Fat softly pussy and a sick bastard
The idea formed in Harold Barr's mind so gradually he couldn't
be sure when it deserved to be called a plan. Wednesday, maybe?
No, on Wednesday Harold barely noticed her. He was sitting in
his usual window seat at Jim's, concentrating on his morning
grapefruit, when a blur caught the corner of his vision. He looked up
and saw someone in a large raincoat walk by. A vague "fat girl"
thought passed through a few thousand nerve endings and was lost. He
continued slicing the fruit into perfect sections. It is difficult for
plans to form before breakfast.
Thursday was oatmeal with a light topping of wheat germ and a
small glass of skim milk. It wasn't raining, so this time when she
passed by he could see more. Replacing the oversized raincoat was a
light spring jacket that barely covered her hips. "Why do people let
themselves get like that?" Harold wondered.
He was sleeping Thursday night when the fat girl came to him
again. She was walking her usual route, and, because Harold often had
some control of his dreams, she was naked. Dream-Harold reached
through the window glass and out into the street. He located one of
the rolls of fat circling her waist and squeezed it between his thumb
and index finger. The sponge-like feeling made the real Harold so sick
to his stomach he woke up...
Friday, Harold ordered something he could eat without looking
down - one slice of whole wheat toast and plain tea - so he'd be sure
not to miss her. That morning, of course, she didn't show. "Probably
went back to her fat husband and fat kids in Florida," he said inside
his brain, "after visiting with her fat sister here for a few days."
Harold was 41 and proud he had never, not even once, been an
ounce above what the restaurant's scale listed as recommended weight
for his 5-foot-7-inch height: 137 pounds. Before she died, his mother
had ballooned to more than the 300-pound maximum on their bathroom
scale, and Harold could remember his mortification the day she passed
on and the funeral director had to call in four men to lift her off
the toilet and carry her body out.
He had nursed his mother for nearly two years after a heart
attack had taken his father. Religiously given her twice-daily shots
and the handfuls of capsules and potions that Dr. Berryman had
ordered. And he dutifully wheeled her to the bathroom countless times
a day and at least once every night. Thank God she was able, even at
her highest weight, to take care of her own hygiene. He didn't want to
deal with that, and a nurse was out of the question.
His father's insurance had paid off the house and taken care
of the burial. Afterward, they managed to live on her Social Security
and his disability payments.
He hadn't agreed with the psychological discharge from his
governmental job at the base, but he certainly appreciated the check
that came every month. hen his mother died, too, and he had to find
something to supplement the payments.
He got a job as a sales clerk at Hamilton Hardware, across
town. His take-home was $163.87 a week, not a fortune but enough to
pay the taxes and bills if he didn't overuse gas and electricity. His
food bill was minimal. Harold did not eat very much.
His morning routine was actually quite pleasant. Breakfast at
the diner at 7 and a brisk six-block walk to the hardware store, rain
or shine - although during one untypical Nebraska downpour he did
splurge on a $3 cab ride.
Mr. Hamilton - Frank - was the store's owner. He was a
pleasant man and seemed to like Harold, at least seemed pleased with
his work. In fact, Frank had mentioned just the week before that
Harold was the first salesman he had who never called in sick. Not
even on Mondays.
"I try to keep healthy," Harold told his boss, who must have
known that anyway, having watched the man eat a lunch of carrot sticks
and yogurt every day for half a year.
Harold spent Saturday working on a basement leak. He traced
the problem to a clogged gutter, climbed out an attic window and onto
the roof and then dumped a few handfuls of moldy leaves onto the
ground below. Sometimes it paid to be wiry, he thought. Comes from
The topic of obesity crossed Harold's mind only once over the
weekend, during a Sunday afternoon TV movie. An overweight Shelly
Winters was trying to float to safety in "The Poseidon Adventure," and
Harold recalled the trimmer days earlier in her career. He wondered
how Hollywood stars kept - or got back in - shape. He guessed it was
easy to do when you were motivated by a million-dollar movie contract.
He wondered if the fat girl had ever been thin. He thought about what
it would take to help someone like her. If his mother had lost weight
she might be alive today.
Monday morning, Harold was halfway through into a bowl of
raisin bran when she appeared again. She walked by in a long,
shapeless dress that hid the details but showed the true dimensions of
her stomach and backside. She stopped to put a coin in the newspaper
box on the corner, and when she bent to get the paper he could see her
ankles. Or, rather, where her ankles should have been. Her legs were
so puffed it was impossible to make out any of the normal anatomy.
