Day 1, The Warriors World
“We’re here!” mum cried turning the car up a steep gravel path. But it wasn’t until the car had stopped did I recognize were we were. We were halfway up the top of a slope, looking over the tops of dark pine trees. The pine trees turned to undergrowth as the slope ended and then turned to a huge lake. It was amazing, a whole different world. And it was a whole different world as well. This was where the Warrior Cats books were set. My eyes widened in awe and suddenly I was as enthusiastic as mum.
“This is our new home?” I asked. It was just too good to believe.
“Yes,” mum replied. “Beautiful isn’t it?” I gazed out at the lake, at the forest, at the river and at the moors. It was just as mum had said, beautiful. Mum opened the car door and dragged out a heavy suitcase full of all Tess’s clothes. I unplugged my seatbelt, lifted Tess out of her car seat and jumped out after her. The house was just as lovely as the scenery. It was huge, much bigger than our old tiny cottage back in Scotland. We had lived there all my life. Tess and I had shared a tiny cupboard-sized bedroom but here it looked as if we’d get a room each. I bounded through the wooden gate after mum.
I had the feeling we had just walked into a fairytale as we opened the door to the house. We had just stepped into a small, cosy porch. Our coats were all hanging up on the coat pegs to the side of the doors and our shoes on the shoe rack underneath.
Dad had been here last weekend to get everything moved. All we’d had to bring was a bag of clothes each and the cat.
“Right,” mum said, flicking on a light switch and moving into the hall. “You’re room is upstairs, Lily. The room at the end of the corridor.” I nodded.
“Right,” I said, handing Tess to mum and racing back outside to the car. I wanted to go and explore around the lake. I wanted to see the Warrior’s world and not just read about it. Just to see the stone hollow would be wonderful, amazing, simply breathtaking. I skidded to a halt in front of the car and pulled out the cat basket and my bag of clothes.
Stumbling and sliding, I made my way back up to the house. Not taking in anything I passed, I took the steps two at a time and leaped to the end door. I shoved it open, dumping my bag down in front of the door and putting the cat basket down more carefully.
My slender tabby she-cat leaped out. Although Hazel was small and dainty, she definitely wasn't ladylike. Hazel was a rough tom-boy who did not care at all about her appearance. I stroked her and she purred quietly, rubbing up against my legs. When
I leaped back out of the door, she followed me down the stairs. Hazel overtook me on my way to the door, guessing exactly where I was heading to.
"I'm going outside, mum!" I yelled, before pulling the door open and slamming it shut much more roughly then necessary. I ran down the path, clambering over the gate, Hazel hard on my heels. I cut across into the dark pine forest. I wanted to get across to ThunderClan territory and then maybe to the Moonpool.
Hazel seemed just as enthusiastic as I was. She stopped at every tree and sniffed at it as if she were trying to memorise everything she passed. I stepped over a small stream and then followed an old mud track, picturing the Warriors map inside of my mind. I was heading straight towards the Moonpool.
Stumbling over twigs and logs, I ran full-out past an old house, or as they called it in the Warriors books; the old twoleg nest. Hazel and I sprinted side by side through the trees until they suddenly came to a stop. In front of us was a small stream of shimmering water. Beyond that was a steep rocky path that led to the Moonpool.
Amazed, at just how accurately Erin Hunter had described it, I began to climb to the Moonpool. Hazel leaped in front of me, purring loudly and beckoning me forwards with her tail. I followed her to the Moonpool, a sparkling pool of water that was a cloudy blue colour. Hazelsprang forwards and touched her nose to the water. I watched as she swayed slightly and then crouched down. Her eyes were closed as if she were asleep and every now and then, her paws twitching.
I hesitated before bending down onto my knees at the water’s edge. Cupping my hands, I dipped them into the water and took a gulp. Immediately pain surged through my veins like poison. I spat out the water and tried to run away. As I struggled and writhed on the sandy ground by the pool, I realized I couldn’t move. A scream burned in my throat but I gulped it down.
Was I really that much of a wimp? Surely, if cats could endure this, so could a human. Though at the same time I felt myself regretting deeply that I had ever come here.
How stupid am I? I thought silently as the pain blocked all of my senses. Why did I drink the water?
I had no idea how long I been lying there. All I knew was that I was lying on the moon washed sound beside the Moonpool.
Hazel sat next to me, happy and alert, a mouse in front of her paws. I yawned and glanced at my watch. I had to look back three times before I realised I wasn't dreaming.
Instead of my arm and hand was a golden tabby legand a small white paw. I screamed, hoping to awake in my bed back in Scotland. Nothing happened.
“What was that for?” demanded a voice from beside me. My eyes widened in horror as I realized that Hazel was speaking. I mean she actually speaking! Breathing hard, I scrabbled onto shaky paws.
“Hazel, you speak!” I cried. “Well you’ve always spoken... I just mean - I can understand you!” Hazel looked at me as if I was speaking a different language. Well, I suppose I was speaking a different language. I was speaking cat.
“What are you talking about?” she asked. “Who are you?” I stared at her in amazement. Surely she would recognize me? Her owner? Then I realized I did not look at all like Lily Black. I mean, I was a cat.
“I’m Lily Black,” I told Hazel. Knowing that she would think I was talking nonsense, I left out the part that I was actually her owner and that I had somehow transformed into the body of a cat.
“I’m Hazel,” Hazel mewed. I nodded and then suddenly my belly grumbled. I hadn’t eaten for hours! Hazel noticed too. She shoved her mouse towards me. “Hunting’s good here,” was all that she said. She disappeared back down the winding rock path with a flick of her tail.
I was left staring at the mouse. Although I was starving the thought of eating a mouse made me feel slightly sick. I gave in when my belly roared hungrily.
Squeezing my eyes tightly shut, I bit into the mouse.
To my surprise it was quite tasty. Maybe it was just because I was ravenous that I found the mouse so delicious.
After every scrap of it had gone, I padded over to one of the gorse bushes that surrounded the Moonpool.
My legs were still a bit wobbly, but I supposed I would get used to them in time. But right now I was so tired I could have slept on my paws. I curled up on the rough, springy grass and sleep crashed over me like a black wave...
To be continued...