Rating : moderate
Style : fantasy
Author : CLICKS
There is mild humor in the stupidest conversations.
The Sun lay shining, a brisk morning breeze dashing through the leaves. The birds chirruped happily and fish swam in a frenzy up and down stream. All was beautiful, like the scene in a reality TV show when a family cat goes to lay down by the heater on a chilly winter morning.
All was quiet.
Except for... Wormpaw... I mean, Molepaw.
Molepaw, ugh. Everyone hated him. He was an obnoxious, dreaded nuisance. Was always crashing through the camp like a badger with honey in its eyes.
Molepaw was a young apprentice, newly made a few moons ago. He was a stocky, handsome fellow with pretty turquoise eyes and shiny black and Gray fur. He was adored by his mother who showered him in everything she brought back: quail feathers, pebbles, fish, squirrels.
In other words he was a spoiled brat. He was adored by his mother... and only. His father cast him away as an orphan, and his siblings died early from birth complications.
Molepaw lay by the stream behind camp, watching the little minnows flickering through the paw-deep water. The pebbles shimmered as the sun set low behind the clouds. A crashing noise behind him made him jump, almost sliding into the stream.
His Clan leader, Pebblestar, walked out of the shadows. "Molepaw! Get back to camp now. A Clan meeting is being held." Pebblestar spun on his toes and darted into the bush, Molepaw hot on his tail. When they finally returned to camp, the deputy, Willow, who was a loner and wished to keep her name, was sitting on the Clanledge. Her chest was proudly puffed out and her paws were neatly tucked under her.
This would be her first Clan meeting and announcement. Molepaw could only guess her excitement. "Cats of TimberClan, we are gathered here today to congratulate..." The cats tensed in anticipation as she paused wearily. Willow coughed and continued, sounding drowsy, "...the greatest... to ever... walk on leaves... please welcome... and thank you." Molepaw shook his head. What was wrong with her? She had been and loner, caught many diseases but was cured, but now, she seemed... drunk. She stumbled down the rock path and collapsed at Pebblestar's paws. "Why hello there. How's about you.. and we... you say?" She was obviously sick. She had the right symptoms: sluggish pupils, dull and patchy fur, pale earpink.
Molepaw stared at Willow, who collapsed happily on the ground. Flies and gnats buzzed around Molepaw's ears. He flicked them away and prayed to StarClan that Willow wouldn't die. Padding back to his spot by the stream, he imagined Willow's death and the process.
Molepaw lay by the apprentice den on a boulder than overhung the den. His pelt burned when he roused and moved, but when he walked under the boulder, the heat slowly faded into the feeling of cool, damp ferns. Willow was loudly snoring in the warriors den, and Molepaw wanted to flick her ear to stop her, but he thought better of it after what happened the evening before. He peeped inside the den and saw an amazing site: Willow had three kittens suckling at her belly. One was large and gray-white like Pebblestar *cough*, one was black and brown tabby like Willow, and one was black-and-gray like Molepaw.
"These are my kin." He whispered. "Pebblestar chose a nice mate. They will grow up to be fine kits." That statement was probably the nicest thing Molepaw has slipped out of his ratchet mouth. He slowly backed away but bumped into something large. Molepaw warily turned around, surprised to see Pebblestar standing over him. "Why didn't you tell me? There my kin, you know." Pebblestar shook his head. "I didn't tell you because they arent your kin. Molepaw, when Willow joined the group, she was already pregnant, but she didn't want her mate to know. The kits' pelt colours are just a coincidence." Molepaw's head spun.
Pebblestar was lying.
Those are his kits.
He is just covering up the fact that he doesn't want them.
Molepaw lashed at the older leader. Pebblestar hissed at his son. "How dare you?" he snarled. "You are lying. Those are your kits, you just don't want to claim them as yours." Molepaw tried lashing out again, but his paws just struck whisker. Pebblestar low-dashed to the side and ducked as Molepaw pounced toasted him.
"Are you ok Squirt?" Pebblestar jeered. In the time it took to blink, Molepaw had Pebblestar pinned down with a move the leader had taught him moons before he was apprenticed.
Pebblestar tried nodding under the pressure. "Good job, Molepaw." Molepaw was shocked. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, great job. Now don't call it a setup but I was planning on you to pash out at me like that. And with that, I think you are ready."
Molepaw was dancing on his toes. He was pretty sure he knew what that meant. But he'd have to wait till tomorrow morning.
THE NEXT MORNING, sun-high
"Dad! Dad, c'mon. Call the meeting!" Molepaw tugged his ears and paws. Finally, he rustled.
