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Cutting Ties · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 1000–25000
Wings of Icarus
Green stood in still preparation atop her makeshift runway. There were many in Appleoosa, but the clifftop overarching the apple orchard was always her favourite.

She looked to both sides—no traffic in sight. She closed her eyes and felt the cool, easterly wind breeze through her mane. She slid her forelegs into her glider’s two hoof handles and swivelled them about, and it responded with fluid grace. She opened her eyes and looked up to the sky. Its clear, blue greatness towered over the scene, with not a cloud present to take away from its beauty. She stared in awe at its majesty, imagining herself soaring through it like a pegasus.

Everything was perfect.

Now was her time.

She took off with a vigilant gait, slowly building from a trot to a canter, and then, when the wind picked up, to a full-paced gallop. The wind thrashed against the glider’s wings and grew louder and louder as her pace increased.

Every second, the cliff edge grew closer. Every second, she imagined herself flying higher and higher.

Then she reached the edge.

She closed her eyes jumped off in a leap of faith, arms outstretched and glider overhead. She held her forelegs out in front to keep the glider steady, and it did. It held steady. She opened her eyes and saw herself sail across the endless apple forest.

She was was flying.

Her face lit up with an ear-to-ear grin. Her eyes grew and glistened as she took in the scenery passing by all around her. She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Woooooo! I’m flying! I’m flying! I’m fly—”

A spoke in the glider bent under the pressure. Its wings collapsed, and the entire structure fell apart, throwing her into a harrowing descent.

She scrambled about in panic, half trying to find some way to soften the fall.

Crashing into a thick section of the orchard, she bumbled and tumbled through the leaves and branches as they tore her fragile glider to pieces.

Thump.

“Urgh.” She writhed about in pain on the rocky grounds of the Appleoosa apple orchard. Some blood seeped out of her cuts and scratches and clotted up on her fur, but there were no gaping wounds. Her glider—or what was left of it—lay wrecked beside her.

She rolled over and looked up at the sky, the great, blue, clear sky. It was still as beautiful from below as it was from above.

A light smirk escaped her as she receded from consciousness.




Green awoke on a stretcher and twisted about weakly, groaning.

“Hey, she’s awake,” the mare holding the stretcher from behind said.

“All right,” the mare in front replied. “Don’t worry, hun. We’re nearly there. You’re gonna be all right.”

Green lifted her head slightly and saw the town coming into view. “I... I did it,” she said.

“You sure did,” the mare at the back said. “You sure crashed that thing real good.”

Green rested back down for a moment, then, finally realising the mare’s comment, shook her head. “My glider! Where is it?!”

“You destroyed it, hun. We left what was left of it back there, but there wasn’t much.”

“No!” Green said, struggling to get off the stretcher. “We have to go back. We have to go back and get it.” But her body wouldn’t give, so she collapsed back down on the stretcher.

“Getting you safe is what’s important, hun,” the mare in front said, continuing the trek.

A mare scrambled wildly out of the town, screaming, “My baby! My baby!” She soon reached the stretcher and looked over it in panic. “Oh my gosh, Green, are you all right, dear? Are you all right? Is she all right?”

“Yeah, Mum, I’m fine,” she said weakly.

“Oh, my poor little baby. Oh, what are we gonna do with you? What’s gotten into you? Oh, my poor little baby.”



The stretcher arrived at the clinic, with Apple Brown Betty still following behind, rambling on about her poor baby.

The two mares lowered Green on one of the beds, then carefully slid the stretcher out from beneath her. One of them left the tent to fetch the doctor. The other turned to the frantic mother and said, “Listen, hun, I know you’re real worried about your girl. Don’t worry. She’s gonna be fine. Just wait till the doc gets here so we can make sure she hasn’t done any serious damage.”

“Okay, thank you so much,” she said.

Green endured five more minutes of her mother’s delirious concerns before the doctor showed up.

“Hello, Mrs Apple,” he said. “If you’ll excuse us, I’d like to be alone with her for just a moment.”

“All right. Just, please, make sure she’s okay.”

“I’ll do my best,” he said. Once Betty had left the tent, he asked Green, “How are you feeling?”

