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Divide and Conquer · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Five Hundred Little Zombies
Evening had fallen and the late autumn sky was leaden-gray, covered with clouds that promised rain but never quite delivered; the storms and winds had been pegasus-quelled all day. Behind a small rustic cottage surrounded by birdhouses, at Everfree’s edge, there was a field full of stones, five hundred headstones, each one marking the end of promises, the end of life. All of them placed by Fluttershy.

She was the one to whom the ponies came when the other vets had their say and there was no hope left for their pets. She was the one who quietly did what had to be done, straining her quality of mercy, and then had filled each one of those graves, full of remorse for five hundred little murders.

The graveyard was still, as full of portent as the sky, but then, at a stone labeled “CARNIE,” the ground stirred, and a half-skeletal cat’s paw poked out and stretched its claws, suddenly silhouetted by a flash of lightning as the pending deluge finally opened up and the bitter rains fell.

Everyone in Ponyville knew (and mostly avoided) Flitter and her sharp taunting tongue, but that didn’t bother her as she walked her new kitten, Killer, along the market square, flaunting her pet carnivore for all to see. Flitter chuckled as Killer shredded a nearby flower stand, but frowned as she felt a drop of rain. The clouds were heavy, but no rain had been scheduled this evening… Just then, the heavy storm flooded down and most ponies fled the square.

Even as Killer ran under her for shelter, Flitter could see dark shapes in the rain, coming closer. The one in front looked like… “Carnie?!” she cried out in shock. “Is that really you?” Her eyes misted up. “C’mere, Carnie, remember me…?”

With a yowl from beyond the grave, the corpse of Carnie leapt upon Flitter, and now she could see the half skeletal form, the rotting worm-crawling flesh! “AIEE! NO! Go away again!” she shouted, trying to swat the cat-zombie off her face, gagging from the smell as Killer clung to her left-rear hoof, yowling in fear. Around her, hordes of other zombie-pets flooded into town, each crawling relentlessly towards their former owners, barking and screeching.

“I… uhm, I’d like for you to duck, if that’s okay,” came a quiet voice out of the rain. Overwhelmed with disgust, Flitter complied.

Looming out of the darkness came a bundle of twigs that clouted Carnie full in his maggot-dripping puss and sent him whirling into the darkness. Flitter whirled around to see Fluttershy, the one pony Flitter hated most in the world, the one who had spared Carnie his pain in his final hours of life. “What’s that you’ve got there?” Flitter demanded.

Looking flustered, Fluttershy held it up. “This… is my broomstick,” she said. It had the word KINDNESS painted on the handle. “I’ve got another one here. Uhm, maybe you can help me? Sometimes dead pets return from the Shadowlands and they don’t understand they’re not cute anymore, so they crawl around in decaying bodies until we help them return.”

Muffling her sense of disdain, Flitter shrugged and grabbed the other broomstick, using it to clobber an oncoming chihuahua, which burst into slimy guts.

“Ugh,” she sneered, “I thought they were just full of yaps and failure.”

Reaching into the darkness, the pair made a clean sweep, splitting the oncoming zombies into manageable streams.

“Dalmatian at 3:00!” shouted Flitter. Fluttershy swung expertly, killing it with Kindness. Working together, they slowly turned the tide.

“Er, parakeet on your back!” warned Fluttershy. Before Flitter could turn, Killer the kitten leapt up from her back and snatched the undead bird, then started to eat it.

“Rah-rah, Killer! Gross Fluttershy out!” cheered Flitter. Nothing daunted, Fluttershy swept away the lurching crittercorpses, identifying them as she went. "Winnowill. Chaser. Fleetfoot. Garnet. Midnight… sorry, but we have to get you all back to your graves..."

Midnight had passed before Flutters and Flitter managed to sweep the entire zombie-pet hoard into a mountain of wriggling carnage at the graveyard center. “Whew,” said Fluttershy as she wiped green fith from her forehead. “Now we just have to bury them all again. I wonder if…”

Even as she spoke, a swift zoom announced the departure of Flitter, with a dopplered sound of Killer mewling along with her as they disappeared into the clouds. Fluttershy sighed, grabbed a shovel and started to dig, apologizing softly to each and every corpse. Again, always.
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#1 ·
The idea of taking something like Five Hundred Little Murders and doing this to it is really funny. The execution is competent and squarely hits all the tropes it’s going for, but it does feel a bit… mechanical, maybe? Like, the opening nails the story’s tone, and then from there the story just proceeds without any surprises. There’s a few points that seem like they’re aiming to be punchlines, but the broomstick bit was the only one that really landed for me. (That one was definitely a high point). Overall fun and pretty solid.
#2 ·
“Dalmatian at 3:00" Should have been Dalmation at 1:01 but oh well. I like the core idea but I feel like you limited yourself by tying your idea up to another story. Lucky for you Five Hundred Little Murders is a super popular fic but imagine someone who hadn't heard of it before? I hadn't heard of it until Hombind name dropped the title.
I honestly think a story about Fluttershy instructing Ponyville on how to stop an oncoming horde of zombie animals crawling out of the Everfree because she has experience in that area would have been just as good without running that risk.
#3 · 1
As someone who hasn't read "Five Hundred Little Murders", I'm going to examine this fic outside of that story's context. What I think works comes from the moments of Fluttershy being a cute little demon slayer, keeping her canon kindness with her dire role as a gravemaker. The description of the animals' various states of decay was likewise well-done, making the fic very uncomfortable at spots (in a good way).

I think it's mostly the clashing tones that drag this story down for me. It seems a little too serious in its presentation, particularly in the beginning, and mixing it in with a comedic second-half just didn't gel well. Flitter also doesn't seem to have much of a nuanced repertoire with Fluttershy, which makes their jokes during the zombie attack feel rather stale. The end result just feels like an interesting concept that needed a little more cleaning up for it to be fully effective.
#4 ·
This is a fun riff on the inspirational fic, but it's a bit rushed at the end from space trouble. Give it another draft and fill it out, author.