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Rambling Writer

Our job is not to give readers what they want; our job is to show them things they never imagined. --Walt Williams


There's an old book that's falling apart. Twilight wants to copy it down to preserve it. But it needs to be as accurate and precise as possible, to preserve the state of the original. That shouldn't be too hard. After all, it's not like the text will change whenever she looks away.


Chapters (1)
Comments ( 77 )

Sometimes, it's the subtle horror that is the most terrifying...

I don't usually click on stories in the New Stories column, given that most of them are... well, frankly quite terrible. I'm glad I checked this one out, though, since, as Jman mentioned, it's very subtle, but definitely there. Reminds me quite a bit of Stephen King's story 'N.' as well.

One minor point: is the title missing an apostrophe? Or... hmmm.

Shocks #3 · Jun 3rd, 2016 · · 6 ·


I think this is more comedy than horror. Why do I have a feeling that Discord is involved?

Just take it to the human world and use a photo copier!

7272687 It's not missing an apostrophe. "Cant" is another word for "tilt", hence the tilted cover picture.

Speaking of Stephen King, one of my primary inspirations for this was his "1408". Both the short story and the movie, incidentally. The short story for the scene right before Enslin enters Room 1408 and the door appears to be crooked one way, then not crooked, then crooked the other way. The movie for the scene where Enslin stares at a painting for a moment, tilting his head back and forth, then nudges it slightly and stares at it for a few moments more; it's obvious he's trying to see if it's straight, but the way the scene is filmed, it's impossible to tell whether or not it is at either point. So I guess that parallel's a plus.

I wouldn't really say it has a horror vibe, yet. But if you flesh it out into something bigger, maybe drive home the impact of the book, then yes.

I mean, I enjoyed the hell out of it, don't get me wrong. IMDB: 9/10

I just don't think it was horror.

looks at description
oh that looks funny
sees horror tag

Discord must have authored this book to drive Purple Smart insane..er... than usual. :trollestia:

That moment when you're scrolling past stories and mistake an "A" for a "U" :rainbowlaugh:


I'd say this was horror lite. This would be the kind of thing you'd find on the SCP site.

The Scripture of the Many-Angled One, They of the Space Between

Oh, you dick. :rainbowlaugh: That's just horrible. I didn't even notice that until after I was done reading and scrolled back to the top of the page. I hope you're appropriately ashamed for what you did there.

Most people think it's comedy, but I can see the subtle horror element of it. You are a genius to have done that.

So I'll be honest here, and this may not be pleasant since this is marked horror and was presumably supposed to inspire fear. This is one of the funniest stories I've read in a while.

the trans-dimensional equivalent of trying to light a fire in a vacuum with asbestos and ice

I burst out laughing in public at got weird looks from the people in the restaurant.

It is 4 am here, I just finished reading 1408, and then rereading this story. I am now terrified for twilight. She needs to get rid of that book by any means necessary.:pinkiesick:

Expect it soon

This seems less a horror story than a comedy/horror, and less about a Cthuloid tome messing with Twilight's mind than a meditation on Twilight's perfectionism.

Not coincidentally, "cant" also means "A private or secret language used by a religious sect, gang, or other group."

Since Twilight is unable to straighten this eldritch text, you could say she...

Can't cant cant.


Ahh, I'd forgotten that definition, yes. :-) And '1408' was also a good story and movie, in my opinion, with the latter actually doing a good job changing the ending of the story and making it work. Not something I felt they did with 'The Mist', as otherwise awesome an adaptation that was, though I understand I'm in the minority on that.

Author Interviewer

Brilliant. :D Very SCP in execution (you should check out the Foundation if you're not familiar with it!)

She’d some way to keep the string straight


Or wont?

Jesus christ... This is freaky as hell, if you can see past the thin veneer of what seems simple.

At the start, remember how she says the book was dull? Then, she seems to change her mind halfway through. Think about that for a second.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's reminded of the SCP Foundation.

This was indeed well done. I love subtle, psychological horror like this. It takes much more work and finesse to make it work than typical blood-and-gore horror.

I have to agree with Twilight there that this book isn't that amazing
Yeah it would drive people with OCD insane and be a nuisance for nearly everyone else but that's kinda lame for tome of eldritch knowledge

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Now #82!

You can read my review here.

I have a few more thoughts, though:

The borderline problem with Cant is that it never actually makes it clear just why the cant is sinister; it is only by thinking back to some of the descriptions of the supposedly skewed, messed-up diagrams that you realize that the cant that Twilight ends up with to her vision may make it so all the earlier diagrams (and possibly the text) make more sense, as tilting it might cause the "skewed" diagrams to appear straight, and the nonsensical words and sentences to appear differently as the letters are part of different words, and thus the book to, rather than be nonsense, be an actual dangerous piece of arcane lore masquerading as nonsense.

So unless you have a good memory for what happened earlier in the text, or read it twice, it never really makes it explicit to the reader that there's something more to it than the mild annoyance.

Camber, Caster, Canter, Toe.

Super subtle, and rather clever. The uneasy horror lurks below the amusing surface story, like a spider underneath a bunch of bananas. And it's all the more wicked for it.

I can definitely see the influence of 1408 in this - although mercifully you didn't go as far as Mr King, because 1408 is nasty. Seriously, I don't want to know how King thought that one up.

