With her body slowly returning to normal, Lieutenant Godiva could perceive extreme distress from both of her nearby companions, Niko and Sergeant Magnum. Unable to wait any longer for her body to change back to flesh, she mentally commanded her stiff body forward, propelling the thawing woman towards Niko’s frantic location. Even though her feet and calves still remained frozen within gleaming stone, she knew that her treasured friends were in dire need of her assistance, regardless of her current physical condition.
As her hovering body began to approach Titus’ menacing position, Godiva gasped as she saw Niko perched along the far wall, arms spread apart forcibly. Focusing her vision with greater acuity, Lieutenant Godiva could see Niko’s wrists and feet shimmering with intensity, sending a tremor of panic through the silver warrior upon recognition. Shifting her glance downward, she could see the familiar statue of Esper directly beneath her, the precious golden figure remained absolutely unchanged since the last time Godiva saw her along the banks of the golden river.
Silently, Lieutenant Godiva broke off her beeline for Titus, deciding instead to search for Sergeant Magnum, probing anxiously with her budding power. Seeing the burly man tossed like a heap on the concrete floor, Godiva instantly swung her mostly mobile body over to him in deep concern. As she lowered herself to the ground, her stony feet struck the ground with a muted chink. Even though her entire body was back to normal above the ankles, she quickly discovered that the intricate network of interlocked muscles still prevented almost all movement within her lower legs, but the lingering effects were swiftly diminishing. Only once her wrinkly feet finally returned to flexible flesh could she bend down to investigate her dedicated sergeant’s condition.
Slapping the hazy sergeant several times, Godiva begged in a whisper, “Magnum! Wake up, you crazy man! Speak to me!” With incredible focus, Lieutenant Godiva began to lift up the groggy soldier, studying his battered body inside and out. ‘Looks like three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder…’
‘…And a partridge in a pair tree,’ projected Magnum in a singsong tone as he sputtered back to life. Looking around in anxiety, he was astonished to find himself completely airborne in front of his seductive ally. Playfully, the perverted man stared at her well-toned nude body before saying in a whisper, “You must work out, huh? I mean your body is absolutely perfect!”
“Dammit, stop playing around,” replied Godiva in a hushed tone as she modestly wrapped her arms around her protruding breasts. “Way to make me feel dirty, man! Besides, I thought you’ve already decided to become involved with another girl, I think Meg is her name?” Despite her anger with the crude ally, she gently lowered him down to the ground, nudging him using only her powerful thoughts.
“I know, I know. She’s the love of my life, Godiva.” Suddenly, Sergeant Magnum became astoundingly alert as he asked, “Wait a minute! How did you know about Meg? Come to think of it, how did you lift my body into the air like that?”
Lieutenant Godiva gave Sergeant Magnum a sly wink before saying elusively, “Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you, those are just a few of my newfound powers.” Slowly lifting herself off of the ground, she threw daggers at Magnum as he craned his neck to get a better view of her shapely derriere.
“Powers? That’s incredible, Godiva!” exclaimed Magnum in a projected whisper. “I always knew there was something different about you, something special.”
Blushing, Godiva smiled with pride while saying quietly, “That’s quite a compliment, I think.” As she effortlessly glided into the air above him, she said determinedly, “You wait here while I take care of the wretched king, alright?”
Before he could even reply, the shapely woman flew off in search of
Emperor Titus. As she disappeared into the distance, he thought,
‘I leave her side for five minutes, and she becomes Supergirl overnight.
I’ve got to find out her secret!’
As the steel door snapped open, he smiled as he looked intently at the ramifications of his split second decision earlier. Gathered throughout the expansive room were eighty, maybe more lifeless mannequins, all captured with awkward stances. Still, as he wrapped his knuckles against the rounded curve of a dimpled but cheek, he stared into the damsel’s rigid face, thoroughly amazed by the amount of detail captured within the sculpted curves. Like all victims of the mannequinizing process, she held a strangely calm expression on her face before locking forever, as planned by the planning committee. Apparently, they laced a small dosage of muscle relaxant within the pink solution, which travels to the facial nerves as part of the process. Regardless of the technique, Scientist Turner was certainly pleased with the results, of that there was no doubt whatsoever.
Suddenly, Turner could hear a scurry of activity behind his position, emanating from the transport room across the hall. Creeping as quietly as his creaky joints would allow, he slithered up to the entrance carefully, listening attentively just outside the door.
“What are we going to do now?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t care as long as we stay out of that creepy room over there!”
“It’s so scary! What happened to them?”
“Totally deranged! I don’t think I’ll ever go to a department store again!”
“And don’t forget all of those silver statues! What the hell is going on down here?”
For several minutes, Turner eavesdropped on the random conversation from his hidden location, trying to determine the exact number of participants inside. Based on the multitude of clanking sounds, Turner assessed that all of them were definitely armed, which added a threatening complication to the situation. Taking a deep breath, the dapper leader entered the room with a concerned look on his face, saying earnestly, “Thank goodness! At least all of you are all right! Have you seen what has happened out here?”
