The Hardening

Produced by Magnus Story by Heather St. Claire with Culthos_Mythos

(Author's note: This story has received more favourable comment that anything else I've done in the ASFR realm. I'm grateful for all your kind comments, and especially the recent contact I had with Cuthos_Mythos, who pointed out that I never resolved the fate of two of the characters. Based on his detailed suggestions, I have revised the story to cover this gap. Also of course, a special thanks to Magnus, who provided the original inspiration for the setting, characters and story-line.--Heather)

With the passing of the years, the tales about that night have grown more fantastic, especially at the university itself.

Some people say it’s all a story, a myth, an urban legend; but others point to the still-empty sorority house on the edge of campus, and tell you the ghosts of those young women still haunt its halls. Although it’s been almost 10 years since twenty-three girls who called that rambling old structure home disappeared, the place sits shuttered and vacant. When the girls vanished, the sorority chapter folded; a fraternity moved in, but left in a few months; the building was sold, and a couple of people tried to run a student rooming house; but nothing ever took. Its paint peeling and its roof leaking where shingles have blown off, the house is a sad memorial to almost two dozen lives that came to an abrupt end that night.

Despite diligent investigation, no one -- none of the loved ones or friends of those missing young women -- have been able to find out what actually happened to them. Given the strange reality of the particulars, it’s probably best that none of them know the truth. We can see it, though— IF we are prepared to open our eyes to the horrible reality of what happened that week. If we really are going to confront this hard truth, we have to face not only the physical destruction; we also need to deal with the savagely twisted mind that could concoct such a sadistic means of torture.... But first, let’s travel back a decade, when the house was still bright with life and hope and laughter, filled with young women on the cusp of adulthood.

     One of them, Valerie Mitchell, has just walked in and is collecting her mail. She’s with two of her friends in the house, Julie Wyatt and Tara Peterson.

Riffling through the stack, Valerie mutters, “New Cosmo, letter from home, bill, bill, Victoria’s Secret catalogue, bill, bill, hmmm....this is looks like a letter from a lawyer.”

Soon, she had torn the envelope open as was quickly scanning the letter’s contents. She had to brush her long brown hair away from her face a couple of times as she digested the lengthy communiqué. Then she read it again. All she managed when she had finished was a quiet, “No shit?”

“Well?” Julie asked.

“Yeah, Well?” Tara demanded. “Are you gonna tell us, or do we have to pry it out of you?”

Valerie walked over to a large couch in the living room and sat down. Her friends followed her. She was silent for a long moment, then finally spoke. “It’s my Uncle Wordsworth....actually, I think he was a great-uncle....this says he’s died, and left me his mansion.”

“A mansion! Girl, that is so cool!” Julie said.

“I’m not so sure,” Valerie said hesitantly.

Tara looked at her in disbelief. “What’s there not to be excited about? Even if you don’t want to live there, you can sell it and get a big pile of money!”

“It’s not so simple,” Valerie said. “I never even met him. He’s a relative, or was a relative of my mother’s. She said there were a lot of strange stories about him being into some really kinky sex. I’ve never even been to this mansion.... according to the family stories, it’s like some big old haunted house or something.”

“So?” Tara said. “Then don’t go there. Just sell the place.”

“It’s not that simple,” Valerie replied with a sigh. “According to this letter, the terms of his will says I have to live in the place for at least a week before I can sell it.”

“A week! No prob’!” Julie suggested. “We can all go during spring break... invite the whole house. If there is anything spooky about the place, it won’t take on all of us!”

The three girls shared a good laugh, and Valerie agreed to their plan. Soon, as the word spread through the house, all agreed to join the adventure. These young women had diverse aims; some wanted to make their mark in the business world, others in society; still others weren’t looking much farther then next weeks’ chemistry test. But they did have a few things in common. Besides being young, they were almost all rich and beautiful. And they all shared a spirit of adventure, and that strange belief of the young have that they are immortal.

Move ahead now, just four weeks, as a caravan of four cars packed with sorority girls comes pulling up to the rusted front gates of the Wordsworth mansion. Julie steps out and gets a good look at the big, sprawling stone hulk, and she thinks that maybe it is something out of a horror flick; it was well off the main highway, invisible to most of the world in a heavily wooded setting. The private road that led to the place was barely passable.

The big sprawling place was a mixture of massive stone and brick work and looked to be the product of a demented architect; it was as if Charles Foster Kane met Dracula, or something. The rambling structure may have been well-kept up once, but that had been years before. Now, ivy snaked all over the walls, which were cracked in several places; a layer of grime covered the rest of the exterior, and streaked the windows— at least the ones that weren’t boarded over.

Valerie’s best friend, Jenna Payne, was sitting in the front seat of her Mercedes; she suddenly cried out, “Man, this place is too scary for my blood!”

Valerie angrily stuck her head back inside the car and snapped, “May I remind you, Miss Payne, that you were one of those most enthusiastic about coming here?” Julie and Tara were sitting in the back seat. They began making ghostly haunted house-type noises.

“Cut it out, you two!” Jenna snapped.

“I’m not kidding! I’m really freaked out!”

“Oh, come on!” Valerie said with an exasperated sigh. “You act like the place is really haunted or something!” She was actually pulling on her friend’s arm in an effort to coax her out of the car. With a noticeable trembling, Jenna finally joined the group of young women who entered the massive, badly weathered oak front doors of the mansion.

The appearance of the place inside did nothing to dispel their feelings of fear and gloom. The decay outside was reflected inside; massive, clearly once beautiful, but too long allowed to go to ruin. The huge stone walls were covered with grime and water stains from leaks that were scattered throughout. All the rugs seemed worn and threadbare, while the furniture was covered with a film of dust and grime.

“Your uncle supposedly just died, Valerie?” wondered Kelly, another of Val’s close friends. “It looks like no one has cleaned this place in years.” She ran her finger through a thick layer of dust on a large table.

Strangely,, though, there were other signs that the house had been inhabited fairly recently. There was a modern telephone system, an alarm system with surveillance cameras, televisions, stereos. Sandy, another member of the group, said, “Somebody’s a gadget freak.”

