(Update; to read the entire story of ‘The Final Hunt’ click here.)
I was nominated to participate in the writing of The Final Hunt with some incredible writers. Susan from Stories From the Edge of Darkness nominated me! I was told to just have fun so I will give it my best shot.
My task is to add to a story originally started by Teresa, the Haunted Wordsmith.
This is the story so far …
Anne and Gladys waved as the men left for their hunt. When they were out of sight, they both laughed knowing full well that none would have the heart to really shoot anything. They liked a boy’s day out as much as they liked a girl’s day in.
“So,” Fred said as they passed the gate into his family’s hunting grounds. “What do you think the girls are up to today?”
Alec laughed. “Talking about us, what else?”
Sam nodded. “Yep.”
As they walked through the fields into the tree line, the dogs’ ears’ picked up. Boy whimpered and cowered close to Fred’s legs. Toby’s fur stood on edge as he stared into the woods and growled.
“Easy there,” Alec said, trying to calm him.
Sam kneeled and unzipped his gun as quietly as possible. Suddenly, both dogs were on alert as a …
small, bespectacled man stepped through the bushes. The dogs were going berserk by now straining at their leashes. It was clear the dogs sensed a danger the men did not see.
The man walking towards them was squinting as he approached as he had the sun in his eyes.
“Good afternoon,” he said as he drew near, “your dogs won’t bite will they? I do have a fear of them.”
Sam stood with his gun in his hands unsure of what he was seeing and hearing. The place they were in was a piece of rugged bushland, no one lived there because it was the family’s hunting grounds and it was considered unsafe to even camp on the land for any reason at all.
Fred was trying his best to hold onto his dog, and Alec held firm on Toby’s collar. Once the small man came within a few feet of the hunting party, they could see…
he was holding something in a plastic bag.
Fred lost his grip and Boy lunged at the man who dropped the bag on the ground and threw his arms up to protect his face.
Fred was afraid they would have to shoot the dog but Boy wasn’t interested in the man at all, just the bag, which he snatched up and obediently brought back to his master.
The little man was shaking with fear as Sam reached out his hand to help him up.
“You realise you’re trespassing don’t you?” he said.
The man straightened his glasses and collected himself.
“I’m sorry about that, but we’d received a repor….”
“We? Who is we? And what are you doing here? You could have been shot!”
Fred had taken the bag out of Boy’s mouth and stared at the contents in disbelief.
“Guys? I think you need to look at this.”
Sam and Alec stepped forward to take a look at what was in the bag. Fred’s hand, clutching the bag, was trembling. The bag contained a severed hand, the digits were shaped like a claw. But it was like no human hand they had ever seen. It was like it belonged to someone very big and skinny.
“Whe…, Ahm….Where did you find this?” Alec uttered the question through vocal cords which were refusing to cooperate. Sam and Fred were looking askance at the stranger. The whole situation had taken on a nightmarish quality.
The man, again made an attempt to introduce himself. “I am Bennett, from The Agency of Alien Detection, TAAD. We received the alien activity signals from this area and a party has been investigating the situation. This is part of the remains we were able to recover. Do you have any information regarding this?”
The three men stared at him with gaping mouth and glazed looks. Who in their right mind would believe this man. But the evidence was in their hands.
Sam took the bag from Fred and was going to examine it closely when…
…when the bag’s contents started moving. The claw-like severed hand was scratching at the plastic bag. Sam dropped it like a hot potato! The boys started to freak out and started to whimper. The spectacled man even stepped back. “Oh my,” Bennett stuttered, “I thought it was, uh, uh, dead!”
Sam kept his gun at the ready. There was no way this “thing” was going to hurt the boys. Bennett fumbled nervously in his pocket to retrieve what looked like a cell phone, but was actually a communicator to the rest of the landing crew. His face seemed to change shape a bit and he started to adjust his hair. Sam looked at the little man with more than just curiosity. Who was this guy, really?
“Do not touch that bag!” Bennett, who was no longer a small, bespectacled, unimposing man, shouted. He had suddenly grown taller. His skin took on a shiny, reddish tone and his hands took on the same claw-like shape of the severed hand in the bag. The three men stepped back and even the two dogs stopped barking and cowered.
“What are you?” Alec asked. “you definitely are not human.”
