New York is an amazing city, Miriya thought to herself for the hundredth time as she walked down the street to the club. So many people doing so many things in one place. It was like London, only much, much moreso.
She and Dylan had been in the city for nearly a month now; he had been called in to assist in a string of disappearances and he had brought her along. Though she had helped him a bit at first, her lacking the ability to read and overall lack of experience in the modern world made that help limited. Unlike the case of the Shropshire Slasher, there did not seem to be any magic overtly involved in the disappearances and no pattern to the disappearances save that only young, attractive females had been the victims so far. After determining that she was able to care for herself, Dylan had relented that she could go out on her own when she chose too as long as she would contact him if she needed his help for anything. Though she could not read she could, with concentration and effort, understand simple sentences now and read numbers at least as individual digits if not a whole number. So, he armed her with a cellular phone and explained how to use it and how to use the speed dial memory to get in contact with him..
She did not ever go far from the apartments they had in Manhattan, there were some restaraunts nearby, some stores, a movie theatre and, most importantly to her, the Dance Club. She simply thought of it as the Dance Club since she could not read the fancy script of the sign and napkins and suchlike within. But there was music and there was dancing and there were many, many people doing one in time to the other and the pulsing beat echoed inside her since the first time she walked by the place. The dances were different from what she had known from before. Indeed, she giggled at the thought that many of the movements, and how close they were performed to members of the opposite, or same, sex would have scandalized even Kalindriel; who had been anything but a 'prim and proper woman of the age' as Dylan put it. Miriya had fallen in love with the place and had not only quickly learned these strange dances but mastered them as well. And nearly any night that the club was open, she was there.
She went around the corner of the block and quickly met up with the end of the line that snaked its way to the club's entrance and walked on past towards the door. She noticed the stares she got from those she passed and could hear the many comments ranging from snide and jealous to the hopeful wishing of some who would like very much to be with her. Tonight she was dressed in a Chinese style silk dress of green silk that matched her eyes with golden dragons embroidered upon it from neck to the hem of the long, split skirt. Her hair was worn loose and the feathered waves of jet black hair nearly floated just off the sidewalk as she strode past. Her exotic beauty and dress caused most of the comments but, every so often, she could hear a whispered query, "Is that a sword?" about what she wore on her back. Let them find out if and when they made it inside of the club, she thought, smiling to herself.
Tony smiled at her as she made it to the front of the line, letting her through with a pleasant, "Hi, Ms Nettier! Going to give us a show tonight?" as he parted the rope for her; much to the consternation of the woman just on the other side of that rope. As she walked by, Miriya thought she recalled seeing her on the theatre screen the other night. It was a very exclusive club, and she had stood in that long, long line the first few times she had come to the club she had quickly come to be on the preferred list that Tony and the other doormen used to grant or deny entrance. Now, whenever she showed up, however she chose to dress, they let her in as soon as they saw her.
Even when she was wearing a katana in its scabbard across her back into a club where weapons of any sort were illegal.
The darkness inside was split asunder by strobes and spots and all other manner of lights and the music pulsed loudly. She was already starting to sway to that pulse as she walked through the door. Inside the club, the press of people ebbed and flowed though she had little trouble making her way through the press. She waved to the bartender and up at the DJ and they waved and smiled back. (She did not know it, since she almost never bought herself a drink, but the bar business nearly doubled whenever she was at the club; that was why she got such preferred treatment)
And she lost herself in dance for the next couple hours...
She did not know how many people she had danced with but she never left the dance floor. Finally, after many, many songs and dances, and many, many drinks that had been given to her in the vain hope of getting a chance to do something other than dance with her ("Miriya, you are a very beautiful and desirable woman," Dylan had told her several times, "You are going to draw attention wherever you go...") Finally, one of the servers got her attention with a discreet tap on the shoulder and led her up to the DJ's booth. He handed her a set of headphones and she nodded or shook her head at the various bits of music or drum machine riffs he played. After a few more minutes they had reached an agreement and Miriya was lead back to the dance floor's edge.
It did not take long for the entire crowd to stop their dancing and look in her direction. She had been dancing all evening long, never once leaving the floor, and now she stood at the side, barely moving.
Something was about to happen...
They did not have long to wait. The DJ watched the crowd with the eyes of a hawk, spinning his tunes and adding his own flourishes depending on their mood down on the floor. He had to chuckle as something so simple as a single woman standing to the side of the floor could catch everybody's attention like this.
But this Maria Nettier was no ordinary woman.
He'd watched her dance now for nearly three weeks and she was absolutely amazing. Seemingly tireless, she would dance to the high energy techno and house and hip-hop and anything else he could pump out of the sound system. A week ago, he had deliberately challenged her dancing prowess, cranking up the tempo until the dials on his equipment were at the limits. And he could not keep up with her. He managed to catch her and chat with her briefly as the club closed down; asked her name and told her she was the most amazing thing he had ever seen on the dance floor. That's when she told him about the sword and that she often practiced with it to music. He checked with the club's owner, and then told the girl to bring it tonight and give them a real show.
"Ladies and Gentleman," He began, as though announcing the main event of a prize fight, "The Club Millennium presents the most dangerous woman in the world, Maria Nettier!"
Miriya stood motionless as the DJ announced her, a white spotlight flashing upon her as the rest of the lights when black. She had watched some of the shows the club had put on when she had been here in the past; bands usually or, one time, a dance troupe. Now she was the star! There was a momentary flutter of panic that she fought down; double-checking the glamourie upon her that hid the truth of her non-human nature. Then the music started and nothing else mattered but to move to it.
The crowd gave way on the floor, granting her the space. The music started out slow, and there was a collective sigh as the exotic woman with the flowing hair moved about. Slow, luxuriant, sultry, she seduced everyone in the club. Gradually, the tempo picked up and she matched the energy; leaping and twisting about. Her green eyes flashed in defiance up at the DJ's booth challenging him, asking if that was the best he could do.
