There are certain things it is wiser to avoid if you prefer a quiet and uneventful life: if, for example, you would prefer now not to be stood naked and ever so slightly afraid in front of a stranger you met only a few hours before.
Pissing people off in the parking lot of your local shopping centre is one of them. Another would be adding insult to injury by extending one arm out of your car window and slowly, elegantly, raising your middle finger in their general direction.
These are not practices that will endear you greatly to other motorists. And when the other motorist in question is a man of some influence… well, it really would be better not to.
Good advice. Sadly, not the sort of good advice that Tammy James – the one now waiting in all her naked glory - was often party to.
Tammy was a regular girl about town. Twenty-something, tall, almost blonde and reasonably well-endowed – both intellectually and otherwise. She had grown up with a lot to be pleased with. Life generally treated her well. When it didn’t, she had learnt from an early age that one of two strategies usually sorted most things.
First was the brash, confident and in-your-face attitude uppermost when parking her car. Tammy knew she was hot stuff – and that knowledge, plus the overwhelming confidence that went with it worked ninety percent of the time. The other ten percent, she switched. That is, big bold Tammy vanished, to be replaced in a trice by lost little girl Tammy, voice pitched ever so slightly higher – and simpering body language to match.
Even so. Even the car park incident might have been forgiven, were it not for another chance encounter about half an hour later.
Lunch was approaching. Restaurants were filling. The last table in her favourite café was free. Just. If she nipped in quickly, ahead of the old gentleman who was making his way slowly across the room toward it.
Success! Tammy nipped in, plumping her nicely-rounded behind onto soft leather with seconds to spare. ‘Sorry’, she smiled sweetly up at the guy she had just beaten. ‘I guess this table’s taken’.
For a moment, Tammy anticipated trouble. There was a look – something – behind the slightly watery eyes, a set to his chin that said ‘don’t mess!’. But the moment passed and, without another word, he turned and wound his way back round the tables and out onto the pavement.
‘So much for him’, was the last thought Tammy gave to the matter, before dropping the entire episode from her mind. Which probably made very little difference to what happened next. For he had already made his mind up.
By the time that Tammy returned to her car a couple of hours later, he was there, waiting for her. Tammy pursed her lips and prepared for the worst. The car park was hardly deserted: but a furtive sweep of her eyes was enough to tell her that she was a long way from help, if the guy turned out to be a loon.
But the angry tirade that she was expecting did not follow. The guy – the weirdo, she thought to herself – just stood, quietly, as though sizing her up for a job. Or a suit.
“Now, look…”, Tammy began.
He raised one finger to his lips, and shook his head.
He shook his head again.
“You will come with me.” A simple direct statement. A preposterous statement. What kind of lunatic was he? How could he possibly expect anyone with an ounce of sense in them to just drop everything and turn and follow him meekly to his car?
Ludicrous. She swung herself into the passenger seat - admiring, as she did so, the fine leather upholstery and polished woodwork. She almost laughed out loud at the idea that someone would ask her to do something so crazy as to come to their house in a part of town she didn’t know all that well: follow them down a maze of darkened corridors, down, down to what looked like an indoor theatre; and then take off all her clothes.
Utterly, beyond day-dreaming, stark raving bonkers!
Tammy’s eyes opened wide with the shock of sudden realisation. “What the fuck!”
She really was standing on what appeared to be a small stage: around her, a small auditorium made up of a few dozen seats. She really was naked: her day clothes, apparently shucked off with little regard to creases, lay in a rough heap at her feet. Meanwhile, the guy - the weirdo - sat a few feet away, ion the middle of the front row, just gazing quietly, intently at her.
He smiled. “You are with us again.” Not so much question as statement.
“Yes. What did you do? What am I doing here?” The words cascaded out, as Tammy bent down to pick up a t-shirt, a skirt, anything to cover her embarrassment.
He stood and stepped toward the edge of the stage.
“You are a very rude, very selfish young lady.” He paused. For a moment his focuse appeared to be distracted by something lodged between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. Gently he rubbed the two digits together.
