• Published 4th Oct 2012
  • 14,340 Views, 427 Comments

The Haunting in Ponyville - JasonTheHuman



Lyra and Bon-Bon live in a haunted house

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The clock struck four, waking Bon-Bon up. How had she ended up on the couch? She didn’t even remember falling asleep.

She blinked a few times, looking around the living room. A small fire crackled in the fireplace. She had just been so tired lately, and she’d come out here to sit and warm herself, and thought maybe it wouldn’t hurt to shut her eyes and relax for a bit…

It was already starting to get cold again. Bon-Bon dragged herself off the couch and went over to poke the fire. The front door creaked open.

“I’m back!” Lyra’s voice was cheerful. She trotted into the room with an envelope hovering at her side.

Bon-Bon set the poker back next to the fireplace. “You left?” she said, yawning.

“Yeah. I wanted to get those pictures from yesterday developed.” The envelope moved in front of her face and the seal tore off. A few photos floated out and she flipped through them. “Yeah, these look fantastic…”

It took Bon-Bon a moment to remember. The pictures. Of course. Lyra had stood proudly in the middle of their destroyed kitchen and smiled for her photo to be taken. She thought this whole thing was a game. That these things were all just parlor tricks for their amusement.

Well, it wasn’t as if anything truly harmful had happened yet. Unless, of course, you counted the damage to Bon-Bon’s business. It had taken the better part of the day to get everything sorted back into place, which would explain why she was so exhausted today. The middle of the afternoon and she was still catching up on yesterday’s quota.

Lyra just stood there examining the pictures, her brow furrowed in concentration. She flipped to the next one in the stack and stared at it for a few moments. Then, she gasped.

“What? No way…” she said, her voice nearly a whisper. “I can’t believe this!”

Bon-Bon was almost afraid to ask. “What? What’s wrong?”

“This picture. Come over here. Look at it. Notice anything?”

Trotting over to Lyra’s side, Bon-Bon studied the photograph floating in front of her face. Lyra was standing next to twenty bags of sugar piled twice her own height, grinning like a tourist in front of the Applewood sign in Los Pegasus. Bon-Bon didn't particularly like being reminded of why she had wasted half a day.

Squinting, Bon-Bon looked closer. She leaned in until it was just inches from her face, scanning the background. Then, she sighed. “I give up. What am I supposed to see?”

“Nothing,” Lyra said.

Bon-Bon stared at her. “What do you mean, ‘nothing’?”

“You’d think we would get, I don’t know, orbs, or something,” Lyra said, rolling her eyes. “There’s nothing here. I was really hoping there would be some kind of shadowy figure standing behind me, but they’re all like this. I can’t believe it.”

That’s what you’re disappointed in? That you didn’t get something on film?”

“Well, duh,” Lyra said, rolling her eyes. “I’d just like to know what he looks like. Or she. We don’t even know that yet!”

“It’s a ghost. It isn’t either one.”

“Of course it is,” Lyra said. She gave a sly smile. “You know, I’m starting to think you’re just scared.”

“I am not! This entire situation is more of a nuisance than anything else.”

They were interrupted by three loud knocks. Bon-Bon’s head jerked towards the direction of the sound.

“What was that?” Bon-Bon said.

“Somebody’s at the door. That’s all,” Lyra said. She laughed. “You really are getting way too jumpy.”

Bon-Bon glared at her, then headed for the front door. The knocking came again, louder, faster.

“Coming!” she called.

As she approached the door, she heard the pounding again. The door shook in its frame. She slowed her pace, watching it, keeping her distance in case it happened again.

She waiting a few seconds, but it didn't move. She took a deep breath, then reached for the door and opened it.

A flash of white light blinded her. When her eyes finally adjusted, she realized it was a camera. A pony was standing on the front porch, her eyes partially covered by her wavy orange mane. Judging by the “PRESS” tag stuck in the brim of her fedora, Bon-Bon realized that this was worse than any ghost.

“Good afternoon!” the pony said with a nod. “You must be Lyra.”

