(Warning! Vaguely described decapitation and verbal abuse throughout)
Shark was busy trying to open a package containing a cheap nutcracker ornament. He was so focused, he hadn’t noticed he’d knocked the tree over.
Across from him sat his teddy bear, seemingly watching him with its glassy eyes. For reasons known only to Shark, he’d pushed a case of other decorations in front of it.
“I guess I just need to distract myself…” Somehow, Shark couldn’t even convince himself.
By the time he’d gotten the package open, Shark became startled by the sound of glass shattering. Following that was his fiance shouting, and the sound of a baby screaming.
“Have you fucking lost your mind?!” After throwing the table out the window, Sinbad had now grabbed Amy, and proceeded to shake her violently.
Amy could feel the spit flying from his mouth as he yelled directly in her face. His loud voice and jostling her left her unable to get a word in edgewise.
It wasn’t until he threw her to the floor that she was able to speak again.
“Sinbad, I thought…” She got to her feet, and wiped off her face. “You were perfectly willing to pretend he was yours! Why are you drawing the line here-”
“There’s a difference, Amy!” The way he shouted made her nearly wet herself. “You want me to be legally bound to a kid that isn’t biologically mine! You could get in a lot of trouble!”
Amy tried standing her ground. “But I could also get in trouble for telling the truth! I don’t want the town to hate me!”
“I don’t care! Everyone’s going to figure out it ain’t my kid anyway!” How Sinbad’s voice didn’t go hoarse from all his yelling was a mystery. “Why in the hell would you try and pull this?!”
“Because you’re my best friend! And I thought you’d be all right to raise your best friend’s child as your own!” Amy tried desperately to appease him.
All Sinbad could hear from Amy now was petulant whining. “Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were brown-haired and six-foot-three! Because last I checked, that’s what my best friend looked like!
“And you know damn fucking well I don’t want kids! No exceptions!”
Amy tried to reason with him again. “But Sinbad-”
“No!” He put a finger up to silence her. His voice calmed, but sounded no less furious. “No. This isn’t what a friend does to another friend. So do me a favor or three: Grow the fuck up, put the real father’s name on the certificate, and don’t ever talk to me again.”
With that, he turned to go. Despite her pleas for him to stay, he stormed off toward the front door.
He then looked back at her, with a look that displayed a myriad of hurt, anger, and disgust. His mouth opened to speak mundane yet harsh words:
“You and Blondie deserve each other.”
Then, he left the house, stomping off towards his truck.
As soon as they heard the door slam again, The Builder let loose with a loud “Ooooohhh!” Annette was then forced to hear their imbecilic guffawing.
“How’s that for a falling out, Netty?” For what felt like an eternity, they laughed uncontrollably.
When they calmed down, they made a show of wiping under their sunglasses. “All right, I’m done. I think I got all the-”
They couldn’t even finish their sentence before they started up again. Once again, it took some time for them to speak coherently.
“Is this what we came here for? So you can point and laugh at seeing two people I knew cut ties in this world?”
Here The Builder scoffed. “No. Believe it or not, I had an errand or two to run in this town. Now come on. I want to get there while the night’s still nice and dark.”
“Go where? What do you got planned?” Annette’s question went unanswered, as she tried following them up on the rooftop. They got to the edge before they stopped.
“Hold up.” They waited until Sinbad’s black truck drove out of view, and Amy ran outside holding her still crying baby and calling after Sinbad.
Annette had no time to ask what they were planning, before they snapped their fingers.
In an instant, a horrible sound ripped through the air. Annette could only watch as the windows of Amy’s house broke into millions of sharp pieces.
When Amy realized what was going on, she frantically ran away in an attempt to elude the shards.
“No!” Annette whispered in disbelief.
“Awww, I was hoping some of those would land in her face,” The Builder muttered. “Ah, well. Let’s get going.”
Dennis sat outside in the dormant garden behind Blaise and Alma’s house. He quietly admired the meticulous care put into the land, even at such a cold time of the year.
“Soon as I get home, I’ll have to…” His thinking out loud was interrupted by the door opening. Blaise peeked out to see him sitting on the bench.
“Have to what? Ya still thinking about yer daughter?”
Dennis slowly nodded. “I get the feeling sometime tomorrow, she’ll be someone else’s problem.” As he spoke, Blaise sat next to him.
“So…If you’re free tomorrow, by any chance could you help me with moving out the furniture in her room?” He sighed. “I can’t help but think she won’t be welcome to live at the house anymore…”
When Annette and The Builder entered the station, once again she was overtaken by the stoic and solemn atmosphere.
