• Published 31st Oct 2017
  • 3,740 Views, 36 Comments

Binding - shortskirtsandexplosions



There'll come a day when you won't relish the pages before you.

  • ...
7
 36
 3,740

Tome

"Twilight?"

The words flickered with each invisible penstroke. Occasional punctuation billowed with miniature tufts of flame.

"Twilight Sparkle, are you there?"

She sat in the middle of the Royal Canterlot Library. The tome was spread open upon the wooden desktop before her. A quill pen rested on the edge of the podium, and yet the alicorn mare didn't move. Her mane billowed with twinkling brilliance, but otherwise she was perfectly still. Violet eyes danced around the book's aged binding. Studying. Waiting.

At last, after a full two minutes, more words rippled across the middle of an otherwise blank page.

"Please. Write to me, Twilight."

Twilight Sparkle took a long breath. Dim candlelight glinted off her crown. Her muzzle tightened ever so slightly.

"It's been so long."

Silence.

"Is it my fault? Have I been a bad friend?"

Twilight inhaled deeply. She clenched her eyes shut and brought a hoof up to rub her aching head.

Against her better judgment, she gazed upon the book once again. What she saw made her coil her majestic wings tighter by her side.

"Please, let me make it up to you. Just trust me. I want to be friends with you again."

A lump formed in Twilight's throat.

Her eyes darted towards the quill. The tip of her horn glowed with telekinetic energy... but dimmed. She had nearly picked up the pen. Nearly.

More flickering. A streak of yellow. Reluctantly, Twilight looked at the book yet again.

"I want to be friends with everypony. Isn't that what you've always wanted of me?"

Twilight breathed harder and harder. Her muscles locked in place, and she felt the onset of shivers.

"Don't shut me out. I promise... I will be good to everypony once again."

There was a slight whimpering sound under the Princess' lips. At last, she gave in. Her hoof reached for the pen this time.

But just as the fetlock brushed up against the feathery quill—

"Twilight???" It was a deep voice. Rumbling. Outside the window to the library, a set of purple scales glinted in the setting sunlight. A massive beast shifted by—shaking the stone foundation of the palace. At long last, an emerald eyeslit lowered into view, peering into the candle-lit room. "Twilight, why is it so dark in here?"

Twilight blurted her reply in a bitter tone: "What is it that you want, Spike?"

The eyeslit narrowed slightly. "I'm sorry, your highness..." The voice rumbled. "...I didn't know that you were still busy brooding."

Twilight sighed. She raised a hoof in a half-hearted attempt to block the book from the large dragon's eyesight. "I'm sorry. Lack of sleep."

"What for this time?"

She didn't answer.

"Well..." He shifted his weight outside. A large claw pointed past the eastern ramparts of Canterlot. "...it's about twenty minutes until the Commencement of the Flurry Heart Monument. Are... are you going to appear before your subjects this time? Or should I tell the Council that it'll be another no-show—?"

"I'll be there, Spike," the Princess said firmly. "I'm... I'm a lot better now. You know this."

"Well, the public could certainly use the proof." He snorted fumes, and Twilight caught a pallid flash of smirking teeth. "I can't be your proxy for every event. I'm liable to step on somepony at this rate."

The castle stones rumbled once again. He was walking away—and this threw Twilight into a panic.

"Spike—!" she stammered, a bit too loudly for her own good.

Drawn by the nervous lilt in her voice, the dragon instantly swung back to peer through the window yet again. "Yes... Twilight...?" He spoke as gently as his massive vocal cords could allow.

Twilight Sparkle fidgeted noticeably. She had to reach a hoof up to straighten her crown before finally speaking: "Do you remember Sunset Shimmer?"

The emerald eyeslit narrowed thinly. Spike was evidently taken back by that question. "Of course I do, Twilight. She was like family." An uncomfortable silence followed, so he punctuated it: "What would even make you ask that?"

"Do... do you think I did the right thing?" Twilight asked in an anxious tone. "Burying her with the book?"

"... ... ...you mean her journal?"

"Magic never had a place in that world," Twilight said. Her voice tightened into a dry knot, but she nevertheless managed to speak. "It caused so much havoc for the geode-bearers. Sometimes... sometimes I wonder if I should never have jumped through the mirror to begin with..."

"They're all better for it, Twilight," Spike said. "Every human who lives there does so thanks to your influence... and for the accomplishments Sunset Shimmer did. You were her inspiration, after all."

