When the monsters come and destroy a bunch of rouges' home, a faithful oak tree, they must learn to survive.
But out of them all, a loyal cat called Sun decides he can't live as a loner, and joins a group of cats living in the forest, the OakClan cats.
Is he about to make a very big mistake.....?
The wind shook the already trembling tree to its roots. There were screams and a low, loud rumbling noise as the monsters came.
They were big, bold hulking shapes, yellow red and green. There were five, all silhouettes against the pale ghostly moon. The wind howled.
The rain attacked the cats, and petrified shrieks as the things sauntered forwards, their jaws wide open to swallow a passing feline. They came on wide, black circles, covered with deadly jagged tracks. They reeked of toxic fumes, and the small bunch of rouges struggled not to pass out from the overwhelming stench.
The daunting beast rambled onwards, ready to crush the oak tree that had been the cats home.
The 'leader' had heard from several loners that the twolegs planned to build more thunderpaths where their beloved tree stood, ready to protect them.
Now it was going to be crushed into smithereens.
The wind howled on, as a bright yellow monster slammed into the tree, gouging out a huge chunk of bark. 'Get the kits!' A voice yelled into the blackness.
There was no reply.
Out of the shadows, a queen sprinted across the field, yowling with fear. Her belly was heavy with kits, and a monster was heading straight for her.
The extra weight was too much for the she-cat, for she collapsed in the floor, her chest heaving as she struggled to breath.
The monster kept trundling forwards, its jaws wide open.
There was a scream, and a 'No! Not Kelsie!' then three lives were lost in one cat.
Two unborn kits were slaughtered that night.
The unmerciless monsters crawled round the field, ripping up dirt and massacring cats. Many died.
I lost track of how many were butchered that dark night.
There were few survivors, the ones that lived ran to twolegplace.
But a small kitten named Sun was lost, teary.
His mother had died.
He had nowhere to go.
In the twolegplace, a pair of cats ambled amicably in the darkness, the dens providing good shelter. Their tails twined together, and they gossiped in the darkness.
'Have you heard about the cats living in the tree?' the tortoiseshell she-cat asked her companion. 'The monsters hacked it down.'
'Yes, Dixie. I have,' the tom replied. 'I see them stalking about the streets, scavenging for food.'
'I'm so glad we have our twolegs,' Dixie observed. 'Aren't you, Beanie?'
Beanie dipped his head in a nod. 'They have no one to give them food, or brush their fur!' he exclaimed, shocked. 'And they're so skinny.'
Dixie twitched her whiskers in agreement. 'The forest cats are even worse. They hunt mice, and lots of them die of starvation in the snowfall season.' She shook her head. 'Who'd want to live like that?'
Beanie's voice dropped to a whisper, like someone would hear. 'Bramble told me that one of the rouges who lived in the oak tree has joined them to save himself!'
Dixie gasped, shaking her head. 'If we see any of them, we must tell them to live with housefolk,' she mewed. 'They'll be so much happier.'
Beanie snorted. 'They think we're overfed. But look at them, they're practically starved.'
Dixie jumped as she saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye, the wind buffeting her fur. 'Look,' she hissed. 'It's one of the wild cats!' Her tone softened. 'But my, he is only a kit!'
In the alleyway digging through the metal cans was a small cat, with bright golden fur. He was so thin, you could see each of his ribs. His fur was matted, and his eyes were sullen and hollow.
'Who are you?' Beanie questioned.
The little kitten turned to face the kittypets, and said, 'I am Sun.' His amber eyes widened. 'Please, help me!'
Sun blinked open his eyes. He was where he had wakened every day, for the past moon. He was in his 'basket' in the twoleg den. The kittypets had brought him to live with their twolegs. Dixie and Beanie had looked after him, and their twolegs had given him food. It was nasty, brown pellets that tasted like a stale mouse, but he wasn't complaining. The food he had eaten in twolegplace was much worse sometimes.
He was bigger now, since the kittypets had found him. He was 5 moons old now, brave and strong. His mother would be so proud.
