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He was a marvel. The perfect Adonis. His hair was short, red, and slightly curled. His face pale, but still strikingly handsome. He was muscular and toned, but not overly so. He wore a tight shirt, his arms pressing against the stitches, against the fine cotton seam. And his pants-- oh, his pants-- hugged his ass in the most perfect way possible. He was gorgeous. And I didn’t know his name. 

Today was my first day at Westside High School. It was fourth hour and I was enrolled in a choir class. People were still walking into the room, waiting for the bell to ring and the class to begin. I was standing off to the side, waiting for the director to come in and tell me where to sit. And he was standing in the corner with his friends. One of them said something and the group laughed. His laugh was louder than the rest of his friends, loud and sweet. 

The bell rang and people started to sit down. The group dissipated and he sat down in the back row. The director walked in from the hall, her assistant close behind. Ms. Velasquez was short and wore her short, brown hair in a ponytail. Mrs. Simons, her assistant, stood a head taller than Ms. Velasquez and wore her black hair long.

“Happy Monday, everyone!” Ms. Velasquez cheered as Mrs. Simons walked over to the piano, “Before we start with warm-ups, we have a new student. Everyone, this is Eric.”

A murmur of hello’s swept through the class. I gave a simple wave in response.

“You’re a baritone, right?” Ms. Velasquez asked, “Go ahead and sit next to Wyatt on the end over there. OK?”

A stocky boy with curly hair and freckles waved at me. I walked over and Ms. Velasquez started warm-ups with a basic melody that we needed to recite on different pitches.

“So, where are you from?” Wyatt turned to me once we were done with the rudimentary practice.

“Virginia. Hampton, specifically.” I replied.

“Cool.” 

After that lovely little conversation, Wyatt remained silent for the rest of the period, and I followed suit. I was handed sheet music for a tribal song that we were doing for this semester's concert. Most of the kids had the music for a while now, so I needed to catch up on my own time. The piece was pretty on paper, but a bit unpolished and dirty once we sang it as a group. 

Mrs. Simons played the accompaniment on the piano wonderfully, but even her talent couldn’t save us from the sheer fact that we didn’t know our music. The period ended and the class proceeded to exit in a massive wave through the double doors.

I slung my backpack over my shoulder and I was about to walk out when someone tapped me on the shoulder.

“Sorry that you had to sit next to Wyatt on your first day. He’s not too fond of newcomers.” He laughed and stuck out his hand, “My name’s Ryan Alderman.”

He was one of the boys from the group in the corner. He was shorter than I was, with wavy blonde hair and tanned skin. He wore a nice, clean navy blue button-down and khaki shorts. Ryan reminded me of one of the preppy kids in a 50’s greaser movie. His hair was greased a bit and his brown eyes swam with class.

“Where are you from, then, Eric?” Ryan asked as we walked down the hall.

“Hampton, Virginia. My dad got a new job, so. Here we are.”

“Are you liking Omaha so far?”

“It’s a bit bigger than Hampton was. And the people seem nice enough.”

We walked into the Commons, a large annex that stood at the epicenter of the school. Tables were strewn about the place with lunch trays and wrappers still littering the tops. Lunch ended only a minute ago, so the janitors were just now clearing away forgotten garbage and stacking up chairs.

“That’s cool.” Ryan smiled, “So, some of the choir guys are gonna hang out tonight if you wanna come. It’s no big deal if you don’t want to, but we just thought we’d ask. No pressure.”

I was caught off-guard for a second. I had been to five different schools in my life and I have never been taken up so quickly before. It usually took me months to come out of my shell and start socializing with people. I didn’t even do anything to get invited or anything. I just showed up to choir practice.

“Oh, um… sure. That sounds like fun.” I grinned.

Ryan beamed, “Awesome! We’re having it at Jacob Venderson’s house so it’s…” he paused for a second, “You don’t know who that is, do you?” 

“No, not really.” I replied.

