Winter Flowers - 3

Mar 1st, 2016
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  1. You had decided to walk along to side of the river for now. It made the walk a little bit longer, but the constant source of reeds and water was worth the detour. Your hooves ached from both the cold and your long walk as they sunk into the snow. You didn’t have the resources or time to create any snowshoe style things, so you’d have to deal with it.
  3. The wind picked up and snow blew strongly against your face, frosting up one side of your body. You considered using the pants as some sort of scarf, but it would take too long to unpack your bag and retrieve it, so you decided to do it next time you stopped. Instead, you slowed down and pulled the coat closer to your body for a short while, helping to warm yourself for a few seconds before heading off again.
  5. Above you, clouds began to gather and the sky slowly turned gray, the wind picking up in speed as it did. You were battered with gusts of wind, almost knocking over your small body. Fuck this body. Fuck this place.
  7. You continued on for a bit, hoping that the wind would lay up, but as time went on, it only got more and more intense. Suddenly, a gust hit you, so strong that you tripped up and fell to the ground. No way, you couldn’t keep going. This was a fucking blizzard.
  9. Pulling yourself up, you looked ahead only to find that the treeline was gone. Not exactly gone, but the blizzard was so thick that you couldn’t even see five meters in front of you. You had to get out of this storm.
  11. Frantically, you pulled yourself as close as you could in the direction of the treeline, or at least where you thought it was. Eventually, you saw a few trees and rushed toward them. You searched for a sapling to make a shelter with, but when you found one, it was being buffeted so hard that it was being kept bent by the wind. No way was that going to be good enough.
  13. What the fuck were you going to do? You tried to hide behind a tree, but even with your decreased size, it wasn’t enough to protect you. You wracked your mind for options, anything to protect yourself from the cold, but you were so distracted by the intense cold that your mind was messy and confused.
  15. Wait, that’s it! A snow cave! You could dig yourself a hole in the snow and use that for shelter. You had seen some survival documentary where a guy was caught in a blizzard and used one to escape from it. Sure, it was snow, so it wouldn’t exactly be warm, but right now, all you needed was protection from this wind.
  17. You searched through your pack in a panic. Anything that you could use as a makeshift shovel would be fine. There! The cooking pot was vaguely scoop shape, so it would have to do for now. You shoveled as fast as you could in a downward diagonal direction, trying to find a spot where the snow was solid enough. After a few feet, you began to dig forward, hollowing out a very small hole to protect you from the wind.
  19. Your muscles were freezing up by the time you had finished it and you crawled out of the hole you had made for yourself. Definitely one of the perks of being this small was fitting into this small of a hole, you weren’t sure if you were going to have the energy to dig any more before you’d freeze to death. You pulled yourself into your sleeping bag before crawling back into the temporary shelter. It was still uncomfortably cold, but you were out of the wind. Noisily, the storm raged on outside, but in your little hole, you were safe. You pulled yourself in as deep as possible and covered yourself with as much of the your clothing and your sleeping bag as you could. Finally, the fatigue, staved off by adrenaline, set in and you quickly fell asleep.
  21. -------
  23. The expanse of gold light was before you again, but for some reason, there was a strange patch of grass in the center. A feeling of warmth filled you and you slowly approached the lush green grass, your hooves making no noise as you walked. That was new too, you could see your hooves. Previously, in all of these dreams you had, you could sense your body, but not see it or feel anything with it. Now, you were tangible and solid.
  25. You reached the grass and felt it’s freshness beneath your hooves. You tentatively stepped around a bit, testing the grass to see if there was anything up with it. It didn’t seem to be some sought of nightmare grass, so you happily sat down on it.
  27. As you did, you heard the voice again, this time still muffled, but clearer than before. You heard your names again, Mitch, Paulo, Rick, along with the nonsense words. A few you couldn’t make out, something that ended in a “dee” sound, but the rest was muffled and warped. You could hear the other words that were said before too. “Stripes”, “Feather”, and a few new words. “Flitter.” and “Seed”, or at least it sounded like that. Could have maybe been glitter or something else. What the hell were these words supposed to mean? They seemed to be random in order every time the voice said it.
  29. Again, just as before, the voice sent a wave of calm through your body and you began to relax again. Didn’t matter why it relaxed you, to be honest, all you knew is that it did, and you took advantage of this time of relaxation as must as possible.
