“Come on Willow! You can do it!” Jaxon tried to calm his mate, Willow, down as she kitted. “Just a few more seconds. I’m right here.”
Willow gave a small whimper of pain as the last kit was born. It was a small grey tom. It gave a small ‘mew’, and then started suckling.
“You did it Willow, you did it! We have two beautiful kits!” Jaxon whispered. Willow purred.
“I will name one, and you will name the other.” She meowed. “The first kit, the white she-cat, will be named Frost.”
Jaxon purred. “That’s a great name. I will name this grey one Purred, because that is the first thing you did when you saw him.”
“That’s a stupid name.” Willow meowed good-naturedly.
“It’s purr with a D!” Jaxon replied.
“Then it’s Purdee.”
“How about Purdy?” Jaxon asked. And that settled it. They both lay down in the abandoned upwalker nest that they called home. It had always been hard living there, seeing as they had to hunt their own food, and everything.
But they liked it. They had each other, a roof over their heads, and now, two small kits. They had a basket with old upwalker blankets that kept them warm.
Jaxon’s upwalker had died just two seasons before. He was off on his own, when he met Willow, who’s upwalker had left her, and in just a few moons, they became mates. Life couldn’t have been better.
Jaxon eyed the dark walls that kept them safe. The roof that kept them dry. The basket that kept them warm.
Yes. He thought. I think I can bring up kits here.
Purdy shivered. He was just a day old, and didn’t want to open his eyes yet. He knew that whatever was out there in the world could wait a little bit.
He snuggled up closer to his mother’s warmth. He was just about to drift back to sleep when, “Wow. Meep. Where am I?” Frost had opened her eyes.
“Good morning, my little kit. This is your home. You are safe here. Your father has gone hunting, but he will be back.”
“Can I explore?” Purdy could tell from the rocking that Frost was jumping up and down. “Can I? Can I? Can I? My eyes are open!” Their mother purred.
“Only when your brother has opened his.” Purdy sighed. He might as well open them. He stretched open his eyes.
“Wow.” He was sitting in some sort of warm woven thing, and outside, light came in through clear openings in the walls around him. There were big, soft things behind him, and tall, wood shelves to his side.
“You’re AWAKE!” Frost yelled. “We can explore!” Willow purred again.
“Good morning, Purdy.” Purdy. That was his name! “When Jaxon comes back, he will take you around the house.”
“So much waiting!” Frost moaned.
“Are these my kits?” Another cat had come in from a small opening in the side. He had sleek, golden fur, unlike his mother’s light grey. “Frost! Purdy! You’re awake!” Purdy puffed out his chest.
“Yup! And now we’re going to explore!” He declared. Jaxon chuckled.
“All right.” He agreed. “Let’s go.” And he led the kits through the abandoned house, pointing out different things. Apparently, the big soft things were sofas, and there were tables, chairs, doorways, windows, counters, and so much stuff. “The upwalkers who lived here died, and so we moved in!” Purdy was in awe of everything. It was just so…big.
“So this is the world?” Frost asked. “It’s kind of small.” Jaxon purred.
“No, Frost. This is just a house. The real world is outside the walls. Look out that window.” Purdy went over to the window, and pressed his face to it. The outside world was even bigger. There were huge trees, and big loud things that went roaring past.
“Meeeeep!” Frost jumped into the air, and landed on their dad’s head. “What’s that? It’s so loud and scary!”
“It’s a car.” Jaxon meowed. “It’s what upwalkers use to get around faster.” Purdy was still staring at something that had captivated him.
“What’s that?” He asked. “That thing on the ground. The brown one.”
Jason looked confused. “That’s a hamburger.” He said. “Upwalker food. And that is an upwalker.” A strange creature was coming past. It walked on two legs and it was tall. It had a strange, loose pelt that was colored in all sorts of bright colors, from green, to pink, to aquamarine. “They wear strange pelts called ‘clothes’.” Jaxon told him.
Purdy’s mind whirled. “Wow.” He mewed. “This upwalker world is weird.”
Purdy grew fast. He and Frost we’re bigger now, still kits, but strong kits. They had fun outside as well as inside now, because Jaxon manages to convince Willow that they should be able to play outside as long as he was supervising them.
“Grrrr! I’m a dog!” Frost yelled as she charged Purdy. Purdy tackled her, and they started play fighting. After Frost had pinned him, Purdy ran up to his dad.
“Hiya!” He leapt at Jaxon. He missed. FLOOMP! He fell in the mud. Frost purred with amusement.
“You mouse-brain! This is how you pounce!” She ran, and jumped on top of Jaxon, but forgot to grab onto his pelt, and fell in the mud.
Jaxon purred. “You are such lovely kits!” He said. Willow came out the small opening from the house to the yard. Purdy filled with excitement.
“Willow!” He squeaked. He tumbled over to his mother. “Watch my pounce!” Purdy crouched and, focusing on a falling leaf, he jumped. He didn’t even flail. He pinned the leaf down. “I did it!” He surprised himself.
“That was a lovely pounce.” Willow purred.
“My turn!” Frost yelled. She got into a crouch, and flung herself at a bush. Jaxon tensed, and at the same time, Purdy realized something was wrong as well.
“Frost! No!” Jaxon yelled. He ran over, but it was too late. Frost hit the bush, and there was a metallic CLINK! Metal jaws snapped up through the bush, and clamped onto her leg. She cried out in pain.
“An Upwalker trap!” Willow shrieked. Frost was moaning in pain, and Jaxon was trying to open the trap. Purdy, despite being as scared as a mouse with a cat looming over it, ran to help. What he found was terrible.
The jaws hadn’t pierced all the way through her leg, thank goodness, but they were drawing a lot of blood. Purdy bravely stepped forward, and tried to pull open the trap. It wouldn’t budge. Purdy started panicking. Jaxon’s muscles were rippling upper his pelt with the effort he was using. Purdy knew that there was no way to open this thing.
