Andrew sat at his desk, staring at the stack of papers in the middle of it. Normally, he'd already have made up a checklist of what he needs to do but the blank sheet of paper just stared back at him. The pen in his hand moved between his fingers as he tried to focus on his plan of attack but his mind kept drifting off to other things. Things that he'd rather be doing, like reading the book that was in the bag leaning against his desk.
His blue eyes shifted to that bag underneath his desk but he internally shook his head. The last thing that he needed was Mr. Jacobs walking by and catching him reading. Andrew understood that he had to finish the work on his desk before the end of the day. Lately, he's been finding it difficult to concentrate at work. When he first started working at the company, he was eager to start but almost a year later, that excitement has all but left him.
Removing his half-rimmed glasses, he brought his hand up to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. Feeling a headache coming on, he closed his eyes and let out a sigh. He wished that the day would just end but he looked at the clock and saw that it was 2:35. Still quite a while before he could think about leaving. Letting out a groan, he ran a hand through his brown hair and put his glasses back on. He was thankful that it was Friday and he had the weekend off to do whatever he wanted.
Before he could give it anymore thought, his supervisor knocked on the wall of his cubicle. Andrew was jolted from his thoughts and he sat up before turning the chair to face his colleague.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Terry continued before letting out a light chuckle. "I just wanted to see how you were making out with those designs for the client's website."
Andrew adjusted his glasses with his finger and let out a sigh before responding. "Sorry, I haven't gotten a chance to get started yet. My mind hasn't really been in it today. Plus, It doesn't help that they keep changing their mind every day. It's hard to keep up with all of these changes."
Terry shook his head. "I know what you mean but they're a big client. That's why the boss wants those done by the end of the day."
Are you serious? Do you know how long it's going to take me to check all of this coding? Andrew knew that it wasn't Terry's fault that their boss was being a jerk.
Terry looked over at Andrew's desk and looked at the photo of a young boy and girl on a roller coaster. The boy looked terrified while the girl was pointing and laughing at him.
"Isn't your sister's birthday coming up soon? Are you going to visit her?" Terry asked, deciding to change the subject.
"Yeah, it's in a couple of weeks." Andrew replied, looking back at the same photo. "Crap. That reminds me, I still need to get her a present."
Terry saw the distress in his friend's eyes and sighed. "Look, I know it's none of my business but have you ever thought about..."
Andrew turned his head to look at Terry with a puzzled look, "About what?"
Terry waved his arm, "You know, doing something else? Look, you're performance here has been great but I can tell you're not happy doin this line of work. To be honest, it's not for everyone."
"Ugh. You're starting to sound like my mother." Andrew rubbed his forehead.
"Hey, I'm just trying to look out for you."
An incoming text notification suddenly came in on Andrew's phone. He looked at the screen and recognized the number as being his mother's.
"Speaking of the devil. Is that who I think it is?" Terry asked.
"Yeah, it's her. That makes the fourth one this week so far." Andrew groaned. He sent the call to voicemail and turned off his phone.
"Why don't you just tell her that her calls are bothering you so much? You can't keep avoiding it. Maybe she is right about you doing something else."
Andrew took in a deep breath and let it out before responding. "Yeah, well if I don't get these evaluation reports submitted to Mr. Jacobs, I just might have to."
"Well, if you want to talk about sometime, let me know. Speaking of which, the other guys and I are going out for drinks later after work. Do you want to come with us?"
A few moments later, Andrew pulled himself away from his screen. "Thanks but I'll pass. Maybe next time, alright?"
Terry shook his head. "Suit yourself. If you keep turning the other guys down, they're going to start taking it personally. Sure they may be a little goofy but they’re great guys. You really need to get out more. Find a girl."
"Ugh. Now you really sound like my sister."
"Anyway. If you have any questions about the designs, let me know."
"Thanks." Andrew smirked as he watched Terry walk away. He turned his attention back to the stack of papers on his desk.
Ugh, I really don't want to deal with these.
Knowing that he would need something to help him get through them, his eyes were immediately drawn to the coffee container on his desk. He picked it up and let out a dejected sigh. He knew that he was going to need some coffee if he was going to finish the project.
Crap. I'm going to need some more.
Andrew got up from his desk and grabbed his jacket to go to the café across the street.
After a few hours, and some more coffee, Andrew finally finished the reports before the deadline. After submitting them, he looked at the clock on his computer. He was excited to see that it was finally time to leave and enjoy the weekend. Turning off his computer, he grabbed his stuff and left the office. Since he lived only a few blocks away, he didn't see the need to drive to work. While walking home, he stopped at the local market to grab some food for dinner and things for the weekend.
