Complete Old Hunted

This is, apparently the most complete of the old version of the Hunted, but the dates don't line up. The documents for this are marked from May 2009? So I guess this is even before when I thought. 


He groaned as he woke up, his entire body aching. His mind sluggishly searched for any memory of where he was or what had happened, there was nothing. He cracked his eyes open, forcing himself the wake up. The dim light in the room was almost blinding to his unadjusted eyes; he quickly shut them again.

The pungent odor of feces, spoiled meat and stale blood filled his nostrils as he inhaled and he gagged.

As he shifted he noticed he was in a corner, his arms cradling something. The rhythmic sound of breathing and feeling of warmth pressed against him told him it was living.

He slowly opened his eyes again, squinting. He found that a woman was curled in his lap. Her brown hair was matted to her head, something dark and sticky was drying into it. From what he could see of her body she was nearly naked, covered in dirt, cuts and bruises. Something he couldn’t identify was clinging to her skin.

He inhaled sharply when he realized that they both covered in blood and bits of flesh. His eyes darted around the room, flitting across the seven corpses scattered around the room. Two looked as if they had been attacked by an animal, their chests were torn open, organs and bone spilled on the floor.

Three of the others were missing their heads, though one still had most of its bottom jaw attached. The spattering of blood, bone and grey matter on the ceiling suggested a gunshot.

The last two were almost unrecognizable as people; their bodies were mangled and broken, skulls crushed inward, necks turned at unnatural angles. Shards of bone jutted from their arms and legs, their chests caved in. It took every ounce of will power for him to not scream, but, he couldn’t prevent himself from vomiting.

His retching woke the woman still in his arms, she struggled, pushing against his chest and stomach, hitting him. Her mouth was open as if she was screaming and she pushed his arms away, rolling off him. The woman scrambled backward, not looking away from him. Her hand brushed against one of the corpses, her head whipped around and she fell backward, mouth still open but no sound issuing.

The woman crawled back until she was huddled in the opposite corner from him. Her head darted around the room, her eyes wide, breathing rapidly. She stopped looking around and stared directly at him, she moved against the walls behind her more, instinctively trying for as much distance from him as possible.

“Where am I?” His voice was a harsh rasp, he could taste the coppery tang of blood from his throat. “Hell, I’ll settle for who I am.”

She didn’t reply, only stared at him, eyes filled with terror. Her mouth opened and closed again and again, but no words came out. She continued to stare at him, her eyes wide and unblinking.

Suddenly she climbed to her feet, steadying herself against the wall she stumbled out of the room. He could hear her vomit just outside the doorway. After a few more moments he heard her footsteps moving away.

He tried to move but his body refused, only sending fresh jolts of pain through him each time. He pressed himself against the cold stone behind him and closed his eyes, trying to block out the horror that surrounded him. “Please, don’t leave me here,” he rasped.

He listened, hoping she would hear him and come back, there was no sound of footsteps or the door opening.

 

She stumbled into the bathroom; she wiped vomit from her lips, the bitter taste and burn of bile told her she was still alive, still trapped. She scrambled to turn on the shower, her bloody hands slipping on the polished handle. Tearing off the tattered cloth that hung on her body she fell into the bathtub, into the still cold water. For the first time since her nightmare began weeks ago, she allowed herself to think, to register the world around her completely.

She cried silently, tears mixing with the now warm water that beat down on her.

 

The clang of pipes, a loud thump and the sound of running water startled him. He wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep, or how much time had passed since she’d left him, he had no reference for time.

He struggled again, this time managing to pull himself up the wall and onto his feet. Every muscle in his body screamed in protest as he shuffled toward the door, stumbling over bodies and slipping on gore.

He fell as he came through the door way, his chest connecting with the wooden railing in front of him, torturing his abused ribs. The man stopped and looked around, catching his breath and taking in the first view of anything outside of the room of blood. He looked over the railing, to the floor below. The first thing he noticed was that a large section of one wall was missing, the landscape beyond was obscured by smoke, and the silhouettes of other buildings.

The interior of the house was the same as the other room, the walls stained and full of holes, missing floorboards, piles of debris and dirt were everywhere. A gust of wind kicked up a small dust cloud and chilled the patches of wet blood that still covered him, snapping him out of his trance.