“Yes.” All sharp and attentive once more. “Very rude. Very selfish.”
“I decided that you needed to be brought down a peg or two.”
“You fucking pervert! How dare you!” Tammy’s confidence returned with a blaze of anger.
Tammy had always had a knack for anger management. Or rather, she had always found anger very useful when it came to managing other people. So whilst the current situation was definitely a little spooky, not to mention weirded out, she didn’t feel instantly threatened by the old guy.
“Well, Mister”, she raged on. “I’m sure the police will be very interested in that point of view. Just as soon as I get out of here.” She bent down and picked up a bra: started to put it on.
“You’re going to be hearing from them very soon.”
“And my lawyers”, she added, for good measure.
“Ah.” The guy was looking at his fingers again. What WAS it with his fingers? “I was afraid you might say that.” He sighed. Then, a single sharp movement of his hand, as though he were throwing something.
Instinctively, Tammy ducked. For a moment, she saw – or thought she saw -something thin and filmy floating through the air toward her. A cobweb in flight. Then nothing. A trick of the light.
She shrugged, annoyed that he had gotten the better of her once more.
“Enough!”, she exploded. “I’m out of here.”
“Just … as… soon ..as”. An expression of annoyance crept across her face. What was it now with her bra? Why wouldn’t it fasten. More to the point, why couldn’t SHE fasten it? She felt so clumsy. Her hands performed this simple task on auto-pilot every morning. Now they felt as though they were wrapped in cotton wool.
“Damn it!” She dropped her bra to the floor and fumbled for her t-shirt. Same again. She just couldn’t seem to pick it up properly. Her fingers moved – but not quite where she wanted them to move. Frustrated, she scooped up the whole pile of clothes in one arm and stood, embarrassed, in front of her kidnapper.
“Problems?” He cocked his head in mock surprise.
“Darn right I’ve got problems”, Tammy muttered, half to herself. “What did you do? Drug me?”
He shook his head. “Nothing so mundane. As I explained before: a little attitude adjustment seemed to be in order.”
“And here begins the first lesson.”
His right hand lifted once more, then described a swift circle in the air. As he moved, so Tammy moved too – but not so subtly. She felt the sudden pull of invisible strings. She span an inelegant pirouette on the spot, scattering clothes as she went, before collapsing in a tangled heap on the floor. For the first time since she had regained consciousness, she felt the faint glimmerings of fear.
“I’m out of here”. Tammy scrambled to her feet and started to run toward the side of the stage. One step. Two steps. Bang! Again that pull, as something yanked her back to where she started.
She tried again. Two steps, no further. She turned and headed toward the back of the stage. Bang! Same result. This was going nowhere: no point in getting up if all that was going to happen was her getting dumped on the floor. She raised herself to a crouch and stared warily at her captor. A quick calculation: anger wasn’t working; time for the hapless little girl to make an appearance.
“OK”, she started meekly. “You got me. What do you want?”
“You could start by standing up”. His right hand, Tammy saw now, lifted slightly in time with his words. As it did so, she felt a gentle tugging at her body, pulling her upwards. For an instant she resisted. The tugging grew stronger. She stood.
“That’s a good girl. It seems you have learnt your first lesson.”
Tammy nodded meekly.
“Now, feel free to explore a little. Discover for yourself your new limits.”
Tammy took a slight, hesitant step away from the centre of the stage. No problem. Except, if she relaxed, she felt something invisible pulling her softly backward. A second step. The pull became stronger. She stopped and leant forward. Her body tilted out to an impossible angle, and then came to a halt. According to all the Laws of Physics, she ought now to fall flat on her face. Instead, she was leaning forward at an angle of 45 degrees with no obvious means of support.
She pulled herself upright and stepped backward. “Invisible strings”, she remarked bitterly. “That’s what you threw”.
“Bravo! Not only a good girl, but a clever one as well.”
“So now what? You plan to dance me round the stage like your own personal puppet?”
