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The Twilight Zone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The thunder rolled through the night sky and the rain fell as Golden Earring pulled her cart along a muddy path in the Everfree Forest. She was a plain earth pony by all accounts. Her mane and coat were a dull brass. Even when she'd married a multimillionaire not a soul paid her any mind. It was upsetting at first and maddening as the marriage dissolved.

For five years she and Radar had lived together as husband and wife. Out of those five years one of them was pleasant. That was until she found out about his relations with various secretaries, musicians, and whatever other female that would turn a blind eye to the fact that he had a spouse. He'd laughed about it. She'd cried.

Golden Earring sighed in exhaustion as she dragged the heavy cart up to the mouth of the canyon. "You know you two were a real pain," she said panting, "All that begging." Golden Earring pulled back the sheet that covered the bodies of her former husband and his traveling secretary. She frowned as she looked at the two of them watching the trickles of blood ooze from the bullet wounds in their heads. "I waited Radar. Waited until that clause in the prenuptial agreement passed. You didn't think I could do it but I did. I waited, watched and," She tapped the gun on her side, "Made sure all of your lovers met the same fate. Couldn't let you get too attached to them and couldn't let them take what I was earning."

The rain beat down on the brass colored pony as she moved to the front of the cart and began to push it toward the canyon. Her legs strained and dug into the saturated earth. Her back ached as she arched against the cart and then suddenly she felt nothing but the rain as the cart loudly lurched back and tumbled into the dark chasm below. Golden Earring panted as she gazed into the darkness a smug satisfied smile on her face. "It's done."

The lightning flashed and from her left she heard it, the low growl of something big. Golden Earring slowly turned her head and saw the dull green eyes from the shadows as the smell of rotting meat wafted through the air. "Timber wolf," gulped Golden Earring as she pulled her pistol and pointed it in the direction of the eyes.

Ever so slowly, Golden Earring backed away from the eyes in the general direction of the path as the beast slowly stalked her every step, its eyes never wavering. "Go away," she shouted and squeezed off three shots in the general direction of the eyes, their crack of the echoed through the forest.

Golden Earring slid her gun into it's holster as she broke into a run. She wasn't sure if the creature was following her or not as she tore through the dark woods. Branches smacked her in the face and she slipped and slid in the mud, but still she ran as fast as she could in the direction of where she thought the main path might be. Her legs and lungs burned when to her surprise she saw two orange lights up ahead on a large automated coach.

"Hey," she called out desperately to the figure in the cart, "Help please I'm being chased by timber wolves!"

"Get in," shouted a male voice as he threw open the door. Quickly, Golden Earring jumped into the cart and it sped off down the path.

"Thanks mister..."

"Spruce," said a middle aged brown earth pony, "Now tell me what's a pretty thing like you doing out on a night like this."

"I got lost," replied Golden Earring with a blush.

"Where's your cart?"


"Well, I saw a heavily loaded cart enter the woods awhile back. Was it yours?"

Golden Earring eyed Spruce suspiciously and pulled her pistol. "Just get me out of these woods."

Spruce cleared his throat and looked at the revolver, "I take it those were...."

"If you don't want to end up like them shut it," growled Golden Earring.

They continued in silence as the rain slacked and the moon slowly crept from behind a cloud and Spruce pulled over. "Who are you?"

"A monster. Drive."

"No," said Spruce as he faced the mare next to him. His glowed green and canine, his teeth now sharp as knives. Spruce growled, "I'm a monster and you're a mare that's out of bullets."

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#1 · 2
Pretty decent horror story, but…

I don’t usually say this, but the story doesn’t feel especially pony. I know that can be an unhelpful and ephemeral metric, but this plot really feels like “humans in funny clothing” rather than anything that might take place in Equestria. If anything, it almost feels like a stealth Fallout: Equestria story, set before the bombs fell. Then and there, I could see it.

Also, how does he know for sure that she’s out of bullets? She only fired three shots.

Honestly, you might be best served by presenting this as original fiction.
#2 · 1
· · >>JudgeDeadd
This definitely feels like a Twilight Zone episode, but a little too much so, the obviously meant to be cars carriages, the gun... I agree with the above comment that it's just not very pony.
#3 · 1
Yeah, once it mentioned shooting someone with a gun, I was jarred out of the story because I was wondering "wait, how would a pony shoot a gun anyway?"
#4 · 1
The name "Golden Earring" can't be a coincidence.
#5 · 4
Kind of has a Western feel, except for not being set in a desert. Maybe it's not very MLP, but hey, the opening did get me pretty curious as to what would happen next! Three paragraphs in and already we've got a pile of bodies.

