• Published 16th Jan 2021
  • 1,072 Views, 23 Comments

My Little Sister - Shaslan



Sparkler is a lonely foal. Her parents...well, they aren't exactly around. The only patch of brightness in her life is her half-sister, Dinky Doo. She loves Dinky more than anything. If only Dinky knew Sparkler existed, then surely she'd love her too

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Chapter 2: Nightmare night

Sparkler fidgeted impatiently through the school day, itching to be away. She had planned every moment of the evening down to the finest detail. She was slow, methodical. Clever. She approached every problem as though it were her last. It was a technique that served her well in the mines, and worked just as well in the wider world.

Usually Sparkler was glad that the secondary school was separate from Cheerilee’s class of littler foals. After all, nopony wanted to be constantly tripping over the babies all the time. But today, she kept casting glances out the window of the schoolhouse at the path that led to the infants’ school. Hoping and also dreading that she would see her sister’s blonde mane bouncing past.

The painted phoenix feather burned in her bag as though it were a real one. Her own costume was wrapped around it. With no mother to help her sew it, no firelight or candles, Sparkler knew that her costume was not as wonderful as Dinky’s, but if her sister were half the pony she believed her to be, it would all be alright.

She just had to get to her.

The plan was a simple one, but Sparkler ran over it again as the bell rang for the end of the day. Rather than going straight to the gem caves as she usually did, she was heading for Dinky’s street.

Parents always let their foals go out alone on Nightmare Night. The children liked to go trick-or-treating in groups, or enjoy the festivities in the town square together. For once, Derpy Hooves would not be hovering over Dinky. All Sparkler had to do was get rid of any friends who might be tagging along, and then finally, she would have a whole evening with her sister all to herself.

It was a strange thrill to be walking towards Dinky’s house in the daylight. Usually she didn’t dare risk coming this way until after dark had fallen.

Ponies in costume were already out in dribs and drabs; not the throngs that would come out after the sunset, but they would arrive soon enough. Sparkler didn’t risk getting closer to Dinky’s cottage than the end of the street, and she made sure to lurk by the side of a building with wide eaves. She didn’t want to be visible from the air; heaven only knew what direction Derpy would fly in from.

She waited there, pressed against the cold brick wall, and time slowed to a crawl. Sparkler kept her gaze on the front door of the little cottage. Ponies passed in front of her, and a few even said hello, but she hardly registered them. At length, the sun’s last orange rays slid below the thatched rooves, and Sparkler opened her schoolbag. It was time to don her own costume.

A simple brown cassock unfurled in her hooves, and she shrugged it on. A bit of hessian rope around her waist, a Celestial Church prayerbook hanging from it, and her costume was complete. Friar Buck, or as accurate a rendition of him as Sparkler could manage. The perfect counterpoint to Dinky’s Robbin’ Hooves.

She waited again, shifting uncomfortably now from hoof to hoof as her nerves grew. Skeleton ponies and zombie ponies were everywhere now, and a vampire bat in such a realistic costume that it almost looked genuine. Foals screamed with excitement and galloped in every conceivable direction. Candy spilled from buckets and apples bobbed in barrels. Nightmare Night was beginning in earnest.

Finally, a Frankenpony moved his vast green bulk aside, and Sparkler saw the brown door swing open. Derpy Hooves was framed in the light, and Sparkler bit her lip. Please don’t come outside!

Derpy slid to one side to let Dinky’s brightly garbed form pass, and waved a fond farewell. Sparkler sagged in relief when Derpy shut the door once more. Then she pulled herself back up and hastened out from her hiding place. Time to introduce herself.

Her heart was thudding. Months of hiding, waiting and watching. Trying to find the opportunity, a moment when Derpy’s back would be turned. But the pegasus was an almost omnipresent mother. Every time Sparkler had been within a hoof’s reach of her sister, that disjointed golden glare had found her, sending her skittering back into hiding.

But not anymore. Tonight was the night they would finally be reunited.

