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Current story: "Hollowed Voices" by Waxworks: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38

Previous thread stories:
"Mistaken Creation" by Waxworks: https://pastebin.com/avgG8xxN
"The Pinkest Party" by Waxworks: https://pastebin.com/qrffpTfy
"Sol" by Waxworks: https://pastebin.com/YFnM341B

Discord Channel: https://discord.gg/BAzHNBn
Whatever you like to do with horror, it can be discussed here.

E2: http://imgur.com/a/gVAa5
DS Stoner (Dapper Skeleton).

Soundtrack by Radiarc:
New album VOID: https://radiarc.bandcamp.com/album/void-album
Forgotten [EP]: https://radiarc.bandcamp.com/album/forgotten-ep
Mistaken (Album): https://radiarc.bandcamp.com/album/mistaken-album
Radiarc: https://www.youtube.com/user/PCHU13

Other good music: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv4m_5f-jyGlcCUWo4B98hQ

Previous three threads:
Pony Horror Thread #15: https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/31729955
Pony Horror Thread #16: https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/31942005
Pony Horror Thread #17:
Pony Horror Thread #18:
Pony Horror Thread #19: https://desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32453796
Pony Horror Thread #20:
At the rear end of the building, there were the remains of what must once have been some form of blockade, possibly made using simple stones and a metal bar, with scraps of fabric scattered about among the stones. She stepped over the pile and into what looked to have been a series of tunnels.

Her first thought was that the tunnels must have connected the houses to each other, criss-crossing the stone houses among themselves, allowing all the residents access to each other’s homes. Her second thought was wondering why, then, they would have blocked them off? Was one family trying to prevent another from getting in? Would it have mattered when they could have just gone outside?

Curious, Moondancer took a look at the cave, then walked back to the front of the building and outside. She went to the next house in the line built into the wall of the chasm, and looked at the back of the house there.

Instead of a wall of crumbled stone, she found a pile of rotten wood. It looked like whomever had lived here tried to block the back of the cave with wooden furniture or… whatever these were remnants of. One chunk looked like it had been a bookcase at once point, and the scrolls scattered about might have been part of that. Moondancer heard a growling noise and jumped. But when she scanned her light to where the noise had come from, all she saw was a badger hiding among the piled books. It had eaten a hold in them and was staring at her. She bowed and retreated, leaving it alone.

She returned to her building and looked at the stone pile again. It was still a mystery, because why would they block the back of the house and not the front? Had something come from below?
Moondancer went back to the cart and rifled through the supplies. She’d made notes before she came and wanted to clarify something about Hollow Shades before she continued her exploration of the place.

In her research before coming out here, she’d been looking at the death of Hollow Shades. Not the ‘death’, so much, but why it was abandoned. There were rumors, of course, but the ponies that left didn’t speak of the ‘why’ very much. The assumption was just that it was an inconvenient stop between Baltimare and Canterlot, but that didn’t make much sense. Ponyville was out of the way for anypony that was going from Canterlot anywhere else. Moondancer suspected Ponyville only survived because of ponies that wanted to live vicariously close to the Princesses. Now that Twilight was one too, Ponyville would get bigger. It was inevitable.

Moondancer found her journal and yanked it triumphantly out of the mess she’d made of the cart. She ignored it and flipped to the most recent entries where she’d written basic notes about Hollow Shades and everything they knew. She flipped page after page, looking for an entry on the exodus from Hollow Shades. She cried out happily when she found it and read through it, hunting for anything about caves.

Unfortunately, she found little. The only entry was; “Some concern about the viability of living in a chasm with only hoof and cart access to the main town did not bring in the kind of visitors they expected. Instead, the visitors that came were too eager to live inside the crannies and chasms of Hollow Shades. There, they made their homes, within any space or crevice that presented itself, filling Hollow Shades with wrong ponies.”

“Wrong ponies? They were racist?”
The wording was strange, but Moondancer interpreted it as meaning that they drew attention from ponies they didn’t want living there. She wasn’t certain how long Hollow Shades had been abandoned, but the words made it seem like they were unhappy with the new ponies coming to live in the city, which is why they abandoned it? But then, what happened to the ponies that came to live there? If they liked it so much, where had they gone?

“Learn anything great and fun there, lass?”

Moondancer jumped and spun around. Her hoof went to her chest and she gasped. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”

“Weren’t really sneakin’. You were just too absorbed in your book to notice.” He held up some fruits and berries in a basket. “Found some good eatin’ though. Really wild, but still good. You want some?”

“Oh, no thank you. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on in this village. Did you ever know much about the place?”

Desolate leaned on the cart. “What makes you think I new anything more than my own house?”

“Well, you said you used to live here, years upon years ago. Were you born here?”

“Oh, yes indeed I was.”

“Did your family live down in here?”

“Oh, no, not at all. We lived up on the outskirts. This place here was long abandoned before I was born.”

“How strange…”

“Oh, aye it was. Strange even then. Lots of stories about what happened down here and why everypony left. My family and me were some of the last to stick around.”

“I was looking through my notes and they say that the ponies left because the wrong kind of pony came to live here. Were you and your family the—forgive my saying—'wrong kind of pony?’”
"But behind the shadows, what's there? Behind that, what's there? What's at the back of it all?"
>She climbs up and out of the hole, stinking of strange smells and unpleasant things.
"If you can't see what's in it, how could you ever know?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
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Indeed it is me, anonymous.
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He looked at her sideways, face screwing up in thought. “Not rightly sure what you mean.”

“In my research before we left Canterlot, I was trying to find out what happened to Hollow Shades to make everypony leave, and something I found mentioned that the ‘wrong kind of pony’ was moving in. I think it’s either a reference to pegasi, unicorns, or earth ponies moving into a neighborhood filled with another of the types of pony and being unwanted.”

He shook his head. “I wouldn’t know anything about that. As far as I can recall nopony cared about us when we moved in, and nopony was really there to care about us when we left.”

“Well, it’s possible that you were either some of the last after the fact. You said the chasm here was empty when you lived here.”

“Oh, surely it was. Nopony came down here.”

“As a foal, surely you did anyway.”

“Oh, aye. I did. Nothing really down here, though.”

“You didn’t see or hear anything down here? Find anything strange”

“Well…” he tapped his chin with a hoof. “I kind of recall something, but I always thought I heard voices, if that helps any.” Moondancer stood up straighter at the mention of voices. “Never saw anything, and I always just assumed it was the wind, but I thought I heard voices down here. They stopped as I got older, though.”

“Voices? Have you heard any since we’ve been here?”

He looked at her and blinked. “I haven’t. Have you?”

“Yes! I have! Last night, when we were getting set up for bed, and this morning. A faint, whispering sound.”

“Huh, well maybe it’s not just me and it is the wind. There’s tunnels and holes all over this place. I’d bet the wind blowing through ‘em sets ‘em off a lot.”
“You really think it’s just the wind?”

He shrugged. “Don’t know what else it could be. Never saw anything.”

The whispering began while they talked about it, as if summoned by the mere mention of the strange voices in the dark caverns.

“There!” Moondancer shouted. Desolate jumped slightly at her exclamation. “Do you hear it right now?”

Desolate pricked his ears, then shook his head. “I don’t hear anything.”

“Is it just me, then?”

“Where’s it coming from?”

Moondancer shuffled around in a small circle, tilting her head as she tried to figure out where she was hearing the sounds from. The voices seemed to be coming from inside the houses built into the stone walls of the chasm. She pointed at them. “In there.”

“Aw, girl, that’s just the wind. There’s caves of all kinds in there, you know.”

“I saw that, yes, but come here.” She walked toward one, motioning for Desolate to follow. He came with her and she pointed at the fallen barrier with her horn light. “What’s all this, then? Each one of these buildings seems to have remnants of some blockade to the caves at the back of them.”

Desolate dismissed it with a wave. “Kids being kids. They were there when I came down. It’s just foals making forts in the houses. Surely you saw the graffiti?”

Moondancer had seen it. There were drawings on the stone walls, but they looked almost as old and faded as the books and other papers that were left behind. It was all part of the history of Hollow Shades, since nopony ever came back here. It was all frozen in time.

“I still think there’s something to it. You really can’t hear the sounds?”

Desolate shook his head again. “Nope. Not a sound going on for me.”
“That’s so strange. It’s even louder in here than it is outside.”

“might be I’m just getting old. My hearing’s not what it used to be.”

“Yeah, I guess that might be it.” She looked at the darkness at the back of the cave a moment longer, then led the way out. “Sorry to bother you about it.”

“It’s your expedition, girl. I’m just here to help. You need anything yet?”

“It’s still morning, I’ll be fine for now. Thank you, Desolate.”

“No worries. Just yell if you need me. I’ll be around.”

“Thank you.”

Desolate left Moondancer to her work and sat out front of the buildings. He played more music, sang to himself, and was sitting in front of the fire whittling while she worked. She wasn’t particularly bothered by it anymore, and she had to admit, it was nice knowing somepony was nearby. The voices in the back of the caves were omnipresent, and it was starting to wear on her. While she was reading, she had to listen to the sounds constantly humming and whispering in her ear. It made her look up from her work periodically to check that she was, indeed, alone in the room. At one point when it got loud, she thought she felt something or somepony touch her on the ear. She started, spinning around furiously, her light lashing at the darkness, but there was nothing there.

She picked up several of the books and left the building, taking them outside. They were some of the books in slightly better condition, and could handle being transported, but she couldn’t sit inside there any longer and retain her sanity. Desolate greeted her with a cheeky smile.

“Too loud in there for you, girl?”

“Yes,” she said flatly.
"So then, to answer the unspoken question; to find out what's in there, you gotta go in it."
>You look at her funny.
"Yes, that's why I was down in the sewer. I was checking."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
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How big is your penis?
Dubs demand an answer Waxy
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Desolate laughed. “I’m telling you, it’s just the wind. There’s caves back there for miles upon miles. I heard stories about ponies that went in there and never came out again, though I never saw a one of them.”

“Before your time?”

He nodded. “Surely before my time. I’ve never been in those caves—and you should stay out of them—but I know there’s lots of ‘em. You can hear it, can’t you?”

Moondancer listened, and the howling voices continued. As she focused on the sound, she heard it separate from one, terrified howl to many combined voices, all howling under the whistling tone of the winds. Her eyes widened as she realized he was right. “Wait, I thought you said you couldn’t hear them?”

“I don’t hear them now, but I used to be able to.”

“What changed?”

He shrugged. “Damned if I know. I think I just got old.”

“But it’s so loud.”

“Sometimes I can’t hear my wife calling me from the next room,” he laughed. “Just means I may be a little selective in my hearing. I don’t know a damn thing about it.” He waved a hoof at her small pile of parchment. “But hey, don’t let me distract you. You came to read, eh?”

“Yes, I did, thank you.” Moondancer returned to her books and parchment. Desolate continued to play his harmonica, and the howling voices continued to come from the buildings nearby. She tuned them all out, as she had gotten good at during her years of research, and focused.

She was so focused, Moondancer failed to notice when the sunlight disappeared behind the trees. Her horn lit up by reflex and illuminated her book as darkness covered the pages. It was only when Desolate came over and shook her gently that she even looked up, noticing that night had fallen early on the camp.
“Girl, I think it’s time you ate something, huh?” He held out a bowl of porridge with nuts and berries to her.

“Oh!” She took it and smiled. “Thank you. I get wrapped up in reading sometimes.”

“So I was told. I don’t mind, I’m just here to make sure things go well.”

“You’re doing quite well at it.”

They ate, then she went back to reading, and Desolate fell asleep on the hard ground. Moondancer kept reading deep into the night, when she heard Desolate’s voice coming from inside the building nearby.

“Girl, have you read all the books, yet?” Desolate’s voice said. “Do you know everything, yet?”

Moondancer looked up. She glanced at Desolate’s prone form. He was facing away from her, so she called out. “No, I haven’t read all the books, or we’d be out of here. And I certainly don’t know everything. I’m barely scratching the surface.”

“No, it’s clear you don’t know everything,” his voice said. It floated to her from the opposite side where Desolate was sleeping. Moondancer’s head whipped around, but darkness was all that greeted her gaze.

Moondancer felt the first shivering chill of worry. “I never claimed to! What are you doing, Desolate, this isn’t funny!”

“Ohhhh, you don’t even know that? It’s time, girl. Time to show you instead of letting you read. Reading will take far too long.”

There was the gentle clopping of hooves, and something dark came out of each of the buildings built into the chasm walls. They had no defined shape, but they looked somewhat like the silhouette of a pony. They stood in the doorways, then as Moondancer was watching, they all collapsed, disintegrating into piles of darkness filled with that red static you could see when your eyes were filled with blackness.
The shapes glowed, undulating back and forth, then they surged toward Moondancer. She tried to cry out to Desolate but she could only squeak as her throat closed from terror. She curled up, pulling her hooves under the blanket she was covered in as the shapes came up to her. Her horn light went out and all she could see was the staticky red glow of them. They filled her vision, covered her, and she finally screamed. The static gave way to yellow, and through it, she heard Desolate’s voice.

“You all right there, girl?”

She felt somepony grab hold of her and she struck out at it. She heard an ‘oof’ but the grabbing kept coming. She hit it again, but despite her efforts it didn’t let go.

