[center Sirens sound in the distance. Horns blare. Stoplights flicker, dim in the coming dark. People rush by on the sidewalks while cars cruise by, rumbling over dry pavement. The world is at peace.]
[center And yet it is not. A dark power crushes close, insinuating itself among humankind secretly. Velveteen claws are curled into places of security and power, sheathed only until they can strike once and decisively. Every institution has been infiltrated. The intruders are everywhere, hidden in plain sight. Until the claws are unsheathed and the trap snapped shut, even the infiltrators do not know what they are. Human in appearance, human in nature, in every way, from memory to appearance, a perfect replica of those whom they have replaced. ]
[center There is no secret organization to oppose them. There is no resistance to be had against that which does not exist. Those who discover the truth cast their eyes aside and claim they did not see, for to admit to have seen such horror is to admit insanity. ]
[center Their patience is boundless. They have waited for generations, for millennia, watched humanity claw its way towards the unknowable beyond, but now their waiting is almost done. The coil bends, the pressure plate dips, the spring is compressed. And when the trap is sprung, nothing will be left of this Earth but ash.]
The black goat's thousand young are among us, perfectly disguised, preparing their final assault upon the Earth. When the thousandth child arrives, then will their disguises be cast aside and Earth's dominion shall be transferred to those beyond human understanding.
We play a pair of humans who have been upset from their homes by imposters who are, impossibly, identical to themselves in every way, down to the very memories. My character has been displaced for some time, while yours has only just been replaced. In this time of confusion, your character finds themselves drawn to mine, and mine offers yours guidance, hope, and a way to fight. So long as all thousand are not on earth, the trap remains unshut. And we two are the only two who know, the only two who can oppose them.
I want this roleplay to be dark and mature-themed. The black goat's young cannot be told from ordinary mortal humans until after a vital blow has been struck. There will be paranoia, fear, uncertainty, and surest of all, death. This is a long, hard battle with no certain outcome, where anyone and anything might turn against us at any moment. This roleplay is strongly influenced by Lovecraft, as you might have guessed from the title. The black goat's young are beings that defy human understanding, but they can be killed, or at least sent back to the dark realm from which they come. Romance is not necessary, but I would prefer a heterosexual or mxm relationship, if you desire it. I am very much open to any suggestions you might have as to where the plot might go.
Feel free to ask questions. Please pm me the skeleton below once you are ready to apply. This is not first come, first serve.
[center [b Name: // Age: // Gender: // Personality: // Bio: // Physical description: // Picture: (illustrated) // Sample post:]]
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To the base, huh? Why waste time? He grinned at Daniel. "I like the way you think." He was all fired up after earlier, even with Daniel killing his vibe. Why not go wipe them out today? Sounded like a great idea.
And they didn't need to find a babysitter, because, to everyone's surprise, Cat wanted to come along. "Don't forget your baseball bat," he added cheerfully, less concerned about her safety and commitment than Daniel was. Who cared if she wasn't ready to fight? If she wanted to try and betray them? Good luck to her. He'd just take her out like any other goat when she tried. And then he'd get to fuck Daniel more often, like in the good old days.
The scenery passed by, mostly trees, a few gas stations and convenience stores. Bell watched it pass by, bored again. He turned to Daniel as a thought came to him. "Good thing I had you drive, I've got no idea where the base is," he said. And since Daniel was so gung ho about it, might as well go for it.
For a while, they passed nothing but trees. The road grew more narrow, winding as it wandered through the countryside. "Their bases are way the hell out in the middle of nowhere," he commented to no one in particular. Made sense, he supposed. Didn't want anyone getting suspicious about the unmarked white vans going every which way. And then they could train their hunters, too.
What looked like a little defunct gas station came up on their left. It wouldn't have caught Bell's eye at all, except for the small fleet of white vans that were parked quietly beside them; two vans, perfectly aligned. "That them?" he asked, pointing. "You think everyone's home?" Two vans and ten men, it could be, if they put five to a crew. Or could be they put three, three, and four to a crew, and a few of them were out. It'd make sense, too, what with trucker-goat and all.
Or it could just be a couple of white vans parked together and not a hunters' base at all. But somehow, he doubted that. Daniel had been driving them to the base, after all. And here I it was.
