"Christ," Diane said as she looked at another painting in the sprawling hallways of the main level of the art museum. After a short moment, she tossed her head and sent a spill of her brown hair back over her shoulder and added, "Again."
Rick glanced over from one of the tapestries on the wall at her. She stood in front of yet another picture of the Virgin Mary and Son, which was the sixth or seventh they'd seen here. He offered an apologetic shrug.
"I'm afraid so. You'll likely see Him a lot, actually, especially on this level. The Dark and Middle Ages art tended toward one of two things: Royalty and Church. You didn't catch the Medieval artists doing pastoral scenes or bowls of fruit or common scenes very often, it was just part of the time period. But there was some really varied and interesting work, too. One room further up, for instance, has something like twenty-five different variations of the Last Supper by different Medieval painters, and you can see the simple stylistic differences."
Diane raised an eyebrow. She, along with her friends Harriet and Rebecca, had chosen to accompany him on this day trip to the museum today. But it seemed they were not as appreciative of fine art as he. "Imagine my thrill. No offense, but by the pictures, it certainly looks like a dull time. No wonder they were called the Dark Ages."
"Actually, that's because a lot of the history was lost," Harriet said as she stepped up between the two, taking the painting in with her finger tucked under her chin. "People passed on history mostly by spoken word and stories rather than writing, and printing wasn't started in Europe. Other than at monasteries, common folk didn't read or write, so when the Black Death wiped out a lot of the population, a lot of the common history was lost."
The two just looked at her for a long moment, Diane somewhat incredulously, Rick with a little more admiration. Harriet's cheeks reddened a bit as she realized they were staring. She grinned self-consciously and twisted a strand of her blond hair around her finger, and finally mumbled, "I did study a bit of history, you know."
"Wow," came Rebecca's awestruck voice from the next gallery room. "Come and check this one out!"
The trio immediately made their way into the next room, where the redheaded girl was standing in front of a painting on the far wall. This room was a little more dimly lit than the last few, although the painting on the wall had a lamp above it that illuminated it in a soft white glow, like all the others in the room.
Rebecca stood back from the painting and presented it with a flourish. The frame on the thing was huge and ornate; she almost had to take two steps back to fully reveal it. "What do you think?"
The painting depicted a forest scene, where a lightly-colored dirt road came to a crossroads in the background, splitting up the overgrowth of maple and elm trees, each thick with springtime greens. At the crossroads, and old-fashioned signpost was carved from gnarled wood, with signs pointing in each of the directions the path ran.
But all that paled in comparison to what was in the foreground. The subject of the painting was a lithe woman in tribal dress--actually, little more than a halter and loincloth and some carved wooden jewelry--who was looking at the viewer with exotic looking green eyes as she held a barbed spear up in the act of killing a deer that lay on the ground before her. Although her body was lean, her tanned arms were tightly muscled as she held the spear poised above the animal. She wore a mask of blue and red war paint on her face, especially below her eyes and on her cheeks--Rick could easily believe that the artist intended some of the crimson there to be blood. Her green eyes seemed to flash angrily, but what really caught Rick was the woman's ears: they sloped gently upward through the tangles of her golden hair and crested in points.
"Different," Harriet offered. "Nice ears."
"What's with those?" Rebecca asked. "Is she like Mr. Spock or something?"
"I think she's supposed to be an elf," Harriet said uncertainly. "I had a boyfriend who was heavy into fantasy and got me into reading some of his books. I don't remember them being so violent-looking in any of those, though."
Rebecca took that in. "So if she's an elf, is she killing Donner or Blitzen?"
"I don't know, but I like it," Diane said after a cursory glance. "See, why couldn't some of the Medieval artists do stuff more like this? Yeah, it's aggressive, but it's different, at least."
"Because a Medieval artist didn't do this. Not any one I've ever heard of, anyway. The lines are too crisp, the background's to well-composed and the subject is too realistic-looking for the period. It's gotta be Neo-Classical, or at least late Renaissance." Rick shook his head and glanced at Rebecca. "Who's the artist?"
Rebecca shrugged and then motioned below the frame of the painting. "I couldn't read the nameplate. The shadows from the frame makes it too dark to read."
"Well," said Rick, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a shiny zippo, "that leaves just one option."
"What are you doing with that?" Diane said shrilly, looking positively scandalized.
Rick sighed. "I've decided it's far too nice a painting to keep in the dullness of the Middle Ages, so I'm going to burn it, Diane. I'm checking the nameplate. What did you think I was doing?"
"No, I mean you smoke, Rick? Since when?" She looked about a step away from a coronary.
"I don't. But a lot of my friends in art classes do. After a while you get tired of them forgetting if you do or not and asking for a light. So I come prepared, anymore." He flipped the zippo open and inexpertly flicked it. Against the dim flame, he saw the nameplate, and on it was a single word. "Imagonem," he read aloud.
"Who?" Harriet asked, glancing at him. "Never heard of it."
"Me either," Rick said. "Doesn't sound English. Maybe Latin."
"Hey," Diane said, her voice sounding suddenly very sluggish. "The eyes, when you said that..." She trailed off. Harriet and Rick both lifted their gaze to the painting, where Diane's and Rebecca's gaze was already transfixed. The eyes of pointed-ear woman in warpaint had begun to glow a brighter shade of green. Like a green flame. Then a green lamp. Then a green sun.
Rick heard Harriet's sharp intake of breath next to him, but only through layers. The eyes of the woman were like the whole universe to him now. When the greenish light began to fade, he began to feel lost, hollow. But that didn't stop him from suddenly realizing that the elfwoman was now standing in the gallery, looking slightly confused.
"Can I... er, help you?" Rick stammered.
The elf's expression suddenly changed from confusion to annoyance. "Not again!" she said, obviously upset. She brought her right hand up beside her head and snapped her fingers. In a blip, she disappeared.
"Whoa," Rebecca exclaimed. "Where'd she go?"
"Up there," Harriet replied, pointing back into the portrait. They all looked up to see that the elfwoman had indeed returned to being just a painting.
"That was so weird," Diane said. "Who--or what--do you suppose she was?"
"Well, let's ask her and find out." Rebecca told them. "She came out of that painting when Rick read the name plate. What was it you said, Rick? Imagonem?"
This time, the woman appeared without all the theatrics. She just blipped back into sight in front of the four astonished friends. "Look, people," she said, "What does it take to get through to you? I want to be left alone. Got it?" Again, she raised her right hand.
"Now, hold on, Miss Elf," Rebecca said, stopping her. "I think you owe us at least a small explanation."
"Elf?" the woman repeated. "Elf? I'll have you know that I am an imp. Not an elf. You got that, you little trollop. Now, if you know what's good for you, you'll leave me alone. Got it?" And with another snap of her fingers, she was back in the painting.
Rick looked into the woman's eyes in the painting, not liking what he saw there. "I think maybe she's right," he said, turning to his three friends. "Let's just..."
He stopped as he caught sight of Rebecca's face. The girl's skin had changed color to match her red hair. "Trollop?" she shouted. "Did you hear what that... that imp called me?"
Rick put his hands out to try and calm his friend. "Now, Becky..."
But she pulled away from him. "Oh, no," she said, moving to stand in front of the painting. "It don't end like that. You get your little imp ass back out here and say you're sorry. You hear what I'm saying? Well, do you..." She paused to look at the nameplate again. "Imagonem?"
In an instant, the imp was back, standing directly in front of the angry girl. "Don't say I didn't warn you, honey," she said calmly. Once more, her fingers snapped.
