I know without a doubt that I have gone mad.
It's a scary thought, isn't it? That a sweet, innocent little girl can be turned into a monster? That a child can rage, can hate, can plot, can kill? The thought chills me right to the bone, and yet it's me that terrifies me so much.
A while ago, I might have been in love with Jennifer. I might have actually cared about her. And for a while, everything was so perfect...every day was golden sunshine and laughter and stolen kisses...every night we would climb into bed together, and pretend we were scared of the shadows so we could have an excuse to hold each other...
And then it had to come along and ruin everything.
That disgusting mongrel that my Jennifer just had to take in. He stole her away from me! She spent all her time babying that damned mutt, when she should have been with me! And I tried, oh God, I begged her to get rid of him...I was on my knees pleading for her to forget all about the wretched creature and love me once more...
But oh, my Jennifer. She loved that dog so much. When I did get to see her, our time together was a tiny fraction of what it used to be, and then she'd have to leave me to go take care of that miserable puppy.
There was something else, too. Mr Hoffman. Clara had left, and Diana was getting too old and dull for him. He wanted someone new. But Meg and Amanda were "too ugly" for him, Eleanor too emotionless, Olivia too young, and he didn't dare touch Jennifer and risk losing her Father's free labor. So he settled for me.
Night after night he would call me into his bedroom. Night after night I felt his horrible touch sliding all over my body. Night after night he'd rip both our clothes off like a wild animal, and then the pain would start, always terrible, impossible to get used to. And then he would finish, and give me the worst smile, and I was sent off to bed until the next day, when I knew he'd be waiting for me again.
I couldn't tell Jennifer about it. She was never around. I wanted to feel her mouth on mine instead of his, her body, her touch. I wanted her to undo all the horrible things that Hoffman had done to me and make me hers again. But that bloody dog always, always interfered. And I was getting angry, horribly angry...
So I called the Aristocrats together. Something had to be done, I said. The other girls hated my Jennifer. All they wanted out of life was to see her miserable. Of course they would agree to it.
We snuck in one night, and we stole the dog. I remember it still. Diana had scooped up the squirming puppy and thrust it into my waiting hands. His collar bore the name Brown, painstakingly written in my love's delicate hand. The puppy looked up at me with mournful eyes, and for just a second, I almost felt pity.
Then I breathed hard, looked away, and twisted until I heard a loud yelp and a louder crack.
Only then was I able to look back at the dead dog in my hands.
Meg had brought a sack along. We stuffed the dog into it and ran out into the yard. The boys had been digging in the garden earlier, and we found a hole that looked deep enough and dropped him in. I was smiling the whole while. Now no one could ever come between me and Jennifer again...
Until later the same day. When she interrupted our meeting in tears. Someone had told her that we had taken Brown.
She wanted him back.
She hit me. Over and over and over. Every blow knocked a little more joy out of me, until finally, I would never be happy again. She didn't love me any more. I realized that now. She only loved Brown. She loved him more than anything else in the entire world. Even more than me, her Princess...
Stray Dog. He was my only hope now. I'd make him punish Jennifer, and then she would see that she was supposed to love me. Then everything would be as it should have been. So I brought him over.
Now I stand in the doorway, watching all my plots and schemes unfold, and I know that I have gone mad. My Jennifer could die right now all because of me. I should have forgiven her, I should have just moved on and tried to find somebody else, I should have realized that maybe the time for our love was over and I would have to start over with someone new...there's so much that I realize now, but now it's too late. I've hurt so many people. I've hurt my Prince, my Jennifer. I've hurt Brown. I've hurt all my friends. I've even hurt myself.
There might be hope for me still. I might be able to save everyone...yes...there is a way...
I step out into the pouring rain and laugh. I laugh because I've finally found how I can stop the pain, how I can stop hurting everyone else, how I can finally be free.
"Take me!" I scream into the night air. Jennifer and Stray Dog both turn to look at me. She looks in fear. He looks in anger.
"Take me, Stray Dog!"
He starts towards me.
I look over at Jennifer with my eyes filling with tears, and the look she gives me tells me that all is understood, all is forgiven.
I love you, Jennifer.