• Published 23rd Apr 2017
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7DSJ: Downtempo - Shinzakura

7DSJ Sidestory. Sometimes you can't escape truth. And worse, sometimes it comes after you.

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March 27, AM: Club Bizarre

I get up, already dreading the day, but the day’s going to go by whether or not it’s Officially Pinkie-Endorsed™. Regardless, I have to get up and face the day. Carpe diem, early worm, YOLO and all that. Besides, better to clean a nasty wound than to let it fester.

I’m now regretting all the times I looked at Dr. Posey’s medical books whenever I went to go visit Flutters. You want real horror? Just take a look at some medical textbooks sometime and after that I guarantee the goriest horror flick will look like a Three Stooges reel in comparison.

Thankfully a quick shower lets me focus on something else. The steam shrouds me like a lover’s embrace and I shudder in pleasure. A billion tiny kisses cover me and I feel my nethers heat up, both to my joy and shame. Of all the times I want something, it has to be now, in the guest shower of my parents’ house. Of all the times I wish Sunny was here, between my thi—

Realization hit me like a blow at that moment, like a literal punch to la cabeza. Right now, more than anything, I wanted sex with Sunny. Hot, steamy sex of the sort I always thought I’d have with Atlas, back when I thought he was a decent member of humanity. And then “hello there” was twisted into “hell here”.

I sink to the tiles, letting the pain, anguish, sorrow, and wanton desire out. Of all the people I want right now and it’s my former archenemy, the girl indirectly responsible for what I’ve become. Why couldn’t it be someone else? Rarity has always struck me as prim in life and a handful in the sheets. And I know Fluttershy aches for that boyfriend of hers. Maybe even Twily or Tavi? Why is it the one girl I want right now is the one that made my life hell, the one I wanted dead?

“I started to cry, which started the whole world laughing,” I sang in a mumbled voice, not sure why. “Oh if I’d only seen that the joke was on me….”

My body aches right now. I can almost feel her skin against mine, her lips against mine, her lips against mine, and I want it so badly it feels like pleasure and pain.

“I finally died, which started the whole world living….”

Time to die, Pinkie.

Time to die.

I hear a knock on the door and my uncle said, “Pinkie? You okay in there?”

I look at myself and I look like a prune. And the water’s cold now. How long have I been in here?

“Yeah, I’m okay! Just felt like taking a long shower!” I shout back and get up.

Guess drowning’s not in the works.

My life sucks.

Breakfast is dour, more so than normal. Maybe we all realize what’s going to happen, though they comprehend it less than I do. They only know what Auntie Cup told them. I’ve seen the worst of it.

“Pinkamena, dear, are you okay? You’re very quiet this morning.” Well, no shit, Mom – I was hoping a girl I’ve had a hate-love relationship with would come fuck my brains out in the shower and when I realized that I hoped I would drown.

Goddamn my mother can be so fucking stupid sometimes.

Thankfully my real mother knows me better. Auntie Cup just looks at me and asks, “Do you want to talk about it?”

I shake my head and gnaw on my cinnamon roll a little more before I answer. “I’ll be okay, Auntie, but thanks for asking.” She then looks at my uncle and I boy did I just fuck up.

Uncle Carrot comes over to me and just gives me a hug. This is right about the time I cry in his arms and he tells me how much he loves me, then I break down and tell him everything and he just gives me a hug and kiss and then gets me some ice cream and eventually I feel better. But I can’t, not this time. If I were to do so, I know I’d say everything, and everything is the very wrong thing to say right now. Maybe someday, when I know I can. But not now.

So instead I just sigh and tell yet another lie, damn me: “I…I just don’t know how this is going to go. Will Mrs. Amore think I’m lying? I mean, no parent wants to hear what we’re going to tell her.”

Dad, as always, is wise: “It’s a parent’s duty to hear about what happens to their children, the good and the bad.” He then looks at me and says, “And I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are always willing to listen to you, Pinkamena.”

Dad, I love you…even if that’s probably the most naïve thing I’ve ever heard you say.

