Second Chances: Prologue

It was the spring of 1957. The day was warmer than usual for April in Indiana. Like most Wabash College’s students, Richard Martin wore neatly pressed chinos and a button down shirt. After one last drag, he tossed his cigarette to the ground and stepped on it. He climbed the stairs to the lecture hall in a little discomfort. His stiff, new penny loafers slowed his pace. The chatter from the large room engulfed him when he pushed open the door. All the seats near the stage were already filled, mostly with women. Surprising since Wabash was an all male college. They must have come on the buses parked outside from nearby Marian College.

Richard expected it to be crowded, but not this crowded. Professor Evan Winston had a reputation as an excellent speaker. He wove exciting tales of heroic adventure in exotic lands; a real man’s man. The fact he was considered extremely handsome may explain the number of visiting coeds. While Richard was interested in the lecture, he really came to see his best friend from high school. He was Professor Winston’s teaching assistant. It was the first time they would see each other since they graduated from South Chicago High three years ago. Richard caught sight of him. He ran to his friend sitting off to the side of the stage.

Jim and Richard were similar in appearance; average height and builds. Their neatly kept hair framed unremarkable, but pleasant, faces. Jim had darker coloring. Richard was fairer and often called a dirty blond because of the naturally occurring highlights in his hair.

The two men shook hands vigorously. Richard commented on Jim’s moustache. Jim said it was an attempt to get girl’s attention around his boss. Richard said he heard Professor Winston was as big of a man as actor Clint Walker. Jim chuckled before he said he was more of a man than Clint Walker and Victor Mature combined. Richard had to see it to believe it. Jim did have a tendency to exaggerate.

Richard could see his friend had something on his mind. When pressed, Jim said there was something not kosher about the professor. But before he could elaborate, the side door opened. A colossal man emerged from the dark interior. He had to tilt his shoulders to fit through the standard sized frame. Any taller and he would also have to duck to pass the opening. Richard’s mouth fell open. The entire hall went quiet as the man walked to the lectern. The stage creaked from his weight. The podium looked like a child’s toy in front of him. Richard wondered what nickname his colleagues back at UCLA gave him. Men like that were often called Tank, Moose, or the ironic Tiny. Jim nudged his star struck friend and told him they would talk later. Richard walked up the aisle not finding an open seat until the top row. Jim returned to his chair at the side of the stage in case his boss needed him.

The big man faced the crowd and smiled. “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Professor Evan Winston. This afternoon I will discuss how theology was the predominate force behind the rise and fall of the ancient cultures of South America; in particular the great Mayan Empire.” The powerful bass of his voice reverberated throughout the room without the need for artificial amplification. Richard could actually feel the sound waves hitting his chest cavity. The professor’s voice literally took his breath away. He wondered why those in the front row weren’t hyperventilating.

Even from his poor vantage point Richard could see Winston was as Jim described; overwhelming large and masculine with the striking good looks of a matinee idol. A thick mat of jet black hair was precisely parted on the left. A dab of Brylcreem kept every neatly trimmed strand firmly in place. Like his body, his head was squarish in shape. His powerful jaw jutted out slightly on each side. His chin had a deep cleft. A dark 5 o’clock shadow descended from his recessed cheeks to cover his knife sharp jaw line and horse like neck. His features were large but perfectly formed. His eyes were big and clear. The pale blue irises were surrounded by brilliant whites. Thick brows emphasized the intensity of each eye. He had a noble nose and full lips which separated to reveal a dazzling smile. His tight, tanned skin made him look like a man in his twenties, but he had the experiences of man in his sixties. His face was an alluring combination of vibrant youth and mature confidence. He epitomized the term ruggedly handsome.

He wore a rather plainly designed double breasted suit. The lightweight gray fabric had a subtle stripe. It was the size of the suit that was extraordinary. It had to be custom tailored for him; but it was still tight in areas. It was as if he had recently outgrown it. The jacket’s shoulders were so broad Richard wondered if he used a 2x4 to hang it up at night. The professor spoke for several minutes before going off script. He looked at the women filling the front rows and asked their permission to remove his jacket. Some giggled and others said “of course” while most just shook their heads yes. The professor thanked them with a genuine smile. He unbuttoned the jacket then tugged at the lapels trying to free his arms. It was obvious he was having trouble. He looked at Jim, who quickly ran to him for assistance. Seeing an average man next to him, Winston’s immense size became more apparent. Jim had to pull off one sleeve at a time with the professor holding his thick limbs perfectly straight. Jim wrestled with the garment as he draped it over his arm. The professor whispered something to him. With the jacket gone, you could see more of his body shape. Unlike most men, the width of his shoulders did not diminish with the removal of the jacket. He didn’t need shoulder pads to give him a masculine silhouette. Surprisingly his stomach was relatively flat with only a slight outward bulge. Men with similar builds, like professional power athletes, usually had huge protruding guts that overlapped their too low belts.

Winston returned to his lecture. He held out his left arm slightly. Jim removed his boss’s left cuff link. They did the same for the right cuff. Jim walked off the stage. As Winston continued talking he began to roll up the sleeves of his crisp white dress shirt. As the fabric rose higher more of his contrasting tanned skin was revealed. His forearms were as thick as Richard’s thighs. A coating of dark hair blanketed their rippling surface. The professor turned and took a few steps to the chalkboard behind him. He wrote a name of the Mayan city, Kaminaljuyú, on the dark surface. When he raised his arm, a large wet spot became visible. He was warm.

