"Time to get back to work!" Angie declared as she pushed away her lunch tray littered with empty fast food wrappers. She flipped some of her long chestnut curls as she waited for her two friends sitting at the table to join her exit of the mall food court.
The redhead dressed in black, Jan, still nibbling her way through a vegetarian pita, nodded. "Yeah, can't afford to lose a job in this economy. Even if it sucks."
The young woman in short black emo hairstyle, Cam, grunted, "Don't talk to me about sucky. At least you have a ok job. I'd rather work in a bookstore instead of a donut shop. I go home every day smelling like I've been deep fried."
Jan smirked as the trio walked out of the court and through the mall's cavernous corridors sadly unde-rpopulated with shoppers. "It's not that great the bookstore. Their idea of fine literature is a Judith Kranz novel."
"Hey Cam," Angie interjected. "Don't I have a respectable job?"
Cam snorted, "I'd rather be deep fried than, like, working at the Lacy's Department Store make up counter. You're collaborating in the perpetuation of the objectification of women which has enslaved the sex for centuries."
Jan rolled her eyes. "You had to get her started.
Angie smiled, "I want to make sure she gets plenty of mileage out of her gender studies degree."
"She doesn't need any help with that. She can't go 15 minutes without bringing sexism into a discussion."
"Like you can't go 15 minutes without going on about the Ayn Ryand." Anne shot back.
"Hey, Ryand's Objectivist Philosophy is just what we need to combat the assault on the heroic individual in the modern era."
"The assault on the individual is just a subset of the continued enslavement of women..."
"Ok, break it you two." Angie laughed. "You can turn the dogma off. We've got a couple months before we go back to college. Hey, check out that! A new store opened. It looks popular too." She pointed to a group gathered at a store window across the mall, the most number of shoppers they had seen in one place all summer break. A sign over the store entrance declared "Luscious Lingerie"
The three detoured to get a look though Cam protested, "We shouldn't be supporting this. Stores like this sell links in the chains of bondage forged by the patriarchy!"
"Oh hush!" Angie hissed as the got close enough to see what the crowd was so interested in. The group was staring at a store mannequin displaying a velvet burgundy-colored corset. It was obviously feminine and on the curvy/busty side of voluptuous. Her short hair was a flaming pink and her nails and lips had been painted to match. She was posed with her head slightly turned to profile. One hand fell beside her hip, the other was raised as if it was gesturing to some unseen person or object.
The closer Angie, Jan and Cam looked the more they realized why the mannequin was attracting so much attention. The level of detail in its features was too exact. Its surface appeared too soft. Its color was too real. Its eyes, though blank and unblinking, sparkled like no paint ever could.
Angie gasped what the others were all thinking, "Oh my god, she's real! She's alive."
The other people in the crowd shared her awe.
"I've been looking at her 10 minutes and I haven't seen her even blink." Said one.
"I can't even see her breathe."
"She can't be real"
"May she is like a holo ... thing."
"Hologram you idiot and you watch too much science fiction."
The three young women lingered in the crowd, waiting for some betraying movement to prove the figure's humanity but they received none. Time ticked away but the trio found it hard to pull there eyes away.
"Come on girls." Angie said finally, "We're already way late for work."
Cam nodded as they left the crowd. "Fuckin' slut. She is setting back the cause of her gender back decades, maybe even a century."
"Hmph!" Jan protested. "She is entitled to do what she wants with her body."
"Even if it negatively impacts her whole sex!?" Cam shot back.
"It's an individual's choice to make! She is not a slave to the masses." Jan retorted.
"She is a slave to the patriarchy!" Cam said at a near yell.
"I think she was kind of hot." Angie said in a low voice.
Jan and Kim's jaws dropped in mid argument.
"Eeewww!" They said in unison.
Angie shrugged off the reaction.
"You saw the attention she was getting from guys ... and girls."
"You can get those looks too if you wore less, a lot less." Jan scoffed.
"And you danced around a pole!" Cam added.
Angie blushed and twisted a curly lock around her finger. "It's got to be, like, the most incredible turn-on being frozen and just drinking in all that desire and envy. You could feel the connection between her and the people staring at her. It was electric."
"You're are so naïve" Jan replied.
Cam snorted. "You've been sniffing too much perfume at the sales counter."
