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   Chapter 4 Simon's Interlude

City of Ice and Fire By Grace Estellar Characters: 27991

Updated: 2019-08-09 15:21


*****Simon's POV*****

The sun filtered in through the windows, casting its light over the cats sleeping on the red cushion bed. Simon yawned, stretching in his soft bed. His sister, Becky lay beside him, her soft gray fur pressed against his own. He could here paw steps sounding not far away. He leaned his head back to see another cat already eating breakfast. The she-cat's gray tabby fur was neatly groomed as per usual. Mom's up already I see.

The tabby let out another yawn, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. He staggered to his paws and over to the food bowl his house folk had already set out. A warm bowl of milk sat beside it. He dug his head into it thirstily. He lapped up the sweet liquid with glee, his stomach rumbling. His mother, Rebecca looked up at him from her food bowl, swallowing down the last few of her brown pellets.

"You're up early." Elaine commented. "I don't think you've gotten up this early since your little adventure in the forest." Simon gulped down one of the pellets, chewing the gritty thing in his teeth. The thing was strangely tasteless. Ever since Simon had spent some time in HunterClan where he'd eaten prey, the pellets his house folk fed him just didn't do it for him anymore.

"Yea, I've needed some time to recover I guess." He told her. Elaine dipped her head in agreement.

"Fair enough, but I don't want you going out there anymore son. It's very dangerous, and after what happened to your father..." she trailed off.

Simon winced at the memory. His father was a street cat his mother fell in love with. The two were mates for many years before Simon and Becky came a long. One day, when Simon was a mere kit barely weaned, his father went to venture out into the forest. The tom never came back nor was he ever heard from again. He could still remember all the time his mother spent waiting on their fence outside for him to come home. Simon hated that he might've caused her to feel so upset again.

"I'm sorry Mom. I'll...I'll be more careful I promise." Simon said.

"You better be." She responded. "I don't want you to worry the humans with any more battle wounds." She gestured to the scratches that were healing on his muzzle. "They aren't going to want a fighting cat in the house."

Simon murmured his agreement. They both remember Allistair. The old brown and white tom had been there next door neighbor's pet for a few months. He'd always gotten into fights, coming home with new wounds each day. Eventually his owners took him to the cutter (the vet). Allistair came back clawless and different. He died a few moons later.

Simon didn't know if it was because he'd lost the will to fight or simply because of old age that he met his death. At any rate, he never wanted to lose his own claws. He didn't think his housefolk would declaw him, but one could never be sure.

Another presence joined his side. Becky's silky gray fur brushed his as she made her way over to her own food bowl. She muttered as sleepy 'good morning' as she passed. Unlike him, his sister had no problem downing the many pellets in the bowl. Suddenly not hungry, Simon pushed his own bowl away. He slunk over to the door flap. If he couldn't eat pellets, then he would hunt.

"Going somewhere so soon?" Becky asked from her bowl. His sister was drinking from the milk now, her whiskers dripping with the sweet stuff.

Simon dipped his head. "Yea, I'm gonna go hunt. Would you like to come?" He asked. Becky studiously groomed her paws. All of them were white, as was her belly fur. She was just like their mother in that way.

"No thanks. But you have fun. And please don't go out into the forest, mom says it's dangerous." She reminded him.

"Uh..yea, sure. I'll see you later." With that he pushed through the cat flap to the outdoors.

Outside he was met with neatly trimmed grass and rose bushes that lined the white fence of his home. Simon strode over to the fence, making a long loop around the pool they had in the backyard. Unlike Clary's house folk which are a young couple, Simon's owners are a family of five.

The family consisted of two adults, one boy and two girls. The three children were out at school; their parents at work. Simon didn't have to worry about intrusion on their part, which was a good thing too. Whenever the children were around they just had to play with him. Simon didn't mind it most days, but he was hungry and needed to catch some real food.

