Devil with the Angel's Eyes (16+)

(Based on Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner)

Saria Ahmed is Assef's twelve year old sister, a charming young girl with bright blue eyes, and curly blonde hair. With her girly dresses and sweet demeanour, she comes across as the perfect child. But there is evil lying just beneath the innocent facade, a darkness that is sometimes beyond her control...

Any characters, words or plot devices taken from the Kite Runner are copyrighted by Khaled Hosseini and Dreamworks studios. I do not own them, and no copyright is intended. Saria Ahmed, and any other characters not owned by Hosseini are owned by me.

Please note that this story does contain strong violence, language and mature themes, but it is meant to reflect the violent and sociopathic natures of both Saria and Assef, and is told from Saria's unique first person perspective. If you are under the age, or maturity level of 16, or are in any way squeamish about violence, please do not read this story. Any feedback/ideas are welcomed.

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29. Adia's Punishment

In the last chapter, Saria's possesive nature came into play when she learned that Aarash had been sexually abusing Adia. Her gentle nature sooned turned violent, however, when Adia mistakenly brought an alligator lizard into Saria's bedroom. After Assef viciously threatens Adia, we find that Saria is thirsty to get her own revenge...

Another tediously long school day had ended. Thank fucking God tomorrow was Friday, I doubt I could have dealt with Ahtrai and her little group of cunts for much longer. They were still teasing me, still doing their level best to make every bit of my life a living hell. Why this was I genuinely had no fucking idea. Why, in a class of at least thirty girls, did she pick me as their target? It wasn't as if I had done anything to her. Okay, yeah, I had threatened her on the first day we met but that was only because she had knocked me down, and didn't have the common decency to apologise.

There has been no fucking reason for the stupid cunt to pick on me! Not one. Ahtrai was seriously one of the most idiotic people I have ever met in my life. You wouldn't put your hand into a cage with a rabid dog, would you? No, the dog would rip your fucking arm off. That was how I felt about our relationship. Ahtrai was lucky, really, that I had kept my temper for so long. Believe me, there was many a time I thought of just slitting her throat open, as I had done with Zainab, to murder her like I had murdered Zainab, only much, much worse.

The only thing stopping me was the fact that it would raise suspicion if Ahtrai were to be hurt. The mullahs in school were aware of her teasing me. I knew who the blame would fall upon. Still, I'm a very crafty person when the need arises. When the time came, (and I knew it would,) to put Ahtrai in her place, I knew that I could think up a plan relatively easy.

A light giggle escaped my lips at the thought of ripping every fucking bone from that cows body. Of using a hot poker to gouge her eyes out. Fantasizing about torture always cheered me up to no end. It was as if causing pain to other's was like smoking hashish to me. I got such a high whenever I saw a person crying or screaming in agony because of mine or Assef's handiwork.

Thinking of doing such gruesome acts to little Ahtrai was almost too much for me. I broke down in a fit of hysterical giggles, slamming my hand repeatedly into the mattress as my long blonde hair fell over my face. My stomach ached as I doubled over. I was laughing so hard that I didn't even notice Papa standing in the doorway.

He cleared his throat. ''And what are you laughing at?'' he asked teasingly.

I whipped around, heart thumping in my chest. 'Fuck off, you idiotic twat!' I thought, wishing I could scream it to his face. That would be rude, though, and I had to keep up appearances.

With a perpetually false smile of childhood bliss stuck on my face, I got up and hugged my father around the waist, burying my face in the soft fabric of his pyjama shirt. He stroked the back of my blonde hair in a loving gesture. ''What's so funny, kiddo?'' Papa asked. I gritted my teeth at hearing him use Assef's nickname for me, though, of course, the retard didn't notice anything.

''I'm laughing at the thought of hurting a girl in my class,'' I said in German. Papa blinked, gave me a dubious smile.

''What?'' he asked. My father had never bothered to learn German. Mama already spoke fluent Farsi and Pashto when she met him, so there was really no need for him to learn another language.

Besides, he had never been the type to want to 'broaden his horizons' or learn new things. It just wasn't in his nature. He squinted his eyes quizzically at me. ''Now, you know I don't understand you when you speak German, Saria. What are you saying?''

As usual, I could think up a lie on the spot,'' I said that I was laughing because I'm so happy that tomorrow's Friday. Only one more day of school.'' I beamed stupidly.

Papa laughed, a loud, throaty sound that resonated deep within his belly. ''I can see why that would make you happy, sport. Don't like school do ya?'' he grinned.

I shrugged. ''Who does?'' was my response to him, rolling my eyes playfully. He ruffled my hair, which pissed me off, even if I didn't show it.

''Well, unfortunately, you still have one more school day left, Saria. You need to get yourself ready for bed.'' I was already dressed in my long pink nightgown with rosebuds adorning the sleeves. Again, I felt so fucking childish wearing it. It belonged in the trash along with all my other pieces of clothing. ''Have you cleaned your teeth?'' Papa asked. I almost rolled my eyes. What was I, a baby?

''Yes, Papa.''

''And what about your night-time prayers? Have you said those?'' he asked, hands in his pockets.

''Yes,'' I lied. In all honesty, I had never prayed a day in my life. Neither has my brother. Why would I? It's quite obvious that I don't agree with God, or his retarded teachings. Besides, I'm not giving him the power to control my life! I live how I want to, thank you very much, and nobody tells Saria Ahmed how to behave.

Not even a deity. Papa had become quite the religious fanatic since Fahrsan's untimely death. Perhaps that was his way of covering up the grief that he felt inside. I could give two shits either way, as long as he didn't drag me to any fucking mosques. ''Alrighty then. I'll leave you be. Goodnight, sweetheart.'' He kissed me gently on the cheek. I smiled, returning the gesture.

''Papa, what time is it?'' I asked curiously.

''It's 9:45, Saria. Too late for little girls to be up.''

'Little girl? Come on; I'm twelve!' I thought irritably. My emotions remained well hidden. I rubbed at my eyes, in a half-assed attempt to seem cute or endearing. ''Okay, Papa, you're right. I'm beat. I'll see you tomorrow.''

''See you then, baby. Sweet dreams.'' With that said, Papa quietly closed the door behind him as he left me to my own devices. I sneered and flipped the bird at the closed wooden door. 'Stupid cunt,' I thought. Why did my parents have to treat me like such a baby? I was going to be a teenager in December of this year.

