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Salty droplets of water spew from my eyes as I bury my head in my arms. Short black hair sticks to my face when I look up to watch the other seven-year old Japanese children. They play a traditional game of Gomoku. They all huddle in groups around the classroom, laughing about the simple things I won't ever enjoy. I'm all alone, isolated from the rest of them. I gave up trying to be their friend a long time ago. No one wants me around here anyway so I stay in the corner of the room by myself, watching. I plop my chin against the desk and pick at the dry paint flaking off it. I do my best to ignore them but it's no easy task. I want to scream and cry until everything goes away.
"Let's go home." I hear her voice, coming from my backpack. I sit up and grab on to her cool, stiff arm, pull her from inside. I hold her before me: beautiful button eyes that I love, red stringed hair in braids and a smile sewn on her face. I manage to smile at my only friend. "Stop crying," she says, spitting the words. "You will never be alone as long as you have me."
At home now I sit across from Dolly. I have been staring at her for hours. Mom and Dad have left for Tokyo, just two hours away. They left to catch a flight, knowing my nanny would be here any minute. But she left a message saying she would be late, at least that's what I told my parents. She trusted me to tell them she cancelled, what a mistake. It's just Dolly and me. I squint my eyes to see if she will speak but she doesn't. "Please talk to me," I beg her. "I'm so lonely."
No response. I sigh and crawl towards my door, too lazy to stand up.
"I no longer love you," Dolly says. I stop in my tracks, turn around. I head back to her and pick her up.
"Don't touch me!" She's yelling.
I place her back down and glance at her. "Why don't you like me anymore? You're my only friend."
"I need friends too you know." I tear up.
"Suck it up!" she says, screaming. She pauses then sighs, "You may redeem yourself."
"Tell me how!" I yell as I pull her to my face.
"Let's play a game."
She goes into detail about a version of hide n' seek that I have never heard of, called Hitori Kakurenbo . She wants me to bring her to life so she can be with me forever and ever. The rules seem simple enough and the game sounds confusing, but fun at the same time. Plus, I don't want to lose her. I don't want to be all alone. I gladly accept the terms. We start the game immediately.
I run into the kitchen, perfectly clean as usual, and pull out a bag of rice from the cabinet and some crimson thread. With a nearby knife, I cut Dolly open and remove the stuffing from within her. I take the uncooked rice and refill her. I bite off a few of my finger nails and add them. I quickly sew her from the seams with the crimson thread. I run into the bathroom where I fill the tub with water and place the knife on a nearby counter. I get some salt water and put it in a hiding place, my closet.
"It's almost complete, Dolly."
A brief moment of terror takes over me but I quickly shoo it away. I need to do this not only for her but for me. I sit on my bed and wait for the clock to strike three a.m. With Dolly in hand , we bolt to the bathroom.
"Umi's the first it, Umi's the first it, Umi is the first it!"
I drop her in the water and grab the knife. I run around the house turning off all the lights, then finally I switch on the TV to a static channel. I head into my hiding spot, close my eyes, and count to ten. Then, I go back into the bathroom and pick up my soaking wet doll.
"I have found you, Dolly!" I chant as I stab my doll. "Now, Dolly's it, Dolly's it, Dolly is it!" I yell as I stab her three more times. I put her back in the tub with the knife. Immediately, I sprint to my hiding spot and wait.
Fifteen minutes have passed without a sound, but suddenly I hear muffled tiny feet. I hear the TV switching on and off. Chills run down my spine. The volume goes from a drastic minimum to exceeding normal rate. Maybe I shouldn't have played this game. An aroma of vomit and sweat sweeps over me making me feel sick to my stomach.
"Come out, come out where ever you are." Dolly's voice shrieks.
I stop breathing. A sensation of someone touching me cloaks my body while my hair gets pulled from my scalp. I cover my mouth to stifle the urge to scream out for help. No one's here, at least any human life form, like usual. No one will save me anyway. I start to cry, but instead of my tears tasting like salt, they taste like blood. The closet door opens and there stands Dolly with knife in hand.
"I told you to stop crying you little brat!"
She squeals as she digs the blade into my leg. I let out a yelp and kick her away from me. I take the knife from my broken flesh and put the salt water into my mouth. I run to her and spit the water on her face.
"I win, I win, I win!" I sob. I cut the crimson thread knowing I'm now safe.
"Please save me." Dolly lay sprawled, whimpering.
"Suck it up!" I'm the one roaring now. "No one ever saved me! No one even needs me!"
I take the bloody knife and stab her in the chest multiple times.
I rip open her skin making her rice guts pour. I rip off her limbs one by one. I sit back and take a deep breath. I stare at her for a moment and then rip off her eyes with my knife. I drop the blade and take the buttons.
I bring the button eyes to mine. Now we are one.