• Published 4th Oct 2012
  • 14,635 Views, 427 Comments

The Haunting in Ponyville - JasonTheHuman



Lyra and Bon-Bon live in a haunted house

  • ...
18
 427
 14,635

Stress

The sweet smell of caramel was already starting to waft through the house. There was a full bushel of apples waiting, fresh from Sweet Apple Acres. Bon-Bon had picked them up earlier today, making a trade-off—Applejack’s candy order for the bushel, at a slightly reduced price.

Caramel apples were a nice change of pace. They were fairly easy to manage. The most difficult part would be making the caramel itself—most ponies didn’t appreciate the difficulty of having just the right mixture of sugar and water, giving it that smooth texture, and letting it heat for just the right amount of time, not to mention avoiding making a mess or getting any nasty burns throughout the whole process. Bon-Bon never forgot when she was a filly, only starting to learn how to make candy. That patch of hair that got covered in hot caramel had taken weeks to grow back. Looking back now, she could laugh, but it had been humiliating at the time.

Bon-Bon crouched down to check the cabinet. She would need a pot to mix the caramel, trays to set them out on after dipping… Where were those wooden sticks she had bought earlier for the apples? She began to dig through the cabinet when she heard something rattling around above her. She slowly lifted her head.

One of the handles in the knife block had started to shake its way out. The blade began sliding out with a metallic scraping sound.

She watched in stunned silence as the full six inches of the blade were revealed. It glinted in the light. Slowly, the knife turned itself around in the air. The tip of the blade directed itself towards her. It moved forwards.

Bon-Bon screamed and dropped to the ground, hooves over her head.

“Whoa, careful there,” Lyra said.

Bon-Bon opened her eyes and looked up. The knife crossed the room and settled down on the kitchen table. Lyra’s horn glowed again as she lifted up a large, perfectly round pumpkin off the floor and it landed with a thud in front of her.

“Warn me before you do something like that!” Bon-Bon gasped.

“Something like what?” Lyra was too distracted by the pumpkin. She circled around it, stopping and squinting occasionally, taking it in from all angles. Raising the knife, she paused, and turned around. “It’s fine with you if I use the table, right?”

“Ugh… fine,” Bon-Bon said. Lyra was about to stab into the top of the pumpkin, but Bon-Bon quickly added, “Put down some newspaper or something before you make a mess!”

“Oh, right. Sorry,” Lyra said. The knife floated back down to the table, and she trotted out of the room.

Bon-Bon picked the pot up off the floor and set it in the sink. As she ran the water, she took an uneasy glance at the knife block, with five wooden handles still jutting out. It didn’t move. She shook her head and shut the water off.

Lyra might be reckless, delusional, and completely ignorant of the danger they were in, but it would be nice to have somepony else in the kitchen for a while.

Most mornings, Lyra was still going out to the park to practice her music, like she always did. The house would be completely empty and quiet. Bon-Bon would feel utterly alone, cut off from the rest of the world, trapped in a strange place, outside of the regular flow of time, where the minutes dragged into hours.

She really was going crazy if she let herself have such melodramatic thoughts.

The past few days, she’d felt a combination of irritation, anxiety, and—well, yes, a little bit of fear, perhaps—and it just left her feeling drained, and things only seemed to get worse. The fire in the living room barely seemed to keep away this unnatural cold anymore.

Lyra burst into the kitchen. “Bon-Bon! You need to see this!”

The moment Bon-Bon turned her head, a newspaper was thrust into her face. She brushed it away with one hoof. “What? What is it?”

As soon as she saw it, the grainy photograph on the front page was instantly recognizable. She could hardly believe what she was seeing.

“That reporter actually put our upstairs bathroom onto the front page of the paper?” she said. “What in the name of…”

“No, look closer,” Lyra insisted. The paper floated closer to Bon-Bon’s face again.

