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The three teamster ponies, Josh, Bill and Blue, journey to the Pie family rock farm to look after the place while the family is away. But, by accident, they disturb the ancient spirits that dwell within the land and are soon besieged by all the terrors of prehistoric Equestria!

First Published
25th Oct 2012
Last Modified
25th Oct 2012
#1 · 112w, 1d ago · · ·

For those interested:

The Racetrack is actually located in Death Valley National Park. And, yes, there are stones there that sail its dry waters. The image used for this story is a cameo taken from an extraordinary panorama of the Racetrack at night. A sailing stone and its track are visible down in the corner.

I have a magic rock that protects me from trilobites. Must be working; don't see any around here.

Smilodon fatalis is what is commonly (incorrectly) known as a saber-tooth tiger. ("Smilodon" actually comes from a word for "carving knife.")

You know, it's hard to remove the tusks from a Mammoth. Except in Alabama, where the tuscaloosa.

I think the "Jurassic Park" people missed a good bet. C'mon, wouldn't you pay big money to visit an eohippus petting zoo? (Eohippus means "dawn horse.")

#2 · 112w, 1d ago · · ·

This is a very interesting idea seeping with creativity.  Your sentences are a little choppy, but other than that, this is great. I kindly give you my like.

#3 · 112w, 1d ago · · ·

Wow, it's pissing me off how this story is getting dislikes. There's nothing wrong with it you idiots!

#4 · 112w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1502037

Capybaras are good enough for me. And more fun to say.

#5 · 112w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1502600

Okay, true story.

Many years back, down here in San Diego, there was this panic about a "giant rat" that was running about NAS Miramar (now, MCAS Miramar). Lots of yuk-yuks in the local media about "WOO! THE GIANT RAT! HA HA!" Like it was Bigfoot or something.

And then, the local newspaper published, on the front page, a photograph of this capybara (the largest rodent in the New World). A photo taken, locally, by someone who just happened to find the poor thing running loose around the scrub that surrounds Miramar.

I don't know if it was ever determined, how a capybara happened to be running loose in the empty country around Miramar. But I tip my hat to you, Giant Rat of San Diego.

#6 · 112w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

I really should have been in bed by now, but the promise of Josh, Bill, and Blue lured me into staying up and reading.  I remember way back when when you wrote "The Truth About Pegasus Ponies" and later its sequel, which I considered one of the funniest MLP fanfics I'd read at the time.  Granted, standards and expectations were different back when the fandom was in its relative infancy, but I suspect that if I re-read them I'd find that both aged relatively gracefully.

Anyway, to this story: the introduction didn't do much to hook me (I'm afraid it came off very much as exposition, rather than banter), but once I got a little farther in, I was very pleased with what I found.  Bill's endearing simplicity sold me on the previous two stories more than any other single thing, and he remains both comic and heartwarmingly, uncloyingly sincere here.  What really surprised me, though, was how much character you were able to pack into the reanimated creatures.  despite each only getting a couple hundred words (if that) from their perspective, I thought Tread, Carver, and Heartseeker's deaths were positively touching, and I loved the little bits of worldbuilding that went into their interactions, expectations, and language.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I liked this quite a bit.  The idea of reading a bunch of Halloween horror stories doesn't really appeal to me, but this certainly manages the prompt while still working in plenty of humor, sincerity, and depth.  Nicely done.

#7 · 112w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

This was wonderful! I love the way you characterized Bill. Best wizard ever. Sorry Trix. :trixieshiftright: The description of the standing stones and the subtle magic of the land is also awe-inspiring. I hope you never stop writing Cloud. :heart: Your work (and I have read all of it on this site) has a fresh, optimistic, yet often numinous quality to it that I wish I could define so I could steal it. You could say I'm a dedicated Cloud-watcher. :trollestia:

#8 · 112w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

Wow. This was a great fic, no doubt about it. A bit creepy, a bit funny, and very, very touching. Josh, Bill and Blue get to show their best sides here, and the returned creatures' viewpoints are simply wondrous. And the bit about the Smilodon of the Moon... Bah! I'm not crying for an undead sabretooth. Just have something in my eyes. :raritycry:

#9 · 112w, 22h ago · 1 · ·

Yeah, Sister Moon was great. She's the princess for more than just the ponies.

