time ago.  That I should have moved on, found someone better, written him off as one of the worst human beings on the planet and been done with it.  I had more than one therapist tell me as much, or at least something akin to that fact, as well as many friends/family members tell me that I needed to simply forget about him and move on.

           If only the heart worked on a system of logic like that.  My brain certainly did, and I kept telling myself all the things he had done that were clearly in the “con” column to try and give my own heart enough evidence to stop hurting.  Alas, the heart is chaotic and ruled by something far stranger, more complex and far more precious than logic.  I loved him.  I loved him with all I had and I still do because real, true love is unconditional like that.  That was enough in the “pro” column to outweigh anything else I could muster in opposition.

           Still, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt, betrayed, disappointed, angry, hell furious to the point of nearly feeling homicidal at both of them, but through all of that pain, I still love him.

           Anyway, slightly off track so let’s get back to the main part of this story.

           Throughout the last several months I have done my best to try and “get better”.  To improve myself and to regain some semblance of normalcy after the trauma and continued hell that I was put through both by myself and the actions of others (not just my ex).  Eventually I was able to learn how to put up enough barriers and walls to not feel like a raw nerve all the time and allow myself time to heal a bit, but let’s face it, wounds that pierce that deep never really heal.

           Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t going to be the person I was before.  Too much of me had changed, too much had been irrevocably lost.  I could be someone different, maybe even someone better, but I couldn’t ever get back to the place or the person I was either when I was with him or before.  So, I did what I could to make myself feel better, to rebuild my life as it were and a large portion of that would next revolve around me rebuilding a “new” body.

           One of the things I shared with my ex was a desire to become as big and muscular as possible.  I’m not talking cute fitness or “beach bodies” but real hulking muscle monsters.  Those beasts of brawn at the top of the bodybuilding community where you part crowds like the Red Sea, and where limited range of motion is the goal.  To get to the point where there was no doubt that we were serious meat heads and that we had no desire to slow down nor stop growing anytime soon… well ever really.

           With his encouragement and guidance, I was able to break through the last mental hurdles I had that were stopping me from actively pursuing that goal and started going to the gym.  I had been giving myself no end of excuses for years but with him in my life I finally had enough confidence to put them all aside and start on the path of never-ending growth.

           I paid for a personal trainer, dedicated myself to it and I was fortunate to share the beginning of that journey with him and even though I stumbled with it for a while after our “break up” I have gotten back to it and have continued to grow and develop and improve myself physically which has helped in many ways to improve myself mentally.

           The only trouble I had though was that I still tie a lot of this muscle growth journey to him.  I still recall our workouts together when I’m lifting, the meals we prepped and shared after a long workout, even when I was giving him his weekly injections.  All in the pursuit of our mutual growth.   I’m still trying to untangle the goals and desires of being massive from including him and have the focus be for me.  However, knowing that he left me for someone bigger and better built than I was while initially highly damaging to me, has now provided plenty of motivation for my workouts.  I was going to work my ass off to show him what he missed out on.  I may not have been good enough before, but I would do whatever it took to outclass the guy he left me for and show them both what real muscle was!

At least, that was the plan.

Despite the fact that I had done all this work, changed my physique and was in much better shape and condition than I had ever been, I still was considered a “good guy” but not enough for anyone to want to date or be in a relationship with.  Sure, I had many who wanted to fuck me, or be fucked by me, a single photo update on my online profile was enough to see that I had improved physically to be more desirable, but the couple of times I had met someone it was just a hormone release to them, or another sexual conquest and then they ghosted me.  I was a good enough one-time disposable fuck toy, but not good enough to date.

In my mind, it always came back to the voice that I wasn’t “good enough”.  I wasn’t big enough, defined enough, handsome enough, so I did my best to focus that negative energy into my workouts.  Given my pre-depression mindset of body dysmorphia for wanting to be a juggernaut of muscle and strength, this caused quite the feedback loop of pushing myself like a madman in the gym.

Having all that fuel the fire of my workouts has no doubt been a benefit given my progress in the last few months even if it tends to scare off some people at the gym.  Several friends I have lifted with commented that when they see the determination and focus on my face during a set, to them it came across as intimidating, aggressive and what one friend lovingly refers to as RBF (Resting Bitch Face).

           “Hey James, how have you been?” I jump and turn around to see Scott one machine down from me.

           “Oh, hey Scott, didn’t see you there.  I’m good man, how’re you?” Normally I would say that even if I had seen him so as not to come across as a creeper, but I really hadn’t noticed him because when I lift, I am 100% focused on my form and my own body.  All my concentration is in my muscles to ensure maximum engagement and results.  I don’t scan the gym for whatever eye candy is there and ogle the guys showing off like so many do, despite Scott being seriously delicious eye candy.  Plus, today he was in very different gym attire than what I was used to seeing him in (head to toe oversized sweats instead of a tight muscle tee and even tighter shorts that he normally wore) including a cap that obstructed his face so I honestly didn’t recognize it was him.

           “Not surprised.  You’ve got better focus than almost anybody I’ve seen.  I bet a riot could erupt and you wouldn’t know until you were done with your set!”

           “Probably.  Came close to that the other day apparently.   There was some issue with another member that had to be asked to leave and I had to ask what happened after all was said and done because I was doing a drop set and missed the whole thing!  Besides, you look like you’re trying to avoid the paparazzi dressed like that!  What’s new with you?  Still prepping for that show in February?”  Scott had planned and started doing prep three months ago for a show that took place last week but had to back out last minute due to other obligations.  Scott had one of the best physiques I’ve ever seen in person coupled with a model level gorgeous face and a really nice, genuine personality.  He was honestly as close to my ideal guy as possible which of course meant he was unavailable.  Despite that letdown, he has taught me quite a bit about different exercises, plus helped me a bit with how to pose (which is nowhere near as easy as spectators believe).

           “Oh yeah, that was a bit of a mess I heard.  Steph had to threaten to call the cops before he finally left.”

           “Yep.  Which given the fact that I’m sure she could have kicked this guy’s ass by herself was merely a courtesy to him.”  Steph was one of the employees at the gym.  She is about 5’6 or so but better built and more conditioned than half of the guys who work out here.  Couple that with a “take no shit” type of personality and she’s a force to be reckoned with!  She will speak her mind even if it’s not in a professional way and is one of the funniest and friendliest people I know.  She is not someone I would like to mess with though, even if I have a good 6” in height and 100 or so pounds on her.  She’s small but she’s scrappy.

           “No doubt!  I would not want to get on her bad side for sure!  And no, not looking to avoid the paparazzi, I’m not that popular.  Yeah in the midst of prep for it, hence the sweats.  Time to up the cardio and it’s better to do cardio in sweats or heavy clothing as it traps the heat meaning you burn more calories.  So how have you been?  Haven’t seen you for a while.”  Scott and I tended to lift at about the same time every day depending on our work schedules and had developed a rapport.  Because I found him so easy to talk to, he inadvertently was one of those people that I had dumped my problems onto without consciously realizing it.  The biggest of which happened to be my love life, or lack thereof, and all the things that had happened with Lee (my ex).  He was one of the few people who helped keep me accountable and consistently going to the gym to help work through my issues and use the weights to better myself.  Even though he was straight (which I found out after asking him out on an impulse, however he was extremely gracious and tactful in his response to my invitation) he was truly a nice guy and always had a nice word for me to help bolster my spirits.

           “Um, good, I guess.  Been a rough few days at work but hanging in there as best I can.  Have another ‘anniversary’ coming up which will be a challenge but somehow, I will make it through.  And believe me, you’re more popular than you realize!  I’ll admit to having the urge to be a paparazzi and sneak a few shots of you from time to time!  I haven’t, but the urge is there.  You’ve got a killer physique; one you’ve worked really hard developing and one that should be photographed and shown off.”  One thing I’ve learned about most “straight” guys who are bodybuilders, if you stroke their ego enough, they tend to overlook the sexual inuendo and subtle flirting.

           “Ha!” he laughed and looked humble (yet another thing I found so attractive about him) “Maybe at a show, not any other time.  But sorry to hear that you’re having a rough time.  Well Halloween is coming up so that should help you right?  Isn’t Tric doing some big Halloween party?  You should get dressed up, go out, get drunk, have some fun.  Take your mind off things for a night.”

           “You would think so right?  I do actually have tentative plans with some friends to go to a party, but the anniversary is Halloween.  Spent it with my ex last year post break-up to try and see how well we mesh as friends and he was the happiest I have ever seen him.  The later it got, the drunker he got and more he went on about how great the other guy was and how happy he was in the relationship.  Hard to sit through.  Still, all I can do is take things one step at a time which right now means getting back to my workout and not letting a super stud like you distract me from my gains!”  I laughed and took a quick sip from my shaker while I waited for his reply.  He raised his hands in surrender with a grin forming on his face.

