A happy family we were. From the outside, we were everything that a family should be: a loving father, caring mother, and a playful young daughter. Living with us was a beautiful dalmatian. We moved into town, envied by the other villagers who took residence there. Our house was beautiful. It had a scarlet red roof as well as perfect peach trees blooming about the property. Although jealous, the neighbors were indeed friendly, inviting us over for parties and feasts. Aika would bring me to these events and show me off, saying to me “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
Aika was my best friend. Together we played and talked, spending day after day with each other. Secrets were shared and stories were told. “I love you” she would say on a regular basis and I enjoyed the attention.
Seeming like a perfect family, no one realized the cracks that were beginning to form. No one thought about the issues that rested beneath the surface. Aika’s father was a noble man. He was handsome, attentive, and respectable. He loved Aika with all of his heart. However, the atmosphere between him and his wife was heavy and awkward. I remember nights of Aika and I painting pictures while her parents fought downstairs, hurling brutal insults at one another. Aika pretended not to hear while I basked in the turmoil that was brewing. I never discovered what subject her mother was grilling her father about, but I knew it was something having to do with unfaithfulness. As she grew further apart from her parents, I took their spots. Continuously, she would say “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
Whilst her marriage was falling apart, Aika’s mother took pride in her daughter’s piano skills. Everyday she would force her to practice. Aika resented it. She didn’t enjoy the relentless practicing and the constant negative comments. On occasion, Aika would grab me and take me down to the beach when she was supposed to be practicing, where she would swim and watch the fish. While she watched the waves roll onto the sand, she would look at me and say “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
Aika’s birthday rolled around and we did the normal tradition of a cake and presents. Aika sat in the middle while her parents stood on either side, watching as she blew out the candles. The dog sat outside and barked along while they sang. I sat in Aika’s room. I could hear a fight beginning to boil and Aika, tears streaming down her face, busted into the room. She grabbed me and held me close, saying “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
The next day, Aika didn’t take me down to the beach. I realized that she was playing with the dalmatian in the yard. I could see her hugging him and rubbing his head, constantly praising him. The dog didn’t seem like he belonged here anymore. After everyone went to sleep that night, I could see the poor dog was struggling. The leash that attached to the dog’s collar was tight and he was pulling away from the doghouse. He fought and wriggled, attempting to free himself from the bind. Barking and yelping he was, but no one came to his rescue. The next morning, Aika arose to see the poor canine there, drained of life. His chest did not rise and he did not bark or pant. Tears began to stream down her face as she cradled me saying “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
As the days continued to pass, the peach trees wilted and the scarlet roof faded into a deep maroon. They buried the dog in a graveyard where the other town dogs were left to rest. Aika recovered from the loss within a week. I was once again the favorite, the one she would take everywhere. While her parents continued the war, she would embrace me and say “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
Eventually, the marriage deteriorated. Her father moved out, giving Aika a final kiss on the forehead, saying he was to never see her again. I watched as he walked out of the house for the final time. Her mother, as if not fazed by the abandonment, requested that Aika returned to her piano practice. Aika refused. Her mother, now furious, snatched her and set her down in front of the grand piano, yelling curse words. Aika continued to argue and retreated upstairs. She picked me up and said “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
A week passed and Aika and her mother ceased talking. Not a word was uttered. Pleased, I sat and watched as the relationship suffered. Aika ran to me as her source of comfort, constantly praising me. “I love you” she would say and I enjoyed the attention.
It was a quiet night. The crickets chirped outside and I watched as Aika arose from her slumber. Beside her bed, sat a most peculiar item, an axe. Aika grinned as she stroked the metal blade. Slowly, she crept downstairs, holding the axe behind her back. “I love my mommy” she cooed constantly as she descended the staircase. “I love my mommy, I love my mommy, I LOVE MY MOMMY!”. She entered her mother’s bedroom. On the bed laid the mom, fast asleep. “I love my mommy” Aika whispered as she drew the axe. With a swift blow, the white sheets were now stained the color of the once scarlet roof. A thump was heard as something rolled off the bed onto the floor. I realized it was the mother’s head, with her closed peaceful eyes and the soft, pale skin. Blood began to pool on the pillow as the corpse continued to sleep. With a smile, Aika looked at me and said “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.
Aika exited the house and once again, took me to the beach. There was no shine, no glimmer to the water. Glancing up at the moon taking residence in the black velvet sky, Aika removed her beautiful blood red shoes. “I love my mommy” Aika sighed, taking steps into the frigid water. She held my hand and the water went from my legs, to my waist, and, finally, to my neck. With a deep, sorrowful breath, Aika, my little girl in red, looked at me and said “I love you” and I enjoyed the attention.