Starlight, Starbright

In a land far, far away, there's a world that you could never have imagined. This place has no name. But it is home to numerous cats. Everything about this world is mysterious from it's blossoming, bright springs, lush, emerald summers, colorful, fiery autumns, and white, sparkling winters. In this story we trace the steps of a young heroine. From the moment she realizes what life is really about to the very second she dies. A tale of friendships and sorrows, heartbreaks and heroes, a broken connection between two sisters, a murder mystery, and a conclusion no one suspected...

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3. A Soothing Song

 

 “Are we almost there?” Aqua asked for, like, the millionth time. I was too exhausted to answer. Aqua looked tired too. At least she seemed to have gotten over Mother’s death. “Aqua,” I took a deep breath and asked t-he question I had wanted to ask, but hadn’t been able to get the courage up to do it. “What exactly happened?” Aqua looked away. I didn’t press her. Together we hauled Mother’s limp shape to the clearing near Eventer Pond. When we got there I put down Mother and glanced back towards our neighborhood. A few plumes of smoke drifted up into the sky. The fire was out. I turned back to the clearing. Lithe feline shapes slipped out from the shadows. Aqua and I exchanged uncomfortable glances. “What happened?” Father padded gently over to us. He let out a small gasp of pain when he saw Mother’s drooping form. “I-we-I-I...” Aqua stammered to explain. “We found her under a fallen tree. She was already dead when we got to her.” I whispered. Father stood with his head bowed. His eyes searched Mother’s face. “Father?” I leaned in a little closer. Father lifted his head. His eyes were blank. “I’m sure you tried your best.” His voice was hollow. Father bent his head to pick up Mother. He carried her to a shady spot in the clearing. Everyone was watching us. Father was our leader. The cats must have been shocked to see him so sad. A shiver ran through me. Someday these cats would expect a worthy leader from me too. Since I’m the firstborn, I’ll be the next cat to rule. Right now I didn’t think I’ll ever be fit to lead. I didn’t think I’ll ever be strong enough. I turned my head to say something to Aqua, but she was gone. I searched the clearing and found that she was stretched out in the fading sunlight. I padded over to her silently. I lay down beside her and started grooming her fur. She turned her head and smiled weakly at me. “Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight.” Without really deciding, I found myself singing. Starlight, Starbright was a song Mother used to sing to get Aqua and I to sleep when we were little. “Up so high, in the sky. I see your bright light, glowing, in the night. Somehow I feel like we’re connected, somehow I feel like I’m protected. As long as the sky is blue, I know to me, you’ll stay true. I just wish I could see the path that would lead you to me. But I know, I know, as long as the rivers flow and the winds blow; I’ll be able to feel your warm glow.” Aqua started singing with me. “Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight. Up so high, in the sky. I see your bright light, glowing in the night. Somehow I feel like we’re connected, somehow I feel like I’m protected. As long as the sky is blue, I know to me you’ll stay true...” We kept singing, our voices blending together, growing stronger, like a plant rising to the sun.

 

The sun was high above the trees when I woke up from my nap. I scrambled to my feet, alarmed that I had slept so long. “Easy, Fire. We decided to let you sleep,” Oliver’s gentle voice soothed me as he rubbed his cheek against mine. He slipped out fully from the shade. It was an especially hot day. “Are you okay?” Oliver asked me softly. I stared at him blankly. Everything came rushing back and my head hurt. Oliver seemed to detect my restlessness. He pulled me close and nudged my forehead with his muzzle. I snuggled into him. Oliver didn’t say anything, just held me tight and rocked me. After a while I sighed. “What’s wrong?” Oliver asked me in a kind, sweet voice. To my surprise tears welled up in my eyes. Oliver leaned in close to me and I nuzzled him, pressing my muzzle against his. “What is it?” He asked me again. I wanted to tell him but my words were stuck in my throat. I shook my head. “Nothing,” I whispered. I could tell Oliver didn’t believe me. “You can tell me, you know.” He sounded a little hurt. Like he thought I didn’t trust him.

Was he kidding? I trusted Oliver more than anyone. Even more than I trusted Aqua. “I know, Ollie, I know. I just... I just... I don’t...” I couldn’t find the words to explain. “It’s just...” Again I trailed off. “You know, I don’t know if I ever told you but...” Now it was Oliver’s turn to be lost for words. I leaned up and touched my nose to his cheek. Oliver smiled at me. “I lost my mother when I was very young.” He whispered so softly I had to strain to catch his words. “I never knew my dad.” Oliver stared at his paws. His smile had vanished. His eyes had a faraway look in them. “The cats who raised me never liked me. They preferred Olivia.” The distant expression in his eyes was replaced by anger. “What was your old last name?” I asked. “Lowanna.” He replied. Oliver locked his midnight-blue eyes with mine. “Nice,” I said, lamely. Oliver tipped his head to one side, his eyes stilled fixed on mine. My eyes are a deep, rich sea-blue. I usually use my eyes to win over someone and get what I want. “It’s terrible to lose a parent.” Oliver murmured. I nodded. "Can we talk about something else?" I asked. Oliver turned his gaze towards the sun.  "Yeah, sure," His eyes suddenly twinkled. "So... About what Olivia said. Do you like me?" He grinned. My heart did a flip. Then I sighed and rolled my eyes. "You had to ask," I was smiling,though.

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