CAKE SNAKE


Abel slithered silently through the compound and kept to the shadows where his dark scales would hide even a beast his size. Every light was out and every devout soul was tucked away in bed. It was only nine PM so the wrym knew that there would still be several places in town that were still open. The sixty-foot serpent stopped by a wire fence on the far edge of the property and promptly shrank down to a more managable, human shape complete with unassuming clothes. He was skinny with short legs and long arms and a well-groomed swoop of hair that fell to one side of his face. On the outside, the only thing to Abel was a wyrm was the subtle, python-esque curve of his lips.

He dropped to his knees, ableit a little clumbsily since he didn't spend much time having knees, and reached into the hollow of a lightning-blackened stump that served as a post for the fence. Inside was a small sack containing a wallet with his very own money. The congritation often threw coins into his and his brother's chamber, so Abel didn't see any harm in scooping it up for himself.

Sure he might have been a shape-shifting monster from another time and another place and able to take anything he wanted by sheer force, but stealing was wrong--Brother Adam said so! Abel did not want to disappoint Brother Adam.

Once his wallet was slipped safely into his pocket, Abel slipped between the strands of jagged wire and headed for town. The compound was a good ways out and by the time Abel finally stepped into the glow of the street lights, he'd worked up an appetite.

Abel loved the city. He loved the lights and the sounds and the buzzing rush of bodies moving all around him that he could feel through his sensetive skin. It was different than the buzz of the congrigation. While the services back at the compound were by no means dull, as he and his brother were generously caressed and lavished over and wept before, they didn't feel like this.

A motor scooter roared by. Abel flicked out his long tongue to taste the air. Mixed in with the stink of gasoline was the tempting aroma of the pizza strapped to the back of the scooter. Ah, yes, the other thing Abel loved about the city was all the smells. His stomach growled and reminded him why he had made the long trek in the first place.

It was dinner time!

Abel peered through his reflection in the shop fronts as he tried to decide what he was going to try tonight. On his first deliberate outing he had discovered pizza--and luckily, the concept of paying for food. On his second, he'd spent a couple hours drinking in the tastes and smells of a habachi grill before he grew worried about being missed and disappeared back into the night.

Tonight, Abel was determined to enjoy himself. Both times, no one had seemed to miss him. Sure the congrigation was a little upset about his rejection of their offering that week but he wanted to save room for his next discovery. The woman who had been offered up to be devoured by him had a whole come-apart about her devout status and it took Cain accepting her instead to make her feel better. Abel didn't really understand it, but that was just how things had always been--until now!

"Oh!" Abel stopped his wandering and pressed his nose to the window of a bakery. The inside was decorated in a comforting light blue that was bright and made his pupils narrow. There were cases and cases of beautifully decorated somethings--cakes? Cakes, that was it. He had seen cakes before. Abel licked the glass by accident in attempts to smell them. He hoped the baker inside didn't see. That would be embarassing.

"Good evening," said the clerk when Abel finally stopped to read that the door was push instead of pull. "How are you making it tonight?"

"Oh, I am not making anything," said Abel breezily as he gravitated towards a display of cupcakes decorated in colors very similar to their compound flag. They were so pretty, piped with delicate curls of yellow and red and chocolate so dark it was almost black like the stripes across his shirt.

"Oh...kay..." She put the towel she was cleaning the glass with down and changed tactics. "Can I get you anything tonight?"

"Yes!" Abel whirled around and gave her an enormous smile. He fished out his wallet with one hand while pointing to the cupcake display with the other. "I wish for these ones!"

The smile returned to the clerk's face, timid at first but soon she became more sure of herself once she saw Abel's wallet. There was something about the man's eyes that made her feel very watched. Had he blinked since he arrived? She couldn't be sure. She leaned down and opened the back of the display case.

"Which one would you like?"

"I would like all of them," said Abel. He studied her nametag for a moment and then added, "They are beautiful, sister Ana."

"Aw, thank you so much!" Ana blushed a little as she turned to find a big paper box to put them in. There were twenty in all. "Can I get you anything else?"

Abel froze because he hadn't really planned that far. He'd seen the cupcakes. He'd wanted them. End of thought. His eyes drifted to the rest of the displays. Did he want anything else? Well, now that he was looking at them he did. There was a cake that had three layers and was iced in the same cheerful blue as the shop. He wondered what blue tasted like.

"That," Abel pointed to the blue cake.

"This must be some party," Ana commented as she started to box it up as well. She couldn't really guess a theme from the items he'd picked.

"There is not a party," Abel said again in that simple breezy tone. He then uncerimoniously dumped the contents of his wallet out on the counter. It was mostly coins but there were a few large bills amongst them.

