Bright let out a cry of pain from where she lay, the elderly she-cat's flanks heaving, her eyes revealing fear. Her kits were coming. Outside, the former Leader could hear the soft, worried murmurs of her Tribemates. C'mon, I may be old, but I can do this...I was a Healer once! Deep down, the mink she-cat knew she wasn't going to survive her kitting. The current Healer, Holly, had immediately rushed to Bright's side, offering to help the birthing elder, but Bright refused. She could handle things on her own. But truthfully, she wanted to die in peace. She wanted her suffering to end. Gritting her teeth, the elder let out yet another wail of pain, squirming as she lay in her own pool of blood. This was it. Her suffering to end.
Her blue eyes shifted to the exit of the Elder's den. Outside, she could catch a glimpse of a red-furred tom, his glare meeting hers. His green eyes were sharp and cruel, his claws sinking into the ground as he clearly held back a growl. Lion. How she hated that tom, and how he hated her. That was the reason why she wished her suffering would end. He wanted to destroy the line of Dying Ember, which meant he's want to destroy her kits...if they would make it. He doesn't want me to die...not from giving birth. He wants to kill me with his very own paws... Bright winced in pain. ...Too bad that won't be happening. Tribe of Endless Hunting, as cruel as this may sound, please, please don't let my kits live. If they do, they will suffer the same pain I've been suffering.
"...Holly, you must help Bright, we can't let such a treasured piece of history die..." Bright flattened her ears as she heard Lion's voice rumble from outside.
"I'm sorry Lion, but she's forbidden me from entering...She wishes to do everything on her own, and I trust her."
You shouldn't, Holly, I plan on dying...I don't expect to live on much longer anyways. With yet another cry of pain, Bright gave a massive heave. It was the greatest pain she'd ever felt, and the greatest struggle. Taking over the Tribe, saving it from near-death, and getting things back in line after the Deputy and Leader had died was easier than having her kits. Growing weaker and weaker, Bright gave one last effort, until all of her pain vanished. Quivering from exhaustion, Bright craned her neck to gave down at her kit, covered in his mother's blood. Alive....N-No! As beautiful as my son may be, he must die, I must protect him! But she couldn't. Not only was she slowly dying and too exhausted to move much, he was too cute and innocent to kill.
"...Has she finished?"
...Lion won't see him as too cute or innocent to torture...Tribe of Endless Hunting, please let me watch over my son... With a final sigh, Bright went limp, her son thrashing about as he let out a lost, hungry wail.
"She's not responding!"
"Quick, Holly, you must check on her!" Hesitantly, the Healer poked her head inside, only to back away with her head shaking.
"...It's too late...Bright is dead. The Tribe of Endless Hunting will honor her and treat her greatly for all of her service, especially after she saved us..."
"And the kits?"
"Only one, however, it's alive and well. I believe it's a tom." Lion shouldered his way past the Healer, curling a lip as he glared down at Bright's motionless body. Holly and their Tribemates made their way inside as well, letting out mournful wails as they gazed down at Bright's body.
"...The kit needs a mother."
"And a name?"
"What should we call him?" Lion turned, his eyes dark.
"...Bog Filled with Shadows."
"Bog? Boooooogggg! Hey, kid, get up, I need to clean your nest." Bog grumbled quietly, and with a small whine, the kit rolled off of the nest.
"Crimson, you don't need to be so rude, he's just a kit!" Bog revealed his blue eyes, glaring up at the arguing twins. Both were Soldiers, and had been Spikes for quite a long time, but with the lack of To-Bes, they were stuck doing To-Be duties. With a soft growl, Crimson rolled her eyes.
"You're only saying that because you have a soft spot for kits..." Crimson continued to grumble to herself as she cleaned up the nest, replacing it with fresh moss. "Now, you better stop tearing up the nest, or I'll tell Wing." A smirk appeared on the ruddy molly's maw as Bog shrank back.
