• Published 12th Jul 2016
  • 2,867 Views, 29 Comments

It Moves Below - boardgamebrony



The Rock Farm is isolated from everyone. Marble Pie knows that. That's why no one else has seen the mouth in the snow, following her wherever she goes. Every day it's closer, and today she's alone. And the snowfall has become very deep...

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Snowfall (Complete Story)

Somewhere far behind Marble Pie, she heard the forest breathe.

She stood alone in the middle of the forest, her hooves deep inside the snow as her ears flicked around for the source of the disturbance. She brought a hoof up to her long scarf and wrapped it further around her neck. Her jacket provided just enough warmth to keep her comfortable in the soft snowfall. But the blanket of powder was growing by the minute and the snow would soon be up to her knees. A fear in her heart began to surface, kicking its way through the calm and rearing its ugly head at her, staring in her mind. She could not shake the image of something deep within the forest, waiting.

She picked up her pace and started galloping towards her home. Her parents and sisters had made the long trip to the city to pick up supplies for the long winter. They had tasked Marble with the simple job of watching over the house. She got scared less than an hour later and ran down the road looking for the cart which held her family. But the snowfall had covered their tracks. One wrong turn led Marble into a forest clearing, where had stood when she heard the large intake of breath.

She found the path again and looked left and right. She knew the way back to her home, but wondered if she should risk running for her family somewhere down the trail. They could be kilometers away by now, and the snow would be so deep that she would no longer be able to run. And then, it would know where she was.

The thought of the stalking maw filled her with dread as she moved quickly towards her homestead. She had seen it so many times before, but her family never believed her. Never once admitted that it was possible a that there could be a creature with a gigantic mouth swimming through the fresh powder of the falling snow as it made its way towards its prey. They didn’t believe Marble when she told them she saw a full grown bear get swallowed whole by the thing before its whimpering was silenced permanently. They said such fancies were the signs of overactive imaginations, for there never was such a creature in all of Equestria. Marble Pie’s heart broke and she finally stopped talking altogether.

Today, it was there. Today, it moved in near silence. It had to be moving, Marble thought. How else could she continue to hear that loud breath every once in a while, as though a large beast came up for air from under the piling-up powder?

Another thought filled her mind with fear as she stood atop a rock and looked for her home in the distance. There were no animals making noise. No birds chirping. No wolves howling. She had not seen a single animal since she heard the breathing. She looked around and was still. She was having trouble focusing and almost hyperventilated. She looked down at the safety of her rock and thanked Celestia that the rock farms main crop was in large abundance.

The breathing returned. This time, it was very loud and somewhere close by. Marble spun around on the rock and nearly lost her grip. She tumbled off and landed in the snow with a gasp. Half her body was immersed in the deep cold. She dared not move and listened.

There was no breathing.

Marble Pie pulled herself up and clamored upon the rock again as she stared around. She heard a cracking sound, like that of teeth grinding against one another. It was very close but she couldn’t see any movement anywhere. She felt the vibrations on the rock and looked around at the ground. Nothing was making its way through the snow. Marble fought back tears. She stared at the rock she was standing on and hugged it, glad that it existed. Some strange marking rested on the bottom edge of the rock where it touched the snow. She peered down, carefully examining it.

There were teeth marks all around the perimeter of the rock.

Marble stood up suddenly. She shivered and heard the deep rumble again. This time, the vibration definitely came from below her. She stared at the edges of the rock and saw the snow spin, as though something massive was circling it’s way around the rock. Jagged white triangular protrusions appeared as they encircled the stone, carving into it ever so slightly as the edges crumbled away bit by bit.

Marble yelped at the sight of the monstrous teeth sneaking their way through the rock to get to her. She cried out in fear and braced herself on the rock. Trees towered up above her, like bony sentinels awaiting her fate. The snow fell peacefully, oblivious to the nightmare playing out on the slowly diminishing island of rock holding the lone earth pony panicking as she turned around in her spot.

