• Published 14th Nov 2016
  • 6,007 Views, 1,152 Comments

Looking Glass - Krickis

When Sunset sees herself as an alicorn in a magical mirror, she goes looking for answers, eventually going through the mirror into another world. Some things are better left alone though, as she finds herself trapped in the other world as a child.

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26 – Melting Point

Chapter Twenty-Six

Melting Point

Nothing mattered anymore. It had been a week since Sunset had moved into her own house, a week since Applejack proved she was beyond forgiveness, and nothing mattered anymore.

Sunset had known that for a long-time, but everything changed once it really sunk in. While she continued to go to school to fill her time, she was done playing nice.

For the past few years, Sunset had worked to make a name for herself. Freshman year had been slowly building popularity. Sophomore year had been spent dividing the school into more manageable cliques. And in junior year, she earned herself titles and crowns by making the most out of the work she’d put in.

Everything had been carefully planned for the best long-term payoff. But there was no long term anymore. Everything Sunset had accomplished brought her to where she was, and that was all there was going to be. And this? This life she’d made for herself? It just wasn’t good enough.

By coming out into the open and dominating everyone into doing whatever she wanted, she was throwing away her ability to play the innocent one, but that didn’t matter. Even if word got back to the faculty, there wouldn’t be time for them to do anything. The whole school could hate her and it wouldn’t make any difference, so long as they also feared her. There were only three people Sunset could be said to be at all close with, and she had no doubt that Snips and Snails would stay by her side.

Flash, on the other hand, had only been a matter of time. Still, she had thought he might stick around for a little longer. But there was no denying what was coming when she got his text.

Sunset, we need to talk. Meet me at the pizza place.

It was tempting to just not go. It wouldn’t really matter. Whether they broke up or not, Sunset would be gone in just over two weeks.

But it wasn’t like she had anything better to do. She’d dropped journalism once she found better ways to fill her time, like her job. But she didn’t have work on Mondays, so there was nothing waiting for her except an empty house, and she wasn’t in a hurry to get back to that.

Although they had met at school, the pizzeria was where Sunset and Flash had actually talked for the first time. It remained a consistent destination throughout their relationship, in equal parts because of its proximity to the school and Flash’s overly sentimental nature.

There was no sign of Loverboy when she arrived, so she bought a soda and chose a seat. Although she was a little hungry, she opted to not order any pizza. She wasn’t planning on sticking around long enough to eat.

This was what she wanted, really. One less loose end when she went back to Equestria. And if Flash was pushed to the point of hating her, they wouldn’t need to draw this out over the rest of the month.

It was only a minute or two until Flash showed up. Like her, he didn’t bother to order anything. Good, that meant neither of them were holding any delusions that this could be an amicable meeting.

“Hi, Sunset,” he said as he sat down. He already sounded defeated. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all week.”

“I’ve been busy. You know I work on the weekends.”

“That’s never stopped you from calling after work before.”

That was a fair point, and he was probably expecting at least an apology, if not a better explanation. He wasn’t going to get either. “What did you want to talk about?”

Flash seemed to take note of the lack of apology, but didn’t comment on it. “What the hell’s going on? Do you really think I haven’t noticed everything this past week? You’ve been openly threatening people, instigating trouble, blackmailing…”

“In my defense, all three of those are basically the same thing.”

“This isn’t funny, Sunset!” Flash pressed his hand against his eyes and took a deep breath. “I want the truth. What’s all this about?”

Sunset thought for a moment. “The truth? Sure, why not? It’s not like it really matters anymore.” She folded her hands on the table and sighed. “The truth is that I’m tired, Flash. I’ve been pushed to my limit for so long, and eventually, I just broke.”

“You’re tired?” Flash repeated incredulously. “So, what? You’re stressed from working so much and you’re just taking it out on everyone else? That doesn’t make your actions any more okay, Sunset.”

