Craig went back for a torch. Down in the cellar again he swung it in an arc into every corner, watching the shadows jump like ink running over paper. The light, moving with his hand, created circles of clarity in the shadows; the old chest of drawers, the large iron hooks where tools had once been hung, an old chair, stacked crates of junk no one had thrown away, and something else.
The hairs rose on his arms, his fingers and toes tingling as they did when he came inside on a winter day. A breeze, cold and smelling of the outdoors, touched his face.
He could see nothing, yet there was something, even if it was only feeling. Energy in the air, a ripple like rising heat that distorted what was behind, or the pricking of static sparks, attracting and repelling. Pressure built as he took a step forward, as if the air changed. His ears popped, just like on a flight, and he swallowed automatically.
The ground shivered - what he imagined a tremor might feel like. He had a sense of being surrounded, an implacable density, knowing and alien. The crates shifted and old paint-pots on a high shelf danced and jittered about. One of them fell, rolling. He jumped, his heart pounding a crazy beat, and it missed his foot, trundling past him.
Craig's hand shook, he couldn't keep the beam of the torch straight. It bounced and flowed, sending the shadows careening, lengthening around him.
Something came out of the darkness. He didn't have time to cry out, only for a moment of stricken terror for what was rushing up at him so quickly he couldn't see it, only aware of the disturbance of its passing, and then nothing...