“No,” Bennett admitted, “I am not. My companion and I were sent here from our home planet to explore your planet. Our mission was peaceful. Our intent was merely to collect air and mineral samples. We intended no harm. But then we encountered a hostile group of creatures who jumped my companion. I’m ashamed to say that I ran for cover, while these creatures devoured my companion. All that was left of him was the hand that I put in the bag. But he is apparently beginning the regeneration process.”
“Creatures? What kind of creatures?” Sam asked.
“Similar to those,” Bennett said, pointing to the two dogs, “but larger and much more viscous.”
“Wolves,” Fred said.
Sam raised his rifle and aimed it at the alien. “Sam, what are you doing?” Alec shouted.
Now over to me:
There was a noise overhead and both Alec and Sam turned sharply to try and identify it’s source; necks craning upwards they searched the sky but there was nothing other than a dense cloud bank.
“Looks like there’s a storm coming” said Alec “Perhaps it was thunder we heard”
He turned to look at Sam who had resumed his position; stock still with his gun aimed at Bennett’s head
“That wasn’t thunder, was it Mr Bennett?” Sam said quietly
“Sam! Please put down your gun, there’s no need for threats, Mr Bennett has explained that he has no beef with us, he’s just doing some research”
Alec was surprised at his friend’s behaviour especially as Boy and Toby were no longer agitated but laying peacefully at their feet. In his experience dogs were far better attuned to sense danger than any human.
“And you believe him do you?” Sam was absolutely rigid and he spoke from the corner of his mouth through clenched teeth as though in mortal terror or suppressed anger, Alec couldn’t be sure which.
“Yes I believe him Sam now put the gun down for God’s sake before some gets hurt”
Alec was becoming genuinely concerned, they were both hunters but he knew from long experience that Sam was not a violent man. He stepped forward to try to placate his friend and persuade him to drop his weapon.= but just then the sky darkened and………..
They were slammed to the ground by a sudden, swirling and violent thrust of downward pressure. The trees bent outwards in futile surrender as they were pelted by leaves and underbrush. The noise was deafening. The dogs, unable to stand, yelped as they crawled towards the outskirts of the clearing. Sam, having lost his tenuous grip on the shotgun, helplessly watched as it was flung beyond his sight. He found himself being tossed around on the forest floor as he tried to find something to hold onto. He cried out to Alec who was frantically hugging the base of a tree at least 20 feet away.
“Alec! What the ever loving f&*k is going on?!” He shouted. As the words left his mouth he knew that the cacophony around him had drowned him out.
Alec, instead of futilely trying to shout over the deafening noise waved his right arm, his left clinging to the tree base, caught Sam’s attention and frantically pointed upwards, jabbing at the forest ceiling.
Suddenly branches and debris began raining down upon them and both men cowered under the onslaught. Sam forced himself to look up. Squinting and covering his eyes with one hand he could see a large object slowly lowering itself into the clearing, effortlessly forcing aside the trees that dared block its descent.
The heat was overwhelming, Sam could only presume it was exhaust.
But from what?
He scrambled to escape the clearing. Alec, with a sudden burst of brevity let go of the tree and did a military crawl to join his friend. Once he reached Sam they locked arms and watched what they could only presume was Bennett’s ride home finish it’s descent.
Ending its descent before touching down, the craft hovered several feet above the ground. The cacophony of sound, which was deafening as the alien ship forced its way into the clearing, was gone. The woods was eerily silent, as if aware of a malignant presence that it did not want to disturb. The symphony of birds, insects, and the other creatures that inhabited the grounds had vanished. Even the sound of water cascading down the brooks and streams that crisscrossed their route could not be detected. If not for the sound of their heavy breathing, Sam and Alec might have thought they were struck deaf.
The air was calm and still, but somehow felt alive, pulsating with a vibration and energy that was palpable. Sam wiped what he thought was perspiration beading the side of his face, and was alarmed when he saw blood on his hands. Turning to his partner, his eyes widened as he witnessed blood seeping from Alec’s ears and nose. Gently elbowing his friend’s bicep to get his attention, Sam pointed to Alec’s face and then his own. As Alec rubbed the space between his nose and upper lip, Sam heard Alec moan “What the hell?”, but Alec’s lips did not move. Confused, Sam hoped this was a nightmare he would soon wake from when he heard Alec respond “This is no nightmare, Sam. Can you hear my thoughts? I sure as hell can hear yours.”