Karen, Sandy’s close friend, replied, “Yeah, I think I saw a couple of satellite dishes out on the lawn.” Valerie said that ought to make everyone feel better; although they were isolated, they wouldn’t be totally cut off from the outside world.

They wandered to the kitchen, where they found a huge refrigerator and pantry, both well-stocked. “Just like the lawyer said it would be,” Valerie said with relief. The girls fixed themselves soup and sandwiches and sat down in the cavernous dining room. Although it was a beautiful spring evening, the windows were so clouded with grime that almost no outside light was allowed in.

Jenna said, “I don’t care if you all think I’m a big baby, I’m still scared of this place.” She cringed at the laughter that echoed through the big room.

“It does kind of look like the sort of place that should have a dungeon,” Sandy whispered to Karen.

“Yeah, complete with lots of bondage gear,” she agreed.

“Look,” Valerie said, trying to calm her anxious friend, “How about if you and I room together? Will that make you feel better?”

Jenna nodded nervously and said, “I-- I guess so.” The sprawling house had no shortage of sleeping rooms; still, all the girls decided they would be happier paired up.

It wasn’t even 9 p.m., but they soon had found their way to their quarters. Valerie was tired, and almost immediately climbed into her long silky green night gown and into bed. Jenna, though, sat in front of the ancient vanity, its mirror clouded with age, wearing her pink baby-doll nightie and running a brush through her long, silky brown hair.

“Aren’t you coming to bed, girl?” Valerie asked.

“You know I always do this before bed,” Jenna responded. “It helps me unwind.”

Soon, Jenna had finished her 100 strokes and she noticed that Valerie was fast asleep; yet she was still too tense to sleep; she wished she had brought some sleeping pills. Instead, she put on her robe and decided to go exploring in the big old house. The girls had hardly seen any of it after their arrival, and she figured part of her fear was simply fear of the unknown.

Jenna wandered down one corridor, then another, and soon was struck by the realisation that she had no idea where she was in relation to the bedrooms. Oddly, she wasn’t scared; perhaps because she was so fascinated by the strange assortment of rooms, some of which looked like relics from another era (heavy draperies, leather-bound books, overstuffed furniture), while others were filled with very contemporary furniture and electronic gear. There was a fully-equipped gym, with all sorts of equipment; what appeared to be a surveillance centre with rows of television screens bringing in signals from remote cameras around the complex; room after room filled with nothing but piles of stored junk.

She stopped, though, when she came to the sewing room. Jenna had always loved to sew. She was fascinated by the sight of a turn-of-the century sewing machine, piles of cloth, and a large table with a pattern spread out on it; everything, she thought in passing, but a dress-maker’s dummy. She walked over to the table to take a closer look at the pattern, wondering what it was for, and how long it had been since anyone had worked on it.

Jenna picked up part of the pattern, and didn’t notice the sewing needle that stuck her fingertip. She jerked her hand away at the momentary pain. She looked at the finger, expecting to see drops of blood oozing from it. Instead, it seemed as if the wound was healed; but the finger was taking on a strange, plastic-like appearance; that soon spread to the rest of her hand, which rapidly lost feeling. “What the--” was all Rena was able to get out before the paralysis set in. The rapid change spread down her arm, then into her torso, where it rippled across her body. Flesh and blood and bone became hollow plastic.

A full-length mirror just happened to be positioned where Jenna could witness her own transformation. Her night gown vanished, letting her see her own, teardrop shaped breasts change into perfect half-globes with painted nipples at their centre. She watched in horror as her pussy vanished, replaced by a sexless expanse of plastic. The change continued to spread, moving down her legs, and into her head. Jenna’s lips, forever shut, now were permanently painted red. Her deep brown eyes would never lose their lustre, as they had become glass. Her lustrous hair, her pride and joy, was now acrylic fibre. Jenna realised she would spend eternity as a mannequin. Although her outer expression was unblinking, unchanging, she was feeling a storm of terror inside.

Though she had no way of knowing it, Jenna wasn’t the only member of the group who had trouble sleeping, and wasn’t the only one undergoing a strange transformation.

Kelly, another close friend of Valerie’s, was in the room just across the hall, rooming with Rena. A tall, leggy blonde, she was putting herself through college teaching aerobics at a local gym. Although she hadn’t wanted to admit it to the group, she too, was terrified by the big old place, and found it difficult to sleep.

After tossing and turning for almost an hour, she had climbed out of bed and put on her full workout gear, including black and red spandex body suit, red leg warmers and matching headband. She soon found her way to the gym. She looked around in amazement at the up-do-date gear. When she spotted a super-large TV screen, with an attached video recorder, curiosity seemed to compel her to turn the set on and press “play” to check out the tape. She saw that it was a beautiful woman -- almost perfect in her appearance -- leading an exercise routine. Behind her, were three other women, all similar in appearance, who were repeating every step of the workout. “Alright, ladies, let’s go!” the voice on the video said, and Kelly soon found herself following along.

After several minutes, the workout seemed to be building in intensity; Kelly realised that even though she was tiring, and wanted to turn off the set... she couldn’t.... she just couldn’t. Kelly had been a good ten feet from the large screen when she started the routines, but found herself almost unconsciously inching steadily closer to the set. She muttered “shit” as she felt the pain beginning to build in her muscles. Beads of sweat broke out across her brow. Within a few minutes, she was just inches from the giant screen.

It was then that she began to feel the pull. “What the hell is going on!” she cried. They were the last words Kelly would ever speak. She found herself suddenly shrinking as if in the pull of a powerful, vacuum-like force. With a sense of horror, she realised that she was being pulled into the video! In a flash, she passed through the front of the screen and was actually in the video; as one of four physically perfect women following the routine of the leader woman; and she would be compelled to do so for all time.

Valerie was still sleeping soundly, but Rena was wondering what became of her friend. She thought about going exploring, but realised she was too creeped out by the place to do so alone. She tried to read for awhile, then turned on the TV, but found she couldn’t concentrate. It wasn’t a surprise.

Rena had second thoughts about going on this adventure almost from the time the caravan pulled away from the campus. Although her major was officially listed as art history, she told everyone with a laugh that it should be listed as “sex education.” Rena was a junior, and had never had a steady boyfriend; she was too busy sampling her way through the student body, and much of the faculty, to settle on any one partner on a steady basis. Her tastes, however, ran strictly to men, so she found herself wondering why she had got swept up in this crazy outing.

