Chara(s): A Hunter with some demon blood (OC)
Fandom: Org Fic – Fae Apoc xover
Prompt: Most Dangerous Game
So this. This is a series of stories taking place in my universe, Fae Apoc, at the time just before the aforementioned apoc. Portals are opening up to one other world at that time, and in this story, well, they happen to open up into a whole BUNCH of worlds.
And from those worlds, a bunch of poor soon-to-be-victims-of-bad-things who bear some resemblances to fandom characters happen to slip through some portals. And then bad things happen to them.
Because that, after all, is the name of the Bingo.
Content warnings: violence, death, bondage, capture, drugging, visions.
This is technically Chapter Two because I started writing this before I found the bingo. Chapter One will return later.
The team had found their portal – isolated, comfortable, close enough to a major road for shipping purposes. They had set up their force of former soldiers. They had the cages.
They were expecting to catch just the would-be gods coming through from Elleheim. People would pay good money to have a would-be god on a leash.
But then the portals started spitting out some interesting people. People who didn’t think they were gods. People, as it turned out, from other universes.
The team was fine with that. They’d sell them, too.
Chase had been in the cage for three days and it was beginning to feel like a vacation.
He had done all the banishment rituals he could remember, though that was really his kid brother Dan’s job and, naked like he was, he’d been a little short on ways to draw any sort of warding circle or even a basic sigil. He’d chanted bad Latin until the guards had put a muzzle on him; he’d tried every bar in the cage (twice); he’d tried the wooden floor and ceiling to the thing and found them surprisingly tough. Even with the sometimes-sporadic powers he still wasn’t supposed to have, he couldn’t crack even the wood ceiling.
He’d done everything he was supposed to, so he took the opportunity to rest. The cage was big enough for him to lay down; it came with a pillow and a blanket, and that meant the only thing he had on his plate was trying to convince his captors to take the damn muzzle off so he could be done with a liquid-slurry diet.
Except this time the handlers were coming with the prods, and they weren’t bringing dinner. He stood and moved towards the back of the cage. There were three of them. He could take three of them easy. He’d taken more than that when he landed here, before they knocked him out.
Thing was, was it a smart thing to do? If he cooperated, maybe he’d get more leeway. Maybe they’d take the damn muzzle off. Maybe he’d have an opening to get out of here.
It might be a vacation, but he was starting to miss his kid brother, and, besides, there was shit to do back home.
“Kneel, hands behind your head,” the middle handler told him, sounding bored. Well, they couldn’t have that, could they? Chase grinned at them – tried to; the damn muzzle didn’t give him a lot of expression leeway – and gestured like he couldn’t hear them.
“Last warning, or it gets unpleasant.” Nobody raised their voice at all. The middle handler stepped forward. “Kneel, hands behind your head, or you make the trip on a dolly with a tranq dart so far up your ass the needle’ll be tickling your eyeballs.”
Well, when you put it that way… Chase knelt, his hands behind his head.
“See? I knew you could learn.” The left-hand one stepped in and cuffed Chase’s hands – to the damn wooden collar, of course – while the other two kept their weapons trained on him until he was cuffed, shackled, and then lifted up into the waiting van.
He didn’t exactly have a lot of time to fight back, but he gave it a game try until they zapped him with the cattle prod. By the time he got his head back on straight after that, he was strapped down to some sort of table in the back of a van and the van was moving.
He tried asking questions, but the guards in the back with him either didn’t speak “muffled incoherence” or they weren’t interested in what he had to say. When that got boring, he tested his restraints. Somehow, they were strong enough to hold him.
It didn’t seem fair. He was – well, he had not a damn idea where he was, but he was at least 10% certain that it wasn’t Hell, he’d come through a portal of blinding blue light, and it probably wasn’t a really, really kinky Heaven, either. Which meant he was a long way from home, nobody knew who he was –
– and the unnatural strength he could finally show off was doing him not one damn bit of good. It was like they expected it here.
It was like being Superman around a bunch of other supermen. It totally sucked.
Somewhere in the back of his head, he could hear Danny teasing him. “You’re not Superman, Chase. You’re kinda mediocre, sure. Mediocre-man? I mean, what’s a little bit of demonic strength?”
Of course, Dan had never said anything like that, because he’d never told Dan. If Dan knew he had demonic strength and fortitude, he’d know why, or at least he’d keep asking until he found out, and that would mean he’d know a whole bunch that Chase never wanted him to find out.
