The Hunting: Part 1

October 2, 2009
By , Stilwell, KS
The sound of trumpets blaring, drums beating, and people screaming was almost too much for Ella. She could hear it everywhere; there was no hiding from it. It was coming for Ella, and she knew it.

Woo Hoo! It was a wonderful day for Henry! He loved the wonderful noises blended around him. The hunting had begun.

Ella shivered in her sleep. As soft as it had looked, the pulsating ground in Sharppoint forest was about as comfortable as sleeping on porcupine quills. She gathered some of the nearby berries and popped them into her mouth. They felt like they exploded in her mouth and then the sweet, smooth juice ran down her throat, quenching her thirst and her hunger. This was going to be a long day and she needed the energy. She grabbed her knapsack and stealth fully tiptoed deeper into the darkness and comfort of the forest.

She sneered as she approached the clearing. She wished she could go home but she couldn’t. This was so unfair, and it was all because of the noise. She loved music, but she didn’t like to be hypnotized by it.

Henry was leading the charge, but he was separated from the rest of the group. He was closing in on a clearing. He could see a figure leaning against a tree in the distance. He considered sounding the alarm, but, wow, whoever it was so pretty that he doubted that this could be the “evil one”. She had long blonde hair and her soft face could be seen from miles away. She was tall and muscular, but thin as well. She was wearing a light brown shirt that appeared to be a bit too big for her, and jeans that fit her perfectly. For some strange reason she was carrying a large, grey, knapsack.

Ella could see a boy across the clearing. Was this the one that she was supposed to be meeting? He didn’t look special, wearing simple pants and a plain white shirt. She considered that he could be a hunter, but the always traveled with a group. No, this one was alone. She started walking toward him, acting cool as a cucumber, but on the inside she was tense and ready to run in case she needed to. He didn’t move even when she was about a yard away from him. The silence was unbearable. She wasn’t quite intimidated by him so she broke the silence.

“So, what’s up?”

She knew it was an old and overused way of starting a conversation and it might get her in trouble if this was, in fact, the person that she was supposed to meet. The boy remained silent and her thoughts were so mixed up that she tried to start a conversation again.

“Isn’t it a nice day out today?”

Still the boy remained silent; she began to wonder if he knew how to talk at all.

Henry didn’t know what in the world he was supposed to do. What if this person was dangerous? What if she was the one he was supposed to catch? He finally made the decision to say something.

“Ummm… Hi, I’m Henry”

Apparently, he wasn’t feeling very intelligent today either. Ella just couldn’t stop herself from making a stupid comment back.

“Hi Ummmmhenry, my name’s Ella”
“Sorry, I just meant to say Henry”
“I know”

Henry could see from the beginning that this conversation was not going to go very far if he didn’t change the subject quickly. The only thing that they should both know about was the hunting.

“So are you involved in the hunting this year”

Ella hesitated, this could be a hunter looking for her, and she had to lie to save

“Yeah, I’m a sponsor for uh, Metal Works”
“I didn’t know sponsors get to hang out in the woods with the rest of us”
“I was hanging up advertisements for our new product” She bluffed again.
“Well then I guess I won’t disturb you any longer, bye”

He ran off quickly to join the hunting team that had just passed. So he was a hunter, Ella thought to herself as she returned to the dark side of the clearing.
He was a stupid hunter too.

Henry didn’t believe the whole “I’m a sponsor” thing for one minute. Metal Works was not known for ever being a sponsor type business. They held on to every penny they ever received and never shared with anyone, they were the greediest business on the face of the earth and they didn’t ever spend their money, even on advertizing. They just thought that people would just know who they were, and they did. Everyone remembered when the leader, a man by the name of Dudley, was the winner of the first hunt.

Ella could not believe the irony of the lie she had just conjured. Metal Works? Was that the best idea she could come up with? Maybe she was hypnotized, all this confusion was making her brain hurt. Seriously, how stupid did Henry have to be to really believe that she was with Metal Works? She smiled to herself as she set up camp for tonight. They just get dumber and dumber every year.

Meanwhile, Henry noticed something strange was happening. He followed some random team home and they had camped together near a strange unnamed pond. Sure, the group had a conversation going and all but it seemed like every action they preformed was generic and robotic. It was like he was immune to some force that was affecting them. While they talked monotonously about their careers, he snuck off to his small tent in the far corner of their campgrounds. He remembered the girl he had met earlier today, and wondered why she was lying about what she was doing. She probably just didn’t trust him. He laughed quietly to himself; maybe she thought he was the hunted.

Henry woke up to the sound of the “robot-men yelling”. A shadow moved across his tent, he could hear its footsteps moving quickly and quietly toward the center of the campground. The yelling suddenly stopped. Henry thought he was asleep, but this seemed just too real, he slowly went outside to investigate and gasped at what he saw. All of his team was knocked out cold; a figure stood in the midst and looked at him. Henry stood his ground, frozen with fear, it was the hunted. It wouldn’t be much of a game if it wasn’t allowed to fight back. It charged. He felt his legs being kicked out from under him and he looked at his attacker. It was Ella.

Ella looked down at the face of her last victim and she didn’t know what to do. She certainly couldn’t stay there; the team would wake up soon, not remembering what they had been hypnotized to do. It wouldn’t matter if they forgot about the games; they would still remember that she attacked them, even if it was just to save them. She weighted her options and decided it would be best to run so she did. As she ran she heard a voice call out her name. It was Henry, and he knew it was her.

Henry did in fact know it was her, the strange girl who said she worked at Metal Works.

To be continued…

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