Without warning, the pulsing beat went from merely fast to utterly astounding. Strobes and laser lights added to the tumult and the cheers of the crowd became a startled cry as the katana flashed out of its sheath.
It was war! On one side was the DJ, armed with furious sound and flashing lights and lasers. On the other side, stood a lone woman with flowing black hair, a green dress and a sword.
The DJ never had a chance...
No matter how fast the beat became, she could keep up and go even faster. The sword flashed about, a silvery blur that sliced at the laser beams, sending them dancing away in dazzling flashes. The battle went on for many minutes before the DJ conceded defeat and she leapt high, twisting about with the katana reaching skyward. When she landed in a crouched bow with her hair fanned out about her, the crowd was silent for several seconds.
Then erupted into cheers and thunderous applause!
She ended up sitting at the bar simply to be able to avoid the press of people wanting autographs she could not give and offers of sexual services that startled even her.
"Miss? I have to say that is the most amazing thing that I've ever seen," Said a young man that walked up to her despite the presence of a trio of bouncers serving as makeshift bodyguards, "I simply must shoot you."
"What?" She asked, nearly dropping the wineglass she held, "Did you say 'shoot?'"
"Yes, as in take your photograph," He replied quickly, seeing her shocked expression. "You would make a beautiful model. And, seeing your performance tonight, I know several artists who would love to draw you, too."
She looked him over, appraising him with her green eyes. He seemed to be sincere, if a bit nervous. Sandy blond hair and brown eyes and in decent shape; he was definitely not of the same type of men and women that usually approached her with offers of companionship, drink, drugs or several other things. She hadn't taken any of them up on those offers, but there was something about this man; something that made her feel that she could trust him. "And just where would you be doing this shooting, Sir?" She spoke with the same French-Canadian accent that she had always used in her public identity of Maria Nettier.
He fumbled in a pocket for a bit before handing her a business card. She looked at it, trying to figure out his name.
"I think I would like to model for you, Mr...Z-zez." She must have looked rather odd, because he started to laugh.
"Mark Sczesznowisz," He replied, chuckling still, "Just call me Mark; my last name is something of a mouthful. I've got a studio over in the village..Greenwich Village? You're not a New Yorker, are you?"
"No, I'm from Montreal," She replied, still keeping with the cover identity; she even had the appropriate identifications to go with that identity now. "I've been here for about a month with my Ma...my good friend, Sir Willam Camwyn." She cursed herself silently for nearly saying master. She just felt so relaxed with this Mark, it took concentration to keep with the Maria cover.
They chatted for a while longer, and she agreed to come over to his studio two nights hence to do a photo shoot. Then she bid him goodbye and waved to the DJ who had come down as the club closed down to have one last drink.
She walked on clouds all the way back to the apartment.
She and Dylan or, rather, Maria Nettier and Sir Willam Camwyn, had adjoining apartments in the building. She thought about slipping into his to tell him about the night and the modeling session to come but knew that, if he was back, he would surely be asleep by now. That was another part of why she had been of limited help on this particular case; nearly everyone that he had to meet was only available during the daylight hours. And, after this evening's activities, she could use some rest herself.
She slipped out of the dress, folding it neatly and made certain that the draperies to the east were open so that the sunlight, and later the moonlight, would be able to find her. She did not touch or play with herself as was her wont before going to sleep; just the pleasant vibrations coursing through her form were delicious enough that she did not want to provoke further arousal right now. As the sun rose, the golden light played over her tanned skin, revealing the fine wood grain pattern to it, and a happy smile upon her face.
That evening, after the silver of moonlight traced the same path over her body, she was still smiling. She got up and went through her usual rituals of cleaning and touching up her make-up and brushing out her hair. After getting dressed, she went over to Dylan's apartment to see how his day had gone. All in all, the case he was working had led to nothing more than several dead ends. Though a very patient man, he was nearly ready to admit defeat in this instance; there simply was not enough information that could lead to a pattern that could be solved. Dylan noted that she seemed to be in a very good mood and commented that she must be enjoying her nightly excursions. She told him about the previous night at the club and her dancing for the entire crowd. Yes, she had been showing off. No, she had not revealed that she was not human. And she got an offer that she would very much like to accept.
Then she told him about the photographer that wanted her to pose for him and gave him the card.
"Hmmm...Mark Sczesznowisz...I think I've heard of him...done some work for both the Elite and Ford agencies, if it's whom I think it is. Would you mind if I check and make certain he's reputable, Miriya? I know that you would like to do this, and I want you to be happy; but this is a large city and there are a lot of people who enjoy taking advantage of those who don't understand the wiles of city life.
"Don't worry too much, Miriya," he told her, "with a name like that, I'm pretty sure that I am remembering it correctly. There can't be too many notable photographers in New York by that name. Now, if we were in Warsaw or Prague..." He gave her a thoughtful look that always got a chuckle from her.
"I have a good feeling about him, Dylan," She responded, "He surprised me a bit at first, but I think he's sincere."
"Tell you what, Dear, I have to go back up and check with a couple of the modeling agencies tomorrow morning; a couple of the girls who have disappeared were aspiring models and I might get some more information from their agents. While I'm out, I'll see what I can find out about Mr. Sczesznowisz and I'll leave you a note as to how he checks out. Fair enough?"
She nodded, hugging him, "You're so good to me, Dylan. I'd like to do the checking myself, you know that. But, for a city that never sleeps, New York sure seems geared to the daylight when it comes to most businesses."
"I know, Dear. The way of the world and all that rot. Well, I need to get some sleep; much to do in the morning. Enjoy your evening, Miriya."
"Good night Dylan."
She went back to her own apartment, too excited about the next evening to want to go out. Instead, she started to sort through her various outfits; from conservative to dressy to outright outlandish. Mark had said that she could bring an assortment of outfits since he'd like to shoot her in several different moods and settings. At last, after a few hours of choosing and rejecting, choosing and reselecting, she had narrowed it down to half a dozen different selections. It was getting close to sunrise by then, so she watched television for a while before going back to bed.
