Chapter 4

I changed a little bit in the last chapter, because I agreed with one of my commenters, keith, that they warmed up to each other a little quickly. I hate doing that but it's a bad habit... So that parts gone.

www. hanniballectermd. /art/ Damien-The-Hunter-309982804

Take out the spaces of course ;) That's a pic of Damien done by my friend, which she got pretty perfect. I'll probably try and do one myself, but I'm useless at drawing people...

Rant over! Let's begin!

When I was with the others - He was there. When I was healing myself - He was there. When I was snipering a smoker - He stood behind it and waved. When I went to the bathroom, he hung outside the window and tapped his nails on the glass; for that, I fired my pistol out the window, almost deafening myself in the small room, but earning a hurt yelp. Then Ellis had barged in the door, with me still on the toilet and had earned himself a slap to the face... Privacy an' all.

So far, we had been doing alright, we had been attacked by a horde, no Tanks so far and had avoided a Witch. My ankle had healed up, so I was doing alright with keeping up, but I always had the sense of being followed, I knew I was, but I could never see him. He was far too good to be sitting in the open. That would be like a Witch standing still and letting you shotgun her in the head. The 'he' I was talking about was my own, personal stalker; A Hunter named Damien. I hadn't seen him in a week, since I shot him in the bathroom incident, but he was still there, lurking in the shadows, hunting. Damien would never let me see him, of course, but that didn't mean he wasn't there, it was extremely unnerving. Like when we went through a dark alley at night to get to a safe house, and I panicked because there was a shadow that didn't look entirely natural. When I refused to go - even sitting down on the ground so Nick had to carry me - I could his deep, throaty laughter ring through the streets... The shadow looked a little more natural after that.

Even after I came so close to the Hunter, removing the bullets from him, I didn't want to see him again. He had warned me that he would hunt me, since he found me so interesting. I knew for a fact that he meant his threat, backed it up with everything he had, waiting for the perfect opportunity. That was not what I wanted. No thank you. I like to have what's supposed to be inside, inside. Not spilling out onto the ground so he can fingerpaint. As we left the safehouse then, I wish I hadn't even thought that. Outside, was a butchered zombie, there was almost no distinguishable parts left and on the wall was a message. Lovely.

Ashrai, come play.

Yeah, I was pretty scared now, but how do you play with a diminuitively-sized Hunter? Should I throw some sticks? Could I teach him to sit? No. Hunters like to play using teeth and claws, I didn't have what he had, so I was already disadvantaged.

"I ain't even gonna ask," Nick muttered, turning his back and heading down a long, narrow street. The rest of us followed, spooked by the message.

There was a loud yowl from the end of the alleyway and we all stared, straining our eyes to see along the length of the street, Rochelle peering through the scope of her sniper rifle.

"You seen anything Ro?" Coach asked quietly, we didn't need any more attention, so it was best to keep the noise down.

"A Hunter... Probably the thing that made the mess with the other infected. You know him, Ash?" Everyone turned to me and I gulped.

"What's... What's it wearing?"

"Black hoodie, with little... Uh.. I think it's studs on the shoulders, black jeans with a rip in the left knee, the tape's missing off his left thigh and he's staring right at me... And saluting... He's gone. Tell me Hunters aren't that smart. Tell me he's a survivor that's playing tricks, who you didn't tell us about." I met four expectant gazes, but had nothing to say. Should I tell them about Damien? If I did, they would kill him; I would be happy, but I had to admit, he had been keeping me on my toes, so my reactions were pretty quick. If I didn't tell them, he would be happy, but he would still try and kill me. Easy choice.

"That's Damien," I began, moving forward to the alley, "He's like my personal Jigsaw," I was met with confused expressions. "You know, the Saw movies? Would you like to play a game? Look, never mind, but I'm his list, he likes me, but not in a 'hugs and friends' kind of way, more an 'I think you're tasty' way."

"You mean he bit you?" Nick looked perplexed, but then again, I had a high-collared jacket which I kept up at all times, hiding the bandaged bite. Slowly, I folded the collar down on itself, then tearing the bandage off, revealing the scabbed wound. I knew it was still bad from the echoed gasp among my team-mates. Ellis swore lightly under his breath then reached out to brush his fingertips over it, but I winced away from his touch, the bite was still pretty painful after little more than a week. At least the scabs meant I was healing, and I had never been so relieved to be immune from the dreaded Green Flu.

"What happened?" Ellis said, then continued, "I remember this one time, my buddy Keith told me he had a bite, turned out to be this huge bruise on the side of his neck, told me some gurl had done it to 'um, he..."

"Ellis sweetie, can this wait?" Rochelle interrupted, we all knew what the Southern boy was like with his stories "Let Ashrai tell us."

"Well," I continued, "Before I met you guys, I had been injured and found a safe house...

