• Published 9th Jan 2012
  • 1,180 Views, 13 Comments

Flash's Journal - cesmaster644



Following the zombie infection, a young stallion records his life for others to learn from.

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Flash and Vinyl's Journal - 19-24 A.I.

Author’s Note: No, Vinyl can’t write. She’s blind. This isn’t actually her journal, it’s just a fitting title, okay? Thanks. I just kinda wanted to do something different. Follow me to the end. I think you’ll enjoy.

Octavia and Fayth had just awoken; Noteworthy was recounting their tale, and Flash was enthralled in it. Fayth was inspecting herself, Noteworthy, Octavia, and Strickland for injuries. But Octavia seemed to be ignoring Noteworthy’s conversation with Flash completely. She was standing directly in front of Vinyl, just staring. The world fell silent around the two for a moment, then Octavia lunged.

Her forelegs came down around Vinyl’s neck in a nearly spine-crushing hug. “Vinyl! You’re alive!” Octavia squeaked out between soft sobs.

“O-Octy? Octy!” Vinyl buried her face in her best friend’s mane. She knew that it was Octavia; even though she couldn’t see her, she could feel it.

Octavia couldn’t contain herself anymore and simply broke down. “Oh, Vinyl, I thought we lost you.... I was so worried about you! Strickland and Maple came back without you, and...”

“It’s okay.... It’s okay, Octy. We’re here now... I’ve got you.” Vinyl let out a small smile, gently stroking Octavia’s mane. Despite her small outburst, no pony seemed to mind them.

Octavia replied with a small squeeze. “Don’t ever let go, okay?”

“I promis-” Vinyl was interrupted by Octavia gently kissing her cheek.

“Thanks, Vinyl.” Octavia sighed. “I just... Vivy, I can’t stand the thought of losing you again.” Vinyl flushed. Octavia hadn’t called her by that nickname in forever. “You’re my best friend, and-”

“I know. You’re mine too,” Vinyl inserted.

“N-No... let me finish.” Octavia’s voice sounded unsure and, embarrassed. Vinyl nodded for her to continue. “I care about you a whole lot, Vivy. A lot. And, with the whole idea of losing you, I’ve been thinking....”

Here, Octavia paused to take a deep breath out. Despite this, her words were rushed, blurted out in a sudden decision before her mind changed: “Vivy, I love you.”

“O-Octy! You mean-?” Vinyl’s cheeks flushed into a further crimson.

Octavia nodded and pressed a hoof to Vinyl’s muzzle. “Yeah, and I know... I know you like colts and all, so I’m not expecting much, but... could you at least think about it, before you reject me completely, please?” Octavia chuckled nervously.

Vinyl forced her blind eyes closed and leaned her head against Octavia’s. For who knows how long, no words were shared between them.

“So, this is just great, isn’t it? From the Grand Galloping Gala to a Pony Scout camp to surviving the bucking apocalypse. Just great. How’d you guys get here, anyway?” Octavia eventually asked, choosing to let the subject she’d brought up drop.

Vinyl sighed, and began their story again.

*****

Having arrived in Ponyville - or, at least, a cottage just outside Ponyville - Vinyl found herself on the floor beside Octavia. Her mind was racing. Octavia was her best friend. Flash was sweet and had done everything he could to help her. She’d never considered... fillyfoolery, but, with Octy, it didn’t sound so bad.

She sighed. She cared about both of them, and she couldn’t just choose between them as simply as that.

She didn’t know where Flash was; the soft scribbling of a pencil on paper made it clear that he was somewhere on her right, closer towards her head, but she couldn’t make out a distance.... It had been some time since the two of them had any time alone together. She sighed... it was hard, being in a relationship, when they couldn’t be with each other all that often. That was another thing. He was busying leading - did he have time for her? Should she burden him with herself?

Maybe things would calm down when they got to Ponyville proper, settled things with the other half of the group, and began rebuilding. She could only hope.


20 A.I.

“Sugarcube Corner”.

That’s what Bon Bon called it. Vinyl could tell why. The smell of sugar and flour and baking still permeated the air around the building. If Vinyl didn’t know better from the other ponies’ descriptions, she would have thought it was still running.

Everypony was scouring the place for whatever food and supplies they could find, and she was just standing there, side by side with Flash.

