Typically, the man huddling on the subway platform, arms wrapped tightly around his chest, knees bent and bouncing lightly, head hunkered down and staring at the sticky floor, was ignored by his fellow waiting travelers. Even when he began moaning slightly, his groans low but just loud enough to be heard, nobody quite dared to approach to see what might be the matter. As was customary in New York, nobody talked to the obviously mentally ill. He in turn played his part by studiously avoiding their gaze. Only when the rush of air from the tunnel blew over him did he cautiously look up, seeing finally the spots of light in the distance that signaled the arrival of the next train.
He stepped close to the platform edge - too close, really - and was rocked back as the sleek, gray-metal first car exploded out of the darkness. His position was well selected. The train slowed, and its doors opened practically in front of him. The crowd getting out made an instinctive space around the unkempt, brown-coated man, and he was the first to climb aboard, immediately sitting down in a far corner and drawing his legs up onto the seat in front of him. He bent his head down into his knees and closed his eyes, praying.
He had to get out of the city. It was too unsafe.
People around him scrambled on and off the train, but the crowd was light. He had chosen a good time to travel; there were only about a dozen people sharing the car with him. The train lurched suddenly and began moving, quickly picking up speed. Lights flickered past outside. The metal floorboards hummed. Where others looked out the windows, read their newspapers, or talked to their fellow commuters, the man - shivering now - continued to contemplate the darkness in front of him. He didn’t see the woman walking past him to get to the next car section until it was too late.
The brakes came on too hard at the station. There was a short cry as one passenger bumped into another at the other end of the car. The woman, an attractive blonde in a green sweater and plaid skirt, lost her grip on her book bag, reached up to grab the handle above her, missed, and fell practically into the other man’s lap.
“Ohmigod, I’m sorry,” the woman said, almost at once getting back to her feet. She met the man’s eyes and immediately pegged him as a homeless vagrant. She bent down to pick up one of her escaped books, hoping she wouldn’t have to speak to him again.
“No,” the man whispered softly. Tears swelled up in his eyes.
Without warning he jumped up and ran past the woman, startling her enough to make her let go of her books again. Heads turned as the man screamed by. “Nooo!”
He pounced over to the double doors and slammed his fists against them furiously, rattling the glass back and forth in a vain effort to get them to open faster. The other passengers stayed clear. The car slowed to a crawl. Travelers on the outside could see the man inside screaming to be let out. Steam hissed up from the narrow gap between the train and the waiting platform. The doors slid open finally, and the panicked man rushed through them, running as fast as he could, screaming in apparent agony.
All in all, though, it was still just another typical night on the subway.
Polly watched the crazy man leave and counted herself lucky that he had so easily.
Jeeze, she thought. All I did was bump into ya. She looked at the door to the next car, then abruptly decided just to sit down. Changing cars was too much trouble. Picking up her books and settling her book bag beside her, she reached into her purse and pulled out a small mirror, automatically checking her features for damage.
Her side hurt a little where the guy pushed past her, but if that was all there was to show for the incident, that wasn’t too bad. Living in New York had its hazards, especially for a young woman like herself. The guy could just have easily pulled a knife on her.
Polly closed her compact and smiled at the people around. No harm done, she projected. Just one more little thing that makes this such a wonderful city to live in. She reached behind her to get her economics text. The test tomorrow was going to be a killer. And, of course, she had to work too. The temp service had another contract. It never ended.
The professor made an interesting comment about values in that last chapter. Maybe . . .
SNAP. Polly pitched forward and fell into the aisle. The force came abruptly from behind; something cold and tight wrapped around her throat. The book flew from her hands and smashed into the thick window just above the seat in front of her. Her fingers reached up and grasped a cold metal ring, pressed snugly against her neck.
Polly looked up and saw herself dimly reflected in the window. There was a thick, medieval-looking collar all at once affixed around her neck. A chain was linked through an eye-hook in back and stretched up toward the ceiling, into the darkness. The slack in it disappeared almost at once - Polly grunted once in utter surprise and was pulled first to her feet, then to the very tips of her toes. The motion was so rapid, so inhumanly fast, she hardly had time to think. Her eyes looked around wildly.
She managed to scream once, a long panicky wail, but almost immediately her cry was muzzled by a thick, black piece of rubber that came flying out of the darkness, burying itself between her teeth and plunging down her throat. Leather straps flew around and snapped shut in back, gagging her completely.
