FimFiction Link - Short ID: 452073/dear-diary
Published: Oct '19
Dear Diary is the sequel to Entry #649, and I think it builds up and improves on every aspect of the original.
Obviously enough, it follows the diary format of the previous story. In this instance, it focuses on Fluttershy, who now works on the Loveacres animal reserve as a caretaker and keeps a diary where she talks about her day, her worries, as well as keeping tally on the reserve’s animals. This is already one aspect where this story is an improvement. I’ll defend the story, but in ‘Entry’, Rarity’s diary felt like a trope.This is a horror story and this character keeps a journal. However, in this one, the diary aspect feels much more real. The way Fluttershy talks to it as if it was a different pony, the way she references previous entries, or writes down recipes, as well as the progress on some sick animals really adds to the realism and immersion.
Style-wise, while we no longer have Rarity’s rich prose, Fluttershy's characterisation is spot on. In both these stories, the author did a good job at taking the canon characters and making them feel aged. These could really be the mid-thirties versions of these characters.
Plot wise, this one’s good, too. Picking up from where we left off in the previous story, Twilight “vanished” a week ago. Truth is, she left on a research trip without telling anyone, but Rainbow Dash tailed her, following her into a cave with… mysterious qualities, let’s say. After that she disappeared for real—going to see Rarity and kicking off the events of the previous story—while Dash goes to see Applejack and then comes to see Fluttershy. While staying with her, she tries to read up on what Twilight was researching before she disappeared in hopes of trying to find a lead. Fluttershy takes it in stride, appreciating that her friend has come to see her after all this time, and that she doesn’t hate her.
You see, something happened in Fluttershy’s past that made her leave Ponyville and come to this faraway town. It’s only hinted at what happened, but we know it was bad. Either way, we soon start to notice a change in her demeanour. What starts as a positive soon comes crashing down as Dash and Fluttershy have an argument, and then…
Then’s where the better pacing pays off. Despite only having under 2k words more than the previous one, this one feels much longer in a good way. The way the horror slowly seeps in until a big reveal two thirds of the way in and it keeps spiralling out of control is so engaging. Earlier scenes make sense now. Things said before take on a new meaning. And when you reach the ending, knowing what it is that made Fluttershy leave Ponyville a decade ago, makes what is already a horrifying resolution all that more disturbing.
I love everything about this. If you’re a fan of horror who likes both themes, characters arcs AND body horror and gore, I cannot recommend this story enough. Check them out.