• Story: White Box

    [Sad/Bittersweet] Everyone says this one is amazing. The white/black swap has a point, so roll with it.

    Author: Chromosome
    Description: My name is Canvas. I remember because I wrote it in the corner of the white box. It takes twelve steps to get from the cot to the wall. And the lights hurt my eyes.
    White Box

    Additional Tags: I am a pretentious pony


    1. I'm not sure what this is supposed to be? seems like it could be good though..

    2. Sounds interesting, and the concept and description seems nice.

    3. I highly recommend this fic. Gripping. Powerful. This is an intellectual heavyweight. It's something unique within the fandom in its perspective and conceptual elegance.

      This is a fic that will stay with you for a long time.

    4. sounds like the movie Cube, where a bunch of people are trapped in a cube :|

    5. I remember Chromosome. He comes here every now and then. I will give this a read some time soon.

    6. It's fics like this that make me feel 20% dumber

    7. A little silly, and the author didn't explore his own premise enough to make it especially meaningful. The color gimmick was somewhat forced, as there is no reason for specific colors to have the values and attributes they are given by the protagonist, other than authorial choice. It should have been noted that white, of course, is not the absence of color, but the presence of all colors. I could also discuss the lack of explanation for the hyper-powerful, dangerous ponies in the ward, but that background is not essential, so it gets a pass. Finally, equines do not have fur, but hair.

    8. Very intriguing. Very intriguing indeed. A very odd, but well-executed highbrow concept.

      Of course, the first thing I did after reading this was go to GDocs and mess around until I could get the white-on-black formatting. Never realised you could do that!

    9. @NinesTempest

      Page layout under the file menu of gdocs.

    10. That, was awesome. Thank you good sir, this story is one of those gems that make you think.

    11. this is a great fiction. Needs a grimdark tag, though.

    12. I'mma just say that when I finished reading this, I started getting shivers.
      Love it!


    13. [Normal]? This made me cry. It was beautiful. BRAVO!

    14. @ponydoraprancypants
      I hate to disagree but the premise is actually quite sounds, the 'gimmic' of white and black text is to highlight the changes on coulour (Yellow on white is difficult to see for example) ans Equines DO have fur although calling it hair isn't wrong either:


    15. What did I just read? Why am I having feelings? WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

    16. Rather lovely. I fullscreened and listened to white noise while reading, adds to the experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e9bMi4s_yOE

    17. Tried to read this on my phone because of the abstract and weird comments. Now I can't, but I know something is there. Must... Read... Ah well, just have to wait til I get off work.

    18. The black background and white text was interesting to say the least. Giving the text different colors was a great idea and I loved it.

    19. @Ben Gibson I think it is (possible spoiler alert) the story of a powerful pony whom Tyrantlestia interned and mindwiped in a special prison like all the other super ponies because she is afraid they will overthrow her.

    20. It's nice to know that any time I start to feel good about my writing there'll be someone out there to PUT ME IN MY PLACE.

      Seriously, great fic. 5 stars.

    21. This was a heck of a story. I congratulate the author for being quite this imaginative with the format and colors in the story. It probably could have been explored a little deeper (knowing white is every color would be mind-blowing to this guy), but I think it's just great as it is. Five stars I say!

    22. Good story, interesting presentation.
      Could use a [Dark] tag though.

    23. Easily the best OC pony fanfic I've ever read. Well written, creepy, interesting, and overall very high quality.
      (might even deserve a light-grimdark tag for the creepy/strange level!)

      5/5 stars, and I hope the author plans on writing more fanfiction.

    24. I feel saddd!
      Best. Story. Ever.
      Better than Past Sins or Fallout: Equestria.
      I was never a fan of first-pony point of view until now. I love you, author man!

    25. This is good... this is clever.

      Clever,clever writerpony.

      It is emotionally powerful and like somepony said before me, weighty. Definitely worth a read.

    26. Wow.

      An incredible, if slightly terrifying, look into the psyche.

      Just wow.

    27. Man, that story was something else. Loved the use of the colors, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

    28. Very, VERY good story. Extremely clever and also so full of emotions and feelings.

      %/5 stars

    29. this is just at the edge of not enough info to speculate and just enough to not be interested, I'm hooked and i'll give it a try

    30. That was one of the greatest fics I have ever read. It was just simply amazing. The story was so artistic, and it was done so beautifully. This author deserves a reward.

    31. This is the most saddest story
      but also the best written work i have ever read
      This deserves 10/5 stars

    32. @ponydoraprancypants
      I will add an addendum despite not having read the story: In light, all colors is white. In pigment, lack of color is white.

      Fancy shit bro.

    33. this is just at the edge of not enough info to speculate and just enough to not be interested, I'm hooked and i'll give it a try

    34. This fic was needlessly abstract like French cinema and overly conceptual science fiction. Both of which I have seen and read far too much of.

      On the story's merits itself:

      The writing was good and the concept was interesting, and the premise was compelling.

      The execution of several of the ideas and plot elements in the fic are problematic.
      Mainly I don't understand the need to introduce this level of emo angst into a story with such a strong baseline concept and progression. It was honestly hard to feel emotion for the events in the story simply because every plot point was taken to it's illogical extreme. I completely lost suspension of disbelief and relatability once the story veered into Tyrant Celestia territory.

      None of that was necessary, a talent like Canvas' could EASILY have caused the kind of damage that would land him in such an institution DESERVEDLY, he could EASILY have painted HIMSELF a blank slate out of remorse. And there's nothing that says Twilight couldn't have sympathized with a tragically guilty character as easily as a tragically innocent character. It wouldn't have changed the story at ALL except for cutting out the overly melodramatic elements and making the characters, setting and situation more realistic.

    35. @ponydoraprancypants

      Re-read it, at the end the main character says he comes to realize that White is the presence of all colors as opposed to the lack of it.

      Very enjoyable read, something different and well executed.

    36. loved every part of it, very nice execution although the whole deal about them all being overly powerful threw me off a bit.

    37. This was beautiful. Would that I could have the words to properly describe my admiration for the one who wrote this. If only I had the linguistic ability to adequately praise this story and any responsible for its existence. As it is, there is simply no way I can. To do so with my lackluster vocabulary would be nothing less than a slight on this fic's perfection.

      Wait. Actually, I think that little spiel covers it nicely.

    38. that was quite touching in its own way... i just wish there was more. i want to know more about Canvas and more about his fellow prisoners, and what they all bring to the table in their own special way...

    39. @ponydoraprancypants

      If by "color gimmick" you mean how Canvas felt the emotion of each of the colors, then I'm sorry, but I feel like you couldn't be more wrong.

      First and foremost, Canvas' special talent is to bring art to life, so for him to see the energy behind the colors makes perfect sense. Ignoring that, colors can still feel one way or another. I have what I can only really describe as psuedo-synesthesia, and to me, people and things can definitely act a particular color. I really resonated with the author's descriptions of color.

      I feel like this was a perfect 5 for 5. A short, succinct read that's still full of impact. This one's going in my bookmark folder for favorites. ^_^

    40. I feel like this story would have been 100 times better if the author found a way to work in this theme without resorting to Tyrant Celestia, which overall feels kinda unbelievable and forced to a degree. Really pulled me out of the story with that.

    41. This story made me think in ways that i haven't for a while.

      Now, i'm confused. I dont know what confuses me, but i feel confusion.
      My mind is being raped, by... toughts...
      But i don't feel harmed by it.

      I don't know if that is a good thing or not.



      I've been staring at the screen for too long.
      It's too white.
      I hate white.


      Someone came home, finally stoping my tought process.

    42. Wait, um... I'm confused. Is there more to this than..? Hm. Methinks I'm only getting the introduction chapter and not the rest.

      Yes, that must be it. I hope.

      Driving me nuts! Denied reading makes me unstable! Hnngh!

    43. Oh! Apparently I don't know how to reverse text/background in Google. Or maybe the mobile pages don't have that option, since I'm on a smartphone.

      SIGH. Seriously, highly annoying.

    44. Very good read, 5/5.
      Could probably use sad and semi-dark tags, though.

    45. I quite enjoyed this little story, although I'd quibble about the use of a "Normal" tag for it considering the mental torture of innocent (though obviously potentially dangerous) ponies by the state. It's interesting that Twilight might have ended up somewhere like this herself (in this continuity) had she not become the Princess's personal student... She was rewriting reality pretty heavily there when she took her exam. (I'd be less wary of a guy who could paint things into existence than I would a girl who could turn me into a potted plant.)

      As a general concept, it feels like something that could easily have been a general sci-fi story and was adapted to fit with ponies. However, the candy-colored nature of the characters gives this a certain resonance in this setting.

      An interesting, thought-provoking little diversion from my workday... Thanks for writing and sharing it with fandom!

    46. That shit is deep.

      I'd add a [sad] tag to it, though. Damn these ponies and making me feel.

    47. @Harwick
      It's supposed to be Bittersweet... seth derped.

    48. This was absolutely amazing, I'm stuck wondering what will happen and hoping for more, even though additional story would ruin it. That was masterfully done.

