I live in a small, country town just about an hour away from Chicago. I’ve lived there my entire life. In the twenty-three years I have lived here, nothing has changed however. No new buildings, not new townsfolk nothing. Except for… one time. There was once a empty corner store that no shop was in for years. One day, when me and my girlfriend, Maria were sharing a beer behind the drug store, I stole it from my house, when we saw that there was a moving truck in front. After we finished and hid the beer bottle we went to go see what was happening. Turns out, there was a pizza shop being set up. I was excited to see there was going to be something new in the town. Finally! Something new for everyone! You have to understand that when I was a kid, I thought my home town was as exciting as paper. So when this new pizza joint was announced, I was as happy as a kid in a candy shop. There’s just one little problem… I'm not a fan of pizza. Yea I know, I know that probably means I’m a hellspawn or something, but I'm sorry, it's not my thing! However, my girlfriend loves pizza more than life itself. So naturally, I knew we would have to go there when it opened.
The odd thing was that it took surprisingly long to open. I'm not sure why, but it opened about four months after the moving van rolled into town. But sure enough, it did open.
The night Maria and I went to the pizza parlor, I had something to eat before we went there. Like I said I don’t eat pizza so I had a small sandwich about a half hour prior to us going there. It possibly ended up saving my life. Sadly I cannot say the same for Maria. Maria… I should have protected you more.
As Maria and I walked to the parlor, I could tell she was hungry. Maria is a little heavy set, but that does not bother her or me at all.
“I'm gonna have a whole pie! Jesus I’m starving!” Maria exclaimed. “An entire pie?” I asked. “Don’t eat too much or you might get sick!” I said to her as I moved my arm around her. Maria laughed. Her flaming red hair leaning against my neck, “Don’t worry hun, I'll be ok.” Maria said.
We arrived at the Parlor. The sign read “Red Pumpkin Pizza”, and they were open. Oddly though, nobody was inside.
We walked in to see there where four booths on the left and right, a black and white checkered floor, and a counter toward the back that had all the types of pizza there was. However, only one man at the counter. He was tall and long. His arms and fingers were long and thin, and he had a short white beard. He had a smug grin of confidence on his face.
“Come on in friends! Welcome to RPP! Red Pumpkin Pizza.” Maria walked up to him while I got us a seat in a booth. “What can I get you firefly?” The old man said with a smile. Showing his yellowed teeth. His breath smelled awful. He must have been a smoker. Maria looked over the menu, thought for a minute and said, “I'll have a small pepperoni pizza, please.” The man looked puzzled. “Small? That ain't gonna be enough for the two of ya.” He said. “Oh no, it's just for me. He doesn’t eat pizza.” The man looked right at me with a look only a man with a plan can make. Under his breath he said, “Don’t eat pizza eh…” He looked back to Maria and said. “Sure. I'll be back in a minute” He turned and walked in back before Maria could even pull out the money. “Hey! How much for the pie?” Maria Said. No response. Maria, now quite confused, left a ten on the counter, and took a seat across from me at the booth.
Shortly after, the pizza was placed on the table. “Enjoy little missy.” He said with a smile as he placed the Frisbee sized pizza on the table. Maria looked up and said, “did you get the money I placed on the counter?” “Oh, yes I did. Thank you very much.” He said and walked away quickly into the back. We were alone. Just me, Maria, and a pizza.
Maria did not delay as she began to stuff her face with the pepperoni pizza. All I could do was sit and watch. I was not hungry and watching Maria eat it made me want it even less. Sooner than later, Maria finished the pie, and she looked happy about that.
“How was it?” I asked lovingly.
Maria smiled and before she could say anything, a low rumble was heard from below the table. We paused. It sounded almost… unnatural to say the least. Maria looked down under the table to see it there was anything under the table. Nothing. We looked to each other, then around, but ended up finding nothing.
Just before I was going to say that was weird we heard it again, but this time it was a little louder, and we could tell where it came from. Maria’s Stomach. Maria looked down at her belly, and placed her hand on it. Strangely it was warm, and was growling in the same strange way.
Then, the shit hit the fan.
Maria’s stomach began to expand. It could be heard through out the empty room. The sound of skin stretching, and her now growing belly becoming larger and larger. “OH MY GOD! HELP ME!” Maria shouted. She was beginning to panic, and so was I! I jumped out of my seat and began to pull Maria out. She was much heavier due to her expanding stomach. Luckily she was able to be pulled out of the seat. Her stomach was growing bigger. Now it was the size of a basketball, it popped the buttons on her shirt. She began to scream. The blood veins in her stomach began to show. She was stretching too fast, too big, sharply! Then began to cough up blood, all over her flannel shirt and skin. Still she began to grow.
I ran to the back to see if the man was there. He was missing. No one was in sight. I heard Maria scream again, so I had to rush to her help. When I got back out to the main area, her belly was all red with stretch marks and blood stains. She looked to me for a second, before her belly exploded.
Her belly busted open, throwing her swollen organs everywhere. I was covered in blood and half-digested food. All that was left of Maria, was her upper torso, and her face frozen in fear and pain.
It's been five years since the event took place. The more I think about it... the less it makes sense. Where did that man go? Why set up a shop, that took four mouths to do, and then cut town? Why were we the only ones there? Behind the shop was a corn patch. If he left that way, why was there no broken corn stalks? Why? Why? Why?!
I was never blamed for Maria's death. Not by the police or her parents. And the autopsy confirmed that there was a growing herb inside Maria's stomach that caused her to swell. That event has played in my nightmares over and over again for years. Sometimes from Maria's view, sometimes from my view but slower, forcing me to see her belly rip open and send her guts everywhere.
I hate pizza.