“You’re right,” Sunset said with a shrug. “Nothing makes my actions okay because they aren’t ‘okay’. But you also misunderstood me. I’m not tired because school, or work, or anything to do with getting emancipated. All that stuff is the main reason I’m still sane. I’m tired of pretending. The years you’ve known me have all been an act. That girl who’s been terrorizing the school? That’s the real Sunset Shimmer.”

“I don’t believe that. The Sunset I know had some problems with people, sure. But she’s a good person.”

Sunset grinned and leaned back. “No, she’s a good actor. And, let’s be honest, you weren’t hard to fool. You saw a cute girl who let you be the big hero and help her when she was alone. She was nice to you, she laughed at your jokes, and she leeched off your growing popularity to make her way to the top.

It was strange seeing Flash so upset. He was normally so easygoing that his clenched jaw and balled fists looked completely out of place. “So you’re telling me everything we’ve had is some big lie?”

“Well…” Sunset tapped her chin then lifted a finger and smiled. “Oh! The sex was fun, so at least there was that.”

Flash didn’t seem to be comforted. In fact, he seemed to be taking it even worse; he couldn’t even find anything to say.

“I’d say I hate to break it to you, but I agreed to only tell the truth.” Since Flash didn’t seem to be leaving or talking, Sunset continued. “Let’s get down to it, then. For us to be over, there would’ve needed to have been an ‘us’ in the first place. But it’s always been just me and my plan, and you were only ever here as a small part of that. And after this conversation, I think it’s safe to say that the illusion of us is over.”

Flash let out a mirthless laugh. “That’s for sure. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe you. I always thought you were such an amazing person.”

“Anyone ever tell you about things that seem too good to be true?”

“You know I’m not just gonna sit by while you screw over the school, right?”

Sunset shrugged. “You can do what you want. I doubt you’ll be able to stop me by this point. Canterlot High School is mine.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Sunset laughed. “Guess we will. Either way, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just didn’t feel like pretending anymore.” She took a sip of her soda then sat up excitedly. “So! It’s safe to say we won’t have another friendly discussion like this, and I did say I’d give you complete honesty. So tell me, is there anything else you want to know before we go our separate ways?”

Flash hesitated for a moment before fixing her with a hard stare. “Did you ever love me?”

Sunset grinned and waved a hand dismissively. “Aww, that’s an easy one! Of course not! To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’m even able to love anyone.”

Flash finally stood up. “Fine. One more question. Are you really happy like this?”

Sunset’s smile fell away. “No. No, I don’t think I can ever be happy either.” Sunset matched his glare. “Our little Q&A is over, so get the fuck out of my sight.”

Flash left without a word, and Sunset just watched as another loose end severed itself.

“Do… do you really hate me that much?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

Sunset sighed. If Flash was pushed to the point of hating her, then she wouldn’t be able to hurt him anymore.

Might as well make the most of her day. She stood up and casually walked over to the counter to get herself some lunch after all.

There was nothing quite like riding her motorcycle. Sunset had taken to driving immediately, revelling the control she felt when she was behind the wheel of the cars in her driver’s ed class. It had been an unexpected highlight of life on Earth, but that paled in comparison to what she felt on her motorcycle. The smaller size gave her more freedom and made cars feel overly large and cumbersome.

Looking for a chance to clear her mind and kill some time before heading home, Sunset took a ride around town. She had roamed much of the city when she was younger, always on the lookout for the portal back home, so there was no end to familiar sights. Sunset felt like she should be feeling something more about the idea of leaving what had been eleven years of her life behind, but she remained as apathetic as ever.

But driving around the city could only occupy so much of her time. Other vehicles were nothing but moving obstacles that added to the thrill, but every stop sign or red light was a disruption in the otherwise perfect experience. Besides, even though it was only a few days after payday, her bills ensured she only had about fifty dollars to last until the next one. Even if she was leaving in a few more weeks, she wanted to make sure the electricity, gas, and water stayed on until then.

