Let Her In

by TooShyShy

It's Cold Out Here

Night One

A hoof tapped against the window panes.

It was four in the morning and Fluttershy was standing outside of Apple Bloom’s bedroom window. Her eyes were blank and her smile slight enough to go virtually unnoticed. As Apple Bloom turned her head toward the window, Fluttershy raised a hoof and tapped against the glass again. She mouthed four words, her mouth barely moving.

“It’s cold out here.”

Apple Bloom pulled the covers over her head. She listened to the creaks and groans of the house settling. It would be dawn soon.

The tapping started again.

Night Two

Fluttershy was standing outside of the window again. Her eyes didn’t look quite right, but Apple Bloom would have been at a loss if asked to describe how. The dark red stain across the left side of Fluttershy’s face contrasted harshly with her normally bright fur. She again tapped on the glass, again mouthed those four words.

“It’s cold out here.”

It was not cold. If anything, it was an unusually warm spring night.

Apple Bloom pulled the covers up to her muzzle. A part of her wanted to open the window and let Fluttershy in. Yet there was that whisper at the back of her young mind. “No,” some part of Apple Bloom’s brain said. “Do not open the window.” So she merely sat there, staring into Fluttershy’s slightly-off eyes.

Sleep seemed a remote possibility, but eventually it came. Apple Bloom dozed off just as the tapping stopped.

Night Three

That night, Apple Bloom dreamed of toys. Not merely toys in general, but familiar plush or wooden faces from her childhood. She saw the wooden dolls Granny Smith had given her. The hand-me-downs from Big Macintosh and Applejack were also there, although they looked dingier than Apple Bloom remembered. She found herself digging through what seemed to be an unending pile of toys.

What am I looking for? Apple Bloom wondered.

Apple Bloom decided a minute later it must be King Paws, her favorite teddy bear. She remembered loving him immensely when she was a foal. But why couldn’t she find him? Surely he must be somewhere. Surely this relic of Apple Bloom’s foalhood was not so easily buried.

But King Paws hadn’t been buried, had he? He had gone missing. He had vanished from her life one spring night. And Apple Bloom had never been quite the same since.

With this realization, Apple Bloom started to sob. This rush of emotion yanked her out of her dream.

Fluttershy was standing outside the window again. Clutched in her mouth was a tattered old teddy bear.

Night Four

Apple Bloom slept in Applejack’s bed that night. She made up some excuse about “nightmares”, horribly aware of how immature she sounded. But her big sister was more than willing to switch bedrooms for the night. And of course Apple Bloom could not tell her the real reason she was so distraught.

Lying in bed, Apple Bloom started thinking about her foalhood for some reason. She recalled bright eyes peering out from an open wardrobe, shadows slinking across the floor, a husky sigh as she approached sleep. But those were not memories, were they? Surely they were simply the remnants of past bad dreams.

Applejack complained of a headache the next morning, but otherwise was none the worse for wear.

Night Five

Apple Bloom was alone in the house. Her siblings and grandmother had left the premises, the former due to a last minute order and the latter due to some business with a distant relative. They would not be back until late the next day.

Prior to bed, Apple Bloom locked all the doors and windows in the house. She made a bed for herself on the living room couch. And as one final precaution, Apple Bloom took an old garden hoe from the barn. She laid it next to her makeshift bed within hoof’s reach.

It was raining outside. Apple Bloom listened to the raindrops splattering against the roof as she dozed off. Occasionally she was convinced she heard something else. A footstep? A bang? A whisper? No, it was her imagination. Or perhaps the wind. Apple Bloom snuggled deeper under the blanket.

More noises. They sounded as if they were coming from her bedroom. But that was impossible. The window was closed.

But was it closed?

Apple Bloom sat up, her heart pounding. She thought her locking down of the house had been through. But hadn’t she intentionally avoided her bedroom, trusting the window to be closed? Yet anypony in her family could have opened it prior to their leaving.

Even more noises. Banging and perhaps footsteps. And Apple Bloom was now certain they were coming from her room. She clutched the blanket, quivering. What was she to do? Investigate? Flee? But what if it really was her imagination and the window was firmly shut? If so, stepping out of the house might put her in more danger.

Apple Bloom threw off the blanket and dropped to the floor. She had to know. Perhaps she was trotting to her own death, but it was better than simply waiting for some unknown horror to grab her. Apple Bloom took the garden hoe in her mouth before she headed up the stairs.

