• Published 20th Apr 2015
  • 3,568 Views, 47 Comments

A New Lease on Life - Digital Phoenix



When Kyle feels his life going down the drain, fate gives him a chance on a new world, one teeming with unbridled magic. Worrying that his past will prevent him from finding peace, he finds that settling in might not be as hard as he thought.

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Chapter 4: The Nightmare and the Moon

Chapter 4:
The Nightmare and the Moon


**********

Kyle walked through the street as the cold rain drenched him to the bone. The overcast sky matched the grey stone of his surroundings. Everything about the normally boisterous city was subdued by the downpour. Even the colors had lost their hue. Looking around, Kyle found that he didn’t recognize any of the nearby buildings.


“Excuse me, sir. Um, sir?” Kyle, said trying to get the attention of a passerby. The stranger continued on without a sideways glance. Slightly miffed, but undeterred, Kyle tried to flag down the next person to walk by. “Miss! Miss! Excuse me, Miss?” She walked right by Kyle, as uncaring as the last person.


Kyle lost his patience, and, on impulse, tried to grab the next person to pass him, but his hand passed right through her. Confused, Kyle tried to grab the woman again with the same results. Panic took over as he tried again and again to reach out and grab somebody, phasing through them each time. Kyle ran, looking for someone, anyone, to acknowledge him. As he ran, the world blurred by, faster and faster. The next thing Kyle knew, he stood in a small mountain town, but not just any small mountain town. This was Indian Springs, the town he grew up in. Kyle stopped running and let his eyes wander across the familiar sights of his hometown.


Kyle took off again, hoping to find someone to dispel this nightmare. He found his way to the home he grew up in, ripped open the door and shouted, “Mom, James, Ashly! Are you here? Hello?”


Kyle waited for a response, but got none. His fear welled inside him with every passing second. He couldn’t take it any more and sprinted upstairs to the bedrooms. He burst through each door as he got to them, but found each as empty as the last. Panic took over, fear and desperation pushing Kyle to sprint back down the stairs, shouting, “Mom, Ashly, James! Where are you? Come on, talk to me!”


Kyle searched every room of the house, but each was vacant. Then he reached the basement door, stopping short of opening it. When he reached out for the door, an uneasy chill washed over him. It was like a small pull at the back of his mind, a nagging feeling that something was amiss. His unease stopped him dead in his tracks, hand a short distance from the doorknob.


“This is the last room for me to check. Why am I hesitating? They have to be in here. It’s the only place they could be,” Kyle muttered trying to dislodge his unease. Steeling his nerves, he gripped the knob and slowly opened the door.


On the other side, he could barely make out the top two stairs before they faded into complete darkness. He tried the light switch, flicking it on, but nothing happened. With each step, his discomfort grew, but he pushed it aside and pressed further into the darkness.


After what felt like eons, Kyle made it to the basement floor. He rested his hand on the concrete wall to guide him to where the flashlights were kept. After a few minutes of shuffling, he bumped into his destination: a small work bench. Feeling along the bench, Kyle found the drawer that contained the sought-after flashlight. He flicked the switch, light flooding the basement, his unease somewhat fading. He did a quick sweep of the walls, but found nothing until the light passed the midway point, where a shimmer of light caught his eye. His unease quickly turned to despair, telling him to turn tail and run. Ignoring what his body and mind were telling him, Kyle shakily lowered the beam to the glint on the floor. He froze, the flashlight falling from his grasp and clattering to the floor, and, for a moment, the entire scene shone before his eyes.


There, in the middle of the basement floor, was his younger sister, lying in a puddle of blood. Kyle’s legs collapsed under him, and he crawled toward her, uncaring about the blood that now stained his hands and knees. He clutched his sister’s cold, limp body to his chest.


“No, no, no,” Kyle wailed. “NonononononoNONONONONONONONONO! NOOOOOOOOOO! NO, no, no, no, you’re okay! It’s going to be okay! I’ll call the ambulance, you’re going to be okay…” He continued to hold his sister’s body, trying to wipe the blood from her face, only to smear it as his tears fell, leaving small trails in the crimson liquid. He knew there was nothing he could do. His sister was dead.


