The Night I Called the Old Stallion Out

by Aegis Shield

Chapter 1: The Night I Called the Old Stallion Out

A/N: Songfic based around Garth Brooks’ “The Night I Called the Old Man Out”

The Night I Called the Old Stallion Out

“Stop crying.” Papa Apple snapped angrily. As per usual, supper time at the Apple Family home was a scene of tension, fear, and quiet whimpering by the tiny filly Applebloom. She nursed a bruise on the side of her face, given to her when her sire had cuffed her for dropping a porcelain bowl with mashed potatoes in it. She hadn’t meant to drop it, and had tried to apologize when he hit her. “Stop crying!” he snapped again. The little filly whimpered, but did her best to stifle herself.

Big Macintosh, barely big enough for his yoke, scowled at his father with burning eyes. Granny Smith stared into her applesauce, sighing quietly. The frizz of the bun on her head told of sleepless nights and constant worry. Her son hadn’t been the same since Golden Apple, his wife, had died in labor. He’d grown angry, vengeful, and often beat the children of the house for it.

Applejack came in at last from her chores, hot and sweating from the extra long day she’d had. She went to the dining room sink to wash her face, sighing softly as she rubbed a blessedly cool rag. The light hoof-prints on one of her flanks were almost gone too, so she’d be able to go back to town without anypony asking questions. That was good. She turned back to the dining room, smiling in a haggard way. As soon as she was big enough to buck even one apple out of a tree, Papa had set her to a grown pony’s work load. She’d grown strong, yes, but she was still barely a budding mare as it was. No doubt her strong earth pony genes were the only thing that kept her from pitching over dead from exhaustion. Apples were built strong, after all. “Hay ever’pony.” She said, weakly sitting at her chair at the table.

“Supper’s at seven-thirty sharp, Applejack.” Her father growled, eyeing her angrily. The clock on the wall read seven fourty-two. “What dun’cha get about followin’ a schedule ‘round here?” his golden-maned daughter looked across the table at him, a little caught off guard.

“Ah had to finish all mah chores, Pa, I couldn’t just leave somethin’ undone.”

“Then you get it done faster!” he roared, standing up. “We always have supper together, as a family, in this house!” There was a clank of silverware as Applebloom flinched. Her father’s standing motion had made her jump fearfully, sending a fork to the floor. She ducked out of sight to grab it, and when she sat up again he was staring at her instead. The tiny filly whimpered softly, sinking down until only her eyes and hair-ribbon were sticking up over the table.

It was then that Applejack spotted the bruise on her little sister’s cheek. “Applebloom!” she swept around the table to the little filly. “What happened there?” she squatted down to have a closer look and touch the mark. The yellow filly shrank back in pain, her big soft eyes looking anywhere but Applejack. “Tell me…?” she said softly.

“She broke another bowl.” said Papa Apple, sitting slowly. “So ah taught her a good lesson, to be more careful.” Applejack’s mouth went a little agape, and she studied the hoofmark more closely, matching her own to it. Sure enough, it was stallion-sized.

“Oh Applebloom…” Applejack said softly, pulling her sister into a tender embrace.

“I-it’s okay, big sis, I prolly deserved it…” Applejack could feel her sister’s tiny body shaking like a leaf. Applejack had never heard such terrible words come out of her little mouth. She was so frightened, so terrified, she didn’t even dare complain. Granny Smith was eyeing the scene with quiet sympathy. What could she do?

“Nopony deserves that, little sis.” Applejack crooned over her little sister. “Yer okay, yer okay…” she soothed the little filly out of her shaking, setting her gingerly on the chair again. She made sure the fork that had fallen was still clean, putting it on the waiting napkin.

“You dun?” said Papa Apple from his seat at the head of the table, eyes lidded. “Can we eat now?”

Applejack stared down at the bruise on Applebloom’s face, and felt the fading one on her right flank. She looked over her shoulder at Big Macintosh, who could only sit there and quiver in silent rage. “Pa… you’re so dang full of it, it hurts to listen t’you.” Applejack said quietly, turning around to face him. Granny Smith stood quickly, a fearful look on her face. She snatched Applebloom right out of her seat, hauling her quickly out of the room. Papa Apple stood slowly, his normally red face turning a dark and angry crimson.

The dining room fell silent
I can't believe what I just said
I just told my Pa he's full of it
And I watched his face turn red

“Whut’d you jus’ say?” he said darkly, his eyes glittering with malice. One of his huge hooves came up to rest on the table. “Ain’t sure ah heard you right just now.” Outside, a thunderstorm threatened, and the sudden curtain of rain battered the house. Battered. The word was too often accurate for the Apple household.

“You’re so dang full of it, it hurts t’listen t’you.” Applejack said, slowly rising out of her chair until it tumped over backward behind her. Big Macintosh’s gaze flicked over to his sister, uncomprehending. What was happening? What was she doing?! “You make me sick, Pa.”

