• Member Since 17th Jun, 2017
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The Red Parade

the only hope for me is you // Profile picture done by Snow Quill


Fiddlesticks and Lightning Dust explore a ruined Manehattan.

About Mapping Manehattan:

Mapping Manehattan is a side project I picked up to challenge myself while I work on other projects. Mapping Manehattan is written with the following parameters: each chapter must be exactly five hundred words, there is no spoken dialogue, and everything is written in present tense.

The concept itself is fairly simple: Fiddle and Lightning explore a post apocalyptic Manehattan. Their journey takes them through the ruined buildings and abandoned city, meeting other survivors and scavenging supplies. The challenge lies on myself to deliver. Where ever they may go, whatever they may do, I hope you enjoy following them.

Updates Mondays and Wednesdays unless otherwise stated.

Submission in GMBlackjack's 'Depth in Innocence' contest. Updated rating from E to T to be safe, meaning that this story no longer qualifies.

Beta read and edited by
And PonyJosiah13

With input from

Smug Anime Girl

Thank you all. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Chapters (35)
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Comments ( 109 )

Was this inspired by Austraeoh?

Possibly? I only read one chapter of it. Was that also limited to specifics like mine?

Why only 500 words a chapter? I want to give this story a shot. But the short chapters are kind of a turn off for me.

And I've found that really short chapters are never a good sign for the story itself. Plus it feels like they're only this long, so the story gets by the 1000 word minimum to be allowed to be published in the first place.

That's fair, but as I said in the description this story is meant to challenge me. 1,000 words are usually how long I shoot for anyways so there wouldn't be a point in setting that as my word goal. And contrary the word count hurt me because I want to do one chapter a week, meaning that in order to get the story published I had to break form and upload two to start with. If I wanted to do what you said then I would have picked 1,000 as my word count.

It started off with short, vague chapters with no dialogue.

Interesting, I guess they are similar then!

If you want the word of one of the people who edited the story, then I can say this experimental piece fares really well despite the short chapter lengths. Atmosphere, lore, characters, it’s all there :raritywink:

Thanks! Couldn't have done it without your guys's help!

Oo, this is nice.

I like, it good.

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

Updates coming every Wednesday!

Why did you choose these two ponies to be your main characters?

A few reasons, really. The first i can trace all the way back to my 'Time Changes Everything' project, where I went about selecting background ponies to write stories about. While I never paired these two together in that project, I did find them interesting characters to write about.

They then carried over to another concept, 'The River,' which saw Lightning move to Appleoosa and befriend Fiddlesticks, although the main story didn't revolve around them. As I was planning out this project, I wondered if I could draw similarities between their dynamic and that of Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Unfortunately this project never panned out and the two kind of went to limbo from there.

I ended up bringing back Fiddlesticks in 'isohel' and remembered how fun it was to write her. That got me revisiting their dynamic and thinking. Here, I took the characters I planned for 'The River' and changed the plot to focus on Lightning and Fiddle in a project called 'the Black Parade.' This one didn't pan out either, but I was determined to get their dynamic out there.

Currently I'm working on an unnamed project that will feature Lightning Dust as a main character and Fiddlesticks as a background character, but the two will most likely be in a relationship. I decided however that I wanted to explore their dynamic in a different fic, and I had been kicking around an idea about a post-apocalyptic Equestria for a while. The end result was this fic.

So, yeah, there's a lot of reasons. I think they are both very underrated characters: Fiddlesticks doesn't even have her own tag, and there haven't been very many Lightning Dust stories since her last appearance on the show, and even then there haven't been many stories about her redemption or underlying motivations.

Besides, I'm a big fan of background ponies. I feel that we have enough stories about characters like the Main Six, but then we have characters like White Lightning who only has 10 stories written about her, Little Strongheart who didn't even have any stories written about her since 2018 (before I wrote 'Give 'Em Hell, Kid) and characters like Fiddlesticks who again don't even have a character tag.

Hope that answers your question!

