• Published 17th Jun 2012
  • 4,604 Views, 68 Comments

Screwball Over - Warren Hutch

Third part of the "Screwball Trilogy". A profusion of peculiar pygmy ponies plagues Ponyville.

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Chapter 2

Button Stitch awoke from a night of troubled dreams to find herself... occupied. Not in the sense of being busy, but in the sense that fire marshals would post signs about on public buildings. A number of small living creatures were standing, sitting, and laying all over her, lightly pinning her down to her bed.

This was... definitely odd. She and her husband didn't own any pets. Were they mice? She'd never heard of mice gathering in large groups or holding nighttime jamborees on top of sleeping ponies. She'd also never heard of mice with little hooves, which she could definitely feel through her linen sheets as they walked around on her.

She was lying on her side, with her legs curled up to her chest and belly, facing away from her husband toward the door to the hallway. She could feel Davenport's warmth and weight beside her, and felt and heard his breath on the back of her neck.

She swiveled an ear to listen to her surroundings. By the tone and rhythm, and faint snore, of her husband's breathing, she could tell he was still fast asleep.

She could also hear a murmur of squeaky little voices. This could have confirmed the mice theory, but the mice she'd encountered tended to just squeak, and not form those squeaks into unintelligible little word fragments.

The low chatter of reedy gibberish was filling the room like an auditory layer of smoke close to the floor. There was also the rain-like pitter-patter of countless tiny hooves on her linoleum.

Button felt all of her muscles begin to tense. There seemed to be quite a lot of whatever these things were.

That was two senses down, and three to go. She decided to let smell have its turn next, and took in a slow, steady breath through her nostrils. In addition to the clean scents of soap and pine oil, and the intimate mustiness of a bed shared by two ponies, a strange odor permeated the room that seemed equal parts ozone, latex, and circus peanuts.

This, in addition to every fiber of her being telling her not to, made her discard the idea of tasting one of the little interlopers, mice or not, and so she was left with only vision to account for.

She knew that once she had seen what she was dealing with, she would be compelled to accept their existence and furthermore would be forced to do something about it, and so it was with great reluctance that she allowed one of her amber eyes to pop open.

Her gaze was met by a pair of tiny swirling eyes belonging to a little pink pony that was only about as tall as the breadth of Button's hoof. Its purple mane frothed and bubbled with curls of white around a tiny yellow propeller beanie, and a broad smile of crooked teeth spread across its face. The diminutive creature made a little hop toward her and waved its spiraling tail. "Ting!"


Davenport was awakened from a sound sleep by his wife screaming his name at the top of her lungs and furiously tap dancing on his pillow to the accompaniment of a cacophony of tinny little voices all gibbering at once.

He bolted to his hooves, scattering tiny, squeaking bodies in all directions as he stood on the mattress with his legs splayed and his fevered glance darting in all directions.

A carpet of little pink pony-like things covered the bed and extended in a numberless, ankle high herd across their bedroom floor and out into the hallway, all hooting and beeping and jabbering with alarm and agitation.

They were drowned out by Button's shrieking as she climbed up her husband's frame and stood perched on his back, her eyes wild and her hair in tangles like a madmare. He reared in blind panic and made a mighty leap off of the bed, nearly throwing her off had she not dropped to her belly onto his back and wrapped all four legs around his middle in a death grip.

The throng of tiny pink invaders parted like swirling leaves before him, narrowly dodging his thundering hooves as the thoroughly spooked, disoriented stallion galloped out into the hallway with his wife clinging to his back, shrieking into his ear the whole way.

Together, the newlyweds half tumbled down the stairs, vaulted over two couches and barely managed to clear an ottoman, kicked open the front door in a spray of splinters, and charged into the sleepy morning streets of Ponyville, screaming a full throated duet of terror.


Rarity stood in the doorway to the Carousel Boutique, clad in her fluffy pink slippers and bathrobe ensemble with her sleep mask crumpled up across her forehead against the root of her horn. She stood with a deadpan expression, glaring out at the frantic pair of earth ponies that stood stacked on top of one another on her doorstep, jibber jabbering about a million tiny pink ponies invading their house in the night.

