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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19. Stupid Cousin

In chapter 18, Saria brutally murdered Mr. Cuddles, Fahrsan's beloved dog. Without remorse she watched as Fahrsan took the blame for the incident.. Now we find her coming to the end of her stay in Pakistan...

The clock ticked endlessly on the wall behind me. The noise was magnified in the silence. It was now about half past six or so in the morning. I lay awake, completely still so as not to disturb my brother who slept soundly in the bed beside mine. The room still held that foul odour of dead bird, despite Fahrsan's pathetic attempts to clean everything with a disinfectant. It was a rather humid evening, much to my dismay. I find warm nights much harder to sleep on, which was probably half the reason I was awake right now.

The cotton night gown that I was wearing didn't do much good to help matters either. It reached just below my knees and this coupled with the long sleeves made it better suited for cold winter nights. But what could I do? I marvel at the pieces of shit I wear to seem innocent and charming. I kicked the covers off me in a half-assed attempt to cool down. Not that it did much good anyway. I swear, if it got any hotter I'd pass out from heat stroke or something. Assef shifted in his sleep but didn't wake.

My brother could sleep through a fucking earthquake, I swear. Part of me wanted to climb into bed beside him. To wake him up so that I could have someone else to share in my insomnia. I didn't though. I'm not so selfish that I would deny my brother those extra hours of sleep that everybody cherishes. There's isn't anything in this world I wouldn't sacrifice for Assef and vice versa. Not that I need mention that, do I? Rolling over onto my stomach, I glanced in the direction of the wardrobe where the dead bird had been only days before. It seemed wherever Fahrsan went, some poor animal ended up dead.

By now about two days or so had passed since the unfortunate demise of Mr. Cuddles. The little dog was now resting in Heaven, or perhaps Hell. I hoped for the latter. Why should suffering cease just because he was dead. In my mind, anyone who hurts or annoys me should end up tortured for eternity! Zainab, Ahtrai, Hassan... Any person who's ever bothered me before. They should all have to face the Devil's wrath. That is, after facing mine.

Rashid, Fahrsan's friend, had soon learned of his faithful companion's demise. The fight that had ensued between himself and Fahrsan had been hilarious to watch. I'm damn lucky I didn't piss myself, that's for sure. Rashid was throwing swear words left and right. Words that my mother would kill me if she heard me use. Of course, she's never going to hear me use them, but I digress. No pathetic excuses Fahrsan came up with could make up for what he had done, for the misery and hurt he had caused. Rashid's pain was made ten times worse with the realisation that there would be no body of his little dog to bury. No way to gain closure from the death of his four legged friend. I'm sure he must have cried himself to sleep just thinking about it.

Not that I gave a shit either way. I had killed that dog to hurt my cousin and if another person got hurt along the way, then all the better. The ten year friendship between Fahrsan and Rashid had now been irreparably shattered. Ruined in the blink of an eye. It amazes me how a stupid animal could make two people as close as brothers fall out. Assef and I would never fight over a fucking dog, but I guess not everyone could be as close as we are. Still, Fahrsan should take some responsibility for Mr. Cuddles death. He shouldn't have turned his back on us. We were supposed to stick together. He broke a rule and as a result, Mr. Cuddles paid the price for it.

That's how I viewed the situation and I could give two shits if Fahrsan thought any differently. Surely he must be entertaining some notions that I had killed the pup, but even if he was, who could he possibly tell? Who would believe him? Innocent little Saria would never ever hurt anyone, especially a cute little animal. I mean, those fools seen the way I was with Mr. Cuddles when they were around. How delighted I seemed when the puppy would lick my face. Why would I ever hurt him? It didn't hear thinking about. No, I was perfectly in the clear as far as that was concerned.