Should she tell him what happened between her and Octavia? Did he already know? No pony had been watching them in particular, she thought, but... she couldn’t tell. Maybe he’d help her.... Maybe he’d decide he didn’t like her! Oh, no, that would be horrible, she couldn’t....

She gave in, her mental frustration and confusion taking over. She rested her head against his neck. He kissed the tip of her horn.

Hopefully Octavia didn’t see that.

*****

Vinyl sighed, her chin resting on her forehooves. It was a heavy sigh, not a happy, content sigh; the type of sigh one lets out during grief or anguish.

Flash was out, talking with Applejack, probably helping with the start of Applebuck season too. The two of them had been discussing leadership problems and the zombie situation almost non-stop.

Octavia was out with Big Macintosh. They were looking for a good, dead tree that she might could start to fashion a cello out of. Music meant entertainment, which meant happier survivors.

Most of the other ponies were out and about, interacting with the Ponyville group.

Which meant that the only pony left was-

"Vinyl... are you okay?"

"I think that's the first complete sentence I've ever heard you say, Fayth," Vinyl replied.

"You didn't answer my question," Fayth stated.

Vinyl sighed that heavy sigh again. "You're right. I didn't." Vinyl paused. "Fayth, can I trust you to keep a secret?"

"If you can't trust yourself to, why expect me?"

Vinyl was taken aback. Though Fayth's tone had been sincere, not chastising, it was filled with a surprising truth. "Well... I mean... You rarely talk, so why would you spill my secret, right?"

"Fair enough."

Vinyl was starting to wonder how Fayth maintained her monotone way of talking. "Fayth... I'm going out with Flash."

"Congratulations."

"But my best friend is in love with me," Vinyl quickly added.

"There's nothing wrong with dating somepony you consider to be a be-"

"No! I... I mean Octavia." Vinyl turned her head in embarrassment.

"She's a fillyfooler?" again, Fayth's tone was of neither disbelief nor misunderstanding, merely... simple surprise.

"Yeah. And she doesn't know about Flash - she... she wants to hook up with me, but I just don't know what to tell her!"

"Have you tried telling her how you feel?"

"No, but then she'll be depressed, because I'll have broken her heart..." Vinyl sighed that same sigh for the third time.

"Vinyl... if she truly cares about you, if she is truly your best friend, then she will want whatever makes you happy. Regardless of if it makes her happy."

"I... I don't know. I'm not sure."

Fayth hesitated, like she suddenly realized something and was thinking it over. "Vinyl, are... are you having thoughts that you might care for her the same way?"

Vinyl blushes a ferocious red and hid her face.

"Oh, Vinyl... It's nothing to be ashamed of.... Does Flash know?"

Vinyl shook her head no.

"Well... maybe you should tell him your problem. Tell him that you need time to sort through your feelings about them and... then go with who you want to."

"But what if he gets angry at me for cheating or leaving him or-!"

Fayth placed a hoof to Vinyl's muzzle. "Then he isn't worth it. But I think you underestimate his compassion."

*****

“Flash...? I... I need to talk to you.” Vinyl was standing in the doorway of what had become his “room” - a tent made from tarps and blankets strung between apple trees. It was nearly midnight, 20 days into the infection. The cool summer air blew a soft breeze through the tent, ruffling the “walls”. She let a deep breath out.

“Okay, sure, just give me one second,” Flash replied. His pencil stopped making that scribbling sound. “What do you want to talk about, Vinyl?” he asked, his soft hoof steps making the grass crunch a little as he approached.

“Flash... I... I...” her eyes scrunched together, brow furrowed. “I need to take a break. From us.” Vinyl sounded to herself like she was straining each word. She mentally cringed.

“Y... You’re dumping me?” Flash asked, his own voice cracking slightly.

“Flash, it’s not you, it’s.... See, Octy said-”

“You’re dumping me for Octavia?” Flash blurted out. She couldn’t tell, but he regretted saying it as soon as he did. He didn’t mean it that way; he didn’t mean that Octavia was worth less than he was or that he disapproved of her being a fillyfooler or.... No matter how he looked at it, it came out wrong.

