All Under Control!

To Life

Part 2

a story by EHY

(ehy_1 at ya hoo dot com)

Author's Note:  The following story contains certain adult themes, including sex, which may cause some people discomfort or offense.  If you think you may be one of these people, then I recommend you do not read any further.  I write for the pleasure of myself and those who enjoy what I can create, but I have no desire to push it on anyone else.

On the other hand, if you like it, please let me know! Write to me at ehy_1 at ya hoo dot com.

In Part I, I told the story of how I met and fell in love with a beautiful girl who turned out to be a mannequin with the power to come to life sometimes. Here I relate her tale of how she came to be. I've edited her story a little to make it flow, but this is her story and mostly her words, as she told it to me.

-- Christopher

My earliest memory is of light. At the time, I had no idea where I was, or even what I was, but now, thinking back, I think I was being uncrated for the first time.

It took me a while to grow used to my sensations. At first all I saw was blinding light and color. Sound was just a constant buzzing in my ears, and every touch burned and hurt and pleased all at the same time. It didn't occur to me that it might mean anything, and it certainly didn't occur to me to try to do anything about it.

But over time, I did learn how to see and hear and feel. I was posed in the window of a ladies' boutique. In front of me was a street with many cars that passed by, and people on foot too. Of course, I didn't know they were cars and people at first. They were all a mystery to me. I couldn't understand how it was that they could move about and do things. It seemed almost unnatural to me, like -- like watching a bird fly must be for you. Sometimes I tried to move myself, but of course I couldn't. I was made of rigid plastic. I was not designed to move about. I was designed to stay where I was put, and to model beautiful clothing.

There was a grey-haired woman named Evelyn at the store, who sometimes came into the window and adjusted my hair or brushed dust off me and the other mannequin in the window with me. (I usually couldn't see her directly, but only reflected in the window at night. It was a long time before I even realized that the two mannequins I saw reflected in the window were myself and another -- and longer still before I realized which one was me.) Every so often she would pull a curtain across the window, then take me apart and undress me, then come back later and put me back together, dressing me a different way. I always loved whatever she dressed me in. I sometimes think she knew that.

A long time passed. Months, at least; maybe years. Then I noticed that the window in front of me was being covered with a large sheet of paper, by a couple of men in jeans and overalls. One of them picked me up awkwardly and carried me out of the window into the store itself. He leaned me up against a wall. The other man was carrying the other mannequin from the window, and he leaned her near me. They did some more things I didn't really understand at the time, and then left. I was confused and disturbed. I didn't understand why I had been taken out of the window. It seemed wrong to put me where nobody could see me. I know this may be hard for you to understand, but I knew that my entire reason for existing was to be seen by people. Nobody could see me there, and I was not happy about that.

More time passed, and now I did not even have the daily movements of people outside the store to help me keep track of time. It seemed the store was closed, because no one came inside for a long time.

As I told you, sometimes I lose track of time completely. The next thing I remember, I was in a room I'd never seen before. There was a female mannequin in front of me, and after a moment I realized I was facing a mirror, and the mannequin I was seeing was myself. I was fully assembled, standing on a pedestal about six inches high. I wore a white cotton bathrobe tied loosely around my waist, with nothing beneath it except the post that helped to hold me upright. That was strange, I thought. The bathrobe seemed to be nothing worth modeling.

Then a man came into view. His face was on a level with mine, which made him about six inches taller than me. He had dark brown hair and a thick, neatly trimmed beard. He stood in front of me, blocking my view of myself in the mirror, and looked me right in the eyes as he spoke to me -- I think he was the first person who ever did that.

"Hello, Angela," he said, and it surprised me even more when I realized he was speaking to me. I hadn't known before then that my name was Angela. Or maybe it wasn't; maybe he just decided to give me that name. "My name is Royven. Can you hear me? I think you can, even though you can't answer. But I'm going to try to change that for you, Angela, if you'll trust me. Will you trust me?"

I had never thought about trusting anyone before. It doesn't make sense to think about trusting someone when you have no power to do anything whether you trust them or not. It didn't matter whether I trusted Evelyn to dress me nicely: I was her mannequin and I would wear whatever she dressed me in. It didn't matter whether I trusted the men who took me out of the window: I couldn't stop them if I wanted to, and I couldn't help them if I wanted to. But this man, Royven, was speaking to me as if what I thought actually mattered. As if he was going to do something that I might have an opportunity to interfere with. To you, who have always been able to move and speak and object to anything you don't like, perhaps that doesn't sound like much, but to me it was... I don't even know how to describe it. It was an incredible feeling. It was almost like being kissed for the first time.

And I decided -- I decided! -- to trust the man who had asked me to trust him.

Of course, I had no way to tell him so. I could not alter my expression so much as a hair. I could only hope that whatever Royven was, he would know that I had decided to trust him.

He said nothing to indicate any knowledge of my decision, but after a few minutes, he placed his hands on my temples. At first he looked into my eyes, but then he closed his eyes, and the lines of his face tensed as if he were exerting a great effort on something. I had no idea what he was doing, but whatever it was, I wanted it to succeed -- more than I could remember ever having really wanted anything before, I wanted Royven's work, whatever it was, to succeed. Something like a gray cloud seemed to pass between myself and Royven, clouding my view for a moment, but then it passed, and Royven opened his eyes. He looked at me, and smiled.