"The base," Daniel replied with a smirk. Cat looked down, not quite sure what to make of things. Even Spot was sitting in front. Like she was the odd one out. Maybe she was. And yet. She was curious. What if she met the hunters that had killed her parents. All the ones they'd encountered so far hadn't been; not that she'd been able to check the ones Bellwether sank to the bottom of the lake.
At least it wasn't the man Bellwether had killed in the van.
What would she do if she met one?
Be angry? Sad? Grateful?
Either which way it flipped, she could do something if she was there. If they cock-blocked her again, she'd be powerless to do anything, even if it was helping the hunters bring down Daniel and Bell or getting revenge.
Bell seemed in a good mood at least, even though Cat was disgusted by the reason why.
"I want to come with," she said, softly, her voice catching at first.
"Not like you have much of a choice, babe," Daniel called her out from the front seat.
Cat rolled his eyes.
"Inside, to the base. I want to see the hunters. I want to see their faces."
Daniel glanced at Cat via the rear-view mirror and narrowed his eyes. Oh? A vendetta? Daniel shrugged.
"It's going to be more chaotic and bloody than what happened at the lake," he warned.
Cat sighed. She couldn't stay an observer forever. What was her use if she just kept on watching? Nothing good would come of it. Her future would simply remain undecided. Maybe if she could find the men, the hunters that took away her parents, her life, maybe then she could find peace somehow.
And it sounded incredibly naive. Even to herself.
"I know," she said, swallowing apprehensively. It wasn't going to be nice.
She'd come to regard the two -sometimes three- men as secure and stable, protection against hunters and the streets. The moment they'd set foot in that base however, everything would change.
'Well, if you think you're ready..." Daniel said with a shrug. Not as if he cared. She was a goat. Daniel was a hundred percent certain, so even if she got wounded or died, they'd just have some additional chaos on their hands. Worst case, they'd have a goat fewer in the world.
"What? You've recovered, your eyes are fine now," he said. He'd only meant the morning shift anyways. But of course Daniel had to shit on his good mood. It was just the way things went. Whenever he was happy, Daniel got angry. Why? He didn't know. It was just the way things had always been.
"I mean, if it's that big of a deal, give me the goddamn keys," he called Daniel out on his theatrics. What the hell. Was Daniel freaked out about the torture thing? But he'd seemed fine in the moment. So what the hell was this all about?
Daniel stuff, probably. The same as always. Daniel being sane wouldn't suddenly fix his personality. He'd never understood Daniel fully, so why did he expect to start understanding him now?
Daniel took the driver's seat, and Bell settled into the passenger's seat. Spot sniffed at him, then whined and licked at Bell's fingers. Bell petted him absentmindedly. Whatever. Let Daniel do his own thing.
"So what next? The trucker? The base?" Bell asked. No way they could assault the base with Cat in tow. Ten humans was a dealable number, but Cat would protest for sure, and if she did so in the base, it might lead to them--or her--getting killed. Best case scenario, they couldn't just tell Cat to take a long hike while they killed the hunters...they'd have to send her off somewhere. Drop her off. He snorted. Put her in daycare. But on a serious note, they couldn't just ignore her.
Or maybe they could, and go kill a whole bunch of hunters. He wasn't about to protest that. Hell, the mood he was in right now was perfect for killing hunters. Bring them on!
He hummed to himself and played with Spot's ears, feeling their silky softness. So nice. Not like that man's rough cheek. He recalled cutting the guy's throat open and grinned, pleased with himself. He'd have to do that again sometime. Find a helpless hunter and just...take a little time getting to know him. Though it'd probably piss off Daniel, if this time was any indication.
Well. Daniel didn't have to know about it, did he?
He turned when Bell-boy called his name, raising an eyebrow in question. Cat wasn't sure whether she wanted the conversation to be over. Her hands were tucked behind her back, against the tree. Not everything was as black and white as it'd been in her childhood. People weren't evil or good. There was only a variety of grey. She just had to decide what shade she was.
"Whatever," Cat mumbled, making her way back to the truck. She didn't like how happy Bellwether was with just having tortured and killed a man. She'd thought Daniel was the one with the mental issues, but birds of a feather, she supposed.
"Oh? Really? First you go on about how I'm not fit to drive and now you're too immature to?" Daniel called Bell-boy out on his inconsistent behaviour.
Immature was right. Man couldn't even control his own emotions. Disappointing. Daniel realized the bitter taste it brought up was disappointment. The last thing he'd wanted Bell to do now was admit some kind of weakness. It made the whole display from before childish.