A week in this old mansion didn’t bother her... but a week without men? That was a different story entirely. She held the remote control in her hand, furiously clicking through all 500 channels pulled in by the estate’s satellite dishes. Within a few minutes, she snapped off the set in disgust, and began searching through the drawers of the bedside table. Who knew what she might find? Soon, Rena hit the jackpot— or so she thought. A huge smile spread across her face as she pulled out the biggest, shiniest vibrator she had ever seen. It wasn’t a man, but it would more than do in this emergency.

She pulled off the purple panties that matched her baby-doll nightie and climbed back into bed. She reclined backward and spread her legs, looking forward to the moment of pleasure ahead. As soon as she flipped the switch and felt the device coming to life in her hand, a smile spread across her face. As Rena slipped the tool into her already-moist pussy, she felt an electric current begin to course through her entire body; this wasn’t any ordinary love toy, to be sure. But she liked it! Even if she wanted to (and she didn’t want to) she couldn’t have pulled it out of her... she felt a strange compulsion to keep thrusting the buzzing vibrator inside of her, deeper, harder, faster.

Before she knew it, waves of a climax were breaking over her flesh. As that happened, the flesh itself began to change, to a life-like silicone. As Rena lost control of her body, the still-buzzing dildo slipped out of her hand and dropped to the floor. Her skeleton was changing to articulated plastic; her muscles, fat and veins were all solidifying into silicone rubber. Her face was now frozen in a perpetual smile of ecstasy; her eyes would always be lit up with passion. If you held snapshots of Rena before and after her transformation side-by-side, you might find it hard to tell which was which. Her transformation into a sophisticated love doll was so perfect, so realistic, that you could hardly tell the difference. The new Rena’s mouth would be forever open to receive a wet kiss or a well-lubricated penis; her breasts were ready to be kneaded, squeezed and sucked endlessly without a murmur of complaint from her; and her pussy and anus was eternally inviting any kind of probing or exploration. Somewhere, inside this latex shell, the mind of Rena lived; but she would never be able to communicate with the outside world again.

As for the other 20 girls... they made it through the night unchanged..... with no idea of the terrors that awaited them with the dawning of the new day.

They had all been together for their evening meal, but their waking times the next morning were staggered. They made their way to the kitchen in ones and twos and fours, some having fruit, some cereal, some just a cup of coffee. Because they weren’t dining together, most of them didn’t realise at first that three of their number were still absent.

It was a sunny, spring morning, so two of the girls, Sandy and Karen, decided to change to their bikinis and catch some early rays by the pool. The vast yard behind the mansion was mostly overgrown, but the area around the pool had been kept cleared. It was hard to figure out, why though; the heavy old concrete had large cracks radiating through it, and weeds were growing out of those cracks. It was clear the pool hadn’t been used in years. It was also evident that the pool had once been a pride of the estate.

It was surrounded by the ruins of an elaborate formal garden, several pieces of handsome statuary, and a small, low-slung building that seemed to hold a series of showers and changing stalls. When the girls went exploring, they were surprised to find the showers were in working order and the building was fully stocked with supplies, including towels and a generous supply of suntan lotion.

“Oh, good!” Sandy exclaimed when she found the row of lotion bottles. She had forgotten to pack any. She was a fair-complexioned redhead, who burned easily, so was very happy to make this discovery. Karen, a buxom blonde, also took advantage of the discovery.

Both girls changed into skimpy bikinis, then settled down in lounge chairs next to the empty pool. They both slathered on the lotion pretty heavily, as the sun seemed to be breaking through early on this morning. Karen, who hadn’t slept well the night before, almost immediately dozed off under the warm rays. Perhaps it was easier that way.... she probably never knew what happened to her. Sandy, however, had slept quite soundly, and had downed her usual four cups of morning coffee.

So when the hardening process began, she was fully aware of it. But she still couldn’t do anything at all about it. First, she was aware of a heaviness in her feet. She tried to wiggle her toes, and realised that she couldn’t. She put down the novel she had just opened and saw to her horror that her feet were turning to marble; and the transformation wasn’t stopping there; it was rapidly moving up her legs. “Oh Gawd!” she screamed.

Looking over at Karen, she saw the process was even farther along with her dozing friend. Not only were her legs and feet stone, so was her pelvis; never again would she feel the pleasures of a man’s equipment inside her now-solid pussy.

“Karen! Karen!” Sandy screamed again and again. But it was useless. She felt her body stiffening with every passing second. One final cry of “Help!” also went unheard, as it couldn’t penetrate the thick walls of the big house. Although she couldn’t see it, Sandy somehow knew that her insides were turning to solid marble; as the fear pushed adrenaline through the parts of her body that were still living flesh, she had felt her heart beating more rapidly and her breathing becoming faster and shallower.

Soon, however, she had no need to breathe, as her lungs were no more; the pounding sensation in her chest subsided as her heart turned to solid stone; with her last second of conscious freedom, she turned her head toward the house, looking expectantly for a rescue that would not come in time.

It was just a few more minutes before two more beautiful, lifelike pieces of statuary had been added to the collection outside the pool. Those who saw the Karen statue in the future would never fail to comment on the peaceful look on her stone face, while people gazing at the piece of marble that had been Sandy were always struck by her expression of surprise. They both seemed so real, so life-like.

Inside the mansion, Valerie had been one of those who slept late. When she awoke and found Jenna’s bed undisturbed, she immediately had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. She threw on a halter and shorts and rounded up as many girls as she could find. A quick head count found Jill, Linda, Barbara, Callie, Lindsey, Sara, Carly and Kim were all still around. Vicky and Karen had been seen earlier in the morning, so no one was worrying about them yet, though they should have been.

About the same time the search party for Jenna was being organised, a Range Rover was making its way up the winding road that led to the mansion. Behind the wheel was Frank, Jill’s boyfriend. The two of them had quarrelled a couple of nights earlier, and he wanted to pay a surprise visit to the girls, see if they needed anything in the way of supplies... and of course do whatever he could to repair his relationship.

