I Dream Reality Is My Dream
When the nights change,
So do my nightmares too-
I dream reality is my dream.
Kid Cudi, “All Along”
Man on the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
“What makes you think you’re good enough to join the Wonderbolts?”
The sky-blue Pegasus swallowed the lump in her throat. The three Pegasi in uniform stood before her, unmoving, their question hanging heavily in the air.
Never before had their blue flight suits been so intimidating, and never before had she been so nervous. The insignias on their flanks seemed to scream with a sense of authority. She could feel the stares from behind their goggles, their eyes well hidden within the glassy frames. A sharp wind licked at her mane and her hooves dug shakily into the cloud beneath them. This is your time, she thought, trying to shake away the feeling.
You won’t fail now.
The Pegasus took a defiant stance and lowered her head, her right hoof pawing at the cloud, her eyes narrowing in determination. The fear had left her now, not even the slightest trace remained in her mind. “Because I’m the best dang flier in Equestria,” she replied through gritted teeth, her words dripping with confidence. The three Wonderbolts remained entirely unamused, their expressions blank. But the blue Pegasus did not falter, her fiery rose-colored eyes clashing with their everlasting gaze. After a moment, they spoke again:
“Then show us.”
With a slight flick of their heads, the three gestured to the expansive blue sky beside them. They seemed to convey everything in unison. The Pegasus blinked, but was able to keep her hardened composure. She knew what was coming, and was well aware of what they expected. Warily, she stepped lightly towards the edge of the cloud, her eyes locked with theirs all the while. The three ponies never moved an inch. As she approached the cloud’s end, she turned her head and looked down. She exhaled slowly at the sight before her.
The display was incredible. Their cloud towered over the others, the nearest resembling little more than a white speck against the vast expanse of green far below them. “It must go for miles on end…” she breathed softly. She had never been this far off the ground before. She quickly glanced upwards, and noticed how the sea of blue sky gradually faded to the black of space.
No kidding, she thought anxiously.
But as daunting as the sight appeared to be, it didn’t bother her. Flying was her life. It was her freedom. She was born in the sky, born on these winds. She swallowed again. She had trained for this moment from the very beginning, taking her hits, enduring the doubts of others, told she’d never make it on her own.
But here she was.
“Are you afraid of failure?”
For the slightest of seconds their words resonated within her, her legs locking in place. Was she?
Can I really do this…? She quickly shook her head, dismissing the thought. It was now or never. With one last glance and a flick of her tail, she called out to them: “You just try and keep up,” she shouted, and without a second thought she leapt into the waiting sky.
The air rushed over her as she fell, stinging her eyes, her mane whipping wildly about. She immediately angled herself downwards and squinted through the blistering wind, her forelegs out before her, picking up speed. She hadn’t bothered to check whether or not the others had begun their descent after her, but that was the least of her concerns. She kept her focus on her flight and planned out her next course of action. All right, she thought quickly, her routine playing out in her head. Here we go. Keep going, pull up, roll right, glide and dive… All she needed to do now was unfurl her wings. She immediately felt for them, and then…nothing. A numbing feeling swept over her, and her eyes widened as the realization quickly came; she couldn’t open her wings. Oh no. She leveled out, her heart leaping into her throat as she continued to fall. Fear overtook her as she began to hyperventilate.
She flailed helplessly as she continued to rush towards the ground far below her, the wind rushing still. She could make out the details of the land now, the distance between the two rapidly closing. Suddenly, the Wonderbolt team appeared around her, their wings angled in their steep dive.
“Something’s wrong, I can’t feel my wings!” she shouted over the screaming wind, her mind racing. “Help!” The three Pegasi simply looked at her.
“You stupid foal,” they said with a sudden anger as they begun to slowly spin around her as they fell. “’The best flier in Equestria’? You can’t even fly!”
“Please!” she squeaked, tears flooding her eyes. “You have to help me! I can’t stop!”
She had never been so frightened in all her life. She craned her neck behind her to see what had gone wrong with her wings – and a scream was caught in her throat. Oh Celestia, NO!
Her wings were as small as they were when she was a little filly, but there was more; she was a little filly. Her body resembled what she was as she had begun to learn how to fly years ago.
A new, unfamiliar feeling washed over her; complete helplessness.
“HELP! HELP! HELP!” she cried, her eyes wild, her legs in a frantic frenzy as the ground drew closer, the wind howling in her ears.
“You’re a failure,” the three Wonderbolts hissed as they continued to circle.
“PLEASEOHCELESTIAPLEASE!” she pleaded, her eyes fixed at the earth below.
“You were always a failure.”
“HELP ME, NONONO, HELP ME!”
“You worthless wretch. What ever happened to you?”
Suddenly, the three Pegasi broke their spinning circle and pulled up sharply, leaving the sky-blue Pegasus alone to her fate. She watched, horrified, as they quickly departed from sight, and screamed as the ground rushed up to meet her…
Rainbow Dash jolted upright in her bed and screamed. Her eyes snapped open and her screams died in her throat as she slowly came to; she was in her room. She was safe. The darkness of the night painted over her billowy walls, the moonlight the only source of light flooding the room from a hole in the cloud above. She panted, cold sweat beading beneath her forelock. She shook violently. With a forced sigh, tears formed in her eyes, and she brought her hooves against her face and sobbed.
