Post by Zeneka on Aug 21, 2016 0:08:05 GMT -5
Someday I'll die, but not tonight...
He had thought he was going to die. The weight of the snow pressing down on him had begun to smother the air from his lungs. What a stupid way to die..., he remembered thinking, weak beyond struggle at this point, seething with rage as he waited for the end. There was a shifting and a slight rumble and suddenly he was tumbling down, landing with a sickening snap that had him yowling in pain. With what little strength he had left he scrambled forward as soon as he hit solid ground about two tail lengths down as snow and dirt crashed in behind him, leaving him in utter darkness. Taking deep breaths now that he could breathe again, savoring the feeling he had for so long taken for granted, he tried to stand only to stumble at the pain in his right foreleg when he put weight on it. There was a constant pain, but when he put weight on it, it was nearly excruciating.
Exhausted and in more pain than he could ever remember feeling in his life, he felt like doing nothing more than curling up to sleep, and that's just what he had done. When he woke, he panicked for a moment until he remembered what had happened. Gingerly, he stood, knocking his head on the roof of the tunnel he now occupied and growling in frustration. He half hopped, half crawled forward, dragging his injured leg and gritting his teeth at every bump that jolted it and sent pain shooting through him. He'd fallen numerous times, awkward as he tried to move along through the dark on three legs, in a tunnel that was often times barely large enough for him. He had to find his way out of here, and soon. He ran into walls in the darkness, unable to tell where he was going at all. He was just waiting to run into a fox or a badger somewhere, it would be just his luck right now.
He'd spent days down in those tunnels, growing more desperate each day to find his way out, the pain in his leg growing worse from all the movement and being jolted around. A number of times he ended up falling when the tunnel suddenly dipped into a deep slope, which didn't help his leg at all. At long last, the tunnel began to lighten, he could make out the walls, and his desperation to be out had him hurrying forward. Cold wind blew fresh air through his whiskers and he burst from the tunnels and tumbled into the snow, panting, his heart racing. He laid there for a time, catching his breath and reveling in his victory at finally finding his way out. He was starving and his leg was killing him, but he was finally free.
Finally the cold seeped through his pelt and he pushed back to his paws, pushing forward through the snow and looking for shelter. The snow was nearly taller than he was and it was slow going, but at least the blizzard that had buried him had stopped raging by now. He had no idea where he was, he didn't recognize anything around him, but he could tell he wasn't in LightningClan territory. With no shelter in sight as dark fell, he did his best to dig out a little cavern in the snow for himself so he would have some shelter from the wind and curled into a tight ball to sleep, cursing his leg for the pain. Exhausted, he was able to sleep despite his sorry state, waking up the next feeling cold in his very bones. He wished he had his brothers with him. Then he didn't, because that would mean they were out here in the middle of who knows where in the freezing cold. He hoped they were safe in camp, warm in their nests. His belly snarled, reminding him of just how hungry he was. When was the last time he had eaten?
He staggered onward, completely disoriented, not knowing which way he should go, simply trying to find shelter so he could get out of the cold. As his belly snarled again, he began to worry. How was he supposed to catch anything with his leg like this? Hunting was hard enough this leafbare without an injury to complicate things further. Briefly he wondered if escaping his premature burial in the snow was for nothing after all, if he was just going to starve to death out here. At least if the snow had smothered him he would still be in his own territory. If he died out here no one would find him but carrion eaters. He shivered, and not entirely just from the cold. It was a wonder a predator hadn't found him already. He thought of briefly of foxes and badgers. Badgers didn't eat cats, at least... unless they were desperate. Which they might be this leafbare. His ears flattened and he shook his head slightly, trying to shake off such thoughts. Worrying about all the many ways he could die wouldn't help him stay alive, it would just make him a coward who hid and slowly starved to death. Another stupid way to die.
