Lindsay stood up as she spotted Ashley arriving for their lunch date.
"You look totally amazing!" exclaimed Lindsay. Ashley smiled out of shyness. She had gotten a good-paying job with Roebuck's two months ago, but so far she was forced to spend most of her salary on the fashionable outfits that the job required. She was wearing a simple black dress, with a high collar and short sleeves, that stopped six inches above her knees and hugged her generous curves. Her thick black hair was pulled back into a bun, and she wore black stockings and three-inch black heels. The total effect was sophisticated and very sexy, and not like her usual eclectic style when she wasn't dressing for work. Lindsay wasn't the only person in the restaurant who watched her entrance.
"You look great too!" said Ashley.
"I knew I had to dress up a little so I didn't look like a dog next to you." Lindsay was about the same height as Ashley but more slender, with short-cropped light brown hair. She was dressed simply and prettily in a light-blue top, a knee-length tan skirt, and strappy sandals with a one-inch heel.
Over salads, Ashley brought up the subject on which she wanted Lindsay's advice.
"There's something weird going on at that company."
"With the mannequins?"
"They're too real. It's scary."
"Roebuck's has always had those realistic mannequins."
"I work with them all day. I tell you there's something weird about them." One of Ashley's jobs was dressing the mannequins and putting them on display.
"What do they feel like?" asked Lindsay.
"They feel a lot like people, actually. A little firmer. And shinier. They look painted, but if you touch them...."
"Who works in the room where they make them?"
"No one I know can go in there.. My boss Faith can, obviously. And the big bosses. But none of us employees, not a one. Years ago, they used to have a big mannequin production system out in the open, that employees would operate. But there was an accident or something, and now it's all hidden and top secret."
"But you found out where a key is." That was the reason that Ashley had asked Lindsay to lunch.
"Yeah. What should I do, Lin? I'm terrified."
"Can you steal it?" Lindsay wasn't so terrified.
"Oh, God. There's, like, maybe one time each week when I know Faith won't be around. But it's only for a few hours."
"So you steal it, pass it to me, and I have it back to you in 45 minutes at most. Diana's boyfriend Colson will dupe it for me, even if it's one of those keys that locksmiths won't touch."
"What if nothing's wrong and we get caught?"
"Well, what if something's wrong and you don't do anything?"
"Okay, okay. I'm scared, though. You'll come with me at night to help me investigate?"
"Can you get me past the front desk?"
Ashley toyed with her salad. "What's Diana's boyfriend going to want in exchange?" she said coyly.
"He already got it."
"Oh, my God!" Ashley and Lindsay forgot about the mannequins for a while and chatted about Lindsay's indiscretions.
The girls, dressed in blue jeans and light jackets, entered the deserted Roebuck's office at 4 a.m. Her heart pounding, Ashley led Lindsay straight to the forbidden door, took a deep breath, and turned the key.
A dimly-lit room was mostly filled by a gigantic machine that was almost 100 feet long, intersected everywhere by wires, piping, feeder belts. The machine was on and humming. Parts of it were illuminated from within.
"This is really scary," said Ashley.
The two girls walked up to a touch-screen console off to one side of the room, and looked at what seemed to be a design for a mannequin tableaux.
"Oh, my God, this is disgusting," said Ashley.
"I didn't know they were so kinky here," said Lindsay.
"They like to be daring, but I've never seen anything as bad as this."
"Pretty far out," said Lindsay.
"Oh... I can't look at it," said Ashley, and spun around.
"You're having a pretty extreme reaction there, Ash. Especially for a mannequin professional."
"You think so? Look, I'm trenbling."
"According to psychoanalytic theory, that means you have a repressed attraction to this sort of thing," said Lindsay.
"Oh, I don't even want to go there," said Ashley. "What are we going to do now? We have to look for something, some clue."
The girls walked around to what looked like the place where materials entered the system. A conveyor belt passed through a narrow passageway into a more spacious enclosure. There were lights inside the enclosure, and the girls could see dimly.
"That stuff in there looks almost medical, doesn't it? " said Lindsay. "It doesn't look like anything you'd use to make a mannequin."
"Yeah, it looks like hospital equipment. I can't see too well, though," said Ashley.
"Should we check it out?" said Lindsay.
"You mean go in there? I don't know whether we'd even fit," said Ashley.
"Yeah, with that ass you have to watch out for small openings."
"That's not a very nice thing to say," frowned Ashley.
"It's a compliment," said Lindsay, while pondering the situation. Finally she pulled out her digital camera and said, "If you hold onto my wrist, hard, with both hands, and promise not to let go, I'll crawl in there and try to get a picture."
So Lindsay got on her stomach and went through the hole backwards. Ashley held onto her arm so hard that she left marks on it. To let Lindsay get close to the equipment, Ashley wound up lying on the conveyor belt herself, her feet holding onto the edges of the machine.
The conveyor belt gave a tiny lurch. Both girls screamed.
Before they could make another move, the terrified girls were pulled at top speed into the enclosure. An airtight lock sealed behind them, and a greenish gas filled the compartment in seconds.
"Lindsay! Ow!" said Ashley, bumping into her friend in the mist and falling over. She tried to get to her knees, but her legs gave out underneath her.
"Something is happening, Ash! I can't..." Lindsay fell unsteadily backwards, landing on her ass.
Ashley was trying to lift herself up, but her hands and arms wouldn't obey her commands. "I can't move right — Lin — I cawww... evvvv... mmmahhh!"
"Aaaahhh! Mmphh... oohhmmm...." Lindsay was on her back now, her legs making little useless kicking movements.
"Ahhhh....fffff...." Ashley was trapped on her stomach, flopping like a fish out of water.
The muscle-relaxing gas kept pouring into the compartment, while the system monitored the girl's heartbeats and adjusted the gas flow accordingly. Within sixty seconds Ashley and Lindsay were completely unable to move except for little involuntary muscle twitches and baby-like noises.
