The Hidden Masterpiece

Penned by Panic

Authors note: This is an erotic work of fantasy, not to be viewed by anyone under the age of eighteen. I plan for this text to be the beginning of a much larger storyline.
Many thanks go out to Dmuk for his patience, guidance and support. Additional gratitude goes out to Rastaman in recognition of his work, Euryale.

Chapter One: Mirror Image

Along a marble-lined lobby, a sunny woman wanders with a sultry swing in her step. In her hand she holds a mysterious key-card, emblazoned with the flashy logo for Fortuna Regal, the monolithic casino towering over the Las Vegas valley. With a quivering hand she presses the call button for the elevator, inserting the card handed to her moments ago by her talent agent, Barb. A chill runs up her spine as the doors seal shut, sending her hurdling upwards. Immediately, she feels her stomach dancing from the swift force of the express elevator delivering her to an unknown floor.

The gears slow the ascent, the door opens with a snick. Tentatively, the sleek blonde pops her head out, glancing confusedly from side to side. Ahead of her sprawls a long hallway leading to a single, gold-framed door. Grabbing the key-card from the slot inside the elevator panel, she steps out with a flourish, checking her hair and make-up in a nearby mirror. Reaching into her petite handbag, she adds a hint of blush to her lush, round cheek, admiring her luminous face with a decisive eye. After batting her emerald eyes playfully, she offers to her own reflection, “Time to shine!”

Summoning every amount of composure she tip-toes down the sole corridor, gently sliding the card into the door lock. A loud clack greets her ears as she twists the door handle before stepping inside.

She’s never seen a room so opulent in her whole life! Rich mahogany spreads out beneath her diminutive feet, echoing in warm, earthy tones as she steps. Gold leaf accents, hand-carved moldings featuring playful cherubs and sinister satyrs, no two figures replicated along the surface. Hanging from the towering ceiling is a raucous chandelier of ebony delight featuring playful swooping ravens, subtle light escaping in mottled layers throughout the lounge. She spots numerous paintings adorning the walls, each one a masterpiece of color and substance, individually lit from above. In the far corner rages a radiant fire flickering madly in a marble hearth, defying the limits of style and luxury. On a single platform table stands a sparkling flute of rosy champagne, apparently placed in anticipation of her arrival. A soft sigh flows from her lips as she stands there, effortlessly content. At odds with the rest of the room stands a large, empty pedestal perched directly in line with a full-length mirror. She traces a finger along the cool surface of the pedestal, marveling at the slick texture.

A stern voice rings out from a hidden intercom. “Please don’t touch that!” In embarrassment, the befuddled girl reacts by tucking her hands behind her back, pouting as she swings her left foot. After a pause, the confident female voice continues. “Are you Lindsey Roth, my new statue?”

“What?” asks the new arrival in bewilderment.

“For the grotto,” continues the faceless voice. “I spoke with your agent at the Weissman Agency. I’m supposed to be meeting the actress playing the living statue during our shows in the Roman Grotto. You are Lindsey, aren’t you?”

She nods her head in embarrassment. “Yes, I’m Lindsey Roth. Sorry about that.” Something about this room makes Lindsey feel sluggish, as if time itself ceases to exist amongst this ageless collection of affluence. “I wasn’t too sure what you had in mind for me.”

Behind a bank of monitors in a darkened room sits a stunning woman with a cold face. Spread before her is a large file folder filled with the fruits of her elaborate research. With a ruby red fingernail she traces the curve of Lindsey’s cute face on her primary monitor. Among the paperwork on the table is a jumbo glossy featuring the nervous applicant’s brief biography. A smile slinks its way onto her doll-like features as she tucks away the starlet’s dossier, deciding instead to focus on the task at hand. Pressing a button on the microphone, she continues addressing her latest candidate. “Please forgive the impersonal manner of this interview, Ms. Roth. I find the best way to evaluate your skills for this assignment is to remain detached from the process. Consider me an invisible witness to your skills as an actress and model. You can call me Helen.”

Lindsey continues to scan the room, looking for a control panel, speaker or camera. At least now she grasps why an empty pedestal has been placed in this room with her. “Please feel free to call me Lindsey.”

Within her control room Helen adjusts the zoom on the primary camera, making sure to flick the various record buttons for all the cameras hidden around the room. Already, she is feeling quite warm, yet she works to contain her excitement. “Please feel free to have some champagne; I only buy the very best.” In the monitor, she watches as the youthful lady nods approval, gently putting the delicate glass to her lips. After two exuberant gulps, a hint of a blush creeps across Lindsey’s face, prompting a devious smile.

“That was refreshing, thanks!” offers Lindsey, still uncertain whether she can be heard clearly in this vast room full of magnificence. The flickering light from the fireplace slowly places Lindsey in a calm trance, allowing a balmy glow to radiate with goose bumps traveling up and down her body.

