Chapter 1

Thunder stalked through the freshly cut grass, making sure his pawsteps were absolutely silent. Moments ago, he had spotted a gopher's hole a few tail-lengths away. As he got closer to the hole, he saw a small furry head poke out. Halting, he immediately lowered himself to the ground so as not to be seen by his prey, but he made sure his belly fur wasn't brushing against the grass, otherwise the gopher would hear him approaching.

Slowly, the gopher crawled out of its hole and made its way to the Twoleg's garden that was just a few mouse-lengths away. It found a head of lettuce, and, turning its back to Thunder, began to nibble away at the crunchy leaves. Thunder saw this as the perfect opportunity to make the kill. He finally resumed stalking, and just when he was only a mere tail-length away, ready to pounce with his claws unsheathed, the sound of a twig snapping alerted the gopher and its scurried back to its hole in fear.

Thunder hissed in frustration, lashed his tail, and scratched at the grass with his claws, sending bits of dirt and grass blades flying in the air. But as he looked down at the ground, he realized that there were no twigs nearby that he could have stepped on to cause the noise.

Thunder sniffed the air, and realized that he could smell something. He parted his jaws and let the scent bathe his tongue, and he was able to determine that it was a cat. An intruder! Becoming suspicious, Thunder felt the creamy brown fur along his neck and spine begin to bristle, making him look twice his size. He glanced from left to right, but no cat was there. Unsheathing his claws, he finally turned around, ready to attack the intruder if he had to.

But what he saw was not what he expected, at all. Indeed, it was a cat, but a rather grotesque one at that. Its skin was wrinkly and hairless, and covered in puffy scars. Its claws were long and jagged, some of them torn, and some of them were even missing. The cat was also very thin, Thunder could see its ribcage and spine poking through.

But worst of all, the most disgusting feature of this cat, were its eyes. They were blind, and a bright, unearthly color. They looked as if they were silver, and they were so intense that they seemed to glow. The cat's eyes were also huge, so big that they appeared to bulge out of its head. They reminded Thunder of ticks that were so fat from feeding on blood that they looked like they would pop any second.

Thunder, aghast from this cat's gross, almost frightening, appearance, had to take a step back. "Who—what are you?" He finally managed to stutter out.

The stranger ignored his question, and instead asked one of its own, "You are the cat called Thunder, yes?"

Thunder's fur bristled even more as heard the strange cat speak his name, and he had to dig his claws in the soft earth to keep himself from falling over in shock. "H—how do you know my name?"

"That matters not," the stranger rasped. The cat's voice sounded like rock rubbing against rock, gritty and ancient. "What matters is—"

But Thunder cut him off before he could continue, "And just what exactly are you doing on my territory?" He Thunder growled, lashing his tail, his shock had transitioned into hostility.

"I was about to tell you before you—"

"You can't hunt here; the prey is for only for me to hunt." Thunder cut him off again with a deep, intimidating growl.

"Will you please stop—"

"If you don't leave, I'll attack!" Thunder let out a fierce yowl, cutting the stranger off a third time.

"Enough!" The strange cat yowled and raised his bony tail, and then the sky ominously darkened with storm clouds that blocked out the sun. Suddenly, a huge flash of lighting in the shape of claws scraped across the sky, followed by a rumble of thunder so loud and intense that is shook the ground the cats stood on. A fierce wind began to blow, swirling leaves and twigs around the two cats. Thunder almost fell over from the strength of the wind, but the other cat seemed unfazed, perfectly balanced on his ancient paws.

Thunder around in fear. What's happening! He began to panic, but before he could say anything, the stranger had continued.

"You young cats are so quick start a fight!" The stranger continued, stomping his forepaw on the ground in anger, "So foolish and immature! How do you expect to fulfill the prophecy with such behavior?"

Prophecy? But before Thunder could reply, there was another flash of lightning followed by a rumble of thunder, and soon after rain began to pour down on the cats, soaking through Thunder's fur to his skin. He quickly became cold, and it took him great effort to keep himself from shivering, for he didn't want to appear weak in front of the stranger, who didn't show any signs of being cold.

Finally Thunder plucked up the courage to ask, "What prophecy? What are you meowing about?"

"If you will just listen to me for a moment, I will tell you." The stranger growled, still irritated.

"But why should I listen to you? I don't even know you. You haven't even told me your name yet!" Thunder complained.

The strange cat let out a sigh, and lowered his tail. Instantly, the sky cleared, and the rain, the wind, and the storm clouds were all gone. There was no more lightning or thunder; it was as if this cat controlled the weather or something. What kind of cat is this? Thunder wondered, bewildered, shocked, and a bit frightened.