“Shit, sorry. Um-- his address is like… 156 Cleveland or something. Maybe 158.” Ryan furrowed his brow as he tried to come up with the address, “Eh, the driveway is gonna be packed. You won’t miss it.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“See ya’ tonight? 7:30?”

“I’ll see you there.”

He aimed a finger gun at me and winked as he turned left down a hallway. I walked up a flight of stairs to get to my chemistry class.

So… I guess I’m going to a party tonight.

* * * * *

Ryan wasn’t kidding when he said that the driveway would be packed. Jacob Venderson’s house, at 158 Cleveland Lane, was packed with cars of almost every variety. There were minivans, Buicks, pickup trucks and all sorts of different sedans lining the side of the street. I didn’t have my license yet, so I rode my bike for a few miles to get to the party. My calves were killing me, but I had enough remaining energy to walk up to the front door.

It was 7:46 when I got there. I hesitated to knock on the door. I mean, this had to be a joke. They probably sent Ryan over so he could lure me over to this place. 

           " They’re gonna… dump pig’s blood on me, or something. God, I shouldn’t have come, I shouldn’t go in, I should’ve stayed home. God, why do I do this to myself. I should just--"

Before I could doubt myself any further, the door swung open and a big, bulky man was standing at the threshold. 

“Ah, so Ryan did get you to come over! Nice to meet you, Eric. I’m Jacob. Come on in.” He stepped aside and waved me in. The house was massive. I should’ve noticed that when I first walked up to the door, but it only registered with me now that I was in a sort of mini-mansion. A chandelier hung from the ceiling and a set of stairs wound up to a balcony overlooking the foyer.

A low murmur of talk buzzed through the house as some pop music played over the speakers. I recognized some of the people there from the choir and I noticed a few from my other, various classes. They all had plastic cups with some liquor inside, sloshing from side to side. Some were already drunk off their asses but most were sober enough to hold a conversation. 

“So, where are you from?” Jacob asked me, taking a sip from his own plastic cup.

I groaned internally, "Virginia. Where can I get a drink?”

“Everything’s in the kitchen, dude. Help yourself.”

I thanked him and walked into the makeshift bar that Jacob had set up. I grabbed a cup from beside the icebox and poured a shot of cheap vodka. I knocked it back and did it again. I have this sort of superstition with parties. I’ve only been to a few before, but every time I make sure to take two shots of vodka at the start. My dad told me that if I took those shots at the beginning of every party that I went to, I'd increase the likelihood of me finding my soulmate. That's how he found my mom. Plus, he told me it'd get me drunk faster and I'd enjoy myself more. It’s stupid, I know, but I still find myself doing it.

“So you’re a vodka kinda guy, huh?” Ryan came up beside me at the bar and topped off his drink with some lite beer.

“Yeah. And I see that you’re one for beer.” I pointed to his cup, “I never liked it. Too bland, not enough punch.”

“This is the only thing that I can drink without getting myself immediately plastered. I’m such a lightweight.” Ryan sipped at the foam in his glass. 

We stood there for a moment as I poured some soda into my cup, “When you said that the choir guys were gonna hang out, I didn’t think it’d be this big of a turnout.” We walked towards the living room, “Are all of these people in Choir?”
“Some of them are.” We sat down on one of the couches, “Most of them are just friends that we met from other schools. We travel a lot for show choir, so we meet a lot of cool people from different schools.”

Ryan and I were sitting in the middle of two couples sucking on each other’s faces. The couple to our right started moaning once we sat down, and the couple to our left began to take off their clothes.

“Woah, slow it down there, pal.” Jacob came up behind the couch once the girl started to unhook her bra, “If you guys want to get hot and heavy, we have a guest room upstairs that you can use. No one here wants to see your penis, Brady.” He glared at the boy. The couple got up, their shirts still on the floor, and they made their way over to the stairs. 

“I swear to Christ, those freshmen.” Jacob rolled his eyes. The doorbell rang and he walked into the foyer.

“Some party, huh?” I said, taking another sip from my glass.