That was when Bon-Bon saw what had Lyra so excited. There was a hazy, light-colored smudge that she had initially taken for glare on the lens, but on closer inspection, it began to look like a figure. The proportions were distorted, but the more you looked at it, the harder it was to deny. There was the head, thrown back, it was reared up on its back legs, the front hooves were extended…

Bon-Bon noticed the caption underneath. Could this be the evil spirit plaguing two Ponyville residents? Reporters could find no explanation as to what caused this anomaly. Before she could read the main feature, the paper flew across the kitchen back over to Lyra.

“Film Reel actually got a picture of our ghost!” Lyra said, starting to pace back and forth. It was difficult to tell if she was jealous or thrilled. Maybe both. “How was she able to get a picture of it, and we couldn’t? Well, I guess she’s a professional photographer, maybe she just knows how to take a better picture than you do…”

Bon-Bon sighed. “She probably did something to it. Created a double exposure, or something. She didn’t strike me as the most trustworthy reporter, you know.”

“But still…” Lyra hung her head for a moment, then turned her attention back to her pumpkin. She set the front page aside and spread out the rest of the paper. “I want to figure out how to make real contact with him.”

“Good. If you figure out how, tell him to leave me alone,” Bon-Bon said. She returned to her work, measuring out several cups of sugar.

Lyra stood up on her back hooves to get a look at the top of the pumpkin. She raised the knife and plunged it in, all the way up to the hilt. “Aren’t you just a little curious?”

“No.”

The knife yanked itself out and floated by Lyra’s side, sticky orange muck coating the blade. She sunk it back in and began sawing a circle around the stem. “I just don’t get it, Bon-Bon. He came from beyond the grave, beyond our mortal plane entirely, just to hang out with us for Nightmare Night! And you don’t even want to meet him.”

“Are you even listening to yourself?” Bon-Bon lifted an eyebrow.

“I’m just saying there’s no point in getting stressed out over it,” Lyra said. She began shoveling a stringy glob of orange out of the hole she’d carved. “It’s Nightmare Night. Stuff like this is supposed to be fun.”

Bon-Bon gritted her teeth. “Do you even realize what this has been like for me?” she said. “I’ve had to cancel so many orders because I won’t even get started on them. I’m always tired, but I can hardly sleep at night. And everypony in town is talking behind my back, and most of it is complete lies!”

Once she was finished, she just stood there, breathing heavily. Lyra had stopped carving and just stared at her. “But… you know, the ghost hasn’t really done that much.”

Bon-Bon let out a deep breath. “I know. Not nearly as much as ponies think, anyway. I suppose we should be grateful for that.”

“Exactly! It’s all just for fun,” Lyra said. She went back to her work on the pumpkin, shoving the knife into the front and carving out eyeholes.

They both worked silently for a while. Bon-Bon had measured out just a little bit of water to add to the sugar, not so much that it would get runny, but just enough to give it the right texture.

Lyra stepped back from her pumpkin and stared at it, tapping at her lower lip with the tip of the knife. She grinned, and turned it around to show Bon-Bon. “What do you think?”

The carving job was crude and obviously rushed. Lyra was far from a perfectionist. The pumpkin had a simple, toothy grin and triangular eyes. The roundness of pumpkins always made the face look deformed, in Bon-Bon’s opinion. The mouth and nose were flat, nothing like a pony’s head at all.

“It’s… great, Lyra,” Bon-Bon said.

“You think so?” Lyra turned it back around to take a second look. “I should probably get this out on the porch before… Wait, what time is it?” Her head jerked back to look at hallway, then she frowned. “I need to get over to Rarity’s. She said she would be putting the finishing touches on my costume by now.”

The pumpkin floated off the table and Lyra galloped out of the room, swerving the pumpkin around the doorway and through the front hall. Bon-Bon heard the front door swing open and close.

She was alone again.

There was caramel browning on the stovetop and a dozen apples sitting on the counter, waiting to be dipped whenever it was ready. She was nearly finished, though it only meant she would have to move on to making something else. Still, progress was satisfying. And rare these past few days.

