A/N: To fans of my other stories (Mostly The Warriors Games) - Okay, yes, I am horrible for spending a week writing this new story instead of updating my old ones. But I must listen to my creative demons, or inspiration as most call it, and they would not let me write for The Warriors Games or Chasing Dreams. Thus I bring you this. '^_^
To new people: Welcome! I'm quite excited about this story, actually. And while it currently seems to have nothing to do with the Clans, after 6 chapters or so it leads to the Clans. Stick with me through the really confusing stuff of the first few chapters - aaaall will be revealed. :)
Fox tensed. She squared her shoulders and planted her paws firmly on the ground, tail lashing and eyes narrowed as she faced her opponent. He was bigger than she was, several moons older at least. She would have to use speed to her advantage. Thorn-sharp claws unsheathed, she leaped.
The young bluish-gray tom was unprepared and she managed to score her claws down his shoulder, but he batted her away with a powerful paw to the stomach. Wincing, she tumbled across the dusty ground. She scrambled to her paws, eyes wide, as he barrelled toward her and barely sidestepped. He skidded to a stop, ears flattened, spine fur bristling, and leaped again. She ducked, then twirled and pounced, fangs sinking into his back leg. He yowled and struggled free, throwing her back several paces. As she hit the ground, he jumped onto her, pinning her down firmly, sharp claws pricking her shoulders. She glared up at him hatefully.
"Good job, Drop!" came a yowl from the sidelines. Several Colonists looked on approvingly as Drop clambered off of her with a modest dip of his head. Fox got to her paws, shaking dust from her pelt with a muttered curse. Now that the battle's excitement had faded, her scratches stung, seeping crimson blood.
"As for you, Fox..." The four-moon-old kit cringed as she turned to the owner of the voice, Moth, one of the two leaders of the Colony. Her fur was pale gray with delicate, wing-like darker dapples and pale green eyes. She shook her head and went on, "If your Gift doesn't show up in another moon or two, we may have to start pitting you against Colonists or even Elites. Keep that in mind."
Elites! Fear, then anger pulsed through Fox. It isn't my fault it hasn't shown yet! For all I know I don't have one! Though she knew, she did. The mark on her paw proclaimed it for all to see. Her only hope was that Jay would come more often. He wouldn't let them make her face Elites!
"Back to the den," Moth instructed crossly. Fox glared, stalking over to the cramped underground den she shared with her friends. Fox regretted the cocky attitude instantly as Moth cuffed her over the ear, hard, and shoved her in the rest of the way. The speckled gray she-cat pushed the stone over the entrance just enough so that Fox could see out, but couldn't get out.
Disheartened, the bright ginger she-kit plopped down with a sigh. She turned slowly to check who else was in with her.
Two of her three denmates were currently imprisoned, both curled up in a sleeping heap, as often was the case given there wasn't much else to do unless the Colonists pulled them out. There was a very pale ginger tabby tom, Straw, the same age she was, and Fawn, a mottled brown she-cat who was 2 moons younger. Straw was a blind, intelligent, easily annoyed joker, and Fawn was an optimistic, energetic, girly-girl chatterbox. Their other denmate, Storm (also 4 moons old), was nowhere to be seen. As he was strong for his age, the Colonists often used him in matches like the one she had been in, or physical labor.
Fox curled up next to Straw and Fawn, trying to forget her new scratches with the warm soft comfort of their fur. Fawn snuggled up closer to Fox unconsciously, and an unbidden smile flitted across the ginger kit's face.
A heart-stopping screech of pain made Fox jolt awake. Straw was already up, muscles taut as he peered through the den's small opening. By the time another shriek rent the cool evening air, even deep sleeper Fawn was rising. Frightened, Fox crouched, ears flat on her head. Her unease only grew when a Colonist rushed over, shoved in a disgruntled Storm, and dashed off without even bothering to roll the stone back into place.
"Wh-what's happening?" Fawn cried, voice high with alarm.
