I've been clawing away at the fox's flesh for what seems like an eternity. He should have passed out from blood loss hours ago. But he continues to stand there, taking each of my blows as if they were nothing, and never even raising a finger to fight back. His eyes have a strange gleam in them. Dead, haunted in a way. And his smile, too. Why is he smiling? Karasu must have been right about him having a masochistic streak.

He's lost so much blood. It's splattered on the floor and it stains his clothes, but he never seems to run out. Why won't he die already, or fall over at least? And stop smiling, damn you!

I backhand him, and send him sprawling to the ground with no resistance, hair falling into his face to hide his expression. He doesn't make a sound, or even put his arms out to soften his fall. Has the fox fallen unconscious with his eyes open? I kneel down on one knee next to the fallen creature. "Get up and fight me, you stupid fox," I order.

He doesn't move. I grab him by the neck and stand, holding him so that his feet are dangling a good inch off the ground. "Are you even listening to me!" I shriek, plunging a hand through his abdomen. He just looks at me with that damned smile of his, a trail of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. Why doesn't he scream?

I can feel him steadily inhale and exhale through my grip on his throat, and I can see blood spurting out of his wounds like a crimson fountain. An yet he doesn't scream and he doesn't die. And he keeps on smiling no matter what I do to him.

He almost reminds me of a porcelain doll. Yes, a life-sized doll that breathes and bleeds. And dolls don't die, no matter what you do to them.

I finally got you figured out, fox. Now I know why you won't die. You're just a doll. A masochistic doll.

He doesn't react when I draw his back to my chest, or when I spear him with my fingers. He gurgles up blood as his head tips back to look at me with that damn smile. "Now you're getting blood all over my tacky sweater," I chastise him half-heartedly. He just keeps smiling that empty smile of his, refusing to die even as my hands wreak havoc upon his internal organs.

I've always liked playing with dolls.