THE LONG WALK | lost kittypet

Jul 16, 2022

Stephen King lives a comfortable life, swaddled in blankets and offered countless treats during his every waking moment. His twolegs adore him, and not to wrinkle his own whiskers, but he can’t blame them. He knows he’s cute. But sometimes, when he stares out the window, he can’t help but wonder—what else is out there, beyond these four walls that his life has been confined to? He isn’t the type to seek thrills, or chase down adventure like some madman with a death wish. No, he’s perfectly happy to stay in his bubble of comfort and safety.

…But what if he isn’t? What if he steps outside those doors and finds that the outside world is so much bigger and brighter than he’s ever imagined? What if he’s missing out on the best parts of life?

It’s this line of thinking that leads him to where he is now—and oh, how he regrets his decision to leave his cool, comfortable home. Under the blistering sun, Stephen King can practically feel his brain melting as he traverses the forest. Twigs snap under clumsy, heavy paws, and the little bell on his slightly-loose collar jingles with every jostling step that he takes. It hasn’t taken him long to realize that he is hopelessly lost out here. Left and right have become indistinguishable, and he’s almost certain that he’s passed that same tree at least three times by now. He’d been following the fence—where is the fence?

Panic is beginning to set in when he comes across a huge tree that looks unfamiliar. He isn’t sure what it means that he doesn’t recognize the tree, but it seems taller than the others in the area, so perhaps climbing it could get him to a better vantage point. Gritting his teeth and extending his claws, the red-spotted tabby takes a couple steps backward, planting his paws into the ground to steel himself. The bell attached to his collar dings incessantly as he takes a running start and leaps at the tree—clinging to the tough bark is much more difficult than the soft material of the tree inside his home. "Oh no," he squeaks, sliding back down a few inches to slump at the base of the tree. This is hopeless.
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*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ He's leader now, and that means he needs to apply himself to the skills these feral-born cats have mastered. SkyClan is home to cats who hide in the branches, who hunt squirrels and birds among their tops. He's seen cats, agile as the prey they're chasing, clamber up trees with all the grace he lacks.

There's a particularly tall pine tree on the outskirts of the forest, and it seems someone has beaten him there. He catches a large reddish tom slumping down the bark after a pitiful attempt to climb it.

Blaise hears a faint jingling from his position, and he smiles.

"They aren't easy to climb, don't worry," he says as he approaches the other cat. He waves his tail, blinks to show he means no harm. "And you've picked one of the harder trees to climb. Are you just... doing it for fun?" He questions. The tom doesn't look like he's having fun, but he's not sure why else a kittypet fresh from the Twolegplace would be climbing the Tall Pine.

So, they were Skyclan now. To be quite honest, Cow didn’t really care about the new name. After all, what did it change? The bovine boy didn’t quite see the point of making a big fuss out of it, but his clanmates disagreed, and he was willing to indulge them. The bonehead wanted things to go back to the way they were before the battle, but that was impossible unless he could turn back time.

Well, at least he could turn back time in his head. Cow could pretend everything was still alright, still normal. And part of that normality meant hunting. Stumbling his way through the forest, forcing his way through bushes and branches as if they weren’t there, the bi-chromatic cat felt two scents reach his nose. One belonged to a friend, and the other to a stranger (or as Cow referred to them, future friends).

A milk-drenched maw burst through a nearby bush to announce his entrance. “Hey, you two!” he greeted, eyes shimmering with enthusiasm. Cow had picked up on bits and pieces of the conversation while barreling his way towards the both of them, so he was excited to meet this prospective tree-climber. Needless to say, he wasn’t what the boy had expected.

“Well, climbing trees is a lot more fun if you get really high!” he chirped, clearly preparing for some grade-a advice. “All you gotta do is imagine you’re sinking your claws into some prey every time to grab the bark. Ain’t nothing to it!”

From his spot against the tree trunk, Stephen King doesn’t see the cat approaching him—he only notices the other tom when he says something. An undignified noise leaves the kittypet’s mouth, spine going stiff for a moment before the cause of his terror speaks again. He whirls around, barely even registering what the stranger is saying as he stumbles over his next few words. "Warn a guy next time! You nearly gave me a—you scared me!" As he takes in the sight of the stranger with wide green eyes, breathing heavily, he finally feels his heartbeat begin to slow from the rabbit-pace it had been racing at.

A frantic once-over reveals nothing but a seemingly friendly cat, one who wears a collar not unlike Stephen’s own. A fellow kittypet, he thinks, briefly catching the scent of flowers from the fluffy tom. His fur color reminds Stephen of those things his smallest twoleg likes—creamsicles, or something along those lines. "Uh… I’m lost, I think," he says dumbly, averting his gaze to the ground. Embarrassing myself on my first day outside. "I thought if I got up high I could get back home before it gets dark out here."

The second feline to join them seems much less calm, less tame. There’s a cheery enthusiasm to the way he speaks, calling out a greeting before diving into an explanation of tree climbing. "Prey? Like… living animals?" He turns up his nose, horrified, at the idea. They call living things prey, like some kind of wildhearted prowling monster? "I don’t know what you mean. And I didn’t think climbing a tree would be this hard!" Maybe this tree thing is hopeless, and maybe so is his whole adventure. These two are much friendlier than he imagined any of the wild creatures out here would be, though, so perhaps there is a possibility of getting back home before some sharp-toothed demon of the woods snatches him up.
It is a rare sight to see the cream-furred tom on the ground; he's always lurking in the branches, surveying everything from above. There's a sense of security from being up high, from having an aerial view of his surroundings to watch for predators and prey alike.

