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Fanfic / I Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More

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A My Little Pony: Equestria Girls world-based novelette written by Jordan179 in 2016. On a dark and stormy night, middle-aged trucker Long Haul picks up a mysterious young woman hitchhiker. Terrifying events ensue.

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Tropes which don't matter any more include:

  • Abandoned Area: The old Esshell gas station where Long Haul first encounters Ruby.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The story starts in a rainstorm, which gets worse and worse as Long Haul's situation gets worse and worse.
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  • Battle in the Rain: Though it's raining all through the story, the rain gets worse as Long Haul and Grey Hoof have their climactic battle.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Ruby Gift is encountered hitchhiking. Unlike in the classic urban legend, she isn't compelled to do this, she just wants to cross running water in his truck.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Running water disrupts the Wraiths even when they are riding across it on a bridge, and presumably affects them even more severely if they attempt to do it under their own power.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally, as Long Haul's automatic pistol and its blessed bullets prove vital to his victory over Grey Hoof.
  • Creepy Child: Borderline case, as Ruby died at 15, right between childhood and womanhood, but has centuries of experience as a ghost.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Ruby Gift, who died on her fifteenth birthday, and looks it. To a lesser degree, her mother Mitta Gift and her prospective aunt Three Leaf, who died as women in their early middle age.
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  • Damsel in Distress: What Ruby Gift appears to be at the start of the story — a young woman hitchhiking on a lonely road in a storm.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The blessed bullets Long Haul brought home from Babylonia.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Had Long Haul not driven a ways along the dirt road leading to Sunney Towne, Grey Hoof couldn't have gotten aboard his truck.
  • Dramatic Thunder: As the storm gets worse and Long Haul prepares to fight Grey Hoof, lightning flashes in the south followed by the grumble of thunder. This also happens during the climactic battle.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: This happens to Long Haul twice in the story:
    • When Ruby suffers her uncontrolled Aspect shifts crossing the river, Long Haul is understandably distracted by the moving charred skeleton sitting next to him, and almost crashes.
    • When Grey Hoof stings him with an admonitory minor Life Drain, Long Haul does crash — but it's a controlled crash to stop the truck because Long Haul is afraid of losing control completely and driving off a cliff.
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  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: There's a hint that some places in the Everfree National Forest may do this.
    Heck, his reception wasn't even all that good right now — there were spots by the Everfree where radios just didn't work all that well, and he was passing one.
  • Ethereal White Dress: When Long Haul first sees Ruby, a powerful ghost, she is wearing a long white dress. (Later on, she chooses to manifest a purple one).
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The only thing Long Haul does to Grey Hoof which really offends Grey Hoof is calling him a "sonuvabitch." As Grey Hoof points out:
    "I wish thou wouldst retract their calumny regarding mine own dear mother," Grey Hoof said. "She was a kind and decent lady, who is in no wise responsible for mine own sins."
  • Failed a Spot Check: Long Haul misses the important early clue to Ruby's nature that it is not the abandoned gas station that is lit up allowing him to see Ruby in the night; it is Ruby whose golden glow is lighting up the gas station. To be fair, he has at this point no sane reason to believe that he will encounter a ghost.
  • Fanservice: When Ruby Gift rides over running water, she temporarily loses control over her Aspect (visible manifestation) and cycles rapidly through a large number of appearances, including nudity
    she flickered like a video screen rapidly changing channels. Different clothes, different hairstyles, a quick succession so dizzyingly fast that he could see none of them clearly, though for a moment he saw her lovely young form nude — the blanket had fallen through her.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Grey Hoof, who laughs and wisecracks to Long Haul, while planning to kill him and keep him as a slowly-rotting, sapient zombie slave.
  • Firing One-Handed: Long Haul deliberately avoids this with his first two shots, but has no choice but to do this with his next four, after Grey Hoof wounds his left arm.
  • Friendly Ghost: Two, possibly three, in-story:
    • Ruby Gift, who did not mean to cause Long Haul trouble.
    • Mitta Gift, who thanks Long Haul for his kindness to her daughter.
    • Arguably Three Leaf, who doesn't want to fight.
  • Ghostly Chill: All Wraiths project this, all the time — they draw energy from the world of the living to power their manifestations. Their Life Drain is perceived by a victim as a painfully-intense increase in this cold.
  • Ghostly Glide: How Ruby enters Long Haul's truck, and how Grey Hoof leaves it. Probably inspired by the lyrics of the original Blackmore's Night song "I Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More"
    Like the rolling mist she floated inside
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: A standard part of the Wraiths' Death Aspects — their heads become eyeless skulls, but with lights glowing in the empty sockets, generally in their original eye colors.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Wraiths manifest these when they are using their supernatural powers. Ruby's, in particular, are referenced in the snippet of song about her:
    Death waits — in her glowing golden eyes!
  • Ghost Town: Sunney Towne, which is referred to but which Long Haul never visits.
  • Immune to Bullets: Grey Hoof's first reaction when Long Haul draws his pistol is to laugh, for this reason. He stops laughing when Long Haul shoots him and the Wraith realizes that Long Haul's gun is loaded with special ammunition. Like all Wraiths, Grey Hoof can't be hurt by normal material projectiles.
  • Intangibility: Ruby uses this to leave Long Haul's truck cab. And Grey Hoof uses this to enter it.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Long Haul realizes Mitta is probably Ruby's mother the moment he sees her.
  • The Medic: Three Leaf claims this status, and Long Haul respects it, letting her tend to the defeated Grey Hoof.
    "I am a healer," she said. "Foe to none. Pray, let me tend to the fallen."
  • Ominous Fog: Ruby, Mitta and Three Leaf manifest out of just such a fog at the denouement.
  • One Bullet Left: Long Haul is in this predicament at the end of his fight with Grey Hoof. This is in part because he knows about the Fate Worse than Death that awaits him if a Wraith drains his life; the last bullet is for himself. Then three more Wraiths show up ...
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ruby and her kin are Wraiths — powerful ghosts bound to this Earth by the dire Curse of Nightmare Moon. Most importantly, they can easily take material forms, and can drain life at a touch.
  • Really 700 Years Old: If they're as old as the ghosts in the Pony version of Sunney Towne, they are all over a millennium old (having spent most of that time undead). This includes sweet little Ruby.
  • Urban Legends: The song "Wraith-Kissed," and assorted other legends of the Everfree, from Long Haul's POV. Until he gives a ride to the eponymous Wraith of Wraith-Kissed, that is.
    One of the unsettling stories, he remembered, was of an old town about thirty miles on, located miles into the forest between the Freestream and the Avalon. Something about it all being cursed and the inhabitants turned into ghosts or vampires or something of the sort. There was even an old song about one of the vampires: a strange golden-eyed girl who met a wandering musician.
    He'd heard it once. "Wraith-Kissed," something like that. All he could remember was the chorus ...
    Wraith-Kissed — you were born to die,
    Wraith-kissed — in the ground you'll lie,
    Wraith-kissed — now your doom draws nigh,
    Death waits — in her glowing golden eyes!
  • Working-Class Hero: Long Haul. Smart, tough and fundamentally-decent.
  • You Must Be Cold: Long Haul's reaction when he feels the chill emanating from Ruby, before he realizes that she is in fact a ghost. He gives her a blanket. It doesn't make her any physically warmer, but she probably appreciates the chivalric gesture, as she becomes friendly to the trucker.


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