The hum of the generator behind him faded as Rune began walking along the frozen shore of the lake, but a moment later he heard the mechanical murmur regain its strength, like a giant robot coming online. He looked back, recognized the shape of the cottage lights he’d seen before, only more distant — he hadn’t accidently circled back. Had he misjudged the location of the generator? Was he actually walking towards it now? He listened again, focused on his hearing. There were two sounds, the generator he’d heard before faint, and this new sound, just as faint but distinct, different from what he’d heard earlier.
His eyes caught a glimpse of the frozen water to his left, and suddenly the mystery of the second sound was solved. He was on the shore of the artificial lake, created when the state built the hydroelectric dam, decades ago. He was upstream, walking in the direction of the dam, and this new sound, it came from the turbines, churning under the force of the water that still flowed among and under the ice, generating electricity for Bark Bay and the surrounding area.
Rune checked his trailing footsteps again, ensuring they were still distinct, then resumed walking downstream again. All his life he’d known about the lake, the dam, knew they lay somewhere beyond his back yard, but before this night he’d never been interested in exploring this area. The discovery of the unknown, was that his compulsion for going forward? No, that wasn’t it, of that much he was certain. He wasn’t motivated by the hope of surprise, he was looking for something, that something which was compelling his legs forward, and while he had no idea what that something was, he knew it lay somewhere ahead of them. And that recognition would come on sight.
A flash of light, to his left, from the direction of the frozen lake. Rune stopped, turned. “Whoa.”