Matter of fact, I was practically a hero, as far as those foolish adults were concerned. In their eyes, I had been the one who noticed the dog run off, and had tried to catch him. Nobody would ever believe I had done such a heinous act. I curled up in a ball on my side and tried to get back to sleep. My thoughts were ever racing. It seems I never got a moments break from them. The week was almost over. In two days time we would be making the eleven hour return journey to Kabul. Then, come Monday, I'd have to go back to school to be faced with more bullshit. I'm sure Ahtrai and her little bitch friends must be just itching for ways to torment me further. I wondered if Ara would be back by now.

Rumour has it she would be placed in a special class with a special tutor to help her cope with her new disability. I hoped I would see her on the playground, though. I wanted to see the blind little bitch stumbling around and crashing into things. Still, even with Ara's little mishap, their idiotic leader still wanted to push my buttons. I knew Ahtrai was itching to play a dangerous game with me. A game that, if she wasn't careful, would cost her her life.

Closing my eyes, I tried to imagine all the ways I could torment and kill the little cunt. Skin her alive, cut out her tongue, slit her throat and watch her bleed out under my feet. Perhaps even asphixiation or drowning... Whatever method I chose, it would be total agony for her. For her sake I really hoped she would see sense and just leave me alone. Maybe then, I'd permit her to live. All she'd need to do would be to stop picking on me and she would save herself and her family a lot of misery. Thinking of murdering Ahtrai brought me back to the day I had killed Zainab. That had been her own fault. The little girl thought she could get the upper hand by beating me, but in the end, it was I who had come out the victor! I thought of all the things little Zainab would never experience.

Growing up, getting married, raising a family... I thought about how she would never know what it felt to hold her child for the first time, to kiss her husband at their wedding day. Now her parents would never have a grandchild or anything. Thinking about this made me start giggling. I covered my mouth with my hands and shook with laughter. It was amazing how one simple stabbing could effect people's lives forever. Well, it was Zainab's own fault. She had fucked with me and had lost the battle. That was honestly how I saw things. It would do me no good to distress myself over her or Ahtrai any further. I had enough shit to be dealing with Zainab no longer existed to me.

As for Ahtrai, well, only time would tell what would become of her. She'd learn her place soon enough, I was sure of it. Either that or the police would have another murder on their hands. ''Go to sleep, Saria. You know how cranky you get when you don't get enough sleep,'' I told myself. I tossed the covers onto the floor and curled up into a ball. I glanced up at the clock again. It was now seven o clock. ''What the fuck? I've been awake for half an hour! Why the fuck can't I sleep?'' I grumbled angrily under my breath. I punched the pillow in frustration.

Assef shifted, sitting up in his bed. ''What's wrong, kiddo? Why are you awake?'' Fuck, now I'd woken him up too! I buried my face in my hands.

''I'm sorry, Assef,'' I groaned pathetically. ''I just can't fucking sleep. Don't know why. I didn't mean to wake you. I'm sorry.'' Tears of anger and frustration made their way down my cheeks. I gulped back a sob.

''Stupid Saria, go back to sleep,'' I muttered. Assef got out of his own bed and walked over to mine.

''Budge up, kiddo.'' I shifted slightly, allowing him to climb in beside me. Assef picked up the covers of the bed and covered both of us with them. ''What's up, Sar? Why are you still awake, eh?'' I shut my eyes and snuggled closer to my brother, resting my head on his chest.

''I can't sleep. I don't know why. Too much on my mind, I guess.''

Assef stroked the back of my head. ''What's on your mind, kiddo? You wanna talk about it?'' I clicked my tongue. Snuggled deeper under the blanket.

''I don't know. I'm just thinking about Ahtrai. About what she'll do to me when I get back to school.'' I rolled onto my side and leaned up on my elbow. ''I really don't want the hassle of having to kill her, but I don't see any other way out of things.'' This was now becoming a very real concern of mine as much as I wished it wasn't.

My brother reached out and wiped a stray tear away from my face with his thumb. I hadn't noticed it was there. The sun was beginning to rise, light streaming in the window from behind the closed curtains. Assef rolled over to face me, taking my tiny hand in his. ''Come on now, kiddo, let's not think about that. She might leave you alone, knowing what happened to little Ara. And if she doesn't, then we'll find some way to punish her. If she has to die, then we'll find a way to do that too. No need to worry about it. Now, come on, try and get some sleep.'' I nodded and wrapped my arm around his waist.

