• Published 20th Sep 2012
  • 973 Views, 4 Comments

Curses - Kim Kimera Kimes

The ponies of the mountain town of Rocky Slopes suddenly find themselves victims of a curse.

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Day 2 - Honey Rock

A glimmer of steel shines in the faint light, a pony breathes heavily, his sweat rolls down his brow into his eyes, causing him to blink. He heaves his tool of destruction and brings it down with force. A satisfying crunch is heard and small objects roll at his hooves. He smiles as he sees a little shimmer from them. He heaves his tool again, when he hears somepony calling for him.

“Oooi~! Honey Rock!” A light cuts through the darkness of the tunnel, a couple of ponies following it. “Hey Honey, you are the last of your team to leave!”

The pony called Honey Rock, picks up one of the shimmering rocks at his hooves and turns to his co-workers. “There seems to be a vein here fellas, I just struck a bit of ore.” He says as he throws the stone in the mostly empty mine cart. He grabs the saddlebags that lay crumbled against the wall and shoves his pickaxe into it, noticing a small crack in its steel.

“Alright children, you may play now, I’m leaving,” he chuckles as he strides past the other ponies. Sounds of metal and stone echo around them, feeding his familiarity with the mine’s many tunnels in the cacophony that is forming around him. Sometimes a suspicious creak from the wooden supports can be heard, but not today. He walks up the slanting path, thinking little of it, his mind being in other places.

It was the second day of the storm and it would be at his fiercest. He already got materials from the hardware shop to strengthen his own beehive, but he can’t help it but worry about his little bees. Still, he himself has to brave the storm. He found out he is low on edibles, unless you count ketchup with crackers a meal worth to be called dinner.

Honey startles from his thoughts as his view turns from dark rock to metal. He looks up to the elevator, a large contraption designed to bring miners down and to bring the ore they harvest up. But now his shift is over, he will be taken upwards. It feels kind of odd, he thinks as he walks into the elevator. He pretty much lives for this mine, expanding it, chipping away at the rocks and his years. Rocks and bees, it runs in the family it seems.

Honey Rock has been raised on a bee farm which is a family trade a large part of his family runs all over Equestria. He and his little brother were taught all the little things about bees, mostly due to a lot of pai-…trial and error. Hay, he was stung so many times he has become completely immune to the bees poison. But unfortunately, as the two brothers grew older, only one became necessary, and the younger of the two ended up chosen. Thus Honey took up another family trade; mining. And he liked it. Even though he worked in a group, there was something about the mine that had a certain solitude, yet there was also a camaraderie with his fellow miners, if he at least stopped his tunnelvision mining every once in awhile. Heck, even his cutie mark, a honeycomb with a pickaxe, reflected this.

The elevator rattled as its gears pushed it upwards, from the darkness of the shaft back into the light as its metal screeched to a halt. The mine had been carved and dug out through several decades with ponies diving deeper and deeper into the mountain. It is already planned to make an exit in the side of the mountain once the mine reaches that point. But next to the crudeness of the mine there was also this place; the cavern. A cave carved out by Mother nature, by the elements and Father Time. An arduous process that probably took centuries to millennia to fulfil. And Honey Rock couldn’t give a damn about it.

He could care little that the cavern was older then his entire family history, nor that ancient caveponies had lived here. If he could he would take a rag and wipe out the drawings of cave ponies gathering food, fighting off behemoths far larger then they were and enjoying a game of rock, hoof and club-to-the-face.

But as he walked past a large mural of a celebration he heard a odd sound, then it dawned on him he recognized it. Trotting through the cavern the came to the source; an whistling, old, dark yellow-coated, gray-maned blowhard called Arty Fact.

It may be an understatement, but Arty Fact and Honey aren’t the best of friends. Arty is an archaeological hobbyist with a tendency of holding up the mining with his babble about preserving the graffiti! Though he calls it an important pre-modern society monument that describes how the cave ponies live. Phooey! All I wanna know is if there is ore behind that “monument”, Honey Rock thought.