    49. Well, that was…surreal.

      Definitely enjoyed it, though. Not a bad story — though I'd like a more thorough exploration of the background — but what really sold it were the stylistic choices. It was almost like reading a painting. I'd love to see more stories like this one.

    50. @Accursed

      Gimmick is simply a term for a device used to draw attention to something - it's not a value judgment. The colored text is a gimmick because it draws attention to the protagonist's fixation on colors and their associated feelings and imagined experiences. It is not inherently bad or good - it's the author's choices that make it effective or ineffective.

      Synethsesia is traditionally an automatic unconscious association between colors and something else, like numbers or tastes. I don't think consciously associating colors with people, places, emotions or feelings has much to do with synethsesia, or we'd all have it. Colors have an effect on everyone - that's why blue and green are traditionally soothing and found in spas, and why restaurants use lots of red and orange - the concensus is that they make people feel hungry and energized.

      I simply had a few problems with the story - so I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. The author often uses a lot of description without really saying much ("It's something glorious and ancient that fills my chest with majesty and megalithic size" - that's just a group of words "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" (MacBeth)). For me, the writing and the execution of the color concept weighed down the story.

      That said, many, many readers loved it, so what do I know? Celestia knows that I don't see eye to eye with the majority of readers in the world, or I'd read a lot more of the fiction that makes the NY Times Bestsellers' List.

    51. I honestly can't come up with words to describe how I feel.

      I'm a rainbow of emotion

    52. This story is haunting, terrifying even. It's claustrophobic, chilling and touching. 5/5 stars. I just hope I can get out of the funk that this story set me in.

    53. This comment has been removed by the author.

    54. I completely agree with everything DPV had to say about this.

    55. I don't often read pony fanfiction. In fact, I hardly ever read pony fanfiction. But I'm glad I gave this a try.
      It really made me feel. Feel for Canvas and his world. Just... aghh I can't even form proper coherent sentences, I'm that bemused.

    56. I got up super special early to write this, and I feel a little numb.

      I love everypony here. A lot.

    57. This is officially the best piece of fanfiction I have ever read. Maybe the best short story I have ever read.

    58. Quite possibly one of the best fanfics I have ever read. Very stylish with the colouring choices, I can imagine a very stylized and creative movie with this kind of setting and gimmick.
      In fact, I think a movie with the same story and humans replacing the characters would be absolute Oscar-material.
      Definetly one of my top 5 fanfics.

    59. I don't get it...
      Yet it's somehow good

    60. Great story, I really loved it. The revelation that was made was a very powerful part.

    61. This leaves me feeling... well, I'm not sure actually. I liked the usuage of white on black and the colors to signify underlying themes. However, I thought Twilight's actions near the end were a little iffy and Canvas could have gotten a little more background history; the whole surprise memory thing didn't clear much up. I also didn't understand why Canvas blamed Twilight for her name being erased.

    62. Hm... That was neat, as far as exploration goes, but I feel there wasn't enough concrete material for the mysteries to stand on.

      I wouldn't expect to get the whole story, but there wasn't enough story here for me to find much meaning to the events.

      Who is "She" and why is she afraid of Canvas? How did he get here? Why are prisoners being held in Equestria? Why is Twilight involved.

      I feel that while the story has an elegant base, it did not build high enough on said base.

      Chromosome, I find that you have great writing talent. However, I feel you could flesh this out more and get a better impact.

    63. This comment has been removed by the author.

    64. @Autumn Wind

      "She" is Celestia. Who imprison's "mutant" ponies with dangerous abilities for the safety of Equestria even if they have done nothing wrong.

    65. This fic's formatting is really unique on mobile....

    66. Hm... rereading my comment, I think I might be coming off wrong.

      I don't feel like everything should be explained, keeping some mystery is good. However, I felt a general sensation of vagueness that kept the story from being as enjoyable as it could have.

      For most of the fic, there was a build up towards a big reveal, only to deliver nothing but a vague happy ending in the end.

      I'd say in my opinion here, the main problem stems from varying too much between how much and how little the story wants to tell.

      Most likely, if the purpose of Canvas' emprisonment had not been mentioned, and neither had "she", the result would have been a lot more even, and therefore, more powerful.

    67. @DPV111

      Hm... right. Still, that specific bit seems out of place with the tone of the story, to me, or at least could have done with more fleshing out.

    68. @DPV111
      I'm pretty sure no one knows why but Seth.

    69. ...Wow. Take my stars. All of them.
      All my yellow stars.
      Yellow stars.

    70. VERY easy to put images to this story!
      I think that's a sure mark of a great story.

      Awesome job.

    71. Interesting. Powerful. (Certainly NOT [normal]...)

      But I can't get behind the premise. I was assuming that Celestia was suspicious that the inmates of this prison/institution/whatever were being mistreated, and sent Twilight to investigate. But that she would allow things to continue as they were is something I simply can't accept. It's completely out of character.

      Had things turned out differently, it could have worked. As written, it would have worked better in a different, non-pony universe.

    72. Holy Jesus, this was an awesome story...


      I agree. This isn't a bad story at all, it's quite interesting and good, but it...isn't really pony. In fact, it'd be more interesting and ambiguous if it were to supposedly take place in the regular world.

    74. By far...My Favorite One Shot story...its just...SO...i think I'm tearing up...I don't quite understand why...but its is just...SO...

    75. It's a very well written story with a dystopical feeling (not sci-fi but just as psychological), but with ponies featuring too little.
      Just my two cents, I like my fanfiction where the mane six, or the fact that the main character is a pony is essential in the story.

    76. At the end, he's going to hang himself, isn't he?


    77. My goodness, this was simply outstanding

    78. This comment has been removed by the author.

    79. God damnit. People keep posting stories that are similar to stories I'm working on!

      Anyway, TO THE AUTHOR: if you want a serious review of this fic and more in-depth criticism, tell me, and I will gladly write more. But since I'm strapped for time, have some bullet points:

      - As someone working on a similar story, I applaud your originality and the attempt at writing 'pony lit fic'.

      - Speaking of literary fiction and its conventions, this brings up what I dislike about your story. You make things too explicit for their own good. Generally speaking, if you're writing a "literary" short story like this, it's better to SUGGEST things and let the audience fill in the blanks. The story is more powerful and incisive, that way. Tell us only what we need to know to figure out what's going on, and nothing more.

      - While I like the premise, your exploration of it felt kinda half-assed. This is not a good thing when you're writing a story like this.

      - Your writing style felt a little divorced from the actual content. It felt too standard, too welcoming, when (in my opinion) there ought to be far more distance between the narrator and the audience. You jump back and forth between "standard fanfiction narration"-mode (italics, colloquialisms, unimportant descriptions) and "litfic" narration mode (sentence fragments, experimental things), which detracts from the story.

      Overall, not bad. I don't really like star ratings so I won't give one.

    80. When I finished this fic, I just sat there for a while with my mouth hanging open.

      I am... a huge critic. It's extremely rare that I truthfully enjoy something I've read, and especially a ponyfic, but this... this is absolutely amazing. I recommend this in a heartbeat. I was yearning to find the next word, to experience the next event, all the way up until the final scene.

      It almost reminds me of The Giver... Its quality, the storyline...

      Read it. If you haven't yet, I hope this comment can convince you.

    81. The story had a very interesting premise and execution; it kept me wondering what was happening, wanting to find out more. That said, though, I'm going to have to agree with some of the other sentiments stated here: It's just out of character for Celestia to not only lock up innocent (if potentially dangerous) ponies, but to also allow them to be mistreated. Otherwise, good show. 4/5 from me.

    82. I thought that this was going to turn out to be an asylum where ponies that never recovered from Discord's influence were held. And at first, that seemed like the direction this story was taking. We have a place where everypony is treated like criminals because they've become violent and twisted. Canvas believes he is a criminal, but doesn't remember what he did. He seems to hate everything except isolation. His mind is scattered and irrational. And, most importantly, he seems to have forgotten what colors are.

      Then I reached the part with Tyrant Celestia. I was not the least bit pleased.

      I read all the way through, but the whole story just left a bad taste in my mouth. It had such a good setup, but I simply cannot stand this particular brand of defilement of Princess Celestia's character. She's cunning, manipulative, and merciless to her enemies, but she does not torture ponies.

      I'm sorry. It's one star from me.

    83. Yeah. Yeah, that was pretty amazing. A little confusing, but definitely amazing.

    84. @Esmelthien

      I read that ending at first. But then I thought about it some more (and maybe warpped some words around in my head) and I totally thought he was about to start painting everything and unleash chaos... <.<;;

    85. Pretty good. I agree that it was out of character for Celestia to allow something like this to happen though. I mean, she's one of the most powerful beings in existence, couldn't she "take away their dark power" and make them normal ponies? Better yet, she could get the elements of harmony to do it for her, and she wouldn't need to torture the ponies because they had abilities they didn't ask for.

