78w, 3dHuman in Equestria
78w, 3dPonies in the Real World
78w, 3dRookies on the Rise
61w, 1dMisery, Misery, Misery
51w, 7hMy Little Over Analysis
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58w, 3dFimFiction Gold Archives
34w, 10hKing Sombra Fan Fiction
30w, 5dCompleted Story Compendium
46w, 4dIn A Little Group in Ponyville
32w, 5dKing Sombra & Trixie Fanfic
15w, 6dThe Asylum Fan Group
7w, 2dThe 1000 Up Vote Club
14w, 3dDriz's Fanfiction Emporium
1w, 18hI'm no longer a pony... for now 4 comments · 39 views
8w, 4dExhausted 4 comments · 29 views
9w, 4dWell... Here goes. 14 comments · 73 views
10w, 3dUh... Yeah: Story Changes 1 comments · 36 views
10w, 6dWithout my computer update #6 8 comments · 47 views
11w, 2dI need input, please 12 comments · 71 views
11w, 3dMy worst phobia/I need your input 7 comments · 64 views
11w, 5dSo yeah... stuff and things 11 comments · 53 views
12w, 1dBittersweet Victory 8 comments · 66 views
12w, 3dI will find myself a sledgehammer... 16 comments · 61 views
Celeste writhed, curling up on herself as her skin burned. She could smell the heat singeing her clothes. Her eyes glanced down to her leg and read the words illuminated there through a watery film:
Look out your window.
She flew from her bed and entered the dark bathroom, the fire in her skin lighting the way. After applying cold water she could feel blisters rising under the declaration still written on her left leg. She would never be able to sleep like this. Even if this was another hallucination, the feeling was real enough.
Her eyes avoided the window as she lay back down, wrapping her leg in the top sheet. She felt her skin burst in some places but at least the sheet should keep it from aggravating. Her head sunk into the pillow and she closed her eyes against the concrete darkness.
Ever since earlier that day, something terrified her every thought. Sombra was going after Sarah now instead of her. But how could she even see if that was true? Sombra was only a hallucination. Wasn’t he? Why had he not seen her since then? Where was he? The thought of him around her, treating her like he had treated Celeste...
He’s not real. There is no reason to be scared. You are Celeste Marlowe. None of what you’ve imagined is real. Everyone will be safe tomorrow. You’ll see.
Her thoughts continued walking along the twisted roads of her mind until sleep took its place.
Celeste opened her eyes to see the black-haired nurse at the table, hunched over a book. The patient shifted cautiously. The burns on her leg seemed to hurt no more than a sunburn as she untangled herself from her bedcovers. On the chair opposite the nurse the breakfast tray sat. The nurse ignored Celeste’s stretching and approach to the table.
“Where’s Sarah? You haven’t brought breakfast since the first time I was here.”
“Is Sarah ok?”
She turned the page of her book, giving a half-hearted shrug.
“What? No sarcastic retort?”
“I’m not in the mood. My diet got reduced and nobody can explain why.”
“Diet? What do you need a diet for?”
“Shut up and eat,” she said before breathing in sharply and holding her growling stomach. Hunger actually pained her. When had she eaten last time?
Celeste stopped speculating and sat down to eat her breakfast. Halfway through her oatmeal the nurse winced again.
“Do you want any of this?”
“No, I’m on a restricted diet.”
“There are very few things that don’t make me sick—ugh...” She blanched. “This book isn’t one of them...” she said, closing it. Celeste could not see the title so she continued her meal. The nurse stood up and looked out the window, probably for distraction.
“I’m glad it’s finally cleared up,” said Celeste before emptying the cup of water completely. She hated drinking out of plastic containers but hopefully it wouldn’t be much longer until she could enjoy a more civilized meal. Then again, she had no way of knowing how long it could take for her to get out.
The nurse just continued to stare out the window. Celeste finished her meal while taking sidelong glances at her.
“Are you done yet?” she asked after an invasive silence.
“Just my orange.”
“I’ll take the tray then.” She said, turning back around. The light cut into the hollow of her cheek. She definitely looked hungry.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Celeste couldn’t help but ask, examining the dark circles under the nurse’s eyes.
“I’ve had no chance to sleep these past few days,” she sighed. She lifted the loaded tray with trembling hands as her red eyelids moistened. She whisked herself away, stifling a yawn with the arm not holding the tray and book. So she was alone again.
