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Swan

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Limerick





Welcome to my second official 'fic on the forums! I am so excited to present this to you. Starting with 9 likes before I even get the layout, the synopsis up, I gladly present to you Haunted. Enjoy the ride. The haunted ride.


"Despite being your only friend, you've never once said my name."

Nightpaw, a SpruceClan apprentice, and Luna, a rogue ghost, have been best friends since they were kits. Except nobody knows, and nobody believes ghosts are real. Nightpaw denies he's friends with Luna, friends with something nonexistent. Of course—she's both a rogue and a ghost, there's no reason for him to be friends with her, but now he's starting to fall in love with her. Which means he will do anything to prove her existence. Even if that means discovering her true self.


Oh, gosh, this is going to be very long...because there are just so many great writers and inspirations on here!

Here goes:
 
ѕωιƒтƒαℓcση;; You introduced me to Doctor Who. You introduced that contest to me. You write wonderfully, and I can't wait for your future stories. :'D 

Ładƴ ᗹlaĸeneƴ;; You made this awesome coding for me, how could I thank you? And you're an awesome writer, and you're funny. Can't wait for your future 'fics, Ladyface. 

Howl of Lonely Wolf;; You're the main inspiration of this story, so let's all applaud Howl, shall we? The special prompt in her Creativity Office inspired this story. Just thank you, Howl, thank you 

Tansypath;; Hey, Awesomiest Awesomest Awesome Person. You dedicated Stormcatcher to me, so I decided I might as well dedicate mine to you. Besides, you're such an awesome writer, and an awesome person!
 
ᴛᴜᴇsᴅᴀʏ;; You're funny, you're smart, and you're an awesome writer. You support people, and your 'fics are amazing, gah. See? They're so amazing I can't even describe them! I can't wait for more. Keep it up, Mcgillycuddy. 
 
тωιℓιgнт »❀« ѕραякℓє;; You are an awesome writer, and I need you to write more of Trapped in a Fanfic now, thank you very much. I also must thank you for creating Mariposa <3

eyesofthestars;; One of the greatest friends and writers I've ever met. Your story, The Crimson Shadow, may only a few chapters up, but I'm in love with it, and I want more. You are just a great friend. (:

Skyfall;; One of the greatest writers on this forums commented on Centuries. Skyfall. On my little 'fic. How, what? And she fanned. She fanned. I don't know how that happen...but I'm utterly confused, and utterly thankful. Just...thank you!

☣Sнα∂σωƒα¢є☣;; Curse is an amazing 'fic. I don't know how you wrote it without dying of amazingness every time you wrote it. Clans of the Valley is amazing, and so are you. Now, teach me your writing skills. 

*Brownfur*;; I don't know you all that well, but I sense you put a lot of effort into voicing the Curse audiobook, and I like that. I'd like to co-write with you sometime, maybe xP

Dingoleap;; You're an awesome artist, and I'm just freaked out you're bringing back the Cursed graphic novel! And you're also an awesome writer, so I'm just like, teach me your skills! 

➳ The Dreamer;; You are an amazing writer, and I am stoked for Only Entertainment. You also need to teach me your skills, okay?


★★★★ I like this story! It shows lots of potential and is very well-written! Fan me!;; αмвer∂αρρℓe

Haunted is an amazing story! Swanwhisper is a spectacular author, and I can't wait to see what happens next. The plot is very original, and the characters are wonderful!;; Chickadee

(Minor spoilers, beware)
I would give this fic 4.3 stars, and it was, in my opinion, a very good read. I have seen the basic idea of the story before--ghosts, friend is a ghost, that kind of thing--but no one has really done it the way that you have. You have excellent writing, and I love your style--I will say, though, that at times your fanciness in your writing seems to get away from you, and because of that, I'm not always certain what you're talking about. But still, it's a good problem--it's better than not being fancy enough with your words. 
The whole thing with the wolves is very interesting. I have never seen anyone use that kind of thing before--a myth that's actually real. So, on the whole, you are a great writer, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of this story! And 4.3 stars!;; ~Wildshadow2~


 
3.20.15;; The idea is thought of, and I start to outline it.
3.23.15;; Thread is made, coded, and first chapter is written and posted, and people, for some reason, seem to go crazy over it! Also, received five fans right off the bat.
3.24.15;; Seven more fans, oh gosh!! Thanks, ѕωιƒтƒαℓcση, 
*FʅơɾʌFʌυɲʌMơƭɦєɾ*, Iheartblustar, Skyfall,『αɴιмe ғreαĸ』, Phantomstar5759, and Chickadee for fanning! Chapter two is up early.
3.26.15;; Chapter three up. 
4.9.15;; Chapter Four is posted.
4.17.15;; Chapter Five is posted.
4.27.15;; Chapter Six is posted.
6.6.15;; Chapter Seven is posted. Sorry for the wait, guys! I lost my muse while writing this one. xP



Last edited by Swan on June 13th 2015, 8:45 am; edited 3 times in total



Swan

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Limerick
Mαנσя Ƈнαяαcтєяѕ 

Nightpaw;; Nightpaw is named for the fact he was born at night, as he has dark brown fur, so he cannot be named Nightpaw for the color of his pelt. He has a dark brown, somewhat tabby pelt and evergreen eyes that seem to glow in the dark. He is submissive to anything that instantly threatens him, and he can often be confused. He is thought to be slow-minded, and thick headed, but nobody really disses him for it, except for Squirrelpaw, who claims that Nightpaw doesn’t ever think. Nightpaw, however, can easily shrug off things. He’s very positive, and he would do whatever for his Clan, and anything even more for Luna, even if that means killing a cat or dissing his Clan. He is very submissive to her, and he is falling in love with Luna, though he does not know it. He has a deep respect for her, and is obsessed with looking into her transparent eyes, because he thinks they're beautiful. He also loves her voice.

Luna;; Luna is female rogue ghost. She has pale blue fur that has a transparent look to it, and transparent eyes. Sometimes her eyes are also rainbow, or just clear black. She sometimes has a fuzzy look to her, like she's not actually there, and sometimes she looks like a real cat. It depends how strong her "connection" is. She can be rude sometimes, but she was nicer when she was a kit, and she was very sweet back then. Luna tends to think negatively about things, but she tries not to around Nightpaw. Unlike Nightpaw, she is extremely clever, and can get out of uneasy situations rather quickly. She doesn't know how she feels about him, but she does know she has a great load of respect for the young tom.
 
Mιησя Ƈнαяαcтєяѕ

Squirrelpaw;; Squirrelpaw is a young tom with bushy ginger fur and a wild, bushy tail, earning him his name. He has clear blue eyes, and a darker ginger stripe running down his back. He can be very rude sometimes, and doesn't know if he is Nightpaw's friend or if he dislikes him. He thinks Nightpaw is a bit thick-headed, and dislikes him for it. He wishes everybody could be as clever as him, and he is very arrogant and assured of himself. He doesn't really believe he could ever do wrong.

Sootsplash;; Sootsplash is a crow-black tom with  eyes that, when you look closely, seem somewhat transparent. His fur also looks fuzzy, as though he is a ghost with poor connection, if you look closely. He is Nightpaw's mentor, and is a kind tom, patient, but somewhat mysterious and frightening when upset, like the Clan leader, Poplarstar. 

Finchpath;; Finchpath is a light brown she-cat with widespread hazel eyes. She has a few tabby markings scattered over her body. She is gentle, and fusses over Nightpaw too much, as she is afraid he might die young, just like his littermate, Juniperkit. She is afraid of ghosts, just like her mate, Goldenstrike. She is the mother to Nightpaw.
 
Goldenstrike;; Goldenstrike is a dark orangey-yellow tom with dark green eyes. He has curved ears and a lean, strong body. He has a coarse, rough voice, so he sometimes seems a bit scary to young kits, but inside, he is very gentle. He doesn't fret over Nightpaw, and likes it when he tries something new. He is worried Nightpaw will be teased because of his "imaginary friend" Luna. 

Pinefeather;; Pinefeather is an elderly tom with dusky brown fur and black, obscure eyes like the shadows of the forest. However, his eyes are blind, and he can barely see. Retired from warrior duties at a young age because he was blinded by the Border, he stayed with the elders ever since. Now, he has grown old and tells stories to kits, waiting for his time. 

Poplarstar;; Poplarstar is a silver tom with dark evergreen eyes and a perky, jovial personality. Lean and hard-muscled, he's not easy to defeat in a battle, and would do anything to defend his Clan. However, he is frightening and somewhat of a danger sometimes, and is not who he seems his is, but he is not a threat to his Clan, as he would never hurt it.

SpruceClan;; SpruceClan is known for climbing trees, and are thought to be the closest of StarClan, as they are usually high up in the trees, near Silverpelt. Their camp is a shadowy oval surronded by tall spruces and pines. Their dens are in the tree trunks, lined with leaves and fallen bird feathers. SpruceClan eats anything that lives in trees; they eat squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees, warblers, etcetera. If they can catch a bald eagle without getting attacked, they will also eat them. Their leader is Poplarstar, and their deputy is Mothstep. Their medicine cat is Silverleaf. 

ShadeClan;; ShadeClan is known for lurking through their murky oblivion of a home, and their cats are as fearsome as their wild ancestors. Their camp is lost somewhere in their deep forest, somewhere only the ShadeClan cats can find it. They eat moles, minks, and ermine, along with beetles, which kits usually snack on when hungry. They usually are hiding throughout the shade, hence their name, and they dislike climbing, arguing that climbing is a frivolous waste of time because the large birds that fly overhead could catch and attack their cats. Their leader is Crowstar, and their deputy is Lichenheart. Their medicine cat is Wrenberry. 

SlopeClan;; SlopeClan is known for living on the open slopes and moors. Their camp is easy to attack, though the cats themselves are not - they are quick and stealthy, fast runners, though not very strong. They eat rabbits, hawks, beetles, and anything and everything that crawls upon their territory. They are usually very quiet, and don't talk very much. They dislike both trees in general and shade. They prefer open skies to being enclosed by shady trees, like the ShadeClan and SpruceClan cats. Their leader is Fernstar, and their deputy is Quailstreak. Their medicine cat is Snowfeather.



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя Oηє
 
Ghosts.
 
Most cats wouldn’t think they’re real.

They’d think spirits are real, though. 

StarClan spirits, that is.
 
And they are. StarClan is real. StarClan spirits are real. But so are ghosts, even though nobody believes in them.

I asked my dad about ghosts, what he thought of them, if he believed in them, and he froze. His body was a stiff icicle, and he stared at me, unblinking yellow eyes. I poked him with my tail and told him to stop being silly, but he did absolutely nothing. His jaw dropped down, and he didn’t say a single word.

The frail kit I was, I yowled, overwhelmed tears stinging my eyes, and I called for my mother. She swiftly asked me what was wrong, curling her long, thick tail around my petite body.

“I asked Dad about ghosts,” I mewed, and she too froze, utterly motionless. She went rigid, and her tail uncurled around me. I snuggled closer into her fur, heart galloping like the wolves the Clan elders told legends about. I was startled out of my mind, and my veins were about to pop, tight and enclosed in my body as I panicked. Her pelt was icy cold. The tears in my eyes were beginning to freeze just like her bitter, icy pelt. 

I had to call for the medicine cat, and she offered them poppy seeds. My parents instantly melted into their usual selves, sharply swallowing the miniscule seeds. My mother's neck snapped up, and she blinked at me with kindly eyes. My father sat close to her, ears flattened against his head in amusement; what was he chuckling at under his breath? I wasn’t close enough to hear him. 

