Okay, so this is my entry for Kode’s Contest and I’m actually super excited for it, even if I don’t win. My birthday is October 3 and I’ve always just enjoyed Halloween!
-Blood and death and gore warning
-For all the elements of this story I’m using my fanfic tip pages
-All the names in this story are created by this website: https://www.findcatnames.com/warrior-cat-names/
MoonClan cats are living in fear of their own clanmates during this time of mystery. Mysterious murders have started happening and unexplainable events terrorize the clans. DarkClan is seemingly shrinking every day, and along with the disappearance of NightClan, this is enough to keep cats awake at night. Will Shadowheart find and reveal the source of the clan’s fear, or will she disappear too?
Medicine Cat: Breezeheart
Warriors(toms and she-cats without kits):
Stormfrost- thick furred dark gray she-cat with light blue eyes.
Rookrun- white and ginger tom with amber eyes.
Hollywater- Pale gray she-cat with green eyes.
Shimmerthistle- white tom with green eyes.
Pouncefall- flame colored tom with green eyes
Bouncerlower- gray tabby she-cat with white legs
Dawnpath- striped gray tabby she-cat
Shadowheart- white she-cat with gray legs and tail that fade into black around her paws and tail tip and gray ears with black at the tips and lilac eyes
Bramblepaw- gray tom with blue eyes
Cinderpaw- white she-cat with blue eyes
Queens(she-cats expecting or nursing kits):
Silverdawn- dappled dark gray and white with amber eyes, mother to Beechkit.(light brown tabby tom), and Birchkit(white she-cat with black flecks)
Lilytail- tortoiseshell with green eyes
Oakwing- gray and black tabby she-cat.
Leopardpoppy- pale brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Spiderjay- pale brown tom with green eyes
Leader: Featherstar- light brown tabby tom
Deputy: Cherryburr- pale gray and white she-cat
Medicine Cat: Dovefern- dark brown she-cat
Warriors(toms and she-cats without kits):
Grasstooth- black and gray tom
Swallowstone- spotcly light brown she-cat with white paws and tail tip
Queens(she-cats expecting or nursing kits):None
The swift winds howled as they blew across the treetops, making leaves rustle. The forest was mostly silent, except for the rustling of leaves and the quiet voices of cats. A gray tom was standing on a flat rock, speaking in low tones with a smaller cat.
“Cats are dying, Opalheart, we can’t just sit around!” The tom’s voice argued. His yellow eyes shone defiantly through the darkness.
“But Blacknose,” the small she-cat said, “they aren’t coming to StarClan. We can’t sit around and deliver prophecies when the entire fate of the stars rests with us, this may be our only chance of escape,” her voice was desperate and pleading. “If we don’t leave StarClan right now, we might never have the chance. Spiderskip and the others are holding it off, but it won’t last that long.” Blacknose thought for a moment.
“Saving StarClan does seem to be more important than earning the living clans,” he murmured, ‘without StarClan, there would be no living clans.” He turned to Opalheart.
“Okay, let’s go,” he said. The two cats whipped their heads around as a bloodcurdling screech sounded from the forest. The wind fell still and a dark mist crept it’s way out of the trees, advancing slowly toward the two cats. In front of the mist, they could see a black frost spreading out in paw shaped prints. Faint outlines of shadowy cats padded where the frost spread.
“Run!” Cried Opalheart and she and Blacknose dashed towards a pool that had vines growing around it and dove in. When the shadow cats entered the water it grew cold and thick, making it harder for the cats to swim down. Opalheart lost her sight for a second as shadows swirled around her but then her paws touched solid ground and she collapsed, panting. More Shades had found their way into the living world, which meant more Shades would prey on clan cats.
“Opalheart!” Blacknose dashed over to her form on the leafy ground. She was panting heavily. “It’s okay, they can’t get to us here,” he comforted. Her breathing steadied and she blinked open her eyes.