Polly’s hands reached up to grab the chain, maybe pull it down so she could stand flat-footed again, but cold metal cracked first against one wrist, then the other. Weight pulled down on her arms, and Polly saw just for an instant two other sets of chains attaching themselves to her wrists. An instant later her whole body was pulled forward, and she was suspended, caught between three different sets of cables. She tried turning her head, but it was nearly impossible. The gag and the collar worked together to force her face upward toward the blackness above. Straining, her eyes fell on her fellow passengers. They were just sitting there! Some of them were reading, and others were talking. One little boy with his mother was playing with a small model airplane.
Polly tried to scream at them, but her gag was in too tight. Her teeth pressed down into the dense rubber. No one came to help her. The passengers were completely ignoring what was going on. It was like they couldn’t see her at all!
Polly felt the back of her sweater part, the seams unwaveling as fast as a zipper. A warm, leather-clad hand slipped itself between her skirt and skin and pulled, ripping the thick cloth away in a vicious flourish. The cold air in the subway washed down upon her nyloned legs and panties. Polly turned her eyes to see, and, as if in response, the light seemed to flicker and shift in some nauseating fashion. A man in a thick leather and rubber mask was standing next to her, metal studs outlining his cheeks and zippers describing his mouth and eyes. It was a vision straight out of the worst sadomasochistic nightmare Polly could imagine.
The leather and zippers covered every part of him, from head to crotch to toe. The leather chaps gleamed with rubbing oil, and the vest and arm coverings were worn and supple. The horrifying figure reached out and pulled her bra apart from her body, the fabric melting in his grip. Polly struggled helplessly, her arms stretched out in front of her by chains attached to the wooden stile pressed close to the dungeon walls.
Dungeon!? The burning, flickering light of torches lit the underground room they were suddenly in . . . just the two of them, prisoner and keeper. Polly’s panties and shoes were torn from her, and she was totally naked before her captor, her nipples hard and erect.
The leather-man gestured. Like giant bats, flowing black shapes flew through the air and wrapped themselves around the futilely fighting female. A tight rubber bra-thing formed around her chest, cupping and lifting the bottom half of her breasts but leaving most of their creamy swell and nipples open to the air. There was a momentary jerk on her neck leash - she choked again briefly - and suddenly black latex slipped past both her feet and streamed up her legs, coating them in liquid ebony all the way to the thigh.
The chains around her wrists tugged and pulled her arms behind her back. Their connected manacles disappeared in an instant but were replaced almost as quickly by a single long encasing glove that pulled her arms together as one. A leather strap slipped in between Polly’s legs and linked up with the armbinding glove, stretched out, and connected to a leather harness set in the stone ceiling. Her collar chain let go, and the rubber-bound girl was pulled vigorously into the air, encased and suspended in a black half-crouching position. The motions were fast, the unfastening and refastenings occurring in the blink of an eye. All the while, the leather-clad demon watched silently.
Polly couldn’t hardly move at all anymore. The strap between her legs pressed close against her sex, dripping with uncontrollable dampness. Her abductor reached out with hands of rubber and studded metal and undid the clasp in her hair, letting her blonde locks fall past her creamy shoulders. Their paleness contrasted sharply with the latex.
The needle appeared in his hands as if by magic. He injected the struggling girl in the rump and stood back to watch her final transformation. The rubber harnesses had pulled her into a magnificent pose. It was a position perfectly destined for immortality.
Polly felt a coldness cascade through her body, radiating in a circular pattern from where the needle had entered. Her eyes widened in mixed fear and delight - the sensation felt deliciously chill! An irresistible passion seized her, and suddenly, against all reason or logic, Polly felt herself burning for the man in leather, aching for his leathery touch. But it was too late for that. Her muscles locked, trapping her in a prison of her body. Even the tiny, practically unnoticeable motions of her prior resistance halted.
Her pale skin grew even paler . . . the skin hardened, calcifying to a pristine white. Her hair fused together into a single mass. Polly’s rapid breathing slowed and finally stopped, though she didn’t die. She would never die now. A blooming wave of pleasure passed through her, incredibly amplified by her bondage . . . her hardening skin encased so snug and nice . . . the way her breasts were sculptured and her legs spread . . . the insulated sensation growing into a perpetual, flowering orgasm of titanic proportions.
