Brave Little Thing


huruma_icon.gif weasel_icon.gif

Scene Title Brave Little Thing
Synopsis Two acquaintances meet in the wilds of Park Slope.
Date October 8, 2018

Park Slope

Park Slope is a narrow stretch of the Safe Zone that has thoroughly resisted attempts to reclaim it. Nearly all of Park Slope is completely overrun by wild and untamed plant life that spread out from Prospect Park in the decade following the Civil War. However, seven years of abandonment does not quite account for the abundant foliage that has spread across the neighborhood, pressing its way between tenement buildings, crawling up factories, and reclaiming entire streets. Safe Zone authorities speculate that there may be unknown SLC-Expressive residents within the neighborhood who are able to manipulate the plantlife, but have yet to uncover any proof of this. Due to massive structural damage and the presence of second-generation escaped zoo wildlife, much of the region has been left as parkland, and plans to form an official border around the wild and overgrown neighborhood are coming together. There is no electricity or public works in Park Slope, but in spite of this some Safe Zone residents have chosen to resettle in the area, bringing personal generators and occupying gorgeous — if somewhat overgrown — townhouses on the edge of this lush wilderness.

October’s first couple of weeks are a whirlwind of weather; alternating from warm and cold, blustery to stormy. Park Slope’s forested neighborhoods are turning to shades of autumn amidst the fields and overgrown buildings. The old park lands are lovely wilderness now, perfect for spots of wildlife to come back amongst the city from the sprawls of Staten Island and the rest of the city. While Huruma could head out into the Islands elsewhere for what she is doing, sometimes it is simply better to stay within a territory. The land past the outskirts had plenty of game thriving without a system of checks, and it wasn’t unusual to see the fauna in places like the Slope.

Though as of right now, it is difficult to tell if Huruma is planning on hunting or observing. The one thing she is unequivocally doing is tracking hoofprints and pawprints down brush trails. Sun is shining though the air is chilled, and Huruma’s silent hiking comes with puffs of breath muffled by the upturned collar of a men’s coat, a simple rifle slung across her back.

Her features are intent, and unbothered- - yet there lingers a definite simmer of something angry.

Sometimes, distractions in the wilderness can be fatal. One wrong step, or one unexpected addition to the environment, and it can mean death.

Fortunately for Huruma, this is only true for the panicked rabbit that suddenly runs across her path. It skids to a halt, staring up at the woman with wide, fearful eyes, its sides heaving with labored breath — it’s been running.

The reason becomes apparent moments later, when a tiny little bullet of brown and white fur shoots out from the brush, attaching itself to the rabbit’s back and sinking its teeth in deep. The poor beast lets out a shrill noise, taking off at a stumbling run with its new attachment, only to slow and collapse just as quickly.

Once the rabbit is (mostly) still, the tiny weasel lifts its head, glaring at Huruma as if to challenge her to try and take its hard-earned prey.

Brave little thing.

Huruma stills as the brush whips and parts, eyes on the rabbit and senses on the nebulous fear that it looks to her with. She doesn't draw her rifle, however, perfectly knowing of the manner that prey shows. Watching from just down the trail, her eyes stay on the squeaking tumble and the stoat creature that tussles the rabbit into submission.

The tiny, beady glare at her is returned with one of her own. Her nose wrinkles at the edges and she briefly shows the edges of her teeth. She isn't here to take his kill, but she doesn't appreciate guff either.

The mutual glower doesn’t last horribly long; the rabbit gives a feeble kick, and the little weasel is back to driving its needle-like teeth into the back of the creature’s neck, letting out an angry squeak as it does so.

Another distraction comes rumbling through the brush — this one is a fat-looking old skunk, which promptly inserts itself between Huruma and the weasel, tail upraised. It defiantly watches the woman, giving a small stop as a notice that she probably shouldn’t come too much closer.

That doesn’t last long, however. After a moment, the little creature lowers its tail and promptly turns to watch the weasel dispatch its prey. The reason why comes shortly after — confusion and curiosity can be felt from the girl who shortly after emerges, dark brown eyes already pinned to Huruma.

“You visited us in Canada,” the comparatively tiny girl states as she halts next to a tree, leaning against it and looking the tall woman over, arms crossing over her chest.

The girl is tromping right into her field of ability, and by the time she arrives, Huruma has turned her attention upon her. Skunk is given one more wary eye, despite the lowered defenses. She knows what they tend to do, even if they seem to calm down. As long as she is not threatening it. It ought to be fine.

“And you are a far way from home.” Huruma answers, low and plain. Her eyes shade under lids as she looks the teenager over more thoroughly. “Friends of yours, I suppose.” She looks between the at-ease girl and the pair of critters down the path.

“Followed my siblings,” the girl replies, looking over Huruma a bit more — mostly, at her gun. She wrinkles her nose slightly, before turning back to look at the pair of musteloids that seem to be…friends? The pudgy skunk promptly sinks down onto its rear end, turning a watchful eye toward the woman once he’s satisfied that the rabbit is under control.

“That’s Pepe Le Pew,” she points to the skunk, then gestures to the weasel, which is still latched onto the rabbit. “That’s Ron Weasel-ey. He’s catching our supper.” She turns to peer at the rabbit, before giving the little weasel a small, respectful nod.

Then, she’s got her attention back to Huruma. “Pepe won’t spray you.” She says that as if she knows that he won’t — though Huruma probably already knows of her affinity to such animals.

“He had best not.” It is less of a warning and more of a certainty. The girl feels sure of herself. Huruma silently notes the study of the rifle, though she makes no move to fuss with it.

“I am not here for anyone. I am here for the same reason you are. To a lesser degree.” She has no need to do it, but she wants to- - and anything she can get for someone else is just a plus. Sometimes you just want to shoot something. If it feeds a mouth, all the better.

