Rivers To Nowhere
Chapter 1 ~Cocopelt~
The sound of battle rang in my ears as blood flew through the air and cries locked the clearing. I swung my paw at a huge tabby, and she hit me back. The gorge was getting closer. My heart began to pound.
"Watch it!" I hissed.
The tabby sprang at me. "Never!" she spat.
I scored my claws down her wriggling spine, and blood seeped through. Howling in fury and agony, the tabby fled. I hopped up to my cry of triumph. But all of a sudden, force yanked me from behind. My back jerked, and I found myself falling.
Help! Save me!
My eyes bolted open. I was sweating, and tears stung my eyes.
Sunlight slanted through the thorns of the warriors den. The pale sky stretched long and peaceful throughout the camp. The sun peeked over the edges of the mountain. Morning was here. It was just another nightmare. I saw Ferretstar pad out of his den, and stretch his legs. I did the same.
"Petalshine, can you do the Dawn Patrol with Gorsetalon, Wavesong, and Sandfrost?" He asked me, yawning.
"Sure," I murmured, blinking sleep out of my eyes. Still panting from the tension of my nightmare, I gently awoke the other cats. "Come on, guys. It's time for the dawn patrol." Gorsetalon woke up, and his piercing green eyes locked into mine. I blushed and looked away. Gorsetalon had been my friend since we were kits, but things had been awkward between us ever since I had accidentally killed his sister.
We had been in a battle, and I was fighting near the gorge. But by mistake, I had knocked Dewflight off of it. Gorsetalon had been furious at me, and I didn't even know if I was to go to StarClan when I died.
"OK," Gorsetalon mewed, getting up. He glanced at me. Maybe I liked him a bit, but he probably hated me. He could be afraid of me.
As we left, I noticed Cherryfeather staring at me in a strange way. I shuddered. Why had she been looking at me like that? Ignoring, I led the cats to the border. Sleep still tugged at my limbs, especially after another nightmare. Maybe some pool water would wake me up.
Quietly, I padded towards a shimmering pool. I sat down and dipped my paws in. The refreshing texture swirled around me as I thought about my same nightmare over and over again. Every night since Dewflight had died, I had dreamt that I'd been pushed off of the gorge. The nightmares were terrible. The last thought that always came to my mind was "help! Save me!" Then, right when I fell, I'd wake up. That moment where you're falling but you don't realize it until it's too late.
I stared into the face of a killer as my gaze fixed on my reflection. Then, Gorsetalon gingerly padded up to me. "You OK?" He asked. I wasnt quite ready to talk to him, so my heart reacted differently. "Leave me alone," I snapped.
He flinched. "Just trying to help," he murmured, hurt flitting through his green gaze. I lashed my tail.
For the first time, I actually felt a bit angry. This cat had refused to forgive me before. Why should he now?
Lashing my tail, I stormed away from the shimmering pool where the villain in the water followed me. "I never meant to kill Dewflight," I spat. Gorsetalon kept following me.
"Look, Petalshine, I'm sorry. But I felt really bad. Please forgive me?" He begged. Pain nagged at my heart. It seemed to be saying: Just forgive him! But my dark side was saying: he'll never love you. And that was what I wanted. For my crush to love me for once.
I stalked through a bush. "Are you saying you're sorry?" I asked him, whipping around. He nuzzled me softly. "I guess I am," he mewed.
"You'd better be," I snarled. The willows hung down and brushed my sleek fur as I padded in circles stressfully. I knew that deep down, I wanted to forgive him. But something was just holding me back.
"Just forget it," I hissed. "Let's go."
The other cats followed me back to camp, and I helped myself to a squirrel. Sitting down in the middle of the clearing, no cat looked at me. They were still afraid of me, especially after the Dewflight incident. Couldn't the past be in the past?
I caught Ravenshade staring at me. First Cherryfeather, now Ravenshade? Sometimes I wondered if my star even had a place in the sky.
I heard a voice in my head. Don't feel bad, Petalshine. Gorsetalon loves you. "No, that's not true!" I hissed back. Gorsetalon might have apologized, but that was because he wanted to keep his perfect reputation.
You know that's not true, the soft voice murmured.
"Yes it is," I argued. "And who do you think you are? Stay out of my mind." The voice gave a sigh of defeat. I saw Gorsetalon stare at me with longing in eyes his eyes. I glared, thorns piercing my heart. I was determined to make Gorsetalon suffer, even though I loved him.
