Chapter One

“Hey, Uglyface? Mind moving aside a little?”

Ugly. Disgusting. Scary. I had been called them all. It wasn’t very polite, actually it was downright rude. My scars showed my loyalty and the countless battles I fought for our Clan, and things like extra toes and a bent tail weren’t choices. I was born with these defects.

I tried not to let their words bother me, but they did. They hurt. They were blatant insults, and unlike losing a battle, where you’re made fun of as a group, they were directed straight at me.

I mean, yes, I’m ugly. I can’t help it. I get laughed at and made fun of, sneered and hissed at. I hear the ‘it’ she-cats gossiping about me. I longed to hang out with them, to giggle with them and talk about toms. But as long as I looked like this, the chances of that happening were slim to nothing.

Hi, my name is Snowscar. I’m a warrior of SkyClan. I’m a white she-cat with grey paws and a grey muzzle, and countless, fading scars covering my body. My eyes are pale blue, it kind of looks like I’m blind, but I’m glad I’m not. I don’t need to add another problem onto my already toppling pile. I have two extra toes on my paws, and a tail bent down the middle.

Ugly. Disgusting. Scary. It was all me, all the time.

I glanced up at the tom who had asked me to move. Hateful, green eyes stared back down at me, beige fur bristling angrily. I shrank down under his burning gaze.

“What’s the magic word?” I asked politely.

“Move,” he said gruffly, his tone dark. Under his breath, but still (deliberately) loud enough to hear, he muttered. “Gross creature.”

Injured, I shifted aside. Grunting, the tom passed by me, and just to spite me, went around the area I moved out of. I felt my face getting hot. He only did that to annoy and hurt me. But why? I wasn’t quite sure. I wasn’t that ugly, at least compared to some rogues that we had came across.

Maybe SkyClan cats were notoriously beautiful, and I tainted the bloodline. Oh well. It wasn’t like anyone would be my mate, so I won’t be able to pass down my grotesque features. Though I had built a bubble around me to save me from the hatred spewed at me, every once in a while in gets popped by a sharp comment.

I sighed heavily, the tom that had brushed past me a speck in the distance. I think had redeeming features. Not to be rude, but I’ve seen cats... erm... chubbier than me. I’m strong and good at hunting. And I’m not ugly. On the inside, where it really counts.

I tried to be kind and polite to others, not that they ever returned the favour. I didn’t go to the medicine cat den, because sometimes their silence hurt more than words. Plus, another scar didn’t change much. I avoided the large crowds that formed around the deputy when it was time to assign patrols. Heck, I tried to avoid others in general.

I know that it’s a bad habit. But you know what a bad habit is? Insulting others. Kitties, never, ever make fun of anyone because you don’t know what they’re going through, or they may make fun of themselves enough. Sad world.

My kinked tail swept across the ground as I grunted, pushing myself up off the cold, hard ground. SkyClan camp consisted of cliffs that had holes in them, which became our dens. There’s a dip in the middle where puddles gather, worn down by the paws of cats’ generations before us. To simplify, a small canyon.

Curling my tail, I skirted around the edges of the cliffs which were so old they crumbled when you climbed down them, sending rocks tumbling down whenever you gripped them with your claws. My paws brushed against the rough vertices as I turned corners.

I skipped along, feeling the cool breeze that drafted down from the mountain tops blow past my face, flattening the fur against my cheeks. Brownleaf was on its way, I could taste it in the mountainous air. But for now, the sky was periwinkle, the Sun was bright, and the clouds were white and fluffy.

I paused and stretched, shooting my extra-toed paws forward, waving my kinked tail in the air, and arching my battle-scarred back up towards the sky. Suddenly, I felt a huge wave of self consciousness come over me, and I quickly went into a sitting position. I was embarrassed. I was showing off everything wrong with me.

Ashamed, I blushed before clearing my throat. It was an early Shimmeringleaf morning, the Sun halfway up the sky, the sheep-coloured clouds occasionally marred by musky grey ones. And even though most relished the long, Shimmeringleaf days, and took the time to sleep in, others awoke early. Like that rude tom and I.

I thought back to him as I started to pad along the Cliffside, gazing down into the large dip. I barely knew him. Who was he? I thought for a moment, and the name ‘Furzefur’ came to mind. Rain from the previous night had found home in the lowest parts, gathering into puddles. Narrowing my light coloured eyes, I spotted the pile of fresh-kill. It was probably still soaked.

As I continued my path around the outer ring, the Sun had broken out from behind the clouds and was now radiating heat and bright light. I averted my gaze from the sunlight, trying to flip my bangs to cover at least half my eyes. When they’re a pastel-like colour like mine, they’re very sensitive. Dang, another problem. Blindness can be crossed off, but light sensitivity? Put it on.

And of course, with these new rays came cats being awoken. The brightness would seep through the entrance to the caves and would annoy cats who had the Sun’s light dancing on their eyelids. Soon, they would come out of their slumber and mock me instead.

That’s how I found myself hiding behind a large, oddly-shaped rock to the right of the Warrior’s Den. I peeked out the small crevice between the den and the rock, watching as cats flashed by. Beige pelts, brown pelts, ginger pelts, grey pelts, white pelts... I waited, my heart in my stomach, as I heard their voices drift towards me.

I sincerely hoped no one had noticed me.

When the talking started to become scarce and I didn’t hear the sound of footprints drumming on the ground, I slowly padded out from behind the rock. I quickly scanned left and right for any cats in the vicinity before slipping back into the Warrior’s Den.

The cave was dim and dank. I think it was even a little wet from the shower, but I didn’t mind it as I silently walked to my nest and curled up tightly. I could feel someone staring at me, but I ignored it and instead focused on making a list of everything that was wrong with me. The reasons that I was hated.

I’m stupid. Well, I’m not the fastest hare on the moor, but I certainly won’t downgrade to stupid. It sounded like such a gross word, and it tasted sour on my tongue.

I opened my eyes and looked down at my outstretched toes. I made a face. My toes are ugly. There are too many of them. I just wanted to have four toes like a normal cat. Heart sinking, I continued.

I glanced at my bent tail, wrapped protectively around my body. Staring at it like it was some foreign object, I made a conclusion. My tail is ugly. I craned my neck backwards to see my back and sides.

Scars crisscrossed all over my body. Some were pink and faded, some were red and recent. But they were scars, nonetheless. They marred my pelt. In fact, my pelt doesn’t look so glamourous either. It’s patchy and ragged, some fur missing in discreet locations that I manage to hide from others. My pelt and scars are ugly.

I swallowed.

I’m ugly.

Chapter Two

It was mid-day when I arose from my nest, eyes bleary as I looked around. My dreams were filled with mean faces and laughter, not a very pleasant nap after trying so hard to fall asleep. Worries clouded my mind, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the awful things I had said about myself.

I was finally alone. The presence I felt when I had returned to the den earlier was gone. Giving myself a quick groom, I started to pad towards the entrance, my paws thumping on the ground and echoing around the empty space.

I emerged from the den. The Sun, I noticed, that was once ablaze at dawn had been dimmed by grey clouds. Flicking some moss off my paw, I realized that rain would come later.