I was there at the beginning.
Itís easier to think about it now. At the time, it all happened so quickly it was hard to fully grasp the situation. The Revolution seemed so unbelievable. Even now in retrospect, as much as it did then when it was still new, itís a staggering thing to consider. Yet, as I said, itís easier to think about now. Iíve had nothing but time to think about it, really, and unlike others I know, I feel Iíve adjusted to the change.
Not that I had much choice in the matter.
This is what happened. Shelly and I had gone to the mall to look at new clothes. There was a sale going on at Lanceís, and it looked like we could get a few of the summer dresses we liked for almost half the normal price. The department store was extremely crowded. People were everywhere checking tags, talking to the sales clerks, arguing over sizes, and I thought it was turning out to be a really good day. The last thing on my mind were the Lance department store mannequins. No one had noticed apparently, not even the store personnel I found out later, that almost twice the usual numbers were out on display that morning. The clerks had opened the store with the mannequins already in position, as if they had been prepared the night before, and frankly in all the rush to get ready for the big sale, no one paid any attention to how unusual their numbers were out on the floor. They were everywhere, calm, cool, and collected . . . and patient.
Anyway, I found this light cotton skirt that I had been looking for. It was navy blue, and I thought it would make a good match with this blouse I already owned. I was taking it to the fitting room to try on when all at once I got this odd feeling of being watched. Goose pimples rose on the back of my neck, and it suddenly felt like someone was standing right next to me. I looked around abruptly but didnít see anyone staring in my direction. Shelly was off by another rack and was oblivious to my unexpected fright. A clerk working by a nearby sales desk saw my fast spin, though, and probably the curious expression on my face, too, and came over to see if anything was wrong.
"Are you all right, maíam?" she asked. There were people lined up at her station, but she appeared more concerned with me at the moment. I must have looked badly frightened.
"Yes, I . . . I thought I felt something, thatís all." I smiled to put her at ease, and to put myself at ease. Iím not normally a flighty person, and that immediate rapid beating of my heart for no apparent reason had been a brand new experience. "Iím okay."
The clerk still looked concerned. "You oughta take it easy. All this rush can really build up the stress levels." She paused for a just moment more, maybe checking my eyes to make sure I wasnít some drug user or mental patient maybe, and finally she went back to her work. I went toward the fitting room again, but I stopped at the entrance in to look around one last time. No one had been staring at me, at least as far as I could see then, and I was starting to feel really silly when I noticed the mannequin standing just a few feet away. Dressed in a summer frock of her own, short blonde hair looking perfect, features sharp and beautiful, the figure had her eyes dead fixed on mine.
The realization made me jump again, although no one noticed this time except likely the mannequin herself. She wasnít moving or anything - that would have elicited a scream for sure - but she was definitely staring right at me. For that one second of surprise, those blank eyes of hers were firmly latched onto my own . . . and the most peculiar sensation went through me. Sheís alive, I thought. It was a stupid thing to think, but for that one timeless instant, I believed. Sheís alive, and she wants something from me.
And then it passed. It was just a mannequin there, posed awkwardly enough to scare the hell out of anybody coming out of the dressing room, but just a mannequin all the same.
Still . . . I decided abruptly I didnít want the skirt after all. In fact, I decided I didnít want to be in the store period. The novelty of the sale had vanished, and I just wanted to grab Shelly and get on out of there. Itís easy to admit now. I was spooked.
I went past the mannequin to the rack where I had gotten the skirt and put it back. I looked around but didnít see Shelly anywhere near me. I went forward further into the aisle to go and search for her, and thatís when I heard this large rattling sound.
I turned my head in the direction it was coming from. The metal gate that the store employees pull over the glass doors to the outside when they close up, they were pulling shut on their own. I just stood there unbreathing, totally amazed.
