Doom yawned beneath my feet, and pulled me down with the weight of Ginny’s absence. It's salty breath wafted from the dockyards to where the Black Soul Angels gathered, and throttled roars from their machines. I wandered toward their circle and into the light emanating from a series of drum fires.
In the dimness of the open boatshed I caught the gaze of a slack-jawed thug whose exaggerated hooting revealed him for the animal he was. Others joined in with cries of vulgarity, and dared me to flinch. Instead I remained locked on my goal, and moved forward one step at a time.
There are few who possess the resolve to walk among their enemies. Perhaps, once, I might have faltered. However, to do so was to betray a friend, along with a sisterhood forged in damnation. For them I would persevere; for them I would cast off the jeers and press like a dagger into the heart of fate.
Gang members, initiates, and their girlfriends shuffled to clear the path to the throne. I seized at the vision before me, of a doll laid out in the dust with hands and feet bound. The blood on her brow had coagulated with filth. Though she was weak Ginny blinked with acknowledgement, and pleaded through her gag.
A tall, leather boot pressed into her spine. It was connected to a sturdy figure draped in black. He wore a smirk behind his unkempt beard, and turned his nose up at my arrival. Without having met I knew him to be Yoshino Genta, ring leader of the Black Soul Angels.
“Queen Chiyoko,” he sneered. “We meet at last!”
I looked down to Ginny, and her pain. She had been in the fight of her life, and she was in it alone. “You’re going to be alright,” I said. My gentle tone was for her, and her alone.
Yoshino pressed his boot down. “You should really think twice about leaving your trash where anyone could find it, or burn it, or crush it…”
I snapped. “You’re disgusting. Stop talking.”
His weight shifted, and prompted Ginny to wince. “You’ve got a really fuckin’ mouth on you, don’t you? I bet it’s gotten you into trouble before. Maybe if we stuffed it full of cock-”
“Is that what it would take?” I asked.
Yoshino stopped. He and every jackal under him reeled at what they heard. They could not believe I was serious; they did not know the lengths I would go to for my dolls. Did they have the same loyalty to each other? I had my doubts.
“Are you really offering me head, Queen Chiyoko?”
I glared at him, and did not blink. “For the sake of my friend I will accept your penis into my mouth. I even promise not to bite.”
He tasted the thought, and grinned. “What if I want more than that?”
“What more do you want?”
Yoshino stepped over Ginny in favor of a tastier morsel. “Why don’t you use your imagination?” he asked. The scent of tobacco and rot lingered as he neared.
“You want to fuck my ass,” I said; “tear off my clothes, beat me, humiliate me, lather me in your sperm.” Yoshino laughed, but I was still. “Whatever your perverted wish I will grant it, on the sole condition you leave the Hellbound Dolls alone.”
Hate curled in my fists in spite of my words. It was a feeling I would have to swallow among many things. Such was the cost of peace with monsters, so that the dolls I was sworn to might have a refuge.
There was silence, and then laughter. Yoshino leaned close and let the spit fly in my face, but still I held my resolve.
“You really think I’d want to fuck an ugly fag like you?” he said.
“It’s not about desire,” I said. “It’s about putting your enemies in place and asserting your dominance. Are you man enough to do that, my sweet darling Genta?”
His eyes flashed as I bent my knees before him. My stockings sat in the dust, and spread to lower myself further. Though my face was lined with the seat of his jeans I did not break contact with his gaze. The rest he would have to do himself.
A hundred eyes pierced my back with anger and anticipation. They did not know or understand the thing I was, nor did they care to. Girls like us were an aberration in their minds; nature twisted against itself, and begging to be put down. Whatever evil they had sewn mattered little in the face of what was different. Knowing that made surviving the Black Soul Angels no different to the rest of the world.
Yoshino stepped back, and snarled. His thoughts were as loud as the sun was bright; ‘stick my dick in that thing?’ Whatever disgust he projected rolled off my shell. Instead, he called to another in the crowd, and summoned the bruised and swollen yankee from the night before. They huddled together in heated conversation.
The yankee jumped. “You think I’m gonna let that thing bite my dick off?”
“This is your chance to get your own back,” Yoshino said. “Get in there! Do it! Be a fuckin’ man for once in your life!”
Despite being at their mercy, neither man was able to bring himself close. I looked up, practically inviting perversion, though they reeled the moment my mouth fell open.
Suddenly there was the shattering of glass, and streaks of flame rolled across the dirt. The Black Soul Angels squealed and flew for their bikes before the second cocktail struck the ground. Such balanced destruction ran down the lines, dividing the leader from the pack.
My fist rocketed toward the nearest target, delivering an uppercut to the crotch of Yoshino Genta. The fracturing of his manhood sent him to the ground so that I might tower over him, and move toward my friend.
As fire from above pelted down I alone held my composure, and marched through the screams with a single purpose. I cut Ginny free, and slung her arm over my shoulder. Her weight was nothing to the urgency of our escape, which proved simple in the dark.
