Chain Reaction (Extended)

Date Written: 
11/05/2011

Irina was only halfway through a mug of mead when Cerys ran into the inn and to Irina's side.

Irina sighed. "What did you do?"

"Nothing!"

Irina gave her a sharp look. "I told you I don't want to draw attention while we're travelling."

"No, really!" Cerys said. "I was just looking around the outpost and some men yelled at me!"

"Why are you worried? You're indestructible."

"They're scary! Oh no, here they come!"

The three men told an age-old story with their young faces and exaggerated movements. "We're away from home for the first time, we've discovered hard liquor, and we don't know our limits."

"There she is!" said one of them, pointing at Cerys.

"Save me!" Cerys hid behind Irina.

The innkeeper reached under the bar and came up with a cudgel. Irina caught the innkeeper's eye and shook her head, then stood to face the men.

"Why ya runnin'?" said one of the men, red-faced. "We just wanna give ya a drink."

Irina sighed. Well, Cerys did stand out. She couldn't blame her for getting noticed. "Why don't you guys-erk!" 

Cerys was poking Irina under her shirt. The growth from each touch wasn't enough for anyone to notice.

"Stop it!" Irina hissed.

Cerys whispered, "just making you look intimidating."

"We're not talkin' to you," said another drunkard. He was holding a jug.

"Hey, this one's cute too." said the third, who was shirtless. "Le'ss havvem both drink wi' us."

Cerys put her hand up the back of Irina's shirt. Irina swatted it away, but now her belly was bulging out of her clothes.

"Nah," said red-face, "too fat."

Irina muttered, "stop it before it happens again!"

"Maybe we don't wanna stop, lady," said Jug.

"C'mon," said no-shirt, "we'll giv'ya a drink, you giv'us a kiss."

The three of them laughed, not noticing both of Cerys's arms wrapped around Irina's belly.

"You idiot!" yelled Irina as her body bulged in all directions.

"Who ya callin an--wha?!" Jug looked up to see Irina surging forward. He instinctively swung the jug at her. Clumsy as it was, it put Irina on her back, on top of Cerys.

"Get out from there before--aaah!" Her yell hit a high pitch. She clapped both her hands to her mouth. The swelling was accelerating.

Dumbfounded as they were, it didn't take the men long to notice the bar emptying. They made it outside just ahead of the wall of flesh.

Cerys wriggled out the door, from under the flesh that filled it. Most of the crowd was standing well back, over in the town's main intersection, but the three drunkards weren't far outside.

"Whass' happening?" said red-face. Upstairs, the shutters were popping open as flesh bulged out of them.

Cerys took an unconcerned look at the scene. "It's kinda complicated... if I put too much magic stuff into people they have naughty thoughts, and that makes more magic stuff."

"Uh... when's she gonna stop?" said no-shirt. The last shutter opened, a comically large nipple poking out of it.

"And weren't you scared of us a minute ago?" muttered red-face.

"She won't. She'll get bigger and bigger until boom!"

"What?! You mean she'll explode?" The walls were cracking and buckling outwards now.

"Nono, she'll have an orgasm."

"Oooh... heheheh." The drunkards leered. Most of the buidling had fallen away from Irina's body. She still had both hands over her mouth, but her now-freed legs were thrashing around.

"THEN she'll explode."

"What?!"

"It's all right. She'll go back to normal."

"What about us?!"

"Oh, the explosion isn't dangerous."

"Oh."

"It'll just scatter magic stuff around."

"What?!"

"Don't worry, it dissipates quick."

"Oh."

"Unless there's a person around to absorb it."

"WHAT?!"

"Nnnnaa!" Irina's hands weren't enough to keep her silent. The three drunkards turned to run, but only tripped over themselves.

There was a BOOM and a flash of light. When it cleared, the huge shape of Irina was gone, and in its place were the three men, taking up just as much space between them. It took them several solid seconds of hollering to realize that nothing else seemed to be happening.

"Uh, beggin' yer pardon, miss," one of them said. Cerys wasn't sure which was which any more; they were all quite red in the face, the jug was sitting on the ground, and none of them was wearing a shirt, or anything else for that matter. "But aren't we gonna, uh..."

"It's all the booze." said Cerys. "It'll take you guys a minute to feel it, and you'll have to get really big before you go off."

"What? Please, we've learned our lesson, okay? We'll leave you alone! We won't ever bother anyone again! Just make it stop!"

