The Nightmare Procession

by Dashie04

First published

A young griffon is diagnosed with a terminal disease, and is given an ultimatum, he still wants to use this time to make a difference.

He had always wanted to make a difference. But he couldn’t just break through the griffons. They were always stubborn, and he simply couldn’t do anything about it.

Diagnosed with a terminal disease, he is given an ultimatum, soon he’s going to die. He soon sees his death coming to him through a premonition of his favorite memory, twisted into a nightmare.

Fretting over his life being wasted, he decides that he can still make a difference... right?

(Inspired and based off of My Chemical Romance’s masterpiece of an album The Black Parade)

The End

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Take a seat right there
Every stallion and mare
And all the creatures in between.
May I tell you a story
You’re encouraged to enjoy
Come one, come all and you’ll see.

A story of a griffon who wanted some change
For old Griffonstone cultures and ways.
But his dream fell apart at the seams.
While some may complain in painful drawl,
Come one, come all, let me show you firstclaw
The wreck of a story that is me.

I lived once.

I know, big shocker, everycreature lived once. However, I mean to say, I lived once.

How’d I live? You’d like to know, wouldn’t you?

Well it all started on the day of my birth, born to two loving parents and in the middle of the shithole that is Griffonstone. I was called Geode, reportedly for the glimmer in my eyes, which reminded my mom of precious jewels.

Griffonstone sucks. Everygriffon cares for themself, and they’re so strict. You couldn’t even have any fun around there. I went to school, thought of my aspiration, and of course, had “friends”.

What’d I want to be? Well, in Griffonstone, you really only have two choices, miner or military. Though, the really lucky ones got to be dictator!

So, I chose a third option, musician. Griffons seem to like Rock music, maybe because our claws are more dexterous than hooves. It might also be because Equestrians always seemed to care more about friendship than actually getting anything done, though they still did the EDM stuff.

Thus, our story truly begins the day that school got out for the summer. Summer in Griffonstone is basically a slightly more sweltering winter, but at least you got out of school. Even if that school was probably better than the house you lived in.

I was talking with my friends outside before the “get out” bell, though they were more like acquaintances. Griffonstone didn’t do friends. The moment you got too close to someone is the moment they send you to the gallows, metaphorically, but it might as well feel that way. They didn’t care for friends, and I didn’t either.

Goldflower, a pretty golden griffon, was probably the one I cared about the most. I distinctly remember her saying that day, “Hey, Geode, what are you doing after school?”

“Absolutely nothing,” I responded, “I’m just going to sit in my run-down house waiting for my parents to get out of the mines. I might find a book, I might even be able to read it.”

Then another acquaintance, one whom I’ll call Grainy, because that’s what they preferred to go by, they had a slightly more unkept mane, a browner coat. They said, “Geode, I know Griffonstone sucks, there’s not a single griffon that would disagree. An Equestrian shack has better living conditions than the average Griffonstone house. But, what exactly are you going to do about it?”

My final acquaintance, Granite, as his name would lead you to believe, a grey griffon with flecks of black, chimed in, “I do have to ask you how exactly you plan on going about it, Geode.”

“Well,” I said, “I’ll wait for some huge event to happen and capitalize on it.”

The “get out” bell rang, and me and my acquaintances walked together to avoid the griffons checking for stragglers. The schools are indeed nicer than the houses, and that shouldn’t come at a shock at this point. Griffons stayed back all the time.

Granite pressed, “Well, what will this earth-shattering event be?”

“I don’t know, but it’ll have to be more than my mom coming back from work.”

Goldflower’s coat glistened in the sun, she turned to me. “Grandpa Gruff’s going to have to die or something,” she stated.

“I’m surprised he isn’t dead yet,” I responded.

Goldflower continued her practiced speech, “I mean, I’m all for some change, but we still need something of that magnitude to happen, even though I’d rather do it now.”

Grainy concurred, “If that were to happen, I’d be behind you the whole way. Not necessarily now.”

“Trust me, I’ll do something,” I responded.

Soon, we had to part, I flew back home, as one usually does after school. I then sat down to read a riveting book that I’ve already read a dozen dozen times. It was just time killing until somegriffon got home.

My entire life was time killing, there was nothing worthwhile to do. It was about as entertaining as that riveting book.

Still, that’s how it was. Wake up, eat rock-hard food that probably went stale while the last king was still reigning, wait, wait, eat more food, wait, then maybe my parents would get home and actually talk about things.

That’s how it was in summer. This summer, however, was different. There was more. The monotony of the summer was broken by a huge event. The event I had been waiting for. I could finally talk about how bad Griffonstone was.

