Episode Three, Season One, of Solitary.
I flicked my tail as I sat up in the tree branch, watching my surroundings below. The events from the previous day still held fresh in my mind. I wasn’t going to be able to forget Blossomheart’s vivid green stare as she stared furiously in Gooseflight’s eyes.
What was the problem with that? I wondered, for the first time. Remembering that Blossomheart and Gooseflight were from different Clans, according to their scent, I was sure that I had found my answer. Maybe being in different Clans forbids them to mate with one another.
I shook my head. Clan cats have such unusual ideas.
It was all quiet at the moment. No cat had bothered me yesterday, and so far no cat today had bothered me either. Rising to my paws, I shuffled my paws along the skinny tree branch as I started to navigate my way down.
It wasn’t my business right now, to tend to the Clans. They were none of my problem. What I needed to do was to hunt for myself first.
When I returned, my belly was full, and I was content. For once in recent days, I wasn’t being bothered by anyone. It was peaceful, and perfect.
I wish life was this quiet, I thought, as I approached my den, which sat below the tree I spent my days in. I wish –
My thoughts were stopped as I tasted the air. Cats had been around my den. Not Oak and Raven, thankfully – but this scent was different.
The air had a strong scent of one of the Clans. I was pleased when I realized that I recognized the scent of being from ForestClan. The scent was fresh – they had been here recently.
Well, ForestClan, I thought wryly, you don’t trespass by Wisp’s den and get away with your act! I’m coming to find some of you and give you a lesson.
The next day, I decided to set my plan alight. As I reached the ForestClan border, I tasted the air, to see if any of their cats were nearby, when I confirmed that they were not nearby, I stepped cautiously into what was now their territory.
The area brought back many memories for me. I remembered hunting in this area with Stream before she died. I remembered meeting some cats that I knew in this territory. Most recently, there was the memory of Blossomheart warding Gooseflight away from her forever.
I cringed. I didn’t need to think about Blossomheart and Gooseflight now. All I needed to do was to get my revenge for their trespass.
I travelled a little further into ForestClan territory, pausing when I found a clearing surrounded by willows. I swiftly climbed up one of them, as I heard voices. I needed to know what was going on down there.
“You haven’t given me your report on your border patrol yet, Smallstripe,” murmured a black tom. With a jolt, I realized that one of his back legs was white, and gruesomely twisted. It looked as if it had been this way for a long time. I looked away from that cat – I had never seen a cat like that before, and the sight made me cringe.
Smallstripe – which I recognized as the small brown tom that had accompanied Gooseflight to the TreeClan camp – was silent. He looked down at his paws.
The black tom stated to get frustrated with his fellow Clan member. He unsheathed his claws, and scraped them against the ground. “Tell me, Smallstripe,” he hissed, “or I will put you on apprentice duties for a moon.”
That seemed to convince Smallstripe to attention, as he sighed: “All right,” reluctantly.
A word that the black tom had said before finally hit me: apprentice. What was an apprentice? What did they have to do? By the reactions of Smallstripe, it didn’t look pleasant.
I snapped my attention back to Smallstripe as he started speaking. “I’m sorry, Whitestar,” he mewed apologetically. “Havenstrike wanted to explore beyond the territories, and she convinced the whole patrol to do it…” Smallstripe gulped, and continued: “I’m sorry, Whitestar… I didn’t mean to… just got carried away…” The brown tom fell into silence.
Whitestar’s gaze was solemn, yet serious as he gazed at Smallstripe. “You shouldn’t have allowed that to happen, Smallstripe…” he mewed. Switching back to the original point of conversation, he continued: “What did you find?”
Smallstripe’s gaze was misty as he shot a gaze at Whitestar. “Nothing much…” he started off. “Apart from the fact that we found a rogue’s den below a tree.”
My blood chilled. Those filthy ForestClan cats, finding my den!
After this, I turned around, and backed down one of the willow’s skinny branches. When I got to the bottom, I turned, and ran as fast as I could through ForestClan’s maze of trees. I couldn’t do this today – maybe tomorrow would be for the best.
I stretched as the dawn light fell upon me. Night had gone by swiftly and silently. Today, I would attempt again for revenge on ForestClan. Their scent was still drowning the area around my den, making me choke every time I smelt it.
This scent is sickening, I thought, hissing with exasperation. Oh, why, ForestClan scum? After that thought, I instantly felt guilty. Some of the ForestClan cats weren’t bad. Smallstripe and Gooseflight seemed nice, if I had the chance to meet them, and Whitestar, the dark ForestClan leader with the white twisted leg, would probably be the same.
Turning away, I went to hunt away from the Clans, but then I paused, as my stomach gave a definite rumble. Would this be a good time to have my revenge on ForestClan? Would this be the time where I could trespass on their territory, after what they did to me?
Turning in the opposite direction to what I was originally going to go, I padded towards the ForestClan border. This was the perfect time to get my revenge.
