Damn it. Celestia damn it. Another night. I just- I just need to clear my mind. Yeah. Okay. Clearing my mind. Mind is clear.
.......Are crystals really clear? I mean, I’ve seen crystals that are different colors before. Red crystals, blue crystals, yellow cr- OH COME ON. WHAT AM I DOING?
Some ponies do a lot of their best thinking late at night. Some ponies. Unfortunately, it seems that you do just about ALL of your thinking at night. You couldn’t help it. The peace and quiet of the night- along with the darkness- seem to block out all the things that distract you from your own thoughts.
This also isn’t a new thing. You’ve had these sleeping problems for most of your life- but it seems to have gotten worse in the past few years. Of course you’ve tried all the little tricks you’ve heard- reading, drinking warm milk, listening to calming music- they all seemed to stimulate your mind even more. And you were starting to accept that.
Sitting up, you sigh and click on the lamp next to your bed. As your eyes adjust to the light, you hear a small yawn from across the room. She was waking up.
“Ughhh….again? What time is it?” a voice groans wearily.
“Wonderful. I don’t know how I put up with you. You’re lucky I’m such an awesome friend- any other roommate would’ve kicked you out by now.”
“Oh I know, I know. I’m very lucky.”
She is pretty awesome. You guys had been friends for years, and she’s been letting you live in her apartment for some time now. Letting you stay there for free was nice enough, but on top of that, you’ve been making her life hell for quite a while, and she doesn’t really seem to mind. Whether she cares or not, you know you’ve woken her up again, and she has work to worry about in the morning. Well- you also have class in the morning, but that’s beside the point.
“I’ve got no idea how you manage to stay awake in class.”
“Well....most of the time I don’t.”
“Congratulations. You are officially nocturnal.” she giggles sleepily. With that, she rolls over and tries to get back to sleep, leaving you to get lost in your thoughts again.
The short conversation with your roommate leaves your mind on tomorrow’s classes. You have class three times a week at East Equestria University, but only general studies. You still can’t bring yourself to decide on a career path for yourself. Doing general studies for so long seems pointless to you, and this wretched insomnia surely isn’t helping anything. Needless to say, you aren’t doing so well in class. Well, you aren’t doing all that great in anything, really. Your entire life seems crippled by your sleep problems. You’d been fired from your cashier position a few months ago for sleeping on the job. Apparently, customers don’t take kindly to walking in on a person drooling on the register.
With no source of consistent income, paying for room and board at your university was out of the question. Even if you could afford it, you doubt your roommate would be able to handle your strict “sleep schedule”. Soon after these thoughts, only an hour or two before you need to get up, you guess, you finally drift off into light slumber.
The next morning is, well, just that actually. The next morning- just like every other morning you ever struggled through. You don’t really have a routine. It’s more like..... a pattern. A typical chaos. An everyday disarray. What does this pattern actually entail? Nothing too exciting, really. It usually starts off with you oversleeping. Your alarm clock isn’t loud enough to wake you up at times. It is apparently loud enough to wake up your roommate, though. Next comes your roommate throwing something at you- maybe a pillow or a book. As it turns out, the book seems to be more effective.
Once you’re finally up, it’s time for a shower. Getting clean usually only takes up 10% of your showers, though. The other 90% is occupied by dozing off and slipping every few minutes. By the time you’re out, you’re late. You grab some random food item off the table and fly out the door. The other ponies in your early classes are used to you being a little late, so they aren’t surprised when you slink in and try to act natural. Feeling a little hungry, you take out the breakfast you brought.
Hopefully no one saw you try to take a bite of that plastic apple. Of course, no morning energy boost means no chance of any learning happening today. Despite your best efforts, you’re out in a matter of minutes.
As you wake up, right at the end of class, you come to wonder if your desk space in class is actually more comfortable than your bed. Shaking the nonsense out of your head, you try to get at least a few seconds of listening done.
“Alright class. I want that paper to me by noon on Wednesday, got it? Have a nice day.”
Auughhh- you begin curse at yourself in silence.
A paper? On WHAT?!?! Ugh. This just- This needs to stop. I can’t get another F. I won’t let it happen.
You decide that it’d be a good idea to read up on sleep disorders. Slowly entering your apartment, you see your roommate, lying face-down in her bed, with her head buried in the pillow.
“hey.” a muffled voice replies.
“I’m booorrrreeeddd. Nothing to dooooo.”
“So....you’re just gonna lay there?”
“Well....have fun with that! I’m just gonna go to the library. See you lat-”
Turning around to leave, you suddenly find her right in front of your face.
“CAN I COME?!?!” she chirps, as you stumble backward.
“As long as you promise to not complain about being bored, sure. Also never do that again.”
