• Published 27th Jul 2014
  • 726 Views, 32 Comments

Silence - ThatOneWriter



It's Octavia's first night alone. She can't sleep.

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Silence

It just didn’t feel right.

In her bed, Octavia writhed, drowning in the silence and stillness. The still night air surrounded and suffocated her like a giant pair of hooves pressing down on her chest. She flopped onto her side, her hair glinting in the faint moonlight.

All day, there had been ponies coming and going: moving ponies, relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbors. They had stomped, trampled, yelled, and made various other noises that she had sworn she would be glad to be rid of.

But now the silence hung over her like a shroud.

Octavia reached out a hoof, turning on the lamp on her nightstand. Her eyes scanned the empty bedroom. Take a good look, Tavi. It’s all yours.

She smiled, despite the embarrassing nickname. Vinyl’s voice—or rather, the memory thereof—added a touch of comfort to the warm, stagnant room. She opened the window, letting in a cool night breeze. Crickets chirped outside. Had she been at home, Octavia would have pressed her pillow over her ears and cursed the noise. Instead, she leaned on the window’s edge and listened to the symphony of a thousand familiar chirps that pierced the silence.

The pressure in Octavia’s chest eased a bit, but she still felt its impact. Groaning, she turned away and regarded the pile of boxes sitting in the corner. She flung herself to the floor, trotted over to the pile, and opened each box.

The first held a few photos and some sheet music. Looking around the room, she pondered where she could put them. Lacking a place for them—the rest of her furniture would be delivered the next day—she set that box to the side.

Atop the contents of the second box sat an old, wind-up clock. Briefly, she considered placing it with the pictures, but she then decided to wind it up and put it on her nightstand. The faint sound of ticking filled the room. She nodded in approval.

Yes, now the silence was weakened, a wounded presence unable to fully oppose her. Yet it still brought its weight upon her, refusing to relent until it had been vanquished. A sigh echoed, drawn out to fill as much of the silence as possible. But she couldn’t sigh forever, and when she finally stopped to gasp for air, the silence returned.

Octavia flopped back upon her bed. Idly, she clutched at the sheets and tugged them toward her. Something was missing... something familiar and obnoxious, the bane of a thousand nights—

Snoring bled through the wall from the apartment next door. Yes, of course! Her father had never been a quiet sleeper; his snores had always found a way around every set of soundproofing blankets, pillows, and earmuffs. Every night, it would ring out clearly and distinctly in her ears. She giggled. Perhaps now, with the silence completely disrupted, she could finally close her eyes and sleep.

Sleep… in her apartment, where she was all alone.

She buried her face into her pillow. No matter how hard she tried, there was no ignoring the fact that she was alone. The snores from the next apartment weren’t those of her dad, and her mom wasn’t there either. Whether she liked it or not, her sisters would not barge in unannounced and ask her to play them a lullaby either.

No, the apartment was completely empty.

Octavia’s eyes stung, and the room began to swim before her eyes. She thrust herself from the bed, stumbling as her hooves hit the floor. Inch by inch, she crawled toward the far corner. Trembling hooves tore open the box and picked up the pictures. She scanned each picture, her eyes resting for a while on each familiar face. A sob escaped her, and she clutched the pictures tightly to her chest. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

She collapsed against the wall. Her hoof swung, kicking the box over. All of her sheet music spilled out onto the floor.

Great. Octavia dragged herself over, picking up each sheet. Sorting the music was impossible—every piece looked the same with her vision as blurred as it was. Still, one sheet seemed different. For starters, it didn’t look like a series of smeared, black rectangles. Secondly, it was blue.

She sniffled. Her hoof wiped her eyes as she looked the paper over. It was a note! Taking a gasping, unsteady breath, she began to read.

Hey, sweetie!

If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably opened up the box of pictures already. Ooh, I wish we were there to wrap you up in a big hug!

