“All right, you steroid-abusing sack of meat,” The Builder told a now very much entranced Shark as she led him to her room and sat him down to the floor, “repeat after me:”
Clearing her throat, she began the first line. “Vivat Regina Malum.” With a bit of a slur, Shark mimicked her speech. She said it again, with the same result.
“That’s a good boy! Okay, next line: Malum vincit omnia…”
This impromptu Latin session went on for a little longer. The more words he learned, the more it seemed Shark as a person was fading. The Builder herself could practically feel his mind being erased.
“Oh, you’re such a fast learner! Too bad you’re a filthy queer, otherwise you’d have gone somewhere in life.”
Then giving him a pat on the cheek, she wandered over to a beat up looking armoire. Flinging it open rather dramatically, she then proceeded to rifle through the many clothes within.
“If I’m going to have to deal with those filthy humans again, I better dress up all fancy and shit…”
Once again, Annette had witnessed a hanging. But for now, she was too flabbergasted over who Horse-Face was.
“That’s not possible…” Was all she could really say before he cut her off.
“It’s not about what’s possible or not,” Horse-Face practically spat at her. “Is everything in this place so unfathomable to you, that that’s all you can say now?!”
The Twin stepped over to him, gently shaking him by the shoulder, as if to tell him to calm down. Indeed, he lowered his arms and turned to face her.
“All I wanted was to get out of here, and try and help him after what I did.” He reached his hand under his companion’s hood, pushing it back to reveal the young man’s hair. As Annette expected, it was brown and wavy. It was also matted, and filthy.
Though his eyes were closed, she could just picture the exact shade of green they were.
She reached toward him to touch his face, but her hand was slapped away. She turned to see Horse-Face scowling at her.
“Oh, like you have more of a right to touch him than I do?” Annette sneered at him. “Last I recall, you’re the one who ruined him.”
It didn’t matter that she was dealing with another version of Sinbad. For all she cared, he was a completely different entity than the one she was familiar with. She didn’t even consider Horse-Face human.
“Yes, but I was only following orders,” he snapped back at her. “If you need someone to blame, then blame the man who told me to do it to him!”
“And who the hell would that be?” Before she could get an answer, Annette heard the door behind her creaking open.
Poking her head through the door, Sagebear looked to be shaking a little. A dull thumping noise was presumed to be her tail smacking against the door.
“Urrr?” She tilted her head at the sight of another Sinbad. Horse-Face didn’t react to her, rather he pushed Annette back towards the door.
“Instead of watching me grieve over someone I cared for, go out and explain to the others what you’ve done.”
Now Annette wanted to argue that she’d done nothing wrong, but Horse-Face kept shoving her toward the door. One his way, he picked up his mask and put it back on.
Behind them, The Twin covered the other Shark’s face again, and got a better hold on his already cooling body. She too, motioned for Annette to leave.
With no other choice, Annette just sighed and left, with Sagebear going ahead of her. When she got back out, she saw that the others were back in their usual places.
“Shark isn’t back yet,” Sinbad grunted out as he looked toward the door. “And Little Bitch Blue is already back, so there’s no need for him to be looking.”
Dennis made a noise. “Be patient, Mister Rotter. He may have just gotten lost, is all. This place does seem to have a labyrinthine aspect about it, after all.”
The others remained quiet. Harwood seemed to be busying himself with his hands. The way he had them positioned looked a little strange, yet interesting.
“If I weren’t afraid for her safety,” Marc suggested, “I’d say we send the pup out to look for him. She could sniff him out in seconds, I’ll bet.”
“Oh! Speaking of the little girl…” Blaise was alerted to Sagebear puffing over to sit into her lap. Blaise then happily began to run her hands over Sagebear’s dappled grey fur.
The scene was so bizarrely calm, Annette almost didn’t want to shatter it. It was done for her anyway, though.
“By any chance did you catch a glimpse of my son at all, Miss Annette?” Dennis asked once he focused on her.
Annette swallowed. “Uh, yeah. I did see him. But, about that…” She took a deep breath, and began to explain the situation.