It was a cold night tonight… I hadn’t planned on the storm, either…
I really have to start planning my walks around the weather, stop making bad situations worse… Running away from problems wasn’t usually my style, nor did I enjoy doing it, but I don’t have much of a choice this time. I’m probably better off alone out here, anyway.
I gave a slight chuckle, this walk was the only good decision I had made today, minus the weather, I always found comfort around these woods, a tranquil feel would always emanate though them. But something was off tonight… Maybe it was the lightning overhead, maybe it was just the regrets and frustrations of the day festering in my mind… Whatever it was, something felt really off…
With a heavy sigh, I took out my phone and turned on some music to help take my mind off things. Problem was, it wasn’t really helping… All it seemed to do tonight was remind me of yet another ‘fault’ I was said to have, because I refused to follow a trend… That’s all some people seem to care about now, trends… As far as they’re concerned, if you aren’t one of them, you aren’t worth the time or effort of a simple “Hey, how’s it going?”
It just isn’t fair…
An unusually cold breeze caught my attention, like the wind had suddenly dropped a few degrees lower… It had started to pick up, too. I glanced around the woods around me, half expecting to see someone who had come after me… No one. Just empty space. Silent, empty space… I guess I wasn’t really surprised.
Once again, I tried to turn my focus to my music, and away from my daily troubles. It had just started to seem like an uphill battle, and each time I hit the top of a slope, there was an even steeper one waiting for me… Mocking me. Reminding me that the only escape was to turn back and jump down that first slope… Suicide… The one option I tried to keep as far away from my thoughts as possible.
Each night, before going to sleep, and each morning before getting up for the daily struggle, I would always tell myself that things will get better, something will come up to make all this garbage I’ve endured worthwhile… Yet to this day, there has been nothing. Well, say for one thing…
For the last couple of months I had attained a… Questionable hobby. Something I had found and become attached to thanks to the internet… I had done everything in my power to make sure that nobody would find out that I was a brony.
Yeah… My Little Pony, sure, it sounds a little ridiculous, but it had been the one main reason I kept repeating those damn words to myself each night. Something about it always put a smile on my face, knowing I wasn’t alone helped, but the antics and story behind a show that years ago I would have gagged at, now give me hope for the future, give me hope that someday, things would get better for me… Maybe someday, I could live in a perfect world like them.
But no matter how happy it made me seem, the thoughts of what I would face if my secret got out always sought to kick me while I was down.
An odd-sounding clap of thunder snapped me out of my trance-like state. I mentally cursed myself for once again getting lost in my own head. My cursing quickly turned to worry, however, as I realised that in my wandering, I had managed to lose the trail I usually follow.
“Oh, great! Today just gets better and better!” I called out sarcastically into the empty woods before me.
With the storm really starting to pick up, I figured it would be a safe bet to get some cover from the buffeting rain and winds tearing up the woods. At least it gave me a little bit of breathing room to hold up and think in.
Occasionally the woods would be lit up for an instant as flashes of lightning began to overtake the night sky. Between flashes, I could make out rather large puddles of water forming around the bases of nearby trees.
The storm was starting to take a turn for the worst, I had to stay focussed if I wanted to find my way out of these woods. “Heh… I sure could use an umbrella hat right about now.” I chuckled to myself, “Or maybe a nice hole in all the clouds to help shield me from this rain.”
For the first time all night, I had managed to take my mind off of the day’s troubles, thanks to my unusual little hobby… Losing focus on the situation again, I allowed myself a few minutes of reminiscing.
Unbeknownst to myself, the storm was now really starting to pick up, and another strange-sounding clap of thunder alerted me to this. And out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an unusual build up of lightning amongst the clouds nearby. What was unusual about this was, that the electricity that had begun flowing through the overhead clouds was a mixture of pink, purple and blue.
All at once, the build up jumped from the cloud directly to the ground mere metres from where I had been standing. A deafening SLAM!, followed by an incredible force took me off of my feet, throwing me to the ground.
