Pah, I haven't updated for weeks. I think all my fans vanished... . Let's blame it on the stupid school and the dreaded writer's block instead of the authoress' laziness, shall we?
This was suppose to be a one-shot in my Legends of Forgotten, but then I was soon realized that Shade was becoming more than I intended. So, I decided to give him his own little title. Anyways, this is a two-shot based on the character Shade created AquaFreez, my fellow fanfiction writer. I have her full permission to use Shade.
Shade appears in her stories Gifted and Dusk. You can go check them out if you are interested.
I think I haven't properly thanked everyone actually. Thanks for reading my stories and reviewing. I take every review seriously.
Judge me now, for what I have done. Judge me now, for in your eyes, I am evil. Judge me now, for I have killed my own flesh and blood.
Is there no greater sin than having the blood of your kin stain your paws? Your own kit, your daughter. She shares you spirit, your eyes, your skill, your blood. Yet, despite of everything, she is dead by your doing.
Are we born evil, or simply mature into the vileness that swallows us? Are some deemed by the cruelty of fate from the beginning to be good, while the others rot in their growing blackness? Can we plunge deeper? Or, can we change towards the light?
I ponder on these useless musings, yet it is too late. I wander in this endless forest where everything is the same and stale, waiting for someone to save me.
But don't you see, traveler?
There is nobody left for me.
"Fight me, you weakling! Get up, do not back down ever again!"
I staggered up, spitting out dirt and sand. Before I could even plant my paws firmly on the earth, another blow from my father send me flying again. I felt blood trickle from a new scar over my left eye. His intense violet eyes surveyed me with disgust, flexing his dark paw.
"You are weak, a shame to our family. How can you provide for our family if you cannot pass the basics of training? Hate me, you fool! Concentrate all your energy to killing me. Believe that I am your worst enemy. Attack!"
I clenched my teeth, then yowled, "You are my worst enemy, Rowan!" Anger smothered inside of me all these years exploded, directed at him.
I could tell me didn't expect me to attack so soon. His reflexes were slow, and I dug my claws into his dark brown pelt. Red haze clouded over my eyes as I yowled my victory before I realized my father was breathing heavily... with blood spurting out of his throat.
I stared in horror. I had killed my own father. Later, I tried to justify my actions. He starved me in a fox den for days. He bound me outside during a thunderstorm. He pitted four cats against me, and beated me until the world was black to me. My heart was ripped into shreds by him, yet I felt regret and horrible fear for what I had done.
With his blood pooling at my paws, Rowan locked his eyes with mine for the last time. "Well done... my son." He took one last breath, and shuddered. His violet eyes lost the haunted gaze and stared blankly upwards, forever motionless.
Sobbing, I backed away, tripping over my paws. I had to get away from the stench of death, blood... and guilt.
I ran away, tripping over my own paws in haste, tears streaming from eyes. I left my father, drowning in his own blood with a smile on his face.
Thus, my first pawstep into the descent of darkness.
I didn't get much farther until I crashed into another cat. Untangling my body from the cat, I stammered my apologies without looking at the cat's eyes.
"It's all right, Shade," she meowed back, not meeting my eyes either. I looked up and saw Menolly trembling with a scared look in her pale lilac irises, looking behind her shoulder frequently. She was also shifting her weight on her paws constantly, as if she was itching to go somewhere. It struck me that I probably didn't look much different.
"What are you running from?" I asked, curious. She stared at me, clearly frightened.
"How did you know?"
"I guessed," I replied, shrugging. I never really talked to Menolly before. She was distantly related to me on my mother's side, and our family was so large.
Menolly shuddered before meowing softly, "Father wants me to go become one of Poison's newest mates... you know, two of his old ones died a few sunrises ago."
I stared her again, this time in disbelief. "But isn't that a honor?" I flinched when her normally serene eyes flared.
"No!" she spat, "he treats she-cats like dirt. I will never grovel in that type of life." I digested this new information, amazed. To be chosen by Poison was a great honor in my family. Or so I thought.
Menolly was just as stuck as I was, I suddenly realized. We're both tied down by something of this place, but wer're trying to get free...
"Would you like to come with me?" I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth. But it was too late.
Menolly didn't hesitate for a heartbeat. "Of course," she purred, and licked my shoulder in a friendly gesture. "We better hurry."
I nod, and we headed out of the alleys side by side, letting our fears slip away before the first star appeared in the night sky.
I stared helplessly at our four young kits, squirming and cry in hunger. They have lost all their baby fat, and their little ribs were showing all too soon. Menolly looked up at me in panic, her face gaunt with sorrow and pain.
"You have to do something," she whispered. "Please."
I looked at her square in the face, my determination rising. "I will, Menolly," I promised, trying to smile reassuringly. She sighed, then weakly nudged our kits to her body for warmth.
