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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17. Hellish Holidays

In the last chapter, Saria and Assef got into a violent altercation when she snooped around in his room without permission. She soon found out that she had another brother named Abdul who unfortunately passed away before she was born.. Now, a week has passed and we find her getting ready to go on holiday to Pakistan...

''Pain in the ass, Hazara cunt. Why couldn't you fold things properly!'' I moaned to myself as I tossed a heap of dresses and pinafores on the floor.

They made no sound as they hit the carpet. I knelt down and began to reorganise them into neat piles. ''God forbid if she were to tidy up!'' I groaned as I placed the clothes back in my large pink suitcase. Humming some old Farsi song, I sat down at my vanity desk and began dragging a brush through my mess of hair. If only I hadn't fucked around with curling it the last night, it wouldn't be so matted. I glanced down at the pathetic green ribbons lying before me. A reminder of the purity and innocence that I was supposed to portray constantly.

Mama and Papa waited impatiently for me downstairs. Their footsteps clattered noisily against the wooden floor as they prepared for the big day ahead. I ran the brush through the ends of my hair. Splitting it into two bunches, I fastened the green ribbons on either side. I stood up and smoothed down the front of the ruffled cream disaster that I had chosen to wear today. I pinched the sides and dipped myself a low curtsy in the mirror. ''You look so pretty,'' I complimented myself. ''Who's a pretty girl, eh?'' I fixed my grimace into a warm smile, cracking my knuckles in anticipation. Every moment I had to wait seemed like an awful eternity.

I just wanted to get it over with. Today was a day that I truly dreaded. We, that is, myself, brother and parents, would be going to spend the week in Pakistan with Mama's sister, Stella, her husband, Shareem, and their seventeen year old son, Fahrsan. The last time I met my aunt, I had been six years old, but I still remembered her vividly. She was a small, bird-like woman, who spat sometimes when she talked. She suffered from pain in her joints, and often had to take painkillers. Her husband was possibly the most overweight person that I had ever met.

He often referred to himself as ''the teddy bear.'' I almost had to stop myself gagging as I thought about their son. When my cousin was a baby, his mother had accidentally spilled boiling hot water on his face. Because of this, he had been left with severe third degree burns. Doctors had to make skin grafts from his thighs in order to fix it, make him look somewhat presentable. Not that it had done much good in that respect anyway. ''SARIA!'' Papa roared up the stairs. ''Saria, come on, we gotta go!''

''Fuck you, Papa, fuck you, you fucking wanker!'' I muttered in anger, wishing I could scream it in his ear. I angrily punched my suitcase in frustration. ''Stupid cunts!'' I berated my parents. Again, Papa roared at me to come down the stairs. ''I'm coming!'' I shouted back. ''Please give me one moment!'' I took one last glance at myself in the mirror. I slowly closed the door behind and trudged across the landing to meet my parents. They seemed on edge as I approached them. ''I'm ready to go now,'' I called as I made my way to the top of the stairs. Both turned around to see me walking down the stairs towards them.

The suitcase clattered noisily behind me. ''Wow, uh, woah, you really dressed up for our visit, haven't you?'' Papa said, holding out his arms for the suitcase. ''Let me take that for you, darling,'' he offered.

''Why, thank you, Papa,'' I said politely. I skipped down the rest of the steps. With a perpetual smile gracing my lips, I made my way to the front door.

''Saria, wait!'' Mama called after me. I stopped. ''Your coat,'' she explained, holding the beige coat out to me. I nodded and slipped it on. My brother stood at the door, arms folded across his chest. He extended his hand to me, smiling warmly. Reaching out, I placed my tiny hand in his and exhaled in anticipation.

''Hokey kokey!'' Papa exclaimed loudly. ''Let's go, darlings!'' he hummed loudly in utter excitement as we followed him to the car. I was still holding onto Assef's hand tightly as we trudged across the gravel.

''Sit in next to your brother, Saria,'' Mama ordered. 'Where else am I going to sit, you dumb bitch?' I thought to myself. She was kind enough to open the door for me. I slid into the car and buckled myself in. Assef climbed in beside me. He leaned across the seats and gently kissed the top of my head.

