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One-way Ticket · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 1000–25000
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Granny Cranberry
"Mom! Dad! I need you and the sisters to come here quick." I stepped back to admire my handiwork. The streamers hung from the roof, making a perfect background for the big centrepiece cake. Pin the tail on the pony was set up in the corner of the room. Everything was set up and ready for my family to enjoy. I just had to wait for everypony to show up.

Dad walked out and rubbed his face with his hoof. He didn't even look at the decorations or the cake or all the party games. "Pinkamena, this is the fifth day in a row you've done this. I'll admit the first one was fun, but you can't do this every day. Now clean this up and help move the gneiss."

"Aww. Come on, Daddy. Don't be such a grumpy-wumpy."

Dad just stared back at me. "Now, Pinkame-"

"Yes, Clyde, don't be such a 'grumpy-wumpy.'" A familiar red mare trotted over from the path.

"Grandma!" I rushed over to give her a big hug.

"How's my little Pinkie-winkie?" She picked me up and spun me around. "Did you set up this party? It looks absolutely wonderful."

Dad turned his half-lidded stare to Grandma. "Don't encourage her, Cranberry Glee."

"Come now, Clyde. That's no way to address your dear old mother." She opened her hooves wide.

Dad stayed put. "What are you doing here, Cranberry?"

Grandma set me down on the ground and trotted over to Dad. "The restaurant where I worked shut down. I've tried to find another job, but nopony's hiring an old mare like me." She sighed. "I need a place to stay."

Dad kept his stern look focused on Grandma. "I told you this would happen. I said you needed to save for retirement and stop travelling to a new place every few years. Now, who was right?"

Grandma kept her head bowed. "You've done such a great job with this place, Clyde. I've never said that your ideas were wrong. I just knew, they weren't for me."

"What if I don't let you stay?"

"You wouldn't kick your own mother out on the street, would you?"

Daddy stayed silent.

Grandma rolled her eyes. "I should have figured." She ran hoof over her mane. "While I'm here, I'll do as much as I can to help. I can't do much in the fields, but I can take small loads, help around the house, even watch over the little ones if you and Roxy want a night out." She smiled a big, humongous smile.

Daddy stared at her for a few seconds. "Fine. You can stay in the guest bedroom."

"Yay! Grandma gets to live with us!" I cried, bouncing up and down. "You know what this calls for?"

Dad scowled at me. "Pinkamena, what did I say about those?"

Grandma put a hoof on his shoulder. "Clyde, let the girl have her fun. Besides, a family member is coming around. That's a perfect cause for celebration."

Daddy rolled his eyes and trotted off. But he didn't say I couldn't. "Yay!" I yelled. "A party!"

"This certainly is a wonderful party, Pinkie. Have I ever taught you to make my special cranberry-chocolate cupcakes?"

"Oh, can you? Can you? Can you? That would be just- just- fantastic!" I could barely keep myself from bouncing all over.

"Well, of course, I can teach my granddaughter to make cupcakes. But first-" She looked very serious for a moment, then broke into a big smile. "-we have get everyone to come celebrate with us."

"Mom! Dad! Grandma! I need you and the sisters to come here quick."

Dad walked over and I could hear his mumbling. "Please let it be something else. Anything but-"

"Surprise!" I jumped out and threw confetti. "It's a party! Aren't you excited?"

"This is the fourth one this week, Pinkamena," Dad grumbled. "We don't have time for this. We have a huge order of granite to get out by tomorrow and I barely have enough energy to work."

"I know," I said. "I just saw how stressed and unhappy everypony was and I knew that this was just the time for a party. Come on in! There's cake and dancing-"

"How long did this take?" Dad's voice was flat and grating.

"I don't know. Time flies when you're having fun with a party. A few hours maybe?"

"You wasted time setting up a party when you could have been helping with the granite?" Dad's eyes widened and his breathing intensified. He was awful scary. "We could be done by now. But no, you had to spend the day setting up this stupid party!"

"But after the party, you'll be happy and ready to finish. Then once your done, we can throw a 'We finished the big granite order' party! It'll be so much fun."

"No! It-" He walked over right next to me and spoke in a lowered voice. "You think every problem can be solved with a party, don't you?"

"Well, duh. Every problem can be solved with a party."

"Really?" He walked away and stared at a pebble on the ground. I thought he must be trying to make it grow faster. Then, shaking his head, he came back over to me. "Let me see your hoof."

