• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash's hooves echoed through the long hallway as she came upon the flickering torchlight. The sign to the infirmary was obscured by blood and burn marks. Huge gashes lay open in the rock, framed by vicious claw marks and loose dragon teeth. The entrance to the claustrophobic hovel was partially collapsed.

Ducking through, Rainbow got a good sight of the tattered remains of canvas curtains. Beds lay in crumbled splinters and surgical utensils littered the far corners.

“Swirls?!” Rainbow called out, panting, gazing left and right across the smashed chamber. “Swirls, say something! Are you in one piece?!” She trotted down the aisles of crushed beds, eying every square inch of the place. “Please! I just gotta know that you're okay—”

She froze upon hearing a sobbing stallion's voice. Squinting, she rounded a cluster of debris and looked into the corner.

Zetta was lying on all fours, clutching his face as the tears squeezed past the grip of his hooves. His whole body shook as he faced the wall and howled in agony. Strolling past him, Rainbow approached the form of Swirls. The mare was alive, and yet dead-still. She cradled something in her grasp.

“Swirls!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, her breath leaving her in a gasp as she smiled briefly. “You're okay! Please, tell me. What happened here—?” There was a crunching sound, and she froze. Rainbow Dash glanced down.

A shattered pair of goggles lay beneath her limbs, burnt and stained in blood.

With quivering lips, Rainbow Dash looked up.

Swirls turned slowly and gazed at her, deadpan, her face plastered with half-dried tears. She lowered her face and nuzzled the limp little body in her forelimbs.

The air kicked up as a set of hooves galloped to a stop beside Rainbow Dash.

“Swirls!” Ember Speak stammered, catching her breath. “What happened? Did you—?” She caught one glance of the colt in Swirls' grasp. Her face contorted in shock, then instantly melted. Something indecipherable came out of her lips as she knelt beside the mare and brushed a hoof across Lime Tech's mane, only for the foal to give no response. She bit her lip and clenched her eyes shut, heaving and hiccuping. Swirls leaned over, and Ember helplessly buried her face in the pony's shoulder, sobbing in muffled little wails, adding to the mournful chorus Zetta had started.

Rainbow Dash stumbled back and fell on her haunches, gazing into the rubble-strewn floor as the echoes of agony formed a dull vibration around her, tugging at her already frayed consciousness in the diseased heart of Sanctuary.

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