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|More from The Walking Inferno||Drama/ Action/ Adventure||PG 13||None||No update page|
|The Hunter and the Prey|
Chapter 3: The Hunter and the Prey
The blanket of night covered the long countryside road and was pierced only by the occasional flash of light that was brought with passing car headlights. It weighed heavy on the baron grass lands. The road was silent, which only added to the intensity of the darkness.
Flynn was staggering down the dirt path that skirted the road, cradling a flame in his right palm. He was exhausted from all the running he did earlier to get away from the Colonel and his energy seemed to have drained since the sun went down. He had been sustaining this flame for hours as he struggled to walk to the next town. Flynn had no map, no sense of where he was going, he just had to run and follow the roads in a hope he could find shelter somewhere else. The flame in his hand, whilst it did give Flynn the ability to see, cast an eerie glow around his face and made him an easy target for passers by.
Thoughts, as usual, sat heavily on his mind. These past two days had been a nightmare. First his best friend, then his family and then Khana. All murdered by the Authorities. It made him feel sick to the very core, and a look of absolute disgust was spread across Flynn's face as he remembered the last time he saw them. None of them peaceful, all of them had faces of despair and anguish, lifelessness was obvious on their discoloured faces. These pictures haunted him and almost seemed to appear in the darkness around him but there was one that brought light to the darkness. The photo from the living room. The one he carelessly smashed when he escaped from his house. The one that was incinerated in that smouldering wreck of a house.
The horrible images were lost however, when Flynn spotted the illuminated buildings of a nearby village. "At last" he whispered to himself. A wave of relief went through him before extinguishing his flame and jogging off down the hill to the village.
Underneath the town of Greenbrokeshire
A small metal chamber which lay underneath the town of Greenbrokeshire was illuminated by small lights hanging from the ceiling by electric wires. It smelled damp and boggy, a smell that clung to the noses of anyone who entered. It was in complete silence, except when a single drop of water gently tapped the metal floor. Men dressed in black trench coats and black masks were all lined in three rows, each 20 men strong. All stood perfectly straight with their hands behind their backs, ready for orders. In the middle of the room stood a podium on a raised platform.
The Colonel entered the room and everybody saluted simultaneously. The Colonel's heavy boots clanked on the metal floor, sending an echo through the small room. He reached the podium and turned to face the Authority agents. Still encased by darkness he said, "At ease." Everyone withdrew from their salute and placed their right hand back behind their backs. The Colonel began pacing back and forth, still cloaked in the darkness. "Now men, we have a problem. It seems that a bender has slipped through your fingers. That is not a problem, it happens from time to time. But what is the problem is that it was a CHILD!" Everyone seemed to flinch when he suddenly raised his voice. He had them scared, that was good. "This is unacceptable. No no... It is disgraceful! He managed to evade your patrols, escape your traps, kill one of you, take down a squad and destroy a helicopter!"
He stopped pacing and began to slowly walk towards the light that shone on the podium. "Listen up, ladies and gentlemen! Our fugitive has been on the run for six hours. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles per hour and that gives us a radius of... 24 miles. What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every petrol station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at thirty miles. Your fugitive's name is Flynn Grant." The Colonel stepped into the light. His thick brown eyebrows were frowning. His brown eyes reflected the men in front of him. He held a fierce snarl across his face which made him look like a cold blooded killer. "I want him found. And killed."
The village of Tedmare
The village was small, but tightly packed. The gaps between the houses made small alleyways, creating an intricate circuit of passageways. Street lamps dotted around the main road, cutting straight through the village. Almost all the houses had white walls and slate roofs. It was an ideal and traditional English village.
Flynn walked the deserted streets of Tedmare looking for some sort of shelter to rest in. But one thing caught his eye, a local pub. He could hear the hearty laughs of the people inside. So he quickly paced towards the pub to have a look inside. There he saw one of the most delicious looking steaks, drenched in gravy and sided with mashed potato. Flynn's mouth started to water and his stomach let out an almighty roar. He looked down and held it. "Don't worry buddy, I'll get you some food," he said to his stomach.
Flynn went through the blue door of the pub and walked through the busy room and up to the bar, not catching the attention of anybody. "Hello there," he said to the barman who was cleaning a glass with a rag. He didn't even turn to face Flynn.
