Haunting Nightmare
Haunting Nightmare

The story's cover art

Writer(s) Pen Stroke
Date published November 15, 2011
Words 30,102
Status Complete
Type/genre Horror
Featuring The mane six
Story link(s)
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Haunting Nightmare is a story by Pen Stroke, the author of Past Sins. It is a horror ghost story that, appropriately, deals with a haunting in Twilight's Library.


The story is written in the third-person, past tense, following one character's view point and thoughts at a time. Transitions between shifts in perspective are marked by "~~~" breaks.


The story opens with Zecora coming into town one evening to attend a party held in the library to kick off the Nightmare Night season. She heads into the basement where the games are set up and defeats Pinkie Pie in pin-the-tail (for the second time it is noted). Rainbow Dash makes an attempt, but in her overconfidence she spins herself into a dizzy state and then tries flying toward the poster. She misses entirely and crashes into the apple-bobbing tub, soaking the entire basement. This is soon followed by a sudden, inexplicable brief blackout, but with Rarity's help the mess is cleaned up and the party resumes.

A few days later, strange things begin to occur in the library at night: sounds of movement, doors cracking open by themselves, and so forth. As these continue, Spike begins to suspect a ghost, but Twilight refuses to believe in such things, even if she can't find a better explanation. Rainbow and Pinkie, deciding to have a little fun with Spike's superstitious fears, come over at night with a Phantom Speller (a.k.a. Ouija board) to hold a seance. While the two ponies intend to manipulate the Speller themselves to create messages to mess with Spike's head, another force begins to control the board, eventually spelling out "What is mine" in response to the question of what the ghost wants and then "She took her" repeatedly, even when nobody is touching the pointer.

Properly freaked out, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Spike try to warn Twilight of the presence of a supernatural entity in the library, but Twilight refuses to believe them. Worrying about Spike, who has been traumatized by his experience, Twilight sends the baby dragon to stay at Sweet Apple Acres with Applejack until his fears abate. At Applejack's place, Spike overhears mention from Granny Smith about an exorcist named Third Eye, who was forced to depart from Ponyville under request from the mayor a long time ago for spreading fear amongst the citizens in his attempts to banish ghosts from the town.

Curious, Spike enlists the aid of Rainbow Dash to seek out Third Eye and attempt to find a solution to their ghostly problem. When they find him upon traveling to the outskirts of town, they try to explain the situation to the idiosyncratic and deranged medium. Third Eye tells them that the ghost that is haunting the library is not a ghost at all, but a nightmare, an evil demon who's only goal is to reap whatever it desires in the physical realm, and will use any means to procure it. He believes that the meaning of the words that appeared on the phantom speller, “SHE IS MINE”, is that the nightmare is planning to possess Twilight in order to take “what is hers”.

Many years ago, Third Eye trapped a nightmare in the library's basement with a ward. He theorizes that when the floor was soaked during the mishap at the party, the ward was weakened, and the nightmare was freed. With Dash and Pinkie’s misguided attempt to summon it, the nightmare has become very powerful and can not be reasoned with, meaning their only option to overcome it is to defeat it face to face and banish it from the physical world.

Third Eye agrees to help them fight the nightmare the next day, as he requires time to prepare to vanquish the malevolent creature. Dash and Spike object out of fear for their friend, but agree to wait when Third Eye assures them that a nightmare can not possess a pony that doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Unfortunately, Twilight has had numerous otherworldly experiences at the library following Spike’s absence that have led her to believe that there is something haunting her, and is ultimately possessed.

When the trio returns home to discover this, Rainbow Dash and Spike enlist the support of Pinkie, Rarity, Applejack and Fluttershy as Third Eye prepares a magic circle to suppress the nightmare’s powers. Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash venture into the house to find their friend, and after a tussle with a possessed Smarty Pants doll, are able to bring her out of the house and into the circle. Third Eye casts a spell to banish the nightmare once and for all, but it fails, as the nightmare that has possessed Twilight is far too strong for him to handle, as it is not the same nightmare that he sealed in the library as he believed.

In a panic, Third Eye rushes back to the house to attempt to repair the ward, but without his support, the nightmare breaks free of his spell and attacks all of them. Just when things seem hopeless, a mysterious figure appears out of nowhere, and defeats the nightmare with unsettlingly great ease. Twilight awakens the next morning, and despite being confused about the events that have transpired, is happy that it’s all over. However, Third Eye has gone missing.

At Zecora’s hut, Third Eye awakens to find himself bound by ropes, as the true identity of the nightmare that was sealed in Twilight’s library long ago is revealed, Zecora. When Third Eye questions how all this is possible, Zecora explains to him that she eventually became powerful enough to break through the ward that had imprisoned her. Although she was trapped in the form of a zebra skeleton, she acquired flesh and blood from the creatures of the Everfree Forest, and was able to disguise her demonic voice through speaking in a rhythmic tone.

The true nightmare that had been haunting Twilight’s library was none other than Nightmare Moon, the entity that had possessed Princess Luna. Nightmare Moon wanted to regain control of Luna, and had lingered in Twilight’s dwelling since her defeat, waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so, which came when the ward was weakened at the party. Having defeated Nightmare Moon once and for all, Zecora takes care of her next order of business, killing Third Eye by boiling him in her stew cauldron, so that she can never be resealed.

Even after dining on the nightmare and Third Eye’s flesh, Zecora is not fully satisfied. She dons an evil smile as she plans to devour what she truly desires-the souls of the ponies of Equestria.


The 6th episode of Rainbow Dash Presents is of Haunting Nightmare: Rainbow Dash Presents: Haunting Nightmare.

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