Helen laughs with mirth as she pats the vial of serum in her breast pocket, always effective for lowering inhibitions and inducing catatonic paralysis. Nothing can ever be left to chance. The resolute numbness in her own left foot proves evidence of her need for absolute control over every person and situation. Clicking the call button, she speaks once again to her apt student. “This will be a test of your ability to hold still in a classical stance. Are you ready to pose for me, Lindsey?”

Shaking her way out of the fog, Lindsey can’t help but notice Helen now commanding her rather than asking. She glances at herself in that giant mirror, evaluating her options. ‘Is this job really worth the huge paycheck? Why can’t I meet my prospective boss in person? What kind of test does she have in mind for me? Will I make an attractive statue? Well, a living statue,’ her mind adds. She strikes a flashy pose in the mirror, imagining herself covered head-to-toe in shimmering, white body paint with subtle specks and cracks hand painted in detail. In college, Lindsey had posed many times for various human figures classes, always getting a secret kick out of being immortalized on parchment or in clay. Now, she’s being offered this chance to become a new work of art not limited by the meager talents of a stranger. Likewise, she still finds something incredibly sensuous about sculpted nude statuary...

“Okay, I’ll do it!” exclaims Lindsey as she dances, tracing a circle around her lonely pedestal. “However, my agent said something about getting paid for the day...”

Helen rolls her eyes as she snickers at her greedy dupe. “Check the drawer of the table. Ms. Roth. You’ll find your cash inside.” She watches as the shapely girl strolls over to the same table her glass is perched upon, bending down to reach the golden handle. Intricate symbols are etched in bold relief on the face: a secret code which holds occult divination. Once Lindsey opens the drawer, Helen feels the enchantment singing out, effectively sealing her new model within a covert binding spirit contract. On the monitors she sees her brand new minion counting the spoils, blissfully unaware of just what she is actually accepting.

“Is all this for me?” asks the wide-eyed starlet, oblivious to any risk.

The stale voice responds, “Plus a bonus, if you pass the test. The motion sensors on the wall will keep you compliant. Oh... and you’ll need to sign the contract. Use the pen in the drawer.” In the monitors Helen can see the excitement on Lindsey’s face as she pops the stash of hundreds into her purse before signing the contract in red. Helen snickers as she feels the potency racing through her, goat’s blood effectively binding her new stooge to her in perpetuity. As Lindsey places the contract back inside the drawer, Helen announces, “Time to see what I’m paying for. Take off your clothes, Ms. Roth.”

Lindsey reaches down, sliding her right shoe off. In bewilderment, she asks, “Take off everything? Like, totally naked?” She continues with the remaining shoe, placing the tall pumps on the table next to her empty glass. She begins to wiggle out of her tight dress while staring into the fire across the room.

A firm voice echoes on the loudspeaker. “For this test, yes, I’ll need you completely nude. Once I select your pose I’ll be able to gauge which type of toga you’ll be wearing to impress our customers.” Fully enjoying Lindsey’s dilemma, she adds, “Besides, you did already sign the contract.” As she watches her damsel get down to her underwear, Helen slides a finger down her skirt, moaning in ecstatic anticipation.

While daintily folding her lush party dress, Lindsey responds in a tentative voice,“As long as you won’t be posting any of this on the web, I’ll do what you ask. You promise you won’t have me posing nude as a living statue during the show, right?” She sits down on the ornate marble pedestal facing the mirror, suddenly realizing just how icy the slick stone feels on her shapely behind. With a steady hand, she begins sliding her full-fashioned stockings off her curvy legs, savoring the sensations of movement while preparing her mind for the rigors of holding completely motionless.

Helen grins to herself, suddenly very pleased with her assignment. “I promise you won’t be posing naked as a living statue. If you see any trace of this session on the Internet or anywhere else, you can sue me for indecency.” Of course, even though the contract was air-tight, Helen savored the wordplay regardless. “I wouldn’t give you the opportunity to litigate, my dear.” In her enthusiasm, she moves her hand up to caress her perked nipple, tracing a gentle circle around the sensitive areola. She gauges her model with a critical eye while watching her slide the other silky stocking off her supple thigh, savoring the form of that shapely leg. Playfully, Helen adds, “You want to be a sexy statue for me, don’t you?”

Lindsey laughs riotously as she unclasps her bra. In a sardonic tone, she says, “Yes, I want to be a sexy statue for you, Helen.” Rowdily, she tosses her bra on top of the pile, revealing her perfectly-shaped breasts, tipped by rock hard nipples. Leaning back on the pedestal, she slides out of her slim panties, doing her best strip-tease twirl before launching them away to land a few feet from the fireplace. Still playing, she kicks her pointed toes in the air in a bicycle kick before slowing to a halt, holding stock still with her legs high in the air. After waiting for a ten count, she speaks, barely opening her lips. “How’s this for a statue, Helen?” Again, she pretends to be absolutely motionless as she toys with the unseen supervisor. On her face she holds a suspended look of stunned surprise.