The professor’s superb physical conditioning was more obvious with a view of his back. His waist had to be at least 40” but looked narrow compared to the width of his shoulders. His white shirt reminded Richard of the screen at the local drive-in. The suit’s pants hugged his body tightly. The gray fabric puckered on his hips but was taut across his rounded buttocks. His thighs swept out making them wider than his waist. Even the outline of his massive calves could be seen through his pant legs. He turned to face the audience. A strange sound was heard as several people suddenly inhaled sharply. The puckering from the side of his hips continued across his pelvis radiating from the large bulge behind the zipper. It was both vulgar and titillating. The image evoked the same two primal reactions in both sexes: attraction and fear. Men were attracted to him as a natural leader, but feared that his unmatched size and strength meant he could easily injure them. Women were attracted to him for safety and wanting their offspring to have his superior physical characteristics, but feared how he could injure them in a more intimate manner.

The professor never missed a word of his lecture. He ignored the looks and gasps. He loosened his tie and undid the top two buttons of his shirt. His tan was evenly dispersed. The deep notch above his sternum was revealed. A few dark chest hairs became visible. The professor walked around the stage and continued to write on the chalkboard throughout his speech. The movement made the puckering of his pants worse. The material rose higher up his legs. It gathered at the areas of greatest strain. The bunched fabric enhanced the size of his man bulge. The gathering formed under each cheek, making his ass look larger, rounder and higher.

The professor did not use notes. He looked at the audience during most of his speech. He could see it wasn’t always his face they were looking at when he spoke. It was something he had become used to in recent months. He actually enjoyed it in a perverse way. He knew his appearance was why he lectures had become so popular. It benefited his bank account, his reputation and his ultimate goal, so he didn’t mind.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Winston received a standing ovation. Most of the audience descended the stairs toward the stage. Some had copies of the flyer printed to promote his lecture. They asked him to autograph it. He happily obliged. Everyone that he spoke with touched him in some way. The boys usually clutched his arm or shoulder when they shook his hand. The girls had to be more clever. They would causally put their hand on him during their brief conversation. They usually touched his exposed forearm. But some wanted to experience what his bicep felt like. The more daring playfully touched his chest while faking a laugh. The professor understood their curiosity and pretended not to notice the groping session at the end of his lectures.

Richard made his way through the crowd. He found Jim alone in the back of the room watching the professor. Rich asked him about what he had said earlier. Jim indicated he wanted Richard to follow him. After checking to see the professor was occupied; they slipped into the side room where Winston entered the lecture hall. The room was furnished with a few chairs and a small table with a pitcher of water and an empty glass. Under the table was a briefcase. Jim lifted the case to the table. The initials EHW were embossed into the leather under the handle. Richard asked if the case belonged to the professor. Jim nodded and took out a small set of keys from the professor’s jacket pocket which he had brought with him. He unlocked the case and popped the two latches. Jim said the professor didn’t know he knew about the case’s contents. Jim returned the keys back into his boss’s coat pocket. Richard could tell Jim was nervous, which put him on edge. The open case had the expected assortment of papers. Jim picked up what looked like a folded white towel. Unfolding the towel revealed a stone object. To Richard it looked like a letter opener. The handle was intricately carved and the blade was so thin it was translucent. Richard told him it was a very old ceremonial knife.

Richard rewrapped the knife and placed it back into the case. He unsnapped a closure on one of the internal dividers. He pulled out a portfolio. His hands began to shake as he unwound the string from around the paper disc closure. He lifted the flap and pulled out a stone disc about ten inches across. It was stained with strange red blotches. They looked like ink or wine. The staining was random and asymmetrical. Some looked relatively fresh. Jim handed the disc to Richard. It was heavier than he expected. Both sides were deeply carved with pictograms that Richard didn’t understand. He asked Jim if it was Mayan. Richard whispered it was used in the sacrifices made by high priests. Richard looked more closely at it. He sniffed it trying to identify the staining agent. Jim told him it was blood. Richard let go of the ancient artifact. Jim caught it before it hit the table. Jim scolded his friend. The disc was over 1,000 years old and irreplaceable. Richard’s face showed he was apologetic.

Jim gingerly returned the disc as he found it. From another pocket he pulled out a Manila envelope. He indicated this was what he wanted to show Richard. He removed a collection of photos and newspaper clippings from the envelope. He handed one photograph to Richard. It was of six academic looking men. In the center was a short, overweight, balding man who looked to be in his sixties with a big smile on his face. Another man was shaking his hand and giving him some kind of award. Jim told Richard to read the back of the photo. It was a handwritten note. Professor Evan Howard Winchester accepting the Dumont grant from Chancellor Marimot. Northwestern University, February 13, 1953. Rich looked at the man in the center of the photo again and shrugged his shoulders.

Jim brought up the similarities of the two professors’ names: Evan Howard WinCHESTER and Evan WinSTON. Richard didn’t find that particular interesting. Jim pointed out the initials on the briefcase. Richard began to think his friend had read too many Hardy Boys novels when they were young. To him there was no mystery to be uncovered here. Then Jim handed him a clipping from a Mexican newspaper. It consisted of a large photo of the same man as the first photo. But he looked at least ten years younger and had a much more athletic build. Jim told him to read the caption. Rich read it aloud slowly doing his best to interpret the words. With Jim’s help in translating bienvenida, Richard figured out it read “The University of Vera Cruz welcomes Professor Evan Win…ston.” Richard’s mouth fell open.

