“Part 1, Imposition”
A stiff breeze rattled the windowpane as if to gently knock, and Twilight’s reflective amethyst eyes fluttered to behold another beautiful dawn.
Sun shone beautifully down from the shadowed, silver sky, casting rays of vanilla-frosting-sweet light dancing through the branches of the blustering trees and in through the window, almost as if the sun were greeting her personally. The air in the dad’s room was dappled with the scent of the now cold Thai takeout from the night before, and the calm morning quiet was broken only by the soft music of the television. Based on the Tom & Jerry playing, they’d fallen asleep watching cartoons together.
She smiled wide and pressed her weight into him.
Dad said that before he brought her home from the labs, he never slept well. “He’s sleeping well now though.” She thought. Clasped tenderly in the embrace of heavy blankets and warm arms, she found herself fighting against her heavy eyelids until the obvious occurred to her.
She didn’t have to.
Turning over in place, she faced away from the sunlight and buried her soft little face in her slumbering father’s neck. Even asleep he responded as she expected, pulling her in so close that she could feel their hearts beating in sync. She nestled into the loving warmth all around her and started drifting back to sleep.
She wondered what she might do when her day began. Her meal option was obvious, both her and her dad never finished their food, and would reheat it for breakfast. If they were still hungry, there was a full fridge and pantry full of options both ready-made and yet to be assembled. They were in no rush.
She wouldn’t even have to walk downstairs herself, let alone prepare the food. Dad would take care of all that and she’d probably be trapped in a burrito-prison made of blankets, forced into a life of comfort and care, love and luxury.
Once all that was taken care of, she’d probably smack around her “pet” fluffies for a while, question Briar about any fluffy-herd behavior related questions that might have occurred to her in her sleep, and observe her subjects via the windows for a while. Usually she’d only eavesdrop long enough to gather a general summation of what happened overnight, but it was looking pretty chilly today, so perhaps she’d wait until noon to grace them with her presence.
Twilight absolutely loved going into situations and asking questions she already knew the answers to, mostly to see who would try lying. What had they done that they shouldn’t have? What did they not do that was demanded of them? Who was going under the bus for it this time? So many questions!
Still, these were all questions that could be answered later. Now was the time for rest.
Briar tried to ignore the sounds of the wind, but the tapping of the plants on glass and babbling from the herd outside was too much. She was annoyed that even inside this immaculate home, the flunkies that she had been abandoned to weeks ago still dogged her.
They had to keep bugging her. She was relying on it.
Briar remembered back to a week ago, when she had ingratiated herself to the monster-fluffy that lived here by appealing to her very obvious desire to not be touched by any of them. It seemed to have worked. Now she was unsure of her status here. The monster-fluffy was curious about the herd and although Briar didn’t know much more than any other fluffy, she did have the patience and wherewithal to sit down and be useful to people if she thought it was going to help her situation.
It had kept her alive after all. Not just that though; it had kept her well fed, dry, safe, and warm as well. The dark-cold times were coming, and she had seen so many fluffies take the forever sleep cold and alone. She had no reason to live, but she didn’t want to die either. She worried that if she stopped being useful to the purple monster that she would find herself outside in the cold.
She reflected on her past.
Briar used to have a daddy, but as she got bigger and bigger, he loved her less and less. She teared up as she recalled how he slowly forgot who she was. At first, he did his best, she was sure of it. He stopped calling her names like “pumpkin and “sweetie” and started calling her by her name alone. Her daddy couldn’t have been upset with her, how could he be? Why would he be?
She thought things were getting better when he started calling her “Bee”, but his voice was wrong, and he looked at her as little as possible. He must have just been busy. But then why did he forget? His words became mean and harsh, casually calling her over by using meanie-words.
“Dinner’s ready bitch. Eat up before I change my mind.”
She wanted him to change his mind! Wanted to go back to being daddy’s little “pumpkin”, and to never be called meanie-words again. One day, he did change his mind though. “Annabelle”, he called her. She tried to remind him that he already had a fluffy and didn’t need to get a new baby because she was right here! He responded by throwing her into the backyard. She hadn’t been thrown into the backyard in a long time, being outside alone at the dark-time was scary and before she had to really mess up to get thrown out.
This was the worst sorry-time she had ever had because her not only was her daddy upset with her, and he must have forgotten where he put her too, because didn’t come back until next bright-time. She pleaded with him to be let back in, to be remembered, to be loved… she pleaded for anything but this.