However, his strength was quickly giving out, sapped by the cold, his pain, and his hunger faster than he had ever thought possible. He ate mouthfuls of snow to quench his thirst, but it did little to fill his belly. Some time before dusk, he collapsed, his eyes pulled closed against his will. He attempted once to get up before he passed out. When next he woke, he was out of the snow. He was warm... warmer than he had been in a while. It was dim, but light filtered in through a hole to his left. As he raised his head to look around, groggy and weak, something shifted beside him. His fur spiked in alarm and he tried to get up but a soothing purr filled the little cave he had found himself in and some cat rasped their tongue over his ear in comfort, “No need for that, now. You just rest. You're in pretty bad shape, my friend. You would have frozen to death out there if I hadn't come along.”
He settled back down, still wary, and turned instead to look at the cat that had apparently curled around him to grant him warmth. “Who are you?” he croaked, his voice sounding strange in own ears after not using it for several days.
“I'm just Gray, don't you worry!” he purred, giving him a few more licks, “Let me tell you, I'm so glad you lived! I haven't seen another cat in moons!” The dark gray tom stood, his long fur matted and wild, and stepped over Blazefang. He picked up the remains of a mouse and dropped it in front him, “Here you are! I saved some of my dinner for you. Eat up now, you're gonna need it!”
Blazefang's ears flicked warily but he wasn't about to pass up a meal when he hadn't eaten in so long. It was gone in two bites, and he was sure he had never tasted anything more delicious. His stomach rumbled, demanding more, but it didn't seem like Gray had anything else to give. He tried to stand again, but Gray was in front of him, whisking his tail over his back, “Now, now... you're in no state to be moving around! You just settle yourself back down in that nest there and Gray'll take real good care of you.”
He couldn't quite settle on what it was, but there just seemed to be something off about this cat. Probably because he was out here alone. Blazefang was pretty sure that would drive him batty too. He settled back down once more, “All right.... Thanks, I guess.”
Gray chuckled, “I guess, he says.... Well, you're not well, so it's fine.” He stepped up to the entrance and looked back, “I'm going to see if I can find us some more food, you just stay here and rest.” With a flick of his tail, the big gray tom was gone.
Blazefang settled his head onto his paws, wondering what the heck was going on. It seemed strange to him that this loner was being so nice, so helpful. He had thought loners were selfish and didn't think about anyone but themselves, it's why they lived alone instead of in a Clan or some other group. Maybe they weren't all bad. He sighed and let his eyes droop closed. He had shelter and had eaten, so he supposed he might as well rest while his new 'friend' was out hunting before he came back and talked his ear off some more. He could imagine Mudpelt scolding him for thinking like that when Gray was helping him and felt a mixture of annoyance and affection for his brother. He hoped he was safe, him and Gustclaw both, as he fell back asleep.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gray was fairly obnoxious company in Blazefang's book, but he took care of him, he hunted for them both, and that was no easy task this leafbare, so he swallowed his annoyance and tolerated the other tom. He stank as well. He never seemed to groom and the entire den reeked of him. He hadn't noticed it that first day, disoriented, in pain, and starving as he had been, but he certainly had the next. When he asked Gray if he knew anything about herbs or at least if he knew where to get some poppy seeds, the tom had just looked at him like he'd grown another head. So he had nothing for his pain, nothing to help his leg, and he was fairly certain at this point that it was broken. He had no idea what to do about it. No cat had ever broken anything in LightningClan since his birth as far as he could remember, unless it was back when he was too little to know or care.
He barely moved at all for nearly a moon, Gray insisting that he rest so he could heal and doing all the work for both of them. He grew restless quickly, wishing he could go out and hunt for himself at least. Being wounded like this was absolutely awful for the simple fact that he couldn't do anything. He had to get back to his Clan. He had tried explaining that to Gray multiple times, but the other tom had always told him he didn't know anything about any Clans or what he was talking about. Blazefang found that hard to believe... he couldn't have traveled THAT far from the valley, surely. Most loners and rogues in the mountains at least knew the Clans existed if nothing else. Gray didn't seem to have a clue. Maybe he really never went far from his den at all. No wonder he never met other cats.
