Despite what you may have ever thought, I was always there, lurking in the shadows of your presence. From the moment you took in a sip of air, I knew everything about you. Your horrible fate, the dark future which you had the potential to make of your life, what would become of your life if that small little decision you made when you were a kit had been a different one.
I knew everything about you. And I still do, I know the things you refuse to admit to yourself, the darkest secrets which your soul had hid from your mind and heart. I remember those fatal details you were too distressed to remember. I know you better than you ever knew yourself.
Because I am you. That small little creature that you see on the ground; it's you. I am your heart and soul and mind. I am the deepest parts of your being. I am the part of you that only I know about. When I saw you slither out of your mother's stomach, what a disgrace you would end up being to her, I knew that you were Snakepaw; soon to become Snakerattle. And who was I then; why I was what I always have been. What we always have been.
I was the Snake that Rattled.
You were excited on your day of apprenticeship despite whatever lies you told the other cats. You were more than excited; you were ready to burst. But you were also a good liar, nonetheless, so I was the only one who knew about how you really felt, as opposed to what you thought was cool to say.
Yes, I was watching you then, too. I was always watching you. How could I not see what was happening to myself. I just hid there, lying on the ground, surrounded by large creatures that looked like you.
"OakClan is very lucky to be getting new apprentices," I had heard a cat murmur. Yes, it was the same one that you had heard. Don't look surprised. You just fail to understand that I see what you see, I hear what you hear, and I feel what you feel. We are one; we always have been.
And we were proud. Your pride infected me like the poison inside my desires would affect you. You thought you would become the greatest apprentice ever. I did too. Together we believed that you could become a leader, the greatest one the four clans; OakClan, MapleClan, PineClan and BirchClan had ever met. We didn't know how wrong we were.
And so you stood proudly as Falconstar called you up to the high branch. You made sure to show off your skills, as you leaped from branch to branch. We were both relived that you didn't make a mistake and slip off the branch; you would have looked like a silly kit if you had.
When you reached one of the higher branches, across from Falconstar, he looked at you curiously, waiting for any sign of weakness. Because all three of your siblings had died at birth, and your father was unknown. Your mother was the only cat who you could trust and who truly loved you. You pretended that her care was annoying, but you really loved her, and wanted her to come care for you; and show you that there was a cat out there who cared for us. Not that you knew of any us. I was the one who knew about us, while you assumed that there was only a you.
And you were upset to be leaving your mother's side now; as much as you might hate to admit it. I knew of course, I knew everything about you. I still do...
"Until you receive your warrior name you will be known as Snakepaw, your mentor will be Russetpelt and I expect her to pass down everything she knows to you."
We were disappointing. A potentially great warrior like you should not have ended up with a cat as ordinary as Russetpelt. I was angry, of course, and so were you. But we couldn't show it in front of the clan, so you pretended to look satisfied while I made no noise, from behind the bush which I had been watching you from.
Russetpelt bounded up to the tree and began to climb it, not surprised. You figured that she must have talked with Falconstar about it already.
"Russetpelt, you have received excellent training from Rowanfur and I expect you to pass down everything you know to this apprentice."
She leaped over to the same branch as you and slowly you touched your nose with hers. Despite whoever your mentor might be you were proud when she began to chant, "Snakepaw! Snakepaw! Snakepaw!" Your head was held up high; this was your greatest moment yet, although we both knew you would have much greater moments to come... Just not in the way that you might have thought at first.
When the cats were done cheering, you climbed back down the tree. No cats came to congratulate you; you had always been bullied as a kit for being the youngest and having no siblings, as well as an unknown father, so you had no friends to come cheer you on.
It was something you thought you had grown used to by now, but suddenly you could feel your eyes tearing up. I tried willing you to be strong, but there is no cure for an empty heart. A broken heart can cure with time, but there is nothing for an empty heart. That was what you had. You pushed the brimming tears out of your eyes and tried to look happy as you walked to the den for apprentices. Only I could sense the pain that was burning you from he inside out.
Because I knew what it was like not to have anyone to turn to when you had a problem. Not to have anyone that will congratulate you when you have accomplished or hold you up when you have failed. Your pain was something that would only live in us. I was the only one who truly understood you; But that was only because I was you.
And when you strutted into the apprentice den, you had your head high and your tail in the air. You were confident in yourself, and you thought you were bulletproof. You thought wrong.
"Hey, loserpaw." It was Marshpaw, the little brat that always tried to bully you. I once tried to poison her, without success. She almost squashed me, when she saw my face. So it was true that I hated her as much as you. Why I hated her ten times more.
You pretend not to notice. You think that she can't change the way she makes all the apprentices think of you. I guess we both forgot how well she can control others with her gorgeous little face. I remember everything it has done. As pretty as it looks on the outside, she was never anything but a monster. She even reminded me of your future a little bit.
Well, as we both knew very well, most of the toms were head over heals for her. They ran to her side and began to laugh at you, just to impress her. I spotted one of the cats who you had gotten along with as a kit. He no longer cares for you, all he wants is Marshpaw.
You continue to ignore, although they have now penetrated your first layer of defense. Despite all your efforts to hide it, Marshpaw notices and sneers. "What's wrong, snakeface?" she asks. "Missing your momma already?"
Now, Marshpaw was more than stunning. She was smart, witty, sly and perfectly capable. Capable of breaking you.
You laugh, "You wish, Marshpaw," and your face hardens. "Don't you have any better tom to run after?"
You thought it would do good, but even as the words came out of our mouth I knew better. I wondered what kind of a fool you were to say that.
The toms all bared their teeth at you, and Marshpaw's eyes widened in serious surprise. "Me? Like a loser like you?" She wrinkled her muzzle in disgust, "You, with your ugly brown tortoise pelt, and your uncontrollably stupid and sharp tongue? You with your unknown father and dead siblings, without any friends or hope for your life?"
You unsheathed your claws. We both wanted her dead, but I was the smarter of us, and I willed you to calm down. You sheathed your claws and did something so rude, not even Marshpaw could have thought of it.
You spat in her face.
Her eyes widened and a look of disgust entered them. You didn't wait for her reaction, you just stormed out of the apprentice den, straight up to your mentor, no longer wanting to explore the den. You just wanted to train so that you could get your anger out on something else. Unfortunately for her, that things happened to be your mentor.