He was fat, old and was wearing a blue chequered shirt. The stereotypical barman. "What you want?" His voice sounded like it had been scratched by a cheese grater.
"Umm, I'll have the steak dinner." Flynn pointed to it on a menu that was placed on the bar.
He turned to face Flynn, expecting to see a man. Instead he saw a boy of 16 years standing there. "Sorry but I can't serve you."
"Come on, I just want a meal. I've been walking for hours since Greenbrokeshire. I'm not asking for a drink, I just want some food." Flynn pleaded to the man.
"Sorry kid but I don't care what you've been doing. I'm not serving you." That could have been the worst mistake that man had ever made. Why wouldn't he help Flynn? He needed it. He was just a kid. Flynn became annoyed, his blood boiled, his rage took hold. He reached up, grabbed the back of the barman's head and slammed his face on the bar before storming out into the street, leaving the man unconscious on the bar in the care of his patrons. No one dared pursue this boy. Whoever he was, he had issues.
Now was the worst time you could talk to Flynn, his rage was in control and he wouldn't hesitate to hurt you, or worse. He stormed down the cobblestone street with his fists clenched and his teeth gritted. The street lights cast their circle of light every ten feet, but Flynn avoided the light, skirting down back alleys and walking round the it as if it would burn him. Hunger was no longer a feeling, pain was no longer a feeling, it was all blocked by an immense surge of adrenaline and hatred.
It couldn't get any worse. But it did.
"Hello Flynn." The Colonel's cold voice caught the attention of Flynn so he turned to face him. Under a street light stood the Colonel. He wore a wolfish grin and his hands were behind his back.
30 Minutes Before
A small black Jeep was speeding down the countryside road, slicing through the darkness with its headlights and creating a spray of water behind it. It shook violently from side to side, moving its passengers as well. "Where are we going sir?" a young agent asked.
"To the village of Tedmare, that's where he probably is." The Colonel spoke with confidence. He had done this before. He knew how a bender would think, where they would go, how they would act.
"How can you be sure sir?" The young private questioned.
"Because benders have lived so long in our perfect society they crave to stay in it. He is a child as well, he will not know how to survive life in the wilderness." The car suddenly shook everyone as it sped over a pothole in the road.
"We are almost at the village, sir." The driver stated. The conversations in the car were quick, precise and got to the point. Just like the Authorities.
Around 5 minutes had passed before they reached the village. Its white cottages all clumped together in such a small space. The Jeep pulled up just outside of the village and the squad of five men, led by the Colonel jumped out and loaded their weapons before concealing them inside their trench coats. They walked in a perfect line down the road that led right through the village, all of them with their hands behind their backs.
The Colonel stopped when he saw something peculiar on the floor. He put his hand up to stop the march of his agents and went for a closer inspection. It was just a regular £10 note but something was different about it. The top left corner was burnt ever so slightly. He crumpled up the note, threw it on the floor and a grin went across his face. "He's here."
Blue flashing lights came from round the corner, gaining the attention of one of the agents. "Sir, there is a disturbance up ahead."
"It could be him. Everyone with me." The Colonel waved his hand as he walked towards the corner, signalling for his agents to follow. As they turned the corner there was an ambulance parked outside a local pub and a man was being wheeled into the back of it, with his nose broken and his forehead bleeding. They approached the paramedic who was about to get in the back of the ambulance with the patient.
The Colonel put on a friendly tone. "Excuse me, what happened to this man?"
"I'm sorry sir but I need to get him to the hospital."
The Colonel looked towards the bleeding man who was now under the effects of anaesthetic. "He'll live." He pulled back part of his coat to reveal one of his pistols. The paramedic instantly jumped back. "You on the other hand..."
"Okay, okay!" The paramedic straightened himself out and fidgeted with his uniform. "Apparently he was attacked by some kid he wouldn't serve. He grabbed his head and slammed it against the bar before leaving the pub."
The Colonel dropped the friendly voice and grabbed the paramedic by the collar of his jacket. "Do you know where he is?"