Then . . . ecstasy.
The white marble statue gently lowered to the ground, its latex encasements falling away to reveal a clean, glossy nude, still a little warm from the heat of her leached humanity.
She would chill soon enough, though.
The man ran as fast as he could. He swept up the smelly, broken steps of the subway exit, avoiding contact with everybody, and emerged into a neighborhood he didn’t recognize. The buildings were a decayed brown and gray. The only greens were those of the occasional odd-colored garbage bag. The wrecks of cars sat in rows along the sidewalk, and the strange, somewhat arcane signatures of local street gangs decorated dingy walls in faded red and black. The visitor looked up and saw that the street lamps were almost all broken. He felt exposed, like a rabbit sitting in the middle of the road might feel with a car bearing down on him. He walked quickly, head down.
The graffiti continued to either side of him. He turned a corner and saw one large scrawl in vivid yellow: Can’t we talk, Jerry? The man jumped and turned in the opposite direction.
Broken children’s toys littered the front stoop of one building, its stairs cracked and worn, and the little doll heads sitting on them seemed to wink at him as he passed by. The man walked up to a second corner and saw a closed newspaper stand. A pile of trash sat beside it - McDonald’s wrappings, cigarette cartons, and a plethora of empty beer cans. The man looked at the refuse, and his eyes narrowed. He picked up one of the discarded headlines: Come home. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The man screamed and flung the paper away, running blindly to his left, and immediately he collided with a young black couple, knocking the thin man to the sidewalk.
The woman, attractive in faded jeans and a yellow blouse, let out a shrill scream herself in sudden surprise. She backed up a step to watch the two men scrambling on the sidewalk.
“Hey, goddammit . . . you good for nothing, sonofabitchin’ bum!” The black man got to his feet. He had on a denim jacket, and the man who had bumped into him saw some kind of gang insignia on the back. “I’m sorry,” he said desperately, scooting away. “For God’s sake, I’m so very, very sorry.” He sobbed and ran. The other fellow tried to grab him, but his hand just slid off of the vagrant’s torn and musty coat.
“Son of a bitch!” Ken spit at the departing figure. “Knock me down and run away . . . that’s right, you better run away!” He shook his fist in the air.
Alice slipped an arm around his waist. “Forget about him, he’s just a bum.” She laughed. “You looked pretty funny fallin’ on your ass.” She stood with one hand on her hip, smiling wickedly. She was swinging her purse around merrily with the other.
Ken stared at his girlfriend for a moment, trying to look stern, then he gave in and smiled.
“Well, we’ll just let it go . . . this time.” He slipped his arm around Alice and pulled her close for a quick kiss. They snuggled, and he brushed his lips past her ear. “He looked pretty damn scared, didn’t he? Must’ve thought I was gonna kill ‘em or somethin’.”
“You couldn’t kill a mouse, gangsta,” Alice giggled. He frowned at her, and she kissed him again. They resumed walking back to her house. It had been a great movie, and she was glad their little accident hadn’t ruined things. “I think maybe he was scared of somethin’ else.”
“What?” Ken waved an arm about. “Just you and me and the block, that’s all.”
Alice shrugged and leaned her head against her boyfriend’s shoulder. They walked in silence for a few minutes and turned the corner on her street. It was getting late, and her Daddy tended to worry when she was out with Ken . . . unfairly so. He was worried his little girl was getting involved in all that gang stuff.
Well, maybe Ken was in a gang, but around here, you just had to. It was a fact of life.
“You don’t think anybody was chasin’ him, do you?” Alice asked. Ken turned his head towards her and saw she was trying just a bit to be serious. He looked back at the street.
“Possible, I suppose.” He hugged her close. “But we’re safe, baby. I’d never let . . .”
There was a loud pop abruptly, and silver things flew through the air at them. The one remaining street lamp blew out. Ken dived for cover as quickly as he could, pulling Alice down with him, instinct taking over. A drive-by! his first thought was . . . and then the metal chain that had lashed itself around his neck pulled tight, and he was yanked up and off of his girl. The big blazing brazier in the corner illuminated the stark quality of the underground space he suddenly found himself in. What the hell? he thought.