The van was still moving. His captors had started playing a game of cards. Chase tried to indicate with gestures that they ought to deal him in. Maybe he could win the keys or something.
They ignored him. He thumped his head back on the table. This was the most boring kidnapping he’d ever been through.
He slept, eventually, he thought. There was nothing else to do, and he’d learned to sleep in worse places than this.
When he woke, he was being unstrapped. Someone was removing the gag. The prods were pointed at him. Everyone was acting like he was a dangerous monster.
Chase looked around. He was between a very tall wall — smooth, ridiculously smooth, like it had been made of glass — and a very dense forest. There was a table five feet away holding all of his gear, everything that he’d come through the portal with.
“Well, guys, I’d like to say it’s been nice, but it’s pretty much sucked.” He waved as the last guard backed up and into the van. “Have fun storming the castle or whatever it is you do when you’re not transporting prisoners…” The van was at the edge of a doorway and it was opening up. He lept up onto the top of the fan and flattened himself against the top. He had a feeling he didn’t want to be in wherever they were leaving him. Not with a wall like glass. Not with a forest looming ominously in front of him. Not without backup, without his car, without Danny, without much in the way of weaponry.
The van backed through the door. Chase was home free. He was all set, he was just going to get to a motel and then figure out where the hell he was.
A force like a giant hand grabbed him and dragged him back through the doorway, threw him to the ground and pinned him there, facing the door so he could watch it close and then vanish.
“That’s cheating,” tutted a voice. “No, I have fun planned for you, and you can’t get away yet. On the other side of this preserve is a cabin. If you can get there alive, you will have one day’s respite. If you can get there alive five times, I will give you five million dollars and set you free.”
“Do you have your pinky finger up to your mouth when you’re saying that? I mean, I can’t see you, but it sounds like a super-villain sort of thing to say.”
The pressure lifted off of Chase’s back. “You strike me as a clever man. So I will tell you this. In exactly half an hour, people with guns will begin hunting you. They will not stop until are dead, captured, or reach the cabin. And if you are captured, you will not enjoy the time until you are released to run again.”
The disembodied voice was coldly matter-of-fact. Chase didn’t doubt them.
“Half an hour? Okay, so what happens if I kill them?” He stood up. His gear was all right there. He wondered if it was trapped.
“If you kill them, you keep the equipment that they are carrying. Anything you can stomach picking up. If you down them and can plunder their equipment, the same is true. I don’t need to waste needless employees just so you can have a better gun.”
“Employees, hunh?” He slid on his jeans, socks, boots. The last thing he wanted was to step on the wrong thing out there. It was loads hotter than Montana had been, so he tied the flannel around his waist and stuck to the undershirt. “What, you’re not coming after me yourself?”
Three knives, a gun – the bullets were still in it – a compass, his wallet, including fake credit cards, and his phone. The phone, unsurprisingly, got no signal. He pocketed it anyway.
“I do have to see if you’re any good. If you die on the first round, clearly you weren’t worth the effort.”
“Good to know you care. So.” He checked his compass. “Somewhere on the other side of this thing there’s a cabin?”
“That there is. Can you get to it?”
“I think the question’s gonna be – can your ‘employees?’” Chase took off. For the first time since he’d been grabbed, someone was asking him to do something he was good at.
The forest was dense, but there were trails through it. Chase didn’t take them. Woodcraft was easy. Being hunted by humans – or, considering what he’d seen since coming here, at least sentient living beings on two legs – was easy. The real trick was going to be doing what he wanted to do without using the gun.
Knives were hard to sabotage. Guns were easy. The gun could have been put in there as a trap. So he planned to keep it where it was, holstered, as long as possible.
And he planned on keeping him where he was as long as possible, too. He’d left just enough trail to be tantalizing but not enough to be certain. He was perched in a way that he was certain that nobody from the ground could see him, and he’d made the trail go on just a little bit further.
He heard the laughter before he saw them. Three men in paramilitary gear, guns at the ready, were stalking, tracking him and joking about the easy ones. He tossed a nut with accuracy he had used to brain demons and, instead, just made a little rustle in the bushes ahead.
One of the men rushed ahead. Damnit. One-one-one was a lot better when the other ones were using firearms (or magic. Magic was always a possibility). But he had to use the window of opportunity he had.
He dropped down behind one of the two, dropping a vine garrote around the man’s neck and pulling it tight.
