Runaway Train

by ChappyHooves

Chapter 1

Rainbow Dash walked into the empty train compartment and threw her bags in the overhead shelf.

The window shades of the compartment were down.

Good, she thought to herself. I won't open them till the train is at least a half an hour down the track.

She laid out across the two seater and closed her eyes in the hopes that sleep would come.

Rainbow Dash was a cyan pegasus, with rainbow colored hair and a cutie mark on her fank that bore the image of a rain cloud emitting a rainbow colored lighting bolt. Despite her laziness, Dash was very athletic and quite healthy for her age.

Dash felt the train lurch into motion. She kept her eyes closed as she felt the vibrations of the moving car pick up momentum. She steadied her breathing, and massaged her temples in a futile attempt to relax.

Dash laid there for what felt like ages, she wanted to sleep but her body was far from tired. Her want for sleep was not out of fatigue but out of a want for her mind to shut down, and to just let the world pass her by.

She rolled over and buried her face into the back of the seat. The new position was darker and slightly more relaxing.

Dash was not sure if she was completely asleep when she heard the compartment door open and close.

She shuffled and half rolled over to see who was in the cabin.

An elderly gray mare wearing a long raincoat and blue shawl was sitting across from her. She gave Dash a warm smile.

“Sorry to wake you,” she said in a slight whisper.

“No,” Dash said sitting up and rubbing her eyes. “I just can’t get to sleep, but I’m not really tired.”

“Oh,” the kind elderly mare responded. “Is it alright if I sit here?”

“It’s alright,” Dash replied, reaching up to the window blinds and pulling them up.

The light of the rising sun shone into the rattling cabin. Dash gave a groan.

“Not a fan of early morning travel?” The grey mare asked her.

“No,” Dash said flatly. “I’m not much of an early riser.”

“I was too when I was young like you,” the gray mare chuckled.

“What made you change?” Rainbow Dashed asked her.

“Having kids,” the mare replied beaming out the window.

“You’re a mother?”

“Grandmother,” she replied with pride. “I’ve had my own babies a little later in life than most of my friends. But it was alright in the end, they helped me gain back some of that energy I thought I lost in my youth. But I’m rambling, please tell me about yourself. What’s your name? Why are you traveling alone?”

Dash leaned her head against the glass of the window and watched the trees and scenery fly by.

“My name is Rainbow Dash, I’m going to Canterbury to join their weather containment team.”


“Yeah Canterbury is too far away from the weather stations of Cloudsdale that the clouds and the weather acts on their own.” Dash explained. “Because it’s surrounded by many lakes, sudden thunderstorms are common. They call their weather teams containment teams.”

“Wow,” the elderly mare said impressed. “So going to be a real storm chaser.”

“I guess you could say that,” Dash replied.

“Was this always a lifelong dream?” The elderly mare asked.

“Well,” Dash said pondering. “I’ve always wanted to be many things growing up. A tornado wrangler, world’s fastest flier, a stunt performer for the Wonder Bolts.”

“Princess of Canterlot?” The mare asked.

Dash gave a little smile.

“Maybe when I was still a blank flank filly.”

The two of them shared a laugh.

“So where were you before you took the Canterbury job?” The grey mare asked.

“I was a weather pony in a place called Ponyville.” Dash responded suspiciously. “You sure ask a lot of questions.”

The elderly mare gave a slight blush and tugged at the shawl around her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s a long trip and well I don’t really have much to pass the time, I thought I could get to know you and share some stories while we travel.”

Dash saw the nice older mare turn away with embarrassment.

“It’s alright, “ she said back. “So how far are you going?”

“To the end of the line,” the mare responded shifting herself on her seat to get a little more comfortable.

Dashed notice something move under her raincoat.

“You’re a pegasus too?” Dash asked.

“Oh yes, just like my daughter and two of my grandchildren. My youngest grandson is at that age when he wants to be a Wonderbolt too. I keep telling his mother to send him to flight camp, but she keeps on saying he’s too young. We’ll see next year, she keeps saying.”

Dash nodded her head, her mother was like that too when she was younger.

“I broke the sonic rainboom in flight camp,” Dash said smugly. “That was how I earned my cutie mark.”

Dash gestured her head to her flank.

“You must be quite the flier,” the grey mare said impressed.

“I thought I was,” Dash said, pouting out the window.

The kind mare looked at her with a frown.

“Did something change,” the mare asked her.