Only this time, it was Rebecca who disappeared. At least, her body did. Her clothes remained behind, hanging empty in the air, as if unaware that their occupant was no longer inside them. A second later, they fell down to cover the girl's equally empty sneakers on the floor.
"Hey!" all three remaining graduates shouted as one. "What's the big idea?" Rick asked, taking over for the other two. "What did you do with Rebecca?"
"Hey, kid," the woman answered. "She had her chance. I was even willing to let the elf comment go. But, noooo! She wouldn't leave it alone. So, I had no choice but to teach her a lesson."
"What did you do?" Harriet asked nervously. "I mean, where is she?"
"Calm down, sugar," the woman replied. "She not far. In fact, she's right over there." She pointed.
All three friends gasped in confusion as the imp pointed a crooked little finger, directing their rapt attention to a large object outside. Through the polished glass, they could see dozens of people gathering around the bubbling fountain at the entrance of the museum. Rick and the others recalled marveling at the massive waterfall fountain with the towering decline only moments ago, yet for the life of them they couldn't perceive anything different about the massive fountain. For several silent moments, they just stared at the monolithic monument totally befuddled.
"Birds of a feather," groaned the imp in absolute frustration. "I guess the whole lot of you ain't all that bright, are you? Try looking at the top of the fountain, you silly humans."
Almost in unison, the three friends gasped again, only this time they were gasping in pure shock at the vision that came into full view. For perched at the pinnacle of the four-story fountain was a shining figure of a woman, posed in a welcoming pose with hands stretched wide, beckoning all to enter. Without even asking, all three of them knew beyond any doubt that the statue at the top of the fountain was, in fact, their friend Rebecca.
Rick stammered in astonishment, blubbering incoherently. "B-b-but... h-how... d-d-did..."
"I can see you're not terribly skilled with speech either, sugar," replied the imp with a mocking smile. "Well, as you can see, when I wanna be left alone, I'm not playing around. Now, your friend shall have plenty of time to reevaluate her crass behavior. I just hope she doesn't have a fear of heights," laughed the tiny imp as she turned back towards her empty painting.
Just before she disappeared into the mysterious work of art, Harriet asked, in as meek a voice as possible, "But, what's going to happen to Rebecca, ma'am? You can't just leave her up there like that!"
Not amused, the imp replied, "So, would you like to join her up there, hon? I'd be more than happy to oblige, sweetie." In preparation, the imp held out her fingers, fully prepared to snap her fingers at a moment's notice.
Harriet's face immediately drained of all color as she studied the impatient imp. Bowing her head, she replied, "I'm not trying to be disrespectful to you. However, if it were your friend trapped up there, you'd want to find out if there was some way to help, wouldn't you? That is all I'm trying to do, ma'am. What can we do to save our friend from this entrapment?"
"Well, I think she may have learned her lesson," the imp said. She grinned suddenly, revealing small, pointed teeth. "But I'll go ask her, to be sure." She snapped her fingers and vanished again.
Meanwhile Rebecca stood balanced on top of the museum fountain, the polished aluminum of her transformed body reflecting the morning sun. Her arms were stretched wide and her body was angled forward as if she was greeting museum-goers in jubilation, or was about to swan-dive into the pool far below. She couldn't move at all. Even worse, a tremendous pressure was building up inside of her. She felt like a balloon ready to burst, but the point of explosion never came; the pressure only kept increasing.
Suddenly the imp appeared in front of her, hovering on a pair of tiny pink wings. "Well? You ready for an apology, doll?"
Yes, yes, yes! Rebecca wanted to beg. But she could only say "Gllg...glug..ghrgna..."
"What? I can't hear you," the imp intoned dramatically, cupping her hand next her tiny, pointed ear.
"Gl'ngha..glugh..sssrgha..." Rebecca gurgled.
"Oh! Silly me, there's water in your mouth!" The imp snapped her fingers and a small aperture appeared between Rebecca's metal lips, "spitting" a graceful arc of water into the pool far below. Rebecca groaned as the agonizing pressure inside her lessened. But the stream of water continued to shoot from her lips, and she realized in horror she had become some sort of hollow spigot or fountainhead, continually fed from the basin below.
"Whaddaya say now, missy?" the imp grinned.
"Rwrinshw...shw..srrr..sshh..." Rebecca tried to say.
"Ya know, I still can't make out what it is you're saying, call me deaf or what," the imp said, shaking her head sadly in mock disappointment. "I think we need to cut the pressure a little more. Say, lookit those two overstuffed dumplings of yours. Think they'll do the job?" She snapped her fingers.
"Yeeeee--!!" Rebecca shrieked as two jets of water shot out of her nipples, with enough force to overshoot the basin and drench the museum-goers gathered below. The sensation was electric, unpleasant, and terrifying all at once. She thought in horror of the picture she made.
"Still being mush-mouthed?" the imp said. "Remember, tootsie, there's lots more places you can gush from, if you get my drift --"
"M' shorry! M' shorry!" Rebecca pleaded, anything to get rid of the tickly, slippery feeling of icy water shooting out of her body.
"Sorry for what?" the imp said threateningly.
"F'call'n you an elf. F'both'rin your resshhhst. F'r --" She yipped as she suddenly found herself human again, and sliding down the long decline of the fountain as if it was a waterchute. She landed with a tremendous splash in the basin below.
The three friends immediately rushed out to see if she was alright. The crowd around the museum was uncertain about what was going on, and watched as Rick helped the naked girl up and over the basin's low wall.
Meanwhile, the imp floated above the whole scene, laughing at the sight. "Oh, my," she grinned, "but that was more fun than I've had in a century or more. I think I'll do it again. But not the redhead this time." She pointed at Rick. "I think it's your turn."
"Wha--?" Rick said. But it was too late. He suddenly found himself standing at the top of the fountain incline in the same position he had been in on the ground...right leg about to step forward, left hand on his hip, the other hand pointing at the imp. Except he was stark naked, and made of well-polished bronze...and there was an excruciating pressure building up inside his body. The feeling was indescribable, but it was as if he had to take a piss, void his bowels, ejaculate, and pass gas all at once.
The imp giggled in his ear. "Ricky dear...you know what you have to do. C'mon, baby, do it for momma."
With horror Rick realized what he had to do in front of the people below if he wanted the terrible pressure to abate. He would have flushed scarlet if he hadn't been made out of bronze. But if he wanted to be transformed back, he had to.
Silently mortified, he let loose. The water gushed out of his erect penis like a fireman's hose, thundering into the basin below and creating waves that overspilled its edges. The crowd gasped, half in disgust, half in awe. Once the pressure was gone Rick found himself sliding down the slippery decline to the pool below. Unlike Rebecca, he tumbled clumsily head over heels as he fell, landing with an even bigger splash in the middle of the basin.
The imp was beside herself with laughter, a high-pitched, snickering wheeze like sawing wood. "Oh. Oh. Oh. I think I wet my panties," she guffawed.
Rick climbed out, looking daggers at the tiny creature. Oddly, they were the only ones who seemed to be able to see her. "Have you had your fill of fun yet?" he said.
"No," the imp said abruptly, and pointed at Diane, whose mouth went wide in a scarlet 'O' of shock. But in a millisecond she was gone.
Rick's eyes went to the top of the decline, dreading what he would see. And sure enough, there was a white marble Diane, in a somewhat more humiliating position. She was facing the crowd upside down, her folded arms supporting the weight of her body, and her legs were parted wide so she looked somewhat like the letter 'Y'. Rick knew without a doubt that she was experiencing the same terrible interior pressure that he and Rebecca had. After a few seconds, a fountain like a small geyser shot out and up between her parted legs. It seemed to rise another story. Then she, too, became flesh again, and was zipping down the decline on her abdomen to create an undignified splash in the water below.
