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Survivor Shy - Searching Dodge Junction by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Searching Dodge Junction by Mattatatta
It was the dawn of the third day when Dodge Junction slipped into view. A freak sandstorm rolled in the afternoon before, and in a not so nice way, forced me to take shelter while it blasted through. A broken canteen strap and headband feather later, I crawled into a shallow cave and coughed on the sand that had blown in my face. I slept to pass the time, and when I woke up to see the storm had passed, it was late at night with the Moon high in the sky.

As I flew closer to the town, I gained a feeling that something was really wrong. There was a train sitting idle in the station, but no ponies working near or around it. No streetlights seemed to have been lit for the night, and the town radiated a stillness that made a weight drop in the pit of my stomach. I gulped and glided down into Dodge Junction's Main Street, landing in the center of the road, and looked around.

Something was definitely very wrong. The town was silent and felt empty. The train wasn't puffing away steam, the buildings had taken damage, and there weren't any sounds of ponies wandering around in the buildings. All I could hear was the sound of signs and doors creaking, and the faint whimper I was making as I started to crack.

"No... No!" I broke out into a full gallop, shouting for help, refusing to believe what I was seeing. I banged on doors, stared through windows, but nopony was around. My cries turned into intelligible sobs, and my legs gave away underneath me. I fell into the dirt in the street and cried into my hooves. There was nopony here. Dodge Junction, the busiest town on this edge of Equestria, was a ghost town. The buildings stood among themselves, dark and empty, and not a single pony other than me was left.

I shuddered at the thought and cried more, my breaths becoming ragged and sharp. Everypony was gone. There were no passengers lost in the desert. There were no ponies in Dodge Junction or Appaloosa. When the shock wave washed over the land, it did more than derail my train and damage some buildings, it took everypony with it, leaving everything else behind.

But why was I still here?

I lifted my head up and started digging at the ground with my hoof, which helped sooth me while I talked myself through the night on the train. "I was sleeping. And, um, Twilight sent a letter to me through Spike. Then, there was a loud bang that woke me up and scared me. It was the letter turning into something magical and focusing its energy on me. Then there was... Th-there was... Oh, Celestia! It's horrible!" I wept, "Everypony is gone!"

But what about Twilight? And Spike?

I wiped away my tears with my hoof and thought about the spell that had been sent in the letter. "If Twilight had sent a protection spell to me, she could've sent it to the others, cast it on herself, maybe even protected Canterlot." I felt a glimmer of hope shine in my heart. "She might have had enough time to save as many of us as she could, my friends could all be making their way back to Canterlot right now. I need to get there, too. If I can find the others, then everything will be okay. Twilight will know what we need to do."

I rose up onto my hooves and looked ahead of me. Beyond the edge of the town was a one of many train tracks leaving Dodge Junction. I was looking at the one leading to Ponyville. Home. I looked down at my hooves, my tatty and and dirty mane falling away from me in clumps, and sighed. My canteens were empty, my mane and tail were becoming too difficult to manage, and I had another long journey ahead of me. I needed to prepare.

I walked back into the center of town, forcing myself to hum an uplifting tune while I combed through the streets for a building that wasn't closed and locked. I came across a barber shop with its door wide open, and poked my head in to take a peek. "H-hello?" I whispered, holding onto the hope that I wasn't completely alone. That hope faded away when I heard no response, but still I kept talking as I walked inside "I don't mean to trespass, but I need water, and I was hoping I could refill my canteens here."

Silence loomed around me like a pack of hungry wolves. "I'll also need to borrow some scissors, if that's okay. My mane and tail are too long and messy to keep like this. I-I'll cut it myself!" I glanced around me, hoping somepony would step out of the shadows, but nopony came. The silent room was frightening me, and I was starting to back away through the doorway. But my eyes fell upon the record player to my right. I looked around the shop again while I trotted over the machine and wound the turning key. "I think I'll put some music on, I won't bother you for very long, I promise!"