I stepped outside of the shelter of the hollow log, and the harsh sun blinded my eyes for a heartbeat. I closed my eyes, praying for the thousandth time of the day for this drought to end. When I opened my eyes, all I saw was bleakness. The prey had deserted, and the grass was limp and brown. The air was too humid.
It had been ten moons since we deserted our family. Menolly and I had mated, and now our four kits were starving. I couldn't bear the thought of them lying motionless at the ground in death, Menolly's sorrowful cry lost in the howling wind...
I shook my head, clearing it from disturbing thoughts. I sniffed the air, hoping for the smallest scent of the scrawniest mouse, but there was none. Sweat dripped from my brow, and the heat was nearly unbearable. All I saw was red, brown, and dust.
After padding around hopefully for prey, I sat down miserably next to a Twoleg fence. I was now thinking grimly of the last option we had. But Menolly would not agree with me.
"You know what they will treat us, Shade! Traitors, backstabbers, foxdung!" she had mewed angrily. Our kits cowered, watching us with frightened eyes that ranged from light blue to the darkest of bruises.
"We don't have any choice left! We live or DIE, Menolly. That is that!" I had stormed, stalking out of the hollow log.
"Hey, Shade," a new voice drawled. I looked up to see a fat ginger tom perching on the edge of the fence, his face pudgy and content. My stomach growled with hunger and jealousy.
"Hello, Dale," I meowed, trying to be civilized. But it was an effort. Here I was, starving and trying to find meager scraps for my family, while Dale watches me with a passive expression, obviously well-fed and oblivious to hunger. But Dale was a good cat, even if he was a kittypet.
"Still hungry? Why don't you just come to my place? My housefolk just got a new bag of food this morning. There's plenty enough to share."
I shook my head. "Menolly wouldn't even go close to a Twoleg fence. I can't persuade her. Too darn proud, I guess."
"What I shame," Dale murmurred, obviously thinking of the. He flicked his fluffy tail, then meowed, "have you heard of that new gang of rogues taking over the forest?"
I twitched my whiskers in amusement. "You always like to gossip like an old puss, don't you?"
"I'm serious this time, Shade!" Then lowering his voice dramatically, Dale mewed, "I saw them." My ears twitched in interest, ready for a good story. "I was walking to Gloria's house when I saw huge black cats, their eyes glittering, heading towards the old Twoleg's nest by the river. They kept on talking about a 'ranger' or something. You should have seen them , Shade. Their bodies were covered in scars and were super ugly, kind of like you."
He blushed. "Oh, me and my babbling tongue again. I only meant the scars part."
"It's quite all right. I knew I was never a handsome fellow."
"But really, you should have seen the size of those teeth! I hear they sharpen their claws on old bones and kipnap kits too young to remember where thye came from to be members."
I nodded slowly, then mewed sarcasitcally, "riiiiight..."
Dale's normally cheerful face suddenly darkened into something that actually resembled seriousness. "I'm just saying Shade, things are getting weird out there. They are taking over the woods. I hear they have lots of cats joining them. I'm glad I live with my house folk." With that, Dale dramatically rose from his position and leaped off into his backyard.
I smirked, shaking my head at Dale's foolishness. Rogue bands never tend to get large, five cats at the most usually. Besides, if there was a large gang of cats taking over the woods, what would they eat in this condition? I padded away from Dale's fence, wondering how I would confront Menolly with empty paws. Most likely, she would throw me out of the log again. Maybe I should join those rogues, I thought, amused. Although I seriously doubted Dale's assumption on a group of cats taking over, I do believe that there was a new band coming.
I stopped right in the middle of my tracks, my jaw hanging open.
Of course! It was absolutely so ridiculously obvious. The rogues would provide food, comfort, and shelter in this unbearable heat. What did Dale say again?
The old Twoleg's nest by the river.
I had a new option. And I was going to take it.
"Must I do it?" I begged.
"Yes, you must show your loyalty to us," He explained in a silky voice, subtley laced with poison. "Do it, an you will be accepted. Unless..." Even in the dark, I can see his claw make a horizontal line near his throat. "Understand?"
"Of course!" I stammered, and stumbled out.
You see me shudder, don't you? Even after all this time, I still remember the the heavy scent of doom thick in the air, the sheer evilness ruffling my fur slyly. You could almost taste the sins committed here just by breathing, the smells of despair lingering in your fur. I shan't say anymore of that horrid place. Do not make me, or I shall tell no more.
I remember sitting right outside of the shelter, struggling internally, torn inside of myself.
This is for you kin, I whispered to myself.
Or is it? A voice purred back, slowly thawing the ice that blocked painful memories of revenge from my veins gently.
I shook my head, shuddering. Hesitantly, I padded into the log.
