Veil of Thoughts
Twilight Dash had managed to get out of bed – that had been the easy part. The hard part had been the floor. Not only had it hurt when they had toppled down to it but getting up from the smooth surface was impossible.
They tried to push up from the ground but they couldn’t. Their hooves simply wouldn’t move like they wanted. Nothing wanted to coordinate with anything else. Their legs were all jumbled up underneath them.
They had to get up. They had to get out of this place. Any moment, Sun-a-Horn and the others would be back, they had promised they would come back. They did not want to see them again. They did not want them to start the pain all over again. If only the floor wouldn’t be so difficult!
After several unsuccessful attempts to stand, a thought occurred to them. If their legs wouldn’t do what they wanted so maybe they should try something else. Turning their head, they looked back over their shoulder. The wings on their back flapped in silent understanding.
The wings didn’t flap quite right though. The right wing reached out in a smooth stroking arc. The left wing just wobbled up and down uncertainly. That was no good. Their wings were just as mixed up as their legs.
They stopped trying to flap their wings. The left one went to their side but the right one continued on. They tried to make it stop. They couldn’t, it wouldn’t. They reached back with a hoof, to make it still, but they couldn’t reach it. The wing began to flap harder and faster.
Panic began to overtake them – no, not them… that wasn’t right.
They struggled on the ground, trying to get up. The panic was inside them, throbbing in their mind, spreading through their body. They had to get out! They needed to be calm. They had to escape! They needed to stay. They had to shut up!
Rapidly, the right wing began to flap as if trying to escape from their body. “Stop!” shouted the whisper. The wing did not stop, it only flapped harder and they began to slide along the floor.
They moved slowly at first, the weight of their body dragging them down as the one wing struggled to pull them. They tried to use their hoof to halt their progress, but it simply slid along the slick floor tiles.
Then it was as if they had become much lighter. It was an odd sensation, one they were both familiar with and completely foreign to. They tried to ponder it, yet understood it at the same time. They had done it lots of times… and never once in their life. The feeling was frightening and exhilarating.
With the sudden lightness, the wing’s effort kicked in at full force. They zoomed across the floor before they crashed headlong into the wall. Their horn punched a hole through the wall into the next room where a surprised tan pony gave them a strange look. They had only a moment of rest before they were pulled the opposite direction. This time they took out the bed with a tremendous crash on their way across the room.
This was no good, they weren’t getting any lift! They had to pull their hooves in if they were going to get higher. Their frightened hooves scraped at the floor, trying to take hold of anything that would stop them.
The wing beat again, harder and faster this time. One hoof in, one out. They were pulled upwards in a tumbling spiral that slammed them into the ceiling. The wing stopped and they dropped back to the floor with a painful thud.
Now the ceiling was spinning, that was new. The walls had joined in too, it was like they were dancing. Their wing began to pull them again. They were going to dance with the walls and ceilings, because, now there were a couple ceilings spinning around each other.
There was shouting coming from the door. Was the door mad that it hadn’t been invited to the dance? Their unfocused eyes tried to understand what the door was saying.
Something leapt at them from the door. Their wing flapped hard and moved them safely out of the way into another wall. The door continued to shout at them but it had somehow changed its voice. Their ears tried to see the door and maybe figure out why it was angry at them.
Suddenly the door was right in front of them – No. That wasn’t right, that couldn’t be the door. There were no walls around it. Besides, the door was still at the door, shouting at them… yes… that made sense.
The thing that wasn’t the door loomed over them. The wing beat as hard as it could, trying to get around the not-door.
They sped towards the other side of the room. The not-door leapt at them. They collided in a tumble, with the not-door ending on top. The door cheered loudly but stopped as the thrumming of a wing beat once more filled the air.
Just as suddenly as they had stopped, they were off again, this time with the not-door on their back. They crashed into the shouty-thing at the door, knocking it aside. With another heavy thud they hit the adjacent wall. If only the wall had moved out of their way. Maybe it wasn’t in the mood for dancing?
It seemed however that the ride wasn’t over just yet. Once again the wing beat as hard as it could and it tugged them down the hallway at full speed. The not-door clung to their back and screamed its terror as they went.
White coated blurs leapt out of their way in cries of protest as the floor moved at a feverish pace. Great, now the floor was moving. Why couldn’t everything just stay still? Why couldn’t they have just stayed in bed like they were supposed to?
