• Published 13th May 2012
  • 5,776 Views, 82 Comments

Short Cakes - Cloud Wander

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3
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Night

PUMPKIN

I want nothing to do with him, she thought. He should go into the Closet, with the other monsters.

I want him to go away, where he can’t hurt me anymore.

She huddled in her bed. The MONSTER lay beside her, in darkness. He tried to press against her, to touch her, but she shriveled inside her blanket and wormed away.

Go away! she thought, furiously. I don’t love you anymore! You hurt me and I hate you!

He shrank away from her. Hurt. Good! she thought. Now you know how I felt. Seeing you. Broken.

They had run up and found Little Wing cradled gently by Rainbow Dash. Little Wing wasn’t moving. And Rainbow Dash’s eyes were wet.

Pumpkin then discovered a fear she had never known. She discovered mortality. And it had terrified her, worse than anything she had ever felt before.

The MONSTER was finally asleep. Now, in the night, she cried. She held herself and sobbed until her chest hurt.

I almost lost you! You stupid, stupid MONSTER. I followed you into the world. You can’t leave the world without me! Don’t go without me, Pound, please!

At last, tiredly, timidly, reluctantly, she reached across to the sleeping MONSTER. And rubbed his brown mane.

TBBFF.

Be more careful, okay, she thought, as she slipped away to sleep.

***

POUND

He stole across the ceiling, silently. As was his habit. His wings were stiff and sore. Still, they held him up.

He looked down. There was the Toy Box, crowded with Pumpkin’s toys. They grinned, thoughtlessly, into the darkness. His own stuff, blocks and trains and crayons, were underneath. But that was okay. Pumpkin’s friends were on top, and he would be lying if he said he wasn’t comforted, sometimes, in the dark hours of the night, by the cheerful face of Munchy Monkey or the tender glance of Yummyfly, gazing at him across the bedroom.

You are the precious brother of Pumpkin. Come, dear one, he thought they said.

He crept down the wall towards them. He flittered down to the Toy Box.

He pawed the floor. He thought, hesitantly, she doesn’t know that you’re toys, right? She doesn’t know that you aren’t really alive?

In the darkness of the bedroom, Chewie Chickie slowly nodded. No. She doesn’t know that her light gives us life and movement. No, not yet. She hears our voices in her mind, without knowing that it is her own voice she hears. We are parts of her.

I am her strength, boasted Munchy Monkey.

I am her curiosity, chirped Chewie Chickie.

I am her hope, whispered Yummyfly.

I am her kindness, said Tasty Turtle, bashfully.

I am her love for you and Mom and Dad and Pinkie, sighed Rubber Pullet. She keeps me near for you. Because I am small and simple and comfortable, easy to love. But she only loves me because she loves you, even when you make her angry, or sad, or scared. And she has always loved you, brother, best of all.

She followed you into the world. Into life.

Pound gazed at the bedroom floor. But he looked into his heart.

She’s very irritating, he thought. She is so noisy! And she smells really bad sometimes. And I think, I think that Mom and Dad and Pinkie like her more than me.

And I hurt her! And she hates me because I’m stupid!

He pawed the floor again. He cried a little.

Pumpkin. Sister. He rubbed his chest. Why do you always make me hurt?

He looked up at Pumpkin’s toys. And they all beamed at him. We all love you. Because she does. Even when you make her angry, or sad, or scared.

Pound, added Tasty Turtle quietly. You only hear us because part of her is in you. In your heart. Do you understand?

Pound thought for a moment, rubbing his chest. Then, with new determination, he nodded: well, all right then.

He walked up to the Toy Box and gently prized Rubber Pullet away from the other toys. He pulled her out, flapped his aching flappers, then quietly winged his way towards the bed he shared with his sister.

Wobbling a bit, unsteady with his passenger, he landed at the foot of the bed. Solemnly, he propped Rubber Pullet up against the edge of the crib.

Is this okay? he asked. She will see you when she wakes.

The rubber chicken nodded slowly.

I have to sleep, he thought, pressing his hooves to his eyes. You will watch over her, okay? Keep her safe?

The rubber chicken nodded slowly.

Well, all right then. He snuggled down into his blanket, careful not to wake the TH- Pumpkin. His sister.