But the problem, the event happened to me. It was large alright, but I was caught in the crossfire.

I was reading a slightly different book that I’d also read a million times. Not much else to do, really. Suddenly, there was a massive pain in my skull. It throbbed like the bass drum in a military band. It felt like a mace hitting me repeatedly. How long it had been there, I don’t know, all I know is that is was there faster than the Wonderbolts on a good day.

I had had a sudden pain due to a massive problem with me. Welcome to my life.

Just when things start looking up, they’re torn back down again. I can’t do anything to stop it, it just plows through me and my dreams with the efficiency of a sledgehammer. That’s what my life has done to me. Someday, I’ll be doing something that might finally do something for Griffonstone, but then, the harsh truth finally sets in.

“Welcome to the Nightmare Procession.

We hope you enjoy your stay.”


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You’ve heard the story’s start
But there still is the rest
What exactly happened to make it a mess?

You should know the next part
The pain in my head
And the day that I learned I was finally dead.

That pain never went away. I tried to sleep, but the incessant pounding made it hard to. When my parents finally got home that night, I stumbled out to greet them.

They arrived together, as one would expect. They tended to fly home together after work in the mines. I couldn’t judge them for it, you wouldn’t want to get robbed for a whole two gold in the streets.

Why did Griffonstone mine? Well, apparently to trade for money to improve the city, but given the state of Griffonstone, I highly doubted that, or at least had the assumption it was going somewhere else.

My parents were shocked to see me stumbling to meet them at the door. I presume I looked like a puppy with a broken leg, wincing as I walked. Whatever it was, they took notice, and they asked questions.

“Geode, what are you doing up?” my mother asked.

I collapsed onto the floor, the dirty, tile floor, and groaned in response.

My parents looked at me inquisitively. I groaned again.

“You know, you can tell us what’s going on,”— also my mother.

You might want to know a little bit about my parents, well, they were both miners. The tended to work late and got very little time off. They were loving parents, as loving as it gets, basically. While they weren’t there much, the times they were, they spent a lot of time with me and gave me plenty of memories to assure that I wasn’t going to grow up without them.

That’s part of the reason I hated Griffonstone’s entire work schedule, because I loved my parents, too. Aside from the absolutely splendid quality of living, I wanted my parents to be with me more often. However, they never were. It wasn’t their fault, but it’s just how the cliff crumbles.

Back to me being in so much pain I couldn’t effectively stand up right. You aren’t here for the sob story, you’re here for the entertainment, the rebellion, and what exactly happened next. It’d be on-par with my life up to that point.

So, I was collapsed on the floor like I had the spine of that one griffon who actually liked ponies. My parents were still looking at me weirdly.

“Head... hurts,” I finally muttered. “Hurts like hell.”

I seem to recall my parents taking worried glances at each other, before my dad rushed to prop me up. “How bad does it hurt?” he practically demanded with a hint of a manic tone.

“Boy,” I choked out, “I sure think it’s a 1—.”

I was barely hanging on to consciousness, my skull that wouldn’t shut up was being a more efficient stimulant than coffee. I felt like I was about to slip away, and who knew if I’d wake up again.

My dad gave a sigh of relief. “So, you’re fine then.”

I gave him the strongest glare I could muster. You think my parents would’ve understood my sarcasm.

My mother either noticed the glare or got the sarcasm. It wasn’t long at all before she declared, “Grey, we should probably take him to the hospital.”

I gave a weak nod and slumped down.

“Can you fly?” my mother inquired.

I murmured, “I can, but I don’t want to.”

So, my mother and father did an elaborate thing that basically told anygriffon who witnessed it that my parents were carrying me somewhere because I was too weak to do it myself.

They were The Doctors, I was The Patient. Nogriffon needed to know anything more.

As for the ride? It couldn’t believe that it was that comfortable. By which I mean comfortable at all. Let’s say that it was preferable to flying in my state, but not much else.

I willed myself to stay awake, because I was worried that if I fell asleep, there was a very real chance I wasn’t waking up again.

At some point, we reached the hospital, and I’d already wasted a half of a night. My parents however, lugged me into the hospital (also better than normal living conditions). They sort of dropped me like a sack of meat on a side bench and went to tell the front desk griffon that something was wrong with me.

The environment was nothing spectacular, it was a building made of stone, most sick griffons went here to get rudimentary treatment. The inside is painted white, and the floors are at least clean. It was slightly preferable to an actual house.

Before I knew it, I was being carried into some side room and laid down on a little chair covered in felt.