It really pissed me off when they asked stupid questions such as 'have you brushed your teeth?' or 'is your homework done?' Just because I look like an eight year old, doesn't mean they had the right to treat me like one. ''Fucking assholes,'' I said aloud. Luckily, nobody heard me. My back arched as I stretched, mouth opening wide in a yawn. The sooner I would settle down, the better. Leaning over, I switched off my bedside lamp. Now my room was shrouded in darkness, except for the soft glow of moonlight illuminating the shadows.

I lay back, pulling the covers up to my chin. 'Let's just get tomorrow fucking over with,' I thought to myself, as I shut my eyes. It took a lot of tossing and turning, but sleep eventually overcame me.

I'm in the forest. The same forest I murdered Zainab in. I'm still in my nightgown, my feet still bare. 'What the fuck?' I think to myself. The wind howls loudly, making the fallen leaves rustle. I shiver; whether from cold or fear of this unknown place I genuinely have no clue. There are footsteps behind me. I turn, fists clenched, ready to hit anything or anyone who dares to challenge me.

There's nothing there. My eyes narrow in silent fury. The footsteps are getting closer. I have to run. The ground is hard, the sticks breaking under the soles of my feet. I'm probably stepping in mud too, but I don't care. I have to get away. There's something coming for me. I don't know what exactly, but it's dangerous, something that could kill me if it were to catch up with me.

My hair falls about my eyes, obscuring my view. Branches hit against me, knocking me off kilter. ''Fuck!'' I curse loudly. My feet are aching, I'll have blisters after this. Yet, I must continue to run, no sense of purpose or direction. All I know is that I have to get out of here, no matter what. I don't know far I've run, but it must be about ten minutes when I feel something brush up against my toes. 'Probably just a bug or something,' I tell myself, looking down. My eyes widen in pure horror as I spy a tiny alligator lizard crawling across my foot. I kick out, desperate to get this beast away from me.

It continues to nibble at my toes. I scream loudly, overbalance, and topple backwards. My head makes a sickening crunch as it slams against the ground. It is with sheer terror in my heart that I notice the hundreds of alligator lizards crawling from beneath the underground. ''No! NOOO!'' I scream, hands frantically grabbing at sticks, rocks, anything I can find to chuck at them.

But to no avail. I barely have time to scream before the little monsters are crawling all over me, their razor sharp teeth biting every inch of me they can find. I start to cry out, trying my best to call for help, but they're in my mouth now. ''Poor little Saria.'' A voice mocks. I look up to see Aarash looming over me, holding a large bucket over his head. I don't have to look inside to know what it contains.

''Please, please, NO!'' I beg. Aarash gives a sadistic chuckle as he pours yet more lizards on my face. ''NOOOO! GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!'' I scream, thrashing. Aarash's eyes are bright, excited. He's enjoying my fear. I shut my eyes tight, feeling bile rise in my throat. Something is clawing at me.

It's in my hair, I can feel it. Another lizard. ''No, go away, leave me alone, no, God, please stop, monsters!'' I begin thrashing, legs and arms flailing, kicking in a futile effort to get these things away from me.

''Saria?'' a voice asks. It's probably Aarash, ridiculing me once again. I don't answer. ''Saria, it's okay, kiddo, you're just having a nightmare, you're safe.'' They say. I feel something gently stroking the back of my head.

''No, no,'' I plead with them, feeling too scared to push them away.

''Saria, kiddo, wake up, please. It's just me, just Assef, come on, everything's fine.''

''Assef?'' My eyes flickered open. I looked up to see my dear brother sitting on the edge of the bed, eyes full of concern, his fingers gently stroking my hair.

''You were having a nightmare,'' he told me. ''I came back from the toilet and I could hear you whimpering.''

My entire body shook as I burst into floods of tears. ''The monsters, the m-monsters are here. They're gonna come back and hurt me again.'' I wailed pitifully. What a sight I must have been. It would be hard for anyone to believe I was a sociopath in this moment. Assef gave me a sympathetic look, pulled back the covers, and slid into bed next to me. He wrapped his arms round me in a protective gesture as I sobbed desperately, face pressed against his chest.

''Shh, kiddo, it's okay. It's okay,'' he cooed gently, trying his best to console me.

''Assef, there are monsters, a-and they... They want to hurt me,'' I moaned. Assef rubbed my back.

''No, Saria, there's no monsters. I promise. I'll never let anything hurt you, sister, okay? I swear on my life,'' my brother promised me, with strong conviction in his voice.

''I'm scared.''

Assef ran his fingers through my scalp, gently kissing my forehead. ''There's no need to be scared, kiddo, I promise. There's nothing bad here.''

''Aarash...'' I told him. ''In my d-dream, he poured the l-lizards on my face.'' Assef swore loudly, gritting his teeth. The sharp, vicious tone in his voice made me jump. I guess I was still on edge.

''How long?'' he barked.

I shivered. ''How long what?'' I asked.

''How long have you been having these nightmares? About Aarash?'' he snarled the name, his grip on me so tight it was almost painful.

''About a week after it happened. They come and go. Please don't get mad, Assef, I don't like it.''

My brother clicked his tongue, gently rubbing circles into my back. ''I'm sorry, Saria. It's not you I'm angry with. I don't mean to frighten you.'' Assef moved slightly. 'He's going to leave,' I thought in a panic, grabbing his t-shirt in a desperate and frantic attempt to make him stay.

''No, stay, please, I don't want to be alone,'' I cried.

My brother hugged me close, rocking me as I sobbed. ''I'm here, kiddo, I'm not going anywhere. Shhh, come on now, stop crying, everything's fine.''

''What time is it?'' I managed to get out between my frantic gulps for air.

''Very late or very early, depending on how you'd look at it,'' Assef said.

''Okay, uh, will you talk to me until I fall asleep?'' I asked, feeling stupid for it afterwards. It seemed like the type of question a four year old would ask. Assef didn't seem to mind, though.

''Of course I will, kiddo. What do you want to talk about?''

I racked my brain, trying to come up with a topic. An unnerving thought suddenly entered my psyche. ''Assef?'' I asked, cocking my head up at my brother.

''Yeah, Sar?''

''Remember how Adia said that she found the lizard in our garden. What if there are more of them in there?'' This was becoming a very real concern of mine, childish as it may seem.

''If there are, well, I'll kill every single one of them. I promise. Don't worry about that, kiddo.'' As usual, he'd made me feel ten times better without even trying. That was just the sibling bond we had, I guess.

''Okay.'' I decided to bring the conversation onto happier things. ''Do you think Hassan still remembers us?'' I asked.

