?

Vote for the best short story.

Poll closed Dec 17, 2015.
  1. Musings of a Broken Soul

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  2. The Power of Lust

    7 vote(s)
    38.9%
  3. The Formula

    7 vote(s)
    38.9%
  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Closed Voting 72 Hour Runoff Vote Contest #182 Theme: "Muscular"

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 14, 2015.

    Runoff Vote:
    Contest #182
    Theme: "Muscular" courtesy of @BookLover

    We have three entries that qualified for the three day runoff. (I thought it was fair to include the story that was tied for first place at the time of the official contest end.)

    Entries are posted below. To quickly scroll to the next story, search for the title (eg: control+F on my keyboard).

    Voting ends Thursday, Dec 17th, 2015 ~9:30 am Pacific Time.
    _______________________________________________


    Musings of a Broken Soul
    [2022]

    The photo placed on the nightstand served more as a mockery of his current state than an object of comfort. In it a young, proud man sat casually on a bar stool in a beautiful yacht. A gorgeous girl, barely twenty years of age, sat in his lap. Her hands all over his firm, muscular chest; her lips caressing his neck, one playful eye glancing at the camera as she did so.

    The young man himself was grinning with the calm, victorious expression of one who had it all. He was handsome with his bright green eyes and blond hair which was messy in a stylish kind of way. He looked every bit the arrogant bad boy that seemed to be so irresistible to women.

    The man in the picture bore no resemblance to the sickly, barely human-looking creature lying on the bed. Bald, shrivelled, his skin so ill-fitting on his bones it looked as though it might fall off at any second.

    No…this could not be the same man.

    The man in the photo was fit, healthy; he was an athlete. His gold Olympic medal shone on his chest as bright as his smile.

    No…nobody could suffer such decay in five short months; it was not humanly possible.

    And yet there he was. Looking more and more like a corpse in an advanced stage of decomposition with each passing day. He even smelled the part, which was why his family and friends where downstairs in the living room seeking comfort in glass after glass of expensive wine while discussing his fate rather than being with him. He did not judge them though, he had insisted they leave him alone.

    It was better this way. He could not stand the pity and sorrow in their eyes, could not bear to listen to their hollow words of comfort. They knew what was to happen, he knew it too. It was inevitable.

    He was beyond the hope of a cure. Even the pleasure of a temporary relief of his constant pain was denied him at this point. He was dead in all but the most basic biological terms. He had lost the use of his legs within the first two months of his illness leaving him bound to a wheelchair. Oh how he hated being pushed on that stupid thing like a baby on a stroller.

    At least he still had his arms, even if it had become a struggle working them properly. He could not even move his head without assistance anymore and his vision grew blurrier by each second. Each breath raspier and more laborious than the last, every pulse of the heart fainter…weaker…

    Why didn’t he just die then? He had wished for it every moment of every day in the last several weeks. His health had worsened, every bit of his body kept rotting away and yet he lingered on. It was as if some primal part of him deep, deep inside – one born of pure instinct – refused to acknowledge the inescapable fate that approached him with every ticking of the clock. This illogical and stubborn part of him seemed to continue on fighting for survival like a shipwrecked soul struggling against the violent ocean currents even while sinking farther and farther underwater.

    A fit of coughing took hold of him. It felt as though a thousand daggers were hacking at his throat each time he coughed, which was becoming more and more frequent.

    He reached a thin, weak hand grabbing the half empty glass of water sitting on the night stand. His hand shook so wildly that most of the water spilled out of the glass, leaving him with some few drops that did little to quench his burning thirst and wet his dry lips.

    He felt like crying except his extreme dehydration had rendered him incapable of producing tears. God! How weak could someone possibly get for such mundane a task to be beyond them?

    The sheer pitifulness of his situation made him laugh; dark, bitter laughs that brought even more agony to his tortured throat and culminated in yet another coughing fit. A strange taste filled his mouth. He reached a hand to touch the inside of his lips, it came out red. He was coughing up blood.

    It did not surprise him, it seemed like a logical thing to happen in this stage of his illness. Another stop towards death. Maybe this was a good sign, it could mean that his time was nigh. Oh how he hoped for it! How he desired it! At this point death would be a happy ending.

    He tried to grab a tissue to wipe his bloody lips and managed to knock both the tissue box and the photo sitting in front of it to the floor. The impact cracked the glass frame; the man in the photo grinned still.

