Iohan’s lips pulled back in a grin that turned into a snarl, his eyes ablaze with joy and malice in equal measure. Yes. Fear me. Fear me!
The beast stumbled backward, its limbs flailing behind it in a decidedly human attempt to catch itself. But that only meant that its serpent-like arms could do nothing to stop Iohan as he strode forward and swung his sword at the creature’s neck, severing its head from its body and sending a fountain of the thing’s black blood geysering into the low-hanging branches.
Iohan stood over his fallen foe’s body, his shoulders heaving with every panting breath. Sweat dripped from every inch of exposed skin. His pupils were dilated. His body tingled with the joy of the hunt. He wanted the killing to continue, his ears straining to hear his next prey, his nose sniffing the air for his next victim’s scent. He was a cazador. He lived for the kill.
“Iohan,” he heard. A voice. Human. Jimeno’s. It was a whimper, the sad sound of a dying animal. It brought him back to reality. “Iohan, please, help me. I can’t feel my legs. I can’t feel my legs, Iohan.”
Iohan said nothing to comfort Jimeno. He let the voice guide him instead.
The boy was laying against a tree looking for all the world like a discarded doll. One leg lay folded underneath him at an unnatural angle. The other stuck straight out from his body. He lay motionless, his arms limp at his side. Blood ran from his mouth and nose.
“Iohan, I can’t move. I don’t feel anything.”
“Quiet, Jimeno. Let me look at you.” Iohan poked at the boy’s legs, lifted one of his arms and let it fall. “Your back is broken. Your spine is severed. And I think you have a broken rib that has punctured your lung.”
Jimeno’s eyes were wide, glassy. Shock. “Iohan, what will we do? How will we get out of here?”
Iohan said nothing. “Jimeno,” he said softly. “You’re going to die.”
“There’s nothing I can do for you. It will take too long to get you to a cirujano. Even if I could get you to a village, it would be too late.”
“Iohan! Cazador! Please, you have to help me!”
Iohan shook his head. “The only help I can give you now is a quick death.”
“No, no, no–”
“The hunt continues, novice. You will not be forgotten.”
Jimeno protested. He screamed. He wept. And then he never uttered another sound.
Iohan stood from where he knelt by Jimeno’s body and wiped the his sword on the boy’s shirt. You would have understood, he thought. Had you had the time to see the things I have seen, you would have understood. But it was a moot point. The boy hadn’t, and now he never would. But it didn’t matter. The beast he’d slain had been neither Maria nor Pol, he was sure of it. And so the hunt continued. There was work to be done. Deep, steady breaths. Hunt. Work. Kill.
Iohan walked deeper into the woods, where the beasts dwelt.
The end! Something short on Wednesday, and something new on Monday!