Puddleleap knew no love. Whispers defined his life.
"He's just slow. He'll catch up someday."
"He was really close that time."
He was an orphan; left by a mother who just could not hold on. Rejected by father who just had no time.
"I heard that Reedwhisper abandoned him."
"I think she's dead."
Reedwhisper was tortured. She hated herself, crushing her own dreams. Her mate lied to her, her clan never searched for her, her son never wondered about her fate.
"You need hope, my darling," her own mother used to say.
"Hope is what killed you!" she would scream into the dark.
Ravenpelt was a killer. He killed love, hopes, dreams, and his own sister.
As his claws tore open her neck, he noticed how beautiful she looked when she was terrified. Her warm amber eyes for wider, and get ears gained a purple tint.
"I had hope for you, Ravenpelt. I thought you could change."
Finch was lost. Everything went past so quickly. He could have been deputy, a father-figure, a friend, but there was always something better. A new mate, a new home, a new son. Everything seemed replaceable -- until there was nothing left to replace.
Puddleleap was broken. All of his kin had killed one another, or left each other in mental ruins. He had lost everything, so he noticed nothing.
Reedwhisper was alive. Living but destroyed. She could practically see the stars in her own fur.
Ravenpelt was choking. Burning poison dripped down his throat. The red juice might as well have been his own blood, it was so vile.
Finch scrambled to reach the top, the highest branch. Could a tree, though a metaphor, give him all of the joy that he had missed? His claws scraped at the bark, but did not connect. It slipped out of his grasp, just like the rest of his life.