The words made Sun sorrowful. Violet had died in the destruction of the Tree, and he had loved her very much. He knew where his brothers were.
They had joined OakClan. He had seen Shade and Moss dash into the forest after the Tree fell to the ground with a massive thud.
Should I join them? Sun wondered. Maybe there he could eat mice again, instead of kittypet food. He couldn't stay with Dixie and Beanie, as much as he loved them. He wasn't cut out for the life of a kittypet.
He jumped as Dixie padded into the room, Beanie beside her. 'Good morning,' the tom said cheerfully. He seemed in a very good mood this morning.
Sun was more than a little suspicious. He stretched, put on forced happiness like every sunrise and mewed, 'So what are we going to do today? I'd like to catch some mice.
Dixie and Beanie exchanged glances, and then spoke. 'Well,' Dixie began. 'There's going to be a few changes in this den.' She licked her chest fur nervously. 'I'm, er...going to have kits.'
Sun toyed the ball of moss between his paws. It felt nice, like when he had been alone. Reminded him of his kithood...
He was bored, though that happened regularly since the kits had been born. Dixie and Beanie had rejected him. Fluffy, Bonnie and Socks, as named by the twolegs, were small but adorable.
And annoying Sun muttered internally. Their parents don't talk to me anymore. They wouldn't notice if I was gone.
Leaping up onto the roof, Sun watched the sun set over the forest. It made the trees glow pink. Should I go..? he wondered. I don't like being alone anymore.
'Sun!' Beanie's yowl interrupted his musings. It was time for food. But the twoleg brown pellets weren't all that nice. Sun wanted mice, voles, rabbit. With one last glance out across the horizon, he trudged ruefully inside.
I'll be waiting, he told the woods. Just you wait and see.
'Eat up Sun!' Beanie nudged him. 'It's tuna. Your favourite!'
Sun sighed, and prodded the fish with one paw. It was tasty, but he honestly didn't feel hungry. To make the kittypet happy, he took a small bite. The new father looked pleased. Sun swallowed. This tuna was nothing like the salmon he used to catch in the forest with Moss and Shade and Violet.
He took another mouthful, till Beanie was certain he was eating it, then Beanie left. 'I'm checking on the kits!' he yowled behind him. 'They've opened their eyes now!'
'I caught a mouse yesterday,' Sun called back. 'It was massive...'
He realised no one was listening, and slumped down next to his food dish. He felt more unwanted then ever.
I'm still waiting... the forest whispered.
'Leave me alone!' Sun screamed out to the trees. 'I don't need you!' He flopped down onto his nest on the floor and curled tightly into a ball. The scent of the twolegs overpowered him, and angered him further.
Sun slid out onto the roof and lay there. He did not move.
Dawn broke over twolegplace illuminating the tiles in a reddish glow. Sun blinked the sunlight from his eyes. It felt like he had just closed his eyes. Well, I'm up now. he thought. He jumped back into the twoleg den and saw Dixie waiting for him.
Her eyes shined with excitement, and her fur her ears twitched impatiently. 'I've been waiting for you!' she huffed. 'Why were you sleeping on the roof? Its so hard and horribble up there.' Sun opened his mouth to explain, but Dixie continued in a rush. 'The kits have taken their first steps! They can talk too! Now that they're so big, they're going to have to sleep in your nest. Is that alright?'
No! Sun's instict wished to scream. It's not alright! But in the end, he just mumbled, 'Its fine.'
Stupid, Stupid, the voice at the back of his head scolded. You don't want to sleep on the roof all the time. 'Where can I sleep now?' Sun asked Dixie, considering what he was thinking.
'The roof will be fine for now, won't it?' the kittypet mewed. No, it isn't! Sun longed to scream.
'Actually,' he began. 'I got really bad back pains from sleeping on the tiles and-' He was interruputed by Fluffy, Bonnie and Socks wandering in to the room.
'I'm hungry mama.' Socks whined.