"N-No, don't tell my mommy, I won't shred it again, I promise!" Whimpered Bog, his eyes as round as the moon. Crimson chuckled, while Red rolled her eyes, shoving Crimson lightly.
"Hey, he's a kit, he's going to rip up the nest. You're probably going to have kits some day, so you need to-"
"I am not going to!"
"What's going on in here? You two sound like kits again?" A beautiful, pale brown tabby queen stepped in, her whiskers twitching in amusement. Bog bolted to her paws, a purr rumbling in his throat as he weaved around her legs.
"Hello, Bog." Wing lifted her gaze, narrowing her eyes at the twins. "Crimson, Red? What's going on in here?" The tabby repeated, a small smile growing on her face as the two she-cats shifted.
"W-We were just, um, changing out the nests..."
"Alright, it seems your finished...Go on then, get." The sisters quickly scurried out of the den, Wing stretching out with a yawn, resting in her nest. "Aren't you tired, Bog? C'mere, let's take a nap...maybe I'll tell you a story." Bog opened his mouth to argue that he wasn't tired, however, he really did want to hear a story. Settling down, Bog cuddled into Wing's soft, fluffy fur, enjoying its soft touch.
"Can you tell me about that Bright cat again?"
"Of course, sweetie. Bright was a strong and courageous she-cat..."
Bog was awakened by Wing, the queen nuzzling his side gently. "Wake up, sweetie, today, you're going to taste mouse for the very first time." Brightening, Bog hurried after his mother, his tiny tail held high. Wing, with her long strides, reached the pile first, plucking a fresh mouse from the top. She nudged it towards Bog, the tom parting his jaws to taste the air.
Whoa, that's going to be good! Purring loudly, Bog quickly devoured the mouse, his belly now full.
"Did you like it?"
"I loved it!" Bog rolled onto his back, continuing to purr as he soaked up the sun. Life was so good, so happy...nothing was ever wrong. He suddenly leaped to his paws, eyes round with surprise as Wing let out a yelp. "Momma?! Are you ok?!"
"B-Bog, your bleeding!!"
"I am?" Confused, Bog craned his neck to see a thorn lodged in his back, the piece of plant digging in very deep.
"Oh my poor son, you must be in great pain!! Quick, let's take you to Holly, she'll make removing it as painless as possible!" Quickly grabbing Bog by his scruff, she hurried him to Holly.
"Pain? But it doesn't hurt..." His eyes round with confusion, Bog gazed up at Holly, watching as the black she-cat circled him.
"Ah, you must be very brave. It's ok, thorns make just about every cat want to squeal, don't move..." Bog squirmed, narrowing his eyes.
"It doesn't hurt! I am brave, but it doesn't hurt. I can get it myself, I'm a big cat now." Craning his neck, Bog attempted to grasp the thorn with his powerful jaws, only to push it in deeper. "Mouse-dung! I missed! This is frustrating..." Holly watched the tomkit with wide eyes as he continued to try pulling it out, only pushing it deeper and deeper, blood pooling from the wound. Both mollies cringed, fretting over the tom.
"Bog, that's enough! It'll be impossible to take out of you keep this up. Hold still, that's an order." Holly growled, the black molly leaning over the kit, sinking her fangs into the thorn, accidentally biting the kit a bit in the process. However, he didn't flinch once. This puzzled the Healer greatly, ripping the thorn from his flesh before spitting it out in a pile of old, useless herbs. Wing gave Holly a confused glance, but the Healer simply ordered her to leave with a flick of her tail. Once she left, Holly turned back to Bog. "It really didn't hurt, did it?"
"No...Maybe it was too small to?"
"No, no, I don't think that's it..." Pausing, the black feline paced for a few moments before turning back to the kit. Hesitantly, she unsheathed a claw, making the tomkit cringe. "I'm not going to kill you, I'm just testing something...Tell me if this hurts." Quickly, Holly cuffed the kit around the ear. He simply blinked up at her.
"No." She then bit his tail.
