The Hunted

Whispered words jolted Sayre awake. A twig snapped, then another. He surveyed his surroundings. The thick bush chosen during the black was now riddled with holes of light, its arms reaching to embrace him.

One touched his leg, its beam spotlighting cracks in the dried muck coating his body.

Sayre’s camouflage would last one more day at most. He frowned. He couldn’t risk returning to the rotting bog. The last time stole what little food he’d eaten and left him weakened for days.

“Why are we stopping?” The voice was high, laced with impatience.

“Quiet Ayan! Never raise your voice when in Seilgie lands!” The harsh whisper was low, the stillness of the forest and proximity allowing Sayre to decipher the words.

This was not the warlord’s hunting party, but a mentor and youthling—likely in the lands for an aging ceremony.

A smile spread across Sayre’s face, adrenaline surging as a he plotted his path to freedom.

He moved to a crouch, thankful practice bathed his motion in silence. He stretched his senses, targeting the pair’s location as power coiled in his muscles.

They were perhaps ten paces away. Sayre waited, needing one within reach.

“Ayan, do you hear it?” The low voice spoke again, so quiet Sayre found himself leaning into the words.

“I hear nothing.” The youthling matched the mentor’s volume, but the words arrived clear.

Sayre’s smiled twisted. The youthling was closer.

“That is my point. Be on guard. A predator hunts.”

Spots of boots and leather leggings peeked between the leaves. Sayre analyzed his exit point, choosing where the branches grew thin. They would tear his skin, but he had little choice. He sprang from cover, tackling the child. The body beneath him went limp and laughter hit him. Stunned, he looked up at the cackling ancient woman—the mentor.

“Do what I say or—,” Sayre’s words stopped as fire sliced his throat. He looked down, barely registering the grinning youthling before the black took him.

* * *

Today’s piece is inspired by two writing prompts:

Write on Edge: “This week I’d like to give you a snippet of lyrics from FUN. “Some Nights”. I’ve included the official video for the whole song if you’d like to hear the lyrics in context of the song, but definitely feel free to read the lines without listening to the song.”

 

 AND

My first link up with Trifecta: This week’s word is:

PATH
1: a trodden way
2: a track specially constructed for a particular use
3 a : course, route
b : a way of life, conduct, or thought

Please remember:
Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
The word itself needs to be included in your response.
You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.

* * *

I always welcome concrit. What worked for you, what didn’t? Do you want to read more?

Based on some concrit I have updated and given the “he” a name to avoid confusion.

I am knew to the Trifecta challenge, but this week’s challenge is community-judged.

  • For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link.  To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone. Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don’t tell them to vote on a number.  The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
  • You have 12 hours to vote.  It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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22 Responses to The Hunted

  1. Christine says:

    Interesting… The hunter becoming the hunted. I’d like to know exactly what he is. So, yes, I would read more!

  2. Annabelle says:

    I think I’d like to hear more about those travelers; they clearly know what they’re doing!

  3. Bee says:

    I’m very interested in the mentor/mentee relationship here, especially since it’s female/male, even though they’re hunters. The use of the pronoun “he,” especially near the end was confusing though because I couldn’t tell which referred to Ayan and which to the character who “sprang from cover.”

    • Did I ever call the youthling a male, or was it assumed, as was the gender of the mentor until the end?

      Thanks for the point about the “he”. I combined paragraphs and hope that made it less confusing. A clearer distinction between the two had to be cut to make the 333 word count.

      • Bee says:

        The first 3 paragraphs use forms of the pronoun “he,” so I thought the youthling was male. I assumed the mentor’s gender was male, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t any signifiers to her gender until it’s revealed.

        Totally get you on the word count.

        • Ahh–I see where the confusion lies. The “he” in the beginning is someone who has been hunted–not the youthling. The youthling Ayan and the mentor are who wakes up the “him”.

          I might redo this giving the “him” a name to avoid confusion.

          I appreciate the feedback.

          • Bee says:

            Yes, giving the “him” from those paragraphs would probably help, or even some kind of noun: “the X” to keep him separate from Ayan. A noun might work better if “he” isn’t going to be a central character.

  4. Draug419 says:

    Oh how the tables turned! I love it!

  5. Nice. Now, bear with me please, because I’m ill, but the following “He surveyed his surroundings, noting the thick bush chosen during the black was now riddled with holes of light, its arms reaching to embrace him.” reads awkwardly. It could use some commas maybe. Or some rephrasing. “He surveyed his surroundings. The thick bush chosen during the black was now riddled with holes of light; its arms reached to embrace him.” or something similar.

    Other than that, I love the tension of the piece. A job very well done!

  6. kz says:

    interesting twist of events.. the mentor and the youthling intrigue me. great job 🙂

  7. Well that’s one way to skin a cat. Loved seeing the predator getting his comeuppance. Great story.

  8. Whatever was hunting felt very feline to me, a panther maybe. A bit confusing, but the ambience was great.

  9. You do a really great job capturing the desperation of a hunter, and then to become the hunted, bested by an ancient woman? A nice twist.
    ~Angela

  10. JannaTWrites says:

    Oops, it seems he underestimated the youthling. Fatal mistake?

  11. Renee says:

    I love this! Never underestimate your quarry. Well done!

  12. (Cam here) There’s more to that pair than meets the eye, I’m sure. The others have pointed out the things which might want some attention; on the whole I like the atmosphere here. Fantasy suits you, Kelly (but I do want to know more about Mr. Dick!)

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