Frank couldn’t believe how out of the way this old house was. He was crossing all sorts of gullies and streams, and the closer he got, the more rickety the bridges seemed. He had just barely made it across the last of them when it collapsed with a tremendous crash. Frank was a football lineman, big and fearless; but when he turned his head to see the rotted wood fragments where the bridge had stood moments before, a jolt of fear shook through him. “Holy shit! I coulda been killed!” he cried out. It took him a couple of minutes to catch his breath and regain his composure. When he did, Frank smiled. He smiled broadly because he realised this meant he would be alone with 23 girls for however long it took for the bridge to be repaired!

While Sandy are Karen were meeting their rigid fate outdoors, Vicky and Karen had found their own form of trouble in another of the mansion’s endless expanse of rooms. It was fitting, perhaps, even ironic that they found the billiards room. The two of them were known for spending most nights in one of the taverns near campus, shooting pool, drinking beer, picking up men. Although the sex was the first priority, and the beer was second, both girls took pride in their pool games, so leapt on this opportunity to polish their technique a bit.

The room was done up in heavy, dark carpets and wall tapestry, and the layer of dust was thick. But the pool table was protected by a canvas cover, and when they flicked the switch, the chandelier seemed to put out almost enough light.... there were a couple of candelabras, and when they lit them, the room took on a fairly cheerful glow.

All the women in the house were very good looking, but Vickie was probably the most gorgeous. Tall, blonde, with a perfect figure, sparkling blue eyes and a dazzling smile, just about everyone considered her centrefold material. And now, her dream was about to come true. The week after the school term ended, Vickie was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles for a photo shoot. If all went as expected, she would be the subject of a featured photo-spread in the just-revived OUI magazine.

Karen, a short, curvy brunette, was quite lovely too, if not quite centrefold material. “Let’s make this interesting,” Karen suggested. “If I win this game, you pay my way out to Los Angeles with you.”

“What’s in it for me?” Vickie asked. Karen thought for a minute and said, “If I lose, I’ll pay my own way, and be your personal slave for the entire week.”

Vickie tossed back her long blonde hair, laughed, and said, “Get ready to lose, dear. By the way, I like my morning coffee with cream and two sugars... and my evening martini shaken, not stirred.”

Karen said nothing more, but calmly broke and ripped off a streak of amazing shots.... one ball after another finding their way into their pockets. Vickie began to squirm a bit uncomfortably. It looked like she was going to be out the price of a plane ticket to the coast, without even having the chance to make a shot herself. She could afford it, yes, but still, the humiliation... and she was already looking forward to the services of her slave!

A couple of minutes later, Karen had sunk the last ball in the run with a triumphant, “HAH!” She turned to Vickie and said, “Don’t feel so back, still get the satisfaction of being immortalised in all your naked glory.”

Vickie started to giggle, but then stopped.

Karen could see a growing look of concern on her face, and asked, “What’s the matter?”

“I...I don’t know,” she said. “It feel like something’s.... pulling at me....” Vickie gasped.

Karen looked with amazement as the figure of the nude woman in the giant picture frame about the table began to fade, then disappeared. At the same moment, there was a hazy glow around Vickie, and then she vanished.

“What the hell?” Karen exclaimed. Then, she heard the voice.

It was much quieter, and sounded strangely muffled, but she recognised it as Vickie’s. “Karen! Karen! For God’s sake, Karen help me!”

Karen looked all around the room, but saw no sign of her friend. “Vickie? Vickie, where are you?”

“Up here... the picture!”

Slowly, Karen looked back at the giant picture in the gilded frame... there was a nude woman reclining on the couch once again.... only this time, it was Vickie! She was now a just flat, one-dimensional painting, but it was clear that it was her.

“Help me! For God’s sake, Karen, get me out of here!”

Karen’s eyes bulged wide, her mouth dropped open, and she stared for a long moment at her friend, now trapped inside the painting. When she was finally able to close her mouth, it immediately opened again. What came out was a piercing scream. She began to cry and flail wildly, first running into the pool table, then a wall, then into one of the table where an ornate candelabra sat.

The candelabra shook, but did not fall; though some of the hot wax dripped onto Karen’s hand and arm. She screamed again, not so much in pain as in continued terror. She finally spotted the door and started in that direction, but her movements were becoming curiously slowed, as if she was running through hot tar. Each step was slower than the one before. Karen was too upset and bewildered to realise what was happening to her.

Perhaps Vickie could see, from inside her new canvas prison. A change was slowly spreading up Karen’s body, from toes, to ankles, to calves, everything was solidifying. Her knees stiffened, then her hips, pelvis and torso. Soon her breasts were immobilised as well. Her arms were frozen in mid stride; her face, her hair, would be forever as they were at this moment. From head to toe, Karen was now a statue of wax. She would be preserved eternally in this state... unless things got too warm. She had to pray that no one would ever decide to put a giant wick in her.

The girls who were aware that Jenna was missing were starting to fan out through the mansion. Valerie had set off by herself, and stumbled into an old office, complete with a battered metal filing cabinet and roll top desk. There was a row of ledger books on a shelf above the desk. Valerie began leafing through them, hoping they might provide some clue to the workings of her uncle’s estate. But all the entries she found dealt with mundane matters— maintenance, utilities, purchases of food and other household supplies.

However, when Valerie opened a book filled with newspaper clippings, she began to develop a feeling of dread. There were articles from papers in the region, dating back at least to the early part of the 20th century, describing strange disappearances of women in the region. In more than one case, the missing women had some sort of link to the house; either she was an employee, or had attended a social function there, or something similar. They had some other things in common, though. They were all described as young and attractive, and in each instance, the house was either the last place they had been seen or their final destination before their disappearance .Valerie tried to force herself not to think about what the evidence was starting to point to; she closed the scrapbook and resumed the search for her friends.

Meanwhile, Frank was pulling into the yard, near where the girls had parked their vehicles. He tried the front doors, but found them locked, so decided to see if anyone was outdoors. He hiked around to the back of the house where he found the pool, and the newly transformed Sandy and Karen. Although Frank had spent plenty of time around the sorority, he didn’t recognise the girls in their petrified state. Frank was immediately struck by the beauty of the two statues, however... so much so that he couldn’t resist feeling them both up.

