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Quin's Tale Chapter 1

By Scrub
Created: 19th June 2022 12:36:35 AM
25th June 2022 01:50:28 PM

  1. A sigh left my pursed lips. I needed a fucking drink. I hated that I said that most nights of the week, but it was most assuredly true for tonight. I took a glance at the neon sign hanging above me, its purple, glowing nature was alluring with the promise of liquor just beyond it. I pushed the door open, eyes flitting around the bar. It reeked of alcohol and loneliness. A smattering of tables and chairs lay inside, most of them unkempt in their setup. Seems like there was a party earlier and I’d just missed it. Not a big surprise, considering it was almost one in the morning. A few patrons were scattered around, bent over their drinks and holding them close to their person, as if to protect it from someone coming to steal it away. I’d probably be looking the same way in the next thirty minutes.
  2.  
  3. I strode up to the bar itself, taking a seat on one of its rusted, rickety stools. The squeaking and creaking of old wood was reassuring in its own right. I’d heard that sound too many times to count. My fingernails clicked along the countertop as I waited for the bartender to come out from the back. Within moments, he arrived. A tall fellow, stout in build and sizable in belly. A full beard and blue eyes that saw beyond most with their comprehension. “James.” I gave a curt nod and half smirk to the man.
  4.  
  5. His gruff voice reached out to me, a similar look bore on his face. “Aye, Daniel! Where’ve you been all night? Thought I told you about that get together goin’ on here earlier.” He paused as my smile faded. I didn’t want to think about tonight, but the old man knew something was up. “Somethin’ botherin’ you?”
  6.  
  7. “Yeah, uh…” I sighed. “Jenni cheated on me.”
  8.  
  9. His eyes widened, notes of sorrow ringing clearly. “I’m sorry to hear that, kid. You at least beat up the guy and let him know his place?” He half-chuckled, though his attempts to cheer me up only made the feelings worse.
  10.  
  11. “No.” I looked down at the bar. “It was Rich.”
  12.  
  13. “Shit.” Yeah, that’s what I said. “I didn’t think he was the type to do that.” He mused, mostly to himself.
  14.  
  15. I shrugged. I’d been pissed and crying for a while, but now I was too tired. “That’s just the way it is, I suppose.”
  16.  
  17. He made a motion towards the various liquor bottles sitting on the shelves behind him. “What’ll it be for you tonight? Or you just come in to chat?”
  18.  
  19. “Scotch, make it a double.” I responded while taking out my phone. I flipped through various notifications, seeing posts from friends about the convention going on downtown this weekend; one of the few My Little Pony Conventions still in business. It had seemed like the fandom was slowing down by now, especially with a number of people going missing after conventions. I even had a friend or two who I hadn’t seen in a few months.
  20.  
  21. James set down a glass in front of me, an amber liquid filling the cup with two ice cubes sitting in it. I gave it a sniff, the aroma of malt inviting me in for a small sip. The warmth of alcohol lit up my tongue, followed by small notes of vanilla. I spread the taste around my mouth. It was like good comfort food, something that brought back memories and feelings of better times. Another sip followed, my muscles relaxing slowly. James went about his business, cleaning off various glasses, checking stock for his bottles and other closing duties. I watched, ruminating on the recent events of my life as I went through a few glasses of scotch.
  22.  
  23. I didn’t have a lot going for myself. A shitty, dead end job was the only thing I could hold. My family was dysfunctional at best, and the love of my life had cheated on me with the guy who I considered my best friend. Everything seemed fucked at this point. The sour look crossing my face was apparent, so much so that James stopped what he was doing to come back over and chat me up a little more. “Hey, Kid.”
  24.  
  25. I looked up to him lazily. “Eh?”
  26.  
  27. “You’re still at that construction job, right?” He set down the now cleaned glass, then gave me his full attention.
  28.  
  29. “Uh, yeah.” I sighed. It sucked, day in and day out. I needed a change of pace and badly.
  30.  
  31. “Why not work here?” He offered. It caught me off guard. The old man knew I was an alcoholic in the making, working around liquor seemed like a bad idea unless I wanted to head down that road.
