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On Thin Ice · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Toola Roola's Cool
Toola Roola stuck out her tongue to catch a snowflake.  Closing her eyes, she tipped her head up. The snowball struck her face, sending snow up her nose.  She screamed, brushing off the snow, and looked around, peering between the trees of whitetail woods.  “I’m going to get you, Coco.” Scooping up snow, she shivered. “Wherever you are.”

Coconut Cream’s scream echoed directionlessly through the trees.

Toola Roola shivered, but not from the cold.  “Come on, Coconut. That’s not funny. Where are you?”  There. She heard it. The crunch of snow beneath a rushing foal.  Toola Roola crouched, readying her snowball. Coconut burst from the darkest of the hillside thickets and Toola let loose, smacking Coconut right in the face.

Coconut ran on, screaming, blinded by the snow.

“What are you doing?  Coconut? Watch out!” Toola lurched to the side, but slipped on the snow and ice, so Coconut barreled right into her, bringing them both down in a jumble and flailing about, kicking and punching.  “Ow! Coconut, stop it! It’s me!.” Toola wrapped her hooves around Coconut. “Calm down, okay? I’m sorry. It was just a snow ball. You got me first.”

Coconut Cream rubbed her eyes, peering up at her friend.  “Toola? Oh, Toola,” she sobbed, tears streaming as she crushed Toola in her embrace, rubbing her tears and snot into her neck.  “He just fell out of the sky. And the rock, and blood, and—” She sobbed, muttering incoherently.

Toola rubbed Coconut’s back, shushing like her mother still did for her when she banged a knee or had a bad day at school.  “I need you to calm down, Coco. At least enough to speak. Run and get help from a grownup.” She wiped away Coconut’s tears from her face.  “Okay? Can you go get help? I’ll see if they’re okay.”

Coconut nodded and darted off.

Toola followed the tracks Coconut had left coming out.  “Hello,” she called. “Are you okay? I sent Coco to get help.  Are you hurt? Where are you?” She looked around. Nothing.

Pushing aside branches, Toola went deeper, continuing to call.  Coconut Cream’s tracks stopped, and Toola looked around, her eyes adjusting to the darkness under the evergreen canopy that blocked all but a thin film of snow from reaching the ground.

She saw it.  The crumpled form of a pony in the dark.  “You okay, mister? I sent my friend to get help.”  She looked up to the trees and clouds. “What were you doing up there anyway?”  She knelt beside him, giving him a gentle shake.

The corpse’s head fell at an odd angle, and the Toola Roola gasped.  “Mister, are you dead?” She poked at the corpse. “Cool.”

Yelling in the distance signalled the arrival of grown-ups, but Toola Roola ignored them, poking and prodding at the corpse until they arrived and pulled her away.

She spun in the chair.  Across the desk, Nurse Redheart frowned.  “Toola, please. Stop.”

“Sorry, it’s just so cool.  I wish the chairs at school did this.”

“Toola, you saw something yesterday that nopony your age should have to see.  Do you want to talk about it?”

Toola gasped.  “Really? You wanna talk about it?”

“Only if you want to, Toola.”  Redheart tried to smile at the foal, but concern twisted it.

“Do I ever?!  Nopony else wants to.  Not mom, dad, Coco, or Ms. Cheerilee.”  She leaned forward. “Did you bring it back?  Is it here? Can I see it again?”

Nurse Redheart gawked, he mouth moving, but unable to find the words.

“Seriously? The necromancer’s true name was named Toola Roola?  How does that even happen?”
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#1 ·
I hate your title. I want to insert an extra schwa sound at the end.

That got dark fast. The dialogue needs tweaking to be a bit more childlike. Curious about how the corpse got there.
#2 · 1
This is:

A great start, and I'd love to read a version that expands it into a true chronicle of how Toola Roola became a necromancer. What's here isn't that yet, but it's got a lot of very fun potential.

#3 · 1
Toola Roola can resurrect the dead, but can she resurrect my marriage?

