by Wanderer D

Chapter 1: Running


By Wanderer D


She’d come to the small town in an attempt to get away from the pressure and stress of life.

She had told nopony, simply grabbing her case, throwing her saddlebags on and after making sure she had cash, had stepped into the cold night.

She hadn’t worried about making too much noise... Perhaps she had hoped that one of her friends would wake up and ask her where she was going, because once she stepped out, there would be no turning back.

There had been no destination in her mind, simply the echoing sound of hoofstep after hoofstep upon hard rock as she made her way through the cobblestone streets of Canterlot.

Her mind had wandered, thoughts fleeting as her world was encased in the soft rhythm she had set. It was the world and her. The starlit night-sky with the occasional fleeting cloud or the random, flickering streetlamp.

She hadn’t even been really conscious of where she was going, only stopping and understanding when she had reached the train station. And she stood there, for a long moment, face impassive and eyes level, gazing up at the brightly lit entrance, while inside of her she could feel her heart beating faster with a need she couldn’t identify.

The first step had been hard.

Much harder than she had anticipated, but soon she had climbed the marble stairs and stood just before the doors.

Inside: bright light.

Outside and behind: Family. Friends. Her life.

She almost turned around completely, but only allowed herself a quick glance over her shoulder at the silent city before she quickly made her way inside.

She had travelled for a day and a half, past towns she knew. Cities she had visited. She had changed trains once; when she had reached Baltimare, but she hadn’t stayed any longer than necessary, not even bothering to compare the station to the one in Canterlot.

She simply travelled, until at night, once more, she had arrived here.

The town the train left her in was out of an old western novel. The ground was soft; the streets little more than packed dirt in between buildings and houses.

She’d made her way into the bar. She needed a drink, and to think.

Oddly enough, she didn’t get that many glances, city pony that she was. Only a couple of raised eyebrows and friendly, but silent nods. She’d made her way to the bar, leaning her case against it carefully, and taking a seat on the raised stools.

The pony behind the bar, an ex-Royal Guard and buddying comedian—by his own boisterous admission to another patron—had smiled pleasantly, and asked her what she wanted.


He hadn’t even blinked when he had left the bottle next to the shot glass. They took drinking seriously here.

She poured the drink and took a deep breath, closing her eyes.

It smelled of alcohol-soaked oak. The type of smell she would taste in good Scotch. Hints of tobacco gave the place a certain character. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was reserved and somewhat stern.

The tables, bar, stools… pretty much everything was made of wood. It was solid, but not too symmetrical… they had been hoof-carved and polished, making the whole place feel almost like a home.

She wondered if any building in Canterlot had ever felt like that when walked into, and promptly decided that no, it was very unlikely.

She took a sip of her whiskey, twitching her nose a little. Bourbon wasn’t necessarily her drink of choice, but it felt appropriate to the situation: she didn’t want to be in her comfort zone right now.

With a quiet snort at that thought, she drank the whole shot in one go, slammed it down on the bar and grimaced shaking her head a little as the full strength of the drink hit her. She shuddered, looking at the bottle before pouring another drink and earning a barked-laugh from the bartender, who had observed her with some amusement.

“Honestly, didn’t think y’all had it in ya,” he said, chuckling. “Y’all look too city-like to drink the good stuff.”

“I’ve drunk stronger,” she replied, shrugging, before downing another shot. She clenched her teeth together and her shoulders shook before she let loose her breath. “Aha! That was better.”

The bartender shook his head, still clearly amused. “So what brings y’all to our quaint li’l town?”

Her purple eyes strayed to the shotglass rather than look at him. She watched the minute amount of whiskey that had stuck to the glass slowly pool down at the bottom of it. “I dunno. The train.”

The bartender snorted. “Ah sure hope y’all are not runnin’ away from somethin’, miss.”

Her shoulders dropped and she sighed. “Maybe I am. I can’t be sure. Maybe I’m just tired of the stupidity of my life.”

The bartender raised an eyebrow, but thankfully decided to change the subject. “So, you know how to use that?” He pointed a hoof at her case.

She felt her lips tug into a very smug smile. “Do you know the difference between water and whiskey?”

“Ah know one is good for all ailments, the other’s said to be healthy and at the end of the day both end up somehow watering the plants.”

Despite herself, she had to laugh at the crude joke.

“But Ah’ll take that as a ‘yes’.” He grinned. “And ah recognize y’all from the Gala. So tell me, what’s ailin’ ya?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.”

He raised his hooves. “Alright, alright. Never be said Ah can’t take a hint to let things be.”

“Good, because that’s what it was.” She downed another shot of whiskey, the liquid burning her throat and making her chest feel instantly warm. “This stuff is good.”

“Distilled right here in this very town,” the bartender replied, winking at her. “So how about you use that instrument of yours, play us somethin’ and Ah consider the tab paid?”

She raised an eyebrow. “The whole bottle?”

He grinned, pulling out another one and placing it next to the first. “The whole two.”

Now that. That was something she was not going to pass up.

She stood up and casually pulled out her cello, strumming it a bit as she tightened the strings.

Slowly, what little conversation was taking place in the bar died as ponies turned in her direction. Setsons were pulled back to allow for a better view, drinks were put down and silence slowly creeped into the bar as Octavia drew her bow across the strings.

The first long note was low and contemplative before she went back and with a slightly deeper note started setting a rhythm.

Another sound played in, adding it’s own pacing to her slow melody, clear, slow notes that reflected her mood.

She soaked in the beat they were creating thinking about things before finding herself in the sudden need to tell somepony, anypony… just a bit of how she felt… and so, she started singing.


I came in, from afar.

Ride the train—

haunt the bars

Tonight I drink alone!

She pulled the bow up giving the sound a higher pitch.

Hide away.

People tell me: ‘sticks and stones’

Feel my skin...

I’m chilled down t’ my bones.

Down the bow went, a bit angrier and faster.

And tonight I drink alone!

Cast the fear,

never real...

So afraid to simply stay.

It’s why I’m here

it’s too real…

Tonight I drink alone!

Tonight I drink alone!

Her music slowed, turning deeper again.

In the end,

it’s just me,

and the life I choose to build.

I’m just trapped

I can’t feel

a way to change my fate

I’m just one

to compete

and fail to reach my dream

So tonight…

Her music paused.

Tonight I drink alone.

Octavia slowly drew her bow across the strings until all sound stopped.

That’s when the cheering started.

Laughing and smiling, the bartender put a setson on her head. “Y’all know how to play, filly. Ah’ll give you that!”

Octavia smiled, put away her cello and took another shot before she grabbed the new bottle and headed out.

“Hey!” The bartender shouted. “Where are y’all goin’ now?”

Octavia smiled a bit sadly. “I think I still have to keep on running.”

The warm air reinvigorated her as she made her way to the train station. She could see another one coming her way.

This time… maybe she would get far enough to really start again.

o.0.o The End o.0.o

Author's Notes:

Sometimes you just want to start again, doing what you love, but without being weighted by those that know you. So I guess I dedicate this to those of us who have felt that way.

Anyway, unedited as most of my hour-long fiction tends to be.

Also, yes, I wrote that song.

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Other Titles in this Series:

  1. Running

    by Wanderer D
    9 Dislikes, 2,608 Views

    Octavia decides to run away from her life in Canterlot.

    Slice of Life

    1 Chapter, 1,472 words: Estimated 6 Minutes to read: Cached
    Published Jul 2nd, 2014
  2. Finding the Right Note

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    A father and son meet the newest addition to the Gryphon Kingdom: Octavia


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