Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back by Popular Demand (made possible by astounding laziness)...

I present to you Plastic...a story I already wrote and previously posted on myspace...


She stood with her nose pressed against the glass of the massive window, looking out onto the freeway far below her. She didn't know why she was here, although it had seemed like a great opportunity a short time ago. Each time she breathed, a little window of fog appeared in the shape of her mouth, and then faded away again to be replaced by another. It was like rolling ocean waves, she thought.

The drink had left her feeling woozy, and her eyes had begun to throb vaguely from the inside - a sign that one of her migraines had begun. The phone call had started this mess - had it only been yesterday? At the time, she hadn't had any reason to think that the last minute gig was anything but a great opportunity.

When she'd arrived at the luxurious loft thirty minutes ago, that great opportunity was clearly not what it had seemed.

Come in, he had said. Take off your coat. Make yourself comfortable while I finish setting up the lights. Would you like a drink?

Drinking on the job, she'd thought that was sort of frowned upon. But she'd tensed up almost the moment she'd crossed the threshhold into the stark, modern space, and she figured it wouldn't hurt to relax a little before they got started.

She would take one, thank you. Anything you have would be fine.

She followed him down a length of plexiglass columns - lit from within, of course - that served as a hallway, and into a great expanse of white. She'd had no idea there were so many shades of white! And the windows. There were floor-to-ceiling windows in the place of walls on three sides of the room. She inhaled a awe-filled gasp at the sight of them.

Twenty-three stories between herself and the ground, but from here it looked like she could walk right past the armless, backless white chaise...right out into open air. It was amazing to see all the lights of the city from this perspective. So consumed with the view, she didn't hear him come up behind her.

Your drink, he said.

She nearly knocked the glass from his hand when she jumped. Turning, trying to disguise her momentary terror

he pushed her roughly from behind, one hand on each shoulder,
and she realized too late that there were no windows.
There was only air, and she began to scream
as her feet passed the edge of the apartment floor,
him laughing and snapping photos while she fell


she accepted the drink with a trembling hand.

Thank you, she giggled, feeling foolish.

He looked at her sternly, sizing her up she realized, and his upper lip twitched. Then he spun on his heel and vanished from the room.
Great. Wonderful. He called for a model and he got a basketcase. She took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. What was wrong with her? This was work, this was PAYING work. She needed to be professional. Photographers know each other - they talk about work with each other. The last thing she needed right now was to get a reputation for being jumpy or unprofessional.

She downed the drink in one fell swoop - vodka tonic with a twist, although she didn't know until she'd finished what it was.

Should I wait here, she called out.

Come, come, he replied.

She went, wondering how she'd know which room he'd gone into, but once she passed the columns again she realized that wasn't a necessary concern. There was only one equally massive, black room on this side of the hallway. There didn't appear to be any windows here. Black curtains covered the walls floor to ceiling. Otherwise, this room was identical to the first, only inverse colors.

The colors, and of course, the photography equipment. He was fiddling with some lights and had his back to her this time. However, he seemed to know she'd arrived and said, I'm almost ready to begin. Please get undressed.

She froze. Did he said to get undressed? I'm sorry, was there a costume I should be changing into?

Without turning to look at her - surely she wasn't worth another moment of consideration to him, until she was the subject of his lens that is - he said, No costume. This is a nude shoot. Please get undressed and come over here.


She did as she was told, dropping her overcoat on the floor
and unbuttoning her shirt, then her pants,

letting each item lay where it fell.
She crossed the room to where he stood, back still to her.
Are there windows behind those curtains?

He faced her slowly, and said with no humor in his voice,
There are no windows on the black half, only death.

His right had shot out and he hit her squarely across the cheek with his fist,
sending her sprawling naked onto the black carpet, unconscious.
Then the curtain began to draw itself back, and had she been awake,

she would have seen what death and madness looked like.

I don't do nude shoots - didn't my agent tell you? I'm sorry, but I thought this was something else. I think I should go.

Wait, he turned. I don't have time to find another model. Please.

Now that he risked losing her, all contempt had vanished and been replaced by a sickenly pleading look. Please don't go, it said. Help me Obie Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.

I don't know, I don't usually do nude shoots. She was stammering now, taking a step back towards the lighted column hallway.

An understanding smile flashed across his face. Of course, he said. Please, have a seat. Let me get you another drink. I will call my employer and see if there is any way...

Run.


Run, she thought.


That was ridiculous, she knew. She was a professional. She took a step forward, and then another. To the sofa, a twin of the white chaise in the white room, she sat.

He seemed pleased. He stepped to a bar and made another drink, brought it to her. I'll be back in a moment. And then to no one in particular he said, We're not ready yet. Wait. He turned and was gone.

She steadied her nerves, took a sip of the second drink. It tasted slightly like copper. She hadn't noticed it before in the first drink, but then again she had simply downed that one.

I will see what he says when he returns. Then I will decide. No point in being irrational, she was a professional.

She stood, and again she felt woozy. Crossing to the wall of black curtains, she thought she heard a sound behind her. There was no one there. Her hand reached up and felt for a seam in the curtains. She felt hardness behind them, a wall she imagined.

What she found when she drew them aside, however, was another window. It too was massive, floor to ceiling. Another gasp escaped her throat. The view was amazing.

She stared down at the night lights of the city below her. Cars rushed along the freeway in both directions. It was beautiful. She rested her forehead against the glass, and it was cool on her skin. Each time she breathed, a little window of fog appeared in the shape of her mouth, and then faded away again to be replaced by another.

She heard a sound again, and turned. No one.

She sighed, shaking her head to clear the fog that had invaded there but hadn't faded like the fog on the glass. She was definitely woozy, needed to sit. She started towards the couch, but tripped - almost sprawling on the carpet, wheeling her arms to regain her balance.

In her path was a square of black plastic, what appeared to be an ottoman. Not very comfortable furiture, she mused. She giggled. Definitely not feeling right now. It hadn't been there a moment before, she was sure of it. Stepping around the hard, plastic object, she again started for the couch.

Her vision blurred and then cleared. What was happening?

She stopped and stood, her fuzzing mind reeling. Why was it so dark in here? Ah, the black. All was black here.

Something touched her calf. It was hard and cold, but fluid at the same time. She froze, afraid to move at all. Slowly she looked down and behind her. The ottoman. It had followed her.

That is ridiculous, she thought. Utter nonsense. Plastic isn't alive. Plastic can't follow you.

But as she watched, the edges of the square melted into themselves. It softened, it folded in upon itself.


No.

No, I'm not seeing this. But she had. She was seeing it.

And as the plastic began to roll like waves of terrible, man-made horror, she saw in it's depths a hand. A woman's hand, much like her own. Then the hand was gone in the waves.

She stood rooted to the stop, mouth open in surprise, eyes wide with terror - as the ottoman slowly creeped around and up her leg.
It burned as it touched her, and the pain brought her mind back a little.

Run.


She tried, and found that she couldn't get her leg free.

I'll do the shot nude, she pleaded. She babbled at the plastic beast as it continued to wrap and burn around her. When it reached her face, she had a moment to see human eyes floating in the plastic waves.

Wide, terrified blue eyes much like her own. Then they were gone, as the black poured into her mouth.

And then all was black again.

The man returned shortly after. He sighed, clucking his tongue in disapproval. Then he crossed the room, picked up his camera, and began the photo shoot.

The ottoman was always beautiful when it was full.