• Published 28th Nov 2012
  • 4,396 Views, 110 Comments

SIX walk IN - KitsuneRisu



Twilight and Friends visit an old house to celebrate a birthday with deadly results.

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2 : Like the Open Jaws of a Predator

2 -Like the Open Jaws of a Predator


"Listen, somethin' ain't right around here," Applejack said, pacing the bedroom.

It was a room similar to the others in make-up and decoration. The tone, the size; everything except for a glass ceiling over the bed, which was absent, and the fact that a battery-powered electric lamp illuminated everything up very nicely.

This room was unique in that there didn't seem to be anything out of place, unlike the rest of the house. Nothing from modern times, nor ill-placed objects were there to be found, and out of all the rooms this one was the most plain.

"I'm sorry," Fluttershy squeaked again. "I'm sorry for messing things up."

"Ain't your fault, Fluttershy."

"But… I was the only one who didn't do things as planned. Rarity did her costume properly, and Rainbow was able to pull Pinkie down the hall without being seen… but I just had to forget the sheet!"

"It ain't your fault, I said," Applejack said impatiently. "Anyway, that ain't important now. Twilight and Pinkie's gone off the rails. Something in the air's affectin' them. Can't you feel it on your skin?"

"I… I don't think so."

"It's like… it's like walking too near the dryer when it's fulla' blankets. Makes your hair stand up and your insides funny."

"I… I don't feel anything like that…" Fluttershy said, sniffing, and giving her wings a ruffle. Maybe she could pick something up in her feathers, but there was nothing to be found crawling over her skin. "Maybe… maybe I just fail at picking up feelings…"

"Fluttershy, would you stop that now?"

"But she's right!" Fluttershy lamented, crawling up to Applejack and putting on a piteous look. "I am a failure. I can't do anything right. I even messed up this simple task. I… I forgot to put on the sheet! Who else but me would forget something like that?"

"What sheet are you going on about anyway? First time I heard about this sheet was back at the balcony."

"You know, like a ghost. Twilight told me to put on a sheet before scaring Pinkie…"

"Darlin'," Applejack said, blinking over rolled eyes, "I'm pretty sure that the lack of the sheet wasn't really the absolute cause of it all here. Besides, you gave it your best shot, didn't you?"

"I tried…"

"Well then, Twilight shoulda' known that from the start. Getting' angry even though she knows somepony's limitations is just ridiculous!"

"Well… I like to think that she's angry because she knows I'm capable of much more and I didn't surpass my limitations…"

"What, you takin' her side now?"

"Well…"

"Wells are for fetchin' water from, sugar." Applejack snorted. "Listen, Twilight's just been breathin' in too much crazy air. She's probably okay right now, in fact, after havin' a couple minutes to herself. Why don't you go check up on her? You know, as a peace offerin' or whatnot. I'll gather the rest up and we should leave this house."

"O…okay… if you think that's best." Fluttershy nodded, turning for the door. "Are you… are you coming?"

"Yeah, I'm just gonna grab my saddlebags and pack up the lantern. I'll be out in a shake of a lamb's tail. You go ahead first. She's in one of the rooms downstairs along the corridor. You remember where that is, right? Entrance's next to the fireplace."

Fluttershy nodded, nudging the door open to a well-lit balcony. Before entering, Applejack had the foresight to leave lanterns around the place to help with the lighting. It almost looked cosy now, and even Fluttershy had no issue making her way around the place.

But even so, she flew down and quickly pushed through into the corridor, not wanting to spend her time alone for more than was necessary.

As she delved deeper, she was plunged into an eerily unnatural blind depth.

Her eyes took some time to get used to the lack of light, which came suddenly and abruptly, almost as if someone had turned off a switch. And as things came into focus, her eyes spied a section of the hallway that was lit up a little bit more than the rest. A soft ebb was gently trickling from a door ajar, and she could see it clearly from where she was.

Quickly, but silently, she made a beeline for the door, glancing in before nudging it with the side of her body.

The light grew stronger, flickering, more of it gushing forth from within the room. And as Fluttershy turned the corner, she saw where it was coming from.

It danced, floated, turned and twirled around Twilight's horn. The only source of light, magically conjured. But Twilight herself was in the far corner, sitting on her haunches, doing something rather peculiar.

Twilight's back faced Fluttershy as she walked in, her eyes adjusting further to the contours and shapes in the room. Alone, Twilight Sparkle sat, bathing in a sphere of yellow.

"Twilight?" Fluttershy said gently, trying not to startle her. "Twilight, it's me. Fluttershy. We're leaving this… this house… I'm here to fetch you…"

She stepped closer.

"Twilight?"

The unicorn was swaying back and forth irregularly, her left moving forward followed by her right, and so did the pattern repeat in small bursts. What she was doing was unclear so far, but the light captured her individual movements quite clearly.

