Chapter two: Ascend Into the Darkness
Fluttershy screams as her and Apple Jack pound and kick at the door, both wishing it would open. But all their frantic kicking and screaming are to no avail. The door doesn't budge. Fluttershy glances at Apple Jack, who now is looking at the lantern on the floor. "Fluttershy," she begins "we need to find a way out of here. But we must find Twilight. She probably has the key or some kind of spell to get us out of here." Apple jack looks back to her friend, who gives her a quick nod in agreement. Apple Jack reaches down and picks up the lantern; they turn to face the dark hall once again. For a moment they just stand there staring into its dark abyss, it seems to call to them, to continue further. An audible gulp comes from Fluttershy, preparing herself to move along down the darkened corridor. Apple jack takes it as a motive to move. She starts to move down the hall feeling Fluttershy's presence very close to her. Even though Fluttershy is easily frightened, it brings some bit of comfort to Apple Jack; she's not facing this alone. They reach the end of the hall, seeing a door that leads into another section of the castle, the doors on the inside of the castle are made of a dense wood, that somehow managed to survive the fire, in fact the inside entire inside of the castle seems to not even look remotely has been affected by fire. "Now, that's quite strange." Apple Jack says while dragging her hoof across the surface of the door, feeling to see if what was before her wasn't an allusion of her mind. "This here place doesn't even look like it's been in a fire." Fluttershy nods in agreement, feeling the walls. Apple Jack opens the door. As the door opens a large gust of cold wind hits Apple jack and Fluttershy, the sheer cold shuttered Apple jack to the bone, causing her to feel like a bare skeleton in its cold grasp. Shaking off the cold trying to use the warmth from the lantern she continues on into the room. From what she can gather it looks like a study; book shelves, a desk with paper scatted across the top. "Wow," says Fluttershy, as she drags her hoof on the dust covered book shelf. "Nopony has been in here for a while." Apple Jack nods. "Ain't that the truth?" Apple jack walks over to the desk to examine it. Looking at the papers on top, but she notices something. The writing, it's very familiar. That's Twilights writing! Apple Jack thought to herself as she looked at it more carefully. "Hey, Fluttershy, come here." She says. She walks over and then looks at the paper that apple jack is reading. "Hey, that's Twilights writing!" she says. Apple jack began to read it out loud. I've been in this place for weeks, the more time I spend here, the worst things become. It's a very strange place. Sounds that don't even seem to be remotely possible are made. Hoof steps, growling, coughing, laughing, even screaming can be heard throughout the property. The shadows hide secrets; if I go anywhere I'm more then positive to bring a lantern with me. I've been having terrible headaches and I can't explain why or where they come from. When the dark of night falls upon this place, it changes, the dark hallways are darker, and seem to go on forever. I feel as if I'm walking to my death every night, even when I have to walk to the restroom. Just something about this place, is just wrong. Apple jack glances over at Fluttershy who looks even more pale than normal. It seems that apple jack isn't the only one that has felt the way she did. "I wonder where she could have gone." Fluttershy says trying to think of the possibilities her friend could be in such a large place. Apple jack looks over to Fluttershy and says, "From what I could gather from this here note, I don't think I could find out, but let's keep looking." They turn to go out the door they came, they stop dead in their tracks when they see a dark shadow seem to move out of view of the door frame, as if it was watching them but didn't want them to know. Fluttershy starts to hyperventilate, apple jack raises the lantern to see better, the hall way is clear. "Wh-wh-what was that?" Fluttershy asks with labored breaths. Apple jack walks slowly to the door trying not to make any noise. She peeks out the door frame and the lantern illuminates the hall, not a sign of any thing in there. Cold, quiet and barren just like when they walked in it earlier. She looks around, first to her left, then to her right, and