Richard wondered if the man in the photo was the big man’s father or other relative. They did have similar facial features. Jim shook his head no. He playfully asked Richard when the article was published with the mutual understanding he already knew the answer. Richard said the date, “August 25, 1954.” Richard took a second look. It was a year after the first photo; but the man looked much younger.

Jim didn’t say a word, he just handed Richard another photo. This was a small snapshot of a group at a party. A banner in the background read Frohe Weihnachten! In the back standing taller than the other men was another version of Professor Winston. He now had a full head of dark hair. He looked less like the old man in the first photo and more like the man in the next room. He was smaller and older than Jim’s boss, but his facial features were almost identical. Richard looked on the back of the photo. It was dated, Christmas, 1955. He gave Jim a confused look.

Jim said Winston worked at Frankfurt University for a year before transferring to the University of Glasgow. Jim took the holiday photo from Richard’s hand and gave him a larger one. Richard looked down at the new picture. Surrounded by a group of burly men was Professor Winston looking more like he did today. He was by far the biggest man there. All were wearing kilts and smiling. In the professor’s hand was a large trophy. It read, Highland Games Champion 1956. Jim said Winston started at UCLA this year when he became his assistant. He thinks the professor relocates every year so nobody notices his physical changes.

Richard took the first photo and held in his left hand. He still had the photo from Scotland in his right. His eyes darted between the two pictures. He asked his friend if he really believed the 60 year geezer and the 30 year old strong man are the same person. And Winston went through his metamorphosis in four years.

Jim said yes and went even further. He said the professor was younger and bigger today than in the photo taken just a year ago. Richard agreed Winston did look younger today. Richard guessed he was in his mid twenties when he first saw him. Richard dropped the photos and rubbed his temples. He said the whole thing was ridiculous and physically impossible. Jim held up the pictures and said the proof was right here. Richard scoffed, there had to be a more logical explanation. Couldn’t it just be two different people with similar names in the same field? He asked if Jim had tired to contact Professor Winchester.

Jim had tried, but it wasn’t easy since he went to school in California. It’s not like he could sit in his dorm room and push a magic button to have the information appear in front of him. However, when he went home during winter break he visited the Northwestern campus. He talked to some of Winchester’s colleagues. They told him Winchester disappeared in Mexico four months after receiving the Dumont grant. Everyone assumed he was dead. He used the grant to search for a remote temple he believed was used by Mayan priests to contact the other world. It was set apart from the major cities the Mayans built. He and two of his assistants disappeared after finding it. Jim held up the Mexican newspaper clipping again. Less than a year after ProfessorEvanWinchester disappears, Professor Evan Winston accepts a job at a MexicanUniversity in the heart of the old Mayan empire.

Jim went on to explain he thinks the professor is using the stone disc somehow to change his appearance. Winston always kept it locked in his case and takes it with him wherever he goes. Jim leaned in closer to Richard before adding the Mayans were into all kinds of dark magic. They held elaborate ceremonies which included sacrificing people; hundreds of men, women and children. He believed Winchester found the disc in the sacred temple and used the same magic to regain his youth. He changed his name and keeps moving to avoid suspicion.

The logic wasn’t there for Richard. Jim’s theory didn’t explain why Winston was so…big. There was no way Winchester was that size when he was young. For a man trying to avoid attention, looking like that didn’t make sense. Jim guessed his increase in size was a side affect of the anti-aging ritual. Jim began to put the items back into the manila envelope. He informed Rich his plan to keep a closer eye on the professor.

Suddenly the boys heard the Professor’s booming voice outside the door. Richard froze. Jim put the envelope into the brief case and locked it. He had just placed it under the table when the door swung open. The Professor was autographing the last few flyers when he escaped into the small room. He closed the door with a big sigh. He saw Jim and Richard in the room. A genuine smile soon replaced his surprised look. Jim introduced his boss to his best friend. Richard winced in discomfort. The professor’s booming voice echoed in the tiny space. Winston released his grip. He said he hoped he didn’t hurt Richard’s hand. Richard said it wasn’t his hand and put his finger into his ringing ear. The professor picked up on the clue. It wasn’t the first time it had happened in a confined space, he started to speak more softly.

He brought up the subject of Wabash’s championship football team. He asked if Richard knew where they exercised and the location of the school’s weight room. Richard said he wasn’t sure. He explained he wasn’t on any sports team so there was no need for him to do calisthenics. The professor said one day he believed doctors would suggest that every one exercise to maintain good health, not just athletes. Despite Winston’s warm personality, Richard felt uncomfortable around the man who may be using black magic to achieve his startling size and looks.

Jim sensed his friend’s discomfort and took over the conversation. He asked if it was alright if he could have an early dinner with his friend instead of the professor. The large man looked at his watch and agreed. He suggested they meet by the car at 5:30. Evan grabbed his briefcase from under the table and his jacket from the table. He said goodbye and walked out leaving the door open.

Jim waited for Evan to be out of ear shot. He told Richard he was going to follow the professor. Richard told Jim if he needed anything he should come to his dorm room; MorrisHall, room 238. Jim slipped out the door. Rich sat on the table and took a deep breath. This was one day he wouldn’t soon forget. He wondered if he should have gone with his friend. But the truth was the professor frightened him. If he could cause pain with just his voice, imagine the damage he could do with his body.

