• Published 5th Aug 2013
  • 6,299 Views, 486 Comments

The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters

Callum lives a miserable life on Earth. But that is soon to change, as some unexpected visitors will change his life forever.

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Chapter One: My Life

Putting on my jacket, I looked in the mirror; I didn't look half bad, my past four years of boxing had certainly helped me stay in shape. I wasn't quite there yet though, weighing in at twelve and a half stone for a sixteen-year-old was hardly healthy, but I'd always put some of the blame onto my height, broad shoulders, and being big-boned. I zipped up my jacket, which wasn't exactly trendy, but it didn't look awful. I grabbed a tenner from my room, headed downstairs and walked to the front door, not bothering for lunch as I had eaten a large breakfast.

"Where are you going?" A voice barked.

This voice, was that of my mother's; most people would be pleased to hear the voice of their mother, it should make them feel safe and secure.
Well, things were rather different in this household.

"I'm just heading out to the K-Two, I'm going for a swim." I answered, turning to face her.

She stared at me, then snorted.

"Fine, but I'm not taking you."

I shrugged, this was nothing out of the ordinary; heck, I didn't even ask her. When it came to getting from A to B, I usually had to walk, or take the train, and in a year I'd be able to drive, so that was a plus; thinking about it, I should probably have sent off an application form for my provisional licence, it was never too early to get prepared.

"Good thing I didn't ask you then, I'm getting the bus." I replied.

Opening the front door, I stepped out into the driveway; being June in the middle of summer, I was quite relieved to feel the mildly cool English breeze as it greeted me.

"Send me a text to let me know where you are! Be back before six!"

Not turning to face her, I rolled my eyes.

“Yes mum!”

She nagged so much about me going outside, always checking what I do, the old bat didn't even care about my safety, there was just this obsessive interest in what I was actually doing with my time; it seemed like she was paranoid about something, like she was hiding some big secret. I was sixteen for goodness sake, what did she think I got up to? It's not like I was a bloody rent boy or something...

My mother, where do I start? She was a narcissistic, self-centred old woman with a huge drinking problem.
It mostly started when my father left a few years ago, she would still drink and bully me when he was around, but it properly kicked off when he left; he was the only guy in my family whom I respected.
He used to disappear frequently for short periods of time to go gambling, but he would only ever gamble with what he won, he wouldn't do anything to jeopardise our family's finances; at least, that's how it had always been until one occasion...
We never knew why he'd gone and done it, he didn't even have the balls to admit it to us; mum just kicked him out and then told us how he'd lost all the family savings in a game of poker. It was a stupid decision, and it seemed so out of character for him to risk so much, whether he'd learned his lesson or not, we didn't know; we hadn’t heard from him since; my mother took to shouting at me whenever I mentioned him, she'd even hit me on the odd occasion when I had attempted to pry deeper into where he had gone, so I'd learned to stay quiet about the subject.
I also had an older brother, he used to be alright, but now he's almost as bad as mum. Since dad left, he’d been trying to become the 'man of the house', and seemingly downloaded every negative male stereotype there is, and turned them into his personality. Despite his obnoxious persona, he was incredibly intelligent, and learned how to avoid my mum's brutish and controlling behaviour by mimicking her, from drinking alcohol with her, to simply bullying me for her entertainment. He forced himself to drink hard spirits like vodka and rum, in attempt to be what he called a 'hard man', if there was ever a title, or an award for 'Earth's Biggest Dick', he'd be the one to earn it.
I think that if it weren’t for My Little Pony, and my very few friends, I might have followed the same path.
I'd dealt with some shit, the odd suicide attempt, overwhelming depression, constant suicidal thoughts, all while trying to piece together exactly why I was actually bothering to do anything at all. I wasn't a religious person, I didn't think I was 'put' here for a reason; you find your reasons to live life, while living it.
I just hadn't found mine yet, and to be quite frank, my patience was wearing thin.

I needed a purpose.

