Prologue to Part 2:
The Riverhead Mall in Houston Texas hadn’t been open more than ten minutes when Isabella Stevens made her way through one of its side entrances. Having just gotten off of work at St. Vincent’s hospital, she was still wearing a pair of blue medical scrubs and her white low-rise sneakers. As the twenty-six year-old ash-blonde moves herself along at a brisk pace, she considers that this is another reason to hate the so-called “graveyard shift” . . . I never have time to do anything! But alas, such were the dues of an intern in the field . . .
Izzy, (as her friends affectionately called her) had a dinner-date later on this evening with her new boyfriend; a guy that she’d been seeing for almost a month now. Things were moving along quite nicely with Joel, and the young woman was considering taking things to the next level. Isabella commonly wore “the usual” cotton underwear, just simply out of comfort at her job. But for tonight’s occasion, she thought she’d stop in at a newly opened lingerie store to purchase something that was just a bit more sexy.
Isabella had just spotted the prominent sign for “Janine’s Intimate Apparel” when she noticed a co-worker approaching in the opposite direction. It was Dr. Kimberly Hu; a very talented surgeon, that had a reputation for being just as focused as she was driven. She was a very confidant woman with a competitive nature; Kimberly became an intern at St. Vincent’s hospital after graduating at the top of her medical school class in Stanford, a feat that she brought up on a daily basis.
Despite being tired, Isabella cheerfully waves at the higher-up and says, “Hi Dr. Kim!”
“Well hello there, Izzy,” greets the doctor. The thirty-seven year-old Korean then raises her eyebrows as she scans the intern’s work attire. “Ah; just got off the graveyard shift, I see.”
Izzy tilts her head down in embarrassment, while overlooking her own attire. “Yeah well, just trying to get in those hours for credit.”
“Ah yes: the bottomless cups of coffee; cat napping in the supply room; being overworked and underpaid, as each day seems to blur into the next! . . . All cherished memories from my glorious days as an intern!” recalls the doctor with a keen sense of irony.
Izzy retains her smile, while shrugging her shoulders and complains, “Well, what can you do?”
Dr. Kim is slightly disappointed with the girl’s outlook. Her voice takes on a more serious tone when she advises, “There’s nothing you can do. Just keep going about your work and doing as you are told. I’m certain there’s a young woman that’s just as competent as you are, sitting in a medical school right now, that would be more than happy to take your place.”
With a scolded expression now showing in her face, Isabella nervously brushes a stray lock of hair up over her ear and mumbles, “Yes, but of course doctor.”
The Korean woman continues, “Learn to appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given, Izzy. I started out in your shoes and look where I am today!”
Isabella repeats, “Yes doctor.”
Dr. Kim suddenly gets an annoyed look on her face, before turning her head in the direction of a nearby store. There was a man at the entrance of the shop that was placing a mannequin on a low-lying stage. The dummy was bathed in varying colors of light, and was questionably attired. The doctor had also noticed a voice droning on in the background for the entire time the two had been standing there. It was low, soft and almost seemed meditative. . . . It could be new age, Kim thought to herself.
“What in the hell is that place?” questions the doctor, before stepping in the store’s direction.
“It’s a new lingerie store they’ve just opened up,” replies Izzy, now walking beside her. “I was actually on my way over there.”
As the two women approach, the man creating the display notices their presence . . .
“Well good morning ladies, and welcome to the grand opening of Janine’s Intimate Apparel,” greets the window dresser. “Are we looking to spice things up in the bedroom perhaps? Most guys don’t appreciate a stuffed teddy bear, or a box of assorted chocolates. But the one sure-fire thing they will appreciate, is sexy lingerie on their woman!”
Izzy starts, “Actually, I had planned on - ”
The intern is quickly cut off by the seemingly urgent man, who now appears to be sizing her up. “I see that you have your medical scrubs on, doctor. Perhaps you’d be interested in one of our “Naughty Nurse” costumes, for a playful late-night examination?”
The flattered woman blushes a bit, before correcting the man. “Actually, I’m just doing my internship right now, but Dr. Kim here, is a renowned surgeon over at St. Vincent’s.”
“Oh really?” replies the man, before turning his attention over to Izzy’s colleague. He then rudely comments, “Care to take my temperature doctor?”
Dr. Kim chooses to ignore the man’s crass comment, but manages to inquire, “Don’t you think that mannequin is a little racy to be displayed right out here near the main thoroughfare?”
The gentleman replies, “Well this is a lingerie shop.”
Now up close to the display figure, Dr. Kim was even more shocked: it looked like a living woman! The beautiful brunette displayed a black and crimson satin corseted bustier that molded her figure into a wasp-waisted hourglass, completed by sheer black hose and four-inch heels. The woman was posed in a leaning forward position, with both hands reaching down to adjust her hosiery within the clip of her garter strap. (The bustier the lovely model was wearing not only forced her cleavage up and outward, but it also offered up her copious breasts to the viewer in two delectable cups!)
Even Izzy was taken aback by the mannequin’s realism. “So is it . . . or I mean is she real?”
“Oh Anne is absolutely real,” discloses the man. “She’s a well practiced mannequin model; very skilled at the craft of creating an illusion.”
Izzy leans in even closer, carefully studying the girl’s frozen features. The model’s face was so overly cute that it almost seemed like a caricature! She had these big brown saucer-like eyes that refused to blink. Her pursed lips appeared cartoon-like, just in the way they stretched out above her rounded chin. (Being able to get up this close to the motionless model – without causing her to react, was actually kind of creeping the intern out!)
“So how can she remain so still like that?” asks Izzy, while carefully backing away.
“You’d be surprised. Well, mannequin modeling does take quite a bit of concentration at first,” assures the man. “But once you’re in the “zone” everything else sort of takes its course. The art is actually coming in vogue once again in a lot of higher-end fashion stores.”
The suspicious Dr. Kim notices another living mannequin that stood inside the nearby window. This one, a golden-blonde haired gal, modeled a lacy white bra-panty-and-garter set with matching stockings and backless white pumps. The model’s face was so beautifully made-up that she actually appeared to be airbrushed . . . That gorgeous girl was dressed, accessorized, and made up so elegantly, that the shopper would have easily mistaken her as being a real plastic mannequin, if she didn’t already know better!
. . . Now in quiet thought, Dr. Kim considers that in the more conservative years of the past, clothing chains often used plastic mannequins to model lingerie, bras and panties . . . Had Americans finally become that liberal in their views of sexuality that they would allow those plastic effigies to be replaced with real people? . . . *Sigh*
. . . The doctor turns to Izzy beside her and whispers, “ . . . Can you believe all this chauvinistic crap?”
Izzy nodded, “Pretty wild huh?”
“More like pretty damned creepy,” Dr. Kim corrected the intern.
. . . The one thing that both women agreed upon was that the lines and intended movements of this frozen living statue were very sensual and alluring!
The other thing in question was that voice that was speaking from a set of unseen speakers. More specifically, what those words were implying . . .
“. . . Staying still is bringing you such calmness that you are not able to change your position even in the slightest way as you continue to gaze at the peaceful, beautiful mannequins standing there. You want to remain here too, mind switched off, in that restful, tranquil, beautiful, timeless immobility you enjoy more and more with every passing second . . .”
Waving her thumb towards the sound of the voice, Dr. Kim inquires, “What’s with this?”
One of Darren Le Braun’s gifts was a knack for reading people. He guessed this lass to be potential trouble when he saw her clear across the walkway. (Luckily, he was a practiced bullshit artist!) . . .“Inhibitory hypnosis,” replies the man.
“Inhi-bi-who?” questions the doc.
“Inhibitory hypnosis,” repeats the window dresser, before going on to explain, “It’s a form of deep meditation that keeps one in a trance-like state of mind. It’s a combination of slow and irregular breathing technique; absent thought processes; progressive muscular relaxation; and part self-induction.”
Dr. Kim replies, “I was married to a man for seven years that was a total fanatic about meditation. Funny I never heard of ‘Inhibitory hypnosis’ before.”
Sensing that he was about to lose an opportunity, Darren asks, “Say, how would you ladies like to join our rewards program?”
Dr. Kim replies, “The last thing I need is another plastic card in my wallet.”
The man counters, “Oh it’s got nothing at all to do with plastic cards . . .”
“What do we need to do?” asks Isabella with curiosity.
Le Braun promises, “You don’t have to do anything at all ladies . . . Let me see if I can locate one of my assistants to help.”
The Granada Parkway in front of the Riverhead Mall, 11:10 am:
“Giant After-the-Holiday’s Sale Going On Now!” I read out loud to my mom, as she turned from the busy intersection on Granada and pulled our car in the long line of traffic. The cars were all waiting to get into the Riverhead Mall’s numerous parking areas. It sure was busy for a Saturday morning, but I guess that was to be expected; Christmas was only a few days ago, and there were surely plenty of unwanted gifts to be returned.
“Wow, look at all the people!” remarked my mother, as she looked at all of the cars around us.
I looked at my watch and let out a *sigh* as I realize the time. “I was supposed to meet Taylor and Selena in front of Music World at eleven o’clock! It’s already ten minutes after and we’re still stuck in the parking lot!”
My mom suggests, “Well Aimee, you’ll just have to call and tell them that we’re running a little late, that’s all.”
I reply, “I would have called already, if I didn’t forget my phone!”
My mother warns, “See, this is exactly what I was talking about earlier young lady; you need to start being a little more responsible for yourself. In another year you’ll be off in college and then what will you do? I’m not always going to be there to watch over your shoulder, Aimee.”
“Yeah, whatever,” was my response. That was my mother for you – always nagging!
My mom finally turned her SUV into one of the dozens of long rows of cars to look for a parking space. “Oh right there!” I shouted, before my mom quickly cut the steering wheel to dart into an empty spot between two parked vehicles.
Mrs. Szalinski kills the headlights on her Jeep Liberty and then turns off the ignition key. By the time she gets out of the vehicle and reaches in the rear seat to grab her returns, her anxious daughter is nearly halfway to one of the mall’s various side entrances. The forty-year-old yells out, “Hey young lady, you just wait a minute!”
Her daughter turns around and shrugs her shoulders in an exasperated way, before moaning “Mom, why are you always such a paaaaain?”
Mrs. Szalinski slams the door and “blips” her car alarm, before walking at a fast pace to catch up with her daughter. Once she reaches her side, the woman turns to advise, “Now I’m only going to tell you this once young lady: meet me back at this very entrance door at 1 pm, and not a minute later. Do you understand me? . . . One o’clock; here at the Belk’s entrance.”
I began to moan, “But mom, how am I going to hang out with my friends? That’s less than two hours!”
Mrs. Szalinski: “You heard me, young lady. I’m not going to be left out here and waiting like a fool, again, while you and your friends chase boys around. Besides; I have other places to go this afternoon.”
“But mom!” I put on my best sour-mouthed look, but my mother wasn’t buying it. That was the problem with her; it was always “Donna’s way” or the highway . . . That’s why my dad and my younger brother never went shopping with her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky! At least I wouldn’t have to be seen shopping with her . . .