    Clueless, arrogant bastard.

    What a fool he had been then. Blind by his power and wealth, lost in the glamour his celebrity status had brought him. So drunk on empty luxuries that he had come to believe himself above health problems; invincible against sickness, against the Virus. The Virus; that was what they called it, the cause of this nightmarish disease.

    He had laughed at and mocked those that had fallen prey to this illness, calling them weak and worthless. The world a better place for being rid of them. He had had no sympathy for their pain, or for the grief of their loved ones. It was their own faults after all that they succumbed so easily to a silly virus, they were all a bunch of pathetic wusses.

    When someone protested his remarks – and it happened often – calling him cruel and insensitive, he pointed out that it was always the poor and the lower class that fell victim to the Virus. He argued that it was the filth these people grew up and lived in that caused their illnesses, that if they made any effort to improve their miserable hygiene then issues like the Virus could be avoided. Then, when he had first contracted the virus he had been angry at the ‘low-level scums’ as he called them, accusing them of spreading their filth; even though it had already been proven that the Virus wasn’t contagious.

    What a blind fool he had been…the Virus did not care about social class, it hit at random and every one was in danger of it. The doctors and the scientist had not been able to determine the source of the virus, or even a pattern in the victims it claimed. It seemed that anyone of any age, gender and race; weak or strong, fat or fit, with or without previous medical condition was at its mercy. It was unlike anything the experts had ever seen. It did not behave like any other virus and the speed with which it progressed once inside a human’s body, was frightening.

    So many had fallen to it before him…so many more would after him. There was no cure, no hope of fighting it or even hindering its progress.

    More coughs…more blood coming up, this time thicker than before. He remembered the tissue in his hand but found that he could not raise his arm to wipe the blood, in fact he could not feel his arms at all. He was thoroughly paralysed now.

    The coughs did not cease this time. The blood in his throat was beginning to block his airway…

    …He was suffocating.

    His vision drew darker and fuzzier to the point that he could see nothing but vague shapes. He was dying, he knew it; felt it.

    And he was all alone.

    He opened his mouth to call to those he loved, he needed to see them one last time, he had been wrong to send them way. But no sound came out of his mouth… his voice had left him as well.

    Soon, the world went dark. He could feel his awareness leaving him, fading away. Bit by bit, piece by piece like flour falling through a sieve his consciousness was erased from the existence…

    Then, he was no more.

    ***

    “…What did you see?”

    “What?”

    Sunlight hit him full in the face, momentarily blinding him. When his eyes finally adjusted he couldn’t process what he was seeing.

    He was on the yacht once more, sitting on the bar stool. And that gorgeous girl was in his lap rubbing her hand all over his strong, firm chest. His right arm was wrapped around her. His arm? His chest?

    He examined his body with a look of wonder. His body, his muscles… all was back to normal. He was healthy again, strong, handsome.

    And he could move his limbs.

    “Wha…”

    “What did you see?” the girl asked again, “You were phased out there for a while”.

    He looked around him, the photographer who had taken their picture was gone. They were all alone in the lower deck.

    “I…I don’t…I’m not sure” he managed to say. What had happened? Had it all been in his mind?

    “But you saw something, didn’t you?” she pressed on.

    “Yeah…ah, am I alive?”

    “Of course you are honey, what kind of question is that?”

    He didn’t answer.

    “Now tell me” the girl continued, “What did you see?”

    After a moment’s hesitation, he told her all that had happened to him in his harrowing...nightmare?...Vision? Whatever it was. How he had contracted the virus, his months of pain and deteriorating health, all climaxing in his death.

    “My God” she said when he was finished, an expression of exaggerated horror on her face. “I can’t imagine how scared you must’ve been…poor baby!”

    She proceeded to give him a half hug without changing her position.

    “You have no idea” he said. “So it was all a…nightmare?”

    A smile crept over her lips. It was not the pleasant kind. He did not like the gleam that had appeared in her eyes.

    “Oh it was absolutely a nightmare” she said with a sweetness that couldn’t be more fake, “but that doesn’t make it any less real”.

    She raised the little finger of her left hand within inches of his eyes. The nail on this finger began a rapid growth into a sharp claw of sickly yellowish color. She ran her claw across his lower abdomen. He stiffened.