''I don't see why not, kiddo, I mean, you don't take something like rape and just forget about it.'' There was a light, joyful tone in Assef's voice as he reminisced with me. The suffering of a Hazara always managed to cheer me up.

''I hope he feels so bad that he commits suicide,'' I said truthfully.

Assef laughed heartily, pressing a kiss to the side of my head. ''I hope so too. Actually, I don't care how that flat-nose dies, just so long as it's fucking agony for him.'' We both shared a laugh at such cruel thoughts.

''I wish I could jab a pin in his eyes!'' I exclaimed joyfully. Of course, it should be quite clear what language my brother and I were speaking in. I stifled a yawn, arms wrapped round Assef's waist. He tucked a stray lock of hair behind my ear, gently kissing my cheek. You see, we're not monsters, are we?

It was becoming quite a struggle for me to keep my eyes open. They grew heavier and more listless with each passing second. Assef didn't fail to notice my drowsiness, moving ever so slightly, to make room for us both. This was only a single bed, not meant for two people. ''M'tired,'' I grumbled.

''Okay, kiddo, you go to sleep. I'm here.''

I looked at him through blurry eyes. ''T-thank you for staying with me,'' I said as I closed my eyes, feeling the horror of that nightmare drift away.

''You're welcome, I love you, kiddo,'' Assef said kindly.

''Love you too,'' I replied, feeling my body go limp as I once again drifted off into slumber...

Friday morning came sooner than I anticipated, and I woke to find myself alone in the room, with only a hand written note for company. My eyes squinted in the dark as I tried to read it.

'Saria, it's about 7:00. I went to get dressed. Hope you're feeling better, kiddo. I'll meet you downstairs at 8:00 to bring you to school. Assef.' Groaning loudly, I switched on the lamp, and knelt upright to look at the clock on the wall above me. '7:25,' it read. I swore aloud with the realization that I only had thirty five minutes to get dressed and meet Assef downstairs.

'Fuck, why did you have to oversleep?' I cursed myself, punching the bed in frustration. There really was no time for me to beat around the bush, as the saying goes. With a loud groan of protest, I swung my body around, gently placing my feet on the carpet, giggling as the soft, dense fabric tickled between my toes. Hamilra had long since given it a thorough clean after Adia pissed herself on it.

Disgusting little bitch. How disrespectful of her. I still avoided that spot, even two weeks later, especially when I didn't have anything covering my feet. Walking around the bed, I made my way to the large, oak wardrobe. 'Here we fucking go again!' I thought in pure frustration as I swung open the doors, almost leaving a dent in the fucking wall.

Just once, I would like to choose something to wear and not feel like a retard! My eyes scoured the many varieties of childish dresses and pinafores, looking for something that not only screamed innocence, but also didn't look as though I had stolen it from a toddler's wardrobe. Very fucking difficult. I hated the fact that I had to look innocent. About five minutes passed before I eventually selected a dress to wear. It was light purple in colour, with mid-length sleeves, a skirt that reached just below my knees, and a large ribbon at the back.

It was hideous, yeah, but under the circumstances it would have to do. As I unbuttoned my nightgown, my fingers tentatively brushed against the scar on my neck. That fucking Aarash. His very name was almost taboo. Thanks to him, I'd be stuck with this ugly scar for the rest of my life. My hopes of ever finding a man to love me were seriously dwindling. Who in their right mind would marry a girl who not only looks physically repulsive, but who also cannot bear a child to carry on his legacy?

'No wonder Amir didn't want you. Stupid, ugly bitch!' I tugged at my hair, tears welling up in my eyes. Self cruelty wasn't anything new to me, of course. The nightgown made no sound as it flopped onto the carpet. I pulled the gross looking dress over my head, yanking it down with much vigour.

My tiny, nimble fingers struggled with the zipper at the back. ''So fucking annoying! UGH!'' I growled loudly. The dress hung against my skinny legs. I hurriedly did up the ribbon, pulling it taut. Looking at the clock, I noticed that it was now 7:45 AM. Another fifteen minutes until I had to go.

Do I even need to say how much I hated going to fucking school? I put on some white socks that had lace around the edges. So fucking adorable. I put on my black shoes. As I brushed my tangled hair, I couldn't help but think about my bitch, Adia. In the past fortnight, her fear of me had become even more apparent.

She knew now who had control of her fate. I was a time bomb, one who could explode in rage at any given time. No warning. Yet, I felt that Adia still hadn't paid her full dues for her betrayal. Nobody turns their back on Saria Ahmed and gets away with it. By letting Adia's behaviour go unpunished, I felt that I would not be doing myself the proper justice. 'Someday I'll make that little cunt pay,' I thought with conviction in my heart. I secured a ribbon into my hair, admiring my reflection in the floor length mirror.

''Looking good,'' I told myself. Slipping on a light blue cardigan, I bounced happily out of my room and down the stairs.

There was a role that I had to undertake to the best of my abilities. Sweet, benevolent little Saria. The girl with the pure heart, the unfathomable kindness. Isn't being manipulative one of a psychopath's many talents? I didn't even bother to get any breakfast for myself as I hurried into the living room where Assef sat waiting, perched on the edge of the huge cream sofa, his fingers drumming absent-mindedly against his trouser leg.

''Hello,'' I said, embracing him around the waist. His face broke out into a grin, as he ruffled my hair, one of the many things I would only ever allow him to do without getting annoyed.

''Heya, kiddo. Sleep well?''

I nodded. ''Yeah. Thanks for staying last night. It's good to know I have someone to care for me.''

''Anytime, Saria. You know that.'' Assef extended a hand to me. ''Ready to go?'' he asked. I nodded, slipping my hand in his, feeling the reassurance of his fingers squeezing mine. Assef slipped the house key into his pocket, before grabbing his precious brass knuckles and shoving them into the front pocket of his bag.

He was inseparable from them, after all. With this done, we left the house, slamming the door shut with a bang. It was a frigid day in late October, 1974. There was a definite chill in the morning air, and some frost had already begun to develop on the neighbour's cars. In about a week it would be the end of the month. Halloween, I think, is the American holiday.

For me, and so many other Kabuli children, it spelled the end of another school year, and the start of three months winter holidays. 'God, I should have worn a fucking coat, I'm freezing,' I thought. Assef drew me in close, vigorously rubbing my arms to keep me warm. He was always looking out for my welfare. So kind of him.

''Are Mama and Papa working?'' I asked.