Still, it was with reluctance that she went home. She tried to make plans for how she could fill the time – books she could read, movies she could watch – but she had low expectations for the rest of her day.

And yet somehow, she was still disappointed when she arrived home to find a car parked out front. She pulled up alongside it, taking off her helmet as the window rolled down. “Hey, Violet. Wasn’t expecting to see you today.”

“Hello, Sunset. I was just in the area and thought I’d check in on how things are going with the new house.”

“Sounds good.” It did not. Sunset wasn’t supposed to have her monthly meeting with Violet for another week. This felt like a pop quiz, and Sunset was not prepared for it. “Give me a minute to put my bike away.”

Violet nodded and rolled her window back up. Sunset put her helmet back on and drove over the lawn to get to the back door. She cut the engine off and dismounted to walk it up the ramp into the kitchen. ‘I guess I’ll never get that shed.’ There was no way Bottled Lightning would be coming by to help her with anything around the house after she broke up with his son.

Just a few more weeks, then none of this would matter anymore.

At least it gave her an excuse to go in through the back and do a quick check of the house to make sure there wasn’t anything that could get her in trouble. Since she no longer had a legal guardian, she wasn’t exactly sure what would happen if Violet found out she was drinking, but she also wasn’t in a hurry to find out.

Once she decided that the coast was clear, Sunset opened the front door. Violet was waiting on the other side, so Sunset stepped aside to let her in.

“So, liking the new place?” Violet asked as she took a look around.

“Yeah, it’s great.” Sunset turned her computer chair towards the couch and sat in it. Even as small as it was, the couch could sit two people comfortably, but Sunset would prefer to avoid being that close to another person if possible. Even Violet, whom Sunset had known for just about as long as she’d known anyone.

Violet followed Sunset’s cue and took her seat on the couch. “I’m glad to hear it. I imagine it must be quite the change to get used to.”

“Yeah, that’s true. I keep half expecting someone knock on my door to tell me to come to dinner, or that it’s time for bed, or just… something.”

“Don’t tell me you’re lonely after waiting for this for so long,” Violet said with a smirk.

“No no, not lonely. It’s just… different.” Sunset smiled. “But it’s nice. I’m not home too much between school and work, but when I am, it’s a lot more relaxing.”

“I know what you mean. Speaking of school, I trust you’ve realized by now that there wouldn’t be any short-term repercussions if you didn’t go.”

Sunset had always admired Violet’s self-assurance. There wasn’t a trace of doubt in her tone. She wasn’t worried about clueing Sunset into that fact because she knew that although they’d never spoken about it, Sunset had definitely figured it out. She was so sure that she hadn’t even bothered to include the ‘but’ part of the thought.

“Yeah, that one hit me pretty early on. But I also know that I need to keep both my grades and attendance up if I want to get into a good college.”

Violet nodded. “Of course.” Checking had been a formality, as she clearly never doubted Sunset for a moment.

“I did miss a few class periods on the first day.” Sunset looked off to the side just a bit, conveying that she was a little embarrassed without making it look like a big deal. She could probably get away without saying anything, but she wasn’t sure what school records Violet still had access to. “I fell asleep with my phone in the other room, so I didn’t hear the alarm go off.”

Violet chuckled. “Those morning reminders weren’t always so bad, it seems.”

“Yeah, that’s fair. I’ve been a lot more mindful of keeping my phone on me since then. I don’t think I’ll have this problem again.”

“I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. A few missed classes is hardly the end of the world. Especially with your otherwise stunning record.”

Sunset moved back into a grin with the compliment. “Yeah, I’ve already made up the work.”

“Of course. Ever the initiative one.”

“As always.” Sunset couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t managing the social situation properly, then it hit her. “Oh, uh, can I get you something to drink? Sorry, I’m not used to company.”

Violet chuckled. “I’m fine, thank you though.”

