The air hung heavy with the scent of blood. I breathed deeply that sanguinary aroma, closing my eyes as I let it fill my lungs. A shudder went through my body, and I opened my eyes to gaze upon her. An earth pony with a light plum coat and mulberry mane lay before me. She did not move, but she was not yet dead. She was spread out on my surgical table, restraints tied around each of her legs. I would wake her up soon, and most ponies tended to thrash about upon finding themselves in this situation. The restraints were tight so as to allow no movement at all.
I walked around the table so that I was looking down at her from her head. The room was dark, but a single lamp illuminated the area of the table. I could see every detail, every single imperfection so perfectly. Her body rose and fell slowly as she took deep, shallow breaths. My eyes traced the outline of her body and I felt something well up inside me from deep within. A desire, a longing. Something I must fulfill.
It was time for her to wake up.
I walked over to a tray next to the table, where my tools were set out. I picked up a small capsule, ammonium carbonate, and broke it under her nose. She immediately woke up.
“Wh-where am I? What’s going on?” Her eyes searched frantically around the room and she struggled to move her legs, but they were taut and would not budge.
I walked around to her side and her gaze met mine. Terrified eyes. Like always. “Hello, Berry Punch. Or can I just call you Berry? I think that would be okay. We are about to become very close, you and I.”
“P-Pinkie? Pinkie Pie?” The dark realization washed over her face, like the blood I’d spilled of so many ponies before her. They always looked so surprised. It reminded me of the old days.
“Not exactly. Pinkie Pie isn’t here anymore. You can call me Pinkamena.” I bowed slightly, the straight hair of my mane falling over my face. I straightened back up and stood there, looking into her eyes.
“Where am I? Why can’t I move? What is this place?” She looked around anxiously, but there was only darkness.
“Questions, questions…Ponies are always asking questions when they first wake up. Believe me, I’ve heard them all. I guess I’ll answer them again…” I walked slowly around the table as I spoke. “Where are you? That one’s easy. It might be hard for you to discern with the smell of blood so heavy in the air, but try. Smell that? Flour, sugar, frosting. You’re in Sugarcube Corner. Well, the basement anyway. Why can’t you move? Another easy one. You’re restrained, silly. I can’t have you flailing about. It makes it a lot harder to work. I mean, I could always inject you with something, but then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy everything that’s about to happen. And that last one…What is this place…seems a little redundant, but if you want to get really specific, you are in room #2 of currently six rooms that I use for my guests. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.”
Berry Punch’s eyes stared in horror as she tried to process everything I had just explained to her. This part varied from pony to pony. Some took the route of denial, others tried to talk their way out of the situation. She was one of the “stare in open mouthed horror and look quite ridiculous” road. I walked over to the tray with my tools set on it. I picked up a linoleum knife, its hooked point usually causing my already terrified guests to turn white as ghosts. Berry did not disappoint.
“Pinkie…Pinkie please, whatever you’re going to do, think about it! You’re about to do something…unspeakable!” She pleaded, her voice beginning to crack. Tears began to stream down her face.
“Oh shush now…and I told you, it’s Pinkamena. Call me Pinkie again, and you’re going to lose your tongue. And it’s not unspeakable. You think you’re the first? Look at me, look into my eyes.” I brought my face less than an inch away from hers. I could have licked the tears off her cheeks if I wanted to. She shut her eyes tight and tried to turn her head away. “Hey, no you keep your eyes open.” I pulled one of her eyelids open and brought the knife up to her eye. “Or else I’ll cut your eyelids off. See? There’s a pattern. You do something wrong, I cut something off.”
“Pink—“ I pressed my hoof hard onto her forehead. “Pinkamena! Please! I don’t understand…” She began to sob.
I turned and began to walk away from her, into the darkness, just out of her periphery. “Berry. I’m throwing you a party here. Does that really need a reason? And if I’m going to be honest here, which I may as well be, you’re not being very grateful. I go through all this trouble, invite you into MY home, and you cry and ask me stupid questions. That’s not very respectful, is it?” And the game was in full swing.
Berry didn’t say anything for a few moments. I could hear her quietly sobbing, and the sound of the restraints as she shifted. Then she spoke. Her voice was surprisingly calm, but it wavered a bit. “Just tell me why. What did I do to be brought here?” And there it was.
I emerged from the darkness and stood at the foot of the table. She looked me in the eyes, her face stained by the tears, but she did not break her stare. This one was going to be fun.
“Think back. Do you remember Diamond Tiara’s cute-ceañera?” I gave her a moment to respond.
“I think so…yes I do.” Her face was stoic, but I could see the slightest hint of confusion. I could imagine she was thinking to herself, What could I have possibly done to put myself in this situation?
“You DRANK from the punchbowl. DRANK STRAIGHT FROM IT.” I closed the distance between us with two long strides and brought my face up to hers again. She flinched away, and I allowed a little bit of anger to dance across my face. “That’s what CUPS AND STRAWS are for, Ms. Punch!!”
She squealed and the fear came rushing back to her face. “N-no! I didn’t! I’d never! Why would you do something like this just because of that! I’m sorry!” She shut her eyes tight and tried to turn her head away.
The first cut.