When he came out of the store, Andrew looked up and noticed that the mostly clear skies above him were starting to darken. He took a couple sniffs of the air and could tell from experience that it was going to rain soon. Drops of rain slowly started to come down. If he had known that it was going to rain, he would have brought an umbrella with him. Damn. At this rate, I'll never make it home before it starts pouring. I better cut through the park. He thought to himself as he zipped up his sweatshirt all the way. Re-adjusting the strap of his shoulder bag, he prepared to make the run back home.
Fortunately for Andrew, the park was just just across the street. The fall leaves crunched underneath his shoes as he tried to make his way through the park as quickly as possible. Walking through the park, he passed by the large center fountain and unoccupied wooden benches. The slow rain continued to come down, wetting his brown hair and sweatshirt. Suddenly, his cell phone rang. Juggling the bags in his hands, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. A look at the caller id showed that it was his mother.
Just great. He knew that if he didn't answer it, she wouldn't stop. Taking a deep breath, he pressed the button on his phone to accept the call. Not wanting to start a fight, he tried to be as polite as he could.
"Hello, mom. Yes, I got your message from the other day and I know what you're going to say."
"Andrew, we have to talk. It's.."
"Mom, not again, alright? I've had it with you sending me emails about other jobs and calling me every ten minutes. Please, let me make my own decisions."
"No, you don't understand. Andrew, it's about your..." His mother continued.
That is when the stress of his day at work and what he felt was her persistent nagging finally hit their boiling point.
"No mom, you don't understand! Yes, I've made mistakes but they're mine to make. I'm not going to live my life the way you want me to. Just leave me alone, alright!"
The sound of Andrew's trembling voice was followed by silence which confused him. Usually his mother would continue their argument but she wasn't saying anything. Puzzled, he looked at the screen on his phone which showed that the call had been disconnected.
She wouldn't have hung up on me. What's going on?
Before he could think of what to do next, he saw something bright appear out of the corner of his left eye. Turning his head, he expected it to be the headlight from a car or someone walking through the park with a flashlight. What he didn't expect to see was a small glowing sphere hovering above the ground. It looked to be no bigger than his hand and was emitting a humming noise. In the center of the sphere, a mixture of colors were moving around like a moving kaleidoscope. The colors appeared to be changing with each beat of his heart, which was beating pretty fast at the moment.
"What the hell is that thing?" He said aloud as he moved a little closer to get a better look at it. He hadn't seen anything like this before except for in movies.
All of a sudden, the humming sound got louder and the orb started to pulsate almost like something was trying to escape from inside of it. Suddenly, there was a bright blinding flash of light that emanated from the center of the orb, followed by a pulse of energy. He felt it hit his body like he had been shoved really hard and it knocked him to the ground, causing him to drop his bags. Momentarily blinded and dazed, Andrew shook his head to get his bearings. He rubbed his eyes until his vision returned. After re-adjusting his glasses, Andrew turned his gaze back to the object in front of him.
The sphere had grown in size to be nearly as tall as he was. It was now a circle with a purple glow around it with rainbow colors swirling inside of it. The air around the sphere started to crackle as if it was giving off a lot of energy. Suddenly, the bright colors in the center of it started to swirl around faster until a shape started to appear in the center but he couldn't tell what it was. The image wasn't very clear but he could swear that whatever it was, it looked like the head of a horse. It had teal eyes and something like a horn on top of its head which was glowing.
"It can't be. Is that a unicorn? There's no way this could be real. I must be dreaming." Looking around, he didn't see anyone else in the part of the park that he was in.
The horse started to speak but Andrew couldn't fully understand what it was saying. distress. Whatever it was, for some reason, he could sense sadness in the sound of its voice.
"Amelia, are you ------? Please, I -------------. Everything ------ different now since ----------. She won't --------- anymore. ----- only cares -------- while I ---------. You were ------ best friend. I---------. The ------- are getting worse. They're telling-------------do something horrible. Please come ---------Equestria."
"Who in the hell is Amelia and what's Equestria? What is going on here?"
The face in the portal faded away and was replaced by swirling lights that flowed down a tunnel which seemed to go on forever. The more he stared at it, the more he tried to rationalize what he just saw. A voice in the back of his mind was telling him to run home as quickly as possible and never speak of what he saw to anyone. Andrew didn't know if it was just morbid curiosity or what made him do it but he slowly stood up, dusted off his pants, and started to walk towards the portal. Perhaps his curiosity couldn't let him leave without trying to figure out what it was.
