AbsoluteWrite’s February Blog Chain – Hunting with Hounds

This month’s AbsoluteWrite’s Blog Chain theme: Suggest-A-Prompt.
The previous poster is meant to give us our prompts and Katci13 was before me so she chose Hunting with Hounds

See the bottom of this post for previous and upcoming Suggest-A-Prompt blog chain posts!

And now, my post:

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Hunting with Hounds

There was no way I’d catch him on my own. He knew the forest far too well and even though my tracking skills were good, they weren’t that good. He was a killer, one that had already hit several villages already and if I didn’t catch him now, he’d probably hit another before I caught up.

There was no other reason I’d use them. The Hounds they were called. They stayed away from the law, away from civilization, living in the dense forest outside of the castle walls. I’d known several of them since we were children and though we’d grown up on different sides of the walls, we’d stayed loyal friends. We understood each other’s roles in the world and sometimes even complimented them. Times like now.

I walked into the forest where I knew he’d entered and could feel their eyes on me within the first few steps. They’d agreed to help they weren’t entirely comfortable with me being here. I heard the leaves crackle behind me; a conscious sign from them to let me know they were there.

“Rin. Is everyone ready?”
“We are. Are you, citygirl?”
I flashed a smirk his way and glanced to my side where he stood ready to run.

“I can keep up. Remember, yours to catch, mine to take.”

A deeper voice broke in from my left; Rin’s father and unofficial leader of the Hounds.  “We’ll keep our word and not kill him. You’ll be able to take him with no problems.”

The smile the large man gave me was only reassuring to a point. Beyond that and it sent chills across my skin that even the autumn wind couldn’t cause.

I nodded and that was enough. He waved a silent gesture and it seemed the entire forest gave a lurch as person after person, wolf after wolf moved from where they’d faded into the background of the trees, leaves and shadows.

We ran for literally hours. Had I not have spent half my childhood in the forests with Rin, I’d have never lasted. The Hounds listened to their four-legged counterparts in a way that very few could. Their yips and turns of their ears and tails all constant communication with the rest of them, human and wolf alike as they tracked and scented their way through the forest.

The sounds got louder as we got closer, the wolves’ yips turning to growls, spurring everyone to run faster as they caught a stronger scent of their prey.  There was no slow run up, no time for anticipation. At one point we were running through the trees and in the next, the wolves darted off with speed I didn’t know they still had. They were suddenly ahead of us, together in one big circle of grey and brown fur, swarming and moving. It took the rest of us several more seconds to get close to them and Rin stuck his arm out in front of me to keep me from moving forward.

We couldn’t see any of the wolves’ heads inside the ocean of fur but we could hear them, the muffled growls, the snapping of teeth and worse, the ripping of skin and screams of the man under them.

Rin’s father let out a guttural yell and the wolves parted, the fur circle separating and the wolves trotting off to their respective partners with only a few spare glances behind them, making sure their prey wasn’t getting up.

For his part, the killer I was after lay frozen and it took me moments to see that he was, in fact, still alive, if unconscious. Rin let his arm down and I ran forward, looking over the bites that I could see, surprised more and more to find each one was nothing more than a shallow wound.

Rin’s father crouched beside me. “All the bites you’ll find are the same, shallow and harmless.” He clapped me on the shoulder, “But I did say that you’d have no problems taking him back when we got done. You try getting swarmed by that many of our furry friends and see if you’re up to fighting back.”

Soft laughter came from the rest of the Hounds, soon accompanied by the victory howls of the wolves and a smile broke across my face. Another town safe, another hunt over.  Job well done.