Simon reached his paws into the white wood of the fence and began hauling himself up. The humans had just recently painted it the other week. He'd learned his lesson about touching wet fences that day, his pads getting covered in sticky white paint. The stuff had gotten everywhere, including the grass. From the fence top now, he could still see his own paw prints dotted along the grass. His house folk had yapped at him a lot for that mistake.

With once last glance at the lawn, he turned and leaped down into the forest undergrowth that lay in the other side of the fence. The ground was soft under paw, and he relished in the slight dampness. He sniffed the air, trying to pick out the prey scent. Nightpaw had shown him some of the skills required to catch prey while they were in camp together, so he was trying his best to copy her.

The canopy stretched out like an inviting hand to him. Simon would've liked to go to the nice shade the Tall Pines provided but knew if he did he couldn't go to far. Clan cats are very territorial and we're not forgiving towards trespassers. So he crept across the ditches over to the grass covered with pine needles. Some brambles snagged at his pelt when he passed a particularly large fallen branch. Otherwise he had no difficulty getting into the woods.

Hearing a rustle in the grass nearby he snuck towards it. His body was pressed close to the ground as he moved forward. When he got close enough, he spotted the squirrel he'd been searching for. The bushy tailed animal was nibbling at a nut not far from the nearby pine tree. Simon could smell the thing from here, he licked his lips in anticipation of the mouth watering food.

Like a snake in the grass, he prowled ever closer. He was down wind of the squirrel so it wouldn't be able to catch his scent. The little thing kept on eating without a care in the world, unknowing of the upcoming danger headed its way. Alright Simon, just pounce really hard on it and nip it's spine quickly. It'll be just like Nightpaw taught you.

He pounced eagerly at his target, slamming down on the unaware squirrel. The smaller animal squealed in alarm. It struggled to escape Simon's grasp but was unable to do so. Like he'd been instructed, Simon nipped the thing's spine, effectively killing it. It lay limp under him, ready to be eaten.

He began stripping the meat off to eat, careful to remove the fluff of the tail so it would go down easier. The succulent taste of squirrel went down his throat with ease. He ate it slowly, relishing in the warmth it provided. There really is nothing like fresh prey to eat.

Simon had called Clary crazy for thinking that way before. Back when they were little kittens, it was strange to him that Clary would want to hunt and go into the wild. Now he understood her thinking. Being in the forest truly was exhilarating. The wind in his fur and the prey scent in the air. Not to mention the nature that surrounded him as he padded along the tree line.

I feel free. I don't think I've ever felt this way before, he realized with a start. The neighborhood never made him feel this way. The confining fences, tall red brick walls, alley ways, Thunderpaths, monsters, grabby humans, dogs. All of these things made him feel isolated from where he really should've been, the forest.

I wonder...what if I just stay here in the forest. His mind was quick to rebuttal this with cold hard facts. No Simon, you can't, your mother would never allow this. He went over to a small puddle nearby, his throat itching with thirst. The water was fresh from the rain so he drank it readily.

It's cool, clean and natural taste was just a reminder of how unnatural of a life house cats lived. They slept on artificial beds, wore collars they didn't need, drank water from a tap, ate pellets with a weird taste. Why do we live this way?

Simon sat by the puddle, staring down at his reflection in the shiny surface. His collar glinted in it; the orange band and gold tag standing out dull against his pelt. His collar may not have an annoying bell like Clary's, but it didn't exactly feel natural around his throat either. Simon sighed, trying to think about the other side of kittypet life.

He did his best to think of the good things. Those too came readily enough. Houses provided warmth and shelter. Humans love their pets, even if they scratch and bite them. There was always a source of food and water provided by the house folk. And if Simon ever got sick, he would be taken to the veterinarian to get better.

While the kittpet lifestyle may be artificial, it was certainly the safest option. The option he'd been raised in....but not his father. I wish I could talk to dad about this. His father had been born on the streets, so he wasn't exactly a forest cat. But he wasn't a kittypet, so I think he'd understand what I'm going through somewhat. Sighing, Simon walked away from the puddle.

