Come On Out, Bub (Author: Andy)

You are anon, enjoying your days as spring turns to summer
The infinite blue, the green of the treetops
Even the man-made chatter of fast tires and loud speakers is endearing
Yes, you decide, all is well
But why do the walls close in on you?
Sure this is a nice place you’ve rented, a good neighborhood, close to work
But damn does the silence sure like to bash your eardrums in and sink fangs into your wandering mind
Some days, when you don’t have work, you don’t even speak a single word
Twenty four hours alone, with that most valuable of biological means of communication completely unused
The only respite you have some days is the light of day itself, and the unending depth of a nice day’s sky
The space between here and Heaven is comforting
But you cannot escape your brooding when it comes knocking
Nor can you ignore quiet, the beast that bites
In the dead of night, the whirr of your white noise machine in your ears, and your various fantasies, thoughts, and cringey recollections bouncing around your head, it strikes you
You sit up fast
“I need a fuckin’ fluffy”

The shitrats did fine in your area, wandering around and babbling their silly language
Don’t get the wrong idea, ‘shitrats’ is just a throwaway name you never got rid of for them
Really, it’s a term of endearment at this point
Like “jizzface” for that one friend you would die for
I mean, most of the time you would pay the fluffies no mind
Sure, you would throw a crying mother a bag of chips or get some bottles of water for a herd on a hot day
And, yeah, of course you used to play hackeysack with smarties back in highschool but, y’know
we all do awesome stuff in highschool
that’s why it’s called highschool
Straight up adopting one though?
Never considered that until the walls started closing
These observations and thoughts bombarded just behind your eyes as you peered into the fluffy cages
A dazzling array of colors and patterns, so vibrant it was offensive to the eyes
Some were reaching their hooves up at you, some were playing ball, others were crying about “meanie brudduh”
Pfft, that’s a mood bub

“See any you like, sir?”

One of the kennel workers, a skinny girl of some ethnicity that wasn’t quite black but definitely wasn’t just straight latino
“Uh, sorry, I’m a little overwhelmed. Don’t really know where to start. Never owned one of these sh-”
Stop. You’re in public
“shmall horses before”
Nice save, genius
“A first-time owner? You’re gonna want to look at some of the older fluffies then”
“Older fluffies?”
She walked up to a pen with a gaggle of larger fluffies, most of them sleeping or chattering about the quality of breakfast
“These big guys are all trained, have had their shots, and are much more well-tempered than your average adolescent”
It was like you had been yanked back in time
Large Black Labrador
Old but solid; stout and proud
A year after meeting the beautiful animal, he was lying on a vet’s table closing his eyes for the last time
Yeah not doing that again
“These are some quality horses lemme tell ya but I was looking for somethin’, uh, younger”
she deflated a bit
God help you if the chick at the fluffy kennel thinks less of you, better explain yourself
“Yeah, I had to put my old dog down somewhat recently and-”
“Oh your poor thing!”
Nice save genius
“Here, let me show you to the foals!”

She lead you out a door and to another room
A considerably smaller room
A considerably louder room
sniff sniff
A considerably smellier room
White walls, seafoam green floors made of some hydrophic material, bountiful toys and blankets
And a verifiable shitload of shitrats
The employee stepped over the safety barricade and gestured you to follow
Not two seconds after putting a foot down were your ankles immediately under assault
“Calm down guys be nice!”
It was no hope, kind kennel employee who’s name you didn’t really pay attention to earlier
Your ankle was a goner
Sacrificed to the whims of talking marshmallows no larger than your fist
Never before had so many tiny hooves smashed against your feet
They would write of this moment in the history books, tears streaming down the faces of the scribes of tomorrow’s civilizations
Watching the writhing fluffpile vibrate, hum, and squeal against your legs was biblical, to say the least
The employee seemed to find your drowning sneakers quite bemusing
“Stay still if you can, I’ll try to get them off you”
She took a small plastic can and shook it, getting the mass’s attention
A quick flick and the treats sprayed across the safe room
The Horde mobilized
You watched the carnage from atop your lofty perch of a pathetic, mortal body before the stampede
The Bastille had fallen, the monarch was dead
Vivre les Fluffies
“Go on, see if there’s one for you”
Right, you were here to adopt one of these things
Good lord this isn’t going to be easy, you thought, leaning down
Now to find a David

