Tainted Perfection

Psychopaths. They are a ruthless, unforgiving breed of people. Those who can lie, steal, cheat and even kill - with no conscience or guilt. The media portrays them as remorseless killers, who hurt others for pleasure and who have no feelings of love or empathy towards anyone. The world says they are monsters who deserve nothing more than to be locked away forever, or exterminated. Saria Ahmed is a psychopath. And in Saria's eyes, the world is wrong.

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2. Prologue

Psychopath.

It is a word that - for so many - is synonymous with evil. Those people who can lie, steal, cheat and even commit murder - all without the slightest hint of conscience or remorse.

Psychologists would have you think they know everything there is to know about a psychopath: what makes them tick, why they behave in the way that they do.

The media would have you convinced that these people are monsters. Many of you - I bet - probably associate the word "psychopath" with serial killers and generally violent individuals. You probably see them as souless demons who deserve nothing less than to be locked up, or exterminated.

And who could blame you for feeling this way? After all, it's what the media has taught you, what the world has led you to believe.

But, what if I told you that psychopaths, contrary to popular belief, are not evil at all? What if I told you that they are, in fact, as human as you or I? What if I could tell you the truth about these people?

The real truth and not the false perceptions and lies that the media and popular culture has forced down your throat.

Now, you're probably wondering: how do I know all this? What makes me such an expert on this topic? You probably think that I am a psychologist, that I have studied psychopathy in depth and that is how I know so much about them. Well, that's where you're wrong.

I know about psychopaths, you see, not because I study them - but because I am one.

 

In the winter of 1974, the bloody pieces of Zainab Qualmari's body were found in the woods just outside Kabul. It was a crime that put the entire neighbourhood on red alert. Mothers brought their children in at night, and fathers made sure the doors were kept locked and bolted.

Months later, in those very same woods, the mutilated body of twelve-year-old Farsef Sajihdi was found in an unmarked, shallow grave. He had been tortured, his right eyeball removed, parts of his skin flayed off - so disfigured, in fact, that his own mother refused to look upon his body. It sickened her that much.

Now, you may be asking; why am I telling you all this? What is the relevance between these crimes and my story?

How would you react, I wonder, if I told you I was responsible not only for Zainab's death, but for Farsef's as well? And what if I told you I'd committed both these crimes before my thirteenth birthday?

Many of you would be horrified. Most would not be able to believe that a child - the supposed epitome of innocence - would be capable of such horrendous crimes. But I am.

 

Some of you will label me a heartless monster and refuse to hear my story. That's fine. I will not change your opinions of me, nor do I want to.

But for those of you willing to stay, I ask only that you read my story with an open mind. What you are about to read is completely, utterly true.

I do not sugarcoat anything within these pages. I, Saria Ahmed, am willing to spill every detail of my life - for those of you brave enough to hear it.

This story is not written to shock you. It is not written to draw your sympathy or make you care for me. Ultimately, it is not written for you at all.

I write these words for one person, and one person only. The one who made me what I am today. The one who is my everything, and the one for whom I would give up my life without a moment's hesitation.

Assef Ahmed. My older brother, my inspiration and the sole person who could ever have any hope of understanding me.

As I write this, I sit alone on the balcony of my parents villa, overlooking the smooth, sandy beaches of Rockingham, Western Australia. The sun is setting on the horizon, the waves breaking along the sand.

It is an idyllic picture and one that, if this were in better circumstances, I would find completely and utterly serene. But, as the wind bites at my face, blowing my hair back, I am reminded only of all I have lost.

I am so far from Afghanistan, so far from my brother, so far from my dreams. And yet, it wasn't always like this. Once there was a time, long ago, when my life was different. A time when I lived in relative comfort, when my homeland was a peaceful, thriving place and not the war-torn hellhole it has become. A time when perfection seemed an attainable goal.

But now that goal seems just so far out of reach. Now the world has taken all but the last shred of hope from me.

Some would call my failings punishment for my past actions. I call them a drive to continue, to never give up until I have achieved my ultimate goal: a perfect life in a perfect world.

To say this is my story alone would be incredibly selfish of me, because it is not just mine. It is my brother's too. And so I write these words for us, an apology for the relationship I destroyed, a relationship I will do anything to mend.

Maybe if he reads these words, he will understand just how much he means to me and how sorry I am that everything went so wrong between us.

So this is our story, starting from one fateful day in 1974, all the way to when I left Kabul and everything in between. And maybe, once you read it, you will see the humanity within us.


We are not the monsters.

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