In this spoooooky Str8aura entry, your favorite characters are picked off one by one by a relentless, uncaring superpredator hellbent on devouring all of Equestria. Also words are involved. Happy Halloween!

Inspired heavily by Brain Problem Situation, including taking the name of it's monster. I do hope the author doesn't mind.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 6 )

A long time ago, you offhandedly stated that your stories "pretend to take themselves seriously."

Since hearing that, I've had a much easier time grappling with your complicated storytelling style. There's less stress in sifting through metatext, irony, sarcasm, and sleight-of-hoof when there's also an assurance this isn't a test and we're all having fun here. Welcome to Ponyville was an old upload over which I fretted the hardest. Throwing Up was the first one I read after the "Pretends To Take Itself Seriously" enlightenment, and as a result I engaged a lot better.

So where does this one land? Closer to Throwing Up, I'm happy to report. The ton of warning tags prep us for the darkest of dark comedies, though its still rather jarring to see our characters blinked out of existence by the Equestrian equivalent of SCP ••|•••••|••|•. Typical slasher tropes are lovingly indulged, such as the demon's first victim being the moron who conjured in the first place.

(Then again, the list of triggers had 11 entries by the time Twilight burst in on the party. Best not to speculate how she confirmed them all.) :twilightoops:

The tone settles into strangeness as the reaction to Twilight's death isn't panic, but instead resolution that the monster is a puzzle whose solutions should be guessed at. No partygoers seem concerned that wrong guesses result in sharing Twilight's fate, but Spike does point out that ponies are silly little prey animals who are used to this sort of thing. That's the closest reiteration I've ever you get repeating the quote at the start of this essay.

And so, much like the film Cube, we straddle horror and intrigue as our dwindling cast tries and fails to guess workarounds to the environmental terror. It's telling that the strongest emotion expressed is Pinkie's accusation that the "monster is cheating!"

Even Rainbow Dash is too busy keeping up the list of words (at this point too long to have any practical usefulness) to realize she's become the Final Girl of this slasher.

Regarding the monster's defeat, Rainbow Dash's unwashed-ness is an unexpected Chekov's Gun. Per your tendency to open stories with tangents, in-jokes, obscure pop culture references, or some combination thereof, I shrugged off this opening too. Ya got me with this one. It's pretty telling that Celestia hollowly attempts to state some sort of aesop and Twilight wearily shuts her down.

This antagonist was smart, strong, fast, and able to alter the rules of reality, but there's one rule of Gen 4 not even the Thesaurus can touch: things always work out for Rainbow Dash. Preferably without her doing any exertion or conscious prep.

If I were to finish Celestia's attempt at a lesson, I'd say that once losing is inevitable, try changing tactics to make victory unsatisfying. You might get your opponent to rage quit.

But of course, in a story that only pretends to take itself seriously, there's no need for an aesop. Just a pat on the back for a bizarre, creative, and appropriately ghoulish Halloween entry. Here's hoping Rarity finds a decent outfit to wear while recovering from stomach-acid-induced-baldness. A simple mohawk isn't gonna cut it this time.

Happy Nightmare Night, everyone! Be mindful of your words. And your hygiene.

Aside from ultimately wanting to keep it a comedy, I figured that actual tragic reactions to the blinking away of characters would be too wordy (watsonian) and take readers out of the base premise (doylist). Maybe a bit weird to think too hard about, but it's not like potential world enders are new grounds for Equestria.

Rereading with your comment in mind, the inevitable plot hole occurs to me; The whiteboard was split into pieces so no word was ever fully formed, which is an excuse that doesn't really work with single letters like A or I. Oh well. I kept refuting the list because both I and the audience needed it constantly fresh in our memory. After Welcome to Ponyville, this is my second fic to feature an eldritch monster that snacks on ponies, and I'd like to think it's a better usage of that little appeal of mine in a better fic. And yes, I was aware of and actively trying not to copy too hard from The SCP Which Shall Not Be Named.

God, it's good to see a comment from you again. With single digit likes every story, that might as well be my reward. It's weird to think I now have a successful, longform fic that isn't about mlp.


Details, rules, inconsistencies... high concept stories always have threads to pull at, even the greats like Groundhog Day or It Follows. No need to fret over the whiteboards; maybe the lettes "A" and "I" were spread over multiple tiles. Or Dash's hoofwriting was so sloppy they weren't legible as letters. The two genres least expected to have airtight plots are horror and comedy, so you're in the clear.

It's weird to think I now have a successful, longform fic that isn't about mlp.

Ah, I'd guessed you were off mingling in bigger and better fandoms than this one. Pleased to hear I was correct. You ought to make more blog posts shouting our your offsite projects. You never know your own crossover appeal until you test it.


With single digit likes every story, that might as well be my reward.

For my part, I do find myself mystified that this story hasn't traveled farther than it has. Perhaps it's my own preconceived notions distorting my perspective — 2019, my first and perhaps most lasting impression of what constituted a quote-unquote "hit" on this site, has in hindsight struck me as particularly kind towards comedic oneshots of a similar, slightly sardonic variety — but to my eyes, this had all the makings of a riotous smash. I have no clue why this veritable foghorn's instead slipped under the radar.

Ironically prosaic ramblings aside, I really enjoyed this! A simultaneously humorous and unnerving process of elimination (in terms of both the game and its players, I might cheekily elaborate) that evoked shades of ol' Candle Jack, if that name rings a be—

Fascinating, absurd, and fast-paced enough that most of the dread was in hindsight. Still some great suspense, and it did get legitimately concerning when the Thesaurus decided to stop toying with its prey for a while, but you struck a great balance between horror and comedy. Applejack almost getting a pass was both a great nod to the source of inspiration and a way to subvert any expectations of the same solution working this time.

Great stuff all around. Thank you for it.

aww i know how it feels to make something and then it's unpopular. I should let you know, I enjoyed the story

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