Once inside the mall, my mom and I parted ways; she had her clothes to return and I had my friends to find. It was only after a minute or so that I ran into Tanya Andrews and Abby Myers. Both were students from my high school, but from a lower grade.
I asked, “Hey guys, how was your Christmas?”
Both girls went on to tell me what they had received for gifts. The chat went on for several minutes in fact, until I changed the direction of the conversation . . .
“By the way, have you seen Selena Suarez or Taylor Townsend?” I asked, before going on to explain, “I was supposed to meet them at eleven in front of Music World, but my mom was running late and I somehow managed to forget to grab my phone when we left.”
Tanya replied, “Yes we did; they were actually checking out some bathing suits at the Bikini Shack when we saw them.”
Aimee made a funny look before questioning, “Wait; they were checking out bathing suits . . .. in the middle of winter?”
“Yeah, can you believe it?” asks Abby, before rolling her eyes.
Aimee reveals, “Well, Selena does go to a tanning booth once a week, so it’s not that surprising!”
Just then, Tara remembers, “Oh yeah; we also ran into Chrystal Cooper just a few minutes ago and she was looking for them too.”
“Oh wow, Chrystal is here? That’s cool!” I replied. “Well, hopefully I will run into at least one of them, before I have to be back to meet my mom.”
“Well, good luck anyway,” says Abby.
I reply, “Yeah, it’s been nice running into you guys. I guess I’ll see you when the Holiday break is over.”
Aimee waves her peers off, before she walks off in search of her friends . . .
10:07 am, earlier that morning:
Debbie Richardson had been looking for some “after Christmas specials” at the Riverhead Mall, when she spotted a newly opened store. “Janine’s Intimate Apparel”, she read out loud, before taking notice of a half-dozen or more women that had gathered just outside. The small assembly of onlookers were even crowding inside, and standing beneath the ornately arched entranceway. Debbie stopped momentarily, just to see what the excitement was all about, only to find that they were watching a salesman putting on some sort of demonstration with flickering show lights . . . BAH! . . . No time for any boring sales pitches today, thought the woman to herself, while passing the crowd by . . .
The first thing that Debbie noticed was the store’s smell: a lovely mixture of scented candles and cinnamon, (the latter most likely emanating from the neighboring Auntie Mae’s Home-style Pretzels). The pleasing aroma immediately created a relaxing mood for the shopper.
Although somewhat under-lit inside, Debbie thought the store was quaint and quite comfortably laid out. She was also amused by the variety of items the store had; ranging from conservative basics, to the unique and risqué. There were satin pajamas sets; frilly teddies; luxurious looking silk bra and panty ensembles; as well as an impressive collection of adult costumes - all sexily designed to fulfill your man’s fantasies. There was no doubt in the young woman’s mind; this place had it all!
The twenty-one year old brunette was out shopping for next week’s trip to Crystal Beach, out on the Texas coastline. The weeklong condo reservation was a surprising Christmas gift from her fiancé and Debbie wanted to buy a couple of sexy outfits, just to spice things up for her man. (Mark had been working a lot of hours lately, as an associate for the law office of ‘Jacobs & Cooke’. . . but she wasn’t complaining; her fiancés salary was well worth it - for the both of them! . . . A cute smile suddenly lights up the woman’s face, as she starts to imagine the tranquility of the splashing waves. She can just picture Mark; gently swaying in his hammock, as a breeze comes in from the ocean! . . . *Sigh*
Debbie pulls a sexy camisole with cheetah print off of a rack. It came with a matching G-string, and was made by Dolce & Gabbana. The girl checks the size, before scrunching her nose in distaste . . .“Nah; a little too 80’s.”. . . She reaches for another camisole beside the cheetah print; it’s identical in style, but in red with black frilly trim. “Rats!” she mumbles. “. . . Cute, but not quite my size.”
Debbie sorts through a few more, before heading over to the adult costume area. As she does so, she comes upon a pair of display mannequins that were attired in some rather outrageous nursing costumes.
The first mannequin represented a busty young nurse in a two-piece outfit; she was posed reading a thermometer that was upheld in front of her staring eyes. The sexy nurse wore a revealing uniform, with such racy features as: white fishnet stockings; spiked heels that strapped around her ankles; a baby blue bikini-style top with two bold red-crosses running over their centers; as well as a matching apron-layered skirt that fanned out at her hosiery-sheathed thighs. There was a vintage-style “button back” cap with a single horizontal stripe, pinned neatly upon her ash-blonde, upswept hair. (The starched white nursing hat held such crispness that it actually added a bit of modesty to the figure’s otherwise scandalous appearance). Oddly enough; she wore a small nametag on her protruding right globe that said, “Nurse Naughty!”
The second mannequin was bent forward at the waist and holding up a raised stethoscope within her skilled hand. (The medical instrument was extended as if the nurse were checking an unseen patient for abnormal breathing or heartbeat!) The curvy mannequin’s plastic figure was tightly sealed within a one-piece latex mini-dress that was white in color. The revealing costume was form fitting, and featured red trim around its edges, along with a side pocket with a giant red-cross detail. Like her neighbor posed beside her, this nurse also had many eye-catching accessories that included: garter straps that clung to a pair of white fishnet stockings; latex gloves along with stiletto high heels in ivory. The obligatory “button back” nursing cap was placed upon her pulled back raven locks, with “Dr. Feelgood” printed across its peak!
Debbie looked over the figure-hugging latex uniform; admiring how its deep, v-cut opening forced the breasts up and outward, while also bunching up in rubbery creases at the figure’s bent waist - nearly revealing her undercarriage. There was no doubt in the twenty-one-year-old’s mind; this sexy little number was ready to administer some tender loving care!
Getting back to her search, Debbie pulls a silk “Geisha Girl” costume from the rack. The short black kimono had a pink flower print with a wide obi that tied at the front. The woman thought it was cute, but still not what she had in mind. As she’s setting the garment back on the rack, Deb notices two women watching her from the other side of the room. One was a tall blonde, while the other appeared older and had black hair; both were smartly dressed and wore two-way radio headgear. As the young woman continued to sort through the rack, she would occasionally glance upward; the two were still watching her . . .
Miss Richardson was starting to feel paranoid; I haven’t done anything wrong, so why were they staring? . . . Are they store detectives or something?
Debbie sounded a, “Humph,” at the annoyance, before moving on to another chromed stand full of garments. As she searched through the rack (this one chock full of baby-doll nighties) the girl didn’t notice when a man in a suit came up behind her. Finally spotting a sheer baby-doll nightie in blue, she pulled the item from the rack and checked the tag for a size. “Yes! . . . Finally!” Debbie exclaimed, before turning around quickly and walking straight into the man!
. . .“Oh my gosh! . . . I’m so sorry; I didn’t even see you standing there, sir,” the young woman quickly apologizes.
“No, actually I should be the one offering an apology dear,” the man confesses. “I shouldn’t have been standing so close.”
Looking up, Debbie saw a man that appeared to be in his late thirties standing just off to her left. He was a rather handsome fellow, with these dark piercing eyes and a generous smile. The guy’s hair was uncombed and it spiked outward, whiled his face was unshaven, but the look gave him a rather edgy sense of style. The man was wearing this amazing charcoal gray suit that gave him an elite look. The woman was sure it was a Valentino blazer, as her fiancé had one in his own collection of suits. . . . Expensive piece for a salesman, she thought. Maybe this guy is the store’s owner . . .
The man asks, “Are you okay there?”
“What makes you ask?” she questioned him.
The man stared into Debbie’s crystal-blue eyes. He apologizes with, “I’m sorry if to seemed too forward, but I thought something might be on your mind.”
“There is, but it’s nothing I care to discuss with a complete stranger,” Debbie replies. “I mean you seem like a nice guy and all, but . . .”
“I understand,” admits the man, before offering, “But sometimes it’s better to confide in a stranger; we’re not as judgmental!” (The girl laughs in response) . . . The guy glances down at the young woman’s ring finger and notices a fairly healthy sized rock. “So do you have a name Mrs. . . ?”
“It’s Debbie,” the female replied, before deciding to add, “ . . . And I’m happily engaged.”
“Yes, of course you are my dear,” accepts the man. He then extends his hand, “I’m Darren Le Braun by the way.”
Debbie accepts the man’s handshake rather half-heartedly, before advising, “Look Mr. Le Braun, I’m simply looking for some nice lingerie for a much needed vacation with my fiancé. If anything was bothering me, it would have been those two saleswomen that were staring at me like I was some kind of thief!” . . . (The woman looked up to point the pair out, but the blonde had returned to the cash register, and the older woman was nowhere to be found).
“Yes, those are my associates: Janine and Heidi,” reveals the man. “They were actually the ones that brought you to my attention.”
. . . Le Braun begins to look the girl over, noticing that Debbie was dressed rather casually, considering her good looks. She wore black stretch pants and a tight fitting, low cut tank top that was white in color. The woman wore a green Cardigan shirt over the top, but left the front unbuttoned, possibly to show off her bountiful assets. Her make up was a bit severe for her style, yet was still bright and attractive. But her greatest physical qualities were her soft and child-like facial features, along with her shimmering blue eyes!
“You know Debbie; you’re quite a handsome young woman . . . And I don’t mean just good looking, but exceptionally beautiful. . . . A true girl next door with a young unblemished face, and a fantastic figure,” praises the man. “ Have you ever modeled for anybody before?”
Debbie’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. She tried to ignore the man by searching for another sheer nightie on the rack, but in a different color . . .
“I know what you’re thinking,” Darren pushes. “. .. . But don’t worry; I’m a perfect gentleman and totally professional.”
Debbie snaps, “You know what? . . . I actually did model before. In fact: I started modeling when I was seventeen. I was also a junior as well as a varsity cheerleader. I was not only voted most popular, I was chosen the most attractive female by my graduating class as well. I was also elected prom queen. Now are there anymore questions you have?”
The girl was obviously becoming quite annoyed, and stared at the man with glaring eyes. Darren only stared back with his own piercing glare. As black as night, his eyes held an intensity within; immediately sending a shiver down the woman’s spine! The pair stared at each other for an awkwardly long moment, until Debbie turns her head away. (The woman tosses her chestnut brown hair up over her shoulder with a noticed attitude!)
Le Braun considers that this girl is so good-looking and therefore far too valuable to let her slip away. The hypnotist digs into his little bag of tricks . . .
Darren recalls, “You said your fiancé was a practicing attorney, but you never mentioned what you do for a living?”
Debbie accuses, “Does it really matter?” . . . (She begins sorting through the rack again, as if to ignore the nosey stranger).
“I suppose I was just curious . . . since you were no longer a model,” he asked in a open-ended way.
“I quit modeling when I met Mark,” reveals the brunette. “I had actually been saving the money I made to attend the University of Houston.”
He smiled. “Ah yes; another Houston Cougar . . .”
“Excuse me?” asks Debbie, (now looking up with a confused expression).
“Ah never mind,” says the man. “So what did you want to study?”
Deborah reveals, “I planned on being a school teacher, but Mark wanted his supper to be ready and waiting on the table when he got home from work. So I settled for cooking his meals, sitting around bored all day, and spending his money instead.”
Le Braun decides to set his hook. “You know Deborah; the human mind is a fertile place . . . too fertile to let the seeds of knowledge go untended. From those seeds, could sprout countless ideas; which if not watered, shall wilt and die . . .”