A big leather-type - bondage written all over him - was standing next to the fire. The glow of it made the silver studs and zippers on his costume turn a shimmering red. Ken went for his knife, but more silver chains snaked down from the ceiling, the clasps at their ends grabbing at his wrists and ankles. The switchblade fell harmlessly to the floor. The chains stretched taught, and the young man was flipped over into the air, suspended, and spread-eagled above the cold, damp floor.
Alice tried to run, but there was nowhere to go. There were no doors or openings anywhere in the dungeon. More chains descended, and in moments she was similarly caught and suspended, her screams echoing off of the stone-walled chamber.
Their captor walked up to them in silence. His hands twisted behind him for a second, and they came back around brandishing a huge silvery knife. Ken screamed himself at the sight of it, especially when the guy began swinging it down and over his body. But the blade didn’t even so much as nick him. It wasn’t meant to. A few spins and rapid cuts, and Ken’s clothes lay in a dark pile beneath him.
His lean dark body seemed carved from ebony wood in the odd light.
“Who are you?” Ken screamed. All he got for a reply was a tube down his throat attached to a rubber ball forced between his teeth. He struggled for air and didn’t notice as the dominator returned with what looked like a motorcycle helmet.
The man moved with incredible speed. He forced the helmet up and over Ken’s head and was strapping it in around his chin before the young man realized what was even happening. Then the noise started, a persistent buzzing sound that penetrated all the way to his brain. A pressure built up on Ken’s skull . . . and abruptly all he wanted to do was scream. He would do anything if he could only scream.
The leather captor turned to Alice next. A few flicks of his knife, and she was as beautifully naked as her companion. He let her scream almost until the last . . . it was important that her mouth remained open. The chains at her ankles, wrists, and neck shifted. From a horizontal spread-eagled position in the air, the girl was suddenly put upright again, though her feet still hung suspended inches from the stone floor. She was totally helpless to prevent her captor from moving a large pumping machine next to her. A long metal cylinder rose vertically from the device, and a circular nozzle was turned to face her. Leather straps hung from either side of it.
The figure in black worked silently and efficiently. He was an expert, a true professional. He positioned the nozzle close to Alice’s face and then pushed it out and into her mouth, using the straps to ensure a tight connection. From the pumping machine he attached a long plastic tube and pushed its tapered end up through the girl’s rectum.
She struggled helplessly. Other tubes were subsequently positioned over her breasts and vagina. When he was finished, Alice looked like a fly caught in a spider’s web of chains of plastic hoses. The abductor gazed at the machine for a moment, and it activated on its own. Strange fluids began pumping into the young girl’s body even as other tubes carefully began extracting. Her hips jumped back and forth without her volition. Her eyes rolled out of control.
Their captor looked over at Ken. Obeying a silent command, the chains adjusted their position as they had done with Alice. The young man was made to stand nearly on his feet again, naked save for the bulky arrangement around his head. From out of the dungeon’s corners shiny black latex flew, wrapping around the subject and encasing him from his neck down in a gleaming inky polymer. His conversion was almost complete.
The figure resumed his concentration on the girl - her transformation was the trickier one. He adjusted a knob on the pumping machine and tapped a readout dial.
Alice’s flesh began to change in texture. It lightened by a few small degrees and became a light chocolate brown, shiny in certain places around his hips and arms. The tube attachments to her breasts kneaded the soft, pliable flesh. Alice’s modest bosom began to expand, ballooning outward into two large, beautifully-shaped buxom hemispheres.
The chains holding her detached, but she remained in position held by the tube up her ass and the other stuck down her widening, increasingly O-shaped mouth. She was pinched between the two. The girl’s arms lowered to her sides, and her elbows involuntarily bent forward at a severe angle, as if she were trying to hold someone to her.
Her legs spread apart into a sharply defined V-shape.
At first, Alice was frightened by all the noise and activity, but after a few minutes it all seemed to become quite natural . . . save, that is, for a curious empty feeling growing inside her. She began to rather desperately need for something - anything! - to plug her desperately aching, needy love channels. She quite forgot about everything else.
Her flesh took on a very pleasant luster.
