She got to the parking lot and sat down in her car. After looking around to make sure nobody would see her, she held her head in her hands and began to cry. Failed classes, no boyfriend, shitty job, piece of crap - she gave the steering wheel a smack - car! Even her body was not in as good condition as it used to be.
She had gained about 5 pounds over the last few weeks, mostly from late night binge-fests with her books and notes sprawled over the table. She still looked good - real good - as a matter of fact. She had shoulder length blond hair, and stood about 5'5". Her body was in great shape, but she was feeling very self-critical right now and if she wanted to feel fat, then dammit she would feel fat. Drying the tears with a tissue from her glove compartment, Kristen started the car and drove away.
When she got home, she went into her bedroom and cried some more. She felt fortunate that she had no roommate to see her as bad as she was. She was really feeling at the bottom of the barrel. She wanted to be rid of everything around her. She could think of nothing that made her happy right now. She needed a break from the nightmare her life had become.
Something made her call up Mitch. He was always good at cheering her up. Mitch was a few years older than her 22 years. He had a rather ordinary house out in the country, not too far away. It doubled as his "office." Mitch was a photographer. She remembered him saying that he did a lot of work for catalogs and such. He lived by himself and stayed at home mostly, so she figured he'd be home. She decided to double check anyway and call before going out to his house.
"Mitch? It's Kristen..."
"Oh, hi! How're things going?"
She proceeded to tell him all about her rotten week of finals and even threw in her sob stories about her job and boyfriend, or lack thereof actually. She had given him the whole pathetic details of her life. She had told him how she thought everything was a mess. How much she needed to just have no worries for a while. How she wanted to quit going to school for a while. She broke down and sobbed, even worse than she had done in the car at school.
Mitch heard all of her problems and listened to them attentively. He was a good friend and really felt sorry for her. But in the back of his mind he was hatching a scheme. She's so vulnerable now, he thought to himself. Everything's going wrong for her. It's perfect! She'll do it in a heartbeat... And the machine's got the capacity for one more!
Ever since he had met her, Mitch has wondered how she would look, on display in his studio. Now he might actually have the chance to find out.
"Come on over, Kristen. Come over and I'll try to cheer you up."
Grateful for a pleasant diversion, she agreed. She hung up the phone. Staying here would have been horrible for her. What a good friend Mitch is, she thought. She hopped in her little car and headed out for his house, about 40 minutes away.
As soon as he hung up the phone, Mitch began thinking up a "sales pitch" for Kristen. Everybody so far had been volunteers, and he was not about to change his techniques. He even considered going into his studio and altering some of his "displays" to make the idea more attractive for Kristen. Maybe even asking one of them for advice.
He went in to the large room that served as his photography studio and flipped
the lights on. Should he change anybody? He looked around and decided against
it. He liked them posed just the way they were. He went over to the control
panel and double checked. Yep - room for one more. Mitch was really hoping it
would be Kristen. He turned off the lights and closed the door. He went to grab
a beer out of the fridge, but changed his mind. If she was on her way already,
he wanted to be stone cold sober so as not to fuck anything up. He flipped on
the TV and waited for her arrival.
Kristen pulled up to his house and shut her car off. She was glad to be at her friend's house. She went up and knocked on the wooden front door. Mitch opened it almost immediately.
"Kristen! So happy to see you! Come on in."
She did and hung her coat on a chair by the door then flopped down on the couch.
He sat down on a chair across from her, just so he wouldn't seem threatening to her in any way. He asked her if she wanted to have anything to drink or munch on.
"I could really use a beer..."
He got up and got one for her and a glass of water for himself. Noticing that he was not having a beer, she asked him why not. Thinking quickly, he fabricated "My doctor gave me some pills and they don't mix with alcohol. I guess that's what I get for not watching my blood pressure." She accepted his quick fib and began to tell him about her troubles.
Look at her, he thought. Jesus, she looks good. I had better not fuck this up. He sensed that it was time for him to respond to what she was saying.
