• Published 5th Aug 2017
  • 2,623 Views, 187 Comments

I, Monster - Wave Blaster

Trixie gets a second chance. What will she do with that? And what will be the cost?

  • ...

Chapter 3: Painful Memories

The streets of Ponyville were silent and dark. Although the harsher part of the storm had left long ago, the rain stayed, blocking the light of the moon and the stars with dark clouds. It was also a cold night, so there was no reason for ponies to be out. Only the streetlights prevented the town from looking like a mausoleum. Under the soft cover of the rain, Ponyville was frozen in calm.

This peace was only interrupted one street at a time, by an imposing figure dressed in red and black. Like a small wave advancing across a lake, this strange figure of the night was the only sign of movement. A red cape, unreasonably large, flowed behind this black pony, as chains around her body tingled with every step. It was hard to look at this large mare moving under the dark of the night and not think of a figure of bad omens, like a Banshee calling for death, or a vampire preying for a victim.

But her true nature was a mystery, even to herself. She advanced so calmly because any focus she had was being spent in figuring out who — or what — was she.

Trixie kept her silent march down Ponyville’s streets, trying to remember a faded dream. She needed to think harder.

Since she had accepted most of her situation, Trixie began to ponder where to go from there. It wasn’t an easy task, as she didn’t have one real and solid memory to go by. All that was there were feelings and half-formed impressions, floating in the mist right in front of her, but just far enough to be unreachable. There was an image of an unicorn filly. She was bright azure with a silver mane and dark violet eyes.

The filly was in a room, sitting on a bed and reading a history book.

“Lone orphan.”

Later, that same filly stood at the gates of a palace made out of marble and gold.

“Great expectations.”

The unicorn was a mare now, pulling a cart behind her on a road in the middle of the night.

“Wide road.”

The mare wore a magician’s cape and hat. She was standing before a crowd as lights went off behind her.

“Magic fate.”

Trixie kept going in the dark. Those bits, those pieces. Those were her life. So why couldn’t she remember them better? Why did she feel there was so much more?

No, she knew there was more. Something happened to her mind, she could tell that much. It seemed so much… faster. Clearer and simpler. Like a streamlined engine, or maybe a silver arrow. She felt very few restraints and all of the drive. Yet at the same time it was empty, so very empty. It should have contained the memories of a lifetime, but was instead filled with nothing but outlines and shadows.

In very few minutes, she had assembled what little she could recall into two distinct images.

The first one was the one of an adventurer. A vagabond who would travel the lands far and wide, searching for adventure. It was the story of an errand hero saving the world, one adventure at time. The second one was about a tragic figure. A once bright performer who fell in disgrace because of her own pride. It was the cautionary tale of an outcast who became blinded by rage and the desire of revenge. A pony who ended up cursed forever to be in the presence of friends who wanted to help her, but who couldn’t actually do anything.

There were two roads behind Trixie and she didn’t know from which one she came from. One inspired hope and the other fear in her heart. Both seemed so real to her.

Trixie found herself in some kind of central square. She realized that, despite her mind being focused on one task, her legs had kept going. There was something about this place that pulled at those half-formed memories Trixie had, trying to draw them out. Like the library before it, Trixie felt a certain familiarity with the square. She decided to check around, hoping to find some clue to her past. It wasn’t easy, as the square wasn’t anything to write home about. Just the typical center of an apparently typical town, in the shadow of a building big enough to be a town hall, and prepared to host a market place or maybe a street…

“Show,” Trixie whispered from under her mask.

Something clicked inside her mind, something important. As if on cue, the north wind came back with a howl and rain began to fall faster. Trixie hastily trotted towards the center of the place, close to an unmarked stone pedestal. From there, she looked around, slowly recognizing the things around her. Trixie lowered her head a little to change the perspective, but immediately pulled back up in surprise.

She has been there before.

