Flame peered out from behind the boulder, she scanned the horizon for any sign of her sister Vulcana, but didn’t spot her anywhere. Very cautiously, Flame edged her way around the boulder and into the tall grass on the other side. Then she bolted, running as fast as her slender legs could carry her, back to the fortress. Once Flame found herself in her chambers again, she slammed the door and locked it very quickly, then she lay down, panting, on her bed.
Flame was the younger of Etcetera and Macavity’s two kittens, her sister, Vulcana, being the eldest. She and Vulcana had always been different. Vulcana was taller, and stronger for one, so there was no use fighting with her. The problem was, Vulcana was always looking for someone to fight with, and on days like this when Flame was the only other kitten around, then Flame was just out of luck. Flame might not have minded so badly if it weren’t for her sister’s powers.
Once Vulcana had been able to open her eyes she had been able to spontaneously cause things to catch fire as well. She could start fires with her front and back paws and she could also give someone a nasty burn, and some singed fur in a fight. Flame didn’t care for her sister much...Vulcana would never play kittenish games with her: all Vulcana ever wanted to play was “War on the Jellicles” and in this game Flame was always a Jellicle.
Flame was not without powers herself, although most of the other cats thought she was. Flame also had the gift of fire, and her gift was much greater than Vulcana’s. Flame could not only spontaneously start fires with her paws, but she could telepathically cause fires miles away, while her eyes turned red and burned hot. It was a very good thing that Flame didn’t share her sister’s love of tormenting smaller kittens, or else many a kitten would find themselves waking up on fire from their afternoon nap. Vulcana would hear nothing of Flame’s powers, she thought them only lies that Flame had made up to try to scare her off...when indeed, they were deadly true.
The small kitten lay on her bed. She had a white base coat and firey red, orange, and yellow stripes. Flame was graceful and slender like her mother, but had the strong forceful green eyes of her father. Vulcana had the same white base coat and firey red and orange stripes, Vulcana had no yellow, but instead had black stripes as well. You could tell them apart easily because Vulcana was the taller, darker kitten and Flame was the smaller, lighter kitten.
After a half hour of lying on her bed Flame got up and went quietly to the door. She pressed her small head against the great oak structure and tried to hear if someone, namely her sister, was lurking around in the hallway. Hearing nothing, Flame opened and stepped out into the great hall. She looked around and saw no one, so she continued on.
When Flame reached a large courtyard which was often empty she stopped and sat on the lower branch of a tree, her legs dangling over the edge.
Ratter paused for a moment, scanning the courtyard with his fierce eyes. No, he wasn’t wrong, he had seen something...his eyes stopped on the firey red stripes of someone’s legs hanging out of a tree. Everyone was out on a raid today and he had been left behind. Ratter was the only kitten of a highly noble pair of cats under Macavity’s rule. He never went by his actual name, Rat-eater, which his father had given him...to him it just sounded stupid. Few people even remembered that he had any other name than Ratter.
He crept into the courtyard, and he quietly stalked along until he was directly behind the unsuspecting kitten, and then he pounced! He had known the kitten had to be either Vulcana or Flame by the firey red stripes on her legs, and to his great joy he found that it was Flame...Vulcana was no fun...and Flame always was.
Flame sensed that someone was behind her, but before she could turn around she felt someone’s claws clutching her and she uttered a muffled screech as she was tackled to the ground. Flame fought hard at the unseen attacker until her face was up off the ground then she twisted sharply so that her face was directly in front of...Ratter’s face? She had thought that Ratter was off on the raid, but obviously he wasn’t. Flame bit Ratter’s left ear hard and he yelped and loosened his grip on her fur. Flame laughed and pushed Ratter away, then she leapt back to her branch and stood triumphantly on it, taunting Ratter.
Ratter squinted up at Flame, she called down at him, “HAH! I’m queen of this tree!”
He yelled up at her “Not for long!” And with that he scampered up the tree and pushed her out, then he took up his position on the branch and called down to her, “HAH! I’m king of this tree now! In fact, I’m king of this whole courtyard!”
The kittens continued this harmless game for a long time, each one alternately being the king or queen of the tree and courtyard...little did they know that they were not alone...
