The bass pounded inside the club. The vibrations could be felt through one's hooves, even from the door. Ponies danced, or some approximation thereof, clutching drinks and bobbing their heads. Though the herd had thinned out over the night, there were still a few dozen ponies.
One pony stood behind the speakers, headphones wrapped around her neck. Her blue mane fell over her eye, and she flicked it aside. She tapped a hoof to the beat, adjusting the sound whenever it didn't quite feel right. A constant grin was plastered to her face.
She looked out over the crowd. Everypony looked to be having a good time. Another job well done. Mentally, she patted herself on the back.
Somepony standing in front of the speakers said something, but she couldn't make it out. He was smiling, though, so she nodded, grin widening.
The song ended, and Vinyl immediately dropped into the next one. She looked over at the clock. Almost two in the morning.
"Last song, everypony! Make it count!" A cheer rang out, or so she guessed by everypony throwing up their hooves. A few teetered on the brink of falling, drunkenly swaying and trying to land back on all fours. Ponies downed and ditched their drinks on the way to the dance floor.
By this point in the night, the ponies' movements no longer resembled dancing. At best, the ponies did a wobbly sort of hop. At worst, it was more like they were throwing themselves in various directions, not even able to keep to the beat. The alcohol and the fatigue were too much; those who could handle their drinks had long since exhausted themselves.
At last, the song ended, and Vinyl wrapped it up. "Good night, everypony!" she said into the microphone before she began powering down her equipment. She left it all where it was after she turned it off. There was no point in taking it home; it was heavy and she'd just have to lug it all back again for her gig the next day.
The ponies staggered out the door and into the streets. Vinyl was the second-to-last one out; only the bartender stayed behind.
Vinyl knew the way back by heart. She could have sleepwalked home, which was good, considering she had practically done so on a few of the crazier, later nights.
She didn't look where she was going when she crossed the street. The only carriages going at this hour would be for party ponies who had had too a little too much, and she would see the lights before one even arrived. The street was so quiet that the city hadn't even bothered with a lamppost.
Still... there was an odd rumbling. She turned her head. No lights came from either side of her. But as she turned back, she saw something move in the corner of her eye.
All at once, the wind was knocked out of her as another pony barreled into, then tumbled over her. Her ribs, already aching from the impact, were crushed beneath the carriage's wooden wheels. She lay there in agony as both the passenger and the driver argued, gesturing back and forth and saying things back and forth in rapid-fire succession.
After what felt like an eternity, the driver stood by her head, gesturing for the passenger to stand on the other side of her. Together, they lifted her into the carriage. The passenger hopped in, and they took off for the hospital.
Detective Brass Badge narrowed his eyes at the driver. "What were you doing driving without even a lantern going?"
Rickshaw sighed. "I did, but it went out along the way. You can ask my passenger."
"Oh, we will," Brass said. He put his hooves on the table. "You know, if you'd have had one, you never would have hit that mare."
"That wasn't my fault!" Rickshaw's hooves shot up. He slowly lowered them when the detective shot him a harsh look. "Look. She wasn't even looking for traffic. She turned when I got near, but she didn't move. I was screaming "Move out of the way!" and everything, and she didn't listen. I tried to stop, but it was too late." He shook his head. "It's like she couldn't even hear me."
"She didn't." Brass leaned in, staring directly at Rickshaw. "She's deaf."