           “I wouldn’t dream of doing that!  I need to get my ass on the stair climber anyway.  Have a good workout man and I’ll catch you later!”  He shook my hand before turning to leave.

“Good luck climbing the Empire State Building!” I called after him grinning.  He turned to smile back and then we both returned to our respective workouts.

           I finished up my chest workout a short while later having fully exhausted myself and burned through all my frustrations caused by my job that day.  I managed to catch Scott's eye and wave as I walked out of the gym saying goodbye to the person at the desk.  Once outside I patted down and searched in my pockets to find my keys.  Realizing they weren’t there and most likely landed in my gym bag, I stopped at the back of my car setting the bag on the trunk to fish them out.  Without warning, I was starting to sob digging around my bag.  Despite every effort to the contrary, the memories of last Halloween were filling my mind and I was recalling the look of pure exultant joy on the face of the man that I saw my future with knowing he had already chosen another…

           “Excuse me?” I hear a voice from slightly behind me and turning around I was face to face with a middle-aged woman.  Wiping my face quickly I did my best to put on a smile and “brave face”.

           “Yes?” I asked trying my best to look respectable and courteous despite wanting to run away to be alone.

           “I’m so sorry to bother you but I was wondering if you might be willing to help me with something.  I brought this old chest to sell at the antique store here and I’m having some trouble getting it out of my car.  Would you be so kind as to help me?”

           “Of course.  Let me just put my bag in my car quick and I’ll be right there.” I smiled again and using the remote on my keys to unlock the doors, which I had finally located and extricated from the jungle of my gym bag, tossed the bag in the back seat and followed to her vehicle.

           “Thank you so much for this.  I was counting on someone in the store being able to help me, but no one seems to be around and I’m in a bit of a hurry.” She did look slightly frazzled saying this and checked her watch to see the time.

           “It’s no trouble.  I’m happy to help out.”  She had a sizeable chest, at least a good 3 feet long and 2 feet wide secured with bungie cords into the trunk of her car.  It had very intricate carvings all along it and despite looking extremely old, it was in almost immaculate condition.  “This is beautiful.” I commented as I began undoing the bungie cords.  “It’s a hope chest, right?  My mom has one.  Not nearly as detailed as this but about the same size.”

           “Yes.  It belonged to my great aunt who recently passed away.  I’m in charge of her estate and when some things didn’t sell at the auction and no one claimed them as inheritance, my only choice left was to sell them.  For some reason this one didn’t sell at the auction even though the auctioneer was sure it would be one of the highest ticket items due to its condition.  A friend suggested I bring it here.”  Having been dragged to several auctions as a kid (and hating every minute of it) this was odd to me.  Usually people will buy the strangest things when they can do so for pennies on the dollar of what they are actually worth.  And this piece seemed highly valuable, so it was a shock to me that someone hadn’t snatched it up.  I managed to pull the chest out easily enough given it was empty and she closed the trunk.  “Actually, my friend suggested I try for that Antique Roadshow first and that maybe it would be end up being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I don’t want to spend that much time and effort on it.  I just need to get rid of it as I live out of state and can’t miss too much more work.”

           “I’m sorry to hear that.  Loosing someone is never easy.” I puffed out as I walked trying my best to hold onto this thing.  It was an awkward shape and size with no handles and I guess, without realizing it, I was trying to show off for this complete stranger by not having her help me carry it.  Hearing about this woman’s family member dying shifted my mind immediately back to Lee as I walked toward the antique store next door to my gym.  It was so strange that I only now realized it was exactly like a death that I was mourning but he was still alive.  He was forever out of my life as though he died but he is still living and happy just not with me which somehow made it that much worse.

           “Thank you.  To be honest, I never knew her that well so I’m not sure why she entrusted me to do all this, but here I am.” She shrugged at this and walked a bit ahead of me to hold open the door to the antique store.  “You can just leave that here they said.  Someone will take it to the back when we’re done filling out the paperwork after the appraisal.  Thank you so much again for your help.”

           “You’re very welcome.  I hope you have a good rest of your day and sorry again for your loss.” I smiled and turned to leave when something about the chest recaptured my attention.  The woman was already moving deeper into the store to find the clerk or whomever to do the appraisal, but I was drawn back to this chest.  It really was beautifully decorated and well maintained on the outside.  Wonder what the inside looks like I thought and found myself kneeling to open it.

           It opened smoothly and was almost completely empty except for a single piece of paper.  Reaching in to check it wasn’t something the woman might need that would accidently get lost with the chest, I found myself stunned at what I was looking at.

           The page looked and felt ancient.  That really old thick paper or parchment that you see in movies or TV shows that is from the 1700’s or something.  It didn’t feel delicate or fragile despite its apparent age.  It was obviously torn from a book given the single jagged edge, but the rest of whatever book it came from was nowhere to be found.  What was even more intriguing about this old page however was what was written on it:

           This page is conjured for a person whose life is woefully out of balance.

           Someone has caused you great pain for their own gain and this must be brought back to balance.

           Use the power of All Hallows Eve to call upon the forces needed to restore balance.

           If you truly believe, the instructions will appear.  If not, this page will soon vanish and travel to the next person most in need of its services.

           I looked up with the overwhelming desire to laugh.  This had to be a joke, right?  Was there a camera somewhere, or was this planned just for me?  It was too… specific.  Well no more or less specific than most psychic readings in my opinion.  Despite my skepticism, I always thought there was something out there beyond the tangible.  Never really anything as mainstream as magic as that felt too easy, but I’ve had too many unexplainable things happen that I can’t help but believe there is some kind of force working in our lives that we haven’t identified… or maybe just forgot about/lost faith in?

           I looked around the store quickly to see if the woman had returned or was nearby to ask about this strange page and when I couldn’t locate her, assumed she went into a manager's office or back room and returned my gaze to the paper.  There, below the first few lines, a new sentence appeared:

           No this is not a joke.

           That wasn’t there before.  I know it wasn’t.  Must have been some reaction to the sunlight after being planted in the dark chest.  I remember reading about inks and dyes that act like “invisible” ink but require light or heat to be made visible again.  Definitely a neat trick or novelty item, especially given that Halloween was so close.  The only thing that could have made this even creepier would be…

           James

           I watched as my name was written onto the parchment.  Not slowly appeared as though the ink were drying, but actually written out, letter by letter by some unseen hand.  I dropped the paper in shock.  Okay… either this is the best prank setup in history…

           Or it’s real.

           Like really real.

           Holy… or maybe unholy?

           There was no denying now that I believed this was some sort of magic but the question now thundering in my head was: what would be the cost of using it?  I heard the sing song, high pitched voice of Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon A Time in my head: “Magic always comes with a price dearie”.  What exactly would happen?  Restore my life to balance?  That could mean any number of things.  Without even really registering it, I had picked up the paper from the floor, folded it gently before putting it in my pocket then I was walking towards the back of the store to find the woman.  She was talking to a man in what looked like a back-office area.

“How much would you like for the chest?” I asked before really thinking through what I was asking.  Why do I suddenly want to buy this woman’s hope chest?  I didn’t have a use for it, didn’t really have a place for it in my apartment... but something inside told me I had to have it.

“Oh!” She was shocked by this and said she’d be happy with $200.  I told her I would be right back as there was an ATM at the end of the strip mall.  The salesperson looked annoyed and I heard him say he could beat the price, offering to pay several hundred dollars more, but apparently the fact that no one from the store had helped her move the chest countered the lost income.  Not to mention would save her time not having to fill out paperwork and wait for this guy before she could leave.  I returned about 5 minutes later with the cash in hand and hauled off the chest I just brought inside back out to my car.  Bringing over the bungie cords she had used and giving them to me as a ‘bonus with purchase”, she shook my hand and thanked me.  I moved around to the driver’s door pulling out the folded page from my pocket as I went and got in the car.  I had originally planned to go home and have my post workout meal but as I sat in the car looking at the unfolded page with the instructions for what to do magically appearing, I knew those plans had changed.  Now, I have a couple stops to make.

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Chapter 2

           A few days later, as the clock was ticking closer and closer to midnight and after talking myself into then out of doing this several times, I finally settled on performing this magic ritual to restore balance.

           What’s the worst that could happen?

           Really, I have no idea.  This is magic after all.

           You are dealing with forces you cannot begin to comprehend *Spoken in a deep resonating voice*

           It’s not like anyone will die or anything… surely...

           And even if they did, how could you be blamed?

           This is magic after all…

           “Screw it”.  Speaking aloud to myself.  I honestly can’t imagine things getting worse for me than they already are.  Though that could simply be a lack of imagination on my part.  No risk, no reward… but also no punishment.

           “Just make up your damned mind!” I shouted into an empty apartment.

