• Member Since 5th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen Yesterday

TheGreyPotter


27, Female, Iowan, College Graduate. Favorite Pony: Celestia. Favorite Not Pony: Discord. Yeah, I like Equestria's Gods, so that's what most my fics are going to be about!

T
Source

In the back of the white marble archives, behind a rusted door, paint peeling and centipedes crawling under the frame, there's a set of stairs. They buckle like cork, and descend into a lightless library coated in dust, pages, and runes. Here, Twilight Sparkle stumbles upon a perfectly preserved body. Her own body.

Created for EqD's Nightmare Night Fanfiction Contest ~ 3rd Place Editor's Choice

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 52 )

Woah, I'll admit, I'm slightly confused, but I love the effort that's gone into describing it all.

Not quite done yet, but... holy shit, this is interesting.

Woah... that is all.

So... I don't get it! Very good, though. My dad was watching a mystery show with mysterious music, matched the theme in this story perfectly!

Ahhhh! Wow, so awesome. So suspense-filled. I'm just waiting for something to happen. At the edge of my seat (if I was sitting and not lying down) but Whoa, nice one. I really like this :twilightsmile:

Ok. I'm scared now. Thanks. Seriously, good job.

Now THAT was a creepy story!
:moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

I'll admit I have little love for horror stories that provide a bizarre situation but leave so much unexplained that one can only hypothesize as to what the whole deal was. But whatever was going on, this fic definitely provided the creeps and chills I was looking for.

Awe... I want to know what happens next!

Wow. Impressively creepy! You end up coming up with ideas about what's really going on here, and none of them are nice or good or comforting ones.

Well uh, I'm a little confused by the ending actually. :twilightblush:

Sometimes the unknown is far scarier than anything you could write down.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

"I pushed my nail into each thumbtack"
This should be "push", and I'm not clear on "nail" - I can't find any reference to hoof anatomy that involves the word nail.

"Need a different tact."
I think you meant "tack", not "tact".

I wish the summary hadn't told me from the beginning that it was her own body. That would have been a nice little reveal to warm things up.

But, overall, quite creepy. I really need to stop reading all these one after another...

w... wh... wha... whaaaaa? :pinkiecrazy:

All that awesome build-up! Great writing, except for a few minor grammatical mistakes! And then? NOTHING! Giant cliff-hanger! GRARRRRGHHH. That's aggravating. :twilightangry2: Very creepy, though, so good job. :twilightoops: :twilightsmile:

1511945
1508206
Honestly... I didn't want to write "the thing that happens next" :twilightblush:
The story was about that creaky library, and the fear of being in a spooky place all alone. To ignore it, and press forward to focus on the body, meant that there would have to be a tremendous shift on what's primarily scary about the piece.
Plus, to spend that much time/words in the build up, I'd have to spend equal or more time/words on some kind of logical payoff. And to be honest, I didn't want to do that. I had a creepout piece that I was proud of. I'd rather leave it hanging on the "cut to black" then ruin it with a conclusive, but possibly more weak ending.

That said, maybe when the contest is over, I'll write some kind of "return," or a few follow-up chapters... I feel like there's a lot of potential to the setting, and a number of different things that could be explored within its corklike confines.

1512137
Oh, I understand why cutting off there was a good idea. Leave it to the reader's imagination, keep it creepy, all that. That doesn't make it any less aggravating! Heh. Still, a nice story. It didn't feel like an implied death to me, though, and still doesn't, but perhaps I'm just not properly getting it. All I saw was it cut off. *shrugs*

1512219
Oh, I don't really know if she's dead, dead either.... :pinkiecrazy: But if the story doesn't continue, might she as well be? :trollestia:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Was going to post responses on EQD, but since this is on fimfic, I may as well post it here!