By the looks of things, it would still be a few minutes until the caramel was ready. It was best to leave it be while it was browning. Only a novice would stir it.

Outside the window, Bon-Bon watched dry brown leaves skittering down the road in the wind and a couple of foals playing in the street. They kicked a ball back and forth. One of them pointed at the house, said something that Bon-Bon couldn’t catch, then they both laughed and continued their game.

Even with the faint sound of the stove burning and the muffled yells and laughter from outside, everything seemed far too quiet. What was it? Lyra had left, but… There was more to it than that.

She realized what was missing—the clock. Without those chimes, the day was feeling endless. Normally she would hear it chiming every half hour and be able to keep track of the time, but now it had gone dead.

Bon-Bon walked out to the hallway and looked up at it. The crack in the glass caught the reflection of the light. It was still stuck at the same time it had stopped at earlier. This clock was an antique, so she wouldn’t even try to fix it. Probably just take it over to the repair shop as soon as she got the chance.

First the pictures on the stairs, then the clock. Bon-Bon thought her own sanity was the only thing left to break.

She was still staring at it when she felt a hoof rest on her shoulder.

“Bon-Bon, I think something’s burning.”

It was like Lyra had just appeared out of nowhere, but Bon-Bon was more concerned with the stench that had suddenly hit her nostrils. Nothing could send her into a panic quite like the smell of smoke and burnt sugar coming from the kitchen.

She galloped into the kitchen and saw thick smoke rising from the stove. She flipped the dials to off, and then stared down at the crispy black mess caked in the bottom of the pot.

Lyra slowly walked into the kitchen. “Bon-Bon, what happened?” she said quietly. “You’re usually more careful than that.”

“This couldn’t have happened so quickly…” Bon-Bon said, shaking her head. “I wasn’t gone for more than thirty seconds.” She turned towards Lyra. “Weren’t you going to see Rarity?”

“I already did. I just got back. Your candy was burning, and you were just standing out there staring at that clock,” Lyra said. “It was a little creepy, honestly.” She didn’t come any closer. She simply stood in the doorway on the other side of the kitchen.

Bon-Bon slipped on some oven mitts. She took the pot off the stove and put it into the sink, filling it with water and leaving it to soak for a while. Hopefully she would be able to scrape it all out and the pot wouldn’t be ruined forever. That was the last thing she needed.

What had happened, though?

“I don’t think I can deal with this anymore…” Bon-Bon muttered. “How long were you out?”

Lyra tilted her head. “About… an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.”

Bon-Bon felt woozy. She stared out the window. Those fillies from earlier were gone. The empty street was bathed in the orange light of early sunset. Her stomach turned, and she knew that if she spent another moment inside she was really going to be sick.

“Do you want me to help you clean up?” Lyra said, taking a few hesitant steps forward.

Bon-Bon took a moment to respond. “Yes,” she said finally. “I need to step out for a while. The… The smoke’s getting to me.”

“Alright, then…” Lyra eyed her as she walked by.

Bon-Bon was nearly out the door when she noticed the stack of boxes sitting on the edge of the counter. The few orders that she had managed to complete, waiting to be delivered. From the ponies who planned far enough in advance when they were making their candy orders.

She thought about it for a moment, then loaded one of the boxes into a saddlebag. Bon-Bon probably wouldn’t find a better excuse to head over and talk to her again.


It was unusually warm for an evening in autumn. The fresh air was helping Bon-Bon clear her head somewhat, but the more she thought about what exactly had happened, the more disturbing it seemed. She hadn’t left the room for more than a minute, she was absolutely sure of that…

Her thoughts were interrupted when the door was finally answered. “Oh, hello, Bon-Bon!” Twilight stepped aside to let her in. “Is that my order? I was wondering when I would hear back from you.”