That reminds me, I first chose to write about Sassaflash because I wanted a fanfic to be about background ponies, since I wasn’t confident enough to write the main characters, and I wanted to go to Cloudsdale in the story, so I chose the first background pegasus to appear in a specific episode. I’ve cancelled that fanfic, but I wrote about her in another. Since Sassaflash isn’t very popular, I feel like she makes my fanfics stand out, and the personality I gave her is something I can call my own.

Yep, that's exactly why writing background ponies is so fun! Especially when there is so much we don't know about a character like Fiddlesticks or White Lightning.

Interesting note, Sassaflash does make an appearance in an upcoming chapter that will be out Wednesday.

Why does White Lightning have a tag, but Sassaflash doesn’t, when they have similar amounts of stories?

Also, I’m considering saying that Lightning Dust is Sassaflash’s sister in one of my fanfics, but it might feel too out-of-left-field.

Does she not? Huh, that's very interesting. I'm not too sure but I think it's something the site creators did. I don't know when exactly they were named, but perhaps White Lightning had an official name before Sassaflash did? I believe both are never named in the show but are named through merchandise, as is the case with many background ponies. I believe for a while characters like Blossomforth didn't have a tag either?

10123101 White Lightning’s tag was only added in 2017. Also, I want to encourage people to write about Sassaflash so she could get a tag like RainbowDoubleDash did with Raindrops, but I don’t have enough influence. Hopefully, you’ll generate some interest about Sassaflash.

Sadly I don't think so, but it'd be awesome if I could. Best of luck to you and your works!

Post-apocalyptic, eh? Is it zomponies? War? A deadly coronavirus? Some other fantastical event? The two former seem more likely, since the protagonists are carrying around rifles. But it's rated E, so I wonder. (?_?)

I think I should expect a tale of mournful remembrance, rather than an exposition of ethics and survivalism.

Pretty much, this is a contest entry after all so I'm operating under some specific restrictions. Hope you enjoy!

I might include Caramel being a delivery pony in my fanfic. That being said, the ponies act too anthropomorphic in this fanfic. How do they hold guns?

I'm using PonyJosiah and BaronEngel's headcanon for weapons, which you can find here.


It's a good headcanon


I like the subtle hints at backstory in this chapter.

Nice title drop at the end there.

Damn you're really on top of the 500 word thing

Where do they get clouds from? Is all of Equestria post-apocalyptic, or just Manehattan?


Since nopony is controlling the weather anymore, nature has taken over, resulting in natural storms and cloud movements.

I plan to slowly reveal more about what happened, so I won't answer that second question just yet.

The ret stains on the carpet explain what happened to them.


What if someone hears us?

That sentence in first-person seems dangerously close to dialogue, Mr. Ret Parade. ;P

That's Mr. Bread Parade, thank you kindly

fixed thanks

Technically it isn't 'spoken,' so more of 'her face says' but I see what you mean.

This was a very sentimental chapter. How do ponies drive cars, though?


Don't really have enough room to delve into that, plus it isn't all that important to the story, but I guess we can just assume that their legs are long enough to reach the pedals.

Cars would have been designed for them. Seat and column are probably adjustable like with cars for us humans.

Small error in chapter Scouting: echoe. You don't need that extra e.

I like this chapter. It says a lot with a little. You’re mastered show, don’t tell.

Thank you! I think this chapter and the next are some of my favorite ones so far!

Thank you, Lightning Dust says.

One of your rules is "no direct dialogue", but you cheat with sentences like this. Are you trying to evoke the narration of The Handmaid's Tale?

It pushes a little bit. I'll probably fix this later. I've never watched Handmaiden's Tale so no comment.

Probably something like:

Lightning Dust thanks her.

But you would need to pick up a word somewhere to make the 500.

Yeah, It won't be that hard, mostly just shuffling words around. Nothing I haven't done before lol.

I kinda question the wisdom of having two characters named Lightning in the same chapter. There were a couple of moments where I was briefly confused about who was who.

I guess. I have a fix in mind if I change White Lightning's name to 'Whitey.'

This would be fixed with alterations to the sort of dialogue. Pick up enough words and you can use the full character name instead of shortening.

I got a better idea of the leads' personalities in this chapter.

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