• Published 13th Feb 2019
  • 2,357 Views, 24 Comments

There is Something Wrong in Ponyville - TooShyShy



Something very strange is happening in Ponyville and only Spike seems to notice.

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Tape #1

click

“My name is Spike the Dragon.”

The introduction feels false and abrupt. It grates on Spike's nerves, makes him feel things he can't quite put into words. But he goes on. Rolls with it.

“I live in the town of Ponyville with my best friend Twilight Sparkle. Well, she's more of a sister than a friend. I love her. I love Ponyville.”

Spike hopes it's recording. He sees the wheels of the tape spinning inside the transparent casing. Spinning. The image burns itself into his eyes, repetitive and soothing.

“I'm making this tape because....because... I don't know. I don't know why I'm making this.”

He needs to say it. It's burning in Spike's chest. He's been holding off, letting the words shift around in his stomach. Spike moves restlessly, shuffling his feet and flexing his claws.

“So it's 4 PM and the moon is still in the sky. I'm looking at it right now. It's just there. I don't know what else I'm supposed to say.”

Spike takes a deep breath. This is his seventh take. His seventh try at making this recording. It doesn't get easier with time. It had taken so much willpower to carry Spike to this moment in his life, yet he apparently can't work a bucking tape recorder. The last cassette—a mess of twisted plastic and ribbon—lies in the corner, a non-recoverable record of his failings. Spike's claws clumsily working the buttons, faltering every few seconds. No. I'm not doing this. This is insane. This is a dream. I'm not...

But he hits the button anyway. Records his first line. Pauses. Keeps going.

“I asked Twilight about it. I don't know why. She always has answers. So I asked her.”

He swallows hard. Spike is repeating himself already. But what else can Spike say? He needs to talk. Talk to someone who will listen, even if that someone is a tape recorder.

“She didn't answer me. She just said something about how beautiful the moon looks. I asked again. Nothing. The same thing about the moon being pretty. I ask again. She asks if I can pop down to Sugarcube Corner and grab us a dozen cupcakes for the party tomorrow.”

Spike shuts his eyes. He's going to have to talk about that, isn't he? Sugarcube Corner? What happened while he was there? No, not yet. He can't.

“I give up. I decide to get the cupcakes. Maybe she'll talk if I do what she says? I don't know. I'm confused. I leave. I...get the cupcakes. I come back.”

Spike's breathing goes a little funny. No. No. Can't. CAN'T. Not yet. There are other things.

“She asks me what's wrong. I make something up. I don't remember what I said. I tried to ask about the moon again. She might have given me an actual answer that time. I don't know. I don't remember.”

He takes a deep, shaky breath. It's okay. It's okay. He's past it. He can keep going.

“I took a picture. I don't know why. There's nothing in it. Just the moon.”

Spike nervously plays with the buttons on the tape recorder. It's old. Older than the library itself. He found it and a box of blank tapes in the basement.

“I'm staring at it right now. It looks so normal. But it's 3 PM. I checked. But the moon's still up. And nopony seems to notice or care. Nopony is staring at it like I am. I feel like I'm the only one who can see it.”

He tears his eyes away from the window. Spike can hear Twilight moving around in the kitchen.

“It's funny. I'm in a library, but I feel like I don't know anything. I want to do research. I want to know what in Tartarus is going on. But where do I even start?”

Spike slides off his bed. He wants to close the curtains. But a part of him is afraid of invoking something even worse. Spike wants to look at the moon. It's so beautiful.

“Twilight rearranged the whole library after the renovation. I know where everything is, but...”

Spike pauses. He can't say it. Doesn't want to say it.

The renovation. About three months since Spike got his own bedroom. The top floor of the library, fully converted into a living space. Just walking around the surprisingly spacious area of his bedroom makes Spike feel disoriented.

But it had to be done. Spike was growing. They didn't think it would happen, but it did. He's a little taller, a bit wider, his scales and teeth slightly sharper. But Spike doesn't feel the aging. He feels the power of his growing body, the raw energy. He is starting to fear his firepower. Spike is starting to wonder how much longer Ponyville is going to tolerate him, how much longer until they start to really look at his claws and his teeth.

Spike flexes his claws.

“I don't want Twilight to know what I'm doing.”

He flexes his claws again. Spike doesn't feel powerful. The maturity always felt so false, so forced. The way it just falls away like this.

“I don't like the way she looked at me. When I asked about the moon, there was.... I don't know. Something in her eyes. It scared me.”

Scared. Just like.... Spike snaps the thought in half.

“I can't let her know what I'm looking for. I need to be subtle about this. But she has to have an idea, doesn't she? She's Twilight Sparkle.”