***

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (Yuppies Who Hate the Family Business) 
ConnieBDowell – http://bookechoes.com/ (Unexpected Library Encounter) 
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com/ (Cupcake Disaster) 
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com/ (Unfortunate Sports)
HistorySleuth – http://historysleuth.blogspot.com/ (Less-than-fortunate Foods)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (Blind Date with a Ventriloquist) 
katci13 – http://www.krystalsquared.net/ (Evil Cupid)
Briony-zisaya – http://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
CatherineHall – http://theelephantinthetemple.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
Lady Cat – http://carolsrandomness.blogspot.ca/ (link to post) Topic
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post) Topic
dclary – http://www.hardhobbittobreak.com/ (link to post) Topic
meowzbark – http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post) Topic
SRHowen – http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post) Topic

Bumped:
Amanda R. – http://www.twoamericansinchina.com/ (link to post) Topic

Archive of Past Blog Chains

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Flash Fiction Challenge Entry

There’s this blog I tend to read quite a lot. It’s filled with humor of all kinds, advice, stories and a lot of fun. Be warned if you go, there’s more than a few bad words for those with sensitive eyes and ears, but it’s all in good fun and the author, Chuck Wendig, is straight and to the point with everything he puts out there. And if you’re a writer, it’s totally worth checking out. Between advice on the physical writing itself, the industry or just another viewpoint from another author, you’re bound to pick up one or two things that are useful, probably more.

Now on this blog, on Fridays, there’s a flash fiction challenge and not only does the prompt change but sometimes the rules as well, so it’s always a surprise. This post is the answer to that challenge, found here: Terrible Minds

The challenge itself?

Pull up your fave music player

Hit shuffle , hit play

The title of the first song it plays?  That’s your story’s title. Use the song, or not, but that’s your title.

Mine is a little silly, a little happy-go-lucky, and a lot different from what I usually write, but this was what was yelling to get out so here it is. The song that came up for me?  (Brace yourself, here comes 80’s music)  The Warrior by Scandal.

Have fun reading 🙂

~Kit

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The Warrior

“You left me there!” Lila screamed from inside their section of the barracks.

Connor ducked another boot thrown at him from the room and contemplated his chances of getting the door shut before she nailed him with something heavy.

“Lila, will you listen for a min-” He was cut off when the boot’s partner flew by his ear. Connor sighed, standing silently against the wall beside their door. When he didn’t hear any more movement, he edged over and took a quick glance in. His partner in battle, his Shieldmate, Lila, a small, blonde, spiky-haired woman stood opposite the door, her hands gripping the windowsill. He could see her muscles bunch in her arms just before she whirled around again, hearing him at the door. He put his hand out, hoping for just one minute.

“Lila, please-” He jumped back as the metal water basin hit the edge of the doorway.

The big man ran a hand through his dusty brown hair, swearing he‘d rather fight any battle than one with Lila. He hadn’t meant to leave her alone in the middle of the tavern. On her birthday. In a dress. He let his forehead smack the wall in front of him. This was not going to go well.

Connor deepened his voice, using the tone he used with the less experienced fighters and straightened up to his full six foot height.

“Lila, I’m coming in there, whether you want me to or not. It’s my bunk too.”

Just before he took one step towards the doorway, one of Lila’s knives imbedded itself into wall, followed shortly by Lila’s soft voice.

“You are not.”

Connor glared at the knife, growling in frustration just before he walked away, a new plan in mind.

“Okay, fine,” he mumbled. “We’ll see about this.”

Half an hour later, Connor came back, a small box in hand. He set it aside in the hallway and knocked on the wall next to the open door.

“Can I come in yet?”

A second knife joined the first and silence followed.

“K.” Connor said, getting the box and opening it. A moment later, he had a small bundle of fur in the form of a kitten in his hands and was holding it up at the bottom of the doorway.

“Can he come in then?”

Connor heard the clattering of a blade as it fell to the floor and his Shieldmate’s sudden footsteps as she hurried over and took the kitten from his big hands, cradling it against her chest with a wide smile.

The big warrior stood silent a moment before nudging her. “I saw the kitten outside the tavern, he was all alone. I had to save him.”

Lila looked up at him in mock irritation, her sky blue eyes shining. “I suppose I won’t kill you, this time.”

Connor smiled and was greeted with one of Lila’s own as the two warriors both looked down at their new little bunkmate.

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