Those of you who have read Enders will already have heard of Lupa. Just the fiddly bit left to do then you can read her story.
Lupa sat in the dull morning light that fell through the kitchen window with Elina wriggling on her lap. Both mother and child were small-boned and dark with thick hair that curled around the face in a way other, kinder cultures would have found appealing. They had the same dark grey eyes, but though Elina’s were quick and bright, Lupa’s stared unfocused, her head full of images of her parents. The previous evening she had seen her father, for the first time since she was married, and by the end of the day he would be dead, ended.
In the five years that had passed since her marriage, Lupa had hardly thought about her parents. That was the way it was; children married and moved on. She had been shocked to see her father on the doorstep, embarrassed. Fathers in Providence never visited their married daughters. But something in his eyes held her, something strange. She was sure she would have remembered that expression of tenderness if she had seen it as a child.
He had only been able to stay a few minutes; she expected Marduk back any moment. And it had been to say goodbye. She had looked into his eyes properly then, and seen him for the first time. Reflected in eyes as sad and deep as her own she had recognised her own turbulent emotions. The words of the doctor came back to her, about the wasted lives. He hadn’t just meant dead babies.
Elina touched her mother’s sad face with her sticky hand. “Never mind,” she said in her best comforting voice, and Lupa gave a thin smile. The child wriggled and Lupa set her down on the floor. Lupa’s father had come to say goodbye: the ending ceremony was today. Perhaps it was already too late and her parents were ended. Perhaps she would never see her mother again. The thought was too much to bear. With a quick, decisive movement she took the child’s coat from the back of the door and turned on a reassuring smile.
“Come on, Eli. We’re going for a little walk.”