Helen howls her approval as she begins shedding her clothes as well, working her own body into a tittering frenzy. Savoring this lighthearted moment, she lets Lindsey linger in her mock stillness with delight. Stabbing the microphone, she composes herself before saying, “You make a cute statue like that, Lindsey.” At last, the young girl breaks the illusion, smiling quietly to herself before lowering her legs and hopping to her feet on the platform. “Let’s get you posed.”

Lindsey wonders why she finds herself so complicity agreeable to Helen’s soothing commands as she holds a mystified smile on her lovely countenance. At one point while following the rapid posing instructions from that faceless voice, she ponders whether there even is a job available for her after all this effort or whether Helen is using this ruse to satisfy some sadistic desire. It takes Lindsey a full five minutes just to get her hands and fingers positioned to Helen’s strict specification, so gripped she is by every detail. ‘Another powerful control freak,’ thinks Lindsey as she gently shifts her weight, sliding her front leg ever so slightly forward, her tiny toes barely pressing against the chilly stone surface of that unyielding pedestal tucked beneath her. Helen even fires up a laser from her veiled location to help direct her hapless lass with greater precision. All the time, Lindsey marvels at her own reflection in that gargantuan mirror, the prancing light from the fireplace rolling and pulsing across her tantalizing figure.

Not one factor eludes Helen’s watchful eye. The tilt of Lindsey’s neck, the slope of her hip, even the fall of the hair on her shoulder is open for critique and adjustment. At last, all elements prove satisfactory to Helen, now utterly naked as well within her nest. “Perfect,” purrs Helen over the loudspeaker, finally satisfied with Lindsey’s ultimate pose. “Focus on your image in the mirror, my lovely girl. See the how classic you are now, a composition of grace and splendor!” Lindsey stifles a beaming smile, longing to satisfy her premium arrangement by remaining stock still. According to Helen’s strict rules, bonus time has begun, meaning the slightest movement would ruin any chance for Lindsey to earn her bonus. Still, Lindsey can’t help but feel attraction towards that secret influence behind the curtain while pitying that obsessed and lonely song as well. The phantom voice echoes in her ear passively seeping into her subconscious. “Forever lovely, motionless and still. You are a testament to beauty, inspiring every eye fortunate enough to gaze upon you. Concentrate on the reflection; focus on your statue image, your perfect pose...”

Lindsey’s muscles lose their terse soreness as she feels herself growing amorous, the sensation bubbling under the surface, pulling her like a torrential river into her own likeness. Her face softens as she stares, thunderstruck. A look of ecstatic awe sneaks onto her darling features, setting the pleasant curve of her eye and cheek. Her heart begins racing, a pang of alarm lingers deep in the distant background, sending her further into panicked oblivion. Helen’s voice continues to coax, beckoning Lindsey to study her own sexy body as a sculpture of impenetrable stone, no longer fragile and fleeting. Trepidation flees with every word uttered over that microphone, until Lindsey begins wishing she could remain like this indefinitely, as invaluable as all the other treasures reflected with her in that colossal mirror.

Helen cries out in rapture as she stabs a green button with her blood-red fingernail. The sweet howl of agony echoes briefly throughout the chamber as Lindsey continues to concentrate on her cherished image. Suddenly, her prized likeness reflected in the mirror splits down the middle with a burst, snapping open without mercy to reveal an emerald glow.

Bathed within that ethereal luminescence, Lindsey instantly feels every minute nerve cell quivering with salacious energy. A warm murmur rocks every cell, every muscle, consuming Lindsey in carnal fire. Within her magnificent silhouette she moans without moving, overwhelmed by the blissful sensations pulsing through her enraptured flesh. Every expectant pore lights up with simmering force, a blast of torridity throbs and ebbs radiating immense heat. A trickle of vaginal fluid expels from her nether lips as she feels herself spinning beyond any semblance of control, a solitary tear of precious juice ebbing down her inner thigh. Popping, effervescent reverberations sway like that roaring fire in the corner, consuming Lindsey in an inferno of energy. The once amusing vibrations begin to sour, however, tickling hands becoming forceful jabs. In fear and revulsion, Lindsey tries to step down from her haughty pedestal, but her limbs feel impossibly firm and leaden. Again, she tries to flee, to bolt back down that lonely hallway and out to the neon boulevard below, but her muscles will not comply. Seeking out her reflection with paralyzed eyes, she witnesses her once vibrant remains becoming pallid in waves, rolling up from her flexed toes. Insidiously and perniciously, the color blanches from her entire form, converting her once warm tissue into a fossilized figure of static poise. Even Lindsey’s dumbstruck eyes begin to glaze over, the previously bright irises losing that cherished spark of life. Streaks of dazzling mineral snake across the monument she now realizes she is becoming, a filigree of whorls waltzing along her petrifying skin. A sensation of absolute density presses down on Lindsey’s heaving breast until even the lungs in her chest calcify, leaving a final rustling breath lingering in the air before dissipating. Once the horrifying deed completes, the mirrored glass clamps back down within its moorings, snapping back in place with a casual clang, leaving the trap primed once again, ready to claim the next unwitting victim.