Kyle was shocked out of his stupor by a maniacal laugh. “Ahahahaha! Yes, they’re all dead, and do you know who’s responsible, Mr. Pierce?” He didn’t recognize the voice. It sounded both male and female, yet neither. He couldn’t even estimate its age. The only thing he recognized was the emotion: a sickening joy at Kyle’s pain and anguish. Its almost singsong infliction, in light of what was in front of him, made Kyle want to puke. He would’ve too, if he wasn’t seeing red.


“Who’s there? Who are you? Show yourself! I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR THIS!” Kyle screamed into the house.


“Ohoho, but it wasn’t I who killed your loved ones,” the voice taunted in a gleeful manner.


“If you didn’t kill them then WHO DID!?” Kyle lept to his feet, trying to find the source of the voice.


“It was you, of course,” the voice gleefully replied.


“I… I could never kill…” Kyle fell to his knees once again, losing what little control he still had and began sobbing. “I… They… It was all beyond my control.”


“Is that what you tell yourself to make you feel better? Your little sister died—”


ENOUGH!” Kyle’s tormenter was cut off by a booming voice. Startled by the new voice, Kyle whipped around trying to find the newcomer, unable to figure out where it originated. Even though he couldn’t see who had spoken, he could feel her presence. She seemed… familiar.


“Terice, is that you?” Kyle asked confused.


“Nay, we art Luna, Princess of the Night and Protector of Dreams. Prithee tell us, what art thou?” As Luna spoke, the basement dissolved and was slowly replaced by a swirling mass of stars. All fear and sorrow melted away as he stared at the galactic view. He knew that this was the Milky Way Galaxy, and the only way he could be seeing it this way was in a dream.


Once Kyle calmed down enough, he replied, “I’m a human. My name is Kyle.”


“We hast ne’er heard of such a creature, let alone seen one. From where dost thou hail?”


“I come from a planet called Earth…” He looked around for a second before asking, “This is a dream, isn’t it?”


“Aye, ‘tis but a dream, though We have ne’er seen one as dark.”


“I wish that was just a dream…” Kyle lost himself to his memory. The memory of how he lost his sister threw his soul into turmoil. He was so caught up in his pain that Kyle hardly noticed when he was enveloped a feathery embrace. Unable to hold back his torment, Kyle broke down into heavy sobs, holding onto the Night Princess as if his life depended on it.


“Shh, shh, ‘tis alright. Bid thy bosom’s sorrow adieu,” Luna said, rubbing Kyle’s back. The tears continued to fall as Luna comforted him.


The sobs eventually changed to whimpers, then to hitched breathing. Even though Kyle’s tears had stopped, they continued to embrace. Kyle couldn’t find the strength to remove himself from the comfort Luna gave him. It had been far too long since someone had held him this way, and it took all of his will to not pull Luna tighter into his arms. For her part, Luna seemed to find a great amount of pleasure in being able to comfort another soul.


Eventually, Kyle reluctantly extracted himself from her embrace, a reluctance she seemed to share. Kyle finally beheld Luna in her entirety Her hair seemed to be caught in a non-existent breeze and was brimming with stars on a backdrop of blue hues that faded to a translucent purple near the edges. She had both wings and a horn like Twilight and her coat was a dark shade of blue, reminiscent of late dusk. Combining all of these aspects left Kyle speechless and unable to look away from the Princess.


An uncomfortable cough from Luna brought Kyle out of his stupor.


“Oh, um... “ he was still unable to form coherent thought, let alone words. Feeling desperate to stop the awkward silence, he grasped at the first thing that came to his mind. “You’re… you’re beautiful.” As soon as the words left his mouth, he flinched. He couldn’t believe he’d said that.


Luna’s cheeks turned a rosy shade of red as she blushed and looked toward the swirling mass of stars, falling back into an uneasy silence. She coughed in her hoof again before responding. “Oh, um… We thank thee. Um…” She paused, looking around for something to shift the conversation to and rested her eyes upon the starry expanse they stood in. “Dost thou enjoy mine stars?”


