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Faster
 
 
 
 

Chapter One

My name is Quickshadow,and I shouldn't be alive...


My paws skidded in the mud.“Do you expect to catch me?"I hissed.

He glared,his amber eyes filled with rage.“I'm going to find you,you...you...you monster!"

I had heard that same thing my whole life.It didn't phase me.I ran by,pausing mid-stride,just to watch his face as I escaped without his claws ever connecting with my body.

Paws pounding on the moor grass,I could barely see my path as the world blurred around me.“Quickshadow!"A blur raced up to me,stopping in a heap of fur.Clawwind's blue eyes were filled with fear as I tumbled to a stop in front of her.

“What?"

Clawwind was panting,the run taking all her energy.I knew the feeling,the wind in my fur,the rush of speed,then stopping and nearly falling to the ground.But the race was always worth it.

“Where's Mudpelt?"She asked.

I glanced back.He couldn't have caught up that quickly.“Back by the river.Why?"

“Fawnsky's calling for us."Clawwind looked frantic.“I think it's about us...Dawnstar has been looking for reasons to exile us for months.Mudpelt is sure to tell him,convince them all we aren't safe."

“None of the Faster are safe,"I reminded her.

She waved it aside.“Runningfoot has a place to hide,down by Fourtrees,at least for a little while."

“Gather the Faster.Quickly."

I watched my sister's tabby fur streak across the grassy hills,fading into a blur.No cat should run that fast.But we were Faster.

I heard pawsteps behind me.Mudpelt.Immediately I took off at a run that would cause a normal cat to pass out from lack of oxygen.I had never tested the limits of my speed,but all of us knew that if we overdid ourselves,we could hurt more than just the Faster.

My paws skimming over grasses and twigs and rocks,through gorse bushes and heather,I burst out onto a plain space.There they were - the Faster.Occasionally cats would fidget,moving back and forth for a brief moment,trying to sit still.Everything around us slowed sometimes,but no,really it was us moving too fast to see everything normally.

Clawwind curled next to Breezepond.The tom's pelt was tabby,a common pattern about the Faster.My own plain ginger was unusual standing next to these cats,the only cats like me.

The normal cats just didn't understand.We were Faster,not better.Sometimes the speed we achieved caused more harm than good.We couldn't pay attention because of the bursts of energy we used when running.

I am not sure why Clawwind and I have the abilities of the Faster.Neither of our parents,nor their parents were Faster.Just us.But that only made it harder on us.

Swanwing raised her head.“Quickshadow,Dawnstar knows you and Clawwind are Faster.He is going to cause trouble for all of us."

I groaned.Dawnstar didn't understand us at all.Of course,it didn't help that he hated most of us anyway.

“I'll see what I can do,"I promised Swanwing.

Chapter Two

Author's Note: Last chapter was short,sorry,gonna try and make this longer.

My name is Larksong,and I'm a nobody.

As I looked over my Clan,I noticed,not for the first time,they were all starring at me.A few exhanged glances.One whispered a little too loudly What if he's half-

He can't be!

But see how he runs,how he walks,how he moves?

She's right...he's half....half them.

I shivered slightly,the cold winds of leaf-bare just blowing in.Even Minnowstar was looking uncomfortable as everyone began to whisper,speculate that I was half something,something they didn't want to say.

No one cheered for any of the new warriors that day.They were too busy gossiping,starring,watching to see what I'd do next,though I myself had had no idea.

Clovereyes and Foxfur ran to join me as we walked over to where we were to sit vigil.As the Clans filed away,Foxfur whispered over,“What was that about?"

I shrugged,for I didn't know.

Clovereyes added in a hushed voice,“They meant half-Clan,you know.They think we're half-Clan."

“But they were talking about me."I reminded her,“Something about me makes them think that.They think you two are...are normal regardless,but I'm not."The words seemed to turn the cold night air darker.In the next few days we would recieve the first snowfall.

Just outside of camp was the river,its song drifting through the trees filled with night birds.Mice scurried through the forest,brushing against the undergrowth.But one sound didn't sound right in the crisp air of an early leaf-bare night.

I opened my mouth,scenting the air,trying to see what the unusual rustling just at the edge of camp could be.“FOX!"I yelled,jumping up,my fur standing on end.Clovereyes and Foxfur stood,eyes wild as they,too,scented the animal.

Minnowstar rushed out of her den at our call.“Fox?"She repeated,making sure we hadn't made it up.

“Just outside camp,"Clovereyes said,“I think it is by the elders den..."

I could hear snarling as a skinny red body crept along the camp wall.As Clovereyes had said,it was by the elders den,but was heading for the nursery.Foxfur crouched,waiting to tackle the creature.Warriors had come out of the den to see what I had woken them for.

Suddenly I ran.

I bolted towards the creature and found myself on the fox's back.Digging in my claws to avoid getting thrown off,I bit at the fox's ears,at its neck.Twisting quickly,I got a deep hold on its throat.

As the fox fell limp and I hopped gently to the ground,I realized every cat there was gaping at me.

Minnowstar looked to Rainpuddle.“Is it true these cats are half Clan?"

Rainpuddle looked at me and my littermates,pain in her eyes.Slowly,solemnly,she nodded in confirmation.

“No!"Clovereyes screeched,her yellow fur fluffed up in anger.“We're RiverClan,we were born and raised here!"

