Fluttershy plays Slendermare.
I don’t even…
Celestia’s sun had just begun its descent towards the jagged horizon. The warm, life giving rays had managed to penetrate through the canopy of leaves, shining into the home of a nervous, young mare.
“Come on Fluttershy! It’ll be fun!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, as impatient as ever. Her prismatic mane created a blurred after-shadow as she zipped left and right around her friend’s little desk. She folded her forelegs and hugged her chest with a pouty “hmph” Landing with a light thud and folding her wings, seeing as the other winged mare was still adjusting herself in her seat.
Fluttershy took special care of her desktop computer; it was her first and only computer- and the most expensive thing she had ever bought! She followed her ritualistic steps; adjusting her monitor, her seat, giving a brief dust of her Pegasus-ergonomic keyboard and mouse and of course her butterfly patterned headphones.
She took pride in her high-end piece of technology, so-much-so that she even ignored Rainbow’s excessive whining to make things were just…
“Perfect!” she happily proclaimed. With a few keystrokes from the tips of her unfurled wings, she entered her password and was immediately greeted with the background she chose and her favorite applications awaiting her on her desktop.
To this day ever since she brought home and unpackaged her personal computer, Fluttershy had been smiling brighter than ever before. Now she could read her stories, watch all sorts of things, even movies on Hooftube- which is not to be mistaken for Cloptube... She discovered on that moment that nothing was sacred on the Equestri-net...
But there was still so much she could do now! Talking to her friends and playing small games was one of her favorite pastimes after a tedious day of tending to her animals. Even walking into her room seemed to give her a smile, always catching sight of her sleek tower and monitor by the corner of her vision- rushed with the thoughts of what she would write on her blog, or maybe what sort of documentary she could watch!
Then came one day where a little instant message window popped up while she was on Pony-book. It was Rainbow Dash, spamming constant lines of “lolololol FShy!!!@1 U gotta chek this game out!1 Its so wiked! Lol”
The sun yellow Pegasi merely blinked as she usually did to the strange language of text, having to narrow her eyes and sound out what was on screen every time somepony typed to her like this. But of course, her naivety caused her to click the link that came with the message, ever so trustful of her friends…
Fortunately she didn’t die of a heart attack that night, having no clue how to install games since she was afraid she might break something. But now with Rainbow Dash’s kind words to guide Fluttershy, the game was installed without any problems.
A new shortcut icon joined the group of Fluttershy’s most beloved applications. Though it was not as… attractive, as her other icons. No. Instead of a brightly colored and creative graphic that promised her to connect to the whole of Equestria and beyond, or even open a few pre-installed puzzle games, this icon was different.
It was dark, gritty even for something barely the size of a bit coin. She noticed that this bizarre blank face looked an awful lot like one of Rarity’s mannequins at the boutique, only… smudged and with what appeared to be a suit collar at its neck.
“Umm… is this like, a dress up game?” Fluttershy asked barely above a whisper, hovering her cursor over the morbid icon. She felt a knot swell in her stomach- an omen of something bad about to happen…
“No,” Rainbow chuckled, “It’s an adventure game set in a forest, kinda’ like the Everfree, but spookier!” She shook her last words in a ghostly manner, moving her hooves outwards to emphasize the sheer ‘quality’ this so called adventure game possessed.
Fluttershy reluctantly pressed onto her mouse button with a soft sigh of defeat, not wanting to disappoint her excited friend who now stood and watched over her shoulder. The screen flickered and turned black in an instant. She knew the game was ‘loading’ as it was commonly called, but even so, it was a tense few seconds…
Oh my… Just what did Rainbow Dash get me into now? She whined internally.
Rainbow Dash’s warm breath washed over the soft fur of Fluttershy’s shoulder and cheek. The yellow pegasus held her breath reflexively, just wanting to feel it again and take in the sweet scent of strawberries in Rainbow Dash’s…
“Shy? Come on, the menu screen?” Rainbow nudged, snapping Fluttershy out of her strange little trance. Thankfully the scarlet hue on her yellow cheeks was hidden as she kept facing the screen, uttering a quick “Right, right!”
Dismissing the strange thoughts, she refocused onto the black screen and its white menu options. She had learned enough already from simple Pony-book games that clicking ‘start’ would… start the game!
Without further ado, she clicked onto ‘start’ which rung with an ominous drum, ringing into a eerie ambience that hung thick as the screen faded to black again. Fluttershy squeaked, her ears flattening against her head- it was already terrifying her.
She couldn’t see it, but Rainbow had a wide, sinister smile growing on her lips…
An image of a forest at night started to become clear, followed by what appeared to be a light source that shined upon the dark forest floor. She was in control now, giving a light jolt of her mouse, discovering that it controlled the field of vision.
