Jiao S’ POV
My name is Li Jiao. I am eighteen years old, but I still have no idea how to brush my own hair. Why? Because she takes care of everything for me.
Who is she?
My sister, Li Qing. She’s as beautiful as her name.
And her heart?
Her heart’s even more beautiful.
Still, there’s always poison in beautiful things; the more beautiful they are, the more poisonous they get.
She’s five years older than me and had always been regarded as a gifted child. At the age of three she understood the basic mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, then attended primary school when she was five. She skipped three grades after that, and graduated when she was just seven.
My sister was extremely gifted and my parents couldn’t be more proud.
Being my parents’ pride and joy, her condition for repayment was that she get whatever she wanted, and my parents did not hesitate in doing so. Anything could become a toy in her hands. Including me.
I didn’t know before that my existence on this earth was such a huge threat to my sister. In the eyes of our parents and relatives, she was a unique and talented girl. As such, the preferential treatment that once belonged to her, and her alone, was threatened when I came along.
Being the intelligent girl that she was, despite her young age, she knew very clearly that the presence of a younger sister was a mistake, one that should have never existed.
Even to this day, years down the road, I suppose I can understand how she must have felt when I think back on it. How terrified she must have been.
When relatives congratulated my family they claimed that having a daughter was a blessing, but it was supremely fortunate to have two of them. The family was abuzz with anticipation as to whether their second daughter would be as clever as the first, or perhaps even exceed her talented older sister.
How flustered and helpless must she have felt? After all, she was only five. My sheer existence was like to someone took away her favorite candy. And when I turned five myself, it seemed to her like the candy had finally been eaten by another.
I was never the genius others had expected me to be, and our family never had another talented girl. I was your average child with a slightly weaker constitution, occasionally showing a little more wit than my peers, but those events were short-lived and spontaneous.
Unexpectedly, my parents doted on me as much as they did my sister. For the sake of filial piety, I shouldn’t criticise my parents. In reality, though, if we’re being honest, my parents treated me better than her.
Isn’t there a saying like that? When parents have more than one child, they tend to coddle the youngest most of all? Or in relative terms, the weakest. That child might not be smart, or sensible, or even obedient. Yet it was exactly this weakness of theirs that gained the favor of their parents.
I seemed to be like that.
My parents cared for me in every way possible, even to the extent of neglecting my gifted sister at times. My parents were gentle and mild-tempered people, so it hadn’t been to the extent of abuse. On the contrary, they still pampered my sister and treated her well.
Even so, she was adamant in her belief that they would have treated her even better without my existence. If it wasn’t for me, they would have praised her intelligence more, and whatever she wanted, she would have received them with less effort.
Yeah, even if the family background is decent, if the desires of their children doubled with the numbers, then it’ll obviously be more difficult to get whatever you wanted.
For someone as smart as my sister, how could she not have figured this out? It was precisely because she was
smart that she hadn’t thrown a tantrum over her stolen candy like the other kids would have. Even though that was the epitome of normalcy for a kid to behave.
My sister wasn’t a kid though, she never was. She possessed intelligence beyond her age, and hence, she chose to use her own method in dealing with the disaster which had descended from skies—me.
From the moment I turned three, she started buying dolls for me. By the time I was five, I already owned a great number of them and began developing memories. When I was ten, she was fifteen.
As with many child geniuses, the period when their intelligence drastically surpassed their peers was when they were young. At fifteen, my sister was no longer as much smarter than them as when she was five.
The skipping of grades when she was younger had led to a weaker foundation in the subjects she had studied, and as a result, while she was outstanding in high school, she was far from being gifted.
Still, her love for me was unwavering, and she continued buying those dolls for me. Being that young, I felt nothing else besides delight in receiving them, to be pampered with those dolls.
More frequently than not, she loved grooming me into a doll. As a kid, she could dress me up cutely, like a puppet, and no one would pay any mind. My parents were overjoyed that my sister loved me so much and treated me with so much kindness.
I had thought so too.
Many memories from my childhood had already faded, but my sister’s soft yet bewitching voice was deeply engraved in my mind.
“Jiao’er has to be doll. She has to be jiejie’s favorite doll, right? Look at how lovely dolls are. If you are willing to be a doll, jiejie will buy you a lot of pretty clothes too, and I’ll brush your beautiful hair, do you want that?”