           Fine.  Alright I’m doing this.  Besides, there is still a good chance this is likely some elaborate hoax that I was set up for and all that will happen is me wasting my time.  I went over to the chest that did find its way into a great spot in my apartment and opened the lid.

Intending to reach in and pull out the lone occupant (i.e. the parchment paper) I stumbled backwards and fell on my ass as I saw that the chest was now filled with everything I would need for the ritual.  Panting on the floor from the sudden surge of adrenaline, I spent the next several minutes grappling with this further proof that magic was real.  Not only was the page conjured up, but everything else I needed was too!

“Guess I didn’t need to go shopping after all!” I said without realizing it only to laugh slightly hysterically at myself for the absurdity of it.  Part of me was legitimately mad at having all this stuff provided after wasting my money to buy duplicate items and ingredients.

It took a bit more time to calm down but when my “warning alarm” went off telling me I had only 15 minutes left to midnight, I prepared things as outlined in the “instructions” which really read more like a recipe than any sort of spell I’d ever seen.  Though, admittedly, I haven’t really seen many, other than in the Harry Potter movies that is.

           The clock struck 12, now officially Halloween and I started chanting as well as mixing up the ingredients.  After I had finished the ritual and was only reasonably sure I had done and said things correctly there wasn’t any noticeable effect.  No clap of thunder, no puff of smoke, no ethereal voices, zilch.

           “Well either I completely botched this up, which is the most likely answer, or it doesn’t have one of those flashy effects.”  Suddenly, a line from Harry Potter popped into my brain: Bangs and smoke were often the sign of ineptitude rather than experience.

           No sooner had I thought this when I realized that I was thinking about other things… things I couldn’t have known but somehow were there.  Truly divine (or maybe demonic) knowledge had appeared in my brain and I now knew what to do next without conscious thought or realization.  There was a sense of calm and understanding that I really would get things back into balance so long as I followed this plan.

           This was going to be a good day.  A really good day.

*****

           I walked into the gym a little before 4PM to get things set up.  I knew it would take some extra time as this was not my usual gym but instead one on the other side of town.  I completed all the necessary steps to obtain a day pass to enter and made my way to the locker room to change clothes.

A few minutes later I was finishing up when two people walked in.  The two people I had planned on meeting and the sole reason I was here: my ex and the guy he cheated on/left me for.

“Oh, hey James.” Lee said with shock and trained politeness before looking suddenly very uncomfortable.  Hugh, his boyfriend, gave me a polite enough head nod but didn’t say anything.

“Hey Lee.  Been a while.  How have you been?”  I responded to him very nicely, almost chipper which seemed to unsettle him even more.  Given our last series of conversations and my state of mind at the time, this was a jarring difference.  I was using the tone of an old acquaintance you haven’t seen for a long time and were on good terms with, not someone you were once romantically involved with and ended up admitted to the hospital under psychiatric care because of.

“Good, good.  You?”  Lee asked as he eyed Hugh with some concern.  Last time Hugh and I had met face-to-face, Hugh was less than excited to see me, even going as far as nearly punching me.  I will admit, in his defense given how I was raving about all the ways that Lee had lied to me, broken promises, fucked things up, ruined my life and in general how I thought he was being a monumental jackass, his reaction was not entirely surprising.

“I’m fantastic actually.  Work has been going great and I had a recent event happen that has me very hopeful for the future.”  I finished up enigmatically and put my stuff in the locker, all except my shaker of an intra-workout mix and towel.

“Good.  I’m really happy to hear you’re doing better.  You just starting your workout?” Lee asked as he looked over his shoulder to see Hugh choosing a locker as far away from me as possible causing Lee to be torn on what to do next.

“Yep.  Arms today.  Hope you both have a great workout.” I said standing up and walking away clearly indicating that I was done with this exchange.  Lee muttered thanks and turned to rejoin his boyfriend.  I looked up at the clock and saw I had about 10 seconds to 4PM. 

Given the spell was conjured for anyone who really needed it, there was a unique requirement that a symbolic measure of time, something within the 24-hour length of Halloween, must be used for the effects.  Since it had been 8 months Lee and I were “together” and 8 months since he cut all ties with me, 8 hours would be a perfect symbology how long the spell would take for full effect.  This meant a 4PM start to achieve a midnight culmination as that’s when the magic would be most powerful.  I took a deep breath, cleared my head of other thoughts but what I needed and cast my spell:

On this day, All Hallows Eve,

I ask the spirits for reprieve,

Equal parts of black and white,

Cast upon those within my sight,

Trick and treat I do implore,

Tip back the scales, balance restore.

Once again there was no clap of thunder, shaking of the earth, flickering lights or anything in either Lee or Hugh’s behavior or appearance to indicate anything supernatural had happened, but I knew it had.  It’s hard to describe the sensation but there was something akin to feeling an energy being siphoned away.  All my negative thoughts and emotions seemed to be flowing from my head and out of my body towards the two men in front of me.  After a few moments the energy transfer had stopped, and I was left with this serene feeling of calm.  The sight of my ex with someone else no longer bothered me like it had for months now.  I can’t say I was happy at the sight, but I was at peace.  Though the void where those emotions one resided was quickly replaced by an energized feeling for my workout, but that I attribute more to the new pre-workout mix I had taken rather than any supernatural influence.

I went through my arm workout like a man possessed.  Never had I ever had such a level of mind-muscle connection or as furious a pump as I did today.  My arms felt like they were growing with each rep, my skin was getting tighter, more veins were popping, it was truly amazing to see, but far better to feel.

I began with my normal warm up sets just to get loosened up and acclimated.  Immediately I could tell something was different.  The sensation was something so much better than I’d ever had, hell better than I ever dreamed of having!  There was a deep almost pleasurable feeling coming from within the muscle tissue.  I did two warm up sets for my triceps before moving the weight up to the working sets.  At my first rep, a sort of haze drifted into my head blocking out everything around me but the task at hand.  Having little to no experience with drugs, I equated this feeling to what being high must be like; a sort of body detachment yet somehow a simultaneous deeper connection to it.  I couldn’t tell you how many reps I did that first working set, but it was well beyond the 12 I had planned.  Each rep was another burst of pleasure that overrode any sense of fatigue or pain from working the muscle like I knew from my experience they should.

I continued on to do a half dozen more sets of the same exercise before moving on to the next.  Switching over to bicep work was like nothing I could have prepared for, even after having that triceps euphoria.  This was similar yet different in that it connected me to something primal, something defiantly male.  Arms were a tell-tale sign of masculinity and power, but it was the bicep that was most easily recognized as such.  Feeling my own biceps swell, harden, and grow, then looking down to see them in action was otherworldly.  Again, I couldn’t tell you how many sets I did of that first curling exercise, but I would guess at least six.

From there I did every variation and angle I could think of to work my arms.  Machines, cables, free weights, everything.  Barely pausing between sets before desperately craving the next “hit” like a crazed drug addict.

Despite the fact I was chasing a buzz, I did each set with the same controlled focus I always have but was so intense it could have been world war three outside, or a zombie apocalypse and I would have kept pumping.  I didn’t see or acknowledge other people in the gym, just more iron for me to lift and use to make myself bigger and stronger.  It wasn’t until I was out of my intra-workout shake that I took more than a two-minute break.  I was shocked to look at my watch and find it was nearly 6 PM by this point as I rarely lifted for more than an hour.  Not ready to quit just yet, I went into the locker room to make a fresh batch of my intra workout shake, and a supplemental protein shake to slam down for fuel before I went back out and continuing.

Once again, I met up with Lee and Hugh in the locker room as they were taking their post workout selfies for social media.  I barely registered it was them before I continued past them to my locker and mixed up my shakes.

“Fuck!  Babe would you look at this PUMP!?” I heard Hugh say as he kept flexing over and over in front of the mirror.  “I’ve NEVER felt so swole before!  God, I look so much bigger right now.  I wish this could last!”

“Careful what you wish for” I muttered with a smirk before taking out a second empty shaker from my bag and adding a scoop of protein powder to it.  The truth was, Hugh didn’t just look bigger, he was bigger.  The supernatural knowledge in my head told me that he wouldn’t try to quantify this by measuring or weighing himself, which was all part of the spells design.  If it weren’t for the fact that I knew exactly what was coming and how the spell’s effects on him would play out, I would say that I was tricked and mislead by whatever forces were at work.  Here was this guy who I lost my first love to for being more muscular than I was, now becoming even more of what my ex desired most, how was this bringing me balance?  However, I knew what was in store for them both over the next 6 hours so it didn’t cause me any further anger.

As I was adding a second scoop of powder to my shaker, I suddenly realized how hungry I was.  My stomach was twisted and growling at me in fury for fuel only slightly overpowering the begging and pleading for nutrients my muscles were making.