“What the hay is goin on out here?” asked an orange blur as they raced past it. The gasps of surprise and shock were quickly lost as Twilight Dash sped onwards.
There was something at the end of the hall that they didn’t like. It wasn’t the moving floor, racing by underneath them. It wasn’t not-door on their back, although they could have done without it screaming in their ears. No, it was something else. Something they couldn’t... Twilight Dash saw it only a moment before they knew what was happening. The window at the end of the hallway was open.
“No, no, no!” shouted Twilight Dash. The not-door on their back seemed to realize what was about to happen a moment before it did. It pushed itself off and tumbled away along the floor.
There was nothing Twilight Dash could do. If only they would just move their hooves in a little so they could gain some height. They pulled in their forelegs and their body lifted from the floor, gliding upwards. The blue sky was calling to them. This was the most terrifying moment of their life!
They needed to fly. They wanted to get back in bed! They needed to run.
They stayed perfectly still as the building ran past them. The open window rushed around them and they soared into the perfect blue sky. Up and up they went, the building falling away below. They had made it, they were flying! They wanted to be back on the ground!
The wing suddenly stopped. Their legs flailed uselessly below them unable to find a surface to run on. The ground loomed up below them, they were falling! They were falling! They wanted their wings to flap and they wanted their horn to work. But neither did anything.
Sky, building, ground. Sky, building, ground. Sky, building, yellow, ground.
The world was lost in a tumbling rush of colors as they spun end over end. The sky and building stayed right where they were and the ground rushed up to say hello.
“Rainbow!” shouted Fluttershy. Her hooves slammed against the floor as she galloped as hard as she could. Her friends running right along side her. A trail of rainbow hair streaked behind the out of control mares that sped down the hallway.
With a cry of terror the nurse that had caught up in the mess leapt off at the last moment. The lavender mare zoomed upwards and out the open window.
Fluttershy didn’t even slow down. She had been running faster than she ever had in her life. Following only a few steps behind she leapt out the window, chasing after her friend.
Up and up they went, much higher into the sky than Fluttershy usually liked to go. Her friend suddenly stopped flapping her wings. The mare tumbled down out of the sky, her legs flailing below her. Fluttershy changed direction, diving down after them, her wings flapping hard to close the distance.
She was only hooves behind her tumbling friend. They were all racing towards the ground. She almost had them. She was so close.
The falling mare spun over once more. As she did, Fluttershy’s teeth closed on her friend’s tail. Her wings strained under the new weight. Their descent slowed as Fluttershy pulled with all her strength. They stopped only hooves above the ground.
Gently, Fluttershy lowered her trembling friend to the grass below. Rainbow couldn’t seem to stop shaking, even as Fluttershy held her. Only a moment later their friends came rushing out of the hospital, galloping towards them as fast as they could.
One of Rainbow’s eyes opened and Fluttershy felt a tingle of shock run down her spine. Her eye, Rainbow’s eye, it was the wrong color, it wasn’t the bright pink that Fluttershy was so used to seeing in her friends face. It was purple, it wasn’t Rainbow’s eye at all. It wasn’t Rainbow in her arms.
The eye contracted and the pony in Fluttershy’s arms winced, her hooves coming to her face.
“Get away!” screamed the pony that wasn’t Rainbow Dash. She struggled out of Fluttershy’s arms. The yellow pegasus let the lavender mare go and slunk away from her.
There were so many emotions running through Fluttershy that she had started shaking. That wasn’t Rainbow. She hadn’t believed it, she hadn’t accepted it. Not until that instant when she had looked into the other mare’s eyes.
The rest of her friends arrived only a moment later with Celestia and Doctor Red Cross following not far behind. The lavender mare with the rainbow colored hair was lying on the ground. There were soft sobs coming between broken words. “Please… stay away… please…”
It had taken some doing to get Twilight Dash to calm down. It seemed that if any of her friends tried to approach her she would scream at them; her words changing between terrified pleas and nonsense.
Fluttershy wouldn’t get anywhere near her, staying the furthest back. The expression on her face worried Rarity, she had never seen the yellow pegasus so distraught before. Fluttershy was, well, shy after all, but this was something different. If it had been any other time, Rarity would have gone to her friend to console her.