They had no trace of any conversation about ghosts in their memory, and I didn't dare to ask them about it again. I didn't dare to ever mention ghosts to anyone ever again.
 
●●●
 
A thin sheet of rain was parachuting down from StarClan, tiny drops crystalizing every leaf. The puddles outside the nursery were almost as big as my entire three-month-old body, and they were tempting to splash in. I blinked twin moon eyes at the rainwater falling down from thick, frothy, ashen-colored clouds. They were as somber and dull as ever, but this was the first time I had seen them gray, and it both amused and alarmed me. The downpour scared me; after all, I was little more than a kit, and it was the first rainfall I’d seen.
 
Squirrelkit, an older kit, teased me, for showing clear signs of fear in front of the rain.

“You’re three months old, and still scared of the rain?” he taunted, flashing an arrogant smirk in my direction. “Grow up already.”

I growled under my breath at his words, pawing at the earth with my tiny needle-sharp claws. I lowered my head in timid 
humiliation, softly muttering bad things about Squirrelkit. I stalked off to where my parents sat, on the tree stump of a cut-off spruce. Unlike the other cats they weren't hiding in the tree trunks—which were also known as the dens here—because of the rain, and they actually seemed to enjoy the misty shower. They raised their necks, and breathed in the light drizzle, smiles proudly gleaming on their jubilant faces.

My mother said it was raining harder when I was sleeping, and there was nothing to be worried about now, especially if I wasn’t worried then.

My father examined the rain with his tightly-squinted eyes, and stared at me, saying there was no chance of the rivers flooding, so there was no reason to worry. 

“Would there be a chance of the lake flooding?” I asked him, staring up with enormous, blinking eyes, iridescent with curiousity.         
 
“Only if the rivers flooded.”
 
Confusion sprouted in my brain, lax flower seedlings. My heart burst with anxiety, ears flattening agaisnt my head in submission. A female she-cat voice, young, bright and soft. That was definitely not my father’s voice, nor my mother’s older, slightly weary voice. It couldn’t be Ivypaw’s, the only female apprentice, voice either; I saw her head to the woods for her final assesment when I woke up at sun-high today.

I didn’t know whose voice it was.
 
So I did the most natural thing in the world: I spun around, and right behind me was a she-cat.
  
Her fur was pale and straight, a dim, nearly translucent, blue. Her ears were perked in friendliness, and a wide smile was spread across her elated expression. An icy chill immeditely washed over me as I gazed into her eyes. Her transparent eyes. I could see a pine looming over her through her eyes, the exact pine tree whose inside tree trunk was the nursery. Her eyes were transparent! Her tail hung down, almost touching the ground, swishing softly. She floated in the air, curled up in a small ball with her paws wrapped around herself. Her head bobbed like a fish out of water.
 
I jumped back in meek fear, my heart thumping like a rabbit. 

She spoke. “Hi.” Her voice was the euphonious twitter of a lark crooning their song. She blinked at me, her eyelashes long and snake-like. She drifted down, and sat on the muddy, damp grass. She wagged her feathery silver-blue tail, and blinked again at me, but this time, it looked more like she was winking. “My name is Luna.”
 
“Who—what are you?” I questioned, stammering, my breathing growing rapidly and my words hushed. I tossed a quick look over my shoulder at my parents on the tree-stump. They were still enjoying the rain, and whispering to each other. They didn’t even look at me. They didn’t hear my voice. They didn’t ask, “Who are you talking to?” They didn’t do anything at all, except for murmur and huddle together, their pelts sodden and wet.

Either they didn’t know I was talking to this cat or they didn’t care.

I assumed the first option, as nobody around me seemed to notice either.

The rain slid down my forehead like sweat.

Luna smiled so hard I wondered if her teeth was going to fall out. She closed her eyes and reached forward, pulling on my tail like a two-moon-old kit, which she looked like she was. Scrunching up my nose in shock and disgust, I pulled hers. She grinned, and let out an airy laugh that sounded and felt exactly like buzzing fireflies.

“I’m a ghost,” she told me, sitting up straight and drawing her paw to her muzzle. She licked it and smoothed back her fur. “A real live ghost. Except I’m not alive.” And she laughed her pretty laugh again.

That was the day I met Luna.

Three days later was when I asked my parents about ghosts, and they froze like frosty stalactites.

We’d been friends ever since.
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωσ
 
“Mission one hundred and twenty six: become an apprentice,” Luna whispered under a hushed breath, slinking out from the thick undergrowth adjoining the nursery trunk. Her crystal clear eyes darted from my face to the Longbranch, the one and only branch of the spruce tree that held the leader’s den.The branch was just thick enough for the Clan leader, Poplarstar, to stand on when announcing significant proclamations. 
 
At six moons old, I was still tiny for my age, but I was almost as big as Squirrelkit—now Squirrelpaw. A bossy fur-ball, he was as narcissistic as ever, maybe even more than usual. Just because he was a stupid apprentice. And it wasn’t like he was about to earn his warrior name, either.
 
I puffed out my downy chest, and snuck a quick glimpse at Luna through the corner of my eye. Well, I’m six moons old now, so I’ll be just as great an apprentice as you, Squirrelpaw.

Luna glanced back at me, and I realized she looked a bit...different. Her fur was vague and fuzzy, like she wasn’t actually there, and she oscillated back and forth. Her eyes glazed over in a faraway guise, and she groaned. Her pelt was almost burnt-looking like lightning had just struck her, and her fur stood up at the ends. I gawked at her with widespread eyes until she jumped, a bleary red growing on her cheeks, and her fur swiftly flattened itself. “Sorry,” she muttered under her breath, voice dulcet and soft. “Bad connection.”

It had been three moons since I met her, but every time I heard her voice, I couldn’t help falling in love with it. Her voice, that was! Not her herself! An uneasy lump lodged itself in my esophagus, and an unpleasant-sounding gurgle erupted from my throat. Yeah, she was pretty and all, but I didn’t like her. If I did...that would be disgusting. She was to be my best friend, not my mate. And that was all we’d be. That was all.

I quickly erased any thoughts about her and I being mates from my brain.
 
“What’s a bad connection?” I inquired, tilting my head sideways at her.

She flicked a glistening ear, and replied, “I’m a ghost, and ghosts have a usually...strong connection that, well, connects them to earth. If our connection to the earth is down or bad, we’re more faded and transparent than usual, and, well, fuzzy like newborn kits. We’re connected to the roots of the earth, you know.” She shook her head, and rasped her cherry tongue around her muzzle. “Nothing to worry about, agent. Continue your mission.”
 
“All right,” I said, skulking forward through the almost-impenetrable brushwood. The radiant glare of the sun as it sunk under the horizon stung my gentle eyes. I stared down at the earth beneath my dark brown paws, avoiding the blazing sunbeams. I flexed my tiny claws, and flashed a hasty grin at Luna. I darted forward, towards where my mother and father sat curled around each other near the fresh-kill pile. They shared a large, hairy squirrel, and it reminded me of Squirrelpaw with all its bushy ginger fur.
 
“What are you up to, wolf?” asked my father, leaning forward to give me a coarse lick on the head. That’s what he called me—a wolf, because I was just as speedy as one, and I looked like one, with my pointed ears and dark brown fur.
 
Wolves weren’t real, though. They were just legends the elders told kits to scare them off into not venturing into the woods alone. They were colossal, mighty creatures, and they were dogs, but they were not dogs at the same time. They were silver, they were cream, they were brown, they were black, and they were even icy white. They were treacherous, with their piercing, pointed fangs and their bloodshot eyes, destined to kill.
 
I was petrified when the elders told their story.
 
Six moons old and way too old to tease anymore, Squirrelpaw had still taunted me. “Just like the rain, you’re scared of ‘em. They’re just myths, you mouse-brain. I told you to grow up last moon, don’t you listen?”
 
He was my friend, but he was the bully at the same time.

Luna was the real friend, my best friend. “Ignore him, he’s the mouse-brain around here,” she had whispered sympathetically, her muzzle brushing my ear. “Because they are real.”
 
I didn’t believe of them, no matter what Luna said about the wolves being not real. Squirrelpaw convinced me. I just wanted to be like him, not be afraid, not be fooled by the elder’s stories, not be sogullible.

“Playing,” I told my dad. “I’m a spy from an enemy Clan.”
 
My father nodded, and winked at me.
 
“Mmm. Time to eat soon. You must be starving. Are you hungry? Would you like to eat now?” my mother fretted, sweeping her soft, plumy tail across my spine. Her hazelnut eyes scanned me, and I glanced back at where Luna sat alone, shivering by the nursery.
 
I hissed impishly. “I’ll never take your food, SpruceClan!” I snarled, a lively glint in my eyes as I bunched my hind muscles. I bounded off towards Luna, and we continued to slink quietly forward towards the Longbranch. I closed my eyes, and inside I trekked through the forest, the forest outside this little, oval-shaped camp. Trees sprouted around me, bouncy, tall trees, sprinting with me. Eagles flew overhead the thick overhead of the trees’ leaves. Firs and pines and spruces, all squished together and buoyant. Squirrels and mice skittered across, as fretful as my mother. I beamed, my grin widening.
 
And then Luna pulled on my tail, and I was dragged out of my reverie.
 
“Luna!” I spat. “I was in the forest—“
 
I was immediately cut off by hushed voices, and my ears perked up. My parents were talking, murmuring together under their breaths. Curiosity poked at me. I leaped up quickly, and dashed for the shaggy, wild shrubs behind them. I hid inside. Prickles and twigs prodded me, trying to dig in and get a lick of my flesh. Luna squeezed next to me, and laced our tails together. We were spying, for real! Not just pretending to spy; but really spying. Anticipation and eagerness coursed through my veins.
 
“His imaginary friend—isn’t he a bit too old for this, you’d think, Finchpath?” my father was whispering. All I could hear was his abrasive, muffled voice, and all I could see was his golden tail swishing through the tiny holes of the shrub.

Imaginary friend?

“If it makes him feel better about Juniperkit, then we might as well let him.” My mother.
 
I turned around to face Luna. She released her tail from mine, and held up her tail-tip to hush me. She whispered, “They think I’m imaginary. They can’t see me. They can’t hear me. They can’t scent me. They can’t even sense me. Only you can.” She nudged me with her nose, pressing softly into my flesh. “I-I don’t know why.” She lifted her head, and the look in her eyes made me wonder if she did know why. I didn’t pressure her to explain. I just stared at my father’s swishing tail.
 
Juniperkit was my sister.
 
She died.
 
One quarter-moon after we were born. An unknown reason.

I used to constantly ask my mother why she died.

The waterworks would stream down from her eyes, a teary waterfall, and she’d reply, “I don’t know. We woke up that morning, and she was still. Cold and still and dead.” And she wouldn’t go any farther into detail. I never asked her to. I knew it pained her.
 
One time I even asked Luna if she knew. She said she didn’t. I even asked her if Juniperkit was with her, another ghost.

Luna said it was unlikely, and she didn’t have contact with any of the other ghosts anyways. She never liked it when I mentioned Juniperkit, just like how my mother never liked it. She always avoided the subject of Juniperkit, even though she never knew her. I always wondered why it seemed to pain Luna as well, out of all cats. 

"He's going to get teased, Finchpath!"
 
“He’s already teased, Goldenstrike!” she wailed under her breath. “He’s slow, and he’s too small!”

I could feel my father’s eyes cloud with melancholy as my mother uttered those words. His tail curled around her body, and my heart splintered. I was slow, I was small. I was quick physically. I was small physically. Mentally, I was as large as my father.  Mentally, I was slow.
 
I didn’t like that word. Slow. What kind of word was that?

The tears pooled in my eyes. 
 
