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Bare Hunter

Ghosts and living things

By Tina D'AngeloPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 9 min read
Bare Hunter
Photo by Douglas Lopez on Unsplash

Chapter 1

Tina D’Angelo

Running is good for the soul; exertion, fresh air, and the rush of pushing your body past its limits. It is where I go when I need to think and process my emotions. Life is messy sometimes and running helps me clean it up.

Tonight was one of those messy times. There was a pile of paperwork on my desk at work that had to be sorted out by noon tomorrow, and Greg had been breathing down my neck for over a week about it. My ex-wife, Sandy, was being a pain in the ass, as usual. She wasn’t content with just destroying me financially. She had to take a pound of flesh with the divorce, making it almost impossible to see my son more than once a month.

Added to this mix was the new woman I’d been dating for a few weeks. At first, she seemed normal. Then, she started getting possessive and jealous. I hated clingy women. They reminded me of my ex. Who needed more than one of those?

It was time to end things with Becca before she completely took over my life. Break-ups were the worst: the crying, the blame games, the tantrums. I hated getting angry, especially with women. My father had drummed it into my head that a real man never hit a woman. He never hit my mother, who was a demanding shrew. No matter how badly she abused him verbally, he silently took it, walking away and living in the garage for days to keep his sanity.

Taking after his example, I would never hit her with my fists. I was better than that. Even during the worst of my marriage, I held my temper with Sandy and took her insults and threats just as my father had done. Finally, when it was just too hard to bear anymore, I left and filed for divorce. Unfortunately, the divorce ended up being worse than our marriage had been.

As my feet pounded through the wooded path, my anger and frustrations slowly melted away. While running, I was in primal mode, the master of my life, the alpha male. That was the only time I was free.

When I reached the roaring stream at the end of my path, I did what I had to do, then sat on a tree stump and thought about my life, taking a bottle of water out of my backpack and slugging it down in a few gulps.

I was tired. No. I was exhausted. All my life the world had been pushing me around. I never stood up to anyone. Fired for no reason, except that a company needed to make cuts for financial reasons, I never questioned it. I’d take my pink slip, quietly pack up my desk, and stand in line with the other losers at the unemployment office.

When the pandemic rolled around, I meekly put on my useless little mask and stayed ten feet away from everyone just to be certain I was following the rules. I got my vaccines, even though people around me were blaming it for all kinds of strange infirmities that were worse than a five-day flu.

Long line at the checkout, and some dude pushes ahead of me? I grit my teeth and stand there like a jerk. No one noticed me. No one cared what I did or said. What was the use of arguing? I’d been invisible for so long that I was always surprised when someone greeted me or stepped aside for me. My first inclination was to say, “Oh. You can see me?”

— — — — — — — — — -Jeannine — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hated it when they left me to close by myself. It felt as if the whole world was waiting to hit me over the head and take the bank bag from me — or worse. Quickly walking to my car, keys in hand, just in case, I heard a meowing coming from the alley where the dumpster was. It is not a place I would normally venture into. But it sounded like a hurt kitten.

My first impulse was to ignore it and go on about my business. The meowing turned into a whimper, clutching at my heartstrings. I clicked open the car doors and tossed the bank bag onto the driver’s seat, then turned around to investigate the alley.

That’s when I felt the gun jamming into my temple. “Don’t turn around. Get in the car. You’re taking me for a ride, bitch.”

Could I outrun a bullet? Probably not. I could talk my way out of this situation or drive off when the guy went to get into the passenger side door. My brain was spinning different scenarios a mile a minute. Unfortunately, he was reading my mind as quickly as I was thinking.

He climbed into the back seat, directly behind me, so I couldn’t see him, keeping the gun in contact with my skin as I maneuvered into the driver’s seat and reached to buckle myself in.

“You won’t need that. Just drive, you fucking tramp. Take this road to Route 80. I’ll tell you what to do next,” he growled, as I tried to match the voice with bar patrons that evening. He certainly must be one of them. The faces flashed through my mind, like a rolodex, but no one had stood out as a threat then. Most of them were people I’d known for years; I grew up with, went to school, and hung out with. It couldn’t be any of them.

The sweat dripped down into my eyes, stinging them and making the road in front of me blur. I swiped a sleeve across my face and he roared, “Don’t move your hands off the wheel again. I have nothing to lose, so if I shoot you and we crash, I’m okay with that.”

With shaking hands, I gripped the wheel tighter, feeling the sweat pooling between my boobs and dripping onto my belly. I wanted to wipe it off, but I didn’t need to be warned again.

