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The sun is out. Seeing the prey is easy. Solid blobs where nothing should be. But the others don’t recognize them. They can’t see. Why is that? There was one other that was attracted by sight. To the pink tube I used to lead it to the cabin. Was it the blood? Or the color? I’ll have to test later. See if there’s anything others notice through sight alone. It’ll be helpful in leading them. But for now, there’s prey.

The spiked feathers are thin. Flimsy. They don’t seem like they can pierce anything. But they do. Perhaps I’m using the shooter incorrectly. Even if I am, it serves its purpose. Launching feathered spikes into soft flesh.

Twang.

The feathered spike missed, hitting below the prey and bouncing off. It flinched. But it didn’t make big movements. Odd. I’ll try again.

Twang.

“Ah! Fuck!”

Oh. I beat the odds. It only took two shots instead of five. I’m not sure which part of the prey I hit. Its body is wrapped around the tree like a piece of moss. But whatever part it did, it was soft. Soft enough to bleed. The smell of blood is strong enough to draw the attention of the others. They aren’t reaching for the brains anymore. Their gazes are drawn higher. Actually. Maybe it was the sound, not the smell. The prey’s loud.

“There’s an arrow in my ass! Spencer! There’s a fucking arrow in my ass!”

“Calm down!”

“How the fuck you expect me to calm down?!”

Arrow. Is that what the feathered spikes are called? Arrows. Yes, it sounds familiar. Then the feathered-spike shooter is an arrow shooter. Prey really do teach me new things with every encounter.

“Oh God, what do I do? What do I do?!”

God again. It seems like this prey will come back to life. Will he come back after I eat its brains? After I break apart its bones to store its marrow? I’d like to see that. See how God miraculously brings it back to life.

“Be quiet! You’ll attract even more.”

“Blood is leaking out of my ass, Spence! It’s not my voice that’s attracting them!”

It really was the smell. The prey are thinking of ways to escape. If they succeed, I won’t mind. Learning how prey escape from a situation like this, if I’m ever in a same situation, I can use it. Or if I trap more prey like this, I’ll know what to watch for. If they escape, I learn. If they fail, I eat. This situation, it’s a win-win. I like these kinds of situations.

“Okay, okay. Calm down.”

“Fucking…! I’ll stick an arrow up your ass once we get out of here!”

Why wait? I’ll shoot the other prey too. It’s only fair.

Twang.

It missed.

“Oh shit. Uh, Patrick, pull the arrow out. Can you do that?”

“Out of my ass?”

“Yes!”

Twang.

It looks like last time I got lucky. I’m not beating the odds. No, I’m still ahead. One out of four shots hit. That means the next one will miss. Then I’ll hit in the following five.

“Are you serious?”

“We’re going to make a run for it! You think you can run with an arrow in your ass?”

“That’s a good point, but don’t people say it’s better to leave the knife inside if you’re stabbed? You sure I should pull it out?”

Twang.

Missed. As expected. The more I shoot, the worse my aim gets. I’m not sure why. My arm feels stiff afterwards too. Maybe there’s a correlation.

“That advice is only good for knives! Pull it out! I’m dropping to the ground in three, two—”

“Hold up! I’m pulling, I’m pulling! Ah, shit fuck, this hurts!”

The smell of blood is much stronger. My hunger is stirring. The injured prey is losing a lot of blood, leaking from its wound, down the tree trunk, into the mouths of the waiting others. There were two others attracted to the brains on the tree with the uninjured prey. But after smelling the blood, they left too, crowding behind the others. I lifted another arrow, readying myself to shoot. But the prey did something unexpected. It slid down the tree, crashing against the ground. The others didn’t care, attracted to the blood. Then it ran, abandoning its companion.

“Spence? Spencer?! Spence! Fucking hell, don’t leave me like this!”

The prey didn’t say a word as it ran, its footsteps stomping into the distance. It’s not the first time prey have abandoned one another to escape. They’re selfish. I’m more disappointed in myself for not seeing it coming. But even if I knew it was going to happen, there wasn’t much I could’ve done. I already missed my arrows. Injuring it would’ve been for the best. It would’ve been easy to follow. But now, I won’t. Not when it has protection for its head. The others won’t come with me either, distracted by the wounded prey in the tree. That escaping prey was smart, ensuring its survival by tricking its companion. Pulling out arrows causes wounds to leak more, letting out more smell, attracting more others. Or if pulling arrows out of others, letting out more smell but repelling all others. Prey and others really are similar. Others just smell worse. And they’re dumber.

“Oh God, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. Help! Somebody, help me! Please! Help! Help!”

Prey also use hearing to their advantage. Unlike others, who’re attracted by sound, prey can avoid sounds of distress like these. The prey is shouting for help, hoping to be saved. But only others will come. This prey doesn’t have anything left, no tricks to save itself. I’ll put another arrows in it until it falls.

Twang.

Though it may take a while. But that’s fine. The longer it takes, the fresher its brains and marrows will be, the longer they’ll last to store. Maybe I shouldn’t put arrows in the prey. I have enough marrow to last the sunset and night. If I kill the prey now, my stock of marrow will overlap. It’s not efficient.

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Virlyce

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