Horror Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

She says, "Why don't you look like that?"

I stop scrolling. It's some glistening, rippling torso with a haircut. Stripped to the waist. Almond skin pulled tight over solid muscle.

I look down at my stomach, bulging amiably over my waistband. Lightly dusted with sugar from the half-eaten donut in my other hand.

She looks back to her phone again and strokes our cat, Belle, sitting in her lap.

Back to the gym.

For the next two months, I'm there every day, 6am. Weights, bike, cross trainer. Weights, bike, swim. I'm surrounded by washboard abs and shredded obliques. They remind me how disgusting I am, as I splutter and jiggle my way around the machines.

But all this work makes me hungry and hunger makes me eat. Fries, pizza, ice cream, coke. For a couple of weeks, I replace it all with salads and plain, flavourless chicken. I need to eat three times as much of it before I feel full.

The scales never change. Each day, I peer hopefully over my belly button and see the same number staring back at me.

I’m scrolling through my phone again and there he is, the perfect specimen. Adonis, standing proudly and bulging in all the right places. An act of violence in the form of a still image.

She's looking over my shoulder again. From the corner of my eye, I see her eyes widen ever so slightly and her tongue trace the edge of her teeth. But this time she doesn’t say anything.

The next time I’m at the gym, sweating through a session with my legs and arms like lead, I seriously consider giving up. I’m on the tenth kilometre on the treadmill and the perspiration is running into my eyes, masking the tears.

That’s when Gary comes over.

“Take it easy Rocky, you’re gonna give yourself a stroke.” He slides his arm around my shoulders. Tacky sweat glues us together. I collapse over the treadmill and rest my head on my arms.

He says, “You need a little edge? I’ve got something that’ll change your life.”

I look up at his toned physique. Arms like tree trunks. A vast expanse of chest muscle pressed against the thin fabric of a sleeveless shirt. It’s all the proof I need.

I follow him through the locker room to the back corner where they keep the cleaning equipment. When he’s sure no one is watching, he reaches on top of a dusty locker and produces a small plastic baggy.

He says, “You’ll be the guinea pig. It comes highly recommended.”

Inside the baggy is a tiny, round blue pill.

“You only need one,” he says. “Thank me later big fella. Oh and let me know how it goes. I’ve got another 50 of these. They won't be going for free.”

Once I'm showered and dressed I swallow it down with a gulp of water.

Tomorrow the work starts again. But tonight I'm going out for dinner. Another final meal.

In the restaurant, I order trio de bruschetta and garlic pizza bread to start. Next, sirloin steak in peppercorn sauce with extra fries, all washed down with three bottles of lager. Finally, cheesecake, sorbet and limoncello.

She looks at me with thinly veiled disgust. We barely speak but I’m too busy chewing and swallowing for chit-chat anyway. The other diners whisper and try not to stare.

I don’t care. It’s the last blowout. A final night of freedom and I have the miracle cure already working away inside me.

At home, she heads to bed while I stop to feed Belle. By the time I follow her up, she's already asleep. Eye mask on, facing the wall.

I stare at her through the darkness for a moment, then head back downstairs. I worked hard today. I earned this. Belle’s tail brushes my legs, tracing a figure eight around my feet as I eat out of the fridge.


When I wake up, I feel better than I have done in years. Maybe I've never felt this good. I spring out of bed and look in the bedroom mirror and my heart jumps into my throat. I think it's someone else, in my room, in my clothes. But then I realise it's me. Or half of me at least.

My t-shirt, last night stretched across a distended stomach and swollen man-breasts, now hangs loosely down from square shoulders. My sagging chin is now taut, revealing a jawline I almost remember. Tense muscles brush against the fabric of my clothes.

She says, "Oh wow. It's finally starting to pay off?" And drapes her arms over my broad, muscular shoulders.

"An early night tonight maybe?"

She traces the shape of my jaw with her finger and gazes at me through the mirror, her eyes ablaze.

Pancakes and syrup for breakfast today. I'm celebrating.

At work I get double-takes all along the office floor as I walk to my desk. Most of the men narrow their eyes in suspicion. Most of the women, who couldn't have picked me out of a line-up before today, they can't take their eyes off me.

There is a smile on my face all morning. But I need to be careful. Good cheer is kryptonite for willpower. Before lunch, I polish off two flapjacks and a croissant.