But he had an idea.
He looked at the bottom of the trap. There were some weird turny things there. He clawed at them, and bit them. Finally, one came loose, and popped out.
The trap relaxed, and Jaxon was able to pull it open for Frost, who fell out. Her breathing was dampened, and slow. Willow was still frozen like a deer in headlights (though Purdy didn’t know what either of those were), but at the sight of her wounded kit, she flew forward, and started licking the blood from Frost’s leg.
Jaxon ran over and helped. Together, they brought her into the house, and laid her on the floor.
“We need something to stop the bleeding.” Jaxon meowed. “Purdy, get some soft cloth from that couch.” Purdy flocked his tail in acknowledgment, and ran to the couch. His claws slid out, and shredded part of the couch, getting some of the soft cloth. He ran back, and gave it to Jaxon, who pressed it onto Frost’s leg.
The bleeding slowed. Her breathing started to return to normal.
“Now, all we can do is wait.” Jaxon said. He and Purdy curled up in the basket. Willow was still caring for Frost. “You were brave today, Purdy.” Jaxon murmured. Purdy felt a burst of pride.
“Thanks, dad.” He mewed. And then he drifted off to sleep. He dreamed of big metal jaws biting him, and blood spilling onto the ground. “Meep!” He awoke with a start. He looked around, telling himself that it was just a dream, and that he was safe with his dad in the basket. He was about to drift back to sleep, when he heard a strange sound. A squeaking, almost.
He looked at the hole in the wall. There was a pair of red eyes looking at him through the hole. Then another. And another.
There was a massive hissing, squeaking sound. Then they all charged into the house.
Purdy sprang to his small feet. Jaxon was awake too. “Rats!” He cried. Purdy thought he was just expressing annoyance until he realized that it was a bunch of rats that had come into the house.
Willow and Frost were awake too. Jaxon jumped in front of the two she-cats as the rats lunged towards them. He slashed one in the back, and bit another. He was putting up a valiant fight, but there were too many rats.
“They must have been drawn by Frost’s blood!” He yelled. Purdy was scared to the tip of his tail, but he knew that he had to do something. Frost could barely walk! He found himself face to face with a twisted, ugly, black rat. Purdy arched his back, and hissed. The rat lunged. Purdy swung his paw, and sliced the rat’s nose. It scurried off.
Rats were starting to overcome Jaxon. His golden pelt was barely visible in the thrashing mound of rats. Purdy ran forward, not even conscious of doing so. He leaped at them, claws flying.
Rat blood was everywhere, and Purdy couldn’t see. He just kept slashing. He felt a sharp pain in his shoulder, and found himself facing a rat twice his size. It was about to bite, when it froze, and fell over. Willow was standing there, claws out.
Purdy nodded, and kept fighting. He knew that this was no right for kits, but he didn’t care. This was his home!
Finally, the rats drew back, and ran off into the night. Purdy collapsed, exhausted, to the ground. He felt the pain from where the rats had bitten him, but he couldn’t move. He saw Jaxon sprawled, unmoving, on the floor while Willow tried to stop his bleeding.
Dead rat bodies littered the ground, and the house was torn up.
The only thing that remained untouched was Frost, hidden in the couch cushions. She limped out.
“Are they gone?” She mewed. “Is Jaxon ok?” Jaxon still hadn’t moved. Nothing could stop his bleeding. The rats had bitten him too much. Willow wouldn’t give up, though.
“I don’t know Frost.” She meowed. “I’m trying.” Purdy tried to stand.
But he couldn’t.
He couldn’t move at all.
This was not normal.
“Help.” He mewed. He could barely hear his own voice. Frost came over.
“Are you ok?” She asked. “What’s-” she stopped. She was staring at a bite on his chest. “Willow! Help! Purdy’s turning green!” Willow ran over.
“It’s infected.” She whispered. “Oh no. Oh no no no.” And then Purdy’s vision went black.
Purdy woke up looking at a bright light.
“Am I dead?” He murmured. He opened his eyes wider. “Ah. No. No I am not.” He was in a strange, white room. He was lying on a table, and there was some pointy thing poking into his forepaw. There were strange sounds, beeps! and tika tika tika tika tika. He looked around. There were shelves, like in his home, but these were white. “Where am I?” He wondered.
A door opened, and an Upwalker came in. The Upwalker checked some shiny thing that was making the beeping, and then checked the stuff going into Purdy’s shoulder. Then it walked out.
This just confused Purdy even more. WHERE WAS HE?!? He was just a kit! He needed his mom! He wanted Willow. He wanted Jaxon. And he wanted Frost. But he was all alone in a strange, unfamiliar place. This was no place for a cat! He caterwauled to show his anger.
“Wow there, little kit.” A voice said. “You’re ok here.” Purdy looked over. To his left, another cat lay on a table like his. “You’re just at a vet.”
Purdy cocked his head. “What’s a vet?” He asked. “And why am I at it?” The other cat’s whiskers twitched with amusement.
“These people help us. They brought you in a day ago. You was a limp, bloody little thing. But they cleaned you up, hooked you up to the medicine bag, and saved your life!”
Purdy looked at the thing going into his shoulder. “This gives me medicine?” He asked. The cat nodded. “Where’s Jaxon? Where’s Willow? Are they here?”
The cat shook his head. “They only brought you in. I don’t know any Jaxons, or Willows, little, uh. I don’t know your name.”
“Purdy.” Purdy said.
“Huh. Nice name. I’m Marvolo.” He said.
“Nice to meet you, Marvolo.” Purdy said. “Now, lets get out of here.”
Purdy waited by the door to the vet room. He had tried to escape twice, failed twice. This was his time.
“Dude. This isn’t gonna work.” Marvolo meowed. He had been against this plan from the start. “You’ve already tried twice.”
“It is going to work!” Purdy told him. “And you can come if you want!” He had already asked. He knew the answer.
