Alliana Wastia was elbow deep in a pile of junk, looking one piece of junk that was better than all the rest. There were plenty of pipes in there, but they weren’t what she needed—although that one pipe here? With the curved end? That might have some use later. And this, let’s see, what is this? A connector? A sciencey-thing? Eh, add it to the pile of maybe-useful-but-not-really things. That pile was getting steadily bigger, but it was hardly a problem, wasn’t it? After all, if something in there turned out to be useful, then by golly she’d know where it was. And that was the idea, knowing where everything was. She had a big stack of stuff out behind her house, and someday she would organize it.
Just not today.
“Come on,” she mumbled. “There’s gotta be something useful for channeling energy from one source to the—AHA!” She pulled out something that only resembled a curved pipe. But in reality, it was…A curved lead pipe. “Damn,” she sighed, and plunged back into the digging. She found lots of pipes, a wrench (her favorite one, so that’s where it got to!), panties (why the hell were they in here?) and many other objects that her mind identified quickly enough as useless. But she knew it was here. The thing she needed. She turned back to the device in question. In Ally’s eyes, it was a work of beauty. Held together purely by chewing gum and prayers (she used some bible pages in the back), it would one of Ally’s many masterpieces. A thing to bend time and space in half, and watch the world bend with it. In layman’s terms.
Of course, to anyone else, it was hardly more than pipes stuck together with chewing gum. But they didn’t see like Ally could. They couldn’t see the bigger picture.
“Mom?” Came a small voice from behind her. Ally hadn’t heard her son approach, but she could recognize his voice from anywhere.
“Brayden, aren’t you supposed to be playing?” She asked, still digging through the junk. Wait, what’s this? AHA!
“Mom, I think you should—“
“Not now, honey,” Ally couldn’t help laughing. “Mom’s about to bend time and space to her will. Again.”
“I think Dad’s dead.”
Ally’s heart skipped three beats. The all-important tube fell back into the junk pile with a loud clang. “What.”
It didn’t take Ally long to realize that Brayden had simply confused fainting with dying. After all, he was only five. And seeing his father collapse to the ground in a loud tumble seemed to resemble the young tyke’s definition of death as far as he was concerned. It was a concept that Haken and Ally hadn’t necessarily tried to keep a secret from him, but knew that it would be hard for him to grasp, and why hurry him along? He’d learn when he was ready.
It did, however, make for awkward moments such as these.
Brayden led Ally into her husband’s office, where she found Haken laying on the floor, on his back, with a hand dramatically raised over his forehead. Like a woman pretending to faint in old pictures. That was her first give-away that her husband yet lived. The second was that he was clearly breathing. His chest rose and fell in his normal shallow breaths. He merely looked asleep.
To be sure, she checked his pulse and saw that it was pumping just fine. She also, for good measure, checked the connections on his mismatched mechanical legs. She was proud to say that she had been able to finally create two legs that were pretty damn close to the same size, and he seemed happy with them. That, of course, didn’t mean that they weren’t prone to discharging electrical energy from time to time. Ally had found Haken on more than one occasion with his hair exploding out behind his head from all the energy.
Right now, everything seemed fine. The connections were good, and the energy they gave off was intact at a normal level. Then why did he faint?
She saw, in her husband’s hand, a copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Unabridged, one of Haken’s fifteen copies of the books. It had fallen forward, so that it landed open on a page with its contents face-down. She picked it up, and saw that it was open to Act 3 of Hamlet.
“Haken doesn’t usually faint during Hamlet. He cries, but crying isn’t fainting…” Ally wondered out loud. She turned to Brayden, who had wandered into the room and was eyeing her carefully. She bent down so she was more or less eye-level with her son, and gently asked. “Did you see what your father was doing before he fainted?”
Brayden pressed his fingers together, looking for all the world like a guilty child. He was staring at the ground, and Ally reached under his chin to make her look at him. “Tell me,” she said, sternly.
