Shadows of Ash
A fanfic by Bramblefire3118
In the shadows, I stand. I'm the only one who's gone this far. My whole life was ruined on that fateful day, that day when those cats killed my parents. Their studded collars - studded with those teeth, sharp teeth that scared me out of my wits - stand out in my mind, and it scares me every time I think about it.
And those cats? They didn't return to their territory, either. They scattered - I don't know where. I don't know what happened to those cats - those murderers.
My two siblings. Burnet and Charlie, their names were, and I don't know if I'll ever see them again. I wonder what happened to them, when our parents - Specks and Tawny - got killed. They left me when that day happened, leaving me to fend for myself.
My name is Ash. This is my life.
"Hey, you!" A high-pitched voice responded. "You're not a snake! Get away from me!"
"I'm going to get you!" A pale gray-and-black shape leapt onto a smaller tortoiseshell one. The tortoiseshell squeaked defiantly in response.
These were my siblings - playing as usual, still acting like kits even though we were all six moons old. Out of us three, I was the quiet one - I was shy, always staring off into space, wondering about the world.
"You're not," grunted the tortoiseshell, batting her brother off. He landed in the dust, making storms of it spiral upwards, and then fall back down to the ground.
Covered in dust, the gray-and-black tom scrambled to his paws. He defiantly stared at his sister - my sister as well. He started to complain to her: "You're too fast, Burnet." The tom's bright green gaze darted around the clearing, and then he continued: "Stop doing that. Let me win for once!"
Silkily, Burnet replied: "Not before you teach me how to climb a tree." Her amber gaze was narrowed to slits, and her plumy tail whisked along the ground. Another lot of dust rose in the air, and then settled as the she-cat's tail moved.
The gray-and-black kit hissed, and swiped at his sister.
At the sound, Burnet and the gray-and-black kit froze, and we all turned. A tortoiseshell-and-white cat - larger than us - padded towards up, her slitted amber eyes like pools of fire. She turned to the gray-and-black kit, who shrunk back and started to tremble.
"Charlie," the she-cat hissed, her voice sinister. "You will not act like this. You know better - you're six moons old, for the sakes of the spirit-cats!" She then turned to Burnet - who looked strikingly like her - and added: "You too, Burnet. Your father and I are thinking that you need to help out a bit more."
"Really?" Charlie complained, his skinny tail lashing. "But life is great how it -"
"- and your life will be greater once you learn some new skills that your father and I are going to teach you," the larger cat interrupted, her tail flicking.
There was an awkward silence for a moment, with no cat moving or speaking. Finally, Charlie stepped forward again, his eyes dark, and mewed: "Tawny, you know I like to be called Char."
Tawny - my mother - rolled her eyes, but Burnet and Char didn't catch that. They had instantly got into another game - which was challenging one another to jump the highest.
I had no involvement in this - but I saw it all. I was Ash, the quietest of the three.
... but back then, I didn't know what would happen three moons from then. No cat - not even my siblings - have any idea what I sacrificed when I left them.
And the only reason I sacrificed it was that I was too much set on grief.
A few days before it happened though, suspicion started to arise. I was nine moons old at the time, and oblivious to the real threat. My siblings and I still lived with our parents - but we all very well knew that we could take care of ourselves.
And all this suspicion... well, it started with the other loner family in the forest. We saw one of their daughters - and that was the last time I've seen her to this day.
That day, I was hunting in the forest, with my father Specks. From what I remember now, he was the spitting image of me - the same gray fur, with darker flecks dotting it, the same stony, dark gray gaze. As we were tasting the air for prey, I saw a dark ginger blue nearing us in the distance, and I felt Specks stiffen beside me.
"Is that one of Mercury and Caesar's kits?" my father questioned, his eyes narrowing. He was silent for a moment, surveying the scene, and then he spoke again, while all the time the shape had grown bigger. "That one has her father's -"
The ginger cat came crashing - full-pelt - into Specks, sending both cats toppling over. Specks quickly scrambled to his paws, while the ginger cat heisted. Finally, she did bring herself to her paws, and stared apologetically at Specks. "Sorry!" she whispered.
"Copper," Specks grunted, his eyes narrowed. "Where are you going? Do your parents know where you are?"
I saw a flicker of shadow in Copper's bright blue eyes, but she replied confidentally: "Mercury and Caesar know where I am - I always tell them. I told my father that I was going to the FlameClan border. I want to have a look at those cats who... live there."
FlameClan? I thought, not knowing what it was at the time. I stared - confused - at my father, and asked: "Specks, what is -"
He cut me off. He was gaping at Copper, his mouth hanging open. "Don't you know that's dangerous?" Specks growled. "I'm shocked that Mercury and Caesar let you go there! I'll -"
"And that is none of your business," Copper sniffed, before she took off again.
I stared in the direction where Copper had vanished, wondering what to do. What was Copper thinking, going to the Clan border? However, before I could move, Specks rested his skinny tail on my shoulders.
"I'll tell you what FlameClan is another day," he mewed softly. "At the moment, though, I'm concerned - I don't believe Copper's words. We must go find Mercury and Caesar."
I stared at Specks, then reluctantly nodded. "Lead the way," I mewed.
And even back then, we knew little about what would happen around the corner... and our lives would be broken forever apart. I was close with my father... but that was all destroyed when that happened.
