Victoria Harkness finished her cigarette just as she stepped into the store, the bell for the door rang as she stepped inside and her brother Vincent looked up from the cash register to see who the new customer was.
“Tori? Didn’t expect to see you here today? You got an appointment or…?”
“Not today Vinny, no I’m actually in the mood for something a little more… long-term. Gus told me you had some mares ready to birth, I’d like one of the newborns.”
Vincent eyed his sister with unsure curiosity. He knew she wasn’t above hurting newborn foals, but it was usually a short-term effect to hurt the parent, what possible use could she have for one on a longer time-frame.
“What for? Doesn’t seem like your usual M.O.”
Victoria shrugged. “I’m branching out, now can we get this show on the road, I want to be there at the birth, not after.”
“But of course madam, if you’d like to follow me.”
With an exaggerated bow, Vincent led Victoria through to the backroom and then down to the basement, Victoria had been here before but she’d forgotten just how rancid the stench of rot and dried shit was.
“Christ Vinny do you never wash this place?”
“We find it best not to, whatever discomfort you have to the smell is increased tenfold for the Fluffies, that sensation of not feeling pretty, it sticks to them, makes them more docile so long as you promise to wash them every three or four months. Beside, you get used to the stink after a while.”
Victoria grimaced but said nothing as she followed Vincent into a side room, inside they found Gus keeping an eye on a lone mare strapped to the table, her front two legs were missing and she had fresh cuts and bruises along her back, but even still she was a good looking Fluffy, a gradient coat of blues, whites and greens and a pure-white – minus the filth encrusted upon it – mane. Not quite designer levels, but a rank above your usual types.
Not that that mattered to Victoria, she was focused on the mare straining to push her foals out.
“HNNNGGGHHH. Ah-Nah wan see babbehs, wet mummah see wittew babbehs dis time, pwease Mistah Gus.”
Gus rolled his eyes, it was always the same with this one, ever since she lost her first litter after her owner gave her up she’d been clingy to her foals, eve before they were born. If it wasn’t for her colours he’d have chucked her by now, but even that was starting to fray.
The mare, Anna, strained and heaved for several minutes before she finally pushed the first foal out of her special-place. Almost instantly the mare tried to turn around to see her newborn.
“Whewe babbeh, gib babbeh tu mummah, need huggies an wub.”
“You don’t have any arms you dumb slut.” Gus spat back at her.
The reminder how her inability to hug her children set Anna into hysterics, her blubbering only interrupted by the arrival of more foals.
In total she birthed four, three colts and a filly, Victoria quickly picked up the filly before she could bond with her mother’s scent. Examining the filly closer, Victoria could see she had her mother’s gradient pattern, only her colours went from a dark green to a dark blue to a light blue with a splash of orange for her mane and Pegasus wings.
Feeling the newborn shuffle and grip onto her thumb, suckling the tip in the hopes of finding milk, Victoria felt a smirk grow on her face.
Vincent couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, he had hoped to keep the filly as future breeding stock, but he couldn’t say no to his sister, and besides he still had plenty of foals to wring out of Anna yet.
“Very well, if she’s who you want then she’s yours. You want any extra stock or…?”
“No need, I have everything I need at home, just some milk for the journey home will do.”
Gus handed Victoria a tiny bottle of pre-warmed milk before taking the three colts away to the milk-mares while Vincent led Victoria back upstairs, leaving Anna to wallow in her lonely misery once more.
“You gonna tell me what your plan is with that one yet?” Vincent asked as they climbed the stairs.
Victoria smiled. “Nope, that’s for me and Ingrid here to figure out.”
“Ingrid? Strange name for a Fluffy.”
Victoria said nothing as she lifted the milk bottle higher for the newly named infant to suckle from, a smile forming on her face from her own private joke.
Poor Ingrid had no idea what she was getting into.
For the first few days of her life, all Ingrid knew was comfort and warmth. Victoria had her coddled in the softest of blankets, always within reach of a warm fan heater and fed with genuine mare milk.
Probably best not to question where Victoria got the milk.
For the unaware little filly, it was a happy start to her life, a little lonely with the lack of her brothers and sisters, somewhere in her tiny mind she was vaguely aware of their absence. But then a warm gulp of milk or a gentle caress from Victoria and Ingrid would forget whatever issues she may or may not have had.
The one odd thing that Ingrid had picked up on was a small ringing noise followed by darkness. While chirpy-foals were essentially blind until they opened their eyes, they still could perceive subtle forms of light changes as a way of building their day/night cycle. Ingrid’s programming had her hardwired to understand that darkness meant sleeping and whenever she heard that ringing, darkness would soon follow. She didn’t understand it yet, but small seeds were growing in her mind, seeds that Victoria planned to harvest later.
But before either of them had to worry about that, Ingrid opened her eyes. It had been four days since Victoria brought her home and she hadn’t left the filly’s side since, Victoria put on her most comforting smile as Ingrid’s big, bright eyes slowly but surely fluttered open, adjusting to the new volume of light. The little Pegasus was dazed for a moment by the sudden influx of new sensations, but she quickly steadied herself just in time to look up and see the smiling face of the women in front of her.
Victoria nodded and gentle brushed the back of her index finger under Ingrid’s chin. “That’s right Ingrid, I’m your mummy.”