The house was silent, but Apple Bloom was not fooled. She approached her bedroom with caution. A part of her expected the door to fly open and for some awful creature to pounce. But having a weapon of sorts made Apple Bloom feel brave. Brave enough to gently push the door open without hesitation.

The window was open. The wind—it was now practically howling—was slapping sheets of rain and leaves into the room. Judging by the twigs and leaves that had accumulated under the window, it had been open for a while.

But the open window was not the part that made Apple Bloom pause. It was not the cause of the scream that climbed halfway up her throat. She saw it within seconds. And once she did, Apple Bloom thanked Celestia she had not stepped into the room.

Something was in Apple Bloom’s bed. A pony-shaped lump was visible under the covers. It was moving, its chest rising and falling with every breath. Apple Bloom thought she smelled something rotting and dusty, like the pages of a very old book. But she could have imagined it.

Apple Bloom did not move. Neither did the creature, save for its breathing. Apple Bloom realized the creature did not seem to realize she was there. It did not stir as she stood frozen in the doorway. Nor did the wind and rain seem to disturb it.

Apple Bloom eventually left the room, quietly shutting the door behind her. She went back downstairs, slower this time as not to make too much noise.

Apple Bloom ended up spending the night in the barn. When her family returned and demanded an explanation, she made up some half-believable story about a burglar. She refused to return to the house until all the rooms had been searched. As Apple Bloom had expected, no signs of a break-in were found, save for the open window in her bedroom.

Apple Bloom returned to her bedroom after the search was complete. Other than a few dry leaves and the lingering smell of decay, there was no indication of anything having slept in her bed. However, Apple Bloom found that one of the dresses in her wardrobe was covered with dirt and what appeared to be a single bloody hoofprint.

Apple Bloom burned the dress in the fireplace later that day.

Night Six

Apple Bloom stayed up all night. She was sleepy to the point of near-madness, but she refused to tear her eyes from the window.

Fluttershy was watching her yet again. This time she held a single piece of ripped cloth in her mouth. It was from the dress Apple Bloom had burnt. Apple Bloom had buried the remains of it in the yard.

Apple Bloom thought of the eyes and the shadows that seemed to have haunted her early foalhood. She was now convinced she had also heard scratching noises and perhaps tapping. But memories and nightmares had become interchangeable as of late. Apple Bloom was not wholly convinced they were not one in the same.

The two sat locked in what seemed to be a staring contest until morning came. As soon as Celestia’s light poked its way through the clouds, Fluttershy turned and trotted away.

Apple Bloom did not get up from her bed. It was minutes before she at last gave into slumber.

Night Seven

Applejack had found the remains of the dress and demanded to know why Apple Bloom was burning her clothes. She also asked Apple Bloom about her apparent sleeping troubles and her hostility towards Fluttershy.

Apple Bloom confessed nothing. She made excuses that were far from plausible. Apple Bloom did not care if her sister was satisfied or not. A part of her hoped Applejack would send her away, perhaps to a relative’s house. At least Apple Bloom would be far away from this nightmare if that happened.

But Applejack had not sent her away. Apple Bloom was certain Applejack was consulting Big Macintosh over the matter, but for the time being she was forced into another staring contest with Fluttershy—or whatever loathsome creature wore Fluttershy’s face—outside her window.

Fluttershy pressed her hooves against the window. Her eyes seemed larger than they should have been. She appeared mournful, as if denied some great conquest.

Apple Bloom could only stare for so long before she turned away.

Fluttershy mouthed those familiar words again.

“It’s cold out here,” she mouthed.

Apple Bloom stuck her head underneath the covers. She did not hear Fluttershy tapping at the window, but that mournful face had taken over her thoughts.

Night Eight

Apple Bloom thought she might have been sleepwalking the previous night. For she had not awakened in her bed, but curled up in front of the closed window.

Enough is enough, Apple Bloom thought as she lay in bed.

It might have seemed like a brave proclamation, but in truth Apple Bloom was terrified. She again did not sleep, her eyes focused on the creature outside of her window.

Fluttershy returned Apple Bloom’s stare, smiling and licking her lips.

Night Nine

Earlier, Apple Bloom had overheard her older siblings talking about doctors. She was aware they planned to send her to one. Whatever her siblings planned to do, Apple Bloom was confident her troubles would end soon enough.

