Trophy Wife Ch. 01bysoflabbwlvr©
Victoria Wellingford attempted to calm herself while she waited for the starter's gun to sound. She took several deep breaths, shook her arms and legs, and then settled into a relaxed crouch. This was her fifth Great Hunt, and she knew there was a genuine possibility that it could be her last. Not that she would miss it--the Hunt was a grueling six hour ordeal under extreme conditions. At least the northern Michigan terrain was softer and the temperature was fifteen degrees cooler than she endured the previous year. That Hunt--hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of the Young Hellions Club in a wooded area of central Georgia--sent three hunters to the hospital. Two suffered severe dehydration; the third fell from a ledge and broke an arm.
It goes without saying that the Hunt was even harder on the prey.
Victoria checked her watch just before glancing one more time in the starter's direction. She took a final deep breath as she waited for the report of the pistol. She exhaled slowly, checked the laces on her brand new, baby blue sneakers, and then gazed at her target.
At the sound of the gun, forty nude women sprinted from the starting line and raced across the meadow in the direction of the trees. Wearing only sneakers and a bicycle helmet with a tinted visor, the women soon formed loose clusters organized by body size. The thinner, more physically fit women at the head of the pack crossed the two hundred yards in a matter of seconds before disappearing into the woods. The less athletic clusters lagging behind reached the tree line a few moments later, while the more buxom women bounced across the field a full minute behind their lesser endowed sisters.
Victoria was the first to reach the forest. She crashed through some low hanging branches, dodged a tree trunk as she adjusted to the diminished light beneath the arboreal canopy, and then sped up a low hill while she gained her bearings. She had trained hard for this Hunt. Last year, she survived until the final hour of the Hunt. This year, she was determined to claim the elusive prize as The One Not Taken.
She sprinted at full speed to the top of the hill, and then just managed to pull up and stop her momentum before bursting into a clearing on the other side of the rise. That would have been a serious mistake, akin to sending up a flare marking her position. Instead, she jogged to the left, skirting the perimeter of the field. Still running at full speed, she darted her eyes from side to side in search of a path.
She found a deer trail that ringed the clearing for several dozen yards before veering over the hill. As soon as her sneakers hit the worn path, she accelerated to the top of the ridge. When she reached the peak, she saw that the trail continued for another hundred yards or so, before disappearing around a copse of small trees. Running downhill was her best opportunity to put some distance between herself and the pursuers, who would be following fifteen minutes behind the prey.
Victoria reached the thicket of birch trees and paused to catch her breath. She took a sip from her sole water bottle--prey were permitted as many as they could carry, but she learned in her first Hunt that being overburdened with supplies was the surest route to an early capture. For this reason she brought no food and carried a single plastic bottle. Experience taught her that there were always water sources in the wilderness. She just had to be resourceful enough to find them.
Just as Victoria stepped back onto the path a body slammed into her, knocking her to the ground. She fell face first, hitting the dirt and grass with a dull thud. Her knees and elbows were scraped from breaking her fall, but the pain in the middle of her back was the most troublesome.
"Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't see you." A beautiful young Hispanic woman with pink sneakers and a matching pink helmet reached down to help Victoria to her feet. "I rounded the corner, and you were right there. I'm so sorry. Are you alright?"
"I'll be fine," Victoria answered as she grasped the other woman's proffered hand. Standing toe to toe, Victoria judged the younger woman to be the same height as herself--five foot six inches-- and within five pounds of her 124 pound weight. Victoria's blond hair was cut just above her shoulders, while the Hispanic woman's long black hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail that emerged from the bottom of her helmet. Neither woman was endowed with much in the chest area, although Victoria instantly recognized that her B cup sized breasts were just a little bit fuller than the other woman's, although not as perky. And my ass isn't fat like hers--that's where those extra five pounds are located. You need to lay off the rice, sister. Carbs are not your friend.
"Just some scrapes on my knees and elbows. I suffered worse than that bursting through the tree branches just past the clearing. I'm Victoria, by the way."
"Belkys. That's an unusual name. I can't say that I've heard that one before."
"It's an old Spanish name. I was named after my great aunt."