''Yeah,'' my brother nodded. ''They'll be out until about one so they'll be home by the time you and I finish school,'' he explained. As we neared our favourite cafe, I spied Belourine, the bubbly, chatty owner, watching us. I turned and gave her a smile, waving.

''Stupid cunt,'' I said in German.

Assef snorted. ''Let's hurry up before she gets any ideas about coming over to say hello,'' he spoke in hushed tones, ushering me past the cafe. My eyes narrowed as I took another glance at Belourine's dwindling form. I swear, people like her are so hard for me to connect with or tolerate on any level.

I began to feel slightly nervous as the huge wrought iron gates came into view. I always felt nervous going to school, knowing I could expect more teasing and cruelty from my fellow students. Just my fucking luck, I guess. What I really wanted to do now was run as fast as humanely possible in the opposite direction. I slowed my walking to a snail's pace, kicking up puffs of dust.

Assef squeezed my hand in reassurance. Within a few short moments, I found myself standing outside the gates. ''I'll see you later, kiddo. Have a good day,'' he said, kissing my cheek gently. Biting my lip, I trudged my way across the playground. I beamed at Assef, watching him stroll away, hands in his pockets. I would miss him for these next few hours.

I watched the little girls thunder past me, laughing excitedly about something idiotic. Their over exuberance never failed to piss me off. I was the most reserved person at this school. As I strolled casually along the playground, I couldn't help but notice a group of little brats surrounding a young child of about eleven. They had her cornered, her back pressed against the wall.

Her body trembled as they slapped at her face and arms. ''Please leave me alone,'' she begged. I knew that voice! That was Adia, my little bitch! Three fucking guesses as to who was teasing her. 'Here we fucking go again,' I thought. Ahtrai's cruel laughter grew louder as I hurried my way over.

Did nobody have respect for others property anymore? I felt myself shaking from rage. The stupid cunt didn't even take heed of my approaching footsteps, her eyes were focused on a sobbing Adia. My poor little bitch, I genuinely did feel sympathy for her. As I said before, I am the only person who had the right to make Adia feel inferior, to cause her pain. Well, me and Assef, I mean.

Like a deadly cobra, I grabbed Ahtrai's shoulder and whirled her around to face me. ''Well, look who it is. Saria, come to help her gay lover,'' she teased, with a vindictive edge to her voice.

I hissed, feeling the rage bubbling inside me. ''Just what the hell do you think you're doing, Ahtrai?'' I asked in my calmest, yet deadliest voice.

She barked a laugh. ''Oh, I'm just hanging out with little Adi here.'' I noticed Adia tense slightly. Of course she would, hearing Aarash's nickname for her. It must have brought those memories back. Aarash had a lot to answer for. I stood protectively in front of Adia, spreading my arms out to stop the girls around me from hurting my bitch

Ahtrai had no reason to suspect that Adia or myself had suffered at the hands of the psychopath Aarash. Her teasing continued. I could hear the sarcasm dripping from her voice. ''Aww, isn't that sweet, girls? Saria's trying to fight us.''

''We should beat them both up!'' exclaimed one twelve-year-old brat. She was a good few inches taller than I was, despite the fact that she was my age. As are most fucking people. Adia struggled to her feet, eyes never leaving my trembling form. She cowered back against the wall, now more afraid of me than anybody else here.

I rounded on the brat who had dared to challenge me. ''Beat me up, you little bitch? I'd to see you try!'' I snarled, my eyes narrowing as I strode towards her, fist raised. ''Who gave you the right to start teasing my friend? Huh?'' I glowered at Ahtrai, my eyes locked unwaveringly on hers.

''Let me make this very clear to all of you. I will not stand idly by while you bully Adia. You have no idea what a violent and disturbed person I can be, the horrors of what I am truly capable of. If any one of you little brats dares to lay even a finger on Adia, you'll be worm food before the day is out. And that's not a threat, it's a promise.'' I exhaled deeply, keeping my eyes ahead.

The same cocky twelve year old who had threatened me earlier now spoke up once more. ''You can't speak to us like that. I'm telling Mullah Fahsir Khan,'' she whined.

I laughed, jabbing my finger in her face. ''Oh, really? And while you're there, why don't you tell him about what you were doing? About how I found you bullying a shy little girl who's a year younger than you, hmm? Gonna tell Mullah Fahsir Khan about that?'' I asked sarcastically.

Ahtrai retaliated quickly, giving me a forceful shove backwards. With my attention focused on her little bitch friend, I wasn't prepared for her attack. I staggered backwards, toppling over and landing with a loud SMACK on the hard ground. I winced as my head collided with a large rock below me. ''Fuck!'' I swore. Tentatively, I pressed my fingers to the back of my skull. No blood. Fortunately for everyone involved. I lay there, feeling too stunned, too upset to move. Ahtrai cackled along with her friends, stepping right over me like I was just some piece of dust on the ground.

I struggled to my feet, heart thumping one hundred miles per hour. Adia remained curled in a fearful little ball. 'Stupid little cunt, it's her fault. Everything is her fault!' I thought irately, clenching and unclenching my fists in a desperate attempt to calm my ever rising temper. I needed to use the human punching bag in front of me.

Fixing Adia the most terrifying glare I could muster, I raised my hand and cracked her across the face. Hard. She jerked backward with a little yelp of surprise. ''It's getting very fucking annoying for me to always be running to your rescue, Adia. You'll have to be more careful, won't you? You wouldn't want me to be hurt, right?'' Her eyes filled with tears as she shook her head so vigorously I thought she might get whiplash. That would have been fucking hilarious.

''N-no, Saria, I d don't want you to g-get hurt, I'm sorry. I'll be more careful. Please don't hit me,'' she babbled, inching further away from me, her entire body shaking.

''Whatever. Don't bother me again.'' I stuck my nose up, turned on my heel and stalked into the classroom. 'That'll show her,' I told myself. The sound of childish laughter filled my ears as I searched for a place to sit. My bag's straps dug painfully into my shoulders and I was positive it would leave a mark or two later this evening. Where do I sit? Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

I placed a finger to my lips as I pondered this fact. My wandering eyes soon fell on Delbar, head buried in a textbook, studious as usual. The poor thing didn't have anyone beside her. Delbar's head snapped up as I walked towards her. She fidgeted with the hem of her brown skirt, eyes nervously scanning the room for anywhere else she might be able to sit, before they eventually came to rest on my smiling face. '

'Why hello, Delbar, mind if I sit next to you?'' The sugary tone in my voice was laced with authority, something that didn't fail to go amiss. Delbar hurriedly pushed her book to one side. She was such a good little dog. I took my seat beside her, placing my books and pencils on the table. With a light grin of childish joy, I slung my arm round Delbar's shoulder, poking her in the nose.