“Well,” Dash said nodding her head. “Being a weather pony wasn’t my dream. I have always wanted to be in the Wonderbolts, and a fews years ago I made it onto one of their reserve squads. It was nice at first, at a moments notice I would get a note from the Bolts and I’d be right there with them. But that was only when one of them were sick or injured.”

“That sounds good,” the mare replied. “You must have been proud.”

“I was,” Dash replied. “But time goes by and well, a few weeks back I tried out to be on the primary squad and well...”

Dash lowered her head.

“What?” The mare asked.

“The average age of the squad is twenty five, I just turned thirty four. The last time I made a successful sonic rainboom must have been five years ago. Stunt Fliers’ careers are very short, most retire into coaching at my age. During the tryouts I could not keep up with the younger applicants.”

Dash slouched in her seat.

“My dreams are over,” she said with a lamenting sigh.

“Oh you still have your life ahead of you.” The grey mare soothed. “I didn’t have my first child till I was nearly in my forties.”

“I know you’re trying to make me feel better.” Dash said to her. “But you can stop. Excuse me I’m going to freshen up.”

Dash stood up and walked out of the compartment.

She cantered to the bathroom at the end of the cart and stepped inside. She turned on the tap and splashed water onto her face.

“Keep it together,” she told herself. “It’s all behind you now. I going away from it.”

She placed her hooves on either side of the sink and closed her eyes.

“Dash, please don’t leave!” A male voice said behind her.

Rainbow Dash looked up and saw over her shoulder in the mirror was-

“Soarn’!?” She yelped spinning around.

But there was nopony standing behind her. Dash blinked a couple of times. She was the only one standing in the small train lavatory.

She cautiously turned around expecting to see Soren staring back at her in the mirror.

Nothing, just a terrified Rainbow Dash looking back at her.

“Heh, I must be more tired than I thought,” she said to herself. “I must be falling asleep standing up like a...uh... whatever it is in Equestria that falls asleep standing up.”

There was a knock on the door.

“Dash?” It was the elderly pony from before. “Are you alright in there, I heard you give a yell.”

Dash opened the door.

“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m just a little nerve racked, that’s all.”

“Oh,” the grey mare replied. “I wanted to find you because a nice pony with a trolley of refreshments came by and I got us both a little breakfast.”

Food, Dash thought to herself. A little something to drink and eat will wake me up.

“That sounds great,” she said back to the pony with a nod.

The two of them made it back to the cabin. Sure enough waiting for them on the mini table in the cabin was two cups of warm tea and two muffins.

Dash thanked the mare for her generosity and sat down and started eating.

“So,” the mare asked trying to keep a pleasant mood. “Do you have family in Canterbury?”

“Nope,” Dash responded with a mouth full of muffin. She was already feeling her mood and senses perk up from the food and the caffeine from the tea. “All my family is from Cloudsdale. My mother still lives there, and my dad’s been gone since I was a filly.”

“Oh, did he pass away?”

“No, he just left one night, both me and my mom. I haven't seen him since.”

“Do you know what happened to him?”

“Not really, and I don’t care. The stuck up stallion only was thinking about himself. Didn’t know how he was hurting us.”

“Do you have any good memories of the pony?”

“All I remember is his hard, cold face. He wasn’t abusive, but he was never kind or warm to me and my mom. I think he wanted a colt rather than a filly.”

The grey mare stirred her tea quietly.

“When he left it hurt, I cried. I don’t know why. I think it was more me crying for my mom than really missing him.”

Dash looked out the window and looked up in the clouds.

She saw something outside, she blinked her eyes and squinted at it.

Up on one of the clouds were two ponies, both of cyan color. On was a little filly with a rainbow colored mane, the other was an older mare with a swooshing cobalt and orange mane. The older pony held the little pony with the rainbow mane, as she cried into her forehooves.

“Mom?” Dash asked out loud.

“What is it, Dash?” The elderly mare asked in concern.

“Up in that cloud,” Dash said, looking at her and pointing out the window. “Those two ponies look just like me and my-”

Dash looked back and saw they were gone, nothing but the clear early morning sky.

The elderly mare looked out the window.

“Where did you see the ponies?” She asked looking around.

“Forget it,” Dash said suddenly slugging down a quarter of her scalding tea to wake herself up. “I guess my imagination is just running away with me.”

“You were about to say your mother, weren’t you?” The mare responded.


“The two ponies you said you saw in the cloud, you were about to say they looked like you and your mother. What were they doing?”