"Well, Belkys, I'd like to stay and chat, but I need to get going. You're welcome to run with me, if you'd like."
"Thanks, I think I will. You seem to know what you're doing out here. Some of those other women back there are going to get taken down as soon as the pursuit begins."
"That's why the first thing I did was searched for a trail. You can cover more territory and put more space between yourself and the pursuers when you're running on smooth ground. It's important to make the fifteen minute head start mean something. Once the second gun sounds, I'll get off the path and go cross-country."
"Sounds like a plan. Let's go."
Victoria retrieved her water bottle, brushed the dirt and twigs from her arms and legs, and set off down the path. Their nude bodies glistening with sweat, the two women sped off into the woods at a brisk pace just short of a full-blown sprint. Despite giving away five years or so, Victoria matched the younger Belkys stride for stride. Their long, lean legs churning the soil while their arms pumped in unison, the two women left the thirty-eight others in their dust.
"That's the signal for the pursuit to begin," Victoria said. "Follow me."
"Lead the way," Belkys responded.
Victoria turned off the trail and headed into denser woods. Belkys followed, just a few paces behind her. Neither woman was breathing hard. Victoria had trained for months, and she knew that her endurance would carry her through the entire Hunt. She didn't know anything about Belkys, but she was starting to suspect that the younger woman's fitness level was equal to her own.
"Let's see what's on the other side of that rise," Victoria said. "If we can put a hill between us and the pursuit, that will muffle our footsteps. If they can't hear us, we gain a huge advantage."
"I can see this isn't your first Hunt," Belkys answered.
"No, it's not. It's my fifth, actually."
"Five times. Wow. I'll be happy if I survive this one."
"Enough talking. We need to move it."
Belkys accelerated past Victoria, beating her to the top of the hill. Victoria felt a burning in her thighs as the gradient increased. Still, she matched the younger woman's pace and refused to allow her to put any distance between the two of them.
The ground leveled off, and then a hundred yards further it started to slope downward. Victoria spotted a fallen tree--most likely a white pine--off in the distance.
"Head for that fallen tree," Victoria said. "We can stop and catch our breath."
The two women sprinted for the tree. Reaching it, they scrambled around the thick trunk to find shelter in the gorge left by the uprooted base. Squatting in the dirt, they opened their water bottles in unison and took long swallows of refreshment.
"Can I ask you something?" Belkys inquired.
"Sure," Victoria shrugged. "What is it?"
"How do you do it? How do you come out here and allow yourself to be pursued and most likely taken? Especially when you know that your husband is chasing down other women back in Florida?"
"We've agreed not to talk about it. He does what he needs to do, and I do what I'm required to do. I don't ask him any questions, and he doesn't ask any of me. He knows it's not my choice, and I know he doesn't have much choice, either. We accepted this deal when he was invited to join the Young Hellions Club."
"Is it really worth it? Is being in the Young Hellions that big of a deal?"
"Absolutely. It was probably the smartest thing we ever did. Their motto, 'Where millionaires become billionaires' isn't just bullshit. Our net worth has tripled in the five years since we joined. Last year we saved over $300,000 just in interest through preferred membership discounts. We reinvested that money with member-managed mutual funds and earned an additional $175,000. The stock options we exercised in 2009 netted over $400,000 this year when the shares split. And I can't tell you how much new business the Club drives toward my husband's firm. If we had to make the choice all over again, we'd do it in a heartbeat--without question."
"I'm not so sure. This Hunt is all my husband and I have talked about for weeks. He gets so tense and can't even look at me. He stares out the window with blank eyes, like he's imagining what will be done to me out here. His eyes water up, he pours himself another drink, and ends up sleeping on the couch. We haven't made love in over a month. The thought of what might happen to me drives him crazy. That's why I've trained so hard the past four months. I have to make it to the end."
"If it upsets him so much, why did he join?"
"The same reason everyone else does--he wants to be wealthy. He's heard stories like yours of how membership in the Young Hellions Club is the fastest way to become super rich. I tell him we have enough money, but he's never satisfied. He keeps worrying that we're going to lose it all like his parents did in 2008."