Meanwhile, the buzzing from Ken’s helmet finally ceased. The dominator turned and beckoned to the newly created robot, and he approached. The leather-man looked down at Ken’s shiny new organ, a perpetually erect and magnificent pleasure tool designed for maximum durability, and then up again at the robot’s head. The helmet had softened and merged with the permanently-bonded latex bodysuit, creating an almost insect-like appearance . . . half-mantis, half-motorcycle champion. The lean shape of the sexbot’s body promised exertions unhampered by mortal constitutions.
“what . . are . . your . . orders?” the transformed Ken asked, his voice a total monotone.
Their captor/transformer didn’t answer but examined Alice instead. Unnoticed, her tubes had pulled free on their own, leaving a lovely and eminently desirable sextoy briefly floating in the air. The leather-clad figure caught her - she was as light as a feather now - and with gestures instructed Ken to take the new lovedoll down to the shipping office.
She would make a wonderful gift for a friend.
As, of course, would Ken.
The man ran until he was exhausted. The sun was slowly rising over the skyscrapers.
He could feel what the Abductor had done. He could see the cold, impersonal walls of his underground lair . . .though not truly underground. The Abductor’s lair was nowhere . . . and everywhere too, all at the same time. Ever since the first time, with that waitress in the bar, drinking to forget and always being unable to, the Abductor went everywhere he did, took whomever he made contact with, however briefly.
There had been dozens now, at least.
The man fell down against an alley wall, crying. He had tried to avoid people, but it was so hard. It was impossible to avoid everyone, especially with no money, no food. His fists pounded the pavement, his hands clad in worn woolen gloves as thin as paper.
A passerby with a radio playing walked past the alleyway entrance. The salsa music was momentarily interrupted by an odd mechanical-sounding voice. “You’re just making it more difficult for yourself, Jerry,” it said. “We want you to work with us willingly.”
“Damn station,” the passerby said, hitting his boombox and getting back his music.
No. That was impossible. He would never go back to them.
They wanted his help. The Artists liked him. They liked his work. But he couldn’t . . . wouldn’t. He had toured with them for almost two years, compelled, the show he had created selling out in nearly every venue. But then, blessedly, it was over, finally over, and he was allowed to walk out on them and begin the serious work of drinking himself to death. The Artists had left him alone, at first. They probably had hoped that something would inspire him again, in time . . . but apparently they could no longer wait.
Neither should I, the man thought, getting up. He believed that if he could just have left the city, he might have stood a chance. But it was a foolish notion. There was only one thing he could do now.
The man closed his eyes briefly but was afraid to sleep, concerned that someone might try to wake him. That would be bad, very bad. He staggered a moment before regaining his balance and looked out the alley into the street. It was early, but there were still plenty of cars out there. The man saw a television flash a message in the window opposite him: Don’t do it, Jerry. You’ll regret it.
I only regret not doing it sooner, he thought, and ran out into the middle of the road.
There was a roaring sound, and then blackness.
A traveling beauty contest, Charlie.
Floating in darkness, the man found after a time, was not quite the oblivion he had hoped for. Vague memories persisted to float through his head.
A traveling beauty contest emphasizing the dichotomy between natural beauty and plastic, showing there’s so little difference between the two. It’ll be a smash!
And voices, too . . . muted, perhaps, and a little flat, but definitely voices.
He tried to ignore them at first, but they got increasingly louder:
“What happened to him?”
Disappeared. “The Scepter” was a flop. I always knew it would be.
“Suicide attempt, most likely. The idiot ran out into traffic. Bus hit him.”
“A damn waste.” Somebody whistled softly.
It’s not the end of the world. You can rework “The Scepter,” maybe, make it more . . .
More commercial, right? More understandable to a banal audience?
“Did he have insurance?”
There were shuffling sounds.
During the pause, the man slowly realized he wasn’t dead yet.
He remembered the young lawyer, Avatar, and the deal he had offered. My employers would like to purchase “The Scepter” and hire your services in connection. They would like to offer . . . improvements. Jerry tried to shout a warning, though whether to himself or to the nurses he couldn’t tell. But he was unable.
Everything was still.
“Um-hmm. I have his card here. Listen to this: this is Jeremiah Bellisar, that artist guy.”
“Never heard of him.”
“Oh, sure you have. He had a big show not long ago. ‘The Scepter,’ I think, some kind of performance art. It was really good. Weird, but good.”
There were more noises. Jerry felt hands brushing his legs and checking his arms. He tried to scream for the nurses to leave, to put him out of his misery, to escape before it was too late, but he was as frozen as any of the mannequins he had helped to create.