That one’s too red
Nice gradient on him, better not lose sight of that one
That one’s got spots. You hate spots
Oh hey green and purple, that’s a gas
Wait what happened to the one with the gradient?
Hold on
In all the commotion, a stillness sticks out to you
Purple, with a sleek white mane
Glaring at the rest of his comrades
He laps at a water feeder, diligently keeping watch on the hyperactive hive
The Observer, a Watcher
Could he be a Listener?
“Tell me about that one”
You point to the purple foal
He takes no notice in your gesticulation. There’s danger afoot, he’s certain
“He’s a little anti-social, that tiny champion. We haven’t gotten him to talk yet either. He might be um…”
She clearly wants to say “derped” but come on
It’s 2021
That’s not PC
Wake up sheeple
“Mentally deficient?”
“Yeah, a little slow”
He’s different
He’s alone
What thoughts could he have?
Has he seen the sky?
Could he comprehend the infinity of the world?
Do his walls, too, close?
Also he’s purple
Purple is your favorite color
You stand to your full height
Finally, the foal’s eyes turn towards you
They smolder with determination and self-preservation
with curiosity and confidence
cabbages and kings
He’s perfect
“The purple one, miss, please”
“Are you sure?”
“He’s perfect”

As you paid for your foal supplies and signed the license for him, the moment of truth came
The exchange of goods
In a small cardboard crate he sat, unblinking
Eyes wide and glistening in the relative darkness of his container
In the shackling confinement of his walls
Leslie handed him to you, her beaming visage casting a stark contrast to the foal
Yeah you got her name
It was only polite
“He’s still pretty young, so make you stick to the formula schedule. Naming is super important to a fluffy’s development, so give it time and call us when he’s ready”
“How will I know when he’s ready?”
“He’ll ask you for a name, until then he’s just ‘Purple MW0513’”
A beast without a title
A brain with no name
Unable to refer to oneself by any means other than a coded designation
A designation made simple for purposes of cataloguing in a black and white database
Poor poor Purple MW0513
“That’s cute. Thank you Leslie, I’ll keep in touch with his development”
You wave on your way out

The ride home was quiet
Part of you wanted to pet the foal, but figured he might freak out on the car ride and jump out if you opened the crate
Finally at your house, you unpack all the toys and furniture required for the “Safe Room”
Fluffies are a delicate sort, requiring special facilities to ensure they don’t hurt themselves
Legend has it they’ll drown if they so much as look at a high-resolution picture of a glass of water
The safe room you’ve picked out is an extra office you were using for some light storage
By light storage you mean “extra room for dirty clothes you throw so no one that comes over knows that you have a bad laundry schedule”
Guess you don’t have a bad laundry schedule anymore
Toys in the center, blankets and bedding in the corner
Litter-box in the other corner
Litter-box covering under the litter-box
Litter you spilled the first time trying to fill the box in the trash bag
Night light in the outlet, protective cover over the nightlight
Kibble under the sink, leash on the coat rack
It’s time
You carry your destiny into the safe room and unpack the top, slowly tilting the crate
You hear a soft pitter-patter as the purple foal makes his way into the room
He walks, slowly about his new territory
You throw the crate to the door and sit down
The noise startles the fluff and he quickly spins to look at the disturbance
The fluff on his back sticks straight up, his bottle cap-sized eyes darting between the box and you
“At ease, bub”
The foal quickly exhales out his nose and starts towards his toys
His movements are deliberate, his muscles, clenched
He hangs on the final sound, knocking the smallest of the cubes with his hoof
So much for anti-social
He makes his way to the blankets
Each repeated ‘du’ is quieter and quieter
The fluff on his back relaxes a bit
He turns towards you and stares again, blinking slowly
Finally, he plops on his behind, sitting
Two creatures in this room
Both think, both feel, both dream
What does he want?
What did you hope to achieve by acquiring him?
Is it right to say you ‘acquired’ a soul?
Do fluffies have souls?

“Whewe oddahs?”

