Turn over a new leaf

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A kit named Leafkit runs away after her mother is killed.

Submitted: June 01, 2010

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Submitted: June 01, 2010

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“Hello, little one,” Leafkit heard her mother say. “Welcome to SnowClan.”
“Mother? Where am I?” Leafkit wondered. She could smell so many things, and hear and feel them as well. It was all very confusing.
“You’re where you belong. Can you open your eyes?”
“My…what?”
“Your eyes. They’re right here,” her mother said, and licked both of them. Now that she knew where they were, Leafkit could decide what she was supposed to do. Blinking, she could suddenly see the nursery. It was huge!
“Good job!” The mew came from another cat, a black tom with blue eyes.
“Who are you?” Leafkit whimpered.
“He’s your father, Coalpelt. I’m Windmusic,” her mother explained. “And you’re Leafkit.”
“Oh, OK,” Leafkit chirped.
“Lovely!” a new voice meowed from the nursery entrance. “New kits bring such joy to the Clan.” Leafkit turned to see a black tom with hard yellow eyes.
“Lightninghawk,” Windmusic acknowledged. “This is Leafkit. Leafkit, would you, ah, go see the camp? It’s quite interesting.”
“All right!” Leafkit scampered to the exit but drew up short when she stepped outside. “It’s cold!” she squeaked.
“Its just snow,” Coalpelt explained, and he led her outside.