Honestly, being a brony had helped keep me maintain the motivation to carry on in this pressing life, yeah, that sounds pretty stupid and immature, but it truly had an effect on people, at least, it had an effect on me; it made me appreciate the trivial joys of life, it had helped teach me to put people's differences aside and learn to love people for who they are, (my family made that guideline rather hard to follow).
The show gave me a very small piece of hope, that one day, I'd forge an unbreakable friendship with some people just like in the show, I already had a group of friends, but they weren't exactly true friends that would support me through thick and thin, they were positive acquaintances from school; alas, they were fair-weather friends.
That said, Harry and Annabel weren't such friends, they were genuine people that I wanted to keep in my life, but both of them lived miles away, I wouldn't see them again until I moved out and found somewhere of my own to live. I wasn't living though, I hadn't been living for years, I've been surviving; I clung onto my hope though, maybe I would get there, one day.
It was an ambitious thought for my current situation, I know, but a guy can dream, right?

Crossing the road and walking over to the bus stop, I sat down on the bench and waited; the bus took forever to show up on a Saturday. I looked around with distaste to my surroundings, I lived in a scuzzy little suburban town called Ifield, every house was a cheap built council house, full of slobs who thrived on benefit fraud, half the town was on a job seeker's allowance, well aware they weren't seeking anything but a cheap way to sponge off the country.
My house was one of the only decent houses in a five mile radius, an comfortably medium to large building with Victorian accents in the woodwork, with a generous four acres of land at the back.
Doing my best to accept this was my situation, I began to daydream while I waited.

I thought about how great it would be to live in Equestria, a place where there is no hate or war, only love and harmony, somewhere where no one judged you for who you were; I was more of a closet brony now since everyone in my school had mocked me relentlessly for it, thank god I'd finished my exams and had gotten out of there.
I thought I could tell my best friend Harry about it because I trusted him; it was back when I first 'joined the herd', Season One had just finished airing, and I'd stumbled upon it via YouTube videos, and found myself hooked after just two episodes.
What did Harry do, the moment I told him? He went and told all the other guys and even the bloody teachers! The rumour didn't take long to get into circulation. Callum Horncastle, the freak, the faggot, the little girl trapped inside a boy's body. Every harsh name bronies could receive, I received; how in the world could a fourteen-year-old boy be a paedophile? Seriously, I wasn't even over the age of consent for crying out loud! I was fine with a handful of people knowing that I was a brony, but my whole school? Awkward!
It took a year for it to die down, but even when it stopped being a big deal, I got the looks here and there; those stupid expressions on their faces, looking at me as if I had a turd stuck to my forehead or something.

I sighed, even when attempting to daydream, I was constantly drawn to the dump my life was. Sure, I was sixteen now, with a whole future ahead of me, but what future? How could it possibly have got better from here?
Eventually the bus turned up; I got on and paid the fare with my tenner, receiving a fiver and a few pound coins in change. Sitting down at the far back, I watched the world go by while going back to dreaming about the nice life that I wish I had.

My self-pity was soon forced away as I saw the leisure centre coming towards me, we had arrived.

I got off the bus, thanked the driver as I always did, (can't get much more British than that), and then headed inside; I handed the cashier my fiver and requested to go swimming in the Olympic pool, and then I went off to get changed. I loved swimming, being underwater was one of the only places I felt free, floating around and sinking down, physically instead of mentally for a change. It was one of my favourite activities, alongside boxing.
Whenever I dived to the bottom, it felt like all my struggles stayed at the surface, as though my mental sickness couldn't swim; perhaps that's why it felt like I was always drowning inside?

After an hour or two of swimming lengths in the Olympic pool I decided to get out, get changed and leave; as I was just towelling myself off and getting dressed, I overheard a couple of teenage girls in the cubicle next to me ranting on about an ex-boyfriend or something similar.

“He’s such a dick; seriously, I’d like, so kick his head in.” One said to the other.

“Yeah, I would genuinely stab him, right between the ribs.” The other replied, in an equally hostile tone.

"Why don't you?"

"I wouldn't get away with it, but if I could, I would."

{Oh, what a wonderful world to live in.} I thought to myself.

