AUTHOR'S NOTE: A while ago I set about to write an action/horror magical girl story with some Tokyo trans sukeban (read: girl gang) called "The Hellbound Dolls." This vignette follows one of the Dolls, Akane, whose ultimate struggle is to realize she's worthy of love. This installment does not have a happy ending, so read at your own peril.
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Any illusion that the Love Rose Hotel was a romantic getaway vanished at the offer of an hourly rate, and spiralled further deeper you went. Clean sheets had been thrown on the bed, and droplets from a sponge run across the countertops had yet to evaporate. The plush carpets clung to the smells of perfume and sweat, and not even the dim lamplight could disguise the abstract stains on the wall.
Regardless, it could be forgiven of an establishment that overlooked ID checks. Something, the girl reasoned, was always better than nothing.
The hotel charged by the hour, though Akane had booked three. As soon as she entered the room she drew the curtains, and spent the next hour stripping away the guise of a school boy. Her shirt and trousers flew like leaves in hurricane, as far from her body as she could throw. Out of sight, out of mind. Next was the pair of cherry red clips she used to part her hair. Only then was Akane able to look into the bathroom mirror, and exhale.
In the corner of her mind she could hear her mother and sister laugh about the aggressive transvestites from their soap operas, the kind who would deceive men for their own gain; and while they laughed, Akane would remain frozen. Of her family she was the only one to understand what an unnatural person might do to find love.
Her transformation was slow, but no less magical than what she’d read about in comic books. Methodical application that mimicked online tutorials, honed after countless hours behind locked doors, reshaped her features one after the other into a magnificent creature not even she could recognize. To think, even someone as pathetic as her, with enough patience could actually be beautiful, at least on a surface level.
As she worked she drifted back to that night in Ginza, when she and her ‘girlfriends’ crashed the yuppie shops. The district was too rich for their blood, but that alone didn’t stop them from looking. Little did she expect to catch her upperclassman, Kenta, or his sparkling gaze under the string of lights running down the street. Under his watch she was a real girl and more, and would have done anything to cling to that feeling.
Soon the pieces came together and crafted a princess, the kind dreamed about by little girls everywhere. Foundation and powder removed the blemishes on her teenage flesh, and was highlighted with the faintest blush to warm her appearance. White stockings ran up the mid-thigh ruffles of her dress, making her smooth and soft, and the ringlets of her wig became a part of her, hanging over her eyes and tickling the corners of her face. Akane giggled and fluttered her lashes. Finally, she was brought back to life!
When she was done, and there were no flaws left to pick, she sat on the bed and stared into the mirror across the room. Like a doll she positioned herself, fixing her poses, searching for that which would most please a lover. She blew a kiss to her reflection, with pink, glossy lips that smelled of bubblegum, and were just as eager to be tasted.
Time passed, and the absence in the room swirled around her. Would Kenta even come? It was only the day before when she passed him a letter confessing her feelings, though she was in the guise of a boy. At first he’d been confused, then angry at the deception, for which Akane had apologized profusely. After all, what other choice did she have but to deceive him? Unnatural people did not have the luxury of honesty.
Her heart stopped when he snatched her hand. “I want to meet her,” he said, as though it were someone else in front of him. Regardless, joy washed over her at the prospect; to love, to touch, and maybe more. It was all she’d ever dreamed of.
It was seventeen minutes after their scheduled meeting time when her phone sang with a text message. Kenta was right outside the door, and needed her to open it.
Akane did as instructed, opening the room to the handsome boy she’d been worshipping for so long. He was taller than her, which was a rare find among her group of friends, and had warm, hazelnut eyes to soften his striking features. To her Kenta was like some TV idol, and for the next hour they belonged to each other.
He scanned the hall and pressed inside, rapidly closing the door behind him. Finally, he stopped to notice her. The tension in his jaw eased, and his mouth fell open. Kenta took a step back to absorb the full picture.
“You look just like a real girl,” he said.
She swallowed the dagger of nature’s betrayal, and pressed the gap between them shut. Looking up with sleepy eyes that begged him to fall with her, she parted her lips. “I taste like one too,” she whispered, and drank the warmth of his breath.
Every inch dragged like a mile toward the inevitable, as the red string of fate pulled them close. Then, just as lips brushed, Kenta turned and balled his fists.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said, “but… I-I… don’t know if I can…”
Her gaze fell, as did the weight in her chest. What did she have to do to make him love her, even if just for a little while?
Akane ran her fingertips down his arm, and soothed his shaking. Her kisses peppered his neck, and down the trail of his collarbone. Slowly she drew to the ground, one knee at a time, and knelt with her face against him. Kenta may have hesitated, but his eagerness showed.
“What are you doing?”
The girl flashed a knowing smile, and gasped. Her hand massaged against him. “I want to kiss you,” she said, and turned her eyes downward. She tightened her grip, and massaged the boy, guiding him into a slow dance against the wall. “Tell me if you want me to stop.”
Kenta said nothing. He drew a sharp breath and steadied himself.
This, Akane told herself, was her first kiss. It was not like in her dreams. She was not lost in her lover’s eyes, and he was not lost in hers, but it was something; and something was always better than nothing.
She accepted his affection in whatever form he offered it, and he touched her. His fingers ran through her hair, almost pulling it free, while she leaned closer and swallowed what she could. Every moan, and every gasp, was just for her. In that moment, even if it wasn’t destined to last, he loved her.
Kenta slowed. His body became rigid. He came. When the haze wore off and he found his footing, he zipped up his pants.
The girl knelt obediently, like a pup. She smiled in spite of herself, and didn’t reach for him as he stumbled away. Such was the way of things when one asked for unnatural love.
“I, um, I’ll see you around,” he muttered, and strode out the door.
Akane sat on her knees, suddenly aware of how cold the room had become. An hour and a half remained on the clock, and everything was still in place. Even the sheets of the bed lay undisturbed, though the maids would still change them.
Would he see her around, or would he look past her from then on? It didn’t matter.
She clutched her arms and ignored the tears, because she was happy. For the briefest of moments she was wanted, and she was beautiful. She would always remember that first kiss. Who could ask for more than that?
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