His hands ran up a smooth stone leg, and he found himself becoming strangely aroused. The curve of solid, perfect buttocks and breasts was powerfully alluring. Although he wasn’t even fully aware of it, Frank had soon unzipped his jeans and pulled out his aching member. As he began to stroke his rapidly-stiffening manhood, Frank’s hand made contact with a spot of still wet lotion on Sandy’s shoulder. When he touched the magic lotion, he too, began to turn to stone.

Too late, he recognised the girls, realised what had happened to them, and that it was now enveloping him too. As the change spread up his body, his clothing disappeared. In a very short time, the frozen Frank stood, one hand on Sandy’s marlble breast, the other on his perpetually-erect prick.

Inside the house, Linda, Barbara and Callie stumbled across a room none of the other girls had been in yet, a giant playroom. It seemed like a delight for children of all ages; there were shelves and shelves filled with dolls, stuffed toys, games, puzzles, blocks, building sets.  Some of the toys were quite old, but others were almost new, still in their boxes. It looked at if most of the more recent toys had never been played with.

Barbara and Linda soon zeroed in on a shelf that was filled with Barbies, Skippers, Kens, and even a couple of Midges. “Ooooh, look!” Barbara squealed. “It's like a little museum!”

“Neat,” Linda agreed.

“Can you believe all this stuff?” Barbara asked. “It’s like they’ve got every version of Barbie ever made in the past thirty years of something...”

Callie, who had been drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch, put it down and walked over to where her friends are. “We aren’t making much progress in finding Jenna, you know,” she said. But when she caught sight of the dolls, she seemed to fall under their spell, too. “Look at all these cute outfits,” she said, riffling through a pile of miniature clothing. “I did always envy my Barbie for getting to wear all the best clothes.”

“You’re kidding!” Linda exclaimed. “Me too!”

“Yeah, me too,” Barbara agreed. “I wished I was Barbie when I was little. You know, we even have the same first and last names. Barbie’s full name is supposed to be Barbara Millicent Roberts. I think when I was about nine, I asked my mother if I could change my middle name to Millicent.”

“So what’s your real middle name?” Callie asked with a smile.

“Never mind!” Barbara said with a laugh, and both of her friends figured it had to be something truly embarrassing. They made mental notes to pursue it later.

“Yeah, I guess I’ve always wished I could be Barbie,” Barbara said, with a hint of wistfullness in her voice.

“Me too,” both other girls agreed simultaneously.

They then both gasped in sudden horror as a shimmering light began to glow around Barbara. She seemed to be frozen in place. “Girls? What...what’s happening to me?” she asked with rising terror in her voice.

“ seem to be shrinking!” Then, the same glow enveloped the other two. “Oh God! It’s happening to us too!”

Down, down they went... five feet, four feet, three feet, two... and as they shrunk, their clothes vanished, their skin turned to plastic. But pivot points appeared, and they found they could still move. Mostly, they screamed; but Barbara realised what was happening and cried, “Oh, God! No! We really are turning into dolls!”

Callie pointed at her two friends... ”Jesus... look at how tiny our waists are becoming, and how big our boobs are getting.” She reached for her groin area, now a solid expanse of plastic.

“Our pussies..... they’re gone... and our hair..... we’re all getting so blonde!” Linda said, “Don’t you see it? We’re not just becoming dolls! We’re turning into Barbies! You and your stupid wish, Barbara!”

“My wish! Who knew it would happen! But it was only for me....”

Callie broke in, “I don’t know about you two, but I feel a real need to get dressed.” She reached for one of the doll outfits that had dropped to the floor and put it on. The tiny garment now fit her size and shape perfectly. Barbara and Linda followed her lead.

“Jesus!” Barbara cried. The changes hadn’t stopped; now, her feet were arching up into a permanently upright position, so that they would all now have to wear miniature high heels always. They slipped the tiny shoes over their feet, driven by a need to look absolutely gorgous.

Then, each of the girls climbed into a Barbie box, assumed the upright pose of a doll, and watched helplessly as the expression on their faces froze with wide-open eyes and perpetual smiles. Neither of them could move at all, not that they ever would want to anymore.

Jill and Ashley stumbled upon the game room at this exact moment, not realising that the new Barbies on the shelf had been three of their friends only moments before.

“Jenna!” Jill called. “Are you in here? Did you get lost? Are you hiding from something?”

Ashley, a tall brunette, opened a closet door, and found a life-sized metal wind-up doll staring back at her. “Oooh!” she exclaimed. “This is something, Jill. Look! It even looks kind of like me!”

“You know, it does,” Jill agreed.

Ashley turned the doll around, but instead of winding it up, pulled the giant key out of its back and handed it to her friend. “Wind me up, Jill!” she said with a girlish squeal.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” “No....I know it’s nutty, but when I was a girl, I liked to play that I was a wind up toy.”

“Oh, all right,” she said with a sigh. “I’m only doing this because I’m sure nothing bad’s happened to Jenna...”

As the key made contact with Ashley’s back something strange happened.... it somehow sank into her flesh and made solid contact with something inside. As that happened, Ashley instantly froze.

“Ashley? Ash, are you okay? Oh God, what’s happened?” As she looked at her immobilized friend, Jill realised a change was spreading over Ashley's body. Her flesh was turning to painted metal; she was becoming a wind-up doll. With a couple of minutes, no one would have believed she had ever been flesh and blood. Her black hair was now yarn; her face appeared to have been painted on. The Ashley doll remained motionless as Jill began to sob.

She looked around her stiff friend for some sign of life, then found herself staring at the key in her back. Of course! she thought, and began to wind it.... Soon, Jill heard a whirring sound that she realised were the mechanical gears inside her friend coming to life; the features that appeared static, now had some animation, at least.

Ashley blinked a couple of times, then began to move, stiffly, precisely... mechanically. Her eyes, which had been expressionless, suddenly seemed to register the presence of someone; but she no longer recognised her friend. She spoke, and it sort of sounded like Ashley’s voice, but higher pitched, tinny, and distant. “Hi! My name is Ashley! Would you like to play with me? What’s your name?”

