• Published 4th Sep 2014
  • 1,836 Views, 241 Comments

Ghost of a Rose - Noble Thought

Roseluck goes on a journey through her past to discover what her future holds.

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Epilogue 1: Rose Journals

Dear Diary.

It’s been so long since I used those words.

Rose stared at the open page of the journal. Her thoughts had been so clear just moments ago, when she decided to start writing down what she was feeling.

Temptation itched at her to flip back and re-read Post’s entries from when she was in a coma. It would be easy to give up on her attempt to remember the last two weeks. Two weeks of recovery, of pains in her heart, and the trials of regaining her strength. Two weeks since she returned from a world devoid of anything except a friend.

Two weeks ago, I woke up. I left behind a friend. I came back to my family.

She stared at the words again. They felt flat, hollow and wholly inadequate to describe that feeling of being reunited with a family that she loved, the family she had seen grow in her memories. But that first day awake... it didn’t seem possible to put into words how she felt. How everything felt rushed, those first moments seeing them, then the hours that passed by as doctors came and went. Hours that passed too quickly.

She bit down on the tip of the pen and shook her head.

I have to remember this... Raspberry recovered first. She looked at her daddy and smiled. “My birthday wish came true.” It was as though those words opened a floodgate of tears. I cried. Post cried on my shoulder, and Raspberry cried, too. I’m not sure she understood why we were, but she was so happy. She missed her mommy.

The words, still shiny and wet, blurred into an incoherent mess on the page. The pen fell from numb lips, leaving a splotch on the page, then rolled to the center and lay still.

“You don’t have to do it all at once.” Post lifted his head from her neck to kiss her ears. “It was a happy day.”

“It was.” Overall, it had been. Waking up to a world that had changed and moved on had come with its bitter surprises. Rose stared at the pen, then at phantom words on the page that she wanted to write, but was afraid of. Maybe if she didn’t write them, she could forget they were true.

She shook her head and picked up the pen again.

Swift came by later in the day, while doctors were off doing whatever it was doctors did to the blood sample they’d taken. She was ecstatic on the surface, and cried as much as I did to see her again. But she was the piece of the puzzle of my life that made the missing piece apparent. Raspberry, Post, Swift... and me. There was a gap that I had been afraid of in the other world, a gap that I could pass off as supposition, or just a fear.

Where was Dad?

“I knew then,” Rose murmured around the pen. “I knew when she showed up, that he was gone. I’m... glad you didn’t tell me right away. I am glad that I had that afternoon to be loved, and to love both of you.”

Raspberry blinked sleepily on the couch, then tucked her nose back under Patchy and fell back to sleep. Outside, the sun was long set, and the moon was rising high into the sky, casting everything in silver shadows. Her mind took away the shadows, leaving everything empty and blank—black, white, and shades of grey.

It lasted only a moment, and then the shadows were back, giving wonderful depth to the fence, the trees, and her neighbor’s house. She leaned back into Post’s embrace, his warmth driving the memories of the empty house farther away, and he kissed her ears again, then her cheek.

“I love you,” he whispered.

It was what she needed to look back to the page, to see the words she wanted to write more clearly. She bent forward again and forced herself to face the grief.

Dad wasn’t there. Post saw it, Swift saw it. They did their best to insulate me from the realization, and it worked. I didn’t want to face it, but it was too late. I knew, and the realization that he wasn’t going to come into the room to surprise me, that he was dead

The pen dropped from her mouth again, and she choked on a bitter sob. Raspberry didn’t need to see her like that.

For Raspberry, Post, and Swift the grief had been months old. For Rose, it was still fresh, and the ache of her father’s absence from her life was a void that memories couldn’t fill—she hadn’t been there, again. She hadn’t gotten to say goodbye. Again. Grief dragged her down and broke open the wound.

“Shhh.” Post pulled her back up, tucked her head under his chin, and rocked her slowly back and forth. “I’m here, Rose. I’m here.”

Raspberry woke up again and dragged Patchy over, curling up against Rose’s flank. “I’m here, too, mommy.”

“I know you are,” she whispered after her sobbing subsided. She sat, cradled against her husband’s chest while Raspberry slept, curled up against her hind leg. “I’m so glad you are.”