He ran his fingers through the length of my hair in an attempt to relax me. I closed my eyes. ''I'll try not to think about her any more, Assef. Thanks for listening to me. You're a great brother.''

''Well, you're a great little sister. I'll wake you up when it's time for breakfast.'' With that said, I closed my eyes and settled into sleep...

The next morning came quicker than I anticipated, and I woke to find my hideous cousin poking his head round the door. ''Good morning, little one. How are you feeling, eh?'' he asked. I had to steel myself to stop from screaming at him. Saria Ahmed is not a morning person.

''Oh, good morning, cousin. I'm fine thanks, how are you? What time is it?''

''It's about half-eleven, little one. Are you getting up?'' he asked.

''Okay. Let me get dressed. I'll be down in a few minutes.'' He nodded, winked for some reason, and seen himself out. I lay my head back on the pillow. Assef walked in, already fully dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He sat down on the edge of the bed. I sat up, cross-legged.

''Morning, sleepy-head. How are you?''

''Fine I guess. The cunt just came in earlier.'' For obvious reason, I kept the conversation in our mother's German. Assef laughed at my nickname for Fahrsan.

''He was worried when you didn't come down. Thought you were sick or something. That boy loves you, he really does.'' I rocked back and forth.

''Well, you're the only one that I love, you know that. Fahrsan can go fuck himself.'' Assef laughed and ruffled my hair.

''You're sweet, kiddo. Come on down when you're ready. And be careful when you're getting your dress, there's a screw loose in the wardrobe. I don't want some fucking shelf falling down on top of you.''

I nodded. ''Alright, I'll be careful...'' Assef smiled and seen himself out. I got up out of bed and padded barefoot to the wardrobe. I opened the doors and perused through my many dresses and pinafores. ''If this stupid fucking thing falls on top of me, I swear to God!'' I swore aloud in German. I pulled out a light blue dress with Peter Pan collar, bow at the back and mid-length sleeves.

I tossed it in the bed and gently closed the doors, making sure not to knock anything down on top of myself. I dressed quickly and placed two matching ribbons in my plaited hair. ''Looking good, Saria.'' I told myself as I admired my reflection in the mirror. ''Looking very good.'' I smiled and skipped out the door, locking it firmly behind me. The stairs creaked noisily behind me as I skipped down each of them.

I could hear Fahrsan and Mama laughing about something in the living room. Those two were close. There was no denying it. In fact,forgive me for saying this, and I'd never tell Assef, although I think he probably knows, but I think she sometimes wishes Fahrsan was her son. I grabbed an apple from the kitchen table and joined them.

Fahrsan leaned over and kissed my forehead. 'Eww, get away, I'm eating!' I thought in disgust. ''I can't believe the week is almost over. Where did the time go?'' Papa commented.

''Time flies when you're having fun,'' the disgusting excuse for a boy (Fahrsan) replied.

I lowered my eyes in an attempt to look cute. ''I'm gonna miss you guys,'' I said. No points for guessing that I was lying through my teeth. If I could, I'd happily slit each of their throats in turn and then dance on their graves. Still, we can't always get what we want out of life, can we? I grinned at Shareem and Stella. My mind filled with thoughts of stabbing or beating them to death. I could already see Stella lying in a pool of her own blood. If only.

Stella returned my smile and placed her hand on the back of my head. ''We're going to miss you too, Saria. It's been so nice to have you.''

''Well, you guys have to come to Kabul some time,'' Papa offered. I almost rolled my eyes. Obviously I couldn't do that without seeming rude. Fahrsan seemed delighted at this offer. He clasped his hands under his chin, almost as if in prayer.

''Really, Uncle Mahmood? Do you mean that? Thank you!'' he said in delight. The window was open, letting in some cool air that circulated around the room. The mood was calm, peaceful. I could almost bask in it. I looked at the beautiful clear sky outside and let myself zone out for a bit.