  32.  
  33. “I could.” I responded half-heartedly.
  34.  
  35. “You already know how to make mixed drinks.” He added.
  36.  
  37. “True.” I had to acknowledge that. I was damn good when it came to bar work.
  38.  
  39. “You know all the regulars.” He continued.
  40.  
  41. “Yeah.” Unfortunately.
  42.  
  43. “It’s close to home.” Was that a slight against me because of the DUI I got a few months ago? He knew I had to walk everywhere for the next 6 months.
  44.  
  45. “Right.” It came out more aggravated than I meant it to, and it seemed to bother him.
  46.  
  47. “Just an offer.” He said as a closing statement. I’d have to mull it over. The promise of free liquor and easy labor was enticing. I took another sip from my glass and grinned. Definitely enticing.
  48.  
  49. “So now that you’re not with Jenni, you got any other prospects?” He turned back to other work, but continued talking to me.
  50.  
  51. “It’s been like, 5 hours old man, I ain’t that popular with the ladies.” I chuckled.
  52.  
  53. “Hey, sometimes you’ve got a lot of fish in your own sea.” That was an odd way of making that idiom, but I suppose he had a point.
  54.  
  55. “I’ll find somethin’.” I didn’t particularly want to think of starting another relationship at the moment, but looking forward might be for the best. Nothing like sagely wisdom from a father figure currently serving you alcohol.
  56.  
  57. There was a moment of silence from James until he spoke again. “What about Chrissy?”
  58.  
  59. Shit, did he not know about Christine? “Uhm…She uh…” The pause in my speech caused him to turn back and see distraught written on my face. I sighed. “She went missing.”
  60.  
  61. “What?” His head tilted to the side. “When?”
  62.  
  63. “About three months ago.” Another sip of scotch. “After a convention she went to she wasn’t seen or heard of again.”
  64.  
  65. “Damn…” His lip pulled to the side in a frown. “She was a good chick too.”
  66.  
  67. “Yeah, she was great.” I mumbled into the glass, the next sip of scotch already halfway down my throat.
  68.  
  69. Silence filled the air, and warmth filled my chest. The liquor was taking effect at this point. “Hey James.” My slurred speech attracted his attention.
  70.  
  71. “Hm?” He wore his half-cocked grin as he looked at me.
  72.  
  73. “You’re a good guy.” My tongue felt slightly numb. “And you’re my friend. And I just wanna say… Thanks.”
  74.  
  75. “Thanks for what now, Daniel?” He chuckled.
  76.  
  77. “Thanks for bein’ here for me.” A dopey grin played along my lips, I felt good.
  78.  
  79. “Do I have a choice?” He responded. I recoiled slightly, it hurt more than it should’ve. “I’m just messin’ with ya kid, it’s great having you here.” I nodded a few too many times in response.
  80.  
  81.  
  82.  
  83. He went to turn, paused for a moment, then pointed at my chest, causing me to look down. “That necklace, why does it look familiar?” A silver necklace with three balloons hanging on the front, two were blue and one was yellow.
  84.  
  85. I waved it off with a hand. I didn’t feel like explaining my obsession with a certain pony-based cartoon that came out over ten years ago at the moment, so I settled instead for, “It’s from a thing I liked for a while.”
  86.  
  87. The look on his face could only be described as ‘contemplative’. “Somethin’ about it…” His eyebrows furrowed before they raised. “Oh! That Pony cartoon, right?”
  88.  
  89. “My Little Pony.” I corrected hesitantly. How did he know about it?
  90.  
  91. “Right, right.” He grinned, though the confusion on my face merited a response. “My grand-daughter watches it whenever she’s at my house. It’s cute, and I like the orange one. Apple-somethin’?”
  92.  
  93. “Applejack.”
  94.  
  95. He waved a hand in response. “Yeah, yeah. Sorry, I just recognized the butt mark they have. That’s the pink ones’, right?”
  96.  