A trap door slowly opened up beneath the girls, who rolled like rag dolls down a slope into a large empty vat beneath the compartment. Ashley landed softly on top of Lindsay, and the bewildered girls stared helplessly into each other's eyes, trying in vain to speak to each other.
The vat began a soft churning motion, rotating the girls and rubbing them against each other. While the friends were tumpling head over heels as if they were in a washing machine, the system drizzled a sharp-smelling chemical over their bodies.
After a few minutes of soft, helpless friction, the girls' clothes slowly began coming apart at the seams. Lindsay felt her left foot push through the bottom of her sneaker and land in Ashley's open mouth before the two were flipped away from each other; Ashley's head was dragged across Lindsay's chest, leaving Lindsay's jacket sleeve and her bra wrapped around Ashley's neck. The system continued to fold the disoriented, paralyzed girls into each other, long after they were stark naked.
When the cycle was over, the vat rose out of the floor and tilted forward. The girls poured out of the vat as if they were a liquid, spreading out on the belt in a fleshy pile of intertwined arms and legs. Lindsay's open mouth landed squarely on Ashley's left breast; the girls moaned softly and tried to dislodge themselves, but all their muscular control seemed to be gone.
The belt carried the helpless, limp girls to the next compartment, where robotic arms untangled them from each other and laid them side by side on their stomachs. Then they were pulled by their arms up a small ramp, and left with their heads and arms dangling off the edge of the ramp, and their legs spread wide.
Unable to see anything but the conveyor belt beneath them, and feeling very vulnerable, Ashley and Lindsay both tried to call out to each other. They could only gurgle a few meaningless noises, but at least they knew they were still together and conscious.
Plastic helmets descended from above and encased the girls' heads. Similar plastic units emerged from the bottom of the ramps and pushed between the girls' legs, lifting their asses off the ramp Rounded ridges on the units found the clefts between the girls' pussy lips, then pushed firmly upwards, dividing each girl deeply.
The plastic units buzzed noisily for a few seconds and then withdrew. Ashley's thick, long black hair now lay in a pile on the ground. Lindsay had had much less hair to lose, but both girls now sported only a covering of stubble on their heads and between their legs.
Ashley stared helplessly down at her long, beautiful hair, making choked-off little noises. Even if someone discovered them and freed them, this couldn't be undone. She felt as if her life was over. Little did she know that she and Lindsay were being equipped for a very different life than the one she had planned....
A second set of hair removal units attached themselves to the girls to apply the finishing touches. These devices coated Ashley and Lindsay's scalps and pussies with depilatory creams, then massaged the skin vigorously until the last traces of stubble had fallen out. Lindsay was too frightened and desperate to respond to the intimate caresses of the depilatory unit; Ashley was just as frightened and desperate, and was confused at how she could possibly be getting turned on under these circumstances....
The devices retracted, leaving the girls lying in the same position as before, spreadeagled and hanging head-down over the edge of the ramp. The only difference was that now they were perfectly bald and glistening, no matter what end of them you looked at.
The ramp lowered, and the motionless, hairless girls were transported to the next chamber of the machine. Mechanical arms lifted them onto small, separate Jungle-Jim-like constructions of plastic tubing, seemingly designed to hold them temporarily in approximate poses.
As the girls were being lifted from their face-down positions, they saw that this chamber was bigger than the previous ones, and looked almost like a workroom, with arrays of robotic arms waiting to be deployed. Whatever sadist had designed the system had covered the walls with mirrors, and Ashley and Lindsay were horrified to see themselves clearly for the first time, naked, bald, and limp, looking like giant marionettes being moved through space according to someone else's will.
Lindsay was being held in a standing posture by mechanical arms gripping her firmly around her rib cage. Her hands were placed on tubing that held her arms at slight angles to her body. Ashley, on the other hand, had her legs folded under her and was plopped on the floor in a kneeling position, then was pushed from behind into some piping, which held her so that she was leaning slightly forward with her arms just hitting the floor.
Suddenly Ashley's blood ran cold. She had had the most horrible realization of her life: she was being posed according to the sickening design that she had seen on the machine's console!
Ashley lost it. She started screaming at the top of her lungs and couldn't stop. The screams came out as muffled gargling, but Lindsay, already scared to death, heard her and panicked, calling out in frantic little baby noises.
Posing devices, hovering from the ceiling, went to work on the miserable girls. Their eyelids were spread gently, and opaque contact lenses were placed in their eyes. Then the girls' drooping heads were guided into cylindrical hoods that were lined with an array of sensors and applicators. Probes pushed the girls' facial muscles this way and that, and held them in place; in Ashley's case, her tongue was gently pulled forward and extended so that it hung down over her lower lip.
The metallic hoods came alive with whirring and flashes. The girls felt moisture all over their heads, then bursts of heat. Ashley's hysterical wailing and Lindsay's frightened murmurs stopped suddenly, at the same time. The poor girls were still trying to speak, but their vocal cords no longer worked.
The hoods lifted. Both girls' heads and necks were covered with a light coat of fast-drying adhesive primer, enough to hold them still during the posing process. Lindsay now had a classic, serene mannequin face, eyes half closed and lips slightly parted, staring dreamily into the distance. Ashley's new appearance was not nearly so flattering. Her head was tilted to one side and pointed slightly upward; her eyes were opened wide in a happy, vacant expression; and her mouth was wide open with her tongue hanging out, as if she were panting.
The system delicately removed the girls' protective contact lenses, and squirted a few drops of liquid to moisturize their eyes, as they could no longer blink. As the girls got a first, horrified look at their new faces in the mirrors, the posing devices began working their way down the girls' bodies, encasing their chests. The girls felt their breasts being located and tested for mobility, then lifted to an attractive height; Ashley's sizable pair was boosted and separated to create a gravity-defying profile that wasn't as all natural. Small suction devices had the job of locating the girls' nipples, then pulling and plumping them until they were long and thick. Lindsay's nipples were inverted, and resisted this reconfiguration; but the system had its way with her.
