The Wild Hunt by Madison Harvey

Huntsmen on dark horses, hounds trampled the ground, and the roar of the wind drowned out the screams. In school we were told the mythical story of the wild hunt. A group of huntsmen that rode demon horses across the sky, looking for tainted souls to capture. Why they wanted them, nobody knew. The hounds though, were said to tear you apart with their sharp teeth. Honestly, it sounds like the worst way to go. They come during the most ravenous storm of the year. I wasn’t expecting them to come to our town though. 

The grass on the way to school was dewy. The water soaked through my shoes, dampening my socks. I missed the bus, again. At least the walk wasn’t all too bad. I passed the construction zone on “Tall Street”. Men in orange hats sat around on their asses. How productive indeed. 

“Hey little mama!” One of them yelled. I looked over at them, most of them stared at me. I proceeded to flip them off. Perves.

I continued my walk, leaves crunching under my feet the whole way. This is not the season for sneaking up on others. The wind started to pick up, sending shivers down my spine. A hot chocolate would definitely solve that. I walked up to the convenience store on the left, Derek’s Convenience. Looking through the window, it seemed the lights were turned off. Tugging on the door proved to be futile.

Backing up, the building seemed to look older. The new paint was chipped. The modern windows were replaced with large, Victorian windows. The apartments on the top looked empty. To my right, the 20-something-lady who lived across the street, came out to water her plants.

“Ms. Lou? Have you seen Derek?” I yelled-asked her.

“I’m sorry darling, I have no idea who you’re talking about.” 

“The man who owns this store.” I said pointing at the building.

“No one has lived there since I’ve been here. I think you might be confused with someone else. You might want to hurry or you’re going to be late.” She went back into her house.

That makes no sense. I’ll have to look into it when I get home. The rest of the walk left me wondering what could have possibly happened to him. If only the school would disappear instead. The door creaked when I opened it, the hallways seemed a little bare, maybe I was late. First period was missing a few students. Where was everyone today? I sat in the back, next to the window. It seems the wind is from a storm, because the sky is black. 

The teacher stood up from her seat, moved two steps to the front of the room. “Today is a make-up day, please turn in any work that is due. Or you can ask me if you are missing anything.” She then sat down. Free period for me I guess.

I got out my phone and did a little Google search.

Derek’s Convenance

Nothing.

Derek Lincaster

Nothing.

Convenience stores near me

Sheetz and 7/11, but no Derek’s.

Huh, what could pos…

The windows shattered. Shards decorated the floor and everyone groaned in pain. I looked up and there he was, or should I say there it was. That thing was no man. Tall, dark and brazen, chin tilted high, posed on a large dark horse. At the horse’s feet were these dogs, disproportional, dirty dogs. 

Hounds.

They are hounds.

I remember as a little girl the story of the Wild Hunt, and if you see them, you’re already dead. 

The rain started, and they still stood out there, like they were waiting. For what though?

The thunder sounded and the lightning cracked, from the trees others emerged. All on terrifying horses, but this time, the huntsmen carried whips, whips that are meant to take the soul of another. 

A sharp pain was felt on my cheek. I raised my hand to touch it, blood tainted my finger tips. The sound of a whip clashed.

They’re coming.

A siren sounded. There’s no tornadoes, right? The clacking of their hooves rang down the hallway. How were they able to get inside? The doors are locked. I guess that doesn’t apply to the supernatural I realized. All the classroom doors slammed open. The fear admitted was a gas of its own. 

A whip snapped, a kid screamed, and a soul was taken. The beginning of the end. 

Snap.

Snap. Over and over again. One by one we were all being taken, I needed to do something. I got up from my seat and carefully walked to the door, trying to avoid the glass, a failing task. I looked out into the hallway, but nobody was there, only the leaves that blew in from outside. 

A clicking sound was heard from behind me. I turned around, almost giving myself whiplash.

“You can’t run.” It said in a raspy voice. His whip was at his side, and a mask covered his face, hiding what he truly looked like.

“I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You reek of evil, you’re covered in black. Just. Like. Me.”

“I don’t kill for fun.”

“You will or you die.”

“Wouldn’t dying be the greater choice?”

“In some cases ,yes, but yours, no. You will experience the greatest power known across the realms: life in your hands. Choose it, and you will be forever immortal.”

“And if I don’t”

“You will die by the mouth of my hounds.” He pointed behind me. I turned around, a hound no less than 10 feet away.

“But why me?”

“I see so much potential in you. The souls we take, normally deserve it.”

“How can someone deserve such a fate? You’re not God, you can’t decide who gets to live or die.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. God isn’t the only one who controls life.”

“I’ll join you on one condition.”

“And what is that?”

“Your whip. I want your whip.” I turned around to look at him.

“Why?”

“If you really want me to join, you’ll give it up.” I held my hand out.

“Fine.” He placed the whip in my hand. The cold handle was a reminder of the power I now had. I looked him in, what I assume were, the eyes. I whipped the lash, once, twice and on the third one, I aimed it at him.

His hand wrapped around it, expecting my resistance. He pulled me towards him with it. His other hand wrapped around my neck, cutting off my air supply.

“You silly, silly girl. You can’t kill me with my own creation.” He pressed harder and harder. The world around me slowly going black. “You made the wrong choice.”

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