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It was eerily dark that night, despite the cold glow of the full moon. The young couple seemed oblivious, walking hand in hand through the woods. Wind howled suddenly, rustling dead leaves that still clung desperately to the gnarled trees. The girl jumped. "Ernst, something touched my cheek!"

The young man smiled and wrapped his arms around his companion, hugging her close. She held just the right amount of air, and he felt it rush to other parts of her as he squeezed. "It was just a leaf. Nobody's out here but us."

She turned to look at him. "I don't think this was such a good idea. This isn't romantic, it's creepy. Can't we go back?"

"If you really want," he frowned, "but I was looking forward to doing a little exploring while we're here."

A look of concern washed over Ilsa's face. Her voice fell to a hushed whisper. "Ernst, here of all places...? Are you mad? Please, let's leave. I'm frightened."

"What, with me here to protect you?" Ernst chuckled. "What are you so afraid of? Surely you don't believe those old stories. They're meant to scare children. You're perfectly safe." He gently patted her belly. It thumped reassuringly. "See? Plenty of air in there." He grinned mischievously. "Perhaps a little more will calm your nerves."

Before she could protest, Ernst dropped to his knees in front of her. He eased her blouse up over her stomach. Her navel was perfect in its shape and depth. He kissed it, eliciting a moan from the young woman. "Please, not now...this is hardly the time or the place..."

"It's always the time and the place," he breathed, inhaling deeply. He placed his lips around the inviting bellybutton and blew. There was a slight resistance that faded quickly as Ilsa's already ample tummy bulged outward. She closed her eyes and held him tight as he drew another breath. Before long she'd become so round that even standing was difficult. Ernst stood back, admiring his handiwork. "You're beautiful," he told her, kissing her tight belly over and over. There was a loud bang and a sudden rush of air.

Ilsa opened her eyes. Before her was a shadowy figure. Something bright and shiny glinted in his hand. "Ernst? Ernst, where are you?" Her voice rose in panic.

"I'm afraid your boyfriend had to leave rather suddenly," the figure rasped, his toe nudging the pile of empty clothing on the ground at her feet.

"Ernst! No!" Ilsa screamed. She tried to run, but it was impossible. She merely wobbled back and forth in place.

"It would seem you're stuck, my dear, in a different fashion than your ex." The man smiled crookedly. "No matter. I have plans for you."

Ilsa closed her eyes as the world grew darker still. Her captor rolled his unconscious prisoner along through the woods, careful to avoid anything sharp in their path. "We'll need you intact," he mused. "Greatness awaits."


The moon was at its zenith when Arn stepped outside of the warm cottage. His breath misted in the frosty air. "That girl is due a whipping, sneaking out like that, and with a young scoundrel like Ernst!"

"Oh, know you've never beaten anyone. I've never even seen you swat a fly." Ingrid's voice couldn't conceal her concern for her twin sister. "You don't see her anywhere?"

Arn frowned, his brow furrowed with worry. "She should know better. It isn't safe to venture out at night."

"I'm sure she'll be all right with Ernst. He really isn't such a bad sort."

"Just the same, I'll take a lantern and go search, if for no other reason than to give that hoodlum a sound verbal lashing."

Ingrid took her father's arm, handing him a small lantern. Its feeble light was quickly swallowed by the looming darkness. "Wait, I'll go with you."

Arn shook his head. "Stay here, where it's safe. I'll return soon with both of them." He drew his tattered coat more closely about him against the wind, and set forth into the night.


It had been quite a struggle to get Ilsa through the entranceway to the castle. Thankfully the ancient walls were stone, still fairly smooth. Had they been wood, there would have been splinters to watch for.

Ilsa moaned in a darkened corner while the man set about his work. With great effort he dislodged the heavy granite lid from a sepulchre in the center of the chamber. It fell to the flagstones with a heavy thud. The man anxiously peered inside the tomb. A long, blackened pin rose from the middle of a pile of what appeared to be rags. He quickly worked it back and forth until it finally came loose. He cast the tarnished silver pin aside with disdain.

"Now, my dear, it's time for you to fulfill your destiny." The man got behind Ilsa and rolled her up onto the open bier. He carefully turned her face down, so that she resembled a makeshift lid, then stood back. "Master, it is time for you to awaken," he offered reverently. "Accept this token of my servitude!" He withdrew into a corner to observe.