I went to the hunting grounds. Maybe hunting would ease my mood. Dropping to a crouch, I drank in the air. The scent of mouse grew strong in my nose, and I stalked forward in the green grass. The furry brown creature had no idea I was there. I pounced. Quickly, I gave the mouse a killing nip. I picked the mouse up. But i still felt painful. So i took a big bite of it, and a juicy taste washed my mouth. I kept eating. Why keep following the warrior code when I was suffering?
After finishing my food, I went to the pool to wash the mouse scent off of me. But i stopped again. I stared into the shallow waters, and the same murderer I'd known for years locked her gaze back at me. But something else caught my eyes. I saw a flash of red. I looked around, but no cat was there. I stared back into the pool as a new thought formed in my mind.
Was that a prophecy? If it was, I new what it meant.
I was meant to die. Taking a deep breath, I sniffed the air. I padded forwards. Finally, the scent of deaths berries filled my lungs. I followed the scent, and saw a bush full of glossy red berries. They were the same color of red that I'd seen in the pool. I picked one off with my teeth, and choked it down.
A throbbing pain pounded in my limbs. Dizziness swept over me, and I fell. The only pain that hurt the most was my emotional pain. I could hear the sound of paws pounding towards me. Four paws. Cherryfeather? Ravenshade? I thought, as everything went black.
Chapter 2 ~Moo~
What can I say? I'm Cherryfeather, and I have approximately two problems on my paws right now, one of which stems off into about fifty million little things.
Problem one, okay, well, maybe it's a part of our main problem here. Problem one is: I'm not attracted to toms. How is that a problem you may ask? Well, this Clan considers it absolutely absurd for a she-cat to love a she-cat or a tom to love a tom. Narrow-minded, I know. How I know I am attracted to she-cats? Ever since I first laid eyes on Petalshine, which leads me to problem number two.
Problem two, I can't love Petalshine. For that reason I stated before, and by the way - it would be an absolute miracle if Petalshine and I were ever going to end up, but the Clan would exile us, drive us out, kill us, or worse. And fortunately I do not have to worry about that as these following problems definitely prevent that:
First off, Gorsetalon. He's all over Petalshine, kissing her tail, holding her paw... You name it. Secondly, and quite possibly the worst of all: Petalshine is straight. She will only love toms, not she-cats. She will only want to raise kits with toms, not she-cats. She will- okay, you should understand by now.
And now we have a third... Petalshine is confined in the medicine cat because she went ahead and ate death berries.
Why? I do not know. Did she want to die? If she did, I would have to talk her out of it. Right? She's my friend, that's what friends do. But I'm afraid she'll only ever be a friend. Alright, I'll stop whining for a bit.
Why would she eat death berries? My only conclusion is that she wanted to die - I don't think Petalshine, or anyone for that matter, would be dumb enough to eat bright red berries like those because for one, who knows what they could be? And two, we have all been taught at some point to stay far, far away from those.
And now Petalshine would have to be saved by Thornstep, the medicine cat.
"Cherryfeather?" A sweet voice sounded. I looked up, and spotted my best friend Ravenshade at the entrance of the den, holding a starling in her finely-shaped jaws. I have to admit, Ravenshade is quite beautiful - with rippling muscles, pretty eyes, glossy black fur... But Petalshine is a different story.
"Yes?" I purred. I nodded at the still unconscious Petalshine and motioned with my tail over my lips for Ravenshade to be quiet. Ravenshade nodded and picked her way over to me, setting down the starling gently.
"I-I just wanted to give this prey to you," Ravenshade ducked her head. I grinned - Ravenshade was cutely awkward, a little like me. I think that's why we're such great friends.
"Thanks," I gave her an affectionate lick on the ear. As it happened, a thought struck through my brain - she still doesn't know. I will tell her, very soon. I have to.
Then I made my decision - tonight, I will tell her. She deserves to know the truth, and Ravenshade is probably the most kindest and accepting cat in the Clan, but so is Petalshine, of course. Maybe I will tell Petalshine... She deserves to know. But I don't think I could ever tell her, so I won't. I will never tell her, because she will never like me back. I guess I could tell Ravenshade, but what if she doesn't like it? Wow, this is complicated.
"Ravenshade," I began nervously. "I have to tell you something."
"What is it?" She looked up, curious.
"Uh... Not now. Later tonight, like, maybe around... Umm..." I came to a loss for words.
"Midnight?" Ravenshade suggested. I nodded,
"Yes. Midnight. You'll be there, I know you will," I nudged my friend on the shoulder sweetly. She purred and stalked off, and called out after her,
"See you later!"
I meowed a goodbye then crouched down to dig into my starling. Then, I felt a stirring against my flank. I jumped up as I wasn't expecting Petalshine to be moving around, yet. I heard a groan resonating from the she-cat,
"What... What happened?"