He found the door to the bathroom, leaning against it, “Are you in there? Are you okay?” He couldn’t explain his desire to make sure she was safe, there was no reason for him to care at all.

He opened the door after a few moments of silence. Steam filled his nose and vision, the sound of running water came from the other end of the small room; he closed his eyes for a moment, taking in the first moment of peace he’d known. He was roused from it when he heard a quiet, choking sob from the tub.

Tentatively he pulled the curtain back, she sat on the floor, her head between her knees, hugging herself, crying. “A-are you-”

He sat on the edge, unsure of what to say or do. As the water ran over her and the gore washed away he could see the real extent of her injuries. Gashes and bruises covered her body, finger marks dotted her neck, rope burns circled her wrists and ankles, her lips were split, the bottom one swollen. “God.”

He moved a bit closer to her, letting the water wash away the blood from his right hand, letting him see the shard of bone that jutted from his middle knuckle. He pulled it out after a few moments’ inspection, satisfied it wasn’t his own.

“Here, let’s get you cleaned up, okay? It’ll only take a minute, and then we’ll be done.” The only acknowledgement that he received from her was her slowly standing up. He filled a small tin bucket and handed it to her, which she promptly poured over her head.

Wordlessly they repeated this until she had rid herself of most of the blood. He asked, “What’s happening out there?”

She seemed startled by his voice, she pressed herself against the wall behind her, trying to get away from him and coating her back in blood again. He started to reach out to her, but stopped himself, “I won’t hurt you. What’s your name?”

She didn’t reply, watching every movement he made. He sighed and turned away, intending to search the house for any clues as to whom he was and what was happening.

He heard her shift behind him, then a stuttering squeal; he looked back to find her writing on the tile, her fingers making sloppy letters in the blood and water. ‘Abbie.’

“Is that your name?”

She nodded, then smeared it away, writing the words, ‘Thank you’ in its place.

He leaned against the counter, feeling it give a little under his weight, “What for?”

She shook her head, shuddering. Her legs gave out and she collapsed into the tub, her entire body shaking, teeth chattering.

He rinsed his hands the best he could and reached out, letting his hand rest on her shoulder. She cringed as if he’d hit her, “Here, let’s get you out of there, the water is cold.”

She pushed his hand away and sank down as far as she could, “Please, Abbie?”

She looked at him, a brief flash of happiness coming over her face, just for a moment. She reached up, smearing the blood again, ‘Who are you?’

“I, uh, I don’t know. Do you know how I got here, like, uh, this?” He had the suddenly realization that he was still very naked and covered in blood.

‘Them.’ She shuddered again, her face becoming emotionless.

He stifled a groan as pain shot up his back, “It’s okay, I won’t hurt you. Can, I, uh, get you some clothes?”

She looked away from him, trying to cover herself. He stumbled out of the bathroom, coming to another bedroom, the door was missing, the frame cracked. He searched through the closet and took the things that seemed to be in the best condition, a green shirt and skirt, both were torn and full of holes, but would at least give her some modesty.

He searched for something for himself, only finding an old, stained shirt on the floor and a pair of slacks.

He looked at himself as he passed a cracked mirror. A strange realization came over him as he saw himself for the first time, covered in blood and gore he looked almost animalistic; even his teeth were stained with blood.

His black hair was matted to his head, some areas still slick with blood, others dried. He looked as if he hadn’t shaved in weeks.

The man in the mirror was him, but still just as much a stranger as Abbie, more so even, at least she had a name.

The sound of the water turning off brought him out of his thoughts. He returned to the bathroom, Abbie stood in the tub, shivering. He handed the clothes to her and turned away, “Uh, sorry if I got something wrong.”

She stepped from the tub and shook her head. She took the clothes and slowly pulled them on, watching him the entire time. She smeared, ‘Remember nothing?’ into the bit of blood that hadn’t been washed away.

He shook his head, “Nothing. I don’t even-” he stopped and stared at the crook of his elbow. Her eyes followed his, landing on a scar in the shape of the number two hundred sixteen. The lines were jagged, as if they’d been scratched into him. “What the hell is that?”

‘Name?’

He shrugged, “I guess, for now at least. Uh, I, uh, I need to wash this off.”