#10 · 111w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Update: I've re-arranged the opening a little. In particular, I've restored a scene with Inkie Pie that I deleted due to the length constraints of the contest.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
#11 · 111w, 5d ago · 2 · ·

Benman referred me here, and I'm so glad he did. I got a lot of feels off that ending. The story on the whole was just tremendously excellent. Bill especially is a fantastic character, I warmed to him quickly upon the scene in the library. The banter of the three was real and enjoyable.

Even more enjoyable were the musings on earth pony magic (I've seen it done elsewhere, but never in quite this manner or depth!) and the exact nature of the rock farm. The idea that it's like the Everfree Forest, but with rocks, and all the possibilities of the standing stones, were just tantalizing. I appreciated the inclusion of the Racetrack and sailing stones, as well.

Lastly, that Bucephalus cameo. What? I even had to check and make sure you were the author of Tonight I Shall Be Laughter (and you are! just thought I'd mention that), and then I wondered at the inclusion. Which is not to say I didn't appreciate it, as he's one of the best and most memorable characters I've ever encountered in fic.

Great work, and I absolutely must read more of your work now.

#12 · 111w, 4d ago · 1 · 1 ·

To be completely up-front, I wasn't a fan of Tonight I Shall Be Laughter at all, so I came at this with some trepidation.

Fortunately, I have been pleasantly surprised. The dialogue quality is high, and uses an OC cast to excellent effect. The concept is a healthy mix of original, yet steeped in the mythology and style of the background content. Most of all, it never comes off as contrived or pushy; to my mind, that's the most important thing by far.

I didn't like the number and frequency of PoV shifts, however. I found it very difficult to get into any kind of flow as a reader. I also found that the extracts from the undead characters was distracting from the plot, rather than contributing to is (as lovely as Tread was to read). Also, if you were going for horror at all (as per the EqD contest, if I read correctly), then using the undead PoV killed any chance of that stone dead. Honestly, I didn't think it touched on horror anyway, but as a stand alone story it works perfectly well as comedy instead, though I do think the characterisations were too tell-y at the start (it gave me a feeling of being rushed towards the meat of the story).

-Scott

#13 · 111w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>1527128

I have to admit I soft-pedaled the "horror" aspect of the story. I was going more for an Outer Limits/Twilight Zone atmosphere, more weird than shuddersome. I had originally set out to make Carver the Big Bad of the story, but the more I got into her head the more sympathetic she became. Carver still isn't safe to be in the same room with, particularly if you are a delicious pony, but she wasn't a monster.

And if the story seems a bit compressed, some of that's because I had my eye on the deadline the entire time (7 days, from conception to submission) . Since my story wasn't selected as a finalist, I've taken the liberty of adding back a scene I previously deleted to get the word count below 10,000, and re-arranged the order of a couple of scenes to remove an unnecessary flashback.

#14 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

This is really a wonderful story, Cloud Wander. I loved it, especially as someone who has nurtured a life-long fascination with prehistoric beasts of all types.  I've found all of your stories absolute joys to read. :twilightsmile:

#15 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

These words are powerful. Not really any other way to say that. A wonderful story, which I am glad I have read.

#16 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

Absolutely wonderful story. I am loving your interpretation of Earth Pony magic and the rock farm, this is probably my favorite version of it in the entire fanon.

This will (eventually) be going up on my user page wall of recommended one shots.

#17 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

Oh my God...

That was beautiful!

I actually have tears in my eyes...

