• Member Since 10th Jul, 2011
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Flashgen


Struggling to edit and write, and starting to read.

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One night, half-awake in the dark, Twilight hears the knocking of pipes in the castle.


First place winner of The Seer's Spookfest, a Quills and Sofas Speedwriting group horror contest. We were given prompts at random from others, and mine was "Sweating Bullets."

A reading can be found here.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 36 )

A very worthy contest winner indeed, I should have known the spook-master would reign supreme ;)
The way you do this is very subtle, yet everything works seamlessly in conjunction to ramp up the fear. It's amazing how genuinely scary you can write Flash, because to unsettle a reader this much is not easy.
Smashed it mate :twilightsmile:

I did enjoy it. But in my mind, I don't think Twilight being Twilight would have just let it go. I think she would have constantly searched for the answer. Maybe try to communicate with whatever was there.

It's good, but I feel like even short stories need a real conflict. This is 90% lead up 10% anticlimax. Very atmospheric and realistic, but at the same time, it's very frustrating to read.

10074339

I don't feel like the best horror has conflicts. A conflict is something understood, it has an easily-defined flowchart. Primal horror, terror, is about not wanting to face whatever it might be, even if you have the idea it's just your imagination, there's also the chance that your imagination is just making light of the situation in an attempt to comfort you.

Conflict, it could be a thing, or someone, or some sort of accidental magic whatsit. These are things Twilight is good at dealing with. But what scares the smartest person around? Not the unknown, but what can't be known. What they don't want to know.

Interesting approach. I like the slow escalation.

You know that feeling?
When you KNOW you are alone at home?
But you swear you are closing more doors than you opened?
Have fun with that.

10074520
Heh, live with cats and dogs, and you will never know this feeling. Even if you lock the doors, they will find a way to open them.

10074473

A conflict doesn't have to be so clearly defined, but it does need to have a climax. As is, it feels like the story just ends- almost like there was some kind of word limit holding it back 🤔

I'm hoping this will be about Azathoth, but I'm guessing it won't be. Either way, looks like an interesting horror--I'll get to it once I've actually got free time, not five minutes I managed to sneak away.

A wonderful little story. There's a horrifying shade of insanity that hangs over every narrative beat. I was reminded of Edgar Allen Poe at several points: the knocking of pipes, like the thumping of the tell-tale heart underneath the floorboards, or the raven's relentless cries of "Nevermore!" Too often, we look to the horror genre and expect to see the knife-wielding killer in the mask, but the demons of the mind can be just every bit as frightening.

10074339
This is one of those horror stories that don't need a flashy end to be climactic. While it doesn't scare everyone, the horror comes from not knowing what was moving in the castle at night or why, and even more strangely, what would have the gall to haunt a powerful alicorn. Imagine being in your own home, knowing something moved through it, despite your best efforts to keep things out, and never know what it wanted or what it would have done had you confronted it.

The room was empty. On the floor, all she could see was the dim outlines cast by her curtains, swaying ever slightly in the still air of the room. There was no figure to cast the shadow between her and the window. She was alone. She repeated the facts to herself in her mind, but she still felt her heart hammering in her chest.

Someone in the kitchen of my house dropped something during this scene, and I jumped three feet in the air.

Soft, purple light shined on her path to the closest bathroom, but only reached far enough to barely illuminate the walls and doors on either side of her.

It's........shone. Not shined. Sorry to point this out, but when people use this it drives me crazy. XD
This was so good! I can still feel my heart pounding.....I am so glad I don't sleep alone.

10075018

I didn't say anything about a flashy end, that's you. I said it had was anticlimactic, because nothing is resolved and there's never a real conflict, and just when it seems we're going to get it, it cuts off. What, exactly, constitutes confronting it? She turned on a light and it disappeared, she saw it and it vanished, she it it with her face and it didn't do anything, it behaves like a bad horror movie monster, looking to jump scare the viewer rather than actual harm anyone.

this reminds me of a Red Dwarf episode

Haven't read this yet but I am reminded of a wizard's advice from ICR where
"Sometimes, unexplained noises are best left unexplained"

10075084
Ah, so you want closure, not a climax. Those are different things. That's another aspect of horror I don't think you're able to appreciate here, not that that's a bad thing, we're all different. What's scary here is that there is no closure, no physical conflict resolved, just Twilight's (and by extension, our) uncertainty of what was really going on. Is she crazy or did something creep into her home, unobstructed, able to do whatever it wanted? And what did it want? Is the enemy real, or is it in her head? Does that mean it'll come back? When, if ever? This story plays on the fear of the unknown and a bit of helplessness, not necessarily the fear of being chased or cornered as the average, mediocre creepypasta will offer. I get that this sounds like a pretentious explanation and maybe a little offensive if you want to take it personally, but you don't have to have a horrifying description of something awful or a fight scene to showcase horror. Sometimes, all it can take to scare a thoughtful audience is something as seemingly inconsequential as a handful of dust.