then she looks down. On the floor lays spattered drops of dark red blood, it was covered on the top of a cupcake, white frosting with red sprinkles on it. There also seemed to be strands of pink hair lying around it. Apple jack shudders at the idea of how and why it was there. "No, it couldn't be." She begins. She reaches down and picks up the strands of hair, and gives it a sniff. It smelled just like cotton candy. "Pinkie." She looks around the hall even more, was that shadow Pinkie? And if it was what is she doing here and why didn't she come to talk to us. Something isn't right. Fluttershy walks over to Apple Jack. "What's wrong AJ?" Fluttershy asks, "It looks like you've seen a ghost." It's true apple jack face had no color, as if it was washed off her face. She looks around trying to process what is going on. Was that Pinkie? My dear friend? Is she avoiding us? And why would she, this place is to scary and creepy for somepony like her to just run through all by herself. She shakes her head, gathering her thoughts, and then she speaks to her yellow friend. "I think Pinkie Pie is here," she shows Fluttershy the strands of pinkie hair, "we have to find her." Fluttershy eyes widen, in shock that Pinkie would be here. "Ok, let's go find her." She says hesitantly. They start down the hall looking for any sign of Pinkie Pie, Twilight, or anypony inside the castle. They quickly walk down the halls, looking down open doors and long hall ways. "I don't see anything." Apple jack says to Fluttershy quickly. Fluttershy doesn't respond. Apple jack turns around and looks to Fluttershy, who is standing staring intently down a hall. "Fluttershy?" Apple jack turns around and slowly walks over to Fluttershy "what is it sugarcube?" Fluttershy still stares down the long hallway, as if something is staring back and she can see it, Apple jack turns to see what it is Fluttershy is staring at. They both stand there speechless as they stare at angel, Fluttershy's bunny, at the end of the hall eating a piece of celery. "Angel bunny? What are you doing here?" Fluttershy asks out loud, slightly leaning in to see her bunny better. Angel lifts his ears and looks at apple jack and Fluttershy, looks at them trying to figure out what they're doing there. "Angel?" Fluttershy asks again taking a step forward. As soon as Fluttershy moves angel takes off to the side in to the dark, "Angel!" Fluttershy yells as she barrels down the hall after him, running out of the light provided by apple jacks lantern and into the darkened hallway. She reaches the corner where her bunny was sitting she turns to the direction he was and let out a blood curdling scream. "Fluttershy!" apple jack screams as she runs down the hall after her. She reaches Fluttershy. "What is it sugercu-"she doesn't finish her sentence because of the sight before her. In front of both Fluttershy and Apple Jack, with her back to them, sat Pinkie Pie. The ground beneath her was riddled with blood, her body was skinny, boney, covered in cuts, scares, and bruises and her ribs are exposed. Her mane and tails mane is falling out and ragged and a mess. There also a large metallic collar protruding from her neck. "It's ok, you can smile now." Pinkie says with a creepy voice, which seemed to echo in its self, but not in the hall. "P-P-Pinkie?" Fluttershy says choking on her words. Pinkies head slowly turns to look at them, and when they see her face the horrid sight is brought into full view. Her face was sinking in, blood running down from her eyes like tears. She looks at them with her empty bloody eye sockets; she spreads a smile, with torn parts of what is left of angel stuck in her jagged, broken teeth. "Hey, girls." She says with a long hiss when she speaks. "I can make you smile too." She tells them in a playful creepy way. "RUN!" Apple jack says her and Fluttershy run down the hall at full speed not looking back. Apple jack trips and falls down, the lantern crashes and rolls behind her. She turns to grab the lantern and sees the new twisted pinkie running after her with a full on sprint. "Come back, let me taste you!" Pinkie screams as she barrels down the hall. "Ah, Pony feathers!" Apple jack yells as she picks up the lantern and rises and runs down the hall, hearing the running hoof steps of Pinkie right behind her. Her heart racing, lungs expanding and contracting as fast as they can to support her full on sprint, she watches her friend Fluttershy