It looked as if she was reaching out for something with alternating hooves, over and over again.

"Twilight…?" Fluttershy asked, stepping to the side, swinging around the bed and the bookcase, heading for her friend.

She turned the corner, Twilight coming into full view, and her actions were made clear.

Twilight was pushing a lamp.

With one hoof, she tilted the shade, pushing it out of alignment; with the other, she straightened it back to centre.

And over and over did she do this. Over and over. Pushing and pulling, eyes never blinking, red threads crawling across the whites of her eyes like a spider's web, her lips parted to chant a silent dirge that only she knew the lyrics to.

Every so often she would shudder, breathing in sharply, but never did she halt, pushing and pulling on the one lampshade, locked in an eternal war with herself.

"Twilight!" Fluttershy exclaimed, laying her own hooves upon Twilight's shoulder flanks. "Are you alright?"

The response was her head jerking forward, as if startled from sleep, and she turned her head, a look of great pain forming in her expression.

"N… no," she said, her head shuddering back and forth like clockwork broken down. "I… I can't. It's not… it's so messy. Everything must be… must be put back! Yes… yes. Put back all nicely, like… like it should. Everything in its place! Everything…. in its place."

"Twilight! What's wrong?" Fluttershy cried, tugging at her slightly. "What… what happened to you? What are you talking about?"

The Pegasus looked over her shoulder instinctively, into the shadows and into the places between. There was nothing. There was no one else. There was nothing out of place. Not a single book or scrap of paper.

"Twilight, we have to leave!" Fluttershy turned back to her friend.

"Everything is a mess…" Twilight repeated, turning back to the lamp.

"Twilight, you're scaring me!"

"Everything must be put in its place, Fluttershy," Twilight stated, a dreamy melody carrying her words in a cadence of a far-away song.

Fluttershy's eyes caught a figure in the doorway. Just a glimpse of a head and neck and face that peered around the frame into the room.

"Applejack, thank goodness," she exclaimed, legs still posed upon Twilight's shoulders. "Help me, there's something wrong with Twilight!"

The figure stood, a black cut-out against the hall, like a shadow.

And like a shadow, it faded into the dark as it stepped away.

"Applejack?" Fluttershy whimpered. She was upset now. Upset, worried, and more than a little bit frightened. Her ragged breathing quivered on her lips. She wanted to run, but in this most dire of circumstances she found that tiny speck of bravery within that held her fast to the room.

It made her head dizzy. Dizzy with confusion and alarm. But she pulled a little bit harder, almost by instinct, not knowing what results may come from her actions.

But she pulled.

Twilight felt stuck, her will fighting against Fluttershy's attempts to move her.

"Come on, Twilight, please," Fluttershy begged. "We… we have to get out of here. Please!"

Inch by inch, Twilight began to move, her legs outstretched toward the lamp and a look of confusion crossing her eyes, as if wondering why the world was moving further away. Fluttershy could only imagine what was going on in Twilight's head at that moment, or what she was seeing – it seemed to be causing Twilight great discomfort to be dragged away from the lamp.

It was as much as Fluttershy was able to do, as a small trickle of sweat beaded down the side of her head, cold and jarring. She was by no means a strong pony, and pulling Twilight back in small bursts was the best she could muster.

Perhaps, she thought, perhaps she should try to carry.

Fluttershy hooked her front legs under Twilight's own, her body feeling as limp and malleable as a sack of flour. The Pegasus grunted, flitting her wings in an attempt to gain some momentum.

But that was when Twilight decided to move. The lamp was too far away. The lamp that needed fixing. The lamp that was just out of her reach.

She surged forward, shrugging off her captor, picking herself up to move toward the object, shaking off all that would impede her.

Fluttershy flew back.

She wasn't flapping hard, nor was she cast off so strongly as to be propelled across the room. Yet, disoriented and taken by surprise, she found herself tumbling onto the large bed that drew focus to anyone who entered the room.

And there she landed, in the middle of a comfortable, heavy mattress stuffed with down, the cloth wrapping her up and folding over her limbs as she sank into the creaking bed.

Fluttershy breathed, looking up.

A saint looked back down.

Her wings, crumpled and mussed behind her back, were no help as she struggled to right herself up again; rolling around in that sink hole of feathers was her only choice.

But the bed, in its age, argued. It moaned and groaned and complained at having to hold a weight after years of rest, and the pillars loomed toward her from each corner as she clambered for the edge; silent watchers over their domain.

Across the face of the serene Saint Jude did a crack appear, with a piercingly sharp sound of crystal fracturing.

Fluttershy, now on her stomach, had to turn to look upward. Even in the dim light of Twilight's magical fires was it clear that a lattice of lines were starting to crawl over the glass ceiling, a network of scratches and cracks, all expanding out from the face of the pony that was staring down at her in judgement.

