The Hunted

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


A short story written for India Emerald's latest Flash Fiction challenge.

Submitted: September 23, 2017

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Submitted: September 23, 2017

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The Hunted

Things never used to be so chaotic, so violent. I can remember when there were still laws, some order in life. But that is all long gone; those of us left survive anyway we can, living almost hand to mouth from one day to another.

Some people have decided to remain in towns, but these are far from those of the past. Ruined buildings, ruled by the strongest, the toughest, the most callous; there is no sense of community or togetherness. It is a ‘look out for yourself’ existence where the streets are dominated and controlled by gangs of thugs.

Me, I headed out, away from the towns and into the much more sparsely populated wilds. I found myself a deserted building, not much more than a shack; but I’ve worked on it, strengthened it and it’s some kind of home now for Wolf and myself.

Wolf is not a wolf, although he looks like one. He’s been with me since he was a tiny pup but still does not like to give up his freedom. He’ll take it into his head to go shooting off, and as food is scarce, if he goes hunting for something himself it’s got to help with the rations. I don’t try and stop him from wandering, he has to be able to live his own life too.

But there’s one thing that’s worrying me. They come out this way now, more and more, the gangs from the nearest town. Their stocks will be running low and besides, they seem to delight in a bit of ‘sport’. Their prey consists of anything that moves, bird, beast or human.

I got myself a gun years ago, a big old rifle with lots of bullets. And I’ve taught myself to use it. I don’t hunt, I scavenge; and I get by. The rifle is for nothing more than necessity. I can look after myself, but it’s Wolf that I worry about when they come zooming around out here on their quads, letting off shot after shot. I don’t kid myself; I know if they see him they’ll see nothing but prey.

Today they are close. I hear them shooting, and yelling and whooping away. And that damn dog as taken himself off to who knows where. I tried calling him but he doesn’t answer to me, never has and never will. I’m nervous here, hanging round with nothing more than hope and a rifle.

And then there he is; Wolf bolts from out of the trees and heads towards me full-sprint. He’s about halfway there when one of those quads breaks from the cover, roaring after him. I’m going to have to do something or he won’t make it. I take aim with my rifle, wait, wait, then shoot out a tire that puts that quad in a spin and that fool on the ground.

Three more of them come breaking out of the trees, their laughter just makes that grounded guy madder still. There’s pointing and they look at me, aiming their guns in the direction of their eyes. But we know this place, Wolf and I. They want it, they can have it – but this time they’ll be the hunted.

Break,” I say and Wolf runs one way, I take the other. They weren’t expecting it and with the surprise element we reach cover. Now to circle back, out of sight. Slowly, silently. I know Wolf will understand. He’ll be as careful as if he were sneaking up on any other kind of vermin.

They are trying to work out a plan. Maybe they should wait inside rather than try running us to ground? Maybe they’ll get a bit of extra fun with their sport? Hell, they don’t know I girl like me.

One of the quads moves off towards the shack. It’s going too slow for a wheel shot to cause much damage. I aim for the tank and.....whoosh! One’s a goner!

There’s one that’s clearly the leader. They all turn to him for their instructions but they’ve just made him the hunted. I creep around, low to the ground. Watching, waiting. There’s no hurry. He’s in my sight now, take aim and shoot. He’s down and out and the others have bolted.

A victory for us as we are united, Wolf and me. We’ll go through whatever supplies we can find and leave the rest for the carrion to clear up. Hunter, hunted....we’re all one and the same these days.


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