It was strange to think of Violet as her guest. It was strange to have a guest in general. The only person to visit the house since everything was set up had been Flash, and he hardly felt like a guest. His being around had become such a normalized thing, and it was stranger to think that he wouldn’t be there in the future.

Flash had been there when Sunset was looking through the few options available to her budget. He’d been there when the landlord gave her the keys, and it was officially her house for the first time. He was there to help bring in the furniture, when she bought the first groceries, on the day she made the final move from New Horizons.

Flash had been there every step of the way. And now he’d never be there again.


Sunset blinked and realized that Violet had been talking while she’d drifted off into her thoughts. “Sorry, what was that?”

“I asked if you sent in your first bill payment. I believe the electric was due?”

“Oh! Yeah, it’s taken care of. And I have a little money left over for some things I need to get at work.”

Violet paused for a moment before continuing. “Is everything okay?”

Sunset broke out her best reassuring smile. “Everything’s great. The electric bill is paid and next payday will cover the water. And even with groceries, I should have a little breathing room on that check.”

“Ah, I see. You did know that money would be tight going into this.”

Sunset’s smile faltered at Violet’s misunderstanding. “Yeah, and it’s fine. Unless something unexpected happens while I’m still getting settled into the house, I shouldn’t have any problems with money.”

Violet considered for a moment. “Okay, I believe that’s not what’s bothering you. But I don’t believe nothing’s wrong.”

Was it that obvious? Sunset sighed. “It’s… been a bad day. Flash and I broke up…”

“Oh, I’m very sorry to hear that. Do you want to talk about it?”

There wasn’t anything she could talk about. Nothing but years of emotional manipulation to get herself where she needed to be. “It’s… I think it was the house. Flash got the idea that because I’m living alone now, things between us would be more… intimate.”

“Oh. I see. I have to say, I’m surprised to hear that. He always seemed like a very genuine young man.” Violet shook her head. “I know it might not make it feel any better right now, but you made the right call.”

“Yeah. I’ve got way too much going for me to risk anything by, well, you know…” Although Sunset had no problems talking about sex, pretending like she was embarrassed about the subject would help sell her lie much better. “I should’ve never bothered focusing on a relationship anyway. It’s just a distraction from working on my future.”

“I don’t think that’s true. While you’re better off without someone pushing your boundaries, there’s nothing wrong with spending time on a relationship. You are allowed to be a teenager, you know.”

“I guess…”

Just as Sunset had hoped, Violet seemed to find the conversation awkward. That meant she wouldn’t linger on it for long. “I’ll be honest and say that I’m not the best person to go to for problems like this. But trust me when I say that one of the worst things you could do to yourself is let this ruin your perception of relationships. I understand that you want to focus on your future, but you are going to succeed. You’re one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met, and you have endless possibilities in front of you. Spending some time on things like friends and romance will help keep you from burning yourself out.”

At least ‘avoid burning out’ was better than ‘don’t end up alone’. “For someone who’s not good with this stuff, it sounds like you’ve got plenty of advice.”

“I can do advice. It’s just the emotional stuff that I’m not as good with.”

Sunset smirked. “Luckily for both of us, I’m pretty well adjusted.”

“Yes, that is true.” Even so, Violet still seemed to be struggling with finding something to say. She gave up before long. “You know, I’m sure Miss Rose would love if you stopped by for a visit.”

“Is that just a way to pass my emotional well-being off to someone else?”

There was something about Violet that made it really easy to cut through the awkward social games. Even as Sunset pointed out the obvious trick, Violet still grinned as if that was just part of the plan. “I prefer to think of it as realizing there isn’t going to be one person who can do everything. I can help you with a lot of things, but for emotional support, you really should go to Miss Rose.”

“Alright, I got it. I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”

“Good. In that case, is there anything you need that I could help you with?”

Sunset pretended to think for a moment. “No, nothing comes to mind.”

“Very well then.” Violet stood up, so Sunset did the same. “In that case, I’ll see you next month. How does October third sound? After school, of course.”

