(WARNING! For verbal abuse, more torture, and well, just warning in general for this chapter again, I suppose)
The ceremony was a brief one. It came and went, reluctant vows were said. Annette just remembered the whole ordeal as a messy blur.
Almost as instantly as it had happened, The Builder and the assistants had dispersed. Now, Annette was left to wander the halls.
Nothing seemed to stand out to her. It looked like the usual grey stone, castle dungeon walls. Occasionally she pressed her hand against a stone, as if to see if any of them were fake.
“Where is everybody?” As though to answer her, a loud piteous wailing could be heard nearby. “Hello?”
A little more searching brought her to what she knew to be The Builder’s room. A nasty smell hit her nostrils. Peeking in, she saw a nasty sight.
The Builder sat facing away from her, drinking whiskey directly out of a large bottle. Their wedding attire was already shredded and thrown aside, next to a pile of various alcohol containers. They shook with emotions, at least until Annette spoke.
“If this is how you’re going to act on our wedding night, I think I want an annulment now.” Her attempt at humor was met with The Builder’s half-empty bottle being thrown at her.
Annette ducked out the way just in time, and heard them shout, “Shut your fucking mouth!” in an already slurred voice. They then slumped over themselves, leaving her to awkwardly stare at them.
“Alma, I can’t find the glue! Or the bandages,” Blaise shouted upstairs from the kitchen. “Where are those?”
Blaise heard her roommate loudly contemplate from the second floor. “The glue’s next to the TV, and the bandages are in the cupboard. Why, what did you do?”
“Uh…I might’ve gripped one of my mugs a little too hard-”
“You might’ve, or you did?”
Looking at her currently bloodied hand, Blaise decided to just be upfront about it. “I did.”
Then came a loud sigh. “Be more careful next time, Blaise.” After that, Blaise resumed her search for the necessary items. Taking hold of the gauze bandages, she then pulled out the shards of ceramic from her hand, and wrapped.
She was just about to sit down when there was a knock on the door. Groaning to herself, Blaise stood upright again and went to answer it.
Breathing heavily, Shark tried once again to break loose of his bonds.
“I don’t know, I swear…” His escape attempts predictably were rendered futile. Even now, he could still hear their scornful jeers directed towards him.
As far as he could, Shark bent forward in order to get some relief. His captors hadn’t tormented him for a while, so he assumed it was safe to relax.
“I don’t wanna be here…” He whispered, feeling his blindfold become wet with tears. “I wanna be home with Sagebear…With my daddy…With Sinbad…!”
His pitiful whimpering could be heard throughout the room. He carried on until he heard a door open.
Despite her better judgment, Annette took a few steps toward The Builder. Before she could get any closer, they lunged forward, making their way to a fridge in a corner of their room.
Much to Annette’s shock, it was filled to the brim with alcoholic beverages. The Builder groaned as they pulled out a bottle of Everclear.
“Um…” She watched as they opened it with their teeth, and chugged. “I think you’ve had enough to drink, it looks like-”
“Enough to drink? I’ve had enough to drink?!” The Builder laughed sarcastically. “That’s, that’s real funny coming from you, you hypocrite!” They stopped to belch in her face before continuing. “Check it out! I’m being lectured on my drinking by Malory Archer here!”
They took a step forward, then tripped over their own feet. Annette just watched as they grabbed hold of their head, and uttered an angry noise.
She was about to speak when they screamed. Then they kicked their feet like a petulant child. They then proceeded to thrash wildly, to the point their sunglasses flew off.
When their tantrum was finished, The Builder remained still. Annette, not knowing what else to do, took her spot next to them.
She could hear them muttering obscenities, and a quiet “Like you’re one to talk…” clearly directed at her.
Sinbad had protested when Blaise suggested they stay the night at her and Alma’s house. Dennis and Dudley were sympathetic to his reasons, but also said they probably needed rest.
Now, he sat on their couch sulking in the dark room. Dudley sat nearby, having nodded off some time before. Some light snoring could be heard, but Sinbad didn’t know whether it was him or Sagebear.
Fidgeting, Sinbad stood up and looked out the window. He wanted so badly to go and continue his search, but Dennis ordered him to stay put.
Angrily gripping his arms, Sinbad was brought back to reality by his phone vibrating. Making sure he didn’t wake anyone up already, he slipped outside to check his messages.
“Probably the abductors posting ransom…” It wasn’t. Instead, Sinbad got a test of a completely different nature:
‘In labor! Need you NOW!’ -Amy
Sighing at the poor timing, Sinbad put back the phone. He felt his lips tremble in both fear and anticipation. Looking back behind the sleeping house, he pressed a hand to his face and sighed.