Luna hissed, furious. She jumped in front of me. Her eyes were pitch black, no more see-through, they were totally opaque. “You can’t just let them talk about you behind your back like that!” she retorted, eyes bulging. “They’re your parents!”
 
“I know,” I mumbled, my voice rupturing. I lifted my chin. “Why are your eyes black?”
 
Her eyes enlarged, and her pupils grew vast as the oblivion in her iris faded to its usual transparency. “What do you mean?” she stammered, almost as if she didn’t want me to know why.
 
I didn’t get the chance to reply; Poplarstar was calling the Clan to the Longbranch. “Gather!” he cried, large green eyes glinting in the setting, tawny sunlight. “Gather below the Longbranch, for a new apprentice is to be named.” His eyes reflected with mischievousness, and I knew he was talking about me.
 
“Let’s go,” I said tenderly. My father’s tail disappeared as he rose up with my mother, and they padded to the Longbranch. “Smooth down my fur though, before we go.”

Luna nodded, pointy chin wagging. She licked a paw and smoothed my somewhat-tangled pelt down quickly, so it was presentable and soft. “All right. I can’t wait! It’s going to be super fun. You can actually go in the forest now, and we can play around and everything.” We tiptoed out the back entrance of the shrub, and hurriedly treaded over to the Longbranch. A crowd of Clan cats was developing around it as Poplarstar, silvery pelt gleaming, stood, claws hooked onto it like eagle talons.
 
“Nightkit, please come up.”
 
I hastily zipped from the crowd, heart bursting with exhilaration, to under the Longbranch. My lungs exploded with pride, and my head throbbed. My parents stood proudly, grinning, radiating with bliss. Squirrelpaw scoffed under his breath, but I ignored him. Who needed cats like him around here?
 
“Under the careful and mighty watch of the all-powerful StarClan, I proudly name you Nightpaw.”
 
My heart surged like fire, and plummeted like rainwater from the clouds. A racing feeling tore through my lungs. I gasped, couldn’t breathe, too excited. I said thank you, couldn’t inhale, too proud. I dipped my head, couldn’t exhale, too content. I twirled and spun, and I finally could breathe. Hunger growled in my belly—now I wanted my supper. A small feast—which meant one feathered treat, mind you—for a new apprentice. I skimmed through the crowd for Luna, and she hovered in the back, smiling sweetly.
 
“Nightpaw, Nightpaw!” the crowd cried. Music to my ears, their voices fused together into one.
 
Everyone cheered my name, even Squirrelpaw, in delight.

All except for my best friend.
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭняєє
 
Sootsplash was declared my mentor. The senior warrior, his crow-black pelt gleaming, grinned as he emerged from the crowd to touch my cerise nose with his. The crowd began to deform, spreading to their duties; elders to tell stories to kits, kits to suckle, warriors to hunt and do patrols, apprentices to train. Ivyspring and my father walked off together on a hunting patrol; they were very close, as Ivyspring was his former apprentice, but not close enough to make my mother upset. Soon, only Sootsplash and I were left in the clearing, and even Poplarstar had left, off to his den. I turned my head to Sootsplash, my heart still walloping my ribs.
 
“Are we going to take a tour like every other new apprentice?” I asked.
 
“Yep.” He squinted, staring through the birches and pines that stood in our way. “It’s a bit late, but we’ll have enough light to make it at least halfway ‘round. Then, tomorrow we can go ‘round the rest of our territory, and maybe have a little hunting lesson, yes?”
 
“Sounds good to me, sir.”
 
“No need to call me that. I’m old, but not that old.” He flashed a wink at me, and I grinned half-heartedly. “All right. Do you want to head towards the lake or towards SlopeClan territory, or towards the Border?”
 
I’d heard of the Border before.
 
It wasn’t a good place.
 
Pinefeather, a dusky brown elder with obscure eyes like the shadows of the forest, told stories of it when Squirrelpaw and I were kits. He said it was a maze of jagged zigzags running through the air. He said if you touched it, even if you looked at it, you’d go blind, you’d get electrocuted. He said his sister went to the border once, when she was a wee apprentice. Her mentor had said not to; it was dangerous, no cat who ever went there ever came back. She never returned.

“I watched her die,” Pinefeather had murmured, lowering his head dishonorably as though he was the jagged zigzags who had caused his sister’s death. “Hidden in the depths of the forest, I watched the Border’s lightning strike her, and I watched her fall. I watched her shake and I watched her eyes close and I watched her heart stop beating. There was nothing I could do.”

Then he would blink his murky, unseeing eyes.

“I watched and I was blinded for that.”

I never meant to go to the Border. Ever. It was what made that monster come after us—it was all my fault.

I did anyways.
 
“The Border,” I said, puffing out my chest like a newly-named warrior.
 
“You’re a brave one, eh?”

“I want to see what made Pinefeather blind.”
 
A prickly feeling tingled on my shoulders, making me wonder if I was being watched, and I squinted at Sootsplash, lungs burning with anticipation. I spun around to see Poplarstar behind me, evergreen eyes narrowed. “You want to go to the Border, Nightpaw?” he asked, voice scary and low, and not as jovial and perky as usual.

“Yes.” I narrowed my eyes as well.

He lifted his head to Sootsplash, the tufts of his ear fur waving in the breeze. “He isn’t giving you a hard time, is he?”
 
“No. Little kit’s just curious.”
 
A low growl seeped through my throat. I was not a kit. Yes, that morning I was, but now I was officially an apprentice. Got that, Sootsplash?

Nobody noticed the rumbling of my throat, though it was quite noticeable.
 
“Just don’t let him out of your sight, Sootsplash,” retorted Poplarstar, his tone harsh like the points of hawk talons. He stalked off, tail erect in the air, a grimace plastered to his muzzle like a wet pelt.

Sootsplash twisted around to face me, and he grinned; his teeth were incandescent stars. “Let’s go.”

“To the Border?” I inquired, wide-eyed. A respectful warrior disobeying the leader’s word? That didn’t sound right.

“Yep.”
 
I didn’t dare argue with him. He was my mentor, so I had to obey him, even if he was disobeying Poplarstar himself...and I wanted to see the Border anyway, even if no cat was allowed to go near it.

I ogled at him, staring into the remote depths of his eyes. I noticed a flash of transparency twinkling in his pupils, the way his obscure pelt was a bit frizzled, a bit fuzzy. The way he just was...it made shudders crawl up my spine, fragile, minuscule spiders. I stared him down until my eyes grew weary and I had to gape at my paws, front tooth digging into my bottom lip.

“All right, let’s go.”  

●●●

We set out for the SlopeClan border, pretending we were touring that part of the pine forest first, when we were really heading for the Border. My heart pulsated recklessly, pumping rapidly. Exhilaration surged through my veins, travelling alongside a tiny prickle of fear. I sniffed, nose wriggling like the rear of an excited kit. The scent of pine sap wafted into my nose, a bottomless pit of possibilities airborne in my mind. Birds flying overhead, the meaty taste of squirrel making my mouth water. Hunger was a monster in my belly, and excitement overlapped it; there was no time for hunger when there was such things to be explored!

“It smells wonderful,” I breathed.

“We’re in the forest, that’s why.”

“I know, but I didn’t expect it to be so great.” I inhaled the scents, the tastes, the sights. They all made me dizzy with wonder, and I twirled around as I sprinted alongside Sootsplash. Luna drifted behind us, a stormy glower glinting in her eye. Left behind as usual when I was with another cat, but I didn’t want them to think I really did have an imaginary friend.
 
Luna was real.

And I didn’t need cats to tease me for something that wasn’t true.

I didn’t need them to think she was fake, when she was real.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” My mentor’s eyes glistened with giddy; he looked like an apprentice at their warrior ceremony.

“It smells better than home.”
 
“It is home.”
 
“True, but—by home I mean camp.”
 
Sootsplash raised his eyebrow, smirking. “All right.” He glanced behind us, as if he sensed something unusual, and he winked.

I wondered if he could see Luna and that's why he was winking, but I didn't dare ask.


Besides, he wasn’t even winking in her direction.

Trees towered over us, looming, opaque figures of beauty. Shadowed by the falling sunlight, they were nothing but dusky shadows, and my anticipation tingled. Serrated lightning pricked at my spine. The blissful aroma of dusk lit up the sky, an orange-red aura borealis singed with the obscure oblivion of nightfall. Fireflies were starry luminosities soaring through the sky, yellow and buzzing with a radiant contentment.

Stringy bird nests hung over the edge of tree branches; Sootsplash licked his lips and so did I, we both knowing of the eggs clustered together inside. Twigs cracked underneath my paws. Flavorless berries swirled on my taste buds. Lizards scrabbled up trees, and I hissed at the tiny little creatures. Squirrels flew into the trunks of trees, eyes wide at the sight of us. Harmonic songs were sung, crooned out by the twittering birds hopping from branch to branch above us.

“Is it always as pretty as this?” I murmured, watching the few last flickers of orange sunlight dance in the sky. Sure, I could see the sun set at camp...but it just wasn’t the same. You didn’t get the same tingly feeling, the same rush in your heart.

“There’s plenty of time for watching the evening fall later,” said Sootsplash. “Now, we’re off to the Border while we can. So let’s go.”
 
His demanding tone made a sudden feeling of anxiety stir in my chest.
 
My muscles trembled as we carried on.
 
Before I knew it, we were standing in front of the Border. We stood behind a shady pine tree, and my heart quivered, piercing branches prodding it. Long lines of jagged lightning flew in front of us, one side heading for SlopeClan, the other for ShadeClan. I couldn’t see the end of the zigzags; it was as endless as oblivion itself. My heart wavered, sensing something...dangerous. Before I could react to the danger I knew was coming near, a sudden glow flashed in front of my eyes, white and lightning-like.
 
I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn’t—it was pretty, it was treacherous. I had to look into it—

“DON’T LOOK AT IT!” Sootsplash screeched, his voice one of a crow. “Close your eyes!”
 
My eyelids slipped, and the pain was unbearable. The blood drained from my body, the mortality from my soul, and I collapsed into Sootsplash. Lightning juddered my body, and I was shaken back and forth. Grit wedged itself between my teeth, as though the rubble of a forest fire had been thrown into my mouth. Sparks flew in the oblivion of my mind. When I opened my eyes, the excruciatingly radiant light was gone, and relief flooded through my veins.  

“Are you alive? Tell me you’re alive!” Luna screamed, her voice cracking with agony as though she was in the same discomfort as I was. She hovered over me, eyes ample with panic and pain. Realizing my chest was moving and my eyes were open, she buried her gray-flecked muzzle into my shoulder. “Thank the spirits,” she whispered, her voice so imperceptible even a fox couldn’t hear it. “If you died, I wouldn’t be kept alive either—“
 
Her voice was muffled, so I doubted that was what she really said. Luna wasn’t that selfish.

My heart thumped, and Sootsplash glowered at me, as though this was all my fault. But it wasn’t! He was the one who suggested we go to the Border! I shot a dirty look back at him, and his gaze softened immediately.
 
“I don’t think we should continue any farther,” he told me in a wobbly, unsteady voice. “We can’t risk your life. I’m sorry.” The sudden fairly amused glint in his eyes scared me and made my heart thump even more. He dipped his head sincerely, and the entertained gaze disappeared so fast I bet it was no more than an illusion. “This is all my fa—“

He was cut off by an abrupt rustling sound. We turned to the Border, and the noise of crackling thunder emerged. My stomach plunged from a mighty mountain, and I closed my eyes again, whirling around so my back was facing it. I didn’t need to almost pass out again from its potent light.

