• Published 1st Jan 2015
  • 1,236 Views, 21 Comments

Tearful Goodbye - sadittarius

Applejack takes Winona on a walk for the last time.

  • ...

Tearful Goodbye

The sharp scent of apples intensified in the early August heat. Applejack ran a hoof over her ponytailed mane, then turned her body to face the oncoming ball of brown and white fluff that was sprinting at top speed toward her.

Applejack braced herself as Winona barreled into her chest, making Applejack topple over onto her back, hooves flailing wildly in the air. Winona was smothering her best pony friend with licks on the face.

Applejack laughed, gently shoving Winona off and making a mock face of disgust. "Winona, ya little rascal!" She said jokingly, not really being mad at the dog at all. "Ya better behave yerself, now."

Winona, in response, stuck her rump into the air and waggled her tail around.

Applejack nodded in acknowledgement. "Ah know, yer all excited. Tell ya what, Ah might as well take ya on a walk sometime today." She reached across the dirt road the two were standing on and snatched up her hat, plopping it back onto her head. It had fallen off when she and Winona had begun to tussle.

Applejack's dog yipped and ran in a figure eight shape, her white paws kicking up tan dust. Some of it floated up and settled on the tip of Winona's nose, making her walk backwards and sneeze loudly.

Winona's owner chuckled, glancing up at the sky to locate the position of the sun. It was still noticeably close to the ground, signifying that it was morning and around eight or nine o'clock.

"Hmm," Applejack mused. "I still got some apple buckin' to do, so around noon would be about the perfect time for a walk," She said, glancing at Winona. "You go find yerself somethin' entertainin' and do that for a while. When the sun's right about... there," Applejack pointed to a spot right above the tallest tree in the orchard. "come an' find me. Got it?"

Winona barked twice and trotted off, head and white-tipped tail swinging. Spotting Apple Bloom, who was just emerging from inside the barn, Winona bounced toward the filly playfully.

Applejack watched happily for a while, soon reminding herself of her job and hurrying off into the apple orchard to begin working.

Applejack flung her back hooves at another tree, beads of sweat forming on her maneline. Applejack brought all four hooves to the ground and turned around to pick up the baskets by the tree that had been filled with fallen apples.

Just when she was about to pick up the baskets, Winona came running up and barked, weaving in between Applejack's legs. She poked Applejack's neck with her tail tip, then pointed it in the direction of a very tall tree.

Applejack's eyes widened. "I fergot all about our walk! Thanks for remindin' me, Winona." Winona closed her eyes contentedly as Applejack gave her a pat on the head and galloped into the barn, heading into the kitchen and grabbing the closet writing materials in the area: the back of a recipe and a pen.

Applejack quickly scribbled down a note.

Dear Family,
Going for a walk with Winona. Will be back soon. I love you all.

The orange pony left the note on the counter and placed a small plate on the corner of it so it wouldn't blow off of the counter and onto the floor.

Applejack then hurried outside, where she saw Winona laying peacefully beside the doors, waiting. Her head was on her paws.

Applejack sighed at the sight. Winona was like that when Applejack had first seen her as a puppy. She closed her green eyes and let the memory surface...

"Aww, she's a cutie! Who does she belong to?" Applejack asked, tilting her head at Fluttershy. The two were both fillies, but old enough to take care of themselves.

Fluttershy stroked the puppy that her friend had been referring to. "Well, she doesn't have an owner. I found her chasing my little Angel Bunny around and started taking care of her. She doesn't have a name, either. You can name her if you want... I mean, if that's okay with you..."

Applejack watched the sleeping puppy's sides expand with each little breath. Her head was laying on her tiny white paws, and her white-tipped tail was curled around her back feet.

The filly made a list of considerable names in her head. Hmm... Sally, Ginger, Emily, maybe Annabelle? Winona or Beatrice? Something about that fifth name stood out to Applejack, though.

"I think I'll call 'er Winona," Applejack said proudly.

Fluttershy nodded her approval. "That sounds... nice," The shy pegasus whispered her opinion.

It's more than nice. Applejack thought. It's perfect.

Winona and Applejack had been walking for about ten minutes now. As a dog, Winona had to stop and sniff every nook and cranny along the way.

Applejack also had decided not to leash Winona. Her dog was much too loyal and knew the setting.

Totally oblivious to the dangers of not having a dog on a leash, Applejack laughed out loud as Winona sprinted after a red squirrel, placing her front paws on the trunk of the tree it had taken shelter in.

"Fluttershy wouldn't like that, now," Applejack joked.

Winona paused in her barking and looked over her shoulder, giving Applejack a face that said, "Fluttershy isn't here, is she?"

Applejack rolled her eyes and beckoned Winona over, falling into her quick pace. The two soon fell into a lazy stroll. Two pairs of eyes followed the sun as it began to set at about the same speed as Applejack and Winona were walking.

Applejack, whose hooves were tiring, veered right, off of the road she and her dog were walking on, in the direction of a tree stump at the side of it.

Brushing sticks and pebbles away from the stump, Applejack settled down and leaned against the smooth bark. She reached up and placed her hat over her face. Winona curled up on Applejack's left side.

After quite a few minutes, Winona began to stir. Applejack awoke with her, lifting up her hat and placing it on the ground. "You okay, Winona?"

Winona stood, her ears perked and nose twitching.

"Winona? What is it, girl?" Applejack murmured.

Winona gave a yip and began prancing across the wide road toward an unknown destination.

Applejack saw the carriage way too late.

It swerved around the corner, advancing quickly. The only thing Applejack heard was the clattering of the ponies' hooves and the pounding of blood in her ears.

"WINONA!" Applejack screamed, dashing into the road. Winona turned and looked at Applejack just as the carriage rushed past.

In seemed to be in slow motion.

Applejack watched helplessly as one of the carriage wheels rolled right over Winona. She heard the snap of bones breaking.

That might've been Applejack's heart breaking, too.

Winona's body skidded in a diagonal to the other side of the road.

Applejack started sobbing.

Everything seemed to be spinning. Applejack tried unbearably hard to find her balance, but couldn't. In the end, she dragged herself to Winona's motionless body.

Bending over, Applejack buried her face into Winona's neck fur, breathing in the warm doggy smell.

To her astonishment, Applejack felt a heartbeat.

Applejack picked up Winona's limp form. Winona sighed a breathy, raspy sigh and rested her brown head on Applejack's shoulder.

Applejack squinted her eyes shut. "Ah love ya, Winona. Ah always have, an' always will."

Winona used the last of her energy to lick the base of Applejack's ear.

I love you too.

She closed her eyes for the last time.

Applejack sensed something in her dog before she passed.

Winona was content.