Bad Company

“So, am I correct in assuming that you only go for our white women?” Richard asked, spearing the slice of grilled pork with his fork and jabbing the meat into his eager mouth.

Here it was. The moment of truth that Nathan had been dreading since before he arrived. The question, delivered with such revulsion that his many hours of mental gymnastics had proven inadequate preparation for the sting once the words finally sliced through the tenuous air.

He shot a sly glance across the table at his host.

“Richard, it’s obvious you and I come from different worlds, but we’re not all that different,” Nathan responded, the frozen eyes from the faces of so many dead animal heads mounted on the walls staring down at him, urging him to continue. “In Philly, questions like that don’t get asked. It doesn’t matter how others live their lives. My guess is that if you look deeper into the well, you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

“You got that liberal north in you…boy,” Richard spat the last word.

Inside, Nathan’s stomach churned.

“It’s a simple question, with an equally simple answer,” the older man continued. “Let me show you how easy it is, Nathan.” Pausing. “Without a shadow of a doubt, I’ve never had any interest in any woman that wasn’t a white woman. My crayon box has no colors. So, I guess I can understand your particular…shall we say…fetish?” He finished, chewing on his words as much as the food in his mouth.

It had probably been a mistake to visit Christine’s father. Not to mention taking the 800-mile trip to southern Indiana without her knowledge. But, against his better judgment, Nathan had done just that. And he now found himself sitting at the dining room table with the man from whom Christine had spent so many of her own years running away from.

“For the most part, Christine and I feel it’s not what’s on the outside that makes us different. We also don’t necessarily agree about what’s on the inside,” Nathan said, thinking about the girlfriend he’d lied to about a last-minute business trip to L.A.

“That Christine… Always a bit of a wild hare. Gotta give ‘er that one! No matter how we tried, her mother and I never could seem to get her to understand the importance of tradition. Ever since she was little she went her own way. Even becoming a vegetarian; can you imagine?” Richard said, popping another bite of meat into his mouth. The trophy heads hanging on the walls of the room listened in silence. “Never raised her that way. Just up and changed — was the darndest thing. I blame the liberal colleges she attended.”

Nathan remained silent, non-committal.

“So, I take it you’re a hunter, Nathan. How does that square with Christine?” Richard asked, changing the subject.

Christine had shared many tales of her father’s exploits. Had explained how he prided his ability to track down and kill any type of game — the wilder or more exotic the better. The mounted heads of antelope, buffalo, kangaroo, and boar, along with the more mundane deer and moose that lined the walls of the dining room were testaments to her tales. From just above his own head, Richard’s pride and joy, a massive grizzly bear, growled down at Nathan.

“Why else would I be here, Richard?” Nathan responded, rhetorically.

“One time…many years ago, Christine brought home a Chinese boy she’d been dating. Again…back in college…the root of all her problems, I’m convinced. Didn’t raise her to associate with the others, but the free-willed person she was, she went on and did it anyway,” he finished, pointing his empty fork at Nathan, punctuating his words.

“I believe Jon was Vietnamese,” Nathan corrected him, remembering Christine’s account of her first boyfriend meeting her father. According to her, it hadn’t gone well. Nathan now understood why.

“Is there any difference? All Orientals…” Richard stated, matter-of-factly. “Did you see my oriental rug?” Pointing at the floor beneath the table. “It came from Japan. In the Orient.

“Anyway, that one, he didn’t last very long. Didn’t have the right stuff, I guess,” he continued. “Too much of the same color in his crayon box. Yellow, ya might say. That’s when I started questioning my daughter’s choices. So what makes you think you’ll fare better than he did?” He asked, sucking the meat from a rib, his lips smacking obscenely.

“Growing up in eastern P.A., I spent a great deal of time in the Poconos,” Nathan explained. “I know a thing or two about the hunt. I’d like to think I’m pretty capable with a gun…or a knife… Or anything else, for that matter,” he said, throwing a smirk at the older man, who refused the bait.

