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Dangerous Game

By Weezie24

Horror / Action

Sign of Life

The small particles of the pollen and dust floating in the air shimmered in the rays of sunlight streaming down through the canopy of green tree leaves high above Sam's head as she walked quietly through the woods. It was a beautiful day, and she hadn't seen a single zombie for miles. For the moment, life was good. She was surrounded by the beauty of nature instead of the ugliness of the aftermath of the epidemic that she had seen back in New Orleans, and nothing was trying to bite her face off. It didn't get much better than this. Sam froze in her tracks when she heard something moving in the brush just to her left up ahead. She smiled when she saw what it was—a gorgeous whitetail doe.

Correction: apparently, life could get better.

Carefully and silently, Sam raised her bow and drew it back to its full extent, holding her position as she watched the deer and patiently waited for it to step out of the bushes and give her a clearer shot, following it with the tip of her arrow. The moment it presented itself, she let it fly.

THNK. THNK.

"Huh?" She thought out loud, puzzled to see a second arrow embedded in the deer's hindquarters. She immediately whipped her head around, searching for the other hunter. It felt like ages since she had seen another living human being. In that split second when her dark-brown eyes met his blue-greys, she noted that he seemed to be almost just as surprised to see him as he was to see her. They had both been so focused on stalking the deer, that they hadn't even noticed the other's presence. And then they realized their prey was getting away.

"Shit! Back off. That's my deer, bitch." Daryl hissed at the petite brunette as they took off after the bolting deer. He'd been tracking this doe for miles, like hell he was gonna let someone else take it. He was surprised she could even keep up with him considering she looked like she weighed about a buck-fifty, wet, and she had a bulging backpack weighing her down. And she was stealthy, he'd give her that. Not many people could sneak up on him like that.

"Don't call me a bitch, bitch!" She snapped defensively, hot on his trail. It figures that the first person she meets in weeks would turn out to be an asshole. "Come on, man. There's plenty enough to go around. Don't tell me you plan on eating a whole deer by yourself." Even she wasn't that gluttonous. Sam had been planning on turning her own left overs into venison jerky so it wouldn't go to waste.

"It ain't just for me. There's a whole camp of people waitin' for me to bring home the bacon." Daryl retorted. "You gonna steal food from the mouths of women and children?" He asked, hoping a guilt trip might make her back off. He'd never beaten a woman before, but there was a first time for everything. This chick was seriously starting to get on his nerves. She already had a rabbit hanging from her pack. She didn't need no deer too.

"There's more of you?" Sam asked, raising an eyebrow. If he was telling the truth about there being women and children, then it couldn't be too bad, could it? After what almost happened in Mississippi, she'd definitely feel safer trying to join a mixed group like that than if there were just men. She didn't mind being on her own for extended periods of time, but it was getting harder to survive on her own with more and more zombies showing up outside of major cities and towns. She used to be able to walk for days without seeing a single one as long as she kept to the wilderness and off the main roads, but she had encountered three in the last four days alone. She was packing heat, but Sam knew she'd be in serious trouble if she encountered a whole pack of them without any backup. One person could only do so much. "Tell you what, if you take me back to your camp with you, you can have the deer."

"You can't let me have what's already mine to begin with." Daryl told her, furrowing his brow in annoyance. "… But I guess I can take ya there, if you throw in that rabbit." He relented after a moment. She was annoying as hell, but maybe the others wouldn't bug him as much if there was another hunter around.

"Thanks." Sam said, smiling wryly.

"The deer's already headed that direction anyway." He grumbled. "Now hurry up—it's gettin' away."

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