The Wreck

by JohnPerry

Chapter 2: The Muse

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She squinted her eyes against the brisk wind, never tearing her eyes from the colossal wreck that sat upon the waves…

She slowly spread her wings, preparing for the next gust of wind…

She tensed her legs, ready to jump and take to the air…


Yearling’s eyes snapped open, and she found herself laying on her side. The outline of the shipwreck lingered in her vision even as it was quickly replaced by the blurry form of her bed.

She felt the soothing presence of a hoof on her shoulder, and warm breath against her ear. “Hey, sorry to wake you,” the voice spoke again, and she looked over her shoulder to see the silhouette of a stallion’s head looking over her. Even without her glasses, she could make out the twinkle in those eyes—those beautiful eyes—of his.

“Mmm… what’s up, Sight?” she mumbled.

“I gotta run some errands, but I wanted to let you know that I made some breakfast for you. It’s on the counter.”

“M’kay, thanks.” They shared a brief kiss before he walked out of the room, leaving her to get ready for the day. For a brief second, she considered curling up under the sheets, but the lingering image of the shipwreck made sleep an uninviting prospect.

Yearling grumbled and rolled out of bed, reaching out to her bedside table for her thick-rimmed glasses. She placed them on, then stretched her limbs and yawned, hearing her joints pop. Now that she was up, she became more aware of the smell of something delicious wafting from her kitchen. She stood up and started making her way towards breakfast.

She had barely taken a step when something moved out of the corner of her eye and she started. Yearling whipped her head around to find herself staring into her own reflection in a full-length mirror in the corner of the room. It revealed a disheveled-looking mare with her grayscale mane sticking out at odd angles above her red-rimmed glasses. She slowly blinked, staring at a spot above her head. She could have sworn…

She paused, then shook her head and snorted. No. It must have just been a trick of the light, she reasoned.

There was no way she had seen a pith helmet atop her head.

An hour later, Yearling was staring at the words–or rather, the lack thereof–on the sheet in front of her. She shifted her gaze down to the keys of her typewriter, leveling such an intense stare at the device that a part of her hoped she could simply will the typewriter to conjure words on its own.

She took her glasses off and set them on the desk before rubbing at her eyes. Yearling rested her cheek on one of her forehooves and sighed, tracing circles on the table with her other forehoof.

“How in the world did I do this before?” she thought. There was nothing interesting about her life. She never traveled, let alone went on adventures, and she most certainly did not do battle against forces of greed and evil. She led a quiet, ideal life in Canterlot, shared with her fiancé First Sight. She was, in short, the polar opposite of the character of her novels.

“Makes one wonder how I even started writing these things to begin with,” she thought with a wry grin.

After another moment spent staring at her typewriter, Yearling decided she wasn’t going to get anywhere at this rate. She rose from her chair and stretched her limbs before walking towards the front door, pulling her travel cloak and cloche hat off a rack next to the door. Before leaving, she took a piece of paper and scribbled a note on the table beside the entrance.

Couldn’t write. Went out for some fresh air. Be back soon. - A.K.

In the afternoon sunlight, the city of Canterlot seemed to positively sparkle. Whether by means of aggressive cleaning or something inlaid within the materials of the buildings themselves, the inhabitants of the capital city seemed determined to make their home a literal beacon of their prosperity.

It was a mark of how long Yearling had lived in Canterlot that she paid it no mind. Her steps took her down a familiar route along one of the city’s main boulevards, where she was careful to stay out of the way of the carriages that sped down the center of the street or the many denizens with upturned noses and closed eyes who had too much pride for common sense.

Force of habit led her to one of the city’s grand plazas, which was the focus of what tourist guides had labeled “the Cultural District,” owing to the presence of Canterlot’s main library, the opulent opera house, and the sprawling Equestrian Museum.

It was the last of these that held Yearling’s interest. She trotted up the marble steps to the main entrance, briefly glancing up at the soaring columns that held up the classically designed facade. A banner was hanging between a pair of columns, advertising a new exhibit with artifacts from Saddle Arabia.

“Wonder if I could do something with that?” Yearling thought, walking through the entrance. A museum guard nodded at her as she passed by into the grand foyer, where two huge spheres hung suspended from the ceiling, one painted gold and the other a silvery blue. A pair of gilded alicorns stood in the center of the huge room, their backs to each other as they stood on their hind legs, wings spread and horns directed at the two spheres. Yearling allowed herself a moment to admire the statues before continuing on.

Presuming one did not walk up the grand staircase to the upper levels, any visitor who passed through the foyer then entered a wide hall lined with elaborate dioramas, each a miniature representation of an exotic locale from some far-away land. This was where Yearling currently found herself, and it was always her favorite exhibit. It was usually quiet, since visitors tended to drift towards the more flashy exhibits, and Yearling always admired the level of detail that went into each diorama. Jungles, swamps, savannahs, and tundra were among those settings lovingly portrayed in each window Yearling passed by.

She tore herself away from a depiction of a lush tropical jungle, where a stuffed jaguar was lying in wait in the tall stalks of artificial grass, patiently watching a tapir who was eternally frozen drinking from a spring. Yearling’s eyes traveled to the adjacent diorama, where a serene beach awaited her. A pair of stuffed seagulls were facing each other, wings spread and beaks open as they squabbled over some food, while another was frozen mid-flight over the stale sands. On the wall behind them was a matte painting of waves crashing against the shore. Yearling’s gaze settled on the painting, admiring the careful strokes the artist had used to depict the foam of the waves rolling in, one after the other…

How the waves churned, rising and falling before crashing against the shore…

How the wind whipped against her face, heavy with the scent of salt…

How the sands shifted beneath her hooves…

Her gaze lifted from the shoreline, where a colossal wreck sat upon the water…

Her wings spread open as she prepared to catch the next breeze…

Yearling gasped, her eyes flying open as she leapt back away from the diorama. She could feel her heart beating quickly and her wings spread beneath her travel cloak. Yearling hurriedly folded her wings and looked around, her face flushed, but there was nopony in the immediate vicinity.

She spared a final glance at the diorama, with its painted waves and stuffed birds, before hastily trotting out of the room.

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