It was Marc’s shrieking that alerted The Builder, them dropping what was left of their grisly meat pie. Annette and the others could hear it loud and clear.
“The fuck…?” Sinbad and Harwood looked at each other in fear. Though they were a bit relieved that Marc was alive, they knew The Builder was likely not to let him go scot free.
Annette wasn’t quick enough to stop them from running off, brandishing their hunting knife. Her blood chilled even long after Marc quieted down.
“So…” Shark took a few steps towards the door. “What do we do now?”
To answer him, Annette grabbed hold of Sinbad, and dragged him out despite his protests. It seemed her idea was to split up and look for the others.
Both Harwood and Shark watched as the other two went down a hallway. When they disappeared, they themselves went in the opposite direction.
Blaise was trying her best to keep Marc’s howling from being heard, as she clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Damn! Ya got a set of lungs on ya! Could ya try putting a lid on it, though? We’re gonna get in trouble.”
Sagebear and Dennis went on ahead, with Sagebear still putting her nose to good use. Dennis made sure his wife and friend didn’t lag too far behind.
“Ohhh…” He sighed. “Grandpa’s not getting a good feeling from this place, puppy. Them dead bodies sure as hell didn’t help-”
He was then halted by Sagebear suddenly stopping and them whimpering. Straining his ears, Dennis could hear Sinbad hollering at who he presumed to be Annette.
There were also stomping footsteps coming from somewhere else, but they clearly couldn’t have belonged to Sinbad.
“You know, I’m really hoping this is just a really convincing haunted house right now…”
It was so awkward to be walking with just Harwood now.
Shark kept his head down as the two of them went down a particularly long and dark hallway. He so desperately wanted to hear something besides their footsteps.
“Uh…” It was difficult to think of something to properly break the ice. “Harwood?”
“Hm?” Harwood hadn’t pulled back the hair once covering his face, leaving his scars still quite prominently displayed.
Shark then just started it to be done with it. “About what just happened earlier…Did you ever actually, you know…” He then felt Harwood pat him gently on the back, which made him blush deeply.
“I know it wasn’t something either of us wanted to do,” Harwood said after a few moments. “And I know your heart belongs to Sinbad. I wouldn’t ever want to deliberately hurt him in any way.”
The two stopped. Shark leaned up against a wall and pressed himself against it, then placing his hands over his chest.
“Yeah, but now I’m wondering…” He looked up at Harwood again. “Do you think maybe, like in another universe, we could’ve been together? Like, as a couple?”
Hearing these questions got Harwood to thinking. Though it was difficult to think of the right answer, he said what then came to his mind:
“I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. But Shark,” he went on. “In this universe, I do love you in…well, not a romantic way.”
Then Harwood reached up to brush away any hair in Shark’s eyes. “I love you as a dear friend, and as my future son-in-law.”
His expression then took on some sort of odd coyness. “That would be good enough for you, right?”
Shark nodded, returning Harwood’s grin. He then stood back up and wrapped his arms around him.
Said hug was warmly returned.
No matter how much Annette pulled at Sinbad’s arm, he just kept fighting her.
“What the fuck is your problem?! Let me go!” He hollered at her while finally managing to dig in his heels a little.
Annette wasn’t going to let that happen. “Sinbad, please! I need to show you something important! You’re the only one that needs to see it, now come on!”
She could smell the nearby liquor coming from the cellar, which she remembered led to the clone room. In Annette’s mind, showing Sinbad the Julian clones would probably get him to actually cooperate.
Only a few steps later, however, Sinbad managed to break free of her grasp. In response, he drew his arm back and punched her hard in the face.
As Annette fell to the floor, she could feel blood coming out of her nose. Sinbad was already running away from her.
“Sinbad, wait! Come back!” She called out to him.
His response to her was an irate, “Go to Hell!” He then ran to a presumably unknown part of the base.
Sinbad was already long gone by the time Annette managed to stand back up.