"There it is." Pinkie Pie said as she pulled out a map of Ponyville. She'd gone back to the library to find it; luckily she had an uncanny ability to find things she needed very quickly. She took a red marker in her mouth and drew a circle with an X through it at the road with the chasm on it. She then placed smaller X's on several houses she'd tried to gain access to in trying to find anypony. The town appeared to be empty, abandoned.
"What happened here?" She asked herself looking at the map of X's. She'd only investigated a small portion of Ponyville, but there were always ponies either at home or wandering around. On bad weather days they'd be in their homes or there'd at least be a notice of some kind if a lot of the ponies would be leaving. Plus why was there that bottomless pit at the edge of town?
"I need to get to Sugar Cube corner. If I can make it there I can get my hot air balloon and try and see if there's any pegasi in the sky, they might have an explanation for the fog." Pinkie Pie said confirming her plan of action in her head. She also admitted to being worried about Gummy, she hoped he would be alright. She quickly checked her route on the map before packing the map and the pen into her bag. She'd mark anymore unusual occurrences she encountered in Ponyville on the map for her to remember.
She stepped back out into the chilly day when something cold and wet landed on the end of her nose.
"Huh?" Pinkie said trying to see the end of her nose. She shook her head a little, then looked up into the sky. Small specks of snow began to appear as they slowly fell to the ground.
"Snow? But…But its summer…" Pinkie said in shock staring at the white spectacle. She could see her breath but she hadn't realized it was cold enough for snow out. The pegasi controlled the weather, so they must be up there right now! Pinkie headed out in a gallop towards Sugar Cube Corner.
Suddenly Pinkie heard a static sound coming from her bag. Was that miniature Phonograph making noise again? It certainly picked random times to do so.
Pinkie was knocked out of her thoughts when she saw the outline of a figure in the fog.
"Oh! Somepony is here!" She said her hope rising. She quickly ran faster to the figure. As she got closer though, she couldn't help but get the strong feeling that something wasn't right, as the phonograph grew louder…
"Hey, what's going on here?" She instantly asked before even assessing who it was. She stopped shortly though when she got a good look at the pony…and she let out a high pitched scream.
"Ruuuaaaa…ghhuuurrrrrggghhh…" The pony was barely a pony anymore. Its coat and mane was gone, replaced with the look of rotting flesh that was trying to live. One of its front legs was missing, there was a missing chunk of flesh from its back, its eyes looked like they had been gouged out, several teeth looked like they had been knocked out with the holes bleeding, and several lacerations covered its body.
"A-Are you alright!?" Pinkie said taking a step back from the pony. Her initial reaction was to figure out if it was in pain, but her gut told her to stay away, that this thing didn't want her help. The phonograph in her bag started ringing off the hook.
"Gruuuuuh" The fleshy mass lunged at Pinkie, its teeth bearing to strike down. Pinkie cried out and jumped away, as the creature fell where she was standing, its teeth sinking into the dirt. Pinkie took a few more steps away from the creature as it brought its head back up, a mouthful of dirt in its teeth. It growled as the dirt dribbled out of its mouth, soaking the dirt with its blood. It began to slowly lumber towards Pinkie again, growling as it seemed to smell her out.
"S-Stay back! Stay back!" Pinkie cried out trying to back pedal away from the terrifying creature. It growled and moaned, dripping a trail of blood as it was intent on tracking her. The creature terrified Pinkie, it looked like it was on the verge of death, yet it wouldn't die. Instead it was intent on attacking her. Every fiber in her being told her to run away, run as fast and far as you can from this creature.
"Stay away from me!" She cried before her legs finally took action and ran around the creature, quickly galloping away. The creature went to lunge again, its teeth implanting on the dirt once more as Pinkie ran past. As she got farther and farther away the phonograph in her bag began to settle down, before going silent once more.
She collapsed into a sitting position as she breathed heavily; her heart was beating a mile a minute in her throat. What was that thing? Why had it attacked her? Why did it look like a pony? Why had she not seen any pony else but that…thing?
"Sugar…cube…corner…" Pinkie panted trying to calm her nerves. She bit down on her arm, pinching herself to remind herself she wasn't dreaming. She was in control of herself…she could run away from what she saw…this was not a dream. She shook her head and got back to her hooves and began to run again.