"You did trust me!" he exclaimed. "Look." He stepped aside, letting me see myself once more in the mirror. I didn't notice anything different immediately... but then I saw my eyes. My eyes, which I knew had been but dry paint on the plastic surface of my face. No longer. They were now wet, living eyes! My irises were the same bluish-grey color they had always been, but now instead of simply being painted circles, they were real eyes, almost as if I were a real woman!

But that was not the end of my excitement. After a moment of staring at myself, I realized that my new eyes were beginning to hurt. At first I did not understand what was wrong, but then it occurred to me that whenever I saw living people, they often closed their eyes for an instant. Perhaps, I thought, perhaps if my eyes were real like a living person's eyes, perhaps I could blink like that as well. But how? I'm sure this will sound silly to you, but I had never before moved any part of my body by my own will, and I simply didn't know how to do it. But Royven knew how to help me.

"You can move your eyes now, Angela," he told me. He held up his finger in front of my face. "Focus on my finger," he said, and I tried to do that. He moved his finger across my view. "That's not it, Angela," he said. "Move your eyes to follow my finger. Come on -- it should be almost automatic." He moved his finger back and forth again, but I still didn't know how I was supposed to follow it. "Okay, I'll try one more thing. I hope this doesn't hurt you." Then with his other hand, he slapped my face. It didn't hurt, but it surprised me -- and when I recovered from the surprise, I realized that my eyes were tracking Royven's other hand! He lowered his hand, and my eyes lowered with it, and that made them hurt less, so I lowered my eyes even farther, till I couldn't see anything at all and my eyes didn't hurt at all anymore. Then I looked up again, and I could see just fine -- and I could look around and see in different directions!

"There you go, Angela!" Royven cheered. "I knew you could do it, if you only trusted me." I blinked again, just to prove I could, then I blinked several more times because it was so new to me to be able to do anything at all! I was so happy, I wanted to smile, to laugh, to jump for joy... of course, I could do none of those things. I stood motionless on my stand, making no sound, with only a vague dreamy look on my lips... but my eyes and my spirit were smiling.

"Enjoy your new eyes, Angela," Royven invited me. "I can't do any more tonight, but I'll be back tomorrow and I'll animate some more of you." I blinked all night.

True to his word, the next day (or at least, after a period of time that could have been a day) Royven returned. I blinked in greeting.

"Hello, Angela. How are you feeling?" I could only answer by blinking my eyes. "Today I'm going to try to let you move the rest of your face. I think you'll like that." I knew I would. "Now remember: you have to trust me. This won't work unless you want it to. Okay?"

I blinked again. Royven paused, then placed his hands on my face. I wondered what it would be like if I could move against his hands. I blinked a few times, but his hands were away from my eyelashes, and the rest of my face was still rigid plastic and didn't so much as twitch when I blinked. Royven closed his eyes and concentrated. I decided to close mine too, since I could, in case that would help me concentrate on helping whatever he was doing to work. After a moment, I began to feel a strange sensation in my face. It started out as a slight itching in my cheeks -- at least, I think it was what you call an itch. It was a feeling I'd never known before, and I didn't like it much. The itch spread from my cheeks up to my forehead, and down my nose, and across my lips and chin, and became almost a kind of burning. I wanted Royven's work to succeed, but now I also wanted the burning to go away, and without even thinking about it I scrunched my face up in! ! a grimace, as if I could squeeze out the imaginary flames on my face that way. Immediately, the burning sensation stopped. I relaxed and opened my eyes to find Royven smiling at me -- and for the first time ever, I smiled back!

Royven stepped aside so I could see myself in the mirror, and as I had hoped (but hardly dared to expect), my entire face now looked like living, movable, human skin! "Wonderful!" Royven exclaimed. "You're really very good at this, Angela. I'm glad."

I tried opening my mouth, but I found that while I could smile and frown, my lips still could not part. Royven seemed to notice what I was trying to do. "I haven't hollowed out your mouth yet, so you can't yet open it or speak. Actually it will be a long time before you can speak -- I'll have to transform your chest first, so your lungs will have room to expand when you breathe, then your lungs, then your voicebox. But as long as nothing goes wrong, Angela, we'll get there eventually."

He reached up and caressed my cheek with his hand, and I tried to brush against him. Not yet able to move my neck, the best I could do was to twitch my cheek, but I did that, and smiled at him. He was making me alive, and I would do everything I could to make sure he knew I appreciated it.

The next day was a bit of a disappointment, as Royven transformed my scalp and hair. I had been looking forward to opening my mouth, or turning my head, but Royven said the transformation was easier this way. I could only see a slight change in my hair, but Royven ran his fingers through it and seemed to enjoy it, so I assumed that whatever he had done was worthwhile. I could also feel the slight give in my scalp when he pulled lightly on my hairs, and that was a pleasant feeling.

The day after that, Royven transformed my neck, and I found myself able to look around almost the entire room. Not that there was anything much to see, but the simple fact that I could see it at all was amazing to me.

