Fluttershy’s eyes were awoken by a veil of sunlight entering her cottage home. It appeared the sun had risen once more over Ponyville, like every other day. The cottage was quiet and needed a good cleaning judging by the dust particles she saw in the sunlight bathed areas of her room. She didn’t want to get up and start the day, her head was still buzzing and aching from Pinkie Pie’s party last night. The pegasus had a little too much sarsaparilla and her head and tummy was fighting against her. She knew she had work to do and animals to attend to, so she rolled herself out of bed and into the air with the aid of her wings. She wobbled in flight, but eventually steadied herself while she went over to her dresser. The bedroom dresser had a large, decorative mirror with a lavender-painted, maple trim; it was one of the few proud things she owned that she took extra care of and would be in a world of sorrow if something bad ever happened to it. Besides this and a few other knick-knacks, Fluttershy tried to keep her worldly possessions to a minimum, trying her hardest to live the lifestyle of a woodland creature.
It was sad that she truly couldn’t get herself to accomplish this she thought as she tried to comb her messy and tangled, pink locks. Her friends thought of her remarks as to being a tree or a animal mere jokes, whereas she really wanted to be one of these things besides a pony. She liked some of the attributes of being a pony; one of the greatest perks being her five close friends. Without them, she would have continued to be the lone hermit on the outskirts of Ponyville. She knew that without them, she would have never worked up the courage to go out and make friends like her pals were now. Her shyness sometimes overwhelmed her and made her self esteem plummet just at the mere thought. The yellow pegasus thought that maybe this was an early sign of depression, but tried to keep it out of her head.
As the morning progressed, she had made herself a bowl of oatmeal and sat down at her old, oak kitchen table. She sat there, taking small bite after bite of the warm oatmeal, trying to savor each little bit of her morning meal. Fluttershy tried to organize her mental “to-do list” in her head as usually as she consumed her breakfast slowly. A sudden thought rekindled her mind and a reel of events flashed through her memory of recent days past. She had begun to notice that she was losing her ability to communicate with animals so well. That either they couldn’t understand her or were suddenly afraid of her. She didn’t understand why or what she was doing wrong, if anything. She didn’t think she had changed physically or was doing anything different to cause them to react in the way they were acting to her. Even Angel, her bunny rabbit, was acting off key lately. He didn’t want to communicate or be around Fluttershy. At first, she felt angry at herself for failing to uphold what her cutie mark had signified her talents to be; but that bundled up anger turned South and became a pit of sorrow. Her self esteem was at an all time low as she even isolated herself from her once animal friends. She obviously held her emotions back from her friends during the party last night, she didn’t want them to worry. The yellow pegasus pony was use to wearing a mask with a smile on her face, but the truth was, she hadn’t truly smiled in a very long time.
She zoned back in and had realized her oatmeal was now soggy and cold. She didn’t how long she had sat there and thought about her current conditions and how certain events led up to how she was now. She sat up from her kitchen table and dumped the rest of the oats into a trash bin. She wasn’t feeling very hungry after mentally punishing herself with pitiful thoughts. She wanted to be alone, in fact, she discovered a few days ago that she liked being alone. She adored the solitude with herself, but forced herself to make appearances with her friends like last night, so that they wouldn’t know what was going on. She didn’t want any help with her current problems; the problems had to deal with her cutie mark and she thought that only she could only figure out what was wrong. Even in her lonesome state-of-being at the moment, she had a job to still uphold and she went along with her already scheduled plans and went to begin her routine of feeding and caring for her animal "so-called" friends.
Before she exited her cottage, she had completely forgotten Angel, who slept inside the same room as her. Her eyes widened with the lingering care she had left for her special pet as she frantically looked around for her bunny. She searched high and low, and even in places she knew Angel couldn’t access. She scoured every nook and cranny in her forest home, but no signs of the white rabbit.
