“How do you guys create those amazing special effects on your show?” asked a sweet, blonde woman as she stepped up onto the elevated dais. Byron smiled at the voluptuous female as he waited for her to compose herself. Now glowing in the bright spotlights, she shook out her tired arms, trying to limber up for the exciting photo session.
“Well, we use dozens of techniques for Pure Adrenaline,” bluffed Byron as he grabbed a camera in anticipation. “I’m afraid I don’t handle any of the aspects of programming, but I’ve been following the show for quite some time. I think you would be quite surprised by how easy some of our techniques really are.” Hearing a relentless knock on the back door to his workroom, Byron winked at the anxious contestant, saying politely, “Would you excuse me for a moment?” Walking up to the door speedily, he swung it open to find the grimacing face of Scientist Turner. Saluting proudly, Byron said, “It’s an honor to see you, Mr. Turner.”
Out of breath, Turner replied sternly, “Hello, Byron. Do you have a moment to talk?”
Byron gestured towards the center of the room as he said, “Well, I’m right in the middle of an acquisition, sir, but you are welcome to join me. It won’t take longer than a few minutes.”
Turner smiled warmly to his dedicated and efficient workhorse as he said, “Sure, why not. I’m certain it won’t take you long.” As the tired pair returned to the waiting lady, they could see her trying out several graceful poses.
“What do you think of this?” asked the girl timidly as she moved into position. Bent fully at the waist, she leaned her upper torso forward. Then she placed a timid hand behind her right knee, using the other hand to tease her shimmering strands of golden hair. Turning her flexible neck until she faced the two admiring men standing in front of her, she smiled for a moment, then relaxed her delicate face as she waited, holding a pensive pout on her precious facial features.
Byron immediately approved of her sense of style, so he merely said excitedly, “Wow, darling! You look perfect! Hold that pose!” With the push of a button, she found herself instantly washed in a blinding flash of white light projected from above. Surprised by the sudden burst of light, she worried that she may have ruined the exposure by blinking her eyes by mistake. The instant she tried to apologize, she immediately realized her body wouldn’t budge. Desperately, she attempted to wiggle her fingers or toes, but the youthful flesh simply wouldn’t respond to her frantic impulses.
“This is the fun part. Like unwrapping a Christmas present,” said Byron to his boss as he stepped up to the paralyzed maiden. Working swiftly, he managed to unclasp the buxom competitor’s orange bikini strap, pulling it out from around her unbending arms. Then he slid her meager bottom off of her tight buttocks, now fully flexed in her extended position. With one quick motion, he then finished her off, lifting her up as he slapped off her heels and scooped up her trim bikini bottom. Stepping back from the enraptured woman, he methodically centered the frightened girl carefully on her base. As he returned to Scientist Turner’s location, he handed his supervisor the remote control. “When you are ready, sir, press the silver button.” Nonchalantly, Byron tossed the sexy orange uniform into a bin to be reused later.
Turner grinned mischievously as he approached the motionless girl, now stark naked in front of him. With a seductive whisper, he said, “Welcome to Pure Adrenaline, sweetie! I’m certain you’ll make a lovely monument.” As her head swirled with shock and confusion, she could see the dapper man pressing a button as he waved goodbye. In an instant, several glowing devices began to hum as shimmering light began to shoot out below her. Within moments, a lustrous glow began to reflect from the altering platform, throwing luminous silver highlights across her halted beauty. Then, a chilly wave of tightness began to pulse up her body, locking her feet and ankles firmly in place. Now secured upon her private pedestal, the poor damsel suddenly began to understand what was happening to her as the blue lights began to secure her firm calf muscles in gleaming platinum. ‘Oh, God! They’re turning me into a statue!’ thought the gorgeous lady as she felt her flexed leg muscles tightening uncontrollably.
Scientist Turner strutted around her helpless position as he admired her glorious metamorphosis. A ringing sound began to fill his ears as he leaned in closer, making certain to avoid the transforming beams sweeping up his victim’s body. As the glowing light began to dance across her muscular thighs, the conversion quickly rolled across the darling blonde’s flexed butt cheeks, swiftly rendering the taut musculature and tiny dimples into flawless metal. With her slim waist instantly surrendering to the tingling wave of transmutation, she shuddered inside as she felt her sensitive skin becoming captured at the height of intensity. The vast network of nerves relentlessly carried the frightening impulses to her brain, yet her panicked body could do absolutely nothing to prevent the horrific devices as they threw more light upon her lush breasts. With aroused nipples dangling from her unmoving chest, the tight nubs of tender skin chilled quickly before hardening into unyielding metal, forming tight nuggets of gleaming silver-toned platinum.