So it must have been then, Monday morning at 7:25, that the
plan began to take shape.
This woman needed help.
That day at work, Harold took his full lunch hour. He spent it
thinking. People like the fat girl (that's what Harold had started to
call her) probably want more than anything to be thin. They diet and
lose a few pounds - or even more than a few. Then they gain it back,
plus additional weight. He'd read about Ping-Pong dieting in Reader's
Digest. The writer said it was even more dangerous than staying fat.
And the money. Women like the fat girl spend hundreds, maybe
thousands of dollars on pre-packaged meals and group meetings and
exercise clubs. It was a scam of the first order.
If Harold were going to help the fat girl, he would need to
know more about her. Where she lived, what she did for a living, if
she had a husband or kids or any family at all. And he would, of
course, have to kidnap her. Harold's entire plan depended on
"Harold, a woman in front needs some triple-zero sandpaper.
Would you please help her?"
It was Frank, politely reminding Harold that lunch and a
little more was over.
"Yes, sir. Sorry."
The rest of the afternoon - between customers, of course -
Harold mapped out his good deed. The fat girl looked like about the
same size as his mother, give or take a few pounds. His guess was
Dr. Berryman had told him, when consulting about Harold's
mother, that losing three pounds a week was safe. Working on the fat
girl, then, would take a year or more. That was a long time to keep
someone - he didn't want to use the word prisoner - keep someone - as
So Harold set about planning a room - a secret dieting and
exercising room - for her. At home that night he drew up a week's
worth of balanced meals. Each day's calorie count would be 1,600. He
based the menu on his own preferences and wondered if it would be safe
simply to double the amounts he'd been buying at ThriftySave. He
didn't think that would draw attention, but he'd think about it.
The diet plan Dr. Berryman had prepared for his mother - a
plan she never started -included a half-hour of moderate exercise
three times a week. Harold decided that to lose three pounds a week,
the fat girl would have to exercise that much every day. He'd have her
burn about 600 calories daily - 300 in each of two sessions. That way
her net intake would be only 1,000. That should do the trick.
She would live in the basement, of course. That was the
easiest room to secure. It had only one window, a small one. He would
have to board it up and plaster over it so there was no indication
from the inside it had ever even existed. For added safety, in the
unlikely event that she would notice the former opening, he'd install
bars on the outside.
He fell asleep thinking about how he would capture her, but
that's not what he dreamed about. Instead, in his dream she was
already in the basement. Again, she was naked. And she was pedaling,
quite hard, on an exercise bike. He zoomed in on her, like a
television camera would do, and saw she was dripping with sweat. And
when a buzzer on the bicycle went off, he noticed that a tiny door in
the wall opened.
She got off the bike, went straight to the door and lifted out
a tray. It was her meal.
Harold awoke in the middle of the night and wrote that down.
His subconscious had come up with a wonderful wrinkle: Make her work
He liked other parts of the dream, as well. The zooming made
him write down the words "video camera". And yes, he thought the naked
part was interesting, too.
In six months, Harold had never used his employee discount.
Tuesday he started in earnest. He bought the material to cover over
the window, the bars for the outside, reinforcements for the cellar
door and assorted screws and nails.
Wednesday he found a scrap metal recycling yard and paid full
price for the pieces he needed to make the food box. He hadn't figured
out how to make it work like it did in his dream, but according to his
schedule he had more than two weeks until D-Day. That stood for Diet
Day, a phrase that had come to him in Tuesday night's dream.
Thursday he started buying the food. He decided that doubling
his purchase at ThriftySave was too risky. Someone might notice and
start asking questions. So he continued to shop his usual order there
and then drove to the Happy Mart in the next town, where he simply
This was the first time he had ever been at the Happy Mart,
and he was pleasantly surprised by the prices. Thrifty wasn't so
thrifty, it turned out; sprouts were 10 cents more a package there,
tofu was 30 cents more for a 10-ounce box and spring water was 20
cents more a gallon. He rewrote his lists to take advantage of those
differences and a few others, and made a note to watch for weekly
Harold also decided to get not one video camera, but three.
That way he'd be able to watch her in any part of the basement. He
went to three electronics stores and bought one at each, again to
avoid the questions of a curious clerk.