“I told you…KEEP THOSE EYES OPEN.” I brought the blade up to her face and pulled her left eyelid open. With one quick motion, I severed that tiny bit of skin, and she screamed out in unabashed agony. I relished that moment.
“Oh come now, all this show from a tiny little cut? You’re not even bleeding!” I waved the skin that had been her eyelid in front of her face, and let a smile creep across my face.
“YOU CUT ME! YOU BUCKING CUT ME!” She screamed at me as she shut her right eye, but her left one continued to see.
“There’s no need for language like that. And count yourself lucky. I could have just taken you eye out, but then you wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy all this. We’ve got quite a ways to go still.” I casually tossed the small bit of flesh aside, and place the linoleum knife on the tray of tools. She continued to scream and curse at me. This was the part that got tiresome quickly. I can’t stand rude guests. I picked up some cotton from the table and stuffed it into her mouth. She tried to protest, but her words were nothing more than incoherent blabber. “There. I don’t want to cut your tongue out just yet, I’d like for you to try a very special creation that I’m going to make just for you.”
I stepped back into the darkness, and emerged wheeling a cart with a punch bowl and two glasses on it. The punch bowl was empty, save for a few cubes of ice that were beginning to melt, and some orange slices. I stopped the cart on the left side of the table.
“You, Miss Berry Punch, are going to help me make some punch.” I looked down at her and smiled. Her terrified look and frantic mumblings betrayed her understanding. “It is my understanding, Miss Punch, that you are quite the accomplished beverage purveyor yourself. Your caliber is comparable to that of me and my famous parties.” I had began to walk around the table again, my hoofbeats echoing softly in the large, dark room. “I also understand that you enjoy a drink or two. You’re quite famous for that as well, if I’m not mistaken.” I laughed softly and stopped to turn and face her. I was now at the foot of the table.
I reached over to the tray of tools, and picked up one of my favorite toys, a long thread of metal wire with wooden handles on each end. I pulled both ends apart until it was taut, and began to wrap the wire around Berry’s left leg. She began to struggle and try to scream, still not understanding the futility of such actions. I would be remiss if I did not admit that I enjoyed it.
“Oh, wait, I almost forgot! The tourniquet. We wouldn’t want you to bleed out just yet, would we?” I took a length of latex from the tray, and tied it tight around her leg. “Comfy?” I smiled. She looked up at me with pleading eyes.
I grabbed both wooden handles and began to pull them back and forth…back and forth…Berry convulsed and screamed, shutting her right eye and trying not to look down as I continued to remove her left leg. Blood sprayed from the wound, and I let it cascade down my face as I watched her flesh rend, muscles rip, and eventually bone separate. I severed her leg just below the knee, and it fell to the ground, her hoof making a satisfying clop as it hit the floor. I rushed over to the table holding the punch bowl, and placed it under her wound. The blood flowed into the bowl, thick and crimson. My face lit up with pure joy as I watched. She no longer struggled or made any noise, most likely passed out from the shock. It was fine; I’d wake her up again in a moment.
When the bowl was filled to the brim, I placed it back on the table and took the portable blowtorch from the tool tray. I cauterized her wound, but did not dress it.
I took a moment to look at the red liquid I had gathered in the bowl. I could see my reflection upon its surface, my pink mane falling over the left side of my bloodstained face. I ladled some of the “punch” into the two small cups. My mouth salivated at the sheer prospect of tasting it. But I had to be a good hostess and let my guest go first.
Another smelling salt was enough to wake her up, but first I removed her gag. I was glad to see that in all the excitement, she hadn’t swallowed her tongue. Her voice was weak and tired.
“P-Pinkie…I need help…My…my leg…” I overlooked her calling me “Pinkie” this time. “S-somepony…cut off my leg…” She was delirious!
“Here, drink this. It’ll make everything better.” I took one of the cups and tipped it into her mouth, the warm liquid pouring out as it had poured out of her leg. She immediately gagged and began to cough and spit.
“Agh! W-what is this? What’s goi—My leg! Oh, oh mare…You! Why?” She was beginning to look pale, and I knew my time with her was going to be over soon.
“It’s the punch you helped me make. You are very good indeed!” I took a drink from my own cup, draining it in one gulp. “Delicious! And still warm, too!” I tossed the cup aside and walked over to the table holding my tools again. I picked up a straight razor, and unfolded it, the cold steel sharp and hungry. “See, it’s important to use a cup when you’re drinking from a punch bowl. It’s only common courtesy to the other ponies. I don’t know where that dirty mouth of yours has been!”
“Pinkie, please…I’m sorry, for everything! Please, I’ll do anything you want, I won’t tell anyone about this! Please!” And here it was. The bargaining.
“How can I let you go now? You’re missing a leg! Not only would that draw unwanted attention to myself, but it would be rude to leave you like this. No, there’s only one way to go now.” I stood over top of her and let the light of the lamp reflect off the stainless steel blade into Berry’s face.
“This is all because…I drank punch straight from the bowl…” She began to laugh and cry hysterically. Acceptance? Not quite. She was simply delusional. Maybe in the “this is all a dream” phase. It was time to show her that she would not wake up.
I laughed softly. “The truth? No, that’s not why.” I pressed the blade gently against her neck, and bent closer to whisper in her ear. “Your number just came up.”