The nightmares returned that night. As I found myself walking through the forest, I expected to come across the woman and the boy again. Instead, I found myself coming across a road in the middle of the forest. I heard the sound of a car coming. I looked down the road and saw that my car was driving down the road towards me. Tanya and I were inside the car. I quickly realized that this was the night that Tanya and I had arrived. Rain was pouring heavily and yet I remained dry. I looked up just in time to see what appeared to be a green portal opening up in one of the storm clouds. A large, fat, green lightning bolt struck the ground and stuck there. As my past self and Tanya sat in the car and watched the lightning bolt, I looked up to see trails of green smoke falling out of the portal.
That's when I woke up. Like the previous night, I was covered in a cold sweat. As I stood up, I heard the sound of the front door closing. I walked into the living room and looked out the window. I could see Twi slowly making her way towards the swimming hole. She appeared to be sleepwalking. I quickly ran out the front door.
"Twi! TWI!" I called. Twi didn't hear me. As I came closer to catching up to her, I felt something weird in the air. The air around Twi felt electrified and alien. The air tasted of ash and there were moments where I felt almost weightless. As I walked, I could swear that I could see pieces of dirt, grass, and rock levitating a few inches above the ground. Eventually I managed to catch up to Twi. I grabbed onto her and instantly felt a shock rush through my body. As the shock passed through my body, I saw a vision before me.
The vision showed a castle. I quickly identified it as Canterlot Castle from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The vision shifted to the throne room where several ponies were talking. Even though it had been a while since I had seen the show, for some reason I had no trouble in identifying the characters. Twilight Sparkle and her friends were discussing something with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. I couldn't hear what they were saying but it must have been important.
The vision changed to showing Twilight approaching the Queen of the Changelings, Chrysalis on the outskirts of Ponyville. Chrysalis had Spike the dragon in one of her forelegs. I still couldn't hear what any of them were saying but I assumed that Chrysalis was threatening to kill Spike. A fight then broke out between Twilight and Chrysalis. Spike was knocked to the side and Twilight's friends were rushing to her aid. Then, without warning, Chrysalis accidentally summoned a green portal underneath her and Twilight. Spike fell into the portal and Chrysalis followed. Twilight's friends grabbed onto Twilight in order to prevent her from falling through. The portal was strong though and the magic of the portal seemed to be pulling the life right out of Twilight.
"We won't let you go!" I heard Rainbow Dash scream.
"No! Twilight!" cried Pinkie Pie.
"Hold on!" screamed Applejack.
"Spike! I can't abandon him!" Twilight cried as tears rolled down her face. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and an orb of purple light exploded out of Twilight's body. Twilight fell limp as the orb of light fell through the portal. There was a flash of green light and the vision ended.
When the vision had gone away, I found myself lying on the ground. I could hear crying from nearby. I sat up to see Twi sitting a few feet from me and crying into her hands.
"Twi?" I asked as I approached her. I placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned to look at me. Her eyes were bloodshot and her hair was strewn. "Twi...are you okay? You were sleepwalking so I followed you out here to try and wake you up."
"Aaron!" Twi cried as she fell into my arms. I wrapped my arms around her and let her cry into my shoulder. "You saw it, didn't you? You saw the vision of Twilight Sparkle! You've seen the woman too, haven't you?" I was shocked from what Twi was saying but I decided to tell her the truth.
"Yes...I saw the vision...and I've had a nightmare with the woman in it."
"Aaron...what am I? Who am I?"
"I...I don't know, Twi."
"Yes you do. You have a theory. You have the same theory that I have...but it's impossible...isn't it?"
I pushed Twilight away a bit so that I was looking straight into her eyes. "Yes, it's impossible. I don't know what to truly think of anymore, Twi. I'm not sure what's real and what's not. But, let me tell you something. I'm going to help you, Twi. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. Even if you are impossible, you're my impossible thing to look after. You're my impossible girl." Twi smiled as she leaned forward into my shoulder again. We didn't say anything else to each other for the rest of the night and we ended up falling asleep under the stars.
"Well, well, well," teased a familiar voice. I awoke to find grass rubbing against my back, Twi lying next to me, and Tanya smirking down at me. "What do we have here?" I stood up to face Tanya while Twi woke up. "Perhaps you can explain to me what you two love birds are doing out here?"
"Come off it, Tanya. Twi was sleepwalking and I followed her out here to stop her. We just ended up falling asleep out here," I replied.
"It's the truth," said Twi.
"Okay. Whatever you say." Tanya then turned to me. "Aaron, can I talk with you?"
"Uh...sure," I said. I followed Tanya over towards the cabin.
"Aaron," she said as we arrived on the other side of the cabin. "This is our fifth day here. How long are you planning on staying?"
I let out a sigh. "I don't know," I replied.
"Certainly not all summer?"
"No! Of course not! It's just-"
"I can't abandon her now. I made a promise to look after her and help her until she gets her memories back."
"You can't make promises like that! Look, you've been exceptionally nice about looking after her during our time here. But time's running out! What are we going to do? Bring her home with us? Do you realize how much of a fit Mom and Dad would have if they found out about this?!"
