|Preceded by: |
|Already Gone||Succeded by: |
- Remember all the things we wanted
- Now our memories, they're haunted.
- We were always meant to say good-bye.
- Even with our fists held high. it
- It never would have worked out right, yeah.
- We were never meant for do or die...
Chapter 1 - Sneaky
There are all kinds of cats. Nice cats, bad cats, creepy cats, stupid cats, pretty cats, fat cats...but if I had to label myself, I wouldn't be sure how to do it. I suppose I would be labeled as the cat who accidentally screws everything up. But I wouldn't label myself as sneaky.
I'm just thinking this as I creep over wooden boards in the Twoleg nest. Boots, who was on duty tonight is asleep. I try to pad quietly, but the nest creaks and groans as if it's saying, She's over here! Trying to get away! Get her!!!!
I berate myself, thinking of all the times Cobweb has snuck in and out of my alley without making noises or upsetting my parents. If he had to do this he would have been gone already. I can imagine him standing at the door, waiting for me, trying not to laugh. C'mon Firefly! Fireflys are supposed to be quick and light!
I grit my teeth, then smile. Cobweb is the reason I'm probably going to get caught doing this.
You see, a day ago, Drakon's warriors (led by Cobweb) swarmed the nest, trying to find the rogues who live here. But we all hid and so they never did find us. Well....
Cobweb did find me. But that doesn't really count, since he wanted to see me. Of course Jynx was furious...
I shudder, thinking about Thorn's second in command. Jynx would loose it if she found out I was sneaking out. And if she found out that I was sneaking out to see Cobweb....I flinch at the thought.
After what seems like forever, I cross the room and stand triumphantly at the door. Then, I quickly jump out and into the night air.
I haven't been outside in a while. I'm not a prisoner exactly, but I haven't been allowed outside since the raiding incident.
I breath cool night air and imagine Cobweb, waiting for me by the Marked Dumpster. The thought makes me run faster.
Chapter 2 - Choices
As I get away from the Twoleg nest, I begin to slow down. It's almost moon-high, but I know the way to the Marked Dumpster by heart.
My mind wanders back to Thorn and his wayward gang of cats. Their plan is to flee the city at dawn today and join the Clans.
Most of what I've heard about the Clans is bogus. My mother told me tales about their viciousness, how they eat bones and line their nests with the fur of their enemies. My father spoke of their bravery and organization. I ignored him because it was so boring.
However Thorn told me detailed things about them. How they hunt and patrol in groups and care for one another. How there are four Clans, watched by their warrior ancestors. He explained to me about things called Gatherings and told me about the four Clans.
I don't know what to believe. That the Clans are vicious bone-eaters, intelligent masterminds, or cats just like us. But more organized and wild.
Thorn wanted me to come. I flinch at the memory of his request- that I come with them to the Clans. Over my dead body. I love my city, no matter how horrible it is.
But where will I go if I don't leave with them?
Not back to the alley, Lela and Hawk-eye banished me. I can't face the shame of crawling back to them and being rejected by my parents. Again.
The thought of joining Drakon is laughable. If he didn't kill me when I asked, he'd probably bide his time and make it look like an accident. And Cobweb and I wouldn't be allowed to be friends anymore, him being the leader's son and I would be just a Wanderer or Learner.
Going around by myself is out too. It would be lonely and hard. Hunting, moving around, and trying not to attract attention is no way to live.
The thought of running away with Cobweb has crossed my mind. He's talked to me about it more then once. Especially when we were young. But as we got older, he grew more serious when he brought it up. But I always turned him down, thinking that I had a perfect life. Until now of course.
I should try to convince him to come with me when we meet. Of course, it all depends on what Cobweb has to tell me...
I grin to myself and speed into the night.
Chapter 3 - Secret Meeting
I see the Marked Dumpster up ahead and practically fly over the last few cat lengths to get there.
"Cobweb?" I call softly.
A large shape detaches itself from the shadows. I can barely make out glowing blue eyes in the darkness, "Here."
I press against him and purr, "I'm so happy to see you!"
"Me too." he purrs, but I can tell something's wrong. He has that slight catch in his voice he always gets when he's stressed.
"So what's up?" I surprise myself, eager to hear news of the city, maybe my family.
"You're family's fine. " he says, "Drakon tried to search over there, he thought they were hiding you. But your dad kept him out. It was pretty cool actually."
As Cobweb describes the battle, I think, So that's when Hawk-eye had been worried about. Well I can understand that. I guess.
"So how've you been?" I ask.
Cobweb tenses and I almost regret asking it. But he's my best friend and I have to know.
He sighs. "You're annoying."
I grin, "Annoying. That's me. Now tell me, what's up."
