Deathwalker 3.3

             He considered me with cold, pale eyes for interminable instant. Then, he turned and silently led the way into the giant anachronism. Nonplussed, I gaped at his back for a moment then scurried to catch up. I had met dead men who were better conversationalists.
            We were almost to the door when movement caught my narrowed eyes, and I slowed. There was a bot patrolling the plants. Its outer shell was dark and matte – almost completely unreflective. Unless it moved, it was hard to see with so many bright plants to catch the eye. A quick glance over my shoulder revealed similar dark shadows, scattered among the fields. Too many for agriculture. Frowning, I turned my back to them and stepped inside.
            The inside was a surprise. From the expense and ornament of the exterior, I had expected a display of priceless paintings and pieces from across the galaxy, perhaps even from Old Earth. Instead, the walls were plain white, and the artwork hanging on the huge, double-height wall was from a recently discovered artist I had seen discussed on the news. As we walked through, I could see that the style of the house was fairly ancient (streamlined white with dashes of color), but the materials and furnishings were all modern. I saw no sign of the antiques the house seemed to call for until we had gone up the stairs and through a broad set of double doors.
            Here was the extravagance that I expected. Centuries-old paintings hung preserved in Sel-ar cases. Pots stood inside similar squares of light. And the floor itself was wood. Actual wood. Although I had never seen it before, I did not have to scan it to be sure. It was ancient with the low hum of the dead that only Deathwalkers could hear. I stared at it through the protective covering and wished fleetingly that it had learned to talk when alive. I had a long list of questions I’d like to ask it.

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