"I don't know anything else, nobody went after him! Please, I'm telling you everything I know!" The man was practically begging for him to let go, desperation heavy in his eyes. Luckily the Colonel was feeling pitiful today, so he let the man go back to his usual business.
As the ambulance drove away and left the crowd behind, the Colonel turned to face his men. "Find out what you can from these people, I'm going to check down these streets. Radio in if you have any new information."
"Yes sir" They all said in unison and they all went their different ways questioning various people from the crowd whilst the Colonel set off down the cobblestone path.
Around 5 minutes later the Colonel had returned to the main street after checking down an alleyway and stood there before him was a boy shifting in the shadows. He knew who it was. "Hello Flynn."
"You..." Flynn said through gritted teeth.
"Ah, so you do remember me, good. It is always nice to know the person who ended your life. I find it hurts less than a total stranger killing you." He threw his arms to the side and his trench coat fell to the ground, revealing two holsters with pistols in each and a whole belt full of clips.
Flynn's hands set alight and he widened his stance. "Lets get this over with."
He began sprinting towards the Colonel, who rapidly pulled out his pistols and started shooting at Flynn. Each shot created orange flashes that lit the darkness and made a crack that echoed down the lonely street. Flynn moved from left to right and rolled behind a wall of a nearby house. The Colonel ran out of bullets and went to reload, but that was his weakness. Flynn saw the opportunity and ran out of his cover, attempting to close the distance between him and the Colonel. He punched two rapid fire blasts at the Colonel, who easily dodged them and continued to reload. But it was too late, Flynn was close enough to begin his assault.
Flynn was swinging his fists in a blind fury, making them easy to dodge but the heat from them was making the Colonel slow down and sweat began to form on his brow. Flynn went for an over-ambitious right hook to the face and that left him open on his side. The Colonel swung a heavy blow to Flynn's stomach and forced him to lean forward in pain, he then grabbed Flynn's head with both his hands and slammed his knee into Flynn's face. This stumbled Flynn back. Flynn went for a wild kick that was quickly countered by the Colonel, who grabbed his shoe, lifted his leg up and kicked him in-between the legs.
Flynn fell to the ground, writhing in pain and cursing under his breath. The Colonel picked up one of his guns and loaded it. "Your nothing but a waste of time. And to think you have the name Grant." He pulled back the hammer on the pistol. "Pathetic."
"ARGH!" Flynn violently kicked a short burst of fire straight into the Colonels chest, which sent him flying into the air and landing about ten feet away with a sickening thud and smoke rising from his chest. Flynn was still lying on the ground when he heard the heavy footsteps of the other agents coming round the corner at the end of the street. Helpless and desperate, he decided to flee and stumbled into a run whilst holding his sides. He meandered through alleyways and, due to his lack of balance, smacked into walls as he turned corners. Flynn tripped over a bin that was stood beside a house and fell, face first into the ground.
He sat up and leaned against the wall of the house. The pain was unbearable. His head span. His eyes blurred. Twitches of pain were jolting all through his body and blood ran from his nose. But at least the rage was gone. That feral beast was vanquished when it realised it couldn't win, but yet he still felt it, looming in the back of his mind. It was just one of the many ghosts Flynn couldn't seem to get rid of.
"I have to find shelter" he thought, but let out a small chuckle as he did."How could the same stuff happen to the same guy twice." He doubted that anyone would be like Khana in this village, that bartender wasn't who you would call a good Samaritan, then again Flynn wasn't either. But Flynn was desperate and if no one would help him, he'd have to help himself. And just as if fate had made him walk to this specific alleyway he looked over to the main road and found a small shop. "Well that's convenient".
He poked his head out of the alleyway and looked both ways down the main road. No one was in sight, just the darkness and the odd street lamp that vanquished it. He ran across the road, keeping his head low, just in case. Confident he was out of sight he skirted round the white walls of the shop and round the back. An iron door was there, just as expected, laced with locks on the other side. Flynn couldn't smash the window, no, that would make too much noise. He could get up to the roof easily, but it was all slate, so no way in there. And then there was the alarm box. There had to be and electric box somewhere feeding it power. Flynn scanned the back wall. There was the antenna, telephone wire and then some extra cables stuck to the wall. That had to be it.
