The Final Solution

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Tiger leapt upon High Stone. “Welcome, friends,” he purred. Every cat wandered over to High Stone. It was the morning, with the dawn light casting shadows on Tigers’ dusky brown fur. Even from a distance, it was obvious that he was a strong battler and the choice to be leader, which he was.
“We have excellent news. The Tribe of the East has agreed to our treaty, making five countries on our side. We will not have to do another battle in our lives,” Tiger declared.
The Tribe cheered. Little did they know how wrong they were.
“Assume your regular duties,” Tiger announced, and bounded off to his den.
***

“Hey,” a powerful white tom hissed to another tom, so similar they looked like twins. A third tom, not as robustly built, was sitting next to him. “Frost, Stone, Tiger wants to see us. Midnight. In the usual place.”

“Ice, what could he want with us?” Stone asked the first cat.

“I don’t know, but we have to make it there. He says it’s urgent.” Ice padded away.
***
Night had fallen, and slowly, cats began to creep out of their dens and dart into the nearby forest, where they settled down in a clearing. Tiger stood, balanced on a branch, looking down at the cats below him. When the moon was at its highest point in the sky, Tiger began.
“Friends…,” Tiger began, “I bring you here on a matter of utmost urgency. There are traitors in our Tribe.”

There were shocked gasps from the crowd. Every blue eye was fixed upon Tiger.
“They are not among us, but they still remain,” He assured the cats, and they looked minutely relieved.
“Look around you,” Tiger invited the cats. “Do you not see any similarities between yourselves?”
Several moments went by as everyone looked around, wondering what similarities they could possibly share. Ice and Frost sat on the fringes of the group, almost like bodyguards. Snow and Shine were there, their delicate forms silhouetted against the moonlight. Fish, with his bright blue eyes shining, hung close to the two moms. The old, cracked tom named Storm hung by the edge of the circle, flanks heaving. Young Sugar sat at the top of the hoard, looking around nervously, with his white pelt shining in the moonlight. Other pelts mingled together, wondering what on earth they were looking for.
“Do you not see?” Tiger purred, tail swishing. “We are all white furred, blue-eyed cats.” Storm nodded wisely, as if he knew all along. Tiger continued, “Do you want to know who the traitors are?” His voice was barely a whisper, but the white cats caught every word in the dead silence, “Those who are not us. They are destroying our Tribe!”
Sugar especially looked surprised.
“Everyone not here,” Tiger gestured with a sweep of his tail, “is a traitor! They are not like us! How do you know, friends, that they will not turn on us when we sleep? They are strange creatures, their minds twisted with sick imaginations. We need to wipe them out, we need to destroy them!” Tiger exclaimed.

