Cyclops trembled as she heard Powder Keg shrieking, her heart breaking at the sound of one of her foals suffering. It was truly horrifying just how quickly her owner could shift between sweet and doting, to cold and menacing. The tender mare flinched with each scream, finally wrapping herself around the foals to spare them from hearing the frightening pandemonium. Shivering despite the warm saferoom, Cyclops’ thoughts drifted back to the living room. She had watched in horror as Seth battered Raptor half near to death, kicking the poor pegasus over and over until she herself had stepped in to stop him. And she had paid a hefty price for it. Not only had she been punished herself, but while she was trapped within the sorry-box, her foals had been taken from her, stolen away by a wild dog that had made it’s way inside.
While she didn’t like to think about it too much, Cyclops had suffered a great deal when it came to her babies ever since being taken in by Seth. From the nightmare she had where her green foal had fallen to it’s death, to Kickball becoming what the mare feared more than nearly anything: a bad fluffy. The mere thought of misbehaving fluffs sent a shiver down Cyclops’ spine, her hoof reflexively rubbing where her right eye had once been. She had been so overjoyed when Seth had been able to recover two of her lost foals, but it seemed like Dud was on the same path as her lost daughter, and Powder Keg wasn’t far behind.
A howling screech from the colt shook her from her thoughts, the mare thankful that she had went to the litterbox before lying down. Shutting her eye tightly, Cyclops mewled quietly, telling herself that it was for their own good and that her daddy always knew best.
“Your turn, Dud…” Her back against the wall, the filly’s eyes were as wide as dinnerplates, trembling as she was unable to look away from her brother, Powder Keg. Only lightly peeping, the colt was barely responsive as Seth gripped him by his scruff and placed him back within the fluffproofed fence. It would be some time before he forgot this punishment, with a reminder glued to both his front hooves. Walking back to the table, Seth could already see that Dud knew whatever was coming would be far worse than before, the horrified unicorn running circles about the tabletop as she tried in vain to find a way to escape.
“hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…ba’beh nee’ wun way’!!! *chirp…*chirp…da’deh am munsta!!!”
And with those simple words, the unicorn had sealed her fate. While Seth knew that Cyclops and the others trusted him, fluffies were always overly alarmed by the word monster, only using it to describe something that either frightened them a great deal, or something that meant to do them harm. Seth reached out and grabbed Dud, slightly crushing her in his palm as he made his way out of the saferoom and into the kitchen. The unicorn’s eyes bulged as she struggled to take each breath, trying to squirm free from her owner’s grip as she was taken from the one place she had ever known since opening her eyes.
Knowing that whatever he decided to do with her could be messy, Seth stoppered the sinks and filled them up about halfway, careful to hold Dud so that she could see the water slowly rising. Making sure that each sink was at the right temperature, one slightly cold and the other as hot as the tap could produce, he then plunged the unicorn into the warm water and held her underneath. While only for a few seconds, Seth could feel the filly struggling against him, writhing as hard as her small frame was able. Once he felt her movements weaken and saw the bubbles rising from her mouth begin to slow, he pulled her out, the filly sputtering and coughing up water as she tried and failed to scream for help. Letting her have a moment to catch her breath, Seth held her over the cold water and began to press his thumb firmly against her belly, forcing her to painfully evacuate both bladder and bowels into the chilly water below.
“*screeeeeee!!! ow’e!!! *chirp…*chirp…w…w…wet ba’beh gu!!!”
“If you insist…” Seth chuckled to himself as he dropped the foal, her scream cut short as she plunged into the frigid water. Flailing madly, she bobbed to the surface and tried to call out, her own panicked splashing causing her to dip under and rise again and again as she struggled to cry out. Seth simply watched for a few moments, only grabbing her when it was clear that she was too exhausted to swim any longer. Placing her on the countertop, he leaned in so that his face was right next to the soaked fluffy. Trembling from both the cold and her near death endeavor, Dud laid on her side, taking deep breaths as she tried to recover from her watery nightmare.
“*chirp… … …*chirp… … …m…m…mu’mah…s…sab ba’beh…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …”
Seth only shook his head, tearing off a paper towel and roughly running it over the sullen filly, drying her off. “Now, now…none of that Dud. You were very, very bad today. I can’t have you hurting Candyfloss anymore. Unlike you, I actually like her, Dud…She’s a good fluffy, and I won’t let a piece of shit like you ruin her…” While still quite young, Dud was astute enough to partially understand what the monster that had been her owner was saying, and what it meant for her.