“Wolf!” howled Luna, eyes even more abysmal and wide. She pulled away from me, and nodded swiftly, as though to confirm it was okay to tell Sootsplash.
 
I repeated her words, my heart thrashing around in my chest. Were wolves real? The odor of blood and agony drifted through my nose, and the thought of sharp fangs and bloodshot eyes entered my mind. “Wolf!” I howled, springing up. I shot another dirty look at the nonmoving Sootsplash, and screamed at him to get up.

“B-but wolves aren’t real,” he stammered, placing a paw backwards.

I didn’t believe they were real either, but if Luna said they were, then they were. “Well, it’s something!”

“How do you know? You don’t even know what a fox smells like!” he snapped.

“I just know!” I yelled. “Let’s go!”

Sootsplash’s fear instantaneously won over pride, and we sprinted off towards camp, muscles burning like a wildfire. But I could swear I heard the sound of my father’s voice charging into battle before we fled.
 
My heart plummeted again as we darted for the nearby camp clearing. No, no, my father, who had left on a hunting patrol just before I left for my tour, was going to fight that creature.

A so-called wolf.
 
Luna hovered nearby, soaring past my shoulders as we ran. “It’s a pup, for all I know!” she cried, her voice screechy as though she was an eagle. I could hear her heart smack against her ribcages, and her eyes were black and ambiguous with fear. Her pupils’ transparency had been lost, but they were large like an owl’s nonetheless.
 
We broke into camp, scratches running on our pelts from the pointed branches and twigs of the bushes we’d stumbled through.

“There! Is! A! Wolf! In! The! For! Est!” I gasped, my heart racing so fast I was afraid it would stop and I would collapse. And that’s exactly what I did. I stumbled and fell, and my eyelids slithered down, closing my eyes. Oblivion overtook me, and sleep wouldn’t let go of my weary mind.
 
●●●

I woke up a few minutes later, but it felt like a whole day had passed. My limbs and muscles were sore as though I’d just fought in a battle. My head wobbled, too big for my neck, a rolling ball of skull and fur.

Poplarstar, the medicine cat, the deputy, Sootsplash, my mother, and I were all huddled in the medicine cat’s den. They were all squeezed together, and the only one who had space was me. I laid on the ground, my head resting on a pillow of bird feathers, paws curled around myself and tail quivering. The fur on my neck stood up straight as a spruce tree.

“There is no such thing as wolves!” Poplarstar exclaimed, eyes narrowed. He was out of focus, blurry, but not the way Luna was when she had low connection, so I knew it was only my vision. I blinked and rubbed my eyes with my tail, and he was as clear and sharp as ever.

“Well, it was something!” my mentor hissed in reply. “It was coming after us, thumping paws, snarling! I turned around, and all I could see were bloodshot eyes. I don’t believe in wolves, but it looked exactly like one.”
 
“It was a pup,” I muttered, remembering what Luna said.

Poplarstar stared down at me with cold eyes. “How do you know?”
 
“I just do.”

He turned to the medicine cat, and Silverleaf, her shaggy ashen pelt fluffed up, stared back at him. “Treat him. Give him poppy seeds. I’m sure it’s just a lynx or something. Elders tell too many legends these days.” He let out a weary sigh. Flicking his tail at Sootsplash and the deputy, Mothstep, he meowed, “I’ll get another cat, and we’ll drive it off into the Border so it dies.”
 
He wasn’t glowering at my mentor, so I wondered if Sootsplash decided to lie and say we weren’t nearby the Border. I was sure that was what he did, but I wasn’t able to finish that lone thought. Silverleaf nosed the poppy seeds towards me and I swallowed them. My brain fuzzed up, and thoughts were banished from the land of my mind. The last thing I saw was Luna skulking into the medicine cat den as Sootsplash, Mothstep, and Poplarstar left to defeat that monster.
 
Bloodied fangs bore holes in my imagination, the empty feeling of teeth gnawing at my throat.

I woke up to the sound screaming, and I juddered, quavering with distress like an earthquake. I twisted over to find my mother curled up nearby, her throat red from howling. Suddenly noticing me awake, she crawled over and curled herself around me like I was a newborn kit again. I buried my nose into her fur. Wet tears soaked my once-dry fur, and I breathed into her, my mind whirling. “Mother?” I whimpered, lungs wheezing for air. “What happened?”
 
She bit her lip, and nodded. “Your father.” She rose shakily, her legs as wobbly as a kit’s, and she moved to the side. Her eyes were deep pools of regret and melancholy, twittering lonesome melodies.
 
A gasp escaped my throat.
 
A body curled up and feeble, golden orange and nonmoving. Wide open evergreen eyes, skull scarred with bloody scabs and wounds.

He was my father.
 
The tears slid out, and my throat was soon just as red and blotchy as my mother’s. My eyes bloodshot, and waterfalls running down my chalky face. His throat...it was red, too, but not the kind of red ours was. It was a bloody red. And there was a hole in his throat, like something wanted to claw its way through—though he wasn’t fully decapitated.
 
Silverleaf entered the den, and eyes wide, and she hastily dashed over, herbs stuffed in her mouth. She spit them out, and searched for poppy seeds in her storage. She shoved them into our mouths, and a calming relief washed over me, though I still felt like screaming. The tears wouldn’t stop, and neither could the whimpering. My heart was shattered into two pieces, fragmented like the Twoleg substance called glass. All I wanted to do was kill the thing that killed my father.

The hatred was so strong it wasn’t real anymore.

I laid my head down on feather pillow, and the pine sap scent of Pinefeather swept over me. Soft teeth dug into my scruff, and I was carried off. The scents of the elders were breathed in, and I opened my eyes. Old, miserable faces accompanied mine. The wrinkles on their fur were stretched out, and they let me fall into their warm pelts.
 
Made-up stories of my father’s made-up heroics were whispered into my ear.

He never did anything great.

Not that great anyway.

I fell asleep, wanting to evaporate to StarClan like my father. 
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƒσυя

A quarter moon passed, but I still laid with the elders. Every sunrise was a blow to the heart. Every sunfall was a rake to the cheek. Every blink was a pull to the tail. It even hurt to sleep. Inside it hurt. The pain throbbed, a monster tearing my flesh and bones apart. I barely knew who I was anymore.

The elders were kind. They fed me, helping me swallow, helping me drink. Helping me live.

My dreams were nightmares, my nightmares dreams. They didn’t contain monsters or the Dark Forest, but they were nightmares nonetheless. Because they contained my father. My father smiling. My father joking. My father living. And it was another strike to the heart.

I couldn’t sleep or awaken without breaking down mentally.
 
It took me a full quarter moon.
 
That’s when my mother started coming around and telling me to get up.

“Come on, now. Your father wouldn’t want you to mope around and be an apprentice for the rest of your life,” she’d mutter.

“Come on, you’ve got training to do,” she’d utter.

“Let’s go, Nightpaw!” she’d shriek.

She whapped me with her tail once, she was so cross, the ire in her eyes. The fury had risen to her cheeks, and the tips of her ears were teeming with a bright crimson. “Get. Out. Of. The. Elders. Den. And. Do. As. I. Say.” Her voice was a mere growl. Her face was twisted in misery and irritation. Her overwrought muscles were rippling with tension. My heart raced.

Pinefeather raised his chin, whiskers quivering as though he was afraid of my mother. “He’s grieving, Finchpath. Let him be.”

“Let him be?” she retorted, a snarl reverberating in her throat. Tail erect, a golden twig, she growled and stalked off. “Let him be, huh,” she called over her bunched shoulders. “And then he’ll turn into nothing and die off like his father.”

I didn’t need to be reminded of my father. I really, really didn’t. I submerged my head in Pinefeather’s dusty flank, and his feathery tail brushed my shoulders. “It’ll be all right, Nightpaw.”
 
Yeah, right.

I took a deep breath, and inhaled, nose wriggling like a rabbit’s. “But it’s true,” I whispered, voice slow and softly murmured. “I need to be an apprentice again. Or else Poplarstar’s gonna come around and yell at me.”

“Poplarstar isn’t going to yell at you,” Pinefeather assured me, but his attempts were fails, and I didn’t believe his words, even if they were truthful.

“He might.”
 
“Stop thinking such down thoughts, Nightpaw,” said the dusky elder, lowering his head almost as if he was dripping with dishonorable shame. “Do you want a warbler?” I shook my head, and he continued. “A chickadee? No? A mouse, then? I saw one at the fresh-kill pile, and I reckon it’s still there and still edible.”

“No thanks.”

“No thanks? I’ve never heard of an apprentice not wanting to eat,” Pinefeather rumbled, trying to make a swift, and frankly humorless, joke.

“I said no thanks,” I said, biting my lip. I never really felt angry, but I did now. My heart sprinted, an agile squirrel hopping from tree to tree. The abrupt temptation to shout in the elder’s face raged in me. Sensibility washed over it, and the irritation shriveled up, a wilted weed, before I could react. My eyes burned, and they were red with waterlogged tears. “I’ll just go and talk to Sootsplash.”

So I did. I talked to Sootsplash about becoming an apprentice again. I didn’t return to curl up and cry with the elders again. I practiced hunting. I practiced fighting. But I was unsuccessful at both of them, causing disappointment to bloom in the hearts of my Clanmates. Sootsplash’s face constantly darkened with despair whenever he even slightly glanced over at me.

A moon passed, and I was seven months old.

I heard him talk with Mothstep, the black-and-white-furred, yellow-eyed deputy, about me.

Sootsplash tilted his head. “I’m worried about him. He’s doing absolutely terrible in training, and he won’t stop grieving.”
 
Mothstep never replied.
 
Another moon passed. Eight moons old.

Sootsplash then contacted Silverleaf. “Are there any herbs that could help him? Make him train better? Make him forget?”

Silverleaf didn’t say anything back either.
 
Soon I was nine moons old. I was scrawny, and I was gaunt, and bony, and lifeless. My eyes were vacant spirals of oblivion, and I was the living dead. Luna constantly whirled around me, trying to cheer me up, but her attempts of making fun of Squirrelpaw didn’t make me crack even a tiny smile, much less make me feel better.

One warm leaf-fall morning, when the sun was already a radiant smile in the sky, though it was barely even dawn, and the midnight clouds had faded away, she had had enough. She slammed her paw down on my leafy nest, snarling like my mother. My eyes fluttered open, and my heart raced, for I was in shock; the loud thump of her paw smacking my bed totally unexpected. I jumped, neck snapping into place as I blinked quickly and scrambled backwards.

“What was that for?” I hissed wearily, swiping my paw over her face. I scanned the den, heart racing. If Squirrelpaw found me talking to “myself,” I’d get taunted big time. Sighing in relief when I found he was dead asleep, I turned back to Luna. “What?” I muttered.
 
Swatting me back, she rolled her eyes. “We’re going battle training.”

“What? But it’s barely even dawn,” I mumbled under my breath, eyes popping like chipmunk cheeks. “And I’m not up to it…you know that.”

“Nope, you’re up to it. Do you want me to make you up to it?” said Luna.
 
“Luna…” I began to protest.

She grabbed me by the scruff with her needle-sharp teeth, growling. “Let’s. Go,” she said through gritted teeth dug into my flesh. She dragged me out of the den. I wondered how it would look to everybody else, if they were all awake—little Nightpaw being hauled out of his nest by what looked like thin air. I snorted, and shook my pelt, lugging myself out of her forceful grip.

“You know, we’ll—I’ll get in trouble, Luna,” I said, muscles quaking as I stood up.

“So?”

I scowled, my face twisted into a sullen grimace. “Yeah, I’ll get in trouble, and I’ll be stripped of apprentice duties and have to do something boring like…I don’t know, take care of the elders or something.”
 