Her heart stopped for a moment, in case the next beat of her chest would cause the entire thing to fall down upon her.

And there she lay, at the edge, like a cat perched on a wall, ready to pounce. The door was just ahead of her, Twilight behind, and danger looming above. But the bed had stopped creaking now; it seemed to be happy where things were and no longer was the ice about to break.

But that was just something that Fluttershy hoped.

She breathed, the slowest she had ever breathed in her life, clenching her eyes shut and trying to fill the void in her head with any thought, any thought at all. But it was a futile effort – such had the situation left her, in a state where all things ceased in her mind, and preservation took over.

And preservation told her to put her legs on the edge of the bed, hooves flat against the side. Preservation told her to raise herself up slowly, little by little, stopping when she heard any grunts or cracks. Preservation told her that on the count of three she would open her wings and push forward, and dive off the bed as fast as she could manage.

On three she pushed.

She flung herself awkwardly, twisting a little in mid-air as her wings failed to beat at the same time, and landed up on the floor a little ways away from the bed, head bumping slightly against the wall next to the door.

She curled up around on her back in panic, the last remnants of the experience still fuelling her senses.

There was a groan, a creak, and a crack of branches breaking, but the bed stood still, and no rain fell.

No glass.

The bed had stopped its threats, now that she was clear. As her sight focused, she found the smiling face of the pony in the ceiling sparkling, as the light danced off its reflective surface, twinkling and gleaming.

A brilliance of colour and pinpricks of light shot forth from the stained glass, glancing off cracked edges and sheared design.

In between Fluttershy's soft breathing and the recovery of her sensibilities, she questioned it too late.

There was only one source of light in the room.

And the source was moving.

From where she lay on the floor at the edge of the bed, she saw the ball of light floating upward and over the mattress, guided by Twilight's horn. It was like the sun rising over the horizon, a sea of feathers and a sky of crystals, the star of dawn raising upward and over, giving birth to the new day.

Fluttershy's eyes flicked down to the bed. It was… messy. And back upward to Twilight's expressionless face, eyes glazed over, but still surveying the scene with confusion.

"Oh no," Fluttershy whispered.

"Fluttershy," Twilight said, suddenly focusing on the face of her friend. "What… happened here?"

"Twi… Twilight?" Fluttershy responded, unmoving. "What happened to you? Are you okay?"

Twilight's lower jaw quivered, as she struggled, struggled, to even put a slight frown on her own face. Her eyes started to dart left and right, chasing phantoms to the corners. Sometimes she would look at a spot on the far wall, and then let her sight trail downwards to something else equally vapid.

She seemed to be in deep thought, confusion; her calmness only caused by her body's inability to keep up with the things going through her mind.

Short bursts of breath and twitching muscles accompanied her attempt to answer Fluttershy's question, and after an excruciatingly long period in which neither of the two made a single noise, she finally gave a response.

"No," Twilight said, her head jerking a few centimeters to the right, unable to shake her head completely. "Please. Save me."

"Twilight, what are you doing?" Fluttershy asked, frozen to the floor.

The bed creaked again, angry at the new trespasser. A lilac hoof had been placed on the edge of the bed, very gingerly but with purpose.

"I… I don't know," Twilight answered, her voice choking. "I… I can't… I don't…"

"Twilight, don't do that! It's dangerous!" Fluttershy cried softly, in muted alarm.

A second hoof joined the first, and now half the weight of the unicorn was placed firmly on the bed's surface.

"Twilight! Stop! Please!" Fluttershy yelled out now.

She tried to get up. She couldn't. Her legs were weak, as was her head, wrapped in fog. Her limbs wouldn't respond; her wings wouldn't beat. All she could feel was a shifting of her body on the floor as she shook uncontrollably, and her vision blurred in and out with an insane pressure.

Twilight pulled back, yanking on the blanket and making it straight.

The bed released its proclamation, once again.

"Twilight, please, stop it, stop it," Fluttershy chanted. "Stop it. Stop it."

"I… I can't," Twilight said stoically. Her face wasn't contorted with sadness, as one might when in dire straits, but yet, a small tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. "Please, save me."

Save me.

She begged, looking at the bed again.

She begged, noting the folded up corner of the duvet on the far end of the bed.

She begged, reaching out to fix it.

Fluttershy saw it too, and suddenly her mind was once again cast into a whirlpool, a swirling darkness of blurry visions and strange sensations.

She thought she saw a lilac blur put her hooves up on the bed yet again, but this time with the aim to trespass to the far shore.

She knew she heard the bed give one, final growl – a sound she had heard many times before in animals and other wild creatures. It was the final sound, the final threat, the one that said, 'no more warnings'.

And the last thing she heard was Twilight whimpering.

One last plea.

"Please, save me."

Fluttershy shut her eyes, this time out of instinct. Before she even realised, she could move again, but this time only to wrap her hooves over her head, keeping out the noise and the sight and all the vulgarity.

