The bittersweet taste lingered in her mouth as she dropped her prey, the barely conscious mass collapsing onto the dusty path below. With every fading heartbeat, the prey let a little more of red fluid flow from the open wound in their neck. A scowl crossed her lips at the thought of the fluid that sustained her being wasted. With a growl, she started walking back to her nest, the first warm slivers of sunlight beginning to break over the surrounding hills. She could feel herself getting weaker, the sunlight draining away the little strength she got from her feed. But she could still taste the blood around her mouth and savoured the flavour.
Twilight awoke with a start, snapping upright and letting out a small scream. Her mane was damp with sweat, small beads running down her face and leaving dark purple trails in her lavender fur. She sighed, leaning back and hitting her head on the steel bedhead. Her eyes began to water as she rubbed the affected area. She climbed out of bed, yawing as she started to walk toward the bathroom. Once inside the completely silent room, Twilight cast a spell that made a burning ball of white plasma shoot out of her horn and become suspended in the middle of the room. She used her magic to turn the taps of the shower, adjusting them to what she hoped was her ideal temperature. She caught the sight of her reflection in the mirror above the sink. Her eyes went wide she saw the ring of dark brown that bordered her mouth. Her fur was matted all around her mouth and chin
'Is this… blood?' she wondered, running her tongue over the fur. A bitter, metallic taste met her tastebuds. She swallowed, her eye twitching as she remembered her nightmare.
"No, that's impossible. I probably just bit my tongue in my sleep," she said to herself, poking it out and checking it for a cut. Sure enough, there were two small cuts on either side of the pink, prehensile piece of flesh. She smiled, relaxing slightly when she saw the small slits.
'See? Nothing to worry about. I probably just clenched my teeth in fear, and I must have nicked my tongue,' Twilight took a deep breath, turning back to the shower and stepping under, adjusting the temperature with her magic. She washed away the sweat and blood, letting her muscles relax. She stood under the water for a while, letting it run over her body as she enjoyed the warmth. She tried to recall what had happened after she had snuck out of the hospital the night before. She vaguely recalled visiting her favourite star-gazing hill and walking through Ponyville.
A knock at her door shocked her out of the trance, making her jump slightly and slip on the wet floor.
"Hold on, I'll be out in a minute," she called out, turning off the taps and quickly drying herself, wrapping the towel around her head. When she walked back into her room, she found Doctor Neuron reading her chart by torchlight. She smiled warmly, just happy to see a friendly face.
"Hello Twilight, how are you feeling today?" he asked, sitting down next to her bed.
"Actually… I feel great. The headache is almost gone, the light still hurts, but it's nowhere near as bad as before," she carefully replied and the doctor narrowed his eyes as he stared at her.
"That's really strange. I haven't been able to get those antibiotics for you. Maybe the virus ran its course?" he suggested, giving her a quick shrug. A smirk crossed her lips, and she inched closer to him.
"Some Doctor you- what in the hay happened to you?" she screamed, pointing at his scrubs and the large, wet blood stain that he had on the side of his shirt. He gave her a quizzical look, before realising what she was talking about.
"Oh, don't worry, that's not my blood. There was a bit of an emergency last night and I've been in surgery most of the day. I didn't realise that I'd gotten any on myself," he explained, taking the top off and folding it up, with the blood stain facing upwards.
"What happened?" Twilight asked, staring at the bloodied shirt.
"Well, I'm not supposed to talk about it. But I might as well since you'll hear the rumours circulating around the hospital soon enough. You know Colgate, the dentist in town?" he asked, and Twilight tensed, nodding slowly as the memory of her nightmare came to the forefront of her mind. A splattering of blood, a blue flank, an hourglass, and a face contorted in absolute fear.
"Well the mailmare found her lying on the ground outside of the hospital this morning, bleeding profusely. It looked like she had been attacked by a timber wolf or something similar. We got her into surgery and patched up the wound. She's having a blood transfusion as we speak. She's very lucky, another hour and I doubt we would have been able to save her," he said, looking at the ground. The dark circles around his eyes belied the energetic expression on his face.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Twilight asked, putting her hoof on his shoulder. He smiled, sitting on the bed and patting the spot next to him. She sat down next to him, and the doctor let out a long sigh.
"To be perfectly honest; I'm so very tired. I've done nothing but work the past three days and nights. I might have had about six hours of sleep within that time," he explained, laying back onto the bed and spreading his forearms wide. Twilight looked at him with concern, watching as he closed his eyes and talked. He suddenly trailed off, much to Twilight's confusion. She leant over and giggled, realising that he had fallen asleep. A quiet snore started to come from the grey unicorn. She briefly considered waking him up, but changed her mind when she realised that it might be dangerous for him to continue practicing in his condition. Twilight peeled back the blanket, covering him slightly. She got back onto the bed, propping herself up with the pillow at the other end of the bed and watching him sleep.
After about five minutes, Twilight's eyes began to drift toward the blood stained scrubs, the shiny wet cotton shirt folded roughly and placed on the chair beside the bed. She looked away, only to find herself staring at it once again a few moments later, her tongue running over her lips. Twilight shook her head to break the trance. Seeing the trashy gossip magazine that Spike had been reading a few days earlier, she used her magic to bring it toward her, holding it aloft in front of her and opening it. Letting out a small groan as she started reading the article 'Trixie Lunamoon performs for Prince Alistair of the Griffin Empire, allegedly pickpockets the griffin.'