''Kiddo, kiddo?'' Assef nudged me in the ribs.

I looked up at him. ''What?''

''Fahrsan's talking to you,'' my brother said.

''Oh? I'm sorry, cousin. I zoned off there. What is it?''

''Its okay, dear. I was just wondering what do you want to do today?'' he asked. Stella cut across me before I had the chance to answer.

''Well, actually, us adults have a surprise in store. Fahrsan, we need you to look after Saria for a couple of hours while we drive up and get it.''

''I'm staying here too, right?'' Assef asked, placing his hand in my shoulder.

''If that's what you want, son, then of course,'' Papa said. Fahrsan lowered his eyes and twiddled his thumbs.

''Well, actually we'd better be going now. We'll see you three in a few hours. Probably later this evening,'' Mama said. I smiled at them as they trekked in single file out to the car. With any luck, they might drive over a fucking ravine or something. I turned and ran back upstairs, giggling to myself at the awful thought.

As I entered my room, I could hear the front door slam shut. I almost jumped out of my skin. ''What the fuck?'' I asked aloud. The banging and stamping continued. I listened intently as somebody slammed the cupboard doors repeatedly in the kitchen.

After about five minutes, Assef entered the room, quietly closing the door behind him. ''Our cousin is having a bit of a tantrum,'' he informed me. I looked at him in confusion.

The banging and stamping continued downstairs. Assef and I both stayed silent, listening in. We could hear Fahrsan swearing downstairs. ''Stupid cunt. Glued to her. Wish he'd just PISS OFF AND LEAVE US ALONE!'' he screamed in utter rage. I looked up at my brother and rolled my eyes.

''I don't think our cousin likes you very much,'' I said. We both laughed and let this roll off us.

''Well, you know and I know that I'm not going to leave you alone with him, kiddo,'' he replied.

''Really, Assef? Is that for my sake or his?'' I teased. Assef grinned and playfully poked me in the nose.

''You know what I mean, sport!'' he teased. The noise continued on downstairs. I flopped back onto the bed as I heard him ascend the stairs, muttering curses under his breath. He threw the door to our room open with such force I feared it would fly off the handle. Fahrsan was like a bull in a china shop as he surveyed us both. I immediately put on a concerned facade.

''What's wrong, Fahrsan? You look so sad,'' I said innocently. I stood up and began to pace by the wardrobe.

Fahrsan growled at my brother like a feral cat. ''You two still joined at the hip?'' he asked. Assef raised his eyebrows. We both glanced at each other.

''What's got you so upset, Fahrsan?'' He asked, folding his arms across his chest. I was now standing right in front of the open wardrobe. Fahrsan glared in Assef's direction.

''You're glued to your sister like I don't know... It PISSES ME OFF!'' he snarled.

''I love my sister. I want to spend time with her,'' Assef replied calmly. I was amazed at how calm he was being, given the circumstances. Fahrsan mimicked what my brother said in a high pitched voice.

''All I wanted was to spend one fucking afternoon with Saria. You hear that, little girl? All I wanted was to spend one day just you and me.'' I stayed stone-faced as I watched him approach me. Fahrsan commented further. ''You two could be Siamese twins. The way you latch onto each other.''

Now this boy was beginning to piss me off. I decided I'd put him in his place. ''But how can we be twins when there's a few years between us in age?'' I asked cheekily.

My tone didn't go unnoticed by Fahrsan. He stepped closer to me. ''Watch your mouth, Saria. I don't like it when little girls are rude to me,'' he threatened.

I smirked up at him. ''I'll be careful then. Don't want to end up like poor Mr. Cuddles, do I?'' I retorted. This statement somehow flicked a switch within my cousin. He drew back his hand and brought it down across my cheek. I stumbled backwards and fell flat on my ass inside the wardrobe.