Ana stared at him again, her brows meeting as he just stood there and expected her to figure up what he'd 'given' her. This man was strange. He would shift from being charming and polite to unreadable in an instant. With an internal sigh, she raked the change off the counter into her hand and counted it. She was releived that he actually had enough because she wasn't sure what he'd do if she told him no.

"Alrighty, that'll do it. Here's your change," she said as she held out one of the bills.

Abel did not reach out to take it. Instead, he just collected the boxes of goodies and made his way over to one of the little tables and sat down. He didn't know what he wanted to try first. His mouth watered as he looked over the intricate piped shapes and the smooth fondant. For a moment, he started to unhinge his jaw to sample the cake and then remembered that he was not currently a giant snake and could not do that. Instead, Abel opted for trying the cupcakes instead.

His fangs weren't really suited for eating something so soft but Abel found he didn't really need to chew them. They were incredibly fluffy. They were like eating clouds--or at least how he imagined clouds might taste from the few times he'd been allowed to see the sky. The icing made something at the base of his skull buzz and he didn't really understand that feeling but he also didn't dislike it.

Almost as soon as he'd started eating the cupcake it was gone and he was sad that it was over. This was quickly remedied by Abel remembering that there were ninteteen more waiting for him. With a quick flick of his tongue he licked the icing off his fingers before picking up the next one.

Each time the bright flavors were a surprise even though it was the same flavor again and again. Two, three, four cupcakes disappeared down the secret snake's throat. Abel daydreamed and looked out the windows at the lights of the cars passing by as he ate. He wondered what Cain was doing--sleeping probably. He'd accepted two offerings after all.

Abel allowed himself a grin. These cakes tasted much better than the musty robes and salty tears of the flock. He wasn't sure he could accept another after tasting buttercream icing. Maybe if they put icing on the offerings--icing instead of the robes. The robes were terrible to cough up.

A tightness in his stomach distracted Abel from his thoughts. He swallowed the last bite of his eleventh cupcake and took stock of how he felt. He was pretty sure humans called it 'full'. He wasn't very good at being human yet and this was usually when he would tap out and slink back to the compound. Abel sadly looked toward the door, afraid his night of rebelion and fun was already at its end. He licked a crumb from the corner of his mouth and set his lips in a curt little frown.

He would not go slinking back! He would go back when he felt like it. He wasn't breaking any of the rules the flock had to follow and he had never been specifically told not to leave the compound. Granted, they didn't do a lot of talking to the flock, save when Cain wanted to repeat some cryptic things they had heard a long time ago which seemed to make the congregation very very excited.

He hiccuped and took another big bite.

Meanwhile, Ana had been cleaning up behind the counter. She wiped down the display windows, checked everything in the coolers and freezers, put away the tubs of icing and looked over the order forms for the coming week. In all the time she worked, she didn't hear the bell over the door ring to announce Abel's departure.

She looked at the clock and let out a little sigh. It was time to close but she hated confrontations. Sure her customer didn't seem the kind to put up a fuss, but anxiety was a bitch like that. Still, she worked up her nerve and moved back to the front of the bakery. Maybe she could make a little small talk with him first before gently suggesting he get a move on. He'd been charming in a weird kind of way. And cute.

What she found was not what she expected. She thought she would find this stranger on his phone or a laptop he whipped out from somewhere to do some aesthetic blogging. Instead she found him hard at work on those cupcakes and watching the street traffic through the window. He'd almost polished them all off! She was about to ask herself where he'd put them all when he noticed her out of the corner of his eye and turned to wave at her.

"Oh, hello! They are delicious, thank you!" Abel said cheerfully without even being prompted. Ana didn't really hear him though because she was busy staring at his middle. When he had come in, he'd had a slim, almost noodle-like figure. Now his shirt clung to his belly which was starting to protrude conspicuously outward.

"Are you okay?" She couldn't keep herself from asking as she approached him. Had he just gotten dumped? Was he drunk? Was the one person responsible for keeping him from going into diabetic shock out of town?

"Yes?" Abel would have puncutated his confusion with a blink if he were more used to having eyelids. Instead, he just tilted his head. "Are you okay?"

"Ur--yes? Haha, yes! Wow you really went to town on those, huh?"

"Yes, I am enjoying town very much," said Abel.

"That's not--nevermind." Ana felt color rising in her cheeks and felt dumb. She was grateful that Abel didn't seem too bothered by her intrusion. She couldn't help herself, she'd just never seen anybody scarf down that munch of her cooking in one sitting. "Haha, sorry, I'm just really tired. It's been a long day. You planning on eating the cake tonight too?"

