17 Male Australia.
Oh, and I'm deaf
PLACE UNKNOWN, TUESDAY 15:30.
Pain. That was the first feeling which entered the mind of a grey pegasus who had somehow been knocked out by an assailant. Her flank was pressed to the cold decaying floor of the blackened hallway, and she was propped up against the wall like a doll in its chair. Bubbles of different sizes covered both sides of her rump, yet they couldn’t be seen because two pairs of feather wings folded close to her chest by a brown rope that was tied in a fashion only experts knew. The name of this certain mare was Derpy Hooves, and she was after something, yet the reason of her expedition eluded her memory. Strength started to slowly return to Equestria’s mail mare as her foreleg lifted itself to the purple lump that protruded from the messy blonde hair on her head. She winced as her grey hoof prodded the head injury, from which a small drop of bright red blood trickled down her face like a bead of sweat.
Slowly, her eyelids fluttered open, revealing two golden eyes which rolled in different directions, as if she had no control. Her gaze would follow them, regardless of the picture that turned out, yet at the moment this wasn’t the case. The room was enshrouded in complete darkness, even Derpy could not see her hoof which was waving just in front of her nose. Lowering her grey hoof down steadily, the pegasus could feel her head injury throbbing like a hangover, and she sucked in air quickly to ease the pain. Swallowing her throat, Derpy could feel the dryness which resided deep in her mouth and as a result, her breathing came out raspy. She needed a drink; a cool refreshing drink.
Groaning heavily, the mare forced all remaining strength into her legs and tried to stand upright. She lost her balance and flopped to the ground with a thud, the pain multiplying as tears started to roll down her face. Derpy whimpered as she lay on the floor, not moving. It was too painful for the grey pegasus to even lift her head. Defeated, she stopped struggling and instead just lay there like a paralysed animal. Silence lingered in the air as Derpy stayed in her position, rigid as a statue. The river of blood ran down from its starting point until it finally dripped onto the ground, making a small puddle which increased in size with each passing drop.
Her eyelids began to feel heavy as Derpy felt her consciousness slowly slipping away. She took one last glance at her surroundings, yet the darkness made it impossible for her to even make out the colour of the ground. It felt cold and hard below the mare, who could also feel the rough outline of the rope which bonded her. The grey pegasus couldn’t care less; she was losing touch with reality. The last thing which entered her mind, apart from the searing pain, was a vivid memory on how she got into this mess in the first place. And then the mare’s world went black.
DERPY’S RESIDENCE, MONDAY 7:55
Celestia’s sun peeked over the horizon, its first rays of light covering the wide expanse of Equestria in its warm glow. Even at the crack of dawn, there were already ponies roaming around the town square of Ponyville, going about their duties early in the morning. The sun greeted them as they set up stands and opened shops, eager to start the day. Even so, there were still a lot more ponies who preferred to sleep in. This was evident as most of the houses had their curtains drawn, keeping out the light of dawn. On the edge of town, there stood a cottage which, like the others, was keeping out the sun. It was the residence of a certain grey pegasus who had retreated below the soft white covers of a bed, her head and mane resting on the fluffy pillow. Derpy Hooves’ breathing was the only sound to be heard in the silence which flooded the room. It was then interrupted by a shrill ringing sound as her alarm clock danced on the wooden dresser adjacent to the bed.
Slowly a grey hoof extended out from under the blankets and pushed down on the button protruding from the top of the contraption, which stopped the vibration of the alarm clock. A sigh escaped from under the cover of the bed, which was then folded over to reveal Derpy’s grey head and yellow mane. Her left eyelid fluttered open to reveal a golden eye that rolled to the side and focused on the time. It was 8 in the morning; one hour before the mare had to go to work. She leaned back as a tired yawn expelled itself from her wide mouth, and proceeded to push the covers off her legs, and jumped onto the wooden floor with an audible thud.
The wings of the grey pegasus spread out and fluttered themselves as she pushed her hooves forward and bent down to the ground. A small crack emanated from the mare’s back, implying that her spine had popped back into place and was ready to face another day of flying. Standing upright, Derpy then walked over to the dresser, on which a mirror stood reflecting an image of the mare, messy yellow hair covering her golden eyes. A brush residing on the top of the stand was picked up by Derpy’s grey hoof, changing her yellow mane to reveal a tidy low cut cascading down the back in a straight line.
