FimFiction Link - Short ID: 164668/the-corner-of-our-eyes
Published: Jan '14 — Oct '16
'The Corner of (Our) Eyes' is a twenty-two thousand and seven hundred-word horror shortfic. Roseluck sees a thing that really doesn't want to be seen.
Let's get the nasty technicalities out of the way first: This fic is simply full of typos. The prose is ridden with wissing periods, wrong spellings, capitalization issues, etc. I'm putting this out here, because this is one of the biggest criticisms I had about the fic, so if you're really picky about your horsewords being grammatically perfect, I'm afraid your immersion will suffer when reading this one.
However, and thankfully this time it's a positive "however", the rest of the fic had been a blast for me. One thing I particularly liked about it is that it's not uptight. Despite it being tagged horror, it has a lot of comedy and jokes scattered all over the story to make the non-action scenes entertaining and, as they suddenly disappear, show that the stakes are rising and something is very-very wrong. There is another potential pitfall, which most likely stems from the fic's age: This fic leans heavily into the "ponies are humans but ponies" idea. We have Derpy calling herself "retarded", the hospital having a (specifically) CRT TV, "fucks" and "shits" thrown all over the place, and so on. This was at first a bit distracting for me, but once I accepted that the fic is simply like that and rolled with it, it never really caused any issues afterwards. Also the fic occasionally calls up fandom memes, like everyone calling Derpy Derpy only to immediately correct themselves to Ditzy, Octavia being called Philharmonica, and so on, but these too are largely unobtrusive jokes and, while I was somewhat annoyed by the constant "Ditzy"-ing, it didn't ruin my immersion.
I wouldn't say I was shaking while reading the story, the horror never quite reached that level, but that doesn't mean I didn't find it's tropes effective. I was somewhat assuming the fic would be far more about Derpy, considering she's on the cover, but seeing Roseluck's desperate attempts at staying sane while the world turns into Silent Hill was just as thrilling. The descriptions do much of the legwork here, the at-first subtle then outright surreal hallucinations(?) she faces are very well introduced and, aside from the section mentioned in spoilers, never go so overboard to feel ridiculous. And even the spoiler part works fine, I just felt like after so much psychological horror, suddenly throwing in body horror was pretty meh, but your mileage may very well vary.
The ending left me a tad sour. It is a fitting finale for a story like this, but still, after struggling so much and coming out on top, it's a bit crappy that the story leaves us at an ambiguous, bad-leaning ending.
Overall: 7/10 Though certainly not a story for everyone, 'TCoOE' is a great little fic that I had a blast reading. Can recommend.