I watched your first training session with her that day, it was one for battle. And though you were inexperienced, your anger put some serious bruises on Russetpelt, even when you had your claws sheathed. I watched from under the grass, impressed with the strength anger gave you. It would prove to be your strongest weapon later on.
She was impressed but she constantly scolded you. Something you were not in the mood for. You would just respond with your smart tongue, managing to do nothing but make your anger contagious.
When you got back to OakClan's camp, you were assigned with the duty of picking ticks of the elders. Your mouth had gotten you into nothing but trouble. It was something you could control but you were to stubborn to believe that so you wouldn't try. It was the same story with your destiny.
You continue used to get bullied by Masrhpaw, although you did fight back. But you were outnumbered and outmatched. Every apprentice would rush to her aid, leaving you stuck in the middle of them.
You were shaping up to be a great warrior though. You were good at hunting and when angry, which happened about everyday, you were a great fighter too. One moon into your training, you were given the opportunity to prove your skills.
MapleClan and OakClan had been having some disagreements lately, and a moon after you became an apprentice, the two clans declared a battle against each other for territory.
You were thinking about proving yourself to your clan, but me? I was thinking about getting revenge for a months worth of torture. Of course, if I was thinking about it, that meant you were too, but you just denied it. I didn't try to remind you.
You wouldn't know about what you really were going to do, until the battle started.
The battle was hectic, to say the least. MapleClan was fighting fiercely, and I couldn't say any less for your clan. By the time you reached the area where the battle was taking place it had already heated up. There was blood and fur, staining the territory in between Oakclan and MapleClan.
I watched it all play out, relishing your revenge, from right under the cats' feet. And they never even realized I was there.
You came with a patrol of several other cats to help your outnumbered clan mates; for that was what they were. They were losing terribly, and each cat had to take on three opponents. Your patrol changed the tide and Oakclan switched into offensive as Mapleclan became defensive. They sent another patrol to get help.
Your species is so stupid. Fighting over a little mouse that crosses the thinnest line. I was proud to notice that you didn't follow your clan, after a certain point in time at least.
At first you were fighting; claws extended, giving it your all. You wanted to prove yourself to your clan, and a battle is the best way to do that. And I will give you this; you were fighting very well for an apprentice. It was the kind of strength you only got from determination and loyalty. You stopped fighting when something turned that switch of loyalty off. As always, Marshpaw was there to ruin your day. But this time it wasn't her words that did it; it was her presence. That's right, you two had grown to hate each other so much through rude remarks and competitions which she always won, that the sight of her ruined your day.
Now, Marshpaw wasn't fighting. You would have to be dilusional to think that someone who had come to view her life as a fairy tale, where she was the princess, would actually risk a single hair on her pelt, for something that hardly concerned her.
The truth was that, even if she wanted to, Marshpaw wouldn't be able to fight, because the effect she had on other cats did not stop in OakClan. Even the deputy of MapleClan, Robinwing, didn't approach Marshpaw. He spared her pretty pelt and she didn't even need to acknowledge it. She was completely safe.
And that is why, while the rest of the cats were risking their lives for a cause, she was jumping over the cats playfully, like a butterfly soaring over the flowers. As elegant as one too.
And it would not be exaggerating to say this drove you to the extremes. Seeing her get away from something so large, just because of the glossy color of her pelt, made you angry. And, trust me, it is not good for other cats when you get angry.
Because that is when I take control of your actions.
If it weren't for me, you never would have done it; never would have dared. But I was there, hiding under the grass, and I was all the persuasion you needed to make the blow; it was far too easy to control you.
Throwing off the apprentice that had you pinned down, you pulled yourself into a battle crouch. Like Marshpaw, you had completely forgotten about your surroundings. You were focused on just one thing; revenge.
None of the cats noticed you; you had crouched down so low you might have been shorter that me, as you slowly crept through the grass, slowly stalking up on your enemy. When she was standing in the perfect position; exactly where you would land when you leaped, you sprung at her.
She let of an 'oof', as she hit the soft ground. She didn't attack, assuming that when the enemy saw her, they would let go. She didn't know it was us.
You kept a firm grip on her, and when she eventually realized you weren't going to let go, she pulled her head up to look at the cat who had attacked. As much as you two hated each other, she certainly hadn't expected to see you.
"Wrong side," she hissed. "Attack our enemies, not me!"
Your eyes contain nothing but hatred, jealousy and contempt. "My only enemy is you," you claim as you speak with a soft voice, "And I intend to attack my enemy."
She began to scream, understanding that you definitely intended to be attacking her, but her cries are drowned by the noise of the battle. That is why I chose to make you attack her then; when nobody could ever guess it was you. Only the three of us would know; and Marshpaw's pretty mouth wouldn't be around to tell anyone.
"Goodbye, Marshpaw," you whispered. You were blinded by your pain and hatred, as well as the darkness that boils inside of you. She tried to push you off, but she had no skill in fighting. She made an exceptional hunter with her grace and speed, but she was pampered too far to make a scratch on an enemy pelt during a battle.
You pulled your neck down, and attached it to her throat.
"You monster," she wheezed, and those are her last words that she whispered on Earth. The rest are said in StarClan, and as disappointed as you were; it is true that she did end up in StarClan. At least you two wont be together when you die, because there is no question as to where you will go.
Her body goes limp, and all of her tense muscles relax. You pull your teeth away from her throat, surprised. You had barely sunk your teeth into her neck, and yet her death had seemed so painful like you had ripped her throat out, as opposed to gently bitting it.
As you looked at her body, the full realization of what you did finally hit you. You slowly backed away from her limp body, there was no evidence to erase. Just a small nick on her throat, with no fur or blood on her body. The poison only lied inside her body; a place which will not be searched.
You began to take quicker steps away from the body now; as you gazed at it in horror. You blinked heavily and something bowled into you. You looked up to see a cat from a rival clan, and hissing you bit his leg. That time there was no poison, no venom of hate flowing through your body. You just fought with this cat because it is your job, not because you wanted to.
As you fought with the cat, you soon heard a call of retreat. It belonged to MapleClan, and your opponent jumped off you and ran to join his retreating clan. You stood proudly as you watched him run; momentarily forgetting about what you had done to Marshpaw.
You are soon reminded.
"Marshpaw!" an apprentice cries. You might not have liked her, but she was definitely popular among the clan.