She’s pretty nice, come to think of it, he thought, as he drifted off to sleep. I love h—.

We know.

***

RUBBER PULLET

And the Moon rose over Ponyville.

The children’s room had a broad window, the curtains open. The Moon and Stars spread their glory across the Night, unnoticed.

Princess Luna’s light crept silently inside. The Twins, sleeping, did not see it. But Her silver glow eventually fell upon Rubber Pullet, who sat at the foot of their bed, watching over the children.

Rubber Pullet nodded. Luna’s light shone upon her and Rubber Pullet’s eyes gleamed.

Pumpkin and Pound slept peacefully.

The rubber chicken toy nodded. A tiny, happy squeak escaped from her.

There is only this moment. And this moment is enough.

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Comments ( 51 )

AWWWWWW!:rainbowkiss: This is such a sweet and touching story! Please tell me you write children's stories for a living!:raritystarry:

I really like this story (especially zen gummy). everything about it (especially the twins' interactions and the Cakes' thoughts) made me smile
Congratulations on writing a great story. have a yay:yay:

This was a great story.:pinkiesmile:
The parts with Pound and Pumpkin were my favorite. U made their parts both cute and serious. So good job.

Not to sure how I feel about the ending. Kind of dark, but I do see what you were trying to do.

MOAR!!! :flutterrage: :pinkiehappy:

Aw, it's true what they say, they grow up SO fast these days. :heart:

This story is one of the sweetest things I've ever read. You're really good at this.:twilightsmile:

Oh, the pain of those first intimations of mortality, of the possibility of true loss! :fluttershysad:

This was a really lovely story, all told. :yay:

I have no ability what so ever to be even remotely objective at all right now. All I know is that this story gives me the strongest positive purely emotional effect of any FiM story I have ever read, with only 2 other stories even coming close. I actually had to, despite the short chapters, take breaks while reading. Thank you.

If it helps, this story was inspired, in part, by Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro putters around for awhile, not apparently going anywhere, simply introducing us to the characters and the setting. But the fear of loss, of Mom's unexplained illness, hovers over the story until Satsuki's emotional breakdown. Mom, she understands, could die.

Pumpkin is probably a little young to confront mortality. Hard to know; these little ponies grow up so fast. But it's something we all discover when we're young, ready or not.

A couple of autobiographical points, just between us ponies. My own "Rubber Pullet" was a cheap rubber mouse named Sam, who was my best pal ever in the days when I was penned in a crib. And my mortality moment came when our pet cat was run over by a car. My reaction, then, was much like Pumpkin's: I decided that I would never love anything again, the pain of loss being so great. Happily, I got over it in time, although not as quickly as Pumpkin does here.

I'm still searching for the words to express how wonderful this story was. You've a rare talent within this fandom, and perhaps beyond that as well. While this isn't a new opinion of mine, given what I've seen from Today I Will Be A Princess and this, I still wish, with all my heart, that I could point you out to aspiring authors as a shining example of how to write well, but I fear that doing so would only cause you grief from those envious of your abilities.

That aside, I can only commend you on a job done with sheer excellence, and I look forward to seeing more from you.

I'm working on Today I Will Be A Princess now. The outcome might surprise you. It surprised me.

I really liked this. Pound and Pumpkin's narrations were the right mix of cutely naive and genuinely introspective, and I also loved the peek into Pinkie's mind. The ending was a little dark, but it was still heartwarming and is pretty representative of how a little kid's mindset works.

Good job. :yay:

An inspiring story. Very beautiful.:pinkiesmile:

....I think you just killed a lot of people with this story.
You just weaponized cuteness!

So much sweet sticky syrup! You write very cleanly and smartly, and this was, of course, heartwarming and a joy to read. We are privileged that you take time to write pony stories. :twilightsmile:

*has a sudden urge to go hug his teddy bear, which has been with him since he was born*

This is the most awesome-sauce story I've read.
Please never stop writing stories.