Thursday night, lying in bed, he thought about a few
additional details. His original plan also had called for handling his
patient's laundry. But the more he thought about that, the more he
liked the idea of keeping her naked. First, there'd be no clothes to
wash. That mean no increase in laundry soap or electricity costs or,
in fact, labor. Second, if she had no way to cover up, he'd be able to
monitor her progress more closely, to watch and record every tiny
reduction in flab.
And, in truthful moments, he admitted he was beginning to like
the idea of watching a naked woman. He'd position the cameras in key
spots and wire them to the television in the living room. And maybe
also to the one in his bedroom.
He'd watch her sleeping, waking up, even eating, all naked. He
pictured what she'd look like naked on the stationary bike, pedaling
for food. And for the first time in months, Harold got an erection.
He then thought about the bathroom thing. She would, of
course, have to wash, pee and do the other thing - the part that,
thank God, he never had to help his mother with. But it seemed
exciting now, the thought of watching his patient, naked and keeping
His erection needed attention. He fell asleep after coming,
and, for the first time since her death, he dreamed of his mother.
"Harry, I need to go," she said.
"Mother," said the dream-Harold, "get in your chair and I'll
take you to the bathroom."
"No, son, I want you to help me. Stay with me and clean me
when I'm done."
"You're my mother. I can't do that."
"Then I'll go in bed."
And as he watched she relieved herself on the sheets.
Everything in his dream turned bright yellow.
And then the world turned brown. He awoke in a sweat and
couldn't get back to sleep.
Friday, for the first time in six months, Harold Barr would
call in sick.
Harold didn't appreciate his mother's appearance in his
dreams. Dream time was for planning - it was when some of his best
ideas came to him - and when his mother took over his nighttime
adventures it wasted valuable hours.
So he rang the store at 6 a.m., so he wouldn't have to talk
directly to Harry, and left a message saying that he must have eaten
something bad and wouldn't be in. He needed time. Time to finish the
basement. Time to make first contact.
And at 7 a.m. he was standing by the newspaper box across from
the Jim's. He had polished his speech and was confident it would work.
His patient showed up at 7:25 and stopped to buy a paper.
"Hello," Harold said and smiled a big smile.
She looked up. "Hello," she said and bent to get the
"May I ask you a question?" he said.
She looked surprised, as if she rarely had conversations with
strangers that lasted more than a single sentence. She nodded.
"I hope you don't think I'm being rude, but I've noticed you
from the diner almost every morning this week, while I was eating
breakfast. Watched you stop here and get a paper."
He pointed to the restaurant's front window.
"I'm not sure why, but I felt I wanted to meet you. I figured
the easiest thing to do would be to ask you to share a cup of tea.
Unless, of course, you're in a hurry."
She looked him up and down and tilted her head as if
considering whether he was a nut, worse than a nut, or just a nice
"Tea would be fine," she said finally. "In fact, I was running
late at home this morning and couldn't make breakfast. I'm actually
famished. I'll pay my way, of course, and I'd be happy to join you."
She held out her hand. "I'm Shelly."
Harold almost choked. He had to force himself not to ask,
"Michelle, really, but I prefer Shelly. It's Shelly Norma
"Harold," he said, shaking her hand. "Harold Barr."
He had decided to use his own name, for after this was all
done she'd be nothing but grateful. There'd be no chance of a lawsuit
or anything remotely negative. He was sure of that.
Her acceptance of his invitation made him ecstatic. He'd
engage her in conversation to get the facts he needed. Most
importantly, of course, was whether there was anyone who would miss
her if she disappeared for, say, a year. He wouldn't come right out
and ask, of course. He had devised a series of questions that would
lead to the answer.
The meal, however, was a disaster. First, she ordered the
Number 7: a short stack of pancakes, two fried eggs and home fries. To
it she added four slices of toast (rye with plenty of butter), a
double side of bacon, a large orange juice and coffee. Just the
thought of eating that much food made him queasy.
He went with hot tea and an English muffin, dry...
Throughout the meal she managed to avoid virtually every
personal question he asked, either by saying, "Oh, my, I don't know
you well enough to tell you that," or by having so much food in her
mouth she couldn't answer.
As the meal wound down, she said to him, with no warning,
"I've really enjoyed this. Why don't you come have dinner at my place,
if you're free tonight?"
Harold realized that watching this woman eat a meal of her own
preparation might just be the death of him, but he had to find out
about her family life. He needed to know first, however, if anyone
else would be there.
