• Published 5th Apr 2020
  • 2,183 Views, 140 Comments

Ponid-21 - Cadenzel Washington



What starts out as a simple medical trial, becomes something much stranger as the patients notice some odd symptoms like horns and wings...

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The Fourth Day (Enter the Magic Meeting Room)

Twilight and her herd of heroes marched up to the summit. There stood the villain they had been tracking. Finally, all of his machinations would come to an end here!

“We’ve finally tracked you down, Warlock of the Plague! Your miasma of death shall hinder this land no longer!” Twilight shouted defiantly. “My friends and fellow countrymen are here to defeat you!”

The Warlock cackled. “Oh? You honestly think you can crush a disease? It cares not for what a person thinks. It is an unflinching, uncaring force of nature! You cannot possibly deal with something that has no heart!”

Twilight winced and shook her head. “Any obstacle can be overcome with the right friends and the right knowledge and I happen to know that I have both of those, right here!”

“Hmm, if you are so confident then come and face me. Show me your resolve and your strength. I am eager to see what the power of ‘friendship’ can really do.” The Warlock mocked, clearly unconvinced at Twilight’s boast.

Twilight turned to her five friends. “This is it! Is everypony ready to take him on?” Her friends voiced their agreement.

“This warlock is a darn evil jerk and we gotta stop ‘em!” Applejack piped up.

“Heh, yeah! He’s totally toast! He’ll be flat on his butt in no time flat!” Rainbow Dash added.

“I...I don’t want him to hurt anyone again.” Fluttershy quietly chimed in.

“Darling, he’s a ruffian who will be dealt with swiftly.” Rarity sagely nodded.

Twilight grinned as she heard encouragement from her friends and turned to Pinkie Pie who hadn’t said anything.

“So, Pinkie, are you ready to do this?” Twilight asked.

“Well yeah! But I do have one question.” Pinkie Pie said as she tapped a hoof to her chin.

“Hmm? What’s that?” Twilight wondered.

“You coming to my party, Penn?” Pinkie asked.

“What the?” Twilight reeled back, confused.

I opened my eyes.

The Fourth Day

I grunted as I woke up from another dream filled with those weird horses again. Was that a TV show I watched at some point? I pondered to myself. Hrm, no I think I would have remembered something like that with colorful characters like that. Still, I dreamed about them two days in a row. There’s gotta be some connection to this vaccine and those dreams.

I moved up off of my bed and decided to do a run through on my body, just in case I felt something different about it today compared to previous days. I still had a dull sensation in my forehead but I was used to it now and it didn’t feel like much of a problem. The hands and feet felt a bit more stiff, with my toes feeling like they were just one solid mass. It was all still toes and feet down there, but the sensations seemed to all blend together.

There was something new from yesterday though; I could feel a soreness in my shoulder blades. I thought back to my conversation with Will and how he mentioned that he had some pain in his shoulder blades. I confidently nodded to myself, feeling better knowing I wasn’t the only one having to deal with this symptom. I felt like I was starting to get used to all these different conditions happening to me.

That confidence evaporated as soon as I put my feet to the ground.

My balance felt very off from how it was yesterday. My natural stance felt different than it would have normally. I looked down at my feet and I was stunned to see myself with the flats of my feet angled to the ceiling, my calcaneus raised up, free from the ground with my entire balance hinging on my phalanges...or to put it in layman’s terms, I was stuck in “Tippy Toe Mode” and I didn’t know why.

It was a bizarre sight to behold for sure. There was nothing forcing me to take this stance and I had only just gotten out of bed, so this is the stance my body thought would be “natural” for me. I decided to force myself back down unto the flats of my feet and put my heel on the ground. I was able to do it, but I could tell my body wanted to revert to getting up on my toes. I grumbled. As if I didn’t have enough problems with walking around before. I snarked to myself.

There wasn’t much I could do about it, so I decided to get changed, going through my morning routine, ignoring the bizarre sight of me looking like I’m wearing invisible high heels. I put on my shirt and felt it was less tight than it was yesterday and seemed to be a little bigger, though not substantially so. After putting on my pants, I felt something inside one of the pockets. I pulled out a piece of paper and looked it over.

Ah, yes. I nodded to myself. Meghan and her party. She was wanting to have a little get-together with all of the different patients here. Eh, it’s not like I had anything better to do today.

I looked back at the note for reference. The invite said that we’d be meeting up in the Recreation Room in Side Room B...though thanks to the sheer amount of doodles on this thing, it was a bit harder to get that information from this note. Meghan is very...eccentric, but I’m glad some of us are taking this situation well. No one I met yesterday seemed explicitly uncomfortable with all this but some of them might have been hiding it well. Guess it’s time to see what kind of “party” Meghan has in mind. I left my room and headed for the recreation room.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I opened the doors to the Recreation Room once more. The area seemed about as crowded as it was yesterday though Darnel was no longer playing games in the back. I scanned the area for this side room that we were apparently meeting at today. Sure enough, there was an unassuming door with a name plate next to it saying “Side Room B” on it.

