Bruce swore up a storm as he trudged through the hardened brush. He thought wearing pajamas under his jeans would keep him warmer, instead he’d just provided another layer to soak through and leech heat from him in addition to an unpleasant rubbing feeling as the two layers slid past each other. There felt like some kind of logic to what parts of his body were numb and which burned from the cold, but like fuck if he could figure it out. The logical part of his mind knew it was his own fault he was out here, but blaming the Fluffies felt better and the lizardbrain had more to offer. It was their fault he was freezing his ass off. He wasn’t sure how, but Fluffies could probably also take blame for him having the bright idea to move from Cali where he was comfortable and the Fluffies were such a blight that Abusers were celebrated to this rainy and sunless Hugbox hell. Turns out places that don’t have Fluffy population problems look down on a man for doing his part fixing corporate America’s mistakes. Now he had to dump his good work in the woods where the neighbors couldn’t judge him, like he had as a teenager with beer bottles.
For all this misery he hadn’t even had that much fun. The Mare had narrowly survived this same scenario as a Filly and it had taken two years of work on the part of her owner to undo a single month of trauma, but the sudden return of the sights and smells and sounds with the realization of what was going to happen caused her mind to snap, and she entered the Wan Die loop while still in the carrier. The Stallion, also aware of the situation from being present to give huggies to his future mate during her therapy sessions with their owner, had gone the opposite mental route and bashed his own brains into paste against the plexiglass divider trying “heroically” to reach the first shrieking Chirpie before Bruce had even gotten her belly open. He’d been so eager to vent after such a shitty week waving on traffic in the freezing fog that he’d jumped the gun and done everything out of order, forgotten crucial steps, and all without the slow build for the panic to turn to terror. He tried his best to have fun with the Chirpies, but they had no exciting variation in their responses since all they could do was peep and screech, and he didn’t give enough of a shit about anatomy or whatever to fiddle around removing specific bones or turning things inside out or stitching things to other things. Still, he tried to get a bit artsy with one of the Colts. Bruce remembered something about having a horn and wings being expensive, and even at that early stage of fur growth he could see it had glittery purple waves on its dark blue coat. He probably could have sold it for a lot if they weren’t all stolen property and he wasn’t morally opposed to allowing these feminine monsters to live in his world. He’d stripped the skin off the back leg and managed to completely shatter the upper bone, whatever it was called, leaving the leg attached purely by muscle. Bruce pulled the muscle as taut as he could without fear of it tearing, waited for the Fluffy’s screaming to lessen, then rubbed the dull side of the scalpel against it like he was playing a violin, or at least in imitation of what it looked like on cartoons. He smiled as he produced an interesting drawn-out sobbing moan and began to figure out how to produce different pitches. He looked away at the other Chirpies to see how they were reacting to his little solo performance, but the instrument Chirpie had been on his back and quickly drowned on blood from the tongue he’d bitten off during the bone breaking before Bruce realized what had happened. This resulted in a nasty gore explosion when Bruce had a tantrum and threw the little spawn at the wall, which he now had to clean up when he got home.
The snow had melted a week ago, but there was patches still here and there, and the freezing temperature had make the soft mud as hard as concrete. He’d given up early, knowing it was going to be cold and an early start would let him avoid the worst of the nights temperatures, but he was still unaccustomed to “early in the evening” feeling like how he’d always imagined Antarctica to feel like. He mentally degraded the newborn for a few minutes for ruining the one bit of fun he’d had by dying like a basic bitch while he stopped to catch his breath and let his blood circulate through his legs. The pillowcase full of bodies dropped beside his foot so he could blow hot air on his freezing fingers, and he saw a bit of movement still in it. Two Chirpies were still alive in the bag when he’d left his house. He wasn’t sure if the little horsemaggots could understand their situation, but he hoped they had their faces pressed to their dead father’s pucker or were listening to their mother hoarsely mumble “wan die” like a toy running out of batteries in their stubby little baby ears. The wind picked up suddenly, feeling like it was knifing through him like a hot ice pick through a Mare’s teat. He picked up the bag and started moving again, after a few minutes reaching his corpse hole made of a pit left behind when a tree had fallen. He unceremoniously dumped the contents out on the frozen carcasses of his session last Friday, and lingered for a moment to see if anything was still alive. The Mare was silent, and from her squashed face fluff she was probably suffocated facedown under her own weight in the bag. One of the untouched Chirpes was stuck to his father’s back, squashed and compressed there under his weight. One Chirpie was still alive, reacting to the burning cold above and bellow him by sticking its face up and gasping an attemot as a chirp, transparent pink lips and tongue quickly going numb as it gasped in the single digit Fahrenheit air. It stopped moving after thirty seconds, then after a short beat it stiffly rolled on its side. Bruce stared at it for a moment, disappointed, then turned to leave.