If Ashley had had a gun, and could move enough to use it, she would have shot herself rather than be posed like this. But anyone watching the scene in the workroom would not guess that the raw material for this operation was two very unhappy girls. Now that they could no longer speak or make noises, the room was quite peaceful, with only the whirring of the system as background noise. Lindsay appeared lovely and pensive, as if she were daydreaming at the salon while beauticians were working on her. And Ashley looked downright playful, and in any case not smart enough to mind anything. The posing machines had done something amazing to her: by pressing upward on her pubic bone and rib cage, and downward on her spine, they had imparted an extreme, hilarious arch to her back. It didn't seem possible for a girl's torso to be so completely upright while her ass was cocked in the air... but a cocktail of industrial-strength muscle relaxants had essentially turned Ashley into rubber.
The posing devices were designed to create detail. The girls felt the tiniest parts of their bodies being manipulated and immobilized: their toes were splayed or tucked under, their finger joints bent to precise angles. The system had very particular ideas about what a pussy should look like, and the girls were parted and folded accordingly.
Finally the posing units finished their work, and the plastic piping was dismantled and removed. Supported only by a coat of glue, the naked girls held their poses without protest. Lindsay stood elegantly in a classic mannequin posture, the fingers of both hands curled gracefully, as if she were holding something. Ashley crouched at her feet, panting — quite unmistakably a dog.
Now that the posing phase was completed, sensors checked the results against the original design. The girls passed the test, and the system computer reclassified them as mannequins, even though production work on them was not yet finished. This reclassification involved flagging the girls' biological records as inactive, creating printable display schedules, allocating storage and shipping resources, running a check to see whether their body types and appearance were a match for any existing requisition orders, and many other bookkeeping tasks.
Meanwhile, Ashley and Lindsay found themselves transported to a tiny compartment, lined from ceiling to floor with what looked like shower nozzles, all pointed inward. Protective contact lenses were once again inserted, taking away the girls' vision.
Very quickly, the girls were sprayed from head to toe with a dense mist of sticky liquid, then radiated with a three-second pulse of infrared heat. They felt a violent pressure on every inch of their skin, as if they had been violently shrink-wrapped.
Then they felt a series of small pushes and pulls on different parts of their bodies, rocking them gently. The system was using sound waves to test the girls' rigidity. The test confirmed that the adhesive casing that had been fast-dried onto the girls was hard enough to hold motionless even a person of above-average muscle strength.
Now that the girls were secure, the system sprayed them with another coating of adhesive and baked it on. The cycle was repeated four times in all, just for safety.
Ashley and Lindsay, perfectly still and quiet, still unable to see, continued their journey on the conveyor belt. With normal use, they would now remain in their current positions indefinitely.
The final stage in the girls' processing was the cosmetic room, where they were immediately spray-painted with flesh coloration. By coincidence, the system colored them with nearly their original skin tones: Lindsay a light, pinkish hue, Ashley rather dark-skinned.
After a light application of heat to dry the girls, an array of small cosmetic units on robotic arms moved in for detail work. Make-up masks covered the girls' faces, quickly analyzed their features, then attached themselves with suction. The helpless girls felt as if their faces were stuck in a plunger; then the mask went cold, and they felt a sudden pop as the suction released them. In one go, the system had applied dramatic, sexy make-up schemes, extreme by street standards but familiar on mannequins: heavy mascara and eye shadow, bright lipstick, accentuated cheekbones. It was still possible to recognize the real girls if one looked closely at their mannequin faces, but most of their individual qualities were now hidden by a generic, ultra-feminine look. Lindsay's makeover was more elegant and muted: blue eye shadow, thin light brows, pink lipstick, strong emphasis on her already-prominent cheekbones. Ashley had gotten more of a sexpot treatment, with bright red lipstick, full dark eyebrows, and dark eye shadow. Her lolling tongue had been painted pink, and looked quite suggestive. The system was decorating the girls in a leisurely fashion: now that they had been cemented securely into their poses, the computer programs that were controlling them no longer needed to be optimized for speed. Make-up cones suctioned up the girls' breasts, transferred a circle of dye to their areolas, then withdrew with a loud pop. The vacuum pressure on their nipples was weirdly arousing, especially for poor Ashley, whose agonizing humiliation was doubled by the fact that the whole nightmarish experience had somehow put her in heat.
Lindsay's nipples were now a delicate but rich pink, and Ashley's plumper chest had been given eye-catching reddish-brown areolas. Meanwhile, decoration units attached themselves firmly to the girls' hands and brushed a thick wet layer of paint on their fingernails. Their feet were a trickier job — Ashley's had been carefully tucked under her, and her toes had been pointed in different directions — but rotating applicators successfully coated their toenails. Lindsay's fingers and toes were now painted light pink, Ashley's fire-engine red.
Detail work finished, the girls were brushed all over with a coat of lacquer that made them shine in the eerie light of the machine's inner chambers. After thick brushes made a first pass over the girls' bodies, small fine-pointed brushes invaded their intimate crevices, from their outer ears to the spaces between their toes.
As the mortified girls were enduring the sticky caresses of the brushes between their legs, they also felt a spray of warm fluid on the tops of their heads. The system was finally addressing the problem of replacing their lost hair. Robotic arms lowered wigs over the girls' glue-coated scalps, made small position adjustments, then dried the glue instantly with a flash of heat.
Oddly, Lindsay's new, honey-colored hair contained eight outsized hair rollers. But she still looked beautiful and elegant, gazing dreamily into space with wisps of loose hair hanging scenically around her face. Ashley's black hair was swept back and piled on top of her head in a poodle cut. The Lucille Ball-like hairdo went well with her goofy facial expression.