Vulcana had been making her way along the hallway when she had heard screaming and giggling, she had stopped in the entrance to the courtyard and stared with disgust at the two other kittens. She was angry at her sister for running away from their game earlier, and she was angry at them both for not inviting her into this game! Vulcana lurked around the doorway for a while, and then she snuck close to the tree.
The two happy kittens didn’t notice her because they were very occupied with their game, but she was going to make them notice her. Vulcana snuck over to the trunk of the tree, her hands smoothing its bark. Heat raced along her arms and her fingers grew hotter and hotter, then flames leapt out of her fingers and the tree was ablaze. Vulcana stepped out into the open and met the kittens’ startled looks with a sneer. “Next time, don’t forget to invite me.” Vulcana said coldly as she stepped closer to the frightened kittens.
Ratter and Flame frantically raced about trying to put out the fire, Vulcana had in turn set each of them on fire and they had been burnt. Now Vulcana was gone and they were left to try to stop the courtyard from burning up. Flame turned to Ratter and he could see the fiery red creeping into her normally green eyes. “She makes me so mad!” Flame exploded.
“Why don’t you fight her?” Ratter asked cautiously, for the silver kitten wasn’t sure about what he was saying. “You have power with fire too, don’t you?”
Flame turned her glaring look on Ratter “Where’d you hear a thing like that Ratter?” She asked in a disgusted tone.
Ratter was now very confused, because he remembered his parents talking about how Flame and Vulcana both had special fire powers...and once, a long time ago, Flame had told him herself that she could set things on fire like Vulcana. “I...er...well.....” Ratter didn’t know what to say to her.
Flame’s eyes slowly turned green again, and she looked into Ratters ice blue eyes, “I’m sorry...I was just so mad...I mean...Vulcana...I can’t stand her!” She looked at her paws, “I do have powers, you were right, but I don’t like hurting things for no reason.”
Ratter’s ice blue eyes opened wide in protest, “But you have every reason to hurt Vulcana! She hurts you and I all the time! I’d get her back...but I can’t do anything to her...”
A look of understanding crept over Flame’s face, “Yes...she does hurt me doesn’t she? I suppose I don’t think to fight back, because when she’s around I am so frightened, but after she leaves...then I’m mad for hours.”
Now that Flame seemed back to her normal self, Ratter decided to bring her eyes to her attention, he started out very cautiously...”Flame...well...when you were really mad a second ago...a funny thing happened...” She looked at Ratter curiously. “Your eyes, well, they started to turn all red and well...it was almost as though you were going to shoot sparks out of ‘em or something.” Ratter backed off a little bit because she was looking at him very strangely.
“Did they?” Flame asked Ratter. “Hmmm....” Then she grew very serious and motioned him to come closer. Flame bent over Ratter and whispered very quietly in his ear, “I’m going to tell you something that no one else knows...not even Vulcana...and you have to swear not to tell her, alright?”
“I swear Flame! You’re my best friend, and besides, I hate Vulcana as much as you do!”
Flame continued in a dangerous tone, “Well, you commented yourself on how my eyes turned all firey...well, that’s because I can do something Vulcana can’t even dream of doing... When I get really mad, I can start fires with my eyes Ratter, I can start fires with my eyes!” Flame was very excited, as any kitten would be over telling such a deep secret, and she nearly shouted out the last part, but caught herself in time.
A sly smile crept across Ratter’s face, and his eyes gleamed as though he were plotting something. He whispered back to Flame “Flame, you could get Vulcana back! She’d never expect you to shoot fire out of your eyes! I mean, who would ever expect anyone to do something crazy like that?! All you have to do is, when she comes up and you start feeling frightened, you just have to remember what she did this time, and all those other times, and get mad instead...then we’ll show her! You’ll show her!”
Flame looked at Ratter incredulously, “You mean, you think that I can torture Vulcana like she tortures us? Catch her on fire or something?”
Ratter met Flame’s eyes and said quite seriously, “Yup, that’s exactly what I mean!”
Then Flame smiled, Ratter had dared to bring something to her attention, that she had never dreamed of thinking seriously about: that she possessed a power Vulcana didn’t even know about, a power so strong that she could do far greater things than catch someone on fire...she could easily get back at Vulcana. Flame grinned at Ratter, “Ratter, I hear them coming back from the raid now, so we should both go home, but tomorrow...tomorrow Ratter, we’ll get my sister! We’ll show her!”