    86. The ratings and comments attached to this post are all the confirmation I need to say the following: this story is a work of art. It was not understood by everyone here, and it was downvoted because people didn't like how it made them feel or didn't like the idea that Celestia seemingly authorized Canvas's treatment. But to me, the most important quality of a work of art is twofold: that it makes people think, and that it challenges what people have previously accepted as normality. You've given me something to think about, and more importantly you've given me a perfect example of how Tyrant Celestia should be written: as an unstoppable force whose decisions are made for the benefit of the greater good, no matter how terrible the consequences of that decision are for the unwitting pony who could, by intention or accident, threaten that peace. This is the kind of story I've been waiting nearly a year to discover, the kind that shows a patently horrifying side of both the Equestrian state and the power of magic in a dark, horrible, yet terribly believable way.

      The rest of the commenters can have their own opinions, but as for me, mine echoes the sentiments of the pre-readers. Of the many six-star stories I've read on this site, this is one of the very select few that I feel truly deserves it. I'll remember this one for a long while.

    87. Magnificent portrayal of a character within a beautiful theme. I shall be recommending this story to my other Brony friends post haste.

    88. There's a palpable sense of emotional wilderness here that is so compelling while being completely alien.

      Chromosone, are you familiar with Beckett's novels? Your story shares a kind of first person hypnotic vagueness with many of his narrators.

      From the beginning I had an impression of urgency and horror made all the more arresting for being only intimated by Canvas' puzzling observations. It was clear that these idiosyncratic ways of relating to his environment hid a deeper truth that the narrator was somehow hiding from himself.

      When his little world began to crack and the light from a past world shone through, I thought it was so painful to imagine him picturing all the colors that had once filled his world which could only come to life in his hazy memories. The only way for him to see those colors or that world again is as wallpaper on a prison he knows he'll never leave. That just struck me more deeply than I can say.

    89. That was good.
      Real good.
      Like one of the best fics I've read good.
      Like 5 star good.
      And I don't give 5 stars very often.

    90. That was beautiful, amazingly written!


      Anyone who's colorblind... dang that sucks bro! The colors might be too similar to have different meaning like they do to normal folk.

    92. Simple concept, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant execution. This truly is a good look in the mind of somepony with repressed memories, and Twilight Sparkle was also done well.
      Plus of course, the colored text. Always nice to see "Dangerous Business"'s tricks didn't fall on deaf ears ^^
      Have all my stars, good sir. I'm very glad this got 6-star so quick.

    93. Know what? I rescind my earlier comment. The more I think about this the more complaining about questionable bending of canon seems petty.

      This story's been gnawing at me for an hour and a half while I've been attempting to work. There are too many ideas here to sum up in an off-the-cuff comment.

      The metafictional elements give a real, visceral impression of Canvas' oppressive surroundings and how they go from familiar to oppressive as ideas about the outside world are reintroduced.

      The "tyrant Celestia" impression actually pivots on ideas of identity and responsibility in a world where the leader has an eternal responsibility to protect the world from harm and where, conversely, a vagary of genetics can turn somepony into a living nuke. Maybe the horrific experiments are the best option in dealing with ponies that are so dangerous just to have around, even if they've done nothing wrong, that these horrors that might lead to a glimmer of hope are a kindness compared to the only other alternatives.

      And ponydom still needs more weird fiction.

    94. @Aquaman52

      You can have an artist design your house or an architect.

      The difference is one is visionary, the other is competent.

    95. SPOILER ALERT!!!
      This is one of my usual "Where I Read" style critiques.

      Because only bad people end up here.
      -Ok, so possibilities: A.)Innocent pony being imprisoned by VERY overly enthusiastic fans of Celestia (cf "The Sun is Tired"), some other brand of deranged ponies, or humans who want to be able to observe it 24/7 after (s)he dimension-traveled to our world (and they want perfect footage of if they "wink out"). B.) Disoriented remnant of The Nightmare (whatever it was that infected Luna) and the light is necessary to keep it from breaking out. "Canvas" would be a name it made up because it can't remember or never HAD a proper name. C.) Delusional Brony/Pegasister who ignored the socialization message of the show and locked himself in his room with only his computer screen for light, might have engaged in self-mutilation (cutting off toes for instance) thus justifying 24/7 anti-suicide observation.

      exactly twelve steps from the wall back to my bedding.
      -If that is 12 steps with each hoof that is probably a proportionately larger cell than found in most prisons (as judged by what I see on TV), although with each stride being a smaller in proportion to top-down silhouette area this may be somewhat misleading). If that is 3 steps with each hoof that is very small (although bigger than a stable-stall).

    96. SPOILER ALERT!!!
      (4096 character limit annoying)

      Or I could sleep, or eat, or drink, or do nothing at all.
      -The implied continual availability of food suggests... that this isn't a human prison. Which actually tells me almost nothing since that wasn't one of my guesses. The food or serving vessels could be VERY informative however. Ceramic and/or glass implies no suicide watch, and a lack of fear of anything as mundane as a sharp object. Flower sandwiches or other things that combine "humans can't eat this" with sentient style food preparation implies this is Equestria, or that the humans studying him/her have established communication. Incidentally, the disorientation could be interrogation drugs (unlikely, those would be both risky with an unknown biochemistry and not likely to give the detailed answers needed in this sort of situation) or being cut off from the background magic of Equestria.

      There’s too much to do in the white box.
      Well I suppose when you lack the ability to retain long-term memories and may also not be thinking straight in other ways that that COULD be too much.

      a metal tray filled with packaged plastic food slips through and clatters to the floor.
      -Humans then. Equestria doesn't seem to make extensive use of plastic for food packaging. This will also reveal if Canvas is a unicorn (or at least thinks they are in last scenario I mentioned). Metal tray sounds... institutional. It also occurs to me that this could be a vat-grown pony, since some people like to conceptualize Ponies as being genetic experiments that included psionics and which survived the destruction of the human race. Relocating hole implies a serious attempt at preventing Canvas from getting a limb out though the hole. Don't know of any real-world facility that would use that sort of thing for humans OR animals. Structurally it doesn't make sense since multiple would weaken the wall (and (s)he might get up one good buck almost no matter what they did). One idea is that this is a computer simulation. This wouldn't make much sense (a "force-field" would be easier in my opinion in such a case), but it is close enough to plausible writing technique. In such a case the one thing Canvas is LEAST likely to be is a flesh-and-blood Pony. Either a human, perhaps a SEVERELY injured one in an experimental environment that they haven't gotten around to putting lighting controls on (perhaps because they built it in a tearing hurry). If the eyes were destroyed, there was brain damage, and the nerves to the hands and feet were so mangled that they couldn't get the neural interfaces to graft then that could explain various aspects about the situation.

    97. @Draco Dei

      Slow down, you're blowing my mind WAY too fast!

    98. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      -Oops. Left out the other Sim-guess. Canvas could be a program themself.

      “Right away sir. Prisoner 167! Get up immediately!”
      -Well, that cuts out the mental patient angle for the most part. (possible he is delusional enough to hear "patient" as "prisoner").

      I look up into the disapproving eyes of a scowling pegasus guard dressed in a tight-fitting white vest and leg band.
      -Ok, so if he ISN'T insane, then this IS Equestria, or a computer simulation... but this doesn't make sense as a simulation any more, because they wouldn't call him a prisoner.

      Another guard, somehow perfectly identical
      -Points toward: Delusion or simulation.

      He has distant, sad eyes and a bandanna tied over his mouth.
      -Odd situation that they would let him keep the bandana. Computer simulation seems likely, with Canvas being the most experimental and unstable of the programs. Bandana might reduce polygon count.

      I didn’t know what that was. I still don’t.
      -Not surprising. Canvas is pretty messed up in the brain.

      Then there’s the blank flank. He’s a tall, handsome pony with fur and a horn that’s as white as the boxes.
      -BB? Unlikely for an adult to be blank. Maybe insanity induced loss or never gained due to violent insanity, but is another indication for insanity or sim.

      blindfolded right now
      -I have heard of albino's being very light-sensitive &/or earned a privilege. Special precaution unlikely.


    99. To anyone wondering...

      I think he hung himself in the end. When he sees the branch that is mightier, and thinks he'll look good up there, I think he means it will support his weight without breaking. I think he hung himself from that branch.

    100. @DPV111

      If I saw an author write a story like a non-visionary architect would build a house, I wouldn't read past the opening chapter.

      There are times where stoicism and rationality are appropriate responses, and there are times where we attempt to reflect the true nature of the world we live in and the worlds we choose to occupy our free time with, and do so with a passion usually reserved for the people who drive those stoic and rational people up the wall. I believe that the best writing is that which pays enough heed to the former option to make sense, but spends most of its time reveling in the latter.

      My point being: stop being a killjoy. I loved it, you didn't. Let's agree to disagree and move on with our lives.

    101. @Tom

      Umm... I think he was about to paint an apple on the tree, to add to his private universe inside his prison cell.

      It's clear that Twilight gave him the means to save himself from the horrors of the white box. I'm not sure if he can function well enough to survive very long, though. Does he know apples are edible? Or will he waste away in a pale shadow of a paradise he barely remembers?