Jim made sure to stay at least thirty yards behind the professor. He had to walk quickly to keep up with the taller man’s longer strides. Evan walked purposely and stopped only once to ask directions. Jim found it interesting to stand back and watch how others reacted to seeing his boss. Jim was usually by his side and didn’t notice the commotion going on behind them. All the onlookers did a double take. Some actually stopped and watched him for a few seconds before continuing along their way scratching their heads in amazement. Various phrases were heard as the witnesses talked about what they had seen. “Did you see the size of him?” “Do you think he’s a professional wrestler?” “How strong do you think he is?” “Where does he get his clothes?”

The professor walked past the empty football field to the gymnasium. The basketball team’s practice came to a sudden halt as everyone watched the giant stroll confidently along the folded bleachers. Noticing he had their attention he asked if the set of swinging doors across the room led to the weight room. The whole team nodded in unison without saying a word. As soon as he was out of sight, the comments and questions started. Jim went undetected as he followed his boss’s path. He peered through the window in the weight room’s doors.

The small, windowless room was dark and depressing. Judging by the collection of miscellaneous sports equipment piled up in the nearest corner, Jim guessed the space was meant to be a storage room. Apparently the coach didn’t feel weightlifting was important for his athletes to succeed. One half of the room had dumbbells and barbells of various weights scattered about. On the far side were three weight benches lined up side by side. Jim could see five students, most likely all football players, talking to the professor. They went through introductions and shook hands. The students wore school issued long sleeve sweatshirts and sweatpants. They had towels hanging around their necks. All were drenched in sweat.

The massive man held the boys’ attention. Jim imagined to a football player the professor’s physique was ideal. The largest player suddenly became the center of the conversation. The others took a step back. The professor followed him over to one of the weight benches. With all their backs toward the door, Jim took the opportunity to sneak into the room. He hid behind a wooden pummel horse in the storage pile. He held his nose at the room’s smell. It was a rank musty odor of dried sweat.

The professor estimated the weight on the bar at 440-450 including the bar and collars. Evan smiled at the athlete and complimented him on his prowess. The big blonde, named Billy, said he held the school bench press record. Evan asked if he could try to set a new record. The professor set down his brief case and placed his folded jacket on top of it. He removed his tie before pulling his shirt from the waistband of his pants. He explained he didn’t want to get his shirt dirty while he lifted. He could see the anticipation in the boys’ eyes as he undid the buttons. He slid the shirt off his shoulders. He wore no undershirt. He tossed the tent sized garment over his case and suit jacket. The boys’ eyes widened at the sight. They had never seen a man built like the professor. Each muscle was impossibly thick and defined. His skin was tan and tight. Dark hair covered his forearms and chest. His stomach was slightly rounded, but consisted of a series of rectangular muscles, like the rungs of a ladder. His arms were pushed out at an angle by his flared lats. It was difficult to tell where his neck ended and his traps began. His delts were globes that stuck so far out from the rest of his body it looked as if they had been added on like an extension to a building. The professor just stood there allowing the boys to take him in. He knew from experience people needed time to take him in.

The boys asked him if he was a professional athlete. Evan shook his head no. Remembering the professor was from UCLA, one asked if he was one of those Californian muscle builders he saw in Life magazine. The professor told them in was just someone who enjoyed being as strong as humanly possible. His big muscles were just the result of getting stronger. He asked Billy to loosen the collars on the bench’s barbell. The professor looked around. He seemed disappointed there weren’t many large plates lying around. He put two 100 pound plates on each end.

The boys watched him load up the bar without saying a word. Evan tightened up the collars. Without any hesitation he sat down on the bench and got into position. He stretched his arms several times. He gripped the bar. The five students reached for the bar expecting the 800 pounds to be too heavy for him. But Evan lowered it to his chest and instantly pressed the weight up smoothly and in complete control. He did it again and again. The boys were shocked. Evan had not only just set a new school record but the world record as well. The athletes stared at the professor in total awe. He was having no trouble with the weight. As fast as he was doing the reps he could probably do twice the weight. With each repetition, Evan’s pecs grew larger and larger. They looked like two balloons filling with air. The skin tightened, the veins expanded to process the rush of blood. They pressed up against Evan’s chin and began to impede the movement of his arms. Evan widened his grip to work his back more. He did another quick set making it look just as easy. He sat up and swung his arms back and forth to force the blood into his growing muscles. He flexed his pecs making them rise and fall under his command.

Billy was fixated by the dancing slabs of beef. He asked without any embarrassment if he could touch them. Evan gave permission with a big grin. He came to love these worship sessions. Billy put his hand on the professor warm, furry chest. He then poked them with his thick fingers unable to make them move in the slightest. Billy punched Evan’s left breast. He pulled his arm back further. The professor flexed the target before he made contact. Billy’s hand bounced off after a loud smack. The big blond shook out his hand to lessen the pain. Soon the professor’s chest was being felt up by the five football players. All commented on how hard it felt. He flexed to show them just how hard it truly was. The boys’ looked at each other and began to laugh nervously.