''All set, kiddo?'' he asked. I nodded. ''I'm so excited!'' I giggled. I covered my hands with my mouth in a false display of delight. Mama hurriedly climbed into her seat. She seemed elated at the prospect of seeing her sister again. Who could blame her for that? If I hadn't seen Assef in years I'd miss him like hell! Such a thought didn't even deserve to be entertained in my mind!

Papa grinned as he started the engine. ''Let's go!'' He clapped once. The car roared noisily to life as we reversed out the driveway. I turned around, watching as our home faded into the distance.

''No school for a week, how does that sound, kiddo?'' Assef asked.

''It sounds absolutely wonderful, Assef.'' I beamed at him. He returned the gesture, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze. No doubt he knew how tedious this week would be for me. The false smiles, the constant politeness. The thought of having to look into Fahrsan's hideous face, be touched by him. It was all too much for one little girl to handle.

At least I had my beloved brother there to go through it all with me. At least I wouldn't be alone. I could be thankful for that. The journey from Kabul to Islamabad would take us approximately nine hours by car. Why in God's name we weren't flying I genuinely did not know! It was now about two o clock in the afternoon and we would be arriving in Islamabad at around eleven in the same night. With the allowance of bathroom breaks, that is.

I turned my head away and stared periodically out the window, watching the houses as we passed them by. I was quite surprised to see my bitch playing outside with some of her dolls. She didn't even notice me as she was so engrossed in her play. I tapped on the window as the car drove closer to her front garden. Adia looked up, her eyes widening in fright as she seen me. I smirked maliciously at her. She instantly leapt to her feet and raced back inside the house. The pathetic dolls lay forgotten in the grass. Adia stole one final glance at our passing car before slamming the door behind her.

I rested my chin on my hands, tracing pictures of flowers and sunshine. All lies, of course. I itched to trace something more violent and malevolent. Oh how I longed to draw out my sick fantasies with Ahtrai. To sketch her with her intestines gutted out, hanging by her brains from rafters. What would my parents say if they found their sweet Saria tracing such things on their car window? Surely they would be appalled. My fingers traced the outline of a clear flower.

''That's a pretty flower, Saria,'' Papa complimented as he looked back at me in the rear view mirror. I felt myself blush and ducked my head away in a false display of shyness.

''Thank you,'' I said.

Mama turned around to look at the both of us. ''Are you both okay? You don't need the bathroom, do you?''

''No thank you. We're both fine.'' She smiled and turned back around. We were just coming to a cross-road when Mama slammed her palms onto the glove compartment. ''Oh for goodness sake. No!'' she moaned.

''What is it, Mama?'' I asked in false concern.

She ignored me and rounded on my brother. ''Your blue coat, Assef! You forgot to pack it. This is what happens when I don't remind you to do these things.''

Assef rolled his eyes. ''Not a problem, Mother. I have my orange one, don't I?''

She sighed and turned back around. ''Assef, don't forget anything when we're with your cousin. It's going to look bad.''

''Cunt,'' Assef mouthed at me. I giggled under my palm. The rest of the hours passed by in total silence. I doubt that any of us were in the mood to speak to each other. The tension that always existed when our parents were with their son was palatable. It was now about half past nine at night.

Where did those hours go? The sky was now dark with stars illuminating our drive. I rubbed my eyes with my fists. ''You tired, sweetums?'' Papa asked.

''M-maybe a little,'' I murmured. My eyes rolled back into my head as I struggled to stay awake. Assef unbuckled his seatbelt and slid over next to me. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. I yawned and shut my eyes.

''You try to sleep, kiddo and we'll be there before you know it. I'll carry you if you're asleep when we get to the house. Okay?'' I nodded and nuzzled into his chest. Assef rubbed circles into my back as my breathing grew deep and laboured. The only sounds in the car were my soft snores. Soon, I drifted off into slumber...

''We're here, kiddo. Come on.'' I only moaned in response. ''Caa, jan, up you get.'' I felt Assef's hands under my knees as he lifted me out of the car. I wrapped my arms around his neck. I weighed only about 80 pounds or so and was easy for him to carry. I could briefly hear the sound of footsteps as my aunt and cousin came down to open the door. I was in no mood to exchange pleasantries however and instantly recoiled when I felt Fahrsan's hand on my face.