“That so…?” Richard stated, more than asked. “Guess we find out tomorrow. I believe maybe you think you’re gonna show me a thing or two. I can smell it on ya. Just a warning though, sometimes I don’t play fair…” Richard said, his voice all sincerity. “So, wake-up call’s 4:00am. We’ll see what you’ve got, City Boy. And, remember, winner takes all.”

“Winner takes all,” Nathan agreed.


They had driven to a location about 50 miles outside of town to a spot Richard claimed offered the best hunting around. Most importantly, it was far enough from the prying eyes of the law, he had explained on the trip into the country.

With the morning sun bleeding into the sky, the two men walked as quietly as possible through the dense forest. Each armed with their own Browning auto-loader, more than a few field dressing knives and enough ammunition to take down a whole herd if need be. Their meandering path through the woods kept them off the well-worn trails but close enough to see any movement on them. Speaking very little during the hour or so hike, they left all the talking to their footfalls — an ominous reminder to each why the other was there.

Richard broke the silence, his hand shooting into the air to halt Nathan who followed a few steps behind. Whispering, he pointed. “There, ‘bout 20 yards to the east, just beyond that copse of trees.”

In the distance, Nathan saw movement behind the brush — flashes of white, brown and tan among a sea of green.

“Looks like we got us a couple,” Richard said. “See there, a beautiful white-tailed doe out for an early morning stroll, with her magnificent buck in tow. No inter-species mingling goin’ on there,” he chided, almost chuckling at his own bad joke.

“Indeed, she’s a beauty. And what’s he, about a 4- or 5-pointer?”

Richard ignored the question.

Raising his rifle to peer through the scope, Nathan watched the magnificent creatures step from behind a stand of trees. He thought he noticed a slight twitch in the buck’s head, potentially signaling the hunters’ undoing. The moment passed, and they trotted on.

“We’re ‘bout to see what you’re made of, Mr. City Boy,” Richard said. “You got one shot. And remember, all or nuthin’.” The look in his eyes almost a gleam.

Nathan could almost hear the smirk in the old man’s voice.

“Gotta do this together, if we aim to bag ‘em both.”

“I’m with ya, old man,” Nathan said, aware that the shots, if not almost simultaneous, would spook one of the animals into bolting. And, considering he’d come this far, he wasn’t about to make a mistake, knowing full well the repercussions.

“You take the female. I’ll get the male. Okay?”

“Just as I’d prefer,” Nathan said.

“On three,” Richard’s voice barely above a whisper.


Nathan steadied the butt of the rifle against his shoulder and peered through the scope, positioning his magnified crosshairs on the animal’s chest.


Richard stared into the face of the buck whose brown eye blinked once before turning his head directly into the hunter’s sights, inadvertently lining up the shot on his own forehead.


The bullets flew from their chambers.

An explosion of red burst from the doe’s chest as Nathan’s shot entered just above her heart. The buck’s skull splintered as Richard’s bullet drove its way home. The female wobbled on unsure legs before bouncing into a tree and falling to the ground. The male collapsed where he stood, Richard’s aim point blank.

“Looks like you ain’t half bad with that rifle after all,” Richard said, almost congratulatory.

The hunters shambled to where their kill now lay on the ground. The male had died instantly. Richard grabbed his legs, flopping him unceremoniously onto his back. His head, lolling awkwardly from a lifeless neck, was a shattered mass where the exit wound had blown out the back of his skull. Nothing that taxidermy couldn’t fix.

Nathan’s female was drowning in a pool of blood, struggling for life. A few labored breaths bubbled red out of her nostrils and from between her lips. Unsheathing his dressing blade, he mercifully jabbed the sharpened steel into her stomach. With a motion more precarious than planned, he slid the blade through her rib cage and up to her gullet, splaying open her chest cavity and emptying its contents onto the ground. With the blood-stained point of his blade, he flipped aside her jogging bra, sending a spray of red into her blonde hair. Her porcelain flesh now exposed, Nathan sliced a large section of flesh from her breast and popped it into his greedy mouth, the areola bouncing between his teeth.