When lunchtime finally does arrive, I’m somehow still famished. I head to the local sandwich shop and the kid behind the counter says, “Let me guess, a salad for Mr. Muscle?”

I order a footlong meatball special and finish the whole thing at the counter. The kid’s jaw drops. The other customers are trying hard to pretend they don't see me. I should be ashamed but my stomach is already rumbling, crying out for more. The ingredients behind the glass counter glow and throb. Fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes. Succulent cuts of red meat. Rich, creamy hunks of mature cheddar. They are begging me. Eat us. Eat more. Keep eating.

I go back to the start of the queue.

On my fifth trip around, the manager asks me to leave. I’m distantly embarrassed at being kicked out of a sandwich shop for eating too many sandwiches. But the hunger returns so quickly, I have to move on to the next place.

It’s mid-afternoon when I walk into the all-you-can-eat buffet. I should’ve been back at work hours ago but despite the near-constant eating, the hunger pangs only get stronger.

I load my plate. Piling food as high as it will go. The first couple of times I sit at a table. But soon enough I just walk from station to station, eating my way round. Chomping down on drumsticks and spring rolls and samosas.

A daytime drinker stumbles into me. He smells like stale booze and farts.

He says, “Wish I could do that and keep my figure. What’s your secret?” He jiggles his beer gut and chuckles, staggering away before I can stop chewing long enough to answer.

I notice everyone is looking at me when a teenager starts filming me on his phone. I see pity in some eyes and envy in others.

I need to leave. It's been hours and there is a dull ache in my gut. Fat is coursing through the blood vessels of my brain.

When I arrive home she asks, “What do you think, pasta?”

“I’m not hungry”, I lie. The stirring has already begun again.

She looks me up and down, devouring me with her eyes. Her smile is full of dark promise.

“Maybe it’s time for our workout?”

But I can’t think straight. My mind is raiding the fridge. My veins pulse with trans fats and MSG. My skin burns and crawls and I feel like a giant set of open jaws, snapping and grasping for anything within reach.

“Not tonight," I say, "headache.”

She looks at me with disgust, pulls out her phone and starts scrolling.

I head upstairs and past the mirror. Even in this stupor, I'm still amazed by my new, athletic physique. I flex a bicep to snap a selfie. Then, for the first time in months, I update my socials.

Focus on the progress 💪 💪 💪

The likes and comments flow in. They wrap around me like a warm blanket as I fall asleep, my stomach churning and saliva running from between my lips.


When I come to, it isn’t morning and I’m not feeling better.

I don’t even remember getting out of bed but here I am with my head buried in the fridge in the dead of night, consuming everything. My insides are roiling, screaming to be fed. I'm clattering dishes and ripping packets and Belle is mewling at me from the countertop. Pleading with me to stop.

I suck down slimy, raw chicken. Inhale cheese by the block. Acid burns the back of my throat as I spoon thick, cold butter straight on top of it. I pour every milk carton, every can, every sauce, every condiment down my neck and it all congeals together in a thick, sickly-sweet ball. I bite into a raw onion and the odour stings my nose and brings tears to my eyes. I bite into another, and another until I’ve eaten the whole bag.

My jaw aches and my insides cramp. My brain swells against the walls of my skull and I flop back onto the kitchen floor. The room spins. There is nothing left in the fridge but empty cartons and glass jars rolling around on the shelves. Belle jumps down and sniffs at my face. Her purr deafens me as she gently licks my ear.

For half a second, I couldn’t eat another thing. I dare to hope that I might finally be full when an empty pot of cream rolls off the shelf and lands in my open mouth.

I start to chew. The sharp plastic edges slice my gums and the steely taste of blood coats my tongue.


When I wake next, I’m back in bed. I'm alone and it's light out, so she must already be at work. The clock says 11.30 which makes me two hours late, but there is only one thing on my mind.

I scramble out of bed, trembling with nervous energy. My eyes dart around the room like a predator on the hunt.

I catch sight of my square chest and narrow waist in the mirror. I’m a superhero, a warrior, a greek god. Every inch of me chiselled from oak. I want to flex, stand and admire but the burning is back again and I'm lightheaded.

I run down to the kitchen in my shorts and there is a note on the counter.

You cleaned us out fatty. Thanks for not leaving me any breakfast!

Last night’s binge replays in my mind. In the fridge, the only evidence is a small pile of shattered glass in the corner of the shelf. My throat is like hot tarmac.

