• Published 31st Oct 2012
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The Inn of the World - The Writer's Group



Luna listens to ponies stories in the tavern she runs.

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"Peripherals" by electreXcessive

Candelight and her young mother finished their dinner with great appetite. I couldn't help but crack a soft smile thinking about the little enchantments I had put in their food. They where both going to sleep well tonight, untroubled by nightmares for perhaps the first night in a long time. Do not think of my as cruel, my children. I can give sweet dreams as well as nightmares as I please.

“Thank you kindly for your generosity, madam!” the mother said to me. “And my compliments to the chef,” she added.

“GRRROAAAAR!” the roar came from the kitchen.

“I think he likes you,” I informed her with mischievously slanted eyes.

“Uhm... I really gotta get some sleep now,” she said as she hasted towards the stairs, still carrying the bundle of blankets and comforters.

A drowsy air began to settle throughout the tavern, entirely without my intervention. The dark and the fireplace performed a magic all on their own, relaxing my customers and driving them onwards.

“I better go hit the hay,” Red Velvet said. “I'm gonna have to get up early tomorrow.” He turned to me. “Say, is there and extra mattress I could borrow?”

I will personally put a dummy of you in your bed after you leave to throw off potential followers if it makes you feel better, but I assure you that it won't be necessary.” I replied, sensing what it was he had in mind. He looked a bit alarmed at the ease which I managed to decrypt his intention.

“Oh... all right then... by the way, should you perhaps do something about him?” Red Velvet pointed towards Maplewood, who had been working hard to earn a new ticket to the land of drunkenness in the last hour or so and by the looks of it, he had finally arrived. His head was resting on the bar disk in a puddle of drool and he let out a content snore.

“I will take care of him, I said.” Don't you worry.” And as Red turned around, I teleported the unconscious pony into one of the unoccupied bed, where Crane and sir Halfblood tucked him in for the night.

“It's been fun here, but I should be moving,” Gold Blitz announced as he removed himself from the sofa.

“Take care,” I said as he exited. I was thankful that my remaining customers hadn't noticed the sudden shift in weather as the door now led to the calm streets of Ponyville, with no rainstorm in sight. The storm returned a short while later, as if somepony had unpaused a video tape.

The brown pegasus pony stayed for a while longer besides the fireplace, still reading that old tome he carried. I furrowed my brow as I noticed the title, “The reign of Nightmares”. I had hoped that Celestia had managed to burn every copy of that accursed book, for ponies safety if nothing else. I was not exactly in my right mind when I wrote it.

But eventually even the pony named after an owl had to yield to the night, and I was left alone by the bar. When I was sure that all of my guests where fast asleep, I dampened the light from the fireplace and clapped my hooves together to call for a meeting. At first, nopony seemed to react to my command, but after a short while, beings began to stir.

The cook growled and jumped out from behind the screen, his brown fur glistening in the last dying embers of the fire. And once the last ember went up in smoke, Crane, Halfblood and most of the other ghosts drifted down from upstairs, their chains rattling hollowly as a greeting. I studied this menagerie of ghouls and gave them all a warm smile.

“Excellent job, everypony!” I said to them. “They may not ever know you where there, but you did a great job keeping the atmosphere spooky. There's just a few things we need to take care of before closing shop tomorrow. Crane, there's a brown pegasus in room number seven that needs a good scare, and if you can manage to take that cursed book of his, I'd be much obliged.” The headless horse saluted in true military fashion and trotted up the stairs.

“As for the rest of you...” I began, but I was interrupted by a knock.

“Strange,” I muttered. “I did not sense anypony arrive.

I opened the door to a still raging storm. The hood of my cloak shielded my eyes just enough for me to see trough the sharp torrents of rain. I thought I saw something drift across the road, like a bright colourful speck amidst the dull grey dark, but I can't be sure. I never did sense who it was and it could just have been my imagination. I was just about to close the door again when I noticed a brown, rain-stained package on the doorstep.

