The Last Hunter Ch. 00byJoedoe1025©
Authors note: All characters, organizations, creatures, and events are fictitious in nature and are not meant in any way, shape, or form to represent any entity in reality. All similarities are purely coincidental and should be disregarded as a fictitious work of writing. Any characters who are involved in or conduct in sexual acts are over the age of 18. The chapters of this story also may contain graphic, or disturbing imagery and should be read at your own risk.
A secondary note: characters used from Whitesabertooth's Kiss of the Moon series of stories and events in reference to those stories are the property of whitesabertooth, the universe I use is the same universe she has written it and is used with her express permission. This is my own spin-off of events from a new perspective and does not reflect the views of whitesabertooth.
Prologue: When it Rains....
Joe was in deep shit this time. The wolf was quickly closing in on him as he put another round into the chamber of his .308 caliber hunting rifle and slammed the bolt home bringing it to his shoulder. Damn, too close! He fired and watched as a small patch of fur on the predators flank flew off. The wolf slams its body into Joe, sending him flying before he has a chance to even drop the rifle and he bashes against a tree. The wolf snarls at him and jumps on top of Joe, biting and scratching at him as he struggles to get up. Blood runs down his body from the tooth and claw marks as he yells in pain, reaching for his hunting knife just as the wolf bit down hard on his shoulder. Joe cried out as he felt the jaws of the beast crush his joint with ease, his head swimming with pain and blood loss. Fuck, I'm going to die.....
The world started to get darker as the wolf looked back into Joes eyes; mocking, no... reveling in the pain he had caused Joe, content to watch the man bleed out instead of delivering the final blow to the throat. Joe stared back, and watched as suddenly out of nowhere a huge fox tackles the wolf and pins it down, ripping its throat out with ease. Joe was starting to lose consciousness, as the great red fox trotted to him, getting closer Joe could see the white stripe running from between its eyes to the tips of its ears.
As Joe's lifeblood flowed from his body, his mind wandered. His only thought before slipping into the darkness was "how the hell did it end up like this?" His life began to flash in his mind.
I remember the early days of my childhood, a rather lanky brown haired brown eyed trouble maker I was born into a small town community somewhere in the middle of Colorado, the kind of place where everyone knew everyone else and the local secrets stayed buried. I had a fairly normal life as I grew; a decent house, my parents worked hard and were paid well, and my sister Sarah was born when I was four. All seemed normal, until I turned ten. On my tenth birthday, Joe Aster, the innocent child that grew up in a small town was thrown into a world of chaos and secrets. My parents whisked me off to some sort of compound in the middle of nowhere, the kind of place where it was almost assuredly off the grid and hidden from prying eyes. It would be here that I would receive his training for the next eight years.
This was the training ground for the Order of Supernatural Creature Extermination. It is here where I was told the truth of the world; that creatures such as vampires, witches, and especially were-creatures walked the earth, hidden from the general for centuries. The Order as it liked to be called, was founded by Victor Van Hellsing after his legendary ordeal to kill the vampire lord Dracula and had spread globally in the centuries after his death. The Orders mission was a simple one, the complete eradication of all these hell beasts to preserve the purity of humanity, this was drilled into my head from day one and every day after for the eight years I spent undergoing "training and education." The only way to describe it now is hell with the thermostat turned way down.
Everyday we woke, before even the moon set and went through drills, grueling runs, and rugged physicals. By dawn we were sat down in the only class room in the entire complex and taught history, math, and so forth. Then by the afternoon we were in the sparring hall, being taught everything from martial arts to fencing until the sunset. Only after all that were we allowed to return to our rooms to sleep and just repeat the cycle, over and over again for seven years. It's when we turned seventeen when we were told what the training was all for, that we were the chosen of the divine to serve as the purifiers of this world.
