Chapter 21: Anywhere’s Better Than Here
Travis said nothing, even as the cage carrying him bounced and tossed him around, he said nothing, he didn’t even cry out.
He had lost everything, any family he thought he had was either missing or dead, and he didn’t know which was worse. Part of him wanted to close his eyes and wish for his mother or his siblings or Angel to arrive, to comfort him and tell him he was going to be ok, that his children would see him again in Skettiland and all would be well.
But a bigger part of him knew that was stupid, what hope did a failure like him have of seeing Skettiland?
Travis heard a soft ‘ding’ noise and looked up just in time to see his cage passing through a doorframe and into a store, but not just any store, this one sold Fluffies. Rows of them covered the wall, most were young, even younger than Travis, and waved over at the two teenage boys carrying Travis, singing about ‘Nyu Daddehs’? Some of the older foals were much less subtle, they banged on their cages, pleading to be taken away from ‘meanie’ place.
The two boys ignored the crying and went straight for the register where the store’s owner was sitting doing a crossword puzzle. He didn’t evne look up when the tall thin boy slammed the cage onto the countertop.
“Lookee what we got here Vinny, new shitrat for ya.”
Vincent Harkness slowly put down his crossword puzzle and glanced inside the cage at the silently weeping stallion inside, then he looked up at the two boys and smiled, not even hiding how forced it was.
“Stanley, Oliver. What have I told you boys about bringing me any old feral off the street?”
“We know Vinny.” The fatter boy, Oliver, tried to plead his case. “It’s just that…”
“That’s Mr Harkness Oliver, thank you very much. Don’t think we’re friends just because I pay you.”
The tall boy, Stanley, stepped closer. “Mr Harkness, Vincent, me and Olly understand how this works, we know this is strictly business without the pleasure. But we found this little guy, not much to him, but we figured if anyone can find a diamond in a turd, it’s our man Vinny. Just take a look at him, that’s all we ask.”
Vincent scowled at the boys but opened the cage regardless and looked Travis over. Almost instantly Vincent noted that Travis, while still weeping, hadn’t said anything about being picked up, he never said anything about any of the prods or pokes Vincent gave him either, just shuddered a little bit more but nothing else.
Vincent knew he likely wouldn’t get much out of him for breeding, but he was intrigued by the stallion all the same.
“He got a name?”
Stanley strugged. “Never asked him, Olly says he made an awful fucking noise last night, kept crying for ages until he tired himself out. Barely said a word since we picked him up.”
Vincent pondered for a moment, before reaching into his wallet and pulling out a tenner note. “Here, that’s all you’re getting for him.”
Oliver looked offended at the note. “Come on Vinny, the fucking cage cost more than…”
“You can keep the cage and you’re lucky I’ve giving you that much. That money is to make sure you two don’t get done in for releasing an invasive species, don’t EVER bring me a random feral like this again, only find what I ask you to find.”
Oliver grumbled but Stanley took the money and nodded. “Understood Mr Harkness, pleasure doing business with you.”
Stanley tapped Oliver on the back, signalling for him to take the cage. Oliver did so, sneering at Vincent as he did, but he said nothing as the two boys left the store and headed off to find a feral family to fuck up.
Vincent sighed, Stanley and Oliver was good associates, but they were often greedy, too impatient to wait for the right Fluffy to come along, grabbing anything they could off the streets and whatever they didn’t beat to death, they tried to sell to him.
He briefly considered hiring them officially but Oliver wasn’t smart enough to look after the produce and Stanley was too smart for his own good.
Ignoring the pair for the moment, Vincent returned his attention to the Fluffy in his hands. The dark green Fluff came through quite well despite the level of muck and grim, the blue mane somewhat striking, other than a fresh scratch on his left eye – not even bad enough to blind him – the stallion seemed in good shape. So why the depressive funk?
As far as Vincent knew, there were any number of reasons why a Fluffy would become depressed, maybe he lost his family, maybe someone called him a nasty name, maybe he thought about water too much. Regardless of the reason, Vincent figured he could get some use out of him, maybe put him to work with the foals to keep them in line.
Before that though, little fucker needed a check-up. Vincent stood up and carried Travis – again noting that there was nothing in the way of complaints or protests – through to the backroom. This place was far more sterile grey and foreboding than the storefront, small stains of blood and shit splattered on the floor and the stench of dead Fluffy lingered in the air.
Worse still were the live Fluffies, cages of Fluffies with lost limbs, lost eyes and lost hope lined the walls, all of them begging to be let free. Travis swore he even heard some of them beg to not give any more special huggies.