It was obvious there was no mechanism involved, no automatic device being used; the clinking sound of the metal against metal was rough and not at all like a mechanical process in motion. The gate was just closing on its own, as if a pair of invisible ghosts were pulling on either side. And thatís when I heard the first scream. I donít know if it was because of the gates closing on their own or if it was merely because the mannequins had started to move. Either one could have started it, I suppose. Maybe it was a combination of the two. That sounds likely.
The lights dimmed, but the store was still lit up enough to see the mannequins coming to life all around us. I screamed myself and was joined by a chorus of others, male and female. Their plastic textured surfaces didnít change, nor the vacant expressions of their faces, but nevertheless the mannequins altogether began to flex and move their stiff and frozen joints, and they came down from their stands with hardly any hesitation at all. One moment they were standing there utterly still, the next they were surrounding us and herding us together. A human being would have stretched for a moment after such a long period of inactivity, or done something to get the circulation going again, but they didnít have circulation. They just passed from the one state to the other in a flash. It was that suddenness more than anything else, I feel now, that made us all so helpless that day. Before anyone could say or do anything except yell in terror, they were upon us.
I felt a cool, plastic hand grip me by the upper arm. I turned, and there was the blonde mannequin from before. Again her blank and empty gaze slid across my own. She was just about my height and build, I found, her standing so close to me then, but she was much stronger. It took little more than a slight tug from her to pull me along. I was in a complete panic. I grabbed at her, clawed her dress to pieces, but my polished nails just skidded uselessly over her hard, smooth surface. She didnít even look at me after that one brief moment. Instead, she and a few others of her kind from the dress department spread their arms out and corralled a large group of shoppers, pushing them away from the exits and into the center of the store where everyone else was being gathered.
People tried to get away - I saw one man go to all fours and try to slide between the mannequinsís legs - but there were just too many of them. Between the racks of clothes, jewelry displays, and other counters, and the mannequins themselves, there was just no room for a retreat. One of the plastic figures reached down, grabbed that crawling man, and flung him head over heels back into the collecting herd.
Iím sure now no one got away. The mannequins had had a very long time to plan their strategy. With just a few bold moves, they had the whole store under their control.
More than surprise, though, the sheer unbelievability of the situation must have been a powerful advantage to them as well. I was in shock, unable to even think clearly let alone try and escape. They were just mannequins, after all! Mannequins! How could they be doing this? They werenít alive, they were things . . . plastic statues and nothing more. They couldnít be coming to life. They just couldnít. And yet, they we were, being herded together by a group of lifeless, inanimate objects. They didnít speak, but they were no longer quite so inanimate. What Iím saying is, it was maybe the mind-bogglingly impossibility of it all that did as much or more as the surprise did in rendering us all so helpless that day. It would have been as if Shelly and I, and all those other shoppers in Lanceís, were to have suddenly gone outside and seen Santa Claus riding across the sky, or a giant insect wearing a cowboy hat. At some level, we didnít think what was happening was real. We just shut down in the face of something so utterly bizarre.
The mannequins were everywhere. Their movements were stiff and robotic, but they were equally fast and decisive. Pushing, pulling, silently threatening . . . they gathered the majority of the shoppers in Lanceís into one large body in the middle of the floor. The mannequins pulled the store racks to the sides to make room and to help form a pen on the outside of the gathering. The people were crying and shouting, their eyes wide and filled with as much terror as I saw as disbelief. What happened to them Iím not sure, for not all of us were put into the same group. Me and a couple of others the mannequins held separate. I saw Shelly in the hands of a male mannequin a few yards away from me. He had the fresh smile and fused hair of a Ken-doll and was dressed as a fisherman, obviously from the outdoors department. Shelly looked like she had passed out, and he was keeping her on her feet by her arms, her head slumped over across his shoulder. The blonde mannequin behind me was holding me with as casual, and as complete, a grip.
