• Published 22nd Mar 2015
  • 742 Views, 36 Comments

Masks - _Vidz_

A young colt, tormented by the dreadful stares of the ponies around him, desperately searches for a place where he can feel safe. Just when he feels he's found it, it seems this place has a much darker plan for him.

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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Another new school, but it feels like the same day as the last. I’m not too sure how many times my family and I have moved, but this time my parents feel Ponyville just might be the place they’ve been searching for. A place where friendship is abundant, or so I’ve heard. I really have no reason to believe this isn’t so, with everyone’s smiling faces and exchange of kind words. The very first day we went to explore this little town further, I felt my face was the only one without a smile. After every pony that turned their head to look my way, I immediately hid myself from their view. When my parents told me to stop acting silly and keep my head up, I did so, but not without the dread that came with it. I knew that if I didn’t do as they said, they’d give me another lecture afterwards. That night they told me I’d be starting school the very next day, and to keep them happy, I pretended to act excited when tomorrow became the day I would dread the most.

Now here I am, and just as I tried to hide myself from every pony’s view of my face yesterday, I did it again today as all my new classmates stared at me once I entered the room. I thought I could be safe by choosing the seat far in the back of the classroom, and keeping the hood of my sweat-jacket over my head. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with their stares, or have to share a conversation with any of them or the teacher. “Good morning class!” The teacher greeted as she stood in front of the chalkboard.

“Hello Ms. Cheerilee!” Replied everyone else in the class, aside from me.

“Now class, I want you all to be aware that we have a new student joining our class today!” Immediately, my heart began to race. “So, to help ourselves get to know him better, I’d like to have him stand up here with me and introduce himself to the class.” The very thought of the idea made me hide my face beneath my hooves, hoping that perhaps she’d change her mind. “Where is he . . . oh there he is! Why don’t you come on up and introduce yourself!” I could feel her eyes staring at me, and I could hear everypony else turning in their seats to look back at me. With my face down to the surface of the wooden desk, I shake my head without a word. “Oh come now, there’s no need to be afraid.” Despite her attempts to bring me to the front of the class, I remain in my seat not even bothering to look up. “. . . Will you tell us your name?” My mouth opens, as if wanting to share my name, but I can’t bring myself to utter a word. Ms. Cheerilee sighs. “Would you at least take your hood off so I know you won’t be sleeping during class?” To satisfy her, even if just a little, I pull my hood off my head. With the safety of my hood gone, I don’t even dare to look up to the rest of the class. “Thank you. Well class, let us begin.”

Ms. Cheerilee began her lesson, as I followed every word, and took down every note. When it came time for recess, everypony filled the playground with games and laughter, while I chose to sit as far from them as I can. At least out here I could have my hood back on for a short while. As I stare down and watch the dead leaves tumble across the dirt path I chose to sit on, I draw circles in the dirt with some stick I found beside me. I catch the sight of somepony’s hooves waking towards me, where I immediately turn stiff as a statue. Soon, whoever is walking towards me is joined by another. “Hey you,” says a very daunting voice. “Is there something wrong with you or what? Too afraid to tell everyone your name?” I will not respond to her, clearly she’s only concerned with poking fun at me. I’ve encountered too many who only wish to do the same from the other schools I’ve been to.

“I’ll bet his cutie mark isn’t for bravery, I can tell you that much,” says the other filly.

“Wait a second Silverspoon, he doesn’t even have a cutie mark!” The both of them start laughing, and I let them have their fun. “And what is it with you and this hood? Too afraid to show your face?” The filly flips the hood off my head, and out of pure surprise I raise my head to see the two bullies. The one who flipped my hood is wearing a little silver tiara at the top of her well-groomed mane, and the other wears stylish-looking glasses. Taking one look at me, they begin to laugh even harder. Realizing that I had let them take a good look at me, I quickly bring my hood back over my head and hide my face beneath my hooves. “Let’s go Silverspoon, let’s leave the weirdo to himself.”

“What’s with his face?”

“I don’t know, but it’s too funny!” The both of them finally leave as I boil on the inside. I try to refrain from getting too upset by convincing myself I had done the right thing by not saying a word to them. Hoping they’ve left for good, I hear more sets of hoofsteps approaching me. I suppose they haven’t gotten enough out of me.

“Um . . . howdy!” A different voice greets. “Don’t listen to them two, they’re just bullies.”

“Are you okay?” Asks one of the other fillies. It’s possible these may be the only fillies that have actually spoken to me this way. An actual ‘kind’ tone, I don’t think I’ve heard that from anyone else aside from my parents. No matter how rude I feel for not saying a word to them, I made a promise to myself to not indulge in any sort of conversation with anypony else. I want to be alone, I feel more at peace that way.

“Are you girls sure we should be talking to him? He’s kinda strange,” says a third new voice.

“Scootaloo!” One of them whispers, followed by a grunt from the filly who made the comment.

“Ouch! Sorry!”

“So uh . . . Sweetie, Scootaloo and I were gonna start a game of tag! You can join us if you want.” I am taken completely by surprise. This just may be the first time somepony’s ever invited me to do anything with them, it almost makes me want to stand and say yes, but then I remember what has always been holding me back. I shake my head, and peeking through a small space between my hooves, I see them turn to each other, unsure of what to say next. “Well . . . if you change your mind, you’re always welcome.” The three of them leave, returning to the playground where everyone else is.