I had figured that you might get lonely. Why, I remember my first night by myself. I didn’t even last till two in the morning before I returned to my parents’ house. I was banging down the door for at least ten minutes! They were not impressed, hehe.

Not that we don’t love you, Octavia, but… please don’t do that.

Oh, ignore your father! I know you’ll make it through the night, because you are a strong, independent mare, even if it hurts sometimes to be mindful of that. We love you, and we miss you terribly. Don’t forget to write and visit!

Love,
Mom and Dad

Octavia sat still for a moment, dabbing at her eyes. Despite herself, she felt a laugh rumble through her. So they saw this coming. Her eyes glistened again, and she held her hoof over her mouth. For a while, a mixture of sobs and laughter racked her body. However, it eventually settled, allowing her to calm herself.

She pored over the note again, mouthing all the words to herself. This time, she saw a small note at the bottom.

P.S. In case you’re still in need of something soft and cuddly, I packed Sir Snugglesworth in his own box. Maybe you’re too old for him, but it never hurts!

Octavia raised an eyebrow. She walked back over to the corner and grabbed the third box. Slowly, she peeled back the tape, pulling back the flaps. Inside lay a very old, very worn teddy bear. She picked it up in her hooves.

He was greyer than she remembered, his coat now a dull khaki instead of the rich tan that he had once been. Noticeable lumps covered his body where the stuffing wasn’t falling out of the seams. One eye hung loosely off, and she gently pushed it back on. A small smile sprouted on her face.

Clutching the old plaything, Octavia made her way back to her bed. She yawned, stifling it with her hoof. She flopped onto the bed and held the teddy bear close against her. Her hoof reached out and turned off the lamp.

In the darkness, Octavia closed her eyes. Strange and unfamiliar as her apartment might have been, Octavia felt better with her reminders of home. Her heart lightened at the realization that her parents missed and loved her as much as she missed them. The smile she wore grew into a grin. She rubbed her cheek against her teddy bear, settled against her pillow, and slowly drifted into a pleasant slumber.

Author's Note:

Well, hopefully you enjoyed that. I think all of us can relate to Octavia's plight to some extent. Let me know what you thought. I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

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Comments ( 32 )

Uh oh. Time to turn up the feels!

Always subjected to the feels! :raritycry:

I recall experiencing something similar when I first moved into my own place. Ah nostalgia. Great job, the story was short sweet, and to the point. Have a like and a mustache :moustache:

4760724
You know it! :raritywink:

4760725
Heh, that's the goal! :pinkiesmile:

4760768
I think a lot of people can relate. Heck, I've had the feeling before just when I was home alone.

Thanks for the like! Glad you liked the story :twilightsmile:

4760809 I can see that, now I'm going to go repair my heart.

4760814
Sounds, er... expensive. I apologize for the medical bills that's gonna cause.

4760837 That's alright, worth reading this beautiful story.

This was good, and now I require more of it, any thoughts on expanding into more chapters?

Oh great, now you're making me feel bad for posting my story. Dammit man. This hit me in the feels.

4760898
I might, but I doubt it. I don't really see the need for a sequel here. I am glad you enjoyed the story though :pinkiesmile:

4760901
Aw, you shouldn't feel bad for posting. There's room for everyone's fic!

All my fears about moving out and living on my own were just increased again.

Besides that, it was a nice story. Simple and sweet. At first glance, I had wondered if it might be a 'happy ending' sequel to The Dull Afterglow, but I'm not disappointed by this in the slightest.

4761527
Oops, didn't mean to hinder your sense of independence :twilightblush:

Glad you liked it! But yeah, there's not going to be a "happy ending" sequel to The Dull Afterglow. I kind of feel like that would lessen the impact. There will, however, be more Tavi, because Octavia is one of my favorite ponies.

Edited by Cerulean Voice.

