Chapter Three: Hunting

As I ate breakfast, I thought about the days that passed since I have been here. I licked my lips, tasting the french toast, syrup, eggs, and bacon that were still left on my lips. I licked the fork and enjoyed every tiny taste of it. I turned my head around to see the other people at other table still eating their food. On my left, my friend, Brianna, took her bites slowly. On my left, was an empty space that no one dared to sit in. Ignoring that fact, I rested my head on the table. I felt fine and happy. This was where I belonged.

Moments later, I felt the bench go down as someone sat next to me. It was Andreas. In his plate, was a waffle. The waffle looked like it had been dipped in a syrup pool or washed in syrup. Also, it had a circle of whip cream on the top, with a cherry to finish the swirl. I watched it and he said, "This is my favorite part of the day." Then, he licked his fork that was dappled with sugar. "This is the most sugar they'd give me!"

"Wow," Brianna looked over. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be at the Ares table? I mean, you are kinda breaking the rules."

"You're such a know-it-all, Brianna," Andreas laughed and sat closer. "Asher probably would like that Sonia is making friends."

Rolling her eyes, Brianna looked down at her eggs and toast. Andreas now was even closer to me. He whispered into my ear, barely breathing into it, "So what have you been up to, Sonia?"

"Er- you know... Stuff," I began, sliding over slowly.

"Wanna go hunting after breakfast?" Andreas asked me.

"Sure!" this broke my chain, and I became close to him. I felt like it has been ages since I hunted. So, I took my plate and silverware and placed it near the other dirty dishes. Andreas quickly ate his food and we went out. I grabbed my bow, hunting gear, dagger, pouch, and quiver. Brianna seemed weary of what I was doing and came over to my side.

"What are you doing?" she wondered.

"Hunting for my hunting gear," I searched through my bottomless pouch.

"Why? Who are you going with? What are you looking for? When are you going? How will you do this? Where will you go?" Brianna asked me, close to my face. She looked worried.

"I dunno," I said. "I am going with Andreas."

"Why? He is such a hothead!"

"He's nice. I mean, he wants to go hunting. What could possibly go wrong there? He likes how I shoot and wants to be my friend," I grab my dagger from my pouch and stick it through my utility belt. I sniff the air. It smells like smoke and I say, "Why does it smell like a fire? Is there an actual fire?" I got up, ready to escape the cabin at any moment.

"No it is a barbeque," Brianna rolled her eyes. "Anyways, just be cautious. Okay?"

"Sure," I shrugged and walked out of the cabin. I went to find Andreas. As soon as I did, I found myself the first to greet him once we met up with each other, "Hey Andreas. Ready to go?"

"Of course!" Andreas laughed. "Follow me. I know some really good places to go." Listening, I did. He led to to the outskirts of the cabins, to a forest where I found myself wandering in. I could easily smell prey and the leaves as they flew from their trees. I watched as the sun peered through the trees and twigs, trying to see us as we went through. I heard the singing birds, chirping. The twigs cracked under my boots, making a large snap as I walked over them. I tasted the forest, finally feeling the greatness of the leaves and all around me. I felt happy again. Pure happiness.

Finally, I begin my prey-search. Quickly and swiftly, I climb the nearest tree. Behind me, I heard Andreas scrambling up to come with me. I crouch into a position so I could see easily from my perch. I look down and listen with my ears. Once I hear a bird, I aim my bow steadily. It was a robin. A robin that was flying around in such a kindly way. I didn't want to hurt it. So, I put down my bow and said to Andreas, "Don't hurt it."

He nodded and looked around for more prey. Seconds later, Andreas pointed at a squirrel and aimed his bow. Quickly, he fired the arrow and it hit the squirrel. The little creature shook then laid still. Andreas looked proud, and itched the back of his head. Then, I saw him beginning to flex. I felt awkward.

Searching for an animal, I quickly position my bow and shoot at a hare I see jumping around. I sigh with relief when Andreas puts down his arms and I say, "Well. Do you wanna go get our prey now or leave it to the predators to take the claim? Tell you what, I don't want the predators to claim this wonderful kill, so I am going to get my own." And I started down the tree, still with the awkward sensation creeping down my spine as I try to slide down. I see him above me, agreeing to what I had just said.

