Mortified, Fluttershy backed into the corner of the hallway, where it was impossible for anything to approach her from behind. Collapsing to the ground and covering her head with her hooves, Fluttershy’s mind began to break under the circumstances.
‘Oh my gosh, I- The thing just- Rarity’s gone!!! It took her, and Sweetie Belle too! I don’t know what to do! It could be anywhere! Why is this happening!? Why is it doing this to me?!’
Fluttershy silenced her thoughts for a moment. She heard nothing but the sound of her own breathing. Everything not lighted by the hallway was black and still. A world of darkness surrounded the helpless mare. Tears streamed down the frightened pegasi’s face.
‘This is all my fault, the monster has taken my best friend, and I’m alone and scared. I can’t…’
Fluttershy pulled her mane over her mouth, losing control of herself. Her imagination and the darkness were tormenting her thoughts.
“I can’t do it!” Fluttershy practically screamed, her voice muffled by her hair. Her instincts kicking in, Fluttershy clamped up and evaluated the situation after the outburst.
‘Come on, think! What would Rainbow Dash do?! She’s not afraid of anything! She would… she would give the creature a piece of her mind! The creature…’
Fluttershy cringed at the thought of doing anything involving the stallion. Resorting to filly tactics, Fluttershy hid her entire head with her long, pink mane.
‘Ok, um… What about Pinkie Pie? I… I remember her song! The one about laughing at scary things! Ok, here it goes…’
Fluttershy broke the silence, the isolation her mane provided giving her courage enough to speak.
“When I w-was a little filly and… the sun was going dooown…” Fluttershy whispered so quietly, nothing outside her mane wall could hear her. She paused, and heard nothing.
“The d-d-darkness and the shadows would always make me frooown…” Fluttershy spoke vaguely, putting slight emotion into her words. Fluttershy shifted into a sitting position, taking extreme care to not remove her mane from in front of her.
“I’d hide under my pillow from what I thought I saw, but Granny pie said that wasn’t the way to deal with fears at all.” Fluttershy softly sang to herself. She even managed a small smile.
Fluttershy began to sweat, but she refused to acknowledge the sound’s existence. The smile struggled to remain on her face as she kept singing, slightly louder.
“She said: Pinkie, you gotta stand up tall. Learn to face your fears…”
“You’ll see that they can’t hurt you.”
Fluttershy stood up, her mind struggling to remain sane. The comforting song was all that kept her from having a mental breakdown.
“Just laugh to make them… disappear…” She spoke bravely. Fluttershy stood up defiantly, using the song as false security in addition to her mane.
“Ha.” Fluttershy said timidly.
“Ha!” She said again, with hope.
Fluttershy didn’t dare remove her mane from in front of her shocked face. She felt a presence. Looking down at the floor, Fluttershy saw a set of two white forehooves not five feet from her, the pink mane hiding the rest of the pony.
“R-rarity?” Fluttershy asked desperately.
Lifting her head a little, Fluttershy’s mane revealed black sleeves on the set of hooves. Her eyes went wide, and her vision began to darken again. The voice reappeared in Fluttershy’s head, demanding loudly.
‘Come with me…’
Fluttershy lost it. Screaming at the top of her lungs, her body reacted for her. Fluttershy bolted right, into Sweetie Belle’s room. Tears blurred her vision, and a static sound penetrated her ears.
In complete desperation, Fluttershy galloped towards the window and leaped. The window opened easily, causing minimal damage to the frightened pegasus. Spreading her wings, Fluttershy tried to fly towards the clouds, but she struggled. Her mind fought for control over her body, and her wings kept attempting to clamp shut. The delicate mare glided for mere seconds before crashing to the ground in the middle of the street.
There was no time to waste, Fluttershy got up and galloped. She didn’t know where she was going, but she needed to leave. She couldn’t bring any more harm to Ponyville.
‘I need to pack up, need to run away. Wait, what if it gets me while I’m packing? What if it’s already at my cottage? Maybe I should just keep running. How could I survive?!’ Fluttershy thought in a mad dash.
Her legs carried her towards her cottage outside the Everfree Forest. It was very dark, and Fluttershy could barely make out the cottage along the path.
‘I have tons of animals at the cottage; he wouldn’t get me with so many friends around, would he? But… what if he hurts the animals too?! I have no choice!’
Fluttershy galloped at full speed towards her home, nearly crashing into the door as she approached it. As she entered, she narrowly avoided stepping on Angel.
Slamming the door behind her, Fluttershy took deep breaths and looked at her surroundings. Small animal homes hung on the walls, and many woodland critters stuck their heads out of them to see what was happening. The windows and doors were all locked from what Fluttershy could tell.
Angel stood in front of Fluttershy, tapping his foot impatiently. The mare did not have time for a lecture, and spoke directly to Angel.
“Angel, I don’t have time, I’m so sorry…”
Many of Fluttershy’s other pets gathered around, expecting some sort of explanation for her strange behavior. Exhausted of shyness, Fluttershy gave a small speech to her woodland friends.
“Listen… I’m in trouble, and by you all staying here, I’m putting you in danger. So… p-please, try to understand. Go back to the woods… Maybe someday…”
A tear drop fell off of Fluttershy’s face and onto the floor.
“Someday you can return…”
The animals conversed amongst themselves with various chirping and squeaking sounds. Fluttershy sat on the ground and hung her head. She wanted to cry, but had run out of tears. Her face was stained from consistent crying, she felt alone and depressed. Then she felt something on her shoulder.
“I’m so sorry, Angel…” She whispered.
Fluttershy’s ear felt a sharp tug. Shaking her head, a small white bunny fell onto the ground in front of her.
“Oh my, are you ok?” She asked concernedly.
Angel stood up and began tapping his foot. Fluttershy closed her eyes.
“I… I just can’t. You’d all be better off without me.”
The bunny persisted, waving his arms and making sounds, using a sign language only Fluttershy understood.
“I know, Angel, but- Yes, yes, I saw… I’m sorry, Angel, but no means no…”
Angel disappeared, and Fluttershy sat alone by the door. Most of the animals had gone elsewhere, and the room was dim and cold. A familiar sense of fear overtook her.
Fluttershy sat up and looked out the window angrily. She saw nothing, but began to shout regardless.
“Go on! Do it already! What more c-can you take away from me?!”
Fluttershy’s eyes found a second wave of tears as she sat alone for what felt like hours. She cried until her yellow fur had turned a pale brown, and until she felt a pool of tears around her front hooves. There was a splashing sound, and Fluttershy opened her eyes and wiped away the tears.
Angel stood in front of Fluttershy with a pale squirrel leaning on his shoulder.
“R-river?” Fluttershy questioned in astonishment.
The squirrel hobbled through the small pool and clenched Fluttershy's hoof. Fluttershy smiled through her sadness. Angel spread his arms and made a short chirping sound. Fluttershy repeated his sentence in her mind.
‘Sometimes… everypony just needs to be shown a little kindness…’
Fluttershy stood up. Lifting River off of her leg and back onto Angel’s shoulder, and she walked into the kitchen. A sense of confidence showed in her posture. Returning with a lamp in her mouth, she set it down and threw open the front door.
‘I don’t care what is out there. I’m getting Rarity and her sister back, no matter what it takes.’
Picking the lantern back up, Fluttershy galloped out into the dark night, and into the Everfree Forest.