You have the perfect writing style for something like this. It's childish, yet poetic. It stumbles and meanders, but if you watch the whole thing, it looks like dancing. (Sorry, I'm a bit of a poet myself.) I hope none of that sounds like an insult, because I loved reading every second of it. It's almost hard to read, because it sounds so little like normal speaking. But that's what it's supposed to sound like, isn't it? It's supposed to be the disjointed thought processes of the infants.
In short, fantastic. Love it, love it, love it. :twilightsmile:

Awwww! So heartwarming and so cute! I luv it!!! :heart:

This was so freaking epic. :moustache::rainbowkiss::moustache::rainbowkiss::moustache::rainbowkiss:

If you're getting Spike moustaches and Dashfaces, that means it's good beyond belief.

My typical methods of judging written work seem either inappropriate or insufficient to properly analyse this. I can say that this was intriguing, heartwarming, and offered a perspective rarely seen. It's very difficult to write from the POV of infants or animals, to somehow intertwine the alien way of thinking of such beings with enough familiarity to make the reader empathise with them. You have managed to pull it off very well. I love this story.

My one quibble would be that you should somehow indicate all character's "thoughts" in a distinct style - italics are appropriate, and you seemed to be very hesitant to use them. It does hurt the immersion to have to read to the end of a sentence and then process whether it's a narrative description or an internal monologue.

702269
You bring up a good point. The use of italics was something I debated with myself a bit while writing the story, since Pound, Pumpkin, Gummy and the Conference of Toys don't have proper speaking voices, so we must necessarily hear their thoughts.

Generally, I tried to refrain from using italics more than necessary, since I think it is usually clear that all of the perceptions and descriptions are those of the point-of-view character. I tried restricting the italic portions to those lines that were tied to a "thinking" verb, like "she wondered" or "he decided" or to places (like the last "Pound" segment) where something like an exchange of thoughts was taking place between characters.

Still, you aren't the only one that has told me that consistently using italics for thoughts would make the text clearer. It's a poor style if it annoys the reader. I'll keep this feedback in mind.

(I'm a little reluctant to go back and re-edit the story right now. I understand that the FIMFiction staff tends to frown on writers fiddling with a story, once it's published, since it might be viewed as an attempt to "game" the system by posting updates that aren't really updates. Anypony have any thoughts on this?)

Sweet Celestia, this is just so CUTE! I love how you portrayed the babies' thoughts. It just sounds so... suitable. Yes, that's the word. Two six month old babies and that way of thinking, it just seems so right.:yay:

This was wonderfully cute and heartwarming,

703382
From The Diary of Adam and Eve. Good catch.

My gosh, this story is just so precious. I had plenty of squees, and a happy sigh at the end. :pinkiesmile:

D'aww, this story was so adorable! It was great seeing everything from the various Cakes' perspectives. It was a touching little story too, emphasizing the magic of... family.

TBBBF.

AHHHHHH!!!!! CREEPY CHICKEN THINGIE!!!!!


This story was so adorable. I loved it so much. Five out of one party cannons

daaawwwwwwwwwwwww~ :rainbowkiss:
thats all i have to say
also
keep up the cuteness

This story reminds me very much of the chapters in "Mary Poppins" regarding the Bank's fraternal twins. It took this premise that children are very aware of their world, but added an interesting tenet. They are aware because they are newly split from the source of life, still able to hear the voice of the universe. But as they age it fades and by the time of teething, their initial selves are gone.

Only Mary Poppins remembered, and she was The Great Exception. :twilightsmile:

I absolutely loved the interaction Pumpkin had with Zecora. Come to think of it, Pumpkin was probably my favorite character out of this whole story since she was given such a sweet and loving personality from the start.
And the fact that she'd learned the concept of death at six months old: That's the most hardcore thing I've ever read.

Very nicely done. Loved this story. :pinkiehappy:

Damn. I finally got around to reading this, and I was expecting a nice little cute story. I definitely got that, but I felt actually moved at points.

I applaud you, good sir. You have written something great from a very simple premise.

:twilightsmile: this is sooo cute! Have a heart :heart:

Riz

691014


More please ? :pinkiesmile:

Your ability to capture the variety of mentalities is very impressive, but the Twins were what really caught my eye. Well done.

Solid four stars.

I have no words to express how much I love this story. This is the cutest thing I've read so far, I like how you wrote each character's point of view.

