He had been watching for a long time now.
Chell returned to Aperture a few days ago, coming home to a not-so-warm greeting from GLaDOS. Chell didn't seem to mind. She just gave GLaDOS a smirk in reply and those two had spent their time talking about Chell's adventure outside. It wasn't anything adventurous, although GLaDOS had shown some interest when Chell had said something about alien motherboards and stuff like that.
They were quite peaceful and happy with one another's company. They haven't noticed the dread building up at one part of the facility. They didn't notice, or they just didn't care, about the inhuman, mechanical screeches nor did they notice the loud banging and the soft, unnerving, tune of xylophones.
Unfortunately, Doug did.
Doug noticed it and each day his paranoia of the mysterious, unexplained sounds kept growing. So today he was sitting in front of the towering monitors of the surveillance room.
Nothing was out of the ordinary. Everything was still in one piece (it should be since GLaDOS had finished repairing the facility two weeks ago). The personality constructs roaming around were most certainly not the source of the noises. None of the production lines were broken and none of the machines were malfunctioning. Everything was normal.
But Doug knew better than to trust the cameras.
So he went out on an adventure, searching everywhere, checking every nook and cranny of the entire facility; the production lines, the neurotoxin generator, the offices, the maintenance section, the testing tracks, the Central AI chamber (casually peeking through the panels to see Chell and GLaDOS conversing). Nothing was wrong.
Well, he hadn't checked the storage rooms yet. Maybe the source of whatever was making the sound was in there. Or maybe it wasn't. Doug was not expecting much, he'd been at this for a week now with no luck. He doubted the noises must be his imagination. Although he confirmed it wasn't after a good dose of Ziprasidone.
The journey was short and not memorable, not to mention boring as he had only the voices in his head as his company. The mechanical noises grew louder as he approached the storage room. Probably something was left turned on there and was malfunctioning. So he decided to check on it. But the defiant screeching of what resembled like a child's scream stopped him in his tracks and sent chills crawling down his spine. He gulped audibly tripped backward and fell down with a loud Crash!
That was apparently a wrong move. The noise ceased and, if it weren't for the constant whirring of machines and the hum of lasers, it was deathly silent. He felt his heart pound in his throat. Whatever was making the noises seemed to become aware of his presence and they stepped out of the room to take a look at what made the crashing noise.
Doug froze on the spot.
There were four mutilated and grotesque mascots in front of him, namely a dirty yellow duck, a faded brown bear, a... pirate fox and a tattered pink bunny. They were all tall and filthy, covered with dark stains around their eyes and mouths and, well, the dark stains were actually all over them and their stench was, oh God, it was awful. Their smiles were so off-putting that the hairs at the back of his neck stood up.
But that wasn't the thing that made his heart leap out of his throat.
The mascots held a body of a dead scientist partially stuffed into a bunny mascot, one identical to the pink bunny. The mascot already housed a metal skeleton, an automaton to be exact. And just the thought of that body being squished into that mascot with wires and metal bits was just horrid.
The bear tilted its head and walked towards him. It must be a sentient automaton programmed and built by GLaDOS. But She wouldn't do something like this, would she?
Doug had been running away all his life. Did he have to change now? Of course not. So he ran.
GLaDOS and Chell were having a brutal shoving contest for some reason the author was too lazy to think about much more write. Chell attempted pushing her core only to find that GLaDOS had already moved out of her reach, thus falling down to the ground with a yelp.
Chell sat up and rubbed her shoulder angrily before looking up at GLaDOS with a scowl on her face.
"What was that about?" She whispered to the large AI who seemed to be looking around her chamber. Her chassis was tense as she looked around. It suddenly hit Chell that GLaDOS was not taking interest on the walls or ceiling, but rather she was looking through her cameras. Chell opened her mouth to ask her about it but was hushed by GLaDOS immediately.
Then she heard a faint tune of a music box. And she felt a sense of foreboding wash all over her. She looked around to the entrance. It was completely open. She wasn't bothered by how open the door was. Well, not until now.
She knew that tune. She heard it years and years ago, she remembered. She heard it during the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. During that day she saw the tall looming figures of automatons playing this particular jingle. It was during that day when five of her classmates went missing, never found again.
The blame was on Doug. But since there were no evidences to support this, he wasn't chucked out. Not that he was the one who killed them. He wasn't. Someone else did. Chell didn't know who exactly it was but she saw him. His sandy blonde hair and blue-gray eyes, his old, weak build and his tattered clothing. Obviously not from Aperture. She knew damn well each of the names of the employees in Aperture.