Ilsa moaned again. "Ernst...where are you? What is this place...?" She felt a tugging at her navel. "Ernst...what...oh!" Something had fastened itself to her belly. She tried to push up, but found herself unable to move. "Help me! Help -"

The man watched eagerly as he heard a barely audible pop followed by a sibilant hiss. Ilsa's rotund form began to shrink, first losing its roundness, then gradually growing smaller and smaller until what remained of her fell into the stone receptacle. A moment later a pale hand clutched the edge, and a dark figure slowly rose.

"Master!" the man clasped his hands together. "You have returned!"

Baron von Blote stepped out of the sepulchre, dusting off his cape. "Yes."

"Have I served you well?"

"You have. There is but one last thing for you to do."

"Anything, Master! Name it!"

Von Blote reached down into the tomb and pulled out Ilsa's inanimate remains. He inhaled slowly. The chamber, as cold and dank as it had been, seemed to grow moreso. Ilsa's air inside him appeared to imbue him with power. He held her empty form to his lips and exhaled. The shapeless object rapidly inflated. Ilsa moaned once more, but this time it wasn't out of pain or pleasure. Von Blote regarded her flatly, then nodded toward his servant. "Take him," he intoned.

The smaller man's eyes grew wide. "Wait, you can't! I have done everything you've commanded!" Before he could speak another word, Ilsa was upon him. She tore his jacket and shirt from his scant belly, affixing her ripe lips to his navel. "Master, please! Ah!" He felt himself grow weaker as she ravenously drained his air, her own belly swelling as his shrank. He managed a sigh as his legs buckled. He collapsed to the floor and into oblivion.

Von blote gazed at her emotionlessly. He saw the hunger in her eyes and was pleased. "You have done well," he spoke. "Now come. I have a task for you." He unfurled his cloak, beckoning her. Ilsa wordlessly entered into its folds. Together they escaped into the night.


Sitting before the hearth, Ingrid suddenly stiffened and cried out. Her father had been unable to find Ilsa or Ernst. He dropped the wood he'd been gathering and ran into the cottage. "What is it, child? What's happened?"

Ingrid fell into his arms, sobbing. "Oh, Papa, it's Ilsa. Something terrible has happened to her. I can feel it."

Arn held his daughter close. "Ingrid, you mustn't say such things. Ilsa will be fine. She and Ernst most likely fell asleep somewhere. She'll be back in the morning, you'll see."

"No, Papa. I'm afraid."

"Afraid of what?" A familiar voice came from the door. Arn and Ingrid stared. "What, have I turned green or something? You both look as though you've seen a ghost!" Ilsa laughed, a sound like tinkling glass.

"Ilsa! We were so worried!" Arn's relief took hold of him, and he started toward the door.

Ingrid took her father's arm. "Papa, wait."

Arn turned toward his younger daughter, puzzled. "Wait for what? What's come over you, child?"

"Sister, aren't you glad to see me?" Ilsa pouted. "I thought you were worried too. As you can see, I'm fine." She stood there in the entrance as if waiting for something, smiling benignly.

Ingrid watched her sister, and a chill ran down her spine. She felt the air inside her contract sharply, reducing her belly to hardly more than a tiny bulge. Ilsa noticed this, and Ingrid saw a shadow pass over her face. She froze. "Papa, this isn't Ilsa."

Arn looked at Ingrid incredulously. "What are you about, Ingrid? Of course it's Ilsa." He pulled free of the girl's grasp. "Ilsa, why are you standing there in the cold? Come in. You must be starving."

"Oh, I am, Papa, more than you know." Ilsa stepped into the room, her eyes flashing. Before she could advance further, an arm shot into the room from the darkness, snatching her back. She snarled furiously before disappearing back into the blackness.

Arn's face was ashen, and he sat down heavily. "You were right, Ingrid. That...creature...was not our Ilsa." He lowered his face into his hands. "I need some air. Please fetch me the bellows."

Ingrid brought her father their modest bellows. This one had been in their family for generations. The use of bellows was only permitted under the most dire of circumstances. She handed it to Arn, who carefully inserted the nozzle into his bellybutton. Ingrid watched as Arn filled with fresh air, his belly pushing out rhythmically with each squeeze of the bellows. The life gradually returned to him, but he was clearly distraught. He returned the bellows to his daughter. "Your sister," he began. His voice faltered, and he sobbed.