As I approached the ForestClan border, laden with a fresh load of their reeking scent, I tasted the air wearily. When I realized that no ForestClan warriors were nearby, I bounded across the scent line, like I had done before.
I padded a small way into the trees, and then I tasted the air again. I could smell my scent, stale from yesterday’s trek. ForestClan scent, still fresh, overlapped it.
Turning away from the scents, and padding along a bit further, I found a small dip in the ground, where there were no trees in sight. Birdsong rang around the clearing. This is the perfect place to hunt, I thought, as I smelt many different prey-scents at the same time.
I dropped stealthily into the hunting crouch that Stream had taught me when I was young. Spotting a robin perching in one of the trees, I narrowed my eyes.
Robins, I thought, fighting hard to suppress a loud hiss. They chirp their heads off, and think they’re in charge of the forest. Well, little robin, you’re in luck.
I crept forward, getting closer and closer to the robin with every step. Soon, I was below it. I was about to spring up and grab it, when I heard a brushing on the leaves.
I turned behind me, and noticed that my tail was on the ground. I quickly lifted it, but my opportunity was gone. The robin emitted a loud squawk from its beak as it took flight.
“Mouse dung!” I hissed, rising on my hind paws. “Come back, robin!”
Then it hit me. I should’ve have spoken anything. With the noise I was making, surely a ForestClan cat was going to find me! I quickly dropped into a crouch, stilled myself, and shut my mouth, but it seemed I was too late. There was a brushing of leaves as a cat stalked past.
A small brown tom looked in my direction, his amber gaze full of fury. He was silent for a moment, taking the scene in. Then, he looked me in the eye, and meowed: “Rogue! What are you doing on ForestClan territory? You’re not allowed to be here.”
I rose to my paws in anger. “Your territory?” I hissed. “It’s not all your territory. You have other members of the group you stay in. I’ve seen you.” As I finished my speech, I sat down.
The ForestClan cat’s eyes started to blaze with fury again. He unsheathed his claws, and started to work them in the ground. “Well, I do admit that you’re right there,” he admitted. “But you still don’t have the right to be here.”
For the first time, I recognized the ForestClan cat as I stared at him again. It was Smallstripe!
“Your patrol trespassed by my den,” I snarled, standing up again and starting to pace around Smallstripe. “Your patrol has left a reek beside my den.”
Smallstripe gave a small hiss, and as I stopped pacing around him, he started to pace around me. “Oh, so was it your den?” he asked mockingly. “Oh, wow! I never knew rogues had dens!” After his speech, he flashed his sharp white teeth at me.
I was raring to attack, but I held myself still. I felt my claws unsheathe in anger.
Before I could do anything, however, I felt a heavy weight fall onto my back, and claws sinking into my back. Teeth met flesh, and I yowled with pain.
I writhed as I looked behind me. Smallstripe was attacking me viciously, his claws tearing up my fur, and splattering my blood over the ground.
I rolled onto my back, forcing Smallstripe off. The small brown tom gave a grunt as he let go of me. Blood seeped from my wounds as both of us scrambled back to our paws.
“Give up yet, rogue?” Smallstripe hissed furiously. My blood was splattered on his pelt.
“Never!” I yowled in reply, full of anger and vengeance. I leapt at Smallstripe in a daze, but he was too fast for me. As I approached, he stepped away, and I came crashing to the ground.
“Not as smart as you thought, eh?” Smallstripe teased mockingly, as he leapt at me again. I felt his claws, once again, dig into my flesh. I gritted my teeth to stop myself from yowling.
Smallstripe gave furious yowls every time he pummelled me. More scratches were being forged in my pelt, and more blood was falling onto the ground.
“Ready to give up yet?” Smallstripe asked me again, his amber eyes glinting.
I did not reply with words. I lashed out a paw at Smallstripe, and with my claws unsheathed, I scored a scratch down the brown tom’s side.
Smallstripe yowled loudly, and fled into the distance. I looked at him intently, before I turned as well, and fled away from the scene. I had to get out of ForestClan territory now. I didn’t want any other cat to catch me – and what would Whitestar say if he found me himself?
The world was sitting below me as I rested on my tree branch again. My scratches still stung, and I bent over awkwardly to lick one of them once again.
Two days had passed since I had fought with Smallstripe. My scratches were healing, but the pain was still intense. I had presumed that some of the scratches the ForestClan tom had made would give me scars – but the scratch that I had inflicted on him would be the same.
My thoughts drifted back to the Clans: both ForestClan and TreeClan alike. I had been seen near their territories numerous times now: being a rogue didn’t stop me from thinking that.
What if they think I’m spying on them? I thought, my blood chilling to the bone. They’ll kill me for sure! They’ll be even worse than Smallstripe!
I was shaking by now, and I had to unsheathe my claws to stay on the branch. As I steadied myself, I started to think of possible solutions.
It was a while, before I had thought up anything useful. But the answer I received was something I could afford to change. It was a good idea, and I was going to go with it.
I’m going to create a group which wants revenge of the Clans. I’m going to have to find other cats that will help to support my cause.