"I accept," he said. "But I'll bring the wine. How many of us
will there be?"
"Only you and me," she said. "I just moved here last month
from Boston, alone, and except for the cat - and a few dinner guests
like you - there hasn't been a soul in the house. So one bottle will
be plenty. Red, if you have it. You like meat, I hope."
"I must tell you, I don't really eat a lot of anything,"
Harold said. "But, since you asked, I prefer salad and vegetables and
"Then I will make you some," she said.
She wrote her address on a napkin and asked if 7 p.m. was OK.
He looked at the paper and his eyes widened. Incredibly, her house was
just two blocks from his.
"Seven is fine," he said.
They said goodbye and raced home. This was too perfect. Her
invitation and the proximity of her house left him no choice. He would
snatch her tonight.
He spent the rest of the day working on the basement. There
was too much to do in an afternoon, so he would have to prioritize.
He'd postpone buying the exercise bicycle and attaching it to the food
box. That might take an entire weekend. What he most needed to do was
finish hooking up the video cameras and make absolutely sure she
couldn't break out. And, most importantly, he would have to get
something to put her to sleep during the meal - something to slip into
her water or wine or coffee - and figure out how to get her oversized
body into his car and to the house without being seen.
Miraculously, he finished all of the carpentry and wiring by
five. About an hour was saved by a lucky find: a nearly full bottle
of powder Dr. Berryman had subscribed for his mother to, as he had
said, "put her out like a light" during a bad spell of depression.
A teaspoonful in water had sent her to sleep in five minutes
and kept her that way for 18 hours. Harold would use two on his
patient that night, and bring two more just in case her extra body
weight required a larger dose.
But now, a nap. Harold set his alarm for 6:30 and lay down.
And in a minute, mother was there.
"Harold, what are you going to do to that nice young girl?"
"I do NOT want you in this dream, mother," dream-Harold said.
"I want HER. I want to look at her on the bed and on the toilet and in
the middle of the room screaming for help."
"But Harold, you always told me you didn't like bathroom
"I didn't want to see you in the bathroom because you were my
mother. Now, go away and let her into my dream."
He picked up a jar of white powder and threw in her direction.
Her mouth opened in a giant yawn and she disappeared down her own
Suddenly, he was alone on his bed. The television was on, and
in the center of the screen was his patient, lying naked on his
He used the zoom on the camera remote to zero in on her body.
At 12-power her stomach filled the entire screen. The dream-Harold
started to breathe heavily and reached into his pants.
His patient's eyes jerked open. The first thing she noticed
was her nakedness. The second thing was the room. She tried to catch
her breath but could not.
Dream-Harold was holding his penis, rubbing it and feeling it
fill with blood. He looked back at the screen and saw that his patient
had moved out of range of the lens.
He switched to another camera, the one aimed at the toilet. He
expected that her fear would take its toll on her urinary control, and
he was correct. She was sitting on the toilet in the corner of the
room, shaking with fear as she relieved herself. He saw her look for
toilet paper and made a note that the real Harold would have to
remember to put some in there.
She stood up and looked around. For the first time he could
see her entire naked body. It was both disgusting and erotic, like a
Reubens painting on LSD. There was something about her massive
breasts, the rolls of fat, the way she undulated as she moved that
both stimulated him and made him sick.
His patient stopped shaking and returned to the toilet, this
time to vomit. She dropped to her knees and put her head into the
bowl, giving him a perfect view of her mountainous behind. He wanted,
for some reason, to touch it.
As sometimes happened, dream-Harold at that moment realized
that he was dream-Harold. He sat up in bed and, keeping his right hand
working between his legs, used the other to reach through the
television screen and into the room.
He started kneading her buttocks, exploring its mass and
texture. As he squeezed, he thought for a moment he could feel it
reacting to his touch, pushing back on individual fingers. Then he
began to hear the strangest sound. At first it seemed to be coming
from deep inside her, a kind of chewing or slurping noise. He looked
more closely at her buttocks. The two fatty mounds had begun to turn
color, their pink flesh suddenly changing to a mottled, gelatinous
green. And now the two sides seemed to be changing shape. The chewing
sound became louder, and suddenly he saw exactly where it was coming
from. The hole in the center of her buttocks had opened wide, and out
of it came what looked like a mouth, its lips stretched grotesquely
open to reveal a filthy snakelike tongue. Suddenly, the tongue shot
out toward dream-Harold and wrapped itself around his wrist.