Chell was snapped back to reality when she noticed that the song had stopped and the large body of the supercomputer above her quickly whirled around to face the doorway, overlooking the corridor.
And surely, one of the automatons was there, at the very end of the long corridor. Freddy the Fazbear.
"GLaDOS." Chell hissed at her. GLaDOS didn't move. "GLaDOS close the damn door."
The bear disappeared. As in the bear disappeared in thin air. And, Chell knew, that this was just enough to send GLaDOS into a not-so- obvious fit of panic mode.
"What the hell was that?!"
But Chell had no time to answer as Freddy had just reappeared closer to them, just inches away from the door. The automaton opened its mouth and smashed it close, and did it a few more times before Chell screeched at GLaDOS, "Close the fucking door damn it!"
GLaDOS twitched and started swinging around in anxiety. The door was still open.
"GLaDOS! Close it or-"
"I can't, alright!" She admitted in a forced calm tone. Chell knew it all too well though. She was already panicking. "The door mainframe won't respond. I can't even delete it. That... that thing is blocking the signal."
"Uh, GLaDOS?" Chell called out uncertainly as Freddy approached them. "GLaDOS it's getting closer!"
"I can see that." GLaDOS said, jerking sidewards as the automaton let out a garbled screeched. Chell let out a shrill scream of fright when the floor panels flew upward in a flash, sending the mascot flying out of the room. It disappeared again right before it hit the floor.
"What was that about?" Chell asked, still catching her breath from the recent attack. "That was completely creepy and it scared the heck out of me..."
GLaDOS was not paying attention to Chell. She was focused on the lying cassette tapes at the end of the hallway. The automaton might've dropped it when it teleported. Summoning one of her claws, she gathered the tapes and laid it on an elevated panel. Chell had stopped talking and watched GLaDOS do whatever it was she was doing. Her claws disappeared with one of the tapes, labeled with a large 1 and played it.
"I don't want to scare you but there are creatures, no, machines running around unnoticed here in this very facility. Though I find that hard to believe knowing you, GLaDOS, but apparently they've been here for a long time. They're coming after me and I am not sure whether I can return there safely so I'm recording this to tell you what I've found out about these animals
"Apparently they're automatons from one of the annual Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. You probably can't remember it, they deleted your memories of that. Five children were killed during that day, all of their bodies unfounded. Well, I think I know where these are now. Someone stuffed them in the machines. I don't know how or why but it just was.
"So that's the back story. Now for survival. I'm in the surveillance room if you're wondering. And that's the first thing, you have to keep an eye out on them. I know you don't take orders from a human but listen to me now. You need to check on your cameras closest to your chamber. Close the doors when they're near you and only when they're near you. They probably might find a way to disable you from the main power grid so you have to save energy. And also disable you from the rest of the facility except from the cameras. I don't know how they do it but they just could.
"They can't disable you that long though, knowing you. So probably six hours at least and eight hours max. Again, keep an eye out on them and conserve energy."
A loud banging boomed from the speakers that made the Chell jump in shock. GLaDOS didn't even twitch.
"Shit. I have to cut it here. Good luck, I guess. Keep an eye on the storage room. If one of them are missing it means they're on the move. Oh, and if your test subject is found, she'd be stuffed into a mascot. She won't like it though, as it is filled with, uh, metal and wirings and large leftovers of endoskeletons. Okay, I'll be honest, she'll die in there, in the mascot. So do really be careful."
GLaDOS looked away with a flickering optic. She must be looking through the cameras. Chell tried waving her hand in front of GLaDOS, just to see if she really was switching through the cameras.
Chell stumbled back when the omnipotent supercomputer's large chassis dipped down to its default position. The lights dimmed a great deal before going out completely. The panels also seemed to fall limp and for the first time in Chell's life in Aperture, it was completely silent.
Chell heard a distant growl from somewhere in the facility. Chell jumped on GLaDOS' core and climbed up her chassis. She was going to be killed by GLaDOS if she finds out she was using her as a ladder. But between Freddy stuffing her into a mascot and GLaDOS flooding the room with neurotoxin, she'd rather the supercomputer killing her.
In the darkness, she saw the silhouette of a fox, a large running fox - an automaton. And it was coming after her.
She's done for.