Rainpuddle shook her head.“Your father...he was WindClan."

No cats looked surprised,other than us three.As if they expected it.I heard one say,“I knew it!"

I felt awful,knowing I was an outcast in my own Clan.My littermates looked at me and I winced,knowing it was me who convinced the Clan we were half-Clan in the first place.And,I thought regretfully,I still didn't know why they thought that.

“We are still RiverClan,like always.We are loyal to this place,our home,"I yelled,hoping I could stop whatever thoughts running through my Clanmates' heads.

My mother swallowed hard.Finally Rainpuddle said,“He wasn't one of them,if that's what you're thinking!"Minnowstar didn't look at her.No one did.They were too focused on the three of us.

“Larksong,"Minnowstar said softly,“Run.Just in a circle,here,quickly."An odd request,but after a moment's hesitation,I complied.

Wind rushed through my fur and I could barely see what was around me.A ring around the awakened cats.As I skidded to a stop,a couple heads were nodding,as if I had confirmed what they had suspected.

“He's Faster,"One said softly,just as my legs buckled and I collapsed.


I woke in the medicine cat's den.I groaned softly as I struggled to my feet.Featherears gently pushed me back down with one paw.“What happened,"I asked,realizing I didn't have to power to protest and settling back down.

“You collapsed,"Featherears replied as if that explained everything.

I rolled my eyes.“But why?"I was exhausted,and though I couldn't remember what had happened the night before,I felt it was important.

The medicine cat's ears pricked slightly.“You ran,and you collapsed."

“Why did I-"

“You're half-Clan.You're....you're Faster,"The medicine cat said,half to herself,as if trying to make sense of it herself.

I swallowed hard as foggy memories began to come back to me.The fight with the fox,the small crowd,Rainpuddle telling us we were half-Clan,Minnowstar telling me to run...

I groaned again,but not from sore paws,from realizing that everything the Clan thought about me was true,and still they hadn't told me what was so important!

“Calm down,"Feathears said,as if sensing my anger.“Just rest.You need it."I sighed,knowing I was right,hoping that whatever the Clan chose to do with me,wouldn't be so bad.Anything but exile...I shuddered as the thought came to mind.

Minnowstar wouldn't be so cruel as to exile a cat for being half-Clan,would she?

Chapter Three

“Clawwind!"I yelled.My sister's tabby fur was barely visible over the hills.“Clawwind,hurry!"

It had been a moon,and things had turned bad.Dawnstar had caved to the fears of the Clan and banished many of the Faster.Most were around,but in hiding.Swanwing had been among them,and my throat choked with sobs as I thought of never seeing the calm she-cat again.

“Freak!"Some cat hissed behind me.I turned and groaned inwardly.Silvertail snarled,his eyes narrow.“Hurry up,Quickshadow,it shouldn't be hard for you to keep up."

“Shut up,rat-breath,"I hissed.I had endured this too long.We all have.I glanced over my shoulder,waiting for my sister to join us.“You aren't just going to leave Clawwind,are you?"

The tom looked back at me.“She'll catch up."

“Not if she's hurt!"I protested,“What if she can't?"Fear sparked in my chest.They didn't understand the energy running took.The Faster are all my,no stamina.In hunting especially,they pushed us too far,and if these cats hurt my sister just because they didn't get us,I promised myself any cat responsible would feel my claws.

I sighed as I uncovered my buried catch,a fat rabbit I had stashed in some heather.Lifting the rabbit,I heard pawsteps.I turned to look over my shoulder and saw a limping tabby with blue eyes,her forepaw twisted badly.

I dropped the rabbit immediately.“Clawwind!"

Silvertail glanced back but ignored the look of pain in her eyes,the limping gait.The young warrior was hurt but he didn't care.All we were was Faster.

Clawwind said nothing as she fell in line behind me.As we entered camp,I sighed,realizing how different it had become since last moon.Snow covered it,but that wasn't what was different.A small shelter near the warriors den had been hastily constructed.Dawnstar claimed the addition was needed because we had so many warriors.But all of the cats in the small hovel were like me.Faster.

Clawwind nearly collapsed in the snow,and would have if I hadn't run forward to support her.Slowly we made our way to the medicine den.

“Sparrowsky?"

A tall young tom made his way towards us.The only cat who accepted the Faster,who wanted to understand.He saw Clawwind's twisted paw and nodded.I knew he would take good care of my sister.With a flick of my tail,I was gone.

“Quickshadow,"Leafpaw said,coming over,“Quickshadow it's awful!Even Turtlepaw wants nothing to do with me."The young cat's voice pained me.

“It's going to be alright,Leafpaw,"I said,trying to sound calm.How was I supposed to tell an apprentice,barely more than a kit,that his sister didn't want to be near him just because he was Faster?I thought of Clawwind and was so glad she was like me.“We won't give up.They just don't understand."

The apprentice nodded and walked off,head low.I could see Redpaw's ginger fur huddled in a group of her friends.Laughing.I heard one say,“Those...things."

That was all we were to them.Things.So they didn't even see us as cats anymore.Just things that moved with speed.

We were cats.We always were and always will be.Sometimes,I wished there were no Faster.

And,sometimes,I needed to go for a run.I went to the camp entrance and bolted across the more,nothing more than a blur on the horizon.

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