The tiny she-kit pawed the dead mouse she was going to eat to ease her hunger when it dissolved partially,maggots and other bugs squirming around in its insides.The orange/brown she-kit jumped back and hissed at the now rotten crowfood.She didnt know what to do with it.It had been nice and fat,the last piece of prey this harsh leaf-bare.She sighed and snagged her claw on the tail,preparing to drag it into the lake.First she'd have to claw through the ice,then drag it in,then wash her paws,all the while trying not to slip in herself.She had just begun walking when a big,broad-shouldered tom walked over to the she-kit and glared at her."Nice work,Pumpkin.That was the last piece of prey all leaf-bare!"he raised his paw,claws unsheathed and hit Pumpkin's shoulder,sending her flying backwards in to a deep patch of snow.The snow turned red as gush after gush of blood spilled out of Pumpkin's wound.She wailed,"Lion!You're my father!Why....Ow!"Lion glared at her sinisterly and meowed,"Yes,I am your father,so I can do whatever I WANT with you."He nudged Pumpkin into a deeper patch of snow and stalked back into his nest,leaving Pumpkin wailing miserably.She was a rogue living in a"Clan" of rogues."I deserve this,"Pumpkin thought sadly.
Chapter One Edit
After Pumpkin had found some cobwebs and pressed them over her gash,she remembered the crowfood.She pawed it over to the lake and stopped,staring at the large whiteness that covered the ice.She shook herself and clawed a hole into the water,then pushed the rotten mouse in.She was about to turn back when something froze her.She stared at the cold water again,then dipped her paw into the icy liquid.Pumpkin's fur fluffed up at the frezzing temperature and thought,"Hmmmm...It would be a quick way to...die.No cat would notice my absence.Besides,Im a burden,and I always will be."She walked around the lakeshore,far enough so that no one would see anything,any evidence.After checking that she was alone,Pumpkin clawed a hole large enough for her to crawl into.Pumpkin clawed her wound,opening it up again,so that she would be dead before she knew it.Lastly,she waded into the freezing water and under the ice,shivering violently.Her blood gushed to the surface,but she didnt follow.Her lungs were on fire,and she wanted air badly,but stayed where she was.She heard a yowl somewhere off,but ignored it.Her vision was weakening and her lungs were burning,turning black and crispy,turning to ash...
The ice above Pumpkin's head disappeared and teeth grabbed her scruff,lifting the sodden she-kit out.Pumpkin heard murmuring and tried to listen.Cats,multiple cats were there,talking about her.She was too tired to squirm,to talk,only to breathe.
"Poor little scrap...How did she...Theres a wound in her shoulder...who would do that..."endless mumble about her.Eventually her fur fluffed up and she could breathe evenly,and the rocking of teeth in her scruff lulled her to sleep.
Pumpkin jerked awake when her feet touched the ground and she looked at the region of land she was sitting on.Countless cats walked around,young and old,to stop and stare at her.The eyes of everybody on her burned into her head.Then she saw a black cat with green eyes jump on to a large tree stump and call out in a male voice,"Who are you?I am Darkstar,leader of Woodclan."
Pumpkin wanted to turn tail and flee back to the colony of rogues,but she couldnt."P-Pumpkin."she managed to choke out."And tell me,Pumpkin,who did that to your shoulder?"he asked,his gaze flickering to the gash.
Gasps rang out among the cats and they looked at her with pity and sorrow.Anger flared inside Pumpkin.She didnt want any cats' pity!Even Darkstars eyes widened."And where were you to make my warriors come and bring you here?"
"I didnt want to be a burden to my clan of rogues,so I tried to drown myself in the river."more gasps,softened gazes.
"Well then,since you seem to be a kit,I will give you over to Birdstep,if you choose to stay."Pumpkin liked this surrounding.These cats weren't evil,weren't so hostile.She nodded her head and a She-cat,fattened by milk,swept her over with her tail.She had orange and white fur and loving amber eyes as her gaze swept over Pumpkin.
"Hello,little one.I'm Birdstep."the she-cat had a deep,soothing voice that made Pumpkin feel at ease.Three kits bounced out from behind her and poked Pumpkin.Two toms and a she-kit.The toms were orange and white like Birdstep,while the she-kit was pure white.They all had blue eyes.
"Who's this?"asked the tom.
"She doesn't smell like a Clan cat!"yelled the other tom.
"Where did she come from?"inquired the she-kit.
"Now,now.This is Pumpkin,and she came from a family of rogues.She's going to be living with us for a while."Birdstep explained.