“*chirp…*chirp…b…b…ba’behs nu f…f…fow huw’tees…*chirp…*chirp…am f…f…fow wuv…”
Too exhausted from her ordeal, the filly weakly repeated the fluffy mantra, struggling to catch her breath. She was rocking slightly, trying in vain to rise to her hooves and flee from whatever new torture Seth had in store for the foal, her body fatigued from thrashing to stay afloat in the sink. Reaching out slowly, Seth reveled as Dud winced when his hand was just within sight, flinching away as her nubs lazily tried to push him away. “Damn, that took the fight out of you…Don’t worry though…I’ll show you what daddy thinks fluffies are for…” Gripping one of her front hooves between his fingers, he hoisted the unicorn roughly into the air as she struggled to scream, wheezing and rasping as Seth reached underneath the kitchen cabinets, fumbling through their contents until he found a stack of varied tupperware containers. Taking the smallest he could find that would still suit his purpose, he then opened the top and dropped Dud within, the enfeebled filly making a weakened screech as she struck the hard plastic bottom.
There was barely any room within the container for the foal to move. Belly up, Dud’s hooves shifted slowly in place, almost as though the filly were trying to run away despite being upside down. Seth placed the lid snuggly atop the tupperware, making sure that it wouldn’t come off even if the foal were to press against it. Seeing the plastic top expand, he watched as the unicorn’s breath formed condensation along the inside. “Almost forgot…you’ll need holes so you can breathe…” Opening the drawer he kept his utensils in, Seth grabbed an old steak knife, confident that he could replace it come next payday. Taking the container to the island in the middle of the kitchen, Seth placed it on top of his cutting board, tapping the side of the tupperware to stir Dud from her torpor. “Hey! You might wanna hold still…”
Only barely glancing upward, the unicorn’s eyes widened as she saw the tip of the blade stab through, grazing her belly and drawing blood.
“*screeeeeee!!! tum’meh huw’tees!!! *chirp…*chirp…*screeeeeee!!!”
After seeing and feeling what the knife could do to her, Dud found her second wind, shrieking in terror as she tried in vain to squirm out of her plastic prison. Seth stabbed through the lid again and again, careful only to come close to the foal, with each strike of the blade rewarding him with panicked screams and a cacophony of frightened peeps. It had been crucial for Dud to see what the knife could do before he started his rapid succession of puncturing blows. While she might have been startled by Seth using the knife to puncture holes within the tupperware, most fluffies wouldn’t know what a knife even was without seeing in in action firsthand, as with most things they were never intended to interact with. But it was clear that the filly knew what the knife was capable of now, screaming and flailing each time the tip of the blade struck through the lid, inches away from her belly, her hooves, even her face.
“*screeeeeee!!! s…s…s…st…stahp!!! *chirp…*chirp…s…s…s…stahp!!! p…p…p’we!!! *chirp…*chirp…b…b…ba’beh s…s…so…sow’ee!!!”
While he didn’t believe that Dud truly regretted her actions one bit, only that she had been caught, Seth halted his assault as he heard her stumble over her pleading words. It was almost endearing to hear her struggle to eke out each word, even slightly cute in a macabre sort of way. “I don’t think you’re sorry at all, Dud…But when we’re done you will be…” Picking up the tupperware, Seth walked to the fridge and opened the door, placing the container on a lower shelf. “I have to get some things ready for your punishment, but for now this’ll do as a sorry-box.” Shutting the door before the filly could retort, Seth let out a long sigh, feeling some of the tension that had been building up over the last week fade away. I’ve needed this was all Seth could think, with his usual outlets for fluffy torment now gone or too injured to play with. But he knew that he’d gone too far in front of Candyfloss, scaring her as she watched him nearly choke the life out of Dud. If she hadn’t spoken up, Seth doubted that the filly would even be alive right now. Of course, given what he had planned for her tonight, the foal might come to regret it. Taking a few moments to calm himself, Seth decided to manage his other foals before he got back to Dud.
Seth gathered the fluffy first-aid kit from the guest bathroom before returning to the kitchen, slowly opening the repurposed junk drawer where he kept Kismet. The foal was laid out on the warming cushion, barely moving as his mouth occasionally opened in a pained grimace, his throat too raw from screaming to do much more than rasp and wheeze in agony. Seth was prepared for this, knowing that despite the biotoy’s penchant for recovering quickly, the chemical burns on his delicate skin would take days to properly heal.