  97. I nodded. “Mhm.” Pinkie Pie had been my favorite since I first watched the show. Making people laugh and smile was a characteristic that resonated with me heavily, and having a little reference to her made me smile.
  98.  
  99. James turned back to his work, but continued talking to me. “Isn’t there a convention or somethin’ going on for that right now?”
  100.  
  101. Okay, how did he know about that? “Yeah.”
  102.  
  103. “A couple of folks came in, wearin’ all kindsa pony stuff. Shirts, hoodies, I think one had a little plush toy on their shoulder, though it didn’t look like any of the ponies I’d seen before.” He was scouring the bar, flipping through various papers. “Now where did… ah, here it is.” He turned back to me, holding a brightly colored pamphlet in my direction. “They gave me this paper, said somethin’ about finding people who need help or need to start over or somethin’ along those lines. Figure in your position you might need a pick me up if they can help.”
  104.  
  105. I took the pamphlet from him, giving it a once-over. ‘The Pony Playground Center.’ Huh, never heard of it. Sounded like some kind of convention or something, though usually they were a sort of reference to the show. GalaCon, Ciderfest and the like. I stuffed it into my pocket. “Thanks, James.” I drank the last of my fourth glass, setting it down on the counter with a satisfying clink. “I’m gonna head out, thanks for the drinks.” He nodded in response, giving me a small, mock salute which I returned with a smile.
  106.  
  107. I headed out of the building, pulling my jacket closer to my form. The cool Milwaukee air contrasted well with the warmth in my belly, but god damn it was still cold. Walking down the sidewalk, I bumped into another cloaked figure. An aggressive comment was shot my way. “Fuck off.”
  108.  
  109. Normally that would’ve set me off, but I recognized that voice, and it was never this angry, “Cory?”
  110.  
  111. “Who the fuck-” He half turned, the pissed off look on his face faded, “Daniel?” I caught sight of his signature blonde hair with a lavender streak running through it. He grinned wide and walked over to give me a handshake-hug, his cyan eyes beaming at me. “Oh shit, what’s up man?”
  112.  
  113. “Just got done with some drinks.” I returned the grin, though I was curious what had riled him up so much. “What about you?”
  114.  
  115. The sour look returned. “Diana went missing.”
  116.  
  117. What the fuck? “When? Where?”
  118.  
  119. He sighed. “We don’t know. She hasn’t answered any calls or texts since two days ago. She was last seen at the convention downtown.”
  120.  
  121. “Fuck.” I mumbled. What the hell was happening to everybody?
  122.  
  123. “Yeah.” He adjusted his blue jacket. “If you and Jen are going to the con, stay close to each other.”
  124.  
  125. I paused and looked down. “Me and Jenni aren’t a thing anymore.”
  126.  
  127. “What? Since when?” His look was concerned, and I could feel the bitterness rising in my chest again.
  128.  
  129. “Tonight. I caught her fucking Rich.” I reached into my jacket, pulling out a small box. I hadn’t mentioned this part to James, but it was the real kicker, “Guess I won’t be needing this anymore.” I forced myself to chuckle. I had taken out a loan for this thing that I couldn’t pay back for a while, and god did I hope they would not come after me till then.
  130.  
  131. Cory saw through the facade. “Damn dude.” He came forward, giving me a full hug this time. We held each other for a solid ten seconds. “I’m sorry man.” He mumbled into my shoulder.
  132.  
  133. I felt a few tears rise up, but I stuffed them back down. I didn’t want to cry in front of him. “Yeah, sucks.” I coughed, forcing the feelings down. “Guess I’ll just have to hit up Tammy, eh?”
  134.  
  135. He separated from me, a contemplative look across his brow. “You were with her for how long? Four years?”
  136.  
  137. “Six.” I corrected him. Today was our sixth anniversary.
  138.  
  139. “Why would she fuck Rich? That doesn’t make any sense. She knew you two were tight, right?” He brought his hands to his mouth and blew into them, a light bit of fog covering his expression now.
  140.  