A rustle sounded and Pumpkin's head whipped around to see Lion walking through the brambles calmly.Pumpkin gasped as his gaze rested on her and his muscles quivered beneath his skin and fur.His eyes seemed calm but Pumpkin could see masked fury and hatred behind the shield.The other cats noticed him too and had begun to surround him.He pushed through the cats,ignoring their questions,until he was face to face with Pumpkin.Their gazes locked and he quietly murmured,"My,you have a lot of explaining to do."then he tensed and pounced on her,grabbing her scruff and sprinting out of the camp.When they came to a small clearing between the trees,he flung her to the ground.
"What were you thinking?!"he bellowed,his eyes a hair-length from Pumpkin's frightened ones."I wanted to die from your abuse!You're a coward,picking on the weak,you're no father!I tried to drown myself in the lakeBesides,"Pumpkin added,"The cats here arent so hostile.I dont like the fact that,even though I'm with other cats,I'm alone,to fend for myself.Here I have a sense of security.I sense of security you never gave me."Lions eyes softened,and he just stared at her,thinking.Then his gaze hardened again,and he bit down hard into her shoulder.
Pumpkin let out a shrill wail of agony and tears ran down her muzzle and face.Then warriors came again,streaming into the tiny clearing,and Lion was dispatched from Pumpkin,disappearing under the cats.Soon another cat had grabbed her and bounded for camp.Behind the two,Lion yelled,"Dont get comfortable yet,Pumpkin.My clan will come for you,you just wait!"
Her heart froze,blood transformed into ice.When they had gotten far enough,the unnamed cat set her down and began licking her wound,then walked and sat down across from her."Who are you?"asked Pumpkin shakily."I'm Mousepaw."he stated in a male voice."You should be glad I was coming,along with the other cats.You have a voice on you.Hopefully that brute of a dad wont come back.That's twice he's injured you."Pumpkin let out a mrrow of laughter."I guess good things DO come out of death attempts."His eyes glinted with ease."C'mon,let's get back to camp,"and they padded back through the brambles alongside each other.
Pumpkin walked back through the entrance with Mousepaw and decided to go to the Medicine cats' den to get her bloody shoulder looked at.Mousepaw nodded and padded to the fresh-kill pile to share a shrew with his sister Tinypaw.Pumpkin walked through the brambles into the cats den and looked along the rows of herbs in wonder.She had never seen a den like this so she just stood gaping until a paw prodded her from behind and her head whipped around in surprise."Hi,Pumpkin.Sorry for scaring you.I'm Roseshine,by the way."said a long furred tortoiseshell she-cat."Are you the medicine cat?"asked Pumpkin.Roseshine nodded,and went on."I'm going to have to do something about that shoulder of yours.I trust that's the reason you're here."Pumpkin nodded shyly,and Roseshine gestured for her to sit down on one of the nests she had made."It's just in case more than one sick or wounded cat comes here at a time."The she-cat explained for the numerous nests.
Pumpkin settled down in one of the nests while Roseshine looked through her herbs."Hmmmm...Chervil and cobwebs will do.Pumpkin,stay here while I go get some cobwebs.I'll be right back."Roseshine left and was back before the sun had moved a mouse-length.Roseshine padded to the what seemed to e Chervil,and bit of three leaves,then chewed them up and spat the juice on to Pumpkins shoulder,rubbing it around on the wound,then stuck the cobwebs on.The relief was almost instant,and Pumpkin let out a sigh of ease.Roseshine nodded."You can go now,but no rough-playing.Calm down for a bit,you have a nasty wound as well as a nasty fright.Pumpkin looked at the medicine cat in curiosity and Roseshine said,"News spreads like a wildfire in this place.Just about everyone in camp knows about what happened between you and your father.I bet the kits are playing the story again right now."Pumpkin peeked out,and,sure enough,the kits were play-biting each others shoulders and pretending to be her cruel father.Pumpkin shuddered and said goodbye to Roseshine,and was thankful that there was no pity in her gray eyes,just anger at Lion.
