The golden beams of sunlight danced on the clear, blue, tropical water and bathed every object on the white sandy beach. It was a beautiful, but very warm, Jamaican morning. Only a handful of people were scattered along the private beach at this early hour, and those that were sat quietly sipping coffee or reading the morning news.
Among these early morning beachcombers was a woman in her late twenties, who wore only a scant black, thong bikini. She sat alone, partially under an umbrella, and reclined gracefully in a folding canvas chair. Her long brown hair cascaded across her shoulders and her pretty blue eyes were hidden by the black "wayfarer" shades that protected them from the brightness of the Caribbean morning.
Attractive would have been merely an understatement in describing this pretty young lass. She was stunning! Filling out the bikini quite well, she had captured the admiring attention of most every man who had passed her way on this particular day and caught a few cold glances from the other females as well. This however, was something that the young beauty was accustomed to, and she simply ignored the stares and the occasional "cat-calls".
As she attempted to enjoy the privacy of the moment, she soon discovered that envious on-lookers were not the only interruption that she would have to face today. A crowd of native peddlers had gathered around her and began to offer their wares. A dark-skinned Jamaican woman knelt beside her, and began stroking the brunette's long wavy locks. "Hair braid Miss? Special price today . . .", the native encouraged. The other two were men, and tried to entice the young woman with everything from jewelry to marijuana.
Smiling and shaking her head slightly, she politely fended off these local entrepreneurs, and the beautiful young woman was eventually able to settle into place. She began rubbing lotion onto smooth skin that was already tanned a hue of heavenly gold, and she could feel the sun on her body as it grew higher, and hotter. Small beads of perspiration formed on her forehead, and she shifted ever-so-slightly in the chair, adjusting her bikini top. She was glad to have a couple days to finally relax. She was finally on holiday.
Across the beach, about a hundred yards from the young woman, a middle-aged, Jamaican man walked gingerly across the deep white sand. With every step he could feel the sand slipping in around the edges his polished black shoes, and he sighed. He was dressed in a white tuxedo, which deeply contrasted his blackened skin, and he carried a small, sterling silver tray. He was dripping with sweat by the time he reached the spot where the beautiful brunette had just drifted off to sleep.
"Pardon me, Ms. Bond," the man said with a thick Jamaican accent.
The young woman stirred, and lifted the sunglasses from her eyes. She couldn't help but notice how the man's eyes concentrated on her chest. "Yes?" She replied.
"You have an urgent call from London, Maam."
The woman moaned disgustedly, as she reached for the cell phone on the silver tray. "I should have known it was too good to be true," she grumbled.
"Hello?" she said with a British accent as she placed the phone to her ear. She could hear only crackling static. "Hello? This is Barbara Bond, is anyone there?"
"Double-oh-nine . . ." she heard a man's voice reply over the static. "Where in blue blazes are you?!" The voice was that of a man code named "M". He was her immediate supervisor at her place of employment, and he was also the man who headed the British Secret Service.
"Where did you call me at, Sir?" she replied, sarcastically.
"Never mind the pleasantries double-oh-nine. I've been trying to reach you for days. I don't wish to interrupt your holiday, but we've a serious matter to attend to. A matter possibly of national security. It is imperative that you board the next plane to London!"
Silence preceded Barbara's sigh. "Okay, Okay. I'll be at your office bright and early, Sir."
"Do so, double-oh-nine. I'll be waiting." The voice replied. With that the phone went silent.
the next day . . .
The eighth chime of "Big Ben" echoed through the morning fog as special agent Barbara Bond climbed the steps to the "Agency". 'When do they plan on repairing the bloody lift?' she thought silently. 'These stairs seem to get steeper with each climb.'
The sexy young agent was dressed smartly in a form-fitting designer sweater, a short, gray mini-skirt, and black nylons. The three-inch heels on her shiny, patent leather pumps clicked on the polished marble steps as she continued her ascent. Finally reaching the upper level, she continued down the narrow corridor. A small, black leather purse swung gently from her shoulder, in rhythm with the swaying of her hips, as she approached her destination. Opening the door to an ordinary looking office, she stepped into the small reception area, and was greeted by an elderly secretary. The woman sat behind a large oak desk, and turned her attention from the papers that she was shuffling to Barbara.
"Well, good morning, Barbara," the older lady said in a pleasant tone.
"And a good morning to you, Miz Moneypenny," Barbara said smiling. "What's this matter of 'National Security' the chief called me off holiday for?"
Moneypenny could sense the hint of sarcasm in Barbara's voice. "He's been very closed mouth, Barbara," the elderly secretary grinned and changed the subject. "Your uncle James would be most proud of you, you know? You're following right in his footsteps."
Chuckling, Barbara replied. "Yes, I suppose he would. I understand that you and my Uncle James knew each other quite well, Moneypenny."
Without an audible reply, Ms. Moneypenny blushed as the Chief exited his office. "Double-oh-nine, it's about time! Where have you been? I've been waiting! Come in at once."
"Well good morning Sir. How are you today?" Barbara said to the anxious man.
She received no response.
As the gray haired gentleman led the attractive young woman through the double soundproof doors, she rolled her eyes at Ms. Moneypenny. The older lady simply grinned; her thoughts had drifted back to another time.
As Barbara entered the room, she was greeted by the musty odor of stale cigar smoke and tall tales. She also saw that she and her superior would not be alone for their meeting. Setting tensely in the high-backed leather chairs about the room were Chief Inspector Claymoore from New Scotland Yard, and two other gentlemen whom she didn't recognize. Both of these unidentified men appeared to be in their mid-thirties and the first was a rather disheveled looking fellow who wore thick eyeglasses, and held a snap-brim cap on his knee. Seated beside him was a handsome young man with dark hair and enchantingly dark eyes. Barbara couldn't help but notice how his blue wool suit fit his muscular frame in a pleasing way.