The next few seconds were hectic. One gun went off. Both men went down. He kicked the second one in the head and scooped up his gun just in time to get out of sight as the third man came barreling back. The first man wasn’t dead, but he was out. The second one, he wasn’t sure. Depended on how good the armor was. This third one – Chase stepped out and hit him in the face with the stock of the rifle.
He had to hit him three times, but the man went down.
Chase wasted no time stripping all three of them down. They were all carrying zipties, so restraining them wasn’t hard. Throwing their radios as far as he could in three different directions might slow them down a little bit.
He slid on as much gear as he needed – the armor, the weapons – slapped a bandage on the one that was bleeding, and tied everything else up in a neat package. Then he took to the forest again.
This time, he left no trail at all and moved silently. There might be more hunters out there. The whole “cabin at the other side of the woods” might be a lie. There might be automatic machine guns set up like a sprinkler system; he’d seen that once. The place was probably haunted and might be tainted by all sorts of other shit, too. If this guy was using the place as his own personal hunting grounds, well, it was seeped in blood magic at the very least.
He walked for an hour, checking the compass to be sure he was going a relatively consistent East-north-East with just enough variation to throw off trackers, and found five traps, two of them quite clever, two hidden caches of supplies – both locked, but what was a lock to him? He made sure to leave them locked again when he left – and one little pond that looked really tempting, if there weren’t people following him with guns.
He ran into the wall at about an hour – his phone was refusing to even give him the time of day, literally, but if he hadn’t been able to tell the time from the sun by the age of eleven, his father might have left him in the woods to find his own way home, so that was only a minor setback – and considered his location. He didn’t have anything to draw a map on, but he had clearly gone as far East – North- East as he could.
Unless he tried climbing the wall? It looked like glass, sure, but nothing was that smooth. He put a hand on it, trying to get a feel for its texture.
“Uh-uh-uh.” The scolding voice boomed from all around him. “None of that. If you somehow manage to get over the wall, you will be shot dead. If you manage to survive that, you will just be put back in here. With gunshot wounds still bleeding.”
Chase was already running. If the voice knew he had touched the wall – if it wasn’t just a recorded message – then they’d be coming for him immediately, if not sooner. He needed distance. That first team had not been messing around.
He almost didn’t see the bear trap in the way – straight in the line of someone running away from the wall, wasn’t that nice? They sure were considerate here. And in side-stepping it, he got caught by a sort of falling-blade trap.
“Fuck!” he muttered. He had to get away from here, but he had to stop the bleeding or he might as well draw the stupid fuckers a map. He looked at the wound – high on his thigh and not as deep as it could have been, but still bleeding freely.
He had the med kits he’d stolen from the first batch of soldiers. He moved thirty feet off the path and cleaned himself up quickly, then darted back to clean off the blade. People could do things with your blood, and while he didn’t know what these people could do, he didn’t want to risk being summoned by the faint demonic taint in his blood into a killing circle.
Not that it would’ve been the first time or anything, but it was never any fun.
He moved fast, cleaning up any blood he could find with a stolen t-shirt, but there were still footsteps far too close by the time he’d finished. He hid instead of trying to run, realizing as he settled into a painful crouch that he was right behind the blade trap.
Well, that’s convenient. He triggered the trap just as another set of three guards walked into its range. The second one he hit with the stock of his rifle and then he was wrestling the gun away from the third one.
He had a second to realize that this gun, at least, was a dart gun, and then he laid a dart into each of the three of them.
They fell like they’d been hit with elephant tranqs. Then it was time to strip them down, tie them up, and load up their gear.
At this rate, he was going to make a tent out their pants. Or their shirts, or possibly both.
Speaking of tents, he had no idea if they were going to stop for the night, which meant no camping out. He checked his compass and started going.
The first direction had led him into a wall. The second direction was going to, presumably, lead him to a wall again. He picked south west and moved slowly but surely. He’d had a good amount of time before the second team came on him; he knew he couldn’t touch the wall again now.
He kept the tranq gun and two of the normal guns and tossed the rest before he’d gotten too far. Even that much was a risk; it was possible they had trackers in their guns. But he wanted to be armed. Besides, they made better bludgeoning sticks than his pistol, and he didn’t care if he ruined theirs.
He’d been walking – ignoring the pain in his leg, wishing he dared to take a little time to sit, rest, and clean it properly – for about half an hour when he found the skeleton. It was upside-down in a rope trap, wearing the paramilitary gear that those tracking him had been wearing, and it had been there for quite a while.