I turned to her, heart beating fast. I swallowed and mustered up a few grains of courage to speak to her, "You ate death berries and blacked out." I flattened my ears briefly, "Don't ever do anything stupid like that again, alright?"
The flash of hope that was in Petalshine's eyes before dimmed a little, and I swore I heard her mutter under her breath, "So it didn't work..." Well, that couldn't be a good sign.
"Hello? Am I talking to the abyss?" I couldn't help but feel a little annoyed for making me worried and upset.
"Just leave me alone." she snapped, "I need to think."
I blinked at her, bewildered, "Alright. I understand..." I backed away slowly, taking the bones of the finished starling with me of course. I bumped into Ravenshade, who purred at me,
"Careful there!" I turned around, and brightened up a little. Then her face fell and her mew was more concerned as she glanced at the expression on my face, "What happened?"
"I'm fine," I stammered a little. Ravenshade looked at me in the eyes and said steadily,
"No you're not."
"Yes I am."
Ravenshade sighed. I shook my head and stalked off, feeling slightly... empty.
"Hey," a voice whispered in my ear, "Still mad at me?" Ravenshade. Though this time, she sounded faintly worried like I would be mad at her. I playfully swiped at her shoulder,
"Nah. Come on, I have to tell you this... thing." Dread filled me up from the very bottom of my heart, the core of my brain, and my insides.
We padded away a fair distance away from camp, and in a secluded hollow hidden between a few oak trees, we stood still for a few seconds.
"Cherryfeather, are you alright?" Ravenshade asked.
"I'm nervous. I've never told anyone this before." I admitted.
"That's fine. I am your best friend, you can tell me anything."
"I don't know how to do this."
"Okay... Well... That's fine. Just take a deep breath."
I took a deep breath as she advised, but then tears started to fall from my eyes. My stomach leapt into my chest and my whole body went numb - this was something so personal. "I don't know if I can. This was a mistake, I'm sorry. It'll just let you down. You won't see me the same. I can't do this, but I can't continue lying to you anymore." I whispered, almost inaudibly, crying harder.
"It's completely fine." Ravenshade meowed gently, "You are still you, you've always been you. I don't care what you tell me, you are and always will be my best friend."
"Thanks, but this is something completely different," I told her, slowly beginning to stop crying.
"No, it won't be! I-I promise, I already have a pretty good idea of what you're about to tell me."
My heart beat out of my chest, did she know? It was beating faster than it had ever beat before, even more when I spoke to Petalshine. Beads of sweat brushed against my forehead out of nervousness and anxiety, my stomach flip-flopping in circles. Now was time.
"I'm not attracted to toms," I began slowly. I saw a flicker of something in her eyes, was that hope? Hm, who even knows anymore? Not me. I took yet another deep breath, and now my throat was sore, dry and rough from all the hyperventilating and deep breaths. "I like she-cats instead."
Chapter 3 ~Lyrix~
Looking at Cherryfeather, I felt my heart pound and my a flicker of hope flared in my eyes.
Oh, by the way, I'm Ravenshade. I was probably one of the most awkward and problematic cats around. I usually had a load of problems, but I didn't want to stress anyone out, so I'd just say my three main ones.
This was probably the worst problem yet. I didn't like she-cats. I know that it sounds far-fetched for me to actually have a happy ending with a nice cat who wasn't a tom, because I was probably going to get cast into the Dark Forest. I knew that toms talk behind me and flirt with me, but I really didn't have feelings for them because I like she-cats, not toms. I did have a few nice friends who are toms, but I swear to StarClan I didn't like any of them. My mother just rammed me into a whole group of toms reeking of who knows what, and said that I had to choose one to be my future mate. I really, really hated my mom.
Also, I liked Cherryfeather. You'd probably know by now, but just pointing it out, I think she liked Petalshine. The way she looked at her, the way she talked to her was all different. To me, who was very sensitive to emotions, I could easily see that Cherryfeather was all for Petalshine. But I was all for Cherryfeather.
I had to admit that Petalshine had the best personality and looks any cat could wish for. But Cherryfeather... Well, I was attracted to her. Love makes no sense.
'I'm really sorry. I'm so, so sorry that I've let you down. I-' Before Cherryfeather could continue on her rant on 'how much does she disappoint me', I cut her off.
'I don't mind.'
She looked at me in genuine suprise. 'You- you don't?'
I shook my head. 'I really don't. After all,' I took a soft, deep breath before telling the truth. 'I think I like she-cats too.'
'Ravenshade! We have to go on a hunting patrol.' Cherryfeather's soft voice rang in my ears. I groggily rose up and blinked. 'Now?'