Outside the freezer, three metallic, yet, shadowy forms noiselessly entered the kitchen. They glided over and between every object without really touching anything. They only time the Phantoms had to interact with their environment was when a surface required smashing or rattling, in the effort to scare their prey into a mistake. Sometimes, they needed to open doors, but Gabriel couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard them do that.
Factory 9, like the rest of the world, was crumbled and full of holes. Very few places were safe. Their freezer was one of them.
“Let me take a look,” Raphael said, silently stepping over to the door. He brushed past Tin One. The machine could sense his vibrations. His arms and shoulders were shaking. Cut into the thick stainless steel of the freezer door was a small, round peephole. Raphael crushed his face up against it with a grimace. All he could see was bits of darkness illuminated by exit signs.
Then he leered back and motioned a finger over his mouth.
“They’re right outside the door!” Raphael hissed to Gabriel, who immediately hid beneath the blankets.
“I guess you didn’t actually distract them like you thought you would,” Gabriel whispered.
“Shut up Gabby, they’ll be gone in a few minutes, just let them have their fun and be quiet!” Raphael said, crawling in tightly to his brother.
Tin One could take a hint. He stayed silent and still. After about ten minutes of pure silence, Raphael checked the door again. He sighed with relief and used the sleeve of his ripped-up sweatshirt to soak up the sweat on his forehead. Even though Tin One couldn’t smell, watching the brothers act so nervous, the robot knew they stunk of panic.
“What happens if they Phantoms find you?” Tin One asked.
“They take you upstairs to the confinement area, which is basically just a room. They keep you there until the supervisor shows up and decides your fate,” Raphael said.
“What does the supervisor do?” Tin One said.
“Ha, what supervisor? Almost everyone is dead. No one shows up, so you’re stuck in a room and you starve to death. It happened to a bunch of our friends,” Gabriel said.
“I’m sorry,” Tin One replied.
“Yeah, me too,” Gabriel said.
“Way of the world now I’m afraid,” Raphael said.
“It still sucks, Raph.”
“I’m not saying it doesn’t, Gabby.”
Tin One suddenly raised his hand up like kindergartner on their first day of class.
“I can augment my sensors to detect the Phantoms before they arrive,” it said.
“That would be amazing. You’re some sort of super Bot,” Gabriel said.
“No, no, he has a Turing Matrix, so he learns as he goes,” Raphael said.
Gabriel patted the giant robot on its round chest and smiled.
“He knows what we’re worried about.”
“Also of note, when I adjusted my microphones I picked up footsteps on the stairwell,” Tin One said.
“What? Like Human footsteps?” Gabriel said.
Tin One nodded its large body. Even this simple gesture shook the frame of their room.
“Is there any other kind?” It asked.
Raphael shook his head.
“Sadly, there is.”
Thank you for reading Factory 9. You can find all previous entries right here. See you next week!