|"There was a sharp pain in her belly, and as Hollyleaf trekked back through the trees she paused by a clump of yarrow that had been sheltered from the snow to eat a few leaves. But the ache inside her persisted, and Hollyleaf knew it was more than hunger: It was loneliness, and regret, and sadness. There was only one place she could go. Fluffing up her pelt against the bitter cold, Hollyleaf began to to trudge up the slope."|
|— Hollyleaf on missing company in Hollyleaf's Story, chapter 6|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter six of Hollyleaf's Story. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 6 (of 10)
- Page Numbers: 52-61
- The time of leaf-fall has arrived; Hollyleaf watches from the tunnel entrance a flurry of leaves being snatched by the wind. The voice of Fallen Leaves behind her makes her jump. He asks his companion if she was looking for the cub. Prickling with guilt, the she-cat spins around asking how long he had been there. The tom replies he has been there long enough to see how much she longs to go outside. Hollyleaf makes more space for him, but the ginger-and-white tom doesn't move any closer. His voice teases her for hoping the cub would come back. The black she-cat replies she wasn't and she knows the cub belongs out there. The tom presses her about her kin and Hollyleaf states she has no family. After Fallen Leaves sighs that everyone has a family, the black cat asks where his kin was. He whispers that they left and the former ThunderClan warrior declares they should look for them. Fallen Leaves is horrified by the suggestion, stating he is waiting for his mother to come back. Hollyleaf fights down her impatience, saying they can find her together. He hisses at her he needs to stay in the tunnels and tells his friend she can go by herself. He stalks back into the darkness with the black loner staring after him. Hollyleaf feels wretched, as he never gives her straight answers about himself, and wonders if he ever wants company to begin with. She thinks to herself she didn't have to stay here. Hollyleaf smells the scents of the forest and asks herself what she was doing in the tunnels, when she could be out in the wild.
- She races after Fallen Leaves into the river-cave, where he lies curled in a nest with his nose under his tail. Hollyleaf blurts out to him she will always be grateful to him for saving her life. However, she needs to be outside, where she can eat wood-prey instead of fish and see the sky and feel the wind in her fur. He interrupts her to say she can go as she doesn't have to stay here. Hollyleaf stares at him, shocked he isn't even going to make her stay. The black cat snaps at him and says she thought he could know in case he wonders. Fallen Leaves dismisses her by shrugging and flicking his tail. Struggling to not feel wounded, Hollyleaf heads back down the wood-tunnel. She half-expects him to come after her, but the shadows stay silent.
- Once outside, Hollyleaf never remembers a chillier wind. She fluffs her fur up and tries to stay behind the widest trunks for shelter. The darkness outside becomes more prominent and the black cat notes it was less comfortable then the darkness in the tunnels. She grits her teeth as she drags herself into a bramble bush. She inwardly complains about the thorns and the noise of the tree branches. Her ears and eyes fail to pick up any sign of prey. Hollyleaf is somewhere that isn't ThunderClan territory as it has no scent markings or pathways. The she-cat reaches the middle of the bush and tries to become comfortable in the small space. Hollyleaf hadn't eaten since this morning, but knows there is no chance of eating until tomorrow. The loner thinks about Fallen Leaves and wonders if he regrets letting her go. Hollyleaf wakes before dawn and goes to hunt for food, smelling rain on the way. In the dawn light, she spots tiny footprints beside a beech tree. The former ThunderClan cat follows the path in her hunter's crouch and spots the mouse. Hollyleaf pounces and kills it easily. The cat eats it, but hisses in pain, as she hadn't eaten this much for so long. The loner starts to wonder if she was a rogue or a kittypet. As Hollyleaf tries to convince herself she is a ThunderClan cat, a voice whispers in her head that she is a murderer. She ignores the voice and continues up a slope. The woods start thinning out and Hollyleaf realizes she is on top of the ridge. The black she-cat strains to hear any sound of Clan cats, but can only hear the wind. She longs to be with her Clan again, but fears they would punish her for Ashfur's murder. Hollyleaf wonders if her family revealed what she has done. She knew she would never know and turns to run down the slope.
- A few days later, Hollyleaf opens her eyes to see snow had fallen overnight. She pushes her way out of the den and a clump of cold falls on her neck. The loner shakes it off and walks through the snow, her paws immediately freezing. The cat bounds for a fallen branch where she has a chance to shake snow off her paws. Hollyleaf is about to jump down, when she notices a trail of paw prints between the trees. The odor tells the cat that a young fox went this direction. The black-furred cat recognizes the cub she rescued and becomes excited at the prospect of seeing it again. She follows the trail into a small clearing and notes scuffled snow and a scattering of feather. Hollyleaf guesses the fox has killed a pigeon and is proud of the fox's work. The loner turns around after hearing a noise and sees it at the edge of the clearing. She asks it if it remember her and the fox leaps at her with a snarl. Hollyleaf dodges the bite and runs up a pine tree. She starts to lose her grip, but manages to sink her claws into the bark. She tears the end of her tail free and reaches the top. The former warrior watches the fox circling around the trunk. She falls asleep and wakes up to night. The fox is now gone.
- A full moon is seen in the sky and Hollyleaf wonders if her name will be mentioned tonight at the Gathering or if any if the Clans remembers her. She feels intense misery and eases her way down the tree. The loner pauses by yarrow plants to eat a few leaves to treat the ache in her belly. However, she knows the pain is coming from loneliness, sadness, and regret. Fluffing up her pelt, Hollyleaf decides to return to the tunnels. The loner reaches the entrance by breaking dawn and calls into the darkness if Fallen Leaves was there.
Notes and references
|Hollyleaf's Story chapters|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10|
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