The clan gathered around the pretty she-cat's limp body. "Rest in peace," some of them whisper, and you wanted to snort. You felt guilty for killing her, but you didn't ever want her to be happy again. I can't assure anything, but I think StarClan is a pretty satisfying place to be.
Some cats mentioned how strangely she died, but the clan quickly decided it must have been a monster from MapleClan.
Little did they know that the monster was you.
You didn't sit vigil for her that night; although the rest of the clan did. Every single cat but you. And as you watched them, you realized that the only cat that would sit vigil for you when you died would be your mother; if she was still alive then. Bitterly, you had turned away from Marshpaw's body and stomped into the apprentice den.
You eventually shook off the memories of everything that happened that day, but they were important ones for me. For us. A day which I have never, and will never forget.
It was the day you first brought out the monster in you, the poison in you, the hatred in you.
It was the first time you rattled.
You looked around with excitement at all of the cats gathered around you. It would be a lie to say that you weren't excited for your first gathering. Which apprentice wouldn't be? You were prepared to have a great night, as you paddled around the patch of land used for the gatherings. You thought today you would learn so much and you wanted to see the other leaders. You were confident it would be the best night of your life.
No, if you wondered, it was certainly not.
At first it was going just fine, as always I was watching you. I love to watch you, if you didn't realize by now. I feed on your living and to eat something you must know what it is. That is why I was perfectly aware of what you were doing with your life; every step of the way.
You looked around a little bit before deciding to join a group of MapleClan cats. Your clan is still rather cross with them after the battle, but you figure they are better than your clanmates who treat you no better than they did when Marshpaw was around.
Speaking of Marshpaw, you had completely gotten over your guilt about her. Which was actually quite hard to believe, even from you. I was more than willing to consider how the piece of mouse dung treated you, but for a cat so small the clan would be shocked if they knew... Of course they didn't even know that you laid a claw on Marshpaw. That would always remain I secret in between you and me... Always.
The cats didn't treat you with quite as much disrespect. In fact they were rather kind. That's MapleClan, always have their manners in place; but 'kill' a cat just for a tiny strip of land. You were kind in return, but you wouldn't stay that way for long. Eventually you got bored of all their chatting about things that only MapleClan cats would be interested in. You decided to go see some PineClan or BirchClan cats. You wanted to make the most out of this night; make some friends and learn a little more about the other clans, and the cats in them.
Surprisingly you actually learned more about one of your clan mates that night; your mother.
You were walking along when you heard her sweet voice. Now, let me remind you; you absolutely loved your mother. Simply because she loved you. You hoped dearly everyday that she would come and pester you about how your day went. And when she did, you pretended to be annoyed by her; as not to look like a kit, when it really made you happy beyond what words could express.
But this time, your mother ruined your day-or should I say night-by being near you, not being away from you.
I knew it would happen seconds, minutes, hours and even days before it did. To be honest, I knew that it would happen from the moment you were born, but the closer time brought me to the event, the sharper the vision of what would happen was. It was almost like I was there a couple seconds before it took place. And I had no intention of stopping you from walking into a scene where you would lose your control yet again; and give it to me.
Why I loved to rattle; and I loved to make you rattle. You couldn't possibly rattle on your own, you didn't have it in you to do such a thing, until I managed to train you to do so. You didn't bother fighting me; you hated your life too much to care, but unless I was controlling you, which only happened when you had high levels of an emotion, there was no way I could release the poison inside of you.
And in a way i was doing a favor. You needed to get that poison out of your body; otherwise it would consume you. It wasn't me or you that caused you to end up the way you did, it was just how you were born. With poison that killed from the inside as well as the outside.
At least that was what I led you to believe for as long as necessary.
Part of the reason your life was always more painful than any other cat could understand.
"I've missed you so much!" you heard your mother say, and wondering who she might possibly be talking to, you eavesdrop.
"Me too," it is a PineClan cat you do not recognize. "How is our kit?"
"Oh he's wonderful. His name is Snakepaw now."
You stood still, no longer aware of your surroundings. Your father was a PineClan cat; and to say the least you were infuriated, shocked, weary from another blow that could give me control over your body.
But, surprisingly, it didn't. You seemed to fight me out of you, and the only reason for that was because you had already plotted your own revenge. You would get back at your mother in the cruelest way possible; by doing the same thing she did.
You went back to the cluster of PineClan cats and began to chat with them, in a friendly tone. They quickly included you in their conversation and it wasn't long before you had their attention; randomly chatting about pointless things. Soon the leaders had called the clans for the gathering to begin.
When the gathering was finished you walked up to the first PineClan she-cat you saw. It was Berrypaw, a pretty tortoise who had been sweet and kind. "I can't stop thinking about you," you begin and I will give you the credit; you were an amazing actor.
She looks at you, a little surprised. "I don't understand," she stammers making sure no one can here. "We are from different clans."
You let out a fake sigh, "Don't you see, Berrypaw, that no longer matters to me."
Her eyes soften. "I understand but..." she hesitates, before giving in. "Let's meet tomorrow night, then maybe I'll see, okay?" You nod and give her a lick of fake love before running back to catch up with your clan, thinking about what a fool Berrypaw was.
You grin, pleased that she was so easy to allure, but your heart still burns. You can't bring yourself to forgive your mother. You reminded yourself that she would pay. You had already taken the first step towards your revenge.
"Snakepaw!" Berrypaw paddled towards you as you walked up to her. You tried to look affectionate like all you had been thinking about was her, but it really wasn't. All you were thinking about was how you were getting the perfect revenge on your mother.
You and Berrypaw talk for a few hours about how much you 'love' each other and she huddles next to you as you gaze at the moon. You two had been mates for a fair amount of time, meeting almost every night, as I sat and watched. Not much to watch but Berrypaw falling further into your lie. There was a time when I wondered if she would ever realize that what she lived for was actually a lie.
But, of course, you had to release that deadly poison inside of you eventually.
When you leave her that day you give each other a lick, you can barely make it through without messing up your face. She disgusted you, as well as me, the way she fell for your lies so easily, but you needed her. Even if your mother never found out, you would still be getting the revenge you desired.
Revenge, revenge, revenge.
Sometimes one small thing can snatch your mind from you, pulling it out of your grasp. Marshpaw, your mother, and most importantly your life. You wanted to get back at your life for setting in up in such a wretched way. What you would never understand was that you were the wretched one, not your life.
