• Member Since 2nd Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen March 29th


coffee. desk. beat on repeat. and then i bang my head against the keyboard a lot, like don music from the muppets.


We were the summer-sunset-wind, warm and wild and untouchable.

We were rulers of a crumbled-down kingdom, prince-and-princess of the sandstone sky.

We were long-day shadows, stretching ourselves dark and blurry past our breaking points and more.

We were pulsing breath-and-blood, flowing fast through veins of buildings and wide-open spaces.

We were rebels rivals friends lovers runners...

Until that moment, that second, when it all fell away.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 89 )

A note to those who use nonstandard chapter font sizes (basically anything but the default 'Normal' size): there is a fair amount of formatting in the story, and using any font size but Normal will result in it breaking. I suggest temporarily changing it if you want to experience the intended effect.

EDIT: apparently this happens on mobile devices (like IPads) too. I may consider making a formatting-free version if there's enough demand for it.

First things first:

There's a typo about a third of the way through the story. "Blood in the water. Shark's hunting." -> "Sharks." Shortly after there's an asterisk next to an "I", I'm not sure if that's intentional (I'm inclined to believe it is, because later there's a "*He").

"Death. Dying." I let the word fall dry and heavy from my lips. No point in skirting around it.
I nod. "Yeah. A little." More gutted words.

I don't remember who's supposed to say which line, but I am fairly confident they're not both Scoots, as is implied here, because it doesn't make sense as is.

Now, the interesting part. It's great to see you experimenting with formatting, and I really like the distinct voice you use in this story. It's very Hemingway. I do like what you did with the non-linear series of events, but I felt like you could have made it a little bit more clear when you were changing the time (I didn't actually know for at least the first thousand words. I did notice that the length of time that Scoots was mentioning was changing, but I didn't make the connection to the actual time changing, if that makes sense. Maybe I'm just stupid.)

Regarding what I guess could be called your "Word Waterfall", where you write
Again, it's cool that you're trying new things with the formatting. Something like this is /incredibly/ jarring to read, and forces the reader to stop, think. It's great that you're doing this in a juxtaposition to the general fast pace of the story, and you usually used it to demonstrate Scoots' control of the situation; that time was slowing down in her perspective and she was living in the moment. It was really cool that this effect stopped in the interval between Shine's death and her confession, showing all of the events blurring together and implying that she was dazed. The problem, however, comes in a couple of the times you used it when this /wasn't/ the intention - usually in dialogue, especially Shine's, when Scoots is conflicting with him. In those situations, Scoots isn't in control; she's not running; the pace should be more... I don't know the right word, maybe "viscous"? I'm having trouble expressing my thoughts about this, but a perfect example is when Shine says "solitude."

One last thing, I'm confused about your inclusion of Scootaloo as a character in this. Having her around begs a lot of questions that you don't really address, and while I can see the value in that in general, Scootaloo is completely different from Scoots, and I brought a lot of preconceived notions about her that weren't valid in this case. I'm not sure what she's adding to the story, and I can see a lot of things she's detracting (i.e. reader confusion). I'm legitimately curious as to why you chose her instead of just writing about two OCs.

Criticism aside, I did enjoy the story. It's always a treat when you get something new out. It might be a bit more of a treat if that "something new" had been The Eternal Song (HINT HINT), but I digress. :raritywink:

(Just to be clear, that was a joke. Definitely write whatever you want, don't let some stupid Sheep tell you what to do)

Edit: Oh, and by the way, I've been sleep deprived for the better part of the month, so if none of this makes sense I blame the copious amounts of caffeine in my bloodstream.

Yay, a comment!

All right, I'll go through your concerns one by one:

First, the 'typo' was intentional. I just truncated the sentence "the shark's hunting" (the shark being Dripshine).

The asterisks, however, aren't intentional, they're what my word processor uses for italics tags and they shouldn't be there. I'll fix them at some point.

Not sure how the death-dying line doesn't make sense. The scene starts with Scoots asking Shine if he's "ever thought about it" with 'it' being death. Let me know if that still doesn't make sense.

The timeskips: funny you should mention those, since I originally had actual time tags until my editor told me to remove them and replace them with subtler indicators. Evidently, they were too subtle. Might re-add them at some point.

Formatting: the general idea was to use the kinetic linebreaks ('word waterfalls') to sort of match the pace and direction of Scoots' running; you'll notice I only use them when she's jumping or falling. Th words drifting down are supposed to mirror the flow of gravity and symbolize her re-grounding herself in reality.