Her shirt shushed against the wall as she slid down to sit, the baseball in her hand. Quickly checking her leg, she could see the burn was gone already. Only one more thing to do.
Celeste sat with the baseball ready to throw in her hand. The small sound was from her window. Either a bird had flown into it or something small had hit the glass.
Celeste glared at the window. All the messages that had burned themselves into her wanted her to look out the window. What was supposed to be out there? Luna? Twilight? The armies of Equestria? She had to stop imagining.
After the third toss her cheeks began to cool.
No, she was not going to look out the window.
Perhaps if she focused on the task at hoof—hand! Perhaps if she focused on the task at hand she could stop these hallucinations. She was guilty of nothing and magic was not real. She had just imagined getting burned.
The feel of the leather covering gave a small comfort to her. The consistent “THUMP-thump Th-thump” was a calming rhythm to pace her breathing by. When she got out of here she would find a nice town far away from the city and enjoy each day to herself.
Breathe in and out. Focus each breath but don’t force it. She closed her eyes as the constant intake of oxygen rushed to her head. The headache would help.
Involuntarily she slung the ball at the window. It bounced off and rolled to the door leading towards the hallway.
“SHUT UP!” The echo of her outburst rebuked her. She just told a rock to shut up. Instinctively, she waited for Sombra to appear next to her with a sarcastic remark. She was still alone in the room. Did Dr. Cruebel still consider it too dangerous for her to meet other patients?
Celeste sighed and retrieved the baseball, ignoring the next clink against her window. It would stop sooner or later. It might just be someone playing a prank. Any moment now the stones would stop.
Celeste listened for what felt like forever for the next stone. Finally, it was over.
Before the ball reached her fingers she fell over in a fetal position, screaming before she could register the pain that provoked her reaction. Burning. Burning across her stomach. Something seared her flesh like a knife, bringing a pungent stench to her nostrils. The wound was being cauterized as it was being made. Memories she would rather not have came back: the battlefield after the banishment. They had to stop the bleeding. Her mane was no longer pink. Her sister was gone. She had lost the Crystal Empire.
“Where does it hurt?” Dr. Cruebel asked, trying to keep his calm. Celeste hadn’t noticed him enter. How did he appear so quickly? The nurse knelt in front of Celeste, seemingly mesmerized.
“My stomach! It’s burning!”
“Muscle pain?” he asked, confused.
The nurse’s eyes opened wide and her hand shot out to lift Celeste’s shirt enough to see the burning across her abdomen.
“It’s literally burning. It says ‘Help me!’ I... don’t understand.”
“I don’t either. Grab some ice. Quick!”
She made no delay to obey his rushed command. Celeste curled up on herself, shaking as tears helplessly trickled from her eyes. He rubbed her back with his hand, trying to offer some comfort, perhaps.
“It’s not burned this badly before.”
“This happened on my arm and leg too. Somehow within an hour or so it would be healed. I wasn’t sure how to tell you.”
“How does it feel now?”
“It’s lessening. It hurts so much...” She sobbed. The back of his hand pressed against her forehead then withdrew as if stung.
“You’re burning up.”
Celeste couldn’t hear him clearly. Her eyes spun and wanted to close. She was cold. Her skin soaked her clothes with sweat. The floor felt so cool against her face. She involuntarily shuddered as something harshly frigid pressed against the back of her neck temporarily. Within moments her head seemed to clear as she realized the pain was lessening. After she blinked a few times the ice was removed and placed on her stomach. The relief hurt at first but soon she felt her body cool from its instant fever.
“Careful...” Dr. Cruebel cautioned, putting his arm behind her back as she tried to sit up. He helped her lean against the concrete wall behind her. The sweat in her clothes chilled her back as the cold from the wall transferred. Her stomach was sore but the pain was considerably less now.
“Why does it keep happening?” A quick laugh drifted across her mind. “Did you hear that?” she gasped.
“Easy, now. I’m going to get a thermometer. I think you’re running a fever but I need to see how high it is.”
“Did you hear it?” she asked again.
His dark brown eyes showed anxious concern.
“I’ll bring a thermometer. Please watch her.” He said, directing the last part at the other nurse who was visibly better than she was an hour or so ago. The nurse gave Dr. Cruebel a curt nod then sat down next to Celeste, her eyes fixed on the ice bag. Within moments Dr. Cruebel was back.