Made it ever the more clear that Bellwether was not in control.
"Whatever you say," he shrugged and sighed, giving in, "well, give me the keys then."
Daniel got into the driver's seat and waited patiently for the others to get settled. Shame about the van. Would've probably been better than the truck, though Daniel was kind of attached to the old beast. He'd had it for over six months, after all.
Once everyone got settled, Daniel fired up the engine and got the truck lined up with the road again properly, making some speed on getting out of this abandoned place. Slime-goat could find them, still, huh? Even the guy hadn't known exactly how, but the fact that it could was worrisome.
And it'd been on their tails for some time, if they'd had enough time to establish a branched off-base. Without meaning too, Daniel automatically started driving them there. The trucker could wait.
Daniel didn't care for the target no more; it was just a prelude, an appetizer to what was to come with the hunters.
Bell-boy had had his fun, and now so would he.
Oh. Oh, okay. Daniel did have a plan. He should've known. He grinned. See, Daniel was the brains of the operation. He was just the muscle. And he rather liked being the muscle. Meant he got to play with people. Like this guy. They should do this more often. It'd been so long.
Daniel stepped out of the van, leaving him alone with the man. The man turned his pleading eyes towards Bell. "Please, Sandy, she's just--just starting kindergarten, she's--I haven't seen her in ages, please--"
Bell grinned at him. "You'll get to see her again," he told the man. The hunter relaxed a hair, still sobbing, and in that instant Bell slit his throat. Betrayed eyes stared at him as blood ran down the man's chest. "In heaven," he clarified with a grin. "If that's where you go."
The man deserved a quick death, after all. He'd been so cooperative. Even if he wanted to take his time. Cut him open a little more. He hesitated, knife sliding down the man's chest, then shook his head and snapped back to reality. Not now. Not right now. He had to be good.
Bell cleaned his knife on the man's shirt and stepped away, hopping out of the back of the van and into the sunlight. "Daniel," he started, but then he saw Cat and stopped short. She'd come back, huh?
"Yeah, he's right," he backed up Daniel, though the elated grin on his face somewhat ruined the statement. "Hey, um, so we should probably get moving, though? We can have this argument on the road." Just like he hadn't wanted to hang around the lake, they'd killed a guy here, now, too. It'd be best if they didn't hang around to wait for someone to come and find them.
Really, it was a pity about the van, but he had just killed a guy in it. No one would want to bring it with them, even if it was way less recognizable than their big red truck and had more room in it. Maybe they should grab the next hunter's van, though. They were handy vehicles. Even if they did tend to see a high rate of turnover.
Really, it was weird how long they'd kept the truck. They usually shed possessions like crazy.
"Daniel, you, uh, good to drive?" he asked. He wasn't exactly in the right mental state to operate a motor vehicle. Still a little too excited about having had the chance to exercise his weirder impulses. It really was a pity Cat was here, because he was super turned on right now. Though Daniel probably didn't want to know that either.
Still tasty, huh? So the man hadn't exactly been sent out immediately after all, had he? Daniel didn't think so. Hunters weren't trained out in the field. They were trained and primed in the facility. Those with promise were then offered the 'augmentations'. Fix something? Now it was Daniel's turn to be confused.
Fix the entrances?
And the broken tubes maybe. The damage they'd caused upon fleeing that hell-hole.
"Did they offer it you too?" Daniel pondered out loud.
The man's face turned pale. He stammered and blinked, then shook his head. At first he'd thought to play it stupid, but something told him that wouldn't end well. The lunatic hovering above the cage might just flip and put a slow, dreadful end to his life instead of a swift one.
Unless the other, more sane fellow stopped the insane guy.
"Please, please...just let me go, I've told you all I know," the man blubbered. "They didn't offer it to me, but some of the men...some of the men...none of the men that are here now. They told us we'd get it after our mission was complete. That it'd be safer like this, please...I have a daughter. She's only six years old, h-her name is Sandy, please...please you have to believe me." Tears streamed down the man's face, snot pooling on his upper lip.
It was disgusting.
"Well, then, since you've told us everything..." Daniel stepped away from the door. He'd heard enough. Bell-boy now got his reward, for behaving so nicely and not forgetting what they'd started the torture out for.
Cat was stood there, Spot sniffing the ground around her.
"How long have you been standing there?" he asked, closing the van's door.
"A while. He's got a kid."