“Welcome to Omaha, Eric.” Ryan laughed and stuck out his glass as a toast. I raised my glass to his and we both took a gulp from our plastic cups.

We talked for an hour or two about the school, the move to Omaha, his parents’ divorce. He was funny and I choked on my drink a few times because I was laughing so hard. We finished our drinks long ago and I was kinda buzzed. My head felt heavy and my vision blurred at the edges, but I was still lucid enough to have a conversation.

The party-goers started to leave about a half hour ago, which was smart seeing as we still had school the next day. The music over the speakers still rocked the house, but there was a severe lack of people there to listen to it. Most of them were passed out on the furniture, but some were sober enough to drive people home. 

Some party.

“I’m gonna head out soon. Just gotta find the bathroom.” I told Ryan as I stood up.

“That’s all good.” Ryan hoisted himself up from the couch and burped into his fist, “I’m gonna head out, too. There’s one right around...there. Next to the dining room.” He was a bit drunker than I was, but he’d be fine.

“See you tomorrow, Ryan!” I waved back.

“See ya’, Eric.” He saluted me, then brought his hand down to his stomach. He trudged towards the foyer and I continued my search for the bathroom.

I eventually found the door and knocked on it twice.

“Occupied!” A female voice sounded from behind the door. Well, shit. I turned around and looked around for another door that could’ve been a bathroom. When I couldn’t find one, I went off to find Jacob. He was in the dining room, arm wrestling with another kid from the choir. It wasn’t long before Jacob slammed his opponent’s arm into the table. The crowd around them cheered as Jacob stood up from the table and raised his arms up high in victory.

“Sorry, Andy,” he brought his arms down and patted the other kid on the back, “Better luck next time.”

“Hey, Jacob,” I interrupted, “Could you point me over to your bathroom?”

“Oh, hey!” Jacob walked around the defeated Andy and brought me into a side hug, “Everybody, this is Eric! He’s from Virginia.”

I nervously waved to the small crowd at the table and they erupted in excitement. Guess they’ve never met a person from the East Coast before.

“I’ve never been to Virginia. What’s it like?” A blonde girl asked me before knocking back the rest of her drink.

“Uh… boring. Just really boring, I guess.” I replied. The group laughed drunkenly, and I chuckled along with them. 

“Oh my gosh, this kid is great.” Jacob softly slugged me in the shoulder, “I think Abby is still in this one down here. But, there’s one upstairs that you can use. It’s connected to the guest bedroom and my brother’s room.” He pointed up the staircase, “Bryson is out of town with my parents, so go in through there.”

I thanked him and started my trek upstairs. Jacob called up to me before I could reach the carpeted summit, “Don’t go into the guest bedroom unless you want to see Brady fucking Tricia in the ass!” He and the crowd laughed and I smiled.

“I’ll make sure to avoid it!” I called down. When I reached the top of the stairs and turned the corner, I could see the inside of Bryson’s room. The guest room was right across it and a pair of pink panties was hooked onto the knob. I could hear guttural moans coming from the other side.

I opened up Bryson’s door and turned on the light. It was a very blue room. Above the bed was a model of the solar system, pinned to a ceiling filled with glow in the dark stars. A black bookshelf filled with Rick Riordan and J. K. Rowling stood to the left of the bed and a reading lamp lay to the right.

“Cute.” I muttered under my breath. I looked around the corner and there was a little Jack and Jill bathroom that Bryson shared with the guest room. I shut the door to Bryson’s room and locked it. I put up the toilet seat, undid my belt, and slipped my pants down. Once I was done, I flushed the toilet and buckled my belt again. I was about to leave when I heard a strange, muffled noise from behind the guest room door.

I walked over to the door and I heard it again. I leaned forward and gingerly put my ear against the hardwood. It sounded like… moaning. But, it was accompanied by a dizzy shriek and scream. I didn’t know what it was. 

