by Sir Hat

Chapter 1: Brick Maze

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Author's Notes:


I stepped out of the school, the steps down a bit icy. I adjusted my backpack, the straps digging heavily into my shoulders. Ponies were pouring out into the street, a flock of griffons ran down into the street as well. It seemed like I was the odd man out yet again. I stretched my arms and flexed my fingers. I didn't mind too bad, I wasn't the only human at the school, I just didn't really like the group that stuck together.

I started off down the steps, my jacket barely kept the cold out. I stepped down onto the sidewalk, caught up in the rush of ponies heading home. Manehattan always felt like the closest thing to home, tall buildings, glass walls, cold in the right places, warm in the odd places. I blew a stream of air upward, watching it curl up in the cold.

It was always odd walking home, I was a good foot taller than everyone else, but I still felt surrounded. I felt like momma duck walking amongst a herd of ducklings. Except the ducklings were horses, and momma duck was a man. I scratched my head. "Papa duck...."

A few ponies looked back at me without stopping. One laughed and turned back while the other stepped away from me. I bit my tongue and worked my way away from the carts and carriages that filled the main street. I ducked out of the crowd of schoolkids and into an alley. It stank of piss and was poorly lit, but I'd spent enough time in Equestria to know crackheads weren't a thing, just homeless ponies and the occasional maniac inhabited the seedier of areas.

"Hey nerd." A rough voice shoved past as a pony ran further into the alley.

I coughed softly as I bounced off the wall. A bright blue colt trotted backwards through the alley. "Yo, Ross, what's up?"

Ross shook his head. "Nothing man, trotting on glass in an alley is kinda weird though." He lifted his hooves, the rubber soled hoof style boots making a satisfying crunch as he stepped on a bottle. "You gonna get a hooker or something?"

I scoffed. "No dude, streets are just crowded is all."

Ross waited for me to catch up with him, the massive walls surrounding us were oddly comforting. "So you go between two highrises? Why not just get a cab?"

I patted my pockets. "I'm broke."

"Good reason I guess." Ross turned and walked with me towards the next street. "Coulda' just used the gym door to get out here."

I felt my cheek tighten up as I frowned. "I hate using the gym door." I rubbed my arms.

Ross shook his head. "Surf?"

I nodded. "Who else?"

"Babs? Her little club of junior smokers? The jocks?"

I laughed and kicked a broken piece of concrete out of my way. "Babs is my friend...and the other two are the same thing really."

Ross laughed and hurried to the end of the alley. "They really still bother you? She might want you man--"

"Dead? Yeah." I stretched my arms to rid my skin of the creep of thinking of Surf. "She's made it really clear she like, legit, hates me."

Ross reared up and shrugged. "What exactly did you do to her?"

"Man, I don't know." I walked out into the street and looked towards the beach, snow covered sand oddly beautiful. "Racism?"

Ross glared at me. "Really?"

"No." I looked back towards the school. "I must have done something somewhere along the line."

"Or maybe she just doesn't like you." Ross leaned against the wall of the alley and peeked at a passing group of fillies. "Maybe it's a power thing."

I shrugged. "Don't really think it matters. I did something at some point in time to make an enemy." I stretched my arms, my jacket rustling loudly. "I think it might be the music thing."

Ross turned to me with a frown. "Choir?"

I shook my head. "It's not choir. Anyways, I'm gonna--"

Ross shoves a hoof into my side. "Don't! Back up, back up dude!" He started backing into the alley. "She's coming dude!"

"Oh Jesus!" I spun around, my foot pivoting on a piece of busted brick. "Fuck!" I tripped forward and slammed into the concrete walkway. A bit of rubble jabbed straight through my sleeve and deep into the meat of my shoulder. I let out a sharp whine and leaned against the wall to try and right myself. "Ross!?" Ross had bolted out the opposite side of the alley, leaving me limping after him. "Ross, you punk bitch!"

"Running?" Surf's sweet voice washed over my back. "Too bad you're a retard."

I took a deep breath and turned around. Four ponies and a griffon were standing in the alley, one of them already fronting on one of the homeless sleeping on a box. "Really? We really doing this again?"

Surf stepped forward, yellow mane short. "Why'd you run?"

I clutched my arm, the deep pain growing stagnate and achy. "Because you're going to chase me...because you always do."

Surf glared at me. "Why you in the alley? You know you're not--"

"I'm just trying to get home, okay!" I stepped back, my foot brushing a brick. I ducked down slowly and held my hand up. "Look, what do you want?"

Surf stepped up to me. "Got any bits?"

I shook my head. My hand slowly scanned around for the brick.

Surf frowned hard. "Your head thingy. I want it."

I grabbed my earphones, sat heavy around my neck. "Or not...." My arm hurt like hell, but the brick found its way between my fingers, rough and broken it would sure as hell do the job.

"Hey!" A thick accented mare shouted into the alley. "The heck's goin' on!?"