"No..." Holly's eyes darkened, primarily with sadness.
"I never thought I'd see the day...Such a rare disease, so rare, but so dangerous in its own way..."
"I have a disease?" Bog began in a soft whimper, his eyes growing round once more. "...A-Am I going to die?" Holly jumped, alarmed by his sudden question.
"No, no, it's not a deadly disease...Well, it can't kill you directly. Bright actually told me about it, she received a prophecy about it long, long ago. If you're not careful, you can get carried away and die. Bog, you should be very, very honored to hold this disease, you're probably the only cat with it."
"So it's nothing? I'm just...special?"
"Oh no, it's certainly not nothing. Bog, you are unable to feel pain."
Bog nudged through the fresh kill pile, in search of a mouse to chow on. The news of his rare disease had spread like wildfire, however, it made him rather...popular. Apparently, he was going to be the bravest, toughest Soldier who would rule the battlefield. This did catch Bog's attention, being the best Soldier ever sounded quite tempting. "Hey, kit." The low, rumbling voice of a tom caught Bog off guard, causing him to fall onto his haunches, a few pieces of fresh kill falling on him.
"W-Who-what?!" Red flashed in front of the kit, a massive tom standing before him, gazing down at the kit curiously.
"Gee, for a 'great soldier', you sure are jumpy." The tom muttered, flexing his claws as he glared down at the kit.
"Lion." The massive solider grinned, revealing sharp, long fangs, that were clearly dying to sink into someone's flesh. Bog fought back a shiver of fright, holding Lion's gaze. "...Well? Would you like to learn some moves then?" Bog suddenly brightened.
"Oh yes, yes I would!" Lion grinned once more.
"Perfect...C'mon, kit, I'll take you out of camp for the first time as well..." Clueless, Bog bounded after the broad-shouldered tom, his tail held high like a little flag. Sadly, the tomkit was totally oblivious to what he was about to go through, even if he couldn't feel it. I don't believe that stupid kit's diease...I need to end that line, and I need to make him suffer!
"How far are we going?"
"...This is far enough. Now, face me, Bog." Bog turned, flinching at the sight of Lion. His hackles were raised, his fangs bared, and his long, deadly claws were unsheathed. Bog swallowed. Though he was unable to feel pain, he had a feeling that this was going to end badly.
And boy did it end badly. Bog, after receiving several blows, and not knowing that he had, turned tail and fled, his hackles raised at the sight of his own blood. "M-Momma, Momma!" He wailed loudly, Wing barging out of the nursery before screeching Holly's name, pelting to her adopted son's side.
"Hurry Holly, hurry! Oh my poor, poor Bog, what happened?! Who did this?!" Her voice heavy with worry, the fretting queen covered the smoke mink kit in licks.
"I...I'm fine momma, I really am!" Bog argued, his shoulders slumping as he spoke, slowly starting to feel weak. Holly bounded over, grasping the tomkit by his scruff before fleeing into the Healer's den, where she seated Bog in a nest and began to work on him. Bog quickly fell asleep, regardless of the commotion around him.
Bog awoke to yet another argument between Crimson and Red, but he quickly closed his eyes once more to listen into their conversation.
"...don't say that! That's very rude and cruel of you, Crimson!"
"Like I haven't heard that before. I was joking Red, Bog won't die...maybe."
"Cut it out!" Bog's eyes fluttered open quickly, jumping away with a quick jolt as he felt pressure on his body. The twins had broke out into a mock-fight, wrestling each other around and rolling across the Healer's den.
"Red, Crimson, enough! Are you kits?!" At Holly's sharp tone, the two molly broke apart, quickly slinking out of the den. Holly returned her green gaze to Bog, gently nuding the kit's shoulder. "Are you alright, little one?" Bog opened his mouth to respond, only to close it as Holly continued on. "Of course you are, at least you think you are, seeing that you can't feel pain. I think you're good to go, just stay out of trouble," his ears pricking, Bog quickly rose to his paws and bolted out of the Healer's den, bounding over to Wing and cuddling into her soft fur.
