"Once upon a time—"
"No! Don't start it with that!" the kits eagerly squealed together. They looked at each other, beginning to giggle at their accidental unison. "It makes the rest of the story boring," one of them added playfully, still laughing.
"If you continue to interrupt and giggle like that, he'll never be able to tell you anything," meowed a grown warrior standing closeby. At this, the kits immediately closed their mouths. The elder had promised to tell them a forgotten story of the past, one that has never been told before, that had happened when he was just a warrior. Not just young kits, but the apprentices and warriors of the Clan had gathered to hear his story as well.
"Get comfortable, 'cause this is gonna be a long one," he said with a chuckle. The truth was, he was fairly reluctant to tell this story, but a promise was a promise. If the Clan hadn't been so keen and curious, he wouldn't be here, telling any of this in the first place. The memory had been terribly painful to experience, as it would be to speak it aloud for the first time in moons.
He choked back his tears as he began.
"Bird, my sister, and I, who was known as just Feather back then, grew up in a Twolegplace as kittypets a long, long time ago. I was frequently made fun of for my name, and in fact, I never came to be fond of this name myself. I always thought of it as a sign of weakness, and the term was just too delicate for me. I knew, though, that no matter how many times I try, the Twolegs would never understand me when I told them to change my name.
"My mother had run away from our housefolk, as I used to call them, soon after we were born. The best way I could put it is that she simply went crazy. She kept on repeating that there was danger creeping up everywhere and that the Twolegs were wretched. She didn't say anything else about the situation at all. I don't know what happened to her, as just a second before that she seemed all fine and normal, but there was nothing we could do about her. Especially since the Twolegs didn't even notice her sudden change of mood.
"I never got enough time to truly know her, but my father was heart-stricken. He even attempted several times to go out and search for her, but no luck came. She was completely gone without any trace.
"Soon came the day where my father was overtaken with a terrible sickness. I suspected that he had caught it from going on so many journeys to look for my mother. We had no idea what to do, and the Twolegs at the Cutter didn't seem to have a solution, either. The Cutter had been our only hope—and it had been for the past several years for kittypets like us. Bird and I were so terrified about losing our only parent left.
"One horrific day, our housefolk returned from the Cutter after taking our father there for a checkup. Bird and I, fear pulsing through us, exchanged worried glances when they showed up with empty hands.
"Our father was no longer there.
"He was gone...and no matter how hard I tried not to think of it, I knew—before our housefolk could even display any emotion at all...he was dead."
"Tears flowed down as we realized how life was so perfect what felt like only a couple days ago, and even more came when we understood that we were now orphans. The only cat I had left was Bird, and the only cat she had left was me. We only had each other.
"The day came where I myself had to take a visit to the Cutter with Bird. Going there, going to the place of my father's death, seemed unbearable. But I had to do it for my health. Or is it really for my health, if the Twolegs can't even find how to cure us if something goes wrong? I bent over my sister and shook her violently, shouting for her to wake, until her eyes finally opened.
"I watched as our housefolk slowly opened our cage and released us into the open. I hated the cage—I seemed so limited and helpless in there. They smoothly picked us up, their large paws running through my fur. I shut my eyes tightly when I spotted the monster. This is it, I thought to myself. It's time to go to the Cutter.
"I rested peacefully in my housefolk's arms when he began making a peculiar, exotic noise and I started bobbing up and down slowly. Gradually up, and then gradually down. This wasn't the first time I've seen a Twoleg do this, however, and it happens quite frequently when they're holding me. When a Twoleg does this, it indicates they are sleeping, and as long as you don't make too much of a fuss, there's not a chance they'll wake up.
"There was a long handle attached to the side of the monster. I could recall several times I had seen the Twolegs push in onto it—I just never had taken notice of it until then. Not fully remembering what it did, I echoed my housefolk's past movements and stomped on the button as hard as I could. It gradually revealed an opening above me, not too big for a Twoleg to pass through, but big enough. The only problem was, it made a loud, sharp noise, and before I knew it—everyone's eyes were on me.
"Time seemed to slow down for just that moment. Glancing back and forth between my housefolk and the world outside, before I knew what was happening, I was landing smoothly on the rough ground. I looked up to see my housefolk and Bird yowling from inside the monster, so I lashed out my tail for my sister to follow. She seemed terrified, and deep inside me, I was, too. What had I done?
"Not having another choice, we sprinted through the grass fields. We didn't know where we were, or where we were headed. All we could do was run. We passed Twoleg nest after Twoleg nest, racing through the forests as the sun slowly moved across the sky. When we stopped to catch our breath, we were met with reality.
"We were our only family, with nowhere to stay and nowhere to go. And it was my fault. What had I been thinking? We could be in the safety of our housefolk, but here we are, lost in the wilderness by ourselves.
"We had nothing left, all because of me.
"Our stomachs rumbled. We had nothing to eat. Our entire lives some other beings handed it all to us. We didn't know how to hunt...how to even survive at all. Our last hopes slowly faded away before us. But we could only keep going.
"We carefully trekked towards the forest in the distance. Trees meant shelter. The sun was falling--we had to get there fast. tbc