"Uh-huh. Yeah, I know..." and a nod of his head. She continued to speak. He continued to gawk at her gorgeous face and figure. Finally, he could not take it any longer. She came to a stopping point in her story and got up to get another beer.
"Kristen, have you ever seen any of my work? My photography, I mean?"
She popped the beer open and thought about it, then told him that no she hadn't. As long as she had known him, she had never seen any of his photography.
"Would you like to?"
"Sure, why not!"
He pulled out several portfiolos and notebooks filled with pictures. He also pulled out several catalogs, ranging from Sears and J.C.Penney to Fredericks of Hollywood. Mitch said that most of his work ended up in catalogs now. He was proud that he had done quite a few shots that hand ended up in the Fredericks catalog.
He opened up to one of the many pages of sexy lingerie and asked Kristen if he noticed anything about the six pictures on that one page.
"Look carefully," he said.
"Ummm. . . hey, it's all the same woman." She felt proud, as if she had answered a question on Jeopardy or something.
"What else?" he asked. "Look at the way she's standing."
Kristen looked at one picture, then the next and the next. Finally it hit her. "In all the pictures she's standing in the exact same pose!" She had noticed!
"Very good. That's correct. The model is in the exact same pose in each
picture. That's actually the way many of my photgraphs turn out. I have
a special secret that lets me keep exacting detail in their poses. I can
take as many pictures as I want; my model will always be in the perfect
"How do you do that?" Kristen offered. The perfect question...
He thought she'd never ask. "Come in to my studio and I'll show you. In fact, you can ask one of them yourself. Her name is Natalie, and she's here now."
"She is? I didn't know that anybody else was here..."
"C'mon into my studio. That should answer almost every question you have." He led the way to a closed door on the other side of the house.
Mitch's studio was a large room with all sorts of strobe lights, backgrounds, and photography equipment strewn about. He flipped on the lights to one side of the room only and led Kristen inside. She looked around at all his apparatus curiously.
-- Meeting with a Statue --
On the far side of the room she noticed what she thought was a mannequin. It was of a woman about her age (and maybe an inch shorter) of some indeterminate Asian race. She was looking up and to her left, with a sort of surprised expression on her face, arms slightly out to the side, as if some Spielberg-ian monster had just appeared. The only clothing she wore was a red terrycloth robe, loosely tied at the waist.
Kristen thought that this was the most remarkable mannequin she had ever seen. It seemed to be absolutely lifelike. She pulled aside the robe to look at its body. Pubic hair?! Why would a mannequin have pubic hair? she thought. Just then, Mitch came up behind her and put his hand on her shoulders.
"Kristen, meet Natalie."
"I don't understand. This is the most perfect mannequin I have ever seen! Where did you get it?"
"Oh, I've known Natalie for about a year or so." He said, removing the robe. He had only put it on her at the last moment so as not to startle Kristen - now that she had noticed the thin black hair at Natalie's crotch he figured it was no longer necessary.
Natalie stood there in glorious full nudity, size 34C breasts bulging out from her chest, the exact same expression as before on her frozen face. Kristen walked around and admired Natalie's body as Mitch began to explain.
"Natalie looks so lifelike because she IS alive. Natalie is just as alive as you or me. Come here and look behind her right ear." Yes, come closer.
Mitch lifted up the hair over the 'mannequin's ear to show her what looked like an old hearing aid. "You see this thing? This is what I call my Immobilizer. It sends electrical impulses to Natalie's brain that keeps her frozen like a statue. She can't hear or see anything, and she's not really conscious right now. It's like suspended animation, for lack of a better way to decribe it."
Kristen leaned in for a closer look. She also occasionally glanced down to the naked body of the woman she was in such casual proximity to.
"Does it hurt? Can she feel anything?"
