Pinkie Pie's eyes shot open. Her face was buried in her wet pillow, stained from her tears. She quivered and shook as she very gently tried to lift herself up from the bed. She was afraid of seeing her bed soaked, covered in blood, evidence of a horrific deed she had committed…but her bed was dry, save for her tears.
She gently placed a hoof to her face, feeling the still fresh tears on her cheek. She shivered as her hair moved to cover her eyes, still in shock at the sights she had seen.
"How…How could I…" the vivid images of the nightmare she had just slept through came back in her mind. Horrific cries rang vividly in her ears, her coat soaked with blood, the feel of slicing open another living being…it felt so real. Pinkie Pie shook her head viciously, trying to remove these thoughts from her head.
"Why am I having these dreams!?" She rammed her hooves into her head, trying to stop the images that were assaulting her. For the past two weeks she'd been having restless nights of sleep. She was having nightmares every night, the severity of what they showed were getting worse and worse with each one.
The first dream hadn't been too scary…she was just attacked by a monster, she had shrugged it off easily, and it wasn't too different from a normal day really. From there the monsters changed, one night she was attacked by the Pony of Death who wanted her soul for damnation, another night it was a faceless slender pony whose presence quaked her very being, then the next night she suffered from a disease and starvation as her body had begun to rot but was denied death from the pain…
She could handle those dreams. They weren't real after all; a good party with her friends made all those scary thoughts go away. She'd tried changing her diet for a day to see if the bad dreams would go away, and it worked for a night, but only for a night. The next night she had dreamt of being a monster, one with sharp teeth and claws. She was the monster and she had attacked and eaten herself. She still remembered the gagging taste the dream had left in her mouth.
The next dream had her terrorizing ponies throughout Ponyville; she'd wrecked homes, crops, products and lives. Then the next night she attacked each of her friends, she could feel the berserk rage of the monster as it had slashed and tore them apart indiscriminately, but at least it was a quick death, her friends didn't suffer in that dream.
But the dream last night was different…it was personal. She was a monster again last night…but it was different. She was just herself, no fangs, no claws, no berserk rage, but a monster. In the dream she had captured her friend, her dearest friend Rainbow Dash. She had taken sharp objects and…
Pinkie dashed into her bathroom, before emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet, as the vivid images of what she'd done in her dream flashed before her once more. She felt wretched, how could her mind even come anywhere close to thinking of such horrible, horrific things!? She loved her friends! She loved them more than the sun, then her sweets, then her parties, then life itself! Especially Rainbow Dash! Rainbow Dash was the coolest, most awesome fun-loving Pony she'd ever met! If she wanted to just hang out and have fun or pull some pranks or share some sweets or help throw a great party it was Rainbow Dash who was there for her.
She wiped her mouth as she groggily looked at herself in the mirror. Her mane was straight, her eyes were bloodshot with bags under her eyes, her coat was dull with a sickly look, and she was breathing quite heavily. She looked terrible.
She ran some cold water and repeatedly splashed her face with it. She really, really, REALLY wanted to go see Rainbow Dash…she had to know she was okay but…at the same time she couldn't do it until the memories of that dream had faded some more…and she had to get out of Sugar Cube corner for the day…she wouldn't be able to hold back anymore of her stomach if she even smelled a cupcake.
Pinkie tried to stay in the shadows of the buildings as she quietly walked through Ponyville. The fresh air and warm sun weren't any comfort today. She didn't want to look at anypony either, worried their faces would trigger another flash of the awful images in her mind. She had nowhere in mind to go, she just had to wander, had to get away from Sugar Cube corner, from her room, from anything that would remind her…
She looked up and around, she had lost track of how much time had passed since she started her little trek, thankful no one had stopped to ask her why she was acting so differently today. She knew the other ponies had started to notice dips in her cheeriness, ever since the dreams she'd been throwing more parties than ever before, but more and more they weren't enough. Twilight had even asked her if something was the matter and she'd done her best to reassure her friend…
Twilight was a great magical pony! If anypony could figure out a way to stop these dreams she did! She winced at the idea of having to tell Twilight all about the horrific things her mind had imagined about her and her friends…but maybe she wouldn't have to, Twilight might find a solution without having to know what the dreams were of.