Ingrid stood behind him, holding him as he wept. It was their worst nightmare come true. Baron von Blote, Lord of The Nosfairatu, walked the earth once more. But who could have willingly unleashed such a horror, knowing what destruction it would bring? And now this unspeakable terror had taken her sister, making her one of his own, one of the Unbloated. There was only one way to free her, and her heart ached at the thought.

Arn placed his hands over his daughter's. "We can't leave her like this," he told her, his voice a whisper. "I must deliver her from his influence. I must burst your sister."

Ingrid hugged her father. "I know, Papa."

"It must be done before she spreads this curse to anyone else." He stood up, his face set in grim determination. "And then I will seek out the monster who has taken her from us. I will destroy von Blote."


"Why did you stop me?" Ilsa paced angrily. "I'm wasting away!"

Von Blote sat at an ornate wooden table in an abandoned monastery, his fingers folded in a tent. He was obviously deep in thought, and didn't appreciate the interruption. "You have feasted already. Learn to pace yourself. Gluttony will be your undoing."

"Hardly a feast," Ilsa spat. "There was nothing in him. I need more! I'm hungry!"

Von Blote got up and glared menacingly at her. "Be silent, or I'll burst you myself." She knew from his expression that he was quite serious. Her air contracted, and her skin hung on her like rags on bones. "You will do as I command. Is that understood?" His eyes blazed, boring deeply into her own. "Is that understood?" he repeated, punctuating each syllable.

"Yes, Master," she replied, hatred simmering in each word. "I'll steal a bellows instead."

"Little fool. Our air must be drawn from a living vessel. Now leave me. I have plans to make."

Ilsa swept out of the room. The moon hung low in the sky. It would be daybreak soon. She feared von Blote, but hunger took hold of her. He wouldn't know if she were to take one more victim before the sun rose. Her diminishing figure glided over the frozen ground. She could hear the hissing as her air slowly fled her body. She weakened with each passing moment. If she didn't find someone soon, she would never survive the coming day.

The sound of metal striking wood caught her attention. She turned toward the town tavern. The innkeeper stood out in the chill air, well-inflated arms swinging an axe, chopping wood for his wife, the cook. The man was huge, the balloon of his belly attesting to his good fortune and success. She knew his woman, Johanna, too...her swollen belly nearly matched his in size. She hissed with anticipation. She would fill herself until she dwarfed von Blote. Lips parting in a twisted smile, she moved in to feast.


Ernst groaned miserably. His head was pounding, and he felt weak and disoriented. "Welcome back, lad." He tried to open his eyes and sit up. A strong hand gently pushed him back down. "Not so quickly. You're in no shape to do anything."

Ernst could only make out vague shapes hovering over him. "Ilsa...?" His voice sounded strange, thin and distant.

"Don't try to speak. I found you in the woods. It's a miracle we were able to save you. Had it been much longer, we couldn't have brought you back."

Ernst felt a rush of air pumping into him. It was enough to give him strength to speak, but little more. Another pump. His eyes regained their focus. Arn and Ingrid were at his bedside. He was in their cottage. Arn was slowly squeezing their small household bellows, literally breathing new life into him. Ernst was still dreadfully emaciated. "Ilsa!"

Arn put his hand on Ernst's shoulder. "Ilsa is gone."

Ernst read Arn's expression, and saw Ingrid's face, flush from crying. "Oh, no," he sobbed. "This is all my fault. I should never have taken her to the forest. Ilsa!"

Ingrid held Ernst as her father continued to inflate him. "It's fortunate whoever burst you used something so small. I was able to repair the puncture until you mend on your own." His face darkened. "We'll have to be certain Ilsa remains at peace, once she's..." he stopped. "Ingrid, tend to Ernst. It's nearly light. You should be safe then."

"Arn, please, let me go. I've almost enough air in me now. I know what must be done. Stay here with Ingrid. If anything happens to me, you'll have to set things right."

Arn regarded the young man intently. It was clear that he was resolved to do whatever was necessary to redeem himself. "All right. But be careful. She isn't our Ilsa any longer."

"I know, sir. And I will."

Arn removed the bellows. Ernst looked as if he'd never been burst. The older man hoped that he would prove as sturdy as he looked. Ilsa would find her rest, but von Blote was another matter.