Excellent title too. I'm a sucker for a title with layers of meaning. I hope you felt all smug and happy when you thought that one up, I know I would have,

So it's not just me?

My monitor is turned slightly to the right? Huh!

7277509 That last bit took a second to understand, but I think I got it...?

I feel that somepony made this book and made sure it would find its way to Twilight, then make it so that whenever you look away, it adjusts itself. Twilight wants it to be perfect, but since it keeps changing, it CANT be perfect. Ultimately more of a comedy story up until the end, where the other objects begin tilting.

Isn't it ironic that my iPad is tilted to the right while I write this?

Twilight can't cant cant.
Twilight is unable to properly re-align the secret coded religious text.

The phrase can go on forever if you replace Twilight with someone named "Cant" in the sentence and add punctuation; it's kind of like Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo.

7341141 Okay, so I did get it right. Need to check out that Buffalo thing though.

I barely spent a minute on the linked page and Buffalo has already started to seem like a fake word. Ever had that happen?


Oh the horror! The horror!
Nice one making it scary in a bookworm's perspective, especially since its Twilight!

I like this one. It's rare that somebody posts a horror story where there really is a perfectly logical, 100% natural explanation for it that makes the story more horrifying, and as a reviewer, part-time grammar Nazi, and somebody with a generalized anxiety disorder, I think you managed quite nicely!

Oh I love this one so much! The interpretation of this can go so many ways, because we do know that Twilight is obsessive, but I interpreted as the book had a power that was getting to her and actually affecting how she saw the world.

The repetition of "it needs to be precise" was fantastic and very well done, because this story was all about repetition in one of the most agonizing ways possible.

Fav and upvote!

Yes, seconding that this fits in perfectly with the SCP Foundation, and it was the exact thing I thought of when reading.

Very well done. Loved it.

Just to start, its appearance was dull. It wasn’t bound in pony skin (or the skin of any other species, for that matter). It wasn’t written in blood. It wasn’t covered in spikes. It looked just like any other century-old book: on the verge of falling apart, its cover was a faded robin’s-egg-blue, with the title and author written on in plain black ultra-precise lettering. Slip it into any bookshelf, and you could easily miss it.

Shockingly, I actually still own this book. The last time I read it it was called 'Theras and his Town' and before that it was something called Lorna Dune. Theras' was a good read about a boy from Athens who became a spartan slave and then escaped, and Lorna Dune was just a little bit more interesting than the three musketeers and Little House on the Prairie. I believe I last read it when I was 14. There's no title on the binding for obvious reasons, and it's actually rather cheaply made, but more durable than you'd think. Speaking of which, I really need to finish reading the Songs of Cthulhu if I should expect to improve my GM'ing skill by next year.

There were diagrams for the magic circles to be used, but they were just as much a mess as anything else: uneven and distorted, with no scales available, and even some doodles in the margins of mundane things like a city or a bowl of fruit.

Quit reading my second grade dialogue journal you ninny, it's called shorthand. You don't see me calling your infantile efforts to become an alicorn the work of Clever Hans.

she died peacefully in her sleep at age 96 was that she gained an unusual obsession with rulers immediately after writing the book.

I heard it was written in '96 and that she developed an obsession with sextants or tantric sex, not that there's much of a difference mind you.

Twilight couldn’t say how, but she was sure it different from the last time she looked.

Wait until she see's the monochrome edition of my graphic novels, they're a scream... the colors literally jump of the page in a poorly lit room. And, you can literally feel the book sucking the energy right out of you. Not quite as wickedly as a slot machine, but the pull is there.

Author Interviewer

I only just now realized the cover art is tilted. This story just keeps unfolding. :D

(Reads it)

(Reads it again)

(And again)

(One last time)

As someone who has been reading Eldritch Horror since he could read and has a deep appreciation for both the SCP and the subtlw mindscrew, I can say that this is one of the best horror stories I have read.

that was fun.

The book that killed Twilight.
Love me some Lovecraft that doesn't rely on the clichés.
Very clever and well done :moustache:

...Uh....was that it?
Was that really it?
What's so scary about it?
No really, what part was meant to be the scary part? :applejackunsure:

7474208 I just noticed, following your comment: is Twilight leaning in the cover art?

Author Interviewer

I think it's just the whole frame itself is tilted.

I can sympathize. I don't put tragedy in the same category as horror myself, it's closer to comedy... but for the person experiencing the event it's rather horrific. So... in order for one to see the horror, the event requires empathy?

I have to admire some good work here. It isn't often that one dares deal with subtle psychological horror. Ofc ours sit'sw heny ouge tother stoj oini nthef unth atthing srea llyst artt ocom ealive.

One cannot tell whether this is dark magic or the OCD of Lesson Zero.

I guess the scary thing about the book is that it seems to be able to effect the world around it?
Even then it's not scary. I see what Twilight is doing as a mundane task, in fact it almost feels like the book is more of a prank toy designed just for Twilight.

Overall I think this just...failed on me. It didn't scare me. Maybe it's because I just kept reading instead of thinking and letting myself go paranoid?

7475759 Yeah, and upon review, it's also partly that because she reading, her eyes are shifted to where she's looking. It gives the allusion that she's leaning, when now I think she's actually framed in the center. Like reading reading a page of italics, then going back to normal.

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