• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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When Rainbow Dash's hooves slid out of the saddlebag, they were grasping a small book with green binding. Its jaded surfaces blended with the gray dust as she laid it gently before her. Her forelimbs traced the edges of the tome, trembling.

She was panting at this point, as if in the throes of labor. Her muscles quivered and her hooves barely managed to stay in contact with the emerald surface of the book. She took several deep breaths in a desperate attempt to steady herself.

She failed.

Clenching her eyes shut, Rainbow Dash gulped and tugged at the outer binding with both limbs, as if it weighed several dozen pounds. When she heard the flutter of pages, she forced her eyes open. The first sight struck her like a gunshot, and her eyes instantly moistened.

Shimmering with a gloss from the dismal grayness above, a photograph displayed six colorful equines in a shared embrace inside Sugarcube Corner. Even upon the fringes of the Silvadelian ruins, Rainbow's tongue tingled upon the memories of so many delicious sensations. A sourness spread through her mouth, exiting her lips in a painful gasp. Slowly, like ripping the flesh off her limbs, she turned the page.

Another photo: this one of two unicorns posed in front of a dress shop. They leaned against each other, sharing a single scarf under the fall of an early winter snow.

Rainbow Dash turned another page. This time, a chuckle escaped her. A pink pony was wrestling with a toothless alligator across a ruined kitchen floor stained with loose flour and cookie dough. A second laugh escaped Rainbow's mouth, and it was accompanied by a loose tear that streamed down her blue cheek.

Rainbow Dash flipped to another sheet, and two more tears trickled down. Her breaths had become shallow hiccups, her eyes curving as she held a hoof over her mouth. Before her, a yellow pegasus hovered up to a tree branch to feed a pair of squirrels while a fluffy white rabbit perched on her shoulders. Everytime Rainbow Dash stared at those crystal blue eyes, her vision grew foggier and foggier.

She wiped a forelimb over her fluttering sockets and turned the page, immediately wishing she hadn't. Six mares stood together on one page in beautiful gala dresses. On the opposite page, five of them were gathered around Rainbow Dash, hugging her tightly, nuzzling her. Somepony somewhere was sobbing, wailing, filling the air with anguished sounds.

Clenching her eyes, Rainbow forced herself onto another page, and yet another, and the one after that. With each flip, the pictures grew foggier and foggier, and yet she knew them like the back of her hoof. They were burned into her retinae, welded to her soul. They carried the cheerful octaves of happy souls frozen in giggles and cheer. They caressed her in her sleep and beckoned her behind every sunrise. She just didn't have the strength to realize it until now.

Then, as she turned a final page, all the strength left Rainbow Dash. Her eyes were of warm emerald. Her mane was golden like the morning sun. She lived upon and relished the earth, and it made the blue sky a dull, cold place. Rainbow's only surrender was to collapse forward, nuzzling the frigid gloss of the photograph, staining it with her tears as her wailing voice ran rivulets across the powdery dust surrounding her, waiting for her. She quivered and scooped the green book in her forelimbs, hugging it to her chest.

Slowly, she sat up. Slowly, her sobs ceased. And slowly—like a melting sunset—her eyes reopened, and all the tears were melting away from the fresh fire within.

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