Thursday 24 September 2009

THE CINCH by James Hilton

Be careful what you wish for...

The Cinch

Ashley Armstrong smiled to herself as the Royal Mail delivery van pulled away from the front of her house. She knew exactly what was inside the parcel.
She’d found it on the internet five days ago. She’d trawled through the plethora of websites promising everything from legal Marijuana substitutes to wholesale Viagra rip-offs.
Finally she’d found it,
The site was tricky to navigate, almost as if it didn’t really want to sell its miraculous weight loss product.
Ashley ran a hand over her flabby midsection as she recalled the Cinch Guarantee; ‘Cut your waist size by at least 50%!!!’
Even at half its current size, Ashley knew that skinny bitch Samantha Leaming might still be slimmer.
Samantha was that girl. Every one in the office loved her.
Isn’t Sam beautiful?
Isn’t Sam funny?
I don’t know how she looks as good all of the time…she could be a super model.
Ashley hated Sam! Not just her though, she hated all of the skinny bitches. She saw the snide looks they gave, whispering about her, about how she looked.
Ashley kept a size ten dress in her wardrobe, even though she wore four sizes up. Ten was her target size.
And now she was one big step closer to wearing it.
The computer screen blinked into life as the DVD drive whirred. The information presented on the disc promised to make using the Cinch as easy as A, B, C.
Ashley knelt on the floor as the presenter gave a dazzling white smile.
It was the same handsome face as on the website. “Hi, my name’s Pim Stansa, founder of Cinch Industries.” For the next ten minutes the smooth talking Stansa explained in a west coast American accent, how all other diets and health kicks were now obsolete due to the miraculous development of the Cinch. He finished with the declaration that within a few minutes of trying the Cinch, all thoughts of weight loss would be the farthest thing from your mind.
Ashley studied the cinch that lay across her knees as the infomercial spouted potted wisdom and told just how great her new life would be.
The cinch itself resembled an extra wide belt. A simple adjustable buckle system allowed the belt to be made a perfect fit. The inside of the belt was decorated by a string of strange glyphs.
Chinese? No.
Maybe rune symbols?
She didn’t know, or care, as long as it worked.
But the real innovation with the cinch was the thousands of tiny magnetically charged crystals embedded within the pliable fabric. She’d heard of magnetic therapy before but it was usually used to alleviate aches and pains or symptoms of arthritis.
With the cinch, it was claimed that the crystals magnetised the fat molecules in your body working in conjunction with the normal healthy levels of iron in your blood. The magnetism promised to bind particles of fat together in pea sized clumps and allow the body to pass them in a natural and painless way.
Ashley could only hope it worked. She’d tried everything else apart from gastric surgery; no way would she ever afford that anyway.
On the screen, Pim Stansa was encouraging the viewer to go ahead and try on the cinch.
Like most products, you could buy accessories and Ashley had decided to buy the whole range. Her set comprised of the Cinch belt, two arm bands to be worn on the biceps, two leg bands for the upper thighs and a soft neck cowl, all presented in a coordinated eye-catching design of course. The material looked like leather but felt more like neoprene as used in wet suits.
She stripped down to her underwear. She was a direct contrast to the dusty skinned model that was posturing confidently on the screen. She looked like a professional fitness instructor; the Lycra suit and the Cinch accessories enhancing her form to perfection.
Ashley however looked more like a professional pie eater. Rolls of pale skin sagged over her Marks and Spencer ‘Magic Knickers’ and support bra. Maybe she needed more magic than any high street retailer could provide.
Ashley fitted the belt, then the arm and leg straps and finished by slipping the neck cowl over her head.
Stansa was back on the screen telling the viewer how great they must look and feel.
Ashley did feel good, a strange tingle was emanating from the belt. Maybe this was the real thing!
She looked down and decided that she could go another notch up on the cinch belt.
A quick breath in…another notch.
Damn, but she was looking a lot slimmer just by wearing the cinch. It had shaped her waist like an old fashioned girdle but looked sleek and stylish, if a bit Goth-like for her tastes.
She looked down again.
Could she manage another notch?
She fumbled with the small buckles. As the pin slipped into the next hole on the belt, it cut a V shaped gouge deep into her thumb.
“Ow.” She pulled her hand away instinctively and traced a line of blood three inches long from the buckle along the cinch belt.
The effect was instantaneous. A ripple of energy pulsed through the cinch belt. But it didn’t stop there, the arm wraps, leg wraps and neck cowl vibrated in response.
No not vibrated, squirmed!
The blood was absorbed by the fabric of the belt.
Then the cinch emitted a strange cracking sound. That awful knuckle-cracking sound that the men in the office did to annoy her.
She looked at her waist, bewildered.
The cinch tightened again…on its own!
Ashley tried to release the belt but it was stuck fast.
More of her blood across the cinch fabric.
The belt tightened another inch.
“No!” was all she managed. Then the rest of the cinch set began to reduce in circumference as well.
The neck cowl tightened around her throat. She could feel her pulse throbbing against the fabric. No, it wasn’t her pulse. The cowl was pulsating with an intrinsic energy of its own.
She dug her fingers under the fabric, but as she fumbled and pulled at the band around her throat, it seemed to constrict even more in response.
Ashley started to choke. Cold darts of panic shot through her nervous system.
“No, no, no.”
Her computer screen blinked back into life again. Pim Stansa appeared again; smiling as ever. He seemed to be looking directly at her; through the screen.
The waist cinch clicked up another notch. Ashley was finding it hard to breathe now. Pressure seemed to be building all over her body. Her limbs were tight and sluggish as the bands restricted the blood flow to her extremities.
As spots of light danced across her vision, she staggered and knocked the computer monitor to the ground.
The picture flickered then turned a solid blue.
The cinch bands on her thighs cut so deep into her legs they now resembled a roast of meat in a butchers shop. Both her arms and legs had turned a mottled shade of red. Swollen veins accentuated their path like a ghastly road map.
Ashley fell to her knees. Her eyes and tongue sought to escape the confines of her head. Vomit rose in her throat but failed to pass her oesophagus.
The Cinch around her waist tightened with a force that caused Ashley’s bladder to empty.
She fell onto the floor, her fingers clawing without effect at the band around her throat.
The computer screen again flickered to life.
Pim Stansa gazed at her from his horizontal perspective. Then, ever so slowly, he turned on the screen so that he stood perpendicular again.
From his impossible manipulation of the screen, Stansa gave Ashley another perfect smile and a double thumbs up.
The arm bands had nipped through the delicate skin, soft fat and muscle tissues and now encircled the bone itself.
She tried to scream for help, but all that escaped was a thin whistling wheeze. Her mouth worked like a fish out of water, but to no avail.
The waist cinch tightened again, now cut so deep that she couldn’t see it in the folds of her abdomen.
Her legs began to jerk spasmodically. She looked down at her self- animated feet. They were doing ‘Riverdance’ of their own accord.
A varicose vein on the inside of her left knee expanded like a child’s modelling balloon. The skin ruptured and a pencil thin stream of blood was ejected under pressure. The crimson stream covered the whole length of the bedroom, some fifteen feet across.
Then her whole body joined in with the jerking of her legs.
From Stansa’s view she looked like a jockey spurring on an imaginary horse.
The waist Cinch tightened again.
Deep inside Ashley Armstrong’s torso, her liver and spleen burst, flooding her abdomen with both precious blood and harmful toxins.
The neck cowl seemed to loosen for a couple of seconds. In that time, the contents of her stomach coupled with the emissions of her ruptured organs spewed forth. She had scant time for one shuddering intake of breath; then it constricted again.
The range of sensations she endured was beyond words. Pain, agony, mind-numbing terror, anguish, torture, suffering, misery; these were words that featured every day in the tabloids. Ashley’s ordeal reset the very parameters of these words.
With an unearthly snap of bone, her left leg detached itself. As she continued to flop on the floor gouts of dark crimson essence spurted over the dismembered limb. The cinch had constricted to such a point that it nipped the top of the lost limb tight around the femur. The amputated appendage now resembled an over sized bratwurst – with toes.
On the computer monitor, Stansa looked directly into Ashley’s bulging eyes.
As she clung to the last vestige of life she watched his name appear on screen in large animated letters. PIM STANSA.
She watched them rearrange themselves; undoing the simple anagram that she’d missed at the start of the presentation.
New torrents of time rendering agony swept her body. With three decisive snaps, her remaining limbs were detached as the Cinch on each reduced itself to a bizarrely small circumference.
Then the waist cinch constricted for a final time, crushing all remaining soft tissue into her spinal column. She was now beyond individual sensations and the loss of her pelvis escaped her.
Ashley’s perspective of vision changed, twin messages of contradicting sights each vying for dominance in her brain. Then she realised that her right eye had popped out its socket and was now lolling downwards on her cheek.
On the screen, Stansa, now framed by his real name gave a cheery wave goodbye.
Ashley was still trying to draw one final breath as her head was severed by the cinch around her neck. What little blood that remained in her torso now trickled lazily from her mangled throat.
The DVD tray on the computer tower opened and ejected the disc. The disc landed on the floor and then curled into an unrecognisable shape resembling a dead crustacean.
Then silence settled on the household of Ashley Armstrong.


