wither away with me | hunting

A cat his size was not made for stealth, he felt dirty crawling on the ground to avoid being spotted and he hated the way things clung to his long fur as he crept along the forest floor in pursuit of the mouse he had spotted; but he held his tongue and coped. It was minor inconvienences and he had to get used to it all eventually, he had to learn. The mouse he had seen was perched neatly on a broken tree, split in half and currently leaning against another with its roots upturned and twisted like the legs of a spider. That it was right there in an open area was a blessing in disguise for him, he could simply sprint to it once he got close enough and the tree made a good cover to duck behind the more he inched along. It sat there, plump rump on a knot of the wood's surface and tiny hands rotating around what looked to be some kind of mushroom it was nibbling away at. Mice were cute, his first time eating one he had felt bad because they were so small and seemed so helpless that it hadn't seemed fair to him to just kill them, but eventually he learned that kibble was not presented in bowls in the woods and any chance he had at staying alive was to be at the expense of something smaller than him getting to live. The first time Rabbitnose had presented him the kill he almost refused, but by then he had been days without anything to eat and wandering alone that he had accepted it more out of feeling bad for the wasted effort than anything else. It was a wonder he wasn't dead.
Sunfreckle continued his careful attempts forward, one white-dipped paw after the other with a light hobble in his step every fourth from his missing leg. Eventually he felt close enough, the mouse was none the wiser and with a well-timed jump he could get onto the tilted log and grab it before it even had a chance to move. A perfect plan and for once his execution was decent, but the moment he had leapt forward onto the tree he realized something was wrong. It gave from under him, the bark crumbling and the blackened and burnt insides of his now hollowed interior had no solid surface to support his sudden weight on it. The mouse was nothing, a leaf settled upon its barky surface but he was a hefty tom and it was not capable of remaining intact beneath him.
The red tabby attempted a frantic swipe at the mouse as it darted away from him stumbling back, hindlegs giving into the shattering wood as it split fully in two and practically dissolved into char and cedar chips on the ground with him tangled in a heap in the hollow of the remaining roots that had gone untouched by the fires.
The tabby thrashed, hindlegs kicking and trying to twist himself out of the hole he had been subsequently wedged into to no avail.

Sunfreckle turned, his head and upper body popping out of one side of the kindling log and his hindend wedged through the other; he was stuck. He almost wanted to cry. He could have had that mouse if this hadn't happened! "This isn't FAIR!"

The angry shout of Sunfreckle hit Flycatcher's ears suddenly. He had been hunting nearby but had not realised Sunfreckle was also hunting close by. Not knowing the reason for the yell, and perhaps fearing that something bad bad happened, Flycatcher raced to where he believed the yell had come from, eventually coming across the red tom partially stuck in a log. Flycatcher inclined his head to one side, raising a brow curiously at the other's situation. "Hang on, let me come and help you," Flycatcher mewed, padding over to his trapped clanmate. "Try not to move too much," He advised, as he got to work trying to help free Sunfreckle.

Man... you whine like a pampered kit, Robinpaw's inner-voice cannot help but retort him his head. Of course he doesn't dare say it out loud... Sunfreckle was a warrior, and he knew how Tornstride disciplined apprentices who back-talked warriors. Besides... who knew what Sunfreckle would do once Flycatcher and Robin got him out from that log.

With an unamused expression plastered all over his face, he pads up beside Flycatcher and aims to help in his own way. The bark at the edge of the log was decayed, falling apart, weak... Robinpaw expects with enough force they'd knock some of it loose, providing the red tom enough wiggle room to escape his predicament. So, Robinpaw takes a paw and begins to scratch away.


Such an unfortunate sight! Sunnyday found himself needing to stifle a chortle of amusement as he wandered over to have a closer look. Already Robinpaw and Flycatcher were getting stuck in with the rescue efforts, so he instead decided to direct his assistance to the job of helping to keep Sunfreckle calm. The older tom made his way round so he could stand in front of Sunfreckle's face, a warm smile on his face. "These two will have you out in no time, my friend. I just need you to stay calm and to relax your body. If you can do that then it should be easy to pop you free."


He felt tears bite into the corners of his eyes from embarrassment rather than pain, it hadn't hurt so much as it had startled him and ruined his hunting so he felt useless. It was always something he struggled with and his one good hunt had gone south so quick, it was disheartening to say the least. He wants to say thank you for the help, but its such a anxiety inducing predicament he finds his words are being swallowed up by his nerves well before they can escape him. Sunfreckle wriggles somewhat, attempting to help but realizes he is only making matters worse and shoots both Flycatcher and Robinpaw and apologetic, panicked look; he can't even seem to get unstuck from a log properly. It is only when Sunnyday wanders over to offer solace and some comforting advice that he feels himself losing the tension in his body only a little, enough that the log is able to be pried at more effeciently at least and he feels it crumbling around him and breaking apart enough he's able to spring forward and out of it after a moment of fumbling about.
The red tabby gives a heaving breath, fighting off the panic attack that had been desperately trying to break out of him the entire time, but after a few gulps of fresh air while freed from his bark-enclosed prison he feels himself come back down to the ground.
"I...th....thank you....all of you...I didn't realize the uh-the tree was so damaged...it looked fine." His green eyes dart from the remnants of what was once a strong old oak to the forest surrounding them, "....the fire came out so far.."


With Sunfreckle finally free, the old tom bounced between his forepaws in a brief moment of unbridled excitement. "There we go! I knew you guys could do it, well done!" He was truly relieved that it hadn't gotten any worse. Seeing that the younger warrior was still a little ruffled he aimed to stroke his tail down Sunfreckle's back in the hope of settling their nerves. "I'm just glad that you're alright. And yes, the fire has reached a fair deal of the woods. But where destruction occurs there is also the beginnings of new life. Here, look." He used a paw to dust away some of the ash and soot from a piece of the shattered tree to reveal fresh mosses and fungi growing on the carcass, and already young sprouts and shoots were beginning to show on the ground. "Now then, I believe you were in the middle of hunting, yes? Would you like some assistance with catching some prey?"


With some help from Robinpaw, the two toms eventually manage to get him free. As they are working, Sunnyday also comes over to help and does a great job at soothing Sunfreckle. Flycatcher is grateful for both of their assistance. Sunnyday for keeping him calm and Robinpaw for helping him free him. He probably could have done it himself given time, but with another set of paws working away, it meant that they could Sunfreckle out fairly quickly.

"Looks can definitely be deceiving, huh?" Flycatcher mused in response to Sunfreckle's words about the tree not looking too damaged. He gave an appraising glance over the log and shook his head. "I'm just glad you are alright, Sunfreckle. And I trust that you're not too hurt from getting stuck?"