• Published 4th Oct 2012
  • 14,339 Views, 427 Comments

The Haunting in Ponyville - JasonTheHuman



Lyra and Bon-Bon live in a haunted house

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Investigation

It was beginning to get dark outside.

Bon-Bon sat by the fire with her front hooves crossed, finished with work for the day. To be more accurate, she couldn’t continue working even if she wanted to. She would leave a bowl or a jar of ingredients on the counter, turn around, and find it moved a few inches. Or was it still in the same place? It was impossible to focus when you constantly doubted yourself over such trivial things.

She watched Lyra, who was lounging on the couch with a book of ghost stories, turning the pages and softly humming the same tune from that night.

“That was you playing music a few nights ago, wasn’t it?” Bon-Bon said.

Lyra looked up. “You mean during the storm? Yeah. I didn’t wake you up, did I?”

Bon-Bon shook her head. “The thunder took care of that.”

“That’s why I didn’t even go to sleep!” Lyra said, beaming. “I mean, a thunderstorm, in a haunted house, right around Nightmare Night? That’s something you just don’t sleep through. It’s way too much fun.”

“And you were in your room the whole time,” Bon-Bon said. She stared into the flames.

“Yeah.”

“Lyra…” Bon-Bon sighed. “I think I saw it.”

The book fell to the ground as Lyra jumped off the couch. “No way!”

Bon-Bon simply nodded. “It was just standing there. Watching me.”

“What did it look like? Was it a boy or a girl? It wasn’t walking on two legs, was it?” Lyra bounced over to her. “I can’t believe you never told me about this! This is huge!”

“I couldn’t see very much detail. It wasn’t there for very long.” Even though the vision had only lasted a split second, it hadn’t left Bon-Bon’s mind. She hadn’t told Lyra at first because she was afraid Lyra would react like… Well, the way she was now.

“But did it talk to you? Leave anything behind? A message, maybe? Anything?”

“It was just standing there. Watching me, I think,” Bon-Bon said. She shifted around uncomfortably. “Lyra, these investigators of yours had better find out what’s going on. I’m not sure how much longer I can take this.”

“Your work is nearly finished, though, isn’t it?” Lyra asked.

Bon-Bon sighed. “You mean the orders I haven’t been forced to cancel? Then yes, I suppose it’s almost done. But, Lyra, this isn’t going to end just because Nightmare Night passes us by. I don't think it has anything to do with that. It’s just going to stay here unless we find a way to get rid of it.”

Lyra sunk down, avoiding Bon-Bon’s eyes. “I guess not…”

“And you still haven’t told me who these ponies are. Does Ponyville even have paranormal investigators?”

There was a knock at the door. Lyra grinned, and trotted out to the front hall to answer it. “I bet that’s the team!”

“Team?” Bon-Bon said. For right now, she was going to trust Lyra’s judgment. Lyra was obsessing over this thing. It wasn’t hard to imagine that she would have gone out and actually found somepony who was an expert on these things. Of course, an expert on ghosts already sounded questionable, but at this point Bon-Bon considered herself a firm believer.

“Hey, Lyra!” The familiar high-pitched voice made Bon-Bon cringe. She’d recognize that crack anywhere—she’d be willing to bet anypony in town would.

With a groan, she headed out to the front door. She turned a corner, and sure enough, Lyra was standing there with Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo. The three of them stood there with their saddlebags, looking just like the schoolfillies that they were.

Bon-Bon walked up slowly. “Um, girls, you’re not here to…”

“Don’t worry, Miz Bon-Bon! We may not look like much, but we’re real expert ghost hunters!” Apple Bloom said.

“Yeah! We’ve read every single book in Twilight’s library on the subject,” Scootaloo added.

“Even if there only was one single book in Twilight’s library about ghosts…” Sweetie Belle mumbled, staring at the floor.

“But we still read the entire book, cover to cover!” Scootaloo pushed to the front of the group. “Or most of it, anyways!”

Bon-Bon smiled at them. “Lyra, can I talk to you for a moment?” she said in a sweet voice.

“Sure!” Lyra followed her out to the living room. “What is it?”

These are your ‘professional investigators’?” Bon-Bon said through gritted teeth. The smile had vanished. She was fuming.

Lyra raised up a hoof. “I know it doesn’t look good, but trust me on this! They were telling me all this stuff they’d read and they really seem to know what’s going on.”

“I’ve been telling you that this thing is starting to seem dangerous! This isn’t something for a bunch of curious young fillies to be poking their noses into. Who knows what could happen?”

“Look, they told me that if they earn their cutie marks in paranormal investigation tonight, then we don’t owe them a single bit,” Lyra said. “So what's the problem?”

