by Pastel Pony

Chapter 1: Voices in my Head

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I’m chasing the shadows that dart around corners just as I nearly reach them, screaming to the girls to hurry up, to move faster, to fly harder, to catch it.

We have to catch it.

I can’t see it, but I can feel it, right ahead of us. Closer. Closer. It’s almost through, we need to be faster or we won’t stop it.

We go faster, but not fast enough.

I wake with a start as the first strains of music filter through the speakers of my phone. With a groan, I lean over and tap the screen to activate the snooze button on my morning alarm.

I really ought to change the song, or at least set it to a beeping or buzzing noise like most people. Sympathy for the Devil is a great piece, but not the kind of thing you want blasting in your ear at fuck o’clock in the morning.

Fucking Rolling Stones disturbing my sleep.

I roll over and try to enjoy my nine minutes of almost-asleep bliss. I was having a dream before I woke up, too. What was it again? …Something about tunnels and flying.

The alarm sounds again and I strongly contemplate just turning it off altogether and taking another half hour’s sleep before my mum comes to check on me at seven and kicks me out of bed. Sure, I’ll miss the bus and be late to English, but it would hardly be the first time. When I reach for the phone though, a nagging… something in the back of my head stops my hand, and I give it a half-hearted glare at its betrayal. Since when did my subconscious give two shits about whether or not I was late to class? With a sigh, I sit up properly and am finally able to turn the phone off. I don’t even bother thinking about trying to sleep again, whatever force that made me get up is now propelling me towards my bathroom to shower.

Weird. Of all my natural instincts and inclinations, making an effort to arrive to class on time has never been one of them. Ah well, when in Rome.

I shut my bathroom door behind me and turn on the shower, throwing my pajamas off as I go. The minute I step into the hot stream, I feel some of the tension in my body relax. The shower is always my place in the morning, the place where I can wake up and still relax. I’ve actually been late to school more times for spending too long in the shower than for sleeping in. The tally is thirty-nine to eighteen last time I checked.

I can’t help it, the water makes everything quiet.

As I pull some shampoo through my hair, I mentally run through what homework I did and did not do last night. Right… completed History, half-assed English, didn’t even start on Science, Math, or Health. So do Science during History, Health during Science, and Math at lunch. Problem solved.

I linger in the warmth of the shower as long as I can before my new, actually cares subconscious thingy pulls me out from under the water and into my now pleasantly steamy bathroom. Grabbing my towel, I wrap it around myself and snatch the smaller one that had been hanging next to it to rub the worst of the moisture out of my hair.

I glance up at the mirror and freeze, my breath catching in my throat. Nestled amongst my short, choppy black hair, where an electric blue patch was last night, is a pink and purple stripe that seems oddly familiar. I stare at it, and my stomach lurches. I may have a strange sense of what is and isn’t important to remember, but I know no matter what that I would recall doing this to myself.

My mum banging on my door and yelling for me to hurry up shakes me from my reverie. Shit, all this trouble and I’m still going to be late. Right, get dressed now, panic about sudden new hairdo later. I burst out of my bathroom and hurriedly pull on jeans and my worn through Mock Trial sweater, grabbing my green beanie at the last minute to hide my hair from my mum.

As I dart out my door, I hear a sort of whisper behind me, like an echo of a scream from the far end of a tunnel. I shiver and stick the sudden feeling of dread at the far corner of my mind.

I throw my bag down on the floor and lock the door of the teachers’ bathroom behind me. I technically shouldn’t be in here, but it’s the only bathroom with a lock, so it’s the only place I’m assure privacy. I stalk over to the mirror and rip my hat off, glaring at the mussy pink and purple mess amongst my curls.

The hair has been bothering me all morning, so much that I couldn’t concentrate on any of the things I normally do while trying to fill the boring space that is English class. If I can’t concentrate on mentally visualizing what today’s argument with Jane will look like, or at least choose today’s ‘block out the terrifying hallway noise’ song, there’s definitely a problem.

A strange little part of me actually wanted to participate in the class discussion, something I haven’t bothered with since week two of the school year when the teacher stopped calling on me because apparently I can’t be the one to name the theme of the story and explain the purpose of the theme. Screw her.

Yea, definitely something wrong with me today.

As I inspect my hair in the mirror, I feel the same strange whispering calling to me as I did this morning. Instead of ignoring it, I stop focusing on my reflection and chase after the almost sound that keeps darting around my mind, trying to bring it into focus. Suddenly, like finding the right frequency for a particular radio station, I feel my fingers wrap around the pink and purple strands, and I can hear…

…And honestly, the lack of effort you gave in your class. There must have been some mistake, there’s no way any counterpart of mine could be so… so… Nonchalant about her studies! Do you not care about…

I jump back and wrench my hand from my hair like I’ve been burned, staring at my trembling expression.

That’s new.

That’s new, and definitely not fucking normal.

I realize that the voice has gone quiet and I feel a shudder run through my body. It saw me react… It… That’s not me, that thing is definitely not my voice. It… I…

Oh fuck. I know that voice.

I swallow, and open and close my mouth, trying to force a sound out. I should go, I should run straight to the nurse’s office and tell her to call a psychologist immediately because I definitely finally have lost it.

Instead, I focus on trying to get my voice to work. “Twi… Twilight Sparkle?”

I feel the thing freeze inside of my head.

Oh my Celestia, can you hear me?

I blink once at my reflection before I feel the sharp crack of the tile floor against my head as my legs give out under me and I fade into the black.

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