I finish off the – eighth? Ninth? I stopped counting – cinnamon roll and go over to pour myself another cup of coffee. I manage to get the first sip in, wondering how as bad as my mother is at, well, everything, that she can make good coffee, when the doorbell rings. It’s eight in the morning, and Dad has already put in an appearance at the quarry so he could be here for this. That’s both a comfort and a worry: there are too many variables here that I can’t control or deflect.

The fact that I’m even thinking about this should bother me. The fact that it doesn’t does.

As my parents go out to meet our guests, my aunt and uncle both look at me before Auntie Cup gives me another hug. She doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t need to – the hug is more than enough. “We can talk about it later, if you want.”

Once again, I feel loved. “Thanks,” I tell her, because that’s all that ever needs to be said. Following them, I go out to face the music.

Sitting on the couch right next to Mrs. Amore is a man whose facial features are somewhat reminiscent of Hope. She has her father’s light blue eyes and high cheekbones, but that’s where it ends. He has slicked back green-and-gold hair, and based on how he dresses, I presume he works in finance.

“Everyone,” Mrs. Amore begins, “this is my husband, Hard Sale.”

Mr. Sale smiles. “Apologies for not meeting you all sooner, but I work as a buyer for Wal-Mart, so I’m on the road a lot.” He then frowned and added, “and from what my wife tells me, I think I need to be home more often.”

My aunt then goes into a long explanation of what she found, as well as the note that was with it. At first, they don’t believe any of it, which is natural – who wants to believe their kid is a monster? But then Auntie Cup hands over the note and the two of them look at it, and after quickly glancing at it, I can see the looks of worry in their eyes.

“Ms. Pie,” Mrs. Amore asks me, “I know you only just met her this week, but do you know what any of this is about?”

I nod. “She says that you and your husband are divorced, and that he lives in New York. That you hate her and that she wanted to live with her father, but that you threatened legal action if he took custody.”

The moment I see Mr. Sale blink, it confirms what I suspected: it was a lie. “Well, we still have our apartment in downtown Manhattan, but that’s so our son can use it while he attends college at Columbia. And I can assure you we’ve never been divorced.” He put his arm around his wife and smiled the kind of smile I know all too well, that of a perfectly content person. “In fact, we just celebrated our 25th anniversary this past September.”

The look in Mrs. Amore’s eyes is one of heartbreak, and I feel a little guilty for telling her the truth about her daughter, but she had to know. “But I…why would she think I hate her! We moved here for her sake!”

“She said you walked in on her and her girlfriend Tiramisu while they were having sex, and that you’re homophobic.” And I know right about now, my mother is just about to say something, but to my surprise, she’s staying silent. I wonder why.

“But I….” She shakes her head and that’s the second confirmation that Hope’s lying through her teeth. “My brother, Jewelseeker…he’s gay. I couldn’t hate my brother, and my works have always had diverse couples in them! I….” The frustration and shock finally kicks in and she breaks down crying and I know everyone in my family, myself included, felt like we took Size 10 Steel Toes to the neighbor’s beagle.

Dad looks at them and as always, he’s a fount of wisdom. “Look, Prin, I know you’re a wonderful mother. I’ve seen you care about your daughter and you’re one of the friendliest people I know. And I look at your husband, and I know none of this is your fault, none at all. And if there’s anything Quartzie and I can do, all you have to do is ask.”

Mrs. Amore looks at my father and she nods her tear-stained face. She then looks at her husband says, “We need to tell them.”

“We shouldn’t! We’re trying to—”

“They have two other daughters younger than this young lady here,” she says, pointing at me, “and if…no. We can’t let it happen again.”

Mr. Sale sighs and I see the look on my uncle’s face. It’s as if he knows something bad is about to come down, and while that’s probably the understatement of the century, I have cried on my uncle’s chest and shoulder for enough years that I know those instinctive body movements. He’s angry, infuriated for Mrs. Amore and her husband. I don’t even have to look at my aunt to know how she feels. My dad has already said his piece, and my mother is a cypher as always, although she’s strangely quiet.