Bon-Bon stepped into the well-lit room and set her saddlebags down as soon as she was in the door. “It’s been… hectic,” she said. “I hope I can manage to get the rest of the orders done. I’m usually taking care of deliveries long before this.”

“It’s no problem at all,” Twilight said.

Bon-Bon simply nodded and started unpacking the boxes of candy, setting them on the table in the center of the room. Twilight watched her for a while without a word.

“You know, I’ve been studying the history of Nightmare Night recently. It’s amazing,” Twilight said. “It goes back a long time. Originally it was to commemorate the time of year when the Princesses allow longer nights, but the modern traditions of monsters and ghosts weren’t added until—“

“Twilight, you know I’ve never exactly been fond of this holiday. Perhaps even less than usual, this year,” Bon-Bon said. “I believe you know why.”

“You’re not still letting Lyra talk you into those ghost stories, are you?” Twilight smiled.

“We already told you. We’re not making these things up. There’s something strange going on.”

“It’s true! It was in the paper today!” Pinkie Pie said.

Both of them spun around at the interruption. Pinkie was bouncing across the library to meet them. “They even got a picture! There’s a real ghost there!”

“Pinkie? How did you get in here?” Twilight said, glancing around wildly.

“You read the newspaper?” Bon-Bon said.

Pinkie’s eyes seemed to pop out of her head. “I read all about you guys! All the stuff about hearing ponies walking around when there weren't any ponies there, and things flying off the walls on their own, and those voices—“

“There were never any voices, Pinkie.”

“—and I realized that you’ve some seriously spooky stuff going on! This is the real deal!” Pinkie finished.

Twilight laughed, and shook her head. “I can’t believe that so many ponies are falling for this! Do you think that everypony would be so quick to jump to those conclusions at any other time of the year?”

“You don’t understand, Twilight! There are some things that even super-smart ponies like you can’t explain!” Pinkie said.

“Twilight, things have started to seem downright dangerous,” Bon-Bon said. “I would never fall for this sort of nonsense. There really is something there. Just today, I was… Well, I don’t really know how to explain it, but—”

“That’s why I had to warn you!” Pinkie said.

Bon-Bon blinked. “Warn me about what?”

“Not to get scared!”

“But I thought you were saying…”

Pinkie shook her head. “Just because you’ve got a haunted house and ghosts and everything doesn’t mean you should be scared, silly! That just makes everything even worse!”

“She has a point. You do seem to be getting stressed out, Bon-Bon,” Twilight said. She trotted across the room and started scanning the shelves. “You should try to take it easy. I still say that haunted houses and evil ghosts aren’t real. I even have a book that says…” She stopped in front of a section, looked around for a few moments, and frowned. “I thought I had it… Or did I lend it out?”

“You do have books about ghosts?” Bon-Bon said. She walked over to Twilight’s side. “I thought I might ask you. What are they?”

“Oh, no, I don’t keep very many books about that kind of thing,” Twilight said. “And I think I must have lent out my only one earlier.”

“Really? I was going to ask if you had any good ghost stories.” Pinkie frowned. “Reading about Bon-Bon’s house really got me in the mood for some! Oh well.” She turned skipped out of the room, humming to herself.

Bon-Bon watched her leave as suddenly as she had appeared. Then she turned back to Twilight. “Please. Whatever’s going on here—a ghost, or whatever it is—can’t you just take a look at it? And, more importantly, find out how to stop it?”

Twilight bit her lip. “I’d like to. I mean, I’d like to prove that what’s happening is nothing I can’t explain. But I’m running a bit behind on preparations.”

You’re running behind?”

“On my costume preparations, of course. I was so caught up in studying the history of Nightmare Night that I completely forgot to look into details about Light Charmer. I’m going to dress up as her this year.”

Bon-Bon tilted her head. “Who?”

Twilight let out a sigh. “Ponies are so ignorant of the history of magic. That’s why I need to take extra care to ensure my costume is one hundred percent accurate.”