  31. The sky turned black. You were still sitting on the patch of grass, but the golden light had gone out. As had the voice. You were no longer filled with calm, but a sense of dread. What’s going on? This hadn’t happened any of the previous night's, why now?
  33. You were ripped from your dream and you gasped awake, breathing heavily. It was pitch black inside your cave and you could hear nothing but the sound of your staggered nervous breathing. The storm had stopped during the night, but the entrance of your hole had been mostly covered up besides a tiny gap.
  35. Almost immediately, you noticed that you were shivering, yet sweating profusely. Your body felt both freezing cold and boiling hot at the same time. With your teeth chattering, you tried to pull yourself up only for an intense cramping pain to shoot through your stomach, causing you to gasp and fall back down.
  37. There was a large thud and a snort. Something was out there.
  39. You could feel the vibrations through the snow as the thing outside walked around. You held your breath and tried to cease your muscle spasms as a few grains of snow fell down from the roof of the hole. You could hear snorting as sniffing as the thing stomped forward. The vibrations and sounds were getting more and more intense as the thing came closer.
  41. Your heart raced and you clenched your stomach muscles again as pain shot through it, your heart so loud in your head that you were scared it would give away your position. Then you saw it. Through the tiny gap in the cave and illuminated by the moonlight, you saw the Bear.
  43. Your whole body froze with fear, scared to breath, scared to move, scared to do anything. It growled and stopped a few meters away from your hole. It rose back onto two legs and sniffed at the air. Luckily, it didn’t seem to have that great a sense of smell, or it would have been able to literally smell the fear and sweat emanating from you.
  45. The bear growled and another chill went all the way through your body. It fell forward and slammed into the ground, sending a shock through the snow. You suppressed a yelp as your hole caved in and fell around you. You held your breath, surrounded mostly by snow as you heard the footfalls of the bear around you getting quieter.
  47. It was walking away. Your heart began to beat faster now, but with hope instead of fear as the steps of the bear became quieter and quieter. You waited until you couldn’t hear it and then even longer before finally taking a full breath of air. Relief swept over you as you thanked whatever god was out there for sparing you from the bear.
  49. You reached forward and began to dig your way out, frantically pulling at chunks of snow until you had freed yourself from the caved in hole. Immediately, you doubled over and began retching, remnants of your dinner last night in your spew. It made you feel a little better, but you head still felt like it was on fire and you were ready to throw up again at any second.
  51. You had slid out of your sleeping bag while attempting to crawl out of your hole, so you turned around and tugged at it, slowly pulling it out of the snow. All of a sudden, you fell backward and heard a huge ripping sound coming from the bag. Cursing at yourself, you examined the bag and found that a large hole, about the width of your body, was ripped into the side along the seam. It wasn't too much of a problem, seeing as you were so small now, but it still pissed you off. More bullshit to deal with.
  53. You thought about your condition for a bit. Was this a fever? Was it gastro or something like that? What did you do in the last few days that could have you acting like this? You had only eaten three different things, a granola bar, perfectly safe, some leaves, safe as long as it wasn't poison oak, and the rabbit. Was the rabbit ill? You caught it fresh so it couldn't be off.
  55. Oh crap. You were a horse now. Horses are fucking herbivores. You ate a rabbit, something that your body isn't even geared to absorb.
  57. You had food poisoning. You fucking idiot.
  59. You swore at yourself again and began packing up your bag again. It was an especially difficult task now that you felt nauseous and dizzy the whole time while doing it, and as much as you couldn't go far in this condition, you needed to move before the bear came back.
  61. You began to walk again, this time a lot slower and more cautious. You didn't want to make your food poisoning worse and as soon as you felt safe, you were going to stop and rest for the day. You needed to give your body time to recover, food poisoning and fever can kill, especially without antibiotics or medicine of any kind.
  63. You walked along the river again, now frozen from the overnight blizzard. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. You tripped on a branch while walking and got a face full of snow and pine needles. Spitting it out, you tried to pull yourself up again, knees wobbling from the effort before you slammed back into the freezing snow.