At that time, I didn’t know better. I jumped for joy and answered, “Yeah, yeah! I want to be a doll, jiejie, I want to be the prettiest doll!”
And she answered with an incomparably gentle voice, “Alright, then Jiao’er will be jiejie’s doll forever. Forever, ok?”
I didn’t know at that time, how this promise of being her doll forever was but a seed that would eventually grow into a demon.
I could still remember that year, when she helped me into a puffy skirt which she bought. She looked at me, and with her slender, fair hands, she stroked my face. It was as though she was touching her favorite toy when she said to me, “Jiao’er, do you know what’s a SD doll?”
I giggled, “I do! They are those pretty dolls with big eyes.”
“You’re the most beautiful SD doll in jiejie’s heart. Do you want to be a SD doll from now on? Jiejie will name you Jiao S, how does that sound?”
There wasn’t a hint of hesitance when I agreed. All I thought of at that time was how lovely SD dolls looked, but I’ve forgotten about everything else that others have mentioned, about how their eyes were always lifeless and strange despite their cute appearance.
Which was why, up until I turned eighteen, when it was supposed to be the most beautiful moment in a teenage girl’s life, I was instead molded into the perfect doll by my sister.
Like a doll that had spent years in the making, the result wasn’t the attention of others when it was done, but a completion of a meticulously plotted scheme. She had started brainwashing me since I was young, and I eventually became the doll she created.
I didn’t smile much, because every time I do, she would tell me that SD dolls don’t smile. I was used to being expressionless, because she had told me that dolls didn’t need expressions.
The greed towards dolls started since I was around ten; the continuous plea for my sister to get me a new one, coupled with her brainwashing had caused my family to distant themselves. For a daughter, I was simply too unusual.
The distancing continued till I was eighteen. Occasionally, however, from the worried glances in my parents’ eyes, I could tell that they loved me and they still cared for me. Except, I was only a crafted doll by my sister, one who did not understand the concept of gratitude or any other emotions.
In fact, even until today when I had been cruelly oppressed by the doll complex caused by her, I couldn’t claim that it was entirely her fault because I had been willing. Even when she willfully educated me into abnormalcy due to her own selfish desires, my life was still shaped by my own choices.
If I hadn’t been attracted by the beautiful dolls, then I would not have been developed such greed for them and none of this would have happened.
Accustomed to being expressionless, I had no friends and even our relatives said that I looked numb. My eyes were spiritless, it didn’t have a glimmer of gratitude or emotions.
Everyone had thought it a pity; a pity that I didn’t look like my sister, that I wasn’t that sensible, gentle, intelligent girl that everyone loved. Everyone felt regretful for me, just because I wasn’t like my sister.
Yet, nobody has ever asked the question that was buried deep in my heart—I am my own person, why did I have to be just like my sister?
My sister finally divulged her scheme to me one day. She said that her plan had been to shape me into an eccentric and reclusive monster that nobody loves. While she didn’t achieve the result that she anticipated, she still did it. I really did become a monster.
The numerous times I had been criticized and warned against having an expression—because dolls did not have them—had in turn made me into a truly expressionless person as time went by.
There was nothing scarier than someone without an expression, and all of things, that was who I have become.
On the contrary, my sister grew to love me even more, because I was the end product of her effort. As a finished product, any treatment I could enjoy would only be given from her, my owner. I had no expression, no relationships, no friends. I only have jiejie.
As for my sister, after succeeding in more than a decade of defense, she remained as my parents’ favourite daughter. No one could take away any share of glory or love from her.
She’s the only one.
Until that day, when she finally revealed her devil-like mindset to me, did I finally realize… She didn’t want to provide me with whatever she could, instead, all she had wanted was to take away everything I have.
Just like she said, it was only a matter of time before dolls get abandoned. Whoever told you to become a doll?
As a doll, the moment when she had taken away everything and decided to abandon me, was the first time I felt the behavioral reflex of a human. That is, revenge.
The knife in my hands plunged into her body so many times, until finally, it was the single piece of medical certificate that sent me into a mental institute.
Li Jiao, delusional patient with deep paranoia, always thought of herself as an immaculate SD doll which will forever be loved by her owner.
The mental illness brought me a new place. It was not a prison, but as for what it truly was, I have no idea.