He melted the wires with a small flame from his hand and faced the door. He took a deep breath in and kicked a powerful blast of fire at the door, knocking off its hinges and sending it flying back against the back wall. A couple of cinders were left on the floor when Flynn stepped through. He lit a small flame in his palm to illuminate his surroundings. The orange glow revealed a small counter and five shelves, all stacked with all sorts of different items. One caught his eye though, the food shelf. Oh it was glorious, like a bounty from heaven itself. His stomach rumbled like thunder and Flynn held it tight. He took as much as he could, stuffing it into every pocket and under his arms. Pasties, pies, anything with meat in it that he could eat quickly.
Just as he was about to leave he stopped and looked back at the ruined shelf and the remainder of the food scattered all across the floor."This is wrong." He thought, so he went over to the counter and placed some of his money on it, to cover the cost of what he stole. He then left to find shelter.
10 minutes had passed and Flynn was still unsure of where to stay the night. He had been aimlessly wandering around in the darkness, its effects taking a toll on his mind. The darkness seemed to leak into Flynn and change his very being. He became paranoid, scared and the need for the flame was ever growing. He needed it, he craved it, but he was in control and kept it at bay.
It was then a thought popped into his head. He easily broke into the shop, it couldn't be any different breaking into a house. And he spotted a perfect victim. A small white walled house, much like the others in the village, but this one was in complete cover of darkness. No lights, nothing. Flynn made his way towards the house with slyness and spotted a window at the bottom of the house, which probably led to the cellar. He broke it with his elbow as quietly as possible, in case the owners were in. It wasn't strong glass thankfully, so it made very little sound, allowing Flynn to slip in almost undetected. He cut himself on parts of the glass, leaving minor scratches on his sides and blood on the glass.
If only he had something to cook some of this food with."Oh yeah I do. Duh." he put his face in his palm and shook his head. "Stupid!" He thought to himself. Flynn pulled out a small pie from his pocket and held it over his palm, as he created a small flame. After it was fully cooked he dined like it was the last meal he would eat. Oh it was delicious. The warm gravy on the inside softening the steak pieces and making the meal much more scrumptious.
After his feast, Flynn lay on the cold stone floor and fell asleep. Only to be haunted by his dreams again. Why did my last name mean so much to the Colonel?
Early in the morning
The Colonel's eyes shot open and he jolted up, only to hit his head on the roof of the Jeep and fall down onto his back again. His shirt bore a hole in the centre and his skin had a red scar. The result of Flynn's fire blast to the chest. He slid out of the Jeep and found his men huddling round a makeshift fire. They all instantly stood up and saluted him. The Colonel ignored them though, he looked around where he was.
The Jeep had been moved up here to obviously avoid attention and it sat in thick mud, grass covering the hills that surrounded him. He could see the village sitting in the middle of the moors, all calm and peaceful, completely unaware of the conflict last night. How ignorance was bliss.
"Why are you all just standing here?" The Colonel said in an annoyed tone.
"Sir, we were waiting for you to recover from your injuries." The lieutenant stepped forward to speak, making his authority known. That was a mistake.
The Colonel stepped towards him until he was practically in his face. "You should be out there finding that bender!" He shouted into the lieutenant's face, making him step back with shock. The Colonel walked over to the Jeep and picked up his trench coat which was lying in the back seat where he was lay. "I want this Jeep loaded up. We're going back to the village!"
A short 10 minute ride into the village over bumpy terrain made the Colonels injuries hurt even more, but that would not sway him from his mission. Nothing would. They pulled up in the same spot they did before and got out. "Alright men, spread out. Radio in anything you find."
"Are you sure that's a good idea sir? Remember what happened last time." The lieutenant protested.
"Are you trying to say my leadership is questionable?"
"Well no sir I'm ju-"
"Are you trying to say I'm not skilled enough to take on a child!?" The Colonel's face was red with anger.
"No sir." The lieutenant said in defeat.
"Good. Now get on with it." The men all split apart in different directions, but the Colonel stayed where he was. "I will find you Flynn"
5 minutes of searching led to the discovery of a knocked over bin."Interesting." He knelt down to examine it more closely. Blood was dried up on the lid. It had to be him. He followed the trail of blood droplets and saw where it was leading. The shop. It was obvious, he had no food.