  65. This would have to do, you had to rest. After a small breather, you managed to pull yourself back to your hooves and pulled yourself behind a tree. You covered yourself as much as possible with your coat, shirt, pants, sleeping bag, as much as you could find to keep you insulated and warm. You sat, pressed up against the tree, holding back your nausea while trying to get some rest
  67. As hard as it was while you were feeling sick, eventually, you began to feel consciousness slip away from you and you fell into a restless, dreamless sleep.
  69. -------
  71. You woke up many times during the night, your head spinning and messy, full of not-quite nightmares that filled your mind when awake. Your whole body felt like it was rolling around, contracting and releasing with every pulse of pain.
  73. You could feel the cold, but it felt strange. It seemed to dot weird parts of your body and only increased how confusing and jumbled your thoughts were. Your eyes were heavy, almost as they were falling out of your head. You bent over and threw up on the snow before attempting to correct your position, only to fall over to your other side.
  75. Slipping in and out of sleep, you imagined ponies. Things like you, all living together in happiness and warmth. They went about their daily lives, eating apples, reading books, spending time with friends, and just being happy. What you wouldn't do for the slightest bit of warmth right now.
  77. Your lips were dry and cracked from all of the moisture lost by sweat and vomit. You tried to reach into your bag for a water bottle, but stumbled and fell again.
  79. You resigned yourself to rest and welcomed the sun, now high in the sky. It warmed you a little, but not much.
  81. You passed out again, unsure of what to do but sleep the worst of it off. Luckily it wasn't too much of a problem to fall asleep again so soon, as your sickness left you feeling plenty exhausted.
  83. You felt so weird, almost as if you were moving while lying down. You tried to close your eyes and rest, but you had such a strange sense of motion sickness that you had no real luck. The trees seemed to be passing you by as you lay down, wondering if this would ever end. After a while, the spinning of your head and the motion sickness feeling ceased a bit and you were able to sleep again.
  85. -------
  87. Your eyes fluttered open, now substantially lighter feeling than before. You felt a strangely alien but comforting warmth now enveloping your body. Your fever seemed to have lowered quite a bit, but you were still starving and your lips were still parched.
  89. When you pulled yourself up to get water, you noticed two things. First was that the sun was now setting, and the second is that you were sitting in front of a blazing fire.
  91. What.
  93. You tried to pick yourself up, but a bit of your fever induced dizziness remained, and you fell to the forest floor.
  95. “Woah, take it easy.” A voice said from next to you, causing you to jump.
  97. “Sorry, I, uh, didn't mean to startle you.” You stared, shocked at the orange stallion sitting next to you.
  99. “Miss?”
  101. Wait, That voice…
  103. “Uhh…” You started.
  105. “Hey, sorry to ask, but you didn't have to see two other guys around here? One’s kinda skinny, black haired dude. Others kinda average, tall, brown wavy hair?”
  107. Holy fuck. The short one was Paulo and the average one was you! It couldn't be…
  109. Could it?
  111. “R-Rick?” you squeaked out.
  113. He gasped and looked at you.
  115. “Wh-what? How do you know my name?”
  117. You began to cry, relief washing over you. He was alive!
  119. “Woah, miss, what’s wrong?”
  121. “I-I can’t believe it, Rick.”
  123. “What are you talking about?”
  125. “Fucking hell, it’s me, Rick. It’s Mitch.”
  127. He blanked for a second, staring at you before looking you up and down.
  129. “No.” He shook his head. “You’re not Mitch.”
  131. “I am!” You said in a panic. “R-remember back in high school, how we met.”
  133. He looked at you cautiously with an unsure frown on his face.
  135. “I was looking for my first class and I dropped my books. Y-you helped me pick them up and it turned out we were both lost and looking for the same class, so we went to the front office together and found where it was. Please, you have to believe me.”
  137. The frown disappeared from his face and a look of shock and surprise replaced it.
  139. “M-Mitch?”
  141. You nodded up and down, tears streaking your cheeks. Rick rushed forward and threw his arms around you, pulling you into a hug. You were a bit taken aback by how large he was compared to you, but you accepted and returned the hug none the less.
  143. His body was warm and soft, filling you with comfort and safety, a feeling that you hadn’t felt beyond your dreams for three days. You let your tears flow freely, staining his coat. You heard him start to sob as well, his whole body shaking. You could tell he was holding it back, but it didn’t matter. You had found Rick.
