The Hunter and the Hunted

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Chapter 1

Into the Maw

The only conversation that punctuated the room was the clack of large-caliber rounds being racked into rifle chambers. The room smelled of sour lubricant, the faint aura of gun smoke and a sharp sting of steel.

No one spoke; they were all too nervous about the upcoming hunt. Every one of the seven Hunters in the armory were among the bravest humans in recorded history. It was one thing for one human to stand up against another, or some other Earth-native creature. But it was another thing entirely to go toe-to-toe with a monster that could only be described as nightmarish.

And their nerves were perfectly justifiable. Every soldier in history had felt pre-mission jitters.

But this was different. Never before had they hunted a Kalkara. The lead Hunter, Mallik, had almost decided against this hunt. He knew that he could very well lose most, if not all, of the strike team.

But a Kalkara presented too much of a threat to ignore. He knew very well that if the Kalkara struck first, there was a high probability that they would all die.

So Mallik asked for volunteers. He refused to order seven young men and women to their almost certain deaths. Every single one of the Hunters had volunteered. It was as much out of the glory of killing the most fierce monster anyone had ever seen as it was out of valor and the virtue of defending those who couldn't defend themselves that all Hunters were born with.

Hunters weren't trained. They were chosen for their limitless courage, valor, skill sets, and, more often than not, morbid as it may be, lack of family or people that they are attached to.

The seven Hunters finished readying their weapons, armor and auxiliary equipment. Each carried a high-powered rifle, a large-caliber sidearm and another, smaller pistol. Despite its appearance, the pistol still packed a helluva punch.

The armor that they wore was made of an extremely dense material that offered high resistance to slashing and other sharp impacts, as opposed to bullets and shrapnel.

The armor on their forearm was strong enough to withstand the same bite-force as a grizzly bear.

But a Kalkara wasn't a grizzly bear. They were so much more horrific.

"Alright, we're rolling," Alice, the senior Hunter said, securing her visor over her face. She shouldered her rifle, turned and stormed out the open door, heading straight for the one place no sane person would ever set foot, much less rush headlong into: the forest where the Kalkara had made its lair.

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