• Published 15th Nov 2020
  • 124 Views, 2 Comments

Speedwriting Anthology - AuroraDawn

A collection of my submissions for Quills and Sofas Speedwriting contests

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Sprout (Nov 10 2020 - "Just breathe, we'll be okay!")

“You… whe… with the… And then… so…”

Caramel found that as his tongue dried, his coat suffused with dampness. He was having difficulty talking with his mouth suddenly turning to sandpaper.

Next to him, Applejack giggled, her boyish ‘gahyuk’s which normally melted Caramel doing nothing to him now.

“Are… Are you sure?” Caramel asked, tilting his head as he looked his love in her eyes. The greenness of them distracted him, and he thought of that old saying about grass and the other side. Well, whoever had first said that didn’t know Applejack. No grass was as lustrously green as her eyes.

Applejack gave a small nod, not speaking in an effort to contain the overflowing excitement she held. “Mhm,” was all she could get out, and she looked into Caramel’s eyes.

In the past, when Caramel had looked into his wife’s eyes and compared them to a summer day, he had always wondered what Applejack had thought of his cobalt irises. Right now, though, he was too busy hyperventilating.

“But I thought… you couldn’t… from the working, and, and we had tried for so long, and, we had that huge talk about it, and, well… Really?”

“Yes, Caramel,” Applejack said, her exuberance marred by a small frown. “You ain’t upset, are you? I thought you’d be happy.”

Caramel brought his hooves to Applejack’s cheeks and squeezed them, and brought his nose to hers. “I am beyond happy. This is wonderful news! You’re pregnant! We’re pregnant! Why do they say ‘we’ are? I don’t know but it feels so good to say! I just didn’t think this day would come!”

Applejack’s laughter was distorted by her squished face, and Caramel let her go and pranced around the room. “You’re one silly feller, you know that,” she said.

“Of course I’m silly! That’s why you married me! You’re pregnant! We’re going to have a foal! We’re going to be-” He stopped mid-prance and cartwheeled onto his face. Applejack jumped to him and looked down at him. Her husband was catatonic, on his back, forelegs limp.

“You alright there darlin’?”

“...We’re gonna be parents, AJ.” He was staring a thousand miles off, and did not catch the verdant sheen of her eyes this time. “AJ, we’re gonna be parents. Parents, AJ, parents. Like of a foal, parents, we have to parent, we’ll be parents parenting and-”

His yellow chest began to rise and fall rapidly, the shallow fluttering synced to his flaring nostrils. He felt like he was being choked, but from inside. His lungs were full of molasses and somepony had clearly come along and dropped a bag of rocks onto his ribs.

“Pah, parents… Puh… Guh…” The gleam from his eyes started to dim and Applejack curled up onto the farmhouse floor next to him, wrapping one hoof over his breast and using the other to caress his brown mane.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. Just breathe, darlin’. With me now, in… and then out… there we go, again…”

Her soft cooing seemed to reach Caramel’s mind from a million miles away and he put all his focus into listening to the apple-scented breath blowing into his ear. After a moment, the panic subsided, and he moved to get back onto his hooves. Applejack flexed and stopped his rise. He squirmed--not with much effort--and found the farmer’s strong leg had clearly affixed him to the floorboards. This gave him comfort.

“Nuh-uh, my caramel sweet,” she giggled, “Lay here with me a moment longer, wouldya?”

Caramel closed his eyes and nodded. His throat was still dry, and he felt that to speak would somehow take away the magic in the country-filly voice that brought him so much comfort and joy. He breathed deep with her again.

“Now, what’n tarnation got into you?” She did not chastise him. She kept her sing-song speech, but could not hold back the tinge of worry she had. “I ain’t seen you act up like that before. Talk to me, hun.”

Caramel swallowed hard. He kept his eyes closed, letting the aroma of dirt and apples replace his vision for now. He was an earth pony, and always had an affinity for earth. Applejack, he found, somehow embodied the earth itself. He supposed that was why he fell in love with her.

That, and her giggle.

“We’re…” He took his time to get it out, feeling the anxiety rise from his stomach, but carried on as it stopped where the warmth of Applejack’s leg touched his heart. “Applejack, we’re going to be parents. Of a foal.”

“That is the usual plan with pregnancies, yup.”

“Are we… Are we ready? I mean, you could probably raise a school of children like a field of hay, all perfect in their own way… Am I ready? I know we had been trying for so long, and I really wanted a foal of our own, but now that it’s actually happening…”

He opened his eyes, and found himself lost in a lush, rolling meadow, but then Applejack blinked and he was back.

“Eventually you won’t be able to do all the farm work, and I try to help out but I know I can’t run the Acres nearly as well as you can, and then what will we do? And what about actually raising them? What if the other colts and fillies won’t talk to them? And what if they won’t talk to the other colts and fillies? What if we parent them too hard? Not hard enough?” Caramel rested his head on the floor, staring at the ceiling now. “What if…”

“Well now,” Applejack huffed with exaggerated indignation. “There’s a lot in that there little rant o’ yours to unpack. First of all, raisin’ children ain’t nothing like running a farm. I pretty much raised Apple Bloom, and it took Granny and Big Mac’s full time help with both the farm and her, and lemme tell you, it still weren’t easy.”

Caramel shirked at her words. The tone was caring and compassionate, but the content of them scared him.

“However,” she said, turning his head back to her. He tripped and fell into her eyes again. “It was tough, yes, but it weren’t impossible. And now I have practice and we are both adults and we both have a group of friends that would travel to the end of the world and back in time and through Tartarus itself to help us if we get stuck.”

Caramel smiled meekly, and the urge to breathe faster than a rabbit subsided. “Of course, you’re right.”

“O’course I am,” she laughed, and stood up, releasing her iron grip on her husband. “We’ll be okay. You hear me? We’ll be okay. Say it back to me now.” She glared at him playfully.

“We’ll be okay.”

“Darn tootin’ we will. Now get up. I need your help.”

“What do you need, dear?” Caramel asked as he got to his hooves. They wobbled slightly, but he stayed on all four.

“I need you to help me figure out where we’ll put the crib.”

There was a thump, and Applejack turned around to find her Caramel sweet, out cold on the floor. She sighed, and lay back down with him.

“I suppose we can wait one more day for that,” she laughed, and laid her head on his chest.