• Published 24th May 2022
  • 67 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 8

Maud slowly pulled the door to her room open, trying to stifle the telltale squeaks of the old hinges. She shut it just as quietly and began to slink down the dark hall. The moonlight coming through the window at the end, illuminated the tip of the banister and gave her just enough light to find her way.

Suddenly somepony bumped into her side silently from out of nowhere.

"What? Maud?" whispered Limestone. "What are you doing?"

"I was hungry," she lied. "What are you doing?"

"I was… also hungry."

It was dark but not dark enough to obscure Limestone’s oddly spruced up silhouette.

"So you did your mane to go get food from downstairs?"

Limestone glared back at her.

"You're not meeting him in Rockville are you?" Maud presupposed with no name or face to put with the pronoun.

"No."

"Good."

"Why is that?"

"Because that would be an awkward walk into town for both of us."


Time yawned as he looked up at the moon. In the campsite below, there was still a fire going, but he wasn't sure if anyone was tending it. Might as well stay up, he thought. There would be no more work until the area was fully assessed. In all likelihood the workers would be reassigned or sent home until then.

He looked back toward town and smiled as he saw a pale figure gliding across the desert floor on a collision course with him. It wasn't until he saw her ghostly form that he finally felt the full gravity of how weird this all was. Fake date, real date, it didn't matter. The two of them were really truly meeting out here in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night.

Maud climbed the hillside and stood before him, looking like a bored, expressionless goddess. Time patted the blanket he sat upon in a beckoning manner.

"You made a picnic for us," she said, sitting down beside him.

Time tapped a hoof proudly on the basket. "I did. Bought all of this in town just for tonight. Bonbon? Rock candy? Candy rocks?” he offered. “I'm afraid I don't know what you like, so I just bought a plethora of different things. Who knows how long we’ll be out here? I would have bought us a bottle of whatever your nicest label is in these parts, but we should probably keep clear heads."

He opened the little wicker basket which he’d been so delighted to get just for this singular use and began pulling out sandwich fixings. “We can make our own sandwiches just how we like them.”

The sweetness and the absurdity was too much and she flashed a genuine smile. "You thought of everything. This is very nice… even though we're here waiting for my murderous ex boyfriend to show up so we can exorcize him. I'm still trying to reconcile the fact that my best friend for most of my life was an evil spirit.”

"These things happen… apparently. Best not to dwell on it." Time got out the bread and they made their sandwiches by moonlight.

Time took a bite and looked up at the crystal clear sky. “Wow, when the wind stops and the dust settles, the stars are amazing. Even with the bright moon.”

The two of them ate slowly, remembering to remain vigilant and keep an eye on their surroundings and listen for any suspicious scraping or thuds. All was disarmingly peaceful and still. They would have forgotten about the big pit behind them filled with a dozen or so Buffalo if it weren't for their occasional murmur as they too passed the time.

"Do you like stars?" asked Time, already knowing the answer. Who didn't like stars?

"Yes,” she replied, scanning the hillside. "They're predictable and always there… like rocks."

"Do you like constellations?"

"Yes."

"I bet I can guess your favorite constellation." He pointed to a group of seemingly arbitrary stars near the horizon. "The Rock Pile," he smiled.

She turned to him in surprise. "That's it. How did you know?"

"It was a lucky guess."

Hours went by as they spoke about their families and jobs and aspirations for the future. The lights in the camp and in town vanished and their vigilance all but melted away.

Maud scooted the basket from in between them, not unnoticed by Time.

"What else do you like besides stars and rocks?" he asked.

"Standup comedy," she replied with a slow blink.

His ears perked up in disbelief. "Really? You're joking."

"Not yet I'm not… would you like to hear a joke?" She asked, laying down on her side and propping head up on one hoof.

"I would love to," he replied, mirroring her pose.

"Here's a joke especially for you: Two stallions walk into a bar. The first stallion says 'I'll have an H2O.' The second Stallion says 'I'll have an H2O too'… Then he died," she deadpanned.

Time gasped in surprise. Then he smiled. "Oh, because of the two." He suddenly burst into wild laughter, pounding a hoof on the blanket and almost collapsing. He chortled until he was shaking with no air left in his lungs. "That's brilliant," he snorted. "That's the best joke I've ever…" She's the one, Time, he thought.

Finally after recomposing himself, he looked up at her with tears in his eyes. "That was good," he panted. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?"

At that moment Maud forgot all about the threats and the danger, the small possibility that he'd omitted that he was seeing someone else or even spoken for, and she leaned in soft and slow, giving him ample time to dodge, but he did not. Their lips met and she couldn't help but sigh.

She pulled away just as slow and batted her eyes in another involuntary response to the pleasant rush to her head. “You taste like sandwich,” she stated matter-of-factly.

Time smiled. "I've wanted to tell you this since our first outing to the hills," he breathed. "You're the most fascinating creature I've ever met."

Before Time could anxiously replay and second guess his own words, the moment was shattered by the sound of a sustained hiss. The two of them looked all around in surprise.

