Wind Walkers: Hunted

Wind Walkers: Hunted

A Chapter by J.A. Marquez
"

After fleeing the Red River tribe, Bethany and Gomez trek through mountains, being stalked by a blood hunter.

"
"In here, hurry!" The urgent hiss broke through the shadows. Gomez propped open the dented door with his foot while Bethany slipped inside. The shed was a single concrete room, weathered by time and reeking of decay. Bethany held her nose but, even breathing through her parted lips, she could taste the acridness of the space. The blood began to settle in her veins, and as it did her stomach roiled.

"That was too close for comfort." Gomez panted, sweat seeping at his hairline and neck.

"Do you think," she gasped in return, "It will go away?"

His dark eyes darted to the line of pale light beneath the door.

"Soon. It's almost dawn."

Crouching against the far wall, Bethany gripped her stomach. Her head felt as if it were repeatedly inflating, lifting her from the ground like a balloon. The noxious odor loitered in her nostrils and floated on her tongue. With a powerful lurch she fell forward and braced herself against the floor. Hot bile spewed onto the cement.

Gomez turned his eyes back to the door, his own skin going pale. The sound of the heaving echoed in the empty space. The smell of it would draw in the blood hunter that, by some miracle, was still scouring the surrounding woods. It took a great deal of strength for Bethany to silence herself. She inhaled a quivering breath, but as she exhaled her muscles tightened again.

"Just breathe slowly." Gomez instructed, pinching his nose.

A shallow inhale, and restrained exhale pushed back the discomfort. From the worn blanket secured at her chest, Bethany tore a square of fabric. She dabbed at her face, sopping up sweat, tears and vomit.

"All better?" Gomez raised an eyebrow in her direction.

"Is that supposed to be funny?" She chided.

"You're still alive, aren't you?"

A deep frown wrinkled her nose.

"Well?"

"Yes."

"Then smile when you can. Things are bad, but they could be a lot worse. You can't waste your life fearing the inevitable."

She took little consolation in his advice.

"It could have caught us. If we had been one second slower - it would have."

"Maybe, but it didn't"

They had hiked at a fair pace, considering their injuries. The biting cold kept their muscles tight, but they pressed on, aware of the consequences of stopping. Heavy steps on the crumbling asphalt shot pain into Bethany's shins, and her lungs ached from inhaling the chilled air. It was all she could do not to collapse, an easy meal for whatever lurked beyond the tall conifers.

At it's highest point in the visible sky the moon beamed down, illuminating the landscape just enough to continue forward. Crickets chirped with anxious vibrato, filling the distinct silence. Goosebumps riddled Bethany's bare arms and legs, but she was numb to the chill, her mind more occupied with the deep searing in her joints.

They came to a turn off, a smaller road leading deeper into the mountainside. Staying on a westward course would be ideal, but a private road could very well mean a place to stay.

"Should we follow it?" Bethany had murmured, her voice collapsing on itself.

Inclined to move forward, Gomez only glanced down the secondary road.

"There might be shelter." She pressed, yearning to rest her legs.

For the first time since they had stumbled upon the dilapidated highway he looked her over. The frayed blanket was secured with a square knot. It barely covered her intimate regions and left her right side exposed to the icy sting. Cuts and bruises colored her legs in a morbid collage, the scabs raised and dry. Then as he met her gaze he softened. Behind sagging lids her eyes were barely visible. Deep creases and dark circles made them appear hollow. More disturbing still, was the lingering scent of dry blood that clung to her skin.

"Come on." He conceded, turning down the lesser path.

The sound of gravel shifting beneath their weight added a soothing rhythm to the symphony of insects. Bethany found herself lulled into a trance. The road was inclined, with a wide bend at its highest point. She kept her eyes pinned to the ground, counting each step as one less to safety. Kicked up dirt mingled with the mucus of her nasal lining. When she took a breath, it tickled the fine follicles, causing her to sneeze. She doubled over with force, the spray glistening on the road.

Gomez did not stop, but slowed as she collected herself. An eerie sensation creeped over her. Only moments before, her ears had been ringing. Now, a muted tension stilled the forest, and Bethany's hair stood on end. Twigs snapped at the shoulder of the road. Slowly her eyes rolled to the side, her body frozen by fear.

"Gomez." She breathed in a harsh and desperate whisper.

He ceased walking, turned to look back, and caught sight of the predator poised at the trees. The deep bronze of his cheeks turned white and his dry lips gaped. With micromovements of his eyes he urged her toward him.

"Run."

Bethany heard him clearly, but remained still, too stunned to move. Cold perspiration dripped from her underarms and emanated a bitter stench. Her legs felt like the gelled fat of a pig, wriggling beneath her against her will, and stinging where the skin had been rubbed raw.

