Reaping Rainbow

by The Hat Man

DOA (Dash On Arrival)

Twilight Sparkle sighed as she took a seat on her throne. She and the others all encircled the magical map which directed them to friendship problems around Equestria. Unlike those situations, however, their current issue was much closer to home than any of them had ever anticipated.

Twilight did her best to maintain a look of calm to reassure her friends, all of whom wore somber looks.

“The doctor says there’s been no change in Rainbow Dash’s condition,” she said and, quickly noting their crestfallen expressions, added “but he has stressed that recovery is still entirely possible. Lots of ponies have come out of comas similar to this one, and Rainbow is definitely not in any danger in the meantime.”

“Well… that’s some good news, at least,” Rarity said with a weak smile.

“In the meantime,” Twilight said, “I think we should all try to do what we can for Rainbow and for her friends and family. Spike and I made a list of things for each of us to do. Spike?”

“I’ve got it!” Spike unfurled a scroll and laid it out on the table before her.

“All right, let’s start:

“Pinkie, Rarity, I’d like you to raise the spirits of the ponies in town. Maybe help them by organizing a project for Rainbow to make one big gift instead of flooding her hospital room with flowers. You can also help to coordinate hospital visits.”

Pinkie brightened. “A present from the whole town? That’d make anypony happy! We’ll make it so nice that Dashie will wake up for sure!”

“At the very least, it might help some of us to take our minds off things,” Rarity said, tapping her chin. Then she smiled. “All right, Twilight, you can count on us!”

“Good. Applejack,” Twilight continued, “could you keep an eye on Scootaloo? She’s not taking this well at all.”

Applejack nodded. “Sure thing, Twilight,” she said. “Since the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ clubhouse is at Sweet Apple Acres, I’ll do everything I can to help her an’ the others get through this. I’ll have a talk with Applebloom to see how I can help.”

Rarity frowned. “The poor dear. I’ll work with Sweetie Belle to do the same.”

“That just leaves you, Fluttershy,” Twilight said.

“Oh! Do you want me to go see Rainbow Dash’s parents?” she asked.

Twilight shook her head. “No, Spitfire said she’d handle that as Rainbow’s C.O. in the wonderbolts. I’d like you to pay a visit to Mage Meadowbrook to see if she knows of any medicines or potions that might help Rainbow’s recovery. I’ve already informed Zecora, and she’s working on that as well.”

Fluttershy nodded. “That sounds like a good idea,” she said, perking up at the thought. “If anypony can come up with a way to revive Dashie, it’ll be one of them!”

“In the meantime,” Twilight said, “I’ll be here doing some research on Rainbow’s condition. I’ve requested more medical texts from Canterlot, so that may help, even if it’s a long shot. I’ll also help Starlight, who may need to hire substitutes for us at the School of Friendship when Spring Break ends… Rainbow Dash in particular.”

They all fell silent at that. They all knew that even if Rainbow Dash recovered quickly, she’d probably be out of commission until she was completely back on her hooves.

“Okay then, everypony, if we all know what to do, then we should get to it. Let’s do this for Rainbow Dash!”

“Right!” they all shouted as one.

Twilight watched them all depart and then made her way to the library.

Rainbow Dash, I know you’re tough, she thought to herself, but nothing like this has ever happened to anypony I know. I wonder if you can even hear us when we visit…

She swallowed a lump in her throat and shook her head.

No, I need to focus! I’m sure Rainbow Dash wouldn’t give up if she were in my place. Whatever’s going through Rainbow’s head right now, I need to keep mine clear!

Unbeknownst to Twilight, what was going through Rainbow’s head at the moment was a mixture of disbelief and exasperation.

“...So that’s why everypony in Manehattan respects me,” said the stocky stallion with the slicked-back mane. “Nopony messes with me. They know that they take one step outta line, and my boys will come by to pay ‘em a little visit if ya know what I’m sayin’. Nopony would dare cross me. That’s how I know you’re lyin’ and there’s no freakin’ way that I can possibly be dead!”

Rainbow Dash blinked. “Uh, I’m pretty sure.”

“Yeah?” said the stallion with a sneer. “What makes you say that?”

Rainbow Dash pointed behind him. The stallion turned and his eyes bulged when he saw his own body, hooves encased in concrete, resting at the bottom of the Bay of Manehattan. His eyes had rolled to the back of his head and his greasy mane swayed in the gentle current.

“What… what the… you mean I’ve been whacked?!”