The woman felt her heart jump a bit . . . Lifting her head from the clothing rack, Debbie dares to look into the man’s eyes once again. Those eyes were large and mesmerizing; deeply penetrating into her very soul, almost like a mountain lion assessing it’s cornered prey. She suddenly finds herself shamelessly admitting, “That . . . was actually quite beautiful.”
“What can I say; you bring it out of me,” admits the man. He leans in a bit closer to add in a softer voice, “So incredibly smart and yet; so irresistibly sexy.”
. . . The stranger reaches out to touch Debbie’s soft cheek. The young woman nervously backed away, until her shoulders clumsily made contact with the hangers of clothing behind her!
Toying with the flustered brunette, Le Braun complements, “That’s a fairly racy looking nightie you have there in your hand. I’m actually a bit shocked that a prim-n-proper gal like yourself would buy such a thing.”
“Oh this little thing?” replies Debbie (now holding it up and running her delicate hand beneath its surface, just to show how opaque it was).. “This is actually pretty tame compared to - ” . . . The woman cuts herself off in mid-sentence, when she finds herself revealing a little too much information.
Darren thinks to himself, That’s it sweetie; just keep letting your guard down!
The curvy brunette was still admiring the little nightie within her hand, when Darren asked, “Perhaps you would like to model that for me? I’m sure you will look ravishing wearing it”. . . The man waited, just as still and patient as a mountain lion stalking its prey. Le Braun’s eyes remained fixed on her face; unblinking and expecting a reply . . .
Debbie felt a strange compulsion to answer him, yet scorned herself for even considering it. The young woman let out a *sigh* and made an attempt at an apologetic smile. “Look Darren; I’m not exactly sure what you want, but I know that I’m in love with my fiancé . . . and . . . . I . . .”
. . . The woman had stopped in mid sentence, as Le Braun was now feathering his index finger lightly over Debbie’s rounded chin. The man felt her nervously tremble a bit, but the woman stood her ground. His hand soon moved to the thick abundance of her chestnut hair; rubbing its silky ribbons between his fingers . . .
This guy is getting waaay too close for comfort! Debbie considers in silence. Standing this near, the young woman could sense the heat radiating from his body. She had a slight urge to run from the store as fast and as could, but an even stronger desire to stay!
The man leaned in even closer and whispered against her ear, “Deborah; I asked if you would like to model that nightie for me?” . . . By this time, Darren had his other hand tracing light, feather-like patterns on the woman’s stomach. (The exposed strip of skin between the hem of her top and the waistline of her stretch-pants was apparently very sensitive!)
. . .The woman reflects; For an such an annoying person, this guy could be maddeningly gentle when he set his mind to it! . . . Those skilled fingertips are driving me wild! . . . (Debbie still refuses to answer the man, but then again; she had no intentions of leaving just yet) . . . So much for my plan of escape!
In an intentionally lowered voice, Le Braun asks, “Deborah; do you remember those mannequins that you were looking at earlier that are dressed as nurses?”
Debbie replies, “Yes . . . I remember,” in an equally lowered voice.
“Well what you thought were mannequins, are actually real women; just as alive as you and I,” reveals the man, before adding, “. . . And like you, they came into the store stressed out from their daily lives and looking for something different. Now they are blissfully suspended in a deep, trance-like state; they will remained posed while at rest; sleeping with their eyes open; their minds in repose; their only desire is to keep perfectly still. Look how lovely they are.”
. . . Debbie swallows deep in her throat.
Darren gently places his hand at the small of the woman’s back, (she tenses up at his touch and expels a brief gasp!) . . . The man then slowly guides her to the left so she can see the two nurses, now turned into unmoving human mannequins and attired in costumes they surely would never wear . . . (Well, not under normal circumstances anyway!)
“Think of how sexy and yet how peaceful they both look just standing there,” urges Darren, now lightly rubbing the woman’s back rhythmically. “Think of how relaxing it must feel for them to simply stand motionless; . . . hours passing by, without so much as a thought in their minds . . . Now picture yourself in that same restful tranquility. You want to be a dazzling display figure like they are, just let your mind switch off and enjoy the feeling.”
With her head cocked a bit, Debbie thought about his words. Her thoughts seemed to be taking just a few seconds longer to process than usual; each word seeming to drift about like some sort of ghostly vision within her brain . . . For some reason, that didn’t bother her though . . . The brunette’s facial expression was suddenly changing from distinctly annoyed to a sort of curious acceptance; her tensed body began to release into a relaxed stance to a point where she actually felt quite comfortable . . . maybe even too comfortable. The woman no longer appeared to be uneasy with the stranger’s presence . . .
Deborah suddenly found herself looking up at the figures that were posed before her, in a newfound light:
. . . Thinking in slow motion now, I thought it was rather odd that I hadn’t noticed the beauty in the mannequins earlier. I guess I was too preoccupied with pleasing Mark’s own desires. . . . Well fuck that.
Debbie made an affected gesture by raising her right hand, pausing without thought at first, before continuing to reach further to lightly rub a finger over her breast. The nipple beneath soon became hard, rising up to leave an impression in her top. She blinked her eyes lazily, before rolling her head to the side to gaze sleepily at her keeper once again.
. . . Darren remained closely beside her, watching Deborah’s entrancement with mild amusement. The man smiled out of the corner of his mouth, as if he wanted to laugh at the hopeless woman, but somehow managed to refrain. “So what do you think?” he asked.
“About, . . . uh . . .” Debbie suddenly found herself searching her mind for what they had just been talking about . . . She smiles in embarrassment, before asking in a woozy voice, “What . . . was the quezzztion again?”
“The question was: would you like to become a living mannequin and model that lovely nightie for me?” repeats Darren mildly.
“Just . . . standing . . . still?” Debbie mused. She was now imagining the image of herself standing up there in some erotic pose; resting peacefully and looking rather lovely in some lingerie . . . The woman answers, “Yeah . . . I suppose that I could probably . . . fancy that for awhile.”
Darren warns, “Being my mannequin will require some patience, but I’m sure that a smart girl like yourself will catch on in no time.”. . . His skilled hands began to explore Deborah again; drifting up the brunette’s stomach and slipping beneath the hem of her shirt, before sliding back down to draw a ticklish line across the inner edge of her pants.
Within her hypnotically tranquil body, her mind also surrendered:
. . . I couldn’t help but let out a sigh.. Slowly and torturously, the stranger repeated this motion, while also starting up with the damned whispering again . . . “Think of how relaxing it must feel to simply stand motionless; . . . hours passing by, without so much as a single thought in your mind.” . . .With every murmured sentence and every whispered word coursing through my conscience, this man made me feel safe, treasured and wanted.
With starry eyes, Debbie asks, “I’ll . . . I’ll have to . . . take my clothes off for you . . . right?”
The hypnotist offers, “Well I could turn my back to you in the dressing room, if you’d like.”
In a rather casual manner, the woman reveals, “No . . . no that’s ok . . . I get undressed in front of my. . . my fiancé all of the time . . .”
. . . At this point, it appeared that Debbie was no longer aware that she had only met this man ten minutes ago!
In his magically soothing voice, Darren gently directed, “Think of your mind as a compass, and I’m the navigator . . . let your body move into a pose that is comfortable for you and then relax all thoughts . . . Breathe through your nose.”
Debbie took a deep breath, and then flared her nostrils as she exhaled slowly through her nose. She tried to remain perfectly still, slightly wavering at first, but then catching herself . . . (If they were playing some perverse game of chess, she wasn’t about to make the wrong move!)
He continued in that gentle, but insistent, tone: “With each breath you now take, you feel your body becoming stiffer and more rigid. You no longer have to think about standing still; you remain as motionless and lovely as any mannequin you have ever seen as your mind switches off into soothing state of pure relaxation. Every breath you take; every word I say, you feel more relaxed and more motionless. Your skin seems to turning to plastic; you cannot move no matter how much you try. But I can move you as I wish, you simply want to remain there in that peaceful limbo…”
Darren reached out and gently tipped her chin upward with two fingers, so that he could stare directly into her vivid blue eyes . . . Two fingers: that was all it took. It felt like he had strapped her chin into an electric chair, latched it down and then flipped the switch in some inexplicable manner.
. . . Debbie felt the impact of his gaze burning into her, branding her as his. The woman stood completely frozen and staring blank-eyed; her only concern was to please her master, and what pleased him most was for her to remain perfectly still. That’s easy for me now; just relax...
Le Braun carefully pries the hanger with the sheer nightie out from Deborah’s stiffened fingers. She doesn’t blink as she remains posed, staring into space. He pushes the talk button of the mic on the lapel on his suit jacket, and orders one of his associates to bring the handcart.
A few minutes later, Darren reappears with a new living mannequin who’s now wearing a sheer blue nightie. With the help of Janine, they lift the stiffened figure of Debbie Richardson up onto the stage and finish posing her attractively.
Present time – Strange Happenings
By now, Aimee Szalinski had walked quite a ways through the mall. The high school senior was in such a hurry to see her friends that she didn’t even bother to stop at any stores along the way; she merely glanced at them as she walked past. The ash blonde was just twenty feet away from the tropically themed storefront of the Bikini Shack, when she suddenly noticed some guys from school. They were laughing and pointing at a group of women that had gathered in front of some new clothing store, two doors down. There was somebody speaking (through a microphone?) – that competed with the noise from the excited voices of her male peers.
Too bashful to say hello, or even pass by for that matter, Aimee stops in front of a Stallmark gift shop and pretends to look at some small trinkets in the window. At the current angle she was at, the senior could see the boys’ reflections in the store window before her. They sure are cute, the teen thinks to herself, before gathering up the courage to walk to the window next door in front of the Bikini Shack.
The young girl glances past a pair of scantily-clad mannequins that stood inside the storefront window, to see if her girlfriends were inside. There were quite a few shoppers milling about the racks of bathing suits within the store. Unfortunately, none of them appeared to be her friends. Aimee gets a discouraged look and begins to feel a little nervous . . .
The shy girl wonders, What if one of them comes up to me and starts to talk? The girl had never been around any hot guys, without the safety net of her friends around her. Of course a majority of the time, they were approaching to hit on her hot friends, not actually on Aimee herself.
Still unsure of what to do, the girl studies the beach scene behind the glass enclosure to kill some more time . . .
As she stared through the plate glass, Aimee couldn’t help but notice the painted backdrop of a beached ship named the SS Minnow. Whoever had painted it was quite a talented artist; capturing everything from the gaping holes in the charter boat’s bow and stern, to the weathered appearance of being stranded for years on some uncharted desert isle. Of course there was the appropriate palm tree, fake sandy beach and the two gorgeous mannequins wearing skimpy bikinis . . .
The one figure appeared to be modeled after Ginger Grant; a redheaded movie star with a great set of curves that were barely contained within a leopard print bikini. This mannequin had a rather glamorous hairdo that was swept up and pinned behind the back of her head. There was a vintage pair of black horn-rimmed Ray-Bans protecting her beautiful eyes from the overhead display lighting. Ginger was posed with a hand resting at her hip, while the other was raised, frozen, as if to motion at her play pal across from her.