“Ah think maybe you forgot your lessons, little filly.” Papa Apple said, scowling savagely. “Maybe ah need’a teach you AGAIN!” he slammed his huge hoof down, breaking off part of the table and sending splinters in all directions. Plates pitched themselves into the air and a lot of wasted food spilled out over the floor. Despite himself, Big Macintosh could bring himself to move. “AH’M the head of this household and you do what AH say!” the massive stallion said dominantly, his great chest inflating with a coil of farm-worked muscle.

Applejack reared up and put her front hooves on the table. “Ah’d do what you say if you’d stop BUCKING ever’pony in this house like punching bags!” she screamed across the table at him. With a flourish of her hoof, she pushed away the remaining bowl and plates in front of her, shattering them upon the floor. They leaned at each other threateningly, the massive stallion and the budding farm mare. “We ain’t yours to abuse!”

“Words dun’t reach someponies, obviously! No foal gots respect for fire until they stick their hoof in it!” Papa Apple landed his hooves on the floorboards with a stomp. Turning, he bucked the front door open. “Shall we then?” he offered with an angry scowl. “Looks like ah got more to teach you, filleh.”

“Papa, no.” Big Macintosh came to the door way, shaking his head rapidly. It wasn’t often that he spoke these days, but his deep southern twang made an appearance for his little sister’s sake. He couldn’t bear to watch. “T’ain’t righ’ to hit a mare, righ'? Righ'? You taugh' me that, 'member?” He said, rearing up a little to put his hooves on his father’s massive chest.

Papa Apple’s response was to back-hoof his son so hard he was bodily launched off of his hooves and into the air. The red colt-almost-stallion struck an end table with a doggish yelp, crushed it under his weight and sending debris flying. In the next room, Applebloom began to openly bawl. Granny Smith could be heard trying to shush her, to tell her it would be alright. “Son this is gonna hurt me way more than it hurts you.” Empty words from the anger-driven stallion. He’d not been the same since Ma’s death, and now he’d been consumed by his hatred for life.

Applejack looked at her fallen brother with a shocked expression. “You first, old stallion.” She watched her father step out into the pouring rain, glaring thunder at her while lightning in the sky turned him briefly into a black shape with burning eyes. “Take care’a Applebloom, Big Mac.” She told the moaning form of her older brother before she stepped out as well. The screen door slammed behind her like a death sentence.

And I could've said, "I'm sorry"
But I matched him shout for shout
I can still hear that screen door slammin'
The night I called him out
He said, "Son it's gonna hurt me more than it hurts you"
But somehow I couldn't help but have my doubts
'Cause I'd seen my older brother crawl back in the house
Each time he called the old stallion out

Papa Apple and Applejack came to the apex of a hill that overlooked most of the orchard. Heavy rain dripped off the brim of his old, ratty brown cowboy hat. He lowered the brim to aid his vision while thunder blasted in the background. The ground was turning to mushy mud, making it hard to keep one’s footing. Applejack stood squarely across from him. “You kin go back inside if you ‘pologize, little filleh.” He offered one more time, pawing his hoof at the ground a bit. The orange mare didn’t move, but rather angrily tossed her mane out of her eyes. The rain soothed the bruise on her, but all she could think of was poor little Applebloom. The bruises. The crying. Watching Big Macintosh try to fight him over and over and always coming back with more marks on him than last time.

Without warning Applejack charged wildly, whinnying a scream and lowering the crown of her head to ram into him. Papa Apple lowered his head and met his daughter, ram for ram. For Applejack it was like running into a brick wall. The mud refused her traction and he pushed her backward with sheer pressing force. She yelped when her butt struck a tree and flailed about. But no, he mashed her against the tree and struck her face with his hoof. Keeping her pinned, he made her yelp as her head snapped left. Right. Left. Right again. She kicked wildly, seeing white every time he struck her. She landed a blow on his bad knee. He staggered a little and she head-butted him while he was trying to recover.

Lightning exploded across the sky. In the house, Applebloom, Granny Smith, and the barely coherent Big Macintosh watched the battle unfold from the front windows. The two black shapes atop the hill danced wildly. One large, one small.

Hoof to hoof and eye to eye
Standin' toe to toe
He would've let me walk away
But I just would not let it go
The years of my frustration
Had let me to this night
Now he'll pay for all the times that he's been “right”

Applejack tried to use her tiny size to her advantage, but it was all she could do not to get pinned and beaten again. Last time, he father had covered her cutie mark with bruises and she hadn’t been able to go into Ponyville for a week. She couldn’t let that happen anymore. Applebloom needed somepony to help her get to school. She was just a little thing.