“This place have any tasers? I like to have one on hand to zap Moony with. Sometimes he just takes too long with dinner…” She didn’t stop them while they rifled through the weapons inventory.
“Why are we even here? Was your plan to rob the station?”
Instead of answering her, The Builder just mockingly repeated her while making the hand motion for ‘talking’. “No! Shut up!” A little more searching brought up nothing. “Aw, what kind of station don’t got tasers? I hate this place…”
Before they kept talking, Annette now bore witness to them doubling over and spewing blood out of their mouth. A copious amount somehow didn’t disgust her.
“Aw, dammit! Didn’t think I was taking that long…” Trying their best to regain their composure, they stood back up and looked directly at Annette.
Annette made a rather smug face. “So I assume you won’t be able to do what you wanted, and have to run back home?”
Their next words terrified her:
“No. But you will.”
“Juvenile hall? Oh, come on! Like I’m the first girl who tries teaching her older brother a lesson!” Lolly shouted to no one in her current place of residence.
Despite thinking she was alone, Lolly then heard voices that pointed to the contrary.
“…I hate this place…” Her Uncle Dudley wasn’t at his station, and the other family members had seemingly disappeared.
“Hey! Hey, whoever you are, make yourself useful and get me out of here!” They didn’t answer.
When Lolly stepped back from the cell bars, she backed up into someone she definitely knew wasn’t there before.
“Huh…?” At once, she felt a pair of hands encircle her neck and lift her off the ground. Pressure was beginning to build around her neck.
When Lolly looked down, she caught sight of a smug-looking individual.
“How the mighty have fallen, huh, princess?” Lolly couldn’t answer, on account of the air being squeezed out of her lungs.
Behind her, a voice she barely recognized spoke shakily. “Don’t do this to her, Builder. She’s just a child-”
“A child that’s being tried as an adult! Besides, she’s sixteen. She knew damn well what she did.” The Builder reached forward, and flicked Lolly’s nose. “Didn’t you, you little brat?”
Lolly tried reaching up to grab them, but was unable to. They kept talking. “Isn’t it sad? You thought you deserved the world, but you’re not going to get shit.”
They looked behind Lolly now, at their accomplice. “Turn her around and rip her miserable little head off.”
“I said, rip the little bitch’s head off!” As though possessed now, Annette very reluctantly complied. She nearly threw up when she saw Lolly’s spine be yanked out along with her head.
Early the next morning, Sinbad was sitting up in bed deep in thought. Next to him, Sagebear lay on her back having her belly rubbed.
“At least you don’t try to make me take responsibility for your kid.” Sagebear just happily panted at the loving treatment she was receiving.
Shark kept sleeping next to them. Every so often, Sinbad could hear him whimper.
A whimper was exactly what he let out now. When he did, Sagebear got to her feet and let out a soft ‘woof’.
“What, you gonna scare away his bad dreams or something? Because it’d be great if you could.” Sinbad got out of bed, leaving her to roll around in the spot he vacated for her.
Sagebear now got back over to the other end and rolled merrily about the bed. Sinbad left her to her own devices, and went to take a shower.
He hadn’t been in the bathroom long when he heard a thump at the door. Opening it led to Shark falling into the bathroom next to him.
“Um…Good morning?” Shark didn’t answer, but only curled up into a ball.
All that remained of Lolly now was her dress, shoes, and bones. Annette was mortified as she carried the headless body to a hidden location for The Builder.
“Oh, yecch! She even tastes spoiled!” The Builder seemed too occupied devouring the flesh of a human to pay attention now. Annette sat next to them, bearing witness to the gruesome act.
“Please tell me this is what you came here to do, so we can get back.”
Annette’s request was met with a loud belch. “One time I watched Sunny sit on a cactus. It was awesome.” Annette did not find their non sequitur amusing. “But…yes and no. This was one of the things I had to do.”
Getting to their feet, The Builder made a show of dusting their hands off their pants. “Stay put. You never know if that cell had a hidden camera.
“That’d suck, you know,” they clarified, “you being arrested for that wretch’s death. Since I’m pretty sure everyone thinks you killed her uncle.”
Annette really didn’t like where this was going. “I loved Bill! There’s no way I can be held accountable for that!”
“Oh, no? You were the last one to go into his office before they found his remains. Then you vanished! Looks mighty suspicious, dear. I’d not go around town so aimlessly if I were you.”
