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About Literature / Hobbyist Core Member N. B. SeabornMale/United States Group :iconmlp-art-club-101: MLP-ART-CLUB-101
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Literature
Discord's Reformation Clinic
Chrysalis was seriously dead. Gone, split, outta here, afterlife bug-queen. At least, that’s what she was hoping Discord would believe. Perhaps then she would be released from his pocket reality and given a proper burial in Equestria.
“Unfortunately for the narrator,” quipped the master of madness, “I don’t believe you’ve gone to the great hereafter, Chitin-butt. I don’t recall signing your release form.”
Her head had hung over the edge of a floating island, her foot-long green tongue lolling in a lewd manner across her clouded eyes.
“Careful, mister writer,” warned the chief of disbelief, “don’t make too many references to tongues doing nasty things or we’ll have to change this story’s rating to something that will get the writer a ton of followers.”
“Ooh, would you please just stop talking to yourself already!” wailed Chrysalis as she miraculously came back from the great beyond (alm
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Literature
Mister Lonely Heart 2: What We Leave Behind
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” –Maya Angelou
My life didn’t take a turn for the better until I betrayed my mother. Since she was Queen Chrysalis, every pony I know has assured me that it was for the best that I and the rest of my hive deposed the one who gave me life. Even considering how cruel she was to other races, I sometimes missed her company.
Before King Thorax showed us a better way to live, by sharing our love instead of hoarding it, I had never known what loneliness was. After all, how can one feel adrift in the world when one is constantly surrounded by thousands of fellow changelings?
After my reformation, I moved to Ponyville to become what I call a “Grievance Councelor”. I use my shape-shifting abilities to look like ponies that my clients have problems with. Terrible bosses, treacherous husbands, that sort of thing. I struggle against a torrent of awful-tasting rage and sorrow in order to dine upon the
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Literature
Mister Lonely Heart
Memories can be cruel, sadistic things. Like a long-decaying tooth, they lie dormant for ages unnoticed. Then something triggers them; the mentioning of a name, for example. Then the pain often returns full force, which drives some of my clients literally to their knees.
But that’s part of my job, you see. In the town of Ponyville, I help ponies deal with personal issues that their friends and neighbors would never guess at.
I’m also a changeling. One who once looked like a blue-eyed demon, dark and forbidding as a midnight forest. The reformation of my species somehow led me to have a bright green body and purple eyes. Now we are as colorful as the ponies we work with.
It had been a long work week for me. Plenty of tears, screaming and shouts. The dumpster out back was littered with wet tissues from the especially tearful sessions. A few fresh dents, from those ponies who wore their anger on their sleeves, had been pounded into the walls of my office. I would have to get t
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Mature content
Dregs :iconeskerata:Eskerata 3 4
Literature
Everypony STILL Hates Dash
      Whenever somepony says that a pony’s fillyhood years are the best days of their lives, I have to remind myself that almost nopony recalls their own past as well as they believe. If you think really carefully about those so-called “best days” and find yourself wincing, you aren’t nearly as starry-eyed as most ponies.
         One constant fact of my fillyhood was that I was almost always broke. Which is why I found myself planting my saddlebag-burdened butt in front of a want ad display board in downtown Cloudsdale. My buddy Gilda was filming me with her new video camera, providing commentary the whole time.
         “Hey, Dash!” chuckled Gilda as she zoomed in on a picture of a purple unicorn foal sitting in a high chair. “Here’s a good one. ‘Need foalsitter for a few hours this coming Friday night. Our little Twilight has good manners and loves having books read
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Torrid Tales of the Wild West. by Eskerata Torrid Tales of the Wild West. :iconeskerata:Eskerata 7 3 Howdy by Eskerata Howdy :iconeskerata:Eskerata 11 3 Dancin' Fools by Eskerata
Mature content
Dancin' Fools :iconeskerata:Eskerata 10 1
Let Me See That Booty Bounce by Eskerata
Mature content
Let Me See That Booty Bounce :iconeskerata:Eskerata 12 1
Literature
Guiding Light
(This is an E-for-everyone companion piece to my M-for-Mature story “The Unraveled World”. It has serious spoilers, but none of the violence. If you want to find out how Equestria was saved, and you have a tender tummy, read this story instead.)
         In the bleak landscape of collapsed buildings and shattered roadways, ponies were smiling and cheering. The cloudless sky was the perfect backdrop for the earth pony on the makeshift stage, which sported a white banner that read “Hear Guiding Light read from the Holy Book of Celestiaism. Let him give you hope!”
         Striding up and down the stage with pride and confidence, Guiding Light held his audience in absolute thrall. White flowing robes matched his bone-white fur perfectly. His long blond mane swayed in the breeze as he preached to the surrounding crowd.
         “For the past five years we have all suffered from the loss
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Mature content
The Unraveled World Chapter Eight Thread of Soul :iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0
Mature content
The Unraveled World Chapter Seven Where It Began :iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0
Mature content
The Unraveled World Chapter Six The Pulled Thread :iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0
Literature
The Unraveled World Chapter Five New Canterlot
       Ekon had seen postcards of Canterlot before the unraveling pulled it off the mountain. Where there was once a proud city of ancient beauty, only a gaping wound in the mountain remained.
         Since Ekon, Spring Step and Pinksworth arrived at New Canterlot in the middle of the night, none of them were interested in anything but food and rest.
        Surrounding the city was a high concrete wall, much like the ones Ekon had seen in history books. This wall had spotlights, one of which swung its beam onto the approaching trio.
          “Halt!” barked a voice behind the light. “Who goes there?”
         Spring Step grumbled. “You know who we are, Snails. Open the door.”
         Snails snickered. “Can you gimme the password?”
         “Open the door, monkey brain
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:iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0
Mature content
The Unraveled World Chapter FourBlood In The Clay :iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0
Mature content
The Unraveled World Chapter Three Altius Volantius :iconeskerata:Eskerata 0 0