She yelled for help but the powder absorbed nearly all of her scream and made it impossible for anyone to hear her plight. Marble frantically searched for any method of escape and spotted the road to her house only ten yards away. It was elevated from her position and she’d have to climb up a slight incline to get there. Could she make it? Was the beast so preoccupied with its rock meal that it wouldn’t be able to catch her in time? She couldn’t stay on her disappearing island of safety, or else the beast would find a way to consume her.

She had to think fast. If she ran, the snow would slow her down. By the time she reached halfway up the slope, the thing would catch her. A quick glance at nearby trees showed that one was nearly dead. If she jumped just right and with enough force, she could knock it down and land on top of it. The confusion might distract the maw from locating her easily so she could run along its edge to safety. It was her only hope.

Marble readied herself as the grinding sound under her became worse. She steadied herself for a jump…

A large cracking sound issued from underneath. She lost her footing and fell down, but managed to clamp onto the rock. It started to lean to one side as the beast tried to push her off.

Marble’s pulse quickened to a feverish pace as the beast carved its way towards her. Its teeth were so clear now, they appeared as small ivory dorsal fins slicing into the edge of the rock as a grumbling sound began to grow in intensity. The trees around the forest shook as snow fell in waves all around. It was hungry. And it was angry.

Marble eyed the weak body of the tree within jumping distance. The fear was overwhelming her senses as thoughts of the monster’s mouth filled her mind. Her imagination took over as she visualized a maw larger than the forest floor and a gullet the size of a mountain. Her brain screamed at her to move, to save herself, and finally, the image of her family came flooding back. They would never find her body. They would never know the horror they waited in the woods for each of them as they came looking for Marble Pie. A power filled Marble from within, like the strength of rock steeling her heart, as she realized she had to survive so that her family would not fall victim to the stalking maw of the Rock Farm Woods.

She stood up one last time. The teeth were moving so fast now that their movement started to create a whirling wall of white snow with their intensity. It was perfect, Marble thought. It would not be able to slow down so easily. She stepped back as far as she could go on the rock, aimed for the tree, and did a running leap off the edge.

Her body hit the side of the tree as she grabbed on to its trunk. For a split second, it seemed as though it might not fall. A cracking sound split through the forest as the base of the tree ruptured, sending Marble Pie forward towards the elevated road. She held on as the trunk slammed into the snow bank below. It stayed mostly above the snow line as Marble shook off the shock and scrambled to her feet. She ran.

The whirling teeth disappeared from beneath the rock. The ground shook. It knew where Marble was. It tore through the tree trunk like tissue paper.

Marble ran along the edge of the tree and leapt onto the path as she hit the ground running. She thought she might have sprained an ankle, but pushed herself anyway. Behind her, the beast carved through the ground like a shark on the hunt for its prey. Waves of earth parted and split off to the side creating a rising valley of dirt headed straight for the fleeing pony.

She saw the entryway to her house only one hundred yards away. She turned back. The beast was slowing down. It couldn’t go through the rock-heavy soil of the homestead. It would have to turn around and flee back into the forest. Marble’s eyes widened at the realization that it would lie in wait for her family when they came back. It kept moving towards her. She could escape it easily now and wait inside the house, with it’s massive rock foundation keeping her safe. But if she did, who would save her family? She peered at the largest rock in the yard. It was a massive egg-sized hulk of stone called Holder’s Boulder. At nearly twenty feet high, it was far larger than anything that beast could eat. She could lure it towards the boulder and find a way to topple it into it’s maw, where it would choke on the colossal stone. But…she might not survive.

The world felt like it was moving in slow motion as Marble Pie’s mind switched back and forth between the two choices. She didn’t want to die, but her family needed her. They would never know what she did for them. But as long as they were alive, that’s all she cared about. Her eyes filled with tears as she changed directions and ran away from the home towards the large boulder.

The creature saw its chance and pushed itself with a bellowing deep rumble from its gullet. The mouth was now more visible than ever before with a spinning body carving its way through the ground, covered in tendrils thrusting its way within the gem-covered soil cutting into its body. Deep gashes began to form in its hide, but the beast was in too much of a rage to stop.