The other kits chimed in with their wails. 'I'm going hunting.' Sun muttered. As usual, no one heard him.
Sun's tail swished across the floor. He was fed up of the kittypet food the twolegs were giving him. He needed mouse. Real food. As he crawled along the leaf littered floor, he concentrated on concealing himself from the mouse. It was nibbling on a nut, keeping its eye on its food.
Sun tensed his muscles, ready to pounce. Being outdoors made him feel so relaxed; it felt natural to be out here, stalking prey. He narrowed his eyes, and sprung, flying through the air.
He landed right on target, finishing his fresh kill off with a nip to the neck. It was satisfying, catching his food. He dragged it under a bush, giving him some shade from the leaf fall sun.
The mouse was still warm, and undoubtedly delicious. Sun swiped his tongue round his muzzle, catching the last taste. And he was still hungry. Better get back, he thought. Dixie and Beanie will be waiting. Then he remembered they wouldn't miss him. He could stay a little longer.
Sun sprang back through the 'catflap' mewing, 'I'm back!' His words were greeted with silence. He sighed, and padded up to his room. But when he entered, he reminded himself that this was the nursery now. He couldn't stay here.
'There you are!' Dixie exclaimed, rushing over to greet him. This made Sun feel wanted, like he had when the kittypets had first taken him under their wings. But his moment of peace was interrupted by the kits, whos whiny mews enraged him terribly. 'Sun.' One of them mewed. Bonnie, Sun thought. Then he realised the kit had said his name. He plonked himself down on the floor.
'Yes,' he said. 'I am Sun.' That was the first time the kittens had spoken to him. That didn't make him feel any better. They didn't like him. That was why they never said anything to him.
Sun sighed and climbed onto the roof. Resting his head on his paws, he tried to sleep. It was too early, yet he did not care. He just wanted to be alone.
Sun watched the other cats roaring in anger. They were bigger than him, but he was not scared. Nothing scared him. Shade and Moss stood beside him, his brothers. Reunited at last. 'OakClan, attack!' a big ginger tom roared. Sun did not know his name, yet he seemes familiar.
With energy and adrenaline coursing through him, he charged towards the other cats. Their scent was rank, and again seemed known to him.
One big cat that was about his age leapt at him. He was midnight black, with a long scar across his face. Sun was filled with hate looking at this cat. He had done so much wrong. He snarled and hit him with a strong blow across his legs.
The black cat fell to the ground with a thud. He was crumpled like a leaf. Sun raised his paw for another blow, claws unsheathed. He struck his enemey across the face, so his ear was bleeding. But the hostile cat was not done yet.
He reared up and scratched Sun right across the ear. Sun yowled in pain as he felt his fur being sliced off. A torn ear, like a real warrior! Blood dripped into his eyes, obscuring his vision.
Sun shook his head, spattering red across the sand, refusing to give up. Then he remembered a technique he had learnt.
He played weak, lying on the floor, whining in pain. The black tom smirked, and was about to draw a massive blow when Sun struck him across the belly.
And that's where his vision went black.
'No!' Sun howled aloud, lashing his paws in the air at an invisible foe. He wanted that feeling of being in battle back, wanted to scratch and tear till he was bleading hard. Rain was soaking his pelt. How long had he been on the roof? It was still dark. Not long, he guessed.
Sun tried, and failed, to get back to sleep. His dream was too thrilling. So he stretched, got up and patroled the roof.
He almost screamed when he looked in a puddle. His reflection was different. His dream had been so vivid, but now it was more real than ever.
He had a torn ear.
Dried blood was clustered around the wound, and it gave Sun a tough image. He liked the way it looked on him, he looked wild. He wondered if Shade and Moss had torn ears too.
Shade and Moss. They had been in his dream too. Sun frowned. He hadn't seen them since the tree was cut down. And that's when the puzzle began to fit together.
The ginger tom had screamed something. He struggled to recall it. He knew it was his destiny to do whatever the orange cat had said.