"Oh! Oh!" she could only say when Rick helped fish her out. The imp was beside herself with laughter again, so much so that she couldn't talk for some seconds, and Harriet took the opportunity to quickly hide herself in the crowd. But it did her no good, as the imp singled her out next. She was dragged out by an invisible force that held her by the collar, her heels kicking against the sidewalk.
"Now, then," the elf said. "What should I do with you, missy? The fountain's gotten kind of boring." She grinned as if struck by a particularly perverse idea. "Aha! I know!" She snapped her fingers, and Harriet was gone...to appear again, as a clear glass replica of herself, in place of the glass dome of a nearby popcorn cart. She was nude, sitting erect on her knees, with an anxious expression on her transparent face as fluffy white kernels popped and zinged around inside her, rising slowly yet gradually to fill her hollow torso.
"Change her back!" Rick demanded.
"Now, now, don't get impatient, ducky," the imp said. "I am quite enjoying this..."
Without realizing what he was doing, Rick grabbed the tiny creature and began throttling her. But the imp seemed unaffected. She just shook her head with a pitying expression, then snapped her fingers. And just like that she was gone.
"Rick!" Diane called out. "Stop! That's Harriet!"
And Rick saw that she was right. The imp was gone, and a naked Harriet had taken her place. He released his grip and Harriet struggled to get her breath, coughing up popcorn as she did. "I'm sorry," Rick pleaded, helping the blonde to sit up. "I thought..."
"No, you didn't," a voice said from behind him. Rick and the girls turned to see the imp hovering in the air a few feet away. "You didn't think at all. If you had, you would have realized that I was just having fun. I've been resting in the picture for a very long time. I was going to have a little fun with each of you, then return." She paused, as the friends shared a confused look. "But now... Well, now I think I'll be hanging around with the four of you for a while longer. There are so many new things I want to try out, and I can't think of anyone I'd rather try them out on than the people who disturb my rest in the first place." She pointed in their direction. "And I believe we're back to you, Red!"
Rebecca looked up to see the imp grinning at her "Oh, shi..." She was unable to finish her comment, as with a snap of her fingers, she disappeared.
Instantly, the redhead's view changed. From her view of the fountain, she guessed that she had to be by the museum's entrance. Based on her own experience and what she had seen the imp do to her friends, she had no doubt that she had been subjected to another transformation. But what was she? Instinctively she tried to look down to see, but...of course...that proved impossible. She searched her memory, trying her best to remember what had been located around the doorway going into the museum.
While she was waiting, two boys of about thirteen came up to her. One reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. To her horror, he reached with it toward her crotch. She felt it being inserted against her, then she saw the boy twist his arm as if turning a handle.
The motion caused her to experience two sensations at once. The first was an odd feeling as the coin was rubbed against her exposed vagina, before being dropped away from it. At the same time, she had the sensation of something...several somethings, actually...moving around inside her. Once the coin had dropped, she suddenly felt something pass through and out of her rectum.
Even before she saw it, Rebecca knew what it was. So, it came as no surprise to her to see the boy pop a brightly colored gumball into his mouth.
Meanwhile, over by the fountain, Rebecca's three friends were still staring at the spot that the redhead had been seconds before. "Where?" Rick asked, turning to face the imp that floated nearby. In response, she merely pointed back toward the museum.
It took the trio a few seconds, but soon they spotted their friend. Rebecca was now a glass figure sitting on top of a gumball machine. Her glass legs draped to either side of the coin slot. Inside her clear body they could see the many color round balls that filled her to her chest.
While they watched, two more boys came up to the machine, inserting a coin and receiving a gumball in return. Harriet turned to the imp. "Did that come out of her ass?" she asked.
"Uh-huh," the imp laughed.
"That's disgusting!" Diane spit out.
"Really?" the imp replied. "Well, if you think that's disgusting, wait till you see this...."
Diane didn't even have a chance to react before the imp had snapped her fingers again, and she vanished. An instant later, she found herself somewhere else and transformed. She knew she had been changed into something--something hard and stiff from the feel of it--but couldn't look at herself to find out what. So, instead, she took in her surroundings to try to figure out where she was.
And it didn't take her long to figure it out.
Based on the obvious artificial lighting, she knew that she was not still outside. Across the room from her could be seen several porcelain urinals. A restroom, she thought to herself. The damned imp has put me in a men's restroom. But what could she have made me into in here? Again, her eyes went to the urinals on the far wall. Oh god! She wouldn't have...
Her thoughts were interrupted by a man coming into her line of sight. He turned his back to her, and she could tell from his motions that he was relieving himself into the toilet. When he was done, he zipped himself up and turned back around, crossing the room to stand directly in front of the frightened girl. Diane heard a sharp metal screeching noise, followed by the sound of water running. The sink! I'm near the sink! But what...
Suddenly, the man reached his hands in her direction, and Diane felt her legs being pushed backwards quickly--once, then again. At the same time, she also felt a strange contraction from her pubic region. With each push, she could feel slippery something shoot out of her naked vagina.
What the hell was that? What had the imp done to her??
Meanwhile, Rick looked around the museum plaza twice looking for where Diane had been transported. Not finding her, he turned to Harriet with a questioning expression. His blonde friend just shrugged and shook her head. Together, they turned to the imp, who was laughing herself silly.
Seeing the two looking at her, she brought her laughter under control. "You know, Ricky-boy," she said, after clearing her throat a couple of times, "you've been through a lot today. Perhaps you'd like a chance to wash up." She chucked her head to one side, obviously wanting him to look in that direction.
Rick turned to see a small outbuilding. It was the plaza's public restroom, and the imp apparently wanted him to go inside. She must be in there, he reasoned logically. Turning to Harriet, he said, "Wait here." Then, he headed across the plaza.
Once inside, he surveyed the room carefully, looking for his brunette friend. "Wash up" the imp had said, so he headed for the sink. It didn't take him long to spot Diane after that.
The girl was mounted to the wall next to one of the sinks. Her body had been turned into hard plastic and placed into a seductive pose. Just belong her crotch, a thin separation line could be seen, indicating that her legs could be pushed back. Reaching forward, Rick gave the girl's leg a push, and was rewarded with a squirt of pink goo that shot from a small hole beneath her plastic pubic hair.
Diane had been turned into a soap dispenser.
Rick leaned forward to peer into Diane's immobile face. "Hang in there, Di," he whispered. "We'll get through this somehow."
As he came back out into the plaza, he saw that the imp was now alone. "Where's Harriet?" he asked, although he felt he already knew the answer.
"While you were in there with Diane," the imp replied, "she said something that just inspired me. She said she needed a drink. So, I... Well, see for yourself." She pointed across the plaza.
Rick turned to look in the direction indicated. Harriet was there, just as the imp had said. The blonde was on her knees with the rest of her body held erect. She had her hands under her breasts, pushing them up and together, forming a small 'basin' where they touched. Her head was tilted back slightly, and her lips were puckered, as if ready to give someone a kiss. The girl had no trouble holding that position either, since she had also been turned into white porcelain.
While Rick continued to watch, a young woman came over to where Harriet was kneeling. Holding her long auburn hair back with one hand, the woman bent her face toward that of the transformed girl. With her free hand, she reached for Harriet's upthrusted boob. With a press of a porcelain nipple, water shot out of Harriet puckered lips, and the woman enjoyed a nice cold drink. Once her thirst had been quenched, the woman stood back up and went into the museum, freeing up the drinking fountain for the next customer.
