The pencil’s point follows the eyelid, colouring it dark red.
Finishing touches, the devil’s in the details.
She can do it automatically, without even thinking. The hand’s still, while her body’s being molded, mutated into what the customer wants.
She can think of anything else. It’s natural, like breathing.
Saho Tamura, 35 years old, can hide her true self and become 23-year-old Rin, or Rin-chan as everyone calls her, in just 20 minutes while she thinks of anything else except what she’s putting on her face.
She knows how to entertain, she knows how to chat, she knows how to make a man spend all his paycheck without even letting him lay a finger on her.
But not tonight.
It’s been 6 months since she realized that it’s time to pull off the mask.
It’s time to quit.
It’s becoming harder and harder to work at the IVY, one of many, maybe too many of Kabukicho’s host clubs. Younger flesh comes in, fewer costumers require her specifically. Her habitués are starting to get married or worse, asking for more, and that’s a line she was never able to cross.
His name is Yuji Kobayashi, another grey and dull salary man who suddenly took an interest in her. He usually came once in a month, then started once per week, then twice.
A woman who flirts with men for a living knows when a guy falls in love.
When presents are getting more and more expensive.
When he keeps sending you emojis for no reason on a regular basis.
Maybe it’s time to settle.
According to him, he works for a big firm, he’s fun at times, and he’s not a drunken swine like their regular costumers.
Not like many, too many men she had to deal with.
You’re getting old, Rin-chan, she mumbles to herself, staring at her beautiful visage in the mirror.
Green contacts, dark red lipstick and eyeliner, and a nice, Murasaki violet dress over a black bustier with some pushup features. Earrings with a crystal pendant, gold wristwatch, high heels, and long, painted nails.
Everything about her is fake.
Rin-chan is ready to come on stage.
Saho leaves her be, just for a short while, just a little longer.
She grabs her coat and exits her apartment.
It’s starting to snow now, foggy weather giving the neon a nice glowing aura.
“Is it ok if we meet in front of Mister Donut. At 9 PM?” he asks.
“Fine, Yuji-kun, I’ll be there,” she agrees.
Catching a cab from Sendagaya, she begins to regret not having chosen another meeting place. It’s just a block away from IVY.
And a costumer seeing her with someone else might create some issues.
The cab driver leaves her in front of the Ichibangai, the red arch, landmark of that place of chaos and nightlife that is the Kabukicho.
The familiar noise is comforting as she walks down the alley.
Some lowlife guys stare at her, but not for very long. They know she’s not an outsider, she is part of the local fauna.
As she approaches the Mister Donut, she calls an old friend:
“Yelllo?” Masao answers, almost immediately.
“Ma-kun? Are you busy?” she asks him.
Masao was just a street thug when she started working at the IVY. Now he’s got his own family, one of those calling the shots in Kabukicho these days.
And she knows he’s got a soft spot for her.
“Naw Saho-chan, what’s up?”
From his side she can hear a truck passing by, blaring a VANILLA jingle. Then the music of the Don Quixote store. He must be nearby, just a block or so away.
“I’m meeting with someone, tonight, and… you know… I’m not feeling really safe.”
Saho didn’t really know how to put it without sounding paranoid. But Masao knew some things about her. When they were both young, drunk, and depressed, she had told maybe too many things to him.
Things that could drove a sane man away from a beautiful lady.
“Where are you now, sweetie?” asks Masao.
“In front of Mister Donut. He may be here in, 15 minutes, I don’t know. I took a cab, he may come via train. You’ll see me but… can you just…”
“Yeah, understood. I’ll just keep my distance, and if he tries some shit, I’ll bash the brains out of his skull, awright?”
“No… just, intervene, he’s my costumer at the club, but…”
She hesitates. It has always been hard to tell Masao’s real feelings toward her from time to time.
“Yeah, no problem. Check your right, see me?”
Saho turns and sees a man at distance, near an all-male host club, in a white suit and black shirt. His shirt is half unbuttoned, showing much of his tattooed chest. He’s got no umbrella. People try not to bump into him.
He waves at her.
Saho smiles and waves back, feeling a relieved sensation.
“Ok, it will just be a matter of half an hour,” she tells him. “If I don’t make any sign of trouble after a while ,you can go on your way.”