"Last time I confide in you two!" Angie laughed. "Here's my work, see you later."
"Ask for a transfer to the store window." Cam teased.
Angie gave her a quick middle finger and went back to work.
That afternoon Cam and Jan met at the bus stop.
"Bus will be here soon and no sign of Angie." Jan noted.
Cam shrugged. "Must be working late."
"You don't think she's mad us for making fun of her, do you?"
"Naw, she can take a joke."
When Cam and Jan met at the food court for lunch the next day, all they could talk about was Angie's sudden disappearance.
"Her mom said she, like, decided to go back to school? Like last night?" Cam said in disbelief.
"Yup." Jan said before stuffing her mouth with some Chinese noodles.
"Just like that?"
"Yeah. I said it was strange but her mom didn't think so."
"That's pretty strange in itself. Her mother is, like, the Apache of helicopter moms."
"Even stranger, she doesn't pick up her cell."
"So she IS pissed at us for teasing her."
"Really pissed. We're even cause I'm pissed she would just take off like that."
"You're pissed because you won't be able to borrow any money from her."
"No, I am pissed because I was using her to get to her brother. He is like totally hot."
"Slut!" Jan joked.
"Guilty as charged." Cam said looking at her cell phone for the time. "Time to get back to work."
The two passed the lingerie store again, and, again there was a crowd in front of the store window.
"Assholes." Cam grumbled.
"I did some online research on the store last night." Jan said.
Kim gave a skeptical scowl.
"As a business model." Jan sighed, "It has an interesting story. It was started by a famous French model turned lingerie designer back in the seventies, Marie Luscious.
"What was she? The Martha Stewart of underwear?" Kim joked.
"Not really, the store mostly did high end stuff in big cities like New York Paris and LA. You could only shop at the store by invitation. Luscious left the company in the mid 80s after she was diagnosed with some real bad cancer. She was, like, obsessed with beating death and the tabloids said she was hangin' out with weirdo mystical types, shamans and yogis, that sort of thing."
"Did she croak?"
"No one knows. Since she left, the company went downhill. The store was about to go bankrupt, but they got an infusion of cash from somewhere. They've opened up stores in malls everywhere and are doing real well. The living mannequin thing has gotten them lots of free press."
"Typical. Using women in bondage to sell the chains of slavery. They are selling us the rope for us to hang ourselves with."
"Don't over analyze everything They are just giving people what they want. Hey, they got a new model in the lingerie store window."
Cam shrugged but she could tell Jan wanted to take a look.
"Come on, you fetishista, lets see what they're serving up next inp their debasement display."
The two detoured over to the store expecting to just glide past but, at the window, one glance at the model made them stop dead in their tracks.
She was a long-limbed young beauty, a near paragon of the goddess Diana. Her slim body was near perfectly sculpted by athleticism but not so much that it looked masculine or bony. The definition of muscles in her arms, legs and taut belly accented her curves, making them all the more delicious. The notches of her hourglass figure made a narrow waist between firm shoulders and a pleasant flare out to the hips.
Her pose had her standing with her hands on her hips, giving playful look from beneath bangs of bright powder blue hair that fell to just above her similarly painted eyebrows in front and well down her back behind her. She modeled a bra with a black flowery pattern that pressed her breasts together to make a dark inviting line of cleavage. A panty, with the same pattern as the bra, barely covered about all it was intended to cover. Straps from her slow slung garter belt connected to to the dark stockings that decorated her long legs. Her feet were arched in glossy black shoes with heels of several inches.
Like her predecessor she stood impossibly still in the store window, a mannequin in pose if not in fact.
Of coarse, it was not only the breathtaking beauty of the model that captivated Jan and Cam's attention, nor her eerily remarkable ability to remain completely still. What interested them most about the model was Angie.
For a good ten minutes, Kim and Cam stood in dumbfounded silence staring at Angie oblivious to the appreciative stares and comments their posed friend drew from the crowd.
Finally Jan blurted, "Wow, Angie has been working out."
"Yeah!" Cam murmured in shock. "Nice abs." Then she shook her head as if trying to wake from a dream. "How can she do this!"
"The store must have given her a crash training course on being a mannequin." Jan replied. "She is good at it."