With a sigh, Rick turned back to the imp and said, "Look, there's something I need to know," Rick said desperately. "Just why are you doing all this? What's in it for you? Do you get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of it? Is it just fun and games to you? Or is it some weird kind of revenge? Just tell me, why!!"
The imp scratched her tiny blonde head, a look of puzzlement on her face. "Well, I dunno. I never thought about it, really. I'm not the reflective type, to tell you the truth. I'm more of a woman of action, really."
"But surely you must have an idea..." Rick said, backing away as he noticed the imp was getting "that look" in her eye again.
"Hmmm," the imp lowered her hand. Her face turned pensive and she gave the impression of thinking deeply. "Well, I guess it's because I was cooped up in that painting for so long. And before that, in the land of --" she half-sang, half-spoke a birdlike word so quickly he couldn't catch what it was--"we could change things, the other imps I mean, but only things like daisychains to reins, or oak leaves to cloaks, that sort of thing. Only small things, and natural. Here, in your world, it's a lot more interesting. So many things to see, so many things to change!" She made an expansive gesture, giddy with the freedom of it all. "A gal could change things from morning to night, and never run out of material or get bored!"
"But why change people against their will?" Rick continued. "My friends are in terrible jeopardy right now. They're trapped and helpless. Anyone could go right up to them and smash them into pieces!"
The imp frowned. "Look here, son. I do not make shoddy creations. Those new forms of theirs are guaranteed to last a century or more!"
"But Diane didn't want to be a soap dispenser!" Rick continued, wondering how he was going to convince the imp that what she was doing was wrong. "Neither did Harriet want to be a fountain, or Rebecca a gumball dispenser. Don't you understand? You trapped them against their wills and they're suffering horribly because of it."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that," the imp said with an impish arch of her eyebrow. "Every time Harriet's titty is pressed she gets quite a charge out of it. And Rebecca simply loves the stimulation from her quarters, and Diane's the luckiest of all. She literally orgasms every time she squirts a --"
"But they don't want that kind of pleasure!" Rick said, nearly shouting by now. "And what about the times between the quarters or dirty hands? They're sitting there frozen, ignored, treated like mere appliances. No pays attention to them, and they're bored out of their minds. Like you were when you were trapped in your painting!"
"Oh." The imp said. He had finally made an impression on her!
"Please let them go," Rick whispered.
The imp's eyes were distant. "But I must change things..." she murmured. "It's my nature. Transformation energy is my meat and drink. How can I survive if I do not?"
"Then why not change things for the better?" Rick said. He pointed to an elderly woman slowly making her way up the street. "Think of how much happier she would be if she was young and healthy again."
The imp bit her lip. Her brow furrowed as she concentrated, staring intently at the matron. It was clear this was a sort of transformation she'd never attempted before. After a second or two the elderly lady shimmered, then disappeared in a sudden blur of multicolored sparks. A millisecond later she re-appeared...a very surprised twenty, with long blonde hair, a youthful, unlined face. The imp being the imp, she was also very nude...and had a body to die for.
"See!?" Rick said, even though the former matron was very embarrassed and trying to cover herself with the shopping bag she had been holding. "You have the power to make things bigger and better instead of merely different!"
A delighted grin spread over the imp's face. "Like this?" She pointed to a small shih-tzu dog being led along on a leash and snapped her fingers. In a millisecond it had become a full-grown timber wolf.
"Uh, no, not exactly..." Rick said, dodging the animal as it broke away from its owner and went growling up the street. "Not all things should be made bigger, you have to use judgment..."
But the imp was zipping away from him, entranced with her newfound purpose in life. She halted before one of the skinny ornamental trees that lined the museum's sidewalk. "Hmmm, you look pretty sickly," she said, and snapped her fingers. In an eyeblink a five-story maple tree stood there, its immense new roots buckling the sidewalk and sending the vendor's carts flying. One of the roots ruptured Harriet's water supply pipes, causing a continuous stream of water to gush from her lips. Oh my God, what's going on? she thought, panicked. Is it the imp again?
Rick quickly steadied the Rebecca gumball dispenser before she toppled to the ground. "Hey, be careful!" he yelled to the imp. "You nearly smashed her!" Looking around, he noticed something even stranger. "Hey! That's weird!"
"What's that?" the imp inquired.
"Well, look around," he told her. "You've turned Rebecca into a naked gumball machine. Harriet's a drinking fountain. And Diane is giving out soap in the men's room over there. And now you've just transformed a couple more things. Even you have to admit that that's pretty strange shit."
"Well, why hasn't anyone noticed? I mean, that woman just walked up to Harriet and had herself a drink as if a naked woman water fountain was the most normal thing in the world. Why is that?"
The imp laughed. "Boy, you are slow, aren't you?" Rick frowned at her. "Come on, Ricky-boy, use your head. Obviously, I made it so that no one would notice."
"But why?" he asked. "I thought you wanted people to notice."
"Of course not," the imp replied. "If everyone noticed my stunts, it would only be a matter of time before the local police would be called in--not to mention the media. And if that was to happen, they'd just get in the way, and that would really spoil my fun. And believe me, you wouldn't want to piss me off."
That brought Rick up short. Considering what she had done to the girls when she was in a good mood, he didn't want to think what the imp was capable of if angered. "So, now what?" he asked.
"Now?" the imp repeated. "Well, to be honest, I think it's time for a little new blood, don't you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I'll admit that I've enjoyed playing with your friends," the imp explained, "but I'm ready for some new victims."
"But what about the girls?" Rick asked. "You can't just leave them like they are."
"Actually," the imp told him with a menacing expression, "I can." Then, her face softened. "But don't you worry, Ricko. I don't plan on doing that. Like I said, I love playing with them. But for now, I think I'll let them enjoy their current situations. Each should be experiencing some rather unique sensations when their new bodies are put to use. In the meantime, I'll need a new playmate."
"Like who?" Rick asked, a little nervous.
The imp grinned. "That's where you come it, kid," she told him. "Take a look around. I want you to pick my new friend."
Rick didn't want to do what she asked, but he had seen what she was capable of, and didn't want to anger her. So, he looked around the museum plaza to see who was around.
The first person he saw was Miss Parker, his art teacher. The woman sat on the edge of the fountain eating her lunch, obviously taking a break from her own tour of the museum. Rick had always found the young teacher attractive, but her snooty attitude had always bothered him. She was always telling him that his art wasn't good enough. But should that be a reason to turn the imp loose on her?
Looking around, he noticed that a pretty young meter maid was in the process of putting a ticket on his car. He hadn't realized it, with everything that had happened, but they had been at the museum for hours. The parking meter had to have expired long ago. Maybe, he should let the imp play with the woman as payback for giving him the ticket.
He was still thinking about it, when he spotted someone else he recognized. It was Rachel, his ex-girlfriend. He was still mad at her for leaving him for that jock, Matt Holmes. Now, he could make her pay for it if he wanted.
"Well, Ricky," the imp said from behind him, "I'm running out of patience here. Who's it gonna be?"
"The meter maid," Rick said, pointing.
The imp grinned. "A little too easy, don't you think?" But she zipped over on her tiny wings anyway. The meter maid didn't notice her, not that Rick thought she would. "Get a load of this, Ricky boy!" Rick only sighed and steeled himself for the inevitable.
A second later the meter maid was gone. She was now nude and miniaturized, kneeling in a cheesecake position on top of the pole where the meter had been. She was as shiny as only new steel could be. A slot between her legs provided ingress for the coins while the knob was in the center of her stomach. A semi-circular dial just above her ample breasts showed how much time he had left.
