Hunter's Run (#86:Forest)
BtVs and timeline owned by Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. Elements taken/adapted from the Marvel U owned by the parent company and its *many* authors and illustrators.
Written for the TtH100 (Clawed!Slayerverse). Prompt 86:Forest. Word Count: 1,160 Time: Ancient
Fresh scent wafted towards the black-haired man, from deeper within the forest that surrounded the cliff, overlaying the day-old traces of battle.There were six of them, at least
, thought the Hunter as he unsteadily made his way forward, using the trunks for balance. They were breathing so quietly, I didn't notice them before they sprang. Trapper seems to have put up quite a struggle, the dried threads of his webs are everywhere, but without my claws to back him up...
Underneath the thickest canopy of leaves, which would have been dark and shadowy, even in the daytime, Trapper's body lay parallel to the ground, held aloft by his own webbing.
"This isn't right,
" the Hunter said aloud in his native tongue. "Trapper's threads are white and pure. This stuff is grey and still goopy after what must have been hours... Worse, it smells faintly like blood...
He grimaced and stepped closer to his friend's body, noting how it had been suspended with the head back and the sightless, unblinking eyes left wide open. "Peace be to you, my brother,
" he stated solemnly as he reached out and closed the brown-haired man's eyes. "At least this resolves the question of Sineya. She liked my personality the best, but you were always the fairest to her eyes... Those who did this will pay dearly.
As he turned around to see about cutting his friend's body down, Trapper's recently-closed eyelids sprang open, revealing yellow orbs.
Before the black-haired man could turn and investigate the swift movement behind him, sharp and jagged teeth were piercing the flesh of his neck.
*SNIKT* came the Hunter's claws, but only as a reflex action. He was more interested in throwing himself forward, towards the ground, as the heel of his foot and one of his elbows connected with the flesh of the taller man behind him...
The Hunter's upper body barely connected with the leaf-covered ground before he was up again, spinning, his arm cutting an arc through the air, his claws severing the veins in the front part of Trapper's neck...
Trapper sank to his knees, blood oozing from the wound, his face and eyes going back to normal as his hands weakly reached for the gaping tear.
"Oh, my God!
" yelled the Hunter, kneeling, staring at his own claws in horror. "What have I done?
Twin streams of grey goop erupted from Trapper's arms, one covering the Hunter's eyes, the other aimed at his chest. "Don't worry,
" what was left of Trapper growled mockingly. "I don't need those any more.
As the black-haired man's hands instinctively went to wipe the goop out of his eyes, Trapper walked around him, increasing the intensity of his webbing. It dried fast, pinning the Hunter's legs together and holding his arms in place. "Fool,
" Trapper stated, as he planted his foot at the back of his friend's neck and shoved his face into the dirt. "We went though this years ago! Accidents happen from time to time and when they do, you can't let let yourself react
that strongly, or you'll get yourself killed!"
Trapper laughed evilly as he began to pace around the smaller man. "You know, this is a great feeling this power, this control over life and death. I might just let you join me, but you'd probably just betray me in a couple years, so I think I'll just take Sineya and her mom... Maybe, just maybe, I'll keep you alive long enough for you to be her first kill. Wouldn't that be sweet
?" He paused, his back to his victim, waiting for a response.
He received none, so he continued, with genuine feeling: "Oh, sorry. I guess I'll have to peel off some of that web, so you can talk-
" He turned around and his mouth snapped shut with an audible click, because the black-haired man, unable to stand up, had somehow managed to roll away into the bushes. "There is something to be said for shutting up and getting the job done, though...
"You can't hide forever, you know. My own tracking ability has gotten a lot better, now that I don't have to compete with the sound of my own
breathing." Trapper announced as he stalked forward, beginning his search... only to have a sharpened branch pierce the back of his neck, severing his spine.
The Hunter kicked the prone body of his friend over, only to come to the horrible realization that while the brown-haired man was mostly paralyzed his face was in chaos and showed no signs of passing away quietly... The Hunter began to dig into Trapper's chest with his claws, shouting: "Oh, why won't you just die!
After a bit, Trapper's heart was exposed to the air, so his friend reached in and pulled it out with his bare hands. As it left the brown-haired man's chest, both it and the rest of him exploded into a cloud of dust.
Most of it went straight up the black-haired man's nostrils, so he turned around, retching...
After he'd finished throwing up what was left of the vulture, the Hunter stood up and began running through the forest, towards home. His mission would have to wait. There was no way he'd go deeper into the country without back-up, especially with those things
around. They were worse than the fire-breathing thunderbeast he and Trapper had dispatched last year...
His steps slowed momentarily as he thought aloud: "One of those dead things must have known - while he was still alive - about our quest and set a trap for us. This is not of the Good.
Much later, he was within sight of his tribe's ancestral home when he smelled a pungent smell. He skidded to a halt and backed up a few steps, looking for tracks.
There in the distance, towards the scrublands, a few men stood. He could tell by their elaborate costumes that they were the shadowy Elders of his tribe.
He raced towards them, catching a few words about a 'much needed sacrifice' 'one that would have been worth so much to us' 'to our future' before they noticed his presence.
His story spilled from his lips, but he couldn't help noticing how much stronger the strange, acrid smell was now that he was next to the men... It seemed to be coming from a pouch hanging from one of their waists... The one that one of them was reaching into...
"Thank you, my son,
" an Elder said, sadly and regretfully. "Now you have confirmed our worst fear - that one such as you, empowered by a fluke of birth rather then by magic or demon blood, would retain power even after being consumed by the Enemy... Now we have to change our plans.
"We truly are sorry,
" the one with the pouch said as he lifted up his palm and blew the foul-smelling dust into the Hunter's face.
He was so surprised, he didn't even notice the staff aimed for the back of his head until it connected.
In his haste to warn the Elders of his tribe, he had missed the forest for the trees.