”No...” she breathed, “they can se your soul... they can feel your soul. We need to go,” she said, getting shakily to her paws. Blacknose shuddered. If the Shades caused this much damage to a StarClan cat, he could only imagine what it must be like for a living cat.
The clans are going to fall he thought panickedly, all of them. This is a darkness... beyond death.
The cold ache in Shadowpaw’s heart didn’t leave as Kinkstar called the clan together. She and Bravesoul we’re sitting on the Clanledge, and both cats had a haunted look in their eyes, as if shadows were chasing each other through their thoughts.
”Today, we are making our oldest apprentice a warrior. Shadowpaw has completed her training and is ready to become a warrior,” Kinkstar sounded tired.
”I, Kinkstar, leader of MoonClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn,” Kinkstar looked down at Shadowpaw, “Shadowpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your clan even at the cost of your life ?” Shadowpaw swallowed.
”I do,” she said, her voice quavering more than she wanted it to.
”Then by the power of StarClan I give you your warrior name. Shadowpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Shadowheart. StarClan honors your intelligence and quick thinking and we welcome you as a full warrior of MoonClan.” Shadowheart was supposed to feel happy, and even proud, but she wasn’t. The only thing she felt was the cold ache in her heart. She could tell the other cats felt it too. Nobody cheered her name or came up to congratulate her, they just went back to their places around camp, muttering ominously. Shadowheart’s friend, Hollywater, walked up to her.
”Great job!” She said, looking around the camp. “It’s strange, the camp seems so empty, but the whole clan is here,” Hollywater mused as they padded over to the fresh kill pile together. Shadowheart nodded.
”Everything seems empty lately. Words seem so meaningless,” Shadowheart paused, flipping over a squirrel with one paw, “it’s strange, don’t you think?” She grabbed the squirrel and headed to a corner of camp. Hollywater set down her rabbit.
”It is, nothing seems right,” she agreed, taking a bite of her prey. Shadowheart bent her head and bit into her squirrel. She looked around, chewing thoughtfully.
Once, as a small kit, Shadowheart had wondered what it was like to feel no emotion, to just be a black figure. Now she knew what it was like, she wanted to go back to being normal. Except, she couldn’t quite remember what normal was. It was as if something had been eating away at her happiness. She stood up, scattering squirrel bones everywhere.
”I’m going out,” she told Hollywater, who was still finishing her rabbit, “I’ll be back soon.” She walked across camp, depositing a mouthful of bones in a small hole where the apprentices would pick them up later. When she got out of camp, she figured she would hunt, since nothing was fun anymore, so she followed a scent trail to the edge of MoonClan territory.
What she saw next filled her heart with fear.
The ground was covered around the border with what looked like black frost. It was cold and crisp to the touch, and when Shadowheart set her paw on it it gave her chills that caused more fear than she ever imagined.
But that wasn’t the worst part.
The worst part was the black mist. It was cold, even though Shadowheart wasn’t near it, and gave of a sense of unease. It had formed a sort of thick screen, dividing MoonClan territory from that of DarkClan. It stretched out both ways as far as she could see. Shadowheart was scared more than she had ever been now, even when three big toms cornered her in a battle, so she turned, taking a step away. But something stopped her. There were faint whispers coming from the mist.
”I know your soul...” it whispered. Shadowheart took a step closer, forgetting her fear.
”Yes... come...” Shadowheart forgot what she was doing and stepped even closer, pulled towards the dark mist. She felt something tighten in her heart. Who... am I?
”You will be mine...” But Shadowheart didn’t care what the cold voice said, she didn’t even remember her name. She stretched out a paw and touched the mist which swirled around it for a second. The heartbeat she touched the mist a calm fell over her, she was moving without thinking. Acting without knowing.
Black frost started creeping up her leg. It slowly spread and reached her shoulder and advanced over her side. Everywhere it touched relaxed and fell still. She was one with the mist... she would obey the power of the Shades now. They were everything. The black frost had taken her soul now, there was no turning back. The mist was inside her, it’s glorious power part of her. Her vision went black and her eyes turned pure white as the mist took control of her.
