• 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 9: June 1
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Dear Journal,

I feel like I never sleep as well anywhere that isn't my own bed. Of course, I used to think that I could never get a good night's sleep without the sound of traffic and the trains and buses constantly going by. I guess each of us have room to grow. Still felt kinda groggy when I woke up this morning, and I guess I felt that way the rest of the day. I don't really get it, because I'm used to going to bed and waking up early from my work schedule.

It felt too weird to use the beds here last night. I don't know why I feel comfortable doing it back in the city but feel terrible here. This house is inferior in every way, looks like it was probably built in the early fifties maybe. I wonder if it's because "my" new house in the city feels like it used to belong to "my people." I know city dwellers, even if they were the rich kind that lived out in the suburbs a little. I don't know farmers. I feel like the house itself wants me out. It made noises last night, shifting in the cold and the wind (as houses do). Can houses be intelligent too?

Sky must've felt it too, because she didn't want to use the bedrooms either. I crashed on an armchair and she hit up the couch, so that was okay. I'm so stupid small I could probably fall asleep on my old lap. No, not that small. Not quite. I might be too scared to face the world if I was that size. Huan probably would've mistaken me for a cat and eaten me. Fun fact, he actually went inside this house. Why won't he come in with us at home? That dog makes no sense!

Day two of surreal farm adventures dawned with more bizarre encounters with animals acting weird. What would you expect cows to do if they’d been released from their barn by a stranger? If you're me and you've lived your whole life in the city, you would expect them to leave.

Maybe they really liked the farm, so they wouldn’t wander too far away in their grazing. I was willing to buy that this morning. Things just got stranger when we made our way out. Of course this farm didn’t have power, but Sky apparently knows how to cook toast on a fire, so she did that. Can’t say I’m not a fan of having someone to cook for us both, that’s really nice. Wish having someone who likes to cook didn’t require that person also insist on taking weird trips into the middle of nowhere. Granted, this place is no less our home than the city was. If we really wanted, we could set up out here as much as there. Might even be easier in some ways. Except that the house (and the chickens) are out to get us.

Sky offered that option indirectly. She didn’t actually ask to move out here, though she said a few different ways that living on a farm was probably better than living in the city. I was firm with her; insisting that while it might eventually be an option, to get to that point we would want the abundance of machines and hardware that can be found in the city. Maybe long-term we could move out someplace like this, maybe in one of the northern states. Not now. What won her over wasn’t any of that logic, but the idea that there was almost no chance of anybody finding us out here. At least if we lived in the city, we would be likely to attract the notice of anybody else who traveled through the city in the months and years ahead. That is true, right? The chances of somebody stumbling into us living in a random farm are about zero. When we do finally leave the city, we'll have to make sure we paint very obvious directions to our new homestead, so people can find it.

So we tried to get moving as quickly as possible, knowing the scale of the task ahead of us.

I didn’t think the chances that all the cows would stick around through the night were very high. Maybe we’d get the most pliable to go with us. We weren’t herding dogs, and we weren’t cowboys, so… really, the plan was doomed. I’d be happy just to keep eggs at this point. I wonder if Huan could've helped.

Let’s start with the chickens. We didn’t use a cage to get them to not wander off. Sky fed them, talked to them through their enclosure, explaining we were going to take them with us to somewhere safe, and turned around to lead them back to the truck.

Yeah, pretty stupid, I know. They followed her. Honest to god, the whole group (flock? Murder? No, that’s just for crows) more or less mobbed after her down the road, the hens keeping the few chicks in line.

That left me alone in the farm, and a whole lot of loose animals watching me. Watching me. Like I was supposed to give a speech or something. A speech to whom, all the animals that don’t understand English? What was the point?

Apparently it worked. I watched Sky do it with the chickens, and it worked. Something to do with being animals ourselves? That doesn’t make sense. It can't be that I apparently don't like the taste of meat (despite my protestations), because animals are eating each other all the time! Just because I’m no longer (apparently) wired to want to eat meat doesn’t mean we’re somehow friends now, right?

This was all too silly for me. Still, what did I have to lose? Just as they couldn’t understand me, they also wouldn’t be judging me for thinking animals could understand me, right? In the end I said something like; “You’re not going to be safe here anymore. My friend and I want to lead you somewhere better. We’ll take good care of you, if you follow us.” Whatever. I don’t really make speeches, let alone for cows and a few grimy looking farm cats.

