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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7. Sweet Vengeance

Sweet Tasting Bloodshed

In chapter 6, Saria and Assef got into a huge argument, prompting Saria to run away from home. She was later violently beaten by Zainab, a girl from her class who wanted revenge on her for a prank Saria played on her. In an attempt to prove how sorry he was for his actions, Assef promises to help Saria murder the girl who hurt her.. Now we find her ready to put her plan into action...

I tried to sit up in the bed but fell back, aching. I placed a hand on my chest where the bandages were. I was in no condition to be going home, but hey if it got me out of this damn stupid hospital, I would do anything, even run a marathon! That's how much I hated this place! I had no privacy in here. I was in the children's ward and all around me, disgusting sick brats lay in the beds next to mine, coughing and spluttering, probably spraying me with their fucking germs. Even now, all these years later, I still fucking hate hospitals.

I was paranoid that somehow the doctors and nurses would see through my sweet facade. What if they learned my secrets, what if the doctors and nurses learned how dark and decrepit the little angel in bed number fifteen really was? I couldn't fathom to even think about it. I didn't get much sleep at all here. I was always on guard, making sure nobody could ever find out about the darkness hiding within me. It didn't help that the pain was always there, always creeping up on me. I was practically high on morphine. Assef said that the last time he'd come to visit me, I had barely recognised him.

He said I'd just laughed and said "You look like me... Whooooo!" I wasn't sure you could give morphine to an eleven-year-old, not that I honestly gave a fuck. I just wanted to be out of here. I wanted to be in my own bed and my own home. I wanted the privacy these shitwads never gave me! As I was thinking this, a small seven-year old child came up to me and poked me in the chest. "OW!" I screamed in pain and indignation. My bruised ribs were still very sore. "Watch what you're doing you little fucktard!" I hissed at him.

He gulped and backed away. "Sorry, Miss, didn't mean to. You were real quiet so I thought you were like dead or something," he told me. Instantly my anger evaporated. He was Pashtun like I was. I couldn't stay angry with him for long. I was too tired to be angry, anyway.

"It's okay," I told him. "Just next time don't poke me in the chest. It's really sore."

"Did you hurt it?" he asked stupidly.

"Yeah, a mean girl hit me really hard and made me sore," I told him childishly.

He sat down on the bed next to me. "I'm real sorry that she did that. I'm here 'cause I had my tonsils out," he rasped, opening his mouth to give me a better view. "They were jiggling in my throat and making me sore so Mommy took me here to get them removed."

"That's good," I said. "Now you won't be sore anymore."

"What's your name? My name is Abdulla," he told me.

"My name is Saria Ahmed," I said, smiling kindly.

"Are you going home today?" Abdulla questioned.

"Yes, my brother's picking me up at noon." I glanced at the clock. It read "Eleven forty-five." Fifteen goddamn minutes more to wait.

"Okay, well that's good. I gotta go, Saria or Momma will get mad at me for running off. Bye!" Then he was gone and I was once more at peace.

I lay back on my bed. I just wanted to get out of here. I closed my eyes and thought of how great it would be to finally be home. I missed my big brother so much. Assef came to visit whenever he could over the last two weeks, but I knew that the hospital had a strict visitors policy. Anyway, it wasn't like we could converse properly when I was here. I knew I had to be very careful about the things that I said. Doctors and nurses were everywhere always listening in to our private conversations. I had to be extra careful. I thought about Zainab. I was going to kill her. I knew it. I had the knife under the bed, ready to stain with her blood. Everything was going to work out.

After all, who could suspect sweet, darling Saria Ahmed of doing anything wrong? The whole world would stand up for me and why shouldn't they? I was justified in my endeavours, after all. Even Adia, who I had tortured so badly, would be too afraid of me to ever tell anyone if she was to find out what I had done. I was way too sweet and manipulative to ever be caught. The plan was, anyway, that once we had killed her, we would dump her body in the woods, bury her there. Those woods were closed off, and I was sure some animal would savage her before they could find her. Nobody would suspect a thing. I smiled to myself. I would soon be free of her forever!

I was rudely interrupted by a nurse shaking me. "Saria, darling," she said. "Your brother's here to collect you."

I looked beaming. "Assef!" I called, sitting up. I winced as a sharp pain shot up through my chest. Assef didn't fail to notice this, and was instantly at my side, rubbing my back.

"It's okay, kiddo, it's okay. I'm going to take you home today."

I beamed at him. "Yay!" I said in childish delight. I clapped my hands together. "I can't wait to go home!"

The nurse grinned at me. "I bet you can't. Well, Saria, it's been lovely to have you. You're such a charming young lady. Keep in touch, will you, and let us know how you're doing?" she questioned me.

"I will," I said as Assef helped me into a wheelchair.

