Esau rubbed the fluid between his fingers. It was thicker than blood. When he held it to the light, it was black as pitch. It smelled of machinery. After a few moments he realized that no matter how long he let it sit on his fingers, it remained cool to the touch.
“Oil, then?” he thought. “Some kind of grease? It’s a machine?”
Esau weighed this thought in his mind for a moment then frowned. If the demon that haunted the city had just been a machine, then it was replaceable. The army at the gates would send another and another, machine after machine, until their commanders grew irritated and impatient and simply bombed the city into submission.
Or not. Perhaps there was something in the city they wanted that kept them from simply flattening it. Perhaps they wanted to enslave its people. Or perhaps they simply didn’t want to be perceived as tyrants. They didn’t want the world to know that they had come to this city and murdered its citizens so that they could pass through unimpeded. Better that everyone think they had been welcomed with open arms. Better that the world believe the insect men with their inhuman faces and their inhuman minds were still men and women that could be understood and were willing to understand others.
None of that interested Esau. The only thing that mattered to him was the hunt.
Esau knelt in the dirt until he found trails that might have belonged to the demon. He hoisted up his rifle and took off into the night.