''Here's our sleeping beauty,'' he said, grinning widely. ''Let me take her from you, Assef jan. Come on, pumpkin. Up to your cousin.'' I whimpered and clung tighter to Assef.

''Don't.. No.. Assef... my Assef..'' I muttered.

''It's alright, kiddo. I got ya. Let me carry her, Fahrsan. Okay? She's tired and I want to get her inside before she freezes.'' Assef carried me into the house and set me down on my feet.

''Let's get you up to beddy-byes, little one,'' Stella said, as she placed her hand on my back. I grumbled at being spoke to like a two year old. She took my hand and began leading me up the stairs. The house was dimly lit. ''You'll being staying with your brother for the week. We thought you'd like that. How does that sound?''

''Perfect,'' I mumbled sleepily. Assef smiled down at me. I took his hand and looked up at him. ''My nightie...''

''In your suitcase. I'll get it out for you.'' As we reached the top step, I found myself being dragged away from my brother and lifted a few feet off the ground.

''Whaaa?'' I moaned in protest. Through my sleep-filled eyes I could vaguely make out the broad shoulders of my uncle Shareem.

''Poor little thing, she must be so tired. You should have come earlier, Mahmood.'' I struggled against my uncle as he carried me down the long hallway. I grumbled loudly. What the adults in the room saw as a sweet little girl who was overtired was actually a girl who wished she could stick a knife into her fat, jolly uncle's eyes. I didn't want his disgustingly large hands on me.

In fact, the only person I ever wanted to touch me was Assef. But I don't need to say more in regards to that, do I? Shareem kicked open the door to a small bedroom. It smelled of dog feces or something like that. I almost gagged in disgust. Shareem lay me gently down on the bed. He knelt down and took off my shoes. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. ''I'll take care of her now, Kaka jan,'' Assef said, laying my long pink and white rosebud nightie out for me on the bed. He reached over and helped me unhook the clasp of my dress. Shareem reached over, running his fingers through my brother's blond hair.

"I guess we'll see you both in the morning.'' I noticed Stella give Mama a big sloppy kiss on the cheek. They both stood laughing with their arms around each other. How fucking quaint.

''Goodnight, and don't let the bedbugs bite,'' Fahrsan teased us as he shut the door behind him.

''I'm going to get changed in the bathroom. Okay, kiddo?'' I nodded sleepily.

''Kay,'' I said. The dress lay in a crumpled heap on the floor after I had changed into my nightgown. I slid into one of the two single beds and pulled the covers up over myself. Assef came back and gently clicked the light switch. The room was now shrouded in darkness.

''Goodnight, kiddo. I love you. Sweet dreams.''

''Thank you. I love you too. I'll see you in the morning.'' I reached out across the sheet and took my brother's hand. ''I'm glad y-you're here with me. We'll show Fahrsan his place,'' I mumbled.

Assef grinned. ''Yeah, we will.''

The next morning soon came and I found myself rudely awaken by my cousin. He stood in front of me, grinning like the idiot he was. ''Good morning, little one,'' he teased. ''Morning...'' I sat up, running my fingers through my hair. ''Did you sleep well?'' he asked.

God how I loathed this hideous monster. ''Yes, thank you.'' I swung myself up and out of bed. As my feet hit the floor, I flexed my toes back and forth in the fading yellow carpet.

''Come on down for breakfast,'' Fahrsan said.

''Yes, well, give me a few minutes to get dressed and I'll be right there. Promise.'' I beamed at him. Wishing I could smash his ugly fucking face right in. Fahrsan chortled, jolting out down the hall.

I pulled on a plaid pinafore and fixed my hair with a black head band, complete with large red bow. I smiled as I bounced down the stairs. The first thing I noticed about their kitchen was how considerably larger it was then ours. 'Needs to be large to fit my fat cunt of an uncle,' I thought to myself. I slapped my knees and doubled over laughing. My family turned to me.

Shareem grinned stupidly. ''Such a happy little darling,'' he laughed at my enthusiasm.

