Symphony of the Damned

by No More

Chapter 1: Chapter: 1

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Chapter: 1

Four hooves slowly treaded against the hard cobblestone road, echoing through the darkened alleyways of downtown Canterlot. The streets glistened with the soft glow of refracted light, it’s source coming from the full moon that hung overhead, aided by the soft flicker of the street lamps that lined the sides of the old road.

A single pony made her way through these empty streets, a hoodie pulled tightly over her body to keep in her warmth. The night was cold, but the air was still. The pony kept her head down, eyes glued to the cold stone that lay beneath her hooves. She needed not to look up. She knew these streets like the back of her hoof, traversing her way from memory alone.

The night was quiet but soothing. The lack of sound giving the mare in question a sense of simplicity and calm that she rarely felt anywhere else. Every night she would traverse the same path, her hooves guiding her from the nightclub she worked at to home. The mare chose to take the long way home, both to embrace the calm silence around her, and to escape from her life. This neighborhood in the city was more or less vacant of ponies, somewhat to do with it’s age, but mostly because of an old superstition.

The pony lifted her head, turning it to the right and letting her hood fall down. She involuntarily ran a hoof through her electric blue hair, fixing the ruffled mess her hood had left it in. Her gaze trailed further down the road, eventually stopping on what was left of the Melody Grand Theatre. It had been abandoned almost eighty years ago; shortly after the death of the pony who it was eventually named after.

Vinyl Scratch shook her head, ignoring the old building that she passed by every night after work. It would be another half hour before she made it back home. Once there, she tossed off her hoodie and plopped herself on the couch. She levitated the remote over to her, and turned on the television, ready to relax with some mind-numbing cartoons before she would go to bed.

However, Vinyl had only gotten a few minutes into her show before being interrupted.

“Yo, Vinny, how was work?"

Vinyl turned towards the staircase, watching as her brother descended towards her. She shrugged, turning back to the television. “Same as always, Neon.”

Neon Lights jumped over the couch, landing next to his sister. “Oh yeah? No cool bar fights? No funny drunken stories you overheard?”

“I did say the usual, Neon…”

He waved her off. "Fine, whatever." He got up from the couch and headed towards the kitchen. "You want anything?”

“Just some water, thanks." Vinyl replied.

A moment later Neon returned to the living room with a bottle of water and a can of soda levitating beside him. He sat back down beside her, popping open his drink. “So Vinny, think you could do me a favor?”

Without taking her eyes off the TV, she responded. "Yeah?”

“You know that old legend about the ghost that haunts that old theatre downtown right?”

She nodded, rolling her eyes. “Just about everypony in this part of town knows about it.”

Neon took a sip of his soda. "So, I was thinking, on your way back from work one day if you could check it out, y’know?”

Vinyl turned towards him with a raised eyebrow. “You want me to what?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. "Just take a few minutes and look around the place. I mean, you walk past it every night you work.”

Vinyl shook her head. "No, I’m not doing that.”

“Oh c’moooon!" he pleaded. “Just a few minutes! Just look around and see if you hear any music or something!”

“Why can’t you do it yourself?”

“Because there’s a curfew and I’m underage." He smirked.

Vinyl grumbled. What a bullshit excuse. “So let me get this straight, you want me to go into an old, condemned building that could possibly kill me if I step in the wrong spot, just to prove to you that an old myth is just that: a myth?”

He shrugged. “More or less.”

“The answer is still no.”

Neon groaned and slouched on the couch. After a few seconds of silence, he perked back up with a nefarious scheme planned out. “Don’t tell me you’re scared, Vinny.”

Vinyl rolled her eyes. "Not gonna work, bro.”

He put his hooves up. "Hey, you’re the one who told me that ghosts aren’t real. So what do you have to lose?”

“Possibly my life.”

He sipped his soda. "Hey, that building has been standing for for, like, a hundred years, and there’s been ponies going in and out of it all the time. I don’t care what the city says, that building ain’t gonna fall on nopony anytime soon.”

“Still not doing it.”

He dramatically pointed at her. "So you are scared!”

“No, I just–”

“Face it, you think there actually is a ghost in there and you’re scared to take five minutes to look around.”

Vinyl’s eye twitched. "Ghosts aren’t real, Neon.”

“If you’re so sure about that, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go. I mean, unless you are scared.”

Vinyl groaned and punched her brother in the shoulder. “Fine, you little idiot. I’ll go just to prove you wrong!”