I mean, sure, I didn't know who the person they were talking about was, or whether he deserved the things I'd just heard or not, but that wasn't the point, it was bigger than that! Everywhere I went, people were fighting, everyone was so willing to pull one another apart over such pathetic reasons that really didn't matter in the grand scheme of things; I could happily bet my remaining fiver on the fact these girls were gossiping being about some petty broken teenage relationship. So much for Planet Earth's master race; I got changed and left as fast as I could, not wanting to hear any more of it.

The bus that took me home didn't turn up for ages, so I just leaned against the bus stop sign and stared up at the clouds as I waited patiently; I loved doing that, just staring up at the beautiful white clumps in the sky. I used to do it with my dad in the summer; we'd just lay there in the garden, finding shapes in the clouds and seeing what we could make out of them; I would always look for animals, cloud dragons, cloud wolves, cloud cats, you name it. Dad however, would look for people and faces; he always looked for the good in humanity.
I wished my mum had never kicked him out, I missed him a lot; why was it fair that he should disappear from my life after one big mistake, when that monster of a woman would drink, swear, and abuse me constantly? What gave her the right?
There wasn't even a bloody court case for custody over us, the gambling mistake was too abundantly clear for him to be deemed irresponsible, and yet a violent drunkard was?

My frustration withdrew as I was brought back into present day, when I noticed an object moving behind one of the clouds; it was about the size of a large dog, and it was light blue with a flicker of other colours. It was only there for a moment, and then it was gone in the blink of an eye.

"What was that?" I whispered to myself.

After staring at the cloud for some time, I shrugged my shoulders and guessed it was just my imagination. The bus arrived and I payed the fare, using up the last of my money to take me home.
I don't know why I bothered calling it home, sure as hell didn't feel like it.
It was more like prison.

When I finally got back, I found myself alone, my mother must have gone to play late night bingo again, meaning I’d be on my own until about eight o’clock tonight. I boiled the kettle and made myself a Pot-Noodle, along with a cup of tea; I took both items into the lounge, sat on the sofa, and began to eat it in front of the TV.
The Jeremy Kyle show was on, I loved a bit of Jezza, there were few ways to improve your self confidence than to watch other lower class hooligans screaming at one another about who's the father of some baby.

The programme finished and I went to change the channel, as my hand made contact with the remote, there was a loud thud in my garden. One of my dogs, Chilli, started to bark and had zoomed through the cat-flap before I could even stand up; the other dog, called Archer, raised his head, then went back to sleep, that was the best thing about Deerhounds, they do absolutely nothing if they didn't have to. As I headed to the back door I heard a loud cracking noise, and a loud yelp; this was where I began to panic; I opened the door, and sprinted into the garden calling my dog’s name.

“Chilli, where are you? Chilli!

No response. I was really worried now, I loved Chilli more than anything, she was my baby.

"Chilli!" I whistled, "here Chilli!"

At first there was still no response, but then I heard a whimpering sound in the bushes; I sprinted over to find Chilli shaking with fear, covering her eyes with her paws, her whiskers were singed at the tips, as if set alight by a match or something, I had no idea how it was possible though.
The chickens seemed to be pretty spooked as well, we had ten hens and a cockerel named Bruce; having four acres of land, it seemed stupid not to have any livestock, so they made a nice addition to the garden, it was lovely to have an endless supply of eggs. All eleven of them were clucking loudly and were evidently disturbed by something.
I took Chilli inside and checked her over once more, and gave her the two leftover sausages from last night’s dinner, (mum was going to kill me), and then gave her some attention until she calmed down; I then decided to go back outside to investigate.

After a good ten minutes of snooping around, I found nothing that suggested that there was anyone in the garden; I had searched all four acres. I looked up at the sky to find that it was getting dark; I looked at my watch, nine o'clock already.
That's when I got the strange feeling that I was being watched; I looked around, I didn't see anything in the low light, but it still felt like someone, or something, was watching me. It was the weirdest sensation, I hated uncertainty.
I quickly went back inside and played on my Xbox, trying to forget about the whole thing, I let Chilli come into my room as well for some company.