They were on their way to their next destination, leaving Annette with Lolly’s remains in need of burying.
Against the wishes of the neighbors and the landlady, Amy carefully picked through the glass debris for her belongings. Her baby son was quiet for once, sleeping in the carrier she’d gotten for him.
Not only was she disturbed by what inexplicably happened, she was also heartbroken by Sinbad’s words from last night:
‘Don’t ever talk to me again.’
Ever since Sinbad had come to Twinbrook a few years ago, Amy had always enjoyed his company. Before long, the two had become close friends.
Now, they’d gone from good friends to hostile acquaintances. It was only now that she’d realized what she threw her friendship away for.
“Hurry up and get your things! I have to get to work. Seems a juvenile delinquent has gone missing.” Goodwin had appeared in the spot where the front door once was. His arms were crossed, and his facial expression was stern and unfeeling. “Just like this town to sucker me back into police work.”
His cold voice and eyes practically bore into her. “Hang on! I’m almost done.”
Goodwin shook his head in exasperation, and turned to go. “Just put everything in Sinbad’s old room when you’re finished.”
When he spoke Sinbad’s name, Amy suddenly dropped to her knees and began sobbing. Uncaring as to whether she’d get slivers in her knees, she collapsed into herself.
“Oh, what? What, hearing his name turns you into a sniveling mess now? Look, Amy, I’ve no time to deal with this. Just take what you’re bringing, and put our baby in his bed when you bother to get to my house.”
He didn’t even have the decency to say goodbye. Amy just heard his car starting up, and drive off. Knowing he drove the same model of truck that Sinbad did just made it worse.
With the grace and talent of a drunken bat, The Builder hung from the ceiling in wait. Hearing the sound of a truck pulling up to the station brought relief to them.
“Finally! And it’s just who I’m looking for,” they said when they saw Goodwin coming up the steps.
Goodwin was grumbling to himself about how his partner needed to do this job instead of him. As soon as he sat down in the chair, The Builder leaned in right into his face.
“Ooga-booga!” This drove him to fall out of the chair. Goodwin looked up to see them standing on the ceiling. “Hey there! Long time no ruining life! How’s it hanging?”
When he got to his feet, Goodwin scowled at them. “How do you think? I just recently lost my fiancee, and now I have to let the mother of my surviving child live with me now!”
“Awww, tough shit. Well, like I said, you only got yourself to blame, bucko. And well, won’t be long before everyone finds out that actually is your kid.
“Yeah, none of that ‘honorable’ bullshit. I don’t think the people in this town are that stupid.” They began wiggling their fingers. “But just to let you know what’ll happen if you keep going this route…”
At that, they reached in and poked his forehead. What followed was Goodwin’s expressions change to worry, then anger, then disgust, and finally tears. The potential life that was in store for him was clearly an unwanted one.
“No…” Goodwin fell to the floor again, his face pale and tear-streaked. The Builder shrugged, as though they showed him nothing out of the ordinary.
“‘Fraid so. And that’s gonna happen because you decided to fuck your fiancee’s best pal. Now I ain’t gonna tell you what to do now, but…”
Here, they jumped to the floor. “Hey, it’s your life. Either own up to what you did now, or keep lying to the poor folks of Twinbrook. It’s gonna blow up in your face either way.
“Now, unlike you, I got a wife to get back to. Later.” Goodwin’s protests for them to stay went unheard. In the blink of an eye, they’d vanished into thin air.
Later that afternoon, Shark sat in the now empty room that once belonged to his sister. His father and fiance were already on their way to the junk heap with all that had once been hers.
Scraping his nails against the floor, he breathed deeply in an attempt not to cry. The memories of he and his sister kept flooding back to him, all of them negative.
He never thought Lolly was capable of what she’d done to him. Deep down, Shark wondered if there ever was a chance the two of them could have reconciled.
Shark was interrupted by the sound of paws. In came Sagebear, holding a dog leash in her mouth and approaching him.
“What? You want to go for a walk?” His voice sounded tired, and defeated. Sagebear only wagged her tail, and dropped the leash at his feet. Shark just stared at that which was offered to him.
Dennis and Sinbad were nervous about leaving him alone with the dog. Shark tried to reassure them that he’d be fine, but they didn’t seem convinced.
Picking the leash up, Shark hooked it to Sagebear’s collar. When she realized she was going to be walked, Sagebear began jumping up on him.
“Just show me where you want to go.” Sagebear was all too happy to lead him out the door and onto the sidewalk.