• Published 24th May 2022
  • 68 Views, 4 Comments

Rock, My World - False Door

Maud Pie and Dr. Whooves unravel the mystery of Boulder's origins and fall in mutual weirdness with one another.

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Chapter 2

"It looks like oxidized bismuth," declared Maud in her even monotone as she nestled her haunches into the crest of the barren ridge. She blinked stoically out over the sunken industrial wasteland on the outskirts of Rockville. The golden hour was settling over the valley and there was always a moment in each day where the setting sun hit the brackish swamp and the oil laden waters glowed iridescent like a liquid rainbow. The whimsical colors in and of themselves weren't what excited Maud, but it was their reminding her of the elemental metal. Maud liked rocks best. Bismuth wasn't a rock or mineral, but metals, especially the hard gray ones, were also high on the list of things she liked.

"Don't you think so, Boulder?" she added, turning to her companion. Boulder, her pet rock of years, sat peacefully beside her, watching the unnatural phenomenon as the two of them did together some evenings going back home from town.

They came into Rockville every other weekday, pulling a cart packed with prime specimens and oddities of the geological variety that the Pie family had gleaned from their rock farm. Fossils, geodes, crystals with a particularly impressive formation and purity. Months ago in the fields, Maud had found a piece of petrified wood with a knothole going all the way through it. To her surprise, no one had bought it yet. While it wasn't what most ponies considered beautiful, it was amazing and unique in its own way.

She caught herself sighing in an uncharacteristic show of feelings as the sun began to dip behind the great rusty blast furnace. "Oh, it's nothing," she replied, wishing she could take back her emotional outburst, but Boulder was far too observant and never one to let a wrinkle go unnoticed.

"It's just… you're over two thousand years old. You must have felt this way before. I wish I could watch this with someone special."

She turned to him as he spoke, his rough gray complexion bathed in gold. "You are very special to me,” she clarified. “But you know what I mean. Someone I can build a life with."

"What are you saying?" she blinked. "I had… no idea you felt that way… But could we even…" A delirious warmth was welling up inside her, an overwhelming sensation she'd never felt before. In that moment it didn't matter that he was her pet, and a rock, or what her family would think. Boulder knew where she came from; he understood her better than anypony.

Maud shook her head, dismissing the rain clouds of doubt from her mind. "I don't care. It feels right." She reached down and lifted him up on her hoof to nuzzle him. "I'm so happy," she droned.

The following week was a delight. The work went slowly; the rocks were heavier. Even the sun seemed closer to medium gray. Maud began carrying her new boyfriend in her hoof instead of her pocket as she used to do, despite how it impeded her daily chores. Her sisters and parents found that she invariably vanished into thin air any moment she wasn’t occupied with rock farm tasks, stealing away to her bunk or the confines of the mine or the seclusion of the fields. She hadn’t told them yet. She didn’t know how to explain their new crystalizing love.

In their free time, they had picnics in the wastes at the edge of the fields where they would watch dust devils bloom as they were kicked up by the searing valley winds.

Their first kiss was behind the barn. He tasted like cement but with a burnt earthy overtone; it was dark and mysterious and oh so masculine. “I like the scratchy stubble,” insisted Maud, emotionlessly stroking his texture. “You make me feel like a vivacious filly again.”

On Boulder's behest, Maud lobbied to get her own room in the farmhouse apart from her two sisters, in exchange for doing more work. She and Boulder moved into the little upstairs sewing room. He now could sleep beside her on the mattress instead of his little pet bed on the floor. Things were moving so fast and it was exhilarating. They were always with each other before, but now they were always with each other while dating. For Maud, it seemed like a fantastic dream to be dating a rock, but like all dreams, it was short lived.

Things began to sour one night when Maud was reading the Rambling Rock Ridge geological survey in bed by lamplight. Boulder was laying within a snug indentation on his pillow beside her when he decided it was time.

Maud blinked in surprise and lowered her book. “The next level?” Her heart fluttered in trepidation. “I love you, Boulder but I’m just not ready for that yet. If my parents found out that we're even sharing a bed, I mean not as pet and master but as…” she trailed off upon reading his glowering expression.

Boulder offered a resentful, distant silence in response.

“Are you… upset with me?" asked Maud. Her eyes became downcast in his ireful disappointment. "Oh… I'm sorry.” She wasn't actually sorry; she just didn't want Boulder to be angry with her and it slipped out.

The night ended coldly without another word between the two.

Boulder resolved to carry his resentment into the next day and onward. His sustained displeasure cast a shadow over the daily chores and everything they did together from then on, but especially bed time. Their relationship seemed to have come to an impasse. Maud was now in a constant state of anxious guilt as she tried to find other ways to make Boulder happy, or at least distract him.

On one hoof, maybe their disagreement was an easy fix but on the other, if he really loved her, shouldn't he just respect her personal decisions? What if conceding to him on the matter was just treating the symptoms instead of the disease?

One day in Rockville, Maud stood behind her table of geological trinkets, her eyes cast down at the weathered woodgrain between crystal paperweights. She made sure not to sigh in lament for days gone by, not even through her nose, for fear of provoking another fight with Boulder about their static, unhappy relationship.

"Oh my goodness!" came an energetic voice. "Is that a real piece of petrified wood?"