"The device causes no pain. It was originally designed for NASA astronauts for long voyages, but the idea got scrapped. So it's been fully safety tested. Natalie has been frozen here just like this for. . ." - he quickly did the math in his head - ". . .about 11 days now. Every now and then I let her move around and rest then I freeze her into a different position."
"And she does this voluntarily? What about her life?"
"Natalie's life was not in very good shape. She came here very dejected one day and I showed her the device and she volunteered to use it. She's been a model here a little over a year now. And she likes it. She doesn't have any responsibilities at all. I feed her. I clothe her, when I feel like it. She knows perfectly well what goes on when she's a statue like this, namely that she is nude an awful lot. She gets a break from the rotten life she had and I get a photography mannequin and art object." He paused. "Would you like to ask her anything?"
"You can bring her out of it?"
"Of course I can! She's not dead. Watch."
Kristen stood staring at Natalie while he went over to what she had thought was some sort of fancy entertainment center but was really a control mechanism for all the living statues in his studio. He turned a small knob until it pointed to 'Natalie' and then moved the main dial about 180 degrees. There was a faint hum.
Kristen watched as Natalie blinked a few times and began to slowly move. When she regained full mobility, she stretched as if she was just waking up - which she really was. She did not even seem to notice that she was nude. Mitch came over and handed Natalie the red robe he had been carrying, helping her put in on.
"Good morning, Nat. Say hello to Kristen."
The freshly vivified model smiled and reached over and shook Kristen's hand and gave a good-natured 'hello'. She moved a little stiffly, stretching her muscles.
"Nat, what's the last you remember? Actually, what is today's date?"
"Well, you froze me on the 12th, but I learned long ago to stop guessing the date when I wake up."
"It's the 23rd now," Kristen told her.
"Eleven days, huh? I guess that's about what I expected..."
Natalie and Kristen walked over to a small couch and sat down, while Mitch ran off to get Natalie a glass of water. Natalie continued to stretch a little more. Kristen, her mind racing with all sorts of questions, began to probe Natalie about her experience as a rigid display figure. She wondered if it was painful in any way.
"No, it doesn't hurt a bit. There's a bit of a tingle from the device behind my ear, like a mild static electricity shock, when it's activated but that's about it. Once you feel that, you've become motionless and can't budge, but you don't really fall asleep for about 30 seconds to a minute later. And during that time you're not really stiff yet so Mitch can move you around a little bit. He calls it 'fine-tuning your pose.'"
Natalie paused for a moment, but Kristen was so spellbound she continued on, "It really is an interesting feeling to be awake and be totally paralyzed like that. Once I freeze completely stiff it's like I'm in a very deep sleep. Dreams and everything. And with the exception of feeling like I've just had a really strenous workout, I get no ill effects from waking up. Except..." -Natalie began to chuckle- "I'm almost certain I had clothes on when he froze me last time! I don't really care, though. Mitch is cool."
"How long have you been here?" Kristen asked.
"That depends - what month is this?" Kristen told her and Natalie replied that she had been with Mitch for a little over a year. "And I would guess that out of that year I have been one of Mitch's 'Living Statues' for all except for about a total of a week or two, if that."
Kristen couldn't believe what she was hearing. She also couldn't believe that she was getting as aroused as she was. Here was Natalie, a beautiful young woman, who voluntarily spends weeks at a time as a nude statue in Mitch's studio!
"Why did you decide to become one of Mitch's. . .uh. . ." she felt weird saying this ". . .one of Mitch's statues?"
"My life sucked. I was feeling so low. I had almost no friends, a shitty job, just everything just sucked. Now, I spend all my time here, frozen, which to me means asleep, and Mitch takes care of me. I love it. And it makes me feel good that Mitch admires me like a priceless work of art."
Just then Mitch came back and handed her the glass of water, which she began to sip. "So," he said, "have you ladies been getting along?"
Natalie filled him in on what she had told Kristen so far. They continued to discuss the arrangement that Mitch and Natalie had made and some of the 'rules' and 'guidelines' that they had agreed upon.