All three men rose from their seats when she entered the room. The handsome man in the blue suit seemed to scan her curvaceous body, as if undressing her with his eyes. Barbara could feel his gaze almost burning through her as she walked to an unoccupied chair, seated herself, and crossed her shapely legs. The men returned to their respective seats.
"Miz Bond," the Agency head began, "I assume you are familiar with Chief Inspector Claymoore."
Barbara nodded as she re-crossed her legs in the opposite way. She could still feel the stranger's eyes on her body, and it gave her an uneasy feeling.
"I would also like to introduce you to Chief Medical Officer, Jasper Bignall." The gray-haired gentleman said gesturing toward the man in the wrinkled clothes.
Adjusting his glasses, Jasper Bignall nodded a silent 'hello' in the female operative's direction.
"M" went on. "And this gentleman is Dr. Walter Windsor."
The unfamiliar man duly bowed toward Barbara from his chair, and smiled. "No relation to the Royal Family, I am sorry to say. But it is indeed a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miz Bond."
"Likewise," Barbara said with a cautious smile.
"Miz Bond I realize you have been on assignment in the U.S., and afterward on holiday in the Caribbean, but I assume that you have heard of the recent . . . and unusual . . . events that have occurred here recently," "M" continued. "A matter that has been dubbed the 'Medusa Killings'?"
Barbara shrugged. "I heard a brief account of some women who turned up missing, and some odd individual who was leaving plastic reproductions of them behind."
Chief Inspector Claymoore now spoke up. "We have determined, Miz Bond, that these replicas as you say . . . were more than just likenesses. This individual, or individuals, have somehow . . . I know it sounds absurd . . . but somehow been transforming these women."
Barbara couldn't help but smirk at Inspector Claymoore. "Transforming them? Transforming them into... what?"
"Into plastic, Miz Bond," Claymoore quipped. "Plastic . . . statues. Mannequins, if you will."
Barbara could not comprehend the babble that this man was relaying to her. "Transforming women? Turning human beings into plastic?" she said with a disbelieving expression. "You mean magically or something less sensible?! Please Inspector; this must be some type of prank you gentlemen are teasing me with. I do have more import . . ."
"No double-oh-nine, I am afraid that this is very real." Her Boss cut her off with a serious tone to his voice. Reaching across his desk, he passed Barbara a sheaf of files and police photographs, and she began to flip slowly through the material. Her eyes widened as she read the statements and glanced at the images.
"Miz Bond, as you can now see, this is no prank." Claymoore began once again. "There have been a total of seven victims to date. All of which were attractive, young, women. Some were common college girls, one a transient, but the last two victims . . ." Claymoore's voice trailed off as he frowned. "The sixth was an American Police woman, a Miz Brenda Taggart, who was assigned to my command at The Yard for cultural exchange. The most recent, and seventh, victim was Miz Victoria Plumm. I'm sure you're familiar with her name and reputation as well."
Barbara looked up to acknowledge his inquisition, and nodded.
"As you are aware, Miz Plumm is, or was, a reporter with the London Times. We still don't know by what means, but she apparently was able to land an interview with this mysterious criminal. We, after months of forensic searching, can't get our hands on the bastard but she evidently, or accidentally, found him...or her." Claymoore paused. "In turn, she ended up in her current state; discovered a fortnight ago."
"So, she's dead?" Barbara inquired.
"Presumably so. That is . . . unless a means of reversing her transformation is possible," Claymoore continued. "But we cannot be positive about her or any of the others at this point. There was, however, something a bit different about Miz Plumm's body than any of the previous victims. The body as found was stiff and immobile, yet unlike the others, the texture of Miz Plumm's skin remains slightly pliable. Almost of a wax-like consistency, in fact. Which indeed proved to be the case, upon a detailed forensic examination. Which, in turn leads us to believe the perpetrator posesses a rather - twisted - sense of amusement."
The pretty brunette listened intently, raising one eyebrow as Claymoore went on. "On the morning of her disappearance, Miz Plumm informed a colleague about the contact she had chanced upon, then shortly thereafter left her office for a supposed meeting. After that, she went missing. She wasn't located for a couple of days, until an acquaintance of the young lady stumbled upon her in one of the display tableaux at Madame Tussauds.
"The wax museum?" Barbara queried as her eyebrows rose in anticipation.
"Quite so. The bastard has apparently become quite brazen. Miz Plumm, 'er her statue, was literally placed on display among other real wax figures. Frozen in place and posed there for all the world to see. None of Tussauds staff seemed pay any mind to her presence and were going about their business as usual. If she had not been recognized, who knows how long she might have remained there. Her body was recovered by my staff and is now at the mortuary under Dr. Bignall's supervision."
"Oh, and another thing, Miz Bond." Claymoore added. "We examined the contents of Miz Plumm's office and located a steno pad that was lying on her desk. The top page was dated the day of her disappearance, and she had been taking notes on the pad. Then oddly, in the middle of the page, she began writing the word 'fascinating' over and over again. We're not positive that it means anything a'tall, but it could have a connection. I don't know how Miz Plumm actually met her fate, but I must say, that poor girl had the strangest, most confused look of joy mixed with surprise on her face that I have ever seen. As a matter of fact, that expression is still on her face."
Claymoore cleared his throat, and summarized the situation at hand. "It's all quite queer really. We have no material evidence other than an unmatched fingerprint, and all of the . . ." He cleared his throat again. "All of the transformations have occurred in the park, except for Miz Plumm. At this juncture, are at our wits end."
"Miz Bond, if you'd like to see Miz Plumm or any of the others, just notify me." Jasper Bignall spoke up in a ghoulish tone. "They're all at the mortuary."
"Maybe later," Barbara replied, turning her attention back to Claymoore. "I'll agree this is a strange turn of events, Inspector. Actually quite hard to believe. But what does this have to do with national security... or the Secret Service?"
