There was a good reason for this. This was a special day on the beach where Ainsley’s set up shop. In a few hours the last contest of the annual “Girls Of Summer” games was due to start again. On the surface the event wasn’t anything special, just a series of competitions for confident young ladies to flaunt their stuff in bikinis and swimsuits with music, a little partying, and so on. But the winnings made it a hit. There were three of these every summer, and the winners always got tons of special deals and bonuses from the businesses that took part.
Ainsley’s always rolled into town to set up shop for the duration, and traditionally put itself in charge of the final event: the annual pool toy race. Over two dozen women hit the shore atop rented novelty inflatables, armed with oars, paddles, or their own feet for a madcap trip up and down the beach. It was a usually silly affair with lots of falling into the water, bumper cars-style crashes and in all good fun – and the strange and sometimes racy Ainsley designs only added to the effect. But the grand prize was worth the madness. The winner came home with $300 worth of anything they wanted from the Ainsley’s business, plus the toy they rode to win thrown in for good measure.
It was the biggest prize any of the events gave so the competition was very popular, especially since it was free to enter. It was one of the main draws of the event, for there was literally nothing to lose and few reasons not to give it a shot.
But unfortunately the sign ups also ended yesterday. As always this caused a small uproar, but a mob of annoyed coeds and beachgoers wasn't something the store’s owner and sole employee, Sarah Ainsley herself, couldn't handle. In fact, she was actually looking forward to this.
"All I want to know is," the latest in a long line of complaints came from a posh looking blonde dressed way to extravagantly for the beach. She had the air of someone who usually got what she wanted, and looked pretty uncomfortable in a less upscale crowd. "If you're not taking any more applicants why are all those posters everywhere saying 'sign-ins welcome? I thought I could just wait until today. If I’d known!"
"You might've dressed more seasonably?" Sarah asked, quirking an eyebrow. Some people in the crowd laughed. This girl's dress was very out of with all the sequins and frills and ribbons and such hanging off of it. It might’ve been more at home on a runway. The girl pouted and turned red, snatching her dress away from the snickering women.
"I wouldn't have left my day free!” She huffed and turned away, nearly whipping Sarah in the face with a ribbon. "I wasted my time coming here, and my time is worth so much more than yours!"
The group shouted “yeah” at exactly the same time - Sarah wondered if they rehearsed. She looked around: no less than thirty glares that she could count. Not a bad turnout. "I'm sorry you all didn't get the memo, but the signs do say sign-ups ended yesterday.”
"Yeah, in like the tiniest print possible!" It was a sarcastic voice from the back this time. Sarah glanced upwards to see a slim girl with black hair and dyed blue and purple streaks smirking up at her from a handheld device. She wearing black pants and a fantasy t-shirt, depicting what looked like a scantily clad dark elf woman in an action pose. When Sarah spotted her, she winked mockingly and went back to her game. Sarah couldn't help but wonder if that particular sign-in would be of the ironic variety.
Next to the gamer a tall Hispanic woman caught her attention. She was pushing her way to the front, whipping her long bushy hair out of other customers' faces. This one’s figure caught Sarah’s eye: her simple jeans and plain white shirt were in no way revealing, but it was obvious that with a tall, amazonian figure like hers it was a shame she hadn't signed up to something else. If she had gone for the bikini contest, she might've swept the whole competition.
But then again she wasn’t the only one in the store with those kind of looks, and all of them were here instead of bugging the bikini contest people too.
Right now this woman didn't seem to be in the mood to be judged by her looks, which could explain why she wasn’t there. She stomped in front of the counter with her arms crossed and gave Sarah one of the toughest glares she'd ever seen. Which was saying something, as Sarah was a bit older than she looked. "Look," she sneered. "You can say rules are rules all you want, but it’s not fair. You led us on, so we might as well get something outta the deal."
“And I’m telling you, I’ve already slotted everyone. The morning of the contest is when I… shall we say… procure the toys the contestants will use, and fit them for their swimsuits.”
“Swimsuits?” The woman’s eyes narrowed.
“You mean we can’t use our own?” The fancy girl whined. “Mine is custom made, and to be honest it’s much better than what you could provide. I was looking forward to using it!” Sarah could only guess the kind of extravagant suit she had in mind, given what she was wearing now. The latina apparently thought the same thing, because she and a few of the other women rolled their eyes.
“Nope. I allow a choice between bikinis and one-pieces, but all contestants must use suits provided by myself for the competition.” They were making a big assumption in thinking they would even get to fitting, but she let it slide. This was a process, after all. “It’s free advertising while you’re all zipping around the shore. Every contestant gets to keep their suit, but the winners also get to keep the toy they borrow. That’s on the posters as well, in case you missed it.”
There was another sarcastic laugh from the gamer girl, but most of the contestants looked like they accepted it. Only the two in the front seemed to have any real problem.
