Hunter peered around the streets of the “old world” in search of his quarry. Although a gifted tracker and marksman, his eyes were not the keenest of his senses, but his sense of smell.
Cupping his hirsute hand under his rifle, he peered through the scope in the direction of a familiar odor, carried on the gentle breeze. Apart from this, nothing else stirred in this city of ghosts.
The creature stood almost 7”, sloped at the shoulders, tapering into heavy taloned hands which extended below his knees. A grey camouflaged poncho was his only garment against the drizzling rain.
Hunter knew what he was; a product of the new world, a “merge-mutation” of man and dog, one of millions instantly created in the aftermath of the third world war. The FEOFF 7 gas killed most of the elder race known as humans, but the gas which collected in the atmosphere fell as a chemical rain.
Men however, were a hardy race, like cockroaches. Some always survived like the ones that hid in ones and twos in the derelict buildings of this dead city. It was his duty in the pack to exterminate them where he found them.
Hunter was not merely a name but his vocation.
Humans on the whole were easy prey; they always tried to hide, yet he could always find them unhindered due to their scent.
The ways of the old world were forbidden to his race as they were an evil that destroyed the world, but he was the “hunter” of his pack and therefore was permitted the privilege of learning to read. A concession so that he could know his enemy better.
This one was different…he had tracked him for miles, and twice the man of the old world almost eluded him.
Slinging his rifle, the manog dropped to all fours, loping after the human he knew to be fleeing from him, the scent instantaneously growing stronger with every stride. The trail led to the double glass doors of an insurance building. His eyes seemed to follow the spoor as if he could see the smell, alerting him to the drop of blood on the stairs.
Wiping a finger through the crimson dot, he brought it to his nose. The nostrils quivered on his elongated snout, enraging him in his bloodlust which emanated in the curling of his lips, exposing many jagged teeth.
Chinking of metal striking stone sounded from somewhere outside, compelling him to lunge back out the door.
His target presented itself in the form of a human, wearing a read and black quartered suit, with a black mask. Metal claws extended from bands set to the wrists and feet of the man of the old world, clinging to the wall of the building, at least six floors above.
Like a cat scaling the bowel of a tree, the man found the corner of the edifice.
Hunter brought his rifle to play, cursing as the man of the old world, breached the corner out of his sight.
Ducking his head, he hurled himself through the doors, bounding up the fire stairs, almost clearing each flight as he went.
He even knew this man; he called himself the Missionary, making it his personal quest to bring any human vermin in hiding to safety.
A metal canister clanked down the stairs, falling at the feet of the manog. He sprang back to the lower flight, covering his ears against the explosion which collapsed the stairs he just stood on.
In a single leap, he cleared the collapsed section of stairs, quickly gaining the roof.
Hunter shouldered the roof door open, continuing to run for the edge, peering over through his sights. The Missionary shimmied across a power line. The manog framed the frantic body in his scope, when his foot nudged something.
To his horror another, canister exploded, but this time exuding smoke, instantly enveloping him.
Coughing and squinting desperately through tear filled eyes; Hunter finally rubbed a tear away to see the Missionary, drop from the power line, to a sill of the opposite building. Within two slashes, the glass imploded as smoke further bedeviled the manog.
When at last he could draw a bead on the window, he saw the blur of a leg disappear within.
Hunter lowered the rifle, sighing, with a grudging admiration. If nothing else, the man of the old world made the hunt interesting…there would be another day.
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