Celestia seemed to be the only pony that could get close to Twilight Dash. For some reason her reaction to the Princess was less extreme than to her friends.
After a few minutes of coaxing, Twilight Dash tried to stand, but that had been an effort in futility. Like her words, her hooves were simply all mixed up. One hoof would go down for support while another would slide out from under her. Each attempt to stand appeared to deteriorate what little calm the pony seemed to have.
In the end, Celestia had convinced the mare to let her be carried by magic back to her room. Twilight Dash hadn’t really given acceptance but she hadn’t said no either.
Floating gently in the warm glow of magic, Twilight Dash hovered just ahead of Celestia as they made their way back to room 306. The friends followed far enough back that Twilight Dash couldn’t easily look at them.
They hadn’t gone more than a dozen steps when Rarity noticed that Fluttershy was not following them. She broke off and headed back. Applejack gave her an uncertain look, before her eyes turned to Fluttershy.
“Go on, we won’t be a minute,” said Rarity with a weak smile. Applejack nodded but looked uncertain.
Fluttershy hadn’t moved from the spot on the grass where she had sat down after saving Twilight Dash. She was looking at the ground as if it were too difficult to raise her head.
“Fluttershy, dear, are you okay?” asked Rarity. Fluttershy looked up, her eyes watery with tears. She shook her head. Rarity had never seen her friend this upset before. “It’s alright, you caught them, everything is going to be fine.”
“No it isn’t,” whispered Fluttershy. Her eyes dropped down to the ground, her pink hair cascaded down and hid her face.
“No,” said Rarity sadly. She trotted over to her friend and sat in the grass next to her. “I suppose you’re right.” A long moment of silence passed between the two. “What is it that’s bothering you dear? Surely that little fall can’t be what you are all worked up about.”
Fluttershy’s eyes, hidden behind her curtain of hair, flicked to Rarity then looked away.
“It’s… nothing…” said Fluttershy softly. “I don’t want to trouble anypony with it.”
“Fluttershy,” said Rarity seriously. She turned to look her friend in her shining blue eyes, that tried to glance elsewhere. “Your problems are never any trouble. I’m always here for you when you need me. Your friends will always be here for you.”
“She doesn’t know who I am,” said Fluttershy after a long moment. Whatever Rarity had been expecting to hear, that wasn’t it.
“I’m not sure I understand,” said Rarity. “What would give you an idea like that?”
“I could see it in her eyes,” said Fluttershy “the way she looked at me.” She looked up at Rarity. “She… she was afraid of me.”
Celestia was still leading the procession as they climbed back up the stairs towards Twilight Dash’s room. Applejack and Pinkie Pie were furthest to the back, with Twilight Dash hovering up at the front.
Applejack couldn’t help but glance back towards where her friends where outside. As if she didn’t have enough to worry about with Twilight Dash, now something was up with Fluttershy. Whatever it was, she hoped Rarity would be able to handle it.
The extra time it took to get back to the room had let the staff clean up a little. There wasn’t much they had been able to do about the numerous holes punched into the walls – as well as the one in the ceiling. However the room looked a little less like a disaster zone.
A nurse had suggested that they move Twilight Dash to a new room, preferably one on the first floor, closer to the ground. But Twilight Dash had protested at this loudly. This was her room. She wanted to go back to her room. She wanted to go back to her bed.
“She’s actin like a little foal,” whispered Applejack to herself.
Twilight Dash was still sobbing quietly as Celestia lowered her back into the bed with her magic. Red Cross had advised against having any of them there right now but Celestia had insisted they stay. He hadn’t argued further.
With the exception of Twilight Dash’s continued sobs, the room was very still and quiet. Even Pinkie Pie didn’t seem like her normal cheery self.
“I need to ask you some questions,” Celestia said at last.
“I don’t think this is really the time for questions,” interjected Applejack. “Uh, your highness.” She added quickly.
“Unfortunately it must be done,” said Celestia seriously. She turned her attention back to Twilight Dash, who was looking at her with big wide frightened eyes, tears still fresh on the mare’s face.
“Oh, oh, oh! Me first, me first!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie, hopping up and down and waving her leg in the air. “You keep saying ‘we’ don’t you mean ‘I’?” Every head turned towards Pinkie Pie. All of them, except Twilight Dash and Celestia, looked stern. “What? It’s really weirding me out and that’s saying a lot!”
