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Predator And Prey

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He'd barely tasted the blood before he knew that one of them would die soon.

He hoped it wasn't him; Cuchillo couldn't stand the thought of dying on an empty stomach.

Opening his mouth as wide as it would go, he bit down on the supple rump, relishing both the way his teeth sank in and the strangled yell it brought forth from Corbett.

Make no mistake: He'd really rather not kill the Americano, but it seemed some things simply couldn't be helped. One of his usual escapes—riding off into the distance and leaving the man feeling as if he owed him a debt—was completely out of the question now. He might as well finish what he'd started.

Corbett's scream nearly drowned out the sound of tearing flesh as Cuchillo pulled back, but what were his not-entirely-human senses for if not catching the finer details of his prey's last moments?

Corbett finally scrambled away and drew his gun, eyes glinting in outrage as they watched Cuchillo calmly chew his morsel. Those reflexes were quick for his own kind, but positively sluggish in comparison to Cuchillo's. Blood from the wound had already soaked his backside and it was clear that Corbett's senses were numbing most of the bite's pain.

Finished chewing the meat, Cuchillo swallowed and threw Corbett a friendly grin from his position on the ground. It seemed as if Corbett was having some difficulty putting together his thoughts, opening and closing his mouth several times while sporting his usual incensed glare.

“What's the matter, did you think you were the only predator around?”

“...What?”

Cuchillo laughed and deftly jumped to his feet, straining at his bonds for a second before breaking free of them, his bloodlust granting him a strength boost.

His escape—if one could see fit to even commend it with such a word—served to shock Corbett out of his stupor.

“What did you do?” he demanded, twisting around to try to assess the damage while keeping his gun trained on Cuchillo.

“What does it look like I did, Americano?” Cuchillo laughed, licking his lips clean of blood. “Even you must have come across us sometime before, no? Or at least heard the stories?”

“Stories? What stories?” Corbett asked, voice lowered to a growl.

Cuchillo only laughed harder. As if Corbett knew anything about mustering up a real growl.

The sound of Corbett cocking his gun was enough to set Cuchillo back in motion. Swiftly, he ducked to the side, darting forward and closing a hand around Corbett's on the gun, using the other to hold his arm in place. Not sparing a moment, he lunged down and clamped his teeth on Corbett's wrist, hearing a crunch as he pulled the gun free.

He jumped back and holstered it, looked vaguely apologetic as Corbett winced over his mangled wrist.

“You—”

The numbness had evidently worn off, as Corbett barely made it one step forward before letting out a strangled cry and instinctively reaching back for his wound. His hand came away coated in blood, and at last the gravity of the situation appeared to sink in for him.

“C- Cuchillo...”

“You better run, Americano, or this isn't going to be very fun at all.”

That was all it took: Cuchillo jerked forward and Corbett spun on his heel, getting away as fast as he could manage. Of course, it wasn't terribly fast at all, and given there were hardly any good hiding places around, Cuchillo opted to give him a bit of a head start.

Just a bit.

After all, what good could it really do when he was leaving behind that conspicuous trail of blood everywhere he went?

 


 

I still see you,” Cuchillo singsonged, voice carrying through the desert.

Really, it was no fault of Corbett's; the desert could be a difficult place to blend into, particularly when wearing such dark clothes. However, Cuchillo couldn't be expected to wait around all day either.

It was time to start the chase.

He began running at a steady pace, something speedy enough to catch up with Corbett before too long, yet slow enough to prolong the thrill of the chase— or, in Corbett's case, the fear of the inevitable.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he called despite knowing perfectly well where Corbett was, the blood on the breeze being a dead giveaway. It didn't take Cuchillo more than five minutes to catch up, stopping a short distance away and quietly observing.

Corbett made for a pitiful sight. His wrist was bruised and swollen, his pants were smeared with blood, and it was clear he'd soon collapse. All the same, Cuchillo couldn't help grinning at the perseverance on display. Most of his former prey would've given up much earlier, leaving him almost regretful that Corbett's journey would end here and now.

As if on cue, Corbett staggered to a halt, breathing heavily and clutching his side, hand close to Cuchillo's bite.

“Giving up already?”

Corbett said nothing.

Cuchillo casually strolled around to stand before him, leaning over to catch his eyes. “Poor Americano... I really am sorry it had to be this way, but you simply smelled too delicious to resist.”

Corbett's gaze was resigned, face taut with pain but otherwise showing no sign of resistance. “What are you”—he paused to lick his lips—“going to do?”

“Oh, don't you worry about that,” said Cuchillo, standing back up. Confident that he had Corbett's attention, he added, “Just relax.”

He unhinged his jaw as Corbett watched in newfound horror.

 


 

It took a decent amount of work to get Corbett down his throat, mostly due to his size rather than any problems his struggling may have caused.

But what kind of predator would Cuchillo be if he let something as trivial as size get in the way of a good meal?

And so down Corbett had gone, screaming and squirming all the way, then starting up a new round of thrashing once the stomach acids began their work. The slightly bleeding wrist, the chunk missing from his backside, and all the other not-so-accidental scrapes and tears he'd gotten from being forced down Cuchillo's gullet... No wonder he'd screamed so loudly.

Cuchillo patted his bulging stomach with a grin. Corbett wasn't screaming anymore.

That was alright; he really had been too meddlesome for his own good.