Author's note: First time I've tried 1st person POV, be kind.
Chapter 1: The day ZOT happened
I stood in the entryway of my old farmhouse looking around at the warm décor that greeted me in the living room. A couch and love seat pair sat perpendicular to each other against the walls with a coffee table between them, looking warm and plush to the touch, just like they had three years ago. The coffee table remained in the same place as it had three years ago, but the magazines and books on it were different. As I latched the deadbolt and kicked off my work boots – she always hated it when I got 'work' on the carpet – I was greeted with three photos that I had left up after it happened.
I stopped for a moment to look at the pictures protected by those mismatched, but very tough frames, thinking about my girls. My angels. The largest one was a picture me, Emy, and our daughter Olivia sitting on the pegs of the farthest fence, watching a thunderstorm in the distance. It was a candid shot taken by my cousin all those years ago and that's partly why I liked it so much, the other part was I could make out the impressions from my wife's writing through the photo paper, knowing what it said even backwards. Asher, Olivia, and Me. Best summer ever! July, 2009. But that was only months before they got in the car and…
I shuddered and walked deeper into the house. She wouldn't want me to dwell on their loss and with a promise to god I hadn't. Speaking of cold winter days, the clock read that it was barely eleven in the morning by the time I had finished what little winter maintenance needed done on the farm and fed the animals.
Three years ago it would have taken longer but after the accident I cut the production of the farm in half so I could keep up with it on my own, I don't want help, I don't need help, and as sure as hell is hot I don't want strangers on my farm whether they speak English or not. Which was exactly why I had sold the back half of my land to my closest neighbor – still four miles away – to cut my property into a more manageable size.
After the accident I had cleared all the pictures but my three favorites of what used to be my family from the walls, but couldn't bring myself to change the layout of the furniture, even it if was a weird setup for one person. Call me reactionary or emo or whatever, I don't care. It was how I dealt with it and it's worked so far so that's good enough for me. Like I said before, my wife would have wanted me to carry on without her and that's what I'm gonna do.
But today is the anniversary of it happening. The anniversary of losing my wife and daughter and I'd be lying if I said that it didn't still hurt, even three years later. But it'll okay. Least that's what I tell myself. Besides, work helps keep a man going.
If idle hands are the devil's playground than my hands look like a inhospitable wasteland to that son of a gun. There's plenty to do around the farm and even on slow days like today, there's still errands to run, food to buy, friends to visit and so on. Worst case scenario I would spend the rest of the day trolling around the internet or playing a game. But first things first, I'd been slogging along since five AM in the freezing cold and a hot shower was calling my name, followed closely by my queen size bed.
But naps could wait because all the muck and frozen grime needed to be melted away before I'd be able to relax enough to think about napping. Food was also in order at some point but that also, could wait until the shower was done.
I turned on the shower first because the hot water tank was on the opposite end of the house and took a while to warm up in the winter, then the exhaust fan and by the time I had stripped off my work clothes and conducted an important meeting on the porcelain throne, the shower was beginning to fill the room with comforting steam and was hot enough to get in. There was a chill against my skin momentarily until my body got used to the high temperature of the water. I liked it that way after a day's work even when it was hot outside. It was good for the muscles.
After washing my body and hair I grabbed a safety razor and did a quick touch up of my stubble so I wouldn't look as my wife used to put it, "Curmuffinie", I finally let myself relax and think about what today really was. Were I being honest with myself I was thinking about my angels all day and heck, I would have stayed in bed and moped all day were it not for the chores that always needed done. But I liked it that way – my father said that hard work was a way to keep a man honest before he died and that was something I never believed until I had finished college, and had a child of my own.
I sighed and vainly changed my thought process again. It seemed I was stuck on a loop where no matter what I was thinking about it would eventually circle back to…there it is again. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, trying to focus on anything else.
Dealing with a tragedy sucks, for the record.
But just when I was about ready to give in and be depressed for the rest of the day I felt a sudden chill along my legs and torso, actually my whole body felt a chill as if a wind had picked up in the combination shower stall. I opened my eyes expecting the badly installed glass door had swung open again, but found it secure. More alarmingly, there was a small light floating about as high as my chin with no discernible source. Like a little pinpick in the universe, floating in my shower.
My brain immediately registered that having a pinprick in the universe so close to one's self, may not be the best place to be should it…not be a pinprick? Mind racing grabbed a towel and wrapped it around myself – shoot the water was still on – I turned off the water but not before soaking my towel noting that the pinprick was indeed growing at an alarming rate and opened the shower door to step out. Correction, ran into the shower wall because the door was being what was now a creature shaped blob of light floating in my shower.
