Story by Dan Joslyn
Written by Dan Joslyn (additional writing by CN Winters and Drew)
Produced and Directed by CN Winters
Edited by Angie Wilson
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, Isis, and Mattxxx
Cemetery – Day
In a quiet corner of the cemetery, surrounded by empty, black winter trees, a light snow fell on the funeral. A white dusting was starting to form on two side-by-side coffins. Each was made of simple wood, and they each supported a large framed photograph, one of a man, one of a woman. They were both smiling widely. A dour priest intoned a biblical passage in an unfamiliar language.
The coffins were surrounded by a sparse group of people dressed in black. All stood quiet, straight-faced, and somber. All except one little blonde girl, perhaps six years old. She stood at the foot of the coffins, dressed in a bulky winter coat and mittens, weeping loudly.
An old woman walked up behind the girl and placed a gloved hand on her shoulder.
"Hiljainen, lapsi," she said gently. "Se jälkisäädös olla aivan avian."
Subtitle: "Quiet, child. It will be all right."
This didn’t seem to help at all, as the little girl’s sobs only grew louder. Through red, wet eyes, she looked around at the adults surrounding her. Some appeared tired or uncomfortable. Others were sad but composed, putting on a brave face for the child’s benefit.
Suddenly, the girl threw off the old woman’s grip and ran forward to her mother’s coffin. She grabbed onto the end of the box like a bear hug.
"Heli!" the old woman exclaimed, as she tried to pry the little girl loose. The priest stopped his recitation and the attendees of the funeral murmured among themselves.
"Ei, Dollaria!" Heli screamed.
Subtitle: "No, Grandma!"
Heli had a heck of a grip, but eventually her grandmother managed to pull her away from the coffin. The other members of the group were on the receiving end of a tearful glare from the little girl.
"Hän areena te huudahtava?" Heli yelled as her grandmother dragged her away. "Minun vanhemmat aari ehdottoman. Hän areena te huudahtava?"
Subtitle: "Why aren’t you crying? My parents are dead. Why aren’t you crying?"
Once they were some distance away, under the sparse branches of an isolated tree, the old woman took Heli in her arms.
"Shh, shh," she soothed. "Shh."
After a few last sobs, the tears stopped falling from Heli’s young eyes. She stared back at the small group of black-clad mourners huddled around her parents’ graves, a gaze that seemed to come from someone much older than six years of age.
Voiceover: "People wear masks."
Unknown Location – Night
The adult version of Heli looked directly at someone as she spoke. Her words were clear, precisely chosen.
"They wear them all the time. You would think they do it to hide who they are from the world, but that’s not it. They do it because they can’t admit their true nature. They can’t stand to look in the mirror and see their own real face."
"That’s where I come in. I find out what’s behind those masks. I rip them off and then I hold up a mirror and I make them stare. Really all I’m doing is helping them. Someday they’ll thank me, but that’s not why I do it. I dedicate myself to discovering the truth because truth… is beauty. And what higher calling is there than the pursuit of beauty?’’
Heli stood in the center of an empty parking garage, surrounded by demons of various shapes and sizes. Most of them had blank looks on their faces. Heli saw that she was losing them.
She threw up her hands in exasperation and said, "Also, if you help me, you get to kill a lot of slayers."
The demons nodded and smiled. A well-muscled one with yellowish skin and red eyes got to his feet and said, "I think we have an understanding."
Tokyo City Street – Night
Neon lights reflected off mirrored office buildings. The street was jammed with cars, the sidewalks choked with people. Japanese characters flickered on signs, stared from faded posters on walls, blared from billboards. Every square inch of something was covered with something else.
Two local girls walked through the throng. One wore tiny cat ears on a headband over short hair dyed partially purple, the other was tall with long, dark, straight locks.
"Watashitachi wa koko ni nanimo ga mitsukemasen," the tall girl complained. "Ōsugiru hitobito desu."
Subtitle: "We’re not going to find anything here. Too crowded."
"Hai. Sō desu," said the girl with the cat ears. "Ano, soko ni ikimasenka – oi!"
Subtitle: "Yes. You’re right. Well, let’s go there – hey!"
Subtitle: "What is it?"
Subtitle: "I don’t …"
Cat-Ears pointed frantically across the street. Her partner looked where she was indicating and noticed a flash of blonde hair.
The crowd suddenly parted and for a split second the two girls could plainly see Heli walking down the street.
The tall girl’s eyes went wide as saucers.
Tokyo Alley – Moments Later
In the mouth of a cramped nearby alley, Cat-Ears was yelling into her walkie-talkie. Buildings towered on either side, and some sort of steam was billowing from a nearby vent.
Subtitle: "It’s her!"
"Anata wa nani ga oshaberi yaku desu ka?" a male voice asked over the radio. "Ochitsuku!"
Subtitle: "What are you talking about? Calm down!"
"Iie, watashi wa maji ochitsuku!" she yelled back. "Anata wa wakarimasen. Shibuya ni watashitachi ga imasu. Mina o yobu. Ima wa kanojo ga toraemasu."
Subtitle: "No I won’t calm down! You don’t understand. We’re in Shibuya. Send everybody. We can get her right now."
She looked up to see the taller girl blow into the alley at top speed.
"Sekaseru!" the girl yelled as she ran past.
Subtitle: "Come on!"
With a frustrated grunt, Cat-Ears took off after her. "Kanojo wa nakushita o oshietemasu."
Subtitle: "Don’t tell me you lost her!"
"Kanojo wa nakushita shimasen," the taller girl replied.
Subtitle: "I didn’t lose her."
They each skidded to a stop when the shapes of several demons appeared from the mist at the end of the alley.
"Nan desu ka?!" Cat-Ears asked, her voice reaching a high octave; almost to the point of screaming.
Subtitle: "What’s going on!"
"Satsu, Fumie," a voice called from behind them. At the sound of their names, the two girls slowly turned around.
Heli walked towards them, her footsteps echoing in the sudden silence. In the distance behind her, more demons blocked the entrance to the alley.
"Otetsudai shimashouka?" Heli asked. A grin began to spread across her face.
Subtitle: "Can I help you?"
To Act One