Terra woke up to the sound of crunching leaves beneath her skin. Her eyes opened wide, startled as she looked around and saw an unfamiliar forest surrounding her while the dawn sun peeked up from beyond the trees, she was completely naked from head to toe. Her arm went across her chests to quickly cover herself in case someone saw her but nobody was around. Her body was sticky from a slight sweat. As she held herself up, she tried to recall what happened last night - running through her memories of going to the bar with her friends for her 25th birthday. They joked around and got drunk, one by one they left to go home. She remembered being alone for the last hour. Nothing strange happened and nothing memorable happened on her way home. As a matter of fact, she couldn't remember going home. She had started heading out and one last person bought her a drink. it was a woman, a short lanky geeky looking gal with round glasses and a slight southern drawl. She took a sip and the rest...
"Anyone here?" Terra called out nervously. Over and over she kept trying to think past that sip she took in hopes of some rational explanation for what happened. As her mind kept drawing blanks and reality set in, her stomach started to churn, her heart began pounding relentlessly. An ominous feeling washed over her in a chilling wave going down her body - it felt like the world started falling apart under her shaky legs, causing her breaths to quiver and escalate around that hammering in her chest and against her arm. The feeling of utter terror from the realization that a stranger stripped and left her there - that she was vulnerable, naked and helpless and probably wasn't alone. The unwanted explanation for what happened slowly setting in forced her to move anywhere but there in the open.
Without anywhere looking any safer, she started running towards the trees nearest to her away from this wide open and exposed grassy space to the comfort and cover of the forest, sitting between a bush and a tree so that she could stop her head from spinning and wonder where she was and why, what might have happened to her. Despite the lush green scenery she noticed that it was oddly quiet. not a single animal to be seen, not even your usual squirrel or bird in this seemingly endless forest. It didn't help her mind stop racing at all. It all seemed to look the same and there were no mountains or distinct features to be seen beyond the tall redwood trees and dense bushes.
"If this is a joke it's not funny!" she yelled out in an angry tone followed by heavy quivering breaths in desperation that it would all make sense and someone would stop this charade. sweat starting to bead down her now flushed, pink accented, pale skin as the forest became brighter and warmer, making her jet black hair stick to her shoulders. Before she could really even catch her breath, a loud gunshot and the snap of bark breaking from the tree behind her made her heart freeze in terror. Without a moment's hesitation, Terra ran deep and aimlessly into the trees to lose whatever was shooting at her, pushing herself as hard as her body could muster. She ran so fast that she started to trip and fall only to get right back up and run further. there was nothing but trees for minutes that seemed like hours, panting and sweating she kept going but nothing looked any different. After what felt like miles of distance into nowhere, she had to take a break. Her lungs couldn't draw in enough air, her heart was racing and pounding harder than she had ever felt, and legs were covered in cuts from stepping in bushes and tripping. A river caught her eye a little in the distance but the open and uncovered territory seemed so ominous. She couldn't even begin to know who her captors might be, running before she could see them.
She could only hope that lake led to something... anything at all besides more forest. Before she could second guess it She got up and bolted downstream within the forest alongside the lake, keeping track of it as she went. Dawn turned into full daylight she could see something else... There was a tall blue sign among the leaves further in the forest. Finally a sign of life. Having not seen her captors for a while she felt comfortable enough to sprint lightly toward it. Her pale skin was drenched in sweat and her legs and feet covered in cuts. She wanted so badly to scream for help but she kept her mouth shut as she reached the end of trees to find a road, not wanting to be found.
"Thank god" she let out in a quavering sigh of relief. She approached the sign but for some reason there wasn't a building...
If anything the sight was nerve wracking, Why is there a gas station sign with no building? she asked herself.
"Ow" She let out as something hit her side, looking down to see a small metal shaft sticking out from her hip. Her eyes widened in terror but as soon as her legs began to move in attempt to run away she fell flat on her stomach. Her heart's pounding sent the paralytic toxin through her body within seconds. Every muscle inside of her felt useless and weak. She desperately tried to pull herself up but her arms shook beneath her and sent her to the ground. She could hear footsteps behind her but her body was useless to flee. The only muscle in her that worked was the one frantically trying to feed the others and it was slowing too.
"See, that aim's gettin' better, missy" a rough southern woman's voice spoke as the crunching of leaves got closer. A hard boot pushed Terra's immobile body on its back so she could stare up at the rather tall black and sturdy female figure in camouflage.
"Gonna do the honors?" She asked her companion who walked up beside her. A young and wiry woman in a similar set of camos wearing glasses. The girl pulled out a large buck knife which made Terra muster all the strength she could to attempt crawling back.
"What are you doing here, please stop it!" Terra was shocked and terrified as the hood and jackets came off and she saw that unmistakable face, the same she stared at from above her cup last night.
"No. Don't take too much time. that stuff only lasts long enough to gut 'em" The woman seemed to completely ignore Terra, bored and monotone in expression.