“But you’re not a kit anymore! You’re nine moons old; you can weave in and out of camp, and won’t get in trouble,” she retorted, directing a sharp eye roll at me. “And it’s not like you do much of your apprentice duties anymore.”

“Shut up.” A red glow swept over my cheeks, and I heaved a deep breath, heart tingling for adventure. “Fine. We’ll go, do battle practice, whatever. Just. Don’t. Get. Me. In. Trouble.”
 
“Good, ‘cause you need it. You’re absolutely terrible at battling, you know.”
 
“I said, shut up,” I grumbled. I began to pad forward, Luna floating alongside as we headed for the forest.

The dawn emerged, a swirling dancer bleeding through the sky as the sun looped throughout the half-faded clouds. A brilliant radiance smoldered the flesh of leaves, and they tumbled down, crisp and green. Transparency flickered in Luna’s striking eyes, and I couldn’t resist gazing into them. The most beautiful things her eyes were; more beautiful than the dawn, more beautiful than the dusk, more beautiful than twilight, absolutely more beautiful than anything else I’d ever known.
 
She was so beautiful herself, too, but of course I wouldn’t say that.
 
My heart beat fast, embarrassment pricking at my spine again.Ew. No, no! I wasn’t going to fall in love with her. She was my best friend…that would be way weird. And, frankly, a bit gross. I felt uneasy again, like how I did when I began to fall in love with her euphonious, pleasant voice. The sweat seeped from underneath the fur on my face, and my tufted ears twitched. Squirming, I tried not to gurgle, but it escaped my throat anyway, making me look like an anxious fool.

"You okay?" Luna murmured, head whirling to face mine. Her eyes softened, and she flicked her ear, eyebrows hunched in bewilderment and concern. "You all right there?"

Her voice. Of stars and midnight. Larks and chickadees singing, soaring through Silverpelt. And I fell in love with it once again. So melodic. So pretty. So soft and mellow. So sweet when she wasn’t being tetchy…

I snapped myself out of it, the ears twitching again, and I lied. “Yeah. Just a sore throat.” No. No. No. Luna, why would you ask such a stupid, stupid question? A stupid question that you already knew the real answer of. I was not okay. I wanted my father. I wanted my life back. I didn’t want to be mopey and sulky…I couldn’t help it. The temper burned in me again, but I let it go as usual. Sighing, the lava gushed, a roaring river, inside my chest, my ribcage a scattered heap of bones.

We were in the depths of the forest now, hidden away like bird eggs in a nest. Not knowing what to say, I flicked an ear and blinked at her.

That’s when a sudden shape—a blue blur—rammed into my chest just like that.
 
Literally.

Abruptly, her muscles jerked, and she dove forward, screeching, “This is gonna hurt! Be prepared!” She barely even finished her sentence before colliding with me, and we tumbled, a tangle of surprise and fur flying everywhere. Claws unsheathed, as hers was as well, I raked them down her side, but defending the attack, she smashed her paw into my nose, and I wailed in pain.
 
My face burned, and I could feel the crimson drip from my muzzle. “Luna, that hurt!” I howled, digging my claws into her shoulder, attempting to wriggle away. I could barely speak, but I managed. “You could’ve killed me!”
 
She leapt back, almost as if retreating, eyes narrowed slits. “Could of killed you?” She snickered, her voice gruff and deep, not airy and pretty like usual. Her eyes faded to black, and she howled, “That was only just the beginning, a practice battle! Your real battles will be much worse!”

And she soared forward, a wingless bird aiming to peck me. I screeched, and we stumbled through the forest, raking at each other, leaves in the wind. Flicking my ear, I looked for a weak spot, as Sootsplash had told me, an undefended area. Reaching for her exposed underbelly, I gave it a good scratch, but she swiped her claws down my cheek. It stung; she was a wasp diving for my vulnerability. Wriggling out of her grasp like a kit in the talons of a ravenous eagle, I lowered my head and, trying something new, rammed it up into her chin. It end up hurting my head more than it did her chin, I scowled, and backed away.

She scampered towards me, my weak attack not sidetracking her with corkscrews and coils of pain. Before I knew it, she was blocking my only escape—the thick shrubbery surrounding us. I sighed, waiting for her to defeat me, but she just stared. Ogling at me as though I was a badger with three heads, she just gawked. Her eyes were still black; they were the shadows of late midnight captured in tiny irises.   

And she jumped again. Using her tail to trip me, I fell face first onto the ground. Swallowing the distasteful remains of the grass that had somehow ended up inside my mouth, I grunted, swaying as I skulked forward. Her eyes faded back to being transparent, a sidetracking distraction, and I goggled at them. Triumph dancing in her pupils, she reached over, gripping me by the scruff and practically lifting me into the air, although she was smaller than I was. But she was still stronger.
 
I gasped for air, lungs scorching. I was scratched up, beat up, I looked like I’d been attacked by wolves.
 
“Barely.”
 
I turned to Luna, eyebrows arched. “What do you mean by ‘barely?’”
 
“You barely look like you’ve gotten attack by a chipmunk, much less a wolf,” she explained, her words a sheer growl.

“What, did I say that aloud?”

“I can read your thoughts, that’s what.”

"You're kidding me!" I exclaimed, eyes wide.
 
She shook her head. “I don’t kid. You know that, of all cats.”

"Oh."

"You look like you were attacked by a branch, if anything." She snorted, lifting her rounded chin and rolling her eyes. Smirking, she broke into a heavy bout of laughter, eyes popping.
 
This wasn’t the Luna I was used to, sounding ominous, sounding bit mean, but I didn’t say a word about it.

"Let's just go back to camp," I sighed, noticing the hazy sun had almost fully risen overhead. "It's almost sun-high."
 
●●●


“Where have you been?” was the first thing Sootsplash said as I bounded into the camp, Luna on my trail.

My heart froze. I never thought of what to say if I was questioned. Heart beating rapidly, I swiftly blurted out what was drifting in the back of my mind: “Battle training.”
 
Sootsplash’s ear twitched apprehensively. “With who?”
 
“Oh, myself. Just practicing some moves.”

“Did you take a tumble while you were at it?” he murmured, noticing the scratches on my nose and flank. Worry danced in his eyes. “Don’t tell me you got in a border skirmish by yourself—“

“I didn’t, Sootsplash. Don’t worry. A-and, I don’t know how. I guess I must of tumbled around and got hit with some twigs while jumping around and everything,” I stuttered, trying not to sound like a liar.

“Well, go on and ask Silverleaf for some cobwebs. You’ve got scabs all over you.”
 
Like anyone would care, I thought. “Just some scabs. It’s okay,” I said. “I don’t need to see her. I’ll be all right, I suppose.”

“Go to Silverleaf anyway.”

I nodded, not wanting to disobey my mentor. Winking at Luna as a “wait” signal, I crept into the medicine cat trunk. Just as I was going to step inside, Squirrelpaw blocked me, eyebrows outstretched as he snickered at me. He shook his head and leapt inside before I could make even the slightest movement. Scowling, I followed him, only to find that Silverleaf was not there. Probably herb-hunting, I’d presume.

I stared down at my paws, and then at Squirrelpaw’s, noting a pointy thorn sticking out of the side of his. I snorted; even I could get a thorn out of my own clumsy paws, and I was the “dumb one.”

“So, what, had a little skirmish with your imaginary friend?” he sneered, whipping around to face me, his voice harsh like the scrape of bush brambles.

I grimaced, gritting my stone cold teeth as I thought of a clever remark, something that did not happen often to my slow little brain. An idea popped in my head, a witty saying, and I fought off a proud grin. “Says that cat who needs someone to get a thorn out of his paw for him,” I muttered under my breath, shaking my head softly. 
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƒινє

Training with Luna continued day after day, day after day, until I finally had enough. The sun pounded down hard on us, the sweat trickling down my face like a waterfall. The grass beneath my feet feeling like sharp-edged rocks. But I kept fighting.

I dodged her attacks, sliding sideward and whacking her face with my tail. Spluttering, she staggered rearward, but, catching up with me, she leapt onto my back. As she struggled to latch on, she dug her claws into my pelt. Feeling her claws pluck out patches of fur agonizingly, I shook my body as though I was having a seizure. Her grip was sturdy and robust, though, and she clung to me like a big, ghostly tick.
 
“G’off!” I screeched, diving for the trees. The sun seemed to melt the fur off me, burning the fleshy skin underneath. Latching onto a tall spruce, I ignored the sun’s austere glare by squinting my eyes so that you could barely see them under my heavy eyelids. I distressingly endeavored to lug myself up the tree. I couldn’t. My muscles were scorching under the pressure. I did not have the strength; though she seemed like she shared no more than the weight of a mosquito, Luna was heavy. It was like trying to haul a badger up a cliff.

I squeezed my eyes shut, knowing what would happen next would hurt.

Pushing off with my hind legs, I tumbled and fell down. Though the ground was barely even a fox-length below us, Luna was able to slip away before I landed and crushed her. The pain shot through my spine like a comet. I cracked one eye open, and colorful, flamboyant bokeh hovered in my vision. Moaning, I squeezed my eyes shut again. My back leg thumping against the spruce tree, I was flipped upside down, like a turtle stranded on its back. My head felt as though it bore the weight of the entire forest.  

Opening my eyes again, I discovered the bokeh had vanished. Relieved, I rolled sideways so I wasn’t face-up anymore. Both my ears and eyes twitching, I let out another whimper. I sounded like a kit who had accidentally eaten some crowfood. You’re not a kit anymore, I had to remind myself to stop me from whining for even longer. You’re nearly ten moons old. Stop acting like such a newborn, you mouse-brain.

Blinking the sand out of my eyes, I reared up hastily, feebly stretching my limbs. My legs wobbling as though I could barely hold myself up, I cumbersomely collapsed. I landed with a loud thud on my rear, bruised and somewhat bloody. A cut dripped with cerise blood on my flank, stinging like a wasp-stinger. Gritting my teeth, I attempted to ignore the pain, but I failed, as it was too much. I throbbed all over, but Luna didn’t seem to care, much less give me a break.

“Come on, get up,” she barked, her voice the one of an exacting leader directing a Clan into a battle. She narrowed her eyes, a snarl rumbling like a Twoleg monster in her throat. “We have more to do to prepare you.”

“Prepare me? For what?” I retorted, scowling. My head swiveled with bewilderment, and I tilted my head at her in misperception.

“For when you’re a warrior,” she replied hastily, glimpsing away with glassy eyes. She sniffed, taking a breath so deep her nose looked as pompous as a badger’s snout for a moment. “Now, get up. Let’s go.”

I did get up, my limbs aching as though I was a taut, ancient elder, but I didn’t move. I didn’t go. I narrowed my eyes, biting my bottom lip with reluctance. “I’m too tired. I’m not going to fight, Luna.”

The bushy trees overhead did nothing to block the bitter, callous sunlight. Instead of absorbing the heat, they let it pass through, leaving us to absorb the heat instead. Stupid trees. I scowled again, and glowered at her directly in the eyes, which were slowly fading to black. Her eyes were almost always black nowadays, and always when we were fighting. Pure black, like staring into Silverpelt itself. Silverpelt with all the lustrous stars on its pelt stripped away.

“Go. Let’s. Go,” she repeated, and now she was bearing the exasperating scowl.

My face creasing with long lines of fatigue and tediousness, I exhaled a deep sigh, my tail wavering irritably. “Luna, I said no!” My voice jutted out with a moderate ire, and it suddenly got squeaky, as though a mouse was talking through me. Spluttering, I coughed, and whipped around, ready to stalk off, but soft teeth clamped onto my tail and I was pulled backwards.