I started walking towards the truck. Like something out of a horror movie, they started following. All of them. If they said anything back I didn’t understand it in all the animal sounds (they still can’t talk, right?) but they followed. Soon I’d caught up with Sky, and she noticed I was leading a herd now. Even the cats followed along. Post-apocalyptic Dr. Dolittle. I’d tolerate another terrible movie if it meant people came back to make it.

This changed things. We couldn’t leave any of the animals behind, not if they were going to act this way. Sky agreed that they were acting strange, but what could we do? It might not actually be a good idea to bring more animals into the city with us. How long will our food last? I know Sky wants to bring them, she wants to make their contributions available to our diets. She says she’s willing to do all the work to take care of them.

Can we afford this much distraction? What if there’s a fire this summer? We won’t be able to drive a cattle truck at fifteen or twenty miles an hour to escape a wildfire.

Getting all the cows and chickens loaded into a truck was easy. I just opened the door and asked them to get in, and they did. Promised we were going somewhere safe, cuz’ we are. I still think it’s pretty stupid. But at the same time, it hurts to imagine all the animals suffering all over the world. For thousands of years dogs and cats and cows and stuff have attached their destinies to humanity. Now the humans are all gone, and they’re starving. We all go into that good night together. Humans gently, but many others in blood and horror. Mass starvation like nothing the earth had seen since the last great dying. Wonder if endangered animals were smart now too, so they could be smug about it.

Did turning into a blue pony make me soft somehow? Sky seems soft. She has a cloud on her butt. She’s got wings and feathers and talks about the animals.

I just want to survive. I want to put a colony together. Ensure that, even if humanity doesn’t live through this, maybe some kind of civilization can. Even if Sky felt the same way I do (and frankly I’m not sure she does), the numbers just don’t bear that out. How many of our strange new race would it take to have enough diversity for a population? How does reproduction even work for ponies?

Not gonna think about it. Something’s going to rescue us before that happens. Sky and me… we’ll get out of this. We’ll be back in reality before you know it. She can go back to… well, she probably doesn’t want to go back to anything. She can go to something new and I can go back to my life and my friends will be back and my family will still exist and everything will be perfect.

Maybe let’s be realistic, you and me. Probably none of that. I’m probably stuck like this. We’re both stuck like this. Too bad we both didn’t get wings. Then Sky and me could fly away, find more people. Guess she could leave. Well, if she could fly. She didn't fly today, or any other time I've been around her. That's why she can talk to the chickens! She's a flightless bird too!

Drove the truck back to town, and I had to drive slower with all the weight in back. Not that I wasn’t driving slow to begin with. We didn’t take the cows back to our house, there really isn’t space for such big animals. Fortunately, there’s a park pretty close to where we live, just over a block. It’s got fences… nothing big enough to stop a cow, but I’m not really worried. Plenty of food (until all the grass dies), and a pond big enough to last years before it dries up. Plenty of big buildings across the street we could convert into a barn.

No, not we. Cloudy Skies can convert into a barn. This is her project. I have important things to do, like making sure the people have enough food to eat. Like finding better ways to contact other survivors than hoping they hop onto the radio when I'm listening purely by chance. I've got some interesting ideas for when we're a little more secure. Maybe now that we're not taking silly trips I'll actually have the time to get some real work done.

Unlike cows, the chickens aren’t as safe wandering the city. Stray dogs probably couldn’t take down a cow, but they could easily kill our chickens. Fortunately, the house I chose has high walls and a backyard big enough to keep most of them out. I might have to put barbed wire or something on it if we find animals are a problem. The cats just sorta dispersed into the city. Not sure why they followed us at all, honestly. Glad they didn't stay. Would've been awful if they had stayed to hunt the chickens.

I never much cared for animals. Maybe this is some kind of karmic revenge.

—A

These guys became way more obedient once all the humans disappeared. Just look at those eyes. Is there a person thinking behind them now, or just another animal? My In-N-Out Burger isn't supposed to be this smart.

Author's Note:

Hey everypony! Another chapter, and after these eight days we're finally off the sidebar and the featured box (though who can say if we won't pop back now and then with such frequent updates? I don't actually know how heat calculation works). A huge thanks to each of you that have taken the time to comment on the story and make these pages so interesting. I know I don't get to respond as actively as I want to some days (it's going to get worse next Thursday on when I go on vacation). Still, the story continues! No interruptions, not until the story's done.

Some people have expressed interest in writing side stories. I hesitate to encourage that yet, since so much of the universe and the reasoning behind what's going on is still a mystery. For those who feel they must (and haven't heard this lecture yet), please check my blog post about them. Those interested in finding other stories in the universe might also check the group as it becomes more active.

Thanks!

-Starscribe

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