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This chapter was written by the brilliant SallyMason1


Abby trudged down the sidewalk of the empty street, eager to get home. As she passed under an open window, she could hear one of the occupants shout "Go, sixty-four! I can't believe the motherfucker is still alive!"

Abby's eye roll was automatic. What people didn't realise was that viewers like him fuelled the hunt. Without them, advertising would plummet and the whole show would be cancelled. Sure, the Addingtons and their hunting buddies were also a big part of it, their bounty a source of funding, but without the damn advertising, the whole thing would lose its attraction.

For a second, her heart soared, and her fingernails dug deep into her skin to prevent her from screaming. Eyes filled with fear and pain had been the last thing she remembered of her father. The dark stain in his pants that grew as his bladder gave up the moment the bang split the airwaves. Laughter and scorn of the TV commentator when the camera zoomed in on this last moment of embarrassment, before even flashing to her dad's face. A bullet had torn a crater where his lips had once curled to a soft smile and had formed words like "I love you". Those lips that had kissed her forehead when she had been scared at night and cried for a mother she had never known. Lips that could blow comfort on any scrape and make the pain disappear.

Swallowing down tears, Abby continued her journey along the sidewalk. The tears were still just a lump in her throat, but the threat that they might spill was imminent. In her darkest hour, she had reached out to Sampson, the ex who had sworn to her father he would take care of her before her dad had so recklessly agreed to sign-up as a contestant. The boyfriend who had no clue what to do when the inevitable happened. He had abandoned her when he couldn't cope with her grief. Jerk extraordinaire. Abby was glad she got rid of him.

Rounding another street corner and she stood right in front of the building she called home. Her apartment was smaller than the one her father had rented, but the neighbourhood was just as shitty after Abby refused to touch a penny of the prize money. It was still in her bank account, waiting for the day when it could be used to destroy the Hunt. This had become her secret life mission. End a barbaric game that was entertaining for everyone but the prey and their loved ones who were left powerless to stop them from being slaughtered.

With a huff, Abby unlocked the heavy door, pushing it open with yet another huff. As she clomped up the steps, she heard the TV running behind several doors. The Hunt had to be gripping today since as it seemed that even more people watched than usual. That or everyone was itching to find out how young Marcus Addington would do on his first hunt. The teaser trailers over the last few days had been filled with snippets of his childhood, all leading up to the big day. Abby had to admit he was cute, if one liked that type of killer glare in a guy. Of course, he was way too young for her, but the student nurses at the hospital all swooned over him.

Just as she was about to stick the key in the lock, the door to her apartment opened. Nick's finger covered his lips in warning before she even got a chance to say hello. His eyes signalled to the stairwell behind her and she turned on her heel, tracing back the steps she came. He followed her. Out on the street, his arm flung around her shoulders. They could pass as any other couple who were out for an afternoon stroll.

His eyes moved from one CCTV to the next as they walked along the streets. Abby knew that he was able to recall the location of every camera in the city. Installing and maintaining them was his job.

The drones were different. Everyone knew they were there at times, but no one could ever be certain when they were launched and who controlled them... or what they were trying to see. Most of the time, they were so well hidden that they were near invisible, though sometimes, Abby couldn't shake the feeling that they were always around her. It was silly, of course. No one would go through the trouble of spying on her. Her life was by far not interesting enough.

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