“Well, Nathan, even if you do look a bit like a raisin in the sun,” Richard said, “seems like we’ve got more in common than I thought. Guess it’s true what they say about a daddy’s girl. No matter what, she always finds someone who’s just like her dear old pa.”

For the first time that weekend, Richard Morgan smiled.

~ Daemonwulf

© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.

Heed the Tale Weaver: Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Damned. Through May 7, 2013, upon each new post, a comment you will leave. A package of ghoulish goodies tainted with an offering from every member of the Damned awaits one fated winner – glorious books, personalized stories and eternal suffering at your feet. Now Damn yourself, make your mark below! But remember insolent ones, you must leave a comment, a “like” will not earn you a chance at our collection of depravity. Do not make the Damned hunt you down.

44 thoughts on “Bad Company

  1. Just another excellent entry from your dark and terrible mind, Sir Daemonwulf. Featuring that most diabolical of demons, the racist from southern Indiana. 🙂 I can totally picture that hateful red-faced countenance in my mind. Expert pacing and tension as always. Never saw that ending coming. The story went in a completely different direction than I was expecting. I couldn’t help but wince when I read which part of the prey Nathan decided to sample first. It never ceases to amaze me how you can come up with such original concepts for every piece. The only commonality is how well crafted your stories are each time. A very satisfying tale that will, of course, keep me coming back for more. I don’t think I will ever tire of reading your work. So please keep it coming.


    1. Well, living here in the city of wind, we are familiar with some of the lesser-known ‘qualities’ of the Hoosier state. *toothy grin*

      Thank you very much for your continued support of my general mania. It never ceases to amaze me how you, friend, can come up with such insightful commentary for myself and everyone else here on Pen of the Damned. I, for one, truly appreciate your thoughtful words. *honest face*


  2. Always with the devilish twist at the end, I do so enjoy your work Mr Daemonwulf and you never fail to satisfy and entertain me. Knowing your writing as I like to think I do, I did know something was going to come out and bite me but oh…how I enjoy it when I do actually get bit, even when I was looking out for it and trying not to be caught out…again! An excellent piece as always Sir.


    1. Thank you so very much, ‘Bitten’ Bernie. I am always honestly thrilled to read your comments as you provide very valuable insight into the pieces I post here on Pen of the Damned.

      And, I’m happy I was able to keep my secret…er…a secret until just the right moment. To be honest, that was a bit of a challenge. But I thought that throwing in a few red herrings (*fishy face*) here and there assisted a bit. But I hope the final…er…bite, as it were, wasn’t too painful. *toothy grin*


  3. Excellent story, Daemonwulf! Thoroughly engrossing tale! I knew you were up to no good as the story progressed, and that ‘Bad Company’ was not as it would seem; still, I tried best as I could to suppress my own inclination of guessing where your deviously polluted mind might be heading! lol I am glad I did so, because I rejoiced at the wicked ride your story threw me along.

    All elements of “Bad Company” were expertly crafted, & I respectfully applaud you. Thank you for taking the time to write & share another superb tale!!


    1. Why, thank you Joe-ster. *humbled smile* A comment such as that coming from you is sincerely appreciated. Keeping my ‘pollution’ under wraps (so to speak) throughout this piece was an enjoyable personal challenge, as my horrendous thoughts fought with my fingers all the way. I can only believe that, based on your comments, my big wulven paws won out this time. *sneaky smile*

      And I do so enjoy a wicked ride that bobs and weaves between the linesman of good taste and vicious tongue. I guess…that’s why they call me…bad company. *I-can’t-deny grin*


  4. Pure brilliance as always! I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy your writing voice and style. Reading your work is always such a visceral treat. Every sense gets heightened and the anticipation of what is to come at times almost becomes too much!

    This was one wickedly sick tale. 😀 You’ll have to forgive me for taking a gander at where you were going with this one. I was pretty sure I knew, but then, in Typical Daemonwulf fashion, you rip the rug out from underneath your readers and throw them for a loop. What a creative and demented twist at the end. So sweetly sick!