One boy asked how much weight the professor could press. Evan said he wasn’t sure. He was constantly getting stronger. He stood up and moved behind the bench. He raised the bar with an underhand grip. He curled the weight with a big smile on his face. Again all the boys commented on his amazing strength. Evan’s biceps swelled with each rep. A vein that ran over the top of the muscle was revealed through his skin by the growing mound. The vein thickened to that of a ½ inch pipe in seconds. Once his arms were pumped, he set the bar back on the rack. Changed to an overhand grip and then jerked the weight to his chest for a moment before pressing the weight over his head. He lowered the bar and pressed it back up several times. He did some with the weight in front of his head and some behind it. His shoulders flushed red as blood rushed into the muscles making them grow and harden. The boys went quiet. He was handling the weight like they did a 40 pound dumbbell. Evan hesitated for a moment with his arms locked. He bent his elbows to lower the weight behind his head. He straightened his arms to work his triceps. His face showed strain for the first time. He did only ten reps with the 800 pounds before returning it to bench. His entire upper body was now pumped and glistening with sweat. The boys could feel the air from his deep breathing four feet away. Evan walked up to the boys and did a double bicep pose, pumping his arms several times. It took only a second before they began to explore his swollen physique. Their eager hands swarmed over his arms, shoulders, chest and back. They hung from his extended arms like children on the money bars. They even did pull-ups. Soon they began to punch his body to test its hardness. Each took turns slamming their fists into his stomach. Confident they would be the one to make him flinch. Evan didn’t understand why every man had a need to punch him in the stomach. It had to be some kind of innate male way to proof dominance. The smile never left Evan’s face. Sometimes he talked to the others while one was punching him. He talked calmly not noticing the ineffective blows. Even when two men worked over his gut at the same time, one left handed and one right handed, Evan didn’t react. Using every ounce of strength in their young bodies, they couldn’t even make him sway slightly from the bombardment. The visitor was like something from another world, with a body that was inhumanly big and powerful. And yet, his face was so handsome, heroic and authoritarian it was some how comforting. They had every right to be frightened of this man, but weren’t in the least.

The boys were tired from trying to overpower the professor. They sat on the weight benches wiping the sweat away and checking their battered fists. Only Evan was standing triumphantly showing no signs of wear. They asked how Evan became so strong. He told them hard work and a few training tricks he learned from traveling around the world. He pumped his arms as he spoke trying to maintain their enormous size.

Billy was the most exhausted. He tried to uphold his reputation as being the strongest player by brining down the goliath. But he failed miserably. He asked if the professor would share those tricks with them. He knew he would be unbeatable on the field if he had a quarter of Evan’s strength. The professor rubbed his chin. He said since he liked them he would share his secrets over dinner. Excited about the prospect of becoming as powerful as the professor, the four smaller athletes went to get cleaned up. Evan asked Billy to stay behind and help him reset the weight bar so no one got hurt trying to lift it. Billy gladly agreed. He started to loosen one of the barbell’s collars. He asked if the Professor would tell him a training technique that he wouldn’t tell the others. He wanted to keep his strength advantage over his team mates.

The professor agreed and went to his personal items. He opened his case and removed the portfolio. Billy watched him anxiously. Jim raised his head slightly to get a better view of what was happening. Evan pulled out the disc and handed it to Billy. Billy studied the item. Evan removed the towel wrapped knife. He slid the blade over his right palm. Blood began to flow immediately. He grabbed the disc in his wounded hand. He was able to palm it in his immense paw. He tore from Billy’s grip then he placed his other hand in the center of Billy’s chest. The professor began to softly chant something. Jim couldn’t hear him clearly. Billy did not move. In less than a minute, Evan removed his hand from Billy. Billy collapsed. Evan caught him and set his limp body onto the floor. The professor was breathing deeply and flexing his muscles. His body appeared to glow with energy. He grabbed his crotch and massaged it roughly. He began to pace in the room. It looked like he was trying to calm himself down. After awhile he put the disc back into the portfolio. He wrapped his hand in the white towel that held the knife and placed everything back into his brief case and closed it. He sat down on the bench and controlled his breathing to bring his heartbeat down to a resting rate. Once his sweating had subsided, he used one of the gym’s towels to wipe down his body. He slipped his shirt back on and buttoned it. He used his good hand to tuck the shirt into his trousers. When done he sat down on the bench and waited. Billy started to move and moan after being unconscious for more than ten minutes. Jim was relieved to know he was still alive. Evan went down on one knee by his side. The athlete had no recollection of what happened. Evan told him he fainted.

Billy stumbled to his feet using Evan as support. He swayed back and forth. Billy said he felt so weak. The professor suggested maybe he had pushed himself too hard today. Billy thought that made sense. He still had his hand wrapped tightly around Evan’s bicep to help him balance. He was squeezing it tightly but the muscle didn’t move. It felt as unyielding as the iron plates that surrounded him. It felt even harder than before or was his grip just weaker. Evan kept his arm perfectly straight not feeling the smaller man’s grasping fingers.

The other team members returned bashing through the doors like a herd of bulls startling Jim. They looked at Billy and could tell something was wrong. He was pale and glassy eyed. He assured them he was okay, just tired. Billy shifted his weight to his team member. His legs buckled again. The other player wrapped Billy’s arm around his neck and moved him closer to the door. Another did the same thing with Billy’s other arm. It took two of them to support his 240 pounds. But before they left Billy asked about dinner and the training tricks. He couldn’t miss having that information. Evan smiled at him knowing in his permanently weakened condition his days of playing sports were over. Billy’s teammates agreed to take extensive notes for him.

Evan picked up his suit jacket and briefcase. It felt even lighter to him. He told the boys he would meet them in the front of the cafeteria. He wanted to put his things in the car before he ate. Everyone agreed on the plan and dispersed in different directions.

From a safe distance Jim watched the professor put his briefcase and jacket into the back seat of their car. He locked all the doors. He double checked to make sure his possessions were safe before he left to join the football players for a meal. Jim waited for him to turn the corner before he walked up to the car. He removed the car keys from his pants pocket. He had the keys because he drove this morning. The professor had difficulty fitting behind the steering wheel of most cars.

