FimFiction Link - Short ID: 506007/screams-and-silence
Published: Oct '21
'Screams and Silence' is a three thousand and three hundred-word, horror oneshot. Octavia and Vinyl invite Rainbow Dash for a seemingly innocent tea party. After a bit of awkward chitchat, they reveal the true purpose of her visit and the reason why Vinyl never speaks. Rainbow is never seen again.
The actual horror elements of the fic work fairly well. From the slightly eerie way Octavia talks to Dash, to the awfully in-depth descriptions of body horror at the end, the fic puts in hard work to earn its Horror tag. I like the small meta nods in the story, you don't need to be aware of them to appreciate it, but after the author explains them in the post-story note, it just adds to the experience. I've also enjoyed how innocuous the ending is after what just happened, the wholesome chat between the two musicians serves as a nice bit of morbid comedy both to contrast and to wind down from the gruesome scene before.
However, the story requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to work. I'm fine with accepting that Vinyl is in fact a demon. I'm even okay with the idea that Octavia is so in love with her that she's willing to commit a series of gruesome murders to be with her. It's a horror fic, why not? But there are two things I find pretty hard to swallow: One, while I'm aware Dash isn't the brightest of the bunch, there are still so many red flags that even she could have realized this isn't really a quaint get-together. Even when her own instincts tell her that she should leg (wing?) it, she still stays there until it is far too late. Two, the story implies that a number of sacrifices were necessary for Vinyl to fully stay in Equestria. Perhaps no one cares if a few random ponies disappear, but surely someone would notice the disappearance of an element-bearer. Especially the loudest one. The story doesn't even try to account for this, unless that one throwaway sentence about Twilight being aware of Vinyl being mute is intended to convey that she is in cahoots with them, but the rest of the story has no further confirmation of this. These don't ruin the narrative per se, but they do put a lot of strain on my immersion.
Overall: 6/10 I understand horror fics don't necessarily have to be the most logical ones, but I feel like just with a bit of extra care the story could have had been massively improved. Still the horror scenes are good enough to put this fic above average.