“*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …da’deh…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …am dat da’deh?..*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …hewp kiz’mit…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …tu mani huw’tees…”
With his vision all but gone and his sense of smell now far more limited, the foal could only guess that it was his owner who had opened the drawer. He was weak and his voice hoarse, taking deep, slow breaths between each word. “I know, little guy, I know…” Seth had little affection for the wounded colt but wanted him calm while he was on the mend. Based on how he had nearly killed Dud, Seth knew that he couldn’t spare even a single fluffy and wanted the foal back in good health for later torments. The die torture had been great fun, but was useless for a fluffy that couldn’t see. Still, whatever new torment he thought up for the near blind colt would likely be mind game based as well, with Seth enjoying how Kismet took to the overt gaslighting.
Putting future choices aside, Seth placed the colt gently on a paper towel before opening the kit, taking out the container of petroleum jelly. First, he ran the tap until the water was comfortably warm, wetting a washcloth and gently wiping the foal clean. He then took a dollop of the jelly and began to work it into Kismet’s skin, the colt wiggling and squirming against him the entire time.
“nuuuuuuu!!! *chirp…*chirp…nu wike!!! nu wike!!!”
Whether it was the odd sensation of the salve on his skin or his agonized burns being touched, the foal was clear in his distaste for the procedure, his voice cracking as he tried and failed to scream, his hooves trying to push away Seth’s fingers as he worked the jelly onto his wounds. “I know you don’t like it, but it’ll help you get better…Just be thankful you’re not feeling well or I’d have something to say about all this no nonsense…”
With his small tantrum taking what little energy he had left, Kismet laid on his side after Seth finished up, taking the waste laden towel that covered the cushion and replacing it with a fresh one, as well as refilling it with warm water before placing the colt back in his drawer to recover. Feeling a bit generous, Seth only partially closed the drawer, deciding that a bit of light might help the foal feel better. “One down…” Seth made his way to the hobby room, noticing that Frostbite was still oddly lethargic, even more so than the pillowfoal usually was, not to mention how vocal he had been since the evening prior.
“mu’mah…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …nu wan…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …”
Forgoing the usual ritual of forcing him to watch the saferoom fluffies playing, Seth simply went right to heating up his formula, annoyed that in just one night his routine had been shaken up so much. From Kismet being badly wounded, to whatever had happened to Frostbite, Seth knew that it could be days before the foals were in good enough shape for him to enjoy properly again, if at all. Still, Jerome had done well his first day, and seemed to be shaping up. He knew that the boy had simply been impatient and overzealous when he took Kismet, and Seth could hardly condemn him for that. Hell, he’d been there himself many a time, getting over emotional and taking things too far with a fluffy more than once in his lifetime.
The bottle warmer’s chime stirred Seth from his thoughts, alerting him that the formula was done. Taking the bottle, he affixed it to Frostbite’s pillowbed, the mewling foal quickly latching on and emptying the bottle at a rapid pace. Once he was finished, Seth retrieved it, rinsing it out in the utility sink before putting it back in the fridge. Seth was curious to see if he could coax what had happened out of the pillowfoal, walking back over to his workbench. Once he saw that his owner was coming closer, Frostbite reacted like he usually did, peeping in fear as he tried to wriggle himself away and hide, a useless gesture as his pillowbed was only slightly larger than he was. “What’s wrong Frostbite? You’ve been acting weird all day. Did that big fall last night scare you?” Gently running a finger over the colt’s back, Frostbite flinched at Seth’s touch, trembling harder as he clenched his eyes shut and chirped rapidly. Whatever had the pillowfoal so worked up, it was clear that he was too frightened of his owner to explain, with Seth finally deciding to leave the colt be for the night, hoping the issue might resolve itself with time. “Well whatever’s wrong I hope you remember that daddy loves you very much…Good night Frostbite.” Pleased that at the very least, the foal was still scared of him, Seth left Frostbite to his own devices, making his way over to his trunk. After fetching an old shop vac and some yarn, Seth made his way to the kitchen, opening the refrigerator and retrieving the tupperware sorrybox.
