Lurking in the Forest

Started by Vincent Matthews at May 30, 2020 11:04 am
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59 Posts

Vincent Matthews

Vince, Vin, Vinny
36 Posts

Slander is worse than cannibalism.


Vince had packed his bag, gathered his tools and made sure he was wearing sensible shoes before setting out into the forest. He held on to the strap of his bag with one hand and clutched to his crossbow with the other. He stepped cautiously, lightly, much like a deer would (only a lot less gracefully), keeping his head on a swivel. He didn't want anything to sneak up on him, not that it could. His hearing wasn't spectacular or anything, he'd just learned over the years what to listen out for. He paused for a moment next to a familiar oak tree and ran his fingers over the carving he'd laid in a few years before. It was a few nonsensical marks to the untrained eye, but for Vince it was a way for him to know how far he was from Bosler, and which direction he was travelling in. Useful in the day but completely the opposite at night. In the dark hours he relied on other means of telling direction than scratches on tree trunks.

After walking for a good hour - the further away you were from camp, the more likely you would find a deer - he decided to take a break. He dropped his bag and rested his crossbow beside it before unscrewing the cap of his canteen and taking a drink. He looked around as well as he could while he drank, and froze when he spotted a stag. It hadn't noticed him, and was gently picking it's way through the undergrowth, occasionally stopping to inspect some grass or a nearby bush. Vince carefully leaned forwards and set his canteen down as he gripped his crossbow and straightened up, taking a bolt from the holster on his belt. He didn't take his eyes off of the stag as he set the bolt, raising the crossbow to aim.


Bryce Gavagan

28 Posts

Back from the dead to tell you that I'm alive. Killed the old way but I survived.


In all honesty, Bryce had precisely zero ideas on how he'd gotten so far away from Bosler over the course of the night. Usually, he was one of the Avarus that stayed close to home, drawn in by the easy meal left quite literally on the Nest's doorstep. Last night, however, he'd gone off chasing some... He wasn't even sure what it had been now, but he knew it was on the smaller side, and it was scared. The bloody smear across his hands and face, and bones scattered about when he woke up didn't give up any clues either. He tried not to think about what the creature might've been, praying that it wasn't somebody's pet, and busied himself with washing the blood off in a nearby puddle before trying to make his way back home.

Even this far out in the wastes, hunters and scavengers had marked the trees with blazes, and he was just familiar enough with a few of them to point him in the right direction. Admittedly, he was a little too careless as he crashed his way through the bush, but the thought of getting home and getting out of his wet, mud-streaked clothes was the only thing he could focus on. Just as he came along the top of a small hill, movement below caught his attention. A stage, and a huge fucker at that! And, just a little bit further into the trees, a man he recognized with a crossbow, clearly ready to fire. He hadn't been spotted yet...

Pausing for a moment, he took in the scene. They were in something of a natural funnel, and the deer could really only go two ways; towards Bryce, or towards the crossbow as the other two directions were densely wooded. As stupid as some people might think him, he wasn't an idiot. Picking up an alarmingly huge stick to trip the beast up if it came his way, he tapped it lightly against a nearby rock a few times, hoping to not scare the deer off but also announce his presence to Vince. Then, he waited...


Vincent Matthews

Vince, Vin, Vinny
36 Posts

Slander is worse than cannibalism.


Vince breathed in deeply to steady his nerves, closing his eyes for a moment, opening them again as he breathed out. He didn't take his eyes off of the stag, though the sound of something hitting against a rock disturbed him slightly and he frowned. The stag, suddenly sensing that maybe something wasn't quite right, raised it's head with a mouthful of grass. It looked in the direction the tapping had come from, and seemed about to spring away when a faint 'tock' rippled out through the forest and, a moment later, the bolt from Vince's crossbow had driven it's way through the animal's skull. Vince wasted no time in lowering his crossbow and making his way towards the fallen stag. He smirked as he got closer.

"Did you think I'd miss?" He stood over the stag and lowered his crossbow to the ground before retrieving the bolt. He straightened up again and raised an eyebrow at Bryce. "What're you doing out here so early anyway?"


Bryce Gavagan

28 Posts

Back from the dead to tell you that I'm alive. Killed the old way but I survived.