"A very good question, Miz Bond." Dr. Windsor responded for the first time, speaking with a hint of a north-country accent that he tried to conceal. "I am a scientist; a physicist actually, and I have some experience in . . . this particular field." The man paused to light a cigarette. "I have offered my services to New Scotland Yard and to the Gov'nment, free of charge. I hope to solve and dispel this matter as quickly as possible. After consulting with Inspector Claymoore, evidence points more and more toward the possibility of International Terrorism. There have been rumors of top secret experiments conducted by gov'nments all over the world in altering molecular structures, both organic and inorganic. Now it seems these stories may be more than hearsay."
This handsome man now had Barbara's full attention.
"If this technology, although mostly unsuccessful to date, were perfected and fell into the wrong hands, why . . ." Dr. Windsor continued as he took another long drag from his cigarette, then hastily crushed it out. "Why just imagine what some of the unscrupulous powers in the world would pay for such technology. The power that it would give them over their enemies. Entire armies, entire nations could be jeopardized for that matter, Miz Bond."
"I agree, Doctor." Barbara interjected. "But what is the connection with these young women?"
The man now looked directly into Barbara's eyes and she felt a bit faint. 'What was it about this guy?' she thought privately. He abruptly broke eye contact with her, and addressed the question at hand.
"Well Miz Bond, I, or we, believe that the person or persons responsible for the recent crimes, may simply be testing their technology on these unsuspecting females. Think of the convenience; the college is located next to the park and there is certainly an abundance of young women passing through the park after hours. With the exception of Miz Taggart and Miz Plumm, all of the victims have been less than twenty-five years of age, and have been easy targets for the perpetrator."
"Double-oh-nine," 'M' said turning toward Barbara. "Normally the 'Agency' does not concern itself with domestic matters of this nature, but in this case I believe it is warranted. You will be placed on special assignment, to work directly in conjunction with New Scotland Yard in this matter."
Barbara acknowledged the Chief's orders with her eyes as he spoke.
"You will find that we have included in your packet a listing of various laboratories, both foreign and domestic, that may have a connection with this technology. I suggest that is where you start."
"Yes Sir, right away." Barbara said, standing up from the leather chair. All the men rose to their feet as well. Clutching the top-secret investigation packet, Barbara turned to bid farewell to the men.
"Miz Bond," Dr. Windsor spoke softly as he approached her, "It was certainly a pleasure meeting you today. I do hope that we shall see one another again, very soon."
As he looked deep into Barbara's bright blue eyes, the "faint" feeling she had earlier experienced returned once again. "The pleasure was all mine," Barbara replied, trying to shake the cloudy sensation from her head. "And I'm sure that we'll be seeing more of each other in the future, Sir. Gooday."
As Barbara headed for the door, she once again felt the man's eyes following her.
"Oh by the way, Double-oh-nine . . ." the Agency head chirped from behind her. "Have Moneypenny contact 'Q', he'll have some new widgets and such to assist you with your mission."
Barbara acknowledged his order with the gentle waving of her hand as she exited the office, and disappeared into the reception area.
After leaving word with several faithful informants, both in Country and abroad, Barbara Bond headed to the closest of the laboratories listed in her packet. Posing as a graduate student completing a paper, the attractive brunette easily gained access to the facility. Batting her pretty blue eyes and flirting with the middle-aged chemist also didn't hurt. However, after a thorough conversation with the staff and a detailed tour of the lab, she came up short. This was also the same story with all of the other locations she visited. This whole situation was becoming very hard to digest, and the perceptive young woman wondered if she might have been sent on a "wild goose chase" of sorts. Almost being purposely mislead.
'There must be something that's being overlooked', she thought silently as she sped through the city streets. 'I believe the next stone to turn will be a visit to that facility in West Berlin. They've had some shady connections in the past according Uncle James' memoirs.'
Wondering if the others had had any better fortune today, her mind continually drifted back the earlier meeting at the Agency. She had an unwarranted, but uneasy feeling about the rather handsome man that she had met there this morning. 'There's just something about that guy.' she thought, 'Something that's got me perplexed.' However, she tried not to let her suspicions get the better of her, and continued about her assignment.
After subsequently booking a flight for the next morning, Barbara once again maneuvered her small sports car through the busy downtown streets. An angry "double-decker" driver sounded his horn, and signaled Barbara with a not so polite hand gesture, that she had cut him off. Barbara ignored the man and continued toward the mortuary. Slipping hurriedly into a parking space and yanking up the hand brake, she headed for Jasper Bignall's office.
'That one's a pleasant enough fellow,' Barbara thought as Jasper extended his hand to her, 'But he's a bit creepy as well.'
"Well Miz Bond, you've come to see the victims in person, I presume." Jasper said smiling. "Right this way."
Barbara followed the man in the white lab coat down the corridor and through two swinging, double-doors. As Jasper switched on the bright fluorescent lights, Barbara was a bit taken back by what she saw. Standing before her were seven perfectly still females. Each of them very attractive, and each posed with a slightly different posture. All of the motionless women wore a blank, somewhat surprised expression, and the overhead lights reflected off the glossy, egg-shell like, sheen that their skins had taken on. The pictures in the file had not done justice to the chilling metamorphosis that these young women had undergone.
Near the end of this strange ensemble was a young lady of about Barbara's age. She was fully dressed, so to speak, in a rather revealing deep-bodice cocktail dress that showed ample cleavage and not a little bit of leg. A few loose strands of her strawberry blonde hair stirred slightly in the breeze from the overhead air conditioning duct, but otherwise she did not flinch what-so-ever. This was Victoria Plumm, or what remained of her. Claymoore had been right; the expression she wore was much more unusual than that of any of the others. She seemed to be enjoying herself, smiling and waving with one hand upraised, her other arm posed to one side to grasp a missing companion as if she was appearing at a society party or photo op, that is right up until the moment she had been transformed. There was also the slightest hint of surprise or confusion that was also captured on her frozen features, as if she was not aware of her impending fate until the very last moment.
