“Yeah that was…….” Mal frowned. “Wait, where are we going dad?”
“Don’t worry sweetheart” Stephen replied. Since she was a child Mal had been poking her nose into every whacky thing her father did, but never got much of an explanation. This time was not an exception.
Today though, he seemed different. Excited almost. He told her he was taking her to see the thing he’d been working on since long before she was around. Mal wasn’t sure how to feel about this until he told her they were going for a drive. It had been ages, years in fact since the last time he took her anywhere in that rusty old thing. For the most part it was just like it had always been, with her dad recounting every occasion his obliviousness had let him down, each of them being more ridiculous than the previous.
“I haven’t been doing in the office, child. There’s this old cabin your mum and I own, that hadn’t been visited in ages. So I decided to turn it in something of my own”.
Mal kept quiet. She still wasn’t sure how to feel about her father suddenly wanting to show her his work. Of course, she had always wanted to know and even though she no longer was a little girl she didn’t expect her father to just wake up one morning and reveal something like this to her.
“How far away is it?” She said, eventually.
“Just around the corner”
The car stopped with a slight jerk, and they got off. In front of them stood an old, filthy cabin that appeared to have not been cleaned in the last decade. He opened the door, and Mal reluctantly stepped inside.
“Neat, isn’t it?” He exclaimed.
It was many a thing, but neat was not one of them. Right at the door was a desk, with papers and pens and some electronic equipment randomly thrown, as though it had been ruffled through by a gorilla. Behind the desk were a bunch of machines arranged with the grace of a flat-footed ballet dancer. Screws, nuts and wires filled the floors and the walls were full of diagrams and blueprints that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the machines in the laboratory.
“Come sweetheart, follow me.”
“Ouch!” Mal exclaimed. She wondered if this was just revenge for all the lego blocks she had made her father step on when she was younger.
“Watch your step darling, there may be a few sharp things down there”.
Mal rolled her eyes. They reached towards what appeared to be the end of the room, and her father stopped by a long machine that seemed to have a platform on it for a person to climb on, a couple of handcuffs and a strange helmet which was attached to too many wires for it to be anything pleasant. Stephen gleamed at the machine.
“My proudest creation!” He beamed.
Mal cleared her throat. “Gee thanks a lot”.
“After you, obviously”.
“If you insist”. Mal said. “What’s it for?”
“Well, I know it doesn’t look the part, but it’s the world’s best massaging machine”.
“Why would you be so proud of a massaging machine?”
“Well why don’t you put yourself on it and find out?” Her father responded.
She climbed onto the platform and put on the helmet, while her father started rummaging through a bunch of wires and switches.
Just as he was about to turn on the machine, the door slammed open. A man wearing a green shirt pointed a gun towards her father.
“Mal” The man said, “You fail this every time”. He sighed, and shot her father.
Mal screamed. “That isn’t your father Mal”. The man said irritatedly. “Now stop screaming, this is the kick”. And with the sound of a gunshot, Mal woke up, the man who shot her lying beside her.
“We need to work on that one a lot, Mal” He said.
“Yes Cobb, I know it’s not just a dream”.