The Colonel walked up to the shop and found no signs of forced entry, but the alarm box wasn't working. He went round the back of the shop and examined the scene. The door was knocked against the wall of the shop, but why didn't the alarm go off? He then saw the melted wires."Very clever." The Colonel stepped slowly inside. The food was taken, but money was left on the counter. He examined the packets of food to see what they looked like. Blue and white, good, any litter like this could be a trail straight to him.
As he left the shop the Sun was starting to make its way up to the horizon and it made the clouds blue and orange, just like a water coloured painting. What little light shone managed to reflect off something on the ground. It glinted and caught the eye of the Colonel, it was right near a house that was positioned further out of the village than the others. "A perfect place to hide." He smirked slightly.
He had him.
He ran over to the house, which wasn't too far away and picked up a broken shard of glass. He saw the broken window from where it came, and the blood that was on it also. The Colonel crawled through the small window, breaking another piece off. It awoke Flynn, who instantly got up and kicked a flame at the Colonel. He took cover behind an old washing machine to avoid being hit. Flynn punched two more fire blasts at the washing machine to suppress the Colonel, giving him the opportunity to run up the wooden stairs and burst through the door at the top. The Colonel took off from his cover in pursuit.
Flynn barely made it outside the house before the Colonel managed to catch up to him. Flynn ran desperately to get away, but the Colonel grabbed his legs and tackled him to the ground. He got on top of Flynn and started to strike at his face but he was blocked by Flynn's arms, which were held up. The Colonel however, pinned Flynn's arms to the ground.
"Why do you fight!? You have lost!" the Colonel shouted in Flynn's face, little bits of spit flying out as well.
Just then, the sun had reached the top of the hill and the edge of it was poking above the horizon. Flynn felt its power and he closed his eyes and took a deep breath in. "Not yet Colonel." Flynn smirked and his wrists began to heat up, singeing the Colonels hands. He yelped and released his grip on Flynn's arms. Using the advantage, Flynn pushed the Colonel off him and rolled backwards.
The Colonel's eyes widened. Flynn punched two fire blasts at him and followed through with a roundhouse kick, sending a horizontal arc of fire towards the Colonel. He dodged the two fire blasts but was knocked back from the fire arc. Following through, Flynn launched another fire blast, knocking the Colonel back further. Flynn wasn't even sweating, the Colonel however was faltering. He was breathing heavily and his legs were shaking.
"Maybe another time Colonel." Flynn span around and side kicked a fire blast at the Colonel. That finished him off and he was knocked unconscious, left to lie in the grass. Flynn took his chances and ran off towards the hills. Where he was going he didn't know, he was just trying to escape another nightmare.
On the outskirts of Tedmare
The Colonel woke up in a blur again. Everything was hazy and his eyes stung. "Sir?" A young agent shook his shoulder. "Sir, are you okay?"
The Colonel grabbed the young agent and shoved him out of the Jeep, before sliding out to see his men, once again, huddling round a makeshift camp.
The lieutenant got up and walked towards the Colonel with a look of smugness on his face. "Looks like your plan didn't work Colonel," he said in a cocky tone. "The child knocked you out and got away. Again." The Colonel ignored the lieutenant and walked over to where his equipment lay on the bonnet of the Jeep. "How could you lead us when you can't even defeat a child?" The Colonel nonchalantly pulled out one of his pistols from its holster and aimed it at the lieutenant.
He raised his arms up in surrender. "Because, lieutenant." The Colonel armed the pistol.
"I don't tolerate insolence." Faces of shock spread across all the other agents as they stared at the man lying on the floor with a bullet hole in his chest. They all looked up to the Colonel, expecting the worse. He dropped the pistol down to his side, smoke coming out of the barrel. "Does anyone else have a problem?" The agents all shook their heads. "Good. Load up, we're heading back to base. No doubt the council would like a word."
The council. The ones who kept him on a tight leash. They would no doubt scold him for his failure, but the Colonel had a way with words and he could easily sway them so he could stay on the case.
He wasn't finished with Flynn yet.
- This chapter was delayed slightly due to a serious case of writers block.
- Did anyone see The Fugitive reference in there?
For the collective works of the author, go here.