When they finally paused to gasp for breath, the alabaster unicorn's right eye twitched. She opened her mouth to speak, closed it, stared hard at Button and Davenport, and then sparked her horn to life and caused the door to slam emphatically shut.

Rarity spun on her slippered hooves, raised her nose into the air, and made to stalk back up the stairs to bed. Her tail lashed behind her as she muttered under her breath. "It's too flippin' early in the morning for this manure..."

She stopped, cringing with clenched teeth, as more frenzied pounding sounded on the front door of her boutique. Button Stitch's voice rang out in a hysterical crescendo over a muted rumbling sound. "Rarity, let us in! They're coming! They followed us! PLEASE LET US IN I BEG OF YOU!"

The unicorn hung her head with a growl. "Why couldn't I have been the Element of Serenity or something?"

With that, she turned and whisked the door open with a flare of blue magic. The beige mare and tan stallion tumbled in backwards, overwhelmed by a miniature stampede of diminutive pony-like creatures that washed over them like a tiny hooved tide. Rarity let out a silvery shriek as she leapt into the air and landed on the back of a nearby ponikin, her sapphire eyes wide with shock and alarm. The tiny pony things spread out on her showroom floor like a pink and purple carpet, nattering among themselves and looking high and low in swirly eyed wonder.

Button and Davenport surged to a sitting position and gasped for breath, throwing aside a covering of mini-ponyoids. Button spat out one that had tumbled into her mouth mid-scream, grimacing as she discovered it tasted like aspertame and naugahyde. It landed amongst its kindred with an indignant squeak. "Poit!".

The tan stallion scrabbled onto a countertop, pulling his sobbing wife up with him. They huddled in each others embrace, shaking like leaves as they looked down at the roiling sea of little creatures covering the floor.

The three ponies' heads whipped around in alarm as the sound of a cat shrieking split the air. Opalescence clawed her way up one of the large brocade curtains with her tail fluffed out like a bottle brush. She turned at bay atop the curtain rod with her back arched, hissing and spitting and swiping her paw at the milling throng of invaders as they stared up at her with cocked heads and swirling eyes.

Rarity's tremulous voice sounded out over the babble of tinny voices bubbling up from the floor. "Button Stitch, WHAT is going on? WHERE did these things come from?"

Button replied with a strained shriek. "How the foopnarple should I know? We just woke up with them all over the place."

The disheveled unicorn clutched the ponikin she was perched on tightly about its neck and started to shake it, her tone becoming hysterical. "And WHY did you bring them all HERE?"

The beige earth pony mare bellowed her reply as she grabbed her husband about the neck and did the same. "I came to you for HELP! I didn't TELL them to follow us! If I could make them go away myself I WOULD HAVE DONE IT BY NOW!"

Davenport pried his wife's hooves loose with some difficulty, his eyes uncrossing and growing wide as he stared at the floor and spoke in a harsh croak. "Gah... L-ladies, stop screaming! You're riling them up!"

Button and Rarity blinked and looked down with horror as the floor beneath them boiled with hopping, stomping, tail lashing, teeth gnashing little pony things. The unicorn brought a hoof to her mouth, as the earth pony mare shrank back in her husband's embrace.

They all went warily silent at the strident squawks and burbles coming from the turmoil below. Presently, like a pot that had been removed from the heat, the mass of tiny creatures seemed to settle down, the carpet of pink and purple leveling out as the babble of squeaks receded to a low murmur again.

The tense hush was broken as a bright pink head with a frizzy magenta mane poked in through the boutique's open doorway, casting about with limpid blue eyes. "HI! What's going on in here? Is it some kind of party? Are you guys pretending that the floor is lava?"

Davenport let out a very un-stallion-like scream. "EEEEK! It's their leader!" Button gave a frantic squeak and clapped a hoof over his mouth, casting a nervous gaze down at the horde of mini ponies on the floor.

