The Assignment

Captain Von Delgo is a man who is lost. He is known as a turncoat, a hero and a mass-murderer. He has no beginning, and as far as he can see he has no end. Which makes him just about the most dangerous man alive. After the completion of his last job Captain is on his way out to receive his payment and rest up. His plans are delayed when a religious sect known as the Ravens pull him in with an offer. Captain faces a dilemma, he has never once failed in his assignments. But accepting this one and succeeding would change the way of the world, change everything that everyone has ever known, plunge it into chaos. But he has also never once turned down a job, and with his life quickly descending into a chaos of its own despair, he can see no reason why not to accept. After all, how hard can it be to kill an immortal?

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13. Chapter 13

'Kill him.' The ancient voice wobbled with age and tiredness, but it’s words were spoken with strength of power and might. It was faint to the sound, but the malic and intent behind it was as clear as daylight. The elderly Gháulds eyes gleamed brightly in the dark, its stomach gurgled with a fierce hunger to eat new flesh but it resisted the temptation to take off into the dark and hunt down its prey. He had two striplings with him whom he was in the middle of training. He would eat only what was left behind after they had feasted their full.

The two younger Gháulds with him stared hungrily into the dark, their eyes also gleaming, four tiny pricks of light in a world of black. One of them in anticipations ran its wet tongue across her lips to wet them, and then ran it along the points of her teeth to test their sharpness. Blood mixed with saliva from the cut that opened on her tongue, it dripped from her mouth as she panted desperately, eager to be off on the chase. At a nod from her teacher, she dropped to all fours and bounded forwards into the low tunnel ahead.

The other Gháuld was shorter than the first, but only by an inch. His lips were cut, covered in healing scabs. His nose bent out of shape from encounter with brick walls in pitch black tunnels. His muscles clenched and unclenched as he twisted a heavy staff in his hands, his eyes turning towards his teacher and silently pleading to be let off the leash. His teacher nodded and the young Gháuld was off, releasing his staff, he dropped to the ground and dived through the hole after his younger sister. He knew how it worked. The oldest lets the younger one go first because the oldest is faster.

The aim of the game was to be the first one to catch the hunted creature. This one was a strange creature to hunt because it looked to be a man. The Gháuld had never hunted a man before, but he was confident that he would be the first one to find and kill it.

He out a battle howl that rolled through the dank tunnels of the unused sewer. His sister heard the cry in a separate tunnel and she too let out a cry.

The tunnels joined for a brief instance as they ran along them and they both saw each other. The boy glared and bared his teeth and tensed himself ready to fight in case his sister decided to come over into his tunnel. The girl gave him a brief look but continued running on all four limbs onwards, ignoring him for the most part. More intent on leaving him behind than stopping to fight. The tunnels split up ahead and they soon lost sight of each other.

She and her brother had been training under their teacher for 14 years, and each hunt they went on her brother was always the first to catch the prey.

Mostly they hunted either above ground in the top ruins of the cities, or in the jungle. This was her first excursion underneath one of the cities, and this time she would be the one to win.

A hole in the floor yawned up in front of the girl and she tensed ready to jump. The floor caved away underneath her just before she sprang and she tumbled with a screaming cry into another sewer below.

She landed in green, mucky liquid and rose swiftly to her feet. Looking above she saw she had fallen ten feet. Wiping some of the liquid from her face, she looked around at the tunnels surrounding her. She was in a cross-section. With each second she delayed choosing her route her brother was gaining on their prey, and if she was too slow she would be severely punished by her teacher. Slowness was not becoming of a Gháuld.

She chose quickly and bounded away into the tunnel on her left. A few minutes later she appeared back in the cross-section she had just left and screamed. Glaring to anything that would see her glare she took the tunnel straight ahead and hoped it wouldn’t lead her back to the start.

Her brother was having some trouble of his own. He had caught sight of the man, but the man seemed aware that he was being followed and kept disappearing into the walls. Unperturbed, for he knew that he would catch up with the man eventually, the boy ran onwards. His eyes were able to pick out any obstacles in his path. Looming in the dark was a ring of chairs standing around a table in the middle. With a single bound he crossed over them and continued on his way. As he disappeared, a dark shape loomed out from underneath the table and ran quickly back the way it had come.

The boy’s journey started to take him upwards to the fresh air. Once free of the safety of the dark the boy would be seen by his prey. However, if the prey saw him it would be only for a second before his heart is ripped out of his chest.

The journey upwards stopped and the ground flattened out. A glass door stood in front of him showing the only way out into the outdoors. It was a dead end. There was another door to the side but that was locked from the outside, and there was no cover for his prey to hide behind. To get out of this dead end you would have to have run into the glass and broken it to get away. He had been tricked again!

His prey must have stopped running and hid, and he had run right past thinking it was still in front of him. With a cry of anger at being tricked, the Gháuld drew back his hand into a fist and struck the door. The glass shattered into a million pieces and sprayed outwards. After the shower had ceased, the Gháuld turned and quietly set about plucking the tiny shards of glass from his body and fist. He counted each piece, remembering the number for it would be the same amount he would embed in his prey’s skin. After the last one was out, he ran back the way he had come.