“Uh, sure looks like it,” Rainbow said, examining her clipboard. “Yeah, it says it right here: ‘Tough Guy’ Trotsky, Gangster—”


“Gangster,” Rainbow Dash said, shooting him a look before going back to her clipboard. “Hit on the head with a blackjack, hooves encased in cement, thrown into Manehattan Bay. Death by drowning.”

“Wait, who hit me over the head?”

“It doesn’t say,” she said, lowering the clipboard. “Try to think. Who were you last with that you remember?”

“Just me an’ a few of the boys. We went to a bistro, had lunch, I walked out first…”

He paused, a look of horror on his face. Rainbow Dash didn’t notice because she was busy watching a fish start to nibble on Trotsky’s body’s ear.

“Those dirty, backstabbing, lousy sons of—”

Rainbow Dash stood there. Most ponies she knew were devoted to keeping their language clean. True, most Wonderbolts could get a bit salty with their language at times, but they were nothing compared to Trotsky. For several minutes, she stood by as he stomped about the seafloor uttering a veritable cascade of profanity the likes of which she’d never heard. A good number of them were words she’d never heard before, and the rest were combined into long strings of obscenity that flowed from one to the next with poetic precision. Despite the vileness of his words, she saw a strangely bizarre beauty in his vulgarity, and wondered if this was how it felt to witness the unveiling of an artistic masterpiece by Ponatello, Hoofael, or Horse Leonardo da Vinci.

At last Trotsky quieted down, panting after his long rant.

“You feel better?” she asked, offering a hopeful grin.

“A little,” he said. “All right… no problem. I got this…”

“Got… what?” she asked.

“So, listen,” he said. “Here’s the deal. You bring me back. I don’t care what it costs, I’ll pay it. Then I want you to take down those guys that whacked me. I want them dead. Their families? Dead. Their pets? ...Eh, I dunno, maybe just scare ‘em a little. Their mistresses and girlfriends? D—”

“Okay, let me just stop you there,” Rainbow said, holding up a hoof, “because I am not going to do any of that.”

He stared back at her. “But… but I can pay you!”

“Look, I can’t bring you back anyway, and even if I could, I wouldn’t take money from a ‘businesspony’ like you.”

“Hey, do you know who I am?!”

“Yeah. A dead mobster at the bottom of the ocean,” she replied casually.

“Hey, that’s… I’m… I could…”

He slumped to the ground and grew strangely quiet. “Huh… so that’s it? I spent all this time becomin’ the toughest pony in Manehattan, buildin’ up all that money, an’ then just like that it’s over?”

Rainbow Dash sighed. “I’m afraid so,” she said.

His frown deepened. “It… I mean, I never thought it’d happen to me…”

Rainbow rubbed the back of her neck. “Well, uh,” she said awkwardly, “if it makes you feel any better, there’s a good chance somepony will ‘whack’ those guys that got you.”

He raised his head slightly. He even grinned. “Yeah. Yeah, maybe you’re right. I guess that does make me feel better. Thanks.”

“Okay, whatever makes you feel better,” she muttered, raising her scythe. “See ya!”

“See ya ‘round, kid,” Trotsky said as he faded away.

“Ugh,” she groaned. “I can’t believe that guy.” She held up her watch. “Okay, who’s next?

“So it says here that you were on a family vacation…”

Rainbow looked up from her clipboard at the family of four standing before her, eerily wide smiles on all of their faces, save the youngest, a filly with her mane in curls.

“We still are!” said the father.

“Daddy… why is that lady dressed like that?” the daughter asked, tapping her father on the shoulder.

“Oh, it’s nothing to worry about, sweetheart. She must be, uh… a farmer!”

Rainbow raised an eyebrow. “Um… not exactly…”

“Now, honey, we shouldn’t assume things about ponies we’ve never met!” the mother said, playfully bopping her husband on the head. “Why perhaps she’s just got her own fashion sense! Maybe she’s one of those, um, ‘goff’ ponies.”

“You mean ‘goth,’ Mom!” the son said.

“Oopsie! My mistake!”

They all shared a mutual laugh.

This is so wholesome it’d make Fluttershy’s family ill, Rainbow thought. Kinda making it hard to tell them the bad news.

Rainbow cleared her throat. “Look, I don’t mean to interrupt, but it looks like before you— er, before I showed up, you were hiking in these mountains,” she said, gesturing to the narrow mountain pass they found themselves in. A gorgeous green valley stretched out before them as they stood at the exit of the pass. “And you were singing a song about…” she checked her clipboard “ much you like singing?”

