(Warning! Implications of suicide!)
Although the tangible, undeniable proof was right there in front of her, Annette still couldn’t believe what she was looking at. The sight was so incredible, it led to her dropping the hunting knife.
“No way…” Was all she could whisper. The Builder tilted their head, and raised an eyebrow. They seemed rather amused at her bewildered reaction.
“Oh, come on! It ain’t that shocking! You see them all the time!” They said before grabbing hold of Annette’s wrists, and pulling her closer to them.
“See, check it out! They’re real! A real pain in the ass, that is! But they’re real!”
Normally, Annette would be pleased to get to squeeze a soft pair of breasts. This time, however, it just felt so deeply wrong.
“How did you even get these?!” She asked while trying to look away.
“Well, how do you think, snookums? They grew on there! What, you jealous that someone’s got bigger ones than you?”
Annette tried to wiggle away, managing to free her hands and step back to look again.
“That can’t be possible! You mean all this time you were a…!”
But she was cut off. “Naaaahhh. Just started recently. Come on, haven’t you heard of late bloomers?”
Pressing her fingers to her temples, Annette couldn’t seem to fathom this new information. As she tried stepping backwards, she tripped and fell on her back.
Once Blaise and the others returned, the men were confused as to what could have happened. Whatever did happen, it resulted in The Twin’s shirt turned to shreds.
“Uh…I’m not sure if I want to ask,” Sinbad said to them first when they approached.
The Twin obviously didn’t need to speak. They, or rather now, she, lowered her shirt to show what was beneath.
Most of the men’s reactions were varying shades of dismay and shock. Sinbad immediately covered both his and Shark’s eyes. Dennis turned away, not wishing to see another woman’s bare breasts.
For Marc and Harwood, the former momentarily forgot he was missing an arm, and tried covering his face with his stump. The latter just looked stunned and said with some degree of admiration, “That’s some big tofu.”
Horse-Face was the only one who didn’t say or do anything like the others. Rather, he reached down and ripped off some of his cloak, leaving his calves and feet bare.
“This’ll probably hurt,” he told her as he draped the fabric over her chest, “but believe me when I say this is with the best of intentions.”
The Twin just nodded as Horse-Face pulled the cloth over her chest, tying it in the back in a sort of impromptu tube top.
“Yeah, don’t ya worry,” Blaise said to her once her chest was covered. “Keeping the girls covered might be the best thing to do. Ya don’t want Miss Netty to get jealous or something, do ya?”
Hearing the term for Annette got Shark concerned. After he pushed away Sinbad’s hand, he stood up and walked over to a door.
“I’m worried about her. She hasn’t come back yet,” he said as he made to open the door before him.
Sinbad was up immediately to protest this. “Dude, no! You really want to go out there while that bandaged-up freak is roaming around? Last time we were out there, Marc lost his arm! I don’t want anything worse to happen to you!”
To add to his pleading, Sagebear trotted over and pulled on Shark’s pant leg. Shark was not deterred, however.
“But she could be hurt, too. I have to go find her. Please? I don’t want to start a whole thing over this when she could be in danger out there.”
Sinbad opened his mouth to try and argue, but then shut it. He knew better than to try and sway his fiance over something he felt was important.
Then, he pulled Sagebear away, and picked her up. In response, Sagebear began whining and flailing her legs. The others just looked on in mortified silence. Dennis especially was incredibly fearful over what his son could encounter.
Once all opposition to his plan was gone, Shark nodded once and started opening the door.
“I’ll be back soon,” he said to all of them as he stepped out. “I promise.”
Annette hardly had time to react before she felt The Builder’s foot press down onto her scarred face.
“I don’t understand any of this,” she sputtered out as best she could. This earned her a loud raspberry sound and raised arms.
“Ah, come on wifey!” They, or rather she, said to Annette. “Can’t handle the fact I got bigger knockers than you do? Or the fact that the embodiment of evil itself is a chick?”
She wasn’t able to get a word in edgewise before The Builder’s other foot started pressing down on her stomach.
“If you think all women are dainty, fragile, saintly paragons of virtue,” she said as she pressed down harder, “then you need a serious reality check!”
Then The Builder dug her heel in, as if trying to squish all the air out of Annette. Annette herself tried speaking as this was happening.