I had absolutely no idea clouds could hold that kind of force… It seemed unnatural. I thought to myself as I clambered to my feet, trying to catch my breath. I took a second glance up at the clouds above me, a faint sign of the electrical force remaining, showing as a small pink and purple bolt, jumping through the night skies.
I picked my phone up off the ground, the impact had left the screen shattered and the phone itself barely functional. I figured that once I got home I could figure out what to do about it, for now, my top priority was getting the heck out of here before the sky started to fall on me.
Before I could turn and hobble away, a faint light in the distance drew my gaze. A magenta-like mist surrounding the area. Another breeze blew past me, unlike the winds moments ago, this felt warm, inviting… Like it was beckoning me to this light.
The surrounding skies were starting to clear, not a single cloud, raindrop or flash to be seen… Something was up, a storm wouldn’t just vanish like that. Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to make my way to the light. The strange, warm breeze continually flowing in its direction… Beckoning me toward it, inviting me to discover its source.
My first thought was that it may be a fire, I mean, what else could cause such sudden heat and light, but as I was drawn closer, I had realised that it was quite the opposite. What looked like a pool of water had suddenly appeared within a large ditch in the ground… Alright, now this was just plain weird, time to get out of here…
As I turned to leave, another gust of wind, much stronger that the previous breezes hit me, almost as if the forces of nature wanted me to stay and investigate. And, against my better judgement, I decided to play along. I slowly approached the pool, and upon reaching it, I realized that it wasn’t just a ditch full of rainwater… The liquid pooled within had the same pinkish-purplish tint as the lightning that had struck, not to mention there looked to be tiny bolts jumping throughout the ditch.
The winds grew slightly cooler, the clouds and rain slowly beginning to return. I looked back into the strange pool before me, its colour had begun to fade… Just what the heck was this thing? I had to know. Curiosity getting the better of me, I reached out and touched my fingers to the strange liquid.
A strong jolt of electrical current jumped through me, immediately stopping. The damage had been done however, it hadn’t done anything to hurt me, but a powerful wave of fatigue swept over me. Within seconds, I was unconscious, falling forwards into the strange ditch.
Distant sounds of thunder and the sounds of winds lulled me out of my slumber. I was just dreaming? I pulled myself up from my seated position, I had been propped up against a tree. Wondering what time it was, I reached to my pocket for my phone, finding nothing but empty space.
“Terrific!” I shouted into the silence. Not only am I lost, but I’ve got no way to contact anyone for help, and no way of telling how long I had been out here for.
I felt a little dizzy, perhaps due to my sudden awakening, or maybe because of all the stress of my current situation. Either way, I figured it would be a good choice to find a better temporary shelter than a tree. I’d just have to make do with my own less-than-stellar vision, since my phone had also been my primary light source.
After stumbling around, and a few branches to the head, I spotted what looked like a cave in the distance thanks to the brief flashes of lightning I had begun to rely on for navigation. Shelter, that was one thing at least…
Slowly but surely, I made my way to the cave I was seeking. I went far enough in to be shielded from the rain, but no further, I had no clue what was down here, as far as I was concerned, this was temporary, for a couple of hours, max. Hopefully I could wait out the storm in here.
A few minutes passed, and it didn’t look like the storm was going to be letting up anytime soon. Once again, I felt tired and dizzy. I sat down, leaning against the cave walls for support, I was essentially out of options, I didn’t fancy the idea of heading back out into the storm to try find my way home, I’d have to leave that for tomorrow. I conceded that I would have to spend the remainder of the night in this cave. Resting my head against my own shoulder, I closed my eyes and tried to get some sleep.
Through most of the night’s ordeal, I had forgotten about the reason I got lost here in the first place, although now that everything had calmed down, my mind turned back to another situation I had started earlier today.