Kyle latched onto the question like a drowning man to a life raft. “Yes, yes. I love the stars. They’ve always brought me peace.” Kyle shifted his gaze to the galaxy that surrounded them with a soft smile forming on his lips. “No matter what happened during the day, no matter how bad of a mood I am in, all that I need to do is look up at the night sky and I feel better. It was something that my sister and I shared. She loved to stare up at the night sky, as much as me, if not more. After I lost her, the only thing that made my life bearable was gazing at the sky. I’d remember all the nights we would spend in the back yard with my telescope. Heh, she would always end up falling asleep and I’d have to carry her to bed…” Tears began to well up in Kyle’s eyes again, his throat beginning to tighten.


“Even though she’s no longer of this world, every night I’d look out at the stars, it felt like she was looking up at them with me.” The tears began to fall again, though not as hard as before. Luna draped a wing over him, pulling him into a confronting embrace again.


“If it’s not too much to ask, how did she die?” Luna asked, shifting into modern english. Kyle stiffened at the question and Luna shook her head. “This is too painful for you. Forget I asked.”


“No, it’s okay. After seeing that dream, I understand the curiosity, and I think that I need to get it off my chest.” he took a deep breath before continuing. “She was murdered. By whom, the Enforcers never found out. There wasn’t enough evidence to point to a suspect and the trail went cold.”


“I’m sorry. That is horrible.” Luna pulled him tighter against her side. “So, that scene was more of a memory than a dream?”


“Yes… A very, very painful memory. Would you mind if we changed the subject?”


“Yes, of course… What about the rest of your family, what were they like?” The pained expression that flashed across Kyle’s face made Luna regret asking.


“They were great, caring, loving, and supportive. My little brother, James, was brilliant when it came to sports, a true athlete. He could pick up any sport and excel at it in a matter of months. My mother was the head doctor at Hounsfield Memorial Hospital, a hospital known for its advancements in cancer treatment. Both of them were great people, taken before their time.”


Luna noticed the galaxy around them beginning to fade. “It appears that it is time for you to awaken. I will be taking my leave now.”


“Wait!” Kyle shouted causing Luna to turn. “Are you a figment of my imagination, as well?”


“Nay, I am as real as you are, Kyle.”


“Then, if it’s not too much to ask, can I meet you in person, I mean, in the waking world?”


Luna considered it for a second before responding. “I believe that could be arranged.” Kyle smiled, the first real smile he’d in a long time.


“Then I look forward to seeing you again, Luna.” As Kyle spoke these final words, the last remnants of the dream faded and Luna took her leave.

**********

Luna roused herself from the dream walking spell, stretching to work the the stiffness from her limbs. She was a little groggy, but refreshed, like she’d just woken up from a much-needed nap, which is essentially what she did. However, if anypony asked, she would simply say she was merely meditating to fully utilize the spell.


As she stretched, Luna looked around to see if she was still alone, and she was. She was in a secluded, hard-to-reach corner of the archives. This spot was one of the few places she could find peace and solitude from the nobles’ insistent prattling. They falsely believed, since she hasn’t been around for a millennium, it would be easy to pull the wool over her eyes and get what they wanted from her. It did not stop them, however, from trying during the Lunar Courts. Luna loathed their machinations.


“Makers! Why must these nobles be such insufferable twats?” Luna sighed, wishing she was back in the dreamscape. “Why could not all our duties be so refreshing, and, for that matter, why hast Tia not let us bring back the stocks? Forsooth, she wouldst not gage such a course.”


Luna had picked up many strange habits during her exile the past few centuries, and talking to herself was one she had yet to break. “Why didst that, what didst he call himself… homan, nay, hamon... nay, hmm… Ah, human! Why didst that human say such, and why doth his words affect Us in such a manner? The words were not ill-begotten. Nay, ‘tis always wonderful to receive such praise from Our subjects, but what did he mean by it?”


“You're... You’re beautiful,” Kyle said, looking her directly in the eyes before quickly looking away. As he did, a small blush formed on his cheeks. Luna felt a flutter in her chest at those words and couldn’t help the blush from forming on her own cheeks.


