Join The Club

by Dmuk (Illustrations by Jay Petto)

The uneven linoleum floor in the old warehouse creaked as Kelley threaded her way carefully past the many still figures lurking in the shadowy gloom among the scattered junk and discarded furniture strewn about. Gradually as her eyes became accustomed to the half-light, she could see one end of the space was filled with what looked like mannequins. Nude, very lifelike mannequins; rigidly posed, holding expressions of surprise and... fear? One of the standing dummies looked amazingly like one of her sorority sisters who had left their house unexpectedly last semester to take a high paying job in the city, or so she'd said. Some of the other fiberglass replicas resembled other students from the house she'd seen in old photographs. But these mannequins weren't real; they couldn't be. Even on Halloween. But they surely looked as if they were all standing there, frozen stiff. The floor creaked again.

"Come on guys, this isn't funny!" Kelley wailed, wishing she hadn't let herself get convinced into entering the haunted mansion on a dare. "Where ARE you? I don't like this..."

Despite her resolve not to be rattled by whatever happened, Kelly's nerves were getting to her. That and the odd dusty-fruity smell that filled the air like stale perfume. Along one wall, she glimpsed a familiar face framed by short platinum blonde hair. "Thank goodness, Tiffany; am I glad to see you! I can't believe they talked you into this stupid challenge, too. Tiffy?" Her friend didn't answer; it was just another stiff mannequin posed there. A naked mannequin that had the exact features, eye color, hairstyle, makeup, and ear piercings as Tiffany did.

"Oh, NO!" Kelley gasped, hearing for the first time the hiss of gas entering the room. All at once she felt oddly dizzy and disoriented, trying to turn back towards the door as her arms and legs suddenly felt as if they were turning to lead. She looked over her shoulder and started to say "This can't be happening to m..." when her voice trailed off to silence. Try as she might, the hapless sorority sister could not move in the slightest way from the pose she stiffly held. A calm settled over her mind, though she felt foolish for being tricked so easily. A few seconds later, she was no longer able to feel anything at all.

From outside the door came a sharp, barking, laugh followed by the exultation: "Hot damn -- Got another Sigma Epsi bimbo! Quick, let's get her undressed and prepped..."

An hour later, the scene was set again as MaryBeth Wyatt stepped into the half-lit room, seeing for the first time the many window dummies standing around. She had not yet noticed that one of the eerily lifelike mannequins was almost the spitting image of her cheerleading partner Kelley, mounted on a chrome display stand.












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