Alex glutted himself. The one-ton bat’s appetite had flared up suddenly while shopping for some cables, and now he was ravenously trying to sate his cravings at the mall’s food court.
With an almost uncontrollable hunger he had found himself ordering from nearly every vendor there, and in the hellish minutes it took for the first meal to reach his table his hunger had spiked further. He was soon stuffing burgers, pizza, tacos, fried chicken and literal buckets of fries down his greedy gullet, grease and sauce splattering messily across his front as he ate.
The stools he had seated himself upon were already buckling. So unused to holding a person even half of Alex’s weight, the additional pounds started bending their supports further, sending a metallic creaking echoing through the food court; causing many of the other diners to watch as the stunningly obese bat stuffed himself further. He quickly tore though his already ill-fitting sweatpants before chugging down the eight large sodas that had come with his various meals, topping the feat off with a rumbling belch that reverberated around the dining area, bringing the food court to a deafening silence.
At last he regained his sense of moderation. Sheepishly he saw the devastation his binge had left—empty cups, torn up boxes and scattered trays joining the food debris that flecked himself and the nearby surfaces. He felt his cheeks burn red as he noticed everyone had witnessed his gluttony. They burned redder still as he wiggled, and wiggled more, realising he was wedged firmly in place between the bolted-down table and bolted-down stools, thoroughly unable to move.
Grey had been watching from afar. The lithe pegasus had been trotting past the food court with his twin sister when his keen ear had picked up the initial sound of crumpling metal, and he’d spent the minutes since then watching the stranger grow into an even more obese blob—half disgusted that someone would even do that in public, half aroused that anyone might do it at all.
Embarrassed by his thoughts, he made a conscious effort to look disinterested in the spectacle that everyone else seemed to be watching. He wasn’t into fat people, no way, not at all. This was just a disgusting fat slob who can’t contro— okay, perhaps one more peek.
He found himself lingering even as the other spectators had lost interest. He found himself chuckling as he noticed the bat was stuck, failing to get the attention of a passer-by to help. The bat was a lot like his sister, actually: Grey furred, black maned, and far too fat for their own good.
“Hey Gre-ey! Earth to Gre-ey!” A high pitched voice sing-songed into his ear. Grey jumped away defensively. He hated it when she did that.
He took a moment to regain his posture, “What, Kim? What is it?”
“We were supposed to be heading down to the toy store and we were but then you stopped walking and I carried on and when I realised you weren’t with me I came riiiiight back and here you were!” The corpulent mare listed off her thoughts without a pause, accompanied by many illustrative hoof motions.
“I… yes? And?”
“Do you wanna go to the toy store?” she bounced happily, gut intermittently brushing the marble-esque floor.
“Sure, sis,” he smiled weakly, taking one short glance back at the bat, “Let’s go,” Grey trotted off slowly, keeping pace with Kim as she waddled slowly back towards the toy store.
Meredith passed them in the opposite direction. Walking briskly, the raven paid no mind to toy stores or food courts. There’s only one reason she would come to an uncomfortably crowded place such as a mall—the book store.
She strode in with unnatural confidence, giving a wave to the counter staff (she was on first name terms with all of them) as she headed straight towards the new releases section. Keenly familiar with what she was after, she picked up the few books she had researched and a few others she hadn’t. She did her cursory runaround of the rest of the store—most, she noted, she had already read—before depositing her stack of books at the counter.
“Hi Reggie,” she said, greeting the cashier.
Reggie started picking up from the pile of books, scanning them through the system one by one. “Her Mer, only seven books today?”
“Only seven,” she nodded, “for today, at least,”
Reggie paused as he reached the bottom of the stack. “Oh hey, you’re picking up Novella’s new thing? She’s doing a signing for us right now,” he motioned towards a small area towards the rear of the store, “You can go get it signed if you want,” Meredith agreed and, after paying for the books, moved over to the table that had been set up at the back.
Novella was slumped in her seat looking bored out of her mind, a stack of books by her side and not a single patron at her signing table. The red unicorn was seemingly not having much fun. She perked up as Meredith approached, struggling to sit up straight and fix her golden mane.
“Hello dearie!” Novella called, eyeing the copy of her book clasped in Meredith’s wings, “Come from an autograph from moi, I presume?”
“If you can do. It would be… nice,” Meredith stuttered a little. She always flustered a little with strangers, especially famous ones.
Novella took the book in a wisp of magic, “Oh of course I can! I’m in no hurry, dearie, believe me, I’ve got all day,” She fumbled with the book a little, intending to set it on the table but seemingly unaware that her bulging belly was in the way.
Meredith watched for a few moments, “Do… do you need help with that?”
“No, no,” Novella protested, forcefully trying to place the book down, succeeding after a few more attempts, “Let’s just say that getting this one published took a lot out of me… and added quite a lot to me,”
She motioned to the press photograph on the sign next to her, the profile of a lithe, beautiful unicorn looked back—a far cry from the scruffy, barely mobile blob she had become. With a wisp of magic she lifted up a pen, “Now… who am I signing this to?”