Why I used a chicken: fun fact, the story was originally going to be about Scoots dealing with Applebloom's death under similar circumstances, with Dripshine playing the role of detective, but I eventually realized that would overcomplicate a story that was really only supposed to be about two characters. Scoots stayed as the protagonist because I wanted to write a 'flightless-Scootaloo' fic without it devolving into saccharine wish-fulfillment or sadporn, and because IMO a flightless pegasus is a much more interesting candidate for a freerunner than a generic earth pony.

also because I would have to find new cover art if I changed the character and I really don't feel like doing that

Hope this answers your questions at least somewhat.

2911900 Re: "Death, dying":

Scoots asks if Shine has ever thought about it, Shine asks about what, Scoots says "Death," and then the next line says "[Scoots] nods. 'Yeah'", and then Shine tells her not to.

Re-reading it, it looks like you might have lost a line. Maybe what it was meant to say is:

"About what?" He doesn't do the same. His question is soaked in emotion [...]

"Death. Dying." I let the word fall dry and heavy from my lips. No point in skirting around it.

["No. You?"]

I nod. "Yeah. A little." More gutted words.

"Don't." More emotions. Gentleness and conviction, both at once. It's a heady cocktail.

Could be wrong about that, if so, please explain how it's supposed to read.

I don't think time tags are really necessary, and they'd probably do more harm than good. I agree with the editor on this one. I'm sure it's a really hard line to walk between "too blunt" (time tags) and "too subtle" (present state). I don't envy the task, but if you have to err, I'd say err on the side of subtlety. I prefer this state to time tags.

I understand what the "kinetic linebreaks" are supposed to be, and they are really great when they're used like you say, when she's running or falling. The problem is that they aren't only used for that. Examples:

"The mane makes the mare, huh? All right, whatever. At least tie it back."
"You know I've tried. Not worth the forty-five minutes it takes, not

"Solitude?" Perfect. The word choice, not him. He's a long way from it. But I don't want an argument, not here, not now, so I give in.
"Yeah. That's how it should be. Just us. Sol

Like I said in my first comment, I really like their effect when they're used in the right context, but I think you missed the mark with them a couple of times.

Oh shit, I did miss a line. Will fix soon. As for the linebreaks, they are all kinetic. The ones you mentioned are supposed to be 'transitions' of sorts, taking he from reflection back into the real world. If you look at the paragraphs directly after the ones you quoted you'll see what I mean. But I dunno, if you think they detract from the flow too much I can nix them.

2911991 I looked back through at all of the linebreaks, and honestly I only have a problem with the "solitude" one. After reading it the first time, I remembered disliking their application in at least one place, and just looked for ones that "looked" wrong, without looking more in depth. So yeah, having checked again I like all of them except "solitude".

I think if you just collapse that one linebreak you'd be fine. But again, it's probably bad practice to take artistic advice from Sheeps.


Seriously, what does that guy know? Probably nothing.

You know how people think they remember seeing bambi's mother get shot when really it happened off-screen? I feel the same way about Shine.

This is excellently written. Really, the prose is great, even if it borderlines on artsy pretentious a little every now and then. Unfortunately, the prose and the formatting are so in-your-face, that they actually overshadow the story itself. It ends up sort fading into the background, and the emotions feel muted as a result. I never really felt sad for Dripshine, I never really got a chance to know him, I never fully felt what he meant to Scootaloo, or what she feels now that he's gone.

I did greatly enjoy this, if only for the writing. I like the story, I like the idea, but it's lacking in execution, and would have benefited from a more defined plot.

Thanks for the concrit!

Yeah, this was really more an experiment in that kinetic stream-of-consciousness style (a la Chuck Palahniuk) than anything else. I agree that prose should be the vehicle for the plot (hah) and not the other way around, but I decided to disregard that just this once for the sake of making something different.

Pity the words got in the way, though. I tried to make the emotions shine through as clearly and viscerally as possible, especially after the thing happens, but obviously I didn't do a good enough job :applejackunsure:

There are so many qualities to this story that I'm a sucker for: Palahniuk, pretense, non-linear narrative, free-running, raw emotion transcribed with a style that drips off the page... the idea is that this is the kind of thing I could read every day of my life, and I'm sure you get it by now. It's not Fight Club, but I'd have been disappointed if it had been. I like it much more this way, admirable for its adherence to the trappings of my favorite book, unique because of where it deviates and carves out its own line to connect those dots. You called this an experiment, so I guess I'm going to keep an eye on you in the hopes of seeing some repeated trials. Good stuff.

Ahhh, Aquaman likes my story! :D

But seriously, without sounding too kiss-assy, your stuff (Harmony and Like Gravity in particular) was a big part of why I started writing pone in the first place. I'm glad you approve.