"No, I mean how can she do this after everything I said yesterday, how can she turn gender traitor!?" Cam cried. She pushed her way to the store window and banged on it. "You hear that Angie!? You're a traitor!"
The crowd's member gave a uniform gasp, first at Cam's audacity and then at Angie's poise. She didn't flinch at Cam's outburst. She didn't even blink.
Jan worked her way forward and made some silly faces and gestures to try and get Angie to move but she was unsuccessful as Cam. Even though Angie's expression had not changed it seemed to sparkle with an aura of mischievous defiance. The crowd appreciated Angie's refusal to budge. Some even clapped. This only added fuel to the fire of Cam's anger.
Cam beckoned to Jan. "Let's get her out of there!" She grumbled, stomping into the store and heading to the display window.
They might have made it had not a store clerk rushed over to block her way. "Store displays are not to be disturbed." the Clerk said firmly.
"Don't worry." Cam replied sizing up the Clerk while deciding whether a push or kick in the shins might be the best way to incapacitate her. "The display and us go way back."
The Clerk snapped her fingers and a large barrel-chested security guard appeared beside her. "Frank. Escort these two out of the store."
Frank took each girl firmly by the arm. "Let go you big gorilla!" Jan squeaked.
"We want to talk to our friend!" Cam cried.
The guard was wearing an earpiece. Someone must have told him something over it as he paused and nodded. He shoved Jam and Cam out of the store and told them flatly. "If you want to talk about you friend, come back an hour after closing. That's 10:30."
"Thanks for nothing, asshole!" Cam yelled back.
"Jesus, Cam!" Jan moaned. "What are we going to do!?"
"Get back to work for one. Then come back here tonight to find out what the fuck is going on!"
Jan and Cam returned at the appointed time easily enough. Even though the mall was closed, the night security guard was more interested in texting on his cell than hassling them about being in the mall so late. When they arrived at the store the gate was pulled half way down.
"Shouldn't we have called the police?" Jan stammered.
"And tell them what? Our friend has been kidnapped and made to model lingerie against her will?" Cam replied.
"When you put it that way..." Jan conceded.
The two ducked under the gate and entered the dimly lit store. Women's underwear was laid out in patterns on tables. Larger lingerie pieces hung from racks.
In the center of the room was pink-haired model they had first seen in the store window still wearing her purple velvet corset, her face still stuck in its steamy stare. Cam boldly approached her. Jan was more cautious, moving like she was on a cliff face and afraid of heights, ready to dart at first sign of trouble.
Cam waved her hand close to the model's eyes to see if she blinked. She didn't even flinch. Cam touched the model's shoulder.
"She's warm!" She blurted.
"Check her heartbeat." Jan whispered.
Cam gave her a skeptical look. "You want me to feel her up?"
"Use your ear, you idiot!" Jan complained.
Cam put her ear up to the woman's breast and then felt around her wrist.
"She's got a heartbeat and a pulse but they're real slow." Cam said.
"Weird!" Jan exclaimed. "It's like she's in suspended animation."
Cam peered around the room. "Angie's not here."
"This store has the same layout as my bookstore. There will be two more rooms in back and then a storage room."
"Ok, let's check em out." Cam growled.
"What if this is a trap or something. I am staying close to the exit."
"Don't be so scared. I'm packing." She lifted her shirt to show a small pistol tucked into her pant's waistline. "It's my Dad's"
"Do you know how to use that thing?"
"What's to know? You just point and squeeze the trigger." Cam replied matter of factly. "'Sides, it's, like, just to scare people. I don't even know if it's loaded."
"Great!" Jan grumbled sarcastically. "I feel way safer now!"
Cam grabbed her arm and pulled her deeper into the store. "Don't freak out on me. Come on, let's find Angie."
Slowly, the two entered the next room. Two figures were on either side of the entrance. "Trap!" Jan cried and took a breath to scream.
"Chill!" Cam hissed. "They're models like Angie and the one back there."
Jan regained her composure and took a closer look at the new living mannequins they had encountered.
To the left was a kneeling long-necked woman with a heart-shaped face and braided bright unnaturally yellow hair. A rectangular panel of silk was draped across her front, from chest to thigh, barely held there by flimsy spaghetti straps over her shoulders and her sides, all joining together in the middle of her naked back like an elongated spider web. The cloth over her front, the way it caught the outline of her plump breasts and thick nipples, the way a whisper of her hips' curves peeked out on either side, heightened the allure of what it concealed.