I had used a unique way of dealing with a problem, making one side worse, so the other could get some breathing room. I had walked out on a friend after he had come to me at a bad time… That’s usually how things work, I’m always left to deal with things alone, but I’m always called to the defence when it comes to someone else’s mess. I guess I had just had enough of it.
It wasn’t what I had wanted to do, but it was what was best for myself at the time, and I really needed some way to get some space. I guess the fallout was what was really bugging me… In less than a day, most of my friends had abandoned me. Leaving me to ponder what I had done and the consequences of one selfish act.
The one-way discussion went on in my head for a little while longer, before I finally managed to drift off once more, my last thoughts about that perfect world, and how simpler life would be there.
I woke up feeling much worse for wear, after what was quite frankly, the worst sleep I had ever had in my life. My back was aching and my neck felt worse. Caves are no fun to sleep in. Either way, I had a goal for the day, find my way home. I stepped outside of the cave, aside from the damp ground, you wouldn’t have been able to tell it had been raining… Not a single cloud in the sky, the sun was shining, and not to mention the temperature was perfect for a stroll. At least the weather was going my way.
Scanning my surroundings, nothing seemed immediately familiar, aside from a small clearing off in the distance. Seeing it as my best bet of finding my way back to the trail I was on, I headed for it… And boy, did I find a lead…
“Well, now I just feel like a moron…” I murmured to myself as I stared at the small dirt trail I had been following before getting lost last night. “There’s no way that I was only a few dozen metres from where I had been walking… Nothing looks familiar.”
It didn’t make sense, the only thing I recognized was the trail, other than that, everything seemed out of place, certainly nothing I had seen on any of my other walks before.
In the distance I could see that the trail I was following led out into a much larger dirt road, which was connected into a street. Houses, I was getting somewhere. As I neared, I noticed that the houses were a little more peculiar than what you would usually see. The structure seemed to be made up mainly of wood, with straw covering the roofing… I wondered just where I was now, this definitely wasn’t home… But hopefully someone could help me get there.
Now with purpose, I quickened my pace toward the town, hearing chatter and shouts as I got closer. After reaching the larger dirt road I turned to look into the town, hoping to see any familiar faces that I could approach for directions. What I saw, however, caused me to stop in my tracks and stare in both fear and wonder.
There were no people in this town… There were… No, it couldn’t be, that’s crazy… I shut my eyes, trying to focus, hoping that maybe I would wake up from another dream. Slowly, I reopened them, the picture no different than what it had been. Ponies…
Almost immediately my mind began to think of theories. Only two seemed even close to reasonable. I was either dreaming, or insane… A dream… That’s what this had to be. This couldn’t be real. I backed away from the town, not sure how to act. I couldn’t just walk in and ask “Excuse me, is any of this really happening?” For one, that would look and sound ridiculous… And two, I was a foreign creature, assuming any of this was actually happening. Who knows how they’d react.
Hoping nobody had seen me, I decided to head back to familiar ground, backtracking to the cave I had slept in to consider my options further...
What was happening… There was no way what had just happened was real… Right? Equestria is make-believe… But if that was the case… What did I just see? My stomach growled, come to think of it, I hadn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon… Perfect. Lost, no food, and I’ve gone mental.
Maybe I could head back into town later tonight… When everything is quiet and the streets are empty… Surely there’d be food in there somewhere…
I waited for dusk, plotting what my goals would be while exploring the town. Find out where I was, map out the area in my mind, and most importantly, get some food.
After a few hours of waiting and idle staring, the sun finally began to set, and I decided it was time to make my way back to the town. Wading through the trees and making sure to stick to the dirt path, I eventually found my way back to the larger road that led into the small town.
I waited outside of the town, observing the colourful equines as they went about their remaining nightly business. Making sure to remain out of sight, I watched as shopkeepers collected their remaining product and left their stalls for the night.
Glancing through the town, I spotted some alleyways, if need be, I could use those to stay out of sight, but the town was looking quiet enough for me to stick to the streets unseen.
Well, here goes nothing.