    102. WHOOPS!

      I read that "I'll" as a "It'll"

      I think you're probably correct in your assumption, Tom.

      I liked it better when he lived in his own private world indefinitely, though.

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    104. @Tom I thought that he painted himself there, so he became part of the painting and that room lost the realness that was caused by his power. So if anyone came in, then they would see a room that was painted majestically and a painting of the former prisoner lying on that branch. No prisoner to be found.

    105. This story stabs me in the heart. I wish the ending was happier than that...


    106. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      And the pony next to me, her name is Forte.
      -Alternate name for Octavia? This is also where it occurs to me that these could be fragments of Luna's mind, and the Guards are the the Nightmare crossed with villianization of Celly. In which case the light would be either the EoH bindings, or the constant light of the sun on the moon that Luna is a part of.

      and you better be polite,
      -New implies prisoner. Polite implies high-command coming for an inspection.

      What’s there to be upset about?
      -Interesting. Wording implies (s)he isn't upset, which is REALLY crazy. Could be "what could we ever do to upset this new person?"

      She isn’t white like the boxes. I immediately don’t like her.
      -Odd... all all the other prisoners white? Forte wasn't specified.

      The pony had a straight cut mane with streaks running through it. A horn
      -Twilight. Intrusion under the power of the S1E2 EoH blast? Inspecting the prison of the actual Nightmare? Also, forgot to mention, I have thought from the start that the color schemes of the pages will change at the climax.

      This is Ms. Twilight Sparkle

      you scum.
      -I know prison guards IRL are jaded but... this doesn't fit canon Equestria. Even the Nightmare rates Kindness. Might be Tyrant Celestia setting, or a delusion of such. If so, Twilight is complicit, unless this is a different country, and she is the equivalent of a Red Cross/UN/Whatever inspector in the prison of a dictatorship.

      She wasn’t white like the boxes.
      -Did I mention I found this odd? He doesn't LIKE brightness. Maybe mind-warping magic applied to prisoners for purposes of faking inspection results. Maybe just nuts. If nuts you either have much better understanding of abnormal psychology than most writers, or much worse.

      forget about the strange pony counting the number of steps from the wall to the cot,
      -Memory very odd. Remembers Ponies, not writing or abstracts. Also, Canvas may stand for "blank canvas".

      Twilight Something-Or-Other
      -So not GOOD memory, but better than for steps. She may be the only "real" thing here.

      I hear him mutter something about a vegetable
      -Semi-vegetative state? Don't matter if this not real term, wouldn't stop dumb/jerk guard from using it.

      The lights hurt my eyes.
      -Yet he doesn't close them, shade with his hoof, or stick his head under the cot.

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    108. This comment has been removed by the author.

    109. There's something special about a one-shot. There is only the first impression; it must be a self-contained unit. The story travels from inception to completion in one fell swoop. And this may well be the best one I have yet to read. It definitely deserves the 6-Star rating it earned so quickly.

      That being said, if you've somehow reached this point without reading it (however unlikely), go read it. Everything from here on might be a little spoiler-ish, but probably won't make sense without context anyway. Either way, what follows is mostly just a rant on why I have a new favorite one-shot (poorly) disguised as a review.

      I've always been a critic of looking too deeply into stories, and making up nuances that aren't there. That said, this is not like those other stories. The unabashed, unapologetic, self-described pretentiousness not only lends atmosphere to, but seems to encourage speculation and study. The unique coloration also draws attention to the sharp divide in the character's mentality, and the effects something so intrinsically related to his existence has upon him and his perception of the world.

      The main character starts off, both metaphorically and literally, in an almost completely blank slate, holding desperately on to a few remaining things that are certain in their life. The only things left certain to him are "white" and his own name. In fact, the entire piece conveys a lack of understanding from the character, in turn drawing attention to some rather poignant philosophical questions and quandaries.

      Perhaps the most obvious one is the question of how far the concept of "protection" for the "greater good" extends. Imprisonment could be interpreted as the only "practical" solution to prevent the power of the individuals from being utilized for the wrong purposes. By trying to repress the abilities of the imprisoned, one could claim to be pursuing rehabilitation for the greater good. This story presents the attempt to subdue that inner ability as a futile goal, a losing battle, making continued imprisonment the "only alternative".

      Of course, one could also claim them as the actions of an unabashed tyrant, quashing any force that could impede or threaten their dictatorial rule. The ambiguity is wonderful.

      I also find the character's "escape" at the end to pose a uniquely satisfying existential tangent as well. Rather than fight against the world and constraints forced upon him, the character chooses to simply leave it behind, and "paints" himself a new world. He uses the walls that previously defined the whole extent of his existence as the "canvas" for a new, unlimited one. He makes a world that he does not know, but to him, is a perfect one. I found this turned it from a depressing tale of a descent to madness into a remarkably profound, if bittersweet, journey of self-realization.

      It's rare to find a piece of work that truly leaves me wondering about the way it ends (Inception leaps readily to mind). However, I've found something rarer still while reading this story. So many things are left unanswered, but I don't care. It doesn't bother me. There is no perfect resolution for the character, but it's good enough for him, and yet somehow also still good enough for me. I don't think I've ever come away from a story that leaves so many loose threads while still feeling so satisfied and content. To me, this is truly remarkable, and puts this easily among the best pieces I've read, if not *the* best.

    110. I really liked this story. It's only the second pony fanfic I've read and it was that little image that got my attention.. Then the white on black writing.


      ..Honestly, when it got to the end I was thinking he was just imagining everything he was painting. She left him a brush and a palette. It didn't say anything about actual paint. And considering he can paint a new reality with the magic in his cutie mark.. Well.. I don't imagine even Twilight could get away with giving Canvas actual paint.
      So I'm of a mind that the already somewhat crazy pony was simply living out his past when he first was able to paint and imagines he's painting his room. Letting himself get lost from reality to the point he completely detaches himself from it and lets his mind free into the world he imagines.

      ..Kinda sad, but I don't think this story has a true happy ending.. definately a bittersweet one.

      ..Also, people's comments on Tyrant Celestia. Personally not a fan of the concept either. But I can understand the need to lock up ponies who have the sort of powers that the ones described do. Even ifthe pony themselves isn't bad they could do things by accident, or get influenced by other bad things and could be extremelly dangerous for ponies as a whole. So while it's sad that they're locked away.. and it's really not a life that they continue to live. Celestia is merely doing what she thinks is best for the greater good. Which as a ruler is simply one of those hard choices you have to make.
      Admittedly the torture/beatings were somewhat off. I can understand a bit of medical experimentation, but out right beating..? Eh.
      Though I do suppose fear does bring out the worst in everyone. So perhaps that's a part of it.

      Anyway. Really enjoyed this fanfic. Something different!
      Even if halfway through I'm thinking 'this has no real reason that it needs to be pony' and still held onto it quite a bit through most of the story. You could slot this story into most any scifi/fantasy setting fairly easily. But.. ponies do personify the colours much easier and.. yeah.

      I'm glad ponies brought this story to the world. So yay.

    111. @Tom wow, that went right over my head. i didnt understand the ending very well but now im like "mind=blown"

    112. And that, fillies and gentlecolts, is why I love Gdoc as a fanfic tool. Because you can do that, right there.
      It's been a while since I had the privilege of reading a Pony fanfiction that not only lived up to its 6 Star rating, but also managed to do something completely unexpected and engaging. This was one of those rare times a story is so good I can TASTE it. (I think the last one that even came close was The Old Stories)

      I was going to leave a well thought out intellectual review to do justice to a well thought out story, but coming right off it, I can't really do anything besides gush and flip tables.

    113. Confound it... this was actually really good. Dang it... and now my eyes are destroyed.

    114. This is one of the greatest fanfics I have ever read.


      I want to paint now, for some reason.

    115. I couldn't understand the point of this until reading through some of the comments. Now I see what the ending was supposed to be. Take your pick:

      A) The whole story mounts up to Twilight giving him a box of crayons to draw on walls.

      B) He figures out how to use the powers and draws himself outside.

      C) He draws himself into his own fantasy world.

    116. Brilliant. The ending leaves me wanting more.

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    118. That was a great story. Not a good fanfic, as there's nothing remotely pony about it, but it was an entertaining read and I give the author props. I rarely read for pleasure, but I'm glad I read this one.

      4.5, round that up to a 5-star vote. Good work!

    119. I enjoyed this, ...alot. It seems correct for an amnesia thing, where you get a feeling an unknown object or idea has a certain meaning but don't know why or how. Really well done in its....insanity? Not the right word but it will have to do.

      It's one of those stories that leaves me disoriented/weird afterwards. It's fun.

      Definitely worth the read, and stars.

    120. I am not saying anything about the story, but how does this get 6 stars with just 4.6 ratings?

    121. @DPV111

      Now when did this happen? I must be losing my memory as well!

    122. Holy mindfuck, Batman! That was a very interesting story!


      >nothing remotely pony about it.