''Hi,'' I giggled. ''And how are you today, my dear?'' I asked, wanting to keep her on my side, to butter her up for when she would eventually become mine. Delbar hesitated, not knowing what to make of my sweet demeanour.

''I'm fine thank you, Saria, h-how are you?'' she asked. Delbar was a very smart little girl. She knew how quickly I could fly into a rage.

''Oh, I'm very well thank you, Delbar jan,'' I said, opening my Rumi book and scanning the last poem we'd been looking at. ''I hope Mullah Fahsir Khan doesn't give us any tests,'' I whispered to Delbar. She grunted in response. The little girl was my property, as far as I was concerned. Just like Adia.

'Speak of the devil,' I thought as my bitch entered the room. She looked around her, trying to find a place to sit. There was a space right beside me, and so, I was rather shocked when Adia nervously made her way over to a table in the furthest corner away from me. Some fucking nerve!

After I had just defended her only minutes previously? I felt my body tense up. How dare she brush me off like that? Who the fuck did she think she was? Adia was very lucky this was a crowded room, because I seriously wanted to punch her fucking lights out. I knew this was out of the question, though.

How would it look of Mullah Fahsir Khan were to see me breaking sweet little Adia's jaw? I knew there would be time for vengeance sooner or later. My attentions were focused on the Mullah, as he leaned down over me, hands pressed against the wooden desk. ''Am I boring you, Miss Ahmed?'' He asked. I looked up to see my classmates gaping in my direction.

I lowered my eyes, the perfect image of obedience. ''I apologize. Just zoned out.''

''Please pay attention, Saria,'' he reprimanded sternly. Easier said than done, really. My attentions were totally focused on Adia. The little bitch couldn't keep her eyes off me. She was trying to read my face, to see if she could find any traces of the beast lurking within. I remained stoic as I lifted a hand, waving sweetly. Adia bit her lip, gulping. Stupid bitch. How dare she brush me off?

After I had so graciously ''forgiven'' her betrayal, had vowed to protect her from Aarash. My nostrils flared. ''Idiotic bimbo,'' I snarled in German. Adia began fiddling with the collar of her buttoned up white shirt. The bruise Aarash gave her was faded and yellowing. I thought about what she'd told me, about how Aarash had ''touched'' her.

A tiny part of me did feel some level of empathy. I knew first hand just what a lunatic Aarash could be. Still, that did not mean I would allow my bitch's treason to go unpunished. Like a true manipulator, I wanted to find ways to use her weakness against her. To make sure the eleven year old never turned her back on me again. The remaining hours whittled away tediously, without any more incidents. Nothing I really care to write about, anyway. Like every child, my heart soared upon hearing the end of school bell. The shrill noise that marked the beginning of two days rest. I clapped my hands in glee.

'Thank fucking God!' I thought, rubbing my palms together. There was a loud, collective screech as we pushed our chairs back. Delbar sighed deeply, closing her book and putting it into her rucksack. I could tell she was itching to get away from me. Ha, like that would ever happen! She would never escape me, not until her death. Which, if she were lucky, would not be at my hands.

My gaze never left hers. I absent-mindedly packed my bag, humming an old German song to myself. I couldn't fucking wait to get away from this hellhole, to see my brother again. This may sound childish, but I honestly did miss Assef during school hours. Being surrounded by idiots for seven fucking hours really drained my energy. I looked forward to being with the only person who really understood me.

I squeezed Delbar's arm gently, letting her know that I was on her side, that I was her friend. She had to come to me willingly. It would make the moment I claimed her sweeter. ''Have a nice day, jan. Maybe see you over the weekend?'' I asked hopefully. She nodded, backing away slowly, hands raised.

''Yeah. Maybe.'' Delbar stumbled over herself in the rush to leave. I flung my bag onto my shoulders, ensuring I hit my newest bitch in the ribs as I did so.

''Bye, you ugly cunt,'' I said in German. She bowed her head, scurrying out the door like a fearful mouse. Tormenting someone weaker than I always lifted my spirits. Mullah Fahsir Khan politely held the door open for me. ''Thank you kindly.'' I bowed my knees.

''You're welcome, Saria. Have a good weekend, inshallah.''

''You too,'' was my reply. I skipped down the hall, the picture of childhood bliss. A few girls sniggered at me, but I paid them no mind. To what purpose would it serve me if I got aggravated? The loud clacking of shoes against the marble tiling let me know that somebody was fast hurrying towards me.

I turned my head back to see my bitch sprinting my way. 'Oh, so now she wants to see me?' I thought. I decided I would simply give her the cold shoulder, as she had been doing to me all day. Let her sweat. Make her think I was angry with her. Adia trotted up beside me. ''Hi, Saria. Hi!'' she chirped. I rolled my eyes and blatantly ignored the ugly cunt as I walked out the doors.

Adia cocked her head a little. ''Um, Saria?'' She clearly didn't like being ignored. The fear of waiting for me to strike was overwhelming. I spotted Assef waiting up ahead. He gave me a huge smile and wave, his eyes lighting up. We took such great joy in each other's presence. Adia was a constant thorn in my side, vying for my attention.

I stared ahead, not even looking at her. There was ice just beginning to form on the steps, and I had to be extra careful so I wouldn't slip and break anything. I remember when I was a babbling one year old toddler and Assef was six, we'd been playing chase on the driveway. Assef had skidded on a patch of black ice, fallen over and ended up in Accident and Emergency with a broken leg.

Ice could be treacherous, so precautions had to be taken. Luckily I made it down the steps without any mishaps. I broke into a run, hair flying in all directions, laughing happily. I barrelled straight into my brother, squeezing him tightly around the midriff. He gave a little gasp of surprise. ''Why hello there, kiddo. Nice to see you too,'' he chuckled.

''Missed you,'' I told him.

Assef smiled, taking my little hand in his own. ''I missed you too.'' We both strolled casually out the school gates together. ''So, how was your day? Anybody give you a hard time?'' Assef asked.

''Well, this morning I saw Ahtrai making fun of Adia. I went over to stand up for her, and then Ahtrai and her friends ganged up on me and knocked me to the ground,'' I muttered.