Also, funny you should mention Fight Club, since my main inspiration for this was actually Invisible Monsters. I loved the rapid, tangential jumps between scenes so much that I had to try and put them in something of my own.

Well, now you've gone and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This has been a good weekend for that. It's always awesome to hear that people like my stuff at all, let alone that it actually inspired them to write themselves. It's kind of late for this to make my day, so I'll probably just push it to making my tomorrow.

Hey, at least it wasn't inspired by Corn. There are certain things style can't quite save.

:raritystarry: This is great. Congrats.

This is sad AND exhilarating, which is a really rare combination and one that's electrifying when written as well as it is here. Fantastic work.

Forlorn and tragic, with a slap-you-in-the-face pace worthy of any action thriller. This is a fantastic story.

I really enjoyed this. Quick and snappy, both in prose and pace, but never feeling rushed. I also liked the Scootaloo you painted here. The writing style here would have easily caused the story to crumble had it not felt convincing coming from the narrator's mouth, but it never once felt forced. Although we only got little glances of this Manehattan, it was definitely a world I'd like to see explored more in the future. Excellent job. I'll be keeping my eye on you.

fanfic or otherwise this is the most beautiful thing i've read in a while

thank you for sharing

Very enjoyable. Short but tells a lot, and that is always very impressive.
I would definitely like to see a continued version of this, one where it tells of different places and area Scoots runs around while being chased and such.

The possibility of a sequel was originally zero but is now becoming increasingly likely.

3027930 YES! I like increasing likely hoods! They mean sequels! And sequels means awesomeness and awesomeness means that I get to compliment someone and get another sequel. Then the happy cycle repeats!

This didn't happen to be inspired by Mirrors Edge. Did it? Sounds awfully familiar.

That was part of the inspiration, yes.

>>>Our way of life would be the latest craze, and everypony and their mother would come swarming across these rooftops, making noise, getting themselves hurt and killed looking for a cheap adrenaline hit.>>>

I call that 'natural selection at work'. :trollestia:

>>>The lies stack like bricks, my cool impassiveness is the mortar. Building my wall. They'll never touch me, never touch us.>>>

Lies are like bricks made of snow. The burning light of TRUTH quickly melts them and the walls come tumbling down upon those who quiver behind them. Lies are like a glass wall, those hiding behind are yet exposed to the world, for they are never as clever as they believe. And one solid hit from a hammer of FACT shatters their delusions and the jagged shards tear them to pieces.

And when one builds up one's own life upon a foundation of lies, when it crumbles, they are thrown screaming into the abyss to their utter destruction.

>>>they will never touch us...

And we will never, ever stop running.>>>

Just then, Alondro slips his sword out in front of the fleeing Scoots' throat. The flawless blade is drawn back in a smooth motion as the foolish foal's momentum carries her foreward. Her head topples back to the ground as her body takes a few final reflexive steps, the last impulses travelling down her spinal collumn before the connection was severed, before it tumbles to the ground.

Alondro turns Scoot's head toward himself with a soft smile and fixes his gaze upon the wide, shocked, still-blinking eyes. "A pity. One should always remember to look more carefully where one is running, lest she tumble into the many snares set by more clever predators." He allows her head to roll from his hands and once more vanishes into the shadows. The Perfect Predator has made yet another flawless kill.

(And this is why I shall rule the world.... :pinkiecrazy:)

3035223 *attacks you while you're confused!* Another victim! :pinkiecrazy:

Anyone else read Scoots' lines in the voice of Faith?

This is really beautiful.

Tragic, too, but that's just how these things are some times, hmm?

This was a pretty cool story. The prose was vivid and powerful (although I'm not quite sure if the nonstandard formatting was necessary), and I liked the stop-start dynamic, switching between past and present, interweaving the two throughout the story. I can kind of relate to the characters because I can remember as a child, sitting in the back of my parents car stuck in traffic on the elevated freeways cutting through downtown Los Angeles, looking out at the buildings and imagining running across the rooftops like Scoots and Shine.

After reading this story, I sort of get the sense that, although they think themselves to be running toward a goal, Scoots and Shine really seem to be running away from something. Underlying Scoot's narration, there seems to be some deep dissatisfaction with their lives from which they're trying to escape. But what are they running from? What is it that drives these two to want to live only for the moment, to escape the confines of society and run free along the Manehattan skyline, to risk their lives only for the imaginary goals they place on the horizon. There are some tantalizing hints in the story, but this is something I wish the story explored more deeply.

I often read stories, even my favorite stories, and notice absolutely nothing but the flaws.

So I guess I must have just let this story go by without ever reading a single word of it, letting it pass over me and through me until I turn my inner eye to see its path and see nothing--only the feels remain.