“What is this, Nascar?” The latina asked. “Why can’t I just use mine?” She pulled the edge of her collar with a skeptical look, showing Sarah a glimpse of bright red bikini straps. The rich girl nodded childishly.
Sarah rolled her eyes. “You won’t be using anything in the race, or have you forgotten that sign-ins are over? Just let it go.”
“I guess we could,” the woman said lightly, standing taller than anyone else in the room. There a sly look on her face that Sarah wasn’t fond of. ”How about instead we just hang around here for a while? Browse a bit. I'm sure it wouldn't back up business all that much."
Several people in the crowd shouted in agreement. Sarah warily eyed the mob of irritated “customers” who were more likely to bring her store to a standstill than pay for anything, if she were to let them. The last thing she wanted was a stall on her profits, but it wouldn’t come to that. It never did. She had let this go on long enough anyway if they were threatening to unionize. There were more than enough here for what she needed. Finally, the fun part was coming.
She hid a grin, knowing that it would be out of character. ”You all don't know what you're signing up for. I told you we're all full for the competition. Making you fit in somewhere might result in… blowback.” They started to boo again, and she pretended to panic. It had been a bad joke anyway. “But I suppose I’ll just have to squeeze you in!”
She reached under the desk and pulled out a spare sign-up sheet, or at least it looked like a sign-in on the surface. Though the contestants had no way of knowing, this was actually the second page of a powerful arcane contract. "If you really want to lend your… selves to the race, sign here.” She smiled openly. A couple of them gave her weird looks over her phrasing, but none of them caught onto the double meaning behind her words. No one ever did.
The stubborn amazon was still closest to the counter so she got to sign in first, and she made sure to give Sarah the most self important smirk she could while doing so. She never noticed the slight glow on her name after she wrote it down. Next was the posh girl, who turned her nose up - she missed it too.
The rest went fairly quickly, but Sarah took the time to check out her catch of the day. A pair of volleyball players who wandered in from a game, a blonde jogger who looked like she just wanted to see what was going on, a muscular but top-heavy girl with dreadlocks who was also looking smug about her chances, and so on. As there were thirty of them, they started running together.
However, almost as soon as sign-ups started Sarah spotted one of her regulars: a short cut in her late twenties who she knew fairly well. Fittingly enough her name was Summer, if Sarah remembered correctly, and true to her name she had been in every single Girls Of Summer event since Sarah started coming around. She had even won a few, so she was an expert at this. She was already wearing one of Sarah’s required swimsuits from the previous year, with the words “AINSLEY ORIGINALS” clearly visible on the front – the design this year had them on the sides. She halfheartedly asked if she could keep it rather than go through the process again, but no such luck. Once she was signed in she shuffled to the side, so she could hang around the counter and catch up. Since nobody else really stood out, so Sarah was happy for the chance to chat.
“You know, I never knew you always had such a rush with late entries," Summer said. She was leaned over against the counter, watching the line move.
"Yeah, you usually make sure to sign in early.” Sarah mused. “Pity you were late this time.” She meant it, too. She happened to like Summer, even if she noticeably hadn’t spoken up when everyone was rioting.
Summer had no idea to what Sarah really meant, so she just shrugged. ”I was out of town this week. Got back just in time." She sighed. To her amusement, Sarah couldn’t help but notice that she was arcing her back and jutting her chest out at bit whenever a new entrant walked up to the counter, throwing smug smirks whenever one of them glanced at her. She seemed to be trying to psych out the competition, and it might have been working. The girl with the dreadlocks definitely gave her a few ugly looks.
"And now you get to be one of my last minute acquisitions. Lucky you." Sarah couldn't resist a smirk, but Summer probably thought she was simply trying to be funny. For a moment Sarah thought about warning her, but thought better of it. Summer was liable to do something inconvenient if she learned something was up, and either way business is business. It was her own fault for not being punctual.
The conversation was fun while it lasted, but Sarah had to cut it short when the line came to the end: the gamer girl with the annoying smirk brought up the rear, ironic entry or not. Instead of her name she put “WHO CARES?”, but since she still signed it she would be as bound to it as everyone else. Showtime.
“Alright, sign-ins!” She shouted, getting everyone’s attention at once. “Since you’re technically early, you might as well get changed for the contest now. I’ve only got two changing rooms in here…” she said, gesturing to the back of the shop where the stock was usually kept. “… and that’s where the swimsuits will be! If you’ll go two at a time, we’ll get you all processed and ready to race in no time!”
“What about the pool toys? Don’t we have to choose those too?” Summer asked, glancing to the back. “Where are they?” The stock room was just visible, and there were none of Sarah’s usual novelty items in it. Sarah didn’t blame her for being confused: she was used to a different procedure. The scheduled contestants usually arrived later, when she had already gotten the preparation and restocking out of the way. But Summer had no idea she was actually dealing with a much different experience now.