    “What are…”

    She cut him off. “One cut. One small cut and it’ll all happen again”.

    Her claw travelled upward, brushing his skin but not breaking it. It felt cold on his skin like a piece of metal which he was sure it could cut through with ease.

    “So what do you say?” she asked him.

    “What do you mean it’ll happen again?” he said trying to squeeze the confidence he didn’t feel into his voice.

    “Where do you think the Virus’s coming from?” she said then winked.

    Surprise... horror... shock, he was not sure which emotion to pick, they all seemed appropriate for the occasion.

    “You’re causing…I mean… all this...” he found it hard to think straight through all this. “You’re not human are you?” he finally said.

    “What was you first clue?”

    “What do you want?”

    “Why, to spare you a terrible fate of course!”

    “A terrible fate that you’ll be the cause of”

    She rolled her eyes at him in response. “Do you want my help?”

    Like I have any choice.

    She didn’t wait for his answer. “Submit or die…in agony”

    “Sub…submit?”

    “Yes, submit, give in, to me, and you’ll live forever. Refuse and your nightmare becomes your reality. And this time there will be no reverse”.

    He wished against wish that this was a nightmare too; that soon he would wake up in his bed at his house – he had had enough of the yacht – and find everything was back to normal. He knew that to be a vain hope. Against all human logic, this was the reality. And his choice was already made for him.

    “Who are you?” he didn’t need to tell her yes, the tone of his voice, his sad, resigned expression, did all the work.

    “Henceforth…your master”.
    _____________________________________________


    The Power of Lust
    [934]

    I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror that sits atop his dresser across the room. I look pale and thin. For all the working out I do, my pecks are barely contoured. Then I look at all the other crap sitting on his dresser. An antique clock with brass horses flanking both sides, just like the one in my grandmother's house. A wooden back scratcher with a tiny hand on the end, exactly like my dad's. A deck of nude playing cards from the seventies, just like my grandpa's. For the first time the thought really worms it's way into my brain - I'm dating an old man.

    I pick up the cards and start flipping through the deck. I don't see any of the naked women though. My focus is still on the room. Shag green carpet. Peeling yellow wallpaper. Camo shit everywhere. A pair of his dirty briefs are hanging on the closet doorknob. A box of bullets has busted open and lay scattered in the corner. There is more than one shot gun haphazardly piled on a shelf. Am I dating my dad?

    I feel a little queasy. He's told me a dozen times over that he's too old for me, but it's only when I'm left alone in his bedroom that the evidence becomes clear. When I'm with him he seems ageless. Maybe my nausea is from drinking too much last night. Yeah, that must be it. It has nothing to do with that confederate flag hanging on his wall...

    If I don't think about his age or his love for hunting or... I hear the opening music for Fox News blare from the television in the next room. He's watching Fox News!

    I sit on the edge of the bed and press the nudey cards into my forehead. I'm fucking a conservative, right wing, closeted, old man. What is wrong with me? What the hell am I doing?

    The door suddenly bursts open, and there he is again, all grins and muscles. His shirt is off and abs exposed. I look over his sculpted body, starting at his bulked up shoulders and chiseled chest, down the line between his cut up abs, right to his happy trail that disappears into his briefs. Oh, yeah, that's what I'm doing.

    “Hey, whatchya doing?” He messes with my hair.

    I lower my eyes and stare at the cards in my hand. “Found these lovely things on your dresser. So I guess you're into women after all.”

    He laughs that deep, manly laugh that instantly relaxes me. Three weeks of dating him and my nervous system has already undergone Pavlovian conditioning. “Someone gave me those a long time ago. Forgot I had them. Hey, my buddy George down the road took down a buck. Needs some help loading it. Come on.”

    “What? Oh, no, I'm heading out.” I stand up and look around the shag carpet for my skinny jeans. I see them on the floor sitting between an empty beer bottle and some crumpled camouflaged overalls. This place is gross. Is there a hamp – No, there's no hamper. Of course not. Why contain your clothing in one spot when the floor is an all-in-one hamper/trash can?

    I shake my head and walk toward my jeans. As I bend to scoop them up, his strong, thick arm wraps firmly around my waist. He spins me around, picks me up, and throws me onto his bed.

    “It's too early to head out. If you don't want to see the buck, that's okay. You can stay in bed, and buck me instead.”

