• 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 15: June 7
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Dear Journal,

Today was incredibly productive. It wasn’t the sort of productivity that just happened. It was hard to force it to be productive, but I managed. You would think that herding horse like creatures would be easy. As it turns out, it isn’t. Ponies, at least the ponies I have for company, can be quite difficult.

See, I’ve felt like I have a large enough group going now that we should start coordinating and planning group goals together. It’s not like being alone, when all the effort and all the reward for working hard just came down to what I did. Our group can be greater than the sum of its parts.

At least, maybe in some dreamworld version of reality. That’s saying something, since the world I live in these days is already so much like a dream. Been an animal for better than two straight weeks, a full half month now. Walking with confidence and even doing a little of that thing Sky calls trotting. Still not confident enough to try a canter, though I’m starting to feel like the instinct is all in there somewhere. I mean, I knew how to move my limbs when I first transformed, so I’m not sure why the connections required for all the different movement patterns couldn’t be in there too. Can’t baby horses stand and walk minutes after birth or something? I could ask Sky, but every time I ask about horses I end up getting more than I really want.

We don’t even really know that we are horses, anyways. Similar, absolutely. But is something true for a horse true for us? How did the ancient doctors study the human body? Oh, right. Corpses. Probably won’t be any volunteers for that.

So I got everyone together for a meeting to plan out what we would do next. Pretty simple. I asked everybody to list off their talents and skills, and got pretty much what I expected as answers. All of Joe’s stuff was computer-related somehow, which is just great when we barely need computers at all anymore. Of course, he’s also got that horn, which does expand his use considerably. Cloudy Skies, meanwhile, talked mostly about her farming experience. She also said something like “maybe one day I’ll be able to fly.”

Joseph objected to this, saying what I personally thought, that there was no way those stubby wings could get her off the ground. She responded by saying that a bone on his head couldn’t make him move things with his mind either, and “why would I have wings if I couldn’t fly?”

Joseph didn’t mention penguins or ostriches, and neither did I. Instead, we made a long series of lists. A list of lists, because everybody loves those. Glowjoe tried to leave twice, but I stopped him each time. He doesn’t really know how to argue, so it was easy enough to stop him. Even though he could, of course, lift me right out of his way with that stupid horn of his.

I started things off with a simple question: What did we want to happen to us ten years from now? Twenty years?

“Be human again” went to the top of the list, though interestingly enough neither of the others seemed to react either positively or negatively. Are they really adjusting that fast? Can’t be… there’s no way… don’t want to think about it. I’m not going to be alone. Not going to be alone. Not going to be alone.

Obviously we had no way of planning for this one, so I ignored it (and the wish things would go back to normal) in favor of things we could actually try to achieve. I put “found a successful colony” up beside “preserve human history and achievements”. (I printed them out beforehand so I wouldn’t have to write on the whiteboard with my mouth as much as possible).

I don’t know what I would’ve done if they didn’t agree. Joseph was immediately supportive of both goals, maybe a little more than I was comfortable (why make such a big deal out of supporting my ideas?), though he wanted to add “find out why this happened” to the board. I made him write it with his stupid magic. Of course his writing was stranger than the runes we’d seen on the street, and just as hard to read, but we got the idea.

Sky looked nervous, and despite prompting she couldn’t be made to offer anything by way of suggestion. She just said, “I like yours, those are fine.” And I didn’t press her.

Once we’d listed out everything we wanted long term (it’s quite a list. I’ll just insert it instead of referring in detail because it would take forever to go over everything we talked about. Plenty of these ideas weren’t mine, though I did jot them down afterwards), I’m sure more things will come to mind the more we think about it. Yeah, I know it’s a pretty pretentious agenda. We’re planning for a distant future, we’re allowed to make it as awesome as we can. In fact, I think we’re required to.

What about other survivors? What if they have radically different goals? What makes you qualified to be the ones that redefine the whole world?

If we run into another group of survivors, one with a better idea of what they’re doing than we do, then we’ll be happy to join their thing instead of asking them to join ours. But as it stands (didn’t tell the others this), I expect other survivors to be either unwilling or unable to think this far ahead.

I don’t have Cloudy Skies's talent for animals or cooking, I’m probably not as smart as Joseph. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let humanity waste away. Something already took my humanity away, and at present there’s nothing I can do to bring it back. If I can’t get my body back, then I’ll make sure whatever did this doesn’t win. If humans are all gone, but their knowledge and culture survives in some form, then it hasn’t really won. We owe it to the billions before us to keep whatever we can of humanity alive. I will drag GlowJoe and Sky bucking and screaming to survival if that’s what it takes.

Long-term planning was actually the fun part, since it basically involved writing our grocery list to the universe without much to back it up. The next part, the near-term planning, was much harder (and harder to keep my companions invested). In the end, we came up with the following plan: remain in the city of Los Angeles for one year. This will give us time to decide on a future relocation site, plan in detail for the colony, and continue searching for survivors. In order of priority, we (mostly me), made the following short list of our plans and goals. Practical, as you can see. All things we can start on right now and get done within days or weeks.

