Rock, My World

by False Door

Chapter 4

Maud's pleasant dreams were shattered by the sound of a screaming Limestone. She shot up in bed, alone in the old sewing room.
"Fire!" shouted Limestone hoarsely. "The barn's on fire!"
Maud flung off her comforter and scrambled to the window to see that it was true. A towering orange pyre had crawled up the side of the old barn and was spreading across the roof.
The whole house sprang to life from a dead sleep with creaking floorboards everywhere, cries from Marble and old Igneous barking urgently about where he'd left the good hose.
Maude exploded into the hall, almost colliding with father as he galloped by. Everypony thundered down the stairs.
In the backlight of the roaring blaze, Maud could see Limestone pushing the water pump up to the edge of the well. Maud skidded to a stop and began attaching the intake hose to the pump valve while Igneous galloped up with the end of the good hose in his mouth. He wrenched the hose tight to one end of the y-shaped splitter.
“Spare the divider,” ordered Father, twisting the second valve shut. “We must douse the roof first.”
Limestone and Maud took both ends of the railroad cart style lever and began feverishly pumping in tandem, inflating the collapsed tube before Igneous was even at the other end.
Marble rushed up to them, eyes wide with terror, the end of the old hose in her mouth. She fumbled as she began to screw it onto the open port.
“Don’t open that valve yet,” shouted Limestone. “We need maximum pressure to put the roof out first.”
“Mm-hmm,” nodded Marble fearfully.
Igneous grabbed the squirming nozzle off of the ground in his jaws and aimed it at the roof. Despite their technological limitations, Maud and Limestone’s coordinated strength produced a healthy, continuous stream that arched higher than the roof of the barn. Father swept water from side to side, trying to keep the flames from crossing the apex of the structure and catching on the other side. Marble and Mother stood by breathless and watched as the highest flames began to die.
Igneous worked his way down from the highest point and soon the roof had been snuffed out. Marble opened the other valve and helped her father battle the side of the barn with the old hose. They didn’t stop spraying until every licking orange flame was out and the only light was from the pale blue moon. 
The Pie family breathed a collective sigh of relief before a sizzling, steaming scorch mark on the wall.
“Who left a lantern burning in the barn?” demanded Limestone angrily.
Maud and Marble exchanged quizzical glances.
“There’s no lantern inside or out,” replied Maud. “I don’t think anyone was even outside tonight.”
Limestone stamped her foot. “Well, then how did this happen? Fires don’t just start themselves?”
Maud looked around the immediate area. Her eyes fell on a little overturned metal drum the same color as the dust. She plodded over and nudged it with one hoof. It thudded hollowly as it rolled over to reveal the word ‘kerosine.’
Marble gasped.
“Somepony did this on purpose?” growled Limestone, kicking the drum against the side of the barn. “Is this supposed to be a prank? Who would do something like this?”
Maud looked back down at the ground where the sloppy shapes made by hooves and wind, patterned the earth. There in the gray dust was something that stuck out from the distorted mess, a groove no wider than a billiard ball that stretched away into the dark as far as she could see. “Who knows?” she muttered absently.

Maud swung the pickaxe in her teeth, wedging it in a long crack. She let go and then pulled on the handle with her hooves, leveraging a chunk of the mine’s wall to crumble away. No matter how focused on work she stayed, it was impossible to shake off the disturbing attack on their farm.
In the morning, she'd surreptitiously tried to investigate the trail left by the barn but found that it broke up while cutting across the fields going toward Rockville. Then it occurred to her that she didn't know if the trail was coming or going. She couldn't be sure which way he went or where he was now. 
Boulder had never done anything so hostile and destructive. On some level, Maud felt like she needed to explain what was happening and why to her family, but she just couldn't. She couldn't bear the consternation from her sisters or the condemnation from her parents which would come regardless if her secret relationship was with a dragon, pony, or rock. What about the shame from the community? What was she thinking, dating Boulder?
He hadn't tried to talk to her since he was caught back on the farm, so it was hard to see his motive. Was he just blowing off steam after she'd thrown him, or was this a warning… Or was it the opening act for a horrific vendetta campaign for dumping him?
That night, Maud slept uncomfortably with one eye open.