Chapter 12 || The Confusing Calico
Batchaser’s heart pumped heavily in his chest as he was held down by the other feline. The tears were fuzzy in his vision but he forced himself to calm down. He examined the cat above him, eyes narrowing a bit. It was a calico she-cat, one brown eye on her left side and one blue eye on her right. They were unmistakably pained, chips of ice embedded inside which made it appear as if a snowflake was falling into the depths of her iris. A huge scar ran from her chin, through her lip, and above her eye, ripping through her left ear as it crossed over her whole face. Her claws were long and stone-looking, and her teeth poked out of her jaws as she glared down at Batchaser.
⠀⠀“Y-You aren’t going to do anything to me,” he spat, forcing his fur to lie flat. He’d have to do the one thing he knew best: be hostile.
⠀⠀A shrill, hoarse laugh left the calico’s throat, her eyes shining with something Batchaser couldn’t quite place. “Brave one, are you? This is a nice catch... there’s no telling what I can do.” Okay, he finally placed it. She had to be a psychopath. “Rip your claws and whiskers off? Gouge out your eyes?” A smirk crept on her scarred face. ”Rip you open and play in your insides?”
⠀⠀“You crazy bastard!” Batchaser snarled, trying to wriggle free from her grasp. He was too weak to, however, and she clearly had done this before. That’s what scared the black tom.
⠀⠀“I can smell your fear-scent,” she whispered, thrusting her muzzle in his face. “That’s what I like the most, dear one.” Her breath smelled awful. Batchaser felt like his heart was truly going to explode.
⠀⠀Then, suddenly, literally out of nowhere, exactly like the cliché, “Hey I’m here to save you just before you get murdered,” plot, a small body threw itself at the calico and knocked her off of Batchaser. She snarled and whirled around, snapping at the cat that had bowled into her. The former ShadowClanner was almost too shocked to stand but managed to do it, pain ripping through his body. He staggered to his paws and gasped at the sight before him.
⠀⠀Rushingpaw was here to save him!
⠀⠀The small gray tom was baring his teeth at the crazy she-cat, who reeled backward and slammed the apprentice into the ground with her paw. For a moment Batchaser feared she was going to kill him, then she starting laughing hysterically, falling on her tail and rolling onto her back. “YOU TWO ACTUALLY BELIEVED ME!” She wheezed and sort of keeled over.
⠀⠀Batchaser and Rushingpaw looked at each other. Then the black tom’s ears whipped up when he realized who had just saved him. “Rushingpaw!” He propelled himself toward the apprentice, but told himself not to get to close. Batchaser didn’t want it to look like he cared. He relaxed his tensed shoulders and let his face fall into the expression of blankness. “Uh, what are you doing here?”
⠀⠀Rushingpaw gulped, ducking his head. Batchaser found it hard to hear the little gray tom from the calico’s laughing. “Sh-Shellstar...”
⠀⠀The former ShadowClanner’s claws sunk into the ground. “What did he do?”
⠀⠀“W-Well, after he killed you... there was sort of chaos?” The apprentice tipped his head to the side a bit. “Jackalstar attacked him and so did a few others. Some cats went over to see if you were alive... you weren’t. Then I got mad and attacked Shellstar and, well, he killed me.” Sadness made itself apparent in Rushingpaw’s gaze.
⠀⠀Batchaser’s heart dropped in his chest. “Rushingpaw, I’m so sorry. I know I caused--”
⠀⠀“HEY! Will you two stop blabbering and LISTEN to me? I’ve never seen such gullible cats!” The calico cut in, laughing again but eventually regaining her posture. She was actually quite regal-looking when Batchaser observed her, the calico looking less crazy as she watched the two closely.
⠀⠀“So...” Batchaser tucked his tail closely around his body awkwardly. “Was that all... fake?”