    123. That...that was amazing.

      Actually, I really want to send this to my religion teacher. A few weeks ago, we had a few lessons on how thing like color are able to symbolize feelings, thoughts and emotions. This relates exactly.

    124. @Vipera

      Yeah. There's nothing in this story that's really "pony" that couldn't easily be humans or elves or pokemon. It really wouldnt be hard to change a few words and apply it to any other universe.

      Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. The story is still very well written and unique. It's just not really a "fanfic".

    125. That was one of the best short stories I've read in a long time, Good show

    126. Why isn't this a graphic novel yet?

    127. @Nathan

      Because I'm no artist, and I don't know where to find one either. :P

    128. This was very well written! However, the one problem I saw with it, is it seemed to "drop-off" it had good descriptions, and a good theme behind it, and at one point I was cheering for Canvas to escape the box! I thought he would just paint the walls, and make them live (which they did) and then just escape through it, but instead he just stayed in the box, as if his paintings brought in the real world, but couldn't remove the box he was in. Which in my opinion kinda ruined the whole idea of it.
      However, over all, a great story that needs a different ending.

    129. @Chromosome
      Ask around on fimchan, look through their art board to find a style you like and suggest the fic to them.

      This story works fantastically well as it is but could potentially be even more incredible as a graphic novel, especially with the color play. I sincerely look forward to your future writings and hope they are all as clever as this.

    130. Figured I might as well add more than a generic response:

      As others have said, the stylistic elements you included (read: colors!) made for a visual experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Imagery has always been something that factors very strongly into my enjoyment of a fic, and yours delivered in that regard.

    131. This was... interesting. I'm not too pleased that it ended so soon. I don't think I'd want it to end at all.
      So anything he paints becomes real? And he painted the outside... Damn you. Damn you and your ending it like that.

    132. About time someone fixed that star tag! I was starting to think I was getting favors, and that won't do when there's so many talented ponies out there.

    133. This was epic and beautiful. Loved the story. I can't explain what I'm feeling right now but I feel I need to do something. Like as if something is missing from my life and I need to DO something to fill in that part of my life... I don't know what I'm saying right now I'm just overwhelmed with emotion and thought. This story was powerful, and I need to think for awhile.

    134. I'm hoping against hope that somehow reading House of Leaves helped me out here. 4/5, not neccesarily for the tyrant celestia, but that combined with the annoying extended ambiguity of the last third, plus no explanation for twilight.

      I still really enjoyed it though. The thing that really marks it down was the random suicide at the end. It came out of nowhere, seemed unnecessary and weird considering I didn't really know what Canvas' situation was in...someplace, not the box, but not really outside. It felt like being told about color should give him hope more than anything else, and I just really didn't feel anything close to the sadness and hopelessness of suicide.

    135. I really liked this. The way it was formatted, with the colours, is a really nice touch. Instant 5-star rating after finishing.

      Bravo good sir, bravo.

    136. I do think the story deserves 6 starts. I don't read a ton of fanfics to be honest, but this is by far the most powerful, and most well written fanfic, if not piece of literature I have read so far.
      I really liked the characterization with Canvas, as well as the ambiguous ending.

    137. First off, congratulations for getting on, Chromosome!

      Just a couple of things: the use of the word "person" in the first page, it made me wonder whether this was a HiE (old instincts die hard). The Tyrant!Celestia association didn't occur to me, though I feel that you could have avoided that with some hints - make Twilight an ambassador to a foreign country or something - although then again this is your artistic vision, and I myself didn't see Tyrant!Celly in this.

      You have put lots of effort into the colour gimmick. It's a gimmick, but it's appreciated, and certainly the king of gimmicks if there was ever any because it makes reading this so fresh. Seriously... I've been off ponyfic for over a week, because of personal issues, and I thought I'd never read again. I was doubtful of this, but I gave it a shot, and now I feel like I almost can start writing again. But I digress.

      Was the ending supposed to be a suicide? Again, it didn't occur to me as one - it just felt vaguely happy, which works fine for me. One thing that I begin to think about is the lack of supervision and checking - the ending hinges on Twilight bringing in the palette, and Canvass using it, both of which are utterly screwed if the guards were doing their job properly. The facility is a dangerous place, after all, and I doubt that the guards would take orders from anypony but Tyrant!Celly (or the unknown authority figure), neither of which would have allowed Twilight to do what she did.

      Other than that, this piece was stellar in execution, characterization, what have you. An easy 5 stars because your fic is very well the only one like it (multi-coloured, yet it works!).

      ...and that's pretty much it!

    138. OK, last time I checked this page, this story was a Star-6. Now it's a Star-5. What the hell?!

    139. Very good, but damn that ending was depressing.

    140. I first read this on my iPod. The background was white. There was nothing on it. I scroll through pages and pages and pages.

      And then...
      "pulse vibration. It’s something I can’t describe, like the words needed are just out of my reach, coursing through the billowing emptiness of my mind."


      Purple purple

      The word appeared several times, like it a few droplets before it rains. And then a paragraph. Then blue, then orange, red, yellow, brown, pink, and green.




      .............................................it goes on like that for

      The Nucleus

      Equestria Daily



      After THAT, I read the story on my computer. And DANG, that was quite a weird experience.

    141. A white box. It was like I forgot the whole story. All I saw was the colored.

    142. I like the concept and the writing is excellent. However:

      It is gimmicky. The font colors don't contribute. They either are are redundantly used to color the names of their respective colors (in which case it would be better for me to imagine the colors without seeing them), or attempt to add to the narrative by associating ideas with colors (in which case the author has failed to inspire in me a real appreciation for the colors and their meanings). All I got was eye strain from the harshness of pure white on pure black. The least the author could do is use a light gray, bold font like Command Prompt's to prevent eye strain. But instead of reading White Box in its original Google document, the reader should copy it into a Word document and set all the font to black. Or better yet, copy it into an RTF and read it on an e-ink reader (the most ergonomic way to read text).

      It doesn't do justice to its own concept. The concept is that a painter begins with emptiness and builds a complex world from simple colors. Unfortunately, the narrative spends a disproportionate length on learning the colors in isolation from each other and only briefly introduces the world of color once all the colors have been learned. Those few pages where Canvas' world is slowly built from individual colors feel rushed. I would appreciate the narrative much more if Canvas began painting the world much earlier and built upon it gradually, learning along the way and improving this work of art, instead of producing a perfect world immediately.

      White Box is still a fine work of writing. The concept is creative yet beautifully simple and the writing is poetic and engaging. I'm just disappointed by the potential left untapped.

    143. This story was amazing, though I am quite stuck on the ending. The suggestion that he hung himself didn't come up until I read the comments, though it seems about right. I could rant about why and use minecraft as an analogy for such, but to put it simply the world he made was incomplete and canvas knew this, so it was not fit to live in.
      the part that bothers me is that this didn't have to end this way. There's virtually infinite different ways canvas could of escaped, or if he simply waited and twilight got the word out, he and everypony else could have been freed.It feels incomplete at the end.

    144. The first half was good, the rest was terrible. People seem to think that making having a sad ending makes a story good. That's wrong. Even if it weren't, this is a bad sad ending. The entire storyline sucks, tbh. The concept was fantastic, and the writing style was as well. But there's nothing past that. Nothing actually happened. It doesn't deserve 5 stars, much less six.

    145. Well, this thread has been here for quite a while, and many things have been said, and many more might be said. However, I'm going to take a guess that this is just about the end of it, and give MY thoughts on this piece as its author.

      I've read every single comment here, from the briefest to the lengthiest, from the biggest gusher to the fiercest critic.

      To the people who enjoyed this story: thank you.

      To the people who didn't enjoy this story: thank you.

      I suppose that in the end, it doesn't matter if you loved or hated it, what matters is that it had impact. I don't care for stars, or ratings, or anything about that. The point of the matter is that people gave enough of a damn either way to share their thoughts. And that's incredible for me. I can't remember the last time I've seen a fiction with so much feedback either way.

      Haters or lovers, you guys are awesome. Thanks once more. (Now let this article die already!)

    146. We may stop commenting, but I at least will reference this for quite some time.

    147. It says that what ever he paints come to life or becomes real, so does that mean that he will get out and sit in a tree with twilight and her friends?

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    149. @Daisy Cake
      I have to disagree with your music selection. Too distracting. Might I say, it adds "colors" to this comic.

    150. @Autumn Wind
      I agree completely with you. The ending just seems too abrupt and vague after all that buildup. The story starts as a mystery, and ends as one.

    151. SPOILER ALERT!!!
      Picking this up after a few days since you said to give you a break from my "awesome" or whatever.

      because I didn’t get to finish counting.
      -And yet he remembers where he scratched his name, but not his name itself, nor any of the times he has counted the number of steps. I wonder if you have a pattern to what he remembers or doesn't remember or are just making it up as you go (which would be fine).