The opaque contact lenses were removed from the girls' eyes; after their eyes were irrigated, they were now fitted with semi-permanent lenses that covered the entire front of their eyeballs and retained moisture. The girls could see out of these lenses. Lindsay now had lovely blue eyes, and Ashley's eyes were big and chocolaty brown.
Fully posed and painted, the girls were transported to a new room, where they were put under a battery of heating units, and left for their coat of lacquer to dry naturally. The designers of the dreadful system had one last cruel surprise for Ashley and Lindsay before delivering them to the Roebuck's staff. On the wall in front of the slowly drying girls was a screen, upon which was being projected a slideshow of the stages of theirtransformation into mannequins! They saw themselves panicking as they were trapped in the first chamber; lying on the floor, wide-eyed and fully clothed; upended in the vat, unintentionally doing splits for the camera; side by side on the ramp, naked and face down, asses to the camera; Lindsay with her head just shaven, staring and drooling; a screen-filling extreme closeup of Ashley's shaved pussy; both girls hanging limp on the Jungle Jims; Lindsay glued into her mannequin expression; a closeup of Ashley's doggy face; the girls side by side, fully posed; suddenly unrecognizable in full face makeup; newly lacquered and shining; being glued into wigs; and, finally, as completed mannequins, watching their own slideshow with no sign of distress. Then the show started again, with a seemingly endless supply of new photos. Humiliated and demoralized, Ashley and Lindsay had no choice but to watch their mannequinization over and over, as they were unable to blink or move their eyes.
When the new mannequins had been fully dried, robotic arms hung little plastic envelopes, containing wardrobe instructions, around each of their necks. The belt then carried them into a lockdown chamber, the only function of which was to prevent employee access to the machine. From there they entered the employees-only section of the display department, and were deposited in the staging area.
The employee's room was still deserted, though there was some light coming through the windows. The girls had no idea what time it was: there was no clock in their field of vision, and they had lost all sense of time while they were being processed. It seemed like days since they were last able to move and talk; but their break-in had to be a few hours ago at most.
Lindsay was desperate for someone to arrive and discover them. They had been deposited in the department where Ashley worked — maybe one of her colleagues would recognize her under the layers of mannequin makeup.
For her part, Ashley couldn't even think about escape, so great was her dread of the soon-approaching moment when her coworkers would arrive. The idea of being freed and continuing a normal life after people had seen her in this state was not something she could imagine.
At 6 a.m., the girls heard a key turn in the door. The early shift had arrived: Tracey and Yumi, both in Ashley's unit. Yumi had begun work only a few months after Ashley, who had trained her. She was a nice girl, and Ashley had hung out with her on occasion, and even been to her apartment. Tracey and Ashley weren't close, but they got along fine. The mannequins watched helplessly as the girls put away their things and started a pot of coffee. The seconds dragged on and became minutes. Eventually Tracey wandered near the staging area and saw Ashley and
Lindsay. She stopped in her tracks. . "Oh, my God," she said, and her mouth dropped open. "Yumi, come here quick." Tracey couldn't stop staring at Ashley. "Oh, my God," she said again, breaking into laughter.
Yumi arrived and froze as she saw the girls. "Oh, my God," she echoed.
"Is this a joke or is this for real?" said Tracey, still laughing. She walked up to Ashley, knelt down to take the plastic envelope from around her neck, opened it, and read the display specs. "It's for real," said Tracey.
Yumi grabbed the specs. "She's actually going to put that out in public?" she exclaimed.
"Well, she said she wanted to make a splash."
Lindsay's heart was sinking. It didn't sound as if the employees recognized them at all.
Ashley was in no state to hope or even think. Her vision had gone gray: she was close to blacking out from sheer humiliation.
Yumi was pulling out her cell phone. "Who are you calling?" asked Tracey.
"Josie," said Yumi. "Oh, shit — she won't be awake yet. I have to tell someone about this."
"This should be a very interesting morning," said Tracey.
Yumi put away the phone and knelt down in front of Ashley. "Look at the boobs on her," she said.
"Man's best friend, with tits," said Tracey.
Yumi casually reached out, grabbed Ashley's breasts, and moved them around. Despite all the layers of cement and lacquer, the girls' flesh yielded to the touch, though not as much as naked girl flesh would. When Yumi's thumbs snapped across Ashley's nipples, Ashley felt a sex ache travel directly from her nipples to her cunt. But all she could do was look up at Yumi with an expression of stupid doggy love.
"Hey, get that cell phone out," asked Tracey.
Yumi took a photo of Tracey standing next to Ashley with her hand on Ashley's head. Then Tracey knelt down, took Ashley's chin in her fingers, and put her smiling face next to Ashley's for another photo. Lindsay wasn't getting much attention - which was fine with her, because she still hoped that one of the girls might eventually recognize Ashley. But that didn't seem to be happening.
"Jesus, we'd better get some work done before Faith gets here," said Yumi.
The employees left the desperate mannequins, poured themselves some coffee, then started studying the fashion specs that came with the girls.
"We don't have all this stuff in-house," said Yumi. "We'll need a pet store, or something."
"Have it couriered over," said Tracey.
After they'd fetched the specified garments from stock and ordered the items they didn't have, Tracey and Yumi got to work on Ashley and Lindsay, with the occasional break to giggle and make jokes about Ashley's demeaning pose. Tracey carefully pulled Lindsay into a beautiful thick belted pink bathrobe that swept down to Lindsay's ankles, with a high embroidered collar that fell open at the throat. Lindsay seemed almost swallowed up in the voluminous garment, gazing dreamily over the collar that almost hid her face. Her only other piece of Roebuck's clothing was a fuzzy pair of open-toed pink slippers that Tracey slid onto her feet. Consulting the props list, Tracey inserted a rolled-up newspaper in the semicircle made by the fingers of Lindsay's left hand.