Bon-Bon’s mouth hung open for a moment as she tried to come up with an adequate response. There was none. She turned around and headed back out to the front door where the fillies were talking amongst themselves.

“It would be easier to get the ghost here if we had one of those special boards the book was talking about,” Sweetie Belle said. “With all the letters and stuff so that it can answer our questions.”

“What’s wrong with just talkin’ to it?” Apple Bloom said.

Sweetie Belle shook her head. “There’s special ways to do this. You can’t just ask it to come out.”

“I thought it said something about using a mirror,” Scootaloo said.

“That’s only for certain ones. Wasn’t there a thing where we all get around a table and put our hooves on it until the ghost shows up?” Apple Bloom said.

“But you need garlic in case it’s an evil ghost.”

“That’s vamponies,” Sweetie Belle said in a flat tone.

“Yeah, ghosts are supposed to go away if you use silver, not garlic,” Apple Bloom said.

“Where did you hear that?” Scootaloo said. “Did you even read the book?”

“They might come out if we keep fighting,” Sweetie Belle said with a shrug. “I heard ghosts show up around ponies when they’re angry or sad.”

Scootaloo shook her head. “That’s windigoes! They’re completely different.”

Bon-Bon had to step in. “Girls, that’s quite enough. Why don’t you just start your… investigation?” she said. “But do it quietly, and don’t make a mess.”

“Yeah. I’ve never been able to make it show up, but I’m sure that if we wait long enough, we’ll get something,” Lyra said. “How about we set up in the living room?”

“Okay!” The fillies all followed Lyra. Somehow Lyra was always able to get kids to cooperate, probably because she was nearly at the same level of maturity but with the added authority of age.

“With any luck, Crusaders, we’ll have definite proof of a paranor… paran… Something really weird by the end of the night!” Apple Bloom said.

“What do you think a cutie mark for ghost catching would look like?” Sweetie Belle said.

Bon-Bon groaned and put a hoof to her forehead. She was starting to feel a headache already, and the night was only just beginning. She trailed behind them and watched as they gathered around the living room, still chattering in their high-pitched little voices.

“And your families know that you’re staying over here? Do they know what you’re up to?” she asked.

“Rarity said that as long as she got a quiet’s night sleep, she didn’t care what I got myself into!” Sweetie Belle said.

“If only we could all be so blessed.” Bon-Bon glanced towards the doorway. “I’ll be upstairs, so please keep it down.”


Bon-Bon lay in bed upstairs. She was trying to sleep, since it was obvious that the fillies downstairs weren’t going to. She was admittedly jealous of all that energy.

“…the Headless Horse!” She could hear Sweetie Belle yell the last line of that old campfire story, and then the others shrieked and laughed. They’d been at it for hours.

With a groan, Bon-Bon rolled out of her bed and shook herself. She slowly headed out the door of her bedroom and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Maybe a mug of cider would help her relax. They still had some, as long as Lyra hadn’t drank it all. Probably not—Bon-Bon was the cider fan between the two of them; it was probably one of the few things about autumn she enjoyed.

As she entered the kitchen, she found Lyra there, filling up a snack plate.

“How’s the investigation going?” Bon-Bon said. “Or did you say filly sitting? Because that’s what it seems like to me.”

Lyra smiled. “Just wait. I’m sure something’ll happen.”

Bon-Bon gave her an exasperated look and then opened the fridge. She poured herself a glass of cider and sat down in front of the kitchen table. Lyra finished assembling the plate and floated it out of the room.

She could hear their voices in the other room. Lyra really was just filly sitting. At least their invisible friend hadn’t shown up. The activity always seemed to slow down whenever Lyra wanted something to happen. Maybe that was the trick to it.

The cider had only gotten sweeter with time, and Bon-Bon finished the last few drops in the mug feeling satisfied. She might as well check in on the others.

They were all seated around the living room. Other than the fireplace, all of the lights were off. The flickering light made shadows dance across the floor and up the walls. The fillies had already dug into the snacks and were munching contentedly.

“Hey, Bon-Bon!” Apple Bloom said. “Did you come to hunt ghosts with us?”

“Just checking in,” Bon-Bon said. “Lyra, are they really going to spend the entire night over? Doing… whatever it is they’re doing?”

“If we go to sleep, we might miss something!” Scootaloo said.

“Yeah! Ghosts come out when it’s dark, too!” Apple Bloom added. “So we’ve gotta do this when it’s night, or else we won’t find anything. The book said so.”

Bon-Bon sighed. She should have known better than to question the “experts.” Most filly slumber parties like this started out with such grand intentions and fell apart in a few hours, though, so maybe they’d tire out soon and give up.

