Tales of Hassenfeld Ponies

by PonyAmorous

Chapter 1: Broken

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Ponka sighed as she brushed a strand of deflated pink mane out of her eyes to continue her staring match with the back wall of cell 5B in the local pound. Technically, it was called the 'Hassenfeld Pony Rescue and Adoption Agency', but everyone just called it 'the pound'. The name didn't really matter, she knew what it was. A trash can for dumping broken ponies like her.

Only three days ago, life had been wonderful. She had Keith, he had her, and that was all either of them needed. The world was sunny and bright, and neither of them could ever seem to stop smiling. Then a simple slip in the shower and a broken neck later, and it was all gone. The spark of joy had been drowned in an ocean of tears and grief and the fundamental wrongness of a Hassenfeld outliving their owner. And yet existence continued. The world had the absurd audacity to keep spinning without Keith in it, like it didn't even know it was pointless now.

The events transpiring between Keith's death and now had been a blur. She had been present only in the literal physical sense. There had been attempts to place her with close friends or relatives who might be willing to take her in, but Keith hadn't had anyone but her. It had made her a little sad at times, but it had also driven her to be the best companion she could possibly be, and made every smile she could coax out of him that much more precious. So now she stayed here, waiting on the off chance somebody would come in and want to adopt a used pony. A pony whose one emotional imprinting had already triggered. A pony that had had the joy scooped out of them. A broken pony.

Ponka laid her head on her hooves and closed her eyes, trying to force herself to sleep, if only to escape the agony of consciousness for a little while. She tuned out the footsteps and idle conversation of the kind staff members, along with all the comments of "oh, the poor dear" and "I just hate to see them like this". Her mind wandered idly back to a catchy little lullaby Keith had taught her once. She gave a faint smile at the memory and softly began to sing it under her breath.

When you're rife with devastation...


Two months crawled tortuously by as Ponka waited for someone to claim her. While the pain didn't exactly fade, it did gradually become less acute. More an omnipresent ache than the emotional equivalent of a drill jammed into the exposed nerve of a broken tooth. The slightest trace of floof had begun to return to her mane and tail, and she had even managed a brief chuckle at a joke from one of the staff. A week later, she had summoned the will to try telling a joke of her own once again. She knew it wasn't a very good one, but they had given her a genuine smile regardless. As her condition continued to improve, the sad pitying looks disappeared from the faces that passed by, replaced by friendly smiles and casual conversations.

Still, day after day, nobody came to adopt her. It didn't bother her. At least, not in the way she thought that it would. Really, she could take or leave some stranger coming to claim her. It was feeling like a burden that was getting to her. Here she was just taking up space and resources without contributing anything. That was why she had finally worked up the nerve to ask a simple question.

"Is there anything I can help with?"


"It's just...you all look so busy all the time, and I'm just sitting here while you all take care of me. I was wondering if I could...you know...volunteer?"

There had been reassurances that that was entirely unnecessary, but she had persisted and insisted, and eventually they had agreed to give her some light janitorial duties. Her mane and tail had nearly snapped back to their full volume when she hopped out to begin her first rounds of dusting, sweeping, mopping, and emptying garbage cans. She was useful again! Though it started with simple cleaning it soon became impossible to deny how understaffed the shelter really was, and a bit of office filing found its way into her duties. There was hesitation to let her in the kitchen, but after securing supervised access to the oven through persistent pestering and pleading, the first batch of baked goods she made for everyone quickly obliterated any further reservations. Before long, it was as if she had always been an indispensable part of the office.

"Happy Tuesday, Carol! How'd Ricky's recital go? Hey there, Damien! I got a banana nut muffin with your name on it. Loving the new frames on the glasses, Ahmed. I'm no Rarity model, but I can 1000% say that teal is your color! Guess who's got no thumbs and just made donuts! This pony!"

Ponka was happy with her role, but the more she chatted and listened to stories of the personal lives of the various employees and volunteers, the more curious she grew about the world outside. She had barely left Keith's house before, hadn't left the shelter since she got here, and hardly remembered anything from the trip over. But there was a whole wide world out there. Full of picnics, and carnivals, and beaches, and fireworks. Things to do, sights to see, people to meet with stories of their own to listen to. It wasn't as if she hadn't seen such things on the internet, but that wasn't the same as feeling sand under your hooves and splashing around in the waves. She hoped that one day, when someone finally came to adopt her, they would take her out to experience it all.

Suddenly, a wild thought crashed into her mind. Did she actually NEED a new owner in order to do that? True, when she first came here she was a wreck. Like the other ponies here, she needed someone to look after her. But now...now she was...better. Yes, she could look after herself now. She already did. If she could do it here, why not out there? Maybe find a small apartment? That took money, which she didn't have, but there were ways to make money. She could get a job, couldn't she? It wasn't completely unheard of for Hassenfelds to sometimes take small side jobs to earn extra cash for their owners. She could totally make money and use it to support herself. She could bake and she had office skills, she could even make one of those...what were they called again? Resumes?