She picked up her pace, running straight for the library. It didn't take her long, she figured her body must've been taking her here by instinct; it did have a funny way of working that way. She ran to the door and knocked a little frantically. It didn't take long for the door to creak open.
"Oh, hey Pinkie Pie." Twilight said surprised but happy to see her friend, "Is this an invitation to a party agai-" Twilight stopped as she blinked, noticing the distressed look of her friend, "…Are you alright Pinkie? You don't look so good."
"No…No I'm not good Twilight…Can I come in?" Pinkie said, minding her manners for once.
"Of course Pinkie, please, make yourself at home." Twilight said quickly offering her friend hospitality.
"Thank you…" Pinkie said as she quietly trotted into the house. She quickly headed for the table in the center of the room and sitting on one of the red velvet pillows before it. She rested her head on the table, closing her eyes as she took a soft sigh to try and relax.
"Can I get you something to drink? Perhaps some hot chocolate?" Twilight said remembering her friend's favorite hot beverage.
"No sweets please…if you have some coffee that'd be great…no cream or sugar…" Pinkie softly groaned.
"No sweets?" Twilight said in shock, "Oh my…this really IS serious!" She said as she quickly prepared her friend the hot drink she requested. She levitated it before Pinkie, who groggily took it and began to drink. She grimaced at the bitter taste.
"Pinkie, what's the matter? You can tell me." Twilight said sitting down next to her downcast friend. Twilight could see the signs, her mane was straight, her coat was dull, her eyes bloodshot with bags under them and most noticeable of all…she wasn't radiating the energetic aura of Pinkie Pie.
"Oh Twilight…Its awful!" Pinkie put her hooves over her head, "It's the most awful thing that's ever happened to me! I can't even believe what's happened to me it's so awful! I can't sleep, I can't rest, even parties aren't helping! I need relief, I need to stop this but everything I've tried only seems to make it worse!" Pinkie said her voice was quivering; Twilight couldn't help but be surprised at how terrified her friend sounded.
"Pinkie…tell me, what exactly is this 'awful' thing that has happened." Twilight tried to reassure Pinkie that everything would be alright. Pinkie took a big breath, steeling her nerves.
"I've been having nightmares Twilight." Pinkie finally said, "Awful, horrible, relentless nightmares. I was throwing more parties to forget them, but they kept coming. I tried changing my diet, I tried relaxing before bed, I even tried falling asleep in a handstand with a lemon in my mouth while in the shower. Nothing works…and last night's nightmare was the worse of them all."
"Nightmares?" Twilight said tapping her chin for a moment, "One second." She said as she got up and quickly ran over to a bookshelf. She began to pull out books checking them out, scanning them one by one, "No…no, no, no, not you, you're not right either…" It took about ten minutes before Twilight finally pulled a book and looked at it satisfied, "Ah-hah!" She said as she trotted back to the table and opening the book, flipping through the pages quickly.
"Nightmares," Twilight began after having stopped on a specific page, "A dream of strong negative emotions; a common occurrence that most ponies will experience. However, if the nightmares should persist or become more terrifying with each episode it could be several reasons: external forces such as medication or diet, which we've already ruled out," Twilight added an addendum, "External stress from recent physical or mental events or caused by a psychological event from anytime during the pony's life that left a deep impact. There are several ways to determine what kind of nightmare is being experienced and what the best manner of treating them are." Twilight said before silently reading the next part.
"So, that book can help me stop the nightmares?" Pinkie asked, hope rising in her heart.
"Looks that way, of course it can't stop you from having nightmares for the rest of your life though, they're a normal part of sleep, but it can help you with your constant nightmare issue." She said still reading. "There's a spell in here that'll let me look into your mind and see the memories of your dreams, that way I can see what you've been dreaming about and apply the proper spell to try and help."
The hope that had risen inside of Pinkie fell into her gut like a boulder into a lake.
