Carousel Boutique resounded with funky music, courtesy of Pinkie Pie. The party mare and sassy woman were in the middle of the dance floor, shaking their behinds and moving to the groove. Pinkie wiggled next to Lashona, allowing the woman to lead.
“Uh!” Lashona grunted as she thrust her hip to the side. “Uh! Uh! Shake that hiney!” The two girls shook their hips in unison to the funky beat, moving their shoulders and bobbing their heads to the side. It was the best way to celebrate staying alive.
Lashona threw her hands in the air and rocked her body. “Ah ah ah ah, stay—“
“Darlings!” Rarity conveniently trotted into her living room, levitating a plate with homemade salad wraps for her guests. Dusk had arrived and the rest of her friends had returned home, but Pinkie chose to stay overnight. She asked in her own Pinkie way, of course, but Rarity had no qualms about letting her keep Lashona company. Nothing like laughter to stave off homesickness while Twilight researched the proper spell.
Wiping sweat off her brow, Lashona stepped away from the funky Pinkie and immediately reached for a salad wrap. Without another word, she tossed it down the hatch and began to munch on it, salivating as she relished its vegan flavor. “Mm...MMM!” Lashona moaned as she chewed and eventually swallowed.
“You like it?” Rarity fluttered her eyelashes, “I understand that it’s not quite tantalizing to your appetite, Lashona, but I did my best to compensate.” She blinked and waited for a response, only to watch the large woman devour yet another treat.
On her fifth wrap, approximately the size of her favorite finger to use on the New York transit, Lashona couldn’t tear her mind away from the euphoric bliss the green delicacy had blessed her with. Vegetables were hard to come by in the land of greasy cheeseburgers and coffee served by college dropouts, and it showed on the Lashona’s lax face.
Rarity coughed, finally prompting Lashona to snap out of her vegan stupor with a vigorous headshake. “Oh, yeah! Yeah! They’re perfect! Perfect, I tell you! Mm mm!”
Eyeing Lashona’s larger waistline, Rarity blinked in surprise. “I had assumed from your omnivorous diet that you might prefer more variety, but I am overjoyed to be a proper hostess.”
Lashona shot her an amused glare, raising an eyebrow. “Come on, girl, y’all are ponies. What do you think I’m going to do? Ask for fried chicken?”
Pinkie Pie froze, middle-wiggle on the dance floor. Her hindlegs hovered in the air, as if time itself had been frozen in shock. Rarity took a step back, her eyes widening. “Y-you fry c-chickens? That’s cruel!”
Unable to hold it in, Lashona buckled over and began belting out in laughter, perplexing the two concerned ponies. “Oh my god- oh my god!” She straightened her back and wiped a tear away. “If you weren’t ponies, that wouldn’t be nearly as funny… Y’all should’ve seen the look on your faces! Uh, you can stop looking at me like that.”
Rarity shot a desperate, backward glance at Pinkie Pie, who merely shrugged away her shock and bounced off toward the dwindling refreshments with a carefree smile. Rarity turned back to a grinning Lashona, her ears drooping down and giving off a drained sigh. Her mane was still in neat and proper, but fatigue was settling in her marshmallow limbs. Not to mention that was quite the startling fright.
“Perhaps, Miss Lashona, we should retire for the night?” Rarity nervously asked, her ears plastered to her temples, motioning her foreleg toward the stairs and prompting a yawn from the tired woman. They could clean up in the morning, but midnight was soon approaching. She didn’t have many orders that week, but work was still work and her calling. Thanks to her refined appearance, Rarity needed her beauty sleep.
Without further ado, the trio made their ways upstairs to Rarity’s bedroom. Used to impromptu sleepovers, Pinkie Pie pulled out her emergency sleeping back (causing Lashona to choke on her latest salad wrap) and set it out on the floor. She circled around it a few times, pawing the bag with her hooves, before slipping inside it and curling up.
“Damn,” Lashona gasped, holding out a hand. “She’s so adorable! I just want to-” Lashona shook her head, sleepiness lowering her eyelids and dampening her usual sass, and turned around. “So where am I supposed to sleep?”
Now was Rarity’s turn to freeze. “Uh, uh.” Her eyes glanced back at her large, voluminous scarlet bedding. She can’t possibly… Oh no. Smiling, Rarity fluttered her eyelashes. “Oh, I understand, darling. Just let me retrieve some bedding for you to situate yourself wi-”
“Nuh-uh,” Lashona grunted, snapping her fingers. “I know damn well what you’re trying to do, little Miss Sunshine. Do I look like I can just curl up and sleep on the floor? My spine would get all out of whack! Ain’t no way, ain’t no how I'm sleeping there!”
Rarity gritted her teeth and retorted, “And who do you think you are, darling? I am the hostess here and I will-”
Lashona kneeled down, becoming eye level with the charming hostess, her eyes glaring into Rarity’s iris sapphires. “If you do not respect the woman who just lost her home and everything she loves until we can find a way back, I will personally find a random garment and with a stitch and needle… sew a tacky accessory on it.”
The fashionista gasped, holding a dramatic hoof to her chest.. “You wouldn’t dare!”
“And I won’t tell you which one either.”
Rarity bit her lip in frustration, cranky and fighting for her bed rights. “You. Are. Not. Getting. That. Bed!”
Lashona snored, curled up deep in sleep, her feet just barely hanging off the foot of Rarity’s feather-bed. She dreamed pleasant dreams, dreams of home. In the murky darkness, a blissful Pinkie Pie and a restless Rarity slept as well, dreaming their own dreams under the moonlit night. Rarity whispered about baubles as Pinkie moaned about lawyers, innocent and unaware.