Lindsey shudders as she grasps what has been done to her, for she finds she is no longer a rosy woman of flesh and blood. Standing in her place instead is a pristine statue of burnished marble, a masterful work of art possessing her unique beauty and character. ‘My God, I’ve been turned to stone!’ reflects the forlorn maiden with much pity.

Lindsey screams inside as she faces the certainty her own alabaster reflection. She longs to weep in sorrow for her entrapment, but her eyes remain dry, mere orbs within the pebbled mask of her face. The pedestal that had once seemed so out of place within this room of luxury now stands proudly fulfilled, holding aloft a sculpture so treasured and unique that imbecile and genius alike would bask in wonderment. Inside the ravishing figure she has become, Lindsey curses herself for falling victim to such an ambush, for being so gravely gullible. ‘Even my agent betrays me!’ considers Lindsey while locked within her definitive pose. Curiously, she finds she can still see and hear, despite her petrified condition.

Already the immense warmth of her rapid conversion begins to fade away, sending a pitiable chill throughout the lonely sculpture, like falling through thin ice. Adding further insult to injury, a ventilation grate hums into action above her stationary spot, freezing her insidiously where she stands.

Within her limited perspective, Lindsey can study with rapt attention only the images reflected in that cursed mirror. Not far from her, yet infinitely out of reach, lay her teetering pumps still placed alongside that empty fluted glass once full of bubbly. ‘Did she drug me?’ ponders the shimmering statue with regret. Inside the ornate drawer sits the contract she had signed in blood red only moments before; as tragic as signing her own death certificate. ‘What are those arcane symbols carved on that drawer?’ She wonders, too late. Her purse, still loaded with Helen’s tainted cash, rests on that cozy floor next her discarded dress, stockings and bra. She would give anything to be wearing them now; she feels so naked and vulnerable, on display like a wooden Indian. Torturing herself by replaying her immortal moment of capture in cruel repetition, poor Lindsey can scarcely believe the elegant sculpture trapped within the mirror is actually her. Yet the reality remains as clear as that fragile glass, she has been quite literally petrified!

Within her hidden room, Helen is likewise replaying the events of Lindsey’s recent ensnarement, cutting together the various recorded angles to make one powerful short film as evidence for her benefactor. It still struck her as ironic that there appeared no limit to the amount of sinners or surveillance gear available in Las Vegas, her favorite city of sin. She steals a moment to check her various email accounts, another to monitor the live feeds from the cage, tables and slots. On the large monitor loops the final edit of Lindsey’s unwitting rapture in stone, an acceptable distraction for the previously harried executive. Already, she feels the occult power of her ensnarement spells coursing through her veins, granting her vital rejuvenation at Lindsey’s expense.

Once her business entanglements are satisfied, Helen slithers back into her strewn clothes, returning once again to her callous persona of power. Her leather boots click with precision as she steps forward, punching a code into a discrete control panel. Immediately, the wall slides open with a puff, hydraulic pistons delivering the ersatz barrier to its designated location. Dead ahead stands her new esteemed possession, the gleaming marble figure of her priceless prisoner. Freshly minted, the monument of that adorable young woman shimmers in the playful light of the hearth, beckoning to be touched.

Lindsey would have surely trembled in abject fear if she weren’t now comprised of dense stone. The stiffened folds of her precious ears perceive confident footfalls approaching from outside her limited field of vision as she waits for her mysterious captor to reveal herself. ‘Waiting is something you’re going to have to get used to,’ scoffs the effigy Lindsey has become, taunting herself. The polished spheres that once were her vivid eyeballs study the mirror intently until finally her subjugator appears within view directly beyond her left shoulder. Lindsey rages silently at her brutal captor, yet finds to her disgust a hint of lustful attraction as she longs for attention. When Helen’s petite hand traces the nape of her rigid neck, Lindsey’s instinct is to slap away the warm flesh, that spiteful reminder of her interned fate. Of course, no such rebuff can be delivered; Lindsey’s stony arm proves absolutely futile as just another solid carving of marble completely unable to deliver upon such fury.

“Mmm,” whispers that all too familiar voice into Lindsey’s petrified ear. “I bet you didn’t expect to be trapped forever in stone, did you?” She rolls her tongue across the polished landscape, probing the fossilized canal in a slick bolero of satisfaction. Lindsey quivers inside at the overwhelming sensation of playful motion, her ossified nerve endings mysteriously delivering spellbound bliss throughout her motionless figure. The erotic energy sizzles with immense force, shaking Lindsey out of her forlorn stupor. Ironically, her captured visage burns with pleasure far more intense than she’d ever known in living flesh. “Are you ready for your bonus, my dear?”

