The Newleaf night was chilly and still, not even breeze blew softly through the lands, nothing at all. Moonlight shone down brightly from a clear sky down onto the surface of the lake, like looking at the real sky, no wind ruffled the surface, making the moon and stars on it appear perfect and true.
The willows and newly sprouting reeds were panted an unnatural silver, bringing an eerie feeling upon the area. The river murmured as it made it's way swiftly down towards the lake in it's endless journey, the surface panted with broken starlight. The soft, faint sound of crickets and frogs in song echoed through the air.
The stillness was broken by the sudden shivering of a clump of reeds, making the singing break off. The reeds clattered together for a few heartbeats, then froze back in place as a creature emerged from their depths.
A cat, his black pelt turned silver in the strangely bright moonlight. His ears twitched fretfully, his sky colored eyes, wide with anxiety. He payed no attention to two frogs that croaked when his small paws got too near them. He padded carefully away, the crickets and frogs breaking into song once more, with the threat of the predator gone.
The crunching of paws a few tail-lengths away made the tom freeze, his pelt bristling. He parted his jaws and inhaled, letting the air pass over his scent glands. The familiar scent of his Clanmates hit him like a fox cuffing it's paw over his head. He crouched low, and crept quickly into a nearby clump of reeds barely reaching over his head. He couldn't be seen.
His heart pounded so hard, he was sure every creature in the territory could hear. He shook with fear and breathed rapidly, he held his breath to control it, though the tip of his tail flicked uneasily. His heart felt like it skipped a beat when the pawsteps stopped only a few mouse tails from his nose.
Now, he was frozen in place, too terrified to move. He could hear them drawing in deep breath, scenting the sir. They knew someone was there, he could also sense their fur bristling with unease. "Hollowfrost, I'm telling you, something smells... fishy..." he heard one of them murmur and the annoyed hiss of the other Warrior.
"Quiet, Mudpaw!" Hollowfrost hissed and cuffed the mottled brown she-cat with a large paw. Mudpaw let out an angry snort and kept quiet. "No, Hollowfrost, Mudpaw is right; something does smell... strange, I would say," came the voice of their Deputy; Perchfrost.
He would be crow-food if Perchfrost found him. His heart began to thunder once more. Hollowfrost took in a great sniff and nodded stiffly. "Yes, it smells like weeds," Mudpaw muttered quietly. Hollowfrost didn't seem as ruffled as the two other cats. "Yes, but there are plenty of weeds growing in this part of the territory, it's probably nothing," she grunted, giving a dismissive flick of her tail.
Without waiting for the other twos reply, Hollowfrost turned and disappeared into some undergrowth. Perchfrost hastily followed, with Mudpaw close behind. She paused and cast one more look over her shoulder, making the toms fur prickle with unease. "Mudpaw!" Hollowfrost shouted sharply, farther ahead. "Coming!" Mudpaw yelped and quickly disappeared after her patrol.
The tom exhaled deeply when the patrols scent began to fade, he still trembled slightly as he warily crawled out from the reeds. He thanked StarClan he had rolled in the weeds before he had set out. He continued his journey.
The murmured of the river and small streams began to die away and was replaced with the far distant roar of monsters thundering across their thunderpaths. Twolegplace was in sight when moonhigh had nearly passed. He glanced up at the moon, which had slipped far across the sky, yet it still shone as bright as ever. Please don't let me be too late he silently begged.
He came upon the first wooden fence of Twolegplace, the white pant that covered it glared brightly with the light of the moon. He sank his claws into it and began to climb and didn't stop until he was leaping onto the prickly grass of a Twoleg lawn below.
He began to pick up his pace as he heard a faint, weak moan of pain coming from some hedges that bordered the fence. He halted slowly in front of a hole in the hedge. It was like gaping black jaws ready to swallow him. Another moan from within made him instantly go in, the darkness bathing over him.
Heart thudding, he stood still for a moment, letting his eyes adjust to the dark around him, until he began to make out a tortoiseshell among the roots. His eyes widened and he scrambled over to her and lay down beside her. The stench of blood made his nose burn and feel as if he was choking.
Her eyes were closed, the only thing to say she was alive was the faint shuddering of her flanks. "Linda...?" the tom murmured softly, pressing his muzzle to hers. She opened her eyes weakly, their usual calm amber depths were wild with tiredness, pain, and fear. "Rookheart..." she replied with no voice. "You came..."
Relief flooded over the tom. "Of course I came, I wouldn't miss this for all the prey in the forest," he purred weakly. Linda's eyes widened. "I'm so scared, Rookheart! the bleeding hasn't stopped, even after the kits came," the tortoiseshell mewed fearfully. Rookheart's eyes fell to Linda's belly, three tiny bundles of wet fur were nestled together, suckling from her. Pride filled his heart, and he had to wait a moment to speak, worried that he'd choke. Even though he could hardly make them out in the darkness, he could still tell, that his kits, would be strong cats one day.
Than anxiety for their mother flushed the pride away. Her eyes had dulled and her head was now resting on the earth. "Linda, I'll get you help right away, I can get Mintfur, an-"
"Rookheart, no," Linda cut him off, in a weak, but firm voice. "It's too late for me. Please, take care of the kits," she murmured, and the spark of life in her eyes seemed to fade. "Good-bye, my love..." Panic made Rookheart's paws numb. "No, Linda! you have to live, what will the kits do without you, what will I do without you?" he whined softly, but he knew it was no use. Linda was now as still as stone. Linda was dead. His beloved was dead.
He lay still beside her for a few moments. Breathing in her familiar scent until her pelt began to get cold. He stood up, stiffly. Grief hollowed his heart, it felt like nothing was real anymore.
A shaft of moonlight broke through the roof of the hedge; it must have been behind a tree during the ordeal. It splotched the floor and shone down on Linda, as if StarClan had come down to guide her to their ranks. He was going to bury her, when he remembered the kits. They would die if they went on any longer without a mother. He would have to leave Linda. At least she was protected by the hedge.
By now, the kits were dry and as fluffy as ever. He got a good look at them for the first time. A gray tabby, a brown and white one, and a calico one; just like Linda. He carefully put one kit in between his shoulder blades, and carried the other two in his jaws.
He took three trips over the fence, one for each kit, then set off. He passed the border that marked his territory, and dread began to build up in him. His Clanmates would not be pleased when they found out about this...