“Don’t worry, I plan to get that resolved soon. For now, just go get changed and the inflatables will get set-up in no time.”
She pointed to the first two on the list - the statuesque hispanic woman who had “convinced” her to let them sign, and the smug girl with the frills. “Alright, you two in first.”
The hispanic woman - whose name was Maite - gruffly followed to the back of the store, paying as little attention to the sneering girl joining them as she could. They walked a little further back than expected – they were just beyond where a person could see if they were looking in from the front, or vice versa. There, Sarah directed them to the two changing rooms, though the tallest of them couldn’t resist looking around at the empty stockroom.
“A lot of trouble for a goofy little party game,” she said, as Sarah fished the keys out of her pocket.
Sarah shrugged. “You’re the one who wanted to do the race so bad.”
Maite shrugged right back, giving her a dirty look. “Okay, so I’m bored,” she admitted. “There isn’t much else going on today.”
“That’s why you’ll lose!” Their third said haughtily. “People in your class just don’t have the commitment to-“
“Would you shut it already?!” Curly hair went flying as the annoyed response everyone wanted to make came out. Sarah laughed quietly to herself. “We’re all done listening to you brag about yourself!”
The spoiled brat huffed in response to the outburst, and entered her changing room without another word. Rolling her eyes, Maite claimed the other room. She heard Sarah close the door behind her, still laughing, but didn’t pay either of them much mind.
Once she was alone she automatically slipped off her shirt her jeans, leaving her wearing only her bright red and somewhat conservative bikini along with some sandals. She was fond of this outfit and would have rather worn it than some brand name advert, but rules were rules and she had already pushed her luck enough getting into this contest.
It wasn’t until she was ready to swap out for whatever Ainsley chose for her that that she glanced up and took in the room she was in. It was big - far bigger than one woman needed to get dressed. More importantly it was empty, but for the mirrors. The “mandatory swimsuit” she was supposed to wear was nowhere to be found. There weren’t even any hangers on the rack.
She looked around, trying to find a hidden closet or something with her outfit hidden inside. ”Is this a joke? What am I supposed to change into?"On cue, she was distracted by a bright flash in the mirror. She tried to cover her eyes, but only made it halfway. All of a sudden, it became very difficult to move. She could push her limbs a little, but it was like they were fighting her to do what they wanted to do. She couldn’t stop them.
“The hell is going on?”
An odd feeling enveloped her, like a pressure was trying to push out apart from inside. She suddenly felt very empty, but at the same time felt… thicker. She looked into the mirror and flinched. She was getting bigger. No, she was puffing up as if her mirror image were some kind of balloon! With some difficulty she moved her arm and pinched her hip… her skin was taut and smooth, as if it were plastic. And her butt felt hollow, like there was nothing but air inside!
She frantically ran her hands across her skin and found something solid on her backside. She struggled to turn around, and saw some kind of valve resting on her bottom like the kind used to keep air in. She couldn’t see it, but she also could feel another one on her upper back, between her shoulders.
“W-what the?! What’s happening to me?” She shouted. Her arms pulled away from where she wanted them, going up to her chest… which drew her stunned attention to her bust, which seemed larger than usual even with her entire body swelling up. She instinctively tried to cross her arms to rein them in and was surprised when they complied, pressing her bust into her chest.
It only made her more suspicious. “That’s it, I’m outta here.” She finally tried to simply leave, but at that point her body seized up and she found she couldn’t move at all. “Or not! Help! One of you morons out there, help me!”
She didn’t know this, but the changing rooms in Ainsley’s Emporium were completely soundproof specifically for occasions just like this. Outside Sarah was back with the other contestants, and they happily chatted while they waited for the two to finish, oblivious to her plight or her angry cries for help. A second later her mouth closed on its own, rendering her silent.
For a moment she didn’t move at all. Then she started teetering. She would have gulped if she could as her body slowly pitched to the floor. She mentally winced, but she was unable to do anything to catch herself… as she harmlessly bobbed off of the ground, to her shock. She really was hollow now!
She landed on her chest, which pushed her head into her arms before her body repositioned itself on its own. Her head turned sideways towards the mirror, so that she was resting her ear on her crossed arms and bosom. It was almost comfortable, were she not transforming against her will! The airflow was slowing down, but she could feel - or rather couldn’t feel - it accelerating. Her bikini was gone. She could see it there in the mirror, but it was shiny and colored strangely, like it was actually part of her elasticizing skin now. And her hands! She didn’t even have fingers any more! The digits were fused together, warping her hands into a pair of cartoony-looking mitts.
The tried to pull herself apart, but she realized that she couldn’t even feel her arms as separate limbs any more, or her breasts either for that matter. Wherever they touched, they fused together into one giant shape. The air filled it all together, causing her body to grow evenly. Her head remained separate, but it wasn’t doing much better. Her face had gone the way of her bikini top. It wasn’t real any more: just artificial eyes, painted smirk and a black shape instead of hair that she could feel like skin, with a little bump for her nose. She didn’t know how she could even still see. She looked just like…
She mentally froze. She would’ve screamed if she could… she looked just like a pool toy!