“Actually...” Bon-Bon glanced behind her into the house. “Lyra’s my roommate. Can we help you with something?” She tried to smile, as if she didn’t have the slightest idea why this pony was here.

“Ah! Then you would be Bon-Bon. The candy maker, right? Is your name one word or two? Is there a hyphen in there?”

“Two words, with the hyphen.” Bon-Bon frowned as she watched the pony scribble something onto a notepad. “You've... heard of us?”

“Mmhmm,” the pony said, a quill clenched between her teeth. She took it out. “Can I come in?”

“Come in?” Bon-Bon said. “I don’t know what you’re–”

“The name’s Film Reel. I write for the Ponyville Express. I got wind of a genuine haunted house in town and I thought it’d make a great feature for our next issue. So, what do you say? Mind if I take a look around? Take some pictures? Ask a few questions?” She inched forward.

“Um, you’re talking way too fast, and we’re actually pretty busy, so maybe you should–”

“Bon-Bon, who is it?” Lyra called. She trotted down the hallway, then noticed Film Reel standing there. “Who’s that?”

“This is Film Reel, from the… Ponyville Express, was it?” Bon-Bon looked at the reporter, who nodded. “It must be tough. You’ve been struggling against the local elementary school’s paper recently, haven’t you?”

The reporter’s eye twitched. “That’s… old news, of course. I can assure you we’re back on our hooves now as Ponyville’s most trusted news source!”

Lyra was bouncing. “We could get our names in the paper!”

“That’s what I’m afraid of…” Bon-Bon muttered under her breath.

“Please, come right on in. What do you want to know about?” Lyra stepped aside to let Film Reel into the hallway.

“I thought I’d start by interviewing you both, and then we'll take a look around the house. Even see if we can catch your ghost in the act, if we're lucky.”

Bon-Bon ran ahead and pushed Lyra back towards the door and away from the reporter. “What are you doing?” she hissed. “I didn’t agree to this!”

“Aww, come on,” Lyra said. “It’ll be fun. I bet everybody in town is curious about what’s been going on here.”

“Exactly!” Film Reel said, pushing herself in between them. “We’ve been getting all kinds of leads about the infamous Ponyville spookhouse. This is the place, huh?” She took a look around the hallway. “Expected more spiders, to be honest.”

Bon-Bon groaned at the term “spookhouse,” but composed herself. “If you want to talk to her–” she thrusted a hoof in Lyra’s direction “–then go right ahead. I have work to get done.” She didn’t wait for a response before turning away and trudging off to the kitchen.

“Uh, sorry about that,” Lyra said. “Bon-Bon’s not exactly very enthusiastic about this whole thing. But don’t worry. I’ll tell you everything you want to know!”

Bon-Bon held her breath. Everything would be fine. Lyra would talk to that… paparazzi… and then she’d be on her way. What could go wrong? At least there was only one of them. It was hard to be optimistic about the story getting out to the whole town. Not to mention all those lies that Lyra had already been spreading. And now she might just be telling the reporter the same things, and that would be the story that went out to everypony in Ponyville...

So we don’t have to worry about her candy turnin’ into swarms of bugs, right?

Bon-Bon stiffened as she remembered. “No…” She dashed out of the kitchen and found Lyra and Film Reel sitting in the living room.

“Changed your mind, then, eh?” Film Reel said, grinning. She had taken a seat on the couch and settled in as if she owned the place.

“I just want to make sure that Lyra doesn’t get carried away,” Bon-Bon said, shooting her roommate a glare. “That’s all.”

“Alright then. Always better to have more sources. How about we get those interviews started?”

Film Reel got out her yellow-paged notebook again. Bon-Bon could just barely see it over her shoulder. The writing was chicken scratch, completely illegible. Bon-Bon shook her head and walked around to stand in between Lyra and the reporter, but refused to sit down. Film Reel studied Lyra with some interest, the way she was slouching in her usual position in an old chair across from her. “So what exactly is the relationship between you two?”

“Roommates,” Bon-Bon answered quickly.

“Best friends,” Lyra said.