From what I managed to gather about that day, they put me to sleep, and ran a few tests. All I knew is that when I woke up, I heard beeping.

There was beeping alright (a heart rate monitor, how they afforded it, I don’t know), and the room was likewise painted white. The chair I was in was a mite uncomfortable, it was really just felt on steel. There was also a griffon in a lab coat standing right in front of me.

He carried a clipboard in one of his wings, then he looked down at me and then down at the clipboard, before he scribbled some notes.

He did this for five minutes, and I got irritated. “What do you want?” I snapped. I noticed that my head wasn’t hurting as much.

“Have you got the news today?” he asked.

“Nope,” I stated cooly.

“Oh boy,” the doctor remarked.

“So? What’s the news?” I pressed.

“Well, I assume you haven’t gotten the news. You’re basically dead. Your diagnosis is brain cancer and we expect you to have two more weeks to live. Don’t worry, you won’t die tomorrow, but don’t expect to survive until school starts again.”

That was the day I realized I needed to do something with my life. What was left of it.

This is How I Disappear

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I lied that day
Awake in bed
Thoughts ricocheted inside my head.
I pondered the time
Among the living dead.
And wondered what to do instead.

Stuck inside a tornado of pain
I had to find a way to make a change.

I had been lying in the bed/chair for what felt like several months. It had been 30 minutes, I was left alone, but I gave them the names of Goldflower, Grainy, and Granite. I presumed they’d used that information to invite my acquaintances into my room. So they of course could be busy and not let me spend any time with them.

I’m surprised that when I ran into them in high school, they gave me a solid chance. I had a feeling that they don’t know all the things I did. All the stealing I’d done to get by, all the rules I flagrantly violated.

I was better then than I was before that. But still, there was something about my behavior that made me wonder if they knew, and still know, anything about me.

The hospital room was barren. Nothing of interest, not even another riveting book.

I didn’t want to fall asleep that day, I didn’t want to fall asleep ever again. Sure, my skull would torture me throughout, but the worst form of torture was being dead. Nogriffon cared for each other, so my funeral would probably be attended by five whole griffons. Absolutely nothing, and if any of them found out what I’d done, there’d be less than that. That’d be how I’d disappear.

What did I do? Well, in younger years, I’d be so starved for attention that I’d resort to stealing just to be noticed. Every griffon who had any gold, I’d take that gold from them. They’d notice me alright, but most of them didn’t give two flying feathers about it. Whenever I got home, I’d sit, read that same book I’d read a million times, and wonder why my parents weren’t there to stop me.

Same thing with violating rules, I’d engage in underage drinking, just because I wanted something unique. I managed to stop doing that, mostly, but still, it was in my past, and I couldn’t change that.

Who hurt me? I’d prefer not to talk about it...

My thoughts were mercifully interrupted when I saw Granite enter the room. He sure came to the hospital quickly.

“Geode?” he asked.

“Yeah... I’m here,” I said.

“I heard the news,” he mentioned, stepping up to my bed/chair. “Are you still trying to enact that rebellion?”

“Yes, I have to find some way to affect the future,” I replied.

“Why are you so hung up on that?” he inquired.

I was silent. I didn’t want to say anything, my thoughts had broken me apart enough already.

Granite, seeing no response, awkwardly got up and went to the door, before stating. “I’ll be back, Geode, think about it.”

“Trust me, I’ve done enough thinking,” I mumbled to no one in particular.

Another half hour of silence with my own thoughts. I really hated this sudden innate fixture on the past. My brain loved to pull the most traumatic experiences out for me, ones I’d tried to avoid for the longest time. Well, my mortality was suddenly appearing, and I took the time and realized how much I’d fucked up.

Soon, I saw Grainy approach in my eyesight. I saw them approaching my bed, just like Granite, and I reluctantly sat up to look at them better.

“So,” they conceded, “I’m guessing this isn’t the huge event you had in mind.”

I shook my head.

“What will you do now, because you still owe me a little gold...”

I glared at them, not wanted right now.

“Look, can you talk?” they asked.

“Yeah,” I responded, “I can talk just fine. Mostly. I just love talking so much in this state.”

Grainy thankfully understood my sarcasm, they laughed. “What will you do now?”

“I don’t know, but I have to find some way to affect the future,” I said.

Grainy walked away, looked behind them, and waved a wing at me, before they added, “I hope you figure something out.”

I waved back at them. Me too.

There was another bout of silence that day, I’ll skip over that moment, because you’re probably getting tired of all the sadness. Where’s the love story? Where’s the rebellion? Where’s the story?