Then I remembered this documentary that we were shown in eighth grade about date-rape drugs. Men sometimes put something in their date’s drinks so they’d pass out. A lot of women would wake up hours later and most were raped by their attacker.

“Oh my God,” I thought, “How could a high schooler do this?” I mean, I know that we’re capable of a lot of things, but rape was… rape. I didn’t think that a fifteen-year-old could do something so heinous, so disgusting like that to another human being.

I walked back into Bryson’s room and picked up the reading lamp. I went back into the bathroom and set the lampshade down on the ground. My hand hovered over the door handle and I raised the small lamp over my head. 

“OK.”

I opened up the door and burst into the room, “Hey!” I yelled, but what I found on the other side of the door was not what I was expecting. Not at all.

I fully expected that I would have to beat Brady over the head with the lamp and then I’d help Tricia up to her feet after I made sure she was alright. I’d open up the door and yell downstairs for someone to call the cops. An ambulance would take Tricia away as officers cuffed Brady and shoved him in the back of one of the many cop cars and I’d be a small-town celebrity! I’d be forever remembered at Westside High for my chivalry, my bravery.

I expected to be a hero. 

But, instead, I found something… horrifying… yet intriguing. I saw a pair of legs sticking out of a wide mouth. I saw a bulbous stomach expand ever so slightly with every passing second. I saw an Adam’s apple bobbing up and down with every gulp. I saw a pale, perfect face entranced in perfect ecstasy as it slowly swallowed Tricia’s twitching legs. 

Her legs slowly sank into his body as I stood and watched with the lamp still over my head like a baseball bat. He eventually reached her toes and he sucked on them for a moment before he swallowed them, too. His chest contracted around the sinking figure of the girl and his massive stomach spilled over his waist and into his naked lap.

He brought a hand up to his throat and he moaned deeply, tracing the descending figure of Tricia as she further fell into his gut. He stroked the top of his belly and threw his head back and gave a short yell. I couldn’t see his underside, but I believed that he just climaxed.

I brought my arms down as I stared at the moving mass of flesh on top of this man’s lap. I was hypnotized by the sheer impossibility that sat before me. My fingers slipped from the lamp, and it fell to the ground with a loud thunk!

The man opened his eyes and looked at me. We both sat there for a moment, looking at each other as our minds simultaneously worked for a response to what just happened.

“Uh--” A loud, monstrous belch blew past his lips before he could say anything else, “Uh… I can explain.” He stifled another, smaller belch with his fist.

I walked back into the wall and slumped against it. I brought a hand up to my forehead and I continued to look at the massive stomach. I desperately tried to think of something to say, but I was in a trance.

“What…” I murmured under my breath, “… the fuck?”

“Look, I don’t know what you think happened, but I can explain. Just don’t freak out.” He tried to stand up, but the weight in his stomach pushed him back down. He grunted and rubbed the side of his gut, “ Please don’t freak out.”

A human can’t swallow another human. That’s impossible. We’re not built like pythons, like reptiles. This is crazy. Jesus, what was in that vodka?

“What… the fuck?” I repeated.

“So… um… I just--uh.” He tried to come up with some sort of explanation, but I think we both knew that he couldn’t talk himself out of this, “You see, I’m a… a pred-” he stopped himself, “A cannibal. Yeah. A cannibal.”

“No fucking shit.” I slid down to the floor, my back still up against the wall.

“I eat people sometimes. It’s just something that I do.” He winced in pain as a low gurgle filled the room, “Sorry. Indigestion.”

I stared at his stomach again. It was almost cartoonish, the way it looked. This boy was pretty toned and lean, but his stomach looked like it was stretched around a giant beach ball. It rested underneath his pecs and stretched his sides out a bit. Tricia moved around, pressing her face against his stomach wall. I could still see his abs, however distended, and his belly button was popped. 

I then saw another face press out against his stomach lining. It was notably different than the one that I thought I had seen before. “Did you eat Brady, too?”