Yumi was having a harder time with Ashley, whose pose made dressing her difficult. Ashley was modeling a sexy, electric red bra-and-panties combo The reason that the mannequin machine had placed Ashley's breasts so high on her chest was to show off the bra's lift capabilities.
"You've been playing with her tits for ten minutes," said Tracey.
"Nothing fits this one," said Yumi. "The panties don't fit right either."
"I'm done here — wait a second," said Tracey, sliding a pretty amethyst ring on the fourth finger of Lindsay's right hand.
Tracey walked over and inspected Ashley's breasts. "It's not convincing," said Yumi. "It doesn't look like the bra is what's keeping them up."
Tracey reached inside the bra and pulled up on Ashley's breasts. "That's a little better," said Yumi.
"Here's a trick that helps sometimes with Wonderbras," said Tracey. She slid her hands inside Ashley's bra cups and twisted both Ashley's breasts inward, like doorknobs. Then she reseated the bra.
"Okay, that's good enough, isn't it?" said Yumi. "Thanks."
"These wacky poses are always the hardest to dress," said Tracey.
"Here, look at the panties," said Yumi. The panties' seat was supposed to form a perfect triangle, but, thanks to Ashley's extreme arch and large ass, Yumi could get the fabric to sit right only by exposing a lot of Ashley's ass cleavage, or else pulling the panties too far into her ass crack.
"I wish Faith would have just put her in a thong," said Yumi.
"Faith thinks thongs are tacky," said Tracey.
"She thinks thongs are tacky and she doesn't think this is tacky?" said Yumi crossly, poking Ashley's ass with her finger.
Tracey tried to push Ashley's ass cheeks inward, but they wouldn't move much. Then she put her hand down the front of Ashley's panties and pulled them forward. In doing so, Tracey wedged her middle finger between Ashley's pussy lips — but the employees were so used to the anatomically correct Roebuck's mannequins that they didn't think twice about such intimacies. Ashley, on the other hand, was screaming inwardly, trying to think about anything but her coworkers' hands on her body, and not succeeding.
Tracey said, "I think a little pin right here will do it."
Yumi handed Tracey a tiny gold safety pin. With her knuckle deeply buried in Ashley, Tracey pinned the fabric to itself to shorten the panties' crotch. The trick worked, though it left Ashley with the cold metal pulled right up against her clit.
"Thanks a million, Tracey — you saved my butt," said Yumi, resting her arm on Ashley's shoulder.
Meanwhile, two more employees had arrived, and it was their turn to gape open-mouthed at the new mannequin.
"Oh my God, we're going to get picketed," said Tammy, a lively girl who had just started in the display dept. "Is Faith crazy?"
"Watch yourself, she'll be here any minute," said Yumi in a quiet voice, as she slid two big, blocky silver rings on Ashley's fingers, and a simple gold ring on the second toe of Ashley's left foot.
Everyone watched as Yumi put a pair of black rhinestone-studded cat's-eye glasses on Ashley. The glasses were a perfect match for Ashley's poodle cut.
"She looks like a librarian," said Tracey.
"She looks like a really hot librarian," said Yumi.
"Being taken out for walkies," said Tammy. Everyone giggled. No one showed any sign of recognizing Ashley, who only yesterday was working by their side and making jokes with them.
Faith, the department manager, walked briskly into the work area, and the employees suddenly became quieter and more serious. Faith was an attractive, tall blonde of 45 or 50; she was reasonably polite to her staff, but everyone was intimidated by her formality.
As soon as she had checked her messages, Faith walked straight to the staging area to inspect the new mannequins. Several just-arrived staff were also gathered around, staring at Ashley; but with Faith in the room they kept their opinions to themselves. Tracey and Yumi waited anxiously for Faith's verdict; Lindsay was now pinning all her hopes on Faith recognizing Ashley. Ashley was nearly unconscious from humiliation, and her thoughts had lost all coherence.
Faith was giving Lindsay a careful examination. "Why is that newspaper spindled?" she asked.
"I thought that was what the specs said," replied Tracey nervously.
"She's not supposed to be punishing the dog with the newspaper," said Faith. "The concept is that she went outside to pick up the morning paper, and she's taking that opportunity to take the dog out." Faith removed the paper from Lindsay's hand, folded it expertly as if she had been a newspaper boy in some previous life, and slid it between Lindsay's waiting fingers.
Then Faith turned to Ashley, kneeling next to her.
"Where's her collar?" she asked.
"It's being couriered," said Yumi.
"It just arrived," yelled out an employee from across the room.
"Bring it here," said Faith. She reached out and pushed Ashley's left breast up from underneath, inspecting the bra's fit. She spotted the safety pin in Ashley's panties, but said nothing.
"Good job, girls," she said. Tracey and Yumi breathed a sigh of relief.
Faith took the box of pet supplies and pulled out a thick, two-inch-high black leather collar with big pointy silver studs all around. She wrapped it around Ashley's neck, pulled the straps tight, and yanked on it roughly to make sure that Ashley couldn't slip it, assuming she were a real dog and could move. Ashley rocked forward with the firm tug, then settled back on her knees and toes, looking at Faith with stupid devotion. Faith reset Ashley's glasses, then took a set of dog tags out of the box and hung them from a D-ring on Ashley's collar. The last accessory was an adjustable black leather leash, which Faith hooked onto the D-ring, letting the loose end drop to the floor.
"Faith, we need the mannequin's name for the card," said Tracey.
"I know, dear," said Faith briskly. Ashley knew what this conversation meant: Roebuck's often printed witty captions on a white card for its window displays. Ashley now understood that she would not simply be mounted in a corner of the store: she would be placed in a window facing 5th Avenue, for the entire city to see. Faith walked over to Lindsay, standing just an inch from her face and cradling Lindsay's chin gently in her palm. "This one looks like a Chloë to me," said Faith. Tracey wrote the name down. All the mannequins had permanent names that were placed in their computer records and were used to identify them consistently in displays. "Make sure you put the umlaut over the E in Chloë," Faith said.