They separated us from the younger populace, and took us to a wing of the compound where all those who came of age lived and trained, I remember walking down that white hallway with my buzz cut brown hair and my long and lanky stride almost mocking my long and thin body; with all the adults scurrying back and forth abuzz with the business that they had at hand or speaking quietly in the hallway, all wearing fatigues and white short sleeve tee's showing off the Order tattoo, the blessed shield and stars with a spear and sword crossed behind the shield, the proof that each one of them proved themselves when they turned eighteen.
I was issued a assault rifle, a sleek silver-edged saber, and was assigned my own room and for the last year I trained in only one thing, how to kill. I showed great potential they said, that I could become the perfect instrument to purge the world of lurking evil. I was at the top of my class, learning all we had about vampires and were-beasts; the most abundant creatures that haunt the night. I showed amazing accuracy on the firing range and soon was enrolled in sniper training and by the time I was eighteen, I had graduated a class that should have taken any normal man two years to pass.
When my 18th birthday came they came at the stroke of midnight telling me to come and bring my saber. They led me down to the deepest part of the complex, deep underground. I don't remember how long we walked down those stairs, it felt like forever only before I knew it we came down to a great iron door. There before the door, my parents stood smiling at me, almost bursting with joy that I had come this far. The man who led me down there opened the door wishing me luck, and I walked out into a almost arena like area.
Men and women sat in the booths around the ring; I could already tell they were high ranking Order members by the way they looked back, firm and in command. One stood up and spoke into a microphone. Even from where I stood I could identify the Commandant, the leader of the Order. His long white beard against his sky blue uniform and his grizzled and scarred face were a testimate to his long service to the Order.
"Joe Aster, upon this day of your birth you come of age to join our holy cause. We have watched you grow and flourish, overcoming all in your way. However one final challenge awaits." With that he motioned to the other end of the ring, where a door opened and a figure stumbled out into the bright light of the arena. "You have been trained to slay the beasts that threaten humanity itself, and so now comes the time to prove that you can perform this task. Before you sits a monster, a foul meld of beast and child. Slay it now before us all and prove your worth!" A cheer rolled through the crowd as I felt my face drain. They want me to do WHAT?!?
The figure on the other end of the ring stood, looking at me with her pale, hollow blue eyes peeking between long matted red hair. She was a tiny thing, no more than a child who looked about for a way to escape. Then she looked at Joe and her eyes narrowed. He barely got his Saber out of its scabbard as she charged and slammed into him. He could hear her snarl as she clawed at his face. He shoved her away and swung his saber, slashing at the beast and cutting deep into her arm. The girl cried out in pain as she jumped away holding her arm. Joe watched as she snarled and changed into a small catlike beast. He couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a tiger or some sort of lion it was so thin and the hair of it was so matted with mange. It roared as it charged again, this time Joe was ready and sidestepped and slashed down the beast's side. A yowl of pain echoed as it turned and lashed out but Joe sidestepped the weak attempt and instead cut the creatures arm off. The cat crashed to the ground, yowling as it changed back to the little girl, crying and screaming in pain as blood poured forth from her now missing arm. A cheer rose from the crowd and the haunting chant that was as old as time itself. "Kill, kill, kill, kill!" Joe looked down at his fallen opponent, and she looked back pleadingly into his eyes, tears streaming down her gaunt cheeks. I took a breath and swung with all his might, removing her head with one swipe as the crowd cheered him on.
I could remember puking my guts out over the next week. The memory of that.... THING looking back at him, pleading. I had read about how were can come in any shape or size, but a child? It was one thing to read about it, a whole other thing to actually kill her... The week after the fight, I was assigned to a squad as part of the special operations division, known to all the others as "Purification squads." For the next two years we went out on mission, after mission in the monotony of slaughter and death turning me in to a cynical bastard with no remorse over all the lives that were lost, including the one I loved.
She was a sweetheart and probably didn't even belong in the order, but Janice was one hell of a fighter. She wasn't short or tall, but had strikingly deep blue eyes and a head of curly blond locks, her body well built and muscled from years of training and conditioning. She was one hell of a lover as well. We had gone out for a little over three months since we ended up drunk and having what we originally thought was going to be a one night stand. After we sobered up though we found we truly enjoyed each other's company. You can say we fell in love that first night. She transferred to my squad as one of our close combat experts and I'd always back her up from afar behind the scope of my rifle. Life almost seemed worth living, until that one mission where that all changed.