A lightning cut the darkness, followed by thunder breaking the silence. But neither of those could snap Trixie from her trance. She was long away from the town’s square, in another time.

"Trixie!" Twilight ran towards the collapsed magician. Something was wrong. Trixie was supposed to just lose the amulet's magic boost, not lose consciousness. As she finally reached her, Twilight surrounded Trixie in her magic, carefully lifting her from the ground and closer to herself.

"Sss... Sparkle?" Trixie softly called for her. "Why is... whys is so... c-cold?" She was getting pale, very pale. The azure of her coat was quickly leaving and being replaced by a very light blue. "Wha... what's happening to me?" Fear was clear in her voice and her eyes only showed fright.

"I-I don't-- I don't know." Twilight was panicking. True to her words, Trixie was already cold. "Help! Somepony help!" She called desperately.

"Sparkle, my enemy," Trixie continued. "Don-- Do not-- forget--Trixie..." She rode that last 'e' with her last breath, both air and life escaping from her body.

Trixie had to brace herself on the empty pedestal next to her. It was like an avalanche of knowing. One by one, the small details appeared in her mind. Trixie was managing to assemble the puzzle, getting a broad outline of it all. That’s when she realized she was wrong the first time. She didn’t die alone on that road, as she previously recalled. Instead, there was an entire chapter of her life she couldn’t remember. A time that seemed to end when Trixie meet her actual end at the hooves of…

“Twi… light,” she said out loud, trying to recall details she still couldn’t quite. “Sparkle.” It didn’t make sense.

Despite knowing more of her own past, this time enough to piece together what could be called her life, there was, once again, two options behind her. On one hoof, she remembered hating the name of Twilight Sparkle. Trixie had associated that name with misery and loss. In fact, now she knew more about it, she realized that both of the previous options were real. She once was a wanderer, traveling around Equestria. But then, she lost it all and became a hateful monster. All because of something that happened. Something with Twilight Sparkle at the front and center, her actions causing Trixie lose everything she cared about.

Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to that hate anymore. Somewhere inside her, not in her mind, but in her heart, Trixie knew there was more to it, but couldn’t remember it. She had more questions than answers and was still alone in the dark. Nopony to turn towards to and nothing else but her own incomplete memories. When the rain began to annoy her, she trotted over the porch of town hall to cover herself. But what was the point of it? Trixie had nothing left that could be called a life. Or did she?

She closed her eyes and started with Twilight Sparkle. Why did she remembered hating her, but couldn’t bring herself to do so anymore?

The new memories weren’t helping things. Although Trixie managed to reconstruct most of the events before her fall from grace, it only made her feel more desperate, as it confirmed that Trixie was, indeed, a tragic figure. From what she could tell, that was all there was before her death at Twilight Sparkle’s hooves. However, she still had memories of events that couldn’t fit with that, as they contradicted everything she already had in order.

For starters, she remembered Twilight being a friend. What was more, she remembered having more friends. Neither of those elements fit with her more solid memories of being alone and embittered. Trixie knew the details of her life, her story, but she didn’t know what her life was. She missed the story itself.

“Maybe I need to tell it in order?”

Trixie began to rearrange the events inside her mind. First, she needed to know the premise. Trixie could remember clearly up to her magic duel with Sparkle, so that was where the story began. Everything else was fuzzy. She had some feelings to go by, like those friendships she couldn’t fully recall, but knew Trixie had, for some reason. There was dying too. In the dark of the night, under the smooth cover of rain, the only certainty she had was death. That one memory, her death alone in the dark, was far too sharp and vivid to be dismissed as anything but truth. Just recalling it again made Trixie shiver.

So, the story was about Trixie’s last days. It was a drama, a tragedy about the inevitability of death.

“I don’t want to die, trapped in the dark… all alone.”

The image of a dark hospital room appeared in Trixie’s mind. She remembered that scene clearly now. She was defeated, alone and chained to a fate worst than death. By all accounts, she should have surrendered right then and there. But Trixie didn’t. She was made of a sterner material than that. However, something else helped her. There was something-- no, somepony. There was a hoof offered in kindness that broke her fall.