"I know but-"
"And don't act like I don't care about Twi, okay! I...I know I've been rough and everything like that...but I've only been trying to look out for us. I don't want anything bad to happen."
"Well what do you want me to do, Tanya?! Just dump her out at some random place?"
"No! This is what hospitals are for!" Tanya let out a loud sigh and placed her hands on her hips. "Look, I'm willing to continue this for a couple more days; but we've got to go home someday. You have college to prepare for. I have a life to live. On our way home we can send her off at a hospital and let them look after her."
"I don't know. A lot of questions are coming up."
"Anything involving My Little Pony?"
My heart stopped for a second. "How did you-"
"I've been kind of putting the pieces together."
"Is it insane to think this?"
"Yes. I think it's completely and utterly insane...but, in my opinion, our insanity has a few things to back it up."
"Are you saying that you really think Twi's-"
"I know as much as you, Aaron. Look, this is starting to get really weird. I don't know if I can handle much more of this."
Tanya and I were silent for a bit. "Fine. A couple more days and we'll send her to a hospital to let them help her." I then walked away from Tanya without another word.
It was almost time for dinner when I set off in my car to talk to Mr. Franco. The day had moved by pretty slowly. Tanya had retreated to her computer while Twi simply walked around the surrounding forest. I don't know what compelled me to visit Mr. Franco. The main reason was probably to ask him about the strange woman he had taken home the previous night.
It wasn't that long of a drive between the cabin and Mr. Franco's house, only around ten to twelve minutes. As I pulled up in the driveway, I noticed another familiar face arriving at the house: Evelyn. I parked my car and got out. "Evelyn?" I asked as I approached her. I noticed a pan of lasagna in her arms.
"Aaron! Hi!" she exclaimed. "This is certainly a surprise!"
"What are you doing at Mr. Franco's house?"
"I'm just dropping off some of Ron's lasagna. Mr. Franco asked me for some last night. What are you doing here?"
"I'm just dropping by to talk with him. I wanted to ask him about something." Evelyn and I walked onto the porch and rang the doorbell. Initially, there was no response. I was about to ring the doorbell again when the door opened. My heart stopped as I saw not Mr. Franco but the mysterious woman standing in the doorway. She was still wearing her silk, green dress.
"Hello," she hissed with a smile. "How can I help you?"
"I'm here to give Mr. Franco some lasagna," Evelyn replied.
"And I came to talk to him," I replied. "Can I speak with him?"
"I'm sorry but Jerry has fallen ill at the moment. I'm currently taking care of him," said the woman. She then extended one of her hands. "I'm Claudia. Claudia Wolfe."
"Aaron," I said as I quickly shook her hand.
"Evelyn," said Evelyn with her usual, cute smile. Claudia stepped towards us and took Evelyn's lasagna.
"Pleasure to meet you two. I'll make sure to let Jerry know that you two stopped by," said Claudia.
"Thank you!" Evelyn then turned to me. "See you later, Aaron."
I watched as Evelyn walked back to her car. I turned back to Claudia to see that she was examining me.
"Forgive me, but have I seen you somewhere before?" she asked.
"I don't believe so," I lied.
"Can I ask you one more thing before you leave?"
"Have you seen a girl with long, purple hair?"
I remained calm even though I was screaming on the inside. "No, ma'am. I don't believe I've seen a girl with purple hair."
"Well, if you do. Can you tell me? She's an...old friend and I'm oh so anxious to see her again."
"No problem. I'll tell you if I see anything. Give Mr. Franco my best."
"Don't worry, dearie. I will." I felt a cold chill run down my spine as I walked back to my car. As I drove back to the cabin, I couldn't shake the feeling of danger from my back.
Another night of nightmares. Nothing specific happened in this particular set of nightmares. All that really happened was that I found myself standing in the middle of a burning cabin with Tanya and Twi at my side. A dark figure was approaching me and somebody was screaming off in the distance.
I woke up the following morning to something I hadn't smelled in a couple days: bacon and eggs. I walked into the living room/kitchen area to find Tanya serving herself and Twi some breakfast.
"Good morning," said Tanya.
"Morning," said Twi. I could tell that they both had something on their minds. I didn't have to guess what they were thinking about because odds were that I was thinking about the same things.
After breakfast, I took Twi outside to talk with her. "Listen, Twi, tomorrow's going to be our seventh day here," I said.
"You're leaving soon, aren't you?" Twi asked.
I gave her a sad look. "Yes."
"And...I can't come home with you."
"We're going to have to part ways soon, aren't we?"
"Yes." Twi looked down and I had the urge to kick myself. "You have no idea how guilty I feel right now, Twi. I can't believe I'm breaking my promise so early in the game. It's just...I guess time's running out."
"I know it's running out. She's going to find us soon enough."
"You know who. The woman from our nightmares. I'm trying to put all of the pieces together. I'm not sure which memories are false, which are true, or if anything I'm remembering is sane to think. One thing I'm sure of is that woman is responsible for my amnesia. I know it. She did something bad to me right before I lost my memories."
"I wouldn't doubt it."