The smile, that had never quite left the old man’s lips, broadened still further. “In a manner of speaking, yes.” His right hand twisted and turned faster than Tammy’s eyes could follow. As it did so she felt herself tugged in myriad directions.
Her body span round once more. As it did so, she felt herself drawn upward, momentarily, onto tiptoe. First one arm, then the other, was pulled outward then up. A pull at her right knee brought that leg up and angled outward. It was ungainly, but nonetheless recognisable, as a rather complicated ballet manoeuvre.
“Not bad, eh?”
“But you move like a sack of potatoes. And that,” the old man declared triumphantly, “is because you haven’t yet learnt the right attitude. You are still thinking for yourself. Thinking about the moment when my guard is down and you can slip out the side door?” He stopped and stared intently at her: “Aren’t you?”
“What else do you expect?”
“What do I expect?” The smile returned. “In time, I expect you to put your whole self into whatever part I give you. And it is only natural for you to dream about escaping. After all, I have hardly begun with you. Or your attitude.”
Tammy winced. Bad enough being cooped up in a deserted house with a weird old guy with a pretty intimidating line in supernatural bondage. But the way he kept hinting at worse to come was beginning to worry her greatly.
And now he was muttering something to himself. It was almost a relief to think that the guy might just be a total loon… the sort that would talk to himself in deserted theatres. Unfortunately, on the evidence so far, he knew exactly what he was doing. So the more he muttered, the more it worried her. In fact, he was getting most animated: like he was talking to an invisible friend.
Uh-oh! Tammy already knew what invisible strings could do. She definitely didn’t want to find out about invisible friends.
Abruptly the muttering stopped. Her captor drew himself up to his full height and threw his arms wide. Like he was announcing a show. Out of the corner of her eyes, Tammy could just spot that shimmering again, as though something gauzy and tinselly was flying through the air at her. This time, she could almost hear a noise as well. At the edge of her hearing, a rustling of wings, like dozens of tiny insects. Except the word that came to mind was gossamer – and fairy.
Which was, of course, quite impossible.
But suddenly the air around her was full of gauzy tinselly glittering nothingness. Little sparks that vanished the moment she tried to focus on them. All about was rustling and buzzing and business. Her skin began to itch, as though dozens of tiny fingers were touching her.
A sudden jerk on her strings pulled her up and straight. Vainly, she resisted. But whatever was holding on to her knew what it was doing, holding her tight, pulling her this way and that. Her arms stretched out, then back again. Her head tipped up and down. Most humiliating of all, she felt her legs pulled wide, exposing totally the light fuzz of hairbetween them. Then the pricking started. A hundred – a thousand – little pinpricks everywhere, in every part of her body. It was worst, she realised, between her legs, under her arms, on top of her head: worst wherever she had hair.
“No-o”, she writhed in anger and frustration. These fairies, insects, whatever: they were ever so quietly, efficiently removing every trace of hair from her body. So fast and furious did it rain down, the glitter of her ‘invisible friends’ was now hidden
within a cloud of hair floating gently to her feet. Her heart sank with the knowledge that even if she walked away from this madhouse this instant, it would be months before she could show herself in public again.
Only they weren’t finished yet. After the pricking and pinching came a sense of something cool and ever so slightly moist being applied to her skin: as though a band of miniature interior designers had taken it upon themselves to re-decorate her from top to toe. It was almost pleasant. Weird, too.
Tammy’s body was stretched taut in a pose that, she guessed, made painting her that much easier. Yet even with the limited movemment this allowed, she was catching a glance, here and there, of what was happening. Where the coolness was applied, her skin at first glistened, wet and shiny. When she was allowed to look for more than a few seconds, she could see the wetness spreading: starting with a small patch; then gradually spreading out to cover a wider and wider area of her skin.
Then, as it dried, she felt her skin tighten just a little. Its surface still held its unnatural hue: though now it looked to be no more than lightly varnished. It made made her look not quite natural. Plastic, almost.