“You look amazing babe!  We got a lot of good shots, but we need to get going if we’re going to have enough time to get ready before the Halloween party tonight.” Lee said and when I looked at him, while he did look pleased, and very turned on by his strutting and preening boyfriend, there was also a look of barely disguised jealousy and anger behind it.  I couldn’t tell if seeing this was due to my knowing Lee as well as I did, or some secondary effect of the spell.

I stood up shaking away the lingering analyzing of Lee’s mood as I polished off my shake, walked over to the nearby sink to rinse out my shaker seriously debating on mixing up another when I caught sight of myself for the first time.  Okay, not strictly true as I had been watching my form in the mirrors during my lifts, but this was the first time with a head clear of whatever endorphin or magic induced fog had taken over me.  I had to echo the sentiments of Hugh just then: I’ve never looked so pumped!  This was like a years' worth of pumps and gains all showing up together.  But more than that, I could see I was noticeably leaner and more vascular than when I walked in two hours ago.  I looked down at my forearms and gave them a few casual flexes and twists to see the veins pop more than ever.  In a few minutes when the carbs from my shake and intra-workout hit, that would probably get even more pronounced!  I couldn’t help it and threw up a double bicep shot in the mirror.

“Wow James, you look really pumped too!”  Lee called over and now the constipated look of too many emotions battling in his head was even more pronounced.  This time however, there was more a look of confusion or concentration on his face than anything.  I could tell he was trying to remember if I looked as big/lean when he saw me before.  Beneath all that analyzing though was a good dose of lust.  Lee was an arm guy.  Not just in what he was attracted to, but what he felt was his own weakest muscle group to respond and the one part of his physique he was so desperate to grow.  The pump I had going on now had swollen my arms to well over 18” I was sure and I was going to ride out this workout high until I passed out or died because I wanted to see how big I could get them!

“Thanks Lee.  Going to go see if I can coax a little bit more size out of them before I call it quits tonight.  Have fun at your party!” I said waving to them before I left the room.

*****

It was another two hours later before I left the gym more depleted and tired than I’ve ever been, but also more pumped, satisfied and genuinely proud of myself than I remembered being in ages.  I broke down after the workout upon seeing my arms in the mirror during my second double bi and that they were insane.  I had more definition, size, vascularity and separation than ever.  I had true bodybuilder caliber arms which was impossible given how I looked walking into the gym earlier.  Thankfully, no one else seemed to notice the impossible transformation given they were either too focused on themselves or weren’t there to see me when I had arrived to make the comparison against.  I grabbed the tape measure in my bag and wrapped it around each arm to find they had indeed pumped up to not just beyond 18” but just crossed the 19” barrier.  I gained over 2” of “pump” in a few hours which my logical mind knew was impossible but honestly all I could do was think I wanted so much more!  It’s also not just a pump either, this is permanent the voice in my head told me.

I took a myriad of photos in every which way I could fathom, even enlisting the help of another gym goer before heading to my car and uploading a few, plus a “before/after” shot to Instagram.  What no one will know is that the “before” pic was from just a few hours ago rather than weeks or months.  The weird thing was that I felt pumped just about everywhere, not just my arms.  Both my chest and back felt it the most, which given their activation during most of my arm exercises wasn’t too unusual, my shoulders were more rounded and capped than before, and somehow even my legs felt different.  As I was leaving, the guy at the desk waved me over and gave me a few free passes as covertly as possible.  Included on one was a handwritten phone number that I assume was his.  I told him I’d be back the next day same time and he said he would too.

I drove home still in awe of how I looked and felt and it wasn’t until I parked the car and looked back at my phone that I saw the dozens of likes, comments, a handful of new followers and even a few direct messages I had gotten.  One in particular caught my eye:

“Man, I hope you’re planning to come to the Halloween party at Tric tonight.  Those arms NEED to be shown off and shared with the world!”

I never really got into Halloween parties, and had only been to Tric a few times with a group of people as it wasn’t really my thing, but tonight I knew I had to be there.  Scrolling through my messages I found that the tentative plans with friends were in fact being moved to Tric anyway, so it worked out perfectly.  Too perfectly I thought realizing this was probably some manipulation of magic at play, but frankly I didn’t care.  I went into my bedroom and rummaged around for a good 20 minutes trying to find my prize.  I dug out the costume I wore the year before.  It was a Robin Hood style getup but it was very sexy.  The material looked like it would be just stretchy enough to allow me to fit in it, or so I hoped, and show off my now bulging arms in tight, nearly spandex material.  It was long sleeve so it wasn’t quite as flattering as going sleeveless, but I had ideas about that when I was at the club.  I pulled out my black pair of spandex leggings that I wore to the gym for leg day and laid out the costume on my bed.  Suddenly I got hard at the visual of how I was going to look in this and I was turning myself on!  He was right, I need to show off tonight.

I went to the bathroom to shower, started to disrobe my gym attire and when I looked at myself in the mirror, my breath caught in my throat.

I

Was

Fucking

HOTT!

My dick shot up from chub to raging in approximately 3.2 seconds.  I was LEAN.  I was HARD.  I was RIPPED!  For fuck sake, I had ABS!  I haven’t had abs in ages but now I had them in excess!  8 clearly defined and striated works of art now sat there looking back at me in the mirror.  If that wasn’t enough. my chest was thick, swollen and had cleavage for yet another first time in my life.  I’ve been working my chest 2x a week to try and get it to develop and grow as it’s my lagging muscle group and I desperately wanted to have that valley between my pecs.  I wanted them to touch, to rub together, as I always had the fantasy of getting pec fucked by someone and milking their dick to explosion between my hard chest plates.

I not only looked like a fitness model, I looked like I was a few weeks out from taking the stage at a bodybuilding show!  This was the sort of lean/defined look I’d been working towards for months, years really and couldn’t seem to get.  My body stubbornly held onto its fat reserves no matter what I tried to do, but now, I looked like I’d always dreamed I could!

Needless to say, my shower took a long time and was hands down (then up, then down again) the best I’d ever had.

I then spent an absurd amount of time primping and cleaning myself up.  I never spent much more than about 15 minutes shaving, combing my hair, etc., but tonight, I was determined to not just look good below the neck.  I wanted the whole package and for everyone in that club to want me.  I shaved and sculpted my face till I looked my absolute best. Even going as far as trimming eyebrows and plucking stray hairs.  Scrubbed away all the dirt, dead skin cells, unblocked my pores, tightened the skin, applying lotion, then spent more time than I care to admit styling my hair until I looked better than I ever had in my life.  I went to the bedroom and into the bag that my costume was in to find the accessories I bought with it the year before.  Included among them was eyeliner that I was too chicken to try but tonight knew would make me look even more sexy.

After a good 10 minutes of trial and error (and pain as I stabbed my eye more than once), I was finished and really pleased with the outcome.  Not something I’ll do every day, but it did add to my overall look.  My eyes were definitely the highlight of my face now which was exactly what I hoped seeing as I’d been told (though never really believing it) that my eyes were one of my best features.  I took a couple quick shots and right as I was finishing up, a line from Once Upon a Time flashed in my head of The Evil Queen calling Captain Hook “Captain Guyliner.”  Given the Robin Hood-esque look of the costume it was a close comparison.

Returning to the bedroom I started to put on the costume and quickly realized that I was going to need to be very careful.  This outfit was going to fit at that level of “so tight that any excess moving or stretching (or flexing) was going to cause a scene”.

Perfect.

I dressed, put on all the extra accessories, gave myself the once over in the mirror before grabbing my keys, phone and ID then headed out.

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Chapter 3

I walked into the club around 9 PM and it was already packed.  Scanning around I saw that there were some very impressive costumes and even more impressive bodies in attendance.  I made my way around the club doing my best to keep a low profile which was made easier by the black cape I was wearing draping over my shoulders in extremely low lighting.  I ran into a few of the friends I planned to meet and spent some time chatting with them, many of whom were highly complementary of my costume and then shocked and extremely complementary when I showed them what was under the cape.

They all wanted me to stick around, and got extremely handsy which I deeply appreciated but I told them that I still needed to make the rounds and see who else was there.  It didn’t take me long to find out where my prey was stationed as there was a large group congregating away from anything that should have caused a crowd like the stage or the bar.

Sure enough, even though they were surrounded by 30 or so guys all crowding together to get a look, I could easily make out the now Herculean form of Hugh at the center.  If my transformation over the last couple hours was impressive, Hugh was truly otherworldly.  Earlier today, he was maybe 210 lbs., now, he looked to be at least 60 lbs. heavier.  He was hands down the biggest guy in the place right now, and I knew it was only going to increase.  I made my way closer so that I could try to hear as much as possible.

“Flex for us man!”