The next time Royven came to me, he seemed a little distracted, and didn't greet me in his usual fashion. "I can't decide what to do next," he told me. "I probably should do your hands next, then your arms and shoulders, and continue down the outside of your body. But I'd also like to give you a real mouth now. I'm pretty sure that will work just as well. I've decided to leave it up to you. Smile now if you want me to do your mouth first."

I smiled at him -- I'd been wanting a real mouth for days. Hands would be nice too, I thought, but I could wait another day for them.

Royven seemed pleased with my choice. "Okay, a mouth it is. Remember, you still won't be able to speak yet." He placed his hands on the sides of my jaw and concentrated. I seemed to feel a huge bubble appear inside my head. It grew and grew and grew until I thought my head would explode -- and then suddenly my lips popped open and let out a puff of air. For the first time, I could now feel inside my mouth a tongue and teeth, and I could move my tongue around inside. I opened my lips in a wide smile, to show Royven what he had done.

But Royven didn't notice immediately. His eyes were still closed, and his hands dropped to my shoulders and pressed hard against them, as if he were holding himself up by using my body as a crutch. He was breathing hard. I didn't know what was wrong, or how I could help him. I bent my head down and nuzzled his head -- the only way I could get his attention to let him know I wanted to help.

After a moment he looked up again, and without another word, he pressed his lips against mine and kissed me hard. I was surprised, to say the least -- first at what he was doing, and then at how good it felt! I didn't know what I was supposed to do, so I let him do whatever he felt like doing, and did myself what came naturally -- which was to do nothing. I let his tongue explore my new mouth (which I had not even finished doing myself yet), while his hands caressed my cheeks and jaw. It was a wonderful feeling, the most amazing thing I had ever felt, and I wondered if there was anything I could do to make it last longer or feel even better.

Eventually, he relaxed, and reluctantly drew his lips away from mine. Several seconds passed, during which I did not move at all, but simply let my lips remain parted as far as Royven's tongue had opened them. It was as if in the pleasant shock of new sensations I had forgotten how to use my new powers of movement. I think I even worried Royven some, as he rubbed my cheek with his fingers and called my name concernedly. I smiled then, to show him I was still fine, and had enjoyed the kiss immensely.

"Oh, good," he sighed. "I was afraid something had gone wrong." I shook my head and smiled even wider. Something had gone very right. "That was very tiring," he said. "I think I probably should have done your hands first. But, no permanent harm was done, and I think you enjoyed your mouth quite a lot, didn't you." I agreed. "I need to go rest now. I'll be back tomorrow night."

Over the next few visits, Royven transformed my hands, then my arms and my shoulders. That allowed me to for the first time touch my own body -- both the smooth silkiness of my human-like face and arms, and the hard plastic that was still my torso. And, of course, my deep red hair, which was now soft like human hair. I also discovered another use for them when Royven ended the kiss that had been added to our daily ritual -- I could show him just how much I enjoyed them by pulling him back to me for a second embrace. Next came my breasts, for which Royven had to unlace my robe. He was quite polite about it, carefully explaining the need to directly touch some of the part of me that was to be changed, and ensuring that I didn't mind him undressing me. Of course, I didn't mind. I was made to wear whatever someone clothed me in. A mannequin never has need of modesty. Nevertheless, he carefully covered me again when he was finished.

Then my stomach, my upper back, and my lower back, followed by several days when nothing new happened. Royven explained that creating my mouth had been harder than he had expected, and he expected that giving me lungs would be just as hard if not harder, so he wanted to make certain he was fully rested before attempting it. During that time, I found that even with my new powers of movement, and the new pleasures I had learned to feel from Royven's touch, I did not feel completely happy. It took me surprisingly long to realize the reason. I was -- I am -- a mannequin. I was designed and made to be seen and looked at by everyone, but here in this empty room, no one could see me except Royven. It was nice to be able to move, but to me, it was not enough. I had to be seen. I had to be dressed in beautiful clothing, and placed where real people would see me and be inspired to try to dress as beautifully as I. That is my life -- if a plastic imitation of a! ! woman can be said to have a life.

Unfortunately, I could think of no way to tell Royven how I felt. I could only wait until he gave me the power of speech, and then I would explain. That saddened me, but it was okay. I am used to being patient.

I didn't have to wait all that long. For three visits, Royven worked no magic upon me. He simply greeted me, and we kissed, and he spoke to me of inconsequential things. The second visit, after kissing, we found that both of us craved the continuing touch of each other's hands. Royven removed my robe to better caress my breasts and enjoy the smoothness of my back as we embraced. I ran my fingers down the buttons of his shirt, and he removed it for me so that I could feel his rough, hairy skin, so unlike my own. I felt we might have stayed there for weeks. But Royven's patience was limited, unlike mine, and he eventually drew away and put his shirt back on. He began to put my robe back on, but I shook my head and showed him I was happier without it, so he left it off. The next day, however, I had grown more depressed about being kept hidden away. I kissed Royven as usual, but I did not encourage him to stay with me any longer. He asked me what was wrong! ! , but I could not explain. I tapped my chest, my throat, and my lips, to convey my thought: When you transform my lungs and voice, I will explain. I think he understood.