Byron snapped dozens of shots as he circled her stationary position, making certain not to include Turner within the frame. As the moving lights coursed up her bent neck, the poor girl could feel herself coagulating frenziedly, leaving only treasured platinum curves where a once living girl had recently been posing. ‘I’ve been duped,’ thought the grief-stricken woman as she cursed her agent for offering her this assignment. Within seconds, the silver conversion locked her seductive face permanently, leaving only a mirror of metal formed perfectly using her unique facial features. In an instant, she had been utterly trapped within a statue of herself, posed so flawlessly, even the most talented of artists would have wept to behold her perpetual beauty.
Turner could feel his heart pounding rapidly as he stepped onto the pedestal to study his sculpted target. Even though he commonly came into contact with hundreds of captured contestants, he had never actually seen one frozen before his eyes before. Sure, he’d frozen plenty of insubordinate workers, but he rarely took any pleasure in punishing them, at least not contentment such as this. A rush of raw electricity pounded through his veins as he suddenly realized the power unleashed by the meager device now held in his tremulous hand. He alone had converted this stunning woman into an eternal work of art, and he felt immense gratification for having experienced such a marvelous duty.
Byron waited patiently for Scientist Turner to admire his own handiwork. After a few moments in celebration, Turner returned to his worker, delicately sliding the powerful remote control back into Byron’s waiting hand. With a contented sigh, Byron depressed the launching button, sending the latest masterpiece plummeting through the hidden tubing below. As the trap snapped closed behind her, Turner could see another base lock over the pit, instantly ready for another to step up onto it.
Byron smiled to his powerful ally, saying gratefully, “I can’t thank you enough for offering me this position.”
Scientist Turner quickly snapped out of his euphoria as he returned to the task at hand. “I sincerely appreciate the wonderful job you’ve done so far, Byron. The workers in the preparation room have been running around in a panic trying to keep up with your steady supply of contestants.” Byron nodded politely as he beamed with pride. “However, this visit isn’t merely to shower you with praise. We’ve studied the woman carrying the potions you found, but we aren’t any closer to finding answers.”
“So, you want to pick my brain,” replied Byron in a hurry.
“Exactly, Byron. The lab has finished their analysis, and they have confirmed my suspicions. Somebody in those thorn fields had to have used the petrifying and restoring solutions to fool us into believing they’d been captured.” As he looked Byron in the eye, he said intensely, “Please, tell me you had nothing to do with it, Byron.”
Byron never blinked once as he said, “I assure you, Mr. Turner, if I knew what those potions could do, I would’ve been using them. You know how much I love freezing women into statues!”
Breathing a noticeable sigh of relief, Scientist Turner patted his loyal friend on the back. With a muted laugh, Turner said, “That’s precisely what I thought all along. However, I had to ask, since I’ve taken quite a big chance hiring you in the first place. This sort of thing is unprecedented, so I needed to hear it from you personally.”
Humbly, Byron said, “I completely understand, sir. I assure you, I’m not offended by your inquiry.”
“Good. Now, tell me what you witnessed in those thorn fields.”
Byron instantly recalled the vivid experience for his illustrious superior. Starting with the discovery of the six statues, he proceeded to describe the shocking transformation of his two teammates as they surrendered to marble. The entire time, Scientist Turner jotted down a few scribbled notes as he listened intently. Particularly interesting to the gray-haired man was the information regarding the silver contestant’s still warm pair of shoes. ‘She must have transformed moments before his arrival,’ thought Turner as he stroked his chin in deep thought. Once his story was finished, Scientist Turner thanked his useful colleague before turning to leave.
Confidently, Byron asked, “Do you really think one person can destroy a massive conglomerate like the Nil Corporation?”
Scientist Turner stopped and turned abruptly. In a lecturing tone, he offered, “Never underestimate the power of an unknown wildcard. Remember, it only takes one fool to destroy a foolproof scheme.”
As his boss departed the sculpting studio through the back door, Byron
opened his front door hastily, saying impatiently, “I’m ready for the next
contestant. Step right this way, please!”
Lashing out with the only defense mechanism available to her, she often projected her anguish, hoping to expel the demons taunting her soul. Somehow, the processes stealing her vitality seemed to seek out her greatest fears and weaknesses. Even though she was fully aware of her condition as a solid statue of pristine stone, she could still feel bitter tears welling up within her fossilized eyes as she struggled to release the torture clamping down on her troubled mind. On the outside, her stony face remained utterly dry and chilly, but on the inside, a desperate battle was being waged.