He assumed that she would have left the room when he got into the shower, but she didn’t; she just watched him, her face blank. “A-are you okay, Abbie?”

She jumped slightly, looking around the room, confused. She left the room silently, still looking dazed.

He turned on the water, hoping there would be at least some warmth. His breath hissed out of him as the cold water hit him. It ran over the cuts that covered his body, sending shocks through him. He noticed that most of them were small, only the ones on his hands and sides of his arms were more than scratches.

            After he was finished washing and getting dressed he went to look for her. He found the woman curled in a ball on a mattress in the room he’d gotten the clothes from. “Abbie?”

She jumped, whirling around, a small knife in her hand. Her eyes were wide, her chest rising and falling rapidly. She stared at him for a few moments, unmoving. “I’ll stay over here, okay? I won’t hurt you, I just want to figure out what’s going on.”

He sat down just inside the door, showing her his hands, “See?” She lowered the knife but continued to watch him. “Do you know how I got here?”

She shook her head, he sighed and leaned back, looking up at the cracked ceiling. He listened to the silence around them, it was broken by the far off staccato of gunfire. “What’s happening, out there I mean?”

‘Great War. Invaded weeks ago.’

“Is it safe to stay here?”

She nodded, ‘Now. They won’t look here.’

They sat in silence, Abbie still watching his every move. After a while she looked like she was beginning to doze off, her eyes half closed, head nodding, “Do you, uh, want me to leave?”

Her eyes snapped open, she shook her head emphatically, terrified. Her hand shook as she scratched, ‘Please stay.’ The knife snapped as she finished the last letter, cutting into her hand.

She stared at the blood for a moment, almost curiously. “Are you okay?” He was next to her before she could react, already tearing a strip from the bottom of his shirt.

She pulled away when he reached for her hand, slapping him. He ignored the stinging, bloody handprint on his face and slipped the strip of cloth around her hand, “I’m just trying to help.”

Tentatively she let him finish wrapping her hand, wincing a few times. Afterward he wiped the blood from his face. She looked from her hand, to him, then back to her hand, without warning she burst into tears, sobbing silently.

Abbie turned away from him, her undamaged hand hitting the wall. She pushed her index finger into the soft plaster, scratching the word ‘Safe.’

Without warning she lunged at him, wrapping her arms around his waist, burying her face in his shoulder.

He froze, unable to think of what to do. Would she be more upset if he touched her, or if he didn’t? What was he supposed to do? He knew she had been through hell, he could tell that from her condition now, but other than that he knew nothing about her.

Finally, after a few moments of thinking, he put one arm around her. “I won’t hurt you, I promise.” He waited for a reply, but got none. He looked down at her and found her sleeping, her arms still tight around him.

He put her back onto the old mattress, covering her with a stained blanket. Silently he moved back to the doorway, determined not to let anything else happen to her.

 

Weeks passed and the two slowly began to trust each other. Abbie was still skittish around him, he would still catch her watching him from time to time. She still would black out and forget what she was doing as well, which worried him.

They did what they could to survive, gathering slightly better clothes and food from the areas of the city that they could move through without being seen. The man also stripped the bodies of all their weapons and usable supplies, arming them.

He’d met few others in the city, small groups that they traded with when they could.

 

“Abbie, hey, wake up. When did you say the next vent release was?”

The woman’s head snapped up, looking around frantically. She settled after a second; she scribbled in a notebook that he scavenged from a house nearby, ‘Two more days.’ Her fingers were black, stained by the ink from the fountain pen he’d brought for her.

“Are you sure that we shouldn’t move? I’ve been hearing the sirens more lately, a lot more people are getting out as well. Anna and Thomas are gone, I went to check on them earlier.” He sat down next to her, laying a few more homemade blankets over her.

She shifted closer to him, still half asleep and pressed her head against his chest, sloppily writing, ‘Where would we go?’

He opened and closed his mouth a few times, unable to speak. Being physically close to her was still awkward. “I don’t know, doesn’t matter as long as it’s somewhere else, right?”

She was asleep again before she could reply. He reached behind her and turned the small kerosene lamp off, sending them into darkness.

 

Abby woke as the sun poured through the dilapidated roof. She opened her eyes to meet the white fabric of his shirt. One of her arms was around his neck, the other around his torso, his arms around her. She moved away as quickly as she could.