“N-No! I...! Look, she told me that she really liked me like that, and.... Flash, you have to believe me, at first, it was just trying to figure out how to tell her no, but I’ve started to think... maybe... I kind of... like... her too.” Vinyl’s voice was getting smaller and weaker with each word. She felt smaller and weaker with each word. “I-I just don’t know how I feel right now, okay? I really need some time to sort out my feelings, and-”

“Just...” Flash cut her off. She could almost hear the tears in his eyes. “Just... take whatever time you need, okay?”

“Flash, I’m so sorry to have to bring this down on yo-”

“Just go, alright?” Vinyl could tell by the small hissing noise from between his teeth that he regretted saying it already. “Just... please?”

Vinyl felt the tears brimming up in her own eyes. She had done exactly what she’d hope to avoid. She’d hurt him, and now... now he hated her. She couldn’t move. Her muscles wouldn’t obey. They must have hated her too.

“Please?” Flash’s voice wasn’t more than a whisper. He was forcing himself not to overreact.

She nodded, wiped her eyes, then trotted off to her shared tent/room with Octavia. She didn’t pretend that she couldn’t hear the sobs behind her; he didn’t either.


21 A.I.

My world is reeling. I can’t-I don’t-I just....

Vinyl dumped me. For Octavia. Or to think about it. Or something. I can’t tell how much of what she says is true and how much is to make me feel better. As far as I know, she’s been with Octavia for quite some time, and she was just waiting to find her again.

I just... I don’t know what to feel anymore. I’ve screwed up. I let Sheridan die; I put a pony in charge who then made some bad decisions. I’ve probably lost my parents and the rest of my friends. And now? Now? The one constant I had left is just... gone. Left me.

My world is reeling.

I can’t write anymore today.

*****

“Applejack! Hey, Applejack!” Flash called, trotting through the acres of sweet apple trees.

“Why, howdy, Flash! What can I do fer ya?” Applejack waved to him as he approached.

“I...” Flash stopped mid sentence to rub his temples. “I need something to do to keep my mind off of... things.”

“Keep yer mind offa things? Somethin’ botherin’ you?” Applejack’s smile frowned.

“It’s a long story.... I’d rather not talk about it.” Flash’s eyes seemed determined to avoid contact with Applejack’s as he spoke - a fact which he berated himself for.

“Ah understand. Why don’t ya buck some? Ah’m sure it’ll help clear yer mind.” Applejack gestured to the plentiful apple trees still bearing fruit.

“I think... that’d be great.”

With that, the two got to work.

*****

“So, none of the animals can get infected?” Vinyl asked, still walking along.

“Not that we know of. I’m very glad; it’s bad enough, with all my friends getting infected and...” Fluttershy shook her head to prevent tears. “I just don’t know what I’d do if all these cute little critters got infected too.”

“Yeah, I feel ya.”

The two of them were walking through the Everfree Forest - one of the only areas not to receive any major problems from the outbreak. The only carrier of the virus that would be in the area was ponies, and they had all been corralled into the town spa. As a result, all of the wild plants were safe to eat, and Zecora hadn’t even known about the infection at all until Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie had shown up one day to check on her.

Right now, the two of them were picking berries. Octavia had suggested it when Vinyl came in all upset the night before. She said it would help her calm down, not to think about it. So she set Vinyl up with Fluttershy, and there they were. Vinyl nearly in step behind Fluttershy in the middle of the wild, wild woods.

“So, um, Rainbow Dash said that your group came from Stalliongrad. Why’d you come all the way down here? I mean... not to be rude, it’s not that we don’t want you here or anything, it just seems like a long way to go when you have shelter there.”

“Well... I guess it’s mainly because we were once part of this group of survivors, but we had to split up for... complicated reasons. About half of our group came through here earlier - Flash, Octavia, Fayth, Noteworthy, Strickland and I have been trying to catch up with them.”

“Oh... so... you’re not staying?” Fluttershy’s voice sounded a little depressed.

“I... don’t know. Flash hasn’t told us to pack up and go, or announced anything about it, so... I dunno. I mean... it’s safe here. We’ve got food, shelter, a relative lack of zombies - though, know that everypony knows about them and prepares for them, they aren’t as big of a threat as they were in the beginning - and friends. I don’t see why we’d want to leave. But... we may still try to find our friends.”