"Y'know, there ain't no people within miles of this place. it's all private property" The dark skinned woman said to Terra with a bright and excited smile while she leaned down and her partner gave her the knife. The large knife seemed more fitting in her hands than in her partner's. She had a disarming smile with long black kinky hair that went past her shoulders.
"Please, you don't have to do this, I won't tell anyone I was here if you just let me go!" Terra said in desperation. Her body was getting a little stronger but not nearly enough to escape.
As she moved back the woman grabbed her right arm and pulled it under the fold of her knee then sat on it. The other woman then grabbing her left arm and pinning it beneath her knees.
"Oooh boy, I think I picked out a feisty one! I'm gonna have fun with this'n!"
Terra tried to struggle but to no avail. Her arms pinned with only enough room to swerve her chest around. Her legs barely had the strength to move.
"You're making this too fun, honey."
"Cut it out will ya? Just gut 'er. You gotta start looking for harder ones to chase down or this is gonna get boring real quick." the woman across from her seemed pressed for time and disappointed.
"Why?! Please let..." Terra yelled out before a handkerchief was shoved hard in her mouth by Alice, pushing her head back in the process. The woman seemed completely unaffected by the situation as if Terra wasn't even there.
"Naw, I ain't never hunted like this before; give me a break, Alice. This is my first time and she's a real cutie." The tall black woman smiled down at Terra while her hand ran over her chest. This time her touch was much more gentle than the last. Her hand was heavy and calloused and her arm was thick like that of someone who made a living off of physical labor. The woman seemed to take notice to her pounding heart as if to feel for the motion between her fast heaving breaths, resting her hand heavily over the left side of her chest. Terra wiggled and tried to yell but nothing came out except muffled noises beyond the handkerchief. The woman's hand followed her movements but never left and effortlessly pushed her body flat against the leaves.
"Whatever, just, you know I got a real busy schedule. When you're on your own time you can play with 'em however ya want"
"I know, I know, so this I'm not used to. Help me out here. What's the easy way, miss expert hunter."
"Well first ya wanna tie her up."
The woman laid the heavy blade on Terra's exposed chest before grabbing a length of rope from her belt and tying a knot around her wrist - keeping it pinned under her knee. She then grabbed Terra's other arm, allowing Alice to get up. Finally she pulled Terra's arms together and pinned them down. Her grip was strong and assertive, completely unhindered by Terra's struggling before finishing the other knot.
"You can do her feet if ya want but I think you're good"
Alice then grabbed the knife from her chest.
Two soft fingers pressed against Terra's diaphragm beneath her sternum. She could feel her heart pounding hard against them as they lingered.
"Okay, Jani. ya wanna cut beneath the sternum and down the belly. Once ya got 'er open, you're gonna reach in and feel for a firm tube right below 'er neck, that's 'er trachea. Once ya got it, get your knife in there and cut that open then run your knife along the back of it and pull. Got it? You pull it all out in one go." All during the explanation Terra felt completely helpless. Her head was too tired to look up as the knife danced around her body in the process of explaining what to do before being placed back over her chest.
"Here, let me get you started" Alice let out in a bit of frustration as Jani seemed interested in taking her time. Terra then felt blade's edge pressing into her body, leaving a sharp, searing pain in its trail from beneath her sternum to her navel, making her groan in muffled agony.
"There ya go." Alice let out impatiently. Within seconds the blade had passed by three or so times. Terra couldn't imagine what she might see looking down, and didn't have the strength or desire to lift her head to see what just happened to her body. Her fears reinforced, however, as Alice placed the knife back on her heaving chest - It was warm and it was dripping wet, she could feel the warm liquid pooling on her sternum and running down underneath her right breast.
"Yer a pushy one ain't ya, darlin'" Jani said as she waited a moment and picked up the knife. Terra could feel a sharp pressure below her diaphragm before it suddenly became hard... then impossible to breathe.
"Goddamn, look at it go, Alice. Ain't that amazing?"
Jani pulled upward on Terra's sternum, with her other hand gently running a couple of her fingers over the lively muscle. Her hand filling Terra's chest and exploring the helpless organ within its pericardium. Terra could just barely see Jani's arm tensing and relaxing rhythmically before she pulled it out and held open the split in her diaphragm,
"The only thing amazing is that she's still alive. I'd have thought hypovolemic or neurogenic shock would have had her out by now" Alice ran her fingers over Terra's face, studying her barely conscious expression.
"Here", Alice smiled and slit the pericardium open carefully, then spread open it with her fingers, running her hand beneath the organ to display it for Jani's eyes. By now it was beating slower and more erratically in her cupped fingers as Terra's blood pressure was dropping dramatically.
"That's her heart - I'll have to work on that sedative some more. Until then, I can't do anything until you complete the course, okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, alright"
Terra could suddenly feel a deep and heavy pressure in her chest. Her head stopped throbbing as Alice mercilessly squeezed the life out of the object of Jani's amusement in front of her. Its struggling subsided completely and the poor woman's body fell limp.
"What'd ya do that for?" Jani said as she watched the organ cease to struggle and lie motionless when Alice's hand left it.