  141. “Yeah.” I growled. I bit back the aggression. Play it off, Daniel. No one liked me when I was upset. “Looks like you moved up on the best friend list.” I gave him a pat on the shoulder with a forced smirk. “Grats on being #1 now.”
  142.  
  143. His expression shifted multiple times, before he gave me a smile. “Hell yeah. Looks like I’m the one passing out pantsless in your shower now.”
  144.  
  145. I laughed. Even if I hated his guts now, Rich gave me some good memories. “At least keep the boxers on dude.” Cory always knew how to get me back in a proper mood. “I’m gonna head home, take it easy, Cory.”
  146.  
  147. “You too brotha-man.” He gave me his signature thumbs up, which I returned, before turning and walking back home. The cold air bothered me less now, and I felt a little better after that. I still had some people on my side, it would seem. After about twenty minutes, I finally got to my apartment complex. It was in a slightly shittier part of town, but it was home. I got into my one room apartment, and immediately laid down in bed, wanting to sleep off the emotions and figure out what I was going to do in the long term. Keep living, I suppose. Something jammed me in my thigh as I laid there. Oh right, that pamphlet thing. It was mostly crumpled now. I flipped it open to take a better look at it.
  148.  
  149. Ow, yeah. That’s a lot of colors. Pictures of pastel ponies littered the pamphlet. My addled brain took a moment to read the words.
  150.  
  151. ‘Have you been feeling down on yourself?’
  152.  
  153. Yeah.
  154.  
  155. ‘Not having the best luck?’
  156.  
  157. Most assuredly.
  158.  
  159. ‘Do you ever wish you could just start over? Have a fresh, new life to begin again?’
  160.  
  161. I shrugged. It wouldn’t hurt that’s for sure.
  162.  
  163. ‘If any of this applies to you, then this is the offer for you!’
  164.  
  165. Oh really, colorful paper, what offer do you have for me?
  166.  
  167. ‘Introducing the Pony Playground Center! A place where people can go to start again, where dreams become reality, and where the closest thing to magic happens!’
  168.  
  169. A bold statement, that’s for sure.
  170.  
  171. ‘Simply fill out your information on the form the QR code on this page gives, and everything else will be taken care of!’
  172.  
  173. Out of drunken curiosity, I scanned the QR code and opened it on my phone. Again, bright colors assaulted me. I started looking over the information it requested of me. Well, I guess I could fill this out for shits and giggles if nothing else. My name? Daniel Steriff. My current occupation? Construction worker. Marital/Relationship status? I sighed. Single. Next of Kin? Uh… none? I paused after reading the next box. Compatibility with other people? It gave me a selection of 1 through 5 to pick. 1 being anti-social, and 5 being exuberant extrovert. I weighed it out in my drunken mind. I was probably like a 3.5. We’ll just say 4. Sexual orientation? Straight. Gender identity? Male. My eyebrow quivered at the next one. Willingness to change these options? (Sexual orientation and Gender identity) What the fuck did that even mean? Is it asking if I want to turn gay suddenly? The answers were again a 1 to 5 selection. 1 being Absolutely Never, and 5 being Willinging for anything.
  174.  
  175. I paused for a moment. What would my willingness be? We’ll just put down 2, yeah that sounds good. I mean, I’d never tried anything on the other side of the coin so who knows. Get me drunk enough and convince me and I might shag a guy. Don’t know if I’d be into it necessarily but I conceivably could.
  176.  
  177. I shook my head and looked down farther. That seemed like all it asked me for personal information, and then it asked me for… I paused. My OC? I mean, I had one. Most people who were still into the fandom did. Mine was a cute little pink mare. I thought she was adorable personally. It asked if I had a picture, and I did. It asked for a name. What was her name again? I think it was Quin. Yeah, Quin. The next question caught me off guard. What was her Gender Identity and Sexual orientation? Uhhh… I never thought about that. Well, a cute mare like her would definitely be into stallions, and probably into mares too. It then specifically asked about humans? I mean, I guess she’d be into humans too. That’s definitely a strange question. Her Gender Identity would be female, that made the most sense. That seemed to be the end of the questionnaire. Hm. What was the use of any of this again? I shrugged and submitted it. I did notice that the selection for my Gender identity and Sexual orientation was gone after filling out Quin’s. Weird.