“Yeah, understood, sweetie. Just cut me some slack if the guy has some cash on him. Or else you may invite ME to a night out. We have to marry some day,” he chuckles.
Is he serious? Saho never understood his sense of humor.
Suddenly she spots Yuji coming up the street. It’s clear that he’s nervous. He’s put on his best dress shirt and holds a package in one hand.
Bet it’s another set of jewels, a Collier, maybe.
“Gotta go, Ma-kun. Thank you!”
Yuji sees her, approaches and smiles. He smiles like he’s seeing something he’s been looking forward to for a long time.
“Rin-chan, good evening,” he greets her, trying not to stutter.
Saho smiles back. This time, the smile is somewhat forced. She has become Rin once more.
She pretends to be surprised.
“Yuji-kun! I’m so glad I’ve seen you. You look absolutely charming tonight.”
Maybe a little forced acting, but it’s her character.
Yuji lowers his head bashfully. “Oh thank you,” he giggles in response, “I… just threw on what I found in the closet.”
Lies. Saho can see from a mile that his clothes are brand new.
Smiling, she offers him her hand. “Let’s have a walk, shall we?”
He nods. “Okay.”
His hand is damp with sweat. It’s like holding a rotting peach.
They both share her umbrella. She’s taller than him. She’d never realized that. They’d always been sat together before.
Choosing such high heels might have been a mistake.
Saho turns, sees Masao following them from a distance. Their eyes meet, and she nods at him reassuringly.
He stops, flashes her one of his weird smiles, then turns and walk away.
Looking back at her date, this timid guy with a brand-new suit and the little bag he’s holding, Saho feels as if she’s come to a crossroads.
Yes, Saho, settle down, become a housewife, a mother. Stop working at the Kabukicho. Leave for the suburbs.
“How was your day? Yuji-kun?” she asks, her voice becoming higher pitched. Man always loved that.
“Oh… my little brother had an accident during a soccer match. Broken tibia,” he explains. “I visited him at the hospital in Chiba. He was depressed, never seen him so down”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope he will get better soon.”
“Do you have a little sister, Rin-chan?” asks Yuji.
Rin doesn’t have sisters, doesn’t have a family. Rin’s the perfect little creature of your dreams, she thinks to herself.
Saho on the other hand, did have a little sister… once.
“No, Yuji-kun, I am an only child.”
In her head, the stench of urine and the taste of motor oil on that man’s hand overtakes her. His words, “This one’s too old for me, take the other one,” echo through her mind.
She attempts to shove it down. Deep down.
“So, Rin-chan, do you wanna go get a drink somewhere?” he offers. “I know a great place around here.”
Under the neon light, his face turns from blue to red, red to blue, blue to red.
His hand is so sweaty.
Inside her head, Saho suddenly wakes up. She’s not Rin anymore.
“How about we go to a hotel?” she says, her voice falling half an octave. “We can drink there, too.”
It’s as if all of her make up has suddenly been wiped off in one stroke.
“Ehh?” Yuji seems shocked. “You mean a… a…”
He cannot say it. The word is “love hotel”, where you pay by the hour, no questions asked.
“Isn’t that what you want after all, Yuji-kun?”
Yuji remains flabbergasted as Saho just stares at him. His mouth hanging open, lips twitching but no sound comes out.
“I want it too, Yuji-kun,” she adds, more softly. “Let it be a special night.”
Yuji blushes and agrees.
They approach the first love hotel they come across, hand in hand, in plain silence.
While Rin seems enthusiastic and also a little nervous (a scene for Yuji’s sake), Saho is screaming internally. She just needs to run away.
She wishes for Masao to come back, maybe in a rush of jealousy.
Maybe telling her, “I love you sweetie, fuck this asshole, come with me.”
She pushes these thoughts deep down again.
Come with me. That’s all she remembers about that afternoon long ago. After that, pitch black.
Reiko died, the next day at the hospital. Internal bleeding caused by perforation.
Saho somehow had managed to survive.
In their hotel room, Rin kisses Yuji softly, crawling on top of him in bed. His hands are shaking as they move all over her body.
“Rin-chan… I want you,” he moans.
He’s nervous. She can hear his heart pounding without even putting her head against his chest.
