The Book of NineMature

Karim leapt from the rock face, hurtling himself as quickly as he could down the steep slope and into the foliage below. He slid, his bare feet crushing and ripping through the tall grass in a rustle as he came to an abrupt stop. He listened carefully for the heavy breathing of his prey. Luckily for him, he had no need to inhale, his lungs had not processed oxygen for over a century. The labored breaths of his past existence no longer threatened to interfere with his acute hearing. Karim smelt the cool dusk air and the strong sent of flesh filled his nostrils as his preternatural blood, which was the remnants of his existence, eagerly absorbed every possible trace of humanity that may have been carried on the wind. Unfortunately he was not the only one on the hunt. Karim knew another of his kind was after his quarry. He had to move quickly, and with the greatest precision that his cursed body could attain, for vengeance was to be his this night.
    For the last eighty years Karim stalked the Eutak, the name his people gave to the men who came from beyond where the great water snakes met. They lived nomadically near his people but were different. Their brow was far thicker, and their heads had more width. They had slightly lighter skin but bore more hair. They were almost always stronger, and hunted with far different tactics than did Karims brethren. Ironically, Karim hunted much like they did now, compared to how he did in life. He stalked them, weaponless, or perhaps with a crude stone, hewn to a blade. He pounced on his prey, leaping on them from above, or wrestling them to the ground. However, the Eutak did this in groups, cornering animals so that there was nowhere to go but into one of their grasps. Karim hunted alone.
Once in the past he too lived a nomadic lifestyle nearly identical to those he now claimed his nourishment from. One night, just over a century prior, Karim and his nomadic tribe encountered a herd of gazelle which unintentionally wandered near their camp site. They had moved in with stone tipped spears in hand to make the kill when out of the shadows came the cries of strangers. A small band of Eutak that must have been tracking the gazelle had also stumbled upon their campsite and the hunt had become a conflict. The gazelle scattered as the two tribes clashed with harsh vocalizations. Karim knew what some of them meant, but couldn’t understand all of their meanings. They blamed Karim’s people for scaring away their meal, and threatened vengeance. For a few moments the banter continued before one of Karim’s men threw a spear, it did not hit any of them, but was meant to deter them. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect and the group frenzied at the display of violence. They rushed into Karims tribe with stone knives and clubs. At the onset of combat Karim defended himself from one Eutak and was stabbed in the side from behind by another. They were obviously outnumbered, and out classed by the strength of the Eutak in combat. They fled into the darkness at the call of their leader, carrying the wounded and leaving the dead behind. One of those who was left behind was Karim’s mate, a strong and beautiful woman named Anan. She had fought by Karim’s side as he lay bleeding in the grass after being injured. Karim only learned of her fate once he was on his brothers shoulders, being carried away from the skirmish. He yelled for her as they fled and his brother Bacha said he had seen her fall after being bludgeoned. Karim wept as they continued into the darkness of the night, seeking only refuge from their new found enemies.

The End

0 comments about this story Feed