“Coo, wub mummah, wub nyu namesie. Ingwid heawt happies.”
“Yes, and mummy’s very happy to finally meet you. Now Ingrid, mummy has to tell you somethings, important things that will help you be a good Fluffy. You do want to be a good Fluffy for mummy right?”
Ingrid nodded enthusiastically. “Yeh, Ingwid gud Fwuffy, wub mummah.”
“Good, ok Number 1; If you need to make poopies or peepees, it goes in the litterbox, over there…”
Victoria pointed to a bright pink square filled with Fluffy-Litter and a tiny set of stairs for the infant Ingrid to climb up into.
“…Anywhere else and it’s BAD poopies, mummy doesn’t like bad poopies.”
Victoria saw the filly trembling at the fear of bad poopies and decided to ease her fear a little bit.
“Now, since you’re still a baby, I know you won’t be as quick to the litterbox if you do need to make poopies. So you just let mummy know if you need to use the litterbox and mummy will make sure you make good poopies.”
The tension in Ingrid’s body visibly relaxed and a happy smile returned to her face. “Ok, Ingwid teww mummah if need poopies.”
“Good girl. Now, number 2; If you want something you ask mummy for it first, and if mummy says no then there are to be no arguments, no being a meanie and calling mummy a dummy.”
Ingrid gasped as though Victoria had just said the worst word in the world. “Ingwid nu wike meanie wowd, neba caww mummah dummeh.”
“I’m glad to hear that Ingrid, but the point still stands, anything you want you ask mummy first. This can be new toys, or meeting friends, or what food you want to eat. Mummy will give you treats and good food but ONLY if you are a good Fluffy. If you’re bad and start being mean, then mummy will give you BAD food and nothing else until you say you’re sorry, if you don’t, then mummy has a sorry box to put you in.”
Ingrid instinctively knew what a sorry box was, and instantly started shivering again. “Nu wike sowwy box.”
Victoria reached over and stroked the little filly’s head. “I know hun, and I don’t want you to go anywhere near the sorry box, but some Fluffies are meanies and I have to make sure you don’t end up like them. You know your Fluffy mummy was a meanie?”
Victoria nodded. “Yep, an AWFUL mare who refused to feed any of her babies other than her best baby, the one she thought was the prettiest.”
Ingrid looked up at Victoria, her little eyes brimming with tears. “Mummah nu fink Ingwid am pwetty.”
“Your mother was wrong Ingrid, her and her best baby were both a horrible bright green colour, just unpleasant to look at, but since your sister looked exactly like your mother, she was the best baby and therefore she got all the milk. You and your other siblings were given nothing but tummy hurties.”
Ingrid was full on weeping now. “Dat am SU mean, wai mummah du dat?”
Victoria picked Ingrid up and held her against her chest. “Some Fluffies are just mean. They’re bad Fluffies with bad owners or just never learnt how to be good. Your mother was what’s called a ‘Feral’, or an outside Fluffy, they’re mean, selfish and cruel because they don’t have a mummy or daddy to teach them to be good. Well mummy saved you from your meanie mother and now you’re an inside Fluffy, and mummy will teach you to be good and kind and friendly.”
Ingrid’s tiny limbs held on tight to Victoria’s warm shirt, tears’ dripping from her eyes as her head was filled with horrible, mean, awful outside Fluffies and what they might do to a little filly like her. Another seed planted for Victoria to harvest later.
Victoria waited until Ingrid had calmed down before continuing. “Now Ingrid, mummy has only one more rule and then after that we can eat some taste food. And that final rule is that whenever mummy rings this bell…”
And Victoria picked up a miniature brass bell off the table beside her to show Ingrid what she was talking about.
“…that means its bedtime, and you have to go to sleep.”
To punctuate her point, Victoria gave the bell a small shake, letting out a high-pitched ringing noise.
Almost instantly, Victoria saw Ingrid’s head dip but then just as quickly she was back again, she didn’t say anything but inwardly she noted the filly’s reaction.
“There will be more rules later, but we can discuss them all once we’ve had some food, I know that you’re still too young to have big Fluffy food, but I’ve got the next best thing. Sketti Flavoured Milk.”
Ingrid’s eyes grew almost as wide as her smile. “Sketti miwkies, dis am bestesh bwite-time eba.”
“Indeed it is, now just wait in your little bed and mummy will bring it through for you.”
Victoria gently lay Ingrid back in her swaddling blanket and left for the kitchen, hearing the happy filly humming to herself at the thought of delicious sketti milk.
Of course Ingrid was too young to question where Victoria got sketti flavoured milk from, and the less said about Gus’ experiment on that particular milk-mare the better. Turns out you could have too much of a good thing.
But as Victoria was warming the milk up on the stove, she peered out towards the overjoyed Ingrid, still happily sitting on the blanket, bouncing away to the happy music in her head.
“Ingwid wub mummah, mummah wub Ingwid, get bestesh miwkies, sketti miwki…”
“…kies…ZZZZZZZ… WHA? Wha, wai Ingwid gu sweepies, nu am tiwed, wan see mummah gain an hab miwkies.”
Slipping the brass bell back into her pocket, Victoria returned to the milk.
Her plans were moving at a much faster pace then she had initially thought. But that just meant all the more time for fun once everything was in place.