Although unknown to Bignall or the British operative, there was something else that was vastly different about this particular victim. Something besides the material of which her rigid body was now composed. Unlike the other six victims, the perpetrator had made the hapless reporter a promise prior to her transformation. One that he had honored.
Upon her earlier demand for him not to turn her into a statue permanently, the mysterious perpetrator had not deprived her of her thoughts, nor her sight, smell, or hearing when transforming her body. Although he had agreed to the reporter's conditions, she had never considered how long she might remain trapped in her now motionless form since she had never actually believed in the Medusa Killer, not until after it was far too late to do anything more. The conscious mind of this attractive young woman had been indefinitely suspended in a body composed of solid, immobile wax. Unable to communicate or move in the slightest way, she was forced to stand helplessly still and watch the world pass her by.
Once the room was flooded with light on this particular day, Victoria watched Jasper Bignall and the attractive, professionally dressed, brunette who accompanied him as they moved into her line of sight. Screaming uselessly from within, Victoria tried in vain to communicate in some way with the people around her.
'Please, Doctor Bignall. I'm alive, help me . . . Please!!!' the petrified reporter pleaded. 'Hey Miss, can you hear me?!!! Ohmigod! Somebody. . . PLEAse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'
However, no one could possibly hear her silent pleas for help, nor the fruitless screams that resonated from inside her inanimate form. Her waxen figure simply stared into infinity like the other unfortunate young women. . .
Victoria Plumm thought back on the events since her transformation. She remembered the oddly dressed man placing her in the courtyard tableaux at the museum, then watching painfully for three days while the gaudy tourists, insufferable employees, and perverted individuals had gawked at her motionless form. Then, she remembered her friend emerging from the crowd and standing with his mouth open as he stared at her.
Victoria stared back, silently screaming his name and crying for help.
Like many others, he waved his hand in front of her vacant eyes and tried to gain a response from the silent wax statue. Then he sidled close to the still figure so her arm reached around him and had someone take a picture. He had planned to surprise Vicky with it that evening; when he learned of her disappearance he suspected the worst and called the authorities. Within a day the inspectors had arrived and spent many hours photographing her posed body, the location in the museum where she had been found, interviewing the Tussauds staff and the friend who had found her. The she had been brought here. To a mortuary of all places!
'But I'm not dead yet; Please help me!' Victoria had begged to the men as she was examined on the laboratory table. But once again her unvoiced cries for help went unheard. Later she was carted to the spot where she now stood, and placed beside the others. The next two weeks passed ever so slowly.
Then came the day that the handsome young man, whom she heard others refer to as Dr. Windsor, came by to inspect her stiffened body. 'Where have I met this man before?' she thought. There was something oddly familiar about this gentleman, but she couldn't quite place him. It wasn't until he looked deep into her glazed eyes that she realized it. This was the man! The man who had made her into this!! Once again she tried to scream, tried to move, tried to do anything, but it was useless. The strange man and the team of inspectors had once again left the room and Victoria stood along side the other victims in the cool darkness. Until today.
As the attractive young brunette who had now come to visit moved out of her line of vision; she sighed. Resigned to her hapless fate. . .
Standing immediately to the right of Victoria Plumm was a striking brunette who looked to be in her early to mid-thirties. She stood about 5'9" and had collar length black hair. There was also something unique about this frozen form. In contrast to her fellow transformees, who all retained their respective street garments, this young woman was almost completely naked, wearing only a skimpy bra, thong panty, and suspender belt holding up dark nylon hose, plus the high-heeled shoes she needed to keep from tipping over. It was as if she had stepped out of an upscale lingerie shop window. The partially clothed victim stared straight ahead with blank unseeing eyes; the hint of a bewildered smile was present on her rigid lips.
Barbara looked to Jasper. "Go ahead Miz Bond, you can get closer if you please," Jasper encouraged the agent. "She won't mind . . ."
Approaching the nearly nude brunette, Barbara gingerly reached out and touched the girl's hand. It was cold and hard. It literally had the texture of shiny, hardened, plastic. As did the rest of her rigid body. The mannequin-like statue was unaffected by Barbara's touch, and its eyes continued to stare blankly.
"That is . . . , ah was, I'm sorry to say Miz Brenda Taggart," Jasper added remorsefully. "She was an American police woman here on special assignment. Ironically, she was investigating the very crime that she fell victim to herself. Such a shame."
"Not exactly standard police uniform, it appears, either." The agent noted, with a raised eyebrow of curiousity. "Was this how she was dressed when her body was found?"
"Um, no maam," Bignall admitted. "During her examination, they cut the clothes off of her and I knew she would never have approved standing around the facility without a stitch on. So, I found her something to wear…"
"Indeed." Barbara replied as she moved down the line of statues. Each of them stared helplessly into nothingness and, with the exception of Ms. Plumm, each of them was oblivious to the agent's close inspection of their petrified forms. "The latest victim was discovered around two weeks ago, correct?"
"Yes, Miz Plumm there, it was." Jasper said as he motioned toward the stiffened reporter.
"Dr. Bignall, tell me something. What do think of Dr. Windsor?" Barbara asked, turning toward the Medical Examiner.
Overhearing the conversation, the motionless Victoria Plumm tried desperately once again to get the attention of the only animate young woman who was in the room, to no avail.
"Well, he basically appeared out of thin air one day and offered his help," Jasper replied. "Noble chap, working for free and all. Seems to know his stuff too. I suppose he's okay . . . what about you? Do you think he's onto something?"
"No. I think he's up to something. He seems a trifle -- suspicious -- to me." Barbara paused. "But maybe I'm imagining things."
'Nooo! You're right to be suspicious!!' Victoria screamed in vain.
"You quite probably are Miz Bond." Jasper stressed. "Come on, let me buy you a cup of coffee." He said smiling as he offered Barbara his arm.