The next day he returned. This time he stood behind me, pressing his chest against my back, and cupped my breasts in his two hands. "This will be difficult," he said, "but keeping as much of your chest against me as I can should help. It also feels good," he added, and I could only agree. I saw in the mirror Royven's face as he strained at whatever magic he was using to transform me, piece by piece. Again I concentrated on how much I wanted Royven to succeed in creating lungs for me. Gradually, I began to feel something inside my chest. It grew slowly, pushing my chest out to make room. It became painfully large, and just when I thought I would surely explode from the pressure, it began to grow upward, into my neck. I closed my eyes to try to shut out the pain. For a moment, I felt my body begin to grow rigid again, as if I were being transformed back into a lifeless mannequin, and my eyes would have flown open in shock had they been able to at that m! ! oment. Please, let this work... let this work, I thought desperately... and finally, I felt a rush of air gust past my tongue and out my open mouth, the pain vanished, and I could move freely again above my hips.

But as soon as I knew that, I felt Royven's skin slide off of mine, and heard him collapse to the floor behind me. My legs still made of unbending plastic, and held up by the slender rod that held my waist well above the floor, there was no way I could reach him to try to help. The most useful thing I could think of to do was to clap my hands together hard several times, hoping the sound might wake him up.

Royven remained unconscious behind me for long enough for me to grow accustomed to having lungs. I quickly discovered that, just as after I had gained the ability to move my eyes, I needed to blink every so often, now that I could breathe, I needed to do so fairly regularly. At first I needed to think about each breath, when tightness in my chest reminded me to inhale, but after a while I found it grew automatic. By the time Royven awoke, I no longer needed to pay any attention to my lungs.

"How long have I been out?" Royven asked as he struggled to his feet. I shrugged -- even had I known, I could not have told him. I had to turn my head awkwardly to look at him, until he'd recovered himself enough to stand in front of me. "I hope that's the hardest bit," he said. "As much as that hurt, I don't think I made any mistakes this time. I think we'd better wait a few days for your voice." I was saddened by that, but I would not have asked him to go faster even if I could have. I reached for him to draw him close enough for a kiss, but he only offered me his cheek. I kissed it gently, smoothed his ruffled hair, and smiled. I could wait.

I think he didn't come to see me for a day or two then. At any rate, the next time he came to me, he was ready to give me a voice. After the difficulty my lungs had given him, I was prepared for another ordeal, but it turned out to be easy. Royven simply rested his hands on my neck, pressing his thumbs against my throat. We concentrated, and I felt a tightness in my throat that went away after a few breaths.

"That was easy enough," Royven remarked. "Can you speak now?"

I tried it. I thought it would be difficult to do -- I had been watching Royven carefully the last few times he spoke to me, and noticed how his lips, teeth, tongue, and lungs all had to be coordinated. But this too turned out to be easy. I simply thought of what I wanted to say, and... spoke.

"Thank you, Royven," I said. The pitch and tone of my voice sounded exactly as I had always thought my voice would sound, if I had one, but it wasn't quite right somehow... I had spoken with no inflection, just one word after another. I tried again. "Thank you, Royven." This time I could hear some emotion. I almost sounded real, I thought. I tried one last time, and this time it was perfect: "Thank you, Royven!" I cried. "Oh, thank you!"

Then I rested my voice for a while, as we kissed deeply and joyfully.

When we finished, we spoke for a long time. I told him of all the feelings I had been unable to express before. He asked me all the questions he had known I could not answer, and now I answered them. I asked him very little. He had already given me so great a gift, I felt I had no right to ask for anything else. But there was one thing I had to ask for anyway. I needed him to take me someplace where I could be seen, not just by him, but by everyone.

"That could be a bit of a problem," he said. "No, no, hold on -- I want to do this for you if I can. The trouble is... well, there are rules about the things I can do. One of them is that I can't tell you exactly what the rules are, so don't bother asking. And I can't let many people know what I've done for you."

"That's okay," I said. "I don't need anyone to know that."

"Well, anyone seeing you now would know there's something very peculiar going on, and I can't allow that. Even after you're fully animated, I couldn't let you simply go off by yourself. But... now that I've transformed you -- well, most of you -- into mobility, I can easily transform you back and forth. I could even allow you to transform yourself. Then, I could arrange for you to go back to a store and... work there, I suppose, as a display mannequin."

"I would love that," I agreed.

"You'd have to stay immobile all day," he warned. "You could only come to life when nobody would see you."

"I'm used to being immobile," I pointed out. "But you would still be able to come to me at night? And finish the rest of my body?"

"I think I can arrange to be able to visit you often," he agreed. "Probably not every night, but often. I could let you transform yourself at night even if I'm not there, as long as you agree to keep yourself hidden. Let me go see what I can do," he said. He kissed me quickly, brushed my right nipple quickly, and left.

He returned later with a plan.

"I've found a place for you," he announced. "I can't put you in a store window where people passing by might see you come to life, and a mall or department store would have security at night that could make things difficult. But I know you want to be seen by as many people as possible, so I found a large boutique that will be perfect. There are mannequins in the windows there, but they also keep mannequins inside. I've arranged for you to be taken on there to display clothes inside the store."

"That sounds fine," I agreed. "Will anyone know I can come to life?"