“We both moved to Ponyville at about the same time, and neither of us could afford a house on our own. We met each other and decided to split the payments,” Bon-Bon said.

Film Reel leaned forward intently, scribbled on the page for a few moments, then looked up. “So let’s get down to brass tacks here...”

Bon-Bon took a deep breath and resigned herself to the situation. “Sure. Go ahead.”

“Do you believe that there’s a demon living in your home?”

Bon-Bon drew back in shock. “What?

“Maybe that was a little too forward. We’ll get back to that later,” Film Reel said. She flipped through her notebook again, biting her lip. “Ah. Here. So according to one of my other sources, you’ve been getting messages scratched on the walls telling you to... ‘leave this place now.’ Can I see where those are? Get a few pictures? Something like that on the front page would really catch ponies' eyes.”

“No," Bon-Bon said. "I mean, we’ve never seen anything like that.”

Film Reel frowned. “So, no, I can’t get the pictures?”

“No, there’s nothing to take pictures of!

“Mmhmm…” She took a couple more notes, then looked up again. “And the voices?”

“What voices?” Bon-Bon’s eyes narrowed.

“He's never talked to us,” Lyra said. “I've tried to start conversations a few times, though.”

Film Reel looked down at her notes and tapped it with one hoof. “Well, says here that you heard at least six distinct voices coming from the basement…”

“We don’t even have a basement,” Bon-Bon said. “Where are you getting this information, anyways?”

“They wanted their names off the record. Journalistic confidentiality. You understand.”

Bon-Bon turned to Lyra. “Just how many ponies did you talk to yesterday?”

“Well, uh..." Lyra stared at the floor, trying to think. "Well, there were just a couple, but they might've talked to others...”

“Listen... Film Reel, was it?” Bon-Bon said. “I'd really like to make things clear for everypony. We've had some strange occurences, I won't deny that, but there are already far too many rumors going around that simply aren't true.”

Film Reel had turned her attention to the photos spread out on the coffee table in front of her. “What're those?”

“Oh, that happened yesterday!” Lyra said, leaning forward. “He did all that in less than two minutes. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that's impressive even for a ghost.”

“Two minutes, you say...” Film Reel muttered without looking up, too busy examining the photos.

“That's probably the most bizarre event we've actually experienced,” Bon-Bon said. “It's only happened once, though. Other than that we haven't had much past some strange noises. Really nothing much.”

“So... no voices or messages,” Film Reel muttered. She flipped aimlessly through her notes. “So have either of you ever seen this ghost? What does it look like?”

“We've never seen anything,” Bon-Bon said.

Film Reel put her notebook away and stretched her front legs. “Well, we’d better keep moving if I want to get this story done before press time. I think I'll get those pictures now."

She stood up and headed directly for the stairs. Bon-Bon hurried to catch up with her. There was no way she was going to let this pony wander around their home without keeping a close eye on her. She'd prefer if Film Reel didn't wander around the house at all.

“Wait just a moment!” Bon-Bon tried to keep the frustration out of her voice.

“Hey, nearly forgot to ask,” Film Reel said, turning around. "Where would be the best place to get some shots?”

“Bon-Bon heard him walking around upstairs the first time,” Lyra said.

“Perfect!” Film Reel trotted up the stairs, already scanning the area through the eyepiece of her camera.

The upstairs hallway was lit up by a series of flashes as soon as Bon-Bon reached the top of the stairway. She blinked. Film Reel ducked into the study, the camera clicked a few more times, then she was already finished and heading to the next room. Bon-Bon moved in front of the doorway of her bedroom and leaned against it. Lyra was following close behind the reporter, watching her with fascination.

“Excuse me, but is it really necessary that you get pictures of our bathroom?” Bon-Bon asked.

Film Reel didn't look up from the eyepiece of her camera. “You never know, you know? We're right between big stories, really. Cider season's last week and the usual Nightmare Night stories won't be till the end of the month. This could be front page material, right here.” She crossed the hall to Lyra's bedroom. “Whoa, this is a mess. Was this your ghost?”

“Nope. It's my creative environment,” Lyra said. “Rarity's got one just like it. It's inspirational for us artists.”