Barbara reluctantly agreed, and the two headed for the door.
Victoria's emotions swelled. 'No!!' she thought. 'No, please don't leave! Please!' Trying with all of her mental capability, she yearned to tell Barbara that this Dr. Windsor was the man who had done this to her. The one likely responsible for all of these women's fates. But alas, there was no use. Victoria wept inside, as Barbara and Jasper Bignall left the room and the somber half darkness returned.
Later the same evening . . .
After returning to her flat to change and freshen up, secret agent Barbara Bond made her evening plans. She decided that prior to her departure for Germany, she would visit the park where all but one of the victims had met their fate. After reading the reports that Inspector Taggart had prepared just hours before her ironic transformation, the agent agreed with the American detective's hunch. There might be something, or someone, there who could shed some light on this most mysterious situation. Also not unlike Inspector Taggart, Barbara Bond confirmed the location of the small Beretta pistol in her purse. The weapon had been a gift from her Uncle James, and might indeed come in handy.
As the beautiful young woman entered the park, she gazed upward at the clear, night sky. The evening was a bit chilly, but the twinkling stars above turned the nearly deserted park into a quite romantic setting. 'What a beautiful evening!' Barbara sighed. Mumbling under her breath, she exclaimed "Just think, I could be in a Jamaican nightclub right now, enjoying an evening of drinking and dancing."
Not realizing that anyone had heard her whispered comment, and more shocked that someone had slipped up behind her, she jumped slightly when she heard the man's voice. "Well, I don't know when the next flight to Jamaica takes off, but I could most certainly oblige you on the evening of drinking and dancing, Miz Bond."
"Whew, you startled me," Barbara said, catching her breath as she turned around. She found herself standing face to face with Dr. Windsor.
"I apologize, Miz Bond. Good evening to you." Windsor said as he gallantly placed a soft kiss on back of the young agent's hand.
"I didn't know anyone could sneak up on a British Secret Agent," Windsor joshed.
"I didn't know you could, either," Barbara smiled. This man still gave her an uneasy feeling. 'But,' she thought, trying to reassure herself, 'Bignall's probably right; it's my over-active imagination.' Besides, Dr. Windsor was a very attractive man, and promiscuous behavior ran in the Bond Family.
"I see we must have been thinking along the same lines this evening, Barbara. May I call you Barbara?" Windsor asked in his north-country accent.
"Yes, please do," Barbara responded with a smile. "Have you come up with anything new in the case Doctor?"
"Not as of yet, but the night is still young." Windsor said, as if referring to something else. "And do please call me Walter, Barbara. We can save the formalities for your leader's office. Why don't you accompany me to that nightclub across the way, "Shades" I believe it is. You can have your drink and dance, and I can spend the evening with a gorgeous woman."
The man offered his arm to Barbara, who accepted, and the two strolled toward the noisy nightclub. "Some of the earlier victims were reportedly seen in the club prior to their transformations," Walter added. "I, 'er we, just might stumble onto something."
Once seated inside, Barbara took advantage of the live band's break to explain the days findings, or lack thereof, to Walter Windsor. The handsome young man concurred that he too had come up short, "So far, today," he concluded.
Barbara informed Dr. Windsor that she had visited the mortuary earlier today, and actually examined the young women in their frozen condition. "It really bothered me, you know, Walter." The brunette said, sipping her drink. She was slowly becoming more fond of this attractive gentleman.
"Yes, I know what you mean," Windsor replied. "However . . . I know it sounds a bit cold and unfeeling when I say this, but after reviewing the background of some of the victims . . . Well, they ah, sadly, might be better off as they are now. Some of them were indeed heading nowhere in life."
Barbara's eyes widened with a look of shock. "How could you say such a thing?!"
"Well," the man continued, "Maybe the perpetrator actually helped them a bit. Did some of them a small favor if you will. They now have no more worries or pressures to concern themselves with. No more failures to face in life, so to say."
Barbara continued to stare at the man as he went on. She wondered how a person with such an interest in this case, or any person in general, could be so callous. Maybe she was not becoming so fond of him after all.
"Then of course, there's Miz Plumm." Windsor said sarcastically, with stressed emphasis on her name. "I'm sorry to say that I was never very fond of her. Always making a spectacle of herself. Always striving for fame in the media world. She wanted to be immortalized. Well, she got her wish."
"I'll agree, that a couple of the girls were not yet the most successful individuals, and Victoria Plumm may have been somewhat overzealous, but Walter, just think of how they went!" Barbara said with a distraught tone. "I just wonder how the poor things felt! You know. When it happened!"
Windsor seemed to perk up with Barbara's last statement, and he adjusted his position on the stool.
"I suspect one day you . . . ah, I mean ah, we might know, Barbara." Windsor exclaimed as he crushed out his cigarette a bit nervously.
Barbara cocked her eyebrow at his comment and couldn't help but notice his shaking hands. She once again tried to assure herself that she was over-reacting. 'Maybe he's a bit nervous around women? Yes, that's probably it.' she thought calmly. However her instincts told her differently.
"I just hope that we can put this matter behind us as quickly as possible." Barbara said with determination.
"It won't be long now, Barbara," He said in an almost gloating tone. "I just have a feeling that things are going to fall into place very soon. Did you say you are to leave for Berlin in the morning?"
"Yes, I have a five A.M. flight. I'll have to make this an early night." Barbara shouted above the music that had begun once again. "How long have you been on the case now, Walter?"
"Just a tad over two weeks," the man replied. "But I've had a personal interest all along."
Just then Barbara's cell phone began to vibrate in her purse. "Excuse me Walter, I'll be right back." Retreating to the privacy of the lavatory, Barbara answered the call.
"Double-oh-nine?!" 'M's' voice said with rare urgency over the poor connection.
"Hello? Sir? I can barely hear you. It's very loud in here!" Barbara shouted back into the phone. "Hello, is anyone there?"