Menolly was lying on her side with the kits snuggled close to her, suckling greedily. For the first time in many days, she looked at ease and content. Purring drowsily, she looked up at me, smiling. "Hello, Shade---" Her last words were swallowed as my paw thwacked her jaw, snapping her head backwards. The force of my blow made her fly to the other end. Our kits mewled in distress, blindly trying to find their mother again.
"Shade!" she gasped, breathing hard. A bruise was forming at where I hit her, and she was too stunned to do anything.
"Get up," I snarled, the words echoing my father's. When she just sat there and wheezed, I lost my patience and walked over to grab at her neck fur. I dragged her over to me, then sliced my claws into her fur. Blood spurted out, staining the log with red liquid.
My claws slid deliciously into the skin, and I welcomed the moan from Menolly. I shredded her, ignoring her pleas with heavy ignorance. The experience was beautifying, yet chilling. I tore her ear and bit her tail, I striked tantalizingly close to her eyes.
"You are getting what you deserve," I whispered. I could not feel anything.
And when I was done, Menolly was bathed in her own blood. She had tried to defend herself, but the on scratches on my pelt were small ones. Wheezing, she coughed up blood trying to breath.
A wave of nausea overcame me as I realized in horror what I had done. But I fought back, reminding myself it was for all of us. But I could not forget how beautiful it was to slice her skin and bite the flesh.
"You're name is now Dusk," I meowed in a flat voice, watching her eyes glaze with tears of pain and betrayal. "We are starting a new life, a new time, a new dusk." I licked bloody paws like how I saw the assassins do.
Men-- no, Dusk only weeped.
After that, she became hardened and strong. Menolly did not exist anymore. There was only Dusk.
I slayed innocent cats and devoured the hearts of whimpering kits. I slashed the throats of my targets, crushed their skulls, and removed limbs from their body. Each day, each moment, each act was a inch closer to total darkness. I was drowning, dying, sinking into the embrace that pulled me in.
I was a living dead, one without feeling or emotions. I hardened too, like Dusk, but it was my paws that were stained with sins. I was the one with silenced the beat of the heart and stopped the pulse that kept the cats alive. Each life I take was a tear from sanity, and I knew it.
My descent was no longer made by pawsteps; I leaped, ran, and sprinted into the darkness. It swallowed me, and I welcomed it greedily, willingly suffocating the pain.
"You have done well, Shade, but are you loyal?"
"I am loyal to only you, Ranger of the Earth and Skies," I meowed in monotone, keeping my eyes down respectfully. Inside, I was brimming with hatred. I blamed what I have become on him, despite of the sliver of justice I had left.
"No, no, no. You are not." The last word ended in a hiss. I looked up, my face a picture of perfect confusion and innocence.
"Sir? If I may say so, I do not serve any other master."
"You do, you do. You serve what you call... family." My mouth went dry, and dread filled my heart with each passing second. "Now it is time for the ultimate test, my dear assassin."
I sucked in my breath, my heart beating faster. What was I feeling? Apprehension? Curiousity? Fear?
"...bring me your kin, and that will be the last act of loyalty you must preform."
His words slowly worked up to me, and when I realized what he meant, I bowed at his feet, prostrate. "No, no, please, Lord of the Forest and Stars..." For the first time in many moons, a surge of real emotion overcame me. I was not the Shade who killed cats in cold-blood and scarred his own mate; I was the Shade who wanted nothing else but to live and protect his family. I was shedding the cat I have become. "Please, anything but them," I meowed, my violet eyes wide and begging.
Ranger hissed, "I see you are not loyal at all."
"I am loyal, but not my children, anything but not my children, not my kin..."
"If you do not hand over your kin, then you are not loyal to me. Your heart lies with your kin, and that is an obstacle. I give you shelter, food from the Twolegs, and the best in this dreaded weather. Is this how you repay me?"
And, yes, I sobbed like Menolly (not Dusk, mind you). I weeped, bawled, and pleaded the whole time, but Ranger's word was law.
"Return with your kits, or you all suffer." His tail flicked to dismiss me, but I moved not a muscle. I did not feel as his burly henchcats, Kayes and Leon, dragged me away in disgrace, than threw me out of the stone walls.
I wept right in the middle of the road, not caring if the cats saw me or not. I sobbed my heart out, wanting to be cleansed of my sins and forget my deadly promise to this cat. Numbly, I knew cats, dogs, even Twolegs were staring at me, but I continued anyways.
"Don't cry," a voice meowed through my loud sobbing. I looked up, my eyes swollen from crying and my cheeks dripping. It was a young kittypet, her red collar blatant against her white fur.
"G-go away," I hiccuped childishly like a newborn kit.
"Nothing can't be that bad," she crooned. I blinked, and I saw that her blue eyes were understanding a warm. There was something about her that made her seem so kind and gentle.
"It is," I meowed hoarsely, but I did not say anything more. This kittypet, who's life been sheltered by the safety of Twolegs' could not possibly understand.