"You alright, kiddo?" he asked me. Assef's been extra sweet to me lately. I think he's still feeling guilty for hurting my feelings last fortnight. Assef, I knew, blamed himself for my injuries, though I had told him time and time again that it was not his fault. I lay back against the chair and closed my eyes.

"I'm fine," I said.

"You look so much better, kiddo. You're not as bruised as you were." He leaned down to kiss my hair. "I'm so glad you're coming home, Saria. I've missed you so much." He kissed the top of my head.

"I missed you, too, Assef!" I said. "We have to plan you-know-what soon."

"Yes, we must. Not until you're one hundred percent well again, though. You need to concentrate on getting better."

"Don't need the damn chair, Assef, I can walk by myself" I said, struggling to get up. Oh dear! I didn't think this through! I winced as my entire body ached. Assef put a hand on my shoulder and gently pushed me back down.

"Hospital policy, kiddo. You have to leave in a wheelchair. If you get hurt we could sue the hospital staff for millions. Not to mention I'd never forgive myself if you got hurt because of me again."

I raised a hand in protest. "Assef, how many times? This was not your fault! Do you hear me? It was Zainab's fault for beating me up, and partly my fault for running off without telling anyone."

"Which you did because I frightened you," he said, still intent on heaping all the blame onto himself. "How you could even stand to look at me, not to mind say forgive me after the way I treated you is something else."

"It's because I love you," I told him. "You're my big brother and you always will be."

Assef ruffled my hair with his left hand. "You don't know what it was like, Saria, seeing you being wheeled in. I didn't know whether you would wake up or not, and all I could think of was "what if I never get a chance to tell her I love her". I felt like a monster, like an absolute monster."

"In the eyes of the world, we're both monsters," I told him. "I bet Farsef wouldn't dispute that theory. Has there been any more trouble from him?" I questioned.

"He knows well enough to stay away from us," Assef told me. "I actually saw him again in the market."

"Did you?"

"I did. I went out of my way to learn a bit of sign language on his behalf." Assef waved his hands in the air in some strange motion. "That means "stay away from my sister or you'll pay with your life," he informed me.

I let out a shrill giggle and clapped my hands together. "Oh, brilliant!" I said. "But I know someone who will pay for their crime with their life!" I was, of course, referring to Zainab.

"Yes. All in good time. You concentrate on getting well again and then I promise to help you. We'll make her pay for everything."

We were nearing the entrance to the hospital and I could see that Mama and Papa were waiting for me by the car. Assef wheeled me over to them and instantly Papa was on his knees so we were at a level. "It's so good to have you coming home where you belong," he told me. "We must thank Allah for making you well again."

"And the doctors," Assef scoffed. My brother is not a very religious type and neither am I.

Papa ignored him. "Your mother and I were so worried about you, Saria. You are sure that you do not remember who did this to you?" He questioned.

"No," I replied. "Like I said, I buried my face in my arms to stop him from hitting me. I didn't see his face." I knew that I could not tell them it was Zainab. After all, then the suspicion would fall on me once I killed her. I had to pretend that I did not know my attacker.

I knew that the matter would be resolved quickly enough. After a few days nobody would bother trying to figure out who the culprit was. "I was so scared!" I began to cry. Crocodile tears, of course.

"You're upsetting her," Assef scolded our parents. "Leave her be. She says that she doesn't remember and I believe her. Whoever did this is probably long gone by now. We should just concentrate on getting Saria well again," as he said this, he leaned down and placed a hand on my shoulder.

"You're right, son," Mama commented. "Saria is what matters now and we are so fortunate to have her with us after her ordeal."

"Come on, sweetie," Papa cooed. "Let's get you home to rest." He put his hands under my legs and lifted me up in a bridal lift. I was placed gently in the backseat of the car, and a blanket was placed over my legs. Today the hospital staff had dressed me in a dress that had a smiling sunflower on the front of it. My hair had been washed and tied into two pigtails with yellow ribbons on them. I looked like an utter joke. Assef opened the door and climbed into the other side of the car beside me. We were soon buckled up and Papa drove the car the hour and a half to our home.

It hurt to have the seatbelt across my chest, but my parent's insisted that I wear one. It would not do to have me get injured on the way back from the hospital. I still had enough pain killers in me to last the journey home, and I knew that Mama had some at home too. As I looked out the window at the passing children and families, my mind went to Adia. My little bitch hadn't bothered to come and see me in the hospital. She hadn't even bothered to call to my house to ask how I was doing.

Apparently, and this made me mad, Assef had called up to ask if she wanted to come with him to see me and she'd said no. My heart was in my throat and I felt physically sick thinking about it. Anger was bubbling on the surface. I knew, however, that I could not hurt her. I had Zainab to deal with. I had to be careful or people would get suspicious. Adia was lucky that I had bigger fish to fry. If this had been any other time, I would have slit her throat once I saw her again. As it stands, a sharp warning and a slap would be all she need fear from me. I lay my head on the seat in front of me and sighed.

