Haunted Memories 1 (AiE; Rainbow Dash)

Feb 10th, 2014
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  1. >"Next stop, Baltimare station, estimated time of..."
  2. >Dash didn't hear the rest of the announcement
  3. >She watched Ponyville fade into the darkness as the train pulled away
  4. >Probably the last time she would ever see it
  5. >It wasn't home anymore
  6. >You can move a million clouds perfectly and nobody so much as thanks you
  7. >But they always remember the one storm you forget to re-route...
  8. >Closing her eyes she leaned back in her seat
  9. >This wasn't the first time she was asked politely to transfer
  10. >Heck, it was because of a mishap in Cloudsdale that she even ended up in Ponyville
  11. >Who would have guessed she'd screw up the weather in the middle of--
  12. >"This seat taken?"
  13. >A male voice brings her back to the here and now
  14. >Dash didn't turn around
  15. >She shrugged her shoulders and said 'whatever'
  16. >The other party tossed their luggage on the rack and sat down with a book in hand
  17. >Dash stole a glance at the title
  18. >One of the older Daring Do novels
  19. >She snorts and turns back to the window
  20. "The Curator turns out to be Ahuizotl in disguise"
  21. >The man looked up from the novel
  22. >"Come again?"
  23. "That's the big twist, I'm saving you about 400 pages of junk. Gotta be the worst one of the series"
  24. >That was a lie, it was one of the better ones, and that twist had her re-reading the novel for a week trying to catch all the clues she missed the first time around
  25. >Dash just felt like ruining someone's day
  26. >The man closes the book and looks to the pegasus
  27. >Dash doesn't look back, but she can see his reflection in the window
  28. >He's different, one of those human-things that were popping up in Equestria from time to time
  29. >There was silence for a time, Dash looking out at the window
  30. >The human studying the ceiling and looking around
  31. >"So...what else happens?"
  32. >Well shoot, if he wants them spoiled, Dash thinks
  33. "Usual junk. Daring Do saves the day with her grappling hook and her wing stays broken for no reason"
  34. >"You used to read these books, I take it?"
  35. >Dash snorted again, finally turning around to face this weird two-legged thing
  36. "I'm on the cover of one of them. I think I know a little about Daring Do"
  37. >The human nods
  38. >"I must not have gotten that far. I only read when I'm on long train rides."
  39. "You're not missing much. They're all the same junk over and over. Just different artifacts, don't waste your time."
  40. >Silence again
  41. >Save for the clack-clack of the wheels on the tracks
  42. >Dash was thinking about her Daring Do books
  43. >How most of them were Twilight's and she wouldn't be able to borrow them anymore
  44. >How many hours did she spend sitting in that library reading the same book over and over again?
  45. >What a waste...
  46. >"How'd you end up on the cover of one?"
  47. >Oh right, the human was still here
  48. >Least he doesn't seem to know who Dash is
  49. "I met the author and she liked my colors and asked if I could be a guest star. I said sure."
  50. >That'll do
  51. >"That must have been pretty amazing."
  52. "It was alright..."
  53. >It was one of the best days of her life when that signed, first edition came in the mail
  54. >It's wrapped in bubblewrap in her things
  55. >She started to imagine the look on Daring Do....the real Daring Do's face when she heard the news about her mishap.
  56. >She wondered if future copies would take her off the cover to not hurt their sales...
  57. >Dash turns back to the window in a hurry, her vision became a little blurry
  58. >Dash sniffed queitly
  59. >Baltimare was the only weather team so short they had to take her transfer
  60. >Nobody else wanted her
  61. >But he doesn't know that
  62. >She can make up anything she wanted to
  63. "Ponyville got too small for a pegasus like me. I needed somewhere with more challenging weather, ya know?"
  64. >She puffed her chest a little, that old prideful pegasus routine she'd done so many times in the past
  65. >"Same here. Well, not gonna be messing with weather but I had to get out of my old life. So dull and boring."
  66. "What are you gonna do when you get there?"