  145. Or, more like, he had found you.
  147. Eventually, Rick released you from the hug and looked at you again.
  149. “I don’t get what the fuck is going on, but… I’m really happy that I found you.”
  151. “M-me too, Rick. Thank you.”
  153. “No problem.” He smiled before moving back and sitting next to the fire.
  155. “So…” Rick said, fidgeting with his hooves. “You look a little bit… Well… Uh, what I mean is-”
  157. “I know, Rick. I’m a girl. Or, mare, whatever.”
  159. Rick nodded and stared at the flames.
  161. “You’re also… Kinda small.”
  163. You looked at him and gave a proper comparison of size. You were definitely around half his height when on all fours, but his body was also much more bulky and manly. It wasn’t a surprise, seeing as you weren’t exactly a man any more.
  165. “Yeah, I noticed that you’re a lot…” You cleared your throat. “Larger than I am.”
  167. “And I got this weird butt tattoo as well. You don’t have one.”
  169. “You do?” I looked at his rump and noticed that on it was a mark. A seed with a sprout sticking out of the top.
  171. “What the fuck?”
  173. Rick suppressed a chuckle while staring at you.
  175. “What? What’s so funny?”
  177. “Oh, uh… You just sound so cute when you swear. It’s like a little kid.”
  179. You threw a punch at his arm only for it to bounce off ineffectually.
  181. He laughed again.
  183. “Ha! You punch like a little kid too!”
  185. You scowled at him and looked away, your face blushing bright red. You heard a low growl coming from your stomach and looked up at Rick.
  187. “Can you grab me my bag? I need some water and food. Been kinda delirious with a fever and food poisoning for the past couple of days.”
  189. Rick nodded before retrieving a bottle and a granola bar for you.
  191. “Do you mind if I have one too? Haven’t really had anything except for leaves and cat-tail stems for the last few days.”
  193. “Sure, go ahead.”
  195. He sat back down next to you and handed you the bottle of water and your bar before digging into his own. It wasn’t long before it was gone and your hunger was sated for now.
  197. “Oh god, thank you.” Rick sat backward. “You never really realise how much you take food for granted until you go without.”
  199. “Yeah, man.” You smiled at him. “You know, I’m really glad that you found me.”
  201. “Me too, you looked like you were fuckin’ dying. Your face was covered in sweat, you were muttering and shaking, fuck. It was… Honestly, pretty fuckin’ scary, Mitch.”
  203. You nodded and smiled at him.
  205. “Thanks.”
  207. “No problem. I’m just so relieved that you’re alive, man. Even if you have turned into a… Mare.”
  209. Your mind returned to a few days ago at the top of the hill. You remembered Paulo putting his hand on that obelisk before being struck by the white light. Rick was next, and you could only assume that you followed.
  211. “That day… On top of the hill. What did you see?” You asked after a sip of water.
  213. “I… I don’t really know. I saw Paulo get hit by that light, then everything went white. I had assumed that… I was dead, but i wasn’t. I just… Kinda saw nothing. Nothing but that yellow place.”
  215. So he had seen the same thing as you.
  217. “When I woke up, Paulo was gone, and this huge… Thing was there.”
  219. Your body froze up. Rick had seen the bear.
  221. “I was so freaked out by being… You know, like this,” He gestured to his body. “that I didn’t even think about helping you. I’m so sorry, man. I just… I thought I was going to die. I grabbed my pack and ran. I-I’m so sorry.”
  223. You put a hoof on his shoulder and smiled understandingly at him.
  225. “It’s okay, dude. I… I saw it too. The bear, with it’s freaky eyes… It’s the same bear that’s on the stone carvings.”
  228. “So what, this some sort of eternal demon that lives for ever?”
  230. “I have no idea, but whatever it is, it’s not a real bear. Bears don’t… Real bears don’t kill for fun. I found a deer before, on the first day that was… Fuck man, it had been swung against a tree. Like a fucking bat.”
  232. “Shit… Fuck this. Fuck all this shitty fucking crap. What the fuck do we do?”
  234. “My plan was to get back to the cars and go find help, maybe get a search and rescue thing going. How people are going to react to a miniature unicorn asking them to help find her friends is beyond me, but that was the plan.”