Fluttershy was new to any sort of first-pony gameplay. She knew the basic concept of how one might move, ever since watching Rainbow play Battleplains 3. Such a violent game…
“Use Wasad” Rainbow bluntly instructed, seeing as Fluttershy was flickering her field of vision, aimlessly up and down.
“Sorry?” Fluttershy asked, not familiar with even the most basic gamer terminology. “What’s a wasad?”
“W. A. S. D” Rainbow spelt out with an exasperated sigh, pressing her clumsy hoof against the keys in question.
Movement! Fluttershy smiled as she discovered the magic of maneuverability. Without missing a beat, she placed her wing tips deftly above the movement controls. A mere few seconds later, she was moving freely through the suspicious virtual forest. Although once her giddy smile faded, a question came to mind; this was a game, right?
“Um, what am I supposed to do?” Fluttershy asked innocently, she knew there had to be some sort of adventuring to do in an adventure game, right? She hoped she didn’t sound stupid…
Rainbow Dash leant closer, pressing against Fluttershy’s side and wrapping a foreleg around her neck. Normally the two would not mind the invasion of personal space, given the appropriate times of course. But again, Fluttershy found herself trembling, feeling her heart race in her chest like a thundering drum threatening to burst. What’s wrong with me? She thought in protest to her strange feelings, albeit she didn’t want her cyan friend to let go. But once again, she had to be snapped back to reality with another raised voice form her dearest friend.
“Pay attention!” Rainbow ordered, pointing out directly in front of the obscured forest that lay before Fluttershy. “You need to find, uh, clues! They’re pieces of paper stuck on landmarks, can’t miss em’” Rainbow Dash stammered, struggling to conceal her giggles threatening to blow her cover.
“Oh, Okay! So like a scavenger hunt? Do the clues lead to a prize?” Fluttershy moved through the dark and mysterious forest as she spoke, unaware of what awaited her…
“Not really sure, never made it far enough myself.” Rainbow instantly regretted saying those words, mentally facehoofing with her little slip up.
“How do you lose?” Fluttershy questioned with a slight raise of her brow. She was quick to piece together that, yes, you can lose in a lot of games, common sense. But onto just how was another question. But before Fluttershy could think ahead of herself, she spotted a glowing little square in the distance attached to a tall rock formation. She gasped in utter delight, “I found one!” She squeaked a smile. Her fur stood on end from such happiness overwhelming her, overwhelmed that now she was more like everypony else; playing videogames with her friends!
Rainbow Dash was just silent…
The slow movement of the character Fluttershy controlled did not faze her, she was far too patient to be annoyed with such a trivial thing anyway… for now. She stopped before the piece of yellow paper, scribbled with a strange drawing of a pony wearing dark clothes. She scrutinized the foalish writing that bordered the picture…
“He’s always watching?” Fluttershy read out loud, confused by its meaning. She gave a set of adorable eyes to her quiet friend, “Is this like a riddle?”
Tired of Fluttershy’s slow progress, Rainbow gave a roll of her magenta eyes and pressed Fluttershy’s wing against her mouse button, “Just pick it up, you got more to go!”
A tingle ran up Fluttershy’s wing, travelling to her spine upon the touch. But her moment of blissful closeness came to a shattering end as the ambience thundered in her ears, encased in a dreadful sound of an endless, howling abyss. She gasped and brought her hooves to her mouth to keep her from yelping, still using her other limbs to control her movement.
“Wh-What was that?!” She finally managed to say over her shaking breaths. The ambience was not helping her adventuring at all...
“Time’s running out Flutters!” Rainbow nudged at Fluttershy’s back, “ You gotta find the other pieces of paper!” She urged her panicking, timid friend, forcing her to fight through the scary noise which she knew Fluttershy could hear right now.
Reluctantly, Fluttershy pressed on, curving her direction towards the left side and walking deeper into the obscure forest. Each time she wanted to say something, her fears had her jaw stay tightly shut, doing her best not to bite her bottom lip too hard.
The screen started to flicker and distort into static…
Is this part of the game!? Is there something wrong with my screen?!
Her heart raced once again, but now due to terror. And before she should remove her wings and press the configuration button on her monitor… she slightly turned to the right.
A sudden harrowing growl of what sounded like a piano falling to its death, blasted into Fluttershy’s ears. She shrieked, jumping in her seat, unprepared for what stood at the far right of her screen…
A tall, faceless stallion in dark clothing stood perfectly still, looking so feeble but at the same time extremely horrifying. She took in a sharp gasp, only to scream again and whip her mouse to face the opposite direction of the strange creature that had practically teleported next to her.
“Run!” Rainbow Dash yelled, doing her best to sound moderately concerned and equally as frightened, when really she was trying not to crack up.
