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The Twilight Zone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Crazy Talk
"Boy howdy, it sure is a good lookin' morning today," Applejack said as she made her way downstairs. "I reckon we've got a long day of work ahead of us." Her affirmation was answered by a crash of thunder. She looked out the front window and saw the sky dark with thunderheads and the orchards soaked in rain.

"Nope," Apple Bloom and Big Mac responded.

"Well ain't that the cow's bell. Could have sworn everything looked clear a minute ago." Applejack rubbed her chin with her hoof. "Might have to go have a talk with Rainbow Dash about that later."

"What are we gonna do now?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Eat some breakfast and wait for the storm to pass, I suppose. It can't last all day."

"I can't believe it's still raining," Applejack said as she paced around the living room couch. "This is downright silly now."

"You've been wrong about everything all day, Sis. It's kinda weird," Apple Bloom said. "You didn't step in any Poison Joke lately, or catch some weird magic curse, did ya?"

"Curses ain't..." Applejack stopped herself and reconsidered her answer. "I didn't step in anything funny or catch a curse, 'Bloom. Might just be havin' an off day."

"I wonder about that." Apple Bloom walked over to Applejack and checked her hooves and legs. "Nope, no Joke on you anywhere I can see, so you were right about that."

"Told you so."

"I'm still not convinced there isn't somethin' going on here." Apple Bloom sat for a moment and rubbed her hoof across her chin. She glanced up at the clock and had an idea. "Hey Big Mac, come on down here a minute," she yelled upstairs. "Me and AJ need your help real quick."

"What in blazes are you planning?"

"You'll see. Just don't say anything unless I ask you a question, okay?"


"'Ssssup," Big Mac said as he rounded the stairs into the living room.

"I'm doin' an experiment. I need all three of us to watch the clock and make sure it's ticking exactly how it's supposed to. Will you do that for us?"

Big Mac shrugged. "Eeyup."

The three ponies gathered around the wall clock and watched it carefully. The second hand and minute hand looked like they were keeping proper time. Once the minute hand ticked over Apple Bloom spoke up. "Okay Applejack, what time did the clock say a minute ago?"

"It said five twenty-two," AJ answered.

"That's what I saw, too. Big Mac?"


"Step two. What time does the clock say..." Apple Bloom waiting a few seconds for the minute hand to tick over again. "right now."

"It's five twenty-three."

As soon as the words left her mouth the clock changed to read 5:24.

"You saw that, right Big Mac?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Uhh, eeyup," he said as he stared unblinking at the clock, which continued to keep time as though nothing strange at all had happened.

"That's probably nothin'. Right?"

"AJ, what color is my bow?" Apple Bloom asked with a trace of fear creeping into her voice.

" Your bow's... your bow is pink," Applejack said. As soon as she spoke the words Apple Bloom's bow turned a brilliant shade of blue.

"Granny, get down here there's somethin' strange going on!" Apple Bloom yelled. She waited, but there was no response from upstairs. "Granny?"

AJ and Big Mac looked at each other for a moment, and then Applejack ran up the stairs as fast as she could. She turned hard on the landing and made straight for Granny Smith's door. She knocked it open and stopped at the threshold and scanned the room. Granny Smith was bundled up under the covers on her bed. AJ walked over to her and placed a hoof in front of her grandmother's nose. Applejack couldn't feel any air movement.

"No, not yet, no no," she whispered to herself.

And then Granny Smith let out a bellowing snore, shuffled around in bed a bit, and continued breathing normally.

Applejack fell onto her haunches and cried. "Oh thank Celestia." She sat for a minute and watched Granny breathe. Satisfied Granny Smith was alright, she left her room and closed the door behind her.

"Applejack," Big Mac called from the living room.

AJ walked back to the upper landing and looked down at Apple Bloom hugging her brother's leg tight. "Don't worry," she began. Before either Apple Bloom or Big Mac could stop her, she finished, "she's just sleeping."
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#1 ·
#2 ·
· · >>Jordanis >>Rao
Not bad, pace is good and characters well-written.

However, I would have liked to know what have caused the fact everytime one of them say something, the opposite happens.
#3 ·
...wow. Okay, new favorite! THIS is how you write a Twilight Zone episode in Equestria.
#4 ·
· · >>Fenton

It's only Applejack, and does it really matter?
#5 ·

Not really, the story stands out on its own without it, but it still annoys me a little (that's not make the story bad though).
#6 ·
God damn it, Applejack.
#7 ·
Oh… dear.
#8 · 3
· · >>Rao
Genre: Actual Twilight Zone material

Thoughts: I thought we were building toward an unsatisfying ending right up until it happened. What a sting that was! That, coupled with overall good technical execution, carries this pretty far.