“Good.”

“You’re not feeling dizzy? No headache?”

“Nope. I feel fine.”

“All right.” The doctor walked around behind her and asked her to sit up. She did so. “Now, tell me if this hurts, okay?”

“Okay.”

The doctor held her back upright with one hoof and methodically tapped her on the back in various places with the other. Satisfied with the response, he said, “Well, it looks like your back’s fine.”

“Cool.”

The doctor then moved about the bed checking each of her limbs, each time stretching them out and bending them at different angles. “Does this hurt?”

“No.”

“How about this?”

“No.”

“And this?”

“No.”

The doctor paused for a moment, then said, “All right, everything seems to be in order. Get some patches on those scratches and you’re good to go, though I’d still suggest you lie down for a few hours, just to make sure you aren’t concussed.”

Green ignored the doctor and leapt off the bed. “Thanks, Doc.” She galloped out of the tent and headed back towards the apple orchard.

“Green!” her mother called, but she ignored her and kept on running. “Get back here!” she tried, but to no avail. Green was dead set on her path.

When she arrived back at the orchard, she saw her glider and all its little pieces scattered about the crash site. She picked up the one part of it that could still be said to be intact, the left wing, and hugged it tightly, crying.

She held the wing out in the wind, hoping it would flutter about like a flag, but it simply wilted down in a crumpled mess. Her face dropped and she snivelled, and she rubbed her snout with the wing.

She dragged the wing and what other parts she could carry back home.




Apple Fritter stared at her sister across the dinner table.

Green paid no attention to her and continued eating her apple fritters.

“What were ya thinkin’, Sis? You coulda killed yerself!”

Green swallowed her food. “I don’t know what to tell you, Frits.” She took another mouthful.

Apple Brown Betty came into the room with a cooking pot in hoof and slapped a pile of apple sauce onto each of their dishes. “What are we gonna do with you, Green?”

“I don’t know.” Green stirred with her food. “You could help me rebuild my glider.”

“Help you rebuild it?!” Betty threw the pot down on the kitchen stove. “I’ll not have you building another one of those things ever again, young lady!”

Green dropped her cutlery. “What?! But how am I supposed to fly without one?!”

“That’s exactly the point.” Betty brought her dish to the table and sat down with the two girls. “You’re not supposed to fly.”

“Yes I am! I dream about flying every night!” she said, her eyes growing tearier with each word.

“I don’t care what you dream about. You’re gonna kill yourself. Can’t you see that? Can’t you think about how we would feel if something happened, about how I would feel if I let something happen?”

“But—”

“No ‘but’s, missy. If I ever see you trying that again, I’ll have you sent off to your cousin’s farm in Fillydelphia, where there aren’t any cliffs or gorges or canyons for you to kill yourself off. You’re an Apple, and apples don’t fly. Best you just accept that now.”

Green hurled her plate on the floor, smashing it to pieces. “You—you just don’t understand!” she cried, and ran off to her bedroom.

Betty looked to Apple Fritter, who appeared unsettled by the ordeal. “She’ll be okay. She’ll come around. Don’t you worry.”




Green sat at the front of the classroom, trying desperately to ignore the snickering going on behind her.

“Can you believe her? She actually thinks she can fly.”

A paper wad hit her on the back of the head, and she turned around and seethed, “What?”

“Hey, Wingless,” the paperslinger said. “Maybe when you get your cutie mark, it’ll be, like, wings, and that’ll help you fly!” He laughed hysterically at his own joke. The rest of the children found it equally hilarious.

“Children, please, be quiet. Green, face the front,” the teacher said.

Green mumbled something as she turned around.

“What was that?” the teacher reprimanded.

“Nothing.”

The teacher eyed her. “I should hope not.” She then took a piece of chalk and wrote ‘Types of Ponies’ on the board. “Now, today we’re gonna learn about the different types of ponies. Can anyone tell me the three main types of ponies?”

The children shot up their arms. The teacher pointed to one of them. “Primrose.”

“Earth ponies,” she answered.

“Correct. And what are earth ponies good at?” the teacher asked.

She thought about it for a short while, then answered, “Farming.”