Not that it really mattered, but Sunset checked the calendar on her phone. She’d be in Equestria by then, but she needed Violet to think she’d have reason to be unsure about work. “Sounds good. We’re counting this in place of next week’s meeting, then?”

“Yes. There won’t be much to our meetings anymore, I’m afraid. Until you’re eighteen, you are still my client, but my work with you seems to be done. There’s no need for me to make sure you aren’t being mistreated anymore, and I have every confidence in your ability to see to your future.”

“I suppose that’s true. Still, it feels weird to think about.”

Violet walked towards the door, but she stopped after a few steps. “I do hope you realize that I’m here for you just as much as I always have been, however. If you ever are in any sort of trouble, I’m only a phone call away.”

“I understand.” Although it was hardly necessary in the small house, Sunset still walked Violet to the door. “Thanks, Violet. I’ll see you next month.”

“Take care, Sunset.”

Next month wasn’t going to come. Sunset would be back in Equestria by then, and she would never see Violet again. And all she could do was watch as another pillar of what had been her life in this world walked away from her.

That made it a productive day. Two of the people that Sunset no longer needed were taken care of for good. There was hardly anyone left now. Snips and Snails were really the last loose ends, but she’d keep them until the end.

‘Just me by myself, then.’

The house seemed oddly quiet. Noise was something she’d taken for granted while living with so many kids at the orphanage. She had always thought that she wanted quiet until she got it. Most days she left a movie or some music on even if she wasn’t paying attention. Anything to beat the silence.

Anything, apparently, even included the one thing Sunset hated most. Although she couldn’t have placed why she did it, she walked into the bathroom. But much to her surprise, the mirror only showed her normal reflection.

“Always be here, huh? So where are you, bitch?” There was no answer from her reflection. Sunset narrowed her eyes as she stared at herself and placed her palm against the glass. It was cold and solid. “Pathetic.”

Sunset left the bathroom and looked at the TV. She thought about putting on a movie, but she wasn’t really in the mood. Besides, it was approaching evening and the only thing she’d had to eat all day was a slice of pizza. Figuring out what to do for dinner would be a smarter choice.

She made her way into the kitchen and checked her cabinets and refrigerator. Nothing stood out to her. Even if she found something to eat, she’d have to make it, which was also unappealing.

Ordering food sounded a lot better, so she quickly ran through the list of things she needed to get in her mind. It was all stuff she needed, but she supposed most of it could wait until her next paycheck. She looked at her bike and smiled. Going to get food herself would save on the delivery fee, and she wouldn’t be left home alone while she waited for it to arrive.

After a quick stop at her bedroom to empty her backpack so she could have something to bring the food back in, Sunset was ready to go. The bike’s engine was still warm as she walked it down the ramp, and she could already see most of her disposable income over the next few weeks disappearing in gas.

The engine started with a roar that chased away the silence. It was perfect.

She took it slow until she made it onto the road, then hit the gas. If anything was going to try and chase after her, it’d have to catch her first.

Food was quickly forgotten in the place of speed, and Sunset drove without much of a destination in mind. She drove as the sun set, and then kept driving. She travelled through parts of town that she’d never been before, scarcely even noticing the world around her.

As she drove, she tried not to think about anything. Rose Petal, Violet Dusk, Flash Sentry, Applejack. They were all part of a past that wouldn’t follow her to Equestria. Her house, her job, her status at Canterlot High. None of that mattered anymore, so Sunset tried to push it all from her mind.

It almost worked. The world passing her at a blur, the roar of the engine when she pulled back on the throttle, the wind that was strong enough to chill her even through her leather jacket and helmet. It was almost enough. It didn’t erase the thoughts, but it did help cover them up.

But no matter how much she wanted to just keep going, the gas needle couldn’t be ignored. She let it get close to empty before pulling over at a gas station. She was back in a part of town she recognized, and she was a little surprised to see she was so far from her house.

