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   Chapter 10 NO.10

The Sommersagan's By madairifa Characters: 14038

Updated: 2018-01-12 12:50


Four weeks went by and there wasn't any news from Dr. Sommersagan. Joanne was recovering exceptionally well, the bruise and swelling subsided and the stitches on the laceration on her leg started to fall out. She was doing so well she started helping him around his farm and his house. She cleaned, she cooked, and against Mack's protests, she transformed his appliances into the steam machines she liked so much.

She sat on the kitchen floor beside the stove she had taken apart, her legs folded underneath her as she tampered with one of its parts. He leaned against the door frame and watched her at work. So enthralled she was, she hadn't heard him come inside. Her hair was pulled up with a ribbon, her curls escaped framing her face. Her mouth puckered as the piece of brass gave her difficulties. Her hands stained with what seemed charcoal, her thin fingers seemed to be hurt, he thought he could see blood on them. He took his hat off and set it on the small dining table. She looked up for a second but returned her gaze down as if she couldn't forsake the task.

He sat beside her, though his pants weren't suitable to sit in the same position as hers, he spread his legs in front of him and leaned his back against the cupboards. He kept a close eye on her hands, he had no idea what she was doing, it seemed too complex for his brain to comprehend but she moved with so much confidence, he couldn't help but admire her. "How long have you been doing this?"

"Fixing stoves? Not long, " she replied distractedly.

"Putting stuff together. It seems to me your father wasn't too keen of you creating new things."

"What makes you think that?"

He shrugged. "You said so yourself. He didn't like your revolver idea."

She let out a soft chuckle. "He taught me everything about weaponry and the fundamentals of clockwork. But one thing he disliked was me having ideas for new inventions." She paused as she dropped the mechanism on her lap. "I suppose he decided a woman is not fit to be an inventor."

"Or he became intimidated."

"Or that." She positioned herself beside Mack with her back against the cupboards. "My father was away most of my childhood but I had always been curious about what made things work. The queen of engineering, mother used to call me." She smiled. "When father returned after a long hiatus, he insisted I accompanied him to his workshop, my mother agreed, she was sweet like that. He showed me the ropes. Where tools were placed, how he liked it to be. One day, he had this weapon, a repeating rifle to be exact. He couldn't make it work. But I did. He said he was proud of me, but then he stopped taking me to his workshop." She took a deep breath and continued, "My mother died ten years ago, I was fifteen. Father was forced to take me everywhere he went. He limited my abilities by throwing out the trash, cleaning his tools. Not to mention, cleaning after him and making him food. Athena was the only thing he allowed me to put my creativity in use. Now I see why."

Mack didn't reply. He simply gazed out the window as Joanne unburdened her soul.

"Do you think he created the automatons for weapons?"

"I don't know. Do you?"

She shrugged. "Yes. But for what? And for who?" She leaned forward resting her arms on her knees. "I wish he could just get here and tell us."

"He'll get here."

"You think so?" she turned to him with hopeful eyes.

Ne nodded. "Sure. What sort of father would he be if he didn't?"

"You're right." She replied. "He's been a good father if you ignore his arrogance and his male insecurities."

He chuckled glad to see her mood change. He had no respect for Dr. Sommersagan and he started to doubt he would return, but if he had an ounce of bravery, he would. Seeing Joanne smile in such circumstances, he had to hope for the little weasel to do the right thing.

She became quiet with thought and he took advantage of the silence to observe her hands. They were messing with the machine again and Mack confirmed that they were indeed bleeding. And yet, he observed, Joanne continued working with it.

"Come, " he said as he stood on his feet and offered his hand to help her up.

Joanne gazed at

omatons follow their masters."

"And?"

The Doctor seemed to hesitate with the answer, Mack reminded him of his threat by cocking his gun. "They followed me."

"Why?"

"They gained consciousness, I had overlooked their intelligence, and I didn't foresee that with my departure, it would trigger their mechanical brains making them believe that I abandoned them."

"They are after you to kill you?"

"It's hard to tell, but most likely, yes."

Mack stepped away from the man. "And you involved your own daughter in all this?"

"I didn't know they were going to find me so quickly, " he explained rapidly.

"They are intelligent machines!" Mack exclaimed angrily. "How could you not know?"

"I know, I know." He kept his hands raised watching Mack's gun fearfully. "Where's Joanne?"

"No, " Mack shouted. "You're not going to see her."

"You're forbidding me to see my own daughter?"

"Your daughter was severely wounded after attempting to destroy your copper army. It took her some time to heal and it took even longer to reconcile with the fact that the automatons had a strange resemblance to her own mother."

Doctor Sommersagan stopped shivering and watched him perplexed.

Mack lowered his gun as he saw his reaction. The panic he had when he saw his gun was nothing compared to the fear that took over his face now. He no longer needed his gun, the pain he felt was punishment enough.

"Joanne left her bed for the first time in four weeks, and she's enjoying herself, I'm not going to let you ruin it. You're gonna go and wait at my house until we get back."

Dr. Sommersagan nodded stiffly. Mack holstered his gun and walked away slowly. Doc hurried beside the limp metal head on the ground and examined the damage. Mack shook his head, it seemed like he cared more about that thing than his own blood.

He walked back towards the market and in the distance, he saw Joanne having a lively conversation with a group of people. Mack stood still and felt a pang in his stomach, he wasn't going to be able to hide the news from her. He couldn't. Joanne caught his eyes and smiled at him, which made it worse. He took a deep breath and approached her, his feet felt heavy as lead.

"Where did you go?" she asked the second he stood before her.

"I had something to do. I see you met the butcher."

She smiled. "He gave me this, " she said raising a paper package. He took a gander and guessed it was meat. "It's bacon!"

"You sound like you never had bacon before."

She laughed. "I can't remember the last time I had any."

Mack laughed forgetting for an instant the encounter with Dr. Sommesagn and his minion. For a couple of seconds, he was just a man, at the market with a pretty girl with dark hair that took his breath away every time she smiled.

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