That night when you reach camp your noticed your mother sitting outside, waiting for you. You were curious as to why she was awake and she soon approached you.
She gave you a sniff before her eyes widened in surprise. "I was suspecting something but I had hoped I was wrong," she looked disappointed. "I can't believe you are meeting a PineClan cat."
A part of you was worried; you had been caught doing something that you could get kicked out of the clan for. But then you were also a little glad she had finally noticed. Not just because mommy was paying attention to her big boy now but also because this only made revenge more sweet.
In a way, it was what you had been waiting for.
You flick your tail at her and lead her out of camp, so that nobody can hear your conversation. When both of you are far out of ear-sight she turns to you.
"You should know better than to meet a PineClan cat," she warned you harshly.
You looked at her cruelly. "Because you have never done that before!" you hiss, "With a cat from the same clan."
Her eyes widen in surprise. "How do you know about that?" she asks.
"Maybe if you wanted to keep it such a secret, you should have been a bit more quiet at the gathering," you snapped back and her eyes opened in surprise as well as rage.
"You should no better than to eavesdrop!"
"And you should know better than to take PineClan cats for mates!"
Her eyes turn into a sad shade, "I couldn't help myself!" she whispers. "I wanted to stop; for you if no one else, but you have never met Trushpelt, and you will never know him the way that I do."
"Well I won't stop meeting Berrypaw," you snap, and when you see the worried look on her face you add, "You're not going to tell the clan, I know you wont."
She sighs. "Please, stop it!" she begs. "If you have any love for me, stop it, because you are hurting me when you see her."
"You hurt me when you made my father a PineClan cat! you shoot back at her. "Please," she begs. "Or I will have to tell the clan, about how you are betraying them."
That is when you finally lost it all to your anger. "Because I am the traitor!" you yowl and you fling yourself at her. I watch, pleased, as you make a fatal move.
Your mother swipes a claw down your face and three small scars form, blood dripping from all from them. She backs away in horror, it had only been a reflex causing her to do it, she is horror struck at what she had done to you. You are too. "I thought you loved me!" you yell at her as you bring down a pair of claws.
In her own grief your mother doesn't move, she remains there as you continue to strike at her, blood leaking from her body. "I'm sorry!" she cries but you aren't listening to her anymore.
You have lost control.
It is so bad that not even I can reach out to you as your mother begins to spit out her own blood. Even I feel bad for her, I want to run out and stop you; I don't go this far, but you did and for the first time I realized that I wasn't the evil one; it was you.
Your mother looks into your eyes one last time, and she finds no sympathy. You strike and she gasps, her eyes closing for the last time. She cared about you so much, and you killed her. You had nobody left in your lonely world. And you now needed an excuse as to how she had died.
And that's when the realization of what you had done hit you.
Just like you had done with Marshpaw you slowly backed away from the body in horror. You ran back to the camp and stuffed your body into a nest in the apprentice den. You forgot about everything and cried yourself asleep, no longer caring if anybody saw you.
The next morning I slipped it into your mind that you would have to find something to cover up for the death of your mother. The sleepless night had brought your mind back into place, and you now kept praying that nobody had seen you. You were lucky that nobody did... except for me, of course.
And you came up with a brilliant idea. One that would require more guilt on your part, but third times the charm, I suppose. Killing once again shouldn't have been such a big deal for you.
Most of the clan didn't notice her absence and you covered up for her, saying she would be back soon, giving various excuses.
That night, you went to meet Berrypaw, and let me tell you that she could be a cat you could enjoy, a cat you could be meeting because all you felt you needed in life was her. But all you could think about was revenge and it would end up costing her dearly.
Tonight instead of purring, she gasped when she saw you. She even let out a screech of horror. You threw your mother's body in front of her.
"Why did you do it?" You ask her demanding a response. No, you were not so deep into your guilt that you no longer believed it was your fault; this was all a part of your plan.
"I would never do something like that!" she gasped.
You glared at her, "Is that so? How do I know you didn't kill her because she found out about us?" your eyes are harsh.
She backs away in horror. "I had no clue!" tears begin to well up in her eyes. "I love you too much to hurt you by doing something like that."
Your heart ignored her sweet words. "I never loved you," you spat at her, "you were always a tool for me, but to kill my mother is way too far to go for revenge."
Her eyes seem to shatter, along with her heart. "You don't love me..." the tears begin to spill, "I never knew I was a tool to you, but I couldn't stop loving you all the same!" She seems unable to believe the cruel words that came out of your mouth, the mouth of the cat she once thought she loved, and the cat she thought loved her back. "And I swear to Starclan I didn't kill your mother."
"Liar!" you yowl and you fling yourself at her, the same way you flung yourself at your mother. But this time she doesn't strike back, she is far too deep into pain. And just like your mother did, she begins to cry blood along with her tears. The ground becomes a pool of blood and you continue to strike, until finally she lies on the floor, on the verge of death.
You hear a screech from behind you and we looked up to see Berrypaw's best friend. I happened to know that her name was Foxpaw. She doesn't even look at you, she just runs over to her friend.
"Berrypaw are you okay?" she begins to cry as well clear little drops splashing against the blood, "I'm so sorry I got mad at you the other day about this. I never meant to hurt your feelings and I never thought that it would be the last time I speak to you."
But Berrypaw is already gone, and there is no questioning for Foxpaw on who did it.
She looks at you. "I will avenge my friend!" she spat. "You used her, and then you killed her. This is against the warrior code, and my clan will be sure to punish you!" her voice is hoarse from all the pain she had to swallow at the last moment.
I decide to give you a hand, seeing how dangerous the situation was, by slipping in a little information, "You wouldn't dare, Foxpaw," you slowly begin and she gasps.
"How do you know my name?" she demands.
"I know everything about you," you reply. "And I know what would make you snap like a weak twig. I know what you fear the most; the loss of your friends, your popularity, the admiration you get." You pause and stop to smell her fear. "Don't you dare, or I will take it all from you. You don't know what it feels like to have everything striped from you. You never will and I feel lonely carrying the burden on my own. Don't tempt me to share it with you."
She backs away. "You killed my best friend!" she manages.
"And I can do worse things to you!" you spit back at her. "I can make you an empty soul if you open you mouth on this topic."
"I won't," she says in horror before turning around and running back to her clan. Neither of us doubt that she will cause a problem; you scared her well enough and after seeing two dead bodies she wasn't hesitant of how far you might go."