"No! No no no no no no Twilight!" Pinkie said shaking her head furiously, "You CAN'T see my dreams! They're…they're!" Pinkie covered her face with her hooves, "They're too horrible Twilight! I…I don't want anypony to see what I've seen!" Her voice was trembling; tears were threatening to leave her eyes once more.
She looked up when she felt Twilight's hoof placed against her shoulder, the look of concern on her face.
"I can't imagine what kind of dreams you've been having Pinkie, but I can see the pain on your face. It's effecting who you are and I can't just let this go. You came to me for help and I'm going to help you. Please, you have to let me see what you've seen, so that I can help." Twilight pleaded to her friend. Pinkie lowered her head as she held back the tears burning at her eyes with all her might, swallowing hard as she knew her friend wanted to make everything better and might have the power to do so…
"Twilight…" Pinkie muttered in hushed breath, holding back a sob.
"Yes? What is it Pinkie?" Twilight asked, in a similar hushed voiced.
"Please…you have to promise me…that what you're about to see…w-won't change your opinion of me." Pinkie sniffed deeply.
"I swear Pinkie, I won't think of you as anything but the dear friend I know and love." Twilight said, Pinkie saw her smile, it was so reassuring, so comforting…
"P-Pinkie Pie swear?" Pinkie asked one last time. Twilight just seemed to smile a little amused.
"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." Twilight did the motions of the Pinkie Pie swear, mimicking sticking the pastry into her face. Pinkie took a moment to let it sink in, then squeezed her eyes shut and lowered her head a little.
"A-Alright…I t-trust you Twilight." Pinkie Pie softly muttered, as she did her best to prepare for whatever was going to happen next.
Twilight nodded softly, as she remembered the spell from the book, her horn glowing with light as she concentrated on it. She gently swept hair covering Pinkie's forehead behind her ear to hold it, then gently tapped the tip of her horn against Pinkie's skull.
"LEAVE ME ALONE" The Slender Pony approached regardless, the static screeched at her as it drew closer. Pain shocked her body from one side to the other as blood seemed to splatter and cloud her vision turning the world red. She fell to her knees trying to grasp reality, before the pain and sound became too much to bear.
There was a hole in her body. She could feel the worms wriggling in it, crawling up into her torso. They were eating her, eating her alive. The pain clawed into her very soul but yet death would not come. Her body laid there, unflinching as the insects had their way, feeling every wriggle and slime of their bodies as they slid under her skin.
Bones crunched in her teeth as blood dripped down her chin. The fresh taste of gooey flesh slid down her throat. Sharp teeth bore down again into the side of an earth pony's neck as the pony's head fell from her body, giving her a good chunk of flesh to chew. The taste was revolting, but she craved it. She HAD to have it. She had to have more! Her teeth dug into the pony's skull, crushing the skull as the inner organs began to dribble into her mouth. She had to have more; this one would never be enough.
The screams had died down for now, but that wouldn't last for long.
"Why? Why are you doing this?" It was the pained and frantic cry of Rainbow Dash. She could see her tied down to a table, her wings already sawn off, sawn off by her own hands.
"Oh Rainbow Dash…everypony dies sometime." Her voice betrayed her as she pulled out a scalpel, "It's a simple concept really. You just have to think, 'Did my life meaning anything? Did I die with a purpose? Will my memory be left when I'm gone?' All are important questions you see." She walked towards Rainbow Dash; she could feel the murderous intent grasping at every fiber of her being.
"But…" Rainbow Dash hiccuped through the pain and tears, "I won't have died for a good purpose…if you kill me." She sobbed. "How could you do this to me?"
She raised her hoof and petted Rainbow Dash's face. She leaned in close to her, there was an attraction she could never describe as having felt before. Her breath was hot and her body betrayed her mind, "Oh Rainbow Dash…If you don't know the reason by now, you'll never understand. This is just how things have to be." She stepped back from her prisoner.
Rainbow only looked confused, but she would rectify that look. She gripped her scalpel and placed it at the base of Rainbow's hip, and sliced down her leg. Pain overtook Rainbow's face and voice as she began her delicate slicing operation. After all, she had to prepare the ingredients to be just right.
