It seemed Mae had been with me always. She was my best friend and my worst enemy. We shared a mind and heart closer than siamese twins. Together we encompass the circle. There are those that would call us crazy. Because they don't understand. Mae is my conscience, she is my very soul. If I were to die, Mae would die. If Mae died, so would I. We are that close.
"What are you doing, Anna Jane?" her low, hypnotic voice whispered in my ear.
Anna Jane. I hated that name. And Mae knew it. "I'm writing, Mae. Leave me alone." But I knew she wouldn't. Mae was a part of me, constantly hammering at me, beating at me until I couldn't stand it any longer. She defeated me every time.
There was a time I had fought to win free of her will. But she was stronger...so much stronger than me.
Her devilish low laugh echoed in my head. "Anna Jane, I want to play. But we need another."
I shook my head. "It's too soon, Mae. We can't play the game tonight."
Mae pouted. Then she smiled. "All right, then let's talk about what we'll do when next we play."
I let out a deep breath. I was a slave to Mae's deadly needs. She would be the cause of my destruction. I was unable to fight her hypnotic voice. I no longer wanted to fight. It had always been that way. Did my mother realize what Mae was when she gave her to me? What she would force me to do? To be? I highly doubt that she did.
I closed my journal and lay the fountain pen aside. My father had given me the pen. A gift for a special deed. A long time ago. I closed my eyes for a minute. Anxiety overcame me. I wondered where would I be without Mae for company?
And I knew the reality of loneliness and despair.
"Come on, Anna Jane. Take me to the park, and we'll plan our next game."
"Just a minute. I need to brush my hair." I limped haltingly to the dressing table and sat down. I looked at the woman in the silver reflection. Black, straight hair, parted at the center, falling to narrow hunched shoulders, eyes black as the night, enhanced by a white, transparent complexion. Skin parchment thin, just barely covering the brittle bones beneath. Long narrow nose, overly wide thin lips. Makeup could not hide the plainness of the forgotten person reflected back. No matter how long I looked at the face in the mirror, it would not change. But Mae loved me and I loved Mae.
Mae had been a gift from my mother when I was five years old and laid low with a case of the chicken pox. Mae was a beautiful porcelain confection. As different from me as day is from night. She was, and still is, the most beautiful doll ever made. Standing 12" in height with a perfect complexion, rosy cheeks, perfectly proportioned nose and mouth. A slender but gently curved body, surrounded by layers and layers of pink satin and lace. Her long black lashes surrounded eyes of the purest green emerald. Platinum white hair falling in ringlets to her waist. She was everything beautiful in the world. And she was mine.
It hadn't been until I turned six, after the "accident," that Mae first spoke to me. It was Halloween, October 31st, when I woke to a soft voice calling out to me. "Anna Jane." Her voice was a musical whisper. "Anna Jane, wake up." A soft ball hit the bed.
I woke up, frightened. I thought I was having a nightmare. I looked off into the dark shadows of the room, where Mae sat on my dressing table. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
"Don't be frightened, Anna Jane. It's just me."
But I wasn't just frightened, I was terrified. I couldn't move from the bed, because my legs were still in casts. So I sat there shuddering in fright. Tears puddled in my eyes, and I pulled in breath to scream.
"Tsk, tsk, Anna Jane. There's no one to help you. You know that. Don't scream." She hunched her shoulders. My eyes widened even more, if that was possible, as she stood up on the night table.
"I thought you might need a friend." She smiled, or rather her lips formed the semblance of a smile. She was a doll, and she had no teeth, therefore her lips remained in a closed smile. I kept telling myself she was a doll and she couldn't hurt me.
"What do you want," I whispered into the shadowy night, my voice echoing back to me. I knew this couldn't be happening.
She shook her head from side to side, her silky white curls dancing around her shoulders in the moonlight. "I've been with you for how long now? A year? I've watched it all, Anna Jane. I've seen him creep in at night. I've seen your despair." And in a deeper voice. "I know what they've done to you and I know what you want to do to them."
I wanted to hide from her knowledge. To dismiss what she was saying. Again I whispered desperately, "what do you want?"
Her eyes opened wide, at least wider than they were for a doll. "Why, to be your friend. Someone you can confide in, someone who cares about you."
"I don't need a friend." I wanted her to go away. To leave me alone.
She shook her head. "Oh, no. I'm part of you now. And as long as I'm here, we might as well be friends. Share secrets, you know, all that girl-sister stuff. All that stuff you don't have now."
"Go away," I shouted and turned as much as I could with casts on both legs, and hid beneath the blankets. She frightened me. There was something inside me that opened to her and it scared me. Even at six I needed her and it terrified me to realize how much I needed a friend. What I had suffered would never have happened to Mae. Beautiful, ethereal Mae. They would never have touched her, hurt her.
I could hear her voice. "You'll change your mind."
Would I change my mind? Would I become so desperate for companionship and a secret confidante that I would turn to her?
Yes, I would. I had needed a friend desperately, but what her special companionship did was open within me the darkest part of my soul. The evil that lay there dormant until called forth by her seductive voice.
It is to her credit that no one has yet discovered our "game." Mae is after all, the one with the brains, as well as the beauty. I am simply the instrument that carries out the sequences of the game.
A game of justice. A game of death, where the prize is the blood of our victims. It is a game I no longer fear as it is a game of justice. A game we have successfully played since I was twelve years old.
In all these years no one has discovered our secret game. Slowly I rise from the dressing table. Lovingly, I pick up Mae. Mae, the light of my life without whom I would have forever lived in darkness and pain. She has shown me the golden glimmer of justice. But one must walk through the valley of darkness and evil to attain the purest good.
The orgasmic purity of justice floods my entire being only through the flow of a protagonist's evil blood, through their defeat. And I embrace the power it give me. The power that being Mae's friend provides. The power and the purity in the game of justice we play.