  178.  
  179. There were a shit ton of legal disclaimers at the bottom, and I signed off on them without too much reading into it. Why would I care about being stuck with the name Quin? She was a fictional character, it didn’t matter what her name was. And something about being in a lot of pain? What, was the pamphlet going to attack me? Also, since when did nanorobotics have anything to do with ponies? They mentioned clearing debt in some manner which is surprising.
  180.  
  181. My eyelids were getting heavy. I put my phone on my nightstand, and laid face down in a pillow for the night.
  182.  
  183. ~~~~~~~
  184.  
  185. I don’t know whether it was the headache ravaging my head, or the horrible smell of liquor breath from the pillow I laid face down on that woke me up, but either way it was awful. I rolled over, eyes blinking as I tried to adjust my vision. God, maybe I had too much scotch. I sat on the side of my bed, eyes scanning the ground as if trying to find the answer to the myriad of questions floating through my mind. I didn’t get long to sit like this, though, as someone knocked on my front door. Who the fuck was visiting me on a Saturday morning at, I looked over at my nightstand clock, 11:30AM? I grumbled as they knocked again, “I’m comin’ I’m comin’...”
  186.  
  187. I made my way to the front door, fixing my clothes and wiping the sleep from my eyes. Upon opening the door I was greeted by… no one. I poked my head out into the hallway, looking left and right. Not a single soul in sight. I caught a glimpse of something on the ground, and I looked down. There was a piece of paper, and a plushie. I picked it up, looking at the plushie first. It was an exact replica of my OC. What the fuck? Was this a prank? I looked down the hallway again, still seeing no one. I had bleary memories of filling out some kind of questionnaire thing I found on a pamphlet, and they sent me my OC in return I guess? I closed my door carefully, plushie and paper in hand. Taking a moment, I looked at the paper, fine print written along it.
  188.  
  189. “Thank you for your consideration in joining the Pony Playground Center! We are honored to have another participant, and hope that you will enjoy the process just as much as we do. You’ll come to find you’ll be changing soon, if not already! There may be aches and pains, but do trust that you will come out the other side exactly how you wished to be. Your paperwork has been taken care of…
  190.  
  191. There was more text on the paper, but I was currently too busy trying to figure out why my entire arm was numb. Or why I couldn’t let go of the plushie. Or why pins and needles were spreading over my whole body. I stumbled over to my bed, falling face first into it. I started shaking as crackling pain shot through my body, a scream tearing its way out of my throat. Fuck fuck fuck! The pain was intolerable, tears freely rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t get up, it was too much to bear. I hastily tore off my clothes in a surge of adrenaline, anything that touched my skin felt like fire right now. I called out again but no one answered as the pain elevated. It grew to new heights, until it overloaded my brain and I passed out.
  192.  
  193.  
  194. Where am I?
  195.  
  196. I was standing in a shallow lake, about ankle deep in height. There was light fog rolling along the surface as far as the eye could see, though it wasn’t disturbing the water beneath it. I looked up to the sky, yet the fog pervaded any attempt at seeing it.
  197.  
  198. I heard a voice in the distance. “Hey there!” It was squeaky and high pitched, but held a familiar ring to it.
  199.  
  200. Was it talking to me?
  201.  
  202. “You! Yeah you!”
  203.  
  204. I looked around. There was a hint of a visage of someone much shorter than me standing about twenty feet away. I trodded over, though my steps didn’t disturb the water's tension. The fog grew clearer as I approached, and I quickly realized that this wasn’t a person. They were about two and a half feet tall, and were standing on four legs with a tail swishing behind them. It was her. My OC. Quin. Her golden irises were beaming at me. Her pink fur was vibrant, her golden and pink mane curved off to the side, and she gave me that wide smile I always imagined her to have. Her signature golden quill cutie mark rested on her flank.
  205.  