Now that I think about it, by now my mother would be on a jeremiad on why homosexuals are bad and why Hope should be condemned to the Ninth Circle of Hell or downtown Washington DC, whichever is worse. And frankly, right now I’m sorely tempted to agree, albeit for different reasons.

“Last year, there was a girl by the name of Sundowner. She considered Hope a dear friend and for a long time, they were the closest of companions, sisters in all but blood.” I can see Mrs. Amore fighting not to describe the past as a story, trying to intentionally defictionalize it. I wonder if that’s hard for a person of her career. “And then…And….” She breaks down sobbing once more, and Auntie Cup, as always, goes over to embrace the woman and Mrs. Amore immediately accepts the hug.

The room is silent for a while, before Mr. Sale speaks: “It was then that the two met a boy named Amber March. Hope was completely smitten with him, her first love. She talked about him all the time, and even as a father I knew something was going on…but I didn’t know what it was. And then that’s when the police showed up at our door.” I hear my mother gasp and it’s the first sound I’ve heard from her since this all began.

“We found out what had happened when Sundowner’s mother came to see us. She was furious and rightly so. She pressed charges, and soon after, so did Amber’s father. We were enveloped in a nightmare for the longest time, with no hope – it was a miracle that the District Attorney’s office decided not to push to have her tried as an adult! The whole ordeal nearly destroyed our family, and it did cost me my job when I found out that my boss’ boss was related to Amber’s mother.

“Thankfully the court psychologist worked out something the DA and the judge agreed to. Of course we agreed to it, because the other option was jail time for our child! But even still….” I hear him sniffle and see him wipe away tears, and I feel some on my own. “Now she’s starting to slip again, and…we can’t go through this again. We can’t!”

“What happened?” my father asks, almost regretting it.

“Hope caught them kissing – it turned out that Amber had chosen Sundowner, not knowing how Hope felt about him. And my daughter destroyed their lives and hers. She….” He chokes and I know he can’t say anymore and I don’t blame him.

“She beat Amber to within an inch of his life. So much so he has some brain damage,” Mrs. Amore sobbed. “And as for Sundowner – my daughter’s best friend – she sodomized her with a tree branch, then….” The pause tells me all I need to know and it’s all I can do to shut down.

“I…I need to get out of here,” I say and before anyone else can respond, I run like hell out of the house.

I don’t know how long I sat by the pond, watching Dad’s employees ply their trade, but I know I’m a mess. Everything brought back to my mind in full digital Sony color or whatever bullshit that is. I remember Cicely telling me I’ll have a fun time. And then I remember Cicely telling me that all I’m good for is licking her gash until she orgasms, because I was a worthless human being. And then I remember when she….

When they….

Two people I loved and would have once freely given myself to them instead took everything from me. I remember overhearing Sunny and Twily’s sister-in-law say that it’s a short trip from love to hate. I made that trip so fast, if I ever see them again….

“Pinkamena?” I turn, and to my surprise, it’s my mother. “They went home an hour ago.” Also to my surprise, she’s concerned about me. Will wonders never cease?

I say nothing and look at the pond and the huge guy with the muscles taking off his shirt so he can let the sweat burn away in the sun. Normally right now, that would be a nice distraction. But given what I’m remembering and I heard, and how I feel? May as well be a ten-ton sack of shit.

“Pinkamena, please.” Out of the corner of my eyes I see her sit next to me and then I feel her arms around me. It doesn’t feel natural, not at all. But I’ll take what I can get.

“I’m okay,” I lie. “I’m just thinking of all the girls I know back home and the hell they went through after the Vibe, and….” I hear a sob and I’m not too surprised the sound was me. “Why do good people have to suffer? Why do the bad guys win?”

“They don’t, dear, not in the afterlife. God attends to that.”

“Mom, God may attend to it, but they sure as hell get away with it here!” Easy, Pinkie, I remind myself. I don’t need to say anything that will haunt me.

Haunt me more than normal, that is.