The door to her room in Sugar Cube Corner creaked open slowly as Pinkie pushed it. The inside of her room was pitch black. She couldn't see anything past the frame of her door. She carefully dug into her bag and pulled out the lantern, holding it in her mouth as she turned the knob. The wick came to life, the flame shining. She stepped into her room, the light of the lantern illuminating what she couldn't see before.
She looked at shock at the state of her room. It looked like it hadn't been used for years. The wallpaper was rotted and peeling, the wooden floor was splintering and falling apart, the curtains were riddled with holes, dust was thick and the air was stagnant. Pinkie looked around confused, before placing the lamp down gently onto a table so she could see the whole room.
"Was I…gone for a long time?" Pinkie asked as she stepped through the room, hearing the floor creak and groan as it adjusted to her weight. "Twilight wouldn't have used a spell to send me into the future if she was going to help me…would she?" Pinkie said not sure what to think. "The spell did say it would be disorientating…I guess this could just all be part of that side effect."
The Phonograph began to let off a soft static. Pinkie stopped in her tracks as she listened to it. The last time it went off she met that creature and it had gotten louder as she got closer to it. She looked around the room hastily but she didn't see anything that looked like a monster…
"Calm down Pinkie Pie…there's…nothing too serious to worry about. Let's just check and see if Gummy is here…grab the balloon…and head for the sky…you can put this creepiness behind you then." Pinkie said as she grabbed the lantern in her teeth and quickly pushed her bathroom door open.
"Gummy?" She called out despite the lantern in her teeth. She looked into the bathroom and nearly dropped the lantern.
The walls were smeared with blood, bloody hoof prints and hastily scribbled words. The curtains were torn to shreds, the remains barely hanging onto the poles that used to hold them. Caked blood covered the outside of the tub; the whole room looked like a massacre.
"G-Gummy? A-Are you in here?" Her words were muffled, but she had to check, she had to look. Her mind screamed leave but she had to find out if he was in here or not. She took steps into the bathroom, her hooves echoing loudly as she stepped onto the tile. The only relief she was given was that the Phonograph grew quieter as she stepped in further.
She placed the lantern down on the sink and gulped as best she could. The room stank of mold and blood; it made her want to gag. She carefully checked around the tub and the curtains, only seeing more blood. She turned to look at the walls, getting a chance to read what was written in the hastily scribbled blood:
The words sent chills down her back. What did they mean? 'He hungers?' the words echoed in her head. Was that…referring to Gummy? But Gummy had no teeth; the only thing he could swallow was the mushy gator food she bought for him. What had happened in her bathroom? Why would this have happened here? Her mind was reeling with questions; she desperately needed the comfort of one of her friends right now.
She stepped away from the wall, there was only one place left she had to check and that was the tub itself. She very carefully leaned her head over the edge of the tub, looking down into it.
In the tub laid half of the rotted remains of a tiny green gator.
Pinkie threw her hooves over her mouth as the tears began to stream out of her eyes. It was unmistakable…that was Gummy. He looked like he had been there for a long time. Pinkie's stomach was moving into her throat as she stared. 'Why was this happening?' was the question bouncing around her head again and again and again. She needed answers.
It was then that she noticed a bright red ribbon. It was tied immaculately into a bow around something that was sticking out of Gummy's mouth. Pinkie swallowed as she stared at the item, not sure what it meant. The item was clean…it was free of blood and it looked like…it looked like Gummy was trying to give it to her.
Pinkie gingerly lowered her hoof and took the item from Gummy's mouth, the item slipping out with a bit of ease. She was able to look at it clearly now, realizing it was a key. The key had a symbol of a star on it. She didn't quite know what it meant, but Gummy had given it to her in his last days. She had to keep it. She gently placed the key into her bag, remembering just then that the phonograph was still giving off a quiet buzz.
She carefully grabbed her lantern and stepped out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her. She placed the lantern down on the ground as she wiped her face again, hiccuping.