The orange mare’s brief destraction earned her a hoof right across the muzzle. She tumbled backwards with a shriek of pain, blood spattering the tree she crashed into. Clinging to it like an anchor, she shivered as she righted herself. Her mane hung over her eyes and she wiped it away quickly. Screaming with effort she rammed herself into the barrel-chested stallion, biting and flailing her hooves like a mad-pony. She caught him in the face a couple of times, but she just wasn’t strong enough to take him down. She was too young. Too weak. As thunder blasted across the sky again, he caught her in the eye with all his strength. Applejack’s head snapped back with a feral shriek and she pitched over herself from the pure concussive force of it all. Landing on her back in the mud, she moaned, curling to one side.

Papa Apple wasn’t done with her yet. “You’ll learn yer lesson, little filly, if ah gotta beat it into you just like yer big brother and yer little sister.” He grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and slammed her back into a tree. The orange mare sagged forward, blood oozing out of her nose and from her mouth. She coughed, and one of her teeth fell to the muddy ground.

“Applejack!” Applebloom shrieked, squirming out of Granny Smith’s grip and running into the rain. “Stop! Papa stop it! Leave her alone!” blinded by tears and rain and thunder, the little filly ran and started tugging at her father’s leg. He back-hoof’d her aside and she yelped, before he turned and raised a hoof to continue with Applejack.

It was over in a minute
That's when I realized
The blood came from my mouth and nose
But the tears from my sister’s eyes

Nopony saw or expected a pair of stallions to descend from on high like bolts of lightning, covered in golden armor, crashing into Papa Apple. He let out a roar of pain and confusion as they rode him like a living sled down the hill and through the mud. They tumbled through the muck and grime until they reached the bottom and both Solar Guards pinned him with their bodies.

Suddenly, a pair of ponies appeared at the edge of Sweet Apple Acres, saw the scene and came running. Dropping their umbrella, they ran to the hilltop and past the thrashing red stallion while the guard’s roughly mare-handled him to the ground.

“Applebloom!” It was Cheerilee, Applebloom’s teacher from school!

“Applejack!” Rainbow Dash too!

The purple mare rushed to pull the crying filly into her arms, crooning over her and stroking her mane. “Oh Applebloom! When I saw the bruises on you I just had to come investigate!” she wept over her shaking student. “I’m so sorry! I had no idea it was this bad!” She looked over at the solar guards she'd brought, thankful she'd done so.

“Applejack! Applejack speak to me!” Rainbow Dash had the limp mare by the shoulders, shaking her some. Applejack moaned, sagging to one side. She blinked in the rain, looking up at the prismatically-maned mare. “You hadn’t been in town for days, I had to come see if you were alright! Hey! Hey! Applejack!” she was trying to shake her back to sense. Suddenly Big Macintosh was there, limping onto the scene with Granny Smith to support him. They stopped next to Applejack and Rainbow Dash, but they were looking down the hill.

The solar guards had pressed Papa Apple into a series of nelson holds until they found the right one to hoof-cuff him in. Even his amazing strength was no match for solid steel chains. When he could barely walk, they were satisfied. And when he tried to head-butt one of them, they beat the living buck out of him with night sticks until he stopped moving. They would need a cart of move his massive body. None of the Apple family present felt a shred of pity for him. He would be going away for a long time, abusive bastard. A long, long time.

And in memory of that fateful night
I know the greatest pain was his
And I just pray someday he’s half the pony he was

“C’mon, let’s get them in out of the rain.” Cheerilee said importantly, cradling the bawling Applebloom under her undercarriage. There was general agreement, but Applejack wouldn’t have it.

Applejack staggered to her hooves, leaning on Rainbow. “Help me get over there, Rainbow.” She gestured to where her father was being held down. One of the solar guards had left to fetch his comrades of the law. The one that remained had unceremoniously sat on Papa Apple with one of the prisoner’s hooves twisted behind his back. The mighty stallion was writhing, but he was pinned nicely. Rainbow Dash walked slowly with the limping earth pony, looking at the dribbles of blood. “Pa.” Applejack said, coming into his field of vision. The mighty stallion looked up, glaring at her with all the hate of a thousand angry suns. “You dun come back.” Her voice honked through what was probably a broken nose. “You dun ever come back.” Reaching down, she unceremoniously snatched the battered brown hat off his head. With a resolute look, she shoved it onto her own head. It had always symbolized the leader of the household, even through generations. Now it was hers. “Ahm in charge here noaw.” She said, touching her bloody nose painfully. “I dun care how long yer in jail, you dun ever, ever come back. You ain’t got no family here no more.” With that, she leaned painfully into Rainbow Dash. The cyan Pegasus took this as her cue and led the limping mare away, back towards the house.

I'd seen my older brother crawl back in the house
Each time he called the old stallion out
Just like my older brother
I crawled back in the house
The night I called the old stallion out


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