Hopeful, Helpless

Help me.

Her silent plea, an unuttered mantra.

It's what she thinks, over and over, when the other cats come down here. They remark on the fetid smell, wrinkling their noses in disdain, tossing them food scraps and then sneering as the brave ones fight to eat it, while she sits in her corner, back pressed against the wall, thinking, help me, help me, help me, help me, help me, help me, help me.

There's no help. Down in this reeking cave, there is no one to save her. But she can't allow that to dim her hope- it's all she has left.

She's a polite cat. She keeps to her own small section of this cramped cavern, doesn't complain, taking a fair portion of the leftover prey. It's not much more than scraps- skin and bone, feathers and lumps of flesh- but she doesn't complain. Unlike some of her brutish neighbours, she has manners. She was a decent housecat, before they took her.

Yet here, now, manners, pedigrees, connections; they mean nothing. They're worth about as much attention as the dirt she sleeps on. Strength is what matters. Stamina. That's what gets you your next meal, what keeps you alive. Maybe she's slightly intelligent, but that is not a desirable trait around here.

So she keeps to herself, huddling in her reeking corner, not saying a word. It's hardly as if she's able to idly chat anyway; her muzzle is so crusted with scabs and hidden bruises, she can barely eat. Opening her mouth sends searing stabs of pain soaring through her nerves. When she does crack open her mouth, amid the sounds her jaws muscles popping, it's only to gulp down a scrap of prey or lick up a small trickle of water from the sides of the cave.

A small sweet breeze blows through the cave's entrance. It smells of the forest, but not of freedom. The forest is crawling with those cats of PureClan. Yet it feels cool against her grey ragged pelt, so she closes her eyes for a moment and pretends to forget.

When she opens them again the cavern is the same; rank, crumbling, crammed with the wounded bodies of alley cats and the few unlucky housecats like herself. A ginger-furred tom still stands guard outside the entrance, stiff-backed, with twitching yet perked spotted ears. The tabby tom below her coughs, once, twice, before it breaks off into airless heaves.

She thinks he's dying. A piece of wood is embedded in his chest, and even though the injury is older than a moon, it still leaks dark and sultry blood. He was a strong cat, but in the end, his internal injuries will be too strong for even him and his massive bulk to fight.

She lurches to her paws suddenly; She's spotted a mouse in a dark far corner. It's not that festering prey that PureClan brings them- it's alive.

Cursing her creaking joints, she sinks into a rough crouch and prowls toward the plump little creature, carefully avoiding the prone bodies of her snoring den-mates. She hasn't had anything proper to eat for days on end- her shrunken stomach can testify to that- and hunger sharpens her rudimentary skills. She's a tail-length away before it spots her; even then it only freezes, staring at her with beady black eyes. Without hesitation she leaps, not so much as sailing through the air as flailing. She lands with her paws planted on either side of her prey, her muzzle smacking into its soft warm body. She's used to bigger prey; she used to hunt starlings in her housefolk's garden.

Heart bounding, the grey tabby sinks her teeth into the mouse's throbbing neck. It doesn't' make a sound- a miracle. Quickly, she casts a wary glance over her shoulder, but doesn't see anyone watching her. The tom is still coughing, however, and she doesn't feel brave enough to take it back to her dirt nest where anyone could steal her fresh-kill. This time she hesitates. There's only one place in the cavern where the captured cats don't dare to go; a deserted dark corner that smells like blood. In the daylight, the small bit they can see of it is riddled with bones.

It's haunted, the prisoners like to whisper, but even this is not enough to deter the starved she-cat. She caught that prey and she very well means to eat it.

Clutching her mouse in her jaws, she hurries over to the dark corner. She stumbles over a long, white stick-like object but she doesn't stop. She knows what it was but looking at it isn't going to make her feel better.

Only when she finds herself pressed against the dirt wall does she stop. She swiftly drops into a crouch, ignoring her protesting muscles, and devours the mouse bit by mouth-watering bit. It's too small- all too soon she finishes it off. But she doesn't move. For some reason she likes this corner better than her old one. Despite the lingering odor of blood, it smells better. It feels cleaner. Just sitting among the bones makes her feel isolation is pleasant. And so she stays.

She builds herself a rough nest out of soft dirt and a few feathers she found. She frames it with a few snapped ribs and takes a sip from a small, stagnant pool to her left before she curls up and closes her eyes. She knows that tomorrow she'll wake up in a situation just as bleak and hopeless, but she tries to be a creature of the present. It's where she is now that she thinks about. Her stomach is full- cramped even- and she is warm. Her wounds are healing. She's been better, but she's also been much worse.

The grey tabby she-cat with the beautiful, vivid blue eyes begins to compare her two worlds; her soft, old life, and the literal hole she lives in now.

Where her existence was once painless, it is now filled with agony. Where it was loud, it is now deathly quiet- even the squabbles over prey and their off-hand comments cannot seem to break the stillness. Where her world was once safe, here, she knows that every day here, she could die.

She knows that it is all his fault. He brought her to the she-cat with the gold pelt and a thirst for blood. That tabby tom with a curious tuft for a tail- he was to blame.

She may be a simple housecat, but she does not forget. And she doesn't believe she will forgive.

Phew, small yet big chapter. Sorry it took so long for me to post ;-; Swifteh is sorry. She had no internet at her house... *coughYouTubecough* But she isn't dead! Even though she was slightly paranoid about her plane flight for which she had to get up at 5:30 a.m. But she had books. She went to a book fair yesterday and got tons of books for fifty dollars...

Can anyone guess who this mysterious grey tabby she-cat with blue eyes is?

(We're almost at 200 reviews! :D (Thanks to Kono for beta-ing my error-riddled work :3(Did you know that if all 50ish people who favorited and followed this story reviewed...it would be a massive amount of reviews and it would make a happy, slightly-less-mean-to-Sablepaw-and-co Swifteh. ;) ))

I know this is a massive AN already but I made a thingie on a forum for people to submit future kits for PureClan to. Link's on my profile if anyone wants to check it out.

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