He went over his dream again and again, untill it hit him. Before he tackled the black tom, the big cat had roared, OakClan attack! He knew what that meant.
I must join OakClan! Sun told himself. And he leapt off the roof without a backward glance.
Sun walked along with strange stone, where the twolegs walked. Sometimes a kit would try and stroke him. 'Leave me alone!' he screeched at them, but of course they didn't hear him.
It was already early morning, and the milky sun was scorching. Sun felt like he was going to faint due to the heat. He decided it would be a good idea to rest, so he sat down under the shade of one of the trees. He could see the forest in the distance;it was further away than he thought from Dixie and Beanie's nest.
'How much longer?' he wondered aloud. Just as he spoke, a little adventurous twolegs kit trotted up to him on its podgy paws. It had a sprinkling of hair on its head, but other than that it was furless.
Sun began to walk away, ignoring the gurgling kit, but it was a brave one. The air was sucked out of Sun's chest as the kit lifted him up into its chubby forelegs. He tried to scratch the kit, but it had a tight lock on him. 'Let me go!' he howled angrily, batting the air. But the little twoleg refused.
Sun failed to get his teeth to dent its hairless body; its grip on him was making him choke. 'Leave..me..alone!' he roared, but it came out as more of a squeak due to the lack of air he was breathing. The kit screeched in delight, and padded over to a larger twoleg, wth more hair on its head.
It howled happily at the big twoleg, showing Sun to it like a prize piece of prey. Sun snarled louder, in a bid to escape, but the twolegs were merciless. The older twoleg crouched down and patted Sun's head, muttering noises. Sun made a move to bit her paw, but the kit was holding his head so tight he couldn't move it. He let out a yowl of despair. Why didn't I stay with the kittypets? he thought angrily. These twolegs are ten times worse!
The big twoleg seemed to notice Sun's struggle, for she tried to pull him out of the kit's arms. However, this just made the situation worse, because the small one pulled harder on his throat. Sun let out a choke, as the last few breaths of air were sucked out of him. 'Help me!' he howled.
At last the adult twoleg one. She managed to yank Sun out of the kit's arms, and placed him on the ground. He wheezed, 'Thank you.' before sprinting as far as possible away from the twolegs. That was too close he thought. I must be more careful next time.
He dashed past the ugly twoleg dens, their tiles daunting and scary. He sprinted down the strange stone paths, hiding from any twoleg that past.
But where is the forest? he wondered desperatly. He couldn't see it over the tall nests, their ghostly shadows blocking the way.
Suddenly, he froze, as he heard the barking of a dog. He had never seen one before, but his mother had told him about them. 'If you see one,' she'd said to Sun, Shade and Moss. 'Run, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
He saw the great beast lumbering towards him, its deadly jaws open, showcasing rows of sharp fangs, polished so they glinted in the setting sun. Its tongue lolled out, drooling spit all over the path. The dog was huge; at least twice the size of Sun. It had a ragged black coat, and beady black little eyes that squinted against the light. Its nose traced the ground, looking for Sun.
Sun froze as the monster's eyes looked straight at him. It had found its prey. Sun was so shocked, he couldn't force his frozen limbs to move, run to the other edge of the twolegplace. He wanted to scream, but no sound came out. Run, run. he told himself. Run away! Yet he still stood stupidly in front of the dog.
It started to speed up, coming closer and closer. And it was only when it was a tail length away from Sun that he finally turned and dashed of into the horizon.
He could feel the dog's pause thumping against the ground in a steady rhythum. It's going to get me! Sun thought in despair. I'm never going to reach the forest!
He kept up his pace along the path. Spit was flying over his head, reminding him of the danger behind. The dog barked harsh words at him, that sounded like, I'm going to get you, you little kit!
There was a shriek behind him and Sun whipped round. The dog had stopped running. A twoleg was jogging up the path, shouting and the dog. The dog cast one last glare at Sun before turning back to his twoleg master, annoyed.