“Is it your first time, Yuji-kun?” she asks.
He freezes, trying not to panic. Then, he just nods his head bashfully, trying not to look her in the eye.
Rin just smiles in response.
“Let it be special, then. Yuji-kun, let me do something special for you.”
Rin unzips her dress, letting it slide down, revealing her bustier and stockings. Yuji can only gasp at the sight of her smooth, bare flesh.
She stands above him, slowly lifting her leg and dangling a foot before Yuji’s face.
“Suck it, Yuji-kun.”
The man opens his mouth and begins sucking her toes as ordered. She closes her eyes for a moment, trying to feel pleasure, slowly sliding down her stockings.
“Stop,” she suddenly tells him.
Like a good slave, Yuji stops.
She uses her stockings to tie Yuji’s arm to the bedposts.
“Is this sadomasochism?” Yuji gasps. “I don’t want to feel pain…”
Rin shakes her head to reassure him. “No pain.”
Inside her head, Saho hears a younger version of herself screaming “It hurts!” Beside her, Reiko, screaming like a lamb being slaughtered.
Meanwhile, Rin-chan stares down at Yuji, letting her panties slide down to her ankles.
“They are already wet for you, Yuji-kun,” she whispers.
Saho trembles in excitement. She takes her panties and drapes them across Yuji’s face, covering his eyes.
“Your smell is… wonderful…” he mumbles from behind the silky fabric.
Saho looks around the room they’d rented, which had a few ‘extra’ options. There are two pairs of handcuffs, an assortment of vibrators, and various other torture devices. She can do whatever she wants to him.
She pulls down Yuji’s pants, exposing his hairy, erect cock, already oozing precum. Should she touch him in just the right way, he would climax right there on the spot.
Still wearing her panties for a mask, Yuji is on the brink of hyperventilating.
She cuffs his ankles to the bedposts, rending him completely immobile, helpless.
“Rin-chan… Please… I want you,” he keeps on repeating.
A younger Saho hears those same words in a different manner:
I want your little mouth, you little bitch. You’ll love it, suck it now!
Years ago, she’d gagged as he penetrated her throat, nearly puking as his partner forced himself into her other end as well.
Saho grazes Yuji’s glands with her fingernails. He gasps, startled by the sensual contact.
“This is my hand, Yuji-kun,” she whispers in his ear.
Saho/Rin bends over him then, her mouth closing around his cock. Tongue slowly circling his throbbing flesh, she withdraws and starts licking the tip, slurping up Yuji’s precum while he moans in pleasure.
“And this is my mouth, Yuji Kun…”
She senses he’s about to come, moaning and writhing against his bonds.
“And guess what this is?”
All at once, Yuji’s cock is inside her.
She begins rocking back and forth, eliciting more moans from Yuji along with some unintelligible words.
“I’m… I’m cu… cum”
Abruptly, Saho stops.
“Not yet!” she hisses, leaning down to bite his neck before starting to ride him again.
“I said no pain, Rin-chan,” he stammers, gasping for air beneath her panties.
“I decide what to do,” she growls in response.
She bites him again, harder this time. Yuji screams in pain, struggling to set himself free.
Saho’s teeth sink into his flesh once more. This time, blood pours out.
Yuji begins screaming in agony.
Just for this little blood? Reiko had almost bled dry before they were through with her.
“STOP, YOU BITCH!!!”
By this point, Saho is not only wet, she’s positively drenched.
She bites him once again, ripping out his throat in the process. With blood smeared across her perfectly made-up face, she wolfs down the wad of ragged, gristly flesh and goes for more.
While Yuji slowly dies beneath her, Saho feels her own orgasm coming.
With one last bite, she begins screaming in pleasure, her juices mixing with Yuji’s blood upon the sheets.
Saho shudders, breathless and spent.
Her vaginal muscles contract around still-erect Yuji’s cock.
In a moment of lucidity, Saho glances behind her, catching her reflection in the room’s mirrored wall.
For the very first time, she sees herself as she is.
And she is beautiful.
She screams instinctively as she resumes her carnal act, humping Yuji’s lifeless body while consuming still more of his flesh.
On the nightstand sits a beautiful package, containing a very expensive Collier.