A burning sensation tingled in my tail-tip, and a soft yelp escaped my throat. Flashing a quick peek over my shoulder, I realized a bit of fur had been pulled off my tail. By Luna. I grimaced, eyes widening with frustration. “What, Luna?”

“Stay and fight. Or turn away and leave like the coward you are.”

“I’m not a coward!” I hissed, my voice even shriller than before. “I’m just tired! Can’t you understand?” The muscles in my legs were scorching, like they were burning up in a wildfire. My throat clumped up, layers and layers of knobs thrown inside. The crossness caused claws to fly from my eyes, and Luna glanced away coyly.
 
This time I really did stalk off, growling under my breath through clenched teeth. Tossing a look over my shoulder again, my ears perked up. She began to mutter unobtrusively under her breath, the last thing I heard before I stumbled back to camp:

“No. And I never will.”

●●●

Silverpelt winked at me, and I winked back. Lying face-up, I could see a clutter of stars flickering through jagged cracks in the apprentice’s trunk. A pelt of obscure black with flickers of yellowish white smiling down at me, as though to comfort me.

The trunk was dancing with lively shadows and obscurities inside. I was too old to be scared of the dark, but I was, though I’d never tell anybody! If I was a ShadeClan cat, I’d never survive. Those cats loved the shade and darkness, hence their name. They lived in it, their spectral murkiness was what comforted them, never the light. They were almost nocturnal, they almost never poked their heads out when the sun was shining. That was what I had heard from the elders, anyways.

I wondered if I would ever met the other Clans, not counting meeting them in a battle. We didn’t have Gatherings around here, so we barely ever knew what happened with the other Clans. If the leaders needed to meet and discuss significant events, they would send their medicine cat in peace to inform the other Clans’ medicine cat, who would tell their leader. Then the three Clan leaders would head down to Starlight Lake to discuss whatever they needed to discuss.

Starlight Lake was so beautiful. It was like a cerulean Silverpelt, gleaming, reflecting, smiling. I’d only seen it once. Sootsplash took me. Although he had probably seen it a hundred times already, he was just as awed as I was by its exquisiteness and beauty. The reeds around it wavering in the wind, perfectly tuned. The fish blowing bubbles underwater, bubbles that would pop up randomly and cause lily pads to drift off. Adolescent frogs hoping around in the shallow shore, oblivious of any threats. I wondered how the lake would look during a sunset.

My head whirled with possibilities, possibilities soaring through the clouds along with the geese that often glided over us when it was time for them to migrate. Maybe one day I’d go and watch the sun drown at Starlight Lake. That would be magnificent. And if Luna was there…that would be even better.
 
Oh, snap out of it, Nightpaw! Can’t you stay mad at her for a solid day?
 
But we hadn’t fought before. Until now, and only because she was becoming snippy and impatient with me. She had become a cantankerous elder in the body of a ghost-apprentice. Or, shewould be an apprentice if she was alive and a Clan cat, anyways.

She was no longer the sweet little kit I had met in the rain, and it was too bad.

Too bad.

My eyelids slipped, and a thin slumber drifted over me.

Then something tingled in me.

My bladder.
 
Groaning, I screwed up my face in disgust. Are you serious? Just as I’m about to go to sleep, too! I let out a deep sigh, and crawled out of the den. At least I didn’t have to be cautious about waking Squirrelpaw up; he was on guard tonight, and, probably half-asleep too. He wouldn’t bother me.
 
I snuck a peek at the center of the clearing, and there he was, half-asleep, paws twitching. Rolling my eyes, I crept towards the back of the camp. Ears twitching, I did my business in the dirt corner, kicked some grass and muck over it. My face growing warm with discomfort, I slunk back to my den.
 
And then I heard voices coming from Poplarstar’s den. I froze. My heart galloped. My head pounded. My lungs squealed.

A soft, saccharine voice and a low, coarse one. Silverleaf and Poplarstar, respectively. It seemed as though Poplarstar was never cheery those days, never spoke with his usual voice, always with that low, creepy one. That one he used that day I went to the border. And that night, I found out why. Or at least kind of why.

I sucked in a deep breath, evergreen irises wavering. Slinking backwards, I pressed my ear to the thick exterior walls of his den, but I could hear them loud and clear.

Which wasn’t so good, actually.

Silverleaf was reciting what seemed to be a prophecy, a spine-tingling prophecy. A prophecy that caused my eyes to never stop widening. A prophecy that set a world record for “the fastest speed Nightpaw’s heart had ever raced.”  

“Storm of wolves,” she whispered, her voice suddenly eerie and low, unnerving. “A soft secret, hush, hidden.” She gulped, and I closed my eyes, sensing her increasing distress. “In a ghost, in the young. Legends, myths forbidden.” The sound of a tail brushing over clumped-together leaves making the hair on my neck stand up even more. I tossed a swift look over my shoulder to make sure no one was behind me, as she took a moment to continue. When she did, her voice was throaty and the lowest it could be, no more sugar sweet, as though she had suddenly received a nasty cough. “Come, wolves. It is your storm.”

She spluttered out a cough, and I trembled like a half-dead possum under my fur.

I stepped backwards just as Poplarstar growled, “What does it mean?”

I fled to my den, not wanting to know anymore, eyes scorching as though the sun was staring right into them. I blinked the tears away, and my eyes quickly grew red. Resting my head on my paws, I swallowed choked sobs. I wasn’t smart. No, I wasn’t. I was dumb and naïve, gullible and thickheaded.

But I did know the wolves were coming to destroy us. That secrets were being kept concealed.

Secrets in Luna.
 
Secrets Luna was hiding.

Secrets that not even StarClan knew about.

What was she hiding?

My small little brain spun and spun as midnight bled through dawn, but I couldn’t come up with an answer, a reason, anything at all. My eyelids were not sturdy dams, and the tears flooded down, a waterfall just like the sweat. I panted, heart loping, a fox chasing prey. I could barely breathe through the tears.

The wolves were coming. If one wolf—one little pup—could kill a warrior as intelligent and strong as my father…what could a whole pack do?

I thought.

I couldn’t come up with an answer.

And I didn’t get a wink of sleep at all that night. 
 



Last edited by Swan on June 11th 2015, 6:20 pm; edited 1 time in total



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя Sιx

Luna left.

She disappeared, just slipped away, like the moon on a lifeless night.

My heart ached, and ignoring it didn’t help; she was always there, tugging my attention in the corner of my mind. It was only for a day, half a day at the most, that she was gone, but I still missed her. Her eyes flickered in my mind every time I blinked.

I scraped my claws over the ground, scowling. My chin pointed to my chest like I couldn’t move my neck, I stared down the fresh-kill pile. My stomach growled, a monster in oblivion waiting to be fed. Nausea churned in my belly like an anticipated storm as the disappointment settled in. I knew my appetite would fade away eventually, so what was the point of eating when I would barely eat even half of it?

I sat down on my haunches, and watched the camp like a hawk eying prey. The sun was out, a ripe mango laughing heartily in the sky, and it felt like green-leaf, which would truly arrive soon, in a quarter-moon or so. The camp was vibrantly vivid, an orchid of cat-colored wildflowers, as kits energetically played and elders slothfully sunbathed and queens tranquilly rested. All the warriors were out, either hunting or border-patrolling or, maybe, if they had some free time, taking a walk just to feel the forest. The apprentices had a free morning, since green-leaf was almost here. A languid feeling tingled in my chest, and my stiff muscles relaxed, although it was sun-high and some cat would probably get me to do something soon.

A lizard scrabbled up a tree, but it was not quick enough for smug Squirrelpaw. He leapt up, leaning towards the spruce, and pierced the dusty brown creature with a jagged claw. Cheering, he pumped his paws, and, popping the reptile into his mouth, smashed the lizard to mouse-tails with his fanged teeth. He ought to be a warrior by now, I’d suppose; just a month until he finished his training. He was almost as big as Poplarstar, though, and looked the equivalent of a full-grown warrior. He even had a scar, but only I knew that was from scraping against a sharp-thorned bush.
 
I heard paws shuffle through the fallen leaves and twigs on the ground. Flicking an ear, Mothstep emerged from the shrubbery behind me. His topaz eyes glimmered with what looked like excitement, but his pursed lips told me he was as bored as a kit cooped up in the nursery. “Nightpaw, you’re coming with me, Finchpath, and Onyxfur on a border patrol. No but’s.”
 
I didn’t feel like arguing with him, and I wasn’t one to argue against warriors’—much less deputies’—orders, anyways. I warily nodded, and he padded off to inform my sullen mother and Onyxfur, a pitch black tom with eyes like the wind.
 
To be honest, I never really knew Onyxfur. All I knew was that he was Sootsplash’s brother, and that was it. Which made me feel really bad after he died. He was a good cat, even if sometimes aggravating with his stern looks and bitter tone.
 
A couple moments later, Mothstep strode back to me, with my mother and Onyxfur at his heels. “You ready?” he questioned, raising an eyebrow.
 
I nodded again, and we stepped off to the forest after telling Poplarstar on where we were going. It was a Clan rule you always had to tell Poplarstar where you were going. My stomach ran down with a crystal waterfall, and I squeezed my eyes shut, heart a wolf galloping through the forest for prey. I never told Poplarstar where I was going whenever I practiced with Luna.
 
It doesn’t matter. He probably was never awake in the first place at that times; you always trained at the crack of dawn, a little voice protested in the back of my mind.
 
But it did matter. To me. I was breaking the rules.
 
I realized I was holding up the patrol, stooped over next to Mothstep with my mind whirling. “Sorry,” I mumbled, falling behind my mother and marching along with the patrol.
 
●●●
 
Mothstep double-checked the border, respiring softly. He took an immense lungful of the air, and closed his eyes, twitching his ears. Fog drifting from his open mouth like the wind’s final exhale, he cracked open his eyes, and said, “All clear.”
 
“Are we clear to leave?” I asked, wanting to go home and curl up in my nest. A shallow somnolence drifted over my eyes, urging me to fall asleep on my feet right that second.
 
Mothstep tilted his head, eyebrows arching high above his wide forehead. “Excuse me? You know we must stay at our stations until the sun changes, and then we may leave. Or go to another border, if needed.” He raised his muzzle to the sky, ochre eyes still focused on me. “So when the sun begins to set we leave.”
 
I knew that, but the tiredness…it was too resilient, like a hundred-year-old oak tree. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again, Onyxfur was standing in front of me, briskly waving his tail so close to my face it was almost as though he was slapping me with his tail. “Wake up, Nightpaw! We’re on duty!” he scolded.
 
Blinking my eyes open swiftly, I gasped, swallowing a surprised sneeze. “Right, right.” It only had felt like a couple of seconds I had closed my eyes…oh, time, why were you so fast? “Sorry, I’m really sor—“
 
“Hush!” Mothstep hissed, his torn ear twitching rapidly like a rabbit’s nose.
 
My eyelids fluttered like hummingbird wings, and before I knew it, a rogue was standing before us. His matted gray fur was torn out in large patches, so that he was practically skin and no pelt. A jagged, bloodied scar ran over his eye, both ears torn and just about ripped to shreds. His left back leg was limp and lifeless, like a dead squirrel’s body. His eyes were wide and frightened, crazed and rabid, dark silver like the moon. His chest moved up and down hastily as he panted; he had the breath of a bear. His tail swished back and forth, but it was no more than a rabbit-like stump.
 
I screamed.
 
“The wolves are coming!” he screeched, his voice the one of a wolf itself. It was crooked with malice, but afraid at the same time. His voice rumbled like thunder, poured down over me like shameful rain.
 
