Rika - Anger
I always remember the day I first felt the hunger. I was eleven and it was during a school recess. There was another kid, I would call him a bully but that would be trying to justify what I did to him. There is not excuse, he was just a kid like any other. If there was a villain in this story it would be me.
The cause was nothing special, just a child’s argument. He was just a boy teasing a girl. Those things happen. Usually if it goes to far one of the teachers steps in and breaks it up. This time they must have been busy doing something else. I still remember the boy’s words,
“You think you mother is special, she is just one of those worthless hunters. With the wall in place they are just a waste of funds. Not like my father, he is…”
The boy didn’t speak more. I jumped at him, clawing at him with my fingers. Normally this would have just been another fight between children and the teachers would have broken it apart soon enough. However it was different for me. I felt the anger rising up from within me. A deep primal anger. It as like my vision was filtered red and I wanted to kill him. Really kill him, claw him open and ripe out his still beating heart.
When I told my father later he thought I was exaggerating, that it would be impossible to actually feel like that. He didn’t understand, he couldn’t understand, the sheer primal feeling that I had when I attacked that boy. My mother however, she understood. She held me in her arms tightly and whispered to me over and over again that she was sorry. But she never told me what I desperately needed to hear, that it would be better. However my mother didn’t lie to me.
The boy was lucky to some extent. He survived. My nails had ripped into his face, chest, and arms. My fingers was dripping with blood which pooled out around him. The teachers were forced to violently tackle me off him and pin me to the ground before I finally began to calm down and regain control of myself.
That was when the shock began to set in. I began shacking uncontrollably and everything I had done to the boy replayed in my memory. The worst part was that there was a part of me that enjoyed it. No, enjoy is the wrong word. It was like I it felt right, I has shown him who was stronger and has protected my own. A primal satisfaction that I had been successful.
Everything else was a blur. I remember that the police came, as well as an ambulance for the boy. I was dragged off to some cell before my mother came. She seemed different then usual, more controlling and commanding. I thought the police were going to keep me there forever, that I was going to be thrown in jail for being a bad girl. But my mother got me out.
Later I learned that we were special, that people like me and my mother were special and that the government gave special allowances for people like us. That we were useful. So I got to go free, even after what I had done.
We then moved, I wasn’t really surprised. Even I could feel the tension around the house and with our neighbors. So we moved to the Western District, near the wall. A few days after we had settled in my mother took me aside and said, “Rika, tonight I am going to take you hunting.”
“Hunting?” I asked. It seemed like a strange thing that my mother was offering.
She nodded, “Yes, I know you have been struggling these last free weeks but this will help you feel better. It will help you suppress those desires.”
I didn’t quite understand what she was trying to tell me but I did know that my frustrations had been growing. Every strange look at me made me angrier and angrier. Everything continued piling higher and higher and was beginning to make me feel like I had toward that boy. There were times where the only reason I was able to control myself was because my mother had her hand tightly holding onto my shoulder.
So I nodded acceptance and she continued, “Good, we will be leaving after dinner.”
I tensely waited through the rest of the day and after dinner my mother took my hand and lead me outside to the car. In the back there was a leather backpack which seemed full of stuff but I couldn’t tell what. My mom drove and I watched out the window. However after a few minutes I turned over to her and asked, “Mom, why are we going toward the Wall?”
“Because that is where we are heading. That is where the hunting ground is.”
“Near the wall?”
“No Rika. The hunting ground is beyond the Wall.”
I gazed up the the Wall which towered up extremely high. There was a feeling of shock. Hunting grounds beyond the wall, I knew that my mother had worked as Beast Hunter before I had been born and that she had retired because it was too dangerous to have that career while having a child. However even though the word had been the same I hadn’t though that the hunting that mom had spoken about would really involved going beyond the Wall.
I stuttered, “But, they won’t let us out there. Only Beast Hunters are allowed beyond the wall.”
“That won’t be a problem. Children of Beast Hunters who have experienced who show signs of Instinct are also allowed through while being watched.”
“But aren’t you retired?”
“Beast Hunters never really retire, they just take breaks. Also I have already received permission.”