      “Ah! Prisoner 167, am I correct?”
      -Wonder if she is going to ask his name, or if she knows from his file that he doesn't know usually. I wonder if this place has felt-tip markers. Something to write on the walls properly if not give him some paper would be a great Kindness(note caps). I would expect this place to get some serious house-cleaning from the Alicorns if this IS in Equestria once Twilight makes her report. (Exception: NMM won or Tyrant Celestia).

      How are you feeling?”
      -This could be a sign she isn't evil.

      “How can you not remember how you got yourself in here?”
      -I wonder if she will bias her results by telling him anything about what the file says (s)he has done? It would make sense to if there is no other way to continue the conversation productively. I also wonder if you were (partially) inspired to write this story by her playing shrink to Dash in "Lesson Zero".

      how long have you been here?”
      -Will be VERY surprised if (s)he knows this. But that may be the point. Her exploring the boundaries of Canvas's memory problems.

    152. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      But that’s only because I don’t really know what “long” means.
      -Hole in his vocab from memory loss, or is he uncertain if she means his nose-to-tail length, or "how depressed are you" as a weird extension of "why the long face"? If you mean that he suspects she means time, and DOES know, and is hiding behind the fact that he isn't quite sure of the definition of "long" in this case then you need to rephrase.

      tell me what you did before you got here?”
      -He won't know this.

      not disguising the annoyance in her tone.
      -Still needs to work on her bedside manner... this implies that she isn't a practiced psychologist... then again, she is probably more on the research side than the therapy side.

      Now this is a question I don’t know the answer to.
      -Ah, so maybe (s)he DOES have some idea of how long (s)he has been here.

      There is no before, it’s always been white boxes.There’s nothing but the white boxes.
      -If I were a shrink (which I am NOT) I might consider attempting to induce cognitive dissonance between the idea that being here is a punishment, and the idea that there isn't anything BUT here, possibly asking him if he thinks that I and/or the guards are evil and being punished too. The logical conclusion is that there are only two classes of being, those created evil who must suffer, and thus are created to not enjoy their surroundings, and those who are created to torment the first type. (S)he might be insane enough to accept this concept, but... it would seem therapeutic to attempt to use it as proof to break the patient free. Then again, Twi may be trying to make as few changes, even good one's so she can study the situation without disrupting what she is trying to study. Still the attempt could be informative.

      So I tell her no.
      -Well, she can't try to investigate further very well with such a small amount of information. Hopefully she knows enough about Friendship/Psychology to be skilled at prying reluctant answers out of Ponies.

      she just gets up with an irritated expression on her brow, and slips the quill and clipboard back into her saddlebag.
      -Forcing herself to back off so as not to cause further damage? Unlikely to be worse for him than what the guards are doing. I suspect she will be back though (if only because we have a lot of story to go, and she was the first thing to happen that showed signs of any moving past the holding pattern he is in, which we have pretty thoroughly explored already). Maybe pondering what she has said will lead him to have an epiphany and stuff will start to happen, but I doubt that is the direction you are going.

      start counting the steps again.
      -I occurs to me that this could be him temporarily beating it into his brain with repetition, rather than just forgetting he just did it after each attempt. Thus the fact that Twi could plausibly interrupt him from his perspective (otherwise the time coincidence feels too... I dunno, maybe it makes sense in both cases now that I think about it).

      I don’t see that strange pony for a long time,
      -This implies better memory than he has for most things, although maybe "a long time" for him means 24 hours.

      and I’m very happy about it.
      -First thing he has been happy about so far.

      They made my head hurt, too.
      -Cognitive dissonance setting in? That is what this sort of headache generally means in fiction, although I suspect it doesn't map to real life. Then again there is such a thing as a stress induced headache IRL, so that could be what it is.

      But I run to the corner
      -First time he hasn't seemed lethargic to me.

      It’s like it wants me to forget, but I can’t let it forget my name.
      -Implies repression instead of brain-damage. Could be a memory-eating spell, but I think Twilight might have picked up on that... maybe she didn't think to check yet, because it would be too horrible. Maybe she agreed to "no casting on the prisoners".

    153. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      Suddenly, I feel something, and I jump with surprise as a hoof pokes me in the side.
      -So she managed to talk the guards into a less stressful approach? No cuffs, no guard's speaking right before she entered? Could also be a hallucination (as could almost any given thing, including everything right down to his own body), or another prisoner who managed to teleport. Come to that Twilight could have teleported in. He might be so focused he didn't notice the flash from the teleport in the overall brightness.

      I’m cuffed to my bed as that annoying pony walks in again.
      -Ah, the guard... surprised he didn't yell at him until he snapped out of it. He doesn't seem that hyper-focused to shut out yelling.

      about as happy to see me as I am to see her. Her expression indifferent,
      -This is an interesting contrast given that I think that (s)he is probably unhappy to see Twi.

      Are the guards nice?
      -I think she can tell they aren't, which makes this a testing question PROBABLY. Then again she may be trying to lead into getting evidence against the guards.

      but she’s determined to stay for some reason,
      -She's a dedicated researcher. If she is performing an inspection then her altruism/heroism would also motivate her. Ditto for trying to unlock his memories/thinking to move him towards a cure.

      Seeing that black spot on the floor of the white box made me want to hurt this pony.
      -Again, likes the color, hates the light. I guess giving him a felt-tip would be a problem, since he wouldn't want to mar the walls. Might work if paper were also provided. I wonder if it will be cleaned off or not. For some reason I picture him staring at it, and something breaking lose in his head (for the better).

      as well as onto the black stain on the ground.
      -White-out? Interesting she used it on the ground. Is there some good reason for it? Stopping Nightmare powers by having everything bright? I suppose even the prisoners and guards could have been color-changed with magic.

      I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so amazed.
      -Envies the ability to turn things white? Makes sense. Wonder if his mind is subconsciously seeing it as a metaphor for the ability of his own "black" soul to be redeemed.

      “What was that?” I blurt,
      -Well, THIS should be informative, both for the reader and Twi. Might even directly result in some progress for Canvas.

      but more so surprised that I had spoken out of turn.
      -"more-so" perhaps?

      It’s for correcting mistakes.”
      -These could be symbolic words for him. MISTAKES can be CORRECTED. SIN can be TURNED AWAY FROM and ATONED FOR.

      Something that makes white. This is magic beyond my imagining.
      -She should give it to him... except *looks back at earlier notes about the food serving*. Ok, metal tray and everything else plastic (including the food itself by a literal reading BTW). It also now occurs to me that the holes could be shaped each time with magic, which would give both strength and unpredictability (or even just casual randomness since there is no need to be precise about the placement of the hole when delivering food). Anyway, point is, I don't know if giving him a GLASS vessel is allowed. Also, he might try to paint somepony's pupils white to get rid of the blackness of them, or paint his tongue since it is presumably red and he can probably stick it out far enough to see the tip.

      Finally, a question I want to answer.
      -And she has half the information that is needed to wonder about what I said about the irony of not liking the brightness. Of course, the other side is something he might not want to say for fear of the guards/because he thinks he deserves it.

    154. SPOILER ALERT!!!
      ((Really wish there was some other way of getting these critiques to you...))

      I ask her what reason there is to not like it.
      -Well, that was... shallow. Then again he doesn't have much depth to his personality right now. Don't mean he is bad from a literary POV, of course, just that he is what he is and doesn't understand his motives at all.

      why do you like white, but not me? Why won’t you be more cooperative?”
      -This will either end in a single sentence (for now), or be interesting. Probably the first. If the second or BOTH, she might wear white clothing or use magic to turn herself white temporarily.

      “You aren’t white.”
      -Thought that "if BOTH" (s)he would say (s)he doesn't know, but she would figure it out.

      “But you aren’t white either. Do you not like yourself?”
      -Going to guess "Yes", and she might turn them BOTH white, or get them BOTH white clothing (they let the others have a face-mask and a blindfold)... wait... "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"... don't REMEMBER a deaf pony, but there could have been one. Also, it was a mask, not a bandana, but he might never have spoken, and you might just be trying to be less than blindingly obvious.

      “That tall one is.”
      -Thought most or all of the Ponies around him were white... then again breaking this up causes me to forget stuff.

      “Who, Princess Celestia?”
      -Will be interesting to see if he even knows who that is. If he might be terrified of her, either consciously, or even if he doesn't consciously know who she is.

      “No. Not her. Don’t say her name,” I say harshly, feeling something rise in me.
      -Him being a fragment of The Nightmare seems more likely now. Maybe a Nightmare cultist.

      “Oh, Clarity!”
      -So Clarity has a name, but Canvas is a number? Lends support to the idea that "Canvas" might be something (s)he made up and thus isn't in his/her file. They might not notice the scratches, or know their significance.

      So yes, he is white.
      -Non-albino white-coats happen... although maybe not often with white manes.

      I try to tell her that isn’t true, but for some reason the words die in my throat,
      -Because at some level (s)he knows they ARE true?