Well, truth be told, there wasn’t too much, but I tried my hardest before I died, but that’s a different part of the time I died.

Another familiar griffon decided to visit, me, Goldflower. The golden griffon came into the room, and I immediately perked up.

As mentioned, I cared about her the most. She was always fun to talk to. She always seemed to know what to say.

In her usual way, Goldflower flew up beside my bed to get closer to me. I don’t know why she liked being close to me, maybe she just cared about me, too.

“Man, you just had to get a terminal disease, didn’t you? You just couldn’t live a little longer.” She sounded like she was on the verge of tears.

“Life’s a bitch sometimes,” I told her.

“I know, it’s just that you were my only friend then I met Grainy and Granite, the other friends you had. They actually seemed to like me. Nogriffon seemed to like me before.”

Wait. She just called me her friend. Not acquaintance, not pest, friend. Didn’t she know that griffons didn’t do friends?

“Goldflower, you know griffons don’t do friends—“

“I know, Geode!” she shouted. “But when I think of you, you aren’t anything but, you’re friends, plain and simple. Then there’s you, Geode—“

She was completely crying. Any other words that came out of her beak were unintelligible. She collapsed onto me and hugged me like it was the last time she ever would. Her tears ran down my upright body, and more kept on coming.

“Goldflower, stop, I’m a bad griffon.”

She looked up at me, tears still welling up in her eyes. “And you think I’m not? Rebellion is fun now and then. I’m surprised you gave me a chance, all the things I did...”

I responded, “You wouldn’t like me either. I stole, lied, and did bad things. Now, I have no way to change the future.”

“Who said you didn’t?” Goldflower mentioned. Her tears seemed to have dried a little. “I say we get out of here and get you talking to as many griffons as you can, what’s keeping you alive anyhow? It’ll be fun!”

I mean, I did want to leave, and spending time with Goldflower, my closest acquain— friend, sounded great. So, I took her up on it. I decided to try and spread what I was trying to do to as many griffons as possible.

The Sharpest Lives

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With Goldflower dragging me out of bed
To change griffons’ hearts with a pounding head
I wondered how far it’d actually go
Honestly, we had no way to know.

But still, we’d valiantly try.
To get griffons living the sharpest lives.

Goldflower’s proposition was very appealing, but I quickly brought up to her that I really had no idea how to execute it. We couldn’t just go and hit a couple dozen places over a few weeks, as I didn’t have the strength to do that then. Goldflower thought for a couple moments. The very next thing she said was, “Let’s busk!”

I had no idea what ‘busking’ was. So I had to ask her about that.

“Geode, you don’t know what busking is? Well, you know those griffons who play like an assortment of rocks with sticks on the sides of streets or something like that for gold?”

I nodded.

“Well, those are buskers,” she finished.

“But, Goldflower, we aren’t doing this for money...” I pointed out.

“Well, the idea’s the same, we just walk out of the hospital and talk about it to anygriffon who wants to listen. Tell them like stories and aspirations and stuff,” Goldflower explained.

I didn’t really want to give my story out for everygriffon to listen. But, I agreed to give a small speech on the street corner outside of the hospital.

After Goldflower went outside to scout for any doctors who would’ve stopped me from leaving, I saw her golden face peek around the corner, her claw was on the doorframe, and she nodded. I got up, ignoring everything practical, and followed her outside.

In the clear, if only for a moment, she led me outside, and I finally realized how tired I really was. The sun seared my eyes with celestial intensity, and I blinked a few times to get my eyes to adjust. Goldflower, who I realized actually looked rather pretty that moment, said, “And welcome to the outdoors, Geode!” Her eyes were still a little irritated from crying, I noticed.

The warmth was making me a little tired, but I couldn’t sleep then! Not when I very well could’ve passed away in my sleep.

Griffons were busy going about their normal day, some in the sky, some on the land talking with one another. It was a rare sight to see, especially since most of them worked most of the time. I could only assume they were on their one day off or in the military, who usually had slightly more flexible schedules.

I found a nearby street corner and started awkwardly saying, “We’re here to change your living conditions the best we can, or at least rally your support for a change.”

A few griffons turned and looked at the wacko who had just started screaming about making a change in an incredibly hoarse voice, that wacko being me. I knew most griffons felt similarly, they just didn’t want to admit it. Some actually seemed to want to listen.

I obviously don’t know everything I said that day, but if my brain isn’t lying to me again, I believe it went a little like this:

“I just wanted to say that I’m absolutely tired of living in subpar homes, where the schools and hospitals have generally better conditions than houses. I mean, at least make them better than schools...” I trailed off and laughed awkwardly. Most of the griffons continued on their way.