Standing before the portal, Andrew reached out his sweating hands against it. There was a warmth coming from it but nothing else. A few moments went by and nothing happened. What the hell is this thing? Suddenly, he felt like his hand was being pulled inside of it.
"What the hell?" Andrew cried out. "What's happening? I can't move my hands. Let go of me you piece of crap!"
It was like something on the other side was pulling him in and he couldn't stop it. All his struggling to free his hands wasn't working. He had seen too many movies to know that this can't be good. Instead of pulling away from the portal, he kept being pulled closer to it.
Both of his arms had been sucked inside of it. Fear overtook him as he felt the heat and energy from the portal getting closer to his face.
"Help! Someone please help me!" Andrew looked away and screamed but his pleas for help were not answered.
Tears formed in his eyes as he struggled to free his arms. It felt like they were being ripped out of their sockets but he managed to free one of them. He frantically tried to grab onto something with his hand but it was useless as the rest of his body except for his arm and head were gone.
"Nooooo!" Andrew shouted just before the rest of him was pulled into the portal.
Once his body has been completely pulled inside, the energy around the portal crackled and the portal disappeared in a flash of light. The park was quiet except for the sound of rain hitting the leaves in the trees and the ground.
Andrew felt like he was falling through the vortex. Tears were flowing from his eyes as he felt like he was being torn apart. It seemed like it went on forever until there was a blinding flash of light and the bottom opened up to show a grassy field. Andrew landed hard on the ground and blacked out.
On top of a hill, on the outskirts of Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle sat with her telescope pointed up at the sky. This night, she was studying the constellations and making notes of their positions in her notebook as she observed them through her telescope. Sitting around her were some snacks, a stack of parchment, and some books. As she was making notations in her notebook, she sighed and wished that her friends were as interested in astronomy as she was. But like with a lot of things that she liked to do, she did them on her own. If only I could have somepony that could share my interests, she said to herself. But she shook those thoughts from her head and focused on the task at hoof.
"I hope that I get to see some shooting stars tonight." Twilight gleefully said to herself.
As if the heavens were answering her call, a bright shooting star raced across the night sky making her gasp. Soon several other ones appeared as well. Giddy as a little school filly, the unicorn started making notations in her notebook with her quill. This went on for several minutes until something else caught her attention. In the corner of her eye, she saw a bright light in the field below her. The light expanded with shimmering colorful lights around it. Twilight stared at it intently, wondering what it was. Suddenly, something appeared from the portal and tumbled a couple of feet away from it.
The portal disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Throwing caution to the wind, Twilight decided to check it out and slowly cantered down the hill. In all her years as Celestia's student, she had never seen magic like that before. Part of her was both scared and excited at the same time.
A couple moments later, came across what had come through the portal. What she saw made her stop in her tracks. She didn't know what the strange creature was or if it was dangerous. It didn't look like anything that she had ever seen in any of her books. The books in the library had pictures of creatures from all over Equestria, but none that looked like this.
Whatever it was, it had hairless skin on parts of its face and neck except for the messy mane on top of its head. From what she could see, it had four limbs. Instead of hooves on its forelegs, it had five weird looking digits that looked like stubby claws. Its body was covered in some sort of clothing that she didn't recognize. For a moment, she wondered what her friend Rarity would think of these garments. On the front of its peaceful looking face was a pair of glasses.
"Is it alive?" Twilight asked quizzically to no one but herself. She titled her head to the side, bringing her hoof to her chin. The rational part of her brain was telling her to stay away from the creature until she could get her friends but the researcher inside told her that this was a brand new discovery and she couldn't afford to miss this opportunity. With shaky hooves, the moved a little closer to it.
On closer inspection, Twilight noticed that its chest rose and fell gradually. Even without knowing its biology, she guessed that it was still alive. During her magic studies, she had learned some basic healing spells but decided against using them since she didn't know enough about the creature's physiology to try them.
"Well, I can't leave it out here or it could die. I need to get it inside. I'll send a letter to Princess Celestia once I figure out what this is."
Knowing that she needed to act quickly, the lavender pony used her magic to load her telescope, books, and notes back into the cart. She then closed her eyes to concentrate as she cast a spell to teleport both herself, the cart, and the creature back to the library. In a blink of an eye, both of them were gone.