As Nightmare Night approaches, don’t forget to get some subtle scares from today’s story.
No One Goes There
[Dark] [Horror] • 2,483 words
A broad, clear path runs through a deep wood on the far side of Ponyville.
No one goes there.
Four young colts want to know why.
FROM THE CURATORS: FIMFiction.net has a few tags that we at the RCL don’t track in our story summaries, so there’s one exceptional thing about this week’s feature that isn’t reflected above — it’s a horror fic rated “E” for Everyone. And while (like any dark story) parents might want to review this before sharing with children, No One Goes There does a remarkable job of subtly selling those conflicting tags. “It’s your classic ‘kids go into spooky woods’ story, but what makes it so effective is that you might not even notice anything’s wrong until well after the bad things start happening,” Present Perfect said. “It completely undersells its horror, leaving the fridge horror strong by the ending.”
Both that light touch and the story’s tight focus earned curator praise. “Bravo to Rinnaul for keeping this tight and bare,” Chris said. “Just like the best horror movies don’t show you too much, often the best horror stories are understated and light on explication.” And despite that apparent simplicity, this still served up some surprises. “I have to praise the elegant way it snuck the twist past me,” Horizon said. “It actually took me until the light went out to realize what was going on, even though on second read the story wasn’t being dishonest about the action in the slightest. And when the horseshoe dropped, everything fell together so tightly.”
That tight construction was a recurring theme in our discussion — there were so many elements that came together to enhance the effect. “Damn fine work with the atmosphere,” Soge said. “This is a truly unsettling fic, all the more impressive given how little actually happens.” That was due to its fine balance, Horizon said: “While the colts’ light slice-of-lifey banter might seem like padding, it’s crucial to construct the facade, and it feels neither sparse nor boring nor drawn-out.” Ultimately, as Present Perfect put it, “I have come to the conclusion that Rinnaul is a name worth paying attention to, and this story shows why.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Rinnaul discusses curator research, crucial tones, and Amtgard personas.