With exuberance Helen steps up onto the sturdy pedestal, joining Lindsey’s stoic likeness in that magic mirror. She studies Lindsey’s pixie face with great intensity, panting with passion so vast she begins to cloud the glossy contours with her moist breath. Tenderly, she presses her cheek against the aroused nub of Lindsey’s pebbled nipple before suckling the firm button with pursed lips. She traces a line downward to Lindsey’s belly button, then further still to explore that stony flower below. Within her static prison, an explosive surge of orgasmic pleasure rocks Lindsey to her core, reverberating within that stone cocoon of former flesh. The power builds to such an intense crescendo that Lindsey fears her indurate figure will shatter into myriad specks of dust unable to hold her unique and resolute shape anymore.

Helen giggles as she discovers that inspired streak of vaginal fluid on Lindsey’s fossilized thigh, following the trail to its base. Savoring Lindsey’s final symptom of living flesh, Helen laps that delicate snail stripe with her adept tongue, the essence of her victim exploding upon contact. She fondles the rocky knot of Lindsey’s alert clitoris using feathery strokes while saying, “Naughty, naughty. Looks like my smutty statue had some fun while she petrified!” Lindsey feels a twinge of humiliation as she continues to soar on that corporeal cloud of delight. Mirth and anger begin to fade with every touch, yet Lindsey can’t evade feeling shame when recognizing just how helplessly exposed she remains, how utterly on display her body has become without clemency or shelter of modesty.

For several powerful moments Helen stimulates her fresh inanimate plaything in a mad tango of tactile touching, licking and kissing. Lindsey reels from the amorous attention, driving ever further into shadowy enchantment. The vulnerable nature of her circumstance coupled with that increased sensitivity to touch proves a powerhouse combination that threatens to push Lindsey’s sanity to the brink. ‘What will happen to me if she accidentally tips me over,’ worries Lindsey between blistering orgasms. The massive force of gratification finds no release from Lindsey’s polished body; her petrified womb remains utterly dry. However, the quaking stimulation continues to flare in every conceivable direction all at once, flowing into the core of her soul.

With a patronizing grin on her face, Helen pats her captivated lover on that unbending heart-shaped bottom as she rises once again to her feet. Stepping down from the platform, she walks several circuits around the perched monument, still balanced perilously on tip-toe. Once again, Lindsey feels vast dread twisting her morale as she returns to her frozen condition, her orgasm abruptly fading from her soaring mind. ‘I’m so powerless like this,’ worries Lindsey as she tries to track Helen’s movements. While witnessing Helen stroll away beyond her line of sight, Lindsey struggles to come to terms with her frustrating predicament as a mere object of beauty, no longer possessing control over any element of her life. ‘Why do I still feel anything at all?’ asks Lindsey within her stony shell.

After what seems an eternal pause, her sultry victor returns with two burly security guards, each wearing tan uniforms featuring prominent Fortuna Regal logos. ‘Just how many people are there plotting against me?’ wonders the frustrated statue in a huff. She watches as the mustached one tows a massive dolly as he walks while the shaven gentleman appears to be wheeling a substantial winch and pulley contraption. As the hand truck settles with a clank, Lindsey spies a new marble pedestal featuring brash script engraved on the front surface. To her astonished surprise, the helpless statue immediately recognizes her name cut into the durable stone, forcing a shiver of shock to conquer her in an instant. The revelation hits her like a brick to the face: she has been targeted for this punishment, not plucked by random chance.

Before Lindsey can even ponder why she’s been purposely chosen to be victimized in this degrading manner, she feels a harness snapping into place around her torso, the vinyl straps tightening under her arms. With a clacking series of turns, she feels her massive weight elevating high into the air, swiveling and swinging as she hovers. Finally twisting away from that torturous mirror, the masterpiece of pulchritude once known as Lindsey feels butterflies twisting within her stony stomach. Obliteration dominates her thoughts as burly hands guide her steadily while aloft. The terror continues as she feels Helen spreading a delicate brush along the flat undersurface of her flexed toes, tacky cement clinging to her lifeless feet. Lindsey would have fretfully giggled if her lips weren’t already sealed in stone, a reaction to those ticklish brushstrokes. Once generously applied, Helen wickedly toys with the ill fated ornament, running a slinking finger up and down her sensitive instep. As she steps back from her dangling handiwork, Helen instructs her minions using a curt voice until they capably pivot the confined woman before anchoring her onto the surface of the new platform, her permanent pedestal. In the mirror Lindsey sees herself at last as the completed work of art as intended by Helen all along, her name blazing beneath her diminutive stony soles.

