Halo Zero: Mariko:
Little dolls have been appearing all over Ikebukoro. Everyone can turn and see these Victorian-style, soulless toys everywhere. They can be seen in shop windows, café windows, windows of the schools, peoples' home, and even in Russia Sushi. Nobody knows where they came from or what purpose they serve. For some reason, nobody wants to move or touch these dolls.
Fuchigami Mariko and her husband, Ken, left a late night summer party. The husband laughed and talked loudly for the whole walk. His wife rubbed her head. Eleven years of marriage came to this? When did her husband turn into an annoying, hyper man-child? Ken wildly hugged on her in the street. She tried to push him off when he attempted to give her a sloppy kiss.
"Honey!" Mariko complained as she dodged him, "Stop! You're drunk!" Her husband looked up at her with flushed cheeks.
"Aw, you're no fun," he pouted.
"You're drunk," his wife pointed out, "You get all-hands when you're drunk." Ken gave her his famous pouting cat face.
"But I love you!" he whimpered.
"I love you too, dear," Mariko said back, "I love you more when you're sober." They made it back to their apartment. Husband and wife stopped short when they saw a Victorian-style doll dressed in black and hunter green sitting on the kitchen counter staring at them. Mariko sneered at her empty face.
"Why the hell does she have to sit there watching us every time when we come and leave?" she snarled. The wife walked over to shove the doll back out of sight. Ken lifted his head in time to see his wife's hands just inches away from the doll's hunter green hat.
"No, don't!" he yelped like an upset child. Mariko turned and looked at her husband with a puzzled look on her face.
"Dear?" she asked. Ken raced over and pulled back her hand.
"Don't touch it!" he wailed. His wife rolled her eyes. He did this every time tried she to hide one of the various dolls out of view when they were creeping her or their guests out. She never could get a straight answer out of her urban legend-obsessed husband. Mariko put her hands on her hips.
"And why not?" she asked. Her husband grabbed her by the shoulders.
"They are meant to keep something locked away," he told her in a serious voice. Mariko couldn't tell where this was going. She couldn't even be sure if it was him or the sake and beer talking.
"And what would that be?" she asked.
"The ghosts that died in that apartment across town," he slurred out. Mariko snorted at his drivel. Oh great, another drunken ghost story!, she thought in sarcasm.
"Okay, dear," the wife spoke up, "Let's get you to bed here." Mariko took a hold of her husband before he could argue another word.
"I love you very much," Ken slurred as he rested his head on her breasts.
"Yes, I love you too," the wife replied. Once she dressed him in his pajamas and put him to bed, Mariko came back to the kitchen to take out the trash. She shook her head in disgust. Ken was obsessed with urban-legends, ghost stories, and "creepy pasta" type stories since they met when they were fourteen. Couple that with large amounts of alcohol and he didn't know how to stop telling ghost stories to anyone who would listen. Luckily for her, Mariko was able to put him to bed just in time to spare herself the nonsense. For many years, she did her best to overlook that little quality about him. The man did have his other redeeming features after all; sweet guy who cared about his wife. Despite being a man-child most of the time, he meant well.
After putting the trash out at the curb, Mariko went back into the apartment. No thanks to the moonlight from the window, the doll in the kitchen made her jump when she first laid eyes on it.
"Oh shit!" she yelped. It took the wife a while to calm down and realize it was just that auburn-haired doll staring at her in the darkness. Mariko frowned at such a creepy decoration staring her down.
"You," she muttered, "Go over there!" The wife walked up and smacked the doll hard enough to turn its head away to her right. She stood back with a great feeling of satisfaction. Curse, my ass!, Mariko thought as she laughed in her head. She then went to join her husband in bed down the hall. However as she soon as she turned to walk down the hall, the wife heard a loud crunching noise behind her. Mariko froze and turned to see a blackened ghost-like fifteen-year-old schoolgirl staring at her. She didn't even get the chance to scream out as the girl reached out to grab her by the throat.
In the early morning hours, blood drops dripped from the ceiling in the kitchen. It would be hours before Mariko's husband and n