"No, only me. I've made sure the owner and the staff won't pay too much attention to you. You should be treated just like any other mannequin, except they'll tend to keep you near the back of the store, away from the windows. That way you can come to life at night if you want and nobody will see. And I'll be able to visit you at night easily."

With everything agreed upon, the next thing Royven had to do was to make sure I could transform myself. "I need to transform you back to a mannequin myself first," he told me. "I can do that with a spoken command. Are you ready?"

I composed myself, with my arms bent at the elbows and my fingers slightly spread. I opened my eyes wide, watching my reflection in the mirror. I took a deep breath, smiled, and nodded.

"Angela, freeze-order," Royven said.

Instantly, I saw myself change in the mirror. The joint above my hips had been a dividing line. Below it, my waist and legs were solid, painted, rigid. Above it, my torso was soft and alive. Now my top half changed. My skin lost its lifelike tone and once again was plastic. The dark color at the tips of my breasts faded, and my nipples shrank to small bumps. My hair became stiff fibers, and my eyebrows almost sank into my temples. The entire process took less time than the sigh that stopped, frozen in mid-exhale. I tried to lower my arms, or turn my head, or open my mouth, but I could not. I was, once again, completely helpless.

Royven reached up and touched my face, gazing into my frozen eyes. "You are exquisite," he breathed. His obvious pleasure at the way I looked was enough to keep me from minding my helpless state, even when he simply stared at me, and touched various parts of me, for several minutes. Eventually, he proceeded. He placed his hands on my shoulders and concentrated. This time, all I felt was a short, quick, spark inside my chest. Royven looked up into my face again.

"You now have the power to transform yourself," he told me. "You can't do it yet, though. Once you've been frozen with that verbal command, you can't come to life again until I cancel it. Being the sentimental sort of soul I am, I set it up so that the release signal is this." And he leaned forward and kissed my motionless lips. Aside from the delightful sensation of being kissed, nothing else appeared to happen.

"There," he said when he had finished kissing me. "You should now be able to animate yourself. You'll need to concentrate hard on it, though. I didn't want it to be something you could do accidentally."

I concentrated hard. I wasn't sure what I was trying to do, but after a little while, I sensed something like a switch in my mind. I knew that was my body's "on/off switch." It took me a little longer to figure out how to mentally flip it, but Royven waited patiently while I tried. Eventually, I got it. The switch in my mind turned on, and my upper body transformed back into flesh that I could move.

"I did it!" I announced.

"Excellent," Royven said. "Now make sure you can transform back."

Now that I knew the trick, transforming back to a mannequin was easy. I spread my hands out, and brought them together as if to clap, then flipped the mental switch off again with my arms in motion. I felt them instantly slow down to a halt. Once they were stopped, their texture changed, and I was again a mannequin. But this time I was not completely helpless, for I could turn the switch back on again. I did, and my hands regained their lifelike texture and began to move together again. They touched in a weak clap. "It's easy now," I said.

After Royven left for the night, I transformed myself back into a mannequin. As nice as it was to be able to move, I really had nothing to do. As long as I knew I could free myself if I wanted to, it was more relaxing to be plastic.

I freed myself when Royven returned. He was carrying a large box. "Everything's ready," he told me. "You'll have to stay frozen for a few days, most likely, but from your condition when I walked in, I gather you won't mind that."

"No, that's fine, but why?" I asked.

"I'm going to have to have you delivered there tomorrow," he replied. "Tonight I'll dismantle you and pack you up nicely. You'll arrive at the boutique tomorrow afternoon. I don't know if you'll be unpacked immediately, but I can't see why they would wait long. I'll come to see you as soon as I can, and release the freeze order I'll have to give you tonight, and then we can see about continuing to transform you. Your waist is next."

As he spoke, Royven had been pulling bits of shaped foam out of the box. As he finished, he stood up in front of me. "However, before all of that," he continued, "there is one thing I want to do."

I had already seen what he was planning. Our arms moved around one another, and our lips came together. I had learned a lot since my first kiss, and this time I participated completely, knowing this kiss would have to satisfy us both for some time. When we finished, I felt a sadness, but only a little. I would miss Royven, but at last I would again fulfill my purpose.

"How should I pose?" I asked Royven.

"Good question. I'd say you should definitely keep the same expression on your face that you had when I first found you. As for your body... hmm. What do you think? You're the professional."

We spent the next while working out a pose. I had no choice about my legs, which I still could not move. That was actually helpful, since it left my feet in the right position to wear high-heeled shoes. I decided to turn my head slightly to the right this time, instead of the left, and at Royven's suggestion I twisted my body just so. My arms I left down, with my left hand almost touching my thigh, and my right slightly behind my hip. Royven started to arrange my hair, until I reminded him that it would still be flexible even when the rest of me was not, and the boutique's visual designer would arrange it as he saw fit.

When we were both satisfied, I lifted my chin and flipped that mental switch. My body hardened, preserving my carefully selected pose permanently. Royven walked all around me twice, looking at me closely.

"Perfect," he announced. "Angela, freeze-order." I didn't feel any change at that, but when I looked for the mental switch that would allow me to move again, I couldn't find it. I would remain posed like this until Royven decided to allow me to move. But as long as he kept his word to send me to the boutique, that was fine with me.