“Curious, what can it be?” I wondered as I levitated the package into the room.

It turned out to contain a video tape with a note attached to it:

“Dear Princess of the Night

I was told you had a taste for the ghostly and the mysterious, and being of a similar mind myself, I had one of my apprentices deliver this to you. Y'see, I'm a little tied up at the moment, I guess you can say that I've hit rock-bottom. But my will still burns bright and my influence is only somewhat diminished.

I know we had our differences in the past, but there is still room by my side, should you decide to turn your back on that boring old sister of yours and come join me in chaos.

Five Tons of Flax!

Mr. D”

“Every Nightmare night with this guy!” I exclaimed as I read the letter. “At least he didn't call me this time, how can someone who's a statue be this relentlessly annoying?” I sensed no malicious curses from the tape, however, and curiosity got the better of me. With one blast of magic, I made a television appear by the bar disc.

“Impromptu movie night, everypony!” I announced and a few of my ghosts and ghouls gathered around me. The cook went into the kitchen to make popcorn for us as the tape started up.


Peripherals
by electreXcessive

If you’re viewing this... I... I’ve been trapped in here for nearly a week. It’s been nearly a week since I’ve seen the outside, and I can’t take it anymore! They’re everywhere; they’re everywhere, and now they’re coming for me. I... I have to leave a warning, for you; a warning for whatever Celestia-forsaken soul is unlucky enough to see this. I suppose that I should probably start at the beginning, so that you know what happened and such.

*Snap*

Have to hurry... Have to hurry. They’re trying to find a way into my home, and I can’t hold them off forever. They’re coming to kill me. They know, that I know; I know what they are. I know why they’re here. They are predators, and if I know what they are; if I can warn everybody, they won’t be able to get food anymore. You have to prepare yourself though. You have to be ready to warn everypony, because once they know that you know, they’ll come for you too.

Well... I... I suppose I should get started. I’m a... Well I used to be a normal pony up until a few days ago. Just a normal pegasus, living a normal life, with normal friends. I live quite a ways outside of town, so I don’t really have a lot of contact with other ponies unless they come to visit me. I... I guess that’s why they chose me. Name’s Blue Grass by the way. Just thought I’d throw that out there... At least somepony will remember my name.

Like I said, it all started last week. On my birthday in fact. Heh. Isn’t that ironic? That my life gets ruined on the one day of the year that I’m supposed to have a good time? The one day that I’m surrounded by my friends and loved ones is the last that I’ll ever see of them... It was a great day if you’re wondering actually. Guess that sort of makes me happy... That their last memories will be of a happy me. Not of this terrified pony that I am now; this defeated being that I call myself.

It all started after the party. We’d all had a great time together, average party stuff. You know, drinks, games, dancing and all that jazz. Everypony was headed home after all of that intense partying, and it was pretty late at night. One of my best friends had gotten me a new video recording device for my birthday. You know, those new things that use magic to capture videos so that you can watch them later?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for all of the other presents, but this one? This one was something else. I’ll tell you, I had never been more excited for anything in my life. I just wanted to test it out... Oh Celestia, all I wanted was to test it out, to have a little fun.

*Tap*

Hah! You’re not getting in that way you monsters! I boarded up the windows! How stupid do you think I am? Right, the story. I have to hurry... They’ll be finding a way in any minute. Where did I leave off? No, no. Just skip that part. Skip ahead to the important details. We can’t be rambling right now; there’s not enough time...

It all started when I walked out into the forest to test out my new camera, and just to get a bit of fresh air. It can get a bit stuffy in here sometimes, and it was the perfect time for me to go check out how my new toy worked. Celestia... I wished I had never gone out on that damn walk!

Everything started off normal enough, just the normal stuff. A few birds here and there, and a squirrel or two running around and gathering up nuts for their homes. I was just waving my camera around, checking everything that I could find. I was like a foal in a candy store; every single thing that I saw through that lens filled me with a sense of wonder. And then I saw something.