    I laugh. God, he's sexy standing over me. Why is he so sexy? Why can't my brain and my penis be in agreement on him? I try to stand back up but he pins me down, bulging biceps and all. There's something secure and anchoring about it. I feel my muscles relax and yet my heart quickens at the same time. I kiss him passionately. This is so wrong. He is all wrong for me.

    I turn my head, trying to ignore my body's reactions to him. I need to use my brain, dammit! “I really gotta go, Bo. Have fun helping your friend.”

    “Come on. Meet my buddies. Have a few beers with us. Shoot the shit. It'll be good.” He rustles my hair again. “Spend the day with me. Later this eve I can teach you how to deer hunt. You don't have to shoot nothing. Just sit in a tree stand with me.”

    His voice is deep and raspy. It's sexy as hell. Every line in his face suggests a man who's smoked too much and partied too long, but that naughty smile of his is hypnotizing. I can't help it. I do want to sit all day in a tree stand with him. I've somehow managed to fall under his redneck spell. I know exactly why all the girls giggle whenever he walks into the room, why every straight woman wants him. He's so. Fucking. Hot. There's no logical explanation for it. I should not find this man attractive whatsoever, but I've never been this turned on by anyone.

    I couldn't get up now if I wanted to. His knees are on both sides of my body, pressing me into the mattress, fixing me in place. I let him kiss me. At some point I will have to tell him I'm vegan, and I voted for Obama. Twice. Today though? Well, today I guess I'm deer hunting. So much for principles...
    _________________________________________


    The Formula [3060]

    Being of reasonably sound mind and puny body, I hereby offer this last will and testament. As insignificant as it may seem, it is the only thing I can think of to help explain what happened, and why it happened. It was all an error in judgement, you see. It was my misguided attempt to right personal wrongs. To those bodybuilders and to my wife, I apologize. I’m so very sorry. Please let me try and explain. I should probably start at the beginning.

    My mother always told me that I was going to be “different” from other boys. Rather than playing sports, playing with toys, or even making friends, I was content and quite happy to be by myself, surrounded by books. I loved books. I would read anything I could get my hands on.

    When my classmates wished for toys on their birthdays and at Christmas, I always wished for books. My mother was a single mom, and she had to work several jobs to support the two of us. She did the best she could. She told me that she barely finished high school, and she encouraged me to read my books, saying that they would enrich my life and lead me on a journey much different than hers. My mother had no idea just how right she was.

    One of the jobs she worked when I was in the fourth grade was cleaning apartments after tenants moved out. Shortly before Christmas that year, she was cleaning out an apartment and discovered a huge cache of books that was left by the newly-deceased tenant. I’m guessing he was a chemist or something, because all of the books I got for Christmas that year involved the sciences, mainly chemistry. I remember having to look up most of words in the scientific dictionary that luckily was included, but I just ate up all that knowledge.

    That windfall of scientific books set the direction for my life. By the time I started fifth grade, I was already on my second reading of the books. I became fascinated with chemistry. I started conducting my own simple experiments to try and prove some of the theories I was learning. My teacher and the principal were so startled with my advanced knowledge that I was quickly moved up to the sixth grade. As I kept getting bumped up the educational ladder, the few friends I did have were quickly left behind. When I graduated high school at the tender age of fourteen, I had no friends, only impressed teachers.

    I was very happy to get out of high school as soon as possible. Starting in grade school, the other boys seemed to zero in on the fact that I was quite frail. No matter how much my mother fed me, I remained very thin and bony. They started to make fun of me, pushing me down to the ground, knowing that when I got up, they could do it again with no resistance from me, and with no remorse for them. In high school, that harassment just got worse. By then, those boys started developing muscles. It seemed that the more muscles they had, the more they would torment me. My mother always told me to turn the other cheek. And I did. And then they’d hit that cheek, too.

    As bad as those years were me, they were worse for my mother.

