Death Hunter
Author: Neil Evans

Chapter 1

    Everybody says we have a purpose in this world. Whether our purpose is as big as stopping a war, or as insignificant as unearthing a fossil. Some of us never find our purpose. We waste our time goofing around, struggling to get through this life, and hoping to make it into the next. I know my purpose. Ever since I lost my friend, Eric in a tragic fire. It wasn't the fire that killed him. No, that would have made my life easier. He had been murdered. I've known since the moment I saw his corpse, charred and headless in the remnants of a once beautiful house, what my purpose was. We were both thirteen then. I'm thirty-three now.

    I was walking in a desert. The sun was beaming on my back. The sand was decorated by bodies of men and children. It was always men and children. And their heads were always removed. The murders were always done in the same manner. I ran one hand through my hair. Then I leaned down near one of the bodies. A shirt that must have originally been blue was covered in crimson blood, making it look pink. With one hand I pushed over the body on its back. "She's been here," I muttered to myself, looking at the back of the shirt. It wasn't like I'd needed more proof than the bodies to know it was Her. But I wanted to make sure I was following Her.
    "Oh yeah, She's been here," a voice said from nearby. I jumped to my feet, quickly grabbing a dagger from my belt. I looked in the direction of the voice. I was looking at an old tree, long dead. Suddenly a man dropped from one of the branches. He landed on his feet. The man was hunched over, his arms were hanging forward, as if he were some zombie or ape. He had thick silver hair that dropped down to his shoulders and red eyes like a demon.
    "Leo," I said bitterly.
    "Tulus," Leo said. He knew I hated being called by my last name. But Leo preferred I be angry, for some reason I think he wanted me to kill him. Maybe he didn't like working for Her. . . .
    "How is it you're always here before me?" I asked him. "And why do you wait for me?"
    "My dear, dear Tulus, I merely want to talk to you and you've already got a dagger ready," Leo said. He used a voice that seemed almost innocent. Devious, dastardly and evil, but innocent. "I'll only ask you one more time before--"
    "I'm not giving you the rose," I interrupted. "I never will. Is that clear enough?"
    Leo's face distorted. His eyes grew wider, his silver hair suddenly seemed to thin, and his mouth changed into a wide frown. His skin seemed to sag, and his cheeks became pale. He spoke in a loud, angry voice that sounded both male and female, "Then I guess today you draw your last breath, Tulus!"
    Before Leo had been quick, now he raise his arm slowly, as if bringing up a hammer. I jumped backward, bending my body until my head was pointed to the ground. My hands reached out, caught some sand, and sprung off putting me back on my feet. I heard Leo's hand crash against the ground, it sounded like a bomb going off. I lunged forward, and sliced at him with my dagger. He may have been slow at striking, but he was damn fast at dodging.
    I felt the blade cut skin. Leo stumbled back. I quickly turned. There was a gash across his right cheek. He put a finger to the blood and looked at it for a moment. His deep, red eyes met mine. "You . . . bitch!" He screamed. Leo lunged toward me before I had time to think. He hooked an arm upward, catching my stomach and lifting me off of my feet. I felt a rib crack as I was sent through the air. Blood was dripping from my mouth--I could taste it. I threw the dagger at him swiftly, but I didn't see what happened next.
    I fell onto another dead body, my head smacking against a bloody chest. I heard Leo scream. The sound was like a thousand windows shattering. I staggered to my feet, only for a hand to catch my throat and lift me into the air. The hand quickly let go, and I was in the air again with nothing holding me up. When I almost hit the ground my ankle was caught and I was airborne again. "Round and round the bloody bitch goes, where she stops, nobody knows!" Leo screamed both in anger and glee. Finally, I thudded against the ground and felt his foot stomp on my shoulder, holding me down.
    "Now, Tulus, I'll ask you--" he dug the heel of his boot on my shoulder. "--one more time. One. More. Time. Give me the rose, Tulus."
    I looked up to see his wretched face, quickly thought and spit. A bloody wad landed directly on his chin. He winced, but he made no other movement. "Did you ever think that if I had the rose I wouldn't of lost to you?" I asked him, smiling.
    His face turned even worse, his lips parted to show dagger-like teeth. "You bitch! You cursed another kin with the damn thing! Cursed! Not to mention you've given me another person that I absolutely have to kill. Do you not--"
    While he was distracted ranting, I quickly got another dagger from my belt and stabbed it into his ankle. He instantly howled out, and his foot loosened, I struggled and he fell to the ground.
    "You bitch! You bloody, fucking bitch!" Leo screamed over and over as he removed the dagger from his ankle. I quickly got up and reached at my belt again, only to realize I was out of knives. The dagger I threw was my only chance, but Leo was in the way of that dagger. I looked where he was to see Leo picking himself up, I only had one chance. I ran at him, quickly closing our distance, and jumped. My feet bounced off of his shoulders, making him stagger, and I glided past him. Doing that made my chest feel terrible, like the broken rib was trying to break out of my skin. Just as I was landing a hand caught my foot, making me fall on my face. I began kicking whatever had grabbed me, but to no avail. I turned over to see that one of the headless men had grabbed my foot.
    I saw Leo coming closer, he was licking the dagger that was previously in his ankle. "I'm going to gut you, you bitch!" He screamed confidently. I couldn't break free of the corpse, I was sure to die. . . .


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