"Can't say I'm surprised to hear that," she muttered under her breath as she read. She devoured the entire twenty page magazine in moments, while the entire time, Doctor Neuron was still curled up at the other end of the bed, occasionally muttering in his sleep. The clock on her bedside table revealed that it was near time for lunch, and sure enough, Nurse Redheart entered the room, bursting through the door and blasting Twilight with light. The purple unicorn just smiled, and the smile on Redheart's face instantly turned to a scowl. The cream coloured nurse dropped the platter of food on the wheelie table, raising her eyebrow when she noticed the sleeping doctor. The scowl was replaced with a smirk as her eyes moved between Twilight and the doctor. Twilight gave her a serious glare that caused Redheart to recoil. She walked over to the doctor and gave him a shake, causing him to sit up straight.
"Argh! Get away clown!" he yelled sleepily, before blushing when he realised where he was. He wiped a bit of drool from the corner of his mouth as he climbed off the bed.
"What are you doing?" asked Redheart, tapping her hoof on the lino floor. "You're very late for your rounds."
Doctor Neuron sighed, nodding as he walked toward the door, his head hanging low.
"I'd like to keep you overnight to make sure that the virus has truly worked its way out of your system. If you feel up to it, you can go home tomorrow," he told her, yawning as he turned back to face her. Twilight nodded, giving him a quick wave as Redheart physically pushed him out of the room, practically slamming the doors behind her. Twilight shook her head, curious as to Redheart's problem with her. She slid down the bed, stretching out fully now that her bed wasn't occupied.
She closed her eyes, mentally making a checklist of things she had to do when she got back to the library.
'So first things first; make a checklist of things to put on the checklist. Then, write the checklist,' She thought, continuing down the list until she was stopped by a bitter taste filling her mouth. She opened her eyes to find the bloody scrubs inches from her face, her tongue running across the material. She stopped, slowly retracting her tongue back into her mouth. Her magic cut off suddenly, the scrubs falling onto her stomach, as Twilight's hooves began to shake and her breathing started to increase.
She pushed the shirt off her, scrambling away from it as though it were some giant scorpion. She started to hyperventilate, the metallic taste of the blood still lingering on her tongue. She tried to scream, but something stopped her. A relaxed feeling that scared her to her core. She pulled the towel off her head; her mane still wet and dishevelled, and placed it over the shirt, trying to hide it from herself.
Twilight's stomach let out a deep growl as the towel began to soak up the dark red liquid. The taste of the blood started to drag memories of her nightmare to the front of her mind, visions of blood and the sounds of a screaming mare filling her senses. Twilight could feel her heart rate increasing as the rhythmic sounds of a heartbeat over took everything else.
She suddenly lost control of her limbs, practically diving onto the pile of bloody materials. She put the towel in her mouth, sucking the moisture along with the traces of blood. Discarding the towel, she pressed her face into the blood stain on the scrubs, the bitter taste now replaced with a sweet one that reminded Twilight a lot of the cakes that Pinkie Pie makes at Sugarcube corner.
'What am I doing?' she screamed inside her mind, but her muscles wouldn't respond. An unrelenting thirst and hunger had overtaken her, the instinct to feed controlling her every action. Her tongue lashed out of her mouth, running along the light green scrubs and drawing the blood from the material. She slowed down as the red spot got smaller and smaller, breathing heavily as long fangs began to poke through the gums of her upper and lower jaw. The fangs stopped their descent when they became level with her other teeth. By now, Twilight was standing on top of her bed, her messed up mane falling around her face and her muzzle was all but dripping with blood. A faint sound hit her hypersensitive ears, eliciting a growl from the unicorn. She leapt off the bed and galloped to the corner of the room, crouching to hide in the darkest part of the room. Nurse Redheart suddenly opened the door, sighing as she looked around with the torch she was holding in her mouth.
"Ms Sparkle, are you in the Bathroom? Do you know where the doctor's scrubs are? He said he left them in here," she called out, walking over to the bathroom door and giving it a few taps with her hoof. "Come on now Twilight, I really don't have time to play games."
Twilight let out another low, Manticore like growl, the fangs protruding even more. Redheart's ear gave a twitch and she turned toward the sound, moving the torch in a systematic pattern through the darkness. Twilight moved to avoid the light as Redheart made her way over toward the bed. Her growling got louder as she moved closer to the scrubs, Twilight feeling defensive of the scrubs that held the traces of her meal. Redheart glanced down at the shirt, her eyes going wide as she picked it up, the near dried patch of blood facing her.
Twilight started to advance slowly, like a timber wolf when it stalks its prey. Redheart made her way back to the door, the torch still searching desperately for the source of the increasingly loud growl. She misjudged her retreat, bumping into the wall next to the door. As soon as she turned her head to find her bearings, Twilight struck. The bloodlust filled unicorn colliding with Redheart, pushing her onto her back legs and pressing her against the wall, while at the same time holding her mouth shut with magic, the torch clattering on the ground. With animalistic fury, Twilight bit down on the mare's neck, hot fluid filling her mouth as the super sharp teeth pierced the skin. She shook her head from side to side, making larger wounds in the neck. Redheart slowly started to slide down the wall sideways, being guided by Twilight as she sucked the ponies life force out.
'What am I doing?' Twilight wondered.