"Yeah?" Daniel started, narrowing his eyes. "I'd say I had a a dozen kids if that offered me some kind of hope of escaping Bell-boy's torture."
"You don't believe him? But he told you her name and everything."
"You're naive. What kind of men do you think enjoy killing monsters? Not the men who want their families to be safe. No, they're the kind of men who have nothing to lose," he corrected her beliefs.
"They're exactly like us, except for the part where they kill the docile along with the malicious. Not all goats are bad. Not all animals are vicious. Will that stop a hunter? No."
Messages? On his phone? Bell frowned. That could mean anything. At the very least, it meant someone back at the central facility could track them. Probably it had something to do with acid goat. He couldn't imagine otherwise.
"Yeah?" Bell said. Did they care, though? If he passed out, it just meant it was time to kill him. Besides, they'd already gotten everything he'd wanted to know out of the guy. Why worry about that, when it was almost time to kill him?
Just the thought excited him in a way battle usually didn't. He was so helpless, and Bell got to control everything. Even the way he died. He could do anything. Slit his throat. Cut a thousand tiny slides and watch him bleed out. Carve his skin up into little pieces. Anything. It was all in his hands.
And then Daniel started up about mashed potatoes. Bell frowned and gave him a what the hell look, then mentally shrugged and turned back to the man. Gave him a little more time to play. "You heard the man," Bell added, when the hunter asked his question. "Mashed potatoes. How were they?" He ran the knife over the man's face, too lightly to cut.
"Th...they-- yes?" the hunter asked, confusion dulling his panic somewhat. "They're still t-tasty." What was the point of this line of questioning? The rest of it he understood, but what significance could mashed potatoes have?
"And how about the people? Base still fully staffed?" he asked, a sinister smile playing over his face.
"Yes! They--they were...trying to fix something, but..." his voice trailed off, the man suddenly reluctant to keep talking. Oh? Bell raised his eyebrows. Was this actually important information?
Well, really it was just confirmation he was telling the truth, because they'd been the ones to break the hunters' base down. "Well? Go on. Keep talking," Bell urged him. He still wasn't sure what Daniel was going for here, but whatever. As long as it meant they could keep on questioning this guy. He hadn't had this much fun in a while. A very long while.
Bell-boy cut and the man screamed. The sounds echoed against the trees, but Daniel was fairly confident that, other than perhaps Cat, no one would hear. Screams and gasps turned to desperate pleas. Soon it would all be over. They knew enough; the facility to the north was still operational, there were ten more hunters in the direct vicinity, with intent of bringing them down and the trackers...
They'd had chips the first time they'd gotten caught as well. Just underneath the skin. Said it wrong, had he? What else could they mean other than the trackers?
Daniel watched, morbidly engrossed at witnessing this particular aspect of Bellwether's personality. It was strong, at least. Something he'd yearned for when they'd first met. He couldn't be with someone weaker than himself -it all sounded nice and fun at first, but it'd annoy him before long. Not Bell-boy, no.
The man was strong.
Bell-goat was even stronger.
"T-they send us messages!" the man squealed, trying to prevent Bell from pushing the knife closer to his eyes.
"T-they, they give us a phone...w-whenever there's a job, they send us messages," he tried, anything to go through the gruelling torture of being sliced by a mad-man. Bellwether didn't need to be convincing; the way the hunter held his gushing hand was convincing enough. Actually, that might pose a problem.
"He'll lose consciousness like that, Bell-boy," Daniel warned.
No arteries were hit, Bell-boy had been careful enough with that, but the stress and sudden blood-loss might tip the man over the edge regardless.
Did they want to extend the effort of patching the guy up though? Daniel clenched his hand. Could take the time to find out this guy's memories too, but honestly? What more did they need to know?
He was eager to go to the base they'd discovered and create a little chaos.
"So how was it up north, at the big facility?" Daniel asked conversationally. It was so off-beat, the hunter blinked at Daniel, slightly confused. What?
"Were there loads of people there? Do they still serve that mashed potato?"
"W-what?" the hunter stuttered.
Oh? He was lying? He knew he'd do well to rely on Daniel. Trust the experts when you had them around. "Guess he doesn't want this hand, then," he said, and slowly, slowly, drew the knife towards the man's fingers, cutting his hand in two. Blood spurted, running down his arm in rivulets, dripping on the floor of the cage. All that blood inside. So red. No black, no black inside him at all. All human.