10075175

Climax isn't by definition a moment of excitement? I really think you've misunderstood what a climax is, it's the moment of highest tension. Twilight never earns her feeling of relief at the end, so the threat is undercut. There is no decline, just a flat drop followed by some afterthought lines about how it didn't happen again.

The average, mediocre creepypasta also plays on "oooh what if something was in your room when you slept" and "footsteps approaching your door over successive nights" is literally a kid's horror story cliche. I think it might be wise not to talk down "mediocre creepypasta" for having chases when defending this story. It is pretentious, because you're talking down elements in a story you personally don't like because I criticised a flaw in the structure of the narrative. You spend half your post straw manning "this lacks a climax" into "this needs big scary monster or bad" then proceed to be smug about the fact that's not necessary. Maybe learn how to read other people's comments before you criticise them for "incorrectly critiquing" something.

Oh, and the story explicitly doesn't ask "will it come back" it says it won't at the end.

10075356
I'd agree in that this story is missing falling action. There's actual closure to it, too. Perhaps too much closure, since it leaves the reader a little bewildered instead of curious. Personally, it kind of felt like there wasn't much point in reading it, since everything was resolved without explanation or hints or anything. It's just "twilight got spooked in the night, but then spike came home, didn't say anything of note and from then on nothing bad like that ever happened again." It doesn't make me wonder what it was, it just makes me shrug and move on, as it feels like Twilight did.

The build-up was nice, it just felt like it was cut too short, like the writer themself got spooked and decided to give it a less creepy ending.

Have to agree with some of the opinions here. I do want to emphasize though how good I think the build-up was, my heart was actually racing with the tension created! But yeah it just sorta feels like something was about to happen, didn’t, and then everyone lived happily ever after. I was left feeling a really anxious “that’s it”? Why am I so tense for no real...pay off I guess? I don’t need full closure or explanation but it definitely feels like something that was meant to happen just didnt

10075764

Or, not to put too fine a point on it, like it was made for a flash fiction contest and the author had a limit on number of words. It sure is brushing 3000...

10075961
Actually, looking at the club, it may have been a time limit thing, so literally rushed...?

10074775
Thank you, now I'm imagining the hellish liping of Azathoth's attendants as terrible plumbing.

And you cannot CONCEIVE of the plumber's crack.

I used to live in a late 18th century mansion that was divided up into apartments and in its basement was an old cast iron steam furnace. The entire mansion was heated by the steam pipes that went to radiators throughout the mansion. I lived on the ground floor and on some nights you could hear the old pipes making "banging noises" as the hot steam traveled up through them. This story kind of reminds me of that.

I love me a good horror story. This was a good one. Kept you guessing, preys on your fear of the unknown, and keeps you wondering. Well done.

A good simple spooky story.

I shouldn’t have read this just as I’m about to head to bed. Great job.

this is a horror story but the thumbnail gives me "im really tired of this shit" vibes

The worst part is that my pipes actually did knock in the middle of the night... as I was reading this.

Well written but I’ve lived/visited/slept in too many centuries old houses/buildings/farmhouses/converted farm silos for it to really click.

10075961

10075998

I looked up the group and this was in their General Info Thread:

Rules:
Writing time is generally an hour, plus 10 minutes editing time, although some contests vary in length.

So yeah, this was most likely written in under an hour.

I was going to complain a little about it feeling like there was not enough near the end... but for a story written on a very short time limit, it's amazingly good.

10091821

To clear up some confusion:

The writing time we had for this contest was 48 hours.
We had a word limit of 3k with some breathing room.

However, if I had infinite time and words, the ending would have probably been the same.

Sooo freaking chilling, the scariest things are those not clearly defined and left to the imagination.

This was an excellent spooky story. :moustache:

10101108
Well after all...
Nothing is scarier.

Finally got the review here for ya!

Ah, the classic unseen thing story. Was it real, or was it nothing? Paranoia, paranormal, or just beyond our our capibility to understand?

Really, I love stories like this, no matter how they end. From the classic lumberjack tales of the Hidebehind, to that Peter Capaldi Doctor Who episode, "Listen". Anything with this premise I love, it makes for good cozy reading and a barrelful of fun.

This tale was immensely enjoyable. Yes, it was short, but many good stories are. Although, may I put forth a theory? I know your prompt was "Sweating Bullets", so what if the apparition was Dave Mustaine? Nothing scarier than an angry political metalhead.

This story got unsettling in a few places here and there, especially the shadow and figure. *Phew* Nice constructed story.

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