Authors: Hideyuki Kikuchi
Tags: #Fiction, #Horror
Of all my stories set in Demon City, Maohden may be the one most devoted to the city itself. I don’t imagine that another one of my stories will be so dedicated to Shinjuku. The city here becomes a stage designed and constructed with my own pen. I have done my best to not subtract in the slightest from intricate qualities of the real thing.
The true protagonists in this story will always be those of you equally captivated by Shinjuku.
The publication of
in 1985 elevated Hideyuki Kikuchi to the ranks of bestselling authors.
He was born in 1949 in the city of Choshi in Chiba Prefecture. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a manga artist. While studying law at Aoyama University he participated in the campus’ “mystery and detective novel” club. After graduation, he published stories in doujinshi magazines and translated science fiction while working as a magazine reporter.
Hideyuki Kikuchi’s debut as a novelist came in 1982 with the publication of
Demon City Shinjuku
. He has since been unrivaled in his ability to create entertaining and compelling heroes.
, Vol. I, the author happily complains, “The plot turns are coming one after the other, pushing the story in directions not even I
Maohden Vol. 1
Maohden vol.1 (c) Hideyuki Kikuchi 1986. Originally published in Japan in 1986 by SHODENSHA Publishing Co.,LTD. English translation copyright (c) 2012 by DIGITAL MANGA, Inc. All other material (c) 2012 by DIGITAL MANGA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the copyright holders. Any likeness of characters, places, and situations featured in this publication to actual persons (living or deceased), events, places, and situations are purely coincidental. All characters depicted in sexually explicit scenes in this publication are at least the age of consent or older. The DMP logo is (tm) of DIGITAL MANGA, Inc.
Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Illustrated by Jun Suemi
English Translation by Eugene Woodbury
English Edition Published by:
DIGITAL MANGA PUBLISHING
A division of DIGITAL MANGA, Inc.
1487 W 178
Street, Suite 300
Gardena, CA 90248
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Available Upon Request
First Edition: June 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in Canada
The black shadows oozed through the milky white world. The creamy folds of light and dark traced the outlines of human beings, in the blink of an eye growing thicker and thinner, the silhouettes appearing at once recognizable, and in a blink not there at all.
There were two shadows in the mist.
One tall and thin, like a sword sporting arms and legs. The other short and stooped over.
Where was this place? Looking more closely, larger structures could be made out around them—a round tower, a three-sided pyramid, a four-sided pyramid—all wearing the fog like a heavy cloak.
And many more. Shadows beyond the shadows. Beyond and beyond.
What seemed at first a disordered, random collection of objects followed an intricate geometry that only the most skilled of architects—the rare genius with a well-attuned aesthetic sense—could begin to grasp.
Beauty was born of evil as well as good, like a flower blossoming in a vase of blood. The swirling mists bore an eerie aura on their wavering currents, a haunted miasma whose breath would reduce a normal man to a quivering mass in a minute.
This was no normal place.
In these fog-shrouded precincts, the air grew thick with the spirits of the dead. It inflicted no great harm on its residents. Those who went to work day after day in the midst of it—laborers or murderers alike—might shave three hours off their life spans for every day they spent there. Now and then, cough up blood and end up confined to their bed for two or three weeks.
But they weren’t the true residents of these streets in the first place.
Anticipating that sightseers would become an important source of revenue, the forward-looking mayor was already spelling out environmental restoration and violence abatement campaigns. Though actual implementation was still on the drawing boards, operations were underway that would ensure its eventuality.
A voice rang out. Only a voice. But a voice devoid of every speck of personality or even mechanical individuality.
“I will soon die,” it said.
The statement was suffused with bleakness. There was no telling which one of them had spoken. Perhaps the mist itself had coughed it out.
“But the end is not yet nigh. As long as this city exists—as long as
are with me—as long as you have
His head slumped on his shoulders. Not an expression of despair, he was looking down at his feet, at a rectangular box nine feet long, over four and a half feet wide, and three feet high. The purpose of this ominous object was not immediately apparent.
There should have been no reason to worry had it been only an ordinary box. Except that the surface was intricately etched and carved. The lid, marked by seams finer than thread, was sealed with an electronic lock.
The center of the lid was inlaid with the golden head of a goat. A vine of magical mandrake root wove around its horns, hung down and was bound beneath the beard of its chin.
It was a crest. Especially in this city, it seemed improbable that any family would lend its name to such an accursed crest. The goat and the mandrake vine were unmistakable marks of evil.
This was a casket.
And who had sought eternal repose in this nine foot box of a bedchamber?
“I have bet everything on fifteen years hence.” His voice rose again. “All I can say for certain is that this city will still exist. Beyond that is darkness and uncertainty. We will see if the odds of winning turn in your favor. The present circumstances are not to your advantage. Only time and this city can tell whether the dark gods of victory will smile upon your karmic enemies, or whether your blood will ultimately triumph.”
The voice turned toward the heavens, toward a world sealed away from the moon and the stars and even the darkness. “One life winks out. One life slumbers. The life that awakens will surely not be heaven sent. Let us proceed.”
The other silhouette retreated, not moving a hand or foot, as if sliding backwards on ice. At the same time, a heavy thud came from the feet of the speaker. Something like ink spread out and tinted the color of that world.
The man had literally lost his head. Blood erupted into the air. The headless man leaned over and picked up the head with bloodstained hands.
An unimaginable will to live and powers of mind propelled him forward. As soon as he raised his arms level with the ground, he pitched forward as his legs gave out beneath him.
His hands reached out to the casket, bringing the head down squarely in the center of the crest. A moment later, the fallen body stretched out on the earth. It didn’t move again.
A metallic sound like a great gong rang out deep below the surface. The head coming to rest on the crest had thrown a switch, or the ritual itself pulled the trigger. A moment later the apparatus holding the casket and the paved surface surrounding it slowly sank down into the earth.
The concrete gave way to walls of black earth as it slipped down the dark shaft. The eyes of the head sitting on the coffin suddenly opened.
“In fifteen years, this city will become an accursed metropolis like no other. Our plans shall bloom in the midst of that poison. Wait and see, Renjo Aki. You and that son of yours. I will return again.”
The eyes turned white, rolled back in the head. Now as lifeless as the mysterious casket it rode upon, the several hundred square yards of ground sank deep beneath the earth.
Standing at the edge of the large hole, the mists wrapped around him, the shadow silently backed away, holding a remote control device in his right hand. His fingers played across the surface. The earth rocked powerfully beneath his feet.