The second mannequin obviously represented Mary Ann Summers; the simple country gal that was cute and sweet – like a girl next door. The dummy’s jet-black hair was tied up into pigtails that sprouted from cute little bows at each side of her head. She was dressed in a classic red and white gingham patterned bikini that had drawstrings at the curves of her hips. The skimpy suit showed off the mannequin’s toned little body and sun-kissed skin . . .
Aimee pauses in thought for a minute. Hmm, that’s rather odd; they actually sprayed that dummy to make her look like she had a tan . . . And in the middle of December nonetheless!
The Mary Ann figure raised a multi-colored beach ball within the tips of her cupped fingers and was posed as if she were about to toss it to the Ginger character. The country gal wore cheap sunglasses with white frames that seemed to match the incredible smile that she was flashing. Overall, the display appeared to be fun and lighthearted; Aimee could easily picture her two best friends playing out that scene on one of the coastal beaches of Texas.
. . . After all, it wouldn’t be that hard; the Mary Ann character had the same physical features as Selena: The jet-black hair; the petite but shapely build; the dummy even had the same endearing smile! Aimee thought to herself . . . And even the Ginger figure shared many of Taylor’s features; the dark red hair, a lean frame with long legs and she even had the same beauty mark on her cheek!
Aimee pauses in question, once again. Hmm, a mole on a mannequin? That sounds rather odd as well, but then again; they were recreating Tina Louise - a woman who was famously known for her beauty mark.
By now, the boys next door were starting to react even louder to the demonstration they were watching. It seemed that they were harassing some of the females that had gathered in front of the new store. Whoever the person was that was putting on the presentation warned that he was about to call security if they didn’t leave at once.
The one guy with cutoff sleeves and a raspy voice gives the presenter the finger before yelling, “Yeah, whatever dude!”
. . . His husky looking buddy beside him also threatens, “Ya’ll will look kinda funny tryin to eat a rib-eye steak without no teeth!” The redneck then tips a straw cowboy hat that’s curled around the edges, just to stress the point.
While the two meatheads high-five each other, the third guy (a more clean-cut boy by the name of Mark) suggests, “Come on guys; this stuff is totally fake anyway. Let’s hit Tony’s Pizza for some grub!”
The burly one replies, “Now I hear that, bro!”
As the immature boys walk past the display window at the Bikini Shack, the raspy voiced one, (nicknamed Steve-o), stops his buddies short and yells out, “Whoa dude, check it out; there’s two more in that window!”
As all three walk up to the glass enclosure, they seem to completely miss the cute blonde girl that’s standing right there in front of them . . .
“Now those are some hot mannequins right there, ya’ll,” observes the husky guy, before tipping his cowboy hat again.
Mark complains, “Come on guys, they’re only molded plastic, for Christ sake!”
Steve replies, “I don’t care if she’s made of plastic or not, dude. With a body that hot, I’d still cop a feel!”
The entire time the guys are gawking at the frozen frolicking beach goers, Aimee nervously stares through the glass along with them; her soft cheeks turning redder by the second!
The husky guy admits, “Man, I can’t decide which one’s hotter; the farm girl or the jungle woman.”
“You dumb hick!” pokes the clean-cut guy. “The one in the plaid-print bikini is supposed to be Mary-Ann and the other one is Ginger – you know; from Gilligan’s Island?”
Steve-o leered. “Yo, check it out; you can see the nipples through the farm girl’s bikini!”
The husky guy agreed, “Yeah, no doubt .. . . she’s even got a little crease down at her muff! . . . How sweet is that?”
Aimee quickly turns around embarrassed, and then lets out, “Guys! . . . Jeez!”
As the uncomfortable girl turns to walk away, Mark quickly grabs her by the arm and says, “Wait a minute!”
Aimee looks up into the cute boy’s eyes and means to say something, but she can’t find the right words. She peels her arm free and walks off towards the presentation in front of the new store next door.
“Nice goin’ guys,” says Mark in a dejected manner. (He can’t help but check out Aimee’s cute little butt as she’s walking away).
The big guy orders, “Come on ya’ll; let’s go kill a couple pizzas,” before motioning to his buddies to follow along . . .
A Teddy For Your Thoughts?
As Aimee walked past the assemblage of people in front of Janine’s Intimate Apparel, she couldn’t help but wonder what all the fuss was about. It has to be some type of promotion, but for what? The first thing the girl notices as she steps up to the grouping is how uncharacteristically quiet it was; not even the slightest murmur could be heard. And the group was noticeably all females (the only men to be seen, were the ones standing off in the distance and watching with noted excitement!)
Everyone around her stood in rapt attention as a salesman pointed out a figure that was posed beneath an ever-changing assortment of colors. From what she could see, the model looked fairly young – just a few years older than Aimee.
The petite senior couldn’t see beyond the onlookers, so she tries to work her way up towards the podium. Aimee attempts to squeeze through a narrow space between the shoulders of the first two women before her. The pair of older women barely budge as the curious girl slides on through; causing both of the ladies arms to dangle to a stop. The girl then comes upon another obstacle; this one was a sharply dressed professional woman that appeared to be in her mid thirties. The career woman had a pretty face, along with silky blond hair that was pulled back into a clip. As Aimee tries to step around her, she notices the woman’s briefcase is nearly at the tip of her fingers and about to slide off . . ..
“Ma’m, would you excuse me please? . . . Ma’m?” Aimee gives up and squeezes by the transfixed businesswoman, being careful not to knock the briefcase out of her grip. She finally comes to a stop between two women that were both short and considerably large. The girl briefly looked down to notice that one of the heavyset women had dropped her giant salted pretzel. The odd part was; the woman still cupped the wax serving paper within her uplifted hand . . . Weird!
Aimee looks over the shoulders of the two women, to see what the fuss was all about. She was very surprised and almost a little disappointed to see nothing more than a female mannequin modeling lingerie standing in front of the raptly watching crowd . . . The girl gets a confused expression and wonders, So that’s what they were all excited about?
The mannequin form is posed with her arms at her sides with her hands angled outwards, while one toned leg steps further forward than the other. She (or it?) looked like a gymnast gracefully steadying herself on an imaginary balance beam . . .
The shocking part was the sheer blue baby-doll the figure was wearing; talk about revealing! . . . The mannequin’s nude plastic features were only slightly blurred by the opaque material of her nightie, revealing a thong panty. The top half was a sexy laced bra that teased at what was upheld beneath. Undoubtedly, the designer had a particular way of appealing to the naughty side of the female nature!
. . . It wasn’t until Aimee looked closely at the mannequin’s serene face, that her heart completely sank . . . “OH . . . MY . . . GOD!” . . . (The girl winces her eyes upon doing a shocked double take).
. . . Aimee couldn’t bring herself to believe it at first, but she could have sworn that this mannequin was her old babysitter: Debbie Richardson! The still figure’s long, chestnut-brown hair was styled a little differently, but the big blue eyes were the same . . . But most convincing of all was her pretty face, which looked exactly like Debbie’s: soft; smooth; and rounded– just as it was when she babysat them so many years ago! It had to be her…
The high school senior couldn’t believe how good Debbie was at holding perfectly still! (She was even more surprised that her former neighbor had the courage to do such a thing in public, while dressed in her under-things!)
“Excuse me…,” Aimee apologizes once again, now trying to squeeze between the two fat women that blocked her from the small podium ahead. “Debbie . . . Debbie it’s me; Aimee Szalinksi . . . You used to baby-sit me when you were in high school, remember?”
. . . The excited teen continued to wave, but Debbie didn’t seem to recognize her . . . In fact; she didn’t even blink at all. Her eyes were wide open, but they appeared glazed and lifeless . . . Continuing to stare off beyond the crowd, as if she hadn’t a care in the world.
Aimee called out one last time to the motionless young woman . . . That was when she caught the attention of the man that was speaking to the crowd. He looked down at her with these dark sinister eyes and cracked an evil smile, before stopping to adjust Debbie’s nightie to show off a little more of her cleavage! . . . Aimee felt a chill when her former babysitter didn’t react to the man’s touch . . . She just continued to stare blindly ahead!
. . . From up on the stage, Darren had noticed a young female milling about the onlookers. The girl looked to be of high school age and possibly hailed from nearby Crockett High. Even from up here, the hypnotist could see her sparkling eyes; they were large and brilliant green in color. Her face was a perfect oval, with high cheekbones, a turned up nose and a wide, lush mouth that was just waiting to be kissed. She also had a wealth of ash-blonde hair that was pulled back into a ponytail; it lightly bounced around with her every movement!
Meanwhile . . .
As stupid as it seemed, there was something about Debbie’s sightless stare that gave Aimee the willies! Her absolute silence and rigidity was also eerie and somewhat disturbing . . . Something was telling the senior that it was probably time to leave! . . . The girl quickly turned around, just in time to notice the briefcase fall from the professional woman’s hand. It hit the tiled floor with a heavy thud, but the woman didn’t even flinch . . . In fact; none of the women around her did either. They all just stood there, standing silently still and mindlessly staring wide-eyed at the lights that reflected off of their faces . . . It was then that Aimee finally noticed the soothing words being spoken in the background . . .
“. . . you cannot so much as lift a finger as you become even more motionless and rigid. Staying still is bringing you such calmness that you are not able to change your position in the slightest way, as you continue to gaze at the beautiful mannequin that stands before you . . .”
Aimee scrunches her eyebrows, before deciding, “That’s it; I’m definitely leaving!”
From his position on the stage, Darren Le Braun watched the young blonde Venus twist her way through the onlookers; seemingly unaware of just how startlingly beautiful she was. From this distance, she looked every bit a woman, as she ran her fingers through the blonde hair on top of her head. The hypnotist could just make out the curves of her exquisite body, hidden beneath her cotton ruffled cardigan sweater . . .
As Aimee steps into the Bikini Shack for one last look for her friends, she passes by the display window. There was a window dresser inside the glass enclosure that was wheeling in another dummy for the Gilligan’s Island display. The figure was that of an older woman, who was dressed in a flower print sun dress and wearing beach sandals. She had teased up white hair with bright red lipstick, and her jewelry was quite abundant. Although the older woman looked out of place next to her bikini-attired neighbors, she was undoubtedly representing Mrs. Howell: the spoiled rich socialite who was married to Thurston Howell, the third.
The high school senior continues to watch, as the board-stiff body of Mrs. Howell is set upright, and then roughly shifted back and forth by the shoulders, until her sandals sink into the sand. The window dresser fluffs out the woman’s sundress, and then wheels away the cart, leaving the figure to stare out through the glass.
With the salesperson gone, Aimee steps in closer to the display window, just to take a look . . .
Mrs. Howell’s face held a stunned look, as if she were somehow caught in surprise. (The mannequin’s hands were even raised and cupping her cheeks, to further stress the point). The detailing in her face was rich; right down to the spotty and wrinkled imperfections one would find on an older woman’s skin! . . . Aimee thought, Something is wrong here; first Debbie Richardson on display, and now a mannequin that looks almost sixty years old?
