• Published 21st Oct 2016
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Appledashery Vol. Two - Just Essay

Rainbow Dash and Applejack have a long, joyous, arduous relationship.

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Everypony had left.

Sweet Apple Acres was empty.

A young Applejack slowly drifted down the lines of orchards. Her father's hat lay balanced across her flank as she threw melancholic glances left and right.

The stillness of the falling evening added to the sudden desolation of the moment. Everything was eerily quiet under the coalescing shadows. Applejack's home—and the fields abroad—felt two souls smaller, and it chilled her.

The mare bit her lip as she passed by the gardens that her mother used to tend and the chicken coops that her father had built. Closer to the family house, she found herself passing by a set of wagons untouched for the past few days. A tarp stretched over them and the apples plucked from the trees—no longer fresh, but surviving. The air had a growingly sour smell to it, and it sent a shiver down Applejack's spine.

Searching, she tilted her face towards a distant barn set on a hilltop. For the first time in as long as she could remember, a flicker of light emanated from within the hold structure's bent windows. With purse lips, Applejack readjusted the folds of her dress and swiftly trotted towards the building in question.

Big Macintosh was the reason for the light. Applejack found the young adult stallion inside the barn, wandering back and forth between piles of old rusted tools. Big Macintosh operated in a deadpan fashion, brushing cobwebs away and restoring an abandoned workbench to normal. He had completely stripped of his neatly-pressed suit for the funeral; Applejack saw the article draped over a crooked antique chair in the corner of the place.

"Brother...?" Applejack gulped, fiddling with the old stetson in her petite hooves. "Big Mac... reckon you should get some sleep or somethin'?"

"Eenope..." Big Macintosh's muzzle tensed slightly as he began shoving boxes of old farm equipment towards the furthest walls of the decrepit barn.

Applejack blinked. Her ears twitched beside her pigtails as she glanced at the meager candles freshly illuminating the old place. "It's so late in the evening. We ain't even had supper or nothin'."

Big Macintosh said nothing. All was silent—at least until the air echoed with him shoving old equipment around. Applejack watched as he dragged an old rusted plow out of hiding and began examining it up close.

"You plannin' to stay here overnight?" Applejack slurred.

"Eeyup." The suddenness of the answer was stabbing.

Applejack shuddered. Her ears folded as she stifled a whimper. "Big Mac... this... this isn't like you." She gulped. "Ain't you got a mountain of thangs to say? A big speech... some poetry... anythang?"

Big Mac's nostrils flared. He didn't look at his little sister. Both angry eyes were locked on the plow as he began tweaking the old, battered thing. "Eeenope."

Applejack clinched her eyes shut. She fought to keep her voice steady. "Please, Macky. Just... say somethin'. Anythang. I... I-I feel better when I hear you ramble on. Really, I do."

Dead silence. Big Macintosh worked and worked. He had nothing to say, and his back positioned to Applejack solidified it.

Applejack's eyes moistened. On tender little hooves, she reluctantly turned around... and trotted out of the barn.

Applejack returned home, and somehow it felt darker inside than outside.

Cricket song wafted in through the windows and shutters as she fumbled up the stairs, feeling around for the railing.


No reply.

Applejack brushed against the wall lining the stairs. Her flank bumped into old portraits. The faces of her mother and father jostled, then swung to a stop like smiling ghosts. At last, she spotted a light out of her peripheral: it was looming from the nursery recently furnished upstairs.

"Granny Smith?"

She heard Apple Bloom's gurgling voice, but nothing else. Heart pounding, Applejack briskly approached the room on the second floor. She pressed against the open door, and as it swung open with a meager creak, she spotted Granny Smith kneeling beside the crib where Apple Bloom lay. The old mare caressed the little infant foal, tending to her, brushing her tiny tuft of scarlet hair.

"Granny..." Applejack breathed. "It's so dark in here." She breathed again, fiddling with the stetson. "Want I should switch on the lights? Or set a few candles or—?"

"Best to conserve what we've got," Granny Smith murmured, not looking back. Her voice was dull, hollow. "Reckon we ain't gonna earn bits the same way we used to."

Applejack blinked. "But... but we've got plenty of candles and—"

"Do whatever ya feel is right, darlin'," Granny's voice wavered. She stroked Apple Bloom's forehead as she exhaled. "Dun really matter much, however way ya shake it."

Applejack fidgeted in the doorway. "Big Mac is out in the old barn... rummagin' around and workin' on Grandpa's old plow."

"Is that right?"

"I... tried to talk some sense into him. But he ain't listenin' to me. He ain't even talkin' back. Maybe... maybe you could have a word with him, Granny?"

"About what?"

Applejack stared.

Apple Bloom let out a shrill giggle. Granny Smith nuzzled her close, cooing something beneath her breath.

Applejack cleared her throat. "Granny. If yer needin' somepony to talk to—"

"Get some rest, Applejack," Granny Smith nearly grunted. "It's been a long day. Ain't no sense."

"Ain't no sense in what?"

To that, the elder mare had no answer. She continued sitting there beside the bed, doting on Apple Bloom with a deadpan expression.

Slowly, like a falling leaf, Applejack receded from the scene... and hobbled off to her own room.

The funeral dress hung off a chair in the corner.

A single candle had been lit, but it barely survived the cold winds gusting in through the window.

Applejack lay on her belly, staring across the bed.

Her father's hat rested on the comforter, blending with the shadows.

Applejack stared and stared. Gradually, her eyes filled with tears. She sniffled, covered her face...

And wept gently into the impenetrable shroud of a lonely night.

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