Arty Fact just laid the last hoof on a large piece of glass in front of one of the cave paintings as Honey Rock came trotting in. “I see you are vandalizing the mine again,” Honey sneered.

Arty Fact looked away from his work towards Honey Rock. “I suppose you don’t have an artistic sense of any sort, Mr. Rock?” Arty replied calmly.
“Ha, like hell I do!” he replied back. “I don’t give a pebble about *cough* priceless artworks in their big fancy museums. A waste of space if you ask me. All I need to find beautiful is a nice big flank.”

Arty Fact gave Honey a blank stare in return. “The reason I am placing this is to protect the paintings from collateral damage and harmful gasses.”
The miner grinned and chuckled; “Oh, I got some harmful gasses right-”
“Oh, spare me,” the archaeological hobbyist was quick to interrupt. “I will not allow you buffoons-,” he stomps on the ground as he underlines “buffoons” but does that with his bandaged leg. He flinches and clenches his teeth as he makes little noises waiting for the pain to wear off.

Honey Rock sighs and trots past the old pony. The two often end up in an argument and once it had gotten to the point the sheriff had to step in to prevent worse between them. This time he would like to enjoy his day without it being ruined by the fool’s antics of Arty Fact.

A minute later, a large storm blew through his orange mane, small rain drops touching his face. Thunder rolled across the skies and its dark clouds, appearing just after lightning flashes, does it begin to roar. The towns buildings shield him from the full force of the tempest but still gales of wind can blow a pony over if he or she is not careful. Honey saw it happen through the hardware shop windows, a big gale toppled SilkShine over just after the mailpony left. It was that she scrambled back on her hooves immediately, that Honey Rock didn’t come out to help.

Trotting through the town, in the areas where the wind had lulled down, a pony could see some of the daily life still present. Several shops were open, for which Honey Rock would be grateful of as soon as he would get home. Yet something caught his ear, besides the blaring winds he could hear two mares chatting. As he trotted by he saw Sky Blue and Silent Song holding a grave conversation while their children laid on the ground looking very unenergetic. His eye spotted something, he halted in his trot.

He heard from the husband of Silent Song that his wife had dislocated her leg so it was just a bit weird to see her walking around with a bandaged leg. But what really struck him was that the two Pegasus sisters, Cerulean Gale and Azure Bliss, had their cutiemarks! Yet they didn’t seemed so enthusiastic about it. On closer inspection it looked like Cerulean was leering angrily at her sister Azure and the young colt whose name he didn’t know. In turn Azure Bliss seemed to actively avoid her sisters look, with fear plastered on her face. At the distance he was standing, the wind drowned out most of the conversation, making it unable to be followed. Not wishing to enter an atmosphere that grim, Honey Rock resumed his trot.

During his trot Honey noted that not only that situation, but the whole town seemed grim. Mostly due to the thick cloudlayer hanging above it, and the wind chasing everypony indoors. The fact that the town’s houses were made out of not-brilliant-colored stone and wood darkened by time didn’t help either. Too bad, when you see the town from a good point, its many elevations and various styles of houses are quite a sight to behold, especially with the mountain as background.

A few minutes later, he entered his little abode he called home. It was not one of the bigger houses, but for the bachelor he was, it was good enough. After emptying the mailbox, containing two letters, he unloaded his saddlebags of their contents and set off again. The hardware shop was just a few minutes away, with the shop’s bell ringing as he entered the door. Honey Rock came here often for mining supplies and sitting down with the owner, Tough Nails, to drink a beer at the bar. “Good day!” he heard from within the store followed by a groan and wood scraping.

Honey walked through the isles of various wares, big and small and found the earth pony at the back, shoving a couple of crates around. “Hey there Honey Rock, Lofty brought these crates in yesterday, but they are quite heavy. Would you mind lending a hoof?” Tough Nails asks strained. After a simple sound of approval, Honey helped out getting the various sized crates on their place. He let out a sigh of relief as he lifted a crate filled with nuts and bolts on top of another crate.