"Everything will work out," she promised, and stood next to me, placing her tail on my shoulder.
I should have lashed out, or killed her at the spot. But even for a short time, I was still the old Shade, the Shade who twined his tail with his mate's and watched sunrises with her. The one who cared. The one who loved her.
I didn't know when she left, but I was soon alone again, my tears drying.
I never felt so much conviction in my life. How was I going to escape from Ranger? From my experiences, he practically ruled everywhere on earth, maybe even in the stars. I hear that some parts are ruled by a skinny black cat, but I wasn't sure. How far can I go?
And if Ranger found them, what would he do to them? I squeezed my eyes shut, blocking the horrifying thoughts from coming alive. But then it suddenly struck me; Ranger never said that anything bad was going to happen to them! What a fool, I thought, you are.
My fears diminished, I walked away from the road.
I see you stare at me, wondering if I was crazy. Ranger had proved that he was capable of doing sadistic things through me. But let me explain. I had wanted so hard to believe that nothing was going to go wrong, that I had succeeded kidding myself into the delusion that Ranger would not do anything wrong to my kits.
I was wrong.
"I'm tired," the little gray she-cat that looked exactly like Dusk complained. "Where's Mommy?"
"I'm hungwy," the second one mewed. If I remember correctly, he was a black tom with my violet eyes, but Dusk's face.
Another whined, "Can we stop, pwease?" His dark lavender eyes were in slits of exhaustion, and I almost licked his dark head comfortingly like their mother would have done.
In the end, I was dragging along three of our remaining kits; the last one had died, and Dusk mourned for him quietly. I do not remember if I was the one who killed him, but it was a possibility.
I sighed, irritated at my kits. I looked at little Lilac, who was doing her best to look like a pitful heap. Pine stared defiantly at me, his stomach grumbling. The last one, who's name I forgotten, just flopped down on the ground, refusing to move.
What kind of father, was I? I wasn't surprised that I couldn't even remember my own kit's name. I vaguely remember Dusk telling me their names, but I only knew Lilac and Pine's by listening to the kits chatter among themselves.
"Listen," I meowed gruffly, "the place we're going has lots of food. So get up, and keep marching!"
With much grumbling, whining, and sighing, the three little kits followed me.
"What is this place?" Lilac squeaked, staring at the gray stone walls of Ranger's headquarters. "What do you think, Tom?" So the last kit's name was Tom; Dusk's father's name was Tom.
"It's looks scary," Tom whimpered.
"Nonsense," I meowed, trying to keep my voice light, "just step in and you'll be nice and cozy soon." I nudged them with my nose, and they scurried away, the fear-scent on them. It saddened my heart-- no, the old Shade's heart-- that they were afraid of their own father. But who could blame them? How many times had they seen their mother on the ground with my claws ripping at her fur?
"Well done, Shade," a voice mewed in the dim light. I stiffened, and realized the silky purr belonged to one of Ranger's personal favorites, Esme. She slinked out from behind a fallen Twoleg thing, her slender tabby form barely visible and her cool blue eyes glittering. She cocked her head to the left, a coy gesture that made younger and foolish toms stare.
"Esme," I meowed curtly. "Where is Shade? I must speak to him?"
The pretty she-cat smiled, and flicked her tail. "Follow me. Maybe Ranger will reward you after this."
For the next few moments, we padded forward in silence. The kits fidgeted a bit, their stomachs growling with hunger, but not a peep came from them. They were too tired.
The shadows grew longer, and finally we reached the upturned Twoleg thing where Ranger sat, with his bodyguards surrounding him, also obscuring his face from everyone.
"Excellent, Shade, excellent. You are a loyal cat," he mused. I could almost see his whiskers twitching.
There was a pause, and suddenly I knew. A feeling dread crept up to my bones, and I opened my mouth.
"You know what to do, Kayes." A heavyset white tom grunted, and before I could even scream, he was on the ground, his claws slitting Pine's throat and hsi muzzle stained with Tom's blood. He was incredibly fast, too fast.
"No..." I whispered, and made a move to snatch Lilac away. But she was already being dragged away by a ginger she-cat, screaming and fighting in vain.
"Your daughter will be of good use to us one day in the dens," Ranger mewed. "You have done a great service to us. She will certainly produce some great toms."
No one stopped me when I left, running away like a coward. There were no tears left, but my eyes still burned as I hurtled blindly out of the stone halls.
With each pawstep, I became frozen. Frozen in heart and soul. I will never let myself feel again. It hurts too much.
Even now, I still see the wide eyes of Lilac staring at me, wondering why I didn't help.
It's not the darkness anymore. It's me.
The cold wraps me with icy paws, and I knew I was dying slowly inside.
I promise to update the second chapter soon... one day. Please read and review!