Wow, I got more reviews than I expected!
BlindSeer220: glad you like it! Everyone, listen to BlindSeer220, and go review my other story!
Sleets: sorry if I kind of stole your idea :D I hope I can make it up to you by making this story really good! Snowfeather:
Snowfeather:hmm, how did this story catch your eye? Was it the title, the summary…? I'm always trying new things…
Spiritwind of FireClan: be quiet! Don't you dare give away any part of the story, which by the way, you did on my other story, or I won't tell you about it anymore, buhead! Nameless Nightmare:
Nameless Nightmare:thanks for reviewing! Um, there's not much to reply to…
Greenpool: did your review get cut off or something? Whatever, I don't care. I just like getting reviews :D Speaker of Dragons:
Speaker of Dragons:Thank you! As an author, it feels so awesome to go on someone's faves. I'll make sure the rest of the story doesn't disappoint you!
Smokepaw didn't pause to think about what he was doing. He knew that if he paused for even a split second, he wouldn't be able to do it. So without second thought, the ShadowClan apprentice threw himself off the edge of the ledge.
He felt his claws taking off a chunk of ice as he leapt, trying to avoid using his broken paw. Pain seared through his body as he flew through the air, crawling through his rib cage and the various other wounds all over his body. A trail of blood drops spurted out behind him, some landing on his frost coated fur and others falling into the abyss.
Smokepaw twisted and turned in the air, just as he had on his first fall. Terror enveloped him, and he could smell his own fear as he fell. He was falling fast through the air, and when he painfully moved his head to look down, he could see the ledge approaching fast. It was father down than he had estimated. He braced himself for another bone breaking crash, not sure of what part of his body he preferred to land on.
To his surprise and relief, the particular ledge was covered in a foot of snow. He had no idea of how the snow got there, but he was definitely glad it was. He landed with a plop in the snow, scattering snowflakes all around him, and then crashing into the ice below it. He felt a dull throb in his ribs, since he'd landed on his side. But at least the snow had broken his fall.
Already a pool of blood was forming below him, staining the white snow. The ledge was about twice the size of the young cat's body, and it seemed to be holding his weight. While the snow was eating away at his fur and chilling his nerves, at least it had numbed him. The numbness caused by the cold climate had probably saved him a considerable amount of pain.
That was the good news. But there was bad news too. His paw and ribs were still broken, and he'd probably further damaged them on his second fall. And he was still bleeding from the deep cut in his hind leg. And as he peered over the edge, he realized that he was still quite far away from the ground.
Below his ledge there were many other ledges, maybe five or six. He groaned loudly at the painful thought of reenacting his fall six more times. The groan hurt his ribs, which seemed to burst with the outtake of air.
Well, he had not jumped off his original ledge just to lie there and die on a different one. Now he had to finish what he'd started. The next ledge was far below him, even farther then the last one. It was smaller, too. He didn't know if it would hold his weight, or if he would even survive another fall. At least I'm still conscious to make these decisions, he thought optimistically. I could be unconscious right now. And not just temporarily, added the cynical part of him.
He had to jump. He knew that he had to leave this comfortable, snow laden ledge if he was to survive. He willed his body to its paws, and looked out over the ledge. The next landing was a long way down. And beyond that ledge… if he missed it… he didn't even want to think about it.
The young apprentice tried to work up the courage to jump. He knew that he should just do it before his mind had any second thoughts. Without hesitation, he leapt off yet another ledge.
He felt a familiar terror envelope his body, his fear scent shrouding the crisp air. His stomach was flipping, his mind was reeling, his numb, frozen body feeling like it was about to explode. His broken paw burned with pain which spread throughout his body as he twisted and turned in the air, surrounded by the blood flying alongside him. The blood would continue falling, down, down, down into the endless dark pit. He tried not to think about that, because he was going there too.
The next ledge was coming up fast, as if it was flying toward him. Smokepaw realized that this must be what a bird felt like when it was suddenly unable to fly. Its wings would lock, and frozen with terror and it would spiral down to earth, where it would meet its demise on the solid ground. Yet there was nothing the helpless bird could do to change its fate, only close its eyes and pray for it to happen fast.
This was exactly how Smokepaw felt as he crashing into the weak ledge. Rather than land with a thud and break yet another bone, the icy ledge shattered beneath him. The apprentice squeezed his eyes shut in fear, and also so that they wouldn't be stabbed by the ice splinted flying around him as he began to fall yet again.