    While I was learning and experimenting, and trying to dodge the torment of the muscle heads, as I now called them, my mother continued to do her best to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table. I did most of my experimenting in the late afternoon, between the time I got home from school and when my mother got home from work. Yes, I was unsupervised, but I usually cleaned up any mess that I made. I rarely had the proper lab equipment, so I had to make do with what was available. I used the smallest heating element on the stove as my Bunsen burner, coffee cups for beakers, my mother’s kitchen tongs for forceps, and cheap wine glasses for my test tubes. Sometimes, the experiments didn't go so well. Mom and I got evicted from more places than I care to count. If the neighbors weren't complaining about bad smells, they blamed whatever they could on me. As it turned out, it was those muscle heads from school that complained to their parents about me and my experiments. They had been verbally and physically scourging me for so long that they no longer got the effect that they were after. They needed to attack me in a way that would really get to my spirit. They found it. It was about this time that I began to loathe the muscle heads, having surpassed the dislike that I previously had of them.

    I gladly graduated from high school at the age of fourteen. I had a number of scholarship offers that came in. My mother tried to encourage me to avoid the universities close to home. I guess she thought that moving away would rid me of the muscle heads. Little did she know that there were muscle heads everywhere. However, I did not let my mother or the muscle heads influence my decision. I made sure to pick a university that offered good science programs. The one I settled on was about a twelve hour drive from where I lived, and my mother was delighted. Since my scholarship included room and board in addition to tuition, I didn't have any out of pocket costs. I'm sure my mother was grateful for that, but all in all, I suspect she was pretty happy to see me go.

    With the university labs being as good as they were, I was like a kid in a candy store. I continued to spend most of my waking hours studying and experimenting. Even in the summers, I took extra classes and spent any free time in the lab doing my own research and experiments.

    I also learned that in higher education, I did not have to associate with the muscle heads, who I now called neanderthals, after taking a class about the origin of man. However, even though there was less association, punishments were more severe. One of my classmates, Bernard LeCroix, a very promising chemist, was shoved by a neanderthal as he was hurrying to class from the parking lot. He tripped and lost hold of the package he was bringing to class. Several vials of acidic samples broke on a nearby sports car. The car happened to belong to a neanderthal. Bernard was in the hospital for three weeks recovering from the beating. No charges were filed, and Bernard quietly dropped out of school. My abomination of the neanderthals continued to grow.

    It was no surprise to me or my professors that I received my masters in chemistry shortly after my eighteenth birthday. I was nicknamed the “prodigal chemist” at my university, and shortly before graduation the job offers started to roll in.

    I was heavily recruited by DuLong Chemical, a drug manufacturer. They offered me a near six-figure salary to start and their benefits package was unbelievable. In additional to the usual pension, 401k and life insurance benefits, they offered free health and dental (and I do mean free - I wouldn't have to pay as much as a co-pay or a deductible), as well as a free membership to a local fitness center. I somewhat scoffed at the fitness center membership, little did I know that it would be my doom. I signed on. I was now gainfully employed.

    For as much as I learned in academia, my social skills were almost non-existent. I always had a hard time making friends, and by the time I started with DuLong, I'm embarrassed to say that I was still a virgin. I attributed some of this to the fact that most of my peers were significantly older than I.

    I met Harriet at my first company Christmas party, a required event. She was the cousin of Doug Fester, a mid-level accountant at the company. When Doug saw me standing alone in the corner sipping on my egg nog, he hurried over with Harriet and made the introductions.

    My colleagues warned me that I was likely to meet Harriet at the party. She attended all the parties. She started with the sales team, since they were the highest paid, but after a few flings with some of the unhappily married guys, she moved down the food chain to the chemists. I was the only single chemist at DuLong.

    Harriet was not much to look at. She was decidedly overweight, she smoked like a chimney, and she was constantly talking. Ironically, for as much as she used it, her mouth was quite small. It was the one feature about her that I found endearing. It’s too bad that I rarely got to see it that way. Even when she slept, she kept her mouth open and snored profusely.

    We married quickly. Harriet told me where and when to show up, and I did. The reception was a fairly large affair. Harriet took it upon herself, as her first marital duty, to help me spend my money. She did that job very well.

    In the months that followed the wedding, I learned a good number of things about Harriet. Although no one really said anything, I deduced that Harriet had been with a number of my colleagues. In addition to knowing their names, she knew peculiar things about them - a tattoo here, a birth mark there - that one would not normally know unless seeing them naked. After being with Harriet in the physical sense, I decided that sex was entirely overrated. It also came out, rather accidentally, that Harriet had an affinity for one night stands with muscle heads.

