A Hunter's Log

May 11, 2028

Isole City

Day I

The gray, five page newspapers lay in front of me on the wooden newsstand, waiting for their average buyers to come along and purchase them from the burly seller behind the table. It was a daily routine for me, observing the headlines each day but never making a move to buy it. It was repeating. Each day the sub-headline at the bottom of the front page seemed as if it was reserved for headlines of death and destruction. "Three killed in spring refurbishing" was that day's line. At one point, some four years ago, those kinds of headlines would reach the main story position, but now the government only places happy and cheerful lines on the front.

Four times a year, dozens of men and women would be slaughtered in the refurbishing process. They were innocent ones, only trying to keep the city of Isole safe, but instead they put fear of death inside the minds of the people.

"You gonna buy that, son?" It was the burly newsstand seller. I looked downward to see that I was holding the newspaper. Dropping the paper back onto the others, I wondered whether something was different about this day.

My old blue converse shoes slid on the grimy sidewalks of the city as I backed away. It was then that it seemed as if the world was coming back. The noise of yelling people pounded on my ear drums, causing my eyes to float around. I shouldn't even call them sidewalks, because they weren't. At least not anymore. That was where the stands were—we walked on the streets. The only cars that existed in Isole City were government-based.

But it was refreshing not having autos around. Instead, we could walk the streets and gaze at the venders and craftsmen and painters that now populated the cities of Earth. The only thing that kept us out of the paradise of such a city was the stories and headlines of the things that lived in the real world. After living years in one place, secluded from the rest of the world, you learn to block out the things that put you down. But then it all shatters when someone you love or care about dies.

I stopped walking at a painter's stand. Next to her current project, a painting lay on a stand for the people of Isole to see. It was beautiful; maybe the most beautiful painting I had ever seen on the streets. A painting of wilderness stood on the stand before me. That's all it was. Wilderness. But wilderness in this world never looked like the painting that was before me. Wilderness now was inhabited by creatures—scared and frightened they are, but still dangerous. It reminded me of the wall that stood at the edge of the city, the wall that kept those things out, the wall that was refurbished each season. The wall that kept us safe, but also caused hundreds of deaths.

My name was shouted, and it felt like it kept me from shooting myself. It was barely audible over the roar of the streets. "Nathan! Nathan Speare!"

When the chant was called several times, I recognized the voice. It was JD, running towards me in the downwards position he put himself in when he was rushing through a crowd. His father's oversized green army coat flowed past his legs, slowing him down.

"Speare! I got to show you something!"

I sighed, thinking whether or not this would cause me trouble. After a couple seconds of JD's small frame nudging me, I shrugged my shoulders and walked with him. "What is it?" I asked simply.

Panting, JD answered, "There's…this book…at my house. My…I found it in my uncle's closet. You've got to see it for yourself!"

I pulled back the right sleeve of my black shirt to look at my watch. We had class in a half and hour—this would have to be quick.

When JD regained his energy, we ran through the mob of the streets to his house. In minutes, my freshman geometry class would start and I did not want to be late…again. We came up to his house in a less dense area of the city and lurched through the colorful home. His father was an engineer for the Isole recycling plants and made good money, unlike some. As we approached JD's uncle's room, we found that no one was home and stopped trying to be quiet. The mahogany room was a blur in my eyes as I scanned for the closet, trying to see what this book was about. When I found the closet, I saw that it wasn't just one book. It was a set of books.

"Check…this…out!" He opened to the first couple of pages. As I took the first one out of about six, I was frozen when I saw the contents.

It was a guide. A guide to hunt the creatures. A guide to how to kill them.