Wishmaster — Ariella Transformed

by Nicky

The following story is based upon a transcript of the "mannequin" scene in the original "Wishmaster" movie.  For those who don't know the film, the central character is a djinn - a "creature from between the worlds" - that has been released from a crystal in which it has been trapped for many hundreds of years and now has taken on human form.  The djinn's aim is to collect human souls and thus free his kind to overrun the Earth.  This he does by granting wishes, in return for which the victim must surrender his or her soul.  The wishes tend to be granted in a very literal and (to the victim) often surprising way. 

In this scene, the djinn, having taken on the form of a man named Nathaniel Demerest, stops by a department store to buy a suit, so as to blend more seamlessly into human society...

Ariella was bored.  She normally worked in ladieswear - teen fashions, but today one of the mens' sales assistants had called in sick and she had been drafted in at short notice to cover.  Not only that, but she had been put in suits.  Suits!  The only men interested in buying suits (and there were not many of them) were business types, or old fogeys near retirement age.  Until he had turned up and asked to see the latest and most fashionable range, money no object.  He had been charming and clearly had an eye for her.  Now she was hovering around outside one of the changing rooms, inside which her handsome customer was changing into the very expensive suit which she had selected for him.

As she waited Ariella glanced at her reflection in the full-length mirror and could not help admiring what she saw.  She took out a compact and made a few adjustments to her make-up, concluding by running her hands through the mass of long black ringlets which framed her exquisite coffee-toned complexion.  Just then, she heard a faint noise behind her and caught a slight movement in the glass.

"How's it look?" she asked, without turning around.

"You tell me," invited the customer.

The girl turned round and her eyes travelled the length of him as he adjusted the shirt collar and smiled at her.  For a moment she was genuinely lost for words.

"Wow!" was all she could find to say.

"I'm glad you approve," he responded.

"Um, do you want to try something else?" the sales girl asked, recovering her wits and remembering her training.  "Different style, maybe?  Tighter?"

The last suggestion was more in hope than expectation and he turned it down quickly.

"Oh no," he replied.  "I don't like feeling confined.  Had enough of that."

The sales girl smiled, showing a perfect set of teeth, dazzling white against the background of her coppery skin.

"Okay then," she said.  "Follow me."

The customer smiled.

"Pleasure," he said.

Still smiling, the girl glanced over her shoulder as she led the way over to the till.  She would receive a good commission from this sale, so who cared if he was undressing her with his eyes, as he quite blatantly was.

A sly smile played around the customer's mouth as he followed her, his eyes taking in the fluid movements of her body, and in particular her hips, with a gaze that bordered on the lascivious.  She cast another coquettish look over her shoulder before slipping behind the counter and turning to smile at him again.

"Now, will this be cash or charge, Mr, er..." she began.

"Demerest," he supplied smoothly.  "Nathaniel Demerest.  Call me Nathaniel."

She giggled.  For some reason she felt quite like a little girl.

"Okay, Nathaniel," she said.  "Cash, or charge?"

"Which would you prefer?" he teased.

She giggled again, clasped her hands and pretended to give the matter some thought.

"I don't know," she said.  "Cash?"

"Done," he replied.

There was a very faint low, rumbling echo, as if of distant thunder.  As it died away the girl felt a strange sensation in her bosom.

"Oh!" she gasped, looking down and clutching at her breasts.  To her astonishment, a little wad of dollar bills had seemingly just materialised in her cleavage.  She drew it out and gazed doubtfully at the handsome stranger, who was smiling at her with the air of a conjourer having performed a simple trick.

"This is my first day in your world, Ariella," he offered, as if by way of explanation for this miraculous occurrence, and clearly having read her name from the badge which was pinned to her top.  "I am pleased to see beauty is a constant.  Does it bother you, knowing that your beauty will fade?  That your looking glass will, day-by-day, tell you a long and unhappy story?"

Ariella was not sure how to respond to this.

"Well, I mean, that's life, right?" she ventured.  "It happens to all of us, like it or not."

"It doesn't have to, Ariella," the stranger said, the beginnings of another smile playing around his lips.  "Ask!  Ask, and see what happens.  Ask for an end to change.  An end to decay.  Say, I wish to be beautiful forever."

Ariella just gazed at him.  His words were like honey, dripping from a pot.  As if in a trance, she repeated the words he had suggested.

"I wish to be beautiful forever," she breathed softly.

Once again, there was a low rumbling echo, audible only to her.  The djinn smiled an evil smile.

"Pleasure doing business with you," he said, turning away to leave the store.


Time passed.  Another customer walked through the department, looking around as if seeking assistance.  She passed quite close by Ariella's till, but there was no-one in attendance, except for a rather lifelike mannequin, with shiny, coffee-toned skin and a mass of dark ringlets framing its pretty face, wearing the same pale blue top and black trousers that the missing shop girl had been wearing.  The customer did not notice that the mannequin was wearing a name badge like the ones worn by all the shop staff, nor did she read the name which was on it: "Ariella"!

Ariella had no idea what had happened to her.  The last thing she had felt was a kind of tingling sensation throughout her body, followed by numbness and a sense of stiffness and total immobility, but then she could scarcely have foreseen her sudden and  complete transformation into a construct of solid, shiny plastic!  She could neither move nor speak.  She had no sense of feeling anywhere throughout her body, no sense of smell, or of hearing.  She did not properly appreciate that she could at least still see until the lady customer who was seeking assistance chanced to come into her field of view.  It was the only sense left to her.  She rolled her eyes desperately in their sockets, it being the only movement she was capable of.

The customer stared hard at the Ariella-mannequin, confused as to just what this inert figure was doing standing behind the counter.  Ariella stared back, but did not reply.  She could not.  Her ruby lips were parted in a slight "Oh", allowing a glimpse of her pearly white teeth, but no sound would ever again escape them.  

It was some hours later before the djinn returned to collect her soul.

Relegated now to the stockroom, Ariella  stood naked in the company of two or three conventional mannequins.  She guessed that she had only spent a few minutes behind the counter in the menswear department before she had been discovered by the floor-walker, Mr Symes, although at the time it had seemed like hours.  In spite of her predicament she had enjoyed watching his obvious confusion, although it might have been even more rewarding had she been able to hear what he had said as he had tried to account for her appearance.  She recalled that there were supposed to be no female mannequins in this part of the store.  She wondered her boss's thoughts might have been.  He was not noted for his imagination, but even so surely he would not simply have thought that she had placed one of the ordinary mannequins behind the counter and dressed it up as herself, so that she could go and do, what?  Have a smoke?  Powder her nose?  Not that it would have made the slightest difference to her in her new form if by some miracle he had managed to work out what had really happened to her!

She had suffered the indignity of being undressed by two of her former colleagues, before being loaded onto a trolley and wheeled in here.  On the way she had caught sight of herself in a mirror and to her horror what she had seen did not exactly displease her.  She certainly made an attractive mannequin and the vain side of her being was rather looking forward to being put out on display again. 

She remembered the words the djinn had tricked her into saying:  "I wish to be beautiful forever."  Well, it looked as if that wish had come true, assuming that her transformation was permanent and, since she had clearly become mixed up in something supernatural, it was probably safe to assume that it was.

It was at this point, as she silently contemplated her fate in the stockroom, that the djinn did in fact return, but all Ariella heard was a sound like the rushing wind, accompanied by the most excruciating pain as her soul was quite literally wrenched from her mannequinised body.  Her eyes rolled in their sockets one last time before they glazed over and became lifeless plastic, like the rest of her.  Then her bodiless soul was in the domain of the djinn and she began to experience true terror.


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