“Wait! I’m tired of being dirt-poor and never seeing my parents because they’re busy working all the time. I want enough gold to spend on sufficient food and not food that went bad before Grandpa Gruff was around.

“Speaking of him, do you want to ruled by a single power in charge of everything? That rarely works. Trust me, I’ve lived it...” any griffons that had their attention on me had since left. Nogriffon cared enough.

I sighed dejectedly. Goldflower, however, was there to cheer me on.

“Come on, Geode, you can do it. I’m sure if you say it enough, somegriffon has to listen.”

I agreed with her, and gave the short little speech two more times. There was still a lacklustre response, if any.

Once again, Goldflower cheered me on, “Come on, Geode! Just a little more.”

To that I responded, “Goldflower, I’m tired, I think we should call it quits.”

“I still think we should keep going,” Goldflower stated.

I still agreed with her though, so I gave the speech some more. Then, I gave it some more after that, soon, some griffons genuinely wondered why this chick kept talking like he had something to say. So, they listened.

After a sizable crowd had gathered, much to the chagrin on my voice, growing tiredness, and head, I launched into a different part of the speech, which I believe went like this:

“I say we weigh our options and write a petition, any griffon with actual paper at home. Those who have enough to afford it. We need to write a petition...” interrupted by a yawn, “and send it to Grandpa Gruff. Just some general reforms such as more representation, better conditions, and whatever...” I trailed off again. The world seemed to be swimming. “Then we might be able to do something about the terrible conditions we live in,” I was incredibly tired at this point. The griffons kind enough to clap’s sound reverberated in my skull.

I felt myself losing consciousness, and my brain hurting more and more.

I faintly heard a “There he is! Get him!” from somewhere behind me. Then, my world faded to black.

Welcome to The Nightmare Procession

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I dreamt in that state
It started out small
Nothing but darkness— that’s all.

Soon I heard the pounding of drums
The clicking of claws on the street.
Suddenly; there rang a loud chord progression
And a voice that said “Welcome to the Nightmare Procession.

Dreams can be wild. Sometimes it’s often that you know you dreamt, but don’t remember the dream at all. Sometimes it’s unclear whether you dreamt in the first place.

However, there are times when the dream rings out loud and clear in your memory, the dream has burnt itself into your head, and you can never forget it.

If you skipped over all that diatribe, what I’m trying to say here is that what happened when I passed out still is incredibly clear to this day. I’m dead, naturally, but I still can recall it. In some ways, it felt like more than a dream, more like a premonition.

The dream gets a little fuzzy in places, but here’s the play-by-play:

I awoke, fully conscious yet not. Ahead of me, a endless void of black carried on beyond the realms of my vision, the same no matter where I looked.

Suddenly, I found myself on a street, a nondescript street, somewhere in Griffonstone. I was a chick again, and I heard the chatting of other chicks and their parents around me— as few as there were.

Around me, there materialized some normal Griffonstone buildings, the normal ramshackle, stone buildings you’d expect.

I looked around, my dad was next to me, though his face was basically a blur, that was when I knew where I was. I was on my dad’s rare day off, when I was a little chick. This was a play-by-play of the memory I remembered most. He took me to see a military marching band, and as the band came past us, he told me a few things.

My blurry-faced dad turned to me, and repeated almost the exact same words I recalled him saying in the memory.

I heard him directly state,”You know, Geode, when you grow up, I want you to be in the military, and be a savior for all the griffons in need. You know, I’m not going to be around forever for you to look up to. I want you to be that griffon. The griffon you see me as.” The memory I was familiar with saw him smile after that, but of course, he was blurry-faced, and I couldn’t make out any details.

I heard a faint music of a marching band. Far away, but getting closer rather quickly.

Rat-ta-ta-tat rat-ta-ta-tat rat-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-tat.

The snare was clearly audible in this dream. Same thing with the memory, I felt like I was there.

My father blathered on, “One summer, Geode, I’m going to have to leave you for good. I won’t be able to use my feeble days off. I’ll go and join the Nightmare Procession.”

To little chick me, that was absolute nonsense. So, I just had to ask him, “Dad, what do you mean by ‘The Nightmare Procession’?”

The crash cymbals now joined into the military march, the band was getting closer still.

My dad laughed and responded, “Well, ponies might call it the Mare of Death, but The Nightmare Procession is an entire marching band led by the said Mare of Death. Every dead soul joins the procession and plays on, they say you get a vision of it when your soul is about to leave your body but is still holding on. After your soul leaves, you either go to Heaven or Hell.”