“Right, right, you're a musician, aren't you?”

“You might call it that,” Bon-Bon muttered.

She closed her bedroom door before Film Reel could get to it. “Just a little privacy, please,” she said. She hoped the reporter knew the meaning of that word.

Film Reel shot her a look, but moved on and was nearly to the stairs when she stopped. “You know, I think I've got it figured out.”

“Have what figured out?” Bon-Bon said.

“This is all a hoax, isn't it?" Film Reel said with a sly grin. "Pretty genius, actually, coming up with something like this to promote your candy business.”

“You're saying you think I'm lying?”

“We'll keep this off the record,” the reporter said. “You sell your candy, we sell more papers, everypony wins.”

Bon-Bon's eyes widened. “I'd never...”

“Nah,” Lyra said. “Bon-Bon's pretty boring. She'd never be able to come up with something like this.”

“Hey!”

“No offense.” Lyra shrugged.

“Either way, we've still got some fantastic news value here," Film Reel said. “I haven't been this excited about a scoop since Mare Do Well.”

Bon-Bon shook her head. Pure sensationalism. Ponyville's journalism was in a sorry state. No wonder they were struggling against the Foal Free Press. The local school newspaper, of all things!

On the way downstairs, Film Reel took notice of the light patches on the wallpaper. A scattered assortment of rectangles and ovals could be seen where the paper was discolored.

“What happened here?” she asked. She snapped a few more photos of the empty wall.

“That happened two days ago,” Lyra said. “This big wind came and nearly knocked us over.” She gestured with her hoof, showing how it had moved. “We had a bunch of pictures hung up, but they all fell off and broke.”

“Fascinating…” Film Reel said.

“It’s going to be expensive to replace all of those frames. The glass in every single one just shattered,” Bon-Bon said.

Putting away her camera, Film Reel continued down the stairs. “So, would you say that whatever you've got here is trying to threaten you?”

Threaten them? That was an unpleasant thought. It had been nagging at the back of Bon-Bon’s mind for a while, but she never wanted to say it out loud.

Lyra cut in before she could think of any response. “Nah. The way I see it, whoever it is just wants to have some fun and let us know he’s here.”

They continued single-file into the downstairs hall. Film Reel paused to take another photo of the clock on the wall.

“How long has it been like that?” she said, nodding in its direction.

“Been like…?” Bon-Bon pushed past her to it to take a closer look.She hadn't noticed it from upstairs, but the ticking had stopped. There was a small hairline crack making a crooked line from the twelve to the six. “Just today,” she said quietly.

Film Reel looked over the room one last time. “So that's it, eh? Well, I was kind of hoping something really bizarre would happen before I left. Ah, well.”

“You're leaving?” Bon-Bon said. “Finally! I mean... I'll show you to the door.”

Lyra hurried to catch up with them as they headed for the front hallway. “Wait, so you're sure this'll be on the front page? Like, of the newspaper?”

“You kidding? Front page features are my specialty,” Film Reel said with a grin.

“And that's just wonderful,” Bon-Bon said. “You should go get to work on that, then, shouldn't you? We'll be waiting to read it!”

Without another word, Bon-Bon nearly pushed the reporter out the door onto the street. She closed the door behind herself and leaned against it, letting out a sigh of relief. “I hope we never have to go through anything like that again.”

“Why not? She seemed nice,” Lyra said. She jumped in the air, grinning. “And now we'll be famous! I was even thinking: What if we open up on Nightmare Night? We could charge everybody, say, five bits to come in. I mean, Sweet Apple Acres has that haunted hayride thing every year, but we've got a real–”

Bon-Bon put up a hoof to silence her. “All I want is to survive the month without any more annoyances.”

Without another word, Bon-Bon left and trudged back to the kitchen. Good luck having a quiet month now that everypony in town will know about whatever this thing was. Never mind the month, actually. Would it be too much for just the rest of the evening to be quiet? She stepped into the empty room and glanced around as if their unseen houseguest was somewhere in hiding.

“Don't get any ideas,” she muttered.

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