“Dis Fwuffy wand.” He stopped and listened. Over the howling wind he could have sworn he heard one of the little fuckers. Of course, a Fluffy in this cold would be dead in minutes, so there was no way th- “Dis Fwuffy wand.”
It really was a Fluffy! He turned in the direction of the sound and squinted. The moon was close to full and reflected off the ice particles everywhere, illuminating the forest, but he still couldn’t see anything. It was freezing and he wanted to go home but the promise of a bit more fun plus the desire to prolong the time before he had to wipe the living room wall sent him off in pursuit. It was coming from uphill, where he could have sworn an eight foot high wall of blackberry bushes had been months ago. “Dis Fwuffy wand!” It was louder so he was getting close. Branches snapped underfoot so he abandoned the idea of stealth and called out “Really? I thought this was human land, given we own the entire fucking planet. Why don’t you come here if you think you can prove me wrong?” “Dis Fwuffy Wand!” came the response. It was loud, little fucker must be shouting. If it was alive then it probably had its mutant gut flat on a warm pipe or ass up against a humming green electrical box.
Bruce reached the top of the hill after a quick sprint and did a three-sixty looking around for where the little fuck was squatting. “Where are you, shitrat?!” he bellowed, getting pissed.
“DIS. FWUFFY. WAND!!” Bruce covered his ears and dropped down to his knees. The voice was impossibly loud, and no longer sounded like a Fluffy. It was gravelly and booming, seemingly coming from below him. Bruce lifted his eyes and yelped. Where before was a short cliff there was now a massive chasm. The ground shook and Bruce whipped around to see the other way also somehow lead off a cliff. He was moving, steadily like the fluid movement of a machine rather than an earthquake. He dropped down on all fours and held on, but felt the ground tip him forwards. He slid until he slammed against a flat of concrete pathing, but sticking up vertically along with the others in a row. He put his arm around the top of it to steady himself. Looking to his left the cliff seemed to be moving above the ground. When he looked to his right, over the pavement square, he screamed.
Illuminated with silver sheen in the bright moonlight was a writhing mass of red and a narrowing hole full of movement on all sides. After a moment his scream became shrieks when he saw they were hundreds, thousands, of Fluffy bodies, skeletal save for patches of dingy rotten fur or leathery moldering skin still attached. They weren’t just moving from the ground shaking either, each head was pointed Bruce’s direction with their hooves, many rotten to show the skeletal toes beneath the pad, flailing. He started to get to his feet in order to take his chances on the other cliff only to pause with the sudden realization of what he was looking at. A mouth. He was holding onto a giant stone tooth. He didn’t notice the tip of the giant red tongue twist around and pull him from behind. It retracted within the mouth, leaving him in darkness as it pushed him against the roof of the “mouth” where Fluffy skeletons tore apart his clothes. Reduced to rags he was left falling back face-first onto the flat of the tongue as the gigantic earthen head lowered to a horizontal position. He tried to push himself up but felt something clinging to him, holding his arms and legs down while something else rippled and undulated underneath him from his groin to his face.
The giant pair of earthen lips opened again, flooding the mouth with moonlight and he screamed once more. Against his face was a skinless Fluffy, holding onto his cheeks with her forelegs. Beside it was two more, their legs around each other’s shoulders in a locked hugging embrace. The realization that the tongue was a multitude of these skinless beasts entered his mind then was forced away as he felt terrible pain on his abdomen. It felt like the freaks were punching him with their hooves, harder than any Fluffy should be able to hit and causing deepening cuts with their sharp bones against his bare skin. He whimpered and tried to pray, no intelligible words coming out as he blubbered.
The Fluffy holding his cheek spoke directly into his ear. “MUMMAH WAN TUMMEH SKETTIES”. White hot pain drove all thoughts from his mind as his belly skin tore, and a frenzy of activity and movement commenced on the Fluff-mass tongue against it. He let out a noise, not so much a scream as a wet throaty squeal like an infant that has cried so much it is out of breath. The tongue lifted and the grip on his limbs slackened, allowing him to slide further into the mouth while hooves pushed him downwards, mouths scraping, rooting, tearing, and taking pieces of his innards as he fell. Voices whizzed by, “Sketties” “Tummeh” “ Mummeh Wan-” “Good” “Wuv Sket-“
Bruce slid until he was no longer on the tongue and in the darkness again. He landed in a vertical position, held up by some unseen prickly force from behind. He was in agony, but no coherent thought came. He was just a being of miserable sensation, waiting for it to ebb so he could think clearly again. He was dimly aware of gravity changing direction until the lips opened straight above him, moonlight again reaching down through the teeth and reflecting off his blood that coated the “tongue”.