Dinky was trotting eagerly down the centre of the road, her eyes gleaming as she drank in one spooky sight after another. Sparkler sucked in a deep breath, and then stepped squarely into Dinky’s path.

Dinky barely slowed, and skipped neatly around the edge of Sparkler’s robe. Sparkler’s eyes widened and she reached out a hoof.

“Wait!”

Dinky didn’t seem to hear her. Sparkler tried once more.

“Hey, Dinky Doo!”

That did the trick. Dinky stopped short and turned around, and her eyes widened when she saw Sparkler.

Sparkler smiled in grim satisfaction. So Dinky recognised her, at least.

“Hi there,” she said, trying to school her face into a more winning smile. “How-how’re you doing?”

Dinky shifted her hooves a little and levitated her bow a little closer to her body. “Fine, I guess.”

“I like your Robbin’ Hooves costume,” Sparkler said, and she meant it. She had liked it as soon as she had seen Dinky pointing excitedly at the illustration of the green stallion in her storybook two weeks ago.

“Oh,” Dinky said, seeming a little surprised. “Thanks. You’re Sparkler, aren’t you?” Her eyes flicked over Sparkler’s costume. “And you’re…?”

Disappointment rose in Sparkler’s throat, but she quickly pushed it down. Stay in the moment, Sparkler. “Friar Buck,” she said brightly, twisting to one side so that Dinky could see her prayerbook. “What a coincidence, right?”

Dinky’s expression brightened as she understood. “Yeah! Cool!”

Sparkler’s pulse picked up. Now was the crucial moment, the crux of her masterplan on which it all rested. “Wanna go trick or treating together? Since we have matching costumes?”

“Hmm.” Dinky thought about that for a minute. “Mummy says I'm not allowed to talk to you.”

Sparkler didn’t let the grimace show on her face. “But you already are,” she pointed out. She attempted a mischievous grin.

To her delight, Dinky returned it. “I guess I am.”

“Did…did your mum tell you that I’m your sister, too?” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Sparkler wished she had left them unsaid. It was too soon, too heavy a topic.

Dinky shrugged. “She did. But she said not all family is family. Family are the ones who are there for you, not just ponies who are related to you. Like my Dad. And you, I guess.”

It was like a kick to the stomach, and Sparkler’s breath caught. To be lumped in with him!

“I’m not like him!”

Dinky’s brows raised at the vitriol in her tone. “Okay!”

Anger coursed through Sparkler’s body. Those who are there for you? How dare that snotty little pegasus tell her sister that Sparkler hadn’t been there for her? All Sparkler had done with her life was be there for her sister. Always watching, always waiting. Always shut out by Derpy Hooves.

But she couldn’t show her fury. She couldn’t alienate her sister, not now that she finally had an inning. “I’ve tried to be there for you,” was all she said, keeping her voice carefully soft.

There was a pause.

“So…can I come trick-or-treating with you?” Sparkler asked once more.

Dinky Doo bit her lip as she thought it over. “Why aren’t you going with the older foals?”

“I wanted to go with my sister.”

Dinky nodded slowly, and then more firmly. Sparkler, biting her tongue to keep from bursting into song right then and there, fell in beside her.

After a few minutes, Sparkler finally decided that the time was right. “And guess what else?”

“What?” Dinky’s amber eyes were huge.

With her magic, Sparkler opened the flap of her satchel and levitated the feather out from her bag. “I was coming out of my house today and I found this on the path!”

Dinky seized on it. “No way!”

Sparkler laughed and relinquished the feather to her sister’s grip.

“This is exactly what I needed.” Dinky beamed as she settled the feather into her cap.

Sparkler shrugged, careful not to smile too wide. “I guess it was fate.”

Dinky beamed.

“I know a cool place we could go,” Sparkler offered, as they trotted side by side down the street.

“Where?”

Sparkler pitched her voice a little lower and tried to inject a spooky timbre to it. “A haunted house.”

Dinky’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Really!” Sparkler’s step had a little bounce to it now. It was all going just as she had planned.