• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 11,943 Views, 243 Comments

An Apple A Day - Esle Ynopemos

A collection of thirthy-minute short stories about the rootinest, tootinest farm-filly this side of the Everfree. There'll be a chapter a day for thirty days. I ain't no fancy arithmeticker, but that adds up to a whole month of good, health

  • ...

27: The Curse of the Windigo [Dark]

((Prompt: The sacrifice she refused to make.))

“Don't touch me! Keep yer grubby hooves away!”

Though the barn was crowded with most of Ponyville's survivors and had a fire lit to keep them warm, frost still laced the hay at Apple Bloom's hooves. An icy sheen glinted in her eyes as she snarled, causing the refugees to back away from her in fear.

Sweetie Belle's lip trembled. “A-Apple Bloom? What's wrong with you?”

Apple Bloom rounded on her, hateful flecks of spittle on her lips. “I'll tell ya what's wrong with me. My only two friends are a useless pegasus with a sad, sick crush on a pony twice her age, and a unicorn filly who's too dumb ta spell her own name!”

Sweetie gave a tearful squeak and buried her face into Scootaloo's wing. “Hey!” Scootaloo shouted. “Sweetie's not dumb!”

Apple Bloom snorted derisively. “Maybe not compared to you!”

Worried murmurs traveled through the crowd. The word 'curse' hung in the air like a specter. The survivors had seen ponies break down into fits of rage like this before, many times since the return of the Long Winter, and it usually preceded deadly snows and chilling whinnies on the wind.

“Somepony quiet her down before she brings the windigos down on us!” shouted a fearful townspony.

“I hope I do,” shouted Apple Bloom. “I hope y'all freeze to death!”

Applejack put a hoof on her sister's shoulders, wincing as she noticed they felt like ice. “That's enough, Apple Bloom. Let's hush up.”

Apple Bloom batted her hoof away. “No! No, it ain't enough! You can't make me stop, sis! Yer jus' like the rest of 'em, hidin' in here like that makes us any safer.” She turned to holler at the rest of the barn. “Buncha cowards!”

Roseluck shrieked. “Get her out of here! Quick, before she gets us all killed!”

Applejack narrowed her eyes. “Nopony's takin' her anywhere. Twi, what the hay are ya doin'?”

Twilight Sparkle had glowing magic charged in her horn. “I'm sorry, Applejack,” she said. “You've seen what happens. Your sister clearly has the curse, and it's just a matter of time before the windigos come. We need to get her away from the rest of us if we're going to survive.”

Applejack wrapped her hooves tightly around Apple Bloom. “She ain't. Goin'. Nowhere.”

Apple Bloom squirmed in her grasp. “Quit actin' like you care, sis! Go on an' do as yer fearless leader says. You always do!”

Twilight frowned. “Applejack, let her go. If you're holding her like that, my spell will teleport you along with her.”

Applejack leveled a steely glare at Twilight. “I know.”

Rarity chewed on her hoof. “Applejack, please! Twilight knows what she's doing! If there was any other way, she would do it!”

Applejack simply hugged her hissing, snarling sister tighter.

A tear formed on Twilight's cheek. “I'm sorry, Applejack.”

A flash of light. Icy cold.

Applejack held on tight to her sister. The teleportation spell had melted a hole in a snowbank a few hundred yards outside of the barn. Already the blizzard was quickly refilling the gap. To the left, only the peaks of the tallest buildings in Ponyville stood above the snow. To the right, the Everfree forest was strangely untouched by the unnatural winter, but whatever fools had fled there had found a fate far worse than freezing to death. Wind whipped the snow into crystal needles that stung Applejack's face as they whizzed by.

Apple Bloom felt like a living ice-sculpture, still pushing spitefully against her chest, repeating, “I hate you, I hate you,” in tune with the rising and falling pitch of the wind.

Applejack felt a tear freeze to her cheek. “I love you too, sis.” She kissed her sister's forehead, her lips sticking like she had kissed a frozen pole.

The snow was suddenly lit up in a blue glow. Applejack turned to see a long, translucent equine face, regarding her with passionless indifference. The windigo stood a few feet above them as though the air were solid ground. The back half of it faded into the icy miasma of the blizzard.

Apple Bloom stopped her litany and looked up at the windigo. Her eyes locked with its, and the frosty gleam that had filled them slowly drained away. The filly went slack, and became warm once more in Applejack's hooves.

“S-sis?” she murmured into Applejack's chest. “What...”

“Shh,” said Applejack, staring up at the ancient spirit.

The windigo uttered a piercing whinny and galloped off into the wind, peppering the two of them with a spray of snow. The winds swirled around the creature as it closed in with savage speed on the barn.