The wish scribes had no designs on them. They were safe, and yet Faruq was just as concerned as ever. Perhaps more so. He woke in the middle of the night, sure that the episode with the dog had been a nightmare. No way could his father have sat laughing on that chest while a living creature suffocated within.
Yet the next morning at breakfast, little Samira's eyes were red and puffy as she served them. And when she thought no one was looking she shot his father murderous glances—word of his father's actions had surely spread among his workers and among the manor.
The flat bread was warm and fresh, the figs and yams sweet, but Faruq barely ate two bites. He was sick with self-hatred as he looked around the table at his family. They laughed and chatted and ate to their heart's content, completely carefree.
No matter what happened to them, and no matter what they did, never again would they suffer the sting of shame, guilt or remorse.
Oh Almighty Ahura Mazadaa, thought Faruq. What have I done to them?
Tears pricked his eyes, and he mumbled something about not feeling well and hurried out to the back garden. He sat on his favorite bench and let himself cry. The birds continued to chirp and whistle in the trees around him, oblivious to his human tragedy.
There was no way to stop his family. Perhaps one of his father's craftsmen would be next. Or little Samira. More would suffer and die like Kadeen and there was not one thing he could do to stop them.
No way to save them.
Short of killing them.
Faruq crushed his palms to his eyes at the thought, holding in his wails as best he could. Impossible. Even if the people inside that house were soulless monsters, they still looked like his family. He sat, teetering on the brink of panic and madness, completely at a loss for what to do.
He jerked his head up at Thamina's voice and swiped at his wet face, sniffling.
"Baba said it's time to get back to work," she called.
Overwhelming dread took such hold of him that he shook. Never again would he set foot in that workshop if he could help it.
"Tell him I can't!" He called back. "I don't feel well."
Thamina went away and soon his father's sandals came slapping down the paving stones. He stood next to the bench where Faruq sat.
"What is the matter with you, Faruq?"
Faruq couldn't bring himself to look up. "Why did you try to kill that dog, Baba?"
"What? But you know why. I needed to prove the quality of my craftsmanship."
Against all his better judgement, Faruq plowed on. "It was wrong."
He couldn't bear to look up and see the confusion on his father's face, but he heard it in his voice. "Is that what all this is about? I had no idea you cared so for that little nuisance."
"No!" Faruq took a calming breath. "It's more than that. You shouldn't have done it because...because it is wrong!" He finished, his voice rising in frustration.
"But how else would I have tested the chest?"
To Faruq, his father's behaviour seemed surreal. Nightmarish.
"I don't know," he said. "But you should not have to kill something to do it."
His father laughed. "But you are more soft-hearted than your sister could ever hope to be. Alright Faruq. I'm sorry."
YOU ARE READING
Wishtesters are the lowest of the low, the most pitiful beggars and crooks living on the fringes of society. And Faruq is itching to become one. Asking a wish of the Djinn, powerful beings who can grant almost anything the heart desires, is a privil...