“Oh, we sure were!” the mother said.

“In fact, let’s give her a verse, kids!”

The family broke into smiles again. “Ohhhhh…”

“No no no, that’s okay,” Rainbow said, holding up a hoof. “I mean, I’m sure it’s nice and all, buuuut… well, you remember those signs about the danger of avalanches and rockslides and such?”

“Oh, but who can resist the urge to sing when a song just leaps into your heart?!” the mother said. “In fact, that’s in our song. Ready, kids?”


Rainbow Dash zipped over and put her hoof to the mother’s lips. “No! No song! Look, I… could you and your husband come talk to me for a second in private?”

“Hm? Oh, sure. Come on, hon.”

The mother and father went with Rainbow a short distance away. They listened as she explained who she was and what she was doing, smiling politely the whole time. They listened as she reminded them that merry songs, while fun, were capable of triggering avalanches. Again, they kept their smiles. She then pointed to the large pile of rocks just a bit behind them and the foreleg that was protruding from under the pile that looked strikingly similar to the father’s.

At that point they stopped smiling.

The children stood by idly, obediently, doing their best to not listen in as their parents talked to the stranger in the cloak with the long pointy rake.

“Yes, but… Sure, but … anything you can… uh huh… What do you mean you’re not sure if… ...give us a minute?”

The mother and father trotted back to their children.

“S-so, kids, um… turns out we’re going to take a bit of a detour now!” said the father.

“I love detours!” said the son.

“Wait, who’s the lady in the funny robe?” asked the daughter.

“She’s… the Tooth Fairy!” the mother replied.

“The… Tooth Fairy? But we haven’t even lost any tee—”

“She’s on vacation, dear, justgowithit!” the mother said with sudden intensity.

“Okay, okay!”

“Now, kids, we want you to just close your eyes and the, uh,” the father said, giving Rainbow a sideways glance, “Tooth Fairy will cast a spell. And then we’ll all go on a magical journey assuming Pony Heaven is real.”

“Wait, what?”

“All right, kids, let’s close those eyes!” the father said.

“Well, happy trails, everypony!” Rainbow Dash said.

“Oh, wait! Before we go, we can sing our song again to Miss Tooth Fairy!” the son exclaimed.

“Good idea, son!” the father said. “Okay, everypony, and a one, and a two—”

Rainbow balked. “Look, you really don’t have to—”

“Ohhhhhhh…. Puppies and kitties and sun all day long
These are the things that fill me with song!
Roses and gumdrops and—”

By this time, Rainbow had already raised her scythe, wincing as the singing family faded away.

“Eugh,” Rainbow said, shivering. “Even the ponies I hang out with don’t sing songs that sappy.” She took out her watch. “Okay, who’s next?”

“So,” the pony with the hard hat said as he spoke with Rainbow Dash in the midst of Ghastly Gorge, “you’re telling me that I was eaten by one of the giant quarray eels?”

Rainbow nodded. “Yeah. Sorry.”

“Well, are you absolutely certain? I mean, last I remember, I was just collecting some geological samples when—”

Behind them from the depths of a giant hole in the cliffside came a huge belch. A moment later, a chewed hard hat slathered with digestive juices that looked exactly like the one the pony was wearing tumbled out of the hole and came to rest at their hooves.

“Totally certain,” Rainbow said.

“Ah,” said the now-late geologist. “Well… f:yay:k.”

“Look, I don’t know how to tell you this, but… you’re dead.”


“Yes. And I’m the Grim Reaper. Well, his substitute.”

“No kidding!”

Rainbow Dash felt a bit relieved. The elderly mare was remarkably accepting of her death in contrast to everypony who’d come before. Then again, they were standing right next to her bed (her very literal deathbed, as it were), where she’d died in her sleep, so it was a bit undeniable.

“I’ve gotta say, you really seem like you’re okay with it,” Rainbow remarked. “Like, waaaay more than most ponies.”

“Oh, that’s because of what comes after this,” she said.

“Well, if you mean an afterlife, then I should tell you—”

“No, no, not that!” the old mare said, rolling her eyes. “My rotten son and his wife have been waiting for me to kick off so they can collect their inheritance. What they don’t know is that I went and spent it all already! A million bits buying a warehouse full of ice cream!”

“Well, maybe they’ll enjoy the ice cream?”

“Lactose intolerant!”

“Then… they could sell it?”