Looking down at the two bodies which lie beneath you, you can't help but notice that you destroyed all the love that was ever directed towards you. The two cats who actually cared were now gone at your own claws. One dead to cover up the death of another.
Your poison had bitten them both hard and little Foxpaw was far too scared of it to make a move. You were turning our to be a snake far more poisonous than I could have ever imagined.
You were a monster.
"Hello, Snakepaw," I hiss, and you look up sharply.
"What are you?" you ask in disgust, and I laugh a laugh that would be unpleasant, even to you. You shiver as I reply.
"I am merely an aspect of your dream." You seem confused. "A model of your life; the truest form of you. I am what all of your pain and love and sorrow comes from."
"If this is a message from StarClan about what I did to my mother, tell them to forget it. She deserved what was coming." Pain is available in your eyes as you say this.
"I don't think you agree with your words," I smile. "But no, I am not from StarClan. And I am not from the dark forest either. I am from none other than you."
"Stop lying, this isn't funny." your eyes are dull and without expression. The eyes of a killer.
"I'm not joking in the slightest bit," I reply coolly as I slither around your feet. "You are lying; lying to yourself. You seriously thought that you were the only you out there. That there was no other snake out there, one with vengeance that was so dangerous it could kill. Something that three cats learned at the price of their lives. I assure you that I am you."
"I'll kill you," you hiss with anger. "You are a liar, and an impostor! You just want to haunt me for everything I have done, but you can't!" You are screaming now. "You can't make me regret things I did, aware of what I would face! You think I wasn't thinking when I killed my mother?! I was, and if you get me thinking I will kill you too!" You yell at me, but I am not frightened the least bit.
"You can't ever escape me Snakepaw," I reply to you slowly before pulling myself out of your haunted dreams.
The next second I am out of your dark mind, and lying on the soft moss of your den. Seeing you stir in your sleep I slither out of the soft bedding and begin to escape your den.
As I leave I can feel you pushing yourself up, into a sitting position. I turn around for a moment, and look at you before continuing to slither out of the den. You saw me; we made contact for the slightest fraction of a moment, and that was all you needed to see me; to know me.
But, of course, you still denied it.
And it did hurt a little to be denied by myself. But you hurt even more; because you were denied by your clan. I can safely say, that the apprentices were only treating you worse, and there was even a rumor that has started about you killing Marshpaw. Falconstar had demanded that it stop, refusing to believe such nonsense, but he never knew that the joke was on him.
There was, however, one apprentice that showed you sympathy. A she-cat, and her name was Applepaw. She was the brightness to your day, and though you denied it; for you could never admit such a thing to yourself, those words you had whispered to Berrypaw, all should have been whispered to her. She was the real cat you cared for, but like with your mother you pretended not to.
Because what kind of monster loves?
Instead you tried to shake her off, making it clear that her presence was not appreciated. But Applepaw was a stubborn cat, and she still came to sit by you whenever she ate anything. And it brightened your day in the same way your mother did, but yet in a totally different way. Because your mother had been born with you; she was stuck with you. But Applepaw had approached you.
She had managed to see past what the other apprentices did, and despite the social risk it might put her in, she still came to sit by you everyday. When other apprentices teased you she stood in front of you, and defended everything you did; while all you were trying to do was ignore them, because they were horrible to you.
They teased you about your dead mother, about the way she had cared for you like you were a little baby, and how you would ever do without her, and it pierced your heart like a knife. I can't think of a single being who wouldn't have felt the same way.
They were all just as horrible as you.
The only difference was that they weren't as capable of you. None of them would have ever been able to kill three cats before the even became a warrior, and threaten a cat so well, that they wouldn't be able to open their mouth, even though they were from a different clan.
But you wouldn't dare tell them any of that. Sometimes you got very tempted, and it was usually Applepaw who saved you. But they never picked on Applepaw when she stood up for you. Instead, they continued to pick on you, about how you hid behind a she-cat, bringing Applepaw to your defense, yet again.
But they never seemed to tease the pretty tortoiseshell cat. It could have been because with Marshpaw gone, she was the second best choice. She had most of Marshpaw's characteristics, except for her prejudice and cruelty.
But Applepaw didn't seem willing to take Marshpaw's place, mainly because of you which made the apprentices even crueler, trying to sway Applepaw away from you, or drag you away from her.
You didn't cling to her at all, but she wouldn't let you go. A part of us thought that this was because she didn't like the thought of losing, and by ditching your friendship she would be losing to the pressure applied by the other apprentices.
But that day you would receive horrible news regarding Applepaw. No, she didn't ditch your friendship, that is not at all the Applepaw you know, but the Applepaw you knew was also open-minded and she tended to see the best in everything. Even those things that brought out the monster in you.
You came back into camp from your training that evening, which had been long and tiring on your half, but easy for your mentor. Because your mentor, Fallencrest, didn't have any type of bond with you that most cats would have with their apprentice. He hated you just as much as every other cat did. For some reason they all managed to see the monster in you without really knowing it.
So you were weary when you walked into the den. But at the sound of Applepaw's voice all of that escaped you. You hid on the side of the entrance to the den as you heard her conversing with Wavepaw, one of the leaders of the cast bullying you.
"I don't know, Wavepaw. I mean there still is a fair amount of time until I become a warrior..."
"Two moons max," he replied to her. "And I'm not saying now, I just want to win you while I still can. It might be too late soon."
Applepaw scoffed, "Yeah right."
"Yes, Applepaw," Wavepaw insisted. "You are the prettiest cat in the clan, and I don't want to be beaten by..." Wavepaw decides not to use an insult as your name, seeing it might drive Applepaw away from the thought, "by another apprentice, say Snakepaw, perhaps."
Applepaw laughed in response, "Snakepaw hardly appreciates my presence."
"Of course he does, Applepaw," Wavepaw insisted. "He just doesn't want to show his affection in fear that he will lose yours."
Applepaw seemed thoughtful and Wavepaw took a step closer to her, "Applepaw, I don't what you think about me, but I couldn't think better about you. You are the light in my dark life. You are the thing I look at to assure myself that everything will be alright, and I just can't stand the thought of losing you."
Applepaw took another step closer to the tom. "Then I guess I love you to," she smiled before rubbing against Wavepaw, not noticing how jealously you watched in the distance.
