The first thing Twilight knew when she woke up was that she was dead.
It was a cold winter night, and the moonlight entered the room through the window, casting its silver glow over the wooden surface of the library. The stars shone outside, and a gentle breeze blew through the streets, ruffling the leaves of Twilight's house. It hadn't snowed yet, but it would soon, or so the weather team had said.
The second thing Twilight knew was that she was alive.
Her body was, at least. Breathing, still warm, no signs of harm. A perfectly normal unicorn, peacefully sleeping, curled up in her blanket. She looked over herself, and brought a hoof to her body's temple, still feeling a pulse there.
Leaving herself behind, she got off from the bed, and drifted down the stairs, her steps soundless. She didn't breathe, but she didn't feel the need to. Her eyes could see perfectly well, even in the darkness. To be more precise, she couldn't actually see, she could however feel. An odd knowledge of the world around her, a certainty of the way it was shaped.
There was an odd sense of emptiness in her. She was dead, and the Twilight she'd left behind wasn't her. A heart attack, she knew it like she knew her name. Like she knew someone was waiting for her, just outside the door. Why Twilight had survived, though, she had no idea. But she knew the scream would give her an answer.
She knew it was called the scream, though not how she knew it. It was evident why. She could hear it, hissing into her ears. It came from far away, muffled and distant, but somehow it was always there. No matter how loud the world around her, no matter how she tried to seal her ears, it was right there, right next to her, yet still so far away. It had always been there. Every day and night, from the day she'd been born. How had she never noticed it?
No matter. Now she knew. And the other Twilight didn't know, she slept undisturbed upstairs. And soon she'd get her answers, just behind that door. The wind blew in the streets, and ponies slept in their homes, but there was something else there, waiting only for her to welcome it in.
But there she stood. In the centre of her library, the door right in front of her, the scream right behind it, just a few steps away. She didn't want to open that door. She was afraid, and she didn't know of what.
But she didn't have a choice.
And so the door opened, and so she saw it. It stood there, waiting only to welcome her in, and her soul fell into despair at the sight. It vaguely looked like a pony. And she knew it was her. Or, at least, it had been, at one point. At many points, perhaps. Many her. Her many deaths. Clearly, not all as kind to her appearance as a heart attack.
It was screaming, clearly. In pain, seemingly. It held up its foreleg, inviting her in with its claws.
And Twilight asked it what it was. She knew, but she didn't want to know. And she didn't want to hear it. But she'd asked, because she knew what would come next too, and she didn't want that.
And above its scream, the creature answered.
And Twilight felt pain, and fear, and tears swelling in her eyes. And hate, for whatever it was that had chosen to protect her. For whatever was there, at the end of her destiny, pulling her on with its strings.
And Twilight wished to scream, though she did not wish to join the creature.
And the scream held up its claws, and asked Twilight to join it.
And Twilight wished to refuse. And Twilight lifted her hoof, and touched the creature that was the many deaths she had been spared.
And Twilight broke her neck after falling from a chair.
And Twilight drowned in the lake she'd sneaked away to swim in during a vacation.
And Twilight's heart stopped on a cold winter night.
And Twilight's head shattered under a falling rock.
And Twilight froze to death after getting lost in the snow.
And Twilight was bit by the snake and killed by its poison.
And Twilight choked on a piece of the toy she'd swallowed.
And Twilight bled out from her wound and passed away.
And Twilight's body crashed on the ground after a fall from the clouds, leaving behind a red stain on the fields.
And Twilight came stillborn into the world, accompanied by the cries of her parents.
And Twilight was crushed by cold stone after mistakenly teleporting inside a mountain.
And Twilight burned under the dragon's fire.
And Twilight's body was torn apart by timberwolves.
And Twilight fell in the lake, as the ice under her hooves shattered, and the weight of her saddlebags carried her down below.
And Twilight was crushed under the hydra's legs.
And Twilight's body was torn in half by the cragadile's jaws.
And Twilight's chest was hit by the spell she'd attempted to dodge, and her heart blew up inside her.
And Twilight's lungs filled with ash as she struggled to crawl away from the fire.
And Twilight fell to the ground, as her hooves gave out before her, her body too weak to carry on.
And Twilight choked on her own tongue, as her body seized up and her throat, mouth, face, cheeks and other parts of her head became swollen.
And Twilight fell on a piece of glass that slashed her throat.
And Twilight screamed.
And Twilight woke up, on a cold winter's morning, ready to go about her day. And though the scream followed her, she did not hear it, and she never would hear it until it was time for her to join it, and leave herself behind to march on towards her future.