Storm, a very dark gray, almost black tom with darker stripes, sat up and gave his coat a shake. The often-stoic tom-kit appeared ruffled as he glanced anxiously back at the entrance. Finally, he mewed, "Sky's kitting."
Fox's eyes widened, but she cringed as another agonized scream pierced her eardrums. Poor Sky! The white-and-gray she-cat was the oldest of the Gifted at the Colony. She could jump incredibly high and then "glide" down as though she had wings on her paws. When they'd discovered her pregnancy, Fox was only 2 and a half moons old. She wasn't sure how kits were made, but she'd heard that Sky didn't exactly want the kits, and the Colonists had somehow made her have them. Now, she would finally get to see the kits... If Sky survives having them, she added silently as Sky yowled again, only this time her voice was muffled by something.
"Hey! Fawn!" Storm hissed. Fox blinked and realized that the younger she-kit was halfway out the den entrance. She turned and looked at them owlishly.
"Fawn, get back here," Straw mewed in an almost bored tone. Her tail drooped as she crept back sheepishly. She almost always obeyed Straw, since he was basically the only one who could put up with her endless chattering.
A familiar male voice rang out just then. "How's she doing?" Jay! Fox's ears pricked, and she crept to the edge of the den as Fawn was now doing.
"Relatively well," reported the voice which belonged to Dragonfly, Moth's sister and the other leader of the Colony. "She'll pull through, though a kit or two may be lost." The white and silver-dappled she-cat she-cat's voice was tight with annoyance.
"Unacceptable," muttered Jay. "You've given her raspberry leaf, haven't you? A stick? Told her when to push?"
"Yes, yes, no," Dragonfly answered, sounding even more ticked off, if that were possible.
"Well, do so!" Jay snapped.
Dragonfly let out a low growl. "Who leads this Colony, Jay? Me or you?" She paused, as if reining in her temper, and added more smoothly, "Need I remind you that Freya still basically depends on your service to keep her from becoming another Sky?"
Jay growled in return, but soon cut himself off.
"He's in Sky's den," Straw reported, his blind blue eyes sliding closed in concentration. "Sky is moving, like she's in pain, but Jay is talking to her."
Despite her worry, Fox felt a burst of jealousy for Straw. Of the four of them, he was the only one to have discovered his Gift. He could feel tiny vibrations in the ground, giving him a vivid image of what was going on around him. Though his blindness impaired him in a lot of ways, his Gift sometimes gave him an edge over seeing cats in what was going on around him.
Suddenly, Straw's ears pricked and he let out a delighted gasp. Just then, one more caterwaul splintered the air. Fox's heart quickened. "The first kit?" she gasped at the same time Fawn burst out, "Was one born? Was one born?"
"Yes, yes, and yes," Straw meowed, sounding faintly amused. Long minutes slid by (5... 10... 15...) until Straw smiled and Jay's face appeared in the entrance of the den.
Fox jumped up. "Did any of the kits die, like Dragonfly said?" she demanded.
Jay broke into a purr. "Nope, three healthy kits were born, right on schedule."
"What do they look like?" Storm asked quietly.
Jay smiled and explained, "There's one silver she-kit, Puddle, and two toms - a white-and-gold, Flash, and a white-and-gray, Cloudy. Cloudy is Gifted."
Fox purred as she pictured them. They sounded so cute! But as Jay left, she caught Storm with an expression on his face she could only describe as, well, stormy. She quickly realized why and her smile faltered.
These kits would suffer the same fate as Fox, Sky, and all the other Gifted. They would always be trapped here, in this foxhole of a Colony.
Like them, these kits would never truly know freedom.
A/N: So, the first chapter! And it was intentionally really confusing. A lot will be revealed in the next several chapters. Also, if all goes as planned, this story will be the first in a series of an unspecified number of books, and will feature six POVs. We met 5 in this chapter. Next POV: Storm. :)
PS: The next chapter is almost twice as long. :D