“You’re not on your own,” Said Twilight. She saw her!

There was a cleaner image now. It was Twilight. She saved Trixie. More than that, she helped her afterwards, gave her a home, held her when she fell apart, and even encouraged her to continue onwards. She, Twilight Sparkle, was Trixie’s first and best friend.

But she wasn’t the only one.

More moments with other ponies came back too, and the mismatched feelings slowly became the memories she’d lost. Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie. Those weren’t just names and faces. Those were the ponies that stood by her when she needed them the most. Fluttershy, Applejack. They were all there, in her life, helping her get through. And in return, Trixie gave them her friendship too, even supported them if needed. Spike, Lightning Dust. Trixie opened her eyes and looked around the square again. She recognized some of the landmarks of Ponyville!

Trixie stood up and began to trot. She had to run to the library and tell Twilight she was aliv--

“No,” she whispered, freezing in her spot under the rain once again. A gust of wind made her crimson cape wave under the rain, shaking the chains strapped to her body. It was the only movement around Trixie.

The library. That’s where she woke up. But it was destroyed, void of any signs of life. What happened there? Were Twilight and Spike there when it happened? Where they okay? Was Trixie there? Was that how she died?

A horrible thought entered her mind. Was it all Trixie’s fault?

“I need to find them!” Trixie thought, looking around her, searching for any sign of where to go.

That’s when she felt a sharp vibration against her sides that startled her and caused her to reach inside of her cape. Trixie knew it was somewhere, but the cape’s crimson cloth was as flat on one side as in the other. Only when she pictured the compass instead of the pocket, did Trixie find it in one of the cape’s many folds. She didn’t know what she was expecting from the strange device, but when she opened it, she thanked whatever was above that the disc wasn’t motionlessly pointing at the town’s square, but once again spinning without any control or sense.

Trixie extended her paw and held the compass parallel to the ground. When it kept spinning, she reached up and tapped it with a single claw. The compass stopped as she did so, pointing the reddened ‘W’ in what she realized was a new direction from before. Trixie took hold of the compass with her magic, which seemed easier to focus this time, and placed it inside her cape. With this new direction, she set off at a gallop. As she ran, Trixie began to piece together the more of her disjointed memories.

“I need to find them,” was the only coherent thought in Trixie’s mind.

Whatever happened in the library, it couldn’t have been good. Of all the hazy memories she possessed, she wished the images of what she saw upon first waking were amongst them, but they were burnt too sharply into her consciousness. The destroyed cases, the ruined books, the hole in the wall. All of it in deep contrast of her regained memories of a library perfectly cared for. And of course, that brought up the matter of its occupants; Twilight, Spike, and Lightning.

“I need to find them,” she repeated to herself.

Going through the fragmentary memories she had recovered so far, Trixie couldn’t place the last time she saw her friends. Once again, she was assaulted by the same doubts of before, about what could have happened. What destroyed the library? Was that how Trixie died? What if Twilight, Spike, and Lightning were there at the time? What if all of her other friends were, too? Were they okay?

Were they even…

A burst of lightning cut the dark of the night as Trixie skidded to a halt at that thought. She didn’t want to acknowledge it, but it was there. Like the devil in the details, looking back from the blackest corners, waiting. What if it was something she had--

Further consideration of that thought was stopped when Trixie felt another faint buzz against the side of her barrel. She took out the compass to see what it wanted this time. It wasn’t pointing in front of her like before, but to her left. Trixie slowly turned her head, fearing what could be waiting for her there. There was a sense of creeping dread that she was on the cusp of remembering something unpleasant. She teetered there, both wanting and dreading what memory might arise when she looked up.