Twilight stumbled back. Her head kicked back instinctively, wanting to escape from the horrors inside of Pinkie's mind. Twilight crashed into a book case, causing a cascade of books to fall onto her. She was breathing heavily, frantic and panicked. The spell had only taken a few seconds to complete, but the rush of all the dream memories flooded her all at once.
Those dreams were horrific…and so real…she had felt everything in those dreams, even though dreams should not normally contain such vivid feelings. The monster that attacked her…the feel of bugs crawling all throughout her skin and organs…the gagging taste of flesh in her throat…the torturous acts she had committed…she wanted to vomit.
"Twilight?" Came a scared, timid, almost shy voice. Twilight snapped from her thoughts and looked up at her pink friend. She was trembling, trembling with fear as tears streamed down her eyes. That was right…these were the dreams Pinkie was having…the dreams that were terrifying her, the dreams that she had come to her for help with…
"Pinkie…" Twilight finally muttered, swallowing back her own emotions and stomach contents, "I…I had no idea…" she said shakily getting to her feet and slowly walking back to her friend. She had to be strong right now.
"Twilight…" Pinkie sniffed through her sobs, "I'm sorry…I'm so sorry you saw them…" she closed her eyes, gasping for air through her sobs. Twilight quickly moved next to Pinkie, taking her into an embrace to hold her tight. Pinkie cried desperately into Twilight's shoulder. Twilight held her dear friend, making sure she knew she had all of her support. The images may have had made her stomach twist, but her friend was more important than that.
"It's okay Pinkie…" Twilight said once Pinkie's sobs had started to calm down, "I can see how much these dreams have been eating at you…the Pinkie in those dreams are not you. So we just have to figure out why you're having them." Twilight said, letting her friend dearly know that she had in fact kept her promise. The Pinkie in her arms was nothing like the Pinkie that appeared in the dreams. Pinkie slowly nodded her head in agreement, before finally being able to stop her tears and let go of Twilight. Twilight turned to her book and flipped a few pages.
"Since we know it's not your diet, we need to determine if it's because of recent events or if it's something much deeper in your psyche…so let's start there. When did the dreams start happening?"
"Well…" Pinkie rubbed her face, trying to dry it some, "The dreams started about a few days after the Grand Galloping Gala…and they've been happening about every night for the last two weeks. They didn't happen one night after I did change my diet, but then they just came back the next day…" Pinkie said trying to recall how often she'd have them.
"Hmmm…Well, the Gala was a pretty big incident. You certainly seemed fine at the Donut Shop…but what about after that? I know you said you had some business to attend to before you headed back to Ponyville, so we didn't see you again till we were heading to the chariot." Twilight wondered.
"…Well…after I'd spent time with you guys, I went and met with my sister Octavia. She was the one playing the Cello on stage during the gala. She was the main reason I was able to get away with my music antics while there. I wanted to go thank her for helping me try to liven things up." Pinkie said recalling the night, "She was a little irked at me at first for the mess I'd caused, but she forgave me and we ended up having a very fun chat about what we'd both been up to since we'd left the farm. After a little while it was time for me to go so we promised we'd keep better in touch."
Twilight pondered this, "Do you think it was that meeting with your sister that could've started the dreams?" Twilight asked curiously.
"I wouldn't understand that if she was," Pinkie said putting a hoof to her chin in though, "We had fun that night…there wasn't anything that she said that was negative."
"Have you gotten a letter from her yet?"
"I did get one, but it was just letting me know that she was going to be performing a concert in Fillydelphia. She said that her band was touring around so that if I wanted to send her letters I'd have to address them to her band since the mail carriers know where they'll be." Pinkie said tilting her head in thought, "Again, there was nothing negative though…"
"Well, what about the last two weeks then? You seemed mostly fine, other than a few instances where you weren't as chipper." Twilight said remembering Pinkie Pie was a little less hyper then usual the last few days. She certainly could understand why now though.
"No…nothing significant. I've been throwing more parties because of the dreams, but it's just been life as usual in Ponyville…" Pinkie said shaking her head slowly.