The mare then placed the used hairbrush back onto the stand and was about to turn away and start her daily duties when a small black box gleamed in what sunlight could get into the room. This caught the attention of a rolling eye, which caused the pegasus to slowly trot over and lift the lid of her small chest, revealing a small silver horseshoe which gleamed in the single line of light. The top of the horseshoe had a small hole drilled though it, filled by a thin black rope which looped itself around the valuable. Turning on a nearby light, Derpy studied the markings which were scrawled across the surface of the necklace in the box.
“Greatness from low beginnings.” That was the phrase which had been imprinted into the silver necklace, and forever etched in the mind of the pegasus. A heavy sigh escaped her neck as the mail mare let her memories take over.
She had just been a small filly; her flank still blank and her grandmother was visiting for the town’s annual festival; Hearth’s Warming. A thin white layer of snow covered the ground and it was getting deeper thanks to the soft flakes which kissed the grey cheeks of young Derpy. The old mare bent down to her knees painfully, wincing as each joint pressed the ground, and her eyes stared deep into those of her granddaughter.
“Hello, my little Derpy. How has my muffin been?” The voice of the old pegasus was cracked and the words rolled off her tongue with a subtle croak. The filly could only hide behind her father’s leg and shrink underneath her mane out of fear. Still, the elder only knelt further and placed a wrinkled hoof on the head of the shivering filly, and spoke in a warbled voice; “It’s okay sweetie, I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to give you something.”
Feeling the rough outline of her grandmother’s hoof gently stroking her hair gave Derpy no reason to fear the wrinkled outline kneeling in front of her. First a small head popped out from the curled up yellow tail, revealing two golden eyes which blinked steadily at the figure they were focused on. Her mouth opened and a small quavering voice, sweet as an angel’s, erupted and filled the silence; “I’m sowwy, miss. I didn’t mean to be scawed.” The grey filly’s speech wasn’t perfect, but the old mare nodded her head slowly, as if she understood.
A second passed, which felt like eternity, as Derpy’s grandmother reached into her saddlebag that was perched on her back, held up by an erect wing. The filly eagerly eyed her elder who rummaged through the rucksack before finally emerging with a small gift clamped between her pearl white teeth. The gentle rain of snowflakes continued as Derpy watched her grandmother’s neck crane forward and place the gift in the outstretched grey hoof of the girl.
“What I’m giving you is a prized family heirloom, which means that it’s been in the family since before you were born,” the elder explained in her cracked voice, “It is 400 years old, maybe more... and I am passing it on to you, in hope that you’ll do the same once you’re as old as me and have your own granddaughter. Promise me that you’ll do that.” In the hooves of young Derpy lay the silver horseshoe, reflecting the light of nearby festive decorations, giving off a red and green sparkle. A smile spread on the face of the filly as she craned her neck to stare up at her grandmother with stars glazed in her eyes.
“Thanks Gwanny Derp. I pwomise.”
And those were the last words Derpy had said to her grandmother. With a blink of her eyes, the grey mare found herself back in the darkened bedroom, tears streaming from her face like a waterfall. Her eyes were still fixated on the silver heirloom stashed in the black box, reflecting what light could reach it. A heavy sigh escaped Derpy’s throat as a grey hoof wiped her wet face, a puddle already forming on the cold hard floor. Without any hesitation, the ditzy mare slammed the black box shut with an audible bang and began moving towards the front door of the room. Before opening it, she craned her neck to the right and picked up a grey eye patch resting on a rack in the corner of the room.
Before truly starting her day, the mail mare turned to face the mirror one last time, her left eye now covered by a grey patch. Of course, this meant that her depth perception was reduced, but with it came higher coordination. Thus, the pegasus could fly safely without being a danger to herself. Flicking her yellow mane to the side, Derpy felt her heart flutter as a smile crept onto the muzzle of the mare, and within five seconds, she had opened the door and stepped out into the blinding light of Celestia’s sun.
PLACE UNKNOWN, TUESDAY, 16:15
A loud groan filled the dark hallway as Derpy Hooves slowly regained consciousness to feel the throbbing pain which resonated from the purple lump protruding from her yellow mane. A puddle of dried blood had stained the blackened floor and a thin line also crept up the side of Derpy’s face. She still couldn’t see anything, the darkness overcoming her pupils as they widened, acclimating her sight. The mare was still weak, yet still found the strength to force her legs to push down on the floor, allowing the grey pony stand up.
Almost immediately after she stood straight, did Derpy’s knees buckle below her, and she was sent to the cold colourless ground, with a thud that echoed through the hallway. The breath of the grey mare became quick and high to cope with the pain which throbbed in the muscles of her legs. The only thing Derpy could do at the moment was rest in a withering heap as dark thoughts crept through her mind.
