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    IkeNeko
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The Hunt - 1. The Hunt

“Run!”

The command followed by the crack of a whip broke the quiet of the sticky night air. He didn’t wait for the sting to reach his exposed skin. The brand of silver still burned his neck and wrists, his rage barely contained under the indifferent surface, now that the shackles were removed.

The black wall of the forest rose before him, but he was not afraid. Not yet. Whatever lurked in the woods, he was the predator. At least until they came. But it would be soon. The cleansing ritual rarely took more than one standard hourglass. He could easily imagine the hunters gathered in the temple, meditating. During the last hunt he had been one of them.

The trees welcomed him in the damp mossy darkness at their feet. The low hanging branches lashed his naked body and sharp rocks cut into his feet, but he couldn’t stop. He had to get to the river before the last grain of sand would fall. That was his only chance. Without slowing down he let the rage pour out and engulf him, his form fluidly shifting, falling onto the front paws without missing a step. His mind sharper now, he took in the life surrounding him - the soothing smell of decaying wood and ferns, the scents and sounds of the smaller creatures scurrying away as the beating of his paws on the ground reached them. He didn’t have to sneak. Not yet. He had to hurry.

The code said they could only send three hunters after him, but he knew they’d send their best. He would have been one of the three, but the last hunt ended his lucky streak.

+++

He had a clear shot at the black beast, but he couldn’t bring himself to release the bolt. The green eyes hypnotized him, the fellowship he felt with the wolf escaping reason. The beast leaped to attack as he stood there frozen fighting his emotions. The wolf could have easily killed him, but he didn’t. The beast’s fangs closed on his shoulder, leaving barely puncture wounds licked with affection that should probably have been reserved for pack members, not hunters. The creature sniffed him, staring into his eyes, before it turned around and disappeared into the night. And he had just lain there on the carpet of damp fallen leaves, unable to shake the bond he felt with the black wolf. He had been tainted. He would be hunted. But he didn’t even care. All he could think about was the black wolf...

+++

That was one month ago. The eagerness with which his body accepted the transformation surprised him. He had never seen anyone turning with such ease. It was almost as if he was destined to be a werewolf, as if his body was just waiting for that… But first he had to survive the hunt. And there was only one way to do it… become a hunter himself once again.

He heard the soothing murmur of water and soon the river appeared, the current meandering lazily between fallen tree trunks. Without stopping, he jumped in and started swimming upstream. Fighting against the flow was hard but he didn’t have to get far. He just needed them to think he swam across. He played different scenarios in his mind. Would they come together or would they separate to cover more ground or to avoid sharing the glory of the trophy with the others? Hunter’s pride could work to his advantage but he didn’t hold his hopes high. The elders would surely tell them it was safer to stick together this time.

He was just about to get out of the water when he heard the call of the horn. So it started…

He got out to the shallows near the bank and shook his fur dry. Making sure to only step on rocky surfaces or beds of fallen needles he slowly walked around and back towards the place where his trail ended at the river, making sure he had the wind on his side. He didn’t have to hurry anymore. They’d come to him.

The hunting fever slowly spilled all over his body, the rush of adrenaline making his senses even more alert, soaking his muscles and mind and binding them together into a perfect killing machine.

He moved more stealthily the closer he got, creeping low and hiding in the shadows, waiting. Soon he heard some rustling too rhythmical to be the voice of the breeze. His ears twitched as he focused all his attention on the sound - light steps barely touching the ground; and another, a little heavier set. One elf and one human then?

He listened for a tense moment longer but he heard nothing more. So the third hunter was not with them. He would have to find him later or draw him here. For now he had these two to worry about. It could prove too much already anyway. And he had to kill the elf first before he’d lose his resolve.

He lay in wait, hidden in the shadow of the low hanging branches of a fir, holding his breath. The tension almost made his muscles burst, his own heartbeat deafening as he tried to focus on the approaching sounds of the steps. The sharp scent of metal preceded the hunters. Inhaling the hateful stench made him almost lose control, but he held himself in place by a thread, the anticipation of the hunt spiking the fur on his back. Finally he saw them passing below, following the tracks he left for them.

His body burst into motion, leaping down, aiming for the elf. They noticed him at the last second, but it was too late. He made sure his side slammed into the human, knocking him off balance, as his front paws pinned the elf to the ground. Letting his instinct loose, he watched his jaws tearing at the hunter’s throat, ripping a chunk of flesh in the fountain of blood. The sweet scent and taste overpowered his senses, the rage and hatred pouring free all over his mind. He wanted to tear the hunter’s body to shreds. But he had to control himself. He was not done yet. There was another threat behind him.