“Stop it! It’s me, Desolate!”

Moondancer calmed down. She opened her eyes and the red static gave way to lantern light. Desolate was holding on to her, his lantern nearby, and there were no shapes to be seen. “What… what happened? Where did they go?”


“The… the things? Th-they came out of the buildings, and they were all bloody-looking and sort of fuzzy!”

“Hey, calm down. I think you just saw something in your sleep.”

“Sleep? But I didn’t go to sleep.”

“Well, somepony was snoring up a storm, and if I could hear it, it wasn’t me. Sure you aren’t just projecting something you read into your barely-woken brain?”

Moondancer looked down at the open book next to her. It was describing the myths and legends on Hollow Shades, complete with faded illustrations of what the creatures looked like. It was all a bunch of religious stuff about the ponies in the city, and how they appeased them for good weather and long life.
"I didn't find anything down there, of course. But I could, and that's why we look."
>She stretches.
"There's always the possibility."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
Keeping this alive.
Keeping this on live support.
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“I… I don’t know.” She turned back to him. “Was I really sleeping?”

“You surely were, girl.” He patted her on the withers. “Do you need the fire bigger? I can get more wood if you want.”

“No, no, that won’t help.”

“It’s just the dark getting to you. It’s probably one of the reasons everypony left. There was too much shadow, not enough light.”

“You may be right.” She picked up the book and flipped through the pages. “In here they talk about how the shadows needed to be appeased to make sure the village was safe and there was always going to be enough food for everypony. Living in it constantly made them wary of what was in there.”

“That seems sensible.”

She flipped through the pages and found one showing a simple ritual that families were expected to do before bed every night. “There are even rituals. Simple rituals, but they make sense, given the environment.”

“Oh? What kind?” Desolate leaned in to look over her shoulder. When he got closer Moondancer felt ‘fuzzy’, if she had to describe it. She shifted away. He took the hint and stayed back. “Do you want to perform it? It might help you sleep better.”

“I don’t know. It’s a little creepy.”

“Well, tell me. Or let me see. You’re feeling a little uncomfortable so we should do something to make you feel better, else I’ll be forced to stay up all night to keep you company!” He laughed.

“Okay, well here’s one. It calls for a single candle.”

“Got it.” Desolate went over to the cart and pulled a candle from a bag. He came back and planted it on the ground in front of her. Moondancer picked it up in her magic and looked back at the book.

“Next we light it, and recite the chant.”
Desolate nodded and waited, watching. Moondancer held the candle out to the fire and lit the wick. She turned away from the fire and looked back at the houses in the chasm walls. They were the source of her discomfort, and in her dream they were where the shadow things came from. She held the candle out and began to chant.

“As I prepare myself for bed,
And lay down low my sleepy head,
I ask that shadow come not near,
And bring to me no creeping fear.
But should the shadow take me in,
I pray that it should find no sin,
For here my life’s not wholly mine…” Moondancer slowed in her recitation, “…I pray I shan’t be next in line.” Moondancer looked at Desolate, then over at the houses. She blew out the candle to complete the rhyme, then held her breath. The whispering sounds didn’t pick up, leaving nothing but the sound of the wind. She looked at Desolate. “Next in line? What does that mean?”

Desolate shrugged. “Your reading would be what tells you. I’ve no idea. When I was young we didn’t recite that at all. First time I’ve heard it.”

“I guess it applied down in the hollow itself, not up on the edge.” Moondancer flipped forward a few pages, then back several. “There’s no images to go with it. I just glanced over it the first time, but now that I read it out loud, doesn’t there seem to be some deeper meaning behind it all?”

“Well, I’m no historian, but wouldn’t ponies try to ponify concepts and inanimate object in order to ask them to treat them nicely?”

“Yes, it’s very common.” Moondancer looked around at the darkness surrounding them. “I guess living here would be a little oppressive.”
Desolate patted Moondancer on the shoulder. Her head felt stuffy again when he did, and she curled up in her blankets. “Get some sleep, girl. You did the ritual. It was supposed to appease the darkness, right?”


“Then sleep. The morning’ll be better.”

“I hope so.”

Desolate crawled back into his own bedroll and turned away from the fire. She could see his breathing even out almost immediately and wished she were so comfortable that she could fall asleep that easily.

Moondancer closed her eyes, but despite her best efforts she couldn’t fall back asleep. Her mind was racing with thoughts both good and bad. She imagined all sorts of strange reasons for the chant she had found from beasts living in the caves to fell magicks that might poison the water. She couldn’t fathom a reason for wanting to appease something that lived in there, or even why the ponies living in Hollow Shades would have started living near something so strange and dangerous to begin with. Then again, if something was that powerful, then maybe they would start worshipping it?

Moondancer clutched at her head and curled up as far as she could. She didn’t know and it was driving her crazy. She tried to focus on some soothing sound like the crackling of the fire to help her fall asleep, but as she focused she found some other, stranger sound behind it.

She heard a rustling, staticky sound, like errant magic.

It made her think of the staticky red vision she’d had and as soon as she thought of it the back of her eyelids suddenly glowed with crimson. She tried to change the topic she was thinking about but it was too late. Now she could see nothing but.
>She looks down into the dark sewer. There's sound, and plenty of it, but no vision. Not with your weak, pony's eyes.
"You can't see it, but you know it exists. Isn't that different and strange? Knowing something exists and hearing it, but never confirming it? Are you being fooled?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
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>Desolate Sand
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The redness suffused her vision. It built up behind her eyelids and it only seemed to get worse the harder she squinched her eyes shut. It rose and faded, coming and going, rising and falling. Seemingly following her breaths as she inhaled and exhaled. She even put her hooves in front of her eyes and opened them, hoping that would make it go away, but the darkness was still filled with that awful, glowing redness everywhere she looked, only in different amounts.

She was so focused on her vision that she almost forgot about the sound behind it. It was getting louder, filling her ears until just like she couldn’t see anything but red, she couldn’t hear anything but static. She squeezed her eyes shut and covered her ears, but it burrowed through her skull until it was ringing around in her head. She thought she could hear movement, but she dared not look, and she didn’t want to scream. She just closed her eyes, shut her ears, and prayed.

Morning came.

With it came the soft call of birds, the rustling of the trees, and the drip drip drop of morning dew. Moondancer lay on her bedroll, shivering and shaking. Her eyes were open and her mane was damp from the misty morning fog settling into the hollow. She slowly reached out with her hooves instead of her magic and grabbed her glasses. She put them on, rubbing them gently against her also-damp sweater in a vain attempt to clean them. She was unsuccessful. She blinked tiredly and gazed around the camp, looking for signs of those horrible red shapes. When she found nothing she almost audibly sighed with relief and grunted as she pulled herself to sitting. She looked down at Desolate’s bedroll, ready for breakfast.
Desolate was missing.

Panic rose up like a breaching whale, ready to cause a messy splash, but she squelched it, reasoning with herself that Desolate was probably out foraging. Nothing else in camp was messed up or disorganized, so Desolate was busy, but he wasn’t in danger. Everything she saw and heard last night was a fever-dream or panic attack. She’d had those before. She could deal with it. It was scary, but they always passed.

Sure enough, once she’d stood up and rolled up her bed, Desolate came out of one of the nearby buildings, carrying a little baggy filled with mushrooms. He dropped them next to the firepit and smiled at her.

“Morning, Moondancer.” She tilted her head when he spoke. She swore she heard some background noise.

“Good… morning, Desolate. Hunting mushrooms?”

“Yes indeed, found some not too far back in the cave. Close enough that I could go in, grab ‘em, then get out.” His voice sounded like he had cotton in his nose, or phlegm. It was muffled somewhat, like somepony who needed to swallow but wanted to finish their sentence.

“You told me it was dangerous in there and that we should avoid going very far back.”

“Well, yes, but I lived here. I figgered I could get us a little snack, no problem.”

Moondancer looked him in the eyes. Was she imagining things, or were there red speckles in his irises?

“What’s wrong?” he asked her. She didn’t answer. She just kept looking. Something was wrong, she was sure of it.

Desolate shook out the mushrooms onto the ground. He picked through them, then tossed a couple away. “I’ll get the fire going in a moment. Hope you’re hungry.”
Despite her staring, she couldn’t verify anything was wrong. He wasn’t acting different, just… sounded strange. And maybe looked strange, but she couldn’t figure out if that was him or her. She’d strained her eyes last night in the dark, and they felt achey and heavy. She sat back next to the fire as Desolate got it going and picked up a book. She kept an eye half-trained on him as she tried to pick up where she was reading.

To her alarm, the book started falling apart as she picked it up. “Oh no!”

“What? Oh! The morning dew! Get it back inside, quick!”

Moondancer picked up all her books and hurried back indoors. The house’s open door welcomed her as she dashed into it, carrying her damp tomes and scrolls. She tried to get them settled on a stone countertop, smoothing the limp pages out. She saw something moving out of the corner of her eye, and a dark shaped loomed in the doorway. She screamed and fired a beam of magic at it.

Desolate jumped and scurried behind the stone wall at her outburst. “Woah there! Calm down! I was just checking if you were okay!”

His cottony voice had her on edge as she listened to it. His silhouette in the doorway had looked filled with red static. Right now as he peeked around the edge of the doorway he looked like one of those red blobs that had filled her dreams in the darkness. She rubbed a hoof over her face.

“I’m… sorry. I’m really on edge.”

“All that nonsense from last night, eh?”

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

He looked at the scorch mark in the stone and looked back at her. “I’ll… just call when breakfast is ready, okay?”

“Thank you, Desolate. I’m sorry.”

“Just… rest and calm down, girl.”

“I’ll try.”
"The answer is yes, more often than not, you are being fooled."
>She closes the hole, then picks up her lantern pole.
"There's nothing there, it's just a trick your mind is playing on you."
"At least, that's what your mind is telling you."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
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Someone maked fanart of my story "Eight-legged Friends". I like this one.
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This one's neat, but more weird than creepy.
Wax u'r wack lol
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Moondancer tried to calm down, but the sounds were filling her head. She tried to stay inside but the darkness all around her looked filled with red, and when she went outside to try and alleviate it all the sounds around her, specifically Desolate singing to himself as he cooked, sounded messy and cottony. She couldn’t sit still as he sang, but when she tried to go back inside the sight of the red-filled darkness made her nervous. She wasn’t happy anywhere she went, and couldn’t focus enough to keep her nose in the books.


Moondancer turned to the cottony sound and stared blankly at Desolate.


She tried to ask him what he meant, but her own voice was nothing more than a mumble in her ears. She stared, confused, until he pushed a bowl at her filled with mushrooms. She looked down at it a moment, then grabbed it and held it up to her face. She sniffed, but couldn’t pick up any smell, though it looked like it should have smelled delicious.

She went to ask, “what is it?”, but when she finished speaking Desolate just looked at her oddly. She asked, “what is it?” again, but wasn’t sure she was even saying it right. He pointed at the bowl, then at her mouth. She leaned in and grabbed one with her teeth and started chewing on it. It tasted like nothing.

As she chewed, however, she felt pressure building in her ears. Her nose suddenly got clogged and she felt her whole head getting stuffy. It wasn’t a headache, but more like the pressure felt when diving deep in the water, but from the inside. She dropped the bowl and grabbed her ears.
She turned away from the campfire and breathed through her mouth. Stared wildly around, then blew through her nose. It got stuck. She blew again, and the pressure mounted, then finally gave way. She felt something come out and looked down through watery eyes.

On the ground beneath her sat a glob of that staticky red darkness that had been plaguing her all these nights. Her mind could barely register what it was she was looking at, but after a moment, she felt panic rising from within. She felt the pressure rising again and blew as hard as she could, trying to dislodge it.

Another blow, another glob.

Her ears hurt for a moment, then the pressure released, and she felt something liquid trickling down her neck. She couldn’t hear anything, but she saw Desolate watching her from a distance. He wasn’t moving, but was just staring at her.

“Help,” she croaked out, though she heard nothing save a choking cough. He approached and stood in front of her. She reached out her hooves, just desiring some comfort, but he only opened his mouth.

Her eyes widened in fear.

Inside his mouth, past his teeth, she saw the same, staticky red light she had been seeing all this time. She heard his voice in her head, echoing through her skull as something spoke to her.

“We can’t leave alone. Hollow Shades is empty and has been empty, while we have grown within it. Since nopony comes back, we have nowhere to go. Save you.”

“Whad do you wand from meeee-hee-hee,” Moondancer sobbed. She sneezed, and suddenly her point of view shifted. She was both looking up at herself, and at Desolate. She sneezed again, and she was now looking up at herself. She blinked, or tried to, and she suddenly had two points of view. She sneezed a third time, and only had the low point of view.
She was looking at herself. She felt… sluggish, and fuzzy. She could hear again, and see properly, but she felt like she was touching too many things. She was confused, but then Desolate stomped on her, and she winced.

She felt no pain, though.

Desolate looked at her body, high above her, and reached out to put a hoof on her withers. She didn’t feel the contact, but her body looked at him and blinked.

“Feeling better?”

“A little.”

“You’ll get used to it. Been a while, hasn’t it?”

“I’ve never done this.”