An hour and a full story later, we were coming to the next safe house, a solid looking sandstone building with barred windows and that huge, heavy red door that seems to be on all of them. A coincidence? I think not. All of us had to pull on the door to get it to open, obviously with the zombie apocalypse and that, people had forgotten the serious task of oiling hinges on the doors, how shameful. However, it shut easily enough behind us and we relaxed, safe for the moment. I had first dibs on the shower and accidently used up all the hot water, securing my bed on the couch for the night - fair enough - that was the usual punishment for the cold waters showers that everyone else had to endure. Everyone else would be in the two rooms on the ground floor, upstairs was forbidden due to the windows, whoop de doo.

After a delightful hot meal of beans and leftovers, we all hit the sack, retiring to our respective resting places. The couch wasn't too bad, an old black leather thing, with cusions that sagged in the middle and legs that groaned when I lay down, that wasn't promising, but it would do. I had an old salvaged blanket tossed over me and the least moth-eaten pillows for my head while I watched the darkness envelope the room as the lights were switched off. The group all called through from their rooms, wishing me goodnight.

"Goodnight guys!" I said back, feeling myself go limp as I drifted off to sleep.

"Goodnight indeed," growled a voice next to me, before a clawed hand clamped over my lips and another around my neck, "You scream, and I cut your throat."

I was shaking while I nodded slowly, "Hey Damien." He was in front of me now, kneeling down. In the pitch black, I couldn't see him properly, which made him even more terrifying for me and I struggled against the iron grip but it was no use. There was a glint of teeth and a wicked smile slid up the Hunter's face, almost glowing in the dark.

"Damien? You mean the smurf? I can't believe you would mistake an actual Hunter for him... "

For the first time, I noticed what he meant, this Hunter was massive. I bet if he stood up straight, he'd be at least Six and a half foot, compared to Damiens five, four; he was tiny compared to this monster... In more ways than one; this Hunter was built like a tank (pun intended) with thick, bulging muscles or maybe that was the boils that most Hunters seemed to have. He was strong as well, and I could feel strength in his hands that I hadn't felt in Damiens, which made me feel slightly better about my stalker - knowing that there was worse things out there than him. He threw his head back, allowing the hood to settle at his neck, so he didn't let go of me. I whimpered when I seen his face; his left half was a ragged mess of flesh and muscle, the eye rolling visably in its socket round to look at me, the green iris flared outwards like it had burst. Both eyes were clouded like a normal infecteds, unlike the clearness of Damien's grey orbs. Always comparing to that other damned Hunter. I almost laughed at myself. Almost, but the Hunter bared his teeth, whatever ones that weren't already in sight due to him missing his left cheek.

"Do you think I'm Damien now? Your little pretty boy is who done this to me, and when I get him, I'll do the same back, return the favor."

"You do that," I snarled, fighting against him again, but he tightened his grip round my throat. Inside, I hoped that my team would hear me struggling and come to the rescue, but I doubted it. Nothing could help me now, unless... There was a scampering noise that I knew all too well... Another Hunters came barelling into the room and flew into the half-faced one, rolling them onto the floor. It wasn't Damien. The other Hunter had a red hoodie on, with dark brown blood stains, and it was tiny compared to the other one, a female, as I realised when the hood whipped back in the fight to reveal long, bleach-blonde hair. She turned round for a moment, staring me straight in the eyes with her little china doll face and big, glassy blue eyes.

"Get your friends and get out!" She roared, swiftly dodging a punch from the male, who was savagely snapping the remainder of his jaws trying to catch her throat. Screeching in eager anticipation, the little Hunter clawed at him wherever she could while keeping him away from me, giving me time. I took that time, flying into the room where the others had all decided to sleep.

"GET UP!" I yelled and they all jumped, sluggishly trying to get up as quickly as they could, rushing faster when they heard the shrieks of the Hunter's in the other room. Sprinting past them, we took shots at the bigger Hunter, spraying bullets into him, even as we left the house. If it wasn't enough to kill him, it was enough to seriously handicap him. I led the charge down another thin street until I smacked into a solid form, everyone piling up behind me. Glancing up, my green eyes met with blue-grey ones, a wisp of wavy scarlet hair draped over them, a large smile spreading over his face. Could it get any worse? Hadn't I asked that before? Hadn't the answer been unpleasant?

"Damien..." I backed up, shoving the others back too, trying to get away from the grimacing predator before us. Too late, Damien sank to the ground crawling towards us with the deadly grace of a leopard, all he was missing was the tail. A low growling rumbled low in his throat and he inhaled loudly, making a show of things.

"Hello, my little Ashrai," He purred, slinking closer.

Remember when I asked if things could get any worse? That was when I heard Nick from the other end of this closed-in alley...

"TAAAANNNKKKKK"