His sister was finally out of the sewers and in the clothing department of the store. She couldn't work out why the people that built these ruins wore so many clothes. Surely they would just get in the way when you are hunting? She herself only wore a thin piece of cloth around her waist, and she took that off before hunting because it still got caught on things when she was running. Wearing all the different things those little creatures wore would only ruin your chances of securing a meal.

She paused for breath, leaning against the tiles on the wall of one of the shops. There was time for a breather as the prey was still uncaught. If her brother had found it then she would have known. Yet she couldn’t rest for long, there was no knowing how long the race would continue for.

It was very quiet here. Nothing was alive to breathe besides her and even her breathing couldn't be heard. There was a chill that lay around and in this city, it had been the first one to go and the people inside had been the last to die, ironic in a way.

Her teacher had told her that some of the older Gháulds thought that the people who used to live here remained but as souls. They would never go away because this was their home, pitiful though it is. Her clan leader claimed that he could still hear the voices of the damned in the night. He would find pleasure in hearing their cries, and often joined in. It gave him life, he claimed.

A wave of something on the air rode by and the Gháuld inhaled deeply. Something had disturbed the dust and it had not been a Gháuld. The creature, the man, was strange. From the air currents, she could smell its journey. It had walked through this place, full of fear, to the jungle, and then it had returned. Where did it go? When it had returned something had changed in it, it walked without fear. Did it not know the dangers that lived all around him? If it didn't then it soon would, but by then it would be too late to use it for future reference.

Moving swiftly, she jumped onto the top of the table and lifting her head back, she howled like a wolf to the moon. Something moved in the corner of her eye and her body stiffened. Flattening herself down on the tabletop she twisted so that she was facing whatever it was. Pushing her hands hard against the table, she rose, kicked her feet, and leapt forwards. She landed roughly on the back of the creature and the force dropped them to the floor, her fingers curled tightly around it’s neck.

Choking cries filled the room as they both tumbled around the room. She cried in pain as the creature’s flailing hands smacked her in the face as it tried to detach her from around its neck. Its hands gripped hers and tried to pry her fingers away but her grip was too tight. Exhausted with trying that, the creature moved his hands up till he could feel her face and then grabbed a hold. Finger nails poking into her face and eyes. She screamed again, shook her head, and used her energy to tighten her hold. The creature’s hands loosened their hold and scratched her across the face as it buckled and tried to ram her against the floor.

Warm blood trickled out of the deep cuts on her face; she felt it drip down and snarled, bearing her teeth as she managed to wrap one leg around her prey. Slowly she forced her other bare leg around the creature’s waist and started to squeeze there as well as around its neck. They continued to roll, bumping into the chairs and table as the creature flailed madly, but uselessly.

After a moment it’s body began to grow limp. Rolling over so that she was on top, she lifted it’s head off the ground and then brought it down upon the floor. There was a crack and a groan, and she repeated the movement. Lifting the man’s head before smashing it once more onto the floor. She felt warm, sticky liquid pool around her fingers and smelt the scent of blood. The man’s body went limp in her hands, and she could no longer feel the man’s heartbeat against her calves. Panting hungrily for breath, she unfolded herself from the body, but continued to sit on its back.

She had won the fight and it had been easier than she had expected. Her prey hadn't given her as much of a fight as she had thought it would have. It had seemed smart leading her on a false trail but when it came to fighting the thing didn't have a clue.

After licking the creature’s blood from her hands, she pulled her hair from her face and pulled the body into the light to see what the strange prey looked like. She couldn’t wait to show it to her brother, to see the look on his face at having been beaten. Already she could feel the warm gaze of her teacher as he patted her on the back and told her to have the first bite. As the dim light fell upon the creature’s face her body seemed to seize up, her breathing quickened its pace and her tongue seemed to swell in her mouth. Her face contorted into a vicious snarl and she roared loudly.

Her brother lay dead on the ground, his forehead caved in, face covered in a thick layer of blood and dirt, dark purple and red strangulation marks covered his neck, but it was still recognisable as her brother. She had sworn earlier that she would get to the prey before her brother did, but she never thought it would involve killing her brother. Even though it was an accident.

Hot tears streamed down her face and mixed with the blood on her cheek. She wiped as much as she could of the tears out of her eyes and glared around at the dark. This strange prey was the reason her brother was dead and she would find it and kill it. She heaved her brother onto her shoulders and staggered under his weight. She carried him through the tunnels until she came to one she knew she would remember and dropped him onto the ground. When this was over and she had caught that creature, her family would eat both of them.

'You don't waste what there is hardly anything of,' her father would tell her every time she threw away some part of a meal she didn't like.

Her father was talking about food.

'People will continue to grow and they will always need to be fed. What you don't eat some other Gháuld would kill to have.' Those words rang in her ears.

She wasn't sure that she would be able to eat her brother along with the rest of her family but if you didn't want to eat you would starve and then you would lose your strength to catch new food and then you would finally die. It was brutally simple, too simple but it worked.

She marked a wall with her long nails to remember the spot and without another glance at the dead body, she ran off to try to pick up the strange man’s scent.