Suddenly the prickling from before began on his back, sharper this time as skeletal hooves tore flesh off in strips. A cacophony of Fluffy voices echoed, until his brain registered the chant “TOUGHIE WAN STWONG SKETTIES.” At first he thought he felt nothing. The hint of rational thought crept back as the idea this must be a dream because even a shitrat would be dead if it lost all its guts over the course of maybe five minutes like he just had, and the unsettling thought that maybe he was experiencing time more slowly due to the pain had just crossed his mind when the agony in his back suddenly stomped in and cleared away the higher functions of his mind again. Instead of the sharp burning in his belly there was a pounding stiffness as strands of muscle were plucked away by a multitude of teeth while he slid down the throat. The chants of contented Fluffies in his ears continued as before, satisfied at whatever his musculature was providing to their empty skulls and sludgy remnants of tongues and stomachs. Before long the pain was replaced by a numbness that somehow still hurt, his central brain refusing to let go of the idea the muscles were gone and showering him in phantom misery as proof. His body was jumping slightly as teeth plucked the last fibers of muscles from where they were attached to his bones.
He fell into darkness again, a bump and reorientation of his ear fluid telling him he’d hit ground. A short amount of time was spent bobbing up and down like he was crowdsurfing at a concert before sliding along down an incline. Somewhere that somehow felt far away from his body Bruce’s manic inner laugh came as he knew this must not be real. He began to notice a faint warm light as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He saw movement again, and what remained of Bruce’s rational mind wavered on how to respond. Something in him settled on “chuckle faintly” as he saw that above him was a segmented serpent, a kind of intestinal parasite, each segment the broken remains of a severely destroyed Fluffy corpse, all showing marks of either sudden violent ends or slow agonizing torture. In one voice they hissed “SMAWTY WAN FINKY PWACE SKETIESS”. Bruce let out a strange laugh, an offkey sound without inflection and made of more primitive mouthsound than voice, as the serpent coiled around him once then positioned its topmost face against the back of his skull. A sharp pain, sudden tearing, a dull ache, then nothing. The Smarty intestinal worm pulled forwards, each Fluffy that made it up getting a mouth pass at the exposed brain in the back of Bruce’s head. “Gib Sma-“ “ Bestes-“ “Desewb num-“ “Finky am-“ “Good tas-“ came a start and stop of Smarties as they passed his ear. Soon they were gone. Bruce continued sliding down, a mass of gore and skeleton now. The gentle movement soothed him, and a small amount of his sanity returned. He now merely wondered if this was real instead of outright denying it. If he had enough peace or piece of mind left he would have cited his ability to think without a brain as evidence to convince himself that it was just a fantasy, and that he was merely freezing to death out in the forest. He realized he was no longer moving, a stillness all around him. Below him the ground was illuminated somehow, like he was suspended on a cloudy damp glass while fire raged distantly below. The feeling was comfortable to what little remained of his flesh. He slowly became aware that in the periphery of some primal sense that there was movement around him, from all sides. Lacking muscles he couldn’t move to see what it was, so he waited as the agonizingly slow things drew close enough. Then at once, all around him so close he was surprised he couldn’t see one above his face, a chorus of Foals spoke. “BABBEH WAN WUB SKETTIES” which was accompanied syllabically by chirps. Bruce’s distant rational self wondered what that meant. He felt nothing of whatever was happening now, but something unseen helpfully lifted his head so he could watch. Foals of all sizes writhed among him, like a sea of rainbow maggots. From his tattered shreds of flesh they ripped out veins and capillaries. A sickeningly ugly black Filly with multicolor neon stripes like a Jackson Pollock blacklight poster who appeared to have perished from a slit throat crept up his torso. She looked him in the eyes for a very long time then lowered her head into his breast, bringing out his heart. Whether it was still beating or merely bobbing in her mouth wasn’t clear. She turned and carried it away, leaving him with the view of Chirpies licking blood that somehow continued to pour from his bones and a pair of Colts gnawing their way through his scrotum. He watched, somehow both no longer here and yet also still viscerally in his body, as they made openings to retrieve his testicles and ate them. Then there was nothing much left of Bruce that he could see. The Foals all departed, satisfied. In the dim red light he lay for a time, gazing in shock at his remains which still had bits of skin, viscera, and cloth here and there. But then he began to move again. He was shoved roughly against an indent in the stone wall, light lost to him. His neck snapped and his skull came loose, forced forwards through a tunnel. Voices, human, groaned as he continued. Then blinding light! His bare skull was exposed, embedded in rock and clay, looking out over the creek which met the river that ran through town. Gentle whimpers came from behind him, and he too let out faint wordless whispers of unhappiness. Days went by, then as the last of the snow began to melt and the frosts stopped coming he felt a pressure change behind him. His skeletal jaw wavered then suddenly shot open, ejecting the rest of his body followed by a brown stream of mud mixed with snowmelt. Above him a fallen tree covered in moss swished back and forth somehow. Realization hit him, breaking the last of his mind. In place of his inner monologue came only one monotone phrase repeated; I want to die.