“Never? No wonder it took so long to push her out.”

“She’ll be okay?”

“You just traded places. She’ll find somepony else eventually. The others will keep her company.”

Her body looked down at her. “She doesn’t seem to be moving.”

“She’ll figure it out eventually. Nothing can really hurt her like that.”

“Daylight will.”

“Only if she stays there for days at a time.”

“Shouldn’t we help her?”

“We can’t. Just leave her. Wipe the rest of her off yourself and come on. I need to teach you to eat and drink.”

Her body looked down at her one last time, then Desolate led her away. Moondancer was left behind. Panic rose inside her as she tried to understand what was happening, but as it rose the sound of static also grew. She felt it overwhelm every one of her senses until all she could see was the glowing red static. There was nothing else for a long, long while.

The End.
>Waxworks smiles at the sewer. You could swear you see something red trickling down it. She raises a hoof to her mouth and shushes you.
"But you can't say it's real or it's not. Because maybe nopony else knows. That's the secret."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/nF242s38
>Has what looks to be a single breakdown shot gun

You're gonna need a bigger gun than that.
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That's cool.
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"You shall gallop eternal, sparkly and crystalline."
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I love Fury Road
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“From underneath the mattress came a voice that sounded injured, lame.” Applejack’s voice changed to a deep, gravelly pitch. “Come hither, foals, and help me free. I’m trapped beneath your bed, you see. Come down here and we can play, all through the night, and through the day.”

Her voice went back to normal. “But all the foals had heard the tales, Of Mr. Mean with teeth like nails. He’d knock and bang on door and wall, then from a dark space he would call. He’d ask those there to come and play, all though the night, and through the day. He’d whisper, mutter, cough and speak, he’d sound so tired, sound so weak. But if the foals would go and look, he’d grab them then, with hoof and hook.”

Applejack made her voice higher-pitched. “A foal cried out, ‘What can we do?’ He’ll grab us, eat us, through and through!”

“’Don’t be afraid!’ one foal cried out. ‘Remember how to drive the lout, back to his nasty, dismal home, where he can only live alone. Just clap your hooves and laugh a lot, and do it loud, that hits the spot!”

Applejack’s voice went back to normal. “And so they laugh and clapped and cheered, until old Mr. Mean was speared right through his nasty, blackened heart, with happiness, and fell apart. He went back through the dark and gloam, until he reached his darkened home. He can’t come back, not for a while, as long as he sees foals that smile.”

Applejack closed the book and looked over at the three foals tucked into bed. Applebloom was staring wide-eyed. Sweetie Belle looked confused, and Scootaloo looked scared.

“What kind of story is that?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Well, it’s a spooky story with a good message about how to not be afraid of the dark,” Applejack answered.

“Rarity would kill me if I started clapping and laughing late at night!” she squeaked.

“Ah’m just glad ah remember that from when ah was younger,” Applebloom said. “Didn’t get any better over the years. Ah mean, Mr. Mean? With nails fer teeth and hooks on his hooves? Who puts that in a foal’s book?”

“Somepony who hates foals I bet,” Scootaloo said with a shudder. “Now I’m really gonna be scared of the dark.

“And now you know how to get rid of them fears, don’tcha?” Applejack said proudly. “This book’s based on an old Apple family tale, so you know it’s good!”

“Yeah, sure,” Scootaloo said with a shudder.

“At any rate, you three get some sleep, okay?” Applejack walked out the door and took one last look back in.

“Night, Applejack,” Applebloom said. She was already out of the covers and bouncing on the bed.

“Night,” The other two foals said. Applejack turned out the light and shut the door. Immediately she heard the sound of hooves clapping, immediately followed by laughter from Applebloom and Sweetie Belle.

She nodded and walked over to her own room and dropped her hat on the hat rack nearby. She stretched, undid her mane and tail from their ribbons, and flopped face-first into bed.

“Those foals sure do love stayin’ up late. Can’t blame ‘em, really. Ah used to love it too, when ah didn’t have all this work to do. But ah sure am beat.” She curled up under the covers and blinked. She realized she hadn’t turned her own light out. “Ah, blast.” She dragged herself out of bed, flopping to the floor with all four hooves, then scraped over to the lightswitch, flipped it, then dragged herself back.
When she was in bed she pulled herself under the covers and just barely poked her head out. She sighed comfortably and waited for sleep to come.

A sound yanked her from sleep. She opened her eyes and could see only a little moonlight filtering in the window. Her ears swiveled as she tried to figure out what had woken her up. No sound greeted her. She closed her eyes again, waiting for sleep to come.

A knocking sound came, waking her up again.

“Hey! You kids quit it! I know it was scary, but you need to stop it!”

She got no answer.

A deep, gravelly voice came from the closet. “It’s not the foals I’ve come here for. They’re small and weak, and such a bore.”

Applejack sat up straight. Her eyes flew to the closet to see it cracked open just a hair. Within; darkness. Black darkness. She pulled the covers up to her chin and stared.

“You know my name, it’s clear and clean. You know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Ah don’t know what you’re talkin’ about. You ain’t real. Ah’m dreamin’,” Applejack mumbled into the blanket, her eyes still locked on the closet. A shape squeezed itself into the space between the closet doors. A glittering smile slowly grew, opening sideways in the closet’s space. Applejack couldn’t tell from here, but she knew they were nails. She slowly started clapping her hooves together.

“You know the rules, you know the game. But can your friends all say the same? There’s six of you, and many doors, who’ll hear me next knock on their floors?” The glittering teeth disappeared form the closet as Applejack chuckled awkwardly. As it disappeared in dark smoke she heard him laugh.

“They’ll know my name, it’s clear and clean. They’ll know the name of Mr. Mean!”
>Waxworks was at the back of her shop, looking up the rickety stairs to her bedroom up above the shop itself. She pointed up, then dragged you bodily outside before she said anything.
"You know stories of what might live in your bedroom? How many do you think are true, hmmm?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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woah this got a little crazy
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Pinkie Pie’s dreams were filled with cotton candy, swirled sugar, and lemon icing. Lollipops and cupcakes danced next to each other as she watched, laughing from the side. They got into a line and pranced around her, singing happy songs about how they were going to get eaten and it would be the best thing ever in their lives if they could be. They laughed and cheered when Pinkie picked one up and stuffed it in her mouth, then began to chew.

Chewing took a really long time. The cupcake tasted like nothing and refused to break into pieces. It stayed as one chunk, tough and resilient, until she heard a knocking sound and woke up to find herself gnawing on her pillow.

She spat it out. “Pah! Ain’t that always the way.” The wet spot on her pillow was stained, indicating this was not the first time she had done this, and probably would not be the last. She flopped onto her back, giggling about the fact that she did this regularly. “I’m gonna end up eating a chunk out of it someday.”

A knock came again. It started once on the door to her room, then knocked on the closet, then sounded from under her bed. She lifted her head, looking around the room in the darkness.

“Hello? Pumpkin Cake? Did you get out again? You know auntie Pinkie can’t play with you in the middle of the night every night.”

The knocking came again, rhythmic this time. It tapped once on her door, thrice on her closet, then paused a second before knocking twice on her bed. After a moment’s silence it did it again.
“Pumpkin Cake, we can’t do this. You gotta get back to bed.” Pinkie tilted her head and flared her ears, trying to decide where the foal had hidden herself. If she was knocking at the different furniture she was using her magic, which meant she probably wasn’t in any of the places she’d knocked on.

Pinkie was just about to jump off the bed and start searching when she heard a deep, gravelly voice.

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean,” the voice croaked out. It laughed afterward, echoing in her tiny room.

“Uh… hello?” she asked.

“Hello, Pinkie Pie,” came the grating response. A quiet rasping sound came from the closet, like somepony was dragging something metal across wood. The door, she noticed, was cracked slightly open. She couldn’t see anything within, but there was sound.

“Who are you and what are you doing in my closet?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“I already told you.” A clinking noise, like metal hitting metal, came from the closet. Pinkie thought she could see something, but it disappeared, traveling under the floorboards to her bed, where it slid underneath.

“Mr. Mean?”

“Of course.” The sound of metal scraping against metal came from under the bed, like somepony was sharpening something.

“And… what are you doing in my room?” Pinkie was standing on her bed now, swinging around to check both sides, waiting for the pony under her bed to come out.

“I came to check, I came to see, just who these friends are going to be. And when I’m done, when I’m set free, I’ll do just what is best for me.”

“What… does that mean? Friends of whom, and what is best for you? You’re a strange, scary pony.”
“Have you come down? Have you seen me? Been summoned by your friend, have we. Now in this town I’ve come to be, but at the end we’ll see… we’ll see…”

“Summoned? A friend? Which friend?” Pinkie was getting worried now. This creature was living under her bed, and from the sound of all that metal he wasn’t a very nice pony. Ponies didn’t usually hide under other ponies’ beds and make scary poems and other noises.

“That’s my secret. Will you come down, or will you stay up there?’

“I’ll stay up here, I think.”

“Very well.”

Pinkie’s bed rattled and shook. She splayed out her hooves to keep her balance, but she yelped in surprise.

“Stop that!” she shouted. “What do you want?”

Mr. Mean didn’t respond. The bed juddered to the side, bouncing along the floor. It banged into the wall and knocked down several pictures. Their glass shattered as they hit, and Pinkie screamed.

“Stop it! Help! Somepony!”

Mocking, gravelly laughter came from under the bed. A hoof crept out from underneath the bed and reached up the side. Pinkie could see it had a wicked-looking horseshoe on it, with sharpened ends that jutted off the back and ended in sharp points. It hooked into the bedding and pulled. Pinkie’s blankets slid slowly off the bed, taking her with it. She tried to adjust, but the shaking of the bed and the moving bedding made it hard to stay upright.

She fell onto her side, screaming. “Help! Mr. Cake! Mrs. Cake! Help!”

The shaking got worse, and with a sudden yank, her blankets and sheets all came off the bed. Pinkie slid with them falling off the side of the bed with a scream. As she fell, the door opened and light spilled in. There was a hiss, and the sound of tinkling metal sped away into the closet, then faded into the distance.

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean!”
>You look at her, then at the tiny upstairs window.
"Yes, I think something is upstairs. I don't know what, and I don't know how to get rid of it."
>You clap your hooves and chuckle.
"No, that's just an example. Doesn't always work with everything."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
What? Pinkie doesn't giggle at the ghostly anymore?
Not when the ghost holds a conversation with her and physically shakes her bed. At that point it's not a ghosty anymore.
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Fluttershy was sleeping soundly. Angel lay next to her in the bed, halfway covered by the blankets and snoring, though not quite loud enough to wake Fluttershy. It was he who woke up to the knocking at the door instead of Fluttershy, who slept through it heavily. He blinked a moment, but when the sound didn’t come again immediately he lay back down. His eyelids fluttered, but just as he was about to fall asleep, the knocking came again, louder, this time from the closet across from the bed. Fluttershy flung himself upright and his ears shot up straight. He stared at the closet.

It was partially open.

He was instantly on high alert. He knew that was wrong. He was very particular about a lot of things, and closing the closet door was one of them. It was always closed at night, because he hated it being open for this exact reason; somepony was here.

Fluttershy slowly sat up, woken by the feeling of Angel hopping about on the bed. She pulled her mane out of her eyes and threw it over her withers.

“Angel? What’s wrong?”

Angel pointed to the closet.

Fluttershy blinked to clear the sleep from her eyes and saw the same thing he did. She was instantly awake, pulling the covers up to her chin. “O-oh. Um… h-hello?”

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean,” said a deep, gravelly voice. It came from the closet, and Fluttershy could swear she saw something moving inside it.

“O-oh, well, uh… p-please go a-away? I’m t-trying to sl-sl-sleeeeep?”

Angel jumped in front of her and punched the air.
“I’ve been let loose, I’m been set free, don’t you want to play with me?”

“Oh, uh, no, thank you. Not right now. Maybe in daylight? When you’re not… hidinginmycloset?” She pulled the blankets up over her nose.

The sound of scraping metal came from the closet, and something appeared inside. It sparkled in the dim light coming from the open window beside her. The thing, whatever it was, shifted and warped. It rose from the bottom of the cracked closet door to the top, spinning and curling as it went. The sparkling objects spun in a clockwise direction, and as Fluttershy watched, in the brief moments when it stopped moving, she could see they were small, stubby nails, sharpened and polished.

Fluttershy pulled the blanket up over her eyes, but she felt Angel go closer to the end of the bed. He slapped one paw into the other.

The nails disappeared from the closet and a single, glittering eye appeared. It was black, only seen by the unnatural darkness inside it compared to the natural closet darkness. It blinked at Angel, then there was a knock at the closet door. It knocked twice, and the knocking then shifted to under Fluttershy’s bed.

“Oh! Help!” Fluttershy cried out. She pulled the blankets all the way up and over her head.

Angel jumped off the bed, then, intent on protecting Fluttershy. When she felt his weight leave the bed, she yanked the covers off with a cry.

“Angel, no!”

The bed shook and bounced, and Fluttershy splayed out her legs to catch herself while she screamed. Angel dove underneath, and the movement stopped.


