Lazy Day.The long journey back to the Barn was traveled in dead hanging silence. Patchkit shivered in fear. While Appledusk stared at floor, his eyes blaring with a green flame. Exhaustion and hunger were starting overwhelm her, as she struggled to keep steady on her paws. Luckily, the large looming red shape of the Barn in the thick fog of the dark night. The shift in the air; from crisp and chilled to fresh and warm, told her that dawn slowly approached.
By the time they entered inside the gloomy towering insides of the Barn, Tulipfur immediately came over to the greet them. Mapleshade stood there unfocused and lifeless. Her head and tail drooping. “Oh, you poor thing.”, Tulipfur whispered. Her mother took hold the dazing kit from Mapleshade and flicked her tail towards a large bundle of hay.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of Patchkit, you just get some sleep.”, she took hard look at Appledusk, “Both of you, I guess.”, she mewed reluctantly. Tulipfur softly placed Patchkit in a pile among his sister and brother. She didn’t have to energy to argue or even say ‘Thank you’. All she could do was pad over to the edge of a golden lining and fall into it in a giant heap. The straw was itchy, digging into her skin slightly. Feeling Appledusk lay next to her, fur pressing against her. His breath hot on her face. She couldn’t even be bothered to push his away. Consciousness slipped away like trying holding clear water in your paws. A murky darkness forming over her sight. Within heartbeats, she gave into a deep yet restless sleep.
As she began came round, she found herself lying on a stiff back, her belly exposed and hollow of food. Glowing orange light surrounded her. Her nose twitched as she tried to make sense of the world around her, like a newborn kit opening their eyes for the first time. A scent was urging her to get up, something familiar. Not wasting time, she heaved herself up, feeling heavy, sluggish and dazed. She allowed her nose to guild her as her eyes still adjusted. The feeling of home coming over her. She blinked. A small chestnut brown plump mouse lay at her paws. Fresh too.
Smiling, she knelt down gratefully, starting to chew at slowly. The juicy taste of the meat filling her tongue. Mapleshade purred. Much better than Appledusk’s frog. Then she spotted Tulipfur padded past her, more mice dangling from her jaw, “Enjoying it?”, she asked. Mapleshade swallowed another mouthful, “Yes, thank you.”. Tulipfur placed more mice at Mapleshade’s side, “And you’ll be getting more where that came from”, she confirmed.
“I knew you still had the hunting instinct in you.”, Mapleshade commented. Tulipfur nodded proudly, “And it will be for a long time to came. It takes a lot to bring down this old she-cat!”. The two shared a purr of laughter.
Mapleshade grabbed the half-eaten mouse in her mouth, about to pad over to her kits but the lilac cat dashed forward, stopping her. “Don’t worry.”, like she always said. Her mouth insisting her, “You’d been through alot, so just relax. I’ll keep your kits in line.”. Mapleshade shrugged, maybe it would be nice to have sometime to herself. Tulipfur turned and walked away, “It might be the last time I see them anyway.”, she mewed sadly. Mapleshade’s head hang lower.
Then she noticed the itchy texture in her fur. She twisted to see her back, it was covered in Appledusk’s cream moulted hair in her ginger and black pelt. Gross. Then came his loud snoring as behind her as he slept. And there went the good mood…
The rest of the day was sent in a dreamlike daze. Tulipfur agreeing to staying until Sunhigh at least. They sent the next several hours relaxing on the endless layers hey as the Larchkit and Petalkit played. Patchkit is the corner, staring blankly at the wall. Mapleshade licked her lips with stratification, her belly bloated with mouse. But Appledusk just grumpily complained that it wasn’t fish. The walls of the barricaded any glimpse of sky, all sense of time lost.
Soon came the time for Tulipfur to leave, they touched noses and she was gone.
Mapleshade returned to the stake of hay at the front of the room, Patchkit and Appledsuk still glaring at her. Despite the blood being washed off a long time ago. She yawned. Moving away, to the far end of the Barn, into old of the damp shadow-fill corners. Sitting down, she closed her eyes in thought. This didn’t feel right. Having this much prey with this little effort. Having no duties to do. Living in this type of isolation from the outside world. In this strange limbo, devoid of time. Getting the taste of damp, rotting wood, gave her a sudden desire to return; to a lush forest with low trees, with fresh rain water trickling from the branches, the sky covered by a green canopy but the sun always managing to shine through. She gritted her teeth. She wouldn’t let her or her kits become kittypets.
“I’m going for some fresh air.”, Mapleshade muttered as she passed Appledusk, not bothering to see his reaction. She slipped under the thick Barn wall, her belly scraping against the sharp sand. As she made it outside, she sucked up the frosty Leaf-fall air, filling her lungs. A pale sun flew up in the cloudless sky like some kind of elderly firefile, losing its glow. Mapleshade continued sit there peacefully as a mild breeze steer the shaded farm lands around her, causing tall grasses and bushes to sway.
Her ears than pricked as her nose began to uncontrollably twitch like mouse’s. There was a piney soft of scent lingering. Thunderclan? Her heart sank to her paws. Thunderclan!