"Gummy…I'm so sorry…" She cried into her hoof as she desperately tried to calm down, "I promise…I'll give you the proper burial you deserve one day…" she held back another sob, "Please forgive me for not being there for you…"She said as her shoulders shook. Her attempts at calming down were failing. The tears were pouring out stronger now. She just wanted to sit there and cry…
Her mind snapped aware when she heard the buzzing grow louder, turning into the high pitched ringing. Whatever was setting it off was getting closer. That meant she didn't have the time she needed to sit there and cry her heart out, she had to move or the fate that befell Gummy was going to befall her too.
She hastily grabbed the lantern and ran across her room to the closet where she kept the balloon. The ringing grew louder. Her heart was racing a mile a minute. She grabbed the closet doors and ripped them out.
A high pitched scream erupted as a white blur latched onto Pinkie's face. Pinkie whirled her head around frantically as pain struck all around her face. She scrambled her hooves and rammed her head against the wall, erupting another screech from the blur. She whirled her head and flung it across the room. Pinkie breathed heavily as she felt blood trickling down the side of her face. She turned to look at her attacker, her eyes opening in shock.
"Shkyyyaaaaaaaaaa…" Writhing on the floor was what looked like the upper half of a hairless young filly, its white skin beginning to rot on its bone, its two front hooves grasping for land as it flailed on its back, its eyes covered by a white bandanna as its black mouth opened, a long tongue flickering out as it let outs its wailing cry. The screech of the thing struck her ears harder than the loud ringing of her phonograph.
Pinkie Pie was speechless upon seeing this creature. That thing resembled a filly…her stomach did a flip, a full grown pony was one thing…
The creature found its way right-side up, its wailing screeches quieted down as it seemed to be tasting the air, its tongue flicking about. Pinkie winced as she tried to take a step back, only to find a wall there. The creatures head snapped to look straight at Pinkie Pie. It let out another wail as with shocking speed it began to crawl straight at her. In a blind rush she quickly jumped to the side, the creature slamming its head straight into the wall. It let out a wailing cry as it flailed its head in pain.
Pinkie's heart pounded in her throat as she watched the creature. Its wailing cry made it sound so pitiful. It had left a sizeable bloodstain on the wall and its head was bleeding profusely. It flailed its head back and forth. Pinkie wanted to reach out and help it, she wanted to stop its pain and let it know everything is alright…
The creature let out a blood curdling scream and rushed at her again, its mouth clamped down hard on her leg. Pinkie cried out she flailed her leg trying to get the creature off, but it held on with a tight grip. She began to run around trying to shake the creature, but its grip seemed to get tighter. She couldn't hear anything beyond her screams and the beating of her heart.
She stopped next to a wall and slammed the creature hard against the wall. The creature was still there, she slammed it hard again. She slammed it again and again and again. Warm blood splattered against the wall and onto her coat. She slammed it with all of her might against the wall.
The creature slid off as life escaped its body, collapsing onto the floor with a thud. Pinkie's breath filled her lungs with fire as her body shook with adrenaline. She looked down at her bleeding leg and then at the creature she'd just finished off…
"Oh no…oh no oh no oh no…" Pinkie said in a shaky breath as she stepped backwards from the creature. She hadn't meant to kill it, did it deserve death? It had attacked her but was it the right thing to do? She sat on the ground panting, her body shaking, her mind reeling. She looked down at her body and saw the soft splatter of its blood against her coat. Her stomach flipped again and again, her contents about to come up.
"What have I done…" she gasped trying to cool her burning lungs, "Why did it have to come to this?" She shook her head violently. She didn't want any of this but it was happening…this was no dream that she could wake up from and it'd all go away…this was here and it was real.
She took a deep breath as she tried to stand on her shaking legs.
"Rainbow Dash…Rarity…Fluttershy…Applejack…Twilight…anypony…I need you right now…" she said shakily walking towards her closet. She grabbed the lantern and looked into the darkness. The Balloon was there, the basket holding the deflated balloon. Hope rose in her heart as she placed the lantern down and began to pull out the cloth from the basket…
Large holes riddled the balloon. It wasn't use-able for flight.
Pinkie broke out in sobbing tears, crying into the hole-ridden cloth.
The phonograph had finally stopped ringing.