While she was realizing the obvious, the rest of her was joining the fun. Her bikini bottom and sandals became part of her body just like her top, as her legs were pulled into position. She felt a little betrayed: she worked so hard on toning those gams, and now they’re going to betray her? But ignoring her attempts to stop it, her left leg curled up until her ankle brushed her behind. As they touched, they fused together as well: her shin to her thigh, her ankle to her bum. Her right leg followed, resting on top of her left and curling around it until they were fused as well. She could feel herself behind her, but not her toes or her feet or even the weight of her leg. It was like she was just two big empty masses with a head attached.
So far her waist had remained roughly the same size in comparison to the rest of her, but now she felt something pushing on her midsections, as if it were being flattened. It was definitely still stretched tight with air, but it felt as though someone had pressed a stamp into the small of her back. She couldn’t see it from her point of view, but what she felt was really her waist spreading out wide as a seat formed itself into her torso. It just big enough for seat one comfortably, two if you were being reckless.
There was a soft POP, and the pressurized feeling stopped. Or at least stopped getting worse. She could still feel the air inside her, but she wasn’t expanding any more. In the mirror, she saw what to anyone else would look like a novelty inflatable pooltoy of a woman sunbathing on her stomach, her head cradled in her arms and her legs entwined around each other in a strange and sexy twist on a “two sections” design. The expression on her stylized face was the half lidded contentment of someone totally relaxed, but the mind inside that pretty face was anything but. Somehow she was able to glance nervously at the plug on her butt. What would happen if it were opened? Would she deflate into a heap of rubber or latex or whatever she was made of now? And what was going to happen to her now?
Suddenly she regretted the nasty ultimatum she gave the owner. Is that why this had happened to her? “I take it back!” She shrieked in her mind. “Please! Just make me human again!”
Nobody answered. Though little did she know that while she was changing the girl next door who had annoyed her so much had gone through something very similar. And they were just the first…
It may have felt like a long time to Maite, but this all took no longer than five minutes. While that was going on, Sarah continued her chat with Summer. The punkish gamer with the elf-girl shirt had since joined the conversation, and though her sarcasm was a little annoying it wasn’t the worst company she ever had.
Though she thought it would be even better if she would put down that game…
“-I’m just saying, it’s a sham. It’s not like it’s fair or anything.” She was making fun of the race. Sarah pegged it when she thought she joined up ironically. Well, it was her decision… “These’re pool toys, after all. And they’re all different, right? You can’t just grab one and expect to win.”
“It’s not about being fair,” Summer shot back. “It’s just fun. Plus, these are Ainsley Original pool toys. They’re worth it! They’re all custom made and totally unique. Sarah likes her… novelty designs.” She paused, winking at Sarah, who smiled knowingly. It took a lot not to laugh. “Most of ‘em even look like people, so it’s like you’re riding with a friend!”
“You’ve got some weird friends,” the girl smirked, though good natured this time. Sarah hid a chuckle behind a cough.
“I guess so.” Summer said proudly. “I’ve won this race a few times and I’ve got like three of them so far. Hoping to get a fourth for my collection today!”
Sarah couldn’t hold in the laughter that time. Summer and the gamer stared at her, but luckily they seemed to miss the intention.
“Looks like she doesn’t think you can’t do it,” the gamer smirked, flipping her two-tone hair behind her head.
Summer smiled. “We’ll see.”
A magical alert went off in Sarah’s head, telling her that her first prizes were done. “Maybe we will,” she said vaguely as she rose from her seat. She excused herself from the crowd, claiming to be going to the back to “check on” the two women who were still supposedly getting dressed. The customers watched her go with a bit of impatience, but soon fell back into talking amongst themselves.
Once she was out of sight she popped open the changing room doors, and with an efficiency borne of lots of routine she took inventory of the new acquisitions. The sunbather got a quick nod of approval from her - she had gotten a good balance of air between the front and back on that one without having to go for the usual “gigantic T&A” design. There were lots of opportunities for that further down the list, but she didn’t want to overdo it. This was a family friendly beach.
The rich girl’s transformation had been interesting. The bulk of her was now chalk white and had fused into a single long, blocky shape designed to look like a luxury yacht. There was an interior area in between her raised sides where a few people could sit. What did still look human about her was surrounded by the yacht’s pointed “bow,” making her the figurehead at the front of an adorable inflatable ship. Her human parts were now colored gold, and a mermaid tail had been painted onto her to give the figurehead a nice, vintage look. The plug was located on her belly button.
Her hands were clasped and a rapturous smile was on her face, though somehow Sarah doubted the mind inside would actually be that happy. It was good acquisition on the whole, perfect for anyone wanting to join the race with a few friends!