The remainders of the shattered ice ledge surrounded the free falling apprentice, their points dangerously grazing his frost coated fur. His blood stained the icy splinters, giving them the impression of a twoleg weapon. The clear blue-tinged icicles turned a transparent crimson as they spiraled through Smokepaw's body and blood.
The apprentice doubted that he'd ever hit the ground, or even another ledge. Even if he did, he'd be dead in a second. Or so he hoped. He didn't want to lie there and suffer until StarClan finally came for him.
Suddenly something sharp pierced his back. Smokepaw cried out in pain, willing whatever it was to go away, probably an ice shard that had landed in his skin. But a second after the piercing pain came, he stopped falling. For a moment, he felt like he was suspended in midair, and then he was flying.
Was he really flying? Maybe he had died while he was falling, and StarClan was flying him up into the stars. He welcomed the thought. No more numbness, coldness, or pain. He looked up, expecting to see the cats of StarClan pulling him upwards, but what met his eyes forced him to let out yet another shriek.
An owl! And not just any owl. A normal owl wouldn't have been able to hold a cat in its talons. This owl was a giant Great Gray. Smokepaw didn't know how he knew this; maybe it was StarClan trying to educate him so that he didn't die a naïve young apprentice. Wonderful, he thought sarcastically. A lesson from StarClan before I die. Excellent.
He'd already given up optimism, so all that was left in him was realism, pessimism, and bitter sarcasm, a trademark of ShadowClan. The realist part of him said that that he was being carried off by an owl, and would probably be fed to its chicks. Oh well, at least his death would benefit someone. But the pessimist in him said that the owl was just going to drop him, and he would continue on his fall. The sarcastic side of him was still stuck on the strange idea that he was getting his last lesson from StarClan.
Smokepaw didn't bother struggling. After all, where was there to escape to? He much preferred being carried by this giant gray owl than freefalling through the icy air. He hung limply in the bird's curved yellow talons, letting the wind ruffle his frost coated fur. He closed his eyes so the air wouldn't burn his eyeballs.
The owl's talons… he thought of his brother, Talonpaw. He hoped that somewhere out there, Talonpaw was safe. He begged StarClan to let his brother finish the journey he would never experience, and to live a safe life in the new territory.
Smokepaw suddenly saw flashes in his vision. Bright lights, unidentifiable shapes… as the image cleared, he saw a new camp, with all of ShadowClan working to fix it up and make it their own. Carefully placing brambles around the nursery was a small smoky gray tom, his yellow eyes shining in eagerness. Talonpaw! Smokepaw knew that he was seeing the future of ShadowClan, and hoped that it would really come true.
But what he saw next made him pray that his visions were wrong. The same smoky gray apprentice was wandering through the forest happily, searching for prey. His yellow eyes glinted mischievously. Talonpaw knew that he shouldn't be wandering in his new territory on his own, but his adventurous heart and his hungry belly had led him out on a search for prey.
He was over by another twolegplace, different than the old one, but with the same stench of twolegs. How could Talonpaw go anywhere near it after what happened in the old territory?
Out of nowhere, two kittypets appeared in front of Smokepaw's brother. One was a muscular dark gray tom, the other a large tabby she-cat. Talonpaw barely had time to gaze at them in terror before they were on top of him, mercilessly tearing away at his fur.
Talonpaw! Smokepaw screamed mentally. Run away, Talonpaw!
But Talonpaw couldn't run away. The burly kittypets had him trapped, pinned beneath the gray tom's claws. Smokepaw watched in horror as they destroyed his brother, unable to tear his terrified gaze away from the scene. When the kittypets finally left, Talonpaw was bleeding badly, but alive.
Go back to camp! Begged Smokepaw, tears forming in his eyes. Get Littlecloud! Fast!
Talonpaw tried, he really did. He dragged himself back to the ShadowClan camp, where he collapsed at the entrance. Smokepaw saw through his brother's eyes what death was like. Darkness ate at the corners of his vision, and he barely noticed cats leaning over him and trying to keep him alive.
Was he really looking through Talonpaw's eyes? No, he was still seeing through his own, but the darkness was the same. His vision faded, and the world began to spin… and then it all turned black.
I know, still very angsty. I didn't mean it to be that way, but it just is. I hope it's not scaring anyone away. I promise, there is a storyline to this besides just Smokepaw falling and dying. You just haven't gotten there yet. So keep reading!