It was a dream, a horrible, horrible dream. “What a nightmare…” she muttered to herself, her voice cracking as she wept. As the tears slowed, she let herself fall back into her cloud of a bed and stared upwards at the glowing moon above, her eyes half-open. It had all felt so real.
The fall, the winds, those words…she shuddered and tried her best to dispel the memory.
Slowly, she propped herself up on her forelegs and unfurled her wings. She turned her head to look at them, and sighed with relief at the sight. They were there all right, normal as ever.
She fell back against her bed, her hoof rubbing at her cheek, attempting to settle her thoughts. “It’s okay,” she breathed. “You’re okay. Get it together, Rainbow Dash. It was only dream.
You’re not a…” she stopped midsentence, and slowly thought about what she was saying, “…failure.”
Shut up, she urged, frustrated, once again trying to push away the thoughts.
It’s just a dream…you are fine. Just go to sleep.
For what seemed like hours, Rainbow Dash tossed and turned in her bed, unable to find the slightest feeling of sleep. Much to her displeasure, her thoughts continued to dwell over her horrific nightmare, the scene playing over and over. She turned onto her belly with a groan and wrapped her forelegs around her head.
“I hate this,” she said to herself, her voice muffled by the cloud. “I really, really do…”
A new thought slowly formed in her mind. Maybe I just need some fresh air. Her eyes opened as she continued to consider this. I’ll just step out for a moment, calm myself down, the only way I know how. She sighed. At this point, she was willing to try almost anything. She needed to get out. With a slight groan she rolled onto her back, rolled again to her right, and again, and again until she fell from her bed, through the clouds beneath her and out into the open night air. The air rushed through her mane, an all too familiar feeling. She was falling again, but this was real, and she was in control. She quickly unfurled her wings and with a few pumps of air she slowed her descent into a glide and flew off quietly into the dark.
The night was nearly silent save for the steady rise and fall of her wings. Rainbow Dash banked to the left slightly, letting the soft brisk winds guide her across the night sky.
Princess Luna sure as hay did a great job, she thought to herself, admiring her surroundings. And she sure as hay did indeed; the starlight spread over the ground with its brilliance, illuminating all that was beneath her with a soft glow. Soon enough the familiar shapes of the town of Ponyville came into view. She looked on silently as she passed the darkened buildings of Sugarcube Corner and the Carousel Boutique, imagining her friends well on their way in their own dreams, tucked in within the comfort of their homes. The great tree of the Library was no different.
“Even that egghead Twilight Sparkle makes time for sleep,” she muttered to herself, supplying a small smile. But as she soared passed the dimmed windows a sense of sadness flickered in her mind. She had half-hoped that the purple unicorn would be awake, figuring she’d maybe be studying. At this hour, if there were anyone she could talk to it would have been Twilight Sparkle.
But she was alone.
Soon after she cleared the numerous trees of Sweet Apple Acres her eyes set upon a lake glinting in the moonlight. Intrigued, she lowered her head and began her descent upon its banks. She touched down softly on the surrounding grass and began her walk to the still water, the cold wet dew brushing against her hooves. Like it was up in the sky the world was nearly completely silent, the soft rustle of leaves in the wind providing the only source of noise. As she came upon the water’s edge, she sat back on her haunches and peered into the mirror-like surface. Her ears drooped sadly at the sight before her.
There reflected in the water was a familiar looking sky-blue Pegasus. Its rose eyes were red and puffy, her striking rainbow-colored mane disheveled and unkempt.
Rainbow Dashed sighed and hung her head. By Celestia, I’m a wreck…
Gloomily, she cupped her hooves into the lake, scooped out a pool of water and promptly splashed it upon her face, eager to wash away the dreadful sight. It was a considerably cold albeit refreshing feeling against her skin. When she again looked at the surface, her reflection all but lost in the ripples that begun to spread along the lake. As she watched them go, she began to think about her startling dream.
Will I ever have a chance to make the Wonderbolts? What if I fail on along the way…?
Rainbow Dash frowned at her troubled thoughts. She never thought of herself as a pessimist. She always carried around the composure of being the bravest, the most fearless…
“What did ever happen to me?” she asked aloud, echoing the words spoken in her dream, the soft voice breaking the silence around her. Suddenly, anger rose within her, and with a snarl she dashed at her reflection with her hoof, sending a splash of water every which way. “Look at yourself,” she cried aloud. “This isn’t you! What would anypony think if they saw you, if you told them anything!” Her head drooped in defeat. So I am afraid of failure, she thought glumly. But no one can ever know…what would I tell them? I can’t, not like this…
Rainbow Dash looked up at the moon, tears welling in her eyes.
“But I wish I could…”
The Pegasus crawled back into her bed, her mind numb, pulling a thin layer of cloud over her. She was exhausted, the evening’s events finally taking their toll over her body. It would only be a matter of time until she had to wake again, as somepony needed to move the clouds across the sky. Listlessly, her eyes looked towards the moon once again, her eyelids drooping with every passing second. “I’ll never give up…” she mumbled to nopony in particular. “I’ll make it on my own…”
Her eyes shut, and her head slowly fell to its side, comfortably resting on the feathery cloud beneath her as sleep began to take her.
“You’ll see...my hooves won’t even touch the ground…”