• Published 23rd May 2015
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The Last Pony on Earth - Starscribe


One day, Earth. The next, everyone is gone and I'm a pony. What the heck is going on?

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Chapter 1: May 23
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Dear Journal,

I think I better get these details down before I forget them (or else go completely insane). If you (probably just me) notice that I’ve switched from pen-written entries to typed ones glued awkwardly into the book, know that I have a very good reason for that decision.

Actually, I’m using the text-to-speech on my laptop, this entry won’t be typed. Why? That’s an excellent question! Because I can’t. Can’t, you ask? Why could that be? Well, now you’ve asked the right question. Not that there’s much point… but no. Write. Write or go crazy in the silence. I read once that most people who go into solitary come out worse than if they’d been tortured.

Getting ahead of myself. So, I woke up bright and early like I always have to do, so I can catch the bus for my job down at the garage. I knew it was gonna be one of those days the moment I tried to stand up and I ended up falling what felt like a mile before I smacked my stupid face on the carpet.

It’s like my legs didn’t work right or something, or maybe my back didn’t work right. Didn’t break anything, but that didn’t make it suck any less. Wish it would’ve been the only thing that went wrong. I was still half awake, so I only sorta noticed how numb my fingers had gone. I tried to push myself back up, but instead of standing I only sorta flopped around like a stupid worm.

Two shocks in a row were enough to shake me out of my stupor completely, but because of the ungodly hour there wasn’t much light to see by. Still, I remember thinking how messed up my arm looked. Had I somehow managed to break one of my arms in my sleep? It looked almost blue with what I imagined at the time to be bruises. Yet it also hadn’t hurt when I tried to put weight on it. It just hadn’t been able to hold anything the way I’d expected, that was all.

Instead of trying to stand again, I crawled to the wall, where I might be able to switch on the lights and see whatever had happened to me. It wasn’t easy to reach the switch, but after what felt like forever I was able to get it on and get a good look at myself. My pajamas had come off while I slept, so I wasn’t spared what I can only describe as the most horrifying sight of my life.

I knew now why I hadn’t been able to stand; there was nothing even remotely human about the way I looked. I dunno if I fainted or not. Must have spent hours just laying there on my back, staring up at where my hands used to be.

I don’t know what’s caused it, and I still don’t. Beyond any doubt, I changed into some sort of animal. As best I can tell, I’m some sort of small horse. Small is a bit of an understatement here. Standing, I’m not as tall as most little kids, maybe three or four feet. I don’t look like anything earth has ever seen, pretty damn sure about that. At least, not unless there’s some sort of aquamarine horse from some remote corner of the world I’ve never heard of.

All my other proportions look wrong too. Head’s too big for my body, though I’m grateful it’s big enough for my brain (such as it is). These eyes are ridiculous, some stupid reddish brown color and way bigger than they ought to be. I’ve got a tail now, which is just fantastic, and it’s the same color as my hair. Both are sea-foam green, like I’m impersonating the Statue of Liberty or something.

I could go on, but I’d probably end up getting frustrated and breaking this thing over my head or something. It’s hard to think of what about this was the worst. For now I’m going to settle on the fact that I changed from one type of being to another. The change here is so fundamental that I struggle to accomplish even the most basic tasks. At first, that was just calling into work, because I sure as hell wasn’t going to make it in looking like I’d sprung out of a little girl’s daydream riding public transit in L.A.

Turns out cell phones weren’t made for hooves. Capacitive touch-screens or whatever. Even if these stupid bricks on the end of my limbs had some capacitive in them (whatever that is), they’re too big to press the buttons. Had to fish around in one of my drawers for that pen I got from the job fair with a smart screen stylus on the back, and used that in my mouth to make the screen respond.

Didn’t matter; nobody at work answered. That didn’t make sense; the garage has always been open 24/7. Tried my boss’s personal cell and got the machine, which was even weirder. It wasn’t like the calls didn’t go through, which could’ve happened for any number of reasons. I left a message as best I could, though God only knows what he would’ve thought if he actually heard it.

I knew my voice sounded screwy by then, but that wasn’t enough to change my mind about what I knew I had to do next. I had to call somebody, I had to get help from someone who would take me seriously. So I called mom. No answer. Called my little brother, nothing. Called 911. “All our operators are busy right now, please remain on the line”.

What was going on? My initial thought was that whatever had happened to me had happened to everybody, all at once. Maybe my family and acquaintances were just less confident in changed voices (mine still makes me feel weird to listen to as I dictate this, by the way).

This seemed like as solid a theory to me as anything. Maybe I was witnessing some sort of hallucination brought on by a gas attack, or something equally disturbing but also less disturbing than admitting that my body had been stolen. It was at that moment I realized something was conspicuously absent from my morning. Sounds.

I’ve talked about the crazy things I’ve heard before. I’ve got single-pane windows and thin walls, and it’d be dishonest to call this anything but a shady part of town. Like all good city-dwellers, I've perfected the habit of pretending that I hadn’t heard anything.

There was nothing to pretend not to hear this morning. There was no sign of life at all from outside, but I’d been so distracted with my own disaster I hadn’t noticed until right then. What was going on? I made my way to the window, afraid maybe I’d see some sort of warzone, or bodies clogging up the street. There weren’t any. There was nobody.

Maybe I’m reading this years and years later; maybe I’ve been alone so long that I’ve forgotten the way cities used to be. Millions and millions of people live in LA, and even early in the morning the streets of downtown should have been clogged with cars and people. There were none. No busses on the road, no trains moving down the distant Metrolink tracks, and no pedestrians on the street. Not just nearby, but nowhere my eyes could see. Every vehicle was stationary, parked where they had been left.

