• Published 31st Oct 2017
  • 3,501 Views, 119 Comments

Silent Ponyville 4 - SamRose

Octavia travels to Ponyville, seeking out her sister in the hopes of putting an end to her nightmares.

  • ...

Chapter 2

Octavia couldn't see any giant monster roaming the fog, but then again, she could barely see anything that wasn't two feet in front of her face. The very thought that something huge could be towering over her at any moment chilled her to the core.

But staying in one place was not the safer option, so Octavia was hurrying through the streets, hoping to avoid the monsters that lurked in the fog. The street on the way to the park was thankfully wide open, giving her plenty of room to escape.

The few Spitters she had encountered were dodged easily enough, but if she were to somehow find herself being cornered by them in an alleyway...

Octavia shook the thought from her head, focusing on moving ahead. There were a lot of things that could go wrong, but it wouldn't do her any good to focus on them. As long as she avoided the monsters, she'd be alright.

That was, until she came skidding to a halt in front of another dead end in the middle of the street. She stared up at the large fence built into the middle of the road, built almost exactly the same way as the last one. There was no way around it, and the thick corrugated metal made sure even if she tried she would never make it through.

“Dammit all...” Octavia cursed under her breath, looking around the fence. She could double-back and try to find another road, but then she might get cornered by one of the Spitters again like before. Maybe there was a faster way around, like through one of the buildings the fence was built into.

Checking the left side of the fence yielded no results, as all she saw was a large square building that was boarded up with no visible front door. She could try and check the entire length of the building, but that’d just be as much effort as doubling back at this point.

So with the left side ruled out, she checked the building on the right.

This building proved to be far more promising, as it was clearly a residential house that the blockade had been built into. It was out of place though, seeing as the street she had been running down was one of Ponyville’s shopping districts. She pushed those thoughts aside since the layout of the town had obviously changed drastically in a short period of time.

She checked to see if there was a path around the house that might be useful, but that turned out to be a dead end. A cement wall had been erected between the house and the building next to it, preventing anyone from going around it.

The front door to the house was on this side of the blockade at least, so with her options being to check the door or turn back, she walked up to the door and tried the handle.

The door let out a loud creak as it slowly opened before jamming in place. It took an extra good shove of her shoulder to get the door to properly open all the way, seeing as its hinges had long since rusted over.

The inside of the house was dark, but there was some light filtering in through barred up windows. The front door of the house deposited her into the dilapidated living room, where an aging torn up couch sat in front of a dusty coffee table. Interestingly, a teapot and two tea cups were set up on the table, though no liquid had been poured.

From the living room extended two hallways and an open doorway that looked like it led into the kitchen. Stepping further into the house, and closing the rusted door behind her for good measure, she looked down the hallways of the living room.

The scant light didn't stretch far, but she could see at least three doors down the right hallway, and two down the other much shorter hallway. The air was thick and musty, a clear sign no one had lived there in years. Much like the other buildings, it must've been abandoned when the monsters overtook the town.

The important part was whether or not the house had a way of getting through to the other side of the fence. Other than the living room, the kitchen was the most well lit area of the house, so she decided to check it out first.

The kitchen contained the usual assortment of appliances that were all rusted over with age, a table large enough to fit four comfortably, and several cabinets that Octavia suspected were either empty or not worth looking through.

What did catch her attention was a big red door that looked like an exit out onto a backyard or porch that was in just the right spot to exit out onto the other side of the fence. It seemed that the fence had been built around the house and not through it.

“Fortunate for me I suppose.” Octavia commented to herself, walking up to the door and taking a look at it. There were three thick padlocks on the door, locking the door tight from the inside. She furrowed her brow and grabbed one of the locks, giving it a tough pull to see if it was loose. It jiggled against the metal holding it in place, but it seemed to be firmly locked.

“One blockade is replaced with another it seems.” She said with a sigh of frustration. “At least it looks like I could maybe open this one.”

Her attention turned to a piece of paper that had been pinned to the wall next to the door, noticing that something was written on it. The message was terribly messy, written with hoofwriting that was hard to decipher at first. After a bit of careful study, she had an idea of what it said.

The bright light of the night shines high in the sky
Over the head of the lonely mare
That's holding a weapon to her heart

“What in Equestria does that mean?” Octavia's brow furrowed in confusion. There was an arrow on the paper pointing towards the door, so the natural conclusion was that it had something to do with opening the door. So the note was likely a riddle, and that if she solved it, the door would open.

