Shattered Sky | Chapter 7 of 35

Author: Erin Hunter | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2739 Views | Add a Review

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PROLOGUE

The sun edged its way above the horizon, casting a flood of golden light over the grassy hollow where Alderheart stood. Blinking in the dazzling rays, he glanced around and tried to work out where he was. He couldn’t remember ever having visited this hollow before, and a pang of apprehension seized him as he wondered if he had managed to wander away from ThunderClan territory without realizing it.

In the bottom of the hollow was a small pool, the surface glittering in the sunlight. Straggling bushes surrounded it, and when Alderheart looked more closely he spotted a group of cats huddled in the shelter of the branches. A small, silver-gray tabby she-cat lay stretched out in their midst. Alderheart thought he had seen her somewhere before, but the other cats were all strangers to him.

Hesitantly, Alderheart began padding down the slope into the center of the hollow. “Greetings!” he called out as he drew nearer to the group of cats. “Can you tell me where . . . ?”

His voice trailed off as none of the cats reacted to his approach—it was as if they could neither see him nor hear him. A spark of excitement fizzled through Alderheart.

I must be having a vision! Are these the cats of SkyClan? But I don’t really recognize any of them. . . .

Eager to know what his vision had to tell him, Alderheart drew closer to the clump of bushes, noticing that his paw steps did not even bend the grass blades beneath them.

As he padded forward, Alderheart could see that the silver-gray tabby had a long gash down her flank. The flesh around it was swollen, and pus oozed from the wound. The tabby was very thin, her pelt dull and almost colorless; her breathing was shallow, and her eyes looked glassy with fever. Once again he felt that odd sense of familiarity, as though he really ought to recognize her.

I wish I could help this cat, Alderheart thought. Chervil or marigold for the infection, some borage leaves to bring down her fever a little . . .

But in his vision he was helpless, with no way to communicate with these cats or find the herbs for them. All he could do was watch as one of the tabby’s companions dipped a scrap of moss into the pool and held it to her mouth so that she could drink.

“Is there anything we can do for you?” one of the other cats asked her.

Wearily, the silver tabby shook her head. “Maybe dandelion or borage,” she murmured. “But I don’t know where you would find them here. My time is almost up. The infection is too strong. . . . There’s nothing any cat can do now.”

Her eyes closed. One of the other cats bent over her and gave her ears a gentle lick.

Alderheart almost thought that the tabby had died, but a moment later she roused again.

“I wish I could protect you all,” she mewed, her voice shaking and filled with guilt. “We’re so far from the gorge . . . and we haven’t been able to find the home that StarClan wishes for us.” Suddenly she startled, looking over her Clanmates’ heads. “Frecklewish! Have you found us at last?”

The other cats looked eagerly in the direction she was staring, but disappointment clouded their eyes when they saw no cat there. Alderheart understood that the tabby’s fever was causing her to hallucinate. The cat who had been licking her said gently, “She’s not here. You know we never found Frecklewish after we were driven from the gorge. I fear that she must be dead.”

Another cat nodded. “We looked everywhere.”

Alderheart realized that the dying tabby must be their medicine cat. Pity for her Clanmates clawed at him: they looked so thin and ragged, and it sounded as if they had struggled hard to find themselves new territory.

They’ve been through so much, he thought. And losing their medicine cat will only make things more difficult.

The cat’s name was on the tip of Alderheart’s tongue, and suddenly it felt vitally important for him to remember it. But he was distracted when the silver-gray tabby let out a gasp and struggled to sit up. Her eyes widened, her gaze fixed on something on the horizon. Alderheart wanted to turn and see what it was that she saw, but he couldn’t tear his gaze from her face.

“They’re coming . . . ,” she whispered, seeming to relax; then she forced herself upright again, her legs trembling and her tail flailing. “You must look for the blood trail in the sky! Follow the blood trail!” she rasped out.

The effort had taken the last of the tabby’s strength. She sank back onto the grass, her eyes fluttering shut. Her breathing slowed, then stopped.

“Echosong!” The cats who surrounded her flung back their heads and sent wails of anguish up to the sky. “Echosong!”

Echosong! Alderheart’s suspicions were confirmed. No wonder she looks familiar—I’ve seen her in a vision before! And I know her name . . . Sandstorm spoke of her. She’s SkyClan’s medicine cat . . . which means these cats are all that’s left of SkyClan.

The vision began to fade into a swirling gray mist, and as he lost sight of the grieving cats, Alderheart felt certain that SkyClan still desperately needed help—more than ever, now that they were without a medicine cat.

Opening his eyes in the apprentices’ den, Alderheart saw pale dawn light filtering through the ferns that screened the entrance. He lay still for a moment. His vision had convinced him not only that his Clan must help SkyClan, but that SkyClan definitely had something to do with the prophecy.

It’s time to do something, Alderheart thought, hauling himself to his paws and shaking moss and bracken out of his pelt. I’ll talk to Bramblestar about it as soon as I can. But I’m afraid that won’t be until after this morning’s battle. . . .

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Comments

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Nicely written. I cried when Needletail died ;(
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batool
thanks i was looking for a website like this to read i just want that could make the full screen best regards
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