"I'm going to have to face her, Aaron. I'm going to have to face her and there's nothing that anybody can do. I need to stop her. I need to save that boy. I need to truly find out who I am."
"What are you two talking about?" asked Tanya as she suddenly appeared.
"Nothing," I lied. "Just plans for the day."
"Okay. So what are you two planning?"
"A walk," Twi said suddenly. "A walk around the forest."
"Again? Haven't we already had enough walks around here?" Tanya asked.
"I think everyone could use a good walk," I stated. "To clear the mind and all."
Tanya placed her hands on her hips and sighed. "Fine."
It turned out that I had been right about something: we definitely needed some time to clear our minds. It was quiet in the forest, as always, and everything felt just right. For just a little while, I felt calm and at ease. It was almost as if there was nothing to worry about anymore. It felt as if nothing could spoil my new peaceful mood. That's how I felt...until I got lost.
Twi, Tanya, and I had been walking down a certain path that was a little bit far from the cabin. I don't remember exactly what happened but I do remember getting dizzy for a second, stumbling around for a bit, and suddenly finding myself alone and away from the trail. I was confused and had no idea about what the hell had happened. I looked for any sign of Tanya, Twi, or the trail but saw none of it. I began to panic but I quickly calmed myself down for I knew that panicking would get me nowhere. At first, I didn't know where to go. That's when I heard it: the sound of voices. I began to relax, thinking that the voices were those of Twi and Tanya. I walked in the direction of the voices. I wanted to call out to them but something prevented me from doing so.
As I walked, I noticed how different everything felt. I felt like I was in a dream but I knew I was awake. The air tasted like ash and felt like it was electrified. Everything felt alive: the trees, the dirt, the grass, everything. It was as if I were walking through a crowd of millions. As I came closer and closer to the source of the voices, I quickly realized that the voices did not belong to Tanya or Twi. I hid behind a cluster of bushes as I realized who the voices belonged to: Claudia Wolfe and the boy with spiky, green hair that I had seen in my nightmares. The boy was gagged and was only giving off loud mumbles. Claudia, however, was taunting the boy all the while saying a strange chant.
I could hardly make out what Claudia was saying; but I was able to pick up one sentence. "Now, let's see if this works," she cackled. A cold grin appeared on Claudia's face as a swirling, green portal appeared in the earth before her. She kept it open for a few seconds before closing it. "There. My way home is set." The closing portal sent out a shockwave that smashed into me, and caused me to give out a loud yelp. Claudia turned in my direction. "WHO'S THERE?!" My eyes widened as Claudia began walking in my direction. I got up and began running in the opposite direction. "COME BACK HERE!" I didn't know whether she had identified me or not but I wasn't going to look back to make sure. I just kept running.
The world seemed to spin as I ran. It's hard to describe how I felt during those few moments of running from Claudia. I could hear her running behind me and it seemed that I would never be able to lose her. I focused on getting back to the cabin. I focused on getting back to Tanya and Twi. I never stopped running. Surprisingly, I never grew tired. I was able to keep running and running. Eventually, the sound of Claudia's footsteps died away. I was tempted to look back but I refused. I just kept running.
Suddenly, after what seemed like an eternity of running, a wave of fatigue washed over me. My legs cramped up and I tripped. As I fell, I could hear a voice calling to me from what seemed like a hundred miles away. "Aaron! Aaron!" called the voice. I hit the ground hard and groaned in pain. I looked up to see a dark figure rushing towards me. I placed my hands over my face.
"Aaron!" cried a familiar voice. I opened my eyes and pulled my hands away to see Twi standing over me alongside Tanya.
"Where were you?!" Tanya snapped.
"I...I was in the forest," I breathed.
"Well, no shit, Sherlock!"
"We were so worried!" Twi gasped. "One moment you were there and then...you were gone! We looked all over the place for you. We assumed that you might have come back to the cabin. We came back, saw that you weren't here, and called for you. Then...you just fell out of the forest."
"How long was I gone?" I asked.
"A little over an hour."
As I looked up at Twi and Tanya, I examined my surroundings. I could see the cabin a few feet from where I was. I noticed that the strange ash-tasting, electrified air feeling had gone away. I also realized that I truly felt awake and no longer felt like I was in a dream-like state. "I wish I could explain what happened...but I can't," I stated. "Something strange is going on in these woods."
"You could say that again," said Tanya.
"Come on. Let's get you in the cabin," said Twi as she helped me up. I gave a sigh of relief as Tanya, Twi, and I walked back into the cabin.
I didn't have any nightmares that night. Strangely enough, I didn't have any dreams that night. I just remember being caught in a cold, dark abyss. I was alone and helpless. There was no way for me to escape. I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life in this abyss. However, for some reason, I wasn't afraid during the time that I was trapped in this odd sleep state. I had no worries, no wants, no fears, no anxieties. I was just...peaceful. However, no matter how peaceful I felt, nothing could shake off the distant feeling of danger. Something bad was going to happen extremely soon.
