I’m writing this from the hospital. Wait, what? Yeah, I am. Sky’s here, and Joseph's just down the hall keeping the generator running. I’ve told them both I’ll be fine sleeping here alone, but Cloudy Skies doesn’t think I should be alone. Not sure what she’s worried about; nothing feels broken, and the burns aren’t that bad. Really only cost me my eyelashes and a little fur. I could do with less of both anyway.
You … I told you … No Sky, I get it. I should’ve listened. He warned me. Yeah, I got all that. Just let me finish before my laptop dies, okay? I’ll sleep when I finish! … You know, I think I will leave it in!
So when I said I was in the hospital, I did mean that literally. Promise Hospital, to be precise. No, that isn’t because everyone came back and I’m getting an injection of distilled human so I can be normal again. I could only wish it was like that. No Sky, I don’t feel like sleeping. Morphine doesn’t make me sleepy; if you would let me I’d get in the car and drive us home just fine. Yeah, whatever. I’ll sleep when I’m done telling the story.
I don’t normally record these for an audience. All the more reason to master mouth-writing or make a pony-sized keyboard I suppose. I wish I could go online and find people with only a few fingers to ask how they type. I bet they would have exactly the insights I would need right now.
So anyway, look at yesterday, you’ll see what I was planning. Joseph told me how he’d learned his “magic.” Sky and I wanted magic too. You can probably guess it didn’t work out, since I’m still using Dragon to do this entry. The hospital thing was probably a clue too. … You don’t have to stay in here, you know. Huan’s got the door. Nothing’s gonna get me in here. I feel fine!
Sigh. Okay, I guess she wants to hear. Make sure I get the details right. Not sure why Sky cares if I get things right. You know I could just go back and change it if I wanted to lie in my journal, right?
This mare is impossible. Yeah, I don’t even care that you can hear me! No, you’re a jerk!
She’s not really. If Sky hadn’t been there and what happened today had happened, I would’ve been left for the strays. It still hurts like hell, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get away. Huan couldn’t protect me on his own, even if I know he wouldn’t have left my side. Dogs are loyal like that. Apparently ponies are too. Would you believe Cloudy Skies plans to sleep in here? Brought in some blankets and stuff, and she’s going to use the bed next to mine, to make sure nothing happens.
Psh, as if something would happen. Even if dogs did come in the door’s shut and Huan is right outside.
I guess not having anything medical on our list was a major oversight. Should have planned better, then maybe we wouldn’t be sleeping in this dark hospital. Got a few bandages, and my mane is now appropriately short (to get rid of all the stuff that burned off.
No, I don’t care if you thought it looked better long! I like it short!
I’m never doing another journal entry with someone around again. The constant interruption makes it so hard to concentrate. See how off topic I’ve gotten? I haven’t even said how I got here, or all the other things that happened. I’m gonna tell the story now. Sky says she won’t talk again while I’m working.
The runes were unchanged from the last time I saw them. Sky said again that she thought they were familiar, though she couldn’t tell me where she had seen them. We weren’t really sure what to do, since all Joseph had said he did was stand in the center of the diagram. Was that it? Just walk into the middle and expect “magic” to happen to us?
Apparently yes. I said it was silly, so naturally Sky had to show us just how silly it was by going first. It’s a good thing she did, since she managed to use the spell without any other side effects. Honestly, I’m afraid those delicate little pegasus bones couldn’t have handled what was waiting for them when the spell ended.
There wasn’t anything to see, really. Sky already had her buttprint, so even though she’s still pretending to be a nudist — sorry, actually being a nudist — nothing new appeared. I didn’t see her vanish or grow a horn or lights appear anywhere they shouldn’t. She just shrugged, turned, and walked out of the circle.
I was pretty worried about her. Yeah, I’m gonna say that with you in the room, don’t give me that look. I want it to be authentic. It’s not my fault if I worry about you. You don’t worry enough about you.
Of course, we hadn't come all that way just not to try it. Sky... didn't seem to want me to go in. Guess I wish I'd listened to her now, whatever. I did anyway. If all it took was walking inside then not trying would've been completely stupid. So I did, marched straight in and dared the spell to do anything to me. That put me inside the circle, exposed to the full brunt of what Joseph called “magic.” After what I saw, I think I might believe him.
I swear it was exactly like he described. I didn’t feel like I was looking somewhere else, more like looking sideways. If that makes any sense. It wasn’t a mystical vision, it was just giving me better senses for a little bit. I saw grassy fields greener than anything I ever saw, and I felt… damnit, I know Sky’s not going to let me live this down, but I felt like it just looked so good, maybe I would eat it. The water was clear and perfect, no bacteria or mercury swimming around in it, you could just drink it right from a stream if you wanted. Cities and towns and villages sprawled out, none too close together.
I saw the city all around me, but it was changed somehow. The buildings weren’t as tall, and there was cobblestone instead of asphalt. Ponies moved about instead of people, all of them with those stupid butt-marks like Sky’s got. Plenty of them were like me, but others had horns and still others flew about in the sky overhead like overlarge birds or tiny aircraft. It was hard to tell for sure, but it seemed like the ponies acted different than people do. Somehow more… friendly, or whatever. It’s hard to put my finger on it, since I don’t have any of those left. Whatever.
A little further away I saw the suburbs, where the city melted quickly into farmland. It was all hornless, wingless ponies there, but that didn’t seem to stop them. They organized, they planned, and together I saw them use practicality and common sense to get fields planted and accomplish the affairs of daily life in their primitive society. The earth bloomed under their touch, and whole harvests matured so fast I couldn’t keep track of them all. I wanted to be there.
