The women stood at the far end of the house, looking at the doorway, watching in silence as the rectangle of hazy light became dark blue, and then black.
“Where is he?” said Luna.
Snow didn’t respond. She just kept staring at the entrance.
“Do you think he’s dead?” Luna asked.
“He’s not dead,” Snow said.
“Then where is he?”
If he wasn’t dead, then the chances were that he soon would be, because it was dark now, and there was something in the darkness. Wherever it was night, it was there. A silent thing that came out of the forest and didn’t leave until it had taken someone.
“He’s not coming,” Luna muttered and Snow glanced at her with irritation.
“He’ll be here,” she whispered.
The rectangle of the doorway became darker still, until it looked like a void, threatening to suck them and their entire world into it. Snow had never thought of it like that before, but now she couldn’t shake the feeling of falling.
The grass outside crunched as one of the great mechanoids approached the building. It shone its light inside, blinding them. The light blazed over snow, and then Luna, like some sort of scan, and then it moved around the rest of the room.
After a few seconds, the light moved swiftly away and so did the mechanoid. They listened as it walked around the house in two or three great strides and then stopped.
Then it moved on a few paces and it stopped again.
A few seconds later, the mechanoid returned and wasted no time in swinging the enormous wooden door shut.
“He’s dead,” Luna said, as if to say ‘I told you so.’ If Barry wasn’t dead already then he would be by morning. It was cold out there and he wasn’t alone. That thing in the forest ...
She couldn’t see Snow’s reaction in the dark, but she could hear her shuddering breaths and then the sound of her sliding down to the floor. Luna thought about giving her some words of encouragement, but she didn’t want to lie. Instead, she sank to the floor too, and settled in for a long night, listening to the whispering of the trees.