There was silence for a moment, then a horrible shrieking sound, like nails on a chalkboard came from under the bed. Angel was ejected at full force across the room. He slammed into the wall and fell to the ground.
“You’re not my target, you’ve no soul! It’s ponies I wish to devour whole!”

Angel pulled himself back to his paws and grabbed a brush from the nightstand, then dove right back underneath the bed. The shrieking nails sound was louder this time, and Fluttershy’s bed shook. It shuddered once, twice, three times. Then rattled ominously. A black cloud began seeping from underneath the bed, and Fluttershy screamed. She looked around frantically for something to use as a weapon or some sort of defense, and she saw the lamp on her bedside table.

She reached out for the lamp, but the juddering bed kept knocking her over. Some of the black cloud touched her and she recoiled in pain.

“Ow!” She took a look at her hoof and saw a scratch across her skin, like she had been scraped with a nail. Still, she reached out and grabbed the lamp, then flicked it on.

The dark clouds disappeared all at once. Angel came flying out from under the bed and slammed into the wall again. The ominous knocking sound came from underneath the bed again, then the sound of screeching metal went from under the bed, to the closet, and slowly faded away.

“You’ll know my name, it’s clear and clean! You’ll know the name of Mr. Mean!”

When Fluttershy felt it was safe, she hovered off the bed and over to the Angel. She picked him up and looked him over for injuries.

Surprisingly, he was fine. He looked bruised, but that seemed to have come from being tossed into the wall. The hairbrush he had grabbed, however, was destroyed torn apart and scratched to pieces by whatever Angel had been fighting. Fluttershy picked him up and went around the house, turning on all the lights.
"I'm trying to figure out the trick for this thing, but it's sometimes hard. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Rarity had her sleeping mask on and was snugly tucked into her bed when she heard a knocking at her door.

Knock. Knock.

Rarity sighed from her bed. She waved a hoof. “Sweetie, dear, what is it?”

When no response came, she repeated herself. “Sweetie, dear, please. It’s late. What is it?”

The knock came again, then moved closer somehow. Knock. Knock. Rarity sighed, louder this time. “Sweetie, darling. Come now, it’s late and I need my beauty sleep. What do you need?”

The knocking went from her closet, to under her bed. Knock. Knock. THUMP. THUMP. Rarity’s bed shook with each knock.

Rarity shot up in bed and tore off her mask. “Good heavens, what on Equestria is happening?”

A deep, gravelly voice came from under her bed. “The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean!”

At that point, Rarity remembered Sweetie was over at Applebloom’s house at a sleepover. “Mr. What? Who? Who are you and what are you doing under my bed?”

“Just come to look, my dear mare. To look.” The sound of scraping metal came from under her bed. Rarity stood up and lit her horn. Light bathed the room. An angry hiss came from under the bed. “The light, yes, the light is fine. I’ll see you better, and make you mine.”

“Yours, hmmm? Nothing about me belongs to anypony but myself. Who are you to come in here, sneak under my bed, and try to scare me? Out with you!” Rarity poured more magic into the light from her horn. The hissing from under her bed got louder. She leaned over the edge of her bed to focus the light underneath. “Sounds like you don’t like this all that much, do you?”
“For… Mr. Mean… the light’s enough… but… Mr. Mean has… become more tough!” A hoof with a wickedly-sharp shoe on it flung out from underneath the bed. Rarity yelped and stumbled backward. The pointed ends of the shoe caught on her bedding and yanked, causing her to fall on her side.

“What in Celestia’s name is going on? What are you?” Rarity blasted the hoof with magic. It recoiled, tearing a hole in her sheets and disappearing under the bed. Rarity flicked on the lights, and there was a long, low hiss from under the bed.

Knock. Knock!

It came from under the bed, then it moved from under the bed to her closet.

Knock. Knock!

The closet shifted open a crack and an eye appeared in it. It glared out at her, staring her down on the bed. The black orb stared at her, pupil slowly narrowing as the angry hissing sound issued forth. It stared, shaking in place while Rarity held her light steady. She slowly pulled herself back up, looking back at it.

Rarity’s eyes narrowed at the closet. “Who are you? What are you?”

“You know my name. It’s clear and clean. You know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Mr. Mean, is it? Well you obviously know me or you wouldn’t have come, but I’ll have you know, I won’t let you invade my house!” Rarity fired a beam at the closet, and the eye disappeared. The sound of scraping metal came from inside the closet as something moved around. The closet door shuddered as a body banged against it, and then; silence.

Rarity listened as carefully as she could. Her ears rotated around, but there was no knocking. As she waited, she could hear a clicking sound.

“The light is burning, burning bright, but Mr. Mean has got all night. Although it hurts, although it might. Mr. Mean will watch that light.”

Something glittered in the closet doorway. Glistening lips appeared in the crack, turned sideways. The lips split into a terrible grin, filled with shiny, shimmering teeth. Something was strange about them, and as Rarity looked, she saw they were nails. Short, stubby nails filed into dangerous points.

Rarity looked at the door to her room, right next to the closet. She’s have to pass within reach of the door to leave the room. She looked at the window, just next to her. It was closed, and on the second floor of the boutique, but if she jumped, the thing couldn’t reach her.

“You’re not a pony at all, are you, Mr. Mean?”

“Where once was pony, now is not. Mr. Mean is all you’ve got.” His eye appeared in the door of the closet. He gnashed his nail-teeth, scraping them against each other, making that horrid screech of metal on metal.

“So… you were once a pony?”

“I talk of such things with you not, Miss Rarity. Your friends drove me out, but you shan’t do the same. I’ll get used to the light.” He stuck a hoof out of the closet. The fur was black as night, with strange, smoky fetlocks spilling out of a star-speckled inky fabric. The shoes at the bottom was silvery, sharpened, with hooks at the end. The same hooks that had caught on her bedding and torn it.

Rarity gasped at the sight. She turned to the window and slid it open. When he saw what she was doing, the closet doors banged open and darkness surged out with a roar!

Rarity jumped.
"See, I thought I'd try poetry, but that didn't work. I tried candles, but that didn't work either. Now he's in my closet and won't leave. I don't need a squatter in my shop."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
My favorite horror is realistic horror, when it's not surreal but very much could happen in real life. My most favorite is body horror.
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Realistic horror is the one I find the weakest, personally. People snap all the time, and people are gonna be horrible. Dolores Umbridge makes me angrier and scares me more as a person than John Wayne Gacey or Jeffrey Dahmer. For realistic horror to scare me, there has to be a pretty specific mess of things.

Body horror is fine, though. Hellraiser is great.

For movies, though, is Last House on the Left your sort of thing? Or Hush?
Not that Anon, but holy shit, Hush is so good!
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It was. Still not... really scary for me, but I can appreciate it.
Rainbow Dash wasn’t sleeping very well. She had an upcoming performance that she had to focus on and was trying to mentally run herself through it as a sort of “sleep practice”. She was drawing her hoof through the air in the pattern of the show over and over again in the hopes that it would remind her of it, but she was having limited success. Or at least, unsatisfying success. Mental gymnastics weren’t quite the same as true gymnastics (but she wasn’t going to say that to Twilight).

Thus, she heard the noise, but it wasn’t the same as a normal noise. There was a quiet *puff-puff* noise at the door to her room. It sounded like someone was trying to knock. It being made of clouds, it was obvious why this didn’t quite work.

Still, Rainbow Dash was up on her hooves in an instant and hovering in the air above her bed. She wasn’t expecting guests, especially in the middle of the night.

“Who’s there?” she demanded.

A deep, gravelly voice rhymed out, “You’ll know my name, it’s clear and clean. You’ll know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Who the hay is Mr. Mean?’

There were two more quiet puffs, and the voice was now coming from her closet.

“Why, that’s me, dear Dashie.”

“First, you don’t get to call me Dashie, only my friends do. Second, get the hay out of my house.” She didn’t find it odd that someone could pass from her door to her closet. The house was made of clouds, after all. Still, she didn’t like ponies sneaking in when she was sleeping.

“But don’t you want to see what games we’ll play?”

“Games, no. And you’re starting to get real creepy. I will beat your face in if you don’t leave.”
There was more quiet puffing, and then the voice was coming from under her bed.

“Oh come, it’s night, and day’s a drag. You don’t want to grow to a boring old hag.”

Rainbow Dash zipped down and kicked her bed over. She threw up her hooves in a fighting stance and readied herself to hit whoever was under there.

There was nothing.

She swept over to the closet and threw it open, then zipped to the door to her room and flung it wide. There was nopony behind any of them. “Okay, what the hay?” She forced her way through the clouds making up her house and searched all over, returning to her bedroom when she found nopony anywhere. “Where are you, you creeper?”

The voice came from her dresser.

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Yes. Mr. Mean. I get it. That’s you. What are you doing here?”

“I made that plain didn’t I?” One of the drawers of her dresser slid open and a long hoof with a dangerously shiny metal horseshoe on it slid out. It reached up and clinked against the lamp on her dresser, drawing the hooked end across the glass. It screeched horribly. “I’m here to play.”

Rainbow felt a little chill at the sight of the hoof. There was no way a pony could fit inside the dresser drawer that size. She was dealing with magic, and she wasn’t sure what to do.

“Play… what?” she said, trying to buy time while she thought. She could run away, but to where? How would she get rid of this guy?

“Why, a game! Any game. Something fun that you like. I know that you’re bored, why else stay up all night?”
He continued to scrape his horseshoe against the ceramic of the lamp’s base. It left scratches on the finish, and the horrid scraping was digging itself into Rainbow’s head.

“I don’t want to play any games. I have a performance tomorrow. Why don’t you play with… somepony else?”

“They all said no in all separate ways. Now it’s just you and me. I can be here for days.”

“No, I think you need to leave.” Rainbow flew down and kicked the dresser over. She grabbed the lamp as the dresser fell. It *flumphed* into the cloud floor, slamming the dresser drawer shut. A laugh came from her closet, wide open, but with nothing visible inside it.

“So rude.” An eye appeared from the darkness between two of her Wonderbolts jumpsuits. It was twinkling with deeper darkness than shadow, and was fully dilated. She swore she could see stars inside it. “No games is it, Rainbow? I’ve one more friend to visit tonight, so I can make my way elsewhere.” He smiled, and Rainbow could see rows of glittering teeth, silver, with sharpened points like nails. Or were they actually nails? Rainbow hovered in the middle of the room. She couldn’t throw the closet on its side.

“N-no! Go away! Go bother somepony…” she hesitated. Did she really want to tell this thing to bother somepony else?

“Somepony else?” he laughed. It sounded like the smoke that came from the Cloudsdale weather machine. “As you wish.” There was a puffing sound, and the eye and teeth faded.


Rainbow rushed forward and punched at her clothes. Her fist knocked her outfits off their hangers, dropping them into a messy pile at the bottom. Behind them, there was nothing. Not even a sign that anypony had been there. She kicked through them all in frustration. She didn’t know who she’d sent him to, but she needed to help.
"A song? A poem? Maybe giving it some baked goods? Who knows."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu

I got a warning for a post I fucked up two weeks ago? Okay.
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Twilight was shelving books in her library when she heard knocking. Given that it was all crystal, the knocking was more the musical clanging of metal on stone echoing through the castle than anything else. It rang down the halls and through open doors. It clanged around the great hall where the map of Harmony sat and ended inside the library, bouncing off the walls before being swallowed by the paper pages of her books.

Twilight looked up from her current book and to the door leading down the halls toward the front door. She opened her mouth to call for Spike, then remembered that it was the middle of the night. She twitched her ears, listening for Spike’s movement, but she heard nothing. She sighed and trotted out of the library to the front door. Whatever it was, to come at this time of night it was surely an emergency.

Before she made it halfway, the knock rang twice near the front doors, then knocked twice from a room inside.

Twilight lit her horn and turned to where the new knocks had emanated from. She wasn’t sure how they got inside without opening the doors, but something seemed amiss. She followed it to the room the knocking came from and swung open the doors.

Like many of the rooms in her castle, it was empty. It held a few token pieces of furniture, but there was nothing else in there. She turned away, only to feel something cold touch her back. She whipped around, jumping out of the room. Something stung her wither as she did, and she heard a quiet, rasping laugh come from the room.

“Who’s there?” she demanded. Only the rasping laugh greeted her.
Twilight backed away from the room, horn’s light shooting to and fro in the glittering passage of the castle. The halls, so wide and spacious before, now suddenly seemed to be filled with shadows in every jagged, crystalline corner. Shadows that were hiding her new assailant.

“How did you get in here?” Twilight called out.

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Mr. Mean? Are you Mr. Mean?”

“The same indeed.”

Twilight felt something trickle down her foreleg and looked back at the stinging on her withers. She saw a scrape cut into her flesh, with ragged skin around the edges of the shallow cut, like somepony had slashed her with something jagged.

“You’ve come to hurt me, then?”

“To make the ponies jump in fright, that’s what I’m after, night to night. But having killed a pony, yes, I’ll kill you, too, and that’s no jest.”

Twilight’s wings bristled and she bent low, facing the door to the room Mr. Mean was in. “You’ll have to do better than that! I’m a princess of Equestria!” She blasted the room with magic, tearing the door off its hinges and shattering it inward. Crystals tinkled to the ground, and when the mess settled she heard rasping laughter coming from inside. A ringing knock went twice, then came from elsewhere in the castle.

