• Published 20th Aug 2020
  • 447 Views, 25 Comments

A Town's Story - RoMS



Luster Dawn hates field trips. Especially when it's about gleaning a story on an event that tore a no-name town apart: Ponyville.

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12. The Last Message

Dumb bet, dumb bet, terribly dumb bet! Stupid Tiara! And dumb Scoots too! Why did she have to fall for it?

Rarity's going to be so pissed.

Oh, Celestia this felt weird.

I tear through a cold, black goop. A gut-dropping dive into what feels like icy water. A brief pause comes. I can’t breath. I flail around, deprived of all, even a grip on anything tangible. It’s like I’m floating somewhere in empty space. Well... I’ve never been to space but that sensation matches Luna’s description of it pretty well. No visual anchors. No up or down. Just dark, a terribly dark nothingness in every direction.

Focus Sweetie Belle! Focus. The weightlessness vanishes and I fall again, bursting through yet another layer of mushy darkness. And a deafening silence welcomes me, if only for a moment.

My heart jumps in my throat. I hit yet another invisible wall and light rushes into my eyes, washing away the night around me. A blue light comes next, like nothing I’d ever seen before — except maybe on Rarity’s most regal dresses. A searing ultramarine.

The deep and hazy blue blur burns my eyes as I keep falling. Down… down into a world I can finally see. I scream again.

I land against something wooden, a branch maybe — snap! The wind gets knocked out of me — I tumble against a tree trunk, bounce off a large root, scrape my shoulder against a rock, close myself from my surroundings, the pain in my flank, the sharp twang in my ears. I splat face-first against the ground.

Thud, crash, womp!

Ouch...

I shake the dirt off my head, nausea bringing my lunch crawling back up my throat. A few seconds breathing in and out go by, I dare not open my eyes.

Am I through? I'm definitely through. Oh horny horn, I'm through the Wall...

My ears perk up at any sound around me. But there’s nothing to listen to but the roaring, distorted and gushing wind. It howls like the scream from a banshee. Those same ghosts from Rainbow Dash’s scary stories.

I spring up and a dash of dizziness rushes down my back and legs. I slowly pick myself up, my temples hurting like no other day, and stumble forward to get my footing.

The air tastes like copper. I know this because I used to lick the chocolate off the kitchenware when my sister or Pinkie Pie made brownie cakes at the Sugarcube Corner. And I’m always thorough.

I try to brush off the dirt rag-tagged to my coat and mane, but the wetness sticks to the white in patches of black, brown, and khaki. Avoiding to rub my teary eyes with the tip of my mud-crusted hooves, I swallow hard. Though I can’t hear the drumming over the wind, it’s raining. The cold water needles on my coat and muzzle, thrown at me by the invisible drain above my head.

Above my head… a sky like none other, a darkened yet bright twister which blue hue blasts at me even through closed eyelids. I can’t block that world from assaulting my senses.

My chest rises with a deep breath and I snap my eyes wide open.

A storm of lightning flummoxes out of the sky and crashes down. Stuck under an infinitely distant dome, a smooth featureless planetarium of bright blue, I feel tiny. No light source or specific point of origin, there’s only that blue hue, pouring down onto the landscape above and behind me.

Noise. The wind’s crashing like waves against the last few standing trees and tackles me to the ground. I scream, I think. No sound I could make reaches my ears.

My head reels, I stand up, I fall to my haunches.

I am inside the Wall.

I struggle, beaten down by the irresistible force of the elements. I can see the houses of Ponyville. Though cascading with water, they seem eerily intact. I can still see smoke rising with difficulty from a few chimneys. As if the storm has started mere seconds prior and its rage hasn’t yet attacked the paint job.

I get to my hooves and turn. I need out. Panting, I take a step towards the edge of the dome that circles the chaos that’s eating Ponyville. To go back to where I came from.

One step, two steps, three… and jump! But nothing happens. I can’t move back, no matter how hard I try. I’m stuck in place, my hooves trundling in the mud as if skidding on invisible ice, with somepony holding me there to block my path.

As I am stuck in place, the dome grows, its edge hurtling outwards, eating more of the town. Everything that falls in, is brown and dirty, like me, flung around if not bolted.

I spit. I damn the wind that seems to force me back. And so I take a few steps further into the town, ready to run up and jump. But whatever I do, I can never walk back to my previous position. There is a perimeter, invisible to the eye, that keeps me in. The further I walk into Ponyville, towards the castle, the farther I am from the edge of the dome, and thus trapped.

There is no way back.

Each step away is a step I can’t retrace.

I start running around, to find a hidden way to reach the Wall. A small canyon between two large boulders, a trunk as a runway, I jump again and again. And everytime there is that invisible wall that holds me back. Everytime I crash where I started, sucked back towards the center of this whole ordeal.

The Castle of Friendship.

I’m angry, unable to make my way back, I can only turn around and run to the source that seems damn insistent on keeping me trapped.

