A mummah sits in an alleyway, nursing her foals. They’re still so small and delicate, like tiny flowers that make funny farty noisies. Not one has opened their eyes yet. She’d run away from home to have babbehs. Her old daddeh didn’t like babbehs. He didn’t even like her. She slept under the porch, in the crawl space. Basically outside. She was only allowed in when little daddeh came to visit.
She was told to never let Little Daddeh know how she lived. Big Daddeh had an old special friend that helped him make Little Daddeh, and he wanted Little Daddeh to like him more. She was merely a way for Big Daddeh to get Little Daddeh to come see him. One day she broke down in tears and explained her situation to little daddeh. How she had the worstest heart hurties all the time. How all she wanted was love. Little Daddeh was furious. He told Big Daddeh he’d never see him again. Then he left. Without his Fluffy.
She ran out through the open back door. Little Daddeh couldn’t rescue her, but the least he could do was free her.
Her special friend has been out all morning gathering nummies so she can feed the babbehs sweet miwkies. He’s a strong and agile brown earthy named Treehouse, and she loves him very much. He has a shaggy mane that covers his eyes sometimes, and he’s always having to blow it out of his face. It makes her giggle every time.
But a new face has joined them in the alleyway. He’s a human, a small spindly one. Has a wispy beard and thin black hair, and he’s dressed like a drifter. He sits on the pavement next to the mummah and lights a cigarette. She turns towards him, taking care not to detach her nursing children. “Hewwo nice mistuh! Wewcome tu da awweyway! Ou stay as wong as ou wike! Dewe nu munstahs ow meanies hewe!”
The man smiled a crooked, joyless smile. A perfunctory smile well overdue for replacement. His voice was smooth and calm. Kindly, almost. Like if Bob Ross had a crawl space full of missing women. “I know. You have such a nice alleyway here. I like it very much.” He stared sort of…past her. It was odd, but she was busy and paid him no mind.
He stayed there most of the day, making polite conversation with the young family. Both fluffies were elated for the company, and even the babbehs got some positive attention. They were tumbling over each other, peeping joyously when the nice man held them close. He smelled funny, like sick fruit. But he was nice and hugged them even though they were dirty.
He left as the sun went down. Said he had to go “home” but the way he laughed made Treehouse think he was kidding. No matter, they’d made a friend. The family drifted off in a fluffpile like they always did.
The next morning, Treehouse woke up early to go forage. He always tried to slink away without waking his family to avoid the daily ordeal of hearing his special friend complain that she didn’t want him to leave. As the kids grew, he expected they’d be the same. It wasn’t so bad, it meant he was loved.
Treehouse walked out of the alley and as he turned to go down the street he saw the man from the day prior. Perking up, he approached. “Hewwo! Hewp Tweehowse fin nummies fow Peshow Fwen?” The man smiles a thin crack of a smile. The kind you use when you just need a thing for your face to do that isn’t upsetting.
Wordlessly, he kneels and offers to lift the fluffy. Treehouse, foolishly, allowed him to do so. The man walked down the street the way Treehouse had been trying to go, and the brown fluffy babbled happily to this man he believed was his friend.
"Was finkin mebbe gu tu da fishy pwace obah by da gwassy pwace. Ou knu da fishy pwace? Ou gunna wub it, su menny fishies an-EEP!" He was interrupted when the man, who had finally located an alleyway without goddamned fluffies in it, dropped him in an empty trashcan. The poor fluffy clattered to the bottom of the dark metal bin, yelping about “owwies” and the like.
While he was collecting himself and whining about “nu can see” and “wai dwop gud fwaffey,” his human friend picked up a couple bags of trash left out for the garbagemen. He found a couple that were dense and heavy. Smelled pretty wretched too. He dropped them on top of Treehouse and walked away.
Treehouse was trapped under at least thirty pounds of rancid garbage. “Huuuuuu nu smeww pwetty…hab owwies…nu can moob!” Every time he thought he had some wiggle room, the trashies filled it. He got so frustrated that he started crying, then begging for help, then screaming, then thrashing around.
That’s what finally opened the bag. A couple in a nearby apartment had a baby recently, and the diapers were all in one bag. Well, they were. Treehouse gasped for air one last time before his lungs filled with rancid babyshit and he expired in agony.
The sun was low in the sky when the man returned to the family. The mare was worried, and she was pacing around. Her babbehs were following her, nervously pleading for her to stop. “Mummah nu wun way! Babbeh wan miwkies! Swow down mummah, babbeh nu can keep uppies!” The mare was barely keeping it together. She was tripping and muttering to herself. Clearly Treehouse was her rock.
Even the sight of the human didn’t cheer her up, though it did crystalize her panic for a moment. “Hoomin! Hoomin see Tweehowse? Whewe peshow fwend Tweehowse? Nebba take dis wong fin nummies befow!” She was tip tapping nervously and tottering in little circles around the alley. Her bloodied hooves indicated this was an ongoing nervous reaction.
The man sat down, lighting a cigarette. “Y’know, if you need to go find food, I’d hurry. It’ll be dark soon.” The mare huffed. “Nu! Babbehs nu can come fin nummies! Tuu scawy fow babbehs!” The man petted her gently. “I can watch them. They’ll be right here when you get back.”
The mare was torn. She didn’t want to leave her children, but the hoomin was nice, and she did need nummies. “Otay! Gunna be wite back! Den mabbeh ou hewp fin peshow fwen?” The man smiled as warmly as a walk in freezer. “Of course.”
She turned to her babbehs. “Mummah gunna gu get nummies, den hab gud miwkies! Nice mistah gunna keep babbehs safe! Wissen tu nice mistah!” The babbehs were scared and sad and hungry and fussy, but they accepted. They all gathered on the man’s lap for warmth.
Maybe thirty minutes later, the mare returned. She’d been lucky enough to find a whole bag of sweet bread nummies! She was so excited! She had a couple to make her tummeh happy, and now she was eagerly trotting home. Maybe Treehouse would be back! If he was, maybe today would be a double nummies day! She giggled with anticipation as she turned into the alley.
The first thing she noticed was the lack of a human. The second thing was the lack of foal babble. “Babbehs? Babbehs!” She dropped the bag and went sprint-waddling in pursuit. It didn’t take long to find them.
Over by the ledge the human had sat next to, there were five small orange cylinders. Pill bottles. Her old daddeh had some. She could never get them open no matter how hard she tried, so she never got the good nummies he kept in there. They always made him happy. But she was a mummah now! Surely she could open them!
As she reached them, her heart dropped. The first one had been angled so as to be unmistakable, and it didn’t take long for her to realize what she was seeing. Pressed against the side of the bottle, visibly wriggling and pulsating, was her son’s face. The bottles were her children.
She scrambled to them, trying in vain to free her babbehs. The bottles were so small. Too small. They were in agony. In reality, freeing them would have only hastened their demise. The man had to annihilate them pretty good for them to fit, and at this point they were only alive because their pulverized innards had nowhere to go.
All of them died slowly, their last sensation pain, their last thoughts terror. Then the mare was as alone as she’d been when she fled Old Daddeh. She sat there with her children and cried.