The two kittens went home and somehow managed to fall asleep that night, even with all of the excitement of their plan against Vulcana. The next morning Flame got out of bed and raced off to find Ratter. “Ratter!” She gasped his name breathlessly when she finally found him. He was outside of the fortress over near the rock Flame had hid behind the day before. “What do we do now Ratter? Do we just wait for Vulcana to come?”
“Wait for me to come?” The kittens shuddered at the all too familiar voice of Flame’s older sister. “Why should you wait for me, I’m here already. Were you going to wait for me to start your little game? How kind of you...but whatever little game you have going, I’m sure it can’t be as fun as “War on the Jellicles”, I’ll be Macavity and you two can be Munkustrap and Demeter ok? And I’ll torch you!” Vulcana laughed evilly at the two kittens and started to advance on them.
Flame was completely startled at Vulcana being so near by and she was sure Ratter was too. Flame started to back away from her advancing sister, but she stopped when Ratter elbowed her. She looked over at him and he mouthed the words “ANGRY, be ANGRY! Shoot FIRE!”
Flame stopped stepping backwards, she straitened herself out and actually took a step forwards to meet her sister. She asked in an innocent tone, “Vulcana, dear, what do you mean you’ll torch us? We always have to play the Jellicles, so Ratter and I decided that today, you can be the Jellicle and we’ll be Macavity’s army, and then, I’ll torch you!”
Vulcana laughed and fought hard to keep her composure, “You’ll torch me? Hah! How do you plan to do that sister? Does Ratter over there have secret fire powers?” She laughed hysterically at the thought of that, and Ratter bared his teeth at her. Vulcana suddenly stopped laughing and turned on Ratter, “I’ll torch you, you little...”
Before Vulcana could finish her sentence or get close enough to do anything to Ratter, Flame pushed her hard in the shoulder, and Vulcana stumbled backwards. “Leave him alone Vulcana!” Flame said forcefully, “This is between you and me!”
Vulcana would have laughed at her sister challenging her earlier, but she was annoyed now. It was time she showed Flame and Ratter where they belonged, and that they should NEVER try to challenge her again. Vulcana glared hard at her sister, and slowly the glare turned into a very dangerous, unstable look, she confronted her sister in a dangerously calm voice, “Flame, why in the world did you just shove me, sweetheart, I’m your sister. You shouldn’t ever forget that I’m your older sister, and if you want a fight then that’s what you’re going to get, only” Vulcana’s voice turned evil, “Only, you’re very wrong if you think that you will win...”
Vulcana took several steps over to Flame so she was looking down into her eyes, only several inches away. She saw Flame’s green eyes, pathetic and scared, and she laughed tormentingly at her sister. At a sudden outburst from Ratter Vulcana looked over at him startled, he had been crouched quietly several paces away when suddenly he hissed “Just shoot it!” at Flame.
Vulcana blinked at Ratter, what could this mean? Then she put it out of her mind, he was obviously just trying to confuse her. While Vulcana had been looking away she hadn’t noticed Flame’s eyes, but when she looked back, she noticed that they were changing... The normally green eyes were turning to the fierce glowing color of fire. Vulcana looked away and looked back at her sister to make sure she wasn’t mistaken. When she saw that her eyes were still full of fire, Vulcana didn’t know what to make of it, and she became somewhat nervous.
Flame had nearly forgotten her and Ratter’s quest when he had hissed at her. Instantly she had remembered what they were there for, and when Vulcana looked away, she used the time to pull out all the anger she had ever felt towards her cruel sister. Flame felt the heat race up into her head, she felt the fire streaming through her face into her eyes, she felt it pooling and churning around in her eyes, waiting to be released.
Flame was aware of Vulcana’s fear when she turned back to face her, and Flame enjoyed the fear. Flame smiled an evil smile at Vulcana “What’s the matter sis? Are you afraid of me?” She could feel the sparks in her eyes held back with preasure, just waiting to fly out and hurt someone or destroy something. This was a feeling Flame had never felt before, and she loved it!