“Well, I guess I have two options then.” She murmured to herself. “I can figure out how to open this door, or I can go back outside and find another way around.”

So either search a house that had so far proven to be safe, or go back outside into the nightmarish monster-filled fog.

“It's hardly a decision really.” With a shake of her head she turned around and made her way back into the living room. There were two hallways for her to search, one that went deeper into the house and she'd have to pull out her lantern to see in, or one that was relatively short and had two doors she could clearly see.

Without a second thought she made her way down the short hallway. The doors were on either side of the hallway, one to her left and one to her right. The one door on the right had been sealed up, boarded up with thick planks of wood and at least two different chains. Whoever had barricaded the room off had clearly wanted nopony to see what was inside of it. So with her only option clear, she entered the left door.

At first Octavia couldn't tell what the room's purpose was, seeing as it looked like a tornado had struck it. Clothes were tossed around everywhere, furniture lay broken against the walls, blankets and pillows were tossed to the ground without care, and torn picture frames hung from the wall. What might have once been a respectable bedroom now looked like a hoarder's nest.

“What on earth happened here?” Navigating the room was tricky, since she wasn't sure where it was safe for her to step. Once she found her footing she drew closer to the bed, noticing two things on it. The first was an old blood stain that was fairly large and in the spot where a pony's head would normally rest. The other was a note, the top left corner of the page stained with the crimson liquid. She carefully picked up the paper and read what it said.

The man's wife came home early.
The man was not alone.
The wife screamed loudly.
The other woman quickly fled.

“Oh.” Octavia murmured in realization, looking back around the room and then at the bloodstain. “That would certainly explain the state of this room... And even the bloodshed.” As much as Octavia abhorred violence, she could at least understand why some ponies resorted to it.

Was that all the room had to offer though? Octavia felt like she was missing something important, perhaps something tied to the note. One riddle had led to another, but she wasn't any closer to opening the door.

Scanning the room once more, her eyes fell onto the only part of the room that hadn't been destroyed in the chaos. It was a desk, pressed up against the wall, with a box on top of it. Being careful of her step, she made her way to the desk and looked it over. The box was actually a small chest, with a lock on one side and a series of four buttons on the top. The buttons were colored red, green, yellow, and blue with a simplified pony face drawn on each one. The red button had an angry face, the green one had a normal smiling face, the yellow one had a face of fear, and the blue one looked like it was yelling.

Octavia blinked at the buttons, then back at the note on the bed.

“It couldn't be that simple, could it?” With the note in mind, she pushed down the green button first, followed by the red one, the blue one, and finally the yellow one.

The box let out a click, telling Octavia it was now unlocked. Apparently, opening the box had been that simple. Pushing the box open, she was greeted with an antique key that had a moon emblazoned on it.

“...You know what? I'm not going to question it.” Octavia decided. There was a door in her way and she now had a key that could potentially get her through it. That was good enough for her.

Quickly putting the key in her bag, she navigated her way through the messy room and back into the hallway. She stopped, suddenly smelling the strong scent of iron in the air. She turned her head and a scream caught in her throat.

A fresh coat of blood had been splattered against the hallway wall. It was so fresh that it was still dripping. There was no way she had missed that on the way in.

She rushed out of the hallway and looked around frantically in the living room for somepony that had been hurt, or one of those monsters from outside. However, nothing else about the house was out of place, only the fresh blood in the hallway.

“What the hell is going on here...” Octavia cursed under breath, no longer feeling safe in the house. The phonograph in her bag hadn't made any sound. It didn’t seem like there was a monster in the house with her, but it was also possible that the phonograph wouldn’t warn her about every monster she encountered.

“Okay... Okay, let's just... Let's just try the door again and keep moving Octavia. The less time we spend here, the better.” She was unnerved to say the least. It was one thing when it was simply avoiding monsters out on the street, it was another to have the world messing with her head like this.

She'd had enough of that from her nightmares.

The kitchen door came into sight as she rushed through the house, eager to get out as quickly as possible. She pulled out the key and grabbed the top-most padlock on the door, trying out the moon key on it. The padlock clicked open, now able to be freed from the door. A bit of hope filled her heart at the progress. She reached up to grab the key and try it out on the next lock, hoping it might open the door completely.