The man answered me with a loud belch, “UUUURRP!” He still sat on the bed, rubbing his gut as I sat on the floor. Panic lingered in his brown eyes, but he was still in a haze of pure pleasure as he tried to calm me down.

“Are you gonna…” I faltered.

“What? No! I’m more than full right now. If I ate you, I’d explode or something.” He hiccuped, “Plus- hic- you go to my school, don’t you? It’d be pretty- hic- weird if the new guy disappeared on his- hic- first day.”

“Cool.” I rubbed my temples. He hiccuped again. I quietly contemplated what to do next. I should tell someone about this, right? I should make him throw them up. Yeah! That’s it. I’ll just…

Holy shit, he was the hot guy from my choir class. The marvel in the corner. The red-haired Adonis. How did I not see that? He hiccuped again and he groaned in pain as he rubbed his chest, “Do you need any help?”

He stared at me, bewildered, “Sorry?”
“I said ‘do you need any help’?”

A moment of silence passed between us two. He looked at me and I looked at him. Another hiccup wracked his body, breaking the silence. He groaned, “Yeah.”

I stood up. I walked over to him and placed a hand on his belly. I started rubbing and pushing down on the squirming flesh beneath my fingers. He leaned back on the bed as I rubbed his stomach. I could see everything of his once he laid down. His cock was a nice length, fairly large. I could only imagine how big it’d be if it were standing up straight. 

The underside of his stomach was sprayed with white and I made sure to not drag my fingers through the stickiness. I’m not a squeamish person, but anything that comes out of sex disgusts me. I tried to focus my fingers on the top of his belly. 

Groans and gurgles filled the room as I pressed in. He seemed to like it a lot. He tended to moan when I pushed inwards. I traced the outline of his belly button and inadvertently dislodged a heavy burp. It almost crescendoed towards the end. He pounded his chest and cleared his throat, “Sorry. I get so gassy after I eat- urp.”

That last belch snapped me out of my trance of wonder. I stood up suddenly and walked out the door, “Hey!” He yelled, “Where are you going?”

I didn’t answer him. I almost fell down the stairs as I ran out of Jacob Venderson’s house. Jacob was sitting on the steps as I brushed past him, “Have a good night, Eric!” He called out to me.

I didn’t even turn around to say goodbye. I got on my bike and pedaled off into the night. 

My mother was still awake when I got home. She didn’t appreciate me coming home so late, but I managed to get to bed before she could smell the liquor on my breath. I shut my bedroom door and collapsed on my bed. I fell asleep as images of red cups, pink panties, blue walls, and white skin flashed behind my eyelids. His musk still filled my nose. The warmth of his skin still lingered on my fingers. His belch still rang in my ears. 

Vodka doesn’t do shit.

* * * * *

I woke up late Tuesday morning. I hopped in the shower, quickly brushed my teeth, put on some deodorant, threw on some clothes, grabbed my shoes, chugged a cup of coffee, and I was still late for school. The whole morning I was exhausted, the caffeine never bothered to kick in.

Classes whizzed by but I eventually made it to lunch. I went through the lunch line and got a hamburger, an apple and a carton of milk. I found an empty table and sat myself down. I opened up the milk and took a hearty gulp. Clearing my throat, I bit into the burger ravenously. I didn’t realize how hungry I was. I guess that’s what I get for skipping breakfast. I took another sip from my milk.

“Hungry today, aren’t we?”

I spit my milk all over myself. I began coughing fervently, almost choking. I tried to stop coughing, but I couldn’t.

“Woah there! Jesus Christ, let’s get you some towels or something.” The red-haired Adonis stood beside me and put a hand on my shoulder. I stood up and we both exited the Commons, rounding the corner to get to the restrooms.

He yanked a few paper towels from the dispenser and handed them to me. I took them, pressing them against my soaked t-shirt. I eventually stopped coughing long enough to say, “What do you want?” 

He handed me another paper towel, “I want to know that you’re not gonna tell anyone about last night.”

