Hellbound Dolls #17 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 4)

RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS

I stood in the shadows, back to a pillar, and listened. The Hellbound Dolls had assembled, just as they did most other nights by the restless water. This time, however, their tone was serious.

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

It was the heavy one with the English name; the one most ravaged by the poison hormone, the one whose frame could match the width of two others. The fact likely fed her fountain of rage.

Yamaguchi sighed, loud enough to be heard by all. “Don’t think I would take this from you,” he reasoned, “but there’s more to this than even I know. The last thing I want to do is lead you to danger.”

“What kind of danger?” Saito, the one they called Yumiko, pressed.

Silence. Shifting of gravel.

“I don’t know,” Yamaguchi hummed.

The large one marched and scoffed. “Does it matter? You know who we are. You know what every one of us would give up to have this chance.”

“I know.”

“So why are you trying to talk us out of it?”

Again, silence.

Then, a mouse squeaked; Honda, or Akane as they called her. “There’s probably a lot of reasons not to, but… I would do anything to be a girl. You know, a real girl.”

“You are a real girl,” Saito lied.

“Even if it meant damnation?” Yamaguchi said. “We’re not talking about a deal with other gangs, police or yakuza. Overnight we’ve become subject to spirits and matters of the afterlife. Our mortal concerns…”

“Are just as important as they always were,” the large one continued.

“Genevieve…”

“It was always life and death, Chiyoko. How many gangs have come after us because we live by our own rules?”

The leader sighed. “Too many to count.”

“I don’t know about you, Chiyoko, but every time I’m called ‘Shiro’ I feel hell at my feet. This life is already damnation. If I have a chance to experience the womanhood that calls to me, even if it’s in the defiance of Heaven, I’m going to take it.”

The smaller of the group laughed. “You’re such a badass, Ginny!”

Yamaguchi balled his fists until his knuckles cracked. “It’s easy to say these things when you haven’t seen monsters up close. There has to be a better way.”

I laughed. The time for hiding was over. From out of view I could hear the gang turn, tilting their heads and fuming. I rolled from the pillar and stepped into the light, strutting toward them with my satchel hanging over my shoulder.

“To think, Yamaguchi, that a group of lost children made you their leader,” I hummed. “You don’t understand their feelings at all. How could you? You don’t value what you have been given; not like they would.”

The gang were quick to fall in line. Despite their bickering the group of boys, ranging from pretty to gaudy in appearance, would always follow their boss. Loyalty would be their greatest virtue if it weren’t so misplaced.

“You again,” he huffed. “What do you want? Why are you fucking with me and my girls?”

“To make sure you heeded my warning,” I told him.

Yamaguchi brushed the strand of his wig to one side and released the blade of a flick-knife. There was no more need for pretense without teachers watching.

The others lingered and turned to their leader. Yumiko broke the silence; “who is this, Chiyoko?”

“A stalker,” he snarled. “Someone who doesn’t want us to make contracts with Grenier. I was going to wait to get some answers, but now that you’re here, whoever you are, I guess we can just cut them out of you.”

Like a pack they split, circling, creeping into my blind spots; they wouldn’t question why they were doing what they were doing, not so long as Yamaguchi gave the say-so.

I removed my glasses and placed them in their case.

“Do you think she respects you at all?” I asked of the group. “You reach for your true selves, but as soon as you’re given the chance she tries to talk you out of it.”

“Are you telling me I should have been encouraging,” Yamaguchi pressed, “after you threatened them?”

“Not if you care for their lives.”

The lock fell from my sleeve and into my hand, and into the other a key.

“That this path to womanhood will bring you death,” I told her. “Girls like yours, Yamaguchi Genkai, and girls like me… know that death is a small price to pay for our integrity of self. Every true woman knows that.”

Yamaguchi roared for them to “stay back!”

The key met the lock, and I turned. Incandescent vines wrapped around my body as I uttered the magic word, “transform!”

Skin tightened under the glow of my curse, as hair stained green whipped into shape. A black uniform fell over my body, and finished by placing daggers in my grip.

I laughed at the pretender. “There’s only one doll, Yamaguchi Genkai, and she is emerald.”

To be continued…

Hellbound Dolls #16 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 3)

RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS

How to describe the smell of demonic flesh…

It goes beyond anything that a human might experience, lower than the most wretched depth of disgust. To call it a feculent odor of maggots rotting under the sun would cannot begin to convey the vileness. The aroma supersedes your senses and claws at your gut, washing over your pores, and covers you with filth that can only be cleansed with fire.

Imagine the way my stomach churned as the crow spirit flapped its wings in my face, filling the air with its scent. I launched away from the swipe of its talons. Had I not the composure of a supernatural being I might have doubled over and wretched instead of rolling to safety.

I reclaimed my footing and launched back, flinging twin blades. They flew over the expanse between us; one lodged itself under the demon’s wing, and the other in its neck.

