I frantically clawed at the branches flying whirling around me, body-slamming a few before I caught onto a low, thick one with two claws, almost ripping them out with my momentum.
I hung there, finally looking downward in fear at Birch and Falcon. Their eyes were wide as they looked up at me, and when Birch realized I wasn't falling anymore, he changed his expression and gave me a crazy grin, identical to the one I had before catching the jay. He dipped his head, and when it reappeared, he had the body of the blue jay grasped in his teeth.
I guess I was kind of hoping that I would catch on lower to the ground so I could safely drop down, but I was still too high up. I swung my other front paw onto the same branch, and slowly adjusted my grip to heave myself up on it, scrabbling with my back paws for a grip.
Eventually, I got back down the trunk with Falcon's help, not to mention that she sucked at climbing trees more than I did.
Birch walked up to me with the blue bird in his mouth and dropped it by my feet.
"You earned it," He said.
I looked at him for a second. "No, I didn't! You guys need to have some too. I only caught it!" I protested.
"It's okay. I went and caught a young vole while you were stalking it. Falcon and I shared." I could taste the bitterness of the lie in the air.
I sniffed his muzzle. No prey.
"Fine. I'll take it." I said as I glared at him. I picked it up, turned around and whisked past Falcon to gnaw at it on the roots of an old hickory tree. The thing tasted horrible. (the bird, not the tree)
I wish they didn't care about me so much. They went and ruined a perfectly nice day.
The next day, I made sure that Falcon and Birch ate as much as they would before I had leftovers. We had a sickly old rabbit but even after I ate, we had a little more left and I offered to carry it as we walked.
"What do you think the Clans are like?" Falcon asked out of the blue.
"Ummm…" Me and Birch looked at each other, then back at Falcon, who was walking in between us, since she was weakest because of her shoulder.
"No idea, huh?"
"Seriously, guys, can't you even guess?" She pestered.
After a while, I finally broke the silence again. "Why did Mom even want us to go to them?" I asked, trying to talk around the meat.
"Well, she knows that they'll take us in, because, you know…" Falcon muttered, her voice falling away into thought.
"Thank you. Like I wasn't depressed already." Birch grumbled to Falcon.
I accidentaly swallowed the rest of the rabbit.
Aaaand, more silence. Right on cue.
Later That Day
It was night. The full moon hung from the sky, lighting up the forest as if it was day. We knew that we should find cover to sleep for the night, but we were all hungry again (somehow) so I was out hunting. I also knew that I was too young to hunt on most cat's standards, but I've been trying.
That actually worked to my advantage, because the fact that I was tiny I could fit into burrows and catch easy prey while it's sleeping. And that's just what I planned to do tonight.
I sniffed the air, picking up the scent of mouse, somewhat dulled by the smell of raw earth. I followed my nose until I found a small hole that I knew that I could fit into. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!
I took a breath of fresh air, and silently crawled in the hole. I knew I'd scored a good catch due to the faint but sure smell of milk. I kept crawling along silently, my whiskers brushing the sides of the tunnel, until it opened up to a bigger area with a sleeping family of mice smack dab in the middle.
Judging from the smell, there was four babies and an adult. I swiftly cracked the adult's neck before it could wake up, and then three of the babies, leaving one baby left, which was apparently a really heavy sleeper.
A mouse-brained idea popped into my head, and I tucked the fourth under my chin, careful not to disturb it, then crammed the rest intomy mouth and trotted back out of the hole and back to my littermates.
Once I did get back to them, I dropped all the mice and nudged Birch awake and passed him the adult and two of the baby mice, leaving a baby and the sleeping one for me.
He shook Falcon, who was curled up next to him, and murmured, "She's back."
Her sleepy eyes lit up happily when he shoved her share of the fresh-kill towards her, which was the two babies, while he got to work on the adult.
I turned around to the live mouse and whispered so it wouldn't wake, "Guys. Watch this!" as I carefully shook its small body. It squirmed.
"Wow! Why's that one still alive!?" Birch whisper-exclaimed.
"It just is!" I replied cheerfully, pinning its tail under my paw so it couldn't run.
Falcon looked confused, ready to object. "Why is it alive?"
"Oh! You know that lake we saw a bit ago? Mom used to say to me that the Clans lived pretty close to a big lake like that, so I was thinking that if we all got into a short tree and dropped the mouse on the forest floor, it would naturally want to run away from cats, but if we were right above it, it would run in any direction, correct?"
"Um, yeah…" Falcon said uncertainly. She obviously thought I was just going to let it go, but she was wrong. She must have seen it in my eyes (that's what sistership is) and started again, frustrated. "That's a waste of a perfectly good mouse! And an excuse of a plan. We should just go back to the lake, instead of letting a mouse lead us the wrong way!"
Birch perked up, oblivious to Falcon's annoyance. Or maybe purposely ignoring her. "Oh yeah! I get what you're trying to say! Since the Clans could be in any direction from here, the mouse is gonna lead us there somehow?" He asked, exited.
The mouse wriggled under my paw. "Basically, yes. It will naturally run away from the clans, so I'll drop down and catch it again, eat, and then we can go towards the clans tomorrow at sunrise!" I felt like giving a loud, stupid TA-DAAAA! but I held it back, glancing at Falcon with an evil grin.
"Ooooh! Birch mewed. Falcon glared a death glare at him.
"Let's do it, then!" I grinned wider at her, giggling.
We were in the tree, the mouse gently held between my teeth, ready to drop. I waited for a few seconds, until Birch, to my left, said, "Now."
I stretched my neck down as far as it would go, and I parted my mouth slightly farther than it already was. The mouse dropped, landed on its back, scrabbled to its feet, paused to sniff the air, and scuttled directly away from the lake.
I quickly jumped out of the tree, and chased the baby mouse, and swiftly and finally killed it. I kinda felt bad for it. Kind of. I trotted back to the clearing, laid down, and finished my meal in famished bites.
As I curled up and drifted off to sleep, I felt Birch and Falcon settle close to me, and the last thing I heard was Falcon, whispering tiredly, "Told you, mouse-brain."
And I fell into comforting darkness.