Neon smiled triumphantly. Works every time. He extended his hoof to her. “Shake on it?”

Vinyl rolled her eyes, but extended her hoof anyway. "Fine, deal." She turned her attention back to the TV. "Now go to bed, will you? It’s three A.M.”

Neon scoffed and crossed his arms. "But it’s Saturdayyyy!”

Vinyl shrugged. "Just because there’s no school tomorrow isn’t an excuse to throw off your sleep cycle." She turned to look him in the eye. "Now, go to bed.”

Neon defiantly gazed at his big sister. He would not give into such ludicrous demands on a day where he need not to wake up at such an ungodly early hour. His sister, however, was resilient. She gave him the look, the one where she would ever so slightly tilt her head down and to the left.

Neon gulped, but he did not falter.

The eyebrow was raised; the end was near.

Neon trudged up the stairs to his room.


The next day had come, and with it, the next night. Vinyl had left the nightclub not too long ago, beginning her trek through the empty streets, and towards the theatre. As the streets grew darker and emptier, they reminded her more and more of her current situation: a hollow job and an empty life.

In truth, Vinyl hated the nightclub. Sure, she had a passion for music, but her job gave her no room for passion. Instead, she has to play the same generic, boring tracks that, for some reason, seem to excite the crowd more than her own, original work. And, as such, even she began to despise her job, void of fleeting passion. It wasn’t the job she signed up for; it wasn’t the life she wanted, but she didn’t have a choice in the matter. She needed a steady source of income to support both her and her brother, and the club was the only place that fits the bill.

Vinyl had always dreamed of so much more. When she had gotten her cutie mark, she thought that her talent was to create beautiful, inspiring modern music for all to immerse themselves in. Now, however, she gets disgusted whenever she looks at the mark on her flank; a dreadful reminder of a false destiny.

Vinyl stopped, and the echoing of her hooves against the cold stone beneath her died down. She pulled her hood off and looked at the weathered building in front of her with mild surprise. Even after eighty years, the building was still standing, and didn’t even look that torn. Apart from paint peeling off, and some cracks along the wall, the theatre was in relatively good shape for its age. Earth pony engineering, there’s nothing better, she thought. Maybe I won’t die walking through it.

Vinyl shook her head. She couldn’t help but be reminded of the tragic story behind the ruined building every time she laid eyes on it, its tale instantly filling her mind with disgust. Even after a thousand years of unity, the three pony races still fought against each other for superiority; the story behind this building being just one of those examples. Although, nowadays it’s only prevalent in Canterlot, it still serves to show that old prejudices do not die easily.

The story takes place about eighty years ago. Back then, there was an earth pony prodigy. This pony had skill with a bow that hadn’t been seen for decades, her superior talent evident with the precision and perfection in every note she played. Her talent eventually became so well known amongst the lower districts of Canterlot (where the earth ponies would commonly reside) that her name had eventually made it to the Princess’s ears. Celestia herself had asked the pony to come to the castle so that she may meet her in person and promised a spot on the Royal Symphony if she was even half as good as she was known for. The princess requested a personal concert so that she may hear her talent for herself. Both the prodigy and her community were thrilled about the news, all pitching in to renovate the old theatre that had laid dormant in their community for years, restoring it to a condition that was befitting the princess that would use it.

Tragedy had struck that night, however. It was supposed to be the greatest night of her life, the night when she would perform for a princess, and earn her dream of being inducted into the Royal Symphony, earning the title of first earth pony to join it’s ranks. But alas, fate had other plans. During her recital, the prodigy was murdered by a jealous unicorn musician, furious that an earth pony could be awarded such a prestigious position in society that rightfully belonged to him.

After witnessing such a young, promising musician murdered before her eyes, the princess had decided that enough was enough with this pitiful discrimination. For the next eighty years, Celestia had worked nonstop to abolish the inequality that had been going on under her nose for so long.

Well, that’s the true story, at least.

The legend is that the earth pony, her spirit filled with sadness and anger for being denied her dream, decided to stay on the mortal plane and haunt the very theater she was murdered in. They say you can still hear her playing her ghostly song. A song that was supposed to make her dream come true, but instead remains a reminder of a dream that was denied.