The next night, once the moonlight awakened her, she dressed casually in jeans and light blouse and found the note that Dylan had dropped through the letter slot of her apartment. Since she could not read, he had resorted to simple pictures to get his message across when he had to leave her a note. On this one, there was a simple picture of a camera and a smiley face next to it; his way of telling her that Mark had checked out good. Just below that was another set of pictures. This one was of the camera then a plus sign then the letter "U" then another plus sign and then a picture of a nude woman. After that came the equal sign and another face; this one having a neutral expression. Dylan was telling her that Mark might ask her to pose nude, and that it was her choice to say yes or now; he neither disapproved or approved but trusted her ability to choose for herself. To be honest, she had not thought of Mark asking her to pose nude though it did make sense in hindsight. She would reserve judgment for if or when that moment arose, she finally decided.
For now, she had to get to his studio. She went down to the building's lobby and out to the street, hailing a cab. She mused that, despite the rumours to the contrary, she never seemed to have any trouble getting one of the yellow cars to stop for her when she wanted it to. This particular driver had a very heavy accent, but she was able to get him to take her to Mark's studio after giving the driver the card and a five dollar bill. Twenty minutes, and quite a few dollars, later, the cab pulled up outside a large building that looked like it had been a storehouse sometime in the past. She knocked on the door and Mark opened it a few moments later.
"Maria! So nice to see you again. When you didn't call, I thought that you had changed your mind about coming tonight."
As she stepped through the door, he gave her one of the quick, brushing kisses that seemed to be nearly as common a greeting as a handshake in this city; at least among certain sections of the populace. "I'm not too good with telephones, Mark," She told him as she looked about the place. This particular room was not very large, though it opened into a spacious area that had smaller parts of it sectioned off with curtains and similar partitions.
"How do you like my studio?" He asked her as she glanced around
"It's very nice, Mark." She admitted. She was not sure how it compared to other studios since this was the first one she had been in. He led her to one large area where lights were shining into the undersides of silvery umbrellas and several cameras were waiting on a table. There was a backdrop that continued onto the floor.
"I see you brought the sword with you again. I'd like to do some shots with it first. I told you I have some friends that would like to have you as a model. They draw for comic books and, after watching you dance the other night, you would be a natural model for a superheroine."
He led her to another section, not too large, that held a bench and tabletop with a lighted mirror. Beside that was a portable rack for holding clothing on hangers. The small refrigerator he showed her was stocked with bottled water, beer and wine coolers as well as a small tray of vegetables and cheeses. "You can change here when we go to a different set of shots, Maria."
"Thank you, Mark. Shall we get started?"
He nodded and left her alone in the dressing area. She chose the same green silk dress she had worn to the club to wear for this shoot and stepped back out to the backdrop carrying the sheathed katana.
"WOW!" was all he had to say now that he could see her in the brighter lights of the studio. She was definitely an exotic with her dark tan skin, sultry features and trim, athletic figure.
"Did you say you were from Quebec?" He asked, "You look more Mediterranean or possibly even Arabic."
She flashed him a dazzling smile, "I'm a Gypsy, Mark. I was just born in Quebec."
"Gypsy..." He said, his voice trailing off. Miriya could nearly see him running through possible scenarios for photo shoots. "Your look is spectacular, Maria. If you'd like, I could show some of these shots to the agencies around. You could be the next Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer."
"I'm not sure if I want to be a model, Mark. I'm already employed by my friend, Sir Willam."
"Oh? What does he do?"
"He's an investigator," She replied, "I used to work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and he had helped us with a case I was on. After it was over, he asked me if I would like to work with him. He's works as a special consultant on unusual cases and I have a knack for the same kind of work. We're a good team."
Mark's features seemed to darken for a moment as she told him this; but only for a few seconds and Miriya took at as simply disappointment that he might not be "discovering" the next supermodel after all.
"Well, let's see what we can do here," He replied, smiling as he took up one of the cameras, "maybe I'll change your mind about modeling."
"What do you want me to do, Mark?" She asked as he walked over to a stereo and turned on some music.
"How about we start with you doing some of what you did at the club the other night? Where did you learn martial arts, anyway?"
"Oh, I've been studying for about six months now," She told him as she drew the katana and started to perform some moves that were part dance, part martial arts kata. She laughed as he dropped his camera.
"O-only six months?" He stammered as he picked the camera back up and set it back on the table; taking up another one. "That is absolutely incredible! I think I know why they were calling you 'the world's most dangerous woman.' They're going to flip when they see these shots!"
For several songs, she continued. Sometimes fierce, sometimes playful, ever changing and changeable. Mark gave her some hints for directions and attitudes and she let it flow from there. Many rolls of film later, he called for a short break so she could change outfits and he could reload the cameras.
"What do you want me to wear next, Mark?" She called from the dressing area.
"It's getting a bit warm in here, don't you think?" He replied. "Did you bring anything a bit, er, lighter than that silk dress?"
Miriya did not pay too much attention to heat or cold. One of the benefits of being a magically animated marionette was that she did not sweat and had a very wide tolerance for temperatures. But something about how he said it made her fan her face with a magazine and select the shorts and crop-top she had brought along instead of the slightly more conservative tight jeans and T-shirt. When she came back out, Mark nearly dropped the camera again.
"Is that the one covered with oil, Mark? You seem to have some trouble holding onto it." She giggled as he fumbled with it some more.
"I think you've established that already." She said, giving him a quick kiss then deftly catching the rapidly falling camera; handing it back to him. "Shall we continue?"
The session continued for some time, every so often stopping so that she could change outfits and he could reload the cameras once again. Each time, she wore a bit less. The shorts stayed on for a bit, but the top was replaced with a white, lacy bra and then just her hands in strategically located positions. Then back on with the bra and off with the shorts; they were replaced by panties that matched the bra. All the while, Mark kept up a stream of comments and suggestions.
