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Human Prey

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Rainsford woke to the sound of the hounds barking below the window. At first he wasn’t sure where he was or why he was there. Then he remembered. He was in Zaroff’s bed in a castle on a jungle island. He had killed Zaroff. They had gotten swords and fought until Rainsford was finally able stab him. The dogs could smell the blood from Zaroff’s dead body. “Better get him out of here,” he thought, “I might as well just throw the body to the dogs.” He got out of the bed, which was as comfortable as Zaroff had said, and it was probably the best bed he had ever slept in.

Not wanting to touch the body, he placed the sheets from the bed on top of it. With his foot, he shoved the edges under the body and flipped it over, so that is was on top of the sheets. He then grabbed the edges, wrapped them up, and the bundle out the window. When he looked out, the dogs were fighting over their old master’s dead body, screaming every time they were bitten.

Rainsford went to search for the kitchen to get something to eat. He got lost and wandered through rooms of the house he had never seen before. Rainsford eventually ended up in the basement where the training school was located. The wooden staircase whined with every step he took. The basement was dark, cold, and smelled like there were hundreds of men living in this room. Yet there were only 12. It was obvious that it had never been cleaned. He could almost hear the heartbeat of the men that were exercising endlessly. “This isn’t really a school,” he thought. It was more of a boot camp. They didn’t even need a guard to make them work. They were exercising on their own out of fear. “Ivan probably tortured them for a few days and now they simply do what they are supposed to,” Rainsford thought. He left the basement and continued his search for the kitchen. When he found it, he ate some meat and drank a bottle of wine.

While he was eating in the dining room, he heard noises coming from in the kitchen. One of the pupils had gotten out of the basement and was taking food. “I must have left the door opened,” thought Rainsford. Rainsford helped him carry some food back to the other pupils. Then he went back upstairs.

Suddenly, he heard a gunshot. Then he heard several more. It sounded like the pistol Zaroff had used when he was hunting, and it was coming from the basement. When he went to look, one of the pupils came running out of the basement holing a pistol and an armful of food. He even fired at Rainsford, but he was not used to the gun and missed terribly. In the training school, several men had been shot, apparently for their food.

Rainsford turned and ran after the man. He would not let him get away with shooting people, especially over a few loaves of bread. While he was following the pupil, he passed a room filled with guns. Since the pupil had already shot at Rainsford once, he would probably do it again, and Rainsford wanted to be able to defend himself. He chose a handgun that was similar to the one the pupil had, made sure he had plenty of ammo, and then began following him again.

When he got outside the building, the pupil had just opened the gates and was running out into the jungle. Rainsford slowed down and then stopped. He wasn’t sure if he should follow to man. He knew the pupil would probably die out there, but at the same time he wanted to catch him and make him come back and see what he had done with that gun. After thinking for a few more minutes, Rainsford started running again. “This is just like hunting,” he thought as he bent down to follow the pupil’s footprints.

“Zaroff was right,” thought Rainsford, “this man has clearly never been a hunter. His trail is so easy to follow.” Eventually, he caught up with the pupil, who had stopped and was eating the bread he stole. “Hey!” Rainsford shouted, “Why would you shoot people for food?” When the pupil saw Rainsford he froze like a deer in headlights. He dropped the bread, started running through the woods, and fired the handgun over his shoulder a few times, missing just as he had done in the castle. This time, when Rainsford followed, the man was actually trying to get away. He went left and right. He was pulling back branches and letting them come back and slap Rainsford in the face. One branch was as sharp as a knife, and his face was bleeding badly, but he still followed.

By now it was starting to rain. The wind was howling, and the thunder was almost deafening. The clouds completely blacked out the sun and it Rainsford felt like it was night. To his left he could see the ocean. The light that Zaroff used to lure ships to the island was turned on and it illuminated the razor sharp rocks in the water. To his right, Rainsford saw a wall of dark green shapes that he knew were bushes and trees. Rainsford was completely soaked and every time his foot hit the ground, mud splattered up onto his pants. He was considering going back to the castle to get out of the storm, when the pupil began shooting again. This time he was much more accurate. With the shots starting to come closer to him, Rainsford felt threatened and pulled out his gun. With two shots the pupil was on the ground on his stomach. A river of blood was flowing down the hill from the man. Rainsford had only meant to stop him from running, but the bullets had killed him. Rainsford felt awful. He picked up the pupil’s gun and began walking back to the castle.

Later that night, he thought about what had happened earlier that day. After he thought about it a little more, he realized that he had actually enjoyed himself. Following the trail was much harder than following the trail of any animal he had ever hunted. He actually understood how Zaroff felt about hunting. Regular animals were boring compared to the reasoning of a human. Rainsford then got a bag of food, hunting clothes, and a hunting knife and brought it down to the training school.





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