The Last Huntress

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What Happens When Night Falls

I wiped the leftover blood on the side of my old red coat I’ve had since I was a little kid. Over the years I’ve added to it and created something I could wear on hunts that was lightweight but still strong enough to get through a bunch of fights with vampires grabbing for every bit of me. The fact that it could withstand a knife stab or two helped a lot.

My boots crunched the dead leaves as I walked with Howl among the tall grass. I wasn’t sure what we would do next but there was definitely one main thing on my mind right now; his queen.

“Anyone that plays chess knows to win the game you need to capture the queen, right Howl?” I asked her as we walked side by side. It would take over a day to get back home at the pace we were going but I wasn’t in a rush. I pulled a piece of grass as we passed by and took a look at the sun that had been over our heads not long ago. I forgot how quickly the sun sets someday.

Howl didn’t answer me and I didn’t expect her to but speaking out loud to her helped me process my next move and this move would be for the one thing he prizes above all else.

“I would need more than just me and our soldiers are nearly ready to take it all the way to the beasts’ grounds. I know I’ve put them through rigorous training but taking on Ba’al full force would be suicide.” I broke the piece of the grass up in my hand and sprinkled it along the ground as we walked. I thought about the hundred or so people I have trained up and ready, they can take on regular vampires but when it came to the top of Ba’al’s chain I didn’t want them getting into something that would kill them.

“Should I keep our numbers by using myself? Or should I prepare safely and come with numbers?” Howl looked up at me as if she purposely chose the first option. Like, she too, wanted to keep our numbers by protecting everyone and going in alone.

“We would need to prepare, at least a full day of work, before taking him up on the letter. Which I burned but knowing him they would just let me in.” I lost myself in a circular thought and when I took in my surroundings around I could see we were out of Chicago but going in the wrong direction for the dome.

“Why would I have an army that I won’t use? They train nearly every day but I fear using them...I fear losing the best humanity has to offer and nearly a tenth of our population. Technically, we’re five hundred strong when it came to the army I’ve raised but the front line was what I would bring with me.” I went through the motions of what it would be like to take a piece of the army to Ba’al’s compound but the more I thought about it and spoke out loud about it the more I knew it was a dumb idea.

“It should just be you and me, no need to sacrifice people that can take my place if something happens,” I concluded just before I saw the glare of the sun hitting what was the new horizon to the east. I have a few books that showed what this place looked like before the floods, fires, and take over. It was alright, I really love the photos of the grasslands that are now nothing but deserts. I’ve heard a tale of what happened to the other countries but I can’t deal with that until I deal with what we have here first.

“It has to be just us. Got that?” I stood still and looked down at her and the second her ears twitched in a different direction we were standing in I knew our walk back home wouldn’t be a clean one.

“Is it possible that just one day I walk outside and not have to kill something?” I asked Howl, who kept her ears trained on the sounds coming from behind us.

“I know I basically answered myself, you don’t need to remind me,” I rolled my eyes and pushed my hand inside the pocket of my red coat. The feeling of the smooth dagger under my fingertips gave me more joy and anything in this wretched world. The second best thing? Stabbing it into a vampire’s heart. The sun was just setting so it gave them just enough cover to come out and hunt for their food. Or if they heard I was out and about they always wanted to try and kill me for their leader.

The closest they’ve ever gotten is a small chunk of my leg one night. I was up against four a time and nearly lost the entire leg had Comfrey not distracted them at the last second. Now there was a permanent scar where the attack happened and I was thinking about Comfrey when I didn’t want to because when I got back home I would have to kill him.

But night was falling again and I wouldn’t be as stupid as my teenage self. After that incident so long ago I always told myself that. That I would be stronger, better, faster. That I couldn’t afford to be anything else. And as the vampire snuck up behind me, thinking it had the upper hand, I knew I had fulfilled that promise I made.

If he wasn’t a vampire, he wouldn’t have been able to see how quickly I turned around or how fast my hand went from holding the dagger in my pocket to pulling it out and stabbing him right in the heart. His eyes told me all of this and the sounds of his dying breath was music to my ears.

“One more down, only a billion more to go.” I seethed in his ear just before he dropped dead to the ground. Soon his skin would turn grey and wither into nothing. He was the first of the nightfall but he would not be the last. There was a long walk ahead of us and it would only be filled with more of this piece of shit. But when night falls, the only monster their scared of comes out to play.

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