The table was clear a moment ago. When Lexi looked up from her reading and saw her nemesis, she didn’t hesitate.
“Die! Die! Die!” Lexi repeatedly brought the rolled magazine down on the dark smear that had once been a spider.
The commotion drew Tara to the living room. “Another one?”
“I think I got him.” Lexi slumped back on the couch, panting. The bubbling in her belly faded. She lifted up her tank top; she was visibly bloated but her quick reaction had limited the damage.
Tara sat down next to her and placed a hand Lexi’s exposed stomach.
“I’m fine,” she replied. “But it looks like my spider-repelling spell didn’t work. We’ve had even more of them since I cast it.”
“Do you think it might have backfired?” Tara asked. She immediately regretted it. “No wait, that’s silly, that couldn’t have happened, ha ha ha, funny right?” she said quickly. But it was too late.
“Oh no,” Lexi said, her heart racing. “If that happened we could get hundreds — thousands — oh no!”
Lexi’s belly gurgled loudly as it ballooned, pushing against Tara’s hand.
She practiced her breathing exercises: inhale through nose, exhale through mouth.
As she approached the appearance of pregnancy, the swelling spread; her pert breasts plumped up, filling out her white top while her thighs strained the seams of her shorts.
“Calm down,” Tara urged, rubbing gentle circles on her stomach. “If there were thousands of spiders here we would have noticed. So I’m sure it’s fine.”
“I know,” Lexi wheezed. The gurgles faded, her expansion tapered off. “I’m okay now.”
When it came to witchcraft, Lexi was far more eager and ambitious than she was competent. Her latest attempt to boost her power had opened a conduit that she could neither harness nor control. It flooded her body with mystical energy, rapidly filling her to near bursting before she could seal it. But the seal wasn’t perfect; fear weakened it, allowing energy to slip through.
Such conduits closed on their own if not maintained. Until then, Lexi would puff up like a blowfish every time she got scared. According to Roosevelt the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, but Lexi’s list contained a second item: spiders.
Mishaps like this were why Tara never practiced magic. She preferred to study arcane zoology. More pictures, fewer explosions.
“Do you want me to stick around?” Tara had planned on going for a run, but she didn’t like leaving her friend alone and swollen.
“Go ahead, I’ll be fine. I’ll be back to normal soon.”
“Alright, see ya later.”
Lexi struggled with her magazine. She was at that awkward size where getting into a comfortable reading position was difficult. After a while she gave up.
“Naptime,” she declared. Being a living balloon was surprisingly tiring. Her body offered pneumatic resistance to every movement. She lumbered to her bedroom and froze after opening the door.
Lexi covered her mouth, muffling her shriek. Her body surged outward, her insides growling as stitches were torn asunder and her sides brushed the doorframe. There was monstrous spider on her bed. It’s body was the size of a large cat and covered in shiny green fur, its spindly legs spreading across most of the bed’s surface.
Wait, green? Shiny? It looked more like plastic than animal.
Lexi stopped swelling. The beast was completely motionless. She poked it. Nothing. Irate, she texted Tara.
Lexi: I hate you so much.
Lexi: You deny putting a fake spider on my bed?
Tara: No clue what you’re talking about.
Lexi took a picture of the spider to send to her.
Lexi: What do you call this?!?!
Tara: GET OUT NOW
Lexi: Not. Funny.
Tara: THATS AN EMERALD DEATHWEAVER
“Oh crap,” Lexi whimpered. It was her worst nightmare come true. Her spell had backfired. But instead of drawing in thousands of ordinary spiders, it called a single eldritch abomination. Likely stunned by the summoning, it was sure to viciously express its displeasure once it arose.
A low rumble echoed through her quivering body and Lexi grew. Her clothes were quickly shredded by her billowing bulges, which were growing less distinct from each other with each passing moment.
She had to escape. Her face was puffing up, so she’d only get one shot. If she didn’t get away from this monster, she’d surely explode. Chanting as quickly as she dared Lexi barely managed to get the spell past her plumping lips before they swelled shut. Dark purple fog engulfed her. With a loud whumph, Lexi vanished. She emerged in another place shrouded in darkness and squealing with joy.
Not sure where I am, but it has to be better. By the time her inflation stopped, she was nearly spherical and completely immobile. Slowly, the fog dissipated and Lexi could discern her surroundings.
No! She was in her living room. She had managed to teleport all of fifteen feet. And she could hear rapidly approaching footfalls that she knew weren’t human. Something brushed against her, then climbed up her side.
Oh my God it’s touching me! A tempest roared within Lexi. Her body rushed outward, groaning and shuddering against the surge of energy. Overwhelmed by the strain, Lexi’s skin rapidly flushed from pink to red, her eyes bulging out from the pressure.
Lexi felt her back touch the ceiling. Then she felt nothing.
Tara sprinted back toward home after she got Lexi’s texts. In the distance a bright flash lit the sky, followed moments later by a crackling boom.
“Lexi!” As tiny bits of her home rained down around her, she ran toward the rising dust cloud.
Tara wept tears of relief when she found Lexi lying in the midst of the devastation deflated, naked, and miraculously (albeit barely) alive. She knelt down to hug her, sobbing.
“Don’t worry,” Lexi said weakly, smiling at the green film that stained much of the rubble. “I think I got him.”