Ryan Chani

come into my world and take a look around

The Great Woods

My ears perked up at the sound. Not quite animal, not quite human, but all too intriguing. I flipped my brim back down, lowered my rifle and took my next step. Making sure to give the sticks and leaves a little push before planting my foot. Can’t be too loud, the hunted have good hearing.

The more they stay out on their own, the more at one they become with their surroundings. Hell, if I snapped a branch I bet they’d feel it.

Since the Exile they haven’t affected us “norms” much, but knowing what they’ve done and that they’re still breathing the same air, assuming they breathe, just irks me.

I don’t want to share. Not with the likes of them. Not after everything that’d gone on for far too long.

It still boggles my mind to think about all the wasted lives throughout the years that could have been saved if we saw these... “things” for what they truly were sooner. But no. Because they came into this world the same way we did, they were thought to be human. We gave them so many chances. Too many chances. But they would just spit it all right back in our faces and keep doing what they do.

Rape, murder, mutilation, assault (if you were lucky), the list goes on and my stomach weakens with every example. They didn’t care if you were man, woman, child, infant, elderly, dying due to natural causes (or their causes) they’d treat your body like the most fucked up carnival ride you could imagine.

I read each report, the play by play of how the forensic teams determined how each attack went down. Horrible.

But you never really grasp the extent of it until it happens to your family. Your loved ones. People that you’ve held close in times of need, both yours and theirs. The people whose presence alone provided comfort.

No time to go down that path. Been down there far too many times. Can’t get my usual out of body experience. Not while on the hunt.

Have to concentrate on my steps. Scanning the woods for figures. They can sneak right up on you if you’re not careful.

After so many cases of attacks being reported, authorities knew they had to step in. Really it was more the fact the Attorney General’s wife was added to the body count about four years ago.

They left her sprawled out on the hood of his Benz. Used the hood ornament to destroy all her holes and then each had a go themselves. There were five assailants. They usually travel in packs. Group play is more fun for them.

Groceries all over the driveway. A whole rotisserie chicken crammed into her mouth. A quart of milk in her ass. You can look at that as the stamp of approval for the Segregation Law that was passed shortly after.

People can only be pushed so far before their instincts that got them through evolution kick in. The will to survive and only the strong survive. But since we couldn’t fight back physically, we fought back legally. With these “people” taking out a whole slew of loved ones, I’m surprised they weren’t all put to death. I guess they were in a way.

To avoid wasting the tax dollars of the people that had been stripped of their family members, the public thought it best to forgo the prisons.

What was put into place was a gathering for a cleanse. All individuals found guilty of brutal crimes were placed under arrest, charged and shipped off to The Great Woods.

There they stay, away from society, until hunting season starts.

Then for a small fee of $2,000 you can get a weekend pass to hunt as many degenerates as your heart desires. Small price to pay for redemption.

So now I’m here, making my way through The Great Woods looking for anything that reminds me of my losses, so I can get a win.

This is my fourth weekend of the season. Nothing keeping me home anymore. Got rid of the house and moved into a small one bedroom apartment. The money I got from the sale will keep my weekends active for some time. Also, got me my trusty Betty Boom Boom, she’s my gun. Was drunk off the good stuff and etched that into the barrel. Not the best name, but I’ll stick to my decisions. Drunk or sober, I follow through on my choices.

A few sheets to the wind right now as a matter of fact. But that’s not what got me out of bed. Nothing could keep me away from this heaven.

With whiskey on my breathe and hate in my heart I push on.

Haven’t come across my true kill yet. 5’6”, 185 lbs., dirty blonde shaggy hair, brown left eye and a green right. I’ll know him when I see him. They say none of the “others” recall their kills. No remembrance of the faces they attack or care for the families they affect. But they remember the feeling of the act, and that’s what drives them.

When I find my ultimate trophy I’ll make the memories come back. I want to see its recollection of what happened when I snub out its thoughts for good.

