night ripples



by brams

for dark's contest


Night Ripples

My large paws sink into the soft, marshy ground as I stop by the border. Sitting down with a soft squelch on the moist earth, my ears prick in search for any sort of noise - most often of another thing. However, for once - to my surprise - they're actually silent.

Usually, there's some sort of activity outside our borders - cats' voices rising as they roam the nearby forest, looking out onto our marshy, watery land. Today, it seems, looks as though it breaks this rule. All I can hear is the sound of the small stream that marks the edge of CreekClan's border, the whisper of grass being blown by the breeze.

I feel myself relax. This is nice. I wish this happened more often. For a moment, I close my eyes, revelling in the peace and quiet. It feels good.

However, as I open my eyes, I feel a pang of worry hit me.

This is too good to be true.

I'm sure of it as soon as I hear that thought, and I hear it echoing softly in my ears. At this, I look out worriedly out onto the expanse of land outside CreekClan. There's no sign of any other cat, and I try to relax - but I can't seem to make it happen.

This quietness makes me feel... uncomfortable. Something tells me that all of this... all of this is too good to last.

I hear a soft brushing noise behind me, but I dismiss it as being the wind. It's still tugging at my gray pelt, and I feel myself starting to shiver because of how cold it is. My fur fluffs up, and I can hear a voice telling me in my mind that it's time to go back. You should head back to your Clan.

Agreeing with this, I rise back onto my paws, and turn around. As soon as I look behind, I jump in surprise. Apparently, I am not alone.

There's a whole lot of cats behind me - I'm too surprised to really take note of how many there actually is. I recognize none of them. They're closing in on me; while I'm rooted to the spot, unable to move. I'm trying to escape... but for some reason, I can't.

"Ripplestorm."

They're getting even closer, and I'm terrified. I'm still frozen, and they're still coming at me. I try to look away, but it's not letting me do that either...

"Ripplestorm!"

They've surrounded me completely now. My heart is thumping in my chest in fear, in apprehension, in worry. I can't do anything now... I am doomed to fail.

I see one cat, the one right in front of me, crouch. For one long moment, he eyes me up, before I see him shift on his haunches, bunch them together.

He leaps straight at me... I can feel him as he lands on my back... he's captured me...

"RIPPLESTORM!"

At once, my eyes shoot open. Breathing rapidly, I stare around the near-deserted warriors' den, trying to recover from what I'd just seen. It was a dream... thank StarClan, it was only a dream, I reassured myself, feeling my breathing start to slow.

That was terrifying, I thought to myself, as I slowly rose to my paws, shaking ever so slightly. I hope that doesn't... happen again. Shuffling between the few sleeping warriors still in the den, I slowly started to make my way out, still deep in thought.

Out of all cats, why did this have to happen to me? I'd done nothing wrong! I hadn't done anything towards those rogues that had been bothering my Clan.... so why, in the name of StarClan, had I been shown this... this vision? Why me?

That was the question I wanted to ask.

Finally, I manage to get past the other warriors, and I pad out of the den into the newleaf sunshine. I feel it on my back, and I purr as it warms me up.

There's a lot more cats than usual around the CreekClan camp at this time of the morning. As I shoulder my way towards the edge of the clearing, I hear a cat telling another that Flightstar's calling a Clan meeting.

That probably explains the amount of cats in camp, I think to myself, as I get to the front, and look around.

One cat catches my eye.

Pitch-black fur is the first thing I see. This cat is small, slight, and fairly agile, judging from their build. They turn their gaze towards me, and their eyes are so bright that I have to look away.

I know this cat very well. She's Nightclaw. My mother...

...My mother, the one cat that I've always struggled to understand.

~ ~

"Mama!" I heard my brother, Shadowkit, squeal as he rolled around noisily in the nest that I shared with him, our sister, and our mother. "Do we have a daddy? Slightfall's kits have their father visit them all the time! But no tom visits us."

Lazily, I stretched, eyes closed, by Nightclaw's belly, only half-listening to my brother.

However, when she heard Shadowkit's words, I felt her shift. Guessing that she was just uncomfortable, I ignored her action, instead curling up in a small ball and trying to doze off. I was quite tired.

"...Of course you have a daddy, Shadowkit." Nightclaw's voice had a hint to tiredness in it - maybe she didn't want to talk about this? "Every cat has a daddy."

"...We do? B-but how come we never see him?"

I felt Nightclaw shift again. This time, guessing that this wasn't because she was uncomfortable, I opened my eyes a crack. Shadowkit was pawing my mother's flank lightly with a jet-black foot, waiting for answers. He wasn't the type of cat to be patient when it came to others.

"Shadowkit, please stop that..." Nightclaw moved Shadowkit gently away from her stomach with a gentle shove, causing the dark kit to fall gently to the ground.

"I'll only stop if you tell me about my daddy, Mama! Who even was he?"

I heard my mother sigh slowly. "...Okay, Shadowkit, I'll tell you and your siblings. It's best... that I tell you now, rather than when you're older." A pause. "...Your father's name was Stormriver... and he was probably the greatest warrior in CreekClan that I have ever known."

Stormriver. Stormriver. I heard my father's name echoing in my head. Stormriver. I like that name. I relaxed slightly for a moment... but then I tensed up again. Wait. Mama just said that he was in CreekClan...?

"Was...?" I mewed faintly. "...But Mama, where's Stormriver if he's not here anymore?"

I saw Nightclaw tuirn slowly to me at this. Her gaze set on me, and I asaw her amber eyes blaze for a moment. I shivered slightly: was something up? However, before I could say anything, she's turned away again.

"...He's in StarClan, my kits... he died before you all were born. I'm sorry, but you'll never meet... your father..."


tbc

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