PonyFall: The Dawning of Twilight

by MrBackpack

Chapter 5: Broken

Chapter 5: Broken

        The trip home was a trial in of itself. Twilight sat in the co-pilot seat, staring at her newly cleaned hands with a look that could only be described as disbelief.
        Neither of us said a word the entire trip home.

        For my part, this was not the first time that I had seen a stabbing, nor the first time that I had been a first responder to the scene of the stabbing. Honestly, I was surprised by how little that the incident in the emergency room had affected me.

        At some point during the drive, Twilight fell asleep; the stress and excitement of the day had been too much for her. I pulled the car into the drive as quietly and gently as I could and got out of the car.

        “Hey,” called Michelle from the kitchen, the scent of szechuan chilis and oils blasting me full in the face. “Everything go okay?”

I didn’t bother answering and just walked over to the kitchen, needing to see her. She was standing over the stove expertly flipping the red mixture, the burner under the wok set as high as it would go.

She looked over at me, the smile sliding off of her face as she took in my appearance, the ladle clattering out of her hand into the wok.

“Oh my,” she gasped, shutting the gas off and rushing over to me, one hand cupping my cheek and the other pulling at my shirt. “What happened to you? Where’s Twilight?”

“She’s still in the car,” I replied, answering her second question first. “She fell asleep on the way home.” I followed her gaze down to my clothes. There were more than just a few streaks of blood that smeared the lower portion of my shirt and larger splashes of crimson that stained my jeans. They were ruined.

I returned my gaze to my fiance’s face, her eyes were filled with worry.

“It’s been a hell of a day,” I sighed, gently pulling out of her grasp. “Can you turn down Twi’s bed so that I can get her out of the car?”

With a quick nod, Michelle took off down the hall as I returned to the car. Twilight was still fast asleep, her head lolling off to one side. As quietly as was possible, I eased the car door open and knelt down to unbuckle her from the seat. Twi groaned and fussed at me cutely, still asleep, as I pulled the belt over her shoulders and pulled her into my arms. With a grunt, I stood and walked back into the house proper to find Michelle holding Emma on the couch. I could tell that she wanted to say something, anything, but I waylaid her with a look.

Twilight’s room was dark, the blinds and curtains drawn and the light from the hallway and windows in the living room streaming in just enough sunlight to see. As gently as I could, I lay Twilight out on the bed, pulled off the shoes that she was borrowing from Michelle and covered her with the sheet and comforter. She immediately rolled away from me and the light behind me. I stopped myself from reaching out and brushing her purple locks out of her face, various emotions warring in my mind.

Here I was, living the brony dream: I had my very own pony. A pony turned human, but a pony nonetheless. Twilight Sparkle may not have been my best pony, but she was definitely in my top three of the mane six and here she was, asleep in my guest room.

I stood and backed away from the bed, stopping that line of thought before it could go any further. Twilight was a living being, lost and FAR away from home, and she needed my help to get back. Earth was not a forgiving place and she had just experienced that first hand. The last thing that she needed, current situation notwithstanding, was a brony freaking out over her very presence.

I left the room, shutting the door behind me and walked back over to the couch and dropped down next to my fiance with a grunt. It was barely past four in the afternoon, and I felt like I had just spent the last several days without any kind of rest. I was exhausted.

Emma took that moment to climb up onto my chest and began to lick my face.

“Emma,” I sputtered and tried to fend her off, but she was being persistent. “Damnit dog, quit it.”

“Emma,” Michelle commanded, her tone brooking no argument. To my surprise, Emma jumped off of my chest and down onto the floor and looked up at us pathetically.

“Matt.” Michelle had turned her attention to me, cupped my cheek with one of her hands, and forced me to look her in the eyes. “What happened?”

“Humanity happened,” I sighed, leaning into her touch, taking in as much comfort as I could. “You know what that part of the town can be like, the people that we get in the ER.” I heard her gasp but I cut her off before she could say anything. “We were just about to leave, on our way to the door and everything, when the emergency call came.”