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Mister Lonely Heart

Here is TheDizzyDan's youtube reading of my story "Mister Lonely Heart".
I am very pleased with the results and I think you will be, too.
Chrysalis was seriously dead. Gone, split, outta here, afterlife bug-queen. At least, that’s what she was hoping Discord would believe. Perhaps then she would be released from his pocket reality and given a proper burial in Equestria.

“Unfortunately for the narrator,” quipped the master of madness, “I don’t believe you’ve gone to the great hereafter, Chitin-butt. I don’t recall signing your release form.”

Her head had hung over the edge of a floating island, her foot-long green tongue lolling in a lewd manner across her clouded eyes.

“Careful, mister writer,” warned the chief of disbelief, “don’t make too many references to tongues doing nasty things or we’ll have to change this story’s rating to something that will get the writer a ton of followers.”

“Ooh, would you please just stop talking to yourself already!” wailed Chrysalis as she miraculously came back from the great beyond (almost as if she were faking her death).

Discord, the dean of dementia--“Hey, I want that on a t-shirt!”--interrupted me as I was about to say that he informed his prisoner, “You are my prisoner in my pocket reality, Chryssi. Even if you were for realsies dead, I could avoid the sad tag and bring you back to life with one snap of my fingers.”

Rubbing her temples with her hole-riddled hooves, she groused, “How many times do I have to apologize for my minions abducting you when you and your second-stringer friends invaded my hive?”

“When you actually mean it,” he deadpanned.

“What is the point of this abduction? You know I’ll never change. Not without you using your magic on my mind. I understand that you’re too Fluttershy-whipped to do that anymore.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Fluttershy blinked and looked around her cottage. “Hmm, that’s odd,” she remarked. “I suddenly have the urge to kick Chrysalis’s posterior.”

Angel Bunny lit his cigar and said, “Join the club.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Discord stroked his chin-beard. After a few minutes, he stuck it back on his chin. “Never you mind who I have a Dakimakura pillow collection of. Fluttermistre . . .shy once told me of a reformed changeling who’s set up shop in Ponyville and helps ponies with their emotional baggage. I figure if one of your children can help ponies, maybe I can help you.”

“I don’t suppose you know this traitor’s name? It’s not as if I have a hit list that has twenty three names or anything.”

“Let’s see. I forget his real name, but I think he calls himself Mister Saddy-Waddy.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Mister Lonely Heart put down his client file as he shook off a sudden chill. “Hmm. I don’t know why, but I suddenly have the urge to kick Discord’s butt.”

Luna sighed, rolled her eyes and replied, “Join the club. Now turn into my sister, please.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Chrysalis slitted her cat-like eyes at Discord. “You have the impulse control of a filly that just discovered the joys of coffee-flavored hay-shakes. Why do you think you can,” she stuck her tongue out as if saying the R-word was akin to drinking bleach, “reform me?”

The leader of lunacy rubbed two hands together. Then he threw them over his shoulder and rubbed his own hands together instead. “Because, Miss Prissy-Chrissi, if I can prove to Flutters . . .”

She quickly added with a curled lip, “Flutters?”

Trying to suppress a snicker, he continued, “If she can be convinced that I’ve turned you to the side of law and . . .” the draconequus unscrewed his tongue and put it in a nearby jar to keep it from getting a bad taste from saying the o-word, “. . . order, then maybe I can also convince Fluttershy to marry me.”

“You want to put a ring on that Twinkie-colored mare?” Her curled lip slipped into a knowing grin. “I think you’ve been living in this cloud-cuckoo-land for too long.”

He turned up his nose, by pulling his nostrils up to his tear-ducts, and snorted derisively. “Scoff all you want, cynical Sally. If I, the master of mayhem, can make you turn over a new leaf, then anything can happen.”

“That’s the problem with you. Thanks to your reality-warping powers, anything DOES happen. I don’t have that to fall back on. I just have the ability to repopulate my hive within a few years.”

“How do you go about doing that, by the way?” Queried the commander of kookiness. “Do you go on a lot of dates?”

“Don’t be disgusting. Since I’m a changeling queen, I’m constantly pregnant.”

