FimFiction Link - Short ID: 505428/migraines
Published: Oct '21
'Migraines' is a two thousand and two hundred-word experimental horror oneshot featuring Twilight as she stumbles through Ponyville while she's suffering from a migraine. This is probably one of the most unique stories I've read and I think even if I didn't find it particularly horrifying, it regardless did a pretty great job at presenting a very unusual feel and atmosphere.
I've never personally experienced a migraine, so I can't really comment on how faithfully it's depicted here, however, this didn't really take away from the story for me. Regardless of whether this is how a true migraine works or the author just came up with a few extra symptoms, reading this story could be described in a grossly shallow way as an acid trip. The author cleverly uses repetition and sentences that trail off to convey how Twilight is feeling: The world is melting in front of her eyes as she imagines different kinds of insects and maggots eating or nesting in her brain. She meets several of her friends, but none of them act normally in her eyes. The author describes all of them as being "almost" themselves, but doesn't elaborate on what exactly is off about them, leaving it up to the reader's imagination. Normally, I'd probably call this lazy, but here it works in the story's favor. This is basically a fever dream, you can't adequately explain it, just hint at what's happening. I also like how Twilight takes this all with an almost unnatural calmness, facing each of the situations that a rational person would probably consider terrifying with uninterested detachment like she's an outside observer.
It took me a little while until I understood the ending. The author was confident to leave the final resolution just vague enough to confuse the reader on their initial reading, but left a few very telling clues which allow you to figure out what exactly happened. The idea that Twilight's magic "malfunctions" during her migraine and actually turns the denizens of the city into how she perceives them is both a great moment of body horror, but also probably the only major issue I have with the story. While I understand that Twilight is, well, Twilight and I also understand that the story implies that she has no issue with reversing the transformations, I still can't believe that the ponies living there would tolerate her ambling around the town turning anyone she stumbles accros into horrible imitations of themselves or in Spike's case into a lifeless doll. At minimum they'd lock her up during these episodes, if not straight up send her away from the town if this is a frequent occurrence as the story implies.
Overall: 7/10 Other than the issue mentioned in the spoilered section, this is a very well written experimental piece, that isn't afraid to do something different. I recommend it.