I just wanted to feel better! I wanted the pain to be over and done with so that I could concentrate on my revenge. I thought about the knife, and how it would be stained with Zainab's blood. I was going to make her suffer the way that I had suffered in these hospitals. If somebody hurts me, they should be hurt back tenfold, I believed.

Assef reached across the seat to put a hand on mine and squeezed it tightly. I smiled up at him, letting him know that I was in complete control of my mind. The sun beat down from high above us in the sky. I reached up and rolled down the window. The cool air circulated the car. I sighed in relief. When you're wearing a dress like the one I had on, you should stay as cool as possible.

I looked at my brother as he rested his hand on his chin and stared in the other direction. I knew that I would need his help to formulate my murderous plan. Not that that was going to be a problem, I knew Assef would move heaven and earth to see me happy. I couldn't wait to get home again. I knew that Mama would have cleaned my room, ready for my arrival. Did she find the knife? It was a very real concern of mine. I could only hope that she would not have gone snooping under my bed for any apparent reason. I quickly reminded myself that I was in the clear.

I had hidden the knife in such a way that nobody could ever find it. It was under a loose piece of carpet in my bedroom that Papa had never gotten around to fixing. Mama turned around and looked at me. "Are you alright, darling?" she asked me. I nodded. I must have been too quiet for their liking.

"I'm fine," I replied. "I was just thinking about how much I've missed my home." I fabricated a lie on the spot.

"Oh, we've missed you too, baby," Mama said, reaching back to pat me on the knee. I placed my hand on hers and squeezed it.

"Home, sweet home," Papa said, smiling as he pulled the car into the driveway. He parked it and Mama got out. She opened the door for me and unbuckled my seatbelt. I put my arms around her shoulders and she lifted me out of the car, and set me down on my feet. I walked a few little steps before I stumbled.

Instantly, Papa and Mama were at my side, leading me into the house. Once we were inside, Assef took me by the arm and led me up the stairs to my room. I pulled back the covers and hopped into bed. Assef sat down beside me and tucked me in. He held me in his arms and rubbed my back.

"You go to sleep now, kiddo, you need it," he told me. "If you need anything you can call me, okay?" He leaned down and kissed my forehead. "I love you so much," he said.

"I love you too, Assef," I said. He left the room, shutting the door with a click behind him. I lay back against my pillow and sighed. Sleeping was not something on my mind now. I could only think about my revenge on Zainab. I wanted to make sure she suffered just as much as I did.

Every ache of my bones was further reminding me to ensnare her in my trap. The darkness of my room was just like the dark thoughts that were running freely through my mind. I snuggled down under my comforter and closed my eyes. I would at least have to pretend that I was asleep in case my parents came in to check up on me.

My mother was a worrywart and I didn't want her calling the hospital over insomnia. Insomnia was going to be something I could look forward to over the past weeks. My ever-present dangerous thoughts were the only things on my mind now. Zainab was going to have to watch her back with me. Soon she would know who was in control of her. It was with this thought in my mind that I eventually slipped into sleep.

XX

A week had past since I came home from the hospital. I stayed at home in bed, my parents and brother making a huge fuss over me. It was sweet when Assef wanted to take care of me, but as for Mama and Papa, they were really fucking annoying. Assef took better care of me then they could ever hope to, and at least with him I could be myself.

When I finally mustered up the strength to walk, I would spend my afternoons playing pool in the games room with Assef. At least he was always there for me. I don't know how I would have gotten through last week without him. Oh no! I'm going off on another tangent, aren't I? I believe I should be writing about today! And what an eventful day it was. I lay on my bed, silently reading.

Today I had dressed myself in one my old blue dresses. It was an utter abomination. I had my hair tied back in a ponytail, secured with a ribbon. It was tied tight against my scalp. Under my bed was a bag packed with all the essentials. Inside that bag I had hidden the carving knife, along with two mittens and a spare change of clothing for when I needed it. I thought about the knife, wedged firmly in between the folds of my gown. It wouldn't be long now until I could use it.

Mama and Papa were going out for the day to treat themselves to a romantic picnic. I scoffed at the thought. Do you think if they had any idea of what I was about to do, they would have dared to leave me alone? I don't think so. The door to my room was slightly ajar, and from my peripheral vision, I could see Mama watching me. 'You think I don't see you, bitch?' I thought to myself. I lifted my head and smiled at her.

"Hello, Mama," I said politely.