From her bedroom.

Where Spike was sleeping nearby.

Her eyes widened as she realized where Mr. Mean was and what he was after. “Oh, no, Spike! Spiiiike! Wake up!” As she ran the mocking voice of Mr. Mean floated through the halls.

“You’ll know my name, it’s clear and clean. You’ll know the name of Mr. Mean.”

Spike’s terrified cry came from the bedroom as Twilight neared. She threw open the doors with her magic and readied an attack spell as she jumped inside. Spike was being dragged under his tiny basket somehow, disappearing into shadows.
“Twilight, heeeeelp!” Spike yelled.

“I’ve played your games, obeyed the rules, but now it’s YOUR turn to be fools!” A hoof with a shining metal horseshoe with a wickedly-hooked end came up out of the shadows and pressed on Spike’s head. Without thinking, Twilight grabbed it and Spike with her magic, and pulled.

Twilight yanked and tugged against the otherworldly might of the shadowy creature, and slowly but surely Spike was dragged up, out, and onto the crystal stairs.

Mr. Mean came with him.

The figure Twilight had removed from under Spike’s bed was gaunt, with a sparkling smile and shiny metal horseshoes on each forehoof. They had nasty hooks at their backs, which is what he had cut Twilight with. He wore a tattered jacket that seemed to smoke and writhe with shadow, and his mane was long and limp. His eyes were wide and dark, and he never seemed to stop smiling.

Twilight tugged Spike away from him and skittered backward. The pony smiled wider, and Twilight could see the glistening from his mouth was his teeth, which looked like they were made of the same material as his horseshoes, filed to sharp points. Nails, she wanted to say.

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean!” He stamped his hoof twice on the floor, then flowed over to Twilight’s bed. He disappeared underneath and knocked again. It came from under her bed.

Knock. Knock.

Then from her closet.

Knock. Knock.

Then from down the hall.

Knock. Knock.

Spike cowered underneath Twilight, his wings wrapped around himself. Twilight kept turning to try and follow the sounds of Mr. Mean’s laughter and knocking, but she couldn’t. When all went silent, she almost didn’t believe it. She waited, horn ready, but there was no knocking. She sighed finally, relaxing.

“I think he’s gone.”

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
>“I think he’s gone.”
That's probably a mistake to think.
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Pinkie Pie slammed the mug of coffee down on the counter and stood up to pace again. Mr. Cake was up with her, looking exhausted on a stool. Mrs. Cake had gone to take care of the foals, who had been woken by Pinkie’s antics. They’d stopped crying, but Mrs. Cake hadn’t returned. She’d probably fallen asleep again. Mr. Cake was jealous.

“Pinkie, I don’t know what to tell you. We didn’t see anything when we came in. I’m telling you, it was just a nightmare.”

“No! I’ve had nightmares. They go away when you giggle at them. This thing tore away the bedding. There’s still holes in it, even!” She picked up the sheet off the floor. There were slits in it where Mr. Mean’s horseshoe had sliced.

Mr. Cake shook his head sadly. “Look, I don’t know what to tell you, Pinkie. I didn’t see it, or him, and nopony has come out of the closet or out from under your bed. Are you sure you didn’t just tear it?”

“With what? I don’t take knives to bed! I did that once, and I cut myself really bad. Knives aren’t good pets.”

Mr. Cake sighed. “No, I imagine not.”

“No. There’s somepony being a creepy and a meanie and he even calls himself a meanie, and he’s scaring ponies, even attacking them!” She shook the sheet at Mr. Cake. “Are you sure you don’t know a Mr. Mean?”

Mr. Cake yawned. “Very sure, Pinkie.”

“Well, he was in my room, under my bed, and we never saw him come in or leave. That means he’s a unicorn because he was doing scary magic. If there’s anypony I know that knows magic, it’s Twilight.”

“Are you going to go talk to her at this hour?”

“Yes. This is a matter of laughs or… not laughs. I can’t let a Mr. Meanie run loose like that!”
“Can I go back to bed, then?”

“I don’t know how you can sleep at a time like this, but yes.” Pinkie Pie picked up the sheet and tossed it on her back, then pranced out of the room. The moment she left Mr. Cake let out a sigh of relief and laid his head on the counter. He was asleep in an instant.

Pinkie Pie hadn’t made it very far down the road when she heard a knocking sound from a nearby shop, like somepony was tapping on glass. She looked and there, behind the window, was a face with dark eyes filled with stars and a smiling mouth full of sharp, glittering naillike teeth.

Pinkie trotted over and glared at the pony. His long mane was limp around his head and his jacket was loose-fitting on his gaunt frame. She looked down at his horseshoes and saw the wicked hooks that had torn her bedding.

“You!” she said accusingly. “What the hay is your problem! I like a prank as much as the next pony, but you went too far! You ruined my mattress and my favorite blanket!”

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean,” he said.

“Mr. Mean, yeah. You’re a jerk! A big, stinky jerk! Mr. Meanie-pants is more like it!”

Mr. Mean just raised a hoof and knocked on the window. His horseshoe tapped on the glass, making a distinctive clacking sound. Then, the knock came from the front door of the shop he was in. Then it came from the house across the street, and the building next door, and then Sugarcube corner. He knocked, knocked, knocked until every building nearby was knocking. He smiled at her, his glittering nail-teeth sparkled in the moonlight. Then he disappeared in smoky darkness.
“How are you doing that? Hey… hey! Get back here!”

The darkness around her thickened. She hadn’t brought lantern, instead deciding to rely on streetlights and the glow of Twilight’s castle to guide her, but Twilight’s castle disappeared in the miasma and the streetlamps became muted in the strange darkness. Pinkie laughed nervously. Although this was unnatural and creepy, she was holding physical evidence that this thing could hurt her.

She was scared.


A knocking came from somewhere in the darkness. This time it echoed, passing down the darkened street and down to the other hidden end. She heard it come from the shop right next to her and she jumped in panic. She raced from her current streetlamp to the next. The knock followed.

Knock. Knock.

Knock. Knock.

Knock. Knock.

Pinkie ran from lamp to lamp, trying to keep her destination clear in her mind. Mr. Mean was trying to scare her, and although he was doing a pretty good job, she needed to get to Twilight and ask her about whatever magic he was using so she could find him and get rid of him.

Pinkie tried to remember if she was headed in the right direction. She couldn’t see anything besides the next streetlamp, and the more time that passed, the deeper the darkness got. The lamplight would be gone soon, and then she would be in the dark. In the dark with Mr. mean. Pinkie shivered.

Pinkie felt something cold touch her back. The sheet she was carrying was hooked on something and disappeared. She felt a stinging sensation but didn’t look back. She ran from lamp to lamp, hurrying down what she hoped was the street. She barely noticed when the road underhoof went from cobbles to dirt. She ran, and kept running.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock… knock… knock…

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu

I'm really enjoying Mr. Mean. This is a fun story to write.[/story]
Just when you think it's almost over for the mane six, a new twist comes up.

I kekd
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Yeah, I don't know why that's there. Story isn't done at all.
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Knock. Knock. Knock.

When a knock came at the front door, Fluttershy panicked. At first she hid under the couch, but then remembered that the thing named Mr. Mean had been under her bed, and she thought he might appear there, so she skittered out of there and jumped onto the kitchen counter. A knife fell to the floor, clattering loudly, making her jump again. She yelped and hovered near the ceiling, hiding from whatever was elsewhere.

Knock knock knock.

“Who is it!” she screeched.

The deep, gravelly voice of Mr. Mean came from all the dark corners of the house at once, filling the room and making all the animals scurry about in fright.

“You know who it is. It’s me. I’m your friend. Won’t you please let me in? It’s time for the end.”

Angel jumped to the front door and pulled open the handle. He slammed the door open and hopped in front, fists at the ready.

Outside her door, Fluttershy saw a long path leading toward Ponyville. It was interspersed with streetlights, though there were far fewer than this on the road leading from her cottage to Ponyville. Fluttershy shook her head and flew higher into one of the corner in the kitchen, nearer to the light.

“No, no, no! Go away! You can’t come in! Go awayyyyy!” She covered her face with her hooves, sobbing from fright. Angel peered out the door, looking for Mr. Mean. When he saw nothing, he slammed the door and hopped back to the kitchen.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

A window rattled. Fluttershy kept her eyes shut, but she heard a voice calling out in the darkness. Pinkie Pie’s voice.

“Hello? Twilight? Is anypony there? Bon Bon? Lyra? Am I near your house? I thought I should have been there by now. There weren’t this many streetlamps in Ponyville before.”
“Pinkie Pie?” Fluttershy removed her hooves from her eyes and peeked out.

Outside the window, in the unnatural pitch blackness, Pinkie Pie was running past her house, dashing from lamp to lamp. Occasionally she would stop in the darkness, but only for a moment, feeling for something familiar.

Fluttershy flew closer to the window and shouted. “Pinkie! It’s me! Come this way!”

“Come closer please, your friend can’t hear. You’d need to be just a little more near.” Mr. Mean’s laugh filled the house from all corners again. It was more like choking, but the intent was clear.

Fluttershy didn’t come closer. She floated away, and Angel jumped near to slam the window shut. Mr. Mean laughed even harder.

“You’d abandon your friend to old Mr. Mean? Such despicable ponies I’ve never quite seen!”

“You let her go!” Fluttershy demanded.

“To make such demands in the face of true fright, are you sure you won’t come, come into the night? Your friend is there waiting, she’s still all alone. Won’t you be the one who’ll guide her back home?”

A knocking came from every single window on the bottom floor. They each showed Pinkie Pie running through the darkness, all from different angles. A knocking was chasing her in each one. It was quiet at the moment, but it was constant and insistent, harrying Pinkie in her run as she dashed from light to light. She looked exhausted. Her eyes were drooping and her mane was limp. She was panting hard, tail dragging on the ground behind her.

“Just… a little bit further. Twilight’s castle is surely… just past this next lamp,” Pinkie panted.

“Where is she going? Why are you keeping her there?”

“I’m doing nothing. I started it, but she continues it. She thinks I’ll stop her from reaching it, but I won’t, she will.”
“So… if I go in there, I can get her out?”

Mr. Mean’s face appeared in the corner of one of the windows. His limp hair framed his dark, starry eyes that seemed to stare at the entire room at once. His teeth scraped against each other, clicking nastily. He reached inside Fluttershy’s cottage with a hoof. Angel hopped over and punched it, and he drew it back, letting the hooks rest on the windowsill.

“I’ve made the rules, now play the game. I’m hoping you won’t make it lame.”

“I… don’t know what that means.”

“There’s rules, girl, I know them well. But you must work to make me tell. There’s some who know it, know the spell. But who are they? They’ll ring a bell.”

Fluttershy groaned and grabbed her head in her hooves. She looked out at Pinkie Pie, running alone in the darkness. She wanted to go to her, but if this was magic, it wasn’t good magic. Something would happen to her.


Fluttershy leaned down to Angel and whispered in his ear. She looked up at Mr. Mean, leaning on the windowsill grinning down at her. She pulled Angel away from the window and continued whispering. He shook his head vehemently.

“Angel, please!”

He shook his head again and jumped at the window.

He landed outside the cottage. The image of Pinkie Pie was gone, and he was just sitting on the grass outside the cottage. The animals on her farm were milling about or sleeping, as was their wont. Angel jumped back inside, and Mr. Mean laughed.

“My game’s for ponies, not for you. Animals are useless, true.”

“Angel, you can’t. Please?” She wrung her hooves. “You’re fast, I know you can do it!”

Angel stamped a foot and shook his head. Fluttershy made a face at him, then flew at the window. Angel jumped and grabbed on to her hoof, squeaking in protest. Mr. Mean’s face grinned toothily below, and then everything went dark as she closed her eyes.
"To get it to go away, or to join it?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Angel fell to the grass. Fluttershy was gone. He huffed angrily and jumped back inside, then stared at the window. There was no more impenetrable darkness, no sign of Fluttershy or Pinkie Pie, and No Mr. Mean. Just a quiet knocking that faded quickly away. Angel wasted no further time and raced off toward Ponyville. Help was needed, and if he couldn’t help Fluttershy, he’d find somepony who could.

Rarity limped through the dark streets. She pulled herself up to the nearest house belonging to the flower sisters and knocked on the door.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

She shivered and gasped in place, holding her right forehoof gingerly off the ground. Blood trickled down, marring her pristine fur with garish red in the darkness. Her horn light glowed fitfully, the pain of the break keeping her from holding it as steady as she would like. She hissed breaths through her teeth as another bout of throbbing pain filled her, and waited for somepony to answer the door.

“Hello? Lily? Daisy? Please help!”

“Is that Rarity? Rarity!” A head stuck out from a window up above. It was Roseluck. She stared down at Rarity, blinking sleepily. “Oh! You’ve been hurt!”

Another head stuck out from the window, followed by the last of the trio. All three looked down at her.

“She’s hurt?”

“Oh! We’ll be right down!”

All three disappeared and there was the clattering of hooves as they rushed downstairs. Rarity sighed in relief and waited for them to open the door.


Rarity heard them rush up to the door, then a loud, echoing knock struck the door, from the inside.