"Very nice, Maria...just a bit more pout...that's it! More! More!...Now, be mad, be angry...Yes, yes! No! NO!..." and on and on. At first, he was simply giving her hints and tips on how to move or behave, but, as the night wore on, his words were actually guiding and controlling her movements.
"How about you take off the rest of closes, Maria, dear?" And she did.
"Lie down on the floor on your back, Maria, dear, and slide your hands over your tummy and breasts." And she did.
Even when he started telling her to play with herself, and how to play with herself, she did as he bid; never once questioning his authority to be asking this of her. She also failed to notice that, though he was still clicking away with the cameras, he had not reloaded them for some time. Finally, even that pretense was shed when he set the camera aside and called her over to him.
"Maria, my sweet pet," He spoke softly, using a remote to turn the music down to a soft background murmur, "Would you like to pleasure me?"
"Oh, yes, Master," she replied, coming over to him on her hands and knees, "I would like that very much." A tanned hand rubbed provocatively over the growing bulge in his trousers before sliding the zipper down and unhooking his belt. The trousers came down, followed by his pants and she brought her lips to the tip of his manhood.
Mark moaned softly, smiling to himself as this beautiful woman took him into her mouth; it was all working out just as he had planned.
Just as it always did...
He continued to guide and command her, slowly and surely deepening his hold over her mind, remoulding her into his slave.
She licked and sucked him to rigidity and nearly to climax before he commanded her to stop and follow him to another room. There, he told her to get into the bed. He climbed atop her, still rigid, and lowered himself against and into her tight, wet sex. She moaned and squirmed beneath him as he pumped in and out, slapping against her.
"You like this, don't you, my sweet Maria? Do you like the feel of me inside you, my pet?"
"Yes, Master. I love it when you fuck me." She lay loose and limp in the bed, simply taking his actions as he had not commanded her to do anything.
"Do you like being my doll, my sweet Maria? Do you want to be my fuck toy, my pet?"
"Yes, Master. I am your fuck toy; your sex doll."
As he continued to use her as his sexual plaything, he gradually increased his hold over her. What, at first, was simply his hold on her mind grew to be nearly complete control over body.
"Maria, my darling pet," He told her as he started thrusting faster and faster, nearing climax, "I don't want you to breathe unless and until I command you to. I want to watch you struggle for breath while I cum inside you."
And, though Miriya did not need to breath save to be able to have the air to form speech, 'Maria' ceased breathing and lay calmly at first then slowly started to spasm as though she was suffocating. This appeared to satisfy him and he came in a hot torrent within her, pulling out and splashing the remainder of his seed over her tanned body.
"You may breathe again, my pet." And she did so.
"You are a wonderful, pet, my sweet Maria." He told her after he lay beside her for a while; his manhood spent and flaccid. "As a reward, I permit you to have an orgasm. Right now!"
She thrashed about on the bed, arching her back, gasping and crying out as an orgasm rocketed through her body. She then subsided and lay limply beside him once more.
He stroked his hand over her form, running across a breast and down her taut belly.
"You're very beautiful, my pet. But that beauty will fade in time, won't it?"
"All things fade, Master." She had to think for a moment before she responded. Maria was, technically, a human being, even though Miriya was not. But Master was commanding her and Maria was his pet and plaything.
"That is true, my pet. But your beauty will fade as well. But I can keep you beautiful forever. Would you like that, my pet?"
"If it would please you, Master."
"It would please me very much."
"Then yes, Master. Make me beautiful forever."
"I shall, my precious, my sweet Maria; after I have taken all the pleasures I desire from you."
Mark smiled and stroked his hand over her damp sex as he kissed her. She was his, mind, body and soul. He pleasured himself in her mouth and then rolled her limp form over and took her anally, climaxing twice more while she lay motionless save for the movements his actions created within her body. He played with her for a while then in the lamp-lit room; sitting her up or bending her over and posing her anyway he pleased. All the while, unless he asked her a question, she made no comment or complaint over her treatment.
Sometime several hours later, long after the sun had risen and set once again, he had at last tired of his games and told her to do what she needed to in the bathroom, take a shower and return to him. Twenty minutes later, she returned and he led her down a set of stairs to the basement below the old building. It, too, was divided into sections and he led her to one that was completely closed off from the rest.
The interior of the room was bathed only in red lights. It held a large clear-sided tank that held a liquid that appeared to be orange in the red lamps. There was also a wire mesh basket on a block and tackle positioned above the tank. The only other decoration in the room was a comfortably padded reclining chair.
"Maria, my pet," He told her, "This is the first stage to your preservation. When I command you, you will climb into that basket and I will lower you into the liquid. Even though you'll drown after a few minutes, my dear, you will stay in there for a week while the liquid soaks into your flesh and fills you from the inside as well. That liquid will slowly change you, my pet; change your tissues through the means of alchemy as it changes all living tissue. I can't say what you will change into, that is different with almost every woman that I've put in there. You will still be the wonderful tan you are now; simply a different material.
"When that week is over, I will draw you back out of the tank and let you drip for a few hours. Then I will take you to another room and pose you in what will be your final stance. You are utterly amazing, my dear Maria, and I will make an artwork of you that will be an eternal tribute to your beauty.
"Once I have posed you, I'll move you into a third area. This will be a heating room and it will heat you up to 225 degrees. You will stay there for a week as well, and the heat will slowly bake any remaining moisture from your body so that you will never grow any older and never, ever decay. By the time that week is over, you will be frozen for all eternity; never to be moved again.
"I will take you out of the oven, my dear, and go over your body bit by bit; polishing the new you until you spotless. After that, I will use a clear acrylic on your hair and make it into a part of the sculpture you will become. Then I'll use more of that same acrylic and spray it all over your body until you are coated in a clear, glossy shell.
"I'll pop you into the oven room once again. This time, you'll bake at five hundred degrees for thirty minutes to bake the polymer into a hard shell. Then some more polishing to get rid of any blemishes and you will be perfect. An eternal beauty, my darling Maria."