Jill began to scream, and ran from the room; she careened down one hall, then another, then finally burst through a pair of doors that took her outdoors near the pool, where the three recently transformed statues stood. Suddenly her terror vanished, replaced by a curious lust to know more about them. Jill found herself transfixed, somehow drawn to the stone figures that had, until a short time earlier, been Sandy, Karen, and her boyfriend Frank. She thought how beautiful the female statues were, and how handsome the male was; and she couldn’t believe the size of his erect member! God, it must be close to a foot long.

She suddenly lost all concern about Jenna, all concern about anything, except finding out what it would be like to have that massive stone prick inside her. Almost before she knew what she was doing, Jill was stepping out of her mini-skirt and pulling up her panties so she could mount the statue and take the rigid dick doggy-style. As she mounted the structure, a bit of lotion remaining on Frank’s dick made contact with her pussy, and she, too began to harden. Even as her legs started to become stone, Jill was riding Frank’s permanent erection to orgasm.

As she glanced back over her shoulder, the frozen features finally registered in her brain for the first time; “Frank!” she screamed. As the wave of the orgasm broke over her, her transformation was quickly completed. For almost three years now, Jill had been dreaming of the day that she and Frank would be together forever. Now it had arrived, though in a way she could have never imagined.

Julie was one of the few girls still blissfully unaware of the madness that was taking place around her. Perhaps it was because she had chosen a room at the end of the hall, where the corner suite gave her a commanding view of the lush grounds surrounding the house. Julie cared dearly for all her friends, but in some ways always felt a bit apart from them. For most of the others, boyfriends, clothing and other material status symbols were their prime interests. Julie's supreme love, though, was for nature and all the splendour and diversity it offered.

Like her friends, she thought the house to be a bit creepy. But as she gazed out the windows at the stately trees, the lush lawns, the wild remains of what had once been carefully-tended gardens, part of her wished she could be in a place like this forever. She decided she it was time for her to enjoy this splendour up close, and soon was out on the grounds. After wandering through the forested edge of the property, she felt herself drawn back toward the house, and the gardens.

Her first thought was how amazing it was that all these flowers still grew in such profusion, apparently without any human intervention; though they seemed surrounded by brambles and weeds, it seemed to have sapped none of their beauty or strength. Her next thought was that there was something strange about the roses. Julie had been studying botany since she was in grade school and knew -- or thought she knew --every major variety of rose. But there was something strange about these flowers that she couldn't identify. She thought about taking a specimen for study, but then she noticed the sun reflecting off the pool, and the four statues surrounding it.

Julie also loved art, especially sculpture, and walked over to examine the statues. She let out a slight gasp when she saw the copulating couple, but she couldn't help admire the realism of these creations. She has never seen this kind of perfection, this kind of life-like quality, outside of a museum. There was also something oddly familiar about their appearance.

Then, all at once, the awful truth dawned on her. She recognised Sandy, Karen, Jill and Frank. She called their names, and began slapping their marble surfaces, as if she could somehow awaken them back to life. The statues did not react, remaining frozen in stony silence.

Then she turned, and began to run again, screaming all the way. In her panic and confusion, Julie didn't head toward the house, but back the way she came, straight into the garden. She was still going full speed when she tripped on a paving stone and went hurtling into the roses. She cried out in pain as she suffered numerous cuts on her face, arms and legs from the thorns. Julie scrambled out of the bushes and started back toward the pool, only to run headlong into Tara , her best friend among the girls, who had come to see who was screaming and why.

Like Julie, Tara felt a little like an outsider in the group. For one thing, she was the only Afro-American; for another, she was the only student athlete in the group. She was a top member of the track team, something that took rigorous self-discipline for her.... especially because of her passionate love of sweets of all kinds, and most of all, chocolate.

As a little girl, Tara had been, to put it kindly, chubby. She had few friends and didn't do well in school. Sweets had become her friend, her refuge and her comfort. So it had only been with a supreme act of will that she had eliminated them from her life almost entirely when she reached high school and adopted the regimen of an athlete. As she gained confidence in athletics, her grades steadily improved, and a beautiful young woman had evolved from the shy, obese child. When Tara had reached college and joined the sorority, she and Julie had been naturally drawn to each other. From the start, Tara was always ready to accompany Julie on her nature hikes, saying it was good for her training. But a bond of fast friendship soon formed. That was why Tara was particularly disturbed to see the terrified, bloody, wild-haired, screaming mess that Julie had become.

She reached out, grabbing Julie's arms tightly. "Girlfriend!" she shouted. "Get a hold of yourself!!! And then tell me what the hell is going on!"

Julie tried to speak, but could only manage gasping sobs. Tara could tell that her friend had had the fright of her life. She instinctively wrapped her arms around Julie's shaking form, and drew her closer to her. "There, there, honey," she said soothingly. She began to kiss her friend's forehead and cheeks. "Tara's not going to let anything else hurt you. There, there."

Julie's sobs finally stopped, replaced by soft, happy sighs. She began to cling as tightly to Tara as Tara did to her. Then, with no warning, she began to return her friend's kisses. At first, Julie confined herself to Tara's face; but within a minute, she was planting a deep, soulful kiss on her friend's lips. Like Julie, Tara was no longer acting on conscious thought; they were both driven by raw emotion, fear quickly being subsumed by passion.

Each began to hungrily explore the other's body; scant minutes more had passed before both women had stripped themselves of all their clothing, the better to enjoy each other's flesh. Eager, curious hands cupped another female's breasts for the first time; hungry tongues began to explore places previously "forbidden." It is hard to say how long this love-play might have gone on uninterrupted, but it stopped abruptly when the two women heard a sudden, sharp sound like a twig or small branch snapping.

Puzzled, Tara and Julie both looked around for the source of the sound, but saw nothing.... until Tara glanced down at Julie's feet. "Oh my God, Girl!" she cried, and before Julie could ask her what was the matter, she glanced down and saw for herself. Her feet no longer had much resemblance to a human's. They were brown, hard, and dry, starting to look like roots.

