Grinning at the pictures Shark and Sinbad took, Shark squeezed his teddy bear closer. He was still surprised at how it was as big as he was.
Sinbad himself was smiling at them happy and kissing in the pictures. They were then interrupted by Sagebear coming up to them and snuffling the back of the pictures.
“Awww, hi Sagebear!” Shark cooed as he patted the bench they were sitting on. “You wanna see the pictures your daddies took?”
Sagebear happily jumped up between them on the bench, taking a closer look at the photos taken in the booth.
“Ain’t that cute,” Sinbad said before petting her. “Maybe we should’ve tried getting her in the pictures with us.”
“Yeah…” Shark now took his free hand to join Sinbad in petting Sagebear.
Annette was shoved roughly out of the portal, via a boot to her rear. When she landed face first this time, it connected with the hard marble of the floor.
“Oof!” She couldn’t hold back her reaction to falling onto something so hard and cold. Nor could she keep herself from screaming when The Builder stomped on her hands.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” The Builder then shouted as they jumped up and down, apparently trying to break her bones.
When they were finally done trying to ruin her hands, they then grabbed Annette by the leg, and proceeded to drag her out into the hallway.
“Hey! Let me go!” Annette shouted, trying in vain to dig her nails into the floor. The Builder just ignored her, growling almost ferociously.
Within a few seconds, Annette was dragged into the room containing the prison cells. She was then picked up by the back of her neck, and shoved into a cell.
Then, The Builder locked her in, and turned to go.
“Wait! You can’t leave me in here!” But Annette’s cry went unacknowledged. When she slumped back against the prison wall, she then turned to look at something covered with a large white sheet.
“Well, boy,” Dennis stated when he and the other three approached Shark and Sinbad, “I’m thinking it’s time me and Blaise go do some more honeymooning.”
“Ya good here?” Blaise asked her stepson.
Shark nodded. “Sure, Mom and Dad. You guys go have fun.”
Dennis smiled and nodded back. When he wrapped his arm around Blaise’s, both of them went off for their next excursion. Then, it was Harwood and Marc’s turn to announce their imminent plans.
“Well, Marc and I are going to go back to the apartment and brew up some tea, and…” Harwood paused, before picking up Sagebear. “You know, I want to bond some more with this one.”
“Same for me, of course,” Marc said while scratching his head. “Gotta get used to petting dogs, I have to.”
As soon as they left, it was just Shark and Sinbad now. Both of them cuddled each other close on the bench now.
“Wanna go sightseeing the city? Got some places with a kick-ass view,” Sinbad offered to Shark now.
“Of course! I don’t think I’ve seen everything in Bridgeport yet.”
With that, both of them stood up and were on their way out of the festival. As they reached Sinbad’s truck, he wrapped an arm around Shark’s shoulders.
Shark then asked his once-again fiance, “Maybe we can go looking at suits and other things?”
Sinbad made an affirmative noise. “Sounds good to me, man.”
With trembling fingers, Annette reached out to take hold of the sheet. Something was telling her not to rip it away, as though whatever hid under it was best left undiscovered.
Swallowing, she took a deep breath, looking away now as she tore the sheet away. The entire time, The Builder was taking painfully slow steps.
The instant she looked back, a most terrifying sight was before her now. Annette was so terrorstruck by it, she fell to the floor.
“No…!” Sitting before her now were two life-sized stuffed dolls, seated next to the coffee table that had once been her nephew. On said table was a ceramic tea set.
The male doll was no doubt one of the Julian clones, apparently made recently. The female doll was someone she had not seen in a very long time. When Annette stood back up, she touched her face and whispered:
“Samira?” Saying her daughter’s name alone could’ve stung her in the chest. But seeing her stuffed likeness caused something within Annette to break and shatter completely.
Falling back to the floor, Annette could feel tears surge down her face. She trembled uncontrollably, unable to grasp what could have happened to her daughter.
“No, it can’t be…”
Upon reaching the top of the door, The Builder looked back at her, and smiled smugly at the sight. Something told them that they’d broken her at last.
Satisfied with this, they left the prison room. The only sound that could be heard after the door closed was Annette’s hysterical sobbing.