”Now come, join us...” Shadowheart obeyed mindlessly. She wasn’t herself anymore, she was a creature of darkness and fear. Shadowheart stepped into the mist and it closed on her black frosted heart. A voice came dimly from the other side of the mist wall.
”No! Don’t touch it!” A cat was yelling. Shadowheart saw without seeing an image on the other side. A small cat was standing at the edge of the mist leaning his tiny face towards it.
”Come to us...” Shadowheart said in a voice that was not hers. The kit touched the mist with his nose and black frost crept over his tabby pelt. It didn’t take nearly as long for him to accept the calming effects of the mist as Shadowheart did. Shadowheart shuddered. Deep in her mind, she knew she needed to go back to her clan, but the Shades’ control over her was too great.
”Go back,” commanded the voice, “you will be summoned.” She obeyed, walking to the edge of the mist and stepping out on the MoonClan side. The Shades released their control and Shadowheart fell to the ground, gasping for breath. A cold, stabbing pain was pulsing everywhere along her entire body.
”Shadowheart! There you are!” A dim, relieved voice exclaimed. Her vision was fading, but Shadowheart managed to keep her senses long enough to warn the cat standing over her.
”Don't touch the mist...”
”I don’t see anything wrong,” a young cat’s nervous voice squeaked, “she’s perfectly healthy, nothing could have made her collapse like that!” Shadowheart cracked open her eyes. She was lying in a soft mossy nest in the medicine den, two cats were standing to the right of her, arguing.
”But she just came out of the mist and fainted. No healthy cat just does that!” Shadowheart recognized this as Hollywater’s voice, full of fear and concern. So Hollywater was the cat who found me, Shadowheart thought. She was beginning to remember what had happened, although she couldn’t even think at the time.
”Hi?” Shadowfoot said. Hollywater and Fernpaw turned their heads toward her. Fernpaw’s green eyes were full of confusion and annoyance, but there was fear and concern in Hollywater’s. “Ummm, so I’m fine now. Hollywater, can we talk?” Shadowheart asked. Hollywater hesitates for a heartbeat but then nodded.
”Okay,” she agreed, and the two she-cats brushed out of the den and into the forest. They found a thick patch of bushes and sat down under one, where nobody could find them.
“What happened?” Asked Hollywater before Shadowheart could say anything. “No, wait, don’t answer that yet. Before you start you should know that I followed you to help with your hunting, and saw you go into the mist. I saw the whole thing, I was about to come out of the tree that I was in, but you turned back to the mist, so I stayed hidden,” Hollywater explained.
Shadowheart took a deep breath and launched into her story about the voices and the kit and the frost. Hollywater listened intently and gasped when Shadowheart spoke of the frost taking over her soul and the kit’s. When she had finished, Hollywater shifted herself away from her a bit, as if she was dangerous.
”How could this happen?” Whispered Hollywater. She was looking at Shadowheart like she was a three headed rabbit. Shadowheart took a step closer.
”It’s okay, Hollywater, I promise I won’t hurt you,” she comforted her friend. Hollywater sighed.
”I know you alone would never hurt anyone without a cause,” she said reassuringly, “but if the Shades can take you over, who’s to tell what you’ll do.” Shadowheart winced. Her friend was right, she was a danger to her clan. She had to do something.
”I can’t cross the mist,” Shadowheart said, “it would give the Shades another ally, I would probably be stuck like that forever. If I want to preotect the clan, there’s only one thing I can do.” Shadowheart raised her paw and unsheathed her claws. Hollywater gasped.
”But you can’t kill them!” She exclaimed, “they’re too dark.” Hollywater’s eyes suddenly shone with understanding.
”No.. no,” she whispered, “no, Shadowheart DON’T,” she cried, tears streaming from her eyes. Shadowheart didn’t listen. She pressed her paw to her throat and dug her claws in slightly, wincing at the pain.
