• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Rainbow Dash walked up to it slowly, quietly. She narrowed her eyes. Then, reaching a hoof forward, she gave the wooden edge of the thing a light push.

The boat rocked ever so slightly in the wet sand. A loose collection of fishing tools rattled in between the decrepit seats. A rope was fastened to the bow of the vessel, mooring it to a wooden pole sticking partly out of the waters of the large lake. Among several cattails and fronds, a decaying piece of fish netting was tangled.

Rainbow Dash couldn't guess just how old the boat was, or how long it had been abandoned. She was immensely curious as to why this single piece of civilization was stuck here in the middle of so much nothingness. Taking a deep breath, she hovered up and craned her neck to look around. The sun was setting across the marshlands. The edges of the giant lake to the south glittered with the golden rays. Silently, Rainbow Dash scanned the nearby horizons for signs of other, living ponies.

She saw the shadow of something to the north, just along the furthest reach of the lake's edge. She cruised lightly over the rolling hills that lined the coast. Then, after a rise of earth, she saw it: a two story wooden lake house with part of its roof caved-in. Was this abandoned too?

Rainbow Dash touched down on a decrepit pier lining the south end of the house. Her hooves made echoing sounds as she strolled across the rotting planks. She saw another boat—this time upside down and overrun with grass and weeds. There was also the collapsed shell of a wagon and several overturned crates full of rusted tools.

If she was losing her incentive to call out loud for other ponies to hear, her resolve entirely disappeared as soon as she stepped through the back door to the house. The place was empty, overrun with dust and cobwebs. Everytime her hooves touched the floor, mounds of dust and sediment would rise and fall. The walls were stripped bear of portraits and the bookshelves were as empty as the boggy landscape surrounding the building.

Rainbow Dash, as always, felt the need to explore. But she didn't take her time. Instead, she bolted immediately towards the opposite side of the house and found the kitchen. Her stomach was growling halfway through the act of searching the pantry. Any box or container she found was full of dust and insect remains. She sighed, feeling her stomach growling again. With a nervouse shuffle, she gazed out the shattered window of the room towards where she had seen the boat full of fishing equipment.

The pegasus shuddered. She wandered through the house in a guilty slump, running a hoof through her mane. She wasn't starving. She was hungry, yes, but she wasn't desperate. There was no need to resort to becoming something base and brutish. Wintergaters ate meat, and that was okay for them. However, fishing in Equestria was only allowed for the feeding and maintenance of animals, pets, and forms of livestock in the possession of the citizenry. Eating fish would be just as disgusting as eating pony flesh.

At least, that's what Rainbow Dash was raised to believe. But here she was, countless kilometers from home, with nopony around to hear or see her. Her entire existence was funneled down into the act of flying east. Even in the darkest nights, when her thoughts belonged to nopony else but herself, Rainbow Dash couldn't deny that this was most likely going to be a one-way trip.

She snapped out of it, realizing that she was ascending through the house—but her wings weren't moving. It turned out that Rainbow Dash was scaling the stairs so that she entered the second story bedroom. The roof had partially disappeared. The Sun was almost beneath the Western Horizon, and it was bathing the wooden interior with an amber glow. Here, the wind blew in from the marshlands almost constantly. Any dust and debris had been fanned out ages ago. So when Rainbow Dash stumbled upon a lone mattress in the corner of the place, it struck her as remarkably pristine.

She smirked to herself. She had slept in far dirtier, muddier places. In a way, this felt like a palace to her wandering figure. Without thinking twice, she climbed onto the bed, relaxed her aching limbs, and stripped of her saddlebag for the first time in days. She felt immeasurably comfortable, as if she weighed half as much. Normally, this would inspire her to flit about and do backflips. For the time being, Rainbow Dash was overcome with a heavenly drowsiness. She rolled over in the bed, took one last glimpse at the crimson world softly settling outside the house, and yawned. Curling her legs to her chest, she went into a fetal position and descended into the embrace of sleep.

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