Chapter Twenty-Seven: Black Poison Dolly:

February 28th, 2011.

It started three days ago.

Minori stood in the mirror. She rolled down her the neck of her sweater. Black markings covered her neck. They were only getting darker. The streaks also appeared on her torso, arms, abdomen, and legs. She could hear them screaming.

Minori shuddered.

“How is it?” someone asked behind her. The hunter turned to see her grandfather standing in the doorway. Minori lowered her eyes.

“Bad,” she said. “They’re getting darker.” The hunter eyed her grandfather.

“The curse is getting worse,” she said. The old man grabbed her by the cheeks.

“I will save you,” he said. “Don’t give up!” Minori pressed her lips together. She counted up how long this curse had been ravishing her body. She was fine when her party found her. No signs surfaced the next day either. Minori didn’t tell anyone what happened.

Now, she couldn’t hide it anymore.

They first appeared on her hands. One tiny black line she couldn’t wash away. Her eyes widened when she noticed it was under her skin. More lines appeared under her skin. Minori would shove her hands into her pockets. Act like everything was fine. No one’s going to know, right?

Now, the lines got darker and spread all over her skin. Her clothes covered up most of them.

Her grandfather got her hand. “Minori? Minori?”

“You knew, didn’t you?” she asked.


“Tell me!”

The old man shifted his eyes back and forth. “Yes.”


“I could smell their filth on you. But don’t worry, I won’t say a word. We will work with this quietly.”

“What exactly is this curse?”

“It’s draining your soul.”


“The target has marked you for death. Those lines are draining away your life.”

“No…” Minori’s hands began to tremble. “I’m so sorry I failed to kill the target! If I hadn’t fallen for his trap, I’d…”

Her grandfather patted her on the head. Minori eyed him.

“Grandpa…” she said.

“It’s okay,” he said. “You will get the target.” He pressed his forehead against hers.

“I have theory of breaking the curse.”

Minori’s jaw dropped. “How?”

“The target and his kitsune had to die.”

“That easy?”

“I believe so. In most cases, killing the source breaks the curse.”

“I’ll do it!” Minori said. “I’ll do it right this time!” Suddenly, she broke down trembling.

“W-W-What’s happening to me?”

“You’ll have to hurry,” her grandfather said. “There’s no telling how long you have left to live.”

“What should I do?” the younger hunter asked. “I don’t want to die before I avenge papa and Yoshifumi deaths!”

Her grandfather put his hands on her shoulders. “I have a way to slow the down the poison. Come with me.” Minori followed her grandfather out of the room.

She could still hear the black vein-like lines screaming under her skin. The door slid closed behind them.