Miriya listened to all this with a growing panic; he was going to kill her! Not only kill her, but turn her into some obscene version of a stuffed animal; just another trophy to adorn his parlour! She wanted to scream out, call for Dylan to save her; anything at all. But she was trapped within her own mind by a woman that bore her face and features and desired this evil creature to do what he would with her.
Maria turned slightly and smiled at Mark, "Thank you, Master, for choosing me to be your masterpiece."
"You are very welcome, my pet. Now, it is time for you to begin your transformation. Please climb into the basket, Maria."
With no hesitation at all, she did as he commanded, walking up the few steps and laying down in the basket. Mark had walked over to the chain that raised and lowered it and started to pull. With a rattle and clack, the basket raised up. Once it was above the level of tank's open top, he tugged and move the basket until it was over the tank. Then more rattle and clatter as the basket and its contents were lowered into the liquid. The fluid made a gelatinous, sucking sound as Maria slowly sank into it.
Mark continued to work the block and tackle until the basket rested on the bottom of the tank although Maria floated about midway in the liquid. He walked to the side of the tank and flipped some switches to start some pumps. Maria started to move slowly inside as the pumps circulated the fluid. Like an underwater gymnast in slow motion, she tumbled and twirled about as the currents moved over her lithe form. He sat in the chair, watching her for nearly an hour as bubbles came from her nose and mouth; many at first, then slowly diminishing as the fluid invaded her lungs. He felt not a single twinge of guilt or sadness that the girl would die, or was already dead by now, he mused. She had consented to this, after all.
What did it matter that he had used a mixture of mind control and hypnotic techniques to compel that acquiescence?
"You may stop for a moment, Akiko my pet," Mark told the young woman whose head bobbed in hips naked lap. The Japanese girl obeyed and looked up at him as he spurted into her face. "Turn around, my pet and tell me what you think of her."
Akiko obeyed, paying no attention to the semen dripping down her face as she looked to the tank lit by the room's red lights. Within that tank floated a woman with long hair that gently flowed about in the orange liquid. She almost seemed alive, the eyes peering out from the tank, but she did not blink. Her only motions were slow twists and tumbles as the currents in the liquid pushed her this way and that.
"She is very beautiful, Master." She responded.
"She is, isn't she, my pet? She has been in there for five days now. She will be even more beautiful once I have completed my work upon her. Akiko, you are very lovely, my pet. And you have pleased me. If you continue to do so, I may let you persuade me to place you in there to become my next creation. Would you like that?"
"Oh yes, Master!" She replied with enthusiasm. He stroked a hand through her dark hair then over a small breast to tweak a nipple. She had proven nearly as responsive and receptive as Maria had. He would savour her sweetness for a while, though, before she underwent the same process that his previous conquest was currently undergoing.
"Show me how happy that would make you, my darling Akiko." And she proceeded to do so, using more than her mouth to make him happy....
Miriya was only dimly aware of what was happening to her. Something was interfering with her ability to think and reason. She could see Mark and a woman seated before where she floated, and that was all she could do. As much as she wanted to lash out, to struggle to get to the surface of the liquid only a few feet above her head, her body would not respond.
"Master commanded and I obey," Another part of her mind spoke. That part had started calling itself Maria and it held sway over Miriya's body. And was growing stronger the longer Miriya floated there. She did not know how long it had been, but she knew that it had been many days since she had last slept and the magic within her was rapidly fading away. "You will not let me disobey Master," Maria spoke on, berating Miriya, "I won't let you."
"But he is trying to destroy me!" Miriya countered. "He already thinks I'm dead."
"Master commanded me," Maria went on, "You don't exist. I do. Maria Nettier. You are nothing. Master loves me! ME! I am going to be his greatest masterpiece. ME!"
The argument went on, around and around. Each time, Miriya could feel herself weakening and Maria grow stronger. Whatever magic Mark had worked had her doubly trapped. Not only was he destroying her body, he was destroying her mind. She had hoped, prayed, even screamed for Dylan, her true master, to find her and rescue her. And Maria simply laughed at her.
"What kind of master would he be if he had let this happen to you? He would not even let you serve him."
It was too much for her. She was too weak to resist anymore; let alone argue.
Maria had won.
Mark had won.
Miriya had lost.
Maria could feel herself being lifted out of the tank by the basket that had lowered her in. She lay face down in it as the foul-tasting liquid seeped from her nose and mouth and sex and anus. Master stood nearby, working the controls that lifted and swung the basket about. After she had lain there for a while, he moved her over the ground and stroked a hand over her.
"You are so lovely," He spoke softly, reverently. "I will make you a masterpiece, my dear. You will be as magnificent as the Winged Nike or any of the classics."
She lay there, thrilling at his touch, happy that she was able to please her master so. If he thought that she was dead, she would not naysay him His touch and his attentions were enough to make her ecstatic.
He picked her up and as she lay against him, her altered position showed that he was wearing rubber gloves and what looked like a rain slicker. He carried her out of the room with the tank and into a well lit room. She caught a quick glimpse of a strange framework as he turned her about then placed her within what she had just glimpsed. She rested there, limp and slumping slightly for a few moments before he started to place her within the framing.
He worked slowly, deliberately; gradually posing her into a stance that had only her right foot touching the ground. Master had raised her right hand up above her head and moulded her fingers around. When she felt the hilt of her katana in that hand she understood what he was doing. The sword would be a part of his finished work. She was very happy to have the Master's attention, but she was even happier that the katana would also be a part. As he posed her, he adjusted rods and pads and straps on the framework; holding her steady so that she could not fall out of position.
He spoke to her throughout, softly explaining what he was doing. "You are amazingly beautiful, Maria. I've never seen the liquid to this to a body, but yours has the most amazing dark wood tone; like a light walnut. I'd almost swear that I could see a wood grain to your skin. Once I have you dried and buffed and coated, you will be absolutely stunning!
