• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 7,661 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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Bubble

Memory. So much of what I am is based on memories that aren’t mine. It sickens me to think of it, but who would I be if I hadn’t had Twilight’s memories to fall back on? Worse, who might I have become? I can tell you that I probably would have been more careful that night. But I wasn’t. Somehow, having Vinyl there made me want to prove how far from Twilight Sparkle I really was, to claim some uncharted territory for my own.

Negative. All so damned negative. I was such a fool. Ha! But that’s learned wisdom, the benefit of hindsight. If you’d told me all this back then, I would have dismissed it and gone ahead with it anyway. Well, maybe if you were the one to tell me I’d have listened. I certainly would have taken notice.

Anyways, I was talking about memory. My memory is eidetic, what some ponies call a ‘photographic’ memory. It means that I can remember things perfectly, as if they were right in front of me all over again. It’s not natural to me, it’s something that was learned, another of those carryover skills from Twilight. What that means is that I only perfectly remember the things I was actively paying attention to. That’s why I can get specific on who said what in conversations, but have no idea what was going on around me when I started slipping into navel-gazing depression.

I tell you this because whatever Vinyl gave me, it left me with a crystal-clear recollection of everything in sporadic bursts that have absolutely no context to them, and this lasted maybe four hours. These periods of lucidity are interspersed with the most bizarre emotional impressions and hallucinatory ramblings. Here, I’ll see if I can go through what I remember without sounding like I am currently on drugs.

Vinyl had bought something, not from the pony in the sweatshirt, somepony else, and brought it back to the bar. The bartender had to see what she was doing, but apparently didn’t care because absolutely no comment was made. “Alrighty, girl,” Vinyl said, laying out a pair of pink and green striped candies. “This is usually called ‘bubble’. It’s as smooth as it gets, a real calm ride, but you still get to see all the wacky stuff that gets ponies excited. It’s made for unicorns like us, so if you get your hooves on more of it don’t pass it out to your pegasus friends. They’ll get sick.”

“What about earth ponies?” I asked.

Vinyl snorted. “Right, right, you don’t know. This stuff doesn’t have enough kick to make an earth pony feel it. Trust me, you want to try some hard drugs? Do a pinch of the stuff earth ponies use to get a mild buzz goin’. It’ll knock your eyeballs out.” She laughed, then sobered. “Except don’t. Because some of it could actually knock your eyeballs out.”

I nodded sagely, taking her advice to heart, and picked up one of the candies. “So I just eat this?” I asked, popping it into my mouth.

She followed suit. “Yup, just suck on it, let it dissolve slowly.”

“I swallowed it,” I admitted.

She stared at me for a moment, a lopsided grin spreading across her face. “Oops,” she said, half-laughing.

“Is that bad?”

“Depends, were you planning on going anywhere else tonight?” I shook my head. “Then you’re gold, girl. Enjoy the ride.”

I thought about it for a moment. “I don’t feel anything.” I said.

“Yeah, you swallowed it, so it’s gonna sneak up on you,” Vinyl said. “Usually it gets into your system slowly as it dissolves and you swallow a bit at a time. I’ve got a tingle in my lips and it’s working towards my teeth. I can track it as it rolls down my mouth and up to my horn. I can savor every moment until this bubble pops, then I’m ridin’ the wave.”

“That sounds… kind of nice,” I said. It reminded me of getting drunk, actually. The lightheaded buzz that built until it crashed into total incoherence. I liked that sensation.

“Eh, it’s got a nice flow, and I was thinking of taking it easy tonight,” she said with a shrug. “You? Yeah, all of it’s in your bloodstream by now. When it hits, it’ll hit hard.” She grinned. “This is gonna be fun.”

I would have replied, but the drug started kicking in right about then. I know this because I remember all the flat surfaces in the club were suddenly covered in beads of water that were giving everything a slick, pebbled texture. I distinctly recall informing Vinyl of this and then proceeding to explore this strange change in surfaces in minute detail. It wasn’t like getting drunk at all. I wasn’t confused. I wasn’t stupid. I was aware of everything around me. It’s just that my senses had started collecting improbable data that my brain was processing as truth, without regard for the rational likelihood of it being so.

This is where things get… sporadic. I talked with Vinyl, but because I wasn’t paying particularly close attention to the conversation, I can’t remember what was said. I know we discussed Ponyville, and Twilight’s friends. I know we talked about music and… boys? I think. Romance, at the very least. Maybe just a recent romantic book or movie. I just remember staring into a bathroom mirror and feeling acutely aware of my appearance, and feeling that it was of utmost importance that I improve it. Whether this had any subconscious influence over my decision to alter that appearance is… debatable.

The next moment of eidetic clarity I have, I was on the dance floor. Vinyl and I were in a group of other ponies, all dancing to a wild, heavy beat and some sort of harsh, repetitive series of notes that I hesitate to call a melody. I must have liked it, though, because my coat was damp with sweat and I had a huge smile on my face.

“Damn, girl, you got crazy moves!” Vinyl said.

I laughed at that. I was feeling… amazing. “Do you do this all the time?” I asked her, having to shout over the noise of the music and the crowd.

“Nah, I usually get my kicks in the booth!” she yelled back. I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but something about it struck me as terribly funny. I laughed, hard. “Not gonna lie, you’re kinda a lot more fun than I was expecting!”

There were ponies all around me, crowding in, touching. The smell of sweat and flesh and salt and alcohol was thick in the air. Everything was so close, like it was all pressing down on me. I didn’t feel afraid. I didn’t feel oppressed by it. All of Twilight’s social anxiety was absent. I felt so damned good. Like some barrier that I hadn’t even realized had been separating me from other ponies had vanished.