I. Wish. This. Were. Animated!!!

Such a simple concept, so perfectly executed! Bill and pals come of as simultaneously simple workers, but also real country style philosophers. The points of view of the various reanimated creatures... I can't begin to say how much I loved it. I really did cry at the end, and would totally have hugged Heartseeker... Maybe even given her a sweet kiss goodnight on her boney little noggin before she moved on once again... :pinkiesad2:

Seriously... Dear Luna and Celestia, somepony send this to Silly Filly Studios, or SOMETHING!

#18 · 111w, 3d ago · 2 · ·

"The ponies in black fled across the desert and the teamster ponies followed."

>.>

I see what you did there.

Possibly the best re-interpretation of what Stephen King considered his best opening line ever.

Excellent story; great depth to the characters – no matter how brief their involvement – and a beautiful tale of continuity and progress. Now, to read the rest of your offerings.

:pinkiehappy:

#19 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

I found that having to guess what the creatures in question looked like detracted from the story. You seem to have treated everything in outline. I assume that was in the interest of word count. That aside, this was a really wonderful story, as I've come to expect from you.

#20 · 111w, 3d ago · 3 · ·

To me... This is the PERFECT Nightmare Night story.

Nightmare Night is all about the night being "scary, but fun". I think macabre does not necessarily need to involve slasher horror, the evil ravenous demonic undead hoards, mental scars, or any such extremity... Though it can... I have to say that I love "The Boneyard", if anything, just for being the only story in the history of ever to, oddly enough, make me want to hug a skeleton. :D

Now THAT, my friends, is the true meaning of Nightmare Night! Being scary, but fun!

  

#21 · 111w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

>>1531449

I think you're right, for the most part. I chose a smilodon and a mammoth as the main revenants because they are so iconic that they didn't need a lot of explanation.

With Heartseeker, I was deliberately vague when I introduced her. Although I had foreshadowed the dawn horses in the beginning of the story, I had hopes that when Heartseeker and her tribe set about making weapons, some readers might think I'm bringing a troupe of pre-humans or something.

If I hadn't been fighting the word limit the whole time, I might have slowed down a bit more and described the various critters more carefully.

#22 · 111w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1535644

Well played, then. Her digit count threw off that notion. I'd never heard of dawn horses, but given that this is Equestria, the connection was implied.

#23 · 97w, 3d ago · · ·

Beautiful, just beautiful!!!:raritycry:

#24 · 90w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

The teamster ponies fled across the desert. And the ponies in black pursued.

Was... was that a Dark Tower reference? Wow. I'm always glad to hear that someone else read and enjoyed one of my favorite book series from my adolescence.

This was a really pleasant surprise, and I have to thank Present Perfect for directing me over here. I'm kind of sad that I'll probably never see the earth pony trio presented here again. They're all pretty endearing, Bill especially.

As for the horror aspect not being all that strong, I wasn't really expecting that, since I forgot this was part of a larger contest when reading this. Instead, I saw the Comedy and Adventure tags and adjusted my expectations accordingly. I have a soft spot for a lot of things, including the appropriation of horror imagery for stories that put them in a friendlier, more approachable context, like a romantic comedy about a human dating a shoggoth. That's what this reminds me of, and I'm glad to see it pulled off well.

#25 · 90w, 3d ago · 2 · ·

>>2320652

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." The first line of King's The Gunslinger. I originally wanted this to be the first line of my story, but that would have required presenting the scene in the Library in flashback.

The teamsters also appear in my story, Joshing, the first MLP story I wrote. The first chapter is a bit rough, I'm afraid, but the second chapter, "The Shadow Over Ponyville," leads directly to The Boneyard. Josh Pie also has a short scene in Today I Will Be A Princess, in which he talks about how he used to be a Princess (of a sort).

#26 · 90w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2320729 Oh sweet! I gotta read more of your stuff sometime, assuming it doesn't get buried under the avalanche of other fic readings I've got on the backburner. :pinkiesick:

#27 · 90w, 1h ago · · ·

I keep trying to boost signal on this story, and I don't think I've been succeeding at netting it views.  This is a very interesting story that deserves to be more widely read.  I absolutely adore the way you handle the 'earth pony trying to be a wizard' thing as well as the eerie beauty of the area around the rock farm.