He walked for several hours aimlessly. He never went deep into the forest as he knew he'd likely go straight into Clan territory if he did. While the HunterClan cats wouldn't hurt him most likely, the same couldn't be said for the three other clans. Simon looked up at the skyline. The sun was beginning to set from its place high among the cirrus clouds, a surefire sign he needed to return home. Except he got held up. There was another rustle in the undergrowth nearby.

Simon's ears pricked at the sound of paw steps nearby. The tabby kittypet's pelt itched with worry. What if it's a clan cat? Or even worse, a full patrol. His claws slid out, preparing himself for the stranger or strangers that would soon approach.

He was greeted with the sight of a she-cat striding towards him with purpose. Her pelt was a dark brown, a thin whiteness around her dainty paws. Her eyes were a pale green, like a faded blade of grass. In normal circumstances the stranger would've been beautiful. Unfortunately, there was an odd frostiness about her that preceded it. And what's more, there was a darkness in her too that blended in with the sharp, pristine fangs peeking out of her mouth.

"Why hello there little caramel, what's a kittypet like you doing out in the forest?" Her voice was a sickly sweet. Simon decided almost instantaneously that he hated it. Carefully, he began to back away from the intimidating stranger.

"Uh....I'm Simon. I was out here to hunt." He confessed nervously. "I promise I didn't cross the scent line. I'd never trespass like that. You could ask Clary, she'd say the same thing. I only do what I'm told and I'd never do anything to-" He was cut off by the other cat's sharp laughter.

The fake sound of it made him worry even more. The she-cat was even closer to him now, and he could see the wounds in her pelt. The silver white scars were mostly faded, except the hot pink flesh mark around her throat. She must've been in a fight recently. A throat wound was often fatal though, so he wondered how she'd survived it.

Simon could also see the ribs of the other cat's body. It was clear that this cat hadn't eaten in a while. Judging by how she seemed to be licking her lips, she was indeed hungry. Simon backed away more, his body hitting the bark of a pine tree. A few needles fell down around him, there green prickles scattering around him on the forest floor.

"Oh my, don't worry caramel. I'm not going to hurt you." She told him. Simon let out a relieved sigh at that. At least he didn't have to worry about the cat hurting him.

"Oh, thank goodness. Who are you anyways?" He couldn't help but ask.

"Oh I'm....it doesn't matter. However, I am a member of FangClan. And vampires like me don't take kindly to stragglers." She said airily. Simon gave her a small nod.

"Of course, I'm so sorry I came near your border. I didn't cross it though I swear." He hadn't. Simon had been very careful to keep from crossing the scent lines into Clan territory. It hadn't left him much forest to explore, but it would keep him out of trouble.

"That doesn't matter. FangClan is not very forgiving, but...I am under one condition." Simon stared at her, trying to keep down the rising fear scent in him. Judging by the sprawling green of the she-cat's eyes, he wasn't succeeding.

"Uh...and what would that be?" He asked. I hope it's not something awful. Seeming to take this as consent, the other cat lunged at him. Simon was caught off guard so he was pinned to the ground with ease.

"I just be having a little taste." She purred, looking down at him with a gleeful expression. The tabby tom stared at her wide eyed, quivering with fear. Around them the forest was silent. Simon had no idea what the she-cat was about to do and he wasn't looking forward to finding out. In vain, he tried to struggle away from her to no avail. The grip on him was too strong.

In a sickly sweet voice, the stranger consoled him with little success. "It's alright little caramel. One quick bite and that's all I'll need. And who knows, maybe we can make a habit out of this...arrangement." She purred seductively.

The tom wanted to ask what she meant by 'bite' though he found he didn't have to. Simon cried out in pain as the she-cat bit down on the side of his neck, drawing his blood. The fanged cat drank his blood hungrily, gobbling the deep red spurts into her mouth. Simon feebly thrashed under her grip.

