This is my entry for Jeffrey Ricker’s Flash Fiction challenge for January, 2021! I hope you enjoy!
Once upon a time…
The words blinked on the Word document, begging for me to continue. I sighed, fumbling for my tissues and wiping my eyes.
I shut down my laptop, turned out the lights, nearly stumbled into my brand new fake potted cycad plant in the corner of my studio apartment, and then struggled to get to sleep. The fan helped drown out my choked sobs and sniffles as I lay in bed, wondering when the police sirens would stop and when the neighbors would stop screaming at each other. I shoved earplugs into my ears, and fell into a listless, sad sleep.
My pony closet door creaked open, and a small figure bravely peeked out across the sea of beige carpet to my sleeping form.
“Moondancer, what are you doing?!” hissed the Twilight Sparkle stuck on a keyring on the closet door, ever the watchful guardian of the pastel realm of my ponies.
“She’s been so sad, every night!” Moondancer sighed, looking forlorn as I turned in a fit of weary grief and sobbed into my pillows.
“If you leave, she will put you right back on the shelf, and you cannot say a word!”
Moondancer’s horn glowed a bright white, as if an LED light from my fairy lights around my dinosaur shelves had broken loose and landed on the floor. I was too busy in a fit of a night terror to notice, this time wandering around a convention hall totally lost.
“Oh, Moondancer, be careful!” Fluttershy warned, twisting around the netted hovel she was perched in. She let out a frightened squeal as the unicorn trotted toward me, her horn’s light bobbing along like a firefly in the summer grass.
“I wish you were here right now…with me…and not so far away…” I wept.
Moondancer looked back at the ajar pony closet door, then up at me.
“She made a wish!” Moondancer hissed to Twilight and Fluttershy.
“A wish for what?” Twilight whispered back.
“She wants someone with her!” Moondancer wandered to the halfway point in my bedroom.
“Someone who lives far away!” Moondancer suddenly teleported into the potted plant, which almost knocked over from the sudden gravitational shift.
“Moondancer!!” Fluttershy screamed, then covered her mouth with her large plush hooves.
“Fluttershy!!” both the small and large Twilight Sparkles scolded. The large plush Twilight Sparkle along with a plush form of Spike the Dragon were standing guard by the potted cycad.
“Moondancer!” Spike cried, his permanent toothy grin somehow wider. “You’re supposed to be with the herd in the closet!”
“Our Lady is sad, and she wishes to see someone far away…someone she loves, I think!” Moondancer replied.
“We’re not supposed to get involved with that!” large plush Twilight admonished the unicorn.
“As unicorns, we’re supposed to get involved with wishes and magic!” Moondancer argued. “And our Lady is in need of some magic…I am tired of her crying so much every night!”
“Moondancer, she is grieving!” Twilight responded, stunned by her stubbornness. “You can’t force people to get along or love one another—those things take time and are their own kind of magic!”
“Well, it seems like having this other person around will make her happy, and I think granting that wish is fair enough!” Moondancer’s horn glowed again, this time fading in and out slowly, and fading into a warm magenta glow.
The lights in my living room area made me grunt and groan. I opened my puffy red eyes, and stumbled into the space, flicking on the lights with a tap of my foot.
The white unicorn with a magenta and purple mane and tail and purple eyes gazed up at me from the potted cycad’s fake moss and soil.
“What the—” I grabbed the toy and wondered, “What are you doing out here? I guess I had you out earlier and forgot to put you away…come on…I gotta try and get some sleep…”
I flicked off the light, and shuffled into the bedroom. I opened the pony closet door, and set Moondancer back in her spot next to Firefly and Moonstone.
I then shut the pony closet door, the bedroom door, turned on the fan louder, and flung myself back into bed, trying for a better round of dreams and sleep.
The next morning, as I opened the windows and blinds, I was startled by a knock at the door. “UPS!”
My jaw dropped open after I had taken the large box inside, and opened it. There, in a worse for wear box within the larger cardboard box, sat an original My Little Pony Dream Castle.
On top of the box was a taped note, black ink scrawled across it:
I know it’s been a while. Hope this makes up for the silence on my end.
Beneath the note was a folded receipt for a car rental company, with his name on it. My heart nearly stopped. I dropped the papers to the floor and sat in the chair at my kitchen table with a whoosh.
Moondancer had snuck out of the closet again and peered around the corner, watching me, waiting.
Twilight rolled her eyes, and Spike suppressed a giggle.
I sat there, still in shock. He’s never done something like this before…! I thought…I thought…
I picked up the paperwork off the kitchen floor. Moondancer quickly pulled away, her magenta and purple mane flying.
I set the papers on the table, and hoisted the old box up, away from the cardboard one. I gently opened it, and gasped.
Inside the Dream Castle playset were the complete accessories, plus Spike and Majesty. And then…
The custom pony I made him!
For a moment, my heart sank. Another returned gift…another heartfelt gesture spurned…
More notes were taped under the custom pony, neatly folded.
I’ll need him back…so meet me here…and I found another note, this time an address, with a time scrawled on it. I hope to see you soon…
Genre: Fairy tale
Object: Potted plant
Setting: Studio apartment