Apprehensively, the thirty or so unique women looked the new arrival up and down for several moments, trying to gauge his intentions. A few jumpy ladies had already donned their weapons in preparation, in case the engagement with this stranger turned ugly in a hurry.
Scientist Turner felt delightful butterflies in his stomach as he held his arms out to the side in a gesture of peace. Using his calmest inflection, he said, “Please, don’t shoot me. I’m pretty confused by this whole situation, myself.” Slowly, the beautiful women began to lower their guard slightly as they found themselves mesmerized by Turner’s seductive charms. After a few minutes of polite conversation, the deceptive man offered, “Well, maybe if we can get to that elevator in the other room, we might be able to find a way out of this fortress somehow?”
Several hushed discussions broke out throughout the room as a small group of apprehensive women ran through their options. Likewise, many of the more adventuresome damsels were stating their case, trying to motivate the frightened ones to spring into action. Eventually, the proactive ladies won out, and the entire troop decided to embrace the warm stranger’s plan, hoping to escape from the haunting environment, once and for all.
As they began to file out of the transport room, Scientist Turner discretely lingered behind the others, waiting for just the right moment to strike. Just as the last woman filed out, the petite woman reached out her hand to Turner, asking timidly, “Aren’t you coming with us, mister?”
Reaching into his coat pocket, he slyly grinned before saying, “Actually, I think I’m going to stay right here.” Swiftly, the retched man plunged the insidious trigger in his pocket. Just as before, an intricate series of sprinklers instantly doused the unwary competitors, as they stood dumbfounded by the unusual concoction flowing over their heads.
With a look of tender shock on her tiny face, the last contestant standing in front of Turner asked hysterically, “You beast! What have you done to us?” Scientist Turner lunged away from the entrance in an instant, cowardly hiding behind the pathetic platinum statue Byron had become. Short volleys of laser fire rang out, but only briefly. Due to the relentless rush of reflective particles dancing around the room, each beam was rendered effectively harmless after traveling only inches. Before long, each poor woman began to feel their movements slowing as the pounding pink teardrops successfully coated them all from head to toe.
“Oh, God! I’m stiffening up!” screamed one poor vixen as her legs began to hum and glow. Within moments, a delicate sheen began to develop along each gullible victim’s skin as they continued to solidify relentlessly. From each betrayed darling a loud grinding sound could be heard as each molecule bonded then tightened uncontrollably, locking them insistently into durable plastic. As the gushing sprinklers halted, a few lingering cries echoed throughout the room before suddenly becoming overpowered by crackling energy.
Once the gleaming varnish reached their exposed necks, each grim expression began to slacken suddenly, producing a calm look of contentment on all of their facial features. Before long, the shiny wave cemented the deceptive appearance of peaceful longing forever upon their faces as they completely hardened into polished store mannequins.
Crawling out from his gutless hiding place, Scientist Turner laughed menacingly as he strolled out to confront the captured maidens, locked forever by his passing moment of treachery. However, before he could journey out to gloat, another pair of teetering women lunged down the chute behind him. Spinning around quickly, he reached a delicate hand in assistance before lining them against the nearby wall. Before they could even think to thank the kindly gentleman, Turner reached into his pocket swiftly, firing two shots at the queasy pair of attractive females.
Instantly, the two unfortunate ladies began to tighten up; one stiffened firmly while trying to reach out to the cruel scientist. Just as the others, they crackled with energy before each pore, each microscopic cell constricted into unbending plastic right before Turner’s looming eyes. As their faces began to exude confident tranquility, the depraved man said with a grin, “Sorry to cut your adventure short, ladies. I’m afraid I’ve decided to grant you a permanent assignment… as rigid department store mannequins!” Within their rapidly transforming bodies, they each felt deep remorse as they felt their unmoving faces hardening, altering from warm flesh into cool plastic. Playfully, Scientist Turner reached out and mockingly shook the one contestant’s outstretched hand, saying wryly, “Enjoy your extended stay, my plastic darlings! Welcome aboard!”
As he turned again to leave, he slapped the woeful face of Byron, saying harshly, “Look at this terrible mess you left me! How could you fall so quickly, young man?” Studying his wounded face, Turner laughed as he mused over the exasperated grimace displayed in shimmering platinum. As he wandered away from his captured protégé, he thought, ‘Damn, that kid makes one ugly statue!’ Pressing a button on his wrist communicator, he summoned a legion of security agents, saying threateningly, “Code blue, code blue. We need assistance in the control room immediately!”
Taking a leisurely stroll into the preparation room, he marveled at
the utter silence within the jam-packed room. Lifting a large metal
key out of his pocket, he smiled wickedly before saying, to nobody in particular,
“God, I love these peaceful moments. Wouldn’t you all agree?”
To be continued...
On to Part Twenty-One