That night, Leafkit was suckling at her mother’s belly. The nursery was warm and cozy – the moment was utterly perfect.
Leafkit had almost dozed off when a cat entered the den. In the dark she couldn’t see who it was, but she could smell.
“Lightninghawk?” Windmusic whispered, confirming the scent. “What are you doing here?”
“Don’t make a sound,” he hissed, darting forward. Quickly he placed a paw on Windmusic’s throat. “You, little kit,” he snarled to Leafkit. “If you want your mother to live, then be silent.”
Her heart pounding, Leafkit latched on to Lightninghawk’s tail when he signaled for it. Her mother padded beside her as the black tom led them both away from the camp.
“Now,” he began when they had reached a snow-filled clearing, “you must leave. Go on!” he demanded, his fur bristling.
“What makes you think we’re going anywhere? SnowClan is our home!” Windmusic meowed.
“You will go,” Lightninghawk snarled, “Because you will die if you don’t – just like that traitor Raingloss and her mate!”
“Nonsense! Raingloss was a loyal cat, and Toothclaw was, too! You’ll have to kill me if you want to get rid of me!”
“I will if I have to.” Lightninghawk growled, and Leafkit whimpered.
“Hush, Leafkit. Why are you doing this?” Windmusic asked the black tom.
“It is necessary if there is to be a pure Clan. Cats are coming from a dark forest – cats that are stronger than StarClan in its mightiest hour! And if you do not leave, then you will be here to see those dead cats fall.”
“You’re insane, Lightninghawk,” Windmusic informed him. “And you can’t make us leave.” And with that she stalked towards him as if to walk away. Leafkit scurried after her mother, not anxious to be left behind.
Spitting with rage, Lightninghawk sprang at Windmusic and bowled her over. The white she-cat went limp and then shot back up, throwing him off. Quickly she spun around and kicked out strongly with her hind legs.
Leafkit was terrified, and she huddled on the edge of the clearing so as to stay out of the way. At the same time, she was proud of her mother for daring to fight.
Just then, Lightninghawk pounced on Windmusic and sent her sprawling. The black tom stood over her, his paw on her throat. Leafkit could see the glint of his claws as he unsheathed them.
“One move and you die,” he hissed.
“You are not-“ Windmusic swallowed loudly, her eyes bright with terror. “You are not the cat I thought you were.” Then she yowled: “Leafkit, run!”
The yellow-eyed tom snarled and slashed his claws along Windmusic’s belly, ripping the fur. Leafkit smelled blood, but didn’t stay to see more.
She sped away and ran as fast as she could, her little legs pounding the earth. She could hear Lightninghawk chasing her, could feel his breath on her tail. Leafkit quickly clawed her way up a birch tree in her path and climbed higher and higher.
Looking back at the ground, she saw the evil warrior following her and drawing nearer. She realized that she needed to get onto a thin branch, one that wouldn’t hold his weight. She scrambled along a tiny branch that dipped with her weight but didn’t snap.
Leafkit saw that Lightninghawk was five tail-lengths from her now, but couldn’t reach her. As the light of dawn broke over the forest, the black tom leapt out of the tree. He bounded away in the direction of the camp.
The little kit waited until he had gone. Leafkit quickly followed his path down the tree until she was on firm ground, and then traced her scent back to the clearing where her mother’s body lay.
The white she-cat’s fur was matted with dried blood and her sides barely moved to draw breath. Leafkit crept towards her and crouched a few paw steps away.
“Leafkit…” Windmusic breathed. “Leafkit, you have…to go. Leave the Clan…for me…and you will be safe…”
“But I don’t want to leave you!” Leafkit protested.
“I will be with you…watching over you. In StarClan.” Windmusic shuddered, and then continued. “Go, Leafkit. Go…” With that, the white she-cat’s eyes dulled and slowly closed.
“No! No, Mother, wake up!” Leafkit shrieked. Then she remembered Lightninghawk and clamped her jaws shut. “I’ll see you in StarClan, mother.” She whispered, and then left.
All day she traveled, resting whenever she was tired. By dusk she was so hungry that she could barely put one paw in front of the other. She didn’t know how to hunt! But she had to try, so Leafkit scented the air. She could smell lots of stuff, but only a few scents were any good. Selecting one, she followed it and saw a mouse nearby. She dashed forward and pounced, but it shot away into the undergrowth.
“Fox dung!” she whimpered, and settled down in a hollow tree. She couldn’t get much sleep, but there was nothing she could do.
The next morning, Leafkit opened her eyes and saw a squirrel right in front of her nose. Lashing out with one paw, she scooped it towards her and killed it with a bite to its neck. Despite her grief and loneliness, Leafkit couldn’t suppress a feeling of pride at her first catch.
After eating, she moved on. For another day she plodded on until sunset, when she caught a mouse. Feeling better with the prey in her belly, Leafkit slept deeply.
A moon of sunrises passed this way, and Leafkit grew more and more lonely. She didn’t see another cat, and began to despair of ever finding a place to stay.
Soon Leafkit lost track of the days. Once she saw a cat in the distance and ran toward him. He was a gray tom with brown eyes.
“Who are you?” he hissed as she approached.
“I’m Leafkit,” she replied breathlessly.
“Well, what do you want?” the strange cat seemed annoyed.
“Nothing, I – I’m just so tired of being by myself.”
“Mist? What’s going on?” a she-cat’s voice sounded through the bushes. A moment later the speaker stepped into view and Leafkit saw that it was a russet cat with ice blue eyes. “Who’s this?” she asked.
“An intruder.” Mist growled. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Wait a minute. Where are you from?” the she-cat asked kindly.
“SnowClan,” Leafkit told her.
“Well, the least we can do is let you come with us for tonight. Oh, calm down!” she mewed as Mist bristled. “She’s only a kit – she can’t hurt us. What’s your name?”
“Leafkit,” she said.
“Well, this is Mist and I’m Oak.” Oak padded away and motioned with her tail for Leafkit to follow. “How long have you been on your own?”
“I don’t know. A really long time, though.”
“Where’s your mother?” Oak seemed genuinely concerned.
“She died. A tom called Lightninghawk killed her and-“ Leafkit broke off as Oak brushed her tail across her mouth.
“Hold on, now. I’m sure this isn’t any of my business, and you don’t have to tell me. Mist and I, we like to keep to ourselves and not get involved.”
“All right.”
“This is where we live. There are a few other cats here as well.” Oak warned her. As they entered an abandoned Twoleg nest, she angled her ears toward a black tom. “That’s Storm. This is Bumblebee,” a yellow tabby she-cat dipped her head.
“I’m Grape, and this is Breezy!” a small white kit squeaked. A gray kit stood beside him.
“And I’m Robin!” a calico kit squealed from behind the other two.
“Hush, dears.” A brown she-cat came up behind the kits and drew them close with her tail. “I’m Sunny.” She mewed, looking curiously at Leafkit.
“Everybody, this is Leafkit!” Oak yowled. At her words, three more cats and three kits came into view.
“These are Pebble, Jerry, and Melon.” Oak nodded in turn to a black she-cat, a spotted tom, and a white she-cat. “These are my kits: Prickle, Juniper, and Fig.” Prickle was a gray tom, Juniper; a golden she-kit. Fig was a brown tom with strange orange eyes.
“What’s she doing here?” Storm meowed suspiciously.
“She’s just passing through.” Oak assured him.
“You smell funny!” Grape squeaked.
“So? I’m a SnowClan cat, I smell like my home!” Leafkit retorted, and then huffily lie down and fell asleep.
“Leafkit!” a hiss woke her. Blinking open her eyes, she saw a black cat crouched in the gloom in front of her. She thought for a moment that it was Lightninghawk, but realized that it was only Storm.
“Huh?” she mumbled groggily.
“Leafkit, I know where you have to go.”
“Why should I listen to you?” she accused.
“I’m descended from Stormstar, once Storm, who was the first leader of a great Clan of cats. Since I share his name, I know things that other cats do not. I know about StarClan.” He told her.
“What?” Leafkit was wide-awake now. A loner who knew about StarClan?
“You have to trust me. Go find StormClan. They live behind a waterfall; but a flood has driven them out of their home. They are staying with another Clan called ElmClan for now. When you reach them, they will be on their way home. Now, go! There’s no time to waste.”
Leafkit didn’t need to be told twice. When she reached the door, however, she hesitated. “How will I know where to go?”
“Follow the setting sun.” Storm advised her. Dipping her head in acknowledgement, Leafkit padded away.
“Wait!” They call sounded behind her.
“What now?” She mewed irritably.
“You will know that you have found the right cats,” Storm said as he caught up to her, “When you see the white leader and the silver deputy. Speak to no other cat, do you understand?”
“Yes, and thank you.” Leafkit was grateful for his help. She bounded away with the dawn on her back. When she looked back over the vast plain, Storm was a small black shape in the distance, silhouetted by the rising sun. She waved her tail in farewell, and parted her jaws to the loner. She yowled the five words as if speaking to a Clan cat, a noble warrior:
“May StarClan light your path!”