As we approached, I could hear Mercury's worried voice splitting the air as she called out for her lost daughter. The reddish-brown she-cat's tail was flicking frantically as she looked down, constantly tasting the air. Her mate - Caesar, a muscular dark tabby tom - was sitting beside her, comforting her.
Caesar looked up. "Copper's vanished," he mewed quietly to Specks, his blue eyes dark. "We don't know where she is." He shot a wary gaze at their three other kits - Sylvie, Goldie, and Titan - who were sitting nearby.
Titan padded up to his father, his silver fur bristling. "Sylvie and Goldie were teasing her again, because she wanted to join the wild cats," he confessed, looking down at his paws. "Copper was angry with them. She went off in a hurry, saying she needed to make dirt, but... she hasn't returned."
I stared in shock at Titan. Why didn't he tell?
At that same moment, Mercury shared, shocked, at Titan, and mewed: "Why didn't you tell me this before?" she wailed, her green eyes panicked. She then turned to Specks. "Why are you here, anyway? We need time to -"
Specks quickly cut Mercury off. "We saw Copper while we were out hunting," the flecked tom mewed. "She said that she was going to the FlameClan border, because she was interested in them."
There was a shocked silence , then Mercury gasped. The reddish-brown she-cat immediately leapt to her paws, and swiftly padded over to Sylvie and Goldie. Tail lashing, she started to speak to them fiercely. I caught a few words of what she was saying: "Look what you've done... gone to join the wild cats... this behavior has gone too far..."
I looked back at Caesar and Titan, who were still sitting down. Titan was looking at his father, confused. "What are we going to do without Copper?" the young tom mewed, his voice trembling.
Caesar sighed, and brought his only son closer. "Your mother's father was one of those cats before he died," he mewed softly. "He was a warrior, his name was Thornleaf, I believe... but I wouldn't want all my kits to join. One's enough." His tail was tracing marks on the ground, leaving patterns in the dust.
"Well, we're still going to try and find her," Mercury snapped, hustling up her kits, and her mate. She then looked at Specks. "Come with us, and show us the way."
I followed behind my father as he joined the group heading to FlameClan. Now all I could hope for was that Copper could be found again.
Sadly, her scent was found over the border, and we didn't try to cross. She was claimed by FlameClan, it seemed. I wonder, if the outcome had been different...
One family had been destroyed, and a few days later, ours was. An ordinary day just turned into a nightmare...
So, we were wandering along this border - not the Clan where Copper had disappeared, it was another one. All five of us were there. Tawny had lifted her head, and tasted the air, and the rest of us followed suit. A sickening scent hit the top of my tongue.
"Cats," Tawny hissed. "There's some coming! Let's -"
Tawny's words were cut off as a bulky black tabby tom slammed into her, knocking Tawny to the ground. I scampered off to the side as the rest of my family looked up at the intruders.
A pale brown tabby was by the black tabby, both glaring menacingly down at Tawny, whose amber gaze was desperate as she looked up. They continued to stare at her with their cold gazes, and then I saw the black cat unsheathe his claws.
I heard my father gasp as the black cat sunk his claws into Tawny. At once, scarlet blood started to pool out. The black cat hissed gleefully as he landed blows on Tawny, spilling even more blood.
Specks yowled, and tried to get the black cat off of Tawny, but it was too late. Tawny's eyes glittered like amber fire for a moment, then it died as Tawny's head slumped to the ground.
Specks looked down, and faced the two cats, fire in his eyes. "Why did you kill my mate?!" he spat.
At once, the realization hit me. That cat killed my mother... I hissed at the cat in fury, but he ignored me. He was surrounding Specks.
"My two sons died," he hissed menacingly to Specks, flashing out an unsheathed paw. Specks flinched, as he went on: "Only our daughter remains. She will live a life of fury of this, a life of pain." His green eyes flickered before he added: "We have pained so many lives tonight. Our daughter, Talon - and now these kits." He then turned to his mate, and flicked his tail at her. "Let's go get him, Raraku."
"Agreed, Maikuku." Raraku unsheathed her claws, and I knew instantly what was going to happen. I stood there, frozen to the spot, and looked over at Burnet and Charlie, staring desperately at them. They didn't notice.
I saw my father struggle underneath the two cats' claws, and I turned away. Before long, I heard a strangled cry, and I turned to see Specks' bloody body on the ground, next to my mother's. They were both dead.
I saw Burnet and Charlie shoot cold gazes at me, and then I saw them disappear into the forest.
I watched them go. Now I knew that I was truly alone.
So that was what I did. I stayed alone from then on, and became wary of who came near me. I did see Mercury and Caesar a few times, and their kits - but I never saw Burnet or Charlie, or those cats who killed my parents - Maikuku and Raraku. I'm thankful for the second one, but wistful on the first one.
And now... only recently, after eight moons of loneliness and wishing, I have learnt to trust again. Recently, I have had my fair share of adventures, and everything is coming back.
But the shadows still are over me. Maybe one day, I will truly be out of these shadows of ash.
Author's Note Edit
Wow. That was the first fanfiction that I have completed in a while. I must admit, there were some hints at the beginning, but that was the whole point.
My favourite part to write was the last bit. That was my epic plot twist. Talon was always meant to have a mention, and I found it through her parents. <3
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this, and constructive criticism is appreciated.
Until next time,