Sam nodded. He didn’t question their sudden telepathic capabilities, instinctively knowing the alien presence somehow enabled it. Perhaps it was best under the circumstances that they could communicate in this manner, and not draw attention to themselves by making noise with their voices.
“We have to get out of here,” Sam heard Alec think, pointing to Sam’s face. The drops of blood from Sam’s ears and nose had developed into a trickle. Sam saw Alec grimace when he felt his own eyes suddenly tear, and knew it wasn’t tears emerging from his eyes.
The men resumed their military crawl to get as far away from this place as they could without being detected. Moving backwards in this fashion so they would not lose sight of what was in front of them, the air around them suddenly became heavy. Their bodies became immobile, seemingly tethered to the leaf covered terrain, as if an invisible lead blanket enveloped them.
“Christ!” Alec heard Sam think, and was about to reply when a sound that was similar to the opening of an enormous vault pierced the silence. As a sliver of blinding light emerged from the ship, Sam reflexively turned his eyes away from it, and saw leaves, wooden debris and a several mice, chipmunks and a handful of other small rodents get sucked towards the ship, as if caught in a vortex of gravity.
The men felt their bodies become caught in that vortex and become involuntarily drawn towards the ship. Fortunately two large oaks were in their path, and stopped their momentum. They shielded their eyes from the light that was no longer an emerging sliver, but a floodlight of sun-like intensity that enveloped the entire scene.
Bennett, who had transformed into his natural form, approached the ship and appeared to be communicating with something neither Sam or Alec could see. Their blood turned cold when Bennett raised his arm, turned his body and extended a long, bony finger from his claw-like hand and pointed in their direction.
“Oh shit!” both men thought in unison.
Overcome by a terror that burned like a live wire beneath their skin, Alec and Sam shut their eyes, wishing themselves away from the horror that roared before them.
Suddenly, the unbearable clamor stopped. Anne and Gladys appeared at the edge of the clearing, their voices drifting gently into their husband’s minds, “Don’t be afraid, they aren’t here for you, but keep your eyes closed”.
Pummeled by shock, but unable to fight his curiosity, Alec opened his eyes.
Gladys stepped from the shadows first, slowly but with confidence. As the light flooded her petite frame, she began to transform. Gracefully, she slipped from her human skin, revealing a body covered entirely by what looked like an armor of glowing red bones. As she unfurled into her full height, stretching claw like fingers into the sky, her long dark hair turned into thick black vines that crept eerily toward her husband’s throat.
Alec gasped as a voice that hummed like a blade against gravel invaded his mind, “I told you to keep your eyes closed”.
Gladys easily maneuvered the thick black vines that used to be her human hair. One coiled around Alec’s neck with the precision of a python encircling its kill. Alec was helplessly pulled towards the ship. Sam watched with horror as Bennet welcomed Gladys at the ship. As Alec was being dragged behind Gladys, Sam knew that Alec would soon be lost.
Sam put his fingers into his mouth and whistled for Toby and Boy. Then he yelled at Fred to release the dogs! Fred, frozen where he sat, had been unable to comprehend what was happening. Fred seemed to awaken as he heard Sam’s voice.
The dogs, once released from their leashes by Fred, responded! They ran greedily towards Sam, eager to begin their hunt. The hysterical cries for help from Alec were savagely burning inside Sam’s mind! Sam’s eyes rolled back into his head as he fell to the ground. Toby and Boy zeroed in on Alec’s cries, jumping on the alien form that was Gladys.
Gladys swung her giant claw hands at the dogs, Toby yelped as the claw dug into his side. Boy went into an angry blur of motion, teeth barred and going for Gladys’ neck. The freakish howl that escaped from the alien form was of pure agony, but Boy finished off his prey with a final shake of his head.
Toby limped back towards Sam…
I invite Gwen, at the Kintsukuroi Life, to contribute to this story! This is just for fun! I can’t wait to see what turns you take with this story!
This is what you need to do next:
1. Copy the story as you receive it.
2. Add to the story in some fashion.
3. Either tag another person to contribute to the story or finish the story yourself.
4. Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
5. Have Fun!