We went to Lucky’s grave again today. After last night, I needed to say hello again, and make sure that he was resting comfortably. The stone still haunts me. The epitaph is the same as the one I saw at the start of

“The start of what?” Rose murmured, twisting the pen back and forth between her lips. It wasn’t an adventure; it wasn’t anything she could easily define.

something. The start of something, I guess. I can sometimes still see my name on the stone if I close my eyes. The rose cutting I planted the first time is doing well. A small bud is growing, and her roots are already acclimated to her new home. But I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to seeing his name where mine was.

Post and Raspberry were with me, but Swift had a job to do, and on such short notice, she hadn’t been able to get away from it. It was Sunday yesterday, not a cloud in the sky, and just enough of a breeze to remind me that whatever I saw, it was real and not just a reflection of reality.

Rose paused to turn the page and start anew.

Raspberry, sitting in the grass not far away, looked up from her hoofpainting. Some of the flour-based paint was on her face, adding just a bit more sunshine to her smile. At her hooves lay a curly scrap of paper with a hydrangea blue sky bleeding into a sunflower sun.

Below, the empty brown space of the paper had yet to be filled in with the other colors in her messy palette.

Rose’s flank had not escaped the mess, sporting a new cutie mark in the shape of her daughter’s hoof, done in dark pink. She looked up at the sun, just as bright as the one on her daughter’s painting.

“You did a good job, sweetie. What else is going to go there?”

Raspberry pursed her lips and stroked her muzzle with a hoof, mimicking Post’s thoughtful pose while her tail flicked through the short grass of their backyard. “Mommy, and daddy,” she said finally, “and grammy and grampy.” She put a hoof in the dark pink flour-based paint and patted out a roughly pony shaped figure into the empty space. “And me!”

“You’ll have to show me when you’re done, sweetie. It’s going to be lovely.” Rose kissed her flour-painted nose, and turned back to the journal.

Post’s absence, and the open page, drew her back to her thoughts.

Post had to go back to work today, now that I can mostly take care of myself. I miss him, but we need the bits. The charity auction bits went into my hospital bill, with enough of the bill left over to mean a month of longer days for Post. It’s a small reminder that life goes on. I will have to keep working on regaining my strength until I can sell at the market again. Sitting outside in the grass helps, and having Raspberry by my side helps even more.

Raspberry, her little Raspberry, was humming happily and patting out the rest of the family onto the paper.

It’s refreshing to have something so normal happening beside me. It feels like life has welcomed me back. There are things that are harder for me to do now, though. Stairs still give me trouble. Dizziness is common going up or down them, and I have to be careful not to turn my head too quickly. My last appointment with Dr. Axon has me believing that it may be a permanent issue. But it still feels like a small price, given that I’m back with my family.

But there’s still a part of my life that’s missing. I think about her, Mirror, less and less. It feels like what we shared in the other world... like it’s drifting away. I don’t know how to stop it. I made a promise, and I feel like I’m on the verge of breaking it.

The words on the page drifted away as Rose closed her eyes, remembering the last moment she saw Mirror. Her smile, the hopeful look in her eyes, and the grief resting just underneath the surface.


Rose set the pen in between the pages of the notebook and closed it. “Yes, sweetie?”

“Why are you crying?”

“Am I?” Her hoof came away damp when she patted her cheeks. “I am...”

Worry creased Raspberry’s brow. “Why?”

Rose pushed the journal to the side. “That’s complicated, my little Raspberry. But if you want to know—”

“I want to help you, mommy.”

The decision to tell her daughter, and to show her, came naturally. It felt right, to share her friend’s tale with a little pony who would understand her. She turned, snagging a scrap of brown paper, and patted her hoof in the light pink pool of paint.

“Let me tell you about a mare, Raspberry.” She traced the outline of her friend, so clear in her memory. “Her name is Mirror...” While she painted a portrait of Mirror on the fresh sheet of paper, she told Raspberry the happy moments she’d spent with Mirror. The sad, she didn’t need to know about—not yet.

Throughout the story, the happy moments of sitting with Mirror, of helping her to see that she was special, Rose’s eyes kept flicking to an empty spot in her garden. It was the central plot, from which her garden spread, the place where she had yet to replant her special rose bush.

Mirror deserved a place in her garden—a special place and a special reminder for her friend.

From Rose.