Something I liked:

On paper, this is really funny and creative. I would've never thought in a million years to give a character like Toola Roola this kind of backstory, and I've thought up some real bullshit in my time. Like what Mike said, this feels like a proof of concept more than a story, like we're just getting the first test of seeing Toola in this light, but I would not be opposed to seeing an expansion. In fact, I'd say expanding this and bringing out its best qualities is the best way to go. Please, go nuts, burn a house down, give Toola Roola a zombie army, just don't forget what made it alluring in the first place.

Something I didn't like:

I'm gonna be honest with you, my fellow homo sapien: this is rough. Mind you, it's not just the typos, although they did distract me during my reading, it's more that there's some awkward syntax and pacing that keep this from feeling finished. The word "directionlessly" feels like the last act of a desperate man, and that final line is just too awkwardly worded to land. On top of that you have what feels like a horror story for the first half, only to suddenly become a comedy, complete with a punchline at the very end. Now, you can make a horror-comedy, and I would encourage that, but this ain't it.

Verdict: Kind of fails in its current state, but that doesn't mean the author shouldn't try to improve it.
#4 · 1
· · >>WritingSpirit
I have to admit, I had to google Toola Roola before I was sure that she wasn't an OC. But that aside, I think I really like what you're going for here, with the inversion of cuteness and the dark humor. It's certainly very ambitious in the scope of what it's trying to make the reader feel (confused, amused, slightly repulsed), so props to you for pushing the envelope.

Now, I do think that there might be a bit of a tonal disconnect in some parts of the story that prevent me from fully enjoying the concept. I do understand that this is a horror/comedy hybrid, but up until Toola says "Cool", there's virtually no indication that we shouldn't be taking the premise completely seriously. I personally think that there does need to me some signaling that we're supposed to be viewing things through at least a little bit of a silly lens. It is a tough balancing act to blend horror with absurdity, and I think you might have learned a bit too hard on the former.

The problem that arises when we're not completely queued in to the more ridiculous facets of the tone is that when you try to pay off on the comedy, it feels like it comes out of left field. I like the idea of the middle scene, with the contrast between a serious Redheart and a happy-go-lucky Toola, but I have to admit that on my fist reading (while I still hadn't noticed the comedy elements) this scene just confused me. In fact, it wasn't really until the final sentence that I finally realized what you were going for from the beginning, which is a bit of a problem in a minific where the payoff needs to be so condensed.

So in the end, I think I'd suggest trying to work in some humor signposts into the first half of the story. It could just be something as simple as giving us a couple more indications that Toola thinks the whole dead body deal is rad. IMO, setting the readers' expectations as quickly as possible is usually a good indicator of a minific that's on-track to paying off in a satisfying way.

Thank you for writing!
#5 · 1
This story's certainly a diamond in the rough. My initial impressions of it definitely improved after my first few reads, though I'd say it's not all the better for it. I must say though, there's a lot of intriguing ideas at play here in spite of the haphazard structure of the whole tale. Seeing a filly being this morbidly curious about a dead corpse is in of itself strangely fascinating to watch happen. The absurdity of the whole situation is striking enough to leave an impression so kudos.

Execution-wise, there's a lot of room for improvement. I could go on and on about all the minute details that bothered me, but I think all of these problems really come from the story's lack of a focal point. I agree with >>Bachiavellian that the crux of the whole scene seems to be the conversation between Toola Roola and Nurse Redheart. It's certainly the most vividly purposeful scene in the vignette, and most of the stuff that happens before and after could definitely fit snugly into the conversation between nurse and filly, perhaps with some less important bits extracted and removed.

I would add that I don't think it's really so important to see the whole sequence of how Toola Roola found the body in the first place. After all, the notion of a child finding a body on its own paints a striking enough picture; a child wanting to see more of it is awe-inspiring. Sometimes, the 'how's and 'why's don't matter, and it's the careful picking and choosing — the balance between what we see vs. what we don't — that separates a good story from a great one, especially so when there's a wordcount involved. With the ideas alone, there's something to glean at here. All it needs is a little more polish.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!