I made my way over and placed my hand on the handle. I hesitated in opening it, thinking about what exactly Meghan had in store. She’s a feisty extrovert. Who knows what she’s got in mind for this meetup. I took a deep breath and sighed. Well, it’d be rude to reject her invitation...even though I never really said yes to this in the first place. I shake my head. Well, if it IS a bad time, I’ll just find an excuse to leave, no problem. I firmly nod to myself and open the door.

What lay before me...was an empty room.

Oh come on, I can’t be the first one here! I groaned. It always sucks to be the first one, because then you’re just twiddling your thumbs until something interesting happens.

“Oh boy, I hate being the first one at a party too.” A voice uttered behind me.

I spun around to see Meghan behind me along with a small entourage of people. I recognized Nathan as well as Darnel from yesterday, but there was another man with them who was new to me. His double eyes were one hazel and one bright seafoam green. Meghan pats me on the head and smiles.

“Wow Penn, you must have been really excited to have come so early,” She states as she moves past me into the room itself. I shake my head and go on inside with the rest of the group. The room seemed to be a hybrid of a meeting room and a hangout room. There was a long table on one side with plush chairs arranged around it, while the other side of the room had a flat screen TV and a set of couches arranged for optimal viewing. There was a small nook for brewing coffee and a mini fridge for assorted drinks. There was also a little desk that seemed to be filled with an assortment of office supplies like notepads, pens, tape and other such nicknacks. All in all, it was something we could easily make into our own little corner of this place.

Meghan wasted no time in getting comfortable, plopping herself down in one of those big, soft chairs near the table. “Aaaaah, sweet cushiony goodness!” she said gleefully. She then beckoned to me to sit down. “C’mon in Penn, the fake leather is fine!”

I grin and roll my eyes slightly as I get comfortable and soon everyone else follows suit with Meghan being to my left and the new guy on my right. “So,” I begin to speak once everyone is settled down. “I’d like to thank you all for joining me in the magic meeting room.”

Meghan tilted her head. “Heeeeeeey, I’m the one who planned this whole thing!”

“Yeah, but I am the one sitting at the end of the table, and that if movies have taught me anything, the person sitting at the end is supposed to be the guy in charge and well, I’m sitting at the end.” I retorted. “But hey, you’re right. You set up this whole meet and greet. So, what exactly did you wanna do with this party?”

Meghan perked up. “Well, for this meet and greet, I’d like us to...meet and greet!”

“What a shocker.” Darnel sarcastically piped up.

“I know, right?” Meghan unironically responded. “It always seems like Meet and Greets are just an excuse to do job networking or to drink Mimosas at 9AM. No no, I want to get to know everyone here! I can start us off. Hey! My name is Meghan and I signed up for this trial because I was in between jobs since finishing my tour of duty in the navy, nice to meet you all!”

I raised my eyebrow at that. I never really took Meghan as someone to join the navy. Maybe she needed more order in her life because she seems like a free spirit? Or maybe she’s just fully embracing being able to relax now that she’s out from naval duty? Either way, that's not exactly something I expected out of her.

My thoughts were disrupted as she turned towards me. “Now that I’ve gone, it’s your turn!”

“Ah, yeah.” I readjusted myself in the chair. “Well, my name is Penn. I’m an artist and I hope to be an animator someday. As for why I did this trial, well, I’ll be honest, art doesn’t pay all that much. I also figured, hey, if this helps us get closer to a cure for what’s going around, doing this one thing might help everypony around the world, so I think it’s worth doing!” I nodded confidently.

As soon as I finished my little speech, I looked around and noticed everyone was looking at me with perplexed expressions, as if I had just grown a second head. They were all silent until the new guy piped up.

“Uhm...what was in that last sentence you said there?” He asked.

I frowned. “Uh, I said if this helps us get closer to a cure that can help everyone, it’s worth doing?”

“No no, you said something else in there…” He trailed off for a bit. ”I think you said 'everypony' or something?”

“That sounds like a fake word.” I quipped.

“Actually, I heard that too.” Darnel added.

“Same here.” Nathan said, bolstering the other two.

"You totally said it!" Meghan chimed in gleefully.

I grimaced and looked down slightly. Did I really say that? No, that sounds dumb. It must have been me thinking about that dream and it messing with my speech.

“Look, I had a weird dream last night, and I only woke up a little bit ago.” I defended myself. “I must have still had stuff like that on the mind.”

