Clever Clover stood in the deserted road. "That's strange; this street is always
busy," he said, puzzled. "And what am I doing in the Flatlands anyway? It's been months since I
got back to Friendship Gardens. What is going on here?"
Something was definitely not right. It was night but not one streetlight was lit. All
the buildings were also dark. There was no sign of life whatsoever; the trees were bare and the
grass was brown. There was no wind, nothing at all to make a sound; and yet there was a sound,
a low, moaning sound.
Clever Clover followed the sound, which led him to a familiar building, Jim's Malt
Shoppe-- a popular hangout for archaeologists in the Flatlands. The door was open, but there
were no lights on; it was as dark and lifeless as the rest of the city.
" ‘ello, anybody there?" the pony inquired. It was little more than a whisper but it
echoed through the room like a shot from a cannon. Clever Clover flipped the light switch but
nothing happened. "Maybe Jim left some matches laying around," he mumbled.
As he made his way toward the back room, Clever Clover bumped into the pool
table; he could hear the balls bouncing about and falling into the pockets. "Jim must have done
some rearranging since I was here," mumbled the pony as he rubbed the sore spot where he had
hit the table.
He felt his way around the table and to the swinging door to the back room. He
pushed it open and was surprised to find the room illuminated by a faint glow. The source of the
mysterious light was an apparition of a duck. Clever Clover stared for a moment. "Jim? Izat
"Why did you do it?" the duck asked.
"Why did I do what? What are you talking about?" Clever Clover was very
confused. He recognized the city, the Malt Shoppe, and even the duck who stood before him; but
at the same time they were unfamiliar.
"Why did you do this to me? Why did you disturb the ancients?" the apparition
"What did I do to you?"
The vision faded, only to be replaced by another, terrifying, shade; it was part wolf,
part man, and all dead. This new, ghastly apparition spoke, or screamed, or did it simply project
the words into the pony's head? "Defiler of the Ancients, you will pay the price for your
transgressions!" With that the spirit emitted an earsplitting sound and flew toward Clever Clover.
The pony screamed in terror.
Clever Clover sat bolt upright in bed, covered in sweat. He looked about; he was in
his own bedroom in Friendship Gardens. The faint light in the window told him it was almost
dawn. "It must have been a nightmare," he said as he climbed out of bed. He stretched and felt a
throbbing pain in his side, right where he had bumped the pool table in his dream. The pain was
accompanied by a large bruise.
"How could I get a bruise from a dream?" he asked himself. "Unless that wasn't a
normal dream. There was something strangely familiar about it. Maybe I'd better go back to the
Flatlands to make sure everything's all right."