I held out my hoof to him and looked up at him. He shut his eyes. "Well, then how's your party going to solve this?" I couldn't stifle my scream as his hoof slammed into my knee.

I sat on the ground trembling. Dancing was out of the question. I just wanted to curl up and disappear. But disappearing was out of the question too. I just waited for Daddy to come back.

"Did the party fix that?" He waited outside, near the entrance of the door.

I shook my head no.

He bent down next to me and placed some ice on my knee. "Hold this there and it will make it feel better." I nodded slightly, clutching the ice to my knee. The ice hurt a little at first, but it quickly started to dull the pain.

"Pinkie, you know I don't like doing this, but you need to learn that not every problem can be solved with a party. Sometimes the problem is a boulder that needs to be moved and we just need to work our way through. I know how much you love doing this, but there is a time for parties. I just need you to learn when that time is. So I want you to stop throwing unscheduled parties."

I nodded slightly, clutching the ice to my knee.

"I'll tell you what. We have a big order of quartz to fill next week. When we're done with that I'll help you throw the biggest party this farm has ever seen. How does that sound?"

I nodded slightly, clutching the ice to my knee.

"Good, I'm glad we could talk about this. Let's get you off this hard ground and somewhere more comfortable." I nodded slightly, clutching the ice to my knee. He carefully picked me up and set me on his back, then carried me to my room. He gently laid me down on the bed and ran a hoof over my mane. "Feel better, Pinkie." He took one glance back at me and walked out of the room.

Gasping for air, I let the tears I'd been holding back flow freely.

"Knock knock." Grandma peeked her head around the door. "I've never seen my granddaughter so quiet. What's going on, sweetie?" She took one look at the ice on my knee and sighed.

"Why does Daddy have to be all scary sometimes?" I asked.

Grandma sat on the edge of my bed and gave me a big hug. "Clyde isn't a bad pony, he's just different from us," she explained. "He's so focused on results and getting the work done, which is laudable, but not what we care about. We just want ponies to have fun and enjoy themselves."

"But why does he have to be so scary?"

"That's just the way he responds to things sometimes. It's not your fault, it's just the situation." She looked into my eyes, but I wasn't feeling any better. "Come here, Pinkie. I'm going to tell you a secret."

I leaned in close to her, only to be mercilessly tickled. After a brief giggling fit, I looked into her eyes. She was smiling. My tears were gone and I couldn't help but smile.

"You see, Pinkie. You can't be scared when you're laughing. If you ever feel sad or scared or nervous, all you have to do is laugh and those feelings will disappear."

"You're right, Grandma. I feel all happy again." I glanced down at my knee. "My knee still hurts though."

"Let me see that." She carefully lifted my injured foreleg and looked over the knee. "You've certainly got a bruise there. It'll get pinchy on you every so often, but it'll heal up just fine." She gave it a big kiss. "There, that's better."

I giggled. "Yup. It sure is." Grandma always made me smile. "I wish you could make Daddy as happy as you make me."

"I wish that too. Remember how I said he was different than me?"

I nodded, this time paying attention instead of just trying not to cry.

"Well, I don't think he enjoyed my parenting style. All the moving and instability was difficult for Clyde. That's why he works so hard on this rock farm. He wants you all to have a permanent home for your entire lives. Not to move around everywhere like I did when he was just a young colt. He sees this rock farm as a rock that you and your sisters can use as a foundation for the rest of your lives."

"But, rocks are so- boring."

"I know. But boring also means safe, so not everypony hates boring." She massaged her forehead with her hoof. "Clyde certainly doesn't, and I would never expect him to change. That's part of who he is." She turned to look at me. "Just like I don't want you to change being happy and throwing parties. It's part of who you are."

"But Daddy said he didn't want me throwing parties. Does that mean he doesn't love me?"

"No sweetie." She hugged me close. "He tries to do what's best for you, he just doesn't understand how important those parties are. He loves you, Pinkie. Even if he doesn't know the best way to show it." She gave me a quick squeeze. "Okay, we should both get some sleep. Good night, Pinkie."

"Good night, Grandma." She slowly walked out of the room and I curled up on my bed.

There was a knock on my door. Dad stepped into the doorway. "Can I come in?"

I nodded slightly- No! Grandma told me that laughing would make everything less scary. "Hahaha. Hi, Daddy," I said.

