The room sat a broken, discarded mess. Dust had settled on top of the broken furniture, the torn apart carpet, the fallen pieces of the ceiling and walls and even what remained of torn pictures that hung from the wall. Dulled white envelopes appeared to be scattered across the floor, some burnt, some shredded, some just yellowed with age. However, the most unusual thing in the room was a device that wasn’t known to Equestria. On top of a small table sat a square box, with glass on the front that showed darkness behind it and on the very front it had a small button.
The approaching hooves walked towards the device, the steps echoing loudly in the broken room. Each step also elicited a loud creak from the floor, a sign of the wear it had suffered.
The hooves carefully stepped over debris that scattered the room before finally coming upon the lonesome box.
The owner of the hooves seemed to examine the box, looking it over with a curious eye. Though they knew not what the contraption was, they knew enough that it meant something. A device this odd wouldn’t be here if it didn’t serve a purpose.
The hoof came up from the ground, covered in the thin layer of dust from the floor and brought it up to the button. It carefully pushed against the button.
The box suddenly came to life, glowing with a soft light that permeated the room. The window that once showed black now showed a snow filled screen, letting off a quiet hissing buzz. The pony stared at the show, the screen buzzing through its grey snow that seemed to move back and forth across its screen.
The hooves seemed to watch for what felt like a minute, before something changed.
“-Mom, Dad, what’re you waiting for?” Through the fuzz faint images began to come forth. A white filly with a blue-gray mane could be seen hopping around what looked like a beach.
“We’re coming honey.” A light female voice chuckled from somewhere off screen.
“We’ve got to carry the supplies, why don’t you go have fun first and we’ll catch up.” A deeper male voice said.
“Okay!” The happy little mare nodded, bouncing down towards the water of the beach.
The images faded back into the snow of the fuzzy screen. It stayed fuzzy for a moment before new images appeared back once more.
“-ppy birthday dear Winter, happy birthday to you.” A chorus of voices sang slowly as the white filly could be seen sitting at the head of the table just before a large cake covered in lit candles. The moment the song ended the filly took a deep breath and blew as hard as she could, all the lights on the cake coming to an end. The room around her gave congratulatory cheers at the accomplishment as she beamed brightly.
“So what’d you wish for?” The older male voice asked curiously, clearly holding back his own chuckles.
“But won’t that mean it won’t come true?” The little filly asked looking up at the voice with bright, wide eyes.
“Oh I’m sure it’ll come true if you tell me.” The male voice chuckled now.
“Well… I wished that I could be happy every day!” She grinned a big silly grin.
“Every day?” The male voice laughed. “That’s a big order! I hope it comes true.”
“I know it will!” The filly grinned confidently. “It will because I will believe in it.”
The image grew fuzzy once more, before falling victim to the screens snow. The snow seemed to grow more violent now, as if fighting with itself over what was the right thing to show next. The next set of images fought its way through the screen, the image cutting in and out before finally growing stable enough to be seen through the fuzz.
“-with this weather!?” It was the drowned out cry of an earth pony as he stood in the midst of a blizzard.
“There must’ve been an accident at the weather factory!” It was the cry of another pony though they were also muffled by the raging snow. “It was only supposed to be a few feet of snow!”
“We’re all going to die!” A hysterical pony cried out already accepting their fate.
“No we’re not!” It was the lone cry of a young pony. All the ponies turned and saw the white coated filly walking up to them, yelling over the loud wind. “I know how we’ll get out of this alive but you need to listen to me!” The filly sounded confident and sure of herself. All of the ponies nodded their agreement with her.
The young filly began to bark out orders on what to do. Every pony listened, nodding their heads and quickly getting to work on what the filly commanded. So busy were they with following orders that they didn’t notice her flanks flash up, a mark showing a black thundercloud with a bolt of lightning underneath it.
The picture faded once more. The hissing of the screen grew louder this time, as if the device itself was struggling, being forced against its will to show what was happening to it. The picture came back again. The familiar filly was no longer a filly, but a beautiful young mare.
“Are you sure you want to go?” The voice of the stallion before asked, though now clearly aged, time had caught up with him. The strikingly beautiful young mare nodded her head.
“The city’s just… it’s become a big hassle now.” The white mare laughed, tossing a lock of hair out of her face, “I’d just like to settle down somewhere quiet for a while. Clear my head and taste the fresh country air.”
“You know we’ll miss you a lot. We’ll send you letters every day.” An aged female voice said off screen.
“Every day might be a little much.” The white mare laughed, smiling brightly, “Though of course I’d still love getting letters.” The white mare gave a short bow to the two ponies that couldn’t be seen, “I’ll be seeing you mom and dad. I’ll write once I’m settled in.”
The screen faded back to the fuzzy snow. It swirled and buckled under itself, crashing and fighting itself in waves. It hated showing this, it wanted nothing more than to stop and be finished. But it had one more thing left to show, the most important part of all. The snow parted to the side once more, revealing a close up shot of the white mare’s face.
This time was different. The mare wasn’t happy, she wasn’t encouraging or helping, she was scared. She was panicked. She was breathing heavily.
“Hello?” She asked into the screen, before stepping a back a few steps. She stared wide eyed into the screen, the room around her almost pitch black. “Hello, I don’t know if anypony can hear me through this. I was… I was just told by a hooded pony that spoke in rhyme that I could record a message here and that I should as… as if it was my last.” The white mare swallowed, looking around the room cautiously.
“M-My name is Winter Withers. I don’t know what’s going on here… I-I’m terrified. I’m hearing noises all around me, I hear wailing and crying and its… its…” The mare’s hooves wrapped around her as she tried to stop her shaking, tears welling up in her eyes. “I just moved to Ponyville two months ago. I-I’m the reporter for the weather in the paper.” She shook her head hard.
“If you’re watching this you have to help me!” She cried out desperately, tears flowing down her cheeks as she shook. “There’s monsters out there! I know they’re there! I can hear them! They’re wailing! They’re roaring! They can smell me! That hooded pony!” She put her hooves on her head she sobbed. “They want to hurt me! I know they do! But I haven’t done anything! I’m innocent! I just wanted to live a quiet life in Ponyville!”
The white mare broke out into a fit of sobs. The screen showed every moment of her breakdown. She desperately wiped her tears as they continued come, hiccupping between her sobs as she tried to draw in her breath.
“I don’t want to die.” She cried out, looking straight into the camera, “Please! If anyone sees this they have to help me!” She drew closer to the screen, crying out more. “Mom! Dad! I want to go home! If you’re seeing this I love you! Please!” The sobbing grew loudly as the mare grabbed hold of whatever it was that was recording her.
The picture began to fade, returning to the hissing fuzz that it was before. But one final line of dialogue made it through the strange device.
“I don’t want to die.”
The sobbing pleas of a desperate mare were silenced by the fuzz, as the box finally won its fight with the snow. The snow on the screen grew vicious and threw itself across the screen. Then, in its final fit, it was silenced. The screen blinked and it was black once more. It had served its purpose and faded away.
The hooves stood there, watching the box for just a moment or two longer. Then, they slowly turned their back to the box and began to walk out of the room.
The room sat a broken, discarded mess.