Tough Nails sits down, wiping the sweat of his brow. “Thanks Honey, this would have broken my back at some point.” He wiggles around a bit until a distinct crack can be heard. “Ah, that felt nice. So what can I help you with?”

“I need a new pickaxe,” says Honey Rock bluntly, “The old one has a crack in it that is sure to wreck it soon.”

“Alrighty then, I shall place an order for you. Anything else you need?” Asks Tough Nails as he gets a clipboard from behind the counter.

Honey Rock takes a moment to think, letting his mind wander through all of the shops wares, the nails, the hammers, the bolts and the Thingamadingies. “Nope, I got nothing else for ya, Tough.” After a goodbye to the owner, Honey left the store.

A flash of lightning lit the skies, startling the Yellow Earth pony. He thought the weather Pegasi would keep the storm contained. But it is possible that bolt slipped from them. He had no clue how the Pegasi did all that weather making stuff. A roar from his stomach brought him back from his contemplations.

After a swift trot he arrived at the grocery shop, which seemed to be closed. Honey was taken aback by this until he noticed that the sign still said “open”. After peeking through the glass, he could see the store’s owner Golden Greens talking with Lofty Dreams. With the weight of worry fallen from his heart, Honey Rock opened the door and stepped inside.

“Hello Honey,” replied Lofty Dreams upon his entry. The reddish Pegasus frowned a bit, glancing at the ground before continuing; “You know, no matter how often I say your name, it still feels weird.”

“Yes I know,” Honey responds. His name has often been a point of interest and jokes, with being the nickname wives call their husbands. He was told by his mother that she thought it was a sweet name. “I assume my father and his sense of humor had a hoof in choosing my name,” he grimaced.

“We all have or had some issue with our names. Isn’t that right, Mr. colorful?” Lofty stares at Golden Greens, waiting for a reaction.

“Har Har, Mr. head-in-the-clouds.” The green coated earth pony responded. “Here are your groceries, now scoot!” he jokes. With a grin Lofty puts his groceries into his saddlebags, mutters a goodbye and launches himself into the storm. “So Honey,…it sounds indeed strange to say. So Mr. Rock, where can I help you with?”

Five minutes later, Honey was back outside braving the storm with a saddlebag full of fruits, vegetables, bread and cheese.

The wind blasting seemingly worse then ever, several efforts had to be made to avoid falling on the muddy ground. Normally Honey wouldn’t have this much trouble keeping himself upright. But as a mighty roar from his rumbling stomach sounded, he only could think about the meal he would be preparing when he would come home. Then he heard a familiar voice chatting with two mares. As he looked in the alleyway, he saw the two mares, Sky Blue and Silent Song, talking with Arty Fact.

“…with the ancient history of the cave, there may still be spirits lingering, trying to protect their home. That is why your foals may have gotten such accursed Cutie Marks,” ends the old stallion his talk. Silent Song and Sky Blue look alarmed after what he had told them, and shift glances to their foals.

Honey groans silently. He absolutely dislikes Arty Fact for trying to close the mine for those stupid paintings. But now it seems he has mixed his desire for that with something severe. With great reluctance Honey walks towards the group. “What are you trying to blame the mine now for Arty?” the old stallion turns around to face the newcomer to the group, but for he speaks Honey cuts in; “I heard something about ‘accursed Cutie Marks’?” he asks while looking at every pony present.

Silent Song spoke up, her voice wrapped in fright and worry. “My son…ever since he got his cutiemark, things started to get broken, without reason! The cabinet doors, the floor tiles…although it wasn’t broken, my leg got dislocated ever since he got that mark!” she sniffs, glancing at her foal. The young colt lies shivering on the ground, trying to stay away from Azure Bliss to not hurt her, while evading the anger from Cerulean Gale as she starts shouting swears that would make a miner blush.

“Cerulean Gale! Watch that mouth of yours, or I will have to wash it out with soap if you keep that up!” The filly’s mother shouts to her foal. Cerulean looks angry at her mother, but after staring for a few seconds she decides to lay down quietly. But that doesn’t keep the blue filly from throwing angry looks around to her sister and friend.

