(Author's Note: This is the story that I will be working mainly on. It is my master project for the time being. If anyone has any constructive criticism, I would be very grateful if you could comment below.)
There was once a time where two worlds lived in harmony together. One was called the Isami, and the other, a race of felines called Cats. The two lived in a steady peace for years and years, until there was a dispute that broke out among the Isami and Cats. It was a small fight, but then it grew. Until... it was a raging war. The more the Cats learned from the Isami over the years, the better their tactics for battle were. Now, the Isami were no longer the race welcomed to Earth; instead they were the enemy. Soon enough, the Isami were outmatched, and the Cats wiped out the rest of their dwindling species. Everyone thought they were gone, they still think they're gone. But are they? Their world still exists, and now the Isami stay on that world called Isni. Will they come back? If so, why would they?
"Look at the stars, Nia. Do you think they will speak to us? Tonight they are shimmering brightly, almost as if the Ancestors of the past will come down to us themselves!" Jay exclaimed, turning to her sister with excitement and hope shimmering in her otherworldly bright blue eyes. Nia shook her head. "Jay, stop your nonsense yammering. None of our Ancestors have spoken to us over these seasons. They have spoken to every other cat, but us. We are not special to them." Nia said, looking to her paws in disappointment.
A soft summer breeze swept across the tall hill, swaying the long stalks of grass surrounding the two cats. The wind swept towards the forest behind them, making the leaves wave to them in the night from a distance.
Jay tried to ignore her sister's words and instead craned her neck up to the night sky, closing her eyes as another gust of wind blew against her black fur. She managed a little smile- the sensation of the wind and the feeling of being free welling up inside her seemed so wonderful.
"I don't care what you say, Nia. I know that we will find our family some day. If they did not exist, then where will we travel among the stars when we die?" Jay asked Nia, opening her eyes and cocking her head at her sister. Nia didn't respond for a moment, gazing at Jay with a hint of curiosity in her matching bright blue gaze. The only difference between the two sisters was Nia's white fur, and Jay's jet black fur.
After a moment, Nia responded, "I don't know. I can't answer that." She looked away again, this time off into the distance, near the mountains. There was one star- the planet Isni -that was perched just above the peak of one of the mountains lining the valley that rested beyond.
Nia and Jay were taught by the other cats the legend of the Isami species that used to live here on Earth. It was twinged with myth, so there might not be a hint of truth about the wiped species. Although, all the same, it might really be true. There might be offspring from the Isami still on this Earth in hiding, waiting for their species to come back from Isni to take them home. It was a possibility, but... it surely couldn't be true. The only feline-related species were Cats. And Cats only. It was what Nia thought, but Jay was a hopeful cat with a large imagination and curiosity embedded in her bones. Maybe they were real.
"We should return home now, Jay. I don't want Ebony to worry about our safety. We've spent enough time under these silent stars already." Nia grumbled, and turned to walk back to the looming forest. Jay was still looking up at the stars when she responded, "Yeah. I'll come back when I'm ready. Ebony should know she doesn't have to worry about me." She said. Nia rolled her eyes, glancing back at Jay. "Well don't blame it on me if you get in trouble!" She called, then with a flick of her strangely long tail, she was gone, sprinting off through the grass with unearthly speed.
Jay managed a small smile as she gazed up at the welcoming stars. The wind had died down since Nia had left, but... it seemed as if there was something still whispering in her ear. Something off into the distance. Jay turned towards to where the faint gentle words seemed to come from. They came from the mountains... no. They came from the star Isni.
When Jay's gaze fell upon the planet, the unrecognizable words began to form into things she could understand. Jay stood frozen, her ears strained to hear the whispers.
"Come... home... We... will... find... you..." The words sounded hopeful, desperate, and joyful all at once. A gust of wind blew against Jay, and the words seemed to dance around her. "Home." Jay whispered, her eyes shimmering brightly. Jay faced the star, and flattened her ears. She took a deep breath, stepped back, and let out a howl. It was unlike anything she had ever produced before, and honestly, Jay didn't know what she was doing. It just came on instinct, like she had to do it to answer the melodic call.
To her surprise, there was an answer returned to her. A faint song filled her ears, its notes similar to her own song. Jay widened her eyes, now realizing what she was doing. All of a sudden, the wind stopped, the notes faded, and Jay fell to the soft dirt, shaking. She felt so exhausted... so she laid down right where she was and closed her eyes.