He proceeded to dismantle me. He carefully removed each of my arms and legs, and placed them carefully in the box, making sure they were well protected so I would not be damaged in transit. Then he lifted my head off of my shoulders, and held it in front of him so that I was looking directly up into his eyes. "I hope you are happy, Angela," he said. "I'll see you in a few days."

Then he wrapped my head carefully in soft cloth, and added it to the box. Finally, he separated my waist from my upper torso, and packed each of them.

Time passed. I felt the box move, but I could not hear anything from inside my padded box. But it didn't seem like very long before I felt myself being unpacked again. I felt soft, gentle hands on my plastic surface, placing my waist on the support rod, attaching my torso, and then my head. Now I could see that my new visual designer was a young woman, shorter and wider than me. She wasn't especially attractive, but she was dressed in stylish causal clothes.

She talked to me as she put me back together. At first, I was surprised -- my previous merchandiser had never spoken to me, and I wondered if she knew I could come to life. But after a while, I realized she talked to all of her mannequins, not because she thought we could hear her, but just to pass the time while she worked. Her name, I later discovered, was Jeanette. "You're a pretty one," she said. "A little serious for the misses' department, maybe, but that's okay. Here are your legs... hmm, let me figure out what you'll be wearing before I put these on, so I don't have to take you apart again. Excellent legs... no chips at all. Nice shape, too. Good. Let's see if I can find something that'll take advantage of that. Swimwear, maybe..."

She walked off. I paid attention to my surroundings, and noticed I was in a smallish room filled with tables and shelves containing all sorts of things. There were items of clothing scattered about, some piled up in a heap, others neatly folded, yet others hanging from various hooks. There was another mannequin in the room, but she was far enough to the side that I could not see her clearly.

The designer returned, carrying a one-piece blue swimsuit of some smooth, shiny material. "I think this will do nicely," she said, as she easily fitted it over my torso. Then she put my arms on, which kept the shoulder straps from falling off, and fitted my legs through the appropriate holes in the bottom of the suit. Finally, she wrapped a matching sarong around my waist.

"There," she announced. "That'll be lovely. Now, we just need to do something with your hair..." She brushed it carefully, and draped its length over my left shoulder. "Excellent," she decided. "Now to get you out on the floor... then I can go home."

She brought over a wheeled dolly, and carefully maneuvered me onto its ledge. Then she tipped it backwards and wheeled me out onto the display floor.

I was impressed. This store was much larger than the one I had previously worked in. The lights were mostly off, but there was still enough light to see by. We passed through the evening wear section, then arrived in the misses' department. There were several other mannequins here, mostly smiling young girls. Many of them were dressed in pretty dresses and skirts, but I was wheeled into the swim section where there was another mannequin on a pedestal wearing a two-piece printed swimsuit. The woman rotated me so I was angled away from the other mannequin, then lifted me off the cart and on to the pedestal. Finally, she dusted me off with a cloth, ran a brush quickly through my hair, and stood back to admire me. "Excellent. That should make her happy." And with that, she left. A few minutes later, the rest of the lights turned off.

I waited in the dark for some time. Eventually it began to grow lighter. I heard a door open, and someone moving around. The lights came on. A little later, there were the sounds of a few more people. An Asian woman walked into my area and looked at me for a moment, then moved on. Later, other people came through, and I began to feel useful again as they saw me. It wasn't until the afternoon that my area began to see serious traffic -- I've noticed that younger women seem to shop primarily in the late afternoon on most days. One of them even decided to buy the same style of swimsuit I was wearing!

For the first time in what seemed like ages, I was satisfied again. I was doing what I was created to do.

To make my happiness complete, however, I wanted Royven to return and allow me to move again. He didn't come that night, or the next. I began to wonder whether he in fact intended to return. But the next night, well after the store had been closed and all the employees had left, a few lights came on near me, and Royven approached.

"Hello, Angela. I hope you've been enjoying yourself." He looked me up and down. This pedestal was a bit higher than the one in his workshop, so I was almost looking over his head. "I like your new outfit," he said, sounding pleased. "I'm going to let you move again in a moment. Make sure you remember exactly how you're posed now. You're going to have to be standing just the same way come morning. All right?" Of course, I couldn't answer. He didn't wait for an answer, either, but climbed up on the pedestal with me, and kissed me.

It started out as a gentle kiss on the lips. But almost as soon as his lips touched mine, I felt my mental switch come back, and I turned it on. My body came to life, and I reached for Royven and pulled him against me joyfully. Our kiss turned passionate, and lasted long.

"Oh, Royven," I cried when we broke free, "I'm so happy now! It's wonderful to be here and to be able to move and be with you sometimes!"

We talked and touched for a time. I felt the strange tightness of the form-fitting swimsuit I wore, when it slid across my skin as I moved. Then he told me he was ready to continue transforming me. That night, Royven transformed my right hip and thigh. He thought it looked rather strange that I could now kick my leg upward, while my knee and ankle remained one rigid length of plastic. It felt odd too, so I didn't play with that ability much.