How plastic, she wondered? She didn’t know where she was: probably no-one else did either. But suppose someone did come looking for her. Suppose they found her, hanging naked and frozen into immobility by whatever invisible magic her captor was capable of. Of course they’d recognise her. Of course they’d cut her down and rush her home. So where did that smidgeon of doubt come from? Surely no-one could look at her and think she was anything than what she was – a victim: wronged, abducted and hung out to dry.
It was just that she was beginning to look so awfully artificial. She could almost imagine herself ringing hollow when someone tapped on her arm. Her would-be rescuer shrugging his shoulders as he turned away: “No-one here but this puppet”, he would say. “Must have been a bum tip off.”
“No!” Tammy remonstrated with herself. That way lies madness. “Someone WILL find you. Someone WILL come and cut you down. Just hang on in there, girl.”
A sudden buzzing and bustling interrupted her train of thought. On an instant, the air around her came alive once more, shining and shimmering and rustling – though now in such profusion that she seemed to be cocooned in a cloud of fairy radiance. The stage, the auditorium, the wizard: all faded out. In their place, a fog of nothingness.
With the fog came pushing and pulling and posing. Tammy felt herself whirled around: a dozen invisible hands drawing her this way and that. And then, as quickly as it all began, it stopped. The lights and the fog vanished. The busyness stopped. All was silent: all, exactly as before.
Except that it wasn’t. Tammy still could not move: her strings still pulled her limbs taut. So she stood, arms and legs extended, head facing front, attention locked upon the author of her misfortune. No matter how hard she strained, how hard she willed it, she could not lower her head the merest fraction of an inch to see what damage had been wrought upon her body.
She knew some of it already: an extreme haircut; a coat of what felt suspiciously like varnish. But there were other things as well that she sensed but could not see. Something was now wrapped around her waist, pulling her in and making her breathing not quite as easy as it ought to be. Below that, something large and filmy fluttered around her hips. And further still, something – or two somethings, to be precise – seemed to have gripped her feet like a vice.
“So?” Her captor was grinning up at her again. Obviously he found this all very amusing. “I would say that’s something of an improvement.”
“Would you like to see?”
“You bastard! What the fuck have you…” Tammy’s words died on her lips as he tilted his head and frowned. Ah, yes: shouting didn’t help with this one. She was supposed to be working plan B: showing him what a good little girl she could be. Waiting for him to let his guard down.
Tammy made the appropriate internal gear shift. Mentally bowing her head, she started again: “Yes, please. It feels different, Sir. I really would like to see.”
Sir? Where the hell had that come from? No need to overdo it! Although it had felt disturbingly right.
And it appeared to have the desired effect. The guy did a little more flexing of his right hand, and Tammy found herself spinning slowly round, to face up stage. He clapped his hands. The stage, which had hitherto been shrouded in twilight, sprang to life as half a dozen beams tunnelled down. Lighting her. Lighting the rear of the stage. Lighting what she now saw to be a large and ornate mirror. Lighting her reflection in the mirror.
Tammy gasped in disbelief. For the briefest of instants, she had a sense of staring through a window onto a second stage. This stage was identical in every respect to the one on which Tammy was standing now. Except that where she stood, there hung an exquisitely modelled, perfect in every detail, ballerina doll. But only for an instant.
Because she knew with a sickening certainty that she was not looking through a window (or if she was, not only were there two stages, but also two weird old guys stood at the foot of each admiring their handiwork). And if it was not a window, it had to be a mirror. Which meant that the lovely doll hanging limply in the centre of the stage was really herself.
No. She didn’t want to know this. But slowly, grudgingly, unable to turn away, her eyes absorbed the new Tammy.
They had, of course, removed her hair completely. The flowing golden mane was gone, replaced by a short, dark cut: very page-boyish. No other hair remained: at least, none that she could spot. Her crotch, previous proud owner of a neatly trimmed ‘landing strip’ was now quite naked. As was the rest of her body.
It was like the best, most total bikini wax she’d ever had. Her skin was as smooth as it had ever been. Though that, she guessed, was exaggerated by whatever it was they had painted her with. Because she wasn’t just smooth. She was ‘perfect’: no moles, no spots, no blemishes; just one uniform, slightly tanned brown. She glistened ever so slightly, like she had been varnished. Like she was made of wood, or plastic.
