• Member Since 17th Jun, 2017
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The Red Parade


One for the rocks and one for the scary.

T
Source

Applejack wakes up one day to find that everyone in Ponyville is floating. But she'll fix this. She has to.


Second place story in the Black Sunday contest hosted on Quills and Sofas.

Cover art commissioned by the ever-talented Shaslan!

Edited with feedback during the contest by Seer, Mushroom, LostinFandom, WishComeTrue, Vis-a-Viscera, Shaslan, AuroraDawn, Decaf, and Silent Whisper. Edited again after the fact by Shaslan (told you she was ever-talented).

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 29 )

Man... I remember when I first read this story, and I didn't think it could get any better then! It somehow has, and it's a masterpiece of imagery and tone shifts that leave me desperate to puzzle out what's really happening. I only wish I could read it for the first time again, and then again, and then again...

What the heck just happened??!!

10718250
Apple Bloom drowned in a flash flood; the "everypony's floating away" vision is a symbolic representation of Applejack's grief.

10718255

Dang! How did you figure that out so fast?!

10718258
Honestly, I didn't think it was that hard to figure out; the final few passages made it pretty clear IMO.

10718263

I read it again. And now I see it as well. Guess that "Everypony Floating" is a personal nightmare, and fear of losing all of your friends and family. 😥

Really really unsettling imagery throughout, and that ending caught me off guard.

10718510
i have to agree!

This was really good. Like really good. Loved the imagery and the implications of the text. This was great.

Horror writing that both is and isn't conventional is definitely a genre that I have a soft spot for. Good job with this one!

Wow... This is... wow! It took me a while to get it; I'm not good with stories like these. I had to read it multiple times to get it! Guess that shows how good of a writer you are. Have a like and a follow. You earned it!!

Ha great
A story of loss is found right as I experience to possiblity of loss

why

Unconventionally creepy. Good stuff.

"Applejack, the accident was five years ago. You need to let go."
In all seriousness, presenting symbolism in stories without it feeling too heavy-handed or on the nose is difficult. You managed to nail it in a way that was both heart-wrenching and horrifying to read through.
Well done. Well done indeed.

I do not like this story. I like the way it is written but I do not like this story


That being said it's one of the better a Crusader has died stories I've seen I understand where you're coming from with Applejack wanting to say that there was a enemy that caused that Bloom's death due to the fact that her parents died in something she couldn't control but seriously AppleJack's already gone through this as a child she wouldn't be like this she wouldn't even be trying to remember Apple Bloom's death at worst she would be broken and catatonic not just somewhat coherent

10719961
Canonically, she doesn't remember them. They died waay too early in her life for her to have really learned that sort of loss, and even if she did its a different kind of loss. Losing your parents is not the same as losing a sibling.

10719961

she wouldn't even be trying to remember Apple Bloom's death at worst she would be broken and catatonic not just somewhat coherent

That wouldn't come until AJ accepts that she couldn't stop it from happening. Her whole charade is an attempt to avoid exactly what you're describing.

Orc very creepy, very intriguing. Nice work

10718274 Those who survived the eruption of Pompei, those who survived the Roman Plague outbreaks, those who survived the Black Death, and those who survived the Spanish Flu, and those who survived the Holocaust, and those who survived the Purges of Stalin, Mao, and Khmer Rouge, and the Rwandan Genocide, the Armenian Genocide... they already know what that feels like.

History is replete with examples of mass death that wiped out most, if not all, of cities and nations and peoples.

When you know as much as I do, the inevitable no longer holds any dread.

10722149

Um. That is actually too much, and very dark to read about. But, I do get it anyway, and know about the Infamous Historical Disasters, Plagues, Genocides by Tyrants, etc..

But, this Story is all about a Flood, and only one died ( Applebloom ). And as for the "Floating" thing. That was just a terrible nightmare, nothing more.

At first I thought this was some SCP type thing or the Hiss from Control. Was not expecting that ending. Excellent, short premise and a solid twist, well done.

10722191 My point is that fearing death doesn't drive it away. It simply makes you too afraid to live.

10722980

So, being Depressed all day doesn't help you moving forward. Makes sense.

*clutches chest* Mah hart!

*collapses* ... moar...

Well this was an interesting find to stumble across.

I was drawn in by the vivid imagery of this nightmare situation (mark me down as another one who thought of Control), but the more I read the more apparent it became that there was something deeply wrong about the whole thing. The interludes with Applejack telling the bedtime story to Apple Bloom become more and more unsettling with each passage as Applejack grows increasingly unhinged in her delusions. The visual of all these ponies not just floating inexplicably but also limp and lifeless is immediately striking. It's so easy to imagine Applejack being in a panic when she finds Big Mac, only to then see the distant shapes of more ponies drifting skyward, away from her, leaving her behind. Given the specific visual of the body splayed out limply and looking up, I have to imagine that it's probably supposed to be a reflection of how Apple Bloom looked when Applejack finally found her.

It's obvious that all of this is representing Applejack's grief, but more specifically it's a matter of her in the anger and bartering stages of grief. I guessed early on that the queen and daughter in the bedtime story were probably meant to be Applejack and Apple Bloom, but the King of Leaves was more nebulous. This is appropriate since the King of Leaves isn't an actual person but a vague personification of the Everfree Forest. The queen's subjects try to insist to her that the King of Leaves isn't worth devoting so much effort to, just like Applejack's friends and family probably tried to tell her that there wasn't anything she could do about the Everfree Forest--"It's just natural." Applejack wants to believe that there's someone responsible for this disaster, not just because that would give her something concrete to direct her anger toward, but because that would mean that there's something she could "defeat" just like all the other villains she's fought, and that would presumably undo everything that happened. But, alas, sometimes these things just happen, and there's nothing you can do about it.

There's something heartbreaking (and kind of hilarious) to me, though, that I briefly thought "Holy shit did everyone in Ponyville die?" only for it to turn out that it was "just" Apple Bloom and yet that's even sadder.

The only thing I'm not sure of is the significance of the flower being "cold and metallic." A flower put on Apple Bloom's grave?

I have to say though, that cover art is spectacular, having the floating ponies visible in the reflection of the water while looking down on Applejack and showing how utterly distraught she is, again such an immediately attention-grabbing image.

So lemme see if I got this... The Everfree Forest (King of Leaves) had a flash flood. It was when AJ (the queen) was putting Apple Bloom (the daughter) down for bed. The bedtime story we read parallels the feelings AJ went thru when nopony helped her find someone responsible for Bloom's death. Everyone floating away represents them moving on while AJ is unable to. Did I miss anything?

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