Part of the Alleyway series
The path was filled with Feeder nests, all shabbier than the one before. Many looked abandoned, filled with rats and other filthy crow-food. This was the bottom of the bottom, with debris spilled on the dirt. There was no hope, no future for this place. That simple.
One could simply imagine the luxurious life of a house cat, purring as it was a Feeder lovingly stroked its fur. Not here. Any sign of a scrawny street cat was the eyes from inside a dark corner, hissing at you. This was a game of chances. Choose wisely and live another day. Make a mistake and end up on the side of the road, sprawled out with wide, blank eyes, forever looking at nothing.
This may seem like a bleak place to be, but what if it wasn't the worst? What if you longed for a world outside, even if you didn't know it existed. What if the world was around you, and you were never close enough to touch? This is the story of Cab, a young tom trying to live, without knowing what living really is.
The Lamp flickered on. Cab blinked and streched, his back arched ungracefully. He had been resting besides the Heater, but now it was to bright to go back to sleep. Where's Drip? I want to-
Drip was dead.
His only friend, brother and reason to keep going on was gone. Even his body had been taken by the Feeder. Everything was dead, yet he kept breathing, the lamp was on, rats still scurried about, and the water kept leaking.
Drip, Drip. The water plopped on the hard floor.
Drip's namesake. The water that spilled into a puddle into the corner. The cabinets Cab was named for had collapsed a while ago and now where a heap of splintery wood that would stab your paw every time you walked by.
Cab could still live if he wanted. He had been the one who could hunt better, fight off the occasional other cat, feed off rats, and forge around for the scraps. Yet, without Drip, why bother? Wouldn't it be nice to just close your eyes and be gone from this hell? Cab would still be alive, but wild instinct would take over, and he would become nothing more than a vicious beast doing anything to survive another day.
Hi tongue begged for water, but Cab stubbornly refused to get up from his rest. He wanted to die. Why not start? Cab shut his eyes and burrowed his head down on the brown towel he laid on.
He heard the door squeal open, making him involuntarily shiver. The boots of his Feeder, a female with frizzy pale hair and a sour look on her face, came panting down the stairs. He heard hissing, one so close to Drip's that it made his heart ache. But it wasn't. It was another cat, an outsider. An other. Black uneven fur and a determined look on her face. She clawed down the Feeder's arm, something Cab had always been to afraid to do. She struggled out of the Feeder's furious grasp, and ran towards the other side of the room, where Cab stared at her.
"Hey!" the she-cat said indignantly, noticing Cab. "What'cha looking at, runt? Scared of little Kite? A tiny, poor she-cat who can't defend herself?" Kite looked amused at Cab's blank expression. "So, is it going to be fight or flight? I'm letting you choose, runt. Scram or get over her and try to beat me."
Cab didn't move. I'd rather be killed right now than suffer. He sighed and stood up, facing the newcomer. She spat and lunged towards Cab. Cab jumped up and dodged her, his claw striking her pelt. Screeching, she aimed for his head but he ducked and once again hit her, this time on her leg. His claw ran down her limb. It cut it open, blood pouring out of the wound.
She stumbled, and fell. Kite couldn't stand up. She looked up at him with a sort of stubborn bravery. Kite knew that this was the end but she would go down with a fight. She wanted respect, so her killer would think "Shame she had to die." Respect was a thing Kite was hungry for, and she wanted it after her demise.
Cab didn't move. He stared at the immobile she-cat. He hadn't seen an other in a while- the last one was a silent old tom that quietly lived his life, and after a while, was taken away by the Feeder. Cab didn't even know his name. But he still looked at Kite in a odd sort of way. Calculating. Trying to figure out why she would accept defeat, but still cling to that shred of dignity. Suppose it must be her only thing left. Cab thought. He gave a last hard stare at her, and said "No," and softly turned around. Why kill this she-cat? She had done nothing really wrong but be unlucky enough to brought down here, and being brought down here drove so many cats mad. Cab didn't know why. Life was like this for cats. Live down with a feeder or two, stay sneaky and you might make a life. Where you lived didn't matter, really. Who cares what basement you inhabited?
Cab settled down away from Kite, but he heard the confused cat get to her paws.