They say ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ Well, they lied. It would have been more accurate to say the trip-mines of hell are hidden beneath good intentions; wander around in the fields of mediocrity all you want, all it takes is a single misstep in the ‘right’ direction and it’s a one way trip to brimstone central. I felt the tram slowing down under my feet, the people in the crowded cabins already milling towards the double-sided doors. As a freshman at a more rural college, I prefer to walk everywhere, and find transportation in general too constricting. Trains are by far the form of transportation I’m least accustomed to. Then again, as a philosophy major, I guess you could argue I’m not particularly accustomed to reality, either.
My name is Kate, Kate Winsor. For the formal record, there’s no D in Winsor. You’d think that would be an unnecessary thing to draw attention to; but if I had a quarter for every time someone’s hated on me at first introduction because they misheard ‘Windsor’-which gave them the idea I was some spoiled, old money brat- I’d be nearly rich enough to justify those generalizations.
It was easy enough to ignore the first phone call. She was the entire reason I had to transfer, anyway, whatever two bit apology she had on hand, I wasn’t buying. No reason I needed to pick up and tell her that. The second call was a bit more worrisome. Allison never called twice. This was the girl who would call someone, and passively aggressively avoid them for days if they didn’t call back within a certain time. I probably would have picked up on the third ring, but as I am human, I do occasionally require sleep. Finals had just ended for the semester, which meant I could finally indulge said human conditions. Alright, alright, maybe I didn’t go to sleep right away. The old Netflix streaming service had gone neglected for days: Last I had time to watch, I’d discovered both seasons of my favorite guilty pleasure and added it to the instant cue. It didn’t take me long into the first couple of episodes to fall asleep. I was woken up a few hours later by the sound of Fluttershy screeching accusations through the screen, “HOW DARE YOU!”
In retrospect, that should have been my first sign that things were about to go horribly wrong. When I’d finally found my phone, however, that sign was no longer necessary; Twelve missed calls, one voicemail, all from the same number. Listening to the voicemail alone was enough to send me tripping over myself to yank on my yoga pants and throw a jacket over my tank top. I went flying out the door in a record of less than thirty seconds: Either Allison had butt dialed me at the end of the Blair Witch project, or the indistinguishable blubbering crying was her voice, and something was very wrong
Now off the train, I tried to call as soon as I had a signal. No answer either time, though the phone was ringing more than twice, so I knew it wasn’t dead. That wasn’t really all that comforting when I thought about it. I suppose I should explain a few things. Allison wasn’t all bad. Of the two roommates I’ve had I definitely liked her better, and we got along well… until she kissed me in the middle of the night…When she thought I was asleep
I feel like I should make something clear; my reaction had nothing to do with her gender. Male or female, if I wake up with a tongue in my mouth, and we’ve not explicitly defined that as part of our relationship, you’re going to get slapped. Not out of any sort of malice, it’s just a knee-jerk reaction tied to decency. What happened after… well I’m not proud of it. I might have gotten a little upset, called her a few things I shouldn’t have. Of those things, a hand-full might have been what some people would consider to be ‘homophobic.’ If I was asked, I would say that I’m definitely not a homophobe, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest: In abstract, I support gay marriage, equal treatment, the right to choose and whatnot. I just hate that I’m the one who’s so frequently chosen. And not by men. Throughout my ‘long’ life of nineteen years, I’ve only had a single boyfriend, a month long, ridiculously awkward affair that ended with the modern classic “It’s not you, it’s me.” What he told everyone behind my back, though, was that I was ‘too intimidating.’
In those same nineteen years, I’ve not had many ‘girl friends’ (with a space) either, because -and I have worked this out statistically- over 95% of my ‘girl friends’ have become my ‘girl friends’ with the intent of eventually becoming my girlfriend. It’s like I’m a lesbian magnet, the second I walk into a place, I can almost be guaranteed that the first girl to talk to me wants to eventually get in my pants. Because of that, I’ve gone out of my way to be more girly and feminine. I’ve been told I look like a brunette Emma Stone (though only by other women.) The more I attempt to be normal, the more attractive my own gender seems to find me. Life has been… frustrating. I’ve gotten used to it, but sometimes I still reach a breaking point.
Catching Allison stealing kisses in the middle of the night, well... that was a big breaking point. So the question begs to be asked, why exactly am I going out of my way to help her? Well… she made really, really good pancakes. Can’t abandon a ‘friend’/mouth jumper in need if she makes good pancakes, right?