He lets the uncertainty creep into his voice. Spike doesn't even know where it came from. But it's there, twisted deep into his scales like a knife. Spike repeats the words, his voice shaking.

“She's Twilight Sparkle.”

click


click

“I don't know how many more tapes are in this box, so I've decided to keep this brief.”

Spike takes a deep breath.

“The moon is still up there. I thought it would be gone after I woke up, but it hasn't moved. The sun didn't come up this morning.”

Spike lets his last words sink in. No one is ever going to hear this tape. Spike knows this, yet he holds the tape recorder to his face. He speaks slowly, deliberately, as if it matters.

“I asked Twilight if she had any books about the moon. I couldn't see her face when I asked. She had her back to me. Putting up a banner for the party.”

Spike scratches his scales, a nervous habit he seems to have developed.

“The party. Geez. I keep forgetting about that stupid party. I don't even remember what it's for. I think Applejack won something?”

It all feels so normal. So fake. Spike remembers the banner: Congratulations Applejack! Bright orange letters. Courtesy of Pinkie Pie.

“But I asked Twilight about books. I didn't expect her to answer. We have an entire bookcase dedicated to things like that. Constellations and moon phases and even astrology.”

He doesn't know why he feels the need to clarify to himself. A part of Spike fears something. And it pulls these sentences from his mouth, these strange and unneeded bits of clarification. Or maybe Spike just needs to talk. To hear his own sane voice for a few minutes.

“I read them all. Or most of them. They didn't help. They didn't explain how this could be happening.”

The information—useless and over-explanatory—comes back to him. Stars. Planets. Asteroids. Moons. It all weighs on him, because Spike truly thought he was going to find something.

“I tried to send a message to Canterlot. But it didn't go through.”

Spike scratches his scales again. He remembers the horror. The panic. The tears. The breakdown. It all came over him in a rush, sending him into utter collapse. It rises in him again, but Spike manages to keep it at bay.

“I sent a letter. I'm not sure it's going to reach anypony there. I'm not sure it's going to reach the princesses.”

He barely remembers what he wrote. Spike only recalls shoving it into the hooves of a confused mail carrier, paying the bits for an express delivery, promising an extra large tip if he were to get it there within the next day or so. Spike watched him fly off.

“I would have delivered it myself, but I can't leave.”

Spike's eyes burn. He's going to cry again. But first he wants to finish this tape.

“I asked Twilight if we could go. If we could take a vacation. Visit the princesses in Canterlot.”

He's thinking of the moon again. How it hangs in the sky at 12 PM.

“But she said “Why would we do that, Spike? Ponyville is our home. Why would we ever want to leave?” I...I don't know what I said back. I haven't seen her since then. I've been in my bedroom.”

Spike can hear Twilight humming. She's somewhere in the house. Working. Getting ready for the party.

“I might leave. I might leave without her. Go to Canterlot. Talk to the princesses myself.”

Spike knows he won't do that. He can't just leave Twilight in this place. This place. Not their home. This place.

“I need to find more books. There has to be something.”

click


click

“The moon is still....well, you know. Up there.”

Spike sighs. He's tired. Its only been a day and a half and he's already tired.

“I went out again. Twilight wanted me to get some more confetti. I don't know why. I don't care.”

He remembers the trip. Parts of it anyway. There were stares. Spike's sure of it. But he tried not to look at anypony. Spike was home in a record ten minutes with a full bag of confetti. Tossed the bag on the kitchen table and scurried back to his room.

“I passed Sugarcube Corner. It looked...”

The thought trails off into nothing. Spike swallows hard.

“I finally counted the tapes. There's fifty in total. I think there's more in the basement. I don't know. I'll have to look.”

The reluctance in his voice is obvious. Spike doesn't want to go down there again. The place felt so desolate, despite all of Twilight's scientific equipment shoved into one corner.

“The party is tomorrow night.”

He's just speaking now. Trying to fill time. Spike can feel the emptiness on the tape, like a vast nothingness at the edge of a cliff. He wonders why these tapes were in the basement.

“There's a cake, some cupcakes, and I think everypony is bringing something. I'm supposed to be arranging the music.”

Spike glances at an unfinished list of songs.

“Twilight hasn't been out of the house in a while. Except today. She went out for a few minutes. I don't know what she was doing.”

He shuts his eyes, trying to bring back the image of Twilight leaving the house.

“She came back and said “What a lovely day!”. And she was smiling. I've...I've never seen her smile like that. I...”

Spike opens his eyes, dissipating the image. It's corrupted now. All of them are. He keeps seeing that smile.

