• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 7,660 Views, 342 Comments

Alienation - Longtooth



I am not Twilight Sparkle. We share one body, one past, but not our souls. I do not know why I am here, or why I have done these terrible things. This is my story.

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Realisation

I am not Twilight Sparkle. I think I should get that out of the way first, before we start to get confused. This is the truth. The absolute truth. The only real thing that I can point to and say ‘this is above reproach! This is not in question!’ Even if the rest of the world doesn’t acknowledge it, even if all else is just… shadows and lies made to trick me, I know this. I am not her.

But I look like her. Perfectly, absolutely, down to every detail. Okay, admittedly there are some differences right now, but that’s a result of me trying to differentiate myself from her. I didn’t start out with this mane style or these piercings. Certainly not the scars. No, I started out exactly as she ended off. If she ended. I don’t even know.

If that were all it was, if I was just a bizarre doppelganger who was somehow inserted into her life without knowing how or why, that would be something I could deal with. It was certainly something I wanted to believe. But that’s not the case. I’m not just her double in body, you see, I’ve got her memories too. I remember her life from behind her eyes. I remember her thoughts and her feelings and her hopes and her dreams and her prejudices. What’s worse? I have no other memories to compare to, no second life to difinitively call my own. All her memories are all my memories. No more, no less.

Yet I still am not her. I do not think her thoughts, I do not feel her feelings. I… I do not share her soul.

But what does that mean? How can I be made up of the same body and memories as another pony, down to every exacting detail, yet be somepony completely different? Is a pony not the sum of her experiences? I can’t even imagine an answer. It’s too thick with importance, too burdened with desperate hopes and blind theories. If a pony really is the sum of their past, then I have added up Twilight Sparkle's life and come to a different answer than she did.

And that just doesn't make sense.

Which is why I’m here, talking to you. I figure if anypony can understand, if anypony could possibly help, it would be you. I know Twilight would go to her friends, or Celestia, or… well, it doesn’t matter what she’d do. It’s not what I’d do. It’s not what I’m doing. I know you might not be able to do anything, I know this could all be just a way of venting steam. But even if it is just me ranting I feel like it has to be said, and it has to be said to you.

The events of the past few weeks have shown me that I can’t do this alone. Twilight Sparkle knew that friendship was magic, that the bonds we share with each other can strengthen us enough to face and overcome any challenge. But her friends are not mine, and so far I have been terrible at making my own. I need that magic, that strength, but I have no way to get it without calling on ponies who think they know me. Ponies who are sure they know me, but do not.

How could I explain it to them? I already tried once, and that ended… well, that ended so poorly that even if Twilight were to come back she might have one friend less than she had when she left. And I still couldn’t get through to her! Trying to talk to them is like… like knitting a sweater from a brick wall! Getting away with murder was easier!

...Right. I haven’t told you about that part yet. Well, it gets a little complicated, and it ties into all the other things I wanted to talk to you about.

Here, perhaps I should start at the beginning.

***

The first memory I have that I know for certain is mine and not Twilight’s is from a morning two months ago. I know this was me, because the first thing I was aware of was a kind of deep confusion. Something was wrong, something important, and I knew it immediately, but I could not place my hoof on what it could possibly be. My alarm was ringing loudly, an insistent clatter that I couldn’t ignore, no matter how much I wanted to. I groaned and curled the pillow about my head, blocking my ears, but the obstruction couldn't block out the sound that interrupted my thoughts and made it impossible to focus.

So I smashed it. A blast of telekinetic magic lashed out from my horn and crushed the clock into a sphere of metal about an inch and a half across. The more delicate components melted under the pressure and heat, splattering metal across the surface of my nightstand as I dropped the ex-clock from my telekinetic grip.

Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

This was not normal Twilight Sparkle behavior, but it would be a while before I got into the habit of analyzing all of my reactions to determine if they were genuinely mine or some vestigial habit from Twilight’s memories. At the time, all I knew was that I was still tired, and I didn’t care that the alarm had gone off.

I didn’t wake until again I felt Spike’s sharp claw poking me in the side.

“Hey, Twilight?” Spike crooned in my ear, making it twitch in annoyance. “Earth to Twilight! Are you awake yet?”

“What if I said I wasn’t?” I grumbled in reply, swatting his claw away.

“I’d say you’re a pretty lively sleeping pony,” Spike said, grinning. “Come on, breakfast is getting cold.”

