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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10. Happy Birthday, Me

In the last chapter, Saria was absolutely disgusted to watch Hassan threaten to shoot her brother's eye out with his slingshot.. She made a mental note that she wanted to burn Hassan for what he did. Now, we find that it's her 12th birthday but how will she feel when her supposed 'best friend' forgets it?

I felt no different today then I usually did, and I wondered, 'is there something wrong with me?' Today was my twelfth birthday but I didn't feel twelve. I still felt like the eleven year old I had been when I went to bed the night before. On the one hand, like any other young girl, I was extremely excited for my birthday, but on the other, the thought of getting older unnerved me. Soon, I would be thirteen. A teenager. Then fourteen, fifteen and so on. I knew that I would not be able to keep up the pretenses much longer.

Eventually, like everyone else, I would be an adult. I wouldn't be able to use my youth and innocence to fool people as I did now. The snow was beginning to melt. In four days time, I would return to school with Adia. We were going to travel in Javid's car, along with the grotesque Masood. Masood and Assef were in the same class, which pleased my brother a lot when he found out. The scar on Masood's face showed no sign of disappearing.

I knew he would be disfigured for the rest of his life. He would probably die alone, with no wife. No honour. No namoos. After all, what self-respecting woman would want a man who looked the way he did? No family would allow their daughter to marry someone like that. People would talk, would whisper behind their backs. I know that my parents would never in a million years allow their precious only daughter to marry someone so vile.

The clock was ticking on the wall behind me. I, along with my parents and brother, was gathered in the living room. I wore a white dress with pink polka dots, and a ribbon tied at the back. My hair had been curled, and held back by a pink ribbon. "Happy birthday, my baby." Mama handed me a white envelope. "This is from the both of us." She inicated towards Papa.

"Thank you," I replied politely, ripping open the envelope. A wad of cash flew out. I beamed and clutched it to my chest. "Thank you! Thank you!" I hugged each of them tightly. I clapped my hands together excitedly like a fucking seal.

"Read the card," Papa smiled stupidly at me. I looked down at it while they watched me intently.

Our darling Saria,

Twelve years old already! How time flies! Our little girl is growing up. It feels like only yesterday when you were born, our precious baby. We can't tell you how much we love you. There are no words for it. Over the years, you've grown from a gap-toothed little toddler, to a beautiful young woman. You are so beautiful, inside and out. We are so proud of you, and the person you are becoming. We love you more than anything.
Love,
Mama and Papa Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"T-this is beautiful. Thank you," I whispered. I bit my lip, trying hard not to laugh. 'We are so proud of the person you are becoming.' That showed how little my parents knew about me. I squeezed my eyes shut and a single tear fell down my cheek. "I love you too," I said, embracing them.

Assef threw something at me and I caught it. I smiled at him and tore open the wrapping paper. A brown-haired rag doll tumbled onto my lap. I beamed and hugged her to my chest. "She's so cute!" I squealed. "I love her! Thank you!" I reached up and flung my arms around my brother's neck.

"You're welcome," he replied. "You'll get your real present from me later. Be patient," he whispered in my ear. I nodded and kissed him on the cheek. Assef's card was a lot less sentimental than my parent's with none of the bullshit.

Saria,
Happy twelfth birthday, kiddo. Enjoy it. I love you.
Assef x

"You look an absolute picture in your dress, Saria," Mama gushed. "Stand up, let's take a look at you." I instantly obeyed, getting to my feet and putting myself on display from them both to ogle at me. I smoothed down the front of my dress and dipped a polite curtsy. Mama placed a hand over her mouth, her eyes misting over.

"Give us a twirl, Saria," Papa ordered. I closed my eyes and spun around twice, feeling utterly foolish. I truly felt like an animal in a zoo, something for them to ogle at and fawn over.

"You're like a little princess," Mama said. "Such a pretty little pet, aren't you?" She embraced me so tightly I felt my circulation was being cut off. "Do you like your party dress, baby?" I nodded as best I could with my face pressed up against her legs. "My baby is growing up." She released me, and I rolled my eyes behind her back. As usual, she didn't even notice. I could get away with practically anything, especially today.

"We have a huge surprise for you later today, jan," Papa said. I looked up.

"Really? What is it? Tell me!" I had to try extra hard to feign enthusiasm. God only knows what babyish surprise my mother and father had planned.

"Well, that would ruin the surprise wouldn't it?" Mama said in a babyish voice. Literally. You'd think she was talking to a one-year-old. "We, that is, your father and I, are going for a drive to pick it up. We'll be back by about tea time. Okay?"

"Alright," I shrugged. In all honesty I was glad to get them out of my hair.

"We'll go for a walk, Saria," Assef said, smiling warmly at me. "It's too nice a day to be stuck inside."

"Wear a coat and mittens, though," Mama said. "It's absolutely freezing out there! You too, Assef, we don't want either of you to catch a chill." Assef rolled his eyes and smiled at me sympathetically. He hugged me and kissed the top of my head.