As Vulcana started back away and look genuinely worried Flame continued to advance. Flame decided it was time, she had waited long enough, and she released the fire from her eyes, it shot out in a stream of swirling flames, dancing dangerously close to her sister’s fur. Vulcana stood completely still, realizing that if she moved she would die a horrible death. Flame laughed maniacally at her sister “So now you know what it’s like to be tortured Vulcana....Now you know....but I’m going to get you worse than you ever got me!”
At first Ratter watched eagerly as Flame scared Vulcana...but after several moments he realized that Flame was out of control. The Flame he knew would never toy with life and death like this, she would never actually try to kill her sister. Ratter looked over at Flame, trying to get her attention, but she seemed to be in another world. It was as though a part of her soul that had never been seen before had now been released, a dangerous part of her soul.
Ratter made up his mind that he had to stop his best friend before she did indeed do something so terrible that it could never be fixed. So, he ran out in front of Flame, just barely avoiding the swirling streams of fire flowing from her eyes. “Flame!” He yelled, but she took no notice of him. It didn’t looked like she recognised him, and perhaps she didn’t see him at all... “Flame stop! This has gone far enough!” He called out loudly, but he realized it was all in vain. He saw Vulcana she was singed, and probably badly burnt as well, and the flames were dancing closer and closer. Ratter didn’t know what he should do, but time was running out for Vulcana, so he ran at Flame, he felt the streams of fire burn his fur and he saw more flames leaping off of him, he collided with Flame, and knocked her to the ground.
Flame woke up, she had a splitting headache and when she tried to open her eyes she felt such a pain as she had never even imagined before. “Ratter...” she whispered, hoping her friend was nearby.
“I’m here.” She heard the familiar voice say, and she felt him comfortingly stroking her fur.
“Oh, Ratter, what happened...all I remember is that my eyes grew very hot, and then suddenly I woke up here, in pain...what happened to Vulcana?”
Ratter had suspected that she wouldn’t remember any of the horrible things she had been trying to do... it seemed that when she let the fire of her anger take over she was no longer in control, so it wasn’t suprising that she didn’t remember anything that occurred after the fire took over.
Ratter calmed and soothed Flame, then he explained how he had watched her tormenting Vulcana until it became very dangerous, and how he had rushed at her and knocked her down. At this point Flame painfully opened her now green eyes and looked at Ratter, she saw how his beautiful fur was burned badly and she started to cry. “Its alright,” Ratter stroked her comfortingly, “My fur will be back to normal in a few days, it wasn’t your fault you were out of control...I was the one who set you off in the first place...” Then Ratter continued on with what had happened. After he had knocked Flame down, she had lost contiousness, and all the dancing streams of fire had disappeared. Vulcana had stood there, too much in awe to move for a while, and then very slowly, she had edged away. Then Ratter had waited quietly for Flame to wake up.
Flame was horrified at what she had done, and vowed to Ratter that she would never do that again, “I don’t like not being in control Ratter...I don’t like it at all...I could have killed someone!” Flame started crying again and Ratter continued to comfort her, eventually she smiled weakly and said, “Well, we sure taught Vulcana a lesson atleast....” Ratter smiled and nodded.
After a while Ratter began to lead Flame back to her room. On the way they passed Vulcana’s room, and the door was open, Vulcana saw them coming and shuddered, “Is she back to herself again Ratter?” she asked nervously.
“Yes she is.” Ratter said.
“I am so sorry Vulcana!” Flame burst in, “I lost control, I don’t even remember any of it!”
For once Vulcana wasn’t mean, cruel, or taunting. She took her sister’s hand and nodded, “I know Flame, I know.”
Ratter looked around cautiously to see if anyone else was about... “I think we should swear never to tell anyone what happened her today... They might take Flame away if they knew what powers she had...”
“What do I care if they take Flame away?!” Vulcana interrupted.
Ratter looked at Vulcana, “Well, if it ever gets out how badly Flame scared you, then you won’t have any respect from the other kittens anymore...”
Vulcana glared at Ratter, but she knew he was right, “Alright, fine! I swear! It’s all a secret, I won’t tell.”
Flame looked from Vulcana’s angry face to Ratter’s calm face, and she quietly said, “I swear too.”
Ratter smiled with satisfactory and said “I swear too, so that seals it...no one will ever be told.” Then Ratter looked at Flame and said in a very admiring voice, “You are so powerful and amazing Flame...Flame, Kitten of Fire!”
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