The payoff didn't impress me though. What is Spruce? A changeling, a were-timberwolf, or what? I guess it's an ironic ending for the murderer, but I couldn't figure out any logical way this was connected to what came before. Just random misfortune? Or he's the same wolf, stalking her and luring her into a trap? I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel about it.
#6 · 1
Genre: Radar Love gone wrong

Thoughts: Heh, I love those names. Indeed there's no way they're a coincidence. The only bad thing about them is that the mood switches pretty quickly from amusement over the reference to ponies getting murdered. That part was still good, though the gun is a hard sell in Equestria. I daresay it didn't add much to the story (a knife would've worked fine for most of it), despite the ending hinging on gunplay.

Ah, but that ending. I suppose it's suitably Twilight Zone-ish, but IMO it doesn't give enough payoff for what's been a strong and well-characterized story thus far. It doesn't really make sense that the timber wolf would be a werewolf, much less Timber Spruce specifically, and that he would be driving an actual car, which exceeds the typical technology level that we see in Equestria. I'm not saying it's the worst thing ever, just that it's too rapid of an ending for a tale that has better potential.

I want to rate this higher. I can't because i feel it really does need some tweaking to be its best. But I see a fun little murder story in here and I want to see that come out stronger.

Tier: Needs Work
#7 · 2
· · >>Ranmilia
You have evocative writing, but the plotting left much to be desired.

As others have pointed out, guns are a hard sell in equestria unless you do their setup beforehand. However, I did not have that much of a problem with the gun itself.

What I had problem with was a sense of general aimlessness. We spend half the wordcount in service of a fairy good scene of Golden Earring disposing of bodies, but that follows makes basically no use of it whatsoever. There is nothing that ties thematically with her actions and what follows. What's more, we have 3 main beats to the story that taken as a whole make very little sense

- Golden Earring is disposing of the bodies of her husband and his last lover
- A timber wolf attacks. She starts running, and we don't see anything from the timber wolf
- Some other person shows up
AND THEN (bonus twist round)
- It turns out he's the timber wolf, oh noes!

It seems like the different parts are not logical plot points that we move through, but a seires of very tangentially related events. I see no reason inside the text for the timber wolf to turn out to be a timber-were-wolf. I see no connection between Golden Earring's actions and her comeuppance. What is the theme of the story? What is the moral? What is it trying to say?

I honestly have no idea. It has the texture of a horror story, sans actual horror.
#8 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I realize "just pick it up" is no small part of pony lore, but ponies and guns are one of those things that kinda push against that in a weird way. And I say this as someone who is a huge fan of Octavia. So it is always a risk that, when you introduce tools to ponies, you're gonna create disconnect.

Lotta missed commas.

That final exchange between Golden and the driver is... weird. Like, she kinda folds the lie with no actual reason to do so. She has a half-dozen outs. "I didn't have a cart" "I ditched it when the timber wolf chased me" etc. Like, gun pulling was -literally- the worst choice.

Also, the last line, exchange, while cute... doesn't really work? She's still a monster. Just because a bigger monster is about to nom her doesn't make her not one. And yeah, FoME mentions it, but the bullet count doesn't add up to being out. Like, kinda expect her to say "no I'm not" and just shoot him in the face.

Beginning is nicely evocative, though.
#9 · 1
First off, could definitely have used another editing pass. Lots of missed commas (Guess AndrewRogue just caught that a few minutes ago), some missing pronouns, and then "their crack of the echoed through the forest."

Secondly, again as other said, nothing ties murder to timberwolf to werewolf. The setting also makes no sense, as the Everfree is not full of carts and "automatic carriages" in canon. So you've a double problem now of trying to sell a story AND an alternate universe.

Lastly, there is (once again), as others already said, very little "pony" about this. It would actually work better with humans in a shady area of eastern europe or some such.