"A little too obvious, don't you think?" Rick said in a critical tone.
The imp looked offended. "You really think you can come up with something better?"
"Well," Rick said, a little nervous, "yeah."
"Alright, then," the imp told him, holding her hand out toward where the meter maid sat atop the meter pole. "Let's hear your brilliant idea, Rick. What should I have done to the little lady?"
Rick looked at the steel woman carefully. "Well," he said after a few minutes, "she was putting a ticket on my car. So, maybe she should become something on my car. Turn her into a... decal on the fender! Her job is sticking stuff on cars, so she should be stuck on a car herself."
"Hmmm," the imp said, giving it some thought, "not bad for a beginner. You mean, something like this?" She snapped her fingers. Rick turned to look back at the parking meter, and saw that it had returned to normal. Then, his eyes fell on his car.
The black vehicle now had a new look, as the unknowing meter maid was now an illustration that stretched down the side from the front wheel to the back. She was in a reclined pose, sitting up on her arms with her head threw back. Very sexy. "Whoa," was all Rick could say. He walked around to the other side to find a mirrored version of the maid there.
"Nice car, dude."
Rick looked up to see a guy on a Harley, who had stopped to admire the customized paint job. "Uh, thanks," Rick said, watching as the guy rode off. With a shake of his head, he went back over to the imp. "I..." he stammered. "I did that?"
"It was your idea, yeah," the imp nodded. "I did the actual work, but it was your vision. And I must admit that you seem to have a talent for this type of thing." A gleam came into her eye. "Want to do another one?"
Rick looked back at the meter maid on his car. He had to admit that it was a real work of art. Better art than he could ever produce on his own. He looked back up at the imp and asked, "You said you were just having fun, right? Does that mean that all of this is just temporary?"
"Afraid so," the imp nodded. "Once I return to my own realm, everything I've done will return to normal."
Rick thought for a second, then smiled. "Why not?" he said.
"See that girl over there?" Rick said, pointing at his ex-girlfriend Rachel. The tall, lithe blonde was walking down the street totally oblivious to his scrutiny. "She dumped me just before the prom last year for a stupid jock. I'd like to do something to her."
The imp nodded. "Sure. Wish away."
Rick narrowed his eyes in concentration. Rachel was a cheerleader, an honor student, with big green eyes and legs to die for...what auto accessory was she best suited to be? He continued to study her as she paused to look in the windows of an exclusive boutique. Rich, too. He couldn't help feeling a pang of regret, that all that had been taken from him without warning, without any good reason he could think of. Rachel's denim shorts nearly uncovered the lower curve of her ass as she stretched, her perfect, tanned calves flowing like liquid honey.
He made his wish.
The flesh and blood girl was gone. In her place was a 24-karat gold-plated hood ornament poised on the leading edge of his Camaro...a miniaturized girl six inches long, sleek and stylized in the manner of a Rolls-Royce "Silver Ghost" ornament. The new Rachel was crouching on her hands and knees, her long hair streaming back as she thrust her face into an imaginary wind. Her ample breasts were thrust forward, nipples pointing, as her fingers clutched the hood for dear life. Looking closer, he saw her tiny features bore a shocked expression, as if she couldn't believe what had just happened to her.
"Nice," Rick said. "But what if someone tries to steal her?"
"Looks like you need a car alarm, buddy," the imp grinned.
Without hesitation Rick pointed at Miss Parker. In a second her sandwich had dropped to the ground uneaten. She reappeared as a matte-black plastic figure sitting coyly on Rick's dashboard, her mouth open, a speaker grill visible behind it. Experimentally, he slapped the car with the palm of his hand. A loud, piteous, siren-like wail emerged from the car alarm's tiny mouth. Rick was surprised at how realistic it was. In fact, it sounded a lot like the wail from a woman who realized she she'd been transformed into a plastic car alarm.
"Wonderful," Rick breathed. The girls certainly gave the old junker a touch of class. But there were more things it needed...new hubcaps, for one, and a set of mudflaps. New upholstery wouldn't hurt either.
The imp seemed to know what he was thinking. "Let's bring your friends back. Maybe they'll be of some use..."
"Hmmm?" Rick had forgotten all about Harriet, Diane, and Rebecca, engrossed as he was in the new additions to his car. "Sure, why not," he said absently. "You'll have to untransform them first, of course."
"Of course." The imp zipped away to the men's room where Diane waited mutely. With a wave of her hand, the untransformed brunette stood beside her. Diane breathed heavily in relief, passing her hands over her body as if she couldn't believe she was free, and lost no time fleeing the men's room. She didn't notice her crotch was still covered with pinkish soap suds until she was well outside. Scowling, she looked up at the imp with an outraged expression. "That was one dirty trick, you little--"
"Now, now, now," the imp scolded, shaking her finger. "If you think that's dirty, get a load of this." She waved her tiny hand at the transparent glass form of Rebecca. The multicolored gumballs inside changed color and shape, becoming frosted plastic bubbles. Each had a tiny object concealed inside, but Diane could'nt see what it was.
The imp giggled. "Look at what I've done to her now, kiddo! Boy, are you gonna be surprised! Leave off admiring your car, Ricky, and come see this!"
"Change her back!" Diane demanded.
"Not until you see what's in those capsules," the elf chided.
Rick arrived on the scene looking as flabbergasted as Diane. "What have you done now?" he demanded. Rachel, Jennifer, and the meter maid were one thing, but Rebecca had been through enough transformations for today.
"I just got a new idea, that's all," the imp grinned. "Aw, what's the matter? Don't have a quarter? Well, I can fix that." Giggling, the imp pointed at Diane. The brunette shrieked as she was flattened, compressed, and rendered into the shape of round metal disk which pinged with a silvery sound against the sidewalk. "Better pick her up, before someone else does!" she laughed.
Rick dove for the "quarter" and quickly snatched it up. He held it in his fingers, peering anxiously. On one side was Diane's face bearing an expression of simultaneous annoyance and fear. On the back was a heroic winged Diane in a toga with a Latin inscription beneath her, and the date 2000. "Why you--" Rick began.
"Tut, tut," the imp said. "If you want to change either of them back, put that coin in Rebecca's slot and see what comes out."
Hands shaking, Rick did as she asked. Diane's face regarded him with frozen censure as he fed the transformed body of his friend into the slot between Rebecca's glass legs. "Sorry, 'becca," he murmured.
Despite the gravity of her situation Rebecca felt a delicious sensation overcome her as her friend's face rubbed briefly over her crotch; it was as if Diane had flicked her with her tiny metal tongue. The sensation shamed her with its pleasurable intensity. But her next sensation was one of alarm as the mechanism inside her clicked into motion. The capsule was much larger than the gumballs had been. She groaned silently as the objects shifted inside her, and she had no choice but to expel the nearest one. The sensation was not painful, but it was somewhat shameful.
Finally she passed the capsule, which popped out of the slot into Rick's outstretched hand. He twisted the two halves open, finding a tiny plastic figure of a woman. Rick held it up for a closer look.
The figure wasn't quite two inches tall, and represented a woman on her knees. She had one hand buried into her crotch, obviously fingering herself. The other hand was squeezing one of her breasts, while the head was thrown back and to one side. The hair of the figure was painted that bright yellow that is supposed to represent blonde.
You know, Rick thought to himself, this kinda looks like... He stopped short and slowly turned to look where Harriet had been kneeling as a drinking fountain. Sure enough, Harriet had vanished, leaving just the ruptured pipe there, spraying water across the plaza. With a sigh, Rick went over to where the grinning imp was floating.
"What do you think?" the imp asked. "Pretty funny, huh?"
