I’ve finished a story for a contest. The main requirement is that the story must be exactly one thousand words. Since it’s so short, and for other reasons, I won’t bother making a PDF unless someone wants it, and will post it directly for now:
Applejack slowly and deliberately walked between the rows of trees around her home of Sweet Apple Acres. She knew the location well enough to walk with her eyes closed, but still wouldn’t. She did, however, keep her eyes closed for several seconds every now and again when she blinked, to better appreciate the sensations that her eyes couldn’t discern, such as the warmth of Celestia’s sunlight against her fur, and the gentle sounds of the nature she loved; if she listened closely, she could even hear some of the louder sounds coming from Ponyville not far away, or at least she thought so.
She was giving her guest a tour of the farm, and telling him about her experiences on it and of how he’d enjoy it one day, but he wouldn’t reply, for he couldn’t. She walked, but they didn’t, for she carried him. She breathed for the both of them, and would continue to do so for quite some time yet, for he had only existed so far in her womb and never outside of it. The day she learned of his existence had been among the best in her life, alongside the day she had met his other half in his father and her husband. As she thought of his father, and the work he’d done to prepare for a new Apple to fall not far from the tree, she was grateful and, as she continued looking at the trees, she already felt ready to return to her routine of hard applebucking and other chores which she’d had to neglect in her changing state and to her mulish resistance.
As annoying as acknowledging her forced rest was, she did gain satisfaction in turning from her lack of working to imagining his eventual entry into it. She thought of a little colt helping around the farm, like Apple Bloom, and then later a statuesque stallion pulling plows, like Big McIntosh. Just as every tree around her had sprung up from naught but a seed in the fertile soil, so did every great mare and stallion start out as a foal in a fertile womb. It was enough excitement to make her trot in-place like a filly, although she couldn’t, and had to settle for more-or-less shifting her weight from side-to-side instead before continuing her little tour.
“That right there’s a root to watch out for. Ah remember tripping over it when Ah was a little filly. Ya’ll do good to avoid it.” Applejack remembered well falling flat on her face and crying when that had happened, and then running to her mother for comfort. She smiled, but it burned out, not into a frown, but a stoic expression, and she became a little more serious with what she told him next.
“Ah promise that I’ll always be there for ya, no matter what.” She wondered if she were lying about her promise. She so wanted to joke about Granny Smith being too old to care for another foal, but instead thoughts about facing Nightmare Moon, dragons, and most recently Discord flashed through her mind without end. She kept walking, but perhaps blinked away a tear or two before taking a deep breath to continue, but she found she had nothing more to say on that note. He would have his aunt and uncle too, but she pushed the sordid thought out of her head. She stopped staring at the ground, and more deliberately took in the sight of the trees again, and felt better. She closed her eyes to focus again, and felt him adjust himself inside her. No, she had absolutely no reason to be worried, and wouldn’t, not when she had every reason in the world to be happy.
“And that’s something else ya’ll learn: When yer head’s full of manure, turn yer head and let it fall to the ground where it can do something useful.” She laughed so hard he kicked her ribs, which only made her laugh more and harder.
In fact, those dangers she’d bested with her friends were not only long gone, but something about which she should have pride. It had never occurred to her to treat them as anything other than her Equestrian duty, but any little filly or colt would be ecstatic to hear the kinds of stories she had, undoubtedly. There’d be so much for him to learn beyond her stories too. He’d learn how to read from the same book she’d used as a filly. The thought made her remember, as best she could, back to sitting in her mother’s embrace, slowly sussing out the sounds of the text, and how she’d felt from her mother’s praise at getting them right. Now, however, those memories also took on what it must’ve been like for her mother; soon enough, she’d get to experience that.
Her stomach rumbled, and she looked at the apples on their trees, close but out of reach. She knew she was in no condition for applebucking, since she’d tried again recently; then she remembered a story she’d been told once.
“Mama once told me she put me against a tree, and I kicked an apple down for her. Now, the interestin’ thing is I wasn’t born yet. I wonder if yew can do the same for us.” She spied a tree with apples just barely hanging on, walked up to it, and tried to cross her hindlegs to rest against it before instead simply leaning on it; then she waited, and waited. She yawned.
“C’mon in there now.” She took a hoof to rest against her bump and started pushing in. “Yew were wrestling my gut in there jus’ a minute ago.” Still, nothing.
She nearly turned away and gave up, but felt a kick going through her, and then seconds later an apple hitting her head.
“I ain’t never been more proud of a pony I ain’t never met before.”
Copyright 2023 Kassaz
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