The sunlight streams in through Novella’s upstairs loft, throwing sun rays in all different directions. A rooster caws loudly outside the window. Novella groans, shaking her head and hiding under her blanket at the invading morning.
“Five more minutes,” Novella grumbles.
The rooster caws again as if to tell her there isn’t time for five more minutes of sleepy bliss.
“Fine, fine I’m getting up.” The light blue mare crawls out of bed, making her way to the bathroom. Her wavy lavender hair really took a beating from all the night-time tossing and turning. It sticks out in all different directions.
“Holy Celestia! I look like mad scientist!” Novella’s green eyes widen with shock at the horrible look of her mane. She does a pretend evil scientist laugh and rubs her front hooves together evilly.
She laughs at herself and then goes about getting ready. She turns on the bath and runs her hair under the faucet. She shakes loose the excess water and using her unicorn magic, wraps a towel around her hair to let it briefly dry. She does the rest of her morning routine quickly.
Novella heads down the loft stairs that lead to her coffee shop/bookstore that she manages. There is already a forming line of sleepy-headed ponies outside her door, ready for their morning buzz. She runs down the remaining stairs and begins to start up the coffee pots. Novella throws on her work apron and rushes to unlock the door. The ponies pile in and Novella begins taking orders.
Novella spends the next few hours rushing back and forth, filling up to three coffee orders at one time. Sweat beads on her forehead as the coffee line grows larger with each order filled. Coffee orders are coming faster, and Novella hardly has the time to accept the bits from the previous order before another order is being hollered out.
It is almost noon before the morning rush dies down. Its the month of October and every pony in Ponyville has been ordering Pumpkin Spice flavored coffees. The cafe smells heavily of pumpkins and Novella inhales the delicious scent. October is one of her favorite months, she loves everything autumn.
The bell above the cafe door dings.
Novella rushes to the counter, already weary from the morning rush.
“Welcome to Books N’ Brews, what would you li—” Novella freezes,stunned by who stands before her.
The mayor of Ponyville had just walked into her store. She looked all business and Novella is seriously doubting she was in here to order a coffee.
“What can I do for ya?” Novella asked. She removed her apron and steps out from behind the counter.
“I need a quick moment of your time, do you have somewhere we can sit and talk?” The mayor asks, apparently preferring to get straight to the point.
Novella motions to the Mayor to join her at one of the comfier couches that rested in the middle of her cafe. She sits down and patiently waits for the Mayor to get comfortable in the love seat across from her. A million things race across her mind, wondering why the Mayor would be here. Am I getting shut down? Is she here to buy out the building? Is she wanting someone to take over? Does she want to tell me I’m doing a good job with it and maybe expand elsewhere in Equestria?
Novella bites her lip, a nervous habit. The Mayor sits down across from her, looking mayor-ly and even a bit nervous.
“Novella, I’ve heard from a few of your regulars here that you write stories as a hobby and side job?” The mayor said, making it more of a question.
“Yes that’s right.” Novella says, her stomach in knots.
“I was wondering, if its not too much trouble dear, would you be willing to write a small ghost story for this year’s Nightmare Night celebration?” The Mayor said in a rush, her large blue eyes silently hoping and pleading for Novella to say yes.
Novella is taken aback. She’d never thought her writing would be important enough to get the attention of the mayor. She blushed, the pink really sticking out against her light blue coat.
“Y-Yeah sure I can absolutely do that!” Novella stutters slightly, still surprised by the request. “In fact I’d be more than honored to.” Novella beams happily at the Mayor.
“Oh, what a relief. Thank you so much for accepting.” The Mayor beams happily at Novella. “We are always looking to add more fun frights to the Nightmare Night celebration and I thought a ghost story would be the perfect thing to really put everyone in the frightful spirit.” She laughs.
