(WARNING! Another tantrum, insults and racist slurs, and murder! Let’s just say real life events have driven me to write part of this chapter in a dark bout of anger and other volatile emotions)
By the time Sinbad and shark got back to the house, Dennis had left the porch light on for them as a safety measure.
“Looks like he went to work,” Sinbad muttered to the exhausted man in the passenger seat. Shark didn’t respond. He merely stared blankly out the window.
He didn’t even react to the sound of Sinbad unbuckling their seatbelts.
Sinbad circled over to Shark’s door, preparing to catch him when he inevitably fell out of the seat. The full force of his weight caused Sinbad’s knees to buckle under him.
Gritting his teeth, Sinbad did his best to drag him back into the house. He was still getting used to carrying over 200 pounds of solid muscle, even after nearly two years.
After he managed to get him into the house, Sagebear approached and began tugging on Shark’s pant leg.
“Hold on, doggy,” Sinbad murmured to her, “I gotta get him onto a safe place first.” He was then dragging a barely responsive fiance, and an unusually stubborn dog.
When he finally did get Shark to the bed, Sinbad set him down onto it as carefully as he could. Then Sagebear leapt up to sit next to Shark.
“It’d be great if you kept the bed warm for us next time, okay?” Sagebear just barked in response.
“I still think we should have hired a baby sitter.” Amy and Goodwin stood side by side in City Hall, in the process of signing their marriage license. With great risk, they left their howling baby behind at home alone.
Goodwin just grunted and shook his head. “You have the other baby monitor with you in the car. He’ll be fine.” Amy did feel uncomfortable having so many dirty stares directed at the both of them.
She only wished she could tell everyone that this wasn’t planned. Jenni’s death was a sudden, unexpected tragedy that didn’t contribute to this impromptu wedding whatsoever.
Then she realized she was a perfectly willing mistress throughout the whole ordeal. She knew very well what she was doing. Having his baby only sweetened the deal. Sinbad not taking the fall was only a minor hiccup.
“Do I put my maiden name here, or his last name?”
Goodwin snarled at her. “What do you think?” Amy could just hear him calling her an idiot under his breath.
A few brief minutes later, and it was all over. The two exited City Hall, still under the hateful glares of any passerby. Amy kept looking at her feet as she got into her side of the truck.
Checking the baby monitor, Amy was struck by how quiet it was. Checking it for dead batteries or an off button, her blood ran cold while Goodwin sat next to her seemingly indifferent.
The Builder was always astounded at how loudly infants could screech. Holding the now crushed monitor in their hand, they approached the crib containing Goodwin and Amy’s baby son.
Almost instantly, the little one stopped crying when their head popped into view. The Builder saw this, and was quite pleased with themself.
“Yeah, good boy! You already know who to shut your mouth around. That’s good.” Reaching in, The Builder gently took hold of the infant, internally noting the shape of his blue eyes.
In a moment of even worse hatred, The Builder cooed mocking sentiments to him:
“You poor child. You have to live with the fact your father’s a cheater, and your mother’s a slut.” They tickled the baby’s stomach, listening to it giggle. “Yeah, sucks, don’t it? The only reason you exist is because Daddy got hit with Asian fever.”
On and on The Builder went, saying vile things in a baby-talk voice. “Poor thing. Poor, poor thing. But don’t worry. Ol’ Builder can save you from growing up in such a horrible place!”
Here they held him up, looking him directly in the face. “Would you like that, pookie? Would you like The Builder to rescue you from that filthy tramp and that adulterous Asiaphile?”
The baby just laughed again.
Sinbad had reluctantly gone to work later that evening, leaving Shark alone with Sagebear. For much of the time after he got back, Shark lay motionless on the bed.
Sagebear padded back out into the living room, laying down on the floor. It seemed like an eternity, but then Shark entered the area.
He didn’t seem to register the area. Instead, Shark just collapsed next to Sagebear, weeping.
“I don’t know why he bothers…” Shark whined presumably to Sagebear. “I really don’t deserve to be loved. I don’t even deserve to be alive right now…”
Here he wrapped his arms around himself. “Maybe Mom was right. I should’ve been aborted. I should’ve…” He fell onto his side.
“I shouldn’t even exist!” He pulled out an arm and began pounding the floor with it. Sagebear jumped as soon as he began shouting. The poor dog could only sit by as he let his emotions loose. She whimpered when his voice reached an uncomfortably high volume.
Shark himself howled wordlessly until his face turned red. Tears spilled from his eyes as he felt his throat hurt from screaming. He carried on until he once again felt his energy dissipate.
Now he was left a sobbing wreck. Only by seeing him lower his fist did Sagebear deem it safe to approach him again. Cautiously, she licked his cheek.
“…Doggy?” Slowly, he pulled himself back up into a sitting position. Taking the chance, she leapt into his lap. With trembling hands, Shark began to pet her. Sagebear returned the favor by continuing to lick his face clean.
“I’m sorry, doggy. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Shark’s voice made it sound as if he were a young child again.
Waking up, Annette still saw no trace of The Builder. Though part of her was relieved, another was terrified of the havoc they were capable of wreaking.
She then recoiled at the still heavy smell of menthol. Pinching her nose, Annette stumbled out of The Builder’s room. On her way, she caught the sounds of Horse-Face and Ox-Head in discussion.