Her skin was light but luminescent, not pale. She almost shined like an angel but the "come hither" look frozen on her painted face was less than holy.
The woman on the right was of a darker tone, her skin tanned as if she were born on some South Pacific isle but her features were Caucasian. Her elongated slim body was stretched in a lazy pose against the wall, her head turned slightly to the side with a coy look peering from her shoulder length silver hair.
She was in a state of decorated undress. Her breasts were cupped by a skimpy floral halter from which a long triangular piece of see-through nylon stretched down her long tummy where it joined with a low-slung panty that covered as much as the most minimal modesty required.
"This is an underwear party gone crazy." Cam complained.
Jan peered closely at the kneeling model. "Hey, I think this is Trish Yearly." She exclaimed.
Cam nodded after she had a closer look, "Yeah, you're right. I haven't seen her since graduation. Wasn't she going to start a modeling career."
"I guess she succeeded but maybe not in the way she expected." Jan said, shifting uneasily.
Cam inspected the face of the standing woman. "Look at this one. Doesn't she look like Holly Goodman?"
"Holly Goody-two-shoes? Gosh, she is such a Jesus freak, she'd think she'd burn in hell just to even look at a store like this."
Cam nodded. "Yeah, I think it's her."
" "Like no way. She is a total beanpole."
"You're one to talk." Cam laughed. "You're so thin I can hardly see when you stand sideways."
"You're one to talk, thunder thighs!" Jan shot back.
Cam's eyes flared. "You total bitch!"
The subject of weight was a sore one for both women: Jan couldn't gain any and Cam had a hard time keeping it off. Though they had many a heated argument begin this way, Cam shrugged off her anger.
"Ok, let's chill. Remember why we're here."
"Yeah." Jan agreed. "What we got one more room to check out?"
"One more show room and then the store room." Cam corrected.
"Shit, I was afraid you were going to say that."
Jan and Cam entered the last showroom.
"Hey, if I tell you something weird, you promise you won't laugh?" Jan whispered.
"Uh-huh." Cam answered.
Jan winced, "Whenever we look at one of these mannequin people I totally get turned on."
"Yeah, me too." Cam answered. "When we were looking at Holly, I totally had the urge to swipe the sluttiest thing here and go throw myself down for Angie's brother. Speaking of Angie, there she is."
They slowly walked over to where Angie had been posed--on the far wall where a light shined down to spotlight her body.
Cam gave Angie a pinch but got no reaction as Jan marveled at her frozen friend.
"Like, wasn't she a little moley?" Jan mused. "Her skin is n't spotty at all."
"Hmmm." Cam mused. "You're right. She had a scar on her shoulder too and that's gone. So whoever made Angie and the others mannequins changed their bodies too."
"Man!" Jan muttered. "Like these are not the kind of applications you should find in an panty store."
"Well, whoever is behind this isn't showing themselves. So we'll have to check the store room.
"Oh no way!" Jan moaned. "Can't we just grab Angie and go?"
"What are we gonna do Jan, take her to a doctor and tell him she's come down with a case of mannequinitus? The only way we're gonna undo this is to find the person that did it."
Jan had no argument to respond and nodded sadly.
"Come on." Cam said. The storeroom is down here past this hall where the changing rooms are."
Jan looked down the short corridor which ended with the storeroom door. One either side were three doors to the changing room stalls.
"If this doesn't say trap, I don't know what does." Jan complained.
"You want me to pull out my gun?"
"Naw, that'll make this whole sitch even more dangerous."
"Thanks for that vote of confidence. You stay here if you're so scared. I'll check the changing rooms."
Cam opened each door and peered inside but found only the same thing: mirror, clothes rack, plush bench. When she reached the storeroom door she took the knob and turned to Jan.
"This is the last place to check. Moment of truth is in here I guess. Coming?"
"Yeah." Jan said sadly. "Let me just get something to fight with."
"What are you gonna get, a clothes hanger? Come on!"
"Just wait, maybe I can get a rod off one of these clothes rack." Jan complained.
"Oh you're useless anyway." Cam said as she opened the door and went into the storeroom.
