Doctor Dantos and the Wax Works

by M.P.

It was a cool summer in 1892 and Philadelphians were doing what they always did at this time of year. Leave the city for the shore. Mark Arronson and his girl Elizabeth Shepherd were not going to be any different, packing a nice picnic lunch and a few bottles of wine they left their rooming house on Porter Street and caught the uptown trolley to Broad Street Station. When they got there the train was not ready to leave. They had a little time to spend, so they started looking at brochures of the various sites they would find at the shore.

One ad caught Elizabeth’s eye right away. It was for a new wax museum that was opening in an out-of-the-way part of Atlantic City. The ad said that the Great and Wondrous Doctor Dantos who had made figures of all the Crowned Heads of Europe, was now in exile here in America and had smuggled his figures out with him.

"This is just the place to go Mark," said Elizabeth. "We can spend a few hours on the boardwalk and then go to see the Museum." From the platform a whistle blew and the young couple's train was now boarding. The trip in those days took a little over two hours and was quite fast for its time. Mark and Elizabeth left the train at about 10:00 A.M. and the walk to boardwalk took them only a few minutes. The young couple had a glorious time and soon Elizabeth said that to make the day perfect they should go to the museum now. Little did she know that this trip would be one they would never forget.



Doctor Dantos' museum was located in what many people would consider a very bad neighborhood. It stood out from the other buildings because of its huge signs "DOCTOR DANTOS MUSEE' DE WAX" The ersatz French was probably to attract the masses, but the area already had its share of characters to begin with.

Mark turned to Elizabeth, "Honey, I don't like the looks of this place."

"Oh don't be such a scardy cat." Elizabeth chided him.

"Yes do not be such a frightened feline!" said a foreign-accented voice from behind them. The voice came so suddenly that Elizabeth was frightened. "Do not fear," said the voice, "for I am Dantos." Then, in a most dramatic entrance, a shadow formed in the corner of the alley and from the shadow a large man in a black tail coat emerged.

"What an entrance!" Said Mark obviously impressed.

With this remark Dantos chest puffed up with pride and he continued. "Welcome to my humble establishment.  Please to enter; I know that you will be fascinated and enthralled at what lies within." Just as he finished, a large oaken door that neither of the young couple had noticed before slowly swung open. They were suddenly bathed in a bright light that seemed to come from nowhere but was everywhere.

Inside, once they had adjusted their vision, there was a cavernous room and positioned around the room were several tableaux. There were figures of people from the middle ages, one even looked like Da Vinci but neither of the couple could be sure. As they went deeper into the museum, they saw each tableaux was of a different period in history. The doctor explained in brief to the young couple a little about what they saw, but the couple were too interested the figures to pay him much attention.

As they walked further into the halls of the museum it seemed like they were traveling in circles. The absence of any windows further added to their feelings that they were lost, yet the museum was still different at each tableaux they came to. They soon found themselves in an area of the museum that was very strange. Here the figures were very lifelike and were posed in in very sexy ways.  Elizabeth did not say anything, but Mark was surprised by the absence of any male figures in this area. Each figure in the tableaux was a perfection of the female form; there were blondes, redheads, black and brown haired girls. There were several of various races, some mixed together, which Mark found to be unusual but at the same time very stimulating. Mark could feel a rise coming on in his crotch and was a little ashamed at his feelings, especially with Elizabeth here with him.

Soon they came up to a setting of a pretty maid dressed in a black and white maid's outfit. In her hand she held a feather duster, her little skirt covered by a white lace apron. Her hair was jet black and curly but not too long. Her skin was like ivory, but had a shiny luster to it, on her face a look of surprise. The figure was standing alone in what appeared to be an English manor hall; several things were scattered around but the young maid just stood there with a look on her perfect face that said, "How am I ever going to do this?"  Next to her setting was another female, this time it was of an acrobat. The figure was a short blue-eyed blonde with short hair. She wore a silver leotard that pinched in her waist and pushed out her small breasts. Her legs were long and had a slight tan to them. Her arms were extended with her hands flat as if she were walking an invisible tightrope.

Mark was entranced by the figure and turned to say something to Elizabeth when he noticed that she was gone. "Elizabeth?" He asked. There was no response, only the echo of his own voice in the great hall.

Appearing seeming out of thin air again, Doctor Dantos now spoke. "Do not fear Mark.  She is still here and quite all right."

"What do you mean?" Mark asked. "I can't find her!"

"Why she’s right over there," Doctor Dantos said as he pointed toward a figure on the other side of the aisle. Mark went over and saw that it was the figure of some Egyptian queen. When he got close and looked at the figure's expressive detail he recoiled in shock.   "No!" cried Mark,"It can't be."

But when he looked again it was. Dressed in a gold and silver outfit was Elizabeth. Somehow she had been transformed into one of the exquisite waxworks.

"She is one of best I must admit." The doctor said. "And it was very easy."

"You let her go this instant, you fiend!" Mark said, the anger rising in his voice.

"Do not threaten me boy," the doctor continued. "Your little playmate is not harmed.  In fact I think her new appearance is an improvement." The doctor stepped over the ropes that surrounded the setting and touched the still figure of Elizabeth, who was now wax. He ran his hand over her face and touched the curves of her body. Mark was practically seething but maintained control on himself. "Come here boy and see the wonderful new creation I have made," the Doctor urged him.

Mark stepped over the rope and went up to the now rigid form of his love. He touched her lightly and was surprised how cold she felt. Her skin had taken on the same waxen shine of the other figures. Her hair had stiffened into the shape it always held but now looked more artificial. On her face she had the look of fascination as if she had seen something incredible before she transformed. That look added to her appeal as a waxwork figure.

"Don't worry boy, she will be fine here; no worries, no pain or aging. She will be admired by all my visitors as Empress of the Nile."

"But you can't think you'll get away with this." Mark said. "Someone will miss us."

"Do you know how many young people disappear every day, boy," the Doctor challenged. "No one will think of looking for you here, so far from home.  Face it boy, you are now mine; you and your beautiful girlfriend."

"So what is to become of me?" Mark asked.

"I have something very special for you boy; you are to become the great King Tutankhamen, and you will remain here with your queen.  For eternity." Then with a puff of smoke and a few choice words Doctor Dantos vanished and in his place stood Mark, now transformed.

Instead of the suit and street clothes he previously had worn, he was dressed in the finest Egyptian gold fabric and on his head he wore a helmet of gold. From behind a curtain two men in overalls came out and picked up the now rigid wax figure that was once Mark and carefully placed him into the display. Together again, Mark and Elizabeth were now perfect; the ultimate couple.

The Doctor was very pleased with his newest display. He would have to better himself with the next one.



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