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Insomnia

By ponk
Created: 18th December 2020 02:25:56 PM

  1. >You are Anon.
  2. >And once again, you lie awake in your bed.
  3. >Turning sideways, you look at the clock illuminated by the subtle moonlight falling through your window.
  4. >1:32 am
  5. >You’re no closer to being asleep than you were an hour ago, so you decide you might as well get up and walk around a bit.
  6. >Maybe you can find something to distract you from how tired you are long enough to actually fall asleep.
  7. >You cross your room and look at the small mirror on the wall, finding a familiar face staring back at you.
  8. >The heavy bags under your eyes are a dark shade of blue and your skin looks thin and worn.
  9. >A couple of days’ worth of stubbles around your face and unkempt, short hair complete the image, along with a dirty white t-shirt and long, baggy sweatpants.
  10. >You leave your room and step into the spacious main foyer of the Ponyville library.
  11. >You have been staying with Twilight in her overgrown tree house ever since you came here.
  12. >She was your closest friend, your pillar of support, and you have equally been there for her, for a multitude of problems, adventures and long evenings.
  13. >Quietly, as to not wake the surely sleeping purple unicorn, you start making your way through the darkness of the hall and into the kitchen.
  14. >The lack of sleep makes your bones ache and your muscles hurt with every step.
  15. >As you walk the corridor leading to the kitchen, you pass a row of displays reminding you of adventures past.
  16. >A broadsword and crude metal helmet fit for a human.
  17. >You remember having it crafted a long time ago and proclaiming your service for the royal guard, itching to defend the honor of the crown and nation.
  18. >That was a fun weekend.
  19. >A metal contraption with claws and heavy springs is a remnant of your admittedly failed invention to help Applejack speed up the apple picking and cider squeezing process at the same time.
  20.  
  21.  
  22. >A large, unusually bright gem is featured on a fancy, padded pedestal under a clear glass box.
  23. >Crystal Empire, when will they learn?
  24. >The row goes on, but you don’t bother looking at the souvenirs and mementos anymore.
  25. >They’re all either filling you with regret, embarrassment or plain sadness.
  26. >Reaching the kitchen, you take a moment and wait for your eyes to adjust to the new shade of darkness.
  27. >In the top shelf above the fridge your fingers find a familiar bottle.
  28. >Taking a glass from the counter, you quickly fill it with the sweet-smelling amber liquid and take a sip.
  29. “Ahhh…”
  30. >The full taste and burning sensation welcomes you.
  31. >You stand in silence for a bit and savior the warm feeling now filling your throat and stomach.
  32. >It’s dark and quiet around the library, which gives you the opportunity to be alone with your thoughts once again.
  33. >Have you ever felt like you’ve lived for too long?
  34. >Like you’ve done all you were supposed to do, seen all there is to see?
  35. >You’ve actually lost count of your age during the switch of realities and the following settling-in period, but it couldn’t be more than 30 years.
  36. >Felt like more though.
  37. >Felt like three lifetimes.
  38. >It felt like too long a time to be alive for.
  39. >Back into the main hall with your glass and the bottle in hand, you walk towards the front door of the library.
  40. >The night air is cool on your skin as you step outside and quietly close the heavy door behind you.
  41.  
  42.  
  43. >Ponyville lies peaceful under the clear night’s sky.
  44. >The only light sources are the street lamps illuminating the roads into the different parts of town in regular but spacious intervals.
  45. >Plenty of room for darkness between the lights.
  46. >You feel the light breeze on your face and decide to sit down on the doorstep, taking another gulp from your glass and placing the bottle next to you.
  47. >The only sound you hear is your own breathing and the occasional rustling of leaves above you.
  48. >Stars are spotting the black sky with lots of bright sparkles and the moon is a glowing crescent, touching the rooftops with barely visible silver light.
  49. >The entrance to the library itself is wrapped in darkness, save for some stray glimmers.
  50. >All in all, a beautiful night.
  51. >You drift into your thoughts again and stare at nothing in particular, only breaking for the occasional sip from your glass, which is quickly becoming emptied of liquid.
  52. >You feel tired and heavy, but know that you still won’t be able to find any sleep.
  53. >Insomnia.
  54. >Not an unfamiliar feeling in the past, it does seem to worsen in these calm, quiet nights.
  55. >As you let the last drops in your glass run across your tongue, you hear the door behind you open and close again with a soft thud.
  56. >The slow, familiar clacking of approaching hooves tells you that Twilight is awake after all.
  57. >You don’t turn your head, but in the corner of your eye you see her sitting down on her hind legs to your left, looking ahead and up towards the stars.
  58. >A few moments pass until she speaks.
  59. >”Nice night we’re having, isn’t it?”
  60. >You breathe out heavily, nod and turn to your right to grab the bottle to refill your glass.
  61. “Want some?”
