[First Class Flight to the Stomach]
"Afraid of a little water, are you? C'mon, join in!" one of the boys yelled to Henry from the water.
He and his friends had decided to head up the mountains that day and go for a relaxing swim in the lake. Henry was never particularly fond of the water; he had never been a good swimmer. He would prefer not to go swimming, but he figured going outside with his friends would be better than staying inside all day.
His friends had already jumped in without hesitation. The two boys, Max and Jake, were floating around, splashing water on each other and trying to do small races.
"C'mon, what are you waiting for?" Max shouted from the water, urging Henry on.
Henry took a running start and jumped into the water, creating a large splash as he cannonballed in. After surfacing, he splashed at Max. Henry was able to keep himself afloat, but it clearly wasn't easy for him. The three boys played around in the water, splashing each other, trying to see who could hold their breath the longest.
"Let's see who can reach the other side the quickest!" Jake proposed.
"Yeah, let's race! You joining us Henry?" Max eagerly responded, never able to turn down a challenge.
Henry looked over the large lake, seeing the distance he'd have to swim, the thought of doing so already draining him of most of his energy. "I don’t think I can make it."
"Alright, you stay here and watch after our stuff!". The two quickly sped away, going on the long swim. Henry watched his friends growing more distant as he simply bobbed up and down in the water.
A soft, feathery surface rubbed against Henry's back; he let out a shriek as he turned around, wondering what was behind him. Henry was shocked to find a massive pelican floating right behind him, looking down on him. Henry looked up at the large bird, unsure what the bird was doing here or where it’d come from.
Its long beak loomed over his head. The body of the bird was larger than anything Henry had ever seen.
Henry would soon learn the bird's intentions as it opened its large beak. The pouch of the pelican opened up to a large oval and scooped through the water, scooping Henry out of the water. The jaw of the pelican returned to its previous shape, snapping shut and trapping Henry inside the water-filled pouch.
Henry panicked, pushing and kicking against the bird's beak and pouch. The water made it hard for him to make any significant impact.
The pelican was undisturbed by the struggling prey inside its beak as it leisurely floated along the water. It tilted its head slightly and allowed the water to drain from its pouch.
Henry felt himself pushed up, closer to the opening of the pelican's pouch.
The jaw of the pelican prevented Henry from climbing back out of the beak; he was securely locked inside. Water kept flowing out of the beak until only Henry remained inside.
Henry breathed heavily, struggling and pushing against the sides of the pelican's pouch, his head pressed against the pelican's jaw. His actions had little to no impact on the pelican.
The pelican raised its head skyward.
Henry tried in vain to grab onto the walls of the pouch to stop his descent, but the skin proved too smooth to provide him grip. Henry felt himself sliding down, his legs and butt quickly and effortlessly being stuffed into the pelican's large throat. He screamed and pushed against the pouch, powerless to make headway against the bird’s inescapable swallowing.
It took big gulps, opening its beak slightly and bucking its head up, pushing its meal deeper in its throat.
With Henry's head squished into its throat, the pelican leveled its head and gave one final swallow, sending Henry down its throat. Henry's silhouette could be seen through the neck of the pelican before it slid down and disappeared into the bird's large torso. Its meal was safely sealed away. Sated and full, the pelican stretched its wings. The pelican took off and flew away, disappearing into the mountains, its meal tucked nicely in its stomach and awaiting digestion.
The walls of the stomach squeezed and squished around Henry, the tight space working hard to break him down. Henry had stopped struggling, having simply accepted his fate and waiting for the inevitable. He was food for the stomach and he knew it. He could already feel the digestive fluids working on his body, melting him down to be used for nutrition.
"At least it doesn't hurt," he thought to himself as he relaxed his body.
The air in the stomach grew thin and Henry knew he wouldn't have much longer. He cursed the pelican, hating how his body would only prove to power the large bird. He thought of his life, the friends he had, and the hopes he had for his life. All of it, stripped away and taken. He closed his eyes; his mind was slowly growing weak. His thoughts blurred together into a slurry until he finally passed out, leaving his body to be melted down and used up by the pelican.
Max and Jake, having reached the other side, looked back to find their friend gone; however, his bike and clothes were still where he left them.
They quickly swam back, thinking their friend might have drowned. They waded out of the water, rushing to call 911.
The lake would be searched all night, but nothing would ever be found. It was assumed he had drowned, but without finding a body it was impossible to confirm with certainty. However, Henry was not the first person to go missing; a handful of other people had disappeared at this exact lake under the same strange circumstances. The local government decided to close down the lake, just to avoid any unnecessary accidents.
But this wouldn't deter the local adventurous teens; the thought of a lake this deadly only attracted them, ensuring our pelican friend wouldn't run out of food anytime soon.