All mistakes are mine.


His laughter filled the room; Bouncing off wall and vases, and the harder Assef swung his fists into Amirs fleshy body, the louder it became.

The fear had disappeared from Amir's eyes. Like a drop of water on hot clay. And the realization had hit Assef harder then the brass kissed punches he was pummeling into the other man's body.

His head pounded. Faster and faster Assef swung his fists into Amir's body. His knuckles felt raw, and his stomach churned at every blood laced laugh drawn from Amir's mouth.

For the briefest moment Amirs pale hazel eyes connected with Assef's china blue. Amir's face was splotchy and burgundy blood ran down from several lacerations on his cheeks and forehead. Just make the laughing stop, he thought.

"What's so funny?"

Make it stop, makeitstop, he thought.


An understanding passed between them. In the background, Hassef became more and more aware of the Hazara's screaming, whimpering, pleading. If Amir couldn't feel any fear for himself, he could feel fear for the boy. But then he forgot Sohrab was his father's son, and the boy's sling shot cracked like a walnut in the air.

And Hassef could still hear Amir laughing.


The bear was young. A male, perhaps equivalent to himself in age. The bear's tar black fur glinted in the sun, and on its hind legs, the bear was a least a head taller then Baba. Together, the two faced each other off in a small clearing. The bears inky eyes seemed menacing and while Baba's face was pale, he gritted his teeth and widened his stance.

He had been hunting with his father. The morning had dawned clear and bright, and the two men had left their tents and trekked into the forest on the search for prey.

"Never go alone," Baba's father had warned.

But he had snuck off that day when his father had lain down for a nap. And now he was face to face with a dangerous-enough-to-kill-and/or-permanently-harm-you bear. But Baba didn't have much of a choice. If he ran, the bear would follow, and then he wouldn't even have a fighting chance. Standing in front of the beast, Baba thought of his father, stern and more wise then he could ever be, and Ali who was braver and better, far better then he. Both of them would fight.

His heart rose to his throat and his stomach dropped to his knees. He curled his hands up into sweaty, cold fists. And then the bear attacked.

For a moment his body reacted without control, and chose flight instead of fight. Behind him, the bear advanced rapidly and swiped a plate sized paw at his exposed back. Three claws tore through cloth and skin, causing blood to seep down his back.

In that moment, the pain gave Baba the mental clarity to know that if he didn't fight back, he would be as dead as the lambs sacrificed for naaz. Dodging the bears next swipe, Baba landed a hard kick to the bears abdomen. The beast took three steps back, startled that the strange creature had fought back. Then with adrenalin steeling Baba's nerve, he did something he later realized had been very stupid; He tackled the bear. He lasted three minuets, before the bear had him pinned to the dusty pine floor.

This was it then, he thought. His father would be so disappointed. Maybe Ali would speak at his funeral and speak sweet words of how strong, courageous Baba would have wanted to go out no other way. It was the end.

Until of course a bullet soared through the bear's skull, killing the beast instantly.

Behind him and the bear's carcass, his father stood with furious eyes and a smoking rifle.


He always imagined a cliff. Imagined that he was standing right on the edge, teetering between falling into the abyss and staying on solid ground. On one side, the safe side, there was a place more beautiful then the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. While the other dropped off into jagged rock and heavy mist.

One night, after Hassan's rape, Amir first thinks of this place. Wonders what would have happened if he had jumped. He thinks of it again when he first moves to America, and before he asks his father to appeal to Soraya's father for her hand. He thinks of it when first sending his book off to different editors, and when Rahim Khan calls him from Afghanistan.

He thinks of all the times he has run back to the garden, ran away from his problems. In his mind, he looks over the cliff's edge. He sees the heavy mist swirl and clog every empty space; he sees rock jut out from the side in hard, sharp angles.

But then he thinks of Baba and Afghanistan, but mostly of Hassan and thinks to himself:

Maybe this time I'll jump.


Soroya felt her throat clench, and her breathing become labored. For a moment, she felt tears sting in the corner of her eyes, before quickly wiping them away. Breath in... breath out, she thought to herself. She would have plenty of time to cry once he said no.

She didn't want to tell him.

Tell Amir with his gentle hazel eyes and small, sad smile that she was no longer pure. He would surely say nay thanks to wedding her when he found out- she was knew it. No proud Afghan man would want a tarnished wife.

But her mother had been so hopeful.

"Amir is different!" she had insisted, those nights the two of them had spent together, whispering in secret about his family's reputation and his prospects as a husband.

"He shall marry you regardless. I am sure of it," she had said. But Soroya had seen, try as her mother may to hide it, the spark of doubt in her eyes and the nervous twitch of her fingers

In the living room with no one but herself for company, she felt her hands grow sweaty. She wanted to get married- she did. She wanted to be away from the constant cloud of her fathers oppression and her mother's [as much as she loved her] constant fussing. And Amir was smart, and kind and much more then she could have received else where. But it wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be fair, or moral or right to at least not give him the option to chose.

And she would not steal that right from him.

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