Marble Pie ducked behind the cover of Holder’s Boulder and saw the beast plow into it. It made a nightmarish screech as the ground was disturbed under the massive rock. It started to tilt ever so slowly towards the creature.

Marble didn’t realize it at first, but her neck scarf had come undone. The beast tried to rotate its maw in her direction, but couldn’t reach her past the rock. It did however, reach her scarf. The fabric caught on its teeth and started to turn her into the mouth. She shrieked and held her body against the back base of the boulder. Like a noose, the scarf tightened around her neck. She couldn’t remove it. It was too tight. If she didn’t let go, her neck would surely be snapped. She saw the boulder swaying towards the beast thanks to her extra push on its now-uneven ground. Marble Pie felt her mind blacken as the color drained out of her face. She thought about Limestone Pie and how her sister’s anger was something only she could soften. She wondered about Maud Pie, and her quiet calm love. She thought about Pinkie Pie and the happiness her twin sister always gave her. She thought about her mom and dad, and realized it was time to say goodbye. All this in the blink of an eye. She let go.

The beast dragged her into its maw as it spun so fast her body fell past the teeth and into the gullet deep below. She had no chance to scream and fell into darkness.

The boulder fell as well. It smashed down on top of the head of the beast. It died in a burst of agony and finality. It did not move.

---- ----

The rock farm was quiet that day. Birds started to chirp again. Animals wandered freely in the forest. The sun was beautiful and warm. The snow started to melt, revealing the large body of the thing still lying motionless in front of the Pie family house.

There was a tapping sound. A sound that reminded everyone who knew it that the Pie family were rock farmers for a reason. A sound that got louder and more desperate as time went by and the rest of the snow disappeared. In less than a day, the tapping had become so great that vultures who were watching the body of the beast stayed away and waited.

There was a burst of cracked carapace on the side of the beast. A small hoof came out. Another kick and more of the body crumbled away, like a dusty set of armor now broken and useless. Two hooves stretched back the body and snapped the pieces of the exit wound off as the small mare named Marble Pie collapsed on the ground outside it. She looked up at the boulder and saw it had smashed the head of the beast, but not it’s central body. It was more massive than she imagined.

She lay on the ground and waited until her family strolled up the road. Waited until they ran to embrace her and hold her close, feeding her food and drink and medicine until they pulled her inside and left the rotting corpse of the Stalking Maw out in the sun. Their daughter was more important to them than anything else.

The vultures would take care of the rest.

---- ----

Author's Note:

Extra Story Details

Writing Time for This Chapter: 1 hour 57 minutes
Draft Number: 1 Draft
Setting: Forest outside Pie Family Rock Farm, Rock Farm front yard
Themes: Fear, Horror, Monsters, The Unknown, Self-Sacrifice

Note: This is an "A" story, written first during a day of writing.

Story Notes:
This is more like an action horror after a certain point but Marble Pie earned it :)

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Comments ( 29 )

Very good. And as someone who absolutely loves Tremors to this day, thank you for a story with a little bit of Graboid in it.
Also, google partially recognised the word Graboid as an actual word. That makes this even better

Thank you for this. A little shoutout to one of my favourite movie series.

Marble isn't in the clear just yet though, where there is one, there must be more... :pinkiecrazy:

Time to give Burt a call!

i.imgur.com/D8onzks.gif

What the fuuuuu

Pretty good story!

Have to say when I saw "Tremors" in the description I got a big smile on my face.:pinkiehappy:

7385572

I love graboids. Well, not if they were real. I'd have to destroy them then. Can you imagine them running loose in a big city? THat's the big budget Tremors movie we'll probably never see...


7386006

Marble should be glad she didn't face Shai Hulud
http://imgur.com/18n9S
And thank you for the comment! I should write a story at some point with all my monsters and all the survivors of the monster stories :)

7386318

You gotta watch out for those dang subterranean worm monsters... :P

7386401

Thank you! *hugs* I'm surprised Graboids aren't used more in fan fiction. They're terrifying and they're unique :)

7386487 I take I'll take my chances with the mutants in Metro 2033

7386487
If they were in the city, I think the cement, asphalt and cars would work to our advantage.
Plus Shriekers and Assblasters would be infinitely worse at that point....Imagine the poor sod trying to get out of town on a bike only to get swooped right at the city limit.
On the other hand, getting to shoot a flying thing that explodes would be worth the risk pf life.