"Double-oh-nine, if you can hear me, we have discovered that Walter Windsor is an imposter of sorts," The older gentleman explained. "The real Dr. Windsor was found deceased at his mountain resort, having expired some three weeks ago."
"Sir? What about Dr. Windsor?" Barbara strained to hear over the surging music.
"This man pretending to be Dr. Windsor is no doctor at all; the credentials that he presented are forged. We are trying to locate him presently. Have you seen him, Double-oh-nine?"
"Sir, I cannot hear a bloody thing you're saying. It's too loud." Barbara shouted once again into the telephone. "I am working on the assignment with Dr. Windsor right now. I'll have to call you back."
"But . . . Double-oh-n." His voice was silenced as Barbara pressed the button, and terminated the call.
'I wonder what he was trying to tell me?' Barbara thought as she checked her makeup in the mirror. 'Most likely some rubbish about not picking up those new gadgets from "Q".'
When Barbara returned to the table, Dr. Windsor sat patiently waiting. As she seated herself next to the well-dressed gentleman, he leaned in closer and began to whisper into her ear.
"Barbara, do you believe in the power of suggestion?"
"I suppose," Barbara said, flashing a somewhat puzzled smile in his direction.
"I think that the art of suggestion is a very powerful thing, Barbara," His words seemed to resonate soothingly throughout the pretty operative's head. "I also believe that if I were to suggest to you say. . . that we return to your flat, I believe you would find that to be a splendid idea, would you not?"
The man was now looking directly into Barbara's eyes in a seductive manner. She merely nodded back at him as if she were being hypnotized by his words. The longer that he held her gaze, the more helpless she felt. She would have done absolutely anything that this man suggested at the moment. She could feel the passion within her very soul approaching its boiling point. As he whispered into her ear once again, she suddenly could think of nothing that she would rather do than to make love to this man. She could barely keep her hands off of him.
Taking her gently by the arm, the strange man led the British Agent toward the door. Then, almost as if he were an apparition, unnoticed by patrons or staff, the man disappeared into the shadows in the company of the sexy and the now very suggestible Barbara Bond.
Soon a taxicab disappeared into the night, with Ms. Barbara Bond, and the mysterious imposter setting side by side in the backseat.
one hour later . . .
Barbara seemed to have blacked out during the taxi ride. She awoke, disoriented, in the darkened, bedroom of her small uptown flat. As she strained uselessly to remember how she had arrived, Walter appeared by the bedside. Oddly, he was no longer wearing the dark suit that he had donned at the club, and Barbara gave him a confused look at his current appearance. "What happ . . .?"
"Sshhh!" Walter held his finger to his lips, and Barbara was instantly and obediently silent.
The man who had posed as Dr. Walter Windsor now stood over Barbara as she lay on the bed. He was dressed in a woman's skirt, old-fashioned white go-go boots, and shiny, sheer stockings. He did not wear a shirt presently and Barbara noticed the lack of body hair on his chest and legs. He had also styled his hair with such an abundance of hairspray that it appeared fake, almost as if it were a wig.
The man knelt over the beautiful female agent, and smiled. Looking directly into her eyes, he spoke softly. "Barbara, you shall obey any suggestion that I make."
Barbara could feel herself nodding at the man obediently, but somehow against her own will. Strangely, this man seemed to have total control over her. Her mind could not voluntarily control any of her present physical actions. 'What is happening?!' she screamed silently in her mind.
The oddly dressed man continued to stare into her eyes as he made an additional suggestion. Immediately, Barbara began to undress. Leaving her clothes in a heap beside the bed, she returned to her former position and lay silently. She was now completely naked, and she remembered the way the half-naked statue of Brenda Taggart had looked at the mortuary. 'Am I going to be next?'
The skirt wearing man now glared at this beautiful and sexy woman as she lay helplessly under his control. "You wish to make love to me, Barbara." He said in his suggestive tone. "You wish to do so now."
With that, Barbara rose partially from the bed and pulled the odd-looking man down to her level. The man, still partially clothed, moved on top of the now aroused young woman, and slowly spread her tanned legs. As his hand caressed her smooth inner thigh, he studied the well-trimmed line of pubic hair that surrounded her now damp sex. "Yes, Barbara, that's it." He said with a reassuring gesture. His eyes now locked with hers.
As Barbara witnessed this scene unfold through her own eyes, she could not believe what was happening. It was as if someone else, separate and apart from her, was controlling her movements completely. Against her will, she felt her arms wrap tightly around the man's torso, and her long legs glided gently into position around his waist. Her body ached with sexual energy. Arching her back slightly, Barbara's body beckoned to her would-be lover; but the man made no attempt to take advantage of the sexual offering that this beautiful woman was making. His eyes simply remained focused on hers. Suddenly he spoke.
"Barbara, you must find me fascinating!" He said with great enthusiasm. The words echoed repeatedly in Barbara's head. Her breath quickened, and the man's mental stimulation brought her body nearly to the point of climax. "My lovely Barbara, I told you it wouldn't be long before you learned everything." Oblivious to the situation, she was now focused on achieving her own pleasure. Her legs tightened around the man's waist and, as if he could sense her mind, the man uttered another command softly at the very instant that she reached orgasm. Now, I suggest that you could serve your country better . . . still."
Suddenly, Barbara's moans were silenced, and the young woman who had been writhing with passion a split second ago became completely motionless. With her naked body still wrapped around the stranger's, a look of heavenly bliss was suspended on her pretty face. He had caught her at precisely the right moment.
The stranger continued to gaze into her partially closed eyes, and not a sound, nor a breath could be detected from her slightly parted lips. The expression that had been captured could be described only as a three dimensional picture of pure ecstasy. Pleased with what he saw, the strange man knew that he need not adjust the facial expression of this young woman. She was already perfect.