Daddy didn’t want her anymore; He had Annabelle now. He only loved Annabelle now. He grabbed Briar by the mane and threw her over the white-sticks-fence. He told her that he didn’t love her anymore, and that he wasn’t her daddy anymore. He said that if she didn’t leave, she was going forever-sleepies in the trashies-bag. Briar never met her replacement, save for the one glimpse of a weanling filly in the window as she was ejected from the property.
Lucky for her, a feral herd passing by heard her crying, and told her that she was with them from now on. She didn’t fight it. She just walked, and rarely talked. Eventually she wound up here.
The monster fluffy had a daddy… His name was Doctor Winston, and he was scary sometimes. He reminded Briar of her old daddy. Before he forgot her. He loves his monstrous not-fluffy “Twilight” seemingly as her daddy loves…
Nobody loves her anymore.
She stands up in the old cat bed she was given to sleep in, confirming what she already knows. She’s alone. She tries to focus on anything else, to chase the terrible thoughts away. Somewhere deep in her gut she found her deliverance. Hunger pangs.
She looked over the lip of her bed to see something silvery, looking back up at her with her own eyes. She’d seen these before but never actually gotten so close to one. She patted it tentatively with a hoof, eliciting a curious crinkling noise. It didn’t seem harmful, and she was told that food left by her bed was for her so… She leaned down and took a bite.
It was tasteless and slick, and chewing it was hard. “Why foodies am yikky fow Bwiaw?” she wondered aloud in a groggy morning voice, “Bwiaw knu am gud nummies ow not-fwuffy nu num!”. After a bit more chewing, pulling, and a bit of stomping, she managed to tear open the packaging. Her words of triumph were more of a bitter growl.
“Dummeh pwastic peeaw nu keep gud foodies fwom Bwiaw.”
Still, this was perhaps the best she had eaten in the year or so that she had been in the wild and she knew it. As she ate the bits of honeyed granola off the floor, she couldn’t help but compare it to the “grassie nummies” she was recently pretending to enjoy. It was glorious. And what was this? The shiny metal bowl had water in it again! Every dark-time it was almost empty, but after sleepies it was always full! She figures that she must be doing something right, but what?
Was there anything she should be doing to keep the big new scary-housie happy? Should she? In the herd, there was always something for her to do to help out. Her ash grey mane swept from side to side as she looked around the empty kitchen.
Doing nothing felt wrong.
Briar now felt sick haven eaten something so good, and not having shared it with anyone. She didn’t even do anything to deserve it; It had just appeared for her overnight. Was this a test? Was the not-fluffy watching her right now? Did her daddy know that she had been given the shiny-plastic nummies?
“Huuuu… Bwiaw nu knu what du!” she exclaimed the empty room, “Bwiaw jus nu wanna be twashies ‘gain… Nu wan be fowgot.”
Guilt and confusion welled up inside her like rising bile.
What was her purpose? Was she important to Doctor Winston and Twilight? Did they actually like having her around? Was she just a toy to them? What was to keep her from ending up like the fluffies outside? She could see them through the window. They were cold, and hungry, and alo-
She was the only one who was alone, and to her it was starting to feel like it might always be that way.
Even when there were other fluffies around, even when the not-fluffy’s daddy was in the room, even when he was looking at her, she still felt alone. She felt broken. Useless. She only felt happy when she was being helpful, and now there was nothing to but sit in her pretty glass box and watch fluffies outside living their lives.
She watched them gathering food and tending to their babies.
She watched the colts and fillies rolling around in the wet grass, laughing and giggling.
She watched as their parents looked on with pride and happiness.
She watched as the peasants were roused from their fluffpile.
And she would continue to watch, unnoticed and unneeded.
Because it was all she could do.
Mossy jolted awake to the noise of grinding and whirring. Her sudden burst of frenetic movement (for a fluffy) sent the foals nestled atop her tumbling to the floor where they began to peep and chirp in terror.
“Nuuuu! Babbehs nu haf’ owwies pwease! Mummah nee’ babbehs nu haf’ owwies!”
Prioritizing the foals over investigating the scary noise still ongoing, Mossy’s eyes began to tear. These stolen children were her charges, and if any of them were injured, she would have to answer for it. She had six foals in total, two of her own, and four assigned to her by Twilight. The weanlings Leaf and Rock looked on with confused eyes as they helped to retrieve the scattered foals.
“Mummah?” Leaf asked, “When am babbehs gon open see-pwaces an’ nu be chiwpy-babbehs nu moaw? Why babbehs cowows nu am same?”
Mossy let out a long, heavy sigh.
