“Quite a kinky little setup you’ve got here,” the 20-ish young woman remarked as she strolled slowly among the posed figures, each a motionless female dressed provocatively. She was cute in an impish way, with freckles across the bridge of her pixie nose and ginger-hued hair twirled into a loose bun at the back of her head. Clad in a stylish print wrap-around dress with a wide leather belt, she looked like an office worker or academic.
Classical stringed music played softly in the background, giving the vast room a museum-like ambiance, as did the occasional short gray pedestals and platforms upon which some of the unbelievably life-like sculptures stood or reclined or sat gracefully. The majority were posed freestanding or resting fetchingly against furniture and the walls of the vast ornate room. Barely clothed, they all looked like they had simply paused for an instant of frozen time that had never resumed. The effect was more than a little disturbing.
“Sorry; I didn’t catch your name?” her middle-aged host prodded. He was dressed casually, in jeans and an untucked shirt that failed to improve his nebbishy appearance.
“Elise Parsons, but you can call me Ellie. When I responded to your ad looking for figure models, I had no idea you were into… this. What did you do to them?”
She approached one, a lissome, petite, short-haired blonde who looked about her own age, clothed in wisps of golden lace lingerie that emphasized her tanned near-nakedness more than masking it. The immobilized figure stood with her weight on one leg, resting one hand on her flared hip; the other arm was raised behind her head to highlight the contour of her modest breasts. The sexy statue gazed into the void with an unblinking blankness that was perhaps the most unsettling aspect of all.
“Ain’t sayin’,” the man said, “but it’s my own creation. All natural too! Well, mostly…” he added with a wry smile.
Elise touched the shoulder of the nearest figure, running her finger along the smooth skin of the immobilized model casually, gauging her temperature and firmness, then pausing to grasp a wrist lightly to confirm the slow but steady pulse. This girl was not just cataleptic.
“They do look quite beautiful don’t they, Ellie?” the middle-aged man observed obliquely. “I like to think I’ve done my part to preserve some tiny bit of allure in this increasingly sordid world.” He sipped leisurely from a goblet of wine as he appraised his splendid collection and his attractive visitor.
“Although you’re the only one who’s appreciating their beauty, aren’t you? These models certainly aren’t able to do much at all.” She waved her hand in front of the pretty blonde’s vacant eyes, getting as much reaction as she would have from a plastic mannequin: none. After a momentary reflection, the young visitor continued her examination of the bizarre collection, trying to maintain her own composure and avoid tipping her hand.
Undetected by his cautious gaze, hidden by a coy smile, she quickly touched her tongue to the roof of her mouth in a prearranged sequence to alert the rest of the team: R…S…G;
Ready Steady Go…
He continued, “Perhaps not in the same way, but they find that participating in my little art project has its own rewards as well as other joys.”
“What do you mean? From what I can tell, these girls are all as stiff and cold as a bunch of waxworks.”
“True enough, for now, but they were not always this way, nor will they be in the future. When each finishes her contribution, she’s free to resume her life however she chooses, considerably richer and comparatively younger for her time spent here. Not surprisingly, many choose to remain. Observe.”
He walked away purposefully; the young woman followed, curious. They shortly came to an exhibit of a more mature, but still lovely, woman who was “dressed” in an airy fishnet bodysuit that concealed nothing of her spectacularly tall supermodel figure. The statue’s hair and makeup were exquisitely done, making it look as if she’d stepped from a courtier’s fashion runway.
“Take Linda 'E' here, for example. She had an excellent career a few years back, faded from view when styles changed and fresh faces appeared, but has recently made something of a comeback…”
The young woman gasped; the motionless figure before her had one of the most stunning, gorgeous and recognizable faces on the planet, having appeared in countless video and print ads. Now, here she stood like a vision of timelessness.
“Ah, yes,” the man continued, “You do recognize her. But you probably never suspected she has already spent several years with me exactly as you see her now; ageless, timeless while she’s posed here. You see, I’m not just your garden-variety pervert…”
“Can I talk to her?” Ellie almost gushed; this supermodel had been one of her idols when she was growing up, with posters of her on the wall and everything.
“Sadly, not right now. Linda’s set to revive later this year, in time for Paris Fashion Week. However, I did anticipate your question. Follow me, please,” he continued, walking away from her again.
The young woman had to rush to catch up as they threaded their way among the exhibits. There had to be almost a hundred lovely statue-still models here, posed in a multitude of attractive stances and expressions. There were sultry sirens in shape-enhancing tight-laced satin corsets and stretchy bustiers, exotic vixens in near-transparent see-through gowns, saucy ladies posed in traditional maid, ballerina, and harem outfits, along with the more modern Lycra, vinyl, and leather ensembles. Their striking display presentations also varied from vintage pin-up splendor to static catalog groupings to sleek dance stagings to avant-garde punk and anime settings with varicolored lighting.