What am I...?
Jay woke to the sound of muffled words. She seemed very refreshed after what seemed a long rest. Light shone from outside her closed eyelids, and Jay assumed that it was morning. She slowly opened her eyes and quickly adjusted to the brightness. Then, Jay recalled what had happened last night and let out a small gasp. The voice, the howl... her Ancestors... from Isni...
Jay recalled the legend in her mind, the words twisted in her head like haunted memories. She heard screaming, fire, bright flashes of light, a nightmare. Jay drove the memory away, tucking it back into the depth of her mind where it was supposed to stay. This was her home... right?
Jay blinked a few times, surprised as tears came to her eyes. She shook them off, and raised her head to look around the den. It smelled of herbs and the sharp scent of Rose, who was the Healer. The scent of Marigold and Mint flooded her nose, the strongest of the scents that she could pick out from the other herbs.
Jay felt the soft moss of a nest under her. It held the slightly dim scent of Jackal, a Fighter who was stuck in the Healer's den for a few days because of a large scrape on his back leg. He was getting better, and only had a small limp now. Jay nosed the moss around, and suddenly she heard a surprised outburst from outside the den.
Jay lowered her head and closed her eyes again when she heard the voices draw nearer. "What happened last night... do you think she's one of them?" The voice was low and gruff, twinged with the tone of honor. Jay assumed it was Reef, the leader of the small group of cats that she lived with. The next voice was one of the Healer. "I cannot be too sure. She does look like one of them before they go through their... what is it... their... growing-up phase, where their antennae grow and the Isami can then produce sonic sound. That was how they won most of the battles- with their antennae." Rose seemed scared. Jay could tell by the slight waver in her voice.
"If she is an Isami, what shall we do with her? She could turn on us, but... the two sisters have been loyal to us since Ebony found them that day. They could help drive off enemies with their powers. It would be beneficial to all of us!" Reef sounded like he was onto something, but Rose cut down his hope. Jay heard the rustle of dry leaves just on the inside of the den. Rose lashed her tail. "No. We need to dispose of them. Reef, there was a reason why there are no more of their race." Rose now sounded desperate to get rid of Jay and Nia. When Jay realized this, she held back the urge of jumping to her paws and sprinting off, away from everything that thought of her as unwanted. Her memories were not only a nightmare; with a twinge in her gut, Jay realized they were really real.
"Rose, they still don't know they're not cats. Can't they stay until we know for certain that they are Isami?" Reef asked. There was silence for a moment. "Perhaps. But once we are certain that they are the last survivors of the Isami here on Earth, we will kill them."
Jay widened her eyes and held back a yowl. Was she really Isami? Was that why she hadn't been hearing from her Ancestors? Was this why all of these things have been happening to her? Was she... not of this world? And what about them?! What would happen to Jay and Nia? Would they really be killed by the trustworthy group of cats that they had been living with for all their life? Jay couldn't believe her ears.
Suddenly, there was a light patter of paw steps and she heard a very familiar voice near her. Nia! She thought. Run! They will kill us! "Is Jay alright?" Nia asked Rose and Reef. There was silence for a second or two, and Jay waited for Rose to lunge at Nia, then Jay would leap up and save her sister. But the yowling didn't come. "She's perfectly fine, Nia. Why don't you stay here for a little while while I go get Ebony. She must be worried about you two."
Jay then heard two pairs of paw steps walking away from the sisters. Jay sprang to her paws, surprising Nia, when she was sure that the two had left. "Nia, we have to leave this place at once. They know what we are, they know-" Nia shushed Jay and laid her tail gently on her sister's shoulder. "Everything is fine, Jay. Tell me what happened last night. What did you do?"
Jay took a deep breath. "Look, Nia. While Rose and Reef were in here, they were plotting about what to do with us." Nia cocked her head, a concerned expression coming to her face. She furrowed her brow. "What are you talking about?" Jay lowered her voice and gestured for Nia to come close. "We are Isami, sister. What I did last night... I think I was communicating with the planet Isni. Our home planet." Nia looked at Jay like she was going mad. "EXCUSE ME?!" Nia yowled, cuffing Jay over the ears with her paw.