Discord’s jaw hit the floor, then bounced straight up and slammed into his face, making him wince. “My goodness, you must be ripping through the pickles and ice cream!”

Tilting her head like a cat hearing a new word, Chrysalis mused, “Do you practice being insane or does it come naturally to you?”

“Yes and yes.” Discord snapped his bear fingers. In a flash of cheap animation, a psychiatrist’s couch and an easy chair appeared. Gesturing towards the couch, Discord suggested, “Let’s have a session, shall we?”

Sighing, she grumbled, “I’d rather go back to pretending to be dead.”

Once Chrysalis laid down, tousling her green hair away from her eyes, she looked at the vast array of islands that floated in a sky of swirling purple blotches. “Why does your pocket reality look like this, anyway?”

“I’m not really sure. I was born here. Since I come and go as I please, all that you see here is stuff that I’ve created over the centuries.”

She pointed accusingly at him. “That right there is why you will never understand me. You’ve never had any kind of real struggle. I’ve had to scrape and steal everything I could get my hooves on in order to survive. When you don’t get given, you learn to take.”

“We might have more in common than you realize. That’s why I’m hoping you’ll see things my way. You are the only changeling queen around, right?”

“Yes. Without a queen, my race would wither on the vine. I need my minions as badly as you need ‘Flutters’, I suppose.”

“Because without your changeling children, who would have any semblance to you? Even if you made yourself look like a pony, you would never truly be a part of their world. The only thing you would have to look forward to is yourself. Your children give you something to strive for.”

Chrysalis said, “You have selective empathy. Apart from that banana-colored pony, who truly cares for you? Or even fully trusts you?”

Choosing to ignore that remark, he said, “I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Your biggest problem is that you’ve never had a reason to care about anyone other than yourself and your hive. That’s because you want to believe that you have no choice but to be a parasite. Something I have never been.”

Chrysalis shrugged. “I am what I am.”

“No, you are what you only think you should be. I used to be just like you, apart from the whole egg-laying thing. You tell yourself that you have no choice but to stay on your current path because you’re too stubborn to change.”

She pawed at the ground angrily. “Don’t you think I’ve tried other ways? Some people think that opening up a broth . . .”

“Careful.” The lord of loopiness raised a hand in warning. “Rated E for Everyone.”

“What?” she blinked in confusion. “Oh, all right, a cuddle shack would give me all the love I need. But all that did was get me banned from the dragon lands. And dozens of marriage proposals.”

“Hmm. I just had a thought, Chrysalis.”

“Set it free, then. Don’t burden me with it.”

“Don’t be huffy,” scolded Discord. “It now seems to me that we are both products of our environments.”

“Everypony in the world is. What’s your point?”

“You think you have to use subterfuge to get love instead of trying to earn it. You know, the way I am with Fluttermast . . .shy.”

“That makes sense. Since you’re born with the ability to get whatever you want by snapping your fingers . . .”

He held up a finger. “Except my lady’s friendship, naturally.”

“Pfft. Whatever. Because of your powers, you grew up as the most spoiled powerful idiot since the Diamond Dog’s last president.”

“I found that out the hard way,” admitted the judge of jocularity. “A thousand years as a statue can teach you a lot of things. Such as you have to earn the life you want.”

“How do I earn my freedom? My biological clock is ticking and my next egg will pop out soon.”

“Your kind feeds off of love, right?”

“Yes, only love can truly feed myself and my hive. Since it’s hard to find, even amongst those sappy ponies, I and my hive had to be predators for that emotion. It’s better than being prey.”

Discord replied, “King Thorax doesn’t think so.”

She grinned evilly, which was the only grin she knew. “His days are numbered. He can’t produce new changelings like I can. He’s enjoying his time in the spotlight now, but he’ll get older and slower. Soon he’ll become prey.”

“I recently saw him drinking tea and have honeysuckle sandwiches with Spike. I didn’t see him inhale anypony’s love. Just Spike’s lunch money.”

Chrysalis shrugged. “I suppose getting ‘reformed’, or whatever you call it, changed his metabolism. That’s my best guess.”

“Or maybe that’s just what you tell yourself.” An energy-saving bulb popped into existence and clicked on between his horns. “That gives me an idea!”

Her pupils shrank into pinpoints. “Discord, no! Don’t make me look like Thorax! If I look like a sentient candy sculpture, I’ll die of shame!”

“Don’t worry, Queeny-meany. I’m just going to alter your eating habits.” Discord fired his finger-guns at her, twin beams of blue light making her flinch.

A few moments later, she slumped to the ground, smoke trickling from her ears.

When the world decided to stop spinning around her like a demented carnival ride, she rose on shivering legs. Looking around her, Chrysalis saw that she was at a small corner restaurant in Equestria. When Discord appeared in a flash of light next to her, he hissed, “You might want to put on your outdoor clothes, Chryssi.”

“Where am I?”, she whispered.

“Oh, nowhere special. Bran Mac Muffin’s a humble little restaurant, but I love dining with my lady here.”