Later on, I heard the front door slam; my mum was home. Withing seconds I could hear her storming upstairs, the door opened aggressively as she came into my room.

“Why the fuck is the dog on the bed?” She demanded.

She grabbed Chilli by the collar and pulled her off the bed, and then kicked her out of my room, literally; Chilli yelped and ran downstairs, frightened and confused.

“Mum don’t kick Chilli! She hasn't done anything wro-”

I was interrupted by her hand, as it slapped me across the face.

“Don’t answer back, cocky little boy.” She snapped, and then left the room.

I didn’t cry as one might expect, for I was use to this kind of abuse, it had become the norm; frustration is what I felt, the anger inside had been building for years but I could never bring myself to retaliate, it was the main reason I'd started boxing, I needed some way of venting it all.

Who took the sausage from last night?

I physically felt the vibration through my bed frame as her voice rippled throughout the damn house. I swallowed, and one word ran through my head.


I miserably walked downstairs to confess; I wished Applejack’s honesty didn’t have such an influence on me for once.

“It was me, mum. Something really scared Chilli outside earlier, so I gave her the sausages to calm her down; she was really scared, honest.”

She looked at me with disgust, and she slammed the fridge door shut.

“Well that’s a load of bullshit, isn't it? I was going to eat that! What, you just thought you could sneak into the fridge while nobody's home and eat them for yourself? You greedy little runt!"

I shook my head in denial and she approached me, smacked me once again, harder than before.

"You're a liar, Callum, now go and make yourself useful and put the chickens to bed!”

I walked out the back door, it slammed behind me and then I hear the lock click.

“Perfect, locked me out...” I mumbled to myself as I headed down the garden.

I went over to the large coop in the corner of the garden, about an acre away from the house. I closed the door of the hutch to make sure the foxes didn't get them; I've had to do this every night for the past two years. I didn't even want the damn chickens, yet they had become mostly my responsibility, if they had no food, it was my fault, if they hadn't been cleaned out, it was my fault, and if they were killed by foxes, new flash, it was my fault.

I was about to head back when I heard a faint voice from behind the shed further, just a little further up the land; instantly on high alert, I clenched my fists and crept towards the shed to investigate. Upon reaching the shed, I crouched down near the large door and listened carefully.

“The poor guy, how can you treat another of your kind like that?”

The voice was female, and I recognised from somewhere; I carried on listening, and I heard another voice speak, to which I also recognised.

“I know, no one should treat one another like that.”

A third voice spoke.

“Twilight, was it really necessary to zap that cute little dog, I feel so bad for the poor thing.”

Twilight... Twilight... That voice, saying that particular name...
It couldn't be, surely? Surely not...

“Unfortunately it was Fluttershy, if it kept barking at us the human might have found us.”

{Oh, my, god}, I thought to myself.

I realised who I was listening to, I couldn’t believe my ears, I must have been dreaming surely, I keep listening to confirm what I was thinking, shaking my head in disbelief.

{How is this possible? How is this possible?} I thought over and over again.

“Twilight, how long are we going to be out here monitoring this dude? We’ve been sat here here for two weeks already! I’m bored and want to get this show on the road!”

“Keep it down Dashie, we’re on another world in a different dimension, we can’t take any chances. I want to learn about these humans as much as I can before I interact with them.”

{They’ve been here for two whole weeks?} I thought to myself in shock.

I was listening to the ‘mane six’, the actual six ponies from the show; it was Twilight Sparkle that singed Chilli’s whiskers, that’s what spooked the chickens, and that’s why I got that feeling of being watched earlier.
I almost dropped dead from pure amazement; how could six cartoon ponies be talking behind my garden shed? It didn’t make any sense, I started to feel nauseous alongside the mixture of confusion and joy.
But then came the fear; what if I had lost my mind? Was any of this even real?
I definitely hadn’t taken any drugs, other than my antidepressants, which certainly had no hallucinogenic side effects. Perhaps I really had gone mad, possibly driven insane by the desire to go to Equestria maybe? I was in a rather rough spot in terms of my mental health as it was, suffering from depression from age nine, I wasn’t exactly the happiest person in the world, to say the least.
Maybe this was some sort of elaborate daydream to take my mind of my emotions? I pinched myself over and over to make sure I wasn’t just dreaming, I wasn’t waking up, I wasn’t having a dream; this was real...