One hand raises, and Weasel points back the way she came. “There’s a clearing back there with more rabbits,” she replies. “They don’t get hunted as much in here, so there’s a lot.” She glances back toward the brush.

Then, she’s turning large brown eyes to peer up at Huruma again, still quite curious. “Have you seen my brothers and sisters?” She didn’t bother getting an address — so much better to find them herself. Or so she would say to defend her lack of planning.

She draws a little closer; Pepe stands, meanders a little closer to her, and plops his rear end down, staring curiously up at Huruma. His shiny nose wiggles as he takes in her scent. They’re all pretty curious — though Ron is currently dragging his mostly dead prey in a small circle in the autumn leaves, possibly to make sure it’s still dead. “What’s your name, again? I’m really bad with names.” She’s better with sights and smells, really.

“Pepe says you smell good.” That’s not a weird thing to say at all. It seems she feels…at least a little safe around Huruma.

Huruma glances past Weasel’s shoulder towards where she came from, making a mental note on her map of the place.

“Thank you, I think.” The tall woman looks down at the black and white pudge nearer to her feet. “You said you followed them?” Huruma questions the girl, puzzled. Maybe just tracked them, not followed? Her head cants some, mouth pursed. “I’ve seen your siblings quite a bit. Some more than others. Hailey often wanders in places like these, so I hear…”

“Huruma.” She answers the last with a slight tic of mouth in a smile, fingers flexing at her sides. “I only remember that they called you ‘Weasel’.” A thumb gestures gently towards the gumptious little guy dragging around the bunny.

A shrug rolls over Weasel’s narrow shoulders. “Followed. I knew they came down here, just didn’t get a mailing address.” She seems confident. “More fun to investigate and find out than to just get the answer from someone and look at a map.”

The mention of Hailey has Weasel’s eyes brightening. “Hailey?” She’s excited, suddenly — apparently, she looks upon the animal empath reverently. “I’ll have to keep an eye out for her.” She can’t help but grin a little bit.

The introduction and subsequent recall of her name prompts the young woman to nod. “Yeah, that’s what they call me.” She doesn’t offer an alternative, so she apparently prefers that nickname. She glances back to Ron, tilting her head to one side; the little creature stops its murderous dance, lifting its head to peer at the girl for a moment, before it suddenly drags the much larger rabbit over to her.

She picks it up by the back legs, and promptly swings it downward, bashing its head against the ground to ensure it is dead. Then, she pulls out some twine, and begins to wrap it around the creatures’ feet, before turning to string it up from her belt.

As she does this, the tiny little weasel climbs up her leg, ending up on her shoulder, where it stares Huruma down. Pepe…well, he’s found himself a nice juicy grasshopper to hunt.

“They frequent the market in Red Hook, if you want to start somewhere. That is usually the first place to look for anyone, to be honest…” Huruma watches the tie of the rabbit and the weasel’s climb. She leans a little forward to give the tiny guy a Look. Tough little nut, huh?

“Hailey keeps a little zoo of her own, I believe. They’ve picked up a straggler or two, as well. Least it seems so.” Huruma seems satisfied with her study of the beady eyes on the girl’s shoulder and leans back, arms linking. “If this is your first time here, avoid getting caught in the forest out on Staten, or up north.” A simple warning, really. It wouldn’t do to see her get snatched up first thing.

That information is filed away for later, the diminutive girl giving a few nods to indicate that she’s listening. Huruma’s examination of Ron prompts the little creature to squeak loudly at her — mostly a greeting, though also a bit of a warning not to get too close. Weasels have been rumored to be the most ferocious predators in some places, despite their small size.

“There are lots of raccoons out here. Some skunks and a few weasels, too. Lots more on the outside,” she explains, “I even found a few otters.”. One hand lifts up, playing at the back of her hair as she casually glances back to watch as the skunk pounces on the grasshopper, its sharp little teeth crunching into the insect. “I bet Hailey has a cool zoo, she always did have the best animals, even if I can’t talk to all of them.”

Then, she turns back, peering up at Huruma as her hand drops down, coming to rest in the pocket of her jacket. “What’s in the forest on Staten and up north?” She blinksblinks owlishly, curiosity sparking behind her eyes — while she’s sure that a woman like Huruma knows what she’s talking about when warning her away from places, she can’t help but wonder why.

“Trouble.” It is not specific at first. “Traffickers. The desperate and desolate. Some pockets of good.” Huruma waves a hand as she goes down the top most. “Feral dogs. Pirates. You know… trouble.” She stops just short of saying something like ‘zombies too’.

“Too many go missing.”

Initially, confidence blossoms in the young woman — she’s used to not many bothering her simply by virtue of her ability (and her skunk companion). Not to mention, the surplus of raccoons in New York makes for an ample amount of eyes and ears. It’s tamped down by caution, however — mostly with the traffickers in mind. She wrinkles her nose.

“I’ll try to avoid those areas, then.” She is sincere when she says this. As confident as she may be, she’s always done better at avoiding danger. “Thanks for the advice.” She idly scuffs at the dirt with the heel of one boot.

Then, she’s turning, raising one hand in a wave to Huruma. “Nice seeing you again, Huruma.” She always was one to keep things short.

Huruma knows how teenagers can be, so it is refreshing when it appears that Weasel takes her seriously. It is one thing she tries to impress on the younger set, that healthy caution. Some of them listen, sometimes.

“You are welcome.” She gives the younger woman a small smile, brows lifting. “Likewise. Happy hunting, darling.”

"Same to you," is Weasel's short reply over her shoulder, as she and her two Musteloid companions tromp off into the wilderness to do…whatever it is that she does out here.

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