A story by Brighty.
I seem to churn out stories, every day, but I can never finish one. I wish I knew why.
Echopaw always knew her life would be short. But she's trained her hardest forever, because she's had hopes of making it to a warrior before her death. She knew getting attached to any cat would be bad, as they'd leave her so soon.
But after falling in love for the first time, Echopaw knows she has to make a choice. She can die alone, friendless, or she can die with Beetlepaw by her side.
A ragged, thin gray she-cat sat alone, her brown eyes full with pain and sorrow. "There has to be a way for her to live." She mewed quietly.
"You cannot help." Mewed a voice.
The gray she-cat turned around. "Hailclaw! You should know better than to sneak up on cats!"
Hailclaw shook his brown fur. "And you should know better than to try and meddle with the lives of others."
The gray she-cat growled. "That's different! I'm trying to save her! Just like when you tried to save your sister!"\
Hailclaw cringed. "It's a mistake I still regret. I'm sorry Graystream. But you cannot help her."
Graystream shook her head. "She will die so young. It would break my heart to let her leave so young."
Hailclaw walked towards her, and put his tail around the old she-cat. "Mine too. But it is her destiny. She will be born into this. She will know her fate."
Graystream look at him with a look of doubt. "But if we tell her that she will die, she'll spend her entire life in fear of if she'll die in the night!"
Hailclaw mewed, "Or she'll live her life to the fullest. It's a risk we have to take. Do you want her to never know?"
Graystream shook her head. "Alright. Do we send the sign?"
Hailclaw nodded. "Come now. Before it's too late." The tom stood up and padded into the mist.
Graystream sighed, and followed Hailclaw. Her mind was set on the tiny, one moon old, calico kit.
I'm so sorry Echokit.
I never wanted it to have to be like this.
"Graystream?" Mewed Hailclaw.
Graystream meowed, "I'm alright. I just wish I could do something."
Hailclaw nodded. "I know. We are doing what we can. We cannot meddle with their lives."
Graystream blinked back tears. "Right. Let's go."
I wish we could do something to save you.
But I guess it has to be this way.
Live your life to the best you can.
"Echokit? It's almost time for your apprentice ceromony."
I raised my head, eyes full of gloom. For the first time in moons, the dream had reached my memory again. The reminder that my ife would be short.
That I might not survive until tomorrow.
"Coming Finchflower." I mewed softly. I stepped out of her nest, and walked out of the nursery.
The clearing was full of cats gathering, as Smallstar leaped onto Great Rock. "Echokit!" He mewed. "Come forth."
I quietly stepped up, trying not to make a scene.
Smallstar nodded. "Until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Echopaw. Your mentor will be Russetshade. Russetshade, you recieved exellent training from Robinleaf, and I hope you pass down everything you know to Echopaw."
Russetshade touched noses with me. "Welcome to your traning. I expect you to work hard, and try your best." She mewed.
I mewed, "Of course Russetshade. Why wouldn't I?"
"Echopaw? Is that you?" Mewed Silverpaw.
I nodded. "Yes."
Silverpaw shook her fur. "Good. Your nest is over here in the corner, next to Beetlepaw's."
I padded across the den, as the moonlight shone down on the camp.
I quietly stare at the moon, wondering about how I can live like this. Knowing every day could be my last. But I keep my head high, because no matter what, I must stay strong.
Even if I die today.
"Alright Silverpaw! Get the other apprentices, we're having a group training session!"
Midnightblossom's voice roused me from sleep, and I was quickly met with Silverpaw's piercing green eyes. "You heard her!" She mews. "Come on! Wake up Beetlepaw, and I'll take care of Spottedpaw."
I nod, quickly shake the tom. "Wake up." I mew.
He flips over. "Huh? Oh, hi Echopaw." He stands up and shakes out his fur. "What's going on?"
"Group training." I mewed quietly. "Silverpaw and Spottedpaw are already there."
He nods. "Okay. You look nice today." I blushed, not really knowing what to say. I could hear Graystream's voice echoing in my head. "Your life will be short. A poison has infected you. Your mother had the virus, but she fought it off. You most likely will not. Do not get attached. Spend all energy on being a warrior. It might be the only thing you'll ever get to do.
I didn't answer Beetlepaw, and instead raced off to the training hollow. I felt bad about rejecting him, or not thanking him, but I didn't have time. Every day could be the end. Every breath could be my last.
Before I started feeling depressed again, I ran faster to catch up with the others.
"Alright." Russetshade mews. "Today, you four will be fighting based on your skill level. You will start by facing off with Smokepaw, and we will decide who you should fight. Remember, claws sheathed, and no breaking the skin if you bite."
The oldest apprentice walked forward. "I'll start with Silverpaw." Silverpaw crept forward, and leaped at the black tom. The two tousled about for a few minutes, until Silverpaw pinned down Smokepaw.
Midnightblossom nodded. "Good. Stand over here, and we'll let the others go."
Spottedpaw went next, and took a bit longer, but caught Smokepaw off guard. She was sent to spar with Silverpaw, in the far corner.
Smokepaw titled his head. "Now for Echopaw. I think she'd be good." I gulped and walked forwards. Russetshade leaned over to Smokepaw, and whispered quietly. "Don't go as hard on her. She's under developed."
Smokepaw nodded, and I sighed. Even my own mentor knew that I was useless. I sucked in a breath, and jumped at Smokepaw. He was all muscle, and as much as I tried to knock him over, I was feeble. He didn't even move, and I fell over, defeated. I could almost hear Russetshade's look of dissapointment.
I tried to get to my paws, feeling weak and useless. I walked quietly over to the side, and watched as Beetlepaw went up. I knew he was a good fighter, but for some reason, he didn't seem to be trying. In fact, it looked as though he wanted to lose. When Smokepaw pinned him down, he shrugged, and then walked over to the side.
Russetshade sighed. "You two can spar together, seeing as both of you need serious improvment." She glared at Beetlepaw, as she went to join the other two.
I looked at the gray striped tom. "Why did you do that? You're great at fighting. You could have beaten him easily."
Beetlepaw shrugged. "Yes, but then you'd be alone. I saw what happened, and you're going to need a friend. Someone to help you."
I turned away. "I don't have friends."
Beetlepaw walked closer to me. "I want to be your friend. I don't want you to be alone. Friends protect eachother."
I looked at him, brown eyes tired. "I can't protect anyone. You saw me back there. Alone is what I have. Alone protects me. Avoiding me will protect you too."
With that, I padded back to camp. Russetshade didn't even blink as I left. In fact, the only one to wacth me go was Beetlepaw.
As much as I needed a friend, I couldn't get attached. And I couldn't let him get attached to me.
After all, I could die today.