“It’s garlic flavored!”

“Eugh! That sounds awful!”

“I know! They’ll probably lose money trying to get rid of it! Gahahahahahaha!” she cackled.

Rainbow Dash raised her scythe, hearing the echoes of the old mare’s cackling ringing in her ears.

“Okay, that’s the last one for now,” she groaned, rubbing her forehead. “I wonder if Death keeps any cider in his house, because I could really use some…”

As it turned out, Death did keep cider in his house, a fact that was of great personal comfort to Rainbow Dash as she leaned back on Death’s sofa and took a long drink from her mug.

“Oh yeah, that’s the stuff,” she moaned. “Jeez, this job can get depressing. I hope I did everything right for those ponies… hmm…”

She noticed the book she’d left on the coffee table and reached for it.

Maybe instead of reading it right from the start I could look up the things I’ve already been dealing with and go from there? I mean, I’m already in the thick of it, so a little skimming and jumping around here and there’s probably a good idea, right? I bet Twilight would think so!

She opened the book and searched the index for things like “murders” and “group deaths,” thinking back to the mobster at the bottom of the ocean and the song-happy family.

She shivered thinking about it. “Ugh. This is too morbid. I need more cider if I’m going to read this…”

An hour later, Rainbow Dash had simply fallen fast asleep. This might have seemed completely normal in one respect, as she had, in fact, had a particularly tiring day. However, when one considers that she was, at the time, a completely incorporeal being with no tether to the physical world, then the need for rest may seem inconsequential and completely irrelevant. However, if we may think of “tiredness” as a state of mind and general fatigue rather than a physical ailment, then perhaps we may forgive Rainbow Dash for the paradoxical crime of falling asleep on the couch after a few cups of cider and some dry reading.

In any case, she was suddenly awakened by a pounding on her (that is to say, Death’s) front door.

“Ghhuh?” she muttered, sitting up on her couch. “Wazzat? Who?”

She blinked and remembered her situation.

“Oh right. I’m the Grim Reaper. Unless that was a dream…”

She looked down and saw that she was still wearing her black cloak and her scythe was leaning on the couch beside her.

“Nope. Real. Darn it…”

She got up and stumbled her way to the door.

Maybe it’s Death, back from his vacation. Maybe he decided to call the whole thing off and let me go back to my life instead of making me put up with two more days of this horse hockey! Maybe he decided that I was so good at his job that he needed to come back before I totally replaced him! Yeah! And… and maybe he also decided to give me a trophy that says “Best Reaper Ever!” (exclamation point included) to show how great a job I did, and—

She opened the door at this point.

Death of Ponies! Greetings, Death of Ponies!

She found herself face to skull with a hulking skeleton in a dark cloak. However, unlike the Death she knew, this being had two huge horns protruding from his skull, and each horn was adorned with string from which dangled several coins with holes through the middle.

“Uhhhhhhhh…” Rainbow intoned, not sure how to take the strange being before her.

The skeletal creature before her had the same dim flames in his eye sockets as Death, and those eyes suddenly flared as they took in the sight of her.

What? You... you are not Death of Ponies! Imposter! the skeletal being shouted as he lunged forward, knocking Rainbow Dash off her hooves and onto her back. What sorcery is this? How tiny blue pony come here?! You answer now!

“Whoa whoa whoa!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, holding up her hooves. “I’m his substitute! He asked me to take over for him while he went on vacation!”

The creature tilted his head. Vacation? he asked. Hmmm... this possible. Death of Yaks investigate.

The creature marched past her and examined the items in the living room, including her book, her scythe, and her clipboard (which she’d placed on the coffee table next to her nearly-empty stein of cider).

Blue rainbow-haired pony seem to be telling truth... but only one way to tell!

The creature reared back and lunged forward, using one of his prodigious horns to seemingly tear through the fabric of reality and create a Rift. Rainbow Dash got to her hooves and peered through it.

Through the rift, she spied Death, still in his tropical shirt, lying on a towel on a white sandy beach by a vast blue sea.

Ah ha! There Death of Ponies! Death of Yaks find you!

Death lifted his head and lowered his sunglasses (though protecting his eyes was thoroughly unnecessary, given his lack of eyes).

Oh, hallo, Death of Yaks. May I help you with something? Death asked.

Death of Yaks came to visit, the creature (which Rainbow had come to recognize as the Death of Yaks) said. Found blue pony. Says she is Death of Ponies's substitute. This true?