Lindsay, bundled prettily in her housecoat, was utterly miserable. No one was going to recognize Ashley, no one was going to free them. She was going to become a mannequin forever named Chloë. Her unhappiness was so great that she somehow was comforted by the gentle touch of Faith's hand on her stiff cheek, and felt an emptiness when Faith moved away.
"And this one" — Faith moved over to Ashley —"let's call her Ashley." The girls were stunned. "With two E's — Ashlee," added Faith. Tracey walked away to enter the girls' new names in the database and to print the display card. Did this mean that Faith knew what had become of Ashley and Lindsay after all? Everything else about her behavior was completely normal and business-like — maybe the choice of name was just a coincidence.
"Let's put them in the window from 8 to 10, and then reevaluate," Faith instructed Yumi. "Tell Betsy that she should keep an eye on the customers' reactions, and be sure to log all responses, pro or con." Then Faith returned to her office.
Yumi pushed two rolling carts over to the staging area. Tracey would be back from the print shop in minutes. It was actually going to happen.
Yumi and Tammy lifted the mannequins carefully onto their carts. Tracey came running with the card, and Ashley and Lindsay began rolling, through the swinging doors of the employee area and out into the aisles of Roebuck's. There would be no customers in the store for a few more minutes, but the clerks from other departments stared and grinned at Ashley as she passed.
"Where is that going?" asked a girl in Cosmetics who knew Yumi.
"Window 4," said Yumi, smiling as she passed.
Ashley was like a condemned prisoner being taken to the gallows. Time slowed down: it seemed to her that she was still far away from Window 4, that it would take a long time to get to the end of the aisle, and then there were more aisles, and an elevator, and then even more distance to cover.
Not only had she been turned into a mannequin and posed as a dog, but they were going to spell her name with two E's....
While they were waiting for the elevator, another clerk reached out and touched Ashley's protruding, shiny tongue with the tip of her finger, then giggled and ran away.
Even when the mannequins finally arrived at Window 4 and were being unloaded, Ashley still felt as if it would be a long time before she was actually on display. Various last-minute details had to be attended to; and she didn't feel completely exposed as long as the employees were still present and fussing over them.
Tracey and Tammy lifted Lindsay and placed her in the front of the window, in the more prominent position. Yumi and Betsy, the window manager, positioned Ashley to Lindsay's right and at her heel, so that Ashley's head was pointed in Lindsay's direction.
A group of passers-by started gathering on Fifth Avenue immediately. The girls could hear people talking among themselves and laughing, though the window glass muffled the sounds.
After Yumi primped Ashley and patted her bra and panties into place, she took the loose end of Ashley's leash and put it in Lindsay's right hand, which had been arranged by the mannequin machine for exactly this purpose. The leash was pulled tight, so that it appeared that Ashley's head was being sharply jerked in her mistress's direction.
Tracey set the caption card up in front of the girls. It read, "Sometimes Ashlee liked to relax and let others take control."
The employees cleaned up after themselves and departed, leaving the mannequins alone with the public.
The crowd was getting bigger. Some people were on their cell phones, telling friends to come and look. A group of street kids had stumbled across the tableau, and were hooting and making dog sounds.
Ashley had withdrawn deep within herself. It was as if she were watching everything through a tank of molasses. She now knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she was going to have an orgasm soon, without anyone touching her. The feeling had begun long ago, probably in the machine. It had come and gone several times, and now it was here to stay, and slowly gaining ground.
She wasn't quite sure how long she had been in the window. A few men had been standing and looking at her for a long time... but maybe it just seemed like a long time. There were children in the crowd, slipping in front of the adults, laughing or yelling, then running away. One serious little girl, about twelve, stood pressed against the glass, her mouth open, staring at Ashley as if her life depended on the eye contact.
Behind the window, Ashley could hear Betsy arguing with a woman who had come into the store to complain. "I have two children, two young girls, and they saw your display as they were walking to school. Is that the kind of message you want to send them?" Betsy was trying to calm the woman, but she was only getting more upset. "I want you to take that thing out of the window now!"
"That thing is me," thought Ashley — and her orgasm arrived, rolling slowly through her body and taking away her senses.
Ashley received more than one complaint, and Faith decided to abort the display at 10 am. Ashley and Lindsay were taken down and carted back to the display department, where Yumi put their clothes back in stock.
The naked mannequins waited quietly in the staging area for what seemed like hours. What would happen next? Would they be locked away in storage?
Finally Faith returned from her meeting, with Tammy running along behind her with a notebook. Faith spotted the girls out of the corner of her eye and said, "Let's take care of them right now."
Ashley and Lindsay waited anxiously to hear what Faith would do with them. Faith walked around them, making a mental inventory of their strengths and weaknesses as mannequins.
"Let's keep Ashlee in Lingerie for now," said Faith. She has the figure for it. Tammy, make a note to try the new camisole design on her."
Kneeling at Faith's feet, Ashley seemed to be panting eagerly for her next assignment.
"And Chloë..." Faith paused before Lindsay. "She's lovely, isn't she? Let's try her in Dresses. But she'd be good in Sportswear, too, wouldn't she? Well, maybe we'll give our new girls a little test spin today, to see how they perform."
Faith strode briskly away. Tammy wrote notes on two Post-Its, and stuck them on Ashley and Lindsay's chests before she left.
When Yumi returned to the room, she and Tracey carted the girls to the conveyor belt that was used to send mannequins back for reconditioning. None of the employees knew what happened to the mannequins at the other end of the belt.
Lindsay was laid down on her back, staring languidly up into space. Ashley's back was too arched for her to be stable in that position, so the employees lay her on her side, looking sillier than ever. Then the belt carried the girls into the off-limits area.
To their horror, the girls found themselves back at the entrance to the mannequin machine, where their nightmare had begun! The belt stopped, and the mannequins lay quietly for a full half hour. Inwardly, they were both desperately praying that Faith would do anything with them except send them through the machine again.
