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From Shifti
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Author: Sheep

Sergei Fedorov could see that the final days of the Soviet Union were upon him. SFSR had voted and they were seceding, whether the Congress liked it or not.

Sergei sat, seeing his country go the way of capitalism, shit-faced drunk on vodka. He knew, in the back of his mind, of the stereotype of the drunk Russian, but he really didn't care. Above him, traffic roared with residents driving in and out of Samara, not knowing that below them, Sergei had decided to kill himself.

The only thing he had left to his name was Ivan, a Bashkir horse, who, like Sergei, was no more good. Like Sergei, Ivan used to be productive, but either through neglect or the fact that no one seemed to have a need for a utility horse (or maybe a little of both), Ivan did not fare too well.

Now that capitalism was upon him, Sergei was unable to see how he and Ivan would survive. He was too cowardly to put Ivan down, but also unable to see him waste away and die. He would have to die before Ivan.

Pulling himself off the side of the cement shore next to the river, he stumbled back up the hill back into Samara. Tonight, he would do it. Tonight, when there was little traffic and little chance than anyone would stop him, he'd leap off the bridge. Hopefully, he'll end up in the Volga, chopped into little bits by a boat propeller. At least, then he'd be useful as food for some of the carnivorous species in there.

It took a couple hours, but he made it back to Ivan's stable. It was a wretched stable and Ivan looked forlornly at him. He patted Ivan's muzzle, saying his goodbyes. He turned around to leave and gasped when a smiling man was standing literally centimeters from him.

“Say, bub. Why so glum?” the man asked brightly. Sergei tried to go around him, but the man blocked the exit.

“Get outta my way,” Sergei slurred.

“Not until you hear me out. The name's Fillip. Fillip Nikitin. And do I have the answer to what ails ya!”

“Not interested,” Sergei grunted and tried to push past.

Fillip blocked Sergei with his right arm. With his left, Fillip placed a bottle of dark-blue liquid into Sergei's hand. “I haven't even told ya what it does yet.” Sergei grunted again, seeing no way out until he allowed Fillip to give his speech.

“You've seen the news,” Fillip continued. “Capitalism's everywhere now. I'm just trying to get by. Like you, I take it.”

Sergei did not respond, but waited, rather impatiently, for Fillip to finish.

“Well, I don't know about you, but it's gonna be tough,” Fillip continued. Sergei could tell that Fillip had rehearsed this. “That's why I made this. Give it to old Ivan here,” Fillip motioned to the name on the stable door, “and he'll be able to help ya in the new economy.”

“Ivan's useless,” Sergei said, then continued, under his breath, “like me.”

“Ah,” Fillip said brightly, “with this, that doesn't matter. With this, Ivan will be a great help to ya.”

Sergei still was not interested, but could see that Fillip wouldn't take “no” for an answer. “What does it do?” Sergei finally asked.

“Well, Ivan here will be able to do all the work you do.”

“I don't work.”

“You do now,” said Fillip. “You can work for me! Help me to sell this!” He opened a briefcase full of the little bottles. Sergei sighed. If it would shut Fillip up...

“Fine. What do I have to do?”

“First, pour a bit of this into Ivan's feed trough. Horses love this stuff. After, you'll see how he can help you and how neither of you are useless.”

Even if it killed Ivan, Sergei didn't care much anymore. After today, there would be no more Sergei to worry about it. He opened the bottle and poured the blue liquid into the trough. Immediately, Ivan began to munch on the now-blue feed.

“Now what?” Sergei asked.

“Now we wait.”

“Wait for what?”

“You'll see,” Fillip said, a smile on his face that seemed to belie his actual emotions. A few minutes passed while Ivan stood in his stable. Ivan then began to wave his head back and forth, whuffling.

Suddenly, Ivan let out an ear-splitting scream and he began to shake violently. “You asshole,” Sergei shouted, “What did you to do Ivan?!”

Fillip took a seat on a small wooden chair, fingers laced on the top of his head.

Loud crackling sounds filled the stable. Ivan began to lose his fur, bald-patches widening to reveal pinkening skin. Ivan whinnied loudly, and reared up. With sounded like multiple gunshots, each of Ivan's hooves cracked into five pieces.

Loud popping sounds and Ivan reared up even further. His head was against the ceiling of the stable. Ivan made strange noises while loud crunching sounds came from Ivan's body. With each crunch, Ivan's head pulled away from the ceiling. He was shrinking.

Fascinated, Sergei watched as the hooves softened, becoming fingers!

“What have you done to Ivan?” Sergei gasped.

“I'm making him useful.”

Bones cracked inside Ivan's shortening muzzle. Ivan collapsed on the floor of the stable, shaking violently. He took on a fetal position as his tail withered away.

There, laying on the floor, was a naked Sergei. Sergei looked down at his doppelganger in the stable.

“Oh my god,” Sergei said, looking at his twin, then back to Fillip.

“He can now help you sell my product,” Fillip said.

Ivan sat up finally. He licked his new human lips and choked. Then a weak smile came over Ivan's face and he said, “Well, I guess in Soviet Russia, horse transforms into YOU!”