“Nah. The only reason I’m alive is because I’m here. They’ll let me go when I’m ready.” Purdy’s heart sank. Marvolo was his only friend here! Granted, he was a pretty old cat to be friends with a kit, but hey, they were the only two cats here.
“Shhh! They’re coming!” Marvolo fell silent. The door opened, and an Upwalker came in. Purdy jumped.
He landed on the Upwalker’s head, and jumped off it. The Upwalker shrieked.
“Ha haaaaaaaa!” Purdy soared through the air, and hit the windowsill. He clawed his way up. The Upwalker was yowling something. Purdy turned around.
“Last chance to come, Marvolo.” He meowed. Marvolo shook his head.
“Get out of here, kit. Go back to ya’ family. Live a life in the real world, not here.” Marvolo nodded at him. “Go.” Purdy, blinking back tears, jumped out the window.
It was three stories up.
“AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Purdy yelled as he fell. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see himself go splat.
FLOOMP! He hit something soft. He opened his eyes. He had hit some sort of strange, air-filled bag. He shrugged, and jumped off. He was fine. Not a scratch. He looked around at where he was.
In front of him was a huge street, and behind him was a large building, probably this vet thing he was told about. Upwalkers bustled around, and cars vroomed by.
It was pretty cool, but he had no idea where he was. He hid in a bush to keep from view of all the Upwalkers. Then he heard something.
“Purdy! PURDY! Is there a cat named Purdy around here?” He looked up, and saw a cat he didn’t recognize calling his name.
“Who are you?” He asked. “How do you know my name?”
“‘Da whole town knows ya’, man.” The cat said. “Everyone is taking about a kit who was taken by Upwalkers after he fought a buncha rats. Yo’ family pretty scared, man.” Purdy felt a rush of hope.
“You know my family? Where are they?” He asked.
“‘Da abandoned house you been livin in is dat way.” He said, flicking his tail.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Purdy ran off, glad to know where his family was, and also get away from the weird cat. He shot along the stone walkway, until he saw the grown-over house that was his home. He ran to it, and wiggled into the gap. He found Frost staring out the window.
“Purdy? You’re back!” She cried. Willow came from another room.
“Purdy!” She ran over. Then Jaxon limped out. “We told every cat we could find to keep a lookout for you!”
“My son!” He yelled. “My son has returned!” After almost 20 minutes of happy reunion, they all curled up in the basket, just like old times.
“It’s nice to have you back, Purdy.” Frost mewed.
“It’s nice to be back.” Purdy sleepily replied. And then, for the first time in two days, he fell asleep without a care.
Purdy was no longer a kit. He was older, stronger, taller. Jaxon had taught him and Frost (whose leg had completely healed) to hunt. Purdy could catch his own meals most days.
Today he was hunting in the overgrown backyard while Frost retold the story of the rats for the hundredth time.
“And so you and Jaxon were fighting like crazy! It was all, slash! Slash! Jump! Bite! Kick! Bite! Slash again! And then suddenly the rats gave up and ran, and you and Jaxon were just lying there like you were dead, and then you started turning green, and then there were these flashing lights outside, and this really loud noise like WEE-U WEE-U WEE-U! And then these Upwalkers came in, and Willow hid Jaxon, but the Upwalkers saw you, and took you away! AND THEN-” Purdy cut her off.
“Mouse.” He whispered. Frost stopped rambling. Purdy crouched, and sprang, neatly killing the mouse with one quick bite. He turned around, wanting to show Jaxon his catch, when a brown cat leaped over the fence, and into their backyard.
“RUN!” He yelled. “THE EXTERMINATORS ARE COMING!” Jaxon and Willow ran out from the house.
“Who are you?” They asked in unison.
“Just a fellow kittypet that is warning you of danger. Now GET OUT! The Upwalkers are coming to kill the rats that they saw a couple days ago, and they’ll probably kill you too!”
Jaxon turned to his family. “Go.” He commanded. “I’ll follow.” Purdy nodded. He didn’t need telling twice. He, Frost, and Willow ran for the exit.
But it was too late.
The Upwalkers were already there.
They turned to the cats, and started making their strange sounds to each other. Then they leaned down to the cats, front paws outstretched.
Purdy arched his back, and hissed. He tried to claw at the Upwalkers, but it was useless. They picked them all up.
“Jaxon! Help!” Willow cried. But no response came. The Upwalkers took them out of the house, and put them in some sort of steel cobweb.
“Cages.” Willow whispered. Purdy was scared. He was loaded into the back of a big car, a truck maybe. He clawed at the bars, but there was no escape from this Upwalker invention.
The truck rumbled. It started to go forward, and picked up speed. Through a small window in the back, Purdy could see out the front. But he knew that any attempt at escape was useless. There were no Upwalker heads to jump off of this time. They were all alone.
Then they heard a familiar yowl.
“You will never harm my family!” It was Jaxon. Purdy peered through the window. He saw Jaxon standing in front of the truck, directly in the line of fire.
“Jaxon! Move!” Frost yelled. Jaxon didn’t. The truck kept coming.
The driver didn’t even turn.
The truck was barely a cat-length away.
And Jaxon jumped forward.
He sailed, claws outstretched, at the glass part of the front of the truck.
He hit it with such force it shattered.
Jaxon smashed through the truck, and attacked the Upwalker inside. It started yowling something, but it couldn’t throw Jaxon off. Jaxon kept clawing the Upwalker. But it got him off.
It threw him against the circular turny thing, and Jaxon’s claws sank into it, yanking it to the side. The truck veered. Purdy screeched as it barreled into a brick wall.
CRUNCHGRINDTWISTSHATTER! The truck crumpled against the wall, and Jaxon flew out the front, smashing into the wall with a horrid CRUCH! Purdy’s heart stopped. The cage that he was in had protected him from the worst of the crash, but he still had several scrapes, and a nasty cut along his flank. The Upwalker had it worse. He was slumped over sideways, groaning, and was bleeding bad from his arm.
