FimFiction Link - Short ID: 448642/pneuma
Published: Oct '19
Pneuma is a 4,7k horror journal one-shot. After the discovery of an old book which may shed light on the customs of some pre-Equestrian unicorn societies, a group of researchers follow its leads to a blocked old mine, and the secrets held within.
This was fine. I think the progression of horror was logical. Find book. Translate it. Go look for the place mentioned in the text. Discover it's an ancient temple. Learn its secrets. Figure out you're being influenced by an ancient being from before time itself that tricked you into performing a ritual. Conceptually, it works. The actual execution, however, leaves a lot to be desired.
This is something that always comes up when it comes to this type of experimental fiction, in that one wonders if it wouldn't have been better if it had been told in a more straightforward and conventional style. The journal nature means that we only get after the fact snippets of what's happening, and while that can work well to set mystery and tension, after a while it can be frustrating that we never really see these events unfolding.
From a logical standpoint, it also makes sense there are things we can't see. Sure, Calligraphy is diligently making entries chronicling their excursion, but once shit hits the fan, it makes sense that he's not going to to return to his tent and write down what happened. So, instead of an even flow of events A, B, C, and so on, we go A, B, D, G, Z. And again, while it makes sense, it does not make for an enthralling read.
The story itself is entertaining, and Pneuma sounds like it could be an interesting antagonist. By the story's nature, however, we only get a portion of an interesting story. There are better stories, and even better horror out there.