Vinyl took a deep breath. That story’s nothing but story; ghosts aren’t real. Shaking her head of any ill thoughts, she approached the withered double doors and opened them. The hinges creaked under the foreign pressure, startling the white mare somewhat. Once she was inside, she had to ignite her horn to illuminate the room. Shining the light from her horn around the room, she was amazed at condition and general designs of the interior. It was a large, open room with a chandelier lying broken on the floor. There were tattered flags and tapestry that hung on the walls, as well as what looked like faded posters, the images they once held lost to time. At the opposite end of the room was a counter, coated in dust and cobwebs. She imagined there would be rubble littering the floor, parts of the ceiling missing, and the like. Instead, the main foyer was in relatively good condition, just like the outside.

Briefly the thought of somepony maintaining the old building popped into her mind, but soon fleeted. Nopony would put that kind of effort into something that would never be used again. Especially in this part of town, the poorest, run down district in the entire capital city. Even so, after the prodigy was murdered, the earth pony community lost hope, and didn’t care to maintain, let alone look at a constant reminder of a horrendous tragedy.

Vinyl slowly made her way through the foyer, mindful of where she stepped, her eyes scanning for a rat or a shard of glass that could harm her. She made her way to the back right end of the room, where there was a hallway leading further into the ancient building. Through the echoing of her hoofsteps, she could slightly make out a different sound. The white unicorn stopped, allowing the sound of her hooves to die out, and listened. There was something there, but it was too faint to be distinguishable. Could just be some rats or something, she figured, and kept moving.

The further she got into the hallway, the more she thought about the situation. Why am I doing this again? she constantly asked herself. Was it pride, or her curiosity that fueled her expedition? Of course, it was always nice to prove Neon wrong, but then again, why would such a legend of a ghost haunting a theatre last for almost a century? There was no such thing as ghosts; the prospect made up just to scare little fillies. Something like that should have died out over the years, and yet, the story survived.

The hallway ended, opening up to a larger room. Vinyl stopped, again hearing the sound from earlier repeat. She felt a chill run up her spine as the sound got louder, and more distinct. That’s definitely not a rat…, she figured, her anxiety spiking.

Her curiosity defied instinct, and she crept closer and closer to the sound. As she entered another room (the main hall judging by the chairs descending into the darkness) the sound started to form a rhythm. Vinyl gasped as the realization hit her: she was hearing music.

The white unicorn shook her head. That’s impossible. Neon must be pranking me!. It was a perfect explanation. Her little brother must have set her up. He urged her to journey into the haunted theatre, and left a speaker on playing some classical music to give his sister a spook. Vinyl grumbled, agitated that she wasted her time trudging through an old theatre just to get humiliated by her little brother.

With no more fear plaguing her body, Vinyl casually walked toward the stage, expecting Neon to pop out of the curtains wearing some cheesy ghost costume. The music had gotten louder, more intense with every step until it suddenly stopped without warning as if had been paused. Vinyl smirked, Hah, the little buffoon is here. Wait till I get my hooves on him! He’s going to be in so much trouble for staying up this late on a Sunday! When she got to the stage and climbed onto it, there was no music player, nor an annoying little brother. Instead, she noticed a single chair, oddly void of dust. The spectacle would have intrigued her more, but another object caught her eye.

Laying next to the chair sat a cello, also void of dust. Vinyl stared at it, puzzled. Neither Vinyl nor Neon owned a cello, so that means that instrument was not planted. If it wasn’t planted, who would leave a perfectly good cello lying in an abandoned theatre? Vinyl reached out for it.

“Excuse me, what are you doing?”

Vinyl didn’t have enough time to register exactly what happened before her instincts kicked in. All she knew was that she was in a dark, old, creepy building with nopony else, and that voice was not Neon’s. There was no time to look behind her to see who it was, or to think logically about the situation. The white unicorn only had enough time to jump, scream, and run behind the curtains on the stage. In her careless haste, she ended up getting tangled in the faded red curtains, and tripping over her own hooves.

She scrambled to get out of the cocoon of cloth that she managed to accidently wrapped herself into. Once she was free, she stood up and looked around, horn aglow to re-light the room. There, by the chair and cello, stood a gray coated earth pony mare.

Vinyl sighed with relief. It’s just a pony. From the distinguished way she carried herself, and the fancy looking bowtie she wore, Vinyl figured she must be a city inspector or something along those lines. Vinyl would probably get reprimanded for trespassing in an abandoned, condemned building, but at least no harm would come to her.

The pony walked towards Vinyl, her nose in the air and her eyes closed. Vinyl patted her fur, removing what dust she could from her coat and jacket, and watched the earth pony approach her. Let’s see what this one has to say.

The pony’s hoof phased through the downed curtain.

