As soon as he stepped into the hallway, the world became darker. He looked back over his shoulder and saw from the dim light that streamed through the window it was either twilight or dusk. The rest of the house seemed black as night, as if it had been built without windows. That was impossible, though. Had the machine covered the windows, then? Obstructed them somehow? It must have expected him to escape. It must have thought he would wake up terrified and try to flee.
How little it understood humans. How little it understood him.
FIND ME. Was that supposed to intimidate him? FIND ME. As if there had ever been any other plan.
He stood in the hallway letting his eyes adjust to the dark, listening for the sound of grating metal, of footsteps, of creaking wood, of the small animals that crept about in the night. Anything.
Only silence greeted him. “My enemy doesn’t even breath,” he realized. “It makes no noise unless it wants to. It can hide itself, blend in with its surroundings, like it did when I watched it through the goggles.”
Esau’s confidence wavered. He checked his shotgun again even though he knew it just as loaded as it had been when he’d first picked it up. “I will just have to be more careful,” he thought. “Listen and watch more closely. I know that it’s damaged. I will catch a glint of metal, light shining off a puddle of oil, the whine of gears and servos. It will reveal itself somehow.”
He walked slowly down the hall, and found its next revelation scratched into the wall. HURRY. A bit further, I AM WATCHING YOU. Further still, COME, COWARD.
Esau’s brow knit itself in fury. His lips pulled back in a snarl, teeth bared like fangs. Wordlessly, he charged into the dark.