FimFiction Link - Short ID: 531398/perdition
Published: Feb '23
There's simply no way to talk about this story without highlighting the dark atmosphere that permeates the whole fic. It starts strong and doesn't let go until the very end. Every little movement, every spoken word, every gesture—they all feel almost menacingly profound. It's all incredibly tense the whole time even though the actual events are fairly mundane, at least by this dark Equestria's standards.
I tried to determine what makes it work so well and eventually settled on the conclusion that it's not some clever trickery—everything about this story is designed to play into that atmosphere. From the slow and measured pacing, through all the unsettling descriptions that hint at the larger mystery without seemingly saying anything weird, to the way the characters act and talk. It's nice to read something so well composed.
It also leads to another uncommon situation: the story is able to more or less successfully pull off leaving the Mystery, well, mysterious. Without giving too much away (it's only about a thousand words, after all), the first paragraph exemplifies this perfectly. Of course, as is common with (good) open-ended storytelling, different people can have different interpretations. For me, however, the scene immediately summoned the imagery of viking burial. It's all in the deliberate word choices and the heavy atmosphere, though the story never explicitly tells what was on the boat. If anything, some words later in the story imply that this first guess, while not "wrong", is also not quite true.
I need to mention that one of the author's choices was… let's say brave. For all the excellent wordsmithing involved, a few of the sentences and phrases used are non-standard, to not say wrong. The author clarified that the apparent mistakes were intentional, to bring the reader's attention to details that might otherwise go by unnoticed. It's certainly a bold choice and I don't know if I like it, but it's rare enough that it shouldn't be too bad for those who immediately see that approach as incorrect.
Also, I'm ready to commit blasphemy and recommend the >greentext version over the one on fimfic. You can find it here:
Having read both, the green version is just better. Not a lot better, but the one in prose feels like reformatted green in a few spots (because that's what it is), and the absence of dialogue tags results in some minor unintended ambiguity in a few spots. If (You) can't stand green, go ahead and read the fimfic port but to everyone else I'd advise sticking to the ponepaste original. But all in all, it's a captivating story.
The story builds suspense and mystery exceedingly well, and for such a short oneshot, it definitely evoked a feeling or two. But I disagree with the other Anon about the mystery just a little bit.
While the story never explicitly tells you what's going on, it heavily hints at a solution. That's not to say the backstory or the circumstances are fully revealed, and there are quite a few things which you'll be left unsure of, but a big backbone of the mystery is fairly obvious.
I also have to disagree with Anon's suggestion of reading the original green. The prose version is good. The bit of dialogue he mentions is certainly a little confusing, but it's cleared up a sentence later.
I will agree though that this definitely should not have the E rating. T is a lot more fitting.
>I need to mention that one of the author's choices was… let's say brave. For all the excellent wordsmithing involved, a few of the sentences and phrases used are non-standard, to not say wrong. The author clarified that the apparent mistakes were intentional, to bring the reader's attention to details that might otherwise go by unnoticed.
I genuinely have no idea what you meant by this, but I am an ESL.
AJ and Apple Bloom live a night in a semi-abandoned, allegorical, and very melancholic Sweet Apple Acres. While it's structurally very well put together, I'm just not a fan of oneshots that make you do the heavy lifting of coming up with exactly what is going on and how the characters ended up in their situation. If I wanted to do that, I'd just write a oneshot myself. It's the bane of horror oneshots and, evidently, mystery oneshots as well.