"I'm ok momma, I'm ok!" His purr warmed Wing's heart, the molly's eyes warm as she gazed down at the bundle of fur.
"That's fantastic news...Now, I've gotta go question- er, speak with someone. Run off, my little soldier, go get yourself something to eat." Stepping away, Wing trotted off, her eyes narrowing as she approached the Soldier's den. With a small shrug, Bog nosed through the freshkill pile until he was satisfied with a shrew, lying down with it between his paws, observing Wing and...Lion. From what Bog could tell, the conversation was harsh and heated, not a good one at all. Pressing himself against the ground, Bog pricked his ears to hear the arguing cats better.
"-...you almost killed him, you fox-heart! He's just a kit, he's done nothing wrong, and he will not start training until a few more moons!"
"I think you, of all cats, know the very reason why I did that."
"I do not!"
"He's not even your son, why should you care?!"
"Because he's y-" The two cat suddenly ceased their arguing as a few soldiers passed, entering the soldier's den. Wing and Lion's voices became suddenly quiet, too silent for Bog to hear...Not like he was listening anymore. He was too shocked, too mentally hurt. They lied to him. His Tribe lied to him. Wing lied to him! Turning with his heart burning, Bog raced into the Nursery, hiding under his moss to wail quietly to himself. Wing wasn't even his mother, she had lied to him...For all Bog knew, everything she had told him had been a lie...She could have been lying when she said she loved him, when she told him he'd be the best Soldier ever, when she promised him she'd always be there for him, when she declared that she'd do anything to protect him...even that Bright cat in the stories were probably a lie.
"...Bog, sweetie? What's wrong...?" Wing's voice was soft and quiet, as if it was far off...Bog wished it was. The tomkit curled himself into a tighter ball, squeezing his eyes shut.
"...Leave me alone, go away..."
"Honey, what's going on? Why are you acting like this? My son-" She stepped forward to get closer to the tomkit, only to back away quickly as Bog let out an angry hiss.
"Liar? My dear son, what are you talking about?" Baffled, Wing blinked as she cocked her head slightly, watching as Bog scooted away, glaring up at the queen.
"You're not my mother! I heard what you said to Lion!" Wing flattened her ears in response, backing away once more.
"...You may not be my son, but I love you like you are, Bog. I've taken care of you ever since you were born. I'm your adopted mother, that's still a mother. I lost my kits, and you lost your mother. Your father...He doesn't even deserve to be called a father." Bog flattened his ears as he glared away from the molly.
"...Then who's my mother?" Wing looked away from the tom as well, stepping outside to gaze up at the now star-lit sky.
"...It's up to you to find that out."
It wasn't long until the "feelingless" kit was made a To-be, and to no other than Lion. Great, time for some abuse...And he'd get away with it, every single scratch. The lion-like tom lead Bog away from camp, the smoke mink cat trailing rather far away. "Bog." The tabby began in a sharp tone, swiftly flicking his tail for the to-be to catch up. "Stop sleeping on your paws, we have important things to do." Flattening his ears, the to-be quickened his pace to keep up with Lion, his head remaining low. A cruel grin appeared on Lion's face.
"Now, we'll be starting with some battle training-" A soft groan emitted from Bog's face, causing the ginger mentor to spin around and glare at his to-be. "Do you not want to train?! Do you not want to become a soldier?!" Bog flattened his ears at these bitter words, but nodded slowly. At this, Lion unsheathed his deadly claws. "Good..." Leaping at the tomcat, Lion burrowed his fangs into the neck of Bog, flinging him across the soft grass.
"Why're you-" He had not time to finish, his mentor springing back into action, aiming another bite for his neck, this time, the soft, innocent flesh underneath. Even though Bog couldn't feel it, he didn't want to be killed, not yet. His lower half curling up, Bog's hind claws met with Lion's cheek, scraping at his flesh. Warm blood touched Bog's claws, Lion yowling in pain before backing away, his eyes lighting up with anger. Bog's attack was a big mistake...it only made Lion angrier.