"Stop! Stop, stop, stop, please," the man pleaded, but it was too late. His hand had been parted. Bell released his hand from the grip of the stick, and the man pulled his hand back to his body, hugging it into himself.
"Can you clench that hand?" Bell asked, curious. No, wait, not what they were doing. "Feel like telling us how you're tracking us? Or do you want me to cut your other hand apart, too?"
The man pulled his hand closer to him. His shoulders shook with sobs, whole body shaking. Bored, Bell shook the cage. "Hey, you wanna start talking again? I'm getting bored." He poked the guy with the stick a few times, just to get him to look up.
The hunter shook his head. "I don't know anything! I don't, really," he cried. "We just--do you mean the tracking chips? They're standard issue, they're nothing special, what do you want to know?"
Bell poked his face, daring him to grab the stick again. "What else could I mean, huh? There something other than the tracking chips?"
The hunter blanched. "N-n-no," he stammered. "No, no, I... I just said it wrong! I--"
Bell poked his face harder, pushing it up against the cage wall. The man's eyes were wide, whites showing. He grabbed the man by the hair and retracted the stick, swapping it for the knife. "Should I cut your face open next? Cut you a new mouth?"
"Kill me, just kill me, they'll kill me anyways," he replied, eyes squeezed shut.
Bell sliced his cheek, just lightly. He flinched, eyes clenching shut. "We'll do a whole lot before we just kill you, you know," he told the man quietly, less a threat than a promise. Tell us, they won't ever need to know where we heard it from." He smiled and sliced his cheek again, a little closer to the eye this time. Maybe he'd put the guy's eye out instead. Whatever worked.
Two? They got two earlier? While he was out?
"More like ten," Daniel did the maths. Two before, three at the lake, that made five. And then this here guy. If they mentioned cutting off a few toes now, that'd surely put this guy in panic-mode. A torturer who couldn't count was the best kind and the worst.
New, was he?
Didn't look so new at it.
Or well, honestly? He'd gotten the jump on the hunter fairly easily and sedated the man to boot. It was kind of foolish, to have been caught by the very prey you hunted. So Daniel was willing to believe the guy was new, but Cat, for all her silly behaviour, managed to find her way around the transceiver fairly easily.
So this hunter ought to at least know if its existence.
Mention it, or something.
"I don't know Bell-boy, I mean he's trying. I'm sure he's trying," Daniel said theatrically, leaning against the door-opening, watching the distressed hunter.
"It must be hard, huh? The hunt. The stress of it all; bet you didn't really have another choice. For the money. For your family," he pursed his lips and sighed.
"He's lying," Daniel decided. "Let's try this again; how are you tracking us?"
The man swallowed, eyes wide-open, staring at Daniel. They didn't believe him? No. Shit.
"I don't know," he kept stubbornly clinging to his half-truth.
Daniel rolled his eyes, then nodded at Bellwether to continue his handywork. It seemed they weren't quite done yet. And by this time, they wouldn't be done until the man squealed pathetically, disclosing all his little-boy secrets and more.
"Well, I guess he told us one true thing." Daniel muttered, more to himself than anyone else. "He's no longer part of any group." They were all already dead. This hunter wouldn't know that, but Daniel thought it important the hunter knew; just in case he was harbouring any hope of being rescued.
It bothered Daniel to discover the facility up north was still around. It mean the damage they'd done hadn't been enough to completely tear down that facility. He turned away from the hunter and Bell-boy, checking their surroundings and making sure Cat was still on her very long walk with Spot. Other than the blubbering cries from the tormented hunter however, it was fairly serene.
Oh, he was talking? How boring. Bell pulled a bored face. He wasn't halfway there. Barely even started. People were so boring. He wiggled the knife a little just to make the man cry louder, then stopped. They had promised.
Just sixteen? They'd barely made an effort to get him and Daniel. Or, well, sixteen people was a whole lot of people, really. "So the two we got earlier, then the three at the lake... eleven left? Twelve, with this guy?" he asked Daniel. Now that was a number they could deal with. Even sixteen wasn't impossible; it'd just mean four more rounds of this last fight, and now that Daniel was a more capable fighter, that wasn't too scary.
He turned back to the hunter. "What about the other bases?" he asked.
"Other--other bases? I--" the hunter gulped, eyes flashing to his hand, then back to Bell. "I was only just--I'm new at this. I never--"
Bell twisted the knife. The man screamed, and his smiled widened a bit more. Now this was fun.