"Hello, darling," she cooed. "We will be leaving in a few minutes once your father gets out of the bathroom," she joked. I had to laugh along even though the joke was not funny. She walked over to me and gave me a quick hug. I rolled my eyes over her shoulder. She had no clue! No fucking clue! Soon her daughter would be a murderer! A child-killer! I relished in the thought as Mama pulled away from me. I suddenly spoke aloud in English as she left the room.

"I'll make the little bitch pay for what she did to me! She won't breath for much longer!" was what I called after her. I could be confident that she had no clue as to what exactly her precious daughter had just uttered. I spoke enough English that I could use it when I wanted to keep something secret from my parents.

Mama turned around. "What did you say?" she asked.

"I said, I hope you have a lovely picnic." Once again, I managed to make up a lie for her.

"Aww, thank you, darling!" she seemed quite satisfied with my answer as she walked downstairs. I looked out the window and watched until I could no longer see them. I knew that I had to bide my time. I continued to read for half an hour, until I was sure that Mama and Papa were well gone. Then, leaning down under my bed, I retrieved my rucksack. I put on my shoes and walked to Assef's room.

I knocked three times on the door and waited until he let me enter. "It's time," I said simply.

Assef licked his lips. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked. "We don't have to kill her, you know. Just say the word and I'll give her a beat down she'll never forget!" His hands were on my shoulders.

"No, she must stay silent! She will be killed! Assef, I've waited for so long to make my dream come true! It's going to happen today!" I emphasized.

Assef smiled at me. "If you're sure. I won't deny you anything," he said.

I nodded. "I'm sure. Put a pair of mittens in your coat pocket and meet me outside. We're going to take a little walk." I had a malicious grin on my face as I said this. I literally skipped out the door. I stretched out my hand to take my brothers. I was in utter glee as I walked with him down the road. Soon we reached the market place. I was playing my cards by fate's hand. I knew that Zainab often played near the woods on a Friday when her other friends were at painting classes. I watched as she knelt by the fencing.

Assef's hand was still firmly gripping mine, warning me to be cautious. I knew that I was in full control of what was about to happen here. Zainab's laughter echoed through the clearing. 'You won't laugh for long, kunis,' I thought to myself as I hid behind a tree. I unzipped my bag and pulled out the knife. "Stay here," I warned my brother. He nodded and stood as still as he could behind the tree.

I approached Zainab from behind, crawling on my knees. She was blissfully unaware of the soon-to-be-killer approaching her. If she ran, she would have nowhere to go. I quickly put the knife to her throat and held it there. "Don't move," I hissed in her ear. She was too stupid to head my warnings and began struggling. I slashed her throat, letting her fall to the ground, gargling. I slammed her head into the asphalt.

"You didn't listen to me, did you, Zainab? You should have just stayed away from me! I thought I'd taught you a lesson a long time ago, but you had to keep screwing around with me, didn't you, you insufferable bitch!"

I raised the knife again and brought it down once more, making her gargle as it was now embedded deep into her jugular. She began spasming out on the floor, making me howl with laughter. "It's not a very good day for you, is it, Zainab?" I asked. All she could do was convulse as the life drained out of her. I brought the knife down on her flesh over and over again.

Her little body suddenly stopped moving. I stabbed her again, just to be doubly sure she actually was dead. Didn't want her recovering in hospital, did we? Her eyes were filled with tears as I leaned down and took the knife to her face, slashing one long jagged line. "Good night, and good riddance, fucker." I said in utter elation. I knew my mittens hid any traces of fingerprints, and I would be burning those. I stood up and admired my handiwork. "She's dead." It was a simple statement that brought me such joy!

Assef came out from his hiding place. He inspected the lifeless corpse. "Wonderful, very fucking wonderful," he told me with a laugh. "Did she put up much of a fight?"

I sighed dejectedly. "No, she was an easy kill. Pity, part of me wanted a challenge, my brother."

"Maybe next time. Come on, let's dispose of the bitch's carcass."

Assef lifted me up over the fence and picked up Zainab's body. She flopped like a little rag-doll as he handed her to me. Together we managed to drag the limp body half way through the woods. There was a steep drop that we rolled her down. She landed among some nettles. I watched with elation as she lay there. Now she had payed the price for messing with me. I noticed that my clothes were bloodied from carrying the body, and quickly snuck behind a tree to change. Assef at least had the decency to let me undress in peace. Once I was finished, I pulled off my bloodied mittens and deposited everything back into the bag.

We waited until the coast was clear before we made our way out of the woods. Assef took my hand and led me back into the market place. We did not have to say anything to each other. I trusted him with this secret the same way I trusted him with my life. Saria Ahmed was now a murderer. The sweet girl from Kabul had now committed a homicide. "Nobody will find out, Saria," I told myself. "You're in the clear..."

