Anastasia

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Six Feet Under

Nadia combed through her daughters' glossy, black hair, and kissed her forehead, before perking up, rising to her feet. She took a deep breath, standing still for a moment, as she prepared herself for what was about to go down.

The cellar door was extremely dense, and difficult to maneuver. It was intentionally made this way. The subterrane lay hidden amongst the crops, in the field above.

Mary, who was far too cautious for her own good. Had been prepping in anticipation of the apocalypse, for a couple decades now. It was a quirk of hers that Nadia had actually found quite sweet.

That is, until she became domineering and overbearing with the idea. What had started out with her constantly making sure everyone was safe, had snowballed into an overly protective, egotistical, nuisance.

The jarring, grating noise of that hatch opening, was as loud as it had always been. As Nadia began her trek up the ladder, and out that cellar door, she could feel the anxiety building on itself, expanding like a tumor.

With the sun beating down on her back, Nadia trudged through the frozen field, in the direction of the farmhouse it belonged to.

"Nadia? Nadia, is that you?" The screen door flew open, before Nadia could even reach the back porch.

"Oh my goodness. Sweet Jesus, it really is you." A tiny woman with grey hair, and an almost murderous look in her eye, held her hands to her hips. Shaking her head with a disapproving glare.

"Just let me talk okay? That's all I'm asking for. A few minutes, please?"

"Did you sleep in my cellar last night?"

"Mary... I had nowhere else to go."

Mary signed, folding her arms, before motioning Nadia inside.

"Thankyou."

"What are you doing here Nadia?"

"I can't tell you that Mary. Its a really long story, but, we need somewhere to stay for a while."

"We? You mean?"

"Yes, I brought Ana."

"Well where is she?"

"She's still sleeping."

"So you did sleep in the cellar last night."

"Again Mary, I needed a place to stay. Besides, I'm pretty positive that Damienka, would not have wanted me to make his daughter, sleep on the streets. Simply because you were pissed at me."

"Don't you dare come to my home and tell me what my son would have wanted. You are a selfish bitch. You're the one who killed him. You took my child from me. You, do not get to yell at me. Got that?"

"How many times do I have to tell you, it was an accident, it wasn't m-"

"Your fault, yeah, I get it, but you telling me that, does not bring back my beautiful son." Mary sniffled, wiping the tears from her eyes, and catching her breath.

"Are you high right now?"

Nadia huffed, and rolled her eyes, as she shook her head. "No, I am not high with my child Mary. Who do you think I am?"

Honestly Nadia, I have no idea who you are. The daughter in law I knew, would have never gotten into those, devil things in the first place.

"I didn't have a choice, and you know that. In case you've forgotten, I was in that car too, and I was just as hurt as he was."

"No you were not Nadia, my child is dead. As far as I can tell, you seem just fine and dandy, well, physically anyway."

"Oh really? So you would have rathered Anastasia be an orphan then? Got it, great grandparenting on your part, that's really super."

"No you snarky child, frankly if I had it my way, my child would be alive and you'd be six feet below."

"Whatever, Mary, do you wanna be in Ana's life or not? Cuz if not, I'll just pack up, and go."

"Oh please, you don't give a shit if I have a relationship with her. You just want a place to sleep."

"Doesn't change the fact that you know as well as I do, that if I leave now. You will never see that child again."

"Mama?"

"Shit." Nadia muttered, before turning to the doe-eyed little girl standing in the door way. "You're up so sooner than I thought you'd be baby doll."

"Oh Anastasia, you're so big now... Y-You have your Papa's eyes."

"My da... Mama, whose that?"

"Ana honey, sit down, would ya?" Cautiously, Ana pulled a chair out from the wooden harvest table, and sat down. With both Nadia and Mary, following her lead.

"Ana, this is your Papa's mama."

"I'm your Babushka sweety-pea."

Nadia glared at Mary, rolling her eyes as she turned back to Ana. "Yes, technically, that makes her your biological Babushka."

"But why did you say that all our family is dead though mama?"

"Oh nice!" Mary interrupted in a sarcastic tone. "That's a wonderful thing to tell your eight year old child. That her very much alive grandparent's, are dead."

"Ana honey, you're Babushka and Dedushka are disrespectful to mama, and that's why I told you that. I'm sorry I lied, pumpkin, it was for your own good. Be grateful you don't know this woman. She is hell on earth."

"That is quite enough out of you... And, no, you are most certainly not, sorry. You told your child I was dead, because you've been throwing a tantrum for just about a decade. For the very understandable reason, that I refused to support you're drug habit. You could have stopped, and-"

"Excuse me," Nadia interrupted. "You will not speak to me like that, ever again. And especially, not, in front of my child."

"W-What's a drug habit mamochka?"

With a twitch of the eye, and a slight shake of her head, Nadia turned her attention to Ana. "You don't need to worry about that, okay?"

Ana nodded. Recognizing the look in her mothers eyes, that meant she was not to say another word.

"Nadia?" The gruff voice carried from the front doorway, to the kitchen.

"Ed." Nadia turned to her father in-law. His once salt and pepper hair, had gone completely white, and his eyes were glossy with age.

"What is she doing here Mary?"

"Oh just trespassing. She slept in the cellar last night."

"Okay seriously Mary, would you have preferred me knock on your door at three a.m.?"

"I would have preferred you give me a heads up, before you break onto my property, yes."

"Look... The bottom line is, we need a place to stay. Can you help us with that, or not?"

Mary broke her infuriated glare with Nadia, and focused on her granddaughters' big, green eyes.

"For her, and for her alone. I... We, will allow you to stay in our home. But only for a bit. I don't know how long I can go, without letting my anger get the better of me. And trust me. You, do not want to be around me when that happens. You got that?"

Nadia huffed, flaring her nostrils, and holding her tongue. "Yeah, I got that. Lets go." She barked, turning to Ana.

"And Just where do you think you're taking her?"

"Ha! There is no way in hell, I'm staying in this house with you. We're going to stay in the cellar."

"No... You can go to the cellar if you wish." Mary began, pointing her finger at Nadia. "But you are not, taking this poor child down there to sleep... In that cold, dark, crawl space."

"Yeah, well unfortunately Mary, that's not up to you. She's my child, and she's coming with me. And that's final."

As Nadia lifted her daughter from the table. Making her way to the door, Mary began to follow. Though, before she could get outside, her husband took hold of her shoulder.

"Mary, pick your battles. She brought her back to us. That's all that matters." As Mary collapsed into her husband's embrace, with the tears of a re-opened wound. Nadia held her child close, carrying her through the field, and back under ground.

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