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

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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 #17 – “Emerald Nightmare” (Part 4)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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 #12.5 – “Going Platinum” (Epilogue)

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Quiet yet confident, furious and enigmatic; even from afar one could see Yamaguchi Genkai would not go down without a fight. How would finesse fare against her brawling technique? Myriad outcomes danced in the eye of my mind.

My dagger kissed the stone, ground the edge of the blade and agreed; whatever took place I would be the victor. Fate would not forgive me otherwise.

A wind blowing through Tokyo Tower announced the arrival of a spirit. Even before I caught his scent I knew he was coming.

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