To her surprise and relief, the place next to her wasn’t a cemetery or a hospital. Instead, it was an ordinary, if fairly new, tenement building. An image flashed in front of her eyes. It was of Lightning Dust showing her this place, saying she was planning to move to that very building. Relief washed over Trixie. She needed to find a friend, she needed to know what happened to her, and the compass seemed to have guided her to the closest one.

A smile on her face, Trixie practically leapt for the door, but stopped before her claws could reach the doorknob. Her gaze deviated from the door and to the left, where a window was close enough to show a reflection. Despite it being a reflection, Trixie couldn’t see herself clearly. There was only a black mass with white markings, covered in chains and a crimson cape. And yet, despite it standing still, the eyes, red as blood, looked menacingly penetrating as they glowed against the blackness. Trixie only wanted to turn away from it and never look back.

But at the same time, inside that building was her friend. A pony that not only Trixie could rely on, but who also once relied on Trixie herself. Lighting Dust was a friend. It was not right to face a friend as she was, hiding behind a mask. Trixie reached up and pulled it off, tucking it into her cape’s pocket.

“I’m a pony,” she muttered to herself. “Not a monster.”

She took a moment to steel herself before trying the door, but it wouldn’t move. Pulling instead of pushing didn’t help either. The third time she pushed, the door opened with ease and Trixie quickly went through. She had been so elated with the thought of seeing Lighting again, she didn’t notice the red glimmer around her paw the second time she pushed against the door.

Lightning Dust runs. It’s the only thing she can do now. Her lungs caught fire ages ago and her tendons have been threatening to tear at any moment for what feels like an eternity. Two broken wings dangle uselessly off her back, bouncing off her sides as she attempts to flee.

She can only run through the forest. Or is it the jungle? Doesn’t matter. All she knows is that she’s in the darkness of the wild, surrounded by creatures that were never meant to know the light of day. Each one a nightmare on their own right. Lightning begins to feel what’s under her hooves; a carpet of rotten vegetation and dead insects, and… and…

And bones.

Death itself pursues Lightning Dust in the infernal race she’s locked in. She’s now surrounded by the vestiges of dead things, not only under her hooves, but all around her are signs of lives that are no more. Dark as coal. Cold as ice. She can’t feel anything but repulsion. She has no choice, she has to keep running away, fleeing the terrors that follow behind her…

Only to find that the terror was waiting for her at the end of the road.

Lightning can’t make out anything of what’s in front of her, she’s too afraid. The only thing she can really understand is the red eyes, staring down at her. Those eyes, red as the blood coming from a fresh wound, only bring Lightning the memory of the worst pain she has ever felt, and the promise of further despair.

In the distance, a drum beats, like a heart.

*Boom boom* *bock* *knock knock*

Lightning Dust woke with a jump of shock. The small stabs of pain in her back, where old injuries were, made her deeply regret the movement. The knock at the door came again, so she shook her head to clear her thoughts. With her eyes still closed, Lightning turned the bedside lamp on and slowly slid out of the bed. She gave a small glance at the clock but her vision was still too blurry to see the hands clearly. The knock called a third time, so she shouted from her room in reply. Finally managing to keep her eyes open against the light, she took her robe from the nail in the wall and put it on while trotting down the hallway towards the main door.

“Who is it?” She asked.

“It’s me, T-” A sneeze prevented Lightning from hearing the entire reply, but the voice was familiar enough to give her pause. No, that was impossible. It was just her dream messing with her mind.

Shaking her head once more, she unlocked and opened the door of her apartment.

Only to see Death’s Red Eyes staring back at her.

“Lightning,” Trixie let the word go in a sigh of relief and joy. Before her friend could react, she threw her arms at her, dearly holding onto the first familiar pony she had seen in what felt like a lifetime. “It’s so wonderful to see you!”

The pegasus she was squeezing could only squeak and gurgle incoherently, standing rigid against her.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” said Trixie, letting go. “I didn’t realize I was squeezing that hard. Are you alright?”