#28 · 89w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I still consider this one of my most loved short stories! :twilightsheepish:

I got a little mad when I saw this had not received more views...

It DESERVES moar views! :twilightangry2:

I will continue to spread this around...

Maybe it can be promoted again for next Nightmare Night! We got half a year for that yet!

Have you ever considered doing a more fleshed out version, not constrained by the limits of the contest this was originally for (unless that bit you added back was pretty much it. This story was simply too wonderful to not get more attention! :twilightsmile:

#29 · 89w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

>>2361187

I have thought about that. There were some valid complaints that the story, as written, is too choppy, has too many point-of-view changes. This was driven, as you suggest, by the need to fit the story inside word limit of the contest.

Ordinarily, I'd consider significantly revising a story after it has been published to be cheating the earlier readers. But, well, there haven't been a lot readers so far, so maybe that should tell me something. I'll give it some thought! Thanks for the suggestion.

#30 · 88w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2365174

On the topic of views...  I think people are (unfairly!) repulsed from a story which has no character tags but OC.

If you ever did create a 'Boneyard - Enhanced Edition', I'd say... egh... scrape up some scenes to justify more character tags.  That'd get more people reading.

EDIT:  That gave me an idea.  I found a nice, populous new group whose criterion this story meets!  Apparently, there are people who are specifically fans of OCs.  I hope they like The Boneyard.

#31 · 82w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

I picked this back up recently (on the recommendation of the Party Pone), and discovered that, criminally, it is not in my favorites[1].  Guess I better fix that.

[1] Especially criminal, considering some of the trash that's snuck into my favorites more recently:unsuresweetie:.  Certainly, this deserves to be in there.  I'd better go clean those up.

#32 · 56w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

That... was... BEAUTIFUL!! I wish I could double-fave it.

I loved how Heartseeker considered the larger ponies to be hampered by their features.

Earth pony pride! *hoof* I don't come across too much of it, so it's always an especial treat.

#33 · 42w, 5d ago · · ·

How...utterly...charming!

(Also: "The ponies in black fled across the desert..." I see what you done thar:-) )

#34 · 42w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

>>3991756

Thank you. I'm planning to return to this story and expand upon the theme a bit. The "revenants" probably require a bit more exposition; not everyone realizes that a smilodon is a "sabre-tooth tiger." (In quotes because smilodon, while being a great cat, was not a true tiger.) And, when I wrote the story, I assumed that everypony knew that Eohippus was the "dawn horse." I was crazy about this sort of stuff when I was a kid, but that was long ago, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

I also want to do more with the "impact" of Bill's magic on Equestria, specifically with respect to the Apple and Pie families.

This story is important to me because it closes a triptych I began with my "Joshing" stories, the first MLP fanfics I wrote. Earth Ponies have their own magic; it is slow, but it endures. Something that I think I need to play up more in the story is the wonder that, across eons, Josh and Heartseeker recognize each other as kin. I thought that this was a "whoa!" moment, when the reader would get some insight into the true power of Earth Pony magic. They are stone. They endure.

#35 · 42w, 5d ago · · ·

>>3991884

What nerd doesn't know about eohippus? 8-(:-)

And I love how you made eohippus into Equestria's Lucy (who after strange aeons still has some 'splainin' to do).

At midnight in the museum hall

The fossils gathered for a ball

There were no drums or saxophones,

But just the clatter of their bones,

A rolling, rattling, carefree circus

Of mammoth polkas and mazurkas.

Pterodactyls and brontosauruses

Sang ghostly prehistoric choruses.

Amid the mastodontic wassail

I caught the eye of one small fossil.

"Cheer up, sad world," he said, and winked—"It's kind of fun to be extinct."

--Ogden Nash

#36 · 3w, 1d ago · · ·

What a little gem. It's comedy all right, but it's beautiful, touching and sometimes sad comedy.

Laughed and got moist eyes, the latter not from laughing :)

These three could really fill an epic.

Have a fav.

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