>> the only way is forward >>
Starting point in the city:
>> Tom ⚡ Loner ⚡ 10 moons >>
The thick air was finally starting to settle from the stifling heat that had hovered over the city earlier that afternoon. The sun had begun to fall below the distant rolling hills, its evening rays washing over the landscape with warm orange hues that reflected off the buildings crowding the streets. It had rained just before sunset -- finally providing relief from the hot spell plaguing the area for days. The only indication that it had in fact rained was the faint scent of wet grass and pavement.
This was a scent Spark had come to appreciate, because with that smell came a sense of newness -- a way to cool off, to reset, even if it was only temporary. The mottled tan tom exhaled, his shoulders sagging and tail tip dangerously close to dragging on the path behind him. There were plenty of things he wished he could've reset, but there wasn't enough time to reflect on that now. The tom's ocean eyes scanned over the inlet fast approaching on his right, before halting to peer around the corner into the familiar alley.
There it is.
He'd frequented here numerous times, more times than he would've wanted to admit, but he'd found some of the best scraps in the city here and scraps didn't always come easy -- or tasty for that matter. The tom's stomach grumbled impatiently as he plodded over to the large green dumpster. The tom always knew which dumpster it was, compared to the others lining the alleyway, this one was worn -- big chips of paint missing off the side and scratch marks littering the rest of its exterior. He paused once to glance over his shoulder before rearing up on his haunches -- with just enough finesse to land onto the rim of the dumpster's open mouth.
"What do we have here?" Spark murmured under his breath.
He flicked his ear in anticipation wondering where to start, a wave of stale and more recent smells flooding into his nostrils. The bin was actually full enough to allow him to stand partially in with his forelegs. The tom stepped down, parting his jaws to track down the freshest scent he could locate from the selection in front of him. Most of the scraps were covered in a clear wrapping of some sort, but his eyes landed on a particular scrap that had its wrapping mostly unfurled.
I think we have a winner.
Spark pawed at the scrap in question with unsheathed claws, batting the remainder of the plastic away so he could get a better view. It was some sort of white meat slathered in a tepid brown liquid. Without hesitation, he lapped up a sample of it. It was surprisingly pleasant -- it almost reminded him of some of the kittypet food he use to eat a few moons ago, but that didn't have nearly as much flavor as this. The tom lowered his hindlegs into the dumpster now, crouching over his meal to avoid being spotted by twolegs. He'd been caught a few times before, and they'd all shooed him away while making horrible screeching noises. He couldn't chance that now -- this was the only food the tom had consumed since sunrise. He scarfed the serving down, licking the leftover sauce from his lips as he peered out from the mouth of the dumpster.
Spark would note it was oddly quiet. Usually there were at least some twolegs traveling by the inlet on the path he'd taken to get here. The tom shrugged. Perhaps this was his lucky break.
He continued to rummage through the contents of the bin, also noting that he'd have to give his pelt a good bath later. The tom wasn't particularly fond of how dirty and ruffled his fur would get searching through these dumpsters, but he'd never really had the proper environment to learn how to hunt. Maple had offered when they'd still lived in the same neighborhood together, and he'd always regretted not taking him up on it. Spark had gotten so accustomed to searching for his food from bins in the city, or when he was really desperate, begging at the entrances of twoleg dens.
Alas, the tom had made a vow not to beg for food anymore. Twolegs were so unpredictable and he often fared better off without them anyway. Furthermore, there was a lot he still wanted to explore. The city was vast and he'd only scraped the surface. He couldn't be held back by his former life any longer, the tom was fine with being a loner. It meant he wouldn't --
His tanned ear twitched. Spark could've sworn he'd just heard something over by the inlet. The tom stayed crouched inside the dumpster with his ears perched forward, cautious as not to generate any extra noise. It would have been one thing if it was a twoleg or a mouse skittering by, but this sound was distinct. This was the sound of claws and paw pads making contact with the concrete. It couldn't have been a dog, it sounded smaller than your average dog -- dogs were usually attached to a rope of some kind anyway.
Another cat, Spark thought. Did it follow me?
It wouldn't have been the first time this had happened. Well, there was no sense in hiding if it already knew he was there. The tom rose to his feet so that the upper half of his body was visible from the outside. He cast his blue eyes over toward the inlet, but didn't immediately see anything.
The tom's youthful voice rang out across the alley.
"Hello? Who's there?"
His head was tilted slightly as if he were trying to see around the corner. Whatever it was had his full attention now.