"I--there's a big one up north! I was sent from there! But I don't know anything about it, I swear, I was there for maybe an hour, they just, they just, sent me right down here, I swear, please, let me go, I have a family, I have kids, please," he begged.
"Then they've got a stupid father," Bell told him. He doubted the guy actually had kids, and didn't care either way. What kind of idiot would become a hunter when they had kids at home? "How are you tracking us?"
"Tr--I don't know, I don't know! I swear, I don't know anything, I'm just... I'm barely even part of the group, I've barely done anything," he said. Bell looked at his eyes, but it looked like he was telling the truth. Though it'd be a little more fun if he wasn't.
He looked at Daniel. "He telling the truth?" he asked. He'd trust Daniel's judgement. If the guy was telling the truth, then he'd kill him and be done with it. If not, he got to have a little more fun.
"I am, I swear, I promise, I am," the man said, crying openly. Bell gave him a disgusted look. And this was the kind of hunter that gave him and Daniel so much trouble?
It was curious, the darkness simmering just below the surface of Bell-boy's eyes, the sudden malice in the air, the sudden elation. Daniel recognized the feelings, but hadn't ever seen them in someone else before. It was all the more interesting because what took place next painted a very accurate picture of what had happened to the girl. Daniel had been more straight-forward with his interrogation all those months back; chopping fingers off was a perfect torture. Every lunatic could count to ten and could predict what would happen once finger two was up for cutting.
The suspense and expectations built up in people as time went on, as they saw this was serious and that suffering was at hand. Of course there were other methods, but no. Bell-boy seemed like he was a kid extracting legs from an insect under close scrutiny, almost cheerfully innocent. Oblivious to how his behaviour was wrong.
Tape? Another clue, casually dropped.
He'd tied up the girl then, huh? In that shack. For how long exactly? Did he love her, hate her? Love the way she reacted? Loved how she was when in pain? Bell hadn't sought those emotions in him no more. It'd been a while since he had.
"We have rope?" Daniel offered. The rope they'd used to tie up the tarp last night would probably suffice. And also greatly increase the risk the hunter would be getting away or run into Cat when he did get away.
Bell seemed to realize, because he was focussing with a bit more intent on their actual goal. Maybe that's why Bell had said it earlier -not for his sake, but for his own.
"I think he's not quite there yet," Daniel remarked.
"Of course, it can stop. I can stop him, whenever. We might let you go when we get all the answers we need. Just tell us about the base. It's not a big base, is it? Or old?"
The hunter's eyes flicked from Bellwether to Daniel and back.
"It's not!" the hunter almost shouted when the knife came close to cutting his flesh.
"it's not a big base, it's small, maybe sixteen of us. There's sleeping places, they feed us there, yeah, that's right. We gather there before a hunt and we get redistributed, they won't tell us what it's for..." but it was obvious now.
It was to hunt these two. And they'd failed. Oh, how their arrogance had come back to haunt them now. "Please...please stop," the man blubbered, spittle and sweat mixing together, running down his chin and face.
The hunter blinked up at the light, so pathetic, like a little baby deer; it made Bell smile. His eyes were big and wide, glittering liquid, helplessness reflected there that no amount of pleading could disguise. Bell stood back and let Daniel do the talking, but it was awfully hard. The man was right there. He could do whatever he liked, and it'd all be okay. He couldn't wait.
Daniel tried reasoning with the man, and Bell almost cheered when it didn't work. Alright! At long last, he'd get his chance! Daniel moved back, and he moved up, approaching the cage.
Latticed metal bars separated the two of them, like a dog crate, but stronger. He smacked the bars with his stick, making them ring out. The hunter winced, then glared. Bell smiled back. Such nice reactions! This would be a real treat. He poked the stick through the bars and poked at the man, hard, aiming for the soft bits, stomach, nuts, whatever he could reach. "What are you doing?" the man asked. "Stop! [i Stop!]"
On the second 'stop,' the man grabbed his stick, just as Daniel had predicted, and tried to wrench it away from him. Bell's grin only grew. The angle the man was at, he had no hope of stealing it, but he could sure grab it hard. Bell yanked it back towards him, trapping the man's hand against the roof of the cage and the stick. Before the man could yank it away, he stabbed down with his waiting knife. The man shouted, more startled than hurt, then started to curse. The hunter pulled away from him, but Bell held him tight against the cage so that he'd have to rip his hand open to pull it away. The man froze, unsure of what to do: whether to escape or leave his hand so near to the madman.