“May as well get this over with…”
Horse-Face tiptoed through most of the hallways he went through. Peeking over the corner, he deemed the coast clear.
Most of Moony’s banquet had been either ignored, or thrown at Sunny for ‘makeshift target practice’. Deeming it acceptable to make use of the leftovers, Horse-Face made a few choices.
Quickly, he passed Ox-Head trying to clean chocolate cake off of himself.
“It’s smearing all over everything I got on! Nothing gets chocolate out! Burn it! Burn it!” He then smelled gasoline being poured, and the sound of a match being lit. Then came Ox-Head’s nonsensical jabbering.
Doing his best to ignore him, Horse-Face quietly entered the room he wanted to be in. He then pressed his ear against the wall, listening for life-support machines.
When he found the sounds he wanted, he tapped on a hidden false wall panel twice. He waited a few moments, until it opened to reveal two pairs of eyes.
“Hey. I’m back. Um, well, you know what to do.” He handed one of them the basket. The other, he looked at with a look of resignation. “I guess your twin’s got a new wife now.”
Neither of them answered, but then, he hadn’t expected an answer. Instead, he watched them retreat back into the hidden passage, and then shut the door.
The side of the couch was empty when Sagebear checked it. It was still warm, however, showing Sinbad had only recently left.
She wasn’t familiar with this house, but she also wasn’t scared while in it. Trying to get a decent idea of this new place, Sagebear commenced with her smelling.
Her olfactory searching led her throughout the house. Nothing of merit could be said. All the humans were asleep. The house was calm.
She was also curious of Shark’s whereabouts, as were the other humans. Wandering back downstairs, Sagebear pawed at the front door left ajar.
Managing to get it open, she led herself back out on her own. Much to her surprise, Sinbad’s truck was gone. Knowing that was something to look for, she resumed her search for both men now.
Annette was about to leave The Builder’s room when they stood back to their feet.
“Hey, Netty,” they slurred, “Before you go to bed, lemme ask you something.” She braced herself, expecting nothing more than a stupid question. She wished it was, at least.
“How good did it feel when your nephew killed himself?” Annette froze in place, completely taken off guard by their inquiry. Regardless, she swallowed and answered the best she could:
“It didn’t feel good at all-”
“Not at all? Not even a smidge of joy at knowing you were rid of that whiny nuisance forever? Come on, you had to feel something when you saw him hanging from that pipe!”
Annette bit her lip, clearly uncomfortable at this sudden interrogation. Her trying to leave just led to The Builder following her, badgering her to answer their unwelcome questions.
Much to Shark’s terror, he heard the giggling and slurs from earlier.
“Hey, look! He’s awake again! Go grab the tube and water jug, quick!” He heard footsteps moving about, before they approached him.
Wha…?” Before he could speak, Shark felt a tube being shoved into his mouth. The entire time, he tried to place his abductors voices.
He couldn’t tell whatsoever. Their voices sounded altered, somehow. And he couldn’t ask them who they were, given he was now forced to swallow a sudden gush of water.
“I didn’t even want to marry you in the first place!” After being pestered by her malicious new spouse, Annette turned and confronted them.
Miraculously, The Builder didn’t jump back or recoil. “What, you wanted to marry that screaming village idiot? What the hell’s with you?”
Annette was not amused as they cracked their arms to an unnatural angle. “Maybe I loved that so-called ‘village idiot’! Ever think of that?”
She waited for their answer. Said answer was The Builder pulling out a long list of unknown content. They looked rather smug while doing so.
“Let’s see…’Substance abuse in public, grand theft auto, indecent exposure…”
They seemed almost gleeful counting off a seemingly arbitrary collection of crimes. “Civil disobedience, child endangerment, vehicular manslaughter…”
Annette didn’t know what to say to what they were listing off. The description went on, each crime more heinous than the last.
“So you’re telling me you’d want to have kids with that abomination? The guy who did all that shit, and got away with it because his mommy paid off the right people?”
Annette was unable to get a counter point in before they finished. “Face it, Liara: That wasn’t the guy you loved. That was a deranged, drug-abusing impostor. Any kids you had with that would’ve been drug collateral!
“But hey!” The Builder’s voice became unbearably cheery now. “He’s dead, and you’re married to me now! So it’s best you forget about Mr. Bill, and get used to calling this place home.”
They then strode by her, pulling out a menthol cigarette and lighting it. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to shove a bumbershoot up Sunny’s ass.”
“But…All that you just told me…” Annette’s words went unanswered now, leaving her to speak her question by herself:
“None of that was true, was it?”