The man woke up with a start, sitting bolt upright. “Where?” She gave him a questioning look. “No one’s here?” A shake of her head was her reply. “Then why did you wake me up?”

Abbie looked away, her blush deepening. “What?” He rubbed an eye and flexed one of his hands that had gone numb.

She shrugged and shook her head, quickly writing, ‘Nothing.’

He shrugged and shifted a bit, getting comfortable. “Well, wake me up if there’s something wrong.”

She nodded and wrote, ‘Thank you.’

He cracked one eye open and read the cloth, “For what?”

‘Protecting me.’

“This again? I honestly don’t remember doing it. The thought of fighting actually terrifies me.”

‘You’re still here.”

“Where else would I go?”

‘You could have left any time, but you’ve stayed.’

He shrugged, “I wouldn’t just leave you here.”

She shifted slightly, moving closer to him again, scribbling the word ‘Safe.’

 

The man was almost asleep when she shook him, frantically pointing to the wall.

“What? Michael? What’s that?”

‘A name, for you. If you want it.’

“Did you just think of it?”

She nodded, the faintest of smiles on her face. ‘I had a dream.’

“Okay.”

She gave him a look as if to ask if he was sure. He nodded, “Why not? I don’t know, well, anything really. I don’t have a name, and since you’re the only person I actually know, it seems like you should name me.

She blushed slightly, then nodded, a definite smile on her lips now.

He grinned back, “Wow, feels good to have a name.” Standing he went over to the map that she had been drawing on the wall over the last two weeks. “I still think we should move. I know, we can’t use the sewers since they’ve been using them as a dump for the oil from the faust and artillery.” He slid his finger along the lines that she had made to represent the sewers, remember her frustration when he laughed at her drawing.

“What about trying to get past the patrols around here,” he said, pointing to an area that was near them, “And heading around the city that way? We’re on the wrong half, if we could make it to the east side, the, uh Eidenbroch district?” He looked at her for confirmation, she nodded.

“Well, if we could make it there we could maybe get out with anyone else who’s leaving. Maybe even get on one of the trains.”

She shook her head and carved, ‘Dogs’ into the plaster near her head.

“Then we either try making it through the city, or risk staying here and being found.”

Abbie shuddered, curling into a ball, scratching the word, ‘Hunters’ into the wall.

“I know, but we don’t really have a choice in the end.” He looked back at the description that she had written next to the map for him after the first time she mentioned them. ‘Abominations’ was all she had been able to write for a while.

‘Children are taught to always fight Hunters, that way they’ll see you as a threat and kill you.’

He had been in shock when he read that, “Why the hell would you want that.”

Abby stayed silent for a while, “If they don’t see you as a threat, they’ll skin you and eat you. They are monsters. They aren’t people anymore.’

He sat down next to her, even thinking about them made her like this. When she described them she didn’t move for nearly two days after. Putting an arm around her shoulders he said, “So, through the city it is?”

‘We’ll die.’

“Like we won’t if we stay here?”

Abby shifted, uncomfortably and shook her head.

“If we go, it’ll be less of a chance for Hunters to find us.” She squeezed her eyes shut, shuddering again, “We’ll get out of here, okay. I’ll make sure of it. Let’s get our things together, we should leave during the vent release tonight.”

 

Hours had gone by and they had barely moved, “There’s no timing on these damn things, are they just shooting to shoot?”

The rolling boom and whistle of falling shells was all they could hear before the explosion. The flash lit up the night for a brief second.

The gigantic boilers that powered the city were buried underground. Once every five days they would release their excess pressure, clouding most of the lower city in steam for hours, making it impossible to see more than shapes and lights through the mist.

They started to make their way down the street, the burned remains of buildings and vehicles gave them enough shelter that they wouldn’t be seen for now, but the further they got the sparser it became.

They hid in the shadow of what had once been a church. “Why are-“

Abby put her hand over Michael’s mouth. She looked around for a moment, listening. She scratched, ‘Hunter’ into the dirt.

He immediately knew what she meant; one was nearby. He looked around but could not see anything. He listened, hearing the screams of a group that had been caught somewhere in the distance, the gunshots that followed. He could hear the crackle and hiss of the flames all around him, the explosions, and the low his of steam coming through the sewers, but nothing else.