“Open your mouth,” he commanded. He then stuck a plastic and metal stick under her tongue. After a few seconds it beeped and he took it out to check, taking a plastic sleeve off the instrument.
“Definitely a fever.”
“I’ve never gotten a fever from this before.“
“You should have told us sooner that you weren’t feeling well.”
“I was fine until a few moments ago.” She felt a hand cover her forehead, turning her face to look up at Dr. Cruebel.
“Her eyes are glazed.”
“Dr. Cruebel, what’s happening to me?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine but it will take a while.”
“Why am I so sick all of a sudden?”
Instead of answering he picked her up like a child and carried her over to sit on her bed. Sleep clung to Celeste and she fell onto her pillow as someone moved her legs onto the bed and someone else covered her with her blankets. She pulled them tight, shivering. She barely felt the hand rest its palm against her temple before falling asleep.
How long had she been asleep already?
Hushed noises conversed but she was too tired to listen. The words weren’t distinguishable anyway as far as what the conversation was about.
“But, how did he do it?”
Who was talking anyway? A man? He sounded furious. The noise conversed beneath hearing for a while longer.
“She looked fine!”
“It got in somehow!”
“Have you been—“
“You’re kidding me? Of course not!”
Celeste groaned. Their talking was waking her up and she still felt so tired... Her door banged shut and darkness cradled her in sleep. She recalled a time where she imagined herself sleeping in the clouds as a pony. The sensation was exact to what she felt now. A firm center supported her while wisps of black enfolded her. Clouds were white but perhaps a dream cloud was different.
It was rude of Dr. Cruebel and Nurse Alice to talk right next to her. She was sleeping. She just needed to be left alone. Every muscle in her body ached, even when she didn’t move. Her clothes were already damp from sweat. Slowly the darkness of her dream eased everything away. She rolled over and her hair fell in loose, gentle curls across her cheek. She couldn’t remember how long it had been since her hair was curled like this.
She pushed herself off the cloud and looked around. To her right a door of light opened and she stood up, advancing towards it after crawling off her cloud onto a cool surface. After she passed through the empty doorway, another one opened, and another, leading her out of the cloud of darkness. Silence stretched endlessly around her except when she passed through another door frame. But with each doorframe she passed through, the silence grew closer and closer, encroaching on her like she was entering smaller and smaller rooms.
The desk appeared as soon as she walked into the corner of it. It was a solid hardwood desk with intricate carvings of mountains and fields on the front panels. What was a desk doing here? Objects appeared on the surface of the desk as her hand fumbled across it. Most of it was the letters they had taken from her, even the torn one. Her fingers strayed on the crumpled sheets. What had caused her to write them in the first place? She felt around the slowly filling desk surface and her finger’s touch revealed a set of keys hidden under a sheet of paper.
It was kind of exciting for her to live in a dream where she didn’t know what would happen next. Normally she could control every aspect of her dreams. Rarely was she able to “discover” what dreams held. Her fingers opened the cover and a crooked smile sneaked into her face.
It was pictures. Her parents held her, as a baby. Her mom looked so tired... but so young. Almost every possible baby picture they could have taken of her covered the next few pages. Here was her entire life, documented in pictures. After the first year gaps appeared between holidays and birthdays until Selene’s birth. She never looked happy in the pictures of both of them. Perhaps Celeste was the jealous sister. Even when Selene stood next to her, a silly, broad grin on her face, Celeste always looked like she’d much rather be somewhere else.
The office she sat in lit up suddenly. Celeste looked around, blinking at the light.
“What are you doing?” Dr. Cruebel demanded.
“I...I”m sorry, Dr Cruebel I just came here. I don’t know how.” Something told Celeste she was not dreaming. But how was this possible in the real world? How could she have left her room and ended up here?
“Put the album down. You’re not ready to look through that yet.”
She lowered the album to the desk surface and removed her hands from it. Why was his voice so intense? What was he scared of? Wouldn’t it help her to see pictures of her family?
“Very good, Celeste. Please follow me now.”
“Why can’t I look at the album? Is there something you haven’t told me?”
“Please, you’re not well. I don’t know how you got here but you need to come with me.”
“Can I have more pictures?”
“Not yet. You’re not ready.”
She gave the photo album a reluctant glance and rose to follow Dr. Cruebel.