Her stomach began to grumble and whine. “Why am I so ravenous?”

“I took away your ability to feed off of love or any other emotion.”

“Why?” she demanded.

“I had a sudden revelation during our clinic session. A breakthrough, as Mister Boo-Hoo would call it.”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


“There it is again!” cried Mister Lonely Heart. “Why am I getting so many violent urges? Am I going mad?”

“A mad psychiatrist?” laughed Pinkamena. “That would be new. Turn back into Rainbow, huh?”

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


A swirl of green fire later, she looked like a white mare with a black mane. “All right, let’s hear it.”

“Have you ever heard of Yakyakistan? The charmingly violent residents of that country will not eat food that doesn’t exactly meet their standards. Even if they’re starving, they won’t consume food that isn’t prepared just right.”

“Some people just sabotage themselves, I suppose,” surmised Chrysalis. “What does that have to do with me? And where is that waiter?”

“I think that just because you never liked chowing down regular food, you assumed that your children wouldn’t either. So you took a route that ended up making Equestria hate your species.”

Chrysalis snorted impatiently. “That’s not true! I. . . I just never ate anything better than love, that’s all!”

The duke of delirium smiled knowingly, which he knew annoyed anypony who knew him. “Maybe you’ll see things my way once I order their delightful one-of-everything platter.” He snapped his fingers and a gray Pegasus mare landed next to him.

“Hello, mister Discord!” She chirped. “The usual for you?”

“Yes, Derpy. Could you super size the gullet-stuffer platter? My pony pal’s stomach is as empty as a buckball.”

Chrysalis folded her forelegs and muttered to herself. She had reached the grinding-the-teeth stage of private fuming when Derpy gently plunked onto their table a thick mound of bagels, cupcakes and, of course, muffins. The sight of this cavalcade of confectionery wonderment made Chrysalis drool like a fire hose.

Driven half-mad with hunger, Chrysalis plowed her head into the platter’s offerings, her gaping maw chock-a-block with gluten-saturated divinity. Crumbs flew up and around her like saliva-soaked confetti.

After settling into her chair, her belly swelling with fifty bits worth of baked goods, Chrysalis burped like a rusty foghorn. “Is this what I’ve been missing?” she asked. “I never thought I’d say this, but I was actually wrong about ponies. Their food isn’t too disgusting to eat, after all. Donuts are much easier to obtain than love.”

“Now that’s a t-shirt slogan I would wear,” quipped Discord. “Although I’d never show it to my lady.”

Nodding and licking the dangling crumbs on her chin into her mouth, she said, “I think I get it now. I’ve been dealing with ponies the wrong way.”

Raising a brow, he twirled a finger at her. “Go on. What else have you realized?”

“Taking love from ponies isn’t the right way to live. I need to raise my children on a more practical diet.”

“Yes, that’s right. That’s why I’m . . .”

“Going to see my backside disappearing!” she cackled as she leapt off the table and scampered towards a nearby group of trees. “Now that I’m full, my new army will be ready in days instead of months!”

“Now how did I know that just twenty-two minutes of talking wouldn’t be enough to reform her?” He remarked as Queen Chrysalis slammed her face into an invisible wall.

Chrysalis dropped her disguise as she slumped to the ground, her head wobbling around like an untethered balloon. “Arrgh! What did I just hit? I’m . . .” Her left eye twitched. “I’m still in your realm, aren’t I?”

In a single jump-cut, she found herself in Discord’s world, sitting in the now familiar psychiatrist’s couch. Snarling, she hollered, “You mean that delicious meal was only your creation? I wish my race had the ability to vomit!”

“Never turn down free food, kiddo,” chided Discord, waggling a disapproving finger at his stubborn patient. “Even I know that.”

“If all this effort is just to impress your dopey marefriend, then a thousand years as a statue will seem like a day! Why are you putting in this much effort for someone like me?”

Settling into his easy chair and shifting, he said, “You were right about one thing, Chrysalis. I do have selective empathy. There’s too much of my old self in you. I know where that path leads, Queeny, which is why I have empathy for you.”

She blinked.

“You keep thinking that you don’t belong anywhere in Equestria unless you bend it to your will. I used to believe that and I was turned into a pigeon’s bathroom for ten centuries. At least in this place, you’ll have someone to talk to. Even as a prisoner, you’ll have more than I did at that time.”

Putting her hooves over her eyes, she groaned with bleak resignation. “Ugh! Now you sound as sappy as a pony!”

“I’m going to take that as a compliment.” In a flicker of light, Discord made a notepad and pen appear in his hands. As he plunked himself deep into his easy chair, the doctor of deliriousness said, “Now that we’ve had lunch, let’s make my reformation clinic a smashing success! Now then, tell me what’s on your mind.”

Chrysalis buried her face into the couch’s rich Equestrian leather. “I want to kick your butt.”