Both the key and the lock disintegrated into a pile of ash before her. She stared at the empty space in disbelief, uncertain of what exactly had just happened. Then she began to swell with anger, her body shaking as she grit her teeth. She let out an angry cry, as she swiveled her body around and struck at the door with her hind legs. A loud wooden thud echoed through the house from her exertion.

“So that's their game is it...” Octavia growled under her breath. “A riddle to open the door, and riddles to find the keys. All while exploring a house that feigns safety. The first one was easy just so that I could learn this little lesson.” She turned and trotted her way back into the living room. “Well, I'm not going to play their game, whoever they are. I'm sure there's another way to get to the park. It might take a little longer, but it's better than being stuck in this place.”

She made her way to the front door, twisting the handle and expecting it to open like it had before.

A defiant, jammed locking sound came from the door instead.

“What...? ...No. No, no, no, you were JUST open!” Octavia cried out in panic, wrapping her hooves around the handle and trying to force it open. No matter how she twisted or pulled, the only thing she heard was that lock defying her exit each time.

“Let! Me! Out!” Octavia punctuated each word by slamming her shoulder against the door, a futile effort that only made her muscles ache. She let out another frustrated, angry cry and kicked this door with her hind legs. The door let out a wooden thud, but remained untouched despite the abuse.

Octavia stepped away from the door, her breath growing shaky from her panic. She was trapped there.

“Okay, okay... Just... Just keep calm Octavia. Don't panic, just keep calm...” She covered her face in her hooves, repeating the words to herself. If she panicked, nothing good could happen. She had to calm down and think things through.

She wasn't permanently trapped in the house, she just had to find the other two keys and unlock the back door. Sure, the house had a coat of fresh blood in one of its hallways, but she hadn't actually encountered a monster yet. The world was just screwing with her, and she'd experienced that, and worse, in her nightmares.

“Okay... Calm...” Octavia repeated her mantra one more time. She wasn't tranquil, but she had calmed down enough to think clearly.

The next two keys had to be in the house somewhere. She had already checked one room, and there were three doors left to check. She got back on her hooves and walked towards the darker of the two hallways. She pulled out her lantern and turned the dial, the flame coming to life. With light to guide her way, she made her way deeper into the house.

There were three doors in this hallway, one almost immediately to her left, one in the middle to her right, and one at the very end. If there was a monster in the house she didn't want to be cornered by it in the hallway, so checking each door as she went made the most sense. With that plan in mind, she checked the first door and found it opened with only a slight creak.

It was another bedroom, though this one was far less chaotic than the last one. A bed was against the middle of the wall, a vanity to its left, a dresser to its right, a bedside table, and by the door was a desk with a lamp. She could also see a small closet and a personal bathroom aligned to the right wall. There was no blood staining anything visible in the room this time, though she didn't expect that to last.

There was something about the bedroom that seemed awfully familiar, but she couldn't place her hoof on it. Rather than dwell on it though, she moved to the first thing her eyes caught sight of. There were two things that were on the bed, the first was a black jacket, and the other was a note.

Figuring it was the riddle for the next key, she walked straight to the note and read it.

A dark and empty room.
The light suddenly turns on.
A thick coat is tossed aside.
A mare collapses on her bed.
Yet another night alone.

“Alright then, now I just have to find the box the key is hiding in.” She muttered to herself, expecting this puzzle to be the same as the last. She set to work looking for a box with buttons on it, assuming it'd have been in plain sight. Nothing was on the vanity or desk, nor in the small bathroom or closet. Once the obvious locations failed her, she checked underneath the furniture, her search bearing no results.

Her brow furrowed in confusion now. She looked back at the note, noting that its format was similar to the last one, but there was no box to open. She scratched her head as she racked her brain for an answer, but the solution to this riddle was being stubborn.

It was then that her eyes wandered over to the jacket on the bed. It was the only other thing in the entire room that was out of place, as it was the only article of clothing there. She picked it up, feeling the faux-leather material in her hooves. It was designed with fall weather in mind; not too thick but not too thin.

The last room's puzzle had told the story of the room, so this one did the same, right? But the pieces were in the wrong location...

Octavia turned her head to the desk, seeing that the lamp on it was turned off. She hadn't even checked it, having assumed it wouldn't work. She looked at the jacket, then the bed, and back to the note.

“Is that really what it wants me to do?” It seemed ridiculous, but she had nothing to lose from trying it.