To little chick me, that was absolutely mind-blowing. I still like the idea of a marching band of souls, it’s a nice abstract way to think about things. It made it easier to understand.

The dream was still spot on with the memory I knew, because directly after that, my dad whispered, “Now listen! The band’s about to come by!”

Right he was, the music was almost deafening now, a full ensemble of snares and toms and crashes, as well as horns and various other percussion instruments.

The band came marching up along the street my dad and I were watching. However, this band looked a little different, the pony at the front was no ordinary pony. She looked like she was a skeleton, her face being reduced to bones. She was decked in basic marching gear, black, as it was. A unicorn, she was, she was holding a baton aloft with her magic, the baton radiating with a sickly red glow. She was waving it just like a bandleader.

It was certain, she was the Mare of Death.

As she entered my field of vision, I noticed that the ponies trailing behind her were all faces I recognized.

I saw Goldflower’s golden pelt, she was smiling at me.

I saw Grainy’s incredibly untamed mane, the stray hairs traveling far down their back. It was a style at this point.

The I saw Granite, his grey coat and piercing blue eyes.

I saw my dad, the glint in his eyes reflecting the sunlight that was all over the place in my dream.

I saw my mom with her soft brown eyes, looking at me sadly.

Finally, struggling to keep up with the pace and nearly dropping his cymbals, there was me. I was barely holding on.

Before me, the scene changed.

I was in school. I recoiled slightly, remembering another stowed away memory.

For those asking who hurt me...

In front of me were two griffons, at least three times my size. Their claws were razor sharp, and their eyes looked at me with a hungry glare. Their voices jeered at me, laughed at me.

“A little third grader griffon wanting to make a difference! Imagine that! Whoever listens to him must have stones for brains!”

“I—“ I began, but they laughed at me still.

“As if anyone wants to listen to the voice of a little pipsqueak who hasn’t even gotten the ceremonial claw scratch!”

For those wondering what the bullies meant by that exactly, they meant nothing, it was something they made up to ridicule me more. But, little chick me didn’t know better. With every insult, they seemed to tower over me ever more.

I remember yelling at the bullies for trying to pick on a third grader, but that wasn’t the next thing I was shown. The next thing I was shown was an image of me as a sixth grader, a knife in my claw, and the bullies laying on the ground.

The Mare of Death silently marched past me again, she looked at me directly in the eyes, and her empty eye sockets glowed a menacing red. The Nightmare Procession marched past me again. The bullies weren’t part of it, their souls had already left.

I was a terrible griffon...

After the Nightmare Procession marched past, the next scene was shown, me in school, and my friends at the time looking absolutely disgusted at me. We were talking over lunch, stale bread and some decent cuts of meat.

“You don’t mean to tell me that you actually did that? How did you not get caught?!” one, having a blurry face, interrogated.

They all had blurry faces, but the scene didn’t hurt any less. I knew what I had done, and it was absolutely despicable in every facet of the word. They were right.

“...Yes,” I muttered weakly.

Another one slammed their claws on the table, “Geode! You should’ve known better!”

I looked down at the ground.

“If you’re going to do things like that, we’re going to have to go,” the first one stated.

“They said my ideals wouldn’t get anywhere,” I countered weakly.

“Maybe they won’t, griffons tend to like griffons doing good things,” that was the last thing they said to me before they left for good.

A choice selection of other memories flew past. Little snippets of the good I had done of the years. None of it outweighed the bad. I hoped that when I reformed Griffonstone, I could turn myself in. The little charity I had donated to give chicks better housing, the park I had kept clean, the griffons I tried to comfort, it meant nothing with the dirt on my claws.

I knew I had screwed up. I couldn’t change my past. I had done too much bad, and all the good I had done was basically symbolic. What griffon would actually listen to me?

The Mare of Death once again marched ahead of me. This time, she looked directly in my eyes again, and her jaw slowly opened up. Then, in a raspy, snakelike voice, she hissed.

“Geode, the time is coming soon. You’ve done some good, but also committed great sin. You will be judged. Until then, The Nightmare Procession will march on.”

Then, she left me, alone in my head.

—Where I broke down crying.

I cried for what felt like hours in the darkness, not knowing where to go nor what I was doing. The amount of griffons who’d actually listen to me were negligible at best.

I wanted to relive my past, relive it better. Relieve myself of all this pain.

But I couldn’t.

My concentration was broken, and I woke up.

I Don’t Love You

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After I awoke, I wondered what to think
Of witnessing my judgement while I was on the brink.

Then, a simple phrase was said,
That turned my world on its head.