”Goodbye,” she said simply, and drove her claws in. Or tried to, at least, but her mind became foggy and she shuddered, putting her paw down to steady herself. Shadowheart staggered to the side and collapsed, breathing shallowly. Her mind went black and the voice returned.
”Kill her,” it ordered, and Shadowheart stood up and advanced on Hollywater.
”Wait,” commanded the voice in Shadowheart’s head. She froze. Hollywater scrambled backwards, but hit a thick tree and was cornered. She stared at Shadowheart with betrayal in her eyes.
”No,” the voice said, “do it, but slowly.” Shadowheart started in the direction of Hollywater again, who yelled in fear and tried to get around the tree, but Shadowheart grabbed her tail on her teeth and yanked back as hard as she could. A strip of flesh fell of of her tail tip, gushing blood.
”We will take you,” the Shade’s voice echoed out of Shadowheart’s mouth. Hollywater cried out.
”Shadowheart no!” Tears were streaming from her eyes, “Please!” Shadowheart unsheathed her claws and clawed her slowly, tearing her claws down the pale gray she-cat’s flank. The scratched welled with blood and black frost spread outward from them. Hollywater shrieked as the frost spread. Shadowheart dug her claws in the other cat’s belly, clawing deeper and deeper, ignoring Hollywater’s weakening cries as her organs were spread around the dirt. The black frost was creeping over the wound, sealing it over. Hollywater‘s breathing was shallow and rapid. Shadowheart put her claws to the throat of the limp cat and slowly started digging her claws in. Hollywater shrieked as black frost spread out of Shadowheart’s claw tips and in to her flesh.
”Shadowheart stop! It hurts! You’re killing me! Please stop Shadowheart, it hurts so much!” She begged. She struggled, but when Shadowheart finally had her claws deep enough, it was over. Hollywater’s protests had died down, and she was just making an eerie streaking noise now as the frost entered her soul. Shadowheart slammed her claws down on Hollywater’s side and tore, the gouges her claws left revealing a bloodied mess. Hollywater screeched again and Shadowheart tore out her throat. She was dead. The Shades released control over Shadowheart and she collapsed, but could feel black frost from the ground creeping over her body.
”Every night, you will kill the first cat you see in the most horrific way possible,” the voice commanded casually before her world went black.
When Shadowheart woke up, she was lying in the middle of camp, sprawled out on her side. There was soft fur pressing against her back and she turned around to see the body of Hollywater. There were gouges along her side and belly, and her throat was ripped out. Dried blood was crushed around the wounds. Her best friend had been mauled to death. Shadowheart would catch the cat who did this to her.
”She’s alive!” Exclaimed a cat from the side of camp, “she’s the first one who’s alive!” Now that Shadowheart had stood up, she saw three more bodies on the other side of Hollywater’s.
One was Breezeheart.
One was Oakwing.
One was Beechkit.
All three had black frost covering their chests and eyes.
“But that’s impossible,” said Fernpaw, staring at her, “she wasn’t breathing at all!” Fernpaw padded up to her, but her mother, Stormfrost shot in front of her kit, blocking her path.
”Her paws are covered in blood!” Stormfrost snarled, “she killed Hollywater, she’s a dangerous killer!” Accusing yowls rose up from the MoonClan cats. They were starting to back away from Shadowheart, who was beginning to remember how exactly Hollywater had been killed.
Shadowheart had gone into the forest with her friend to tell her a quit how the Shades took control of her. She had found a way to protect the clan, by getting rid of herself. She was about to slash her own throat when the Shades took her over again. She wasn’t herself, they made her slowly kill Hollywater with her own claws.
”Shadowheart, is this true?” Asked Kinkstar. Shadowheart looked at her leader. Kinkstar was her mother, she would have to believe her.
”Yes, it is,” Shadowheart replied. Gasps rolled around the clan, “but not like you think.” Shadowheart launched into her story about the mist and the black frost on her fur. And how the Shades could control her at any time they wanted now, but now how they told her to kill one cat every night. That was too bad.
