• 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 11: June 3

Dear Journal,

Lots happened today so I’ll jump right into it before I collapse from exhaustion. Found some really interesting things, and invented the first shoes for horses. What, don’t believe me? Bet you will soon!

Sky is still taking care of the animals. She’s been scavenging for things she can feed to the chickens and apparently succeeding. I never thought chickens were picky about what they eat, but I guess she knows more about that stuff. Farmers.

Hey, at least one good thing came of this disaster: no more traffic! I feel like I make better time downtown on my hooves than I ever did driving there or riding the bus. Once I get a car worked so that I can actually drive it, it’ll be like the whole city is my playground. Get anywhere in just a few minutes. Of course there won’t be much reason to go anywhere…

My first priority today was horse-shoes. The old design has some severe disadvantages, such as the fact that there are freaking nails being driven into your foot. Yeah it’s like a big fingernail yeah you can’t feel it — no, you’re wrong. You can feel it. You can absolutely feel it. I can feel it every time I step on a little rock or a piece of glass, even if it doesn’t cut me. Not to mention that putting metal onto my hooves would make dexterity-dependent things almost impossible. With some careful patience, it’s still possible to do most things. My body’s flexible enough to make up for the lack of hands a little bit. That would absolutely not be the case if I nailed bricks to my hands.

Human feet are shaped perfectly for human shoes. They’re so long and wide compared to the thin ankles at the top that once the shoe goes on it isn’t coming off. Horses don’t have feet like that; our hooves are only slightly wider than… whatever we have that’s like ankles. I’ll ask Sky. Not to mention that the back legs move different than the front ones, and there are even more weird motions for the four different types of moving horses have. Sky told me about it today: walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping. I still can’t manage anything more than a walk (sometimes more of a shamble). Sky’s apparently been practicing, because she can go way fast with a trot. Probably about human walking pace. I wonder how fast we’ll be able to move when we can gallop. Maybe we can find videos of horses galloping and watch how they do it.

I’m rambling, probably a sign I should get to bed. I won’t though, because I’m a stupid horse who can’t adapt and change habits in the face of change. Look at me, writing a journal I’m almost certainly not going to have children to appreciate when I’m gone. Or… foals I guess. Foals to appreciate. Whatever. I’m not sure I want them if they’re foals anyway. I don’t suppose there are any underprivileged, precocious human orphans I could adopt.

Given my body these days, we’d probably be one of those buddy kids movies. I’d be the adorable animal sidekick and she would be always getting us into trouble. I would have to get us out again of course, without letting anyone know (apart from the audience) that I was really the one driving our success.

See, there I go. Came up with a horse-shoe idea that didn’t involve nails. Instead you’ve got a thick rubber sole like any western shoe, a hard plastic shell going to below the knee, and a thick foam interior molded to each leg and hoof specifically. The plastic shell could have clasps or something like a ski boot, enough to hold it in place no matter how energetic our activity became.

You probably notice this design involves several advanced parts, joints, and materials. The workshop had several tools I would need, but not all of them. The project would have been difficult if I still had my hands; without them it was going to be Herculean. Making two sets, even more so. My only advantage? Before the Event, I watched every episode ever of “How it’s Made.” Yeah, that’s right. I’m going to use what I learned from a TV-show to make our shoes. How bad can they be?

At least we don’t have all those tiny delicate bones to screw up like humans do. Strike that one up for an advantage to being a tiny horse. Still would’ve taken my old body. Even if everybody else was a tiny horse and I was human, doomed to be the last… I still would’ve taken it. Too bad nobody came to offer the trade.

I made up a boring list of everything we ought to need to make at least sixteen of the shoes (so I could screw up once per shoe if I needed to. Pretty depressing number), and set off with a newly comfortable wagon cart thing. I asked Sky if she wanted to join me, but apparently she had more work to do on the barn. As if it wasn’t already obvious, let nobody say a girl can’t get things done. Was it obvious? I don't actually know. I resolved to stop by the "ranch" on the way back from shopping and see what she had accomplished so far.

Or… that’s the wrong word. Mare? I shiver at the thought. How much is our language going to change? If we somehow meet up with enough of this new species to form a society, I wonder how we’ll talk in a hundred years. Will it still be recognizable as English with mare instead of woman and foal instead of baby and all the other horse-words? Or will we just keep using human words, changing their meaning so that they apply to new bodies that don’t fit them the way they were intended?

While I could get some of the ingredients at the crafts store close by, I couldn’t be sure of several of the others without going much further. I’m not worried; I might still have the coordination of a horse with three legs, but at least I’ve got stamina. An unnatural amount of stamina, if having Sky around is any judge. We’re about the same size and general build, so I’m not sure what could be causing the differences…

My map of the city tells me it’s about three miles one way. I’ve walked further plenty of times before, and every step was more practice. Maybe I could learn some of the new steps Sky showed me. The park didn't look like it'd changed all that much when I got there, except that the other entrances and gates had all been shut, except for the one nearest the discount store and the one nearest the house. Left my wagon by the entrance as I went in.

Sky was running. No, that's probably the wrong word. Cantering? Galloping? I'm not sure what the specific differences are. She was running around the lake, her wings flapping like a goose trying to get off the ground but not quite muscling the energy. It was almost sad to watch; she ran with all her might but clearly wasn't having any luck. Really, it was impressive she could run without falling. I couldn't do that.

I know, because when I went in to talk to her (making lots of noise so she could stop pretending to fly without knowing I'd seen), she went through the motion with me and I tried to imitate her. Got to say, there's no magic pill. A few minutes of doing the motions slowly didn't translate to knowing how to trot and canter like a pro. The grass is still alive enough to cushion my fall, though it's turning brown in places.

I swear the cows started laughing the first time I tripped. I can't be sure, since cow noises all sound the same to me, but they all stopped chewing and staring. I rolled the first time, landed with my head somewhere stupid and my butt straight up. Sky giggled, but I couldn't really blame her. I must've looked pretty stupid. I kept trying, but I never got it. Another day I guess.

It was pretty late when I got back, but I wanted to start work on the shoes. Sky agreed to help, though she didn’t see the need for them as much as she did with the saddlebags. She didn’t plan to do as much walking around through the city I guess.

Wasn’t too happy about the way I had to wrap her legs in plastic, smear them with lubricant, and submerge each one in a tray of goo. I just told her to pay attention since she’d have to do it for me once I made hers.

I worked several hours after dark, fighting through the tiredness. Cans of kick-starter, baby. Almost tastes as good as Mountain Dew. Almost. Most of the machines in the workshop take more wattage than the battery unit can offer. I’ll probably have to get my hands (that I wish I still had) on a generator. It isn’t as though there isn’t enough gasoline left in the city to burn it 24/7 until it all goes bad. Does gas even go bad? I’ll have to look that up.

I cheated a little bit: I’m actually stealing lots of the parts from fully assembled shoes that I’m cutting apart and gluing together.

Tomorrow I’ll finish hers and probably mine too, if I work hard. If I have the time, I think I’m going to try and get the parts together for a shortwave rig. For now I think I’ll put the best antenna I can on the roof. Long term, I know there’s a massive antenna fifty miles or so away that could probably cover the whole United States and much of Canada (if I could figure out how in god’s name to power it). But that's a little much. Short-term survival first. Thriving second.


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