Aimee decides she better move on and proceeds through the store, hoping to spot her friends. At one point, she passes by another mannequin; this one posed on a low-rise dais. The dummy had one hand resting on her hip, while the other was raised in a position that appeared to be blocking out the sun. She had blonde hair that was pulled into a ponytail and was attired in a hot-pink one-piece bathing suit.
Aimee reaches forward to take a look at the sales tag and her fingers rest against the upper half of the dummy’s outer thigh . . .
It felt warm.
Aimee quickly pulls her hand away, somewhat startled at the find. That was when it dawned on her; the mannequin didn’t have any of those seams where she could be taken apart. It also didn’t have one of those polls sticking into her butt either, like dummies usually did. Could it be some type of new mannequin that was stable enough to stand on its own? This figure must be alive.
The teenaged girl was about to test her theory, by giving the mannequin a slight push. That was when she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. It was a grouping of teddy bears that sat on a low-lying shelf, just beside the mannequin. They were all beach-themed, (having to do with the Bikini Shack of course), and cleverly designed.
“Oh my gosh! . . . These are so adorable!” exclaims the girl, before reaching down to pick one up.
Aimee chooses a bear that has a sailor’s hat tipped off to the side of his head. He’s cutely dressed in a little red, printed Hawaiian shirt and has white Bermuda shorts on his bottom. A smile quickly lights up her face, as she admires the teddy bear’s handsome detailing. She turns him over to look at the price tag and is shocked at the cost . . .
“What? . . . $150.00! . . . I don’t think so!” says the girl out loud, before placing the bear back among its equally expensive play-pals . . .
“Excuse me miss, but I couldn’t help but notice you back there during the presentation. . . . Are you looking for somebody?” asks the stranger.
A bit startled at his unexpected presence, Aimee turns her head to the side, only to recognize that it’s the same salesman that had been giving the presentation next door!
“Um, oh yeah; . . . I was actually looking for some friends that I was supposed to meet at the music store,” replies the girl. “But I ran into a friend from school and she had actually spotted them here, looking at bathing suits.”
“Well, what did they look like?” inquires the salesman, before offering, “Perhaps I have seen them.”
“Well, Taylor is my age; tall and skinny; with light brown eyes and dark red hair. She has a beauty mark on her cheek,” explains the girl in detail. “Selena is a year younger than us, and just a tad shorter than I am. She has this ribbon-like black hair, with dark eyes. They’re both really pretty.”
The man raises a hand to his chin in thought. “Hmm . . . Well, there have been a lot of teenagers walking around the mall this morning, but I don’t recall them specifically.”
Le Braun’s recollection was a blatant lie, as he was pretty sure the blonde was describing the two young entranced bikini models that he had posed as ‘Ginger’ and ‘Mary Ann’ in the front display window – less than fifteen feet away! . . . Time to think fast!
Darren had noticed the girl setting down a stuffed teddy bear, just as he was approaching her. He reaches down and picks up the stuffed animal, before acting as if he were admiring it. “He’s cute isn’t he?” encourages the man.
(Aimee laughs in response) . . . “Yeah, I actually have a huge teddy bear collection at home . . . I’ve had some of them since I was a little girl..”
“Mmm, a teddy bear collection . . . how nice. It always intrigues me how people still cling to their childhood toys . . . I used to collect magic sets, myself. I had a ton of them in fact,” reveals the stranger, before going on to introduce himself. “By the way, my name’s Darren.”
The girl greets the seemingly friendly man with a delicate handshake. “I’m Aimee.”
“Well it’s a pleasure to meet you Aimee,” replies the salesman, before asking, “Would you like that bear to add to your collection?”
“Oh no, my mom is actually threatening to sell them all on line, once I leave for college,” admits the girl. “Besides, I’m kind of out growing them these days. If one of the guys from school ever saw my room, they’d think I was a freak or something.”
Darren hands over the stuffed animal to the girl and urges, “Here, I want you to have it, so take it.”
Aimee flashes her friendly smile, before replying, “No, that’s ok . . . But thanks anyway. Besides, those bears are too expensive to be just giving them away.”
Again the man offers the bear. “Please Aimee, I insist.”
The girl takes the stuffed animal within her dainty hands, but is still unsure . . .
“You shouldn’t worry about what other people think,” says the man, before encouraging, “Besides; everyone should have a hobby, just to keep them busy when there’s nothing else better to do.”
Aimee politely smiles at the guy and says, “Well thank you.”
“No; thank you,” returns the salesman.
Darren hadn’t given the stuffed toy away out of shear kindness alone. The human sense of touch can so refined, that even something as simple as a stuffed animal could profoundly affect a person’s outlook. The hypnotist was about to prove it . . .
Aimee looked at the teddy bear, admiring the cute detailing in his outfit once again. His red Hawaiian shirt was the same color red of a Santa bear that she received as a child. The bear conjured up warm and fuzzy memories of her childhood on Christmas mornings. The girl recalls tiptoeing down the staircase in her pajamas to experience the magic of Christmas. She recalls tearing through wrapping paper and opening gift after gift, and the excitement she felt when the mysterious contents of each package were revealed. It was a simpler time; void of SAT exams, homework and fickle boys that judged you merely by the size of your chest . . .
Le Braun noticed the girl starting to grin and compliments, “You know Aimee; you have such a beautiful smile . . . I’d be willing to bet that it could brighten up even the rainiest of days.”
The young lady began to blush and smiled once again at the man’s words; he had a way of talking to her like no one had ever done before . . . “Well thank you,” she said rather shyly.
“You’re very welcome,” returned the salesman.
Aimee continued to look into the teddy bear’s button-like eyes and was quite amused at how they stared back at her. She stood mesmerized, as she revered at the sparkle in them, and the way they somehow invited her into their mysterious depths. With a trust born from within, she reached out to touch the wooly fur around those eyes. Slowly she reached down and slid her free hand beneath the bear’s shirt, running her delicate fingers over his soft belly. The downy material had a calming effect; making her feel safe and making her feel whole . . .
Darren moved closer to the girl, keeping a trace of distance between them so he could look down at her. The man then calls out, “Aimee?” before touching the girl lightly on the shoulder.
The senior let out a gasp, before inhaling sharply. Her eyes briefly widen, but they remain focused on the bear. Her hand lingered briefly; savoring the softness of the fur, the slight give of his shape and the warmth now radiating off the bear from her own body heat.
“Doesn’t Teddy look so happy and lovable,” says the man, before urging, “He just makes you want to cuddle right up with him, doesn’t he?”
Caught up within the reverie, and before she even realized what she was doing, Aimee pulled the furry creature in close to her bosom. She cradled the bear within her arms like a mother holding a baby, letting the sensation overwhelm her.
Darren starts, “Aimee, I want you to imagine being inanimate just like teddy. I want you to imagine being a doll on display for others to look at, just as teddy was sitting there on the shelf. I want you to imagine being frozen and unable to move . . . not even so much as blinking.”
As Aimee watched in her mind’s eye, she could easily see this.
“Aimee; I want you to achieve this, by keeping your eyes focused on teddy, and your mind focused on your breathing. I want you to breathe through your nose and not through your mouth. Pay close attention to your breath coming in and going out of your nostrils. Can you do this for me?” requested the hypnotist.
“Yesss,” the girl gasped, nearly out breath.
Darren watched closely at the rise and fall of the girl’s abdomen and chest, in conjunction with her breathing . . . She was controlling it quite well, as it was already slowing.
The hypnotist reminds, “Concentrate on the breathing Amy, with eyes focused on the bear’s eyes.”
The beating of the teenager’s heart was reverberating rapidly throughout the room. Darren could even hear it, despite the noise outside from the passing shoppers. The man watched until Aimee’s chest was completely at rest. The blonde just simply stood there, unable to find words, staring into the depths of the teddy bear’s eyes.
“Aimee,” he repeated, in little more than a murmur, his voice fading away altogether as he let his gaze roam over her young face. The girl offered no response. She didn’t even flinch, as Darren passed an opened hand closely past her eyes and through her line of vision. The man casually walked around the girl; briefly sizing Aimee up, as she stood with her back to him with her head bowed downward. A moment later, Darren leaves the room to get something . . .
Even without the hypnotist’s presence, Aimee remained still. She continued to focus on the teddy bear in her hand, waiting for her master to speak.
When Darren returned moments later, he brought with him one of his assistants, and was wheeling a moving cart. In short order, the hypnotized girl was placed on the cart and wheeled off in an upright position to the backroom . . .
It had been almost three hours since Donna Szalinski had seen her daughter. She had told Aimee specifically to meet her at the entrance near Bilk’s at 1 pm. It was now quarter after three, and the girl was nowhere to be found. It was this kind of behavior that irked the forty-year-old mother. So it was purely by chance that Donna happened to be sitting on a bench in the right spot, at the right time when she spotted Chrystal Cooper; a neighbor from down the street, and one of Aimee’s friends . . .
“Well hello there, Mrs. Szalinski!” greets the cheerful blonde.
“Boy am I ever glad to see you, Chrystal!” exclaims the angry mother. “Do you have any idea where my daughter is? I have been sitting here forever!”
The pretty silk-spun blonde tilts her head to the side, before confessing, “No . . . I didn’t even know that she was here.”
Donna then goes onto explain how she was supposed to meet her daughter at 1pm; how Aimee had forgotten her phone; and that the last she knew; her daughter was supposed to meet Selena and Taylor in front of a music store.
“Well, they may have gone to the Bikini Shack; I know Selena wanted to pick up another suit to go tanning with me next week.”
Donna looks over the young blonde Texan; she looked like she spent the entire eighteen years of her life, just lying on a beach in Southern California.. Chrystal undoubtedly had the beach girl look down for sure; from her long legs, to her cute face and big blue eyes!
. . . The soccer mom considers, No wonder why this girl has all the guys in her school chasing after her . . .
Chrystal offers, “Well look; I’m here with my mom, but I was planning on going over to the Bikini Shack myself. Why don’t you see if she’s over at the music store, and then loop back around to the Bikini Shack? Hopefully between the two of us, we should be able to spot the three of them.”
Donna playfully pinches the girl’s cheek and admits, “That’s why I always liked you Chrystal; you give us natural blondes instant credibility!”
The high school senior slightly blushes and says, “You’re too kind Mrs. S,” before turning to walk off.
Donna watched the muscular tissue of Chrystal’s ass flex noticeably beneath her faded jeans, as she walked off in the distance; her long and pale blond hair seemingly floats about at her shoulder blades. . . . The soccer mom soon finds herself reminiscing, Ah, to be that young again!
The two now head off on their separate ways; in search of Aimee, as well as her missing schoolmates . . .
The Food Court, 3:20 pm:
Two African-American women get up from their seats at the Burger Hut, strap their purses over their shoulders, and make their way out of the food court to resume their shopping. The bigger woman of the two; named Lawanda, was getting razzed about her weight, by her trim and healthy looking girlfriend, Tamara . . .
“Okay, okay,” Tamara Owens said, as she and her girlfriend walked along through the mall. “What about a man? . . . Ya’ll know ya aint gonna get yo-self no decent man, if ya’ll keep eatin’ like ya do.”
The second girl answered in a deep and rather hearty voice, “What makes you think I need a man in my life?”