"Papa," Ingrid spoke, her tone determined. "I believe I know how we might rid ourselves of this plague. Don't try to forbid me. I won't be swayed. Now, help me find my longest gown."


The first rays of dawn had yet to creep over the horizon when Ernst reached the tavern. He found Hans the innkeeper first, his deflated form flat and puckered on the ground. Not far from him he saw Johanna, Hans' wife, carelessly cast over a barrel like an old towel. He was about to try to bring them back when he heard a voice behind him, dark and sultry.

"Ernst! I thought I would never see you again." He turned to see Ilsa, and was immediately stunned by her beauty. She was fully ballooned, glutted with air stolen from the innkeeper and his wife. Her round cheeks glowed, and her arms and legs were swollen to near uselessness. But her belly...

"Ilsa," Ernst gasped. "I've never seen you look so beautiful."

"Thank you, Ernst. Come closer." She smiled alluringly, reaching out toward him. He felt impossibly drawn to her. Her eyes fell to his stomach, searching hungrily. "Come to me, I've missed you so!"

Ernst approached Ilsa as if in a trance. She smiled smugly, ready to draw his air into herself. She felt his hands on her belly, holding her firmly. "This is for you." He took a deep breath, pressed his lips to her navel, and blew.

"What are you doing? Ah, Ernst..." Ilsa closed her eyes. This wasn't how she'd planned to drain him, but the air felt so good...

Ernst took another breath. And another. Ilsa slowly swelled, bigger and fuller as he continued. Her cheeks grew full and widened, her fingers and toes became mere nubs on her swollen hands and feet. At length her arms and legs disappeared into her body, now a huge round sphere.

Ilsa was moaning as daylight tinged the sky. Her belly had become so tight Ernst was unsure he could inflate her further. "Why have you stopped...I must have more..." Her words were strained, yet filled with desire.

"And more you'll have," Ernst promised. Her belly was trembling, the stretchmarks lacing across it becoming deep and red. It groaned ominously as the sun's first rays fell upon her. Her eyes snapped open as she realized what was about to happen. "I'll always love you, Ilsa." He took one last, enormous breath and blew into her with all his might.


Baron von Blote entered his castle just as thin gray fingers of light raked the sky. He had barely reached the crypt when the pre-dawn silence was shattered by a loud boom. He snarled. Ilsa had meant nothing to him, but it was still annoying that he had lost her so quickly. It mattered little; he would find another companion soon enough.

As he made his way to his sepulchre a figure emerged from the shadows. In the faint light he was delighted to discover he had a visitor. She was young and fair, and her long gown looked painfully tight over her belly. She was extraordinarily bloated, and there had been scant air to be found elsewhere that night.

"Come here, girl," he commanded, his eyes riveted to her midriff.

Ingrid slowly moved to the Lord of the Nosfairatu, careful to remain in the shadows. "Please, milord, I've come seeking my sister, who hasn't returned home. She spoke of visiting this castle. I'd hoped to find her here."

Von Blote smirked. "I'm afraid all you have found here is your fate. Show me your belly." Ingrid obediently opened the front of her gown. Her full stomach bounced out, round and firm with air. Von Blote approached her as a spider does a fly. Her navel was deep, the delicate rim stretched by the pressure within. He smiled with anticipation. "You'll prove a far more satisfying meal than your sister."

Ingrid made no move to resist as the baron placed one hand on each of her hips. She steeled herself as she felt his lips encircle her bellybutton. There began a tugging, gentle at first, then more forceful. She shuddered as she heard the soft pop of her navel being pulled outward. The soft hiss of her air being drawn out of her sent shivers down her spine. Despite this, she remained still and acquiescent.

Von Blote drew fiercely. His belly began to swell, pushing against his fine suit. The fabric grew snug, gapping as buttons strained to contain the expanding abdomen beneath. He ravenously continued to pull, ecstatic to have found so bountiful and compliant a feast. His brocade vest burst open with the staccato clattering of buttons. His opulent silk shirt held for a moment, then abruptly split to hang in tatters over his distending stomach.

Ingrid watched as von Blote steadily bloated, growing larger by the instant. "More, milord, take more. It's all for you." Her words seemed to fan his hunger, for the pulling became so strong and quick she nearly swooned. She reached out and held his head firmly to her belly. "That's it," she encouraged him. "Take it all."

