Les Femmes Noires One-Shot Contest
Title: The Hunt
Your pen name: rhombica dodecahedron
Characters: Victoria, James
Disclaimer: All characters in this story are the original creation of Stephenie Meyer for the Twilight Saga book series. This is my first attempt at fan fiction.
To see other entries in Les Femmes Noires Contest, please visit the C2 page:
(This story was also submitted to the Love for the Unloved contest in September 2009)
Böhmerwald Forest, Austria, late 17th Century AD
I don't know where I came from. I don't know what I am. I only know that I am here and I am now.
There is hard, cold soil underneath my bare feet. I can feel it squeezing its way between my toes as I wander among a hundred trees. My fingertips reach out to glide along the rough bark of the pines all around me, and I smile. It is dark, and it is only me and these trees and I feel comforted. Something makes a scurrying noise off to my left and momentarily I am frozen. All that moves is my breath, quietly seeping out of my open mouth, and snaking back into me again. The sound moves closer, scritch-scratching its way right to my feet.
I close my mouth, so that my breathing does not give me away. My fingertip caresses the pine bark, and I can almost hear it caressing my skin in return, calming me, and I stop my breath. I feel something tickling my foot. It is soft. Warm. It hovers near me, and slowly the small rush of its pulse makes its way to my ears. I tear my fingertips across the face of the tree, and the small creature at my feet darts away in surprise. But I am too fast. It is mine!
Its little heart has not beat more than twice before it is tangled within my grasp. I look down and see that it is a hare; snow white and so smooth. It feels so different from the trees. I wonder why it is not struggling, and realize that its head is dangling limply to the side, its fur stained red. It is hurt? No wonder I caught it with such ease.
I feel something dripping down my chin and reach up with one hand to wipe it clean, before returning my fingertips back to the soft fur of the rabbit. A small shriek escapes my lips and the little corpse falls out of my grip and onto the cold earth in front of me. Why is there blood on my mouth? Did I...? No! It is not possible that I have killed this rabbit. It is not possible that its lifeblood has stained my lips!
I run as fast as I can away from that haunting scene. I am faster than wind, and as I rush between the trees, I am too quick even to feel their branches whipping back to catch me. I hear birds flying above me. I hear animals all around me, and the delicate scent of their life assaults me. I desperately want to reach for them and to devour them, and I am horrified! I run faster, impossibly fast. I do not stop until I come to a large stream, and think that I am finally safe. Safe from... myself. Safe from the pull of this bloodlust that refuses to cease its bubbling inside of me. I sit trembling near the water's edge, and I listen to its soft, sweet song as it moves past me in the night.
A coyote begins drinking from the stream a good distance away from me, but I can still see him in the moonlight. Smugness fills its eyes as it looks up at me, pink tongue still lapping at the cold water, and I know that I will never be saved from this desire within me. It is not frightened, and I am angry. I am up and running at full speed, but not away this time! My prey is caught before it even has a chance to swallow its last lap of water. It did not fear me, and for that it will not live.
I feel the power washing through my veins as I drink from the warm, wilting throat of the coyote. I do not even care that its blood is dripping down my hands, between my fingers, as I drain the life from this creature who dared not to fear me. I hug the animal to my body, not wanting to lose even the smallest part of its life force. The fur is matted with leaves and dirt, but it does not bother me. My own hair is tangled and dirty, and it surrounds us both, as I cradle us in my embrace.
I cry out into the night air, and I look up to see the moon smudged against the darkness. I feel wetness crawling down my face and know that I am weeping. Weeping for what I have become. Weeping because this is all I am, and I know nothing else anymore. I let the coyote's body slide down out of my grasp, and I close my eyes. I know now that this is my existence. I am a huntress. I am alive only to feed on the blood of those weaker than me. I am a force to be reckoned with, and I will NOT let another creature doubt my power.
I lift a finger to my lips, my hand still dripping with blood, and taste the sweetness of my strength. I let my bloody fingers slide down my neck, down my chest, and I realize for the first time that I am unclothed. I am not surprised, and I do not feel exposed. My bloody hand slips further down, cupping my breast before moving down my belly. I let out a feral laugh that sounds more like a growl, and I am elated with the fierceness of my new being.