As the workmen scurry away with their tools, Lindsey feels the powerful glue setting under the balls of her feet, growing blazing hot before eventually cooling to room temperature. Helen plants a soulful kiss on those once velvety lips, admiring the detailed texture of that nippy stone surface, so solid with no trace of any pliability whatsoever. Using those impeccably manicured fingers she strokes Lindsey’s rounded cheek as she stares knowingly into those blank eyes. “I can imagine how upset you must be with me, my little artwork,” whispers Helen into Lindsey’s carven ear. The steady rivulets representing those once silken locks of gold elicit Helen’s absorbed attention next, the delicate texture rolling under her soothing touch.

“Do you know why this happened to you? Why you were selected?” Helen lowers herself daintily as she appears to wait for a response from her marble angel, eventually kneeling next to the handcrafted pedestal. She produces a sharp Exacto blade, removing the cap before setting her focus on the anchoring putty holding Lindsey’s figure in place. As she presses down on the overflow glue to assess its degree of rigidity, she cackles. “Oh that’s right. You can’t respond to me at all, can you? Can’t move either, huh?” To emphasize her point, she wraps her knuckle on Lindsey’s sleek marble thigh, producing a dull, ringing thud. “See what I mean, sweet Lindsey? You are merely a statue now, a durable object of grandeur.” Satisfied the cement has properly set around Lindsey’s shapely appendage, she works with a steady hand to trim all excess residue displaced during the process of securing Lindsey to her flashy base.

“You know, you really should have bolted when you had the chance. I asked many times if you wanted to pose for me, and you consented each time.” Now working on Lindsey’s rear foot, the critical link supporting the brunt of the statue’s now substantial burden, Helen trims excess adhesive while stealing a sarcastic peek in the mirror. “However, you’re acquiescence wasn’t required in the slightest, since I already possessed you long before you arrived for this appointment with me today. Your compliance simply makes your final form significantly more beatific.” Lindsey’s mind swims as she focuses on Helen’s words, trying to comprehend the morbid implication. “You see,” continues the stern executive, “you failed to live within your means.” Helen stands before pressing against Lindsey’s inelastic chest, first tentatively, then with greater force. She smiles, convinced that her newborn statue will remain steadfast, absolutely fused to her namesake pedestal. “That ought to hold you,” jokes Helen knowingly. “Don’t go anywhere! I’ll be right back.”

Clicking heels ring out with a tempo austere and sharp. Once again, Lindsey finds herself staring stanchly at her own frozen visage in that wretched mirror, her visible calm awestruck expression belying the pent up frustration twirling within that stony head. She struggles to grasp the implications of her imprisonment. ‘I’ll never be the same again,’ laments the tethered seraph. She grieves when she runs through the litany of pleasant activities stolen from her forever: never to sing, read, play, flirt, kiss or dance. She by no means volunteered for this degradation, never once demanded this curse of lethargy. However, she finds as she studies the graceful sweep of her arms and the terse quality of her lustrous muscles, she mournfully acknowledges a shadow of delight as she concedes just how gorgeous her alabaster form has become, every tiny detail rendered flawlessly in luxurious marble. Nobody would ever suspect she had once been a living, breathing young woman. In fact, if Helen hadn’t stacked her atop that sturdy platform featuring her own etched birth name, anonymity would surely have prevailed. Lindsey despises her malicious defeater for crushing her spirit in such a wicked game of deceit. ‘Sure, she renders me permanently silent so she can gloat without rebuttal.’

As if in response to her quizzical thoughts, Helen returns diligently to Lindsey’s rooted spot. In her slender hand she holds a manila folder, packed thick with paperwork. She pulls up a fluffy chair, appearing as cold as a litigator. Positioned between Lindsey and her precious image in the unfeeling glass, she crosses her legs, the leather of her boots squeaking ever so slightly. “Hmm, where do I begin?” asks Helen with emphasis, flipping open the packet.

‘If this is her idea of a trial, then why have I already been punished?’ Lindsey would meet Helen’s impersonal glare with resistance if only such expression were possible.

Helen taps her crimson fingernail before she begins, not unlike a judge banging her gavel. “I represent a consortium of powerful business interests. I suppose you could call it the syndicate, if so inclined. I often refer to it as the hidden hand, the shadow nobility.” She pauses briefly, maintaining the illusion of a conversation, despite the one-sided nature of the current state of affairs. “Contrary to what you’ve previously been told during your lifetime, the owners control every facet of existence on this planet, from raw materials to matters of faith. Every political and social movement has been crafted and nurtured by our capable hand, vast funds granting them traction. We are the illuminated ones, the true architects of modern society.” Helen flips through many pages, settling on balance sheets and testimony. “What you fail to recognize, my frozen friend, is how your actions produce repercussions. In Akron, where you were born and raised, you were charged with embezzlement from the bank employing you. The missing bearer bonds were of significant value and were, in fact, owned by my prestigious benefactor, Mr. Philippe Locura.”