I don't think you need me to tell you Wavepaw's fate. And I won't go over the details, but I will say this much: Wavepaw was found dead that night, far away from the camp, with a pair of teeth marks over his neck.
Once again, you had made a very successful kill.
Applepaw mourned over Wavepaw for a long time; and eventually you started to became angry with her sorrow. You became angry far too easily. But you didn't do anything, because you couldn't bear the thought of hurting her; at least with your own claws.
She didn't maintain her friendship with you anymore; she didn't do anything out of her deep depression. She never ate with any of the apprentices, instead she ran off, out of camp, and chose to eat it out there, with no one to cut into her deep grieving.
In a way, your love for her had destroyed her.
As always, the clan had no idea that you killed poor little Wavepaw. Applepaw never even suspected it; and I guess she was too deep into pain to bother opening her eyes and seeing the obvious as it jumped around right under her pretty nose.
And she was still popular among the apprentices. They all pestered over her asking her if she was okay, whenever she came into camp with her head down and her tail drooped as if they didn't already know the answer. And she would wave them all off, and after asking her if she was sure that she was okay and her snapping that she was they would leave.
Occasionally she sent a sad but friendly glance your way and you fed on these glances. They were all you had left of the she-cat that you had once come to love.
Applepaw's mother, Lilyblossom, fretted over the state of her kit as well, but didn't go too near, in fears that Applepaw might have a breakdown and break her heart. She loved her kit so much she could only wish for the best of her. You had loved her so much that you had killed a cat in hopes of being with her. And it didn't get you much but a depressed version of Applepaw.
And it did make you angry to see that Wavepaw made her happier than you ever could have. You wondered what she could be mooning over so much, when you were right there, waiting for her to wake up and find you. And Lilyblossom seemed to be thinking along the same lines.
One day she approached you, "I'm sorry," she sighed "It's been taking my kit so long to get over the loss of Wavepaw, and here you are just waiting patiently for her to open up her grieved eyes, and see that she has someone else who cares."
You didn't respond, because you were angry. Finally, though, you asked her, "Can you please talk her out of it? Make it be the Applepaw I knew before Wavepaw came along. I need her back," you opened your eyes widely, blinking a small tear away.
"I don't know," she hesitated. "I'm afraid she might get angry, and I don't want to see that."
"I thought you loved her so much you would be willing to risk anything so that she can live a happy life as a warrior," you responded coolly and she finally sighed.
"I guess you are right," she gave in. "I will talk to her tomorrow, around midnight. If I'm lucky then you will have the old Applepaw back, if not you will be left with an even worse version of my daughter. I know that he was kind but I wish that Wavepaw had never discovered her."
You couldn't agree more.
Two days later, you woke up to find Applepaw standing over you, "Applepaw?" you asked, not sure if you were really seeing her or if it was a dream.
"I'm here, Snakepaw," she replied. "Sorry it took me so long to come back."
Realizing that in fact, it was not a dream, you pulled yourself up to your feet and looked her square in the eyes for a moment before sighing. "I'm glad," you purred calmly. "I was afraid I would never get my old friend back," you had said the right thing but there was hesitation in her eyes.
"I'm sorry," she finally claimed. "And I don't think I will ever be able to forget Wavepaw, I am more than just depressed but I also fear that whatever killed him, will eventually reach me too, and leave my body as limp as his had been."
"I'll be by your side," you promised. "I will protect you against whatever threatens a hair on your pelt. That's what friends are for."
She hesitated for a moment, "I always thought that we were a little more than friends." She finally sighed, "I never felt the same way with you."
"You were mates with Wavepaw," you respond "Not me."
"But I loved you too," she insisted and her eyes softening she sweetly added, "I still do, Snakepaw. I still love you, just because of who you are."
"But I don't feel that way," you slowly reply. "I view us as friends and nothing more."
This was a big lie, and it wasn't something you were doing to try and make her confess. You were doing this because you were mad at her, and you wanted her to feel the same way that you had felt.
"Are you serious," she asked, her newly brightened eyes dimming with fear. "You never felt anything special for me?"
"No," you lie. "Why would I ever feel anything special for you?" Your voice is a half sneer but it is also curious, "I'm sorry Applepaw, but I just want to be friends."
Meanwhile I was thinking about what a crafty liar you were as I watched from behind the bushes.
Slowly Applepaw backed away from you in horror, before turning and running out of camp, in a flash of tears. Lilyblossom soon entered the den. "Why was she crying?" she asked. "Yesterday night she seemed happy after out talk."
You shrugged, "I guess it was too much emotion for her to handle all at once," and shrug. "I'll leave her to her thoughts for once."
"I want to make sure that she is okay," Lilyblossom insisted before following her daughter out of camp. You didn't say anything as you watched.
In fact, the rest if your day went by normally.
Until when you came back from camp to find Lilyblossom sobbing, with the rest of the clan huddled around her sympathetically.
When she noticed you the she-cat bared her teeth and jumped, claws unsheathed. "You killed my daughter!" she snarled, "after pretending to care about her so much!"
You pushed her off, with a sharp swipe with your claw, surprised, "I didn't kill her!" you exclaim, "Why would I kill my friend?"
"Because you turned down her request to be mates with you!" she snarled as she tried to jump back on you, but this time she was held back by another cat trying to comfort her. "She killed herself out of grief. Did you think it wasn't hard enough to lose one cat she loved!"
"I'm sorry that I didn't feel that way about her," you respond, as some of her friends drag her away, "I can't like someone because they want me to!"
"You liked her alright," she glared from behind the pelts off her friends. "You horrible poisonous monster. You've got a horrible bite, you know that?" Her eyes were wet from tears, as she entered the warrior's den.
Quiet enough so that no one could hear you responded, "I know."
"We would like to welcome our new warrior, Snakerattle!"
Some of the cats cheered but many remained in a dark silence. You weren't liked very much by the other Clans, but there were cats cheering for you anyways.
We recognized your father among the cats, cheering loudest with a proud look in his eyes. You completely ignored him however; you liked your father no more than you liked a rotten mouse. He was nothing but a curse in your eyes, and a reminded of your mother.
She had loved you very dearly and paid quite a price for it. All cats who loved you did; and so did all cats who hate you. It was probably best to keep a safe distance away and not notice you. Your wrath had claimed so many lives already; and it was prepared to claim many more.