Your friend, Willam, came looking for you two days after you came to me, my pet," Master continued as he worked, "he was looking for you. I told him you had left me earlier that morning. He was no good for you, my dear. How could you have been with such a fat man?" Maria did not respond as he had not commanded her to speak.
Maria did not know how long he took to pose her until he was satisfied, she only knew that his touch was pleasure to her flesh and she never wanted him to stop even though she would never disobey his command to be dead and tell him. It was her shame that she could not obey and die; she did not understand why that was so, but did not ponder it. But, at long last, Master was happy with how he had her displayed and he pushed the framework on its wheels over to the oven room.
She could feel the heat as he opened the door; see the red of the infrared heaters. The warmth was glorious as he wheeled her into the oven. As he closed the door, he blew her a kiss.
"Enjoy your sauna, my pet."
The heat was luxuriant, adding to the slow blossom of pleasure that Master's hands had begun within her body. She savoured every moment of that week as the heat slowly evaporated the rest of the liquid from her body. As she slowly baked, she could feel her body constrict slightly, growing ever stiffer. And that, too, added to the pleasure she felt. It was a long, slow-building ecstasy and she never cared if she achieved release or not. Master wanted her to be beautiful and the pleasure she felt made her feel beautiful.
Finally, when the heaters turned off and the room slowly cooled, she realized that her time in the oven was over. Light flooded in when Master reopened the door and wheeled her back out. Then he worked carefully to extricate her from the framework that had held her motionless while she was dried.
"Simply gorgeous!" He exclaimed. "I knew you would be stunning, my dear, but you exceeded my every hope!"
Maria beamed inwardly at his praise; happy that she was still able to serve and please him. She felt him lift her away from the framework and then place her onto a different stand. Her right foot touched a base and another part of it pressed against her crotch; a bit of wetness told her that there was probably some type of adhesive to hold her fast to such a small perch. The little bit of pressure her bodyweight placed on that crotch stand added to the pleasant buzz she already felt. Master's hands were in her hair, then, working away with a stiff brush to straighten out the frizzes and tangles that a week's soaking and a week's baking had put into the mass. Oh, it felt so pleasant to have his hands stroking and brushing her hair.
At last he finished and let hang down her back for a few moments then he took some hair pins and pinned it up to her head. Some seconds later, she could hear a high-pitched whirring start up then felt a soft pad spinning rapidly against her skin.
She would have cried out in pleasure had Master allowed her, it felt so exultant. Working with the same meticulous care he had displayed with the rest of the process, he buffed her entire body. Over back and belly and breasts, down her rump and legs and up her arms; and exquisite attention to her fingers and toes and face, even over her mostly closed eyelids. The buzz of pleasure was nearly orgasmic now and Master praised her beauty and gloss, making her even happier.
Finally, he finished and set the buffing tool aside. A soft hiss sounded then she could feel a coldness touch her flesh. Where that coldness passed, there was a thick, clinging liquid heavy upon her skin. Working slowly and carefully, he covered every square inch of her skin. Once that was done, he unpinned her hair and draped it over his shoulder. With another brush, he started to work more of the same thick liquid into her hair. Gradually, he worked her hair into a long banner that looped around her body without touching it.
He pushed the cart her base was on back to the oven; this time the heat was blazing hot when the door opened. Master pushed her in quickly then left as swiftly as possible; closing the door. The acrylic he had used on her body quickly baked into a hard shell that squeezed her all over in a loving embrace. She had barely realized how hot she had become when the heaters slowly dimmed to blackness and Master came in and pulled her back out. Hitting the relatively cold air of the outside room sent her at last over the edge of orgasm and her mind melted in that overwhelming tide as he buffed and polished her glossy shell after it had cooled down.
"Glorious! Utterly glorious," She could dimly hear Master say; his voice distant from the pleasure she felt and the acrylic that coated her. "I had put darling Akiko into the tank while you were baking earlier, my dear, but I will have to take her out and destroy her. You are my ultimate work and I will never be able to make another to rival your beauty. I have made you eternal, my dear, and you have assured my immortality as a sculptor."
Master pushed the cart she was on over to another place and she was barely aware of the shudder that indicated the freight elevator that lifted her up to the main level once again. As he pushed her along to another room, he spoke once more.
"I may already have a buyer lined up for you, though I wish I could keep you for my own for a long, long time yet. She will be here sometime tomorrow. Farewell, my beautiful Maria."
He left her then, a door closing. She stood there, alone, lost to the eternal orgasm she felt as what was left of the night wore on. The sun eventually crept up into the sky and came in through the roof window of the room in which she stood.
And, as the light struck her form, Maria died.
"Now, just where is this masterpiece of yours?"
Mark led his guest through his studio cowed only somewhat by the tall woman's presence and poise. He knew from past dealings with her that she naturally took control of any room or situation in which she found herself and this was no exception. He did not even attempt to use his own powers of mental coercion on her; she knew his abilities, had even seen to his getting some training to hone them and equipment that supplemented them. Not that he did not want to. His guest was statuesque, standing just slightly over six feet tall and powerfully built if not overtly muscular. Her skin was lightly tanned and the Vera Wang dress she wore showed a stunning figure to stunning advantage. Her hair was white, not a light or even platinum blonde, but pure, perfect white with no indications that it was anything save natural; a waving flow that fell to mid back. Her face was oval and sternly beautiful and dominated by dark sapphire eyes and full, crimson lips that were in a calculated, impatient frown.
If his friends in the comic industry would have given their left nut for pictures of Maria Nettier in action, he thought to himself, they may trade the entire set for even one picture of Maeve Ste. George. She fairly radiated power, authority and self-assuredness.
And now she was in his studio, about to look at, and likely purchase, his masterpiece. As sure as he was of his artistic talent, he was nearly as nervous as a schoolboy as he opened the door to where it stood in the sunlight that shone through the room's skylight.
"My word..." Was all she said, gazing at the statue. He smiled to himself that he was able to stun even her with the perfection he had achieved.
"She is 'Triumphant.'" He spoke softly in her ear. His own attention stayed more upon the statue than upon Maeve, amazed that she seemed even more beautiful now than before.
