This story has a lot of gore in it, so younger readers, I don’t recommend you read it. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!
The stench of blood intermingled with an animal’s scent. The grey shadow put its nose to the floor and growled excitedly as its sensitive nose was flooded with the hot stink of death and despair. The creature snarled. It jogged onwards, keeping its head and tail down and its body low. Suddenly, the beast froze, as ahead was a corpse. Its flesh was rotting and reeked of decay, but no flies buzzed around it. The carcass was so deep underground and hidden, nothing got a look in except the wolf that was staring at it with mad, hungry and bloodshot eyes. The predator leapt forwards and ripped at the bodies meat and hide, gulping it down without even chewing, just tearing it apart until only the bones, yellow and broken, remained. The wolf licked its lips. Its thin, pitiful body had become muscular again, but its appetite was never satisfied.
The beast stalked on, leaving behind the ruined body of a man.
Meanwhile, a tall silhouette followed a trail of sticky, red blood that was splattered across the stone, cold floor. Through gritted teeth it loped forwards, clutching a small pistol for dear life. The man had been sent to slay the murderous wolf that had killed many. Spears and swords seemed not to affect it, nor did bullets, and it had an endless bloodlust of everything that moved. Never was it full. Always was it ravenous for flesh.
The human came to a stop when the blood on the hard floor took shape. It formed a paw print, with claws that looked vicious even if it was only imprinted on the rock. He began panting for breath, dreading what was now inevitably ahead. He had hoped it wasn’t here. His prayers had been ignored.
Everything was dark around him, the tunnel only lit by a dull, flickering lantern light on the ceiling every so often. Then, to his upmost horror, they died out spontaneously. The man sobbed and sank to his knees. Yet he knew he could not give up. He had nothing to go back to. The cavern had caved in further back. He was trapped between a crazy, bloodthirsty wolf and an unbreakable wall of rock that could not be breached.
He took a deep breath and carried on.
The wolf stopped. It heard footsteps clatter across stone, and sharply turned tail. It smelled the air- human. It snarled and raced backwards in a frenzy, a need for blood. It crouched low when it saw the dark outline of the shivering man. The beast sensed his fear and growled low in an attempt to terrorize it. It worked. The human gasped and shrank back against the wall, pointing its pistol into the gloom. The creature bared its teeth, almost sneering. Its fangs glistened like daggers in the dark, and only its eyes could be seen, ravenous and full of rage.
The person wrinkled his nose and gasped as a reeking stench hit him like a sledgehammer. He took a sharp intake of breath as it wafted into his lungs and throat, stinging and making his eyes water. He couldn’t see properly and when he heard a crunch under his foot and looked down, he didn’t realise he had stepped on bone until his vision cleared. He jumped backwards and breathed hard as he stared at the deformed skeleton of a human like himself. The wolf had been this way. He wondered whether this was the other man sent in to kill the wolf. He shuddered and walked onwards in slow steps. Then he froze- he heard a growl.
Pure terror took over the man as he saw two evil eyes shining up at him. He heard a slow, rumbling snarl and sank to his knees. He tried to ready his pistol but his hands were grabbed by uncontrollable spasms that made them useless. The gun fell to the floor, and shot a bullet. As the bullet hit the rock it rebounded off a wall and exploded a few paces away from the eyes in the shadows. He heard a growl that was more anger than surprise and he realised the shot had just riled up the already mad beast. As he heard claws clicking on the stone and saw the eyes coming closer, he shut his own and waited for death…
Wait- let me tell you how this story began.
A young man walked across the vast stretch of boiling, white sand. He wasn’t used to this sort of ground, having been born in a forest where the breeze cooled his face and the dirt was hard and firm. The desert was harsh, and the man could feel his throat dry like a shrivelled leaf. He needed water.
He ploughed through the sand that sucked at his leather boots, and grunted with every slow, gradual step. He was exhausted, hungry and parched. He was beginning to feel desperate. To his relief, he made out small wooden houses in the distance. Maybe the inhabitants will give me food and water… He thought and tried in vain to quicken his pace.