"How do you feel about it?"
"My opinion, evidently, isn't important. As soon as he got the invitation to join, he accepted without discussing it with me. The first I heard was the night of the induction ceremony. I was told to go buy a fancy, sexy dress and be ready for the limo to pick me up at eight o'clock."
"That must have been quite a shock. The Induction Ball is the second biggest event of the year--right after the Huntsman's Ball. When did you find out about the Hunt?
"A week after the induction. Of course, it took him an entire month to fill me in on all the gory details. There are probably still some things I won't find out until this evening."
"If I were you, I would worry less about the Ball and more about the Hunt. The men display much better manners at the Ball. Out here in the woods, it's practically anything goes."
"You're not making me feel any better."
"I'm not trying to. It's survival of the fittest out here. Fortunately, you look pretty fit."
"Thanks. I do cross-fit training four times a week."
"Then you should look good in your dress. I hope it's sexy enough. I've seen men cut up dresses--with the women still in them--when they were too demure. For this event, the sluttier the better."
"That won't be a problem," Belkys blushed.
Victoria stood up, stretched her arms over her head, and peered into the woods. Figures, damn it. Young, beautiful, sexy, and superbly athletic. She's going to be my biggest competition.
"Get up, rookie, rest time is over. You were smart to only bring one water bottle, but that means we need to find a water source before the hunters do. The last thing you want to do is pass out from dehydration. Let's get going."
"I'm right behind you, mama. Lead the way."
Mama? Fuck you, bitch. This Mama's going to spank your little brown ass before this day is over. Only one of us can earn the title of The One Not Taken.
Victoria sprinted across a glade, zig-zagging around tree trunks and scrub brush while putting as much space between herself and the pursuers as possible. She saw what looked like a depression about three hundred yards away, and headed for it. She knew that water flowed downhill, so their best bet was to head in the direction that gravity compelled.
Her instincts were correct. There was a pool of still, clear water at the bottom of the depression. Belkys squatted at the edge and uncapped her water bottle, but Victoria grabbed her arm before she could dip it into the pool.
"I thought you said..."
"I did, but that water looks stagnant. See those gnats buzzing around the surface? We need to find moving water. Still water can make you sick."
"I'm almost empty. One liter doesn't last long when you're running at this pace."
"I know, but a bacterial infection would be just about as bad as dehydration. Either way, you're going to the hospital for the night."
"You're right, I suppose. Let's go."
Before either of them could move, they heard a woman's startled scream, followed a second later by a higher pitched scream. It was impossible to judge the distance with any certainty, but Victoria estimated they originated from a point at least three hundred yards away.
"Was that...?" Belkys asked.
"Precisely. Two down, at least. There's no telling how many more were taken before them that we didn't hear. The hunters are closer than I thought. We've got to move."
Victoria looked to her left and then to her right. Neither direction looked like it would lead to a viable water source, so she pointed toward the densest cover.
Belkys sprinted out ahead of Victoria, who lagged two steps behind. Despite sporting a curvier figure, Belkys ran with the ease and fluidity of a natural-born athlete. There was an economy to her movement that could be neither taught nor learned; a person simply had it or not, and it was obvious almost from birth. Victoria was in the best shape of her life, and had worked hard to reach that level of fitness. But even at her absolute best, she knew the younger woman could outrun and outlast her, even though she still had not reached her full potential.
She might be able to outrun me, but she'll never out scheme me.
Victoria settled in two paces behind Belkys, and when they reached a part of the woods that was littered with rotting branches, she fell back another two paces. Better to let her find the uneven ground first and risk twisting her ankle.
The sound of another woman crying out in pain pierced the stillness of the forest. Victoria pulled up alongside Belkys and nudged her with an elbow to get her attention.
"Did you hear that?" Victoria asked.
"There's a stream up ahead," Victoria said between breaths. "We'll stop just long enough to fill our water bottles, then sprint up the embankment on the other side. When we get over the next rise we can look for a place to rest."
"Are you sure? Will it be safe?"
"I think we're pulling away from everyone else. That last scream sounded more distant than the one before it."