"I see." Twilight went back to consulting her books, scanning the pages of the book, flipping through some more looking for what would be best to handle this.
"Here we are…it's another spell. This one is a bit more a mind delve; its intention is to find the source of your problems though. It'll let us find out why you're having these dreams, be it a minor or major reason." Twilight said confidently, "So don't worry Pinkie, I'm going to make sure you'll be all better in no time." She gave her friend a confident smile.
"Thank you Twilight…" Pinkie said giving a soft smile back.
"Alright, the book says the spell can be a little disorientating at first, but that you'll get used to it. You ready?" Twilight asked. Pinkie gave her a nod. "Then here goes nothing." Twilight said taking a deep breath as she concentrated once more, her horn flaring up with light. She lowered it towards Pinkie's forehead once more and gently touched her.
Pinkie's mind did a flip and felt like it fell into a hazy fog. She lost track of her surroundings as it felt like she was falling from a very far height. The world was spinning around her as she felt like wind was rushing past her. Her stomach was rolling inside of her as she was inside of this intense feeling. She wondered just how long she was going to feel this way, when she finally felt the world stabilizing with a thud that knocked the wind out of her.
She gasped for breath, coughing a bit before feeling the sensation of a ground beneath her. She lifted her head up and shook it lightly, before slowly opening her eyes. She was still in the library… that was for sure. But Twilight was missing, why would she have left her alone in the library?
"Twilight?" She called out, but the only thing that came back was a hollow echo. This was bizarre; the library seemed eerily quiet, even more so then usual when Twilight wasn't around. She looked onto table noticing two things on it, a bag and a note. She carefully read the words on the note:
'You must cross the darkness to see the light.'
Pinkie looked at the piece of paper a little confused. Did Twilight write this? If she did…what did it mean? Was she supposed to take this bag with her? Twilight must know what she's doing after all; she wouldn't just abandon her here without a good reason…
Pinkie opened the bag, looking to see if there was anything inside of it.
There were two things inside. The first one was obvious what it was, it was a lantern. Inside was oil with a wick. There was a knob on the side; she assumed it would turn the lantern on. If she was going to use it, she'd have to make sure not to use up all the oil. She gently placed the lantern back into the bag.
"What's this?" She asked as she pulled out a rectangular device. It had a dial on it and an antenna, but it wasn't an object she was familiar with. It had a face like a picture on it, with a circle on it that had holes. In her mind it kind of looked like a miniature Phonograph, but how would this tiny thing play music?
In her hoof it began to spring to life, playing a soft static sound. Pinkie dropped it surprised by the sudden sound. She stared at it as it buzzed; the sound seemed like a bunch of bees being mixed through a DJ table. She poked the device with her hoof. After a few moments the buzzing stopped. Pinkie looked confused, but had the gut instinct that it must be something important. She placed it back in the bag.
"I guess Twilight believed I needed this bag…I'll keep to her advice then." Pinkie muttered to herself as she carefully strapped the bag to her back. She then looked around. The library seemed to hold no more clues for the moment, so she decided to step outside. She felt more comfortable now that she had visited Twilight, so maybe she could go visit Rainbow Dash now… "Huh?" Pinkie said stopping short of a few feet out the door. A thick fog had fallen all around Ponyville. It was so thick she couldn't even see the buildings next to the library. She'd have to get close to a building if she wanted to see one. Then she started to shiver as a wind blew by, the temperature had fallen a significant amount.
"What's going on? I've never seen this kind of weather in Ponyville before…" Pinkie said confused. "Did Rainbow Dash do this? Why would she?" Pinkie knew she had to find Rainbow and talk to her now. She quickly began to run off in the direction she knew Rainbow's house to be. She was in full gallop, when she suddenly realized she had to come to a full stop. She skidded along the ground and stopped along an edge, a few pebbles getting kicked loose and falling in front of her.
There was a gigantic chasm that had never been in Ponyville right before her. It cut right down the road to Rainbow's House… In fact it cut off the entire way outside of Ponyville if you didn't have wings.
"What's going on?" She asked as she stared into what seemed to be a bottomless pit.