Further back, a few small dioramas had been created, little stationary scenes occupied by several motionless models. Here, too, were a scattering of completely nude figures in a variety of tasteful artistic poses. Ellie had barely time to glimpse these as she followed the man through a black velvet curtain into a work area that looked to be a mixture of dressing room and hospital examination bay. Racks of skimpy clothes rested along one wall next to a make-up mirror ringed by bare bulbs, another wall was entirely a floor-to-ceiling mirror, while a wheeled gurney bed, IV-stand and green oxygen tanks occupied most of the far corner. There were several of the gray-painted platforms and posing stands scattered around. The dais in the center of the room was occupied by another mannequin-still young woman.
This model was dark-haired, with and oval face, beautifully arched eyebrows and perfect lips. Her figure seemed a little fuller than was typical for most lingerie models, though she was excellently proportioned and displayed her simple pearl-white bikini bra-and-panty set beautifully. On her legs were white thigh-high stay-up stockings and she perched on what had to be four-inch heels. Like the others, this living statue was as stiff as a board.
He continued, “Alonna has been on display for the past three months and it’s time for her to take a break, see her family and friends, though of course to her no time has passed.” While talking, he filled a small hypodermic syringe with milky liquid, squirted out any air bubbles before picking out a spot within the butterfly tattoo on the young woman’s curvy backside and smoothly performing the injection. There was no change. “It will just be a minute,” he supplied in response to Ellie’s raised eyebrow.
As the seconds passed, nothing seemed to be happening. Alonna’s face remained a rigid, beautiful, pale mask. Then her eyes widened, her lashes fluttered, followed by a couple quick blinks just as her ample chest rose with her first gasps of breaths that sounded almost like moans, quickly changing to the usual slow cadence. She glanced around as her body seemed to gradually unfreeze; she lowered her arms from the pose she had been holding and shifted her feet.
“Welcome back,” the man greeted her. “How are you feeling?”
“OK!” she grinned. “That vas… vow… really zometing…” Alonna spoke with a murky Eastern European accent. “Did look alright?”
“You were excellent, as lovely a vision as you are now.”
The unfrozen model took a few wobbly steps, steadying herself on his arm for a moment before regaining her balance. She circled back to face Ellie after taking a few sips of water from a bottle of spring water on a nearby table. “And zu whom do I owe zis pleasurr?”
“Oh; sorry, Alonna. I’m not used to having you talk back! Ellie, here, is thinking of modeling for me. But after seeing my gallery, she understandably has a few questions.”
“Of course. It is not most normal zing. Ask me vhatever…” She smiled warmly.
Elise briefly blushed, at a loss for words. What do you ask someone who was just a statue? “Um, what does being frozen feel like?” she finally ventured.
“Zat iss… complicated, for everyvun zeem to feel someting different. For me, za beginning iss like being wrapped in a pile of fuzzy blankets to vhere I cannot move at all, zen falling to sleep. At the vaking up I am happy, cozy inside, as after a night of really good zex.” she smiled again with the memory. Ellie blushed again. “Vhell, you asked!” The lingerie-clad beauty shrugged. “In between, zhere is nothing…”
“I see. You’re beautiful woman, probably with a lot of friends and acquaintances. Why do you let yourself be turned into a statue by this man for weeks at a time? Isn’t there anything better to do with your life?”
Alonna chucked, “You have obviously not discussed zee compensation! I have found to being more than fair exchange for my time. In zhese days, catalog modeling is not so very regular job. Besides, I can take time-out vhile zat skank Dierdre Shaeffer gets older.”
“OK, can I ask one more? Do you trust him while you’re posed? After all, you’ve become nothing more than a helpless mannequin?”
“Of course! However, zhere vas a…” the model hesitated.
“Thanks, Alonna, why don’t you go ahead and get changed? I’ve placed your check in the locker with your personal items. I’ll handle anything more here.”
“As you prefer.” She turned and strutted to the dressing room portion of the workroom as the man ushered Ellie back into the gallery, where the eye-catching immobilized onlookers could not hear or see or speak.
“That was very helpful…” Ellie began with a wry smile.
“Who are you?” he demanded abruptly.
“I told you: Elise Parsons; I saw your ad for…”
“Who are you, really?”
“Oh. Well, I also report for the Wonkette Gazette blog, but…”
“You thought you’d make a name for yourself, by doing a story on me and my pastime?”
“Yes, at first. But…”
“Leave!” he seethed.
“If you want me to, but please just listen for a moment!” The man said nothing, simply glaring at the impertinent young woman. She went on, “At first your …hobby… seemed too odd to be true but I started doing research, talked to a couple of your earlier models and their stories jived. I figured if anyone could drive the creation of a concoction that induces suspended animation you’d be the one, with your unique desires and resources. That’s when I decided to check you out myself, give your tech a test drive, so to speak.”
“Who are you really?”