Before Mothstep could even twitch his ear again, the rogue’s silver eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed like an elderly tree in a hurricane.
 
My mother herded me behind her, a dung beetle protecting her offspring.
 
Onyxfur dipped his head forward, and took a vast sniff. “He’s dead,” he reported to Mothstep. I could hear his breath fly out of his chest as he shuddered.
 
I said, “B-but wolves aren’t real,” even though I knew what I was saying was a lie.
 
You’re spreading the propaganda, Nightpaw, the voice sung in my mind. You should tell the truth, you liar.
 
Liar rang several times in my head, like an echo sounding over a canyon.
 
“He’s deranged,” agreed my mother unsteadily.
 
I shook the voice out, and turned to my mother. She trembled as well, but her body was more of an earthquake, shaking here and there. Her eyes were wide with shock, and she stepped backwards, even her whiskers quivered. “L-let’s go,” she mewed shakily to Mothstep.
 
“I agree, let’s go,” said Onyxfur. He bit his bottom lip, flicking his ear. “Should we bring the body with us?”
 
“No. There are most likely others who are to mourn him; his kin and such,” said Mothstep after a moment of thinking. “Pass it to SlopeClan’s side. We will have never known about it.” He dipped his head, looking almost insecure.
 
Onyxfur’s expression hardened, even though it was already as stone-faced as it could be. “Are you sure that’s the right decision, just forgetting about it?”
 
“We don’t need to get caught up in such drama. Pass. The. Body. To. SlopeClan. Please. Now, I want to check the ShadeClan border; I have a feeling they’re up to something.” The black-and-white deputy’s ear twitched again.
 
Onyxfur did as he was told.
 
We began to head for the ShadeClan border without being told twice.
 
●●●
 
My mother’s shaking had halted for a while as we padded for the ShadeClan border. I could tell her heart seemed to beat way too fast, though, which pained me. I knew that if I told her to calm down, she’d most likely snap. I hated it when my mother snapped.
 
The sunset breeze ran through my fur as the sun toppled in a furious ball of fire. The sky bled pink and red, orange and yellow, and my heart warmed to see it. The green of the forest lit up with vibrancy as the sun drowned itself. The birds’ song faded away as the night conquered day.
 
Oh, how the ShadeClan cats probably loved this time of evening, as the dark grew and the light shrunk.
 
My mother completely stopped shaking as soon as the birds’ song died out. Larks and wrens quit their twittering, and dove for their nests. The robins puffed out their plump tawny chest, wobbling towards the trunk of the trees they lived in. The birds’ song faded.
 
But her sturdiness did not last for a long time.
 
She suddenly screamed.
 
I screamed in reply, though I had no idea what she was screaming about.

Until I glimpsed at what she was staring blankly at.

There was a bloodied body in front of us, russet fur glimmering in the igniting sky. A she-cat, her throat slit and dripping with dried blood. Her eyes were wide open and glassy, blue like a jaybird. She was a stone, motionless and dead, with her paws frozen like icy tundra’s. She was all bones, the leftover of wolves.
 
I screamed again.
 
Mothstep froze like one of her limbs.
 
Onyxfur looked as though he was to faint any second now. “Oh StarClan…she l-looks like she’s been half-eaten by wolves,” he stammered.
 
My mother’s jaw dropped down in recognition. A burning ire blazed in her eyes; she was hating whoever killed this cat with a passion. “Oh my StarClan…that’s Foxshade.” But her anger melted to despair and grief as her already broken heart shattered to pieces once again. Her eyes suddenly looked generations-old, like they’d been holding all that melancholy inside for too long. The tears streamed down her eyes, slow at first, but then rushing like a waterfall. “That’s Foxshade.”
 
“This is something we definitely should report to Poplarstar,” Onyxfur said, inhaling heavily, eyes flitting from the she-cat to Mothstep.
 
Mothstep didn’t say anything.
 
But my mother did.
 
She screamed again, but only this time she really sounded out of breath. I whipped my head around, and followed her eyes: a meager, kit-sized cat with thousand-year-old eyes curled up next to Foxshade. She was brown, a heathery brown that made you think of barns. Her fur looked as soft as heather too, and her eyes were closed as she nuzzled the she-cat. How did she just appear there?
 
She suddenly blinked open her eyes.
 
Transparent eyes.

Another ghost. But how could my mother see her?

“Juniperkit.” My mother lunged for the kit, but the kit’s image wavered and she let out a bloodcurdling scream. My ears burned, and I let out an identical scream as well. My mother flew through the air like a hawk, and landed on Foxshade, crushing the she-cat’s body as she searched for her kit. The tears streaming down her eyes were briny like the tang of salt. The kit was gone.
 
“Juniperkit!” she howled, her voice croaky like the old rogue’s.


Mothstep bit his bottom lip, squeezing his eyes. “Finchpath…what are you talking about?”

I knew he wanted to say, “Juniperkit is dead,” though he didn’t dare. But I could still see it in his eyes.

I stood and watched my mother cry with wide eyes. “Juniperkit…s-she was there.” Her breaths were rickety and her tears were getting in the way. “And she left me. She l-left me.” Her bottom lip trembled, and her whiskers quaked. Her eyes were blotchy and red, like she’d been sobbing for infinity without halting to even breathe or blink. She looked as though she was to collapse just like that old rogue.

Mothstep took one last glance at Foxshade, and then returned my mother’s teary gaze.
 
“I think we should go home now,” he said ever-so-quietly.
 

 
Ƈнαρтєя Sєνєη

The first thing I saw the next day when I awakened was Luna. A pale blue shape hovered over my waking eyes, and a wide grin split my face. I had never met any other pale blue ghost—or even a pale blue cat that wasn’t a ghost—and knew immediately it was her. I leapt up soundlessly, but the feathers and leaves that lined my nest were pushed back into Squirrelpaw’s face. He groaned, and turned over, almost waking up, and my heart froze in my chest, but it melted into a gooey mess when I looked back at my best friend.

I frankly planned to sleep the rest of my free morning, but I was so excited about Luna coming back I forgot my "plans."

“Luna, you’re back!” I whispered, almost inaudibly, but there was no reason to do that; Squirrelpaw wouldn’t wake up even if there was a monster roaring right by his ears. “Oh, gosh, you’re back, you’re back!” My smile grew even wider, if that was possible. 

“Yes…,” she said hesitantly, almost embarrassedly.

“Where did you go?”

“Nowhere.”

“Nightpaw, who are you talking to?” My mother’s voice rang through the clearing, and I gulped, a boulder lodged in my throat. I hurriedly flipped over, squeezing my eyes shut. I pretended to be asleep, my breath slow and easy as though I was dreaming of a world where it was newleaf all the time and we had so many fresh-kill that we had to throw some away.

Why was my mother’s hearing so exceptionally…perfect? If there was a monster roaring twenty forests away, I bet she could hear it. She often scared me sometimes because of this. I never told her so.

I muttered gibberish in my “sleep.”

I could feel her icy shadow drape itself over my limp body as she checked in on me, and a chill skittered up my spine.

“Oh.”

My mother poked her head out of the apprentice’s den, and my tense muscles relaxed; my eyes fluttered open once again. 

“Look, I have a free morning, and I need to talk to you,” I murmured, quickly adding, “Somewhere private” at the end. 

“Fine, if you wish. Let’s go to Starlight Pond,” Luna curtly replied, tossing me a stern glance that made the fur on the back of my neck stand on end.

I fixed her with an apprehensive gaze, setting my jaw straight. My pupils were dilated and large, beady and black, wavering with the fear that roared away in my belly. Tensing my shoulders, I arose, slinking out of the apprentice’s den like a skunk, only with fur the color of mud.

“Good morning, Nightpaw,” a voice, friendly and effervescent, almost as though a flower was speaking, chirped. I turned around, only to face Whisperpaw, her voice almost as melodious as Luna’s. Her fur, pale tabby gray, shone pure silver in the daylight, her eyes as blue as Starlight Lake.

I said good morning back, and began to tread towards the camp entrance. I clearly wasn’t interested in having a conversation with Whisperpaw, but she was completely oblivious to the distinct expression plastered on my face. Sometimes she could be dumber than most cats dubbed me as.

“Where are you going, Nightpaw?”

“Your future mate is such a stalker,” Luna hissed, and a red-hot flush crept across my face like a caterpillar across a leaf. I barely even knew Whisperpaw. The last time I saw her, she was five-moons-old and still had kit fur on the back of her ears, and she was even more featherbrained, if that was possible. And although she liked me, I did not like her back.

“To Starlight Pond,” I said slowly, nodding with mockingly wide eyes. “Is that okay with you, Whisperpaw?” I’m not one to use sarcasm—in fact, I really didn’t understand it at all—but Whisperpaw really got on my nerves.

“Why wouldn’t it be?” she asked quietly, confusion speckled across her azure irises like stars.

“What a featherbrain,” Luna said, almost laughing.

“Goodbye, Whisperpaw.”

“Goodbye, Nightpaw.” Her voice was almost flirtatious, and I winced, shoulders drooping with harassment as I started for the camp entrance.

“Oh, she’s smitten with you!” Luna sneered, but I could sense a hint of jealous flickering in her translucent irises. Her tail was wavering with amusement, eyes widened with mirth, and there was an almost gleeful smirk smirk on her face. She didn't look the least bit jealous when I took a double take. I wondered if I had only envisioned her green with envy that Whisperpaw seemed quite smitten with me. I wondered why Whisperpaw liked me anyways. I wondered why I had imagined that Luna was envious, as well. 

“Luna, shut up,” I said as soon as we had vanished into the vast depths of the evergreen forest, where no one could hear me. A cross feeling settled over me like a thundercloud, almost as strong as a bellowing anger. But the forest comforted me, with its leafy greens and timeworn spruces, and my heart grew warm with content. There was no scent of prey, but there was so much to breathe in nonetheless.
 
Breezy brushes, verdant limbs outstretched, reached and tugged at my paws, pleading for eternal company. The taste of sour berries clung onto my tongue like newborn kits to their mothers, and earth’s otherworldly scent wafted into my nose. Kisses of falling leaves bombarded me, and I was praised for joining into the forest’s silent song of joy.
 
Before I knew it, we had reached Starlight Pond. It was a small pond, and the sun’s luminous rays made it dazzle; stars pirouetted over the glassy surface of the water. A tiny smile lit up on my face, and I flicked my ear at the water, watching minnows gather up at the surface, waving their fins at us. Lilypads, ivory with pink blossoms atop, spiraled around, forming ripples that twirled and spun and created awry shapes in the water. The grass grew tall around the edges of the pond, and some of it brushed my chest fur as I walked. There was a cluster of flowers bordering the pond. They were almost as pink and dainty as the lilypads.

Luna used her pointed chin to indicate a russet log with room for two near the pond itself. “Sit.”

I did as I was told, darting over to the log and sprawling across it, since Luna didn’t need the room. She could just, well, float, in the air.

We stared at each other for what felt like eternity.

“Well, go on,” she suddenly snapped, with the fiery impatience of a fox roaring away in her voice. “Go on. Tell me what you were going to say.”

“Explain,” I blurted out, eyes wide like chipmunk cheeks. “Explain everything that’s happened. Explain about the wolves. What’s with the wolves? You know about them, I know you do!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, a deceitful glint in her dilated pupils allowing me to understand she wasn’t telling the truth. She straightened her posture, looking me in the eye, as still as the hushed forest around us.

My shoulders drooped, and I gave her a pleading look, my voice as urgent as the sudden breeze dashing past. “Luna, please! You do too.”

“I’m not lying, I swear on my soul.”