She packed the two into the back to be used later. She considered deflating them for the sake of space, and decided to only do so for the yacht for now. She idly wondered what the conceited girl would make of that, but she didn’t dwell on it. Once someone became her wares they were no longer anything more than an object in her book, unless she changed them back. The girl’s thoughts didn’t concern her.
Once that was taken care of she came back to the front, and loudly announced that the changing rooms were ready for the next contestants.
“Wait,” Summer asked. “Where’d the other two go? I thought they’d come back through here.”
It was a good question. Sarah was disappointed that more people didn’t ask it. “I sent them out the back so they could head to the starting point.”
Summer gave her another funny look, but it wasn’t like Sarah didn’t already know that this wasn’t the usual procedure. She shrugged, and Summer lost interest.
“Now let’s see…” She glanced at the list. As luck would have it, Summer was next. That was a little unfortunate. Nobody else in this crowd would be any good to talk to, and this would be a long process. But then, it was her magic. She could choose to switch things around a bit if she wanted to.
“Okay, you and you!” She pointed to the busty woman with the deadlocks and another towards the back, a long-haired blonde in a brown top, leather pants and boots. “You’re up next!”
And so it went. Two by two, each of the would-be contestants went to the back to get “changed.” And two by two, they were each transformed and stored in preparation for the race.
This wasn’t Sarah’s first time doing an order of this size, so she didn’t give the routine much thought. Only a few stuck in her memory. The dreadlocked woman became another mermaid, this time as a raft. Her tail made up the seats, and her top half stuck up in front. The woman in the leather pants kept her human shape, in a “horsey” style with her arms and legs spread out like she was swimming and some extra padding on her bust and behind for balance. She had no seats, but one or two people could ride saddle-style. The volleyball players insisted on changing together, and had literally done so. They made another “boat” design, but while the inner part was a smooth half-circle (with some obvious cushions on either end) the sides showed them pushing off of each other with their feet pressed together, knees bent and hands clasped in what was resembled a guardrail. They too were deflated for space.
Beyond that, there was everything from inflatable palm trees to dolphins and whales and more rafts in the shape of the women they once were. All standard for Ainsley’s Emporium.
The crowd began to shrink as more customers “went out the back,” until eventually it was just Sarah, Summer and the girl with the handheld game - who introduced herself as Ilika. When she realized it was just the three of them, Sarah would admit to stalling a little. She didn’t exactly have a lot of friends, so she enjoyed the opportunity to talk.
It had been ten minutes since the last toys had come out of the changing rooms, and she would need to get ready for the action racers soon, but she still had time.
Ilika had dipped out the conversation and decided to finish a few more levels of Vhaidra’s Quest while the other two women talked. Sarah had pegged it right when she thought she only signed up as a joke. At first she hadn’t even planned on joining the race. She was surprised that Ainsley woman had even let her enter, since she had put an obviously fake name. But everyone else was so excited that she decided not to walk out yet. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to actually race, but there were worse places to be.
Summer and Ainsley were still gabbing about something, and seemed to have forgotten she was there. Vhaidra’s Quest was starting to get boring, so she flipped the game closed and snuck to the back while the two were occupied. Something about this place made her curious.
She walked past the changing rooms and into the storeroom. The shelves were filled were filled with weird pool toys, which she guessed were the ones she and Summer were supposed to pick from. But it was odd. Hadn’t Summer said before that there wasn’t anything back here? When were these all delivered?
The “Girls of Summer” theme was obvious. Many of the toys were in the shape of women - sunbathing, swimming, or simply hyper-exaggerated figures in odd poses. When the race started it would look like there were twice as many women in the water. Others that were more normal, however - she thought she even spotted an inflatable bicycle! If someone else didn’t snatch it up she was definitely picking that one.
Inside was the blonde jogger, who was very indignant at being treated like a prize. But Ilika wouldn’t recognize her.
Some were big enough to fit several riders at once, some were small for single, determined racers. A couple looked like you could get as many as five people on them. The race was definitely going to be insane. It might be worth taking part in after all.
“Still,” she said out loud with a chuckle. “What’s with all the fanservice? Girls of Summer’ or not, there’s a line.” She smirked, patting the gigantic bust on a nearby raft. That breast’s owner mentally cursed at her, but she couldn’t hear it. “Not that I can talk, I suppose.” She looked down at her Vhaidra’s Quest shirt, which featured her favorite character wearing something almost as revealing as the toy’s inflated bikini.
She continued to look over the inflatables, making jokes about their designs and noting the ones she might be interested in taking home if she won. She eventually came to the sunbather, and paused. There was something about it…
“Wait… have I seen you before..?”
Again, she couldn’t hear the pissed off thoughts from inside. “Of course you’ve seen me before, you twit! Get me out of here!”