“Join the club.”
Mister Lonely Heart 2: What We Leave Behind“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” –Maya Angelou
My life didn’t take a turn for the better until I betrayed my mother. Since she was Queen Chrysalis, every pony I know has assured me that it was for the best that I and the rest of my hive deposed the one who gave me life. Even considering how cruel she was to other races, I sometimes missed her company.
Before King Thorax showed us a better way to live, by sharing our love instead of hoarding it, I had never known what loneliness was. After all, how can one feel adrift in the world when one is constantly surrounded by thousands of fellow changelings?
After my reformation, I moved to Ponyville to become what I call a “Grievance Councelor”. I use my shape-shifting abilities to look like ponies that my clients have problems with. Terrible bosses, treacherous husbands, that sort of thing. I struggle against a torrent of awful-tasting rage and sorrow in order to dine upon the


Yes, folks, I have finally written an Applejack-centric story. This is a sequel to "Mister Lonely Heart". In this story Mister Lonely Heart, a reformed changeling "Grievance Counselor" tries to help Applejack with a dark secret from her past that drove her to a heart attack. What could be eating at her? Is she the only one in her family that knows her terrible past, or is her home life more complex than even she realizes?
Read and find out.
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” –Maya Angelou


My life didn’t take a turn for the better until I betrayed my mother. Since she was Queen Chrysalis, every pony I know has assured me that it was for the best that I and the rest of my hive deposed the one who gave me life. Even considering how cruel she was to other races, I sometimes missed her company.

Before King Thorax showed us a better way to live, by sharing our love instead of hoarding it, I had never known what loneliness was. After all, how can one feel adrift in the world when one is constantly surrounded by thousands of fellow changelings?

After my reformation, I moved to Ponyville to become what I call a “Grievance Councelor”. I use my shape-shifting abilities to look like ponies that my clients have problems with. Terrible bosses, treacherous husbands, that sort of thing. I struggle against a torrent of awful-tasting rage and sorrow in order to dine upon the delicious catharsis that comes after the emotional baggage that these ponies carry around slips away.

A few ponies know my real name, but I call myself Mister Lonely Heart. At first it was because after living a drab, unsatisfying life of a slave under Chrysalis’s strict rule, I craved the emotional connections with ponies that were denied me my entire life. The other reason, I later realized, was that the lonely-hearted were my most frequent clientele. Their lives were just as wretched as mine once was, but for seemingly countless reasons.

The pony that sat before me rubbed one foreleg against the other as she studied the padded wall in my office. “What’s with the wall, mister? Do ponies get real violent with you or somethin’?”

Smiling, I replied, “No, Applejack. Some of my clients sometimes have to hit something, other than me, in order to work out their aggression.“

“Ah don’t think you have to worry about that from me. My doctor told me to come to you because Ah kinda hurt myself.”

“Yes, I’ve read your doctor’s diagnosis. You apparently had a slight heart attack that was most likely brought on by excessive stress.”

Applejack leaned towards me, cupping a hoof to her muzzle conspiratually. “Nothin’ leaves this room, right? Ah don’t want Big Mac or any other family member knowin’ that Ah came here.”

“Don’t worry about a thing, Applejack. Just like with any doctor, I am legally bound by the laws of counselor and client privilege between us. Even if a client demands that I give up another client’s information, I cannot and will not comply. If I do, my business will be shut down.”

She nodded. “Great. So . . . uh, how do we start?”

“Tell me what’s on your mind. Where do you suppose your stress comes from?”

She turned her hat round and round in her hoofs as her eyes drifted to the carpet. “Well, Ah had been workin’ extra hard. Ah guess maybe that’s it?”

“In somepony as young as yourself?” I smiled warmly. “Come now.”

She chuckled, but with little mirth. “Ain’t you a flatterer? My doctor told me that you can imitate anypony Ah want, right?” She squirmed in her chair. “Even if it’s somepony who’s . . . passed on?”

I blinked. This was the first time anypony ever asked me that. “I . . . suppose I could do that. The thing is, I’m not so good with voices. And I need to see pictures of the pony you had in mind.”

“Kinda figured that. Thing is, it’s been nearly a decade since my parents died. Since my family’s real big on recallin’ important dates like birthdays an’ such, Ah’ve been thinkin’ a lot about mom and dad lately.”

“I’m assuming you want to say your goodbyes, then?”

Her brow wrinkled and I tasted a coppery whiff of anxiety. “Ah want to say a lot more than that. Can Ah come by tomorrow with my family album?”

“That will be fine. I hope I can help.”



* * *



The next day, Applejack handed me a thick, well worn, apple-themed photo album. She sat next to me and pointed out several pictures of her father, Bright Mac.

She turned a page. A large red pony was sitting next to Applejack as she held a newborn foal in her forelegs. “That’s Applebloom. The fella starin’ at me is my brother Big Mac.”

“Have you always lived on your apple farm?”

Holding her chin up high with pride, she replied, “No other place Ah’d rather be. Big Mac does most of the heavy liftin’, but when Granny Smith ain’t around, Ah’m the one runnin’ the show.”

One picture had a mare with a jar for a cutie mark. Her long brown curly hair flowed over her shoulders as she smiled for the camera. Applejack tapped the picture. “That’s my mom, Buttercup.”

