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Hunter/Hunted - Chapter 1

Huntress / Hunted

It was another dark and stormy night around the island of Far Harbour; a sight all too familiar to the local residents. Through the thick coastal fog however, the distinct glow of a blaze burned off in the distance, "Great... another one's come a cropper!" Longfellow mumbled under his breath as he trudged out to the waters edge to get a better look. Squinting his tired old eyes, he spied the distinct outline of a capsized trawler against the rocks of Huntress Island, "What the hell were they carrying anyway to get a burn like that? Gorram mainlanders again thinking they can handle the seas!" He cursed continually under his breath as he trudged out towards the wreck, using the butt of his old rifle to feel his way through the black and murky water.

As he drew closer through the fierce waves crashing against the rocks he scanned through the debris - as much for valuable salvage as for anything else - that was until his probing rifle swung against something softer than the bedrock or debris... it found flesh. Raising his lantern to get a better look he saw that his rifle had found the leg of a young woman, "Dagnabbit! Why's it always the pretty ones too!" He prodded his rifle butt into her ribs as a precautionary measure - never knowing when a corpse would likely turn out to be ghoul - especially when it was looking such a mess. However he jumped back in surprise as he got a pained grunt and movement from the girl, "Well hooowie, seems we got us a live one! Come on princess, let's get you back to town... maybe old Mitch can patch you up!" He said picking up the girl and slumping her lifeless body over his shoulder as he began the long - and now even slower - trudge back to shore.

Sure enough, as the days rolled into weeks; the unconscious girl refused to give up and seemed to defiantly fight on even in her comatose state. So much time had passed since the night Longfellow found her that many of the locals had all but forgotten about her; until at least, one day when she finally awoke. Mitch was tending his bar at the time - a quite afternoon with most of the townfolk either tending their stalls or out fishing - he looked up with a start upon hearing a ruckus coming from upstairs. He came around the bar to go investigate but before he reached stairs he found himself frozen on the spot as he watched the comatose girl calmly walk down towards him. As she drew close she looked at him with a blank expression, "Easy now little lady, you've been sleeping for quite some time you know!" He said guiding her to a nearby table and sitting her down as she complied effortlessly.

Sitting himself across from the girl he stared at her long and hard, "Well you seem to be walking ok now... how about the talking - you got a name?" She stared back at him, blinking slowly as her mind slowly came back into focus and a look of fear gradually formed across her otherwise emotionless face, "I... I don't know! W-where am I... who am I?!"

Mitch took a deep breath as he set to telling the girl everything he knew about her - which wasn't much. With nothing else to go on it was all she could do to thank him and look to repay his kindness. This was soon met with the agreement of work; Mitch would pay her a nominal sum of caps and allow her to continue living in the room she woke up in. In turn, she would help him out around the bar - tending the tables and such.

The weeks rolled into months and 'Huntress' as she had been fondly dubbed by the local patrons to the Broken Plank had become as much a part of local legend as she was a part of the community; greeting the regulars back from a hard days work with a friendly smile and a drink ready to go she soon came to feel at home among the kind strangers who had taken in and - at least on the surface - began to put thoughts of her mysterious previous life behind her.

But nothing lasts forever as she knew better than most already, and this came to pass one night in the Broken Plank. Another fierce storm battered the town outside as they so often did during the present season, this time however the one passing trawler was manned by a more seasoned crew who had the sense to put into port until the storm passed. Huntress welcomed them as warmly as her regulars and kept them entertained with the story of how she got her unusual name, though as the evening drifted by her duties called her elsewhere in the bar and the visitors were left to their own devices. By the early hours of the morning most of the regulars had already retired for the night, though the visitors just grew rowdier and rowdier to the point where one of them had a disagreement with Old Man Longfellow and squared up to him, "Oh I ain't liking the looks of this..." Huntress said under her breath as she was cleaning another one of the tables and stared across the room.

"Alright guys, I think you've had enough; time to head on outta here" She called across as she stepped closer to Longfellow's side, "Can it whore!" came the aggressive response from the first of them to stand. Narrowing her eyes she stepped right in between the drunk and Longfellow, "I ain't tellin' ya again; get the hell outta here before I throw ya out" she challenged, hands set defiantly on her hips. The drunks just laughed raucously and tried to shove their way past her to get at Longfellow, drawing their guns and they did... and then she snapped.

Swinging one arm across the raising gun before it could even come to bear, she swung an open palm full force into the drunk's face with lightning fast reflexes; shattering his nose before the bone was pushed up into his brain, killing him before his body even hit the floor. Huntress turned sharply to her side at the sound of breaking glass to see one of the other drunks stood with a broken bottle in his hand trained on her while the other was already swinging a bottle towards her head. Ducking under his swing, she continued to spin around and land the back of her boot against the slower drunk's ribs; knocking him into his friend. Landing a series of strategically placed jabs across the faster drunks torso which appeared to immobilize him she spun around behind his back and twisted his head sharply; the sound of the snapping neck seemed to echo even through the brawling bar.

Letting his lifeless body slump to the floor she turned her head calmly to face the last of the drunks who was now backing away fearfully shaking his head as she turned full body to advance on him with that ever calm expression on her face, "Aych, that's enough, leave 'em!" Mitch called over but it was as though she did not even hear him. Young Andy from the wholesalers next door even tried to help by grabbing her arms from behind to hold her back; however she was still fully committed to whatever rage had overcome her mind and as soon as she felt his hands on her arms, she swung her head back fiercely into his face before reaching back and pulling him forward over her shoulder; carrying that momentum to launch him clean through the window and into the stormy sea which raged below. "Nooo!" Mitch cried as he watched helplessly; and he was not the only one - many of the townsfolk had been alerted by the ruckus now and had come to the bar to help, only to witness their favourite sweet smiling barmaid throw the innocent young lad to his death.

Understandably outraged; they descended on her, forcing her to flee. As Huntress ran from the building an angry mob followed close in her wake. When they saw she seemed to move to quickly for them to get a clear shot on her, one of them launched a molotov ahead of her. Stopped to shield her face from the fiery explosion just a few feet infront of her, she spun to face the angry mob seemingly in a confused state by the expression on her face.

She stood prone and defensive, unsure what was going on or why her friends were trying to kill her - though the memories of what she had just done seemed to gradually return to the front of her mind as the situation dawned on her. She did not know what overcame her, or how she was even able to fight the drunks; all she knew in this moment was that she had to escape. Turning and sprinting through the wall of fire she made her way out of town and down to the pier where she quickly released one of the smaller boats moored up and fired up it's engine as she tore off into the stormy seas. Even on a calm day the small craft would not get her far, and in this weather she knew she'd be lucky to make it as far as the mainland... and luck had seemed to be a fickle mistress for her at the best of times...

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