chapter 1They say that civilization is only two meals away from anarchy. You never believed it, but when the power went out, and didn't come back on, everything changed. The two rabbits slung over your shoulder will mean your father and sister will eat this week. It was hard to adjust from farm-girl to survivor and huntress, but you've become good at sneaking into the private woods at night and bow-hunting. Over the months you've become fast, quiet, and lean.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a sound. The forrest at night is full of sounds, but this one is wrong somehow. You stop, perfectly still, not even breathing, listening for the telltale noises of a gamekeeper. Moments pass, and you relax. Letting out a deep sigh you resume your light run towards the boundary fence. Only 200 feet to go and you'll be safe.
You feel it before you hear it, a sting in your right thigh. Panicking, you drop to the ground, praying it is an unseen bramble or an insect. Your heart sinks as you look down and see the dart stuck deep in your muscle. "Shit." You mouth, grimacing as you pull it out, then stand, still hoping to make it to the fence.
You curse again as your leg crumples under your weight. You fall awkwardly, but feel no pain. Realizing that the tranquilizer has already started to take hold you try to crawl, but you collapse into the mud as as you feel the sharp pinch of another dart hitting you, this time in your buttocks.
Your mind swims, and you curse your luck. So many times you've made this trip, every time you've been fast, quiet, and lucky enough. Not this time. You feel strong arms turn you over onto your back, and look up, confused to see what looks like a wolf bending over your helpless body, frisking you for weapons or valuables.
The creature stands, and you see that it is not a wolf, but a burly man. He wears a wolf's pelt over his shoulders like a cloak, the skin of a wolf, teeth and all, over his head like a cowl. He pushes it back, admiring you triumphantly. You try to concentrate, to think, or run, but your limbs are paralyzed and don't respond.
"Please!" You start to babble. "Please, I'm sorry! Take the rabbits - take everything! Please let me go!" He smiles, not unkindly, and the idea pops into your fevered brain that he is attractive, in a rugged way. You push that thought away, returning to your pleas for mercy.
"Little one." He says, interrupting you. "I will take the rabbits. But I will also take you. You think it is acceptable to take our food when we too are in need? Your theft carries consequences. You will make restitution." He smiles, and your head swims once more, your vision turning to darkness.
4 chapters, created 7 years , updated 7 years
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