“Maybe this is all in my imagination. Maybe I need to start reading up on mental illnesses.”

He lets the possibility sit in his chest. Spike loves how it sounds. So rational. Maybe this is an elaborate hallucination, a nightmare, some kind of psychosis. That would explain his need to make these tapes. This ridiculous urge to document what's happening as if Spike doesn't trust his memory.

“Or it could be some kind of dark magic. A spell.”

Spike drags a claw across the side of his neck. It stings, but he keeps going. Keeps talking.

“I'm not a unicorn. But Twilight... She has books about that kind of stuff. Maybe there...?”

For the first time in a while, Spike is acutely aware of his body. Those useless wings. No horn to cast spells. What does he actually have? Claws. Teeth. Fire. The physical make-up of a predator.

“Twilight keeps those books in her bedroom.”

Spike lifts his claw. There is a bit of blood on the edge of it. He's managed to scratch himself raw without even realizing.

“I'll...I'll have to go in there while she's busy. Maybe during the party?”

He looks at his claw.

“Maybe during the party.”

click


click

“I haven't been down into the basement. I told myself I was going to go, but... I don't know. I can't find the flashlight.”

Spike doesn't care about his flimsy excuse. He knows he didn't really look for the flashlight.

“No word from Canterlot. The mail carrier hasn't come back. I tried to contact Manehatten. Same thing. It looks like there's some kind of blackout.”

Spike doesn't say it, but it comes through in his voice. It's like Ponyville is the only town left.

“The party was today. Tonight.”

It's what Spike really wanted to talk about. He had ideas, vague and hopeful. Ideas about what would happen if all his friends gathered under one roof. One of them had to notice. He couldn't be the only one.

“Pinkie Pie was here first. I...I hadn't seen her in a while. She looked like her usual cheerful self. She asked me what I'd been up to.”

Spike lets out a weak chuckle.

“I forgot what I said. It wasn't the truth. I can't tell anyone the truth. Especially not after...”

He stops. Spike was just talking, half-remembering. Now he's doing both. He can see everything in his mind's eye, every vivid detail of the past two or so hours.

“Everypony else arrived afterward. Rainbow Dash brought some lemon squares. I think Fluttershy had a plate of scones. Rarity had something with honey in it. I didn't actually eat anything. I might have nibbled on a scone. Rarity asked me if I was alright and I lied to her.”

Spike remembers packing away all the leftover food. No one really touched anything except the cake and the lemon squares.

“Everyone sat down and talked for a long while. They laughed and ate. I didn't say much. I just watched everypony. I thought maybe they'd talk about the moon.”

The conversation is just white noise in Spike's head. He remembers nothing that was said. His friends' voices blend together in his head, a cacophony of meaningless sound.

“I think a part of me was waiting for them to notice. I didn't want to say anything. I didn't think I needed to. But then thirty minutes passed. An hour. I couldn't take it anymore.”

He takes a long pause. Spike wonders if the tape recorder picks up the sound of his breathing or the way his voice cracks. He's never been so scared of breaking down. That was always Twilight's thing.

“I asked where Applejack was. This is supposed to be her party, so it was strange she hadn't shown up yet. And nopony was talking about it.”

Spike swallows hard. It doesn't get easier. He thought it would. Thought he just needed a few hours.

“They all looked at me like I was crazy. It scared me. The way they just sort of...stopped. Stopped and stared at me. Who's Applejack?” they said. I...I thought they were joking at first. But then I realized...”

Spike's voice breaks a little and he trails off. The tapes aren't helping. He wants to scratch his scales again. But Spike remembers the blood and the sting from the last time.

“I pointed at the banner. The one that says Congratulations Applejack. I asked who that was for. Her name was right there. Right there.”

He closes his eyes.

“Twilight was confused. She asked if I'd made the banner as a joke. I told her I hadn't and she didn't believe me. I asked about the Apples. She said she didn't know anything about an Apple family in Ponyville.”

Spike opens his eyes. The curtains are still closed. He can't see it. But he can feel the light, even through the thick curtains.

“I didn't say anything else. I think I zoned out for the rest of the party. They all kept talking. Laughing. Having fun. And at the end, they cleaned up and went home.”

He taps a claw against the side of the tape recorder. Freshly trimmed. The scales incident still makes Spike shudder. He needs to develop a new nervous habit, something relatively harmless.

“The mail pony I sent to Canterlot. He hasn't come back. I still can't get in contact with anypony outside of Ponyville. I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what will happen to me if I try to leave. I don't want to disappear.”

The guilt rises in Spike's throat like bile.

“I hope someone hears this. I hope they remember Applejack.”

click