Rudy Steiner was the first soul I ever picked up that squirmed. He yelled at me hateful words. He kicked and screamed and fought, but I could not feel a thing. If anything, it was just a nuisance. Rudy Steiner was the first soul that I ever had to restrain myself with. It was hard, it truly was. To watch him in so much pain. He had never seemed so anguished and depressed before, even when his father left.
When Rudy woke up in my arms, he blinked a few times, probably trying to decide what to think of everything. Was this a dream?
* * A Sad Piece of Reality * *
This was no dream.
In fact, it was quite the opposite.
The boy looked around and then at me. Blue eyes were glazed with reflections of a red sky and ash covered his face, even after his death. Rudy's body laid in the rubble of his house. Loose brick and burnt wood lay around him, covering parts of his body. He were alive, he would have a hard time getting out. When Rudy saw his own body, he seemed to realize what was happening. He reached for it, but I pulled him back. He looked at me in shock and anger, and lunged out for his body again, but I am much much stronger than a fourteen-year-old soul.
"Lassen Sie mich gehen!" He yelled. Let me go...
His family watched in sadness from the crook of my arm. watched as her son become more and more tormented by his own death.
"Sie können mich nicht nehmen! Ich werde nicht gehen! Du dreckiger Bastard lass mich gehen!" More yelling. Oh the helpless, agony filled yelling. You can't take me. I won't let you. You filthy bastard, let me go...Rudy's yelling turned to silence when he saw a certain person stagger in his body's direction.
* * The Person * *
The Book Thief.
The Stand Over Man.
Rudy stopped struggling. He just stared in complete horror as his best friend's eyes glanced at his. Invisible tears dripped down his cheeks as she called out his name. Her legs barely carried her as she staggered toward his body. She dropped beside him and reached down shaky hands to grab his shirt and shake him. Rudy started shaking too. His entire soul shook and trembled and shuddered. My hands barely held on. I was just so exhausted emotionally and physically. Liesel's tears dripped onto his face and washed away some of the dirt, forming slight paths of sadness down his cheeks. The Book Thief started stuttering and mumbling things barely audible; however, I still heard them.
* * The Suffering Mumbles of the Book Thief * *
Come on Jesse Owens...
Just wake up...
Then Rudy heard it. Three words that broke him so exceedingly and words that made his entire being as a spirit worthless. Simple words used so openly that some forget the meaning. But these two children would never misuse the word and they certainly wouldn't forget the meaning. Liesel hadn't realized these words until a little over half a year ago, but was too afraid to say them. Rudy figured the words were so obvious, that he would be spared the humiliation of saying them to her. But he would say them a million times as loud as he could, if only he could breathe them out from between his lips. He would give up all the riches and fame of being as fast as Jesse Owens, if it meant her being able to hear them.
* *A Small Confession * *
"Ich liebe dich"
I love you.
She said it at least twice. Rudy covered his face in his hands and sobbed helplessly. He wailed and cried out her name several times. When I saw the girl lean down, I pulled away his hands so he could witness what he had wanted from her for over five years. Liesel pulled Rudy up and ever so gently, touched her lips to his. He tasted sweet and dusty, and Liesel felt regret wash over her. Why hadn't she kissed him before when he asked? He must have asked it a million times, so why hadn't she done it? Had she known it would taste as bittersweet as it did, she probably would have.
What I did to Rudy could be seen as cruel and heartless. But, it could have well been the exact opposite. When she kissed him, Rudy's soul become so enormously heavy, that I had to drop him to the ground. He knelt beside her and stared at her broken face. When she broke away, her fists clenched, and reality seemed to sink in. Rudy wasn't going to wake up.
* * A Small Something to Add * *
Liesel's grief turned into a horrified anger with the world. All her feelings she had bottled up into her gentleness, exploded and let out a cry. She pulled Rudy up by his shirt, and smashed her lips onto his once again. It was misjudged and messy. Her teeth hit his and she brought her hands to his face to be cradled. When she pulled away, she took one last look at his face. God, she loved him. She loved him so much. She bit the side of her cheek to keep herself from screaming, and tasted blood.