    Thankfully, I didn’t have a lot of free time to begin with, volunteering for every special project that DuLong could throw at me. Anything to keep me out of Harriet’s wake. With the free time I did have, I decided to take advantage of my free membership at the local fitness center. That was one place where I was sure Harriet would not follow. She may have liked the neanderthals, but she didn’t like doing anything physical that did not provide immediate pleasure.

    I was back in the arena of the muscle heads. In the cave of the neanderthals. They pranced and they grunted, lifting so much weight that the stainless steel bar bent under its burden. I felt like an outcast, and I was. I was ostracized. Whenever I tried to lift some weights, in a meager attempt to put some mass on my body frame, I would hear the snickering in the background. The air was thick with innuendo. I did my best to ignore it, trying to turn the proverbial cheek, but they were relentless. The locker room was the worst.

    One night, when I was sitting in my car fuming after coming out of the fitness center with an over abundance of neanderthals, it occurred to me that not only were these muscle heads in dire need of a lesson, but that I was just the one to teach it to them. And then it hit me. Bam!

    What if I could make a formula that would cause their endless muscles to temporarily swell, similar to the way that Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction? What a concept! I was completely delighted with myself. I could perfectly imagine the ridicule the neanderthals would have to suffer when their biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pectorales swelled to the point of making them freaks.

    I had such a cacophony of possibilities dancing through my head that I actually felt tingles and chills throughout my body. After all these years of endless bullying, I felt that revenge would finally be mine, and in grandiose style. I couldn’t wait to get started.

    As I stood in the lab that first night, after everyone else had gone home, I felt like a conductor before an orchestra, like a chef in a richly stocked kitchen. I had everything I needed right here. All I had to do was engineer the correct combination of chemicals and measures, and then test. My testing would be confined to rodents. A few missing rodents would not be noticed by my colleagues, but a missing dog or monkey, that would raise an eyebrow. Besides, in the hierarchy of things that I like and care about, dogs and monkeys rank much higher than the neanderthals.

    Finally, after three months of working late in the lab, I had a formula that I thought would do the job. My next challenge would be to distribute the formula without their knowledge, without infecting anyone else.

    I was only aware of four ways that the formula could enter the body: injection, inhalation, digestion, and direct contact with the skin.

    Injection would have been the most direct route, but dumb as they were, I doubted that the muscle heads would allow me to stick a needle in their butts. That was out.

    Having the neanderthals inhale the formula would be the easiest, but also the riskiest. I would have to remove any odor, use aerosol canisters, and spray it around the gym. But this option would also infect the innocent, so it was out.

    Ingestion was another possibility. I could use a hypodermic needle to shoot the formula into their water bottles and snack bars. However, I felt that there was too great a risk of getting caught in the act, and then they would know exactly who to blame when the formula blossomed.

    Thus, I was left with direct skin contact. It would be pretty easy to wipe down all of the barbells and dumbbells with the formula. I had observed how the neanderthals ritualistically wiped their equipment down after using it. Some of them also wore gloves when they worked out. I could do the same thing: I could soak towels with the formula to wipe the equipment with, and the gloves would protect my own skin.

    This last option would have to do, but there were some loose ends that I would need to tie up first.

    After another month of late nights in the lab, loose ends mostly tied up, I was ready to go. The day had finally come for retribution. The end of my torment was nye.

    Over the course of four workouts that weekend, I had wiped down not only the weights, but as much of the cardio equipment as I thought I could get away with. I had used up almost the entire batch of formula that I created. Now came the really hard part. Waiting.

    I wasn’t sure how long it would take for the formula to take effect on the muscle tissue, since I had to use skin absorption as the only delivery method. My results with the lab rodents were inconclusive. That was a loose end that I had to leave untied.

    It took about two more days before the first signs of the formula were noticed. I could overhear some of the neanderthals talking about how they seemed to pump up just overnight, and I could see that it was true. There was a noticeable difference in the size of the muscles. It only took two additional days for all hell to break loose.

    The neanderthals were no longer coming to the gym for workouts. A news story broke about people, mostly men with considerable muscle mass, who seemed to swell up so severely that they could no longer move. Their arms, legs and chest were so large that they could no longer wear clothing. Their chunks of manhood became so swollen that they could no longer urinate and had to be catheterized. Doctors were clueless about this new disease that seemed centralized to patrons of a particular fitness center.