  236. “Fuck… Better than my plan. I was just trying to look for you guys on my own.”
  238. “It’s the best idea I have. Unfortunately, the GPS is fucked and I was relying on it completely for navigation before the whole deal with the stone circle. I knew the vague direction of the road, so I was just gonna travel until I found the road, then walk along it until I either reach the cars or find a person to hitchhike from. Not that there’s going to be any people driving along this road at this time of year.”
  240. Wait a second… Rick had the satellite phone!
  242. “Rick! The satellite phone!”
  244. He grimaced at that and hung his head.
  246. “I… I lost it. Along with the rest of my pack, besides my jacket and a few other things.”
  248. “Wh-what!? How?”
  250. “On that first day, when the bear was chasing me, I was cornered against the side of a ledge. I didn’t have the time to put it on, so I was carrying it in my mouth when the bear swiped at me.” He rolled up his sleeve to show a deep gash that he had wrapped in cloth.
  252. “Rick, oh my god! A-are you okay?”
  254. “As okay as I can be without medicine or proper bandages.” He said grimly, rolling down his sleeve. “I dropped the bag when I got hit and it fell off the ledge. I had no choice to run, and when I had lost the bear, I returned to try and grab the gear. The bag had been torn by something on the way down and the satellite phone was smashed on a rock. The most of my gear had fallen into a stream and was completely fucked, besides my jacket and a bottle of water. I’ve been pretty much wandering blindly since then…”
  256. You punched him in the arm.
  258. “God damn it, Rick. You’re my best friend, but you can be a goddamn idiot sometimes. Wandering blindly?”
  260. “Hey, I might be a “nerd”, but I don’t really have any survival knowledge. Being good at games doesn’t make me good at surviving in the wilderness. When I ran from that bear, I got all lost and turned around, I had no idea what direction I was heading! It was pure luck that I found you when I did.”
  262. “Yeah, I guess so. I really do owe you for helping me back there.”
  264. “No problem.”
  266. You sat in silence with Rick for a while, just watching the embers of the fire sizzle and the flames lap at the logs. After a short while, Rick left and gathered a few more branches before coming back and throwing them in the fire.
  268. “So…” He sat next to you and pursed his lips. “Ponies, huh?”
  270. “Yeah. Pretty fucked up.”
  272. “At least you got that horn thing, I’m just a regular horse.”
  274. “The horn is completely useless, Rick. I’m not gonna be goring anyone with it anytime soon either, so I don’t think it’s that much of a good thing. Plus, the last thing you could say about yourself is “Regular”. Nothing regular about magically transforming into bright coloured ponies.”
  276. “I guess so. Hey, do you think you’ll get time off work for this?”
  278. “What, like, sick leave? I dunno. I have no idea what the fuck I’m gonna do if I get back. What, just live my life as a tiny pink mare? What will my mum say?”
  280. “I have no idea. Probably turn you into her pet or something.” He chuckled.
  282. “You reckon there’s any way to turn back?” You asked.
  284. “I don’t know. I tried putting my hoof on that stone again before the bear showed up, but it didn’t do a thing.”
  286. “Fuck. Maybe it’ll just wear off?”
  288. Rick laughed at that.
  290. “I doubt it, turning into a pony isn’t really a disease that you can wait to be cured.”
  292. The sun had completely set now and you were still feeling exhausted from your fever despite the fact that you had been sleeping for a large majority of the past few days. You yawned, finally comfortable and warm despite your fever still being present.
  294. “Time to sleep.” You said mid yawn and stretched your forelegs.
  296. “Hey, uh… Just saying this ‘cause I don’t have one, but… Do you mind if I sleep in your sleeping bag with you?” Rick asked, fidgeting with his hooves and looking away slightly.
  298. You thought about it for a second, and even though it might be awkward, it was a necessity. You nodded and Rick smiled thankfully at you. Awkward it might be, but you didn’t really want Rick to freeze to death in the middle of the night. You slipped into the bag and positioned yourself before Rick followed afterwards. You thought the whole experience might be strange, but instead, you found yourself comfortable enough to press your back up against Rick’s, both of you enjoying the warmth that you gave each other. Your eyes drooped and after a short while, while watching the fire die out, the both of you fell asleep.
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