Thinking of the events within Kyle’s dream caused the rosy tint to return to her face. She sighed in exasperation. “What differs Kyle’s words from the others? Many a noble hast quoth such to us before and We hast ne’er had such a reaction…” She drifted off in thought, trying to figure out what made his words different. The memory of his eyes drifted through her mind and, suddenly, she knew. “‘Twas not the words, but what laid behind them. Those words flowed straight from the heart. He meant not to beguile us. Instead, they were honest and true.”


Luna was not sure how she should feel about this revelation, so she pushed it from her mind for the time being. She began to rise when she noticed a lock of multi-hued hair dart behind a nearby shelf. Not really in the mood to deal with her older sister’s antics, Luna sighed. “Tia, why doth thou hide from Us?”


Celestia stepped from behind the bookshelf. “It seems I’ve been caught red hoofed!” She threw a hoof to her forehead, striking a dramatic pose. “I have listened in on a private conversation between my sister and her imaginary coltfriend! Oh, I pray she has it in her heart to forgive my trespassing on such a private moment!” A sly grin spread across Celestia’s face.


Though Luna rolled her eyes at her sister’s antics, a small smile crept across her lips. “Verily, thou did not come just to jest with thy sister, Tia.”


“I see that you are still having issues adapting to modern Equestrian, but you’re right, I am not just here for a social visit. Did you sense the magical surge from the other day?” Celestia asked adopting a more serious demeanor.


“Aye, we… I mean, yes, I did notice the surge. It isn’t anything bad, is it?” she asked as worry played across her face.


“Not to worry, dear sister. There is nothing bad… at least, I hope.” She said the last bit under her breath.


“Tia, how long have we known each other? Do you really hope to hide anything from me? Please, tell me what is bothering you,” Luna said, a slight frown crossing her face.


Celestia chuckled. “You’re right, I can’t, and shouldn’t, hide anything from you.” She paused to take a deep breath. “My student… sorry, that is a habit that will be hard to break. Princess Twilight was practicing a new spell, and she summoned a being from another plane of existence. But that’s not what’s troubling me. The arcane circle that she used showed signs of magic tampering, and I was unable to discern what type of magic was used, let alone who did it. Also, the circle showed that it was changed while Twilight was casting and only somepony with the uppermost mastery of magic could perform such a feat undetected.”


Luna furrowed her brow, and looked down at the floor in thought, “Why wouldst someone tamper with an arcane circle, and for what purpose…? Tia didst thou find anything that could help?” She looked up at her sister and noticed she was covering a smirk with her hoof. “What doth thou find so amusing?”


“Sorry, it’s just so cute when you talk to yourself. I can’t help it.” Celestia took a deep breath to regain her composure and continued. “And no, Lulu. I didn’t find anything of use.”


“Dost thou…” Luna stopped to cough into her hoof. “I mean do you think that it was Discord that tampered with the spell as some sort of joke?”


“No. That was my first thought, and it does sound like something he would do, but he would make it known that it was him and would not try to hide his involvement. This is not his style.”


“Who else, other than Discord would be able to do this?”


Celestia’s face grew dark. “Other than us, Discord, and Twilight, none that I know of, and that’s what worries me the most.” Celestia went silent as her thoughts turned to the worst scenarios possible.


“Cheer up, Tia. There is nothing we can do at the moment and as far as we can tell, no ill effects came of this. Let it go for now, and, if anything else shows up, we will deal with it, if necessary. Though I am curious about this being that came to our world and why you did not tell me about it sooner.”


“Ah, yes, that. I couldn’t tell you much about him. He was unconscious when I saw him, and I have never seen such a being before. From what Twilight has told me, along with Spike, he came out of the portal that opened when the spell Twilight was casting changed. He was near death when I first saw him. I was barely able to save his life, even with the help from the local medical staff. We managed to stabilize him and he should still be under my anesthetic spell. As for the reason I didn’t tell you sooner, well… I was trying to figure out who tampered with the circle and if it was dangerous. I didn’t want to burden you with something just for it to turn out to be a trivial matter.”