In an instant, Lieutenant Godiva could suddenly perceive a warm sensation stirring. The shocking projections began to fade, instead becoming replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace. At first, Godiva celebrated the welcome change, until she could hear a deep voice vibrating within her prison of stone.
“I alone can offer you hope of redemption from your human weaknesses,” whispered the calming influence pervading her senses. Slowly, images of tranquility began to surround the captive woman, soothing moments of salvation. As the joyful montage began to spin elegantly, the mysterious voice said, “I can lead you to a better life, free of pain and aggression. Your fears shall be vanquished, along with your crippling disbelief. Lift up your spirit for you are welcome in my kingdom, and we will create a golden age of everlasting love.” Suddenly, a face began to appear within her fuzzy dream. Holding a warm, inviting smile on his beatific face, Lieutenant Godiva could sense her tension drifting away as she stared into his unblinking eyes. Within the ebony pupils, she could see the whole of the universe, each speck a galaxy of life and energy. However, despite the warm coaxing and sanctimonious preaching, Lieutenant Godiva still battled to seek out the truth, knowing in her heart that this false prophet held no honesty within his retched soul.
“NO!” shouted Lieutenant Godiva with all of her furry. Instantly aware of the deception being played out within her own consciousness, she spat at the glowing face in a venomous rage. “I shall never surrender to your will, you manipulative fool! I can see right through your lies!”
Pure shock swept across his hovering face before he said dryly, “As you wish.” When the face quickly faded, Lieutenant Godiva instantly became racked with horrific pain. Searing heat burned every inch of skin as she howled in agony; a deafening cry pulled from the deepest recesses of her soul. Tiny maggots and worms began to slither across her motionless body as she begged for mercy. Working their way up her paralyzed neck, she could feel the slimy creatures probing her mouth and nose, choking her airways in an instant. With horrific squirming sounds filling her tiny ears, she saw black dirt being thrown onto her body as she felt herself being lowered into a cold pit. As she became fully submerged within the ground, she could feel the earth shaking around her, the parasitic elements of nature feasting upon her disposed flesh. No matter how loudly she cried out in revulsion, the tumultuous yawps fell upon deaf ears. In fact, as her desperate screams increased in volume, even more grinding vermin arrived to pick her bones clean. Now crawling under the surface of her skin, every nerve could register blazing pain as she found herself becoming devoured from within. Just when she found herself at the brink of complete insanity, she could see a bright flash of light puncturing her darkened tomb, a beacon of hope within the pitch-black nightmare of death.
A reverberating voice began to pulse through Lieutenant Godiva’s absolute misery, the perfect pitch forcing the slithering worms to scatter upon hearing such a pure sound from above. Instantly, Lieutenant Godiva began to hail her savior as the voice became louder and more pronounced. “You possess an untapped power, Carrie. An ability that can save you from this terror.”
“L-Lillian? Is that you?” asked Godiva frantically.
Swiftly, the wispy features of her friend began to appear before her darting eyes, a sight so uplifting, Lieutenant Godiva nearly wept. “I am sorry I couldn’t protect you from Emperor Titus’ vindictive torture. The powers of the afterlife are somewhat limited, I’m afraid.”
Lieutenant Godiva quickly offered, “But, you did save me just now, Lillian.”
“That’s not entirely true. My arrival may have helped to motivate you, but the force of your spirit is what dispelled those demons from your soul. Yet you’ve only just begun to utilize your incredible gift.”
Confused, Godiva asked, “What gift, Lillian? Please tell me.”
“For ages, mankind has feared the unknown abilities of the mind. In early times, men would persecute those who possessed your gift, judging them as witches and burning them alive. However, as the centuries passed, many children were still born with the uncanny skills of their ancestors, despite the persecution that nearly wiped them all out in the Middle Ages and beyond. Most of the chosen ones have no knowledge of their predestined skills, unless an unusual circumstance forces the person to defend themselves, then the extraordinary powers become unleashed in self defense.”
Lieutenant Godiva listened intently as she struggled to understand the nature of her condition. “So, are you saying I possess these powers?”
“Without a doubt. From the moment I first met you, Carrie, I knew you held an immense ability deep inside, lying dormant until the perfect moment when you’d need it most. Already, you’ve been able to reach out using only your thoughts. When you sensed Jessie’s horrified terror in the thorn fields, you immediately graced her with your budding power, gently calming her during her greatest time of need. In fact, at this very moment your teammate, Jimmy Sanderson is traveling here to save you, also guided by your mental projection.”