7386608

This is true when it comes to cement and such in the city, now that I think about it. It would have to be a really BIG Graboid to make it through...

I love they're called "Ass Blasters" as a canon name in the movie :P

7386634 I know, I nearly died laughing when they said it the first time. Now it's an excuse to curse without looking like a dingus.
And one of the most amusing shows to ever hit New Vegas.

yo ma dudues thqtsd a ptrettty radical story tyou got there i give it wa solifd ten oiiut of 17 pretty good coulfd have used tsoem more spooks but thats it

7387496

Sweet! I think it started becoming more action than spooky at some points, which I call Action Spoop. Glad you liked it! :D

"Somewhere far behind Marble Pie, she heard the forest breathe." - Beast opening line ever! Really sets the mood.

I love the movie Tremors. It's a cult classic that ever horror fan must own!

The story started off very strong. Marble Pie is still a relative newcomer to the fandom and boy is she popular. I was almost afraid to read for fear of witnessing a horrible death. The setting was creepy as well. The Pie farm is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Anything can happen. Isolation is terrifying, especially when you're in danger.

And poor Marble faced with a choice: save herself or her family.

I'm not too crazy about the ending though. It seemed a bit anti-climatic. Other than that, this whole tidbit of horror was very enjoyable. Hope to see more.

7390294

"Somewhere far behind Marble Pie, she heard the forest breathe." - Beast opening line ever! Really sets the mood.

Thank you! With these really short stories, I've been trained to really nail that first line. I know it's integral to keeping the reader's attention and setting a mood. :)

I love the movie Tremors. It's a cult classic that ever horror fan must own!

It's one of my favs! I've had dreams about having to avoid the floor because those things have put into how dangerous it can be to walk around...

The story started off very strong. Marble Pie is still a relative newcomer to the fandom and boy is she popular. I was almost afraid to read for fear of witnessing a horrible death. The setting was creepy as well. The Pie farm is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Anything can happen. Isolation is terrifying, especially when you're in danger.

I realized I'd never written a Marble Pie story and she's essentially mostly mute Fluttershy. So it was an easy transition from my other horror short "The Thing at the Edge of Sleep." Isolation is one of my favorite horror cliches.

And poor Marble faced with a choice: save herself or her family.

I wanted there to be a choice she had to make that showed what kind of character she had. Something she was willing to die to show how brave of a pony she is.

I'm not too crazy about the ending though. It seemed a bit anti-climatic. Other than that, this whole tidbit of horror was very enjoyable. Hope to see more.


This ending was EXTREMELY conflicting for me to write as well. I specifically remember talking to you about how hard it can be to kill ponies off in a story (even though I've already done that in another story on this site, though the nature of the death was not completely permanent and the character said so themselves). I also am one of those writer's who likes to have the character "prove" that they should live by their own actions. But even then, I debated: should I kill Marble Pie? It was hard to figure out, because I thought "if she dies, then what?" The ending when her family came back would have been incredibly sad and I wasn't ready to face it. I guess with the sacrifice she was willing to make, it really did make more sense, but at the same time, she tried so hard and I wasn't sure how many horror stories actually reward the effort on part of the character. You definitely have a point in one of your other responses on your own horror stories that hopelessness is a real big theme in horror, which I started with but didn't end with. I'll have to overcome that fear and have a character bite the dust eventually in some way that's a fitting climax. I just need to figure out when that time is right. It's hard for me to see a character die :/

This is a really good horror story, the more so because Marble Pie is perfectly suited for the role of the innocent girl who must rise up and be strong to avoid becoming a victim. She is a very sweet and innocent Pony as shown in vanilla-canon -- and she's a Pie, a rock farmer, which means that she's extremely tough underneath. The scene at the end where she crushes the Graboid-like Maw under Holder's Boulder and then kicks her way out of the corpse was truly and appropriately awesome.