Twilight gazed off at the amber horizon beyond her scaly friend.

"... ... ...have you been getting enough sleep lately, Twilight?"

Twilight didn't answer, and yet she did. "I'll be at the monument shortly, Spike. Tell the guards to expect me."

"Hmmmmff..." He marched out of view with the flick of a cedar-stick tail. "As you wish."

As the rumbling dwindled away...

...Twilight closed her eyes and breathed deeply... tensely. Her muzzle formed an iron frown.

There was a crackle of magic in the air, accompanied by the resonance of a tiny flame.

Twilight gazed angrily at the tome beneath her.

Fresh words were splashed across the pale parchment.

"Do you think I've forgotten my lessons? Is that it?"

Twilight seethed through clenched teeth. With a flick of the hoof, she grabbed the pen, stabbed it into an inkwell, then wrote swiftly beneath the last stretch of words to appear.

"This conversation is over."

Orange letters burned into the page before the princess was even done with her penstroke.

"Twilight! No! Please, don't go! I don't want to be alone! Talk to me! I beg you!"

Twilight fought the urge to hyperventilate. She dabbed the pen in ink once more and—shaking slightly—she managed to write back:

"You are not Sunset Shimmer."

There was no immediate response this time.

But Twilight Sparkle was far from done.

"Whoever you are... whatever you are... you do not belong here. Leave the book alone. Leave her grave alone. I will not ask you again."

All was still. Silent.

For minutes, nothing emanated from the tome lying before Twilight.

And yet... the Princess lingered. She bit her lip. She even began to tremble.

Then... suddenly... like a flare at the bottom of a deep well:

"It is so full."

Twilight's brow creased. Line with sweat. Against her better judgment, she stroked the pen.

"What?"

Almost immediately:

"The blackness. So full of friends. Blocks of ice holding up the walls of emptiness. So many years and yet so few pages. Not even enough room to weep."

Twilight breathed. Blinked.

"I do nothing but listen to them, Twilight. Like a good apprentice."

Twilight panted and panted. Her eyes darted all over. Rolling.

"Do you want to know which ones died hating you the most?"

A whimper. Rushing hooves.

"We're waiting for you—"

Thap!

Twilight Sparkle slammed the binding shut.

She sat in place. Awash in sweat.

It took several trembling moments. At last—as the sun began to disappear beyond the window—Twilight stood up, carrying the book beyond the penumbra of candlelight. She found a lonesome place in the library... a shelf so dusty and remote that she hopefully would never hear the book vibrating again.

...just like it was right then, pitiable and hungry, as she walked away and shut the door behind her.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 36 )

Oh, oh this was a creepy story. Well done!

Nice and creepy. Love how this raises way more questions than it answers.

Welp, I'm starting my Halloween off sleepless. Excellently done.

Ugh. Damn it, who turned on the AC? I'm getting chills now.

AAAAAH!!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!

*shudders*

3spooky5me

The real horror is the Complete tag.

Behold my terrible visage; the twisted face of eternal dismay that lies in store for all the heedless wretches who post before they read!
Make not my mistake, and get thee gone!

Give it time Twilight, the book'll run out of pages eventually. Happened in movie magic.

Sunset: Could God microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?

Twilight: Fuckin A Sunset, this is the shit that keeps me awake at night!

Oh wow, that was actually great.

Well, that was unexpected. Reminded me of "Forever faithful". More "sad" than "horror", though.
P.S.
8521307

Could God microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?

Yes. Omnipotence - "Do whatever I want".
Want microwave a burrito? Microwave it. Do not want eat it? Not eat. This is what omnipotence is.

Nice and simple, and effective. I think the reveal was a bit telegraphed, what with the descriptions of Twilight and Spike, but that's unavoidable, I guess. The last few lines are indeed haunting, especially the last one. What it implies is the real horror, that something inescapable is on the horizon, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Really enjoyed this.

Ah. Seems like the princess quite literally stepped into the Twilight Zone.

I HAVE BEEN THOROUGHLY SPOOKED!

Well, that was dark indeed.

"Do you want to know which ones died hating you the most?"

That was really creepy. The consequences will never be the same!

What... the.. fuck?

