oneshot BRING THE SKIES DOWN — pumpkin & snail

Jul 16, 2022

Steve. What a silly name that he’s been given in this clan.

The name bestowed upon him by his people, Stephen King, has never truly suited him, but it’s always been his own. And sure, he knows he asked for a fancy half-kittypet, half-warrior name. A daylight warrior name, it’s called. But… perhaps he shouldn’t have left the choosing of his name up to the leader. Because Steve… it sucks, pure and simple. He has always hates the shortened version of his given name. There are so many names he’d prefer to Steveheart, but he does enjoy the heart part of it. He likes to think that he’s caring and kind and has a big heart. Not literally, though. He has a normal-sized heart, he hopes.

The trek he makes each morning to SkyClan is so far, and he’s beginning to think that this daylight warrior thing might have been a bad idea. But his life up until this point has been isolated, lonely. Closed off from the world, free to observe from a dusty windowsill but unable to participate in the lives of others—barely able to participate in his own life, for that matter. SkyClan allows him to come and go as he pleases, and the twolegplace is just a bit too limiting for him to feel comfortable sticking around. So SkyClan it is, and he’ll gladly wear his stupid name with pride if that’s all he needs to be accepted.

He’s on his usual morning walk to SkyClan’s camp when a flash of orange from a neighbor’s front porch catches his eye. The object is round and ridged on all sides, with a little brown hat on top—and oh, he realizes, it’s a pumpkin. Steve knows what pumpkins are—he was almost named after them, which would have suited his fur color. But this pumpkin has holes in it, in the shape of an odd face. It doesn’t look like a cat face; actually, it doesn’t look like any kind of face the kittypet has ever seen before, except on those scary videos that weird screen in their house sometimes shows.

He veers off his path, strutting up the stairs of his neighbor’s closed-in porch and approaching the pumpkin. The thing seems to be a bit collapsed into itself, with a line of ants trailing from the bottom of the mouth hole into a crack between the boards of the porch. Curious, Steveheart slaps a paw down atop the pumpkin, and the thing makes a hideous creaking sound. He cringes, then slaps it again despite himself.

This time, the pumpkin doesn’t just creak, it collapses. The sides crumble in on themselves, revealing a mushy interior that seems to be filled with ants and a few hard-shelled creatures. An undignified squeak of surprise leaves his maw, and the red tabby takes a startled stumble backward, eyes wide and breathing heavy. The shock wears off somewhat quickly, though, replaced by curiosity. He wants to find more of those.

He forgets all about his daily trip to SkyClan—and his apprentice who needs to be trained—as he wanders between backyards and front yards and leaps gracelessly over gates and parked cars and fences. He has to dodge a tiny dog who comes barreling toward him at one point, barely avoiding the snap of teeth on his tail.

It takes him a while to catch sight of another bright orange shape, but soon enough he spots one resting beside a weird pole with a big white board on the top. The pumpkin is round and ridged, though this one seems a bit more bumpy than the other, and has black ridges and no little brown hat. He realizes rather quickly, upon biting into it, that it is not a pumpkin at all. Am I ever going to find another one?

It takes even longer to actually come across another pumpkin shaped object—a few of them, actually. They’re hidden away in a backyard garden ringed with a picket fence painted in a frankly disturbing shade of purple. But there, settles between broad leaves and thick vines, are a few small pumpkins. The spotted feline trots over to paw at one of them, and grins as he confirms that it is indeed a pumpkin. Just the thing he’s been searching for!

He considers trying to take one of them back to his clanmates, but that’s a super long way to go, and he doesn’t think he can carry a pumpkin. And he can’t imagine trying to roll one through the forest—what a nightmare! So he settles for darting around the garden, patting and smacking at pumpkins with a paw and giggling at the sounds they make.

It isn’t until Steveheart rolls a pumpkin onto its side that he notices a bit of movement on one of the leaves of the plant. It startles him at first, as usual, but dark green eyes blink slowly as he gets a better look at the thing that’s frightened him.

It’s a creature that’s caught between being cute and ugly, with a head or a neck or a body of some sort—slimy—sticking out of a hard, swirled shell on its back. A snail, his mind supplies, helpfully. He’s seen one of them before, sticking to the glass of his people’s inside-fish-house. But those ones had lived in the water, and not in a pumpkin. Cocking his head, Steveheart gathers up one of the broad pumpkin leaves and uses it to gather up the snail, ensuring that it can’t escape the leaf as he wraps it to carry back to camp.

It’s nearly nightfall by the time he reaches SkyClan’s camp, having spent a majority of his day hopping around in a garden full of pumpkins. When he gets to his nest, he settles into his stomach and stretched out as far as his legs will allow. "Come on out, buddy," he murmurs, letting the leaf unfurl to reveal the snail he’d so carefully nestled within. "You sure are a cool little guy." His voice is low, almost soft, but he leans closer to inspect the creature’s curled shell. It looks a bit like a tightly-curled cat’s tail, but it’s shiny and smooth instead of fluffy.

Eventually, the snail pokes its head back out of its shiny shell, and Steveheart giggles at the sight of two curious stalks emerging from its head-neck-body-thing. It’s a bit gross, but in a way it’s also interesting. He pokes at one of the stalks ever so gently with a paw pad, and it disappears back into the thing’s head-neck-whatever. Snails are fun creatures. Maybe I can convince Blazestar to rename me sometime.