Hellbound Dolls #20.5 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Epilogue)


Fingers tensed, pulled tendons like steel wires and released. My arm was still flesh, but not human; then again, did it matter?

The city was bright as bright could be, swirling with each of the senses. Scents of the street prickled against goose pimples as the light of Tokyo Tower danced on my tongue; while the hustle and bustle, panic and pain climbed the corners of my skull and skated the blade of realization. Humanity, nature and industry carried across the water and bent to my awareness.

“It’s so…”

Words caught on my tongue. None could describe the experience.

The Platinum Doll… Chiyoko, smiled and nodded. Until that point her expression had been forced; her celebration of my transcendence a point of pride more than of happiness.


Fists struck invisible targets, whipping gusts in miniature. Woe betide whatever, whoever they landed against.

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Hellbound Dolls #20 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 7)


The rain fell before midnight. The streets were covered in blood, and God came to wash them clean; clean as a city could be, anyhow.

I stepped inside and slipped my shoes off by the door. Cold ran down my fingertips and fell as fat drops onto the wood panel. Each was stained with a cloud only visible if you saw it close; life itself watered down and made thin.

Beyond the threshold the lights were still on, dimmed, and permeated with whispers from the center of the room. On the television were two men fighting to talk over each other; between them a picture of three figures they mistook for human.

“Nobody really knows what these magical girls want,” one pressed.

The other nodded. “I agree, Kamina. People have been calling them ‘heroes’, but rumors of monsters have been unsubstantiated. The only proof we have is of the damage they’ve caused”

“Police are still wondering if they’re connected to the murder of the Black Soul Angels, a gang based out of the Shinjuku district-”

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Hellbound Dolls #19 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 6)


A hot river sprayed through my fingers and into the chasm bridging the skyline. Even at half strength my bounds traveled faster and farther than human or beast; so long as I did not hesitate or nurse my wounds too closely.

How could I have been so weak? Two hundred souls had been claimed as mine, only for the rest snatched by a pretender whose scars paled in comparison. Who did he think he was to usurp my holy quest?

Wounds wept through the hand squeezed against it, losing life to the gravel. The power of Dollkind burned at the flesh, pulling it closed, sealing it in my vessel, but not fast enough.

Every second was vital.


Tarred wings streaked toward the sky, and with it pulled a gust that knocked me from my feet. It’s scream tore through my ears, and a new layer of agony left other senses scrambling.

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Hellbound Dolls #18 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 5)



The Platinum Doll exploded to life and charged with the spear grown in her palm. Gone was the boy in the leather skirt, replaced by the silver haired schoolgirl with face painted for death.

A swipe, a stab, turn and feint; every move lacked subtlety, focus. If ducking between jabs appeared easy on my part then it was for good reason.

My blades crossed, caught her blade and thrust upward, prying an opening for a kick to land center of his chest. The Platinum Doll went crashing into the dirt and rolled.

I couldn’t help but grin. “Is that the best you can do?”

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


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.

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


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)


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)


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)


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.


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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