Fire in Cold Glow (Revised Edition)

By Masked Mouse

Edited by LuluCalliope

Chapter One

The wind was wailing outside of the building that the humans had left behind several years ago. Rain pounded down on the streets of New York. Inside of the building and just through a crack in one of the walls slept a pretty young mouse. She thrashed around in response to the thunder outside and the nightmares she was having. When a bolt of lightning seemed too close, she awoke, shivering from the sudden shock of finding herself in an unfamiliar place, in a white nightgown that wasn't hers. She wondered where her family was. She placed a hand to her forehead, which was throbbing and giving her a pounding headache.

"Oh, good, you are up," a voice said, and she jumped as she realized that there had been another mouse watching her from a couch opposite the bed. The mouse lying in bed saw that the speaker was a plump woman with light white fur and sky blue eyes. She was wearing a frilly blue dress and a white apron. "I thought we were going to lose you when we brought you in. You poor thing, you were such a gruesome sight to the eyes. Good thing Mistress Catherine let us keep you. You might have been killed by those cats…" They both shuddered at the thought.

"Who's Mistress Catherine?" The mouse lying in bed asked feebly.

"Oh, she's the owner of this old hostel," the chatty woman replied. "And, silly me, I almost forgot to introduce myself. I'm Maria. Do you have a name?"

"T-Tanya," was the reply. "Do you know where my clothes are?"

"Oh, we've had to get them cleaned, Miss Tanya," Maria said grimly.

"How bad was I?" Tanya asked, preparing for the worst.

"You were covered in bruises, cuts, the works," Maria answered darkly. "And you lost a lot of blood—more than anyone has in my experience as a nurse. You're getting along better now. I'll leave you and your little one to rest."

"My little one…?" Tanya asked, surprised and confused.

"Your baby," Maria replied, her voice also dripping with confusion. "She is yours, right?" She pointed to a small bassinet that was resting by the side of Tanya's bed. Inside of it was a sleeping baby mouse, covered with mostly dark brown fur, except for a small patch of white on her forehead. She had brown hair. Tanya peered down at her, surprised. "I don't know," she said softly. "She could be mine."

"She does look like you," Maria observed. "Does she have a name?" Tanya shook her head. "Then we shall have to give her one," Maria declared.

"She's so beautiful," Tanya whispered, a few tears springing to her eyes. "Like a jewel…"

Maria snapped her fingers. "That's it! Tanya, do you know any jewel names you like?"

Tanya closed her eyes, mentally going over a list of names from that category. But one sparked in her mind, like sudden warmth in the darkness. "Amber," she whispered. "I've always liked the name 'Amber'…"

"Then she shall be called Amber!" Maria declared. "It's a beautiful name! Now, you two rest. You'll meet Mistress Catherine tomorrow. But if you need anything, don't hesitate to let me know." And with that, Maria silently left the room.

Now alone, Tanya looked down at the baby resting in the bassinet. She tried to rest, but she kept on asking herself how it was possible to have a baby when she had no memory of it. It didn't make sense. Yet there was no mistake. The baby looked like her. But the last things Tanya could remember were only bits and pieces that flashed before her eyes. Cats were going after her family. She saw Cat R. Waul being captured. She heard his voice in her head. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you." These words, comforting as they were, sent a shiver down her spine…