She could hear it. The thunder outside. She cowered around her kits, her fur bristling for two purposes--out of fear, and keeping her little ones warm. The thunder struck again, and this time smacked the one of the barn's support columns. She screeched, biting one of the kits' napes and nudging the rest along as she scurried away.The column burst into flames as it fell, slamming in front of her and her family. Where was he!? Where was Gorsestar!? She skittered to a halt as the flames fanned her face, feeling her fur singe as one of the sizzling wisps had reached out at her cheek.
Suddenly, the floor had caught the burning plague of the fire. A figure screeched and barreled into her, grabbing one of her kits. She saw it was Gorsestar. "Hollyfur!" He hissed through fur as the kits wailed nearly over his voice. "Head for the entrance, and avoid the fire! Take the kits away from plants or anything flammable! Your best bet is to follow the Thunderpath! I'll meet you there!" Growling as he leaped sideways on a burning log to get around her, Gorse disappeared. Hollyfur nodded, thinking she was going to meet him outside. She hadn't thought about the fact she didn't know how to get to the Thunderpath.
She took a gasp as she reached the smoky atmosphere outside, dropping the kit before picking it up again. One got caught in the flames, trapped in by a fallen log. Hollyfur screamed in agony, watching her kit burn. But she had to go. She carried her remaining kit--the other one being carried by Gorsestar, whom of which was now nowhere in sight outside--to the fork in the dirt paths. One led to the Thunderpath, the other, unknown. She knew neither, as only Gorsestar and his patrol had dared travel one of them. Queens like she hadn't gone outside; in their temporary homes they were safe, caring for their young. Then starting to weep, Hollyfur collapsed, whispering to her only remaining kit.She hadn't realized she inhaled too much smoke.
The kit mewled, looking at its mother with soot all over its fur. It was black like her anyways, so it didn't look different, just grimy. "H-Hol-l-lyf-f-fur?" He stuttered, shaking uncontrollably. She looked at him, puffing for breath, her face clearly running out of energy. She coughed violently before merely whispering,
"Go find your father, Hailkit."
She shut her eyes as a small tear was shed. The kit cried, putting his paws on her face, shaking her. He would have to be on his own now. Big and strong, and find his father.
Chapter 1Hailkit looked up, tear-soaked and soot-covered. He coughed, his lungs burning. His mother lay breathless, chilly. "M-Mom?" He mewled. "I-I will." He got up and walked away, turning back for one last time. Sighing, then coughing, Hailkit turned tail and ran. His first thought was to find his only remaining sibling--his sister. With Gorsestar.
So he ran through the smoke the fire starting to die out. The front of the barn was crushed, but he managed to squeeze in, getting some ash-covered raindrops on his pelt. Drip. Hiss. Drip. Hiss. Drip. Hiss. the rain sounded against the burning wood as Hail frantically searched the perimeter of the barn, dodging the cracking columns and leaping over the aflame haybales. "Gorse!" He mewled, his voice cracked. It sounded so pitiful..."Gorsestar! Cedarkit!" He cried, then going out the back of the barn and looking at the forest. "Maybe they're--" He coughed. "--In there!" He ran, full speed into the forest as the trees covered the night sky. The smoke seemed to get thinner and thinner, and the sound of the crackling wood seemed to die. Instead, the pitter-patter of rain was presumed the main sound; crickets and other creatures roamed the brush making their usual sounds.
Where were they!? Hailkit stopped to pant, lifting his head to catch the raindrops as a refreshment. Where to look, where to look. Under the rocks! That's the safest place to get away from smoke! Hail ran to all of the different rocks(boulders, if you will) and checked under them, in the cracks, on top of them, behind, and all around. No Gorsestar.
Checking in the bushes? No luck there either.
Hail gave up and crawled under the first rock he checked, shivering and sighing before shedding a tear. He listened to the rain makes splish-splash noises in the mud as he slowly closed his eyes. The sounds were the only thing to comfort him now.
Hailkit sighed as he woke up to a dim light. he heard the crickets still chirping as the rain was a steady, gentle 'pit pat, pit pat'. He had to find them soon.....They must be deeper into the forest....the fire was pretty bad. I must do it for mother. Hail stretched, looking into the stretched....
He had to do it anyways. He hesitantly ran, looking left and right and skimming past trees on his short, stubbly kit legs. He didn't catch any glimpse of Gorsestar's gray pelt, or his sister's bright white one. Suddenly, a squirrel squeaked and ran. Hailkit turned to look at it scurry up the tree. His stomach madly rumbled.
I must find food soon..... He thought as he watched the fluffy creature run. But I don't know how to hunt.Sighing deeply, Hailkit trudged on. He came across a couple of berries. They weren't red, so what were they to him? Berries, of course. He leaned down and ate them.
....They actually didn't taste bad.
Hailkit got up, looking up to the trees as raindrops slipped off of the leaves. One hit his nose, and he sneezed.Gotta keep going. His ears flicked as another raindrop fell. His stomach still grumbled, but he forced himself to ignore it. Soon, he assured himself, I will find my family.