"Actually," Rick told her, holding up the little plastic Harriet, "compared to your other pranks, this one's a little tame, isn't it?"
"Tame?" repeated the imp. "Don't you get the irony of this situation, boy?" Rick just shrugged, and the imp's impatience grew. "Think about it, Ricky. You stuck Diane into Rebecca's pussy, and in exchange you got Harriet out of her ass. Doesn't that put all kinds of images into your brain?" Actually, it did, but Rick just shrugged again. The imp shook her head. "Mortals," she sighed, pointing her fingers back toward where the glass Rebecca was located.
Rick turned in time to see Rebecca vanish from the top of the gumball machine to reappear standing next to it. A regular glass dome was back on top of the vending machine. The redhead shook her head to clear it, and started over to her friend. Rick couldn't help but notice that she was walking rather funny. "Are you okay?" he asked, as she came up to him.
"I think so," Rebecca told him, though she continued to fidget. "I don't know what's wrong. It feels like..." She stopped with a strange expression. "Uh, excuse me a second," she told Rick, and turned away from him and bent over. From her motions, Rick could tell that she was using her fingers to probe herself. A few moments later, the girl stood up straight and turn back to face him. The imp started laughing again, as she held up the silver coin that their torturer had turned Diane into.
Rebecca reached out, holding the quarter that had been her friend Diane out to Rick. "I believe that this was yours," she said.
Rick took the quarter from her. It was slick with her juices. He looked up at his redheaded friend. Rebecca just shrugged, then turned to face the imp who floated a few feet away. "So," Rebecca asked resignedly, "what's next?"
The imp eyed her carefully. "You seem rather eager for your next transformation, my dear."
"Not eager," Rebecca sighed. "Just resigned. Let's just say that I've accepted the fact that, until you've gotten tired of it, you're going to continue to mold us like so much human clay."
A wide grin spread across the imp's face. "Human clay?" she breathed. "What an interesting concept!"
Rebecca didn't like the look in the creature's eye, but before she could even move, the imp had raised her hand and snapped her fingers. Instantly, Rebecca felt her body seize up, preventing her from moving at all. She could also feel her insides congealing, as if she was becoming solid. The strange thing was that she somehow still felt pliable. What had the imp done to her?
Rick watched the entire transformation. At the snap of the imp's fingers, Rebecca stopped moving completely. Her entire naked body changed color, changing into an even pale grey. Even the girl's hair, both upper and lower, took on the same tones as the rest of her body. The afternoon sunlight reflected off the smooth surface of his friend's form.
The imp floated over and looked directly into Rebecca's unmoving face. She looked the girl up and down, slowly nodding. "Very nice," she commented, before reaching out and placing her hand over Rebecca's left breast, covering the nipple. Slowly, she squeezed, smiling as her fingers sank into the soft clay that the girl had become. Pulling her hand back, she grinned at the hand-shaped indention that was left behind.
Rebecca had felt the imp's touch on her breast, as well as the pressure when she had been squeezed. As much as she hated to admit it, it had felt strangely erotic. She had no doubt that if she had been able, she would have cried out her arousal.
Rick just stared at the sight. "So, what are you going to do to her now?" he asked.
"Me?" the imp asked, turning to face him. "I'm not going to do anything to her. That's going to be your job."
"The hell it is!" he spit out. "You can't make me help you hurt my friends."
"Well," the imp admitted, "that may be true. But if you don't do this, I'll have to do something else to her. And perhaps to the others, as well. And believe me, there are a lot worse things I could turn them into than this, brother."
Rick looked into her eyes, and saw that she wasn't bluffing. With a sigh, he stuck the coinified Diane and the plastic Rebecca into his pocket and began to sculpt his transformed friend.
He didn't want to alter the clay form of Rebecca too much, so he concentrated on her hair. After a few minutes he had created a very nice version of a Greek chignon. "Is this what you were thinking of?" he tentatively asked the imp.
"No! No!" the imp said, stamping her foot. "I don't believe this! You call yourself an artist, Ricky-boy? You, who got accepted into the Elam Institute? You, who spent every spare minute of your childhood sculpting, painting, and sketching! Sheesh!"
"How do you know all that?" Rick asked in astonishment.
"I'm an imp. It's my business to know everything." She fluttered up close to the clay Rebecca and studied her new hairdo. "Actually, it's pretty nice. But it's not your business to be nice, it's you business to be nas-TEE, boy, and it's time to get your creative juices flowing."
She waved her hand at Rick. A stream of multicolored sparkles fluttered out, growing larger the further they zipped from her fingers. Rick tried to dodge the sparkling stream, but they surrounded him anyway, sending him into a creative frenzy. Eyeing the statue of Rebecca like so much raw material, he began to sculpt her breasts in fast motion, not caring what he was doing to his friend or why. His world shrank to the soft slippery clay, the feel of it oozing through his fingers, the wet earthy smell of it. Rebecca could only see directly in front of herself, but she knew he was changing her, and the sensations of her soft, pliable globes being squeezed and massaged had her moaning in pleasure, audible only as faint squeaky sounds coming from the clay. In between being pinched and fondled she felt an incredible anxiety as the imp laughed fiendishly at Rick's work, holding her arms close to her sides and rolling side to side in mid-air.
Finally Rick was finished. Panting, overcome by his efforts, he backed away from the statue and wiped his brow.
"Ooooo, a true work of art!" the imp gushed, but Rebecca could tell she was being sarcastic. She couldn't see what Rick had done to her; was it that awful?
"You must've been influenced by the Cubists, honey," the imp grinned. "Let's turn her back to flesh, and see what she thinks of 'em." She snapped her fingers.
Rebecca staggered forward, the change from clay to flesh being instantaneous. She leaned on a nearby trash can for support. And saw, reflected in the shiny metal top, what Rick had done to her breasts.
They were square. Two fleshy cubes sitting on her chest.
The nipples were square, too. Like little pink lego bricks.
Rebecca shrieked, her arms flapping wildly. Her breasts bobbed only slightly; their solidity, and angularity, keeping them from swaying like normal tissue. It was as if two thick-walled cubes of jello had been melded to her chest. They made her look oddly pixellated, as if she had been half-changed into a figure in an early video game. "You...you..." she sputtered.
The imp only laughed and said, "Something wrong, dear? Don't you like what Ricky did for you?"
"Like it?" Rebecca spit out sarcastically. "Oh, yeah, sure. I've always wanted boobs that looked like they were made from Lego blocks."
"Lego blocks?" the imp repeated, a confused expression coming to her face.
"That's right," Rebecca told her in frustration. "Lego blocks. Little square interconnecting blocks that kids use to make houses and cars and other silly things with. Like my tits, right now."
"Uh, Beck..." Rick interrupted.
"What is it, Mr. Artist?" Rebecca shouted, turning to her friend. Inside, she knew that Rick had not resculpted her chest voluntarily, but she was still mad. "Have you got something else you want to change about my figure?"
"Uh, no," Rick stammered. "But she might. Do you think you should really be giving her ideas?"
That brought Rebecca to a stop. Slowly, she turned back to where the imp floated. The grin on the creature's face told her that she had screwed up. "Oh, shit," she sighed.
"Indeed," the imp smiled, snapping her fingers.
At the snap, Rebecca felt a strange sensation in her feet. It was accompanied by a odd clicking sound. Looking down, the redhead gasped. Her feet were now made completely from Legos. They had the trademarked square-corner look, completely with the little round connectors on top of each block. And the transformation was spreading quickly, reaching her knees in just a few seconds.