Purdy’s cage had been blown open in the crash, and he padded carefully into the front of the truck. He quickly ripped up a seat, and used the fabric to try and slow the Upwalker’s blood. After all, it wasn’t his fault that Jaxon had attacked him.
Oh no. Purdy jumped out the car, and ran over to Jaxon’s side. There was no heartbeat. He wasn’t breathing. Willow came over.
“Oh, my sweet Jaxon!” She cried, and hurried her muzzle in his side. Frost came over too. She seemed paralyzed with shock, fear, and grief. Purdy knew that he had to take care of his family now. He knew that Willow could care for herself, but she probably wouldn’t do anything for a couple days.
Purdy looked at the growing crowd of Upwalkers, staring at the cats, and gasping when they saw Jaxon’s broken body. There were others that were helping the driver.
“Come on.” Purdy whispered. “Let’s get out of here.” And together, all three of them sobered away, dragging Jaxon’s body between them.
Purdy tasted the air. He could tell that there was a squirrel around here somewhere, but he didn’t know where. He started kicking rocks into random bushes to try and scare the squirrels out. His strategy succeeded, and he caught the squirrel.
Purdy hoped that Jaxon was smiling down on him, praising him for his catch like he used to when he was a kit.
But those times were over. Purdy was mostly taking are of his family, as Willow had been racked by grief for almost half a moon, and Frost was mostly focused on helping Willow in the den.
Yup. They had a den now. They had been forced to move out of their abandoned house, and so they moved into some woods that they found a little ways away. It definitely didn’t beat their old home, but it was something. And something was better than nothing.
Was Purdy walked back, he passed a spot of recently dug dirt.
They had buried him in his favorite meadow of flowers. He always loved to go there. Purdy shook the thoughts out of his head.
He brought back his catch to the bramble, wood, and other things they had found, den.
Willow looked up from where she was curled in the basket, the only thing they had managed to take with them. Her fur was ragged, and unclean. Purdy could see her ribs against her pelt. Purdy dropped the squirrel.
“Eat.” He commanded. Willow shook her head.
“I have something important to tell you.” She meowed softly. Purdy felt a little scared. Important things were bad more times than not.
“Ok.” Frost meowed. Willow took a deep breath.
“You are not kits anymore. You do not need me to care for you, and I have not been caring for you since Jaxon-” her voice caught. “Since he died. This is not the life he would have wanted for you. You need someone who can care for you, house you, keep you warm, feed you. I want you both to become kittypets.”
Purdy was shocked. “What?!?” He yelled. “Willow, we can’t leave you!” Willow shrugged.
“I’ll be a kittypet too. My Upwalker will care for me.”
Frost shook her head. “No no no no no. I can’t leave you. I just can’t!”
“I know it’s hard, my kits. But you need a better life. One that I can not give you.”
Purdy still fought back. “But no Upwalker is going to take me! They always want cute little kits, not an almost grown up gray cat!”
“You just need to find the right Upwalkers. And both of you, we can still see each other sometimes. Our houses might be close.”
Purdy and Frost nodded, knowing that she was right. This life in the makeshift den was no life for them.
Together, they all curled up, and spent their last night together.
Purdy stood at the doorstep to an Upwalker house.
“So… remind me again what I’m supposed to do.” Purdy meowed. Frost, and Willow were crouched in bushes.
“Just mrrow sadly, and the Upwalker will come out, and take pity on you, and take you in.” Willow told him Purdy nodded.
“Mrrrroooooooooow!” He wailed. He heard footsteps. The door opened outward, and hit Purdy off the porch. He fell into another bush. The Upwalker shrugged, not seeing him, and closed the door. Purdy shook brambles out of his fur. He saw Frost’s whiskers twitching. “Shut up.” He muttered.
“Try number two.” Purdy meowed at the second house. He wailed again, and then got out of the door’s range. And Upwalker came out. It shrieked, and slammed the door in Purdy’s face. Purdy frowned.
“You are really bad at this.” Frost purred.
“Try number three.” Purdy said. He had a better plan now. Cue sad wailing. The door opened, and Purdy shot inside. A second later, he was throw back out. Frost was purring with amusement.
“Ok, Purdy. Watch and learn.” Frost went to a random house. She make a cute, sad noise, and an Upwalker came out. It said something to some older Upwalkers, and they had a short conversation. All the while, Frost had been looking alone, hungry, sad, and cute at the same time. Purdy gawked as the Upwalkers picked up Frost, and pet her, bringing her inside. She turned, and winked at Purdy.
How did you do that? He mouthed.
Frost smirked. She-catism. She mouthed back. And then the door closed.
“Don’t worry, Purdy. You inherited your father’s strength. Your sister inherited my good looks. That’s why she’s so good at this.” Willow comforted.
Purdy tried to use she-catism at the next house, but he was definitely not a she-cat. He was smacked away by a strange pole with hay-like things on it. Willow told him it was a broom.
This was getting ridiculous.
Purdy walked to the next house. “Ok. If I don’t make it this time, I’m giving up for today.” He promised. He tried a new approach. He started banging his head on the door. And old Upwalker came out. Purdy flipped onto his back, and purred up at the Upwalker. The Upwalker smiled. He leaned down, and shoofed Purdy’s soft belly fur. Then he picked him up, and brought him inside.
Purdy looked back, and saw Willow, smiling. He waved his tail, and Willow waved back. Then she turned around, and vanished into the night.
Purdy’s new life with his Upwalker was nice. It didn’t have the same everyday flair of his old life of hunting, clawing, and all that.
It was… slower. More controlled. More safe.
Purdy was happy. He played with his old Upwalker, and started to get used to the small house. There was so much more stuff than his abandoned one! And, best of all, the backyard was fenced off, so he could play there, but past the fence, there were small woods where Upwalkers walked. Purdy could hunt there, and climb trees, and all sorts of stuff.