How did I get here? Why am I here? Who would want to hurt a mare and leave her for dead? Why am I still alive?
The wall eyed mare resisted her thoughts to no avail as they continued to haunt her mind. It was like psychological torture; thoughts nibbling at the stained mind with searing pain shooting through the nerves of the muscles. No longer could the pegasus move; she was scared stiff by the conscience which ate at her soul.
What are you doing, you stupid mare!? You should be dead! Why were you alive in the first place?
Shuddering visibly in the dark, Derpy did the one and only thing she would even think of doing; keep going. The mare had no goal, no motivation, and no drive, yet the threat of death loomed in the depth of her mind. Slowly, the grey pegasus forced herself to stand, using a hoof against the wall to prop herself up. It was a bit harder, since the wet rope was keeping the wings to her body. As fast as her condition could allow, the golden eyed mare began shuffling her hooves along the floor and wall, moving the mare across the black room.
It had not even been one minute before the mare lost her footing and her face met with the floor. She wanted to scream out in pain, yet her dry throat could only muster a croaked whine as Derpy once more withered on the floor in pain. Fresh red blood was now seeping from her nostrils as her grey legs attempted to push the pegasus back up. No luck; the mare was spent, completely void of any energy.
That’s it. It’s over... I’m dead. I always gave up in life, and I’m giving up for the last time now.
Derpy stopped struggling against her weak body and instead lay still in the black hallway, knowing that nothing else would come this way. Nopony would find the helpless pegasus. She sighed heavily as her eyelids drooped; feeling heavy from the exhaustion and her breathing began to slow for the last time that day. Before the mare truly knocked on death’s door, her left eye picked up an orange glow that poked a hole in the darkness. It got closer and brighter until a small figure appeared in the light, its purple hand reaching out to the wounded mare. And then, for the second time in less than two hours, the world of Derpy Hooves went black.
EQUESTRIA POST OFFICE, MONDAY, 9:15
“You’re late again, you ditzy mare!” The deep booming voice of her boss was the first thing Derpy heard that morning. The grey pegasus had flown into the post office reception and checked herself in, eye patch and all. She bent her neck to look up at the brown stallion towering her. His muzzle was completely covered in low cut stubble, indicating his inability to shave. A cap covered the furrowed eyebrows on his head, below which two pupils were dilated and leering at the now cowering mare like daggers. His thick wings were also fully erect, feathers completely fluffed and showing the colt’s frustration.
Derpy could only manage a squeak from her throat as the muscular pegasus towered over her; “I- I’m sorry, boss. I promise I--” Her boss’ booming voice easily overcame her own as he interrupted her.
“Oh, you promise what? The same promise you’ve been making all these days? First you promise that you’ll be on time EVERY day! And what do I get? Coming in late again and again!” Derpy opened her mouth to protest, but snapped it shut as her infuriated boss continued his verbal assault; “And one more thing! You promised that you would do this job to the best of your ability. And look at what happened! I’ve been getting complaints from all over town that you’ve been messing up by sending the wrong letters to the wrong houses. Even the other employees have found letters scattered all over the country side! I don’t even think that eye patch is helping at all. What do you have to say for yourself, Bright Eyes?”
Derpy could only wither in fear, cringing as her boss lashed out each word. Wet spit came out at the end of each exclamation, spraying the helpless mare with a rain of saliva. She could only stifle a small gasp as the stallion finished off with the name. That name.
It had started as a nickname back in school, a long time before Derpy had even started her job as a mailmare. Soon, though, the simple name turned into an insult as the kids found inventive ways to use Derpy’s identity against her. She had told her working staff about it during a work break, after which most of them sympathised with the wall eyed mare. Some of the less caring employees had even resorted to using that name, although not in the harsh way that the grey pegasus had encountered.
This, however, was the first time it had been used to scold the withering pegasus, who was now shaking visibly. Her boss’ furrowed eyebrow lifted one side to show that he was waiting for an answer. Derpy, who was now completely void of all courage, only mustered a low voice accompanied with a whimper; “I’m sorry?”
The brown pegasus only sighed and retracted his wings as he turned to walk away. Just before his envelope cutie mark disappeared into the next room, he mentioned Derpy; “And Derpy? I’m letting you go until further notice.” He finally left the room, leaving a grey mare to slowly trot out of the office, her head hanging low and the rest of the co-workers in silence.
Celestia’s sun could only hang up high in the sky as this scene unfolded below it.