Jim unlocked the driver’s side door and sat in the car planning his next move. He twisted around and knelt on the seat. Evan’s jacket was completely covering the brief case underneath. Jim found the key in the jacket’s pocket. He opened the case and removed the portfolio containing the disc and the Manila envelope with the incriminating photos. He closed and locked the case, but kept the key. Jim got out of the car and locked the driver’s door clutching the professor’s items to his chest.

Richard was listening to the local AM station on his transistor radio when there was a knock on his door. The knocking became pounding. Richard opened the door and Jim rushed in pass him. He began to pace around the room muttering incomplete sentences. Richard calmed his friend down. Jim retold what he saw in the weight room. How muscular Evan was. How he tossed around 800 pounds like it was nothing. How he cut his hand then used the disc to steal Billy’s strength. Richard wondered if it was Billy Hudson Jim was speaking of. He was easily the school’s strongest athlete and the team’s best lineman.

Jim went on to say he took the disc to prevent the professor from doing it again. For the first time since removing it from the brief case, Jim pulled the portfolio from his beating chest. Richard stood up and ran his hands through his hair. The decided if Evan was that strong they needed help. They agreed to go to the school’s security office. It was located in the Services building on the other side of the campus. The security guards would contact the police and protect them until the police arrived.

Jim said the disc was too valuable to carry around with them. They decided to hide it until the professor was in police custody. Richard asked, didn’t they need it to proof their story. Jim pulled the Manila envelope from behind the larger portfolio. The photos should be proof enough. They’ll have to believe the photographic evidence.

Richard took the portfolio from Jim and looked around his room. He remembered when a notebook fell off the top of the wardrobe and slid behind it. It took three people to pull out the piece of wooden furniture to retrieve it. He pushed the portfolio in the narrow gap between the wall and the wardrobe. Satisfied the disc was safe, they left the room and headed to the security office together.

The professor was walking back to the car feeling good. He had inhaled a huge meal. His body was starved for nutrients. He devoured three servings of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes in record time. In between chewing, he gave the college athletes made-up training tips. He had difficulty not laughing at some of the things he came up with. The boys hang on his every word and took copious notes for their absent friend. All he wanted now was a cigarette. His stash was in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. When he got to the car he tried the handle. He remembered he had locked the door. He sighed and checked his watch. It was quarter past five. He had agreed to meet Jim here at 5:30. He decided to wait and hoped Jim would be early.

Evan caught his reflection in the car door’s window. He hadn’t realized how tight his shirt had become. Large Gaps had formed between the buttons over his chest. The material was so tight it appeared ready to pop at any minute. Evan had become numb to the sensation of restrictive clothing. He checked to see no one was nearby. He looked at his reflection again and flexed his pecs. Immediately four buttons shot from the shirt and bounced off the car. Evan began to chuckle in a deep rumble. The shirt was now spread open revealing his massively developed, hairy chest. The fabric was straining to cover his shoulders and arms too. Only around his waist was there room for further growth. His pants were in a similar state. Still fine around his mid section, but stressed everywhere else. He leaned closer to the glass. He ran his hand over his face. His skin was tighter. He looked like he was in his early twenties now. He slipped his hand out of the bloody towel and found it had completely healed. A big smile overtook his face. As he theorized, his body’s response time was accelerating with each transaction.

His self admiration ended when he noticed his jacket no longer covered his brief case. Someone had moved it. He had to know if the disc was safe. He walked around the car to check all the doors. They were lock and didn’t appear to have jimmied open. He grabbed the handle of one of the back doors and pulled. The handle snapped off his hand. He threw it down. Again he checked to make sure he wasn’t being watched. He placed the fingers of his left hand along the gap between the front and back door. He wiggled them back and forth forcing the forged steel to bend to accommodate his grip. He then pried his right hand on the other side of the door. He pulled on the door, but the whole car moved toward him. He underestimated his new level of strength. He planted his legs and began to twist the door back and forth. The front and back tires alternately rose off the blacktop. His muscles expanded from lifting the vehicle. His pants surrendered to the pressure. The seams along the length of his leg sand down the center of his seat split. The shoulder and side seams of his shirt slowly separated. Finally the door began to creak. With a snap of the hinges, it came loose in his hands. He set it down next to the car.

He looked for the case’s keys in his jacket to no avail. With little effort he had it broken open. As he feared, the disc was gone. He thought for a minute. It had to be Jim; he was the only one with keys for the car. He looked down at his ravaged clothing. He wrapped his jacket around his waist to cover the seat of his ripped pants. It wouldn’t fit his torso any way. He walked only a few yards before seeing Jim and his friend crossing the quad. They walked with the determination of men on a mission.

Richard had to stop walking. He slid his foot out of his shoe and rubbed it through his white sock. Jim gave him a let’s hurry look. Suddenly the surrounding area became darker. Both boys realized they were in the shadow cast by a large object. Jim looked up behind the still crouching Richard. It was the professor looking bigger and more menacing in his tattered clothing. Richard was lifted off the ground by the back of his shirt. Jim turned to run, but was airborne in a flash. The professor held the two smaller men like an average man would kittens by the scruff of their necks. He carried them to the nearest structure, the college’s mathematics’ building. Both men thrashed about trying to free themselves. Evan didn’t seem to notice their kicks and blows to his body. Richard’s new shoes fell off in the process. Needing a free hand, Evan put the boys back to back and held both of them up in one hand. He opened the door to Goodrich Hall and searched for an empty room. A student walked by who Richard recognized; he and Mike had classes together. He begged Mike to get help. Evan glared at him threateningly. The shuddering student ran away almost in tears.