“SWEEEEEET! Let’s get outta here.”
After a short walk, you arrive at the library and dive right into research. It had taken you a few minutes to find what you needed, but after a short chat with the librarian, you find that there’s tons more information on the subject of sleep than you thought. There were tons of books; sleep study journals, insomnia research, everything. Grabbing a random book on insomnia information, you sit down and start to read. Your roommate is already gone, parading about somewhere else in the library. Maybe she’s still chatting with the librarian. Who knows? Honestly, you thought she’d stay interested for a little longer, but she was bound to get bored eventually.
Flipping through the book you picked up, you decide on a plan to fix all your problems. You’re going to pick a sleep strategy to try every day, until you find something that works for you. One of the major options in the book was consulting a doctor- but you don’t exactly have the time, or the money, for that matter, to deal with that.
For day one of your “research”, you decide to go with....
Ah- a warm bath before bed. Sounds easy enough.
Satisfied with your research for the day, and excited to try out your first sleep strategy, you start looking around for your roommate. You quickly spot her across the room, still talking with the librarian, just as you thought.
“Hey, you ready to go?” you ask. You hear her introduce you quickly as her friend and roommate, most likely to dismiss any assumptions that you two were together. This is a normal thing- it’s not often two friends of opposite gender share a room without something happening. Your roommate is attractive, but she’s like a sister to you, so those type of thoughts never really come to mind.
“I’m just gonna hang out here for a while I think- you can go ahead- I’ll catch up.”
“Alright! I guess I’ll see ya later then. Have fun!”
Before you know it, it’s time. Stepping into the extremely hot water of the tub, you try your best to relax, and it seems to be going pretty well. After almost an hour of relaxation, you think you’re just about ready for bed. This all changes the very second you start getting out. Suddenly, there were icicles. Icicles everywhere. You’re shivering like crazy, even more awake than when you’d started. You dry yourself off and get in bed, lying wide awake, just like normal. You imagine that you should have thought out that bath idea a little more beforehand. Regardless, it’s late, and you don’t seem to be any less...awake, so it looks like you’ll be going back to the library tomorrow.
With another unproductive, sleep-deprived day behind you, you head back to the library, with your roommate close behind you once again. Your roommate goes back to chatting with the librarian, and you grab the same book you did last time. After a few random flips, you land on......Vigorous daily exercise.
Gah. Alright. Not quite as easy as the whole bath thing, but I guess I’ll give it a try. I mean, I’m supposed to be committed...right?
It’s not too late in the day yet, so you decide to just head straight to the gym, leaving your roommate to chat with her new librarian friend once again. She seems to not care much about you leaving, barely turning her head as you make your way out the door. A not-so-quick half hour walk leaves you at the front door of “Trots Gym”- the local fitness center. It’s not all that large, but there are plenty of of ponies making their way in and out. It seems to be the busiest part of the day for the gym. You search for a bit, finding all the machines taken at first. You, of course, view this as a perfect excuse to just skip out on the exercising. As you turn to leave, you happen to spot a single empty treadmill. With a sigh and a light grumble, you hop aboard. You’re by no means out of shape, but weeks of sleep deprivation doesn’t exactly leave you bursting with energy.
Before long, you’re into the groove of things. You had managed to sync the speed of the treadmill with the fast-paced music blaring throughout the gym, letting you step to the beat. This works well to set your pace, and also makes you feel pretty bad-ass for some reason- like some kind of action star running from a bunch of bad guys. With these thoughts, you’re off in your own little world again.
Just like that, over an hour passes without you noticing, and you’re one of the only few ponies left in the gym. You exit the gym to see that it’s already dark outside. Fortunately, you know the area well enough to get home, despite the low visibility. Though the route is the same, things seem to be.....off. The night brings a whole different atmosphere to the path you normally take home. Everything is just so peaceful. There are no screaming foals- no ponies running about. As much as you love the life it has during the day, something about the whole scene around you is just breathtaking. You continue to walk, with each street as empty as the last, simply taking it all in. You can see light radiating from the windows of all the homes around you, wondering to yourself why there aren’t more ponies taking in the night air. Every once in a while you hear a sound- some kind of noise, or a laugh, or even sometimes a yell- coming from the homes around you. Everypony was comfortable inside with their loved ones. Hearing small snippets of relationships from the outside- a mare playing a game with her children, a young couple goofing off and having fun together- it’s all quite pleasing, actually. Despite how much fun everypony inside seems to be having, you’re perfectly fine walking alone. You’re happy as can be, lost in the beauty of the night sky. Sometimes you go a whole block without thinking to remove your eyes from the heavens. Right now, at least for the moment, everything is perfect.
