The Hunters This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 26, 2010
By , St. Louis, MO
The night would've been dark if it weren't for the overhead streetlights, positioned twenty feet apart from one another and providing the pursuing cops with perfet lighting to trail me. I was sure of my ability to run faster than the round, portly cop already gasping uncontrollably for breath and his clumsy, lanky deputy. I also knew that there was an imminent dead end around the bend of the dirt pathway, but I kept running.

I could see the path winding up ahead, curving to the right and ceasing at an overgrown hedge that was planted there as a fence of sorts. For the moment I'd lost the two cops, but I knew they weren't far behind. I dove into the bushy hedge as far as I dared and waited in absolute silence, praying that my heart was as loud as it seemed. Beyond the hedge I knew that a steep hill led down into darkness, probably my death.

"The flashlight!" I heard one of the cops shout. Seconds later, a bright light shone about five feet from my hiding spot. Although these two didn't seem like the sharpest tools in the shed, I was sure that they'd be able to arrest me once they found me. I began contemplating whether tumbling to my death would be worse than going to jail for five to ten. I subconcioulsy began backing up, hiding myself deeper in the throng of branches and leaves.

"Over there!" the deputy said. My heart froze; they'd heard me. Slowly, almost animatedly, the light shone toward my hiding spot where they would find me and take me in. Instead of standing up and accepting my fate, my feet somehow disobeyed me and decided to be temporarily clumsy and slip from under me. As I fell backward, I realized there was no solid wall to keep me from tumbling down the hill into nothingness.

I let out a scream as I fell back ward and rolled, painfully down the hill. I heard the cops shouting for a fraction of a minute and then just the thudding of my body as it hit the ground every time gravity pulled me further down. I tumbled down the hill for what seemed like hours, until it finally falttened and I rolled to a stop. I silently thanked God, as I sat up groaning from the aching pain. I checked myself for broken bones, but found none; there were only nasty bruises and scrapes.

I stood and felt searing pain shooting down my leg and into my ankle. So much for not breaking anything. I stood as best as I could and surveyed my surroundings. I was in a graveyard, tombstones dotting the site, the moon casting an eerie glow; it looked like every scary movie you might've ever seen about vampires or werewolves.

I limped my way through the site passing tombstone after white tombstone, reading the names I could with the dim light of the moon. After a few more minutes of hobbling around, ankle throbbed with unbearable pain and I sat down on a tombstone reading "Steinbeck; 1945-1978". I took my shoe and sock off, revealing my swollen, bruised ankle. It was three times the size of my other one and the pain was numbing it completely. Unsure of what to do, I sat in silence nursing it a little, touching the swelling bulge. I sighed heavily and set my foot on the ground.

I rubbed my temples and concentrated on the thudding of my heart. Thud. Thud. Thud. I realized the thudding sound was too loud to actually be my heart. It was rhythmic somewhat and hollow; I listened a few more moments in the dark before squinting and scanning the site. I soon spotted a figure moving in the dark, almost imperceptible. I decided to test my good luck streak and walked toward the figure.

As I approached I saw that it was digging in one of the graves. It was a man, dressed in dark clothes with shaggy dark hair. His back was turned to me and he muttered things to himself as he quickly dug the hole. He would've seemed like an ordinary, everyday guy if he hadn't been digging the grave and if hadn't have been digging it with his hands. His hands moved swiftly in the dirt, clawing clods and sending them flying over his shoulder; he was digging faster than I could have with a shovel.

"I don't think that's legal," I said. The man stopped abruptly and turned his attention to me. I couldn't see his face well, but he looked at me for a moment and resumed digging without saying a word. I cleared my throat and addressed him again.

"I've never looked at grave-robbing as an ideal career choice. Does it pay well?" The man groaned in frustration and turned to me, once again ceasing his digging.

"Leave!" he roared. His voice was inhumanly loud and his eyes flashed brightly in the glint of moonlight. He quickly turned back to the grave and dug faster, eventually finding the coffin. As he pried it open with his hands, the coffin groaned and creaked and the lid slammed loudly against the dirt wall. I stared at the sheer strength of the shady character digging in front of me. "You're still here?" he asked incredulously. He jumped out of the grave and advanced on me, while I backed up as quickly as I could. "Don't you understand? You have to leave before it comes! I don't have time to protect your sorry a**!"

"Until what comes?" I asked. His eyes widened as his gaze locked on something behind. I turned my head and followed his gaze to a lurking figure in the dark, casually approaching us. It was a woman, dressed in a white gown that was tattered with skin almost as white as the gown. Her hair was light and long, blowing in the nonexistant breeze. Her arms were marked with jagged cuts that dripped blood down her hands and onto the ground. Her face was beautiful, flawless even; her eyes, however, were black pits.

She stopped short a few feet away from us and cocked her head to the side, almost as if she were studying us. Seconds later her mouth opened to reveal rows of sharp teeth. Before another thought could occur she let out a scream. It was ear-splittingly, earth-shatteringly loud and woeful. It was the saddest sound I'd ever heard; I covered my ears with my hands as I felt my heart wrench with sadness and involuntary tears flood my eyes and run down my cheeks. After what seemed like an eternity of the depressing sound, she ceased her sad song. I could still remember it, though, and I realized that all I wanted to do at that point was die.





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