“You should stay down here with us,” Lyra said. “It’s still a lot of fun even if we don’t find anything.”

“No thank you,” Bon-Bon said. “Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going—“

She was interrupted by a deep knell from the hallway. The clock was tolling the hour. All five of them stood there, motionless, listening to the chimes. Ten… Eleven… Twelve.

Nopony said anything, then Sweetie Belle groaned. “It’s already midnight? I thought we would’ve seen a ghost by now!”

Bon-Bon turned to Lyra. The look in her eyes said it all.

“You never got that clock fixed, did you?” Bon-Bon said.

Lyra shook her head slowly. “You said you were going to.”

The fire suddenly extinguished itself, and the room went completely dark. The logs sizzled. One of the fillies screamed, it was hard to tell who.

They heard Lyra’s voice: “It’s alright, I’ll just light it again.” Her horn lit up, casting a small circle of yellow light around her. The frightened faces of the three fillies could be seen now in the shadows. Lyra gave a reassuring smile. “Come on. You guys aren’t afraid of the dark, are you?”

“O-of course not!” Scootaloo said, exchanging glances with her friends. “This is it! We’re just about to find evidence, aren’t we? This is what we came for!”

Lyra trotted over to the fireplace and gave it a spark. Nothing happened. She frowned, tried again. Still nothing. She poked at the logs with one hoof, then stepped back. “They’re wet. It’s like somebody poured water over the whole thing.”

Bon-Bon reached over and pressed the switch on the end table lamp. It wouldn't turn on. She looked up. “Lyra, I think we need to get them home,” she said. “Right now.”

“But we’re just getting started!” Sweetie Belle whined.

“We can’t stop now!” Apple Bloom said.

Ignoring their protests, Bon-Bon felt her way forwards through the darkness and reached the front door. She raised a hoof to push it open. “I think we’ve seen quite—“ She grunted, and put both hooves up to shove with extra force. “—enough, so if everypony could just gather their things and—“ She leaned her entire body against it, but it still wouldn’t give. She glanced up. “You didn’t lock this, did you?”

“Why would I lock it?” Lyra stood at the other end of the hall, watching her. Her horn was still the only source of light. The fillies were still huddled close at her side, not letting a single hair on their tails stray into the shadows.

Bon-Bon gave another shove, pushing her shoulder into the door with as much force as she could muster. She sighed. “Look at what you’ve gotten us into.”

Me?

You’re the one who said they could come over!”

“Um, do you think we could try to get the lights back on?” Sweetie Belle said quietly.

“Yeah, we could... Uh...” Lyra looked over her shoulder at the hallway. “Where do we keep the spare candles?”

“They should be in the hall closet,” Bon-Bon told her.

“Alright. Come on!” Lyra smiled down at the fillies, trying to reassure them, and they followed after her.

Bon-Bon went to the window. It was the only source of light, the moon illuminating the outlines of furniture in blue-black silhouettes. She noticed the house across the street. The lights were on in their first-floor window. So this wasn’t just a normal blackout.

She heard the sound of Lyra rustling around through the boxes in the closet, then: “There they are!” The floorboards creaked. Soon Lyra and the Crusaders reappeared.

Lyra went around the room, placing the candles one by one to light up as much area as possible. Eventually the entire room was lit, but still very dim. Bon-Bon didn’t care much for the dramatic effect.

“Until the lights come back on, I say we should all stay here together,” Bon-Bon said. “And once that happens, everypony is going back home. No questions.”

“But we’re just now starting to see some stuff!” Scootaloo said.

“Come on, Crusaders! We need to take notes on what’s happenin’,” Apple Bloom said. She looked over to Sweetie Belle. “You brought the notebooks, right?”

“Uh… I thought Scootaloo would.”

“Me? Bringing the supplies was your job.”

Bon-Bon went over to the couch and collapsed, putting her head down. They’d survived a few minutes of utter terror and now they’d sprung back to their normal, irritating selves.

“You guys wait here. I’m pretty sure we’ve got some paper and quills somewhere around here.” Lyra headed out of the room, casting a light with her horn again.

Her hoofsteps moved down the hall, up the stairs, wandered around for a while. Bon-Bon stared at the ceiling. After a few minutes she heard them coming down the stairs again, and Lyra returned.

There were some rolls of paper floating by her side. “I’ve got a few blank scrolls for you. It should be enough, right?”

“Thanks, Lyra!” Sweetie Belle took a quill in her teeth and started scribbling down some notes. She whispered with the others, nodded, and wrote down some more.