"You fool!!" Screaming at the top of his lungs, Lion pounced onto his to-be, his claws piercing Bog's shoulders...However, Bog's disease gave him an advantage, he felt no pain, he didn't feel weak. As his mentor pounced on him, he rolled, going with the momentum and pinning Lion to the ground and sinking his claws into Lion's shoulders. He refused to let go, he'd stop at nothing to defend himself, as he didn't know his limit, he didn't know what it felt like to be slowly dying, and he never would. Lion fought back, smacking Bog in the side of the face with a claw before rolling, eventually pinning his to-be and glaring down at him.
"Why are you doing this?!" Not even a growl came from Lion's throat, sinking his claws into Bog's chest. "Answer me!!!" At this angry yowl, Bog lashed out at Lion's face, hitting him square in the eye. Reeling back, Lion screeched in pain, a paw covering his eye.
"Look what you just did, stupid kit!! I'll be blind in this eye for life! I-I'll kill you, I'll murder you like I murdered your mother!" With an angry shriek, Lion dove back at his apprentice, his claws scorching wounds down Bog's side. Fearing death, Bog turned and fled at top speed, leaving Lion in the dust.
"What in the name of the Tribe of Endless Hunting happened to you?!" Red stared at the smoke mink tomcat in disbelief, whilst Crimson poked at his wounds.
"Did you feel that?"
"Really?! Wow, whenever someone pokes my wounds, I cry like a kit!" At her twin's remark, Red rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but to twitch her whiskers in amusement.
"Alright, stop playing with his wounds, we gotta fetch Holly." Rising to her paws, the slender ruddy she-cat wandered over to Holly's den, poking her head inside and asking for the black molly to check up on Bog's wounds. The Healer appeared, covering the diseased tom with herbs and cobwebs.
"There, now stay away from all those terrible thorns, alright?" Waving her tail in good-bye, Holly disappeared back into her den, leaving Bog alone.
About an hour later, Lion returned, glaring at Bog before pushing his way into the Soldier's den. The smoke mink to-be shuddered. How could he be so brutal, and what was his motivation? I want to run away, but...I don't want to live as a Loner, and Lion would find me for sure... The tomcat was oblivious of FlameClan's existance, so he didn't believe he had anywhere to flee. Shouldering his way into the to-be den, he lay down with a soft thud.
For a few days, Lion took it easy on Bog, actually teaching him some moves and hunting skills, but five days later...He quickly returned to the beating. As Bog progressed, the beatings only got worse. But why wasn't he growing stronger? He was growing, yes? Kind of. Bog left early in the morning for "training", and returned to camp extremely late, too tired to eat, and if he did have time, Lion wouldn't let him. He weas making him weak on purpose, so he could torture his to-be before killing him...Well, it wasn't exactly torture, seeing that Bog couldn't hurt, but the thought of how much his mentor hate him hurt even more than wounds would.
Despite all of his intense "training" and "special disease", all of the other to-bes had more skill and strength than Bog...As a result, they started to pick on him, even after Lion snapped at them. At night, they had fun by kicking Bog at night, so he no longer got to sleep.
All the other 'kids with their 'pumped up kicks'... All he could do was think bitterly of them.
But, the time was finally here...It was time for him to leave Lion's cruel grasp, to become a true soldier, despite his weakness. Gathering with his Tribemates, Bog proudly agreed to accept the roles of a Soldier before becoming one, purring as his Tribemates' chants echoed in his ears.
"BOG, BOG, BOG!"
"BOG." The sudden and firm voice of Lion after the ceremony caused Bog to flinch. No, no...He just escaped his grasp, must he beat him more? Even if he couldn't feel anything, it still hurt him mentally to be hated so much, to be beaten for no reason. Was Lion just jealous of Bog's special disease...? Probably.