One day, he was hunting in the woods, enjoying the sun in his pelt, when something grabbed him from behind a tree, and smashed him against it. Purdy struggled, but whatever was holding him was strong. Suddenly, he felt a claw at his throat.
“Don’t move.” A she-cat voice hissed. “Now, give me your mouse.” Purdy started to relax. These cats were obviously amateurs.
“You want my mouse? Are you mugging me?” He asked.
“Yup!” The voice being him sounded happy, like she was glad he had caught on so fast. “Now, give me the mouse.” Purdy shrugged.
“Sure. I can always hunt another.” He tossed the mouse behind him, and the cat had just released her grip when another cat came into the clearing.
“Katrina, what are you doing?” He asked. This cat was light, creamy brown with blue eyes. “Are you mugging another cat?” Katrina, who was a black she-cat with amber eyes, gave Creamy Brown an innocent look.
“Nope.” She meowed. “Zero mugging here, Tom.” Tom raised an eyebrow.
“Then who’s this?” He asked, flicking his tail at Purdy.
“I’m Purdy.” Purdy said.
“Purdy? What kind of name is that? Wait a moment. Are you some sort of hippie cat?” He narrowed his eyes.
“Um. No. I mean, you’re a tom named Tom. Are you some sort of hippie cat?” Purdy asked. Katrina purred.
“He has a point.” She said. Tom was about to say something, but Purdy interrupted.
“Hey, you’re Katrina, right?” He asked. She nodded. “Can I call you Kat for short?” He joked.
“No.” She glared. Purdy backed away.
“She’s scary.” He whispered to Tom.
“She’s my mate.” He raised his eyebrows.
“I, uh, meant, um, scary, uh in a, uh, um-” Purdy stuttered.
“Relax, I’m just joshing with you. She’s my sister.” Tom smiled.
“Oh.” Purdy looked between the two. “So, um, why were you guys mugging me?” Tom frowned at Katrina.
“She likes to mug random cats who walk through here. She takes whatever they have, then, right before they leave, she gives it all back. I told her to stop, but…”
Katrina smiled innocently. “I wasn’t mugging him. We were just, um, talking. No mugging.”
Tom snorted. “You have a mouse. You don’t hunt.” Katrina tossed the mouse away.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She told him.
Tom groaned. “Look, we have enough trouble with the dog-” He stopped suddenly, glancing at Purdy. “I, um, I mean-”
But Purdy had heard. “What dog?” He asked. Tom was about to say something, but Katrina interrupted. He got interrupted a lot.
“There’s a dog that’s been romping around here, and making trouble for us. And not just us. Every cat on the block has been attacked at least once. None have died…yet. Cloudy was close, but he got lucky. He’s at the vet now.”
“Yowza. That sucks.”
“Very sucketh.” Katrina agreed.
“Maybe I can help.” Purdy supplied hopefully. Tom shrugged.
“I dunno. The dog is big. And scary. And we’re small. And not scary. We don’t stand a chance.”
“I know how to fight. I once fought off a whole pack of rats.” It wasn’t a lie, it just wasn’t the whole truth.
Katrina nodded, impressed. “Ok, you’re in. What should we do?”
Purdy thought for a moment. “We need more cats. How many might join you?” Tom thought for a moment
“Maybe four? Give or take.” Purdy nodded.
“That’s 7, including us. And I know one, maybe two, that will join.”
“Who?” Asked Katrina, nosy to no end.
“My family. Frost, and Willow.”
“A fight? Against a dog? Sure! I’m totally in!” Frost hopped out the window, and down the tree. “But first, I gotta something to say to you.” She looked angry. Purdy gulped.
She spit into a wide grin. “Thanks for coming by! I need some excitement, you know? So how’s kittypet life treating you, Purdy?” Purdy nodded, and together, they started to pad off to Willow’s house.
“Good. I have a great Upwalker. You?”
“Great. A little boring, but great. My Upwalkers are great. They even have some little Upwalker kits that are fun to play with.”
“Aww! They must be so cute!”
“They are!” She paused for a moment. “Here we are, about to go fight a dog, and we’re talking about Upwalker kits.”
“That’s the way it is, sometimes. Hey, is this it?” That had stopped in front of another house.
“That’s the one.” Frost meowed. “Let’s go.”
They carefully crossed the street, and jumped to a windowsill, where they saw Willow napping inside on a couch. Frost winked at Purdy, and fiddled with the window lock for a few minutes. Then there was a click, and she lifted the window up. The two of them jumped into the house, and padded over to Willow.
“Willow. Wake up.” Purdy whispered. Willow stirred, and opened her eyes. When she saw who it was, she shot up.
“Purdy! Frost! How are you?” She purred, and touched noses with each of them.
Purdy purred back. “Good. We have great Upwalkers.”
They chatted for a few minutes, until, “Ok, I’m guessing you didn’t come here just to talk. What is it?”
Frost answered. “We’re gonna fight a dog!” Willow’s eyes widened. Purdy stepped in.
“Not how I would have put it, but yeah. I met some cats that are being harassed by a dog. It wounded a couple of them. Frost and I are going to try and help, and we want you to come too.”
Willow blinked, and then closed her eyes, deciding.
“This is Leopard, Fire, Thunder, and Tiger.” Tom introduced to Purdy, Willow, and Frost. Each cat gave a slight nod, or wave with their tail when their name was called.
“So we are the mecha-fighting crew that’s gonna take on the dog?” Thunder asked. “You don’t look like much.”
“Neither do you.” Frost retorted. Thunder lashed out with sheathed claws, but Frost ducked, and kicked him in the stomach.
“Not bad.” They said in unison.
“Do what’s the plan?” Leopard asked.
“We’re in process of making one.” Katrina told them.
“Ooooh, so we don’t have a plan? My favorite kind!” Tiger purred.
“No, we need a plan.” Fire meowed.