As Helen pauses once again for effect, Lindsey feels her heart sinking deep into her throat. Despite all these years of running, her distant past still hunts her without mercy. “The evidence against you was extremely solid, Ms. Roth, as many capable investigators worked tirelessly on this case. Yet our key witness, your former branch manager, Mr. Trimble, recanted his testimony on the stand. Subsequently, the case was thrown out without proper resolution.” Helen scoffs as she produces a large photograph, holding it up to that captive, placid mask. Lindsey shivers inside at the picture of her distant associate mangled beyond any sense of decorum. “He was quite a fighter, don’t you agree? We found he proved somewhat resistant to interrogation, but eventually he was compelled to divulge the whole plot, leaving you in the lurch.”

‘Poor bastard,’ laments Lindsey as she grieves, first for her ally, then for herself. She doesn’t know why she continues to be thrown headlong into this chaotic maelstrom. ‘If only I could speak in my own defense.’

Helen tucks away that fat dossier with a sense of dour irrevocability, tapping it down before slinging it under her shoulder. “We never did track down where you spent your ill-gotten gains, but such a matter proves insignificant since those bonds were virtually untraceable. You’ve been careful with your spending, kiddo, I gotta give you credit...”

Lindsey considers the cruelty if her absurd fate. ‘If only you knew the whole truth, you psychotic autocrat!’ For a lonely moment she mulls over how she keeps falling from one snaring trap into another, culminating with her being transformed into a captive object in some elitist’s sick collection of wealth, just another elegant bauble to be archived and forgotten. Surely, there would be no escape for her now no matter what the future held; Helen made certain of that when she transformed Lindsey’s ravishing legs from fleshy tissue to solid stone.

Strolling decisively, Helen pauses in front of that resounding bonfire for a moment before casually chucking the accusatory folder into the flames. The chatting blaze howls its approval as it works to consume the documents without prejudice. In satisfaction, Helen wipes her hands with resounding finality as if obliterating all further consideration entirely from her conscience. She turns to face Lindsey from her spot in front of the inferno, focusing on the distant reflection. “You know, contrary to what you may be thinking, I’m not inherently cruel. If you hadn’t fallen for my little ambush, you would have definitely suffered a more violent fate instead.” Lindsey could almost swear she spotted a hint of humanity on Helen’s stolid face, but only for a fleeting moment.

“As you’ve undoubtedly discovered, you remain fully cognizant inside that durable monument you’ve become. This is due in large part to the manner in which you were petrified.” Helen steps to Lindsey, patting her stony rear like she’s consoling a puppy. “I used additional enchantments as well to bind you to me,” adds Helen with a proud tone. Using a casual index finger, she points to the mirror, saying, “However, your curse is rooted in magic due to your face to face encounter with my hidden masterpiece, my humble goddess-in-a-box. If you are lucky I might just share with you the story of how I crafted that monster in order to lock you forever in stone. If you behave, of course. But for now...”

Lindsey feels herself jolted as she recognizes a thundering noise rolling in from under her locked legs. Strange sensations of action grip her, challenging her fixed vision with movement. She feels Helen’s hands pushing upon her back, forcing the unexpected propulsion forward on durable caster wheels. Lindsey watches as Helen enters a key code into a discrete panel, sending the walls flying to reveal yet another hidden room beyond. ‘Just how big is this place, anyway?’ wonders Lindsey as she again finds herself moving beyond her nauseatingly static influence. Dead ahead, the stony maiden can glimpse dozens of equally striking marble beauties just like her, all likewise imprisoned in varying compositions and postures. Immediately it dawns on Lindsey she’s being wheeled into Helen’s inner sanctum only to be added at last to this silent collection of reluctant victims.

Helen slows her triumphant procession, proudly allowing Lindsey to appreciate each unique human sculpture in due course, creeping along like some haunted house amusement park ride. ‘Meet the victims of the hideous gorgon!’ jokes Lindsey in a cheesy voice for her own entertainment. Instantly Lindsey reflects on how all of these euphoric statues are also silently checking her out for the first time, each set of blank eyes concealing a frantic torrent of suppressed existence. As one carved name after another rolls by, she attempts to link each one to its representative statue in an effort to anthropomorphize the figures in cold granite. If only she could reverse the mantle of time to save all these women robbed of anima from this void of feeble introspection devoid of life...

Lindsey pauses to admire a reclined damsel, posed on her taut tummy with ankles crossed over fair, comely buttocks. Pleasant marble curls snake down her propped shoulders, flowing down to the small of her back. The spirit of her cheesecake pose draws emphasis towards her vast bust line, dainty arms pressing the once pliant pillows outward with feminine pride. A willowy hand is offered near pursed lips, mischievously blowing a sultry kiss in perpetual flirtation that would never be withdrawn. All minute details are rendered with astonishing clarity; every slinky eyelash, arched eyebrow and pointed finger cries out in harmonious stillness. Her marble husk of femininity balances atop a long shelf of limestone proudly offered up on a fluted stem, elevating her sprawling figure higher than all the other erstwhile women positioned around the arched gallery.