"We have any tape?" he asked Daniel distractedly. The cage was so restrictive. It'd be nice if he had more access to the man.
Or wait, wait, that wasn't what they were doing. "Feel a little more cooperative now?" he asked, wiggling the knife. The hunter winced, sweat rolling down his face. "Or do you wanna say goodbye to ever using this hand again?" He started to drag the knife through the man's flesh, splitting his hand in two between his third and fourth fingers. Such bigger hands than before. So much more flesh to cut.
How much did he have to cut before it'd come out?
Bell-boy gave him a look and Daniel knew they'd found a remote enough place to get to business, so he parked the van in the middle of the road. There wouldn't be much room to turn the vehicle around as it was. Not that it mattered much; unless they wanted to get properly rid of the truck by ditching it in some other lake. Too much trouble.
He climbed out and slammed the door shut, rounding the van.
"Guess I'll be playing the good cop," Daniel hinted. "You want to be careful with that stick," he chuckled. The hunter wasn't entirely defenceless either. Grabbing on to a stick would be easy.
"Big base, small base, goat-tracking, got it," Daniel repeated.
The doors opened.
The hunter, who'd been relatively quiet and begging earlier, was now trying another tactic. "Look, we don't...we don't need to do this, we can talk, like civilized people, yeah? I'm a human, you can't kill me, it'll be murder. They'll come and find you," he started. A little naive.
Daniel sat on one of the benches, next to the cage.
"Sure," Daniel started. "Let's have a little chat. My friend here wants to know about this new little base you guys established. I'm sure you can tell us a little more about that, right?"
"What, no...I mean. What, what do you want to know? I-I can't, they'lll..." do the exact same things these two guys would do. The hunter swallowed apprehensively, indecisive.
"You know? My friend here, he's kind of into this sort of thing," Daniel cast Bell-boy a look. "He liked it when people are trapped and not cooperating. He has fantasies he can then unleash. He likes it."
The hunter only needed to look at Bellwether once to know this other guy was telling the truth.
"You want to try it? I mean, maybe you'll like it too...?" Daniel offered.
"I can't. I can't tell you," the hunter said finally, growing a set. There'd be the same punishment for telling, so what was the use then? At least when he died without telling anything, he wouldn't have betrayed the others. That was the best solution, wasn't it?
So why did it feel like he'd just made a very, very bad choice.
Daniel looked at Bell.
"Well, you heard the man. Have fun," Daniel said with a smile.
He glanced in his rearview and found Daniel, made sure he was in view before he took his first turn. Cat was quiet, tense. Wasn't really feeling it, was she? She really wasn't up for all the serious parts of their journey. Not up for interrogation. Not up for killing hunters. Not up for killing goats, even, hardly. Hell, she wasn't even up for him and Daniel getting down and dirty, though to be fair, he really should be a little more considerate of her. Maybe just a little.
After a while, he pulled off into a narrow dirt road. It petered out after a while, everything around it overgrown and heavily forested. At the end, he stopped and parked, then climbed out and looked at Daniel, giving him a little nod. This looked remote enough, a little nowhere place. He glanced back in the car and gave Cat a grin; she jumped and gave him a look like he'd just pointed a gun at her. He rolled his eyes. "Look, why don't you take Spot for a nice, long walk, okay?" he told her. Things were going to happen that he didn't want a kid to see. Even he had that much conscience.
Even though he'd been the same age--maybe even younger--when he'd taken her away--
He blinked, then looked away, finally shoving out of the truck. He walked over to the van and nodded at Daniel, then headed around to the back. "Wanna use any kind of strategy? Good cop, bad cop? Or we can just have some fun." He pulled his knife out and wiped it on his coat, preparing. To be completely honest, he wouldn't mind just having a little fun with the guy's body. Carve it up a bit.
Oh, and a stick! He really wanted to poke the guy. He looked like a cornered animal, he just had to poke him. He cast around him and located a stick at last, nice and pointy, strong and long. A nice stick. "Alright, we're getting details on their new little base and the big base, if he knows anything?" Bell asked, just making sure. "Oh, and might as well find out if they can track goats. If he knows."
He gave Daniel a final grin, then threw the doors wide.
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