“But you weren’t on duty today. You didn’t have to respond. They revoked your first responder status after that bit-”

“They paged Doctor Strongarm.”

“Oh.” The fire that had been building in my fiance’s eyes went out.

“Yeah,” I sighed, pulling away from her and staring at the opposite wall. The scene in the ER played before me on a morbid projector screen that only I could see. Without prompting, I gave Michelle the play-by-play. Every little detail that I could remember: the sights, emotions, the tension, everything.

“I had no choice,” I choked out when I told her what I did to Twilight. “The others weren’t acting fast enough and if I hadn’t done something he would have bled out right there on the floor.”

“Shh, shh, shhh,” Michelle cooed, pulling my head to her shoulder. I was honestly shocked to find myself with tears running down my cheeks and fighting to hold back sobs as best as I could. “You did the right thing,” she whispered into my ear. “You helped save that man’s life.”

We sat like that for a few moments longer before she made me lean back into the back of the couch.

“Now, you just sit right there for a few seconds and let me finish dinner,” she said through an obviously fake smile. “Sound good?”

I nodded, unable to come up with words. She kissed me lingeringly and trotted back off into the kitchen, my eyes following her every step of the way. I didn’t even notice Emma take off after her.

The food was fantastic, like always.

As per our agreement, I washed the dishes while Michelle put the leftovers in the fridge. I wrapped my arms around Michelle’s waist from behind as she was wiping down the oven, cleaning the oil that had splashed over the edge of the wok. She leaned back into me with a sigh of her own, taking her clean hand and running in through my hair.

“One of those days, huh?” she whispered.

“Yeah,” I sighed in reply, burying my face into her neck and breathing deeply. I could tell that she was fighting a smile; she always loved when I did that. “One hell of a day.”

We stood like that for a few moments longer before I pulled away from her, leaving one last kiss on her neck.

“I’m going to head to bed,” I mumbled, rubbing my face with my hand. “I just want to forget this day ever happened.”

“I’ll be in a few hours,” Michelle said softly, still working on cleaning the wok. “I need to get some more work done.”

“‘Kay,” I mumbled, already halfway down the hall and not really caring; I could hear the siren song of my pillow.

I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I hadn’t bothered to change.


        My dreams were troubled and strange. I was walking along in darkness, minding my own business and just looking around, when all of the sudden there was a cacophony of sound that deafened my ears, leaving my head aching. I spun around, desperately searching for the source of the sound when I was overtaken by a blinding light and a searing pain tore through my arm. A scream raced through my ears.


        “Matt,” someone was calling my name, as though through a thick cloud. “Come on, hon, wake up.”

        I groaned and rolled away from the voice, trying to sink back into the comfort of sleep. I could heard the distant and constant roar of running water.

        “Wake,” The voice had gotten louder and had taken to shaking me violently. “UP!”

        With the last shout, I was forcibly shoved out of my bed and onto the concrete floor, completely tangled in the sheets and comforter. There was a long pause as I blinked up at the ceiling, my head pounding.

        “Good,” Michelle said, her face poking over from the side of the bed and looking down at me. “You’re awake.”

        “I am.”

        The beams of early morning streamed through the curtains, casting stark shadows along the lines of her face. She was grim and pale.

        “Why am I on the floor?” I asked, trying to bring a smile to her face. Her expression unsettled me in a way that I cannot begin to fully describe.

“You wouldn’t wake up,” she fired back without missing a beat nor cracking a smile. “I’ve been trying to wake you for several minutes.”


“Twilight’s locked herself in the bathroom.”


“I heard her sobbing before there was a loud crash and the shower started running.”

Any trace of exhaustion fled and I scrambled to my feet, unwrapping myself from the bed coverings.

The door to the bathroom was locked. I couldn’t hear Twilight, or anything for that matter, behind the door. I knocked, banged, and shouted through the door as loud as I could but got no response.