We’ll have to do much more, obviously. This list is only the beginning. There are plenty of apparently minor issues I’ll devote what free time I can to (like designing clothes that are actually comfortable to wear and don’t threaten to rip when you move your legs too much). I want to research those weird marks, see which culture they correspond to. “Rob” a bank and burn lots of money. Hah, money. Remember when that was a thing?

I wonder if we can find the original Coca-Cola recipe before it’s lost to history. I’ve continued to drink it without apparent side-effects, though I know I’ve got a year tops before all the Coke in the world has gone bad. Future generations deserve to know that taste.

See how well I focus? (Not very). Now imagine how much worse the others have to be that I’m the one who has to keep them on task. It’s a little discouraging.

On the plus side, I used all the time when things got off-task to draw while I waited for things to get focused again. I was sitting across from Cloudy Skies, so I drew her. I think I'm really getting better. I look at what I made my first day and wonder how I possibly could've scratched out something so ugly.

I think we’re probably almost out of water. I hear the pump downstairs whining whenever I turn on the tap, and occasionally I get this awful rushing sound. It’s too bad, because there’s plenty of clean water all over the city. We won’t die of dehydration, in any case. But the convenience of having a quick shower in heat and privacy will be a sore thing to lose. We’ll have to accelerate the water stuff in our planning.

Joseph is apparently the master of gadgets, and he told us about a thing called an “atmospheric water generator”. He searched his “Kimballnet” (real humble guy), and determined that our local office store sells them. How he knew to backup common company websites, God only knows. Humidity here is quite low, so it would be a HUGE energy hog to produce as much as we use on a regular basis.

We do have one advantage, though: unlimited fuel. With such a low population but such a large area to scavenge from, we probably have enough fuel stored in gas stations and trucks and facilities in this city to last us until all the fuel in the world is rotten. Tomorrow all of us are going to go to a hardware store together and pick out a nice generator for the house, I’m thinking one of those huge 20 kilowatt standby generators. While the real owners of this house seemed concerned about the environment, very little I’ve found suggests they were preparing for any sort of disaster. Otherwise, I’m sure they’d already have one of these ready. A system that large will also give us the freedom to run an air-conditioner when we choose to. God, I can feel that cold air blowing down my face already.

It gets pretty hot inside during the day. I’ve thought on and off about using our pool (while we still can) to relax, but now that Joseph’s around I think that option is right out. What would horse swimwear even look like? Shame, really. The water level has dropped a few inches since we got here, and it’s bound to only go down unless there’s a large rain or something. Would covering it stop it from evaporating so fast? It’s already in a glass enclosure, for some reason. Winter use I guess, because that’s environmentally friendly. Guess I should close all the windows to discourage evaporation. If we’re not going to be using it anyway…

Guess it’s finally hitting me that we can actually make a community now. I’m crossing my hooves for another few survivors nearby, hopefully enough to balance out the gender ratio a little better. Right now, the only balance I’m comfortable with is being as far from the ratio as possible. Sky seems like she’ll be the first to adapt, and good for her. Joseph, well… he’s probably never had sex in his life anyway.

Why am I even thinking about this? Other survivors would mean we can do more. Make ourselves more stable, venture out further, reach even more people. I figure this house could comfortably house about six. Four bedrooms, but it wouldn’t be hard for two to double-up.

Something about Joseph has made Sky much shyer than she used to be. Don’t know what that would be; he’s not the one not wearing pants (thank God!). She says even less than usual if he’s around. Further evidence of abuse?

Whatever, I’ll keep helping where I can. I know the others need time to work on hobbies, because “honest hard work” doesn’t seem to do it for them like it does me. Joseph’s got his video games, which is perfect for our limited electrical situation, but all I’ve seen Sky do is cook. I wonder if she likes doing something else. Maybe it would help her if I expressed some interest and offered to help her.

Shut up, I don’t have ulterior motives. I just think there’s something special about the first person you see after so long in isolation. Like I owe her somehow.

Fed Huan before bed. He seemed a little bummed, as though he were upset that I hadn’t gone wandering today and taken him with me. I promised to make up for it tomorrow, and he seemed to understand. Almost two weeks of this, and it’s still weird. I wonder if I’m the one who’s going crazy. Maybe being a horse only makes me think animals are smarter than they really are. Maybe being human let me see the truth, and now I’m drowning in an illusion. Whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Huan saved my life.

Joseph still won't talk about how he learned how to use magic. He doesn't seem to spend any time practicing during the day (though he doesn't seem to practice walking anytime either). I asked him twice about where he had learned, and he wouldn't give me anything useful. Just that he had "seen something." Something that made him bold enough to try it. Freakin' garbage. You're lucky we need you so bad Mr. Stallion, or you'd be out on your stupid smart backward pants ass.

Oh, probably I’ll start writing shorter responses unless something really cool happens. I’m going to devote a little more of my time to sketching and writing with my mouth. If you see my entries switch to an awkward, awful handwriting, you’ll know why.

—A

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