Lighting stood there gaping at her.

“Hello?” Trixie asked, playfully waving a paw in front of Lightning. She was beginning to get a bit nervous here. “Equestria to Lighting. Are you alright?”

“Tr-Trixie…?” she finally managed to get out.

“Hey, you do remember me!” Trixie gave her a playful slap on the shoulder, causing her slack wings to rustle under her housecoat. “I knew you couldn’t forget a pony as Great and Powerful as Trixie!”

Where had that come from? Trixie wondered. Wherever it was, it just felt so right to her. The image of a pony in hat and cape before a cheering audience came to mind. Was that where this crazy cape had come from? Yet why would Lightning seem so off put by Trixie being in her old stage costume?

“B-bu-but…” Lightning tried to be brave. Even if this thing moved like Trixie, and talked like her, the imposing figure standing in front of her was something she had only seen in her worst nightmares. She had to move, to put some distance between her and this thing. “But how?” she managed to say, despite most of her efforts being spent controlling her shivering as she retreated into her rooms.

“Trixie doesn’t know,” she admitted, trying to maintain a friendly smile. But despite her cheerful stage mare act, Trixie was shaking under the cloth of her cape. There was something she was missing, something very important about Lightning she was forgetting. “As a matter of fact, there’s a lot Trixie can’t remember.” She trotted past Lightning and entered the apartment, trying to look as calm as she could. Trixie tried to be brave.

As Trixie made her way to the apartment’s living room, Lightning trailed behind her and tried to keep her panic under control. In another life, she would have bolted out the window, flying as fast as she could to get away from this thing. But that was another life, and in this one she was trapped in her home with a monster. Out the door and to the stairs? No, Trixie was faster than that. Lightning had to buy time to think.

She stood on the other side of the coffee table from Trixie, the monster watching her with a stupid fake grin on its face. The table didn’t make for much of a barricade, or even put much distance between them, but it gave Lightning some peace of mind to have it there. While Trixie kept pacing back and forth, Lightning had to take a seat on the couch. This whole thing was becoming too much. She repressed a wince of her wings being pushed and moved by the couch’s backrest. If she weren’t so scared, Lightning would have regretted not putting on the harness that would have kept her wings still. “So,” Lightning finally managed to get out, “you say you can’t remember?”

“Uh, no. Nothing more than pieces, really,” Trixie replied, flashing Dust what she hoped was a quick, disarming smile. Why did the fangs she had feel so odd? Were they something new, like her outfit? “I just… woke up and managed to find my way here.”

“You… you just woke up?” stammered Lightning. The creature across from her wasn’t making this any easier. It looked more like Trixie than she remembered from her nightmares, and even had that hangdog expression the show-mare wore when she was trying to apologize. But all that was impossible; that Trixie was gone. She had to buy herself more time. “So, uh, where did you wake up?”

Trixie heaved a big, theatrical sigh. “I don’t know.” She looked at the floor and sat on her haunches, holding her paws up and out to the sides. She missed Lightning flinch. “I just… I think it was the library, but how…”

Rage. Literal boiling rage exploding from within Trixie.

Trixie looked back up before Lightning could respond. “How’d it get burned? How’d it get burned? What happened to Twilight and Spike? What happened to me?” she pleaded.

Lightning was off the couch again, slowly backing away towards her front door and trying not to blink as she kept an eye on the monster in her living room. Something in its tone though, a hurt coming through where none should be, made her stop. “Really? You can’t remember any of what happened? Not even with me?”

“No, that’s what I’ve been telling—”

“All you have to do... is accept.”


Trixie stopped, finally noticing her friend’s obvious discomfort. There was something strange in how she moved, how she stood rooted on the floor and not hovering in the air as was typical of pegasi. Trixie realized her wings were hanging limply off her sides under her robe, not tucked up on the outsides as normal for pegasi fashion. Another memory came into focus for her; the feeling of crumpled feathers and hot, wet blood running between her talons and along her forelegs.