Dud was curled up against her belly, shivering from the cold. Seth placed the container on the countertop and peeled off the lid, prompting some weak and very slow peeps and trills from the filly as she slowly opened her eyes and realized she was no longer in the ice box.
“*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp…d…d…d…du…dud am s…s…s…sow’ee…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp… … …n…n…n…n…nu mowe c…c…c…c…cowd’ee pwace…p…p…p…pwe’…*chirp… … …*chirp… … …*chirp…b…b…b…ba’beh be g…g…g…g…gud…”
Seth couldn’t tell if the foal was still stuttering because she was frightened or was cold, but found it amusing regardless. “We’re done with the fridge for now, but I’m not done with you yet…not by a long shot…” Seth turned the tap back on and let the water warm far beyond what was comfortable as he picked the tupperware up and held it close enough for the unicorn to see the falling stream, the weakened foal coming out of her stupor as she tried to force herself upright to escape what was coming. Once Seth could see the steam rising from the sink, he pushed the container under the scalding torrent, the deluge drowning out Dud’s pained screams. “Figured this might help you warm up after your time in the sorrybox…” Letting her stay under the burning water for several seconds, Seth pulled the tupperware out from underneath the stream when he could hear the foal gurgling, not wanting her punishment cut short. Tilting the container over the sink, he emptied the water out so as not to drown Dud, the filly screaming as soon as her mouth was no longer submerged.
Her time under the burning hot water had reinvigorated the filly, no longer sluggish as she shrieked in pain and tried to writhe and wiggle herself upright within her plastic prison. It was to no avail, as the tupperware was only slightly bigger than she was, leaving very little room for the foal to shift about as she howled out in agony. “That sure as Hell got your attention…” Her eyes were wide as she struggled to free herself, the skin under her fluff a deep and irritated red from the water. Kicking her legs wildly, the foal screamed herself hoarse as Seth simply watched, savoring the fear and panic that he’d been missing. After kicking and shrieking for several minutes, Dud wore herself down, the foal finally collapsing back on her side and sobbing.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…m…m…m…munsta nu w…w…w…wuv ba’beh…*chirp…*chirp…*huuu…huuu…huuu…w…w…w…w…wan gib d…d…d…d…dud wow’st h…h…h…h…huw’tees…*chirp…*chirp…p…p…p…pwe’ wet b…b…b…ba’beh gu…*huuu…huuu…huuu…”
Seth gingerly reached within the container and pulled Dud free, holding her in his palm and raising her up to his face."…You know what? You’re right Dud…I don’t love you at all. I don’t care about you one bit and I was hoping you’d misbehave so I could do fun and awful things to you. I haven’t gotten to hear a fluffy scream like this in a fair bit and I have to admit I’ve missed it…" While too young and ignorant to understand everything that her owner had said, her expression made it clear that she grasped the gist, her eyes tearing up as she curled up and tried not to look Seth in the eye. Monster or no, hearing that a human didn’t love them, especially that their owner didn’t love them, was one of the more devastating things that a fluffy could ever hear. It was a callback to their original bio-programming, their intense longing and desire to be loved by would be owners, and to love them in return, and the primary reason that fluffies were never found too far from civilization. Even feral born fluffies frequently made their nests in alleys or abandoned properties that were a short walk from the nearest populated area.
Seth let the filly fall to the countertop roughly, the unicorn yelping as she struck against it. Shaken from her tumble, Dud was slow to rise at first, until it dawned on the little filly that she was finally free, neither stuck in the tupperware nor in her cruel owner’s grasp. Ambling to her hooves, the foal tried to flee as fast as she was able.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…*chirp…*chirp…b…b…ba’beh nee’ w…w…wun way!!! *huuu…huuu…huuu…*chirp…*chirp…m…m…munsta gown g…g…gib dud f…f…foweba swee’pees!!!”
Finding the edge of the counter quickly, Dud reared up awkwardly as she saw how far down the floor was, turning around and waddling quickly to the other side, only to shriek as she found nothing but the same. Seth simply watched as she navigated the entire countertop in a panic, it slowly dawning on her that there was nowhere for her to run. Her head pivoting around anxiously, the filly finally fell over and covered her face with her hooves, chirping and peeping as she called out for someone to save her, still stumbling over her words.
“*chirp…*chirp…h…h…hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…m…m…mu’mah!!! *chirp…*chirp…s…s…sab’ ba’beh!!!”