The chasm between doll and foe snapped shut and I clung to its feathers, pulling out handfuls of the tar-coated quills covering its hide. With every ounce of strength in my body I fought to hold on against pecking, clawing, and jerking of gravity as our combined weight pulled us from flight.

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Hellbound Dolls #15 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 2)

RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS

The sun had not yet risen when I dressed for school. Slivers of orange over blossom colored clouds cast the suburbs in hues only half-awake. Shift workers returned home on the first trains as a handful of others boarded, and I with them.

Every moment between stops dripped with agony, but I kept my composure.

Commuters came and went, passing like sand through fingers. An hour after stepping onto the yellow line saw the first students boarding, from mixed schools and co-ed, divided by class and grade as much as they were by gender.

I clutched my satchel in my lap, out of place in white and tan amidst the navy sea. They snickered and laughed, mostly about cartoons and dramas, or even worse about each other. Though we had been born to the same era the world of my peers was so much smaller than my own.

Then he stepped on board.

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Hellbound Dolls #14 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 1)

RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS

Thunder silenced the closing door. Like a gaping maw the apartment breathed warmth, inviting me further into the shadows.

Rain followed me inside, dripping from my skirt, saturating my hair and pulling the strands into waves. I slipped off my sandals, lined them against the wall, and stepped onto the wood with stockings cushioning my feet.

Past the kitchen was snoring; my stepsister, most probably drunk and lost on the way to her bedroom. Mom and her husband did not bemoan the nights I spend away from home, so why should her escapades be met differently?

She moaned with my passing and was silenced when I reached the final door, drawing it shut.

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Hellbound Dolls #13 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Prelude)

RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS

The curtains were drawn and the door barricaded; the room was empty and so was I, and we both stood, waiting. Like the uniform I wore the space held only the ruse of Yamaguchi Genkai, and not the spirit.

In my hand was a lock, cold and inert in spite of its contents. It burned against touch. Every crack, every crevice in the sculpted metal pricked my flesh like sparks. Sometimes it sent blood surging through my veins, like a second heart that rested in my pocket.

I slipped the key inside and turned.

“Transform.”

Licks of silver poured from the keyhole and bathed the room in their light. By the dozens they rolled over my flesh, saturating my pores, seeping into my bones, and changing them into something else. Strands of hair ran down my back as my clothing came to life and took new shape.

When it was done and the glow had paled I turned to the mirror. It was the first opportunity I’d had to see her; the Platinum Doll, the demon come to life when manhood was banished.

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The Future and Beyond

Hello my wonderful audience,

I should apologize for not posting in a while. You know how it goes; real life catches up and you have to step away. Sadly, writing is my hobby, even though I’m trying to step up my game, and ultimately the Shimmerverse is what pays the price.

That said, there’s still a future here, and still many things I plan to build; not least of which is the second volume of Hellbound Dolls that I will be releasing immediately.

Sorry for the wait, everybody. I hope you enjoy what is yet to come.

Love and laughs,
Miranda Sparks xoxo

Shimmerverse eBook Publications

Recently I’ve been hearing the question, are we going to see Shimmerverse stories collected in eBook format?

Well, ask and ye shall receive!

Now available in ePub format are the first two volumes of Shimmer, and the first volume of Hellbound Dolls.

Shimmer – 01 – Starlight, Star Bright…

Shimmer – 02 – The Reign of Cats and Dogs

Hellbound Dolls – 01 – Going Platinum

Future stories will be collected in a similar way once completed; but for now I’ll keep writing, you can keep reading on the side, and as always donations are more than welcome.

Love and laughs,

Miranda xo

Shimmer #41 – “The Reign of Cats and Dogs” (Part 11)

As the sun set human life returned to Milestone City. The air was filled with a collective sigh mixed with the bitter tang of caffeine. Owners set out in search of their pets, on foot, in cars, and called out from all corners.

Through it all Max stayed by my side, never once going stray and always burying his face whenever I stopped. He looked up time and again, smiling through his drooping jowls; and something else, as though he knew…

Tanks rolled down the main drag as the national guard piled into their trucks. They along with the police dismantled the barricades, letting through the animal control groups whose work was only just beginning. If only there were more I could do to help.

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Thank you!

I don’t know what to say.

When I asked for $20, I was hoping for people to chip in little bits; one or two dollars each, but thanks to your generosity we’ve pooled ten times as much.

Thank you. Thank you all so much.

Not only will Shimmer be online for at least another couple of years, but my partner and I get to eat for the next week!

Additionally, there’s still funds leftover to commission some more art for the site. (Any good artists to recommend? Any particular content you’d like to see?)

It means the world to have fans like you. You’re the best.

xoxo,
Miranda

[Insert Plea for Donations Here]

Hey all,

My partner and I are having trouble making ends meet, and I need to pay off the Shimmerverse domain cost (approx $20).

Any Shimmer fans feel kind enough to hit the donate button on the page and keep the site going for another two years?

Thank you in advance, and FYI, I take requests.

Love and laughs,
Miranda