On a side note, I’m surprised that I’ve gone this long with this writing project. Probably my longest to date.
You roll over in your bed. It was Saturday morning finally, so you didn’t need to set your alarm and were able to sleep in some. The familiar pitter-patter of heavy rain on the windows stirs you awake. Yawning and stretching, you sit up in bed. Between the wind and the rain, you hear little whimpers coming from Sapphire’s safe room. You get yourself out of bed and saunter into her room sleepily.
Sapphire is curled up in her litterbox, shaking in fear. You look at her with a puzzled expression… Fluffies weren’t deathly afraid of rain that much, were they? None of the fluffies in the store were this bad…
… Then it struck. As you were quietly pondering her terror, a loud, booming strike of thunder rumbles from outside. Sapphire meeps in terror, hiding under her legs. She wasn’t terrified of the rain… It was the thunder and lightning.
“Aw, my poor little baby~” you coo to her.
You squat down to pet her and ease her a little bit. Sapphire looks at you with teary eyes before trying to reach up to you to be picked up. You shake your head some and hand her the nearby plush fluffy toy.
“M-Mummah nu wuv Saffiuh nu moaw? Nu moaw huggies? Huuhuu…” she says.
“No, it’s not that momma doesn’t love you. Momma just needs to do her morning potty time before she can pick you up, sweet pea.”
Sapphire held onto her toy tightly – almost with a death grip – as she nods in understanding. You leave her in her room for a moment while you did you business and cleaned yourself up for the morning.
Coming back into her room, you pick her up and gently clean her off with a wipe. You bring her to the table and sit her down in her normal eating spot while you fixed up some food. Another crash of lightning strikes as she "Huu huu"s while cowering under her legs again.
“Huuhuu… Nu wike woud noisie… Am scawy… Mummah make it gu 'way…” she pleads.
You bring a bowl of her kibble over and your own bowl of oatmeal. Sitting in your spot, you blow on a spoonful of oatmeal.
“As much as I would like to make it go away, momma can’t do that.” you tell her. She looks at you in confusion.
“Huuhuu… Why nawt?”
You pause to think about how to explain how weather worked to a fluffy. Sapphire was quite smart… But it would still be such a difficult thing to grasp.
“Well, you know how some days it’s bright and sunny, and some it’s cloudy and gloomy?”
Sapphire quitely munches on her kibble, nodding.
“Well, that’s what we call weather. What nature decides to do on any given day can’t be influenced or stopped by us. It just… Decides to do what it wants to do.”
Sapphire cocked her head to one side, crunching some kibble in her mouth. You giggle a bit at her.
“Some days we get nice weather we can enjoy… And some days we get weather we wish we could make go away… But mommas and daddies don’t have the power to do that.”
Sapphire looks a bit sad. She doesn’t entirely get why… A lot of fluffies think their mummahs and daddehs can do anything! All that she knows is that the sky is making loud, scary noises that she wants to go away.
BOOM! Rumble… Rumble…
Sapphire is caught by surprised and begins choking a little. You drop your spoon and give her a few firm strikes on the back of her upper spine until she gets it out. She gasps heavily.
“Saffiuh nu am wikey angwy sky wawa…” she says, clearly shaken up.
“Well, that angry sky water is what we call thunder and lightning.”
Sapphire pauses to look at you. “Funduh an’ wightnin’?”
“That’s right. Lightning is a form of energy, much like what we use for our lights and TVs. It’s caused by a lot of “friction” in the air. When it strikes something, or the ground, it lets out a big “boom!” sound.”
“Soun’ dangewous. Nu wike.”
“That’s because it is dangerous. It can start fires, cause a lot of damage, and even cook a fluffy alive.” You gently poked her belly as she looks at you with concern.
“It nu get Saffiuh… Wite? Saffiuh am safe?”
You nod. “As long as we stay inside during the storm, you’re safe. Even if it makes big, scary noises.”
She nods in understanding before going back to her kibble. She takes slow, cautious bites now to avoid choking in surprise. After you both finish breakfast, and you console Sapphire some, you brought her back into her room with the sorry box. She looks at it worriedly.
“Wh-Why am sowwy bawx in safe woom? Saffiuh do bad?”
“No, sweetie. Momma is going to train you to be nice to other fluffies when you’re at work with momma.”
Sapphire tilts her head in confusion and curiosity. “Mummah… Bwing Saffiuh tu wowk? Wha’ mummah am do?”
“Your momma works with fluffies for a living,” you tell her, tapping her nose gently. She flinches a bit before shaking her head and looking at her nose. “I do everything from taking care of sickies, to helping with babies, to training the fluffies to be good mommas and daddies so their foals can get good forever homes.”
Sapphire’s eyes light up. “Mummah am gud fow fwuffehs!? Mummah am cawe fow wots ob fwuffehs!? Saffiuh meet fwuffehs!?”