Ilika pulled the toy off the shelf and looked it over. “You… you look just like one of the girls I came in here with!” she said obliviously. “The Spanish one.” It was a little hard to tell. It was a pool toy so the face was more of a caricature, but the resemblance was definitely there. She double checked the others in the room… some were difficult to see, but the ones that had faces also looked a lot like women she had seen waiting with her in the store.
“That’s weird. If she could get these made so quick, you’d think she could have penciled us in late without so much fuss.”
The one closest to the door caught her attention. This one looked just like one of the girls that had gone in to change just before her, if that girl was an inflatable raft shaped like a naga. But it seemed off, somehow. The eyes were a little too lifelike. She leaned in to get a closer look at its face…
Its blinked, and then froze completely as its eyes fully became latex. Ilika dropped her game, screamed at the top of her lungs and ran from the room.
Sarah and Summer had just been in the middle of a conversation about proper swimwear maintenance when they heard the scream. A second later Ilika burst into the store, shrieking and waving her arms. They were embarrassed to admit that they hadn’t even noticed she was gone, Sarah especially.
“Back there! Pool toys!” She shouted. Her usually sarcastic voice was now very panicked. “They’re alive! One of them looked at me!”
Sarah winced. Summer didn’t see it. “There aren’t any toys back there, remember?” She said calmly, as if talking to a crazy person. “Relax.“
“I’m telling you they’re back there, and they’re alive!” Ilika insisted. “Half of them look just… like… holy shit!” Her eyes grew wide as saucers. She pointed a shaky, terrified finger at Sarah. “It… it was you, wasn’t it? W-what did you do to them?”
Summer stepped in front of Sarah and tried to smooth this out. “What are you talking about?”
But Sarah sighed. “I always hope to get this done discreetly, but it never works.” She mused. Ilika gasped. Maybe she hadn’t really believed her hysterical idea. Summer, who had no idea what was going on, turned to stare at her but Sarah ignored it. “But at least we’re down to the last ones. This is probably easier, actually. Though I’ll have to make it fast in case someone walks in.”
She pointed. There was a flash.
Since Sarah was now in a hurry, Ilika didn’t have the luxury of a gentle transformation. She didn’t even get a moment to realize what was about to happen to before with a sudden *BWOOMF* her behind burst out, becoming four… five… six times as large and counting. Its size rivaled the rest of her body within seconds, and her pants instantly bonded with her skin as they took on a familiar latex quality.
She yelped and lost balance, falling onto her butt – where else, at this size? For a moment, it looked like she was sitting inside a large, black sitball.Summer shrieked and stumbled off her feet, but Sarah wasn’t paying attention. She patted the now thigh-high “ball,” giggling at the soft pom sound it made. A plug popped into existence on Ilika’s hips, and she gasped as Sarah toyed with it. “That’s faster than even I expected! You’re a natural at this.” Ilika only wimpered.
There was more disbelief than fear on her face, as if she couldn’t totally process what was happening to her. She hugged herself tight in what looked like shock, but then her arms and head began to sink into her chest. Her human features disappeared quickly as her upper body rounded out into a smooth cylinder. As her head sunk away the blue and purple of her hair crossed with the black sheen that was spreading over her, “painting” away any of her distinct features and leaving her clean and polished. Finally, her still kicking legs curled up until they too rapidly disappeared into her jet black and now perfectly spherical bottom.
This whole change took less than twenty seconds. Ilika “sat” there for a few moments more, slowly filling with more air until she rested as high as Sarah’s chest. She rolled slightly as the bump that used to be her top fell to gravity and lolled against the floor. Unlike most of the other former women, there was no longer anything that looked remotely human in her newly inflated shape. In fact, with her stubby “stalk” and gigantic, round “cap” she more resembled a huge, bubbly mushroom.
Sarah laughed as an idea came to her. She waved her hand to magic a pair of cute oval eye decals onto the stalk and some purple and blue polka dots onto the cap. The very top of the ball caved in to allow space to sit while floating. The end result looked rather like a power-up from a certain video game series.
“That’s fun,” she giggled. “But I’d rather not get sued.”
She waved her hand again and the seat popped back out. The stalk sunk into the cap, reforming Ilika into what was essentially a huge plastic ball. It rolled lazily across the floor while Sarah tried to think. She had to come up with something good for this one before any company showed up. Her current company watched all of this from a fetal position in the corner, stammering incoherently.
Inside the ball, Ilika struggled to come to grips with her new sensations. It was like feeling her entire body all in one place. Between the rolling and the bouncing and being changed twice in quick succession (she had at least thought the mushroom reference was funny), not to mention the incredibly embarrassing way she had been transformed in the first place, she was losing it. “T-this is insane! Hahaha… I must be dreaming! O-or this is some kind of game! This can’t just happen to people!”
