From deep within the Cradle, the low, loud hum of a long-silent generator slowly whirring back to life. The lights above flicker and come on.
I remain motionless for a long time, my senses straining to detect any sign that the Cradle has been alerted to me. Nothing. Time to move. I head back along the flooded passage, up the ladder, and throw the switch to open the portcullis.
But before going through, I remember: I have a job to do. Heading back to the lobby I see the drainpipe that the girl in my head told me about. Pulling the vial of her blood from my cloak, I drop it into it.
Again, her disembodied voice speaks to me. Thank you, she says. My blood is now outside the Cradle, but the Cradle still has a grip on me. She tells me to find her nightdress in the white hall and destroy it in the furnace in the morgue.
I go back to the portcullis and pass through into the exercise yard and the lounge beyond.
As I step back inside I begin to hear a different noise from up ahead, a scratching sound. Rats? Roaches? Dropping back into the shadows I peer into the gloom.
Through a doorway, an electric light hangs from the ceiling. It's flickering and crackling, as if a mosquito is repeatedly hurling itself against the bulb. As I watch, brow furrowed, the door starts to open.
Heart racing, I shrink back against the wall, not daring to look. Something is coming, shuffling over the flagstones. With the blood roaring in my ears, I fight to keep calm, praying that I remain unseen.
Frozen, I watch as a humanoid figure shuffles into the pool of light in front of me. Now this light, too, has started flickering. The creature appears to be dressed head to toe in sacking, its head and hands covered by metal cages. It emits a low moan as it moves past. As it moves out of sight, I release my breath. The light stops flickering.
Before it can return, I move as quickly as I can through the shadows and into the hallway it came from. Passing under the light, I am momentarily exposed when it starts to crackle and flicker again.
Fighting rising panic, I see a darkened side corridor up ahead. Rushing into it, I turn and crouch just in time to see a second creature passing under the light where I stood seconds earlier.
It seems that I'm not alone, after all.