“Nu knu’ Weaf, dese babbehs nu am mummahs babbehs. Sometimes pwincess take babbehs, an’ sometimes pwincess weave babbehs.”
The thing making the scary noises was on a table. It was tall and it was slowly looking around the room with its glowing red eye. Mossy could feel the temperature of the room starting to rise and eventually drew a line between the two occurrences.
“Tank ‘ou nice wawmy-fwiend! Mossy famiwy nu eva’ haf’ wawm sweepies befowe!”
The space-heater of course could not respond, but it’s gentle oscillation and comforting eminence was enough of an answer for her. Even the sound of the fan motors soon became a sound of safety. “Nu bad munstahs heaw fwuffies pway an’ haf’ tawkies wif nice wawmy-fwiend fow sing wumbwy songs.” She exclaimed to her still wide-eyed foals.
“Wawmies…” mumbled Muddy, still unable to rouse himself to waking.
Mossy eyed her special friend with great concern. Muddy had only recently begun to recover from the damage that the herd had caused him. While she was happy that her special friend was able to move unaided and to play with his foals again, she still worried for him. Muddy was being run ragged by Twilight, waiting on her and following commands for her entertainment. She didn’t blame him for still being asleep, just last night the scary not-fluffy had demanded that he dance for hours on end because “The internet was down”. Muddy tried to explain that he didn’t do anything, but the monster-not-fluffy started throwing things at him and yelling “Dance!” over and over! The monster laughs but it is a bad laugh that make her feel sick and makes her fluff stand on end.
Mossy reared up and gave the bestest huggies possible to her special friend. She then begins to do what fluffies very charitably call singing: “Wuv speshaw fwiend… Wuv famiwy… Wuv Wock, an’ Weaf, an’ aww nu-mummah-babbehs. Bad mummahs frow gud babbehs ‘way, but Mossy awways hewp nu-moaw-hav-mummah babbehs…”
(Peep Peep! Peeeep!)
(Cheep! Chearp cheep!)
(beeep, ch- beeeep, beeeeb)
Mossy looked down at the four unweaned foals with a mostly ambivalent expression. She worriedly eyed the grey one that has started to “beep” but quickly shook her head and tried not to think about it. Mossy hadn’t done anything to hurt the foals, in fact when they were pawned off on her she discovered that the grey foal was already a dummeh-babbeh. The not-fluffy said it was okay as long as she didn’t let it happen again.
“Aww babbehs nee’ be bestest babbehs fow mummah an’ daddeh! Wuv wittow babbehs su much, even if dummeh.” As she fed them their much-needed milkies (dummeh-babbeh last, of course) her filly Leaf timidly approached while her brother was distracted retrieving their ball.
“Mummah?” she asked timidly, “Whewe am fwuffies spose’d tu gu fow nummies? Housie nu wan wet Weaf out when Weaf twy tu weave and get gwassie nummies. Weaf an’ Wock am hungwy. Nee’ nummies!”
Mossy was horrified. Not only had one of her children wandered off in the night without her noticing, trying to leave the safety of the house no less, but she had left the room they were told to stay in! The mister in the housie told them not to make messes! What if there were messes and Leaf got blamed for them? They would both be in trouble! Mossy got up, completely forgetting about the feeding foals and scampered over to the door as they peeped and bleated in distress.
From side to side she looked up and down the hall leading to the laundry room, a vision of terror etched deep into her exaggerated fluffy features. A worried Leaf and Rock slowly approached the threshold. She could hear the fluffies in the woodpile playing and laughing and… knocking things over? Her blood started to run cold; Did the woodpile count as inside the house? Would there be repercussions?
Were there any nummies today?
There were sometimes nummies in the box by the door… and today there were! It was what the sometimes-nice mister called “bread”, how lucky for them! Bread was a tough, chewy nummy that was the color of sand, and it had green and blue spots all over it. The mister called them “flavor-spots” and told them that they were lucky to get such good food.
As she pulled the spoiling bread from the shallow box and let if fall to the floor, she reflected on how lucky they had been. If she hadn’t gotten captured by the monster-fluffy they would be at the mercy of the herd. They probably would have taken the forever-sleep down in the poopies-hole. Here they were warm, safe, fed, and while not loved by the mister or monster, they had each other.
Mossy, Muddy, Leaf and Rock. Our lovable outcasts.
They figured that if Mossy continued to take care of the foals, and Muddy continued to keep Twilight entertained, that they would have a place to stay. They were right, but that didn’t mean they were beyond reproach. All they could do was hope to remain in the good graces of the monster-not-fluffy and her sometimes-nice-daddeh. This is what they were for.