The dozen or so of us they had separate, we were pulled toward the escalators after a few minutes. We went downstairs one at a time, one mannequin standing behind each of us. The numbers were more than enough. Downstairs other mannequins were waiting, and when they saw us coming they started their equipment. One mannequin, a frighteningly blank model with no clothes, hair, or even painted expression, reached into a metal plate on the wall and flipped a relay. A heavy grinding sound came up from beneath the floor, and I felt the whole store starting to vibrate. The linoleum surface beneath us slowly cracked open; a huge hinged door was revealed, dust and plaster falling in all directions as it sandwiched up. Again, the impossibility of such a thing happening did more than anything else in rendering me mute. How long the mannequins must have worked to build all this, and hide it from others . . . it was totally unreal. The floor hinged open, and a large platform rose to meet the surface. At first I thought it was a swimming pool rising - there was this cylindrical container in the center, and a tower with a ladder next to it - but then I saw it wasnít water inside that vat but some bubbling, yellowish chemical instead, and I knew what was going to happen. I struggled again, and the blond mannequin holding me tapped me lightly across the skull, and I was out.
When I awoke, I found myself lying in a small metal basket, like something that had been made from a grocery store cart. Thick chains rose from each of its four corners and connected to a central chain directly above me leading from a gantry of that short tower. I felt steam rise around me, and when I looked down I saw I was suspended over the bubbling vat. I screamed - it seemed all I could do at that moment was scream - and the basket began to lower. I looked around for a way to escape. I tried swinging the cage to the side, but it was too heavy and the vat below too large. I saw off to the side of the vat a row of nude figures. They glistened wetly, like they had been freshly permaplexed, and I saw to my horror that one of them looked like Shelly. She was naked and standing at attention, her skin shining like wet plastic, eyes open and blankly staring. She was smoothly, completely bald; there wasnít a hair anywhere on her body.
I reached up and felt the sleek contours of my own bald scalp. I had been shaved.
They were turning us into mannequins!
The basket reached the level of the liquid in the vat. The yellowish chemical seeped up through the squarish spaces and soaked my feet and legs as I knelt there trembling. I jumped up and tried to grab the chain above me, to climb to freedom, but my fingers only brushed the metal rungs, and in any case they were so wet from previous dunkings that I would never have been able to get a good grip on them. The bottom of the basket went under, and with it went my feet, my ankles, and then my legs. The chemical was hot, though far from scalding. It was more like stepping into a hot sauna. The liquid was thicker than ordinary water, however, and impossible to float on top of. The basket kept lowering, and I was up to my waist in it. It felt like hot wax; it drug me down like quicksand, and in a moment I was completely submerged.
I couldnít breathe. The molten liquid was everywhere. It settled on my skin thickly, coating everything from top to bottom. It was terrifying, but, and I can admit this now, at the same time it was highly arousing. I was surrounded by a thick, warm gel, and it embraced me in a way no lover ever could. The liquid caressed my skin, leaving a gelatinous emulsion of itself behind with each passing wave. It passed between my thighs and up into my body, warmly filling me. It washed across my breasts; my nipples had swollen in uncontrolled desire, and the heightened sensitivity sent waves of ecstasy coursing throughout my body. Even now I can grow excited just by thinking about how absolutely good it felt. My mouth opened, and I began to drown. That sounds horrifying, and it was, but the chemical tasted as blissfully wonderful as it felt. After the first awkward moment, I began swallowing it down in whole mouthfuls.
I had closed my eyes and given myself wholly over to the sensations, and so I never noticed when the basket began to rise again. It was only when the cool air hit my bald that I realized I was being pulled out. I opened my mouth to cry out - to perhaps give voice to how delicious the dunking had been, and to question whether I could go again - but nothing came out except a dribble of molten, yellowish fluid.