“Shame a man like that tried to kill himself.”
Nurse Collins looked across the broken man at her trainee. “These things happen all the time, Lucy.” She checked Bellisar’s IV lines, then tugged gently at the restraints on his wrists. It was unlikely the man would ever be getting up again, let alone working up enough steam to try and kill himself again, but it was better to be safe than sorry later.
“I want you to go see Mrs. Fellowes next, please,” she instructed Lucy. “She’s in bed #12. Recheck her medicine drip, and I’ll be there in just a moment.” Collins picked up Mr. Bellisar’s chart and made a notation on it.
“And send Mike to make sure this man’s insurance information made it to Records. They’ve been very picky this week for some reason.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the young nurse replied. She glanced once more at Mr. Bellisar before leaving the ICU room. “Still seems like an awful shame.”
Her superior barely shrugged. Lucy left the glass-enclosed chamber and walked down the wide hospital corridor, her peach uniform comfortably fitting her trim figure. She absolutely loathed the color - she still pictured herself only in a white uniform, like when she had fantasized about her future career as a kid - but it was standard issue this year.
She passed Mike with a bucket and mop in his hands. She handed him the papers she was holding. “Would you check to see if Records got these, please?” She smiled.
“Sure, no problem.” He put the bundle in his large pocket. “Any particular hurry? I was gonna ask you if you wanted to go out this evening?” He looked hopeful.
“Maybe,” Lucy said, her smile widening. “We’ll talk later, okay?” He nodded.
The nurse went to her station and picked up her clipboard.
At least they didn’t make her wear anything over her head. Lucy had bobbed her long black hair before starting her job, thinking it might be necessary, but it hadn’t been. She was slowly regrowing it now. Nurse Collins wore an old-fashioned nurse’s cap, sometimes, but she had been at the hospital for a thousand years, it seemed like.
She walked into Room 12. Mrs. Fellowes, she recalled, had suffered a heart attack. The doctors had prescribed . . . . Lucy stopped short, shocked into silence by the sight of the leather-clad figure standing by the old woman’s bed. He was clad in nothing even remotely like the hospital uniform that was on her mind - black leather pants, leather vest, arm coverings, boots and gloves, and an all-encompassing hood. Not an inch of skin shown beneath the zippers and heavy fabric.
Back in Room 8, Jerry Bellisar squirmed as best he could, his eyes rolling with an insider’s look at the Abductor’s craft. He saw the S&M figure was holding a complicated set of riggings in both of his gloved hands. He threw what he held in his right at the nurse. The straps and metal flew apart and surrounded her head.
The assault was blindingly fast. Lucy opened her mouth to shout, but suddenly a thick leather collar bound itself around her throat, and a little T-shaped bar of metal cinched itself in her mouth between her teeth. Her scream was cut off before it could begin. Straps flew around her head and attached themselves to the collar. A rubber cowl slid rapidly around her head, framing her open face and hair in a tight black grip. Lucy felt a sharp pain in her nose, and an instant later she felt a weight sitting there above her lip - a thin gold ring which hung itself through her septum. Small chains darted from the savage ornament to the numerous devices attaching themselves to her neck and head. One strap encircled her forehead while another anchored itself just behind her ears. Others flew under her chin and grafted themselves to the metal bit wedged tightly in her mouth.
Jerry saw in his mind’s eye the Abductor approach his nurse and throw other rigging equipment at her. The leather, rubber, and metal twisted in the air like flying serpents.
Lucy’s old uniform was torn from her body. Small razor devices shaved her down to complete and utter nudity in a matter of heartbeats. Powder flew and smoothed down her skin for the tightest of fits. A leather and rubber bodysuit attached itself from her neck to her waist, though with large openings in the front for her comely breasts to be pulled through. They stood erect and supported firmly by the weird outfit, projecting outward.
The corset effect of the new uniform cinched the nurse’s waist in tightly, and she puffed desperately in need of breath. Leather wrappings secured themselves along her arms, from shoulder to wrist. Similar wrapping formed around her legs, and thick boots built up below her feet, pushing Lucy to an awkward ballerina stance inside them, toes straight to the floor. She looked down and saw how the boots resembled a horse’s hooves.