Of course, she didn't want to abandon her friends and coworkers here. Whatever she ended up doing, she definitely wanted to come back and keep volunteering at the shelter. It would just be good to get out and find her own place, free up her room here for somepony who really needed it, and finally clear her own case file off the wait list. As long as she made sure everyone understood that she wasn't leaving them forever. She'd still come volunteer as much as she could. Ideally, they could even hire her on officially and start paying her for the work she was already doing, but she understood if it simply wasn't in the budget. Yes, this was definitely the best idea ever!

Her pitching of the world's greatest idea didn't produce the reaction she expected. For some reason, everyone got really quiet when she suggested not needing to be adopted and moving out to live on her own. Suddenly, they all had very serious looks on their faces. They weren't the same as the sad and sympathetic looks of concern they wore when she had first arrived. They were more...anxious? Worried? She tried explaining that she would still come in to help as much as she could and make treats for everyone, but that didn't seem to help. The supervisor excused himself from the room to make a phone call, and as soon as he did, everyone seemed to have trouble looking at her. Ponka returned to her room to ponder what it was she had said to make everyone so upset and figure out some way to make it up to them.


The next day brought a wave of exciting new surprises. She had been woken up and told that she'd be leaving the shelter today. Had someone actually decided to adopt her? Not quite, as it turned out. But two men had shown up to take her on a trip somewhere. Somewhere new!

Whoever they were, they weren't very talkative, responding to all her questions, jokes, and attempts at conversation with the same stony silence. They wore white jumpsuits with a patch that said Hasbro Biotech, Asset Reclamation. Questions about what that meant yielded only more of the same silence. Before they led her out of the building and into their big fancy truck, they put some kind of weird leash thing around her neck. A plastic noose attached to the end of a pole. She wondered what it was for, but realized that they were probably going somewhere with lots of exciting sights and sounds and she was definitely the type to get distracted and wander off.

As they led her out the door, she turned over her shoulder and gave a quick wave to all of her wonderful office friends, promising she'd be back real soon. For some reason, they were all super focused on their tasks this morning, so none of them looked up or waved back, but that was okay. She'd come back and tell them all about her trip later.

She could barely contain her excitement during the ride over to wherever it was they were going. Who knew what kind of new friends she'd get to make? Maybe they'd help her look for a job! Maybe she'd get to see the ocean! There was so much world out there!

Finally, they arrived at a tall white building full of more people in white jumpsuits. They led her inside where she proceeded to ooh and aah over how squeaky clean everything was. They led her all the way back to a small room that looked kinda like the vet room back at the shelter. A checkup? Ooh! Maybe they wanted to hire her here at whatever this place was and this was part of the process? They probably could have just gotten her medical records transferred from the shelter where she had gotten a full physical upon arriving, but maybe they were picky about doing all that stuff in house with their own doctors.

One of the men pointed at a table in the center of the room, and she dutifully hopped up onto it, ready to pass whatever test they gave her with flying colors. She was gonna be the healthiest Pinkie model they ever saw! The two men grabbed the weird straps hanging on the sides of the table and tied her down tight. That was new. She wasn't sure what test that was for. She wondered if it would be more or less fun than the vision tests. Hitting that button when the squiggles appeared was pretty fun after all.

After a few minutes, a doctor came in, just as taciturn as her other two new friends had been. He fiddled at the counter with something she couldn't see, and then turned around holding a pretty intimidating looking syringe.

"Oh, that's okay. I should be all up to date on my vaccinations already, so you can skip that. You can get the shelter to email over the—OUCHIE!"

The doctor had ignored her and plunged that scary needle right into her cutie mark! At first it felt icy cold as the fluid injected in, then an intense burning sensation, which quickly passed as well, leaving her...heavy. Everything felt heavy, like a great weight was pressing down evenly over her entire body. Suddenly she was exhausted. It was only mid-morning and she had a whole exciting day ahead of her, but a nap was starting to sound so good.

"S-Sorry. Can we...finish this up a bit later? I...suddenly feel....a little...a little tired. Just........just let me rest......my eyes a bit."

There was a big wide world out there. Things to do , sights to see, people to meet, adventures to be had in employment and paying bills and self-sufficiency. Maybe she'd pick up a new language? Or learn to paint? The world was her cupcake. But she could take a little nap before jumping into all that. The world would still be there when she woke up.

Author's Notes:

So yeah, just learned about Hassenfeld ponies today, and immediately start bursting with ideas for several small, disconnected short stories. And yes, this is gonna be representative of the tone, because dear god is that a fucked up premise for a universe.

It seems I just can't quit that dark tag.

Currently searching for appropriate cover pic to use. Let me know if you stumble across anything you think would work well.

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