“I know. Sometimes it’s hard, Lord knows I know that. But you have to believe there’s going to be a better tomorrow, dear. There’s an old saying: ‘God doesn’t take you to heaven without dragging you through hell first.’ We all shoulder our burdens, because someday we’ll be able to shuck off those burdens and have a better tomorrow.”

Wow, my mom’s actually being caring? And here I thought Inkie and Blinkie were just joking.

“Now I know this was rough for you given what your friends suffered, but remember, you didn’t, and that’s because God protected you.” And right at that point it’s taking everything in me from just lashing out. I can feel myself shaking and my mother trying to be maternal, but…no. Not her. Auntie Cup, yes, in a heartbeat. And I know my mother is bothered by that, but I can’t change what my subconscious thinks.

“I can see you have a lot to think about, Pinkamena, so I’ll let you be for a while.” She lets go of me and gets up. “Just remember that, although you and I are very different, I am your mother and I love you and am proud of you.” I then hear her footfalls against the grass as she leaves. Part of me wonders that if I turn around and watch her walk back to the house, will I see Auntie Cup watching this? I’m not sure I want to know the answer. Maybe it’s better if I believe that my mother did this on her own, without my aunt’s prodding.

I sit there for a few more minutes before I hear a voice calling out for me. I turn and see Merry running towards me, out of breath. “Good! I found you just in time! C’mon, we gotta go! There’s no time to lose!”

“Merry? What are you doing here?”

“Cov’s waiting in the car! Pinkie, we don’t have a lot of time! We need your help!”


In response, she hands me a letter and as I read it, my blood runs cold.

I look at her and I don’t know what to say. “You want me to give myself up? To her?”

“No! Of course not! But Jolly—”

The moment I hear Jolly’s name, my blood runs cold again – I’m starting to feel like someone installed an air conditioning system in my veins while I wasn’t looking. “What about Jolly?”

“She’s Cov’s kid sister. She’s been complaining about a girl stalking her all this time—”

“I know, I met Jolly the other day and she told me everything. But I didn’t know it was Hope!”

Merry starts dragging me towards the car and after a few seconds, I follow. We’re halfway past the steps to the house when my aunt comes out. And the moment my eyes connect with hers, I know she knows.

“I need to do this, Auntie,” I tell her.

“Pinkie, please don’t. We got a call from Mr. Sale a few minutes ago, and…he called the authorities. I don’t want you getting in trouble.”

Too late! my mind shouts at me. “I need to do this,” I tell her again. “I have to try.”

She looks at me again and I look at her. A lifetime’s worth of mother-daughter talks pass unspoken between us even though we’re aunt and niece. Finally, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out my phone, tossing it to me. “Please, just be careful.”

“I’m with friends,” I tell her, then we head off.

I hop into the passenger seat and the look on Cov’s face is one of anger. “They’ve got my kid sister, Pinkie. I promised I’d protect her, and they have my sister. And they want me to turn you over to them in order to get her back – and even that’s a maybe. I’ve called my dad and the sheriff’s department is on the move, but we don’t have much time.”

“What’s this place?” I ask him. “And were you seriously going to turn me over?”

“No! Of course not! But…I don’t know what to do, Pinkie!” I can see the worry on his face and I have to wonder if I’ll ever see the end of that word today.

“Look, I can deal with this,” I tell him. “Go ahead and turn me over. And tell me again – what’s this Club Bizarre place?”

“It’s an old abandoned junkyard in the Ozark National Forest, about ninety minutes away,” he tells me. “Whole bunch of cars illegally dumped. The authorities have it sealed off, but kids will be kids and it’s a regional place where you can get…well, it’s probably the closest thing for a teenager to a black market that exists in Arkansas.”

“And how does she know about it?”

“If I had the answer to that, I’d tell you in a heartbeat, Pinkie,” he says and I believe him.

But it’s the answer that Merry gives that is just as illuminating: “Keep in mind that this info is from a friend of a friend, Pinkie, so I don’t know how true it is. But apparently, Hope’s been telling her potential victims that if they’re nice to her, she’ll take them to paradise, but if they aren’t, she’ll take them to the Club.”