Tamara’s big luscious lips sucked on the straw in her soda, as she sauntered along; looking for clearance sales goodies, and any available men that might happen to pass by in her line of sight. She then reminds her friend, “I know it’s been awhile since you had any dick, only ‘cause it’s been too damned loooong since I had some!”
The girls were walking through the Riverhead Mall, and using up the gift cards they’d received at Christmas. It had been three weeks now, since Lawanda had come back from college for the Christmas break, and she was glad to be home . . . (Eating something other than processed cafeteria food was a welcome change for a big girl with an appetite!)
“So,” Lawanda asked, “Anyone seen Colby around lately?”
“I have,” admitted Tamara. “I seen him over at my cousin’s Christmas party, and girl he was lookin’ gooood!”
“So did you talk to him?” inquires the big girl.
Tamara replies, “Hell no; I got nothin’ to say to that worthless scrub! . . . That broke-ass fool still owes me money!”
“He might be broke-ass, but he’s still a good lookin’ man!” reminds Lawanda.
Tamara sighs, before doing a snap and a wave with her hand through the air. She then makes a disgusted look and replies, “Whateva’ . . .”
The girls kept on walking until Tamara stopped, dead in her tracks . . .
Lawanda asks, “What is it girl?”
“That!” answered Tamara, now pointing to a sign.
. . . The women looked up at the sign, which read, “Janine’s Intimate Apparel”. . . Below that, was a backdrop that read; ‘The Incredible Volunteer Mannequin Show’. . .
“Look at all the people out front!” exclaimed Lawanda.
. . . The two women approached a storefront window, where two mannequins stood; attired in some rather skimpy lingerie.
Lawanda observes, “Wow, they look so real!”
“That’s because they are real!” divulges Tamara, before going on to explain, “I remember back when I lived in New York City, there was this store that used to have these mannequin models posed in their display window. They’d be posing in there fo’ hours as “Livin’ Mannequins” and wearing everything from designer clothes to the fashions of da time.”
Lawanda asks, “For real?”
“Yeeeah for real!” assures Tamara, before she continues, “The crowds watching the mannequins got so big in front of the store, that they would stop traffic and it became a safety hazard. The city council voted to restrict their living mannequins to model only inside the store, or the owner’s would face a stiff penalty from the City of New York!”
“Oh no shit?” says Lawanda, now looking up at the human statues with a little more interest . . .
Tamara looks over to where the large crowd had gathered and notices another living mannequin that stood posed beneath a circling array of colored lights. “Come on girl; let’s check it out . . .. Besides - I need to be gettin’ me some new thong panties anyway!”
An Unexpected Reunion
By now, Mrs. Szalinski had walked completely through her half of the Riverhead Mall; keeping her watchful eye open through the vast walkway ahead, as well as the various interconnecting aisleways that she crossed. The mother of two was so tired of walking and searching for her irresponsible daughter, that she didn’t even bother to stop for any sales at the stores along the way. In fact, the more bargains she passed by, the more infuriated the woman became! The ash-blonde was just thirty feet or so away from entering a circular atrium, when she finally spotted the tropically themed storefront of the Bikini Shack. She also noticed a fairly large gathering of people out in front of the store next door, attentively listening to a salesman’s spiel. On the outer perimeter of the crowd, there were grown men and teenage boys; most on their tiptoes holding up camera phones, while a select few held digital cameras. Some of them looked excited and acted rather immaturely, as they began stepping up onto a rounded brick island, just to get a clearer picture or unobstructed view!
. . . What in the hell is going on here? Donna wonders with curiosity. The woman steps beneath a glass skylight at the center of the open area, then parks herself on the edge of a wooden bench for the moment, before rubbing her ankles . . . These damned pumps look nice, but they weren’t made with trips to the mall in mind! Mrs. Szalinski suddenly feels the wooden bench slats warping beneath her butt, only to notice a high school kid now standing on top of the bench’s surface just beside her. His teenaged buddies were egging him on to take a picture . . .
“Come on take it!” one of them demanded, while another urged, “That chick is so hot, we’ll post her up on youtube!” . . . One of them apparently gets some sort of footage; as he jumps back down, his friends quickly gather around in a huddle to witness the results, which are now forever captured on his picture-phone!
Donna shakes her head in disbelief . . . Thank God they didn’t have that kind of technology back when I was in school! The woman gets up from the bench after resting her tired feet, gathers her shopping bags, and then heads over to the new store to see what all the excitement is about . . .
Mrs. Szalinski reads out loud, “Janine’s Intimate Apparel”, before glancing at the crowd of women. They all stood in rapt reverence, as though in a place of worship; staring up at the man on the small, but raised platform before them. The sign behind the man proudly decreed, ‘The Incredible Volunteer Mannequin Show’ . . . There was a gentle voice speaking through a set of unseen speakers, as brilliant stage lights swirled around the general stage area . . . Beside the man, of course, was a woman posing like a mannequin as advertised. She was scantily dressed in a backless nightgown that was held in place by two thin spaghetti straps, and ended at mid thigh. The spicy lingerie was obviously designed to catch a man’s attention, but all Diane saw was the model catching was a cold!
. . . The soccer mom suddenly finds herself laughing at the nonsense around her. Mrs. S even turns to the woman beside her and questions, “Is this how far we have finally degraded ourselves? . . . The contemporary female is so confused and insecure with her physical appearance that striving to look like a perfectly fit mannequin isn’t bad enough? …Society has blurred the line so badly that someone would want to actually be the plastic mannequin?”
. . . The quiet woman beside her didn’t offer an opinion, at first.
“Tell me; why does a bra or a pair of panties have to be impossibly skimpy, in order to be sexy? . . . I mean look at this stuff, (now pointing out the lingerie on two more scantily clad models that were acting as mannequins in a nearby window) . . . Even if you could fit into this crap, when would you get to wear it? It doesn’t look comfortable enough for chasing after your kids or standing up to do a sales presentation with it stuck up your crack and squeezing the breath out of you!” Donna criticizes. She looks around, before lowering her voice and going on to reveal, “The underlying secret to these lingerie fashion shows, is they’re selling this fantasy; . . . on bodies that have never had to get the kids up for school; never had to rush them off to practice; or even had a shopping cart full of groceries rammed into them . . . Not to mention being in labor for seven hours, with your vagina stretched out like silly putty! . . . Am I right?”
. . . The housewife looks to the spellbound female beside her, expecting an answer. She was a rather serious looking woman; dressed in a matching black and silver pinstriped business suit, with a white shirt beneath that was outrageously flared out at the collar. She wore a pair of black business pumps below, and a pair of trendy looking glasses on her nose. The brown hair on her head was upswept into a large bun at the back, leaving her pretty facial features uncluttered. She looked to be around forty; the same age as Donna…
“Sarah, is that you?” questions the housewife, before revealing, “It’s me; Donna Howard . . . from Hastings Central, class of 86’?”
The woman continued to stare out glassily ahead in silence, until Donna tugs at the sleeve of her pinstriped blazer. From within her dreamlike-state, the businesswoman started to faintly smile, finally acknowledging her neighbor.
“You’re not the same Sarah Paladino that I graduated with?” pushes the housewife.
. .. . The woman continues to look forward with her chagrined expression, and smiling dreamily. She wanted to answer, “Yes; it’s me you big dummy! . . . Now give me a great big Texas-sized hug!” . . . But she was occupied with others things for now; like that voice that kept telling her to remain still . . . and those pretty lights and the way they sparkled so hauntingly . . .
Donna furrows an eyebrow, before continuing, “Sarah, come on . . . You still can’t be pissed about that night with Tommy out at the levee? I mean Christ; that was over twenty years ago!”
. . . It was then that the businesswoman spoke out; in a slow, almost whispering voice. “His touch . . . it’s beyond what you . . . could ever imagine. He’s just . . . so . . . so good, that I almost . . . almost had an orgasm while . . . just standing here.”
. . . A troubled look suddenly came over Donna’s face. She slowly backed away from the woman she mistook to be her old high school pal, to resume her search for her daughter. Within two short steps, she would recognize somebody else . . .
There, planted in the middle of the crowd, stood Chrystal; her slender arms hanging limply at the sides of her stretchy ribbed, lace-trimmed top! The stretchy “scoop-necked” shirt clung to her lean figure like a second skin, as her long mane of pale blond hair fell far beyond her shoulders. Miss Cooper remained still as can be; her facial expression remaining calm, as her cool blue eyes stared helplessly forward . . .
Strange Thoughts in a Darkened Room
Darren Le Braun decided to take another walk through his gathering of enthralled onlookers. There were a couple of hotties that had recently stopped by in casual curiosity that soon fell within his hypnotic web . . .
. . . You can never have too many lingerie models “just standing around,” the man silently jokes to himself!
Le Braun approaches the first possible candidate; a young woman that was undoubtedly a Goth girl. Her piercing dark eyes were framed with heavy eyeliner, and her choice of lipstick was black. Her raven hair was held up in a disarray of banded pigtails. Despite her pasty white make-up and pierced nose, the young girl’s face was angelic and considerably cute. She wore a tight black, stomach-baring tank top, that revealed her pierced belly button and rounded abdomen. A pair of black leather pants hung low on her hips, accentuating her womanly curves . . .
“Hmm; . . . a little too much work for this exhibition I’m afraid,” apologizes the man, before gently brushing his hand over the Goth’s bare arm. (The girl’s stack of silver bracelets jingle against each other, with her slight movement). “But I do like the tight leather pants, sweetie!”
. . . The Goth girl blinks mildly, but retains her position . . . It was all she could do.
The hypnotist continues to work his way through the crowd, pausing at another entranced beauty. She looked to be a bit on the pudgy side; as seen by the pouch that stuck out from her waistline and the thickness in her upper arms. She did have a rather attractive face with European features. Her hair was dark brown, lightly bronzed with streaks from the sun and tightly braided into a French roll. The woman was wearing an ivory sundress that had clusters of yellow and purple daisies covering its surface. (The homely frock not only flattered her well-formed figure, but it fit her somewhat motherly appearance as well). On her feet were a pair of open-toed sandals, that proudly displayed her freshly painted toenails . . .
Darren apologizes, “A little too plain for what I’m looking for my dear, but I do appreciate the painted toenails! Enjoy remaining still, just as you are now…”
. . . The mother of four flutters her eyelids briefly, before allowing them to rest at half-mast.
Darren continues on; threading in and out around the stagnant crowd of onlookers who stood like statues, unaware of the fact that he even existed. His trained cold eyes were now bright with hope, as they roamed over the various features of the stilled beauties around him. Suddenly, the hypnotist’s sight locks on to another prospect; an African-American woman this time, with coffee-colored skin and expansive breasts straining against her green Henley shirt. Her one hand hung at her side where a shopping bag has dropped at her feet, while the other hand was raised and grasping a soda with a straw. The attractive female gazed at the stage opposite her with blank, empty eyes.
Le Braun reaches out to push her lightly at the shoulder, and the woman slightly wobbles in her stiffened state. The man watches for the rise of her chest; it was noticeably faint – her breathing just barely visible. He then nods in approval . . .