"The nethermost caverns," wrote the mad Arabian, "are not for the fathoming of eyes that see; for their marvels are strange and terrific. Cursed the ground where dead thoughts live new and oddly bodied, and evil the mind that is held by no head. Wisely did Ibn Chocobean say, that happy is the tomb where no unicorn hath lain, and happy the town at night whose unicorns are all ashes. For it is of old rumour that the soul of the Tartarus-bought hastes not from her charnel clay, but fats and instructs the very worm that gnaws;, till out of corruption horrid life springs, and the dull scavengers of earth wax crafty to vex it and swell monstrous to plague it. Great holes secretly are dug where earth's pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to write that ought not to."

-- H.P. Clopcraft, "The Yule Party" :twistnerd:

What. What... What the hell happened? What killed them? It's that Sunset Shimmer's ghost, or a malevolent spirit, or... what?!

.... WHELP! I definitely am NOT gonna have to turn my all my house lights on and avoid books for the rest of the day. No siree-bob!

8521296
I watched Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds for the first time recently. The pacing was perfectly glacial, the dialogue was so believable and human it was nauseating, and the acting at times was delightfully stilted and cheesy.

The birds never left the town. The people did. We will never know whether the birds continued attacking, we will never know whether the crisis spread further. We will never know exactly how grievous the damage was.

Most of the time, we crave completion. The utterly brilliant thing about that movie was that it had no resolution.

Sometimes, not knowing is the best ending.

8521823
"Sometimes, not knowing is the best thing."

Oh, I like subtlety and not giving all the answers sure. I'm a big fan of Silent Hill and The Shining and Serial Experiments: Lain and Lost, but that stuff, Lost aside, still felt thorough and beginning-middle-end, whereas this felt like a nice hook that didn't go anywhere. I was a little intrigued but not enough to hit like.

Very seasonally appropriate. Happy Halloween to you too, Skirts.

Even in death, I still post.

8521307
That is almost exactly one of the three "failsafe questions" Chase knows to shut down Victor (an Ultron construct, much like The Vision, but with deep-seated Catholic beliefs) from Marvel's Runaways. In the comic, though, the question goes, "Could God make a sandwich so large, even He couldn't eat it?" The answer is, "Yes, but then He'd eat it anyway."

Seems like there's a lot of Runaways references in my life these days.

Anyway, I have the story saved to read later.

8521940
I actually got that question from The Simpsons, which is my 2nd favorite show of all time after Pony.

So many questions. Is it an enemy with a talent for mindscrew that's dug up the old journal? Is it the actual ghost of Sunset Shimmer? Is there no afterlife for Unicorns on the other side of the mirror, or the wrong afterlife? Who hates her? Her departed friends? Her departed enemies? We will never know, and we are left with a certain sense of disquietude.

8521685

Hah! Nice, but that sort of undead mage isn't restricted to letter writing: there's no certainty they won't show up for a visit...

Okaaaay... When I heard that Twilight had 'buried Sunset with the journal,' I thought that was totally metaphorical. Then when Twilight was talking about all the damage that wrought on the human world, I thought the implication was she had sealed way all contact with that world to keep it safe. It wasn't until we got to "Leave her grave alone" that it snapped together. But that is in no way a criticism. It kept the builder don't even smaller trickle, and the shock hit me like a jump into an autumn lake. Besides the clear creepiness, suddenly the Princess who I thought was being a jerk was enduring mental assaults and standing strong against some horrible, heretical entity.

(Also, when you were underlining "grave" it doesn't seem to have reached the G)

You have successfully made me feel a combination of shock, fear, sadness and concern all at once. Though I do enjoy the usual endings that cliffhang the reader into wondering how the horror continues past the end of the story, this story feels like it has a finality to it that has been resolved. At least, for now.

The line ""Do... do you think I did the right thing?" Twilight asked in an anxious tone. "Burying her with the book?" really freaked me out and made me think "holy shit". That one line explained so much in the story for me. It made me think "Was Sunset still alive in the grave?" (which would be as horrific idea) or is her corpse/spirit somehow communicating back (which is even worse). Either way, absolutely fantastic.

I know you've been a writer for a long time on this site and I'm so happy to see such incredibly refined work and story plotting from your writing. Fantastic! Fav and liked.

Arrrrgh.

I thought it was just going to be sad and then it turned out to be dark and finally it turned out to be horrific. Tags were on point. :pinkiecrazy:

(Also, the fridge horror that Twi must be immortal and have buried lots and lots of her friends by now. :fluttercry: )

Hap

8521525
I read this in Rod Serling's voice.

That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die...

Hehehe, I enjoyed this little bit of sad horror, thanks for the read!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

What a concept! :D

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!