"Well, that's because I've got all week to spend time with my family,'' I lied through my teeth. Bending my knees, I extended the hem of my dress. ''It's a pleasure and blessing to be here with all of you,'' I said, clapping my hands under my chin. The foolish adults surrounding me all oohed and ahhed at my sweetness and demure demeanour. I took a seat next to my brother. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and squeezed me tight.

''Hey, kiddo, sleep well?'' I nodded.

''Yeah,'' I said. I chewed my food slowly and methodically. Stella gently brushed a lock of hair back behind my ear. 'Hands off me, bitch!' I thought to myself.

''How do you like your room, sweetie?'' she asked.

''It's just perfect, Khala Stella. Just perfect.'' I squeezed her hand tightly. ''I feel so welcome and I've only just got here,'' I quipped. Suddenly, a small German Sheppard puppy bounded into the room. He yapped delightedly and jumped into Fahrsan's open arms.

''Hello, Mr. Cuddles, who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?'' he cooed in a baby voice.

''Didn't know you had a dog,'' Assef mused.

''No, he's not ours. His owner, my best friend, he's away, and his family want me to look after his puppy for a while.'' Fahrsan held the stupidly named Mr. Cuddles out to Assef. ''I'll let you pet him, Saria, but it's best if your big brother holds him. We don't want him getting frightened. Here you go, Assef.''

Assef placed the happy barking pup on his knee. ''Hello, uh, Mr. Cuddles, um, good dog,'' Assef said, trying not to laugh. He awkwardly patted the dogs head.

''Aww, I think he likes you!'' Fahrsan cooed. I had a huge smile on my face as I petted Mr. Cuddles. The puppy would be very useful tool for venting both mine and my brother's frustrations. The big ball of fluff licked my cheek excitedly.

''Hehe, he really likes me! Oh, he's just so cute! I want a doggy, Mama, Papa!'' I knelt down in front of my brother and wrapped my arm around Mr. Cuddle's neck.

''He must really, really like you two,'' Shareem said happily. His delight was evident as he clasped his hands and beamed at Assef. ''Okay, Assef, give him back to Fahrsan. Fahrsan, you better feed him.''

''Yes, Father.'' Fahrsan reached over and picked Mr. Cuddles -seriously, what kind of name is that? - off Assef's lap.

''Here you go, Mr. Cuddles, you can play with Assef and Saria later. You'd like that, yes? Yes, you would! Yes, you would!'' He kissed the dog's head. ''You love Assef and Saria, don't you?'' He gently let the pup down.

''What would you like to do today, guys?'' Stella asked. She placed a hand on my hair. It took all I had not to crack her across the face. I smiled as genuinely as I could.

''Well I don't know,'' I grinned.

''There's a little park just over the road from us. With a lake and an old swing set, and slide. I could take Saria over there, if she wants,'' Fahrsan offered.

I nodded. ''Can Assef come too?'' I asked.

''Of course. We'll all go together. All the cousins together.'' I grinned and bounced up and down on my seat. This elicited a laugh from everyone in the room. I was playing these fools like instruments in an orchestra. I knew how to make them dance to my tune. The atmosphere in the room was light and happy. Something I knew Assef and I would change, within a mere few hours of being alone with Fahrsan. ''When, when can we go?'' I asked.

''As soon as you wash your face, brush your teeth and get a coat on.'' My hideous cousin squeezed my shoulder. From this close proximity I could see every crinkled line of his skin grafts. They disgusted me. I leaned back and smiled at him. The monster returned the gesture.

''Go and get your coat on, kiddo,'' Assef said, placing his hand on my shoulder and ushering me out of the room. I knew he was trying to keep me as far away from Fahrsan as possible, and I was grateful to him for it.

''Okay!'' I grinned. I skipped off up the stairs, two at a time. Stepping into the room I was to share with my brother, I was overwhelmed by the smell. My eyes began watering as I shut the door behind me. I covered my mouth with my hands, and sat down on the bed. ''Digusting pigs, did the dog shit in here or what?'' I asked aloud.

The stench was horrid. I ran over to the window and fumbled with the latch. The fresh air from the wind hit my face, and I sighed in relief. ''Now that's somewhat better,'' I concluded. I hurried to my suitcase and pulled out a large black overcoat. I slipped it on and buttoned it up.

