|There were just a few hits left. Looking down at the list, Harbinger ticked off five names and went over the plan with his next harvester. “Here, can you move over some? I’m squished,” he said, wiggling on the sofa.|
“Sorry,” said Gluttony, moving his vast frame an inch to the side. “It’s the best I can do.”
“Nevermind. It’s time to go anyway. Are you ready?”
“I’m hungry to begin.”
“Good one. All right, let’s roll.”
“Don’t say roll. Unless you have butter and jam, too.”
Back on campus, Birdly busied herself with the hors d’ouevres she was preparing for a small group of Debs who were getting ready to watch a scary movie marathon. They loved to freak themselves out around Halloween time. And who didn’t enjoy munching on pigs-in-blankets saturated with ketchup while watching a good slasher flick?
“Here we are,” she said to OmarSnake, Beck, CJ and ShouLao. “And there’s popcorn in there for later if you’re still hungry.”
“Mmm, pass it over,” said Omar, grabbing the tray of potato skins. “Got any sour cream?”
“Here it is,” CJ handed it to him. “I’ll take the poppers.”
“Are they cream cheese or cheddar?” Beck asked.
“Cream cheese,” Birdly replied.
“Oh, me too, then. Is there any ranch dressing?”
“I’ll get it.”
“No, let me,” ShouLao said. “I want a soda anyway. Anybody else?” He took their drink orders and headed into the kitchen. Silently, Gluttony phased in. ShouLao suddenly felt the need to bring more. He piled extra sodas and chips onto a tray and brought them out to the living room.
“What are you doing with all that?” CJ said, amused. Then Gluttony came in behind him. “You can’t have all that for yourself. Give me some!”
“I’m first!” cried OmarSnake. “I outrank you people. Those nachos have my name on them.”
“Take ‘em,” said Beck. “I get all the poppersh. Where’sh that ranch?” She stuffed her mouth fuller and fuller.
Even though they were eating faster and in more volume than they ever had, each of them felt as though they were trying to fill a canyon with a teaspoon full of dirt at a time. They were desperate to have more food.
“Gimme!” Birdly said, snatching the ketchup from CJ.
“No, ish mine,” said CJ, and they tugged on the bottle, fighting each other. Gluttony stood watching, eating it up. “More, more,” he whispered. “Eat, eat.” Finally, CJ’s mouth opened wide, wider than was humanly possible, and swallowed Birdly whole.
The others gasped, horrified, but unable to see that their mouths, too, were growing and their jaws were turning to jelly. They could not stop themselves from eating everything in sight. ShouLao punctured the soda cans on his teeth and dumped their contents into his ever-widening mouth. When they were gone, he turned on Beck. GULP! In one swift move she was gone. He and CJ sat in blubbery form like Jabba the Hut.
OmarSnake was oblivious. They kept eating, and so did he. He ate the potato skins. He ate the nachos. He ate the pigs-in-blankets. He ate the mustard and the plastic squeeze bottle it was in. “I’m HUNGRY!” he bellowed, and with Gluttony standing behind him, his jaw unhinged entirely and he scooped up both CJ and ShouLao. They slid down his gullet. But then—
OmarSnake’s eyes widened and he clutched his gargantuan neck in panic. He could not breathe. The two students were stuck in his craw. Gluttony fully materialized then. He watched interestedly as Omar tried to speak, tried to call for help, but could make no sound through the windpipe that was now completely blocked. Omar’s motions slowed, and his energy failed him. In moments his hands fell lifelessly to his sides and his watery eyes stared unseeing into space, his giant tongue lolling out from between puffy blue lips.
Gluttony searched his pockets, finally finding the gold crystal vial in the folds within, and held it out as a very large, very round, five-globbed ethereal cloud squeezed its way into the opening. Unable to find the cork, Gluttony shrugged and stuck his plump finger into the top and trudged back to the mansion.