In the next chapter, as the police probe Saria for questions, will she crack under the pressure? As always, reviews and PMs are much appreciated. Thank you. :)

Sweet Tasting Bloodshed

In chapter 6, Saria and Assef got into a huge argument, prompting Saria to run away from home. She was later violently beaten by Zainab, a girl from her class who wanted revenge on her for a prank Saria played on her. In an attempt to prove how sorry he was for his actions, Assef promises to help Saria murder the girl who hurt her.. Now we find her ready to put her plan into action...

I tried to sit up in the bed but fell back, aching. I placed a hand on my chest where the bandages were. I was in no condition to be going home, but hey if it got me out of this damn stupid hospital, I would do anything, even run a marathon! That's how much I hated this place! I had no privacy in here. I was in the children's ward and all around me, disgusting sick brats lay in the beds next to mine, coughing and spluttering, probably spraying me with their fucking germs. Even now, all these years later, I still fucking hate hospitals.

I was paranoid that somehow the doctors and nurses would see through my sweet facade. What if they learned my secrets, what if the doctors and nurses learned how dark and decrepit the little angel in bed number fifteen really was? I couldn't fathom to even think about it. I didn't get much sleep at all here. I was always on guard, making sure nobody could ever find out about the darkness hiding within me. It didn't help that the pain was always there, always creeping up on me. I was practically high on morphine. Assef said that the last time he'd come to visit me, I had barely recognised him.

He said I'd just laughed and said "You look like me... Whooooo!" I wasn't sure you could give morphine to an eleven-year-old, not that I honestly gave a fuck. I just wanted to be out of here. I wanted to be in my own bed and my own home. I wanted the privacy these shitwads never gave me! As I was thinking this, a small seven-year old child came up to me and poked me in the chest. "OW!" I screamed in pain and indignation. My bruised ribs were still very sore. "Watch what you're doing you little fucktard!" I hissed at him.

He gulped and backed away. "Sorry, Miss, didn't mean to. You were real quiet so I thought you were like dead or something," he told me. Instantly my anger evaporated. He was Pashtun like I was. I couldn't stay angry with him for long. I was too tired to be angry, anyway.

"It's okay," I told him. "Just next time don't poke me in the chest. It's really sore."

"Did you hurt it?" he asked stupidly.

"Yeah, a mean girl hit me really hard and made me sore," I told him childishly.

He sat down on the bed next to me. "I'm real sorry that she did that. I'm here 'cause I had my tonsils out," he rasped, opening his mouth to give me a better view. "They were jiggling in my throat and making me sore so Mommy took me here to get them removed."

"That's good," I said. "Now you won't be sore anymore."

"What's your name? My name is Abdulla," he told me.

"My name is Saria Ahmed," I said, smiling kindly.

"Are you going home today?" Abdulla questioned.

"Yes, my brother's picking me up at noon." I glanced at the clock. It read "Eleven forty-five." Fifteen goddamn minutes more to wait.

"Okay, well that's good. I gotta go, Saria or Momma will get mad at me for running off. Bye!" Then he was gone and I was once more at peace.

I lay back on my bed. I just wanted to get out of here. I closed my eyes and thought of how great it would be to finally be home. I missed my big brother so much. Assef came to visit whenever he could over the last two weeks, but I knew that the hospital had a strict visitors policy. Anyway, it wasn't like we could converse properly when I was here. I knew I had to be very careful about the things that I said. Doctors and nurses were everywhere always listening in to our private conversations. I had to be extra careful. I thought about Zainab. I was going to kill her. I knew it. I had the knife under the bed, ready to stain with her blood. Everything was going to work out.

After all, who could suspect sweet, darling Saria Ahmed of doing anything wrong? The whole world would stand up for me and why shouldn't they? I was justified in my endeavours, after all. Even Adia, who I had tortured so badly, would be too afraid of me to ever tell anyone if she was to find out what I had done. I was way too sweet and manipulative to ever be caught. The plan was, anyway, that once we had killed her, we would dump her body in the woods, bury her there. Those woods were closed off, and I was sure some animal would savage her before they could find her. Nobody would suspect a thing. I smiled to myself. I would soon be free of her forever!

I was rudely interrupted by a nurse shaking me. "Saria, darling," she said. "Your brother's here to collect you."

I looked beaming. "Assef!" I called, sitting up. I winced as a sharp pain shot up through my chest. Assef didn't fail to notice this, and was instantly at my side, rubbing my back.

"It's okay, kiddo, it's okay. I'm going to take you home today."

I beamed at him. "Yay!" I said in childish delight. I clapped my hands together. "I can't wait to go home!"

The nurse grinned at me. "I bet you can't. Well, Saria, it's been lovely to have you. You're such a charming young lady. Keep in touch, will you, and let us know how you're doing?" she questioned me.

"I will," I said as Assef helped me into a wheelchair.