She continued trying to rationalize as she rolled towards Summer, who screamed and shoved her away in her panic. “Wait Summer, don- UAAAH!” She couldn’t get dizzy any more, but rolling across the floor at high speed still felt very uncomfortable.
To think, she hadn’t even really wanted to do this in the first place.
Meanwhile, Sarah was still thinking. “So what should I go for? There’s always one that stumps me every year.” She absentmindedly put her hand out and stopped Ilika’s rolling. “We could do something traditional…” She said. She thought about how much work it would be to give the girl a human figure back after a change like this, let alone an exaggerated one. There was still the timeframe to think of. “But she did keep complaining about my designs, so maybe I should go for simple instead.”
She tossed the ball into the air, pointing again. As it rose the ball flattened into more of a coin shape, though the bottom remained slightly rounded. The top sunk in, creating a raft with a thick rim along the edge and a large sunken middle that would best fit one but was big enough for two. The already durable plastic skin Ilika now possessed thickened, adding a little bit more weight, and a pair of handles and sectioned parts popped out of the rim as well. Colors brightened as new images drew themselves across the edges. Finally, the plug drifted towards the bottom, where a careless person couldn’t open it in the middle of a ride.
When it landed, what remained was a sleek but compact inflatable raft in a shiny black color the same shade as poor Ilika’s former hair. Blue and purple streaks lined the top and bottom of the rim and colored the plastic handles on the sides. A single rider could comfortably stretch out across its length, and to help with that there was an additional pair of plugs on the back rim, which had separate sections that could be inflated more to make pillows the rider want to kick back. On the front rim there was another patch that could be flipped to reveal a tiny waterproof tv.
On each side the words “AINSLEY’S EMPORIUM ORIGINAL” were printed in white font. One side had an image of Ilika reclining on top of the logo playing a game, the other an image of her with the same appearance and clothing as the dark elf that had been on her shirt.
Sarah proudly looked it over. It was a sleek design that would be great for racing and for relaxing in the sun. “What do you think?” She said to her last signee.
Summer stared at the raft, which that had been laughing and chatting with her a few minutes before. It took her a moment to remember to breathe.
“W-what did you do?” She whispered.
“Made her fit to join the race.” Sarah said carelessly. She waved her hand like it was nothing at all. “Like I said, normal sign-in closed yesterday. The morning of the contest is the day I acquire the pool toys for the racers.”
“A-acquire?” Summer paled. “You mean, you’ve been doing this the whole time?”
“Every single race.”
“Then… the ones I won…”
Sarah shrugged. “I’m sure you’ve made them all very happy. You’re always so enthusiastic about swimming. Though now I guess I should ask about getting them back.”
“What do you mean?” Summer tilted her head. Was she in denial or just too stunned to think? “What are you going to do about me?”
“I thought that was obvious. You signed the form just like the rest of them.”
“N-no, wait! You can’t! I-I’ve been coming here for years! I thought we were friends!“
Sarah shrugged. “I do like you. You’re a loyal customer, and you’re good for conversation. But business is business, and I have to be fair.”
“I-I’ll keep coming! I like it here! I’ll buy whatever you want, and I won’t tell anyone. I don’t want to be on the shelf!”
Sarah doubted Summer would honor either of her promises, but she wouldn’t have stopped even if she believed her. Whether she wanted it or not the shelf was where Summer was headed, just like the others.
Sarah pointed again. “Oh no, no…” Summer moaned. She pressed up against the wall, but it was too late. There was another flash.
The effect was just as fast as it was for Ilike, though Summer’s change was far easier. She froze as her whole body started to inflate at once, making her far larger than the woman she was. She tilted backwards, so that her chest was raised and her elbows were supporting her upper body. Her hands brushed against her hips, instantly fusing together. Her legs closed together and flattened into an indent for a spacious seat. Her knees, which were bent slightly, became a cushion for a rider’s legs, and her breasts enlarged into a pair of comfortable cushions. Smaller indents for cupholders appeared where her hands met her hips.
Her face was pulled into a wide, excited smile, before the expression became permanent. Her suit shifted slightly before into her, so that the sides the words “GIRLS OF SUMMER CHAMPION! VISIT AINSLEY’S EMPORIUM” were visible running up her waist. With a soft *POP* Summer’s parts were all pulled into place and puffed to the right size, as the final transformation of the day was finished.
The result was a very cozy looking recliner that used to be a Girls Of Summer champion. When on the water, it would look as if the rider were sitting in her lap. That rider wasn’t likely to win any races if they fed the urge to lay back into those cushions, but that didn’t matter to Sarah. She was already fond of this design She squealed and lifted it over her head - of course, it was as light as air. “I think I might use this one myself and watch the race from the water,” she giggled, thinking about that comfy seat and how long a day it had been already.
