The Desert by paxtofettel
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The Desert by Paxtofettel
(An existential tale starring Pokey Pierce)

Authors Note: The following story is written in a stream of consciousness style. It may not be for everypony.

There comes a time in everypony's life where he or she asks himself or herself where they are in their life. Well for me, that time is now.

As I trudge along the soft, grainy sand, all that goes through my mind are two simple, yet difficult questions: Where in Equestria am I? How did I get here? This place doesn't seem like any other place I've been to in my life. There isn't a single piece of green for miles. Instead, all I see is an army of sand dunes going for miles and miles and miles and miles and, well, you get the idea.

Shit, what the buck is going on here?! Everything was fine a few days ago; just merely trying to live a normal life in Ponyville. Now here I am, at the mercy of this Goddess forsaken sun. My blue coat is starting to get caked with sweat and sand.

Ok, ok, deep breaths, Pokey, don't panic. If there was one useful thing that papa used to say, it was never, ever panic. Well, I don't think he thought about being stranded in some, what do the scorpions tribes call it? A desert? Yeah, that's what this is.

Damn, I don't see anything; not even a village. There's got to be somepony living here. There always somepony living someplace. That's just how the world works. At least, that's how I think it works.

Let's see, what happened before I got here? I remember getting lost deep in the Everfree Forest while looking for that toothless alligator and then blacking out and that's about it. Shit, I can't remember anything else. Think, Pokey, think! There has to be an explanation for this.

Okay, don't panic, don't panic. I need to get out of here; find some shelter, maybe some water. Goddess, how I wish for some of Sweet Apple Acre's zap apple jam. OK, stay focused; civilization first, and then jam. All right, I need to move, need to keep moving; pick a direction and go. But where?

\\

How long have I been walking? Minutes? Hours? Shit, I wish I had some sort of clock with me. Then again, I wish for a lot of things; mainly a spell that can get me away from this hellhole and back to Ponyville. Goddess-damn it, I wish this sun would just let up already. It's as if Celestia just woke up one day and said to herself, "Hmm, I think I'll make the sun even hotter today. It's not like there's a pony stuck in the middle of a desert." Well buck you, Princess, cause that's exactly what's happening right this very instant.

…I shouldn't have said that. She probably might hear me all the way in Canterlot and stick me in a dungeon, or banish me to an ever more desolate place, or banish me and stick me in the dungeon where I was banished to! Nah, Celestia is a good monarch; she would never do something that cruel. She is kind and just and loves everypony. This damn heat must be screwing with my brains.

Buck me, it's starting to get dark. The air is getting colder. I ust find shelter quickly before I freeze to death. There, that rock in the distance may be a good spot. It doesn't look like much, but it will have to do.

Okay, this'll work perfectly. Got to find a way to get my bearings tomorrow. *sigh*, I wonder if I still have my wedding earring. Yeah, still in its spot, just as it's always been for 2 years. Heh, I remember the day I first proposed to her. She nearly suffocated me with her death hug of death…… I have to survive this, I must see her again.

So sleepy…must rest…Pin…kie….

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Ow…ow…ow…ow. That damn sun gave me a bucking sunburn while I was asleep. I can barely move without one my legs hurting like somepony stuck in an open flame and poured salt all over it. Damn it, damn it all to the Underworld. I shouldn't even be here, in this bucking wasteland. I should be at home, helping my wife run Sugarcube Corner. I should be hanging out with Caramel and talking about how great our marriages are. I should be sleeping in my bed with her at my side

Where the hell am I going? I really need to get my bearings. Maybe I can get a good view from that sand dune over there; looks high enough. Just gotta climb up and not get too hurt.

Allright, let's see here…sand…sand…sand…and even more sand. Well, that was completely pointless. Now I'm really bucking lost. Now what the hell am I supposed to now? Okay, just gotta pick a direction and go. Maybe the Goddess will take pity on me and put a convenient city in my way. That, or I die of thirst and get buried under the sand after which somepony might dig me up in the future. Positive thinking, Pokey, keep your head straight and AAAGH…AUGH…AUCK!!

Damn that hurts! Stupid sand gave out under me. Goddess, my whole body hurts so much right now. If only I had some sort of healing spell right about now.  Damn it… Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!!! Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Is this some sort of divine punishment for all those balloons I've popped by accident? ANSWER ME, DAMN YOU!!!

No answer. I must be going insane. I've only been here for a day and already I'm starting to go nuts. Heh, probably even crazier than Pinkie.

Damn it Pokey, snap out of it! You gotta keep moving! You will see her again; I must see her again. Goddess, if you can hear me from your home, please help me. Please let me be able to see her again, to hold her in my legs, to kiss her, to make love to her.

Crap, should have left that last part out. Now, She probably thinks I'm a pervert. Right, gotta keep moving, can't stay standing here. And so I go, not knowing what I might find. Maybe salvation, maybe damnation. Can't harvest an apple if you don't plant a seed as they always say.

\\\\

So…thirsty. So…hot. So…tired. I've been walking for hours and still no help in sight. The sun is high in the sky now and I can feel its fiery fury beating down on my body. Oh, what I would do for a glass of water right about now.  Maybe a nice plate of hay fries or some of Pinkie's cupcakes. Goddess, how I miss her so. How I miss her laugh, her voice, her mane, her soft coat, her breath, her generous…

Shit, Pierce, thinking about her isn't going to help you. Just keep moving, and try to survive. The scorpions used to talk about place with water here in the desert. What did they call it? Oasis, I believe.