After another minute or two, you’re back at your place. You slip in the door to the apartment and plop down on the bed. You’re don’t really feel tired. Far from it, actually. But you’re completely relaxed. Your lack of sleep doesn’t change, but, it doesn’t seem to matter so much right now.
The next day rolls by pretty smoothly. Well- it seems to anyway. You have all the same problems you normally do, but it all seems to go by quicker now for some reason. Aside from your usual dilemmas, you gain a new one. You’re told that you’re going to need to choose a major to study very soon. You realize it’s a very important decision, but today is going too well to fill with worry. You know you’ll figure it out at some point. Maybe take one of those career tests or something.
For now, it’s time to head home. You whistle a happy tune and start walking (well, more like skipping, actually) as you finally notice how cheery you’re acting. You stop for a moment and tilt your head, pondering at this realization. You actually feel excited to get home. Excited to start your homework. Excited to just get it all done. How strange. Perhaps this whole ‘night walking’ thing is pretty effective after all- not quite in the way you had intended- but effective nonetheless. Speaking of which, the sun should be setting soon! You snap out of your thoughts and start walking again at double your previous pace.
When you finally reach home, your roommate is waiting by the door.
“Oh! Hey! You’re home! So, uh, you ready to go?” she asks, trying to be as casual as possible.
“Um....go? Go where?” you reply.
“Oh. Yeah. I don’t think I’ll be going today. Were you looking forward to it or something?”
“Pssh. Nah. Just, uh, wanted to get some fresh air! Yeah! So...you’re not going?”
“Well...I wasn’t really planning on it....”
“Uh...okay- well I’ll just go then. I mean- go get some fresh air.” she says nervously as she backs out the door. You shoot her a confused look.
“Yeah. So I’ll just be going then. To get some fresh air and.....uhh- later!” she says as the door slams shut.
Well then. That was awkward. Is it that hard for her to admit that she wants to go to the library? That my library visits caused her to find a new friend? Then again I don’t really blame her. I’d probably always play the “you’re friends because of me” card on them to get things I wanted.Hah- I’m so evil. At least she won’t so bored anymore.
You get started on your school work immediately. You really want to get done before it gets too late.
Three hours have passed as you finally turn the last written page and realize that you’ve finished. You note that this may the first time you’ve legitimately finished all of your work so early. With everything you needed to do done, you put all your things away calmly and walk out the door with a smile on your face. You look straight up at the sky and take a deep breath. A cool night breeze rushes across your body while you take in the night. It’s not really late yet, but the streets are already empty. Perfect. You start walking, without any particular idea as to where you’re going. And it feels amazing.
Walking all through the night has become a daily thing for you at this point. You wouldn’t give up this little hobby of yours for anything. It’s no doubt the highlight of your day. From time to time you bring your homework with you, to do on a park bench in the moonlight. It was beyond peaceful, and that seemed to help you get it done faster. The whole experience of the nightly walks seems to have had a pretty large effect on you, actually. Your grades have improved immensely. Things just couldn’t be better. You roommate seems to be doing pretty well too. You don’t ever wake her up at night anymore, and that seems to help out a lot. You don’t really see her all that much lately, apart from the time you get home from your walks- but by then she’s already asleep.
Tonight is just like any other night. You’re well into your walk, watching as a large clock in the park strikes 12. You’re feeling pretty great at the mo- wait. woah. You suddenly feel woozy. Your legs begin to wobble as your head starts pounding- you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. A big truck. Maybe two. Of course, it being the middle of the night, no one’s around to help you as you stumble to the ground. You try to get up and keep walking to make it home, but it’s no use. You lean against a tree for a moment before slowly slumping down, unconscious.
Suddenly your eyes are burning. Oh Celestia, it’s bright. You slowly open your eyes while something pokes you hard in the chest. Your eyes begin to adjust- and there’s now a pony in front of you with a police uniform on.
“Alright buddy, come on. Get up.” he demands.
You fully look around and take in your surroundings. You’re splayed out on a park bench, and this police pony just woke you up. You reach up to scratch your head as you take in the situation.
Aghhh! You groan as you rub your head and suddenly notice the insane headache you have.
“I know, I know. Come on now.” The police pony ushers again.
“Ughh....What?” you reply groggily.
“You’re lucky I’m such a nice guy. I should be taking you down to the station for being drunk in public. Just get outta here before I change my mind.”
“But- no! I wasn’t drunk! I promise” you tell him, still rubbing your head.
“Mhmm. And I’m Princess Celestia. Now get a move on!”
