Light Up The Night

by Final Draft

The Hounds

“What are you doing here?” Everlilly asked, keeping the door open only enough for Wiley to see her face.

“Let me take you away,” he replied, trying to ease himself into her home.

She kept her hoof planted firmly against the door and refused to budge. “I’m not going anywhere, especially with you. You know my heart belongs to Shining Light.”

“He will be nothing when this runs its course.”

“He will be everything that a stallion is meant to be.”

“No. He won’t.” Wiley forced himself past Everlilly and she backpedaled to prevent him from venturing any further into her house. “We could already have this city eating from our hooves, but he refuses to take what we’ve earned. Well I’m not waiting any longer.”

Everlilly glanced at the letter she’d left on the table and Wiley followed her eyes. She put herself in front of it to block his view but he already knew who it was addressed to.

“I’m sure you’ve heard by now he plans to leave the city, abandoning its people, and abandoning his work. He thinks, without him, I lack the ability and resources to achieve my goal.”

“Which is what, exactly?” Everlilly looked at him skeptically.

The stallion approached her slowly and ran his hoof down her cheek, sending a shudder through her body. “Complete control,” he said softly.

She pushed him away and it was he who began backtracking to the door. “He won’t let that happen and there’s something you need to understand.” She began prodding him in the chest with her hoof every step he took. “If the shadow blocks out the sun; there will be Light. If it stays ‘till the sun is set; there will be Light. If the sun never shows its face again; there will be Light.”

With one final push, she had him out the door and looked him squarely in the eyes. “And no matter how dark this city gets; there will be—”

The sentence was cut short as a mechanical pony stepped in front of Wiley and stared at Everlilly with soulless red eyes. “There will be no Light,” Wiley said from behind his creation. With the hissing of hydraulics, the machine began backing Everlilly into a corner. “Farewell, my love” Wiley said as he shut the door.

Shining Light ran as fast as his hooves could carry him. He had to make sure Wiley hadn’t done anything foolish, but most importantly he had to make sure Everlilly was okay.

Rain began falling lightly from the dark sky. The streetlights glowed through the darkness; small beacons which Shining followed all the way to Everlilly’s house. When he arrived, the door was closed, and he stood panting and dripping beneath the balcony light. He rapped his hoof on the door and waited for a reply.

“Everlilly! It’s Shining! Please open the door!” he shouted. There was no response and as he strained to hear inside, the wailing of police sirens broke the silence. Motorized carriages with flashing red and blue lights were approaching from the distance. Without thinking, he burst down the door of the house.

Everlilly’s limp body lay on the floor, a single slash across her throat where her life had bled out onto the carpet. Shining got down onto his knees and held her to him, sobbing uncontrollably.

The sirens were growing ever closer and Shining set his deceased lover tenderly on the floor. His coat was covered with her blood but he didn’t seem to notice. A letter addressed to him was lying on the floor with a single blood-drop on it. He slipped it into his pocket and slowly made his way to the door, hoping to explain to the police the situation. Their lights shone on him and he held his hoof over his eyes.

“Stay right where you are, Doctor Light!” a voice shouted from beyond the glare. He was more than happy to comply but a sudden noise from within the house caused him to turn around. The prototype stood facing him, blood gleaming off a blade attached to its metal shoe. “I said stay where you are!” the voice shouted.

The prototype stood over Everlilly’s corpse, challenging him to respond. He looked at it with fiery hatred and took a step toward the machine. The second his hoof landed, the prototype turned around and dove through the window, smashing though the glass like it was nothing. He ran to the window and looked out into the darkness.

“What the Hell was that thing?”

Shining turned to see two officers standing in the doorway, one of which had asked the question. Their guns were drawn and aimed at the doctor. “Don’t move!” the other officer shouted.

Without a moment to think, Shining dove through the window after the prototype with the discharge of firearms behind him. The bullets whizzed past his ear as he hit the ground running.

News reporters, journalists and curious onlookers gathered outside the S&W Towers as Wiley Hooves prepared to speak. Hours had passed since the word had gotten out that a mare was murdered by an invention of Shining Light’s, and Wiley had been hard at work. The throngs of ponies had gathered to question the doctor about his partner but he was more concerned with revealing his latest masterpiece; a giant screen atop the S&W tower. Before anything else, he had to address the public’s nagging questions.

“Tonight the streets are red with lights, some blue and blinding. No sign of the Good Doctor but the sirens wail and whine and tell us he’ll be found. I can almost hear the hounds.

“What kind of stallion builds a machine to kill a mare? No, he did not use his hooves like us, my friends, he used a tool! But just the same…Can you question who’s to blame?”

The sea of reporters went into a frenzy with questions, all holding their microphones and cameras up to the podium. “What was her name?” was shouted in unison by several over the noise.

“Doesn’t matter,” Wiley said coldly, “Now listen. The Good Doctor has to pay!” He stepped away from the podium as the reporters continued throwing questions at him. Quietly he spoke to himself, “When I say he was a monster, when I set fire to his name, it does not matter where you hear it from ‘cause the truth and lies get said all the same.” Turning once more to the podium he shouted, “Whatever’s on the table plays!”

With a smile he waved to the crowd and stepped behind a curtain. Guards on either side of him escorted him to an elevator within the tower. The doors closed and it ascended to the top most floor; the city below nothing more than a sea of lights. Wiley withdrew a key from his suit pocket and inserted it into a door labeled “Private”. Inside was a single chair, an unopened bottle of champagne, a glass box containing a red button and a somewhat out of place fireplace. He sat in the chair and swiveled it to look out window.

He slipped the key back into his pocket and withdrew a faded photograph taken many years ago. “There is a flame that I’ve been fanning, there is a fire waiting to catch, there is a Hell that has been building from the moment we first met. If there ever was a time, if there ever was a chance, to undo these things I’ve done and wash the bloodstains from my hooves, it is past and been forgotten.

“These are the paths that we must take, ‘cause you and I Shining, we are but stallions, and we can bend and we can break.” Wiley stood up and walked to the fireplace. As he spoke he let the photograph fall into the flames; the picture of the two doctors—younger and happier—began smoldering. “If you think that you can run, if you think that you can stand, well you know not who turned this city on, you know not who plugged this city in!”

With excitement, Wiley turned to the glass box and flipped it open and pressed the button within. Turbines whirred to life and electricity coursed through cables leading up the roof. The screen Wiley had constructed lit up and cast its light across the city. The ponies below ceased their activities and looked up at the beacon. Wiley’s face appeared bright on the screen and smiled.

Shining Light stepped from the alley he’d been hiding in to find the source of the light that was now illuminating half the city. He saw his former partner’s face on the screen shortly before seeing his own. It was a news broadcast, informing the viewers of his crime. The strangers next to Shining looked away from the screen and recognized the doctor.

“There he is!” a mare shouted, drawing the attention of the others around her. Shining Light looked around in fear and darted back into the alley, trying to hide from them and the lies.

The news broadcast ended and an ad appeared for Wiley Corp’s “new” line of defense bots which would be available the coming week.

The cork flew across the room and Wiley poured himself a glass of the bubbling liquid. He brought the glass to his lips and smiled. “One by one, they’re tuning in.”