Jan cursed her friend as she disappeared into a store room and pried at the rack, waiting to here a shout or scream from Cam. When nothing came loose Jan sat on a bench with her head in her hands.
Still nothing from Cam. Jan stood, debating whether to run or go into the storeroom. Jan admitted to herself that she had simply lost her nerve. Waiting back here she could make a run for it if something happened to Cam or meet up with her if something didn't.
While waiting, she took a look at herself in the changing room mirror. Her black pants and sweater and white t-shirt were tight but still concealed the near bulimic qualities of her body.
She was pale and gaunt. You could see faint trails of veins on either side of her forehead. A lot of people told her she was lucky to be thin but she didn't think so. Jan tried to shake off her introspection. "Shit, where is Cam!" She thought. "That's it, I'm outta here!"
Only Jan couldn't pull away from looking at herself in the mirror. She remained before it, staring. In fact, she had no control of her body at all. Instead of her reflection matching her moves, she was matching those of her reflection.
It leaned forward to get a look at her face, frowning as it inspected her thin skin. Then it smiled, and Jan did so simultaneously, to show that it knew that Jan now knew she was under its control.
Together they tugged up the bottom of their sweaters and pulled them off. Jan tried to mouth a protest but she could not even so much as curl her lip on her own.
She and her reflection pulled off their shirts.
"What the hell is going on!" Jan screamed in her mind.
No answer came, they were removing shoes, trousers and panties, tossing them into a pile. Completely nude, she studied herself, first scanning her front and then craning back to check out her bony behind. Jan didn't know which was worse, losing complete control of herself or her reflections look of distaste at their skeletal form.
The reflection reached to Jan and she extended her arms to it at the same time, their palms meeting on the mirror's cool surface. Their hands glowed as they touched and burned with a pleasant warm sensation. Jan moaned, an instinctual reaction from her flesh humming as the warm caress of the glow swept up her arms and flowed over her whole body. Her vision was obscured as she leaned her head back, still sighing involuntarily, but she could sense her body was changing somehow.
The effects of the change appeared mental too. The fright caused by her possession eased almost completely to the point that she ceased to care about it. In fact, she was finding it increasing hard to care about anything. Her capacity to think was slowing to a crawl.
Finally, the glow receded, flowing back up her body down her arms and back into the mirror. Jan hardly noticed, her mind vacant, her eyes still seeing but her mind not contemplating much of what she saw. The reflection stared at her new self with her reflection's obvious delight in the change. Her skin had pleasantly plumped up to cover up the outlines of her bones.
Instead of the hard shapes of shoulders and pelvis, there were now shapely curves. Her breasts had jumped a couple of sizes. Her skin had darkened to a healthy olive skinned cast. Her curly locks, her eyebrows even her pubic hair was now a dark purple. Her nails and lips were painted the same color.
Both turned to the clothing rack from which now dangled light blue panty briefs. On the floor below were a pair of four inch heels of a matching color.
They took the panties and slid them up her legs. Next they slipped into the heels and posed before the mirror.
"Jan! Where are you! No one was in the storeroom." Cam yelled in the hallway. Jan swooned for a moment as if waking from deep slumber. Her consciousness only had a flicker of its former strength
"Here!" She blurted, stumbling clumsily out of the dressing room and nearly bumping into Cam.
Not recognizing Jan immediately, Cam squealed and pushed her away. Jan stepped back, with slumped shoulders and a confused glassy-eyed stare as if she didn't know what to do next and wouldn't do a thing until someone told her.
Cam glanced at Jan's face and found enough of her friend's features. Surprise quickly turned to anger when Cam realized who the near naked purple haired beauty was.
"Jesus fuckin' Christ, Jan, what the hell happened to you!" She cried.
The only word Jan could muster to explain was, "Dunno." Anything more was too complicated for her to form into thoughts let alone words.
Cam's eyes narrowed.
"We're being fucked with big time. Let's get out of here!"
Jan found some will cutting through her fog but all she could manage to say was, "Kay."
"You can't go home like this!" Cam groaned. "Dag! Where are your clothes!?"
It was an easy question but Jan had to concentrate to answer.
"There." She said with effort, pointing to the dressing room.
"Wait here." Cam told Jan. She needn't have bothered. If Jan wasn't asked a question her mind slipped easily into an empty holding mode that left her staring into space.