A Bit of Bad Luck, part 1

Date Written: 
03/18/2008

Alli leaned against a tree trunk growing along the bank as she began to examine her find. It was a small, iridescent blue frog that she had just netted in the stream. The patterning on its skin was different from any other species known to inhabit this part of the rainforest. She grinned. Definitely a new species.

Alli had come to Costa Rica to study the declining amphibian populations there. Her area of focus was a small, uninhabited patch of forest by the coast, which had only been explored once before, back in the late 1800s. The rainforest was virtually untouched. The only sign of human interference was a narrow dirt road that led down to a long, crescent beach at the forest’s edge. The streams and ponds above the beach were said to be teeming with amphibians. At the moment she was about a half mile up one of these streams, just out of earshot from the ocean.

The area’s isolation appeared to have helped prevent the creatures from being exposed to the deadly fungus that was now wiping out frog populations all over the world. This made it a priceless piece of habitat, and she had been extremely lucky to get this piece of land. Who knew what kinds of amazing new specimens she could find there?

Alli examined the frog more closely. Most of its body was the same iridescent blue-green as its back, but its fingers and toes were a deep maroon. The creature’s eyes were completely black, and its ventral region was darker blue than the surrounding skin. She noticed a pair of spurs on its hind feet. Probably used in mating, she thought, which would make this a male.

This excited her. At 25, Alli was already working for her Master’s Degree. She had always dreamed that she might discover a new species of amphibian, but she hadn’t expected to find one so soon. At 5’6”, she was pretty, though not gorgeous, with dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, and a fairly modest figure. Her colleagues often joked why someone so pretty would be studying slimy little frogs, but she knew they weren’t serious. Personally, Alli didn’t think of herself as very pretty, but she also didn’t feel particularly unattractive, either. Still, she didn’t expect any boys to be trying to pick her up anytime soon.

Gently rotating the tiny frog to examine its legs, she was startled to feel the creature’s spurs jab themselves into her thumb. Dropping the little amphibian, she examined the wound. Two miniscule puncture marks were oozing droplets of dark blood out of her thumb. The injury wasn’t serious, and she shrugged it off. It doesn’t even hurt, she thought. Her confidence renewed, Alli looked up just in time to see the little green frog jump into the relatively fast moving waters of the stream. She slapped herself. Why did she have to drop it?! Quickly stepping back into the stream, she reached her arms down to try and grab it...

...And just barely stopped herself from falling face first into a large rock. Looking up, she saw the forest around her spinning chaotically. Dizzy and nauseated, she collapsed in the stream, her head propped up against a rock looking up at the sky. Wave after wave of nausea coursed through her body, and her head swam with bizarre and disorienting colors.

It was a few minutes before she managed to recover enough to try and figure out what had happened. It was obvious that the frog had some type of poison that it had injected into her through those spurs, but it didn’t make sense. No species of frog had an adaptation like that, and most poisonous frogs in this area had deadly toxins, rather than hallucinogens. That thought made her worry. Maybe the poison would kill her. Maybe she would slowly suffocate as her respiratory system shut down. Or maybe her skin would rot off as she was slowly broken down into liquid. Maybe she would drown before she managed to get control of her arms and legs.

It was this thought that made her realize that her pants were getting extremely tight. Not just her pants, but all of her clothes. She managed to lift her head enough to see her body...

...And screamed. What had once been a thin, fit looking torso was now a bloated, turgid ball, and it was still growing. Her belly had pushed its way out of her shirt and now looked several months overdue with twins. Just in front of her face were a pair of massive breasts, each nearing the size of volleyballs and stretching her shirt to its limits. She tried to get up, and was horrified to see that her arms had swollen as well, and refused to bend more than a few degrees at the elbow. She could see just past her belly that her legs seemed to be doing the same, filling up her once loose pants to the point of being painful. Desperately, Alli tried rocking herself onto her side to get up, only succeeding in making her gigantic belly bob back and forth like a water balloon. That’s when it hit her: she was filling up with water.

The frog’s toxin must had had some sort of compound that induced spontaneous cellular osmosis in the victim’s flesh when in contact with water. The nausea must be designed to keep the victim incapacitated while the toxin made it to every part of the body. Then, they would swell up and become immobile, allowing the frog to escape unharmed.

Unfortunately, this information didn’t help her at all, and she was brought back to reality by the loud ripping of her pants, which had finally yielded to the increasing pressure. This was followed almost immediately by her shirt. Her bra, which had snapped a couple of minutes before, fell into the stream and was swept away with the other scraps of clothing.

Alli sighed in relief. Now released from their confines, her legs and chest were no longer painful. However, without the clothes to constrict it, her body swelled out in all directions at a much faster speed. Her torso was now beginning to round out into an orb, and her cone-shaped limbs were quickly being absorbed into it. Her breasts had already begun to flatten out against her body, and Alli could feel her hands and feet begin to fill up as well. The fly-fishing shoes she had been wearing quickly ripped off as her feet became rounded and immobile.

