• Published 16th Nov 2015
  • 1,610 Views, 44 Comments

When The Bough Breaks - anonpencil

When tragedy strikes, everyone has a different way of reacting and dealing with their grief. But Cadance is all too aware that, as a princess, her duties must come before her own personal feelings of sadness.

  • ...


Cadance looked up at the hospital entrance with a creeping sort of discomfort. The day was getting cool, and a soft breeze blew the leaves into a slow swirling dance around her hooves. She shivered, but not from the slight wind that rippled across her coat and mane. She didn’t like coming here again, and hadn’t since the whole ordeal began, but she knew she had to be here now. Alone.

But this time, she alone was by choice. This time, she had stepped away from her empire because she wanted to, because she felt she had to for personal reasons, and wasn’t willing to shy away from that feeling. This was right. It felt terrible to be here, but this was the right thing to do. She again put on her princess demeanor, and pushed open the hospital doors.

Ponies bowed as she passed, all greeting her with the customary “your majesty” or “Princess” in whispered, reverent tones. The doctors and nurses especially did this, and she hoped desperately that none of them felt any guilt over what had happened here only a short week before. She hoped that none of them thought she was angry with them, or that she blamed them. No one was at fault here, and she hoped they all knew that.

She spied the kindly nurse that had been with her before, who had offered her a wheelchair, and now Cadance offered a gentle, warm smile in her direction. The pony hesitated, then smiled back. It felt good to do that again, she thought. And also bad. But…more good than bad now.

The thin, young artist she’d summoned was just where she’d asked him to be, waiting by the main check in desk. When he spotted her, he quickly gave a sweeping brow and beaming smile. Probably so proud that a princess had requested his help with something.

“Your majesty,” he said grandly. “It’s such a pleasure to be here, thank you for asking for me. What can I do to be of assistance to you?”

She smiled at him as well, and he rose from his bow, looking more pleased then ever. She took a moment to order her words carefully, because even now it felt strange to say them out loud.

“I have an assignment for you,” she said slowly. “A decree. I will be sure you are compensated, of course, but this is something I ask you to do, as a Princess. This is for the good of all my people.”

“Of course! Anything in my services that I can offer for your kingdom.”

She didn't say that it was also for her, but she knew it was, and he would probably know that as well. She hesitated a moment more, then took a deep breath, shut her eyes, and spoke.

“I’d like you to paint a mural on every hospital room ceiling,” she said softly.

When she opened her eyes, she could see he looked excited but a little confused. Probably to be expected, it was a rather odd request after all.

“Can do, Princess,” he said, then paused. “What kinda scene did you have in mind? Something royal? Some scene from history or a battle or…

“Nothing that complex,” she said quickly. Then more gently. “No. Something simple. Something basic. I’ll leave it up to you exactly what you put on each one, but it should be a night sky, or a cloudy day, or trees, or sunshine or…things like that.”

“Ah, I see,” he said with a nod. “But I mean, is there…any mood I should really try to bring out here? Any message I should be trying to send?”

She smiled then. A smile for her, for no one else. A soft and sad smile that she felt to the center of her being, where an empty space still curled and slept. When the tears came to her eyes, she didn’t wipe them away.

“The message,” she said, her voice trembling, “is that life will go on. And...that you're not alone.”


Author's Note:

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

As I said in a previous note, this particular situation really happens to people, pretty commonly. A friend recently brought to my attention that, even if this hasn't happened to you, it may have happened to someone you know, someone in your family, someone you care about. And...this is a tough issue, for everyone involved to deal with. Everyone feels grief in different ways, and everyone reacts to this event differently.

BUT, that shouldn't mean you have to feel powerless or at a loss for what to do. I truly hope you never have to deal with this, nor that any of your loved ones do, but in case it happens, here are some links that you might find helpful:

Things to do and say to help someone who has suffered a miscarriage - http://www.miscarriagesupport.org.nz/helping-someone-after-a-miscarriage/

Charity for those dealing with miscarriage or infant death (feel free to donate or make use of their resources) - http://www.missfoundation.org/

AU Miscarriage, stillborn, and newborn death support- 1 300 072 637
UK Miscarriage support hotline - 01924 200799
US Miscarriage and infant death support - 800.221.7437

A website for fathers dealing with a miscarriage or infant death - http://grievingdads.com/

This is a hard subject, but we should be able to talk about it. We should be able to help each other. I may be a pretty terrible person in my other writing, and I may be pretty big on inappropriate and irreverent humor for the lulz. I can be mean and cruel, and I'm all about not giving a shit about what others say or think. But let me take all that off for a moment and just let you know that I wish a good life for all of you, free from this kind of experience. Don't be afraid to seek support, and don't be afraid to offer it.

Thank you again for reading.


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Comments ( 34 )

This, bar none, is my favorite AnonPencil story.

I'm truly speechless by how powerful this is. Cadance's pain resonated so strongly for me, as well as her sense of isolation throughout the whole story.

I-I think I need to lie down. I can't write a pun to this. Amazing job.


Thank you both. Really.

more. that's all i ask. more.