Regardless, I will try to say some stuff anyway:

Another commenter said that a bit more could be done with the love story, and I agree. We see a flashback of her having it bad for him, and we see them meeting, but that doesn't really tell us what it was like for them to be together. I mean, I saw the chance for this, and I'm surprised you didn't do it... You can imagine, I'm sure, what *I* would have written in order to show their passion for each other.

I also think that more should have been done to make this story be about Scootaloo. Her flightlessness, her "you don't understand me" attitude, her desire to distance herself from her Ponyville origins... it's a waste not to use that. It also, you know, makes this thing non-pony.

More than anything else, I have this to say:

This story stands up to the best of the fandom. This plays on even ground with Short Skirts, Blueshift, darf, name it. This story is, in my opinion, in the top echelon of fanfics on this site.

I think the reason I like this more than any of your others is because its prose is more than just the fun and drive of a strong character voice--it's not just a voice, it's the whole point of the fic, almost as if the story is a way to drive Scootaloo's narration, not the other way around.

I guess I'm just such a sucker for non-standard things and rebellion against norms that you've dazzled me with this and destroyed my ability to be impartial. This is how I want my writing to be--dirty and dangerous, but alive and wonderful.

Very well written, and extremely entrancing, with well written characters and interesting plot, even if the "Rebel without a cause" angle was a bit hard to sympathize. The structuralism was a great fit, considering just how urbane the story is;.

I think this is your best work yet. Thank you for the story.

Why the alternate universe tag?

I think my interpretation of Manehatten (semi-dystopian, full of run-down sandstone buildings and bitter ponies) is far enough removed from the show version that we've seen (a bustling 40s-style metropolis complete with slick high-society types) that it warrants the tag.

And thank you for the praise.

Quick question. Have you ever practiced parkour or free running or had a friend who did so? Because I seriously can't tell if you have or haven't, sometimes it seems you have other times not so much. Either way it was an awesome story and made even better if you have a little experience with parkour.

I've beaten Mirror's Edge like 5 times, does that count? :V

But seriously, if there are any mistakes in the terminology or believability in relation to the parkour aspects, let me know. Since I am (totally) inexperienced with it, there's bound to be a few screw-ups.

Thanks for the praise.

Not until you finish it without shooting anyone (It's fun try it)

Reading through your story there was hardly any wrong terminology. I think there may have been one time but that wasn't actually wrong, it was just my preference was different.

Ur welcome ^^

I've done a 'hardcore runner' playthrough already (hard difficulty, runner vision off, no combat allowed, including disarms) and it was great fun. Super excited for ME2.

Well I've been one upped! Haven't done that. And yeah it's gonna be one of the three games I'm gonna buy in a long long time. I'm also looking forward to dying light although the parkour mechanics aren't as good (but at least there are zombies!).

I don't know why, but this song always reminds me of this fic.
I like this a lot. Parkour and love? Who ever thought of this?! :rainbowkiss:

This was a reasonable enough story, though the ending felt pretty much out of nowhere.

It really isn't a pony story at all, though.

Author Interviewer

You should consider fixing "I hear the his armor plates" because this is the best story I have ever read and it should rightly be without flaw.

I'm surprised nobody compared it with Air.

warmer-softer-tangled-mane-flat-on-my-back-against-the-sandstone things

Quite a way of putting it.

Today we're sharks. A week ago we were birds. Always anything but what we are.

I depose that dictator gravity over and over again. But she's persistent as ever, and soon I find the ground, or the ground finds me— I've always wondered, are we running from or seeking it?

Your short insights like this are scattered throughout, and I know that stuff is hard to do. Hard to come up with; easy to come up with deep-sounding trivialities; hard to tie them to the story. Scoots and Shine are running, but are they running to something or from something? It's hard to get a read on whether you think they're wise or crazy, whether they run because it makes them feel alive or because something else makes them not feel alive. Does Shine really like running, or does he have a death wish? Does Scoots really like running, or does she just like Shine? Those are probably the two most-important questions. They can remain ambiguous, but even so, they should perhaps be highlighted more, to make sure the reader thinks about them.

Also, why does Shine run / want to die? We could see more of that by seeing Scoots reflecting on it.

The interrogations with the inspector at the end are a great chance for her to reflect on these things. When she lied about their fight, you could have, say, narrated the lie first, then later described the actual fight, and used the things that Scoots concealed in her lie to the police to show her feelings about it. You could have told the entire story as flashback, opening in the middle of an interrogation, flashing back as she tries to describe it, and done that repeatedly until the end. That might have been a better structure.