Walking over to the desk she tapped the switch on the light, and to her surprise it turned on, illuminating that part of the room. With the lamp being such a success, she turned around and tossed the jacket onto the floor, as if she had just gotten home and wanted to relax. She then placed her lantern by the side of the bed, before flopping over on top of it. The motions felt familiar, as when she had first moved to Manehattan she had been so exhausted from her jobs that she would often just walk into her apartment like this and collapse.

She took a deep breath, letting it out in a slow sigh. The bed was actually more comfortable than she had expected. If it wasn't for the risk of imminent death running around outside, she would've been tempted to take a nap. She fluttered her eyes open, looking out into the room, wondering just what it was she was doing.

She then blinked, seeing something glint at her from under the vanity. She lifted herself up, looking incredulously at the glint. She quickly got off the bed, ducking down and looking under the piece of furniture. Sitting there was another antique key, this one emblazoned with a mare's face on it.

“But I looked here! You can't just...!” Octavia stopped herself from yelling at the world. She just let out a frustrated huff of annoyance and tucked the key into her bag. “Whatever, I have the second key now. So that means I just need to find one more, right?”

The world didn't respond, though she was fairly certain she already knew the answer.

She had the key, so she no longer needed to stay in this room. Picking up her lantern she made her way back into the hallway.

The walls of the hallway had several inch thick scratch marks running along the wall, as if a wild animal had run through and tore into the drywall. She looked to her left and right, making sure she was still alone in the house.

“They're just trying to scare you Octavia.” She said, keeping herself calm. “Just ignore them and move on.” Her mantra was doing the trick for now, as long as she kept her head level, she could keep her sanity.

The next door came up on her right, directly in the middle of the hallway. There was a fifty-fifty chance the key was in this room or the one down the hall, so she'd search this one first and move on if she had to. Her hoof pressed against the handle, opening the door with a quiet creak.

The phonograph instantly let out its shrill ringing, as a hoof shot out at her from the open crack of the door.

Octavia screamed, her lantern falling to the ground as she jumped back, her hoof still gripping tight to the door. A horrendous feminine scream erupted from behind the door as the wood slammed against the flailing black hoof. A monster had been hidden in the room, waiting for her to open the door. Two inches of wood and her firm grip was the only thing that was stopping it from ripping into her face. She refused to let go of the handle, keeping the monster's hoof trapped against the door frame.

The door jerked back, the monster trying to forcibly open it as the hoof continued to flail near her face. Octavia let out another terrified cry as she slammed the door down on the hoof, the monster letting out its own pained screams. She slammed the door again and again, letting out a terrified cry with each slam.

The creature flailed in pain, blood starting to coat the door's edge with each slam. Octavia refused to relent, pressing one of her back hooves against the wall as she tried to force the door shut on the creature. One last loud scream of pain erupted from within the room as the the door was yanked open just enough for the creature to pull its arm back in, before it slammed shut in her face.

The sound of the door being locked echoed through the hallway as her phonograph died down just as quickly as it had started up. Octavia stood in place, panting heavily, still holding the door shut, refusing to let go.

She waited several minutes, before her shaky hooves let go of the door. She sat down, staring at it, her body still recovering from the terrifying ordeal. What would have happened if it had managed to grab hold of her? What if she had let go of the door in her surprise and it had gotten out? What if it decided to stop hiding and it came back out to attack her?

She wrapped her hooves around her body, rocking gently in the hallway as she repeatedly whispered to herself.

“It's okay Octavia... You're okay Octavia... It's okay... You're okay...”

It was several minutes more before her shivering finally stopped. She took several deep, shaky breaths, calming her beating heart.

“You'll be okay Octavia... You always come out okay in the end...”

She needed a smoke, though there was no way she was having a cigarette in the middle of the hallway. Or anywhere inside of this house for that matter. She'd get somewhere actually safe first, then she could indulge her addiction.

Grabbing hold of her lantern, she stepped away from the hallway door slowly. She didn't know if the door would suddenly burst open, but she didn't want to risk a sneak attack from it. Once she was halfway between it and the next door, she finally turned around and rushed to the last door in the hallway. She put a shaky hoof to its handle and prepared to slam it shut if something was hiding behind it again.

It creaked open and her phonograph remained silent. She pushed it open inch by inch until she could make her way in, then closed the door behind her. It was a relief that she couldn't spot any monsters in this room, though her nerves were still on edge.