I adjusted the needle to the beginning of the record, and soon the room was filled with the sound of trumpets and introducing an up-tempo, jazzy rhythm. I stepped over to the mirror and looked at my reflection. My eyes were puffy and red from crying, and even now tears were still betraying my fašade. I looked at the tangles and dirt in my mane, at the headband and it's damaged feathers, and the dirt on my face. A sigh escaped me, and I looked down onto counter in front of me as a stallion began to sing on the record. I rummaged in the cupboards and drawers and pulled out a hairbrush. I sat myself in the barber's chair, strapped the brush onto my hoof, and started to pull the tangles out of my mane. I stared blankly at my reflection and it stared back at me. I softened my gaze and tried to smile. "Don't worry, Fluttershy, once you get to Canterlot and find the others, everything will be okay, you'll see."

My reflection's expression fell and fresh tears began to fall. My eyes sank downward and fell upon the tear drops on the floor. "Everything will be okay." I whispered.



=~=

Survivor Shy Gallery: [link]

Survivor Shy on FimFiction (Relaunched!): [link]

My Tumblr: [link]



This scene was tricky to write, but liberating at the same time. There was a lot I wanted to cover in this scene, and I wanted to pinpoint that moment when Fluttershy really starts to register what has happened.

This scene's completion also marks the completion of the very first chapter for Survivor Shy on FimFiction after starting my complete overhaul of the fic there. Chapters on Fimfiction will now feature multiple scenes together in chronological order.

Scenes uploaded here will still contain all of the text found in the complete chapters. Thought here it'll be split up among the images. Either way, the full story can still be found here, but it'll be a much easier read on Fimfiction. On the other hand, FimFiction readers will have to wait for chapters to come out, while people here get to read excerpts from upcoming chapters AND can still see and read content from the story that is no longer on FimFiction for now while I continue the overhaul.

Anyway. Please tell me what you think! I need and love feedback, on both the art and the story. Long comments are my favourite kind of comments, but short comments are pretty grand, too.
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:icontophxomi:
tophxomi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This picture makes me sad for her.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is the first moment it really starts to sink in for Fluttershy, it only begins to get harder and harder as time goes on.
Reply
:icontophxomi:
tophxomi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I might not be able to read the whole thing then.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just so you know, the full fic is on FimFic - the whole story isn't in the description of the pictures unfortunately.
Reply
:icontophxomi:
tophxomi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay.
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I gotta draw a  picture of her actually cutting her hair. It would be so sad.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's always been a thought in my head to draw that, but I want the illustrations to have some meaning to the story, so the idea has been on the shelf for a while.
Reply
:iconfireworksblaze:
FireworksBlaze Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013
NO. Dat excerpt... "And it took everybody with it." TELL ME THAT MEANS THAT EVERYPONY IS JUST IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.
Reply
:icondempsey23:
dempsey23 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
And so she boldy goes
Reply
:iconthe-dancing-reaper:
The-Dancing-Reaper Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
I have the sad now, and refuse to finish reading that story that you wrote so I don't have more Sad Fluttershy Feels.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sorry you don't want to continue, and there is going to be a lot of feels in the story, but some of it going to be because of something good.
Reply
:iconportaljumper339:
portaljumper339 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Just took a look at your gallery, and I am intrigued to say the least. Fluttershy is my favourite of the mane 6, and I want to see how this whole "Survivor Shy" thing plays out.

You have my attention, let's see if you can hold it.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have about a quarter of the story already written out with pictures to go with them. All I need to do is improve the older pictures or replace them, and fix up the writing the match the quality, and new chapters shall arrive more often
Reply
:iconportaljumper339:
portaljumper339 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Student General Artist
I read through the first two parts on FIMfiction, and it is interesting. As someone who didn't read the original draft of this, I find your writing style superb, with only a few typos here and there. One thing I would suggest is that you upload the new chapters here as well, as I prefer deviantart's layout to fimfiction's. Your call, but just a suggestion.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The original draft is in the Survivor Shy Gallery. It's all in pieces and completely out of chronological order, which was how the original draft was put together.
Reply
:iconportaljumper339:
portaljumper339 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Student General Artist
I see... I think I'll wait for more chapters to be released on FIMfiction.
Reply
:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aw... Poor baby.