“I was- er I mean to say, the filly who reminded me of when I was young, was crying.” Dash said quickly.

“Oh,” the grey mare replied. “Just like that day when your father left.”

“That’s not important,” Dash dismissed.

“I think it is,” the mare replied. “You were talking about losing your father and just saw yourself out the window.”

Dash gave a slight chuckle.

“You must think I’m crazy,” She replied.

“Do you think you’re crazy?” The mare asked her.

“I would think I was crazy if I were you. Seeing myself in the clouds. Whew! I would think I’ve just gone mad.”

“Well if you’re worried like that, I don’t think you’re crazy.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re sounding like what a normal pony would act if they had just saw their younger selves in the clouds.”

“I’m just fatigued, yeah. I’m just overworked, yeah.” Dash said in a half convincing voice.

“I thought you said you couldn’t sleep?” The mare asked with a slight smile.

Dash slouched in her seat and swallowed the last of her muffin.

“So...” The mare asked Dash after a long pause. “Let’s change the subject, got any friends?”

“I’ve got a few,” Dash replied not feeling very conversational.

“Are they close to you?”

“Well of course their close, but... I guess that doesn’t matter now.” Dash realized.

“How could your friends not matter?” Her elderly friend asked.

“Well where I’m going, they're going to be thousands of miles away, so yeah. Why should I care?” Dash grumbled, shifting in her chair.

“Do you think they would come a visit?” The mare kept persisting with the questions.

“Well, I’m sure they would if I wrote a letter and asked them.” Dash thought out loud. “But they have families of their own now. Fluttershy married Applejack’s brother and is now expecting her first foal. Applejack herself is now head of their family taking care of the farm. Pinkie Pie can certainly find something new to celebrate without my presence. Twilight has been hanging out with this professor type of stallion, and Rarity... well is just busy being Rarity.”

“Did they tell you that they will miss you when you left?” The grey mare asked.

“Well...” Dash sputtered. “I kind of not told them yet.”

“Oh,” The mare said and went silent.

“But like I said, they are busy with their own families.” Dash reiterated as she avoided making eye contact.

Dash, out of fear of looking out the window again, turned her back to it and glanced out the window of the train compartment and into corridor of the train itself.

The corridor was empty, and not as interesting as looking out the window.

“Is there anyone else who would miss you beside your friends who are obviously too busy to realize that you are gone?” The mare asked her.

Dash let out a slight snort at her comment and glanced to the empty compartment across from them.

Except the compartment across from them wasn’t empty. Sitting alone in the compartment was a orange filly with a fuchsia mane. She held a rainbow colored hat that had blue wings on the sides in her hooves.

“Scootaloo?” Dash asked, placing a hoof up to the glass. She knew that hat that was in her hooves was a fan hat that was made by her and her friends back when Rainbow Dash had become a town hero. Scootaloo herself was the chairman of her fan club.

Scootaloo look down at the hat in her hooves, she then threw it on the ground with a pained expression on her face, burst through her compartment door, and ran down the hall past Dash’s window.

“Scoots!” Dash called out, standing up, and opening her compartment door to follow her.

The mare stood up and followed after her.

The corridor was empty, no Scootaloo. Dash opened the compartment door she was in and looked on the floor, no hat.

“Celestia, what is wrong with me?” Dash said to herself.

“See something again? What was it this time?” The grey mare asked still standing in their own compartment.

Dash gave a slight sigh. She knew she could not fight the old mare from asking questions. He mind finally settled on actually telling her.

“I saw a filly. Someone I knew from Ponyville.” Dash said walking back into the compartment and collapsing into her seat.

“A friend?” The mare asked taking her seat across from her.

“No,” Dash replied. “Well not really. She was, well... My biggest fan. That girl looked up to me like I was the greatest pegasus that ever flew through the sky.”

“Sounds like she really admired you.” The mare said glancing back out into the corridor.

“Really misguided if you ask me.” Dash said with a frown. “She was never able to fly, some kind of medical condition with her wings. I even tried to give her a few lessons years back, but nothing.”

“You still tried,” the mare replied encouraging.

Dash gave a little smile.

“The kid always found a way to see me on the rare occasions when the Bolts called me in to fill in for a absent member.”

The mare gave a warm smile. Dash felt her own smile grow bigger at the memory as well.

“You know how I know that? Because after every show there will always be fans standing outside the locker room trying to get autographs from Spitfire or Soarin’. But Scootaloo, she was always standing there waiting for me.”