The vision changed, and I felt suddenly like somebody was watching me. Somebody who saw my confusion and distress and wanted to help. There was somebody I knew I wanted to meet, even though I didn't know why. For a second, I felt like I was close to understanding. So close I could’ve grabbed on and held with all my might, if I’d only had my real limbs back.
The vision was gone like ripping the cable from a television. That wasn’t the worst part, though it sure feels the worst now. No, the worst part was the explosion. Nevermind that the “spell” was just a bunch of marks on the ground. Evidently they weren’t concerned with the rules of just being symbols on the ground, which I suppose I should’ve taken from what they’d been doing for me so far. Still, I never expected them to explode.
I got thrown a good fifteen or twenty feet, not to mentioned singed up pretty bad. I was knocked senseless, so you understand I don’t actually remember this part. Sky tells me she drove to the nearest hospital, though she didn’t expect to be able to do much for me.
As it turns out though, I’ve apparently got iron bones or something. I didn’t break anything in the fall, even though I would’ve expected to be a paste inside if I’d been human. I’m sore everywhere, but even the fire didn’t seem to do more than get the surface layer of fur and make things tender underneath. I think… I’m not sure on this, but I feel like from what I saw that this isn’t entirely unexpected. Hornless ponies are stronger than the other two, at least from what I saw.
I didn’t get a mark on my butt, like Joseph. I guess I just feel… like maybe I understand what a regular pony is supposed to be. Regular pony, that’s me, no flying and no horn. I still think I’m gonna envy Joe’s horn a little, but if all the ponies I saw could make do without them, I don’t know why I couldn’t too. I’ve never been much for heights in any case; I’ve always been uneasy in high places.
I wonder if things are going to change for Sky now. She won’t tell me what she saw, assuming she even saw anything; sorta reticent about it all, like Joe was. She’s been squirming in her seat while I talked about it, like she thought I had to keep it secret too even though mine didn’t last long enough to learn why. Did she even have a vision? She won't say.
It appears Joesph may’ve been right about the spell “running out” of power, and being unsafe when it did. I count myself lucky I’m still alive, and don’t need massive skin grafts or surgeries (there’s nobody to do any of those things). Cloudy Skies has helped animals with some minor things on her farm before. Even helped a mare deliver a foal once (my disgust brims at the prospect). She knew a little first aid and thank god we didn’t need anything more.
Joe was furious with me for doing exactly what he was afraid I would do. I told him that it wasn’t up to him what risks we took, and that what we learned probably outweighed what we sacrificed. Besides, the explosion wiped those weird marks right off the floor, so it’s not gonna happen again. Even though I didn’t get to finish mine.
I was going to wrap it up there, but Sky just left to find a bathroom before bed. I just wanted to say that I feel a little… poorer, not to have seen it through to the end. I feel like having one of those marks is something I should have. Almost nobody in the vision was wearing very much clothes, and none like mine. Got some great inspiration from that for outfits that might actually fit this body. Granted, most of them failed to cover anything important…
I wonder how long it will be practical to dress like humans do with these inhuman bodies. Joe doesn’t seem in any hurry to change, and at least in that tiny way I agree with him. Still, after seeing that, I know those marks are somehow fundamental to our identities. The fact I don’t have one… almost makes me feel like I’m missing an identity.
From what I saw, Sky is going to be able to fly one day. Joesph can already do magic. Where’s that gonna leave me? Will they even have any reason to keep me around? Another few years… crap, I think she’s coming back. Already?
Oh, good. It was just Joe checking in. Apparently the generator’s prepped. Sky won’t let him sleep with us, so he’s going to use the room next-door. Doesn’t want the door open, in case something wanders in during the night. Can’t say I disagree. Huan’s going to be our alarm-system, so that should keep us pretty well informed. I said sorry for not listening to him, even though I would probably have done it again. I’d do it ten times if that would mean I got to finish.
Joe didn’t make that spell. Yes, I’m going to call it that now. Joseph the glowicorn found it, exactly as it was. You know the strangest part? It doesn’t feel like it was something left there intentionally. It’s more like… a door left swinging open. I never felt like there was any guiding intelligence behind what I was seeing, not until those last few seconds, when I felt like someone had noticed me. Joe said the same thing, said that was why it was so unsafe.
The spell wasn’t put there for us to find. It was decaying on purpose; it would’ve been gone completely in another few days (or so Joe says. I have to take his word for it since I can’t “sense magic” like he does. Freakin’ jerk). Still, even if it was an accident, I can’t help but see it as proof that there’s at least one other pony out there. One with… magic, probably, since Joesph can sense it so well. Probably way better magic than his, so that they can create circles that accidentally give us glimpses of another world.
Does that mean it was a doorway? We… humans… became ponies, like the ones we saw in the vision. Could it be this was some kind of attack from whatever place we saw? Could this whole awful disaster have begun from that circle? It brought death to billions, and to the dregs it just gives us a glimpse at the faces of our killers?
No, couldn’t be. Those creatures looked so nice, so friendly, so loving… they wouldn’t want to harm anything or anyone. Maybe they… sensed more of their own kind, and came here to help us? If so, they don’t use their magical power very well. You’d think the three of us would have been easier to find.
This doesn’t change much. We still need to gather supplies, protect knowledge of our race. Still need to keep our eyes open to a way to put things back to normal. Find out where all the missing people went. The only thing this changes is that now, maybe, there’s a little hope. Somebody besides Joe made the circle. Maybe they’re still out there. Find them, and maybe we find the truth.
Or maybe we don’t. Only one way to find out.