>You are an amateur hiker
>You decide to travel halfway across the world to one of the largest and most isolated forests in the world
>This particular forest is infamous for causing professinal hikers to get lost, with almost supernatural frequency
>You've already conquered some of the most trecherous paths in your home country, so you're feeling confident that you can beat this one as well
>Organise your hiking gear, including a tent, a month's worth of food, sleeping bag, fire starting tools, hatchet, animal and bug sprays, and an emergency flare gun and radio
>You cache in a month's worth of vacation days from work before leaving in such a rush that you forget to tell your friends and family
>Your first week in the forest is spent uneventfully trekking the beaten path, but the feeling of being out in the wild thrills you
>When night falls, you unpack your heavy backpack with practiced precision, and within 15 minutes, everything is set up for you to cook dinner and sleep off the night
>After kicking some dirt on the fire to smother it, you notice something odd floating floating near your right hip
>You couldn't tell what it was besides it being white and translucent before your eyes lost track of it, so you dismiss it as a hallucination and sleep for the night
>You wake up in the middle of the night to some strange movement in the tent
>Despite the indomitable darkness around you, you could see more of those white things floating in your tent
>You attempt to get up so you can shoo them out of the tent, but you can't move your body like you're under sleep paralysis
>The white things are drawn together, forming a single shape and elongating from all angles until it appears humanoid
>Its features gain definition until you can identify it as a woman
>The woman puts her ethereal hand through the sleeping bag until you can feel her fingers on your chest
>"Well. It has been some time since the last gallant soul tresspassed on my forest"
>Even if you could only move your eyes, the woman knows to answer your burning question
>"I am the guardian of this forest. I am the reason why this forest has remained pure since its inception" she says, speaking in a sagely tone, but moving slowly and steadily like someone who is youthful
>The guardian moves her fingers from your chest and places them around your waist, grasping both sides with hand each
>"Your tresspass demands a 'heavy' price, tresspasser"
>Before you can question too long, you notice something light up in your abdomen, not literally, but it's like you felt something being placed there
>"You are now under the mercy of my curse. For every step you take in this forest, a life will grow inside you little by little. Once it has grown to sufficient size, another will begin growing until that too reaches sufficient size. The more time you spend sullying my forest, you will continue to be weighed down by their presence until you take your final step. By then, you will become trapped here."
>You blink, and suddenly it's morning
>When you pack up to continue your hike, you've all but dismissed the guardian as a strange dream, but as you continue walking, your mind is continuously drawn to the space just below your navel
>You can almost feel something is there, and with every step you take, you feel a pulse of awareness rippling outward from the spot that lit up last night
>By the time you stop to have dinner, you can feel something pressing against your belt. When you step away from your camp to relieve yourself, you have a slight bit of trouble putting your belt back on, settling for a looser belt loop
>You continue to feel the pulses when you continue your hike the next morning. And again, you are forced to readjust your belt
>It isn't until a few days later when you reach the end of your belt that you unbutton your t-shirt to see what's wrong with you
>You press your fingers against the flesh of your belly, feeling a slight bloat with a hardness underneath it. You look like you ate too much, but if anything, you've been struggling not to eat more rations than you need
>After some more travelling, you wear your pants lower, the outward growth of your belly making it beyond uncomfortable if you tried wearing it normally
>A day later, you don't cover as much ground as you wish due to a growing exhaustion. That night, you sleep without your belt
>Soon, you're forced to walk with a wider gait, the weight and expanding surface area settling into your pelvis
>That night, you place your hands on your belly, and find that you cannot hide it underneath your palms. You feel something bump against one of your hands
>Getting out of bed the next morning, your centre of balance was slightly off, which caused you to stumble a few times when you were packing up
>You finally caved in to your growing hunger, eating two rations for breakfast
>The next morning, your midsection doesn't bend nearly as far as it should've, making it difficult to stand up
>Your button-up camo t-shirt is beginning to strain against your growing belly. You've had to pull it back over your belly continuously
>You find yourself eating two rations for each meal without thinking about it
>Sleeping on your back is now too uncomfortable to bear, to get any sleep, you lay on your side
>The amount of ground you can cover in a day has grown smaller and smaller. You decide to rest for the full day tomorrow
>You spend most of the day sitting on a log, lamenting your growing midsection. You can regularly feel bumps from whatever is inside, and spend most of the day feeling the taut skin. When you take a few steps away from camp to empty your bladder, you feel a sudden release of pressure, looking down, your navel has turned into an outie
>Tomorrow, you travel a pitiable distance from your previous camp. You've given up trying to cover your belly with your t-shirt, leaving the heavy dome exposed to the elements 24/7
>You had trouble squeezing into your sleeping bag that night, the soft material of the inside pressing into your belly. You get back out and unzip the side so the tip of your belly is poking out of the covers
>After taking a day of rest, you resume your hike throught the forest. The pulses you feel from your abdomen now ripple throughout your whole body, whereas before they stopped in a short radius
>Another cycle of rest and continuation, and the weight of your belly is almost too much to bear. You've had to hold your belly with at least one hand while you travel, and your wide gait had transformed into a waddle over the past few days. You're leaning back to account for the weight of your midsection, counterbalancing your backpack
>Your belly is too heavy to lean over, requiring you to sit down to light your campfire. You struggle for 20 seconds to stand up after you light it
>Your hands need to be cupping the tip of your belly while you sleep, otherwise the cold air will leach warmth from your belly, which is poking further out of your sleeping bag
>You're waddling back to your camp when you feel something. It wasn't the bumps that you've grown used to, but a change in the way your belly pulsed. Hesitantly, you take a step, and you feel it again. It feels different, like it's skewed, uneven. You focus on the pulse as you take a few more steps around the camp. There's the big pulse, which you've felt for what seems like forever, and a pinprick next to it. When you take your next step, the big pulse is gone, leaving the pinprick.
