Horse-Face was mildly grateful that The Builder had gone off and disappeared. It gave him the chance to go back into his room and check on The Mother.
Clambering to his room, he felt a chill as he walked by Sunny and Moony’s room. He tried to shake it off, and went into his own room.
To his surprise and confusion, it looked as though The Mother had shifted position. More specifically, she had somehow moved enough to topple to the floor.
All Horse-Face could really do before picking her back up was sigh and shake his head.
“I know you’re eager for all this to be over,” he whispered as he set her back into her chair, “but it isn’t time yet. Just wait a little longer, all right?”
As he turned to leave again, he just now noticed the bloodstains and drag marks on the floor. His blood went cold at this, and led him to quickly run back out.
Horse-Face certainly didn’t want to be caught up in whatever happened here.
“Whoever this Sunny fellow is,” Dennis said when he was finished with his section of translation, “he must’ve had a hell of a lot of demons!”
What Dennis had read was several grisly accounts of the writer suffering horrific visions. They all described the walls made of human flesh, and inhuman monsters writhing and crawling about.
“Yeah, that sounds about right, Denny.” Blaise scanned the page she was on, her eyes following her finger. “Ya’d think this guy met Cthulhu or something.”
Except for a few pages at the end, the accounts she read were more or less the same. Blaise set aside these pages, and rechecked the rest.
“Well, he does seem to calm down at a few points,” Dennis went on. “Something about a ‘blond angel’ coming into his life. Then he’s full of praises.”
The Twin sat on the other side of the table, patiently waiting for the two to finish appraising their work. As they did so, they looked over the pages that Blaise pulled out.
Said pages didn’t have many words on them, but their intent was clear. Out of curiosity, Harwood picked them up, against The Twin’s silent protests.
“Huh. Well, this doesn’t seem to be able to count as a novel…” With his one remaining eye, he quickly read through the sparse text.
“Well? What’s it say?” Marc was now curious as to the contents of the pages.
Harwood cleared his throat as he spoke aloud:
“Judge, Jury, Executioner. When blood of a sinner is shed, the trial will commence. If the jury reaches a verdict before the end, the sentence will be carried out. If the jury does not, the condemned will go free, and all life will be obliterated.”
The words stunned everyone near him, except for The Twin.
Leaning up against a wall, Shark tried listening in for any abnormal sounds outside. Across from him was Sinbad, who was playing patty cake with Sagebear now.
“I wonder when Miss Annette will be back…” Shark whispered.
To this comment, Sinbad snorted rather disdainfully. “I don’t know and I don’t care. She can go to Hell for all I give a damn.”
Shark frowned at these harsh words. “I wish you wouldn’t be so nasty about her. She hasn’t wronged you in any way, has she? And don’t bring up the time she and Uncle Bill had sex in the back of your truck.”
Again, a harsh snort. “I just don’t get why she thinks she can waltz into our lives and mold things as she sees fit. It’s like she’s some kind of fucking dictator or something.”
“But Sinbad…If it weren’t for her, you might not ever have met your dad and half-brother. Can you at least give her credit for that?” Sinbad’s scowl became more prominent to this request, before he rolled his eyes and sighed.
“I guess,” he said through his teeth, as he let Sagebear up to her feet again. “Still don’t mean I like her, though.”
Annette was now coming back from her supposed ‘searching’ to see if Ox-Head had listened to her.
“Once we’re out of here, I might sign him up for some kind of Pear of the Month club. He’d like that, probably.”
Just as she reached Ox-Head’s room, though, she was caught off guard by the blood and markings on the floor. They made a trail that led, to her horror, to The Builder’s room.
“Oh no…” Now trembling frightfully, Annette took step after torturous step towards the other room. She noted that the drag marks didn’t look as if they were made with feet, like she assumed.
Her hand was still shaking as she opened the door. Right away, the smells of menthol, alcohol, and blood reached her nostrils.
The room itself was fairly dim, but everything was visible enough. Just as Annette took a step in, her eyes were practically assaulted by the sight in front of her.
“No! Don’t tell me they…They couldn’t have!” Her hands reached up to her hair, gripping it in messy fistfuls. Before her lay a makeshift cross.
On said cross with his arms outstretched, Ox-Head lay motionless, and quite clearly dead. His eyes appeared to have been gouged out, and his body was covered in numerous knife marks. His cheeks were stained with red streams coming from his eye sockets.
Annette’s legs failed her then, and she crawled to him. Reaching out to touch him, he didn’t scream like he usually did when someone touched him.
“Oh, Ox-Head…Not you…” She bowed her head, and proceeded to wail uncontrollably. She worked herself up so badly, that she hiccuped several times alongside her sobbing.
Behind her came footsteps. When she looked behind her, Annette caught sight of the familiar bony legs, now barefoot and uncovered from the knees down.
With a perverse inward glee, The Builder better admired their handiwork with crossed arms. In their right hand was their trusty hunting knife, dripping with blood.
“I don’t see why you’re crying over this abomination,” they said to her. “His cambion blood condemned him the day he was born.
“And besides…” The Builder paused to remove their sunglasses. “The little thief thought he could get away with stealing an Antarean treasure! That’s a crime surely punishable by death!”
Annette was surprised by what she was hearing. She didn’t believe a word of it, though. Ox-Head himself told her he couldn’t reach her ring.
“What is wrong with you?!” She shouted to them. “You killed someone over an item that doesn’t even belong to you! And he was my friend!”
“Friend?” The Builder gave a sarcastic chuckle at the word. “Well, that makes it even better! As for what is wrong with me? Well…First off, I won’t be needing these anymore.”
They threw their sunglasses so hard, that they shattered against the nearest wall. Then The Builder turned to face Annette. Covering their eyes now was a cloth blindfold, already badly stained. They then gave her a smile more chilling than all the others before it.
“Oh, is this going to be fun to tell you…”