Soon, Rebecca's hands also took on the same appearance, with the change moving up both arms. The girl was helpless to do anything but watch as her torso soon followed her arms and legs. Finally, the change reached her chest, and she saw her breasts went from being fleshy cubes to actual Lego sculptures.
With a sigh, Rebecca said, "Me and my big mouth." It was the last thing she was able to say, as the transformation moved up her neck and over her head. And Rebecca was gone. In her place was a scale model of a young woman, created completely with Lego blocks.
Rick stared at the Lego sculpture that Rebecca had become, before turning to the imp. "Are you insane?" he asked her. "You can't leave her out here unprotected like that. What if someone runs into her while she's like this? She'll be smashed to pieces."
"Hmmm," the imp sighed, her fingers to her lips as she gave it some thought. "You've got a point there," she admitted. "But she turned out so good, I don't want to change her back just yet. Perhaps she would be better off inside."
She snapped her fingers, and the world around them changed. Rick realized that they were back inside the museum. He also seemed to be dressed again. He looked around for Rebecca and found her inside a glass display case. He breathed a sigh of relief. She was still made of Legos, but at least now no one would be knocking her over.
"Yes," he heard the imp say from beside him, "she looks good that way. I think we'll leave her here for a while."
Rick turned to face her. "Won't someone notice that she suddenly appeared here?" he asked.
"Not at all," the imp explained. "My magic has made her a natural part of the decor here." She pointed downward. "See?"
Rick looked and saw a nameplate on the lower corner of the case. It read: "Rebecca: a sculpture by Rick Eidelman"
"Congratulations, kid," the imp told him. "You're an artist." She paused for a second in thought. "However, I think your exhibit could use a couple more pieces. Don't you agree?"
Before he could answer, the imp had snapped her fingers again. Instantly, two more display cases appeared, one on each side of Rebecca's case. Inside the one on the right was Harriet. Diane was on the left. Both girls looked confused, and looked around them. They stared at the Lego girl beside them, then looked out at Rick and the imp.
"Now, let's see..." The imp floated in front of Harriet's case. "What are we going to do with you?" She thought for a second, then smiled. "Got it!" she announced, and snapped her fingers.
Instantly, Harriet was transformed. Her body became a series of what looked like little pieces of wood. They formed an odd jagged edge representation of the girl. Rick moved in for a closer look. Popsicle sticks. She turned her into popsicle sticks.
"And now for you," he heard the imp say and turned to see her floating in front of the case that held Diane. "I think we'll go with something a little more basic for you, my dear." With a snap of her fingers, she worked her magic on the brunette, turning her into a painted paper mache figure. "Not bad," the imp nodded.
Rick moved back to take in the display containing his three friends. Each girl's case had a nameplate with their name on it. And on each one, Rick was listed as the sculptor. He hated himself for it, but he had to admit that it was somewhat satisfying to have an exhibit with his name on it.
"I have to say," a female voice behind him said, "I never thought I'd see anything of yours in our museum, Rick." He turned to see Jennifer Parks, the gallery's director, standing there. "Sure, you had talent, but I honestly thought you weren't going to make it. It's nice to be wrong sometimes."
"Uh, thanks, Ms. Parks," Rick said. The imp still hung in the air beside him, but apparently the woman couldn't see her.
"What is this 'Ms. Parks' shit," the woman smiled. "You're an artist in my gallery now, Rick. Call me, Jennifer."
She walked up to the cases and looked over each sculpture carefully. "I just love what you've done here, Rick. Such unusual choices for material. It's just so unique." With a grin, she turned to him and said, "Are we still on for dinner this evening?"
"I, uh..." Rick stuttered, not knowing what she was talking about. He stared over his shoulder at the sculptures, which were carefully lit and labeled as if they were any other exhibit in the museum. Three nude, rather flimsy, arts-and-crafts sculptures that had been three nude young women seconds ago.
"Need to think about it?" Jennifer prompted. Her smile grew slightly lascivious. "Don't tell me you're bashful around older women?"
Rick blushed. Older was right...she was nearly thirty. But she had a body to die for, long tumbled blonde hair, and a knowing look in her eyes that spoke of years of sexual sophistication. And she was turning it all on him!
"Of course, I could take a raincheck..." she said with a laugh, her hand brushing back her hair. A wave of musky perfume assaulted his nostrils. Under her very tight, white silk blouse she wore a lacy brassiere that the motion of her hand just happened to expose.
"Oh no, no," Rick stammered. "Tonight...tonight's fine."
"My place?" she said with an impish arch of her brow.
"Uh...sure. That's fine. Fine."
He gulped as she linked her arm in his and began to walk him away from the gallery. Her scent, strong before, now grew overpowering as she turned her head and stared into his eyes. Her own were bluish-green, slightly tilted, with a look of feral innocence. He swallowed, trying to control his male reactions. This was too good to be true. Never had he dreamed his art would be so appreciated, even if the sculptures weren't exactly his creations.
Jennifer's arm grew tighter as they walked. Her lips parted like orchids as she whispered an extra inducement: "Rick, I would do most anything for those sculptures to become a permanent addition to the museum..."
Rick couldn't believe this successful, desirable woman had just made no bones about satisfying his every whim...and not only that, she appreciated his talent. But still, there were the girls to consider. He glanced back at them, feeling guilty. They remained in a well-spotlit row, arms at their sides, their pink lego, paper mache, and popsicle stick faces staring straight ahead...seemingly as lifeless as the materials they'd been sculpted from.
Rick cleared his throat and looked Jennifer back in the eye. In a suave voice, he announced, "Yes. I'd be happy to sell them."
Jennifer just shook her head. "I'm real sorry to hear that, Rick," she said, before raising her hand and snapping her fingers. In a flash, she disappeared and the imp was in her place.
Wha--!" Rick stammered.
"Me all along, I'm afraid," the imp grinned. Her expression went serious. "Anyway, it looks like you failed the test there, Ricky-boy!"
"Test?" Rick asked in confusion.
"That's right," the imp said. "To test your loyalty to the girls. I'm afraid that it's now obvious that you see them strictly as objects."
"Well, of course, I see them as objects," Rick shouted at her. "Thanks to you, that's all they are."
"Is that right?"
Rick swallowed, recognizing Rebecca's voice from behind him. Slowly, he turned to see all three of his friends standing there, restored to their natural forms. "Girls," he stammered, "I can explain..."
"No time for that," the imp cut in. "You failed the test, and now you have to pay the price." She looked up at the three naked girls. "Well, what should we do with him, ladies?" she asked.
"Turn him into what he made us!" Rebecca shouted angrily. "A summer-camp project for retarded eight-year-olds!"
"Now girls, I can explain..." Rick began lamely.
"No you can't!" Diane interjected. "You turned us all into...into...things, and badly made things at that, put us behind glass, and then tried to sell us to the museum so you could get a little nookie with that Jennifer bitch! Don't think we didn't hear what was going on between you two!"
"That was the imp's doing!" Rick shouted, pointing. "I had nothing to do with transforming you!"
The furious looks on the faces of the girls did not vanish. It was clear they did not believe him. It was also clear they were advancing on him, inch by inch, in all their naked splendor, to tear him limb from limb.
The imp waved her hand, sealing Rick in a transparent cube where he could see, but not hear, what went on between them. "For your own safety, kiddo," she explained. "Now, ladies," she said in a more severe tone, "do you really think he deserves being torn limb from limb?"
Harriet snorted. "He wanted to sell us to the museum. We would have stayed exhibits forever. I say, give him a taste of his medicine."
