It was a quiet moment; a feeling of serenity in the air, a rare and precious occurrence in the household. Of course, few would have described it as such if they were able to watch the scene through the kitchen window. A sight of four people sitting around the table, assembling deadly weapons, does not actually scream 'serene' to the uninformed.
The sense of getting closer to the goal, the certainty of acquiring a correct target and the luxury of having enough time to make careful preparations was what made the three humans almost... happy. The expressions on their faces confirmed it.
Soon, however, the young man sitting precariously on his chair gave the older woman opposite him a hesitant glance. "Mom."
"Yes, John?" The woman didn't look up.
"Why... why do you have that look on your face every time we do this?" At this question, the rest of the kitchen's occupants, an older man and a younger girl, looked up from their own work.
"The look?" The woman was gazing sharply at her son now, both confusion and defensiveness in her tone.
John fiddled with the tube in his hands, obviously trying to find the right words. He looked at her hesitantly. "Whenever we make this particular explosive you have this weird expression on your face. Like it makes you happy. But, also like you might cry cause you're so unhappy." He didn't seem particularly satisfied with his clumsy explanation but he said nothing more and kept looking at her expectantly.
The girl's face was expressionless, but the man kept shifting his glance from one conversant to the other.
The woman looked blankly at the table and their work. Handmade grenades surrounded by moth balls, ammonia, corn syrup. Then she smiled, a bit bitterly, looking now at the fuse in her hands. "Your father taught me this, while we were on the run and hiding in some motel. He was so patient with me. It was the first weapon I ever learned to make. And one of those seven we made killed both him and the terminator." She looked up at him and gave him an undecipherable smile. "So, I guess, it's bittersweet."
John was still absorbing this new information into his world view when the man next to him said in an enlightened tone, "I knew there was something bugging me about your and John's technique. It's identical to Kyle's."
The young girl seated on John's other side now entered the conversation. "It is also identical to yours."
He gave her a look of distaste and disgust, but still answered. "Of course, I taught it to Kyle."
"Who taught you?" John was looking very curious now.
"You did. The older you."
"But Mom taught me." A bewildered look in his eyes and tone. "So who was the first?"
Everyone looked around the table and the faces surrounding it and tried to come up with the non-brain damaging response. Silence reigned in the kitchen once more.