PonyFall: The Dawning of Twilight

by MrBackpack

Chapter 4: Paging Dr. Strongarm

 I didn’t know that looking after another adult, even one that had been transformed into a human from another species, would be all that hard. Twilight was proving to me that I had had no idea what I was getting myself into when I promised her that I would help her get back to Equestria.

                Michelle, thankfully, had taken Twilight to get her some clothes of her own yesterday, leaving me alone with an aching headache the entire day after we realized who she really was.

                I glanced at the clock; it was after noon on the sixteenth. Michelle was in the bedroom taking a nap and Twilight was reading and reorganizing all of the books that we had amassed in the study. I had refused to show her how to work the computers fearing the vast unknown that is the internet and the trouble that she would get into.

                Michelle and I were up to date on the majority of our wedding planning and I had my homework done. I sighed and settled back into the couch, perfectly content to sleep and nap for the rest of the day.

                From right next to my head, the Imperial March began to play. I looked up and around, confused for the briefest of moments. Reality caught up to my confused brain just seconds later and I grabbed my iPhone off of the side table. It was work calling me. On my day off.

                “Sonofa-” I muttered under my breath as I slid the answer bar and held the phone to my ear. “Hello?”

                “Matt?” asked a female voice that I vaguely recognized. “This is Susan from the H.R. office-”
                “Hi Susan,” I cut her off, wincing at my own behavior. “What can I do for you?”

                “Uh...” she stumbled over her words, clearly not expecting to have been cut off so rudely. “Yes. Well Mr. Mxxxxxxx, we need you to come down to the office today and help us fill out all the proper paperwork for the incident that allegedly happened on the 13th of April.”

                “Incident?” I asked, confused. “Allegedly? Oh, you mean where that guy decked me.”

                There was another pregnant pause before Susan continued. “Yes, that incident. We need you to file your eyewitness report, your version of the events, and to make sure that we have your statement for the police report and the insurance claim.”

                “Can’t this wait until later in the week when I’m actually scheduled to be there?”

                “No, it cannot.”

                “Fine.” I sighed cracking my neck. “I’ll be there in about an hour.”

                “We’ll see you then,” she replied in an annoyingly chipper voice before hanging up.

                Getting to my feet, I rolled my neck and winced as it cracked loudly. Rubbing my now aching neck, I padded to my room, passing Twilight still organizing my books.
“Matt?” Twilight called as I passed the room, and I had to fight my reflex and ignore her to just get changed into something presentable.
“Yes, Twilight?” I said, poking my head into the study. She was sitting on the floor in front of one of the five bookshelves, books of all kinds piled around her with one open on her lap. There was a yellow legal pad to her right with notes or something of the sort scribbled on the top pages. “What’s up?”
“I was just wondering what that song was just now,” she said, one finger of her hand holding her spot on the page.
“Song?” I asked, confused. “Oh, you mean my ringtone?”
“I guess.”
I paused, a little lost on how to explain ringtones to a being that probably had no concept of a cell phone let alone a ringtone. “Well, a ringtone, like the song that you just heard, is a little song that lets me know when someone is calling me on my phone. If you have a special phone, like mine, you can customize the rings so that certain people have their own special song. You following me?”
She nodded, scribbling on her notepad. “Oh yes, I read all about phones and your technology in one of these books.”
“Wait, since when do you know how to read?”
“Your language is remarkably similar to one of the descendants of a proto-Equestian and proto-Griffon mixed language,” she said looking up from her notepad. There was an odd gleam in her strikingly violet eyes. “Once I figured that out, it was only a matter of time until I was able to cross-reference modern-Equestrian and create a solution algorithm, and was then able to translate the majority of your language into something that I could read and understand.”

I wanted to sit down; she had translated and essentially become fluent in written English in under a day.
“But I thought that humans didn’t have magic.”
“We don’t,” I replied, shocked out of my reverie at the non-sequitor, and arched an eyebrow at her.
Twilight grabbed an old and worn book with a Picasso lithograph of two people, one on a horse and one on a donkey. “Then why do the giants in this book turn into windmills after this gentleman attacks them?”
I hadn’t laughed that hard in a very long time.