Behind the chatter of the fillies, Bon-Bon could still hear something. She sat there quietly.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure everything’s fine,” Lyra said, trotting over to lean against the couch. “I told you I’d have it all under control.”

“The hoofsteps didn’t stop,” Bon-Bon said, still staring up.

Lyra turned her head. “Huh?”

“I heard you walking around upstairs. You’re here now, but there’s somepony still up there.”

All five of them looked up at the ceiling. Nopony said a word. And they could hear them—slow hoofsteps, pacing up and down the hallway.

“We should check that out!” Lyra was grinning broadly. She looked back at the Crusaders, who traded glances. “Anybody?”

“Uh… Who wants to go up there?” Scootaloo said.

“Why don’t you go? I’m, uh… busy taking notes.” Sweetie Belle pressed her face close to the paper, trying to look busy.

Lyra frowned. “I guess I could go up there, if I have to…”

“By yourself?” Bon-Bon said. “We should really be staying together. In here.”

Lyra’s face immediately brightened. “Great idea! You should come with me.”

“And leave them alone?” Bon-Bon nodded her head in the fillies’ direction. “I really think we should all just stay here until it's over.”

“Come on. It'll only take a minute. It’s just upstairs.”

Lyra was already trotting out of the room and into the darkness. Bon-Bon sighed and went to catch up with her. She took one more glance back at the living room, with its light and the fillies sitting close together on the couch.

“I still don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Come on. We are supposed to be investigating,” Lyra reminded her. “Anything that happens, we check it out.” She looked up the stairs at the dark landing above them, and started climbing up, her light guiding the way.

“While the real ‘investigators’ hide downstairs.” Bon-Bon glanced at Lyra’s horn. “It must be awfully convenient, being able to do that.”

“Yeah, it’s not too bad.”

They reached the top. The upstairs hall was quiet again. The moonlight shone through the window, but other than that it was pitch black. Lyra ducked in and out of each room, scarcely letting herself spend more than two seconds looking over each one. Bon-Bon stayed in the hall, watching her.

“I think we both knew we’d come up here and not find anything,” she said.

Lyra poked her head out of her bedroom doorway. “You think it’s gone already?”

That was when they heard the screams.

Bon-Bon bolted for the stairs, hardly even waiting for Lyra to come back with the light. “We left them alone!” she said. “I told you we shouldn’t have left them alone!”

She burst into the living room, but the candles had all gone out. It was oddly quiet. Lyra followed up behind her.

“What happened? Where are they?”

“Help me look,” Bon-Bon said.

Lyra searched around the room with her light. She scoured the entire room, saw a patch of color, went back to it. The three fillies were huddled by the wall, their eyes wide.

“What was it? What happened?” Lyra said.

Scootaloo struggled to get the words out. “It was in here! We saw it!”

Sweetie Belle nodded frantically. “Yeah! It didn’t have a head!”

“It did have a head, it was just on fire!” Apple Bloom said.

Memories of what she’d seen on the night of the storm flashed through Bon-Bon’s mind. The strange figure in the lightning flash.

Lyra stomped a hoof. “I missed it again! I’m never going to see it, am I?”

What?” Bon-Bon stared at her. “You’re not still going to go looking for this thing, are you?”

“Uh, I don’t think I want my cutie mark in ghost hunting anymore,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Same here!”

“Agreed!”

“See?” Bon-Bon said. “Now we have to find a way out before things get any worse.”

Lyra sighed. “I guess you’re right. But the door’s still—“

“We’ll find a way,” Bon-Bon insisted. “Now let’s go.”

She led the way into the hallway, stumbling slightly in the dark. As Lyra came up behind her, Bon-Bon’s shadow appeared before her. She could see the door ahead. It had been sealed shut before, but there had to be a way to get it open. They would break a window if they had to.

Suddenly, Lyra’s voice, sounding far away: “Bon-Bon? What’re you—“

The glow from Lyra’s horn suddenly went out. Everything was black. It took Bon-Bon’s eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness again. She could still feel the floorboards under her hooves, but as she reached around she couldn’t find anything.

More importantly, Lyra and the others were gone. She was alone, wherever she was.

A light clicked on somewhere, and the room lit up. Bon-Bon was momentarily caught off guard. It was the lamp on her nightstand. The sight of it was so mundane, yet somehow off.

Sure enough, she was in her own bedroom. Upstairs. But a moment ago she had been in the hallway heading to the front door.

“Lyra?” She turned around, but the doorway behind her only led to the upstairs hallway. The faint light cast her shadow across the floor, the door to the study was directly across from her, and in either direction, only darkness. Their house wasn’t that big, it couldn’t possibly be that dark in here…

Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. She trotted outside. She knew where the stairs were, and if she could just head downstairs and find the others, everything would be fine.