Oh yes, this is the one which I said sounded most interesting from the description. The writing grabs me pretty much from the get-go; you're crafting excellent mood with good imagery. The main issue with the writing I'm seeing are choppy fragments that don't add anything to the flow or voice. But you've captured Twilight so well with this. Her ever-efficient scientific mind is helping her cope with the claustrophobic surrealism, the close brush with her own... Well, not mortality, really. But something. My word, this is really tense! But dammit, it seems like you just stopped at the end. There's lots of mood here, yes, and lots of mystery, but to no purpose. Still, I really enjoyed this, I think the horror is effective, just please, finish it! Bring this to some sort of conclusion!

1512794
Repost! :pinkiecrazy:

Honestly... I didn't want to write "the thing that happens next" :twilightblush:
The story was about that creaky library, and the fear of being in a spooky place all alone. To ignore it, and press forward to focus on the body, meant that there would have to be a tremendous shift on what's primarily scary about the piece.
Plus, to spend that much time/words in the build up, I'd have to spend equal or more time/words on some kind of logical payoff. And to be honest, I didn't want to do that. I had a creepout piece that I was proud of. I'd rather leave it hanging on the "cut to black" than ruin it with a conclusive, but possibly more weak ending.
That said, maybe when the contest is over, I'll write some kind of "return," or a few follow-up chapters... I feel like there's a lot of potential to the setting, and a number of different things that could be explored within its corklike confines.

Ooh, though there is something else I want to add:
Regular readers of my works know that I'm still getting the hang of ending things properly... :pinkiecrazy:

This was the second story of the 10 I picked out based on the descriptions but to be honest, I was a little disappointed... The premise really intrigues me but as a couple people mentioned, the writing style was a little choppy and kind of bugged me. And the end... I triple checked to make sure that was actually THE END, because it felt like you cut it off in midsentence or something. I hope I'm not coming off too harsh especially since you already said endings are something you need to work on. The other criticism I would have is even though you were very descriptive, which worked really well for this in setting the creepy setting, I found some of it little hard to follow as I read and some of the word choices didn't work really well, like the aforementioned "nail" thing. That's all coming from someone who's a little of a grammar nazi, and all my criticisms are based on your writing, but you did EXCELLENT as far as your premise, the mood, and an original idea. I hope you keep writing and getting better!

From my series of EQD comments ranking my top six favorite of the contest submissions:
"1) Body of Work. One thing I can't help but highlight amidst every awesome thing about this story is the premise. The likes of demons, vampires, and cannibals are fundamentally simple ideas elevated by the means by which their authors execute them. But in addition to being the most well-told out of all these horror stories, the central concept of finding your own dead body that's mysteriously changed its position each time you return to it inside a hidden room containing some unknown dark force that's working against you in ever-more determined ways... it really deserves an applause for the author all on its own. And from there, the story only builds on this great idea, with a meticulously crafted atmosphere that grabs the reader and steadily squeezes tighter as the story goes on. I absolutely adore Twilight's characterization throughout it all, especially in how it so effortlessly justifies her returning to the room again and again of her own volition rather than having landed herself in a situation that she can't escape (which makes the story even more amazingly unique). It's believable in terms of her character while at the same time dealing with it in a complex and nuanced way and placing her in a position that, while not utterly without precedent ("Feeling Pinkie Keen" comes to mind), is unlike anything I've read in any other MLP fic or is likely to be explored by any future episodes. This is perhaps best exemplified by her relationship with her body, particularly in the second instance where her feelings toward it are established (maternally covering it with a blanket); since I'm on a roll concerning touching moments in these stories, this one takes the #3 slot, and I must once again iterate the importance of moments like these to provide impactful juxtaposition and give such horror stories proper context within the notoriously optimistic nature of MLP's setting. (For this same reason, I also appreciated the small injection of humor about halfway through where she uses a pun to distract herself from her mounting fear.) And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the story is easily the scariest of all the submissions. It's obvious, reading it, that the author has a great control over and awareness of prose and its strengths and weaknesses as a medium. Because prose has honestly never been good at being scary in the way that we think of horror films as scary, since when we watch horror films we're fearfully anticipating the moment where something jumps out at us and gets us to scream aloud. By contrast, no one's ever screamed and thrown a horror novel across a room without having turned a page to find that there's a spider living in it. Where prose excels, however, is its capacity to be creepy. You can take a monster and attempt to describe it as frightfully as you like, and it will still stand little chance of comparing to a dark room where reality is skewed ever so slightly off-kilter that it drives a rational character like Twilight to speak to it against her will, break down into mad laughter, and panickingly conjure so much magic that she endangers her own health. And of course, the scariest thing of all is the unknown, so while I foresee many readers being let down by the open ending, I love the possibilities it creates - has Twilight at last fallen for the dark force's trap, or is her willingness to physically touch her body the final consummation of her feelings toward it, the triumph over her own self-doubt? I have no idea, and I have a feeling I don't want to. All I know is that I couldn't vote for this story fast enough."