Assef swore loudly, balling his free hand up into a fist. ''Does Ahtrai have some type of death wish?'' His words confirmed what I had always thought.

''Quite possibly. I'm not letting her get to me any more. She'll get what's coming to her in due time.'' Assef nodded in agreement. We made the journey home in record time, and my cheerful demeanour fell slightly when I noticed Papa's car sitting in the driveway. ''Fuck. I wanted to spend the afternoon just with you,'' I complained to my brother.

''Hopefully it won't be too bad. Maybe they'll leave us alone.'' I doubted this would be the case. Seriously, if I could I'd crack both my parents skulls wide open. I don't need them. I don't care for them. They were just pawns, just worthless pieces of dog crap in my eyes.

Mama was already standing on the doorstep, her arms open wide, just waiting for me to come and embrace her. I did so grudgingly. ''There's my gorgeous little girl. Aww, hello, pumpkin. How was your day?''

I lied to her, as I had been doing most of my life. ''Fine, Mama. No problems or anything.'' She cuddled up to me as we entered the hall.

Assef trailed close behind, kicking the door shut. Mama snorted indignantly at the damage that would probably be done to the woodwork but she was intelligent enough not to say anything. I heard my father's obnoxious laughter as he came out of the kitchen to greet us. ''Papa!'' I exclaimed, running to hug his waist.

The cheap smell of detergent filled my nostrils as I pressed my face against his mustard coloured shirt. ''Hello, baby,'' he said, kissing my head. ''And hello, son.'' He gestured to my brother.

''Afternoon, Father,'' Assef replied politely.

Papa looked down at me. ''Do you have any homework to do?'' he asked in a stern tone. I suddenly remembered the pages of arithmetic I had to complete before tomorrow. 'Fuck sake,' I thought, annoyed.

I nodded sadly. ''Yes. I'll go and do it right away.''

I turned on my heel and bounded up the stairs, putting on a show of the diligent, studious child. ''Fucking shit,'' I cursed as I tossed my bag into the corner, massaging my aching shoulders. Nobody likes homework, and I was no exception. Still, what could I do about it? It wasn't as if these were particularly hard questions anyway. I pride myself on being the most intelligent girl in that school.

Not difficult, considering I'm surrounded by fucking Neanderthals. My slave had graciously left a glass of milk on the desk. I would pour it down the sink later; no way am I drinking or eating anything that Hamilra gives me. After some rooting in my bag, I found my copybook. I opened the corresponding page in the book and began pencilling out sums.

As is usually the case, my thoughts began to drift. I could never keep my focus, it just wasn't in my nature. I ran my hands over my face, touching the bump on my nose where Aarash had punched me. He was probably using Assef's brass knuckles at the time. I felt so ugly whenever I looked at myself. So grotesque.

''Stupid Aarash. Stupid fucking cunt,'' I muttered, kicking the leg of the desk in fury. With Assef's help, I was determined to see justice done. Nobody got away with harassing me, it just wasn't done. I wiped my eyes, noting the moisture on my hand. ''I'll study this crap later,'' I said, throwing my books on the floor.

A loud knocking on the front door startled me. 'Now who could that be?' They were very fucking persistent. I opened my bedroom door slightly, wanting to eavesdrop. Maybe it's my anxious nature but I always felt on edge whenever someone called up. I couldn't shake the feeling that these were police, ready to arrest me for Zainab's murder. The high pitched sound of Mama's giggles told me this was not the case.

''Who the fuck could this be?'' I mused aloud. My parents conversed happily with their guests in Farsi. Unfortunately, my bitch of a mother wanted me downstairs as well. I'd much rather stay in my room, but noo..

''Saria! Saria, can you come down, honey? There's someone here to see you.''

''Yes, Mama. I'll be right down.'' Grumbling, I sauntered out into the hall. 'No way!' I thought when I spied Adia, Faraya and Javid. They were beaming as I trundled downstairs, my own grin never leaving my face. The fear in Adia's eyes was clear as day. Panic set in. Did my bitch squeal on me?

Inwardly, my thoughts began to race, yet, outside I remained calm and demure. ''Salaam, Adia jan, Javid agha, Faraya khanom.'' I bowed my knees, extending the hem of my pinafore. Faraya simpered, her eyes glowing.

''Hello, Saria,'' Javid replied, shaking my tiny hand. I went to stand next to Assef, resting my head against his legs. He put his arm round my shoulder in a protective gesture. Adia hung back, eyes nervous flitting back and forth from me to Assef. Javid directed the conversation to my father.

''I know it's rude to ask on such short notice, but well, thing is, Faraya jan and I have booked ourselves a romantic suite for the night.''

''How lovely!'' Mama gushed.

''Yes, but, the problem is we can't seem to find anyone to look after Adia jan for the night.'' Adia poked her head out from behind Javid's legs. It took every inch of my willpower not to spit in her face! Faraya shifted from one foot to another. She pursed her lips, clearly embarrassed by this request. Like I gave a shit.

The shame of another person made my heart soar. ''Uh, another thing, sorry, but Adia jan refuses to sleep anywhere but at home. Ever since...'' she trailed off, eyes misting over. ''Ever since Masood died, she's refused to leave home at night.''

Ha! I almost pissed myself with laughter. Stupid fucking cunt! Faraya hugged Adia tightly. Mother and daughter were so close. The little cow looked ashamed that her fears had been laid bare. I was determined to use it against her.

Assef spoke up. ''I can look after her,'' he offered. ''If you want, I could go up to your house to babysit Adia jan.'' He gave his most charming smile. Adia shuddered, though it went unnoticed by the grown ups in the room.

''Well, alright. Thank you so much, Assef. You're a real lifeline.'' Javid was adamant in thanking him.

''It's no bother. And, if you agree, I'd like to bring Saria with me. It would be good for little Adia to have some company.'' My dear older brother is a truly skilled manipulator. It didn't take long for Adia's parents to agree to his request. I gaped at him, confused. Usually I could read him like an open book. Today was different, however. I raised my eyebrow, looking up at him.

''I'll tell you why later. Trust in me,'' Assef whispered in German. ''We'll come up at 4:00 PM today. See you then.''

''See you then, Adia.'' I bounded forward, seizing her in a loose embrace. ''We're going to have so much fun!'' She didn't fail to notice my grave threat. Adia swallowed bile, grinding her teeth. Her worst nightmares were coming to stay.