“Dimensions, worlds, aliens, this is all whizzing over my head Twi. I know you’re worried and all. But Princess Celestia sent us to this area specifically, she said there is a human here who knows us, he can help us.”

{Celestia sent them here because of ME?} I thought to myself, almost screaming it out loud.

How could she have known me? Had she been spying on me?
This was too much to handle, I couldn’t stay still for much longer, the urge to actually see them in front of me was so strong that I was actually shaking.

“I know Applejack, that’s exactly why we’re monitoring him from a distance with magic. I want to learn about him in great detail first, I haven’t forgotten what Celestia told me when she gave us the mission, I want to be cautious.”

“Then why, are we not talking to him now? We could learn a whole lot more about him by talking to him in person, definitely faster than how we're learning right now.” Rainbow Dash's voice interrupted.

I was shaking all over; I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me, I was desperate to jump out and say something, but I had to keep myself from doing so, I needed more information.

“Because Dashie-”

“Because nothing Twilight, you’re so scared of new things! Come on, we’ve saved Equestria countless times from danger, Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, Discord, and remember when you lifted that Ursa Minor out of Ponyville? We're badasses, there is nothing we can’t overcome.”

I shuddered, if only they knew what this world held...
Guns, war, murder, thugs, terrorists, rapists, oh, the list was endless; it would take me days to list everything our race was capable of, thankfully they wouldn't find anything like that here in my garden.
Twilight sighed, and gave in to the pressure of her friends.

“I guess you’re right, it’s just that... Oh, fine. We’ll find a way of getting him out here alone and talk to him.”

I couldn’t take it anymore; I came out from around the shed to face them, to face a dream in reality.

“There’s no need Twilight, I’m already out here.”

They... They were real...
I didn't know how to describe this moment, I was looking at something impossible.
The sun hadn't set yet, but it was getting quite low, most of the garden was blanketed in a dark orange light, and I could only just see them all clearly as dusk settled in.
They looked like... Well... Well, I couldn't quite describe it, they were just so real, and yet they were just like from the show; Rainbow's mane and tail were the same vivid bright pastel colours, Pinkie Pie was indeed, bright pink, and Rarity's mane was curled in its usual fashion.
Come to think of it, they looked similar to the animated ponies in Source Filmmaker, just more, well, real.
That was the only way I could describe it, they looked REAL.

All the ponies gasped and stared at me with shock, all of them had their mouths open as wide as physically possible; they said nothing, and I noticed that they were all slowly backing away, I had to speak quickly before they ran away.

“Please don’t be afraid, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Twilight was the first to speak.

“Um... How... how much of that did... Did you hear?”

Her pupils had shrunk in size, just as they did in the show whenever ponies were afraid. I glanced at the others, whom all had the same expression, except for Rainbow Dash, she seemed quite calm after getting over the initial fright.

“I didn’t hear much, only something to do with learning more about me.” I said quickly but calmly.

Internally, I was on the verge of screaming with joy and running towards them, but I had to stay put; I had to find a way of showing them that I was harmless to them.

“I'm not sure how well you know me, but I promise that I am no threat to you, I Pinkie promise.”

The corners of Pinkie’s lips began to turn up into a little grin. I slowly knelt down to make myself look less threatening, to which the ponies seemed to relax a little bit; Rainbow Dash even took a step forward, calm and confident.

“You see Twilight, what did I tell you? Nothing to be afraid of.”

I couldn’t help ask the question that any brony in my shoes would have asked.

“I probably sound ridiculous asking this, but... Are you real?”

Dashie walked right up to me and held out her hoof, grinning.

“Really real.”

I lifted my arm and prepared to make my first physical contact; I hesitated at first, not wanting this dream to end, but then I reached out and touched her hoof.
It was real, and I couldn’t help bursting out with a huge grin.

