31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!
DAY ELEVEN: BELLA

Written by Jonathan Wojcik





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SEASON 02, EPISODE 03: on a routine night watch, the kid's police officer mother finds a weak, withered woman in an alleyway with a decrepit baby doll. It's implied that the woman is either turned in to the proper care or actually dies, since we don't see her again, but later that night the doll shows up at the family's door...and their mother seems compelled to treat it like an actual baby.


The doll starts out relatively normal, if a little beaten up and off-putting, but mom gets increasingly protective of it and obsesses to the point of ignoring her own actual, real family, and carrying the thing everywhere with her. It does, of course, begin to move and speak of its own accord, and eventually starts hanging off its new "mother's" back, piloting her around and seemingly sucking away her vitality.


When the doll is actually confronted by the kids, it even reduces their mother to a shriveled, horrifying corpse-like state right in front of them, and reveals a more sinister, demonic face of its own.

Mom goes back to normal when the doll is pulled off and shattered (with help from yesterday's Death Diva!) but...


..."Bella" can apparently reform her body from whatever she wants! Gathering loose trash from her surroundings, she becomes a massive humanoid monster pieced together from other discarded, broken objects with a baby doll head. But as the fight continues, Hari manages to look the doll in the eyes and get the complete picture...


ORIGIN REVEAL:

Long ago, a poor and very ill mother knew she wouldn't live much longer to take care of her little girl, and left her with the nuns at a convent. She left her daughter a broken doll she had found to keep her company, and promised that she would come back for her, wishing to leave her with at least a little hope to cling to.


...But it was too much hope. The girl was so certain her mother would be back at any moment, she never even went inside as the Nuns called in the other orphans. Hiding out of their sight, she wouldn't budge even as snow piled on her and her doll, and by the next morning, she had frozen to death.

Occupying the body of the doll, she hunted ever since for a new mother.


Putting this soul to rest is painfully simple: it seems to be satisfied as soon as anybody gives it even one moment of real love or care, rather than just another possessed host.


FINAL REVIEW:

Bella is a simple "creepy baby doll," her large eyes and pinhole pupils the only thing that looks unnatural about it in her default state, though this is honestly when she looks her best. Her fanged, scowling face, unfortunately the one we see whenever she's summoned, is a bit cheesier looking and less haunting. Even her giant garbage-body form would look cooler with the "normal" doll head on it, but that's still a cool concept, too. Forcing different humans to be her "mother" until they shrivel up and die is a pretty nightmarish thing for a doll creature to do, and seems obvious, but I've only seldom seen anything like it in fiction prior to this.

And just when we think the origins of these ghosts can't get any more savage, we've got an abandoned toddler dying in the snow. Jesus.


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