You could almost see her heart going a million miles a minute from her excitement. You tap her nose to bring her back down to Earth again.
“Yes, momma tries her best to be good for those fluffies. Dusty was one of the ones momma helped to raise. But you can’t meet them unless you know how to behave right.”
Sapphire looks down some. Was her training not enough? Was she not a good enough fluffy to meet the others? Were the others like Dusty, or were they meanies?
“Momma wants you to be able to help her teach the others how to do things right.” you say as you get up and walk through your bathroom and into the closet in your room. You take out your work uniform and show it to her. “When momma wears this around other fluffies, this means she’s working. She has to treat all of the fluffies equally, which means she can’t give you extra love.”
Sapphire’s heart looked ready to shatter. If she was in those clothes… No more love for her?
“Huu… Mummah nu am wub Saffiuh? Nu faiw…” she says as she sulks some, tears welling up in her eyes.
You sigh as you crouch down by her. “No, that isn’t it at all. Momma will still love you as she always does, but she can’t give it all to you, sweetheart.”
Sapphire looks at you, crying softly. “Buh… Buh why nawt?”
“It’s because that’s called “favoritism.” I’m showing one fluffy more attention and care than the others, which would be unfair to them. They’d get upset about that, and we wouldn’t want our friends upset, would we?”
Sapphire shakes her head and wipes her tears some. “Nu… Dat nawt nice…”
You smile and pet her some. “That’s right. Momma will still love her little girl at the end of the day, but even though I need to spread my love while I’m there, you’re still momma’s number one little fluffy.” You gently scritch her belly, eliciting a giggle from her.
“Otay mummah. Wiww twy to wemembuh.”
You stand up again and change into your uniform. You put on some audio of a busy, fluffy shop as you use some little toy fluffies to help train her. You begin to act stern toward Sapphire.
“Alright, here’s how this will work. I’m going to play pretend with you. We’ll pretend we’re at momma’s job, okay?”
Sapphire nodded. She knew what “playing pretend” was, and wanted to do good for her mummah.
“Now, if you say something bad, you get a warning and time-out corner. If you do something bad, like push, hurt, or give sorry poopies to another fluffy, that’s sorry box time for ten minutes. Got it?”
Sapphire nodded slowly. She really didn’t want the sorry box…
Over the next two hours you really worked her through the wringer. Between the audio of the story fluffies and you pretending that the toys were actual fluffies, you saw… Mixed results. Sometimes she was able to bite her tongue, other times she’d start to get upset and say things she didn’t really mean. As promised, she was put into the time-out corner and left there until her time was up, and made her apologize to the other “fluffy” she insulted.
A couple of times you caught her pushing the others around in frustration. You sigh as you put her in the sorry box, which made her cry and whimper. During these times, you’d ignore her pleading and continue on as if you were actually tending to the other fluffies… Until the power went out.
Ptchyooooooommm… is all you hear as suddenly the whole house became much darker. A great, rumbling **BOOM** followed it soon after. Sapphire poked her head up to the view port.
“Huuhuu… Mummah, why dawkies? Extwa punishmen’ fow bad fw–bad Saffiuh?”
You shake your head and open the box, setting her on the floor. “No, this isn’t part of the punishment. It looks like the power went out.”
Sapphire tilted her head some as you switched out of your uniform and back into your lounging clothes. There wasn’t much point in continuing on with the training without the audio to influence her. You pick her up and bring her to the couch, sitting her on the back.
“Whu’ am mummah wookin’ outside fow?” she asks, shaking a bit.
You point to a telephone pole. “You see that roundy boxie on the pole?” Sapphire nods in response. “That’s called a “transformer”. It’s used to send and receive electricity to power homes.”
So that’s what those weird round boxie things in the sky were… Sapphire thought to herself.
“Electricity is a very picky thing. Too little of it, and nothing works. Too much of it, and things will break.”
Sapphire began tapping a hoof to her chin as she thought a little more before her little light went off. “Suu… Mummah am sayin’ dat twansfowmuh got too much juices?”
You pet her some and nod. “Yeah. The lightning must’ve hit a transformer, or a grid maintenance box, and caused a blackout.”
Sapphire nodded in understanding. “Wightnin’ am du bads. Angwy sky wawa, nu huwt bawxies nu moaw!” she shouts, puffing her cheeks up at the sky.
You can’t help but giggle some before setting her on the floor. “Until the problem is fixed, we’ll have to put your training on hold for now.”
The little blue unicorn nods some. Your cellphone begins to ring. You look at the Caller ID… It’s Sarah. Something must’ve happened at the shop. You answer the call.
“Hello, Erin speaking.”
On the other end is a frazzled, panicking Sarah.
“Oh thank God, it’s you, Erin.” she says in an exasperated tone.
