>You are Rosie Rock.
>You open your eyes and rise to get ready for your work on the rock farm.
>Wait no, not rock farm, quarry.
>You don’t farm rocks, you mine them.
>Why would you even get that mixed up?
>You shake the thought from your head, there was work to do.
>Grabbing what you need, you make your way to the quarry.
>It was difficult work to do on your own, as your father was getting on in years and there wasn’t much spare coin to hire anyone else to help.
>Your parents had even tried to get you some siblings to help with the family endeavors but always ended up unfruitful.
>The most you could often get was that young stallion from that family on the other side of town since he often had more time and energy than he knew what to do with.
>Or was he a mare?
>Why can’t you remember his face?
>Why can’t you remember his name?
>You’ve known each other forever, why can’t you remember?
>You shut your eyes and think, trying to conjure up the image of your friend in your mind.
>All you see are images of a flaxen-haired mare with an orange coat and green eyes, along with the name “Applejack”.
>Who is she and why is she taking over the image of your friend?
>Opening your eyes again, you catch your reflection in a puddle.
>The mirror image shifts, from a mare with bright blue eyes and a curly, pink mane, to one with green eyes and a straight, purple, mane with flat edges, then one with light green eyes and a silver wither-length mane that parts to one side, and lastly one with purple eyes and a long, two-toned gray mane.
>They aren’t you.
>They aren’t you but why do you see them?
>A heat builds in your chest, and you strike the image.
>It reforms as if to mock you. In response you hit it harder. Each time it reforms you hit it harder and harder, eventually letting out curse after curse as you do so.
>“Rosie.” a voice called out.
>“Rosie, wake up!”
>Your eyes snap open.
>You’re not back home.
>You’re still with Anon, who’s currently looking at you with concern.
>“You started screaming and kicking in your sleep; even caught me in the chest a few times, pretty sure it’s gonna bruise.” He chuckles, probably so you don’t feel as bad.
“S-sorry, just had a bad dream, is all.”
>He sits up with his back against the headboard then scoops you into his arms before placing your haunches in his lap, your back against his chest and his arms wrapped around your stomach.
>Placing his chin on top of your head he says, “Didn’t seem like a “teeth fall out” or “naked at school” kind of nightmare to me, go ahead and lay it on me, little lady.”
Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm your nerves, you say, “I dreamt I was back home but nothing seemed right. My best friend wasn’t how they were, and when I saw my own reflection my reflection wasn’t looking back.”
>“Seems pretty tame to me.” he says, “Was there anything else?”
“No, just remember that I felt like a fire was lit in me and that’s when I started beating the tar out of the reflection.”
>“Hmm…” is all he says, the low rumble of his voice reverberating through you.
>For a while the two of you just sit there.
>His embrace and steady breathing puts you at ease.
>You squirm slightly at the word.
>“Embrace”...no one’s ever really done that to you before, not even…
>The image of that mare appears in your head again and you feel the fire rise once more.
>Anon seems to notice and runs a hand along the side of your barrel.
>You hadn’t noticed before, but his arms and hands were littered with scars.
>Ranging from the small, curved, scars on his fingers and the back of his hand to thin, straight, lines across his forearms.
>Hoping to take your mind off of the mysterious mare, you open your mouth.
“How did you get all those scars?”
>Momentarily you stop feeling his breath on top of your head before it returns with a deep and heavy exhale.
>Looking upwards, you see that his eyes are closed, seemingly lost in thought, before he breaks the silence with, “I was a dumb kid, made a lot of mistakes.”