On the inside Summer was miserable. All those years, she had owned and used things that used to be women like her. And now she was fittingly going to share their fate. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t know!” What would happen to them? Would her family keep them, or would they be thrown out or given back to Sarah? What would happen to her? If Sarah wasn’t going to put her in the race, then did that mean she wouldn’t be given away? Was Sarah going to keep her?She was interrupted by Sarah’s voice. “Ah, but you’re much too big to carry around either way, especially if I have to take both at once.” She said, glancing at the raft that was once Ilike. “I’ll have to reinflate you later.” Summer shouted in vain as Sarah promptly popped her plugs - which were placed on her thigh and her shoulder - and started to squeeze her dry. If being transformed into an inflatable toy was a strange feeling, being deflated like one was worse. Her air drained like toothpaste from a tube, and she was overcome by a vague haze. It felt like she was dreaming. If only this were a dream…
Sarah picked up Ilike and threw the deflated Summer over her shoulder, and took them to be reunited with the rest of the late applicants. She tossed Ilike into one of the shelves, but kept Summer in her hand.
“Listen up!” she said harshly. It felt a little embarrassing to be talking to a room full of inanimate objects, so she wanted to make this brief. Hopefully nobody would walk into the shop while she was making a fool of herself. “This is the first and last time I’m going to talk to any of you. I like to explain these situations during the change, but there wasn’t a chance this time for most of you so here it is. As you might have guessed, you’ve landed yourselves into the role of rides for today’s race. When the actual applicants get here most of you will be rented for that purpose. The winner of the race gets to keep their toy. Summer here,“ she waved the deflated woman around so they could all see, “has taken home about three before today, so she can vouch for how fun it is to win one. If that’s you, so long!”
There were a lot of mental gasps after that comment, but Sarah couldn’t hear them and probably wouldn’t have cared if she did.
“If not, you’ll be brought back here for the big after-race sale. I’m sure I’ll be able to sell most of you…” she looked around the room. She had some good designs here. It was probably going to be a good haul. “If you don’t sell, I might hang onto you for a little while in storage, or I might change you back. It depends.” She looked down at the one she was still holding. “One or two I might even keep for myself. Something to tan on, perhaps.” She shrugged, and slipped Summer onto one of the shelves. “But who knows?”
She turned back to the store without a goodbye, picking up Ilika’s dropped game on the way out, and did not speak to them as if they were human again.
It was just them in the store room now, over two dozen former women trapped as beach toys and floatation devices. By the end of the day, one of them would definitely be stuck this way for good and on their way to be owned by some oblivious racer. They eyed each other nervously. Who had the fastest design? Would one of them just get unlucky? And after that, more of them were likely to be sold off. Who knew how many of them would possibly never be human again?
There was no way to know who was doomed and who wasn’t, but each one’s thoughts were dear hopes it wouldn’t be them…
Back at the front, Sarah called the organizers of the race and told them that everything was ready for the race - she just had to wait for the applicants to show up and then move the collection out to the starting ground. This was the grunt work part of the job, and even though it was a lot less fun than setting magical traps and shifting forms, she knew it was essential for keeping her small business afloat. She owed a lot to Girls Of Summer’s goodwill.
After that she decided to relax, and maybe try out that game Ilika had been playing. Vhaidra’s Quest turned out to be pretty fun – so far she had even managed to charm the powerup system, so that every item transformed the main character into something different.
She knew at some point she would have to get ready for the real racers and figure out how to get thirty inflatables across the beach without blowing her cover. Getting chased out of town for witchcraft wasn’t fun, so if enough of them weren’t claimed before the race started, she would need to deflate a few more of her acquisitions to make space. But she had just finished a big job, so she felt justified in relaxing. She wouldn’t get distracted too long…
A half hour later door swung open, and a rail-thin woman with a bob-cut rushed into the store. Sarah quickly shut the game – she had just figured out how to turn Vhaidra into a powerup and equip her to another character as a dress – and threw it into a drawer. It wouldn’t do for anyone to think she was wasting time.
The woman didn’t notice. She was very brown, and it looked like she had fallen asleep while tanning. Perhaps she was a little scatterbrained, but she Sarah’s first actual customer of the day. That made her special.
“I’m here for the race!” She panted. It sounded like she had run here. “I signed up earlier this week! Am I too late?”
Sarah stood up and put on her best salesman face. “No, my dear. You’re just in time. In fact, you get first pick.” She put her hand on the girl’s shoulder and led her to the back.
“I’m the first one to get a ride?” The woman grinned. She seemed very excited. Excited people bought more than they needed.
“Yep!” Sarah said. “And I think I have the perfect ride in mind for you. It’s designed to look like a sunbather, and I get the feeling you love to tan. Speaking of which, I happen to sell a quality suntan lotion...”
The woman laughed, and said said she couldn’t wait to see the selection - she was hoping to go home with an Ainsley Original today, even if she didn't win! And she even picked up a case of that lotion, for luck!
Sarah hid a chuckle behind her hand. With a start like this, she wondered if she might just sell out of the whole lot today…