I awoke to the sound of beeping after that dream, or whatever it was. I was back in the hospital bed. My eyes quickly adjusted to the sudden light.

The very first thing I realized was that my head was still overcome with a splitting pain, which had vanished in the dream. The second thing I noticed was Goldflower’s face taking up most of my vision. The moment I opened my eyes, I swore I saw hers light up.

“Geode, you’re still alive!” she exclaimed. I readjusted so I was sitting up, and she immediately hugged me like she thought she’d never see me again. To be fair, I didn’t think I’d see myself again either.

I also saw some doctors in front of me. They were incredibly unamused.

“Mr. Geode, you can’t just leave the hospital while suffering from a terminal disease. You could’ve gotten seriously hurt, and what would’ve happened if you’d died?” one doctor said in a stern tone. “In fact, you were out for over 12 hours, and we actually believed you died.”

“But he’s not, so we’re all good. You can leave us alone now,” Goldflower ordered.

“Unfortunately, we can’t,” the same doctor explained. “We can’t have him leaving again, just in case those things do happen.”

I wanted to focus on something else, so I tried to break into the argument, directing my words at one griffon in particular. “Goldflower, you were sure excited to see me awake.”

Goldflower released me, and then smiled sheepishly. “Yeah... I was, wasn’t I...” she muttered.

“You know, I’m happy to see you too,” I responded, trying to make her feel better by any means.

“That’s a relief,” Goldflower sighed.

She was very different from the griffon I was used to, so I could tell that she was trying to go out of her way to not mention something. I didn’t know what that something was at the time, and I was eager to find out.

“Still, Goldflower, you’re a lot more excited than I’d expect you to be. What’s going on with you?” I pointed out.

Goldflower looked around the room nervously. “That’s for a different time.”

She then left.

So, I was stuck in the room for hours on end while waiting for her to come back. Mind you, my other acquaintances, or perhaps they were friends at this point, did visit periodically, but they mainly were just checking in. Goldflower seemed to have more to her story than the others.

When Granite left that day, the doctors left with him, because they needed to sleep. I however, didn’t want to, so I sat alone in darkness until I heard the soft click-clack of a griffon’s talons.

Sure enough, it was Goldflower.

“I had to sneak out to see you, but I had to. I wanted to tell you something,” she explained, her barely visible silhouette gliding into the room.

She had piqued my interest. I knew she had something that she wanted to tell me. However, this level of secrecy just to give me some information seemed a bit suspect.

I had no idea how right I’d be proven in time.

“So, Geode, you remember when I broke down crying while trying to tell you something?” she asked.

“Vaguely,” I responded, as dry as I could, “the dream that happened while I was out was only a little wild. It happens to have basically scrambled my recent memories.”

Goldflower rolled her eyes. “Geode... I swear. But basically, the thing I wanted to tell you is...”

She trailed off after that statement, leaving me more than a little confused. I had to point it out. “Is... what? Come on, it’s not like I’m gonna kill you or anything... probably.” I said the last part with a twinge of sadness in my voice.

Goldflower took a deep breath, releasing it, she finally said “I love you, okay?”

The moment after I said that seems to be relayed in slow-motion, almost as if my brain had to process everything I was saying and doing right then. There was shock, there was horror, there was anger, and of course, doubt that she ever could. All of those emotions were released into one explosion of emotion that I took out on Goldflower.

“No! You can’t possibly love me! You don’t know the atrocities I’ve committed! If you knew that you’d hate me, like I hate myself. You’d wish I was a different griffon, that my past was different, that I could live somehow, someway, different. You don’t love me, you love the me I want to be!” I broke down into tears, and Goldflower took a step back, recoiling in sudden shock.

“Didn’t you just steal and drink sometimes? I would hardly consider that an atrocity. Remember, we’re going to change Griffonstone, make it better! We’ll fix that past in a jiffy!” Goldflower countered.

“I did more than steal and drink, Goldflower... I was a bad griffon,” I reflected right back.

“Like what? I love you regardless of what you did, the past doesn’t define us today. Admittedly, the punishment should fit the crime, but I’m sure you can leave it all behind you,” Goldflower reassured.

I appreciated her sentiment. But I still didn’t believe her one bit. I responded, “Goldflower, you’re only saying that because you don’t have the nerve to say that you don’t love me like you did yesterday. Trust me, you don’t.”

Goldflower realized there was no arguing, and replied, “If you say so...”

She left confused and hurt. She really thought I was the one she loved, but I’d just turned her down. Not only that, but she left me confused and hurt. I didn’t know what to make of what she said, and I didn’t know how to feel.