{Holy shit, she’s real. This is all real!}

The others relaxed and came forward, convinced I was safe; all except Twilight, who still kept her distance. Rarity was the next to say something, she flicked her mane sideways and smiled at me warmly.

“We've been monitoring you for quite some time, but Twilight’s magic can only gather so much information, please tell us more about yourself, we've all been dying to meet you properly.”

I didn’t really know what to say, it’s not like every day you get prompted to talk about yourself to Rarity! I had to say something though before it became awkward, so I used Spike's handy line from the very first episode of the show.

“Well, what do you want to know?”

As I looked from pony to pony, waiting for a response, I noticed a strange look in Rainbow Dash’s eyes; I didn’t know what she was thinking, but I could clearly tell that she was thinking hard, her whole demeanour had changed, like she was curiously studying me for some reason.
My attention was drawn back to Rarity, as she gave her answer.

“Well, thanks to Twilight’s magic, we know your name is Callum, and that your family name is Horncastle, we've learned that you live with your mother and brother, and that you were educated at a school like in Equestria. We've also come to know you're very athletic, having seen your swimming abilities, and that you participate in a combat sport called boxing; but that's pretty much all we know."

She must have referred to my swimming session earlier today; it must have been Rainbow Dash that I had seen in the clouds, it all made sense now, this was incredible!
Before I could reply, a pink, hyperactive pony popped up right in front of me.

"Ooh, ooh, what kind of food do you eat here? Huh? Huh?"

I shuddered, how could I say meat? I'd rather die than see Fluttershy's reaction to that, I needed a miracle, and to my luck, that miracle came; I heard the back door open, and the dreaded voice boom across the garden.

"Oi Callum! Where are you? I told you to put the chickens away, not go fucking camping!"

I looked at all the ponies, and they all looked at me; they knew that I would have to go, but I had an idea.

"Tomorrow I've got the house to myself, you can come in if you like?"

Twilight opened her mouth, clearly about to refuse, but Pinkie Pie broke out with one of her hyper fits.

"Ooh, yes! YES! I would love to! We would love to! I've always wanted to see an alien's house, what's it like in there? Is it all snugly wuggly with big alien furniture and a massive alien kitchen full of tasty alien food and-"

"Alright Pinkie, simmer down."

Applejack gave her hyperactive friend a playful nudge, then she turned to me.

"We'd love to come in, but is it safe with... Her?"

She pointed towards the house, where my mother had just slammed the door and walked off indoors.

"She's off to play bingo all day, and my brother is at a friend's house, so it's just me; trust me, it's safe. Plus I've got loads of books about humans and stuff for you Twilight, you can learn loads about this planet."

That's what got Twilight's attention, books; lots and lots of book for lots and lots of learning, she couldn't refuse now.

"Oh fine, come out and call us when it's safe. Oh and while you're here, can I cast another monitoring spell on you? The last one was dispelled when your mother smacked you earlier."

The ponies all grimaced as Twilight mentioned my mum hitting me, Dashie came up to me with a sorrowful expression on her face.

"How can she do that to you? How do you take it?"

I looked at her and gave her a reassuring smile to show her that I wasn't in any pain.

"Don't feel bad about it Dashie, it's fine. I've gotten used to it."

"That doesn't make it right though!" Applejack exclaimed.

Twilight closed her eyes, her horn began to glow, and I then felt a warm sensation run over my body, like a weightless blanket, it then sank through my skin and filled me with tiny buzzing sensations, before it eventually faded away.

{Holy shit, real magic!} I thought to myself.

I still found it hard to believe that this was all real, this was insane. Magic, real, sparkly, frazzle dazzle unicorn magic!

"I'd better be getting home before my mother gets even angrier." I said to Twilight.

I started to head back towards the house, when Twilight called to me.

"Are you sure it's safe for us to come to your house tomorrow?"

I rolled my eyes at how worried she was, she was worse than Fluttershy; I turned around and called back, and I even performed the little gesture that came with the saying...

"I cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!"

I turned round again and walked to the house, I didn't need to see their faces to know they were all smiling...

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