Scarlet River

River escapes from a grope of cats and sets out on a journey.

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1. The Beginning

                 The moon was a sliver in the sky, only dimly shining on a wintry night. Darkness clung to the snow-covered forest below. Deep shadows lay beneath the bare, black branches of a large forest. Through thick swathes of snow a kitten struggled forward. Her head barely cleared the surface of the white substance and she shivered in the cold, chilled to the bone. Her brown silver striped coat was plastered to her sides, revealing a jutting ribcage. She had been running for many suns and moons now, clumsily teaching herself to hunt along the way, relying on instinct, and a darker resource...one that the kit tried to ignore.

                 She had long since lost her brothers and sister, and had been forced to run away alone, or risk sharing their fate. She would have chosen the latter, but she made a promise, and this is what drove her forward.

                 She took another faltering step, her tiny paws numb. I have to get help. She thought faintly. Her next paw-step slipped. She fell into the heavy drifts, weak. Through half-closed eyes, she stared up through the bare arms of the trees. The sky was dark and clouded, the moon half covered. She struggled to get up, but it was all for nothing. She had no strength left in her tiny limbs. Please! Mother help me! Someone help me! I can't die here! Not before I keep my promise!

                Her vision was fading, her thoughts drifting away. Slowly, the white snow was engulfed in darkness. For a moment, the kitten did not know where she was. She dimly recalled collapsing into the icy drifts, but it seemed as though she had somehow survived. For the first time in what felt like forever, the kit did not feel the constant ache of hunger in her stomach. A warm draft ruffled her fluffy coat. Cat sent drifted on the breeze, tickling her nose. Opening her eyes, the kitten found herself in a clearing, the encircling trees heavy with leaves, and the sound of prey alive around her. Where am I? Wasn't it leaf-bare?

                The she-kit struggled to her paws and looked around, confusion clouding her thoughts. "Do not be afraid." The kitten whipped around to face the speaker. Before her stood a beautiful grey tabby she cat, her fur seeming to radiate light. The she-cat's blue eyes were like deep pools, and the kit drowned in their calm depths.

                "Where am I?" the kit inquired

                "You are safe." The she-cat said, ignoring her question. "You have died, but your destiny has not yet been fulfilled. We will grant your soul passage back to earth, but you must keep your promise."

                "My soul? I'm dead?! Wait, what do you mean?!" The kit's heart was thumping with fear. The she-cat's eyes softened, and the kit relaxed. 

                "You will understand soon, kit. For now, return. Help is here." The she-cat bent her slender neck forward and touched noses with the kit. Warmth spread through her tiny body and she closed her eyes.

 

                "Is it dead? It's body is cold!"

                         "Where did it come from?"

                         "Shh! Quiet, both of you! It's obviously a lost kit, we must bring it back to camp. Lightstar will know what to do about it."

                "It's moving!"

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