Kareema did so.
“Now close your eyes,” Hunter said.
He watched as she complied and then pulled the trigger. His rifle thundered, breaking the otherwise dead calm of the city. Kareema crept closer; not looking perturbed over the dead animal. Slinging his rifle, Hunter felt satisfied that he had fed his pack for another day.
He sniffed the top of Kareema’s head affectionately.
“Let’s go home,” he said.
Stabbing his hand at the sternum of the corpse, Hunter bunched the man’s jacket and lifted him from the road with little effort. They chatted on the walk back with the body dangling in Hunters grip, its arms and legs at times, meeting with the road’s surface. Several corners they turned, before the familiar scent of the pack filled their nostrils. Hunter could hear them before he turned the final corner.
Most beasts of the new world could ill afford to make noise; not a manog pack. A Konallis beast was so much larger; armour plated and almost as savage. In a one to one battle with a manog, the manog would always lose, but a pack of manogs would rip the beast to livid shreds in a matter of moments. That made them the current lords of the earth. The pack, about twenty-two others, idled around a huge fire, burning a pile of debris.
Hunter walked into their midst, and dropped the corpse. Pups of varying ages among the pack sniffed at the human body. Idexbe, Hunter’s young nephew curled his lip, about to take a bite. Queorp, his mother nipped the back of his leg, stopping him.
“Not until it’s cooked. Those things carry diseases,” she said.
Idexbe muttered something under his breath. Queorp gave a low grow, forcing him to lower his head.
“You and your friends can get the thing ready,” Queorp said. “Take it away, gut it, then wash it.”
Another male pup, roughly the same age, took hold of an arm as Idexbe took one. Between them, they dragged the corpse away with the other children following.
“And if a bite’s missing, I’ll know who to blame,” Queorp called after them.
“When they gut it, they’re going to eat the offal raw; you know that; don’t you?” said Hunter.
Hunter’s female, Jawey licked his snout in appreciation of his efforts. He did the same with her a moment before they rubbed heads together.
His brother took a step forward, releasing his musk of exultation. Entarbaran, didn’t stand quite as tall as the other males, but half a shoulder wider. Easily the strongest and most savage of the pack; he became their leader. Hunter imagined his brother had no fear. Scars criss-crossed Entabaran’s tan and black furred head and the tip of his right ear kinked over; a testament to his savagery. Many a time, he had leapt into the fray against a savage beast or another manog without any thought of his own safety; always the victor.
“You’ve done well, Cadoboras.”
“Hunter,” he corrected.
He had earned his title, and therefore expected others to use it, including his brother.