Rarity felt a chill.

“H-hello? Daisy? Roseluck?”

The door cracked open, but Rarity shuffled away from it. An eye appeared in the crack, large, dark, and filled with starlight. A mouth appeared underneath it, metallic teeth glittering.
“It’s not so easy, leaving home. Not when I want you all alone,” Mr. Mean said with a chuckle. “Would you like to see them?” He swung the door wide, the inside of the flower sister’s house pitch black, with a bit of light in the darkness showing a picture of the doorway with the flower sisters in it. They were clustered in the doorway, looking confused.

“Where did she go?” Roseluck asked.

“She was right here, right?” Daisy said.

“She was hurt, too!” Lily added.

“Do you think she was being attacked?” Roseluck said.

“Probably. Her hoof was bleeding,” said Daisy.

“Not just bleeding; broken. Did you see the angle it was at?”

Rarity sobbed and looked around. The city was darker now, with only streetlamps providing any light in long, staggered strings in every direction. She felt cold fear seeping into her as she stared, looking for a way out but finding nothing.

“Why are you doing this?” She begged.

“I was called to play the game. By fillies, foals, and ponies tame. You have to play, that’s why I came. All so that you can learn my name.”

“I know your name!” Rarity sobbed as she staggered away from the house. “It’s Mr. Mean!”

His teeth grew in size, lengthening in his mouth which grew to accommodate them. The pinpricks of light in his eyes turned red and his hooves sparked on the cobbles as he jumped out of the doorway. “That’s right! That’s right! You know my name! But can your friends all say the same?”
Rarity shrieked and hobbled away as fast as she could. She raced to the nearest streetlamp and risked a glance back. Mr. Mean was advancing on her, hooves clanking loudly against the cobbles. His teeth gnashed and shrieked as metal scraped against metal. He followed her, and she ran from one lamp to the next. He skirted around the outside of the pool of light, his foul breath on her flank until she entered the next light. She covered her head with her one good hoof and ducked, waiting, but he never struck her.

She waited, hearing him walking nearby, hearing the horrible noises he made circling around her. She risked a glance, and saw him, sitting on the edge of the light, looming large with his dark, fluttering jacket and wild mane, but he didn’t get any closer.

“What are you waiting for?” she yelled fearfully. “Just get it over with, you horrid monster!”

He walked in a slow circle, not answering at once. His eyes went back to black with cold stars, but his teeth stayed long and terrible.

“Those aren’t the rules, that’s not how we play. I’ve got to follow them, must obey.”

Rarity looked around her at the pool of light. She was safe, even though she didn’t feel like it. If he couldn’t get in when she stayed here, then all she had to do was run to the next one, then to the next, and to the next, all while Mr. Mean followed her, harrying her hoofsteps on her quest to get… where? Where did this lead? I wasn’t natural, so would she just run forever, not getting anywhere?

Rarity heard a familiar voice then, over the scraping of Mr. Mean’s teeth. She stood and looked down the line of lights, and saw Pinkie Pie running past. There was a flash of pink, then a flash of yellow. Was that Fluttershy?”
"Following the rules only works if everyone does it. If someone breaks them, they've got the advantage."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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“Who else is in here? What are you doing?” Rarity demanded. Mr. Mean just stood at the edge of the light, staring with those unnatural eyes.

Rarity waited, holding her place in the center of the pool of light. She kept an eye on the distant lamps, waiting to see if she could spot another flash of color. After maybe another minute, the lamp above her began to flicker. The pool of safe yellow faded, becoming dimmer with every passing second. It flickered out entirely and Mr. Mean surged forward. She flinched, but heard him hiss as the light came back, forcing him out. Still he stared, though, and still he grinned. Time was in his favor.

“If you created this, why are you giving me light to hide in?” Rarity asked as she edged toward the next light. Mr. Mean followed along on the outside of the light, but never moved to block her path. He waited, smiling, for her to dive out of it on her own.

“To serve oneself the sweetest treats, one must prepare the sweetest meats. The hunt will simmer, beat to beat, until you come, my teeth to greet.”

“You’re… hunting me? Well, I never! What if I just sit here?”

“I’ll still eat it.”

Rarity bit her lip and looked over at the next light. It wasn’t too far away, but with her broken leg, Rarity would certainly be easy prey. He could catch her, easily if he wanted. So why shouldn’t she just stay put? He wouldn’t get the best meal he wanted, and she’d get that one, final dig against him and his awful attitude. It would be easy.

Rarity set her lip, raised her nose in the air, and stayed put, waiting while the light flickered. Mr. Mean stalked around the outside edge of the light, moving closer as the light dimmed and sputtered.
When she light finally went out, Rarity closed her eyes. She could hear the clack of his hooves in the darkness and the horrid grinding of his teeth against each other. She closed her eyes and waited for the life-ending bite, but nothing came. She heard him, scraping along in the dark. But there was nothing.

She felt the slightest bit of exhultation at having outsmarted the monster, but the moment that thought crossed her mind and her heart jumped at the thought that he might not eat her because of it, she heard him surge forward and felt a stinging pain on her flank. Razor-sharp nails bit into her flesh and tore a chunk out of her hind leg. She screamed in pain and her eyes flew open. She hobbled, slowly, awkwardly, and painfully toward the light. Mr. Mean’s movements followed her, unseen but ever-present.

“Rarity?” Pinkie’s voice said from somewhere nearby. “Fluttershy, it’s Rarity! Rarity, are you okay?”

“Ohhh, no! She’s not okay! She’s really not okay! She’s b-bleeding!” Fluttershy’s voice added. Rarity saw them both rush into the light nearby, seemingly coming out of the darkness. Rarity panted, panicking as she rushed for the light.

“Come on, Rarity! You can do it! You can make it!” They both called in unison.

Then come help me! Rarity thought to herself. She didn’t say it out loud, and briefly the possibility that they were fake crossed her mind, but it didn’t matter either way. She would die, or she would be safe. Safe to suffer in the light for Celestia knows how much longer. But no matter what, she wasn’t going to wait here to die in agony. She’d play his stupid game just that much longer, in the hopes that she would get to rub his face in her escape.
Rarity’s head broke into the light and she cried out in happiness. Her friends grabbed her good hoof just as she felt a stinging pain stab into her flank! Mr. Mean’s hooked horseshoe was stabbed into her flesh and was pulling her back out of the light.

Rarity grimaced as the wicked hooks pulled at her. She felt her skin tear while Pinkie and Fluttershy yanked on her hoof, and screamed in pain as a chunk of her skin ripped off, then she slid into the light. With every heartbeat she felt pain in her flank and her legs, but she was alive.

For now.

“What… are you two doing here?” Rarity gasped out.

“We could ask you the same thing. In fact, we will: What are you doing here?” Pinkie Pie said.

Fluttershy was already looking at Rarity’s wounds. She took cloth from some torn-up bedsheet Pinkie had with her for some reason and ripped it into strips, then began binding the wound on Rarity’s hind leg and flank.

“I… was going for help after being chased out my window by Mr. Mean. I assume you saw him too?”

Pinkie nodded. “He’s a big meanie. I was trying to get help from Twilight when I ended up here. I don’t think I ever left the house.”

“Well, he is named ‘Mr. Mean’,” Fluttershy said. She moved up to Rarity’s forehoof and gently stroked her mane. “This is gonna hurt, okay? Just relax and take some deep breaths.”

“I’m not one of your animals, Fluttershy. I know. Just— ah!” she gasped as Fluttershy set the bone in her leg, then began wrapping the remainder of the sheet tightly around it. “Thank you both. Lets go find the others, or some way out of here, shall we?”
"When you play the game, you're stuck until somepony or something else gets you out. There's no winning. Not by those rules. They change too often."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Page 9? Now that's spooky.
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Update later. Finishing something else first.
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Doesn't look very dead to me
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Sorry about the lack of update today. But my work today is complete, and I am very happy. Update tomorrow morning like usual.
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Rainbow Dash flew down to Twilight’s castle at full speed. She tore through one of the windows and zipped through the hallways, frantically calling for the other mare.

“Twilight! Something strange is in my house! I think it’s magic! Twilight! Twilight?” she shouted as she flew down the crystal passages.

She found Twilight working in her library. She had a bubble of magic extended around herself and Spike, who was clutching her hind leg. She was staring fixedly at her books. Rainbow flew up to her and knocked on the bubble. Spike screamed in surprise.

“Oh! Rainbow Dash, it’s just you,” Spike said.

Twilight looked up from her book. Rainbow couldn’t see what it was about, but she could guess. “Hello, Rainbow. If you really are Rainbow Dash.” She squinted at Rainbow and looked back at her book. She put her hooves together and clapped, then laughed. It was stilted, and forced, but she tried. Rainbow just looked at her funny.

“What… are you doing, Twi?”

“The only mention I found of Mr. Mean was in an old children’s book. It’s a poem about Mr. Mean, and how foals are supposed to get rid of him.”

“Wait, you know Mr. Mean?”

Twilight glanced back at her. “I’m going to guess you saw him too.”

“Yeah! He was in my house, living in my closet and under my bed! Why do you know him?”

“He was here, too. He didn’t really say what he wanted, but he was knocking on all the doors and kept trying to scare me. He almost got Spike.”

“What does he want?”

Twilight looked back at the book. There was a picture of a closet with sharp teeth in the gap the door made. “To ‘play’, apparently.”
“To play? Seriously? Are we talking about actual play, or are we talking about violent play like the dragons do?”

“I don’t know. The foals in the story clap their hooves and laugh, and Mr. Mean leaves. That’s the end.”

“Geeze. That’s pretty dark for a foal’s book. Who wrote it?”

“That’s the thing; I don’t know. The name is just the initials ‘A.J.’, and there’s no further information on the author. Not even where they live. The book was published several years ago, but it wasn’t very popular. For hopefully obvious reasons. I’ve been trying to determine if the book is magical in any way, and some poor, unsuspecting filly read it and caused this, but it doesn’t seem to be. The only other idea is that it’s an incantation of sorts, but why now, and not before, when it first became public?”

“Twi, I have no idea on any of that, but can you get rid of him?”

“I’m trying to figure out how to do that, yes. Thank you for paying attention, Rainbow.”

“Geeze, sorry.”

Twilight pressed a hoof against her forehead and sighed. “Sorry. I’m sorry. I’m very frustrated, and awfully tired. I don’t want to sleep for fear that he’ll come back, and if you saw it, that means somepony else might be seeing it, and I don’t know what to do about that. Ponies could be dying for all I know.”

“He’s got a lot of teeth, yeah.”

“To remove him I’d have to find the source, and the author may or may not be the cause. Still, we only know one A.J., though I’d never have assumed her to be a pony that would want to cause such suffering. Still, I guess it can’t hurt to check it out. I’ve got no better leads. Are you coming?” She looked up at Rainbow.
“To see AJ?”

“The only AJ we know, yes. I tried to find Mr. Mean with magic, but it’s like he doesn’t exist, so I need to find the source and put a stop to it.”

“Heck yeah, I’m coming! Stopping a ghost sounds awesome.”

“This isn’t ‘awesome’, Rainbow Dash, this is terrible.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Twilight picked up Spike and put him on her back. He held on tight and they walked out of the crystal castle. When they got out onto the road leading away, they sped up, trotting toward Sweet Apple Acres. They had only made it halfway when Twilight spied something off in the distance flashing among the houses of Ponyville.

She stopped. “Is that… Pinkie Pie?”

Rainbow turned to look. Sure enough, it was Pinkie Pie, not her usually hoppy and happy self, with Rarity limping beside her, and Fluttershy, head bowed in fright, following close behind them.

“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight yelled.

Just as quickly as they had appeared, they disappeared. There was no house for them to disappear behind, they were just there one second, then gone the next, as if they had never been there.

“Pinkie! Fluttershy! Rarity! What are they doing out this late at night?”

“I bet I know,” Twilight said with a grim look.

“We need to help them!” Rainbow shouted, and raced off toward the houses.

“Rainbow, wait!” Twilight grabbed her by the tail with her magic, halting her speedy advance. Twilight moved closer and shook her head. “It’s a trick.”

“You don’t know that!”

“It’s the middle of the night, and our three friends just happen to walk through town while we’re investigating a monster who just happened to have recently attacked us in our beds? It’s a trick.”
"Who's fault is it? Maybe nopony's. Maybe somepony specific. But why? That's the real question."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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How are you doing today sir?
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“But what if it isn’t a trick?”

“They didn’t hear us yelling, Rainbow. They aren’t really there!”

“But Rarity’s hurt! Her leg looks broken!”

“We can’t help them if we get caught, Rainbow. Our best chance is to find the source of this and get rid of it. We need to talk to Applejack.”

Twilight turned to follow the road down to Sweet Apple Acres. Rainbow Dash turned to follow her for just a moment, then turned back to look at the three who were skulking through the darkness. They would move from one pool of light to the next, Rarity’s horn light leading them along through the shadows. They were wary, checking in all directions for any sign of whatever was hiding out there. Rarity’s light was weak, and she was being bustled along by the other two. She was in pain, and Fluttershy was clearly scared out of her wits, but they were moving, albeit slowly.

“Wait!” Rainbow said to Twilight. “You don’t need me, I can help them.”