An eerie silence fell over the boutique showroom, as the little creatures turned as one and focused on Pinkie Pie, whose ears levered back in alarm as her gaze met a field of tiny, swirling purple stares. She took a step back, her pupils shrinking to pinpricks, and the creatures all took a step forward. Sweat began to bead on her forehead, and she took another backward step, as the ankle high army arrayed against her advanced.

Pinkie swallowed hard, let out a nervous laugh, and cast a glance at her wrist. "Oh, look at that, it's time for me to go put on a watch. Bye!" With that, she hopped into the air, pivoted 180 degrees, and took off like a shot with a pink contrail and a shrill scream trailing behind her.

The horde of tiny ponyoids stampeded out the door after her, causing the floor of the Carousel Boutique to vibrate as the showroom was emptied out in short order. The ponykin that Rarity clung to wobbled erratically and toppled, taking the shrieking unicorn down with it.

A moment later she sprung to her hooves in the vacated shop and rushed across to the cringing couple perched on her display case. She reared up with wide, desperate eyes, pulling at them with her hooves. "Come on! Pinkie bought us some time! We have to get to Twilight Sparkle right away!"


Soon, Ponyville's resident scholar stood in her doorway, her violet hair mussed from having been awakened from a sound sleep at far too early in the morning for a mare of her usual nocturnal habits. She wore a groggy, puzzled expression on her face as she blinked at a trio of hysterical ponies who were now standing on her doorstep wildly gesticulating and babbling about hordes of tiny pink creatures.

The lavender unicorn cast a boggled glance down at Spike, who stood beside her rubbing the sleep out of his slitted green eyes with the back of a scaly hand. The little purple and green dragon let out a wide yawn and looked back at her with a helpless shrug.

Twilight met Rarity's desperate gaze with an apologetic expression. "I'm really sorry. I can tell you're all upset, but nothing you're saying makes any kind of sense at all."

The pale unicorn stomped her slipper clad hoof. "That's the whole POINT, darling! That dreadful Screwball character is back in force! Nothing it does makes any sense!"

Twilight cocked her head and pointed a hoof at the beige earth pony who stood beside her fellow unicorn. "But Button Stitch is right there, and she looks perfectly normal."

Tears welled in Button's amber eyes. "I'm not normal! I'm haunted! I'm being followed by a plague of little pink wierdos!" She let out a sob and slumped against Davenport, who threw a comforting foreleg over her shaking shoulders.

Rarity brought a hoof to her mouth. "Oh dear. Speaking of which, I do hope Pinkie Pie is doing all right. Last we saw her the creatures were hot on her heels. It was only thanks to her leading them away that we were able to escape from my boutique ourselves."

The alabaster unicorn's ears drooped as she cast her eyes toward the ground. "I should have listened to her. She knew something was up. She said her eyes and ears were itching yesterday when..."

The four ponies and small dragon started violently as Pinkie Pie suddenly burst out of a nearby stand of bushes with a wild glare in her limpid eyes. "FOREVER!"

She stopped, shook her head and cleared her throat. "I mean... HEY! You made me Pinkie Pie swear not to say anything about my itchy ears!"

Rarity recovered her wits and threw her forelegs around the pink pony in a hug. "Oh Pinkie, I'm so glad you're safe!"

Pinkie smiled and patted the frazzled unicorn on the back. "I gave 'em the slip once I exited the scene."

A grave expression flitted across her face. "It was pretty touch and go, though. I could have just as easily met a terrible offstage fate under a zillion little hooves. So thanks for the setup for an entrance, Rarity. I owe you one."

The other ponies all exchanged puzzled glances as Pinkie and Rarity disengaged. Button spoke up with a tremulous voice, her glance darting from side to side. "So... so where did all those little things get to?"

As the pink mare gave her an uncertain shrug, Spike spoke up, his slitted green eyes growing wide as he stared past the ponies on the library doorstep. "Uh... these things you're talking about... Are they about a hoof high, kinda pinkish, with little yellow beanies on their heads?"

The ponies all turned to see a stampede the innumerable pony creatures converging on them from all directions, a wave of gibberish preceding them over the rattle of their tiny hooves on the cobblestones.

