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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Hunter and the Hunted.

Submitted: December 10, 2009

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Submitted: December 10, 2009



A pair of wolf-like blue eyes stalked Chris from the shadows, watching his every move, waiting; searching for the opportune moment to pounce. Just in time, Chris noticed them. Swearing at himself, he ducked as a throwing star whistled over his head and embedded itself with a thud in the bark of a maple tree. Knowing he may only have seconds, Chris turned and fled.
Hidden in the shadows still, Julie crouched down, compressing herself like a spring before propelling herself forward, body streamlined, to pursue her prey.
Chris glanced back. His pursuer was closer than he’d thought, and gaining. The stalker was fast, and Chris needed to shake them off. Chris extended his claws and launched himself into the air, grabbed hold of a sturdy branch, and swung himself up on top of it. Switching directions, he ran again, along branches and leaping from tree to tree, loving every minute of the adrenaline rush the chase had brought him.
In the topmost boughs of a tall oak, he paused and listened for the sounds of pursuit. He heard none. Leaping off the branch he was sitting on, Chris flexed his thick, strong claws and dug them into the bark of the tree, letting himself slid to the ground. Four straight cuts ran down the length of the tree where he’d slid. He landed in a crouch, straightened up and began to walk away, satisfied by his escape, when three shuriken screamed by him. Two just grazed his cheek and upper arm, but the third hit him in the back and buried one of its tips into his flesh. Chris ripped it out, grimacing at the pain, and turned to see a tall, slender someone emerging from the trees. A female. 
She, like Chris, was masked. A formed strip of latex covered her eyes, nose and cheekbones, concealing her features but for her lips, full and pink as Chris could see in the moonlight. He could still see the blue glimmer and glow of her old-eyes through the eye slits of the mask. Had he seen those eyes before this? Her hair fell just below her shoulders; choppy, wind-blown and black as the night.
“Nice trick,” she said, her voice flowing smoothly as silk ribbons over her tongue and past her lips. The voice, like the eyes, seemed familiar to Chris. From… where? But the moonlight and thrill of chase distorted his memory, and he couldn’t place either the voice or the eyes. 
“You’re good,” Chris said, trying not to gape. “Huntress.”
The female warrior shook her head in disdain.
“If that’s all you can think to say,” she said.
She pulled a dagger out of a sheath that was strapped around her thigh. Chris noticed another one on her other thigh, and her belt: bristling with shuriken. She stepped back into a fighting stance, ninja-style. She was a Hunter, alright; smart, agile and smooth, good with weapons. But there was something different about her, still, Chris thought. She was better than most… and something else. 
He shrugged off the thought, and crouched down into a cat-like stance. Mai like Chris didn’t use weapons; they didn’t need to. A throwing star became superfluous when one could see in the dark and jump buildings like a superhero.
Chris growled deep in his throat. The sound was low, guttural, and menacing; it was in no way human. Then the Huntress drew three shuriken and held them at her fingertips, ready to throw. For a moment the two of them circled, eyes locked together, trying to find a weakness to exploit. 
Suddenly two of the shuriken flew from the Huntress’s hand, heading directly at Chris- or where Chris had been. He was already under them, and the next thing the Huntress knew two punches had collided with her face and there were four neat rips across the chest of her black leather top, beginning to bleed. She whirled around just in time to catch the kick that Chris threw up. It didn’t hurt her, but she was thrown into the air and landed a considerable distance from where she had been. Rising quickly, expecting an immediate attack, she threw her third star. It missed Chris, who dove out of the way and charged the Huntress.
Julie held up her arms to ward off the impending blow, knowing that the gesture was useless, foolish, and most likely her opponent found it greatly amusing. They both knew it was the end of her. But instead of delivering the fatal strike, the Mai cat faked to the left of her, jumped over to the right and swiped at her face, then ran. There was a scratch on her face and her mask had been pulled off, but other than that, Julie was fine.
Watching her male adversary retreat further into the forest, Julie sighed with relief. Falling to her knees once the Mai’s back was no longer visible, she closed her eye and tried to imagine her fortune. It was unnatural, really. What was with that cat? Stupid Mai. His laid back manner became immediately awkward when he realized she was a girl, and reminded her of someone… who? But the moonlight and thrill of chase distorted her memory and she couldn’t name the person who the Mai cat reminded her of. 
Chris had been fully intending to kill the Huntress; these struggles were almost always to the death because rarely could either the Mai of the Hunter escape the other. He had planned on it, on how he would do it. But he couldn’t carry through. He had imagined her throat torn and bloody, but couldn’t sink his claws into her flesh. It was that thing that he could see in her eyes, her voice, and how she moved. Like he knew her. And he hadn’t been able to bring himself to kill her.
Julie didn’t want to go after this animal anymore. She didn’t want to kill him. But she knew that she had to, if she didn’t want to be disgraced, didn’t want to become the hunted one. If she didn’t kill the Mai, her own people would kill her as a traitor. So, grudgingly, she got up and sprinted into the trees to resume the chase.
The forest’s silence reverberated around Chris’s ears. This was all just too strange. He ran forward, tension turning his whole body into a spring, and completed a cartwheel, round-off and three back handsprings in an effort to relax a bit, landing like a gymnast twenty feet away from he’d been. Then he heard a twig snap. A deliberate SNAP.
“Cool moves.”
Uh oh.
Chris whirled around, but it was too late. The Huntress was only feet away, and as soon as Chris turned she sprung at him and thrust her dagger into his stomach right up to the hilt and twisted. He gasped and stared down at the blade protruding from his body, the Huntress’s slim fingers still gripping the handle.
For a moment they just stood, the Huntress looking to the stars, and Chris staring at his own stomach. Suddenly Chris’s legs weakened and gave way under him. He could feel the rest of his body follow suit and begin to shut down. Feeling the movement, the Huntress looked down at the Mai.
Knowing his time had come, Chris looked up into the face of his killer- and into the blue wolf-eyes of his sister.

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