Pine needles disperse as Harpy leaps onto the branch of another tree, his ears flicking at the familiar sound of a tinkering collar. His gaze drifts to the forest floor, an amused snort forcing it's way out of his nose when he sees a kittypet trying to climb the tallest pine in the territory and failing miserably. The red tabby has garnered an audience with his holy show; Blaise and Cow both address him, one with confusion and one with thick-headed advice. "Troubles, mate?" Harpy inquires with a quirk of his brow, chuckling as the kittypet startles at the sudden crowd that's gathered.

The kittypet reveals that he's lost, and Harpy snorts once more. He must be pretty damn scarlet by now. He knows he would be if he'd been caught blundering about. "Lucky we found ya, then. I can show ya the way." Harpy's tail tip flicks, glancing towards the setting sun. It's almost time for him to head back to his housefolk, anyways. Might as well fill two needs with one deed.

The red-furred tom seems apalled by the mention of prey, inquiring if they meant living animals in disbelief. Harpy rolls his eyes. "Well, we don't eat twigs and squirrel shit." Then, the young tom mutters something about how climbing trees is harder than he'd imagined. Harpy blinks down at him. "Takes practice, mate." It's spoken as if it's common sense, and to him, it is. Cats don't just pop out of the womb knowing how to climb with the expertise of a SkyClanner. He certainly didn't. It'd taken moons of hard work.
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ The ginger tom is startled into near-stupor at Blaise's appearance and greeting, and he looks at the flame point with enormous green eyes. But the SkyClan leader hardly evokes fear, and he seems to relax somewhat.

"I thought if I got up high I could get back home before it gets dark out here." The Ragdoll nods. He remembers how he'd been mystified by the scents and territory of the forest when he'd first come by. "It's not a bad idea. If you could climb." He smiles, mystified at the kittypet's exclamation of surprise concerning prey. "You've never caught a mouse before?"

Harpy joins them next, the cream-colored tabby offers to show him the way home. Blaise relaxes. He often forgets there are cats, like Harpy and Churro, who come and go from the Twolegplace. He flicks his tail in Harpy's direction. "Thank you, Harpy. Would you be comfortable with that?" He flicks his eyes toward Stephen. "And he's right, you know. Tree climbing, like everything else out here, isn't easy. Don't be hard on yourself." He's still clumsy and awkward on even the lowest branches, so he can understand the indignity in the face of skilled climbers like Harpy and Cow.

The next cat to join the little grouping they’ve got going on looks older than the others, with a green bandana tied around his neck. He offers to show Stephen the way back to his home, and the red-striped tom briefly wonders how this guy knows the way back to the twolegplace. It dawns on him that the cream feline must be a housecat such as himself—albeit one with much more freedom—and he offers a broad smile. As embarrassing as this is, it’s nice that someone is offering to show him a way back so he doesn’t have to continue to make a fool of himself. He sighs, sucks it up, and gives the older tom a nod. "If you know the way back, I’d really appreciate it."

The cream and white tom rolls his eyes and responds to his prey question more harshly than Stephen would have hoped. He doesn’t know what he expected these outdoor cats to eat, but he’s just a little caught off guard by the confirmation that they eat raw, living food. The closest he’s gotten to eating prey was that one time when his twoleg had dropped some cold chicken onto the floor, then proceeded to scold him for eating it. "Of course you don’t eat twigs," he says with a roll of his eyes. Because that would be dumb. Squirrel shit, though, he isn’t so sure about, but he keeps his mouth shut. This guy—Harpy, as the other cat referred to him—seems to look at him with something between amusement and annoyance, and he doesn’t want to push his luck.

The redish-pointed tom seems surprised at Stephen’s admission, which is frankly quite rude. He’s not a mongrel. ”You’ve never caught a mouse before?” Like, what kind of question is that? Did this cat not just watch him fail horribly at climbing a tree? "Do I look like-" He sputters, shaking his head vigorously. "I’ve never been outside before, man! But maybe I should come outside more often, to learn how to climb better. Practice makes perfect, and all that." Hopefully next time, though, he won’t get pathetically lost in the forest and have to be guided home by this Harpy cat.
Harpy nods to the bumbling housecat, leaping down to the ground. As irritating as it may be, he knows that the red tabby would not be able to keep up with him should he remain in the branches. "'Course I know the way back, mate." Harpy looks at the other tom as if he'd said something utterly thick — which, in Harpy's opinion, he did. Why the hell would he extend the offer if he did not know the way? He knows better than to become the blind leading the blind, which is clearly the common sense that this fool lacks.

The red tabby agrees with Harpy's sarcastic comment with a roll of his own eyes. Harpy snorts. Well, at least he has some sense rattling around in his skull. Although... His lips curl into a subtle smile as he notes how the other tom does not readily agree with the squirrel shit portion of his comment. The cream cameo is caught between exasperation and amusement at this tom's foolishness. "What do you think we eat out here, then?" Harpy urges with a quirk of a brow, leaning forwards ever so slightly. He might as well help this tom exercise his underdeveloped critical thinking skills.

The housecat reacts with indignance at Blaise's question. Sputters out that he's never been outside before. Harpy's eyes go half-lidded. "I can tell, mate." It is spoken matter-of-fact. He could not speak for the rest of his clanmates, but he would hope that they aren't completely ignorant. He could only hope...

With another glance at the sky, Harpy's tail twitches. "Best be on our way soon, then. The night's no place for you." This guy would make an easy meal for a fox.