  206. After gawking at her for a moment, I finally found my voice. “Am I dreaming?”
  207.  
  208. “Seems like it!” She smiled. Her voice was exactly how I had imagined it in pitch and tone, upbeat and jovial, playful in its manner. She walked closer to me, standing just a foot away now. “Take my hoof!” She held it out towards me.
  209.  
  210. The water started vibrating.
  211.  
  212. Why was I afraid?
  213.  
  214. “Uhm…” Cold sweat slicked my neck as I took a step back. I had no reason to be afraid, it was a dream after all, yet I was terrified. It was as if she had a sinister aura about her, something my subconscious brain wanted no part of.
  215.  
  216. “Take it.” It was more forceful this time. The water quaked beneath me as I took another step back. “Please!” She cried out.
  217.  
  218. I tried taking another step back, but the water grew thick, I couldn’t tread through it. It grew heavier and denser. My legs were stuck, I couldn’t move. Quin was angry. “You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be.” I felt my legs begin to sink. I started flailing as I tried to claw my way out of this quick sand like substance.
  219.  
  220. “What are you doing to me?!” I shrieked. I was up to my chest now, as it continued to creep its way up my body.
  221.  
  222. She gently caressed my neck with a hoof, that same smile on her lips. “Making your dreams a reality.”
  223.  
  224. The ooze ran up my neck. I tried to ask what she meant by that, but it was garbled as I was fully below the surface of it now. Warmth flooded my senses, fiery in its intensity. Bones shifted and churned, tendons reshaped and reformed, synapses, veins and arteries contorting to a new shape and form. My senses were overloaded, it felt like I would snap at any minute. Just when it grew to be too much, it settled down to a comfortable warmth, pushing and pulling my body this way and that as the last of it coursed through me.
  225.  
  226. The warmth bled away, leaving me cold and lonely on the ground. I felt alien as I laid there, staring up at a blank sky. The ooze was gone, as was the lake, and the fog. It was curious really, I felt so much different, yet also the same. Oh, I could see my nose now. That was new. And it was pink, how strange.
  227.  
  228. “Feel better?”
  229.  
  230. I tilted my head up to where the voice came from. It was Quin, and she was smiling at me. I didn’t know how to talk, it was like my brain forgot. The dumbfounded expression on my face seemed good enough for her though as she giggled. “Have fun!” I had so many questions, and not enough time to ask all of them. She walked away, and I reached out to her desperately with a hand… wait… There was a hoof there now…
  231.  
  232.  
  233. Have you ever woken up, and known something was wrong with you? Most people probably have. How many do you think have woken up and known everything is wrong with you? Not nearly as many if I had to guess. I wanted to keep my eyes closed, so desperately I did. I don’t know what atrocities had been committed to my mortal coil and I didn’t want to find out. I started by opening my eyes, and was greeted by my nose. It was larger than it was before, that or my eyes were set farther back, and was covered with a light pink fur. My mouth felt larger, too. Golden yellow bangs spilled down into my vision, and hints of a more salmon-pink were there as well.
  234.  
  235. Pressure was building up in my chest from fear. I raised a stumped hand into view, finding it to now be a hoof, also covered with that same pink fur. My throat was going dry as I brought up what ended up being another hoof. I didn’t want to believe any of it, but it felt too real. Panic welled up in me and I tried kicking away from my own body, as if pushing my new hooves away from me would make them turn back into my old appendages. “No nonono-” My whimpers came out high pitched and squeaky. What the fuck happened to me?! I started hyperventilating. My eyes grew watery. Why did this happen to me?
  236.  
  237. I was dreaming. Right, right. Dreams felt this real, right? Maybe it was a hallucination. I clicked my hooves together. The rough textures made a clicking sort of noise that made my ears twitch. My ears twitched. They don’t do that normally. I put a hoof up to the top of my head where I had felt that sensation, and surely enough those ears twitched again when the hoof touched them. When I touched them. With my hooves. The highest pitch scream I’d ever heard tore its way out of my throat. I tumbled out of bed and landed on the floor in a pile of limbs. I had to walk on all fours now. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror hanging off my closet.