“I understand. I don’t know how I could survive all this without my friends. Coping without Twilight is bad enough. If you do go, I wish you the best of luck.” Vinyl’s bag was starting to feel heavy - she hadn’t realized it, but Fluttershy had been filling her saddlebags with berries the whole time.

“Thanks, Fluttershy.”

*****

The repetitive thumping of hooves striking trees filled their ears; the sun trailed through the sky, beating down on them with waves of heat and light.

“So, uh, Flash. You, uh... what’s yer family like?” Applejack asked after a good hour or so.

Flash shook his head. “Eccentric. I think that’s how to put it. They’re not bad ponies, but... well, they take life sort of like a party.”

Applejack chuckled. “Sounds like somepony I know.”

“We, uh, we actually live in Canterlot. Compared to most everypony else there, they’re pretty loose. We used to always spend the summers in Hoofington; now that I work Pony Scout camp, they usually just chill there without me,” Flash continued.

“Ah’ll admit, Flash, Ah cain’t imagine you as a fancy city pony,” Applejack stopped bucking to continue speaking. “Especially not a Canterlot pony.”

“I didn’t really grow up there. I spent a lot of time at flight school in Cloudsdale,” Flash explained.

“Well, Ah s’pose that’s fair ‘nough. Say, what did your parents do anyway?”

“They... weren’t around a lot. That’s why I didn’t stay with them much. Is it cool if we don’t talk about that? It’s not something I admire about them.” Noting his cryptic reply, Applejack let the matter drop.

*****

Vinyl spent most of that day with Fluttershy, harvesting berries and relaxing in camp.

"So, Fluttershy. Tell me. How did you guys set all this up?" she asked as they lay on a small, grassy hill.

"Well, after Mayor Mare was infected, we were split between making Applejack or Rainbow Dash our new leader. We decided we didn't have time to argue and made them co-leaders. Applejack suggested we move everypony out here, away from the infected, so no one else would get hurt.

"At first, we... the undead, we..." here, Fluttershy's voice rose to a series of tiny squeaks.

"Hey, hey." Vinyl wrapped a foreleg around Fluttershy. "I understand. You guys had to, it's not like you had much choice."

Fluttershy calmed down after a few seconds, then continued. "Well, after a few days - maybe a week, we heard from Twilight. She communicated through the water in this one pond; she's really good with magic - one of the best, I think.

"Anyway, she said that she was stuck in Canterlot while they worked on a cure for the infection, and she'd send word when it was safe for us to go to Canterlot ourselves. She told us to save as many infected as we could and lock them in one area."

"The spa?" Vinyl chimed in.

"Right. So we spent a few days gathering everypony there, and, since then, we've just been staying here, living off of the apples and fruit from the Everfree Forest."

"Not too shabby, if you ask me."

"Thanks. I guess we do kinda have it easy, don't we?"

"Not a bad problem to have."


22 A.I.

"Awh, why do you look so saddy-waddy, Vinyl?"

Vinyl turned her head with a start - she wasn't expecting anyone, nor did she know the voice of this pony. Feminine. Quite... energetic. But that's all she could make out.

"Just... a lot on my plate," Vinyl sadly replied.

"Plate? I don't see any plate," the bouncy pony replied.

"I mean... I have a lot going on. A lot to handle."

"Oh, yeah! I know whatcha mean. This one time I had to babysit Mr. and Mrs. Cake's twins, and, boy, they were a handful too!" Vinyl couldn’t see it, but this pony’s extravagant hoof motions didn’t completely match her words. “Pumpkin Cake was using magic to make the toys come alive, and Pound Cake was flying all around the house like zzzhooom zzhoom and they only calmed down when I poured bag of flour over my head!” The pony’s speech, at this point, more so degenerated into laughter. “Ohh... it was crazy stuff.... But it’s all good now. Thanks for asking!”

"I.... What?" Vinyl was more than a little confused.

"Hey, I hate to leave you so soon, but I have to go now. It's Davenport's birthday tomorrow so Mrs. Cake and I have to bake a super special awesome cake for him! Bye, Vinyl!" The sound of hooves clopping away signaled Vinyl to the other pony's leaving.

"Bye... whoever you are....." Vinyl mumbled back.