Unfortunately for me, this had to be the time that the loose shelf gave way and came crashing down around me. The corner of it cracked me right on the head. For a moment, I saw stars. Then the tears came. I lay there, sobbing pathetically. Fahrsan seemed to come to the horrid realisation of what he had done.

''SARIA!'' he screamed. ''Oh my God, are you okay? I'm so sorry!'' I ignored his words and reached out for my brother.

''Assef, Assef!'' I sobbed. Assef bent down and gathered me into his arms, holding me as carefully as you would a newborn. I latched onto his waist as he ushered me out of the room. Fahrsan followed suit.

''I didn't mean to!'' he cried pathetically. He reached out and touched my head. ''Are you okay, Saria? I feel terrible.''

''Get your fucking hands off my sister!'' Assef snarled viciously. I continued to sob. This was not some childish act. My head hurt like hell. Assef brought me into the kitchen and sat me down on a chair. ''Your head's bleeding, kiddo,'' he said as he fetched the first aid kits. He poured some antiseptic onto a wet cloth. ''This is probably going to sting a little. I'm sorry, kiddo.''

With that said, Assef pressed the cloth to my temple. I hissed in pain, then began to sob afresh. I leaned forward and placed my head on my brother's shoulder as he tried to soothe me.

''Perhaps we should get her to a doctor,'' Fahrsan added.

''No, no doctors. I'll be fine. Maybe if I just take a nap or something,'' I said. As I've probably mentioned before, I hate hospitals. Or doctors of any kind.

''She'll be okay, Fahrsan. I'll take her up to bed now.''

Fahrsan nodded through his tears. ''I hope you know I never meant to hurt you, darling. I really didn't.'' I didn't even bother to answer him as my brother half carried me back up the stairs.

''We'll keep this between us, Fahrsan. No need to tell anyone else,'' Assef called down. I looked up at him in perplexment.

''Why won't we tell?'' I asked in German.

''Because.. If we tell then the others will put two and two together and know we pushed him down the stairs this evening.'' Assef replied. We entered our room and I lay on the bed.

''But.. We haven't pushed him down the stairs!'' I said.

''Not yet, kiddo. Not yet,'' he replied. I beamed up at my brother in utter delight.

''When?'' I could hardly contain my excitement.

''Later tonight. When the others come back. We'll make it look like an accident. Now, however, you need to sleep.'' I didn't think this would be possible. My head was racing, after all. ''You need your rest, kiddo. I'll be back in a few hours to check up on you. Bye, sis.''

With that, he left me to my own devices in that darkened room. I tossed and turned as I tried to let my thoughts fade. When would we be punishing Fahrsan? When? And would it really be safe for us? I had so many questions for my brother. I just had to remind myself that Assef would not let me get hurt or let me take the fall for anything.

He'd have thought this whole thing through. The sooner I slept, the sooner I could punish my cousin for daring to raise a hand against me. I closed my eyes and soon, I had drifted into sleep.. The evening soon came and my brother roused me from my slumber. I sat up groggily. ''Come on, Saria. Let's go put this plan of ours into action.'' I tiptoed over to the open door and looked out. Assef held the window open, waiting for the single. All part of the plan. Mama often came upstairs to read a book before bed.

I watched her ascending. Right before she reached the top shelf, I signaled to Assef. ''Now!'' He slammed the window shut, causing her to jump and drop her book. Mama didn't even notice and let it just lie on the ground as she hurried to our room.

''Oh, a gust of wind must have slammed your window shut. Nearly gave me a heart attack.'' She smiled and stroked my hair.

''I apologise, Mother. We'll leave it closed from now on,'' Assef said.

''No, don't worry about it, son. I'm actually going to relax a bit before bed. Fahrsan's in the bathroom. Well, goodnight you two.'' We bid her goodnight and she left. Then, we heard Fahrsan exit the bathroom. I snuck out and watched him stand by the top of the stairs, looking at the book Mama had dropped.

