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Twitch. Twitch. Twitch-a twitch-a twitch. Flop. Twitch, shake, jerk, pinch, twitch, shake. Bolt upright in bed. Whole body, shaking. Cold sweat. Heavy breathing. Room is dark. Everything is dark. Can’t think. Pinkie sense tingling. Something bad. A doozy. Something bad. Something very, very bad. Can’t think. No time to think. At the hospital. Something bad. Have to go. Have to go now. Get out of bed. No time to think. Have to go. Scared. So scared. Run. Need to run. Have to get to the hospital. Pinkie sense. A doozy. Hospital. Have to go. No time to waste. Must go. Running. Air’s cold. No thought. Just running. Have to go. No time. No time. Scared. Worried. So worried. So, so worried.
Something definitely wrong. Something very, very wrong. Please let it be ok. Please be ok, please, please be ok. Please, please, Celestia please, let it all be ok. But no. Something’s wrong. It’s not all ok. Pinkie sense won’t stop. Won’t stop. So very wrong. Want to help. Can’t help. Why is it so bad? Why? Who? Who is it? Can feel it. Don’t want to. Can feel the tears falling. Oh Celestia, why? Please be ok, please be ok, please be ok……
All was quiet. The only noises to break the silence were the soft hum of fluorescent lights and the gentle rustle of paper as the intern behind the counter flipped through a magazine. Many would have found the silence and slight scent of antiseptics un-nerving, but to one particular white pony, it was comforting. As much as she enjoyed the company of her friends and neighbors, her place of employment was one place Nurse Redheart sincerely hoped she wouldn’t see them.
It had been a slow night tonight, just as it usually was, and for that she was thankful. A slow night meant that everypony was safe and sound, not ill or injured. And now it was coming to a close, another shift without a medical emergency. She had a soft smile on her face as took off her hat and replaced it on its storage hook.
She would have gone so far as to say that it had actually been an especially slow night tonight. In fact the only ponies she had seen all night were her fellow co-workers and a few of the slightly more pressing patients that had needed some sort of attention in the middle of the night. Most of her visits had even been to the same room. The little colt in room A-113 was having a small relapse again, poor thing. It was because of ponies like him that she took this job, despite the crazy hours and low pay.
And the hours were indeed crazy. Just last week they had asked her to start working the night-shift, and here was, already putting in a 16 hour shift. But she didn’t mind. She was helping ponies, and that’s all that mattered. She’d do just about anything to help pony in need. And besides, taking care of her patients was what she liked to do, what made her happy.
Knowing that she had helped those around her allowed her to leave for home with a sense of accomplishment and a smile on her face, much like the one she had now. Stepping lightly so as not to make too much noise on the linoleum floor and possible disturb the sleeping patients, she made her way to the lobby. With a wave and quiet goodbye to the new intern managing the counter, she stepped through the lobby doors and into the cool night air beyond. Suppressing a slight shiver and absently wishing she had brought a coat, Nurse Redheart began the commute back home.
She didn’t make it far.
When she was not even fifty feet away from the door, just at edge of where the light from inside the building held the darkness of the night at bay, something emerged from the bushes on the right of the path. Instinctively, she tensed up, expecting some sort of trouble. When the figure stepped closer to the light however, her stance immediately relaxed and she let out a startled gasp.
Standing on the path in front of her was a pony. He was a tall pony, almost a full head taller than her. Beneath his tan coat were bunches of corded muscle that rippled when he moved, and when combined with his gruff facial hair and piercing golden eyes was rather intimidating. Or at least it would have been, if not for the terrible state stallion was in.
Every inch of him seemed to be covered in some sort of cut, bruise, gash or laceration. His black-rimmed glasses were cracked, a broken toothpick hung from teeth that he gritted in pain, and a large V of flesh was missing from his right ear. Patches of his fur was matted, singed, or missing all together. Blood seeped from innumerable points all over his body and even from a trickle in the corner of his mouth, leaving a small trial of the fluid behind him as he walked. Everything about him looked battered and beaten. Even the strange metal square pinned to his chest had a few dents and scrapes.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Nurse Redheart rushed to his side, desperate to help. He nudged her away, his strangely curved horn coming a little too close to her left eye for comfort. Not understanding, she just eyed him questioningly. In response, he rolled his shoulders and motioned towards his back, grimacing in pain. It was then that Nurse Redheart noticed something that made her gasp a second time. On his back was another pony, one she recognized instantly; it was Twilight Sparkle, Ponyville’s resident librarian.
She was unconscious, twitching fitfully as she lay draped across his broad back. Gently, and with great care, he lifted her up and set her on the ground in front of him. Swallowing dryly, he managed to pant out a few words past the agony he was enduring, “Please… help…”
Immediately, Nurse Redheart lifted the unconscious pony and carried her into the hospital, shouting from assistance as she ran.
Satisfied that he had gotten his charge to safety, the wounded stallion allowed a tiny smile to cross his face, just before the last of his strength left his legs and his quivering knees collapsed from beneath him. He was unconscious before he hit the dirt.