Abbie gave him apologetic look for a second, then closed her eyes and touched the wall in front of her with two fingers. For a brief second Michael saw light trace along every line in her hand. Instantly she pulled her hand back and opened her eye, her pupils were dilated, her blue irises almost gone.

She looked around, eyes darting everything, taking everything in. Abbie smiled, “Feels good to be back. Fucking bitch hasn’t let me out in a long time.”

He stared at her, stunned. “Are you okay?”

She grinned at him, licking her lips, “Oh, what do we have here? The little bitch finally got a man? You do look delicious.”

He was in shock; she had never spoken before, let alone spoken like this. “Abbie, what’s wrong?”

Her only reply was to grab his shirt and pull him toward her, pressing her lips to his. “Not now, honey,” she whispered against him, “We’ve got to get away from the Hunter over two blocks down.”

Turning back to the wall, she traced a symbol with her fingers, “Little bitch hasn’t been practicing, this shouldn’t be this tiring.” She traced another glyph, then another; her fingers lightly scraped against the concrete, leaving streaks in the grime. There was a faint glow coming from her hands now, small sparks forming at her fingertips.

Michael watched her, still in shock at the sudden transformation in the woman. Who was this? This wasn’t the sweet, silent girl he’d lived with; there wasn’t a hint of her now. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off, not even turning to look at him. “She’ll explain some time, maybe. No, you don’t have to say anything, I know what you’re thinking. No, I’m not her, well, not completely, the stupid little bitch.”

Finally she stopped drawing, stepping back from the wall. The symbols started to glow, sparks jumping from her fingers to them and back. “Alright, I don’t think she’ll hold up for much more, so, you’ll need to catch her after this.”

Abbie turned toward him, kissed him again and winked, “Oh, believe me big boy, once I have the time, you and I will have some fun, things you wouldn’t even dream of.” Without another word she slapped her hand against the wall behind her, there was a slight hum and sudden flash of blue light. The air around Michael crackled for a moment, then suddenly everything fell silent and dark; too dark to see.

He felt something hit him and remembered Abbie’s words, catching her as she fell. He held her in the dark for the few minutes it took before she stirred, letting out a whispered groan as she tried to sit up. “A-Abbie? Are you okay?”

He couldn’t see anything still, there wasn’t any light in the darkness that surrounded them. She tapped his hand once, telling him that she was okay. “What the hell just happened?”

Two taps, then a hoarse rasp, “I h-had to.”

This wasn’t the same voice he’d heard before, this was just as he’d thought her voice would sound; quiet and soft. “What did you do?”

“I’m s-sorry.” She slumped against him again, unconscious.

He felt around, they were still where they’d been, the dead grass and stone was beneath him still, but he couldn’t see it. He couldn’t smell the stink of oil and fire that was normally present around him. He could still hear though, still hear the sounds of gunfire in the distance, the wind as is went through the broken buildings. “What the hell did you do?” he asked the still unmoving girl.

There was nothing else he could do but huddle together with her, hoping she would wake soon, trying to ignore the constant darkness.

 

The drive from Anor was short, Jessica, Fiona and Ishmael enjoying the time they had to relax. They went their separate ways when they reached the resistance’s main hide out, deep in the Black Spine Mountains. The trio went their separate ways when they returned, each having their own tasks to finish.

 

Fiona was hunched over her desk, face twisted in concentration. A collection of machines surrounded her, ticking, whistling and piping steam into the already hazy room. There was a ding from behind her, smiling she turned to the canister and opened the top. There was a hiss and air rushed out. On a small disc sat a jagged crystal, it gave a slight red-orange glow.

She picked it up carefully, setting it on a cotton pad on her desk, “Okay, here we go.”

She slowly wrapped the white cloth around it, gently placing it into the metal casing, then packing the rest with thermite powder. She capped the end and slid the shell into her ammunition box.

Just as she set the box down the door burst open, “Hey! We’re headin’ to get somethin’ to drink, want to come with us?”

She jumped, nearly knocking the case to the floor; whirling around she glared at Samuel, “You almost just killed us!”

“Experimenting again?” He leaned against the door frame, cocking an eyebrow at her.