Okay, so maybe that’s not entirely honest. Maybe I’m just begrudgingly good natured; even if my best efforts seem to always activate Murphy’s Law. No, I’m not exaggerating; I got hit by a car during vacation trying to help a little old lady cross the street. It was the third time that morning. If you have a soft spot for older folks, do not take a vacation to Florida because you will be walking a lot of little old ladies across the street.
Trudging through the snow, I rounded the corner to my old apartment building. It would be too dark to see this late at night, but from the lights of the city I could barely make out a figure on the roof.
The roof was always Allison’s favorite spot to smoke, so it was on my list of places to check for her… I wasn’t expecting to be able to see her though, since she didn’t usually stand so close to the edge.
Crap crap crap.
Normally, I hate running. I do it every morning out of discipline, but try my best to avoid wearing myself out for the day. Funny how much faster you run when you’re scared to death. Practically colliding to a stop with the door, I was relieved to find that the code hadn’t changed. My hands were so shaky I had to enter it twice. The second I heard the latch unlock I was flying, already through the next door and taking the fire escape stairs three at a time. By the time I hit the roof I was doubled over, gasping for breath, seven flights of stairs in sixty seconds doing quite a number on my ability to obtain oxygen.
After a small coughing fit I saw her; I was a little pissed at how calm she looked, considering the voicemail. Sure, the runny mascara and wealth of fresh cigarette butts accumulating at her feet indicated a rough night, but between the two of us, I was the one who looked more likely to keel over.
“You know –pant- those things –pant- will kill you –pant pant” She gave me a look that said really? And put it out. She had a point, not the best choice of words. Now that I was here though, I couldn’t help but notice she seemed a much safer distance from the edge than it had appeared from the road.
“I’m surprised you came.” Cautiously, I walked closer, positioning myself between her and the edge, making a mental note of the ice.
“Like I wouldn’t come, Allie. Now what’s going on, seriously?” Whatever it was, Allie was being extremely tight-lipped. So much so that it was confusing me. When she went in her pocket for the lighter, I caught a glimpse of her ribs: The Allie I'd left when I transferred was trim and lean, not ribs-poking-through-shirt skinny. I found my irritation shrinking back into concern. Exhaling with a smirk, she finally spoke.
“I’m moving back in with my parents. I failed most of my midterms, just slept straight through ‘em.” Her devil may care tone told me that wasn’t the whole story. As our ‘altercation’ had occurred at the beginning of the semester, I was suddenly afraid to inquire further.
“How are your parents?” She shrugged.
“Not quite as angry as I expected them to be. Just ‘disappointed.’ Like that’s any better, you know how it is.”
“Any chance of salvaging your scholarship?” I was asking petty questions to stall, trying to put the main event off for as long as possible. I knew what this was about. She shook her head in response. Guilt stabbed at me, and it wasn’t the first time that night. Before I left, I had taken a lot of pent up frustration out on her, then proceeded to avoid her like the plague until I worked out the transfer. Of course, only in retrospect did I realize I had treated her like a nondescript denizen of the “destroy Kate Winsor’s chances of ever being happy” collective, not like a human being.
“Why didn’t you give me a chance to explain?” There it was, the million dollar question I’d been avoiding. She continued, making vague gesticulations. “I know I crossed a line… and you were right to be upset… but I felt like you hated me. Really hated me, more than I’ve ever been hated.” I sighed, leaning back on the waist high median. It was a story I’d never told anyone, but she deserved to know.
“When I was a kid, my mom left us, me and my dad. She left her family for another woman.” I tried to just recite the words and avoid reliving it, but that didn’t stop the lump in my throat. Allie was giving me her full attention for the first time that night, discarding her cigarette without breaking eye contact. “Ever since then, it’s like I’ve been cursed.” I told her the whole story, my history of attracting other women, the whole shebang. I wasn’t looking for pity... though certainly wasn’t expecting the growing irritation in her face.
I finished the story, trying to hide the confusion in my voice at her reaction. “… I was hoping college would be different, and when things turned out the way they did, I got really upset.” It was all true, save the last part. Maybe Allie sensed that omission. Maybe she just didn’t like being lumped in as a ‘perpetuation of a curse.’ Whatever the reason, the hard look on her face told me I had lost her completely. She spun on her heel and walked away. I wanted to stop her, try to salvage things. “Allie-“ the roof access door slammed.