This room wasn't a bedroom this time, but rather a storage room. White boxes were stacked up all around the small square room, though more noticeably were the four boxes scattered around the room. There was yet another piece of paper sitting in the middle of the room, waiting for her to come read it.

Stepping up to the note, she placed the lantern down and read what it had to say.

A butcher prepares for work.
He opens his supplies.
He is shocked.
His meat has rotted overnight.
He stabs the rotten meat in anger.

“Ugh.” Octavia blanched at the imagery. A butcher was a fairly rare occupation, though a necessary one for all the carnivorous animals that ponies kept as pets. They kept mostly to fish and poultry, but as a vegetarian species the imagery still made her feel queasy.

She turned her head to the closed boxes, a pit dropping into her stomach. She had a feeling she wasn't going to like what she was about to see. Cautiously walking up to the box closest to her, she pressed her hooves and pulled open the lid.

She blanched again, pulling her head away from the sight of the chicken corpses lying in the box. She closed the box, not wanting to smell the awful odor of their bodies. They weren't rotten, but she never could stand the sight of dead animals.

“The key is in one of these boxes, isn't it...” She shuddered at the thought. Maybe she'd get lucky and the key was just sticking out for her to grab. Hoping that might be the case she moved on to the next box and opened it up.

Decapitated fish heads stared back up at her, as if the moment they had died was frozen on their faces.

Octavia shut the box faster than the last one. The fish smell was horrendous, but she could tell it wasn't rancid. She wasn't sure how all of this meat had been preserved so well in this room-temperature space, but she didn't feel much like questioning it right now. She stepped over to the third box and flipped open its lid.

She instantly gagged on the smell of rotting meat, the pungent odor hitting her like a truck. She turned her head and wretched, covering her mouth and nose as her eyes watered from the foul stench. She grimaced, swallowed her nerves, and peeked into the box.

The meat in the box was a type of red meat she hadn't seen before, with several parts of it discolored gray, green, and brown from the serious state of decay it was in. Mixed amongst the rotten meat was the glint of metal, one that clearly belonged to the next key she needed.

A disgusted groan escaped her lips, realizing she didn't have much of a choice but to get it out. Her other option was to stay trapped in the house until she either starved to death, or the monster in that room got to her. So with a heavy gulp, she closed her eyes and reached down into the rotten meat.

Gelatinous, slimy filth crawled against her fur, causing her to violently shudder. She whimpered in disgust as her hoof dug down in the middle, just feeling out for where the metal key was. She pried one of her eyes open, looking down into the box to make sure she was grabbing the right thing. The key was still slightly buried, so she dug her hoof deeper, the squelch of the meat echoing in the room.

Her hoof brushed against the key and relief swelled over her as she gripped it, pulling it free from its awful hiding place.

The key was immediately dropped onto the store room's floor as she shook her hoof, trying to rid it of the disgusting meat.

“Ewwwww, ew ew ew!” She scraped her hoof against the floor and the side of the open box, getting as much of it off as she could. If the water was still running in the kitchen she desperately needed to wash her hoof off.

“Ugh... Now that that completely awful experience is over, I can get out of here.” She picked up the still tainted key, taking a moment to look at it closer. This one had a knife emblazoned on it.

Refusing to put it in her bag so as to not get its disgusting filth on her other things, she decided to just carry it back to the kitchen. Picking the lantern up with her mouth, she made her way to the door and was about to open it when she froze.

What if the creature had exited the room and was waiting for her in the hallway? She didn't want to be trapped in the storage room, but she wouldn't know unless she opened the door. She swallowed a lump of fear in her throat and slowly creaked the door open and listened carefully for any ringing from her phonograph. When it was opened just a crack and her bag was still silent, she tilted her head around the door and looked out into the hallway.

She could see straight through to the living room, there was no monster blocking her path.

A relieved sigh escaped her lips as she pulled the door open the rest of the way. The light of her lantern lit the walls now, revealing a black ooze that was dripping down them. Her nose scrunched at the sight, hearing the sound of the tar-like goo sloshing towards the ground.

She moved quickly through the hallway, pausing only outside of the door in the middle of the hallway, unsure if it was still locked or not. A strong scent hit her nose and she looked down at the floor, noticing that a pool of blood was spilling out from underneath the door.

Wanting nothing more to do with it, she galloped past the door and exited back into the living room. The living room had also fallen prey to the cruelty of this world. The couch was ripped apart, blood had splattered against the coffee table and cups, and the carpet was starting to rot over with mold.