Fiona nodded, “Yeah, been trying to get these rounds right. Hoping this one doesn’t blow in the chamber. I don’t have any more spare rifles.”

He scoffed, “What are ya callin’ these ones?”

Grinning, she said, “Firestorms. I had Ishi crystalize some fire for me, packed them in the tip then filled the rest with thermite. Should punch through that armour.”

His eyes darted to the box, a slight look of worry on his face, “That’s not very stable.” He thought for a moment, “I could redesign that old fifty-cal we have, modify it to fire single shot.”

The woman’s eyes lit up, “Please, whenever you have the time.”

He nodded, “Now, about those drinks? Your husband already said he would come.”

She laughed and slid her jacket on, “Alright, let me put these in the safe, don’t want some idiot messing with them.”

 

Sipping whiskey, Fiona leaned against her husband, “Ishmael, baby, can we go on a hunt tomorrow?”

He looked at Jessica, their leader, who nodded. “Yes.”

She tilted her head back and kissed him, “I have the Firestorm-”

“You named these ones too?” Jessica laughed.

“Yes, yes I did. Easier than saying, I-two-one-one-S-A one ninety-seven millimeter round, which these are the third variant I’ve made for them. I’d rather just say Firestorm when I need a new round.”

Jessica was always amazed when Fiona’s knowledge of engineering and gunsmithing shown through her gruff nature. “Very true, well, name them all whatever you like.”

The woman nodded, giving everyone nearby a brief flash of the scars that covered the left side of her head. No one asked her about them, only the people at their table knew the story of how she got them. “So, we’ll leave tomorrow. There’s a village I’d like to visit, just to check on them.”

“Okay.”

There was a moment’s silence before Samuel asked, “So, why do you only ever say one word?”

“Pact.”

“With who?”

“Friend.”

“Someone from before?”

“Yes.”

“Still alive?”

“No.”

“Ah, well, what was the pact for?”

“War.”

Samuel looked confusedly at Jessica, then Fiona, “Any help?”

“He promised he wouldn’t say more than one word at a time until the end of the war.”

Samuel looked at him incredulously, “That may never happen.”

Ishmael nodded, “Yes.”

“You make no sense.”

“Yes.”

Jessica interrupted, “Dad, stop, please.” She turned to Fiona, “Anyway, how long will you two be gone?”

“Three days at the most. The place is just outside of Anor.”

“Alright, we’ll wait to make any moves until you get back. That’ll give me and dad time to finish up the new armours.”

“Oh, how have those been going? Those adjustments I made help?”

Samuel nodded, “Oh yes, quite a lot. I didn’t think of ever having using the heat the drive shaft generated. That increased the pressure enough to get rid of that secondary coil.”

“Good, I was hoping that it would help. Do you think that you’ll have one ready tomorrow? I could give it a field test while we’re out.”

“The first three are ready now.” Samuel grinned.

“Wonderful. We’ll take one and let you know how they’re going. You don’t mind, do you Jess?”

The red head shrugged, “I’d rather they got a bit more testing done, but I guess that’s what you’ll be doing.”

Ishmael shifted slightly, slipping an arm around Fiona, “Sleep.”

“Already?”

“Late.”

She looked at the clock behind them, “Oh, shit, it is. I didn’t realize I’d been working on those all day. Thank you for making those crystals for me, love.”

“Welcome.”

She stood and leaned over the table, hugging Samuel and Jessica, the alcohol taking full affect now. “We’ll see you two later. This boy needs to tire me out a bit before bed.”

Jessica’s face turned red enough to match her hair, “Oh, I, okay. Good night.”

Samuel laughed, “See you in the morning, sweetheart. Try to get a few hours of sleep.”

She let go and turned back to her husband, holding her hand out to him, “Let’s go, suga’.”

 

The next morning, Ishmael, Jessica and Samuel met in the mess hall to discuss how they would deal with a secondary invasion if it came.

“We’ll bring Rose’s girls here, we have enough space t-”

“Ishmael! Get your ass in here now!” Fiona’s voice boomed from the doorway on the other end of the mess hall.

He cringed, Samuel laughed, “Better hurry, you’ve pissed off the dragon lady, again.”

He glared at the engineer, “Quiet.”