Twilight let out yelp and her horn flared, causing a sweeping curtain of shimmering, translucent purple magic to form around the base of the great library tree. The vanguard of the bizarre mini-cavalry charge flattened against it in a cacophony of startled squeaks, squawks, and poots, their swirling eyes staring out of a growing pileup of pink, pancake like shapes. As the forward press of the vast herd slackened, they popped back into their pony-like forms and staggered about disoriented.

The lavender unicorn frantically waved the others toward the door. "Inside! Quick!"

Without any further ado, they all galloped into the library, slamming the door shut behind them.


The haggard group of ponies and the little dragon stared aghast over the railing of the library's uppermost terrace with eyes wide and jaws hanging loose as they beheld a blanket of roiling pink and purple covering every square inch of ground in about a half mile radius around the base of the huge tree, winding along the streets among the quaint buildings and occupying every flat surface at ground level.

Wherever the milling, fetlock high throng stood, alarmed ponies were craning their necks from windows and balconies, or perched atop awnings or in trees, watching their town become overrun with tiny, gibbering equimonculi.

Twilight scanned the perimeter of the undulating carpet. "Where are they coming from?"

Spike lashed his tail nervously as he peeked under the rail. "How many of them are there?"

Rarity chimed in. "Whatever do they want?"

Button let out a whimper as she huddled at her husband's side. "Why are they following me?"

Davenport threw a comforting foreleg around her shoulders, and peered down at the scene below with a grim expression on his face. "How do we get rid of them?"

Pinkie Pie cocked her head in thought. "Do you think a hydra would blow one giant bubble, or four smaller ones if you gave it a wagonload of bubble gum?"

They all gave a start as a sandy voice sounded out above them. "Those are all pretty good questions." The group of ponies looked over their shoulders to see a drowsy looking cyan pegasus with a rainbow colored mane hovering behind them. She cocked an eyebrow and gave Pinkie a dubious look. "Well, except the one about the hydra."

Unperturbed, the pink mare gave a little hop with a wide grin on her face. "Hi, Dashie! You're up early!"

The brash flyer yawned and stretched. "Couldn't sleep with all the racket going on down here. Soon as I looked out my window I could see something weird was happening down in town." She cast an expectant look at Twilight. "So what IS going on? What are all those little pink things down there?"

The lavender unicorn cast a pensive look over the rail. "Hmm. That's as good a place to start as any. Do you think you could fly down there and grab one for me to study, Rainbow?"

The hovering pegasus cracked her shoulders with a smug grin. "Does the dictionary need a picture of me next to the word "awesome"? Back in a second..."

With that, she climbed a several hooves in the air with a few beats of her cyan wings, then snapped into a steep dive, swooping in low over the field of tiny ponyoids. As she skimmed over the bubbling throng, she made a grab with her fore hooves and suddenly arced upward with something pink that thrashed and struggled in her grip. Rainbow Dash banked at the end of the street and doubled back toward the library, a wide grin on her face as she pumped her wings to gain altitude on her way back to the terrace where her friends waited.

She touched down on her rear hooves with her prize clamped between her fore-hooves. The little creature twisted and kicked helplessly in her grip, letting out a loud squeak of annoyance. "Goom!"

The cyan pegasus gave them a grin as Twilight reached out with her magic to take the strange mini-pony off of her hooves. "There ya go, one fun size weirdo, special delivery."

The lavender unicorn nodded absently as she peered at the poniform organism with an analytical gaze. "Thanks, Dash." She cast a glance toward her young dragon assistant. "Spike, if you look in the bin in the kitchen there's a big mayonnaise jar in there. Wash it out, dry it, and drive some holes in the lid with one of your claws, and then bring it down to the reading room for me, would you?"

The dragonet nodded briskly and scurried off to do as he'd been asked. Twilight looked thoughtful as the captured creature struggled in the grip of her magic, and turned back to the hovering pegasus. "Dash, it occurs to me that you should probably go get Fluttershy. Maybe her skill with handling small animals will come in handy here."

Rainbow snapped her a sharp salute and wheeled away, rocketing off across the sky over Ponyville.