The Last Huntress

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Summary

The future is a bleak existence, and for Redley it was far worse for her than most people. Night and day she battles for not just her life, but the lives of the last free humans. Redley has done everything she can to protect her people, but in turn, she's become enemy number one. She can't save everyone and the beasts that threaten their very existence? Well, some people call them Vampires. Bloodthirsty and out for world domination, Master Ba'al the destroyer will stop at nothing until the entire world knows his reign. But with Redley the Slayer destroying his world bit by bit he'll need more than just his army to stop her. And she'll need more than just her longtime companion, Howl, by her side if she wants to keep all her limbs, blood and of course, her humanity.

Genre:
Fantasy / Adventure
Author:
Anne Marshall
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
32
Rating:
4.8 11 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

One

Part One: The Demise of The Human Race.

“Never leave after sundown. Always have shelter – preferably around silver.”

“Never travel alone. If you must travel alone, do so under the sun, not the moon.”

“Beware of trees, they hide until sundown in the shadiest ones. Luckily, most trees have died.”

“Never stop for anyone that calls for you. Survival is number one.”

I always remembered my grandmother looking at me with heavy eyes. I try to think of a time when I visited and we didn’t talk about the rules, but I can’t think of a time when they weren’t brought up.

The words fall from my lips, I had them memorized before I knew to call her grandmother. My parents didn’t think it was necessary at the time, for her to teach me these things. Once the first fire was set upon our home, they changed their minds.

I can still hear the boards of her wood floors creak under the pressure of her pacing. She would walk slowly in front of me, listening to the words she instilled in me long ago. I tried to memorize her face then, the lines that showed her age, the stern straight lipped smile she would give me. All I can think of now are the rules for survival. The rules for the new world I had to grow up in.

“Grandma, did you have to learn these things when you were my age?” I remember asking her stupid questions like that and she never got angry with me. Not like my mother, who found my questions annoying.

“I lived in a different time; the world was vastly different seventy years ago. All of this,” she would gesture with her good arm. “Was different. I still lived in this house, born, and raised, but there wasn’t the same danger. The vampires hadn’t begun taking things over, they had just been born. The virus that was set off by that bastard Barton hadn’t reached it’s peak. My parents did not take things seriously, then the first vampire raids began.” She always made tea when talking about the raids that happened when she was a child.

“They were looking for vampires and ones that supported them. They killed the ones that were found. My parents were out getting supplies one night and they were caught in a riot. Everyone was killed on sight; they didn’t make it back home.” She would stir the tea and speak of the ones that raised her, that tried to protect her.

“You were all by yourself?” I would ask her this every time, even after knowing the answer.

“Yes, little Red, I was all alone. The first few nights were the hardest. I didn’t know what happened to them and I was too scared to leave the house. Then they came for me, and I wasn’t alone after that.” I would watch her eyes glisten when she spoke of her saviors. The tapping of her teacup was the only thing that brought me out of the story and focused on real life.

“They came at sunset, looking for food mainly. When they saw it was just me, they didn’t seem hungry. The biggest one, I called her Nani, she bowed her head to me and licked my face. The wolves never came to humans, not since we hunted them to near extinction decades before. But I think they knew I was alone, that my parents were killed by the war raging around us. Nani led her whole pack into the house, and I tried to give them what food I had. I shared the crackers, bread, and meat I could find. I was lucky we had just dried some deer the week before. They stayed all night, which was the first night the vampires found the house.”

Sipping my tea, listening to my grandmother tell the horrors of her past, there wasn’t anything that could get me to sleep faster.

“They started stealing humans from their homes, the ones that walked alone at night. Anything to get their hands on a good source of blood. The rumors started years after that they turned them just before they ran out of blood. Then the rise of Ba’al came and the government fell quickly after.” The sound of her slurping the hot tea from her mug wasn’t what put my nerve on edge. My mother had talked about Ba’al before, warned me to stay away, but also praised him for being such a good leader.

“I think mama likes him,” I would tell her and listen to her disgusted scoff.

“She likes the power, your mother was never right in the head, darling. Ever since she was born, the wolves tried to treat her as their own, as they did with the man, I brought home. There was something off about her. I tried to raise her the same way I raise you now, but something didn’t click.” She would shake her head as she pulled me up to the bed. Pulling the covers back, she would let me nestle into the softness. When the door would open slowly, we both knew it was Nani bringing in the meat for the night.

“Nani, you’re early,” my grandmother would talk to her every time she entered the house with a fresh kill. Nani never talked back, but I would listen to the one-sided conversation until my eyes grew too heavy to keep open. “If you brought her tonight, I could put her on the bed with little Red before she gets too sleepy.” I listened to my grandmother talking about something I didn’t understand and when a weight shifted on the bed, I barely saw the fur covered pup she was putting next to me.

“She will make a great companion for her, but what will happen to you?” She spoke to Nani as if she could hear the other side of the conversation. “If you leave now, what will happen to the pack?” Nani made a noise that sounded like a half sneeze. “Everyone? Is it time for that already?” My grandmother’s voice broke just as sleep took me over fully.

The next morning my grandmother was different, and I had a wolf pup to play with. She told me that it would be my job to take care of her. Vampires took her parents, and she didn’t have anyone. She was too young and small to take on their migration. The pack was worried she wouldn’t make it. She told them I would take care of her until she was strong enough to go meet them.

That day never came, and that pup turned into Howl, my greatest companion. Memories of going out on my own before my mother told me I could. Flashes of fighting my first vampire come to me every time I stab a new one. The nickname my grandmother gave me before she died peacefully in her sleep carries on to this day. The Slayer was known far and wide long before I turned eighteen, when I fully took over all responsibility for the last known human tribe, but my troubles began when I watched my mother spit on my grandmother’s grave.

I never understood why she hated her then. She would tell me that she was abusive, too hard on her growing up, but that wasn’t the woman I knew. I think about the times my grandmother called her difficult and deep down, I think I knew she was abusive toward my mother, but I tried to swallow the facts. I wanted to keep her pristine in my mind. The woman that cared for me, that told me how to survive. The woman that gave me Howl and the tools for my future. How can someone that loved me so much, hurt someone as well? Questions like that linger in my head, even after I grew up and learned more of the truth than I wanted to know.

All of this happened a long time ago, starting from the beginning would be counterproductive. Instead, I will start at the beginning of my family’s end. The night I lost the last pieces of family I had and was forced to lead the last of the human race.

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