We veered from the main path and took refuge behind an old shed. The moment she was set down Ginny started to weep, and collapsed into my arms. Even as the motorcycles charged by I held for dear life, stroked her back, and hushed her. Tender, aching flesh melted against my touch, made pathetic by what she’d endured.
Fire singed my veins like the course of a volcano. “I will never forgive them for this,” I whispered, rocking her back and forth. “We’re going to make this right, Ginny. I promise.”
* * * *
It was late by the time we found each other. With only a tent village of homeless on the other side of the park it was as good as deserted. In the shadows we could steal a chance to rest and lick our wounds. With luck on our side the rest of the battle could wait.
Between them Akane and Yumiko shared a large backpack, a baseball bat, and the unmistakable odor of kerosene. They had traded in their usual glamor for black hoodies and sneakers. No sooner than they spotted our silhouettes than they ran to our side, and pried Ginny from my shoulder. Immediately Yumiko set to work cleaning the blood from her face and swabbing the open wounds.
“We should really get you to a hospital,” Akane said.
Ginny winced, and pulled into herself. “Are you kidding? How am I going to explain that to my Mom and Dad?” She laughed with the pain. “I’ve already broken curfew. They’re probably called the cops to come find me.”
Yumiko wrapped gauze around her temple, and sighed. “I guess you could always say you were mugged.”
“This part of town, this time of night,” Akane said. “Crazier things have happened.”
I stood and gazed through the trees where city lights in dull neon cut through the dark. Somewhere the Black Soul Angels were circling, and sniffing the air for blood. I could almost hear the roar of their motorcycles swarming en masse, or perhaps it was my own fears bracing for the worst.
The dolls slumped by a tree and looked up. Ginny was sat upright with the others on either side seeing to her every need. Even in pitch darkness I was aware of their concern; the air was thick with it.
“You shouldn’t have interfered,” I said.
They were silent at first, until Akane dismissed the thought with laughter. “Come on. You really think we were you to leave you with those guys? They were going to… you know…”
I closed my eyes and lived every horror they could possibly inflict. In spite of it the strings of my composure had yet to break. “Nothing they can do will ever break my spirit,” I said. Doubt stirred, but I payed it no mind.
“They took Ginny,” Yumiko said.
“After we hit one of theirs.”
It must have been unusual them to hear such words, just as it was to speak them. When had they ever known Queen Chiyoko to show such restraint? Never impulsive by any means, but ‘forgive and forget’ ran counter to our ethos.
My shame was heavy, and grew under Ginny’s swollen gaze. I could not bring myself to face her, or silence her as she spoke.
“That’s bullshit,” she said. “You told me we were going to make this right, Chiyoko. One of theirs disrespected us, and we put him down. They didn’t just attack me, you know; they attacked all of us. They spit in the face of the Hellbound Dolls!”
She was right, of course. The need for vengeance was absolute, though ran counter to Madam Haruko’s request. Bound by honor and obligation there was only one course of action left to take.
“No,” I said. “A war with the Black Soul Angels will have to wait. We will have retribution, but it will take some time.”
The dolls groaned. In spite of Ginny’s injuries they hungered for battle, and for blood; our pride demanded nothing less. To refuse them left a bitter taste, but such was my role I’d been assigned as queen.
* * * *
In the city sky where most stars drowned a full moon loomed over Tokyo. It hung wide and watched the streets. Only a handful continued to linger come the witching hour, and fewer still were aware of what the night wind might have carried.
Among the houses and the buildings came a piercing howl that echoed for miles around. Somewhere in the land called civilisation a predator searched for new prey, fresh meat, and a satisfying kill.
* * * *
When Chiyoko was stripped away there was nothing left save the numbness that seeped into every corner. I sat on the train and counted the stops, same as every other night; an inevitable gang war didn’t change anything.
Even with headphones turned to full there was no stamping Ginny’s wounds from my thoughts. Every cut and bruise was a mark of hate against her, and by extension the other dolls. Her pain was more visceral than my own, and for that reason could never be tolerated.
Rage bubbled under apathy. The smokescreen of boyhood held, though barely. Somehow I would sleep knowing that Yoshino Genta remained standing. Yumiko, Akane, and especially Ginny might not have had the same luxury.
I walked the blocks between the station and home. There were no lights save those following the streets. Silence accompanied the cool breeze, which was the only thing to stir in desolate suburbia.
It was too late to run when I realized I wasn’t alone. Sets of arms scooped my shoulders, and left me open to the wooden bat flying into my gut. I contorted around the pain, and fought to pull in oxygen. Already the bile was collecting at the back of my throat.
My attackers did not relent, and as I curled into a defensive position took blows along my back. Three of them, maybe more, lashed out while their friends hooked my limbs. I was trapped, helpless to do anything except absorb their hits, until seeped of the strength to carry myself.