“Angel! Sweetie! Where are you?” she loudly grieved as she threw open closet doors and cabinet drawers. After searching every area of the house, even the chimney, her fright turned to panic as she began to sweat bullets. An anxiety attack was soon approaching as she worked up thoughts of the worst possible outcomes of her bunny.
She dashed outside, leaving the cottage door wide open. She looked all around the front of her house, and finally, after stopping to catch a breath, she saw Angel in plain sight. He was sitting on the fence post, overlooking the Everfree Forest and the sun rising to the East, facing away from Fluttershy. Her heart leaped for joy as her anxiety was washed away by the cool waters of comfort.
She galloped over said to his back, “Oh, Mama’s so happy she found her little bunny! She was so worried! I had the most awful thoughts about what might have happened to you!”
He didn’t respond, nor did he turn around. The bunny just continued to stare off into the forest, as if searching for something far off in the distance. Fluttershy squeezed her pet firmly with a warm hug and turned him around. He had a crestfallen expression over his face, as if he had lost something near and dear to him. He pushed off of his caretaker and Fluttershy let go of him. He hopped out of her arms and into the cottage without a glance at Fluttershy. The pegasus’ heart sank as she bent her head down and walked in behind her bunny rabbit. Even after showing affection to her pet, he still treated her indifferently like the last couple of days. There was no sign of her animal coping abilities improving and her depressing thoughts spiraled back into her mind.
As she entered her house once more, she had then decided to quit her animal keeping job soon. She had lost all passion in what she use to love to do. She would pick up another hobby she thought; maybe something like knitting or sewing, she was decent at sewing her animals paw warmers in the winter months. She thought that Rarity would help her get her started in the sewing business and hopefully will be able to turn her dim and less focused passion into a money earning job. She gave a weak smile at this as it soothed her aching heart, but she knew that it wouldn’t truly make her happy. Only animal care would fill the hole in her heart; a passion she was so fond of now quickly going up in smoke in the flames of reality.
She would pack up her bags, take her few belongings that she cherished and move into one of her friend’s houses for a short while; at least until she could afford her own place away from the animals that she thought despised her. She brought her head back up and realized Angel was staring out of her living room window. The bunny was again looking at the forest outside, deep in thought about something Fluttershy couldn’t wrap her head around.
“What could a bunny possibly be in such deep thought about?” she thought as she approached her pet slowly. The yellow pegasus thought that maybe if she tried to make casual chit-chat with Angel, that maybe he could somehow tell her what he was feeling.
She hampered her depression and said with an uplifting tone, “So how was yesterday, my sweetie-bunny? You know, I wasn’t around most of the day and left you at the house by yourself. I couldn’t help but wonder how your day went.”
Angel slowly turned around to Fluttershy and with a depressed expression he suddenly replied, “Well besides the rotten lettuce and the gray skies, it was okay.”
Fluttershy’s eyes widen and she stepped back in shock at Angel speaking. He had never spoken before. Fluttershy could communicate with animals well, but they had never once spoken back to her in a language she could understand. She could usually communicate with them by their facial expressions or noises they made.
The pegasus smiled, for the first time in a near month and replied, “Oh my goodness! You can talk? This is incredible!”
The bunny diverted his eyes to the floor and said with a cold tone, “What else is new? If you would have tried, you would have known I was a flamboyant articulator this entire time. Maybe this proves that when one is mentally broken enough, they begin to notice the overlooked things in this world.”
This rash and obvious stab at Fluttershy’s feelings was the straw that broke the pony’s back. Her twisted and deep depression ignited into a sudden burst of fiery anger. She had had enough of having her talents spat upon, even by the one’s that use to love her.
She stepped right up to Angel’s face, looked him dead in the eyes and said with a burning passion in her tone, “HEY, Mr. Bunny! You get all that you wish! You have nothing to complain about while living with me for free! All I do is try to make every animal I take care of happy and live a peaceful life! I buy all the food, I pay all the bills, I don’t see you paying for taxes or washing dishes or cleaning up around this place!?”