1514242
I don't have near enough smilees to express just how happy this review makes me feel :raritystarry:
But I do have a favorite line. (among many choices, because holy crap, thank you for the review!)

It's obvious, reading it, that the author has a great control over and awareness of prose and its strengths and weaknesses as a medium.

God... I cant even begin to explain why that line makes me so damn happy. :rainbowlaugh: I guess because it's right on the money! And yet, for all I think about the topic, nobody really notices considerations like that. If you're doing your job right, they shouldnt notice stuff like that! But you recognize the effort, the choices, man! You do! Thank you! :raritystarry:

1515055
It's the least I could do, really (and something I really ought to do more often, not only because good writers deserve it but because, as an English major, this sort of thing is honestly good practice). Actually, you did more to inspire my praise than you probably realize; I saw one of your comments on the EQD page mentioning that you had written this story, and I tried replying with a small "Congratulations and also I totally voted for you!"-type comment, but for whatever reason it wouldn't go through no matter how many times I tried refreshing the page and posting it again. At which point I got it into my head to write a longish comment ranking the stories I liked (I told myself I'd write just a few sentences per story...). So thanks to you - and random glitches in EQD's comment system - both you and slightly more than half of the other contributing authors earned extra-long critiques in defiance of my usual overriding laziness (and I, in the process of writing of the stories' merits, grew to appreciate them all the more).

1515143
I tried to do some long reviews of my own (English minor, WE ARE DUTY BOUND TO CRITIQUE! :trollestia:) but they weren't nearly as lengthy nor half as polite as yours, I dont think :twilightblush: Consistent flaws sometimes override what I enjoy about a work, and its hard to leave a lot of positive comments...

But I actually sat down and read the rest of your long-form reviews, and I can personally say they were all fantastic. :twilightsmile: Getting a long review like that, understanding exactly what made ones story click and didn't click, those are incredibly helpful to one's personal progress. Especially since, on most stories, you only get that kind of review once in a blue moon. The type that seems both well-informed, and very thorough about strengths and weaknesses both.

So, once more, thank you for taking the time to do that. not just for my story, but for the six stories you decided to do a review on.

So uh... will the body ever move?

Woah, now that was creepy. I was on edge the whole time just waiting for something to pop out. Excellent work!

The place where it cut off didn't make much sense to me. It's not particularly scary (odd or even eerie, but not scary), we've received no information that would tell us why it probably should be scary, and no real idea what in the hell is going on.

Hmm.....Interesting. Confusing, but interesting........And I like it. Well done Grey. By the way, this is LunarGuard12 reporting.

This story is really great up to the very end. It isn't so much the fact that you don't reveal Twilight's fate in the end as it is that the mystery itself isn't solved. It has such an intriguing concept and an amazing setting that it literally ruins it for me that the mystery is never revealed.

I don't get it. Not that I didn't enjoy it, I just...don't get it. I suppose this lack of comprehension stems from the fact that we receive no new information during the story. It's just Twilight, paranoid as usual, discovering a comatose carbon copy of herself in a Canterlot Castle basement. Creepy? Fuck yes. Easy to understand? Hell no.
I demand background information. My intellect will not stand this!