Finally he insisted on stretching his legs and Gray finally pressed up against his good side to help support him while Blazefang tried not to gag on his stench. He felt weak, his legs trembling beneath him from disuse, but he forced himself forward. His leg still hurt when he put pressure on it, so he limped heavily toward the den entrance, taking full advantage of Gray's support. They took a very short walk outside, where a boulder helped shelter the den entrance and the snow wasn't so deep, before Gray insisted they go back inside before he hurt himself. Feeling weak and exhausted from the simple walk, he didn't argue and let Gray lead him back in to their shared nest.
He insisted on taking walks every day after that. They never went far, but slowly he felt himself getting stronger, back to normal. He limped the same each time, his leg still painful to use, though not anywhere near as bad as it had been. He wondered how long it was supposed to take for a bone to heal and wished there was some cat he could ask. He would even welcome Rookfrost's knowledge at this point. Another moon passed and their walks grew longer, slowly, as the snow melted and newleaf edged its way in. By mid newleaf he felt he was strong enough to make the trip back to the valley, if only he could figure out which way that was. Gray kept putting him off, swearing up and down he didn't know anything about any valley or any Clans.
However, one day when he tried to leave on his own, thanking Gray for all his help and telling him he would just find his own way, Gray blocked his path. He told him he wouldn't let him leave, that Blazefang owed him for all his help, and that he should stay and keep him company, that he would keep hunting for them both and everything would be fine. Blazefang told the tom he was harebrained and tried to force his way past, but Gray knocked his bad leg from under him and pinned him down, hissing that he couldn't leave. Furious at his helplessness, and in pain all over again, he could think of nothing he could do but wait it out and try to escape when Gray was asleep or out hunting, which is just what he did. He acted as though he was sorry, that he was wrong, and that he intended to stay, hoping to trick the other tom into a false sense of security so he wouldn't mind leaving him alone and going off to hunt later. It seemed to work. The next day when Gray left to hunt, Blazefang waited a short while before limping out and heading in the opposite direction of Gray's scent.
He didn't make it very far before Gray caught up with him, leaping on his back and dragging him down, pressing his paw down in just the right spot on his injured leg to make him screech from the pain before letting him up again. Furious once more at his own helplessness, he returned to the den with Gray, the crazy loner all the while berating him for leaving and threatening to 'punish' him if he tried again, though he never elaborated on what that might mean exactly. He flopped down into their nest, dizzy from the pain, and did not have the energy to try to leave again the next day, not when he was sure Gray would only track him down and hurt him again, with how slow he had to travel thanks to his leg. He was at a loss. He didn't know how he would ever get back home like this.
Afraid the stupid cat would kill him if he left again, and knowing all too well that he wouldn't be able to save himself, he didn't try to escape again. He had to come up with a far better plan before he tried, one that was sure to work, and until then he had to play along and bide his time. And he hated Gray. He hated Gray more than he had ever hated anything or anyone in his life. He thought of his brothers, never knowing what happened to him, probably thinking he was dead, and he hated Gray even more. He was determined to get home, he just didn't know how. The frustration nearly drove him as mad as Gray. One night he lay in their nest awake, just staring at the tom, glaring at him, wishing he was dead. He watched his calm, even breaths as he slept and prayed that they would cease and his body would grow still and cold.
Before he knew what he was doing, he had sunk his teeth into Gray's throat. He did not let go, not for all of Gray's thrashing nor the hot blood that streamed into his mouth and down his chin. He did not let go even after the tom had stilled and gown silent, not for a long, long moment. Finally he released the gray tom and stared down at him, his heart pounding. He was free. He was free! He thought about leaving that instant, but thought better of it. It was dark and he had no idea where he was going. He had to wait til morning. With a last disgusted look down at Gray, he moved to the other side of the small den and curled up in the dirt to sleep, not even bothering to wash the blood from his fur.
He had not slept so soundly in moons.
Excuse me while I light up the sky.