This unwanted exchange went on for what felt like hours, but was only a few minutes. As a last ditch hope, Simon bit down on the stranger's

leg, bright red blood flooding his mouth. It had been impossible for him not to swallow a little of it, the rivulets streaming down his muzzle as he bit down harder.

The stranger let out a yowl, stumbling back off of him after she raked her free unsheathed paw across his face. The claws hadn't went too deep, only a small flesh wound resulting in the side on one of the planes of his face. He got to his paws as quick as he could. The loss of blood made him stumble, feeling lightheaded.

"How dare you bite me!" The stranger raged. "You filthy kittypet!" She snarled. A braver, more energetic Simon would've pointed out that she bit him first, without his permission. As he was still scared out of his mind, and moreover too tired to argue, Simon did the next best thing. He turned tail and ran.

*****Time Skip*****

Blood pounded in his ears as he sprinted further and further away from the stranger. The first thing he'd done was head deeper into Tall Pines. He wasn't sure why he thought this was a good idea, but any place was surely better then with that malicious she-cat.

The forest blurred around him as he ran. The canopy stretched for miles around him now, the undergrowth growing ever thicker. The birds were flying in dizzying patterns overhead, their twittering a constant sound. He tried to focus on that instead of the nausea he felt, his body aching from the constant gasps of air he was inhaling and exhaling.

Simon must've done a sort of circuit in the forest. Soon enough he broke through the forest back on the stretch of grass next to the neighborhood. Chest heaving, Simon staggered to a halt. The world was dimming around him. He could see black spots dancing across his vision.

The sky was filled with stars now. The lights twinkled down at him, a strange contrast to his rapidly failing vision. The artificial lighting of the humans made his head buzz in pain. I doubt I'll be making it to my house tonight. His mother would be furious, no doubt but he just couldn't make it much further.

Spotting a dark green hedge grow nearby, he hauled himself over to it. His paws dragged in the dirt, kicking up gritty sand as it went. The leaves to the bush were prickly but not unmanageable, so he pushed on through them to the center of the structure. He was surprised to find the ground already somewhat dug out. For good measure he scooped out a few more clops of dirt to form a hollow inside. He settled down into it, ignoring the roots of the bush as he fell asleep.

********Time Skip*********

Morning came quickly for Simon, the tabby wincing as he got up from the hollow he'd dug up to sleep in. As he was more aware in the early dawn, he could see all the roots he'd been sleeping on. His haunches ached where a particularly wide root had dug into his side. He lapped away at the dirt clinging to his tabby fur, trying to look a little presentable for when he got home.

He clambered out of the bush, shaking the stiffness out of his limbs as he went. Thirstily, he drank water from the nearby puddle next to the white fences of the neighborhood. The water tasted dirty. It had an unpleasant tang to it that made him wrinkle his nose. He pulled away from it after a few more laps, his thirst not quenched in the slightest. Simon would just have to wait until he returned home.

The tabby stared at himself in the reflective surface for a few moments. He was surprised that he only looked slightly rumpled, his fur sticking up in odd places that he hadn't reached with his tongue earlier. The scratch mark had surprisingly disappeared from his skin already.

How though is the real question? Without the memory of the stranger's claws raking his cheek, Simon would've never known he'd been scratched there in the first place. What was more odd was the bite mark on his neck.

Two dots were visible on his skin, the color of a dark red wound. His tabby fur covered them mostly, which was a good thing. His mother would be mad enough he'd stayed out all night with no notice. If she knew he'd gotten into trouble with another cat she'd be even madder.

Giving his pelt one last quick grooming Simon began the trek home. Mind you, this was not before he grabbed something to eat. The kittypet had scrounged up a mouse hiding in the undergrowth of few paces away from the hedge grow. The salty, meaty taste of the creature helped him feel a little better as he padded onward. It's time to go home.