His words rippled around in Pumpkin's mind and she became anxious,but decided to explore.A large hole was right in front of her and she knew that it couldn't be a rabbithole,it was large enough for a cat to climb through itself!Just them,purple eyesstared at her and said,"Who's there?"Pumpkin jumped back and said,"P-Pumpkin."A black head poked out and said,"Why,you're that kit with the cruel father!"she rasped.The she-cat sniffed Pumpkin and sent a slobbery lick to her forehead.Pumpkin jumped back in surprise,eyes wide,and the she-cat went on."I'm Moonblaze,one of the crankiest old elders you'll ever find around here.Lionhope!Whiteshine!Scarpelt!There's a new kit here!"Three other cats crept out of the tunnel and looked at Pumpkin.A skinny white she-cat with green eyes flecked with gold,a dark brown tom with scars running along his pelt,and a brilliant gold tom with a scratched out eye.They all introduced themselves as Whiteshine,Scarpelt,and Lionhope,then started asking Pumpkin many questions about her childhood.Pumpkin tried to answer them all in a polite manner,but some were very personal.Then a pure white tom padded up to Pumpkin and said,"Hello,Pumpkin,I'm Ashtooth,the deputy.Darkstar want's to talk to you,so he sent me to fetch you.Come with me."when he closed his mouth Pumpkin caught a glimpse of a dark grey tooth.She followed Ashtooth into what she guessed was the Leaders den.Darkstar waited patiently then said,"Pumpkin,the little kit with a cruel father.I know why you tried to drown yourself.Why you tried to escape your father and your birth clan.Now I want to know one more thing...Do want to stay with us permanetly?"Pumpkin looked at him,then Ashtooth,then at a white she-cat with golden hindlegs who she guessed was Darkstars mate.She thought for a minute...then another."Yes,"she finally said,"I will stay permanetly."the relief on every cats' face was obvious.Darkstar led Pumpkin out in to the clearing and jumped on the great rock."All cats old enough to catch their own prey join in the clearing for a clan meeting."as the cats began to assemble,Darkstar turned to Pumpkin and boomed,"How old are you?"Pumpkin quivered and replied."Four moons."Darkstar turned to the cats and continued."For the rest of Pumpkins two moons,I shall give her a clan name."he turned to Pumpkin and said,"Pumpkin,do you promise to uphold the Warrior code,even at the cost of your life?"Pumpkin nodded without hesitation and said,"I do.""Then from this day forward,Pumpkin shall be known as Pumpkinkit."Pumpkinkit filled with pride as the cats shouted,"Pumpkinkit!Pumpkinkit!Pumpkinkit!"Now she had a purpose in this life,one that no cat or being could take away.Her glowing happiness faded as she jumped from the rock and saw her fathers' bright yellow eyes peering from behind the bushes.Then she blinked and those angry eyes were gone,and she shook her head and happily accepted all the congradulations,but a sense of cold dread filled her boody and icy claws pricked her pelt.
Those two moons were spent wonderfully.Well,almost wonderfully.Pumpkinkit learned about Starclan,the Warrior Code,and the ways of a true Warrior.She was a popular kit among the cats,yet beneath all the happiness and a great sense of security,there was a masked hatred sent at her by the bucketful,nearly flinging her off her paws.It was always a different set of eyes,yet seemingly controlled by the same creature.With each pawstep Pumpkinkits fear increased,then fell a bit as some cat came and distracted her,talking to her,bringing her to think she was hallucinating,or crazy.
Finally the time came when she had to be apprenticed.Birdstep licked her fiercly,and her stepsiblings were bouncing around,the names she knew them as were Willowkit,Tigerkit,and Dogkit.After Birdstep had finished with her and licked the other kits into shape,Darkstar called for the clan meeting,then gestured for the kits to come to him.They all bouced over and he began."Tigerkit,Willowkit,Pumpkinkitand Dogkit,do you promise to uphold the Warrior Code even at the cost of your life?"I do's filled the cavern."Then by the powers of Starclan,Dogkit.From this day forward,you will be known as Dogpaw.Your mentor will be Rabbitwhisker."A brown and white tom padded up to Dogpaw and touched his head with his nose.Dogpaw licked his shoulder in return."Tigerkit,from this day forward you will be known as Tigerpaw.Roseshine will be your mentor.The same happened with Roseshine and Tigerpaw."Willowkit,from this day forward you will be known as Willowpaw.Spottednose will be your mentor."Again,the same thing.Pumpkinkit,in spite of all the excitement,felt unhinged.Dizzy.Like something was calling her into oblivion.She barely heard her name being changed from Pumpkinkit to Pumpkinpaw.She snapped back to attention as Darkstar cleared his throat to announce her mentor."Your mentor will be-"
Pumpkinpaw fought the urge to whip her head around and hide in the warmth of Birdsteps' fur at Lions' voice.She stiffened and saw Ashtooth stride up to her.Pumpkinpaw realized the white tom was her mentor as he touched his nose to her head and she quickly licked his shoulder,not wanting to seem detached.The other cats called her name along with the other new apprentices,Mousepw-now Mousetail-shouting her name the loudest.She playfully swatted the cats,then stopped dead in her tracks as a ghost stepped out of the shadows.Lion,the ghost of Lion.
You won't live.
You're a fool.
I will get you.