For an extra $1,500 you can bring a head home as a souvenir. They have cheaper options too. Finger or toe keychains $100, teeth necklace $150, eyeball paperweight $50, meat from the body $25/lb.

I think I’ll take the head, the eyes (of course) and 50 lbs of meat. Will cook it all at once, make a plate for my wife and son too. This will be the replacement for all the holiday meals I’ll never have with them again.

Kill count is up to 15, five for each outing. But haven’t gotten my Moby Dick. I know he’s still out there. I always check kill logs and nothing has mentioned the eyes. They wouldn’t leave that detail out.

I can feel him in the air. My body knows it has unfinished business.

This week I’m exploring a new section of The Great Woods. Decided to jump to Quadrant 8. Been through Quadrants 1, 3 and 5 so far. Judging by the kills, those quadrants are for the freshly shipped.

Colder here in Q8, different than the other places. Each Quadrant has a different level of difficulty, I guess you could say. They move through the ranks of survival. My Everest has been in here for the full three and a half years. It’s most likely adapted. Stronger, more in tune with its surroundings. More comfortable with kills.

Only downfall of these “people” is they don’t kill each other. They don’t fear death and the smell of fear is the main ingredient for their drive.


I go still. Noise came from my 6 o’clock. Haven’t checked behind me in some time. Stupid.

I move Betty up to my eye. Using the dentist mirror attached to my scope I can see a figure approaching. Low to the ground.

60 yards away. Not close enough for visual confirmation.

This quadrant is definitely more advanced. Never had to deal with a bogey on my back before.

I’m up for the challenge. Feels good to be hunted. I’m sure it’s kill count is higher than any other I’ve faced yet.

50 yards away. Need to hold.

Teeth are filled down to points. Tongue bitten out, no need to talk when you just want to kill. No last words for this villain, just death.

Still can’t see eyes behind its hair. The Great Woods must not have barbers. I hold my position as it approaches. Still believing it has the upper hand.

Need to see those eyes before acting. It’s not getting off with just a bullet hole if it’s my Everest.

45 yards away. Hold.

Foam fresh around its mouth. The face doesn’t look as human as it had before The Exile.

30 yards away. Hold.

Deep breath in... 3... 2... 1... Both Brown.

Turning, exhaling as I do. Moving closer to the ground. One shot. Right between the wrong colored eyes.

I begin to make my way to the freshly made mess, slinging Betty over my shoulder. I’ll take his teeth, “human” shark necklace is in my future. How could I pass that up?

Leaning over the lump on the ground I unsheath my blade. Bone blade. Perfect for cutting through my problems.

I start to scalp baby brownie when I feel a hit. Came from my right. Clever girl. Betty goes flying.

I’m on my back and it’s atop me. Snarling and grabbing for my throat. There is blood in my eyes from the hit, but I can see it’s face. Looks like bark. Lips chapped with chunks bitten off. Teeth chomping towards my face, spit dangling over me. Breath like a heater blowing out of a porta potty. Knotted hair covering its eyes.

A flashback blinds me. The faces of my wife and son. We are on the dock during our lake vacation. Both smiling up at me. FLASH. Their faces go bloodied.

I come to, losing hold of its right hand and it jams its fingertips into my side. Each nail sharp enough to penetrate my hunting jacket. The feeling of pressure on my kidney is intense. This one knows what it’s doing.

I lay there, starting to get weak.

It pulls its hand away with a fist full of me. The pain is excruciating.

I lose hold completely and it starts to claw at my body like a dog trying to dig a hole for its brand new bone.

The only thought flooding my mind is that I now know how my wife and son felt at their last moments.

As the darkness starts to take over my vision our pupils make contact. Then I see its eyes. Left brown, right, green. It seems to recognize my expression and its feast-hole twists into what looks like a smirk.

Its face shoots down towards mine. “I’ve been waiting for you. Time for a family reunion.” It whispers in my ear. Then sinks its teeth into my jugular.

I guess there are memories behind those eyes after all.