Death nodded. Oh, quite true, my friend. I've asked her to take over for a few days while I get some rest. You haven't attempted to smash her, have you?

The Death of Yaks shook his head. No. Death of Yaks would not smash pony without reason. Death of Yaks only mean to look out for friend's best interest.

Ah, then in that case, Death said, you needn't trouble yourself. I can assure you that she is doing just as I asked her. Please treat Rainbow Dash kindly and offer her any advice and asistance you can in my stead, my friend.

Death of Yaks will do that. Sorry to interrupt vacation, Death of Ponies!

With that, the rift closed, and the Death of Yaks turned to Rainbow Dash. He offered her his hoof and she took it, receiving the roughest hoofshake she’d ever experienced.

So sorry to trouble you, Blue Pony! the Death of Yaks said. Death of Yaks only concerned about friend. Death of Ponies best friend of Death of Yaks, and Death of Yaks is best of best friends!

Rainbow Dash blinked. “Okay then,” she said simply. “I… so… wait, there’s a ‘Death of Yaks’?!”

Of course! Death of Yaks is best Death!

“So you’re the Grim Reaper for yaks instead of ponies?”

Not Grim 'Reaper!' Grim Smasher! Death of Yaks find lost souls of yaks that pass away and then Death of Yaks SMASH them into next life!

Rainbow Dash staggered. “That sounds… kinda rough.”

Tch. And using stupid farming tool to take souls make soooo much sense. Blue Pony need to expand mind!

“Well, I guess you’re right, but…” She paused, then heaved a sigh. “Look, I’m sorry. This is all new to me, and it’s a lot to take in.”

The Death of Yaks nodded. Death of Yaks understand, he said. Death of Yaks help. You ask questions, and Death of Yaks will smash away Blue Pony's doubts and ignorance.

“Well,” Rainbow began, “for one thing, does this mean that every creature in the world has its own Grim Rea— er, version of Death?”

No, not every creature, the Death of Yaks said, waving a hoof dismissively. There Death of Ponies for small ponies. Death of Yaks for yaks because yaks only accept best Death, and Death of Yaks is best!

Rainbow Dash resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Uh huh.”

Other creatures no need being like me or Death of Ponies. Griffons and dragons no care if they die... they accept death as part of life. Hippogryps care, but used to change, so they no need either.

“What about, say… changelings?”

Bah! Changelings not even have sense of individuality enough to think about death until recently! the Death of Yaks scoffed. Maybe now that their society change, they create new Death of Changelings, but only time tell.

“Oh. Neat!” she said, suddenly curious. “Hey, what about—”

Time of asking about other Deaths over now! the Death of Yaks declared, raising his hoof suddenly. If Blue Pony no have worthwhile question, then Death of Yaks leave!

He marched to the door, but Rainbow Dash took to her wings and shot ahead of him, blocking the exit.

“Wait!” she cried.

Yes? Death of Yaks listening...

“It’s just… I mean…”

She heaved a sigh. “Look, I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t really have any good questions coming to mind right now, but I… I’m just a little weirded out by all this. Dealing with dead ponies and reaping them and not knowing what to say… it’s just a lot to take in.”

The Death of Yaks nodded solemnly. Ah. Death of Yaks understand. He patted her roughly on the shoulder. Mortal beings have hard time thinking about death. Make them think about how they die one day. Difficult for mortals, is it not?

“I… I guess I never really thought about dying until I met Death,” she said. She lowered her head. “But for him, meeting ponies after they… y’know… pass? It’s every day. I can’t…”

She shut her eyes and lowered her head. “I can’t wrap my head around it,” she said quietly.

Then, to her surprise, the Death of Yaks hugged her.

Oh, there there, Blue Pony, he said. It be okay. You strong. You must be, or Death of Ponies not ask you to do this.

Rainbow tensed up when the Death of Yaks embraced her, but she relaxed and heaved a sigh. “Heh. Maybe you’re right. I guess a few more days of this couldn’t hurt. Maybe I should even count myself as lucky… not too many ponies get another chance to live, do they?”

The Death of Yaks released her. There, Blue Pony understand. You be okay. Strong ponies like yaks: see a problem, andthen smash it!

She chuckled. “I guess you’re right,” she said. “Thanks, Death of Yaks. I feel a little better now. But, to be honest, I’d feel even better if I could talk to my friends. And, yeah, I know I could just use my scythe to go watch them, but it’s not like any of them could see me too.”