"Well....it's been really lonely since you left," he flashes me a stunning smile and I blush, "But nothing much has really happened...."
"Fox dung," I growl. "Come on, tell me what's really the matter."
He makes a sound, something between a moan, a growl, and a whimper. Then he let's out a long sigh.
"They're sending me to Blood Pond. Drakon thinks I've become 'undisciplined'. And," he flinches, "He says I spending too much time with she-cats who don't give the time of day for me."
I gasp. The news hits me hard and the world tilts around me as I remember everything I've heard about the horrible place. It's where rogue leader's have gone to train for years. A horrible place, only the strongest make it out alive. And they are changed forever.
I remember once, what seems like forever ago, when Cobweb was excited about this. But now he looks terrified.
"When?" I finally whisper.
I let out a wail. Then I turn towards the sky. It's moon-high. I whimper. So little time left...
"You're going to Blood Pond? In the morning?" I squeak.
"Yes." he whispers sadly.
"You can't!" I cry, "We...we can run away! Together! We can-"
"Firefly," I look up and his blue eyes hold mine, as they always do, "It's over. They won." He sees my horrified expression. "I'm sorry." he whispers.
"No," I choke out. I realize I'm crying and I try to stop for Cobweb's sake which just makes me cry harder.
"Shhh...." he soothes. Curling around me like when we were kits, scared of the thunder. "It's okay..."
We stay that way, curled up against each other, me crying. I think it starts to rain, but inside the dumpster the only water comes from my helpless tears.
Chapter 4 - Daybreak
At dawn's light they come.
A group of muscled cats led by the black haired Drakon. He fixes his hateful orange eyes on his son, "Come on Cobweb. It's time to go."
I'm still curled up next to him. Drakon growls, "And you. Get away from him."
Cobweb stands, and snarls, "Leave her alone."
Drakon flicks his tail and 2 cats advance. I recognize Thorn as one of them. He's a good actor, he doesn't even look surprised to see me. No recognition flicks across his face. The nudge a struggling Cobweb away from me and several more cats form a wall, pushing me back.
I thrash frantically. My friend, my best friend, is being pulled away from me. Probably forever. "Cobweb!!!" I shriek.
"Firefly!" he calls. Drakon's cats are moving away from me, their tails held high and crouched low to the ground. The glare at me and bare their teeth. I see Thorn among them and hiss. I will never look at him the same way again. He will forever be entangled in this moment.
"Cobweb! Are you okay?" I rush against the wall of cats.
"I'm fine! Just remember-"
"Silence!" I hear Drakon roar. "Spike, Rage! Take care of her."
Two rogues split away from he pack and run at me, teeth bared. I shriek, wanting to stay but knowing I have to run.
I turn, racing away.
I manage to loose the two cats, but I don't care. Apart of me wishes they had caught me. This situation is just so hopeless...I stare out at the sky. Why can't I have a normal life?
Then I think of Cobweb, alone. Being sent to a terrible place by his own father.
My claws sink into the ground. I have to be strong. Maybe I can help Cobweb someway....
I stare at the brightening sky. No rainclouds from the night remain. In the scattered remains of dark clouds I can almost see two blue eyes.
Chapter 5 - Gone
I wander around for what seems like eons.
It's sun-high when someone finally stops me, "Firefly," a tom says.
I looks up to see Thorn. But instead of seeing a ginger tom with green eyes I see a gray tom with blue eyes. My heart aches.
"You still haven't made a decision," he meows gently.
"About what?" I ask. I'm miserable and everything seems to be in a haze. I've run out of tears but I wish I could cry.
"Coming to the Clans," Thorn's voice is gentle, but at the same time pushy. And for some reason it irks me.
"Thorn, I'm not in the mood for your stupid little plans. And you should know why. You were there too." I say the last part bitterly, then turn to go.
"Firefly," he leaps gracefully in front of me and I growl.
"Leave me alone."
"Come on," he meows, "The Clans are great! And they'd probably help you find Cobweb."
I roll my eyes, "I'm not stupid Thorn. I'm not falling for that."
He looks shocked, "It's true! They could help you get Cobweb back. Maybe even drive Drakon out of town!"
"Yeah, like any cat could do that.": I mutter, shoving him aside as I stalk away.
"It's better then moping around here doing nothing!!"
That stops me. I turn and stalk stiffly back to Thorn. Nose to nose, I stare daggers into his eyes.
"You have no idea what I'm going through. Don't pretend to be my friend. Because you're not. In fact, I think you're annoying, selfish, and a two-faced jerk."
He smiles, "So are you coming."
I have to fight the urge to claw his face off. But everything he's said makes sense. And maybe I can try it. I take one deep breath, then another.
"Okay." I growl. "I'll come to the Clans."