Darren slowly paces from one side of the woman to the other, sizing up her physical attributes. She was wearing a cotton-ribbed, Henley top and black Levi jeans, both of which were contoured to the generous curves of her body. The tubular-trimmed collar of her top was left unbuttoned and plunged a little, giving Le Braun a charitable glance of her upper chest . . . I wonder how much more I’d see if I told her to bend over? Muses the hypnotist!
Continuing his inspection, Darren looks at the trim woman in side profile. It was easy to see the woman kept herself in shape; her stretchy top not only hugged her body in all the right places, it was tucked into her jeans as well, allowing her tight ass to jut outward rather nicely! . . . The man cracks a smile, Mmm; . . . Now that’s what I’m talking about!
Darren finally pries the soft drink out and away from the woman’s hand, as she remains standing spellbound before him, fingers posed as if holding the drink. (The hypnotist sets the cup down at the edge of the stage and safely out of the way) . . . The man asks in a gentle tone, “What is your name, dear? You may speak to respond to me, while remaining as you are.”
“Tamara,” the woman reveals, in a softened voice.
“Hello Tamara; I’m Darren,” reveals the stranger, before going on to explain, “Now Tamara; I want you to imagine that you are standing perfectly still, in front of a little blue house out in the middle of the clouds. This is an unusual house, because it’s made for dolls; It is only two feet high, one foot wide, and three feet long. You feel very comfortable standing still on the fluffy cloud, but your curious about what’s inside the house . . . I want you to imagine yourself being small enough to walk through the front door of that house . . . Can you do that for me, Tamara?”
“Yesss,” she whispers.
“Now that you’re inside the house; close the door behind you and then make your way down the hallway. The hallway is plain looking, with no details, other than the pretty blue-colored walls, floor and ceiling . . . Can you see them, Tamara?”
“Yesss,” she whispers again . . .
Le Braun continues, “You feel so relaxed, that you let your mind drift back to the pleasant experience of standing here perfectly still outside . . . And now that memory causes you to feel even more relaxed. You slowly walk ahead towards a single door at the end of the hallway. There’s a sign on the door that says, ‘The display window of emptiness’ . . . You turn the doorknob, and find yourself stepping inside a glassy chamber. That door that’s behind you suddenly closes Tamara, so you can’t turn back now . . . There’s a strange feeling beneath your feet, because you’re standing on foam-rubber padding, which is several inches thick. Your pretty feet sink into the squishy surface, as if you were sinking into the surface of a sandy beach. . . . Your eyes are slowly adjusting to the darkness now, but there is a dusk-like, rosy glow about the room. You take a few cautious steps, but find your feet are only sinking further into the floor. Maybe it would be best if you didn’t move any further, and just stood there perfectly still. Now you start to notice the soft foam comfortably cradling your pretty bare feet; it’s very deep and pleasing . . . Can you feel this now, Tamara?”
“Yesss . . . I . . . can,” replies the woman.
Darren smiles, before carrying on, “Now even the rosy light is fading away, and the room is filled with emptiness. As you stand there completely still, you decide that you will wait until somebody opens the drapes in the room. . . . Until that time, the emptiness of the room fills your mind. Your mind is now filled with emptiness as you continue to wait, perfectly still . . . Can you feel the emptiness filling your mind, Tamara?”
. . . The entranced woman remains silent and perfectly still, failing to answer.
Darren presses the mic button on the lapel of his jacket, “Janine; volunteer removal needed in the front room . . . African American woman in dark green Henley . . . over.”
The hypnotist continues his search of the crowd, passing by Tamara’s best friend Lawanda without so much as a second glance. It was around that time, that Darren noticed a commotion on the other side of the stage area . . .
The Mind Trip
Donna Szalinski was in shock at the sight of Chrystal Cooper standing like a living statue. She had seen the girl less than an hour ago, and the high school senior was bright and cheerful as usual. Now she stood slack; her arms hanging at her sides and her face stared in a comatose-like state at the stage before her. The girl’s big blue eyes once sparkled with life and intelligence; now they were glazed, doleful and lifeless . . .
Mrs. S grabbed her neighbor by the shoulders and shook her gently . . .“Chrystal wake up! . . . Chrystal honey can you hear me?” . . . The forty-year-old shook the girl even harder in desperation, still trying to awake her . . .
. .. . That’s when an older woman spoke out from beside the seemingly comatose girl. “He’ll . . . check in with you by whispering in your ear, from . . . time to time . . . It’s really . . . very . . . relaxing. Chrystal will be . . . just fine,” assured the woman. “Just listen to the soothing words.”
. . . Donna looked over to see her plump neighbor – Chrystal’s mother – now staring off rigidly in a dreamlike state, just like her daughter was! The concerned woman focused her attention on Mrs. Cooper now, shaking her by the shoulders as well. “Teresa; what on earth has happened to you two? . . . What in the hell is making you act like this?”
. . . The two women appeared to ignore Donna’s desperate pleas, as the concoction of mixed colors illuminated their expressionless faces . . . They seemed to accept and maintain the idea of just standing there stiffly with their transfixed eyes.
Donna was beyond suspicious at this point; . . . There was a reason here, somewhere in this place. Someone had to be in charge . . . Someone would be held responsible!
“Excuse me ma’m, but I’m about to help you with something?” asked a man from just beside her.
. . . Donna immediately swung around demanding an explanation! “What in the hell is going on here? . . .Why are my friends . . . (the woman waves her hand around the immediate area) . . . Make that all of these women, just standing around like zombies?”
Even as Donna continued her barrage of questions in her heated tirade, the crowd of women around her remained staring in silence, undaunted by the concerns of the confrontational woman . . .
“Whoa now, just slow down and be still my dear,” asks the man, now trying to avoid a bad situation. “Just breathe through your nose calmly and relax . . . be still and everything will be just fine.”
. . . The man suddenly does a double take, as if in recognition. The woman had a familiar looking face, but the hypnotist couldn’t quite put a finger on where he’d seen her before.
Donna was breathing heavily at this point; her generous breasts were now heaving at her button-down, cashmere sweater! . .. . “Now seriously,” the woman interrogated between breaths, “What is going on in this store?” At the same time, she noticed there was something odd about how many of his words seemed to get stuck in her thoughts. It seemed as if he were speaking some special language meant only for her.
“A simple demonstration of inhibitory hypnosis,” replies the man. “You have heard of it?”
“Inhibitory hypnosis?” repeats the woman, now studying the immobile faces that stared off all around her . . .
“Yes, that’s correct,” replies Le Braun, before going on to explain, “With the tension and usual stress that comes with the holiday season, these women have chosen to take part in a group meditation session that’s free of charge, and you can do it as well. I’m sure you’d like to…”
“Yeah, well; too bad stage hypnosis is all fakery,” accuses the woman.
“Ah my dear; quite the contrary,” advises the hypnotist, before offering, “ . . . Just take a look around you! . . . Observe how peaceful these ladies are as they stand absolutely motionless, gazing at the beautiful mannequin figure you imagine yourself becoming. When the process is done slowly and softly, it can be a profound meditative experience.”
Donna shakes her head at the man’s ignorance, before replying, “Alright; look buddy, all I know is it’s been a long enough day already and if my irresponsible daughter wasn’t wandering around the mall somewhere, then I’d already be home! . . . Now all I want to do is just find Aimee, so I can get the hell out of here!”
. . . It was at that very point that Darren knew where he recognized the familiar face of the woman before him. He was absolutely certain that this was the mother of the gorgeous girl named Aimee, that he had hypnotized earlier! . . . And my God, the resemblance is uncanny! . . . It’s time to think fast mister!
“Yes; understand that I have your daughter, but I’m willing to help you find her,” assures Le Braun. “Have you called security yet? . . . Perhaps they might not be of assistance to you?”
Donna pauses in thought, as if she might have misheard the strange man. She then complains, “Mmm no; mall security wouldn’t be much help. The problem is that she’s your typical irresponsible teenager, that’s all.”
“Ah yes; the typical teen . . . They never seem to want to submit to parental control,” theorizes the hypnotist. “It’s as if they pick and choose whatever they want to hear, regardless of how simple the task is at hand!”
“Yes well, it is very frustrating how a such a simple task can turn into such a chore sometimes,” criticizes the woman.
Darren replies, “Well, there’s really no need to explain this one, but teenagers will be teenagers; its about as simple as it gets. Sometimes you just have to stop worrying, put down whatever you’re doing, and imagine yourself in a peaceful place . . . Choose your spot, and savor the setting. It doesn't matter whether it’s a waterfall, watching a sunset on a beach, taking in a great work of art in a museum, quieting your soul standing in a display, or any other kind tranquil environment . . . Try to concentrate on something outside of you, for instance: a blooming flower; the alluring scent of a burning candle; the still loveliness of a stone statue; or even the beauty of these twinkling lights.”
Donna had never noticed just how bright and colorful the rotating spotlight was. There had to be dozens of bulbs on it, all flashing and twinkling to create the hundreds of colored dots now moving sporadically across the stage area, as well its backdrop. They somehow looked intriguing to her; so peaceful and yet so powerful . . . The forty-year-old began slowly walking toward it, until coming to a stop behind a rapt row of onlookers. She was standing as close as she could to the stage area, without forcing herself through the crowd . . . The woman was so close to the stage now that it took up her entire field of vision . . .
. . . In the background, the mesmerized Tamara was getting wheeled off on a handcart . . . Unknowingly eager to take her destined place, among her fellow frozen shoppers.
Darren follows Donna to her place in the crowd and asks, “Are you focused on the light?”
Donna gets a confused expression, before responding, “Yes, but I don’t see where this is helping me find my –”
Le Braun cuts the woman off in mid sentence, before reminding her, “Let yourself focus on a fixed object; like the light up there . . . Then transport yourself to that special place. Take notice and concentrate on the sounds of that special place; perhaps the sound of the birds chirping in the early morning, or waves crashing on a beach, or even the softness of my voice and then listen —really listen— to its relaxing tone. It can be a wonderful preparation for entering into a deeper, more divine existence; one of peace and stillness.”
At first it was the lights that drew Donna in, and then she tried to picture herself at the beach. She couldn’t remember which one was more important, so she tried to look at the rotating lights while imagining the beach . . . She also tried to concentrate on what the beach might sound like, but a faint voice off in the distance kept telling her how beautiful and peaceful it was to become a mannequin . . . Why did relaxation have to be so confusing?
. . . Subconsciously, the woman moved in closer; pressing her breast up against another watcher’s arm . . . She didn’t want to take a chance on missing something!
From behind her, Darren encourages, “Darling, I would like you to scan your body, starting from your toes and moving slowly up to the very top of your head. Simply move your mind throughout your figure as you remain still; mentally take note of your physical sensations, and how your body feels as a whole.”
Donna nods her head slowly in understanding . . . I feel my head…there’s a buzzing in my ears…my chest feels warm… actually… it feels warm and fuzzy all over. . . It is actually quite comforting, come to think of it!
Le Braun enforces, “You should feel warm and comfy all over . . . Take the time to savor that thought . . . That warm fuzzy feeling that makes you feel safe and secure . . .”