Authorities found his remains washed up on the bank. The coroner ruled he had succumbed to the elements during a hike and his body had been eaten by hungry animals before being washed into the river. He was interred in a cemetery near his apartment where no family of his would ever visit again after the funeral.
With spring came the renewal of life. Though a few more cold nights claimed the early blossoms, a radiant spring nurtured by gentle showers and bright sunlight soon came. One by one the Fluffy spirits left the charnel Fluffpile, and with each one the Fluffy effigy returned more to the earth. The skulls that made up the terrestrial rectum sunk into the permafrost before the greenery returned, and eventually it was a mere hill once more. The forest came to life again, as the spirits of Foals giggled in the ether and marveled at the colors of the flowers whose roots grew from their own tiny bones. Fairy rings of mushrooms sprouted from the decaying Fluffy flesh, with ghostly Smarties bounding through them in a race to prove superiority that none had thought to assign a beginning or end. Stallions followed the forest animals, unseen hunting companions as bears and foxes stalked for rodent, lepus, and Fluffy alike. Mares walked the pathways alongside humans and their pets, singing their ethereal songs as they went.
In the height of summer the multitude of spirits, of all animals and many things more abstract and alien, gathered in the center of the forest. The Fluffies knew not why, they simply followed their new friends and did their best to understand and take part in the haunting celebration, until the first cold days returned and the spectral host migrated away again to wherever they dwell.
In Autumn the last human visitors for the season made their way home. A woman who carried a scarred and legless elderly brown Fluffy in a baby sling on her chest was naming the singing birds to her, and although she could remember few words and was able to speak far less than that these days, she was happy to hear their songs and the voice of her Hoomin Mummah. A jogging man stopping to laugh and record a hysterically crying and emaciated Smarty Foal with a can of Chef Papa’s Spaghetti stuck on his head, which he thought was a “metew poopie pwace”, although the man would unfortunately upload it a week later on the same day that the classic video “Micro Smarty screams at own dick for being too small for horny regular Mare” (originally just titled “Trolling Fluffies In A Shelter”) went viral. A stoned teenager spent several hours on a park bench while sorting images of Fluffy genitals, both male and female, he had saved on his phone.
All was still for most of the winter. Most animals and Fluffies found burrows or froze to death, the wakeful did their best to stay fed on buried seeds or each other. Government employees sometimes came through on assorted tasks and patrols, and a few bicyclists traveled the bike trails. Then, after a hard frost around New Years, a woman parked a new car along the side of the road and entered the forest. Initially she was quiet and nervous, but as she grew more confident that she was alone the lady began laughing and swinging the sack in her hand. Unseen eyes began to follow her as she went. Inside the bag a Stallion Fluffy was shaken along with several Fluffy corpses in near darkness aside from the glow of the nearly full moon shining through the bag. His sister, with a multitude of tiny screws drilled into her head until she expired, was behind him with her legs pressed against his back and sides like she was attempting to give him a hug. His mate was in front with his numb and broken limbs tangled among her limp ones in another ghastly embrace. The woman had disemboweled her in front of a mirror so she could watch her eight unborn Foals die. They were here too, along with his three skinned Chirpie nieces and nephews, and his own five Talkie children who he had watched in paralyzed silence die from being force fed expanding insulating foam. A mantra repeated in his mind, not one begging for death, but calling for his human mother to save him from the human monster who stole them all from her car at the gas station, to fix and wake up his family with human magic, and to read happy picture books to them like she normally did each night. These pleas died at his severed vocal cords, although he merely thought of it as meanie witchie magic that he could overcome with enough hope and effort. Eventually the sack stopped moving. The Stallion waited a moment, then felt a terrifying rush as the sack sailed through the air and down into a ravine, rolling before landing in a patch of ice. The woman removed her rubber gloves and threw them after it, revealing her expensive suede ones underneath. She paused to admire the moon before a sudden gust of wind blew through the trees, shaking snow off branches with an unheard multitude of thousands of voices calling “NYU FAMIWY”. The woman pulled her designer coat higher over her neck and regretted it as a gust low to the ground sapped the warmth from her ankles where her fancy shoes ended, sending dry snow skating across ice as ten unheard voices answered “JOIN HEWD” accompanied by eight ghostly peeps. Another sound now came, a vibration that came from the forest itself and all things in it, each gram of soil, vegetation, and flesh enriched by Fluffies on their path returning to the Earth, including the body of the woman herself after years of high end “steak” salads. The voice of a Stallion, no longer silenced by her witchie wounds was heard by the woman; “DIS FWUFFY WAND.”
The ground above shifted, and Bruce saw light for the first time in a year. But not for much longer. With another year passing the Charnel Fluff would grow one skull bigger tonight, taking its place at the end of the golem’s rectum.