The edge of the dome of New Philadelphia inched closer with every turn of the wheel.
Collette drove her custom motorcycle down the main road. The bike was a combination of post-chem technology with twentieth century engineering.
No one drove the main road anymore, preferring to speed around in hover cars and private helis, but Collette loved the skill required to read the road. She had modified it to match 250kph speeds and relished the days that she was allowed to exit the domed city.
All must drive down this stretch of road to enter and exit the city. The immigration station was positioned on the lower levels to prevent the people in the slums from leaving. The dome was for their protection, after all, but they still managed to find a way out.
Collette slowed down at the gate and flashed her badge at the clerk. It sparkled in shades of gold and red, and the clerk jumped at attention. After regaining some composure, he waved his hand, “Go on.”
Collette released the throttle. The bike shot forward and reached 150kph within 2 seconds. The engine roared ferociously, and Collette allowed herself a smile.
She sped past a black mini tank and circled it twice for the fun of it before going back to the track. After 5 minutes of enjoyment, Collette slowed down and started what she did best.
Outside the dome, the world had become overgrown. Blades of grass were as tall as she was, and lurking within any patch could be any number of beasts. The sound of Collette’s motorcycle drove most away, though, and she was proud that part of that came from their knowledge of her.
20km away from the city, she finally caught sight of a clue. A piece of torn fabric fluttered along the grass. She slowed the bike, jumped off the seat to catch it, and landed on the ground in a somersault.
A scent was still fresh on it. It was definitely someone that used to live in the slums. They had a distinct odour. But this person had left, maybe a week or two ago. The outside air was persistent throughout. She smelled the brutal death, as well. Blood. And not in the fashion beknownest to creatures that inhabited this land. It was a crime of passion, not of need or survival.
Collette decided to park her bike beside a nearby tree. The sound of it might frighten her prey away, and she had been too lucky in finding the clue.
Armed with a multitude of weaponised devices, Collette entered the grass. She scavenged for clues – broken grass, scents, anything.
She continued for hours and found a pattern – a hunting circle. In the centre would be her prey.
Dusk settled. Collette saw a house within view. It was covered in vines and moss, but it was also a suitable den. She inched to the outskirts of the house and waited in the dense bush.
Blending in with near perfection, the only thing that could possibly reveal her location were her eyes. She waited. Her hindquarters crouched in anticipation, and her front legs were ready to pounce.
The wait would not be long. A single creak on wood echoed inside, and she knew her prey was on the move.
The grey wolf-like creature stepped out of the den. Its head inclined upward and sniffed the air. Its ears perked up, and it puffed out its chest into a howl.
With feline speed, Collette ambushed him. Her leap of three meters ensured she landed on top, pinning his stomach to the ground. Her arms and legs wrapped around, but he wasn’t going down without a fight. His paws touched the earth, and he bounded. Collette was not so easily lost, though. He whined and growled and tried to roll around to knock her off his back, but her grip was too strong. Flattening him onto the ground, she gnashed her teeth into his neck, and he cried. The cry sounded more human than wolf, and she knew she had managed to pinpoint his veins in the bite.
He slumped to the ground as the sedative took over his motor functions and rendered him useless.
Collette stood up and wiped the blood off her mouth. She crinkled her nose and spat out the remainder.
When she was convinced the horrifying taste was out of her mouth, Collette lifted her prey and tied him around her neck. She got down on all fours and sprinted for 5km before finding the main road where she initiated her global positioning beacon.
Seconds later, the black mini tank sped down the road and stopped just before it hit her.
“Nice work, as usual,” she heard.
Collette sighed, “As if you expected any less, Boris.”
She released the man-wolf with one hand and gave it to the men coming out of the tank.
“A little out of the way, isn’t it? How did you come upon this place?” Boris asked.
“Instinct.” Collette shrugged.
“It’s been fifteen days since he disappeared.”
“He had a hunting routine about 8km up the road.”
“Whatever, kitty cat -”
“Panther,” she growled.
“Whatever…. The boss wants to see you for another job.”
“Right-o… Tell Dad I’ll be there as soon as I get out of customs.”
The men loaded up in the mini tank. Collette watched as they sped away. Then dropped to all fours and sprinted back to her bike.
She wondered what would happen to the man. It wasn’t her job to prosecute those men or women that succumb to their animalistic urges, but she was responsible for finding them to ensure justice prevailed.
Collette pulled on her ears and stretched her tail. The backside of her arms and her back were a shade of black. She’d been born this way. Created in a lab in her father’s office. With every job, she wondered when she would become the hunted and no longer the hunter. Probably sooner than she hoped.