The cold metal of the trash bin digs into your back. The plastic bags filled with what feels like all the heaviest, pokiest things they could stuff in there pin you against the bin. Oh, and you're upside down with barely enough space to breathe, and blood starts rushing into your head, making you dizzy. It's dark, it's grimy, it stinks to high heaven and you're slap bang in the middle of it.
You try to wiggle, or push the bags off of you, but because when you fell, like half of the bags in the whole bin slid down onto your back and made it impossible to move them. Not to mention, you have nowhere to wiggle anyway, seeing as you are upside down.
"HEY! HELP!" You can't even tap against the metal. "CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?!"
You sigh. "Oh go along, Anon, go on and play with this cute filly you've never seen before, what could go wrong? Fucking shit... okay, okay, okay, think..." You are still on the grounds of the rich pony family, so the likelihood of anyone noticing or even hearing you was extremely slim. It seemed to be very late now judging from the faint glow of the moonlight, so Sweetheart would be out looking for you. Yeah, that made sense... unless Toothpaste had told her you'd be staying overnight! Oh God, please no... don't think that, gotta keep up the optimism, she'll find me. Though if she knew we were at her place, wouldn't she be here already...?
You make a mental note to be more cautious in the future. The ponies were ridiculously easy to trust because of their disarmingly cute antics, but of course there would be some who would take advantage of you. I should probably also get an emergency kit or something. You know, in case I end up trapped upside down in the trash. Not that a pocket knife could push a truckload of bags off of me... but it sure would make me feel better. Maybe I should just carry a crowbar instead and whack those dumbasses when they try to feed me filet mignon in a dog bowl... God, I'm hungry. Your stomach gurgles.
Time passes incredibly slow, though you are unable to fall asleep because of the uncomfortable position you're in, and the sheer iciness of the bin's metal side against your back. Instead, you become more and more frustrated and delirious. "99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer, take one down, send it through an interdimensional gate, 98 bottles of beer on the waaall..." you shiver and cringe at the chill going through your bones. It was definitely getting colder outside, and your nose was starting to run like a tap, forcing you to sniffle constantly. Damn, I hope I'm not gonna get sick from this.
You felt miserable.
"Huh... whuh?" You snap out of your feverish half-sleep to find yourself lying on the cool, moist grass next to an overturned bin. The sudden change in sensations overwhelms you a bit, not to mention all the blood that's pooled into your brain has given you a headache worthy of a hangover. "Ohhh, my head..." You lie there for a moment, rubbing the cold dew over your forehead. "That hurts... ah, horse apples!"
Curiosity eventually overwhelms the pain, however, and you struggle up. To your surprise, you see Toothpaste sitting next to you with a bashful look in her eyes, gingerly touching your shoulder with her hoof as if she was afraid you'd run off at the sight of her. "Did you get me outta there?" You asked with a little smile. "Thanks." To dispel her fears, you picked her up and brought her to your chest, which she hugged blissfully. Sure, she was technically the reason you ended up cramped in there for hours, but you can't hold a grudge against a little girl. Especially when she rubs her tiny little nose against your shirt and looks up at you with those happy, shiny blue eyes.
You scratch her head and run your fingers through her luscious purple-white mane, making her giggle a little. Whilst doing so, you notice something is missing. Looking around, you see the diamond tiara glint against the moonlight next to the heap of plastic bags lying on the ground and take it, weaving it through her mane to make it stand perfectly upright on her head again. "There." You say and rub the back of her ear.
Not wanting to keep Sweetheart waiting any longer, you stand up. The little filly realises you're leaving immediately and lets out a quiet little whine, pawing at your feet with both hooves. "I'm sorry, I've really got to go ." You hate leaving her like this, but what else is there to do? You check your pockets, but there's nothing there other than your coin, notebook and pencil-ohhhhh...
It's not much, but you want her to have something, so you pull out the notebook and doodle a stick figure version of yourself with a quadruped figure on your shoulders, front hooves victoriously upright and a tiara on her head. You give the picture to Toothpaste, but to your dismay, it only leads to choking sounds and her eyes watering up. The pony tries waving you goodbye with a shaky hoof and you sigh. There just is no winning sometimes. You give the little filly a final hug, as tight as you can, and stroke her back to make her feel better.
And then you go, leaving the filly to return to the house with her head low, gripping the picture you gave her.
"F-f-f-fucking c-cold..." you grumble at the cold winds blowing about. You don't get it - yesterday was summer weather, now all of a sudden we've skipped to November? At any rate, you moan with relief when you finally spot the lit windows of Sweetheart's distant cottage. You rub your hands together and limp on, your body still aching from the bruises you got from that nasty fall out of the 2nd floor window. Christ, what a day.
