Series: Nightfern's Mini-Deluxes
|In this moving short story for the May contest, Nightfern writes her best (in a writer's block).
A gray tabby queen has lost her kit. She was never meant to fall in love with Darkmoon, the ShadowClan deputy, and was never suppose to bear his kits. One died beautiful, one survived hideous.
But now she must give him away, and the pain might kill her- literally.
Tears streamed down my face as I looked at the kit. My child. My son. He was small and weak, with black patches on his white pelt and a twisted expression on his strange face. He is newborn. He was not beautiful. But he was my son, and I love him. I gently grab his scruff and begin to lick the blood off his fur. I wince with the pain of the birth. I am in a hollow tree trunk, and it is dark and damp and cold. The ground is dirt, and it stinks of toadstool, blood, and a carcass. The carcass of my daughter, who is nothing like her brother.
She is beautiful, with a fluffy black pelt, a sleek, streamlined head and body, and eyes I will never know what color they are. She is the image of a helpless kit, yet she has the body of a Clan warrior, like Darkmoon. She looks like her father: beautiful and black. Her eyes are closed, and they will never open. I suppose they shall be gold like Darkmoon's. But her fur is blood-stained, and a stink of death rises from her.
I close my eyes from the horrendous image. My son kneads me with his tiny paws, and I open my eyes. He is close to my gray fur. I slowly stand up, and pick up my lovely daughter in my jaws. She is light, and motionless. Taking a last look at my son, I leave the den into the fresh night air, but I cannot smell the pines.
All I smell is death.
Adjusting my daughter so I do not crush her helpless body, I dig a deep and wide hole, about four times her size. I fill it with soft leaves, and gently place my daughter in it. She does not have a name. "Pine, for that is where you are buried," I whisper, and pile the dirt back into the hole.
"My little warrior-princess," I breathe, grief overfilling me.
I return to the tree trunk.
My surviving kit is squirming, squeaking so softly I can almost not hear. Determined not to lose this one, I nestle close to him and adjust my body so he is in my gray tabby fur fur.
Perhaps you are confused as why I am hiding my birth, if I am a ShadowClan queen?
It is because I am not. I am Basil, a loner who just happened to fall in love with Darkmoon, the ShadowClan deputy, and bear his kits. Perhaps you are surprised how such a cold-hearted deputy, of ShadowClan, nonetheless, would fall in love with a loner?
Darkmoon is not cold-hearted inside. He is warm and kind and loving and I would follow him to the ends of earth. He didn't want to fall for me, either, but he did.
I sigh, drowning in my own thoughts, and focus my attention back to my kit.
I name him Dust, or an appropriate Clan name... Dustkit', for the color of his gray-patched fur.
A quarter moon later, I see there is something wrong with my kit.
He does not speak.
But he walks, and I watch him as he stumbles across the hard floor of the tree. He is not handsome kit, but he certainly got better since he was born.
His left eye is a bit smaller than his right, and his nose is slightly disfigured, but all in all, he is not an awful looking kit.
I have not seen Darkmoon since the birth, but I know it is time.
I cannot stay with my kit. I can't take care of him. The only reason I am not starving is because Darkmoon brings me food. Where I leave, food is scarce and the rogues steal it all. I eat from the Twoleg's waste, since there are no mice or voles, but it is disgusting and unhealthy. I can't join ShadowClan, either, since they would disown Darkmoon as soon as they found out he mated with a loner.
I close my eyes and remember his pleas to stay with him, not to leave.
Basil, please. Join ShadowClan. I don't care if they disown me or even banish me, but I can't stand to be apart from you. Please, Basil. I love you. he begged, kneading his claws into the ground. You're really beautiful, you know, he adds, as if to convince me to stay, but I know he really means it.
I can't, Darkmoon. You are an important part of your Clan, and I can't let you leave it for me. If you really love me, please take our kits to ShadowClan and raise them to be strong warriors, if all goes well. I had flicked my striped tail and him and smiled sweetly, softly, my light blue eyes flickering with pain as I look at this handsome tom, who in all his perfection, is mine.
My eyes flutter open and my voice is cracked as I call Dust. "Dust!" He turns his wide amber eyes at me as I raise my voice to a false cheerful purr.
"Dust, stay here for me, okay little warrior? I need to go meet somebody." Dust squeaks, and for the first time, he speaks. "Yes." His voice is quiet and soft.