I don't need to mention how dangerous and risky this is. Assef peered around the door, waiting with baited breath as I approached, stoic. Fahrsan bent over to pick up the book. I looked around me. Nobody else could see this. I had to be sure that nobody would come poking around from downstairs.

Assef now stood watch at the landing. I was now directly behind Fahrsan. He stood up, having retrieved Mama's book. I pushed him, hard. He overbalanced and fell. Now, my brother and I knelt, hands over our mouths, watching him tumble. His foot got caught in one of the steps and I heard a sickening crack. Then it was over. He lay pathetically at the bottom step. Fahrsan's neck was twisted at an odd angle. I bit my lower lip in delight. ''Good girl, kiddo. Come on, they're coming.'' We hurriedly retreated back to our room.

Stella's screaming was so loud it nearly busted my fucking eardrums. ''FAHRSANNNN! OH MY GOD! FAHRSANNNNN!'' she yelled. I began to giggle. Assef bit his lip and snickered as Papa came thundering up the stairs. We immediately stopped laughing as he entered the room.

''Saria, Assef, your cousin has fallen down the stairs. Come quickly, we need to get to a hospital,'' he said. ''Saria, get a coat.'' I nodded and pulled my duffle coat over my small frame. I could hardly contain my excitement.

''Come on, kiddo.'' I looked at my brother with crocodile tears in my eyes.

''O-okay.''

Assef stroked my hair and held my hand tightly. ''It'll be alright, sis. You'll see.'' There were no words spoken as we were ushered out of the house and into the car. Fahrsan was being held by Papa and Shareem. Shareem by the shoulders and Papa by the feet. His head lolled like a limp noodle on his neck.

I glared darkly in his direction. Not that he could see or notice me anyway. I remained silent as we followed their car out of the driveway. Mama and Papa both questioned what had happened. ''I just can't believe it. We were having such a good time. And now this?'' Mama lamented. I almost wanted to ask her what the ''surprise'' was that they had gone to get earlier. I had to hold my tongue though.

''Why, I mean... It doesn't...'' Papa trailed off. His knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel. Up ahead, Shareem sped on, swerving left and right. Assef leaned over to whisper in my ear.

''How much do you want to bet that he'll die?'' Our parents didn't notice this, as they were too concerned with the boy in the car ahead. With the speed Shareem was driving, it's no wonder he didn't fucking crash. My brother nudged me in the ribs.

I turned to face him. "Sorry, Assef, I zoned out. What did you say?"

"I said, how much do you want to bet that he's going to die?" he whispered in my ear, giving a teasing smirk.

''With any luck.. I don't like the way his neck twisted. Perhaps we'll be going to another funeral.,'' I teased back. We pulled into the hospital car park and got out. Paramedics were already on hand with a stretcher and were loading poor Fahrsan onto it. I craned my head for a closer look. Papa and Mama had run on ahead, and were disappearing through the double doors.

''I can't fucking see. Have they taken him way yet?'' I asked my brother as we entered the hospital.

''They must have done. I can't see him either,'' Assef replied. Stella was crumpled on the floor, sobbing. She couldn't even speak.

''Does anyone know.. Could anyone.. How did this happen?'' Shareem asked. I hoped they wouldn't put two and two together.

Assef looked directly at our uncle. ''Actually, I saw something at the bottom of the stairs. Just by where Fahrsan fell. I picked it up; it was one of Mother's books,'' he said. I looked to my mother. She reacted as I expected her to.

''What? No? What do you mean, Assef? Are you saying he could have been picking up my book?'' Now all eyes, including my own, were on my brother.

''It's possible. I'm just telling you what I saw. No way of knowing for sure what happened until he tells us.'' Assef replied. He sat down on a vacated chair and pulled me onto his lap. We waited for hours. Perhaps one, two, maybe more. That's how it felt to me. Eventually a tall, thin Pakistani doctor approached us. The look on his face conveyed bad news. News of death or some other misfortune. ''We.. He had a very serious neck injury. I think you better prepare for the possibility that he may be permanently paralysed from the neck down.''