The professor found an empty office. He opened the door and hit his head on the top of the door frame as he entered. He literally dropped the boys onto the floor when he went to rub his forehead. He closed the door and pulled off the interior door knob. He held it up to them before he crushed it like a paper cup in his hand. The boys couldn’t escape now. The professor demanded the disc be returned to him. Jim denied having it. Evan said it had to be him. He was the only one with keys to the car.

Jim finally admitted to taking the disc. He swore he would never give it back. He wanted to show he wouldn’t be intimidated by the monster looming over him. He told Evan he knew what he was doing. He saw what he did to Billy.

Evan smirked. He told his assistant no one would believe such a preposterous story. Jim held up the Manila envelope. Richard moved closer to his friend. Both knew Jim shouldn’t have shown his hand. He put the envelope behind his back. Evan spun Jim like a top and yanked the envelope out of his hand. The professor looked through the envelope briefly before he tore it in half, then in half again, again. He tossed the half inch confetti into the garbage can. Jim’s heart sank as he watched his case be literally torn to shreds. Again Evan demanded the disc. Jim remained defiant. Richard tried to diffuse the tension. He asked why the professor needed the disc. Wasn’t he already big and strong enough?

Evan shook his head. He told them they had no idea what he was doing, the magnitude of his scientific endeavor. It had nothing to do with having big muscles. Sure he enjoyed looking like he did. Evan raised his arms into a double bicep pose. His biceps exploded with unimaginable strength. He closed his eyes and bit his lower lip. The power contained in his massive muscles was intoxicating. He flexed harder and harder incorporating the muscles in his shoulders and back. The few remaining threads holding his shirt together snapped. The great pleasure he felt begun to be show at his crotch. Evan lowered his arms and opened his eyes to find the boys staring at him. They were huddled together for security. The terror on their faces gave Evan another rush. He kept looking at them as he ripped his useless shirt off him and tossed it into the garbage. He untied his jacket from around his waist and disposed of it. He unhitched his belt and yanked it from around his tight waist. The strip of leather snapped like a whip when freed. He pulled off the tattered remains of his pants. At the end of his striptease, all that remained covering his muscular bulk was a tightly packed pair of standard white briefs. The outline of his semi-hard cock was clearly visible. The boys knew Evan’s supernatural physicality was insurmountable by any human. Their fate became more dire.

Evan adjusted himself as he walked away. He went to a small mirror hanging on the wall next to the door. He stroked his young, handsome face. He hadn’t anticipated being better looking for his second chance at youth. It was a very pleasant surprise. He looked only a few years older than his captives. He could see he boys in the mirror still staring at him. He turned to face them. He teased that he looked pretty good for a man turning 71 next month.

Richard forced out a question. He asked why Evan was so big it that wasn’t his goal. The professor explained what they saw was just his body’s response to his absorbing others’ physical strength. He didn’t actually take their muscles, he took their strength. His body needed to store the strength, so it generated more muscle mass. After draining three or four athletes he worried he was becoming muscle bound. But his body adapted again by lengthening and thickening his skeleton to support the additional musculature. Evan noticed Richard glancing at his package. He said his body needed more testosterone to maintain the huge amount of muscle mass so his testicles enlarged. And while he was no Milton Berle, he was always well endowed. His penis kept pace with the growth of the rest of his body. The increase in testosterone also impacted how his body grew. His male characteristics were enhanced; like the difference between the width of his hips and shoulders, the size of his hands and feet, and his beard growth. Even his growing facial features were impacted by the influx of the male hormone. He was more classically handsome now than when he was a young man the first time.

Jim asked why he needed so much strength. Evan became serious as he answered the question. It was to accomplish something men have sought for eons. Something Mother Nature had denied even the bravest and most intelligent of people; immortality. He believed super human strength was the key to living forever. The professor’s teaching instincts took over. He sat down on the large desk in the room. He spread his legs apart to give his ample package room. He explained for centuries those in touch with the Earth’s dark energy have sought immortality. They believed if they just took the youth of others it would make them young. But the effect was only temporary. Their old, weak bodies could not maintain the youth. It was like putting a new coat of paint over an old one. It didn’t take long for the underlying cracks to reappear. The professor theorized the combination of strength and youth was the key. He stood up and continued to speak as if he was giving a lecture in front of a class.

He added there is a point when the human body, at the cellular level, stops growing and begins to age. For most people it’s between 18 and 22 years of life; the age of a typical college student. We know now that the human body is constantly undergoing a replication process; cells dying and being replaced with new ones. However, this continuous cellular turn over isn’t perfect. Like carbons on a typewriter. The copy on the bottom isn’t quite as sharp as the original on the top. As we age the cells become flawed making our skin sag, our hair thin, our immune system fail, and our muscles weak. We become more susceptible to disease and injury; which in turn makes us even weaker and then we die. Ancient people didn’t understand how things work at the cellular level. Evan theorized the weakening of our bodies was at the core of what causes us to age. If we could make our bodies strong enough it would stop aging. If we could at the same time go back to the point where we have not yet began to age, say 18; we would be immortal. However, youth isn’t a certain number of years. It’s the body’s ability to regenerate itself or cellular turn over rate. By taking a person’s cellular regeneration, Evan’s own rate increases, making him younger.

