Fiction: Bad News, Good News (375 Words)

01 Oct

Nessa didn’t say anything as she got up out of her chair and wrapped her arms around my chest, squeezing me as tightly as she could manage. For a long moment, we just stood there, and held each other, taking in the comfortable presence that we were both still alive and whole and we could hold each other like this.

“How’s Irma doing?” Nessa asked, still pressed against his chest.

I sighed, and held her just a little tighter. “Oh, about as well as can be expected.  Dora’s in there with her now—hopefully she’ll get some sleep soon.  I think she’s so upset that she didn’t get to say goodbye.  And guilt…”

“Yeah. You’ll never hear me say it again, but it was her life or his, so he died because of her.  She’s smart enough to know that and there is no way to convince her otherwise if she thinks too much about it.”  I could feel a shudder run up her back.  “Never give your life for me—Tom.  I couldn’t live with it.”

“What about for our child?”  Nessa took a quick step back to look at me in shock, “Irma’s pregnant.  Four months. They were trying to keep it hidden until this was over, until we were safer but…Brian gave his life for his child.”

“Oh, man.”  Nessa sighed, “Oh god. Poor Irma.  That poor kid.” She pressed herself against my chest again.  “I guess—I mean, I was going to wait to tell you at a happier time, but perhaps you should know now, we can tell Irma too.”

That took a very long time for that to sink in.  I could just imagine Nessa’s knowing smile, as she waited for the gears to click into place. When I stepped back and looked at her, that smile was in place, the strangest combination of happy and sad I’d ever seen. “Nessa?”

“At least one last time, you copied your brother. We’re going to have a baby.”

“Oh god,” I pulled Nessa in and kissed her squarely on the top of her head, “I don’t know what to say.”

“Don’t say anything. Be happy for us, sad for your brother and his wife, and we’ll just deal with everything else as it comes.”

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Stories


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