"She certainly is," Maeve agreed, her cultured British accent barely above a whisper.
The object of their attentions stood barely on the ball of her right foot; poised as though having just leapt skyward. The left leg was swept back and slightly curved, giving the illusion that her skyward flight was a spiral; the long black hair that wrapped about her form like a black ribbon added to that illusion. Her body was taut and muscular, every curve and line carefully detailed. Firm, full breasts with stiffened nipples were partially obscured by the spiraling ribbon of hair; as was her bare sex. The left arm was down and swept slightly back, trailing in her flight while her right arm was upstretched with the hand gripping the hilt of the katana that led her skyward journey. But the face! Oh, the face... The lips were softly parted; poised between a kiss and a soft moan of pleasure. Her eyes were nearly closed, the merest hint of green could be seen. The head was tilted up and back, that closed-eye gaze aimed at the shimmering sword she held aloft.
The very image of a triumphant warrior goddess reascending to her rightful place in the heavens.
Maeve stared for several moments longer before speaking once again.
"The model, did she, perchance, happen to be named Maria Nettier?"
Mark nearly fainted. How could she have known? "Y-yes, she was. Did she," he swallowed a sudden, fearful, lump in his throat, "Belong to you?"
If her soft laughter was meant to reassure him, it failed utterly. "No, my dear Mr Sczesznowisz, While I had my sights on her for some few months, she had not, yet, become mine. She was, however, allied to a man of my acquaintance."
"Willam Camwyn." He replied, answering an unasked question. The smouldering look in her dark eyes chilled him even more as she spoke once again.
"SIR Willam Camwyn," She retorted, emphasizing the title, "and I assure you the knighthood that title gives him is more than just an honorific that is bestowed upon a foppish musician or talented actor. I am certain he is already aware of his...friend's...disappearance and, if he does not already suspect you, he soon shall."
"He's already payed me two visits." Mark answered, emboldened, "He hardly seems the threat you make him out to be. I barely even had to use an coersion on him."
"You are a fool if you believe that. He has already convinced the police to get a search warrant for your home." She smiled at his dumbstruck look and lightly stroked a finger under his chin. "They won't be able to get one for at least another two days, possibly three, though. You may thank me for that gift by making certain you have 'Triumphant' enroute to me by then."
"So, you'll be purchasing her?"
"Of course I am." Her tone had returned to a businesslike professionalism. "We have merely to agree upon a price. How does fifteen million sound?"
"Fif-fifteen m-million?" He spluttered, amazed at the amount she so casually tossed out.
"Very well, twenty million."
"Twenty?" Had she taken his surprise as an indignant negative of her offer?
"Oh, very well," She sighed, "Thirty million, and I shan't offer a penny more."
He simply nodded, suddenly not trusting his voice. He had thought that he might be able to wheedle her to six or seven million for 'Triumphant' and was not about to argue this generosity
"Then we are agreed." She smiled as she drew a cellular telephone from her pocketbook. He watched her dialing, the number of button presses telling him that she was making an overseas call if not the actual number she dialed.
"Yes," she responded to the silent voice on the telephone, "this is Maeve Ste. George and I wish to make a transfer from my Barings account to Bank of Zurich account number 2294-88477230045876380-772394. Yes, Thirty million Pounds Sterling. By day's end will suffice, yes. Thank you."
Mark watched her, stunned to silence. He knew that she had power and influence even more than she had personal beauty. But to be able to simply call up her banker and order a transfer of thirty million...pounds?...as casually as he might phone out for a pizza, and have his Swiss account number memorized!
He dropped all thoughts of ever using his powers on her and adding her to his collection; instinctively knowing he was already outmatched.
"T-thank you," He finally managed to stammer after realizing she was looking at him standing there slack-jawed. He still was barely able to realize that while he had been thinking dollars, she had been speaking in pounds. Thirty million? That would come out to somewhere around fifty million US dollars, he quickly figured. When he had thought that he would never make another work of art after completing 'Triumphant' it was because he thought he would never have both the model and the inspiration to match it. Now he knew that he would never make another because he would never have to work again. Unless he truly wanted to.
"If you will give me the address, I'll make certain that 'Triumphant' will be shipped there by overnight courier."
She smiled at him, warmly this time, and he felt his spirits, amongst other things, rising as she stepped closer to him, a well-manicured hand resting upon his shoulder.
"There is no need to be in that much a hurry, is there?" She practically purred as she pressed even closer; the scent of her perfume heady and musky to his reeling senses. "Let us celebrate your achievement..."
She led and he followed.
Evening had long since fallen and the full moon rode high in the, unusual for New York, cloudless and unhazed night sky. Maeve walked back into the room where 'Triumphant' stood; mute testimony to artistic genius. She strode closer, making a circuit of the frozen woman and giving her an appraising look. In the silver moonlight, the figure was even more stunning than it had been in the daytime.
As she had expected.
"Remember who you are," She whispered in a hardened ear as she leaned closer; her voice breathy, soft and seductive, "remember, my pet, my Moondancer. You are meant for better than this. This man is a fool, not knowing the treasure he's wasted away in his perverted pursuit of art. He does not deserve you; that is why I bought you. But I don't want you like this unless you have truly been lost. Besides, he is an absolutely pathetic fuck; he did not even notice that I did not bother to even fake an orgasm for his benefit.
"Remember who you are," She whispered once more, touching a stiffened nipple with a fingertip, "Free yourself from his power, if you can."
And she walked back out of the room and departed the studio.
Miriya felt as if she had been struck by lighting! First the moonlight shining so fully and brightly upon her brought both a reviving of her spirit but also her determination. She fought through the mire of her mind to recall just what had befallen her. The splintering of her mind into two parts and one part being controlled by the man that wanted to take her pictures. Then the loss of even her body as he worked his other magics upon her. Now that voice from so long ago speaking to her, calling her Moondancer. It was as though a part of her that had been locked away, a reserve of resolve and strength so secret that she had not even known it was within her, opened; giving her even more power than just the moonlight that shone upon her body.