Helen halts before the flirty maiden as she runs her hand along the curve of those marvelous halted leg muscles. “Well, Kelly, what do you think of my latest acquisition?” She hoists herself up before straddling the playful object. Coyly, she offers a whisper to ears hidden behind undulating curls. “I haven’t forgotten about us, darling, even though I’ve been away so long. I know how badly you want to be my slutty little trollop.” Even though the unmoving woman appears coldly oblivious to Helen’s special treatment, Lindsey realizes fully just how active that caged mind remains within her torpid stupor, a surprising side effect of the curse. “It’s too bad you were caught cheating, my dear, first at the tables downstairs, then on me in my own bed. Savor the torture of your delicious punishment, for you shall endure it until the end of time.” Helen finishes by kissing a trail across her entire frame, spending extra vigor on the pleasing cleft of ample cleavage. “At least you can’t lie to me through your stony teeth anymore.” With a peck upon those expectant lips, Helen swings back down, abandoning her once self-obsessed lover yet again.

It dawns on Lindsey that each gleaming body within this sarcophagus of enchantment holds a private story of decline worthy of Helen’s scornful retribution. In her mind she curses her misfortune, loathing her role as an object of ridicule dependent upon the whims of Helen’s immense ego. As she powerlessly rolls along she spots a statue of a woman in an athletic posture, legs kicking out in exuberance, a stony snapshot of a limber stretch made eternal. In another setting stands a woman captured while dancing, slinking seductively in exotic harmony, stern lust shaping her rapturous face. Along the far wall can be seen a pair of lovers frozen as they lap at each other without abandon, their ardent bodies linking together resolutely to form one masterful work of erotic art. Perhaps Lindsey’s favorite one, however, is a striking lady hugging her own scandalous curves, one arm bent with a hand lingering upon her shoulder, the other held straight, reaching down to rest on her hip. Long ribbons of hair frame a face beaming with inspired awe, tilted skyward as if in grateful prayer. Lindsey sighs inside as she appreciates the grace of that longing expression.

Lindsey wonders if any of these visions of splendor see her as an inspiring object as well, a prized work of breathtaking art. ‘Perhaps circumstance will render me numb after a while,’ wonders Lindsey as she spies an open location in the grouping dead ahead, her permanent spot, she coldly realizes. As she feels her resolute form spinning at Helen’s hand, she contemplates how she’ll cope with the persistence of time taunting her weary psyche. Suddenly, with a resounding clack Lindsey feels herself lowering ever so slightly as the wheels are retracted back into her pedestal, leaving Lindsey firmly entrenched at last within the gallery of sophisticated women chosen by Helen to offer stony stillness and loveliness as punishment for perceived transgressions against the syndicate.

“There you go!” celebrates Helen as she marvels at Lindsey’s role as the latest article within her unique collection of women sculpted from life. “You are as lovely as a statue, now. I suggest you enjoy your experience, Lindsey. Those who try to fight against the burden of stone eventually go insane. Realize you are just another stunning work of art, exactly like all the others here within my gallery. I know you wish to move or speak as you could before, but your body is now a solid block of marble. Forget your flesh and find some peace in knowing you’ll never have to toil or suffer again.” Helen hops up and plants a final kiss on Lindsey’s pebbled cheek while stroking a gentle hand across that ample breast. “Remember how much I love you just as you are now, my sexy little statue. I won’t forget my pretty new girl anytime soon. I shall cherish you until I die. Try to get some rest and relax.” Helen pivots as she steps down, tossing a playful wave over her shoulder, a final gesture of absolute victory over her unlucky victim. And just like that, she saunters off, her mission with Lindsey complete. After a chiming beep, the wall again closes with a hiss, not unlike a slithering snake on the head of a gorgon.

Lindsey feels the glow of a focused spotlight reflecting off her chilly curves, illuminating her dense figure with impressive highlights and haunting shadows alike. Within her fixed field of vision, she locates three lovely alabaster maidens as well as her own reflection in the mirrored surface of the gallery wall. It still amazes her to know just how violated she feels without clothes, without free will or even a friend she can talk to. After a perceived duration of time impossible for Lindsey to calculate, she finds herself plunged into utter darkness as the various spots and other ambient lamps shut down without pity. Alone and petrified, Lindsey weeps inside as she mourns the loss of everything that once made her alive, grieving for her snuffed potential. She doesn’t know how, but she will find some way to witness Helen’s defeat. Within the marble mask of her face she finds calm at last in her vengeful thoughts, hope returning reluctantly within the blackness of her darkest hour.

to be continued...

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