Her body shifted as her back rounded out to match her front, and she felt her crotch, now level with her feet, hit the cold water of the stream. At this point Alli knew that she had no hope of saving herself, and that soon she would become a huge, round sphere. She pictured a water balloon being filled with water and bursting. This thought made her panic. Would she explode? Was she going to pop like a big water balloon? Once again she attempted to move, and once again all she achieved was a small wobble. Soon she couldn’t even do that, as her body finally became a sphere with her head, hands and feet sticking out. It wasn’t long however, before those were gone as well, leaving small bumps that were once her fingers and toes. Alli winced as, one by one, her finger and toenails popped off as the flesh around them swelled outward. She was now a featureless sphere with nothing except a head to indicate that she was once a slender young scientist.

Alli sat there as her body continued to expand outward. How could this happen? she thought. What did I do to deserve this? Why did I, Allison Veers, have the bad luck to end up a huge water balloon, doomed to eventually explode or just continue blowing up until there is nothing left to absorb? Why me?

These thoughts continued for several minutes, and still she continued to grow. Soon, she could feel the rocks underneath her shift slightly, and suddenly she was beginning to move. She moaned. She was rolling downhill, towards the... she gasped.

The ocean!

“Oh, no, no no no no!” she cried. “Please no!” But still her body rolled downward, bouncing around rocks and trees that jutted out of the stream. When she felt empty air she knew she had reached the waterfall about a quarter mile from the beach, and after a moment her massive gut hit the pool at the bottom. Alli’s spherical shape billowed outward, spurred on by the huge amounts of water hitting her skin. She estimated it had exceeded fifty or sixty feet by the time it had drained the pool and continued down the slope. By now she could hear the waves crashing against the beach, and after a minute she felt empty air again.

She hit the soft white sand of the beach with a sloshing noise, and she lay there, her body quivering. Her head was turned away from the beach, facing the trees at a slight angle. Above on the slope Alli could see the path that she had created through the trees on her way down. It was very wide.

She couldn’t feel the waves hitting her, which was a relief. She remembered that the beach was about a hundred yards wide on average; the distance became shorter or longer depending on the tide. She hoped that with the tide receding, so that she wouldn’t start expanding again.

These thoughts left her mind when she heard a loud thunderclap. In the last dying rays of sunlight Alli could see the clouds looming ominously over her. Her worries were confirmed when she felt the first drops hit her body.

Her situation hopeless, Alli Veers began to cry.

* * *

Leon Alvarez made his way along the dirt road that ran through the sanctuary. He was scheduled to do some repairs to a section of the road on the other end of the forest this morning, as evidenced by the Bobcat resting in the flatbed he towed behind his pickup. He also hoped to check in on Alli to see how she was doing. He would be passing by her research site any moment now.

He came around a corner to see a large branch sitting in the middle of the road. Hitting the brakes and stepping out of his car, he stared in amazement at the long path of felled trees extending a good quarter mile up the hill. His eyes followed it down to the beach, where it ended in front of a massive, flesh colored orb extending two thirds of the way to the waves. It was completely featureless as far as he could see, but Leon had an unpleasant feeling that he had seen this thing--whatever it was--before.

He quickly moved the branch out of the path of his pickup and sped along the road, taking a turn to go down to the beach.

Slamming the car door behind him, Leon made his way cautiously down the beach. As he got closer he realized just how massive this thing was. It was easily two hundred feed wide, and almost as tall. In the warm morning sun the entire orb glowed a translucent pinkish yellow.

He noticed a small dark spot near the ground on the side of it facing away from the ocean. He quickly started walking toward it. As he neared it, the spot turned into a small, brown-haired head.

Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, a ponytail he had seen two days before on the head of Alli Veers.

***

“Ms. Veers?”

Alli cracked open one eye and squinted up at the man who stood before her, concern and amazement written on his face.

“Leon?”

“S?, Ms. Veers. I... I’m not sure what has happened, but... I will attempt to help in any way I can.”

“Do you have a phone?”

“A walkie-talkie, yes.”

“Can you use it to call the Coast Guard, or the paramedics, or something?”

“S?, Ms. Veers. Right away.”

“And Leon?”

“Yes, Ms. Veers?”

“Call me Alli. And, er... thank you.”

The man smiled. “You are welcome, Alli.”

***

Alli managed to explain that she was absorbing water, and that she didn’t want her body to reach the ocean. Leon was able to use the Bobcat to first dig a long trench that would direct the tide away from her, and then use the extra sand to pile up a barrier that would shield her should the trench fail.

The paramedics arrived by helicopter a few hours later. However, they weren’t exactly sure what they could do. After a bit of explaining on Alli’s part, they sent up a couple of people to capture some of the frogs, to attempt to create an antidote.