Or more specifically, Horse-Face was talking. Ox-Head was merely acting as an unusually auditory soundboard. It certainly seemed odd when a coherent sentence was returned with a statement about Cheetos.
Deciding they didn’t need to be bothered now, Annette quietly tiptoed past their door, and began searching for another hidden passage.
“There’s gotta be something here that isn’t in their room…” After some searching, Annette finally found one in Sunny and Moony’s room. Stepping in, she made her way back to the room containing the other three hideaways.
Amy was horrified when she returned home to an empty nursery, and a destroyed baby monitor.
Goodwin was still outside, checking the mail with a displeased and worried look on his face. Realizing she was going to have to deal with her new husband’s wrath, Amy tried to make it look like the baby was still there.
“What, is he asleep?” Goodwin threw the opened mail onto the kitchen table, at least one of which contained an eviction warning.
Hastily grabbing a few blankets, Amy wadded them up into the shape of a newborn. She then ran back out to join him.
“Yeah, he’s asleep! Let’s just…Let’s just take the chance to get some rest, huh? Before he wakes up again?”
She didn’t realize that her son was closer than she expected.
Sinbad and Dennis came home that night to find Shark slumped against the couch, blankly staring as the TV showed whatever Adult Swim had to offer. Next to him, Sagebear watched TV alongside him.
Shark didn’t even notice when they came into the door.
“Oh, poor boy,” Dennis muttered to Sinbad, “been through so much.” He then bent down and gestured to Sagebear. After a little bit, Sagebear got to her feet and greeted him. This at least put a little smile on his face.
“That’s a good girl. All right, come on. Let’s see if Grandpa doesn’t have any treats hidden away under his bed for you, huh?”
After they went into the other room, Sinbad took Sagebear’s place next to Shark. Oddly, Shark didn’t respond, even when Sinbad put a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey.” Shark didn’t even blink. “You, uh…You still in there, or did you ascend to another plane of existence?” All he got for an answer was a low groan.
Deciding he needed to lose the distraction, Sinbad turned the TV off. This finally got Shark to actually look at him.
Neither of them said anything now. Instead, Shark just wrapped his arms around Sinbad, letting out a hiccup. In return, he felt his back being rubbed. He took a shaky breath as he tried to find the right words.
“I hate being sick, Sinbad,” he whispered to his fiance. Sinbad just nodded into his shoulder.
Patting the mattress of his bed, Dennis watched as Sagebear hopped up and then proceeded to roll about.
“There you go, girl. Now don’t you worry about getting any fur on there. This is your house as much as it is ours, now.” Just as he was reaching to grab her bag of treats, Dennis’ phone rang.
Frowning at the interruption, Dennis answered the phone. “Hello?”
The voice on the other end chilled him to the bone. He nearly dropped his phone when he realized just who exactly it was. His voice took on a monotone that stopped Sagebear from rolling around.
“Silver…Why are you calling here?”
“Horse-Face? Is that you? You’re back earlier than I thought.”
The only one Annette found in the passageways was the young man that the twin used as a mouthpiece. She didn’t even hear the sound of life-support machines. When he came into view, the young man stopped at seeing blue skin instead of a horse mask.
“Oh. You’re not…” He clasped his hands together. “Well, as long as you’re not that Builder creep he talks about.”
Annette shook her head. “Where are the other two? Shouldn’t you be with them?”
“They’re in a different passageway. Sometimes I hide somewhere else if it feels like I need to.”
“Okay…” She quietly followed him through the hall. “So let me ask you something. How do you know that…Horse-Face, was it? What’s your connection to him?” Annette heard him suck air in through his teeth.
The question was a clearly uncomfortable one for him. “He’s, uh…He helped me in a time I needed help. It was unorthodox help, and not recommended, but still help.”
“And what kind of help did you need?” Another question the young man didn’t seem to want to answer. Nevertheless, Annette waited to see if he would respond.
“He…Well, I was…” Now he turned back to her. Annette tried to see if his eyes would show up, but nothing. His lips were set in a tight frown.
Then he opened his mouth to reveal something that sent chills down Annette’s spine. “He was there to help me when I was raped.”
“…Raped?” Just saying the word made her want to hurl. “By who? Who was the one that…did that to you?”
The young man chuckled dryly. His next confession was just as terrifying:
Amy was getting dressed for bed when the door slammed open. Looking behind her, she came face-to-face with a very stone-faced Goodwin.
“Where is he? Where did you put him?” His tone was one that indicated he already knew. Amy tried playing dumb anyway.
“Uh…If you meant the baby, he should…be…in bed?” As she spoke, Goodwin slowly approached her, his hands curled into fists.
His nostrils flared, apparently knowing she was lying immediately. “Oh, really? Because I just checked on him, and-” He didn’t even finish before he reached forward and grabbed her by the neck.
No matter how hard Amy tried, she was unable to pry his hands off. She could almost feel the bones in her neck breaking under the pressure.
“You did it! You did it on purpose! You got rid of him, and tried to play me for a fool, didn’t you?!” All that Amy could do was squawk and wheeze while being lifted off the ground.
It seemed the harder she struggled, the harder he clutched her throat. Goodwin looked directly into her eyes as he choked the life out of her.
Then a few moments later, Amy went limp.
Goodwin unceremoniously dropped her now dead body to the floor.