1530934
Dude, your intellect is leading you to overthink the hell out of this.
Maybe it's just a creepy story and setting, and there's nothing more to that. :trixieshiftleft:

1531197
I hate that. But I did favorite the story.

I think the scariest part is that it's never revealed why all this is happening in the first place. After all, the most terrifying thing in the world is the extent of a person's imagination.

Fantastic work.

Gave this a read because the description drew me in. Seemed like an interesting premise and you sure did deliver! The atmosphere and the depiction of Twilight's paranoia are on point.

With or without more, I think it is definitely a good piece! Definitely makes the imagination run wild. Excellent job sir! :twilightsmile:

(And leaving the review here as well for... uh... posterity. Now with an additional last paragraph!)

This story really impressed me with its writing and might just the best tension setting story of the lot.

I mean it, the tension and rising suspense was well done. I was definitely on the edge of my seat. Others have criticized the choppiness of the narrative but given we are inside Twilight's mind, it makes sense. That's how someone, especially her, would think in a setting like that. It also lends itself to the jaggedness of the setting. It’s a quiet, dead room, one in which every thought and every action is something that stands out.

The ambiguity of the premise really worked in this story's favor. Right from the beginning we are handed a scene that is extremely compelling. Any background or external factors, such as other characters would, have ruined the premise. No Celestia, no explanation as to what Twilight’s doing at that library, or where her friends might be, just her, the room, and the body. You resisted the exposition pitfall! Have a cookie!

You also captured Twilight's character perfectly: doggedly persistent, always logical, yet entirely human in her fear. The reader knew, as well as Twilight, that she couldn’t keep up her normal approach for too long before things fully got under her skin. The build-up of an utter freakout by Twilight is almost more scary than anything that could possibly happen in the room, because that would deprive the reader of their fortress. The reader takes comfort inside Twilight's grounded mind but if she lets loose the bounds of sanity, then what does the reader have to stand on? It's a scary place to be. (Wow, I got far more cheesball-pithy there than I intended…)

However, despite all this nicely constructed writing we are still left without a true conclusion. Now I understand why you did this, I really do. You have all that suspense of the unknown, all that build up, and then you're forced to have a payoff? It's hard. The very mystery of the room and the body is what gives everything its horror, however, without a sense of finality, without a conclusion to roll around in my brain, it's hard for me to really say this story will stick with me. Even Lovecraft, whose very forte was the horror of the unknown, gave his story's conclusions. He hardly explained everything by the end, but they felt complete nonetheless.

I personally would urge you to write up a finish for it sometime (though I don't wish to sound bossy). I'd certainly give it points for effort, regardless of how good it was.

And I do mean that. If you're thinking about returning to it my response would be "Do it, filly!" I personally think it would be better to give it a shot and have it fall flat than just leave it hanging, but perhaps that's just me. Regardless, I shall be keeping an eye on your other writings.

1540293
Again, thank you kindly for your review :twilightsmile: And double thank you for posting it here so I can remember and cherish it always :trollestia:

Someday...
An alternate ending will be had! :pinkiecrazy:

"My talking is an offensive" should be "offense".

The story regresses into past tense between "There was a clatter." and "There we are."
Than again for a little bit after "Did I have the courage".
And with "It hummed as well!"
And "The scratches were pinching again. I adjusted, tilting to one side."
And "There were needles in my belly! I rubbed a hoof up and down my stomach, creaking and crashing backwards. The light spell sputtered and vanished, and silence pressed into my eyes, my ears."
And finally "And I reached my bloodied hoof"

Present tense is fine if you keep it consistent. In all other ways, I like this story, but it's grating to have to read through tense turbulence.

This story definitely should have won the contest, it was creepy as F---. Definitely the most well-written out of all the ones I've seen (aside from mine, of course :trollestia:), and that ending- holy shenanigans, talk about surreal horror. The writing became shorter and more fragmented as Twilight's madness increased, it fit so well! It felt like I was reading the Twilight Zone.

This. Is definitely one for the ages. Kudos, sir.