"I think I recognized that voice--Marjorie Abernathy. She sat next to me on the plane. We walked to baggage claim together, and she got into a shouting match with another passenger who grabbed one of her bags. I thought she was going to be arrested."
"It's a good thing she wasn't. Missing the Hunt for any reason would get her husband expelled from the Young Hellions. They closed that loophole a long time ago."
The two women reached the bottom of the slope and paused at the edge of the stream. The clear, cool water was moving along at a brisk rate. The streambed was sandy and dotted with smooth black stones.
"There must be a spring nearby," Victoria said. "This water looks safe."
They both opened their bottles and immersed them in the stream. Thirty seconds later they replaced the caps and scanned their surroundings.
"Which way?" Belkys asked.
"Up the hill. The more distance we can put between ourselves and the pursuers, the safer we'll be. They're going to run out of easy meat within the next hour, and then the real hunt will begin. We want to be as far from here as possible when that time arrives."
"But if we follow this stream, we won't have to search for water again. We might not find another safe water source."
"Belkys, use your head. Where do predators always hunt? Around the watering hole. Once they reach this stream, they'll fan out in both directions. We have to keep going and hope we make it to the next water source before they find us."
"I see your point. Let's go."
Victoria jumped over the stream, then sped off up the hill. Belkys lagged behind until the top of the hill was in sight. As they neared the crest, Belkys accelerated past Victoria and beat her to the top.
"C'mon, mama, you can do it," Belkys teased. "Just a few more steps."
Keep it up, honey, keep it up. We'll see who's crying for her mama when that final gun goes off.
Victoria reached the top and looked around. The trees were thinner, and there was no apparent shelter in any direction.
"Where to next?" Belkys asked.
"We've got a problem."
"There's no shelter in sight." Victoria scanned from east to west. "We're on higher ground, but the vegetation is thinner and I don't see anywhere that we can stop where we won't be exposed. We're going to have to keep running."
"I knew we should have stayed by the stream." The brunette glanced back over her shoulder.
"You can always go back, if you think that's a better choice."
Belkys looked down at her watch.
"It's too late for that. Backtracking isn't a viable option."
Victoria took a quick gulp of water before replacing the cap.
"Then let's go. We're wasting time."
"I'm right behind you."
Until they close in on us, and then I'm sure you'll try to leave me in the dust.
Victoria pointed toward a clump of brush about three hundred yards away and started running. Belkys followed, two steps behind. The women sprinted past the smaller trees and zigzagged around the larger ones, doing their best to remain in the shadows and to avoid stepping on dried underbrush. We should be far enough ahead that they can't hear our footsteps, but why take the chance?
The women rounded the brush, only to find another clearing. Victoria made a sweeping motion with her arm, and then pointed to the denser forest almost a half mile away. They were stopped just long enough to take long pulls on their water bottles when they heard a scream coming from the direction they had fled.
"No! No! Please! No!" a woman's voice cried. "Please! No!"
"That sounds like it's coming from the stream," Belkys said, looking in the direction from which they had just come. "She was probably caught while filling her bottle."
"I think it's a little further up the hill. We left everyone else so far behind, no one could be that close. Her screams would have crossed that valley rather easily, making them sound closer than they actually are."
"I wonder what he's doing to her." Belkys had a concerned look on her face. "I don't think those are cries of pleasure."
"They're not. Most likely, he's taking her in the ass, and not being too gentle about it. That's their favorite thing to do out here."
"Has that happened to you before?"
"Yes--more than once. That's why I squirted some Vaseline in my asshole before we left the hotel. You can't count on them to bring any lube, even if they are planning on enjoying some woodland butt sex. The only person watching out for you, is you. Never forget that."
Belkys looked down and shook her head.
"I hadn't thought of that. My husband..."
"Forget about your husband. He's not here to protect you. And no matter what he may have told you, they're all savages once they get out in the woods. That's why Lincoln and I don't talk about what happens. I don't want to know what he's doing, and he really doesn't want to know what's being done to me. As long as he makes a kill so his membership isn't revoked, I don't care. I mean, I do care--but I don't want to know."