"Mom!" I yowled.
She had been out hunting, and it was taking longer than usual. Way longer than usual.
Suspicious, I peered carefully out of the den, making sure nobody saw me. Thankfully, my grayish pelt blended right into the stone wall beside me. My mother hunted inside that Twoleg Nest. She had since her Twolegs abandonded her.
I saw Smoke.
No, not my littermate.
Smoke was pouring out from the Twoleg Nest. And then the worst happened...
...it began to crumble.
There was a fire inside, I was sure of that, but I don't know what caused it.
I ran back inside the den.
"Smoke! Fire! Wake up!"
Smoke and Fire are my littermates, named for their ginger and grey tabby pelts.
My mother said that her family named their kits after what would kill them.
The two bodies of my littermates slipped out.
"We've got to get away," I mewed.
Smoke rolled his eyes. "Of course we do, mousebrain."
Fire ran ahead. He had spotted a place where we could hide. I remember the giant shaking right before my mother had gone hunting.
We hid in that for a little while, when we saw more crumbling.
Everything was falling. There were gaps in the Thunderpaths, so even monsters couldn't get by. Everything was destroyed.
It felt like the end of the world.
The next day, most of the fires had stopped. But the damage was done.
We went out to explore what was our den.
It was destroyed and singed, and when I saw what was inside, I nearly fainted.
My mother's body.
She must've dragged herself out, and lay down here. For the final time.
We all sat around her body, and Smoke leaped about 3 tail lengths in the air. "FIRE!" he yowled.
I saw a glowing orange light beside him. Smoke filled the den.
We made a run for it.
At sunhigh, we paid another visit do the den.
Nothing was left.
Except, there were somethings.
Just things you didn't want to see.
- Dead Twolegs
- Things collapsing
- And things falling into the hole.
The only things that were good were...
- That my brothers were alive
And then we discovered the worst something of them all:
The fact that all that was left of my mother was Ashes.
"Ash," Fire asked me. "What are we going to do?"
I shook my head, not knowing the answer.
At moonhigh, we realized what the best choice was.
We had to leave Twolegplace.
All the prey would be dead, smoked, cooked or gone. Chances are, they might not recover in time.
Besides, it wasn't safe. A fire could start any minute now, anywhere. There were holes in the ground. And there was also the fact that there was less water and shelter.
Before we left, we decided we had to lay our mother to rest.
It was slightly windy, but we each to a pawful of ashes. Then, we blew the ashes into the wind, for a final goodbye.
That was the last night we spent in Twolegplace, the next, we left.
After making it safely out of Twolegplace, I heard something wailing.
I looked out into the open moor.
It was the wail of a kit.
I identified where it was coming from, and soon found a small fluffy pale pinkish-cream she-cat.
I curled my tail around her.
"Do you have a name?" I asked her.
The she-cat mewed, "Rose."
"What happened to your mother?" I asked.
"S-she w-went i-into T-twolegplace," she stammered.
I nodded. I figured the same thing happened to her as did me.
"A-and th-then my br-brother abandonded me."
I stared at her. I came up with an idea.
I was going to help her survive.
Smoke and Fire didn't really get why Rose was with us, but she was staying with us, that was for sure.
I decided we needed to hunt. So Smoke and Rose stayed behind to guard camp. I thought we should go one way, and Fire thought we should go another.
"You go that way, and I'll go this way," he said.
I reluctantly agreed.
"Just why do you want to go that way?" I asked him.
"There is more light," he said.
So he headed off in that direction, and I headed off in mine.
After a very sucessful hunt, I returned to camp.
There was Smoke, Rose, but...No Fire.
"Do you mind if I leave the fresh-kill here?" I asked.
Smoke nodded. "Sure."
I headed off in the direction Fire had chosen.
When I got there, I could not believe my eyes.
The entire forest was singed.
Very badly singed.
I stared in the center of the new clearing.
Not this! I thought to myself.
A ginger lifeless body lay in the center of the clearing.
The body belonged to Fire.
We buried him in that very clearing he died in.
I was terrified. Two cats already lost.
The good side was that three was a more managable number. Although, I did miss my brother a lot.
We really had to be careful that we didn't lose anymore cats. And it was obviously that this wasn't a safe place to stay.
We continued on our journey, continously worrying aboutwhat would happen next.
(A few weeks later...)
It was Smoke's turn to hunt, so that meant that I have to watch over Rose. She was maturing, but still couldn't hunt properly.
We were sitting there, disscussing things, when we heard a russle in the bushes.
I turned my ears to face it.
A flash of red. But it wasn't glowing.
It was a fox.
I was up on my paws in seconds.
I clawed at its eyes, but somehow it got ahold of Rose.
It picked her up and flung her into a tree.
I ripped it's throat open, and it died.
I padded closer to Rose.
"Goodbye, Ash," she whispered.
I shook my head, tears beginning to come from my eyes.
"You will make it," she said.
"I have one request," she mewed.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Could you groom that tuft of fur you said you always groom with your sister?" she asked.
Poppy. Oh no.
"Okay," I mewed, and gently began licking the tuft. The light slowly died from your eyes.