“That’s certainly one thing we’re known for,” the teacher mused. “Now, what are the other two main types of ponies?”

The children again shot up their arms. “Unicorns!” called one them.

“Jalapeno, don’t call out,” the teacher said. “But yes. And what are unicorns good at?”

“Magic!” Jalapeno said.

“Correct. And what lets unicorns do magic?”

Two colts at the back of the room snickered.

“Hey!” the teacher yelled. “You two got something to say?”

One of them managed to pull a straight face and answer. “Their ‘horns,’ Miss.” The two snickered again.

“What’s so funny about that?”

“Oh, no, nothing, Miss,” one replied. The other couldn’t help bursting out into hysterics, and the teacher had him sent outside.

The teacher tousled her mane. “Well, now that that’s done with, what is the third main type of pony?”

All of the children except Green raised their arms. The teacher smirked and pointed to her. “Green.”

“I didn’t put my hoof up, Miss,” she said.

“What’s the third main type of pony, Green.”

She hesitated to answer. “Pegasi.”

“Good. And what are pegasi good at?”

“Flying.”

“And what allows pegasi to fly?”

“Their wings.”

“Exactly,” she said smugly. She turned and wrote ‘Earth pony,’ ‘Unicorn,’ and ‘Pegasus’ on the chalkboard. “Now, there’s one more type of pony, a very special type of pony—so special that there aren’t very many of them. Can you tell me what this very special type of pony is?” she asked the class.

A few of the children raised their arms. “Roseluck,” the teacher indicated.

“Alicorns?” she answered.

“Correct. Do you know the names of any alicorns?”

“Princess Celestia!” she said.

“Princess Luna,” another added.

“That’s right.” The teacher wrote ‘Alicorn’ in slightly larger letters beneath the other three types of pony. “Now, in Appleoosa, there’s not very many unicorns or pegasi, is there? And there certinaly aren’t any alicorns. In fact, I think everypony living here is an earth pony. Some of you might never have even seen a unicorn or pegasus before.”

“Excuse me, Miss,” Green interrupted. She rubbed the back of her neck. “Do you know how I could fly, like a pegasus?”

The teacher walked up to her and stood in front of her desk, with a completely serious look on her face. “It’s simple. All you’ve got to do is grow some wings.”

The children snickered.

“Quiet down, children,” the teacher said, returning to her desk.

Green raised her arm demurely.

The teacher sighed. “Yes, Green?”

“How do I... How do I grow wings?”

The teacher’s face dropped to a deadpan. “You don’t. If you were meant to fly, you would’ve been born a pegasus.”



When she got home, Green threw her saddlebags on the floor and ran into her room, her eyes red from all the dried up tears. She wanted to crawl up into a hole and never come out.

Just as she was about to throw herself under the blankets and never return, she saw a piece of paper—a letter—lying on top of her bed. She stared at it for a while, then sniffled, then unfolded it.

Green,

Never give up on your dreams. They’re what makes you who you are.

Meet me in the abandoned shack after school tomorrow. I have something I want you to see.

—-Your Friend




Green poked her head into the abandoned shack. Hay stacks were stashed in corners and piled on top of each other in bales, and various hoof tools lay on what looked to be construction tables. It was rather neat for something said to be abandoned.

“Um, hello?” she said, walking inside.

A weathered stallion walked into view. “Ah, Green. I’m glad you came.”

“Mister Palmer? I didn’t know you lived in here.”

The stallion chuckled. “Oh, I don’t live here. This is my little, how should I say, oasis? It’s where I come to get away from all the hubbub of town life.” He picked up a rolled up sheet with his mouth, then dropped it in front of Green. “And please, just call me Palmer. You’re gonna make me feel old.”

“What’s this?” she asked, pointing to the sheet.

He drew the sheet closer to himself. “Before I tell you, I need to know: How badly do you want this? How badly do you want to fly?”

She puffed her chest and answered, “More than anything.”

“What would you do to get it, what would you sacrifice?”

“Anything.”

He grinned and pointed his hoof at her knowingly. “I see that spark. I see it in your eyes.” He placed the hoof down on one end of the sheet. “This”—he unrolled it with another hoof—“is a schematic for a personal flying machine. Not just any old glider like what you tried. We’re going to build you some wings.”