They’d dressed her as well, after a fashion.
Above her hips, a white tutu protruded stiffly. Around her waist, a bustier held her in and tightened her to a degree she would not have believed possible. No wonder she had to catch her breath from time to time. As well as holding her in, it lifted her ample breasts upward and locked them together, showing off the tightest of cleavages. She had to admit: it looked good! It looked very sexy! And it hurt like hell!
As did her feet, also encased. She was wearing the slightest, daintiest of ballet slippers, fastened around her ankles, with a swirl of pink ribbon. Dainty perhaps – yet possessing, nonetheless, the power to crush and squeeze her feet into shape as precisely as the bustier now ruled her waist.
Ow! Please don’t say she was meant to move in them.
Still, there were one or two bits missing. Like tights. Whilst ballet wasn’t exactly Tammy’s thing, she was well aware, from half-remembered school outings to Swan Lake, that most ballet dancers weren’t naked from the waist down. Nor, despite the revealing nature of lycra, did they go so far, usually, as to show off their breasts with no outer covering.
So, like: she was a ballerina – but an exhibitionist ballerina. Though maybe you’d need to look twice to be quite sure. Because the smooth and varnished look, from a distance, might just be very close-fitting tights. Her crotch, now she gave it a second glance, did look awfully plastic. Smooth. Hairless. Her cunt reduced to a neat, symmetrical slit that looked more like something you might find on a sex toy than a real person.
Ditto her breasts. Her nipples seemed to have receded somewhat. In fact she wasn’t altogether sure they were still there: or whether the darker dots at the centre of her areolae weren’t simply painted on. As for the areolae themselves – Tammy did like that word: she had picked it up from a Health magazine once, and liked the way it made her sound informed – they used to be brown and slightly uneven. Only now they were two quite symmetrical circles, and almost dark red.
Just like a doll, she caught herself thinking once more. Or a puppet. Only don’t go there, Tammy. Just don’t go there!
But it was hard not to. For she had left the best – or worst, depending on your point of view – to last. Her face. Her beautiful, sexy, grown-up face had been transformed into a caricature of itself. Pink and smooth as the rest of her: but with its features exaggerated. In place of the subtle blusher she used, bright red circles on either cheek. Lips similarly reddened and highlighted. Eyes outlined in stark black, with whitened eyelids. It really was a doll face.
Bitterly, she replayed her earlier fears. The police battering down the door. A tip off. Some woman kidnapped. The old guy explaining, so reasonably, that it had to be a mistake. There was no-one else here but… this puppet. This Tammy doll, hanging by her strings on the stage. They wouldn’t bother looking any further. Damnation! Even she was half convinced that she was looking at a doll – and she was inside there somewhere.
Unthinking, Tammy gulped down air and let out a despairing sob. Did she just do that? No-o. Mustn’t let the guy know he was winning. Steel yourself, Tammy. As she pulled herself together mentally, she felt herself spinning once more: round again until she was back face to face with her tormentor.
“An improvement, don’t you think?”
“Not really”, Tammy sniffed back. “But I guess I can’t stop you”.
He nodded. “Of course you can’t. You never could. You’ll look a lot better dancing now. But I’m afraid you’ll still move like a sack of potatoes.”
Tammy’s turn to nod. “OK. But I’ll try. If that’s what you want, I’ll try real hard. You know”, she started brightly: “I used to do a bit of ballet when I was younger. If that’s what you want I’ll really, really try. And then maybe if you like it…”. She trailed off.
“If I like it, I’ll let you go? Of course I will! After all the trouble I’ve taken to bring you here, set you up and then redesign you the way I wish… What else would I do?” He laughed, and Tammy’s heart sank.
“You’re still not quite there, are you, girl? I said ‘attitude adjustment’ – and that’s exactly what is going to happen. All this”, he waved one arm expansively, “is just window dressing. Getting you to look the part.”