“No we don’t!”
“No!” And then everyone started arguing.
“I have a plan!” It was Willow who had yowled. Everyone looked at her. “I have a plan.” She repeated.
“You do?” Katrina asked. “Spill.”
Willow modded. “One team of cats will lead the dogs to a designated spot. Another team will be waiting there to ambush it. Once we have it surrounded, we can attack from all sides, and teach it to stay out of this forest.” Her voice got stronger the longer she talked. Purdy thought it seemed like a pretty good plan. It looked like everyone else did too.
“This seems like a formidable plan of attack.” Leopard meowed thoughtfully.
“I can live with that.” Tiger agreed. “As long as I get to beat the slobber out of the flea pelt.”
“Agreed.” Thunder smirked. Even Tom was on board.
“All right.” Purdy spoke up. “Let’s go.”
“I think that the four fastest should be the first group.” Leopard was in plan mode. “And the rest will wait here in this clearing. The best fighters in front, the lees-good ones behind.” Everyone murmured, and nodded. Leopard kept going. “So the fastest will be… Fire. Katrina. Frost?”
“Nah. I hurt my leg when I was young. I don’t want to overwork it to pain again.”
“Me.” Purdy meowed. Leopard nodded.
“I trust you.” She meowed.
“StarClan be with you.” Katrina meowed dramatically. Everyone looked at her. She shrugged.
“I heard some cats talking about some other cats who lived in a forest somewhere. I dunno.”
And with that, the nine cats vanished into the woods.
Purdy snuck, as quiet as possible, through the forest. Leopard and fife on his left. Katrina at his right.
“We’re here.” Leopard stopped, and Purdy could hear a small rumbling through the trees.
“Is it…sleeping?” He asked. Everyone shushed him, and Katrina gave him a look like ‘Duh. They crept into yet another clearing. In the middle, a massive lump of snoozing, brown and black fur lay. The dog.
Leopard signaled to hide. Fire hid. Purdy hid. Leopard hid.
She waltzed right up to the dog.
“OI! Snickerdoodle! Mange pelt! Blubberbelly! Can’t-tell-which-side-is-which! Get up!” She poked his sleeping eye.
“Katrina! What are you doing?” Leopard yelled.
“We need him to chase us, right?”
“We don’t want him super ang-LOOK OUT!” Katrina whirled around, where the dog was up. It was even bigger standing up. It was twice as tall as a cat, and twice as long. It’s slobbering jaws were bared, and growling. Four massive claws adorned each paw. It lunged at Katrina. But she was wicked agile. She danced out of reach, avoiding each attack with ease.
“Now we run.” Leopard ordered. All four cats took off. Katrina stayed back far enough to make the dog think that he could still catch them. Every time it got close, she sped up. It was working.
And then it wasn’t.
Purdy didn’t even see it happen. Maybe the dog sped up, or maybe Katrina slowed down.
But the dog get her. It grabbed her in its teeth, and shook her around.
“No!” Fire attacked, claws flying. Purdy stepped in as well. He whirled around the dog’s legs, slashing, Leopard was trying to get it to drop Katrina. Purdy tried to get under it, but the dog was smart. It’s back leg flew out at him, and hit him away.
Purdy smashed into a tree, and a couple acorns fell on him.
“Ouch.” He winced. “That hurt.” He slowly got up. Fire was lying, unmoving, on the ground while blood dripped from a cut behind his ear. Katrina was limp, and being dragged away by a bleeding Leopard. The dog was barely gazed by any of the attacks. They would need a miracle.
And then one came. As Purdy desperately climbed the tree, a dark brown blur fell from the tree, and landed in front of the dog.
“You seem lost, dog.” Tiger smirked. “Need directions to Tail-Kickery? You’re already here.”
“Dang that’s a nice line.” Thunder came out of a bush. “Wish I came up with it.”
“We were supposed to do something, I think. Yell something.” Thunder shrugged.
“We probably missed the plan.”
“No wait. I remember.” The whole time, the dog was watching, confused, as if wondering why these two cats were meowing and not attacking. “We were supposed to give the attack signal.”
“Ohhhhhhh. Ok. CHAAAAAAARGE!” Frost, Willow, and Tom emerged from around the trees, and attacked.
Ok. So there’s fighting a dog. Then there’s Clan cats fighting a dog. Then there’s these cats fighting a dog.
It was crazy. Compleatly unorthodox. Tiger ignored his claws, and bit the dog on its nose. Thunder body-slammed it’s side. Frost and Willow clawed at it, while Tom rushed it, nipped it, and ran out.
Every time the dog tried to counterattack, Tiger or Thunder were there, slashing it back. They fought with a strange combination or sheer strength, and light-footed agility. Purdy had never seen anything like it. It was like two stronger Katrinas attacking.
After a few moments, the dog gave up, and fled. Everyone cheered.
And then a low grumble sounded, and the dog returned, but with two more flanking it.
“Welp, we’re dead.” Tiger didn’t seem fazed. “I can take two of them, but I don’t think you weaklings can even take one.”
“You’re on.” Thunder told him, and they leapt into battle again. Tiger driving one to the left, Thunder driving one to the right.
Purdy dropped from the tree onto the back of the already wounded middle one. It yelled, and he clawed it’s back until it ran away. Frost and Willow were helping Tiger, while Tom helped Thunder, and Leopard cared forever a still not moving Katrina.
Purdy ran to help Tom, and Thunder.
The next few minutes we’re chaos. Purdy would have died several times over if it were’t for Thunder and Tiger. Frost, Willow, and Tom were no slouches either. They clawed, ducked, rolled, and weaved around the dog.
Purdy’s own claws whirled, and he subconsciously heard Jaxon’s voice in his head.
Good hit Purdy. Now slash. Duck and roll. Jump. Very good! Attack again!
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the dogs surrendered, and ran. Another cheer went up.
But it died when they saw Katrina.
Blood had stopped coming, and she was awake.