It took time to get up the courage to investigate, hours spent trying to master walking and calling every number I knew, including those of friends further and further from L.A. Worst case, this had to be local, right? I should get a busy signal from all the other people that would be making out-of-city calls, though if I was lucky it was also possible it might connect. Either one would have been reassuring. Neither one happened.

You’d think walking on four legs would be the same as walking on your hands and knees, or at least I did. This thought, however plausible it might seem, is incorrect. I won’t go into detail, except to say that I feel immensely proud to be moving at some small fraction of my previous speed. Were it not for my significant decrease in size, I would’ve expected to get much faster going to four legs. Otherwise, what the hell kind of good would four legs have in the first place? Jury’s still out on whether I’ll be faster one day, but I’m certainly not faster now. I still fall over when I try to stop sometimes, or when I try to make tight turns. Working on that.

Honestly, I can’t be upset with my progress thus far. When my grandma had a stroke, she took three months of physical therapy to learn how to walk again, and she never got out of the walker. This change seems equally drastic to brain damage (whole body damage!), and I can already move. Thank god.

Sorry, got a little distracted. I went down my entire contacts list, getting better at using the stylus to navigate from my mouth in the process. Couldn’t be more thankful I didn’t ever unplug the stupid thing, or else the battery would’ve gone dead in the hours I spent leaving messages for everyone I knew, even distant relations or friends from the Internet I’d never actually met in person. I called all fifty-two names in my contacts, and got fifty-one answering machines. The last, a distant relative from up in Canada, I'm not sure about. But there was nobody on the line for certain.

Hours wasted on that and I hadn’t heard any bombs fall from overhead, nor had anyone called me back or any emergency alerts shown up on my phone. I navigated to a news site I’d had bookmarked (a process in and of itself), but nothing on that page suggested anything unusual was going on.

I’d already felt enough to dismiss the possibility that I was experiencing some kind of elaborate dream based on the apparent authenticity of the sensations I experienced. Besides, even if it was, I felt that my best bet was proceeding under the assumption that it wasn’t. At worst, I could waste some sleeping effort. At best, I wouldn’t have squandered precious time delusionally avoiding reality because the facts I found there were too difficult to cope with. A day and a night’s sleep later, I am grimly confident that this is indeed reality I’m living in.

Of course, clothing was an absolute disaster. It took what felt like an hour to find a pair of gym shorts I could tighten enough to not fall off when I moved, with my greenish tail spilling out over the band. My tightest tank-top still slips down my body periodically, though I feel like I might be able to do better with children’s clothing. Unfortunately I never had any kids, so there was nothing that small to be found in my apartment. I did find a little bag I could sling over my neck, big enough for wallet and cellphone, and made my way to the stairs and eventually to street level. The silence seemed thick enough to see as I stepped out for the first time, and went entirely unbroken until I reached the end of the street and passed a house with a dog in the backyard.

After the scare sent me to my face on the sidewalk (at least I didn’t have as far to fall!), I made a hasty exit and followed the route the bus would’ve taken me if it were here, towards downtown LA proper. I figured that, considering the population is in the millions, the chances that I was going to be the only one not snatched up in a city of so many was so small as to be utterly insignificant. Fifteen minutes on the bus might well be two hours at my snail’s walking pace, but I could think of nothing else to do. Nothing but walk, walk, walk. My feet— hooves I guess— made this loud clopping sound on the sidewalk, removing any chance I might’ve had at stealth. Yet I’d expected making a trip like this “barefoot” to hurt, and it didn’t.

I know horse-shoes are a thing, though I’ve forgotten exactly what their purpose is. Something about how hard surfaces wear away hooves over time. I wonder if I’ll have to think about getting some eventually, if I do a lot of walking.

Made it to downtown sometime in the afternoon, and there were no additional signs of life. Where I crossed a bridge over the freeway, I saw no vehicles, either parked on the side of the road or moving, any more than I saw on any of the side-streets. Still haven’t figured that one out.

I walked into a little corner deli I pass on my way to work, and found the doors open but nobody home. Walked around to the cooler and took a water, though opening it took another twenty minutes at least. Turns out my mouth is a crapton stronger than it used to be, can’t think of how it wouldn’t have hurt to twist the cap otherwise. Left a dollar on the counter and continued on.

I saw no evidence there is anyone else alive in LA, not during the entire trip. Work was deserted when I finally passed it, along with every major building and landmark in the city.

What sort of awful catastrophe could’ve possibly caused something like this? More importantly, why didn’t I end up dragged off with everybody else? I don’t know exactly what the bible says about the rapture, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t say ‘The righteous will go to heaven and the wicked stay on earth as blue horses.’

I wandered for hours, walking down the center of streets that were normally packed with motorists and sidewalks teeming with pedestrians. There were none of either, and I traveled alone back to my apartment. What else could I do? I ate an entire box of granola bars for dinner, since I didn’t want to fight with anything else. Didn’t taste all that different from what I expected, thankfully. My teeth look like… a horse’s I guess. Then I spent the rest of the night fighting with my laptop, trying to get online and failing utterly to discover anything useful.

I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow. If everybody’s really gone, then… the power’s gonna die eventually, right? No more supermarkets, no more gasoline, no more anything. I guess I’ll have to learn how to survive and stuff. Fighting off wolves and coyotes would be a lot easier if I had the fingers to use a gun!

I’ll try to be better about keeping this than I’ve been the last few years. I figure not having any humans to talk to probably won’t be terribly good for my sanity, so this should help a little.

—A

Note: After thinking about it, I believe my best bet for learning how to write again is with my mouth. To practice, I'm going to start sketching things when I can. Here's my best attempt at how I look. I'll admit, needs a little work. I was never really much of an artist even when I did have hands.

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