''Come on upstairs, kiddo. I'll help you finish your sums.'' Assef took my hand, leading me upstairs. We entered my room, and I flopped back onto the newly made up bedcovers. Assef sat next to me, gathering me into his arms. ''You can get revenge tonight, kiddo. Just think; we'll be alone with her. Let's make her pay for what she did to you.''

I giggled, nuzzling my nose against his cheek. Tears of joy welled up in my eyes. ''Thank you, Assef, THANK YOU! THANK YOU!'' I screeched. Wonderful fantasies began to fill my thoughts. Oh, how could I make the bitch pay for what she had done? I hugged my brother's neck, jumping up and down on his knee.

I loved him so much, he was always doing his best to help me, especially in revenge. I let out a high pitched whoop of delight, giggling to myself. The front door clicked shut; Adia was gone. I honestly couldn't wait to see her tonight. The little twat was going to see exactly what happened to people who disobey Saria Ahmed. I just couldn't wait until 4:00 PM. I'd have gone over there right away if I could. Patience is not a strong point of mine.

''Want help with your study?'' Assef gestured to my bag, which lay in a crumpled heap against the wall.

I shook my head. ''No, I'll do it later.''

He nodded in understanding. ''Alright.'' Looking up at the clock, I seen that it was now 2:45. Ugh. Why must I wait?

''I'd go over there right now, you know. I wanna see her bleed.''

''Soon, kiddo, soon. Do you know what you're going to do?'' my brother asked curiously. I held up my trusty lighter, laughing. Assef grinned.

''At least there won't be a repeat of last time you stayed in Adia's house,'' he said.

''Of course not, you're not going to make me wear bunny pyjamas, are you?'' Assef paused, a finger to his lips.

''Hmm, I dunno, you would look adorable in them.''

''Shut up!'' I yelled in false indignation, slapping him playfully on the arm. In retaliation, he jabbed at my ticklish ribs while I squirmed like a fish on a line. We both smiled at each other, just enjoying the company. Papa insisted on driving us to Adia's, even though she only lived five or ten minutes away. What did I say? Always treating me like a baby. It really got on my nerves.

The tyres screeched loudly as we slowed to a halt outside the driveway. ''Assef, go in to Adia. I want to have a talk with your sister.'' Assef nodded, opening the passenger door. ''See ya in five, kiddo.'' He trudged up the snow covered driveway towards the house. Papa focused on me, his eyes boring into my very soul.

''I do not want a repeat of the last sleepover. You are to be respectful, polite, and to do as your brother says. He's in charge tonight.''

'No,' I thought smugly. 'We're both in charge tonight!'

''Your bedtime is 10:00 PM. No exceptions. Do you understand this?''

I nodded slowly. ''Yes, Papa. I'll behave. I promise.''

He regarded me for a second. ''Alright. Okay, have fun.''

I hopped out of the car and raced towards the open door, my rucksack bouncing on my back. I had stowed my lighter away in the front pocket. What I used it for tonight was something I had never done before. That is for me to write about later in this entry. Adia smiled at me. I gathered her up into a loose embrace, twirling around.

That, I believe, was one of the things Adia feared about me. I could go from being sweet to psychotic in a millisecond. Right now, I felt like being the former. ''You and me, I can tell you now, are going to have the best time!'' I exclaimed, kissing her cheek.

''Come on inside, girls,'' Assef beckoned. ''Saria, why don't you put your stuff down in Adia's room. Okay?'' I nodded.

''Mommy made me clean it up before you came,'' Adia said, leading the way.

''Good,'' I replied. She opened the door, giving me access to her spic-and-span bedroom. I lay down on the bed, arms open wide. ''I'll unpack my shit later,'' I told her. She looked as though she wanted to chastise me for using naughty language, but thought better of it. Adia hugged her arms round her waist, eyes lowered.

My focus was suddenly drawn to a large china doll sitting on her bedside locker. It looked to be around eight years old, the red pinafore was fading ever so slightly. Adia noticed me looking and hugged the doll against herself. ''Masood bought this for my second birthday. I've had it ever since.'' Her eyes glazed over.

''Sometimes, when I'm lonely or scared, I take her into bed with me. Cause whenever I had a nightmare, Masood used to sleep next to me, to chase the monsters away.'' How sweet. Her relationship with her now dead brother struck a chord with me. Not all that different from me and Assef. Little did Masood ever know there was one monster he'd failed to protect his sister from. I thought about where her new lighter was, but was smart enough not to ask. She'd probably thrown it out.

I caught her in a bone crushing embrace, squeezing her so tight she gasped for air. ''Wanna play hide and seek? You hide and I'll seek?'' she asked. I nodded, deciding to humor her.

''Okie dokie.'' I made to get up, but a tiny hand upon my own stopped me in my tracks.

''Saria, please don't go into Masood's room,'' she instructed me. ''Mommy and Daddy say it's out of bounds.'' I nodded, the gears in my brain already working overtime.

''Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.'' I turned and skipped out of the room. I could hear Adia counting to 100. Where do I hide? This was such a childish game, yet I wanted to amuse my bitch. There would be plenty of time for her to play my games! My wandering feet soon found themselves in Faraya and Javid's bedroom.

There was a huge, white coloured wardrobe, perfect for a tiny child like myself to hide inside. I opened the doors and crawled in, resting my head on my knees. Now I waited. After close to fifteen minutes, I heard footsteps methodically pacing the floorboards. 'About fucking time!' I thought. Expecting it to be Adia.

Imagine both mine and Assef's surprise when he flung open the doors, ready to chuck his overnight bag inside. ''What in God's name...? Care to explain yourself, kiddo?'' he asked incredulously, raising an eyebrow.

I giggled. ''We're playing hide and seek.''

Adia poked her nose around the corner. ''Found you!'' she called triumphantly. I groaned loudly as I emerged. ''Ugh! Alright, you got me!'' I held my hands up in a gesture of defeat. My brother tossed his bags into the cupboard, it landed with a thud at the back. Adia seemed in good spirits, but she was reserved, still fearful of me.

I knew she would not forget how Assef violently threatened her two weeks ago. The feeling of his fists on her stomach. One does not forget such a troubling night. ''I've cooked some Aushak for you girls. Wanna come on down at eat?''

Mama had taught us both how to cook during our youth and both Assef and I knew how to cook a delicious meal, better than anything a Hazara could make in any case. ''Good, cause I'm fucking starved!'' I said.

''Me too, my tummy's all rumbly,'' Adia spoke innocently. We went downstairs and my brother server up two piping hot plates of delicious Aushak. It was a typical Afghan ravioli type dish. Tantalising smells wafted through the air. I inhaled.