"...Y-Yeah?" The massive Soldier stepped forward, giving Bog a surprisingly warm purr. "I just wanted to congratulate you on becoming a Soldier! I do hope my intense training will help you in the future, sorry if I was a bit too rough...I just wanted you to be the best you can be, you know?" Bog held back a sigh of relief. Maybe he didn't want to kill Bog after all...But now that Lion was nice to him, it wasn't like the other cats would be, the former to-bes still picked on him. The words of one of his "Tribemates" still rung in his ears...
"He's coming for you, yeah he's coming for you..."
And then he never saw that tribemate again...Perhaps she had been from the Tribe of Endless Hunting? She was a smoke mink she-cat as well, so perhaps it had been his mother, who most claimed to be Seagull?
He returned his thoughts to the situation. "Oh, thanks, yeah, it helped me a lot, I guess..."
"C'mon, let's head out for a hunt together, like the good 'ol times. It won't just be me and you anymore, you'll be leading real patrols now!" The offer wasn't at all tempting, but Bog accepted to be nice.
"Hurry up, Bog!" His voice harsher than earlier, Bog quickened his pace to catch up with Lion. As of right now, he had a terrible limp, after Lion nearly broke it during a "training session" a few days ago. "I said hurry up!" Wincing, Bog did his best to keep up...No, his leg didn't hurt, it just felt oddly stiff, after all, it had been stretched waaay too far. Turning, Lion faced him. "...Do you know why I took you out this far today?"
"...Uh, to hunt?"
"No, to kill you!" With a roar, Lion leaped at Bog, the smoke mink cat diving out of the way. It was for real now, now he was actually trying to get the job done. He did manage, however, to catch Bog by the leg, dragging him back with his teeth. Bog did his best to fight back, thrashing as he was dragged away, but he was too weak, too unhealthy. He had to escape, he had to run...But before he did anything, he needed to know why. Swinging around a claw, he connected his paw with his former mentor's face.
"STOP IT! If you're going to kill me, I want to know why first! We both know that I won't stand a chance against you, I'm already doomed, so let me die knowing why!" Lion's eyes narrowed sharply, glaring down at Bog, the former to-be trapped beneath his wicked claws.
"...Because I will end your line, as I promised..."
"Why?! What line?!"
"...Your family's. That's right, I killed your mother!" Lion spat these words out like venom, his claws digging deeper into Bog's flesh. As usual, the smoke mink tomcat didn't even flinch.
"Why, what did she do to you?! You had no right to kill her! And my father."
"Bright is my enemy now, I had every right to kill her!" Chills ran down Bog's spine...Bright...was his...mother...? The famous Leader who everyone had loved, the she-cat who saved her very Tribe? The successful she-cat that Bog loved to hear about? Those stories, all along...the stories he and his Tribemates loved had been about his mother all along.
"She died of birthing me."
"No, she probably would've survived if I hadn't beaten her beforehand."
"And what about my father? Why'd you kill him, what did you have against him?!"
"He's not dead, I didn't kill him!"
"Then where is he?"
"Then who is he?"
"ME, you FOOL!" Speaking in an angry screech, Lion raked his claws down Bog's belly, the very belly of his son...He hit him with a bullet of claws, fur flying from his son's pelt.
"N-No!! It's your fault that I'm in this world!" Letting out a pained (from the thought of his own father trying to kill him, not wounds) yowl, Bog kicked his father square in the jaw, turning tail and running away as fast as he could.
"You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet!"
And so he did. All this time, Lion was his father, but Bog had gotten one thing right:
All he wanted was his son dead. And that wouldn't happen, not by him.
Daddy works a long day
he's coming home late, he's coming home late...
And he's bringing me a surprise...
Eventually, Bog found his safe-haven: FlameClan. And there, he took on a warrior name: Bogshadow, hiding from his past, and doing his best not to stand out due to his "special disease..."
Note from le Author: If you do not know the song, or can't see what this story and Bogshadow are based off of...:
Foster the People - Pumped up Kicks