Leafkit trudged across the plains until dusk, when she could see trees in the distance. Sure enough, the setting sun was glowing over the topmost branches, turning the sky gold. She broke into a trot, trying to reach the forest before nightfall.
When she was within three tail-lengths of the trees, she slowed. The spaces between trunks looked dark and forbidding. An owl called from deep within. Leafkit was frightened.
I have to keep going, she reminded herself. I have to find a home.
She warily padded into the forest, jumping at every sound. She quickly found a hollow tree to rest in.
When she woke up, Leafkit could feel warm air on her face. Blinking open her eyes, she saw the black face of a skunk peering at her.
“Ah! Sorry!” she yelped, scrambling up out of the nest of leaves. Windmusic had told her about skunks – they smelled horrible! She hoped she wouldn’t have to find out for herself whether or not it was true.
Leafkit tried to edge around the skunk, but too late! It turned and raised its white-striped tail, spraying her with an acrid gas. Gagging, Leafkit ran through the forest. She knew the skunk wouldn’t follow. As she recovered from the shock, she collapsed in a trembling heap. Wrinkling her nose at the stench, Leafkit began to groom her pelt. After a thorough washing, the scent still lingered, so she followed the sound of water until she found a creek.
Splashing, Leafkit shivered at the icy water. The current was strong, and she soon had to hop out for fear of being swept away. Now that she was clean and smelled right, she noticed how hungry she was. Scenting the air, Leafkit picked out a vole nearby. Stalking through the undergrowth, she spotted it a tail-length away. A heartbeat later she was munching on what tasted like the best fresh-kill in the world.
When she had finished her meal, Leafkit looked around. The sun spilled through the trees, creating puddles of bright, yellow warmth. Birds sang all around her and flitted overhead.
Mother? Can you hear me now? She wondered silently. I see no stars in daytime.



For another moon, Leafkit walked the strange forest. The sun’s rays were always visible if she found the right place to see them. Sometimes she had to climb trees, and other times she would stand on the crest of a hill. Leafkit’s dreams were haunted by visions of Lightninghawk in the dark nursery, and Windmusic’s frightened eyes. Often, she would wake up trembling in the middle of the night.


© Copyright 2020 Zenzi. All rights reserved.

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