So, for the positives...? Guess I can say the prose is pretty decent (once edited) so it's not a like of skill there. I'm thinking this was probably a last minute, 4am, get-one-more-in-before-the-deadline thing, which I've certainly been guilty of myself.
#10 · 1
"No, I'm not"

Oooo, now that's a killer idea. Leaving her with one in the chamber would make the ending tons stronger. We don't need to see the outcome; we'd just come away with the knowledge that it's goin' down for real.
#11 · 1
I like the story generally, and it's good as a Twilight Zone style story. I had a few issues with it, however. These are my perceptions as a reader, so take them as you choose. Please don't take my criticism below harshly. I think this is a very good story. This is stuff to think about next time for the next story.

The first was you went to the trouble of making the protagonist an earth pony, but a unicorn would more believably be able to pull, shoot, and holster a weapon. In the rain and mud, it begs credulity. Second, when Golden Earring is talking at her cargo, it feels like she is describing the situation to the reader like a narrator (info dump) rather than raging at her cargo. My impression, at least. Third, the story is predicated on a misidentification of the monster in the dark, but there is no clue from the description that she did misidentify (foreshadowing). Spruce asserting the misidentification works very well, but alas, I had to reread it to get it. I'd have rather his eyes be orange instead of standard timberwolf green. The "automated coach" has orange lights, so this would have been perfect. I'd have also rather Golden Earring mention she was running from a timberwolf, then in the last paragraph think "not a timberwolf" to hammer the point home of misidentification. Last, true you've pulled in a gun into the MLP universe and by the rules of science fiction, I'm absolutely willing to give you one special unexplained bit of tech, and it makes the story simpler because we haven't the luxury of time to make things better during a writeoff, but I question the choice of an automated coach. A farmer's wagon being pulled by a farmer (logger, whatever) would have fit better.

BTW, missing the word "eyes" in "His glowed green.."
#12 · 1
Mostly agree with Crafty here.

Some punctuation errors and grammatical mishaps.

There are clearly defined beginning, middle and end sections, props for that! But they aren't particularly connected or relevant to each other, so the end product doesn't feel like a coherent story. The beginning is especially clunky, we don't really need that backstory dump about her marriage.

Also, as other comments pointed out, this isn't really a pony story and actively clashes with the FIM setting. I'm not very sold on the Twilight Zone angle either, it's just "twist ending: the guy was a monster!" That's enough to qualify as using the prompt, but not much more.

Overall on the low side of average to me. It's not a complete trainwreck, definitely has potential, but needs more polish and thought in order to convey more than "here are some things that happened."
#13 · 3
Ah my crappy little story. Well, first off I didn't edit it other than to omit parts and shift things around that I'd imagined in period of time I worked on it. I had something more elaborate in mind but... 750 words is just that and so like someone cutting down an R rated movie movie for a G rated tv station I had to omit and change a bunch of things on the fly. By the time I was done I had to go to sleep.

Second I was more interested in telling a Twilight Zone/Tales From the Crypt/Creepshow type story (The first of which had a story end similar to mine though with admittedly better build up) more than I was concerned about the FiM universe, canon or otherwise. It's also why I didn't use preexisting characters (to the best of my knowledge). With stuff I've made up I can do whatever I really want and it's not out of character.

As far as the hooves and tools issue: they've shown in the show that there is some sort of squeezing, clutching capability with the hooves. There are handles on tea cups and and tea pots so they can grip with them. As far as the gun issue goes, if cannons exist in this world so do guns. The design would probably be sans trigger guard though due to a lack of fingers. The gun itself I should have noted was a revolver with five shots. She'd used one each on her husband and his lover before firing into the woods.

The autocoach: This was one of those changes on the fly. Initially I'd had it planned that that the rain was going to stop a little earlier before the monster showed up. When it did she would fire twice into the woods as she backed away, she'd slip, fall and the gun would go off and strike her in one of her back legs. Limping through the woods, certain the creature was behind her she'd come across a cabin with the light on and beg for help. The owner wouldn't be very willing at first but she'd say she was hurt and so he'd unlock the door and let her in. Things would go from there. In the end though she was still going to be out of bullets and would meet her own fate at the maws of weretimberwolves.

I didn't have space for that. I'd already had her backstory in there so, autocoach and wrap it up.

Will I ever go back to this? I dunno. I've hated working on the longer version of The Princess Party so much that I'm more than reluctant to write much of anything anymore.