I don’t know what happened, but suddenly I just… Couldn’t get myself to think about fluffies. Sorry for the absence, I have more written that will come out as I get to it.
The screaming of your fluffies drowned out any attempt at calming them. You had tried telling them what happened, but your best efforts to break the news gently went to shit. Lilac was hugging your leg, Clover sitting next to her staring at the ground. Fluffies were running around aimlessly, Sunshine smashed into the wall and fell, holding his head.
“I know it’s bad, but you’re okay-”
Parsnip was holding Strawberry, keeping her from harming herself while she screamed senselessly.
“Please, we can get through this if we-”
“WHEWE BWUEBEWW?!” Breezy screamed, slamming her hooves on the concrete floor then yelping in pain because of it.
“SHUT UP!” You snapped, unable to handle the noise any longer. The fluffies all turned to you, even Strawberry, in shocked silence. “I’m sorry. I just need…” You slumped against the wall, sliding down to the floor. “I just… need a minute.”
Lilac weaseled her way into your arms, and you held her tight. “Gun be otay daddeh.” She muttered into your chest. You ran your fingers through her soft fluff, feeling a sob rising in your throat. So many fluffies dead, and in a horrible, horrible way. Who would do such a thing? And how could you possibly tell all their friends and family that they were gone, dead because some punk wanted to cause trouble?
“Bawn am gone.” Clover spoke for you, stepping up onto your knee. “Sum fwuffies gone foebah, and dat saddies.” A few of your herd sniffled in agreement. “But daddeh sad too. Daddeh wose fwends jus wike us.” You looked up to see your fluffies nodding solemnly.
“Thank you, Clover.” You patted him on the head. “I’m going to miss every one of them. We will put up memorials for every fluffy lost, I promise.” Lilac hugged you tight, and you returned the hug. “But we need to focus on surviving today. Bluebell is okay, she’s at the doctor’s getting better.” You looked to Breezy, Bluebells best friend. “We need to be strong for her, okay? Shes going to need time to recover after she gets back. So we’ll need to be okay for her.” Breezy nodded, tears in her eyes. “We will be okay. We can’t bring back everyone we lost, but we can keep going, in their memory.”
“Offisha say he gon find da munstah!” Parsnip added, hooves still wrapped around Strawberry.
“Right, the police are looking for the people who did this so they can’t hurt anyone again. We are safe.” You looked around at the fluffies sitting on the cold concrete floor. You couldn’t keep them here for much longer. “How about this, why don’t we all go inside? I’ll put on a movie, and we’ll all sleep in one big pile until I can build a new barn for you, okay?”
You got the fluffies set up in your living room, putting Parsnip and Lilac in charge. You had to put lots of things up, unplug any cables, and hide all your breakables. Your herd hadn’t ever been inside before, you explained the rules and where the litter boxes are but you didn’t have high hopes for them to use them. It didn’t matter, you just needed to survive the night.
“I’ll be right back, I’m going to go…” you sighed heavily. “I’m going to go look around the barn.” You didn’t want to but… you couldn’t avoid it forever. Maybe something in there was salvageable, but more likely there were fluffies that needed to be buried.
“Cwovew cum wif.” He untangled himself from Lilac and followed you to the door.
“You don’t have to buddy, you can stay.”
“Want to.” He didn’t look at you, just stared straight ahead.
“Alright, be good fluffies! Listen to Lilac!” You took one more look back on what remained of your herd. You certainly wouldn’t be doing much lawn services in the near future, you’d have to call your clients and let them know.
The remains of the barn still smouldered, thin wisps of smoke rising into the air. You saw Clover grimace at the smell, his sensitive nose overwhelmed. “You don’t have to stay buddy, you can go back at any time.”
“Cwovew kno.” He gritted his teeth and continued on with you.
The doors were completely gone, nothing but the metal hinges remained. Small clouds of grey ash rose into the air with every step you took. “Watch out for hot spots, okay Clover?”
“Otay.” He sniffed at one of the fallen rafters.
You saw a glimpse of color on the other end of the rafter and hoped it was a bit of a blanket. Or a toy. You weren’t that lucky. After clearing the debris you revealed the burnt body of a pale green fluffy. “Oh, Wasabi…” He was a foal in the original herd, the “splorin babbeh” who lost his leg to a mousetrap. He grew into a kind, gentle colt, and adapted really well to missing his front hoof. You named him Wasabi for his color and loved the way he pronounced it, “wuh-sah-bee!” A wonderful little life, gone up in smoke. You gathered him up and set him on the grass to be buried later.