The sound of wind rushing past her completely destroyed her momentary mental silence and balance.

"My, name's Pinkie Pie, by the way! I can't believe I forgot to tell you. I can be so forgetful sometimes!" It was the same mare.

"Pinkie Pie? Like the Element of Laughter?"

"That's the one!"

"H... How'd you know my name?"

"I know everypony, silly! Remember, there was that one time you came to town to DJ our fashion show? I still remember you! But, really, I got run. Have a balloon! I'm sure it'll make you feel better."

As Pinkie left - for real, this time - Vinyl felt a string tied around her hoof, taught against something in the air. She pulled the string down, and, on the end was a rubbery ball of air.

A balloon. She hadn't had one of these in... forever. She gave it a soft squeeze before batting it into the air, the string vibrating to give her a general sense of what direction the ballon moved towards.

"Thanks, Pinkie Pie..." Vinyl smiled, a small laugh escaping her lips.

*****

“Alright, show me what you’ve got!” Rainbow Dash puffed her chest out, wings subconsciously keeping her aloft.

Flash remained on the ground, staring up at the cyan pony. “I dunno. It’s been forever since I’ve really done any tricks.”

“Oh, come on, Flash! I’m sure you must know something cool. You lived in Canterlot. I’m sure you must have seen the Wonderbolts all the time!” Dash waved her forehooves in a grand gesture.

Flash scratched the back of his head. “Well, yeah, but-”

“Exactly my point.” Dash punctuated each word as she spoke. “You must know something good.”

Flash hesitated. “Well-”

“Then come on!”

Stretching his wings out, Flash pushed off the ground. With a few extra flaps, Flash was floating along steadily beside Rainbow Dash. He glanced about the area; some cloud cover, but not a whole lot. He’d have to do some improvising. He flew off, grabbing each cloud as he passed it and bringing them all back together. He settled them into one massive pile, then compressed them into one cloud.

Dash yawned. “We don’t have all day, Flash, come on! Just do it already!”

“Alright, alright. Don’t get your mane in a knot.” Flash waved her off. He took a deep breath in, letting it slowly exhale, and flew back to Dash. “Give me a countdown. When you say go, give me a minute before you tell me to stop.”

Dash cocked an eyebrow but nodded. “Three. Two-one-go!”

Flash took off, heading straight into his cloud. Coming through the other side, he pulled a sharp turn, cutting into the surface of the cloud as he revolved around it. Each pass around the cloud he would change angle somewhat, carving and sculpting it differently, gaining more and more speed.

Dash called time as she had promised, and Flash slowed himself to a halt. The two turned to look at his work.

“It’s just a cut-up cloud,” Dash condemned.

“Kick it,” Flash countered.

Dash still gave him that bewildered look but did as commanded. With a thunderclap, the outer layer of cloud burst away, revealing a simple fleur-de-lis inside.

“Yeah, I know. I could have made it better, but I didn’t have much cloud, so I just had to simplify and make it smaller. And it’s probably not what you’re looking for; it’s no high-diving daring maneuver. But it’s art, and I like it.” While Flash was talking, Dash was staring at his work.

“Well, you’re right. It’s no Wonderbolts maneuver, but it’s not bad. Especially for just a minute. Where’d you learn this?” Dash responded.

“My, uh, my mom taught it to me one summer between sessions of Flight School.” Flash turned away, somewhat embarrassed. “Took me forever to get it down that well. She said that a lot of foals learned stuff like this to start off and used basics like that to create amazing tricks and start in a career like the Wonderbolts.... That wasn’t the life for me though, so I never learned more than that. I’m surprised I still know how to do it, to be honest.”

“You shouldn’t have given up! Man, to be in your spot... I’d give a lot to have had your opportunities! I could even be in the Wonderbolts by now!” Dash was starting into one of those daydreams again.

Flash chuckled. “If you had experienced what I had, you wouldn’t be so keen to being a Wonderbolt.”

But Dash wasn’t listening. Dreams of grandeur had already taken a hold of her mind.

“Hey, Dash? Dash? Dash!” Flash’s calling finally snapped her out of it. “You got any good tricks you wanna show me?”

Dash blinked. “Hay yeah! Watch this: I call it the ‘Buckaroo Blaze’!”


