RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS
Day waned into evening, and reasons to doubt the night before were growing few.
Grenier was real, and so was the Platinum Doll; more than that, so was the beating I’d been given. Transforming into a supernatural woman was no dream, and neither was the piss stained uniform the Black Soul Angels had left me to die in.
One way or another, they were going to pay.
I marched to the dockside with battle plans in mind. Lost in thought I didn’t notice the hand snatching my wrist, the man it belonged to, or his identity before my other fist flew into his face. He caught my blow and huffed.
“Don’t you know that striking an officer is a serious offense?” Detective Miyamoto snickered.
He released me from his grip and I pushed back. The detective and his partner lingered, and without a word offered a light when I searched my purse for a cigarette.
Miyamoto lifted his tired eyes and lay them on me. “So what have you been up to since our last run in, Chiyoko? My sources say that you and your girls beat up a store cashier the other night, and that you’ve been making trouble with the Black Soul Angels.”
“I bet your sources say a lot of things,” I scoffed, leaned back and took a long drag.
The cop chuckled. “They do at that; and usually I’m happy to let such squabbles fall under my notice, but then eight members of a local gang are found massacred in an alley and I’m left wondering how they got that way.”
I dropped my cigarette and gasped. Surely he was mistaken.
“Ishikawa Shotaro, Hidari Akira, Suzuki Ken; the list goes on,” he hummed. “Someone’s going down for this, Chiyoko. My captain wants to pin this on your Dolls seeing as you were the ones to last see them alive.”
How had it come to this? It was surely no coincidence that on the same night I underwent a profound transformation, when I tasted unnatural blood on the wind, that our rivals met their end. Was this the work of the Platinum Doll?
I answered the detective’s questions, though failed to mention where memory faltered. Had they any evidence of our involvement they would have asked for more than just a talk. Regardless, a precedent had been made, and my mission of vengeance was taking another shape.
“This is too much to handle,” Yumiko murmured.
Akane bit her fingers and paced. “I hate the Black Soul Angels as much as the rest of us, but we would never…”
“Nobody deserves an end like that,” Ginny said.
I had yet to tell them of the night before.
We gathered around the fire burning inside a drum and stared into it as though the flame held answers. The girls wondered aloud, who could have done this; was it another rival gang?
The more I thought about it the less I was bothered. Instead I grinned.
“Chiyoko.” Ginny’s voice snapped me back into reality. Her look was stern, like a mother. “What did you tell the police?”
“The truth,” I told her. “We had nothing to do with this.”
“Are you glad, Chiyoko?” Yumiko pressed.
I said nothing.
The crackling of flames was undercut by an echo in the dark; it was a man, panting, sprinting across gravel. We turned to the sound and to the silhouette in the dark of a man in leather with a pompadour hanging over his brow, just like his leader had.
“Black Soul Angel!”
“Please, you have to help me!” he cried.
I shot to my feet and faced him down while the girls circled. There was hesitation in their step because they didn’t know; and neither did he. Of the faces I recalled from the beating I didn’t find his, but that did not mean I would be forgiving.
“You know who we are, don’t you?” I hissed.
He fell to his knees and bowed; the filth was right to not look at us. “I do. I do, and I need you. Please, the Hellbound Dolls are the only ones who can defeat them. I have two sisters and a widowed mother, and I’ll do anything to protect them.”
I nudged him with the tip of my boot and pushed him to the ground. “What’s your name?”
“R-Ryu-Ryunosuke,” he shuddered.
“Why should we help you? We’re your enemies.”
“The Black Soul Angels are dead,” he gasped. “They’re my enemies now as well.”
I spat into the fire to lose the fetid taste. “Death is all it takes to sway your loyalty. Why should we listen to someone so pathetic?”
He looked up with tears forming in his eyes. “No, no; you don’t understand. They betrayed me! The Black Soul Angels died, and now they want to kill me too!”
Akane paused and looked to the rest of the group. “How can they kill you if they’re already dead?”
I didn’t know the answer, but to look into the boy’s eyes I knew; he’d seen something, and it had changed him forever. Had he too been touched by the strange?
In the distance a wolf howled. Something in the air tasted foul.
To be continued…