"Besides, do you really want all of this…" He steps forward, wraps one forehoof around my shoulder— tingling sparks shoot through my leg, my heart, my veins— and gestures out at the rooftops

... hinting that Scoots likes Shine more than she likes running. Subtle.

he looks at me and the mask shatters and his eyes are hot, not sexy-hot, wildfire-hot, bright and vivid and ready.

This is a great example of when to write "A and B and C" instead of "A, B, and C" or "A. B. C." So many authors overdo it. Also just a great description.

"You ever… think about it?" I suck all the emotion out of my voice before it leaves my mouth, letting the empty word-husks drift through the air. I don't like holding back, but if I don't my feelings will just get in the way.

"About what?" He doesn't do the same. His question is soaked in emotion, mostly confusion with a dash of concern like a shake of pepper.

I wish I could write descriptive metaphors+similes like this. (Bit of a mixed metaphor in that last line, but "marinated in emotion" might sound funny.)

The writing is astonishing. Did those descriptive metaphors drop out like that in the first draft? Did you labor over individual sentences? How do you come up with things like "We were the summer-sunset-wind, warm and wild and untouchable. We were rulers of a crumbled-down kingdom, prince-and-princess of the sandstone sky", "ice-glass eyes", "the rusty Manehattan sunlight", "Giants made of edges and right angles and chipped facades stare back, sunset-glazed monsters," I'd love to be able to write like that, and I'd like to dissect your brain any advice or info on how you did it.

I found only three possible typos, other than some ungrammatical uses of commas that were probably deliberate:

It takes me a half-second to realize he wants for my name

I hear the his armor-plates

(okay, PP found that, I didn't)

and a missing linebreak after

I realize the silence has gone too long when Shine breaks it, half-concerned. "Scoots?"

The style is amazing. There's some unneeded confusion about their relationship--that whole bit about Scoots being lonely, them having a fight, their not having sex anymore, Shine not wanting to share the rooftop with anyone--I spent most of my time wondering about that, it was so sketchy that it was more disruptive and distracting than interesting, and I don't know if it should be part of the story at all. I'd rather have it been something along the lines of Scoots fighting with him because she doesn't, at bottom, want to keep doing this, and she knows Shine will keep doing it until he dies, and she has to do it with him to hold onto him but also feels like she's killing him, and feels at the end like she's murdered him (which, kinda, sorta, she has).

I'm a little perplexed at the end because what Scoots does for Shine seems like something he wouldn't have wanted.

You appear to have a doublespace in your description.

4327820 crumbled-down kingdom, prince-and-princess

This seems to be another one of those stories I just can't get anything from. However, I think Present Perfect may have done a good job at elucidating why:

It’s about an adult Scootaloo and her boyfriend living a high-stakes life of parkour and not giving a fuck about anything. It’s about life and death and living and what a life actually means.

I can't see that. I see two ponies who 'give a fuck' about far too much, ruled by fear and barely living at all. It's about life and how to miss it completely—scared and humbled by the enormity of it all. These characters feel remarkably soulless.

That said, that doesn't mean they don't feel real. That, unfortunately, actually killed it for me more than if they were a little disjointed and arbitrary—to me is was sad, but neither a tragedy nor a romance.

Add to that that I'm not even sure what the formatting 'tricks' are supposed to mean (which kind of left them as being merely annoying) and it's not a surprise that I didn't find anything here. The characters were broken at the start and were broken at the end. For a lot of action, nothing really happened.


Man, 4323540's review brought the whole constructive criticism brigade over.

Don't take 4329011 too hard. He's either an alien observer, a professional contrarian, or some kind of writing bodhisattva, who lingers in our imperfect world to puncture authors' egos in ways that help them transcend with him to a higher plane which we can but dimly comprehend. :raritywink: A damn insightful guy, but someday someone will figure out how to write a story that pleases both him and the public, and the seals of heaven will rend.

I think both he and PP are wrong, though. It's not about giving a fuck or not giving a fuck. It's about two ponies who can't live lives where they're whole, and can't survive being broken. So they cobble together what they can in that liminal state, one tiny wobble from disaster, concentrating sensation and sharpening it and dancing on the edge of the knife until the moment they slip and the blade neatly bisects them. It's not valuing life, it's not seeking death, it's denial and rejection but it's passion and celebration, it's living for experience, for experience concentrate. They died long ago, and this is their underworld. You have described a state with no name and this story is like marinating in it.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
- Jack London

So yeah. Well done.

Author Interviewer

To be honest, I was so dazzled by this story that I couldn't entirely form words with regard to what all it was about. I'm just lucky I could sort out "the meaning of a life" from everything. :D

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