“What are you cats staring at?” She asked.
Her left ear was shredded half off.
“Your ear. It’s shredded.” Tom wailed.
Katrina twitched her left ear. “What’s that? I can’t hear you.” She joked.
Everyone kept staring at her.
“Honestly, what is with you all? We just fought three dogs, and we all escaped with nothing more serious than a hurt ear!”
Everyone looked a little embarrassed. Purdy realized that Katrina was right. But then Tiger had to express himself as Most Tackless of Them All.
“Well, you look a little weird now. Kinda ugly.”
“TIGER!” Leopard yelled.
“What? It’s true.”
“BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER! NOW SHUT YOUR YAPPING!”
Katrina just looked amused. “I probably look even better now! I have more rugged tomishness along with my beautimus she-catness.” Everyone nodded, pretending to know what that meant.
“Guys. Come on. This injury is a small price to pay, and it’s one that I’m willing to pay, ok? It was my choice to fight the dog, and I don’t regret it! I don’t care how I look, because any half decent cat won’t give a mouse-tail about how I look! I don’t care about my ear! Let’s put it aside and just be happy that we’re alive after that fight!” Everyone nodded.
“Well put.” Thunder looked impressed. Everyone purred.
“No offense to you cats, but after that fight, I’m kinda ready to go home.” Willow meowed.
“Well, bye Willow.” Purdy and Frost waved their tails as their mom jumped back through her Upwalker window, and dissapeared inside the house.
“Man, some day, huh?” Frost and Purdy walked off, carefully crossing a road, and trotting off.
“Yeah. Sorry I had you fight that. It was more violent than I thought…” Purdy started. Frost snorted.
“Shut up. I had fun. Plus, now I’ll probably have a super unexciting life.” Purdy blinked, not knowing what to say. “Psyched you out. Imma have so many adventures it’ll top yours.”
“Your on! One day, when I’m old and frail, I’ll be able to tell all sorts of stories. Rats, cats, dogs, Upwalkers, annoying sisters named Frost…” Frost smacked his ear affectionately.
“We’ll see.” She challenged. “Well, this is my house. Later, Purdy.” Purdy waved his tail as Frost padded into her house. Then he started off down the sidewalk, going to his own Upwalker’s house.
He walked in, and his old, kind Upwalker picked him up, and started petting him.
Life was good. Purdy curled up in his Upwalker’s lap and fell asleep.
He woke up, yawned, and stretched. He padded out of the house, into the backyard, and jumped up onto the fence. He surveyed the woods in front of him. Somewhere in there, there was a sleek black she-cat with a clipped ear, a creamy brown tom, two crazy good fighters, a smart yellow and brown she-cat, and a firey-orange cat. They were probably celebrating their great victory.
A part of Purdy wanted to find them, to join them, and to run away with them on their next adventure. But the other part didn’t. He that those six cats had a close bond, a bond that Purdy could never compete with. He smiled, and turned back to the house.
And found himself muzzle to muzzle with a big, hairy rat.
Rage filled him. He saw flashes of when he was a kit. Red eyes barring into him. Jaxon lying motionless. Frost looking terrified, unable to move from her leg.
“YAAAAAAAAA!” Purdy flung himself atop the rat, which made a half angry, half terrified screech. The two grappled each other, rolling around the yard and they scratched and bit one another. The rats eyes were full of hatred, but Purdy knew that his burned like a bonfire. Finally, Purdy’s claws found their mark. They sank into the rat’s throat, and he yanked them out.
The rat gave a shuddering breath, and lay still. Purdy’s anger vanished. He had never killed anything with such viciousness.
Then a voice behind him spoke.
“Never seen anycat deal with a rat like that.”
Purdy turned. Standing on the fence that bordered the next house, a she-cat stood. She looked about Purdy’s age with shiny silver fur, and blue eyes like an endless sea.
“Hi?” Purdy cocked his head. “Who are you?”
“My name is Artemis. I live next door. Nice fighting moves.”
Purdy shrugged. “They’re ok.”
Artemis gasped in mock surprise. “Only ok? You just killed a rat, man. A big rat.”
Purdy purred. “I can teach you if you like.” Purdy liked Artemis. She seemed nice.
“Really?” Artemis looked excited. “Yay!”
A whole moon had passed since the fight with the dog, and then the rat. Artemis and Purdy grew close. He taught her how to fight, she taught him how to understand Upwalker emotions, and some of their words.
They were fighting on top of a grassy hill a little ways from their houses.
“Good!” Purdy praises as she ducked his swipe. She attacked with a jump over kick, but Purdy flipped her over, and they lay purring in the grass, letting the mid-day sun warm their pelts.
“You’re a cool cat, Purdy.” Artemis told him. Purdy looked at her.
“Only cool?” He asked. “I would have thought I was better than that.”
She snorted and flicked his ear with her paw.
“Fine.” She said. “You’re a really cool cat.”
“Am I a handsome tom?”
“Only if I’m a gorgeous she-cat.”
“Very well, then.”
They lay in silence for a minute.
Artemis broke it.
“Alright, now teach me that move you used on me!”
They play fought for the reason of the day. When night fell, they lay on their backs, and looked at the stars.
“Where do you think you go when you die?” Artemis asked. She didn’t really seem like she wanted an answer. But Purdy, being Purdy, tried to answer it anyway.
“I dunno. I think you can go wherever you want to. If pain is a part of life, then I guess peace is a part of death.”
Artemis turned and looked at him. “You’re smart.” She told him. Purdy purred.
“I know.” He meowed.
They started at each other for a few moments. Artemis looked like she was about to say something, but suddenly her eyes went wide. “Do you smell smoke?”
Purdy tasted the air. Sure enough, he smelled smoke. They both sprang to their paws, and looked down at the town.
A bright fire was roaring red, yellow and orange against the black night. Sirens wailed.
