“Close the door…” Obeying Seth’s instructions, Jerome hesitantly shut the bathroom door, still too nervous to say anything. He felt awful, even a bit ashamed for what had happened with Kismet, just wanting a bit of harmless fun while he waited on Seth. How could he have know how badly it would backfire, his short torture session with the foal tailspinning into it nearly drowning in bleach. Still, even as he quietly watched Seth place Kismet’s unconscious body on the counter for a thorough examination, Jerome fumed slightly. Knowing that he had screwed up, but wondering deep down, did it even matter. After all, it’s just a fluffy, thought Jerome as he grew bolder and strode a bit closer to watch Seth work.
Once Seth had positioned Kismet under the bathroom lights, adjusting him for a few moments until his sleeping frame was easily illuminated, he retrieved his kit. It was a modest set of varied medical equipment, as well as a handful of assorted treatments, prescription and otherwise. Unclasping the old plastic case, Seth unfurled a square of plastic within, placing it next to Kismet before gathering his implements and depositing them one by one on the laid out mat. Gently, he lifted the foal upward, taking a magnifying glass as he lightly brushed his fluff back and forth, trying to inspect his irritated skin.
Red and patchy, Seth could already tell that the worst of the damage had happened to Kismet’s belly and side, the area that had been upright when the bleach had spilled onto him. There were other areas that were clearly agitated as well, with minor blistering in the folds underneath his legs and the side of his face that was unfortunate enough to be looking upward when he was doused. Still, it could have been far worse, thought Seth as he surreptitiously glanced over towards Jerome, the boy watching as Seth tried to estimate how badly he had injured Kismet. Between the stolen mare and nearly killing his foal, Seth knew that he would have to do something about the boy, tonight. Pushing unpleasant thoughts aside for the moment, he went back to the foal’s examination.
Reaching towards the row of instruments, Seth then took hold of an older but still functioning ophthalmoscope, a handheld tool for ocular examinations. This was the part that Seth was dreading, as with the sheer volume of bleach that had saturated Kismet’s tiny frame, it was all but assured that some had splashed into his eyes. Unable to get a proper look before, with the foal shrieking and flailing too much, a glance though the ophthalmoscope as he forced Kismet’s eyelids open confirmed Seth’s fears. Already there were large milky areas within the foal’s eyes, damaged tissue that was slowly spreading as the small remnants of bleach ravaged Kismet’s eyesight. There was no doubt in Seth’s mind now. He would be blind for the rest of his life.
With a slight grimace, Seth put his tools away, carefully placing Kismet onto the plastic mat, the little foal fidgeting slightly in his deep slumber. “Burns aren’t as bad as I thought they might be…Little petroleum jelly and they’ll heal right up. But his eyes…it got into his eyes…”
Jerome had been silent since they came into the bathroom, a turbulent mixture of emotions within. While he felt bad for what he’d done, it was just a fluffy, and a fluffy that Seth had been torturing anyway. But after his examination of Kismet, the tone of Seth’s voice unnerved the boy, a subdued loathing directed squarely towards Jerome.
“Seth…I mean…I’m sorry man…but…but at least it’s one you were fucking with anyway…”
Putting his kit away, Seth said nothing, scooping up the unconscious Kismet as he made his way back to the kitchen, not even casting a second glance towards Jerome. Perplexed and even a bit nervous, the teen followed after, concerned by his sudden silence.
“I said I was sorry…no need to be a dick about it…”
Opening the drawer, Seth placed the foal back onto his warming cushion, closing it after. Lowering his head in a deep sigh, Seth focus then fell directly on Jerome. “I think you need to leave…”
It caught the boy off guard, the calm tone of his voice as he spoke. Jerome hadn’t known what to expect once Seth was done with Kismet but he certainly hadn’t expected this.
“Come on man…don’t be like that…”
“I think that you don’t appreciate what I do here…I think that you underestimate how much effort I put into my work…” Even with his managed tone, Jerome could feel the growing malice in Seth’s words, each one stinging the boy far more than he thought possible. “…And for you to make light of what you’ve done tonight…it is a clear display of your lack of experience and respect…” Upset by his mentor’s words, Jerome gritted his teeth, lashing out.
“Fuck you! Like I did something so awful…You were torturing it for God’s sake! Who the Hell cares what happens to it?!”
His composure suddenly gone, Seth slammed his hands against the countertop. “THAT’S NOT FOR YOU TO DECIDE! KISMET IS MINE JEROME, AND I HAD PLANS FOR HIM! PLANS THAT DID NOT INVOLVE HIM BEING BLIND!!!” Startled by Seth’s sudden outburst, Jerome felt his righteous indignation deflating as he was reminded of a simple truth, it wasn’t his fluffy, it was Seth’s. Despite the fact that Seth was clearly treating it poorly, it was his do to so with.
“Shit…you…you’re right…I…I…don’t know what I was thinking…I’m sorry Seth…”
“First sincere apology I’ve heard all night kid…And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry I got caught up in the hobby-room. I’m not trying to ignore you or anything…It’s just that I’ve never really shared the hobby with anyone like this. Sure, I’ve ran some games here and there, but it’s like I told you before…I see something different in you…” Walking past the island, Seth placed his hand on Jerome’s shoulder. “So, apology accepted, but you’re not getting off that easy for nearly killing Kismet. But we can talk about that later…For now, let’s go check on the mare.”