However, there was a more pressing matter at hand. Alli had come to Costa Rica in the middle of the rainy season, which meant that she would keep swelling from the rain. A group of men, Leon included, helped to extend and deepen the trench to help redirect the tide.

Despite their best efforts, Alli continued to expand from the rain. In five days, she was only a few feet from the high tide mark, and had broken down the barrier piled up around her. There was not much time.

Meanwhile, back in a laboratory in San Jose, scientists had completely mapped all the components of the frog’s toxin. It was a remarkably simple compound, comprised mostly of chemicals that could be found in any science lab on the continent. The antidote was almost finished.

Unfortunately, it came a bit too late. Six days after her initial encounter with the frog, Alli hit the water at high tide. In fifteen hours, she had extended several hundred feet into the water, and was still growing at an alarming rate.

Meanwhile, the antidote was on its way...

***

Alli had been crying now for almost fifteen hours. She had expanded beyond anything she could have imagined. She could feel the waves lapping against her sides, passing through her skin and into her hugely distended body. How big would she get? A mile? Two miles? A hundred miles?

She was still thinking these thoughts when she heard the thumping rotors of a helicopter. The noise drew closer, and soon she felt the large machine press down against her. Landed on her, it had actually LANDED on her! She realized that there probably wasn’t enough room left on the beach for it to land. That though made her whimper again.

Soon a rope slid down her side, and a medic rappelled down and ran to her.

“We’ve got an antidote that we think will work. We can’t find vein anywhere else on you, so we’ll have to use your neck for the injection.”

Alli closed her eyes and hoped as she felt the needle enter her skin...

***

It took thirteen months and eight days for Allison Veers to deflate enough to be moved. The injection had worked, and she stopped swelling at a diameter of 1,562 feet, give or take a couple feet. Her height was smaller, due to her weight, only about 1,240 feet. Once again, give or take a few feet. It was hard to tell.

The incident was kept secret at the request of Ms. Veers. She wanted to publish a full report on the frog and the effects of its toxins. The scientists at the lab in San Jose were happy to conduct most of the research on the frog during her absence. They even offered to give her all the credit, but she refused. She did, however, let them give her the right to name the creature. Pedonychus Veersi, “Veers’s Foot Claw,” a deceptive name for a very remarkable creature. However, she just couldn’t bring herself to include Inflatus in its name. It was just too weird, she thought.

At thirteen months and eight days, Alli had shrunk back down to a diameter of thirty-five feet, and was able to be moved to a facility in San Jose. She spent three more weeks finishing up her deflation, and checked out after almost exactly fourteen months of near immobility.

The paper was published in National Geographic, with pictures of the frog along with Ms. Veers during her recovery. The story made headlines around the world, and many different private companies began experimenting with the compound(which was fairly easy to synthesize) for various uses.

Alli was given a large scientific grant to continue her studies in the preserve. She had made a full recovery from the frog’s toxin, and the only lasting effect was her finger and toenails. They never grew back after her expansion, and in their place was smooth, pale skin.

She had given most of the credit for the research to her colleagues in San Jose, and they received most of the interviews. She returned to the forest and set up a permanent base/living quarters near the stream where all of this began...

***

All walked carefully along the stream, her eyes peeled for her famous little frog. In the corner of her eye she saw a spot of green, and in a flash had scooped up the creature in her net. She walked over to the bank, and sat down on a piece of dry ground with it. Carefully placing the frog on her hand, she gave it a soft prod.

It responded in the way she had hoped, and she placed it on the ground and leaned back as her head began swimming with colors. The tiny amphibian hopped back into the water and swam of hurriedly.

Recovering from the nausea, Alli carefully unbuttoned her shirt and unhooked her bra, pulling it off and shoving it in her backpack. She placed her hands against two large rocks and slowly eased her breasts into the water, making sure to avoid the other parts of her body. She felt them swell as they absorbed the cool clear water. She kept them there until she felt they were sufficient size, and then pulled them out. They dried themselves in moments.

They were roughly the size of basketballs, and they quivered with the water that filled them. Pulling off her shirt, Alli took a very large, stretchy sports bra out of her backpack. Fastening it onto her chest, she grinned. Perfect fit. She then pulled out an extra large T-shirt and pulled it over her chest. A little snug around the chest, but still good.

Alli next pulled off her shorts, and very carefully dipped her rear into the stream. It only took a few moments for her hips and butt to swell up to match her chest. Standing up again, she replaced her now too small shorts and panties with larger sizes. The next thing to come out of her backpack was a small syringe, which she gently injected herself with. Stuffing her discarded clothes and empty syringe back in her backpack, she headed back up to her research station.

The station was pretty much a two unit cabin, one section for all of her research and field equipment, the other for living in. Striding majestically into the bedroom of the living unit, Alli struck a pose in front of the full length mirror set up against the wall. She grinned at her exaggerated hourglass figure. What do you know, she thought. A bit of bad luck and my life is perfect.

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