She tried to open her eyes to figure out just where she was and started to panic when she could not do even that simple feat. The panic lasted only a second, though, as the teachings of Dylan and Master Zhiang came back to her. Don't let her emotions control her, control them instead. Focus them, distill them to their essence and use them. She could not move because of what Mark had used on her. Not the chemical in which she had soaked; while it had altered her body, it did not hold it immobilised. That was the work of the layer of acrylic that he had used on her. It stuck to her skin and held her fast in its rigid shell.
All she had to do was break that shell, and she would be free.
She turned her attentions inward, calming herself as Dylan had taught her; finding her centre then gaining awareness of her entire body. Where was there a weak spot in the coating? Where was a place she could exploit? Her body flexed and quivered the fraction of a millimetre that the coating grudgingly permitted her.
There! The fingers of her left hand. Her pose had those fingers aimed downward and back just a bit and gravity had allowed some of it to drip away before it had baked hard around her. Her fingers could flex just a bit more than the rest of her.
She was rewarded with a soft cracking sound like dry autumn leaves crackling underfoot. And her fingers could move a bit further.
It was working!
That momentary elation was quickly replaced by fear. It was night, but how far along? How soon before the sun rose again? If it found her still trapped, she knew she would never be able to get free.
She calmed and recent red herself. She would either have enough time...
...or she would not.
The choice was simple and agonising over it would only cost her precious moments; time better spent freeing herself.
She squeezed her hand once more and this time the crackling was louder as her fingers curled almost into a fist...
Mark rose as a chill draft slid over his naked skin. Still somewhat besotted from fucking Maeve, he lay there a moment before discovering he was alone in the bed. It was nighttime and he decided that she must have either gotten up to go to the bathroom...
Or go look at 'Triumphant' some more.
The statue was compelling and he decided that he would join her there.
He rose up and slipped a silk robe around his naked body. As he walked to the room where the statue stood, he stopped just short of pulling the door open as a crackling sound caught his attention. He stood and listened silently for several seconds, waiting to see if the sound would repeat itself so he might be able to locate it. When it did not happen again, he entered the moonlit room.
He did not turn on the lights, too enrapt by the moonlit beauty that stood motionless before her.
Maeve was not there, but 'Triumphant' was, and that, for now, was enough.
He had not thought of the woman as Maria since he had finished her pose. Maria was dead and only the body remained; remade by him into this masterpiece.
There it was again! And it sounded like it was in this very room!
He still did not turn on any lights, partially to keep from startling whatever was making the noise and partially to try to keep himself hidden from that cause.
Louder this time, and it seemed as if it were behind him. He twisted about suddenly to face the statue once again. Still nothing.
'Triumphant' still stood there, motionless and glimmering in the moonlight. The sword was still raised skyward and the left arm trailing back with the hand closed in a fist.
Fist? He had not posed her that way!
Like a shot from a pistol, the left arm flexed at the elbow; the acrylic shell creaking apart and flying away in sharp pieces. One small piece stung his cheek but he was too shocked to wince from the sharp cut.
Yet, the impossible happened once more. The arm flexed again, bending once more at the elbow and then at the shoulder. In the moonlight, he could see the faint traceries of cracks in the acrylic shell across her chest.
"You-your dead!" He screamed as she moved once more. The torso turned just a bit, the cracks spreading. Then again; the right arm pulling down a fraction then further down as the cracks raced along the limb. Another sharp piece stung him, just below his left eye.
He ran from the room, screaming, as the dead woman slowly flexed and twisted, breaking out of the shell that held her rigid. He ran for the stairs that led to the basement.
Miriya could hear his screams and that changed her plan from simply escaping him to making certain that he would never get the chance to do this to another person. She twisted and turned and flexed, freeing herself bit by bit until she was able to step down from the stand with awkward steps. The shell still clung to her body but her joints were free enough to grant her lurching mobility. She made certain that she still held the katana as she followed the sound of his screams. She could not see, the shell on her face still rigid and untracked, so she relied on her hearing to direct her. She bumped into walls and stands; knocking the latter over, as she found her way to the stairs. Step by step, she made her way down.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, Mark screamed again.
"DIE! DIE! DIE!" He shouted over and over, pulling the trigger of the handgun he held. The first shot staggered her backward and the second shot threw her to her back on the steps. The rest of the shots as he emptied the magazine missed her entirely.
Mark was still pulling the trigger on the empty pistol when she stood back up and moved towards him again.
"NO! STAY AWAY FROM ME!" He screamed as he threw the useless weapon at her. It simply hit with a cracking thud and dropped to the ground. She came closer, the katana slashing out awkwardly as he ducked away. He ran towards the room where the soaking tank lay and the woman followed him.
As he ran around the corner of the tank, she had gotten close enough to strike at him again. The katana blade bit deeply just above his head then pulled out causing a spray of the solution to hit him in the face. He spit and spluttered, grabbing the control for the winch and threw that at her. The sword struck again, the blade slicing threw the electrical cable and throwing sparks.
"NO! It will catch fire!" He shouted at her, "You'll kill us both!"
Anything else he might have said was cut short as the blade found his neck. He could see his body tumbling end over end and only realized that it was his head that did the tumbling as it fell from his shoulders. He had a very good view of the sparks igniting the liquid before he finally died.
Miriya could feel the heat and knew now was the time to make her own escape. The ending of his screams told her that no one else would become his victim.
She made her way as swiftly as her stiff body could take her; back up the steps and then relying on her memory of the building's layout. She stumbled many times, tripping and falling, panicking more as the heat started to rise; the fire was spreading and she had to get out.
At last, stumbling about, she found the door to the outside and she ran...
...straight into someone's arms.
"Miriya?" He spoke quickly as she was about to lash out with the sword.
She dropped the sword and hugged him, limp with relief.
Dylan had found her.
She would be safe.
The end...for now.