Vinyl took a step back, gasping in surprise. Did that pony just walk through the curtain? No, that’s impossible. Maybe Vinyl was just too tired and saw something that didn’t actually happen. Yes, that made sense.

There was a sandbag on the stage, and the pony once again phased through it as if it was a hologram.

That time, Vinyl knew she wasn’t seeing things. The pony in front of her had just walked through two solid objects, and didn’t even look concerned about it! Vinyl stepped back again, but hit a wall behind her.

The pony drew closer, and with every step, Vinyl felt colder, as if the air around her was being sucked dry of all heat. Vinyl stood on her hind legs, back against the wall, adrenaline rushing, breathing erratically. There was only one explanation to why there’s another pony in that building, at that hour, phasing through objects.

The pony that stood before Vinyl was the ghost that haunted the theatre.

There was no other explanation. She couldn’t be a hologram, Neon doesn’t know how to work those, especially one that looks this real. Neon certainly doesn’t have the magical skill to conjure up something like that. Oh no, this was no prank. The phantom that stood before the cowering unicorn was real.

The ghost stopped in front of Vinyl, lowering her head and opening her eyes. The poor unicorn gazed into those eyes, and noticed that they shone in the darkness. Vinyl gasped again, her entire body writhing in fear as her legs gave out and she fell to the floor. She wanted to run, to scream, but all her basic instincts had shut down. She could only sit there, fear planting her in place, and stare at the abomination before her.

The spectre extended a hoof, and on it was a familiar pair of shades. “You dropped these,” it spoke.

Vinyl didn’t react. She kept staring into the empty, soulless eyes of the creature before her. Her mind was still wracking over the fact that the pony in front of her was a ghost, and was trying to determine exactly what was going to happen to her. Would the ghost possess her body? Would she simply kill her for trespassing on her domain?

The ghost raised an eyebrow, expecting a reply. When none came, she simply rolled her eyes, gently put Vinyl’s glasses down on the floor in front of her, and turned away. “If you’re going to stand there like a frightened child all night, be my guest. The door’s over there when you feel like leaving.”

The ghost walked away from the trembling unicorn and vanished into the darkness. Vinyl’s nerves relaxed, but only slightly. She grabbed her chest, feeling her heartbeat at a thousand miles per hour. Her mind was at a standstill, unable to fully comprehend anything that just happened. She didn’t know how long she was sitting there for, but the second she came to her senses, she grabbed her glasses and bolted out the way she came in.

Her hooves never stopped moving until she reached front door of her house, pausing only momentarily to fumble with her magic for the key. Once the key had found it’s place in the lock, the frantic unicorn threw herself inside, where she promptly slammed, locked, and could have barricaded the door it if she had the means to.

The unicorn pressed her back to the door, baring it for a moment, before slowly making her way towards the kitchen. Her magic aglow, the unicorn opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water, downing the bottle. Her back then slammed against the fridge, and she slid down until she sat on the floor. She put a hoof over her heart, feeling as it continued to burst through her chest. The unicorn layed there, remaining still and panting as she caught her breath. Once her lungs stopped burning, and her heart slowed to a slow, steady rhythm, she downed the bottle until it was empty. She haphazardly tossing the empty plastic container across the kitchen, curling up into a ball on the floor soon after.

She stared at the wall, motionless, with only a single thought running through her head: What the fuck was that?!


Neon lazily slipped out of bed, haphazardly smacking his hoof on his bedside table, hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock after a few attempts. He yawned, stretched, and once a few joints had been popped, made his way out the door of his room and down the stairs.

“Vinny, you awake?" he cried out, turning into the adjoined kitchen to grab some breakfast. Strange, usually Vinyl was always up to make him breakfast in the mornings, but the house was dark, and the aroma of pancakes was not in the air. He wasn’t able to ponder that phenomena, however, as he stopped and stared at the prone form of his older sister, curled up tightly into a ball and staring emotionless at the wall. Neon rushed into action, at his sister’s side within mere seconds. “Vinyl, are you okay?!" he screamed, kneeling down and shaking his sister.

She responded by jumping, turning towards him and scooting away until her back pressed against one of the lower cabinets.

Neon went to follow, but stopped once he saw the sheer look of terror that was plastered across her sister’s features, her white coat somehow seeming even more pale. It took him a second to compose himself. “Vinyl… what happened to you?”