So, all I could do was wait.

House of Wolves

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I self-consciously beat myself up that day
Wondering how I’d gone astray.

How could Goldflower care about me
With what I did to those bullies?
If she found out the truth
She’d throw me down into the gullies.

I found myself in a den of wolves
Far beyond where my past would pull.

Goldflower didn’t show up that day. I didn’t blame her. I felt like I had torn her to shreds, but I wanted her to be safe. I didn’t know what I could do, I’d tried to repress that memory, and it didn’t stick.

That day, I was on the brink of dying and I felt like shit.

The doctors were there, too, of course. They didn’t want to leave me alone, I couldn’t even see how much my message had stuck. I didn’t know how many griffons in the street that day cared enough to write up a petition with rare paper and send it to Grandpa Gruff, who was very adamant about doing things his way, whatever that meant.

I was still allowed visitors, and that’s what happened after Goldflower left the night before. Granite walked in, taking a look at the doctors before he looked at me.

“Geode, what happened?”

I mumbled in response, practically dying while lying down on the bed/chair.

Granite looked at me, head cocked and eyebrows furrowed.

“Have you slept at all?” he asked, presumably a leading question into what he’d say next.

Reluctantly, I answered him, “Not a wink.”

“Why have you not slept?” he asked.

“Because I don’t want to die,” I once again answered reluctantly.

“Given what Goldflower told me earlier today, I thought you’d be all gung-ho about dying, she told me that you were tearing yourself up.”

“Look, Granite,” I responded, “I don’t want to die because the natural instinct is to stay alive, and because I can’t die before redemption, like a villain in one of those old stories. I may be a terrible griffon, but I want to be a better one, and so I’m staying awake as long as possible just to have that chance.”

Granite looked around the room, “Geode, hate to break it to you, but that chance isn’t coming. At least not anytime soon. If there an afterlife, does reincarnation exist—“

“I’d be reincarnated as a moth,” I butted in.

“...Let me finish. As I was saying, we don’t know, you very well might be stuck with what you have now,” Geode continued, slightly annoyed.

“Well, I’m clucked,” I finished for him.

“Geode.” He emphasized, ”What. Griffon. Are. You. Today.”

“Not much better,” I responded.

“Why is that,” Geode stated.

“Because I haven’t made up what I’ve done in the past. I’m miserable because I haven’t lived up to this requirement of goodness. With what I’ve done, I need to do more good to make up for it!”

The following conversation descended into a shouting match, each of us trying to gain superiority over each other. Each of us were getting more and more annoyed with each other, and it’s quite unsightly to play back.

“Geode! What’s this goodness requirement?!” Granite yelled.

“I— I don’t know! All I know is that I haven’t met it,” I replied back.

“Well, that’s ridiculous! There’s no way that you have a threshold you have no clue what the requirements are!”

“I figure that it’ll just feel like I’ve accomplished enough! I feel like I’ll know!” I was sitting up in the bed now, and the doctors were watching bored as if this was an everyday occurrence.

“Geode! Listen to me! You’ll never ‘just know’! You need to forgive yourself!”

“Granite! I killed a griffon!”

Dead. Silence. The entire room went completely dead, everygriffon was pondering over what I just said. The doctors were suddenly perked up and writing ferociously on their clipboards as if they needed to write a report. At the time, I hoped they did.

Granite recoiled in shock, and I collapsed back onto the bed/chair. I started crying.

“I— I can’t forgive myself for that. I t-t-took a knife, and they were gone. I witnessed what I’d done in... a... a fit of rage or some skewed— version of revenge. It felt like my entire world fell apart,” I explained between sods.

“That is pretty messed up,” Granite said.

“Tell me I’m a screw up— please. I need to feel validated. I don’t want to feel good right now. Tell me I’m a bad griffon, please!”

“I’m not going to deny that what you did was absolutely terrible... I don’t really know how to help you,” Granite said.

“I’m going straight to Hell,” I responded. “I was supposed to be a savior— of the broken, beaten, and damned. I... pulled it apart, made it an impossibility. A— and I’ve broken Goldflower’s heart, too. I try not to think about it, but it always comes back.”

“That’s not who you are now though? Right?” Granite asked hopefully.

“I— I— I don’t know.”

Granite left pretty quickly after that, and I sat alone with the doctors, crying. I couldn’t forgive myself. I had to take back the past somehow. I wanted to see Goldflower again. I wished I hadn’t screwed up earlier in my life. I wished I was a good griffon. I think secretly, I knew I’d never have another chance.

All I could do was try and forget about it.