Well, what was I supposed to say? I was angry because I thought I finally had a best friend? I was angry because we had so much in common, and I loved you… just not… like that? Now she was gone, and I was the one sitting alone on the edge of a roof. The low battery signal on my phone beeped, and absent-mindedly, I went to check it.
I had always expected the moment I died to be similar to the ending of American Beauty: That I would uncover some massive, life-altering epiphany right before the end, losing it moments later via metaphorical Chris Cooper’s handgun. Turns out, life isn’t ideal even when it comes to being ironic. My cell slipped out of my hand, and being idiot lemming that I was, I lurched forward to grab it as it slid backward off the median… and lost my balance entirely, slipping over the side.
Entering freefall, I closed my eyes, hoping desperately that I wouldn’t feel it when I hit the ground. I wonder what it’s like to have a best friend
The rational, sad stuff went through my mind for the first five seconds. Waiting for impact, however, can drive your thoughts to some odd places
Damn IPhone 4S. Will literally slip off of anything.
I should have bought an android.
Good thing I didn’t wear a skirt.
Does it really take this long to fall seven stories?
I wonder if Dad will take care of my cat.
Crap. I hope somebody remembers my cat.
Okay, it does not take this long to fall seven stories. I’m not going to open my eyes and look though, because if I do, it’ll be just in time to hit the ground. Or I’ll see a bowl of petunias.
Maybe this is a dream.
Maybe I’m not really falling.
“Hey, weird looking thing! Where ya going in such a hurry?!”
Well, towards the ground, obviously. Silly subconscious, I didn’t know you thought I looked weird.
“You really should slow down!”
Now you’re just stating the obvious. Wait. Though my eyes were still squeezed firmly shut, I realized there was much more light, and a major difference in warmth on my face.
A light. A warm light beckoning me forward as I’m levitated in apparent nothingness. Well crap. That’s always a great sign.
“You challenging me to a diving contest or somethin?”
Odd. My subconscious is many things. It is reflective, cynical, and overly-analytical… but it is definitely not competitive.
I opened my eyes and immediately wished that I hadn’t. I could see land literally miles below. I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for myself. Fate couldn’t just drop me seven stories to my death, no, that would be too easy. Fate had to pick me up several thousand feet, turn on the light to make sure I could see my imminent doom rushing up to meet me, and then let me fall to my death. Or that was the best theory I could come up with, anyway. At least now I could appreciate the irony of the situation.
As if fate was just inclined to harass me further, my theory was immediately shattered by the appearance of an incredibly familiar, curious equine face. Its body was blue, a myriad of colors making up the composition of its mane and tail. It took me a minute -being under the impression I was seconds away from death and whatnot- but I eventually recognized her. Oh god. I’ve lost it. I’ve completely and totally lost it.
Well, there are worse things to hallucinate before you die. May as well have fun with it
“Stop flying, er falling away!” She was convinced I was making a fool out of her. I was tempted to crack a joke. However, when I considered how pissed off she looked and how terrible my luck was, I decided to go with the straightforward approach. I didn’t feel the need to invite the possibility of being pummeled and plummeting to my doom simultaneously.
“Trust me, I would if I could.” I had to half shout to make my voice audible. Her eyes snapped up to mine, confused.
“You mean you can’t fly?”
“Nope.” She touched her face with her hoof, no longer trying to “race” me, taking a comically thoughtful pose.
“Well how are you falling from so high up then?”
“I have no idea. I’m still lost trying to figure out what part of my subconscious you represent.” I was beginning to get lost in the hilarity of the situation. Whatever coping mechanism I had that brought this out… well, I was a little worried about my mental state. I could very well be in a psych ward at this moment, come to think of it.
“I’m not part subconcus, I’m a Pegasus!” As I started giggling, she crossed her forelegs and scowled at me. Possibly the most adorable coping mechanism ever. “I’m not just any Pegasus either, I’m-“
“Let me guess. You, are ‘Rainbow Dash,’ the fastest Pegasus in all of Equestria. Also, you’re an element of harmony; the element of loyalty to be precise” The look on the pony’s face was well worth the interruption. Slack jawed for only for a moment, a wide smile cracked across her face
“So you have heard of me?”
“Indeed. Who could forget the modern day master of the sonic rainboom?” I’m not usually much for flattery, but she was adorable, and since Rainbow Dash had decided to keep me company in my final moments, I didn’t mind petting her ego.
She regarded me suspiciously, a paradoxically lethargic expression to assume while airborne.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re making fun of me?”