Fortunately for me, my prey was off in another area than his. So, I went to go get it. As I picked it up, I smelled the gross smell of fur and poop. This hare had just made dirt. I started to gag at the smell. I dropped the prey and wiped my hands on my pants. Through the bushes, I heard Andreas rushing through them. He said to me when he made it through, "You okay?"

"Yeah," I began to laugh nervously. Then, it became a normal laugh, "I just caught a hare that just made dirt."

"Ha!" Andreas began laughing. "Let's go in that tree to skin these things."

With a single thrust of my body, I leaped onto the nearest, largest tree. I climbed up it, feeling splinters slowly enter my skin. I wanted to yelp as one bark cut my hand, but I had to hold it in to sound braver than I actually was. I grabbed the next branch, then hauled myself up to another. I finally found a thick, sturdy branch to hold two. Andreas went up and joined me. With him, he brought his squirrel he just recently caught. I watched as it dangled from his hand, remembering how I used to enjoy eating this. It was the only food I had then, I thought to myself.

"Alright," Andreas sat next to me. "I guess I'll-" he looked at the cut on my hand. "Oh my gods. Do you need me to cure that? I've got some-"

"No," I quickly told him. "I've gotten so many. I don't think I will need it."

"You need it," he narrowed his eyes onto the gash. Gently, he grabbed my hand and studied the cut. Then, he grabbed his pouch and brought out a bottle. He then rubbed the liquid in it on my cut. I winced, then I felt a good sensation. The liquid helped my cut. Next, Andreas put a sticky thing on my hand to cover up the scratch the tree made. It blended in with my skin, barely being visible.

"Thanks," I muttered.

"No problem," Andreas smiled. "I have to admit, cuts hurt. You don't have to hide that from me, you know?"

"I know. I've just tried to hide it from myself for so long."

"Really?"

"Yeah," I never felt so open. "I never like when I freak out on tiny cuts. I just- er- think it's kinda... cowardly. I don't know why."

"You've probably just been taught to not be cowardly or freak out on stuff like that," Andreas informed me. He looked at my hand, "And that's pretty big."

I sighed, "I guess."

Then, the whole time we skinned the squirrel. Then, we found a foxes den and placed it there for no reason. On the way back, we laughed about some of the rude Ares kids that hated us. We talked for about an hour, enjoying the company of each others company. Though, sometimes I felt really awkward.

When we reached camp, we saw all the kids doing their normal duties. I said goodbye to Andreas and went to find my friend, Brianna. As soon as I found her, she was fighting Aaron and Aden and some other Ares kids. They beat her up, making fun of her for not having anybody to accompany her. Right away, my instincts told me to punch one in the face. So, I did so. The first kid I punched was Aaron. He fell to the ground, his nose beginning to bleed. Next, I swung a blow at Aden, but he blocked it. He wrenched my arm, making me yelp a little. I kicked him, only to make him move just a little.

Aden let go and cracked his knuckles, his friends gathering behind him. "Guess we have another victim too, eh?"

Quickly, I dived onto his legs, pushing him to the ground. When he fell, it had a domino effect on his friends. They tried to catch him, but just fell onto the next. I got up and cracked my neck, fists ready. I went over and said, "And that victim is you." Right away, I kicked his stomach, just to get slapped in the face by one of his best friends. Aaron grabbed my waist and flung me to the floor. I screeched as my bones felt like they were shattered. With pain, I got up, only to be shoved back down by Aden.

Then, before Aden could punch me, I saw Derek push him over to the ground. With his muscle, Derek easily knocked him over. He kicked Aaron as he went after him. I got up to help, but two of Aden's friends grabbed my arm and flung me to the side. I rolled onto the ground, landing next to Brianna. She had a swollen eye and a bruised lip. She muttered, "I hate my brother."

"Don't we all?" I tried to laugh, but the pain in my throat stopped me.

Then, I felt my body being picked up when I closed my eyes. I felt like I was on Ray's back. Then, I noticed I wasn't. I was on Asher's back. He carried Brianna and I through camp. Next, I had the soft feeling of a bed. I smelled cotton and heard a nurse chatting behind me. I saw Brianna on a bed next to me, her eyes closed. And this is what I do for the ones I love? I wanted to laugh again.