By: Charles A. Hobbs

Another shout, this time to her left, made up Eve’s mind and she scrambled through the underbrush in roughly the same direction she had run last night. Sharp branches and snarls of nettles grabbed at her. Soon she had new rips in her jeans and her bare arms were bloody masses of scratches and cuts. The grey undershirt she wore hung from her shoulders by a few fragile threads.

When her lungs felt about to burst, she dropped to her knees and panted quietly. She cocked her head to the side and listened intently. Her eyes widened in terror as she realized that now there were at least two hunters on her trail. One crash about to her left, obviously inexperienced, while the other padded along the path to her right. I must be close to the exit if they’ve sent out another hunter, she reasoned. The deal had been that if she reached the exit gate that led off the estate, she was free to go. But would they actually let her go? After all, she had watched them kill her boyfriend, Mack, and best friend, Taylor. The three of them had been set loose on the wooded estate like foxes nearly a week ago. Then, three armed hunters, one for each of the prey, had come after them. The objective of the game was to bring in the quarry—Eve and her friends—alive, but so far the hunters had allowed a primal sort of bloodlust to take over once they caught the quarry. So, instead of bringing Mack and Taylor back to the estate alive, their hunters had killed and skinned them. Eve had watched it all, while her hunter methodically pursued and she, just as systematically eluded him. They were now entering week two and still she kept just out of his reach. He must be crazed with frustration by now. Eve shuddered as she thought of what he would do once he finally caught her.

No! I can’t let him catch me, she screamed silently. I’m the only one left. I have to get to the gate; get out and tell someone.

Eve looked around and noticed that the woods had grown light. Dawn edged through the trees. She had to find someplace to hide. Then, she thought of something astounding. What if she didn’t hide, didn’t run? What if she let the hunter—hunters--find her? Or rather, what if she found them first? The horrid images of Mack and Taylor’s last moments moved before her eyes, awakening a rage she had, thus far, not allowed herself to feel, afraid it would lead her to make mistakes.

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