"Run!" His nostrils flared as he yelled through clenched teeth.

In her peripheral vision the creature leapt forward. She dodged it narrowly and took off at a full sprint. Gomez trailed behind her, his breath strained. She hurdled over a fallen tree, landing hard on the broken ground. Small rocks and thistles penetrated the soles of her feet. She yelped, but did not stop, her legs pumping hard to maintain speed. The wind carried to her the raging growls of the beast at their backs. It was not particularly agile, but given a clear path it could easily outrun them.

"Don't stop!" Gomez yelled, his voice hoarse and breathless

Over her shoulder Bethany met the crazed eyes of the blood hunter, it's teeth bared and wet with drool. It was feet from Gomez, closing in quickly.

"You don't stop!" She screamed back, holding out her arm to him.

She slowed as he grabbed onto her. The road began to curve, and they dodged across the tall grass, putting branches and boulders between them and the blood hunter. It stumbled, and crashed head first into the dirt. Bethany's legs were misted by it's spittle as it screeched at the fleeing pair.

"We have to find shelter." She cried, struggling to pull Gomez along with her.

He shifted his weight to his good leg, his sprint turning into a gallop.

"I don't...think...I can make it." He groaned.

Behind them the creature had found it's footing and was hobbling after them, more ravenous now.

"You have to!"

She gave a firm tug on his arm, flinging him forward. They came back to the black top, and raced over it in a frantic bee line. At the base of a hill, still many meters away, the cubic shed was a beacon of hope.

"There!" She yelled, leaping over an ancient pot hole.

The pale concrete reflected the glow of the falling moon. Gomez exhaled, his breath warmng her shoulder. She felt him force his energy into his legs, demanding that they carry him just a bit further. The road gave way to a dirt drive, textured with old tire tracks. The sound of heavy footsteps on the loose dirt sent a chill through Bethany. The monster gurgled unintelligably at them.

She veered off of the road, guiding Gomez to do the same, and wove through the foliage. Tall stalks whipped at her legs. Her foot scraped against a rock and she howled.

"Keep going, we're almost there." Gomez pleaded.

The disgruntled creature stumbled over the terrain, but kept after them, too parched to let them get away. The land opened up so that the shack was a straight shot across an overgrown lawn. With all the force she could muster Bethany pulled Gomez forward and barreled to the opposite side of the block structure. They darted into the shadows, pressing their backs against the frozen wall.

The shifting grass gave a hushed warning as the beast approached. It's choked snarls echoed in the open sky. Bethany trembled, her legs threatening to fall out from beneath her. Gomez squeezed her hand, inching closer to the edge of the wall. The door was perpendicular to their position, but they would have to wait until the blood hunter was passing on the opposite side to make their move. It tore through the weeds and stumbled against the outer wall. The stink of rotted flesh was carried on the breeze. Bethany winced, clinging to Gomez. At the sight of its haggard leg, they darted around the corner of the building, finding the unlocked door.

The darkness was fading, slowly but surely. The pair sat with their backs to the door, Bethany's head propped on Gomez's shoulder. She could feel the tension still buzzing in his nerves. It had been a narrow escape at best. What if the blood hunter didn't leave? What if it waited in the cover of the trees for them to emerge? She shuddered.

"How are we supposed to make it all the way to the white coast?" She whimpered incoherently.

"What?" He straightened to look down at her.

"How long do you think we're going to survive like this?"

"We have to take it a day at a time." He soothed. "It's the only way to live out here."

He was right, Bethany thought. There was no future. The only way to get through this would be to remain in the present. She closed her eyes and let the tears dry, leaving a crust on her lashes.

"Get some rest." Gomez breathed in her ear. "I'll wake you up in a few hours."


© 2015 J.A. Marquez


Author's Note

J.A. Marquez
I revised this chapter. It was not right previously. I am not sure how to begin the next chapter. They have about 700 miles to go still before the first part of the story is done. I want it to not be boring. Any advice is welcomed.

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Reviews

I think you should introduce a new character to kick off the next chapter. It would add new aspects to the story. For this chapter, love the action! It's great to finally have a blood hunter up close.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

J.A. Marquez

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much for the advice! That gives me an idea. There will very likely be another character.. read more
WritersBlock101

6 Years Ago

Your welcome! I'm so happy I could help you continue your story. It's so creative and very entertain.. read more
I like the chapter...just like all the others. Not seeing where or what is there to improve.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on April 23, 2015
Last Updated on May 6, 2015
Tags: dystopia, fiction, adventure, coming of age


Author

J.A. Marquez
J.A. Marquez

South Lake Tahoe, CA



About
If you want to know who I am, read my stories. Many are works in progress, and many are just a few sentences, but each one is a piece of my soul. more..

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Unbroken Unbroken

A Story by J.A. Marquez