She must really wish that her big sister Dashie was here.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You know, that would be an insane twist if Fluttershy was Dash's sister in the show. And there isn't really anything to disprove it in canon. But I digress

Fluttershy probably wishes that there was any pony with her. She isn't used to taking initiative or being a leader, and with everything that is happening, and the turmoil her mind is in, she's in a pretty bad state.
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:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm just saying that Fluttershy must be the closest thing Dashie has to a sister. And I bet Fluttershy must feel the same sisterly love in return.

She's just too cute.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know what you mean. I personally believe that it's no coincidence that Dash and Fluttershy moved to the same area after finishing Flight Camp and growing up. Dash appears to have been the only pony who stuck up for Fluttershy and was a friend to her in Flight Camp, and Dash probably found a confidant in Fluttershy. Which one followed who is unknown, and doesn't really matter.
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:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, here's hoping that Dashie survived too, with all her speed and determination.
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:iconsielent-brat:
Sielent-Brat Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
OK... So, I noticed this picture on Equestria Daily, and became interested, and then i read the description, and I became even more interested.
The only problem seems to be that pictures in the gallery not in chronological order and i'm too lazy to click on FimFiction link :)

Anyway, that's seems to be quite a story. I'm excited.
I'm thinking about translating it into russian ^_^'
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's all deliberately out of whack. The story was originally told in anachronic order, but after getting more complaints than praise about it, I decided I'd do myself a favour by rewriting the story in a much more reasonable way.

Unfortunately, FimFiction is about the only place where that sort of organisation will be applied. The Gallery here isn't going to be sorted chronologically, only in order of upload
Reply
:iconsielent-brat:
Sielent-Brat Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
Oh well, I can live with this:)
BTW, i'm assuming, that the story is actually finished?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Far from it, the first draft only reached about a quarter of the story's content before I decided to redo it.
Reply
:iconnameleslight:
Nameleslight Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So fluffy! :iconitssofluffyplz:
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Pfftttthahahaha
Reply
:iconkangps3:
kangps3 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Student Artist
I like this drawing, the hair I like
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm quite fond of the hairstyle, too. Shame she cuts it after this scene...
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:iconkangps3:
kangps3 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Student Artist
now that I know _ _
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Short hair Fluttershy can be awesome, too
Reply
:iconkangps3:
kangps3 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Student Artist
I don't believe, she is better so
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:iconbatosan:
batosan Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Gota watch now!
Reply
:iconemillz1:
emillz1 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Dat description: Cool story bro
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm writing a full fanfic with these scenes, the full story will eventually appear on FimFiction (at the moment there is only a couple of chapters).
Reply
:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This should be a bit more apocalyptic.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
On a scale of "Six String Samurai" to "The Road", what is your ideal strength of apocalyptic brew?
:P

It's more post-disaster than post-end of the world. Then again, Equestria really starts to deteriorate in later chapters - especially Canterlot. Stick around and you might find you're hoping for!

Or, if you not so bothered by reading fragments of the story without knowing when it takes place, foray into the Survivor Shy Gallery for everything to do with this story! If you need some categorisation, you can monitor the fic on FimFiction, which shall have a clearer narrative as more chapters come out.
Reply
:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
A mixture of medieval and futuristic, just like "Doomsday".
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This story is as medieval as Equestria can afford :P
Reply
:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Steampunk?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't even dare call this story steampunk
Reply
:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Clockpunk?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No punks of any kind I'm afraid
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
D'awww! Why you cry?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is rhetorical, right? :P
Reply
:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
sure, why not?
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
"the buildings had taken damage. and there weren't any" < probably you wanted to put a comma there instead of the dot. A minor glitch. ;)

What I meant to post is, however, entirely different. During the story, naturally focused on Fluttershy, you have repeatedly shown your expertise in portraying her canon character. And while she grows more mature, stronger, more determined, and not so easily scared in the later chapters (I mean 'chronologically' later), in this scene (happening shortly after Celestia's Solar Pony-Wipe :P) you, with expert precision, portray her as the lovable, 100% show accurate, gentle scaredy-cat.