”Oh Shadowheart...” Kinkstar replied. “You.. can’t stay here.” Kinkstar straightened. “You must leave, for the safety of your clan.” She waved her tail to the camp entrance.
”I can’t cross the mist,” Shadowheart explained, “it might turn me into a Shade.”
”What would be the difference?” Demanded a cat.
”Forever,” Shadowheart finished, “I would be like that all the time, I would never be able to be myself.” Kinkstar’s eyes flashed with grief.
”And we can’t give that Shades another ally,” said Kinkstar, “very well, you may stay in MoonClan, but you must stay in a secluded den. I’ll move in with the warriors and you will stay in my den.” Shadowheart nodded.
”Yes, Kinkstar.” She replied, and slipped into the den beside the Clanledge.
Shadowheart sighed and fell asleep. So many things were going wrong. The sun never shone anymore, no one was ever cheerful. All Shadowheart heard that night from her mother’s den were grim mutters. Mostly about her, she suspected. And why shouldn’t they? She had killed a clanmate, she had betrayed them all. She cracked her eyes open to see... daylight? The clans didn’t have daylight anymore, so wherever she was, she was glad to be. She stood up. She was in a small patch of sun, but on the edges there were shadows. Dark and foreboding, the undergrowth rustled. Shrieks came from in the shadows, and she could see black frosted paw prints at the edge of them.
Shadowheart backed away, but hit something soft. She hissed in surprise and rounded on whatever it was, preparing to attack, but it wasn’t dark. It was a small white she-cat, dappled with many shades of lavender gray and blue gray. One of her eyes was a soft purple, while the other was pale yellow.
”Who are you?” Shadowheart asked suspiciously, “are you a Shade? Well you can’t have my soul,” she hissed defiantly. She she-cat shook her head sadly.
”No, I am not a creature of darkness. Not any more than a newborn kit,” the cat sighed. Shadowheart let her fur lie flat.
”Then are you StarClan?” She asked. The she-cat thought for a moment, then looked back at Shadowheart.
“I don’t know the answer to that anymore,” she said, “I used to be, but the Shades drove me out. Or I fled like a coward.” She shook her head.
”Now I think Blacknose was right,” she continued, “we should have stayed in StarClan. We would have been able to warn the living clans sooner. But I persuaded him to leave with me. And now, I don’t even know if there is a StarClan.” She sighed, her beautiful eyes full of guilt.
“Can you help me?” Shadowheart asked the she-cat. “The Shades have-” the white cat cut her off.
”Taken your heart over, and now they’re coming for your soul. No, I can’t help you.” A shriek sounded in the forest.
“But what about the light?” Asked Shadowheart frantically, “we’re standing in light! There must be some way to stop them!” But the cat was looking around as if there was something in the bushes that was stalking them.
”The light is a figment of our imagination.” She said, “Stupid, hopeful imagination.” Blackness swirled around Shadowheart and she blinked her eyes open in her den. She couldn’t tell if it was day or night, only that everyone was gone. Or sleeping, which was definitely the case because there were two guards outside her den. Without warning her mind became fuzzy and she walked over to one of them.
She stalked up behind him and pounced, slamming his head on the ground. He let out a muffled screech and the other cat turned to see what was happening. He looked at them frantically and leapt onto Shadowheart’s shoulders, churning his back feet and tearing out clumps of her fur as he scratched her.
Shadowheart made no sound. She felt the pain, but was unable to yowl.
”Just get rid of both of them,” the voice of the Shade hissed to her in her mind. She bit down of the first tom’s neck and whipped around to slash the other’s throat, but he was lying on the ground, breathing quickly as black frost spread over his chest and eyes. Shadowheart raised a paw and slammed his head on the ground. His weak breathing stopped and the Shade’s voice laughed maniacally, echoing through Shadowheart’s head.
”Yes!” It pushed Shadowheart’s paws to guide her to the den she was staying in, and released control. Shadowheart winced as the pain came rushing to all her limbs and blacked out.
