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 façade. 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]
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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.