Oops. Note to self: Pony in subconscious is not as gullible as she appears. I was getting the hang of orienting my body in freefall, so I pivoted myself around to face her. No point in staring down at the unpleasant inevitable after all. “Me? Never. But Rainbow Dash, you’re the flying expert here. How long would you estimate before we hit the ground?” The moment I drew closer and made full eye contact, her eyes glazed over and she looked at me… differently.
“You’re... you’re pretty…” I was very confused at what had prompted the turn in the conversation, as well as what the implications were if she were indeed part of my psyche.
Note to self: Pony in subconscious is implying that I may actually be a narcissist,
“Rainbow, snap out of it, did you hear me?”
She literally smacked herself in the face with a hoof, flushing scarlet. “Er, that’s not what I meant. I meant we’re pretty close.” I tried not to dwell on the previous moment.
“Great. Got anything more specific?”
“Three minutes, give or take.” I instinctively shut my eyes again. Well, there it was. I had asked for specific and I had gotten it. Way to take all the fun out of talking to an imaginary pony, Kate. My multi-colored companion had apparently noticed the attitude change to distress.
“Luna’s flank… you really can’t fly!” I shook my head, experiencing difficulties opening my eyes in the middle of the panic attack. Somehow, having a general idea of how much time I had was much more unsettling than just knowing it was “imminent.” I felt something loop under my arms, and start yanking on me rhythmically. Curiosity eventually won out over fear, and what I saw activated that “baw” feeling that comes free with every viewing of the Fox and the Hound or a cardboard box full of kittens in the rain. The Pegasus was having a panic attack that mirrored my own, desperately trying to slow my descent, head writhing in frustration with every upward yank, wings flapping furiously.
“Urgh- not that much bigger than me… why… so… heavy…” It was a strange feeling, being flattered by the rescue attempt and insulted simultaneously. I shrugged it off. My tone became unintentionally glib at that point.
“Too much ramen, what can I say.”SMACK. I feel like this would be an ideal place to make a note. Do not make a pony angry enough to slap you. They do not know their own strength, and are incapable of making a palm; thereby, a wakeup ‘slap’ to the face has much more in common with a roundhouse punch to the face.
I was about to say something to the effect of ‘OW,’ stopping the moment I saw Dash’s face; her eyes were tearing up from failed effort and frustration over not being able to lift me.
“You jerk, If you don’t grab on to me, I can’t save you …” Part of my subconscious or not, it would have been easier to watch that ‘heart to heart’ animal shelter ad with Sarah Mclachlan on loop for hours than it would have been to the deny the crying Pegasus. Crying ponies are a force to be reckoned with.
I grabbed on, reaching my arms up and wrapping them around her back. She squeaked a bit when I touched the space between her wings; I almost let go, worried that I had hurt her. The first thing I noticed was the heartbeat: It was strong, rhythmic, and all too real. My heart sank as I realized this seemed all too detailed to be a dream. I could see every single feather, and feel the brushing of her coat against my skin, almost vibrating from continuous frantic flapping of wings.
After a few minutes, I came to the alarming realization that our descent was not going well. Dash’s wings weren’t catching the drift properly. I remembered something I read about birds having hollow bones to make them lighter, an attribute that I assumed carried over for pegasi. If that was true, then I was significantly increasing Dash's air drag and her overall weight.
To put things bluntly, if I kept holding on to her I was going to bring her down with me. I wasn’t really upset at the realization. I’d been falling for a while already… in a way, It was oddly symbolic. I pulled myself up and whispered in her ear
“If I had a best friend, I wouldn't mind having one like you” I gave her a quick, platonic peck on the cheek.
I'd complained about not having an American Beauty moment, hadn’t I?
This was it.
I let go.
There was a large bang, moments before the shockwave from Dash’s rainboom knocked me out entirely.
I’m not much of a morning person. My wakeup process is extremely slow, I rarely jolt awake, and have been known to listen into conversations of those hapless enough to talk near my unconscious self. This has led to some extremely awkward moments. None, however, even came close the terror that was about to ensue. Slowly coming into consciousness, I opened my eyes just a sliver, praying it wouldn’t be detected. I was laying under a tree on some grass, and as I had suspected from the voices, a small crowd of ponies had gathered around me. I wasn’t able to see all of them, as I was trying to move my head as little as possible, but the presence of the orange Stetson clad pony made the scene was instantly recognizable, along with a few familiar others. When Applejack’s tail raised a bit too high, I saw something that definitely wasn’t familiar. It poked another- er… highlighted another flaw in my quickly unraveling theory that this was all in my head. Unless I had one hell of a masochistic side I wasn’t aware of.
