A rustle in the bushes.
A fleeting glimpse of a black pelt.
A glint of a blue eye.
The scent of desperation.
These are the things that a cat would have experienced, had one been there that night. But no cat was. No cat would ever know.
A tiny squeak. The black cat set what she was carrying down, tenderly. She licked it's black ear, and a sad smile twitched at the corners of her mouth.
"Mommy…?" It mewed sleepily.
"Ssshhh, now, my sweet… Do not speak, or we will be discovered." The tiny kit nodded, scared. She picked it up again. She lithely manoeuvred through the trees, her black pelt bleeding into the shadows. But the kitten's white pelt stood out, it was a beacon. At the moment, this was bad, but it would hopefully be the thing to save her life… Suddenly, there was a rustle behind the black cat. A scent hit her, and her blue eyes widened. With pupils dilated, she bounded forward. Her fur stood up on end, as she heard the sound of some cat following her. She started to run, and the kit cried out, bumping against her mother's chest. A pang of remorse struck the mother, but she kept running. She heard a snarl, and paws thudding behind her. Branches whipped her face, but she kept running. The pawfalls behind her slowed, and eventually stopped.
Once she felt she was a safe distance away, she slowed her steps. Panting, she began to walk.
A scent hit the black feline's nostrils. "We're close…" She murmured to herself. Quieter than ever, she slid through the forest. The kit had now fallen asleep in her jaws. Good. She won't cry out to me… The cat felt tears welling in her eyes.
"It's for the best…" She murmured, yet her heart was breaking. As she walked, the scent grew stronger, until she was standing on the edge of the border. It had gotten steadily warmer as she walked towards the territory, and now her black pelt was trapping the heat and making her feel light-headed. Her legs felt stiff, unwilling to move, yet she forced herself forward. Trembling, she continued. With a glance at the moon, she saw it was hanging low in the sky. She didn't have much time. Her legs stopped. She was unable to go any farther. With tears burning in her eyes, she set the tiny bundle of fur down. She hastily clawed together a nest of grass for it, to protect it. It's eyes blinked open, and it looked at her blearily.
"Mommy…?" It mewed. "It's so warm…" The kit snuggled down into it's nest. The black cat felt like she was going to shatter. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she tried held back a scream of pain. The kit's breathing had slowed, she was asleep. The mother cat backed away, unable to take her eyes off the black and white kitten. When she could no longer see her, she whipped around, and began to run. With her eyes closed, she threw caution to the wind. She zigzagged to disguise her scent, but her eyes were closed, and she stumbled, bumping into trees. Thorns tore at her paws, but she did not stop. Soon the thorns turned to sand, and she could smell salt.
Suddenly, she was wreathed in a tom's scent, her mouth was full of fur, and she had slammed to a stop. With a gasp, she fell back. A huge gray tom stood before her, his eyes like two chips of golden ice. The fur on the black cat's spine stood on end.
"Y-You, what do you want!?" She stuttered, her blue eyes huge. The tom's claws flashed out, and struck her cheek. The mother cat recoiled, and he shook blood off his paw.
"Insolence! You know what we want." The tom hissed. The black queen held back tears.
"She's gone." She whispered. "You can't have her! I got rid of her!" Her voice suddenly screeched. She collapsed on the ground, sobbing. The gray tom sneered.
"Is that so? Then prepare to die. We have no use for you." His claws flashed down upon her, too fast for her to react, and gouged her throat. She tried to stand, but her legs gave out. With a gurgle, she fell to the ground. The world began to darken, and turn black around the edges. Spots danced in front of her eyes. The tom turned, and slid into the water. As her world faded to nothingness, the last thing she saw was the sun breaking out gloriously over the churning waves, her killer's form silhouetted against the burning rays. One last breath poured out of her, and her vision turned to black.
* * *
Pale fingers of early morning sun stretched over the ground, as the patrol began it's trek around the territory. The four cats stretched their stiff muscles, relishing in the warm sun. They amiably strolled along, sniffing for signs of other cats on their territory, or any kind of disturbance. One of the she-cats opened her mouth to air over her scent-glands, and froze.
"I smell a kit." She meowed. The other cats turned to her.
"Really?" A brown tom asked. "Dead or alive?" His eyebrows furrowed, concerned, and it distorted the green tattoo over his eye. The female sniffed again.
"Alive. Young." She waved her tail. "This way." The patrol followed. The female, following the scent, was led to a patch of clawed-up grass. In the center of the nest, was a tiny, shivering kitten. The she-cat gave a small gasp. "Oh, you poor thing. Your mother abandoned you." She gingerly picked the kit up.
"We need to get it back to camp right away," The other she-cat in the patrol meowed. "Who knows how long it's been out here." The other cats nodded, and turned tail towards the grassy nest. Mewling, the kitten struggled.
"No… Mommy… Mommy is going to come back… No…!" The she-kit squealed. The cat carrying her set it down gently.
"Sshhhhh, baby, don't worry, you're safe now. We're going to take you back to camp, and you'll be warm and safe and cared for okay?" She gave it's ear a lick, and picked it up again. "Let's hurry." She meowed to the rest of the patrol. Bunching her legs, she leaped forward. She ran as fast as she could do, without hurting the kit, directly towards camp.
She slid into camp, and hurried towards the nursery. One of the other patrol members meowed,
"I'll go report to the leader, you get the kit settled in." The cat nodded, and ducked into the nursery. At the smell of milk and queens, the kitten relaxed in her jaws. She set it down between her paws.
"We found this kit on patrol. It needs to be nursed. Will anyone take her?" As if to make her case, the kitten mewled piteously, stretching her jaws to show her tiny pink mouth, and kneaded the ground. One of the queens stepped forward. She smiled, and picked up the kit. Setting it in her nest, she gave it a lick.
"I will." She said. "Poor little scrap." It crawled forward, and latched on to the queen, kneading happily. "She's hungry." The queen remarked. The queen wrapped her tail around the kit. "I will raise her as if she were my own."