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Good Intentions · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–25000
Untitled Journal
3 S.D. 676 C.E.—Pop and Barley went out of town today to sell potatoes. I don’t know how long they’ll be gone for, but they said it shouldn’t be longer than a week. This was the first time they’d ever gone so far out of town. The local marketplace wasn’t very good for business any more, so Pop said they had to go elsewhere to sell.

I had the farm all to myself. What a responsibility! It sure was a tough job though. My legs haven’t ached like that since my first day on the farm. But I finished my day before the sun did, giving me time to make a good stew before bed.

That’s why Barley went and not me. He’s a salesman, not a farmer. His tongue gets him what his legs can’t. He’ll grow half as many potatoes but sell them for twice the price. No good when you just wanna eat them, of course.

7 S.D. 676 C.E.—The cattle got restless today because I forgot to feed them. It’s not that I forgot. It’s just that there’s so much to do! Herding them together was a real trouble too. How do you do that with just one pony?

I hope Pop and Barley come back soon. It’s getting so lonely.

14 S.D. 676 C.E.—I saw Pop along the horizon today while out in the potato fields. He looked his old weathered self, pulling the family wagon down the road. Barley slogged along behind him.

I dropped the plough right away and ran up to meet them. As I got closer, I saw their faces were glum.

Pop told me what happened. It took them two days to walk to Marecelona. The market wasn’t open for the first two days, so they had to spend them in a local stable. They didn’t have the bits on them to pay, so they had to barter their potatoes. It was a complete ripoff. Not even Barley’s tongue could work around it.

But once the market was open it wasn’t so bad, he said. There was plenty of bread being sold and they picked up a good lot of it before the morning’s end, over a month’s worth. But that’s all there was. They learnt by the end of the day that that’s all ponies were selling. That and potatoes.

Barley said there was a mare selling pumpkins, but she wanted fifteen potatoes for just one pumpkin. Fifteen! I couldn’t believe it. It was an outrage.

They spent two more days at market trying to get something besides bread. They got some carrots, but only a couple week’s worth, and not exactly at a good price. I almost thought they shouldn’t have bothered, but Pop says you need carrots for good health and that they help you see in the dark. Potatoes sure don’t do that.

It took them four days to make it home. A wheel on the family wagon went all jagged and started making it a whole lot harder to pull. They had to take a few more breaks along the way than they’d have liked to.

Barley was more upset than Pop. He had a fire inside him. He said that it’s all the government’s fault, that ever since the republic got into power, all the wealth’s been going to the rich, hurting the common work pony.

He handed me a pamphlet he got from the Maine Communist Party. It talked a lot about how the republic has been neglecting farmers and workers, how there’s a depression going on that can’t be solved through selfish labour, how we lost a lot of land in the war, how treaties with the pegasi haven’t done our crops any good.

Barley said that there was a mare called Valencia on a soapbox in the marketplace telling everyone all this as they went about their business. He said that she was the most inspiring thing he’d ever seen. He couldn’t quite remember what she said, but he knew she was right.

Pop says it’s just the way of things, that the world keeps on turning as it always does. As long as we’ve got our farm, we’ll be just fine.

I think Pop’s right.

23 T.R. 676 C.E.—Pop’s been sick for weeks. He says he feels weak all around and his bones ache something terrible. There’s not a doctor for miles, though, so we’re not sure what’s wrong. All we can do is hope.

We’re down to our last loaf of bread. It’s been a while since anyone’s been out of town. Barley wants to go out on his own, but Pop won’t let him.

We’ll be living off just potatoes soon.

28 T.R. 676 C.E.—Pop asked me why I don’t have kids yet. He knows why Barley doesn’t, because he’s a smooth talking double-dimer. But why don’t I?

I didn’t know what to say. I spend all day on the farm. I hardly meet any of the mares in town, let alone fancy them. We could certainly use a few extra hooves around here, especially since Pop’s not got…

No. I shouldn’t say that.

7 F.U. 676 C.E.—Pop didn’t wake up today. We buried him out back before starting the work day.

I wish I got to say goodbye.

11 F.U. 676 C.E.—Barley left for the markets today. He said he’s got a whole sales route planned out, tried explaining the details to me. Some places have lots of corn, some lots of carrots. If you move around a lot and in the right directions, you can make a lot of profit, he said.

I fixed up the family wagon as best I could and he loaded it with as many potatoes as he’d pull.

I hope he comes back with some pumpkins.

3 F.T. 676 C.E.—The next yield of crops aren’t due for at least a week, and I’m out of potatoes. All that’s left are a few rotten ones with brown spots all over. It’s either them or starving, I guess.

6 F.T. 676 C.E.—Ate the rotten potatoes. Vomit everywhere. At there’s plenty of rain to clean it up.

I scoured the next yield for some potatoes to eat and found a couple that looked good enough. They tasted foul. But at least I didn’t throw up.

