- The air was cold, and the wind was becoming more steady as snow whizzed by her every hair on her body. She with one hoof held her hat to her head, and held up her mail pouch with her other. It was Hearth's Warming Eve, and Derpy Hooves was flying as quick as she could to deliver the last of her holiday letters and gifts. It was her duty as a mail mare by the mailpony code of Equestria's Mail Service, to deliver her letters whether in bright or sunny weather.
- The lights of her last stop glowed in the blustery snowstorm. Derpy shivered as she lowered to the light and landed in a few inches of dry powdery snow. She huddled close to the door under the awning, jolted as a tinge or cold ran down her spine, then dug into her mail bag. She pulled out a red letter with a golden stamp pressed tight on the flap. Derpy placed the letter in her mouth as she reached out to knock the door. Suddenly a quick breeze whipped up and the fresh sent of holly and mistletoe filled Derpy's nostrils. Her nostrils shivered, quivered, and flared as that tinge of winter freshness took her nose by surprise. Her chest puffed out as her eyelids began to close. Her breath hitched and she let out a quick sneeze aiming to the welcome mat beneath her feet.
- “Hhhheeesshhhheew!” The letter escaped from her grasp and was quickly picked up by the wind. It raced away from the front door and disappeared into the wintery darkness. But Derpy didn't wait, she took off after it. She had to fulfill her duty. She looked left and right, over and under, and let the wind carry her as she sped off hoping to be in the same wind stream as the letter. She left the small residential street and stopped in the woods, the snow going up about halfway on her legs. She kicked the snow around a few seconds, then looked back to see the glow of lights from homes behind her. She didn't want to loose that glow. She continued and heard a tearing noise. She jumped back, startled. She looked around then realized she had torn her empty mail bag. It had gotten caught on some branches.
- The cold was starting to get to her as she sniffed and realized that her nose drippings were beginning to freeze on her snout. She wiped away what she could as she trudged through the snowbanks between the pine trees. The wind sent chills throughout her body. Progressively, the forest got darker and darker as she went in, but suddenly she noticed a red rectangle partially covered in snow. She romped over and picked it up with her mouth. It was the letter!
- She sighed and smiled, just as the fresh scent of holly and mistletoe pined in through one nostril and out the other. The scent was overpowering and really irritated her nose. She quickly pressed her hoof to her nose to stop the tickle. She slowly massaged her nose, but it kept tickling. “Ehhhh, ehhhh.” Her pre-sneeze was downright adorable as she struggled to not open her mouth and keep the letter clinched in her teeth. She raised her head up as her nostrils flared and eyes closed. Knowing she was about to burst, she lifted up the mail bag and sneezed into it.
- Dazed a few moments, she waited for another sneeze that didn't come, then shook her head real quickly and opened her eyes. She opened the mail back up expecting to find the letter safely inside, but all she saw was a hole and the ground. She forgot that her bag had ripped! She quickly looked to her right to see the letter being carried away by the wind!
- Determined, Derpy extended her wings and took off after it. The letter danced between trees and under branched forces Derpy to do the same, but in a far less graceful manner. For every branch 10 branches she needed to dodge, she probably hit 11 of them. She finally got within hoofs length of the letter and reached out for it before it abruptly turned left and she slammed into a tree truck. She shook off the slight sting and took off after it again spinning around a tree trunk then looping up in the air and around some bushes. Again she was within hoofs length of the letter and she reached out and grabbed it. She was successful.
- She sat down with a proud smile on her face, but that smile quickly became a frown as she looked around and no longer saw house lights. Just darkness, snow, and trees. All of her chasing after the letter got her lost. She slumped over and looked down. How was she going to deliver this message to it's rightful owner before Hearth's Warming Day? It was already the evening, and this letter could be very important and valuable to the recipient.
- All of a sudden, the sound of snow being crunched to the ground was hear. Her ears perked up and she backed up. It kept getting louder. Crunch, crunch, crunch! Derby couldn't see anything in the snow and the darkness had not adjusted with her eyes yet.
- "Happy Hearth's Warming Eve." A warm voice said from within the snow flurries. Derby turned to her right to see a shadowy figure behind her. She seemed startled, but quickly adjusted as the figure held a latern before them. It was a brownish colored stallion wearing a scarf. Derby sighed a sigh of relief.
- "Pretty bad weather to be delivering mail." The stallion said, and Derpy nodded in agreement.
- "Follow me and I will take you back to the road. I am heading home. Just gathering some wood for the fire." He smiled, a stallion in the prime of his life, with lines under his eyes and a wisdom in his voice that could be heard. Derby followed him through the dark woods until she began to see the glow of cottages.
- They came out of the woods and the stallion walked to the front door of the house Derpy was at early.
- "You can come in to warm up if you like." He smiled and chuckled as he pointed at her snout, which had frozen nose drippings once again. Derby blushed and quickly wiped her nose. She looked at the letter, and realized this stallion was the recipient of the letter. She was at the right address at least. She passed it to him.
- "Oh my goodness! A letter! This is wonderful." He smelled it and whispered a name to himself. "I have longed for this letter as I do every Hearth's Warming Day. I worry that it won't come some years, but it always does." He looked at the envelope encasing the letter and his eyes began to become glassy and teary. He breathed in deeply and smiled. This letter obviously had meaning to him.
- Derpy smiled, but then the smell of holly and mistletoe fluttered into her nostrils again and she turned away to sneeze.
- "Haaassccchhheeew!" She shook her head, as her mane wildly flowed around her.
- "Bless you. My manners. Here, take this!" The stallion wrapped his scarf around Derpy's neck and up to her nostrils covering them from the smell. "This should keep you warm."
- Derpy smiled underneath the scarf graciously and nodded.
- "Happy Hearth's Warming. You made my year." The stallion said as Derpy happily turned around and flew off into the snowy sky. She had a family back home to attend too, and a warm fire to be huddled up next too.
The Last Letter
Grapefoot Dec 27th, 2014 344 Never
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