>Your mind goes back to the guardian's words, pieces of the details remain in your mind. You suddenly comprehend the link between the two pulses, and "becoming trapped here."
>Your blood runs cold, rushing to your emergency radio - nearly toppling due to the displaced centre of gravity - you kneel beside your backpack and tear it out of its pocket. No matter how many times you flick the switch on or off, the static never graces your ears. Turning it around, the cover is gone along with the batteries. You flip the bag over and grab at empty space where the flare gun should've been tied to, in its place, snapped and frayed cords remain.
>You look to the road behind you. The path through this forest is one of the longest hikes in the world, and you passed the halfway mark days ago. Even though the distance between here and where you met the guardian is considerably greater than to the end, the gross length of this path is several times greater than the ones ranked beneath it. Your only choice is to keep going forward.
>Every step you take from then on gradually increases the pulse radius of the second one. The steady climb of the weight of your belly drains your stamina at an incredible pace. Your resolve is all that's keeping you from eating 3 sets of rations every meal
>When the pulses reach your shins, you need both hands to brace the weight of your enormous belly at all times
>The path becomes rocky and steep at the 3/4 mark. You climb the path at a snail's pace, each step sending large ripples of energy that reaches from the soles of your feet, to the scalp of your head. The path evens out and begins its descent before long.
>Soon after, your foot slips on something you couldn't see past your belly, and you grab a tree branch to stop yourself from tumbling off the side. Your grip can't hold all the extra weight, and you land on your backpack a few metres below the path.
>After the ordeal of righting yourself is taken care of, you survey where you ended up. The rocky face is impossible to scale in your state, and the only clear way forward is perpendicular from the original path. Pulling out your map of the forest reveals a rudimentary depiction of the path, there are routes planned out to get back on the path if one ever got lost, but it doesn't account for the one you're on at the moment.
>Sighing heavily, and heaving your heavy load, you venture into the unknown.
>To your dismay, the second pulse stops sending ripples, and a third begins.
>Days pass. The ripples keep getting stronger. Your belly gets even heavier. The path is only now turning in a different direction.
>You constantly stop to rest. You pass the time by exploring the endless surface of your belly. The things inside move constantly, distorting the skin and sending wild sensations through your body.
>Your penis is eclipsed by your belly, so you have to rely on using the waistband of your pants to angle it away when you urinate.
>Pooping is a monumentous task on its own. You have to find ample leverage so you can crouch down to do your business, legs spread, belly resting on your pants that you've taken down to your ankles. You kneel forward and reach back to clean yourself, then you find increasingly creative ways to get yourself back on your feet.
>You ate your last 3 rations, and are now relying on fruits and mushrooms for sustinence. Hand and knees, belly scraping the ground as you forage greedily.
>A third set of rhythmic bumps joins the first two before long. You have to stop yourself from bouncing your knees while you rest because anytime your foot lifts off the ground and touches it again, it makes a pulse.
>Your back has never felt so strained before now. The small of your back angles forward perpetually, further exaggerating the length of your egg shaped belly.
>A fourth pulse starts rippling to your distain, but the sound of rushing water reaches your ears before you can lement for long.
>You perch your rear on a rock just as you come up to the river. The weight of your incredible belly settles perfectly between your legs as you feel its surface.
>You examine the size. The navel reaches out past your knees, and the belly itself is so large that you can't support your weight from underneath, instead forced to grip your belly from both sides like a pincer. Three sets of limbs kick and push beneath the surface. A dark verticle line follows the outward bend of your belly, going from the top and touching the navel before continuing underneath, where the sun casts a shadow.
>You've been travelling for over 3 months now. At your normal pace, you would have completed the path in just over 4 weeks. It took you far longer to reach the 3/4 point, and it took from then to now to reach this river, travelling in the opposite direction. Up until now, you've been travelling blind, but this river will certainly lead to civilisation.
>You prepare to get up, adjusting your feet sends 2 pulses through your body, then more follow as you follow the river.
>You don't know how long it will take to get out of this forest, or even if you could bear the increasing weight over that distance.
>What you do know, is this can end in two ways, and you certainly wouldn't let the guardian win if you have anything to say about it.