I woke up in the early hours of the morning. It must have been at least an hour or so before sunrise. I don't know why but I was compelled to get out of bed and take a walk. I checked up on Tanya and Twi before heading out of the cabin. Both of them were sleeping soundly. I was happy about that. I figured that we all needed at least one peaceful night in this endless nightmare of questions. I quietly exited the cabin and walked out in the direction of the swimming hole. The Moon was shining brightly tonight and the air was surprisingly cool for a late spring night. I walked out to the shore of the swimming hole and sat down.
I don't know how long I spent staring at my tired reflection in the water. I just remember getting that familiar taste of ash in my mouth. As soon as I started tasting ash, I knew it was time to head back inside. So far, the taste of ash was never followed by anything good. I walked back into the cabin and didn't even bother to return to my room. I just sat down on the couch and drifted back into another stage of peaceful sleep.
"Aaron," I heard Tanya's voice ask as I awoke. Tanya was standing in the doorway between the living room and the hallway and was staring at me strangely. "Why were you sleeping in here?"
"I just felt like it," I said as I stood up and stretched a bit. I looked over at the nearby calendar and sighed. It was hard to believe that Tanya and I had already been there for practically a week. It had gone by so quickly and yet so slowly with all the craziness.
"What do you want for breakfast?" Tanya asked as she trudged into the kitchen.
"Anything but bacon and eggs," I replied with a smirk. Tanya chuckled as she headed over to the fridge to find anything different to eat. Suddenly, the cabin's phone rang. "I'll get it."
I figured that it was probably Mr. Franco as he was the only one who had the number to the cabin. "Hello?" I asked as I brought my mouth to the receiver.
"Hello?! Aaron?!" said the caller in a frightened and nervous tone. "It's Evelyn!"
"Evelyn?" From the way she was talking, I could tell that something was wrong. "How'd you get this number?"
"I found it in Mr. Franco's house! Listen...Aaron...I don't know how to say this...but...Mr. Franco's been murdered."
"WHAT?!" Tanya turned to look at me upon hearing my outburst.
"What's wrong?" she asked. I didn't answer her. I had to know the details from Evelyn.
"How?! When?!" I asked into the phone.
"I don't know. I came over to see if he was doing better and I found the door unlocked. I walked inside and...there he was." I could hear the sound of Evelyn gagging. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Have you called the police?"
"Yes. Oh! They're arriving right now!"
"I'm coming over too." I hung up the phone and quickly ran to my room to change. When I rushed back into the living room wearing a new change of clothes, Tanya was waiting to play 20 Questions with me.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"I'll tell you when I get back. Stay here and don't go outside! Lock the doors and keep Twi inside!" I ordered.
"Why?" I couldn't bear to give Tanya the full details right then and there. I simply sighed and rushed out the front door. Tanya stood in the doorway and watched as I hopped into my car and drove off.
I got to Mr. Franco's house extremely quickly due to going a little bit over the speed limit. I parked just a little ways down from the house. As I approached the house, I could see Evelyn talking with one of the police officers from town.
"And that's when I found him," I heard her say to the officer as I approached. She turned towards me with a sad expression on her face. "Aaron."
"Evelyn. Officer," I said. "What happened?"
"Excuse me but who are you?" asked the officer.
"My name's Aaron. Aaron Thompson. Mr. Franco is...er...was a friend of my family and he was taking care of the cabin that I'm currently staying in with my sister."
"I see. Well I'm sorry to inform you that-"
"I know. Evelyn called me about it right before you guys arrived. Have you been able to find out anything?"
"Well, from what we can see, Mr. Franco was stabbed to death and then stored away for a couple days."
"Stored away?!" Evelyn and I asked together.
"Yes. Mr. Franco's been dead for a couple days now." Evelyn and I turned to each other. "Do either of you have any idea of who could have possibly done this?"
"Yes. I believe we do," I said. "Her name's Claudia Wolfe, or at least that's what she went by when Evelyn and I met her. We came to visit Mr. Franco around two days ago. We were greeted by a woman with long, gray-blue hair; a green, silk dress; fair skin; and green eyes. She told us that Mr. Franco was sick and that she was taking care of him."
"Thank you. I believe we may have finally gotten a description of the killer who's been terrorizing this town for the past week. We'll take it from here." Evelyn and I watched as the officer headed back into the house with the other cops.
"I can't believe somebody would do something like this to Mr. Franco," said Evelyn.
I had to get out of there. Something told me that I had to get Tanya and Twi far away from this place. "Evelyn, go home and lock your doors," I said.
"What about you?"
"I'm going back to the cabin to get Twi and my sister. We're getting out of here."
"I understand. I wouldn't want to stay out here either with a killer on the loose. You're all welcome at my house."
"Thanks but we're going to head back to the city."
"Something's telling me that we need to get as far away from this area as possible." I extended a hand to Evelyn. "So this is goodbye for now. I'm glad to have met you, Evelyn. You're a really nice person." Evelyn was a little confused but she still shook my hand and smiled happily at me. We then broke the handshake and I ran back to my car.
