Abdul and his older brother Aouad had just moved to their father's original hometown in Kuwait. They had lived in America for several years, but were forced to return to their parents' country of origin due to their father's personal matters with his family's goods business.
The brothers decided to walk to school together for their first day. Then they noticed that three boys were huddled around another boy, with shards of glass pointed at the kid.
"Stop that!" Aouad yelled at them, running at them.
Abdul stayed behind since he was afraid. He watched the kids with the glass look up at Aouad with vitriol. The leader was a smug bastard named Faizaan, his friends were a really skinny moron named Hidayatullah and a short kid with a broken nose named Naji. He learned all his later. After it all went down.
"Ah yes." Faizaan said smugly, "I heard we had a new kid in town. I presume no one told you about us. We're the baddest badasses in town and if we want something, we get it."
"And what is it you little punks want?" Aouad asked assertively.
The boys chuckled a bit.
"Skin, naturally." Naji answered with wicked glee on his tongue.
"We want to start a collection!" Hidayatullah cackled out.
Abdul knew he had to run. But he didn't know where to go.
"Aouad! Let's just leave!" Abdul called to his big brother.
The boys pointed their glass shards at Aouad and smirked.
"You should listen to the kid." Faizaan smiled arrogantly, "You wouldn't him to get hurt, would you?"
Aouad looked at the frightened, crying boy on the ground. He couldn't just stand by and let him get cut by these goons. But there were no adults around, not a one. But there was a teenager.
"Faizaan!" An older boy shouted angrily as he ran down the path, "Are you insane?!"
The teenager's presence caused Faizaan, Hidayatullah, and Naji to drop their glass shards on the ground. The teenager stopped in front of them and glared at Faizaan.
"Uh, hey, Qadir..." Faizaan gulped.
"Go back hom!" The teenager yelled at him, "Father and Mother are worried sick!"
The boys dispersed and Abdul and Aouad were able to head to school with no trouble. Everything at school was fine. None of the kids were mean, the teachers explained the school to them, and both brothers understood the subjects and work required of them. Which was likely since their parents read them many educational books.
"So, Abdul, where did you live in America?" One of Abdul's new classmates asked during their nutritional break.
"We lived in Michigan, just a little while out from Dearborn." Abdul answered.
"Hmm, oh yeah, I heard of Dearborn once from my uncle. He has a pen pal who lives there."
Abdul smiled, he was happy he was making friends. But he smelt something strange. Like a campfire almost.
"Guys? Do you...smell that?" Abdul asked the other boys at the table.
"Yeah. I smell something burning."
"I do too. Ugh, it stinks..."
"Do you think something's wrong?"
"I think I need to hold my breath..."
Abdul felt his eyes tearing up. He noticed that smoke was filling the air slowly.
"We have to get out!!!" Abdul yelled.
Then, almost as if on cue, the building was becoming engulfed in fire. Everyone inside scrambled to escape the burning school. Walls burnt down, people rushed out as safely as they could. Abdul noticed Aouad helping a teacher carry an injured kid out and called out to him. That was the last thing he remembered before he was consumed by the fire, burning him alive.
Seventeen days later, it was discovered that the fire was not natural, but an act of arson. Not long after, the culprits were found. It was the three kids from before, Faizaan, Hayidatullah, and Naji, who had set the school ablaze. They had been bad seeds for a very long time, but nobody in town had ever thought they were capable of such evil. Qadir, Faizaan's older brother, was the one who tipped off the authorities to their involvement. He had found four boxes of matches in a box under Faizaan's bed. The others had somehow gotten a large can of gasoline, which they used to set the fire. The three were tried as adults and sentenced to life in confinement.
Aouad walked by the blocked off, ruined remains of the school almost everyday since Abdul died. But then he saw the ash. This gave him a dark idea. He would have his brother back, he was sure of it. He snuck into the remains of the school and gathered all the ashes he could in a clay vase their grandmother had made for the family as a gift. Over the next several years Aouad would study black magic, trying to make his wish come true. For his sweet Abdul to be in his arms again was his only desire.
"Abdul Ishak, my dear brother, I will thy spirit to return to this world." Aouad spoke over an elaborate ring on the made of ash, "Take this as your body. Do whatever you please and know that you may never perish again, never feel pain again. This is my gift to thee...in exchange of my soul."
The ashes glowed as they floated into the air and formed a sphere that flew down Aouad's mouth. His skin turn an ashy, burnt black, with cracks and wrinkles all over. His face turned into a ghoulish, almost skeletal visage. Fire's light peeked from his now giant, round eyes.
"I am reborn. Now we are one. Thank you, my brother. I'm back now. But Abdul and Aouad no longer exist. There is only this now."
Faizaan looked at the blank walls around him. There was nothing for him to cut, nothing to burn, nothing to destroy. His only companion was the night sky from his window. He looked out it and saw a shooting star.
"I wish for anything different from this." He sighed.
He smelled something. Almost like a fire.