Turning around, he snarled and spat out the elf meat. The human was just scrambling to his feet, trying to steady his crossbow. The stench of fear filled the air, as the click of the trigger announced his demise. He forced his body to dive to the side in a clumsy attempt to avoid the silver bolt, as a huge black shape sprang up from nowhere. The hunter’s body fell with a heavy thud, the released bolt hitting a tree. The black wolf? How had he not smelled another of his kind nearby? Did the black beast follow him downwind?

The crunch of the crushed throat broke the silence and the bloody muzzle turned towards him, the green eyes bearing an intensity that made him reluctantly step back and lower his head. The odour of blood was overwhelming but he could still smell the other wolf - wild strawberries bathed in the sun were the strongest note. He was drawn to the smell like a moth to the light. He had no doubts anymore. It was the same beast that turned him a month ago and he wanted nothing more than to be close to the black werewolf. Always.

A soft whimper escaped him. The black wolf huffed and approached him slowly, cautiously. There was no malicious intent in the movements, but a part of him wanted to back off or fight, years of conditioning still holding his mind hostage. The other part wanted to lick the black muzzle and rub his body against the black fur. The conflict still remained unresolved, as the other werewolf’s body rippled and blurred into a naked elf crouching in front of him. The intense green eyes still stared at him, the long raven-black hair the only memory of the rich black fur, the warmth of the honey coloured skin inviting him to touch it.

“Shift back. We need to talk.” The deep soothing voice melted the conflict inside him.

He visualised his elven body and nudged his wolf to give him back full control. The change was almost painless for him. Nothing like what he was always told. Or maybe that was all propaganda to make sure nobody would want to become a werewolf?

He stood up and the other elf mirrored his movement. They were roughly the same height and built, both their bodies covered with webs of scars, his skin just a tone lighter.

“There is one more hunter…” His voice came out raspy. He wanted to reach out and caress that honey coloured skin. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply, trying to control himself. What the fuck was happening to him?

The black-haired elf studied him, lips curled into an impish smile, as if he knew exactly what kind of fight was happening in his mind right now. 

“The others took care of him. Or will soon. You are free.” His voice carried comfort and reassurance.

“The others?” He was confused. Who was the werewolf talking about?

The green-eyes smiled as the elf closed the distance between them and stroked his cheek gently.

“My pack. We hunt the hunters.”

“Hunt the hunters…?” He tried to wrap his mind around the idea. “But… a month ago… you didn’t kill me?”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have left you like that.” The black-haired elf let his fingers brush ever so lightly along the line the silver collar burned around his neck. “I couldn’t take you against your will and you were not ready to accept me at the time. I think now you are, though…?” The green eyes gazed at him searchingly as the elf leaned closer, their lips now almost touching.

He suddenly understood and gave in to the feelings that he was fighting since the black wolf appeared to save him. Yes! He was ready.

He closed the final gap between them, pressing his body against the werewolf and letting their lips meet, as he wrapped his arms around the honey-skinned elf.

The black werewolf claimed his mouth hungrily, almost crushing his body in his embrace. He was clearly the prey now and he accepted that. He felt the clear sign of how much he was desired rubbing against him, his own arousal clouding his mind.

After a moment he pulled away just enough to meet the green eyes burning with lust, trying to calm down his breath.

“I am ready,” he panted. “Please let me hunt with you.”

A short story I wrote as a tribute to @Yeoldebard who made me join this website and come back to both reading and writing.

It was most directly inspired by her story Wolf Pack.

Before I met her I wasn't even interested in werewolves (and many other things I won't even try listing here). Anyway, this is just a little token of my gratitude.

* * *

This story was also loosely inspired by the song VNV Nation - Retaliate.

Copyright © 2021 IkeNeko; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

On 11/24/2021 at 2:15 AM, chris191070 said:

A great story.

Thank you very much. It means a lot to a beginner like me. 

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On 11/24/2021 at 8:02 AM, Tsukihana said:

A brilliant and moving debut story. I love it ❤️

Thank you for your comment and most of all for reading it ❤️

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On 11/24/2021 at 1:17 PM, VBlew said:

Great short story.

Thank you very much for both reading and commenting. 

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