Now it was his turn to scream. He tried to jerk his hand back
through the television screen, but he was no match against the
strength of the tongue-snake. One by one, it drew his fingers into his
patient's anus. And once the entire hand was out of sight, the chewing
sound started again. And for the first time ever, dream-Harold felt
Real-Harold tried to wake up but could not. He - or was it
dream-Harold? - stared at the television screen watching the horror in
the basement. There seemed to be no end to the appetite of the anus.
In a moment, he was inside her up to his shoulder.
While dream-Shelly continued to wretch into the toilet,
dream-Harold's arm started going numb. The hole, he could see, was
beginning to tighten around his shoulder, cutting off circulation.
Soon, he couldn't feel his limb at all.
He was having trouble breathing, now, and the pressure on his
shoulder was causing a ringing in his ears -
It was Harold's alarm. Dream-Shelly's ass-mouth opened wide
and spit Harold's arm out. One by one everything in the room
disappeared, except the toilet. Reaching out of its bowl, screaming at
dream-Harold, was his mother.
Harold went to the basement, half to make sure this had been
only a dream, half because something had reminded him he'd forgotten
to put toilet paper near the john.
He grabbed the four doses of sleeping powder, sprayed cologne
on his neck and breath freshener in his mouth and drove his car two
blocks to his patient's house.
It was a modest Victorian, and, while it was difficult to tell
in the dark, it seemed about same size or a little smaller than his
own. Harold drove up the narrow driveway and past an unlit wraparound
porch. The porch would provide good cover for when he moved the body
to his car, he thought to himself.
Shelly met him at the door with two drinks.
"Something I invented," she said with a smile. "Very little
alcohol, I promise."
She handed one to him and Harold took a sip. It was pleasant
enough, cranberrylike and, as she said, not strong at all.
"I'm afraid I forgot the wine," he said. "I fell asleep and
just made it here on time."
"Not to worry," Shelly said. "I have enough to drink here.
Now, come in!"
He had expected an evening of bad taste, but in food, not
necessarily in decor. The foyer he entered qualified for the latter.
Its walls were covered with black-and-gold metallic paper and
illuminated by a ceiling light in the shape of a cherub, with bulbs
where the buttocks should be. She noticed that he noticed.
"Isn't it wonderful?" she said.
He thought of the dream and shuddered. "Interesting," he
managed to say. "I've never seen lightbulb, uh, cheeks.".
"I know! Wait till you see the rest - "
She was perky for a fat woman, he thought. Perhaps he'd have
to use all four doses of the powder.
She led him down a dark hall and into a parlor filled with
pristine Victorian furniture. Each piece, a couch covered in red
fabric and two green chairs, looked as new as the day they were made.
Very good reproductions, he thought, or so uncomfortable no one had
sat in them for a century.
On a table in the middle of the room was a pitcher of the red
drink and a tray of hors d'oeuvres - rollups stuffed with a meat that
looked like fatty ham and overflowing with drippy cheese. Not a
vegetable in sight. Harold felt his stomach begin to revolt.
"I know I promised you veggies," she said, with that same
smile, "but I couldn't find a single one in the house!"
She quickly changed the subject. "You must see the dining
They walked through a connecting doorway and into a room that
had so many walls he started to count them.
"I call it the Octagon Dining Room," she said, saving him the
trouble. "And there are octagon-shaped rooms three floors above it,
all the way up to the attic, each one a little smaller than the one
below it. The whole center of the house looks like a wedding cake!"
Christ, he thought. Even her goddamn home is shaped like food.
"Dinner will be ready in about a half-hour. I think you'll
really like what I'm preparing, and I want to see you eat! You need to
get some meat on those bones."
She pinched his arm gently and laughed.
"Let me refill your drink, and while I'm finishing up in the
kitchen you can sit in the library and look at my collection." She
steamrolled out of the room to get the pitcher.
He barely remembered taking more than a small sip from his
glass, but when he looked down he saw it was, in fact, almost empty.
She arrived with his refill. "I'm so glad you like it!" she said.
Actually, he was beginning to feel somewhat relaxed,
especially for someone who was about to become, in the eyes of the law
at least, a felon. He thought about putting the powder in the pitcher
when she went into the kitchen, but what if she tried to refill his
glass again? He'd wait until dinner and somehow slip it into her
She led him to the library, an impressive room off the
opposite end of the dining area. This house was much bigger than it
looked from the outside, he thought.