Green’s expression contorted into an amalgamation of ecstasy and disbelief. “Are you serious?! How? Why? Really? How? Is it really possible?” She was bobbing up and down worse than Pinkie Pie on a sugar bender.

He chuckled, somewhat taken aback by her enthusiasm. “Well, I’m not gonna make any promises, but I reckon so.” He waited for her to calm down. “Now, if we’re gonna do this, you’ve gotta promise me one thing: You don’t tell anybody about this. If your mother found out I was helping you... well, it’s a small town.” He looked her square in the eyes. “You got that?”

“Yes, sir!”

“You don’t tell anybody, ever.”

She nodded and saluted him. “Roger!” She giggled.

He cocked an eyebrow. “Anyway, it’s not just about building the machine. It’s gotta be built just for you, and you gotta learn how to use it, which sure ain’t no cake walk. If we wanna get the kind of lift that lets you fly, it’s gonna take some big wings.” He trotted over behind one of the hay stacks and pulled out a huge, feathery wing from behind it. “And flapping these big boys is gonna take every muscle in your body.”

She traced the wing with unbreakable focus as he fluttered it to and fro.

“Go on, touch it,” he said, holding it out to her.

She rubbed a hoof against its surface. Its hairs flowed through and tickled hers, and she shivered with goosebumps. “It’s so... soft.”

He laughed. “Well of course it is! I use only the best materials.” He walked behind the hay stack and put the wing back in its place. “Now, we’ve gotta figure out times for you to come practice. You can’t come in the day, because your mother would surely get suspicious. When’s your bed time?”

“Eight thirty.”

“All right. You’re a smart enough girl to get out the house without anyone noticing, aren’t ya?”

She nodded.

“Hmm. Meet me here at ten o’clock every Saturday night.”




On the first Saturday night, Palmer had her try on some shoulder straps. “There’s no wings on ’em yet, but this’ll be the main part of it. You gotta practice flapping these things so that your body can handle it. You see these three joints here”—he indicated to them—“those are connected to the strongests parts of your body. Flex it out well, and you’ll get the strength you need to lift those wings.”

He had her try them on, stretching her joints as she did so. “It’s very tight.”

“Yes-yes. I need to fix the shape up to fit your body. It’ll be better next week.”



The next week he had the shoulder-strap prototype rigged up to smoothly fit Green’s body. She moved about in it fluidly, as if she weren’t wearing it at all.

“All right. Now here’s the tail wing.” He handed her a contraption with two hoof holds in it.

She tried them on, putting her hind legs in the holds, and the tail sagged behind her.

“When you’re flying, it’ll help keep you upright. You gotta keep your hind legs nice and straight, in the direction you’re headed.”

She nodded.

“Now, give those shoulder straps a few good pumps. Get your body nice and used to it.”




The next week he had the shoulder straps fitted with placeholder wings.

“Now here’s the real challenge. Let’s see if you’ve got the upper-body strength and technique to flap those wings.”

She equipped the shoulder straps and tried flapping them as hard as she could. She tensed up, unable to do so fluidly.

“No-no-no. See here, you gotta relax your muscles. Let the machine do the work. You’re focusing everything on your lower-arm. You’ve got to spread the work out across all your joints.”

She nodded. “Okay.” She took a deep breath, then relaxed all her muscles. She flapped the wings up and down, slowly, then faster and faster, until she was flapping them at full speed.

“Excellent. When I’ve got the full model ready next week, I reckon we’ll be ready for a test run.”



When Green arrived home that night, Betty was waiting for her.

“Where have you been?” she said, a tone of anger in her voice.

“Um, nowhere...”

“Of course you haven’t been nowhere. You can’t lie to me, girl. Where have you been?”

Green stared down at the floor for a while, then confessed, “Mister Palmer is building me a flying machine. He’s going to help me fly!”

“That old runt,” she seethed.

“Don’t say that!”

“Listen here, Missy. I told you if I caught you trying to pull anything like this again, I’d have you sent to Fillydelphia. If you try to talk to that runt ever again, you’re out. You hear me?”