“Nopony would be able to tell…” Bon-Bon muttered.

“Sorry, Bon-Bon, but I can’t help you right now. I’ll check my schedule for an opportunity, though!” Twilight said, smiling. “Just remember that there's no such thing as ghosts.”

Bon-Bon couldn’t pursue it any farther. She thanked Twilight for her business and started on her way back home.

Pegasi were already starting to move dark clouds into the sky by the time Bon-Bon left Twilight’s library. Brown and orange leaves swirled and spiraled through the empty streets.

Don’t get scared. That was the only advice Pinkie and Twilight had for her? How was she supposed to “not get scared” when this ghost could have burned down their house today? And now who knew what could be coming next?

She passed by a stallion reading the newspaper on the way back. He was too engrossed in the story to notice her. And there was the picture on the cover. Bon-Bon couldn’t believe that everypony in town would have found a picture of her bathroom on their front steps this morning, but it was even harder to believe that hazy form materializing next to the bathtub was really there.

Bon-Bon quickened her pace before the stallion did have a chance to realize who she was, and turned the corner to her street just as a few scattered raindrops started to fall.

Lyra was staring out the front windows when Bon-Bon arrived home. “Looks like it could rain,” she said.

“Oh, really?” Bon-Bon said.

“Yeah. We haven’t had a good storm in a while. I bet this one’ll be really big.” She craned her neck, trying to look up at the sky.

“How much did you get done with the kitchen? What’s left to clean up?”

“Don’t worry. It was tough, but I took care of all of it,” Lyra said. She turned away from the window, and rubbed her chin. “I, uh… I know you’ve been stressed out lately. I forgot to tell you earlier, though. I’ve got good news!”

Bon-Bon scowled. “I’m not sure I trust anything that you’re calling ‘good news,’ but go on.”

“I was on the way to Rarity’s earlier today, and I was talking to some ponies. They’re professional investigators. They said they’ll come over in a few days and figure out what’s going on here,” Lyra said.

“You… what?” Bon-Bon blinked at her. “What do you mean, ‘professional’?” The term sounded dubious when you applied it to something like ghosts.

“They’re the leading experts on ghosts and hauntings in Ponyville. They’re going to figure out what’s going on here.”

“I was asking Twilight to help and she's still not convinced. Who else is there?”

Lyra frowned. “I don't think Twilight would ever be convinced we had a ghost. These ponies know what they're doing. Trust me.”

“And they’ll get rid of it.”

Well…” Lyra dragged the word out. “Maybe. I wouldn’t make any guarantees.”

Bon-Bon could hardly believe it. “You’re serious about this? Where did you find them?”

“It wasn’t hard,” Lyra said. She immediately changed the subject. “Hey, tonight’s going to be awesome, though! Do you think ghosts like it more when it storms? Or is that just in campfire stories and stuff?”

“If you had asked me a month ago, I would have told you it was all just stories.” Bon-Bon let out a yawn. “I’m going upstairs to try to get some sleep.”


It didn’t last long. Bon-Bon was awoken by an earsplitting crack of thunder. She sat up straight in bed, glanced around the dark room, and then fell back down, making a mental note to lodge a complaint with Rainbow Dash in the morning for this utterly tasteless weather.

Over the patter of rain on the window, she could hear another sound. Soft music in a slow, mournful melody. Lyra must be up, too. With all this thunder, the entire town must be.

The room was lit up by a flash of lightning for just a moment. Bon-Bon rolled over in bed, trying to get back to sleep. She had to. If she could just ignore the weather, maybe…

Another flash of white, but this time she saw something.

It was only a glimpse. A vague black silhouette in the doorway, which at first she took for Lyra, but it couldn’t have been. The mane was too long, and there didn’t seem to be a horn, although it was hard to tell. And the lyre music from down the hall hadn’t stopped.

Bon-Bon sat up again and reached over to turn the lamp on. Light filled the room, and there was nopony there.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!