The House on the Hill

by luxuryyacht

First published

A victorian tale of a pony who investigates a strange house.

A Victorian tale of a pony who investigates a strange house.

This story is set in an unknown town, at a time somewhere around a hundred years before the show.

The House on the Hill

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It was early spring, I was out on my evening constitutional, mulling over some trifle, no doubt, when I had come to old manor house at the end of Hoofington lane out past the city proper. I had not before then the time nor inclination to consider the house, nor its grounds, nor whom owned it, but as I found myself there, I could not help but to stop and ponder it. The place was deserted, I was sure of that much. The hedge, in its overgrown state, confirmed this notion, along with its rusty wrought iron gate. Beyond were grounds that looked sparsely tended to. Perhaps a caretaker was on retainer who would maintain them monthly. It was while I considered this that I noticed a faint, flickering light in one of the upstairs windows, but as soon as it appeared it vanished. I quickly decided that I had only seen a reflection of some far off light in the pane of glass. I then turned my mind back to my trifles and my hooves back to my apartments.

The next day my landlady came into my sitting room, as was her custom, with a modest breakfast, as I was a bachelor in those days and she would do this to make my lodging there more comfortable. She asked after me as she did this and I told her I was well, and I am not sure why, but I decided to tell her of my last night’s wanderings, and how I came to be by the old manor house. I asked her if she knew if anyone lived there, and she replied that to her knowledge no one had for as long as she could remember. I did not mention the light, as I was still at that time resolved that I had indeed not seen a light within the house, and the conversation soon turned to the weather before she bade me good morning and set about her day’s errands.

I continued about my business for the next few days, but every so often my mind would drift back to the house on the hill and I would inquire of it to some local whom had lived there longer than I. The answer was always the same: no one had ever lived there as far as anyone knew. As the week wore on, thoughts of the place were inescapable. My walks frequently took me to the old place and I would stare at it, sometimes as a puzzle, sometimes as a thing of beauty, and other times as one gawks at some hideous thing brought out at a carnival.

It was cold the night I finally got up the nerve to approach the house, my curiosity completely overriding any sense of propriety, and besides, I thought, no one lived here anyway. One cannot trespass onto land owned by no one, and so I pushed the heavy iron gate open. It protested loudly to my entreaties and I considered giving this fool game up and heading home, but I pressed on and up the path. I knocked upon the door, waited as long as is civil and - only after that period of common courtesy had passed - checked to see if the door was locked. It was not, much to my surprise. Even had this place been abandoned, surely someone would have locked the door long ago. I could feel a chill in my bones, but I simply adjusted my overcoat and slipped inside.

The interior of the house was dark as a winter night, even though it was only mid dusk. I had expected thick layers of dust and cobwebs to cover the furnishings, but after my eyes began to adjust, I found the place to be quite clean. In fact, the place had a distinct lived-in feel to it despite the lack of any visible inhabitants. This feeling only solidified as I explored the ground floor, and I began to doubt the wisdom of the decision to enter the home. As I stood by the stairs, I considered what I had seen that first night. A light, brief, but there, in the upper window. I could take it no longer and had to know what it was that I had seen. I made my peace with the plan and went up the stairs to inspect the manor’s front-facing bedrooms. At the top of the stairs and down a corridor I saw a light coming from a crack between the door and its frame. I went to it, slowly, steadily, stealthily. I nudged the door open ever so slightly so that I could see into the chamber, as I did, a mare’s voice, young and sweet, said, “Enter the room, but do not to approach the fire.” I did as the voice bade, and somehow I no longer felt as a sneak-thief or burglar, but as a guest, though I knew that I may yet meet some punishment for my evening’s endeavors. “Is this your home?” I asked as I entered the room. There was indeed a fire in a small hearth that cast a flickering light about the room. In front of that fire was a high-backed chair with red upholstery. The room’s walls were adorned with trinkets and objet d’art, and heavy curtains hung over the windows.

“Yes,” she replied, “this has been my family’s home for generations.” I could not see her, but she sounded sad. She sat in silence for a moment, and then continued as I held my ground per her request, “I am the last of them, I have lived here alone these last five years.”

“All the town say this place has sat dormant for as long as anyone can remember, why do you keep yourself hidden away?” I asked, hardly believing the conversation I was having. Here was what must have been a well-off family living in secrecy for what, a hundred years maybe?

“I cannot do otherwise; ever since she was banished my kind have hidden from the light for fear of any repercussions,” her answer came, still sad, but in a more distant, measured way.

“Who?” I asked blankly.

“I must not name her, for we have been forgotten by both the day and the night.” Her reply made even less sense than her earlier one. I didn’t, I couldn’t, understand what she was saying, but I did understand how she must have felt, alone these five years, and so I took a step closer to the chair.

“No,” she said flatly, “you must not look upon me. My appearance would frighten you.”

“I don’t think so,” I said as I took another step. “You wanted me here, or if not me, someone, anyone. That’s why you left the curtain open for as long as you could bear. That’s why you leave the front door unlocked, and that’s why you left the door to this room open just a crack. You crave company, to know you live, but your fear of the unknown is stopping you from truly knowing anyone.” I walked around the chair, and there she was, a vision in the flickering firelight. She was curled up on the thing, with her wings wrapped around her like a blanket, but her wings weren’t feathered like a normal pegasus. They were leathery, like a bat’s wings. She looked up at me with huge, nervous eyes, ever expecting me to bolt right then and there. I just smiled and said, “Hello, I am Cuff Links, and you are the most beautiful mare I have ever met.”

She blushed a deep red and said, “I am Aurora, pleased to meet you.”

Over the next few months we got to know each other, and fell in love. I eventually secured the deed to the manor and now live there with Aurora, though the town knows nothing of her, or her kind. She has still forbidden me from telling anyone this tale until the Princess of the Night returns, for good or ill, and so I have committed it to writing, so that when this time comes the few little details herein can be easily remembered.