''Thank you.'' I licked my lips.

''You're very welcome, kiddo. Do you want salt or anything?''

''No, thank you,'' I said politely.

Adia spoke up. ''You know, one time my daddy cut his fingers and while he was eating he got salt in the wound. Apparently when you put salt in a cut it hurts real bad.'' My eyes shone. Thank you, fucking bitch! A plan was already beginning to form. I could see that knowing look in Assef's eyes.

Funny how we always knew what the other was thinking. I clasped my hands under my chin as though in prayer. Adia was too stupid to even notice. Ignorance would truly be her downfall. Adia wolfed down another helping of Aushak, sauce dribbling down her front. I crinkled my nose. Who the fuck taught her manners? Was she raised by a pack of wolves or what? After she had finished, she held the plate up to my brother, as though expecting him to take it from her.

''Put it in the sink,'' Assef ordered.

She obeyed him like the good dog she is. ''Adia jan, can you go upstairs, and wait for us in the hall?'' I asked politely. She nodded. I heard the clicking of her shoes up the wooden staircase.

Assef pushed the salt towards me, grinning broadly. ''Thinking what I'm thinking?''

I secreted it in my pocket. ''This is going to hurt for my little bitch. Physically and emotionally!'' I said in German.

Assef nodded. ''Come on then, kiddo.'' I was in high spirits as I followed him up to the landing where Adia stood patiently. With sudden force, I grabbed her arm and frogmarched her to Masood's room.

''Not allowed in there,'' She protested. Rolling my eyes, I flung open the door and pushed her inside. She had to put her palms against the bed to stop from tumbling over. Tears welled up in her eyes. She obviously was still not over her brother's death. Not that I could blame her.

All the same, empathy is not in my nature. ''Mommy's gonna be soo mad!'' she trembled, crying with emotional pain. I folded my arms over my chest.

''Now, my dear, why don't you run and get that nice china dolly that you showed me earlier?'' I gave her an innocent smile. As of now, she had no reason to suspect me. I was being kind to her, after all. She beamed widely and rushed to get the doll. When she returned moments later, the happy look on my face was marred by one of pure evil. I gestured at the doll.

''Very good, Adi, very good. Now, I'd like you to smash it.''

''W-what?'' Her eyes widened. ''You heard me. Girls your age shouldn't play with dolls, anyway. It's time you grew up, Caa?'' She clutched the doll against her chest.

''No, no please Saria, it's the only thing I have left to remind me of Masood. I c-can't I... Please, it's irreplaceable,'' she begged.

I rolled my eyes. ''Either you break it or I will, Adia. I won't ask again!''

The little twat suddenly retaliated in a most surprising way. ''This is the only thing I have to remind me of him. I'm not gonna break it. PISS OFF!'' She made as though to strike me. Before she had even gotten that far, however, Assef positioned himself in front of me, grabbing her wrist, his brass knuckles glinting against the dimly lit room. She gulped, wriggling desperately.

''I suggest you do as Saria says, or I might hold up on that promise I made you,'' he threatened. Her little hands trembled as she tearfully flung her precious doll on the hard floor. It landed with a resounding crack and broke off into many pieces. I laughed maliciously. The little head rolled towards me, glassy eyes staring upwards. I placed my foot on top of it, eyes surveying the broken heirloom in disdain.

Adia was now sobbing uncontrollably, arms wrapped round her knees as she collapsed in a ball. I myself couldn't be happier. Now the fun could really begin. I grabbed Adia by the hair and dragged her over to Masood's bed, forcing her to lie up there. I straddled her, knees pressing against ribs, my left hand gripping both her wrists. She bucked and kicked in a frantic attempt to get away.

I put my nose almost tip to tip with her own, placing a hand across her mouth by way of gagging her. ''This is your first and only warning Adia. Do not scream out. No matter how much it hurts.'' I slowly released my hand from her mouth, leaning over to grab one of the doll's arms. Assef stood watch, his eyes bright with excitement.

Adia began to whimper as I lifted up her t-shirt. Slowly, almost rhythmically, I dug the jagged edge of the broken china into her flesh, making a deep laceration. She bit down hard on her bottom lip to keep from screaming. ''Y-you're hurting me, stop!'' she begged.

I rolled my eyes to heaven. ''I'm hurting you? Adia, I could kill you if I really wanted to. How dare you backstab me? How dare you? After all I've done for you, you piece of shit.. After all the times I put my fucking ass on the line for you. You decide to fucking hurt me?"

By now I was using every part of that doll I could find to split her open. ''Why just today, Ahtrai was going to beat you up and WHO STOPPED IT?'' I growled.

''You stopped her, S-Saria. Y-you did."

I nodded. ''That's right. And yet after everything that I do for you, you choose to let Aarash hurt me, to help Aarash hurt me!'' I punctuated each word with more cuts. I avoided her face and arms in case her parents took notice, though it seemed unlikely. Now her entire stomach and upper chest were covered in deep, oozing lacerations. A sane person would have been deeply affected by this. I had no pity for the girl.

I materialised the salt and dumped generous helpings into each wound. Adia let out an involuntary screech of agony, lurching upwards. I managed to push her back down, digging my nails into her bony little arms. The bright orange flames danced before her terrified eyes as I waved my lighter in front of her. My expression remained stoic and unfeeling as I cauterised her wounds, sealing them up so the salt couldn't get out. Adia was now in a dire state of being, as if that even need to be said. I'm sure this was the most pain I ever caused her. My lip curled.

''Now, Adia, let this serve as a reminder of what I am truly capable of. If you ever disrespect me again, or tell anyone what I have just done, you'll be six feet under before you can even fucking blink. Do you understand me?''

She nodded hurriedly. ''Yes, I won't t-tell.''

''Good. I'm so happy we reached an understanding.'' I released my hands and stood up. ''You sleep in here tonight,'' I commanded. ''Now, good night and don't let me hear another peep out of you.''

Assef wrapped his arm around my shoulder. We both stopped to get one last glimpse of the sobbing child before Assef locked the door behind him, securing the key in his pocket. I felt as though I had truly purged myself of any hurt that Adia caused me. She knew now where she stood. I could wipe the slate clean, begin our relationship anew. Now I could focus on the more important aspect of revenge. The boy who had started it all, had taken my right to motherhood, who haunted my dreams every night. Aarash...

What, exactly, will Saria do to Aarash? Tune in next time to find out... Please comment, PM and subscribe.. :D

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