You glared at all of the silent cats while those bold enough chanted for you. You would have been lying if you told yourself that you didn't care what others thought.
And you hated all of them; every single one with every ounce of hate you could muster, which added up to be a fair amount. You had the power to ruin the Clans with your dangerous venom and you weren't scared to do it; all it took was a little push.
You were not a toy to experiment with, as I had done when you were an apprentice. At that point you were the real thing; the weapon that could bring the end of the Clans, that could kill so many just with your own claws, and with a rage so mass it was uncontrollable.
The leaders continue to talk about important issues but you were no longer listening; instead you were eyeing your father with a growing hatred. You remembered that his name was Thrushpelt, and you hated him more every second you stared.
When the leaders finally dismissed the cats, to chat a little before leaving you marched straight up to your father, who smiled when he saw you.
"Congratulations," he purred, as you slowly unsheathed your claws.
"Stop playing," you spat. "I know who you are; and the horrible and punishable thing you did to become that cat, Thrushpelt. Or should I call you dad?"
He stammers for a few moments before sighing, "Alright, I am your dad, and I can't say I regret it. You have grown to be such a strong cat."
"Don't mess with me!" you snarl and he looks at you surprised.
"I can understand that you would be mad at me but I want you to know that all I could ever truly feel towards you is lov-"
"Shut up," you hiss cutting him off. "You don't want to know what I am capable of! Marshpaw, my mother, Berrypaw, Wavepaw, Applepaw... they were all my casualties. And if you go down the wrong path you will be too." you pull your claws up.
His eyes widen, "I refuse to believe my son would do such a thing."
"You'd better, because they will tell you all about it in StarClan!"
"I can't believe it," he whimpered. "How could such a horrible cat have been born from my sweet kind and loving mate?"
Your claws suddenly dropped to the floor. "What do you know about my mother?" you ask, your eyes widening with pain.
"Why would you care?" he murmured. "You killed her anyways!"
"I loved her!" you insist. "That is why I killed her; because I loved her far too much, and I was angry."
"You are a troubled cat, but I refuse to help a monster like you," he snarls. "All I will say about your mother is that she loved you, she would do anything so that you could have the slightest bit more comfort in your life, and I know that she still loves you, no matter what you did to her. Even if you wrecked the forest, she would still love you as much as she ever did."
Your claws sheathed themselves and you lowered your paw. "Don't ever come across me again," you snarled, "you won't be so lucky next time."
"Don't worry, I don't even like the fact that I live in the same forest as you," he spat before turning around and running up to his clan, which had started to depart while you snarled from behind him.
Venom glimmered in your eyes as you watched him marching away. For some reason you couldn't bring yourself to kill him; and although you denied it, we all knew why.
Because you also still loved your mother.
It wasn't long before you had your heart caught inside another she-cat. The difference was that this time she was from a different Clan; the same Clan as your father and former mate, which you had used to get the proper revenge on your mother.
This time her name was Flamepelt and rightly so. She had a ginger pelt that shined like fire, even in the night. You met her on a patrol skirmish a couple times, and just by looking at her for a couple seconds you knew that you were ready to kill for her.
Not that killing was a big deal for you anyways.
And she seemed to sense you felt that way about her. You were lucky enough to be privileged to go to the next gathering, which she had also come to attend.
You sought her out before the gathering began, and she seemed to be trying to avoid you as she weaved through the cats, while you pursued her.
But in such a large place with so many cats, it was too crowded for her to keep away from you, and you soon had caught up to her, and squeezed her into a corner.
"What do you want? she demanded and you shrugged.
"I want to know how you feel."
"About what?" she asks. "This is a gathering, not some place where you try to squeeze information out of your rivals," there was a confused expression on her face which made your heart lurch.
Who would have thought that monsters like you had a heart.
"I've seen you a couple time, Flamepelt," you slowly trail off. "But I don't really know you all that well, because we belong in different clans."
"What are you getting at?" she asked you, starting to get a little impatient, as I waited with excitement for her answer.
"I want to know you better," you sigh. "Just seeing you a couple times has helped me realize that you are a cat I have been searching for my whole life."
"You don't seem to be that cat to me," her voice was slow, as if she was trying to respond without hurting your feelings, "Besides, we belong in different clans. We could never be anything. Not even friends, considering we have had no experiences together."
"That is what I am asking for," you replied calmly. "I want to have some experiences with you, so that we can know each other better."
"Why would you pick me out?" It was obvious that you had found a modest cat who failed to realize how pretty she could look in a tom's eye.
"Why shouldn't I?" you responded with no better answer. "My point is that I want to see you more, I want to get to know you better!"
She shakes her head, "I'm sorry but I can't. This is just I cat I hardly know asking me to break the warrior code so that I can get to know him."
"Will you please consider it?" you asked her with the saddest face you could muster.
She thought for a moment before turning around, "No. I sense something sinister in you, almost like a hidden monster, waiting to release the deadliest venom, the clans have ever come across, and I have no intention to mess with it."
But as she marched away from you, she failed to realize the most important thing; she already had messed with the monster inside of you.
As you left that gathering alongside your Clan that day, your eyes were burning onto her pretty pelt, mingled with the PineClan cats.
You went to sleep that night, with evil thoughts wrapped around your mind; plotting on ways to get your sweet revenge. You would not let young Flamepelt go without a price.
And yet, death didn't seem like a bad enough punishment anymore.
She would just feel pain for a moment before peacefully floating up to StarClan. No, you needed something far more sinister. You needed to torture her to the point where she was begging you to let her go, so that the pain would finally end.
And physical torture also seemed a little too easy. You began to plan ways to put her through emotional distress, to a point where nothing could hurt more.
You decided to take down every cat she loved, one by one, until there was no one left in your life.
That was your definition of justice.
You soon learned that taking revenge on Flamepelt was going to be much easier than you had originally thought. In fact, it would be one nice swipe and you would have your work done.
Because her only living relative happened to be her father, Ravenstar. You already knew that he was an old cat, and rumor was that he was on his last life. It would be an easy kill for you.
But there would be challenges too. Leader's hardly left the clan unless leading a border or hunting patrol. You might have been a strong cat but you were aware of your abilities and knew that you would be no match for a whole patrol and a leader.
You would have to catch him while he was alone.