    Thank you for sharing your wondrous talents and delivering another mind-numbing read. *bows*


    1. Aw shucks… *humbled smile* Why thank you so much oh lovely maiden of Noir. Your comments are always superb and wonderfully helpful. As I have said before, it is only with comments such as yours do we, as writers, know we are accomplishing the challenges we’ve established for ourselves.

      And, to that point, I thank you for trying to take a stab at where the story was going, but as long as I could pull the rug out from under your feet and you landing on soft ground (without any pain, of course), I was able to succeed.

      Again, thank you very much Adriana for taking the time to read and to comment on this and all my other pieces. *highly-appreciative smile*


  5. Daemonwulf. Great story. You had me screaming from the stands for Nathan, cheering him on with his quest for the hunter’s daughter. Richard (the General Zaroff of Indiana?) was easy to loathe.

    Having done plentyof hunting myself, I found myself visualizing the field dressing process as Nathan started – the smells, the warmth of the blood and organs – until I got to the part where he flipped asside her jogging bra.

    I believe I actually said “Good hell” at this part. I love the heinous twist. The trip from a mundane hunt to the most dangerous game was done very well. It was subtle and well executed (pun intended).

    Many hunters take prized parts of their kill and eat it on the spot (athough usually the liver, or heart, and cooked). Nathan having a post-kill snack was not at all surprising, although his choice of “meat” delivered the shock I’m sure it was meant to deliver. Good stuff Wulf!


    1. Thank you, Zack. I think you have just made my day with your kind words!

      I actually loathed Richard myself. I have little tolerance for intolerance. But then, I suppose, that could be an example of my intolerance of the intolerant. *accidentally-got-my-head-spinning-there smile*

      You bring a smile to my face (if that is proper choice of words, considering…) when you tell me that you experience the sights and sounds and smells and all that go with my little ‘hunt.’ I’m happy to have been able to communicate that in such short space. I am not one who is necessarily comfortable being confined by word limits (as you can probably tell from this reply…), and it is always a challenge I find, here on Pen of the Damned, to squeeze all the many horrors that seep into my mind into such a confined space. But with each attempt, I whittle away at the word count. One day I might even be able to communicate everything in a couple words. Oh, something like, I dunno “Jesus wept.” Nah!

      Sorry for the digressing monologue. I just want to say that I honestly appreciate you taking the time to read my pieces and also taking the time to share your thoughts. They are immensely valuable to me. Now, off to the hunt, my friend! *predatory stare*

      BTW, are you still cheering for Nathan? *devious smile*


      1. I tend to be verbose, my fiendish friend, but I think you do an admirable job with word choice/control in the confined space of your stories.

        Still cheering for Nathan? My devious side wonders why he didn’t chose something more savory like her thymus or her pancreas.


  6. Love the twist DW
    knowing your twistiness I thought they were going to hunt each other.
    I’m waiting for Richard to scope out Nathan
    That’s some kinda hunt – Deliverance (for none)


    1. Thank you very much Leslie for reading my piece and sharing your thoughts. They are appreciated. And, as an FYI, I do like making people twist. Not to mention…shout… *ghoulish grin*


  7. This is a very accomplished short, Wolfy! Like Leslie, I was expecting one of the men to take a shot at the other. Then I snagged on the sporting bra (so to speak!) and realised just what it was they were up to, out there in the wilderness. An engrossing story, a confident voice and an unexpected twist make this an excellent piece of writing.


    1. Why thank you, Mr. Brown. Glad I could throw you a curve and then slide the…er…knife (so to speak!) into the right place at just the right moment. *wily smile* And, as always, I appreciate you sharing your thoughtful review and insights. *sincere smile*


  8. As always, an excellent tale, Daemonwulf! The aggression in the dialogue between the two was dispassionate enough to support the cold blooded end of the piece, yet offensive enough to falsely lead the reader to believe the competition would be of a different nature all together. Great twist at the end, but then again – we’d be foolish to expect anything pedestrian from you at this point!