  238.  
  239. It was her.
  240.  
  241. Light pink fur, gold and pink split mane and tail. Golden yellow irises. A golden feather tagging her flank. All those years of thinking about her, imagining her. It was real. I was transfixed by her. Reality seemed to fade away for a moment, stress and anxiety melted away for the briefest of instances. I took a hoof step forward. She did the same. I took another. She took another. I got within inches of the mirror, and so did she. I placed a pink furred hoof against the mirror, clinking it gently. She followed suit. My bangs were in the way of my vision, and when I moved them she moved hers. She had wings on her back, just like me. I opened them up and flexed them a little bit, and watched her do it too.
  242.  
  243. It was me.
  244.  
  245. Quin.
  246.  
  247. My brain short circuited. I blacked out.
  248.  
  249.  
  250. “Hey.”
  251.  
  252. “Wake up!”
  253.  
  254. Someone was talking to me?
  255.  
  256. A soft groan escaped my lips. Senses and feelings rushed back to me. Fur against carpet, a tail snaking along the ground, the absence of fingers and toes on the ends of my appendages, wings bearing the weight of my body against the floor. My bleary eyes opened slowly, and I was greeted by a man standing over me. He bore a small smile as he looked down at me, hazel eyes beaming brightly. “Oh good, you’re awake!”
  257.  
  258. Him speaking triggered something instinctively in my mind, I tried screaming ‘Get away from me’ and it turned into a high pitched squeal of, “GEAWAFOME!” I kicked and flailed in an attempt to move away from him, but he scooped me up in his hands with ease. I was shaking and crying in his grasp, my ears flat to my head, trying to hide from my very existence with my fetlocks over my eyes like some kind of scared filly.
  259.  
  260. “Easy, easy. I know you’re scared.” He murmured, one of his hands moving down my mane in a slow motion. We sat like that for a few minutes, my crying turning to sniffling, but I still didn’t dare look up at him. He must’ve heard me scream, but why wasn’t he freaking out over finding a pink pony in an apartment by themself? And how was he so much bigger than me?
  261.  
  262. “Something went wrong, Eric.” Another voice spoke. I dared to look up, seeing another man standing there. This one was intimidating, both in size and hostility. He glared at me, though there was a hint of concern in his eyes. He stood there, arms crossed over his chest and his foot tapping the ground restlessly. Wait, what does he mean something went wrong?
  263.  
  264. “What do ya mean? You’re okay, right?” Eric said. I looked up at him, his smile calming me down as he continued petting my mane. “Take a deep breath for me, please.” I nodded hesitantly and did so. The shudders and shakes of my body slowed down, the panic slowly dribbling away, leaving me with a lot of confusion and fear.
  265.  
  266. “What happened to me?” I squeaked out.
  267.  
  268. The two of them looked at each other in confusion, and then back to me. “Uhm, we’re here to pick you up?” Eric said hesitantly.
  269.  
  270. Now it was my turn to be confused, “What?”
  271.  
  272. “You uh, you signed up for this, right?” Eric asked, and there was evident fear in his eyes as he looked at his companion. The other one’s eyes narrowed as he looked down, thinking. “Did we fuck up, Jack?” Eric continued.
  273.  
  274. Jack pulled out his phone, scrolling through a few things before speaking. “No, this was their address. And she would’ve been even worse when she first woke up if it wasn’t her character in the first place.” Words couldn’t describe my confusion. What did any of that even mean? Was I caught in some kind of crossroads between a fucked up science experiment? Who even were these people? He looked over at my bed, his concerned look turning deadpan as he walked past me. Me and Eric’s eyes followed, and he turned back holding the note and plushie from earlier. In the midst of all the confusion I had completely forgotten about both of those things. “This was at your door, right?” I gave a slight nod. “And you’re the one who filled out the application, right?”
  275.  
  276. Wait, that is what started all of this?! My shriek must’ve been ear-shattering, as the two of them flinched. “You mean to tell me that filling out a pamphlet means you get to turn me into a fucking pony?!”