I swear, if I had known the effects this vaccine would do to me, I’d probably have reconsidered doing this whole thing. I thought to myself.

“Hey, we’re not making fun of you,” the new guy piped up. “We’re just wondering what’s happening, that’s all.”

“Alright. Well, that’s my intro done.” I lamented. “How about you?” I gestured back to the stranger. “Since we seem to be going clockwise here.”

“Ah, sure.” He began. “Uh hey, my name is Alex and well, I’m trying to get my degree in Graphic Design. Honestly, I just did this because I kinda just wanted to get away from my life for a few weeks. Things haven't been going all that well for me,” Alex said, letting out a heavy sigh. “Sometimes you just feel like you used to be good at something but then your situation changes and then you feel pretty useless.”

Oof, he hasn’t given any details and I can already tell he’s taking it rough, whatever it is. I thought.

“Hey!” Meghan exclaimed. “You’re among friends here, so no need to feel bad! I get it, things can be stressful and you sometimes feel like life is out of control. But guess what? We’re all in this together! If you need to talk with someone, I’m riiiiiiight here.”

Alex looked up. “Thanks Meghan, that makes me feel a bit better.” He smiled, seemingly lifted up by Meghan’s speech.

The chatter was interrupted as we heard the door opening. I looked over and saw Will and Juan entering the room. Meghan waved at them, excited to see more people.

“Hey! You’re just in time for introductions!” Meghan smiled. “Sit down!”

Will and Juan did just that, just as Nathan started to do his introduction. “Well then, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nathan, I’m a computer engineer by trade, however I also like to partake in some hobbies in my spare time. I particularly like to indulge in model kits and handicraft. I took this trial because this was around the time I was supposed to be on sabbatical. However, given the current situation, having a normal vacation was out of the question. So I signed up for this, figuring this was a much better use of my time; Helping find a cure for the greater good.”

Quite a wordsmith there, Nathan. I noted. He’s very formal and specific with his words. Maybe he comes from a higher class background or something? I pondered.

“I also…” Nathan trailed off for a moment. “I also got talked into this program by Meghan here since she didn’t want to be alone.”

“Guilty as charged!” Meghan quipped. “I couldn’t stand the idea of not having friends around!”

“Ah, so it’s friendship by necessity then?” Darnel chuckled. “I’m not complaining though, being alone in this place is not my idea of a good time. I’d rather have a buddy around who can help me punch problems in the face.” Darnel smirks and shoots me a knowing look. “Anyway, I guess it’s time for my introduction. Hey there, I’m Darnel for those of you who don’t know. Not much to say about me honestly. Just another guy who works a bit too much and loves to sleep. I’m with Alex though; this whole thing is a nice way to change things up.” He finished.

Will chuckled. “Does ‘change things up’ include trying to outrun me on the treadmill? Because you certainly tried your hardest to do that!”

“Hey, best two out of three man! I can do it!” Darnel retorted.

“Well, I look forward to it!” Will grins.

“Daaaaaang, you two seem to be really competitive.” Meghan noted.

“Well, I guess I can get carried away sometimes.” Will admitted. “And hey, that transitions pretty smoothly into my turn. Yo! I’m Will. Full-time Musician, part-time laid back hammock enthusiastic, and overall cool guy. I don’t know about all of you but I’m pretty good with how everything is going. Not a worry at all.”

The room was silent.

Will’s grin then turned to a frown. “What? I said I’m laid back. I’m just not the kind of guy who’s worried about all this.”

“Well,” I began ”I can think of a few of us who might be a little worried about this.” I point over at Juan who seemed to be a bit more reserved and sullen more than he was yesterday.

Upon seeing that even more eyes were upon him, Juan simply scrunched up even more. Meghan, seeing him a bit distressed dashed over and placed her hands on his shoulders. “Hey, it’s Juan right? I wanna start off by saying I’m sorry I surprised you in the library yesterday!”

“Surprised is certainly one word that could be used to describe it, I suppose.” Nathan retorted in a deadpan tone.

Meghan continued, undeterred. “But you’re among friends!”

Juan looked up slightly and nodded. “Uhm...thanks. I’m just...I feel a little isolated being here.”

Meghan sagely nodded. “Oh Juan, I’m pretty sure we ALL feel that way.”

“Not me.” Will retorted.

Meghan gave Will a threatening glare that said “So help me god, I will slap you” in big bold letters.

“B-but uh, I do totally understand why everyone feels that way!” Will quickly backtracked. “I get why everyone feels a bit closed in. We’re all in this box for a while and it’s a new experience.”

Meghan grinned. “And speaking of new experiences inside boxes…I...” Meghan then moves over and pulls a couple of boxes from the side cabinet in the room. “...have puzzles that need solving!” She proclaims triumphantly.