Black Forest, Germany, early 19th Century AD
The vegetation and small fishes tickle me as I rush through the water. It is very cold, but that does not bother me. I am a mermaid, unbreathing and unchanging, and I spend hours under the surface. It is a game I play now. Lurking here, unperturbed by the current rushing past me, as I watch for my prey.
I can hear him coming as dawn approaches. Carrying his tools and his buckets and his rags. Washing them in my river! I have had enough waiting, and I decide that today is the day. I slide up, out of the water, onto a pile of rocks. The water still rushes all around my legs, and I stretch my body, reaching up to the sky. My hair is bright as fire and it clings to my body, surrounding me. I watch the horizon as the sun begins its ascent.
Everything is as planned. I have become very good at this game now, and I know exactly when my prey will lift his eyes to see me. I hear a clatter of wood and metal as he drops his buckets and tools to the ground. I turn my head back toward him and smile. I watch as his eyes travel from my hair to my face to my body, now glittering and sparkling in the light of dawn. I am a siren and he is licking his lips and staring at me like an utter fool.
"You dropped something," I tell him, nonchalantly wringing my hair dry. He sputters, seeing my naked body, and quickly begins to gather his belongings.
The man must be dumb because he just looks at me, mouth opening and closing like a fish, shuffling his tools from hand to hand. I sigh, standing up on the top of the rocks, and I can feel the algae squishing between my toes. It's not as much fun when they don't interact. For a moment, I close my eyes and make myself be still in the morning sunlight. It is hot against my skin, and I know that I am gleaming like a million stars. My hair blows wildly in the wind but it does not cool me. I am fire, and I let the heat of the sun consume me.
"I have been lost out here for days and I am hungry. Please, take me to your home so that I may eat?" I open my eyes to look at the man, who is still standing there, befuddled.
He nods fervently, and I have an urge to drain him right there, his fat head still bobbing on his shoulders as his heart pumps blood down my aching throat. But I am patient, and I jump from the rocks to where he is standing. I am beckoned into the woods by this man who is shaking like he's seen a ghost, and he leads me to his home. Tonight I will have my fill. Tonight he and his family will be my sustenance. A blood sacrifice to the siren, the fire goddess that I have become.
Snowdonia, Wales, late 19th Century AD
The leaves whisper to my feet as I brush past them, running along the lengths of branches, atop the trees in the cool night sky. I feel as if I am flying, moving at a speed no creature has been able to match. I am weightless and rushing. I am nowhere and everywhere and I am exhilarated by my own freedom. But I have to keep running. I must stay away from the people and resign to consuming the animals of the mountains.
I am being followed. I am being chased. No. I am being hunted, and I do not know how it is possible. I am a being of earth and night and fire. I am faster than wind, colder than snow, fiercer than death. I cannot be the hunted; I am the huntress!
Yet still, he is on my trail and I am unsure how to proceed. I must catch him, but I have only managed to keep a few steps ahead of him. I sneak through the night, never meeting another living being.
The mountain ponies are dead in my arms before I am fully upon them, and I caress their shaggy manes, licking the blood from their necks. But I do not linger. I leave a small bit of their life in my wake. An message to he who hunts me. A reminder that I am the one who takes life. I am the fire that singes the night.
The swans are my favorite. They are beautiful and so peaceful in their ignorance, and I take solace in their beauty as their essence pours into my mouth. For each swan, I take with me a feather. I have handfuls of them now, and I weave each one into my hair so that I can keep their beauty both within me and as an adornment on my being.
After a while, they begin to offer themselves to me, their deity. The swans welcome me, and they do not fight when I pull them into my arms. Into their glorious death.
But I fear I have lingered too long with my subjects. My swans are disappearing, and I find only a blood-tinged feather left behind in their place. An offering to the goddess they have forsaken. A signal that my hunter is toying with me. He has found my shaggy mountain ponies and he has taken my swans from me.
I dive deep, to the bottom of the river, and I weep silently. My hair has grown below my waist, and the soft tresses caress my body in the flowing water. I can feel the gentle prickle of my swan feathers as they sway in the current of water and hair all around me. I am alone and perfectly still in the darkness of the water as I wait for my hunter to come to me.
I lay silent and unmoving in the river for so long that I have almost begun to think that I was mistaken and I am not being hunted. Days pass and I do not stir from my hiding place. My body is one with the current now, and though I am not pulled along with it, I am weightless and floating in an expectant flow. I am Ophelia; my flowers and my tragedies are swans.