“I thought I heard someone cry in here,” the nurse heard behind her, and she again tried to scream. The bit in her mouth pulled back sharply, though, and her head raised uncontrollably toward the ceiling. She didn’t see Mike the orderly come in.
“What the fu . . .” the startled man just had time to say, and then the Abductor was on him too. He was a large fellow - absurdly, Jerry was reminded of that big actor from ER - but he didn’t stand a chance. The orderly swung for the leather-man’s zippered jaw as he approached him. The blow connected, but it didn’t have the effect intended.
The Abductor’s hood crumpled beneath the orderly’s fist, revealing . . . nothing.
The hood fell to the floor, empty, but the hollow suit it had previously topped continued to stand and gesture. Jerry looked down as if from the ceiling and stared into a vacant costume all the way down to a set of hollow boots. The orderly went white and backed away, his eyes bulging in sheer terror.
Jerry saw the Abductor pick up and throw two chairs together at the fleeing man. They landed to either side of the orderly. Chains flew out of nowhere, attached themselves to the man’s neck, wrists, and arms, and pulled him back and down over the crudely-made platform. The same shower of small razors that had so effectively denuded the nurse began to work on him. The Abductor meanwhile picked up his (its?) hood and straightened it out with a short shake.
The hood took on a filled head-shape again, like a balloon filling with air. The empty costume raised its vacuous arms and reattached its “head.” Then, complete again, the Abductor reached out and took a spray bottle out of the darkness - literally, Jerry saw; the spray bottle just materialized out of thin air - and used it to mist the newly unclad orderly in a cloud of thick, crimson droplets. The effect of this strange bath was almost instantaneous - the orderly’s skin hardened perceptibly, darkening and roughening into a thick dark leather not unlike that of the Abductor itself. The orderly’s struggles slowed and finally ceased. His large arms and legs had been stretched to the floor by the chains; the chairs supported his back. Now, at the Abductor’s command, the chains pulled again tighter, bringing the orderly’s hands and feet squarely to rest on the floor. The Abductor kicked the chairs away from underneath, but the now-petrifying young man remained in the same rough position, head facing the ceiling, chest up like the surface of a table.
Mike could feel his body tightening around him. He tried to move . . . to resist the increasing pressure he felt everywhere. The new tightness, though, felt incredibly secure and exciting. Uncontrollably, he gained an erection, and though he could not see it, his face stuck now facing straight up, he could feel his penis tightening in position along with every other part of him. The sensation was unbelievable, darkly powerful. His organ lengthened and became an upright rod projecting upward and outward of the leather piece of furniture he was turning into. He climaxed once . . . and the pleasure washed through him in a way he had never experienced before, widening perpetually throughout his entire body. Mike’s consciousness melted in the unearthly ecstasy.
Jerry’s eyes opened, and he gagged.
Nurse Collins reached over with a suction and gently siphoned excess fluid from the patient’s mouth-tube. “There, there, Mr. Bellisar . . . you’ll be all right.” She rang a buzzer nearby for assistance.
The performance artist struggled as best he could, restraints and broken bones notwithstanding. He tried to speak, to warn this woman, but he couldn’t. He could see in his mind’s eye what was happening.
He saw the Abductor glance once more at the male-chair and again at the young ponygirl-to-be. It was apparently satisfied with both metamorphic processes. The orderly was practically done already, in fact, though the nurse was only now changing physically. Large clumps of her hair were melting away; the rest formed into a growing mohawk on top of her head. Those portions of her skin not encased in leather and rubber began to whiten or darken in broad banded sections, creating vivid zebra-stripe patterns along her supple body. A long, bushy tail began growing out of her still-exposed rear.
The nurse’s eyes glowed and slowly turned a milky-white opaque, contrasting excellently with the black zebra stripe now bridging her nose to forehead.
The Abductor left the nurse to the throes of her transformation and stalked out into the hospital corridor. Its hood-face turned left and right, glancing at all the patient’s rooms, speculating about what could be done for them . . . or to them. Unfortunately, the empty suit had received no instructions regarding them, and therefore no power to work transformations. Its power was not its own. The patients would sleep undisturbed.
Even had they been awake, though, they still wouldn’t have seen anything. They wouldn’t have been allowed to. Only its intended subjects were privileged to see the glory of its leather, rubber, and zippers. Such as, for instance, the nurse, Collins.