“Let’s see those arms!”

“Can I feel?”

“Yeah me too man, gotta feel those huge arms!”

Over and over came the requests and adulation from the crowd.  It was easy to see the effect it was having on him, and Hugh was happy to show off by going through various poses but he always denied anyone from touching him making sure to let everyone know that Lee was there and was his boyfriend.  A couple times someone was brave and grabbed onto Hugh without asking and his hand was immediately slapped away but it was getting harder and harder to stop all the advances.  I made my way over to the bar to get a drink and as it was delivered, I heard Lee’s voice next to mine placing an order.

“Oh!  Hey Lee!  Didn’t expect to see you here!  Was this the party you guys were talking about earlier at the gym?”  I asked in mock surprise.

“James!  Wow I didn’t recognize you!  Nice costume!”  This caused a little flare of anger as I wore the same costume last year with him to a party.  Obviously, it wasn’t as memorable of a night for you as it was for me...

“Yeah feel a bit bad at using the same costume two years in a row but didn’t really plan on coming here tonight until last minute.”  I took a sip of my drink before continuing “Looks like Hugh’s popular!”  I nodded in the direction of the still expanding crowd.  Lee looked back over his shoulder at his monolithic boyfriend dressed up as the Hulk and looking every bit the part still surrounded by an even larger crowd than moments ago and looked even more conflicted than earlier.

“Yeah ever since we arrived, he’s been mobbed by people.  Everyone wants to cop a feel.” His tone was evidently filled with annoyance and a touch of jealousy.  “It’s weird though.”

“What’s weird?  Seems to me that when you get to that size everyone wants to feel you.  Despite the possibility of getting green paint all over.  Perfect strangers stop to ask you to flex for them.  Especially in a place like this.  He should be proud.”

“That’s just it though.” Lee said and for a moment he looked panicked.  “He just got to that size, yet he doesn’t seem to notice or be bothered by it.”

“Why would he be bothered by it?  And what do you mean he ‘just’ got to that size?  He’s been working hard for it for years so he shouldn’t be.  You don’t really notice the progress in yourself unless you compare pics...” Lee cut me off here.

“That’s not what I mean.” Now he looked desperate to share something though it was agonizing him. “I know this is going to sound crazy, and I don’t know why it’s freaking me out as it’s a dream come true but he’s literally blown up about 50 pounds in just a few hours!”

“What?” I asked him looking incredulous.  “Oh, ha ha... very funny Lee.  Nice try at a Halloween joke.  Just because Hugh is dressed up and colored to look like the Hulk-”

“I’m not kidding!” Lee said getting more and more worked up.  “Ever since the gym it’s been like he’s constantly growing!  During the workout I thought it was just the pump, but then in the locker room... I mean I’ve always fantasied about muscle growth like this, you know that, but it’s really happening and he doesn’t seem to notice, or at least doesn’t care and it’s freaking me out!  I begged him not to come to this thing tonight until we figure out what’s going on, probably take him to the hospital but he kept insisting on coming.”

“Well can you blame him?  He looks great and he’s worked for years to get to this point.”

“Except he hasn’t!” Lee said looking angry now.  “I mean yes, he has worked out for years, but this growth all happened in a few hours, not years!”

“What are you talking about?  Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been the biggest guy I know, well one of them.  Just worked extra hard over the last year is all.  I told you that when you guys were moved in together that your growth would really take off.”

“What?” Lee looked at me like I had three heads now.  “You know he wasn’t this big at the gym earlier today.”

“Sure he was!  Take a look at his Instagram, you’ll see.”  I took another sip of my drink while watching Lee pull out his phone and pull up the Instagram app.  It took a few seconds for him to unlock the phone, open the app and find the profile but when he did, he almost dropped the phone.

“That’s not...”  Lee was staring at the picture from just a few hours ago and couldn’t take it in.  There was Hugh looking almost exactly as he was now minus the green body paint.  Massive, thick, a true roided out meathead.  There was even an updated caption about breaking the 300 lb. barrier just in time to play the Hulk for the party tonight.  “No that’s not possible.” Lee said and backed out of the picture to look at others on his boyfriends' profile.  Each one showed Hugh nearly as huge as he now appeared.  All the exact same shots as before, but now he was blown up to the cartooned, steroid laced, hulked out monster he appeared in the club.

“You okay Lee?  I think you should sit down.” He looked like he was about to fall over.  Lee sat down on a stool and put his head into his hands clearly confused.

“I don’t get it... he didn’t look like this before today, I swear it.” Lee said not really talking to me anymore but more to himself.

“His progress has been remarkable but I told you when you broke up with me that even I couldn’t blame you for getting together with a guy his size.  We both have the same muscle fetish so even though I was hurt I understood.  Hugh is a beast and he’s only going to get bigger!  That’s what you always wanted right?”  Lee looked unable to speak now.  He took the drink that the bartender had long since deposited in front of him and slammed it down in one go.

“Doesn’t make sense... he wasn’t... I-” Lee was rambling now, not even really paying attention to me.  I indicated to the bartender to bring another round for Lee and it appeared about a minute later.

“Look Lee, don’t overthink it.  Just enjoy it!  You’re with the biggest and most desired guy in the place right now, you should be proud and thrilled about that.  I’m going to go make the rounds but I’ll see you later hmm?”  I patted him on the shoulder and waited a second before turning and making my way through the crowd.

I found a few more friends dotted around the club that I chatted with for a bit before we all decided to hit the dance floor.  I danced for a while, awkwardly due to my new size and getting quite a bit more attention after I shucked the cape and guys could get a better view of my arms bulging through the sleeves.  That attention increased more when the fabric finally gave up trying to hold in my arms during all my dancing and I started ripping the sleeves.  Finally, I put my plan into action and tore off the sleeves at the shoulder and finally allowed all the thirsty boys nearby to get a good look at my ripped, veiny, powerful arms (as much as possible in the strobing and laser filled club lighting).  The effect was almost instantaneous.  I had a dozen guys suddenly shift their way closer to me in order to rub up against me.  I felt hands running up and down each arm plus a few along other areas of my body and it was definitely causing a powerful reaction in my pants.  It didn’t take long after that for a hand or two (or twelve) to make their way to my cock or ass and rubbing through the obscenely tight leggings followed by a rotation of guys pressing their hungry asses up against it.

“Who are you supposed to be anyway?” A guy yelled into my ear over the thumping of the house music.

“The Buff Bandit” I said with a wink, a double bicep flex then kept on dancing.  I had been telling people I was Robin Hood as it was a quicker answer but I’d thought of myself as the Buff Bandit since I pulled out the costume.

“Well you definitely stole my heart.” I heard the reply and couldn’t help but laugh.  It was a cute yet cheesy attempt at a pickup line and I knew he was desperate for some one on one attention but it wasn’t my focus tonight.

After a few more dances, I finally decided it was time to go all out and started to pull the shirt off over my head.  Mostly this was due to the fact that I could tell I was about to rip the shirt in more than just the arms and I was positively roasting now and it was drenched in sweat.  I hadn’t really noticed it while dancing but now I took a second to focus, I could feel that I was bigger still.  My shoulders were wider and causing further tears in the shirt, my pecs and lats had already made their marks with tears along their seams and I knew with one good, long, intense most muscular, my back would flare out enough to rip the back of the shirt to ribbons.  I tried to pull it off over my head, but it was quickly made apparent that it wasn’t going to survive so I just started hulking out of it.

The feeling was so much better than I could have ever dreamed!  And I’d dreamed about this a lot over the years!  Feeling my muscles swell, harden and stretch the fabric tight... tighter... TIGHTER before feeling it finally split was beyond words.  The relief of having the freedom from clothing was nearly orgasmic.  That same pressure building within your balls before that explosion is exactly what it felt like bursting from my shirt.  Followed by the same post orgasm bliss.  Only difference was that after I was done, I was immediately hungry to get bigger and to find another shirt to do it with again!  I pulled off the tattered remnants of my shirt and tossed them on the floor.

Within seconds I had hands just about everywhere.  On my abs, feeling up my pecs, rubbing my shoulders, it was glorious!  I’ve never had that kind of attention from even one guy, now I had it from a half dozen.  It was a potent drug; one I could easily see getting addicted to!  I started flexing for the hungry hands that were caressing my body.  Random poses in rapid fire succession.  I recognized a few of the guys that were groping me as ones that had been circling vulture-like around Hugh before and scanned around the club to find that he and Lee weren’t anywhere to be found.

Suddenly my phone started to vibrate in my pants (no pockets on spandex leggings) and I realized it was my alarm.  It was now 11PM so I had one more hour to go before Halloween was over.  Immediately pulling myself out of the group of worshippers I had accumulated, with mutual dissatisfaction from both myself and each of them, I made my way out of the club and to my car.  It took me quite a while as I had many, many guys trying to get my attention if not my phone number or to get me to go home with them, but I plowed on as I had a strict schedule to keep.

