Happy Anniversary

December 29, 2008
By Toquynh Vu, Shrewsbury, MA

The night was still, darkness engulfing the woods and creating shadows among the trees. Yet the lone house was lit with warm, flickering candles grouped in luminous bunches, which had set the perfect romantic mood for Edward and Katherine’s anniversary. The couple sat sipping wine in front of the fireplace, reminiscing the moments of their love over the past two years.
“Many more happy years to go, I hope.” Katherine whispered.
“I know,” Edward gently replied, “We’ll be together, hand-in-hand, until we die. Since it’s a special day, I thought I’d give you a special gift to show you how much I truly love you. Close your eyes, it’s a surprise.”
With that Edward stood up and walked around the couch into the den to get Katherine’s gift. She sat there, still as a statue and eyes closed, waiting excitedly for him to come back. Edward returned, gave her a passionate hug from behind, and presented her with a black box.
“Open your eyes Love,” He whispered.
Katherine gazed at the small music box in Edward’s hands. She took it with great care and stroked the ornate carvings. The music box was deep ebony wood, etched with intricate flowers and tiny hearts. On top of the box, there was a large, blooming rose, its raised petals looking life-like and silk-smooth. With slow, gentle movements she began to lift the small golden latch. Inside, deep burgundy velvet lined the interior with a graceful crystal ballerina, twirling away to the dreamy melody of Für Elise. The ballerina’s image reflected off the mirror on the inside of the lid.
“It’s… it’s so beautiful,” She marveled, “It plays my favorite song, too.”
She stared adoringly at her husband through the reflection of the mirror. His charming smile took her breath away. Katherine was too captivated by his beautiful gift to notice his heart-melting smile slowly transforming into an ominous sneer. Then, from the corner of her vision, she caught the glint of a shiny metal blade slowly emerging from behind Edward’s back.
Edward was too quick for Katherine to react. Katherine gasped in horror as he thrust the knife swiftly into the center of her back. All she could do was stare back at him through the reflection, stunned and wide-eyed with fear, the searing agony slowly replacing her numb shock. She spluttered and gazed at Edward’s cold, dark eyes until she finally crumbled and fell onto the floor, her hands still gripping the music box.
Edward watched Katherine bleed to death in an expanding pool of crimson blood. As her shallow breathing finally stopped he knelt down and gently whispered in her ear, “Happy anniversary, Love.” He calmly retrieved a saw from the cellar and returned to his wife’s corpse.
Edward worked quickly, hacking his wife into multiple chunks. The saw quickly severed the parts with every back-and-forth motion. Staining his cream-colored sweater, he began to cast the pieces into the fireplace, one by one until every part was consumed in flames. When any trace of blood could no longer be detected he flung the rest of the evidence into the fire and sat back on the couch. Finishing his wine Edward watched Katherine and their two whole years of love burn in the bright blaze, its gray smoke drifting out and into the darkness of the quiet night air.

Two months later the house was bright and full of activity as Edward helped his mistress, Margaret, move in. The doorway was filled with trunks of clothing and boxes of her belongings. Edward huffed and puffed as he placed the last box into the hallway beneath the stairs.

“What if Katherine comes back? How can you be sure she is gone for good?”
“It’ll be fine, Margaret Love. After the raging quarrel Katherine and I had she decided to move back to Westford. The documents have been signed, and she has taken all of her stuff. Katherine won’t be coming back.”
Soon enough, Margaret was permanently settled into the house. Katherine was eventually forgotten, her name being nothing but a past memory.

Margaret married Edward months later. Years passed before they had their first child, Victoria.
Victoria grew up to be very playful little girl. One day while feeling bored, she wandered up into her dusty attic to see what kind of adventures she would have. The stairs creaked and groaned even as she tried to stifle the noise. Opening the old, screeching door she discovered a whole world full of ancient, forgotten junk. Pushing aside the cobwebs, she began to explore.
As Victoria was digging through multiple boxes and containers she discovered a large wooden trunk stowed away in a shadowy corner. Curious as to what was inside, she unhooked the large, brass latch and opened it. Beneath a pile of clothing she discovered a small black music box.
She stared at it in awe. Never before had she seen such an elaborately carved treasure. Its miniature details intrigued her, especially the rose. Victoria wondered what could be inside such a beautiful box. She excitedly opened it and found the stunning crystal ballerina, doing elegant pirouettes to the faint tune. Turning the windup key, she continued to watch the ballerina spin, its tutu reflecting shimmers of rainbows caused by flickering beams of light from the attic window.
Victoria stared at the shadowy depths of the attic. Suddenly, a faint figure stepped out of the darkness. She slammed the music box shut, her heart rapidly thumping as she slowly turned around. No one was there. Was it just her imagination? She darted down the stairs and into her room. Sitting on her bed, Victoria slowly opened the box again. This time the same figure appeared right behind her, only, the woman seemed less harmful.
“Who… Who are you?” Victoria stuttered.
“A friend,” The female figure replied, “I noticed you were lonely and wanted to play with you.”
Victoria felt more comfortable and began to talk to her new acquaintance whose name, she learned, was Kat. Pretty soon they became good friends, and Victoria started spending her days playing with her new companion.

Margaret was worried because her daughter was always off by herself.
“You need some friends. How about the new neighbors? They have a nice daughter your age.”
“I already have a friend, a good one. Named Kat.” Victoria responded.
“I know you’re lonely, but a made-up friend is simply childish. Children your age are beyond imaginary friends.” Margaret stated.

Over the next year, Victoria’s parents became more and more distraught as Kat’s influence on Victoria grew.
“She’s real, I tell you! Why won’t you believe me?”
“Victoria, for the last time Kat is only a part of your imagination! You need to snap out of this immature act! Now go play outside with the other neighborhood children!” Margaret sternly replied.
“But…” Victoria began.
“Enough!” Edward shouted, “I’m sick and tired of you acting this way! If you’re lonely and want friends, go find some! You can’t be friends with someone you can’t see!”
Victoria stormed off in a powerful rage. Back in her room she told Kat about her parents.
“Can’t you see, Victoria?” Kat began, “Your parents don’t love you nor care enough to believe you. They’ve never given you support, and they’ve never played with you when you’re lonely. You don’t need them anymore. Your parents are just in your way, and they’re stopping you from doing what you want to do.”
“You’re right. They don’t love me. They don’t care!” Victoria replied angrily.

Victoria silently crept into her parents’ room. Her father was sitting on the bed, taking a break from a long day of work. He lit the lamp on the nightstand and stared at his reflection on the glossy window. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Victoria behind him.
“Victoria? What’s wrong?” He questioned.
Victoria pulled out a long silver blade and plunged it into his back. Edward leaped up from the bed in surprise, staggering as pain overcame him. He grabbed for the wall and anything that could support his limp body, causing things to scatter on the floor. Victoria pushed him as he turned around, piercing the knife deeper into his body as he lay on his back. As Edward gasped for his final breaths, Victoria smirked.
“Happy Anniversary, Father.” She said and calmly walked away.
On the floor, not far from Edward’s reach, was a calendar, its date being the same as Edward and Katherine’s anniversary, which seemed so long ago. Back in Victoria’s room, the faint tune of Für Elise drifted out into the cold, empty hallway.

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