She lifted her gaze from them and looked into Lightning’s hard, copper eyes, silently pleading that what she had just realized was wrong.

“You did this, Trixie,” Lightning whispered, her voice carrying an edge that had been honed over months of being grounded, of having doctor after doctor look her in the face and say there was nothing they could do for her. “The library, me. You did all of it.”

The monster that Lightning had fought all those months ago would have reacted differently. Lightning wasn’t sure if it would have roared or screamed at her, but it wouldn’t have just crumpled like that. It was as if all those blows from when she had fought it had finally landed.

Pegasus and demon faced each other across a coffee table, but only one was still focused on the fight. The thing that was Trixie no longer wore the facade of friendship it had when coming in, or even the pleading help from moments ago. Instead, it sat gaping at its paw, a look of absolute revulsion and self-loathing on its face.

This was… a monster. This was the thing that had taken her wings so long ago and haunted her nightmares since. Yet now… it looked weak. Pathetic even. She was absolutely certain that the thing she had faced down that day could never react like this. It was impossible.

But that meant that it really could be Trixie lying there. How, Lighting didn’t know, but if it was...

“I…” she tried to say something. Her throat had gone dry. Anything that could help her friend. But she couldn't. So, instead, she swallowed and decided to go for help. “You... you stay right there, okay Trixie? I'm going to get Twilight.”

“No!” Trixie reached with her left claw. In a split second, ruled over by an instinct that wasn't hers, before she reigned it in and made a gesture with her claws. “Sleep,” she said as her eyes flashed red. Crimson sparkles fell from the tip of her claws. Dust’s eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed in a heap on the floor.

Trixie shuddered, her insides twisting themselves into knots. Bowing her head in sorrow, she wrapped her paws over her face, her claws digging into her brows. A low whimper escaped her lips.

Trixie remembered everything.

Author's Note:

Wave Blaster: If you think this is her kicked in the ground, ooooooh mate. Things will get screwed, they will get bloody (literally metaphorically), things will got to a place that maybe (that's the operative word) we shouldn't go. Paraphrasing the smartest being Dimension C-137: Welcome to the darkest year of Trixie's life.

Totally Nightwalker and definitelly not a sock-puppet Wave is using while he's disconnected. Also, ignore Wave's lips: Por supuesto que sí. Soy Caminante Nocturno.

:trixieshiftleft:: That was stupid.

Wave: A stupid solution to a stupid problem.

:trixieshiftright: Are you high?

Wave: Surprisingly, not.

Nightwalker: Okay guys, very funny. So anyway, there we go! This was a part I was looking forward to doing since we had outlined it. There are consequences to actions. Sometimes these consequences aren’t to you, and sometimes they can’t be easily fixed and a life is changed forever became of them.

The idea was to try and show both Trixie’s and Lightning’s situations from a sympathetic perspective. Trixie just… doesn't know what she’s done. It was all just not there for her. She just knows that Lightning was a friend and goes there for the help she needs. Lightning, well, her situation that has been hinted at in the earlier chapters is made much clearer now. I tried to convey the absolute bowel-loosening terror that comes from waking up from your nightmare, only to find that nightmare on your doorstep. And the conflicting confusion of having it hug you instead of gut you.

Wave Blaster: An important part of this story, both Dead and Monster as a whole, has been the concept of consequences. It all started with Trixie dealing with the consequences of her actions in Magic Duel, plus selling her soul. Then, it slowly evolved to be about accepting life as it comes, but each time that happened, consequences would come back and retake the reins. So here we are again, almost back to square one, only this time, the game changed, the piece is different and the rules are being just written.

Nightwalker: As for Trixie’s reaction… well,we’ll see more of her reaction in a bit. But I think it’s safe to say that any of us would react with similar horror after being slapped in the face by the realization of doing what she did, taking what she took, to a pony she considers a friend.