  1. That was my kind of horror gross-out. Great piece James. I'll go buy one of those on the net once my investment has come through, I'm helping a Nigerian prince get his 40millions dollar-pounds out of the country. I've given over my bank details so it's just the wait now.

  2. Glad you liked it Lee,

    when you get your Nigerian millions, please consider investing it in some ocean front villas in Basra, Pim Stansa tells me it's great out there right now!

    Jim H

  3. Nice and jucey! Always look a gift horse in the mouth.

  4. Good stuff, Jim. Just unconsciously loosened my belt a notch (but maybe that's got more to do with the chinese meal I had last night!).

  5. The old "miracle weight loss" gem. Think I'll carry on going to the gym!! lol.
    Great story James and well written. Regards.

  6. P.S. Is anybody else still trying to rearrange PIM STANSA into something else, or am I just being completely thick??

  7. Gory stuff but well done! I loved the line 'professional pie eater'.

  8. Hi David. Have you tried SATANS IMP yet?

  9. Yep, nice! I bet everyone else is saying "oh yes, that's what I thought it was." :-) Thanks Matt! Great piece James.

  10. Not graphic enough for me this one, Jim!!!

    Bloody'ell (literally), this was a 'belt'er!

    Did she ever fit into that size 10 dress?

    Damn good job, mate.

  11. Ps. a safer n cheaper diet would've been the high fibre, 'Shit y'self thin diet,' where you just sprinkle a bit of bran on everything you eat, including chocolate n chips!

  12. Jim,

    C K Andrews also passes her thanks for this story (she can't leave comments).

  13. I absolutely loved this, Jim. Had me grinning the whole way through - from her naivety at ordering something like that online to the comments about her colleagues, not to mention her splendid and graphic descent into slim as slim could be.

    Fab. Reminded me of Richard Bachman (King's) Thinner.

    I shall never diet. I shall be a plumpette forever.

  14. I'm glad you all liked it. Watch out for more Stansa in the future. You can't keep a good man (or a Bad Demon) down.

    And CK (who can't post comments) is welcome.