“…Oh, I doubt that Cyclops can even hear you right now…and even if she could, she’d never save such a bad fluffy…” Seth could only smile as he heard the filly whimper, hefting his shop vac and placing it on the island and plugging it up. Taking some yarn, he tied a healthy bit around the edge of the hose, tugging on it firmly to make sure that it wouldn’t break. Once assured it was secure, Seth reached out and grabbed Dud by her scruff, the foal shrieking as she kicked helplessly in the air.
“*screeeeeee!!! n…n…nuuuuuuu!!! *chirp…*chirp…b…b…ba’ upsies!!! *chirp…*chirp…m…m…munsta weeb d…d…dud 'wone!!! *chirp…*chirp…”
Ignoring her protests, Seth grabbed the other end of the yarn, lopping it around one of her back hooves and tying it off before releasing his grip and letting her dangle from the hoses’ end.
“*screeeeeee!!! n…n…nu wet d…d…dud faww!!! *chirp…*chirp…t…t…tu hi!!!”
Seth chuckled as he placed his thumb against the shop vac’s switch. “Wouldn’t dream of it…”
The vacuum roared to life, cutting off the foal’s shrieks as she was quickly sucked through the hose, the yarn going taut. Held in place, the filly tried to scream but was unable to draw a breath over the nightmarish wind tunnel she found herself trapped within, the very air from her lungs being stolen away as she failed to yell. Seth let the shop vac run for nearly thirty seconds before shutting it off, holding the hose downward with Dud falling back out, gasping as she peered around anxiously, urine slowly trickling down her trembling body.
“*screeeeeee!!! h…h…hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…p…p…pwe’ hew…*screeeeeee!!!”
Seth flipped the switch again, cutting her off as she screamed again before being sucked back into the hose. It was far crueler than the foal could probably handle, but he found it rather satisfying to cut through the pretense and get right to the real torture. After another half minute, Seth cut the power, letting the filly fall free for another breather, her eyes bloodshot as she flailed and shrieked in a mad panic.
“*screeeeeee!!! *chirp…*chirp…d…d…d…d…dud n…n…n…nee’ w…w…w…wun w…w…w…way’ f…f…fwom m…m…m…*screeeeeee!!!”
Clicking and unclicking the power, Seth lowered the hose closer to the countertop, letting Dud tumble harshly against it nose first with a dull crack.
Before the filly could recover from her busted nose, stammering and stuttering as she tried to hold her bloodied muzzle in her nubs, Seth vacuumed her up again, only to let her strike the counter, over and over, the unicorn screaming incomprehensibly as she was battered again and again from her never ending fall. After losing count of how many times Dud had hit the granite surface, her entire face dripping blood, Seth decided she’d had enough, loosening the yarn and placing her in the sink to be washed off. Barely able to stand, the filly’s head swayed slowly as she struggled to balance herself. Her glassy eyes peering up towards the tap, Dud began to tremor, trying to speak but unable to force the words out.
Seth was bemused by her stutter, a part of him hoping that it was permanent. She could use a reminder of what happens to bad fluffies… thought Seth as he let the water run, with Dud’s only response being an abrupt scream, followed by flailing and tripping over her legs as she tried to flee the falling water. Seth made the bath a quick one, wanting some semblance of sleep before work. Using some hot water and dish soap, he cleaned her off, letting the blood and waste fall free from her fluff. While brief, by the time it was time to dry her, Dud was silent besides the occasional low, nervous chirp, barely responding as Seth ran a paper towel over her. “Try and remember this the next time you think of misbehaving…”
Seth walked the stupefied unicorn back into the saferoom, placing her back in the fencing before heading off to bed. Remaining still for several minutes, Dud only sat where she’d been laid, breathing heavily as she tried to push the nightmare she had just suffered from her mind, each flash of the fridge, the monster’s laugh, the burning water, and the dark tube made her face twitch and spasm, her near emotionless expression marred only by the tears falling down her cheeks. Forcing her legs to function, the unicorn stumbled awkwardly towards the pillowbed, feeling as though she were somehow trying to control her own body from the outside. Falling several times, the bed was nearly within reach before she felt the air violently crushed from her chest as something heavy pushed her to the padded floor. Cheeping feebly under the weight, Dud struggled to raise her head as best she was able, only to see Raptor’s face staring back at her, a cruel grimace framing his visage as he pressed his hoof down harder.
“Dud nu gib widdew sisse huwties ebah gain’…”