“Sure you can dance.” He circled with his right hand. Once more, Tammy found herself jerked this way and that, in response to the inexorable pull of her strings. She sensed how clumsy it must look: and her mind whirled in anticipation of whatever it was that was going to make her less clumsy. It sounded like nothing she wanted to happen to her.
He clicked his fingers: she teetered to a halt, centre stage.
Abruptly he reached out and grasped the air in front of him.
“Aaaah!”, Tammy cried out in shock at the sensation of something taking hold of her from within. Like a hand inside her chest, twisting and pulling. Only it wasn’t in her chest: it was lodged deeper, in the very core of her being.
With one final tug, she felt something snap. Triumphantly the magician drew his hand back. Tammy felt herself falling – and at the same lifted upward. The image of Fay Wray, in the grip of a giant ape-like paw sprang inevitably to mind.
She was nothing more than a presence – an awareness – pinned before the gaze of one who utterly controlled her. Inwardly, Tammy trembled.
On stage, though she could not know this, her body slumped limply, held aloft only by its strings.
All that she knew was a voice booming somewhere deep inside her head. Like the magician was talking to her from the inside.
“Attitude”, he was saying once more. “It really is so easy. Like adjusting your central heating. You want it hot: you turn the dial up. Cold – and turn it down again.”
“And here are all your dials, girl. Laid out just for me. How alike all you girls are – even the ones who think they are different.”
“Intelligent. Quick witted. Selfish. Rude, when it suits you. An exaggerated sense of your own importance. ‘I want’ as guiding principle: because when it comes down to it, no-one else matters but you?”
Tammy nodded wordless agreement. She was terrified as she had never been before. Strangely, though, she also felt calm. There was no longer any doubt in her mind that the worst was about to happen. Whether it was something in the magic now being worked on her – or simple acceptance of the inevitable – she was ready to face it.
Although at first, she didn’t recognise ‘it’ when it started to happen. The magician was still talking, fidgetting away in the back of her mind. She had simply faded him out.
“A good little doll”, she heard, as she tuned back in. “Because you don’t want for anything. Ever. A toy. A plaything. Nothing more.”
“Mmmm”, Tammy found herself agreeing. Nothing seemed to have changed. But everything had. She was still Tammy James. Big, bold woman of the world. Of course she was. Just so long as her Master gave her permission to be.
Permission? Where was that from? Tammy didn’t…
No. Tammy DID ask permission. She was such a silly, silly little girl. Left to her own devices, she might be rude to other people and do things without asking. That would never do!
Who was Tammy, anyway? Something about being in charge of herself. Taking the world by the balls. Was that her? Yes. She remembered. That was what she used to do.
Used to? So maybe she didn’t do that any more?
No, silly! Only if Master tells her to. Master decides how he wants his toy to act. He can make her big and strong – or little and silly.
Tammy – or at least, her essence, her memories – drifted away in a dream of being good and obedient. She was still Tammy, sort of – but she had to dig really deep to find her now.
Caged and incandescent with rage was the old Tammy James. But rage as she might, she knew that this was a battle she was destined to lose. With every passing second, she felt more and more insignificant. Why was she raging? What right did a silly little slut like her have to question a Master like the magician who owned her?
No! No, no, no, no, no, no-o-o. Oh.
I am… She is…. She. Who?
The doll, of course.
Her Master’s puppet.
The puppet awoke. Intelligence returned, as it looked out on the stage through fresh eyes. Here was the stage. There was her Master.
She was His puppet. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, she had had a name. It was on the tip of her tongue, but….if Master wished her to remember it, He would no doubt tell her.
She hung limply, waiting for the command to move. For a moment, she wondered what it would be like to move of her own accord – and instantly dismissed the thought with a silent giggle at her own stupidity.
Puppets can’t move by themselves! How silly I am. Silly girl. Silly puppet.
She sensed, rather than saw the movement of her Master’s hand. In the background, a tinkling music box jingle began. Her strings tugged gently on her body. She started to move, precisely, obediently in time with the tune.
What a good puppet she was: what a silly girl she would have been!