"You alright, kiddo?" he asked me. Assef's been extra sweet to me lately. I think he's still feeling guilty for hurting my feelings last fortnight. Assef, I knew, blamed himself for my injuries, though I had told him time and time again that it was not his fault. I lay back against the chair and closed my eyes.

"I'm fine," I said.

"You look so much better, kiddo. You're not as bruised as you were." He leaned down to kiss my hair. "I'm so glad you're coming home, Saria. I've missed you so much." He kissed the top of my head.

"I missed you, too, Assef!" I said. "We have to plan you-know-what soon."

"Yes, we must. Not until you're one hundred percent well again, though. You need to concentrate on getting better."

"Don't need the damn chair, Assef, I can walk by myself" I said, struggling to get up. Oh dear! I didn't think this through! I winced as my entire body ached. Assef put a hand on my shoulder and gently pushed me back down.

"Hospital policy, kiddo. You have to leave in a wheelchair. If you get hurt we could sue the hospital staff for millions. Not to mention I'd never forgive myself if you got hurt because of me again."

I raised a hand in protest. "Assef, how many times? This was not your fault! Do you hear me? It was Zainab's fault for beating me up, and partly my fault for running off without telling anyone."

"Which you did because I frightened you," he said, still intent on heaping all the blame onto himself. "How you could even stand to look at me, not to mind say forgive me after the way I treated you is something else."

"It's because I love you," I told him. "You're my big brother and you always will be."

Assef ruffled my hair with his left hand. "You don't know what it was like, Saria, seeing you being wheeled in. I didn't know whether you would wake up or not, and all I could think of was "what if I never get a chance to tell her I love her". I felt like a monster, like an absolute monster."

"In the eyes of the world, we're both monsters," I told him. "I bet Farsef wouldn't dispute that theory. Has there been any more trouble from him?" I questioned.

"He knows well enough to stay away from us," Assef told me. "I actually saw him again in the market."

"Did you?"

"I did. I went out of my way to learn a bit of sign language on his behalf." Assef waved his hands in the air in some strange motion. "That means "stay away from my sister or you'll pay with your life," he informed me.

I let out a shrill giggle and clapped my hands together. "Oh, brilliant!" I said. "But I know someone who will pay for their crime with their life!" I was, of course, referring to Zainab.

"Yes. All in good time. You concentrate on getting well again and then I promise to help you. We'll make her pay for everything."

We were nearing the entrance to the hospital and I could see that Mama and Papa were waiting for me by the car. Assef wheeled me over to them and instantly Papa was on his knees so we were at a level. "It's so good to have you coming home where you belong," he told me. "We must thank Allah for making you well again."

"And the doctors," Assef scoffed. My brother is not a very religious type and neither am I.

Papa ignored him. "Your mother and I were so worried about you, Saria. You are sure that you do not remember who did this to you?" He questioned.

"No," I replied. "Like I said, I buried my face in my arms to stop him from hitting me. I didn't see his face." I knew that I could not tell them it was Zainab. After all, then the suspicion would fall on me once I killed her. I had to pretend that I did not know my attacker.

I knew that the matter would be resolved quickly enough. After a few days nobody would bother trying to figure out who the culprit was. "I was so scared!" I began to cry. Crocodile tears, of course.

"You're upsetting her," Assef scolded our parents. "Leave her be. She says that she doesn't remember and I believe her. Whoever did this is probably long gone by now. We should just concentrate on getting Saria well again," as he said this, he leaned down and placed a hand on my shoulder.

"You're right, son," Mama commented. "Saria is what matters now and we are so fortunate to have her with us after her ordeal."

"Come on, sweetie," Papa cooed. "Let's get you home to rest." He put his hands under my legs and lifted me up in a bridal lift. I was placed gently in the backseat of the car, and a blanket was placed over my legs. Today the hospital staff had dressed me in a dress that had a smiling sunflower on the front of it. My hair had been washed and tied into two pigtails with yellow ribbons on them. I looked like an utter joke. Assef opened the door and climbed into the other side of the car beside me. We were soon buckled up and Papa drove the car the hour and a half to our home.

It hurt to have the seatbelt across my chest, but my parent's insisted that I wear one. It would not do to have me get injured on the way back from the hospital. I still had enough pain killers in me to last the journey home, and I knew that Mama had some at home too. As I looked out the window at the passing children and families, my mind went to Adia. My little bitch hadn't bothered to come and see me in the hospital. She hadn't even bothered to call to my house to ask how I was doing.

Apparently, and this made me mad, Assef had called up to ask if she wanted to come with him to see me and she'd said no. My heart was in my throat and I felt physically sick thinking about it. Anger was bubbling on the surface. I knew, however, that I could not hurt her. I had Zainab to deal with. I had to be careful or people would get suspicious. Adia was lucky that I had bigger fish to fry. If this had been any other time, I would have slit her throat once I saw her again. As it stands, a sharp warning and a slap would be all she need fear from me. I lay my head on the seat in front of me and sighed.

