Snowkit rolled onto his back, batting at a bit of moss near his ear. He let out a quiet giggle, and felt it rumble in his throat, for he could not hear. Snowkit was completely deaf.
He glanced over at Big and Ginger for a moment, feeling a longing to join in their game of pouncing on each other. Big was a large, dark tabby with amber eyes. He was gruff and impatient with Snowkit, because Snowkit could not hear anyone. Ginger, on the other paw, was very nice and gentle with him, since he was a bit of an outcast in the nursery. All of the queens and the kits knew Snowkit was deaf, but they had sworn silence to Speckletail, out of respect for her.
Snowkit knew he was deaf. The other cats did not think he knew, but he did. He could feel the rumble in his own throat when he spoke. He could feel the rumble of other cat's speaking, if he put his tail to their throat and felt the vibrations. He had known even when he was little that cats didn't open their mouths simply to breath; body language had always accompanied their words, and so he had always known he was missing something.
It wasn't until he tried copying his mother's gentle rumbles, when he realized something was different. She had been trying to get him to say something – 'Hello,' he believed – and he had tried many times, unable to get the voice-rumbles exactly right. He could see from the sadness on his mother's face that he had done something wrong, and he had felt ashamed of himself for it. How could he disappoint his mother, who played with him all of the time? Sometimes she pricked him with their claws when they played, but Snowkit was certain it was by accident.
Big and Ginger were not the other kits' true names, he knew that. His mother had tried teaching him their names, mouthing the words very carefully while he felt her throat-rumbles. They were Brawnykit and Tamblekit, or something like that. He got mixed up sometimes.
Snowkit rolled onto his stomach, nibbling slightly on the dry moss, watching the other cats curiously. Most cats paid him no attention, but there were several that did; two ginger toms, one whose coat was as bright as fire, and then a smaller gray she-cat with a strange twisted leg. Snowkit was very curious about the she-cat; she was as strange as he was, with her strange leg. She was the medicine cat, Snowkit knew, and when he was young and sick he had gone to her and the other big gray cat with the yellow eyes who wasn't there anymore to get better. She had been very gentle with him, and kind. Snowkit smiled. He wanted to be as nice as she was someday.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw quick, frantic motion. The golden female was herding Big and Ginger back into the nursery, glancing up at the sky nervously. Snowkit rose to his paws, feeling confused. Why were they running?
Feeling suddenly scared, he looked for his mother. Her eyes were wide as she raced towards him, her mouth opened wide in a scream.
Suddenly, sharp claws dug into his back, and Snowkit let out a shriek of pain that he could not hear. His mother lunged forward, and she grabbed whatever had him. For a moment he was stuck, being pulled both ways, until finally his mother fell to the ground, her mouth still open in a terrible cry. Snowkit let out another cry of pain as he was suddenly jerked away, as the monster gripping him began rising into the sky. Snowkit wailed for his mother, but the camp was growing smaller and smaller, until the burned trees obscured it. He could barely see one of the ginger toms that was always watching him running down below, as if trying to keep up, but soon the flying creature was out of the warrior's sight.
Snowkit was lost to ThunderClan, forever.
Snowkit struggled, but it did no good; the claws only dug deeper into his back. A blood trickled through his white fur, and he whimpered with pain. Finally, he turned his head up just enough to see red-brown feathers, a cruel yellow beak, and dark eyes. He did not know what held him, but whatever it was, he was surely dead now.
He let out another wail. Where was his mother? Why hadn't she hung on, saved him? Didn't she love him enough?
He began struggling again, desperate to get out of the monster's claws, but it was no use. He finally dropped, exhausted and simply watched the forest go by.
And then, the forest gave way to a strange marsh, and Snowkit let out another wail, for he knew now that there was no way he could find his home if he even survived this journey. For a brief moment, he thought he saw a small group of cats – another Clan? – but they scurried for cover when the hawk flew over.
The hawk continued.
Soon strange sights appeared to Snowkit; huge structures, like giant dens. They were arranged in a confusing array, with no rhyme or reason to them that Snowkit could see. Large pink creatures milled about, and occasionally some pointed upwards to the hawk in the sky.
And still, the hawk flew on.
Snowkit let out a feeble cry of relief when he saw forest again, but he could tell that it was not his forest, but another. He wondered how much more torture he could take; the claws dug into him with every beat of the hawk's wings. Snowkit was drooping slightly now, with exhaustion, and the hawk clutched him even tighter.
Then, suddenly, there was a terrible sound like thunder and lightning colliding, right next to Snowkit's ear. He could not hear it, but he could feel a whoosh of wind as something streaked past him. He let out a yelp, and the hawk let out a cry of pain; whatever had just happened had hit home. Hot blood fell on Snowkit's head, but it was not his own; one of the wings was bleeding heavily. There was a hole in it, as if something large and round had gone straight through.
Then, another crack, and the hawk dropped like a stone, heading straight for a large oak tree. Snowkit closed his eyes, but he was not afraid; if he hit a branch and died, it would have to be better than this.
The hawk had been off-balance when it was hit the first time, and from the second shot it had moved so that it was now almost on its back. It hit one of the tree's limbs with so much force that the branch snapped in half, and the hawk continued to fall, hitting limb after limb after limb. By some miracle, Snowkit did not hit a single one, although many scratched him on the way down. He was quite shaken by the time the hawk finally slowed, lying on its back on a thick branch. Snowkit opened his eyes hesitantly, and found himself staring into the glazed eyes of his captor. The hawk was dead.
Snowkit simply sat there, unsure of what to do. The hawk's grip had loosened slightly as they had fallen, but the cruel talons still remained in his back. Moving would require him losing plenty of fur and a bit of flesh.
Snowkit clenched his jaw. Somehow, he had lived. He wasn't going to die up here, either. He wouldn't let that happen. Maybe StarClan had spared him, or maybe it was just luck, but Snowkit wouldn't let it go to waste.
Snowkit unsheathed his claws and dug into the hawk's soft stomach, struggling to pull himself forward. He was only making it inch by inch, but with every movement searing pain tore through his back. More blood was flowing now, he could feel it, but Snowkit ignored the pain and continued struggling.
I will not die! He thought. I will not die!
And then, with a strong tug and a last gasp of pain, he was suddenly free. However, he had miscalculated and his pull not only pulled him out of the talons, but over the branch as well. He hit the ground with a dull thud. Pain lanced through him again, and pain clouded his vision. He realized he was beginning to lose consciousness. He struggled briefly in his mind, but the pain was too great, it overwhelmed everything. Finally, he descended into darkness.