Whenever I’m sad and lonely, I talk to my doll, Ana. She always has a smile on her face, and every time I see her, I’m happy because she’s always happy. She makes me smile just as much as her. But when I show Ana to Mommy, Ana has a frown on her face. Mommy just says, “It’s not funny, Dakota. Ana doesn't smile.”

But Ana doesn't just make people smile. She also makes them scream. I came home one night from first grade and Mommy got angry at me for no reason at all. I ran up to my room, and as I cried, I told Ana what happened. She just smiled at me, which made me feel a lot better. I hugged Ana and put her back on the shelf where she always was, and then crawled into bed and went to sleep.

Later that night, I heard screaming coming from downstairs. I got scared, so I put on slippers and ran down the stairs. It sounded almost like Mommy’s screaming, and it was coming from the kitchen. I ran into the kitchen and stared in horror. It was Ana standing beside Mommy, with her back to me. A long, pointed knife was sticking out of Mommy’s chest, and there was a pool of blood on the floor. I walked closer, picking up Ana and looking at her closer.

Ana’s porcelain face was covered in blood. Her blue eyes were wide, with blood covering them, too. I hugged Ana and thanked her several times. Then I examined her face again.

In my arms, the doll smiled in gratitude.