Automatically puts on read later list. :raritywink:

This gonna be good. :pinkiehappy:

4762051
Cerulean made some good changes to it, yeah. He said it was a good story, but I'm biased, so I can neither confirm nor deny :raritywink:

Can't seem to connect with this feeling. I probably need therapy or something.

4808689
Nah. It just means that either my writing didn't connect with you or that you're more independent than most people. Heck, I probably wouldn't connect to it if I weren't so used to hearing all the radio, TV, and fan noises from when everyone goes to bed. It's a subtle thing that might go entirely unnoticed until it's gone.

(That, and I just think about the little things a lot more than most people. I'm weird like that. :derpytongue2:)

When your thoughts are the most predominant "sound" in the vicinity, you know you're feeling at least somewhat lonely...

Thanks for writing! :twilightsmile:

4841555
Thank you for reading!

A very cute and simple fic. It hit on the sweet elements just right and was just an enjoyable read

This is one of the few slice of life stories I've actually enjoyed. The other ones are either too short or pointlessly dull.

5028206
I'm glad you liked it!

And yes, slice-of-life can be tricky to write well. It's still perhaps my favorite genre, though.

Magnificent, you might be one of my favortie Fimfiction writers! So, have a mustache :moustache:

That was really nice. I rather like slice-of-life stories, especially ones like this one. Such stories often have really good characterization and focus on such, if only because there isn't much else to focus on. This one does nicely, I think. Despite being pretty independent, myself, I can relate. It's a strange feeling, suddenly being alone in a new place. I really liked how she longed for noise. When you're used to there being a lot of sound, the sudden absence can make you feel as though you're going mad. I very much appreciate the verisimilitude in this fic.

I greatly enjoyed this one. Probably helps that I really like Octavia, too. Nice work.

5747544
Yes, I'm pretty independent as well. But even I get really thrown out of rhythm by being in new places if I'm not with someone I know. When it comes to things like sleeping in hotels, I'm pretty much hopeless. In fact, that's why I focused so much on the sounds--it's the detail I notice the most when sleeping someplace other than my bed. I can close my eyes, but I can't close my ears. I doubt everyone experiences the same, but it seems that a lot of people do. One key difference, however, is that my house is pretty quiet, and I pick up on almost every noise when I'm somewhere else.

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reading! :twilightsmile:

I understand this perfectly. We were in a foreclosure, (two, actually, which seriously stunk,) and I spent about a year travelling from place to place, thankfully with at least one member of my family at any given time. I kind of got to get used to sleeping in new places, but after changing where I lived about six times, and a number of hotels along the way, I can honestly say that the old, odd feeling of sleeping somewhere new doesn't really go away.

Also, I admit that I honestly cannot sleep without a stuffed toy. (Hey, if I can own up to watching a show originally aimed at little girls, I don't think admitting I still have plushies will be anything shocking.)

5986432
Wow, that's rough. I moved around a bunch as a kid, but more for a trade up than anything. (Excluding when we switched states, in which case we regressed when we moved back.) I kinda liked moving, but it was always odd sleeping in a new place. Heck, even when I rearrange my room, I'm still thrown off. And when I'm on vacation, you can bet that I'm not getting a good night's sleep (assuming I even sleep at all).

That's an aspect I didn't even consider when writing this. It was more about the change from living with family to living alone, but the new place does factor into it. I doubt I'll ever revise this, but if I de-ponify or rewrite this, perhaps I will explore that aspect as well.

P.S. It's not for the sake of sleeping, but I also keep a plush on my bed. It's from a friend, although I haven't talked to her in years. It's just a nice reminder of my theatre days, including the impromptu birthday party she threw for me.

I made it 2 days...
...then I bought a dog. It's too damn quiet on your own.
Poor Octavia. Right in the feels.

You write very well. The descriptions had a rather poetic aspect to them, and the overall feeling of the story was bittersweet. Thank you for sharing. :pinkiesmile:

Definitely brings flashbacks when I slept home alone for the first time.

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