Meghan eagerly opens the large puzzle and starts hunting for all the edge pieces. One by one, everyone in the room starts doing their part in their own personal way. Seeing all those pieces in a jumbled up pile stirred up feelings within me. I felt compelled to not just solve the puzzle here, oh no. These pieces needed to be organized!

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I put my hands on my hips, a huge grin adorned my face. I was proud of what I had done.

Everyone else has different reactions ranging from impressed to dumbfounded.

“How…” Nathan began, unable to finish that thought.

“Hmm! That’s amazing!” Meghan said as she looked on in wonder.

In the span of about two and a half minutes, I had managed to arrange all the puzzle pieces and ordered them by color with a special exception to edge pieces as I knew those would be the most important. This 1000 piece puzzle would now be a snap to finish.

After a brief moment of silence, Darnel piped up. “So...are we gonna assemble the puzzle now?”

“A-Ah!” I stammer. “Yes, yes of course. Let’s get to that.” I took one of the piles I had meticulously separated and started to assemble them together.

Will took a puzzle pile and started to assemble his section. “You’ve gotta teach me that trick, Penn. That’s some wicked awesome organization-fu you have there. If I had that, I wouldn’t need to worry about having a messy room ever again!”

I stayed silent for a moment lost in thought. This has happened a few times already. I think it’s time to talk about it.

“I’m honestly not sure, but I need to ask you all an important question.” I admitted. “Have any of you felt like...you did something out of character?”

It was clear I hit upon something big with that question, since a couple of my new friends seemed caught off guard by my inquiry.

“Uh...did I freak some people out? I didn’t mean to do that.” I apologize.

“Nah, don’t be.” Will waved his hand in dismissal. “I have had that feeling a couple of times when I got here. Docs said it might be a ‘hormonal imbalance’ or somethin’ like that. I’m not totally sure I buy that but I do think it’s a side effect more than anything.”

“I’m not sure if this falls under the same changes you’re thinking of,” Nathan began. “But I have noticed an increase in regards to my grooming and physical appearance. It’s not that I necessarily neglected it, but I certainly have a much more acute awareness of it now.”

“I just thought I would be extra friendly!” Meghan added. “I never thought of it like that.”

“Y-you don’t think…” Juan meekly piped in. “That were all unwitting test subjects in some twisted experiment where they do...h-horrible things?”

Darnel immediately gave a disgusted groan. “Heck no. I can put that fear to bed right now, Juan. You’re not in a mad doctor’s crazy lab. There’s so many logistical and moral issues that would need to be wrestled with and people you’d have to keep quiet...basically, it wouldn’t be worth it to do something like that. No one could feasibly get away with that.”

“Uhm...thanks?” Juan replied, looking unsure of how to process Darnel’s reply.

“There is still something odd about this though.” Alex added. “We’ve all got heterochromia going on but the doctor I had didn’t seem all that confused by it. In fact, he seemed to be almost be expecting it. Now, what kind of crazy vaccine have they got where the expected side effects include color changing eyes?”

“That...is a little odd.” I admitted.

I hadn’t really thought about it much before but it was true. The things I was feeling were very unusual and I had never heard of people having side effects like this. I’d never seen eyes change, or people walking while standing on their toes. There was definitely something more going on here.

“I have an idea.” I stated. “We should meet up here and keep a record of all the things that are happening to us. We can consider it a support group. We can make it a real magic meeting room! In fact...” I looked over toward the little office supply desk and rummaged through it, taking out a pen, some paper and a roll of tape. I write something down onto it in big letters and after being satisfied with what I wrote down, I moved over and placed the paper on the door. It said “MAGIC MEETING ROOM” in big bold letters, letting the world know this was going to be our little corner of this facility.

Meghan giggles and thrusts her arms in the air. “Awesome! It’s like our own little club house.”

“Yeah, our own little place. Let’s try and meet up here every day. Friends gotta stick together yeah?” I grin.

Everyone gave a myriad of agreements and positive responses. That was the best I had felt ever since I had arrived here in this place. I went back to helping out with the puzzle with renewed confidence. I knew that no matter what kind of things we would have to deal with, I knew we’d be able to face it together.

I just wasn’t prepared for what was in store for us.

Author's Note:

That's another chapter down! I know you've all been patient and you probably have a lot of questions about what's going down. Trust me, the next chapter will answer a lot of things, don't you worry.

Special Thanks to Eqlipse once again for helping me brainstorm more stuff and helping with my confidence as a writer.

I'd also like to mention I've made some small edits and clean up on my previous chapters. I do not have a consistent main editor at the moment so there are some things I may have missed the first time so I apologize for that! See you guys next week for Chapter 5!