This wasn’t the first time a client had brought photo albums to my office. It took a while for me to understand why ponies kept so much carefully organized memorabilia in their lives. During Chrysalis’s reign, changelings weren’t allowed to mourn our dead. We lived only for tomorrow, for the past, as well as our dead brethren, was always useless to hold onto. When you aren’t allowed to have a life of your own, that makes perfect sense.

Having no past means having no perspective. Having no perspective leaves only selfless obedience. Which is the only thing my queen wanted from her children.

But once I saw why these ponies held onto their past, I realized how selective their sentiments were. Twilight Sparkle once told me some local wisdom; We are defined not only by what we leave behind, but also by what we choose to keep.

Applejack asked, “So, are these pictures enough for you to look like my dad?” Her voice tightened slightly as she laid the album onto the floor between our chairs.

“I think so. If you’re sure you want to go through with this.” I made sure to look her straight in the eyes when I asserted, “There’s no shame in backing out.”

“Ah’ve been wantin’ to do this ever since Twilight told me how you helped her with her personal problems.” She shut her eyes, took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Okay. Let’s do it.”

Keeping the album’s pictures firmly in mind, I let my magic’s green fire engulf me once again. Bright Mac had a light red mane and tail and bright yellow fur. His cutie mark was a cross-section of a green apple.

I quietly said, “I’m ready. You can open your eyes now.”

She snapped open her eyes and suddenly went weak in the knees. I could almost hear her heart pound. As she tried to swallow, tears slipped down her cheeks. Applejack’s lower lip trembled as her ears flattened.

“It’s as if you never left,” she whispered.

Trying to regain her composure, she got off of her chair and paced restlessly back and forth in front of me. In my line of work, that reaction is common among new clients.

“Okay.” She said with a tone of finality, as if winning an argument with herself. “Ah’ve been wantin’ to say this for ten years. Dad?”

I pricked up my new pony ears attentively.

“Ah’m sorry you and mom are dead.” Her breathing sped up. “Ah’m sorry that Ah was too frickin’ stubborn to stay near you in the orchard.”

She stamped a foot in frustration. “Ah’m so dang sorry that Ah was too scared to save you! You’re both dead because of me! Ah wasn’t brave enough! Ah wasn’t fast enough!” With a deep breath, Applejack screamed, “It’s all my fault that there’s just the four of us on our farm!”

The sudden acid-flavored wave of self-hatred almost made my disguise slip away. Concentrating even harder, I stayed quiet as Applejack pulled out some tissue from a nearby box and blew.

“Not a day goes by when Ah don’t miss you something’ fierce. Every day Ah check the river near my our farm to make sure those stupid beavers ain’t makin’ a new den. When an extra-large thunderstorm dumped a bunch of rainwater into the river, it busted a den wide open.”

Applejack wiped away her tears. “Ah had never seen a flash flood hit so fast in all my life. It slammed into you and mom like a freight train!” Sitting on her haunches, she pointed at me. “It only took a second for the water to reach your necks. Y-you both reached out to me, beggin’ me to help . . . “

A primal groan rose from deep within her. She wasn’t in my office anymore. Her green eyes wavered and lost focus.

“And Ah didn’t help!” she cried. “Ah was just too scared to move that A-ah let you slip away! All Ah had to do was reach out”-she held out both hooves at me-“and just grab you!”

She stared at the padded wall. Looking at me, I quickly cocked my head at it. In a few quick steps, she reached the wall and slammed her hooves into the thick padding. “But Ah didn’t! One stupid little moment of hesitation took you away!”

Applejack’s powerful blows made the paintings near the wall tremble. I could feel the vibrations through the floor. “Ah’d give anything to bring you back! So would Big Mac!”

The paddings held firm against her weakening blows, much to my relief. Applejack was sweating and sobbing as she slowly returned from the past. “Ah just hope that wherever you are, that you can forgive me. ‘Cause Ah don’t know how long it’ll take for me to forgive myself.”

Sliding down the wall, she slumped to the floor in an exhausted heap. She put her hooves over her eyes and wept. I sat down next to her, still in her father’s guise. The catharsis from her venting slipped out in a thin but delectable stream. Feasting on that rarest of emotions, I kept an eye on my client.

After a few minutes, she had calmed down a little. “Could you change back, mister?”

Complying, I said, “Just let it all out, Applejack. You’ve been holding onto this guilt for, what, nearly a decade?”

“Yeah, but it feels like a century. When Big Mac found me, mom and dad were long gone.” Struggling to sit up, she continued, “He asked me if Ah saw them.”

Choking back a sob, she looked at me. “Ah could have told him the truth, but Ah was just too ashamed of what Ah’d done. So Ah told him no.”

“He still doesn’t know the truth, does he?” I delicately asked.

Applejack slowly shook her head. “The biggest lie Ah ever told anypony is still my biggest secret. This is comin’ from what Ponyville thinks is the most honest pony around.”

“Are you feeling any better?”

