|Stephan the Story of a Juicer
Author: Andromeda Starfire PM
This is the story of a young man in love who is faced with a difficult choice and the consequences thereof. Please note that I do not own or claim to have made any part of the Rifts universe. That honor goes to Palladium. I have merely used their gaminRated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Tragedy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,048 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 11-07-05 - id: 2650579
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Don't do it Stephan!"
"I have to Nadia."
"No! I won't wait for you, I won't." Then pleading, "You'll become a freak and then if you survive your body will be burned out. What kind of future is that? You leave in your prime and come back aged, who knows how much? You think that's something to build our future on?"
"It's the only one I can offer you." Stephan ran his hands through his blond hair in frustration. "Look, I'll send you all the money I make, so that you and the kids can survive without having to beg or…or worse. But I'm a nobody and I've got nothing that anyone wants. If I undergo conversion then I'll be one of the highest paid warriors in the worldand I'll be able to put food on the table and decent clothes on you. We could even buy a real home."
Deep brown eyes watched him, "Don't do it. We'll get by somehow. I can do a little bit of sewing and…"
"And what?" Stephan began to pace in the small shack, his big frame dwarfing the cast off furniture. "We wait until someone bigger and meaner takes what we've worked so hard for? A hovel with broken sticks of furniture?"
Nadia scowled, her lips pressing into a firm line, her plain face falling into lines of disapproval. "It may be a hovel but we earned our place here honestly and not by theunnatural conversions of our bodies. They will rebuild you, they'll use little machines and remake you from the ground up. I fell in love with a man, not a soulless freak."
Realizing his mistake he uttered a rare curse under his breath and tried a different tack. "Nadia, my darling…"
"Don't you 'my darling' me." She turned away from him, crossing her bone thin arms over her chest.
With a sigh he turned toward the door, "Look, now things are different. You're going to have a baby and I want more for my kid than just scraping out an existence. I want more for you than living at the mercy of any arrogant basta--um…thug who happens along. I don't want to be forced to stand by while you and my child are forced into slavery or something like that. If…If you won't wait for me…then I'll send you the profit anyway and you can use it to take care of our child." He looked back over the cramped shack and shook his head slowly, then walked out the door.
"Stephan!" She screamed from the doorway, "You do it and you're dead to me! Dead! Do you understand me?"
He kept on walking. Why couldn't Nadia understand that he was doing this because he loved her? He'd always loved her it seemed, from the time they'd been little street urchins until they'd become old enough to be together on their own. Now she was having his child and he wanted more than the life of a street beggar for his children. Why couldn't she understand that? Every day women and children were kidnapped and never seen or heard from again. With money they could move to someplace safer, they wouldn't have to go to bed with empty stomachs. He wasn't a trained solider, he was just a kid who was in love and had a baby on the way. He knew he'd survive, he'd see his kid. Nadia was probably just afraid of losing him but he was tough, he'd make it back. He'd found the offer several days ago. Conversion paid for in exchange for 18 months of service in the local militia, then going rates for as long as you stayed in or survived.
18 Months Later
Breaking into the run down shack had been easy, creeping through the small spaces a bit harder, his enhanced senses picking up the scent of stale sweat and old diapers but now, standing…looming over the side by side cradles he knew it'd been worth it.
Twins…his children. How sweet they looked, sleeping innocently in their little hand woven cradles. They looked healthy…he picked one up, the boy. He weighed a good amount for a baby that size. His money was being used to take care of his children, just as he'd asked.
He left a small bundle for each child next to the cradles before turning to creep into the other bedroom. She was there, asleep. Carefully he woke her.
She bolted upright in the rickety bed, a startled cry on her lips. In the darkness she could barely make out the hulking form that stood there, waiting. "Who are you?" She tried to demand, but the frightened quiver in her voice gave her away.
"Nadia," He spoke slowly, soothingly.
"Stephan. No! You're dead. I told you that. You're dead." She blurted, darting a frightened eye toward the room where the babies slept. "You left them and me when you made the choice to become less than human. Now go and don't ever return."
He nodded, not really surprised. The conversion had changed him and changing back would likely kill him…still, he'd had to know if she would take him back. He'd sacrificed his body and dreams for her, he'd hoped that somehow she'd have been…grateful? Maybe at least let him get to know his children. With a sad shrug he turned to leave, whispering, "Goodbye."
He stopped in the children's room, giving each a soft kiss on the forehead before leaving, never to return. He didn't even look back as he strode away into the night leaving his heart in that small room with two cradles.