I just wanted to feel better! I wanted the pain to be over and done with so that I could concentrate on my revenge. I thought about the knife, and how it would be stained with Zainab's blood. I was going to make her suffer the way that I had suffered in these hospitals. If somebody hurts me, they should be hurt back tenfold, I believed.

Assef reached across the seat to put a hand on mine and squeezed it tightly. I smiled up at him, letting him know that I was in complete control of my mind. The sun beat down from high above us in the sky. I reached up and rolled down the window. The cool air circulated the car. I sighed in relief. When you're wearing a dress like the one I had on, you should stay as cool as possible.

I looked at my brother as he rested his hand on his chin and stared in the other direction. I knew that I would need his help to formulate my murderous plan. Not that that was going to be a problem, I knew Assef would move heaven and earth to see me happy. I couldn't wait to get home again. I knew that Mama would have cleaned my room, ready for my arrival. Did she find the knife? It was a very real concern of mine. I could only hope that she would not have gone snooping under my bed for any apparent reason. I quickly reminded myself that I was in the clear.

I had hidden the knife in such a way that nobody could ever find it. It was under a loose piece of carpet in my bedroom that Papa had never gotten around to fixing. Mama turned around and looked at me. "Are you alright, darling?" she asked me. I nodded. I must have been too quiet for their liking.

"I'm fine," I replied. "I was just thinking about how much I've missed my home." I fabricated a lie on the spot.

"Oh, we've missed you too, baby," Mama said, reaching back to pat me on the knee. I placed my hand on hers and squeezed it.

"Home, sweet home," Papa said, smiling as he pulled the car into the driveway. He parked it and Mama got out. She opened the door for me and unbuckled my seatbelt. I put my arms around her shoulders and she lifted me out of the car, and set me down on my feet. I walked a few little steps before I stumbled.

Instantly, Papa and Mama were at my side, leading me into the house. Once we were inside, Assef took me by the arm and led me up the stairs to my room. I pulled back the covers and hopped into bed. Assef sat down beside me and tucked me in. He held me in his arms and rubbed my back.

"You go to sleep now, kiddo, you need it," he told me. "If you need anything you can call me, okay?" He leaned down and kissed my forehead. "I love you so much," he said.

"I love you too, Assef," I said. He left the room, shutting the door with a click behind him. I lay back against my pillow and sighed. Sleeping was not something on my mind now. I could only think about my revenge on Zainab. I wanted to make sure she suffered just as much as I did.

Every ache of my bones was further reminding me to ensnare her in my trap. The darkness of my room was just like the dark thoughts that were running freely through my mind. I snuggled down under my comforter and closed my eyes. I would at least have to pretend that I was asleep in case my parents came in to check up on me.

My mother was a worrywart and I didn't want her calling the hospital over insomnia. Insomnia was going to be something I could look forward to over the past weeks. My ever-present dangerous thoughts were the only things on my mind now. Zainab was going to have to watch her back with me. Soon she would know who was in control of her. It was with this thought in my mind that I eventually slipped into sleep.

XX

A week had past since I came home from the hospital. I stayed at home in bed, my parents and brother making a huge fuss over me. It was sweet when Assef wanted to take care of me, but as for Mama and Papa, they were really fucking annoying. Assef took better care of me then they could ever hope to, and at least with him I could be myself.

When I finally mustered up the strength to walk, I would spend my afternoons playing pool in the games room with Assef. At least he was always there for me. I don't know how I would have gotten through last week without him. Oh no! I'm going off on another tangent, aren't I? I believe I should be writing about today! And what an eventful day it was. I lay on my bed, silently reading.

Today I had dressed myself in one my old blue dresses. It was an utter abomination. I had my hair tied back in a ponytail, secured with a ribbon. It was tied tight against my scalp. Under my bed was a bag packed with all the essentials. Inside that bag I had hidden the carving knife, along with two mittens and a spare change of clothing for when I needed it. I thought about the knife, wedged firmly in between the folds of my gown. It wouldn't be long now until I could use it.

Mama and Papa were going out for the day to treat themselves to a romantic picnic. I scoffed at the thought. Do you think if they had any idea of what I was about to do, they would have dared to leave me alone? I don't think so. The door to my room was slightly ajar, and from my peripheral vision, I could see Mama watching me. 'You think I don't see you, bitch?' I thought to myself. I lifted my head and smiled at her.

"Hello, Mama," I said politely.