When we reached Route 80, he tapped my head with the gun and told me to take a right and drive until he told me to stop. I did exactly what I was told. When he commanded me to stop, we were at the edge of a deserted, wooded area. He told me to pull off the road and drive into a clump of shrubs to conceal the car. That’s when I vomited all over myself.

“You fucking bitch. What the hell? Clean that mess up,” he ordered, throwing a pack of baby wipes over the seat to me.

My hands shook so hard I couldn’t grasp the wet tissues, making him impatient. “Just take off your clothes. They were going to come off anyway,” he said coldly.

I could see him in the rearview mirror now. He wore no mask. No disguise of any kind. If I had to pick him out of a line-up, I’m not sure I could. There was nothing about him that stood out. I didn’t recognize him from the bar, so it was none of the people I’d been talking and joking with all evening. If I hadn’t been so hysterical, I would have been more frightened that he hadn’t disguised himself. At the time, it didn’t register that he never intended to leave me alive.

“Get out, and don’t try to run. I was a sniper in the Marines, and you won’t outrun a bullet, baby,” he joked in a strange, monotone voice, watching me as I exited the car with nothing but my shoes on. Not even good shoes for a walk in the woods. They were three-inch heels. Maybe I could knock him out with one?

He slowly looked me over with a greedy glint in his eyes and poked me in the back with the gun. “Walk into the woods, down that path, there,” he ordered, shoving me with his empty hand, then slamming the doors.

Hope. There is always that little pocket of hope that keeps us going in seemingly hopeless situations. I held onto that shred of hope, looking around the environment for escape routes, items that I could use as weapons, and other foolish ideas I would have laughed at before my life was hanging by a thread.

I teetered unsteadily on my high heels, and he said, “Take them things off. You’re going to break an ankle out here with them.”

Again, hope popped up. He didn’t want me to break an ankle. Maybe he wasn’t planning on killing me. What then? I saw his face and heard his voice. He must know that I will run to the police as soon as he lets me go.

Then he said something that confused me completely, “I’m not a monster. I’m going to give you a chance. Turn around and let me see your tits, and I’ll let you run. If you get away, you get away. If you don’t, I win.”

“Wh-What? You’re going to let me go?” I stuttered, not believing it.

“Yeah. Sure. You’re wasting my time. Turn around slowly and show me. Yeah, just like that. Touch them and pinch your nipples for me.”

I did what he said, and he began rubbing his crotch, smiling at me. “Nice titties. Too bad. What a waste. Now, run!”

I almost fell on my back, trying to wheel around and run. I tried running off the path, but the broken twigs and pricker bushes made me go back. With my bare feet, I would never outrun him in the woods. He stood still, laughing, as I tried to distance myself from him.

I was not in very good shape. Tending bar was rough on my feet and back, but my stamina was poor, and I was becoming winded. I veered off the path once again, realizing it was either bloody feet or die in the woods with this maniac. I ran through the woods until I could no longer hear his laughter. There had to be a way to get back to the road, so I pivoted and began running back the way I came, except through the woods this time.

I heard the rustling of leaves and breaking branches, as he hunted for me through the mostly silent woods. I hid behind trees and dived into gulleys to keep out of sight. My feet were a mess of prickers and slivers from twigs embedded in them. I had no time to tend to them, though, as he was relentlessly combing the woods for me.

I didn’t understand why he would let me go, after kidnapping me and threatening me with a gun. He said he’d been a sniper in the military. Maybe he got his kicks by re-living his time in combat but with innocent victims. My ears perked up at the sound of a snapping twig and I was on the run again, my side cramping and my breath coming in rusty-tasting gasps from the exertion.

I could see the road from where I’d been hiding, and I got a blast of adrenalin to dash for it, crashing head-first into my attacker’s chest instead.

“Very nice, little piggy. Very nice try. You almost made it. I’m impressed. Usually, PAWGs don’t run that fast.”

My vomit would have been all over him if I’d had anything left in my stomach. My anger turned into a sorrow I had never experienced before and I collapsed onto the brown carpet of leaves, sobs escaping my body as I finally gave in to the inevitable. This was not how I pictured dying.

“Aw, now, little piggy. Don’t cry. Before I kill you, we’re going to have a little fun. Now, roll over and get on all fours, like a good little piggy.”

MysteryHorrorFictionCONTENT WARNINGCliffhanger

About the Creator

Tina D'Angelo

G-Is for String is now available in Ebook, paperback and audiobook by Audible!

G-Is for String: Oh, Canada! and Save One Bullet are also available on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback.

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Comments (3)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    Whoaaaa, I gotta know what happens to her next! And how the guy from chapter 1 is connected to chapter 2. Can't wait for the next part!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    Welcome back, my friend! you've returned with a bang.

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    Great job I really admire your writing skill give equal space to each character

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