Rudy was speechless. He was over sobbing and wailing. Now he was exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep forever. He wanted to dream about a world where he could live with Liesel and love her unconditionally forever. He wanted to see his father and know that he was alive and not killed off in Russia. He wanted to push over dominoes with his siblings in a stuffy candlelit room. He wanted to cover himself in mud and run as fast as Jesse Owens and most of all, he wanted a kiss. He wanted to be able to feel it. What a pleasant dream that would be.
I picked him up again. Instead of screaming at me with an angered face, he gazed into my heart and plucked at my emotions.
"Kannst du bitte laß mich bleiben?" he pleaded. Can you please let me stay?
I looked at the sky. At all the grief filled hope. No one would be happy. This was war. No one could be happy. And then I thought of something. Now, the book thief would be alone. Even though I hadn't scooped up Max yet, I couldn't guarantee that he and Liesel would ever meet again. Even then, who would help her get through this. When nightmares of Warner haunted her, she had Papa and her books. But her books were destroyed in the fire and Hans was long gone. He was even in my arms, watching sadly at the young lemon haired boy. And maybe, Rudy was plucking hard enough at my heart that my judgement was clouded. I looked at Rudy's body, which was being carried away and walked over to it. Rudy's eyes widened as I stood over his body. All time had stopped.
"Don't tell anyone about this," I stated as I slowly dropped Rudy's soul into his body. he just laid there, waiting for something to happen. I pressed my hand against his heart and breathed something out through my fingertips. I breathed life. Imagine Death and Life working together to form a miracle. And just like magic, Rudy's heart started to beat and air filled his lungs.
Rudy's eyes fluttered open. His hands and legs were being held by some LSE men.
"I'm alive..." he muttered. The LSE men stopped and stared down in shock. There was silence for a few moments and suddenly Rudy remembered what he was supposed to be doing.
It's a shame no one was there to clock Rudy's speed as he ran toward Liesel, who was a few miles away. He was as fast as Jesse Owens, but that probably wasn't the thought on his mind. All he could picture was a blonde haired girl that smelt like old books. Rudy never had felt so happy or just completely alive in his whole life. Then he saw her.
She was staggering away down a road that wasn't covered in rubble. People stood on their porches, arms wrapped around each other muttering words of pity. It seemed to sink into the rest of Germany that Liesel was all that was left of Himmel...well. That they knew of.
Not caring about his throat killing from the smoke, or how much his legs hurt, he yelled out in the loudest voice he could conjure, "LIESEL, YOU SAUMENSCH!"
At first, Liesel thought she was hearing things, but then when she turned to face the voice, she was shocked. He was standing there panting. Sweat glistened on his face and he was smiling like crazy, even if silent tears poured down his cheeks. Liesel fell to the ground. I'm still not sure why. Maybe she was so overwhelmed by everything and just collapsed, but it could have easily been exhaustion. Rudy jogged up to her and knelt in front of her. He wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, "I love you too, Saumensch. You've got no idea how much." Liesel shook as Rudy stroked her hair and told her it would be alright. She had a book in her hands, and the title wasn't familiar, so Rudy figured she had picked it up from the rubble. Once a book thief, always a book thief.
But Liesel dropped her book and wrapped her arms around Rudy's neck and dug her face into his chest. She started crying out of joy. Rudy gently whispered sweet words of nothingness in her ear. Eventually he pulled her back and wiped away her tears with his thumb. When the tears were gone he just stared into her eyes and smiled at her. He wanted to kiss her so bad, so when he leaned down, he nodded, as if asking for permission. When he pressed his lips to hers, he lost control. All the love he had been holding back for so long exploded and he gripped her face and pulled her closer. Liesel kissed him back softly, but with just as much love. When they pulled away, Liesel sat right back into his arms.
* *This is Not the End of the Story * *
There is still much to say about these two.
Still so much to accomplish.
So much love to express.
But that's okay-there's enough time.
For this is only chapter one.