"Hello, darling," she cooed. "We will be leaving in a few minutes once your father gets out of the bathroom," she joked. I had to laugh along even though the joke was not funny. She walked over to me and gave me a quick hug. I rolled my eyes over her shoulder. She had no clue! No fucking clue! Soon her daughter would be a murderer! A child-killer! I relished in the thought as Mama pulled away from me. I suddenly spoke aloud in English as she left the room.

"I'll make the little bitch pay for what she did to me! She won't breath for much longer!" was what I called after her. I could be confident that she had no clue as to what exactly her precious daughter had just uttered. I spoke enough English that I could use it when I wanted to keep something secret from my parents.

Mama turned around. "What did you say?" she asked.

"I said, I hope you have a lovely picnic." Once again, I managed to make up a lie for her.

"Aww, thank you, darling!" she seemed quite satisfied with my answer as she walked downstairs. I looked out the window and watched until I could no longer see them. I knew that I had to bide my time. I continued to read for half an hour, until I was sure that Mama and Papa were well gone. Then, leaning down under my bed, I retrieved my rucksack. I put on my shoes and walked to Assef's room.

I knocked three times on the door and waited until he let me enter. "It's time," I said simply.

Assef licked his lips. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked. "We don't have to kill her, you know. Just say the word and I'll give her a beat down she'll never forget!" His hands were on my shoulders.

"No, she must stay silent! She will be killed! Assef, I've waited for so long to make my dream come true! It's going to happen today!" I emphasized.

Assef smiled at me. "If you're sure. I won't deny you anything," he said.

I nodded. "I'm sure. Put a pair of mittens in your coat pocket and meet me outside. We're going to take a little walk." I had a malicious grin on my face as I said this. I literally skipped out the door. I stretched out my hand to take my brothers. I was in utter glee as I walked with him down the road. Soon we reached the market place. I was playing my cards by fate's hand. I knew that Zainab often played near the woods on a Friday when her other friends were at painting classes. I watched as she knelt by the fencing.

Assef's hand was still firmly gripping mine, warning me to be cautious. I knew that I was in full control of what was about to happen here. Zainab's laughter echoed through the clearing. 'You won't laugh for long, kunis,' I thought to myself as I hid behind a tree. I unzipped my bag and pulled out the knife. "Stay here," I warned my brother. He nodded and stood as still as he could behind the tree.

I approached Zainab from behind, crawling on my knees. She was blissfully unaware of the soon-to-be-killer approaching her. If she ran, she would have nowhere to go. I quickly put the knife to her throat and held it there. "Don't move," I hissed in her ear. She was too stupid to head my warnings and began struggling. I slashed her throat, letting her fall to the ground, gargling. I slammed her head into the asphalt.

"You didn't listen to me, did you, Zainab? You should have just stayed away from me! I thought I'd taught you a lesson a long time ago, but you had to keep screwing around with me, didn't you, you insufferable bitch!"

I raised the knife again and brought it down once more, making her gargle as it was now embedded deep into her jugular. She began spasming out on the floor, making me howl with laughter. "It's not a very good day for you, is it, Zainab?" I asked. All she could do was convulse as the life drained out of her. I brought the knife down on her flesh over and over again.

Her little body suddenly stopped moving. I stabbed her again, just to be doubly sure she actually was dead. Didn't want her recovering in hospital, did we? Her eyes were filled with tears as I leaned down and took the knife to her face, slashing one long jagged line. "Good night, and good riddance, fucker." I said in utter elation. I knew my mittens hid any traces of fingerprints, and I would be burning those. I stood up and admired my handiwork. "She's dead." It was a simple statement that brought me such joy!

Assef came out from his hiding place. He inspected the lifeless corpse. "Wonderful, very fucking wonderful," he told me with a laugh. "Did she put up much of a fight?"

I sighed dejectedly. "No, she was an easy kill. Pity, part of me wanted a challenge, my brother."

"Maybe next time. Come on, let's dispose of the bitch's carcass."

Assef lifted me up over the fence and picked up Zainab's body. She flopped like a little rag-doll as he handed her to me. Together we managed to drag the limp body half way through the woods. There was a steep drop that we rolled her down. She landed among some nettles. I watched with elation as she lay there. Now she had payed the price for messing with me. I noticed that my clothes were bloodied from carrying the body, and quickly snuck behind a tree to change. Assef at least had the decency to let me undress in peace. Once I was finished, I pulled off my bloodied mittens and deposited everything back into the bag.

We waited until the coast was clear before we made our way out of the woods. Assef took my hand and led me back into the market place. We did not have to say anything to each other. I trusted him with this secret the same way I trusted him with my life. Saria Ahmed was now a murderer. The sweet girl from Kabul had now committed a homicide. "Nobody will find out, Saria," I told myself. "You're in the clear..."

In the next chapter, as the police probe Saria for questions, will she crack under the pressure? As always, reviews and PMs are much appreciated. Thank you. :)

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