"Goodbye, Rose," I mewed.
And with that, I broke down, sobbing.
When Smoke returned, he asked why I was crying, and then saw.
"Did you murder her?" he asked me.
I shook my head. "Fox," I sniffled.
Smoke shook his head at me. "What am I going to do with you?" he murmered.
I sighed and shook my head, not knowing what to do.
Later, we had a proper vigil for Rose. We buried her after that.
As we walked, I missed having her squeak and bound alongside me. I missed Fire's comebacks. They were all gone.
Smoke stared at me. "Well, we better get moving." He flicked his tail to me. "Maybe there will be something good at the end of it."
I didn't move. Grief had taken all my energy, and my good mood.
"Please?" he asked.
"No," I muttered.
"Then I'll go by myself." He started to walk away.
For some odd reason, that old kit-trick worked. I got up.
"Oh, so you are coming with me?" He raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"I don't want to lose you, like I lost Mother, Fire and Rose," I mewed, trying not to be upset.
"You won't. Promise."
I saw a loophole in his words.
But that means I'd have to die before him for us not to be seperated....
Those words chilled me to the bone. I shivered.
"Are you okay?" Smoke asked.
"Yes. Fine." I didn't want to answer questions.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"YES. I'm fine. Good grief, can we get going?" I paced back and forth.
"No need to be in a bad mood," he said.
I took off, running at full speed.
"Wait! Slow down!" he called.
I kept running, until I reached a huge forest. Brambles were everywhere.
I ran for a long time, somehow without stopping. A shadow llurking behind me assured me that Smoke was still there.
Eventually, I ran right onto a beach. For some odd reason, I couldn't stop fast enough.
I ran right into the lake.
I never learned how to swim, and I started panicking, flapping my paws in every whichway.
I began to get tired. Very tired. All the energy I had before was gone.
Smoke said something to me about "getting help", and took off, leaving me to keep up what I had been doing.
I found a stick and grabbed onto it. Please don't let me drown.
The world passed out into a fuzzy blackness while I heard yowls and teeth fitting into my scruff.
I blinked my eyes open. It was sunhigh. Sunlight was pouring into the den, and my eyes.
I shut them again, expecting to go to sleep.
Not this time. I couldn't sleep more.
I opened them again, only to see a tabby tom with electric green eyes.
"Wake up!" "I am awake!" I snapped, harsher than I meant it.
He glared at me. "Well, a minute ago you weren't."
I rolled my eyes. Toms.
"Look, buddy," I started. I was about to continue, when I saw another older cat enter the den.
I whirled around.
The tom gasped. "Snowstar!"
The pure white she-cat, also with green eyes, rolled her eyes. "We could here you fighting from across the camp! What's going on?"
A grey tom peered in behind her.
"Smokepaw, now," he said.
I looked at him, confused. "What's the difference?"
"I've joined them."
I was bewildered. Here was Smoke - Smokepaw, now - trusting strangers who'd he'd met less than 2 sunhighs ago. The old Smoke would've never done it.
"Do you want to join?" Snowstar offered. "Your last chance, or you'll be chased out of here."
I saw the tom, Smokepaw, Snowstar - everyone was expecting me to say no. I took a deep breath.
"Yes," I said firmly.
"Very well. Come out into camp, and you will recieve your name." Snowstar left the den.
I looked at Smokepaw, who nodded.
Taking a deep breath, I walked out in front of all the other cats.
The camp burst into whispers the heartbeat I walked in.
"Hey, there's that rogue!"
"She looks mangy."
"How old is she?"
"I'm going to guess 8 moons."
Smokepaw padded beside me. "Make a good impression in front of the clan."
I focused on keeping my chin up. Anything else would make look weak. Who would want a weak cat to join the Clan?
Snowstar leaped up onto a high ledge.
"All cats gather around HighLedge for a Clan meeting!"
Most of the cats were already there. A few really old cats came out from their den, grumbling and muttering.
"As you know, two sunhighs ago, we fished a rogue out of the lake."
Everyone glared at me, except for an old grey tabby, who ignored me. I looked around too, as though I wasn't the rogue.
"I have invited her to join ThunderClan," The leader stated.
A couple of hisses, some yowled in rage, although a couple looked around in shock.
"How can we trust her?"
"Yeah, we can't even trust her friend over there!"
"Silence!" Snowstar yowled. "She has agreed, and it isn't your choice!"
A ginger tabby narrowed his eyes. "Oh? You've asked her?"
"Flameheart!" came a raspy snap from the back of the crowd. I looked back to see an old ginger she-cat sitting between an old tabby tom with a muzzle white with age, and an old ginger and white she-cat with one eye.
"But mother, it's true!" Flameheart snapped.
"What would your grandfather say?" snarled the tabby tom.
"My grandfather was a kittypet!"
By now, Smokepaw was not the only one bristling. The 5 elders were. A pure white tom with blue eyes and fluffy fur was puffed out the biggest.
"SILENCE!" Snowstar demanded. Narrowing her eyes at Flameheart, she added, "I'd like to speak to you in my den after the meeting. Moving on to the important part of the ceremony." She flicked her tail, signaling for me to join her. "This apprentice shall be known as Ashpaw until she recieves her warrior name. Her mentor will be Softwhisper."