Frostbite trembled in his shoebox, peeping quietly in the dark. His owner had placed the lid over it before carrying him in his forever bed out of the scary place. Despite only having vague memories of the legs he once possessed, he had tried to cover his face when his daddy had shouted, his fleshy shoulders shifting awkwardly from the pantomimed gesture. Then his bed had tumbled, not exceptionally far, but enough for the foal to cry out as he fell against his cushion and blanket. Confused and even horrified by the muffled screams of another foal, Frostbite wiggled anxiously in his bed, desperately wishing he could run away.
After what seemed like an eternity, the screams abated, and Frostbite was left with sobering silence. Chirping as quietly as he could manage, the foal began to panic. As horrible as his owner was, Frostbite loathed being alone and wasn’t accustomed to the dark, the sensation of being unable to see combined with his lack of mobility sending the foal into bouts of hyperventilation.
Sometimes, when he was left alone, Frostbite could almost remember before his eyes had opened. It wasn’t the most pleasant of memories, his former home being too smooth and rounded for the foal to ever find comfort. The only food he’d known then were the bitter milkies that came from the rough rubber nipple at the front of his glass tube. Like many foals, Frostbite had nearly vomited at his first taste of the sustenance chosen for him, only to become hungry and desperate enough to stomach the grotesque milk. But dwelling on these thoughts would always lead Frostbite to a grim reminder, the horrible sensation as his home hissed and shrieked at him, tearing painfully at his most private parts. Smelling the scent of who the foal thought would be his loving owner, the deepest parts of his mind telling him that it was his human daddy, who would love and care for him.
Then the cold, the awful biting cold that lingered for longer than Frostbite thought possible. It had nearly claimed his life, the foal struggling to remain awake as the heat drained away from his body, numbness creeping slowly throughout his small frame. Knowing now what would come next, Frostbite often pondered if i had been worth it, if it wouldn’t have been easier to give in to the cold, to sleep and never wake up.
Vague recollections of moving about within his cylinder haunted the foal. It was hazy, like a distant memory or forgotten dream, a sensation past his maimed stumps that would move as he needed them to, lifting the foal and even walking, albeit within his constrictive tube. It upset Frostbite to linger on the thoughts too long, as he couldn’t even remember what it had felt like to have legs, let alone use them. Taken from the cold, his owner had done something to him. Only able to remember a strange tugging sensation, followed by the horrible smell of blood and burnt fluff, Frostbite knew long before his eyes opened that his daddy was a monster.
Since then, the pillowfoal had only known his forever bed, placed on the corner of his owner’s workbench in the scary place. Mostly alone, his daddy would come to feed him twice a day, showing him other fluffies that were happy and that could…could walk and play. It confused Frostbite how Seth spoke to him, softly and sweetly, as though he cared for him. While the foal was terrified of his owner, and knew that he was cruel and a monster, it was lonely and boring in the scary place. Watching the other fluffies play and romp every feeding, Frostbite longed for companionship, wanting company to hold him, to talk to him, to love him. Each and every time his owner tried to remind him that without him, he’d be dead, a deep instinct arose within the foal, telling him to call out for a mother that he’d never known to save him.
But she never came. Nor did any other fluffies, despite what Frostbite’s intuition told him. He tried to look for and even call out to other fluffies, but to no avail. Less than two weeks old, Frostbite had already learned a bitter lesson that took some fluffies their entire lives to comprehend. There’s a big difference between how things should be, and how they are.
Now peeping in the darkness, Frostbite tried to dispel the horrid thoughts that lingered in his mind. Unable to calm himself, his memories, the darkness, the screams he had heard, and now the deafening silence, the foal began to shriek loudly. It was too much, it was all too much to bear for the little foal, as his chest tremored from the effort of his full throated yawps. For countless forevers, the foal laid in the dark, shouting until his throat burned and his lungs nearly gave out. Eventually spent, Frostbite heaved as he struggled to breathe, worn out from his emotional display. Quiet now, save for his subdued whimpers, the foal was content to lay there and starve until he felt his forever bed wobble slightly. Whatever his shoebox had landed on had started to move underneath him, causing a fresh bout of nervous chirps and peeps.
“Wai babbeh yeww? Babbeh su wowd dat babbeh scawe Buww’it!”
Hearing the mare’s soft voice, Frostbite could scarcely believe it. It was her! She was finally here! His mother had found him at last!
“*chirp…*chirp…*chirp…mu’mah! mu’mah fown’d ba’beh! …*chirp…*chirp…*chirp…ba’beh wuv mu’mah!”
“Siwwy babbeh…Buww’it nu am yu mummah…Buww’it am soon mummah an’ hab odah babbehs tu taek cawe ob!”
“*chirp…*chirp…buh…ba’beh nee’ mu’mah…*chirp…*chirp…”
“Den babbeh shud nu yeww ow bodah fwuffies su manies…Mummah pwob’we weeb babbeh cuz babbeh am tu wowd!”
His heart broken, Fwostbite began to peep sullenly, too scared and crestfallen to call out for help anymore. Closing his eyes, he heard the mare begin to sing to her tummy babies, quietly pretending that the song was for him.