  277.  
  278. “Did you even read any of it when you filled it out? Or are you just fucking stupid?” Jack was getting upset, and I felt an unknown fear filling me. Having someone much larger than you being pissed was an unsettling experience.
  279.  
  280. “I filled it out because I thought it was for fun, not some insane person's personal experiment!” I cried back. I could feel the panic welling up inside me again.
  281.  
  282. “Now Quin, calm down, we can sort this out.” Eric chided me. Who the fuck was Quin? That wasn’t my name, my name was Quin! Wait, no, it wasn’t Quin, it’s Quin. I meant…
  283.  
  284.  
  285. I didn’t remember my own name.
  286.  
  287. My brain went through memory after memory in an attempt to recover it. Reading school papers with my name on it, the teacher doing roll call, my parents yelling at me, and all of them said Quin. That was impossible. I couldn’t have been Quin forever, right? I’ve been something besides Quin before. I must’ve looked terrified, because the look Eric gave me was very concerning. “Uhm, Quin? Are you okay?” He said it again. He said that name. My name. No! They took it from me!
  288.  
  289. Panic and adrenaline flooded my mind. I needed to escape and now. Eric didn’t seem to notice immediately, and in an instant I kicked my way out of his grasp, my mind going into hyperdrive to try and find an avenue of escape. The front door was still open. I galloped for it. I dimly heard Jack dive for me, his heavy form hitting the ground and his fingers grasping at the end of my tail, but I was just fast enough to escape him. I could hear the blood pumping in my ears, adrenaline coursing through me like a wildfire. My hooves slammed down on the hardwood floor with a cacophonous clacking noise as I looked around for where to go next. I couldn’t work the elevator and it would take too long, the stairs were behind a door I couldn’t open. I turned the corner of the hallway, but it was a dead end within twenty feet. I looked back, Jack and Eric were calling out to me as they sprinted. Fuck, fuck, fuck, what do I do?
  290.  
  291. There was a window at the end of the hallway.
  292.  
  293. I gave a single look at the wings on my back. Did these even work? Well, it was now or never to find out. I knew I couldn’t unlatch the window with my hooves, and by god did I hope I was strong enough for what I was about to attempt. I charged straight for it. I took a leaping dive shoulder first into the window, the glass cracking and shattering from the force.
  294.  
  295. Crack!
  296.  
  297. The glass shattered, and oh god did I make the wrong choice. Pain. There was so much pain. My body was screaming at me. Though currently, I was acutely aware of the fact that I was now in freefall from four stories up. My wings spread out, and I don’t understand how but it felt incredibly natural to start flapping them. The rushing air over my open wounds was like someone took gasoline to my skin. My descent slowed somewhat, but I wasn’t slowing fast enough. I looked at the ground in panic as it rushed towards me. Shit shit shit shit shit.
  298.  
  299. I stuck my hooves out in front of me in a desperate attempt to slow the fall. I hit the pavement with a sickening crunch ringing through my body. Pain crackled along my front legs and I let out a loud yelp. This was bad. I collapsed in a heap of limbs, my body shuddering from the intensity of the pain. Tears streamed freely down my cheeks as I tried to catch my breath but was unable to. I looked up, catching sight of Eric looking out the window I had broken open. His shout reached my ears. “QUIN! Stop! Please!” I wasn’t safe yet.
  300.  
  301. Come on, get up. Get up god damn it! I stood on shaky legs and limped forward. Every step made me nearly fall over, the pain in my legs was getting worse. I looked down through teary eyes at my glass laden legs and torso. Wait, were those bones sticking out? I took in deep heaves of air, the agony my body was going through was only matched by the fear I felt. I didn’t want to be captured and put in some lab. I looked back, seeing Jack sprinting full speed at me. My vision was getting spotty, I could barely make out the trees in front of me. My hobbling got quicker, until I simply couldn’t move my legs anymore. I collapsed, only half conscious as I saw Jack standing over me.

Quin's Tale Chapter 1

by Scrub