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Prologue

A shape lay unmoving in the snow, as the leaf-bare wind whipped at my face, and scored its icy claws down my pelt. Slowly, the snow went a bright scarlet, and I jumped back in disgust. Looking round cautiously, I caught sight of a dark tabby tom stalking away into the mist. Just before he disappeared entirely, he looked back at me. I stood, frozen, under his harsh amber stare. One blink and he was gone.

Never saw him again, or at least not that I can remember. My memories from the past are ebbing away, like every old cat's, but this one is so vivid, I can't seem to forget it. The bristling of the stiff pelt, the flash- the flash was the worst part of it. It's like you were drowning in its intense depths, never to move, never to be seen by a living cat again.

At least that's how I felt. I'm not you, you're you. And you will always be you. I just hope you never meet that cat. I don't know whether he's behind you, or walking StarClan's skies- well no, he killed a cat- walking some other skies far away. I will tell you of an omen I got, and what trouble it caused for every cat. It starts like this.

Chapter 1

"Nightpaw?" Swanfeather called, and I saw that beautiful, neat head poking out of the medicine den, her blue eyes as eager as ever. I strolled up to her, my smile widening with every step.

"Yes, Swanfeather?" I waved my tail in greeting. Then it struck me- again. The silken touch of her feather-like fur,the fire burning in those beautiful blue eyes... I stopped myself abruptly. How could I truly love her when she was a medicine cat? Even if I tried, all would end in bitter tears.

She began to meow again, in that cute, soft voice- Oh, for StarClan's sake, they know I'm in love with her at that point, don't they?- I caught her saying "Catmint, Twolegplace" as I came to my senses. Don't judge me on that, one day you'll realise how I felt.

"So do you want me to go and get some?" I asked, licking my paws. I was trying to pay attention, but I kept daydreaming. I'll never be a true medicine cat if I carried on like this, but I just couldn't help it, really I couldn't. I'm unsure that I can drop it, even though that sinking feeling in my heart told me that she couldn't, it was against the warrior code.

"Yes, Nightpaw." There was a hint of impatience in her voice. "Weren't you listening a second ago?"

"Yes." I lied, itching to tell her how I felt. Somehow I thought that she already knew.

Chapter Two

Alone, I padded down the dark alleys of Twolegplace. I still don't know how I got over the Thunderpath, though, with those monsters thundering down it, leaving their foul scent hanging in the air, stinging my nose, blinding me. The neat rows of Twolegplace ran down, the lights glaring down at me like a monster's eyes.

A monster squatted outside every one, as if it was a cat waiting to pounce on a helpless mouse. I shivered, as a tingle went down my back. As I scrabbled up the wall, a shadow appeared in one of the nests' doorways. It was a Twoleg, an old one, but a Twoleg all the same. I snatched up some catmint, but the look from the Twoleg froze me. I longed to move away, as the Twoleg got closer.

Chapter Three

The Twoleg's hand reached out to stroke me, and I bolted, still holding the catmint. I thundered over the Thunderpath, not caring whether a monster hit me or not, as long as I was away from the Twoleg.

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