  67. >"No idea, whatever comes along I suppose. Nice to make a new start"
  68. >No argument here
  69. >Least he'll get to actually have one
  70. >Dash, on the other hand, has to deal with being given as little work as possible to keep her out of trouble
  71. >Whatever, better than having to prove yourself again
  72. >Makes her begin to wonder why she's even taking a weather job
  73. >Pegasus do other things, don't they?
  74. >"My name's Anonymous, by the way, everyone calls me Anon though What's yours?"
  75. >Dash swallowed hard
  76. "Rainbow Dash..."
  77. >Please don't recognize it...
  78. >He just chuckles
  79. >"Makes sense."
  80. >Phew...
  81. >It becomes quiet again
  82. >But this time around Dash breaks it
  83. "You...have any friends in Baltimare?"
  84. >"Nope, just me."
  85. >You want one?
  86. >Don't say that, she thinks, you're looking bipolar enough as it is
  87. "Me either. Fresh start like you"
  88. >He nods and smiles gently
  89. >Dash feels her lips form the tiniest of smiles back
  90. >This exchange goes on for a time
  91. >Little bit of small talk, then quiet, then one of them would ask a question
  92. >Anon was a lot more eager to volunteer information
  93. >Which made sense considering Dash was inventing a lot of her past on the spot
  94. >No stories about the elements of harmony or saving the crystal empire
  95. >No anecdotes about how the Wonderbolts kept pushing her entry date back, till she found out Spitfire was threatened by her performances
  96. >Heck, not even a mention that she knew 4 princesses on a first name basis
  97. >Well...knew anyhow
  98. >Cadence was in the Crystal Empire, Twilight was doing who knew what, Luna was...Luna
  99. >Celestia had been the only one who helped her out, but it had been very obviously done discreetly
  100. >The rest of her friends were just busy, but they managed to throw her a party before she left
  101. >But again, a quiet one, nothing like Pinkie did for Dash's birthday
  102. >It was like knowing her had become taboo
  103. >So, needless to say, the fictional Rainbow Dash who got so bored with her job that she transferred sounded a lot nicer to talk about
  104. >Just having someone to talk to without them feeling awkward was nice in and of it self
  105. >An announcement broke their little chat, saying that Baltimare was about ten minutes away
  106. >"Finally, eh?"
  107. >She nodded but deep down she wished the train would just keep going
  108. >"You were a lot of fun to talk to, Rainbow Dash, where are you staying? We should try and stay in touch."
  109. >Son of a...
  110. >Of all the things to forget to do
  111. >She had been so caught up in packing and getting the heck out of Ponyville that she forgot to find a place to stay
  112. "Oh...I umm...well...I didn't...."
  113. >How could she be so stupid?
  114. "...think...there was...a reason we need to go right home, ya know? Lets check around town for stuff to do!"
  115. >Good save, Dash, good save
  116. >Anon looks a little puzzled then seems to realize something and agrees
  117. >Like he did something wrong and is happy Dash didn't get angry about it
  118. >Whatever the case may be they both feel a little relieved
  119. >They could lock their bags up at the station then go exploring a bit
  120. >It was a new city for both of them after all
  121. >So as the train pulls into the station, they both admit they're hungry and decide to go grab a late dinner
  122. "First place we see, no backing out!"
  123. >He agrees and Dash secretly can't believe she's hearing herself be excited again
  124. >Anything to take her mind off everything going on
  125. >They disembark, Anon offering to take care of their luggage
  126. >Dash gets her first impression of her new home
  127. >Big, impersonal, crowded, and kinda dirty
  128. >She hated to admit it but it was perfect for someone like herself to blend in for awhile
  129. >And sure enough, right across the way was one of those 24 hour greasy spoons
  130. >Comfort food sounded great right about now
  131. >"They said they'll keep our stuff in the office till sunrise, then we either need to get it or they're gonna put it on the train to Vanhoover"
  132. >Dash chuckled
  133. >It felt good to laugh a little
  134. "Works for me, egghead! Lets go there!"
  135. >She'd taken to calling Anon 'egghead', she didn't know why but Anon didn't seem to mind it
  136. >They walked to the diner together
  137. >Dash feeling calm for the first time in awhile
  138. >Nobody knew her here and she already made a friend
  139. >So what if she was technically homeless?