I see a ripple on the surface of the water but cannot find a source. More ripples come, small droplets raining down into my haven and as it begins to swirl around me I know that it is blood. I look up again in time to see a white feather falling down among the rain of blood. My hunter has come and he has brought with him an offering.
I fly out of the water, my speed pushing me forward, propelling my body upward into the cover of trees above the river. Water sprays around me in a whirlwind as I make my landing, perched in a cradle of night and flora. Before I can think, the delicate swan is at my lips. Its soft, delicate feathers are stained a deep red. I am sitting on a tree branch and its leaves are light and warm against my skin. His hand reaches out toward me and I look up at the man who has been hunting me. I am not afraid as my crimson eyes bore into his. I am a cold, stark statute, but the night is harsh and the wind whips through my hair, suspending it out around me in a dark, fiery mane.
He is wearing a coat made of the manes of my mountain ponies. My eyes flare dangerously with the anger in my heart. "Why are you hunting me?!" I demand of him, and he dares to look back at me coolly, unperturbed.
"You are the one I could not catch until you stopped to wait for me." His long golden hair swims in the breeze, but its glow is nothing compared to my fire.
"You have pushed me from my human prey and forced me to feed from the animals of the mountains. And now you have stolen my swans and decorated your body with the manes of my ponies!" I thrust the empty swan at him, my voice bellowing with the strength of the night air.
He takes the bird and looks at me. "You are hotter than fire and colder than ice. You are one with the water and more elusive than the faintest wind." His words swirl around me, whispering against my skin and I only open my mouth slightly. I breathe in his conviction and let it sink deep into my soul. But I only stare back at him, unmoving, and I watch his fingers tangle among the feathers in his hands. Slowly, he plucks one that is tipped with black and spotted with blood.
I am still as stone and he reaches out to me. His hands are in my hair and he is weaving the feather into it. "You are a goddess among the rubble of this earth, and I can only hope to commune with you." His fingertips linger in my hair and trail down my cheek as he looks back into my eyes, unwavering.
"In hundreds of years I have not been hunted, until now. You are cunning and fast, but you cannot catch me, hunter." I lick my lips slowly, savoring the remnants of the swan's sweet blood on my tongue. "You may take my swans, and scavenge the corpses of my ponies, but I will not be caught unless I intend it to be so!"
"And what have you intended by allowing this meeting, swan goddess?" he asks me, and I realize that my ferocity is not deterring his persistence. Instantly he is upon me, the lifeless swan forgotten, falling to my water-tomb below us.
"I intend to know the one who is bold enough to hunt the huntress!" For a moment I let myself breathe, but do not embrace the vulnerability of turning my eyes from his. His scent is strong and I am almost overcome. "Tell me your name. Or shall I know you only as a golden-haired pony?" I smile wickedly, glancing at his coat once more. It looks as if the hair has been brushed clean and untangled, not a hint of blood stains the manes. I snicker, enjoying the irony that the hides of my prey now clothe my hunter.
"I am James, but I would be your golden-haired pony if you would let yourself be caught with me." Laughing, I run my hands through my bright, feathery hair and I am on my feet. I crouch in front of him, hands on my knees, my face so close to his that we are hidden inside a swirling mass of golden fire. "If I should find a golden stallion in my domain, I will keep him."
"Your name, so that I may know the woman I hunt!" he says to me, and I can hear his throat swallowing in desire. With a feral grin I whisper against his neck "I am Victoria," and I am gone in the night. Faster than wind and already far from his searching eyes.
Himalayan Mountains, Early 20th Century AD
For months, I have run, and I have left no trace of my presence behind. My hunter still haunts me, and I have almost let him catch up to me a couple of times. I know, though, that our chase is as thrilling for him as it is for me, and that is why I continue to elude him. I have spent too many decades as a hunter to underestimate the excitement of the chase.
And so for him, I run. I fly and I hide and I narrowly escape. I swim and I evade and I do not wait for him this time. He pursues me without relent, and I know that he stays on my trail as surely as the sun follows the moon. He runs where I run and he swims where I swim. He seeks my snow leopards and listens as my human victims whisper to me in their quiet deaths.
In truth, his pursuit has only fueled my bloodlust further, and thus I have become a ravaging, fearsome being. Even the sun cannot stop me, and I hunt in broad daylight. I leave nothing but flames in my wake, and my veins vibrate with my power and strength. Our playful, wicked dance has become the sole reason that I hunt as I do.