Getting into my car I pulled up Instagram and searched quickly for Lee and Hugh’s profiles to check the progress.  Sure enough, there was Hugh at a size that was reserved for only the truest of roided freaks.  He was 350 pounds if he was one and looked like he could hardly move in most of those shots.  The last posting was made by Hugh between one and two hours ago from inside Tric and he was all but bursting out of his costume, what little of it there was left at least.  Surrounded by as many of his adoring fan club as was possible to get in the shot with him.  Interestingly, there was one person missing from the shot: Lee.

I grinned as I started my car and put it into gear.

*****

I arrived at my destination about 15 minutes later and made my way up to the 8th floor.  Walking down the hall and finding myself in front of a door I’d never visited but knew was the right one, I raised my hand and knocked.  There was a few seconds of silence before I could hear footsteps approaching the door and Lee opened it.

“James!” he called clearly shocked and then looked up and down the hallway as though expecting someone else.  “What are you doing here?”

“Thought I’d stop by and check on the progress of things.  Mind if I come in?” I pushed my way past Lee not waiting for his reply into the apartment and Lee followed after clearly distraught and confused.

“What are you talking about?  And how did you know where we lived?  I never gave you our address, did I?”

“No, you didn’t.  You didn’t move until after you cut all communication with me so I never knew where this place was.  Just part of the spell, I guess.”  As I was talking, I could see Lee scanning my body up and down.  Still shirtless from the club and my leggings hanging from me having also burst open during my drive from the growth in my quads and calves.  He was barely listening to me as the sight of me looking every bit his wet dream was causing a near overload of his mind.  Too much was happening all at once for him to process:  Hugh’s unexplainable growth that no one but he seemed to notice, and now the guy he rejected also growing bigger and better looking than ever... better than he possibly could in such a short time... but then his brain came back to focus at the word “spell”.

“Spell?” Lee repeated looking deeply confused but also scared now. “What spell?”

“The one I cast on you both this afternoon at the gym.”  I folded my arms across my chest, or at least I attempted to as best I could but my new size was making the normally easy task a challenge.  “Guess I’m not quite used to this new muscle mass yet.” I said giving Lee a sly look.  “This part of the spell at least made sense.  Truthfully that’s what I expected to happen all along when I cast it.  That I would slowly syphon off size from Hugh making me bigger than he was.  But seems like whatever power is behind this had other plans, and I must say, I’m enjoying them.”  I felt a weird tingling on my face, chest, forearms, back and legs.  Not unpleasant but certainly foreign.  I looked down at my protruding chest to see hair sprouting and thickening the pelt I already had.  Unfolding my arms, I raised them up to see the same effect on them as well.  Unable to see my back I turned around so that it was shown to Lee and he could watch it fill in and darken.  While I was turned, I heard him give a low, almost imperceptible moan.  I grinned broadly at this sound remembering just how much of a fan he was of really hairy guys, or at least really hairy really muscular guys.  I’m becoming his ultimate fantasy guy I thought as I turned back around to face Lee.

There was a blood curdling scream that came from what I assumed was the bedroom.  Lee’s eyes went wide and he darted for it while I casually strolled in after him eager to see the fruits of the spell’s labor.

Lying in the middle of a queen size bed was a truly grotesque sight.  Hugh was now well over 400 lbs., but it wasn’t the attractive sort of size that I know they were both imagining.  This wasn’t a roided out, moderately conditioned, morphed up size that they expected.  Instead there was a misshapen blob of muscle that was covered in deep red and purple stretch marks, several of which were just now starting to be dotted with drops of blood.  Hugh’s body looked to be comprised more of tumors than muscle.

“Holding up better than I would have thought.” I remarked as I entered the room and closed the door.  You could practically hear Hugh growing.  An eerie sound of shifting tissue and creaking bedframe as more and more mass was being magically added into Hugh’s body.

“Please help James.” Lee called frantically as he tried to comfort Hugh who was clearly in agony.  “I don’t know what’s happening and I don’t know what to do!  I called 911 and thought that’s who was at the door instead of you.”

“Oh, they won’t show up.” I said nonchalantly at this.

“What?  Yes they will, they told me they were on their way when I called.”

“But did you call?”  I said still standing there with my arms crossed looking smug.  “Check your phone.”  Lee looked at me but seemed incapable of finding words.  Instead he pulled his phone out and checked the log.

“But... I called... I KNOW I CALLED!” He yelled as he frantically scrolled up and down not finding any record of the outbound call in his phone.  I couldn’t help but laugh now.

“Yes, you did call, but it was erased.  Shame too as I bet that dispatcher would have been telling the story of your call for years.  Some guy going on and on about his boyfriend growing more and more muscular almost out of control.  Sounds like a drug addict on a really bad trip doesn’t it?  And on Halloween night to boot, that’s when all the crazies come out you know and they get no end of prank calls.”  I laughed some more at the look on Lee’s face.  “But the spell took care of that so no, they aren’t actually coming.  It’s just the three of us, for now.  Just like how despite Hugh’s blood curdling screams none of your neighbors have called the cops.  Guessing either your room slash apartment is magically soundproofed or they’re just made oblivious to the noise.  Similarly, the modified pictures on Hugh’s Instagram feed to make you question your sense of reality and history.  Unexpected that the spell caused you to feel gaslighted just like how the two of you made me feel.  Disorienting not feeling like you can trust your own thoughts or emotions isn’t it Lee?  Yes, that twist was truly unexpected.”

“I don’t understand...” Lee said now completely overwhelmed by what was going on.

“No, I don’t expect you would.  Let me break it down for you: I received a very special gift a few days ago that promised to be the means to restore balance in my life.  Balance from what you two caused.  That gift was a spell designed to teach you that to get what you want, there is always a cost.  You’ve seen Full Metal Alchemist Lee; I know you understand the Law of Equivalent Exchange.  I cast the spell on you at the gym this afternoon and it seems that the main outcome was to cause Hugh to grow into the sort of massive muscle freak you both fantasized about.  Truth be told, I was not thrilled to see you both gaining even more of what you wanted from something designed to bring balance to me.  However, what became clearer as time passed was not the only effect of the spell.  The problem when fantasy becomes reality, it doesn’t always match up like we hope.  You wanted to grow more muscular, bigger than anyone else in the world, but you didn’t factor in all the consequences to that choice, specifically that you only wanted muscle to grow, not the skin that contains it.  Nor the fact that it’s putting extreme strain on his heart trying to supply enough blood to those impossibly large muscles, or any number of other biological factors that are now grossly out of whack.”

“Please make it stop!” Lee suddenly yelled at me, pleading with eyes popping in pure horror at what I had told him.  “Please James, I’m sorry for what we did to you but please make this stop, you’re hurting him!”

“You’re not sorry for what you did, you’re sorry you got caught, or more accurately sorry that you now have to pay for it.  You thought you could simply ignore a problem you caused until it goes away but that’s not the case here.  The longer you ignored this, the more it built up.  I told you, I’m not doing anything.  This is all your doing.  The combined will of both of you.  I provided the engine; you provided the fuel.  You’re the ones that have been fanning the flame since.  I bet after the gym the two of you got really hot and heavy, didn’t you?  Bet that was some of the best sex you’ve ever had right?”

Lee was stunned speechless here.  I could see the memories of what happened after they left the gym playing behind his eyes.  That in the heat of the moment, despite everything his rational mind was telling him, his lust for Hugh and what was happening to him was too powerful to ignore.  I felt a wave of warmth and energy fill me and knew I was expanding just a bit more in that moment.  Moaning deeply in pleasure as I felt my muscles pulse and swell bigger.  Refining would be a better word to describe what was happening as I could feel the skin tighten around my muscles while the last vestiges of fat melted away.  If I was ripped before, I was in peak contest condition now.  Almost simultaneously, and conversely, Hugh gave out a series of painful moans and yells as his body also continued to expand and swell causing more and deeper stretch marks to appear on his skin.  Every move he made, even the simple act of breathing was causing the skin to stretch then tear more and more.  The reflex of tensing up against the pain was only causing it to worsen.

We were like mirror opposites in these last minutes of Halloween.  I was feeling nothing but bliss and pleasure at my transformation while Hugh was feeling nothing but pain and anguish from his.  An equal yet opposite reaction.  Keeping the scales balanced I thought.  I could see the look on Lee’s face as his eyes darted back and forth between me and Hugh.  Trapt between lust and horror, worried for Hugh, angry with me for causing this but also desiring me as his ultimate fantasy man.