One Fluffy caught his attention, a grey stallion with a large bump on his head and both eye looking in opposite directions. All of his legs were missing and a metallic tube was attached to his nu-nu stick. The stallion howled as the tube started pumping.
“NUUUU!!! Wan enfies, wan enfies. Nu wike dummeh meta sucky munstah.”
The man standing over the stallion smacked him with a sorry stick. “Sorry retard, you lost the privillage. Mr Sucky here will be your friend forever, until the day you die. “
The man cackled at the legless stallion before turning round to face Vincent. “Sorry Vinny, was I being too loud again.”
“As a matter of act Gus, yes you were, but that’s not why I’m here. Stan and Olly brought this little shit in, wanted you to look him over.”
“Why? Anything special about him?”
“Nothing that I know yet, doubt he’s in the right headspace for breeding, not that that usually matters but you know the type, tends to get clingy if you try to get him to fuck one of the mares. And he’s too old to break out of that habit so not even worth trying. Nah, I was thinking of making him a glorified babysitter, have him look after the kids to make things a little easier on us, just give him a once over, make sure he hasn’t got any infections of anything like that. After that, we’ll see what we can do with him.”
Gus gave Travis a once over and shrugged his shoulders. “Alright, I need to finish up a couple things, but I’ll add him to the list. Want me to clip his nuts?”
“No, keep that in our back pocket if he tries anything. I’m gonna head down and check on the new stock.”
Vincent gave Gus a quick wave and headed for the basement, Gus looked back down at Travis and chuckled at the broken stallion.
“Christ you’re boring, I fucking hate it when they don’t cry anymore. Here’s hoping we can break you out of this tomorrow.”
Gus tossed Travis into one of the empty cages on the wall, Travis felt the wind knocked out of him by the throw but still said nothing, his mind too focussed on his dead children to care about what happened to him.
In the cage beside him, a massive grey stallion and his weeping orange son reached out for Gus.
“Pwease mistah, Weon wan see speciaw-fwiend gain, speciaw-fwiend am soon-mummah, tummeh-babbehs need daddeh.”
Gus grinned at Leon, terrifying the once mighty stallion as he held his son, his last living child, close to him for fear of losing another foal.
“How many fucking times do I have to tell you, those aren’t your kids in her anymore. She shat that lot out weeks ago and they were all dogshit, so we had a proper stallion fuck her, gave her some good foals, better than whatever the fuck you could do. So you stop asking about your dead kids, or I’ll have find the meanest Fluffy we have in this place and make him use that kid of yours as their own personal fuck-toy.”
A small fart and spray of scardie-poopies covered the cage as Leon starting crying, crying for his mate who he hadn’t seen in days, crying over the tummeh-babbehs he and his mate worked so hard to provide for, and crying for the fear of losing his last son, of being a daddy no more.
Gus’ manic cackling was the last thing Travis heard before he fell back to sleep.
Down in the basement, lit by a broken bulb and false-hope, Vincent checked the stock. This was where most of the store’s mares were kept, the ones that couldn’t behave in front of customers anyway. Kept in a constant state of pregnancy, often missing at least two limbs and blind or silenced if not both, this was Vincent’s dirty little secret, find a money pit and drain it fucking dry.
He ignored the moans of the broken and instead focussed on two of his newest additions, the first was a fat red mare, newly pregnant but clearly not happy about her new brood not being from her mate.
“How you doing there Cherry, hope the kids aren’t causing you too much trouble?”
The mare, still not accepting her new name, struggling in her harness as she stared at Vincent and cried, she wanted to ask where her special-friend Leon was, where her babbehs were, what had happened to her tummeh-babbehs, they were so little and needed their mummah but she hadn’t heard from them in so many forevers.
But the feeder mask covering her mouth kept her from anything but angry grumblings.
Vincent smirked at her angry eyes and went over to his next mare, his golden goose, a cotton white Alicorn with a shining yellow mane. Too bad she had been such a pain when she arrived, if she had cooperated , she’d still have her eyes, legs and tongue.
Vincent stroked her mane. “You just keep yourself calm Angel, don’t want you hurting those pretty little foals of yours.”
Angel’s broken heart felt like it couldn’t sink any lower as Vincent reminded her of her tummeh-babbehs, babbehs brought about through pain and hate, not tenderness and love, babbehs she didn’t want, babbehs that weren’t…
Then she smelt it, it was soft but she could never mistake it. On Vincent’s hands there was the lingering scent of Travis, her special-friend was here, he was here to save her and take her back to her babbehs, her REAL babbehs.
Angel started rocking slightly in her wooden pillow frame, Travis was finally here, and everything was going to be alright.