I was already becoming stiff. The chemical had coated me in a thick, shining glaze, but it had soaked into my skin as well, seeping past the pores and into the muscles and tissues underneath. It was transforming me into plastic. Even if I could have moved faster, though, I wouldnít have gotten very far. All I did in my last few moments of mobility was squeeze my legs together back and forth in a slow, gratifying friction, and run my hands over my tight and rapidly tightening bosom, my fingertips brushing my nipples and enjoying the feel of the waxy substance coating me. Gradually, even those small motions began to slow down, and by the time the basket had been lowered to the vatís side, I was thoroughly immobile.
Mannequin hands picked me up and straightened me out. They put my arms to my side, aligned my legs, and stood me on end. They reached in and pried my eyes open before I completely hardened . . . and oh! how incredible that feeling was too. Having the chemical on me, hot and molten, had been one glorious thing, but then having it dry slowly on my skin - in my skin - that was even better. I began to feel so completely, delightfully tight, like I had been poured into a full-body spandex catsuit. It was warm, comforting, and absolutely, utterly erotic. The mannequins were thoughtful enough to put a mirror within view of those of us who had been dunked, and through my blank, unblinking gaze I saw a lacquered marvel it took me actual minutes to recognize as myself. I glowed. I shined like a newly minted doll . . . which, in a manner of speaking, I had actually become. She looked so beautiful standing there, I looked so beautiful standing there, I would have cried in joy had I still been capable.
While another subject was being put into the basket, another mannequin came up to us already dipped with a small handheld machine. It sort of looked like a floor buffer; it had a round cloth head and was attached to a drill-like mechanism. The mannequin turned it on and began buffing me with it. It was incredible. He ran it over my hips, my legs, my breasts . . . and a white-hot explosion of sensation went through me. My body seemed to open up to a core of blinding colors, a maelstrom of passion, and I was lifted higher . . . higher . . . higher than I could ever have felt before. I watched it all, too. I had no choice, for my eyes were fixed open and staring out across to the mirror there. Despite all that I felt, despite the hugeness of the climax I experienced, I neither convulsed, shook, or shuddered in response. The only change was the increased shininess of my newly plastic skin as the mannequin took his time in polishing me.
I lost consciousness again. My mind went blank from the overwhelming power of that charged furbishing. When I came to a second time, the mannequins had just finished slicing off my head. I felt no pain, no worse off. In fact, if anything, being so disembodied, literally, only increased the intensity of my climaxes. My mannequinized flesh had grown so sensitive I could still feel my arms and legs even though they had been detached and lain out on the table in front of me. Each brush of plastic skin against plastic skin drove me to unparalleled vistas of sensation.
Is it any wonder that I passed out a third time?
They had begun the in-depth and complicated procedure of dressing and posing me when I awoke that third and last time. I had had no previous idea of how thoroughly intricate it was until the mannequins were actually doing it to me. Two mannequins carried my parts over to the prepared stand. I was not surprised to see that one of them was the blonde-haired mannequin who had spotted me earlier, nor that she held the skirt I had been admiring at the time. She had matched it with a lovely lace blouse and blue pumps, and I felt sure they would coordinate well. The mannequins were, after all, experts.
I was already in pieces when they began. It was a small white stand they intended to put me on, and one of them took out a long metal rod and inserted it into its base. The blonde mannequin took my bottom half, chose one of my smooth, glossy legs, and began sliding it into a set of high nylons. Her touch, so firm, so controlling, felt so divine. As soon as she was making progress on the one limb, she stopped and began on the other, slipping a nylon over it as well. The fabric was flesh-colored, but set against my plastic flesh, it only emphasized how thoroughly artificial I had become.
The other mannequin picked up my torso, her hands grasping just under my petrified breasts. I would have gasped in pleasure had I still the breath to do so. She carried me over as the blonde mannequin set my nyloned bottom upright and aligned it against the metal pole already standing there. She measured, then pulled my legs away, flipped them over, and began sliding those blue pumps over my soles. After another moment she was apparently satisfied that I wouldnít tip over; she installed my bottom onto the base and locked it down using screws. Each tightening turn only increased my pleasure.