Fluttershy stepped back, took a breath and continued, “All of this I do out of love. I don’t have to do it, but I love doing it! I love sacrificing my time to care for you animals, but I’ve just about had it up to here with it! I never get a ‘thank you’ or anything for all the work I do! I wish I could be a bunny or a cute animal, but instead I live in this dirty, dusty house! If I was an animal, life would be great; I could erase this permanent frown, I wouldn’t be limited in life!”
Tears began to well up in the yellow pegasus’ eyes as she took another breath and filled her lungs, “All I want is to be happy in life! Why am I losing my ability to communicate with animals, I don’t know what to do! My existence on this planet is worthless now that my happiness has ran dry!”
Fluttershy was on the verge of a breakdown as Angel hopped off of the windowsill and onto the dust covered ground.
He pointed his white, fuzzy paw at the pegasus and replied, “Well if existence is happiness, then there’s so much that you miss. Reality is the Universe’s tool to keep the populous under control! Besides, true bliss is just a myth in this day and age.”
Fluttershy only understood half of what the mentally intimidating rabbit had to say at the moment.
She wiped a tear from her eye and said, “Living here is so much more peaceful then living a life of a pony. Here you can do practically anything you want; you get plenty of exercise, you never go hungry, that’s why I wish I was an animal or a tree or something besides what a mess I am now. I think I would even give up my friendship’s here in Ponyville for a happier life. I’m tired of hiding my feeling’s... it’s so unbearable I just wish somepony could relate to me.”
The words that came out of Fluttershy’s mouth scared her. She didn’t even have to think twice about what she had just said, it came so naturally into her mind. She started to wonder if what she actually said was even the truth. Would she give up her life now for a new one if it meant it would be a happier life for her, even without her friends? What was her subconscious really hiding from her, how did that slip up even occur? This and many more questions began to haunt the shy pony.
While taking the time to think about this, she didn’t even realize Angel was laughing at her. He was laughing so hard that he was beginning to have a hard time breathing as he stamped his hind paw on the ground in vigorous motions. She didn’t know why exactly he was laughing so hard at her, but she didn’t like it one bit. She gave her well-known, soul binding stare at Angel in hopes of making him stop. He did in fact stop at the sight of Fluttershy’s stare, but appeared unfazed as he wiped a tear of joy from his eye. He took in a breath and hopped closer towards her, almost as if subliminally showing his dominance over her.
Angel said, “Too bad you’re such a thinker. You’re so close to discovering something great that I’m afraid you might not even need my help.”
A flood of confusion poured into Fluttershy’s mind as she questioned, “How can someone think too much?”
Angel gave a look as if Fluttershy was as dim-witted as Derpy Hooves. He took in a long, deep breath and began his lecture.
“Insanity lingers inside everyone and that isn’t even the crazy part about living. These insane thoughts brought me to the brink of such ideas and self realizations. Insanity is just a way to cope with existence, you see? You live inside a head that reminds me of this cottage you’ve isolated yourself in for the last few days in near solitude. Everyone’s the same though, don’t think you’re the only one that think’s you’re some special little butterfly with special little needs. All brains of every living creature are connected by a reality that’s framed and chained to one another. Its trained itself not the change and to only live within its own comfort zone. In fact, in a few short years, your mind has completely fabricated a false existence around itself, living a life it so desires. Once your unhappiness reaches a certain peak, ideas begin the change and things reveal themselves which you thought you couldn’t see before, but were always there to begin with. One might call this insanity, while others might call it a self-revelation.
It’s not absurd by any means, it is what it is, we are a brain in a skull with five senses. From the time we are born, what we take in from those senses make up who we are and how we see life. If one was born as a fish, his worldview would be limited to the ocean and they would believe there is nothing beyond the ocean until one such osprey grabs ahold of them one day and shows them how small they are in such an undiscovered existence when he leaves his home in the sea. Though they couldn’t comprehend it in time because they would soon be eaten, but it just goes to show you how life is such a lie.