Another gag escaped Octavia as she rushed into the kitchen. It wasn't faring any better than the rest of the house. Blood caked the walls and the counters, deep scratch marks were buried into everything, and the door she needed had a streak of blood running diagonally across it.

Rushing up to it she grabbed the top most remaining lock and tried pressing the knife key into it. The lock refused the key no matter how she inserted it. Her brow furrowed and she let the lock go, grabbing the next one and trying the key in it instead.

The key fit like a glove this time, unlocking the door with a satisfying click. A quick pull and the lock came free of the door, then vanished in a puff of ash. Just one more lock and she'd be free. The last key was quickly fished out of her saddlebag and placed into the final lock. Another click and the lock fell from its slot, just before vanishing into a cloud of ash.

Finally free of the locks the kitchen door opened with ease, opening up to the outside world. Octavia instantly rushed out to greet it. She came to a stop just outside the door however, when she realized that it was pitch black outside.

Night had fallen, and neither the moon nor the stars could be seen in the sky.

“Wha-, how long was I in there!?” Octavia's confusion was understandable, for it hadn't felt like she had spent half a day searching for keys. However, the house had become more twisted as she found each key, so perhaps it had some kind of temporal effect as well? That only furthered the proof that she needed to get to the park as quickly as possible.

It was then that her ears twitched, hearing the sound of something heavily breathing against the darkness of the night. Dirt shifted against the ground, heavy fluids sloshed around underneath skin, and a groaning wail echoed around her. She shifted her head to her left, her eyes widening in fear as a creature slowly became visible within the light of her lantern.

The upper half of a pony stood before her, standing as tall as the house. Its entire body was colored a sickly brown and it looked as if it was rotting away while alive. Its two front legs were disproportionately long in comparison to its body and each of its hooves had large metal shoes bolted onto them. Its head lacked ears, and its eyes were wrapped in a thick white cloth, blood pouring down from where its eyes would be. Its mouth was sealed with stitches, and a large gash down its chest was barely being held together by them as well. Its muscles seemed to twitch and convulse under its skin as the creature awakened, tilting i's head up to look straight at Octavia.

The huge creature opened its mouth as best it could, tearing its skin against the stitches as it let out a screeching cry.

Octavia turned around and ran straight back to the door she had just come through, grabbing the handle and desperately twisting it to let her back in. The door was jammed shut, refusing to let her back inside.

“OPEN! OPEN YOU STUPID DOOR OPEN!” Her screeching, terrified wails echoed around her as she slammed her hoof into the door.

A hideous, huge crack of wood echoed out into the night as the giant monster’s heavy hoof slammed Octavia directly against the door. It had smashed her so violently that the door had buckled and broke underneath the impact.

The giant hoof pulled back, Octavia's body slumping against the door as she twitched in pain. It was suddenly difficult to breath as her entire body screamed in pain. She could feel something wet trickling down her forehead and onto the ground.

Her blood?

...She was bleeding?

The creature cried out again and her mind snapped awake. Her legs were shaky but she managed to stand on them, running from the spot she had been lying on just in time to avoid the massive hoof that came crashing down.

She ran, looking for a way out, a way to escape. She came to a skidding halt as a large fence blocked her path. The wall of the house was to her right, the broken door behind her, and to her left was the giant monster blocking her way out.

She would have to get through the giant creature if she wanted to escape.

The Blocker let out another wailing screech, its hoof lifting into the air to slam down on her again. She just barely jumped out of the way, the ground caving in from the impact of the Blocker's hoof. Her legs wobbled, feeling the wind and debris rush past her from the sheer impact. She had gotten lucky surviving the impact against the door, she couldn't guarantee that with a second.

Octavia snapped her head towards its main body, watching as it pulled its hoof back towards itself. It seemed there was a delay between each strike, it needed time to pull its leg back before it could strike again.

If there was a way past it, she'd have to go for it at the right moment.

She looked around, spotting her lantern near the middle of the arena. It seemed that when she had been struck the first time it had rolled there on its own. It was conveniently lighting up the arena for her.

She dug her hind legs into the dirt, crouching low as she watched the Blocker's second leg raise into the air. Just as it came down she bolted forward, managing to escape the attack by inches. She ran straight at the creature, then to its side, looking for a way around it.

Its fat body was pressed up directly against the fence behind it. Even if she could squeeze her way around to the side she wouldn't be able to fit through any door. However, something in the corner under the creature's arm did catch her eye.