A small white tabby stepped forward.
From now on, I knew this was going to be a new chapter of my life.
Wow. That's all I could really say.
Having been a loner or rogue all my life, I've never seen such organization amongst a group of cats. Of course I knew about territories and such, but these guys take it to an extreme. They mark their boarders at dawn, sun-high, dusk, and at moon-high. Obviously it isn't the same cats doing all of them, but still.
The Clans are ShadowClan, ThunderClan, RiverClan, and WindClan. I'm currently in ThunderClan.
And the ranks. I watched the kits tumble around, pretending they were leaders of the different Clans. They'd chase each other around, play-fight, and pretend to hunt while being watched over by careful eyes.
It's not the childhood I lived.
We couldn't do any of that. Mother was so tired when she got back to our den from looking for food that she'd practically collapse. With only a measly mouse to share, we pretty much had no energy.
I wish I had it here.
A voice jolted me from my thoughts. I looked around. Two green eyes were glaring at me.
"Softwhisper wants to take you hunting."
"Coming!" I said, getting up.
I followed Softwhisper out of the camp, using the tunnel.
Once we got to a small clearing, she asked me to go into my hunting position. Easy-Peasy.
Hunting was my strong point. I wasn't a very good fighter then.
Softwhisper nodded her approval. "Well, that's nearly perfect, but lower your tail a little."
I lowered my tail a little bit.
"Better," she said. "Try and catch something."
I dashed off into the bushes. Before long, I caught a small finch. Perfect.
I brought it back to her.
"Nice catch!" she mewed. "Now, since you are quite good at that, and need no improvement, I'd like to assess your fighting skills."
I twitched my tail uncomfortably. "Okay," I said nervously.
"Attack me," she ordered. "Claws sheathed."
I leaped at her. She neatly dodged the attack, and I rammed into a tree.
I got up, feeling a bit dizzy.
"Try that again," she suggested, "But if I'm expecting an attack, I'm going to dodge it."
I nodded, and ran into the bushes.
"What are you-" she asked, starting to follow me.
I gave her no chance to finish. I leaped on top of her.
I didn't know what she was going to do next.
She rolled over, and I was squished.
"Better strategy," she nodded, getting up. "But remember, if you start a fight, you must end it. Now let me show you a move I think you will like."
I padded up to her.
We continued this for the rest of the day. At dusk, we decided that we were tired. We headed back to camp.
My friend, the green-eyed tom, was waiting for us.
"What are you doing?" I demanded once I reached him.
He glared at me.
I didn't even know his name, and he was stalking me.
"I'm asking what you're doing!"
I raised a curious eyebrow.
I turned and padded to the apprentice den. Good grief. He was stalking me, and when I ask, he pretends he isn't doing anything. I was frustrated, and sick of him. If he kept that up, I would've killed him.
As I curled up, I thought about what he was doing, and couldn't think of a reason for it.
I didn't get much sleep that night. I was thinking. Thinking about what had happened in these past few moons. I was dreaming. Dreaming of foxes, of fires and of eyes watching me. I wanted to be anywhere but there. I wished I could be free. I wished I could have the past erased, have a fresh start, not with all twisted memories in the way.
Sunrise came quickly the next morning. One moment, I was involved in a dream world, stretching far beyond the boundaries of the sharp paw prodding me in the side, and the tinier ones scrambling over me.
I uncurl myself and stretch. I padded out of the den, blurry-eyed and sleepy.
I was wide awake the next moment, as water poured over my back. It was cold, too, a reminder that leaf fall was coming. I heard some squealing. And the next thing I knew, a heavy thing was on my back. From what I could half-see, it was a kit. A big black and white tom.
The entire camp practically sprinted towards the kit, asking if he was okay and whatnot. I padded away from them, and shook my pelt out. I was soaked.
Would be nice if someone cared about me, for once.
I huffed, and headed off to the tunnel.
I sat down in the middle of a giant clearing. The trees were tightly packed together, but there was a small gap in the trees that left a patch of sunlight for me to rest in.
It was warm, compared to the rest of the forest. Leaf fall was taking it's toll on the forest too. The normally warm ground had lost it's green grass. Last night had been an early frost, and it was nipping at my paws. The clearing was one of the few places that did not have a thick layer on it, the frost evidently showed where shadows had rested earlier.
I heard some crunching. I could already tell that today was not going to be a good day for hunting.
"Who goes there?" I said, in as loud a voice I could muster.
"Turn your head, mousebrain."
I turned my head, mainly to make sure it wasn't some attacker coming up behind me. Of course it wasn't an attacker. What was I thinking?
It was Electricpaw. The tabby had followed me here.
I got up and shook out my pelt. "Yes?"
He sat down in the shadows, waiting for me to move first. He didn't seem to mind to frost that he sat on.
Well, I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of his attempts, so I sat down again and made myself comfortable.
I heard more bushes rustling, and a deep growl.
I was on my feet in two seconds.
All my senses were up and ready for an attack. I looked around wildly.