Sun waited until the beast was completely gone until he started walking again. The dens cast shadows across the ground; the sun had almost set. I'm lost!' Sun wailed miserably. Where am I?
As the sky blackened till it was as dark as soot, Sun scurried through the streets of twolegplace. No more dogs gnashed at his tail, no more twolegs came howling down past their nests. It was all deathly quiet. Sun's paws were cracked and swollen from walking on the scorching black paths, and his fur reeked of the toxic monster scent.
He coughed as one of these monsters came gliding past again, beetle blue this time, its unnaturally shiny pelt glinting maliciously in the darkness. Twoleg noises came swirling out of its belly, loud and thumping. Sun squealed in disgust as a spray of dirty water sprayed into his face. Shaking murky droplets from his muzzle, he darted into one of the dark alleyways.
In the path, there were several dull black boxes lined up in rows beside the wall. A warm smell wafted from one of them that made Sun's mouth water. It was meat, and it smelled burnt; it had been cooked by twolegs, but it was still meat.
Leaping up onto the wall, Sun tried to prise open the black can's lid with his claws. But the surface was slippery and smooth, and he couldn't get a grip. In the end, he resorted to butting the lid with his muzzle, and after several strong pushes, it sprang open.
Sun jumped, expecting something to pop out of the box, and he glanced round warily. Nothing was there. Forcing his fur to stay flat, he jumped onto the rim of the box and peered in side.
In it was twoleg litter, little shards of monster pelt, rotting herbs and some strange salty sticks. Cautiously, Sun nibbled the edge of one. They were quite nice. He crunched down the rest of them and dug deeper to find the meat. The burnt prey was covered in rubbish, but it was food, and Sun tore off the scraps and even chewed some of the bones when he heard a voice behind him.
'That isn't very good food.'
Sun yowled in alarm, but he was already sliding off the edge of the box, and he found himself on the floor in a heap, almost resembling the twoleg litter. He burrowed his face into his fur, not wanting to be seen. This cat could be dangerous, if it was hungry it might eat a kit like him.
The same perky, cheerful voice spoke again. 'What's wrong with you? You're very skinny.'
Sun raised his muzzle a little, and allowed himself to glance at this chirpy cat. It was a tom, a little younger than he was, with big, autumn leaf coloured eyes and a sleek black and white pelt. He had a collar dangling from his neck, and whenever he moved, it jingled. He was a very plump cat, with four white paws and large ears.
Shaking rubbish from his fur, Sun got up and introduced himself. 'I'm Sun,' he explained. 'And I'm lost.'
The kittypet cocked his head to one side in a curious sort of way. Sun decided he was harmless. 'I'm Socks,' he puffed proudly. 'And I know all around twolegplace. Where are you looking to go to?'
'The forest,' Sun replied glumly. 'But I'm so tired I doubt I'll make it.'
Socks gave a little bounce and purred. 'That's not very far from here,' he mewed excitedly. 'Only a mile!'
'What's a mile?' Sun asked, completely bemused.
'Oh, just a measure of distance.'
'Like a fox length and a skylength?'
The kittypet looked confused. 'Are you a wild cat?'
'Yes, I am,' Sun nodded. 'And I need to get back to the forest. But I'm so...' he didn't finish the sentence as he broke off to yawn so widely he felt his jaw crack.
'I can help!' Socks bounced again. 'Let me take you back to my basket.'
'My home! Where me and my housefolk live!'
Sun stiffened. 'I don't want to go anywhere near twolegs.'
'They're on holiday,' Socks assured him confidently. 'The place is empty.'
'What's a holiday?'
'They're away, alright? Now are you coming or not? It's warm and you can get something to eat. Rubbish is for rouges. And in the morning, I'll take you to the forest.'
Sun padded into what Socks called a 'catflap'. On the other side, he was inside the nest. It stank strongly of twolegs, but it was warm, and he caught the whiff of food as he entered. 'Come on!' Socks dashed into one part of the twoleg nest. 'Food's in here!'