After recess had ended and the bell rang for class to begin again, it at least felt good to stretch out my legs after sitting in the same spot for the rest of recess. I contemplated so many times of joining those three fillies. I occasionally would peek over my folded forelegs to watch them play. However, I knew better. Nopony would want someone like me joining in their game. Sitting back down in my desk, I came to the dreadful realization that I must remove my hood, fearing Ms. Cheerilee would bring the class’s attention back to me by ordering me to take it off once again.

The rest of the school day continued just as it did before recess. She gave us all a math worksheet to complete for homework, which seemed simple enough. The final bell rang, and I made sure to let everypony else collect their things and leave the classroom before I did. I never leave the class in a group, I make sure I’m as far from anypony as I possibly can. Once the room is cleared, I stand and pass by Ms. Cheerilee’s desk where she’s writing on some papers. Fearing she might try to keep me in the classroom with who knows what, I try to move as quickly as I can to the door. “Could you wait here just a second?” Just the question I feared, and so I halt, waiting for what she has in store for me. “Is everything alright? First you don’t want to tell us your name, and next I see you sitting all by yourself far from everypony else. You know, if something’s bothering you, you can always talk to me about it.”

“. . . Th-There’s nothing wrong.” I mumble, hoping to end the conversation quickly.

“Well, then . . .” Ms. Cheerilee sighs, unsure of how to continue. “Could you please just tell me your name? If this is all just because you’re shy, then I understand; but now that everypony has left, can you tell me your name?”

“. . . Avral.”

“It’s nice to meet you Avral, and I hope that I can maybe help you get comfortable around your classmates. Remember, if there’s something bothering you, you let me know.” Still not even facing her direction, I nod my head. “Okay, go on, you’re dismissed. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Like a dog loose from its leash, I leave the classroom and bolt home. With the wind fighting my hood, I do my best to keep it over my head.

I hurry inside my home, well, new home, and try to hurry up the stairs to my room. “Hey! You’re home!” My Dad shouts from the living room. “Why don’t you come back down and tell us about your day?” Gloomily, I walk back down the stairs, and meet my Mom and Dad sitting on the couch.

“Well? How did it go?” My Mom asks.

“Did you have a good day?” I nod my head, hoping they’ll believe me. “It wasn’t that good, was it?” I stare off to the corner of the room, and my Dad sighs. “Did you talk to anypony?” I shake my head, and he puts his hooves into the air with that look of his, that well how are you supposed to make any friends if you don’t talk to anyone look.

“Avral, you need to start talking to other ponies if you’re going to make any friends,” says my Mom.

“But . . . I-I don’t want any friends.” I tell her.

“You say that, but sweetie I figure you would be much happier if you did. I mean, you don’t even try it seems.”

“Look son,” my Dad begins, “I know how you’re so self-conscious about the way you look, but you can’t let this bother you forever. You’re Mother and I have been putting up with the whole hassle of moving every so often because of how you keep saying you get bullied at school, and honestly, I’m tired of it. We’ve gone around town some more while you were out at school, and we feel that this place is just perfect compared to our previous living arrangements. I mean Avral, it’s time you stop worrying about what others say about you. I know it’s hard, but if you just try and hold your head up high, I think you’ll be much happier. So, Avral, can you promise me that tomorrow you’ll try to make some friends? Please?”

“. . . Yes Dad.”

“Thank you. Go ahead, you can go. We’ll have dinner ready soon.” The evening continues as the sun is lowered to the horizon, and the moon takes its place. I love looking through an open window. It’s high where nopony really looks, and I can hold my head up without fearing any watchful eyes. Just sitting by the windowsill, breathing in the cool air, listening to all the sounds that make up the world outside. It’s funny, I find everything about the outside so beautiful, yet I condemn myself to this room of mine. I suppose, since everything beautiful is out there, it’s only right that I remain in here. As my bedtime approaches, I head to the bathroom to wash up. Squeezing a bit of toothpaste onto my brush, I begin scrubbing my teeth. I do all this away from the mirror, and when it comes time for me to spit into the sink, I close my eyes until I can look down into the bowl of the sink. Finishing up, I leave without having to have caught a single glimpse at my reflection, but of course, my own image never leaves my head. Mirrors just serve as a constant reminder, a reminder of why I hide.

After a ‘goodnight’ to my parents, I lay myself down in my bed. Tossing and turning under the covers, I just can’t seem to get to sleep. I can’t stop thinking about what my Dad said. Telling me to just ignore what others say and hold my head up high, he makes it sound so easy. I can’t take it anymore, I’m tired of always hiding myself. I wish I could just live in a place where we all looked the same, that way nopony can point, laugh, or be disgusted by someone like me. The images of the two fillies that poked fun at me back at school taint my thoughts, their words and laughter constantly repeating in my head, mixing with just about everything I’ve heard from everypony else. Burning with frustration, I throw off the covers and walk over to the window hoping that the stars that dot the sky and the calming breeze can soothe me. I can feel tears starting to form behind my eyes. I’ve felt hopeless before, but not to the point of tears. There’s no way I’m getting back to sleep, I can already tell. I don’t want to be here anymore, this room almost feels like a prison cell. I wish there was somewhere else I could be. A place where I can clear my head, and not have to worry about everypony else around me. Something almost like a safe haven of sorts, but where? My eyes follow the stars all the way down to the horizon, which is blocked by masses of trees. A forest sits just outside Ponyville. It’s dark out, so nopony is going to be outside; and nopony is definitely going to be in those woods. I think I just may have found a place where I won’t have to worry about being seen by anyone, my safe haven.

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