"Yes!" Abel gave her a bright smile as he closed the lid of the box the cupcakes had been stored in. He'd eaten them all. With a satisfied little sigh, he brushed crumbs and sprinkles off his shirt.

Ana waited for him to tell her tha the was joking and was going home now. He didn't. She instantly started to worry. "A-are you sure?"

"Yes?" Abel tilted his head again, his brows slowly coming together to match her concerned expression. "I think maybe you are not okay like you said."

"Well alright...you let me know if you need anything, okay?" She left him there and only realized she hadn't asked him to leave when she got behind the counter and didn't have anything left to do. She hovered anxiously near the cleaning closet door as she watched him from behind a few dome-protected display cakes. She had to finally admit to herself that it was morbid curiosoty that kept her from chasing him off.

She had to see if he could do it.

Abel started on the beautiful blue cake. Ana watched as he didn't call for her to bring him a fork or spoon or anything of the sort and just scooped out a small handful of the fluffy cake with his hand. Like an animal. A wave of disgust and something like awe rippled through her. She could never be so bold.

He seemed to be enjoying himself and he often paused to lick icing off his fingers or scoop up a glob that had fallen onto his shirt. However, once he'd eaten what ammounted to two generous slices, Abel ran into a little trouble.

Abel paused and swallowed hard before straightening up in his seat. That pressure had come back with a vengance and no ammount of daydreaming about how much better of a night he was having than Cain could help him ignore it. For what seemed like the first time since Ana had started watching him, he looked down at his stomach and realized just how full he was. Abel puffed out a frustrated sigh and gave his middle a little pat before looking between the cake and the door.

Come on you crazy diamond, don't stop now, thought Ana who had started to live-blog the whole thing on Twitter. She held her breath and waited to see what he would do.

A determined frown crossed the cheerful cake conisour's face. He stifled a quiet burp into his fist and scooted his chair back a little before charging back in. This time he took bigger bites and didn't savor them for nearly as long. Despite his now ravenous pace, he was not messy. Ana wondered if he was trying to eat through what most certainly must be pain or trying to outrun a curfew.

The cake eventually got smaller and smaller and Abel started slouching in his seat. One hand delicatly plucked up fluffy bites of cake and delivered it to his mouth while the other sat balled into a fist on the table top. Finally, the final bite stood between Abel and victory. It was a narrow upright edge with a beatifully piped blue flower on top of it. With care he lifted it from the little cardboard circle that the cake had been presented on.

Able stared with drooping eyelids at the flower and Ana quietly cheered him on from her station behind the counter. In a flash, perhaps to show off or perhaps to get it over with more quickly, Abel finally did allow a little more of his serpentine nature to shine through his human disguise. His jaws swung unaturally wide and a long forked tongue curled outward to welcome the last morsal. Ana blinked furiously, unsure of what she was seeing--but she was too slow to get a good look. The bite of cake was gone and Abel was smacking his lips triumphatly.

He sagged back in his seat and rested both hands on the upper curve of his distended belly with a satisfied sigh. It was incredible, Ana thought to herself as she snuck out from behind the counter again, that someone as slight as Abel could fit that many sweets inside him and not, like, die. His stomach had expanded impressivly to make room for it all and now his shirt was struggling to contain it.

"You feeling okay?" Ana ventured, finally approaching him again. She felt humbled in his presence. This was a man who knew exactly what he wanted and apparantly wasn't afraid to go after it.

At first, Abel's only reply was a loud yawn. He rubbed his stomach and Ana found herself wishing she could give it a good pat just to feel how taut it was. She had never seen anybody eat so much in her life. Ana shook herself. That was weird!

Finally he said, "Tired."

"I bet...are you, uh, going to need any help getting out of here?" Ana turned to the side as though to look somewhere else but her eyes stayed glued to him. "You can use the phone to call a taxi or something."

"I will walk home," said Abel breezily.

"If you say so..." said Ana with doubt in her voice.

"I walked here," he explained. Abel sat up again with a grunt and stood. His red shirt made her think of a ripe cherry ready to be picked. Again, Ana wished she could give him a hug or some kind of congradulatory belly rub for keeping her and all fourteen of her Twitter followers entertained for the night.

Then, since sitting for so long had made him stiff, he stretched his arms high above his head and bowed his back. Abel's shirt rode up and wrinkled just above his belly button, leaving a broad strip of bright pink flesh exposed. Ana felt her cheeks grow hot again.

Abel didn't notice. He only gave her a smile and said, "Goodbye!" before turning and trundling out the door.

***


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