7 F.T. 676 C.E.—Two of the cows ran away. They broke the fence on their way out, too. I keep forgetting to feed them. I just don’t have the energy.

I hope Barley comes back soon. It’s so lonely.

10 F.T. 676 C.E.—Not the best yield, but it should keep me going till the next. Gotta make sure these ones don’t go rotten.

It’s so much harder without Pop here. He’d know what to do.

19 S.I. 676 C.E.—Barley finally came back today. When I saw him all I could do was cry tears of relief.

There were two other stallions with him. They had fancy uniforms that made them look very important. One had glasses and was rather lanky and carried a clipboard. The other had a fierce moustache and was almost as big as me.

They were from the Maine Communist Party, Barley said. They were here to check out the farm and see if they could help us grow more potatoes. It all took a very long time. They checked just about everything.

I told them about the broken fence and how two of the cows had run away. That didn’t seem to bother them, though.

When they were done the lanky stallion’s face was bright as the sun. He said that the farm would be perfect for their new potato-growing program. He said that with this land we could be growing ten times as many potatoes. Ten times! I would’ve been crazy to believe him, but Barley told me he was an agronomist, which is a scientist who researches about food growing, from the College of Matrot, the biggest college in Maine. Fancy that.

To get started, all we’d have to do is let them run the farm. I’d say it was a tough decision, but after the last month I felt like I wouldn’t mind a little break.

It almost made me forget that Barley had barely brought much food home. But he did get a pumpkin, just for me. It cost him about five potatoes all up, which isn’t so bad. It tasted delicious.

20 T.N. 676 C.E.—We now have three other ponies from far away working on our farm: Rocker, Cherish, and Jetty. Dr Brussels oversaw the whole development, popping in once every few weeks to check up on a few things.

Rocker and Cherish are pegasi. They make great assistants, being able to control the weather and all, but they aren’t so good workhorses. All that flying around sure doesn’t breed a good, strong pair of legs.

Jetty is the most lovely pony I’ve ever laid eyes on. When I first looked at her with my stunned, stupid eyes, she shied away with the cutest blush. And she’s got the strongest legs on mare you’ve ever seen. She could topple a castle with that buck. We hit it off before she even started working the farm. She gives me the willies, she does.

The farm growth went exactly as Brussels said it would—even better, in fact. It was amazing! Brussels said that we were getting fifty tonnes of yield per hectare, higher than any other farm in Equestria.

This was the power of communism, Barley said. Everyone was working, and everyone had enough to live and then some. Under a republic, it’s everypony for himself.

1 F.S. 677 C.E.—Barley went off to live in Matrot. He got a job working propaganda for the MCP (what Barley calls the Maine Community Party), and what better place to start than the big city? He pretended that leaving was hard, but we both knew that he looked forward to his new job.

Brussels organised another earth pony come in to replace him on the farm.

9 S.D. 677 C.E.—Barley sent a letter to me the other day, telling me that the MCP’s political campaign was coming nearby soon. Valencia was going to be talking about their plans for the future. He wanted me to go see her speak, because I hadn’t yet. I’d heard lots of good things about her, though, and it was only an hour’s walk away, just the next town down. Jetty and I hadn’t taken a good old walk for a while anyway.

By golly, I can see why Barley says the things he does about her now. I feel I could listen to her talk for ages on end. She makes me feel so… so… I don’t know the word. Hopeful?

I remembered what Barley said about not being able to remember what she said, so I took some scrap paper along with me and wrote it down as she was talking. Well, I tried to anyway. In all the hubbub it got so hard to keep focus, and I don’t quite write that quick. Luckily, today the papers printed an excerpt from the speech which, as I read it, becomes a vivid scene.

“I know how you feel today. The last century’s war has collapsed the strong, prospering Maine people into a downward spiral. But this is not the way of our people. If you look back into the history of Maine, this is the lowest we have ever been! But why? Because the common pony, the true hero of our country, is battered, broken, pushed so far down that even the strongest legs can no longer hold them upright.

“The most precious resource you have in the whole world is your own people. And for the sake of this people, we will struggle and fight, and never slack, never tire, never lose hope, and never lose faith.

“A new community is being built in Maine, and it is a most beautiful goal and aim. Those who can’t even see past their own nose, deserves our pity more than anything else. It is with strength and fortune that one can give, to commit themselves to a communist state, for to help our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate, there is no greater goal.

“Our social welfare system is so much more than a charity, it is the camel upon which Maine rides into the future. We do not say to the rich: please, give something to the poor. Instead we say: please, people of Maine, help yourselves! Everyone must help, whether rich or poor. Everyone must believe that there is always someone in much worse situation than I am, and I want to help this person as a comrade. It is only with a united people that we might return to the great nation we once were.

“Already we have begun programs with destitute farmers: good, hard working ponies who with the help of their people are able to double their produce. Then their fruits pass on to the next pony, whose produce doubles in kind. When you commit yourself to your country, to your people, your country commits to you.