“Right, right. Breakfast.” I tugged the covers over my head and burrowed deeper into the pillow. “Wake me when breakfast becomes lunch.”

“Come on, Twilight!” Spike protested. “You can’t stay in bed all day!”

“Can’t I?”

“Um. No?”

I sighed and grudgingly threw the covers off of me. “Fine. If this day wants to be faced so much, then here I go, facing it.”

“Cool, I’ll see you downstairs,” Spike said, oblivious to my irritation. I had the sudden urge to kick him as he left, but held myself back. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but this should have been a warning sign.

Getting myself through Twilight’s morning routine was a chore. And why wouldn’t it have been? I didn’t even know I wasn’t her yet. I walked through the practiced motions of brushing my mane and teeth, ensuring that my coat was presentable and the entire time I felt like a marionette whose puppeteer had grown bored and was just half-assing their way through the show.

I stomped downstairs in the foulest mood I could ever remember being in. Spike was never so blind that he wouldn’t notice, and I felt like I owed him some courtesy. So I forced the black feelings down and tried to put on an expression that, if not happy, was at least neutral.

“Hey, Twilight, are you feeling okay?” he asked as I made my way to the table. Clearly my attempts at neutrality had failed.

“I…” I contemplated telling him exactly how I felt, but the words that sprang to mind caught in my throat. I wanted to tell him how much I hated being woken up this early, but it was nearly an hour after I usually got up. I wanted to tell him how annoying he was, but he had barely interacted with me. It didn’t made sense, and it brought me up short. I shuddered and told myself I was just in a worse mood than I had thought. “I kinda got up on the wrong side of the bed,” I told him, forcing a smile.

“Yeah, I get that way too,” Spike commiserated. “Except I sleep in a basket.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at that last bit. He was so earnest about it, he wasn’t even making a joke. That made it all the funnier for reasons that I didn’t even know at the time. I laughed all the way to the table, magically picking up a fork and knife and cutting into the pancakes Spike had made for me.

With the first bite I knew something was wrong. The flavor was like I remembered it. A little cold, but that was easily explained by my extended stay in bed. No, this was something else. Something new, something irrefutably different from what all my memories had brought me to expect.

I hated these pancakes. They tasted just like always, and I hated them.

This is where the first break really happened. I’d been feeling my own emotions and thinking my own thoughts since I woke up, but this was the first point that I actually became aware of the disconnect between who I had been when I went to sleep the previous night, and who I was now.

Can you imagine that feeling? Can you even conceive of it? I don’t know, maybe you can. I guess that’s why I’m talking to you. I can tell you for certain that Twilight would never have been capable of understanding it. To suddenly know you are not who you think you are? To be made aware that your existence as you knew it was a lie? Not as a rational, logical proof, but as a certainty so deep it was as fundamental as breathing. Just as I knew Celestia raised the sun, in that moment I knew that I was not Twilight Sparkle. And that realization broke me like a dry twig.

I rejected the thought, of course. It was a ridiculous notion at the time, but its impact was so strong that I was feeling the aftershocks of it even through the hours of confusion and fear that came next. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Right then, with the pancake sitting in my mouth, I panicked. I grabbed the table with my magic and shoved the entire thing away from me. If you think I overreacted, you’re right. I did. If you think just shoving a table was the extent of the overreaction, you’re wrong.

Twilight Sparkle is one of the most powerful unicorns to ever live. She knew this, but she didn’t put much stock in it. She was young and talented, but not yet as skilled or knowledgeable as she could be, and knowledge was always how she measured strength. I have all of her power, all of her skill. What I don’t have is her even temper. Which, considering how crazy she got over some of the dumbest things, should tell you something about my own base state of mind. When I threw that table, it was with all of the magical strength I had available. It went through the kitchen wall like a softball through a window, exploding into a thousand shards as the pressure crushed it.

I stared in open-mouthed shock at the new hole in my house. I thought about the renovation costs that previous injuries to the library had incurred. Celestia pays for all of that, of course, but I still see the bill and I still know how much of the treasury I’m taking up just living in the disaster-area that is Ponyville. I just sat there and thought about repair bills and didn’t even see what I had done, what I had really done, until I heard the sobbing whimper from out in the wreckage. Then the realization hit me, and the bottom dropped out of my world for the second time in less than a minute.

Spike had been between the table and the wall.