• Published 13th Mar 2016
  • 945 Views, 22 Comments

Pressure - PaulAsaran

Pinkie has a voice in her head. He seems like a nice enough sort, and she could always use another friend! Nothing bad ever came from having a voice in your head, right?

  • ...

On A Dark Night

A light rain peppered the night air with sound. To Pinkie’s sensitive ears, the drops were like drumbeats. The only sound louder was her own heart pounding in her ears.

A dim light shined down from the back of the red barn, casting its feeble halo upon the wet grass. The light seemed so far away, even though she stood just outside of its precious circle. Was the light lonely? She felt lonely. If she stepped into that circle, maybe she could make the light happy.

Or maybe the magic of it would burn her alive. Crispy Pinkie. Pinkabob. Pinkie steak, extra rare.

The chuckle that rose from her throat was coarse, hollow. With it came a thin wisp of bluish-grey smoke that tasted like ash. She licked her lips, taking in the bitter flavor. Perhaps a fire had been trapped in her belly. It certainly hurt enough.

Look at it, Pinkie.

A hard breath shook her body. She turned her gaze from the light. “Mm-mm.”

The rain continued to pound on her skull. The fog – her own, personal little ash cloud – swam in soothing circles. Something caressed the back of her neck. The touch only made her stomach roil a little more.

You did a good thing.

She shook her head, curls waving before her stinging eyes. Her voice came out as less than a whisper. “It’s not good.”

The deep, resonating voice in her head made a soft sigh. You’ve done it. The thing that nopony else can do. You’re a hero.

Pinkie’s lips trembled. She covered her eyes with a fetlock. “I don’t want to be a hero. Please, we have to tell the others.”

They won’t understand, My Dear. You know they won’t.

She bowed her head almost to the grass, eyes still covered. The cool rainwater flowed across her features to drip off her chin and elbow. It tickled. She wanted to shoo the water away, to explain that she was in no mood for its games, but it was only water, and it would ignore her.

What did I tell you about distracting yourself?

“I don’t want to think about it.”

But you must. There is nopony else.

Why? Why is there nopony else?”

The words slithered in her skull, constricting, strong, but also gentle. You have the blood, the family history. I could only speak to those with the blood. I’ve told you this.

Pinkie closed her eyes. The rain soaked her every limb. She started scrubbing her face, her cheeks, her chest. “I can’t be the only one.”

Perhaps there are others, but there is no time. The voice grew silent as Pinkie continued to rub the water over herself, scrubbing hard and wishing she had a brush or sponge or some soap.

Even if there was somepony else, that only means this would have been done by that pony. Would you wish for some other pony to suffer through this?

Another cloud of ash floated out of her mouth. She choked, then tilted her head back to let the rain in. She gargled and spat. The water landed next to a lifeless lump on the ground before her. Her heart froze at the sight of it. She stared at the brown tail resting just within the light's halo.

Tears welled up in eyes that burned. She buried her face in her hooves and sobbed. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I thought it was a dream.”

Pinkie, you know this had to happen.

She swiped a hoof at the air as if to strike something unseen. “You tricked me! I thought… I th-thought…”

The voice grew hard. I had to make you take the first step. No more trial runs, no more dreams. Do you want Equestria to fall into darkness?

“You said you’d wait until I was ready!”

And you are. Tonight proves it.

“I am not!” She turned away from the shadowed form on the ground. Her energy dissipated, leaving her feeling frail and tired. “I-I’m not strong enough for this.”

The presence in her mind pressed inward, wrapping around her brain like a warm blanket. She relaxed as a sense of calm slowly took hold.

You will be, My Dear. I will help you. I promise.

The drums in her head faded to a light rhythm. The rain no longer felt so overwhelming. Pinkie sighed, letting out all her tension in a long, slow breath that rose as a thin, grey cloud. Even the ashen taste didn’t seem so bad anymore, like someone had fed the fire in her stomach something to dull the flavor.

Despite all this, she didn’t smile. “My friends are safe?”

The voice warmed her with words. Yes, Pinkie. For now, they are safe. Tartarus will remain closed, thanks to you. You are strong.

“Am not.”

Don’t argue with your elders. The voice chuckled with all the pleasantness of a doting grandsire. Pinkie never knew her grandsire, but Granny Pie said he was—

Come, let’s go home.

She winced at the pressure in her skull. “Right. Home.”

And so Pinkie left the barn, and that little halo of light, and the motionless lump on the ground. She hoped she could make up for her actions someday. Maybe she would.

Or maybe she’d never be forgiven.

Her haunted whispers echoed in the darkness.

“I’m strong. I’m strong. I’m strong…”