Luna’s lips turn down into a frown. “Tia, We are not a little filly; We can handle ourselves! We do appreciate thy concern for Us, though it is still in our office, and, as such, thou must mark such events!”


Celestia cast her eyes to the ground, ears splayed back. “You’re right, I should have told you sooner. I’m sorry.”


“We… I mean I forgive you, just as long as you inform me of such events in the future. I think that is enough chiding, for now. On a better topic, does this creature lack fur on most of its body, save its head, and does it walk on two legs?”


“Yes... How did you know?” Celestia asked, confusion showing on her face.


“We were… I was patrolling the dreamscape when I noticed a particularly bad nightmare, so I went to deal with it. When I entered the nightmare I found a bipedal creature. At first, I didn’t know what action to take, so I stood back and watched it progress. The dream started out like many a nightmare I have seen before, fears of being alone and unseen playing out. His desire to find something familiar lead him to his home, the usual, but it did not stay that way. When he made it to his house, he found it empty. He ran from room to room trying to find somepony he knew. He went to every room until the only room left was the cellar. That…” Luna stopped to take in a shaky breath. “That was when he found his little sister… lying in a puddle of her own blood… But… But that wasn’t where it ended…”


Celestia has heard of some very disturbing dreams that her sister has witnessed over the years, but this one was by far the worst and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to know the rest if it got worse than that. She put a hoof on her sister’s shoulder. “Luna, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”


Luna looked Celestia in the eye, giving her a faint smile before shaking her head. “Thank you, but no. I need to tell somepony about this.” Luna took a calming breath and let it out before she continued. “After he found her, he immediately ran to her side, taking her in his arms. He held her, rocking back and forth, crying and whispering for a time until a voice spoke. Tia, this voice it… it… I cannot describe it. The only thing I could make out from it was its emotion, and I mean that literally. It didn’t sound old, or young, male, or female, but the emotion was clear as crystal. It sounded joyous in Kyle’s misery. It taunted him, saying things like it was his fault. At that point, I stopped it.”


Celestia saw how shaken Luna was from this nightmare, and her big-sister instincts kicked in. Before she could form a coherent response, she wrapped her sister in her forehooves and wings. Luna reciprocated the hug and buried her muzzle into her sister’s chest. Celestia could feel her shaking, so she squeezed tighter as she cooed, “Shh, shh, it’s okay, Lulu. It’s okay.”


Luna was silent for a long time as she lost herself in Celestia’s embrace. When she responded, it was with a shaky voice. “The dream was bad, but that was not what really got me, not entirely at least. It was the feelings that he experienced. It was exactly the way I felt when the Nightmare took over, Tia, and tried to hurt you. He felt completely powerless, useless, and so, so much pain. He blames himself for her death. I could see it in his eyes.” Luna broke from the embrace so she could look her sister in the eye. “When I looked into his eyes all I could think about was… was what if I had hurt you…? What if the Nightmare had gotten her way and had taken over Equestria…? What if–”


Celestia put her hoof over Luna’s mouth, silencing her. “She didn’t succeed in her plans.”


Luna pushed Celestia’s hoof to the side so she could speak. “But–”


“But nothing, Lulu. She didn’t succeed in taking over Equestria, and, in the end, was purged from you so she can never hurt us again. I don’t want to hear anymore of this. Do you understand?” Luna opened her mouth to argue, but decided against it. Instead, she nodded before she hugged her sister again.


“Thank you, Tia. I needed that.” Celestia smiled warmly and returned the hug.


Celestia was the first to break the embrace, however reluctantly, and helped pull her sister to her hooves. “Now, it is time we change the night to day, dear sister, and for you to get some much needed sleep.”


“Yes, that does sound good.” Even though she had just awoken from a nap, she was feeling rather drained from the emotional rollercoaster that retelling Kyle’s dream had caused. The royal sisters walked side by side as they exited the castle archives, Celestia with a wing draped over her sister for comfort, and Luna leaning on her sister for support.

Author's Note:

Chapter 4 in all it's glory!
Big thanks to PeerImagination for all of his hard work editing!
Next chapter Kyle gets a rude awakening.