Finally the cat answered, "I am called Rock", he paused, "And I have come here to tell you something very important."

"How did you get here?" Thunder blurted out stupidly.

"I don't have time for stupid questions like that!" Rock hissed.

Thunder almost flinched at Rock's contemptuous tone. How does he expect me to listen to him if he's so harsh! But Thunder bit back the retort.

Rock closed his bulging, blind eyes and sighed again, as if he was attempting to calm himself. When he opened them, they were still the same eerie silvery color, and still appeared to be glowing.

Wait…no…

They really were glowing! Rock's eyes glowed brighter and brighter, until they looked like stars in his skull, and Thunder had to look away to relieve his eyes. When he looked back, Rock was looking straight at Thunder, as if he could see him, and Thunder felt as though Rock's iridescent stare was piercing through his own eyes into his very soul.

Finally, Rock spoke, and when he did, his voice was no longer raspy and gritty like before, but instead it was as smooth as silk and had a ghostly, ethereal quality to it. He began, "A prophecy has been foretold since the beginning of time, passed down from generation to generation. Soon, it will be fulfilled, but first, there are four elements that must come together: the sky, the air, the water, and the darkness."

Rock's voice echoed all around Thunder as he spoke, making his head begin to ache. Then, the sky darkened with storm clouds just like it had before, and the lightning, the thunder, the wind and the rain all returned, and this time the storm was even louder and stronger. Suddenly, Rock closed his eyes and his entire body started to glow, just like his eyes had before. His already pale skin turned a bright, snowy white glow, and then transitioned into a sparkly, silvery iridescence. But that wasn't the most astonishing part, and Thunder had to blink his eyes several times to believe what he saw next.

Rock had jumped…no, Rock had floated into the air, as if some invisible force were lifting him off the ground. His skin then began to become transparent, as if the cat were fading away into nothing. Thunder could actually see the sky and the trees through his skin, and as he squinted his eyes he realized that he could see...were those stars? Yes, he could see stars shimmering and sparkling throughout Rock's body.

The prophecy continued to echo around Thunder, repeating itself over and over in Rock's eerie voice until it became louder and louder so that Thunder's ears began to hurt immensely. He shook his head, and pawed at his ears, trying to rid himself of the pain, but it was no use. He had to restrain himself from going insane and banging his head on ground.

Thunder looked up at Rock, who was still floating surprisingly gracefully higher and higher, and continuing to fade more and more. But before he could fade away completely, Thunder yowled over the thunder, wind, and rain, "I don't understand! What does all that mean? Four elements? What do you want me to do?"

Despite him being elevated several tail-lengths away by now, Thunder could still feel Rock's bright starry gaze pierce into him as he opened his eyes to look down at Thunder.

For a couple heartbeats there was no reply from Rock, but then Thunder finally heard his creepy otherworldly voice once more, "Find the other three elements, young one. Take heed, before it's too late. Go now."

With that, Rock faded away completely, but the storm still continued. The rain was pouring on Thunder, and he was beyond soaked, and by now he couldn't keep himself from shivering. He felt cold to the bone as the freezing wind whipped at his fur and pierced his face like icy needles, making him have to squint his eyes to relieve them of the pain.

The prophecy continued to echo and repeat itself, until Thunder felt as though he was surrounded by it. He felt trapped, like he couldn't get away from it. He tried to run away, but it was then that he realized he couldn't move. It was as if his paws were stuck in thick mud, he couldn't lift them at all, and his whole body was paralyzed.

His ears hurt so bad by now from the echoes that he thought they would soon bleed, and it wasn't until he felt a warm liquid dripping down the sides of his head that he realized that they actually were bleeding. He began to panic as he felt more blood ooze out of his ears, but then he was blinded by a wall of red that he couldn't blink away, and he realized that his eyes were now bleeding too. His heart was now pounding in his chest as he felt the blood from his eyes ooze out and drip down his face; he couldn't see anything but red. Soon after he tasted a tangy, salty, almost metallic liquid in his mouth. His mouth was now bleeding too, he felt it gurgle and bubble in his throat, making him cough and sputter up blood onto the ground. He heard the pitter-patter of his blood as it dripped onto the blades of grass below him, and he tried to shake his head to rid himself of the warm liquid, but he was still paralyzed. He wailed in absolute horror and agony, but his wail was cut short and he realized he could no longer breathe. He tried to cough, but couldn't and soon his lungs began to scream for air.

Just when Thunder thought his lungs would cave in and shrivel up, a massive force slammed into him, like a tree had smashed him into the ground. His vision then went black and his mind blank.