He looked around the room. For someone who had lived in a
house for only a month, Shelly certainly had managed to fill it with a
lot of stuff. Except for what looked like three or four family
portraits, the walls were filled, floor to ceiling, with books. One
whole side looked like it contained first editions. The covers were
leather and were imprinted with titles and designs in gold leaf. He
couldn't make out what they were from where he was standing. He'd get
a closer look when she left.
"Now, finish your drink. I'll be back in no time and we'll
"By the way, what are we having?" He tried to make his
question seem casual, but in reality his relaxed feeling was turning
slowly to nausea in anticipation of some huge covered dish filled with
blood-dripping rare beef, or a whole leg that had once been attached
to a baby lamb. Or worse yet, some entire animal - a whole squab that
he would have to pull apart, joint by joint, and pick the flesh from.
"It's a surprise," Shelly said. "An old family recipe. From
one of the books." As she walked out she pointed to the stacks. "Look
He had to sit down for a minute. It had become quite warm in
the library, he thought. Hotter than the rest of the house. If only
there were a window to open...
His glass was once again empty. Shelly had left the pitcher,
so he poured a third glass of the liquid and guzzled it. Nothing would
help, he was sure, but fresh air.
He looked for the door that led back to the dining room, which
had seemed much cooler, but he was disoriented and wasn't quite sure
where the door was.
Maybe looking at some of the books would take his mind off the
He walked to one wall, the one with the valuable-looking
bindings, leaned on a table and turned his head sideways to read the
spines. A thin, red volume caught his eye, but the title was in an Old
English kind of writing, difficult to decipher. He scanned it letter
by letter and came up with something like "The Art of Stewing Young -"
and then something he couldn't make out.
A second book simply was titled, "Feasts."
A third, "Last Meals of the Saints."
Is it possible, Harold asked himself, that the thousands of
volumes in this room are all cookbooks? He noticed that he was now
perspiring so heavily that a puddle of his sweat had begin to stain
the thick carpet beneath his feet. And as big as the library was, he
was beginning to feel claustrophobic. Indeed, the wall of first
editions seemed to be moving closer to him, and although he knew that
was impossible, he had to hold onto the table to resist falling over.
"Maybe another glass - "
But the pitcher was empty. He didn't know how, but he made it
to a leather-covered chair in the corner of the room. He would wait
there for Shelly and then tell her he was feeling ill and would have
to leave. She would see his condition and understand. His plan would
have to wait a day or two, but that was all right. Considering his
weakened state, he would never be able to get her to the car.
He noticed the corner of a small card sticking out from under
the pitcher. He picked it up and, squinting between beads of sweat,
read the front.
SHELLY NORMA MALLINBERG
it said. And below her name, in red letters, was a single word:
He turned the card over. At the top were Shelly's initials,
SNM. And across the center, with their first letters in the same red
type as the word on the reverse side, was the phrase Feeding And
Harold stood up and lunged for the door. If only he weren't so
"Harold, I told you not to hurt that nice young lady."
"Mother, what are you doing here?" Harold looked around the
room. The books were gone. The carpeting and leather-covered furniture
had disappeared. All he could see in the dim lighting was a large
empty room with something - he couldn't make out what - hanging on the
"Harold, you have been bad," his mother said. "You didn't
finish your dinner, and that means no dessert."
"Mommy, I hate meat," Harold said, tears welling up in his
12-year-old eyes. "I ate all my vegetables."
"You know how hard your father works to feed us well." she
said. "And this is the appreciation you show? Go to your room, young
man. And tomorrow you will eat a double portion."
"Mommy, please, I'll finish it - "
"To your room, NOW!"
Harold, the young dream-Harold, ran to his room and fell on
his bed, sobbing. "They always make me eat food I don't like," he
said. "I hate to eat animals. I hate for animals to die."
He slept until a sharp noise woke him, something that sounded
like the rattling of chains. He rose from the bed and wiped the tears
from his face. He was no longer a boy of 12. The mirror showed a slim
man in his thirties. Someone in control his own life. Too old to be
forced to dine on animal flesh.
He walked past his ailing mother's room. She and his father
were talking. Plotting, he decided, to force him to eat one or another
of the awful carcasses that were lying, cold and dead, in the
refrigerator. He wouldn't allow it. Not ever again.
