Chapter 1 The Hunt

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Welcome back! In case you missed the description, this is a sequel to Survival so make sure you've read that one before jumping in, else you'll lose out on the fun of figuring out the plot twists on your own. Don't worry, this one won't skimp on the twists either :)

Votes make me smile and comments help me connect with my awesome dedicated readers. I love hearing from you so if you have a minute, share your thoughts after the chapters :) Also taking song recommendations to compile a soundtrack for the story.


Marcel took a deep breath and moved toward the small brown mass of feathers. Its chest moved up and down like the rocking of a boat in a thunderstorm. It stared off into the distance, oblivious to its less than stealthy onlookers. Probably too accustomed to the lack of human predators as of lately.

Be light on your feet, Marcel. That is the difference between eating and starving, between being caught and killed and staying and alive.

A loud crash from behind him interrupted his father's words. Young Winston kneeled on the ground with his equipment splayed in all directions. The boy dusted off his palms and knees.

"I tripped," he said when he noticed two sets of eyes on him.

The duck, whose unwavering patience had lasted until that moment, took off in a flurry of branches and feathers. Marcel was hoping to get back to the community soon, but there was plenty of game to be had out in this forest. Gunnar's daily hauls were proof enough and the other members were all too happy to see non-aquatic meat re-enter their diets. The newcomer teen's effort received much praise.

"It is fine, son. We will find another." Marcel placed a hand on the boy's shoulder to reassure him. "Tie up your shoes and we can get started."

Winston's hands made quick work of the dirt-crusted nylon. The lanky teen, Gunnar, sighed and ran his hands up and down the bow he'd fashioned soon after his arrival at Nouveau Depart community weeks ago. Marcel believed the young man would do well contributing to the community if he could just learn how to be supportive and interact with the others like he did with his new found friend Vita. With all the chaos in her life, Marcel wasn't sure the young man's attention was good for her.

"Why don'cha take him down to the river to fish? It'd be easier for the kid," Gunnar said. His blue eyes returned to the trees to comb for more prey.

Marcel lowered his voice. "In time, the river is too far and the path too dangerous. You surely must know this."

Gunnar shook his head, causing long strands of greasy blonde hair to fall into his line of vision. He immediately corrected the disadvantage. "If ya shelter him from this world, he'll never learn to live in it."

"If I showed him the whole world at one, he would be as cynical as you. You would not want to be replaced, would you?" Marcel added a smile as the young man often missed the teasing tones.

Gunnar grimaced and took off into the bushes. Their head scavenger, Reggie, treated the boy like a prodigy. However, Marcel could see what lurked underneath: a deeply troubled and volatile soul, unable to find his place. If unchecked, the teen would have no trouble working on any side as a transient. He was not one to respond to kindness and inclusion either; Marcel could tell those had been tainted in his life long ago.

"Why is Gunnar upset?" Winston asked in a soft voice.

Marcel kneeled down to be at the boy's level. "He is just getting used to being part of a team. He will have more birds for us to practice with soon. You remember what we have learned, yes?"

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