A big grin came over Dad's face. "Oh, good." He enveloped me in a hug. "I'm glad you're feeling better. I brought you something Pinkie." He placed a rock in my hoof. It was smooth granite, about the size of my hoof, rounded from years of weather. "It was one of the first rocks I harvested. As long as you have this rock, you'll have part of the farm with you. And you'll be part of the farm. Part of this family."

I looked up at him. He didn't look scary anymore. He just looked like my Daddy. Grandma was right. Laughing really does make the scary things go away. I hugged back, smiling too.

"Mom! Dad! Grandma! I need you and the sisters to come here quick." Everypony was gathered in Grandma's room.

"Pinkamena," Dad scolded, "what have I told you about these parties?"

"Cut the girl some slack, Clyde." Grandma winked at me. "She's just trying to cheer everypony up. Aren't you, Pinkie?"

"Yes indeedy, Granny. Do you want me to bring you some cake? Or I have those cranberry-chocolate cupcakes you taught me to make?"

"I would love a cupcake, dearie."

"Now wait a minute, Pinkie." Daddy interrupted, putting a hoof on my shoulder. "Cranberry, the doctor said-"

"Clyde, look at me. One cupcake isn't going to kill me any faster." She looked back at me, flashing me a smile. "You go get me that cupcake."

I bounced away, but then turned back. "Grandma, what do you mean 'kill you any faster'? You're going to get better right?"

"C'mere Pinkie." I climbed into her bed and gave her a big hug. She returned the hug, slowly rocking me back and forth. "You know that nopony lives forever."

I squeezed tighter. "Please don't go, Grandma. We can beat it together. I'll make you laugh so hard, we'll send that bad sickness all the way to the moon."

Grandma chuckled. "I'm afraid the world doesn't work that way, sweetie. But-" She leaned in close and started to whisper. "-I promise I'll always be right here." She placed her hoof on my chest.

"My chest? Why would you be in my chest?"

"In your heart, you silly filly. As long as you keep laughing and having fun, as long as you stay true to yourself, I'll be there with you."

"So everytime I throw a party?"

Grandma nodded. "Yup. I'll be right there with you." She gave me another squeeze. "Now, go get me that cupcake and let's have a little party. Bring cupcakes for everyone."

"Right away, Grandma!"

"Mom! Dad!" Don't say it. "I need you and the sisters to come here quick." I crouched behind the door.

"No!" Dad galloped over.

I set off a confetti cannon for him. "Surprise! It's a p-"

"Not today!" Dad scowled at me. He'd never been a big fan of the confetti cannons. "You've gone too far this time. Have some respect."

"Well, nothing says respect like cupcakes!" I offered him one of the cranberry-chocolate ones.

He slapped the tray away, sending the cupcakes to the ground. "You're not listening, Pinkamena. I said, 'Not today.'"

Daddy was being all scary again. Her cupcakes were ruined, but grandma would still want everypony to be happy and not scary. I hoped she could see me doing what she had taught me. "Hahaha," I said, "Daddy, you don't have to be a silly pony. You can just party."

"Do you think this is funny? That the death of a family member is something to laugh about?" He was shouting now. I was even more scared and I wasn't sure laughing would make it go away. My forced giggle was immediately drowned out by Daddy's yelling.

"Dammit, Pinkamena! Just once I wish you would take something seriously!" He started pulling down all my hard work. "No more parties. None. This is a rock farm and I expect you to work these rocks like the rest of us."

"But, Daddy-"

"No 'but's. I don't want to see another party as long as I live. Now get to work. You can start by cleaning up-" He yanked at the decorations, sending them crashing to the ground. "-this abomination."

With one tug, he crushed a morning's worth of effort and happiness. I thought I would be mad, but all I cared about was how awful granny would feel about me tearing down her party. I picked one of the ruined cupcakes off the ground. I wasn't in much of a mood to party anyway. "Okay, Clyde."

There were a lot of ponies at the train station. With that many ponies, I could have had the best party ever. But I didn't have the supplies I would need for a big party like that. All I had were my two saddlebags. So I waited in line to get my ticket like the rest of the ponies around me. It was boring.

"Can I have one train ticket, please?" I asked.

"Would you like round trip ticket or just one way?" asked the ticketpony.

My saddlebags felt really heavy all of the sudden, like they were filled with rocks. Well, one of them had a rock. It was smooth granite, about the size of my hoof, rounded from years of weather. I took a deep breath and tossed it aside. I didn't need a boring old rock weighing me down. "One way." I took my ticket, let out a giggle and waited for the train.
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