The river was always a source of comfort, not pain or fear. Rosepaw had met Bramblepaw once in this very same stream, her face dripping with frigid water and her expression hiding frustration from missing her kill. The water still looked the same as it had that day, but now the fat gibbous moon shone into its depths and got lost in the frothy foam of a small waterfall. The water was recovering from a momentary swell in height after snow melted from the tops of the mountains bordering their territory and the resulting runoff came cascading down the slopes and hills to feed into their tiny network of streams and fatten them up to nearly twice their size. Now the brook babbled comfortably, still whispering and gossiping but not in a malicious way, rather whispering to the trees about petty clan drama it heard through the woodworks. Rosepaw approached the water now, pawpads skipping against the slimy, lichen-covered pebbles on the riverbank and toes squelching into the thick mud gathered there.
Rosepaw peered over a more calm, still part of the shallow creek unaffected by the tiny waterfall further upriver. Reflected against the deep black night, Rosepaw saw what her late-night happenings had wrought; blood, dripping in thick, scarlet globules, ran down from her nose and a nick above her eye, sealing the right half of her gaze shut. The deep red matter the pristine purity of her white fur and rolled down to gather at the bottom of her chin. A few moments of heaviness ensued before the droplet of blood fell and was submerged into the water, mingling with the many minerals and other such grains carried by the flow. Rosepaw couldn’t help her bitter laugh as she saw her appearance, only making the blood flow from her fresh wounds more. It didn’t make her pretty, it didn’t make her smart, it just made her red. Perhaps that was how she wanted it. Her scathingly sarcastic laugh continued.