“Lyra? What happened? Do you hear me?”

Bon-Bon turned her head to look back. The light shining out of her doorway was being swallowed up in the blackness as she trotted away from it. She looked over her shoulder. She could barely see where it was. Ahead of her, only more black. It was times like these she was almost jealous of Lyra’s unicorn magic.

She reached out with her hooves. To either side she could find doors. To the study, and to… No, her own room was nearest to the stairs, and the study was right across from it. There weren’t any other rooms in this direction. And how far had she walked already?

Bon-Bon couldn’t see anything now. It was total blackness. The only way to go was forward, but she counted her steps and the hallway was simply far too long. Was she even moving? There was no way to tell.

She recalled Twilight telling her this was all her imagination. How did you explain this, then? It was surreal, dreamlike, but it was also impossible to wake up. And it felt real.

Whenever she found the wall, she would find a door handle there. Was it the same one as before, or a new one? Now it was hard to tell if she was going in the same direction or not. Everything seemed the same in the dark, and she had lost track of how many times she’d turned around and looked behind her…

Then the hoofsteps started again.

That was enough indication of what direction she should take—just get away from those. She still couldn’t see in front of her, but gradually her pace quickened from a trot to a gallop. There was no time to think what would happen if she ever did reach the stairs.

The hoofsteps were getting louder. Impossibly loud. And yet still far away. This wasn’t their house, the hallway wasn’t this long or this dark, she’d lost track of just how long she’d been here or how many steps it had been. And whatever was behind her was coming up fast.

Thinking quickly, she reached to her left and pulled the door open. Whatever awaited her was surely better than whatever was in the hallway. She ducked into the room just as the thumping hoofsteps came up behind her.

She found herself downstairs, in the living room again.

The candles had gone out, but there was still enough light from the window to tell where she was. Bon-Bon became aware that she was holding her breath, and let it out.

It was only quiet for a moment. She heard glass shatter somewhere.

The floor underneath her hooves began to shake. The candles fell off the table, a lamp smashed on the floor, she could hear the drawers and cabinets slamming open and shut in the kitchen.

Bon-Bon fought her way across the room, still exhausted from running in… wherever she’d just been. Her knees buckled, but she could see the doorway to the front hallway.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Bon-Bon bolted for the front door. The hallway seemed to stretch out, pitching from one side to the other as the earthquake or whatever it was intensified. The door was moving farther away. Desperately, she reached a hoof forward, grabbed for it... A blast of fresh air hit her in the face.

She was out.

Bon-Bon flew out the front door, too late to notice when she tripped over something heavy and round. It rolled over into the dirt road in front of their house. It was about the size of a pony’s head.

Picking herself up and limping into the middle of the road, she finally stopped to catch her breath. Looking around, there was still nopony out here, though it was probably at some odd hour of the morning. She glanced at whatever she’d tripped over.

Lyra’s pumpkin. Of course. She stared at it for a moment, and somehow, she laughed. It was harsh, breathless; she was happy just to be outside.

But, now that she had turned around, what was more upsetting was the house.

Intense white light was shining out of all the windows. The house that she’d just been stumbling through in the dark was now lit up like a tree for Hearth’s Warming Eve, casting a glow on all the surrounding houses. Somehow that was even worse than the darkness.

Bon-Bon glanced around, but nopony else was out here to notice. Whatever hour of the night it was, the other houses were dark and silent. She looked back at her own house, and knew that no matter what, she was not going back inside.

“So much for your harmless little slumber party, Lyra,” she muttered.

So much for what Lyra had called the “best Nightmare Night ever.” This was what it had come down to. Fleeing their once-comfortable home in the middle of the night, running away from some invisible thing that seemed to only exist to torment her. Was this what Lyra considered fun? As soon as Bon-Bon found her, she’d…

Bon-Bon glanced around the street.

Where was Lyra?

Her eyes went back to the house, with that unnatural light pouring out of the windows. It was too bright to even see anything inside. Nearly blinding like sunlight, and yet it somehow didn’t hurt to look at it.

Bon-Bon took a deep breath and stepped up to the front door. She hesitated, trying to force herself to do it, then placed her hoof on the door handle and prepared to pull it open.

“Bon-Bon! What are you doing? What happened to you?”

She turned around just in time to see Lyra there, her eyes wild.

“Lyra? What happened?” Bon-Bon said. “Where are the others?”

“They got out. I made sure they got back home safely. You just vanished back there. We had no idea what happened. But we can’t go back in there. It’s not safe.” Lyra had never sounded so serious about anything in all the years Bon-Bon had known her.

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Bon-Bon said.

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