He wondered if he’d sentenced six men to slow death by dehydration. He figured he might loop back on the second hunt, see how they were doing. If this asshole left his own men to dangle to death, there was no trusting he’d keep his word to Chase. To someone he’d bought.
Chase touched the collar still around his neck. He was going to die with people here thinking he was a slave if he didn’t do something about it.
He didn’t have time for that shit right now. He stripped the body of only the things he thought he could use and moved on, making two false trails in case they knew already what the body was wearing.
An hour later, he reached the wall again. He climbed a tree just out of line-of-sigh of the gleaming glass edifice and began to do some touch-up first aid on himself.
The wound stung like hell when he cleaned it, but it was shallow, the sort that would seal in a day with his current state of affairs. The trick was not getting anything too awful in the wound until then.
He snorted. Trick. A nice big bandage did most of the work, and then he wrapped an ace bandage over that.
He was getting his pants – well, someone else’s pants – back on when he saw the flare. It was from, he figured, about where he’d left the first of his attackers.
That was either a good sign or a bad sign. He stretched out, rolled his head, and let himself test the small field rations one of his attackers had been carrying. Just a square inch of the bar and a sip of the water, that way it probably wouldn’t kill him.
He slipped down the tree, landing with a very faint thud, and started moving. He had the wall in sight now, that was – he subvocalized a curse and side-stepped just in time to miss a pit trap.
So that’s how it is, mmm? He stepped around it more carefully, his eyes peeled, his ears tingling with the need to hear his pursuers. He found himself sniffing the air.
Blood. His nose told him that before his ears or his eyes found anything. This time, he ducked, just before several blades that seemed to be made out of ice and light swung down into the space he’d been in. As he went to stand back up, they swung back, and he barely missed being hit. The third swing, he could swear they were aiming at him. He dropped to the ground and rolled to one side, managing to get out of their reach.
As he got back to his feet, he heard a footstep. It was maybe twenty feet away, but that was far too close.
The footstep was followed by a murmur and a hssst from two close locations. Chase didn’t have time to get into a tree. He shifted behind a tree instead and brought his hunting knife to hand.
Now that he was concentrating, he could smell them coming over the smell of the blood on the trap blades. Those blades had stopped moving, damnit. It was too much, he supposed, to be able to turn a trap like that against the enemy twice in a row.
These guys moved very quietly, very professionally. If it hadn’t been that one twig-snap at exactly the right moment, they might have come up on him unaware.
As it was, he barely managed to surprise the first one and caught a bullet-graze to the outside of his arm while he was wrestling that guy into submission. He didn’t mean to cut the jugular- way too much blood, blood everywhere, and he was trying not to kill them – but the guy dodged in exactly the wrong way.
What’s more, once the blood was spurting, then the other two started attacking him a lot more intensely. He’d stopped being a game; now he was an enemy.
He probably would be dead already if he didn’t have his extras. He wondered if the other people they’d sent through here had those extras, had his training.
He didn’t have time to wonder about that right now. He skidded between one attacker’s legs, hamstringing him on the way, and came up behind the other one, managing to bash him on the head with the butt of his knife.
The damn bastards didn’t go down. He slapped a gun barrel out of the way just in time, burning his hand – how many rounds had they fired? His ears were ringing and the whole damn island had to know that they were here already – punched the asshole in the face with his off hand, and kicked the other one with a mule-kick that he really shouldn’t have been able to to do.
Several seconds later, as far as he could tell, all three were down and only the one was dead. He threw their radios, zip-tied their hands and feet, and bandaged one nasty wound as quickly as he could, stole their med kits and rushed off.
Twenty minutes later, he climbed up in a tree and let himself rest. He’d gotten a bit turned around, and that was just stupid. He’d been moving fast and he was pretty sure he’d gotten hit with some sort of dart, but he’d brushed it off.
His head was swimming. That was not a good thing. The dart? Drugging your opponent seemed like a cheap way to hunt someone; then again, sending your minions in wave after wave was pretty shitty too. He climbed up a little further, but the exertion was making him feel sick and the last thing he wanted to do was leave a pile of puke for people to track him with.
He was not going to be able to fight, much less move silently and tracklessly, until his head cleared. Chase pinched himself hard and took the moment of clarity and three of the stolen belts to tie himself to the tree trunk.
His vision faded. He pressed his spine against the trunk, made sure his gun was in his hand, and hoped he had enough time.
