Authors: William D. Carl
She handed the stack of rubles to the woman, who began to count them. She looked up at Chesya, astonished at the staggering sum. Chesya just nodded; this cash would give the woman a whole new life, give Andrei’s children a brand-new start, a chance at a good education.
The government had not actually allotted funds for the Siberian’s widow because, as Rick pointed out, the government didn’t give a damn about a dead Russian. They
care about keeping the survivors quiet, and had paid the group what Rick liked to call “hush money.” Not that any of them refused it, but the whole transaction seemed underhanded.
Surprisingly, Rick was the one to propose that they give half of their money to Andrei’s wife, along with the man’s ashes and sentiments. And the serum, made especially for Andrei’s children to break the bloodline of lycanthropy. Their father had died while striving to find a cure, and the group was determined to protect Andrei’s offspring, as they had not been able to protect the man himself.
“Please,” Chesya said, “tell her that when he sacrificed his life, he was thinking only of her and the children. He wanted her to know that he loved them. He said …” She choked on her words, a tear streaming down her cheek. “He said that family was all that mattered.”
Cathy grabbed hold of Christian, and he leaned into her, kissing her forehead.
The woman stood, motioning for the four Americans to come to her. They advanced until she wrapped them all in a robust bear hug that reminded them all too much of her husband. They laughed, and the woman invited them into her home to meet the children and to have a bowl of homemade borscht.
As the door closed behind them, it began to snow, the ghostly whiteness covering up any dirt that had settled on the ground until everything looked clean and uncomplicated and new.
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