Assef walked into the room, and gagged at the stench. ''Fucking hell, kiddo, who's body did you hide in here?'' he teased.

''I think the dog took a crap in here or something. Stupid cunts should have cleaned up before we came.'' I punched the pillow in frustration.

''That dog would make good heat under a bonfire, don't you think? Or we could play with him some night before we go to bed? Help you wind down, huh, kiddo?'' Assef ruffled my hair.

''Can we kill the dog sometime?'' I asked bluntly. ''I mean, if we can get away with it.''

''Of course we'll get away with it, Saria. You know, I have a feeling that poor Mr. Cuddle's going to get into a little accident.'' My brother could hardly say the name with a straight face.

''Really? Yay!'' I bounced up and down excitedly.

''Yep, that's right. Now, come on, let's get downstairs.'' Assef took my hand and squeezed it reassuringly. We both walked down the stairs, where Fahrsan waited for us by the door. I had to stop myself from retching when he kissed my cheek. 'God I just fucking washed!' I thought to myself.

''Hold hands when you're crossing the road!'' Shareem warned. He put a hand on my shoulder and beamed down at me. Without saying a word I pushed past my uncle. I wouldn't tolerate his large beefy hands on me for any reason. The air was full of tension as we made our way outside.

''There's only one road we have to cross but it's very busy, so we need to be extra careful.'' Fahrsan took my hand and began leading me down the road. He seemed so excited to be spending time with us.

It was a heartwarming experience for him. Something that I knew neither Assef nor myself would share in. Assef came up behind us and grabbed my other hand. I giggled loudly and swung back and forth between the two of them. I pulled away from Fahrsan and wrapped my arm around Assef's waist. He began speaking to me in German. ''I don't want that disgusting cunt putting his hands on you. Why can't he just leave us both alone?'' he asked.

''Don't you worry, Assef, we'll get him to leave us alone. All in due time. A pillow over the head will do the trick. Although I might need your help to hold him down.'' I teased back. Fahrsan looked on at us in confusion. Stella hadn't taught her son German the way Mama had taught us.

In all honesty, I doubt our aunt even remembered speaking German. Only Mama retained her heritage and knowledge of the language. Only she had wanted to pass it on to her children. Something I was forever grateful to her for. ''What are you two talking about?'' Fahrsan asked.

''I was just agreeing with Saria on how great it is to see you again,'' Assef lied. I nodded silently, grinning. What Fahrsan saw as a smile of unbridled, innocent joy was nothing short of pure malice. We reached the end of the road and a large bus sped past us. Fahrsan pushed me back with such force that I would have fallen flat on my ass had Assef not caught my arm and steadied me.

''Be careful there, Fahrsan,'' he warned.

''Yes, yes, careful, well, that's something we all need to be crossing this road,'' he retorted back. I had to admire his bravery; being a smart ass to a murderer and rapist. Guess he just didn't know how serious we were about putting him in his place.

''But we will be careful, Fahrsan. Promise,'' I said. I grabbed his hand again to reiterate my point. We crossed over without any problems. I skipped on ahead. ''You and I used to love this place as children.'' I could hear Fahrsan telling Assef. Assef just grunted in reply and rolled his eyes. ''I remember the last time you came up here. I was nine and you were eight. And our little kiddo here was only three.''

He grinned at me. I very nearly frowned at him. I wasn't ''his kiddo''. As I continuously keep saying, I didn't like anybody calling me that. That had been Assef's nickname for me since I was a fucking baby. He'd said it when I first clapped my hands.

''Good girl, kiddo. Mommy, look at Saria clapping.'' Of course, Mama had ignored him, but the name stuck. Hearing other people call me that really got on my last nerve.

''Everything okay, kiddo?'' Assef asked. He knew exactly what was annoying me. Sometimes we could just read each other's minds. I nodded. We walked in total silence until we reached a small bank, overlooking a lake.

There was a swing set and slide next to a large tree. Beautiful flowers spread out in a splash of colours in front of us. I dropped Assef's hand and sped off running. I laughed loudly as I stomped through the flowers towards the tree. All thoughts of the negative forgotten, I climbed to the top of the slide. ''Watch me!'' I called in childish joy, as I sat down. ''Watch me, Assef jan. WATCH ME!'' I screeched down to him.