“Yes mum,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.



The next week, the shack door was locked.

When Green got home, Betty was furious.

“Can’t you think about someone other than yourself for once?! Why do you make me do this, Green? Why?”

Green hung her head down.

“You’re getting on the train tomorrow morning.”




“The train’s here, dear,” Apple Brown Betty said, carrying saddlebags which held the scant few things Green owned. “It’s time to go.”

Green moped along by the train station.

“I know you’re upset, but it’s for your own good.”

Green saw Palmer across the street dangling the keys to his shack. When he saw that she’d seen him, he jerked his head in the direction of the shack and dropped the keys from his mouth. He gave her a reassuring nod, then walked out of sight.

“Come on, honey. It’s time to go now.”

Green took off with a gallop, heading straight for the keys. She picked them up with a swift head maneauvour and continued running for the shack.

Betty charged off behind her, screaming, “Get back here, young lady,” repeatedly; however, the saddlebags significantly slowed her gait. “Somebody stop her!” she tried.

Green reached the shack and fuddled about with the keys. It opened quickly enough, and she ran inside to equip the wings. She put her two hindlegs in the leg holes for the tail wing and strapped the shoulder wings to her shoulders, sliding the controls in her forelegs. She ran outside as quick as she could and darted for the cliff by the apple orchard. The tail wings dragged along the floor and the shoulder straps loosened as she ran. She tried desperately to keep the wings up on her shoulders, but with Betty trailing close behind, she couldn’t afford to stop.

Palmer came out and started galloping beside her. He used his mouth as well as he could to reattach the straps.

“Palmer, you old runt!” Betty yelled. “You’re going to kill my baby! I’ll have your head for this!”

He got the shoulder straps attached and then collapsed, his old body unable to handle the sprint any longer.

Betty trampled past him, fixed on stopping Green. “You’re crazy, Green! You’re gonna kill yourself!”

Green kept on running, still dragging the tail wing behind her. All she could see was the cliff right ahead of her.

Closer and closer, her heart pumped.

Forty hooves. Thirty.

She looked up at the sky. It was filled with clouds, yet still to her as clear as ever.

Twenty. She closed her eyes. Ten hooves.

The final leap of faith. Her tail wing lifted from the ground and fluttered through the air with slient grace. She outstretched her wings and beat them up and down, pumping softly against the wind.

Betty stopped and gazed at the majestic figure, the wings growing in flight to that of an angel’s .

Green opened her eyes. She look down at the Appleoosa apple orchard; it was far smaller than she had ever seen it before. Every flap of her wings brought her closer to the clouds. Every flap the apple orchard became smaller and smaller. Tears fell from her eyes and dropped from the sky like rain. She soared through the clouds, feeling a soft, tingling sensation as they breezed across her entire body. “Wooooo! Woooohooooo!” she cried. “Hahahaha!”

She climbed the skies until they were clearer than a Summer day’s. The sun wrapped her in its warm glow, growing warmer and warmer as she ascended higher and higher.

When she had flown as high as she could, she looked down at Equestria and saw its ever-expanding landscape. From such a great height, she could see everything from The Everfree Forest to Manehattan.

Then from nowhere, a great magical flash centred around her haunches, and as soon as it had arrived, it disappeared, leaving behind a cutie mark of crossed feathered wings on her flank.

She’d done it.

The only thing left to do was...









...Fall.













Green dived from the pillar of the skies. The wind rushed past her, thrashing against her wings so heavily that she could no longer hear her own cries.

But she was in control.

The apple orchard came into view, becoming larger and larger with each coming second.

As she neared the ground, she repositioned her tail wing and parried the fall. Flapping harder than ever, she curved the fall into a majestic arc. She glided across the apple orchard and then the town before landing, met by the dropped jaws of several onlookers.

Betty stared wide-eyed at her daughter, mouth agape, unsure of what to say. She saw her new cutie mark and galloped up to hug her, crying. “I’m so sorry, baby.”

Green embraced her, envoloping her in her wings.

Palmer limped over to the two and patted Green on the back. “You did good, kid. You did good.”
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