In minutes he was in the village, in the cobble-paved town square that was adorned by small market stalls that sold bread, cakes, fruit, vegetables and meat. He smiled for the first time he entered the unforgiving desert.
A door opened in one of the small houses. Out of it came a young woman and two children, followed closely by an older man carrying a spear with a wary frown on his face. The man sighed and his smile disappeared from his face. “Hello. My name is Jonathan. I am a traveller unused to this desert and I am in need of food, rest and water.” He said carefully.
At the mention of water, the woman and man scowled while the children, a boy and a girl, looked up at their parents in confusion. Jonathan didn’t understand. Surely they wouldn’t make a settlement here if there wasn’t an assessable water supply? Or maybe they just didn’t like sharing. Whatever the case, he wouldn’t leave this desert oasis in a hurry…
“We will let you stay,” Said the woman suddenly, “And give you food. But water is scarce and we may only give you enough to replenish yourself, and no more. If you want more, you get more from the caves nearby.” Jonathan nodded. This was better than nothing.
The woman beckoned him into her house. He followed, slightly uncomfortable under the gaze of the unhospitable man. He avoided eye contact with him, and looked curiously around the house. There was a small stove, a basin full of water, a few seats around a table, and some rickety stairs leading up, maybe to the bedrooms. Jonathan turned to the woman. “Thank you, I am in your debt.” He said. The woman just nodded. “My name is Mary. This Is Elizabeth, and John.” She said, gesturing to her children. “And this is Henry, my husband.” She continued, looking at the stern man. “He isn’t very partial to strangers. He’s a good, kind person when you get to know him, though.”
“I hope so.” Jonathan laughed, trying to lighten the tension in the house. Henry just frowned, not speaking, until Elizabeth looked pointedly at him, obviously telling him to welcome Jonathan. “Hello,” He said gruffly, narrowing his grey eyes at Jonathan in an unwelcoming show of wariness.
The wolf hated that his prey gave up so easily. He liked to play with his food. It snarled in frustration as he slunk forwards. It nosed the person. Shaking like a leaf. The beast huffed. This victim would be no fun.
The human was expecting cruel fangs to snap his neck any minute. He was puzzled when he only heard grunts of frustration. Slowly he opened one eye. The wolf in front of him was scruffy and thin, with its sharp teeth that were stained with blood bared and its eyes mad and bloodthirsty. Why didn’t this outrageous bane of humanity just end his life? Either that or starve in these tunnels that whispered his doom into his ears…
The creature let out a whine of excitement as he noticed his victim’s open, scared eyes. He snarled maliciously, and growled in amusement as it cowered back against the wall.
The human noticed his gun nearby. While the wolf wasn’t watching, he reached out and stretched his fingers towards it. He edged closer and finally his fingers found their mark and he pulled up his pistol, shooting the wolf in the leg.
The creature screeched. It fell on its side as blood welled out of its wounded paw. It tried to scramble away but slipped in its own lifeblood and began whimpering as the man raised his gun again to shoot. The wolf snarled in fury, fear and pain and closed its eyes.
Somehow, the man could not bring himself to shoot. The idea of slaying a creature while it was already dying disgusted him. The idea of slaying anything didn’t appeal to him. The idea of the wolf’s death disturbed him.
So he cautiously walked forwards, his hand outstretched, reaching towards the wolf. Not realising he was trying to help, the wolf sank its fangs into his hand. The man screamed in agony and shot the wolf. It collapsed to the ground, dead. His body was racked with shaky sobs and he collapsed next to the dead beast.
In what seemed like hours later the man blinked open his eyes. At first he was confused, not remembering where he was, but then he saw the pathetic heap of grey fur on the ground and it all flooded back in a literal tide of blood. “Ugh…” The human sighed and looked at the dead wolf. “Why did I do that…?” Yet he knew he had no time for regret and stumbled, clutching his bitten hand, onwards through the tunnel.
Ahead was a mound of rocks. He forgot about his injury and put his hand on the rock, clutching hard and instantly letting out a cry of pain. He would have to climb one-handed. Every part of his body seemed to have aches and pains. When he finally crossed the small hill he felt no victory, as still was the rest of the disorientating cave laid ahead of him, taunting him and leading him in circles.