“I thought so.” Finally speaking to bringing back the conversation after I felt the pulse of growth subside.  “Bet you couldn’t keep your hands off him, even in the car ride home.  Then, when you got behind closed doors, it was carnal.  How could it not be?  One of your deepest and most powerful long-time fantasies was happening to you for real and your body was overpowering whatever thoughts you may have had against it.  Hindbrain vs forebrain.  Instinct vs rationality.  You dove in, uncaring of the later consequences and fully wanting to revel in the joy of the moment.  You’ve never been one for the long game Lee.  You’ve always only seen and cared for the short-term gains, the instant gratification.  You didn’t want to see it’s often better to sacrifice in the short term to gain something far better in the long term.  I desperately tried to teach you this, but you ignored me.”  I took a few deep breaths to calm myself as I felt anger flaring in me as I spoke.

“Even if I wanted to stop this, I couldn’t.” I told Lee as he looked at me with tears streaming down his face.  “This is all your doing, all your consequences.  Besides,” I started to say before I leaned back against the doorframe with a smirk across my face “I really don’t want to stop it.  I want you to feel some of the pain I’ve endured.  I want you both to feel like you’re being torn apart, and that you’re helpless to do anything just like I had to.  This is my long-term payoff for suffering for months while you two ran off willfully denying what you’d done.  You both took the treat, now you must take the trick.  That’s the rule of Halloween.”

“You monster!  You’re killing him!” Lee screamed and lunged at me pinning me to the wall.  “Stop this now or I swear I’ll...”

“You’ll what?  Kill me too?  I don’t think soooooooo.” I flexed my arms against his hands as I felt a growth surge fill me to loosen his grip and emphasize my power before I raised my arms easily breaking free of his grasp.  “See I’m a lot bigger and stronger than you now” Hugh and I both groaned again as I felt myself swell just a bit bigger saying this.  “Fuck that feels so good!  Plus, I know you don’t have it in you to kill me.  I know you better than you want to believe I doooooooo.” I moaned deeply feeling my muscles tense and flex almost involuntarily as they surged even bigger.  My vascularity and definition were almost beyond human at this point.  I could feel my back widen against the wall as I was leaning against it, but also thicken pushing me further away from it.  “Besides” I started to say as I stood up flaring my back as wide as I could watching Lee’s eyes widen in time with my expansion “this may or may not actually kill him.  That part is out of my hands.  The spell is meant to restore balance.  To return to you what you caused to me.  You both came close to killing me but didn’t, so odds are this will bring him close to death but he’ll survive.  Though in what condition is anybody's guess.”

I glanced over to the side table and saw it was now 10 minutes to midnight.  Suddenly Hugh was screaming again but even louder than before with my bellow of equal pleasure.  Obviously, things were picking up speed and the spell was going out with a bang, possibly literally.  I could see Hugh tensing in reflex to the pain, trying to protect himself but only making it hurt more while I was flexing to emphasize the feeling of expansion and pleasure.  Larger and larger he expanded in all directions but it was uneven, twitching and pulsing awkwardly and independently while mine was fluid, graceful, almost poetic.  You could see pound after pound being added to his already monstrous form even though that form clearly couldn’t take it.  Soon the stretch marks were bleeding in earnest and he looked more grotesque by the moment.

“Please stop it.  Please make it stop!”  Lee was on his knees in front of me begging now.  “I’ll do anything just please make it stop!”  I looked down at him as best I could over my massive hairy pecs.  The sight of him on his knees before me caused an immense surge of pleasure through me and focused on my cock.  I could feel it swell and expand outward easily brushing aside the dangling remains of my tights that only adhered to my waist at this point.  Every ounce of me was craving to be worshipped by him, to dominate him, to fuck him and make him submit to me.  I wanted to show him what he lost out on by rejecting me, that I was now beyond “good enough” as I was approaching perfection.  But I refrained.  I held back because he no longer deserved me.  He made his choice and there was no going back.

“It will all be over at midnight.” I told him through pants of pleasure and nodded at the clock.  I noticed that my voice had deepened.  Not a drastic amount, I certainly wasn’t James Earl Jones, but I could tell I dropped a couple notches.  “Only 10 little minutes more and the magic will fade.  Just like Cinderella.”

I heard Hugh give a scream of agony and looked over to see the skin had finally split and raw muscle was clearly visible in patches across Hugh’s body.  At the same time, I moaned deeply as I felt my skin shrink wrap around me to a perfect tautness.  I could tell it was clearing up too; all blemishes, spots, scars and issues were removed until my skin was flawless.  Lee ran out of the room and came back seconds later with several towels to try and mop up and stop the blood that was flowing freely from Hugh’s body.  Angry veins were continuing to pump blood in torrents due to Hugh’s heart working as fast as possible both from to the increased demand of his freakish size and the adrenaline surge that was triggered by his intense fear response.  His brain was telling him “fight or flight” though he was paralyzed by his size and immobility from doing either.

The minutes ticked by and Hugh’s screams built almost as fast as his ever-expanding body.  500 lbs. came and went, and soon 600 was within sight.  The lacerations in his skin grew longer and wider.  More and more muscle, sinew, tendons and ligaments were showing now.  Pushing through the torn skin with the need for more space unrestrained.  Soon other sounds of tearing and even some cracking sounds were heard as muscle was ripped from bone causing it to splinter and be crushed under the weight and strength of his inhumanely disproportioned muscles.  I should have been horrified at the sight and sounds but somehow, I was transfixed.  Morbid fascination kept me rooted to the spot as Hugh continued to expand beyond the limits of humanity and his own skin.  It was if he was being flayed alive by the backfire of his and Lees’ own deepest desires.

Simultaneously my own transformation was picking up speed as well but it was as beautiful and pleasurable as Hugh’s was ugly and agonizing.  I felt as each muscle slowly expanded and unfolded like a flower in bloom. I started posing and flexing each group I could in the mirror of their bedroom watching as I morphed into one of the most massive and handsome men on the planet.  I was over 300 lbs. by now and was creeping ever closer to 350.  My arms were easily 24 or 25 inches by now, 2 feet of muscle just on my arms alone! I thought with glee.  My chest was just on the verge of being disproportional but I guess that was to make up for my years of feeling it was woefully underdeveloped.  I stood back and flared my lats finally (though just barely) pulling off a lat spread that I was proud of.  Again, I heard a slight moan come from Lee which made me flex/spread even wider.  I moved to a side chest; the one pose I was confident in before my transformation but now looked beyond spectacular.  My pecs now pushed out hugely on my already sizable rib cage and my arm was pushing that pec meat even higher as I pulled tight and flexed hard.  I could almost hit my chin with my pecs now they were so huge and swollen and pumped!  Then I moved on to arms overhead and flexed my abs.  This time it was my turn to moan as I watched my midsection finally react when I moved, and what a reaction!  Not only did I have an enhanced 8 pack that I saw earlier before Tric, but now I had cobblestone obliques!  My V-taper even from my elongated lats while arms were overhead was extreme.  I would be shocked in my waist was over 36 inches now and if my chest was anything less than double that.

To say that I was turned on at my own reflection would be an understatement.  I was ablaze with lust looking at myself!  My cock had continued to rise from before and was now standing up through the remnants of my underwear and tights showcasing that I was now the ultimate expression of a man.  Having swollen and expanded from my already impressive 8-inch length to well over a foot and maintaining the impossible girth I was known for (soon to be internationally known for), I was also leaking precum in a steady stream down it’s dark red shaft, through the tangled jungle of pubic hair and all over the tights down to the carpet of Lee and Hugh’s bedroom.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard a voice saying you’ve marked your territory here and I couldn’t help but grin deeper.

Digging deep to tear myself away from the sight of myself in the mirror, I turned and found Lee looking at me open mouthed while Hugh continued to moan in constant pain at his climaxing transformation.  When I finally made eye contact with Lee (he was too busy scanning the front of my body, taking more than a few seconds on my powerful cock, I grinned and bared my teeth almost wolfishly before going into the most muscular to end all most muscular poses.  I growled deeply through it while Hugh screamed his loudest and most blood curdling scream yet as we both swelled up to our final forms.  Holding the pose for at least 30 seconds I reveled in the feeling of my body swelling up in all directions desperate to milk every precious drop of magic I could into my body.  At the same time, Hugh bloated and spasmed up in equal measure passing well beyond 700 pounds quite possibly to 800 given the sounds the bedframe was making.  The rips and tears of his skin were now spread out so far that he was approaching some hideous out of control anatomy chart by being able to see more and more of the raw muscle instead of skin.

At two minutes to midnight I finally had seen enough; enough of myself, of the conflict in Lee’s mind and body, and of Hugh’s torment at hulking out of his own skin.  I turned and made my way back through the apartment to leave.  Before I made it to the front door, Lee was calling after me and followed out of the bedroom.