Novella and the Mayor exchange information about where to turn in the completed story, and then the Mayor takes her leave. She thanks Novella again and shakes her hoof before taking off out the door. Novella turns around, to the small crowd of patrons that had been in her store when the Mayor came in. Applauses and shouts of congratulations were coming from everywhere. A few ponies walked up, clapping Novella on the back.
“Thanks y’all, I’m extremely thrilled to have this opportunity. However, I’d really like to start preparations early. Would you mind if I close down the store early today?” Novella blushes again, worried that the patron ponies are going to be upset with her.
The ponies, however, are more than understanding and they gather their things and wish her well as they file out of the cafe. Novella closes up shop and heads upstairs to begin writing her ghost story. She only has a week to work on it.
Two hours later, its past noon and Novella sits at her writing desk with her head on the table. Crumpled pieces of parchment paper litter her desk and the floor. Novella groans loudly in frustration. Lifting her head off her desk, she uses her magic to pick up the discarded quill and a new sheet of parchment and begins to write. She gets as far as two sentences, before crumbling the paper in anger.
“This is harder than I thought,”she grumbles.
Novella sits back on her haunches, staring up at the ceiling and thinking to herself. I can’t really put my heart in this piece. I’ve never been in a scenario that has truly terrified me. Novella scrunches up her face in concentration.
“That’s it, I have a week to write and edit this story,before it needs to be given to the Mayor. I need to find a terror-filled experience to write about.”
Grabbing her bag, Novella stuffs two small notebooks in it, followed by six quills and three large ink bottles. She leaves the loft and makes her way to the grassy streets of Ponyville.
Two hours spent asking around for any sort of scary locations in Equestria. Almost all of the ponies had the same response; “Go spend some time in the Everfree Forest.”
“But I don’t find the forest all that scary.” Novella grumbles.
She stops at one of the local luncheon cafes, her hopes dashed. She orders a small apple pie. The sudden sound of jangling awakens Novella’s attention to the sight of Zecora slowly walking towards her. She’d always heard stories about the strange Zebra, and her stomach gave a small jolt of excitement to see Zecora up close. The Zebra had a many gold bracelets around her front hooves as well as her neck. Her mane was trimmed in a most unusual, but lovely looking mohawk style. Big golden earrings hung from her earlobes. Her mane matched the same striped pattern as her coat. She was an exotic beauty to behold.
Zecora walked up to Novella, smiled down at the young mare and began to speak;
“For truth to your story, its frights that you want? I’ll show you a place where its said a ghost pony haunts.”
“What? There’s a haunted house here in Ponyville. Please show me!” Novella stands up, eager to find this mysterious house.
The waiter pony suddenly walks outside with her apple pie slice on a platter. He sets it on the table in front of her. She tosses him 8 bits for the pie, but is far too excited to eat it now. She begins to walk away from the slice when Zecora stops her and points back to the table.
“Eat your food, let it not go to waste. You’ll want the energy if a ghost gives chase.” Zecora says ominously.
Novella decides to heed the strange zebra’s warning and quickly eats her pie.
“Okay, I ate. Would you mind showing me now?” Novella asks. Just cause I’m excited does not mean I have to be rude, She thinks angrily to herself. “Please.” She adds, blushing at her slight rude remark just a second before.
Zecora merely nods and began to head off. Novella stays close beside her, while they walk Novella gets a clear mark of the Zebra’s flank and is utterly entranced by the intricacy of the swirling design of her cutie mark. They walk south, past the many shops of Ponyville and in the direction of the Everfree forest.
There, at the very edge of the village was an old decrepit house. The once bright yellow of the house had since faded, making it look like the dull yellow you see when there is a dead patch of grass. The hinges are broken and falling off. The door, surprisingly, is still intact. The grass is overgrown and makes the house look that much scarier. A cool breeze brushes by and Novella shivers.
Novella turns her attention to Zecora to thank her, but finds the zebra gone. Novella gulps, not sure she likes the sudden disappearance.
“Well guess I better get to it,” Novella whispers to herself.
She takes a deep breath and nervously makes her way up the lawn and into the dark, spooky house.