The wind picking up again that water and mist were blowing everywhere as the light grew and refined in shape from whatever creature it may have been before into something that appeared to have legs, and arms before it became too bright to look at. Little static discharges sparked at random as the light grew brighter until finally…
If I had to describe it, the flash sounded like an electrical transformer blowing up – with the part of 'blowing up' being played by the plate glass that used to line my shower – I would be more concerned with how I was going to exit the bathroom in only a sopping wet towel and my bare feet but as before, there was something that was demanding my immediate attention instead. Namely, the screaming girl with purple hair, in a white dress who was now standing where the light once was. I stared slack jawed at her several seconds before my mind caught up with me. Unfortunately for me it appeared her mind caught up with her first.
"Back you hairy beast!" She shouted and for the second time in so many minutes something magical happened as a light blue aura lifted me from the ground, flipped me around, and pinned me to the bathroom ceiling by the chest.
There are many things a man can say in this situation, but for whatever reason the only thing my brain could muster was:
"Hey! I am not that hairy!"
"Your back hair disagrees." The woman retorted.
"You're the one who suddenly appeared inmy shower – I was just trying to relax!"
"Oh suuuuuuuure. I bet you use that line all the time to lure hapless ponies to their doom, well I am not that kind of mare, you beast." She said, and I had to blink a moment to process just what she said.
"I'm sorry, what?!" I asked, the situation was quickly becoming more frustrating as I still couldn't move against the shower ceiling. But the woman continued to talk about things that were increasingly nonsensical.
"Now I don't know where you took me but I know I can find my way back to Ponyville without you. And you better believe the Princess will hear about this, though maybe I should have her keep it confidential. Oh goodness, I would hate to think what might happen to my reputation if it came out that I was in the shower with…with…with whatever foul creature you are. So if you don't mind, I bid you good day!"
"Hey, last I saw we're the same speci—" I never finished my sentence as the magic that was holding me up suddenly disappeared dropping me flat onto the tiled, shower floor. As I struggled to regain the breath that had been knocked so rudely from my lungs I filed away a note to self: remodel shower with trampolines.
"Wait." I croaked and rolled to my knees, breathing easier and glanced towards the bathroom door.
The woman had somehow pushed all the broken glass into neat piles in the corners of the bathroom and was walking swiftly out the bathroom door by the time I had retied my wet towel about my waist.
"Wait!" I called again as I ran into the master bedroom, but I didn't have to go much farther.
The woman stood there staring at her reflection in the mirrored sliding closet doors, her pupils shrunk in as if she were looking at a ghost – she was pale enough maybe she was one – her hands were shaking as she felt her own cheeks and waist, her breathing irregular. She looked at my reflection in the mirror, eyes pleading for me to do something to alleviate the fear that was so obvious there, and were I not holding up my dignity with one hand when her eyes began to roll back in her head, I would have rushed forward to try and catch her when she fainted. As it was she simply landed on the carpet with a soft thud.
"Great." I said aloud.
Tying the towel off about my waist, I lifted the poor confused little thing from the floor and gently placed her on the bed. She was still breathing at least, that was good. Her frame was such I would have thought she was a lost and confused supermodel that had too much to drink the night before. Had I not seen her appear and pin me to my own ceiling I would have dropped her off at the police station and been done with it but now…well now I had to figure out exactly what I was going to do.
Well, how about nothing? She is unconscious after all and seems a little…not right…in the head. The best course of action here, I decided, would be to wait until she wakes up and address the issues from there.
With a course set I strode to my dresser and after grabbing jeans and a shirt I dressed in the bathroom – never know when she might wake after all – and my stomach rumbled at me, reminding me that it had been a while since I last ate. She seemed harmless enough aside from the whole ceiling bathroom floor glass incident. Okay maybe she was quite dangerous. But watching her sleep on the bed her indigo hair all askew, her white dress rumpled. It was hard to think strait really, she was quite pretty in a look-at-all-the-makeup kind of way. That or I hadn't been on a date in three years.
Lord, I'm pathetic.
She also appeared to be very afraid and was talking about things that didn't make sense before she fainted. Ponies? Ponyville? Okay then, princess. Come to think of it she mentioned one of those too.
So when my stomach rumbled again I left her sleeping on the bed while I made myself some lunch, took my time picking out a book to read, and made myself comfortable on the plush recliner by the window, opposite the bed. I didn't have much going on the rest of the day outside visiting my family's graves, and had been meaning to read this book anyways. So after taking a bite of the PB&J sandwich I had prepared, I began to read, intent on waiting her out.