******Time Skip******

His muscles groaned in protest as he hauled himself up the white fence. Leaping down from it, Simon found that the lawn was just as he'd left it. The grass was neatly trimmed, little droplets of water coating many of the blades. The humans had the sprinklers go on before morning so that didn't surprise him. He relished in the dampness it provided his paws at any rate.

Past the lawn was the pool. As the fall season had begun, the children wouldn't be swimming in it for a while. The water lay there, stagnant and purposeless. A few dead frogs were drifting on its surface, as was the fate of all insects and amphibians who got into the pool. The adults didn't bother skimming the artificial pond when it wasn't being used. When Simon was a kit, he remembered a snake getting into it once. Those beady black eyes and forked tongue still gave him nightmares.

The cat flap swung open easily, Simon's long tabby fur brushing up against the thin entrance. As it was nearing midday Simon knew the adult female human would be home. She didn't leave the house on Tuesday for whatever reason.

He found her curled up on one of the plush grey arm chairs in the den. A book was perched on her pale hairless lap. Simon kept out of her sight, headed over to the food bowl. He couldn't hear his mother or sister, so he figured they must be out and about. Mother hardly ever left the house so it was likely she was sleeping somewhere upstairs.

As for his sister, Becky was likely out and about with Flower. The white fluff ball got along with his sister considerably well. Simon felt uncomfortable around Becky's friend. The little cat was oddly obsessed with him. To be honest, it freaks me out a lot.

Carefully he made his path to the food bowls in the kitchen. Simon found his filled to the brim, a similar milk bowl sitting next to it. His stomach rumbled hungrily, so he dove his head into the food. The pellets were grainy in his mouth; the milk sweet as it dribbled down his throat.

Only when both containers were empty did the kittypet stagger over to his bed, collapsing into it. He snuggled down into the fleece material tiredly. Ahh, I could sleep here all day....

And so Simon did, letting the dark blanket of sleep encompass him. And he knew nothing more of the world around him as it faded into black.

*****Time Skip*****

"Si......Si wake up bro....Si" a cold nose touched pressed against his forehead. Simon groaned, burying deeper into his bed. He could feel the vibrant light of the sun casting down on him. He studiously ignored it.

In the past week since he'd returned home from his encounter with the stranger Simon had felt fairly different. The sun made him feel tired, it's rays seemed to weaken him. It was like his body was running on a completely different clock now. At night, he became an electric live wire, constantly on the move.

Simon didn't think he'd ever felt so energetic before, especially not at night. This was why he groaned now, trying to avoid whoever it was trying to wake him up. The prodding was persistent though, so eventually he got to his paws. He was greeted with the sight of Becky, her soft gray fur almost blending in with the gray arm chair behind her.

"Simon, you're wasting the day away. You need to get up!" Becky told him. Her eyes were an illuminating green. It was just like the green collar she wore around her neck, a silver tag attached to it.

The rest of the den was painted with color. The soft blue rug was fuzzy under paw, oceanic patterns knitted through it. A small tv sat across from the cream colored couch. The television was sitting atop of a tall wooden structure. It had swinging cabinet doors connected to it, with several flimsy blue cases spilling out. A few lamps were spread around the room. The poles were painted a deep red.

The red reminded him of blood, that he found himself craving a lot lately. This was why he found himself hunting daily, the need for prey with its blood some sort of sustaining force for him now. Simon had no idea what has happened to him. The idea that his body was rewired frightened him.

What frightened him more however was there was no one he could talk to about it. His family would think he's crazy; the other house cats would too. The tabby had wanted to talk to Clary on the matter, but he'd been turned away by a border patrol. The large tabby that met him at the border alongside a gray furred tom had threatened to tear him apart if he ever dared try again. Simon figured he would, just some other time when he wasn't so....freaked out.

"Becky, why do I need to wake up?" He asked grumpily.

"I already told you, you're wasting the day away. Plus, Spot's coming over today." She added, flicking her tail idly behind her.

That got him moving. Spot was possibly the smartest cat in the neighborhood. The old, fat tom didn't frequent this part of the are very often. In fact Simon and Becky had seen him just thrice in their own short life time.