  140. >The place is what you'd expect from a diner close to midnight
  141. >Loud drunks from a long night of partying at one table
  142. >Scruffy looking pony at the counter reading a paper
  143. >Waitresses who were well past their pony standards anyhow
  144. >Dash and Anon were seated in a booth as far away from the loud ponies as they could
  145. >Neither minded but the waitress wanted an excuse to stay away from them when she could
  146. >Dash kinda envied that table, she would have been with them not a year ago
  147. >Celebrating something or other, it really never mattered what
  148. >Maybe when Anon left she could wander over there and fake interest
  149. >It would be an easy way to get a place to stay for the night, she counted a few colts among the group
  150. > that what she's reducing herself to?
  151. >Seducing a drunk stallion for a place to stay?
  152. >With luck he'd be too intoxicated to--
  153. >"What are you getting? The mac-and-cheese looks good"
  154. >Anon had a knack for interrupting her less pleasant thoughts
  155. "Huh? Oh yea...yea that and those really thick fries ya know?"
  156. >"Yea, I like those. Smother them in ketchup?"
  157. "You know it!"
  158. >That's better, think about food, not about...later
  159. >They ordered and chatted a bit more, Dash consistently steering the conversation away from her when it turned that way
  160. >Anon started to pick up on this and stopped asking questions that were really direct, letting Dash tell him what she wanted
  161. >Truthfully, he didn't have much to say either
  162. >He quit his monotonous day job back wherever he was from, traveled a little, and ended up here
  163. >Something about a coffee shop or something, Dash was struggling to pay attention between scouting out which colts across the way were single
  164. >And enjoying how the warm food was making her night plans not feel so icky
  165. >" I start Tuesday. When do you start working for the weather team here?"
  166. "Monday...I think?"
  167. >He laughed
  168. >"Might wanna check, you don't want miss your first day!"
  169. >Truthfully she could care less
  170. >They finished up quickly, they were both hungrier than the realized
  171. >Dash closed her eyes and smiled, the warm meal sitting comfortably in her belly
  172. >She hadn't really eaten a full meal in a few days
  173. >Just snacks and what ever here and there
  174. >Anon paid for it, which was another lucky break because Dash left her money in her bags
  175. >He must have caught that slight look of panic when the waitress dropped the small piece of paper between them
  176. >"We gotta go get our stuff from the station."
  177. >He stood and stretched a little
  178. >Humans really were tall, Dash hadn't realized it earlier
  179. >"You wanna split a cab?"
  180. >One of the stallions across the restaurant belted out laughing
  181. >Dash looked to them and sighed, turning her gaze to the floor
  182. "I can't...."
  183. >"I'll cover it if that's a---"
  184. "It's not that, I just can't, OK! Stop being so nice!"
  185. >The place got a little quieter
  186. >The party-ponies whispered something and began to laugh
  187. >Great, now she looks like an angry mare, they'll never let her hang with them now!
  188. >Cursing under her breath, Dash pushes Anon aside and leaves the place
  189. >Anon scratches his head and follows after
  190. >She can't go far, all her luggage was at the train station
  191. >Even if it was only a pair of saddlebags and a small suitcase..
  192. >She gets to the corner of the street before this dawns on her too
  193. >Cursing again she turns around and Anon is standing there with his hands in his pockets
  194. >"What was that about?"
  195. "The hell do you care?"
  196. >She spats and looks up at the taller creature
  197. >It's dark and the streetlights were behind her so he couldn't see her eyes beginning to tear up
  198. >"If you didn't want me to follow you, you woulda flew away. Now what's going on?"
  199. >He's got her there...
  200. >Swallowing, both figuratively and literally, Dash scoffs and turns away
  201. "I forgot to find a place to stay, alright? I was so....excited...about moving that I forgot to look and maybe I didn't wanna admit that? That such a big deal!?"