That name brings back far too many familiar and unpleasant feelings. “So there’s an abandoned junkyard where a bunch of juvenile delinquents hang out but that the cops rarely check despite the fact that all kinds of illegal shit goes down there? And Hope is the queen bee?” I’m starting to think that I’m dealing with a backwater, more illegal version of a kind of girl I know all too well.

Which means I have to fight fire with fire. I pull my phone out of my pocket, ready to dial Sunny…and then I stop. She could be invaluable in terms of information and psychology right now, and yet I can’t call her. I know she knows this stuff like the back of her hand and yet my fingers hover just over the capacitive range of the phone’s touchscreen.

And then I realize why. Sunny’s not that kind of person anymore. She gave it all up when she reached out to us. She didn’t have to, she could’ve just faked everything, but she reached out to us, because she needed us.

In fact, when she told us what she did, scaring the hell out of Noteworthy and putting her fist through a wall to protect Twily…none of us would’ve blamed her for that. We would’ve done it as well (though maybe not the “putting fist through wall” part.) And yet she felt regretful about that, and it’s because she changed.

She’s so sweet now, so wonderful. It’s no wonder I love her.

And then I realize the truth, why I wanted her so badly this morning. It wasn’t just my body wanting something in it. It was calling out for the one it wanted. “The heart knows what it wants,” goes the poem by Verse Alive, “or else it does not care.”

I’m in love with Sunset.

I’m in love with Sunset!

My body suddenly feels warm and light and despite what’s going on, I want to cry tears of joy and laugh. My once greatest enemy, now the one I want so much! Ms. Cadenza said that it’s a short trip from love to hate, but that must mean that it’s the opposite, too!

I bring up the gallery on my phone and look at a picture of us, lying on the couch the weekend we all had a sleepover at Twily’s place. Sunny’s asleep and her head’s on my lap. At the time, I didn’t think much of it because I was tired and I even forget what movie we were watching. But as I look at the picture now, I see details that I hadn’t seen before: I’m caressing her hair, and looking down at her with love. A love I didn’t even know was there.

I look at the picture in my locket, and the same look is in my eyes. How did I not see this? Did Rarity know? She’s usually the most in-tune with this kind of stuff and yet she never said anything.

How long have I been in love with Sunset and haven’t realized until this moment? Why did it take my body to cry out for her touch to put me on this rollercoaster?

But I know what it is now. I know how I feel now.

I laugh, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I feel like Pinkie again. Not Pinkamena in a Pinkie shell, but me – actually me.

“Something funny?” Cov asks me and I smile.

“I started a joke that set the whole world crying,” I tell him, reciting the old song. “But I didn’t see that the joke was on me.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Only that I know what I have to do now,” I tell him. And I do. I’ve been dealing with this situation too long like a Pinkamena. But that’s not who I am. I’m a Pinkie and a Pinkie should think like a Pinkie!

I laugh again and I feel something click within me. I don’t know what it is, but at the same time I do. And everything seems okay.

From the back seat, I can hear Merry ask, “Did Pinkie snap or something?”

“No, not at all!” I chirp. “I know what I have to do! I’ll solve this problem with Pinkie Power or else my name ain’t Pinkie – and it is Pinkie! I’ll just giggle at the ghosties and it’ll make it all better!”

“Yeah, she snapped,” I can hear Cov say, but I don’t care. I’m too happy right now. I realize what I feel now, know it for what it is, and I don’t feel ashamed anymore.

I wanted Sunny, because I love her, not because I’m a whore or useless. I love her because she’s my friend, and maybe if I’m lucky, something more someday. Yeah, as far as I know she’s straight, but then again, I once thought I was straight too.

I feel that pulse within me and it feels light and familiar. Like a dozen cupcakes in my mouth, topped off with a freshly-jerked Cherry Coke. Mmmm, maraschino cherries.

I’m Pinkie again and Hope has never met me, not really.

She doesn’t know what she’s in for.

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