- I kicked and tried to scream, but the hands holding me were too strong. I was dragged several feet to a clearing, then released. I dropped to the ground, panting. I did not know my heart could go this fast, but god, I wished it would stop. This was actually painful… “What the hell?” I asked, looking up at my captors. Hunched over was an older man, looking like he was in his late twenties. Behind me was the person who had grabbed me, surprisingly lean for being able to restrain me so. He moved to join his companion. “Sorry about that. We saw you approaching that place, and we knew we had to do something…”
- “So you kidnapped me?” I asked, looking around for my umbrella. Lucky me, I had dropped it when I was being pulled away from the warehouse.
- “They saved you.” Came a voice from the shadows. I turned towards the sound, covering my mouth with a hand.
- A pony cantered into view. A little. Blue. Pony. Like from the show. “Don’t yell, please.” He said calmly, looking up at me.
- This just got way weird…I started gasping for breath, the world spinning. The older man guided me down. “Deep breaths, girl. In through your nose, out through your mouth. I know this a lot to take in, but if you keep this up, you’ll go into shock.” He looked over at the impossible pony. “Did you really have to come out?”
- “She was going to the warehouse. She’s already involved.” The pony said, still impossibly calm. I got a better look at him as I tried to get my breathing under control. He was a little over three feet tall, a pony, had a blue coat, was a pony, black mane and eyes, was a pony, and seemed pretty scuffed up. Also? He’s a pony.
- “Involved in what, exactly?” I wheezed. I was still out of breath, and that was about all I could manage to say.
- The pony started to explain, but the man at my side cut him off. “You’re going to kill the poor girl if you keep piling this on her. Let’s start with the introductions.” He looked at me. “I’m Micheal, and I’ve been studying medicine at the local university.”
- That was about the only good thing about this town; our university had an amazing med program; hospitals from the surrounding states would come and recruit right out of the graduating class. “A-astarielle…I work at the local library, and I got an email telling me to come here.”
- Confused expression crossed the face of my captors. At least, I thought the pony was confused. It was hard to tell what that face meant. The freakishly strong guy spoke up next. “I’m Tyler, and I’m opening a store this fall. And this is-”
- “Cobalt. Just…call me Cobalt. So wait, you got an email? Telling you to come here? That’s unusual…” he said, looking at the warehouse again.
- “Why is that?” I asked, still breathless. “My friend told me to meet him here…” I hunched over again, catching my breath. “Why did…you kidnap me…”
- The three of them shared a glance, as if trying to decide what to say. The pony, Cobalt, finally moved forward. “We didn’t. You’re free to go, but I think you should hear us out. What do you mean by your friend told you to meet you here?”
- I looked up, puzzled. “Precisely that. I’ve been communicating with someone over the internet, and he told me to come here tonight so he could show me something.” Wait, why was I telling anyone this, much less a cartoon horse? I stood up. “I should get over there, actually.”
- Tyler put a hand on my arm. “You’re not as smart as you look, meeting someone you only know online.” He commented. I brushed him off, shaking my head
- “He’s…he wouldn’t hurt me. I’m sure of it. We’ve been talking for months now.”
- Another glance between the three of them. What was I missing out on? Michael shook his head, as if trying to say ‘don’t you dare’, but Cobalt inclined his head a bit, looking back at me.
- “Astarielle…I wasn’t always a pony. I used to be a human.” He said, some emotion finally creeping into his voice; fear. I wasn’t the only one scared out of my wits here, and that helped to calm me down. I turned to look at him properly.
- “What did you say?” I asked, eyes wide. That was even more impossible. How could a person become a pony?
- He nodded, sitting down on his haunches with a long sigh. “I can’t even remember my name, or much of my life before this.” He looked past me again. “The person in there, possibly your friend, has been kidnapping people, and turning them into ponies.”
- No. That was stupid. Skies wouldn’t do that to me, or anyone. I wasn’t sure how I was so certain, but I knew that he was a good person. Before any of them could react, I bolted, headed for the warehouse. I was going to see what was going on here, myself. I could hear the three of them calling my name, but I ignored them, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Besides, I trusted Starlit Skies more than the people (and pony) who had kidnapped me. That was strange, I knew it was strange, but I had a feeling the only thing I could do right now was follow my heart.
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