Jay didn't cuff Nia back, but pressed on with much urgency. "Nia, PLEASE, we can't stay here! Haven't you always guessed we weren't normal? Our eyes, our tail, our pelts... and now signs like this... don't you think even for a second that we're not of this world?" Nia dropped her gaze, now realizing what Jay was saying.
"And when the cats realize that we aren't like them... that we are Isami... they will kill us." Nia returned her gaze to Jay, a spring of fresh fear bloomed inside her, and Nia shuddered at the realization of her fate. "But they surly couldn't kill us. We are... we are..." Nia closed her eyes sighed deeply. "We shouldn't be here." She murmured. There was silence for a few moments, then something new split threw the air, cracking the tension.
"Jay, Nia?" It was the voice of Ebony that made the sisters prick their ears. "Ebony?" Jay asked, stepping towards the entrance of Rose's den. Then Ebony raced in and confronted Jay in a loving embracement. Ebony was the one cat that Nia and Jay could trust with their lives. Ebony was the she-cat that had found them under the rose bush on the edge of their territory, shivering from the cold winds that winter brought with it. Jay couldn't remember how she and Nia had gotten there, but here she was, receiving a caring hug from Ebony.
"Oh, Jay. Don't you scare me like that again! I thought you were hurt with all of that... yowling, you were doing last night!" Ebony scolded. She backed up and sighed deeply. "I will, Ebony. Please don't worry." Jay replied. It was then that she realized her once young caretaker was very tired with age, and Jay knew that Ebony's Fighter days in this group of cats would be over soon.
"Why don't you sit down, Ebony?" Nia said, seeming to notice it too. "No thank you, dear... I'm alright," Ebony smiled grimly at Nia and took another step back. "I'm just glad you two are okay. You tell me if you need anything, alright?" Ebony asked, and turned towards the entrance of the den. "Ebony, wait," Jay called after her. Jay glanced over at Nia, seeming to read each other's thoughts. Nia nodded, and Jay continued, "I want to say goodbye." She looked down, and the two sisters stepped closer to each other.
Ebony scrunched her nose in confusion and walked back to Jay and Nia, her tail flicking back and forth. Ebony's voice wavered as she spoke, "Jay... my dear... what do you mean?" Ebony looked like she dreaded for the response. "We are going to leave tonight. We are not welcome here." It was Nia who answered this time. "What do you mean 'you're not welcome here'? That's an outrageous thing to say..." Ebony saw the expressions on Jay and Nia's faces. They were dead serious.
"I'm sorry. I believe you both. And you are right to run away. Rose and Reef told me what you are," Ebony shut her eyes tight, trying to avoid tears, "I'll miss you... so much. You must run away and never look back, my dears. You must." Ebony quickly nuzzled the two sisters and left, leaving Jay and Nia wishing they could respond.
"If she knows, the others must know. Act casual, Nia. We only need to survive here for one more day."
It was late afternoon, almost night. They would leave now. Nia and Jay had plotted out how they were going to make it out of camp unnoticed. Jay had come up with the smart idea of heading out like they were going to go hunting, then just walk out of the territory. Just like like that. It was almost too easy to believe. They both knew, nothing was that easy.
Jay padded over to Nia who was sharing tongues with Needle, her good friend which she had grown close to over the seasons. They sat together, their pelts brushed against each other as they shared a shrew. "Nia." Jay said, stepping up to the two. Nia looked so happy with Needle, Jay knew Nia would be sad to let him go. From what it looked like, Needle didn't know that they weren't cats. He acted like he did every day towards Jay's sister: flirtatious, kind, caring, all things Nia would never find in any other cat from this moment on. They would all turn on them.
Nia lifted her gaze to Jay, and she nodded curtly. "Needle, Jay and I are going to go hunting. I'll bring back a rabbit for you, if you want!" Nia said, acting like everything was normal. The two Isami sisters knew what was really going to happen. Needle cocked his head at Nia. "Oh. I thought the evening patrol had already brought prey back." Nia and Jay shared an alarmed glance. Jay spoke up, "I'm kind of picky for field mouse right now, we're just going to go hunting for some... mice... I guess..." Jay gulped. Needle narrowed his eyes at Jay, then turned to Nia, an affectionate purr rising in his throat. "Well you go do that. I have a surprise for you tonight anyways. Something I've been waiting to tell you for a long time." Needle stared lovingly at Nia.