I look around the room for something to eat. An empty fruit bowl, a plastic pasta container, and some flattened cardboard boxes in the recycling bin.

Cramps squeeze my insides and I double over. As I drop to my knees I reach out and grab a kitchen towel. Before I hit the floor, I’ve pushed it into my mouth and I’m working it down my oesophagus like a python.

Weakness overtakes me and I lay with my cheek against the cold, hard tile as tears blur my vision.

A tail brushes softly against my calf and before I know what’s happening my hand shoots out and clamps around Belle’s neck. She hisses and spits at me. With dull surprise, I find myself pulling her towards my open mouth. She claws at my face, tearing strips from my cheeks and slicing my neck. Her body writhes and swings in my grip and her eyes roll around in their sockets as she fights for her life.

Velvet ears tickle the roof of my mouth and a hard, round skull buckles under my teeth. The mewling stops. Dry, silky fur glides down my throat.


The rest of the day passes in a frenzied blur. I stalk through the streets, the taste of raw meat in my mouth and the now familiar churn in my stomach. As people pass by, some laugh and point and others grope my arms and writhe against me.

I chase a dog in the park. I'm forcibly removed from a butcher shop. I eat a full octopus at a seafood market. I tear through trash in an industrial size dustbin.

It's dark by the time I find my way home. The emptiness is worse than ever, jabbing at my ribs and clawing up my neck. My jaw feels ten miles high and when I try to close it, dried flecks of blood crumble from my cheeks.

I shuffle into the kitchen, arms cradling my convulsing midriff. Smears of blood and hair still coat the kitchen tiles.

It takes me a moment to realise I’m not alone. She is home and she's standing in the doorway. Eyes darting from me to the floor and back to me again. Her lips move up and down wordlessly as the shopping bag falls from her hand. A glass jar shatters.

I want to explain. But when I try to speak, my guts twist in agony and I'm bent over coughing soggy lumps of black fur and purple viscera onto the floor.

She screams and turns for the door but doesn't get far. I catch a clump of her hair in my fist and I yank her back into the room, snapping her neck like a ragdoll. Choking a scream in her throat.

I sink my teeth deep into her throat and tear at her flesh like an animal. She collapses and spits blood into my eyes. Her screams turned to wet gurgles as I suck down chunks of her like air.

By the time I’ve chewed through her neck, she is silent. Her head thumps to the floor like a watermelon.

It takes hours, maybe days, but in the end, I devour her completely. Hair, teeth, bones and meat. Not a trace of her remains. Like she was never even here.

The worst part is the feeling of relief. The feeling of peace and how it only lasts for a moment. As soon as the satiation comes, it's gone again. Leaving that awful, burning void inside me. Desperate to be filled.

When I look at myself in the mirror again I see precision-sculptured power. A masterpiece soaked in blood.

I'm disgusted and impressed.

Maybe there is nothing that can fill the emptiness left in the wake of perfection.

March 10, 2023 16:31

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Mark Wilhelm
13:41 Mar 18, 2023

Wow ash. Great story. I perform stories for a podcast called FrighteningTales.com if you take a listen and think its a good fit I'd love to perform your story. Full credit given of course. Let me know.


Ash Egan
20:56 Mar 18, 2023

Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. That sounds great, I'd love to hear it on the podcast.


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Karen McDermott
08:44 Mar 16, 2023

No, not the cat! This is a brilliant piece of work and incredibly detailed, well done. I was starting to feel the rumblings of hunger myself before the blood started...


Ash Egan
14:17 Mar 16, 2023

Haha thanks for reading!


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Zack Powell
23:29 Mar 13, 2023

This is great, Ash. Great plot, good setup to get to the end, and some killer (no pun intended) imagery. This really had me sick to my stomach reading it, which means you absolutely succeeded at the Horror aspect. I can't even begin to explain the dread I felt when I read "A tail brushes softly against my calf and before I know what’s happening my hand shoots out and clamps around Belle’s neck." Was hoping the cat would at least but spared, but alas. And then the ending? Well done all around. Great use of the prompt. Big fan of this one. Th...


Ash Egan
06:08 Mar 14, 2023

Thanks for reading! Really appreciate your feedback.


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Wendy Kaminski
23:10 Mar 13, 2023

Wow, what a story, Ash! Very original and definitely a horror tale that will stay with me - extremely well done storytelling!


Ash Egan
06:05 Mar 14, 2023

Thanks for reading and your words of encouragement!


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