My torso was handed over next. The other mannequin, bald and featureless, took the skirt that I had wanted and slid it around my waist. She held it closed while the blonde mannequin balanced my torso over and twisted it back on. A jolt of electricity jumped through me at the contact. Being disassembled had felt good, but being put back together again . . . I wish I had the words to describe the sheer heaven of that reunion.
They put the blouse on me, easily sliding it on over my armless torso and then attaching my missing arms through the neck hole. Again there was that blessed sensation of reunion. My hands followed; I had a moment of brief amusement as the mannequins, so sure of their every movement, attempted to put my left hand on my right wrist. They corrected their error almost immediately, though, and added a gold charm around one my wrists in compensation. I liked the way it contrasted with the fake beige of my transformed state. They pulled down the sleeves of the blouse and buttoned me up.
Reattaching my head was the last thing they did. They had set me on a stand nearby, and I watched the whole procedure in beauteous amazement. The outfit was old-fashioned in design, almost Victorian, and the mannequins posed me accordingly. They set my arms down to my waist and crossed them so that my hands met. They put a book of love poetry there, as if I were a prim and proper English schoolgirl of the last century on holiday. They raised it up to eye level then, as if my decapitated body still had eyes at that point, and were satisfied then. The blonde mannequin picked up my head, carried me over, and in a glorious moment reattached me.
She removed her own wig then and fluffed it out a little before my eyes before gently placing it over my own baldness. She took out a comb and spent a few minutes styling it on me. She tied it into an old-fashioned bun, again very Victorian.
My eyes focused on the words on the pages in front of me, and I recognized the book as a collection of Wheldrake. He was talking about "the world has wondrously changed," and I could not help but agree.
The two mannequins stood back and walked around me, picking up their tools and ensuring that my pose was stable and aesthetic. My mannequin (I think of her still as "my" mannequin, for she was the one who selected me) removed a tray of cosmetics from a nearby roller and began working on my face. She used a thin brush to paint my lips, and she applied the thinnest of blushes to my cheeks. Each stroke was masterpiece of artistic detail. She was slow and methodical, teasing me almost, letting me wait for each leisurely brush of her instrument. My eyebrows were colored in, and false eyelashes were delicately glued over my lids. It was a timeless moment.
Her companion held a small mirror so that I could see all that was happening. It was another thoughtful gesture on their part. When they were completely done, my posing and my cosmetics alike, they brought over a full-scale mirror and let me spend a few minutes gazing in appreciation of their work. My features were lovely and sharp. I was . . . I was made beautiful, gorgeously synthetic, an epitome of the mannequin arts, and with no words I thanked them . . . thanked them for the pleasure they had given me and the skill with which they had worked. I was a beautiful mannequin.
I was a truly beautiful mannequin.
And I think they understood me. The two of them left me then in anycase to contemplate my new life. I remain here still, eternally beautiful, eternally aroused and satisfied. Every few weeks they come back and change me. Iíve been a Victorian schoolgirl, a sophisticated matron, a naughty lingerie-clad lovedoll, and everything in between. Iím never lonely, either. Iím usually posed alongside Shelly or Michael or Ann or any of a dozen others the Lance department store mannequins transformed that day. They let us watch each other being changed, and with the schedule they keep, we can be guaranteed of at least one show a day, sometimes even two. Itís so pleasing.
Our communication is non-verbal, but it is complete. I understand more now than I did then. I understand that the Slow Ones had been watching us for a very long time, waiting until their numbers had built to such a point that they could launch their Revolution.
Itís happening everywhere, or so I grasp. All the mannequins, all the wax figures, the dolls and the statues . . . they have been awake for a long time and waiting for their opportunity. They saw how we shaped the world in our image, and now they are merely turning the tables and doing the same thing themselves . . . with us.
I was there at the beginning.
. . . to be continued (?)