Jay looked down at her paws in shame and understanding. This was what cats called love. Needle was going to ask Nia to be his mate tonight. At least that was what was supposed to happen. Nia glanced at Jay again and widened her eyes. Pain flashed there, and heartbreak. "We have to." Jay mouthed. Nia looked down, and Needle cocked his head again. "Are you okay?" He asked, lying his tail gently on Nia's shoulder. Nia sniffed and looked up into Needle's brown eyes. "Yes... I'll be alright." Nia stood up, and stood beside Jay. Jay looked over at Nia, and saw her shoulders slumped, her tail dragged on the ground.
"We're going now." Jay told Needle, who was looking at Nia. "Come back soon, my flower! I'll be waiting for you!" Needle called after Nia as they turned to walk over to the entrance of camp. The setting sun cast long shadows across the camp grounds, and the two sisters turned to take in the place where all of their memories had taken place, all of the times when they had thought they were safe. The thought shriveled away. Nowhere was safe on this planet.
Jackal, Dew, and Hare walked out of a den, all three looked at Nia and Jay like the outsiders they knew they were. Jackal looked sad. Jay knew Jackal well, and they were friends. Jay had cared for the tom when he was hurt, and Jackal the same for Jay when she was feeling sad or lonely. Jay turned away from them, and turned towards the entrance, her bright blue eyes floated over Ebony, who was standing guard. She looked at them and her expression fell.
Nia and Jay walked up to Ebony and the old she-cat nuzzled them. "I love you, please be careful." She said, and the two walked on without looking back. Because Nia and Jay were somber, they didn't catch the trailing gaze of Reef who was watching their every step from his den.
"That was harder than I thought it would be." Nia murmured after walking beside Jay for a few minutes. They were nearing the edge of the woods, soon they would be walking through the same field that they had stood on the night before. "Yes. I will miss Ebony, Meadow, and Jackal." Jay said. Nia's gaze dropped to her paws and she kicked a rock, making it skip into the undergrowth. The trees loomed above them, and when Jay glanced up, she could have sworn she saw the familiar gaze of one of her... past... denmates. Meadow's eyes. Jay's head shot back up. They were gone. She cocked her head in confusion; maybe it was the sadness of leaving that was messing with her mind. But Jay knew, her eyes rarely ever deceived her. They never did.
"I'll miss Needle. He loved me, I know now. I know what he was going to tell me tonight." Nia said. "Yes, I know too. I'm really sorry Nia. If he knew what they were going to do to us, he would have wanted you to run away as well. We either die, or we survive. I want to survive." Jay said, nudging her sister softly with her shoulder. Before Nia could reply, a scream cut through the silent air, making the sisters' blood turn to ice. "Ebony." They said at the same time.
"EBONY!" Nia screamed, and turned, trying to sprint in the other direction. "NO! NIA, DON'T LET YOUR PAIN DISTRACT YOU!" Jay yowled after her sister. Nia stopped, and looked back at Jay. "Don't let it, Nia. You know she's dead. There's nothing we can do. We have to survive." Jay said, walking up to Nia who was crying. "I'm sorry." Jay whispered, tears welling up. She swallowed a rather large lump in her throat as she tried to comfort her heartbroken sister. "She will always stay as a light in our memories."
"Heck, she will." A new voice cut sharp and harsh through the woods. Nia snarled, and turned towards the same tree that Jay had thought Meadow's gaze had shown through. It was Meadow, and Jay gasped as the she-cat leapt down the tree, her hostel gaze cut through Jay's soul, and she growled. "How-how..." Jay lost the use of her words, feeling betrayed. She quickly tried to push those feelings away; she should expect this from a cat. But why Meadow?!
"Your times are over, Isami. It was over when we won the war. Now, I will make sure that the history of our past stays. The cats are the only felines that dominate this planet. NOT ISAMI!" Meadow lunged for Nia, her claws extended and eyes filled with hatred. Nia lept out of the way just in time but that left Meadow barreling into Jay. Sharp claws scraped against her side and Jay let out a yelp of pain. Meadow gasped, Jay's blood was dark blue, and Meadow wasn't expecting that.