• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash shot up, gasping. She clutched for something—anything—and found a canvas blanket surrounding her. She hugged herself, shivering, under the shroud of fallen night. Her breaths slowly settled, as well as the frenetic beat of her heart. Sighing, she glanced down at her saddlebag and other belongings, dull shapes under the kiss of starlight. Leaves rustled overhead. The murmuring chirps of various nocturnal animals serenaded her from the apple trees bordering the glade.

It wasn't until five full minutes had passed that Rainbow Dash realized she was caressing the golden pendant about her neck. It felt heavier than ever. Gnashing her teeth, Rainbow seriously considered tossing the ruby-studded item away, but she knew better.

A cold wind blew through the shrouded valley. Rainbow Dash felt her mane kicking like a flag behind her head. She prayed that there'd be colors when the sun rose. Gazing skyward, she regarded the stars with jaded interest. Her afternoon “nap” had carried her well into the fall of evening, but now she had become completely restless. With a groan, she stood up, collected her blankets and other belongings, then stuffed them into her saddlebag.

Last but not least, she found the crimson apple lying in the grass. She picked it up like an infant, cradling it. Another breath left her, only this time she managed a slight smile. Eventually, she pocketed this too away. Just as she snapped the saddlebag shut, her eyes lingered on the crescent-moon-shaped buttons to her pack. Thoughtfully, she looked up towards the night sky once more. A plume of pale clouds wafted far overhead. A dim glow suggested a waxing moon rising over the edge of the mountaintops.

Rainbow Dash rubbed a hoof over her pendant and tilted it skyward. She stood quiet and listened. Nothing happened; the golden necklace was just as quiet and dormant as ever. She knew better than to expect otherwise. After all, it wasn't a full moon yet. She was almost glad for the fact.

Wasting no more, time, Rainbow flapped her wings, ascended in a graceful spire, and bulleted her way eastward—away from the taller mountain ranges.

For hours, she glided under the glittering cosmos. The ivory band of the Milky Way stretched majestically above her, unimpeded by any stray lights or colors. Rainbow's nostrils flared as her goggled eyes took in the dull horizon looming beneath her, awash in the pale haze of celestial tranquility. She was alone in the sky, a single spot of warmth burning ever-eastward like a comet. At times, she closed her eyes and imagined she was one with the stars, beautiful and insignificant all at once. Her mind wandered to places as grand if not grander than the nightscape bowing beneath her, and she knew—secretly, she knew—that she was all that mattered in the grand silent dream of it all.

A dozen miles of flight later, Rainbow Dash descended. She was attracted to the sound of rippling water. In the starlight, she spotted a glittering sight below. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a babbling brook, cascading down lower and lower crags of jutting rock. The water started as a trickle, combined to a rippling stream, then coalesced into a majestic waterfall that emptied into an elevated spring cradled by the convergence of several mountain ranges.

Landing beside this high altitude pool, Rainbow Dash raised her goggles and gazed with naked eyes. She produced a whistle of wonderment The water was so pure, that even in the dim starlight she could see three dozen feet straight down to the bottom of the spring. Smiling, she tilted down and gave the liquid a gentle lap with her tongue. Her upper body shuddered; it was the cleanest water she had drunk in all her adult life.

She drank liberally, like a foal lapping at delicious milk. Her body felt instantly refreshed. She forgot about the starlight, about the moon, about dreams. She was simply alive.

Rainbow Dash exhaled long and hard. She had to carry some of this beauty with her. Squatting down, she reached into her saddlebag and produced her empty canteen. Swiftly, she filled it to the brink, smiling victoriously at her acquisition. Just as she finished screwing the top back on, something bright and lavender darted on the edge of her peripheral vision.

Rainbow Dash gasped. She spun about, blinking. She was alone in the tiny spring clearing. The only moving shadows were those belonging to her. Nevertheless, that didn't calm her beating heart, nor did the blinding sensation that swiftly followed.

She squinted. She gazed sideways towards a crest of jagged rock to her right. Murderous beams of gold were setting the air on fire as the first slivers of sunlight pierced the otherwise tranquil moment. A part of her shuddered, regretting the death of darkness.

With icy resolve, she picked herself up, pocketed the canteen away, and faced the burning dawn. Raising her hoof, she twisted the dial of her goggles and covered her ruby eyes with dark lenses. The pure taste of spring water was like an angelic song on the tip of her tongue. She savored it, as she did all pleasant flavors that still clung to her, and carried the weight of the pendant with her as she flew into the fire.

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