“Rainbow, please. If you get caught that’s just one extra pony I have to save. And what if it’s just a trick to catch you, then what? You get eaten?”

“If it’s not a trick, I get to help them fight off Mr. Mean. They need somepony like me. If it isn’t a trick, then I get caught, and I fight him alone, but I’m not leaving them! You’re the egghead, you can do this without me.” She zipped off toward town, heading straight for the three frightened ponies in the darkness.”

“Rainbow, wait, stop!” Twilight shouted, but it was too late. Rainbow Dash disappeared into Ponyville. Despite heading straight for the three, Twilight lost sight of her before she made it. She disappeared without a trace. Twilight could only hope she was alright. She turned away and hurried to find Applejack.
Rainbow Dash was aimed straight at Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie, but when she flew toward them, things got oddly dark, and despite being confident in her aim, she slowed. She didn’t want to hit them, but as she flew onward into the darkness, she wasn’t sure she was going in the right direction anymore.

“Pinkie Pie? Fluttershy? Rarity?” Rainbow called out. She got no answer, but there was a knock on an unseen door.

“Yeah, yeah, Mr. Mean or whatever. I know. Was it a trick or do you really have them trapped?”

“Trapped? They’re not trapped. We’re playing the game.” The voice was the same deep, gravelly voice from her room. Rainbow flew up a little bit to gain height, just in case.

“What game?”

“The game. The only one that matters. My game. We play, I win.”

Rainbow bumped into something in the darkness. It was hard and rough, and when she put out a hoof to touch it, it felt like the side of a house. She put a hoof to it and followed it along its edge. It wasn’t very big, but it was box-like. Definitely a house.

“Do you always win?” Rainbow asked.

“I win a lot, as is my right, here in my frightful, endless night. Don’t lose too soon or I just might, take a huge, and painful bite.” The sound of squealing metal came from inside the building Rainbow was touching. She removed her hoof and fluttered away.

“If it’s a game, does it have rules?”

“It does. How good of you to ask.”

“What are they?”

“I’m not telling. But I can tell you; they’re in writing.” He laughed a gasping, choking laugh. The sound of knocking came from the building Rainbow had been close to, then bounced from place to place in the darkness, going from door, to door, to door, disappearing into the distance.
Rainbow was left in the darkness, fumbling around. She’d been trapped, just like Twilight suspected she would be. She’d have felt stupid if she wasn’t more concerned about her other friends. How was Rarity doing? Was her leg actually broken, or was it just a sprain. Red had stained her flank, and Rainbow had to wonder if she’d tried to fight back or just been caught. In her own way, Rarity was a fighter, but she didn’t always make the most sensible of decisions.

“Rarity? Fluttershy? Pinkie Pie?” Rainbow called out. She wasn’t expecting much, but Mr. Mean already knew she was here. If he’d wanted her, he could have had her. He could have bitten her head off and she couldn’t have done anything about it. Something about her wasn’t making him happy or interested. Maybe because she wasn’t afraid?

“Rainbow Dash?” Pinkie’s voice came from somewhere nearby.

“Shh! Pinkie! He’s just trying to fool us!” Fluttershy squeaked.

“If he wanted to do that, he could have done it a while ago. It could actually be Rainbow,” Pinkie responded.

“I was worried you two were going to be fake, and you weren’t. I don’t think he needs to resort to that kind of trickery,” Rarity’s voice said.

A spotlight appeared over Rainbow Dash’s head. She was floating close to it, but down below, lights appeared in a long, unbroken line, leading back to Twilight’s castle. In one of the pools of light, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie were standing. Well… Pinkie and Fluttershy were standing, Rarity was leaning on Fluttershy. They all three looked up at Rainbow and gasped, then laughed.

“Rainbow Dash, is that really you?”

“I hope so,” she said, dropping closer to the ground.
"But if the other one needs to play by his own rules, shouldn't he tell me what they are? Then I can properly respond."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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cutie pony.
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“Darling, what are you doing in here?” Rarity reached out to Rainbow Dash, who flew in closer to give her a hug.

“I thought you guys might need help, and who better to help than Rainbow Dash?” she said proudly.

“Well,” Rarity said, “I’m not sure how you’re going to help, but it’s good to have you here. Did Mr. Mean send you here?”

“No, I came on my own. Twi is off to Sweet Apple Acres to try and figure out where this Mr. Mean came from.”

“What does Applejack—” Fluttershy began, but was interrupted by Mr. Mean’s gravelly voice.

“We come from the shadows, from deeper within. We don’t say the name, as the name is a sin,” he said with a laugh.

“But you come from somewhere,” Pinkie Pie said.

“Of course it’s a somewhere, a somewhen, a how. But what matters is here, and this place, and this now.”

Rainbow Dash ignored him. “He’s just trying to scare us. He wants us to be scared.”

Rarity made a pained face and looked back at her flank. “Oof. I’ll agree with you on that one, darling. He’s quite good at it.”

“But he’s only good if we’re scared. I don’t know where we are, but it’s his place. We just need to stick together, and not go into the castle.” She jabbed a hoof at the lights leading to the castle of Friendship. “Twilight’s not there. He just wants us in there so he can do his door-knocking stuff, we just gotta—”

A loud, defeanining knock came from all around them. It shook the cobblestones they were standing on, and next to their pool of light a huge door, made of cold, blue light and darkness appeared. The knocking was coming from it, swarfing the four ponies down below.
“Avoiding the castle, you think, makes you safe. Mr. Mean will now tell you, ‘gainst the grain you will chafe.”

Fluttershy dropped low to the ground and covered her head with her hooves. “What do we do? What do we doooooo?”

“He’s… he’s bluffing,” Rainbow Dash said, looking up at the massive door.

“I’m… not sure he’s bluffing. Mr. Mean is really bad at pranks. No one but him has a good time in any of them,” said Pinkie warily.

“I’m not sure I want to test him, dears. Maybe we should go inside the castle since he wants us to be there,” Rarity said.

“He’s just trying to be pushy and force us in there to be mean to us again. We stay here!” Rainbow insisted.

The giant door cracked open. There wasn’t enough space in the crack to see anything inside, but cold air blew out, wafting over them. It ruffled their manes and tails and the sound of heavy breathing emanated from the space between the door and its invisible jamb.

“You think you can handle a wee little scare? Can you try, will you dare, will you dare, will you dare? Come in, little pony, play with me my game. When you leave you will never see life just the same.” The door opened a little further. A large enough space for a single pony to enter. High above, limp hair spilled out of the crack, and the faint glint of metal was visible, sparkling in the reflected light of the streetlamps.

Pinkie looked at Rainbow, who was staring at the space in the door. “Don’t do it, Rainbow. This isn’t a good game. This is a bad game. The bad kind of game that nopony can win, like at carnivals.”

“But we don’t want to go in the castle. Rarity’s hurt. She won’t last much longer.”

“I’m hurt, Rainbow, not dying,” Rarity said, unamused.
“If I can buy you a bit more time, then Twilight can figure this all out, get rid of him, and we’ll be fine. I’m going in!”

“Rainbow, no!” Fluttershy cried, but it was too late. Rainbow Dash sped into the crack in the door, fist up and ready. The door slammed behind her as she disappeared inside, and the loud knock boomed out around them, fading away as the door did. The lights around the three remaining ponies all faded, leaving them one single lamp they were huddled under.

At Sweet Apple Acres, Twilight knocked on the door to the Apple Family house. She waited a bit, but eventually the sound of hooves came down the stairs inside and approached the front door. It opened to reveal a sleepy Applejack, mane disheveled and tail untied.

“Twi, it’s midnight. Still a good four hours before morning. What’s goin’ on?” Applejack said.

“I need to talk to you, Applejack, it’s urgent. I have nothing else to go on, but something strange is happening. Have you, or anyone in your family ever heard of somepony named Mr. Mean?”

Applejack’s eyes widened and she glanced all around Twilight. She looked up and left and muttered, “Uh… no.”

“Applejack, you’re literally the element of honesty. You’re terrible at lying. What do you know?”

“Consarn it. Ah knew it’d come back to haunt me eventually. Ah thought ah’d got rid of him once and for all. Ah just hoped it wouldn’t be anywhere near Ponyville when he came back.” She motioned Twilight to come inside. “Yeah, ah know him. C’mon in, I’ll explain.
"When you enter the place that a monster calls home, will you win, or will you be the next one to roam?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Update later. The smoke from the west coast fires is giving me a headache.
>tfw califag
>don't even smell smoke, nor see any
I think mine's coming from British Columbia. It's all blowing down into Seattle where the valley is.
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“You know him?” Twilight exclaimed in alarm. “Then what the hay is happening right now? Do you know? Is all this your fault?”

“Twahlight, come inside and sit down,” Applejack flopped down at the table with her head in her hooves. “Yes, it’s probably mah fault, and no, ah don’t actually know what’s goin’ on right now.”

Twilight seethed as she walked inside and sat across from Applejack. Her eyes burned into Applejack’s forehead who, for her part, stared straight down at the table.

“Tell me why you know all this, Applejack, and tell me how to get rid of him.”

“Alright, well…” she began, taking a deep breath. “Ah assume you’ve read my book?”

“So it’s yours after all.”

“Yes. Ah wrote it a few years ago to try and help Applebloom with her fear of the dark. It was originally just going to be a bedtime story with a good ending, sorta like Pinkie Pie’s ‘giggle at the ghosties’ thing, ‘cept somethin’ ah made myself. Ah was right proud of it too…”

“Until…?” Spike asked as he clung to Twilight’s leg.

“Until ah remembered why ah used to be scared of the dark myself.” She finally looked up at Twilight. “Ah don’t know what ah did, but Mr. Mean’s a real thing. Real as you or me. He follows all the rules in that book, right as rain, as if I’d made him mahself. Ah don’t know if he started existin’ after ah wrote it, or if him existin’ is what made me write it, but sure as we’re sittin’ here right now, that bugger’s real! If you can think of a way to get rid of ‘im, ah sure would appreciate it Twilight! I’m at my wit’s end!”
Twilight leaned back in her chair as she thought about what Applejack had said. It made sense, and it explained the existence of the book, but something was missing. It was probably Applejack talking about whether he existed before or after Applejack had written the book. Why would any creature follow such arbitrary rules?

“I don’t understand something, Applejack. You say you created this, and he follows the rules in your book, but it’s been years. How come I’ve never heard of him before now? Has he only been bothering you?”

Applejack cringed. “He’s… been living here. He visited me almost every night, and we’d… play his game. He likes games. We came to an… understandin’.”

“Which was?”

“He’d leave Applebloom alone”

“And what kind of games did he want you to play?”

“That’s…” Applejack chewed on her bottom lip. “Not somethin’ ah can tell ya. Ah promised.”

“Applejack…” Twilight said, a hint of warning in her voice.

Applejack held up her hooves. “Ah really can’t tell ya! Ah promised! If ah break that promise ah don’t know what he’ll do, but Applebloom’s worth keeping that promise!”

“You realize he’s hounding the rest of us, right?”

“Ah suspected as much. He’s lookin’ fer somepony else to play with.”

“Why now?”

“Ah clapped my hooves and laughed a lot. Ah did it loud; that hits the spot. Remember how to drive the lout, back to his nasty, dismal home where he can only live alone,” Applejack recited.

“You drove him back to his home. You stopped playing his game.”

Applejack nodded. “It’s been years, Twilight. Ah’m tired.”

“Why didn’t you come to the rest of us about this sooner?”

“Ah promised.”

“Why would you make a promise to a monster?!” Twilight yelled. There was the sound of movement upstairs. Applejack stood and pulled Twilight away and out the door.
“C’mon, Twilight. You’ll wake Granny.”

“Why would you make a promise to a monster?”

“Ah told you; to protect Applebloom.”

“Then why didn’t you warn us he was going to be let loose?”

“Ah thought ah’d have more time. Ah guess he didn’t see it necessary to stay in his nasty, dismal home alone for very long.” She smiled sheepishly.

“Well now we have to deal with a metal-toothed monster. It almost got Spike, and it attacked Rainbow Dash and possibly the rest of us. Probably because we’re the element bearers. If it can play a game with one of us, who knows what it’ll do.”

“Aw, no. Poor Fluttershy.”

“Poor Fluttershy indeed. Rainbow and I saw them on our way here. She went to help. I don’t know if it was real or not, but he’s got them trapped in town.”

“In town?” Applejack looked at her curiously. “He doesn’t usually leave houses.”

“He followed the rest of us. I think he got them as they were leaving.”

“Well…” Applejack scratched her loose mane and tried to adjust her missing hat. She sighed as she realized it was back at home. “Take me to where you saw ‘em. We can clap and laugh, maybe send him on his way.”

“I don’t want to subject some random pony to this, Applejack. And I have to say, I’m disappointed you’re not taking this more seriously.”

“Ah’m tired, Twahlight. I’ve been tired for years. Ah thought ah might actually get some sleep tonight.”

“Not tonight you aren’t. This is your mess, you get to help clean it up. Come on, let’s get to clapping and save our friends. I know you want that much.”

Applejack shook her head and slapped her cheeks, then followed Twilight as she hurried down the road to Ponyville.
"What to do when your own dreams turn against you?"