You soon faced the truth that you would have to sneak into PineClan camp to be able to kill him. It would have to be quick so that he could have no time to alert the clan, and fatal so that it could claim at least one life in a single blow, without to much effort.
By now, you were perfectly aware of the fact that you were far from ordinary; you had come to except a part of who you were and what you could do. You still denied me, who I was and how we were connected, but you were aware of the fact that you had a poisonous rage.
A small bite to the throat would be enough to bring down the famous and admired leader of PineClan. Once you had decided that you would do this during the night when he was sleeping, you decided to rest on the thought for a few nights before you finally had gathered enough rage to attack.
You slowly pulled yourself out of the apprentices den. Dewfrost, one of the senior warriors, was woken up in the process and she glared at you. "Can't you sleep in the night, instead of sulking around during the day like a sloth?" she demanded.
You shrugged casually and I could tell you were resisting the urge to hurt the cranky warrior, "I have to make dirt. Would you rather I do it here?"
"Of course not!" her eyes opened in surprise before she waved you away. "Please just go then, instead of keeping me up longer. Try to enter making less noise."
You pretended to mumble an apology before leaving the den, and slipping out of camp.
You wasted no time wandering around your territory at night. Instead, you marched straight to your border with PineClan. You were aware of the fact that you had not bothered to wipe to OakClan scent off you but you didn't mind the prospect of starting a war with Flamepelt's clan.
You quickly slid through their territory. You didn't know exactly where their camp was but Berrypaw had explained its location a little while you two were meeting, and you followed the trail of scent and footsteps that were leading to the camp.
Unfortunately, your father Thrushpelt had decided that it would be a good night for a stroll. Probably reflecting on the monster he learned that his son really was.
I don't think seeing you helped him much.
"What are you doing here?" he snarled his haunches raised.
You cocked your head, "You aren't going to attack your son now, will you?"
"You attacked your mother!" he snarled. "You attacked more than your mother! I don't know who you are after this time but you won't get to them."
"I know you won't fight me, father," you insisted. "You will just let me pass, because you know that you can't hurt me, no matter what a monster I am. You will let me walk into your camp, kill Ravenstar and leave." Your eyes narrow, "Admit it."
He looks surprised, "What grudge do you hold against Ravenstar?" he asked, surprised.
"None of your business," you reply. "Now let me pass."
He seems to have an argument in his head before he finally moves aside, anger, hatred, fear and sorrow all reflected in his gaze. You felt no guilt as you continued to march towards the camp; you were more than confident that he wouldn't cause a problem.
You stalked through the camp, quietly as you felt your heart beating faster. You noticed some cats stirring and quickened your pace. After a couple seconds of looking around you were able to locate the apprentice den, and sneaked inside of it.
Ravenstar was sleeping peacefully as you approached him. Slowly, you pulled your head down so they were hovering right over his throat. You began to lower them down so that they could make contact with his skin, that was all you needed.
But before you could do anything else, you were disturbed by a pattern of footsteps.
Seconds later, there was a Clan of angry cats standing right before the den; catching you just in time to save their precious leader.
"Enough Snakerattle," one of them snarled. "We know everything; all the cats you killed and all of the secrets you kept. You have been turned in."
Your father stood behind the cats looking a little guilty but also proud; as you realized that it had been him; who else could it have been?
He had turned you in; your very own father had told the Clan about your crimes.
And now the snake was cornered, as the Clan prepared to step on it, with their fierce paws.
You looked around them, surprised, "What are you talking about?" you asked as they glared at you harshly, anger flaring in their eyes.
"Stop acting,"" Flamepelt snarls as she pushes her way through the cats. "I knew that I sensed something sinister in you."
You pull one of your hind legs back, before barring your fangs and unsheathing your claws, "Make me leave. This old leader deserves to die."
"We will defend him with our lives!" A cat calls from the crowd.
"Then you will all die," you snarled with your teeth bared, "I will kill you all!"
"No you won't."
You turned around to see Falconstar straining with the whole of OakClan behind him, looking angry and disgusted with the thought of having you in their Clan.
"Don't mess with my business," you snarl, "you pathetic old lump of fur. Flamepelt must pay for the way she broke my heart."
Her eyes widen with fear, at the thought that she had been your target.
"You have two Clans against you," he threatens. "We know that you are vicious, but you can't take down two Clans at once. And if we have to, we will call the other two Clans to drive you out of this forest. You are a monster and we will not tolerate you!"
"You will have to," you snarled, refusing to accept defeat. "Or I will kill you all! I will ruin this forest, and leave you with the remains!"
"Enough, Snakerattle!" his gaze becomes serious as he stares you down. "Accept defeat, young warrior. You have been exiled from this forest and you will not return."
"No!" you yowled leaping at your leader, your teeth extended in a deadly position, but before they could sink in, Thrushpelt leaped in the way, as your fangs met his neck.
Seconds later he fell to the ground, almost dead from the poison you had infected him with.
You stared at him in horror. "I..." you stammer. "I never meant for this to happen! I never meant to kill you! I wanted to spare you!"
"I deserve this," he managed. "For giving birth to you!"
You backed away in horror, also a little angry. "If you had never told on me then this wouldn't have happened." But he was dead before he could claim that it had not been him.
I always knew that it was someone else, who had relieved your father of the guilt, but you would never learn that. You would die thinking he was guilty for his death.
PineClan murmured with sorrow at the lost of their cat.
Ravenstar, who had been awake for a while glared at you. "Leave now, Snakerattle, before I order my clan to shred you!"
For once you didn't argue as you quickly bounded out of camp, tears blinding your eyes. But you had no one to blame other than yourself.
You had set your life up for this; you and your poisonous rattles.
But what should we all have expected of our young and pained Snakerattle.
After all, he was a snake that rattled.
And you should never mess with them.
You trudged along the dark path, carrying a squirrel behind you, as always, to pairs of teeth on its throat had caused its death.
Sometimes, things just happen ways; and we can't help it. Destiny bounds us with powers we can't control, but we all know that never happened to you. You picked this darkened path, and you would be forced to live with it, for the rest of your life.
Although, you were starting to understand that you could accept it. You noticed me slithering around, and you already knew, that deep inside, I was you. I was just waiting.
"Who are you?" you asked me. "I want to know, I need to know! Tell me your story!"
And so here I am, telling you this tale; which also happens to be mine. Because in reality, I am none other than you; Snakerattle.
The Snake that Rattles.