The last thing Annette really wanted to see was her spouse drooling and crawling over an entire warehouse worth of ammunition.
If nothing else, Elvira seemed amused by The Builder’s antics. She also seemed to hope that they’d wipe their slobber off of everything.
“I take it you like what you see, no?” The Builder just answered her with unintelligible blathering.
Elvira then turned to Annette again. “Well, while your partner has a ball there…” She then pulled out a folded piece of paper, and handed it to her. “This time, we’ll make it easier for you. Just wait until the noise outside dies down first. Then go looking.”
Unfolding it, Annette realized she was really looking at an old photograph. But that wasn’t what shocked her.
What did shock her was who it was being photographed.
Harwood was fast asleep in bed tonight. Sinbad quietly watched as he dozed off, easing off into dreamland. His ever-present cane gun was leaning against the wall.
As for Marc, he couldn’t wait to use the as of yet unfinished cabin on the other end of town. He was apparently there now, having left with the same entourage Sinbad saw him with last time.
Sinbad himself couldn’t get to sleep. He sat on his bed, half-naked and wide awake.
The wind was blowing outside, drowning out the sounds of traffic and nightlife. He could hear something rattling, possibly a flowerpot having tipped over.
He was personally surprised that Marc could even think about sex in this gusty weather.
Quietly getting up so he wouldn’t wake his father, Sinbad stepped out into the other main room. The digital displays of the various clocks cut through the darkness.
Although it was going to be spring time in a few weeks, he still shivered and wrapped his arms around himself.
Treading over to the kitchen area, Sinbad felt around for the stove and teapot. He tried to muffle his profanity when he stubbed his toe on the table leg.
The family was glad they stayed one more night at the hotel, if only so they weren’t at nature’s mercy.
Shark was huddled under the blankets, covering his ears to block out the howling outside. He was amazed that his parents could sleep through it.
Next to him, Sagebear was on watch, ever the dutiful guard dog. She took a stance and growled at the sounds outside, and gave the occasional “boof”.
When Shark poked his head out, he then put a hand out to know where Sagebear was. In response, she turned to lick his hand, and rub against it.
Knowing where she was now, Shark sat up and wrapped his arms around her. He gently squeezed the soft, chubby dog like a pillow.
Sagebear didn’t seem to mind this too much, given the way her tail began thumping against the mattress.
Annette could somehow hear boxes smashing against the pavement as she trekked outside into the relentless gales.
Each time something came flying at her, she ducked away just in time. Annette made doubly sure that the photograph was safely in her pocket.
She was at least grateful that The Builder elected to stay behind and continue making a bigger fool of themself than usual.
“Couldn’t I at least have had the address?!” She shouted, but her words were lost in the wind around her.
When the gusts began picking up around her again, Annette clutched onto the nearest thing tied down. A large tree threatened to uproot and fall over a few yards away.
She crouched down to the ground, and clawed her way to a hopefully sturdy-looking streetlight.
“I don’t remember this city being so fucked-up weather wise!” Once again, she could barely hear herself.
Seeing the nearest shelter, Annette steeled herself, and dug her hands into the dirt again.
“Ow! Fuck, that’s hot…” Sinbad made the mistake of touching the stove burner while it was heating. “Is that blistering? Okay, no. It looks fine… Yeah, fuck it.”
Stumbling over to the light switch, Sinbad had a hard time turning it on. When he managed to, he was able to properly look over his palm.
“All right, I’m good-” He was startled by the phone ringing. Checking to make sure it didn’t wake Harwood up, he answered it. “Hello-”
“Bro!” Marc sounded far cheerier than he usually did. “What’s happening? Hey, do me a favor. Can you bring me my-Guys, shut up!- bring my medication here? I’m probably gonna be here all night.”
Raising an eyebrow at what Marc had apparently planned, Sinbad then rolled his eyes and sighed. He didn’t want to go out in the horrific wind, but he understood why Marc probably wanted to stay there.
“Yeah, hang on. Let me put some clothes on…”
Stepping out into the hallway, Shark made certain he had the hotel key card and Sagebear with him.
The wind outside was more muffled than it was in the room. Shark was at least grateful for that as he walked out to the lobby.
Counting the spare change he’d gotten out of his pants pocket, he then stood in front of the vending machines.
“What should I get, Sagebear? Chips, candy bar, fruit gummies?” Sagebear just tilted her head at his question. Still he went on as if she answered.
“Gummies it is.” After making his selection, Shark then wandered over to the pop machine, and looked for anything that would count as juice.
After choosing there, Shark then sat up against the wall, beginning to snack on his choices. Sagebear sat in his lap, trying to sniff at his snack.
“No, Sagebear,” he said to her as he leaned in to touch her nose, “these could make you really sick. We don’t want that.”
Elvira waited until The Builder was done mooning over their prized acquisition before speaking to them.
“So tell me,” she said in a voice not without smugness, “how do you intend to transport all this ammunition back to your base?”
The Builder looked up and pulled their knife out, not even bothering to wipe the slobber from their face. “Way ahead of you, Draculara!”
Quickly running into another room in the warehouse, The Builder could be heard apparently ripping something open.
“All right, get out here! All of you!” They were heard shouting.
A minute or two later, they came back with their assistants. The Builder then directed the four of them to bring everything back to base.
Watching with amazement, Elvira was admittedly stunned at how much fear The Builder could drive into their assistants.
Annette had just gotten to the safe place she’d seen, when a recognizable black truck with flame decals whizzed by.
Her face lit up at once. Still grabbing on to her shelter, she called out to it.
“Sinbad! Sinbad, it’s me! I need help! Hey!” Annette’s shouting proved to be futile. Sinbad’s truck just kept going by without so much as slowing down.
Downtrodden, Annette slunk back to the safety of the house she’d found. It only took a bit of picking a lock for her to open the door.
There was something eerie about the place she’d chosen for her temporary haven. It seemed up to date, but at the same time it felt like something was holding it back.
Trying to think nothing of it, Annette stood in the kitchen, and looked for anything that could be made with the dusty looking oven.
(Song the chapter title came from: )