A single beam of moonlight penetrated the darkness through the open window, illuminating the room in an ethereal light. A single tendril of vapor, an entity of its own, trickled into the room from the window, basking in the moonlight. Its silver composition sparkled under the celestial body as it gathered into the room. More and more vapor gathered and began swirling in the middle of the fashionable bedroom until it resembled a miniature storm cloud. Slowly, an incorporeal form emerged: a vaporous pegasus, covered in trailing chains and tattered clothing.
“Laaashooonaaa,” the ghost droned, rattling his chains dramatically and wailing like a banshee. His fur was nothing but gas, his eyes nothing but two glowing lights in a sunken skull. His muzzle was shrunk, grotesque and decaying. He cried in anguish, his haunt only just begun. The voice had a harmonic quality to it, haunting notes with each wail he released. Notes lathered with pain, old pain from a lifetime past, pain he unleashed in his haunt. He was the face of supernatural terror: the epithet of sorrow.
Lashona, in return, rolled over in the bed and let out a rather loud snore.
The ghost stopped his rattling and stared at the woman. Grinding his teeth, he quickly scanned the room with his ocular orbs. His eyes lay across a jewelry box on the wardrobe. Narrowing his eyes, he lifted a foreleg. The box began to levitate, wobbling, until he flicked his hoof and sent it flying at Lashona.
The small box bounced off Lashona’s forehead, turning a snore into a choke and forcing her to jolt up and mutter something ineligible. Lashona shook her head and rubbed her eyes. The moment she laid her hands down and noticed the ghost, her face turned pale and she clutched the sheets. “W-who are you?”
The ghost rattled his chains and banshee-wailed again. “I am Morpheus, ruler of this realm and your current host! I strike fear into the hearts of my (sleeping) foes, the innocent, and fillies who drank a glass of water before bed! I can shape this world with my fingertips, change the course of destiny itself, and change your very fabric of being! I am a god, I am eternal, and I am-”
Lashona let out a snore as she hugged her tiny pillow, oblivious to the mad god’s ranting.
Steam blew out the ghost’s ears as he sulked, completely ignored. Sighing, the ghost floated over the sleeping form of a pony and over the bed, hovering horizontally directly over Lashona. He waved his hoof over her face, sprinkling silvery dust onto her eyelashes. A magic burst flashed, instantly waking Lashona.
“ARGH!” Lashona screamed, her eyes shot open and staring into the ghost’s uncomfortably close muzzle. By reflex, her hand shot into her bra and pulled out a small canister, which she pointed at the ghost’s eyes and sprayed.
The ghost blinked, the spray going straight through his incorporeal form. “You do realize I’m a ghost, right?” He blinked again. “That… doesn’t really work.”
“Oh!” Lashona cried in relief, replacing the pepper spray in her bra. She then pulled out a similar canister: a spray can. “Good thing I always carry this!” -she fired the spray at him- “HOLY SPRAY, BI-er, WITCH!”
The ghost roared and flew back, rubbing his eyes as he fell onto the floor, chains and all. He rolled on the ground, his eyes burning with a divine sensation. Holes melted into his muzzle, the holy water sanctifying him. He rolled to one side of the room, and then all the way to the other. Once the frantic rolling came to a slow stop, he sat up from the floor and continued to rub his eyes. “Who in their right mind carries holy water?!”
“I’ve seen the Exorcist, I ain’t dealing with that shit!” Lashona said, snapping her fingers and rolling her head. “Now who are you, Mister Ghosty?”
The pale pegasus put his forelegs down in support, blind. “I’m a figure from your past, Lashona, sent for no particular reason other than to create a sense of urgency in you. I was supposed to warn you about-”
“Oh hell no!” Lashona said, defensively pulling the blanket to her chin. “I’m not dealing with no past ghost shit! It ain’t even Christmas yet! Get out of here before I exorcise your pale, ghostly white ass!”
The ghost facehoofed and shook his head. “Oh Lashona, you never do change.” He stood up, his orbs finally clear again, and brushed himself off. “I’ll see you again soon enough. For now, it’s time to wake up.”
“Wake up?” Lashona sat up in her bed. “Don’t tell me what to-”
Lashona groaned, her muscles aching after a night spent dancing. She rolled her shoulders and squeezed her warm pillow, murmuring. “Stupid white ghost, why’d it tussle with me.”
“I really wish you wouldn’t say that, it’s quite belittling,” Rarity whispered as she nuzzled closer to Lashona’s chest. “But you are warm, and I will forgive you.”
Lashona silently counted to ten, calming her heartbeat before speaking. “What are you doing?” she asked, keeping her eyes closed as her blood pressure spiked. Rarity shifted, her chin resting on Lashona as she looked up.
“Don’t you remember? We decided to share the bed, after all. Do you really think I’d sleep on my own floor?” she asked with a slight lisp, sleep inertia apparent. “I do hope you slept as well as I have.”
Lashona sighed. “Don’t tell me I have to buy you a drink-”
“Well,” Rarity interrupted as she wiggled away and out of bed, hopping onto the ground. “I have an appointment to attend to for my dear sister. It’s a special day for the fillies: career day.” Rarity trotted the nearest mirror and preened herself, reapplying makeup and brushing her mane. “She may not have found her calling, but I suppose I must support her choice for today. Remind me to thank dear Spike; he was the one who pulled a few strings, after all.”
Lashona leaned on her elbow, eyeing an empty sleeping bag that Pinkie Pie had slept in. “Girl, you gotta mention things like that the night before. What if I was a man? Ya can’t just leave like that!” Lashona wiped the sleep from her eyes and began to step off the small bed. “So, your sister? What’s she doing?”
Rarity paused, debating on how to answer. I hope she doesn't mind too much… She turned her head, facing Lashona. “It’s my dear sister, Sweetie Belle. She’s bringing a lawyer to school.”
Lashona’s blood turned to ice.
“Oh hell no.”