Arthors note: Im mad at myself right now for takeing so long to post this chapter. I usually take about a week, but this time it feels like I took two or three.
Anyway, I have to admit that the extra time was worth it. I am very satisfied with the ending, since I haven't done a cliffhanger for a while. Of coruse though, it's only a cliffhanger depending on how you view it, but whatever. I also tried to incorporate sencsee of urgency in this chapter, but I'm not so sure I did as good a job on that. Oh well.
"wake up, leaf. Now. We've stayed too long." I whispered.
Nearby, solomon anxiously looked out of the building to where three cat-like figures stood in the distance, as if surveying Solomon's home.
Leaf turned over, but remained asleep. "I'll get the sled ready." Solomon said nervously.
I watched the black cat scamper off, then turned back to my friend, who still lay slumbering peacefully.
"leaf, you lazy, good-for-nothing sleepy mouse-brain, get up NOW!" I yowled, catching sight of the figures moveing forward suddenly as if timed. Leaf opened his eyes dreamily and blinked.
Gripped in cold terror, I pulled him up and dashed at a mad, stumbleing pace which only comes with a powerful terror, leaf stumbling behind me, confused and dazed. Solomon was waiting behind the building, the sled next to him. I quickly dumped leaf on the bark, slipped into the harness, and I was running like I had never run before, Solomon not far behind.
As we left, though, I thought I could hear Miri yowling something.
"so, let me get this straight. Solomon woke you up, you became terrorifed because you saw the shadows, so you woke me up and left?" leaf puzzled, rubbing his broken leg thoughtfully.
"they were not just shadows, leaf. They were the family." I contradicted.
"they were shadows. There's no possable way Titan could have found us that fast. Last I saw, he was a day or so behind us..."
"last you saw? What do you mean? You couldn't have seen Titan if he was a day behind us!"
suddenly leaf looked scared, as if he had said too much. "I-I mean...last I heard...the land-clouds, yes, they told me that they were behind us by a day, you just misheard me."
"ok..." I said, agreeing with him, or at least in part. Something told me that leaf understood the land-clouds as much as I understood them, which was none.
"so the question is: do we understand how in a purple moon those evil cats got to my home so fast? I think that that's more important than who misheard what." Solomon commented, dashing up beside me. Even though I was going almost as fast as I could, I could still talk to my friends, and since leaf had the broken arm, Solomon had had to run.
I rolled my eyes. "no, we do not. Or at least I don't." I said. "unless their useing the land-clouds somehow..."
"their not." leaf said. "it's dusk. Their useing him to get them to go faster than us by copying our idea, I think. He likes to run slower than they do, because one, he is not as evil as they are, and two, because it takes up less energy. but I think they must have found him out."
I looked at him again from over my shoulder. How did he know all this?
"so what are you saying, exactly?" I asked, scared of the awnser.
"they must have seen our sled tracks at the rock cave. Titan knows almost everyone's powers, and remembering dusks, he must have copied our idea, only with both him and Miri on the sled, so that dusk couldn't outrun the other one of them and then kill the one on the sled, then come back and kill the runner. Like I said, he is less evil than Titan and Miri. Of coruse, that reduces his speed, but they don't care. He will still catch us soon, if he is not behind us already. If we can't think of something soon, we're as good as gone."
I pondered long and hard over this, thinking. "leaf, you hinted that each of us has multiple powers. Do you think I'm an exception?" I finally asked.
"no, on the contrary, I think you are just like us. You, after all, we're created by the humans at the lab, and they apperantly wanted an animal with multiple uses, or else why would they create four cats with more than one power? I think you know only one of your powers, and the others just have yet to be awakened."
"what do you mean by 'awakened'?"
"the humans created our powers so that they would only activate on certain occasions. For instance, when you discovered your first power, as I guess you did, by digging through the wall, your power was activated because it was an urgent matter. You knew that, as soon as you started digging through the wall, that if you were caught, your life would become worse. So your power acted upon the situation and came to life."
"but I wouldn't have started digging if I had not known I had a power. What would have gotten it to activate before that?"
"strong emotions, usually. Not gentle ones, like love, though, unless I suppose if you have a healing power. They would have to be emotions like hate and fear and anger."
I nodded in understanding. "if you were to purposefully put yourself through any of those emotions, would the power still activate?"
"I don't know. The knowledge of you purposefully putting yourself through it might stunt the power, or the power might be just aware of the feeling and not of the knowing..." he gave me a suspicious glance. "I wouldent advise you trying it just because we will be taken back as prisoners into the family, though. It could be dangerous, and at least Titan will want us alive, I think, so we would get off 'lightly'. I know I sound like a fool, but it's bad enough that we brought him this far. He is mad enough as it is."
"so if you two are going to be taken away, then why did I go with you, and what would Titan do with me?" Solomon asked nervously.
"you came with us because if you didn't you would be killed, and if Titan gets his paws on you will be killed. I'm sorry, its all my fault..." leaf awnsered, lowering his head in shame.
"I'm so sorry."
for a second, Solomon seemed to twist his face in a mix of hopelessness and hatred, then he turned to leaf. "if that is what will happen and what would happen, then why did you come to me? Do you hate me for reasons and causes that are as secret as your powers?"
"no, my friend. I intended no harm. I wanted your help with killing Titan. I needed more training with my powers. And I needed your cleverness with locks. what else can I say?" even as leaf spoke, I could hear something crashing through the grass behind us, and I could smell the scent of dusk.
something inside me started boiling.
Without anyone's bidding, I stopped and slipped out of the harness.
"dawn, what are you doing!? We're going to be clawed to pieces if you don't get back in the harness!" leaf yowled, scrambling out of the sled with his wounded leg pulled up under his chest. "we can't outfight them!"
"be sensible, leaf, you just said we were all going to be killed anyway." Solomon said. "choose one or the other."
it was too late for me to reply, though. A wave of rage descended on me, and I could no longer hear my friends cries for me to run.
Dusk and Titan broke like a streak of lightening from the undergrowth, shortly followed by Miri, and after that, it was chaos.
All I can remember is the blood, spurting in rivulets from deep bone-wounds in my opponent, the scent of burning meat and fur as I unleashed my power, and something else, besides.
It was not hate, nor fear, nor my power. It was something else that I had never felt before.
I felt like I had won even though I was not done fighting.
I enjoyed the feeling, letting it bubble and simmer inside me until it was so overpowering that it overwhelmed me, unleashing something new altogether.
Suddenly, just as Miri wailed in horror, the feelings and the fighting and the smell of blood overwhelmed me, and I descended into a world of darkness.