I raced the car down the road. I had to get Tanya and Twi out of here. I knew that woman was catching up to us. My heart was racing as I drove the car around a bend. Suddenly, I tasted it: the taste of ash. I began to shake my head in vain. The air felt electrified and everything began to feel distant and dreamy. I could hear a familiar voice calling out to me, and it wasn't a kind one. "Liar! Liar! You've had her all along!" hissed the voice. I looked in my rear-view mirror and felt my heart stop. Claudia Wolfe was standing in the center of the road a little ways behind my car. There was a flash of green and there was an explosion in the earth just a few feet from my car. I dodged the new hole in the road and pressed hard on the gas pedal. I looked back into the rear-view mirror. Claudia was following me, but she didn't appear to be running. She appeared to be gliding through the air. Her eyes were glowing bright green, her hair was flowing around her, and I noticed a shadowy figure being pulled along the ground by her. "You'll die for lying to me!"
There was another flash of green followed my an explosion in the earth. I swerved the car and nearly veered off the road. "Shit!" I croaked as I straightened the car out. My logical mind didn't want to accept what was happening but there was no other way to put it: this was magic. The taste of ash was the taste of magic. The electrified air was the feeling of magic. "It's impossible! It's just impossible! But...this means...Twi is-" I swerved the car again as Claudia sent another explosive, green bomb my way. My back window shattered and glass covered the back seat. "Shit! I've got to lose her!" I pressed harder on the gas pedal. My car sped up but so did Claudia. It was impossible for me to lose her. I turned around another bend and saw the cabin in the distance. I had to warn Tanya and Twi. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my cell phone, and dialed Tanya's number.
"Hello?" asked Tanya as she answered.
"Tanya! Get Twi ready! We're going to book it!" I screamed into the phone.
"Aaron?! What's going on?!"
"I'm being chased by a witch!" There was another explosion and the car shook violently.
"What was that?!"
"Just get ready to hop into the car!" The cabin was coming up fast. Another explosion sent my phone falling from my hand. I gripped both hands on the steering wheel as I sped towards the cabin. I could see Tanya and Twi standing at the front door. I could only imagine what Twi was feeling at that moment. I prepared to make a quick stop to allow them to hop in before speeding off. However, I never made it to that point. My ears rang as the back of my car exploded and fell apart. Glass shattered and the car flipped over. Green smoke and dirt flew through the air as the world around me spun like a top. I could hear Tanya and Twi screaming and Claudia laughing.
It must have only taken a few seconds for the car to come to a stop, but it felt like an eternity for me. The car was upside-down and I had been able to escape the crash with only a few cuts and bruises (I still don't know how I managed to do that). I unbuckled my seat belt as fast as I could before kicking the door open and crawling out. The world was still spinning and my mind was so scrambled that I could barely focus on one thing. I saw a pair of feet running towards me. I looked up to see Twi grab onto me and pull me towards the cabin. I heard a familiar laugh. I turned to see that Claudia had landed on her feet and that she was walking towards us. The shadowy figure being dragged my her was none other than the boy with green, spiky hair.
"Well, well, well," Claudia said with a cold smile. "I've finally found you, Sparkle." Twi's eyes widened as she looked at Claudia.
"Who are you?! What are you?! What do you want with me?!" Twi cried.
"You don't remember? Pity. Well, then I guess you won't mind if I rid myself of this annoying child." Claudia presented the boy with green hair.
"NO!" Twi took a step forward. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
"Oh? Are you starting to remember?"
"I have a cloudy idea of who I really am and I'm still sketchy on how I ended up here, but I know that I will not let you hurt him!"
The boy looked at Twi with a frightened expression. "T...Twilight," he choked.
"Shut up!" Claudia ordered. I wanted to rush forward and punch her across the face but I was still weakened from my crash. I turned back towards the cabin and noticed the Tanya had disappeared. I turned back to Claudia to see her wrap her hands around the boy. "What are you going to do, little girl? You apparently don't remember anything. I'm more powerful than you. I can do whatever I want in this world. You can't stop me and your little friends can't stop me either!"
"Guess again!" snapped a familiar voice. I watched as Tanya appeared from a nearby cluster of trees and smacked Claudia across the face with a big stick. The boy broke free from Claudia's grasp and ran towards Twi.
"Twilight!" he called. A look of recognition appeared on Twi's face.
"Sp...Spike...SPIKE!" Twi cried as she grabbed the boy and wrapped him in her arms. She untied the rope that was binding him and hugged him tightly. "Spike! Oh, Spike! You're okay!" Tears of joy were rolling down Twi's face. I managed to pick myself off the ground and couldn't help but smile at Twi's reunion with her friend.
"You little BRAT!" screamed Claudia. I turned around, there was a flash of green, and Tanya was sent flying through the air. My heart stopped as Tanya landed at my feet with a giant burn in the center of her chest.
"TANYA!" I cried as I knelt down and helped her up. She was alive but the attack had knocked a lot out of her. I felt a powerful force overcome my body and found myself and Tanya levitating in the air. Claudia's eyes were glowing bright green.
"No! LET THEM GO!" Twi ordered.
"If I can't kill your assistant, then I'll just have to kill these pathetic creatures that you've befriended," Claudia said. All of the air was crushed out of my body and I suddenly found myself unable to breath.
"PUT THEM DOWN!"
"Why do you care? You've only know them for about a week or so. Why does it matter to you if they die?"