“I don’t think that!” She croaked out. “It’s just that you-” But she wasn’t allowed to finish. The heel-digging turned into a literal stomp, causing her to squeal in pain.
This went on for some time, The Builder causing pain and discomfort to Annette with her feet. Annette couldn’t believe how heavy said feet were.
After what felt like forever, Annette could hear a voice approaching the two of them.
“Miss Annette?” Shark’s calling thus far brought no luck. The more he wandered the disturbing, blood-stained walls, the more frightened he became.
Already he was beginning to regret going out by himself. The atmosphere was stifling, almost like the room was intensely humid. Still, he forced himself to keep going.
“Where are you, Miss Annette? Are you out here?” He soon turned a corner and quickly encountered a bizarre sight.
Underneath The Builder’s feet, Shark saw Annette being squashed. He was about to say something when Annette managed to get her head up.
“Shark, run!” Her command caused The Builder to turn and see who had joined them. Right away, a cruel smile crossed her face.
“Oh, this is perfect!” She stepped off of Annette, only to take a few steps toward Shark, and then snap her fingers.
Annette could only watch as Shark’s face suddenly went blank. His eyes went into an unblinking, glazed over state. Then, he slowly walked toward her, as if in a trance.
“No, Shark! Get out of here!” Her pleas were in vain. Shark just kept walking, no longer acknowledging she was there.
Once he was close enough, The Builder reached up on her tiptoes and patted him on the head. “That’s a good boy. Maybe I can get some actual use out of you this time, before you get turned into furniture.”
With no other option, Annette got to her feet and started running in the opposite direction. As she ran off, she could hear The Builder giving off a shrill laughing.
She tried to block it out as she reached a hidden passage out of sight again. Unlike last time, though, no one was sitting at the table.
“…Okay, I said I’d be back. Obviously, they must not have believed me.” No sooner than she had said this, did Annette hear voices come from another hall. Going off to check, she saw everyone else, except The Twin and Horse-Face, standing in front of another door.
“What’s going on?” Everyone turned to look at her, with somber looks on their faces. Not getting a proper answer that way, she walked in to see what was going on herself.
As she did, Annette could hear Sagebear giving off a pitiful whimper.
The Twin could only wish she could have tried to have stopped this. But she knew that wasn’t going to happen. As morbid as it sounded, she knew this had to happen.
She now looked up, with a pained facial expression. Next to her, Horse-Face was kneeling and weeping, his right hand gripping his chest.
“No…” He uttered in a broken, tearful voice. “Why’d you do it? We were supposed to leave this place together, and start a new life. Just…Why?!”
He then leaned forward, his mask’s forehead touching the ground. In that position, he continued to release his anguish.
Annette was stunned into silence as she closed the door behind her. In the few minutes or so she’d been gone, the unthinkable happened.
Dangling from somewhere on the ceiling, hanging lifelessly with The Twin’s used bandages around his neck, was Horse-Face’s companion.
He slowly swayed from side to side, like a pendulum. His head hung from where he tied the bandages, and his dirty feet hung out from under his cloak.
“Did he…?” But Annette didn’t need to finish her question. It was obvious what had transpired. A few more sobs and hiccups later, Horse-Face got to his feet and pointed at the corpse.
“Get him down from there,” he demanded of The Twin. “Now! I don’t want to see him this way.”
Quickly, The Twin obliged. She looked for whatever the young man used to get up there, and set it upright. Then, she got to work undoing the bandages that held him up.
Once he was untied, the companion fell to the ground in a heap. Horse-Face ran over and picked him up into his arms, and continued crying.
Normally, Annette would have been pleased to see a person she hated in this state. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of another’s life. She said nothing as Horse-Face cradled the body in his arms, still inconsolable.
The Twin then walked back over, and put a hand on his shoulder. He then laid the young man into her arms, before he turned to face Annette.
“Well…” He said in a voice thick with emotion, as he reached up to grab his mask. “The only reason I had to live is gone.” He then paused to remove his mask, and threw it to the floor. He then pointed a finger at Annette. “Are you happy now?”
Annette was still left gawking, this time at the face that lay under that horse’s mask. Never in all this time did she expect him to be someone she knew well.
And yet, with hair that shade of red, and those thin yet blank eyes, she would have recognized him anywhere.