“But won’t we be weaker?” Sugar spoke out, wide blue eyes glowing.
The sleek brown cat purred loudly, drowning out Sugars’ complaints. “No, no! We shall create the perfect Tribe. Only us; the chosen ones shall survive. All the other cats are imperfect! They are destroying our tribe! They are the reason we had fallen! We need to create the perfect tribe!” he exclaimed, tail swishing through the air. There were no more protests, though Sugar remained looking uncertain.
***
The next day, Tiger called the Tribe to the meeting place.
“Welcome, dear friends!” he cried out, “I would like all black cats to work in the far field today. Everyone else, regular duties, as usual.” Tiger leapt down from High Stone, and the cats dispersed to their jobs. All except the black cats, who huddled together, unsure of where exactly this ‘far field’ was.
“I shall lead the way,” he announced to the crowd of black cats. The crowd parted, and Tiger bounded forward.
Everyone followed Tiger far, far out west. A small black kit squeaked out, “I’m tired!”
“Just a bit farther now,” Tiger encouraged. He led them into a forest. It looked as though predators could leap out at any second.
“Here,” Tiger declared, as three icy white shadows leapt out of the bushes and onto the surprised group of black cats.
***
Tiger staggered into the clearing. Many cat heads turned, shocked to see that he had been wounded so badly. It was their lunch break from work.
“Friends!” Tiger yowled, leaping on High Stone. “I bring terrible news!”
Every cat that hadn’t already gathered hustled over to their leader.
“What is this?” a terrified tabby cat named Breeze cried out.
“All of the black cats have been killed!” Tiger announced dramatically.
Gasps of horror arose from the shocked crowd. “How?” Breeze called again.
“Terrible, terrible thing,” Tiger meowed. “So many cats attacked, all at once. It was a fight, the likes of such never seen before! Predators of every shape and size fell upon us. Our noble friends told me to run; they alone would hold our enemies off for the sake of their leader. As their leader, I needed to escape to lead those whom they were leaving behind. I turned back, with hopes that battling cats would be ready to take our enemies on! But, we are lucky that only the black cats were attacked. Do you not remember how they would laze around all day stuffing their face with our food? Still, we still must attack. What is keeping the predators from striking again?”
A stunned silence washed through the clearing.
Tiger continued, “Our enemies are organizing! We need to defeat them while there is still a chance. While they sit quibbling over who was the best in the fight, we shall swoop in upon them and strike fear into their hearts! They shall never bother us again!”
His speech was met with a deafening roar. “We will take them!” Every cat screamed, ready to fight for their rights.
Tiger was barely heard over the tumult. “Good friends! Those with green eyes shall assist in our mighty battle! Ice and Frost may lead the parties.” His amber eyes gleamed.
“What about you, dear Leader?” Breeze wondered.
Tiger staggered to the side. “I would like to lead the party. However, what is to stop the predators from attacking here? I must protect the camp and also have my cuts attended to. Moon,” he called, beckoning to a silvery she-cat with a good knowledge of herbs.
“Tiger, come into my store,” she asked of the leader.
Tiger’s amber eyes were wide. “But no! What if the predators were to attack?”
“I’ll do it quickly then,” Moon begged.
“If you must,” Tiger sighed, “but as you promised, quickly.”
In Moon’s haste, she failed to realize that claw marks and bite marks were far too small and fine to be those of a predator.
***

The same terrible fate befell those with green eyes, yet Tiger refused to yield.
“We have weakened them!” Tiger exclaimed, tail swishing persuasively. “The fate was not as terrible. You all know how weak those with green eyes were. If Ice and Frost were able to come out alive, then why? The predators must be getting weaker!” We cannot let those things run our lives for us, or steal our land. I ask you this: Is it not our land?”
“It’s our land!” a small brown cat named Mouse yelled.
“It is ours, friends!” Tiger persisted, “These animals may not know it yet, but it is ours! We shall show them!”
Battle cries rose around the clearing. “The party shall consist of those with brown fur,” Tiger proclaimed.
A huge wave of brown fur rose up and ran screeching to the exit.
Tiger studied the cats that had risen. “Ice, Frost, and Stone shall lead the party.” He turned to see three white cats with glowing blue eyes got up and strolled lazily to the exit.
“Ice and Frost and Stone!” a tortoiseshell named Twist exclaimed to her neighbor, Rain. “The best battlers!”
“He must think we really can win,” the white cat murmured, her amber eyes gazing at around the clearing.
“Forward, friends!” Tiger shouted to the crowd, and rumbling feet carried the battle-hungry cats off to the far field.
Tiger paced around camp, ensuring that none could enter. Suddenly his ears pricked. “What’s this? A cry for help?” His amber eyes grew huge. “I must help them!” he raced out of camp.
There was no such sound.
***
Once at the far field, a tabby named Screech gave a yowl of defiance. “Where are those things? I will rip them apart!” His entire family had been killed in the attack against the green-eyed cats.
“Patience, my dear friends,” Ice meowed silkily.
“Where are they?” Mouse bared his teeth.
“Maybe they’ve surrounded us!” Breeze gave a terrified cry.
“You’re right…,” Frost muttered, pacing around the circle of cats. “They have.”
There was a terrible screeching. Icy white pelts darted out of the forest and attacked the cats. Stone reared up and began attacking a brown she-cat named Earth.
The battle had broken out.
***

“I wonder how the cats are doing,” Twist fretted. “I hope they’re okay.”