Julie tried to speak, but found herself paralysed with fear, as she watched the effect spread rapidly up her legs. The changes at Julie's feet continued. Dry extensions had started to shoot from her feet and ankles and bury themselves in the ground with surprising speed. At the same moment, both girls realised Julie was in danger of becoming literally rooted to the spot forever. Finally, with a deep gasp, Julie was able to cry out, "Tara! For God's sake, get some help! Hurry! PLEASE HURRY!!" Even as she said these words, her hair began to stand on end; the strands were quickly thickening and weaving themselves into a network of branches.

Although she was taking a few slow steps backward, it was now Tara who was frozen by fright. Once she regained her composure, the still-naked girl quickly gathered her clothes and began running toward the house. She couldn't help, though, turning back to watch Julie's continuing transformation; her arms, which were also becoming branches, started to sprout leaves along with her hair. Gradually, her breasts and face melted into the bark that was rapidly replacing Julie's skin. In another minute or so, it was all over. A new tree stood on the spot, one only with a ghostly hint of Julie's agonised face, body shape and breasts on its trunk; its branches permanently pointed toward the house as if forever struggling for freedom, or pleading for mercy.

The still-naked Tara's first stop had been the kitchen. When she was able to stop shaking, she began rooting through the drawers and cabinets for sweets. She soon had an armload of chocolate bars and assorted bags of candies cradled in her arms, along with her clothing; moments later, she was in her room. She dumped the pile of goodies on the floor and tore into them with a fury, barely stopping to swallow or breathe. She still hadn't even put her clothes back on; the bundle was still in her lap.

She went through the chocolate first, then started on the sweets. It wasn't long before there was only a pile of empty wrappers in front of Tara. She glanced over at the full-length mirror and was horrified to see her sweat-covered body and chocolate-stained face. She lifted her hand to wipe her face, when suddenly the scent of chocolate became overpowering. With horror, she realised that she too was beginning to change.

Her skin wasn't only altering in shade, but in texture as well. It suddenly hit Tara like a hot blast from hell that her body was turning to chocolate; She stared at her hand in horror as the glossy brown colour of the chocolate began to spread from the stain on the back of her hand over onto her fingers and wrist, until her hand looked like it had been dipped in solidified chocolate. She lifted her other hand and saw the same effect beginning there. Tara stood up to run, letting her clothes drop to the floor, but found she could only take one step before her feet began to turn to chocolate, a heavy, moist, sticky chocolate that her frozen to the floor just as securely as Julie's roots had imprisoned her outside.

Thanks to the heavy, ornately framed mirror on the opposite wall, Tara had no choice but to watch every step of her transformation. By this time, the change had spread as far as her knees and elbows, making her look like she is wearing bizarre knee length boots and elbow length gloves. The next thing Tara felt was a strange tingling on her scalp; she reached up with her half-transformed arms to learn that her hair was changing into cola flavoured liquorice strings.

For a moment, Tara laughed; but she was soon horrified to feel a similar tingle under her arms and between her legs. With horror she realised that the hair in her most intimate place was turning into short chocolate curls! But the worst yet was still to come as, whilst she examined the new "hair" between her legs, she felt a tingle INSIDE her pelvis. When she slipped her fingers inside herself to see what was happening, she found that her most intimate anatomy had been transformed into soft toffee, whilst her natural lubricant had become sugar syrup!

Just as the reality of this strange substitution registered, an annoying but not all together unpleasant itch began in the very lips of her nether regions as she felt them change. However this was quickly forgotten when an almost orgasmic fury seized hold of her as her usually super sensitive clitoris swelled and hardened rock solid. “It’s worth it, just for this!” she said to herself, only half joking. So intense were the feelings coursing through her body that she barely noticed that the chocolate wave was now moving again, passing over her elbows and knees. For some reason the transformation  seemed to be travelling faster on her lower body, so that within the space of a few short moments her entire lower body was comprised of various types of confectionery cemented within pure, soft chocolate.

Tara then felt a terrible prickling feeling take over her breasts, which seemed to be concentrated at her nipples. The mirror let her see every detail as her nipples became a soft, translucent jelly. The transformation flowed out of the nipples toward the rest of her body, stopping at the point where her breasts met her torso. As it did so, she saw tiny specks of colour within the jelly; pink, green, yellow, red, orange, purple and more, tiny flecks of colour suspended within the globes of jelly that had replaced her breasts. Now the torture worsened, as her "breasts" began to itch as thousands of sugar crystals broke from the globes. She couldn't believe it; her mammary glands had been transformed into giant mockeries of jelly tots!

The chocolate wave continued up her torso, under her jellied bosom, crawling up towards her shoulders and neck, even visible as a brown shadow through the clear jelly that now made up her cleavage. An icy chill flowed through her semi-solid body as it dawned on her that all the different types of confectionery that now made up her body were included in the selection of sweets she had just eaten in her binge session!

Her shock intensified as she mentally compared the list of what she had eaten with the list of what components she was now made from:- there were still some items of consumed confectionery (and twinges in her body) unaccounted for! This was confirmed in her mind as the powerful taste of mint filled her mouth: a short exploration with her tongue told her that her teeth had been transformed into tiny white mints. Her tongue itself then changed into the kind of strawberry flavoured foam that candy shrimps are often made from.

At the same time as her tongue was changing, she felt a tickle in her lips that almost seemed familiar… As her lips puffed up into her field of vision, she saw them swell out as though she had been stung by something and turn a bright, artificial red. Cherry red. As the sickly sweet smell of cherries reached her nose, she realised that, with a twist of ironic fate, her soft flesh lips had become artificial Cherry Lips! Pure panic and disgust filled her as she remembered why the feeling in her lips was so familiar. It was exactly the same feeling as she had felt in her lower “lips”. They too must have been transformed into Cherry Lips!

She then remembered the intense orgasm inducing transformation she had also had at the time. Comparing her two mental lists, she guessed (correctly, though she would never know it) that her tiny, precious, hard bud had transformed into hard aniseed! She threw back her head and started to scream as the chocolate wave again started up, this time crawling up her neck and lapping over her cheeks and chin towards her mouth and eyes. But as soon as she opened her mouth to release the first few notes, the chocolate wave flowed into her open mouth over her cherry lips and around her foam candy tongue, freezing them both permanently in a silent scream of pure terror, fashioned in sweetest chocolate. As the wave flowed over her forehead, her head was frozen in position, with only her wide, terrified eyes left staring out at the mirror. Her field of vision them slowly clouded over from the outside as she saw, with a final glance towards the mirror, her eyes slowly crystallising, hardening and transforming in their sockets into two small, coloured gob-stoppers. Mercifully, she lost consciousness as the last living parts of her body were absorbed by the merciless wave stripping her of her humanity.

