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Seven Versts

By ReadingBlueWolf

Thriller / Horror

Seven Versts

When she got back, she was going to kill Stark.

There was no other way about it.

One minute she had been on a mission for Fury, the next, she was here, trudging along, lost in the woods.

Where Stark had taken her to, she hadn't the slightest idea. Her companions for the last thirty-six hours had been trees, moss, dying grass, and whatever critters this region held. Apart from a few bird chirps, and squeals from the creatures held here, everything had been silent. She had a suspicion of where Stark might have left her, but she kept her opinions to herself, knowing she could be completely wrong.

With a sigh, she continued trudging through the hushed trees. The crunch of grass resounded around her. The sun-kissed the earth as it slowly slipped into oblivion for rest. While some may have decided to stop for the night, Natasha didn't. She was not about to halt her search for a town.

Stark had stripped her of all communication from the outside world. He left her with her pistols, and whatever was on her belt—which luckily included a flashlight. When she got back to civilization…

There was an old Russian saying: "For a mad dog, seven versts is not a long detour." Simply put, this little trek through the wilderness would not deter her from bringing wrath upon Stark.

As she pressed on further, she noticed an odd patch in a tree ahead. Despite the dying light, she could see it was a piece of paper. Once she approached the tree, she tore it off. On the lined page, it appeared as if a three-year-old had drawn trees with an awkward looking tall and lanky man standing in the middle.

Rolling her eyes, Natasha crumpled up the paper, and tossed it over her shoulder. Who in their right mind would staple a child's picture to a tree? The only good thing about the drawing was it meant civilization must be close.

With this thought in mind, she took out the flashlight. A loud snap broke the silence momentarily, and light burst through the trees ahead. As the beam scanned the area, Natasha realized it was going to be a long night. She had walked through one already; she wasn't keen on going through another.

Her mind eventually drowned out the sound of grass crunching beneath her feet from repetition. Her thoughts strayed toward home.

She wondered if Clint was thinking about her. A small smile hinted on her lips as she thought about him. Clinton Barton, also known as Hawkeye. The World's Greatest Marksman. He earned it from his constant observation, and skill with a bow and arrow. His shot was always dead on; he never missed. No one could ever come close to his aim. It gave this once solo assassin comfort to know he was her partner. She wished he was here now.

Was he back from his short leave of absence? He journeyed to his roots once a year, to pay respects to his deceased parents. She admired that about him. He never forgot his roots, or his parents.

She was supposed to be back before he had returned. She had left him a message stating as much. Was he wondering where she was? If anyone noticed her absence, it was bound to be him.

A few hours after the sun had said goodnight, Natasha stumbled across a rusted, blue truck. This looked promising. Could this be a ride? Could it get her out of the woods? Could she start the vehicle?

Walking to it, she shined her light in the window. It looked as if it hadn't seen human contact in years. Her fingers clasped the handle and she gave a tug. With an ear-splitting shriek, the door opened. Dust fluttered out, attacking her in a manner similar to bees.

Waving the air, she coughed, and waited for the dust to settle once again. When it no longer suffocated the atmosphere, she climbed into the truck. Searching for keys, she wasn't surprised to find they were nowhere around.

Reaching under the steering wheel, she fidgeted around. Her fingers finally grasped the wires she sought. After a few seconds—and a spark or two—she heard the engine click, roll over… and die. Attempting again, gained her the same result. Climbing out of the seat, she made her way towards the engine. Flipping up the hood, she took a few moments to look over what lie underneath.

Much to her dismay, the truck had sat for much longer than she assumed. The battery was corroded. Much of the engine was rusted and falling to pieces. Letting the hood drop with a shrieking slam, she glanced at the vehicle once more. The engine might not work, but perhaps there were supplies floating about.

As she slowly scanned the truck for helpful items, she noticed something white on the passenger's side, just to the left of the door. It was a piece of paper. With an audible sigh, she shined her light on this next child's masterpiece.

This time there was a tree crudely sketched and darkened letters in all caps reading:

LEAVE ME ALONE

"Well, that's pleasant," she quipped softly. With a roll of her eyes, she turned from the picture. This was getting a bit ridiculous. Her flashlight shined through the surrounding trees. Where was this town? People didn't travel hundreds of miles just to let their children stick stupid notes on objects.

Suddenly, a snap echoed in the encompassing trees.

Her flashlight flicked.

Left.

Right.

Her eyes quickly scanned the area.

"Hello?" she questioned as she continued her examination.

No one responded.

Perhaps there was a predator nearby. With another sigh, she clicked her flashlight off, then placed it in a holster on her belt. No reason to give away her position if some beast was hunting her. Besides, the moon was bright enough to see her surroundings.

With the crunching of grass once again lost in her ears, she thought back to how she got here.

Director Nick Fury had sent her on a reconnaissance mission to Anthony Stark's house. She had known when she received the assignment it wouldn't be easy. She even voiced her opinion to Fury about it. Stark didn't like her, especially after his near death experience a few years back. He didn't trust her. That came with the territory though— her being a spy and all. Fury had dismissed her objections.

Against her better judgment, she followed the director's mission and searched Stark's house.

Well, when Stark returned home in the evening, he was angry—to say the least. He hadn't taken well to her looking through his personal belongings… And decommissioning his security system known as Jarvis. They argued about it. At one point, something had hit her over the head, and the next thing she knew she was waking up here—wherever here was.

Despite the fact it might have failed, Fury owed her huge for this assignment. And when she said huge, she meant a month's vacation time, all expenses paid, with a whole new wardrobe of weapons. There had been a few gadgets in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s arsenal that she had been admiring and testing. They weren't clunky or bulky—she liked slick and smooth. It made fighting easier. Speaking of weapons, she glanced to her pistols making a mental note to get them updated soon; they were last year's model, and worn down from use. Natasha shook her head. Fury owed her big time.

In a matter of moments, she withdrew from her memory. Pausing, she looked at the odd sight before her. There seemed to be several boulders randomly placed in the midst of the woods. An eye brow rose.

"What in the world…?" Her sentence trailed off as she approached them.

Why were there boulders in the middle of the woods? It seemed so out of place, so confusing. Her head tilted to the left as she reached out and ran her fingers over the rough surface of the first boulder she reached. It was real.

As she skirted the perimeter of the rock formation, she came across another note. Drawing her flashlight, she clicked it on, being instantly blinded. Shaking her head, she squinted, allowing her eyes to adjust to the new light. Blinking a few times, she focused on this newest pin-up.

The picture on this one was a circle with two lines that looked more like antennas, than what she supposed were eyebrows. The writing on this one was also in dark capitals, stating:

ALWAYS WATCHES NO EYES

"How the Hell does something watch with no eyes?"

With a second look at the picture between the "watches" and "no", she realized the antennas were actually two X's stationed on either side of what was possibly a head. What kind of game were these kids playing?

"That's supposed to be a head?" She groaned outwardly.

SNAP!

Natasha spun.

Her glanced skimmed through the trees.

She flicked the light off.

Darkness enveloped her.

Seconds passed.

One.

Silence.

Two.

Heart beat.

Three.

It was then she realized how quiet the woods were.

Unlike the previous night, no critters moved in the woods.

She wasn't noisy enough to scare them off.

After a few moments more, she took a deep breath. She was an assassin. She had guns. She was fearless. With her head held high, she turned and continued on her way, determined to find civilization. When she gained access to the states again, she would have a "talk" with Stark. He was not going to get away with this.

And whoever put the stupid notes in the middle of nowhere was a fool. Did they think they were going to scare the Black Widow?


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