They didn’t stop, even when I struck the dirt, and continued to land kick after kick. A different kind of fire stabbed from the inside of my chest, and the warm taste of copper filled my mouth. The whole world was spinning so fast I couldn’t know where to block.
Finally, they stopped. It was only then I could make out their shapes against the streetlights, and the sheen of black leather jackets stood in a row.
“Black... Soul... Angels...”
“Count yourself lucky, faggot. We just saved you a fortune in eyeliner,” one of them said. His cohorts laughed with him.
Through the haze an unmistakable figure stepped forward, and squatted by my side. The dead weight in my limbs held my relatalition in check.
Yoshino Genta smiled, and pushed my head back with his palm. “You know I don’t actually have anything against queers,” he said. “It’s fun to push your buttons sometimes - chase you, give you a bit of a scare, maybe shove you around if we need to - but in the end nobody really gets hurt. It’s all fun and games, isn’t it?”
Chiyoko bled from the cuts, and fumed. The opportunity for vengeance stood before me, and yet I struggled to move.
“Then you and your ‘Hellbound Dolls’ come along and deliberately forget your place. I don’t even care that you beat on my cousin. I mean, not really. He’s an arrogant piece of shit anyway. He probably won’t make the final cut... but what you did with those molotovs crossed a line.”
He rose to his feet and planted them a solid distance apart. Through the blur I watched his hands move toward the center of his legs, and heard the zip as it came down. Suddenly he was exposed; Yoshino’s veiny flesh appendage hung like overripe fruit, and filled his palm as he grabbed it.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” he spat. “Sadly, you’ll never get the chance.”
A hot, acrid taste splashed across my face and seared the open wounds. Yoshino gyrated from right to left, and swished the stream into every corner he could find. My clothes drank it up and clung to my skin, almost as if to marinate me in humiliation. He whistled during the unsavory act, and after shaking the last few drops nudged me over with his boot.
“Next time you should stay at home, play dress up with your friends and have a tea party, or whatever the fuck it is you do,” he said. “Little boys need to stay out of our way.”
In my mind's eye he was a stain on the pavement; a bloody smear trickling into a drain while the Black Soul Angels watched, frozen in horror. Reality, however, saw him stroll away like a phantom in the night.
Every movement was agony. I pit my bones against the weight of the world and held a few moments until collapsing back to the golden pool. The smell drove into my head, causing me to heave onto the road. Along with the contents of my stomach there was blood.
Soon the piss cooled, leaving me vulnerable to the wind. The pain was too much, and I could no longer carry it. I closed my eyes and splayed across the ground, knowing I might not wake. That my life should have ended in such a way really pissed me off.
* * * *
I heard the sound of a feral dog sniffing at my side. Was I a person, or was I food? After the beating it was hard to tell.
The wind cut through my saturated clothes and drove the pain deeper. Through the slivers above my swollen cheeks I could make out the leaves shaking, and the midnight blue that stretched for eternity. It might have been a peaceful place if I didn’t smell as awful.
Though I tried to move my arms were like jelly, as were my legs. I trembled in the cold, still watching the world from my roadside grave. Being helpless was worse than being dead, and I prayed for it to end soon.
Suddenly, the dog snarled; except it wasn’t a dog, it was a wolf. How something so large found its way to the suburbs was the last thought on my mind. It bore teeth like egg colored daggers, and snapped me up in the gold rim of its gaze. Whatever this thing it was more than an animal, but a force of nature.
“Yamaguchi Chiyoko,” it said, but did not say. The wolf’s voice echoed from my chest like a primordial cry.
The resonance, which against all reason I knew to be the wolf, continued to speak. “There is magic inside you, Yamaguchi Chiyoko. You desire change. I would have use of that.”
In the rational world such things could be thought an hallucination, though none were ever as vivid. I was lost in the eyes of the beast, and falling into the void between them. The animal stepped closer, and did not blink.
His words pounded like a hammer breaking out. “Will you give me your desire?”
In that moment all I desired was a fresh change of clothes, and some bandages, along with the head of Yoshino Genta. Every facet of my foe burned in memory, from the ugly stains on his teeth to his filthy beard; the thirst for vengeance was absolute, but not so strong as to lift me to my feet.
I turned my head to the side. “What will... you give... me?”
The wolf neared. “Power.”
“Power,” I echoed, but to do what? Perhaps to carry myself from this place, and so much more. The animal, if you could call it something so simple, carried infinity with it. Without asking I knew the possibilities ran far beyond my wildest dreams.
“Will you give me your desire?” he asked again.
I drifted halfway between sleep and oblivion. It would have been a simple matter of letting go of this world, but pride would never allow it.
“Yes,” I whispered. My grin cracked the corners of my lips.
The wolf opened its jowls and made way for the humid darkness. A flash of agony tore through my body as he swallowed the former Yamaguchi Chiyoko, piece by piece. On this occasion death greeted me with warmth.
To be continued...
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