By its size, the castle stands out over the range of abandoned houses. At the centre of the dome it shines. I expect the blue tinge that covers my surrounding but instead the orangest of light covers the eerie landmark. A near-white blast of light, a lightning bolt in a round semi-sphere. All stands immobile around it. Like stuck in a photographic frame, a reddish twister of wind and black clouds has come to a stop, its whirls paused around the castle’s spire.

The wind now sounds a lot more like a high-pitched scream to my ears.

“Twilight!” I call.

I look away from the castle and back at the Wall behind me. The edges of an even greater number of houses start peeking past its threshold.

I try again. I lift my hoof and push towards the Wall’s innard. As expected, something repels me. Like forcing two unfriendly magnets towards each other, if my hoof was one of them.

There’s no other solution. I must find Twilight.

I run for the castle.

The further I run away from the Wall, the lighter I feel. And with the pressure in my chest lifting, so does the blue hue blanketing everything.

Snapped trees go from blue to midnight black to brown as if they were regaining their colors as I rush past them. The brook I jumped by. The greying walls of an empty concrete shack. Everything I near regains its natural demeanour.

The gate of the castle, from afar looking like Lapislazuli, turns gold once more, and I step inside.

The sound of the wind, that first a single monotone whail, does turn into a distinct set of screams.

Twilight, Twilight, Twilight!

Starlight, help!

My heart grips like in a vice. I press forward in the alleyways inside of the castle’s perimeter. I cross the left-open inner gate and finally reach the inside of the castle. Left, right, up a staircase, up another, down a corridor after a bend to the large room from where I hear the screams coming.

I ram through an ornate door left ajar. Inside is a lab.

A lab hosting a hurricane. Magic. Arched lightning, fire, runes written on a smooth raised slab of rock. Burning papers, torn books, shattered chemistry bottles and stuff. And hovering in the middle near the ceiling, a hole.

Black, terrifying, like looking down a bottomless pit. It's a sphere, not unlike the Wall, but smaller. Sucking everything in with a coldness that transfixes me.

Only after a moment do I catch myself from stepping further in. The trap from which Twilight is racing. Aloft, flapping her wings like mad to escape the devouring entity. And around her, an envelope of magic, that of Starlight.

The unicorn sweats bullets, all four hooves gripped to a crystal chair anchored to the ground.

I dare not step further into the room, sensing that another step forward and I’d be lifted off the ground and flung into the hole. Starlight wouldn’t have enough magic to hold me.

I could feel the attraction, an invisible force pushing against my withers and pulling at my face.

"What’s happening!?" I scream.

Starlight snaps towards me, fear bloodshot in her eyes. I stumble back in surprise.

"Go find help!" she barks, yelping as one of her hooves slips away from the chair. "I can't hold much longer."

"Much longer?" I mumble, then shout back, "But it's been three months, Starlight!"

Her eyes grow wide with realization, then dart around for something.

"I can't..." Twilight heaves, sweat tearing across her, taking off her disheveled, wet mane to race towards the hungry monster behind.

"The book!" Starlight calls out to me, managing to spark a sliver of magic that sends a book flying towards me and missing by a few feet. To get to it, I will need to walk further into the lab. "Write for help! Fast!"

“I…”

"It's magical! Write quickly!"

"Starlight!" Twilight screams, her voice shrill and distorted.

A grunt of pain escapes Starlight's lips. Another layer of magic erupts from her horn to help her friend.

"Sweetie Belle," Twilight howls between two pants, her whole body nearly glowing white, "Please, get help!"

I turn around, ready to move back up the stairs. But like the strange force outside, I cannot retrace my steps, locked in place by that invisible wall. There is only the chaotic room left for me to deal with. No retreat.

I wonder if it's the same for them. Stuck in place where they are, only able to magick themselves steady, so they wouldn't be dragged into the black pit above their head. That blob of darkness.

I hesitate, head low to dodge furniture and shards of glass. Squinting hard at the leatherbound book, my horn fires. A ray of light links my horn to it, to drag it to me, away from being closer to the terrifying hole in the ceiling. I don’t want to, can’t, step further. It’s scary. I don’t understand what’s happening.

There is only danger.

But I can't move the book. And it dawns on me. If I can't move away from the bottomless, otherworldly gullet, neither can anything else.

There is no escape from the pit. You can go round, but all paths lead back to it.

I exchange a quick glance with Starlight, then Twilight. I am crying, so are they.

An invisible claw snuggly tightened around my neck holds my breath back. I’m scared. But in spite of it all, I yell. And jump. And scream some more.

I slide across the room towards the book, feeling my coat and hide pulling at my flesh as the pit’s attraction grows stronger, closer, hungrier. I look around for a flying pen.

Here! A crayon box swiping around in the whirlwind. I snap it within my magic.

I hug the box, the book, fighting the wind to open the pages. One at random. It will do.

I'm sweating. Everything's wind, screams, and effort. And fear.

Quick, quick. I have to be quick. I bite on a crayon, snatching three others in my magic. And write down a word. All letters at one.

H E L P