By now, Janine had returned with the empty handcart, and waited to receive further instructions from her master. Darren gave the business owner a nod in Chrystal’s direction, denoting that the young blonde would be next. The sharply dressed woman slid the handcart beneath the girl’s heels, then tilted her back against the cart. A moment later, Chrystal is wheeled off to a back room; her body remaining stiffly upright, as she’s moved through the store.
In the meantime, Donna was slipping further into the abyss. She would later say:
. . . I stood there with my vision blurred, as I got lost in the flashing colors; savoring their calming affect, relaxing and pushing all thoughts from my mind . . . Looking at those lights made me feel so relaxed, that I didn’t want to move. I could have stood there all afternoon and evening if someone asked me too. I began to absently run my fingers across my faint valley of cleavage, without even realizing it . . .
From behind her, the man asks, “Are you in your special place yet, dear?”
“Oh yesss,” assures Donna in a rather pleased voice. The forty-year-old stood in a world of half-reality, with her eyes partially opened. By now, she could faintly hear the crashing waves of the ocean and feel a cool breeze ruffle her ash blonde hair. She was walking on a beach in the early morning hours, when she looked over to see her husband Wayne at her side; he looked so young . . . The housewife suddenly realized that she was reliving a walk that they took on the Texas shore of Galveston. . . .Wayne had stopped suddenly and got down on one knee. Donna was fully expecting to relive her husband’s proposal all over again, as a smile spread across her face in anticipation . . .
In the dreamy sequence, Wayne looks up at his lover and says, “Donna, there is something I have to ask you . . .”
“Yes?” the woman inquires, (with her blonde hair blowing about her face).
Wayne presents a small box of velvet and pulls back the cover with his finger tips, but the box is surprisingly empty inside . . . Her husband says, “I’m sorry that I worked in my shop all of those nights and ignored you Donna. I’m sorry that I didn’t spend more time with you . . . Is it true you belong to him now?”
“What are you talking about?” questions the woman. “I don’t belong to anybody.”
. . . That’s when a voice behind her spoke out, “She belongs to me now.”
Donna turned around in her dream to see who it was that spoke, only to find herself suddenly standing alone on the beach, as a thick misty fog eddied around her. The beach was deserted, as if the rest of the world seemed to be quietly waiting for something. She felt more alone now, than she could ever remember. The woman began to walk along the water’s edge, watching the waves flow gently into the shore, before returning out to the sea. . . . It wasn’t before long that her green eyes noticed a figure just off in the mist. Some strange voice whispered in her ear and told her that she must go to the figure . . . Donna began walking slowly at first, before breaking into a run; her bare feet sinking into the damp sand with every step. The faster she ran, the more time seemed to drag on. The world around her remained silent, as if teasing her to join in with the stillness . . . Finally, the figure ahead began to take shape; she could see that it was the form of a woman . . .
“Donna, come here!” yelled out the figure.
Did she say Donna? . . . How did the woman know my name? wonders the forty-year-old mother . .. . She approaches the figure only to see that it’s actually Donna herself; a younger Donna!
The woman takes a good look at herself and concludes; Oh my god, I looked so beautiful back then!
. . . Young Donna was posed on a wooden dais, in a lacy black nightgown that was blowing about on her body from the early morning breeze. She also appeared to be fifteen to twenty years younger.
The forty-year-old Donna asks, “Why are you posed up there like a mannequin?”
The younger Donna replies, “It was him (now pointing out over the woman’s shoulder) . . . He was the one that allowed me to pose for him.”
The old Donna turns around to see who she’s pointing at, but nobody’s there. She confesses, “But I don’t see anybody.” . . . When she looks back at the enigmatic mannequin, it has suddenly changed into her daughter! . . . “Aimee, what are you doing here?”
. . . The Aimee figure fails to speak or move. She remains frozen in the same pose and attire; staring out at the sea, as her nightgown and hair flutter about . . .
Donna was desperate for her daughter’s attention; trying in vain by waving her hands and shouting her name . . . this went on for minutes, or even hours; it was too hard to tell. The mother was relieved when her daughter finally spoke out to her . . .
Aimee yells out against the wind, “Mom; you should pose with me, it’s quite relaxing and you deserve it!”
The concerned mother warns, “You’ll catch a cold out here in your nightwear!”
Aimee continues to struggle against the wind, but manages to answer, “Why are you always nagging at me? . . . I can’t catch a cold; I feel so safe and warm here! . . . Besides, he told me to be still.”
“Who told you told you that?” yells Donna.
“I can’t talk anymore, because mannequins are supposed to always keep still and that is what I am now!” shouts Aimee. “I’ll see you when you are ready . . . I love you mom!”
. . . And just like that, my lovely daughter was gone. By now, I had lost all sense of time. But in my mind; I was fully prepared to stand there on that beach for as long as it took, awaiting my child’s return . . . That’s when I vaguely noticed a hand on my shoulder and a persuasive voice whispering in my ear . . .
“So now that you’ve seen how it can be, don’t you want to be posed like a mannequin as well?” questions Le Braun. “Frozen still in a mannequin’s pose; your very being encased in your own safe and cozy shell . . .”
The stranger was causing butterflies to stir within her stomach; his velvety voice a soothing, yet powerful weapon, drawn to break down her very being. It set off a stimulating wave of heat that unexpectedly relaxed her body. She felt a reddening color creeping up her neck and into her face. She couldn’t help but ask, “Does everyone . . . do everything . . . you say?”
Le Braun laughs at the woman’s question before answering, “They all do eventually.” (The man then runs his hand down gently over Donna’s back, causing the woman to twitch beneath his hand, from the unexpected contact!) . . . Darren knew all too well that touch alone could trigger the other senses, bringing together memories that have long been forgotten, or of feelings long denied . . .
Darren looked at the neutral faces all around him . . . Ah, they won’t mind, he thought to himself. The woman let out a gasp when his palms brushed lightly over her breasts, and the hypnotist surmised that it had been quite awhile since a man had made her feel like this. . . . The hypnotist made a mental note of this . . .
Making contact almost took Donna’s breath away; creating in her a longing, deep within her soul . . . A longing the housewife thought she had forgotten about long ago; the feeling that could only be described as comforted, protected but most of all; desired . . . Her ample chest began to rise and fall with excitement!
Darren knew he would have to say something that would calm Donna; something smooth and compelling. His eyes bored straight into hers, his gaze holding her prisoner, searching her very soul. . . . It was then that he spoke, “You look to me, like all that an angel can be . . . My ultimate desire for you, is for all the world to see.”
. . . . . . My eyes welled up at his words. I suddenly found myself breathless and frozen in the moment, unable to believe someone had tapped into my desires so perfectly . . . After all; how long had it been since Wayne talked to or even looked at me this way?
Darren interrupts the woman’s train of thoughts and recalls, “Ma’m; I don’t believe you ever told me your name . . .”
“I don’t . . . remember you asking,” sparred the woman, before cracking a slow but flirtatious smile. (Her voice seemed calmer in tone now, and she seemed to be having a bit of trouble choosing her words). The forty-year-old eventually goes on to reveal, “My name is . . . Donna . . . Donna Szalinski.”
“Well it’s a pleasure to finally meet you Donna,” states the man. “By the way, I’m Darren Le Braun.”
. . . The bedazzled woman lightly smiles again. She then blinks a few times to rest her tired eyes, before continuing her glazed stare.
Darren begins, “Donna my dear, I’m looking for a few select women to pose as mannequin models in my various displays here at the store . . . Women that have a few certain qualities . . .”
The woman looked into Darren’s eyes, wallowing in their darkness. She asks in a lowered voice, “. . . Flawless beauty?”
“Yes; beautiful . . . but the normal woman isn’t perfectly flawless. I want someone who will represent the beauty of the woman next door . . . An unsung beauty much like yourself,” compliments Le Braun. The man then goes on to describe, “Mannequins have the best job in the world. All they do is stand there with the most expensive clothes clinging to their perfectly proportioned bodies; flaunting their pearly teeth, slim figures and pert breasts. They get ogled at all day long for doing nothing but standing there. You, my dear, could be that ideal mannequin. . . . However, this work requires physical stamina and self-discipline, as well as self-confidence. These will be displays of still art imitating life, and I feel you would be an excellent example to express that facet.”
Donna’s eyes welled-up with tears once again . . .“You would want me . . . to . . . pose for you?”
Darren replied, “Yes, if you would please . . .”
. . . After years of running the kids to practice, packing lunches, doing the laundry and serving the duties that a good wife should, it finally dawned on me what I wanted; it had been missing lately in my boring life. I needed to be wanted; appreciated; to be portrayed as a sensual and beautiful being . . . Too be sought after. In fact; I couldn’t think of a finer compliment . . .
She shyly asked, “So . . .what would I have to do?”
“Just listen to my words carefully,” requested the hypnotist.
The woman softly whispers, “Ok,” in response.
The man stepped up even closer to Donna; his piercing eyes burning into her soul once again . . . He then leaned into her ear and whispers, “I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself being stuck there as a mannequin, a perfect example of beauty merely frozen in time.”
. . . Donna closed her eyes, the world suddenly hazy and dreamlike. She imagined what it would feel like if she couldn’t move . . . as if she didn’t even want to move.
Darren continues, “Your body is slowly locking in position and stiffer you become, the more peaceful and enjoyable it is. The longer you remain still, the deeper you will fall into a feeling of comfort . . . You do remember how you felt standing on the beach, don’t you?”
“Yes,” gasped the woman in an erotic tone. The man’s voice might have created the goose bumps that ran the length of her arms, but that single memory of the beach created an inner warmth throughout her being . . . tightening every muscle within her body. Donna found herself nearly struggling for another breath . . .
“Breathe through your nose Donna,” orders the hypnotist, now reaching to hold her hand.
The woman pursed her lips and began breathing through her nose, her impressive breasts rising and falling slowly.
. . . “Shallower breaths my dear,” warns the man. (Donna’s hand squeezes his own much harder) . . . Le Braun then reinforces, “Stay focused on holding yourself completely still; extend that frozen moment.”
Donna waited almost breathlessly, visibly tensing her muscles. Darren’s finger was touching her temple, before it feathered down across her cheek to adjust the corners of her lips. The man then moved one hand beneath her chin while the other cupped her cheek . . . He was moving her head to look out down at her shoulder. . . . The hypnotist then positioned Donna’s stiffening arms, arranging them for the pose he had envisioned . . . (The housewife’s body felt on fire wherever he touched it!)
. . . “There; that should do it,” confirms the man, before complementing, “You remind me of a fragile doll; just waiting to be posed and admired by her owner. But don’t worry my dear, (now rubbing her lightly on the cheek), I’ll be sure to take very good care of you!”
. . . He called me a fragile doll. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a compliment, but I was certainly taken aback when he said it. . . . It was the first time in my life that somebody promised to take care of me, instead of me having to worry about taking care of them.
Darren finally orders, “Be still for me, Donna. Now!”
. . . And with that simple sentence, Donna Szalinski halted in time. She stood as stiff as a board and fully entranced; without room for even the simplest of thoughts in her head. If she actually were conscious, Donna would find herself leaning back in Darren’s arms as the man pulled her back against the awaiting handcart. It wouldn’t be long before she was reunited and on display with her missing daughter . . .
Concluded in Part 3 of Impromptu Mannequins – Houston, Texas