My eyes flared with stubbornness, and my chin quivered as I spoke, tears beginning to gather in my eyes. “Then tell me about the prophecy, Luna. There’s a prophecy, and it goes like this…”

My heart clung to the insides of my throat, and an edgy adrenaline flooded my veins. 

Storm of wolves, a soft secret, hush, hidden.” I took another breath, and the chills scurried up my spine like rodents. “In a ghost, in the young. Legends, myths forbidden.” I managed to whisper the last part, but my voice shook so much you could barely understand what I was saying. “C-come, wolves. It i-is y-y-your storm.” 

I had the memory of an amnesiac half the time; I had no idea how I remembered all this, and it scared me even more than the actual prophecy did. 

Luna was completely silent.

It scared me to death.

She sucked in a deep breath like a water vortex, and I could almost hear her heart thump like the paws of a rabbit across the SlopeClan moors. She shook and she quaked. She pinned her ears against her head, and shot me a glare that could have burnt my soul to a crisp if I had not shyly glanced away.

And then she bellowed like a badger, the fury of a thousand suns roaring away in her diaphanous eyes. “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, NIGHT—“

Her voice suddenly faltered.

She stepped backwards, a frightened look on her face as though she was about to perish and be sent to oblivion. 

Her mouth opened up in a misshapen O, like the shape of Starlight Pond.

She almost said my name.

It suddenly occurred to me that she never did before. Sometimes I thought about it, but I often flicked the mysterious question away.
But now it stuck to me like a wet pelt, and I couldn't shake it off.

I had to know the answer.

“Why do you never say my name, Luna?”

“Because I don’t.” Her voice was croaky and undignified, she spoke like an elder who had lost their sight and their hearing, and almost their voice, as well. She shook like there was an earthquake quaking inside of her. Her tail erect, she stared at me with widespread eyes; now her irises were the ones pleading.

But they weren’t pleading for information. They looked like they were pleading for mercy.

“Please spare me,” she cried out, and I had no idea who she was talking to, but I knew she wasn't talking to me. Her voice cracked like remaining leaf-bare icicles in new-leaf. She shattered into a million pieces, as she screamed, “I haven’t gotten attached, I swear on my soul! It slipped out, it slipped out! This is what happens when I get mad, okay?”

And she turned on me.

She growled, eyes black as Onyxfur’s namesake. I shuddered as I noticed her claws, almost the length of a falcon’s talons, and my heart leapt up at least four fox-lengths in the air. She smiled almost sadistically at me, revealing sharp fangs the size of her claws.
 
“Run!” screeched a voice, and I flung my head sideways to find two transparent eyes, just like Luna’s when she wasn’t as ireful as she was now, peeking out of a bush. “Run! Run home, run, run!”

And I did as I was told.

I ran and I ran.

Sharp claws pierced my innards; I screamed. The sweat rolled down my cheeks like rainwater.  I fumbled over twigs and branches scattered among the undergrowth. I tripped over a chestnut twig, and I gasped for air.

I did not breathe. I could not breathe.

I didn't feel anything but pain.

A cut burned on my heel. It stung, almost as though I'd been attacked by a wasp.

I kept running.

The exhaustion, the pain. Unbearable, like a bear was raking their flint-sharp claws across my sides. 

I managed to make it to the camp entrance.

I staggered into camp like I was half-dead, shrieking like a blinded rabbit. I wanted to talk, I wanted to explain, and yet, all I could do was screech like a vulture seeking a carcass for supper. And I collapsed on the ground with a thousand feline eyes fixed on me. Oblivion dragged me into the realm of catalepsy.

I fell asleep easily, and I didn’t wake up.
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ɛιgнт
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ɲιηє
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭєη
".........................................................................................."
 



Last edited by Swan on June 11th 2015, 6:18 pm; edited 1 time in total



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя ƐƖєνєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя ƬωєƖνє
 ".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭнιятєєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƒσυятєєη
 ".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƒιfтєєη
".........................................................................................."
 



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя Sιxтєєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Sєνєηтєєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ɛιgнтєєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ɲιηєтєєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту
".........................................................................................."
 



Last edited by Swan on June 11th 2015, 6:17 pm; edited 1 time in total



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Oηє
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ƭωσ
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ƭняєє
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ƒσυя
 ".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ƒινє
".........................................................................................."
 



Swan

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Limerick
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Sιx
 ".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Sєνєη
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ɛιgнт
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭωєηту Ɲιηє
".........................................................................................."
 

 
 
Ƈнαρтєя Ƭнιяту
".........................................................................................."
 



Swan

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Limerick



Swan

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Limerick



Swan

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Limerick

Welcome, fans! Enjoy yourself at the Fan Corner, and hang around with fellow awesome fans like you!


  • Mustanglover325;; Congrats on being the first fan!
  • Dingoleap;; Congrats on being the second fan! 
  • Ładƴ ᗹlaĸeneƴ;; Congrats on being the third fan!
  • Howl of Lonely Wolf;; Congrats on being the fourth fan!

  • ~Frostblaze~;; Congrats on being the fifth fan!
  • ѕωιƒтƒαℓcση;; Congrats on being the sixth fan!
  • *FʅơɾʌFʌυɲʌMơƭɦєɾ*;; Congrats on being the seventh fan!

  • Iheartblustar;; Congrats on being the eighth fan! 

  • Skyfall;; Congrats on being the ninth fan!
  • 『αɴιмe ғreαĸ』;; Congrats on being the tenth fan! You get a prize!

  • Chickadee;; Congrats on being the eleventh fan!

  • Phantomstar5759;; Congrats on being the twelfth fan!
  • Tansypath;; Congrats on being the thirteenth [also haunted, because it's Friday, even if not Friday the Thirteenth!] fan! //rubs hands together You will be haunted by a friend of Luna--just kidding. Probably...

  • Fearless;; Congrats on being the fourteenth fan!
  • eyesofthestars;; Congrats on being the fifteenth fan!
  • Rαιη∂αρρℓє;; Congrats on being the sixteenth fan!
  • Mr. Goldy;; Congrats on being the seventeenth fan!

  • mads1345;; Congrats on being the eighteenth fan!
  • mintedstar/fur;; Congrats on being the nineteenth fan!
  • eyesofthestars;; Congrats on being the TWENTIETH fan! I'll get you your banner as SOON as possible!
  • Lynxjump;; Congrats on being the twenty first fan!

  • ~Wildshadow2~;; Congrats on being the twenty second fan!
  • Lilyleaf ;; Congrats on being the twenty third fan!




I'm not putting any WCF fan-art up because I have no idea if the artists of them would like me to showcase them on here, but if anybody gives me fan-art off here, I will gladly showcase it. :3



Swan

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Limerick
Some Fun Facts:

Luna actually is the favorite name of the person who inspired me to write this, Howl of Lonely Wolf!

Luna's official theme song is the Ghostbusters theme song, declared by Howl of Lonely Wolf. 

At first, I wanted Nightpaw's mother to die in chapter three, instead of Nightpaw's father, then I decided she would be needed in a latter chapter, so I spared her and fed Goldenstrike to the little beasts instead. 

Some Bonus Stories: 

Fιdelιтy Kιlled Tнe Cαт;; A one-shot on some of Luna's past. 


Credit for the story idea, writing, and characters goes to me, Swanwhisper.
Credit for the general idea of the story goes to Howl of Lonely Wolf.
Credit for the graphics—the headers, banner, and divider—goes to me, Swanwhisper.
Credit to my keyboard and hands for typing all this up.




I do not own Warriors by Erin Hunter.
I do not own the map.
I do not own the coding.
I do not own the song "Ghostbusters."
I do not own the mess letters used.
I do not own the fonts used in the banner and headers.



Last edited by Swan on June 11th 2015, 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total



Swan

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Limerick
wHOO!
Finally finished copying this from WCF to this. So proud <3
*scattered applause*
Also, open for posting.



separated segments

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Quatrain
//CLAIMS FIRSt POSTTTtttTTTT-
OMSC OMSC OMSC YOU YOU PUT HAUNTED ON HERE
I PRACTICALLY STARTED TALKING TOO YOU THROUGH HAUNTED OH THE FEels <333 YEASSS SWAN YEASS <3<3
But //coughs- Achem. I'm glad you added it here, Swan cx



Sσ ǀ ωαтcн тнє ѕυммєя ѕтαяѕ тσ ℓєα∂ мє нσмє
Not yet. sou gotta live <3

Swan

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Limerick
xD
Yeah I did. 
It looks funky without the awesome coding though <3
Me too. It's one of my better fanfics.



separated segments

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Quatrain
IM BEYOND HAPPY THAT YOU DID <3
It still looks great, with your grpahics and all c:
Swan, let's face it, all your fan fics are 'better'! All your writing is amazing.



Sσ ǀ ωαтcн тнє ѕυммєя ѕтαяѕ тσ ℓєα∂ мє нσмє
Not yet. sou gotta live <3

Phantomstar57

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Limerick
Cool I was going to ask to be fanned but I see you brought the list over from WFF! I was thinking of doing so but not sure yet!



Phantomstar
Author of Warrior fan fiction,
NEW BLOOD-Born of Smoke & Fire and all its spinoffs and one shots. 
Author of KHAN: A MAINE COON

Those who refuse to learn from the past--are condemned to repeat it. In a truly free society, individuals succeed or fail by the consequences of their conduct
  
http://www.mariejsphillips.com/

Swan

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Limerick
Flo - <33
Thanks. 
*laughs* Good one.  Laughing
Phantom - Oh, great! ^^ Yeah, I did. Might as well than start a whole new list.



Phantomstar57

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Limerick
Yay! HAUNTED is here!! 
I tried copying the coding for my fic over but it didn't work and I decided well, since its the story I want to showcase, I'll keep it simple over here or try to. LOL



Phantomstar
Author of Warrior fan fiction,
NEW BLOOD-Born of Smoke & Fire and all its spinoffs and one shots. 
Author of KHAN: A MAINE COON

Those who refuse to learn from the past--are condemned to repeat it. In a truly free society, individuals succeed or fail by the consequences of their conduct
  
http://www.mariejsphillips.com/

Swan

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Limerick
Very Happy
I was trying to copy the coding but since it was on multiple posts I was kind of lazy and just did a more simpler layout. xD



separated segments

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Quatrain
(More?) simpler is still cool, Swan. It still looks awesome <3

Poll - I can't click the 'It's great' option - although it is the best option - it doesn't sum up in words the amazingness of Haunted so far.



Sσ ǀ ωαтcн тнє ѕυммєя ѕтαяѕ тσ ℓєα∂ мє нσмє
Not yet. sou gotta live <3

Swan

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Limerick
Ugh, sorry for the grammar slip. I'm still half-asleep, even though I woke up awhile ago.

Razz FINE. I'll add a "Perfect" option or something like that just for you.



Phantomstar57

avatar
Limerick
LOL I decided to stay simple here since the brown font on the beige background is very readable. And I'm getting lazy and don't want to redo everything. . .at least the illustration and banner pics transferred nicely!



Phantomstar
Author of Warrior fan fiction,
NEW BLOOD-Born of Smoke & Fire and all its spinoffs and one shots. 
Author of KHAN: A MAINE COON

Those who refuse to learn from the past--are condemned to repeat it. In a truly free society, individuals succeed or fail by the consequences of their conduct
  
http://www.mariejsphillips.com/

separated segments

avatar
Quatrain
Still not good enough, but I voted ^^
Its should say: "Its beyond words flat ut the best thing ever <3"



Sσ ǀ ωαтcн тнє ѕυммєя ѕтαяѕ тσ ℓєα∂ мє нσмє
Not yet. sou gotta live <3

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