"Because...they're my friends!" I noticed a purple aura wrapping itself around Twi's body. Her eyes began to glow pure white and the dirt around her began to spin. "And I'll never turn my back on my friends!" I watched in amazement as a beam of purple energy shot from Twi and smashed right into Claudia. Claudia was flung back into a nearby bush and Tanya and I fell to the ground with a loud thump. I gave several wheezing coughs as Twi ran to my side. "Aaron! Aaron! Are you and Tanya okay?!"
"We've seen better days...but we're alive," I replied weakly.
"Thank Celestia!" Twi gave me a huge hug. She pulled back and our eyes met for a split second. I gasped as Twi leaned forward and pressed her lips onto my own. For a few seconds, we were locked in a moment of terrifying bliss. She pulled back and I noticed that her face was bright red. "I don't know why I just did that. It just...felt right."
"Well, to be honest, it definitely made me feel a bit better."
"SPARKLE!" yelled a familiar voice. Twi helped me up as Claudia emerged from the trees. I turned to Tanya and helped her up. "We're not done!"
"For now, we are!" Twi snapped. I watched as another purple aura appeared around Twi and, a moment later, a giant magical shield appeared around us and the cabin. Claudia tried to force her way through but she couldn't do it.
"You can't hide in there forever, Twilight Sparkle! You and your little friends will have to come out sooner or later!" Twi turned away from Claudia as she helped me, Tanya, and the boy named Spike into the cabin.
By nightfall, Claudia had disappeared into the trees of the surrounding forest. Not one of us dared to venture outside. We knew she was out there waiting for us. Tanya was lying on the couch and recovering from her burns. Meanwhile, Twi and I had come to acknowledge and accept that fact that Twi's true identity was that of Twilight Sparkle. Spike filled us in on what had happened prior to Twi's (I know her real name's Twilight but I'm still going to call her Twi) arrival in our world.
Back in Equestria, Spike had been kidnapped by some changelings under the order of Queen Chrysalis. Twilight had gone to negotiate for Spike's release. Chrysalis, however, had intended on killing Spike before Twilight before killing her. Twilight, on the other hand, had been prepared for this. She and Chrysalis got involved in a huge battle. Chrysalis had obtained some new magic due to some dark practices. One of these new abilities she learned was how to open a portal between realities, which was something that could only be performed a certain number of times. During the battle, a portal had been opened that connected Equestria to our world. Spike, Chrysalis, and Twilight had fallen through the portal in that order. However, something bothered me about this. If the vision I had seen previously was correct, I distinctly remember a purple orb falling out of Twilight and through the portal. I decided not to bring it up just yet.
Spike continued to explain how he, Chrysalis, and Twilight had been separated upon entering our world but Chrysalis eventually caught up to him. For the past week, Chrysalis had been traveling around the area killing random families, draining love, finding new places to spend a night or two, and then continuing on in her search for Twilight under the alias of Claudia Wolfe (which is a name she had stolen from a character in a video game she came across in one of the homes).
"Wow," said Tanya as Spike finished explaining. Spike turned towards Twi.
"Do you remember anything else now?" he asked.
"Bits and pieces. I remember you, of course, and how close we are. I remember a bit about my brother and my friends. I also remember some stuff about Celestia and a lot of stuff about Chrysalis. And, thanks to you, I've been able to put the pieces together as to how I ended up here. But, sadly, most of my memories are still missing," Twi replied. I noticed a wave of green wash over the shield that Twi had put up.
"My guess is that we don't have much time before she breaks through," I said. I looked straight at Twi. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to fight her, and make her send us home."
"It's going to be tricky. Only she can cast the portal spell," Tanya said as she stood up.
"How are you feeling?" I asked with concern.
"Better. Hey, Twi. When you fight that bitch, give her a punch for me."
"I'll make sure to do that," said Twi. "And don't worry about the portal spell. Remember, Chrysalis isn't the only one here who can use magic."
"But, Twilight, changeling magic is different from pony magic," said Spike.
"I think I'll be able to manage, Spike. Besides, I've done impossible stuff before...or at least I think I have." It was strange seeing Twi slowly regain her memories. It was as if a different person was trying to break through from within her. Another wave of green washed over the shield and the cabin shook a bit. Twi stood up. "It's almost time."
I stood up as well. "Twi," I said. Twi turned to look at me and Tanya. She stepped forward and hugged both of us.
"I guess this is the only time we can properly say goodbye," she said as she stepped back to look at us. "Thank you. Both of you. I know you two have gone through a lot of trouble for me. You put up with a lot of crap that you should have never had to worry about. And now my dangerous past has pulled you two into the line of fire. I just want to say that I'm sorry...and that I'm eternally grateful for what you've done." A strange smile appeared on Twi's face. "It feels strange remembering my past, you know. Even though I am Twilight Sparkle, my amnesiac persona (Twi) feels like a slightly different person; and now Twi is going away. It feels like a part of me is dying...and I'm sad about that." A lone tear rolled down Twi's face. "When I return to Equestria as Twilight Sparkle, I will never forget you two. I can only hope that you two won't forget me."