Twilight sat in the front passenger seat of my car as we sped along the traffic-less highway to my job; she was still miffed at me for laughing at her for so long. I left a note for Michelle letting her know where we were, and to call me when she woke up.
I hummed as the lack of traffic puzzled me.
“What?” asked Twilight as she turned from looking out the window.
“Nothing,” I replied, flicking the turn signal to get off of the highway, probably one of the only people in the entire city to actually understand how that signal works. “Its just odd that there’s not a single other car on the busiest road in the city.”
“Maybe they took the day off?”
I shook my head. “Earth isn’t like Equestria, Twi,” I said, pulling into the hospital parking lot - a personal record of less than twenty minutes to get to work from the house. “People cannot just randomly take the day off, not to mention that this many people off would probably bring the city to a grinding halt.”
She scowled at me. “I never said that we could just take the day off, I meant that maybe it was a holiday or something.”
“I don’t think so,” I said thoughtfully as I led Twilight into hospital proper. “The H.R. department wouldn’t be here if it was that important of a holiday, the lord only knows how much they like to take their holidays off.”
She opened her mouth to say something but was cut off by a shout as we entered the lobby of my area of work.
“Hey, its pony-boy! Where’s your sparkly pretty pink steed?”
I could not hide my wince.
“Hello to you too, Mary,” I said, turning to the source of the voice. Mary was one of the other LVNs on the emergency room staff. She and the rest of the various nurses on my level took great pleasure in tormenting me daily for being a brony. Mary was a short, thin woman of Hindu origin who clashed with me on every level that I ever considered to be possible.
I did my best to ignore Mary and the other relatively tame jabs that flew my way as Twilight and I walked through the lobby and into the office. Had the lobby been empty, I’m sure that Twilight would have learned a little more about human psychology than she should have to know.
“Hello Matt,” said my immediate superior, a kind redheaded woman of middle age named Mrs. Johnson. “Thank you for coming in so soon.”
“Its no problem ma’am,” I replied smiling at my boss. “Is Susan still here?”
“Of course not,” Mrs. Johnson said, pulling a stack of papers out of her desk and handing them to me. “She left the moment that she got off of the phone with you.” My boss paused for a moment. “Who’s your friend?”
“Michelle’s half-sister, Twilight, from her dad’s first marriage.” I lied with an ease that surprised even me. I could tell that Twi was fighting her natural urge to let people know who she really was. Thankfully, she kept her mouth shut and her nose buried in a book. “Mom was a hippy.”
“She’s staying with us for a few days until her travel arrangements come together.”
“Oh?” Now that I had her attention, I hoped that I could pull this off. “Where’s she off to?”
“Her mother ran off to some island in the pacific with someone and Twi’s trying to find her. Gonna start in New Zealand and move on from there.”
“Oh my,” gasped Mrs. Johnson, holding her hand over her mouth. “The poor dear.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, taking a seat in front of her desk and grabbing a pen from the cup full. There were a ton of forms to fill out and sign. “Its going to be interesting for her.” I paused in the middle of signing the first page and looked up at my boss. “Do we have a spare non-Mary nurse on the clock right now? Twi needs a physical and her inoculations before her trip.”
        “Of course dear,” Mrs. Johnson smiled at me before standing. “Ms. Twilight, if you would just follow me we’ll get you all set up for the trip.” She paused a second before turning to me. “Do you have her medical records?”

        “Her mom was one of those naturalist hippy types. She never believed that a doctor could do better than Mother Earth,” I replied, not looking up from the statement that I begun to write. “This is probably the first time that she’s ever even been in a hospital.”

        “Well then,” Mrs. Johnson ground out through her clenched teeth. “We’ll get that all taken care of then.”

        By the time I was finished, Mrs. Johnson had returned to the office and was sitting at her desk working on other pieces of managerial work.

        “That should do it,” I said, stacking the papers neatly together and handing them to Mrs. Johnson. “Everything okay?”

        “With Ms. Twilight?” she responded, taking the stack from my hands and filing it into a large envelope. “Considering her background, she’s remarkably healthy.”

        I didn’t press the issue further. Twilight was assumed to be of legal age, and as such her health status beyond the most basic of generalities could not be disclosed. I stood and stretched; I had been sitting in the office for a little over a hour.

        “Wait just a moment Mr. Mxxxxxxx,” she said, looking at me seriously. I froze, arm still stretched high above my head. She only used our last names when we were in some very big trouble. “In light of the incident, you’re going have your rotation be a little early and a little longer than usual.”

        I relaxed my shoulders immediately. I thought, for a second, that I was going to be in some kind of trouble for that patient punching me in the face.

        “You have tomorrow off,” she continued, choosing to ignore my body language. “Report to the Children’s Level on the eighteenth.”

        “Yes ma’am,” I fired back, shooting her a mock salute before turning on one heel and marching out of the office to find Twilight.