Finally Faith entered the room and walked up to the system's touch-screen console. Paying no attention to the mannequins, she quickly selected new routines, then left without a backward glance.
The terrified girls heard the machine start to hum. Suddenly they were inside the system again.
The machine scanned the newcomers, detected that they were already mannequins, and executed its recycle program. The girls were hosed down from all sides with gallons of solvent, then hit with a series of rapid bursts of high-frequency sound. They remained rigid for about five seconds, then suddenly melted, lying in a pool of their own glue, paint, lacquer, and hair.
"Liiihh! Sssss!" Ashley tried to call Lindsay's name. Her muscles were hard to control, but she could actually move a little. After a few spasms and falls, she managed to get to her knees.
"Asss! Shhh!" Lindsay, bald, naked and dripping, seemed able to move a little as well. The girls flopped into each other's arms, crying, trying to communicate, and clinging to each other like long-lost lovers.
Their reunion didn't last long. The chamber was already filling with gas. In less than a minute the girls slithered out of each other's arms and slowly flattened out on the floor. The system removed their contact lenses, scanned their retinas, and updated their files.
Ashley wanted desperately for the chemicals to cause her to faint, so that she wouldn't have to experience the same horrible transformation all over again. But the system gave the girls the right amount of relaxant and no more, and they were doomed to relive the entire process of being reduced step by step to decorative, immobile objects. First the preparations, where they were tumbled and lifted like big, fleshy puppets; then their slow and careful posing; the gluing of one body part after another into rigidity; the awful finality of being cemented; the leisurely, demeaning process of being lacquered and painted into clichés of femininity; the cruel slideshow for them to view as they were put out to dry.
When Ashley and Lindsay emerged from the off-limits area and were deposited in the employee's staging area, they were two very nicely sculpted works that didn't look a lot like the doggy girl and her elegant mistress. Lindsay had been transformed into a vivacious Richard Avedon cover-girl type, frozen in mid-stride, long straight blonde hair thrown behind her. She sported a brilliant, ear-to-ear smile that, though beautiful, was not Lindsay's — her facial muscles might not have managed it without biochemical assistance. Her shoulders were thrown back, her arms were in mid-swing, the fingers of one hand were curled to receive a small handbag. Everything about her suggested motion and freedom — an irony that was not lost on poor unhappy Lindsay in her unbreakable cocoon. The pose required high heels, and the machine had temporarily wedged Lindsay's bare, arched feet into clog-like encasements that kept her upright.
Ashley was something completely different. At least she wasn't a dog anymore. But she wasn't a typical mannequin either. She looked straight ahead, shoulders upright, as if offering herself for frontal inspection. Her black hair was piled on top of her head, like a brunette Brigitte Bardot. Her eyes had been changed to a hazy green and were half-closed. Her lips were opened and pouting. Her right arm was folded and placed to one side, and she extended her index finger coyly as if about to touch her lower lip, or pull it further open. Her left arm hung limp by her side. Every part of her seemed to be flirting in some way: her hips undulated gently to her left side; one thigh moved forward across the other to suggest soft friction; the toes of her left foot dragged along the floor as if trying to grasp it. Her lips and eyelids were shaded pink to lavender; her fingernails and toenails were shiny with transparent polish. Naked as she was, her pose and manner was disturbingly erotic, especially in the setting of a department store.
A group of employees dhecked out the new mannequins.
"This one is nice," said Tammy, referring to Lindsay.
"Yeah," said Yumi, staring at Ashley's breasts.
"The brunette would be fine in the window of a fetish shop," said Josie, Ashley's best pal at work, whose shift started in the afternoon. Like the others, she didn't have a clue that she was looking at the naked and shellacked body of one of her friends.
"For a lady who comes across so prim and proper, Faith is actually kind of a perv, isn't she?" said Tracey.
Yumi grabbed the envelope of fashion specs from around Ashley's neck. "Of course, the purple thing," she said after reading them.
Ashley's only piece of clothing for this display would be a purple satin teddy with sheer black cutouts, which Yumi and Josie worked carefully onto her arms, then pulled up over her head. When in place, the teddy barely came down to Ashley's pussy, and her round thighs were fully exposed. Though it had a straight, fairly high neckline, the panels of opaque black material that gave viewers a peek at Ashley's dark nipples, which were pointy enough to create little ridges in the material. Black spaghetti straps over Ashley's bare shoulders were all that held the slip in place; a black lace border at the hem concealed Ashley's private parts. There was no jewelry or other accessories in the specs: Faith was going for a natural, 60s Playboy look.
"I would definitely have put panties on this one," said Yumi, who demonstrated the problem by fanning Ashley with a piece of paper and making the hem fly up to expose her anatomically correct sex organs.
"If they put her out on the floor, she's going to get some action," said Josie.
"From the guys?" said Yumi.
"The men who come to Lingerie never touch anything," said Josie. "They're on their best behavior. But the women will be all over her like sailors on a five-dollar whore."
Meanwhile, Faith was dressing Lindsay personally. Lindsay was wearing an orange-red dress with white trim on the collar, hem, pockets, and belt. The dress opened slightly at the throat, and ended at Lindsay's knees. Herfeet had been taken out of the clogs that kept her upright, and placed in four-inch orange heels with peekaboo toes. Unlike the employees, who were required to follow the specs to the letter, Faith was improvising with Lindsay's accessories. She had already traded Lindsay's small, chic handbag for a bigger and strappier model, and she was now experimenting with different pieces of jewelry.