True, said the Death of Yaks as he made for the exit. Unless they really good at magic.

Rainbow Dash froze. She again shot forward and barred the Death of Yaks’s exit.

“Whoa whoa whoa what?” she asked. “What do you mean ‘good at magic’?!”

The Death of Yaks lowered his head. Blue Pony not even know that?! Bah!

He suddenly charged and headbutted her out his way before marching past her.

If Blue Pony want to do job right, she should read book Death of Ponies left for her! Then maybe she have easier time!

“Wait, what should I—”

But when she got to her hooves again, the Death of Yaks had mysteriously disappeared. There was nothing save the endless ethereal plain and the silent midnight sky above.

“Okay, okay, let’s see,” she said, darting back into the house. She went to the book and flipped to the index. She saw the entry marked “Magic” and then looked at the related entries. When she found the one marked ‘Powerful Magic Users (see Wizards)’ she found the appropriate page and read the entry intently:

...While you may be invisible to most ponies, this is largely a result of conditioned blindness to things that the average pony finds difficult to accept. Many children and animals, who by nature are prone to see the truth of things without judgmental eyes, are likely to see you, so exercise caution. Similarly, ponies with great magical skill or knowledge may possess enough insight to see you plainly. Such magic-users may panic when they see you, or simply accept you as a matter of course...

“No way… then that means…!”

She took her scythe and sliced a new Rift in reality, immediately dashing through it.

Twilight Sparkle collapsed onto the book in front of her. She was surrounded by dozens and dozens of other texts that had been carefully studied and discarded. Page upon page of notes had been scribbled and left nearby, and the library that she normally kept in order was now in complete disarray as she’d desperately searched each tome for some kind of clue to help her now comatose friend.

She groaned and raised her head.

Twilight Sparkle!

She jerked her head back as a dark, hooded figure stood before her, a razor-sharp scythe raised above its head.

...Your time has come and your soul is MINE!!

“No!” Twilight screamed before she scrambled away, backing up against a tall bookshelf in her library.

Then she heard a strangely familiar voice as it burst into laughter.

A blue foreleg shot forward and booped her on the muzzle.

“Hahahaha!” the voice laughed. “Gotcha, Twilight!”

Twilight blinked. Her eyes took in the sight before her, though she could scarcely believe what she was seeing.

The being in front of her wore a dark cloak and carried an obsidian scythe, true, but she had a blue coat and bore wings and a brilliant rainbow mane.

“R-rainbow Dash?” Twilight croaked.

“In the flesh (sort of)!” she said. Then she frowned. “Uh… sorry, Twilight? Was that a little too much?”

Then Twilight’s eyes filled with tears. “Rainbow Dash!” she cried, leaping forward and embracing her. “Oh my gosh, you’re all right! You’re… oh, thank goodness…”

Rainbow softened and dropped her scythe, returning the hug. “Heh. Yeah. It’s good to see you too, Twilight.”

A plum-colored pony with a raspberry mane stumbled past the clocktower in Ponyville.

She nearly lost her footing and whirled around wildly as the bell tolled 1 AM.

“Whothebuckizzz… wha… whassat?”

Berry Punch slowly looked up and saw the face of clock as she swayed back and forth unsteadily on her hooves. The vision of it was spinning.

“Oh… issa clock… tick tock… heh… heheh…”

She chuckled to herself and continued stumbling through the darkened streets of Ponyville that night until she at last found her house. She opened the door and went through it… only to headbutt into the doorframe next to it. Then she tried a few more times until she actually opened the door and managed to find her way into her house.

“Home sweet… home… sweet home…”

She made a stop at the bathroom that took entirely too long as she half-dozed, humming familiar songs to herself, before stumbling back out and up the stairs.

Her bed was an inviting sight, and she was about to simply collapse upon it when she spied the bottle she’d set on the nightstand next to the bed.

“Huh? That’s… wait, was that? Maybe it was… no no…” She shrugged her shoulders and pulled the cork from the bottle with her teeth. “Oh well… nightcap!”

She guzzled heartily from the bottle.

“Ha! One more for the… for the… ugh, I don’t feel so good… prolly gonna… regret (hic) re… regert that inna… mornin’...”

Berry Punch fell back on the bed, her head spinning and her limbs numb. The alcohol quickly made its way into her system, adding to the prodigious amount that had already been added from her long evening at the local pub.

Her raspy, gurgling breathing became long as she fell asleep. Then it became shallow.

Then it stopped entirely.

To be continued…