What holds it back is the total lack of explanation of what happened to Applejack to bring about her... condition. Latent Pie family offshoot connection to the unknown starting to manifest? Touched By A Rod Sterling? We don't know, and it feels a bit arbitrary since we don't. But in my view, this works anyway.

Tier: Strong
#9 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Rao
So what? GS is going to wake up?
#10 ·
No, my good man. No she isn't. </rodsterling>
#11 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Rao
So, this mostly rides on the ending, and that's fairly well done. However, when they started doing experiments, I was like... How on earth did they pick up on this? They not only jump to doing an experiment, but immediately call in Big Mac to verify? What led to this decision?

And while the meaning the author intended for the ending is clear from context, after a moment of thought it lost a lot of impact for me, because I quickly jumped to 'so... shouldn't she wake up now'? Because this 'curse' or whatever doesn't seem to have much rhyme or reason; it's not doing opposites (the opposite of 5:23 is not 5:24,) it's just changing somehow in response to her talking. So the odds of her actually ending up dead shouldn't really be that high.

Still, the ending was undeniably effective, even if the progression was rather odd.
#12 ·
· · >>Rao
What you said about the clock is an excellent point. That was the one thing that confused me. Everything else was clearer.
#13 ·
This opening really doesn't work in a world where the weather isn't just scheduled and manually operated, it needs to be.

Aside from that issue, this works fantastically, especially the ending. Make the storm blow in from the Everfree at the start and this will be gold.
#14 · 1
· · >>Rao
This one is REALLY solid, save for one part. After the first scene break, Apple Bloom seems to already have a pretty good theory about what's happening. How she got there, and exactly what she's testing for need to be more clear. With how good the rest of this is written, I'm almost positive this was a victim of last-minute editing for length. Put those missing paragraphs back in to even out the pace, and this is a brilliant and haunting. Definitely one of the most creepy versions of "Opposite Day" I've seen. Bonus points because it's Applejack, element of honesty, and so a curse that instantly make anything she says false is just perfect!

Only other note for improvement is, right at the end, AJ says "no, no, not yet" when she thinks Granny Smith is dead, and that should've resulted in the opposite, that is, killed Granny at that point, rather then the other line a moment later. Fix it up, and have AB say the first bit instead. Or, make it so that AJ is only thinking it and not saying it out loud.
#15 · 1
· · >>Rao
... but considering AJ has been shown to do impossible stuff with her power of the universe changing to make everything she says wrong, couldn't she just say "Granny is dead" and bring her back?

Aside from that though, this had both good atmosphere and execution. It definitely felt the closest to an actual Twilight Zone episode to me.
#16 · 1
· · >>Rao
Hey, the most Twilight Zoney fic in the whole competition (as of yet). Nice. Beginning is the biggest issue, because the leap to madness was... very unprecedented. Works well after that, though.
#17 ·
This was my second placed vote. Nice job! Still not sure how I beat you.
#18 · 4
· · >>AndrewRogue
It's just AJ. The "why" is no more complicated than "It's a Twilight Zone shtick." I didn't really think up anything more complex than that.

Granny won't be waking up.

Good eye picking up on the fact that it's not an opposite-type curse. My intent going in was simply that any declarative statements would be "wrong" immediately upon making them. Hence, the clock experiment to clarify the nature of the event.

I was careful picking out AJ's last words though. If she said, "she's sleeping," that can be wrong by virtue of Granny being awake or dead. But by saying "she's just sleeping," there's an implication of relieved fear that can only be wrong by virtue of death.

Quite right. It's a huge leap for Apple Bloom to start up an experiment to see what was up. I planned more instances of wrongness originally, but word count is a cruel mistress. When AJ says, "no, no, not yet," that's not really a declarative statement about anything in particular, so it can't be wrong, exactly. Although making it a thought instead of spoken is a fantastic idea nonetheless.

I hadn't thought of that option at the time. An expanded version would definitely have a "can't undo" scene/test put in earlier on. Good catch.

Everyone else: Thanks for reading. 7th place is pretty good I'd say, and I'll happily take >>AndrewRogue's "Most Twilight Zone" award as well. Not bad for my... 4th (?) Writeoff.
#19 · 1
If it's any additional consolation, you won my slate and I am vicariously salty for you that the best Twilight Zone story didn't medal. :p