Have my five hearts :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart: This was amazing :twilightsmile:

Wow, just wow. Not sure what to say that hasn't already been said, I'm just sitting here floored by the feelings this evoked.

Well done. This one will also be added to my recommended stories.

An odd little story, but beautiful all the same. You wrote a great story.:pinkiehappy:

I think what amazes me the most is how interesting you make everything and everypony that you write even when there aren't any conflicts. It's so often taught that conflict is the foundation of a story, that perfection is boring and the need to know how things will turn out is what keeps readers' interest, but in your stories... it's true that the conflicts, like Fletcher Veterinary's encounter with Bean Counter and Pumpkin's encounters with the fears of death and loss, are usually more interesting than their immediate surroundings, at least, but you also achieve that same level of interest and emotional investment with moments untouched by strife of any kind, such as the sight of Ponyville from Gummy's perspective, Pinkie Pie dancing her way through the kitchen in the morning, and the various festivities Marigold arranges for the Summer Sun Celebration.

I often listen to music that popular radio stations and TV channels (and by extension, large parts of the viewing public) don't even know exists. Songs not only about love or loss or cars or memories or sunrise, but about superheroes or the space race or robots or ghosts. And when people hear them and are surprised, I say "why should all music be about things everyone has actually experienced?". I get a similar sort of feeling from your stories, I think. Not the same, exactly, but similar. Everyone knows what conflict is like and that helps it reach readers... but everyone knows what joy is like, or should know, and yet it's so rare to see stories focused on that instead.

You write joy, and you make it joyous to read. And I salute you.

In the first chapter, "laying" should be "lying"; in the second chapter, "a wave a life" should be "a wave of life".

702417
I am under the impression that merely editing, rather than adding a new chapter, does not register as an "update" at which anyone might take offense.

A child's story from a child's point of view and, in the end, who better to conclude but the toys who are their dearest companion? And, of course, as the night draws on, Princess Luna guard them and their dreams as she does everypony in Equestria.

Gah.

Honestly, these are the sorts of reviews I hate writing: the ones where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that If I were to write out everything I were truly thinking or feeling after reading this, it would simply be a compendium of everything that already makes up this story's comment stream. Which would be redundant. I despise redundancy, if only because after a certain point it wastes precious time none of us have.

So I'm just going to stop here, because hey, you already know you've written something special. :pinkiesmile:

Bravo. I'm going to read your other works now. :heart:

Approved for the Sibling Story Stockpile

This was a really excellent piece of work. I've got a few quibbles on the style front (like the somewhat inconsistent use of italics that has been mentioned before), but the story's plenty good enough to make up for it.

This and your other Pound & Pumpkin stories have been on my radar for a while, but I had a run-in with a rather irritating infant Twilight fic this morning, and I decided now would be a good time to hit these up, in the hopes of cleaning my palette. And boy howdy, did this story do the trick. I've taken my own turn at writing foals and pets, in a much more limited way, and it's always nice to see an author take what can be a very difficult spot of characterization and really nail it. Pound and the adults are all pretty good here[1], but the two viewpoints that really shone for me were Pumpkin and Gummy. The latter, in particular, was just excellent. I know I've tried reading your "Gummy Tries All Day Long" before, and I did enjoy it, though I don't think I finished it. I should do so, when I get a chance. Gummy here has this perfect touch of Quixotic philosophy, in things like his wanting to travel to the windmill and learn its wisdom. More than that, I love the sense of wonder you capture in his perspective.

I'm going to leave off this comment with a very stylistic note, but I think it deserves mentioning. One of my absolute favorite things you're doing in the prose here is your frequent use of structures like: "Then!" Those five characters capture a phenomenal amount of tone, and it's really impressive to watch the enthusiasm roll in, word by word.

4165128
I'm not sure I'd generalize from Pinkie Pie. :pinkiehappy: In recent episodes, we have seen her hanging from a tree by her tail and spider-climbing a wall. But that's Pinkie Pie.

I recall back in "Party of One," Rarity carrying a box with her tail. So that ability may be common to all ponies.

Cute little story, going to read more of these from you. Greenthumbed!

By Celestia, this story touches the heart and snuggles the soul. You have captured something wonderful here, in these three chapters...

Beautiful.

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