Von Blote sensed the sun had begun to rise, but he was helpless to stop. He had to drain her, to leave her deflated and empty. Then he would bring her back as he had Ilsa. Surely Ingrid was near depletion. He yanked furiously. His belly stretched tighter and tighter, an enormous balloon rapidly reaching capacity. But that was impossible. This had never happened before. Yet still he drew.

"Just a bit more..." she coaxed. She felt him slowing despite his hunger. He grunted as he struggled to pull more, but he'd already taken several times any amount he'd had in the past. "Certainly you haven't finished? Am I free to go, then?"

Von Blote snarled and forced himself to continue, goaded on by his intended prey. His pale skin had stretched tight and still the air hissed into him. He could no longer hold onto Ingrid, as his turgidity forced his arms apart. Only Ingrid's hands held him to her belly, which was still maddeningly full. He pulled and pulled and pulled until he was so gorged he could no longer move.

Ingrid let loose her grasp, and the baron rolled back, an enormous balloon, completely spherical save for his head, hands and feet. He'd taken so much it was an effort even to speak. He glanced at her in disbelief. She hadn't shrunk at all. "How?"

Arn stepped out of the shadows from behind his rotund daughter. "Take cover," he instructed her. As she turned von Blote could see the hose she'd had concealed by her long dress. Ingrid picked up the attached bellows and quickly left the chamber.

" tricked me!" he growled.

"Yes, you monster. It was my daughter's idea..."

Von Blote's eyes widened as he noticed what Arn held in his hand. He rocked back and forth trying to move, but it was futile. He'd taken too much.

"...And this is mine." Arn raised the long tarnished pin high above his head, then plunged it deep into von Blote's navel.

The Lord of the Nosfairatu exploded with a deafening boom, showering the chamber with scraps of skin and cloth. The force of the blast hurled Arn from the room. The interior walls shook and crumbled, burying von Blote beneath a funerary mound of ancient stones and rubble.

Outside, the heavens were awash with pastels as the sun climbed the early morning sky. For Arn, the world sank into inky darkness.


Alan Charles consulted his map, wondering why the ruins before him weren't listed there. The pamphlets and brochures were of little help. They briefly mentioned some sort of incident that had taken place in the area nearly a century ago - a terrible accident, some type of malady, injured townsfolk who'd subsequently recovered - but didn't touch on any of the details. He'd hoped to find something of interest inside, but aside from rubble and brambles it had been a complete disappointment.

"Are you certain this was a castle, Alan? After all, it doesn't look like much." Lee made her way over to her husband and peered over his shoulder. "It isn't even on the map." She pouted. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have insisted we come here."

"It's all right," he assured her. "I know how you're fascinated by local color and superstition. Besides, what better adventure for a pair of amateur archaeologists? Forgotten old castle, monastery, whatever...just adds to the mystery, don't you think? There could still be treasure buried in there." He playfully squeezed Lee's belly, causing her arms and legs to plump. "Not as much as in here, though."

"Ah, you're a dreamer," his wife giggled. "Maybe this was a grand old place once, but I'm sure anything of value has already been removed. And I certainly don't look forward to chancing a puncture from that undergrowth again. All those barbs and nettles!"

"Don't worry, I have the first aid kit right here," Alan winked. He held up a hand pump. "Of course, we needn't wait for a puncture."

"Emergency only, remember? Besides, there will be plenty of time for that back at the hotel."

Alan cast a concerned glance at his wife. "Come to think of it, you do seem a little underinflated. Are you feeling all right?"

"Just fine," she replied. "Let's get back." As they started toward the forest Lee caressed the thinly stretched scraps in her pocket, barely able to control her excitement. Perhaps there hadn't been gold, silver or baubles for Alan, but she had found the treasure she'd been seeking. Behind them, the ruins seemed to swallow the sun's dying rays, holding the darkness to them like a jealous lover.

Lee patted her navel furtively and smiled.

Average: 3.4 (5 votes)
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airtankgirl5's picture
Wow, I thought this was

Wow, I thought this was really inpressive in several different ways.  I thought it was a well done story in its native style, the Hammer-esque rural vampire story.  Also having the whole universal inflation as a requirement if you will, to every day life, was quite intoxicating.  I wish I knew if I know who did this.  :)