“He was reading a story to me. I asked him for a story. I was bored and—“ He sniffled. “Am I trouble?”
Depends. Ally shook her head. “No, no, absolutely not.” She gave his shoulder a squeeze. “So, you asked him for a story…”
“And he picked Hamlet.”
Ally found herself getting a bit impatient. “Yes?”
“And I told him that I was tired of Hamlet and I didn’t really like the play and he said I was being silly, of course everyone likes Hamlet, and I was like ‘I don’t,’ and he said that I was just confused and I yelled, ‘I hate Hamlet!’ and then Daddy fell to the floor.” Brayden said all of that in one breath.
Ally blinked, and gave herself a moment to process Brayden’s breathless speech. “Oh.” As it sunk in, she couldn’t help shaking her head and letting out a small little laugh. “He fainted when you yelled that you hated Hamlet?”
“Am I in trouble?” He asked again, sounding nervous.
Ally got down on her knees and shook her head. “No, no. Not in trouble. There is just something you have to understand about your father. He’s, well, he’s very sensitive. Especially when it comes to any of Shakespeare’s plays. You know how he likes them so. Even I had to admit, in the early stages of our dating, his constant babble about the finer points of this play and why this play was more brilliant than that play was somewhat…draining.”
Brayden didn’t look at her. “You mean you don’t like Hamlet too?”
“I did not say that,” Ally answered, with a smile. “What I mean is that these plays are something very, very important to your father. He treasures them dearly. And yes, it can be a bit annoying to hear the same ones. But they are what he loves.” She paused for a moment to think of a good way to help Brayden understand. “Think your toolset that your father sometimes helps you use. The one that he’s no good with using? You know what I mean?”
Brayden giggled. “Yeah, he can never get the right screwdriver.”
“Exactly. Your father does not love tools the way you or even myself do. But, he tries to find some enjoyment in it in order to spend time with us. It’s only fair for us to try and find some enjoyment in the things he loves as well. And, maybe, you’ll find that some of your father’s own love of these plays will rub off on you.” She looked to the shelf of books, and let out a tiny sigh of contentment. “Do you understand, Brayden?”
He nodded his little head.
Ally ruffled his hair. “Good man. Now, when your father gets up, I want you to ask him to finish the story of Hamlet.”
Brayden’s face fell. “Do I have to?”
Ally smiled. “Yes. You do. It’s only fair, right?”
“Right,” he answered, reluctantly.
“Good. Now, Mommy’s going to go back to bending time and space. Your father will be up shortly. Okay?”
Haken had a pounding headache. He was laying down on something hard, really hard. And his head hurt, in addition to hurting from the headache. He opened his eyes, and adjusted his glasses. He was lying on the floor of his office! What happened?
He picked himself up into a sitting position, groaning a bit from the sudden light. “Ow,” he grumbled.
“Daddy!” Called a voice from outside his field of vision. Haken looked for it, and saw Brayden standing near him, holding a copy of Shakespeare. The book was too big, and he looked ready to fall.
Haken grabbed the book before his son lost his balance, and settled it in his lap. “Brayden, what happened? Why am I lying on the floor?”
“You fell asleep!” Brayden said, laughing. “Mommy called it fainting. I don’t know. I thought you died!”
“Yeah! But now you’re awake. And, uh, I really want you to read Hamlet to me again!” He was smiling from ear to ear. “Please?”
Suddenly, the aches and pains vanished from Haken’s body. He was on his feet in an instant, holding the book out in front of him. “Well, dear Brayden, there is always time in my busy day for a little bit of Shakespeare! Always!” He flipped a few pages to get to the Hamlet section. “As you know, my one-man show for Hamlet has been commended across the universe. And you are lucky enough to be able to witness it now!”
Brayden didn’t know what half of that meant, but he clapped happily. “Yay!”
“Now, let’s begin, shall we?”
Edited by Ryoma, 02 January 2013 - 07:41 AM.