Dream-Harold opened the medicine cabinet and found the bottle
of sleeping powder Dr. Berryman had prescribed for his mother. He took
four, five, six packets and sneaked to the kitchen. His father had not
finished his evening drink yet.
Harold emptied the packages into the tall glass of whiskey. He
went back to his room and waited. In an hour, downstairs, he found his
father dead next to the dining room table. One down - Harold said.
He opened an eye and looked around the room. He wasn't sure if
he was dream-Harold or the real Harold. It was still too dark to make
out anything in the room. He closed his eye and suddenly, there was
"Harold, you have been bad again," she said. "I know what you
did to your father."
"How could - "
"I am your mother," she said. "I can see into your head."
That, said Howard, simply would not do.
Dream-Howard, at least he was quite sure it was dream-Howard,
lifted his mother onto the wheelchair and rolled her to the bathroom.
"I don't have to go now, Harold."
Shut-up mother," one of the Harolds said.
"But, I - "
"SHUT UP, mother," he said more firmly and closed the bathroom
door behind him. He would check in on her soon. A week or so, perhaps.
"Two down," he said, and went to the kitchen for some yogurt.
Dream-Harold now fell into a sleep deeper and more satisfying
than any other in recent memory. No mother interfered in his
fantasies. Dream-Shelly, still naked in her dungeon, was almost slim
now. Could an entire year have passed?
He got up from his bed and walked to the basement, opened the
door and locked it behind him. Shelly was standing in the middle of
the room, staring at him with wide eyes. She did not try to hide her
body, and dream-Harold saw that as a positive sign. "She wants me," he
thought. "She wants to thank me."
He walked up to her and, with the knowledge it was a dream,
took liberties he would not otherwise have taken.
"My, you are one sexy woman," he said. "Look at these lovely
breasts." He cupped his hands over one. "And what nice hips you have,
my dear," he said, sounding to himself, even in his dream, like Red
Riding Hood's wolf.
Shelly stood her ground. Then she spread her legs for him and
smiled. "Touch me," she said. He obeyed, feeling the contour of her
"Now," she said.
"Lie down," dream-Harold commanded.
"No," dream-Shelly said. "Up against the wall."
She started walking toward him, backing him to the wall where
the window had been. "Up against the wall," she repeated. "Up against
Dream-Harold felt his back hit the hard bricks of the basement
wall with an unexpected force. The room was growing dim, as it often
did when he was waking up. He struggled stay asleep. He wanted to have
Shelly. Thin, firm, sexy Shelly.
"When I tell you to move, you MOVE, do you understand?"
Harold tried to see where the voice was coming from, but the
dimness had been replaced by a bright light, so brilliant it hurt to
open his eyes.
"DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
Ahhh, it must be mother, interfering again.
Something hit his face, hard. His nose started to bleed.
He tried to see again. This time, his eyes managed to open a
crack. Someone was standing before him. In another few seconds he
could see it was Shelly. She was holding a small glass under his
nostril, collecting the blood.
He reached out to push the glass away, but his arm wouldn't
respond. Neither would his other one, or his legs when he tried to
"What - ?"
"Hate to waste wine," Shelly said.
"Let me loose," Harold said.
"Soon enough," Shelly said. "But first, I have to fatten you.
It might take a year or more, but I will fatten you."
His eyes were opened in terror now, in spite of the pain from
the brightness. He was in a room that looked much like his own
basement. He saw chains on his wrists and pulled down, but they were
attached to the wall. The same was true of his legs.
Next to him, about three feet to his left, was another man,
somewhat older than he but on the chunky side. Shelly saw him look at
"Harold, meet Allen. Allen, Harold."
The man named Allen grunted. A tube was in his mouth, and
Harold could see a grayish liquid flowing through it and down Allen's
throat. Another tube was coming out of his side, and through this one
blood dripped into a clear glass pitcher, much like the one Harold had
been drinking from.
"Allen was as skinny as you just three months ago," Shelly
said proudly. "But look how far he's come. He'll be ready in only six
"And look at William," she said, pointing to another poor
fellow a few feet down from Allen. "William should be perfect in a few
"What are you talking about?" Harold shouted. "What do you
"Oh, you'll find out in an hour, at feeding," Shelly said.
"Jonathan is perfect now. A job well done," she said, and she laughed
at the little joke. "He'll be here shortly."
Real Harold gasped deeply and turned into dream-Harold. He
would stay that way, on and off, for almost a year, until it was his
turn to come to dinner.
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