Eventually, it was time for him to leave. "I'll leave your animation under your control for now, Angela," he said. "But remember to pose and freeze again during the day. I've tried to ensure that no one on the staff here will notice if your pose changes a little bit, but I can't tamper with them too much. And of course, if they actually see you moving around, that would be a bit much for them to forget. I've also arranged for you to get something of a reminder to pose, about ten seconds before someone comes into the store. Now let me see you pose for me, just to be sure."

"Certainly," I said. I was sure I could pose perfectly -- after all, that was what I had been made for -- but I would do anything to please Royven. I ran my fingers through my hair to make sure it was properly draped over my shoulder, then posed my arms as they had been. I assumed my "modeling face," tipped my head up, and transformed myself back to a mannequin.

Royven looked me over carefully. "Good job. That looks perfect to me," he said. "Of course, it may get harder when you can move your legs too. You'll have to make sure to get back on your stand."

I transformed myself again. "It's not hard," I said. "You don't have to worry."

After a good-bye kiss, he left, and the lights went out. I remained animate for the rest of the night, just to enjoy the feeling, but as it began to grow light, I felt myself grow just a little bit stiff, and my on/off switch seemed to flash brightly in my head. That would be pretty hard to miss, I thought. I assumed my pose, and flipped my mental switch. A few seconds later, I was to all appearances an ordinary mannequin.

The days passed pleasantly. At night, when the last employee turned out the lights and locked the door behind her, I knew I could take advantage of my new freedom. Sometimes I chose not to -- after all, there wasn't much to do standing on my pedestal -- but just knowing I could move if I chose was heavenly.

Royven returned, not every night but often enough, and transformed the rest of my right leg, and my left. The only part of me that remained plastic was the space between my legs and an area around that, where I had a hole into which a normal stand fit. Royven showed me that he had replaced my original stand with a slightly different style which ended in a curved fork that I more or less sat on like a saddle, and showed me how I could lift myself off of it. Then he lifted me off the pedestal and down to the floor. For the first time, I could now walk about on my own. Royven held on to me for my first few steps.

"Careful now," he warned. "Walking may not be easy the first time you try it."

But it was. Just as when I spoke for the first time, I discovered that my body knew what to do. I didn't try to move about quickly, but simply walked about at a slow, comfortable pace. I could feel my hips swaying as I walked, and the slight rustle and brush of my sarong against my thighs. And most importantly, I could decide where I wanted to be! I could walk around the store and see the backs of things, and things that had been behind me. I looked into the eyes of another mannequin, and wondered what she thought of me walking about on my own.

Royven saw my gaze. "Do you think the other mannequins are jealous of you?" he wondered aloud.

I thought about it. What would I have thought, before Royven? "I don't think so," I said. "They're probably wondering why I can move, but they probably don't understand why I want to. Before you started transforming me, it never really occurred to me to move. To be honest, it still feels kind of weird. Nice, but weird. I wouldn't want to give it up permanently, but I don't think I'd want to be moving all the time either."

Before he left, Royven made sure I could climb back up on the pedestal and sit back on my stand without his help. I was a little clumsy, but I managed. I decided I had best make sure I got back on the pedestal as soon as it started getting light, since I wasn't sure I could get back on and assume my pose in the ten seconds I would have when I was warned that someone was coming.

The next evening, Jeanette rearranged the displays. She moved me into the eveningwear section, and dressed me in a long blue dress. This outfit didn't show off my legs very much, but I was well posed to show the shape of the dress, and it did contrast nicely with my red-brown hair. I wondered what it would feel like against my legs when I came to life and walked around in it.

But I waited a little while to find out. I wanted Royven to see me posed in it first. Fortunately, he came that night. He whistled his admiration.

"Wow," he said.

I came to life and smiled, but otherwise continued to hold my pose. "You like it?" I asked.

"You are truly lovely," he said. "In fact... Angela, may I take you to dinner?"

"Royven, I'm a mannequin. I don't eat. I'm not even sure I know how to eat."

"You can eat," he told me, as I climbed off my stand and pedestal. "Not a lot at once, and I don't know if you'll be able to taste it, but you can eat enough to look realistic. When you transform back to a mannequin, the food will go away."

"If you say so." I was a little dubious... but I was intrigued by the idea of going out among real people. Why, as I was now, no one but Royven and myself would know I wasn't just like them. "I'd love to go anyplace you would like to take me," I said.

Royven let us out a door in the back of the store. I watched as he took a spare key from the top drawer of a desk in the back room, then punched in the code to reactivate the burglar alarm. We left, closing the door behind us.

We returned to the store several hours later. I was deliriously happy, having found myself the object of attention from virtually every man nearby in the restaurant at some point. Eating turned out to be harder than walking, but not too difficult. It wasn't much fun in itself, but I enjoyed the feeling of doing something once again that I had never expected to be able to do. But it was Royven's company that I enjoyed the most, and I think he felt the same way about me.

After deactivating the alarm and putting the spare key back in the desk, we walked back out onto the floor. It was still dark, of course, but a bubble of light surrounded the two of us wherever we went -- more of Royven's magic, I assumed. I never asked him very much about how he did what he did -- I was quite happy with it even without understanding it, and I figured asking him about it might possibly change things for the worse.