"Oh, that's the fun part. You can't stop it, you can only delay it. But hey, there is some good news. Do you know what a refractory period is?"

"Uh, no?"

"Well, it means after you blow, you're going to have a little more time than Irina to run for it. Oh hey, looks like it's starting for you guys. Have fun!"

She wandered off towards the watching crowd, ignoring the protests behind her.

One of the men in the crowd looked uncertainly from her to the growing men. He tried to step back as she approached, but the crowd was too thick behind him.

"Uh... you're a sorceress, right?" he asked.

"Something like that."

"You were just teaching those drunks a lesson, right? We're safe over here, right?"

Cerys looked over her shoulder, and turned back with a smile. "Right now, none of you are close enough to them to get affected when they explode."

"Oh. Good." The crowd relaxed at the news that they could safely watch the spectacle. Some even jeered at the drunks.

Irina emerged from the rubble of the inn, unsteady on her legs and trying to cover her body with the remains of her skirt. But when she looked up and saw the three men, she let the cloth fall away as she set off on a dead sprint down the road, towards the gate out of town.

"Uh... she's sure running a long way," said the man.

Cerys shrugged. "Well, wouldn't you after what happened?"

"But it's wilderness out there, why's she going so far?"

Cerys didn't get a chance to respond before one of the drunks exploded. The crowd yelled, almost a cheer.

When the glare faded, only one man was left lying naked in the middle of the street, back to normal. "Where'd they go?" someone asked.

In the distance, another of the men, now much larger, fell from the sky and landed on top of the forest.

"Where's the other one?" said someone else.

Only a few members of the crowd thought to look up in time to see last of the drunkards landing on top of them. He wasn't heavy enough to do anything but rest lightly on top of the mob, but that didn't stop everyone from trying to escape. And he had, unfortunately, landed upright.

"Stop moving around down there!" he yelled. "Stop it! You're all gonna, you're gonnaaagh--" BOOM.

The intersection was filled with a pile of naked, bloated, screaming people. The now-normal-sized drunk had rolled down the pile and was unconscious, face-down in the the road.

Cerys surveyed the results. No one was actually growing, but the situation had everyone pretty much hysterical. Something needed to be done.

Cerys cupped her hands and shouted to be heard over the yelling. "HEY! LISTEN UP! You're all too small for it to get to you. You'll start shrinking in a few minutes."

That seemed to calm the crowd a bit. Cerys continued, "As long as none of you really like the idea of getting bigger and bigger..."

The pile shifted.

"...every part of you getting stretched and tight..."

The pile was starting to rise and spread.

"...towering above everyone else..."

The people towards the top were sent rolling down, a few of them burying the drunk just as he was starting to get back to his feet.

"...being so huge you can see for miles..."

A growing young woman was emerging from the pile. She had her eyes closed tight and her mouth in a grimace, fighting against inevitability.

"Oh hey," said Cerys. "I guess someone does!"

Everyone started shouting at once. "Isn't that one of the barmaids?"

"What are you doing? Stop it!"

"Stop growing!"

"I'm trying!" yelled the barmaid.

"See, that's what I love about you humans and your morals," said Cerys, not that anyone could hear as the barmaid loomed larger and larger over the intersection and the general panic resumed. "If you'd just let yourself go while you're still small, it'd hardly be a problem at all. But you fight it and try to hold back, and so..."

The barmaid barely made a sound. Just a sudden squirm, a sharp breath, and she exploded.

And then it was raining round, swelling bodies all over the town. Some cried out in fear, some cried out in surprise... and some cried out for other reasons, barely touching the ground before they themselves exploded.

Cerys strolled out of town, admiring her work.

The sun was going down by the time she found Irina hiding in a bush, well outside of town. Every so often there was another distant explosion, and more yells. The chain reaction was slowing as people spread out, but it had a while to go.

Irina glared. "I never should have let you out of that magic circle. I don't know why I let you travel with me."

Cerys grinned. "Then tell me to go away."

Irina didn't meet her eyes.

"No?" said Cerys, walking forward. "There's no one around, and no one's going to notice another boom tonight. Unless you're going to ask me not to touch you?"

Irina said nothing.

"See? You wouldn't have any fun without me," said Cerys, and gave Irina a big hug.

Author's Note: 

My entry for Prose that Blows 7, with parts I had to cut to get under the contest's word limit added back in.

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