The wood was sparse and Kal was cautious. She ran between scrawny trees, keeping the road to her right as a guide. She entered a small clearing where moonlight revealed scattered logs and stumps; loggers had worked here long ago.
Kal stopped as she heard something ahead, a strange mechanical yelp. From the shadows stepped the Stalker, impossible joints bending in awkward directions. Its vast dark eye spotted Kal and considered her. Peripheral eyes blinked and its deformed jaw clattered obscenely. It paused then rocked back on one leg and wailed.
Kal recognised the sound. It was calling for help.