From the moment you understand this concept, your mind twists and turns with every new piece of information given to you. Questioning everything and no longer having faith in what you see. Once you see what I've explained, you hit the jackpot of everything worth living for.”
Fluttershy was dumbfounded. She didn’t know how to respond exactly; everything Angel said was slowly sinking into her subconscious, even if she didn’t realize it.
She sputtered in confusion, “I-I don’t understand exactly what you-, I mean, I-I think tha-”.
At that very moment, when Fluttershy did begin to think about what Angel had said, it was as if her eyes really opened for the first time. She began to sense the environment she had grown so accustom to warp around her. A surreal light filled her pupils, which made her squint for some odd reason. The light seemed to have beamed downward from above as if her cottage roof was torn open and the sun was twice as bright as it should be. The smell of candle scents and mahogany wood that once filled her house began to smell like wood chips, oats and feces. She heard strange noises scurrying around her, shadows from the corner or her room taking tangible, large shapes the size of herself. The cottage’s insides completely faded away and Fluttershy found herself staring at a pony that looked just like her. In fact, it was her; the resemblance was uncanny and it horrified her in a sense. Angel was no where to be seen and her cottage was no more, it had dissolved away into nothingness and a new environment surrounded her. Where Angel was standing stood the impostor Fluttershy who had a strange, unnatural appearance as if she was a dim, transparent reflection.
Her whole world had changed, she didn’t understand it at the time, but she soon realized she was no longer a pony.
She turned to the pony that looked like her and asked frantically, “Wha-what’s going on!? What happened!?”
The Fluttershy impersonator responded, “You didn’t know it, but you were Angel all along!”
Fluttershy looked down and to her horror, she was Angel. Her body had turned into the small, white bunny she had known for so long. Her wings were gone, her natural form was unbalanced and she felt like she was going to be sick.
The reflection of Fluttershy looked so happy for the panicking bunny. He responded with glee, “Congratulations, you broke free! You’re one of few who did it! I didn’t think me, your subconscious, could help you like so many others had failed at, but you believed; and now, the true reality of everything has presented itself to you. You’re just a pet, like everyone else, except you know what’s real and what isn’t! I applaud you for discovering the truth!”
Fluttershy looked up and beyond her reflection. She was in a glass tank of sorts with other bunnies that looked just like her new self from what she could tell. Beyond looking out of her holding pin, she could see other animals in similar holding pins. She could see an owl, a dog, an alligator, a turtle, a cat, and other strange and interesting animals. She appeared to be in a larger room beyond her holding tank, trapped within a frame with no escape.
At first, Fluttershy felt defeated and was stricken with torrents of tears and sadness for many days and nights. Though she soon learned the ropes of the holding pins and at night the animals would escape their cages and converse with one another in a single cage; but as soon as dawn came once again, they would lock themselves back up and have tall, strange creatures touch and hold them for many hours. Some would even take her friends forever, Fluttershy didn’t like these new, large beings that kidnapped her new, animal friends.
For once in her life, after much debating with herself, she was happy for what Angel had done. Though she never talked to him again or saw her old, pony reflection after that one time she was shown the true reality of everything; she gave him her thanks. She came to the conclusion that she’s always lived inside this glass box which she use to call her cottage home. She hoped that maybe her friends would one day awaken and see the true world like she does. Whenever they do, which hopefully they will one day, that then her life would at its peak of bliss.
It just goes to show you that your mind is your own monster. You can create any sort of false reality to cope with the horrible truths that do exist out there. Reality’s what you make it, and if you take it away, you’re just a pet in a tank, or whatever really exists out there in the true world. Fluttershy, one evening in the tank, began to think if this is what was really the truth, that if she was just a bunny in a holding pin and nothing more. And when she thought about it, she then dived deeper into the rabbit hole called deception. What she found in that rabbit hole was, well, you’ll see one day.