"What do we do now?" I asked. "I mean, if I were real... I don't want this to end just yet."

He leaned down and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around him and pressed myself against him, kissing him hungrily. I felt him reach for the zipper in the back of my dress, lower it, and begin to ease the dress off my body. I kicked off my shoes, but otherwise let him undress me. He sat me down on a bed that had somehow appeared behind me, and I waited while he removed his own clothes.

"I think," Royven said, "if you like, it's time for me to finish your transformation. That last bit of you is going to be important for what comes next... at least, for what I'd like to do next."

I was filled with confused, delighted, overwhelming feelings. I had never been aroused like this before, nor so charmed by anyone or anything. "Whatever you think is best," I said. "Just tell me what I should do. I trust you completely."

"Then lie down," he said softly. Naked now, he regarded me, looking as if he were considering how to proceed. I waited... not precisely patiently, but confidently, knowing he would act as soon as he was prepared. He climbed onto the bed, and straddled my legs, placing his hands between my legs. I can't describe how wonderful that felt, and I began to moan with pleasure. He moved his hands out to my hips, but the warm sensual joy continued and increased. I closed my eyes.

"Angela," Royven said, "you need to help me. Concentrate on making this work. Don't let whatever you're feeling distract you."

I tried to set aside the surges of lust spreading from my crotch out into the rest of my body. I want this to work, I thought over and over. Let this work. I want this to OHHHH! -- to work... Then Royven moved his hands back between my legs, and I could scarcely think as waves of the most intense sexual feelings I had ever imagined coursed up and down my body. I felt my hips pushing up against Royven's hands, my own hands flat against the bed.

Suddenly I knew there was something wrong. I knew it, but my mind was so clouded with desire and lust that I couldn't think of doing anything about it, as Royven's hands groped up my body. I felt his caress on my breasts, and then his weight on my stomach, and his warm breath on my lips as he kissed me hungrily, pressing himself against me. Something was pressed against the smooth plastic between my legs, looking for an opening that wasn't there but in the process igniting a fire of passion that erupted in an explosion of ecstatic pleasure inside me—

"No!" Royven cried. Suddenly there was nothing beneath me, and I fell to the floor with a clatter. I was a mannequin again, helpless even to open my eyes to see what was the matter. I couldn't find the mental switch to transform myself, whether because it was gone or because of my state of mind I didn't know.

"Angela, it's gone wrong." Royven was speaking quickly, sounding panicked. "I don't know what that will do. I'm going to try to let you move enough to pose -- no time to get to your pedestal, just pose here on the floor as best you can. There won't be—ahh!" He sounded as if he were in pain. "No time. Go!"

I could move, but just barely. I felt Royven's hands on my arms, wrenching them into the right pose. I struggled to open my eyes and compose my face, then spread my fingers properly while Royven arranged my legs. Once or twice it felt as if the hands on my legs had actually passed through my legs -- but I was very distracted and had no effort to spare to think about that.

"Feet!" Royven cried, his voice sounding faint. I tried to angle my feet properly. I could no longer feel his hands on me, and I could no longer move my face at all to look for him -- my pose had my eyes facing straight up at the dark ceiling.

As hard as it was to move at all, it grew harder, and then I froze up completely. I heard Royven's voice, very faintly: "Sorry... bye..."

As far as I could tell, I was now alone in the dark.

I felt I was posed very nearly correctly, although my fingers were a bit off and I couldn't be sure my expression was quite perfect. But there was nothing I could do about it now. There were still alternating waves of pleasure, panic, and terror running through my plastic form as I lay there on the floor, naked and helpless in the dark. I could not find the switch that should have allowed me to move again.

My feelings grew calmer as time passed and nothing further happened, but the switch remained gone. In the morning, the manager arrived as usual and turned on the lights. A little while later, Jeanette found me. I wondered what she would do.

"That's strange," she said. Calmly, she picked me up off the floor and set me back on my stand. I saw her face once or twice, and noticed her expression was totally blank, like a poorly-made mannequin. She carefully brushed me off, and collected the dress I had been wearing. While she was working, the manager, an older woman named Lauren, came over.

"What are you doing?" Lauren asked.

"Oh, nothing," Jeanette said. "This mannequin fell off its stand last night. The dress is a bit dirty." I wondered how she thought I had come to fall off my stand, but Lauren didn't seem to.

"Well, dress her in something else and put that one in back," was all she said. "I need you to help me with the new display in Bridals."

Jeanette did as she'd been instructed, and a little while later I was back on display, wearing a new outfit -- a sexy black minidress. Maybe a bit of my sexual pleasure still showed on my face, and inspired Jeanette to dress me in something sexy.

Night came and the employees left. I felt around carefully inside my head, looking for the switch that should have allowed me to come to life. It simply wasn't there. Royven didn't return, either.

If I was never to move again, I decided, this was the place I wanted to be. I was doing what I did best, what I had been made to do: standing still on a pedestal for all to see and admire the clothes I wore. That was all any mannequin could hope for, and all any mannequin should want. Once, that had been all I hoped for too. But now...

I had known the pleasure of freedom. I had known the pleasure of love. I wished that someday I might know those pleasures again.

I did not expect I ever would.

To be continued...

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