I stood up with the brick behind my back. Babs was standing off at the end of the alley. Surf turned around. "None of your business blank flank--"

Babs slowly walked over. "Yeah? Well it just got to be my business!" She looked up at me. "York, you okay?"

I licked my lips and flexed my fingers around the brick. "All things considered."

Surf's friends walked around behind me, blocking me off. Surf walked up to Babs. "See, he's fine, so how about you go and play with your marefriends?"

My heart went cold as Surf went down. Babs was left standing forehead sporting an almost immediate red mark across her forehead. "Oh shit!" I whirled around and held the brick up. Surf's friends stepped back immediately. "Back the hell up! Pony verses brick, you're not gonna win this one!"

Babs ran over. "You should probably get outta here." She bumped me towards the nearest street with her flank. "Go on, get out of here."

I licked my lips. "Don't have to tell me twice."

Surf let out a sharp scream as she stood up. "My nose is freaking bleeding you bitch!" She whirled around, muzzle bloody and bruised.

I looked back to Babs. "Hey...so...thanks, but I think this is gonna get bad soon."

Babs kept walking backwards shoving me out towards the street I'd come from. "Well, run. You know where to find me after."

I took a deep breath. "Should I bring ice?"

Babs sighed loudly. "Probably."

I nodded. "Alright...see you there." I hurled my brick at a wall. The two ponies blocking off the main street let out horrible screams and bolted. I grabbed my arm and ran straight into the endless line of ponies. A flurry of screamed followed me as I bolted through the street, dodging a carriage. A heavy flapping came from overhead. I looked behind me and found a griffon flying right after me. "Oh come on, screw off!" I held onto my headphones as I ran down another sidewalk.

I ducked into an alley, a pair of guards were slowly walking towards us. The griffon bounded off the alley wall, dead set on mutilating me no doubt. "Get back here you jerkoff!"

I raced down the alley, my music drawing my attention away from the horrid pain in my lungs. "Screw you! Follower! Prick! I bet you think this'll get you laid!" I ducked under a busted fence the griffon simply opting to go through it instead of over. "Oh my god, you're a psycho!"

The griffon started running after me. "Stop running you prick!"

"Fuck you, stop chasing me!" I swung into another alley, the brick maze slowly eating away my sense of direction. I scrambled up to another chain-link fence. "Oh come on! Why do they even have these when ponies can fly!? This is some racist crap man!"

A sharp scream came from the bend in the alley. "Oh dear Celestia, help!"

I hung my fingers in the fence. "What the hell?"

"There's glass in my foot! Somepony, help!"

I wrapped my other hand on the fence. "Suck to be you then!" I started to climb, the next street bustling and full of ponies. I just had to make it there and I'd be fine.


I stopped as I straddled the fence. "God damn it...." I slowly made my way back down. "I swear to god...I'm just gonna get punched." I hit the ground hard and slowly walked back to the split in the alley. I peeked around the corner, the griffon was standing against a wall with one of his hind legs raised. A deep red was starting to drip from his heel. "See! Shoes man!" I walked over and rubbed my arm.

The griffon clutched his leg and looked up at me. "This is your fault you prick!"

"You can fly! How is this my fault?!" I held my good arm out. "I don't have to help you ya know!"

The griffon bounced on his one good leg. "Yes you do! Get a doctor!"

I sighed loudly. "You don't need a doctor...well, you probably do, but I mean immediately." I set my backpack down and grabbed a few stolen packs of gauze. "Thank you nurse...hopefully she didn't need these." I was getting them for Babs, but one pack for intended use wouldn't hurt.

I ducked down before the griffon's leg. A decent shard of glass was wedged slightly in his biggest pad. "Is it bad?!"

I hissed softly. "It's terrible." I looked up at him. "You might lose the leg."

His eyes went wide. "Wha-- Arugh fuck!" I yanked the glass out cleanly and tossed it down the alley. "You're an asshole!"

"You keep saying that I won't help!" I pulled the gauze around his foot, wrapping it a few times until you couldn't see the blood through the beige wrap. "There, good enough." I zipped my bag up and stood. "Should probably get some actual help though, that shit is nas--"

I woke up on the ground. "What the hell?" My nose and eyebrow felt like they had just been smacked with a bat. I squirmed on the ground as a pair of dark heather talons wrapped around my backpack straps.

"Get up...stupid." The griffon tossed me against the opposite wall. He shook his talon and stretched his leg. "If anyone asks, I kicked your ass!"

I touched the bridge of my nose. "You fucking did!" I leaned my head down and pressed my hands against either side of my nose. "Bastard!"

The griffon stretched his wings. "It woulda been worse.... Nerd." He flew up and left me alone, bruised and lost, in the alley.

I stood there for a bit, left to try and collect my battered body and spun around mind. I took a deep breath and started off towards the streets again. "Such a prick...." I would have either a black eye or a swollen nose for a week because of that. I could only take solace in the fact that he'd have that cut for longer.

Back on the open concrete walkways of Manehattan I started to get my bearings. I needed to get to the house, Babs would be waiting.

Next Chapter: Babs Estimated time remaining: 34 Minutes
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