This word was foreign to me. We stood up, Assef wrapping his arm around my shoulder to draw me in close. ''What does paralysed mean?'' I asked in genuine confusion.

''It means that he can't feel anything below his neck. That he can't move his legs or arms anymore,'' Assef explained.

''Can w-we see him?'' Stella stuttered. She leaned against her husband's chest. ''Yes, actually... He just came round and he is asking for you.'' As we entered Fahrsan's room, I almost screamed in delight. He lay with wide, fearful eyes glancing from me to my brother. He was attached to a heart monitor.

His parents were immediately at his side, sobbing and holding both his hands. ''Son, baby, can you tell Mommy what happened to you? Why you fell down the stairs?'' I immediately tensed up. Fahrsan looked at Assef for a brief moment. Assef remained emotionless.

''Khala Tanya dropped a book. I was just going to pick it up for her when I tripped and fell down the stairs.'' Now I could breath a sigh of relief. 'It's going to be fine, Saria. The little cunt didn't tell.'

Mama cupped her hands over her mouth. ''Stella, sister, I am so, so sorry!'' she said through her tears.

Stella brushed her hand away angrily. ''Don't touch me, Tanya! Just don't touch me!'' she snarled. ''You should be careful, Tanya! For goodness sake.. LOOK WHAT YOU DID!'' Mama fell to her knees and began sobbing, her head buried in her hands.

''I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!''

Papa hoisted her to her feet. ''I suppose we'd better go," he said. "I.. I just.. How I wish this hadn't happened. That things had been different."

Stella leaned over to kiss her son's head. "Mommy and Daddy need to talk to the doctor, baby. We'll be back in to see you very soon." She and Shareem trudged out into the hallway, their shoulders slumped. I could hear Stella sobbing like no tomorrow.

Assef glanced down at Fahrsan, who's eyes clearly showed the fear he held for us. "Mother, Father, is it okay if my sister and I speak to our cousin alone? So that he knows we'll be here for him. That we love him.''

''Okay, son. But only five minutes and we expect you two back in the car. Understood?''

Assef nodded. ''Understood. See you in five.'' They silently slipped out the door. Now, we were alone with Fahrsan. Assef pulled the curtain around him, blocking us from prying eyes. He took a lock of Fahrsan's hair and slammed it into the pillow. I knelt on a nearby chair, one hand over his chest to hold him down.

''That was a very clever lie you came up with. You're a smart boy,'' Assef said darkly. He leaned in so he and Fahrsan were nose to nose.

''Why? W why did you push me, Saria?'' he asked. I glared at him. I clenched my fists and hissed at him.

''You slapped my sister, Fahrsan! How fucking dare you! I could have killed you. I still could, you know.'' Assef placed his hand on Fahrsan's neck. ''You little brat, thinking you could do that to her,'' he hissed.

I leaned down and smacked him right across the face. ''You're not going to tell on us, are you?'' I asked. ''If you tell anybody about this, or anything else, then I promise you, being paralysed will be the least of your worries. Do you understand?'' He blinked frantically, as if to tell us that, yes, he did understand. This was not good enough, however.

I had no sympathy for him; the little cunt brought it on himself, after all. Assef grabbed Fahrsan's chin. ''I'll ask you once more, Fahrsan. Do you understand?''

''Yes, j-just please leave me alone, Assef. I don't wanna die!''

''Okay. You get some rest now.'' My brother straightened up and took my hand. We took one final look at the sobbing boy. I wrinkled up my nose and spat right on him.

''You disgust me,'' I hissed. I didn't look back at him as we left. I could hear him sobbing. As I approached the car, I entertained the notion that perhaps Mama and Stella would never speak again.

Whatever happened, I was glad that I had done what I did. We had driven our point home loud and clear. Nobody fucks with the Ahmed siblings. Not now, not ever...

Coming up next, Saria returns to school after a week off. She must face another altercation with Ahtrai, but, a secret revealed by Amir shakes her entire perception of the boy.. Please comment, review and subscribe, thank you. :)

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