''I'm watching, kiddo. Go on.'' I slid down onto the grass below. Fahrsan laughed in delight. This moment was something I knew he waited years to share in. To have his sweet little cousin Saria to play with. Who could blame him for that? I got to spend time with my favourite person on this Earth too.

''Come catch me, brother!'' I called, and took off into the rushes, my arms swinging wildly by my sides. Assef laughed and sped after me. I was able to outrun him (possibly because he was letting me) as I giggled in joy. Fahrsan sat by, ignored. Assef chased me around the lake. I laughed loudly.

Time passes by so fast when you're having fun with loved ones. Eventually, I allowed Assef to catch me. He picked me up in his arms and twirled me around. I took his hand led him back to the swings. ''Push me?'' I asked innocently.

''My pleasure,'' Assef gripped the edge of the swing. ''How high, kiddo?''

''Um, uh, up to the SKY!'' I shouted, spreading my arms out. ''No, the moon!'' I giggled. Yes, I was acting like a little kid but sometimes my brother brought out that side of me. Besides, I had to play innocent for Fahrsan.

''Righto, one trip to the moon coming up. One, two..''

''THREE!'' I screeched in joy as Assef let the swing go and I swung through the air, kicking my legs back and forth. This truly was a magical moment for me. Who could believe two people known for their violent sides could be so gentle and loving with each other? Fahrsan wrapped his arms around his torso.

''Hey, can I join in the fun?'' he asked. Assef and I both looked at each other. There would be plenty of time for us to wreak havoc on him sooner or later. All in due time. What harm was there in letting him join our fun? Pretty soon he'd be begging to get out of our game.

''Okay, Fahrsan. Come and push me!'' I called out to him. He pushed me gently, so slowly I could have died of boredom. I swung my legs back and forth in the dirt. ''Higher! HIGHER!'' I begged.

Fahrsan shook his head. ''No, sweetie. That's dangerous. Let's not do that.'' I inhaled deeply.

''Have some fun for a change, Fahrsan,'' Assef teased, grabbing the ropes. He pushed me high into the air. Fahrsan gasped.

''Assef, be careful!'' he snapped.

Assef turned. ''I'm being careful. I won't let anything happen to her.''

''No harm, no foul,'' I said with a smile. I knew there would be harm and foul someday, and he would likely be part of it. I hopped down from the swing. ''What else is there to play here?'' I asked. I ran in the direction of the lake.

''No, NO! Stay away from there! God forbid if you fall in! Stay away!'' the disgusting Fahrsan shouted. It was very frustrating for me to spoken to like a toddler. Rolling my eyes, I turned back and skipped into my brother's arms. He squeezed me tightly and gently kissed my hair.

Fahrsan placed his hand on my shoulder and rubbed up and down my arm. I smiled shyly, masking my disgust. The monster grinned and tickled me under the chin. I giggled childishly. This was just another one of those false displays of kindness that I had learned to play to perfection. The psychopath being the innocent. Assef ran his fingers over my scalp. A few drops of rain fell from the clear sky.

''Oh, shoot!'' Fahrsan ''swore''. He seemed disappointed that his fun had to end so soon. ''We'd better get back before the downpour.'' He began ushering me in the direction of the road. I stumbled along as he pushed me.

''Keep this up, pal, and you'll end up drowned in the lake you fear so much,'' I muttered in German.

''Huh?'' The clueless cunt asked, looking down at me with a smile.

''I said I hate the rain,'' I replied.

''Who doesn't?'' Fahrsan chuckled back. He ruffled my hair. We made our way back to the house. My brother slung an arm over my shoulder. I smiled at him. The first genuine smile in the afternoon. The rain was now coming down in buckets. We hurried inside the house.

''Thank God you're all in before the rain,'' Stella said.

''Well, you know I wouldn't let Saria get wet, Khala jan,'' Assef said. Fahrsan hung his head in disappointment that the day had to end so soon.