“What’s up? Did something happen?”
Sarah sighs a bit. “Yeah, looks like the storm knocked out the power here… Are you hit too?”
You nod some. “Yeah, my power’s out.”
Your phone gives off a small jingle as you look at the screen. Michelle is texting you. You quickly read through them.
“Michelle just texted me. Seems her’s is out too. Looks like a city-wide outage.”
Sarah bit her lip some. “Damn… Must’ve hit one of the major grids. Look, the fluffies here are going nuts because of the sudden power outage. I need your help so bad…” she begs.
You sigh. You can practically hear the herd of fluffies whining and crying over the darkness in the store. And with how the shop is situated, it doesn’t get too much natural light from the dark sky. You begin to pace, thinking quietly. Sapphire takes a worried step back out of your way so she doesn’t get crunched.
“Alright, alright. Listen. I have an idea.”
“Yeah? I’m listening.”
“Do you have a fresh flashlight handy?”
Sarah grabs one from the emergency shelf and clicks it on. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Alright, grab one of the rotating multi-color lights from the display section in the storage room.”
“What do you want with those? We have no power.”
“Just grab one and break the bottom off. We want it for its top covering.”
“Alright, give me a moment…” she says as you hear the door open and her cracking and crunching the plastic housing. “Alright… I think I see where you’re going with this…”
“Okay, okay…” You pause to think the next steps through very carefully. “Now you need to go to the front kennels and take a food or water bowl out of the holding spot.”
“Why?” Sarah asks in confusion.
“The depth of the bowl hole is deep enough to allow good light spread from the flashlight…”
Sarah cuts you off. “And allow the various colors to project around the room without blinding any fluffies. It also prevents the flashlight from burning or melting the top.”
“Right. Then you just need to seal it with something that’ll keep the fluffies away from it.”
Sarah set the objects down on the front desk as she looks around the repellant and control department. She picks up something off the shelf.
“Fluffy putty… I think this should work, yeah? I know some owners use it to keep their fluffies out of certain rooms by sticking it on the door frame.”
You nod. “Yeah, that should work. Should also help keep the top cover in place.”
Sarah quickly works on affixing the flashlight and multi-colored light projector in place. She moves both bowls of food and water away from it so the fluffies wouldn’t be repelled from getting their food or water.
“Alright… Now I just have to do that for the rest…”
“No, that’ll be a waste of supplies. It’s better to let them huddle as a herd by removing the separation barriers.”
“Remove the sep… But wouldn’t that invite them to give special hugs?”
“No, not if you dictate to them what’s going on. If you tell them that it’s a special darkie time event, most fluffies won’t want to give special hugs. And for those that do, make sure they know that if they try to give them, they will be separated and punished.”
Sarah paused to think. “Fluffies prefer to survive in herds… So I guess that makes sense. But what do I do if they decide to do it anyway?”
You sigh. Sarah was never good with these kinds of things, so it usually boiled down to you or Steve dealing with discipline.
“Look, if they try for it, take the offender away into the back room and use the soft sorry stick. But don’t do it too rough or you’ll seriously hurt them. Once they’ve broken down and understand what they did wrong, put them in their storage cage for a little bit then let them back in with the others. They’ll quickly learn that it won’t be tolerated.”
Sarah sighs in defeat. “As much as I don’t want to do that, I can’t say you’re wrong. Thanks, Erin. I’ll try to get this under control the best I can.”
“Best of luck to you, Sarah.” is all you can say before she hangs up the phone. “I hope they’ll be alright…”
Sapphire wanders up to your feet and sits down before looking upward at you. “Mummah? Wha’ wong?”
You reach down and pick her up gently. She’s now big enough to comfortable sit on your shoulder as you sit back down on the couch.
“That was momma’s friend from work that called. Apparently this power outage is affecting the whole city.”
“Wooow. Da whowe city? Dat’s wike… A wot.”
You nod some. “Yeah, and the store fluffies were upset about it. It went from bright times to darkie times so quick. They have no idea what’s going on.”
Sapphire folded her ears down before another lightning strike boomed out. She jumped a little and began shaking some again. You gently pet her head.
“It’s okay, it won’t get you.”
“Saffiuh kno’… Buh stiww am scawy noisie…”
You just quietly pet her. You texted Michelle to let her know what was going on, then left your phone in sleep mode to save the battery.
You decided to spend the afternoon quietly with Sapphire. To keep her mind off the storm, you played with her using a cat toy on a stick. After she was worn out, you put her down for a nap before returning to the couch and watching the rain fall. …Were the store fluffies going to be alright? Was Sarah going to be alright? You hadn’t thought much about your own job over the last while, either… You just kept putting the nagging feelings in the back of your mind while you focused on Sapphire.
Reluctantly, you opened your book, using the dim natural light from outside to illuminate the pages, and read while Sapphire slept.