        The moment that I returned to the main waiting lobby, more anti-pony barbs were thrown my way. Unusual, considering that there were patients sitting in the lobby. I ignored them, spotting Twilight sitting a chair off to one corner of the room, her nose buried in the book that she had brought with her in the car. I could see neon-purple band aids poking out from underneath her shirt sleeves on her upper deltoids. She was sucking gently on a lollipop, the white stick jutting out from the corner of her mouth. She smiled at me as I approached.

        “Hey Twi,” I greeted with a smile of my own. “Ready to go home?”

        She nodded, stood, and followed me as I turned from the lobby and began to walk out the way that we came.

        We didn’t make it ten feet out of the double door leading to the ER lobby before the the intercom buzzed to life:

“Doctor Strongarm to the emergency room. Emergency room, Doctor Strongarm.”

I swore under my breath and dashed back into the ER lobby, Twi right on my heels. For the briefest of moments the lobby sat in a tense silence, each and every one of us hoped and prayed that it was false alarm.

The double doors leading into the ER proper flew open with a bang as two men tumbled onto the ground, struggling and fighting with each other. I could see the glint of a scalpel through the mass of limbs and blood, both men had several lacerations and puncture wounds all over their arms.

I couldn’t make out what they were shouting at each other, it was a mix of Spanish and grunts of pain and stress. Everyone in the room, Twilight and myself included, were rooted to the ground, staring at the two men.

One of the men got a grasp of the scalpel and tore it out of his opponent’s hands and, right as three APD officers slammed through the double doors, dug the blade deep into the base of the neck of the man beneath him.

The officers gave the stabber no chance to do anything else as they swarmed him, tearing him off of his victim and tackling him to the ground.

I heard Twi’s shriek of terror as I dashed forward. The scalpel had been ripped out of the man’s neck and blood was spurting out of it in an arch. My mind was racing as fast as it could; I had to get pressure on the wound soon. I had no way of knowing what had been punctured or lacerated in that stab - that wasn’t what I did in the ER. What I did know was that that kind of blood spurt was indicative of a major, possibly fatal, injury.

I snatched the scalpel off of the floor, fumbling with the bloody and slippery handle of the blade, and used the sharp edge to cut away the man’s shirt. He groaned as I shifted his body, taking the garment off. I balled the cheap t-shirt as tightly as I could and pressed it firmly to the wound in the man’s neck.

It saturated with blood immediately.

I looked around for help desperately, but everyone in the lobby was fixated on the APD officers and the stabber, the latter of which was still struggling and fighting with the officers.

        Turning over and looking over my shoulder, I saw Twilight standing close by. She was white as a sheet and clutched her book her her chest.

        “Twi,” I said, my voice forceful and strong. She jumped, broken from her reverie, and dropped her book to the ground with a clatter. Keeping one hand on the man’s neck, I pulled her down next to me, my bloody hand leaving a scarlet print on her wrist. “Press as hard as you can right where my hands are.”

        She stared at me, eyes wide with fear. “But-”

        “No buts!” I barked, cutting her off. I took her other hand and pressed both into the bloody bandage as hard as I could. “Hold right here, I’m going to get help.”

        I didn’t give her time to respond. I jumped to my feet and sprinted down the hall. It took me a scant few moments to find the bandage cart, grab the thickest pressure bandage that I could lay my hands on, and sprint back down the hall.
        By the time that I got back into the lobby, APD was bodily hauling the stabber out of the ER in handcuffs and there was a group of two nurses and a doctor over the victim. Twilight sat a few steps away from them, staring at her blood soak hands.

        The doctor looked up as I approached with the bandage and snatched it out of my hands without a word of thanks. I stared at the three of them on the floor, tying the bandage arounds the barely-conscious man’s neck and screaming for a stretcher. The world moved in a haze.

        A soft sob off to my right tore me from my staring. My gazed turned to Twilight, tears welling up in her beautiful violet eyes, the softest of sobs shaking her shoulders and arms. Her hands were soaked slick with blood up to her mid-forearm, small rivulets slowly ran down to her elbow before dripping onto her jeans.

        “C’mon Twi,” I whispered, gasping her elbow and ignoring wet blood. “Let’s get you cleaned up and go home.”

        She sucked in her lower lip and nodded, leaning against me as I walked her back into the ER nurse prep room.

        The sinks weren’t the greatest things in the world, but they were what we had. I took both of her hands in mine and I quickly wet and lathered them under the warm water. The powerful soap cut right through the blood, leaving no trace of the fluid behind.

        “Twilight,” I said in a comforting tone nudging her to look at me. “You may have just saved that man’s life today.”