She shook her head.

“I must have given that girl my autograph about twenty times, and yet she still came back every show asking for another.”

“You said she was misguided?” The mare asked.

“Yeah,” Dash sighed. “She kept looking up to me, but I failed the tryouts. I’m no Wonderbolt, I’m just now a weather pony who is getting soft.”

“Faced with limitations,” the mare clarified.

“Exactly,” Dash agreed.

“Just like a pegasus filly who could never fly.”

Dash scowled at the mare, her words hit a little too deep.

“Sorry,” the mare said softly. “That was a little bit harsh.”

Dash sat quietly as the train rattled along.

“You have any other family besides your mother?” The mare asked.

Sheesh this woman won't quit, Dash thought to herself.

“No, and I’m not married if that’s what you are getting at!” She said flatly.

“I didn’t ask that!” The mare said quickly.

“No,” Dash said eyeing her. “But you were certainly thinking of it.”

The mare looked away embarrassed.

Dash looked at her, out the window, and then back at her.

“His name was Soarin’,” she blurted out before she could stop herself. “He was my special somepony for a while.”

The mare did not say anything, just nodded her head stoically.

“Yeah he was a Wonderbolt long before I ever joined. We first met up at a friend's wedding, and well we liked to flirt and joke around during practices. A couple of months ago he finally stepped down as an active bolt. His body was showing that wear I was telling you about.”

Dash laid her head against the cool glass of the outside facing window. She saw the train was slowing down as it was entering a station.

“He was an evaluator at my tryout, and he was the one who brought me the news that I didn’t make it.”

“How did you react?” The mare asked, with a shocked look.

“I went off on him. I told him that he was being bais. I shouted at his face that he was being selfish, thinking I was weak. A few days later the guy had the nerve to show up at my place in Ponyville and starts talking about settling down, taking a job alongside me as a weather pony!”

“That did not make you happy?” The mare asked her.

“No!” Dash practically shouted. “I saw right through his little act, he failed me so I could just give up my dreams and become his trophy wife. I was furious! The following day I found an ad in the Cloudsdale Sun that Canterbury was open to any and all pegasus with weather experience to help with their weather teams. That all happened yesterday, so here I am.”

The mare looked up as Dash with a look of pity on her face.

“Who are you to judge me?!” She said hotly to the elderly mare. “I don’t need your sympathy, Rainbow Dash is fine with her own path. I don’t need anypony!”

“But are you aware how much they need you?” The mare said with a slight tear in her eye.

Dash turned away from her in complete spite, and glared out the window as the train was now halted at the station. Outside Dash could not believe her eyes.

Dash looked across the tracks and saw was not the station of whatever town they were in, but the depot of Ponyville Station. Sitting on the bench with his head cradled in his forehooves was Soarin’. Standing with forehooves up against the ticket window was Scootaloo talking frantically to the attendant in the window.

The attendant checked the clock and said something back to Scootaloo. Dash could not hear them but knew full well what Scootaloo was asking him about. He was the very attendant Dash had bought her one way ticket earlier this morning when it was dark outside and Ponyville still slumbered.

Scootaloo turned around and broke down into a heap agony and tears in front of the window. Soarin’ stood up from the bench and walked over to Scootaloo, his face an assortment of hurt and sadness as well. He placed his forehooves around Scootaloo as she let out wail after wail.

The train moved forward and the platform started moving away . Dash still could not hear a sound from them, but by the way she saw Scootaloo’s chest heaved, she knew she was wailing in full force. Dash felt sick at the scene but could not pull her eyes away from them.

The train entered a tunnel finally cutting off her view of the two of them on the platform. With the darkness outside now all that Dash could see was her reflection of her and and her traveling mate. Except her reflection did not look quite right.

She took a step back to get a better look at her reflection, staring back at her was not the rainbow colored pegasus she knew, but the cold uncaring face of that stallion she remembered as her father.

“Oh,” Dash said in a horrified voice. “Oh, Celestia!”

“What is it?” The mare asked standing up next to her. “What do you see?”

“My father! I am! Oh Celestia, I see my father in me! I left everyone just like my father left me and my mother!”

Dash felt the air seem to evaporate out of the room, she was horrified.

“Dash!” The mare said directly to her. “You are who make yourself to be, but you can only fight that part of you that is you father if to acknowledge it! You are not your father! You can still fix this.”