“What?” I coughed for a minute then cleared my throat, “That I found a kid eating someone alive? I don’t know why you would be so worried. I’ve seen worse before.”

“Really?”
“No!” I threw the ball of paper towels into the trash can, “I have no idea what I saw last night! I thought I was hallucinating. I cannot rationally explain what happened in that bedroom.” I looked at him, “Just… what the fuck?”

We stood there for a moment, neither one of us saying anything. Then he picked his head up, “No one else knows, OK?” He shoved his hands in his pockets, “I don’t want the whole world knowing that I eat people.” His stomach gurgled. When I took a step back, I could see how Tricia and Brady had added a few layers of muscle to his already toned figure. His sweatshirt looked like it shrunk in the wash as it hugged his chest. His butt was more pronounced and round than what it was yesterday. And his gut was still a bit pudgy, but it was close to unnoticeable. 

“God damn, he’s still hot.”

“Look,” I stepped towards him, “I’m not gonna say anything. I just don’t want to be a part of…” I glared at him and looked at his stomach, “whatever the fuck this is.” 

He sighed, “I want you to help me afterward.”

My eyes widened in confusion, “You want me to what?”

“I want you to rub my stomach after I eat. I want you to help me get comfortable. I want you to make sure that no one is gonna disturb me when I’m eating. You were amazing last night and I want you to accompany me. You’d be like my assistant.”

“Are you fucking crazy? I’m not gonna be an accessory to your murders .”

“My meals . And, may I remind you, you already are an accessory in the death of Tricia McMann and Brady Romano.”

“You can’t seriously--”

“And sometimes I’m gonna want a blowjob.”

“Are you kidding me?!” I sighed sharply and pinched the bridge of my nose, “I’m not gonna blow you. Ever.”

“Well, what about a handjob from time to time?”

“Oh my God.” I took another step towards him, “I am not gonna be your fucking assistant. I am not gonna be a part of your sick fucking game. You are absolutely disgusting and I--”

“Now you listen here,” he walked up to me and pressed his finger to my chest, “My family is a family of lawyers. They can pin Tricia’s and Brady’s disappearances on you without batting an eye. Or, I can just eat you right here, right now. So, you’re gonna help me or I’m gonna fuck up your entire life.” He stuck out his hand, “Deal?”

I looked at his outstretched hand, then looked back up at him. I didn’t realize that we were almost the same height. I hesitated for a second, then I stared into his light hazel eyes and shook his hand, “Fine.”

He brought his hand to his side, “It won’t be so bad. Trust me.” He smiled and turned towards the door, “Oh,” He turned to face me again, “My name’s Ben, by the way.”

“Eric.”

“Yeah. From Virginia, right?”

“Yeah. We’re in choir together.”

Ben nodded and glanced at my milk-stained shirt. He pulled off his sweatshirt with some effort. The bottom of his belly button peeked out from underneath. But, once he pulled it off, he handed the black sweatshirt to me, “Sorry about the milk. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

I looked at the sweatshirt in his hand and I took it, “Thanks. And, you’re fine. Shit happens.”

Ben laughed and left the bathroom. I rubbed the sweatshirt’s material between my fingers before I put it on. It was tight around the chest, nice and slimming. I turned myself around as I looked into the mirror. I looked good. 

I exited the bathroom and went back into the Commons. I walked back to my empty table and sat down to eat the rest of my burger.

“Hey, Eric!” Someone called my name and I looked up to see Ryan and Jacob sitting at a table across from me. They waved me over invitingly, and I couldn’t just ignore them. So I picked up my tray and walked over to their table. 

“Saw you just sitting there by yourself. We took pity on you.” Jacob said before taking a bite out of a slice of pepperoni pizza. 

“Welcome to the Goon Squad, Eric.” I turned my head to see Ben, raising his carton of milk in a toast, “We hope you like it here.”

Ryan took up his milk and Jacob did the same. Everyone else raised their cardboard glasses into the air, so I followed suit. We all cheered then threw our heads back as we chugged our milk.

This place might be good for me.