I quietly just watched the wall get taller while we got closer and closer. The wall the loomed over everything and that could always see no matter where you were in the districts. Beyond the wall was the jungle and the beasts. Everybody had heard stories about the beasts and everything knew the dangers that lurked beyond the wall. Everybody knew the dangers but instead of feeling scared I felt anticipation, the desire to see what was actually beyond those walls.
The car pulled up one of the towers built into the wall. I had never really been told what they were for, maybe to let Hunters through. We got out of the car and my mom held my hand as she walked me toward the door in the tower. The door was made of some thick looking metal.
There was a short wait and then a portly looking make in overalls opened the door. He looked at mom and nodded, “Carita, been a while. I thought you retired.”
“I tried Dennis.” She grimaced, “Unfortunately it seems that my daughter has inherited it.”
Dennis looked past my mom and at me for the first time. His face twisted a pained grimaced before he tired my to my mother, “I’m sorry. I won’t want that on any child. However it seems to be more and more common.”
There was a shared moment of sadness between them before the man knelt down and said to me, “Sorry about this. I’m Dennis, pleased to meet you. What is your name.”
“I’m Rika.” I mumbled nervously.
“That’s a nice name. Is this your first time going into the jungle.”
I nodded, “Yes, mom said that she is going to take me hunting.”
“Hunting huh.” He glanced back up at my mom and then back at me. “Well, I’m sure she will take good care of you. However you should still be careful out there. The jungle is a dangerous place where you can easily get killed if you’re not being careful. You are going to make sure to be careful right?”
I nodded, not really certain what to say. My mom placed her hand on my head and said, “Yeah, I’m make sure to take care of you so don’t worry. Besides the forecast should be fairly mild, isn’t that right Dennis?”
He nodded, “Yeah, it has been quiet on this side. Apparently there is some activity near the Northern District but that is far away so there should be nothing unusual to worry about. Still there have been rookie Hunters that have died due to their own carelessness even during otherwise safe situations. The jungle is not to be trifled with.”
I looked up at my mother. “Are we going to be alright?” I was only a little worried. I had though that I would be more scared but somehow to had all be replaced with anticipation. I was far more scared at my own lack of fear then I was about going beyond the wall.
Mom nodded and then turned by to Dennis, “Is everything ready for us to go through?”
“Yes, there is another Hunter patrolling the area. I know it has been a while since you entered the jungle so if you get into any trouble make sure to call out to him if there is any trouble.
My mom chuckled, “I might be rusty but I don’t think I’m that rusty. Still I will keep it in mind.”
We walked through the tower past some stairs leading up to another metal door. This time however we need to pass through two sets of the doors. After we had gone through the first one my mom pulled a couple of knifes out of the backpack and handed one of them to me.
“If we are going to go hunting you will need one of these.”
I didn’t question my mom and just took the knife. It felt unusually heavy in my hand. I felt the strange emotion that the knife was useless and that it would be easier to just hunt with my own hands. Still I held onto the knife. Part of me felt that holding it would drive away those other thoughts.
Then my mom opened up the door into the jungle and we walked into it together.
It was my first hunt. The jungle was fairly similar to the one I was taught about and shown pictures of in school but it felt so much more real to be there in person. They never told me about the sounds and smells that dominated the jungle. However it wasn’t overwhelming, no, it felt just right instead. My mom brought me into the jungle and we did just as she said we would do, we hunted.
Nothing special, just a regular animal, a deer. We had snuck through the forest for hours before we first saw it. My mother pointed it out to me and together we got closer to it. She walked me through it and helped me get close to it. Everything felt so natural like it was what I should be doing.
I killed the deer with the knife that my mother had given me. Its blood covered my hands. The killed rushed over me, I felt that I was in control, like I could do anything. Then there was the tightening of my mother’s hand on my shoulder. “We are not done yet. To be a hunter is to be like an animal. However you must remember to never become a monster. Monsters kill without purpose. Hunters kill with purpose. Remember that.”
And I did. Together we skinned the deer. My mother built a fire and showed me how to cook the animal. I tasted the meat and found it delicious, far better then anything that I had ever had in the city. The night began to fall upon the jungle as we finished cooking the deer. I stared up at the stars in the sky and had a strangest feeling pass over me.
I felt like this was my real home.