“A little, yeah. Ah guess this guilt’s been eatin’ at me for so long, Ah just let it get worse without even realizin’ it. Workin’ harder and harder every year must have been comin’ from that guilt, you know?”

Nodding, I replied, “Ponies are often motivated by negative urges. One thing you have to tell yourself is that you were only a filly at the time of your parent’s deaths. What could you have possibly done?”

“Ah was strong enough to leave home while mom and dad were away at the local hospital for Applebloom’s birth. This was before Ah got my cutie mark and Ah wanted to get it by visitin’ some relatives of mine, you see. Ah waited until only Big Mac and Granny Smith were the only ones at the farm.”

“How long were you away from the farm?” I inquired.

“Not long. After a brief trip to Manehatten, Ah came home. My parents were furious at me for leavin’ behind their backs. Ah was so caught up in my own personal goals that Ah forgot the first thing that my folks taught me and my brother; family comes first.”

Sighing wearily, Applejack replied, “Do you know what Ah sometimes see Big Mac doin’ with my sister? He pulls out the album Ah brought here and tells her his memories of mom and dad. The good times that we all once had. Times that Applebloom will never fully experience for herself.”

She put the photo album away in her satchel. “Granny Smith ain’t gonna be around much longer. Applebloom’s still in school so she can’t work full time just yet. One moment of faulterin’ changed everything for them. For me.”

“I still don’t believe that your parent’s deaths were anything that could have been prevented,” I stated earnestly. “It’s good to have regrets about bad decisions, but not if the outcome wasn’t anything you could have remedied.”

“Maybe I need another talk with my dad about that,” she said with a resigned shrug. “But not today, All that yellin’ and cryin’ has worn me out. Maybe we can pick this up next week?”

“You can have as many visits as you deem necessary, Applejack.”

We shook hooves, a sight that would have delighted Thorax and repulsed my mother. She trotted out the door, tired but a little happier than when she came in.

When the door clicked shut, I put my left hoof onto my chest and took a deep breath. When I slowly exhaled, I swung my left foreleg out. I was told by a colleague that this helped calm him down after the more intense sessions.

This did indeed help clear the air. But my job is never without drama for long.



* * *



Big Mac smiled as he sat down in my office. “You know who Ah am, don’t you?”

“Well, I’ve been in Ponyville for a while now, so I think I’ve seen you selling apples with your sister Applejack once or twice,” I replied with a careful, guarded tone.

He studied me critically. “Ah don’t suppose you could tell me if Applejack’s been seein’ you, right?”

I blinked. “Sir, I can’t tell you anything about any of my clients in any way, shape . . .”

Holding up one of his huge hooves, he cut me off. “Save it. You just told me what Ah wanted to know. She’s been here.”

“What?” I jerked my head, astonished. “I didn’t say anything about your sister.”

“Didn’t need to. You hesitated before answerin’ me. One moment of hesitation can change everythin’, you know.”

Trying to regain my composure, I looked over his paperwork. “It says here you set up an appointment as a new client. Tell me what’s on your mind.”

Leaning confidently into his chair, he replied, “Nothin’ too serious. Ah know that since Ah’m a client, you can’t say squat to my sister or anypony else about anythin’ Ah tell you, right?”

“That’s right, sir.”

“Good. Well, Ah got a whole lot of confessin’ to do, so listen up. Ah bet AJ asked you to imitate mom or dad, right?” He quickly added, “Yeah, Ah know, you can’t say nothin’ either way. Ah think it’s cute that she’s tryin’ to escape her past by havin’ you imitate it. You can never escape guilt, though.”

I squirmed in my chair, flustered by this arrogant display. “Sir, I don’t . . .”

“Just keep it zipped for a spell, all right? Believe me, there’s a point to all this. She probably told you about how she waited till mom and dad left the farm before she skedaddled off to Manehattan without even asking’ me or Granny Smith if that was all right.” He scowled at the bitter memory. “Ah wanted to kick her flank sideways for doin’ somethin’ that selfish. When she slunk on home, Ah had hoped that mom and dad would punish her.”

Snorting, he said, “But they didn’t. Ah guess havin’ Applebloom made them soft. All they did was swear to stay close to her on the farm so she didn’t get itchy hooves again till she was grown up.” Looking up at the ceiling, he gave a resigned shrug. “They always did have a soft spot for their daughter.”

“I can see why you would be bitter about that,” I admitted weakly.

“Not as bitter as Ah would soon be, I’ll tell you that for free. About a year later, we were out in the orchard near the river. When a nearby beaver den busted open, a flash flood knocked our parents off of their hooves. It don’t take much water to carry somepony away, you know.” Big Mac had the same faraway look that Applejack had. “Ah was too far away from the flood to help them, but Applejack could have hauled them outta the water.”

His lower lip trembled a little. The acrid taste of sorrow drifted off of him. “But she didn’t! She just stood there, shiverin’ like a coward! When they got yanked out of sight, Ah ran over to AJ. Since Ah still couldn’t trust her to be honest with, Ah asked her if she even saw mom and dad. Even after the way she treated us, Ah gave her one last chance to be honest with me.”