23 A.I.

“Fayth, I don’t want to talk about this right now.” Flash moaned, exasperated. Fayth was standing at the door of Flash’s “room”, preventing him from leaving.

“You need to,” she replied in her characteristic manner.

“Fayth, get out of my way. I have stuff I need to do,” Flash insisted, trying to push past her.

“This is more important,” she reaffirmed.

“Don’t you have some pony to heal?” Flash tried.

“You.”

Flash closed his eyes. “Fayth, I don’t want to do this right now. I just want to shove it to the back of my mind and keep going while I can.”

“I’m trying to keep you going longer,” Fayth stated, as if it was irrefutable evidence.

“You’re not helping me,” Flash pleaded.

“You aren’t helping yourself.”

“You’re not going to move, are you?” Flash conceeded.

Fayth took a step forward. “Vinyl does care about you.”

Flash cringed. “Then why did she leave me for that cello-playing jenny?”

Fayth glared at him - a rare and frightening sight. Flash realized his mistake almost instantly, shying away from Fayth and falling on his own rear. It seemed to him that she was twice his size now, the world around her darkening with her sudden anger. “Don’t call her that again,” she hissed.

Finding her dominance in the situation established, Fayth let her intimidation shrink to normal. “She didn’t leave you for Octavia. They aren’t together. Vinyl left you to think.”

Flash blinked, shaking his head in mild confusion. “What do you mean? How is that any different than just up and leaving me for her?”

“She left you because she was stressed. She was being pressured romantically from two sides and needed to get out and clear her head.” Fayth hesitated, then sat down beside him. “She might just come back to you. I don’t know. If she does, you need to be there with open arms. Don’t look back. But you need to be ready in the event she doesn’t. Don’t hate her for it. She’s being forced to choose between her best friend and her boyfriend.”

Flash sighed. “But.... Fine. Okay. I’m....” he took a breath in, slowly releasing it. “I’m not angry. It’s her choice to make, I guess she has the right to.”

“Good.” Fayth stood, walking out of his tent. “Don’t make me talk that much again.”

*****

Those “important things” I told Fayth I had to do... I never did them. Whatever they were. I just sat there the whole day, pondering what she’d said. Heck, I’m still sitting here, I guess. I just decided it’d be best to seem like I was doing something important and now I’m writing to you. Sorry for not writing in so long. I hope I’ve summarized these past few days well. It’s all so very... bothersome. I just.... To be honest, I wish we’d never found Octavia. Having her around has caused this whole darn mess.

I guess I can’t change that though.

You know what, journal? I don’t think I can stay here anymore. I know how much this place means to everyone else - safety, fellowship, and food and all. But... I can’t stay anymore. I need to head out after Poniatowski and all them anyway. I think I’ll see who wants to stay and who wants to go with me tomorrow.

1. Flash (Leaving)

2. Vinyl Scratch (Likely to follow Octavia)

3. Lyra Heartstrings (Unsure)

4. Bon Bon (Unsure)

5. Terra Cotta (Likely to stay)

6. Fayth (Unsure)

7. Noteworthy (Likely to follow Fayth)

8. Octavia (Likely to stay)

9. Strickland (Likely to leave)

Sounds about right. I’ll just have to settle for Strickland, and maybe Fayth and Noteworthy. Alright. It’ll do. Goodnight, journal.


24 A.I.

It was a sunny day, which didn’t exactly come as a surprise, considering the time of year. But it was a particularly sunny day, the temperature hitting a mighty high for the summer. As a result, the Stalliongrad Survivors - as the Ponyville folk called them - had gathered under the shade of the trees edging the Everfree Forest. Flash was standing before them, having called them all into a special meeting. Deep inside, they all could admit that they had expected him to call them to leave. But now that the moment was here... none of them were ready.

Flash plopped down onto his flank, placing his forehooves against his temples. He reflected on what he must say - how to best say it. He dropped his hooves to the ground and observed his friends... his family.

“I can tell, just by how you’re looking at me, that you know what I’m about to say and how you feel about it,” he finally admitted. “I’m not asking any of you to come with me. I’m just letting you know that I’m going. Alone.”

Soft murmurs cascaded between the Stalliongrad Survivors.

“You’re going to get killed if you do this, Flash,” Strickland warned.

“I know.”