I know I’ve talked about intoxication before, but this was intoxicating. I could drink it in for days and still be thirsty for more. I know how dangerous that night could have been. Addictions start much easier than this, with much more stable personalities. I’m lucky the drug Vinyl chose doesn’t form physical dependencies, or I might have fallen into that trap completely. As it is… well, I avoided addiction, at least.

I was about to say something to Vinyl when a pony grabbed me and kissed me, full on the lips. I don’t know who this mare was, but she was definitely higher than I was. Had I been in my normal state of mind, I would have recoiled. As it was, I felt so open to the world that I wholeheartedly reciprocated the kiss. That let her slip her tongue into my mouth. When she did, I tasted something on it that set off all the warning bells in my head, and shoved her away. The mare stumbled back giving me the most devastated, hurt look I have ever seen, and then she disappeared into the crowd.

“Whoa!” Vinyl laughed. “Not feelin’ the love, are you?”

“There was something wrong with her,” I said, frowning at the place I had lost sight of the mare. I could still taste her tongue on mine, and the sharp sensation of magic that had accompanied it. Dangerous magic. Familiar magic.

“Yeah, she’s blasted out of her frikkin mind!” Vinyl said. “Forget her, come on, let’s dance!”

That was enough of a distraction that I was swept up in the wash of minutiae and sensation for a long time afterwards. I danced with the ponies in the crowd, and with Vinyl specifically. I remember talking with her, whispering something into her ear, some mad insight brought on by the drug. I remember cradling her head and carefully tracing the spiral of her horn. I remember exploring the colors and textures of her mane. I think… okay, no, there was some possibly embarrassing stuff that went on, but it’s not relevant. Vinyl never brought it up again, so I can’t be sure if it was a hallucination or really happened. Though if it did, it might have contributed to my later decisions regarding Rainbow Dash.

Eventually the club closed, and we left. I was still in the throes of the drug, and when I caught sight of the mare that had kissed me wandering down the street I had a sudden and undeniable urge to follow her. Vinyl tried to stop me.

“Whoa,” she said, hooking a hoof around me and turning me towards her. “Where are you going?”

I spun at her direction. I was smiling. Not a big, wide smile like I had been earlier. This was a slow, lazy smile. I felt almost sated, like a cat that’s found a warm place to lie. There was a general feeling of being lighter, of practically floating. I’ve actually floated, and that feeling and what ponies usually associate with floating? Not the same at all. It’s kind of weird. This feeling was the feeling-like-floating feeling, not the actual-floating feeling. It’s important to distinguish because… right.

“There’s something wrong with her,” I said, as if hours had not passed since the scene on the dance floor. “I want to go find out what.”

“Not a cool move, Twilight,” Vinyl said. “Come on, you want to head back to my place, right?”

“Yeah, don’t want to go back to my rooms tonight,” I said.

“So come on, I’ll put on some jazzy records and we can talk more.”

“I’d like that,” I said. Yet, my head turned back to where the mare was stumbling into an alley. I curled my tongue in my mouth, remembering the spark of dark magic that had flashed across it. The familiarity was too enticing. “I’ll meet you there, alright? I just have to check on this.”

“She’s heading to a bad neighborhood,” Vinyl warned, but she dropped her hoof and let me step away from her.

I laughed. “There’s no bad neighborhoods in Canterlot,” I said.

“Sure there are,” Vinyl said, shaking her head. “You just can’t see them from the castle.”

“Then I want to see them up close,” I said. It was dumb, but I stand behind that particular reasoning. Exploring something new to both me and Twilight, but not in specific denial of some part of Twilight’s personality. It was as close to a positive move I had made so far.

Vinyl sighed. “Sure. But let’s do it in the morning, ‘kay?”

“I won’t be long,” I promised with no intention of keeping my word. Then, before she could say anything else, I teleported away. I didn’t go far, only to the roof of a nearby building, and I could hear Vinyl swear as soon as she had realized what I’d done. I wasn’t paying attention to her anymore, though, so I don’t know what she did afterwards. My focus was on the mare who was making her shaky way down the alley and into another street.

I kept pace with her, teleporting from rooftop to rooftop, keeping her in sight. We travelled into parts of the city that Twilight knew of, but had never been to. Contrary to what Vinyl was saying, they don’t really qualify as ‘bad’ neighborhoods, at least not compared to some of the slummier places in Manehattan and Las Pegasus. The streets were clean and the buildings were in good repair. Still, it was the quality of the residents that made this neighborhood one of the poorer ones. I’m not saying they were all bad ponies, but this was where the bad ponies liked to set up shop.

I tracked her to a wide four-story apartment building. There was a burly earth pony sitting by the door, his coat darkened with tattoos. She said something to him that I was too far away to hear, and he rapped on the door. A moment later it was opened and the mare went inside. There was something about this place that piqued my curiosity even further, and I knew I had to get inside, to see what was happening.

I could have teleported in. I could have cut a hole in the wall or opened a window with telekinesis or done any number of other things. Instead I took myself to ground level and walked right up to the door pony, assuming he’d just let me past. If I hadn’t been so hyper-focused by the drug, I would have thought past that. I would have done something smarter. Maybe. Right now? I’d probably do the exact same thing, but I know what I’m doing now and I didn’t then.

Of course, right now I’d also notice all the Guards beginning to gather and throwing the place suspicious looks, but, well… drugs are bad, okay?

Author's Note:

True word count: 24,531. Days 1-16 covered. Days missed: 1.