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by David Conway
Category: Dark Fantasy/Suspense/Thriller
Description: THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE IS THE ONE THAT ACHIEVES MADNESS?" Tokyo. A serial killer known as the Doll Maker is stalking Kabuki-cho, preying on the prostitutes that work in the city's notorious red light district. Obsessed with obscene fantasies and terrifying visions of an apocalyptic holocaust, the murderer is a divinely-inspired psychopath who stages his crimes as elaborate rituals incorporating elements of the occult, Buddhist doctrine and kabuki theatre. Takeshi Harada, a disgraced former police officer, now working as a private detective on the fringes of the law, is hired by a powerful yakuza crime boss to track down the elusive killer. The investigation leads Harada through the neon netherworld of the Tokyo vice trade--its love hotels, image clubs and pink salons--and a series of encounters with dangerous gangsters, streetwise prostitutes and corrupt cops. Embroiled in a world of sex, violence and murder, Harada embarks on an odyssey of revenge and personal redemption, culminating in a climactic life-or-death confrontation with the Doll Maker--and a final chilling act of bloody, symbolic justice?
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2009 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: September 2009
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [384 KB]
Reading time: 211-295 min.
From the Netherworlds to Nirvana
The Doll Maker stood before the altar. Incense, chemical smells and flickering candlelight evoked the eerie atmosphere of a pagan shrine. Lost in contemplation, the Doll Maker savoured the anticipation. The basement was his sanctuary--the only place on earth he dared reveal his true nature.
Music played on a portable CD player: Puccini's Madam Butterfly provided the perfect accompaniment to the imminent ritual. The Doll Maker remembered how the opera's heroine, abandoned by the gaijin naval officer Pinkerton, embraced suicide and achieved immortality. The libretto's conclusion reminded him of a sewamono drama. Suicide featured in many of those too: the tragic outcome of a michiyuki or 'lover's journey'--a conflict only death could resolve. Nowadays, in modern Japan, such noble sentiments had been forgotten. The Doll Maker mourned their passing.
The aria drew to a close--time to finish his latest masterpiece.
The woman lay on a bare mattress in the middle of the floor, surrounded by the obscene fetishes the Doll Maker had created. She remained completely naked, poised on the threshold of eternity. From the Netherworlds to Nirvana--her odyssey was almost complete. The sacred instruments of her initiation covered a bolt of crisp white linen on the floor beside the mattress. Kneeling, the Doll Maker took a moment to gather his thoughts, mentally rehearsing the process.
He began with the needles.
Dozens of acupuncture needles glittered on the sheet. The Doll Maker inserted them carefully into the woman's body. She had been dead for quite some time, her body ritually groomed and purified. He could feel the delicious coolness of her flesh, chilled to perfection. He briefly visualised the tranquil stillness of her heart, its chambers and valves occluded with clotting blood.
The woman's eyes remained open. They looked glassy. Opaque. Her expression reminded the Doll Maker of the Miroku Buddha. And that pleased him. Visions of infinity illuminated his imagination as he applied the final needles. Precisely distributed over the woman's small breasts and torso, they formed a deliberate design.
A six-pointed star.
Still kneeling, the Doll Maker leaned back on his heels, surveying his work. He nodded slightly. His narrow black eyes sparkled. An exquisite emptiness defined him.
The aria ended. And then it started again.
The CD player repeated the track continuously, providing a sublime obligato to the procedure. Sex and death formed the critical elements of an occult formula hauntingly evoked by Madam Butterfly's suicide: the forlorn romanticism of a doomed michiyuki. The Doll Maker stared into his companion's face. The face he had made.
Time to begin his transformation.
Three small ceramic pots lay nearby. They contained the thick greasepaint traditionally worn by kabuki actors. Kumadori. As he applied the heavy make-up the Doll Maker observed his reflection in the three full-length mirrors arranged at the head of the mattress. His true face revealed itself. He found the process fascinating. Terrifying.
The Doll Maker stared down at his companion. He touched her cold thighs. Caressing the bloodless flesh with his long fingers, he traced a series of invisible hieroglyphs on the dead woman's skin. His excitement mounted. Incredible power coursed through his veins. Already he could feel the blood thickening along the length of his penis. The woman's dead sex exerted an irresistible gravity. It held him transfixed.
The Doll Maker entered her and quickly established the familiar rhythm. Starry holocausts erupted behind his eyes. The advent of his ecstasy approached. He watched himself in the mirrors, visibly transforming. A halo of flames surrounded his body--the undying fire that burned at the heart of Creation.
* * * *
Outside, the meaningless bustle of Tokyo continued. Its complacent population remained oblivious to the erotic apocalypse the Doll Maker had unleashed.
Soon they would know. He would make them understand.
* * * *