Everyone knew it was both a blessing and a curse to be a male student at Deb U. On the one hand, you had all those girls and only a few guys. On the other hand… all those lousy girls and only a few guys to deal with them. You couldn’t exactly pawn off a bad date on a friend, because the friend was likely trying to weasel out of his own bad date.
So while the hunters sometimes split up in order to lower the guy-to-girl ratio, they also sometimes hunkered down together to fend off the women when their demands got a little too bizarre. Lately it had been nothing but hunker-down days, because the girls had decided their chances were even better with so many members of the competition--er, student body--already dead and removed from the playing field. They also assumed that the guys would, at this point, be so happy for any female companionship, that they’d do anything the girls asked of them. That might be true, if they were asked to give massages or use the whips or something along those lines. But these guys drew the line at doing laundry and washing dishes and changing lightbulbs. That was just plain dirty pool.
But now, being all alone, they were in the school kitchen looking for something, anything, to eat.
“Where’s the peanut butter?” asked ShouLao, rummaging through the cabinets.
“Don’t you know how to make anything but PB&Js,” complained KhanMan.
“I don’t see you volunteering to whip up any gourmet dishes,” said Nyghtcaster.
“Hey, all I know how to do is Ramen and hot dogs,” countered KhanMan.
“Ha. I can do that AND macaroni and cheese,” PtheticLosr boasted.
“If only Innocent were here, she could make us something really good,” said Heraclid wistfully.
“Sorry, but your tootsie has already kicked the bucket,” said Darksayn.
“Found it.” ShouLao rummaged through and found the jar of Jif. “My arms are sore from all this work. Those girls should have made us some sandwiches before they kicked off.”
“Yeah, don’t they know their duties,” Heraclid said. “It’s just not right. Nobody behaves any more.”
“If we wanted good behavior, we wouldn’t be here,” Darksayn pointed out.
“This is true,” said PL. “I kind of like the sadism and twistedness. It suits me.”
“Go figure,” snickered Nyghtcaster. PL scowled at him menacingly.
“Yeah, some days it just sucks to be a man,” said Shoulao loftily. Then they felt a yank and blinked their eyes, and discovered they were all now standing naked along a white line on a dirt road.
“Whoa! Not cool!” KhanMan crouched a little, trying to cover himself.
“Yeah, no kidding. These rocks really hurt my feet,” said PL.
“Not the rocks, dummy!”
rocks, anyway,” ShouLao muttered.
“I don’t like this,” whimpered Heraclid. “I want Innocent.”
“Too late now,” said Nyghtcaster. “We’re cooked.”
“Do you hear that?” said Darksayn. “It sounds like growling.” They all turned to see a very large, very angry black bear in a cage some distance behind them.
“It must have to do with the sharp stick and the bear thing,” said PL. “I knew that was unwise.”
“Besides the bear, this is actually rather historically accurate,” noted ShouLao. “In ancient Olympics, they had a marathon race in which the contestants wore no loincloths.”
The bear roared and kicked down the door on his cage. The hunters answered with a yelp and took off down the path. Some ran as fast as they could, but the normal running form left their bits flopping round, which was decidedly uncomfortable. Some held themselves as they ran, but that inhibited their speed a great deal.
The bear caught up with Darksayn, who was holding himself and running slowly. He was caught up in the animal’s mouth, his skull crushed in those powerful jaws. The bear spit him out and continued on.
Seeing the last hunter’s fate, Nyghtcaster tried to compromise and contained himself with only one hand as he ran. It threw him off balance, however, and he stumbled. That fragment of time lost was all the bear needed to catch him and sink its teeth into his neck. Once again the bear left a body on the road and lumbered on toward the other race contestants.
“This is ridiculous,” said Heraclid, and released himself to full-on sprint away. This, however, had a catastrophic result he didn’t expect; the intense and sharp pain he experienced from the mobility of his nether region caused him to trip, and while he was too far for the bear, it was unnecessary; he did his own self in by stepping on his bits on the way down. [Insert gruesome, terrifying footage here. Rated NC-17. View images later on at rotten.com.]
The others had not witnessed the details of Heraclid’s demise, fortunately, for if they had, they would have winced in sympathy, been unable to run and instantly caught and devoured by the bear. KhanMan jogged by the side of the road and grabbed a stick. “What the hell,” he muttered, and jabbed it at the fast-approaching bear. The bear seemed to get extremely irate at this gesture, and with a deafening roar, leapt upon KhanMan, took the stick in its mouth, and skewered the hunter with it. The bear snorted in a satisfied manner and took off after the last two to regain the ground he had lost.
ShouLao, in a fit of desperation, left the road and took off through the woods, not happening to think that this was the bear’s home turf and it would be much more difficult to navigate the terrain than it would be for the bear to catch him. He managed to shinny up a tree, getting several scrapes and scratches on the way, some in very delicate places, and he was literally in tears as he perched on a branch, hoping the foliage would hide him.
The leaves were indeed remarkably full for autumn, and they hid him quite nicely from view. They did not, however, effectively muffle the sound of his sobbing as he pulled a splinter from his groin. The bear, being male, knew that sound anywhere, and while he might sympathize, he had a job to do. The bear rammed the tree with his head and body until ShouLao fell like a piece of candy out of a pinata, and right into the bear’s mouth.
Meanwhile, PtheticLosr was in high spirits. The last hunter and the bear had both disappeared from view, and he felt he was home free. “Yes!” he cheered. “I made it! Ow.” In his celebration he had danced around and plunged his foot onto a particularly sharp rock. He hopped on the other foot and fell off the road and into a tree, jarring a beehive from one of the branches. A swarm of really pissed-off bees poured out and flooded his system with the toxins in their stingers. PL’s body swelled; his eyes puffed shut, and his airways were blocked in minutes. Whether he died from the poison or of asphyxiation was unclear and also irrelevant. The fact remained that he was dead.
At the end of the road, the bear sniffed the air. He let out a moaning growl that summoned many other bears to him. Soon there were probably thirty or more bears like him all gathered there, and they seemed to be waiting for something.
A small box rolled into view, pushed on wheels by an unseen hand. The bears looked at the cage for a moment, absolutely silent, their furry ears twitching. They looked just beyond the cage as though seeing something that weren’t there, and as though listening to something that no one else could hear. Inside the box, Quietfire was scrunched up in a ball, for that was all the cage allowed.
“You can’t scare me,” he said defiantly to the beasts through the grate lid. “I’ve been killed gazillions of times before. Go ahead, maul me! Pain is my middle name!”
However, not one of the bears made a sound. One of them jumped up on top of the cage, turned around, and emptied his bowels into the cage. Quietfire hollered. This he did not expect. One by one, all of the bears followed suit, covering the fellow in warm bear manure. His efforts to breathe only made it worse. The brown goo filled his nostrils, his throat, his lungs. He eventually suffocated.