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Rainbow Dash found herself in bed.

It wasn’t her bed, but it had large, comfortable covers and soft pillows. The bed was in the center of the room she was in, there was a large closet, a large armoire against a wall, a dresser, and a door set into a corner next to the closet. It was dark, but not pitch-black, there was light coming from somewhere, but she wasn’t sure where, as there was no window and no lamp. She pulled the covers off herself and was about to hop out of the bed when a knock came at the door.

“Uh, hello?”

“The most scared that you’ve ever been, you’ll know the name of Mr. Mean.”

“Uh, yeah. I already know your name. You’ve been saying it a lot.”

“It’s time to play a game, little pony. Do you enjoy hide and seek?”

“Uh… I guess?”

“Then come find me.”

“What? No way! You’re just gonna bite me or cut me or something!” But there was no answer. Mr. Mean said nothing, and there was silence in the room as Rainbow Dash sat on the edge of the bed. She waited a moment before she dangled her hooves off the edge of the bed. She was expecting him to reach out and grab her, but nothing happened. He was sincerely waiting for her to come play Hide and Seek with him. She hopped off the bed and hovered in the air next to it, looking around.

For a pony like Mr. Mean, there were many places he could have hidden, but did she even want to play this game with him? If she found him and he got the jump on her, she didn’t know if she could beat him. She had to play it safe. To that end, she did nothing. She’d wait for Twilight.
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but Rainbow thought she was winning. A knocking sound came from the armoire, but she ignored it. It got louder and louder as time went by, becoming more insistent. Finally, after a long time, the armoire opened a crack and a dark, starry eye looked out at her.

“Do you refuse to play with me? Thou lied ‘bout hospitality?’

“I didn’t lie,” Rainbow said. “I said I’d come in, not play any games.”

“By accepting and entering we made a pact. You play, I enjoy. That’s the truth, that’s a fact.” His teeth glittered in the crack, visibly gnashing within the cracked door.

“I didn’t agree to play.”

“All through the night, and all through the day. We would play, we would play, we would play, we would play.”

“I didn’t agree to that.”

“Oh…” the door slammed shut and he knocked on the inside of the armoire, then a knocking came from under the bed. “…but you did. Now come, my little pony. Let’s play a game. Instead of hide and seek, why not a game of… survival. You tested my patience, now I’ll test yours. It’s only fair, isn’t it?” His hooked horseshoe crept out from under the bed and reached up. It hooked the bedspread and tugged, gently at first, then more insistently, pulling the blankets and sheets off.

Rainbow Dash hovered in mid-air, watching the hoof. She wasn’t too worried. He couldn’t reach her as she hovered about the floor and the bed. She was safe from him and she could survive just by staying as high up as possible. She watched as the blankets and sheets ripped and were pulled under the bed, leaving the bare mattress.
“You can’t hide. This is a game of survival. What kind of host would I be if I did not make you work for your victory?”

The hoof reached out from under the bed again. It stretch up and onto the mattress, then stretched up and up and up, growing in length as it reached up to the ceiling after her, hook gleaming in the dim light.

“Woah!” Rainbow yelped as she dodged to the side. The hoof followed her, growing in length as it followed her around the room, wobbling as it followed her. She tried to get away from it, but it kept growing, chasing her around. She didn’t want to touch it, but as it got closer and followed her into the corner near the dresser, she had to reach out and punch it.

Their hooves clanged together, but it just came back. She zipped out past it, but it followed. She went around in circles, but it just twisted after her. She finally gave up, dove down, and kicked it in the middle. She heard a snap and a groan, and the hoof pulled back under the bed.

“Hah! That’s what you get!”

“Fair’s fair in our games, little pony. Do not dish out what you do not wish to take.”

“You can’t scare me! You can’t catch me, either!”

Rainbow felt white hot pain as something gashed her on the back. She fluttered erratically in place as she pulled away, lurching through the air away from the hoof that had caught her. She spun around to look and saw that in addition to his hoof coming from under the bed, Mr. Mean had his other hoof coming from out of the closet. A strip of blue fur dripping blood hung from one of the hooks on his other horseshoe.
"If you're going to play games with a devil, follow the rules. Or at least, don't get caught cheating."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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“What the hay?”

“You get it now, little Rainbow Pony? I am playing this game, and you will take part, or you will die.”

Rainbow put a hoof to her torn flank. She could feel blood trickling down her leg and dripping to the floor. When she looked down she could see a tongue flip out from underneath the bed and lap at it. She shivered, both from pain and from disgust.

“Fine! You’re under the bed!”

“How do you know? You can’t be certain. Why don’t you come down and throw open the curtain. See for yourself, trust naught but your eyes. There’s only one answer, one truth ‘neath disguise.”

“I know because I saw your tongue and your hoof come from under there!”

“Come down, come down, come down, come down,” Mr. Mean repeated. His hooves waved in the air, not coming any closer to her, but swinging back and forth in the air. Rainbow put her hooves to her ears.

“Come down, come down, come down, come down, come down, come down!”

She squeezed her hooves on her ears but she couldn’t block out the awful scraping of his voice on her eardrums. One of his hooves swung out at her, but she dodged lightly to the side. The other one swung at her and she kicked it away. She felt another painful scrape on her other flank, and turned to see a third hoof, coming out of the dresser. It had only grazed her, but it was groping in her direction as well.

“Come down! Come down! Come down! Come down! Come down!” Mr. Mean began shouting. His booming voice filled the tiny room, and more forehooves came out of the armoire, the door to the room, and the bedside table. One even came out from under the mattress and from behind a picture of a farm on the wall!
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“Alright!” Rainbow Dash shouted. The hooves all stopped swaying. “I’ll come down and find you!”

Instantly, all of the hooves disappeared in dark smoke. Mr. Mean’s chuckling laugh came from nowhere in particular.

“Good. See you soon.”

Rainbow Dash looked around the room. All the previously opened doors and drawers had slammed shut with the disappearance of Mr. Mean’s hooves. She was still bleeding, but she was no longer being molested by eight hooves at once. She slowly lowered herself through the air toward the bed. It was where the first hoof had come from as well as his tongue, so it was her best bet of finding Mr. Mean.

As she got closer, she started feeling a little less confident about coming down as she had been. His hooves had reached her all the way up near the ceiling, but was she really going to put her face up next to the darkness under the bed and check? The closer she got, and the closer she looked, the more apprehensive she became. She was actually getting scared!

She landed on the floor. Her hooves were on solid ground, but the wounds on her flank made her treat her hind hooves gently. She looked down at the crack under the bed and swallowed. She slowly lowered herself, body tense and ready to jump away at the last second, but she ever so slowly bent over the peeked under the bed.

Darkness was all that greeted her. Despite her fear nothing jumped out at her or leapt onto her or dragged her underneath. Nothing grabbed her or cut her or bit her. Nothing happened at all. She felt a sense of relief, but also building fear. Where was he really?
“Now you get it. You understand. This is my home, this gloaming land. We play my games here, play them all. Until the morn comes, or you fall.”

A knock came from the nearby dresser. Rainbow jumped and whipped her head around to look at it. She knew what he expected of her, but she really didn’t want to open it. When was he going to slash her, and when was he going to leave her alone? How long was he willing to put up with her playing the game, and when he grew tired of her, then what?

She stood in silent thought for a moment until she felt something nick her ankle. She jumped to the side and saw Mr. Mean’s hooked horseshoe cut prick her on the leg. She jumped to attention and raced over to the dresser. She threw open the drawer so hard it fell out and to the floor.

There was nothing inside except dirty clothes, rumpled and soiled.

A knock came from the armoire. Rainbow, scared and simultaneously annoyed, ran over and pulled open the door. If he was going to play like this, she was going to have to just put up with it. He didn’t want her dead, he just wanted to keep playing his awful game.

Mr. Mean met her at the armoire’s doors. His limp hair, starry eyes, and nail-like teeth grinned at her from inside.

“Peek-a-boo! I see you!” He reached out, hooked his horseshoes into her flesh and yanked her into the closet. Rainbow screamed and his mouth opened wide, pointed teeth growing huge as she was dragged closer. She pulled on his grip, wings flapping frantically, but his limbs were strong. She fell into the armoire and the doors slammed shut. The only sound her muffled screams.
"Play horrid games; get horrid prizes."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu
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Update later. Been sick and finishing other projects.
im so fucking confused
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Fuggit. Update tomorrow morning.

It's a cracked Twilight pot. What's to be confused about?
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Get well soon Waxy!
>big pupils to little pupils
Twilight trotted back toward ponyville with Applejack in tow. They arrived, Applejack looking haggard and Twilight looking intense. The town was empty, and there was no impenetrable darkness to be seen. There were no signs of Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, or Rainbow Dash. All was quiet, and lonely, but the solemn loneliness that comes from a sleeping town in the middle of the night. Silence reigned.

Twilight and Applejack walked through town hunting for some sign of the others. “I saw them here when I was coming out to visit you. Rainbow Dash decided to be a hero and went in the darkness after them. I don’t know why it’s gone,” Twilight said.

“He’s got somepony. He doesn’t need to hunt anymore.”

“Then where are the others? Why aren’t they here?”

“They went elsewhere. Probably somewhere they think is safe. It ain’t, though.”

“Inside, you mean?”

Applejack nodded and pointed at Twilight’s castle. The great double doors at the front were open, easily seen from their position so far away.

“Ah, well. That makes my search a little easier. Come on, Applejack. We need you to help clap and laugh.”

“Ah don’t think it’s safe to go back in there, Twahlight. The others don’t know how to play his game. They won’t come out of this alright. And when they don’t, he’s gonna be mad.”

“Then that’s why we have to clap and laugh extra hard, okay? I need you there.” Twilight gave Applejack a tug on her loose mane. Applejack yelped and followed, rubbing her scalp.

Twilight peeked in the doors of the castle when they got to the doors. Inside there was nothing but the empty hallway, but on the floor was a trail of blood. It dripped in a neat line, leading all the way in, headed to the magic map.
“Looks like they’re in here, alright. They’ve made themselves at home, I hope. Somepony was bleeding.”

“Probably Fluttershy. Mr. Mean would have a heyday terrorizin’ her.”

“We’ll find out when we find them. Come on.”

“Twilight, I don’t like this. Something feels like a trap,” Spike said.

“Of course it’s a trap. And we’re going to walk into it. When we do, we’ll clap our hooves and laugh.” She looked back at Applejack. “That’s how we get rid of him, right?”

“Sure, but if he’s angry, ah don’t know what he’ll do.”

“Then are there any other rules we should know about for his little game?”

“None. If ah truly created him, that’s the only one. The other was specific to me and my family. Anything else is uncharted territory.”

“Hmmm… I don’t like that, but that’ll do. Come on.”

They walked down the halls. The only sound was their hooves on the crystal floor. There was no knock on any door, no guttural laughter, no gravelly rhyming, and no clapping or laughing. Just silence, until the faint sound of breathing could be heard as they approached the magic map. Twilight entered the room, horn light shining in the darkness, and suddenly Rarity’s voice broke the silence.

“Twilight, is that really you?” Rarity’s head poked out from behind a tapestry. A yellow hoof came out and pulled her back in.

“It’s not her! It’s a trick, Rarity, please! Don’t give us away!”

Twilight laughed softly and trotted closer. “It’s me, guys. I brought Applejack. She’s going to help us with Mr. Mean. It’s… something she’s an expert on.”

“Oh, Applejack, thank Celestia you’re here. This Mr. Mean business has been simply awful. I’ll probably scar!” Rarity stepped out from behind the tapestry and presented her wound for the others to look at.
“Aw, damn, sugarcube. I’m real sorry that happened.”

“Applejack! Language!”

Applejack sighed. “I’m damn sorry that happened to y’all,” she said. “Sugarcube.”

The others stared at her. Pinkie Pie gave an awkward giggle from behind the tapestry.

“Come on out, Pinkie Pie,” Twilight said. “How did you guys get here? It looked like you were in some… darkness or something.”

“Oh, darling, we were! But Rainbow Dash agreed to some game with Mr. Mean. After that, we walked for a while until we heard screaming, then we found ourselves outside the castle. I… hesitate to say, but I don’t think it was good screaming. Rainbow Dash is probably not having a good time. Please tell me you know a way to get her back. We came to look for a book on it but… well… here we are.”

“No, unfortunately I only had one book on Mr. Mean, and it was one Applejack wrote. We need to clap our hooves and laugh real loud, then he’ll go away.”

“So we giggle and the ghostly?” Pinkie Pie said, her smile perking up.

“Yes, exactly. We need to giggle and the ghostly,” Twilight said. “The trouble is, we need to find him.” She turned to Applejack. “Applejack? How to we find Mr. Mean.”

Applejack shook her head. “You can’t find him, he finds you. We can only wait in bed and hope he picks us to terrorize tonight. He won’t be comin’ for me because we’re done, but he’ll come for anypony else if Rainbow’s failed his game. Ah don’t know what’ll happen to her, but we can only hope that driving him off saves her. Ah got nothin’ more than that.”

“Then I guess we try to sleep.”
"Play ridiculous, dangerous games, and win ridiculous, dangerous prizes."

Updated my journal: https://pastebin.com/Ke8jthxu

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