As the feelings of sexual satisfaction that had swept Barbara's body began to fade, she realized abruptly, that she could no longer move. As the man's eyes remained locked in place, she was unable to blink or look away, and she felt her luscious body begin to grow numb and become unnaturally cold. This new feeling was subtle at first, but it spread as quickly and dramatically as the sexual arousal the man had mentally induced.
Barbara could sense that she was no longer breathing; that the rapid reduction in her body temperature was accompanied by a feeling of heavy stiffness in her limbs. Within seconds, a sensation of absolute hardening erupted from deep within the motionless woman's body. Initially, Barbara felt the odd sensation as it rapidly claimed her internal organs and rendered them into hard, solid plastic. She then felt it seep relentlessly throughout her skeletal structure.
The body of this lovely young woman had now become very cold and hard.
Remaining within Barbara's loving, yet motionless embrace, the man shut his eyes in deep concentration; his mind linking even deeper with that of his latest victim.
Barbara could feel the man's fingers tightening around her slim, now hardened waist, and she revolted silently at the 'violated' notion of this unwelcome stranger probing her mind.
Then the man's body literally shuddered. As this time, he himself, for the first time, could intercept not only his victim's thoughts, but her physical reaction to the involuntary transformation as well. As their minds connected completely, the energy which he had channeled so adamently toward this young woman was unintentionally reciprocated, and now his own body suddenly felt stiff and lathargic.
Though the physical sensation was not painful, to the man nor his stiffening victim, he realized that he had allowed this encounter to become a bit too personal, and his unexpected vulnerability was apparent. However, without dis-connecting himself mentally, he silently regained his composure. By simply moving his hands away from the now plastic waist of the young woman, the lethargic feeling that had begun to manifest; slowly disepated.
The odd fellow revelled in the fact that his capabilities now seemed to be merely enhancing.
As the man continued his exploration of Barbara's mind, it also became apparent to the young woman, that this man was not only reading her thoughts, but somehow stealing them. As if he were feeding upon her every memory and emotion, Barbara realized that the man was slowly absorbing everything from the present panic that was sweeping her body, to her now fleeting reflections of childhood. Nothing was off-limits. It appeared that he would strip her of all . . . Her rememberance of classified information, private sexual encounters, and even her woman-hood itself mysteriously seemed to be slipping away. However, aside from her unvoiced cries, she was unable to react in any way as she gazed blankly back at this strange man who now controlled her.
As this erie dance between the minds' of Barbara Bond and the man she had earlier befriended continued, he detected the shift in Barbara's emotions as the remainder of her body solidified. Her facial expression unchanging, and her body inanimate, the female operative's initial thoughts of anger and rebellion toward her fate, quickly turned to complete helplessness; then to absolute terror.
He knew it wouldn't be long.
However, through the now blurry vision of the nearly petrified agent, Barbara witnessed another, yet more subtle change taking place. The man who hovered above her had now changed slightly in appearance himself. Though most likely not evident to the average person, Barbara noticed that the handsome, masquiline features that she had originally noticed when meeting him today, were no longer as evident. His strong dark eyes, yet still enchanting, were now rounder and more smoothly defined than before. Even the shape of his nose and mouth were somehow more ifeminate in appearance; the strong jaw-line and facial structure seeming less bold.
Then suddenly, as Barbara sensed her own transformation nearing completion, her thoughts returned to her personal, hapless situation. Fear flooding her mind once again, she felt the unyielding, hardening wave that had crept thoughout her form, wash over her blissful face. Her sight was immediately replaced by total darkness, and her thoughts now flickered like a faulty light bulb. With the solidification of her mind, they were extinguished completely . . . . The deed was done.
Secret Agent Barbara Bond, had now become the eighth addition to the "Medusa Killer's" line-up of lovely, yet very still young women. As the perpetrator had promised, her quest for answers was now over.
The man opened his eyes, and gently slipped from the petrified arms of the frozen figure who lay beneath him. Slowly rising from the bed, and standing back to briefly observe his latest achievement, he thought silently how lovely she looked as he caressed her now hard, shiny, skin.
Inspecting the stiffened body closer, he saw that the nipples atop her well proportioned chest had also hardened perfectly in their erect position, and her semi-closed, eyelids partially concealed the two solid and unseeing, glassy orbs that once were two bright blue eyes. Her body remained just as it had been in the throes of sexual delight. Her back was arched, her long, shapely legs and slender, yet muscular arms remained elevated in exactly the same position. Locked forever in place, they now embraced a lover who was no longer there.
"Perfect!!" the strange fellow said, clasping his hands. He was proud of the creativity he had employed with this most recent victim. He also gloated at his ease in infiltrating the illustrious British Secret Service. 'Now, one very beautiful, but very incompetent operative less'; he thought with a wicked grin. "Maybe the old man can think up a new mission for you, Barbara. It seems you have failed miserably at this one."
Although his true identity remained a mystery, the strange individual was unaware that his disguise as Dr. Windsor had now been discovered, and he began to laugh aloud.
"Just think Barbara," he mused. "Oh I forgot, you can't. But once you're discovered, I'll be assisting in the investigation of your most unfortunate fate. I'm sure that if I keep feeding the gullible chaps at New Scotland Yard this rubbish about terrorism and molecular alterations, I can keep them running in circles for quite some time."
Running his hand along the underside of the stiffened woman's elevated leg, the man could feel every hardened muscle that just moments ago had been soft living flesh. As he eventually reached her delicate foot, he was rewarded to see that even her toes, clinched tightly and curled inward, had also hardened in orgasmic pleasure.
The sight of this young woman's motionless monument to sexuality and the coolness of the unyielding plastic seemed to delight the strange fellow, and he continued the one-sided conversation. "In case you were wondering Miz Bond, all of my previous efforts have been carried out with the best of intentions. The younger girls . . . why, they needed my help, and I simply obliged them. And Miz Taggart, I first mistook her for a prostitute. No one would have realized that she was a police inspector. She was dressed very provocatively. I had no way of knowing, but I assumed that I was doing her a favor as well. You'll have to admit however, that she remains quite lovely in her present form."