And then Twilight was the face.
:rainbowderp:

1540729
Usually I would say "thoughts in present, actions in past."
Then I remembered DERP! I wrote this story totally in present! :rainbowlaugh:
Thanks, I'll scrub those out as I edit and add~

Very nicely written story and I've got only 2 complaints:

1. I feel like the story needs a single sentence more. While you have cut it of at the height of the suspense, there isn't enough direction to what the reader should be afraid of in the end. While I can see all manners of scary and bad reactions, I can also see all kinds of positive and good outcomes and I'd guess just going a little bit further would cut them out entirely.
The way it is currently, it's an interesting view into twilight and how she copes with the situation, but what with the corpse never moving at all and twilight spending the last few paragraphs of the story blaming the room for the scary stuff it takes away the expectation that anything might happen.
... though I guess thinking about it, it just seems reasonable that if twilight's theory is correct the spell would react quite heavily to her touching the corpse, but still - it needs a bit more direction in my opinion.

2. The combination of these bits threw me a bit of:

But this wing was something I had never seen before.

I’ve never once seen a single librarian down in this crypt.

- of course it makes perfect sense as soon as one has read a few more lines, so it's really just a minor thing. But it startled me and made me reread the beginning a few times thinking that I missed something because of the sudden, percieved, change from "down in that area for the first time" to "been there quite often". Might also have been because I went into the story with the expectation that twilight finding the body would be the end of the fic.

But yeah, considering that those are my only complains and the second one is quite the minor one ... and well, that I enjoyed the story quite a lot and that it drew me in, I'd say: job well done and thanks for writing it!

This is the sort of story I really enjoy. You don't need to have things logically explained at length, that would detract from what it's trying to do. Some people will enjoy it and some will not. Some people just need for things to be all laid out for them, arranged in nice neat rows in a well lit room. They, unfortunately, seem to miss the fact that doing so would rob the story of its power.

The only problem I had with it, as you stated yourself, was the ending. It could have built to a higher peak before fading to black. You could have slowed time down as we peer into Twilight's attempt to stand up to her own doubts and fears. Within her own concerns, you could have hidden a few hints at possibilities of where it could go next, just before she makes physical contact with her own corpse. Usually this is the sort of advice I just keep to myself unless it is asked for, but your style reminds me of my own. I felt kind of obligated to throw a blanket over you before running out of the room. :raritywink:

There's some references to "thumb" (like in "thumbtack") which should probably be "hoof".

2398181
I am incredibly saddened that this comment represents your strongest impression of the story. :fluttershysad:

2399733

Sorry, unless I really like a story, or find a quote that makes me laugh out loud, I only make grammar/spelling corrections.

2401667 That's a bit of a shame. Tell us why you didn't really enjoy it, or why none of the quotes stuck out to you. The comments are there for exactly that... to comment.:twilightsmile:

I've just binge-read like half a dozen short horror stories, and this is probably the best one so far.

My only comment is about the ending, which others have pointed out too. While I'm a big fan of Lovecraftian-ish horror of the unknown, there has to be a reason to be afraid of said unknown for the horror to actually work.
Here, the last bit in the story sets up the body as being a protagonist, so to speak, while singling out the room itself as the antagonist. While of course Twilight might be completely wrong about that, she's a smart pony and could well be correct - this creates a feeling that touching the body is not necessarily a bad thing.
The result is that the story builds up an excellent horror atmosphere... And then basically says: "Hey the main creepy thing here is actually not at all creepy, here I brought a blanket and a sandwich for it" and then immediately tries to rely on said "main creepy thing" still being creepy (which it's not) to create a suspenseful ending (which fails), thus ending the story on a quite anticlimactic note. Hell, for all we know, touching the body dispelled the curse/spell on the room and gave Twilight all the answers she wanted.

If, on the other hand, the story gave some clue that Twilight's view expressed above ("the body's actually not creepy, I brought it a sandwich) is actually not true, and Twilight just got fooled by the spell into thinking like that, and touching the body is actually probably a Bad Idea, the ending would have been that much more potent.

Sequel?

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