Hunters and Cleaners
In the dim-lit Groves, two men silently prowl, their eyes darting with each rustle and echo. One, rifle poised, fires blindly at the spectral noises, his partner scrambling to retrieve the spent shell. The forest answers with another phantom sound. The rifle roars. The second man, duty-bound, slips into the shadows to fetch the bullet.
A deadly hush falls, interrupted by the ghastly sound of a spear puncturing skull. The rifleman’s eyes widen in horror as he turns and flees into the blackened night. Luther Grim emerges from the shadowy foliage, a sinister smile gracing his lips.
“Conventionally, a hunter is seen as self-sufficient. Independent. We are the architects of our own survival, the authors of our own stories. We are responsible for finding our prey, for setting the traps to ensnare them. We are the ones responsible for delivering the coup de grace – for maiming and capturing that prey.”
“We navigate through the wilderness, guided not by the trite conventions of your world, Mr. Kleen, but by our instincts. We control our own narratives, our own destinies. We are the masters of our fate.”
Luther kneels down beside the insensate body, shutting the man’s eyes that had been left widened from the shock.
“Contrast that, Mr. Kleen, with your existence. Whereas a man of your stature is seen as… subservient. You, unlike me, do not control your narrative. Instead, you are trapped in a reiteration of the same story every day, adhering to the same routine, the same chores. Your reality is defined by the mess of others, the remnants of their lives. You are bound to a life of cleaning, of picking up after others, of ensuring that their world is pristine while yours is perpetually soiled.”
“You see, where I come from, I am a solitary figure. I am able to stand alone. Whereas you, Mr. Kleen, you cannot. I don’t seek the validation of others – I don’t need their presence to give meaning to my existence. My survival and my successes are of my own making, Mr. Kleen. My own doing. I wield the scepter amongst these lands, and I do so indiscriminately.”
“But as for you? You need that filth. You need the chaos of others to bring order to your existence. You need their untidiness to provide you with a sense of purpose, a sense of worth. Because in actuality, you are nothing more than a footstool, Mr. Kleen. A slave to the muck, a slave to the mess. And come Sunday, I am going to treat you as such.”
“Because you see, Mr. Kleen, our worlds? They are so vastly different. In that, you are nothing more than a puppet, dancing on the strings of others’ irresponsibility. For as soon as there’s the slightest bit of disorder, or whenever Sebastian Boswick comes calling, you must hurry and get to work. Meanwhile, I am the most destructive force to have ever roamed Arcadia, and I stand alone. Soon, Mr. Kleen, you are going to understand just why they have coined me… the Beast of Prey.”
“It’s hunting season.”