“Um, wouldn’t that fire be around our houses?” Purdy asked. Artemis nodded, and they took off down the hillside. They ran behind houses, jumped over fences, and shot under cars until they reached their houses. Purdy’s house was bright with flame, the fire licking hungrily at the wood walls, roof, and also the woods behind it.
Upwalkers in red uniforms sprayed water on the house. But Purdy smelled something. Something from inside his house. His Upwalker.
His Upwalker was still in there.
“Artemis! I’m going in!” He yelled. Artemis yelled something back, but it was lost in the roar of the flames.
Purdy ran in through a small hole that was burned in. The inside of the house was chaos. Burning chunks up roof, and wood fell from everywhere. Fire seared everything it could reach, and stung Purdy like a hundred tiny claws. He looked around, squinting through the smoke. He jumped over a burning pillow and rolled under a falling shelf.
He peeked into a room, and saw his Upwalker, blocked in by fallen shelves, and pounding on the window. Purdy ran in, ignoring the heat, and jumped to the windowsill. He clawed the latch until it came free. The Upwalker looked hurt, terrified, and grateful as he climbed out.
Purdy turned around, but he saw that the door was aflame, and blocked. The window was blocked right after the Upwalker left, leaving Purdy stranded in the middle of a burning building.
He saw no escape.
But then several things happened at once. The ceiling creaked, and cracked. A flaming piece bigger than Purdy started to come loose. Purdy closed his eyes, ready for death, but something smashed into him, carrying him off his feet. He realized it was Artemis.
Artemis shielded him like a mother to her kits as they smashed into the burning window.
Artemis took the hit for him. They flew through, shard of glass cutting them, and flames attacking their pelts. They fell to the ground, and rolled to a stop right as the roof of the house collapsed entirely.
Purdy was burnt, and bleeding, but alive. He looked at Artemis. She wasn’t moving. “Artemis?” He asked. She opened her eyes. Relief filled Purdy, but stopped when he saw that she was hurt. Badly hurt.
“Yes?” She coughed. She managed to smile. They both seemed to realize something at the same time.
“Why’d you do it?” Purdy whispered. “You would trade your life for mine?” Artemis purred.
“In a heartbeat. You’re the best cat I’ve ever met, Purdy. I’ll look forward to seeing you again.” She lifted her head, and they touched noses. Then she gave a peaceful sigh, and stopped breathing. Purdy lay with her, crying into her pelt, until the sun rose.
Purdy stood at the top of the same hill that he had lay with Artemis a half moon before. His Upwalker had died the same night that Artemis had, and Purdy had decided to go. He didn’t know where. He didn’t care where. There were too many painful memories to stay here.
Beside him, Frost, Willow, Fire, Leopard, Thunder, Tiger, Katrina, and Tom stood, bidding him goodbye.
“Nice meeting you, Purdy.”
Katrina stepped forward. “Go make a life, Purdy. I have a feeling that you’re going to have even more adventures.” Purdy smiled, and turned to Tom.
“It was nice knowing you, Purdy.” Tom meowed.
Willow and Frost went with him to the top of the hill. They pressed their muzzles to his pelt.
“Goodbye, Purdy.” Frost smirked. “Go claw some more dogs for me.”
“You were a great kit, Purdy. And you’re an even better cat. You’ll go far.” Purdy was touched by his family’s words.
“Thank you all.” He addressed everycat. “I’ll never forget any of you.” And with that, he turned, and first stopped at the grave they had all helped him dig for Artemis. “Thank you the most.” He whispered.
And so, he padded down the other side of the hill. He stopped at the bottom and looked back, seeing all of his friends, and family waving their tails in farewell.
And then, Purdy went off into the next town, embarking on the start of his journey.
He passed through town after town, a couple forests, and even (once) walked on top of roof tops for almost a whole day.
The whole journey took almost three seasons.
Nine whole moons.
But Purdy had found a new place to live.
It was another town, a bit smaller, and near something called an ocean.
Upwalkers gave Purdy food sometimes, and there was a farm nearby where he could watch chickens (he once even saw a one-legged chicken) and lay in the hay, and watch the cows rumble around. There was a forest to practice hunting, and fighting.
He spent seasons and seasons here.
He grew older here. Spent almost his whole life here. He was old, and happy.
Well, not too old that he was gonna drool dead at any moment, but still old.
He liked his new life, but something was missing.
He liked having other cats around. There weren’t many here.
That all changed one day.
Purdy’s day began, same as usual. He woke up in some hay. He drank some water from a pipe. Then he went out into the streets, where we wandered around, and when he got hungry, he would just go into a house that he recognized, and they would usually give him food.
He went out into the forest to hunt. He caught a few mice, lazed in the sun for a while.
He was just walking back to the town, when there was a rustling in the bushes. Purdy stopped in his tracks.
Fox! He panicked. Could he fight off a fox? He didn’t know. He didn’t want to try.
He quickly jumped behind a log.
And then a cat’s head popped out. Purdy blinked.
The cat was dark brown, and muscled. His claws looked sharp, and his pelt was well-groomed, even though he was stuck in a bush. The cat didn’t notice him.
“Ha! I told you, Squirrelpaw! This is the right way.” The cat meowed triumphantly.
“Oh, shut up. You’ve never been here before. You don’t know the right way.” A muffled she-cat’s voice rang through the bush.
“Just go through, already will you?” Another cat meowed angrily.
“Hey hey hey, calm down, Crowpaw.” Another she-cat.
Purdy cautiously walked out from behind the log.
“Who are you, young’un?” Purdy asked.
The brown cat jumped out of the bush. Then a orange she-cat, a grey tom, a silver she-cat, a tawny-spotted she-cat, and lastly, a dark grey tom.
They sized up Purdy, and seemed to agree that he wan’t a threat.
“Sorry.” The brown cat spoke first. “We mean no harm. My name is Brambleclaw.”
The story goes deeper as we see Katrina’s past in Katrina’s War!