“W-what did she say?” I asked, knowing full well what the answer was, hating myself for not legally being able to tell the truth.

“She said no!” He barked. “Why would anypony ever tell a lie like that to her own dang brother is beyond me! That’s twice she broke up the family! Ah was so dang mad at her that Ah wanted to toss her into the flood.”

He pawed at the carpet, scowling. “But that would have been too good for the likes of her. A wild filly like Applejack would have wiped out the rest of the family if it wasn’t for me.”

I started to taste a slight hint of catharsis. “I don’t quite understand, Big Mac.”

“Oh, you will,” He remarked wryly. “Over the years the farm’s been doin’ pretty good, all things considered. Ah was worried that AJ might leave the farm for good when she got roped into savin’ Equestria over an’ over. But bein’ a hero won’t bring back our parents. Ah make sure AJ never forgets her one moment of hesitation.”

He smirked at my confusion. “Whenever AJ gets just a bit too uppity around the farm, all Ah have to do is pull out the family album, put Applebloom in my lap and talk about how great her parents were. That pulls the starch out of AJ’s sails real quick.” Nodding with satisfaction, he continued, “Ah’ve been keepin’ her on that guilt trip for half her life. She chose to leave our parents behind, so Ah chose to keep her on a leash.”

The stream of catharsis was pouring out of him now. Even though it nourished me, I didn’t like the taste.

“She’s been workin’ the orchard so hard, she had to get carted to the hospital.” Snorting in contempt, he groused, “Personally, Ah think she’s fakin’ it, but Granny Smith and Applebloom are all freaked out about this. Maybe Ah’ll hire some help, but Ah ain’t never lettin’ Applejack forget her failure.”

Struggling to keep my commentary as legally abiding as possible, I asked, “Why are you telling me this? How am I supposed to help you get through this problem?”

“Oh, there ain’t no problem at all, mister,” he replied cheerfully. “Ah know from the grapevine that you feed off of catharsis. You are the only one in Equestria that knows my methods of controllin’ my sister. Since you can’t tell her what you now know without losin’ your business, Ah can finally get this big ol’ secret off my chest.” He chuckled. “Feels pretty good.”

Trying my best to not scream at my client, I said, in the most cautious voice I could muster, “Is that all you have to say?”

Trotting happily towards the door, he replied, “Eyup! See you around, mister.”

My mother would have been proud of Big Mac’s manipulations. I pray that no mare ever falls in love with him. She might not like what she’ll eventually discover.

I came to Ponyville to not only devour the catharsis my practice produces from my clients, but also to find out all the myriad ways ponies live their lives. The longer I stay here, the more I realize that life for ponies is a domination game. Pony nature is elitist, prone to subjugating others. Queen Chrysalis always thought in broad, plain terms when it came to conquest, but ponies find far more subtle ways to hold sway over their own kind.

Applejack never paid me another visit. Whenever I see her at her apple kiosk or pulling a cart, she always looks tired. Bags under her eyes. Drooping mane and tail. Big Mac is always somewhere nearby, looking far more robust.

I often feel just as exhausted, for the same reasons. Like Applejack, I feel like a coward for not being able to tell her what her brother is doing. I carry a lump of guilt in my chest that never lightens no matter how many other ponies I help.

When I betrayed my mother, I left behind the most cold-hearted creature I knew. Some ponies, in spite of their cheerful appearance, are far colder.

I had never known what loneliness was until I saw how other ponies are bound to their grief and misery for their entire lives.

Can I ever find the happiness I’ve been hoping to keep ever since I’ve moved here?

Sometimes, on the difficult, lonely days, the answer isn’t so clear.

There might never be an answer.

* * *

“Everyone sees what you appear to be. Few experience what you really are.”—Niccolo Machiavelli

Author's Note:
One of the inspirations for this story was a long standing observation of mine that one of the biggest sources of guilt trips is the television. Every day, you and I are dutifully reminded that we smell bad, that we're fat, that we aren't voting for the right guy. We don't eat the right food, wear the right clothes, watch the right movies, etcetera ad nauseam.
We are surrounded by guilt trips every day. How many of them control you? Are you even aware of being controlled?
Something to think about, folks. (But don't let me guilt trip you.)
Mister Lonely Heart

Here is TheDizzyDan's youtube reading of my story "Mister Lonely Heart".
I am very pleased with the results and I think you will be, too.

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Eskerata
N. B. Seaborn
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Writing is a passion of mine. I know I can't make a living off of it, but as Stephen King has pointed out, writing is not about making money or fame. It's about being happy.
True happiness, the kind that lasts beyond the usual fleeting timespans, is found in following your passions.
As a result of following this simple insight, I always have something to look forward to. Ain't that grand?
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Thanks for faving my little Pinkie animation.
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Thanks for the fave.
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Thanks for the fav! :)
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Thanks for watching.  :)
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Cool writing!
Have a llama.
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Thanks for the watch!
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Thanks for the Watch! ^^
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Thanks for the faves and the watch.
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