As soon as the bolt made contact, Bryce let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. It was quickly followed by a laugh and the sounds of skittering rocks and leaves as he made his way down the hill towards Vince. "Well, excuuuuuuse me for tryin'a help!" he snarked, a playful grin on his face. "Nice shot, by the way."

Just about as he made it to the bottom of the hill, his foot slipped in the mud, and one hand snapped out to catch himself against a nearby sapling. "Decided the woods were a better place to sleep than Bosler, apparently. Y'know." He shrugged, trying to play it off casually as he came to a stop nearby the stag. "Nah, I went out for a midnight snack, and then... Don't really remember after that, honestly. Just hope it wasn't Fido I ate." Lapses in late-night memory weren't super uncommon for him, if he was being honest, but it didn't mean he liked them, no matter how cool he tried to play it. "Gonna bring this guy right back, or go lookin' for more?" he asked casually, offering his help in a subtle way.


Vincent Matthews

Vince, Vin, Vinny
36 Posts

Slander is worse than cannibalism.


"Thank you, thank you." Vince gave a few short bows before wiping the bolt on his trouser leg and sliding it back into the holster. He glanced up when he heard Bryce slipping and let out a snort. "You're such a graceful creature." He studied the other for a few moments before crouching next to the stag. He chuckled at the other's words, and couldn't help but agree. "I'd rather sleep out here you know. But I don't much fancy being eaten alive." He looked up at Bryce again with concern when he mentioned the fact he didn't remember much of the previous night. Vince frowned a little more.

"I worry about that. Is that a common thing with your kind?" Considering he was friends with one, there was still a lot he didn't know about the Avarus. He'd never really felt he could ask. "Hmm..." He looked back down to the stag, then scanned the trees around them. "I would like to get another, but I'm not sure I could lug two back to camp. This guy's a lot bigger than I was expecting." He stood up again. "I might call it a day and do some fishing or something. I'm not in a rush to get back to Bosler or anything."


Bryce Gavagan

28 Posts

Back from the dead to tell you that I'm alive. Killed the old way but I survived.


"Graceful like a cat!" Bryce chuckled, deciding it was perhaps safest to simply lean up against a nearby tree as he watched Vince check the carcass over. The remark about sleeping out in the bush earned a soft hum and nod from him, thinking on it for a moment. He was all too aware that he was part of the reason why his new friend couldn't do precisely that, and the guilt he felt was plain on his face. "I know Bronwyn does it sometimes when she's way out in the marshes. Wouldn't advise it though... Some of 'em are... Well, y'know..." Fucking savages.

He hesitated briefly at the question, sighing softly as he shook his head. "Not... really? Shit gets a little hazy when we're hungry, but its mostly a me thing, I think." In truth, he preferred not to remember when hunger took over, and the lengths he'd go to in order to satisfy it. Things had gotten ugly in the past, and now it was easier to just... Not remember.

When the topic shifted back to the deer, the relief was palpable, and he shrugged. "Let's see..." He stepped forward, grabbing the stag by the antlers and lifted it, testing the weight. "I can carry this guy back if you wanna go looking for his girlfriend." The choice was, of course, Vince's, but he did like helping out where he could. It made him feel like less of a burden on the people that supported and helped him.


Vincent Matthews

Vince, Vin, Vinny
36 Posts

Slander is worse than cannibalism.


Vince snickered. "Undoubtedly." He pictured a cat roughly the same shape and size as Garfield, with Bryce's face. It was really rather amusing and he snorted. "Yeah, well. Bronwyn's a fucking badass. I wouldn't wanna go anywhere near her while she was trying to sleep." He gave a dramatic shudder. "I don't know how she does it." He remembered one incident when he was younger, travelling alone, when he was hiding in the most impossible of spaces, surrounded by Avarus. They couldn't get to him, but they could smell him. He'd never been so terrified in his entire life.

"Hm." He studied Bryce for a few moments, still worried about it, but decided against pressing the matter. It was probably a conversation better suited for a bottle of drink and a campfire. He watched Bryce lift the stag, smiled, then pretended to swoon. "Oh! Such a strong man! My hero!" He clasped his hands together and batted his eyelashes. "What would I do without you?!" He added, camping up his voice and giving the other's chest a playful slap. He laughed, then looked around again. "We could do. You might have scared them all off though with your...overt gracefulness."