Sees new Anonpencil story is up. "Alright, something fun to read."
Sees it's a serious Anonpencil story from her post. "Aw shit, baby. We getting all up in there. Crack out the popcorn and get comfortable, cuz the hype's real."
Reads the description of story. "...oh mother of god, what am I getting myself into?"

6640863 Hey, I warned you.

I'm....not entirely sure what you mean by this. Do feel free to elaborate though.

6640865 The warnings do naught to deter the hubris of youth, only fan the flames. I never really understand how real your works get, or if I do, I just ignore the warnings and trudge on ahead. Suffice it to say that my assumption of being able to get a quick laugh from this story miscarried.
I'ma go drink a bottle of bleach now...

AH, first pun of the comments.
I'm proud of you.

Reading the description, part of me wants to read this and part of me is crying so hard on the inside just because of the concept. She's the Princess of Love...she should be able to experience maternal love if she wants to without these terrible complications...

6641362 That could pretty much go for anyone who tries to be a mom.
Which is sorta kinda a little bit my point...


Exactly. I wouldn't wish that on anybody. But somehow with Cadance...I feel like the "love" power she holds is more than just romantic, and I feel like she'd be one of the ones who would really end up being hurt the most by it.

But of course, I'll have to read the story to get the full scope, no matter how much it hurts me.

6642352 Lyra Heartstrings already suffered enough, for Faust's sake! I'll not turn the entire universe against her AGAIN!


Hey, don't talk about Twilight that way.

But seriously, thanks for the comment and stuff.


My pleasure. This was heart-wrenching to read, but in all the right ways. The emotions conveyed never reached that melodrama levels that plague most stories of this kind. The twin scenes of them breaking down—Cadance trying to beat Shining away only to collapse in his arms, and Shining demolishing the baby's room in a violent rage—were painful, but cathartic.

Great job, friend. :ajsmug:


I'm very glad you appreciated it. I honestly put some work into this one, so it feels nice to know that it resonated with others.

s-see? I c-can write serious...sometimes....

6642913 It was proof, however, that pony creator gods are worst creator gods. Cuz they just pop out bastard foals and then drop them off for Omniversal Child Services to take care of.



Alright, I've had around a day to let my opinion putresce in my head. I hasn't changed much from a few minutes after reading, though.

The most succinct way to describe my opinion is (to those who have seen Vi Hart's video On Gender.
I don't understand your meat noises.

To those who can not, or don't want to, watch the linked video, or those seeking elaboration, I will explain further.

If you asked me to describe this story, I'd say: "Cadance had a miscarriage. That's about it.". Just, that, with not much emotion going on, because that's just how I (don't) feel about these things.

I could say that Cadance is overreacting (as you said not to), but I've read about such things enough to know that the truth in these matters is very nuanced.

She is reacting as healthy normal humans† do, as far as I can tell.‡

Can I fairly say that I would not react approximately the same way? No, as I am not in such a situation, nor have I ever been, nor can I see into the future. What I can fairly say is that this story has failed to evoke such feelings from me almost completely.

I don't think this is a failing of the story. I think that this is a failing of me. (This goes back to that "meat noises" thing.)

What I'm saying is that I don't empathize. Maybe I will someday, but today is not that day.

† That she is equine is not the point. She is mentally human, or close enough.
‡ Now is an excellent time to point out that I am not all three, if even two of those.

EDIT: In case it's not clear, I think the story is good. Or something. It's complicated.

Ok, well, thank you for the feedback.

Well done.

A sad but moving piece. Well done, anonpencil.

6652846 The menstruation story was the one below this. Frankly, I find your abortive attempt at a pun stillborn.

Not to be mean, need more puns in here.

This story hit me in a spot i didn't remember still there. A personal, age old spot.
Kudos to you, dear Pencil.

Shit, man. I don't even know what to say. Technically, this is a very well constructed story. No glaring flaws, good flow and characterization, all that good stuff. Emotionally... goddamn. Emotionally it's just devastating. It's a hard, cold thing, burying a child.


Thanks guys. Means a lot coming from you.

wow... this story touched my dusty heart... i like how it showed shining also beeing affected by the chrushing sadness, and i think the ending was beautiful actually

This pulled at my heartstrings. It was so sad.

As a person, who has been through miscarriage and still deals the grief of the loss now and then, this story hit home. Good job.

Personal reasons. I hope those who can relate to it or those that learn from it will take what I had to say to heart.

I've never been through this myself, but I don't think I've ever seen this done in the same somber way that you've written. Usually very insincere melodrama where it's been dealt with at all. This is a very welcome change.

...I also can't believe I missed that there was an epilogue the first time around. That has been fixed.

Having just listened to this on the stream, I have to say... wow. This is beautifully written; you are a wonderful serious writer, Pencil, as much as you do shitpost a lot.

And, I just have to say, you and Priest do very touching serious readings. I definitely wouldn't mind if you did more. :twilightsmile:

Damn. I had to legit take a break after reading chapter two and just... walk. Incredibly powerful, a bit of a gut-punch. Perfect ending. Just... I wish I could articulate my feelings a bit better. But just, bravo.

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