“For that answer, you’ll have to trust me, for at least a month. You see, I’m also not just your garden-variety victim.” She thought about telling him that when younger she wished to become King Midas’ daughter, or about freeze-posing in store windows during her late teens, but decided not to. Yet. “Now, make me one of your statues for thirty days…”
“After that interview with Alonna, you still want to….?”
“Oh, yes! She just confirmed what the others had said. You’re a little shy, but not any kind of perv. Basically, harmless.”
“Don’t be upset; that’s a good thing in your case. It means that I don’t have to kill you,” she said, straight-faced, then adding a moment later: “Kidding.” But was she?
“How do you know that once you’re suspended I’m not going to have my way with you?” he prodded.
“How do you know that I won’t enjoy it?”
That caught him off guard. “You… would?”
Another nut job, he was thinking. “You have a very unusual outlook, Miz Parsons,” he mumbled, recovering a little of his composure. “…as well as an uncommon degree of trust for someone in your circumstances.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she smiled enigmatically. “If I can’t kill you, my associates will.”
He decided not to play into her fantasy. “OK, then. Did you bring a change of clothes, or do you want to check the rack?” he asked, glancing towards the work area for a moment, then heard the ripping sound of Velcro.
When he turned back, Ellie’s outer garments were in a heap at her feet that she stepped away from, her figure revealed in black filigree and seamless pantyhose. “I trust this will be acceptable?” she smiled coyly, pulling the pins from her hair and letting the coppery curls cascade over her shoulders. Slipping out of her business heels, she pulled a set of stilettos from her bag and stepped into them. In seconds she had transformed herself.
“Yes, that will… do,” he gulped. He hadn’t expected her to have a toned athlete’s body; she already looked like a sculpture come to life.
“So what’s next? You gonna stick me in the butt with a needle?”
“That’s not necessary; though you do need to ingest the deactivator. Shall we return to the workroom? Alonna should have let herself out by now.”
“No, I’d like to stay here. I want to be… inspired. Go ahead and get what you need; I can wait a couple minutes longer.” Ellie gravitated towards the spotlighted cornice where her favorite supermodel stood, silent and regal.
Some time later he returned holding a tall glass filled with what looked like a thistle-hued protein shake to find her there, trying out poses. Whatever else she did, Ellie Parsons knew how to show off her physique. “Are you ready?” he prompted.
“I think so… how do I look?” she primped.
Why do women have to ask. “You’re dazzling, of course. Here, drink this down as quickly as you can; don’t sip it. The deactivator takes effect pretty quickly, especially with someone who’s never used it before…”
“OK…” Ellie took a few gulps, then paused to observe: “Tastes really icky, like lavender chalk?” She continued to drink, more slowly.
“Keep going!” he urged her.
“Oh… now, that feels strange,” she said after a few more swallows. “Do….?” Ellie began to say, then her next word hung on her lips as her lithe body froze in place, as still as if someone hit pause on a video.
“Yes, I think that means it’s taken effect; nite-nite Ellie” he chuckled, taking the glass from her stiffened fingers and wiping her mouth clean with a paper napkin. Knowing he had limited time, he quickly shifted her upright stance into more of a typical lingerie pose, sliding one leg out ahead of the other as if she were stepping forward and tilting her hips. Her arms were arranged so it looked like she had been slightly surprised. It would be their little joke for the next few weeks.
A hundred fifty meters away, inside a nondescript van parked across the street, Ellie’s handler jumped up, tore off his headset, and raced for the rear door, gun drawn.
“Mister Parkes, return to your station,” the agent in charge commanded. “Now!”
“But, she’s flatlining!” the young man objected, his hand on the latch handle.
“That is part of her assignment, or did you miss that portion of the briefing? We have to be sure the compound is in fact effective and not some petty parlor trick of hypnosis.”
“She could die…”
“Highly unlikely; if you were watching her vitals instead of running off half-cocked you’d see her life signs are low yet stable. Sit back down and try not to be such a cowboy.”
Unaware of the trap he had just fallen into, the collector was totally focused on his latest lovely model. Grasping her slim wrist, he felt her pulse slowing to a nearly imperceptible rate as her breathing stilled. Rummaging in Ellie’s shoulder bag, he found lipstick and fixed her smudged makeup so she’d look her best on display. From the pocket of his jeans he produced a long strand of gleaming pearls that he draped around her slim neck and across her torso, then decided to loop over one of her outstretched hands. After another few minutes, her body was stiff enough so he could carry Ellie’s posed figure to a nicer location while she remained as rigid as a mannequin.
“You were right about my not being good around active people, of course,” he confided to her vacant blue-eyed gaze as he caressed her firm cool skin, letting out a sigh of relief that she hadn’t agreed with him or done anything other than remain there as a lovely living statue. He leisurely admired the curve of Ellie’s slender waist and the way her dark stockings hugged her shapely legs. She was delicious to look at. Later on, he’d contemplate removing the rest of her lacy undergarments.
Thirty days was too brief a time to enjoy Elise Parsons, but he’d try to make the best of it.
Continues in Part 2