“Catch Grandpa the stick, puppy!” Dennis could be heard shouting as he played fetch with Sagebear. “Catch Grandpa the stick!”
The others watched as Sagebear dashed across the yard, all the while eating the hot dogs Dudley had grilled for them. Dennis himself held one in his hand as he waited for Sagebear to get back.
“He certainly loves that dog, it seems,” Alma said when her mouth wasn’t full. Next to her, Dudley nodded.
“Oh, that he does!” He said as he applied more ketchup to his meal. “That there’s his granddoggy, after all.”
Blaise and Shark just looked on happily, looking on as Sagebear found the stick and brought it back to Dennis.
“That’s a good girl!” When Dennis had the stick dropped at his feet, he responded by tearing off a chunk of hot dog, and offering it to Sagebear. Right away, Sagebear snapped the hot dog piece up into her jaws.
Sinbad didn’t remember how long he’d been sitting there.
He knew it had been long enough for him to doze off. When he woke up again, the sun was high in the sky. Realizing this, he swore under his breath and got up.
“What time is it?” Grabbing his phone out of his pocket, he checked to see it was around noon.
Swearing again, Sinbad dialed the number to the apartment. He heard the phone ring several times, before the answering machine picked up.
“Oh, come on! Marc, you have to be home by now! Doesn’t take three hours to walk to the place…”
He tried calling a second time, and just got the machine again. Hanging up in frustration, Sinbad trudged off the property.
Ox-Head wasn’t where he said he’d be. This alone brought Annette into a state of intense fear.
He had to have left recently, and possibly unwillingly. The drawings he’d already made were scattered about the little room.
Setting the blank papers down, Annette then frantically tore the room apart looking for him. He hoped that Ox-Head was just playing a random game of hide-and-seek with her.
When he wasn’t found there, she stumbled out back into the hall. Annette quickly ran into each room on the hall. He wasn’t in any of them.
“Please tell me The Builder didn’t decide to hurt him,” she worriedly said to herself.
A short distance away, the melodious song of a piano could be played. Annette stopped, listening quietly to see if she could place the song.
Calming down, she followed it to where it was being played. She felt as if she’d been bewitched by the musical power. Leading herself to an oddly painted door, she let herself in without knocking.
Before her now were the assistants sans Horse-Face. Sunny was expertly playing the piano. On a bench behind him, Moony and Ox-Head were listening with two different degrees of intensity. When Ox-Head saw her come in, he excitedly waved her over.
“Here you are,” Annette whispered to Ox-Head as she approached him. “I was afraid something bad happened to you.”
“Oh…” He seemingly responded, though it sounded more like him just exhaling air. “Sorry, Andromeda. It sounded so pretty, and I had to come see who it was-”
Moony then shushed them, trying to listen to Sunny play. Annette took the hint, and sat carefully next to Ox-Head.
Annette wasn’t sure how to feel at that moment: amazed at knowing it was the piano version of a Nine Inch Nails song, or surprised one assistant wasn’t somehow bothering the other.
She then attempted to lose herself into the song playing.
(For the curious: )
(Just…you know. Without the singing)