The muffled crash of breaking glass exploded in the room, but it sounded ever so faint, ever so far away.

She was swimming now, swimming in the darkness, swimming in the place she was trying to escape to, tears running down her face for the fear of what happened or what might have happened, rocking back and forth and trying not to believe.

She didn't know how long she remained that way, a few seconds or a few minutes. But when she finally opened her eyes, she found herself staring at the floor, the edge of the bed just out of her field of vision.

She took a ragged breath in.

And slowly turned her eyes upward.

The light was flickering, the ball dancing around a horn – a horn that was now buried within a pit. The bed had collapsed inward, the four pillars now slanted at angles that were not of original design.

Across the field of lavish bedspreads were trees of glass, a chromatic forest sticking upward and growing from the crimson soil. It held itself, a mystic vista, various shards creating a symphony of shapes and edges, all of which formed this landscape that Twilight now lay under.

Fluttershy could only see these trees – Twilight had sunk far too deep within the pit of the bed, but her magical light still shone from within, creating even more spectacle as the shadows of the glass cast a kaleidoscope across the room.

But the light was fading. Slowly extinguishing. Slowly going out.

No noise. No cries. Just a fading light, and the colours disappearing from the universe.

"G…girls," Fluttershy whispered to herself, absolutely caught in abject terror. "Th…there's been… an… accident…"

She didn't want to look further. She had seen enough. She couldn't bear to witness. She needed to find somepony else – anypony else – who could help better than she could.

She shuddered inwardly, and suddenly her expression was oddly similar to what Twilight had when she was perched on the bed.

Fluttershy sniffed, searching the room for something to do, someone to talk to. Her eyes came to rest on a shard of glass that had landed near her.

It was an eye.

The eye of the saint, watching her from behind its crystal prison. Fractured, but still staring. Watching her and judging her.

"No… no…" Fluttershy responded. "I… I didn't. It was an accident… I…"

She went silent for a while, staring at the shard.

"I tried! I… couldn't move… I…"

Slowly she reached out with both front hooves, grabbing the shard of glass like a pincer. She brought it up to her face and stared, stared with a furious intensity at the eye, listening to what it had to say.

It simply stared until Fluttershy returned it to the carpet.

"I'm a failure… just like Twilight said…" Fluttershy said sadly, a few more tears joining the ones that had already smeared themselves across her face earlier. She got to her legs slowly, keeping the sight behind her unseen.

For some strange reason, there was another light coming in through the open doorway, replacing the light that had just faded completely.

She turned to face the door, a great weight behind her eyes. It felt like something was pulling her mind down, down into her throat and into the pit of her stomach.

"I'm… I'm sorry, Twilight," she said.

"That's okay!" a voice responded.

"Twilight?" Fluttershy turned suddenly, staring at the wall. She still couldn't turn back to look fully upon the scene. "Is that you?"

"Yes. I'm… I'm gone. But I just wanted to say that… well, I'm sorry too."

"But why? Why, Twilight? I let you down, just like earlier with the prank and… and now… now an accident…"

"Oh, that's fine. Don't even worry about that! See, I'm sorry because I was impatient with you, Fluttershy. You're my dear friend and I shouldn't have been. And well, now I'm safe."

"Sa…safe?"

"Yes. Listen, Fluttershy. There's something terrible about this house. There's something wrong. We're all in danger. You must help the others."

"But I… I can't…"

"Yes you can. Fluttershy, everypony makes mistakes, alright? I was being controlled by something earlier. Something that's also making Pinkie Pie all angry and something that's threatening our other friends. Only you can save them. Only you can help. I didn't mean to yell at you. I believe in you, Fluttershy."

"Only…"

"Only you can save us all."

There was something odd about this conversation. Something strange. Something obviously wrong.

But there was a red mist in her head that made her not want to think of it. It was a fog that wrapped up the logic of the moment in a self-contained place, where it only made sense to itself. It was trying to make her ignore a question that she wanted to ask, something that she should. Something that, with a little effort, she eventually did.

"Twilight?" Fluttershy asked the room. "How are you talking to me right now?"

No reply came for the moments that were waited.

"Twilight?" Fluttershy asked again.

Finally, the fog seeped into the voids in her mind that logic couldn't, and finding herself lacking a reason to stay, she turned once again to the door, the last thing that was said to her echoing in her head.

Save them.

Fluttershy stepped into the hallway, throat dry and joints stiff. There was a lantern – one of theirs – placed beside the open door. She frowned at it.

Was Applejack just here? If she was, why did she leave just now? She thought she saw her in the doorway earlier. But then why drop the lantern and move off?

The red mist that clouded her mind started to fade, allowing her thoughts to clear slightly, leaving small pieces plugging the cracks between.

And with new purpose, she started to move.

End : 2