Pumpkinpaws' eyes glazed over with fear as she heard the voice of her father in her mind repeating these dreadful things.He stopped a whisker-length from her and mouthed these two horrible words that echoed in Pumpkinpaws' mind.
"Hmmm...Today we'll go hunting.North of Pebble stream."said Ashtooth.Pumpkinpaw bounced ahead of her mentor and said,"Well,let's go!"Ashtooth followed her into the trees to the Pebble Stream,where they continued north.Pumpkinpaw spotted a mouse and crept toward it,alerting her mentor with a flick of her tail.Pumpkinpaw placed her paws lightly on the ground and pounced,silencing the mouse forever with a quick bite to its spine.Ashtooth looked at Pumpkinpaw in surprise and said,"Apprentices usually dont get prey on their first try,nice job."Pumpkinpaw dug some dirt onto it and they continued on their way.
When they got back their mouths were full of prey.They dropped them into the fresh-kill pile.Ashtooth went over to Silverpetal and started sharing tongues.Pumpkinpaw turned to Mousetail and asked,"Did you catch prey on your first try?"Mousetail looked faintly amused and said,"If you count leaves as prey."Pumpkinpaw let out a mroww of laughter.Then Roseshine shouldered Mousetail aside and said,"Pumpkinpaw,can you come to my den?""Sure."said Pumpkinpaw.Pumpkinpaw said goodbye to Mousetail,then followed Roseshine into her den."Pumpkinpaw,have you-"Roseshines' question was abruptly cut off as a cat pounced on her from behind and closed his teeth around her neck.Pumpkinpaw gasped and pulled him off her.Blood bubbled around Roseshines neck and she spasmed.Pumpkinpaw turned to attack the mysterious cat,but he was gone."Goodbye,Pumpkinpaw.I will teach Tigerpaw in his dreams,and I'll walk yours too."said Roseshine.Another spasm,then the medicine cat was still.Pumpkinpaw gaped in shock,then tipped her head back in a shrill wail.Cats rushed to medicine cats den and stood around at her,looking at the body then glaring at her with hostile eyes.Darkstar entered and looked at Pumpkinpaw in bewilderment."What have you done?"he choked out in shock.Tigerpaw shouldered his way over and glared at Pumpkinpaw."She was my mentor!I thought I could trust you!How could you do that?!"Pumpkinpaw stared at him and whispered,"I never did that.A cat jumped on her and killed her."Tigerpaw snorted."Oh yeah?Then where is he now,huh?""He disappeared."
A murmuring started up between the cats,when Darkstar began,"Silence!Pumpkinpaw,come with me."Pumpkinpaw followed him to the great rock where Darkstar leaped up and called out to the cats."Pumpkinpaw has killed the medicine cat.She was my littermate,as well as a popular cat in this clan.What Pumpkinpaw has done is unforgivable,and for that she will be exiled from this clan.Come dawn tomarrow,if any warriors find her on my borders,they have my permission to kill her."
Pumpkinpaw gasped as the cats murmured agreement.
She followed a grave Ashtooth out of Woodclan camp,head and tail drooping.Pumpkinpaw was led to the edge of the territory,then Ashtooth left her there.She whimpered and cowered into a pathetic little furball.The forest seemed to close in on her and she took off,speeding around trees and leaping over boulders.She eventually came to the twoleg camp and sighed in relief.She could live the rest of her days as a fat kittypet thhat smelled strongly of milk and kittypet food.Somehow she just didn't find the thought actually appealing but Pumpkinpaw knew she didn't really have another choice.She jumped over the fence and landed in a twoleg garden.An adult twoleg was potting flowers and saw Pumpkinpaw.It started yowling and throwing broken pieces of a pot at her.Pumpkinpaw avoided most of them,but a large piece ripped through her ear,blood spilling out of it.Pumpkinpaw leaped out of the yard and bounded west.She didn't stop running until she was so exhausted she could only flop on her side and pant.Eventually she drifted,dozing off.
Pumpkinpaw awoke to the sound of snarling and growling.She opened her eyes and saw a huge beast of a dog.It pounced on her and scratched a huge gash in Pumpkinpaws jaw.The she-cat fled and clawed her way up a tree,waiting for the brute to go.It eventually did,and Pumpkinpaw carefully slid down."Wow,"she thought,"Two events,two scars,one day."She pawed a cobweb and pressed it on her wounds,then set on.Just kept on walking,walking,walking...
She opened her eyes and realized she was in a dream.Pumpkinpaw sprang to her paws and came face to face with Roseshine."Roseshine!"she mewed happily,pressing her muzzle to the medicine cats.She pulled away,and Roseshine said,"Pumpkinpaw,Lion and his army will try to get you.Kill you.But dont fear,we are are always here to guide you;we will fight with you.Everything will fall into place."then she shimmered and faded,and Pumpkinpaw woke into the real world.Although the words were meant to comfort her,Pumpkinpaw couldn't help feeling more alone than ever.