“What in tha hay is that?”
“I’ve never seen anything like it…”
“It’s kinda… well… gorgeous, in all honesty” The feminine clamoring of agreement to the statement sealed my fate. If it was me they were talking about, I was in serious trouble. Something about the fact that the ‘innocent’ mares I thought I was familiar with were borderline ogling my unconscious body was disquieting.
“aint sure I’ve ever seen somethin so darn pretty.”
The next voice that spoke was so quiet I had to strain to hear.
“I didn’t notice until Rainbow and I landed, but she smells really… nice.” That moment, I felt something sniff me. Several somethings sniff me. This is not how it’s supposed to be!. I struggled to keep my face empty as a particularly bushy feeling mane tickled across my midriff, its owner breathing in deeply
“Fluttershy you were sooooo right! It smells like angel food cake and sugar cookies and hot sauce all rolled into one! I almost want to tear her open and see what’s inside!”
“…Ya might not wanna say it that way Pinkie Pie. Now Rainbow, yall said it was a she? How’dya figure that?”
Please save me Rainbow.
“Well duh, ever seen a stallion that attractive?”
Et tu, Dashie?
“Ah… Ah suppose not. Still though… think we oughta check?”
That better not mean what I think it means.
“What are you proposing, Dear Applejack? Not that I don’t like where you’re going…”
I REALLY DON’T LIKE WHERE IT’S GOING
“Well she aint up yet, so she might have some sorta injury. We’all jus can’t see it neath all that funny clothing.”
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Everybody wears yoga pants.
“You’re right Applejack! We have a responsibility to make sure she’s a-o-k!
As interesting as it was to see the similarities between human and pony group-think, my denial that I was somehow dreaming ended alongside my scientific fascination, as the Pink mare in question started trying to tug off my pants. I shot to my feet, my sudden revival earning a collective gasp.
“LOOKSEETOTALLYFINE!” Came out in a single breath, and after one millisecond of thought, I settled on taking the generic Tom Cruise solution to a problem: Run like hell, looking like a total idiot in any direction that qualifies as ‘away.’ Sure, I was running down a street I was completely unfamiliar with, in reality’s interpretation of a fictional place, but at least no one was trying to take off my pants. Covering what I thought would be a decent distance, I turned to look, hoping that my idiot impersonation would have at least given them pause before pursuing, or shocked them too much to pursue at all.
Note to self: Ponies love to chase things.
The scene going on behind me was a cross between the most intense bits of 28 Days Later and the Hills Have Eyes. I had a flock, a literal flock of ponies fanning out and chasing me down the street, while the rest made other preparations. They called out to me in what sounded like friendly voices as my feet pounded the pavement, but when I looked over my shoulder there was a flushed look of hunger in the group that did not coalesce with the kind sentiment.
“You’re going to hurt yourself again!
“Wait! Let us help you!”
“Ah’ma get mah rope! Be back in a flash!”
“You could be injured somewhere and not know it!”
Ohohoh no. Somewhere in there I definitely heard rope.
This was a nightmare of the most infernal proportions. Some cosmic douchebag had taken my largest insecurities and combined them with one of the more innocent things I cherished. This was Murphy’s Law taken to an entirely other level. A shadow passed over my head, and I instinctively ducked. Dash missed the flying tackle by inches, glaring at me, as if my making her miss was a personal insult
I lied. You’re totally not adorable, give me my platonic kiss back.
… Er. Actually, come to think of it, never mind.
I wasn’t going to last long. I could outflank them if I zigzagged, ran in confusing patterns, and generally made an idiot out of myself, but every stretch without a turn meant they gained a few feet. They were significantly faster than me. I was running by what looked like a hollowed out tree, about to give up and collapse when an invisible force grabbed me, yanking me into the dark and slamming the door.
AN: Next time on LP, everyone’s favorite lavender unicorn sheds some light on the situation… and tries to control herself. Please don’t be put off by the more somber opening. I wanted to set up the main character in a manner that made her unique, and also left things open for development; Since that’s done, the hijinks can begin. This is, above all, a comedy and HiE/shipping parody. EDIT: Also, in the middle of fixing my format. More recent chapters will be edited to match this format