Bryce Gavagan

28 Posts

Back from the dead to tell you that I'm alive. Killed the old way but I survived.


Bryce grinned wide at the snicker, but was quickly distracted by the comment about Bronwyn. "She's one tough chick, that's for sure. Woke her up once 'cause Ryan was freaking out and wouldn't calm down, and she had me on my ass before I even knew she was awake, the vicious little thing," he agreed with a soft chuckle. "Think I fell in love with her for that." In the short time he'd lived in Bosler, he'd already seen both the soft and harsh sides of the woman, and knew better than to fuck with somebody that was more than willing to stare down a pack of hungry Avarus with a bag of intestines in her hand at dusk. Even if she was one of his favourite people to fire up...

As soon as the camp started, he played into it with a big grin, chest puffing out and flexing one bicep. "Don't worry, handsome. I gotcha!" he laughed, quite obviously amused by the way Vince was carrying on. If given the opportunity, he would've kept escalating the joke, but Vince sobered up after a moment and it was back to business. That didn't stop a soft snort of laughter though. "Shut up! I'm a fuckin' ballerina, and you know it!" He bumped his shoulder playfully. "There is a spot I know the deer like to hang out, though. Up near that old lookout tower by Memorial Point. Could check that way if you wanna?" As a scavenger, he knew these woods nearly as well as the hunters did, and always saw deer doing their deer stuff whenever he passed by the crumbling tower.


Vincent Matthews

Vince, Vin, Vinny
36 Posts

Slander is worse than cannibalism.


"Bron and Bryce, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g..." Vince sang, bobbing his shoulders along with it. He smirked at the other. He poked his tongue out. "I could imagine the two of you shacked up somewhere, alone in the woods." He really could. He would never say anything about it to Bronwyn, of course, but he'd mused about it to himself a few times. It would make sense; neither of them would be alone in the big, scary world anymore. And they both deserved a little goodness in their lives. But, alas, it wasn't his place to meddle in the affairs of others.

Vince snorted as well. "More like a bull in a china shop. A bullerina." He hitched his crossbow up by the strap, then pursed his lips slightly. "Memorial Point, huh? What a bunch of maudlin deer." Hanging out by a graveyard, really! "Well, sounds good to me. I think the others would appreciate more than one stag. And I might be able to get some useful shit with the hides." He needed, no, wanted some batteries. He knew the likelihood of getting fresh, still working batteries was extremely small, but that didn't stop him from holding out hope. "Come on then, bullerina." He chuckled to himself and headed back to his bag. He screwed the cap back on his canteen and stuffed it back inside his bag before picking the whole lot up.


Bryce Gavagan

28 Posts

Back from the dead to tell you that I'm alive. Killed the old way but I survived.


As much as he tried to fight it, the teasing brought a blush to Bryce's ashy face, cheeks burning read as he swatted lightly at Vince. "Shut the fuck up, man!" he begged, somewhere between almost-shy and laughter. Even still, the idea of having a little place in the woods with Bronwyn was one he entertained quite happily when it was brought up. A little garden out back for her, a couple of dogs running around their little cabin in the middle of nowhere. It was a nice pipe dream to have...

"The fuck is a China shop?" he asked, not a hint of irony to be seen in his confused expression. In all of his 28 years, he'd never understood the concept, but felt secure enough that Vince wouldn't mock his ignorance to ask. The mention of hides had him nodding softly and he added, "Seen a few of 'em go for a decent price in the Marketplace. Bronwyn had me and Ryan helping her tan a bunch of 'em last month, and they were gone the second she put 'em out."

As Vince packed up his bags, Bryce grabbed the buck by the legs, grunting softly as he hoisted it up and across his shoulders. The beast was heavy for sure, causing his knees to shake and threaten to buckle for a moment, but nothing he couldn't handle. If he had to guess, it weighted about the same as Ryan, and he'd carried that little bastard for miles. "Wanna dump this guy off at your place first?" he suggested, knowing he would be moving slower than usual with the extra weight. For added effect, he turned slightly, and wiggled the deer's head at Vince, putting on a high-pitched voice, "Take me home, Vincey baby! Spread me out and get right up in my guts like an animal, you dirty boy!" Yeah, nobody said he was anything even approaching mature...