The Theft

She was in the habit of stealing.

Seriously, how else could a prey survive without occasionally lifting food from the Hunters? And then there was the whole issue of clothing. Well, not really clothing, since they weren’t allowed any. But the material for bangles and necklaces and little strips of cloth that she wrapped around her waist didn’t grow on trees. So she learned to steal from the men in the village and in the camps.

She made her way to the village now, to one of her favorite cabins to visit. Pausing next to the cabin, she pressed her ear to the side to make sure no one was inside. Satisfied that the cabin was empty, she climbed in through the unlocked window and grinned wide as she perused the fresh stock of goods in one corner.

First, an apple was snagged, and she took a healthy bite out of it before taking a basket and setting it on the floor, planning to fill it up with all manner of goodies. Still munching on the apple, she added bananas and chocolate to the basket, then tossed in some beads. No doubt the Hunter had been planning to bribe some prey into having sex with him, because he surely couldn’t shoot.

Once the basket was loaded, she picked it up and headed back towards the window. But on the way, she spied a tube sitting on the bedside table. She leaned in close to look at it and, deciding it looked interesting, added it to her stash of stolen stuff. She then climbed through the window and hurried away to her little hiding spot among the trees.

Settling on the grass carpet, she glanced up at the limb-ed canopy that covered her “home,” the place where she hid and ate and slept. She reached into the basket, intending to put things away in the hollow of the nearest tree, when her fingers wrapped around the tube. She pulled it out and unscrewed the lid, lifting it to her nose to smell it.

“Oooh,” she moaned softly, as whatever was in the tube smelled divine. It surely must be something to eat, she thought, since it smelled like fruit and candy. She squirted some of the substance onto her fingers and then licked it off. Almost immediately afterwards, she noticed that her fingers were burning.

It wasn’t a totally unpleasant sensation, but it was definitely odd. Her brow wrinkled over it, and then she realized — her tongue was burning too! And this was most definitely unpleasant! She hurriedly drank some water, which didn’t help, then jumped up to run to the Healer’s hut. She tried to tell the Healer what was wrong, but it was hard to do with a swollen tongue.

Meanwhile, across the island in the village, a Hunter in his cabin called out to his owned prey. “Girl, have you seen that intensifying lube I used on you last night?”

 

 

 

 

Matari the Traveler, Part Two

He stepped into the doorway of the tavern and stared, slack jawed and awed. The most beautiful women he had ever seen were everywhere — serving drinks, dancing on tables, sitting in laps. Some men were lined up with women in tow, apparently to register them.

A burly blond Hunter hurried into the tavern and rudely bumped against Matari. He turned and sneered. “Watch where you are going!” Even though the other man was the one at fault, it was clear by his balled up fists that he was ready to fight at the slightest reason. Matari stared at him, until the other man visibly blanched and hurried away. If that Hunter had been born with a tail, it would have been tucked between his legs.

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Hunter for Hire

She trotted near the man on the hill, stopping close enough that he would hear her, but far enough that he couldn’t grab her suddenly.

“H-hunter… d-don’t ssshoot…” She spoke clearly, though her words trembled with the fear that filled her body, very aware of what the man could and would do to her if he caught her.

The man turned, and it seemed as though his hand inadvertently reached for his bow, though perhaps it was just her nervousness that made it seem so. The surprised lift of his brow, however, was not her imagination.

“Yes?” he said in a rich baritone voice, the sound of which sent shivers down her spine. Still, she would do this. She straightened.

“I’ve a bargain to strike with you, Hunter.”

“Oh? And what is that, prey?”

“I wish you to kill my owner.”

The man stared at her in shock, the widening of his eyes pronounced in the darkness of his face. Then suddenly, he threw his head back, ripples of laughter rumbling free.

She stood, hands on her hips, glaring at the man. Really, this was no laughing matter. Finally, he seemed empty of laughter and looked down at her with curiosity shining from his eyes.

“And why do you wish your owner dead, girl?”

She sneered. “Isn’t it enough that the man dared to lay claim to me?” Anger welled in her, threatening to choke her. She breathed in… and out… trying to calm herself. Such haughty behavior would not get her what she wished.

She spoke once more. “I don’t know the man. He registered me, and I’ve not seen him since. If I am forced into being owned, I prefer someone who would at least care to feed me.”

That part was true at least. Food was sometimes hard to come by in the fields. Although… she would gladly go hungry rather than be owned by some man.

The nearby Hunter stroked his short beard as he regarded her with great amusement. “And what do I get in return for this act?”

She sucked in a breath, hand dropping to her belly to stroke over the rounded curve, stating simply, “My womb.”

The man stared at her, and she continued. “I will come to you, willingly, when I am next fertile.”

He smiled, as though that idea had some merit to him. He shifted, and the movement caused her to draw back slightly in alarm. His next words did nothing to soothe her.

“What if I kill him and register you for myself?”

She drew herself to her full height, which — granted — wasn’t much, and tossed her head haughtily before narrowing her eyes at the man.

“I would make your life a living hell, and make sure that anyone but you gave me a child.”

He believed her, but her threat didn’t scare him. He was a good hunter. Still, she intrigued him, and he knew the product of their union would be a fine child.

“You have a deal. I will kill him.”