    155. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      The lights hurt my eyes. They’re too bright.
      -EUREKA! Wonder if she has the pull to get that changed and if so how quickly. The time scale could indicate if she is a researcher (would be fast I would think since she would mention it and be listened to strongly), investigator (slower, takes time to make stuff happen, especially if the story ends with Luna or Celestia shutting the place down/liberating it with force), or not at all.

      I have my name written in the corner,
      -Wow... she really managed to unlock a LOT really fast with this line of questioning.

      and I have so many things to do.”
      -It just keeps coming.

      instead of looking away, I look right back at her.

      Her eyes are strange and alien,
      -Wonder why? Because he doesn't recognize kindness and sanity being in the same eyes? He sees the Spark of the Element of Magic in her eyes (plausible if he is, or contains, a fragment of The Nightmare)?

      Sheepish, the pony with the strange eyes looks away and begins packing her things.
      -Stopping right when she was making so much progress? Is it the sheepishness, or is she on a time-limit? She might not be flexible enough to throw her schedule to the wind just because she is making huge amounts of progress.

    156. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      It was…lovely to speak with you, Prisoner 167. I look forward to doing it again.
      -ARGH! PLEASE tell me she isn't failing for him(or worse to me, her)? Unless she knew him before (unlikely given that she refers to him by number) and knows that the REAL name triggers problems.

      “Canvas,” I state,
      -Unusually bold, and I am surprised... wait, no, he was studying the name when she came in. Makes sense he would remember.

      She gives me another awkward smile.
      -General awkwardness, or does she know his real name and can't tell him?

      “You’re welcome, Ms. Twilight Sparkle.”
      -Making progress towards friendship. Unsurprising given she promised to study it even harder than magic in S1E2. Also, he remembered her name, despite the fact I don't think he was reminded, and couldn't remember her last name before. She is healthy for him to have around?

      magical whiteout.
      -Suspect it isn't really magic, although it could be. Also, most paper we have seen for writing on is beige... then again the paper on clipboards hasn't been I don't think.

      I spend so much time lost in thought that I don’t even have time to count the steps from the wall to the cot.
      -Good progress, higher level cognition in use.

      I sleep strangely that night.
      -"strangely"... now "well", not "badly", not "I have strange dreams"... interesting phrasing.

      It isn’t blackness and whiteness and silence like it usually is.
      -Evidence that The Nightmare is involved somehow, to one degree or another, even if he is a captured cultist with no unholy magic in his brain.

      It’s something I can’t describe, like the words needed are just out of my reach,
      -Friendship? Also, I think I might detect a VERY slight blue tinge to these words, but it is probably just my monitor/imagination.

      It’s familiar and comforting.
      -Nope, pretty sure this goes back to pure white.

      and it’s still twelve steps from the cot to the wall.
      -Memory improving on this count... also name memorization is quicker, although that may just be the fact that he is in a hurry to find what has changed and doesn't spend much time trying to get it really deeply sunk in.

      The lights don’t hurt my eyes anymore.
      -So either his step towards Friendship makes light not his enemy so much any more, or Twi was able to get things changed. If she is an inspector she isn't afraid to go directly to the operators, rather than working through channels (as she might do if she were afraid of provoking an attack, or having her demands dismissed out of hoof).

      My stomach growls for the first time in ages as I admire the plastic-wrapped contents.
      -Change in him, or better food? Probably the first.

      familiar sound of bolts
      -So even if the food-door is magic-made each time, the door itself isn't.

      “Excuse me! I don’t think that’s going to be necessary, thank you,”
      -Naive(or confident in her badass mage status), sees improvement, or convinced he never was a threat? In and case this smells like more progress.

    157. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      “What was that for?” I ask her, uncertain.
      -Still doesn't understand kindness, or at least his deserving it/not be a danger. This is totally unsurprising. Then again I don't think he ever thought he was DANGEROUS per se. Just deserving of whatever was done to him.

      Well, to be honest Canvas,
      -Casual use of name implies she doesn't know a real name for him, implying Canvas IS his real name, rather than his real name being dangerous for him/making him dangerous to others.

      I think you’re just confused, and treating you like a criminal isn’t the right thing to do.
      -Probably not associated with The Nightmare then, although it still could be something that DAMAGED him, rather than CORRUPTED him.

      A flicker of doubt crosses the pony’s eyes.
      -This implies she doesn't know his history to her satisfaction. Also, this is when it occurred to me that the nigh-imperceptible color change I might have seen in the dream might be GRAY, and a move towards the eventual Black/White reversal I am expecting when he makes his recovery (temporary or permanent). Also, I should mention I was surprised earlier (s)he wasn't white and can't recall if you ever said what color (s)he is. Pitch-black would be my guess, but I could be wrong.

      I asked the guards to lower the amount of light in your room when you complained to me last time.
      -Ok, so not him fighting free of the tiny shred of Darkness that is trapped with his memories. Wonder if he will be afraid of the guards being angry at him for a permanent change and/or if they will change them back after Twi completes her study?

      What would you like to talk about today?
      -Interesting that she realizes that she has drawn him out enough that he would actually WANT to talk and be ABLE to pick a meaningful direction.

      And yet without thinking, I know what I want to talk about.
      -Apparently she knew (or suspected) more than he did.

      I had a dream when I slept.
      -So he remembers specifics? Interesting, I thought he only remembers a general emotional sense, but now I realize that had no actual evidence behind it. Don't think we have seen his dreams earlier to compare what is coming to.

      It was like the rest at first.
      -Ok, so we are going to find out about the previous ones.

      There was white and black everywhere. It was very quiet, like it always is.
      -Or not... wonder if you are basing this on this:
      (P.S. if you like this PMV and will be listening to it more than once, you should strongly consider supporting the musician by buying the song... Honesty compels you.)

      -Ah, so there might have been a trace of purple in the text, not blue or gray (red+blue=purple, right? so it wouldn't technically be the same thing as blue?). She is the point of sanity in his madness. Then again, it COULD be Luna's purple from before she was NMM that he is remembering. Unlikely though.

    158. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      Last time you were here, you said you were ‘purple’.
      -Ah, so... he suspects it is her color, but doesn't know? Or he wants to understand the color more than he does, because it is so alien to him?

      Everything has a color.”

      “A color is something that isn’t white or black.
      -She is contradicting herself, then again she is fumbling around trying to explain something that she knows on an intuitive level.

      It can be green or blue or pink.
      -One wonders if he just doesn't know which colors go with these words that makes them white in the text, or if he would have to attach significance to them as he does to her before they would show up that way in his mind(and thus the narrative). Wonder if you AREN'T going to be flipping the color schemed, but rather are planning to use mostly bright colors for the text, and needed a way for yellow to show up (symbolizing Kindness?) later, but aren't planning on doing anything dark enough that it wouldn't show up against black.

      I moan slightly in pain as things feel like they’re moving in my skull.
      -Memories being starting towards being unrepressed, or just the stress of wanting so badly to understand? Probably the first.

      Her words seem to be become more distant and indistinct, and I can’t pick them out.
      -Interesting that being force to face the existence of not-B&W, even though he has seen it before causes painful cognitive dissonance.

      The feeling of something massive and powerful courses beneath my skin,
      -The Nightmare? Canvas's own power? Is this Trixie after trying to commit suicide of the personality?

      words that I don’t understand,
      -Or it could just be "magic" in the way that whiteout is magic, and it is just a big chunk of (all of?) Canvas's personality returning.

    159. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      Everything slides back into focus as I release it and speak without thinking.
      -Turning away from trying to regain the full understanding, since it is too soon to take? Or did she accept it into her and will be "back" without realizing it, at least for a while.

      Deep things that mean nothing to us which cannot be explained.

      I think you understand
      -Well, his understanding of colors, in the way you might teach a child with flash-cards, is pretty bad here, but then that is hardly his real problem... in fact I think he has said that the bandana was red before, and such like. So it isn't NEARLY so much his understanding of the flashcard level... then again those words could merely be a convention for the reader.

      You have something I can’t exactly describe.
      -Interesting... probably not romance, in which case this implies that she has no idea who (s)he really is. Thus not Trixie, or a Nightmare fragment.

      I look forward to talking to you again tomorrow.
      -Strangely short sessions. A rule set to keep her from over-stressing any of the patients? A decision she made during her planning stages to go for breadth rather than depth among the patients first? If (s)he IS Nightmare then she might be trying to limit her exposure to an environmental hazard (s)he presents.

      Can you teach me more colors?
      -And thus we have excuses for him to learn more with the associated enriching of the text as he blossoms, probably learning the virtues we associate with the coloring of the mane six... with purple and white already taken, Generosity would have to be sky-blue. But it will probably just be called "blue" in the narrative. Rainbow Dash will either be last(and since him being Loyal to someone would be hardest to arrange situationally), or will be red.

      My heart is pounding in my chest, and my hooves tremble something terrible as I try to stand up.
      -Ugh... PLEASE tell me this isn't shippy... although the pressure of his memories returning WOULD be stressful... yeah, that seems more likely.

      My name is Canvas and I love the color purple.
      -Canvas is making progress, I just wonder what TYPE.

      and push the rest away.
      -The tray and dishes? Or is he too busy with other things to be willing to take the time to finish?

