May. 4th, 2009

seesonlysmoke: (masked)
Ficlet: A very close friend has crossed the line, and be it whether through a business or personal matter you feel betrayed or worse. Describe the situation, how you deal with it, the emotional cycle you go through, and how this affects your friendship.

Ten Years Previously. Srinagar, Kashmir

It had taken a long time for Altaaf to become part of the Khan family. Thanks to Nilu, the nightmares of that night in Dalgate had faded. The crayoned drawings that he had so frantically scribbled in those first few days after his adoption of the masked man with the terrible eyes who had led the attack that had killed his parents and sister. Over time, he had come to call Nilu, ammi. It had taken longer for him to call Inayat Khan abba, but one day during a game of cricket, he had implored him so to bowl that the diminutive for father had just spilled out naturally. Later, he had drawn a picture of that wonderful day with he and Inayat playing cricket on a snowfield near a red house high in the mountains. For the first time since his family's murders he had been truly happy and loved his new family.

That night, for the first time, Inayat and Nilu had gone out leaving him home to do his homework. His pencil had broken, and he went on a search for another or a sharpener. He was looking through abba's desk and pulled open a drawer. In it was a gun, a revolver, but Inayat Khan was the SSP of the Kashmir Police and so it was a surprise, but that was not what really caught his attention. With it was a black wool mask. He took it out with dread. It looked like the same mask of his nightmares. Horror and panic rising in him, he ran to get his crayons and found a photo of Khan. He took a black crayon and coloured around Khan's face, blocking out all but his eyes as if he was wearing that mask.

Altaaf would never forget the man who haunted his dreams, and now he stared down at the photo of his adopted father and saw the same murderer who had made him an orphan. Hate filled his heart as he realized the truth. Hate and fear and revulsion, feelings that he could barely comprehend, but that told him what he must do. He pulled the murderer's mask over his head, letting his eyes look through the same hole those terrifying ones had. He took the gun and hid.

Inayat and Nilu came home after a nice evening out, looking forward to telling their son all about it. As Nilu went to change, Inayat went to the desk in the bedroom to set down his watch. It was then he noticed the drawer was still open and the gun and mask missing. Watching from the louvred closet door, Altaaf could see him look around and call for him. Holding the gun tightly, he stepped out, pointing the heavy weapon at his abba. The gun wavered from the weight and his outstretched arms as he pulled the trigger. It went wild, missing Inayat by a lot. In defence, he threw a stool at his adopted son, sending the gun flying and taking Altaaf down. There was no remorse in the young eyes that looked back with hate and the need for vengeance. The eyes of a boy betrayed totally by the one he had come to trust absolutely. It seemed Khan was just as frozen, just standing there as Nilu came running in, making no move to call for his police outside.

That's when Altaaf scrambled up and jumped out of the window, fleeing from a life destroyed by betrayal to be alone with his nightmares of that masked man, his father.


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Altaaf Khan

November 2012

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