Apple Bloom opened her window that night. She waited until the sun had almost sunk below the trees before she did so. Her family had dozed off a little while ago. Confident she was the only sleepless soul in the house, Apple Bloom left her bedroom and went downstairs.

In the kitchen, Apple Bloom procured an old gas lamp. She also took the sharpest kitchen knife she could find from the drawer. Far more useful than the garden hoe she’d chosen last time. But in this case the purpose was not mere defense.

Apple Bloom waited until darkness had truly fallen. Then she crept back to her room, the gas lamp held precariously in one hoof and the knife handle in her mouth. Apple Bloom nudged the door open inch by inch, careful to minimize any noise she made.

The creature was again lying in Apple Bloom’s bed, the outline of its form underneath the covers. Apple Bloom placed the gas lamp on the floor. She froze as it touched the floorboards with the slightest thump. But she saw no evidence of the creature awakening at the sound. Apple Bloom held back a sigh of relief.

Apple Bloom waited a few more minutes to ascertain that the thing was asleep. She then approached the bed, knife still clutched tightly in her mouth. She was shaking, but she refused to hesitate in this moment of action. Apple Bloom reached the side of the bed and gently pressed both hooves against it. She eased herself up, carefully pulling herself onto the bed next to the creature.

And then the creature moved. It was only a slight shift, as if it was trying to get comfortable. But it was enough to completely destroy Apple Bloom’s nerve.

Apple Bloom dropped the knife, a squeak of terror flying out of her mouth. She pressed both hooves against her mouth, but it was far too late.

The creature seemed to sense Apple Bloom was near. It moved in one swift, jerky motion, arching its back and bending its head in a way no normal pony could have managed. The creature gave a long growl, its body appearing to convulse as it threw the covers from it.

Apple Bloom screamed, leaping from the bed.

The creature leaped from the bed as well, moving in a way similar to a spider. It still resembled Fluttershy, but its neck was bent at an unnatural angle as if broken. Its head was bent to one side and upside down. It regarded Apple Bloom with its upside-down grin, a grin extending far past what should have been possible. Its tongue hung limply from one side of its mouth like that of an excited dog. It was panting in eagerness.

Applejack rushed into the room, a gas lamp in her hoof.

“What the hay is going on?” Applejack said breathlessly.

But Apple Bloom could only whimper, pointing a hoof at the creature that now stood in silent triumph near the window.

Applejack’s eyes widened with bemusement and horror.

“What in tarnation?” Applejack gasped.

The creature moved its neck again, adjusting its head to a more normal position. Its face no longer even vaguely resembled Fluttershy. It instead had morphed into some twisted mockery of the shy pony’s face, the mouth stretched even farther, the pupils smaller than pinpricks. It was breathing heavily, a tongue at least a foot long hanging from its gaping maw.

Applejack tossed the gas lamp at the creature. It shattered upon impact, setting the vile thing on fire.

All at once the creature’s twisted face rearranged itself. It now became a more accurate representation of Fluttershy. The flames started to engulf it immediately. A scent not unlike that of sulfur rose as patches of its fur hastily burned away. The creature objected loudly, alternating between screams eerily similar to those of Fluttershy and deep screeches not unlike that of a tortured bird. The fur and flesh burned away at an unnatural rate, the screams and screeches continuing long after they should have ended. The last to surrender to the inferno was the light pink mane.

After a few moments, all that remained was a charred skeleton.


Apple Bloom and Applejack did not speak to each other. Neither spoke a word of the incident, even after Applejack had buried the body in a secluded part of the farm. In fact, they both took the secret to their graves.

Apple Bloom never again slept with her window open, even on particularly hot nights. Eventually she was able to resume regular interaction with the real Fluttershy, although it took months before she could look her in the eye. And for a while after that, Apple Bloom would shudder every time Fluttershy smiled. The creature’s smile would haunt her for the remainder of her days.

Occasionally, on nights when it is particularly cold and the wind is close to howling, Apple Bloom will swear she hears a tapping at her window. But she never gets up to check. She merely snuggles deeper under her covers, willing herself to enter dreamland quicker.

But it is a little harder to ignore the voice. It whispers to her, seemingly inches away from her ear. It sounds very much like Fluttershy.

“It’s cold down here.”