We had been assigned to clear out a den of vampires that operated a night club in downtown Denver, Colorado. We weren't meant to leave survivors, human or vampire, and raze the building down to rubble. I was positioned outside the front, in a near-by building with my rifle and Janice was part of the main entry crew. Around midnight we stormed the place in a blaze of gunfire and screams as my squad entered and began to slaughter everyone. I slowly picked off anyone I could see through the windows, sometimes getting the satisfactory dust cloud of a vampire turning to ash at the piercing of his heart by my Silver .308 caliber bullets. Things seemed to be going smoothly, and then I saw it happen. Janice was pitching Molotov cocktails around the 2nd floor when a vampire jumped down and pinned her to the wall. I brought my rifle up to fire but it was too late. The bloodsucking bastard bit into Janice's neck just before my bullet pierced his heart.
I dropped my rifle as Janice slumped down the wall holding her neck, trying to staunch the blood pouring forth from her neck. By the time I got to her side she was pale and her breathing was shallow. I called for a medic but it was too late. The Janice I knew and loved died. My commander handed me his pistol, to do what had to be done. I took it and poured the entire clip into her body as it slowly stirred into un-life, causing her to shudder and slump down in her final death.
From that night onwards I never had trouble shooting the bastards, with no remorse or care for the bigger picture. The mission of the Order became my life, extermination of all those foul beasts. Those beasts that took away my heart, and stole her soul from me. It was a little over a year later before we heard great stirrings in the ranks of the high-ups in the order. Rumors started to fly that we were fighting a losing battle, and things were about to change. I remember beating the crap out of one of the rookies just for saying that we should give up.
A few weeks before my 21st birthday, the unthinkable happened. The great were and others protest that occurred worldwide with a young woman by the name of Amy Luis at the helm. The truth of the matter was, we WERE fighting a losing battle. Reports came pouring in from every continent, every country, hell just about every freaking city that we had spies in. The monsters we had sworn to eradicate, not only outnumbered us but apparently were part of everyday life. My mind spun over the question. What now?
It didn't take long before the ranks demanded action, despite the high-ups refusal to give out any missions until they had time to grasp the scope of the situation. We didn't know what had deadlocked them other than hearing that someone wanted to disband the Order. A few nights later, the Commandant of the order was found dead with a nine millimeter slug in his skull, and so his 2nd was promoted. Under Commandant O'Bradey, a stocky pig of a man, the order was set into motion on its greatest, and final mission. Total war against were and any other non humans. We went city to city, moving in the shadows as we eliminated hundreds, if not thousands of were. It was only a few months before we finally set the ultimate goal, the elimination of Amy Luis and her family from the face of the earth.
That final battle in that small, almost invisible town on August the 3rd was the last time the Order stood its ground. What few of us that remained since the change in command recruited local townsfolk to rally with us as we ambushed Mrs. Luis's convoy with rockets. Chaos spread through the town like wildfire as what we had planned to be our greatest triumph, backfired into our faces. Despite our best and most covert warriors pushing the leaders of the rabble we slowly but surely lost the battle, especially after the armed reinforcements from the local Army base turned on us and sided with the were. A few of us were even brash enough to take to fighting in the streets themselves, bringing their swords and toxic coatings. The battle was nearing its end, when the town shook with the roar of a great saber fanged beast in the town square, causing the last few of us to retreat. I watched that beast change with my own two eyes after I had fired upon a team of combatants from my sniping position. That ear shattering roar shook me to the very core, wondering if we lost before we even began.