  62. >Twilight’s horn lights up for a moment, casting a cold, hard light on the surroundings, before a muffled plopping sound announces the arrival of a second glass, held in her signature aura of artificial lavender light.
  63. >She turns to you and levitates it closer, a polite smile on her face.
  64. >”Please.”
  65.  
  66.  
  67. >Although never really big on drinking, Twilight isn’t one to turn down the occasional nightcap, especially if offered by you.
  68. >You fill both glasses, set the bottle down between the two of you again, and quickly clink your glass with hers.
  69. >You look at one another and both take a sip.
  70. >Twilight closes her eyes for a moment, a relaxed smile forming on her face as she enjoys the sensation of the fiery liquor.
  71. >A few moments pass in comfortable silence, until the mare speaks again.
  72. >”Can’t sleep again?”
  73. >Her tone is soft and low, as if she didn’t want to raise her voice any more than she has to and disturb the peace of the night.
  74. >You shake your head.
  75. >”Me neither” she says, a sigh escaping her lips.
  76. >That’s a lie and you know it.
  77. >Her mane is ruffled and her eyes are tired, she looks about ready to fall asleep right here on this doorstep.
  78. >Chances are you woke her and she didn’t want you being up by yourself.
  79. >You smile at her tiredly, a gesture she happily reciprocates.
  80. >In a reality full of small colorful horses, you really are broken inventory.
  81. >Silence falls between the two of you again, only broken by the occasional sip either one of you is taking from your drinks.
  82. >You both look upwards towards the endless night.
  83. >The alcohol is beginning to do its part by slightly numbing your senses and sending a slight tickling sensation across your tongue.
  84. >After a while, Twilight speaks again.
  85. >”Did you know that Princess Luna isn’t only in charge of the moon, but rather the entirety of the night’s sky?”
  86. “Yeah.”
  87. >”It seems like so much more work than controlling only one star.”
  88. >You look at her with a curious expression.
  89. >”Don’t tell Princess Celestia I said that”, she adds nervously.
  90. >You let out a small chuckle.
  91. “I’d guess it’s not too late to change your mentor, Twi.”
  92. >She gives you a soft punch in the arm as you take another long swig and look up again.
  93. “Do you think she does them all individually? The stars I mean.”
  94.  
  95.  
  96. >”I believe so.”
  97. “There must be hundreds of thousands of them.”
  98. >”Billions. And that’s just in our galaxy.”
  99. “And they all seem exactly right to form the greater picture.”
  100. >Your drinking companion smiles softly.
  101. >”Maybe I could get you and her together some time again. She does enjoy compliments on her night. I hear she’s rather proud of it.’
  102. “Hmmh.”
  103. >Time passes as the two of sit in front of the tree.
  104. >The cool breeze picks up a bit, signaling that the night is about to grow heavier.
  105. >The air is getting thicker and a few clouds try their best to darken out the moon.
  106. “Hey Twilight, you wouldn’t happen to have seen my smokes, would you?”
  107. >Twilight looks at you and a sly smile forms on her lips.
  108. >With another flicker of her horn she conjures up a small orange pack with a printed-on red apple in front of you, letting you pluck it from her magical aura.
  109. >With a thankful nod, you tap the bottom of the box, making a single cigarette stick out of the small opening.
  110. >Taking it between your lips, you pull it out and put the pack down next to you.
  111. >Another flash, and a small flame erupts at the tip.
  112. >You inhale and take a long, satisfying drag, sucking smoke deep inside your lungs.
  113. >After a moment, you slowly exhale and nod towards Twilight once more.
  114. “Thanks.”
  115. >”You really ought to quit those, you know.”
  116. >Another long inhale.
  117. “Yeah, I know.”
  118. >Your eyes fall at the now empty bottle and two glasses between you and the unicorn.
  119. >Seems your patented blend of hard liquor and lack of sleep is starting to take its toll.
  120. >The corners of your vision are blurred and you feel your arms and legs getting heavier.
  121. >The night grows even darker, with thick clouds beginning to push in from the horizon, blocking out the stars and moon.
  122. >You can hear leaves rustling and the deep rumbling of a thunderstorm in the far distance.
  123. “Twilight.”
  124. >”Hmm?”
  125. “What do you know about the princesses?”
  126. >”What do you mean?”
  127.  
  128.  
  129. >You take another drag from your cigarette.
  130. “Like, do you know how old they are exactly?”
  131. >”I have a pretty good idea, yes. I asked Princess Celestia way back, when I was just a filly and didn’t know any better. I was fascinated by her. Just imagine, a pony like me, yet immortal and hundreds of years old. I couldn’t believe it.”
  132. >A wide smile is covering Twilight’s face.
  133. >Every time she spoke about the princess, her eyes reflected the childish joy and immense pleasure she drew just from being able to be near her.
  134. >This mare does not hide her emotions well.
  135. >Pure, unadulterated happiness.
  136. “So, rough estimate?”
