A bright ginger cat sniffed the air, looking for something to eat in the dark alleyway. She looked over to where a rat was pawing through a scavenger can. She crouched, eyeing it, then leaped up. Her weight pushed the hard can over, and she fell to the stony ground. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the rat dash away, frightened.
“Dang it,” The ginger cat cursed, her head throbbing as she stood up. She glanced to where the rat had run off. “No way to get it now.” Guess I’m going hungry tonight. She looked back to her small mouse, which she wouldn’t even be able to eat.
“Hey. Did you lose something?” She turned to her right to see a jet-black cat staring at her with a mischievous glint in his bright green eyes, holding the same rat in his jaws.
She sighed in relief, walking over to him. “Thanks Leaf,” She said, nuzzling him. “But you shouldn't be using your magic. It’s against the code.”
“Screw the code.” Leaf said casually, sitting down. “Plus, Spark, do you really think cats would notice someone using enhanced senses? They would just think I’m a really good hunter.” He swiped his tongue over his jaws as he spotted the mouse. “Is that for me?”
“No, it’s an offering for Shard and Viper and you know it.” Leaf’s shoulders drooped. The Code stated that every seven days, an offering of prey must be given to the alpha and their mate.
“Come on, let’s get back to Jay.” Leaf stood up, and they walked down the path, out into the sun.
They walked until Spark saw a tall, silver fence, with gray vine-like things snaking across it. Beyond it was her home. They just had to avoid being shocked. She paused for a moment, staring up to where it ended.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Come on!” She heard Leaf say behind her. Alright, I got this. Spark closed her eyes, imagining grabbing all of the energy from around her and pooling it into her mind. She opened her eyes, relieved to see that the usual humming of the fence was gone.
As Spark squeezed in between two of the gray vines, stepping into a small dirt clearing, surrounded by red, gray, and black hard pieces of bracken, stacked to make small dens. In the middle, a gray-blue cat was laying down, looking bored. When the cat spotted them, he ran over, saying, “I was wondering when you’d get back! You took forever!” He bounced up and down excitedly.
Jay gets too excited by the tiniest things. She thought. To Jay, she said, “We were only gone for half a day. And we still have to travel to Shard’s camp.”
Jay stopped jumping, shoulders drooping. To cheer him up, Spark said, “Hey, Leaf caught you a rat.” Jay immediately looked at the rat dangling Im Leaf’s jaws. His eyes brightened. “Yes!” When Leaf set it down, he dived at it and started gulping it down. Spark watched him with a sense of pride for making him happy. After all, he was her little brother.
“Hey, we're going to go to Shard now, okay?” Without looking up from the rat, he answered, “Mfkay.” Spark turned around to Leaf. He nodded, and she repeated what she had done when they got there. As they stepped through the fence, Spark thought, I wish I didn’t have to use my magic every time I went past the gray fence. But it protects us from danger, so..
She then went to imagining shooting all the energy from her mind.
As they walked, Leaf said, “I see you didn’t catch anything else.”
“I’ll catch something later.” Was all she could reply. Immediately, Leaf pricked his ears. He crouched, gazing at a crack in where it looked to be an abandoned No-tail den. He leaped, reaching his paw through the crack and pulling out another rat.
“Well, now we have something to eat.” He gave Spark a smug look. She playfully shoved him. “Show-off.”
As they neared Shard’s camp, Spark felt her nervousness creeping in. The walls that surrounded his camp towered over her, making her feel small. Two cats guarded the entrance, one eyeing them suspiciously. As they neared, the one that was watching them, a brown tabby tom, asked, “What are you doing here?”
Spark was at a loss for words. Before she could try to answer, the other calico tom said, “Hey, I know these two. They’re probably here to deliver the offerings.” The tabby tom grunted and rectulantly let them in. Spark whispered a silent thank you to the tom, him saying ‘You’re welcome’ back.
As they walked in, she could see hard bracken dens stacked to make towers; it was all making Spark even more nervous. As she looked up to the biggest tower, a silver-white tom was sitting at the top.
Spark sighed. Let’s get this over with.