A voice in his head whispered, You're fooling yourself, boy.
Hailkit woke up, listening to the steady pitter patter of the rain again. It's been raining for a day or so now..... He thought, shaking his fur as he stood. Whatever had spoken to him, it had to have knocked him out. Blinking the thought away, Hailkit would decide to get up before wham! A figure knocked him back down with a single paw. He looked up, shivering as he saw a cat: misty, swirly, and vague in appearance, yet with striking jade green eyes. The gaze seemed to burn into Hailkit. After a long moments pause, it spoke,
"I told you you are fooling yourself, boy!"
No, no.....Hailkit shook his head. "I'm not foolin' myself! I just wanna know where Gorsestar and my sister are!" He hissed, unsheathing his tiny claws. The voice cackled, "I know where they are. Follow me." The cat spat, the ground below them becoming a black void, as well as the rest of the area. Hailkit screamed as he fell out of the spirit's grasp into the void. The spirit simply floated there.
Hailkit landed with a thud, the area now surrounded by rotten trees, murky plants, and more spirits than Hail had ever seen. They murmured, nodded, and all of a sudden they changed their appearance from a dark, ugly thing to a bright, beautiful crowd. The place still seemed odd though. The one cat that had brought him there looked at the others, and changed his look too! Hailkit frowned.
"Who are you??" He asked.
"StarClan. Pardon how it looks--we just need to...uh....clean it up a bit." The hosting cat said. Hailkit looked at it. "And your name is?"
"My name is...Mudclaw. Heh....no worries. You're safe, and we're here to help you find your family." Mudclaw whispered, looking into Hailkit's icy blue eyes with his own fiery green. "Aren't you in the Dar--" Mudclaw put a paw over Hail's mouth and smiled, purring. "No."
Hailkit, confused, looked at the others. "Then who are they?"
Mudclaw shrugged. "My friends. Now you just watch and see what we do. We will find your family for you."
All of a sudden, the cats whisked away in the wind and the area faded back to normal, where he could hear the rain, the wind, and hear and feel the rocks moving under him.
What are they gonna do? Hail pondered.
And blinked again.
Mudclaw had to be right. He had to be. Hailkit sighed as the rain stopped. Thank the stars. Then, he remembered. He was super hungry. Looking down at the puddles on the ground, Hail decided to drink up while he could. He leaned down and took a couple gulps. He gasped for air, not realizing how air-deprived he was in drinking so much. He noticed up ahead, the routes got smaller and eventually they didn't exist. "Alrighty then."
Yawning, Hailkit got up. He looked at the paths before him. "That way, that way, or....that way..." As he looked at the last path he noticed that he saw a crow with a broken wing. Food.... But no, there were dark, eerie trees and thorns down that way....
I'm so hungry..... Hailkit ran towards the crow. It tried to lap away, but Hailkit pounced on it, biting its other wing.
SCREECH! The crow cawed loudly as it twitched under Hail's surprisingly powerful grip. "Yum!" He squee'd as he began to pluck feathers, biting into the flesh. A good, hearty meal for once. All of a sudden, Mudclaw's voice appeared in his mind again. Good start, young one. You are proving to us that you deserve our help.
Hailkit smiled. He didn't know what else to do. The crow was only half finished by the time he was full, so he slung it over his back to carry for the road. All of a sudden, the kit heard a growl. A canine growl....
Turning around he saw a feral dog. Its neck had a large chain imprinted into it, and it was bleeding. It barked viciously as its ears flopped, torn and ragged. It started chasing Hail.
Run, mousebrain! Mudclaw hissed. Hailkit dropped the bird and turned tail, running deeper into the eerie woods.
Hailkit screamed, yowling and screeching for his life. He stumbled over a rock as the dog got closer. It towered over him before he knew it. It loomed down with its own blood on his mouth, a frightening growl emitted. Hailkit reached out and scratched bravely before scurrying narrowly out of the range of the dog. It growled harsher and chased. Hailkit tripped again, but the dog yelped and didn't follow.
He turned around, noticing that Mudclaw was fighting the dog with a few others! "Thank you, guys." Hailkit nodded, before getting up and dusting himself off, running again. All Hailkit could hear was whimpers and growls and hissing. Mudclaw grunted. "Mangy mutt!" he yowled as the dog bit him in the forepaw. The Dak Forest warrior struck back at its muzzle, the creature rearing up and running off, finally.
Hailkit was still running when Mudclaw caught up with him. "Hailkit."
The tom-kit stopped in his tracks, perking his smoky ears. "Yes, Mudclaw?" "You aren't part of a Clan."
"Sure I am!" He piped up. Mudclaw replied with a simple 'you don't have your leader', and the kit's hopes sunk. "Well, we just have to find him! And my sister!"
"For now, you shall call yourself Hail. No exceptions."
His belly grumbling, Hail turned to Mudclaw. "B-But..."
"NO EXCEPTIONS!!! IT MUST BE SO IF YOU WANT TO SAVE YOUR FAMILY!"
Taken aback, Hail scoffed. So be it. All he cared about was getting to his family.
I must find them...soon..