Maud looked up from the table and lost her breath. The stallion before her was a strikingly plain earth pony, tan coat, dark brown mane, monochromatic just like her and her family. Her eyes wandered down to his flank which was emblazoned with an hourglass filled with sand… Silica… So many tiny rocks. Her face began to heat up. That's the best cutie mark I've ever seen, she thought.

"Absolutely remarkable!" He held the fossilized wood up with both hooves and peered at her through the knothole, grinning. "Is it for sale? How much do you want for it?"

It's free, blurted her inner voice. "Uh, f- fifteen bits," she stammered, trying to shake off her sudden mental clumsiness.

"I'd be a fool not to take that deal," he laughed, whipping out his coin purse. "Wherever did you find such an amazing specimen?"

"On my rock farm, in the northeast quadrant, three hundred eightyseven paces from the house."

"Oh, you have a rock farm." his blue eyes flicked up at her as he counted his bits on the table. "I'd love to visit a rock farm."

The corners of Maud's mouth upturned in the tiniest, most imperceptible smile a pony could make.

"I'm actually out here on rock business myself."

"Please continue," implored Maud flatly.

"Well, I've been commissioned by the Trans Equestria Railroad Company to help oversee construction of the new line. You must have heard about it."

Maud nodded. "The new express to Fillydelphia." Her eyes locked on his flank once more, then scanned over to the grumbling Boulder beside her.

"Yes, I'm a consultant on the survey team," continued the stallion. His hooves paused as his brain went off on another adventure. "Though to be honest, geology isn't actually my primary field of study but I wear many hats and I'll do in a pinch, as they said. Gave them my name a long time ago on a lark just because I like trains. Imagine my surprise when they finally contacted me."

Maud cocked her head to one side. "What did you say your name was?"

"Oh," he laughed. "I'm sorry. The name's Time Turner."

"Tim…" she blinked.

"No, Time. And you are?"

"Maud Pie."

"Pleasure to meet you. Lived here all your life?"


"It has that regional uniqueness to it. The company offered to put me up in a hotel in town but I wanted to be onsite with the crew. It's like camping," he chuckled with a gleeful twinkle in his eye. "Something about roughing it really makes you feel alive. Oh, look at me, jabbering on again. Here you are." He passed her the stack of bits over the table. "See you later, Maud." Time turned away, still examining the petrified wood balanced on one hoof as he walked.

Finally with her undivided attention again, Boulder began to air his grievances.

“I was just being nice," countered Maud. "And I was surprised that somepony finally bought it... I wasn’t smiling at him; you’re being ridiculous.”

The walk home was long even without stopping to watch the sunset.

Boulder was silent at dinner but In bed that night, he raised his issue with Maud's interactions with the stallion once again.

Maud shut her book in annoyance, knowing that there would be no further reading until they settled this. "I just forgot to introduce you, okay?" she argued. "He was talking a lot… I already told you, I didn’t smile at him. I hardly ever smile." Especially now, she thought.

Boulder seethed with jealousy, unable to let her perceived trespasses go.

“I can talk to other ponies, Boulder. You've changed. I wish things could go back to the way they were when you were kind and respected me.” She couldn’t believe that she’d spent so much time with him before dating and never noticed any red flags.

Boulder mounted a venomous retort, going straight for her honor.

Maud paused in shock, unable to believe what she'd just heard. Without another thought, she swatted him with her hoof, knocking him off of the bed. He tumbled and rattled across the old floorboards before coming to a rest upside down. “How dare you," she deadpanned. "We're done. Get out of my bed. Get out of my house. I never want to see you around this farm again. Do you understand?” A single tear ran down her cheek, sparkling in the lamplight.

Maud went about her chores the next day, sullen and empty inside. For once her face matched her feelings. On breaks from working in the mine, she just sat around alone and listless. She no longer had a built-in companion to share every moment with or become distracted, talking to. Pinkie was gone and Marble certainly wasn't going to fill that void. She probably enjoyed having a pickaxe handle nestled in her mouth as an excuse to remain silent as she usually was.

Nopony's even noticing how sad I am because I always look this way, thought Maud.

Getting involved with Boulder as a couple proved to be a devastating folly. She’d lost her best friend, her best friend not related by blood. He was her first boyfriend. She never stopped to think anything through or what would happen if it didn't work out. She was naive, her mind clouded by love sickness. This was the only way? No going back. No going forward. It was for the best. He was gone from her life, but she was free, and she'd never have to have that awkward conversation with her family that she'd been dreading.

Maud trudged slowly up the path out of the quarry pit. Watching the ground the whole way, she nearly bumped into Limestone at the top.

"Here," said her older sister gruffly. "I found him over by the windmill." Limestone presented Boulder on her upturned hoof.

Molten hot rage surged through Maud's veins as she calmly held her hoof out to take back her ex. "Thank you," she nodded, continuing past Limestone and toward the silo. She ignored Boulder's remorseless taunting, refusing to utter a single word in acknowledgement or even look at him and once she was sure she was out of sight behind the structure, she wound up and flung her old pet with prodigious earth pony strength. The black speck that was Boulder disappeared quickly into the hazy sky as he went sailing into the next county.

His petulant demeanor made it all the more easy to send him packing once again and only steeled her resolve in breaking up. Still, somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if he'd really stay away. To a large degree, it was his decision. She didn’t really want to tell her family the whole story, and it wasn’t as though she could call the police on a rock if he came around to harass her again.