Dash stomped her for hooves on the ground.

“I AM NOT HIM! I WILL NOT BE THAT COWARD!” She shouted squeezing her eyes tightly.

“Dash,” the mare next to her said. “Look.”

She opened her eyes and saw her face again. Both hers and the mare next to her were looking back.

Dash took a deep breath.

“I’m me!” She said relieved.

“Yes you are.” The mare said proudly.

Dashed looked up at her trunk that was still sitting in the luggage rack above her and back at the grey mare.

“What am I doing!?” She asked out loud. “I left them all, the stallion who loved me, the filly who adored me regardless of how little or how much I did! And my friends!”

Dash felt absolutely bewildered at her behavior.

“I am the element of loyalty!? What in Celestia’s name am I doing just running off in the middle of the night leaving them? Fluttershy may have a pegasus foal, who’s gonna keep up with the little squirt when it learns to fly? Pinkie Pie get manic depressive when her friends leave her, she’ll hunt me down a do Luna knows what to me when she finds me. Applejack needs me to keep her humble, she may not admit it but it's true. Twilight may need me to watch her back if that poindexter does something to hurt her. And Rarity needs me so she can... be Rarity!”

The gray mare beamed at Dash, not saying a word but nodding at everything she was saying.

“I’m getting off at the next stop and heading straight back to Ponyville!” Dash finished.

The train was now out of the tunnel and back into the light of the countryside.

“I, wait what is that?” Dash asked.

Outside of the window was an ambulance and a bunch of ponies standing around a field by the train tracks.

Dash looked at the scene and saw a bunch of official ponies and medical ponies standing around a figure of a pony that hung off a dead tree that look like it was struck by lightning.

“Who is that?”

But Dash did not need an answer as the train rolled past the scene. Hanging off of that tree was the mangled corpse of a cyan mare with a rainbow colored hair, dead.

Dash started breathing very fast. Panic and adrenaline started surging through her veins. The train was now close enough that she could see the white in the eyes on her own, cold, dead face.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” She screamed, turning away, and started sobbing.

“DASH! DASH!” The mare said grabbing her by the shoulders. “Look back at it!”

“NO! NO! NO!” She yelled back, squeezing her eyes shut again.


Dash turned around, opened her eyes and saw that the scene was now gone. The ambulance and officials were gone, the tree was not burned in full bloom with it's green leaves dancing in the wind, no sign of her mangled corpse.

“What happened?” She asked the old mare, who was bending over to pick up her shawl that had fallen off when she grabbed her.

“You saw what would have happened had you not decided to go back to Ponyville.” The mare said with a confident tone. “You were pretty much flying so hard away from your problems that it would have thrown you straight into a bolt of lightning that would have taken your life.”

Dash took a second look at the mare and realized she was not so much grey as she was more of a light cyan color.

“What who are you?” She asked glancing at her mane.

“You save my life back there Rainbow Dash.” The mare said, shaking off her main which was rainbow color like hers, except it had some silver streaks that ran through it. “In about thirty five years from now you take a look in the mirror one morning and find me looking back at you.”

Dash’s eyes grew huge at the sudden realization.

Her elderly self gave her a huge hug and kissed her on the forehead. As she pulled away from her she could see the jeweled sparkle of an element, her element, of loyalty swinging around the older mare’s neck inside her raincoat.

“Thank you, Dash, for saving my life.” She said, beaming and opening the compartment door. “When you get back to Ponyville you’ll find Soarin’ and Scoots at Sugar Cube Corner. Best not tell them about this, but do tell them how you feel.”

Her older self stepped out of the compartment and walked down the corridor.

Dash stood there dumbfounded, her brain still conceptualizing what all had just happened.

“How?” She asked but realized she was now alone in compartment.

“Wait!” Dash said running after her older self.

She stepped out in the corridor and nearly ran in the the conductor.

“Oh, excuse me miss!” He said politely

“Did you just see an elderly mare just walk by here?” She asked quickly.

“Oh, no I did not. I haven’t seen anypony come this way.” He replied

“Oh,” Dash said turning back to her cabin.

“Oh uh miss,” the conductor said adjusting his hat, switching to a more official sounding voice. “We will be arriving into Ponyville Station in about five minutes.”

“Excuse me?”

“Ponyville Station, five minutes. Is something wrong miss?” He asked.

Dash face lit up at the realization of his words.

“No,” She said going back to her cab to get her bag. “Everything will be just fine.”

The End

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