The Telltale Heart

by anonpencil

First published

Shining comes home to his loving wife and child, only... where's the baby? And why is Cadance acting so weird?

Motherhood is hard, as Shining Armor knows, and Cadance has been dealing with a lot lately. So, when Shining comes home, he's not too surprised that she seems a little... off. But it doesn't take long before he realizes something is not quite right. In fact, there might be something weird in the very foundation of their family...

Warning: Is a lot more harmless than the title and description might lead you to believe...

Absolutely Floored...

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“Hi honey, I’m home!” Shining called out to Cadance as he set down his helm by the front door of the castle.

He waited to hear his wife give him a usual shout back, or for her to canter to the front door, throw her hooves around him, and give him a kiss. But, for the first time in their marriage that he could remember, she didn’t do so.

“Er…. honey?”

He waited again, and this time, after a moment, he heard a frantic scrabbling of hooves, and a few noises that sounded vaguely distressed. He looked down the hall, concerned.

“J-just a moment, dear!” he finally heard Cadance call from down the hall.

“Okay…” he said, hesitantly.

Shining listened as there was a distant crash of wood, and then silence.

“Everything okay?” he ventured.


“…do you want me to come help you with something or…”


He fell silent again and was just about to venture down the hall, when he heard the sound of Cadance clearing her throat. Then her voice came once more, far more sweetly this time.

“Sorry honey, welcome home! Come to the back parlor I was just… napping!”

That was strange, she didn’t tend to nap while watching the baby, but maybe Flurry Heart had been lenient on her today. The child had been up all night with severe colic, and the screaming had reached levels where Shining was pretty sure that he’d found bloodstains from his ears on the pillow that morning. Now, though, as he listened, he couldn’t hear any unrepentant shrieking, so that was at least an improvement. No wonder Cadance was acting strange!

He trotted down the hall, to the left, and then walked into the parlor to find the pink love princess sitting there with an exhausted, twitchy smile on her face. She was holding a cup of tea in her hooves, and it clattered softly against the saucer as she took an overly-loud sip.

“Hi there dear, how was work?” she said, her voice mostly calm, but cracking at the edges like an old photograph.

Shining raised an eyebrow.

“It was fine… is everything okay?”

“Never better!” she chirped back, far too quickly.


Shining walked to the plush chair opposite Cadance and sat down, studying her face. Something was definitely wrong here, but everything looked fine in the room. Shining glanced around, but there was no sign of anything that would have made the crash noise, and the furniture seemed to be in good order.

“But yes, your day, how was it?” she asked again, almost sounding desperate.

“It was fine. Like I said.”

“Of course, of course, yes. Very good.”

She nodded thoroughly and took another sip of tea.

“Cadance…” Shining said slowly, reaching out to pat the back of one of her trembling hooves, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing at all is going on!” she said as she snatched her hooves away. “Why would you think anything is going on? What exactly are accusing me of? I’m a princess you know, and that means diplomatic immunity, and also we’re married and so spousal privilege applies, so even if I did do something, which I didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to turn me in, nothing would happen to me, so there.”

Shining blinked at his wife and put his hooves back in his own lap.

“Honey,” he said haltingly, “You’re the princess of Love, not the princess of lying, so why don’t you just tell me—”

“Lying, who’s lying!” Cadance was practically shouting. “If anyone is lying, you’re lying, I know you drank all the milk and then put it back in the fridge, and you told me I must have done that, so really, who’s the liar here, huh?”

“Will you keep it down?” Shining hissed. “We don’t want to wake the baby.”

As he uttered those words, he immediately fell back into silence. The wheels in his head turned, and he had a sense of foreboding. Cadance was smiling weakly at him, looking back and forth as if she was afraid the Canterlot secret service were going to bust in any moment and start a coup.

“Cadance.” Shining said, his voice flat. “Where’s the baby.”

“WHAT BABY?” Cadance said in a full yell, her smile never wavering.

“…our baby? Flurry Heart? The crown princess of the crystal kingdom?”

“I’m the princess of the Crystal Kingdom.”

“I mean the other one.”

“Haven’t you ever wondered how that works, anyway? I mean, shouldn’t I be a queen by now, given the circumstances, if you really think about how our politics wor—”


“THERE IS NO BABY, THERE WAS NEVER ANY BABY!” Cadance blurted out, tears suddenly springing from her eyes although she continued to grin mechanically. “You’re just going to have to accept that there’s no such thing as babies, babies are a myth, and anyone who told you otherwise is just…”

Cadance trailed off as there was the sound of a soft giggle from beneath their feet. Shining slowly looked down at the floor, then back up at his wife. He opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again.

“Honey?” he said, his voice hollow. “Why is the floor here a different wood than the rest of the floor?”

“I… remodeled!”

“…you remodeled.”

“Of course, you see I…. I…”

“…Cadance, is our child under the floorboards?”

With that, Shining saw Cadance’s resolve crumble and she began to cry open, loud sobs. He watched, utterly and completely baffled, as she dropped the teacup to the floor with a shattering crash, and fell onto her knees on the floor.


“You… what.”

As he sat there, dumbfounded, Cadance began to use both her magic and her hooves to begin to toss away the area rug and tear back the hardwood with shattering, splintering cracks.

“It was just that she started crying a day ago, and she just. Wouldn’t. Stop! And I tried rocking her, I sang to her, I acted out Star Trek episodes, Next Gen not original series, I made her food, I ate her food for her, I gave her deep tissue massage, I made her a martini, but nothing NOTHING would help! And so… so I just figured… people sleep when you bury them! Sure, they sleep forever, but at least they sleep! And I tried in a flower pot but that just made a mess, so I thought, hey, the floor is sorta like ground, so I can bury her there!”

Cadance reached into the growing hole in the floorboards, and lifted out a quite happy, well-swaddled baby pony, who looked from her to Shining, smiling and cooing softly all the while. Shining’s mouth hung open as he watched and listened, speechless.

“I’m a terrible, TERRIBLE mother!” Cadance went on, her words choked by tears. “But I don’t have enough help here, and I think, I really think, that this isn’t my fault! You have no idea how bad it’s been for me! If I’d had better support, a nanny who didn’t steal all our silverware, if I’d actually read those motherhood books you gave me rather than using them as coasters, if I’d bonded with the little creature even once besides when she latches on to my boob, which feels super uncomfortable by the way, she’s a damn piranha some days, then this wouldn’t have happened at all! I just need support, love, and a little more learning and it’ll be fine, right? R-RIGHT?”

Shining opened his hooves as she pushed the baby into his arms. He cradled the infant as tears began to fill his own eyes. He bit his lower lip and looked back up to his wife, trying to find his voice. She sat there before him on the floor, sniffing hard, looking so sad, so sorry, and so afraid… it was like he was seeing her for the first time.

“You know… I think you’re right,” he gently said at last, holding Flurry Heart close to him.

Cadance looked up to meet his eyes. She sniffed, and the corner of her lips wavered in a hesitant, hopeful smile.


“Yeah… you really are a terrible mother.”