Second draft of the second story from my Nightmare Fuel 2011 batch.
Anything For Art
By Eoghann Irving
A cool breeze from the air conditioner raised goosebumps on Jeff’s arms and he shivered as he folded up his clothes, placing them each in a neat pile on the chair. He was stalling of course. But who wouldn’t. Talk about putting in the work. He just hoped that she would payout at the end of it.
When Vanessa had asked him to participate in her art project he’d said yes of course. He’d been trying to impress her for months after all. Of course she hadn’t said anything about him stripping down and playing statue for an entire date
Mind you he’d been wanting to strip in front of Vanessa for months as well. But her weird arty friends hadn’t been part of the fantasy. Still, at least they were letting him wear some speedos. It wasn’t a lot of coverage, but it was something.
Steeling himself, he stepped out of the changing room. He felt strangely let down when barely anyone paid him any mind. Yoohoo… nearly naked guy here! Vanessa gave him a big smile as soon as she saw him though, and suddenly this didn’t seem like such a dumb idea.
She guided him to his spot behind the fake brick wall that someone in the art group had constructed. He was relieved to see he would be able to kneel on a chair at least. Vanessa’s hand pressed against the back of his head as she guided it through the hole in the wall.
“I’m afraid this is going to be a little uncomfortable for you.” Vanessa smiled at him, show very little in the way of actual compassion. “But I really need you to stay as still as possible so we can create the mold around your face. It’s important to the message.”
Jeff smothered his irritation and smiled back at her. If she wasn’t so damn hot this really wouldn’t be worth the hassle.
Vanessa’s hands were cool and soft as she carefully smeared the vaseline over his face. He’d watched enough behind the scenes movie documentaries to know this was so that things wouldn’t stick to his face.
She was chatting to one of her weird friends. Spiky hair and too many piercings to count. Who knew why she associated with the freaks. Tuning them out he took the opportunity to sneak a glance or two down towards her chest which was conveniently positioned just a little below his face and wondered how her hands would feel touching the rest of him.
He was brought sharply back to reality when someone grabbed hold of his ankle and duct taped it to the leg of the chair. He grunted out a surprised protest causing Vanessa to turn and smile down at him.
“It’s just to make sure you don’t move. You know how important that is.” She reassured him. “Relax. I really appreciate this you know.” She leant down closer to him but he forced himself to keep his eyes forward. Maybe this would be worth the effort after all.
Whichever weirdo was behind him, quickly taped him to the chair one strip of duct tape at a time, until he could barely move at all. How could he protest with Vanessa there smiling and thanking him? She finished smearing the vaseline over his face and placed a rubber cap over his hair.
She worked slowly and precisely, winding strips of sticky wet cloth around his head. It felt cold and clammy, but he distracted himself by sneaking looks at her cleavage to remind himself why he was letting her do this to him.
“Close your eyes.” She said in a soft voice as she started to wrap the bandages over his face. He did as instructed, not wanting to get the goo in his eyes. Now he was sitting in darkness. He could feel her presence next to him and her hands on his face as she continued to wrap bandages around his head.
Suddenly his hands were sweating and he fought down a sudden urge to struggle. The darkness was affecting him more than he expected. Perhaps realizing his discomfort she started talking to him. Just telling him what she was doing. Her voice calm and soothing as she applied more and more bandages.
When she reached his mouth, she placed a special tube in his mouth to help him breath. As he sucked air through the tube, Jeff realized just how helpless he was. Immobilized and now silenced. He had no real way to communicate with Vanessa or anyone else.
Some of the bandages were starting to dry now and it itched. Instinctively he went to raise his hand to scratch the itch away, only to be reminded that he couldn’t move. The itching grew steadily worse, making it hard for him to think of anything else.
“There, that’s the first layer complete.” Vanessa announced with obvious satisfaction in her voice. Jeff would have loved to protest at the idea there might be more than one layer, but at this point, he really couldn’t.
Fortunately the second layer went on quicker, despite the increasingly painful cramping in his arms and legs. It was strange to feel her touch through the deadening layer of banages that had already been applied. He wonder how they would extract him from the mask once Vanessa was done. Did they just slice it open, or what.
“Here we go, final stage.” Vanessa whispered in his ear. “This is going to look so good.”
He had lost track of exactly how many layers of bandages she had put on him by now. Too many certainly. The layers so thick that he couldn’t feel much of anything any more. His head felt hot although at least he could breath easily. Without Vanessa’s steady chatter he was pretty sure he would have fallen deep into some sort of claustrophobic panic. He could feel it lurking at the edges of his mind.
From her muttered comments it sounded as though maybe she was decorating the outisde of the mask in some fashion. He ground his teeth in frustration. Couldn’t she take care of that stuff after she’d got him out of here? His cramping muscles had gone beyond dull aches to constant pain.
“And done!” Vanessa exclaimed. Jeff felt relief flooding through him. Discomfort and moved on to pain. He knew he couldn’t take much more of this. Finally they would get him out.
“Put the back on the installation and we’re all set.” She instructed her team. Jeff frowned. Stop messing with the fucking art and get me out, he wanted to scream.
“You were right.” Another voice spoke. “There’s an element of realism to this approach that would be missing from a mold. How did you ever get him to agree.”
“Well when I explained my project to him, he said it was worth it for art..” Vanessa said in a happy tone. “All right everyone tidy up. The exhibition begins in an hour!”
Jeff struggled frantically to move, but the mass of duct tape on his body defeated him. Blind, he could still feel as the moved the installation around him, trapping him inside the fake wall. He tried to remember how many hours the show was to run.
His face, held in place by the mask, wouldn’t allow him to even form a scream.
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