Horse-Face’s companion was still frazzled over what had transpired in the clone room. As soon as the two returned to the hidden passageways, he collapsed into a corner and began crying.
No doubt having heard them come in, The Builder’s twin came out of hiding. Their perpetually worried expression only became more prominent at seeing what was before them.
“It’s best you leave him be,” Horse-Face rasped out, “he’s had to see someone in front of him go into death throes.”
The instant ‘death throes’ was spoken, the young man grabbed his head and droned with displeasure. Horse-Face bit his lip, realizing what it sounded similar to.
“Oh, right. He hates hearing the words ‘Death Row’ and anything that sounds like it,” he whispered to the twin. “I guess I don’t have to explain it to you, since you’re Omniscient, right?”
The twin nodded. Now their facial expression visibly saddened at the unsavory memories.
Before Horse-Face could continue, the sound of a portal opening could be heard. Following it was The Builder calling out, “I’m home~!”
Hearing their voice made his skin crawl.
The Builder proudly displayed their haul to their wife, who sat on the bed next to the TV.
“Yeah, don’t worry about those two old farts anymore, Netty. They’re nothing more than charcoal now,” they boasted as they hefted a large burlap sack up higher onto their shoulder. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a new project to start work on…”
Before Annette could ask about said project, they were off to another room. Along the way, Annette could hear them loudly call Moony’s name, followed by indistinct yet infuriated shouting.
Then came the thud of the burlap sack hitting the floor. After that, came Moony’s anguished shrieking.
Wondering if Sunny or Ox-Head knew what was probably happening, Annette left the bedroom to go look for either of them.
Early the next morning, Dennis watched the 6 a.m. news with a distraught look on his face.
He didn’t know what else to think, other than mortification at seeing what remained of Racket Mansion on the news. It was apparent that Blaise and Alma felt the same way.
“Uh…” Blaise tried to speak over the newscaster’s dialogue. “Ya want us to call yer brother, Denny? ‘Cause, even if he already knows…”
Dennis’ mouth felt dry as he spoke. “Go ahead. And…call the boy and Mister Rotter, as well.” He pulled out his phone, and handed it to her. As he did, Alma got up and dialed a number on the home phone.
Both women managed to connect at about the same time, leading Dennis to hear two different conversations begin at once.
“Hey, Sharky! Eh, ya watching the news? No? Ya might want to do that…”
“Officer Racket? By any chance are you watching TV right now? You are. And it’s the news. All right…”
About half an hour later, Shark and Sinbad met up with the others. Everyone could only look on in horror at the charred remnants of the once palatial home.
“How…?” Shark’s voice was hoarse as he took a step forward. “How’d this happen without anyone knowing? Like, not even the neighbors knew about this happening?”
“Beats me,” Sinbad spoke as he got closer, “but it was pretty fucking powerful if it took all this down.”
Everyone surveyed the damage. Alma and Blaise took notice of one side. Dennis and Dudley took on the other. Shark and Sinbad were left to inspect the garage.
Sinbad couldn’t help but notice how tense and apprehensive Shark looked. It might also have been from remembering what happened in this same garage a few months ago.
“You all right, man?” He didn’t get an answer. “You want to go home and stay with Sagebear for a while? We’ll try and check out what all happened here.”
Shark closed his eyes, and nodded. He was trembling as he ran off the property.
Ox-Head was hiding out in Sunny and Moony’s room when Annette finally found him. Upon seeing her enter, he perked up noticeably.
“Hi~, blue lady!” He waggled his fingers in greeting. “I know I’m not supposed to be in here right now, but Moony’s cooking something. I think. Whatever it was, it had red hair.”
Annette raised an eyebrow at this last part. “‘Red hair’, huh? Did he look human at all?”
Ox-Head scratched his head, then nodded. “I heard The Builder complaining about him. Something like, ‘course one of them bites the dust while I’m gone!’ Then they told Moony to get him ready for New Years, or something.”
Here, he clapped his hands together. “Does that mean we get to have a new friend? Maybe you get your own assistant, or something!”
Annette shook her head. “I highly doubt that’s going to happen.” Ox-Head didn’t continue this conversation. Rather, he started on a completely different topic:
“Hey, blue lady. I got a question.”
Knowing that it would probably be a rather odd one, Annette told him to go ahead and ask it anyway. Almost gleefully, Ox-Head disclosed what was on his mind:
“If I’m half-human, and you’re half-human, does that mean together we count as one person?”
Annette thought the inquiry was unusually deep, for him at least. She only wished she could give him a proper answer.
“I’m not sure, to tell you the truth.” She gave a half-hearted shrug. “Probably.”
Dennis and Sinbad stood in the police station, waiting for Dudley to get back with papers. Neither of them wanted to wait in complete silence. Sinbad blew air through his lips, and sighed heavily.
“This is getting creepy, boss,” he said finally while running his fingers through his hair. “I mean, first a bunch of Rackets get offed, now this?”
“I know, Mister Rotter,” Dennis answered. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there’s someone out there with a vendetta against us.”
He stopped, trying to think of the right words to say. “To be quite honest, I’m fearful that whoever this is, that they’ll be coming after one of us next.”
“You mean like…You or Shark?” Sinbad heard him say, ‘uh-huh’. The very thought of someone brutally murdering Shark sent chills down his spine.
“Boss?” He asked, looking around for any sign of Dudley. “You think this is karma for all the criminal shit we pulled in the past? Or just an old co-worker out for revenge?”
Dennis closed his eyes, and groaned, looking for another answer. “It could be anything at this point.”