"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
- Helen Keller
"Life isn't fair, Cloudykit, is it? You had to join us at such a young age. All because of a wrong decision made by another cat. But you want to see what your life would have been like, if you had survived? It will all be like a very realistic dream- but when it is over you will remember yourself as you are. Are you sure you wish to do this? You can only do it once. Yes? Then lap from the pool, young kit, and embrace your dream like it is your kithood sweetheart." Cloudykit felt a pang in her heart as she remembered Stonekit, from only the day before- and she had never, before the fox ended her life, and torn apart her heart, been able to tell Stonekit that she loved him. And now he could never know. She would have to watch him get a mate, move on without her, watch herself slowly fade from his mind. And now she would be able to tell him- but it would only be a dream, and when she woke up, she would never, in the cold reality of life, have been able to tell him.
She lapped gently from the shining pool, as the starlight danced upon its flawless surface, and let the cold blessing sing over her tongue. The taste of fire and ice merged in her mouth, a taste that could never be matched by a piece of fresh-kill. Then all was a blur of starlit, rainbow-flecked colour, sending her to sleep, showing her what could never have been...
"Goodbye, Cloudykit. Enjoy your dreams." said the young tortoiseshell who had first spoken, casting her eyes on what was etched below the pool, shining in gold.
"Siht loop lliw wohs uoy tahw saw reven ot eb. This pool will show you what was never to be."
The tortoiseshell looked at it, then at the sleeping Cloudykit. "Until we meet again, young one." she murmured quietly, dissolving into the sky, and the light bathed the kit's light grey fur as it slept silently.
Cloudykit squealed as Ravenkit landed on top of her with a soft thump, rustling the autumn leaves as she squirmed below the young black she-cat's bulk. The sunlight stained the pond by the nursery a startling scarlet, and the shining fragment of heaven crept slowly across the surface, and into Cloudykit's grey eyes.
"Woah..." she breathed, once she had finally gotten free of Ravenkit, and her mouth fell open in awe as she looked nature's beauty in the face. Sparkling dewdrops laced emerald green fronds of fern, rainbows lancing out as the light brushed them.
"That is beautiful." Ravenkit agreed, for once unable to argue with her littermate. And that was saying something, as Ravenkit was ALREADY trying to teach her sister life's lessons. When would she understand that she hadn't learnt them all yet?
"You see, Cloudykit..." their mother had whispered when Cloudykit had complained about it to her. "Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
Cloudykit had never forgotten those words, but now she could not find any words to speak to her littermate. Maybe this was a lesson; that sometimes there were times to speak, and others to be silent.
"Why so quiet, Cloudykit?" commented Leafkit, who was passing. Leafkit knew how chatty Cloudkit generally was, and that she was only silent when something was on her mind. "What's up?"
"Nothing." murmured Cloudykit, swiping at Leafkit with a paw, indicating in the clearest way possible that she needed space to think, as thoughts swirled through her mind like a light grey mist. Was life always going to be this perfect, or were times of hardship coming? The latter was more likely.
"There's got to be something on your mind." Spottedkit commented serenely as her sweet scent wafted up Cloudykit's nose. "I've interrupted a deep thought, haven't I? I can see it growing smaller in your eyes."
"Yeah, there is." Cloudykit confessed quietly, so that nobody else could hear. "It's Stonekit."
"Forget him, Cloudykit." mewed Spottedkit wisely. "He's head over heels in love with Rosekit. There's no need to chase a lost dream; all that will do is make you cry,and cry,and cry."
"I suppose." sighed Cloudykit resignedly, staring at her paws, and then at the sky, silently bawling a desperate prayer to StarClan. But mere silence met her unspoken words; no silent spirits purred soft condolences in her ears- and no trace of fire and ice came to her on the warm breeze.
The pain hit her like the slash of the cruelest whip, scoring invisible gouges in Cloudykit's fur. Her very heart was burning,shattering,throbbing... why couldn't StarClan gift her peace? It was torture, her stomach twisting, every muscle aching.
Rage coloured her features, and Cloudykit snarled softly at Rosekit. She snickered as Rosekit flinched- a mmoment she would never let Rosekit forget. Stonekit,fortunately, didn't notice; he was particularly interested in the shape of a cloud.
"I can't forget him,Spottedkit..." she began uncertainly, not sure how to explain her aching heart, her screaming mind, and the feeling of rejection for another cat to her friend. Her eyes glimmered faintly, and clouded over slightly as she mewed hoarsely:
"...he is my everything."
Amber light painted the sky with nimble brushstrokes, as the sun, a pale disk of light amongst the flaring shades of orange, bathed fur with warmth and blazing sunlight. A shadow fell acrosd the grassy ground as Cloudykit sat, her tears stil falling, as she mourned for her lost love, stolen cruelly from her by her 'nemesis', as Cloudykit had come to call her after the incident.
"Stonekit,why?" Cloudykit wailed, her small voice inaudible over the wind. "Now Rosekit's an unbearable snob- not that that's changed."
A high, sickly meow came from behind Cloudykit, and Cloudykit sighed in dismay as she recognized Rosekit's sleek cream fur. "What did you just say?" Rosekit snarled. "Why not say it to my face? Afraid of being used as my personal training rock?"
"Never you mind." retorted Cloudykit coldly, her blue eyes like frigid shards of solid ice as she fixed it with a frosty glare.
"Oh,but I do mind." mewed Rosekit silkily, seemingly undisturbed by this, and clearly intent upon learning the truth- Cloudykit could see the longing glimmering in Rosekit's eyes.
"You really want to know, don't you?" Cloudykit asked, faking civility so that Rosekit wouldn't think she was too upset. She was high enough on her horse without having to be given a leg up.
"Yeah!" exclaimed Rosekit eagerly, her eyes like silver platters, green pebbles of jealousy beneath the sockets.
"Tough." Cloudykit spat, hoping to repay her for how she ruined her life. But could the two ever call it even now?
The StarClan tortoiseshell appeared. "Another lesson learnt. Never give up on your dreams."