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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

The story of a cat named Darkmoon.

Dark-kit squealed with impatience as her mother groomed her fur roughly. The other kits were all outside, so why was she stuck in here? It wasn’t fair!
“Mama,” Shellkit whimpered from nearby, “Mama, I’m tired.”
Then go to sleep! Dark-kit thought, but she didn’t say anything. Her sister was so tiny and wimpy and was never any fun. Dark-kit had learned long ago that her mother, Featherheart, would always favor Shellkit anyways. So there was really no point in saying anything.
“It’s all right, dear,” Featherheart mewed gently. She released Dark-kit and began to lap gently at the smaller kit’s white fur. Dark-kit stretched and walked away, leaving them to it.
Out in the camp the sun was shining, and a slight breeze alleviated the heat. She spotted Horse-ear eating a starling near the warriors’ den and trotted over to him.
“How’s my little warrior?” the yellow tom asked cheerfully. He offered her a bite of the fresh-kill, which she accepted gratefully.
“What did you teach Pantherpaw today?” Dark-kit mewed eagerly. By the time she became an apprentice, she hoped to know lots of the battle moves already.
“I taught him the stand-up move,” Horse-ear told her. “Do you want to learn it?”
“Yes!” Dark-kit squeaked. Her father knew that she did, of course, but he always asked.
“Well, pretend that you’re the attacker,” he meowed, “and jump on top of me.” Dark-kit did so, and her the warrior continued. “I’m fighting as hard as I can, but you’re too strong for me!” She giggled at the thought of being too strong for her father.
“I’ll go limp, and you’ll think I’m giving up,” Horse-ear explained as he dropped to his belly. But then-“ he stopped talking and shot to his paws, throwing Dark-kit off. He sat down and waited for her to get up.
“That was great!” she chirped. “Can I try?”
“Not quite yet, Dark-kit,” Horse-ear mewed kindly. “You’re still too small – you’d be squashed like a bug!”
“Humph,” Dark-kit grumbled, irritated as she always was when other cats commented on her size. Then she brightened. “Then could I go on patrol with you?”
“No,” her father’s voice was firm. “You’re only three moons old. You’ll just have to wait like any other kit.” Dark-kit stalked off, her tail dragging in the dust.
She crept into the medicine cats’ den, where Specklepaw was busy mixing a pile of herbs.
“What’re you doing?” she wondered aloud.
“Oh, hi, Dark-kit!” Specklepaw mewed cheerfully. “I’m making a poultice of marigold leaves and honey – Willowfoot’s got an infected cut. And then I’m going to get you!”
The apprentice laughed and sprang at Dark-kit, bowling her over. The kit was knocked off of her feet and, when she was still again, she saw that Specklepaw had one paw on her throat. The green eyes were bright, and Dark-kit saw that her whiskers were twitching in amusement.
“Yeah, you got me!” she meowed, and rolled out from under the restraining paw. “Oops. I think you’ll have to start over with that poultice,” Dark-kit giggled nervously. The leaves were strewn all over the den, and sticky honey coated everything – including the two cats. Their brawl had been more energetic than they’d realized.
“Aw, fox dung!” Specklepaw groaned. “We were almost out of honey!” Then she sighed. “Well, we can’t do anything about this now.” The apprentice set about gathering the leaves.
“Can I help?” Dark-kit asked hopefully.
“Sure! You can put the leaves in a pile, and I’ll go find what’s left of the honey. I’ll be right back.” Specklepaw darted off into the herb store while Dark-kit did her own job. When the apprentice came back with the honey, they both cleaned their pelts before getting to work again.
“Excited about your apprentice ceremony?” Specklepaw asked.
“Definitely! I can’t wait!”
“I remember my first day as an apprentice. Did you know that I almost got my pelt ripped off by Crowtail? I wouldn’t stop annoying him…” Specklepaw trailed off, immersed in memories.
“Specklepaw! What’s this?” a new voice demanded. Both cats whipped their heads around to see Streamleaf standing in the entrance.
“Sorry!” Specklepaw squeaked, sounding like a kit. “She offered to help, and I…”
“You what? Couldn’t you handle the work?” The medicine cat sounded furious.
“Yes! I just liked the company!” Dark-kit wanted to cheer Specklepaw on for daring to stand up to her formidable mentor.
“I’ll just… go…” she mumbled, and scurried away. It was nearly sunhigh now, and the camp was deserted. She could hear Vivian’s laughter coming from the elders’ den.
“Well, look who it is!” Goosenose peered at Dark-kit as she entered. The elder’s eyesight was fading rapidly, but her sharp tongue was still capable of cutting deep. Luckily, she favored kits over any other cat – except, of course, for Dawnstar, her daughter.
“Hi, Goosenose,” Dark-kit mewed. She knew that the prickly she-cat’s mew was worse than her bite.
“What brings you here today?” Vivian asked kindly. Vivian had not been born in a Clan – she’d been born in a Twoleg nest. Dark-kit had heard from the senior warriors that she had come to the Clan after her housefolk abandoned her. Apparently, Vivian had been about eight moons old at that time. She had been accepted into the Clan and apprenticed to Fernpelt. Although she’d never lived near Twolegs again, the elder still smelled different. Dark-kit didn’t know why.
“Is that Dark-kit?” Thrushtail raised his head and faced her direction, his sightless yellow eyes half-closed.
“Yeah. Hi, Thrushtail!” Dark-kit bounded over and licked the brown tom’s cheek, purring. The blind elder was always kind to her.
“I suppose you’d like another story today?” he guessed.
“Yes, please!” Dark-kit nodded, even though he couldn’t see her.
“Which one this time? Maybe the one about how ElmClan began?”
“Nah,” Dark-kit meowed. “Tell me one about you!”
“All right. Let’s see…” Thrushtail cocked his head to one side as he chose a story. “Many moons ago, before even your father’s time, I was made an apprentice. I was mentored by Dawnstar, but she was… let me remember… oh, yes, she was named Dawnriver then. She taught me so many things.
“One of the things she taught me was to gather moss. When I did, she reminded me that I wasn’t only finding bedding for elders and kits, but that I was also creating the future of the Clan by ensuring that the cats were comfortable.
“She also taught me to fight. She told me to feel the strength of the whole Clan in my claws, and to run like I had the paws of every ElmClan cat.
“It came in very useful one day. I was patrolling with Dawnriver, of course. But Tanglepelt, Willowpaw, and Grasspaw were with us.” Thrushtail stopped and chuckled. He seemed to sense Dark-kit’s confusion. “You might know them better as Willowfoot, Grassfur, and Dawnstar. I forgot when I was!”
Dark-kit understood, and laughed.
“Anyways,” Thrushtail continued, “We were all patrolling together. And we were just nearing the border with PineClan when I smelled something. I’d never scented it before, but I didn’t mention it. It didn’t seem important. But it kept growing stronger, even when we walked in the opposite direction. So I finally mentioned it to Dawnriver, and she told the others.
“Soon Dawnriver’s fur began to bristle along with Tanglepelt’s, and she yowled ‘fire’ at the top of her lungs. I didn’t know what she meant. I mean, I’d heard of fire before, but I didn’t understand why it was such a bad thing.
“But then I felt the heat and saw the red flames licking up the trees – that was before I lost my sight. When I saw the terror in the other cats’ eyes and felt the fire for myself, I understood. And I turned around and ran towards the camp as fast as I could.

Submitted: June 03, 2010

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