The unicorn didn’t respond at first, her eyes wandering all around the room. Eventually, she seemed to snap out of her fear filled transe, shaking her head and stepping onto slightly wobbling hooves. “N-nothing, Neon. Just… just…” She tried to think of a lie, not wanting her brother to know of what she saw. She shook her head, composing herself as much as she could. “Just… Just a bad day at work,” she mumbled, trotting forwards and past her brother.

Neon blinked, shaking his head at the blatant lie. He turned. “Come on, sis! That can’t be it. You’re usually tired or just annoyed after a bad gig. Right now you look like you’ve seen a… a…” His eyes went wide as realization hit him. “Oh my, Celestia! You saw her, didn’t you?!”

Vinyl shuttered, pausing her walk only momentarily. “Neon, just get to school,” she replied coldly, continuing her stride into her room, slamming the door behind her. The unicorn then flopped unceremoniously onto her small bed, burrowing her muzzle into the pillow.

Neon followed his sister, stopping just outside of her room, the only thing stopping him from busting in was his sister’s icy tone. He hesitated, but ultimately left her alone. She’ll come around eventually… I hope, he figured. Besides, he had to get going before he was late for school. When he would come back from school, and if Vinyl was still acting strange, he would intervene then.

Inside the room, Vinyl was an absolute mess. She laid on her bed, staring at the ceiling, and trying once again to make sense of her previous encounter. Nothing made sense to her anymore. She stayed up all last night, curled in a ball on the kitchen, trying to wrap her mind around what exactly she saw in the theatre. She didn’t even realize how long she had laid in their kitchen until Neon woke up for school, signalling that several hours had passed.

The only explanation for what she saw was an honest-to-Celestia ghost. The story about the young cellists’ spirit haunting the old theatre was true. For almost a hundred years, that ghost must have been there.

Vinyl saw it with her own eyes. She saw the earth pony phase through objects like they were air. She saw the way her eyes glowed in the dark. She felt the chill in the air surrounding the phantom. Everything lead up to one conclusion.

Ghosts are real.

Vinyl rubbed her eyes. There was still something that didn’t make sense. The way the ghost acted was strange. When it approached her, it didn’t seem… malevolent. All the ghost stories and movies Vinyl has heard or seen always portrayed the ghosts as evil spirits that sought revenge, or to possess a living pony, or flat out just kill ponies that they came across. But this one.. this one didn’t do any of that. Vinyl remembered the first thing it asked, ‘excuse me, what are you doing?’ The more Vinyl thought about it, the more she remembered how the spirit sounded: curious. After that, the spirit returned Vinyl’s shades, politely giving them back to her. And after Vinyl was unresponsive, the spirit walked off, a little annoyed.

Vinyl jumped at the sound of knocking on her bedroom door. A meek voice quietly came through to her. “V-Vinny? Are you ok in there? I’m home from school and… just wanting to know if you’re alright.”

Vinyl blinked. Home from school? How long have I been… She looked at her bedside clock, and gasped at how fast time went by when she was laying in bed. She rolled out of bed and opened the door. Her little brother stood there, concern in his eyes.

Vinyl outstretched her forelegs and hugged her brother. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Neon, glad that his sister came back to her senses, hugged her back. “It’s fine… but… did you actually… you know?”

Vinyl remained silent. She wasn't sure she wanted to tell Neon about what she saw or not. On one hoof, he wouldn’t stop bothering her or worrying unless she said something. However, she didn’t want to tell him the truth. Not because she didn’t want to be proven wrong, but because she wished to protect him. If Neon knew the ghost story was real, he would want to go see the spirit for himself, and that’s something Vinyl would not let happen.

After a moment of silence, Vinyl spoke up, “No, I... didn’t see a ghost. B-but I did see a… a skeleton, though. Ran right into it and scared the living shit out of me." It was believable enough. Seeing a dead ponies remains ought to frighten a pony enough to keep them up at night.

Neon broke the hug and looked at Vinyl. “A skeleton? Somepony just died, and they left ‘em there?”

Vinyl shrugged weakly. “I don’t know. You know how bad that part of town is. Nopony probably cared." She patted him on the head. “C’mon, let’s just forget about it! What do you want for dinner?”

Neon smiled, seeming to accept his sister’s rationalization. “Pizza, for sure!”

Vinyl rolled her eyes, but smiled as well. “Alright, we’ll order a pizza." Truthfully, Vinyl wasn’t in the mood to cook anyway.

Next Chapter: Chapter: 2 Estimated time remaining: 4 Hours, 35 Minutes

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