⠀⠀“Oh STARS. Of course it was fake, you idiot!” Her voice was gruff, much lower than any she-cat’s he’d ever heard. “I do that to everyone that comes here. No one thinks it’s that funny. I’ve even been told they had no idea I was joking! I knew I was joking!”
⠀⠀Batchaser and Rushingpaw exchanged glances.
⠀⠀The calico grumbled and sheathed her claws. “Fine, whatever, you’re no fun anyway.” She huffed and turned, ready to walk off.
⠀⠀“Wait!” Batchaser was surprised to see Rushingpaw leap forward. “Wh...Where are we? Who are you?”
⠀⠀“That joke wasn’t really funny either,” the black tom added in, brows furrowing. “I really thought you were crazy or something.”
⠀⠀The calico turned around, a surprised look on her face. “Crazy? I might be a little, but who wouldn’t, living here for decades?”
⠀⠀Rushingpaw gasped. “Decades?”
⠀⠀“Yes, fool, or are you deaf?” the calico asked, her voice suddenly turning very cruel. Her discolored eyes were glimmering with anger. “I was sent here long ago, longer than I can even remember. And I thought StarClan was bad.” She snorted, batting a stray leaf off of her face.
⠀⠀“This isn’t StarClan, then?” Batchaser inquired, looking around.
⠀⠀The calico’s gaze dropped. “Are you really that stupid? The only way to get here is through StarClan or The Dark Forest. Look around, you imbecile. This isn’t StarClan.” She paused, craning her muzzle to the sky. Batchaser grimaced at the blood-colored sun. “And INCASE you didn’t somehow notice, we have a red sun. Now, ask me another question because I’m bored and no one ever comes here.”
⠀⠀Rushingpaw opened and closed his jaws a few times. “Wh-Where exactly is here?”
⠀⠀The she-cat hesitated, digging her claws into the dirt. Hurt flashed behind her cold eyes and for a moment, Batchaser wondered if her whole personality was just an act. Quite possibly.
⠀⠀“This place is called The Forgotten Eternity,” the calico began, dipping her head a little. “Cats that die in StarClan or The Dark Forest are sent here.”
⠀⠀“I thought if you were killed in StarClan you just... disappeared,” Batchaser murmured.
⠀⠀“I thought you got reincarnated,” Rushingpaw added. Batchaser shivered.
⠀⠀“Nope.” The calico shrugged, looking around. “It’s sort of like a punishment place, I guess? I mean, there’s hardly any prey, you forever keep the wounds you received when you died in StarClan, and it’s just terrible and gloomy here. Now ask me another question because I enjoy feeling like a god.” She smirked. “I don’t get visitors much, and if I do I usually scare them off.”
⠀⠀“Wonder why...” Batchaser grumbled sarcastically.
⠀⠀“Okay, who are you, then?” Rushingpaw inquired.
⠀⠀That made this calico’s interest perk up. A smile stretched on her jaws, her eyes suddenly looking old and ancient. Batchaser just noticed the gray creeping up her muzzle. “Me? Well, little kit, you wouldn’t have heard of me.” Her jagged canines flashed behind her jaws. “My name is Cypressfall. I’m older than the moons themselves, kit.” She rested her piercing gaze on Batchaser. “Now, my turn. Who are you two?”
⠀⠀“I’m an apprentice...” Rushingpaw mumbled.
⠀⠀The black tom gulped, looking down at the small gray tom before looking back at Cypressfall. His breath caught in his throat. What was he supposed to say? “Oh, hey, I’m the cat that created a fake prophecy and ruined the Clans so I was brutally murdered by some crazy former leader because of it. And this idiot over here that I don’t even like is suddenly my sidekick.”
⠀⠀Batchaser narrowed his blue eyes, finally knowing what to say. Cypressfall luckily didn’t know them, so the black tom could pretty much say whatever he wanted.
⠀⠀“Our names are Batchaser and Rushingpaw, and we’re here to save you from The Forgotten Eternity.”