“Sergeant Magnum is alive!” screamed Lieutenant Godiva gleefully.
“That is correct. Although, I suspect deep down, you knew that all along, didn’t you?”
Probing her aching brain, Lieutenant Godiva suddenly understood what her ghostly friend was telling her. Slowly, she said, “So all of these gut feelings are truly rooted in reality?”
“Exactly, Carrie. If you focus your mind fully, you can see distant loved ones, or even catch a glimpse of the future.” As Lillian spun around the silver warrior, she whispered into her ear, “You even have the ability to move objects using only your thoughts.”
In absolute shock, Lieutenant Godiva gasped as she exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? You’re telling me I am capable of using telekinetic power?”
“It is an incredible prospect, I know, but I promise, you possess the ability to free your mind of this torture by simply removing that cursed helmet from your head. Try to imagine invisible fingers pulsing out from every part of your body.”
Closing her eyes, Lieutenant Godiva focused her energy, sensing the flickering aura surrounding her entire being. Slowly, she attempted to control the radiating sensations, trying to create flexing tentacles all around her position. “I can feel it,” whispered Godiva, immersed in deep concentration.
“Alright, that’s the first step. Now, I want you to study the proximity of the helmet. Feel the way it rests on your head. Try to analyze the mass and surface area of the object. Study what seems to be unique about the contraption placed above you. Once you understand the structural elements that create the whole object, then guide your spirit towards it.”
As she began to discover the subtle pressure of the object on her stony skull, she contemplated every minute detail with clarity. Slowly, she stretched her invisible fingers upwards, gracefully brushing against the insidious humming device.
With pure excitement, Lillian said in a commanding tone, “Now lift it up! You have the object within your control!”
Feeling her own exhilaration building to a climax, she quickly swept up the object within her mental grasp. It took an incredible amount of effort to move the helmet a few inches into the air, but steadily she found herself beginning to understand her new skill.
“That’s it, Carrie! Now you are getting the hang of it!” In utter rapture, Lillian continued to guide her talented friend with her calming voice. “Now try to place the item back upon the platform behind you. Imagine your life force as an extension of your own body as you move it. Remember, you can create any possible shape to satisfy your needs. Try to envision a pair of human hands growing out from your spirit.”
Instantly, Lieutenant Godiva began to lose focus, and the metal cap teetered before falling back upon her gleaming forehead. Inside, she cursed herself and her failure to control her newfound ability. “I don’t know if I can do it, Lillian,” sighed the frustrated girl in anguish.
“You were doing it, Carrie! I’m incredibly proud of your aptitude! Take a few seconds to relax, then try it again. Let the power flow through you naturally. If you try to fight the sensations surrounding your aura, you will cut off the energy. Only fear or disbelief will hinder you now.”
Godiva paused a moment to compose herself. ‘Believe,’ thought the beautiful maiden as she began to feel the energy surrounding her. Again, she strove to reach out those invisible limbs, and before long she began to make the object on her stony head move. This time, she tried to succumb to the auric power, instantly recognizing the intense focus within her spirit. Before long, the wired helmet began to rise into the air, guided by Godiva’s sheer mental effort. Slowly, she felt her projected appendages begin to guide the metal item through the air, the once difficult sensations becoming controllable at last. As the torturous device hovered over its original platform, Lieutenant Godiva commanded the device with even greater skill, gingerly lowering the wired helmet onto the waiting shelf. With a muted clank, the floating cap came to a halt on its base as Lieutenant Godiva released her telepathic grasp. Waves of pride and relief washed over her as she relished the peaceful silence, joyously celebrating the removal of her tormenting headpiece.
Lillian spun around gracefully in merriment, thoroughly amazed by her student’s swift comprehension. “You never cease to amaze me, Carrie! Most mortals would buckle under the pressure, but you keep striving to learn and grow. Keep practicing this new technique, and there will be no limit to what you can do!”
Lieutenant Godiva meekly praised her esteemed professor as they shared the festive moment within Godiva’s vast consciousness. To a passing spectator, the lifeless statue remained stiffly posed in marble, yet within her expanding mind, a cheerful party was quickly ensuing. “Mere words can never express my gratitude, Lillian. You’ve helped me to discover not only my identity, but also my true calling. I’m a better woman for having known you!”
“Your kind words are thanks enough,” said the glowing apparition
as she began to slowly fade away. Before she evaporated fully, she
cautioned, “Remember to hone your newfound skills, Carrie. You
never know when you might need them.”
To be continued...
On to Part Thirteen