Karen was jerked around and shoved into a chair, kept into place with a strong hand at her shoulder. Mara watched as she whimpered quietly, she didn’t look like a mindless Werewolf bent on destruction, none of them ever did.
Mara touched the small golden flower pendant she wore around her neck subconsciously. Her father said Karen was just bitten and hadn’t had her first change yet, like all the rest. Karen’s entire family would need to be hunted down and wiped out before the next full moon.
She regretted not catching that monster on the full moon but he wasn’t at his best other hunters had gotten to him first and she wanted him to fight back. She wanted that bastard to think he’s got a chance to live when she takes his last breath.
She needed; to be the one who delivers the last blow; the final blow must be by her hand.
He was her salvation.
Mara’s father circled Karen quietly looking over her body for the bite mark. He told Mara not to expect to find one since the virus hides any indication of infection. Which was what the fast healing was for; it was to hide the bite mark as quickly as possible. To let the infected blend in and infect more people without notice. If it weren’t for the hunters the entire world would be overrun by these monsters.
Mara ran her hand down her arm feeling the rough texture of the disfiguration as unanswered questions swam through her mind.
It was a privilege to be a hunter, for generations Mara’s family have been hunting down the things that go bump in the night and purifying the lands of such diseases as lycanthropy and vampirism. Mara was past sixteen and soon she’d have to go through integration. She’d been trained her whole life for her sixteenth birthday and she was ready. If it weren’t for that monster she would have gone through the ceremony on her sixteenth birthday.
“Mara, come here.” Her father motioned for her with a wave of his left hand as his other had Karen’s shirt pulled up while he inspected her back. “Do you see these marks here?” He pointed to faint marks running down the length on either side of Karen’s spine. Mara kneeled down to look at what her father was pointing at then nodded mutely once she noticed them.
“That’s proof that we’ve got a super natural on our hands.” He said. Karen made a noise muffled by the gag shoved into her mouth Mara ignored it. She straightened up and looked at her father.
“Why don’t we just use silver, if it burns will know for sure.” Mara questioned knowing full well what silver did to a wolf. The mere thought of the sound silver made when a wolf’s skin touches it brought a shiver to Mara. She preferred to ignore the feelings that came with it.
She ignored a lot of things, like the way she loves to run.
“Silver won’t work on a freshly turned wolf Mara. It’ll only effect a wolf that’s changed before, and we don’t have the grace of time on our side to wait that long.” Mara nodded and looked back to the poor girl. It was the stupid amateurs who ruined months of planning to flush that wolf out of his hiding spot. They just had to try and steal Mara’s kill.
Memories of the night flashed into her mind, the hours of chasing him only to have it all go to hell when those other hunters showed up.
“Over there!” Gerald shouted as the black wolf took off jumping down from the rock he’d been so perfectly perched on and hidden from view. Mara revved the engine and followed, her partner Jamie close behind.
A year younger than her, Jamie already had her integration ceremony. She already had her first kill, the first kill usually happens at the age of sixteen. But Mara was different; she wanted her first kill to mean something. She needed her first kill to be this wolf it had to be him. She’d been tracking him for years even before her sixteenth birthday.
“He’s getting away!” Mara shouted, “Over that way flank him! Quickly!” She ordered and Jamie peeled off and sped up which was a bit risking when dealing with this kind of adversary.
However the forest wasn’t that dense and it would be easy to follow him. Mara had caught sight of the black mass weaving through the trees when she saw him suddenly jerk and hit the ground as a shout of joy rose up from somewhere. Mara slowed and looked around catching sight of people she didn’t recognize. They shot the wolf a few more times before he managed to get his ass up and continue running.
Mara let out a shout of frustration yanking her hand gun out and shot at the other hunters. She got one man right in the head, he fell like a sack of potatoes while the other two floundered, dropping their weapons and tried to get away.
Mara was on them in a few moments and managed to get her knife on the fat man’s neck and slit it from ear to ear. Blood poured from the man’s neck while the other made his escape. Mara let him go, the other two were dead and she doubted the other one would ever return to these woods, her territory. Mara stopped her thoughts there just as Gerald pulled up next to her, “What happened?” He demanded.
“Moron hunters trying to get my kill,” Mara huffed as she wiped the blood from her knife using the dead man’s shirt then glanced around. They were close to the traps; the wolf wouldn’t last much longer.
“We need to get going. I need to be the one to take his life, not let him get to the traps.” Gerald nodded as she climbed on behind him and readied her bow. Jamie radioed to let them know he was almost to the trip wires and to ask for permission to heard him back towards them. Mara gave the thumbs up and her father gunned it. A few moments later they heard a howl of pain and an explosion.
“We’re too late!” Her father called.
“Keep going! I just need to get the last blow! I need it father!” Mara called back determined to get there. They caught sight of Jamie then as well as the flames.
“Where is he?” Mara demanded.
“I can’t find him.” Jamie admitted. Mara growled and hopped off the RV and headed towards the blast zone looking for any movement. The flames weren’t too bad the rainy seasons and damp forest insured a slow burn. The C4 that was tapped to the trees had sent wooden shrapnel everywhere. Mara crept through finding the point which the wolf had made it. Blood had pool around the place the trip wire had been laid. Glancing around she found where the trail continued. A tendril of excitement sent a shiver through her; he’s not dead, yet.
Karen’s whimper brought Mara back to the present, looking to her father who touched her shoulder. “I have an important job for you Mara.” Mara nodded in agreement without saying anything. “I want you to take this mutt and end her life.”
“But-” Mara moved to object, she wanted her first kill to be that black mutt not some fresh turn that hasn’t even changed for the first time.
“Do as I say Mara. This won’t be you’re integration kill but you’re old enough to lend a hand when needed.” Gerald lectured. Mara looked down and nodded.
“Yes father.” Mara agreed reluctantly. Mara touched her scares lightly, tracing the marks out of memory; pausing on one of the bite marks. Digging her nails into the mark she then turned to Karen.“I’ll take her now, if that’s alright.” She said her father nodded. Mara turned and grabbed Karen yanking her to her feet. Karen let out a whimper which Mara choose to ignore, as did everyone in the room but for a different reason. They couldn’t hear Karen’s quiet whimpers Mara knew very well that they couldn’t.