It was a red gasoline canister, just sitting there as if out of place.

Without a second thought she grabbed hold of the canister, not sure what to do with it just yet. Another loud screech echoed in the air as Octavia felt a sudden pull from behind her. A fearful, surprised scream escaped her throat as the metal hoof of the monster had grabbed her tail and lifted her up into the air. She flailed her hind legs in desperation, feeling the immense pain as her tail hairs strained to hold up her body.

The Blocker then pulled its hoof back, before flicking her rather suddenly across the arena and away from him. She slammed into the house wall with a hard thud, air escaping her lungs as her body came crashing down to earth.

She coughed and sputtered, feeling the pain beginning to swell around her back and legs. She opened her eyes with a wince, breathing heavily as she stared up at the monster. It was staring right back at her. A gurgling growl escaped its throat as it watched her, taunting her.

Her hooves unfurled from the gas canister, having held on to it for dear life as she had been tossed like a ragdoll. She jiggled it a little, checking to see if any gas was in it.

It was full. It was VERY full. She could feel the gasoline sloshing around inside it, waiting to be used.

She had a way through now.

The Blocker wailed as it readied another attack, intending to crush her on the spot. Octavia grabbed the handle of the gas tank with her mouth and sprung forward, the hoof crashing down where she had been laying. With her front hooves she quickly grabbed the tip of the canister and twisted it hard, the black cap unscrewing with a bit of effort. The pungent odor of gasoline filled her nose as she turned, glaring at the creature.

She raced forward as the Blocker's arm was being retracted to attack. She flung her head to one side, a splash of gasoline escaping out and splashing against its body. The Blocker let out a pained cry as some of it landed into its gaping stitched wound. She grabbed the canister with her hooves and splashed it again, this time hitting some of the ground as well as the creature's body. With the preparations set up, she let out a desperate cry as she slammed the rest of the open container directly into the open wound.

An even louder pained cry rang out into the night sky this time, just as Octavia felt the pain of her tail being grabbed once more. She let out another fearful scream as she flailed in the air, trying to get the creature to let go. The flick came faster this time, her body slamming roughly into the house again.

She hit the ground hard and crumpled into a ball, holding onto her chest and stomach, feeling her body trembling. Was she bleeding? She wasn't sure anymore. Her vision was starting to go blurry from the pain, she couldn't tell if she had a concussion or not.

Her saddle bag pressed smartly against her side, reminding her of what she needed to do. She rolled onto her stomach, breathing heavily as the blurry sight of the Blocker came into view. It gurgled a cry as it tilted its head at her, pulling its leg back, getting ready to strike again. She didn't break eye contact as she put her hoof inside of her saddle bag, quickly rummaging around for what she need.

The Blocker pulled its arm back all the way, lifting its arm in preparation to attack. Her hoof found what it was looking for and firmly pulled it out.

With a push of the lever, her lighter lit up with a gentle flame. She tossed the lighter, praying to Celestia that she’d hit her target.

Flames erupted from the middle of the arena, quickly rushing down the trail she had set, straight onto the Blocker's body. The Blocker let out a wailing shriek as its head began to twitch rapidly, the flames spreading across its body instantly. Its legs flailed around the yard, slamming down into the ground repeatedly, unable to put itself out. The fire spread up into the creature's wounds, and directly into the gasoline tank, just as Octavia had hoped.

A large explosion erupted from the back yard, flames spewing up into the sky. The creature let out one final wailing cry as it collapsed in the yard, its entire body being engulfed in the flames.

Octavia found herself sitting against the house, leaning her back against the wall as she watched the fire burn. She grunted in pain, her mind still hazy from being tossed around like that. She lifted her hoof and felt it hit something lying next to her. She turned her head and saw that her lighter had been blown back to her, none the worse for wear. She counted her fortunes for that as she picked it up, a new idea forming in her head.

From inside her saddlebags she pulled out her carton of cigarettes and counted her remaining stock. She had three sticks left, not nearly enough.

Popping one out, she grabbed it with her mouth before putting the pack away and lighting the end of it with her lighter. She inhaled deeply, letting the smoke fill her lungs before letting it out slowly.

At least the fire was strangely comforting.

Author's Note:

Terribly sorry for the long wait between chapters, a lot of IRL things came up and slowed the progress on the story. But I am committed to finishing this story, even if it might take a while.

Audio Book Version Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8ETqY6eisc