“A snake?” wondered Time as he shot to his hooves. He suddenly spotted a sparkling on the ground near a black bar shape. His eyes bulged. “Oh dear.” He tackled the sputtering stick of dynamite and chomped onto the fuse with his teeth. Unable to sever it, he yanked it out instead, spitting it to the ground as the sparks singed his muzzle.

Time let out a sigh of relief as he stood up. “That was-” His words were cut off as something struck him hard in the barrel. He staggered backward with a groan.

“Boulder, stop,” commanded Maud.

The little rock shot at Time again, striking him in the left hind leg, causing him to collapse. As Boulder fell to the ground and prepared for his next attack, Time clamped his hooves around him and yanked. Boulder was surprisingly unwieldy and powerful for someone with so little mass. The two of them went rolling across the hill, Time straining against his lunges. He stumbled to his hooves, forelegs whipping about with Boulder’s violent flailing. Maud circled around them looking for an opportunity to intervene, but Boulder was so tiny that it looked like Time was fighting himself.

“Get him to the hole.”

“I’m trying,” he grunted.

Suddenly Boulder shot out of his grasp and skittered across the ground. Time fell backward with his own unobstructed force, landing on his back. Maud shot between them, determined to protect Time.

Boulder hurled himself again. Maud creased her forehead in a scowl and swung her hoof as hard as she could. There came a dull crack as he connected with the hard keratin and he popped up powerlessly into the air. Maud lifted her gaze skyward and watched as Boulder went sailing over her. She turned her head to see the moon flicker in his eclipse. Rocking forward, Maud coiled up her hind legs and unleashed a perfectly timed buck.

Smash. Boulder went rocketing into the hole, slamming into the far wall of the sanctuary. He trickled down to the ornately detailed floor, bathed in torchlight. An awaiting Buffalo slapped a metal bucket down over him and quickly scooted him into position upon the central stone altar. She held it down firmly beneath her weight while he rattled angrily inside and the healers in their robes and headdresses took their positions upon the four points.

Maud and Time looked down from the edge, panting as the drums began to beat and the healers raised their hooves, chanting to the sky. The five slabs in the floor began to glow a bright sapphire as smoky wisps of energy radiated up from the center toward the heavens. The chanting became faster along with the drums. Boulder battered the bucket from the inside as the they reached a fever pitch. Then abruptly it all stopped. The glowing vanished and there was silence.

Maud scooted down over the edge of the hole, landing roughly on the floor. The Buffalo lifted the bucket, revealing a motionless rock.

“Boulder?” called Maud softly. She leaned over him and gingerly nudged him with her hoof. “Boulder… He’s gone.” She felt a hoof on her shoulder as tears began to well in her eyes. She turned and wrapped her forelegs around Time as she silently cried. “He’s where he belongs,” she whispered to herself.


"The spirit known as Boulder was gone but would never be forgotten. And that is the story of why you exist and why you have to take a twenty mile detour to go to Fillydelphia from Rockville by train."

Rose Quartz squinted suspiciously through the snapping flames at the old Buffalo. "Is that story really true?"

"It is as true as the sun and moon," assured Skysong.

Time Turner leaned in and nudged her in the side, grinning smugly. "See? Your parents are pretty cool, huh?"

Rose rolled her eyes one last time at the story she'd heard a hundred times from them and then crossed her forelegs. "I guess… but the fossil collecting part was TMI."

Time laughed and tousled her dark gray mane.

"You can pick out something from the gift shop and then we'll go to grandmother's house," said Maud, turning to exit the yurt.

"Getting told the story of how you met by a mystic Buffalo guy is weird," complained the filly. "And isn't sabotaging a construction site a crime? How come he's just telling everypony about it?"

"Because the statute of limitations has expired and I can no longer be charged for it," explained Time. “Isn’t that nice?”

The three of them trekked back to the Painted Hills Visitors Center and entered the little gift shop. Rose looked at every toy and novelty at least once, but also the obscenely expensive artwork that Time continually shooed her away from.

"I want this," she declared, holding up a completely unremarkable rock labeled "Spirit Stone." "I wanna be like Mommy and have an evil talking rock for a friend."

Time patted her on the head and chuckled. "Well, unfortunately, I think all of these vessels are empty, so you'll just have to use your imagination."

"Aw…" she groaned, staring at the little rock. "Okay."

"I'm getting you this too," informed Maud, holding up a baseball cap to her daughter. "You don't have a choice."

Rose squinted at the turquoise hat which had two ponies kissing in silhouette under the words “Painted Hills National Park.” Her lips curled in disgust. "Eww, is that supposed to be you kissing?"

"It's been enshrined in local legend," grinned Time. "Isn't that incredible?"

"This place is creepy," whined Rose. "Can we just go to Grandma's now?"

Comments ( 4 )
Ri2
Ri2 #1 · May 24th · · ·

So that's Boulder taken care of...but what about Tom?!

11250601
Wait... There's another one?

The dry, perfectly straight delivery of this whole story just puts this over the top, awesome work. I was snerking all this chapter reading it.

11264430
Thank you! I think to get the most out of this story it's kind of paramount to hear Maud's dialogue in Maud's voice.

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