Right now I have next to no words to properly congratulate you on not succumbing into your own head-canon and not forgetting that in the beginning of her story Fluttershy has to be her canon self. It's truly amazing, especially since you write your chapters in a non-chronological manner. If Cheshire Cats wore any hats, I would certainly tip one to you, good sir. :D

Also, the scene that I'm talking about, the one in which you (once again), re-establish Fluttershy's meek personality as the foundation for her growth, the scene at the barber shop. It's just so incredibly cute! More-so, considering that the whole thing happens in a post-nuclear (OK, post-Celestia's-rage) Equestrian wasteland.

I truly have no words.

Other than the obligatory (albeit slightly obvious) "Fluttershy is the best pony!" ;)
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fixed! Both here and FimFiction! (FimFiction has this scene, "In The Desert", and "Help!" + extra writing in the chapter named "Alone", in case you were looking for some established chronology).

I don't know how I manage to do it. I don't think it's a 100% conscious effort to write Fluttershy, so I do wonder how I manage to write as close to canon as I do.

Either way, I'm very happy that you're enjoying the latest additions to the story, and I still see you're holding onto your "Celestia did it" theory xD I'm going to enjoy slowly revealing the truth. There are quite a number of twists I cannot wait to reveal, especially since nobody has picked up on certain clues I've stashed in several different illustrations :P

If you don't want to poison your mind with how I see the barbershop scene, then skip the last two paragraphs.

I'm glad you find the Barber Shop scene to be cute. Unfortunately for me, I can only think of the implications that scene makes on Fluttershy's mental status. She's gone into denial, one of the five stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance), and done so to cope with the jarring change to the world she is in. Her mind is saying "I can't be the only pony here! This cannot be real!" in order to buy her time to prepare to face the truth. She initially started weeping when it started to dawn on her what exactly happened, but she convinced herself that she had to be wrong, that there were still ponies out there and that she only had to find them for things to be okay. It's from there that she starts to behave in a way that expresses her denial, and anything that threatens to break the lie she's told to herself is met with a stronger refusal to see the truth. It's temporary, of course, because it would be much more disastrous to her if it wasn't, and this story would've met a 'bad end' much sooner.

Like some individuals, Fluttershy may not necessarily touch upon all five stages, and she may not reach all of them in order - except for Acceptance, which either comes last or not at all. I can't imagine her anger being external or directed at any body in particular. She may instead become angry at herself, picking herself to pieces over how she has all these flaws and yet she survived the Event. That would usher in Bargaining almost immediately, because it's more like Fluttershy to want to sacrifice herself for another than self-loathe or lose her temper. You might have guessed by now through the later scenes, that Fluttershy teeters on the edge of Depression for a very long time, and she consciously fights falling into it because she's afraid of how badly it'll affect her to give herself even a minute to really let it out.
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:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
I admit, I didn't think about the scene in that way, but even with your explanation it sort of doesn't change the way how cute the scene is. :) Because if one expected anything from Fluttershy, it would be that she wouldn't believe what had happened (even if the evidence is quite obvious already). Thus, again, you subconsciously (or very purposefully) emphasize Fluttershy's canon personality. Besides, all reasoning behind it aside, how can you not make a little d'aww face when Fluttershy starts the record player in the middle of the *squee*ing deserted town? :D

Yeah, I will hold onto my evil (or crazy) Celestia theory with everything I can, but I'm quite certain one of your chapters will, sooner or later, completely destroy it. ;) Actually, I'm pretty sure some of the earlier chapters already put quite a dent in it, but I either missed some of the less-obvious clues or managed to cheat myself into thinking that the theory still stands somehow. :D

Well, I guess the only way to know for sure is to wait for some new chapters to arrive. ;)
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So it's cute because her mind is breaking? I'm obviously reading this wrong! I suppose if you strip the context away and just have Fluttershy talking to nothing because there might actually be someone there, it's cute. Because it's so awkward, and even Fluttershy knows it is.

I think the truth will blow your mind when you learn of it. Which is why I'm being so quiet with the details surrounding the hows and whys of the Event.
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