”No! Shimmerthistle! You can’t be dead, you can’t be!” Shadowheart cracked open her eyes. Her back stung like a cat had been clawing at it at night. A cat’s voice was yowling from outside her den. It was Stormfrost, Shimmerthistle’s mate.
“Rookrun’s dead too,” said another cat. Shadowheart poked her head out of the den. A large ginger and white body was lying in the center of camp. He had very few scratches, but black frost on his eyes and chest.
”You,” Stormfrost snarled, seeing Shadowheart watching them, “you killed them! My brother and my mate!” Shadowheart opened her mouth to reply.
”I...” but she didn’t know. She knew she had been awake last night, but what she was doing...
It was her.
She had killed the two cats who were guarding her den. Kinkstar looked at her.
”Shadowheart, I don’t know what to do,” she said. Shadowheart’s mind was getting fuzzy again as the Shades took control once more.
Kill them all! The voice hissed. Shadowheart felt something. If she tried to fight it...
No, I won’t. Shadowheart thought at it. I won’t. The voice snarled and tried to steer her towards Kinkstar, but Shadowheart fought the other way and stumbled, falling on her side. The clan gasped and backed away from her.
“You fool!” The voice wasn’t just in her head now, it was everywhere. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the MoonClan cats back into corners as they heard the voice for the first time.
The Shades were everywhere, taking the form of cats. The semi-transparent shapes padded around the camp and hissed at the MoonClan cats. Black frost spread out from where their paws touched. The Shades‘ eyes gleamed with a monstrous delight as Stormfrost threw herself at one of them.
”You killed them!” She screeched. But the Shade didn’t react. It unsheathed it’s claws and pinned Stormfrost down, digging them into her neck. Black frost crept outward in spiraling patterns from where they penetrated her fur.
Stromfrost went limp, dead.
You’re free, the small white cat’s voice echoed sadly in Shadowheart’s head. But the Shades were in the forest among the living cats now. Except they were gone, when Shadowheart opened her eyes she was still lying in the middle of the clearing. Her clanmates were in a circle around Stormfrost’s body.
The feeling was back. Or at least, the not feeling, but it was different this time. Negative emotions were flooding Shadowheart’s mind.
Sadness, her clanmates were dying one by one.
Anger, at the Shades for ruining her life.
Jealousy, at the fact her clanmates cared more about Stormfrost.
Fear, that she too would die alone.
Two days later, thing weren’t getting any better. Shadowheart awoke to the sound of moaning. She poked her head outside the den and saw a ghastly sight.
Silverdawn was curled around a little scrap of fur, who was actually the dead Birchkit. Her white pelt was matter with blood and her eyes were clawed out, black frost seeping from the sockets.
Shades materialized from the shadows, slowly making their way toward the grieving Silverdawn. Silverdawn hissed and lashed out at one of them on anger, but as soon as her paw touched the misty form, her eyes widened and went blank. The spotted queen fell over on the ground, writhing in pain. Black frost crept out of her eyes.
The Shade took one look at her and gouged open her belly, making her organs spill out onto the ground in waves of blood. Silverdawn shrieked and fell still, as dead as the rest of her family.
Shadowheart looked away. She should be sad, really, but there was no reason, as she would die too. She knew it. Her brother, Brackenpaw, has been hit by a monster when he was hunting a few days before their warrior ceremony. She had felt grief then, but not as much as she was supposed to. Not as much as she felt when Flutterkit had died. She looked at her clan. She had caused this. She had caused the deaths of so many cats. There was one punishment only.
She walked over to the Shade that had just killed Silverdawn and sat down in front of it.
”You’ve won,” she whispered, bowing her head. The Shade forced her to the ground and dug it’s shadowy claws into her skull. Shadowheart felt the icy black frost spreading for just a moment.
Then the world faded to black as blood streamed from her wounds. Shadowheart saw the decaying bodies of her friends and clanmates flash before her eyes and then her heart stopped.
This story may not have scared you, shocked you, or frightened you. You know why. You know the Shades are affecting you where you live. You feel nothing.
You probably don’t want to know what’s behind you.