Up ahead, tall walls of the ancient house rose out of the thick undergrowth. Nature had tried to reclaim her own but had not yet succeeded. The house looked forbidding and stories told sent chills through all that heard them.

With the sun setting in the background, the soft evening glows did nothing to warm the stark exterior. Pushing open the door, the agonizing creak of hinges was the only sound that broke the silence. Thick layers of dust coated every surface, disturbed only by a faint trail of footprints near the door. Most of these led into the first room, to the right of the entrance. Evidence inside suggested the occasional wary traveler had sought shelter for the night. They would not have ventured further into the dwelling, fearful of what lay inside.

The fading sunlight and lantern held high did little to chase away the shadows. Turning the corner, the lantern was all that lit the corridor ahead. Deathly silence fell all around. The thick layer of dust lay undisturbed ahead and masked even the faint sound of footfalls on the dusty floors.

A flight of stairs led deeper into the bowels of the establishment. For the first time, evidence could be seen of decay as the wooden floorboards rotted slightly in the corners. The lantern revealed occasional stripes of moss on the walls where dampness trailed across the stone.

Turning the corner, the stairs continued further and ended at a thick wooden door. Old and rusted on its hinges, it was difficult to push open. Entering the room ahead, the silence was suddenly broken by the whine of machinery being set into motion. The lantern’s illumination paled as the room was lit by numerous banks of computers. A cold metallic voice intoned, “Welcome.”

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