It all came back when she stopped. There was no helping it, and she knew that. These thoughts were part of this town, and she would only be free of them when she was back in Equestria.

Oh well. She’d just have to do whatever she could to make the most of her time here. She didn’t like to leave her bike alone, so she was in and out of the gas station as quick as possible. Anticipating more rides like this one, she bought more gas than she knew she’d really need.

“Excuse me,” someone said as she walked back to the pump. “Could you help me out with a dollar? Just trying to get something to eat…”

Sunset turned to see a man. His clothes were old and faded, and he looked like he was in his thirties. “Sorry, I don’t…”

She grinned as she got an idea. “Actually, we could help each other out. There’s a liquor store down the street. I’ll give you ten bucks to go in and buy something for me.”

He took a moment to respond, clearly surprised at the offer. “How old are you?”

It wasn’t an immediate refusal, which meant she could sway him. “How hungry are you?”

“Not hungry enough to give booze to a kid.”

Sunset started pumping her gas and turned to face him properly. “Look, I’m not a kid. I’m nineteen, which is old enough to drink in most other countries. I’m not in school, I have my own apartment, I’ve got a job. And I mean, how many kids drive motorcycles? What, you think my parents would be cool with letting their fifteen-year-old or whatever go out on a motorcycle?”

“I guess that makes sense…”

“And anyway, it’s not like we’ll be hanging around together long enough to get you in trouble. But it’s up to you, I’m not gonna beg you or anything.” The gas pump shut off so she replaced the nozzle. “So what’ll it be?”

He looked at her hesitantly and Sunset knew he wanted to say yes. Unfortunately, he had the distinct look of someone who was going to wind up saying no, however. “Twenty dollars if we can get going. Not really in the mood to stay around here.”

Even with the price doubled, it still took a moment before he caved. “Alright, fine. Let’s go.”

Sunset wasn’t thrilled about having a passenger on her bike, but it wasn’t far. At least he kept his hands on her shoulders and didn’t use the ride as a chance to get grabby.

She parked far enough from the door that the no one inside would be able to get a good look at her, but she kept her helmet on just in case. Her passenger dismounted quickly, likely in a hurry to get the whole thing over with. Sunset pulled out her wallet and handed him ten dollars. “The biggest bottle of vodka that’ll get you. You’ll get the twenty when you come back out.”

He nodded and walked inside. Sunset took the chance to pull her backpack off and open it up. So much for getting food. Once she paid her accomplice, she’d be completely broke until payday.

At least he was in and out quickly, and the bottle he brought was the right size for the price. “Here. You sure you can handle this? It’s heavy stuff.”

Sunset laughed as she shoved it in her backpack. “Don’t worry about me.” She could hardly believe he hadn’t demanded the money first. It was almost enough to tempt her to drive off. But the last thing she needed was to provoke him to grab her while she was getting the kickstand up, so she gave him his money. “Enjoy your meal.”

“Hey, could you bring me to –”

Sunset drove off before hearing where he wanted to go. He’d been paid far more than he should have been, and besides, he really wasn’t her problem.

All there was left to do was go home, make a frozen meal, and maybe watch a movie while she got too fucked up to forget about how much she hated everything.

Sunset didn’t go home. She approached a road she should have turned on, but she just kept going straight. She wasn’t going anywhere specific. There was nowhere for her to go. But still, she kept driving.

Sunset knew this part of town, but she didn’t generally like to be in it. It was a nice neighborhood; houses were mostly all two stories and had large yards, they didn’t look identical like the suburban ones, people were usually inside by the time it got dark out, and it always made Sunset uncomfortable.

It wasn’t so much the idyllic quiet town feel that bothered her. It was really just one home. One place that Sunset had spent years avoiding.

It was exactly where she was going.

She only realized it when she was already almost there, but sure enough, every turn brought her closer. She wanted to turn around, to go anywhere else, but she didn’t. She wasn’t even sure why, but for whatever reason, she stayed on course.