Sun followed the kittypet into a sleek white space, with a bowl full of the dry pellets he recognised from when he was staying with Dixie and Beanie. They weren't particularly tasty, but he was so hungry, he didn't really care. He crunched down half of them, then shoved the rest in the direction of Socks. 'Thanks,' he mewed.
Socks purred. 'No problem!' He ate his share of the meal, then walked into a different room. 'This is where we're going to sleep.' He nodded towards a large round thing made of twoleg stuff. Layered on top were lots of brightly coloured pelts, some with different patterns.
'This is a basket,' Socks explained.
Curious, Sun padded up and lay down in the nest. It was cosy and warm, and he was reminded of the time when he, Violet, Shade and Moss had all curled up, warm and safe. He shook his head. They were gone now.
Socks got in after him, and soon began to snore. Sun became aware of how tired he was, and after yawning, soon fell into sleep.
His dreams were filled with visions of the forest, the tall trees with their crisp bark and curling branches, the grass poking out of the grounds like tufts of fur. In the dream, Sun breathed in deeply, and he could scent the dew dripping off the leaves, and he could hear a stream curving its way round the woods. It was so beautiful, so perfect, Sun wanted to stay there forever.
He was woken by a soft paw nudging him awake. 'Sun!' Socks chirped. 'It's time to go to the forest.'
Sun almost didn't want to wake up, he wanted to go back to the dream, where stillness and calm ruled. But he could be in the dream by sunhigh, if they walked fast. The two young cats left the twoleg nest, and began to walk down one of the Thunderpaths.
From the sky, Sun could tell that it was just after dawn. When he told Socks this, the tubby cat looked puzzled. 'You mean it's six o clock?'
Sun was equally confused by this statement. Twoleg things are so strange, he thought to himself, as Socks turned right down another 'road'. 'Nearly there,' the kittypet said. 'You can see the treetops now.' He reared himself up onto his hind legs. 'Wow,' he breathed. 'Trees are so tall. I can't believe you're going to live there!'
Sun copied his friend, and realised that Socks was right. The tips of a few pines were visible above the twolegplace. 'What do you eat in the forest?' Socks asked.
Sun shrugged. 'Mice, birds, voles.' His mouth watered. 'Sometimes a fish, but I'm not fast enough yet.' He remembered how he and his brothers used to pretend that one of them was a rabbit. Purring, he leapt onto Socks, battering gently at the kittypet's tufty belly fur. 'Got you!' he yowled in triumph.
The two toms played for a little longer, the continued down the Thunderpath. It was nearly sunhigh now, and Sun caught traces of forest on the breeze. After a skylength more walking, Socks plonked himself down onto the floor, licked a paw and drew it over one ear. 'There!' he announced, clearly pleased with himself. 'The forest.'
Sun glanced up. Towering above him where huge oak trees, their branches bent like tails. He looked at the bark, and thought he saw a cat's face in the patterns. It was just like he'd dreamed, all the trees swaying delicatly, and he could hear the purr of a stream as it glided past on watery paws.
'Thank you for getting me here.' Sun turned to Socks, dipping his head in acknowledgement.
The black and white cat looked embarassed, and scuffled his paws. 'It was nothing,' he mewed modestly. 'I know my way all round twolegplace.' He hesitated. 'I hope I see you again, and good luck, wherever you're going!'
Sun nodded, turned and ran into the trees. Under the canopy of leaves, he felt more at home than he had done for moons. Away from the twolegs and their horrible monsters, the forest was peaceful and cool. There was no mud or sludge, just pure earth and beaten grass.
Sun explored round the area. He came to the stream he'd heard. He dipped his paws in, letting the frosty waters soothe his broken pads. Tiny minnows darted between the current, too small to eat. Sun decided to look for some proper food for a wild cat.
He sniffed out a mouse, killed it and ate it. It felt so good to eat proper, juicy meat. Tomorrow I'll seek out OakClan, Sun decided. He found a tree wth shelter to the wind, and drifted off to sleep with the wind whispering in his ears.