The Last Hunt (A Bloodborne Tale)
The head of the beast comes off with a wet tearing sound. The victorious hunter breathes heavily, his coat drips with the blood of his prey. His finger still tightly clutch his instrument of death and a faint shaking can be noticed. He lingers in the pool of gore he just created, fear has not yet retracted her bony claws. The first hunt is always the worst. The stench, the sight, and the silence afterwards.
But that is long past. The once shaking hunter is now a merciless shadow in the night. He no longer fears their sight, their smell. He doesn’t even perceive it anymore. The hunt takes its toll on all of us and he is no exception. Neighbours, friends, and family as they lost their senses he lost his pity. As they started to roam the streets at night we were in desperate need for them. Out of the shadows they came. Hunters dressed in black with gruesome weaponry at their disposal. We locked our doors and windows and tried to block out the screams of men and beasts alike. If you do not have a home to hide in, then you have no chance for a tomorrow. As a child I watched them, I was forbidden, but I watched. With inhuman speed they ran around and evaded the frantic swipes of the beast. With visceral force they sliced deep into their bodies, ripped out guts with their bare hands, and burned them on big piles. Whenever they were struck by the howling monster they plunged a syringe deep into their body, a painkiller as I now know. Said to cure every pain the body could sustain. Who could have known that it was the root of it all…
These days there are few of them left. The church has sealed its gates and leaves us below to rot in the stench of the burning carcasses they left behind. But tonight is a night of the hunt and I am ready to slaughter my prey. The streets might seem empty, but I know some of them are still here. I can spot them from afar. One is sitting near the door of a house, pretending to still feel the warmth of companionship, but I know how to see past this charade. I sneak up with silent steps and ready my blade, before it can react I plunge it through its skull deep into the wood of the door. It struggles, it screams, but eventually the fighting ceases. I withdraw the blade and lick off the sweet elixir. I drag the body to the centre and dump it with the rest of them to ignite it at the end of this hunt.
I already know my next pray, it never leaves its territory. I make my way to the cemetery. In the far distance I hear the howling of a beast and nothing else. The streets as lifeless as I left them last night. The signs of a hunt are still visible. The blood splattered on the walls and the marks of fighting on the ground. Deep carvings of blades slashing out decorate the walls and the broken remains of a once flourishing civilisation. Out of the corner of my eye I see a little girl with her long claws and shining teeth. I give her a faint smile as I pass her. She keeps feeding on her little brother’s body as I leave her be. Innocence can still flourish amid the bestiality of our time.
A few lanterns a still lit as I cross the bridge, but I know that their light will soon expire and the darkness will settle in. My steps become harder to direct as the pain returns and my vision starts to blur. I plunge the syringe into my leg, I have given up to abstain from this unholy communion a long time ago. My movements were not fast enough, my reflexes too slow, but the blood, the blood enabled me to see and strike faster than any human being could ever hope. Finally I step on the soft ground of the cemetery, drenched by the blood of countless victims my prey has slain. And just like I expected I find his sorry sight in the middle of all of this. I ready my blade and step towards him.
It had to be the last, I had watched its first uneasy steps during the first night. The doubt of whether to strike or not, the hesitation when it took out the syringe. But now the seasoned killer should meet its end. It turns around with blooddrunken eyes and lifts its weapon off the ground. The breathing is low and the cold air fills both of our lungs. I close my eyes and root myself in the moment, then I charge in. We exchange swipes left and right. It might be fast, but nothing compared to me. I draw blood on every strike and slowly become enveloped in the sweet odour of my success. Then I notice the pain settling in again, but his last strike had crushed all my reserves in my pocket. I become slower with every second. I keep missing and he manages to carve off more and more of my flesh with each swipe. I lash out and barely cut his face, enough to distract him and run. I hide behind the tombs of other beasts he has buried here. My breathing is heavy and I tightly clutch my weapon as I hear his searching becoming more and more desperate.
A hunter’s blood for me.
I take off my glove and free my arm. I draw my blade across and slice of a large chunk of flesh. The blood immediately starts to flow and I slowly move my tongue over it to take it all in. I can feel it growing, my strength returning, reaching new heights as my claws start to grow and fangs line my mouth. I throw the weapon away and leap from my hiding place with inhuman strenght. It is surprised and reacts too late. I crush him underneath my heavy body. My claws are already buried in his flesh as I rip out everything I can at once. Faster and faster his blood begins to splatter as it paints the tombstones around in a glistening crimson colour. The lifeless remains on the ground. What is left of it becomes hard to identify. My breathing settles down and I fall to my knees, the fight claiming its price. The last hunter has finally fallen as a new age dawns on the horizon and I let out a howling scream.