"Come upstairs with me. I have something for you," he whispered in my ear.

As I entered Assef's room, I couldn't help but wonder what he had bought me. The doll he had given me earlier was adorable, and I knew he was well aware of the torture I would put her through. "Do you like your doll, kiddo?" He must have read my mind. "She sort of looks like Zainab, nay? If you ever get angry you can play with her. Relive that moment." He leaned down and kissed my blonde hair. "I have never been more proud of you than I was when you killed her." He reached under his bed and pulled out a small box.

"Happy birthday," he said, handing it to me. "Now, for goodness sake, don't let Mother and Father see this." I nodded and lifted the lid. Inside was a small lighter, black in colour, with a silver chain attached. Perfect for burning a certain Hazara who had humiliated my brother.

I stared at it, imagining Hassan's Chinese face crumpling in pain, his tiny eyes filling with tears. "Well, do you like it?" I nodded and threw my arms around his neck.

"I love it! Thank you! You're like a freaking' mind-reader, Assef, did you know that?"

He laughed and ruffled my hair. "Glad you like it. Go and get your coat and we'll go for a walk."

"Wali and Kamal coming?" I asked.

"No, Wali's got the vomiting bug and Kamal's in trouble at home."

"Why?"

"Got caught stealing."

"Poor Kamal," I said sympathetically. I did feel for him on some level. Still, he shouldn't have been stupid enough to get caught now, should he?

I buttoned up my coat and put on a pair of mittens as Mama had ordered. I had, of course, hidden Assef's present with my other "weapons" under the bed. I literally could not wait to use it. Today was turning out to be a lot better than I had anticipated. Assef and I walked down the road, me skipping on ahead. As usual, I couldn't help but wonder what I looked like to an outsider.

The pretty blonde child - a strange sight for a country like Afghanistan - full of charm and poise. I could pass for nine or ten, if I wanted to, with my short stature and childish mannerisms. My mind wandered to Amir. Hopefully my first love. My husband if we could get rid of Hassan. I hoped I would not see them today. I knew that my anger would be too great to hold in if I did, and I didn't want to do anything I would later regret. I was still reeling from that day on the hill.

As we walked further into market, I noticed a young girl walking a few paces ahead of us, singing some old Farsi song. Her long black hair hung in a plait which swished from side to side as she walked. I smiled widely. It was Adia. "Oh this is too brilliant!" I beamed. "Happy birthday to me!" I turned and ran back to Assef. "Look, there's Adia." I pointed to her.

"Do you want to go play with her?" he asked. "I won't mind. You should spend the day with your best friend." I clapped my hands excitedly, thinking of all the "fun" Adia and I could have together. "Go on. I'll be back at the house." I nodded and hurried to catch up with Adia.

I placed my hands over her eyes. She screamed. "Guess who?" I giggled. She turned and her mouth quivered in fear.

"Saria, h-how are you?"

"Oh, I'm all the better now that I've seen you!" I exclaimed. I hooked my arm under the crook of her elbow. "Let's go play in the woods." We set off. As we walked, I noticed that not once did Adia wish me a happy birthday. I didn't say anything. She would remember. I had drilled it into her for the past week and a half.

She couldn't have forgotten. Adia was silent as I led her into the woods. The very same woods where I had marked her as my property. I could smell the fear resonating from her, and it was like a drug. I could not get enough of it. I sat down on a fallen tree and pulled her down with me. "Don't look so frightened, jan. I just wanted to talk." She nodded like the obedient dog she is.

I swung my legs back and forth childishly, giggling to myself. Adia was rigid, her eyes searching mine for some sign of the madness she knew lurked within. "I won't hurt you," I told her truthfully. "Not today."

"Okay," she replied. She still hadn't wished me a happy birthday. An acknowledgement was all I asked of her. I didn't even expect her to get me anything. Just to take notice of the fact that this was a very important day in her best friend's life. I gave that girl everthing. I was all she had. Was this how she repaid me? All I asked was that she remember one simple date! I leaned back and sighed deeply. I was becoming enraged and we couldn't have that now, could we?

"You l look real pretty today, Saria," Adia complimented me. I got to my feet, spun around, my arms aloft. Laughed.

"Thank you. Mama bought me this dress specially." I looked pointedly at her, hoping she would remember.

"It's really pretty!" she said again. I giggled and dipped a polite curtsey.

"I had to dress up today. Do you know what today is?" I asked her outright, leaning in to her face. She stumbled and almost fell flat on her backside. I picked up a rock, held it close to her face. "Think long and hard about that answer. We wouldn't want someone as pretty as you to "have an accident?" would we?"

I stroked her cheek with the rock. She whimpered. Licked her lips. I caught her wrist and pulled her up. We were now almost nose to nose. "You don't know, do you?" She shook her head.

"That's too bad. I won't tell you. We're going to play a little game of chase. I'll give you a head start. You'd better have remembered by the time I catch up to you. On your marks, get set, go!" She took off running into the woods.