Tea, definitely hot tea, but not too hot... fried potatoes... nice, cosy mat... next to the fireplace... fireplace... fireplace... you pictured the flames licking the crackling wood and moved on. Very close now, nearly there... these were already Sweetheart's own grounds. All you had to do was pass by the pond and you were at the front do-
"WHOA!" you shouted as a particularly powerful gust of wind forced you to the left and made you trip on a rock, and roll down straight into the waters. "AAARGH!" you shriek and crawl out until you can get back on your feet on the road, your lower half covered in mud and dripping water. The door to Sweetheart's cottage slams open, revealing the pegasus you've been dying to see.
Seeing you in such a sorry state, she gasps and her wings flutter to life, enabling her to fly to you in a matter of seconds, pick you up and drop you at the front door. Inside, it was exactly as you imagined. Sweetheart, knowing the oncoming weather, had started a fire and the cottage was comfortably warm. Paying no heed to common courtesy, Sweetheart latched onto the back of your drenched trousers and pulled them down. "Whoa!" You say and press a hand against her head. "Hey, hey, I got this." She nods absent-mindedly, and to your surprise, takes flight again, speeding into the kitchen with no time to waste. You find an old nail in the wall next to the oven and above your mat and hang your trousers on it to dry. Some of the water drips on your mat, but you pay it no heed. This close to the fireplace, it'll be gone in no time.
Tired and irritated, you don't bother putting on another pair and instead simply pull the covers over your legs and plant a pillow against the wall to relax on your mat. Sweetheart has other ideas, though. You hear her clanging a spoon against a pot in the kitchen, that being her signal that food is ready. Nobody else responds, so you figure the rest of them have eaten already.
To wear pants, or not wear pants, that is the question. You really wish you had pajama pants right now. The Goddess who works at that clothes shop could probably get you a pair, but you're too prideful to go asking for more clothes. Fuck it, they're all naked, I still have my underpants on. No biggie.
You crawl out from underneath the covers and drag yourself into the kitchen and on a stool, where Sweetheart has prepared a bowl of vegetable and fish soup. Hungry and in need of warmth, you empty the bowl fairly fast and before you can even get up, she's already snatched it off the table and scrubbing it down in the sink. You rest your chin against your hands on the table and drowsily watch her. That mare's just too good, no two ways about it; yes sir.
Soon enough she's by your side and her wing pushes your arm down to her back, so she could support you back to the mat. By this point, you've mostly mentally shut down and just wait for the moment you can go to sleep. You sit back to where you were before, with the pillow propping your back up against the wall and Sweetheart starts rubbing a salve into your bruises. Your eyes lazily drift across the room and you notice your bunny friend hopping towards you. "Mini-Me! Hope you've been having... a better day than me..."
The bunny blinks as he sees your haggard appearance and then runs up to you. You think he's just gonna come and cheer you up, but instead, he jumps up and climbs onto your hanging trousers, dragging himself up until he reaches your pocket and pulls out something golden... your last bit! You frown, too tired to be really concerned, and mostly confused. The bunny hops down and runs off with the coin. "Sweetheart..." you whine. "That bunny's stealing my caaaash."
Sweetheart looks at the bunny and makes an O-face before running off suddenly and coming back with a large drawing pad, which she drops onto your lap. On the pad are three images separated by lines, just like a newspaper comic strip. The images are crude, but look stylised, suggesting some skill. The first picture is of a bipedal creature, clearly you, handing three gold coins over to an orange quadruped with a Stetson hat - Apple Buttocks. Above the two is a green check symbol. The next picture is identical, except the mare you're giving the money to is Sweetheart. Also a green check symbol.
However, the final picture is of you giving money to a stallion pony you've never seen before - green, with a black mane and question mark tattoo, and above him floats a big red X. "Sweetheart, who's this?"
Sweetheart shrugs and rolls her hoof in the air in a vague gesture.
"Me giving money to Applebutt... okay. Me giving money to you, okay. Me giving money to... I don't understand."
The bunny gets your attention by tapping on your knee angrily. You look down on him to see him run around in a circle with his paws up, as if trying to hug everything. "Me giving money to... everyone?"
He stops and points at you emphatically. That's the one! "It's bad if I give money... to anyone other... than Sweetheart or Applebutt?" Suddenly, the logic hit me. Those rich snob ponies, for example... "Of course it is! I don't know anything about this place, the money or the prices. Anyone could take advantage of me." You slap yourself on the forehead for not realising this sooner. "She's not mad at me at all, she was worried. Urgh, I'm an idiot." The bunny nods.
With your wounds nicely cleaned up, Sweetheart kisses you on the cheek and then points to the bathroom. "Oh, come on...!" You drag yourself out of bed again, somehow, to go brush your teeth. And have a nice, hot, indescribably wonderful shower. Hay-flavoured shampoo never smelled so good.