  137. >’Hmmm…’
  138. >Twilight puts a hoof to her chin in thought as you begin fiddling with your pack of smokes for another cigarette.
  139. >”Somewhere around four thousand years. Maybe a bit more.”
  140. >You exhale sharply.
  141. >Four thousand years.
  142. >Twilight lights your new cigarette and you puff out a cloud of smoke again.
  143. “That’s a long time to be alive.”
  144. >”You make that sound so negative, Anon.”
  145. >You look at her with a sad smile.
  146. “Have you ever thought about what that number implies?”
  147. >”What do you mean?”
  148. >You take the time to take another drag from your cigarette and think about how to best put your thoughts into words.
  149. “Twilight, have you ever thought about what would happen if you became a princess?”
  150. >She smiles.
  151. >”You don’t become a princess, silly. You either are a princess, or you’re not.”
  152. “Humor me. Imagine it was possible and you were given the chance. From this day on you’d be an immortal pony princess, crown and all.”
  153. >”Okay.”
  154. “How do you react?”
  155. >”Hmm…”
  156. >She taps her chin with her hoof again.
  157. >”I suppose I’m… honored? I mean it would be about the biggest privilege you could be offered, right?”
  158. “And you would, by our understanding, live forever?”
  159. >She looks at you with a somewhat quizzical expression.
  160. “Think about that. The average life expectancy of a human is maybe 70 or 80 years. I’d assume it’s about the same for a pony here.”
  161.  
  162.  
  163. >”Oh, I see what you’re getting at.”
  164. “Your friends...”
  165. >You look at her again, your vision a little murky, yet you’re still able to focus on her eyes.
  166. “...will pass.”
  167. >”Well... yeah. I guess that’s true.”
  168. “And I will die. Dragons live a long time, but even Spike’s life will come to an end someday.”
  169. >Twilight looks back at the door to the library, wherein her dragon assistant was surely sleeping blissfully in his bed.
  170. “I mean it’s a natural thing. A good thing. Death keeps us motivated, keeps us focused, makes us appreciate life as we know it. But to stand apart from that, as an outside observer? I can’t really imagine it. Sentience is not designed to last that long.”
  171. >Her eyes have fallen towards the floor now and she’s apparently sunken in her thoughts.
  172. >Maybe you shouldn’t have pushed your admittedly pessimistic views on immortality on her in the middle of the night.
  173. >Nice going, that.
  174. >Thunder is crashing regularly in the distance now and from time to time you can make out a flash of light at the horizon.
  175. >”A thousand years on the moon.”
  176. >Twilight is mumbling to herself.
  177. “A thousand years on the moon.” you repeat.
  178. “In the cold. In the dark. Alone. Broken. Everyone you know will die long before you could ever think about returning.”
  179. >”That sounds horrible, Anon.”
  180. >You put out your cigarette on the ground.
  181. “It does. And for a princess’ frame of reference, one thousand years shouldn’t even be that long a timespan. If your assumption is correct, both of them have been alive four times that long by now. Think about how many friends they’ve lost in the blink of an eye. Subjects, friends…”
  182. >You look Twilight in the eyes, which have gotten a bit misty.
  183. “…students.”
  184. >”I’ve… I’ve never seen it this way.”
  185. >How could someone exist that long without losing their will to live?
  186. >Without losing focus?
  187. “Well, it must be quite a burden to bear. For now, let’s just be happy that you’re not a princess, right? For better or worse, you won’t live forever.”
  188. >”I guess.”
  189.  
  190.  
  191. >Even though your reasoning is nihilistic, it does seem to help Twilight getting back out of her thoughts.
  192. >”Who would want to live forever anyways, right?” she says with a small, evidently fake chuckle.
  193. “Yeah.”
  194. >A few more minutes pass before you notice Twilight’s ever so slightly shivering.
  195. >Even though she’s keeping a straight face, she must be getting cold; who knows how long the two of you sat out here.
  196. >The night’s sky is a deep black by now and a strong wind is pushing and bending the branches around the library.
  197. >She wouldn’t abandon you.
  198. >You could sit out here until sunrise and she wouldn’t leave.
  199. >Not unless you told her to, anyways.
  200. >You push out the remainder of another cigarette and exhale the last bit of smoke.
  201. “Hey, I think I’m about ready to call it a night, don’t you agree?”
  202. >A moment of silence.
  203. >”…Alright. If you say so.”
  204. “Why don’t you go on ahead, I’ll be right behind you.”
  205. >”Are you sure?”
  206. “Yes. I think I’m about ready to fall asleep by now.”
  207. >”Okay. Goodnight, Anon.”
  208. >Standing up, Twilight gives you one last smile before walking back into her home and pulling the door closed behind her.
  209. >You just keep sitting on the doorstep as warm rain begins to fall around you.
  210. “Who would want to live forever anyways?”
Twilight Sparkle Anon

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