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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

You are part of a group of monster hunters. You don't wield any weapons though. No, you're the bait.

Part of the Under a Grand Cap collection: Shorts and writing prompt exercises under 1000 words.

Submitted: August 13, 2017

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Submitted: August 13, 2017



Writing prompt: You are part of a group of monster hunters. You don't wield any weapons though. No, you're the bait.


I'm the last champion Olympic sprinter, the fastest person alive.

My team consists of a dozen brawlers, hunters of worldly and otherworldly beasts alike, protectors of humankind and nature's equilibrium. We're led by the most famous sniper duo of this quarter-century. We're heavily armed. We're what the nation's worst nightmare was twenty-five years ago, unbridled survivors of the apocalypse.

Not many in the new world remember my name. And those who do interrogate me for hours on end about the old world, about politics, the names of now-extinct species of birds, about subjects I've never had the faintest idea about. I don't give out my name anymore.

The dozen of us are all specialists. We have our snipers and we've got the remnants of an army squadron, trained for battle and precise strategy. We have engineers and veterinarians-turned-field-medics, the core of our defensive team; martial artists and pro boxers now out of retirement and lending their devastating skills. And then we've got me: the fastest person alive.

Everyone's got a weapon, whether it's a gun, a bomb, or another handmade killing machine. Everyone's got at least three coats of armor, and carries another ten pounds of supplies and gear. Everyone, except me.

My team is made up of specialists, and we've adapted a failproof system: set up the deadliest ambush formation to destroy the beasts swiftly and permanently. Ambushes consisting of only a dozen fighters, all weighed down by their worldly possessions, only work with years of strategizing and practice. Expert setup. By an instigator.

Bait. That's me.

I run around and antagonize as many bloodthirsty monstrous beasts as I can, and lead them into the range of our firing squad. It's quick work, and messy business. Those beasts are smarter than you think. It takes coverage from all angles, all ranges, to separate and subdue them, and it takes quick-stepping the speed of light to get out of the way of flying bullets and grenades. No small task, even for the fastest person alive.

A decade of this, and I still haven't died. But I'm human, and humans make mistakes. I trip, I die by grenade or by being crushed to death by the beast felled by it. I falter, I die by bullet through the head. I step right instead of left, and I meet my end by serrated steel blades straight to the chest. It's milliseconds and millimeters that save my teetering life from the fall into the abyss.

Millimeters that cost me today.

I'm not dead, but I may as well be. I live so long as I'm still useful to the cause, and as an aging citizen of the old world, I would have long been disposed of had I not been the exceptional athlete I was. But with age come complications. Complications like slowing down, which I cannot afford.

I would have been just fine if it had been anything other than my legs. My legs are what keep our system spinning. But I jumped left instead of right, and upon realizing my mistake, I tried to correct it. My ankle rolled, I fell to the ground and a bullet whistled over my head, but what it missed it doomed anyway. The beast, felled by that bullet, toppled over onto the bed of rock in front of me. Its weight shifted the stones that made up the ground; one jagged one sliced right through my leg.

We can just make out the bone. A millimeter less and my leg might have been salvageable. An extra millisecond and I might have moved enough out of the way. But my body is old, my running slow, and my healing limited and inefficient.

There's not much to say. Everyone knows. I know too. My sprinting days are over, but I'm still good for one thing.

I hear the roaring of the beasts. They know I'm doomed; they're after me. There are some things only things of other worlds can sense. They're coming for me. I refuse to die panicking. I'm proud of what I've done and who I've been. They're here. I'm the survivors' greatest decoy. I'm the last champion Olympic sprinter,

© Copyright 2018 R. Tally. All rights reserved.

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