He was standing in a dead place, in a Circle drawn in glowing blue ink. There was nothing to see in any direction, nothing but the circle.
The broken circle. He stepped out,. feeling nothing but a faint tingle.
Ah, there you are.
The Voice was bodiless, locationless, echoing and genderless.
“Here I am,” he shouted back. “You want to come get me?”
That bad, hrmm? I am afraid that you’re on your own. Hurry back; it’s boring here without you.
“Doing my damnedest. I could use a hint or two, though. This place is nuts.”
You want a hint? Wake up and shoot.
“Wake up and— what?”
How are you still alive when you are this stupid?
A feeling like a massive shoving hand pushed Chase backwards.
He woke with a full-body twitch and slipped sideways, only his makeshift harness keeping him in the tree.
He swallowed and shifted, but there was already someone on the ground looking up at him.
This guy was wearing – was that a suit? Something like it, at least, light colors and a pith helmet. And he had swung his rifle up to aim at Chase.
Wake up and shoot.
Chase swung his pistol around and shot.
The rifle went flying to the side, one finger still attached. Chase slashed the belts off of himself and stood up.
“I don’t want to kill you,” he told the man, whose finger was, disturbingly, regrowing as the man chanted a few words at it. “But I care more about not dying.”
“You’ve been giving us a merry chase. The darts caught you, I take it?”
“You’re awfully chatty for someone trying to kill me.” The finger was almost all the way back. That was a nifty trick, but it meant he was going to have to be careful where he shot from now on.
“Trying? No. I am going to kill you. The question is simply how long it takes and how entertaining you make it.”
“You remind me of a devil I once knew.” Chase shifted position in the tree while the man finished fixing his finger. “He was a real sadistic asshole, too.”
“You know, I was going to give you a few minutes’ head start again, but considering what you’ve done to my soldiers-”
“Hey!” Chase wasn’t enough of a moron to not grab the hint in that. He yanked a pair of pants from his bag and tossed them over a tree branch, as far away from the asshole with the weird finger as he thought he could jump. But he couldn’t help but protest, just before he made that jump, “I only killed one, and only because he wiggled.”
“Yes, and I’m sure the rest of them appreciate the humiliating defeat that you handed them.”
Chase was already jumping, sliding down the branch, skidding towards another tree. The trick would be to move silently enough to not be tracked by sound, fast enough to be out of eyesight, and all of that while still not setting off any traps.
Easy as pie. Which he could really go for right now.
The bullet missed him by a fraction of an inch and galvanized him into moving faster. Some people got powers that let them see around corners or behind their backs. Some people could turn invisible or go all chameleon with a tree. But nooo, all he got was – well this mess of strength and durability.
Which, he had to admit, definitely had its uses. For one, he was pretty sure he’d run through that drug faster than he was supposed to have.
For another, his leg was killing him, but he could still run on it. And do shit like this – he grabbed a branch and swung up into another tree, ran along the branches in a way that would probably drive him nuts if he thought about it too hard, and swung back down soundlessly.
Now he was really moving, and he hated to admit it, but it felt good. He was going to get enough distance to make the asshole think he was really running – he jumped over a tripline, avoided the pit trap just beyond it, and then almost didn’t avoid the darts that came after it – and then up into another tree, there he was, and he could see the wall again.
He had a depressingly short time to wait – maybe fifteen minutes, which was pretty good for the amount of lead he hadn’t had, but he was supposed to be better than this. Then the hunter was stalking carefully into view, looking all around himself, checking out the remains of the dart trap and laughing.
It wasn’t a nice laugh. Chase had heard any number of laughs, some of them lovely, some of them awful. This sounded like the sort that you’d hear while someone was hamstringing you for fun.
Chase put a bullet in the asshole’s right shoulder just to slow him down and jumped to another tree while the guy was still reeling.
He landed in time to hear a series of nonsense words and see the shoulder wound start to close up.
He hit the guy three more times — non-fatal targets, and he really ought to stop dicking around and kill the asshole before more of his minions showed up — and watched him start to heal from yet another vantage point.
The next shot went high on the thigh; from the spurt of blood, he’d hit the artery. Chase jumped down from the tree and bashed the guy across the throat.
The asshole was smiling. “Quite… impressive,” he croaked. “But if you kill me, my people will never stop hunting you.”
Chase grinned. He kicked the guy in the throat again, scooped up an dart he’d salvaged, and jammed it in the asshole’s leg. “Bring it. I need a new belt.”