I lick his head and pelt out of the tree, turning my head wildly. Darkmoon told me he'd come to take the kits. Kit, I correct myself.
The forest is quiet and dark. The trees don't let light shine through. The dead smell of Pine is finally gone, and the real smell of the pine covers the forest.
A bush rustles and a dark nose appears. I hiss and raise my hackles, until more emerges and I see a black face look at me.
I sigh with relief and dash to Darkmoon, pushing my head against his broad shoulders. "Darkmoon," I whisper. Darkmoon rubs his cheek against mine and whispers, "I miss you Basil. How are you? How are the kits?" he asks.
My purr disappears. I look at his wistful gold eyes and choke out, "The first kit, Pine, died. She looked just like you." Darkmoon's shoulders slump and I rush to add, "But... the second kit survived. His name is Dust." Darkmoon's eyes light up and he curls his tail around my shoulders, and gallops toward the tree.
He sticks his head in, and Dust squeals and bats at Darkmoon playfully with tiny paws. Darkmoon laughs and falls dramatically as Dust scrambles over him. He moves out of the tree trunk with Dust clinging to his back. "Basil. He's..." I lower my head, afraid he'd be mad for creating such a un-attractive creature.
I smile and press my pelt against his. He turns his sleek head toward mine and sighs. "I wish you would join, Basil." He winces but smiles as Dust kneads his back.
I change the subject. "Who will be his foster mother? What's the plan?" Secretly, I am dying inside. I am about to lose my mate, my kit, and my life.
"I'll just bring him and tell them I found him clinging on to the river rock. I'll wash him in the river water to take of his scent. Mine too. Leopardeye would be happy to take him in."
I am happy Dust is too small to understand.
I nod. "Are you... are you taking him now?" I ask.
Darkmoon gently touches my cheek with his tail-tip.
I choke back a sob. What will I do without them?
"Can I say goodbye?" I mumble, in a trance of grief. Darkmoon's eyes sparkle with sadness. "He's your son. Of course."
I gently remove Dust from the black tom's back and nudge him toward me, and lick him desperately, like licking him will bring him back to me. He purrs quietly and looks at me with huge amber eyes.
"Mother, what's wrong?" I realize I'm crying, harder than when Pine died. Darkmoon is crying too, inside, but his eyes tell the story. He doesn't want to leave me.
"Dust," I sob, "Darkmoon is taking you to his home. You're going to live their."
He looks at me with frightened eyes. "Without you?" he gasps.
I choke. "Yes, little warrior. Be strong for me." I press him close to me, and add, "Don't forget me, my little prince."
Darkmoon licks me on my ear, and whispers, "I love you, Basil. Don't forget that. I will always try to visit you. You will walk in my dreams."
He smiles sadly and picks up Dust in his jaws. "Goodbye."
It has been many moons since Dust has been taken away from me. He is a warrior, with a mate and kits.
How do I know this?
I am in StarClan. Dead.
It has been said that loners cannot be excepted into StarClan, but perhaps I am an exception.
Darkmoon died six moons after he took Dust, killed by a Twoleg monster. I watched him die. Actually, it was my fault.
For the first time, we were meeting each other. He hadn't been able to escape, and that night he could. I could speak to him in dreams (I supposed StarClan pitied us to an extreme), but I could never press my pelt against his or twine my tail with his.
He saw me standing on the Twoleg path, forlorn and tired, and he ran to me so fast, he didn't even pay attention to the roaring monster as it hit him and flung him across the road, right into my paws.
He wasn't dead. He laid there, bleeding and coughing on the grass, as I sobbed and tried to help him. "Darkmoon!" I wailed. "Don't leave me." I whispered.
I licked his wounds and lingered over him for minutes until he opened his eyes and smiled at me, his white teeth glinting in the moonlight.
"Don't fret, Basil. I won't leave you. I'll see you on the other side..." He closed his eyes and whispered his three last words.
"I love you."
After he closed his eyes forever, I ran onto the road and waited for a monster to hit me. I had no will to live. Dust was gone, or as Darkmoon had called him, Dustheart, and I would never see him again.
Darkmoon was dead. I had to food, no life, no shelter. And when that monster hit me, I was glad.
I was with Darkmoon again, and I would watch Dustheart from above.