(Fun fact: I was half-asleep when I wrote this chapter, I’m quite certain it’s evident throughout)
Pushing a door open with her foot, The Twin carried Horse-Face’s companion into a rather unique room.
Twelve pedestals sat empty within, with six on either side of her. She briefly looked at all of them before continuing on.
The Twin then reached another door, which led to a series of small, connected rooms. She walked through the first six empty rooms quickly.
In the first occupied room, the stuffed Julian doll sat in a chair that she’d pulled out for him. The next room after him was the same, except Samira was in there. And the third room contained the first Horse-Face.
As she passed through all the rooms with a certain air of solemnity, The Twin also had a sense of dread. She knew full well what her sister had done, and what she was going to do next.
Once she set the young man into his own seat, she then looked out beyond the rest of the rooms.
Once Horse-Face’s blood stained the table to a sufficient degree, The Builder grabbed hold of his still warm body, and began to drink from the gash on his throat. She was so messy in doing so, that the front of her dress was drenched.
After she had her fill and dropped him back onto the table, The Builder then left the room, and decided to lay waste to the rooms of her now all dead assistants. A trip to the cellar got her a bottle of alcohol.
She then reached the rooms without much incident. Before she could set fire to it all, though, someone caught her attention.
“Hm?” Walking into the room that once belonged to Ox-Head and Horse-Face, she was confronted with the comatose form of her mother.
Meeting her again after so long brought forth mixed feelings. The Builder then shook them off, and set aside her alcohol. She then picked up The Mother, and brought her back to where The Builder had been with Horse-Face.
Now that she was found, it was clear what was going to soon take place.
“It’s finally going to happen, huh? So she must be there already. In that case…”
The Builder pressed her fingers to her heliotrope brooch, conjuring a menacing-looking door out of thin air.
It then opened of its own accord, letting her enter. Once she was inside the chamber it led to, the door vanished completely, as quickly as it had appeared.
Grudgingly, The Builder looked for the seat designated for The Mother. She quickly found it, and clambered over and set her into it. Once The Mother was in, The Builder adjusted her so that she sat up straight.
Sagebear was becoming ever more confused the longer she walked with the rest of the group.
“Does anyone have any idea where she went?” Marc asked everyone, but none of them could answer him.
Eventually, all of them re-entered the stage room. Right away, they all searched for life.
“Hello? Mister Horse-Face? Are you all right?” Shark called out.Sinbad then audibly choked, and pointed at the grisly sight before them.
“I’m gonna say no, man,” he answered. Everyone else could only gawk at the corpse, quite clearly drained of blood.
No one said anything for a couple of seconds. Then all of them were caught off guard by something appearing near them.
A door, shimmering with light, had materialized before all of them. Everyone looked at each other, and shrugged. Without even so much as a question, they entered.
As soon as they were in, an ominous feeling was cast over them. Then all of them, except for Sagebear, suddenly fell to the ground as if dead.
Sagebear then began wandering among the bodies, sniffing and whining. She didn’t understand what just happened, it seemed.
It was during her sniffing Dennis’ body that The Twin appeared. Giving the dog a beatific smile, she then picked up Sinbad and set him into the chair in the room. Then, she gently pulled off the ring she knew belonged to Annette.
She repeated this with the other five, carrying them all into the connected empty rooms. Sagebear followed her the whole time, like any dutiful and loyal dog.
Once everyone was in their seats, The Twin then gestured to Sagebear, silently requesting her to follow her into the next room.
Said room was just like the ones before. The Twin patted the chair cushion, telling Sagebear to jump up onto it.
Not one to turn down a comfy place to sit, Sagebear complied. The Twin then gave her the silent command to ‘stay’. Making sure she was obeying, The Twin then went through all the other rooms again.
She re-entered the stage room, waiting patiently.
Annette didn’t think she had any more tears left in her, by the time she stood back up and left the room.
In the short time that the others had left, the base had become eerily silent. Calling out to them only led to Annette listening to her own echo.
Once more, at least since she first came to this place, Annette felt truly alone. This scared the hell out of her, as she tried to search for any life.
She ended up back into the stage room. To her surprise, The Twin was waiting for her.
“Where did everybody go?” She asked her once she was in earshot. To answer her, The Twin pointed to the door behind her. She then pulled out a familiar purple jewel.
Annette’s eyes widened when she saw her ring being handed to her. She was actually near tears when she slid it back onto her finger.
“Oh, I really owe you one now,” she said with a chuckle. But The Twin remained stoic. Taking her hand, she began to write in her palm with her finger. This confused Annette, until she got the entire message:
“Use it on the door as soon as it closes. Then once it reopens, enter. You’ll learn what you need to do some time after you do this.”
“Which is…? Look, it might help if you’d be more specific,” Annette said to her.
The Twin just turned back around, and entered. She kept walking as the door closed behind her. As she did, Annette caught sight of a word presumably carved into her now bare back.
Once she was alone, and she heard the door slam, Annette lifted up her ring, and brought forth its power.
Doing this turned the door into a bizarre purplish color. Once it opened again, she closed her eyes, before taking a deep breath and walking in.
As soon as she heard the door close again, Annette suddenly felt as if she were falling. Yet she didn’t dare open her eyes to see if she actually were.
While waiting for the nauseating sensation to stop, she thought of the word she saw on The Twin’s back. She whispered it on a sort of whim:
The very instant she said it, the falling sensation halted. Opening her eyes again, Annette found herself in a vaguely familiar, yet indescribable location.
All of the color surrounding her was purple, just like any place she used the ring for. Knowing that this place was different, however, she willed herself to move, and began looking.
While she did, she waited for her objective, like The Twin said to. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be a long time to wait for it.