“I AM!!!” Fluttershy shot back, now despising how slow she moved in the game. She went as far as to put an excessive amount of pressure onto the ‘W’ key, praying it would somehow make her run faster. A few seconds of a blind run through the dark forest helped to cover a moderate amount of ground. Fluttershy’s panicked breaths eased slightly, curving her mouse to see if the creature was pursing her-
“AHHHH!!! Run! RUN!!!” Fluttershy screamed to the top of her lungs, catching sight of the horrific creature a mere few feet away. The screen blurred in its disorientating static, with a fur raising ring that tore through her eardrums like rusted nails on a chalkboard. She was so caught up in the scare, that didn’t even notice Rainbow’s warmth completely disappearing.
Tears welled up in her eyes, keeping her wings perfectly still and positioned in her ‘gamer stance’ while the rest of her body was busy hyperventilating and shaking uncontrollably.
“Oh Celestia! Rainbow? What was that? What do I do?!” The sniffling, gasping pegasi pleaded, now knowing better than to look behind herself in the game. She was even afraid to look behind her in reality…
Rainbow was on the floor laughing behind Fluttershy’s seat, not just laughing, she was broken into tears of intense hilarity. Her laughter being so intense, so high pitched that not a single peep escaped from her besides a sharp inhale and exhale.
No response… Fluttershy was all alone. At least the static had faded now.
She felt trapped in this virtual world… She had to escape somehow; she just had to keep running.
Soon a building came into view; single storey with open entryways. For Fluttershy it looked like a place of hope and safety. She ventured inside, darting her eyes around as she remained alert. Every corner she came to was approached with upmost care, creeping into the various empty rooms which racked at her nerves further.
She held her breath as she glided her mouse in a smooth, slow curve to turn her character around. Having no choice but to turn around…
Another stretch down the white tiled corridor had her end up in another empty room, though this one had a chair on the far right corner with…
“Another one!” She gasped. Racing towards the worn out, yellow paper. A flick of her wing later, and another ‘clue’ had been collected. A sense of relief waved over her whole body, slouching in her seat with a heavy sigh helping to empty her lungs whole before an easier breath was rewarded to her for her efforts.
“Okay…” She finally muttered, “So we run away from the monster and then we find the papers! I get it now, and as long as we get the papers, we’ll be safe.” Fluttershy told herself, feeling reassured with her own assumptions on the mechanics of the game she had been forced to play.
Forgetting that Rainbow Dash was even in the same room as her, she turned and ventured out of the room and onto the eerie, white corridors. Confidence and determination helped nullify the daunting effect that the ominous ambience had on her previously, feeling more prepared to continue her quest!
She stepped out into the open, being met with the wide open darkness once again. A few steps later, and a peek around a corner…
Slendermane stood, right beside Fluttershy. She could not escape.
She jumped in her seat and let out a scream much like her first encounter. She tried to turn and run, but somehow her vision was stuck onto the tall creature, slowly fading away into the growing static.
Then it happened.
The whole screen flashed white with her eardrums being clawed at by sharp crashing zaps of static. The blank face flickered rapidly, taking Fluttershy’s vision whole like a nightmare come to life.
A loud crash sounded from within the cottage, the front door then burst open with crying sun yellow pegasus flying out into the sky. She wailed and sobbed with her headphones still attached to her ears, the cord dangling behind her in the air as she flew as fast and as far away from her computer as possible. Leaving Rainbow Dash to gorge herself on the sublime sight of her prank going perfectly as planned.
Rainbow tried showed some kindness, well, tried. Following after Fluttershy as far as her front garden before collapsing on her side, it was far too much, seeing her timid friend fly off with her headphones still on.
Nobody had seen or heard from Fluttershy for the rest of the day. When questioned on her whereabouts, Rainbow half-heartedly explained that she pulled a prank and she probably was mad, wanting to be alone. She did not include details of how severe the traumatic experience must have been for the group of friend’s most delicate pony.
That night, Rainbow Dash rested in her bed within her cloud home, reading her new Daring Do story. She had lain on her back in the most comfortable position she could shift into, contently flicking through the pages with a gentle smile perking up at the corners of her lips.
Her window suddenly smashed inwards, with a tall, dark figure landing squarely at the foot of her bed. It stared down at her with a blank face, burning with evil in its unmistakable, immobile fashion.
Her scream could be heard as far as Rarity’s boutique…
A white mare with a purple mane hummed thoughtfully, removing her work glasses as she double checked her messy work area.
“Sweetie belle?” She sang, calling out to her younger sibling.
“Yes?...” A young voice called back in a drawl.
“I seem to be missing one of my mannequins, have you seen one around?”
[For the thousandth time: The shipping bits are more of a gag towards their constant shipping.]
Author's notes: I had fun writing this a ton! More of a request from a fellow writer I met in a chat.