“Michel-” I turned to my fiance, and was about to ask her to run and grab the key-pick thing that came with the door handle, but she simply looked up at me, holding the instrument between her thumb and forefinger. I took it from her. “Thanks, luv.”

“Twi?” I tried again, feeding the key into the hole of the door handle. “Twi, I’m coming in.”

I doubted that she could hear me over the roar of the shower. The handle turned easily with the key-pick inserted into the opening, and steam billowed into the hallway as I opened the door.

The bathroom was a mess. All of the cabinet doors and all of the drawers were pulled open, and the contents were strewn haphazardly all over the place. The mirror was splashed with water and smeared with what looked like tile cleaner. There was an empty bottle of Windex dumped over, dripping onto the tile over one side of the sink. The entire place smelled cleaner than a freshly sanitized operating room.

“Twi,” I called as I took a tentative into the bathroom sending an empty bottle of toilet cleaner skittering across the floor and into the edge of the tub. “Twilight?”

Half of the shower curtain had been pulled off of the plastic rings and was hanging off to one side. I reached out and pulled the remaining half of the curtain off to the side, away from the shower head.

Twi knelt under the intensely hot spray, fully clothed, with what looked like a grout brush and more bottles of cleaner and soap, scrubbing and brushing furiously at her forearms and hands. Her shoulders shook and I could just barely hear the sounds of her sobs over the roar of the shower.

She didn’t notice either Michelle or my own presence.

I knelt down next to the tub, shut the water off, and put my hand on her shoulder.

She jerked out of my grip and leapt back away from me, lightly spraying me with water. She stared at me, her violet eyes filled with tears. She had been biting her bottom lip hard and long enough that there was the faintest trace of blood on it.

“Twi?” I said as softly as I could, not moving from my spot at the edge of the tub.

“I-it w-w-wouldn’t come off,” she sobbed, holding her arms out to me. They were scrubbed to a raw red from the brush and cleaners. Her fingernails were ringed with red where she had all-but scrubbed out her cuticles. Her left forearm sported a rather nasty looking chemical burn that probably originated from the combination of bleaches that she had emptied out onto her skin.

        As gingerly as I could, I took her hands into mine and turned them over, running my hands over the raw and sensitive skin. She had burned off the light dusting of hair in her desperation to get clean.

        “There was so much b-b-blood,” Twilight had been blabbering the entire time that I had been examining her arms. I had lost track of what she had been saying until one question caught me off guard, a question that I didn’t know how to answer: “Why?”

        I paused, still holding her hands in my own, and looked her in the eyes.

        “Twi,” I said, faltering. I was hoping beyond hope that something, anything would come to mind. Something that I could say to her that would make everything okay. But there wasn’t anything that anyone could say, to anyone, that would make the events of yesterday ‘okay.’ “I don’t know.”

        She yanked her hand back and clutched them to her chest and stared at me, wide-eyed.

        “Trust me, Twilight,” I said, getting into the tub and kneeling in front of her, giving into the urge to brush her dripping bangs out of her eyes. “If I knew how to answer that question, I wouldn’t be a nurse. I wouldn’t spend nearly every day of my life up to my elbows in other people’s blood. Patching them back together after they’ve just finished tearing themselves apart.”

        “How do you do it?” she asked me after a long pause, wringing her hands.

        “Because,” I said with a smirk and dry chuckle. “I don’t dare think of what would happen if I didn’t.”

        Her shoulders began to shake slightly as her sobs returned and tears welled in her eyes.

I reached out and pulled her into my chest and wrapped my arms around her as she began to cry in earnest.

“I w-w-wanna go home, Matt,” she sobbed into my shoulder. “I just wanna go home.”

“I know Twi,” I sighed, wrapping my arms around her and ran my hand down her wet hair. I looked up at Michelle, who had followed me into the bathroom, she had tears in her eyes as well. “I know.”