Ishmael grabbed his coat from the back of the chair, waved goodbye to Samuel and Jessica and went to see what ‘The Dragon Lady’ wanted this time.

Her office was really a converted armory, which suited her. Her vast collection of fire arms was on display around her, hand guns, rifles, grenade launchers, everything. The mix of tobacco and the acrid smell of gun powder filled the room. “Yes?”

The woman stood, put out her cigarette, took the few steps needed to cross the room, the look on her face signaling that she might slap him. At the last second she smiled, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, “How’re you, suga’? Haven’t seen you all day.”

“Recruits.”

“Oh, baby, forget about them for a bit, please? I wanted to actually do something today. All we’ve done lately is eat, sleep, fuck and train the recruits.” She pressed herself against him, “I want to go hunting, today,” she whispered in his ear.

“Now?”

“Please? Baby hasn’t been out in a while, and I want to so bad.” She ground herself against him.

He sighed, guns, shooting, violence, explosions, all of these things were fetishes of his lovely wife. “Fine.”

She gave a slight purr and kissed him again, “Thank you, suga’.”

“Tomorrow.”

“Alright, I’ll get things packed up, let our fearless leader know.” She kissed him one more time then let him go. Winking, she said “I’ll see you in a bit, don’t be too tired.”

“Love.”

“Love you too, sweetie.”

Ishmael made his way back to his table in the mess hall, Samuel and Jessica gave him quizzical looks. “So, you look like you either got screamed at or had a quickie, and knowing you two, I’m gonna go with the latter.”

“Quiet.”

“What’s wrong Ishi?” Jessica asked. The brown haired woman acted as the base’s mother, though she was one of the youngest there.

“Hunt.”

“After what happened after the last one? I didn’t think she was serious last night.”

Ishmael closed his eyes, pushing the memories away, “Yes.”

“Do you want to go?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, you know I can just deny it and you won’t have to deal with the cleanup.”

“Need.”

Jessica’s brow furrowed, concerned, “If you’re sure, then yes, go. If you’re going to be out anyway, could you look into what’s happening in Anglonus? We haven’t had any traders from there in a while and nothing on the radio either, just a lot of Benghalan chatter.”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to bring anyone with you? Just in case.”

“No.”

“Ren might want to go though, she’s got family there.”

“Sorry.”

“Alright, I’ll make something up if anyone asks.”

“Thanks.”

Samuel slapped his hand on the table, causing Jessica to jump, “Are you ever going to say more than one word at a time?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Unnecessary.”

“How is articulating what you mean unnecessary?”

“Pointless.”

“I hate you, you know that?”

“Mutual.”

The two men stared at each other for a moment then started laughing, “By the fates, I wish I would have known how much trouble you’d be when you came here, would have just shot you.”

“Thanks.”

“Oh, you know he’s kidding, hun. We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything near what we have without you, and you made our lovely master of arms happy too.”

“How long has it been now? Five, six years?” Samuel asked, leaning back in his old wooden chair

“Eight.”

He whistled, “I may die of old age a’fore this war is over.”

 

Fiona sat in the back of the trolley cleaning her assorted guns, a cigarette hanging from her bottom lip. Her favourite, her Baby, was the fifty caliber rifle that stood in its rack next to her seat. She took her coat off, checking to make sure she hadn’t left anything in it from the last hunt. She’d made it herself; the pockets had small loops sewn in so she could keep her extra magazines organized and easy to reach.

The inside of the coat had six holsters for her various pistols and revolvers as well as room for forty-eight extra shells for her scattergun. There was a strip of padding across the back, easing her stress from the weight of her Baby.

She loaded more rounds for her rifle into one satchel, sticks of dynamite and other explosives into another. “How long should we stay out this time, three, four days?” She called up to Ishmael in the front.

“Sure.”

“You okay, suga’?”

“Yes.”

“C’mon, tell me what’s wrong, hun?” She moved up to her seat next to him.

“Jessica.”

“Let me guess, she wanted a favour while we were out?”

“Anglonus.”

“Oh, yeah, I heard they dropped out of contact. Couldn’t have been Banghal though, they’d never come this far in, would they? Anglonus isn’t even a good strategic point either. Maybe they just busted their radio or something.”

“Maybe.”

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