Molepaw was confused. "The one we talked about last night. My apprentice ceremony?"
"And when did we have said conversation?" Both Pebblestar and Molepaw were thoroughly confused. Pebblestar didn't know what Molepaw was talking about and Molepaw didn't understand why Pebblestar couldn't remember anything.
"Dad? Do you feel alright?"
Pebblestar froze. "What did you call me?"
"Umm... Dad. I called you dad."
"I am a father to no one except Willow's kits. I am their father."
Molepaw shook his head and paws violently. "No no no no no nooooo. Why don't you remember me? I am your son! Your only son."
"Stop saying that! You aren't my..."
Pebblestar collapsed, his heart rate dangerously low. "Help, Opal! Pebblestar fainted!" The Clan's medicine cat, Opal, dashed into the den. Molepaw gestured to his chest and OPal put an ear to it. "Molepaw, he was in cardiac arrest."
"What does that mean?" Opal looked at him fondly. "Molepaw, it means too much blood was going through his heart too fast, so either an artery or vein popped. Molepaw, he's dead."
Willow sat with her two surviving kits in the corner of camp. Her kit that looked like Pebblestar himself had died from greencough not long after Pebblestar died.
Molepaw sat on the Clanledge with Opal. "Cats of TimberClan, we are gathered today for the ceremony of a lost one. But today, we haven't just lost one, we've lost two. Pebblestar died of cardiac arrest this morning and one of his kits died from greencough not log after."
Molepaw continued for her. "Today we all shall sit vigil, including elders to warriors to kits. We shall mourn the loss of two special cats until StarClan sends us dreams." Opal smiled. "Thank you. You have grown strong in your father's absence."
Molepaw shuddered. He couldn't wrap his head around the fact that his father was dead. He was the only cat to treat him like any other. His mother spoiled him, bringing him more than 3/4 of everything she caught that day. She even brought things for his nest, like feathers and pebbles.
But long ago, Molepaw had told her to stop. She didn't handle it well, but understood. Anywho, Molepaw scooched ever so closer to Opal. Somehow he felt a warm motherly feeling toasted her, unlike what he felt towards his own mother. To his real mother, he felt sOmething that said, "Back away. She isnt safe."
Molepaw dashed through the trees, the wind and branches snapping his fur. A MarshClan patrol was chasing him because he had 'supposedly' been on their territory. As they approached, Molepaw slipping on every wet leaf and moss pile, he crashed into Opal, who was with Molepaw's mother, Twizzler, two warriors, Timbertail and Beechfur, and an apprentice, Dewpaw.
"Hey whoah. What's up there?" Molepaw took too long trying to catch his breath because the MarshClan patrol stumbled self-consciously through the bracken. "Hey! There he is, Lizardstar." A large burly brown tabby Tom with Gray hairs stepped forward. "Greetings, stupid TimberClan cats. Me and my patrol found him scouting around our border sniffing the scent markers." He turned to Molepaw. "What do you think you were doing?"
"I wasn't trying to find a way to ambush y'all, that is for dang sure." Lizardstar was struck. "What a smart-ass you are! Wow, I wonder what your mother must think of you." Twizzler stood in front of Opal. "Actually, I am very fond and proud of him."
Lizardstar snickered. "You must be the kittypet Pebblestar brought to the Clan. Oh wait, he is dead now, isn't he? So I think you should leave."
"Well guess what? I am not gonna have another Clan's leader think he or she can push me around. I might be of kittypet descent, but I am not afraid to kill."
"Ooh I'm soooo scared."
"You should be."
"And why is that?"
Twizzler hissed loudly. Her spine-fur fluffed up and her tail looted straight out behind her. "Mom, stop it. He is a dumb leader of a dumb Clan. Don't let his dumb teasing remarks get to you." Lizardstar stared at the young kit. "Hmm..." He murmured. Lizardstar silently brushed his tail over the leaves. Molepaw could see the muscles of the patrol cats tense. Though they stood still, Molepaw knew this was an ambush.
He started at Lizardstar as he leaned towards Opal. "Run." He whispered. Almost at once, Opal turned tail and fled, followed closely by Molepaw, Twizzler, Dewpaw and Timbertail. Molepaw's heart skipped a beat when he heard a caterwaul of a TimberClan cat. Beechfur had been caught, and Molepaw could only imagine what was happening.
Dewpaw stumbled here and there and Opal fell behind a few times, but the TimberClan patrol arrived sound in the camp. The caterwauling continued, only to be cut short a few moments later by the snap of bone that echoed through the hollow.