“You have to do something.  You have to reverse all of this!  Put him back!  Fix it!”

“I don’t have any obligation of the sort.” I said to him calmly hearing that my voice was even deeper now.  “As I said, I didn’t do this to him, you did.  It was both of your desires and choices that brought this upon you, not mine.  Besides, I seem to recall asking you to “do something” and “fix it” when I needed help and you ignored me, why should I have to do what I don’t want in order to make you happy?  If you weren't ever required to do anything to make my life better after causing me pain, I shouldn’t have to for you.”  I turned and put my hand on the doorknob to leave.

“But we didn’t do anything to harm you like this!” He cried at me.

“Oh, but you did.” I said just above a whisper with a cold fury in my voice.  Barely audible yet I knew he heard every word. “You caused scars equal to this in every way.” I raised up my arms and showed him the scars on my wrists from the repeated attempts to end my own life.  Scars that the spell didn’t remove for some reason like it had with every other imperfection on my body.  “You did just as much harm to me otherwise this wouldn’t be happening.  That’s how the spell works Lee, it causes equal pain to balance out the scales.  Just because my wounds weren’t as obvious doesn’t make them any less real or painful.  You made choices that harmed me when it wasn’t necessary.  When there were alternatives that you could have chosen but instead you both chose to take a path that willfully inflicted more pain and told me that it was up to me to deal with it.  Well honey, the shoe is on the other foot now.  I did something that made me happy and unfortunately you two now have to deal with it.  Difference here is I’m willing to accept the consequences of this and own up to my part in it where you weren’t.” I turned the knob and opened the door.

I experienced another feeling of draining at that moment, similar to when I cast the spell on Lee and Hugh at the gym.  For a single terrifying second, I thought I was about to change back, but it wasn’t my size that was leaving, it was that the impossible knowledge I had gained over the course of the spell being removed from my mind.  The supernatural confidence of what was happening and what would happen left me to be replaced by a small amount of fear and doubt.  I pulled my phone from the waistband of my tights; the only part of clothing still adhering to my body and saw the display read midnight.  Halloween was officially over.  I could still hear Hugh making moans of deep agony in the bedroom so my hunch was right: the spell hadn’t intended to kill him but he was going to be in a lot of pain for a long while.  Just like I had been.  I breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn’t been killed.

“You should be able to call for that ambulance now Lee.” I said putting my phone back in the band.  “It’s after midnight so the spell has concluded.  Though I’ll be interested to know how you explain his condition to the authorities.  Happy Halloween!” I pulled the door closed behind me and walked, well waddled down the hall.

“You’re a monster!” Lee had opened the door and shouted at me.  I paused for a second and turned around to face him for the last time.

“I’m the monster you created.” I put up my arms into what I could only assume was a breathtaking double bicep pose as I tightened my abs, stuck out my leg and flexed my quad to match.  I held it for a few seconds to allow him the chance to take it all in before relaxing... well as much as I could relax at this size.  “All I did was restore balance.  You made me a monster, what does that make you?”  I turned around again and continued back down the hall to the elevator and out to my car.

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Epilogue

I found out from other friends several days later that Lee had been put into a psychiatric hospital under observation and was being charged with assault and attempted murder on Hugh.  Everyone was worried about how Lee was raving on about Hugh being the victim of some spell or dark magic.  Due to that and other evidence at the scene, the police were convinced that he simply had a psychotic break or was on some sort of drugs and attacked Hugh in a jealous rage.

Hugh was being treated at a specialized hospital for his injuries and despite their severity, was expected to fully recover.  When questioned by police about what happened, Hugh said had no real memory of that night.  Whether it was due to the spell, or from the severity of the physical trauma, I never found out.  The last he could recall was being fawned over at the party at Tric before Lee begged him to go home.  After that it was a blur before waking up in the hospital.  The police think that all the attention he was getting was too much for Lee to handle and he just snapped out of a jealous rage.  Hugh’s doctors say that it could be his mind blocking out the events as a defense mechanism so they are having him treated by a psychiatrist to assess that possibility.  At the very least they were going to have him looked at by a psychiatrist to discuss his extreme body dysmorphia issues and what he had done to himself to attain such impossible to maintain levels of muscle size and development.  They couldn’t understand how he had even gotten to the morbidly obese size he was, especially when it was caused by muscle growth and development rather than by fat like most cases.

They had him on IV drips of antibiotics as well as fluids and nutrients as he was unable to eat or drink normally while he was bandaged up like a burn victim (or a mummy to continue with the Halloween theme) to prevent any further infections due to that much exposed tissue.  In a few weeks to months they expected his muscles to atrophy enough that they could stitch up the wounds.  He would have several scars across his body from the ordeal.  He would definitely resemble Frankenstein’s Monster now.

Good.  Balance restored.

I plateaued at around 370 lbs. of lean muscle with maybe 2-3% bodyfat when I checked after getting home from Lee and Hugh’s apartment around 1 AM.  It was truly unexpected that the spell was going to affect me in an extreme physical way like Hugh but I guess that’s whatever force or entity that was behind this magic considered balance.  Given that after midnight I no longer had whatever supernatural knowledge I gained from the initial ritual, I couldn’t say for sure that was part of the spells design.  I suppose it could be said that it changed my outside to balance my inside as it’s given me so much more confidence and better self-worth.  I’ve had many compliments (many more pickup attempts and being hit on which is new and bizarre for me) but have made several new friends.  Most of them were people I met at the gym, many of whom encouraged me to get a coach and finally convinced me to compete in my first ever bodybuilding competition in a couple months which is nerve-wracking and exciting.  Scott actually became my official posing coach and while we will be competing against each other, we both are supportive of the other as a team.  The amount of press is truly overwhelming as it’s not often you hear of someone who’s over 350 lbs. of muscle and is a virtual unknown in the sport.  I’ve been heralded as the newest superstar around the globe and expected to do the unthinkable by winning Mr. Olympia in the same year I qualify for it.

I also found that when I next opened the trunk, there was a book inside that was blank except for the first page.

“The Book of Shadows” I read aloud and couldn’t stop myself from laughing.  Having been a longtime fan of the TV Show Charmed this was funny.  However, as I read that first page, I saw something that made things clearer:  Shadows are a combination of equal parts light and darkness.  A balance of the two.  I remembered one line of the spell at that moment: Equal parts of black and white.  I turned the page and found that behind it there were tear marks all down the spine where a single page would go.  Pulling out the single sheet I’d used the day before, I lined it up within the book and it magically repaired itself and was now attached in the book.

Several more pages after that were outlining how I could start my journey into magic that was beyond the scope of Halloween, even though that’s the night of greatest power.  But that’s a story for another time.

A lot of you may be wondering if I feel guilty about what I did.  The truth is, I don’t.  I knew what I was doing and while I sometimes question it, I don’t regret it.  A lot of you will be crying out that this was about vengeance rather than justice or balance.  I could have chosen to ignore that spell.  I could have continued working through the pain and trauma like so many do to just “get over it” and move on.  But my emotional and physical scars will always be there.  I have to carry those just as much as the physical ones that Hugh will have and the emotional ones Lee has.  Each of us now has a journey of recovery but at least now we’re all on equal footing. 

Balanced. 

Now however I have peace to move forward and new positives to focus on rather than the pain of my past keeping me locked in place.

Many of you may judge me for that and call me sick, twisted, evil, or a monster.

For a day, in those few hours, I was a monster.

That’s exactly what Halloween is for though: a night to let the monsters out.

 

The End

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(Not sure if this is allowed so if not, mods please let me know/remove this posting)

If anyone is feeling generous, I've had a really hard time financially lately despite working 50 hours a week due to wage garnishment from massive debt incurred over the last couple years.  I'm not asking for any set amount, but I would appreciate any sort of "tip" you would like to give.  It's my hope that I can keep writing and start to publish some of my works so this would give me a good measure of that.

http://paypal.me/bgmusclegrowth

Thanks again for reading!

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Very good story and the protagonist's growth is hot. The sadism / torture / revenge angle really isn't my cup of tea, of course (yes, I'm Muscle Growth fiction's one and only "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm..."), but, hey, it's Halloween!!

Good luck with the finances and please keep on writing!

Richard

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Brilliant creation.  You poured a lot of effort into it; hopefully it helped you as much as it did James.  :)

(cregs1972)

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Congratulations. This story is very well written, definitely one of the best i've ever read. So passionate and cruel. As i said previously: congratulations!

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This was a balanced story.  I loved it.  I think the part for me was that no one was really in control.  There was an initial decision and things just spun the way they did.  The real target of the story got what he deserved.  Although Hugh suffered through the final phases there was a knowledge that it was part of the balance restored. 

Not everyone comes out fine, but there was no real injustice. 

 

And the descriptions of muscle growth were top notch HOT!!

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