  202. >They both stood silently for a moment
  203. >Dash kicked her hoof at the ground
  204. >She wasn't angry at the human, more at herself
  205. >But it was his fault she had to admit it so
  206. >Maybe a little angry at him
  207. >"You can crash at my place tonight if you want..."
  208. >OK, now definitely angry
  209. "I don't want your pity or another hand out!"
  210. >She flapped her wings so she could be eye level, shaking one of her hooves
  211. "Don't treat me like a--"
  212. >"It's a tiny apartment on the 5th floor of a building with no elevator. The last pony who lived there died and the landlord swears its haunted. All her furniture is still there and nobody has been inside in 2 months Its all I could find, I'd hardly call this charity."
  213. >That stopped her mid-rant
  214. >Her eyes narrowed in annoyance
  215. >He was entirely serious about the whole thing and stared right back
  216. >Taking a breath through her nostrils, she grunted and nodded
  217. "Fine...."
  218. >He motioned back to the train station
  219. >Reluctantly, Dash descended to the ground and walked back with the human
  220. "Only because you insisted...and you're clearly scared of the ghost and need me to frighten it off"
  221. >Anon cocked an eyebrow
  222. >"Yup, you saw right through me..."
  223. "Course I did."
  224. >They got their bags, hailed a cab, and didn't speak much on the drive over
  225. >It wasn't awkward so much as Dash didn't want to talk and Anon seemed smart enough to leave her alone
  226. >Dash wasn't used to being dependent on anyone
  227. >Especially some stranger she just met
  228. >It showed more when they arrived, Dash insisted on paying for the cab and refused to let Anon touch her bags
  229. >He made no attempt to argue, he was preoccupied with getting the doors to the apartment building open
  230. >They had a bit of a climb ahead of them
  231. >Five stories hauling luggage was hard enough
  232. >But Dash flying ahead and yelling from the fifth floor in the middle of the night made it that much worse
  233. >She was impatient as always, and her pride was still wounded so she mocked Anon's lack of speed
  234. >Big talk from someone with saddlebags and one suitcase
  235. >Anon had four, and eventually Dash flew down and grabbed two herself to help speed things up
  236. "Come on, I'm tired already!"
  237. >She snorted and walked ahead to the apartment door
  238. >The human fumbled with the keys, not sure which one went to what lock
  239. >All the locks being at the height for a pony didn't help matters
  240. >Eventually, the door lock clicked and the old wooden thing creaked open
  241. >It smelled like old newspaper and linens
  242. >With a hint of moth balls
  243. >Typical old-lady smell
  244. "Where's the lightswitch?"
  245. >Dash cautiously entered
  246. >Anon was busy getting the suitcases inside when a crash and a swear came from the apartment
  247. >"Find the ghost?"
  248. "No, egghead! I found a table though"
  249. >Great, five minutes in and she's already breaking things
  250. >The lights finally flicker on, and the place was as small as you imagined it
  251. >A living room with one couch with a plaid cover combined with an extremely spartan kitchen
  252. >Two doors on either side, one to the bathroom, the other to the bedroom
  253. >Layer of dust on everything
  254. >Whomever lived here before hadn't had a single thing moved since they departed
  255. >"You want the bed or the couch?"
  256. >Dash blows a lock of hair out of her eyes as she surveys the couch
  257. "Think I'll be taking the bed..."
  258. >She canters into the bedroom only to exit a moment later
  259. "On second thought, think that's your room, Anon, you should stay in there."
  260. >Truth of the matter was, the bedsheets were pulled and Dash wagered that had been where the old pony had stopped living
  261. >She wasn't sleeping in a ghost bed
  262. >Anon shrugged and went into the bedroom to unpack
  263. >Dash put the table back on its legs before hopping on the couch to find a comfortable spot
  264. >She was kneading the fabric around with her hooves when Anon returned with a pillow and a blanket
  265. >"I found these in a closet. Feel free to stay as long as you want. I--"
  266. >They both were startled by a low rumble and a clattering from the kitchen
  267. >"....I wouldn't eat anything in the fridge though..."
  268. >Dash peered over his shoulder
  269. >There was one of those really old fridges with a locking door making all that noise when it spooled up
  270. "Don't worry, Anon. Tomorrow I'll find a place to live, don't worry!"