"Everybody, and you'll meet everybody else later..." He gestured toward the unlit side of the room where Kristen could faintly make out human shapes. Mitch continued. "Everybody gets a break at least once every two or three weeks, if not sooner. After a bit of rest, they are frozen again and stay that way most of the time.
They are all aware that I usually disrobe them, although not always. But some times they are just so beautiful that they never seem to end up wearing clothes." He good-naturedly elbowed Natalie in the ribs. She blushed slightly.
"If I use them in a photo shoot, I give them a cut of what I earn. Not that they have a whole lot of expenses. I insist that they wear their Immobilizers always while they are in my house, but in the rare instances when they do go out, they can take them off. I have informed them that whenever they are in the house, I have the right to freeze them at any time and without any notice. I like the idea of spontaneity in their poses. Sort of like actually capturing a moment in time. Although sometimes I like to 'fine-tune' their poses."
"What did I tell you?" Natalie playfully asked Kristen.
Mitch went on. "And unless they make specific arrangements with me, they can remain as statues for as long as I wish. They've all signed, well, I call them contracts or agreements, attesting to everything I just said."
"What about when people come over, like me?" Kirsten said.
"There are several different clauses that I write into their agreements. Some
say that they can't be put on display for anybody but me. Others don't like
being on display for anybody they know, so when friends or people that they
know come over, they go into the back of the studio, in the dark." Kristen wondered
if anybody she knew was frozen in the darkness across the room.
"Then there are people like Natalie, who have given me carte blanche to display her. She even spent a week nude in my backyard, during which time I had two parties. I really liked the idea of having a nude sculpture in my yard, especially one as pretty as Nat." Mitch tousled her hair a little and she smiled. "Gimme your glass, Nat." He took it from her and set it on the floor next to the couch.
-- Nat's Next Pose --
They all stood up. "Kristen, I am going to give you a special privilege. I am going to let you decide how Natalie will spend the next week or so as a statue."
Natalie felt a slight chill of excitement whenever Mitch informed her before he froze her instead of just doing it suddenly. Kristen was unsure of what to say. Mitch strolled over to the controls, about 25 feet away. "Umm, gosh, I don't know."
"Well, Kristen, come up with something good. Nat, enjoy moving while it lasts. I'm only giving you another minute or so!" He reached the control panel and got ready.
Natalie looked over at Kristen and waited for her to come up with something. Kristen had no idea what to do. Natalie smiled and told Kristen to make it a good one. "What's it gonna be?" she asked.
And just as she said that, Mitch seized his opportunity and activated the control, freezing Natalie in mid-gesture.
Kristen was speechless, watching with wide eyes. Natalie had become perfectly still and her eyes held a glazed, faraway look in them. "You said that you were going to give her another minute. That was only about 20 seconds!"
Mitch started walking towards them. "Ok, so I did it too soon. But I like her like this." He stood in front of Natalie and looked her in the eyes. "Nat, I know you can still hear me. Sorry for jumping the gun a little. You just had a perfect look and I had to capture it. You make such an exquisite statue!" He kissed her on the lips then stepped back to admire her. Natalie remained absolutely motionless.
"Well, she's asleep now, so she won't be needing this." He untied the robe and slipped it off her, leaving her there wearing nothing at all. Kristen gasped at the ease and casualness in which he made her naked. She just stood there staring at this beautiful naked statue, whom she had been having a conversation with just one minute earlier, now rock-still and nude, oblivious to everything around her.
While she had been staring, Mitch walked across the studio and had retreived a small wheeled cart. He pushed it over, lifted Natalie up onto it, and wheeled her over to join her other living statue friends in the darkness on the other side of the room. Kristen stood slack-jawed watching the whole thing.
Mitch returned and sat back down on the couch in his studio, motioning Kristen to sit next to him. "Well, what do you think?" He was very glad he had chosen Natalie. He thought she would make a good impression on Kristen.