The nurse matron stepped out of Room 8 when her repeated call for aid went unanswered, and she screamed when she saw what she assumed was a leather-clad person chasing towards her. Her yell was ignored by everyone not already involved in the drama. Jerry saw long sheets of black latex slide out of the growing darkness building up around the older nurse. The sheets grabbed her and lifted her up, turning her in the air, and began wrapping her as tightly and completely as an Egyptian mummy. By the time the Abductor was close enough to touch her, all that could be seen of Nurse Collins was her ample figure outlined in inky rubber.
The nurse provided a fairly plump outline - a little short, thick legged - but the sheets would adjust themselves to compensate. That was their purpose. They tightened in certain places, gave out in others. The latex mummy’s figure began to take on more aesthetically pleasing contours, far more suitable for whatever transformation awaited her. Jerry would have cursed, but his breathing tube was in the way. As it was, he could just barely turn his head enough to see the Abductor as it stepped into his room.
The intercom next to Jerry’s bed squawked into life.
“This should have worked out better, Jerry,” a mechanical voice stated. “We warned you, did we not? This situation could have been avoided.”
Damn you! Jerry screamed inside, eyes glaring into the Abductor’s blank zippered expression. You did this to me! You’ve used me!
“Yes, true enough,” the voice on the intercom admitted. “Had you been more forthcoming, though, more willing to learn, we would have welcomed you as an equal to our ranks. Do you have any idea how long it has been since such an invitation was last made?”
Jerry didn’t care. He cursed his performance art now. His tour with the Artists . . . it had been grotesque, a parody of what he had originally intended. It must’ve been like a return to the good old days for them, though, when they had traveled the world two or three hundred years ago and hadn’t needed to hide themselves so much, turning countless handsome young men and lovely young women into statues and other living artwork.
The Abductor stood over Jerry’s bed. It gazed down at him impassively. Clicking hoofsteps sounded down the hall, coming closer.
“Now, because of your stubbornness, you must join at a position less worthy of your true talents. We are grief-stricken.”
The zebragirl Lucy tapped her way into the hospital room, her black patent leather hooves rapping gently against the linoleum floor. A wild and magnificent mane of dark hair spread over her rubber and leather-framed features. Her eyes stared blankly and unblinkingly at her creator as she approached it. Her bestriped skin shone like plastic, and a small saddle had been affixed to her back.
The Abductor reached up and unzippered its hood; the impression of a solid head underneath it faded as the material separated from the leather torso. The zebragirl took the offered mask and gently lifted Jerry’s head despite his fighting. With a nurse’s care, the plastic pony removed his breathing tube and gently slipped the leather hood over her patient’s head. She made sure all the zippers were right.
No, no, Jerry screamed inside, knowing the Artists could hear him. You can’t . . I won’t be made your plaything! He fought Lucy as she slowly and methodically disassembled the Abductor and reattached the black leather to its true owner and wearer. In his weakened condition, though, he was no match for her. You can’t do this!
The Artists didn’t reply. It was a long process, well over two hours, but eventually the leather suit was again entirely worn by Jerry Bellisar, who had removed it in disgust months earlier following his departure from “The Scepter.” The thick binding still chafed. He lay there on the bed, crying beneath a flat, emotionless exterior.
Lucy trotted back, got down to all fours, and whinnied in playful eagerness.
Then, for all concerned, the rooms spun, the lights flickered, and they
The elevator doors slid open, and Dr. Sloan stepped out into the ICU ward. He looked around and was surprised to see no one in attendance. The nurse’s station was empty; even the orderly was missing from his post. He checked the records and found, mysteriously, no one assigned to the duty. It was the first time he had ever seen such an example of utter gross negligence. The physician immediately checked all of the patients, but he found nothing amiss . . . save one thing.
In bed #8, which had been assigned to no particular patient, the doctor found an empty suit of leather, the kind of monstrosity that could only be found in a BDSM shop, all zippers and rubber. It was beyond him how something so disgusting could wind up on a secure hospital floor. If it was a practical joke of some kind, it was beyond him.
When Nurse Collins, Lucy, and Mike the orderly never showed up for work
again, like the gross incompetence of leaving an entire ICU ward unattended,
the matter was quietly hushed up and quickly forgotten about. It
seemed somehow the safest choice to make.
to be concluded . . .