Wait, what's that in the distance. It looks like a pony, maybe there is a village. Hold on, that coat looks familiar. Pink coat with a pink mane. No, it can't be; Pinkie? She's here too? The Goddess must have heard my prayers; She truly is kind. If Pinkie's here, then help can't be far behind. She waving her leg, telling me to come closer. PINKIE!! IT'S ME, POKEY! I have missed you so much! So very mu-

Gone…She's gone…

It was all an illusion. The desert is toying with me now. It's almost as if it's alive and wants to see me suffer. Damn it, damn it all to hell! Damn this desert! Damn the sun! Damn the sand! Damn the heat! Damn whoever trapped me in this hell! And most of all, damn this world!

…Heh, heh, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You know, I never thought that I would die like this. I always dreamed that I would breathe my final breath on a comfy bed, surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Then I would close my eyes and sleep forevermore. Yet here I am, surrounded by sand and dust. Those birds above have been following me the entire day, probably waiting for me to die so they can pick at my lifeless corpse. Hm, maybe I should make it easier for them and just lay down and die; Certainly would save the trouble.

……No. I won't stay here. If I am to die in this barren land, then I will do it standing on my hooves; not lying on the ground like a sack of rotten potatoes. I will not let this desert break me, no matter how bad it gets. YOU HEAR ME YOU BUCKING WASTELAND!? YOU HAVEN'T BEATEN ME YET!

…Great, I'm talking to a bleeding landscape. I guess the heat's finally turned my brain into week old oatmeal. No matter, at least it's better than dying…right?

\\

So…thirsty…need…water…

I don't know how much I can keep going on. My legs feel like they are about to collapse out of sheer exhaustion. My vision is starting to get blurry. And you know what the funnest part is, there's no bucking water anywhere…wait, what's that over there. It looks like…water! At last, my luck seems to be turning around! I think I can make it if I just gallop faster. It's doesn't seem too far away, maybe a few feet at the most. Yes, yes, I'm almost there! Wait, where is the water going? It's disappearing!

Another damn trick. The desert is toying with me; raising my hopes and crushing them in its hands. It wants me to suffer, it wants to break me.

\\

As I was walking, I saw what looked like a pony. At least, it used to look like one. The vultures must have picked it clean of meat a long time ago. The bones have been bleached by the burning sun. It's funny; normally I would have been freaked out after seeing something like that. Instead, I keep thinking about what kind of life did he have. Did he have a family or was he alone? Was he a loving pony or was he a right bastard? Did he enjoy his life or did he wish for all of it to end? I only felt numb to it, as if all of my emotions were stripped away, leaving me an empty shell of a pony.

…You know, I think I'm starting to realize something. All my life, I have always thought that I was lucky. But now, I realize that every single pony of this world was meant to suffer. I believe we have no other purpose in life. Sure, everything may seem all right in the beginning, but soon, it all comes crashing down. Strangely enough, I don't feel shocked or appalled. Instead, I feel relieved, as if a cloud has been blown away from the deepest, darkest part of my mind.

\\

Nighttime. Nighttime here is so different than in Ponyville. Back there, most of the sky would be blocked by either mountains or clouds. Here, on the other hoof, the sky is completely visible. I can see hundreds upon hundreds of stars, twinkling as if they were communicating with each other. It's probably the only calming sight that I have witnessed since I ended up here. It makes me want to just lie down and take it all in, maybe close my eyes and take a nap. But I fear that if I close my eyes, they might never open again.

So c-c-c-c-cold. Legs going numb. Breathing slowing down. Maybe I should just lie down and rest for a bit. Just for a few minutes, then I can keep going. No, I can't fall asleep now. If I do, I'll never wake up. Must keep going, must keep moving.

UMPH! My legs have stopped working. I can't do it. I can't go on much longer. So tired. So sleepy. I'm not going to make it. Pinkie, my love, if you can somehow hear me, I'm sorry. I wanted to see you so very badly. If I had been stronger, I would have braved this desert to the very end if it would have led me back to you. I never wanted any of this to happen. But it seemed fate had other plans for me. Heh, Heh, it's funny when you think about it. All these years of living in relative peace, only for it to end in a single day. This is it; this is my final day in this world. May The Goddess watch over you, my darling wife.

I…love…you…Pin…kie…Good…bye……

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Where, where am I? Is this the Realm of Happyness? If so, it's not what I had been expecting. Looks like a normal hospital room. Wait, this place looks strangely familiar. It looks just like….no, it can't be. This must be another hallucination caused by dehydration. I'm probably still lying down on the sand slowly dying.

No, it doesn't feel like a hallucination, it feels so real. Wait, Nurse Redheart? Is that really you? What happened? I was found unconscious in the Everfree Forest? A concussion? Then how did I get here? A zebra brought me here? Well, how long was I out? Damn, two days; must have been one heck of a blow. So it was all just a dream. Wait a second, it was just a dream! I'm still alive! But damn, does my head hurt like hell. Oh, I'm fine Nurse, don't worry. It's just that, I was having this horrible nightmare. It seemed so real, like I was really there. Yeah, you're right, I should rest. Thank you, Nurse; you don't know how happy I am right now.

One last question, is Pinkie Pie all right? Heh, always at my side; sound just like her. Is she still here? She is? Can I please see her? Thank you.

\\\

There she is, waiting in the lobby, her mane without the usual poofyness that made her famous. Her eyes look sad, yet full of hope. She's looking at me now. Pinkie, it's so great to fin- GACK! Pin…kie… you're… crushing…me. No, don't apologize, I'm just happy to finally be with you again. What am I talking about? Well, I'll explain it to you when we get back home. The nurses are going to release me today. Yes Pinkie, I was afraid too. I love you, so very much.

And so I survived the desert. But would I ever forget it? Would all that I have been through in that nightmare be locked away in a remote part of my brain? Will it continue to haunt me for the rest of my life? I can't say for certain. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I just want to enjoy my life at the present and not worry about the future.

FIN


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