Even better, Graboid-like Tatzelwurms are part of vanilla canon.

Very well done.

7475656

Thank you for the compliments! without realizing it, I essentially picked two characters for my first two horror stories who are essentially very innocent (Fluttershy and Marble Pie). you're right about Marble being both sweet and strong in canon, which really helped when she had to push herself to the limit. her strength shown in the show was one of the reasons I could justify her breaking out of the belly of the beast.

I forgot completely about the Tatzlwurms! They're basically SUPER graboids at that point. wow....that means this story COULD be canon if the show writers ever made a similar situation.

Thanks again!

This is the first horror story I've read on this site. Or at all I think. It was actually pretty good.

7521514

Thank you! I'm taking a liking to horror stories. The tension is not necessarily easy to write, but it certainly has formulas I can already work with that fans have come to expect. I then twist is just enough to change things up in new and fun ways.

If you like horror, you should try out the human story I wrote that goes to equestria called "The Wishmaker: Megan's Descent." PTSD plus nightmarish scenarios and monsters. Think Silent Hill and Eternal Darkness put together :)

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/337009/the-wishmaker-megans-descent#comment/7522486

Give it a shot! If you love monsters, this story is DEFINITELY one you should read :)

This is some kind of amazing that has never been seen

7532507

Hehe heck yeah! I loved writing Marble Pie in this story. In fact, if you like horror, you could try out my two other key horror tales with Fluttershy and Megan Williams, respectively:

The Thing at the Edge of Sleep
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/335108/the-thing-at-the-edge-of-sleep
Fluttershy awakes to see something staring at her in the darkness of her room. It's next to her bed and its eyes are unnatural, its body otherworldly. Is it real, and if so, can she find a way to escape before its true intentions become clear?

The Wishmaker: Megan's Descent
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/337009/the-wishmaker-megans-descent
Megan Williams has been living for 20 years without any sign of Equestria from her childhood, until several children go missing. Meanwhile, she finds a terrifying secret in the basement of her barn...a barn which never had a basement before...

Thanks for reading my story! *hugs*

Solid story. The only thing I have a hard time imagining is the proportions of the beast. Since snow was up to the knee of a filly, how can such a beast angle its mouth upwards. I would understand if it was a snake and the mouth would be tilted a bit, but swallowing a bear whole? Forming a vortex around a rock?

Or perhaps it moves underground. That would be realistic.

Phew. This was intense. The part that got me the most was when it was explained that the monster swallowed a BEAR whole.............if large predators are not safe from that thing, then fearing that thing is well justified.

I really liked Marble Pie's characterization here. She was fearful but resourceful. I will admit, I was close to thinking that Marble Pie was gonna die at the end. THANK GOODNESS SHE SURVIVED AND THE MONSTER IS DEAD.

Two thumbs up here.

7542791

Hey there! Thanks for the comment! :D

I wrote it as though the creature moved under the ground, like this wonderful beasties:

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/33/Tremorsposter.jpg

Unless you're a fan of the Tatzlwurm, which someone said is the MLP canon version of the graboid I linked to in the image. :P

7544279

Thank you for the read and the comment! It had occurred to me that if I needed to explain the threat of the Maw, then I had to explain how dangerous it could be. Swallowing a bear whole sounded like the way to explain it's monstrousness. Poor Mr. Bear...

7827955

Thank you for reading and commenting! :D

Comment posted by Genre Savvy deleted Jun 11th, 2017

Has anyone drawn the Stalking Maw, yet?

8949711

I don't think so. Some people have hypothesized that it could be a Tatzlwurm. I could see that, though I was thinking more of the graboids from the movie Tremors. :)

Ah, It Moves Below. One of the classics of FimFiction.
Man, I gotta hand it to ya, when I first read this, I was actually feeling my heart race at the idea that our dear Pie here would not make it. Has it really been two years? :rainbowhuh:
Props to you, dear author. :raritywink:

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