The anguish of hoping for rescue and being disappointed again and again had been too much for Lindsay, and she had shut down emotionally. Right now, she was willing to become Chloë again in exchange for a little comfort, physical affection, care. And she was getting all these from Faith, who was pleased with the new mannequin, and would even murmur little endearing things to her as she dressed her. When Faith expressed pleasure with the way a piece of clothing sat on Lindsay, or how a pair of earrings looked on her, the helpless girl felt a strange little surge of pride and gratitude. After Lindsay had been completely dressed and decorated, and pronounced perfect by Faith, the older woman took out her own perfume and misted it behind Lindsay's ears and at her throat. For a little while Lindsay didn't think about being imprisoned, exposed, an object. She felt... beautiful.
Ashley and Lindsay were separated. Lindsay was mounted on a pedestal in the Dresses department, and three customers that afternoon bought the dress she was modeling. The mannequin system had access to Roebuck's sales records, and Lindsay's effectiveness quotient was upgraded, which meant greater demand for her.
Ashley was displayed on the floor of Lingerie, and Josie's predictions about her reception there came true. The female customers had divided reactions to the new mannequin. Some seemed to like her, especially the younger, flashier, more daring types. Others were hostile to her shameless exhibitionism and her sex-kitten pose. But everyone found some reason to handle her. The polite ones would lift the trim of her nightie a bit, resting the back of a hand against her skin; or else brush the fabric down, pressing her a little with their fingers in the process. The aggressive ones sometimes didn't even bother pretending that they were looking at the clothing and not the mannequin. She had never had her tits and ass squeezed so often in her life. One young woman with a lot of facial piercings actually stuck a finger up Ashley's cunt, grinning in her face while Ashley pouted invitingly. The sales staff was trained not to confront customers unless the problem was persistent, and most of the women moved on after a few seconds, so no one intervened to stop the groping. Ashley could feel everything that happened to her, and becoming a mannequin had somehow put her in a permanent sex daze even before the public got its hands on her. "At least I'm not a dog anymore," she thought, as a customer brushed lightly against her nipples and made her swoon.
Ashley managed to sell a few teddies that afternoon as well. So the staff was surprised when Faith had both new mannequins taken down and returned to the employee area at 5 pm.
Reunited, the girls stood naked and still before Faith, terrified at
what they knew was coming.
"Let's see, what's next?" said Faith to her staff. "I know! I've got those sportswear designs all ready to go. Girls, just load them in right now, and I'll take care of the rest."
"Faith is acting kind of weird, isn't she?" Yumi said to Josie, as they carried the horizontal Ashley to the conveyor belt.
"Yeah, I've never seen her so frisky," said Josie. They threw Ashley on the belt, head to toes with Lindsay. A push of a button, and away the girls went.
Faith was already standing by the mannequin machine when the girls arrived. This time the belt didn't even pause, taking the girls straight inside.
The ego-shattering powerlessness of a trip through the mannequin machine would be more than some people could stand. And Ashley and Lindsay had gone through the machine three times in one day.... But they were in no position to say no to anything, not even to the primal emotions that their utter and total helplessness had stirred up in them.
That evening the reconditioned girls emerged from the machine and jerked to a halt in the staging area, ready to play their roles in Faith's next mannequin fantasy. Lindsay's new pose captured her in the process of falling into a split. Her left leg was in front of her, touching down on the ball of her foot; her right leg was behind her, with its foot curled back so that only the front of the foot was making contact with the ground. Her torso was perfectly upright, her head thrown back like a dancer's. Her hair was medium-long, blondish-brown, and pulled back in a ponytail. Her left arm was almost straight in the air; her right was extended out to her side and behind her. Her face was smooth, blank, intent.
Next to Lindsay, Ashley was down on the floor, wondering whether Faith was amusing herself at her expense. Because Ashley was a dog again, in a manner of speaking. She had been placed in a yoga downward dog pose, her ass high in the air and her legs slanting down behind her. Her arms had been bent at the elbows, as if she were starting to dive; the bend brought her head lower to the ground and pointed it forward. This position would normally have made her breasts dangle dramatically, but the system had prepared them to occupy a sports bra, flattening her chest into plump ovals. Her eyes were wide and her mouth open; she had long, thick black hair twisted into a bun behind her head, and eye-length bangs.
Josie and Faith, the only staff left in Display, squeezed the girls into form-hugging sportswear. Ashley got the skimpier costume yet again: a hot pink satiny sports bra, and magenta shorts with dark purple stripes that came down to just above her knees and looked as if they were painted on. Faith worked Lindsay inch by inch into a pair of robin's-egg blue Lycra tights that barely stretched enough to fit onto her splayed legs. Then Faith pulled a white tank top with a white embroidered pattern over Lindsay's head.
The girls were carted to Sportswear and strategically positioned on the sales floor. Ashley seemed to draw too much attention to herself every time she was displayed in public: her large, round ass dominated the department, and her flimsy tights hugged the folds of her pussy lips. The sales staff snickered at her whenever there were no customers around; one of them made a joke about cutting a hole in her tights and renting her out as a sex station. Still, this was Ashley's easiest gig so far. The customers in Sportswear stared a little but didn't touch and didn't make lewd comments; and, other than a few finger pokes and one hard slap on the ass from a salesgirl, she got away without physical abuse.
At 11 pm, when the store was closing, the department manager received a call and announced to her sales staff, "We have to take the downward dog
and the splits girl back to Display tonight."
So Ashley and Lindsay were once more returned to the staging area, where they had spent so much of the endless day. No one was there to remove their clothes, so they waited quietly in their workout outfits.
Ashley realized for the first time that she hadn't felt hungry or needed to go to the bathroom all day. What had that machine done to them?
At midnight, they heard the echo of Faith's high heels as the older woman left her office and headed toward the door. On the way out, she stopped by the staging area and looked at the wide-eyed, open-mouthed downward dog on the floor.
"How did you like your first day, Ashley?" she said pleasantly.
Ashley's heart stopped. "She knows! She knows everything!" she thought.
Faith turned and walked to the door.
"Or was she just talking to the mannequins?" thought Ashley.
The lights went out and the door closed. Ashley and Lindsay continued to hold their poses in the dark, quiet room.