  271. >He nodded and went back to the bedroom
  272. >He flicked off the light as he went in, closing the door behind him
  273. >Leaving Dash alone in the tiny living room/kitchen
  274. >So, this is it?
  275. >After the frenzy to get her life in some sort of order
  276. >She ends up in a strangers apartment, sleeping on an old lady's sofa
  277. >All by herself with nothing but the ticking of a massive grandfather clock in the corner and a busted old fridge to keep her company
  278. >She fluffed the pillow and pulled the blanket over herself, trying to get comfortable
  279. >The lights from the city outside were casting odd shadows between the blinds
  280. >Against all the old looking furniture
  281. >Against the swinging pendulum of the clock
  282. >She flopped around on the couch so she didn't have to look at the spooky looking shadows
  283. >Which put her facing a cabinet full of pictures
  284. >Including a big one in the center of them all of an older looking mare
  285. >Who she swore was staring at her
  286. >The photograph was pretty unsettling
  287. >Black and white in a large brass frame
  288. >It was a late-aged mare, face wrinkled, grey hair in a bun, off colored dress, glasses on a chain around her neck
  289. >And she had this stern stare about her
  290. >Dash stared right into the picture's eyes
  291. >The picture stared right back
  292. >As if it knew everything about her
  293. >Her heart began to race
  294. "Come on, Rainbow're scared a picture now? What the heck is wrong with you?"
  295. >She didn't expect an answer
  296. >But she got one when the heat kicked on
  297. >And like any old heating system, the pipes moaned and whined as the hot water made them expand
  298. >Dash nearly flew into the ceiling, holding the pillow tightly to her
  299. "I-I-It's just the heat! That's all....just the heat!"
  300. >The pipes seemed to shutter in agreement as water sloshed through the radiators
  301. >She flapped her wings slower and sat back on the couch
  302. >The picture stared her down
  303. >She tried not to look at it
  304. >Tried to look anywhere else
  305. >The ceiling had silhouettes of the trees outside, slashed by the shadows of the blinds
  306. >The kitchen was worse, on the counter there was a glass just sitting there
  307. >'That was the last glass she used before she died' her mind whispered
  308. >Dash pulled the blanket around her tighter
  309. "S-s-s-stop being a silly pony, Dash! There's no such thing as ghosts!"
  310. >The old mare in the picture stared silently at her
  311. >Slightly fed up, Dash got off the couch and walked cautiously to the cabinet with the picture
  312. >She was careful not to trip on the coffee table again
  313. >The cabinet an antique like the rest of the furniture in here
  314. >Some kind of dark wood base with drawers and glass doors protecting the different photos
  315. >Most were color ones of whoever lived here
  316. >Some were of her with a colt, others she had children, and others still were of her golden years wearing sundresses and carrying coconut drinks
  317. >What was strange was she looked nothing like the mare in the black and white photo
  318. >Must be a relative or an old family matriarch...
  319. >Dash undid the clasp on the glass doors and slowly opened the cabinet
  320. "I'm not scared of you..."
  321. >She whispered to herself, reaching forward to put the picture down so she wouldn't have to look at it all night
  322. >It was far back in the cabinet, a lot deeper than it appeared when she was on the couch
  323. >Giving her wings a flap, she floated a little to get more reach
  324. >Her hooves touched the points of the brass frame
  325. >Now all she had to do was slowly put the face of this old mare facing down so she wouldn't have to--
  326. >DUNG!!
  327. "AHHH!"
  328. >Dash dropped the picture as the grandfather clock chimed
  329. >She dove for the couch, under the blanket, wrapping herself into a ball
  330. >When the clock finished the chiming for one o'clock, Dash worked up the courage to peer from under the blanket
  331. >The picture managed to fall but only on its side, the eyes of the elder matriarch still piercing into her soul
  332. >She sword the pony's face was getting angrier at her
  333. >'The last pony who lived there died'
  334. >Her mind echoed Anon's words from earlier
  335. >She was shivering under the blanket, wings pulled so tightly to her body she couldn't fly if she wanted to
  336. >'The landlord swears its haunted'
  337. >Dash's eyes darted anywhere, hoping to see anything but that photograph
  338. >The old fridge took that as a perfect time to spool up again
  339. >Dash felt her heart pounding in her chest as she ran, blanket and pillow in mouth, to the bedroom door
  340. >She threw it open and slammed it behind her, panting heavily and pressing her back against it
  341. >The ghost wouldn't follow her in here, would it?