The firsts few days after they'd been born, their eyes barely opened. The second, a few days after their father had disappeared. The third was after Dot's disappearance. The elder kittypet took it upon himself to keep track of all the cats living in the neighborhood. So when they went missing, he would come by it to document in his own special method: the weaving of ridiculous stories.

Spot is known for excelling in storytelling. The way he weaved his tales was so enrapturing, leaving a cat hanging on his every word. It was exactly why he was sprinting to his paws now. He didn't want to miss out on any of the plump cat's tales, no matter how crazy they might sound.

He brushed past Becky, headed towards the food bowls. "Why didn't you say so." He called over his shoulder at her. Dipping his head into the milk bowl (it was always milk in the mornings, the humans changed it out for water later in the day) he licked up the sweet liquid. One of the humans, the small boy must've heated it up in the microwave. It was surprisingly hot this time around, the heat almost stinging his tongue.

His food bowl was filled to the brim next to it. Simon always scarfed down a few of the pellets each day. The slop wasn't appetizing to him anymore however, so he barely ever finished the entire tin anyway. Nowadays, he relied on prey to sustain him. That, and the milk and cream his humans left out. By far the cream was the tastiest thing he'd eaten to date.

Becky laughed at him when he backed away from drinking. His muzzle was dripping with white liquid. "Si! Slow down. He's not likely to get over here right away." She told him, her eyes twinkling in amusement.

Simon shook his head, going to lap up a few pellets. It was after he pulled away from that he responded. "You and I both know how erratic Spot's timing can be. Last time we saw him he was three hours early."

She dipped her head at that. "Well, you're not wrong. Working yourself up to choking won't solve a thing though."

"Er, fine I guess. What do you suggest I do instead then?" He asked her.

"I suggest you get a good grooming. Mom would be horrified if she saw you so....unpresentable." She gestured to his unkempt pelt.

Simon mock glared at her. "It's not that bad."

Becky snorted out a laugh. "Not that bad. Simon I can see grass clumps tangled on your backside. Just...hold still." She moved forward, sifting the knots out of tabby fur. Grumpily, Simon let her work his pelt clean of dirt and grass. He returned the favor once she was finished.

*****Time Skip*****

Spot sat across from the at the front porch of the house. The fat bellied tom let out the occasional wheeze, but otherwise he was healthy. The old tom had told them his mother, Lemonade was still up and kicking. The yellow white she-cat nearing her eighteenth birthday in human years. For cats that was very old, giving Simon the understanding that longevity was a familial trait for Spot. The tom was already fourteen, and it was not unlikely he'd live for a good while longer.

The wooden deck of the the porch was stained a pleasant gold beneath them. The wooden posts were a gentle white. The white matched Spot's fur rather well as he sat curled up on the porch swing. Simon, Becky and Elaine were sitting right by him listening to the old tom's tales.

"So I was out in town the other day, and I saw the strangest thing." Spot began. "These cats were going by into an abandoned building. Their leader was this battle scarred white tom. I tell yas, he was the most rudest thing. Mudderin on an on 'bout some Moss er something."

Simon's ears perked at that. He had been dozing off a bit earlier, having heard the previous story about the Swamp Giant before. Is he talking about who I think he is.....

"Uh Spot, did you happen to catch this cat's name by any chance?" He asked.

Elaine swatted at him. "Simon, don't interrupt Spot while he's talking. If you can't wait your turn you can wait inside till he leaves." She reprimanded.

Spot waved her off. "It's alright. The young'un is just curious." He turned to face Simon. "As for your question though, the cat had the strangest name. It was FangFrost er something er rather or maybe...Frostfang. Yes, I think that's what it was." Simon's eyes widened in shock. He'd had a suspicion, but to hear he was right was an entirely different story.

Ignoring his family's confused murmurs, Simon quickly responded. "Tell me everything you know about Frostfang."

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