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An injured prey with no others around. A perfect chance to catch it. With all the brains and this prey, I’ll have food for today and tomorrow. Maybe longer. The openable brick has methods to preserve food. If things go well, I won’t have to worry about food. Hopefully for a long time. First, I have to secure the prey without the others interfering. If they notice, they’ll eat it. But this part is simple. I’ll close the doors to the building, keeping them inside. But before I do, the dome on the dead prey, I should wear it. Safety first.

It took a bit to get the dome. A few others were in the way, so I killed them. Waiting for them to finish would take too long; I have to hurry. The dome obscures my vision, dampens my hearing, weakens my sense of smell. Is it worth wearing? Is this the price of protection? But it doesn’t matter if I can’t see, hear, smell. That’s what the others are for. As long as one of them detects prey, I detect prey as well. Despite the penalties, this dome is useful.

Closing the door took some time too. I’m weak. I can’t lift bodies. But dragging them away isn’t an issue. And I didn’t have to drag the pile far, just enough to close the door. I’m not worried of the others coming out. They’re too dumb to understand handles. They’ll press the door that needs to be pulled, stuck until I let them out. But how will I get the prey out of the pit? Rope? Luckily, the other that was carrying my ropes is right here, leaning against the wall, dead. Perfect.

The pit was outside the building, near the back, around the corner. I should’ve scouted the whole building first. I only saw three sides of it, not knowing there was another way in and out through the window. Maybe so many others didn’t have to die, not like it matters if they do; they’re expendable. But untying the spikes from the corpses’ arms is annoying, time-consuming. It wouldn’t be as much of a waste if I didn’t spend so much time tying them on in the first place. But I did.

Now, I’m above the pit. The prey is still inside. Alive. It stared up at me, its face wet from liquid streaming out of its eyes—similar to the very first prey I ate in the metal hunk. Is it also as docile? Will it not fight back? How do I even get it out of the pit? I retrieved the spikes by climbing down, picking them up, throwing them out. I can’t do the same to prey. They’re too heavy.

“Spencer?”

It’s talking. Spencer. What is that?

“Is that you?”

A name. Before I discovered this camp, the prey I hunted that climbed the trees. One of them was yelling something I didn’t understand: Spence. That happened when the other prey abandoned it, dropping from the tree and running. Is Spencer the name of the prey? Why was this prey calling me Spencer?

“Say something, please.”

Do prey recognize things based on sight? With the armored clothes I’m wearing, the dome I took off the dead prey, I must look like Spencer. But I can’t speak, can’t communicate with the prey except by nodding.

“You’re not Spencer. You’re, you’re the infected leader.”

Infected leader. Wasn’t I called infected fuck before? They’re similar. Infected. Why does that term sound so familiar? I must’ve forgotten the significance. I’ll ask God when I find him. But I need food to do that. How do I take the prey out of the pit? If I drop the rope down, will it climb out? Can it move with its leg impaled? I don’t know. But I’ll prepare the rope anyway. There’s an issue. There aren’t any nearby trees to tie it around.

Do I need to take the prey out of the hole? I wanted to hide the prey from the others. But isn’t it enough that the others are trapped inside, unable to reach the prey? I think it is. Though, I want to move the prey to the food preservation room where I first found the openable brick. The prey must preserve their food in that place for a reason.

If I throw the rope down, try to support the prey as it climbs, I’ll fall in. What if I wait for the prey to come out by itself? The prey isn’t saying anything. It isn’t moving either, showing no inclination of getting out. How can I do this? What would motivate this prey to leave? Food? I’ll try it. The marrow in these bones should still be fresh. I’ll extend it over the prey, let it smell it. The prey’s not reacting, frozen in place. Its eyes are following the bone. I’ll put it near the edge. But the prey isn’t moving. Maybe it’s not hungry. Or maybe it doesn’t eat marrow.

What else motivates prey? Fear. Yes, fear causes prey to flee. Prey understand what arrows are. I placed my metal stick down, behind me, way out of the prey’s reach. The prey flinched when I readied the bow, putting an arrow against the string. I’m not going to shoot. But I want the prey to think I am. I pulled the arrow back, stretching the string. And the prey got up. And fell over. And got up, pulling its foot off of the spike this time. It scrabbled at the side of the pit with its arms. It hopped, its palms pressing against the top of the pit. Then it slid back down. It hopped again, digging its fingers into the grass this time. It pulled, managing to get one elbow over the edge of the pit, then the other elbow. Its chest pressed against the ground, balancing it, letting it stretch its arms out further to pull again.

I put the bow and arrow away. Then I picked up the metal stick. Prey can’t move if they’re bones are broken. I have to keep this prey alive. It should be fine to hit it a few times as long as I don’t damage its head.

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Virlyce

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