      We talk for a long time about myself and colors,
      -Distorted perception of time, or did she schedule herself for a longer session? I guess that would make sense. This would be the first time she could be sure it would be worth it maybe, and she IS a slave to her schedules and checklists.

      It looks like a stone, but it shines like the lights that don’t hurt my eyes anymore.
      -Magic glowing rock she can change the color of? Maybe even a toy for teaching foals their colors that she is going to leave with him? That would teach him words, but no virtues. Would be an interesting way of letting the reader know the real significance if he quickly learns the words, but the text doesn't gain the color until he connects it with an Element-concept.

    160. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      She explains that it’s called a sapphire, a gemstone, and that its color is blue.
      -Ah... so just a color, not many colors in a single object... also I just realized he never checked his name (and probably DOES remember it), nor the steps (and might or might not remember that). Wonder if later objects might be an apple, a butterfly (in a cage or a picture), a pink balloon, and... well, if he makes quick enough progress that he can keep everything straight and this IS Equestria, there is no reason she couldn't bring him a tiny bit of rainbow from RD's pool or where-ever. Wonder if he can keep the objects, or if she has to take them with her?

      there’s something quiet and peaceful
      -Doesn't sound like Generousity, which would mean that you aren't using the Elemental virtues, but some other symbolism. That is good.

      Blue stays with me for a long time after the purple pony leaves.
      -Wonder if she left the gem. If so we should hear about it soon.

      And so every day is like this. Wake, sleep, and await Twilight Sparkle’s arrival. Each visit is an new and magical.
      -Wonder what they are talking about? JUST colors? Weird to see a fast-forward at this point. Wonder if he is remembering the colors, or if they are as hard to retain as his name was/is? Something in the middle?

      It’s a boundless energy that makes me want to run around and yell at the top of my lungs.
      -Could be more about the Mane Six's personality than their Elemental virtues... but I wouldn't use "megalithic" to describe Rarity, despite how she got her cutie-mark.

      it’s turbulence and pain, and it’s fear and anger.
      -Right... definitely thinking more traditional color-symbolism. Dash isn't about pain, although she is aggressive.

      I’m Canvas, and I have colors.
      -Getting painted in.

      which tastes so amazing that I ask to keep the bar.
      -Implying he didn't keep the other objects. Wonder if he tried some of the apple and the orange? Wonder how hard it would be to get chocolate pudding included with his food every day(it is a pretty institutional food)? Wonder if all the food is white.

      -Yeah, the brownest thing that comes to mind in the Mane Six are AJ's freckles... nothing to do with the EoH, either as ponies or as virtues.

      Some of the things that these colors make me feel don’t make sense, but Twilight Sparkle always explains them to me.
      -I am curious as to those explanations...

      something that changes everything. It’s flat and elaborate, and she tells me it’s green.
      -A knit sweater? And is it the object or the color that changes everything. She had Black from the start, and she got purple and blue earlier. A TINY amount of white, and green would be the last color you would need to do a decent picture of Nightmare Moon (for the cat-slit eyes... the windows to the soul). Might result in a traumatic memory returning/remembering what (s)he used to be a part of, before he was wiped clean of memory and knowledge.

      a leaf
      -AH! That would be elaborate!

      it comes from a tree. I ask her to tell me about them.
      -This would be where she explains the existance of things outside of white boxes? If (s)he is an Earth-pony it might have deep meaning to him/her.

    161. SPOILER ALERT!!!

      -I also see why you were "fast forwarding" just when things got good... you weren't in any hurry, it was just that the concepts COULD be covered quickly.

      There can be apples, or oranges, or even lemons!
      -Omitting the idea of flowers for now... he would be VERY interested if he knew about such examples of Color, and she wants to take things one step at a time. After he understands "tree" she might move on to flowers. Maybe she will even bring him a potted plant. Could be very therapeutic for an Earth Pony to be able to use her sub-type gift (like a pegasus being allowed in a room big enough to fly in for a while, or given a tiny cloud to play with). I also note that we still don't know Canvas's cutie-mark (if any), but I suspect that is entirely intentional since it would be a BIG clue.

      and all the colors they contain.
      -She didn't mention the color of the bark or the wood... and certainly not flowers. I guess green and red and orange and yellow is a lot to him.

      She tells me that trees grow outside.
      -As I guessed.

      I had heard Twilight Sparkle speak many times of ‘outside’.
      -Ok, so he has heard of them, but this is the first time he will pursue the idea. Wonder if she will take Canvas for a walk near the building? She has powerful enough TK to keep Canvas under control... she could even keep a "grip" on him constantly. Which makes me wonder that he has never mentioned the colors of magic-glow that I recall, although it could have easily slipped my mind.

      I imagine it’s a beautiful box that’s covered with all these colors that she has shown me.
      -His mind is free from the oppression of White, now it shall know things other than Boxes. I predict this will be the big change. Might also be actually GOING outside under her guard (perhaps with some orderlies with them too).

      What told a pony where they could and couldn’t go?
      -Nothing... that is the point!

      buying things,
      -If she had to explain that sapphires are expensive he MIGHT know what this means.

      I don’t see why anypony would want to live in a house when outside sounds so amazing.
      -So his soul longs for total freedom, not just a little. Wonder if he would be hurt at having to go back in his box? Wonder if she can get him some way of decorating his space?

      instead of colors, Twilight Sparkle regales me with tales and stories of her friends,
      -A big step forward in his function. I also note that he hasn't forgotten ANYTHING lately. Don't THINK she has even asked him if he remembered something, while she was explaining something.

      Twilight has to stop for awhile to explain to me what animals are.
      -Wonder if she could bring a mouse or small bird to visit?

      fur is an ugly white.
      -Still hasn't come back into full balance... then again there MIGHT be some good reason why he will NEVER like White.

      even if I’m not completely sure what those are.
      -If her singing voice isn't completely an artifact of story-telling of the show, she could demonstrate that easily enough I think.

    162. Ok... in a bind, because I don't know if I am doing too many chunks at once... I guess I will TRY to come back and continue on this, but I am distractable. I want to see how this ends, but I don't want to overload you TOO much. Please tell me what you want me to do. HOPEFULLY I will give you a day or two, and if you haven't responded by then, I will HOPEFULLY finish up at whatever pace I prefer.

    163. @Draco Dei

      Dude, what you are doing here is called a "Consciousness Stream" Review. It's not a critique. It is your thoughts and impressions of what you are reading as you are reading it. As such it has no real objective component and cannot be responded to by an author in any meaningful way.

      I for one enjoy reading these kinds of reviews, but if you want to offer an actual critique you need to write this whole thing out (here or offline) and then take your observations and trim them down to a point by point assessment of the fic.

    164. So he's one step into writing a critique, I guess?

    165. I'm personally loving every second of this. And Draco, buddy, scroll to the last page. There's contact details there. It'll make your life easier.

    166. @DPV111
      We only see it from one point of view, and nothing says that Twi's assement of the place is totally right.


    168. I say we need an insight into how do the people that run this place think? How much do they know? From how I see it... They're like pony mutants with SuperPowerful Cutie Marks and their powers are so dangerus by themselfs that the best case of action is to lock it up. Lock up the power... And in their atemps of doing so they've ended up harming the ponies in unfornseen ways.

      At lest that's how I like to see it. Cause to me I don't think Our Beloved Sun Goddess was teh bad guy.


      I love this fanfic. Not just because I was in an actual white box, reading this fanfic through my iPod, although that was quite a unique experience to read the same story in two different ways.


    170. @Chromosome
      Eh... call it what you will, it is what I do. I didn't need any more response than what you gave me. "Logistics" or something vaguely similar to that, not anything else was what I wanted.
      Contact info will be VERY useful.
      I don't do "condense".

    171. The first time there was text that was not white, when he describes his dream.
      That barest shade of lavender...

      My heart stopped for about five seconds.

      That moment alone makes it worth Six stars.
      One-shots have a tougher time getting to six, I feel, and that's a shame.

    172. Chromosome, I made you a thing... http://vozdesuenos.deviantart.com/gallery/35665603

    173. @VozDeSuenos

      A thing? You call this just a thing? This 'thing' is one of the most incredible works of art I've ever had the honor of inspiring. The work you've put into this...good God, this needs to be in a drawfriend entry.

      I applaud you, sir. I applaud you strongly.

    174. This comment has been removed by the author.

    175. @Chromosome Thank you, so very much. Between voice acting, writing, music, and art, I've done a lot in the community. Some is well-received and other things... not so much. A response like yours is the best thanks I can hope to garner, so thank you.

      As I've seen, the Drawfriends tend to be almost exclusively digital art, but I certainly appreciate the confidence.

    176. @VozDeSuenos

      Your work deserves far more than my meager thanks, and it's going to get it! You're in queue for a future drawfriend. Congrats!

    177. @Chromosome Having to be up at 05:30 to go to work is now infinitely better. I immediately started kicking my legs back and forth squeeing saying "ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh"