Prompt Given by Volegase

Jessica tracked her quarry across the park, it was late and most of the homeless had already moved to safer areas. She waited in the tree with a beef stick in her mouth, the creature she was tracking was still wary.  Jessica had painted every bit of her body with camouflage patterns to avoid wearing the heavy camouflage uniform that most hunters wore, the glasses she wore made the darkness of the park as bright as noon without giving away her position like mechanical night vision.

The creature finally stopped moving as it grabbed a goose by neck, the goose was consumed before it could even protest. That was enough to make her work, she waited till the goose was already sliding down the Lamia’s belly before hefting her gun. Unlike many in her profession, she rather use her noisy rifle than an unreliable but silent bow.

Jessica lined her sights with the Lamia’s torso, the creature was wearing a bright green sweater that matched her the scales of her lower body. Jessica felt a little guilt as she lined up her shot, she would be ruining a perfectly good sweater. Jessica fire her shot and heard the wet smack as the dart slammed into  her flesh.   The creature didn’t even flinch from the impact, Jessica  watched as the creature pulled out the dart.

“You didn’t have to shoot me! Asshole.” The Lamia raised her hand and waited, “I am unarmed and I don’t have any spells ready.”

Jessica heard enough horror stories about hunters being caught by Lamia and having to be cut out of those creatures stomach. Jessica raised her rifle and put another two shots into the Lamia, the creature swayed a bit before moving toward her position. The green beast made it within a hundred feet before flopping to the grass like a marionette with its strings cut.

~

Millie snapped awake and noticed two very important things: She was currently in a cage and she was being driven some where.  Millie sighed and leaned against the back of the truck, she rapped her fist against the back of the truck.

“So you are awake? Sorry about the sweater but that’s what happens when you go around killing ducks.” Jessica said as the  truck rumbled through downtown.

“Those were geese and I thought it would be fine. The foxes out there eat them all the time.” Millie groaned and noticed that the truck pulled into a garage. “So what’s the bounty on me, My name is Millie Smith, I probably have a record with your hunter buddies.”

“Your record isn’t too bad, most of it is trespassing and eating park animals. I don’t get it, the city has fewer animals than the reserve. Why do you keep coming to that park? Every single violation is at that part.” Jessica commented.

The hunter killed the engine and stepped out of the truck, she held a collar in her hand as she looked over the dirty Lamia. The light of the garage revealed patches of partially shed skin and a many jagged scars near the base of her tail. Jessica updated her hunters app and snapped a photo of the captured monster, a small ping indicated that she had been paid.

“Well there are three choices I have to make as your hunter. Choice A: Is I recommend you for re-homing and they stick you on a reserve. You’ve already ran away from a lot of those. The second option is that I recommend you for domestication, a soft slavery for monsters so we can sleep at night knowing we did the right thing.” Jessica let the words hang in the air before continuing. “Final option is to petition that you be deemed to dangerous to the city and we should humanely put you down.”

Millie paled, “I’m not dangerous, I haven’t hurt anyone on purpose.”

“That’s not true, you managed to knock a hunter unconscious with a duck. There was video evidence of that.” Jessica laughed and turned her phone around to show video of Millie being surprised by a hunter. She tossed the duck hard enough that poor animal died on impact with the hunter skull, the video continued with her picking up the hunter and rushing him to the police.

“It’s not my fault he couldn’t catch, I was hoping to run not get shot. I don’t want to killed because I like going to a park.” The Lamia coiled around herself protectively in the corner of her cage.

“I’ll make you a deal, tell me why you keep going to Wicker Park and I’ll see what I can do on my end.” Jessica stepped closer to lean against the bars, while Lamia were strong on their snake-like half… the same couldn’t be said for the human-like parts.

“I really like the park, it’s quiet at night and the few humans that do appear don’t seem to mind my presence. The birds are unwary enough that if I only eat one every so often I have free food.” Millie said while patting her scales, she could still feel the bird making it way through her body.

“Where do you go when you aren’t in the park? There is way you are navigating down town without a single  human noticing you. We only started getting calls yesterday about a green scaled Lamia in a sweater.”  Jessica commented while fingering the collar, “I don’t think you got all those scars from being peaceful.”

“Another tried to drive me from the park, not like you humans. The girl was bigger and stronger, she had skin like dried paint and long white fingers that ended in claws. We fought and won by hold her under the park water with my tail.” Millie said with a shrug, “I hope it looks better after my next molting.”

Jessica tossed in the collar, “How familiar are you with hunters?”

The look of pure annoyance that crossed Millie face almost made Jessica laugh, “Stupid question but I think I could work out a partnership that would allow you to visit the part at least two days a week and you don’t have to go back to the reserve.”

Millie slither closer to the woman, she finally got a good look at Jessica. The woman was short but everything else about her screamed predator, even the hand rested on the hilt of a blade was ready to kill her at a moments notice. Millie trembled as she felt like prey before the veteran hunter, she licked out her forked tongue nervously tasting the heat of the human beneath her.

“I’m listening…”

“I’m in the market for an assistant, five days of week you can work for me. The other two days you would be given paid reprieve long as you don’t cause too much trouble.” Jessica tossed the collar into the cage. “Make no mistake, the moment you put that collar on. You become my responsibility and your life in my hands.”

Millie picked up the collar, the collar was plush and pink with a bunny motif on the leather outside. There was a serial number along the metal clasp, Millie feel the hum of magic on the collar but she didn’t know what type. Her tongue flicked out faster, the tip of her serpentine tongue could taste human on the collar.

“What will this do to me, I won’t just enslave myself because you are nice.” Millie asked, sweat was beading on her forehead.

“Tracking spells and sensory spells. It’s standard stuff, the same the police use. You’ll know my condition and state just by focusing. I’ll be able to do the same. Trust me this job is boring most days, you’ve been my most excited this week and you didn’t even fight back.” Jessica spoke while holding up a bracelet,  the gentle prickling of magic emanated from it.

“This is mine, same magic, just a cuter look.” Jessica said.

“Do I get another sweater since you shot holes in mine?” Millie said clasping the collar around her neck, the magic prickled at her for a moment.  She could see a feel the nervous tension of Jessica, she knew that the human was hungry and tired. She even knew that she had itch on the back of her hand.

“Welcome to the Hunter Corp, I’m Jessica Satten.  I’ll get you settled in today and we will begin training tomorrow.” Jessica grinned like an excited cat.

 

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