  342. >The light came on and Dash screamed
  343. >"What the hell?!"
  344. >A groggy voice came from the bed
  345. >Anon had his hand on the lamp and was rubbing his eyes
  346. >Nothing could have prepared him for the blue and rainbow blur that launched itself at him
  348. >He hardly has time brace himself as Dash slammed into his chest
  349. >Her wings, front, and hind legs deathgrip the human and they both fell onto the bed
  350. >Dash is going on and on about the picture and the haunted glass and how the clock is in on it and
  351. >"Slow down!"
  352. >He manages to sit back up and awkwardly hug the terrified pony
  353. >She's panting and he can feel her heart racing
  354. "Th-th-the ghost is in there!"
  355. >Anon gives her a 'really?' look
  356. >Dash swallows and shakes her head, her grip loosening slightly
  357. "I'm supposed to....protect you from the ghost right? So long as I'm here thats what we agreed upon isn't it?"
  358. >He nods slowly
  359. "So I need to stay in here, otherwise it might think it can get around me! Yea! So....ummm..."
  360. >Anon sighs and gets up
  361. >Dash still clinging to him, he gathers up the extra pillow and blanket from the floor
  362. >And to humor the blue pegasus, he locks the bedroom door
  363. >He tosses the pillow on the bed and spreads the second blanket out
  364. >Dash lets go and sits on the bed
  365. "Good thinking, right Anon?"
  366. >"Of course, Dash"
  367. >He yawns and lays back down
  368. >Pulling the covers over both of them
  369. >They lay there, on their backs, a wall of invisible awkward between the two of them
  370. >Anon is drifting off to sleep, not entirely concerned about the evil photograph in the next room
  371. >Dash is still full of energy, staring at the ceiling and twitching every time a random creek or thud echos in the apartment
  372. >She finds herself scooting closer to the human a little
  373. >Somewhere in the building, another door opens and closes harshly
  374. >It sounded like below
  375. >Dash moves a little closer
  376. >Then the sound of a door being locked comes from above
  377. >Muffled voices
  378. >Closer still
  379. >Then what finally breaks the camel's back
  380. >Hoofsteps above clopping from one end of the room to the other
  381. >Closing her eyes, Dash turns on her side and pulls Anon's body to her, shimming her head between his chest and his arm
  382. >Taking a few deep breaths, the warmth of his body calming her down, she tries not to think about what's really bothering her
  383. >Not ghosts or spooks, but how she's all alone
  384. >All alone in this big city with none of her friends
  385. >Her friends...she missed them so much
  386. >Why did Rarity and Twilight have to grow up so fast?
  387. >Why did Fluttershy and Applejack have to be so obsessed with living in Ponyville?
  388. >Why was Pinkie...Pinkie?
  389. >Why did she have to screw up and ruin everything?
  390. >At least here, most ponies didn't know that
  391. >But while she might be faceless in the city, at work they'll surely know who she is and she's not ready to confront that stuff just yet
  392. >Not from strange ponies and not by herself
  393. >Tightening her hold on Anon's shirt, she does her best not to shiver
  394. >She's Rainbow Dash, she's not afraid of anything, right?
  395. >She'll be OK, right?
  396. >...Someone answer...?
  397. >"It'll be alright..."
  398. >Anon whispers, very sleepily, before running a hand through her mane
  399. >She sighed and felt relaxed for the first time since she got here
  400. >Anon didn't know anything, heck he might not even be entirely awake, but just hearing that and getting some affection was all she really needed
  401. >She whispered 'thank you' back before falling asleep
  402. >With a small hope her dreams would be peaceful tonight
  404. Next -
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