Rain nodded, thinking hard about the rumors. The rumors whispered that there were no predators; that Tiger was after them.

Okay, okay. Think through this logically. Tiger wasn’t in the second attack. So…

But Ice and Frost were. They’ve always been close to him.

Then… He was scratched! How could he…

Duh! He killed cats! They would fight back!

Tiger’s always fought for us. Why would he change suddenly?

Well…He’s always doted on the cats with white and blue eyes. Wait…none of them have been killed? Not even Ice or Frost! That’s strange…
“Oh! Look, they’re back!” Twist called happily, breaking into Rain’s thoughts.
Rain shook her head to clear herself, and got ready to greet the survivors. If there are any…
“No, they are not back...” A deep voice intoned. A golden brown cat padded through the entrance. “They won’t be. Tiger has been destroying all those without a white pelt and blue eyes.”
“That can’t be true!” Twist exclaimed.
“Why not?” the golden-brown cat asked gravely.
Twist’s amber eyes were huge as she explained, “Sky, she had blue eyes. And she died.”
“You must have both- white pelt and blue eyes to survive,” the cat declared. “Tell me, where are they who battle?”
“In the far field,” Rain swallowed.
“My thanks,” the golden brown cat replied formally, and departed swiftly.
***
Tiger snuck out of the gathering area and carefully made his way to the far field. He knew there would be a battle raging there, one with Ice, Frost, and Stone attacking the unclean, dirty, brown cats. He paused, ears flicking forward. Had he heard something?
A powerful-looking cat stepped out of the shadows. “This must end. Now.”
Tiger was shocked at the golden tabby’s sudden appearance, but hid it well. “Like you can defeat me!” Tiger sneered.
“My allies and I have united.” Several blue-gray, silver, and black cats stepped out. And to Tigers’ shock, Sugar.
“Sugar,” he rumbled. “I shall get you.” He promised. Why hadn’t he realized that Sugar wasn’t with the Tribe?
“I refuse to let you murder these innocent beings,” the strange tabby reiterated.
“Who are you?” Tiger snarled. But fear was in his voice- Could he take on all ten cats?
“I am Birch.” The tom held his head high.
Tiger glanced at the undergrowth whistling and assumed more cats were coming. With a terrified wail, he turned tail and ran.
He ran and he ran and he ran. He ran until he was far, far away from the Tribe, and their hunting grounds. Until, finally, he darted directly into a predators’ land, were he was snatched up by an adult and carried off.
***
The battle was raging.
“Stop,” a powerful voice commanded. Most cats froze and turned to Ice, Frost, or Stone, listening attentively.
“Pay no heed to your so-called leaders!” the voice commanded again, and most cats realized the voice was coming in the opposite direction. Stone slunk out of the stupefied circle, and took up a defensive position beside Ice and Frost doing the same.
A powerful-looking cat stepped out of the shadows. “This must end. Now.”
“Like you can defeat us!” Other white cats crept out beside Ice.
“Tiger is gone.” Birch flicked his tail. “He ran into a predators’ nest.”
Just then, there was a huge cawing, and an eagle flew across the sky, holding in its claws what was unmistakably Tiger.
“No!” Frost yowled, leaping backward.
“It can’t be!” Stone gasped.
The crowd of white cats, stumbled backwards, turned around, and ran.
“Wait!” Ice called, “You’re wrong! He has to be still alive.”
“No one has to be anything,” Sugar meowed evenly.
Ice looked at the terrifying, battle-ready cats with the leader. He checked behind him, where there were no longer any cats to back him up, and followed the other cats’ example. But he yowled one last sentiment for Sugar: “You wait! Tiger will get you!”
Birch crouched down beside Earth. “Can you walk?” he asked.
Earth rolled to her feet. “Yes,” she panted.
“Then you will head home. Tiger is gone now. You fear no threat of evil. Sugar,” he turned to the white tom, “Are you staying here?”
“My place is with you now,” Sugar fell in line with Birch’s allies and left.
“Farewell,” Birch uttered, and the ten cats melted into the shadows, never to be seen again. Their work here was complete.





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