"Trust me, I think it would be impossible for us to forget something like this," Tanya chuckled.
"Don't be so sure," Twi said sadly. "This is a time for impossible things." The cabin shook again and I noticed that some green smoke was eating away at the shield. "She's breaking through."
"Be careful. I hope you and Spike are able to get home safely," I said.
"And, don't worry, we'll make sure to take Chrysalis with us. We wouldn't want her causing anymore trouble in your world," said Spike. Twi took a step closer to me and looked straight into my eyes.
"You know...I actually was falling in love with you, Aaron, as Twi. Now that Twilight's starting to awaken, those feelings are starting to go away. It's a strange feeling: being in love with somepony, I mean someone, and yet not being in love with them," Twi said. "Aaron, can I ask you something?"
"Were you...ever attracted to me? Are you...in love with me?"
"God, my life's turning into a Disney movie," Tanya chuckled as she took a few steps back. I took a step towards Twi and grabbed her hand.
"Yes, I was attracted to you and, yes, I might have started to develop feelings for you; but love is something that takes time, Twi. I've only known you for a week," I replied. "But, maybe given enough time, my feelings might have developed into something more."
"And thus begins the worst question of life: what if?" Twi stated as she tightened her grip on my hand. "So...before our feelings disappear permanently...how about one last sign of affection for good luck?"
"Don't worry, I won't look," said Spike as he turned away.
"Me neither," chuckled Tanya. I turned to look at Twi before we brought our lips together for one last time. It felt like a dim spark was passing through my body. A sign of love that could never be. A sign of love that could have been. We pulled our lips apart and hugged one last time. There was a loud rumbling and the shield began to collapse. Chrysalis's laugh echoed from outside. Twi and I stepped away from each other.
"This is goodbye then," said Twi.
"Goodbye," said Tanya as she stepped forward and gave Twi and quick hug.
"You two stay close now," I said as I looked at Twi and Spike.
"Don't worry," said Twi as she took a hold of Spike's hand. "I won't let him go." Tanya and I watched as Twi and Spike disappeared through the back door. I could feel a few tears rolling down my face. I turned towards Tanya to see that she was crying a bit too.
"We have to make sure if they make it," said Tanya.
"I couldn't agree more," I said. Tanya and I then followed Twi and Spike out the back door.
I could see that Twi and Chrysalis had already begun their fight. Beams of purple and green were flying across the field and setting certain patches of grass on fire.
"Run, Spike! Run to the water!" cried Twi. Spike did what he was told and ran towards the swimming hole. Tanya and I disappeared into the nearby trees to watch the fight. Tanya took hold of a nearby big stick that had been lying on the ground.
"I don't think a stick is going to help you this time," I said.
"Hey! Never underestimate the power of a big stick!" Tanya stated. Tanya and I watched as Twi rushed at Chrysalis. They collided and streams of purple and green magic shot off from them.
"You're going to open the portal and return us home!" Twi ordered.
"Not until you're dead and buried!" Chrysalis snapped. Tanya and I snuck through the trees and made our way over towards the swimming hole. Something told me that was where we needed to be and I guess that Tanya had felt the same way. I quickly noticed that Twi was drawing Chrysalis in the same direction. There was a flash of green and Twi was knocked back.
"Twilight!" Spike screamed. Twi hit the ground hard and quickly picked herself up. Suddenly, I noticed a look of amazement flash in her eyes.
"Of course," she gasped.
"I know what to do now, Spike. Whatever you do, don't interfere." Tanya and I watched as Twi took a few steps towards Chrysalis. "These stupid quarrels have gone on long enough, Chrysalis. If you want to kill me so badly, then stop joking around and just do it." Twi then spread out her arms and stood absolutely still.
"Aaron, what the hell is she doing?!" Tanya asked.
"I have no idea...but I don't like the look of it," I replied. Chrysalis laughed as she lunged towards Twi. Twi still did nothing. I burst from the trees and ran towards Twi. "TWI!" Twi turned towards me as Chrysalis's magically-enhanced hands reached through her chest and through her back.
"TWILIGHT!" cried Spike.
"OH MY GOD!" I heard Tanya scream. Chrysalis pulled her hands out of Twi's body. Her hands and lower arms were covered in oceans of blood. A trickle of blood fell from Twi's mouth as she collapsed to the ground.
"No!" I gasped. "No, no, no! Twi! Twilight Sparkle! You can't die!" I cried as I ran forward. Chrysalis didn't even bother stopping me. She was too busy celebrating the fact that she had killed her enemy. I balanced Twi's head in my hands. "Twi...what did you do?!"
"Don't...worry," Twi croaked. "I've...got...everything...under...control." A tear of pain rolled town Twi's face as she breathed her last breath.
Tanya stepped out from the trees and slowly approached us. She then turned to Chrysalis and screamed, "YOU MONSTER!"
"I'm no monster. I'm just a woman willing to give punishment to those who deserve it," Chrysalis said coldly.
"Twilight...no," Spike cried as he knelt next to Twi's body. Chrysalis was about to laugh again when, suddenly, her body began to shake violently. It looked like she were having a seizure.