It was subtle; just a different coloration in the trees on the very edge of the screen. It wasn’t moving, and there was nothing really special about it. Somehow though, I felt that feeling... That damn, dreaded feeling. You know the one that you get when you feel like someone’s watching you? You feel it sometimes, even though you know that you are completely alone.

I just felt like I had to get out of there, like I was in some kind of danger. I know what you’re thinking... How crazy right? That I was just being paranoid? It was completely real; I should have never gone home that night... I should have just stayed out there and let them get me. Would have saved me a lot of trouble.

After that everything was normal for about... Oh, I’d say a day. Then, all of a sudden one night, I heard a... slithering sound and a loud crunch. Like someone was walking around outside my house. I made my way out of my house and began to look around. It was just a dark night in the forest like normal; I just thought that somepony was trespassing or coming to pay me an unexpected visit, which I really wouldn’t have minded.

*Crack*

No no no no no! What was that? I know that I boarded everything up as tight as I could. They can’t be breaking in already! No, I have to hurry. I have to let you know!

I saw... I saw one. Outside, in the corner of my vision, I saw one of them. I turned quickly to see what it was, but no matter where I turned, it always stayed at the very edge of my vision. It just stood there watching me... Watching me turn and try to catch it... Like it was mocking me. It probably was for all I know.

I got the distinct feeling, that I shouldn’t turn my back on it; that if I did, something terrible would happen to me. I spent that whole night awake... Just trying to get some rest with all of those noises outside. I haven’t gotten any sleep since that first day you know... Not a wink. I can’t, or I’m afraid that they’ll get me.

The... The next day I decided that I would try to see what it was. I placed the camera in the corner of my house, and just sat out on my porch and waited. Just waited for it to show itself again. Sure enough, after a few hours, it showed up again. Thinking quickly, I grabbed my camera and ran back inside to take a look. I wish... I wish so badly that I hadn’t done that.

There was... something, at the very edge of the camera. I... I can’t describe the horror that I saw in that frame. That ungodly abomination... After that... After that I knew that I couldn’t go outside again. It wasn’t safe! Maybe... Maybe I should have gone to get help. Should have just taken my chances and bolted as fast as I could. Maybe I could have gotten out of this whole mess.

I boarded up my house with everything I could find and blockaded all of the doors. It’s taking it’s toll on me; I can’t eat, I haven’t been able to sleep. For three days I’ve been backed up against this wall, just watching the door for them. We’ve seen each other a few time since that first encounter. I know that they’re waiting for something... But they’re making their move soon, I can sense it.

I know what they are now though. That’s why I’m recording this; to tell you. You know that feeling? That damn feeling that you get when you’re alone, the one where you feel that somepony is watching you, even though nopony else is around? That’s because something is there. Waiting on the edge of your vision, watching you to see if you would make a good meal. To see if you would make an easy meal.

You never notice them; they know how to avoid your sight. But I have seen them... That is why they are coming for me. They know that I’m alone, and that nopony is coming to save me. I’m trapped. You though... You can warn everypony.

*knock*

They’re trying to get into the front door! It’s time! I have to finish this; to tell you everything. As long as the front door is still closed, then I still have time. I still have time... But I’m so tired...

*knock*

No! NO! The truth is that they’re everywhere. You are never safe when you are alone; in fact, you are never truly alone. They are always on the outskirts, in your peripherals, watching and waiting. Waiting for you to slip up like I did. They wait for you to trap yourself and make it easy for them. You can’t let them do that to you. You can’t let them.

*knock*

Oh... That sound is so nice... So tired... I can’t... I can’t keep this up anymore. I can’t stay awake any longer; it’s too hard... Maybe if I just close my eyes for a second. If I just take a quick rest, then I can gather enough energy to get out of here. To try and make my escape! Yes... A quick rest. Just a little wink. Just close my eyes for a few moments, and everything will be fine. I’ll find a way out of this...

*Crash*

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