“It’s in the past, Flash! Let it be. They’ve chosen their own fate,” Noteworthy spoke up.

“No, Poniatowski chose it for them. They deserve at least somepony coming to help them,” Flash retorted in a huff.

“We’re safe here. It’s a utopia. Would you honestly leave all this for them?” Terra Cotta asked.

Flash blinked. “Yes.”

Everypony looked between each other. Concern and worry. Confusion. All of these emotions and more poured over them.

“Look, just.... I just wanted you all to know. I’ll be here the night, get some supplies tomorrow, and I’ll be out of your manes by dark. I guess I just wanted to say goodbye.” Flash sighed as he stood. “Goodbye.”

And, with that, Flash bowed out and headed back into the main part of town, leaving the rest of the survivors to think.

Strickland was the first to speak. “We can’t let him go, you know.”

“Why not? It’s his choice,” Terra Cotta replied.

“He can’t be thinking straight,” Lyra inserted. “Maybe if we could convince him to wait, he’ll clear up some and come to his senses.”

Fayth shook her head. “Flash is doing what he thinks best. He won’t change.”

“What can we do, then?” Noteworthy asked.

Everypony was silent. Only two options presented themselves: tie Flash down to keep him from leaving, or...

“Go with him.” Strickland stood as he spoke. “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go with him.”

Fayth nodded, then joined Strickland’s side. Noteworthy, albeit hesitantly, joined as well with a murmur of “I guess I don’t have much choice.”

“Anypony else?” Strickland asked after a few seconds.

Lyra turned to face her sister. “I came along because Bon Bon was going.”

Bon Bon flushed; just like Lyra, to turn it on her. “I think... I think I’ll stay. I’ve got what I wanted out of this journey.... While I’m ever so grateful for you all taking us along... I’m done.”

“Then I’m staying too,” Lyra asserted.

“It’s safe here,” Terra Cotta said. “There’s no zombie threat. I... I’ll take my stay here too.”

“Alright, then. I s’pose this is the end of our journey together,” Strickland said with a slight bow. Hugs were exchanged between all, and the ponies separated.

Except for Vinyl and Octavia.

“You want to go with them, don’t you?” Octavia asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Vinyl nodded. “After all he’s done for me... I can’t just let him leave and get himself killed.”

“Well... I’m not going to go, Vinyl. I agree with Terra Cotta and Bon Bon. It’s almost completely safe here. I don’t want to risk losing this.” Octavia’s voice, though still calm, was back to normal speaking tones.

Vinyl struck a hoof out, pulling Octavia closer. “Please, Octy, come with me! Don’t make me choose! Don’t make me choose yet!” Her voice had risen to a cry.

“Vivy....” Octavia stroked a caring hoof down Vinyl’s mess of a mane. “I... you’re going to have to choose one of these days anyway. Him... or me. I...” Octavia’s words got hung in her throat on a sob. “I’ll understand if you pick him.”

Vinyl shook her head. “I... I can’t do this.”

“You have to, Vivy.” Octavia replied, finding difficulty balancing encouragement, desperation, and infatuation.

“I....” Vinyl swallowed. “I’m going to...”

And, at that precise moment, the roar of a train, the Friendship Express, as known to some, overcame her words and drowned out her thoughts.

*****

Author’s Note: This was originally supposed to be a side-story and another chapter. It ended up working out better as one chapter. Please forgive me going back and inserting stuff in days 19 and 20 - if I had planned this better, they would have been inserted in the last chapter.

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Comments ( 7 )

A jenny is a female donkey.
You're welcome.

Yay! An update :pinkiehappy:

been a while
but I guess it was worth the wait
I like this story A LOT!
mostly due to it being actually interesting, like a book I read from HP lovecraft (cant exactly remember the name)
but yeah I like this, so 2 things:
1.KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!
2...
farm3.staticflickr.com/2782/4303712418_59b6c48388_z.jpg

Finally! :D One of my first stories updated! Awesome work! Can't wait for the next update! :pinkiehappy:

I know it's been quite a while... but I just caught up, and I DEMAND MOAR :flutterrage:

This needs to be updated... URGENTLY :flutterrage: !!! I was with this story from the start...ish and would really like to see some updates... please :fluttershysad: ???

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