The imp grinned. "I'm open to suggestions." Rick continued to gesticulate frantically behind the glass, finally dropping to his knees with his hands clutched together. The imp had, as usual, made her victim's clothes vanish, so the girls could better contemplate his physique and decide on what substance best suited it.
"Well, I was made of popsicle sticks, and Diane got turned into paper mache," Harriet said. She looked Rick over with a critical eye as he pleaded for mercy. "Turn him into a bread dough sculpture. The kind you bake in the oven until it's hard as rock."
"He'll look like the Pillsbury doughboy," Diane giggled.
"I was thinking of turning him into an erector set, myself," Rebecca said, and gave a nasty laugh at crudeness of her pun. "A pink one."
"A crocheted potholder!"
"Tut-tut," the imp said. "I haven't got all day. Which is it, girlies? Or would you rather let me decide?"
The girls conferred, but reached no consensus. Finally, Rebecca spoke. "We'll leave it up to you," she said. "But show him no mercy. Let all the world see him naked and on display, let them see what he's really made of!"
"Your wish is my command," the imp said, and snapped her fingers.
The air swam sickeningly around them; the ground shook. The girls clutched each other for dear life to keep from falling over. Ominous rumblings came from the floor, the ceiling, and the walls, as well as the sound of metal scraping on metal and myriad pops and bangs. What was happening? Was it an earthquake? Reality knit, and re-knit, itself around them. Clouds of dust blew up into the air as the floor settled, shaking. Then the air cleared.
Rebecca looked around. The gallery they were in was subtly altered; instead of being rectangular, it now had a rounded, organic shape. Not a straight corner was left in the room. Even the glass was curved. "What happened?" she said breathlessly. "Where's Rick?"
"You're in Rick," the imp grinned. The girls stared at each other in confusion. "Come outside, you'll see."
Heedless of their nudity, the three ran outside, back into the main plaza where the fountain was. They looked back. The building they had left was a four-story architectural fantasy shaped like a nude man, built of glass and steel and the finest Connemara marble. Rick was the gallery. The gallery was Rick. He was kneeling, his semi-erect penis forming a double escalator that carried guests up to the revolving door at his crotch, which was flanked by planters contained cacti and other hairy plants. His head was transparent, containing a small restaurant with picture windows in his eyes, and a steam portal where his nostrils were.
A sign by entrance proclaimed THE RICK EIDELMAN WING.
A stunned silence followed.
"Good enough for you?" the imp beamed. "Ricky-boy always wanted to be an artist, didn't he? Well let's just see if he had it in him. Ladies, the gallery tour commences! Inside, please..."
Rebecca looked suspiciously at their tormentor. "Why?" she asked cautiously. What's inside
"Actually," the imp admitted, "nothing...yet. But soon it will be filled with all kinds of terrific artwork. The art of Rick Eidelmen. In fact," she added with an evil laugh, "you three are going to be its first works of art!"
"Oh, no," Diane moaned. "You mean you're going to turn us back into those awful sculptures we were before?"
"Nope," the imp replied. "I had something else in mind." She pointed at the brunette. "You first," she said, snapping her fingers. With a soft pop, Diane disappeared. The imp moved her finger to point at Harriet. "And you." With another snap, the blonde vanished, leaving just Rebecca to face the magical being. "And finally," the imp announced, pointing at the hot-tempered redhead, "you." With a sigh, Rebecca popped out of sight.
"Now," the imp nodded, talking to herself, "let's go see what we've got, shall we?" Floating up the escalator, she entered the gallery she had made out of Rick. Inside, she entered the main viewing area. At present, only three works were on display, but she went over to each for a closer look.
The first was a full-size bronze sculpture of a nude young woman. The figure was sitting with its right leg curled under it. The left knee was pulled up with the foot flat on its pedestal. The woman's right hand held the leg in place, while she rested her left elbow on the raised knee. She was using the bent wrist of her left hand to hold up her chin, as she seemed to look across the gallery at someone.
The imp smiled into the bronze woman's face. "Not bad, Diane," she said. "Not bad at all." She turned to the second artwork.
Unlike the bronze sculpture, this one was not life-sized. It was only about twelve inches in height and sat on a raised pedestal. Carved from solid wood, it was the figure of another nude woman, this one captured in the act of running, balanced on one foot with the other thrown behind it. Both arms were up and back from the torso, as was the long curly hair. The woman's face held an expression of pure joy, as if she was enjoying the freedom of running naked through a field of flowers. The whole thing had been polished to a high shine.
"And you, Harriet," the imp smiled. "Looking good." With a nod, she moved over to the last of the three pieces.
This one was also on a raised pedestal, but unlike the other two, it did not feature the full figure of its subject. Instead, it was a lovely marble bust, featuring the head and shoulders of a young woman. Just enough of the lady's torso was maintained to suggest the beginning of her breasts, with a touch of cleavage showing. The woman's head was turned slightly to the right and upward, as if gazing at the stars. A mass of wavy hair surrounded her face, with some falling over her left shoulder.
"Rebecca," the imp smiled. "Truly, you are a work of art." She looked back at the other two artworks. Each had been placed so that they would be able to see the other two, if not themselves. The imp nodded slowly, before floating to the center of the triangle.
"Okay, ladies," she said loud enough for each to hear her, "listen up. In your anger before, you made some comments that got me curious about a few things. So, I did a little looking inside each of your minds. And what I saw there was very interesting. Yes, very interesting, indeed.
"It seems that each of you have problems with Rick's abilities as an artist," she added, floating over to the bronze figure. "You, Diane," she said, "hate Rick's art because, when he displays it, people pay more attention to it than they do to you." Turning to the wood carving, she continued. "And you, Harriet, are jealous of Rick's art because of the amount of time he spends on it. Time that you wish he would spend paying attention to you instead." Finally, she floated back over to the marble bust. "But you, Rebecca. You are the worst of all. Because you feel that Rick has no actual artistic talent. That he is wasting his time pursuing a dream he will never know."
She floated back to the center of the room. "Yes," she said, "each of you, in your own way, have reason to wish Rick did not want to be an artist. And you let those feelings taint your perceptions about what happened earlier. While it's true that Rick was guilty of trying to sell you, he was right about one thing he said in his defense. It was I who picked the types of statues you became before.
"It might interest you to know, however, that Rick does have ideas about how to represent each of you as a work of art. And not just the three of you, either. Rick does that with everyone he knows. It's just something that the artist in him has to do. So, how does Rick see each of you? Well, I looked into his mind, as well. And then, I made each of you into the artwork he sees when he looks at you. I'd have to say, regardless of how each of you feel about it, Rick is a pretty good artist, after all."
She floated around for another look at each of the three transformed women. "So, ladies," she said, returning to the center of the gallery, "I think I'll leave you here to think about that for a while. In the meantime, I think I'll go see what else this new world has to offer. Enjoy your stay. You may be here for a while."
And the imp floated out the door, leaving three lovely new artworks alone with their thoughts, and their creator.
Nice going, Rick, Rebecca thought sarcastically. I'm not only a statue now, I don't have a body, either.
Make the best of it, 'becca, Diane thought. At least we're beautiful, and valued. No one's about to steal us or wreck us in the museum.
Yes, Harriet chimed in. I don't know about you guys, but I feel very... well, sensual. Complete, almost. As if this is what I was always meant to be. I can't wait for someone to touch me, look at me. I'm... she trailed off with a sigh decidedly sexual in nature as the rotunda doors opened and the first group of visitors came inside. Guys, I'm going to like it here!
Outside them, around them, the transformed Rick was smiling. I could get used to this, he thought. Dreamily he began thinking of future projects. He had a lot of wall space to fill.