The professor became excited about the greatest discovery of his 40 year career. He talked quickly. With each additional person’s cellular rate and strength he drained the effects accelerated. At first it would take days before he saw any physical changes. Today it took only an hour. Once he regressed to that peak cellular age and had enough strength, or physical energy to maintain it, his super human body would go into stasis and repair itself instantaneously. He was almost there. He estimated only two or three more ceremonies would be required for him to be forever young.

Richard wondered what happened to the people he drained. The professor shrugged his barn door wide shoulders. He didn’t know the long term effects since he didn’t stay around long enough to observe them; however, he believed they would experience accelerated aging. He did know that immediately they experienced weakness. He took approximately 2/3 of their physical strength; however, it took several weeks for them to lose the muscle mass.

The professor recalled his first victim. It was a story he had never told. For a man who enjoyed talking as much as he did, it felt good to finally get it out. He said the first time he drained someone was accidental. It happened in Mexico four years ago. A research team consisting of him, three assistants and three local guides were in search of a secret temple used by the most powerful Mayan priests of their time. The trek was long and arduous. He was three times the age of the other men on the team. There was some resentment that the professor couldn’t carry as much as they did, or go as fast or as far. They felt he was holding them back, making the difficult search worse for them. After nine weeks in stifling heat, they found the temple. It was in ruins, but the core structure remained intact. It took several days to clear the entrance. In the center of the main room was an altar with the disc. Wall drawings represented a ritual in which the disc could be used. One of his assistants suggested they recreate the ritual. Thinking nothing of it, he agreed. But something did happen. The assistant fainted and he felt better. The common aches and pains that came with his age were gone. After several days they returned. But the assistant never fully recovered. He looked as if he had aged years in only days.

Evan stood up and began to pace again as he continued his tale. You could tell he felt some regret for what he had done. He said the student didn’t remember what occurred in the chamber. He told the guides to take him to the nearest hospital for medical attention. Only Evan and the two other assistants remained at the temple to continue their work. The professor wanted to test the disc again. He decided this time to add the word for strength to the ritual to make him as strong as the younger men. The professor did the modified ritual on another assistant when the opportunity arose. Unfortunately removing his strength proved fatal; his heart simply stopped beating within minutes. His body didn’t have enough remaining strength to support basic bodily functions. The third assistant witnessed the ritual and confronted the professor calling him a murderer. Evan panicked and did the ritual on him too. He did not die, but he was in such a weakened state he could hardly walk. The professor theorized the third assistant did not die because he had a naturally more robust physique that gave him above average strength. That’s why Evan drains only the strongest men he can find. The professor continued his tale. Even though the surviving assistant didn’t remember what happened to him, he did remember witnessing the earlier draining and deduced he was also a victim. He threatened to tell the authorities when the guides returned.

Evan felt he had no choice so he did the ritual a second time on the already weakened boy. He died instantly. He decided to place the bodies of his assistants in the jungle letting the animals and elements dispose of them. With the strength of three men within him, he was able to easily lift the bodies. He threw one man over each shoulder and carried them several yards without tiring. He decided it best to disappear before the others returned to the site. He packed the knife, disc and a bare minimum of supplies before heading in the opposite direction from where his party came. It took more than a week and over 100 hundred miles before he stumbled upon a small village. The villagers where surprised he was in such good condition for what he had been through. It wasn’t until saw himself in a mirror that he realized he had transformed. He was more muscular, leaner and looked ten years younger. He changed his name and started a new life. Evan looked at the boys and said that he believed they knew the rest from the photos.

The boys listened to every detail of the story. Jim’s interest in Mayan artifacts made him ask what the professor meant that the ritual he performed was just one use for the disc. The professor said the disc is like a power source, an outlet. You can use its energy to do almost anything. Every ancient culture has similar vessels and rituals. He was currently modifying an Aborigine time travel ritual to use wit the disc. He arched his eyebrows and asked them to think of the possibilities.

The room went silent as the men thought of different scenarios. All turned toward the door as voices came from the other side. The boys began to shout for help. The handle jiggled and the door swung open. It was a school security guard with Richard’s classmate Mike standing further back in the hall. The professor faced the guard. The guard was stunned by the nearly nude muscular giant. The boys told the guard Evan was a murderer. The professor took a step closer to the college employee. The guard instructed the hulk to stay back. The police were on their way. Evan put his hand on the guard’s chest and pushed him back. The middle aged, stout man flew back out the door and landed in the hall. The professor shut the door and bent the metal rod from the knob to jam the lock. He looked out the window behind the boys. He could see two policemen coming toward the building. The boys turned around and saw the same thing. They began to tap on the glass and yell for help. The professor grabbed the boys by the necks to get them to stop shouting. He lifted them off the ground. Both boys put their much smaller hands around the professor’s paws to loosen his choke hold. They kicked their feet frantically. The police saw what was happening through the large window. It looked like the boys were fighting for their lives against this naked giant. The police pulled out their guns and warned Evan to release the boys. He didn’t hear them. The security emerged from the building and told the police Evan was a murderer. The policemen each fired their weapons into the hulk. The shattering glass and impact of the bullets startled the professor. All his massively powerful muscles contracted including those of his hands. Both boys’ necks were snapped instantly in his grip. Their bodies went limp. The professor and police knew they students were dead. The police fired their guns again. Evan dropped the two bodies and looked down at the bleeding holes in his torso. He felt no pain. He growled at the police on the other side of the window and flexed his biceps. The police fired again and again. This time the bullets penetrated Evan’s heart. All emotion left the professor’s face as he fell to the floor next to Richard and Jim.

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