You clear your throat
“They’re back at the kennel. I adopted you”
He pawed the ground for a moment, ears twitching
“N-nyu daddeh?”
“Yeah man, I guess so”
Kinda awkward being called a daddy
Wonder if you should go by “Pops” instead
Naw “Pops” is way worse
Purple MW0513 nods softly, turning his head to the left and right
“Nu noisies”
“Nu noisies fwom oddah babbehs”
Ah, the quiet
You’ve allowed the beast and this creature to meet for the first time
“It’s called ‘quiet’”
“…foaw wike”
That makes one of us
And there you sit, eyeballing each other from across the safe room
You’re not bored, though
You’re completely fascinated by him
Every move he makes he makes for a reason
Somewhere deep inside him, a force is telling him that, right now, the best possible move is to blink, or to look at the ceiling, or swallow some excess spit
Countless decisions made on a level unseeable, un-understandable to the conscious mind
You don’t know how long you two stared, embraced by the beast, but eventually he chirps
You go to fetch his formula and return to him biting on a block
“Didn’t realize you were so ravenous”
“Fwuffy wike soft-hawdie bwock”
“Do you have teeth?”
You sit down, bottle in hand
You see his lips shuffle, must be licking his gums to check
“Nu haf teef. Gettin’ dewe”
You wait for a moment
He’s not moving
“Well come here, get some milk”
“Nu howdies”
He stands on his hooves, and makes his way to you
“Don’t want me to pick you up, huh?”
“Bad upsies. Nu wike. Wet fwuffy sit, daddeh”
You put the small bottle down and he lays next to it, beginning to eat
His eyes never leave yours though, and like everything he does, his lunch is consumed slowly
“Are you afraid of something?”
“Many fings”
“Did someone hurt you?”
“Oddah foaws fas’. Wike to tawkies or 'splore. Ged huwt ow gwabbed by hoomin”
He finishes the bottle and reclines in his position, belly to the ground
“Fwuffy nu tawkies, fwuffy nu 'splore. Fwuffy happeh wif wotinwife”
“Waw tin wife… Oh! Lot in life”
big phrase for a small fluff
“Where’d you hear that one?”
“Wacie an’ Summanfuh mummehs say ‘puwpul fwuffy happef wif wotinwife’”
He averts his gaze to the wall molding
“Wike sayin’ it to sewf”
What a ghoul, skulking about his cave
Content to graze his hooves along the damp walls of confinement and safety
You should make his day

“Hey, you’ve spent all your time in the kennel, right?”

he tilts his head towards you, not saying anything
“You’ve only ever seen that one room, right?”
He nods, brow furrowing
The fluffy doesn’t like where this is going
You stand up
“Come on, follow me, I wanna show you something”
Your first instinct was to try picking him up, but you don’t want to break his tenants
Don’t pick up the purps
You open the safe room door and wait for him to catch up
His judging eyes switch between watching your every move and checking the floor to make sure it won’t collapse under him
Out to the back, you open the sliding door and walk outside
The change in pressure makes a small gust that pushes the foal back a few inches
His face scrunches, surprised
One of his eyes twitches
You gesture for him to come out
“It’s fine, come look”
He stops at the doorway, shaking a little
One hoof, then the other
You can only imagine the warmth he feels as the first rays of sun bathe his purple fluff
The tufts of white that’ll one day become his mane shine in the heavenly rays
You hear him begin to laugh to himself
“Whewe am fwuffy?”
“This is outside! Come look here”
You point up at the sky
The foal patters forward, scrunching up his snout
“Bwue… seewing?”
“You mongoloid it’s the sky”
“Wha, sky?”
You think for a moment
This has been a big day for breaking boundaries for all associated parties
What’s one more breaking of all pre-determined perceptions?
“Okay, see that fence there?”
You point to the wire fence at the edge of your property
The foal nods
“Imagine if there wasn’t a fence there. It was just green grass from here until, well”
“Untiw wha’?”
“Until forever. That’s the sky”
The foal strains his neck and looks up
“It goes up and up and up, the infinite blue on all sides, forever”
“Fowevah? Sky bigguh den daddeh?”
You stretch out your arms
“The sky is beyond me, it’s beyond you and every one of the foals at the kennel. The sky cannot be measured, or weighed. You cannot put a pricetag on it, or split it in two”
The foal’s mouth begins to open
“You cannot carry it to another part of the world, and you cannot take it away from someone under it’s arches”
Purple MW0513 looks at you, lips pursed
The Watcher, the Observer
A Listener
“Welcome to outside The Cave, my fluffy”
He’s speechless, barely able to form a sente-
“Fwuffy wan’ name”
Okay just got put on the spot like that
Think quickly think quickly
Got it
Just because you are a lonely soul, with walls closing in and silence tearing at your temples, doesn’t mean that this fluffy will always share your destitute fate
He can think, he can feel
Countless decisions made in the blink of an eye, each of them the exact best one at the moment of execution
No longer will he be known as an entry in a database, with a name only to match that exact purpose
Who he will become is limitless, what he will say is unknown, and from here to there, wherever that may be, there will be no measured distance
Only the infinite of a deep blue sky
You place your hand upon his head
“You are Zeus, named for the Lord of the Heavens, and King of Olympus, the mightiest of peaks”
His chin begins to tremble
“And God of the Sky”
He runs under your legs and looks up at the cloudless expanse