“Ovah hewe, daddeh.” Clover called, leading you to a charred fluffy corpse. Candy was her name, very little of her vivid purple fluff remained. As you picked her up you revealed her foals, huddled under her as if her body would shield them from the flames. It was her second litter, she was such a good mother. Her foals were only chirpies, you didn’t even get to know them. Such a waste. You laid them out on the grass as well.
Over and over the scene played out, you moving charred wood to reveal another corpse, one with a name and memories attached to it. As the sun was setting you dug eight small graves, behind where the barn once stood. It was all you found, the others reduced to smoke and bone shards. You lay the small corpses to rest, the foals resting with their mothers. You didn’t find Strawberry’s foals, which you were almost relieved over. You didn’t want to see any more death. Clover watched silently as you poured each shovel of dirt over his herdmates. “You were all good fluffies,” You spoke to the mounded soil. “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.”
“Sowwy…” Clover mumbled.
“It’s not your fault, buddy.” You leaned down and patted him on the head. “I know you don’t believe me, but you did all you could. We both did.”
Clover nodded numbly, and let you pick him up to return to the house. “I’ve got to go check on Bluebell now, so you have to go inside.”
“Otay.” He sounded as dead as you felt. Maybe you should have told him to stay behind, but you appreciated him sharing that burden with you.
You hugged him tightly before you opened the door. “You’re a good fluffy buddy, the best.” He sniffled softly.
A few minutes later the setting sun was shining in your rearview mirror as you followed your map app to the vet. How did this happen? This morning they were all alive, all happy and now… only about twenty remained. The ones left were traumatized, and knowing fluffies they took this ten times harder than you ever could. Would they ever be okay again? Would you ever be okay again? As you pulled into the parking lot, your phone buzzed. A text, from Cash.
Sorry to bother you, but is everything okay? I couldn’t stop worrying.
No, you replied. Someone burnt down my barn, with the fluffies in it.
His reply was immediate. Oh my god, I’m so sorry. Please let me know if there’s any way I can help.
Thanks, I will. That was one person you didn’t need to call, which was a slight relief. You gripped the steering wheel firmly, steadying yourself. You needed to see Bluebell, let her know things were okay. With a deep breath you left your truck and headed in.
The door chimed as you entered, and a woman at the desk looked up. “Hi, how can I help you?”
“I’m here to check on my fluffy Bluebell.” You stood at the desk while she clicked around on the computer, then realized that there’s no way they could have her name. “Uh, a blue mare, a cop would have brought her in.”
“Oh! Oh.” The woman’s face fell. “Yes, her. She’s still sedated, but she’s alive. Let me tell the doctor.” She pushed her office chair back and rolled around the corner.
You stood there for what felt like forever, looking at the giant portraits of various animals on the walls. You weren’t really a pet person until the fluffy herd arrived, you had no idea what to do in a vets office. Did you need to stay at the counter? There were some chairs behind you, spaced awkwardly around the room, should you go sit? Thankfully, your only company was a few fake potted plants, and they didn’t seem to be judging you. You leaned on the counter, taking a deep breath and trying to calm yourself.
“Sir?” A voice from the other side of the room startled you. A dark haired woman stood in a pink doorway, wearing a labcoat and holding a clipboard. “Are you the owner of the blue fluffy?”
“Yeah, is she alright?”
“She will be, come with me.” She turned and led you down a brightly colored corridor and into an exam room. On a cart covered in tubes and wires was a bandaged blue fluffy. Very little of her white mane was left, singed bits of it poking out where the bandages didn’t cover. “She’s on some pretty strong meds, for a fluffy. She’s going to be out for a few more days.”
“Oh god, Bluebell, I’m so sorry…” you dropped to your knees next to the cart. Her side rose and fell softly, just enough to let you know she was alive.
“Like I said, she’s going to recover, but it’s going to be a rough time.” The doctor stood on the other side of the table. “She’s most likely going to lose vision in one, if not both eyes and her lungs were badly damaged by the smoke.” She looked so small, fluff shaved and bundled under the bandages. “Most of this equipment is just to be sure that the pain meds don’t stop her breathing while she heals. Fluffies have amazing healing capabilities but… there’s only so much they can do on their own.”
“I’ll give you my credit card, please do whatever she needs. I don’t care, just do it.”
The doctor nodded. “I’d still like you to leave your number in case we need to get ahold of you. You said her name was Bluebell, yes?”
“I’ll add that to her file. The police have also asked us to let them know if she says anything about what happened, do you want us to comply with that?”
“Of course. I want to find who did this.” You spoke through gritted teeth.