As dreaded, though expected, Amara’s empty eye socket was bleeding terribly.
Emit was doing all he could to stanch the flow of blood, while Amelia held her sister’s hand in an act of sororal comfort.
“I should have known this was going to happen, but I never expected it to be at this time!” Even Emit was losing his cool over this predicament.
Amelia made no attempt to mask the fear in her voice. “Is Amara going to be okay?”
Trying to calm himself down for the girls’ sake, Emit nodded. “Her life is not in danger. Perhaps a blood vessel popped, is all.”
However, he too knew the real reason this was happening, as did the twins.
Sagebear was now sleeping contentedly on the bed she lay claim to. The humans, save for the youngest two, were also asleep in their chosen sleeping quarters.
In the nearby bathroom, Sinbad and Shark were in the middle of preparing for their own bedtime.
Shark had wanted to brush his teeth, but he had no idea if the toothbrushes were sanitary. Instead, he opted to just pick at his teeth. Sinbad was behind him, taking a shower.
When Shark felt he got enough of the offending plaque scraped off, he stepped closer to the shower and stood next to it.
“Hey, Sinbad?” He raised his voice a little so he could hear him over the running water. “Do you think our town will ever go back to normal?”
Sinbad turned off the water, and stepped out of the shower. “Define ‘normal’, because our town’s a backwater podunk shithole in the Louisiana swampland. Nothing normal about that, I don’t think.”
The crude, insulting way he referred to Twinbrook made Shark cringe. “I guess I mean ‘normal’ in the sense of ‘not made entirely of crystals’.”
“Oh. Then I have no fucking clue.” Sinbad then grabbed a towel and tied it around his waist. “Maybe once we figure out what caused that to happen, we’ll get answers.”
He then gestured towards the now vacated shower, which was still radiating heat. “All yours, man.”
After what felt like an eternity, Emit finally managed to stop the blood.
Unfortunately, it left half of Amara’s face a heavily bandaged sight, like a partially unraveled mummy.
When Amelia saw that it had stopped, she breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness.”
Emit, too, was quite glad she wasn’t in agony anymore. “Quite an unexpected and unwelcome development at this point.”
Now Amara stared at him with her one good eye. “Yeah, why did that happen, Time Keeper? I know it was mentioned in the literature you told us to read, but…”
“Oh, I know you know. The only problem is that it’s happening earlier than expected.”
He straightened his back, and started with a personal root. “Both of you are my trusted disciples, and I’ve cared for you both since your mother passed away. I love you both as though your were my flesh and blood daughters.
“That’s why I am all the more fearful about what is happening.” He picked out one of the few books that hadn’t been thrown to the floor, and opened it. “It’s coming to pass, a bit earlier than expected, but not too much earlier. You see, a thousand years ago…”
The Builder could only hope they got far away enough to stop any adverse effects.
They kept going for as long as they could, before stumbling and collapsing somewhere in the dried-up ocean by the city.
“Ugh…Some future…” They remained on all fours as they proceeded to let loose with their usual bloody emesis.
Getting back onto their feet with an unsteady wobble, The Builder then felt something warm flow down their cheeks. Touching it, they realized their eye sockets were bleeding.
“What the hell…?” Right away, their thoughts went to the guests that Emit had gone to see as The Builder was leaving. In some twisted line of thinking, they assumed the guests were at fault.
Wiping their hands onto their pants, The Builder resumed hobbling along. They knew that once they returned to their base, all would be well again.
Nothing cheered them up like tormenting their assistants, after all.