Sky Blue sighs and turns around to face Honey again. “She is like that since last night when she got her Cutie mark, together with her sister.” Her head droops, a moment of silence before she talks again, her voice cracking. “She is angry at everypony and everything, she hates the things she loved before and hates the things she hated even more.” Sky starts to sob as she continues talking. “She has become selfish and refuses to listen to most of what we say, and if we start to argue she throws the nastiest of words around! …The things she called her father…and I,…a filly...shouldn’t do that,…she…she shouldn’t know those words…” Sky Blue fell on the ground and broke down in a stream of tears. Silent Song hugged her friend, to comfort her or to share their pain, it was hard to say.

The mood had turned from grave into outright depressing and sad. Honey Rock had no words to comfort these mares with and even if he had, he still would have no desire to speak such useless words. Those words, nor himself, simply couldn’t help them.

“And that’s why we should close the mine.” Arty Fact interrupted the mood.

Something snapped, it was not audible, yet it was loud. It was a tiny string, worn down and patched up through and over time, a string named “patience”. All the sadness that had been flooding in this conversation, was like fuel to the flames. Honey Rock turned to Arty Fact, the helplessness his eyes conveyed earlier were now replaced with anger. “BUCK YOU, ARTY!” His shout felt wrong and out of place, but he didn’t mind it for the moment. All he could think about was to verbally destroy Arty Fact. “You have always had it out for the mine, while many ponies make their livelihood because of it!” He steps forward designed to intimidate, it works as the sudden anger makes the old pony step back a pace. “To add insult to injury, you dare to distort these mares tales of woe into a perverted reason to close the mine!?” For a moment it was silent, the mares looking shocked at the unfolding scene.

Arty frowned at the last shout. “You think I am just making this up, youngster?” Arty Fact said with a hint of aggression. “I am serious here!” the old stallion took a step forward with his good leg. “There are spirits in that cave, long before you were born was that already established!” he walks right up to Honey Rock. “Now you may not believe in spirits, but don’t force your beliefs on to others, brat!”

“Still…,” Honey started.

“Now the foals of these mares have a serious problem and currently we have no clue what the source is of these cursed cutie marks, correct Honey?” Arty stares grimly at Honey until he hums an approving sound. “Well, one possible source of such things is the cavern. And for your information I am not saying that because I want it closed but because I know a lot about it. Hence, I say we close the cavern until we can rule it out being the source of these curses.” he ends his monologue with relaxing his stance and even producing a very slight smile towards Honey.

Honey was disturbed by this. He hated the guy with a passion, that it took all of his willpower not to hit him, and now he has to let the mine get closed as well!? He would had responded immediately if it wasn’t for the slight hesitation that the guy made sense, how unwillingly he was to admit that.

Then a small flash of light and a cold feeling emanated from his hindquarters. Suddenly, Honey’s legs gave out causing him to knock into Arty Fact and then on to the ground. Surprised, Honey looked at what caused it all. It was not something he could have expected. His cutie mark, a honeycomb and pickaxe, was gone. In its place was a cutiemark involving a number of small hoofprints placed in a chaotic fashion on his flank.

“What in Celestia’s name is going on here?” said Silent Song startled.

“I am wondering that too, Madame Song,” he brought his hoof to his snout to rub the aching away but is hoof wasn’t moving. Instead his hind leg was moving awkwardly. Not understanding what was going on, he stood up. Or he intended too but as he moved his legs they were sprawled all over the place. As he tried to lift one leg, an other leg obeyed, he tries to place one leg, the other goes in a frenzy. Arty Fact, Silent Song and Sky Blue look increasingly worried as this goes on. Honey grows desperate, he tries to stand, he flops around, he tries to jump, he sprawls out on the ground, he wants to lift himself up, he topples over. He realizes what his new cutie mark brought to him. He can’t stand, he can’t walk, he can’t run, he can’t mine, he can’t hug, he can’t do anything anymore!

Scared he calls out; “Arty, help me!”