I am running along the snowy peak of a mountain and with the sudden change of wind, I know that something more has changed. I am alone again. I lay myself prostrate in the bed of snow where I have stopped, and I let the sun beam down upon me. I am a beacon, calling out to my hunter, and amidst the sheer whiteness of the snow, I am gleaming. My swan-touched mane burns brightly against the bitter winter air, as a bonfire. I am beckoning.
But he does not come. I open my mouth to the sky as it fades into night, and I let the breath of the mountains fill my lungs. I lie, impatiently searching, my heart calling out for the wisdom of the mountain, until at last I have found him. James, blanketed in the scent of a feline.
The snow beneath me sizzles in my fury and I am racing toward that which is calling out to the very core of my being. I run through the night as it darkens with the tumult of storm clouds. I am whipped with the torrent of falling water and shaken by the thunderous booms of electricity in the sky, but it does not hinder me.
At last, I have alighted atop the tallest tree I can see. I am drenched to the bone and still the rain mocks me. I growl into the sky, and the entire mountain pauses beneath me. There sits my golden stallion, soaked and silent and still. He looks up at me, holding a garment sewn from the skins of my snow leopards. A gift to his goddess; the only one he could not catch.
A moment has not passed and I am at his side, searching his face with questioning eyes. He says nothing, but envelops us inside the cape he has woven for me, for us, shielding our faces from the unrelenting rain. I can smell the blood, still rich and warm in his mouth and I am weakened by desire.
I am consumed, completely lost in the scent of my James. There is only him and me and this blood that we share. Yes, I will commune with my golden-haired stallion and together we shall burn more brightly than the sun.
"Victoria..." he whispers against my lips, and I let myself breathe in his essence. My tongue has become shameless, searching his lips and his mouth for more. More and more and all that I can stand! ...And still, more.
I am drinking him in as I have never drunk before - not of blood, but of spirit and ether and being. His warm, wet hands travel the curves of my body, finding places that only the rivers have known for centuries. "Why have you hunted me all this time, James? And why did you stop now?"
His fingertips make me shiver, a feeling I have not known in this life, and I gasp against him. "Why have you come back to find me, swan goddess?" His lips travel down my neck, softly kissing my ivory skin. I let the leopard coat fall down away from us, and I glide my fingers through his golden hair as the sky showers us again.
His crimson eyes look up to meet mine, and words are not necessary. I know that not another moment could have passed before the ache for him to be with me would have been too strong to bear. We danced, our fierce courting ritual taking us across countries, through forests, over mountains. At last we could not endure the wait any longer.
He is on the rain-soaked ground, and I am upon him, whimpering like one of my silly snow leopards. I must have him and I must give myself to him.
"James, I am yours," I announce, breathless and trembling, as I linger above his body.
He wraps his arms around my waist and rolls me over onto the wet earth. "You are mine, swan goddess, and I will worship you as long as I exist." His hands slide from my waist and surround my breasts and I feel a heat surge within me. A warmth that I didn't even know was possible. He leans down to let his warm, red lips move down my body, seeking the velvet folds between my legs and I am burning! The rain assaults us and yet all I feel is this man and his hands and his mouth.
When I am shuddering with pleasure, my body aching only for more of him, he slides back up, on top of me. "Forever, my Victoria," he whispers, and his mouth is upon mine again, pulling me only deeper into our beautiful dance.
My thighs are sliding against each other and so I reach my legs up and wrap them around his waist to hold myself against him. He groans into my mouth, his hands sliding down below me to pull my hips tighter against him.
I am alive! I am whole and I am enthralled as he slides himself inside of me. We are one, drenched and burning, floating in the ecstasy of our union. I cling to my James, my fingernails grasping at his back as we ebb and flow and we ARE the moon and the tides and the night turning day!
My hair is sloshing in the mossy, muddy puddle below me and my swan feathers are drowning, but I no longer care. All that I am is in this moment and all that I have is pouring into the man who has hunted me like no other can.
We writhe and we exist and we are nothing but ecstasy as the rain fades away and the nights come and go. I am not keeping count and I do not care that our bodies radiate and the heat of our passion may burn down the mountain around us.
I am fire and James is my golden kindling and we will not part again, until the end of forever.