He didn’t need to tell you again. You get up quickly and walk all the way home, trying to figure out what happened last night. You know you weren’t drunk, and you’re pretty sure you weren’t tired enough to just pass out all of a sudden. I mean, you couldn’t have been, right? You can’t completely rule it out of your mind. Regardless, you surely won’t let something like this stop you from going on your walk again tonight. You decide to skip class for the day, not exactly feeling up to critical thinking at the moment. You just decide to go get some rest and take a shower. And some pain killers. Yeah. Some Aspirin sounds particularly nice right about now.
Soon, night comes once again, and you head out for your walk. You took a nap to make sure that you weren’t at all tired. You definitely don’t want a repeat of last night. All in all, it’s a beautiful night. You look all around above you, watching the stars twinkle. Turning around to see the sky behind you, you see something out of the corner of your eye. There’s a light whizzing sound for a split second before you feel it- Shit. Those trucks hit you again. Your legs give out as your eyes roll back.
You open your eyes slightly, noting that it’s still night outside. You groan lightly at the pain. There’s a heavy ache weighing down on you. Wait- no! There’s....a heavy pony on you! The pony is leaning over you, examining you like you’re some kind of strange creature. As your vision focuses a little you notice that it’s a mare. A blue mare. With a blue mane and a blue- crown? You gasp and open your eyes wide as you realize just who is examining you so closely.
Just as you do so, you see her gasp as well, and her horn glows brightly. Without warning, the pain comes for the second time in one night, and you’re drifting into darkness.
You wake up on the park bench again, with another insane headache. You think back on the crazy dream you had and get up to walk home before that police pony shows up again. At this point you’re thoroughly confused. You weren’t the least bit tired when you started last night’s walk, but you still managed to fall asleep! You begin to question whether or not you should go again tonight.
Arriving home, you explain the situation to your roommate.
“Wait, so you’re not going on your walk tonight?” she asks, replying to your long story.
“Well, I’m not sure....I figured I’d get a second opinion on what I should do.”
“Oh! I say do it! Why not! It’s nice to get out, right? Surely you don’t want to stay here with me. I’ll be doing a bunch of boring, by-myself things anyway. I mean, like, things that don’t involve somepony else being here next to me. I mean- you should go for your walk. So yeah, do that”
The door slams shut again as she flawlessly pulls off her little ‘talking while backing out the door’ routine.
Man, has she been awkward lately. I guess she just enjoys a little alone time at night. Not unusual. I don’t mind it either, really.
You decide to take your roommate’s advice and walk again tonight.
It’s midnight. You’re walking your normal route, more alert than ever. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, until, you suddenly hear that whizzing noise once again. You manage to dodge whatever object was coming at you. For curiosity’s sake, you spin around and act out your best rendition of getting knocked out. Lying on the ground with your eyes closed, you listen carefully. Before long you hear light clopping sounds as somepony approaches you. That confirms it. You’re not crazy. Someone’s been doing this to you. You’re not sure who it is, or what their motive is, but you’re about to find out.
You feel them get very close to you, leaning directly over you. Soon they begin to poke at your chest, most likely to see if you’re fully unconscious. you’re a little scared at this point, but you steel your resolve, determined to figure this thing out. You feel the pony on top of you reach out and touch your hoof. In one swift movement, your eyes dart open and you flip the two of you over, pinning down the assailant. Just as you do so, you notice just exactly who this pony is.
You gasp right as she does. You weren’t dreaming. Your “assailant” was none other than Princess Luna herself. Her horn glows. Fully alert, you look to the side and block the rock flying toward you with a hoof.
Why the hell would the Princess be doing this to me? Have I done something wrong?! I sure hope not.
You look down at her, confused, to see her shaking slightly beneath you- her eyes clenched shut. Things suddenly begin to click in your head.
“Ya know, if you wanted to get to know me, you could've started with 'hello'.”
She stops shaking at your words and looks up at you, a slight blush on her face.
You smile and slowly get off of her. Turning around, she starts to fly away, obviously quite embarrassed by the whole situation. After all that’s happened, you definitely won’t be letting her get away.
“Hey!” you shout to her. She stops and turns her head slowly to face you.
“Do you wanna....uh....join me?”
Without replying, she floats down next to you and smiles nervously. With that, you both start walking. You’re both extremely nervous- her because of being caught, and you because....well you’re walking with the freakin’ Princess! Despite your timidness, you get into your normal habits pretty quickly. Before long, you’re staring up at sky, admiring every single little speck of light, without a care in the world. After a while you feel bad for not trying to talk to her- that she’s probably pretty bored. You look over to see her admiring the sky just as you were. With a smile, you gaze back up as well.
Toward the end of your walk, you look back down again, but she’s gone. She vanished, without a sound. You sigh as you finally make it to your apartment, wishing that you could’ve gathered the nerve to say something to her.