"What...what is this?!" Chrysalis asked as the shaking in her body increased.
"What's going on?!" Tanya asked. Chrysalis let out a shriek of pain before becoming limp for a few seconds. Suddenly, after a few seconds of lifelessness, Chrysalis turned towards us. I noticed something strange about her. Her eyes were no longer green, they were purple.
"No way," I gasped. "It can't be." Chrysalis smiled as she pointed at the swimming hole. A green portal suddenly appeared in the water right next to the shore. Tanya, Spike, and I watched as Chrysalis collapsed to the ground. A misty, transparent figure emerged from Chrysalis's body. The figure was that of a purple unicorn with a long purple mane and sharp, purple eyes.
"Twilight?!" asked a shocked Spike.
"Told you I had everything under control," said Twilight Sparkle.
"How?!" Tanya asked.
"I'm not dead, if that's what you're thinking; and I'm not a ghost."
I looked at Twi's corpse in my arms and then at the ghostly Twilight Sparkle. "But...how...what?!" I stammered.
"That blast that Chrysalis gave me jogged one of my memories. You see, not all of me traveled to this world through the first portal."
"I'm lost," said Tanya and Spike together.
"After Spike and Chrysalis fell through the portal that connected Equestria to this world, my friends tried to stop me from falling through. The portal was strong and my friends were strong. A part of me did end up passing through the portal: my soul. My body remained in Equestria and is probably still there but in a comatose state."
"But...what am I holding?" I asked as I looked at Twi's corpse.
"When my soul passed through the portal and fell into this world, it created a sort of shell to keep itself safe." The ghostly Twilight pointed at Twi. "That was my shell. The amnesia was just a side of effect of passing through the portal in such a disjointed state."
"So...Twi was just a shell?" The ghostly Twilight knelt down in front of me.
"No, Aaron. I am Twi and Twi is me. What you're holding is just a shell of the true Twi. You're holding the chrysalis, I'm the butterfly."
"I think I'm starting to understand," said Tanya. "So, upon learning this, you realized that if Chrysalis quote-unquote killed you then your soul would be free to inhabit her body and thus you'd be able to open the portal!"
"Exactly! Not bad, Tanya."
I looked from the shell that was Twi to look straight into Twilight Sparkle's eyes. "So, it's really goodbye this time," I sighed.
"Yes," Twilight replied.
"What will happen once you pass through that portal?"
"I'll most likely end up back in my true body, Spike will return to being a dragon, and Chrysalis will be seen to by the Princesses. We're going to find a way to remove these new dark powers of hers so that she doesn't try this dimension hopping business ever again." I felt a cold chill on my shoulder and I looked to see that Twilight had placed her hoof there. "Good luck, Aaron. I hope that we can meet again someday."
"I dunno, but I'm sure it'll be by some impossible method."
"And you are the impossible girl...er...mare."
"Right." Twilight removed her hoof and turned towards Spike. "You ready to head back home?"
"Yeah," Spike said as he reached up and took Twilight's ghostly hoof. Twilight's horn glowed and the unconscious Chrysalis levitated over next to her.
Twilight and Spike then turned back to look at Tanya and me. "Goodbye," they said together.
"Goodbye," said Tanya and me. I wrapped an arm around Tanya and Tanya leaned her head into my side. We watched as Twilight, Spike, and the unconscious Chrysalis moved forward and fell through the green portal in the water. Seconds later, the portal disappeared, leaving the two of us alone in the silent forest.
"Do you think anybody would believe us if we told them what happened?" Tanya asked. I let out a chuckle in response.
"Not in a million years," I replied.
Tanya and I buried the shell of Twilight Sparkle on the shore of the swimming hole. There was certainly a lot of explaining to do to my parents when I called them about my car being wrecked. My parents, Tanya, and I attended the funeral of Mr. Franco before heading back to the city. The police eventually gave up on their search for Claudia Wolfe and the town moved on with murders no longer taking place. I went off to college and have been successful in my college career so far. Strangely enough, it turns out that Evelyn is going to the same college that I am. We've been dating for a couple months now. My parents sold the cabin and I've heard that somebody else has bought it. I've also heard that the area around the cabin has become twice as beautiful as it used to be, especially around the swimming hole. Although, the new owners have occasionally complained about the taste of ash and an overabundance of static electricity in the air. Things have become better for Tanya and me and we're a lot closer now as brother and sister than we ever were before our encounter with the creatures from another world. Both of us have begun to check out more of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and have started to take a liking to it.
I find myself thinking of Twi a lot. I remember that week I spent with her and how much it changed me and Tanya for the better. We haven't told anybody about what truly happened and we never will. I'm sure it happened. I know it happened. The impossible and unthinkable happened and we witnessed it. I think back to Twilight's promise that we'll see each other again someday. Sometimes, I think I'm crazy, I think I see Twilight smiling at me through the reflection of a nearby mirror, window, or other reflective surface. I only see her for a millisecond but I'm sure that she's there. Maybe she's found a way to look in on my world every now and then. I hope we do end up seeing each other again. Until then, I'm fine just remembering her as that strange, impossible girl. I'll never forget her. That's a promise.