No one was outside at Sweet Apple Acres, but Sunset could see silhouettes from in the windows. She pulled off to the side of the road, careful not to get too close or stop directly under a street light, and she just watched the shadows move inside the house. She couldn’t tell what they were doing, but given the time, dinner seemed likely.

What was she doing? Sunset didn’t want to talk to Applejack, so why had she driven all the way to her house? She was amazed she even remembered how to get to Applejack’s house; she had only been there once, and that had been eleven years ago.

While she was stopped, Sunset pulled her backpack off of one arm and swung it around so she could open it. She lifted her helmet without fully removing it, opened the vodka, and took a swig. It burned her throat and left her coughing, but she liked the pain. She grimaced as she replaced the cap, then zipped up the backpack and put it back over her shoulder.

Sunset took one more look at the house. Maybe she just needed to say goodbye to the place that gave her nightmares as a kid before she was rid of it for good. She didn’t really believe that, but she also didn’t know why else she’d be there. She pushed her helmet back into place and drove off.

Past Sweet Apple Acres was Everfree National Park. Sunset had once ran into the woods as a kid, trying to escape the monster that lived in Applejack’s barn. The road that led into the woods was poorly maintained, and Sunset had no idea where or how far it went, but she kept on it all the same.

“You know, I’m always here to talk about anything you’d like. Somedays I think it’s all these old bones are good for anymore.”

Sunset pulled back on the throttle. If any thoughts wanted to chase after her, they would have to catch her first.

“If you’re worried that I’ll get Sugar Breeze and Dew Drop in trouble, you should know they’re really not my concern. Only you are.”

Sunset had never gone so fast. She pulled the throttle back as far as it would go. It still wasn’t fast enough.

“Then I want to learn. Who is the real Sunset Shimmer?”

It was amazing. There was nothing around to get in her way. No red lights, no stop signs. Just acre after acre of trees speeding past too fast to see.

“You need people in your life, and I… I want to be one of ‘em, if you let me.”

Everything would be perfect if Sunset could just shut out her thoughts. She just needed to go fast enough to outrun the memories.

“Although to tell you the truth, I feel a lot better having you around.”

Stop it. Stop thinking about the past. None of that mattered anymore.

“I hate that I think about you! I hate that you’re so fucking good! I hate that you came back into my life!”

Stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it!

Sunset screeched to a stop so fast she almost fell off her bike. She killed the engine and pulled off her helmet, not paying it any mind as it fell to the ground. She dismounted her bike and didn’t bother with the kickstand, letting that fall as well.

She only made it a few steps before she stumbled and fell herself. She didn’t get up. Her head was spinning from the rapid change in speed, so she held it in her hands as she willed the world around her to stand still.

Sunset screamed. It was all too much. More than a decade of pushing everyone exactly where she wanted them to get exactly what she wanted from them, and it all came rushing back to her. “It’s not my fault!”

No one was around to answer her.

“I didn’t ask for any of this! I didn’t know what the mirror would do to me! This wasn’t supposed to happen!”

She looked around in the trees. There had to be something in the woods, anything at all. But she saw nothing. Even the shadows remained perfectly still, refusing to play any sinister tricks on her tonight.

“I just… I just want to go home.”

There was no one around, but at least she had one thing. She took off her backpack and pulled out the vodka. She pulled off the cap and drank deeply, determined to drink until she forgot how much she hated herself.

It burned, but Sunset deserved to burn. She only stopped when she started to cough, and she felt like she was going to throw up. She curled into a ball and held her hands between her arms.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m such a shitty person to everyone who tries to help me. I’m sorry I only hurt everyone I care about. I’m sorry…”

There was no answer. No demonic version of herself, no replacement who could succeed in all the ways Sunset failed, no distortion of her former mentor chanting her name, none of the things that had tortured her over the years.

There was nobody except for Sunset herself.

And that was the worst of all.

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