“Our belief in Maine is uncompromising, and our will is overwhelming. And when will and belief combine themselves so ardently, not even Celestia will deny you.”

The election is coming up next month, and I’ll sure be voting for Valencia.

17 T.R. 677 C.E.—Oh, what a wonderful day! Barley came home for the election. The polling booth looked very collected compared to last time. There were ponies dressed in uniform handing out ballots and quills to fill them in with and little slips informing people how to vote for each party. I didn’t need those though because Barley had already showed me what to do.

The election results would be in the paper two days later. Barley was more anxious than anything I’d ever seen. We went into the newsagent together to find out the results. Everyone did.

When the paper came, he was elated. He jumped up and down and wagged his tail like a giddy puppy. I’d never seen him so excited. He said that everything was going to be all right now. Valencia also made an acceptance speech on behalf of the party, which the papers published an excerpt of. It spoke to me in her wonderfully charismatic voice.

“The great time has just begun. Maine has awoken. We have won power in Maine. I know, my brothers and sisters, that it must have been difficult at times, when you desired change that never came, when you made appeals that were never answered. But no longer. Change is here, and it is the people who have brought it about. United we stand.”

Not only that, Jetty thinks she’s pregnant! I’m going to be a pop soon.

Funny thing, though. I could have sworn the newsagent used to be run by a unicorn.

21 F.U. 677 C.E.—Jetty’s so big now that she can’t work the farm any more. Barley sent a letter suggesting that we move into the city for a while. With the recent surge in prosperity, we could afford to take the break.

He talked with some people in the MCP and he managed to get us a nice little apartment that had plenty of space to raise a kid in.

11 F.T. 677 C.E.—It’s amazing how much food there is now. Our cupboards are filled with it: bread, corn, meat, even spices.

29 T.N. 677 C.E.—I read in the papers that the MCP introduced a new law today taxing profitable uses of magic. Valencia said it’s not right that unicorns have such an advantage over other ponies, that without sharing the fruits of their labour, it would introduce class divides as it has in the past. I never really thought of it like that, but it made a lot of sense. Most of the unicorns I’ve seen are very rich folk.

10 T.R. 678 C.E.—Jetty gave birth today. My own little foal snuggled in thick, white sheets melts my heart. I could sit by her cot forever.

Jetty named her Blueberry because of her deep-blue coat.

8 T.N 685 C.E.—I haven’t written for so long. Life as a pop doesn’t leave much room for writing.

Blueberry’s growing up strong, just like her mother. She has the same cute little mole on her cheek as her mother.

I’ve been drafted into the army. That’s why I’ve got the time to write, now. Ever since the economic boom brought about by the MCP, foreign policy has been very chaotic. Valencia says that the unicorn-rich society in Canterlot is trying to bring us back into classism, that they aren’t so enamoured by our equal society.

Maine’s military is expanding quite rapidly. We’ve actually declared war. Valencia calls it an aggressive defence. Better to fight on enemy land than our own. The people of Maine are in unanimous support of the decision.

It’s an honour to fight for my country.

10 T.N. 685 C.E.—My squad is tasked with taking care of prisoners of war. They’re all unicorns. It’s such a ghoulish sight. They’re so frail that their rib cages show. We can’t feed them too much or else they could use their magic to escape. MCP scientists are working on magic inhibitors, but I haven’t heard too much success on that front.

23 T.N. 685 C.E.—I put a pony down today.

The unicorns were lined up in cuffs as we walked them to the cafeteria. I was at the back of the line, and two of my fellow soldiers were at the front. One unicorn somehow broke his cuffs and ran for the fence. As he started climbing he looked me in the eyes. He was so battered, his face was alien to me. I pointed my gun at him. If I let him go, the other soldiers would know.

He should have stopped climbing.

29 T.N. 685 C.E.—Two more unicorns tried escaping today. At least I wasn’t the one to shoot them.

Why do this to us? It’s their fault we’re in this mess. I can’t help it. Then they go ahead and… and make us do these terrible things.

I want to go home.

14 E.L. 685 C.E.—We had to move the unicorns to another compound last week. That’s what it’s called: a compound. They aren’t ponies any more. They’re animals to be processed.

It was a long trek. Ten of them died on the first day. Four days later we arrived, almost a quarter of them were dead. A few tried to escape. Why bother? There was nothing for miles. If it wasn’t our bullets that killed them, it was the hypothermia.

The new compound is much bigger than the last one. There are over three thousand unicorns being held here. News from the war front doesn’t make it sound like this is ending soon.

3 S.D. 686 C.E.—Where did it all go wrong?

A unicorn scrambled up to me with his dead, alien eyes today. I snarled and told him to get back to work. What work? There was none. I just wanted to get that disgusting thing away.

He said that he had kids in the compound, that they were starving. If I could just spare them some food…

I don’t know if I can return to my daughter after what I’ve done.

9 S.D. 686 C.E.—They attacked… A unicorn ate my forelegs… Blood everywhere… I’m sorry.
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