 

The Captain couldn’t continue to avoid the monsters, soon he would find himself meeting up with one and then he would be the one on the bottom being throttled. He didn’t know what had made the female attack the male that had been about to pounce on him. From his spot in the dark he had seen the female climb onto the table and look around, and he had also seen the one creeping up on him. He had been about to make a break for it and see how far he could run when the female had suddenly howled and sprung onto his attacker.

In the dark he had watched mesmerised as the strong female had pounded the male’s head onto the ground. He found his legs were incapable of movement, they seemed glued to the ground, he had no choice but to hold his breath and watch. Maybe it was because of fear that he found himself frozen, or it was the carnal desire inside him, the soldier, which ached to see a fight to the death, which it would be one way or another. He had wanted to see the creatures fight, to behold their majestic strength that he had heard so much about. He wanted to see blood.

Then all too soon, the feeling had dissipated and he found himself creeping backwards and then running as fast as he could away from the battle. No looking behind to see if he was being followed, no pausing for breath.

The Captain heard the Gháuld’s cry as she discovered she had killed one of her own, and deep down he felt a warm trickle in his blood as he listened to her anguish. It gave him strength to know they still had feelings, it made him smile and gain energy from the thought. He continued to run.

The Captain knew that once the creature caught his scent he would be in trouble, the animals were fast anywhere. In water, on land, though the Captain had never heard of any attacks coming from them from the air.

Fragments of plans floated through the Captain’s mind and he tried to grab them all and assemble them into a noteworthy plan, but nothing seemed to fit. The most he ended up thinking might work was if he hid behind something in a dead end and waited until she was backed against the wall with nowhere to run, all he would have to do then is step out and fire his gun until she was dead.

It was a good idea, but a cornered creature sometimes becomes one of the most dangerous in the world. He could hide, but she would know where he was in the end.

 

She crawled along on her stomach through a ventilation shaft. She had broken the rusty bars away from the entrance and had been able to crawl inside. She could smell his fear, but she could also smell something she only smelt around others of her kind. He smelt like one of them, but he couldn't be. If he was they would have known and wouldn't be hunting him.

He also seemed to be having a battle within his head. Part of him feared her killing him, and the other part looked forward to the fight however short it would be when she found him. She could smell that he knew she would find him before he found her. Though he was trying to find a way out because he was, like she was now, lost, a part of him was looking for her. He was confusing her senses. She shook her head to clear it. They hadn't even met and he seemed to have cast some sort of spell over her.

She would only be free from the strange things she was thinking and feeling now, if she killed him. She crawled onwards, each move forwards leading her closer to him, and then when she is above him she will tear away the metal of the vent, fall on top of him, and rip his head off.

She almost seemed to purr with happiness at that thought. There was no light in the vent so she had trouble seeing her way. The ability to see in the dark did not come until they reached the age where you could see in the dark. It came whenever it felt like coming; there was no set time for it. Until that time she had to make do with letting her eyes continue to adjust to the light.

There was a bend up ahead and she crawled around when she reached it. And then there was no more vent to crawl through. It just stopped. You couldn't go any further.

The smell of the hunted one was so strong now she could already taste what he would taste like. It was enough to make her drool. She licked her lips in a nervous sort of way. Hurriedly, but making sure she got all of her lips with her tongue.

He was right behind this wall and it was in the way. It would have made her cry had she not the power in her arms to push the metal in front of her away. The man would hear her and he would run but as she was so close to him he wouldn't be able to run fast enough.

She punched the metal, the shock reverberated, pounding in her ears and rattling through the vent. Snarling, she punched again and was satisfied to see a large dent where her punch had landed.  Beyond the wall, she could hear running feet and in a panic that he would disappear, she lashed out again. Repeatedly she continued to punch until the wall until she saw it beginning to break around the edges, beams of light spilled through and she gave it one last push and tumbled through the hole.

Rising to her feet, she gazed around at where she was. Nowhere was there a place to hide. A swinging door gave her a hint as to where to go but the man had been smart and would still be until she had her hand around his heart and was squeezing.

She found herself in a large room, doors surrounded her but most of them were either locked or too rusty to move. Only one moved, and it was currently swinging.

The Gháuld ran through the door. Through it was just another room, and this was the room where they stored everything. The place was filled with boxes that had once been opened and then had more things placed inside and then retaped. Paintings leaned against other paintings, and large pieces of furniture, couches, chairs, book cases, tables, lay on the ground, either in pieces of stacked up on each other. Something flickered behind a stack of boxes and she moved over to have a look.

The door clanged shut behind her and she spun around. The locks on the door clicked into place just as she reached the door and started to claw it.  She felt her nails break as she scratched the wood, felt splinters enter her fingers, but her mind told her body that it was necessary.

Outside she heard the sound of feet walking away from the door and she cried out for it to come back and fight. The footsteps stopped, and there was silence. She cried out again, fearing that it had left her alone. They her heart beat picked up as she heard the sound of the steps returning to the door.

'Something will come, and they will let you out,' she heard the voice through the door and snarled at it. And then she heard a soft goodbye and silence.

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