    Well done Wulfman!! 5 pads up! ;}


    1. Well, unless the pedestrian was taking an early morning stroll in the woods… *sneaky smile* Again, I have said it before and I say it again (to you and to others), I truly appreciate your thoughts on all of my work here at Pen of the Damned and can only say how happy I am to be one small part of a very talented group of writers who all share one thing — a seriously depraved soul. *soulless howl*


    1. *appreciative smile* Thank you Cherry Wonder. *toothy grin* Your very succinct comment may be the one that means the most to me. The fact that you would be willing to consume even more of my madness is a compliment that is surely humbling. Thank you very, very much.


  9. I will be damned.

    No, seriously, that’s what I said when I finished reading! My, my, Damned sir, you did have fun with this, didn’t you? I admit I was completely fooled, and blindly chased the red herrings you threw us (what? The scales were shiny…). In fact, when I reached the gruesome twist, I was so engrossed (see what I did there?) that I didn’t immediately catch on when the jogging bra came off. What a wicked shock to the system. Well done! I force my aching bones to bow (unless you prefer I attempt a curtsey). I’ve been had by the Damned again.

    – Murphy


    1. Hmmm, well if it isn’t the solicitor from the Em’rald Isle… *sneaky smile* Why thank you Lady Lawyer for your awesome comments on my sick-mindedness. I very much appreciate you taking the journey into the woods with Richard and Nathan. And am glad I was able to shock your system. I do so like system shocks. *toothy grin*


      1. It is myself! *bows with a flourish* You’re entirely welcome. I promise I was sincere. *this-is-sincere smile* I too enjoy system shocks, both administered and received. Quite the visceral thrill, though maybe not on a par with Nathan and Richard’s hunt. *sneaky smirk* And if this is bad company, I must say I feel quite at home. Don’t be surprised if I sneak in from time to time, my lupine friend–and that goes for the rest of you Damned, too!


        1. I didn’t doubt your sincerity at all. I actually, very humbly, appreciate it more than I can actually express. (Sometimes, the wulven part of me likes to play around. We have this internal battles, don’tcha see… But, at the moment, the human me is fully in charge.) Honestly, I was thrilled to read your thoughts and your reactions to this piece. I do hope you return and continue to be shocked, appalled, frightened, squeamished (*making-up-words smile*), and downright entertained with everything we Damned do. Remember, once you go Damned, you … well, you get my drift. *yankee-colloquialism smile*


          1. Oh, I get your drift. It’s blowing a nasty breeze up my shirt as I type! I’m familiar with internal battles myself… Writing the ones that aren’t mine is fun.

            Don’t you worry about me. I’ll be back.

            P.S. You said that in Schwarzzenegger’s voice.

            P.P.S. Squeamished is my new favourite word.


          2. Far as I can tell, it’s just fun to say. B’dad, b’dad, b’dad. *now-you-try grin* As to the rest of the pretty offerings at PEN, I intend to check them out, a bit at a time, when I have time to savour them. *licks lips and grins*


  10. Wulf, the hunt was thrilling. Great tale as always! Your dialog was fantastic and real, pulling me in as a witness to actual events rather than a reader of words. I too expected the men to battle each other; the plot was laid out expertly so the twist was genuine and satisfying.
    …I heard areola’s are the new jerky. Do they come in Cajun-style?


    1. Thank you Tyr. I very much appreciate your comments and also your reblog-eration at your stunningly scary home. *sharp smile*

      I think just about ANYthing can come in Cajun style these days. BAM! *Emeril grin*


  11. Lovely tale, my wulfy friend! Even I, a non-hunter and vegetarian as well, took pleasure in the succulence afforded at the end of the hunt. Some white meat is indeed better than others.



    1. Why thanksssss, Blazerino! (BTW, do you drive a Chevy Blazer? *stupid-tangential smile*) I am glad that you, even though a vegetarian, can appreciate the…er…’finer delicacies’ that tempt a carnivores discerning palette. *toothy grin*


    1. Thankssss, HMC. You are right, it does appear that the “Ick Factor” has gone without proper, Ickiness. *icky grin* In all seriousness, I thank you for your comment, even though there were certain…er…parts, that may have given you the willies. *toothy grin*


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