    After a few more days, additional stories came out about other people that were infected. Doctors concluded that the disease targeted the muscles that the infected people used the most. I was a little put off that I could no longer witness this delightful tragedy personally, since the neanderthals were bedridden. At least that was the case until Harriet became infected. In a matter of days, Harriet’s mouth swelled to the point that she could no longer talk or eat. Her only other muscle group that was affected was the gluteal group. Her bottom. Poor Harriet. Her backside swelled to the point that she could no longer sit on a toilet without sliding off. I was at first very confused about how Harriet got infected. However, before I could figure out how non-neanderthals were subjected to the formula, I heard it on the news.

    Slowly, the civil authorities began to unravel the mystery. The epidemic, as they were now calling it, started when patrons of a particular fitness center became exposed to a yet-to-be identified substance. Test results showed that the substance was not inhaled or ingested. However, significant amounts of the substance were present in secretions from the eccrine glands. It was in their sweat.

    I never really considered it, but one other activity where the neanderthals really worked up a good sweat was during sex. Thus, the mates of the neanderthals also became infected. Poor Harriet. It turned out that she was having a fling with one of the neanderthals.

    I have called the authorities and turned myself in. I felt like my life was over, but at least I was going out happy, probably the happiest I’ve ever been. They told me that as soon as they could find a police officer that could still function, they would send him over to arrest me. I didn’t know it, but most of the neanderthals at my gym were cops.

    As I wait to be taken into custody, I will finish this last will and testament by bequeathing all of my possessions, including the very swollen bank accounts that Harriet knows nothing about, to my mother. I asked Harriet if she wanted any of my possessions or money, but, poor thing, she couldn’t even nod her head.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    One more day to vote. :D
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Ahhhh! It's a tie again. Need more votes, need more votes!
     
  4. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    I hoped I'll break a tie, but then I created one again! :D
     
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  5. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Vote, people!

    I just posted the above, so it shows up in the recent posts, and maybe generate interest... hopefully.

    Is there a way to somehow advertise that voting is open for each contest at the top of the Workshop thread since a lot of people like to go there to post their stories or critique others. Maybe this would generate more voters here?
     
  6. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately the poll's closed now.

    I know I disappeared for a while over the past year, but I remember before I left that ties just had both authors declared as winners. Any particular reason that was changed? Seemed like much less work for you, @GingerCoffee!
     
  7. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Oops! I thought it said 9:30 p.m. :eek:
     
  8. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, I always have trouble keeping track, too, since I'm on the East Coast and have to add three hours to all the printed times. 9:30 am becomes 12:30 pm. Which reminds me...time for lunch!
     
  9. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    I'm on EST as well... and man I'm hungry!
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well I thought I'd give a runoff a try. We ended up with a tie between two different people so I feel badly for @Fernando.C who was initially tied for first. But it is what it is, hopefully he realizes his story was very good, and I thought original.

    Congratulations to the two authors tied for first place: @BookLover and @datahound2u. The title will be shared.

    I thought The Power of Lust and Musings of a Broken Soul were very closely tied, and of course The Formula was win worthy.

    All the authors are revealed here, and I opened the thread if anyone has any comments they wish to add.

    I'm at work now so I'll open the new contest for submissions and get the winners' thread and new voting threads up this evening.

    Excellent job writers! :agreed:
     
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  11. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Congrats to the winners :)

    The ties really weren't that surprising given how tough it was to choose...which was clearly an issue for more than just me!
     
  12. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    Congrats to @BookLover and @datahound2u for winning. you both deserved it guys, your stories were both original and gripping.

    Not gonna lie, would've been great to win but oh well you can't always win everything. Besides I still got second place out of 10 tough contestants. That's pretty sweet! So don't feel bad for me @GingerCoffee, I'll win it next time!
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I do feel badly because we ended up with a tie anyway and different people were ahead at different but somewhat arbitrary times. In my mind all three stories are winners. :D
     
  14. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    True but that's just the nature of any contest, one moment you're in the lead, the next your out of the race. That's what makes it fun you know, the unpredictability of it all.
    Besides how were you to know that the runoff was going to end up in a tie too? It isn't as if you had any control on the outcome of the vote. Cheer Up!
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :blowkiss:
    You're sweet.
     
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  16. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I want to congratulate you too, the stories were just too good :)!!
     
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