''And it's only two in the afternoon,'' Fahrsan muttered in despondency. The mood was wrought with negativity. Nobody wanted to be cooped up inside, and who could blame them? I rested my head up against Assef's legs.

''Will we go upstairs?'' he asked. ''Come on, you need to tidy your clothes away.''

''Ohhh, come on,'' I groaned. ''Really?''

''Come with me, kiddo. Upstairs.'' Assef ushered me up the staircase. I knew full well his intentions were to get me away from our family. We just needed a few hours alone time together. Could you blame us for that? I led my brother into the foul-stinking room we were to share together. I flopped down onto the bed face down. The open window had done little to quench the smell. I almost gagged in disgust.

''You probably should pack away your clothes,'' Assef said. I looked up at him.

''I don't want there to be a smell on my dresses,'' I said, glowering in the direction of the wardrobe. ''You know what, Assef? I bet something did die in there.'' The sight that met us when I opened the door was overwhelming. There, infested with maggots, was a small baby bird. It had clearly died a few months ago, as it's body was decaying. Its wing was wrapped in a weird kind of bandage.

I knelt down and touched it's head. ''Don't touch it, kiddo!'' Assef pulled me back. ''It's disgusting. Come away.'' I covered my mouth and retched.

''I think I'm going to get sick.'' No, I wasn't ''going soft''. I felt nothing for the dead bird. Hopefully it suffered before it died. But the stench was just.. I can't even describe it.

''This is absolutely... I mean... I don't... Who the fuck would leave a dead bird in here? Stupid fucking cunts. Come with me, kiddo. We're going to give those freaks a piece of our minds.'' He grabbed my hand and dragged me down the stairs.

''The bird, Assef?''

''The bird's not going anywhere, Saria.'' I could sense the anger in my brother's voice. The fury at someone doing so disgusting in his sister's presence. I lowered my eyes and turned on the tears as we entered the kitchen. My emotions were switched on and off like a light.

''What's wrong, son?'' Papa asked, concerned.

''Anyone care to explain the dead bird in our room,'' he retorted. I sniffled loudly. Fahrsan's face went bright red.

''What dead bird, Assef?'' he asked nervously, his voice shooting up a few octaves. I answered Fahrsan.

''There's a dead baby bird in the wardrobe. It's c-covered in m-maggots.''

Mama gasped. ''Show us!'' In single file we trekked up the stairs. Fahrsan was shaking with terror. We entered the room and Assef pushed the bird out for all to see.

''Oh my goodness!'' Mama exclaimed.

''Care to explain, Fahrsan?'' Stella snapped.

Fahrsan could not hide his guilt. He squeezed his eyes shut as he began speaking. ''Um, uh, I found this bird with a broken wing a few months ago. I tried to care for it but, er, it died. A month ago.''

''So you just decided to shove it in here to rot!'' Shareem snarled. He was really laying into his son.

''I wanted to do something nice, Father. Just wanted to show you how responsible I am.''

Shareem angrily kicked the door. "I've never heard so much stupidity.. Never heard something so damn idiotic in my life. Have you no brain, Fahrsan? Have you?"

''I'm disgusted by you!'' Stella hissed, her eyes narrowed into two little slits. ''Your cousins are here as our guests and you let them stay in a room like this. You make me SO ASHAMED!''

Shareem cracked his son across the face. The mood was somber. Just how I liked it. The arguing was music to my ears. ''How dare you?'' Shareem scolded. He picked up the bird and wrapped it in plastic bag.

''I know you were just trying to help, but you do not leave animals there to die. You are despicable!'' Stella growled. She slapped the back of his head, hard. I bent my head, feigning sympathy and hurt.

''Apologize to Assef and Saria,'' Shareem ordered.

''I apologise for my despicable behaviour. Please forgive me.'' We didn't respond.

''You're going to clean this entire room from from top to bottom, and I expect it to be perfect. I'm so disappointed in you.'' With that being said, we left the room. The look of shame on Fahrsan's face was priceless. Only here one day and already we're calling the shots. Family time, how I love it...

In the next chapter, Shareem has a surprise for Saria that gives her a chance to wreak havoc and pain upon Mr. Cuddles and to ruin Fahrsan's life.. Thank you for reading. PMs and reviews are welcomed..

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