Pale light bled through black leafless trees, touching the thick, white mist snaking through them. Dead grass carpeted the ground, waving slightly in a breeze tainted with the scents of prey. Prey, of course, that would never be caught, much less found.
Lying in the middle of an abandoned clearing was a cat. Black stripes covered his small dark gray body. Deep crimson stained his chest, though there was no wound there.
Suddenly his ice-blue eyes flew open and he took in a heaving gulp of air. He stared with wide eyes at the area surrounding him. W-Where am I? He wondered. He stood on shaky legs and looked around. His hard-muscled body was tense, the fur on his shoulders beginning to spike. He called out into the shadows, his voice strong and clear. "Hello?"
The resounding crack of a long being stepped on alerted him to someone-or something, because who knew what was in this StarClan-forsaken place-sneaking up on him. He spun around, wickedly curved claws glinting and a deadly snarl coming from his jaws.
From the shadows stepped a cat whose name was stained with blood, who brought hidden fear to the surface within the Clans. A cat the young tom had never seen in real life, only seen in dreams. His heart began to pound. "Welcome to the Dark Forest," the cat's high-pitched voice murmured.
The tom swallowed hard. "Father
" he whispered.