I waited about five minutes until I could no longer see her, then I began the chase. In all honesty, I was kind of hoping that she wouldn't remember. I clutched the rock tightly. I stumbled clumsily over rocks and fallen branches, giggling like a drunkard. This was going to be fun! I couldn't wait to catch up with her, make that little bitch pay for forgetting about me. My hair was getting messy, but I didn't care. I just kept running. Adia had to be close now. I stopped, looked up at the trees. I had run for what felt like ten whole minutes.

"Come out, Adia!" I called. "Come on out and play! You're not scared of me, are you?" I chortled, already knowing the answer. "Why don't you face me? Come on, little one!"

Nothing. "You're a coward, Adia! A coward just like your freak of a brother! Assef should have killed him when he had the chance!"

I felt something slam into me from behind, and I fell to the ground, landing heavily on my knees. I winced in pain. Looked up. That little bitch! "Don't talk about Masood like that!" she screamed, her face red with rage. "Don't you dare talk about my brother like that! He's ten million times the mard Assef will ever be!"

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed her bend down and pick up a rock. I didn't even have time to react before the rock collided with the side of my head and I fell over onto my side. I winced in pain, clenched my fists. I would not cry. I would not give her the satisfaction. I heard footsteps retreating behind me; Adia had fled. I shakily got to my feet. The front of my dress was covered in mud. I tentatively touched my head, then stared at my hand as I pulled it away.

Blood. Tears fell from my eyes and onto the floor. "Stupid bitch, stupid fucking bitch!" I muttered, my voice shaking. I started to walk out of the woods. My knee was aching, and I had to stop myself from falling over. Eventually, I made it back to the house. I snuck in the back, closed the door gently behind me. I could only hope that my parents weren't home yet. I tiptoed into the kitchen, sat down shakily in a chair.

Assef walked into the room. "God, what happened to you?" he asked. The concerned look in his eyes opened the floodgates for me. I ran to him and flung my arms around him. He squatted down so we were on a level, and held my hands. "What's wrong? What happened?" His eyes flickered to my head. "You're bleeding!" he exclaimed.

I nodded and told him everything that had transpired in the woods with Adia. "Well, first of all, we need to take a look at your head." He helped me sit up on the kitchen table. "Do you feel okay? You don't have a concussion or anything?"

I shook my head. "No, I'm fine. It just stings a little, that's all."

"You sure? That's a fair amount of blood," Assef said as he pressed a cool wet cloth to my temple.

"I'm sure. Her aim isn't as good as yours or mine would have been." I wiped my nose on the back of my hand. I hopped down from the table. "I'm going to get changed." I looked down at my filthy dress.

"I'll get Hamilra to wash your dress," Assef said, referring to our Hazara servant. "And don't worry, I'll make sure she doesn't tell Mother and Father about this."

I nodded and ran upstairs, changed into a blue striped pinafore with ribbon at the back. I re-adjusted my hair, beginning to feel quite murderous.

I reached under the bed and pulled out the present Assef had given me only hours earlier. I smiled. "Let's see how brave the little bitch is now," I said to myself. I smirked to myself as I skipped into the kitchen again.

"You're looking brighter," Assef noted.

I held the lighter out to him. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" I asked, grinning widely.

He laughed and threw his arm around me. "Come on, then." We walked the twenty minutes to Adia's home. I found her sitting outside, absent mindedly playing with one of her dolls. I grabbed her by the arm roughly and began dragging her out the gate.

"Where are you taking me?" she asked frantically. I said nothing. She began to wriggle out of my grasp, but Assef grabbed her left arm and twisted it so it was against her back.

"Try that again and I'll break it," he threatened. We frogmarched her deep into the woods. Once I was sure we would not be seen, I let her go. She fell to her knees on the ground, and I pushed her forward so she lay flat in front of me.

"What do you want me to do with her?" Assef asked.

"Just hold her down so she can't move," I said. Adia began whimpering as Assef pinned her arms above her head. I knelt in front of her and lifted her top. I pulled out the lighter and flicked it on. She screamed and began thrashing. Her legs kicked at the dust futilely. I placed the lighter on her stomach, watched the flames burn her. Her eyes filled with tears. I did this for about five minutes.

"Alright, turn her over," I said. I began to do the same to her back. She was now full out sobbing from the pain! I began crying from laughter. Assef flipped her over, took out his brass knuckles and hit her in the stomach with them, right where I had burned her. She arched her back and let out a blood-curdling scream. It was music to my ears.

We left her there to bleed while we ran away. Later that night, I found out that my parents had organised fireworks for me. No mention was made of my dress, luckily. Masood came, and Adia too. She was pale, and looked like death warmed over. She's lucky I didn't kill her. I could have, you know.

There's a fine line between human and animal. My brother and I just crossed that line.

Next, we enter the rape scene as depicted in the original novel. Reader caution, as always, is advised. Again, I would love to hear feedback. Please comment, PM and subscribe :)

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