Pumpkinpaw trekked through marshland all day next day.It must've been a long way from camp,because the wilderness never seemed to end.Hunger gnawed at her stomach,but there was no sight of prey around.Pumpkinpaw sighed and collapsed,drifting unconsious.She woke up in Starclan again,face to face with Darkstar."What are you doing here?!"Pumpkipaw yowled accusingly,furious.Darkstar looked at her calmly and said,"I could ask you the same thing."Roseshine padded up to the two and said,"Darkstar,Pumpkinpaw never killed me.You were wrong to exile her.Pumpkinpaw,you are free to come back."Darkstars' eyes widened as Roseshine glanced at him sharply and walked away."Okay,Pumpkinpaw,"he began,"You can come back."Pumpkinpaw smiled and everything drifted into darkness.When Pumpkinpaw realized she was consious she sprang to her paws and started bounding to Woodclan,her feet taking her home as fast as they could.Pumpkinpaw scented Woodclan borders whiz past her as she sped through the boundary.She bursted through the entrance,thorns sticking to er pelt,and saw the eyes of every cat turn to anger.
"What's SHE doing here?"
"I thought she died."
"The nerve she has to come back here."
"Traitor!" She gazed around sadly as her former clanmates surrounded her and began to close in."Silence!"yelled Darkstar,and he padded over to her and said,"You have all been mistaken,as have I.Roseshine has come to me in a dream,along with Pumpkinpaw,and told me to my muzzle that Pumpkinpaw was not the taker of her life.She will be let into the clan warmly again."
Pumpkinpaw watched in excitement as her clanmates backed away from her and relaxed their previous intense eyes.She went to sleep peacefully,redeemed and sure of herself.
The next day though,was a horrific experience.
Cats were still giving her evil eyes and murmuring about her the next day as she padded over to the fresh-kill pile to eat with Mousetail.
"Dont let them bug you."he said casually,"Hopefully this will all blow off in the next couple of moons."
"Oh,I dont know,Mousetail,"She replied a tad anxious."what if...what if they NEVER forgive me.I'll grow up in a clan with no friends,no respect,no trust...It would be horrid.""Hey,I'M your friend,right?And you will get trust and respect back.Soon you'll be the most popular cat in the clan."Mousetail touched Pumpkinpaws nose reassuringly,then flicked it away and bit into a meaty part of his vole.Pumpkinpaw still wasnt fully convinced,but she nodded and tore off one of the voles limbs and ate rather ravenously.
Later,she trotted into the medicine cats den and drunk in the old,stale scents of her dead friend,Roseshine.She followed the old pawsteps in the mud to different locations in the den.One led to marigold,another to catmint,and another to Deathberries.Pumpkinpaw looked at the berries,lodging them in her brain so she would remember and avoid them.She sighed and turned the entrance...and gasped.
Her father stood in the entrance,grinning evilly.
"Sorry I've been bugging you lately...tormenting,some might say,"he began.He lifted up his paw and scratched it on the rock walls of the cave as he walked toward her slowly,menacingly.
"I'm on a mission...a very special mission...mmmmhmm.Very special indeed.I bet you want to know what that "special mission" is.I'd rather show you than tell you."
All the time he was speaking,Pumpkinpaw stood frozen with fear.He was closing the gap between them.Her head then thawed and swung from side to side for an escape.Lion walked faster and faster,until he stood right in front of her.Then she was tackled,and claws embedded themselves in her heart.The last thing she saw was Tigerpaw entering,staring shocked at the two.Then she was sucked into a whirlpool of blackness.
She woke up to see Roseshine staring down upon her with eyes filled with great sadness.
"Wha...Where am I?"Pumpkinpaw whispered,panic rising in her throat.
"Pumpkinpaw...I'm so sorry,you're dead."The she-cat said.
Pumpkinpaw stood shocked for a moment,then rose her head to the sky and began to wail.
Meanwhile,a golden tom cleaned the blood from his paws and began to walk back to his clan of rogues.He had said that he would bring an army of his clan to kill Pumpkinpaw,but he couldnt hep it.Besides,she had only been an "Apprentice."He killed her himself.He was about to cross the border when a patrol of Woodclan warriors attacked and killed him to avenge the death of their former clanmate,Mousetail fighting the fiercest.
(Dont worry,I'll make an alternate ending.It'll be longer than one chapter...I just wanted to try this out,you know,put a little twist in there.)