The man paused as if deep in thought. Exhaling softly, he proceeded.
"Oh, and Miz Plumm, you ask? I just gave her what she wanted. Ever-lasting fame and immortality. But in your case, Miz Bond . . . "
He Leaned down to whisper directly into the deafened ear of the former secret agent and said coyly, " . . . You were special. In your case, I did it purely for fun!"
The plastic statue only stared back at him blankly.
"But please don't be angry with me, Barbara," he said, still caressing the woman's unmoving form. "You actually inspired what happened this evening. Oh of course, I would have gotten around to it eventually, but when you mentioned that you wondered how it felt . . . well . . . I simply had to show you."
Coming to his feet once again, the man smiled and stepped away from the hardened, shiny form that was so amorously posed in the shadows before him. "So? . . . How does it feel, Miz Bond?"
There was only silence in the room.
"Just as I thought." said the man with a smirk.
But oddly, even more so than that of the metamorphisis of the woman that had taken place, this man who stood adjacent to the bed, had now indeed changed in some way himself. In the few fleeting moments since Barbara's transformation, it was evident through his speach and mannerisms, that this formerly, and intentionally masculine gentleman had somehow taken on some more feminine attributes. Although now unseen by Barbara's lifeless, glassy eyes, even the man's stance and posture had changed. Resembling one more common of a woman.
Preparing to leave, he stopped short. Somehow he felt drawn to this beautiful work of art that he had recently crafted. She was different than the rest. Not only was she the most beautiful, and deliciously positioned, but there was something else that made it difficult for him to simply walk away and leave her to be found by others. Even this one's final thoughts toward her current predicament, and the other random memories that the man had extracted from her now non-functional mind, continued to rattle within the strange individual's head. He couldn't seem to pull himself away.
Unsucessfully trying to shake the odd feeling, the man knew that sadly, once found she would merely be carted away to the mortuary, and hidden from the public view. 'Such a shame' he thought silently. 'This one needs to be seen by all.'
Suddenly, a brilliant, yet mischievious thought came to mind.
"Yes Barbara. That is the answer." He said with an excited expression. "Now, we have to hurry. Your flight to Berlin departs in only a few hours."
Reaching into Barbara's purse on the bedside table, the man retrieved the airline ticket that the young agent had obtained earlier in the day. "Oh, your first-class ticket and passport you ask?" he said smiling in the direction of the stiffened woman. "You won't be needing them on this trip I'm affraid. You'll be traveling air-freight. But don't fret. The chaps that handle the baggage, will see to it that you shant receive an uncomfortable ride."
Nealing to place a Kiss on back of the former agent's upraised, plastic hand, the skirt-wearing man smiled and added. "Well Miz Bond, I must be going now to tend to the necessary arrangements, but it has indeed been a pleasure making your aquaintence." Checking his watch, he continued. "Although after tonight, I'm not sure when we'll be seeing one another again. It could perhaps be quite some time before you're discovered. If ever." he chuckled. "But, the art gallery in Berlin where you'll be shipped . . . ., why I believe you're going to like it there. You'll fit the decor splendidly, and make MI-6 very proud!"
Walking toward the door of the flat, he covered his upper body with a fur-collared jacket, and paused. As he lit a cigarette, he turned and took one last look at the petrified figure of Barbara Bond. "By the way, Miz Bond," he said in a sly, condescending tone. "Never under-estimate the power of suggestion. Never."
Closing the door behind him, he exited onto the deserted sidewalk, and once again slipped into the shadows, unnoticed by the few persons driving on the street. Questioned later, they would state, truthfully, that they had seen nothing out of the ordinary.
London's Heathrow Airport,
A few hours later . . .
Standing alone in the cool morning mist, a handsome, yet somewhat effeminate young man in a dark wool suit, glared across a well lit runway at Heathrow airport. As the smoke from his cigarette curled up and around his dark hair, he watched intently as a large wooden crate, which had mysteriously appeared on the loading docks, was being wheeled toward the cargo hold of a jet airliner; an airliner bound for Germany. Although unable to actually hear their conversation, the man imagined the words being exchanged between the workers that he observed . . .
"Where'd this one pop up from, Charles?" the supervisor on the loading dock inquired of his staff member.
"A last minute one, I suppose mate." the worker replied. "Security Chief tells me it's another one of those special government containers. Got a return postage of New Scotland Yard in fact."
Continuing, the gruff man stated bluntly, "If Security tells me it's cleared, it's cleared. I've learned not question those. You know?"
"Well then, put it aboard!" the supervisor motioned toward the plane with his opened palm. "I'm with you mate. Who knows what's in those bloody boxes. Matter of fact I don't want to know."
However, even these careless, khacky-clad freight handlers who juggled the large box, would have been truely shocked at the contents of this particular drayage. For inside, wrapped in several layers of shock-resistant packing, lay the naked, frozen, plastic form of a beautiful young woman; bound for a new home and a new, very uneventful, life as a precious work of art; for all to admire.
The man in the blue suit smiled as he saw the container loaded, and the cargo hold being sealed. His suggestion to the Security Chief, and the flashing of his official Government creditials had apparently, convinced the seemingly non-attentive airport employee. The same airport employee who had not paid heed to the notice that had been circulated earlier by the Constables who had visited the airport in search of a man posing as one Dr. Walter Windsor.
Soon the large vessel's engines roared to life and the man watched with satisfaction as it began to taxi down the open runway. A hint of sun was now evident in the east, and it softly illuminated a portion of the plane's wide silver wings as it moved further away from the terminal; soon to be airbourne.
As the man pondered Barbara Bond's indefinite new career as a display piece, he winked in the direction of the departing airliner, and whispered under his breath. "Mission accomplished Double-oh-nine."
The End for Now . . . . .