“We yellow… no… we did… no … not… we do not know,” said Twilight Dash, shaking her head. Her words seemed to take a great effort for her to say, like she had to remember each one.. “Your word, we do not word... no… do not know. Is no… has no meaning.”
“You mean like zephanoblaist?” asked Pinkie Pie with her head cocked to the side. “That doesn’t have any meaning either because I just made it up!” Applejack gave her friend a poke in the side.
Twilight Dash stared at them uncomfortably but did not seem to have an answer to Pinkie’s question. Although in truth, Applejack wasn’t sure she would have one either.
“Can you recall why you cast this spell?” asked Celestia, once more taking control of the conversation. Twilight Dash looked away from Pinkie Pie.
“Had to,” said Twilight Dash simply.
“Why did you have to?” asked Celestia.
“Because had to,” repeated Twilight Dash.
“Do you remember anything from yesterday or from before that?” asked Celestia. Twilight Dash thought for a moment, then shook her head.
“Open… no… wake to running ceiling. Hear somepony life in head… not our life. Not anything before. Just ceiling.” Her mismatched eyes turned to look at Celestia. Her broken words difficult to understand, but Celestia seemed to know what she was trying to say. “All you, like word, no meaning.”
“Did anypony understand any of that?” asked Applejack quietly.
“I think she said that she woke up under a moving ceiling and doesn’t remember any of us,” said Pinkie Pie.
“Why were you trying to run away just now?” asked Celestia.
“Had to get out,” she said. “Had to stay. Not stay here.”
“Why?” asked Celestia. “Where do you have to go? Why can’t you stay here?”
“Is pain,” said Twilight Dash, putting her legs against her chest. “Not want. Not right. Have to get out. Soon is too late.” Celestia looked very worried at this.
“One last question,” said Celestia, her eyes fixed uncomfortably on Twilight Dash, who squirmed under her intense gaze. “Who are you? Are you Twilight Sparkle or Rainbow Dash?”
“We… do not… understand,” replied Twilight Dash. Her expression changed at these words. Her face became a mixture of shock and contorted pain. She put a hoof to her temple as she winced. “Too much… is too much…” she gasped before letting out a grunt of pain and collapsed back into the bed.
Her breathing became erratic, her eyelids fluttering open and closed.
“Out,” said the Doctor sternly as he rushed forward. “Everypony out! Nurse!” he shouted a note of panic in his voice.
“What’s wrong,” demanded Applejack, not moving an inch. The door swung open and two nurses hurried into the room. “What’s happening to her?”
The doctor had his ear pressed to Twilight Dash’s chest as she struggled to breathe, her body shaking.
“Get them out of here,” repeated the Doctor.
“I aint movin!” shouted Applejack angrily. “Not ‘till you tell me what’s wrong!”
One of the nurses moved towards Applejack. Applejack recognized her as the nurse that had tried to stop her from seeing their friend on the day of the accident. She hadn’t stopped Applejack then and she sure as hay wasn’t going to now!
Another nurse must have taken hold of Applejack from behind, because somepony was tugging on her and trying to drag her out of the room. Applejack would have none of that. She wasn’t going to leave her friend, not like this. No nambie-pambie nurse was going to drag her out.
“Come on Applejack,” said Pinkie Pie. It wasn’t a nurse, it was Pinkie. Applejack looked at her in shock. How could Pinkie want to abandon their friend? “You have to let them work. They know what they’re doing and you being here and shouting at them isn’t helping anypony!”
Applejack suddenly felt ashamed. Pinkie was right. This was not the time to be stubborn. She couldn’t do anything for their friend… friends – she had to remind herself again.
“Alright, you take good care of her ya hear,” said Applejack. Reluctantly she followed Pinkie out of the room. Just as they reached the door Pinkie Pie suddenly shuttered as a strange twitch raced through her body.
“Ear-flop, eye-flutter, knee-twitch!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie, Applejack looked at her in surprise. Her eyes turned to the door right in front of them. It remained solidly closed. With a tentative hoof, Applejack pushed the door open but there was nopony on the other side.
“Well that was strange,” said Pinkie. “I wonder who has to look out for opening doors?”