The week after the battle, the few survivors convened in the main hall of headquarters to listen to the O'Bradey's next move. Only a handful of officers were left out of the original combined forces of the Orders chapters worldwide, and the ranks were thin. When we convened, the look on his face told the story. We had lost. On that day, the Order of Supernatural Creature Extermination was disbanded by our commandant, despite the protests of the remaining members of the Order. Then the Commandant pulled his side arm and shot himself in the head, stunning us into silence. Life truly fell apart as some of us fell and wept openly, the realization that their entire existence was nothing more than a farce, others stood there in shocked silence trying to comprehend what happened. Our existence, the very way of life that we were brought up as children to follow, had ended.
That night my parents committed suicide by shooting themselves with a pistol, unwilling to live in a world where the monsters of their nightmares were everywhere with no Order to save them. My sister had watched it all happen and she failed to kill herself. Her mind snapped after that, flying between rage and sadness, to complete blank silence. I committed her to a mental facility, angry that this had happened. That those monsters had won, and ended up taking away the thing I needed the most, direction.
I wandered for some time after that, carrying my rifle and my sword with me wherever I went. I watched as the world I once knew so well changed as Amy Luis directed it to. She was elected to the Senate and strings of pro-were policies were passed under her administration. I watched as those monsters, who once hid in the shadows from mankind now walked broadly in the daylight, proud in the fact that in the span of a year they had overthrown humanity. I hated them for it. I soon entered the black market, selling my only skill. I became an assassin for hire, relying on my anti-were and my anti-vampire training to sell me to highest bidder. For a bit over a year and a half I worked a few contracts. Eliminating rival were-gang leaders and dignitaries. Occasionally I got contracts to eliminate whole families just because some big shot with a wallet wanted to see the bastards disappear.
I was 24, and was staked out on the rooftop of a high rise looking down a side street. I was to eliminate some average John because his landlord found out he was a were. After some digging I found out that the man's wife and daughter were human, un-corrupted by his blood. I spotted them walking down the street to their apartment, the man standing what had to be six feet tall and massive build with his small curly haired red head of a wife and his daughter with short brunette hair. I got ready to take them out with a heavy duty .50 cal rifle with silver tipped explosive rounds, then the unexpected occurred. A group of gangsters quickly pulled up and blocked their way, I could see their leader shouting some sort of argument at the were as his daughter and wife clutched to him. A fight broke out as the gangsters tried to beat the man in an attempt to take his wife and daughter. I watched as he fought back, protecting his wife and his child, despite being outnumbered. I watched as members of the gang shifted and they fought on, in a deadly dance of tooth and claw. The leader shifted into some sort of massive cat and had pinned the man down to the ground. The members of his gang laughed as he clawed the mans chest and face. His gang surrounded the woman and her daughter and one of them reached out to take them. Inside my head I could remember that little were girl from the arena, pleading.
I didn't hesitate for a second. My bullet sheared the delinquents arm from his body in a flash of blood and spatter. My second and third shots went through the legs of his buddies, snapping their legs into little more than bloody tissue. The leader looked around, stunned, and made a break for the car, shifting back to his human form as my final round took him in the back of the head. The last few members of the gang scattered, some stopping to pick up their wounded to drive off in their cars, leaving the mother and daughter rushing over to the side of the fallen man. He weakly sat up as his wounds bled slowly, he looked about to see the carnage and then looked in my general direction. His wife and daughter hugged him tight and he raised his hand in thanks to his family's unseen savior.
After that I had enough, enough of the stupidity, the confusion and the troubled sleep. I canceled all my contracts despite protests and death threats, and picked up and moved north to Montana, buying a small cabin out in the wilderness. Here I tried to ignore the world around me, and let my mind settle. I let my hair grow out of its military style buzz cut into a shaggy cover of dark brown hair, and shaved occasionally growing scruff. I grew my own food and hunted for any meat I might need. Purified my own water using a modified still, and even bought some livestock to keep me company and help feed me through the winter. Life seemed tolerable now, and I slowly felt myself shed some of that old tension and fear that dogged me since I got sucked up into the Orders business. However the dreams didn't stop. I continued to have nightmares; the face of that first little girl that I had slain haunted me. I constantly battled with myself over whether or not my life had been a complete waste. I often contemplated just turning the animals loose and then just ending it out there in the woods.