take a turn at the end of the hall. In Apple jacks mind she calculates when and how she's going to take the turn. She takes a quick glance behind her to see how close the living nightmare is behind her. With her twisted smile, Pinkie is slowly gaining up to Apple jack, the chains on her legs clattering around. With each stop of her hooves, Pinkies cuts leak out the darkened and goriest blood, looking like dark red paint oozing out of a stabbed paint bucket. Apple jack takes a hard turn at the corner, moving out of Pinkies path. She turns to look back, seeing Pinkie try to perform the same move. She tries to make the same quick turn, but as soon as she pivots she tumbles, Apple jack seeing and hearing Pinkies ankle snap and twist. The bone exposed and bloods spurting out, she lets out and roars of pain but quickly stubbles to get her balance again, but by the time she's standing, Fluttershy and Apple jack are out of sight. "You can't hide forever! I will find you!" they hear her yell as the run into a room, slamming the door shut behind them. For a moment there was nothing but silence, the only sound was the light panting from Apple jack and Fluttershy, trying to catch their breaths. Finally Fluttershy breaks the silence, "was that really Pinkie?" Apple jack looks over to her friend, who now has tears running down her cheeks. Apple jack can feel her eyes swell and tear up. She closes her eyes tightly, trying to fight off the tears. She gathers herself, sets the lantern down and walks over to her friend, now letting out a quiet gentle sob. Apple jack places one hoof onto her shoulder, Fluttershy's eyes, full of tears and sorrow, looks at her friend. Apple jack gives her a reassuring smile, Fluttershy feels her heart beat slow softly, and feels the ends of her mouth spread to a smile. Before either of them can say a thing, there is a pounding on the door. "Girls…I know you're in there!" Pinkies voice creeps through the door, scratching at their ears. Apple jack gestures to the couch, telling Fluttershy to hide under it. She nods and quickly and quietly dashes to the couch and slides herself under it. Apple jack runs to the closet and closes the door behind her, but not fully, just enough space that a crack allows her to see into the room. She left the lantern in the middle of the room, giving it a yellow hue. She hears the door creak slowly open. The sounds of hooves clicking against the hard stone floor, the sound of the broken hoof dragging with its chains right behind it. "Hide and seek, hide and seek." Pinkie begins to say with a slight singing voice. "Oh where, oh where could my friends be?" Apple jack feels her heart stop when the monstrous nightmare form of her friend comes into her view. A large twisted smile spread across her mangled face, a large piece of a sharp rock lodged in her cheek, with slow oozing blood rolling down her face. Apple jacks body tenses up; she feels as if her body was frozen where she stood. She even starts to hold her breath, watching and waiting for this monster in her view to do something. Pinkie slowly looks around the room, the smile not leaving her face. Her gaze finally meets the closet; she stares at it as her smile grows. Apple jacks heart is now beating faster than she's ever felt it go before. Pinkie takes one step toward the closet, Apple jack starts to fear the worst. Oh no, she's found me! Maybe I can keep Pinkie distracted long enough for Fluttershy to get out of here. If I die, at least Fluttershy got away. Apple jack braces for the horrors that are to come. "Ready or not…" Pinkie Pie says with her demented voice, singing it like a game. She gets up closer to the closet door. "Here I-" suddenly, her words stop abruptly, from being hit in the head by a vase. It shatters and the remains clatter and crash to the floor. Pinkie turns around to see Fluttershy standing there, frozen like a deer in the headlights. "Come!" Pinkie screams loudly at Fluttershy, before Apple jack can do anything, Fluttershy runs out of the room, with Pinkie chasing right behind her. Apple jack jumps out of the closet, she franticly looks around the room. No sign of Fluttershy or Pinkie. She picks up the lantern and runs out into the hallway. Looking around, every direction, every angle. Nothing. She never noticed the silence of the hall, because she had Fluttershy's quiet whimpering or breathing to comfort her, but now she was alone. Alone in the darkness.