Finally, after she had been rendered little more than chocolate and sweets, her soft chocolate flesh cooled to solidify rock solid, completing her transformation into a life sized, and extremely realistic, chocolate nude. Tara's mother, in trying to encourage her once drastically overweight daughter to adopt a better diet, had often told the girl, "You are what you eat." Now it was literally true.

Back in the house, the search for Jenna and the nightmarish transformations went on. Valerie finally stumbled onto the sewing room, where the needle had done its work on Jenna the night before. Unlike her hapless friends, who just seemed to be wandering through the place half-blind, Valerie looked the curvy naked mannequin square in the face and immediately knew who it was, or had been.

She half-covered her mouth with a hand and let out a piercing scream. “Jenna! Oh God, Jenna! Oh no, oh no!” She ran from the room screaming.

Soon, she found herself in the toy room, face to face with the new wind-up doll. The doll’s expressionless face flickered momentarily as she registered the presence of someone in her field of vision. “Hi! My name is Ashley! Would you” The words slowed and faded, and the doll’s motion’s became jerkier and halted completely as her gears wound down.

Aghast, Valerie ran from the room too quickly to notice her other friends who were now Barbies, standing motionless and silent in their display boxes.

Instead, she darted down the hall a short distance to the pool room, where she crashed straight into the wax statue that had been Karen. “Oh, no, not you too!” she exclaimed.

Then, she thought she was starting to lose touch with reality, as she began hearing a faint voice calling, “Val! Val! Valerie!” Valerie thought she was going crazy, because it sounded like Vickie’s voice, yet she couldn’t see her anywhere. “Up here!” the voice cried. “In the picture.”

“Vickie?” she said, the awful reality dawning on her. “Is that really you? Is this really Karen?”

“Yeah,” the nude girl in the painting said. “What’s going on?”

“I wish I knew,” Valerie replied. “Jenna’s been turned into a mannequin, Ashley’s now a wind up doll, and so far I haven’t been able to find anyone else yet.”

“What was your uncle?” the girl in the painting asked. “Some kind of sick bastard?”

Suddenly, Valerie was aware of a shadow in the doorway, and the soft whirring of gears. “That...all depends. on your. point. of. view,” came a deep yet still mechanical-sounding male voice.

Valerie turned, and gazed in horror at a mechanical figure that looked like the pictures she had seen of her uncle.

“Hello, Valerie,” the automaton said with an evil smile.

While this conversation was taking place, Lindsey, Sara, Carly and Kim were meeting their final fates at the far end of the house, in the gallery. The girls had been awed by all the paintings and statuary in the room; there were as many objects in here, it appeared, as in all the rest of the house combined— and that was a considerable number indeed.

“Geez, this guy’s got his own museum here,” Carly said.

Near the middle of the room, they found four empty stone pedestals, apparently waiting for statues that had not arrived yet. Carly climbed atop one, and tried to strike a graceful pose. With her long legs, thin arms, and long, flowing platinum blonde hair, she did seem a bit like a sculptor’s dream.

“Hey, look, I'm a work of art!” she called to the other girls, who quickly joined her on the other pedestals and took their own posed. Soon, though, they realised their mistake, as none of them could move from their place.

“What’s happening?...” Carly cried her last words as her body stiffened and hardened.

Each girl watched in terror as the others’ clothing disintegrated, and they began to change. Lindsey was becoming a statue of solid gold.... this appearance seemed to fit her honey blonde hair and light complexion. She was, of course, horrified by what was happening to her, but she took small comfort in the fact that at least she was still a whole figure; poor Sara’s arms and legs seemed to be sucked up inside of her, and then the same thing happened to her head, leaving only a shapely granite torso sitting on the pedestal.

Carly’s transformation saw her become solid silver; again, the colour seemed a perfect fit with her platinum hair.

As for Kim, the last to be transformed, her change seemed more fitted to her personality that her looks. Kim was one of the most beautiful girls in the sorority, but one of the coldest. Even more than the others, she seemed to judge people by wealth, status and social standing. So perhaps it was fitting that she became a statue of cold, flawless marble.

Back in the billiards room, Valerie was trying to figure out what, or who, this strange mechanical man was who was advancing toward her. “Uncle?” she said,. “Is that you?”

“Yes’s truly me,” he said. “I’m sure you. were. wondering who... was behind all this.... wonderful magic!”

“Wonderful?” Val moaned. “Are you CRAZY!”

The mechanical man shook his head slowly from side to side to the sound of a rusty creaking. “Oh, you. poor. girl. Don’t you. realise the gift...I’m giving. you.. all. of. you? Eternal youth...and flawless beauty. None of you will ever.... lose your good looks. You’ll all be with me here. forever.” He continued to move towards her.

“What are you?” Val, now backed into a corner, asked. “You’re not human!”

She looked desperately for some kind of tool or weapon to stop the mechanical man advancing on her, but her efforts proved fruitless. Soon, her metal uncle was wrapping her wrists and ankles with ropes. Then he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder, as casually as if he was picking up a small sack of groceries. She continued to fight, but his grip was steel.

“No. I guess I’m not. human. now, you may say. I would be long dead, had I stayed human. I found a way to cheat... death. by transferring my consciousness... into this mechanical form. Unlike your friends’, this body is. self-winding..self maintaining..will never run down.” He was carrying the helpless girl through the same halls back toward the sewing room. He dropped her into a chair there, next to the rigid plastic dressmaker's mannequin that had once been her friend.

“I did. some research. on you... girls,” the mechanical man said. “I know you. and. Jenna are best. friends. So I think it’s right. Fitting.. that you two. stay together here. forever.” He picked up the needle that had been responsible for Jenna’s transformation and began advancing toward his cowering niece.

“No,” she pleaded, “Please don’t....please.....”

The needle sank into her fingertip, tingling slightly and leaving no trace of blood.

The final hardening began.


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