To Matthew most fluffies were of no value, but these fluffies were proving to be a good source of social experience for Twilight. It wasn’t like she could socialize with other kids, so as far as he was concerned, they had a pass until she got bored of them. She took pretty good care of her other toys, why should these be any different?
The wind howled harshly as the frigid early-winter rattled the wooden climbing structure. The leaves and sticks that Linus and Strawberry had ordered the peasant fluffies to stuff into the gaps between the planks protected them from the worst of the wind chill, but the days were still getting colder.
The cold white light of the morning sun almost taunted them with its cheeriness. It was like a grating facsimile of the sun, as fluorescent light is to incandescent. Of course, they didn’t know why any of this was happening, they just wanted the sun to be warmer.
“Pwease nice sky-baww, bwing back wawmies ‘gain… Winus an’ Stwawbewwy haf’ babbehs an’ cowd am nu gud fow babbehs!” beside him lay his new special friend, and nestled in her amateurishly groomed mane rested their two foals.
“Stwawbewwy nu haf’ tu many cowdies, babbeh Chip, an’ babbeh Wedwun am happies’ babbehs evah!”
Muffled peeping emanated from behind the beaming face of the mare at long last a mother, her spirits only lifting further as she felt their squirming presence wriggling on her back. The two honeymooning fluffies shared in a warm embrace and decided that it was nummies time. Linus would be the one to get the nummies as, Chip and Redwun were beginning to mewl for their mothers attention.
“Pea-sant! Yu gu get bestest nummies foaw nowbaw famiwy wight nao!”
The shivering fluffy turned to see who had made the demand of it.
“Speshaw fwiend? Speshaw fwiend pwease wet mummah see babbehs ‘gain! Babbehs nee’ huggies an’ wuv fwom mummah fow gwow big an’ stwong!”
It was his old special friend. She was the reason that their babbehs had run away in the first place! If it weren’t for her, he would still have all five of his babies, not just the two. The Princess had told him that he was a noble, and a very clever fluffy too. Instead of trying to teach his old special friend about the babies that she had produced, he wrote her off immediately and got a new special friend to be their mummah. She was a bad mummah, and a peasant. Strawberry was a good mummah, and a noble.
This was the best way for his babbehs to be safe.
“NU! You am bad not-mummah an babbehs haf’ nu mummah nao! Gu get bestest bewwie an weafy nummies fow Winus an Stwawbewwy oaw Winus teww knight-fwuffies an’ yu get baddest owwies!”
Her whole world had been turned on its head. She had no special friend, no babbehs, and no love. She was only allowed to eat grassie nummies, and had to bring the best food the herd could find to the fluffy that stole her special friend and her babies. And she couldn’t do anything about it.
“Pwease nu du dat ‘gain!” she peeped in horror, “Gon gu get bestest nummies foaw nice-nowbaw-Winus nao!”
As she scampered off, she could only think of a few things. She had to go get nummies or she would get more owwies, she was very cold, and if she brought the food to the top of the noble-housie, she might get to see her babies for a few seconds at least.
Linus, only a bit conflicted about the implications of what he doing slowly sauntered back to the wooden structure the nobles had bunkered down in in an attempt to get out of the cutting cold. More shouts for food and insulating materials came from the structure as he made his way back to it, servant fluffies scattering about as the threat of force was used again and again. One voice cut through all the others with its cheerful tenor though. It was Strawberry calling out to him.
“Huwwy fast speciaw fwiend! Babbeh Chip am be tawkie babbeh! Say ‘wuv mummah’ tu Stwawbewwy!”
Linus broke into the fluffy equivalent of a dead sprint, focused on nothing but climbing the shallow redwood stairs to the perch where his family was waiting for him. Gasping for breath by the time he reached the top, he slowed as if the air was turning to sand and meekly approached the scavenged washcloth that his babies rested on.
To him, this might as well have been a golden pedestal.
“C’mon wittow Chip, say ‘mummah’! Daddeh am hewe nao tu, du tawkies fow mummah an’ daddeh!”
The air had become a different kind of frozen as the excited parents tuned out everything around them and focused upon their precious little Chip. However, Redwun was the one to break the silence.
“D-d-d-daddeh!” he peeped, “Cowd!”
“Babbehs am tawkie babbehs! Wedwun am awso tawkie-babbeh!”
“Stwawbewwy haf’ su many happies! Mummah am su pwoud of babbehs!”
They embraced over their shared growth, and each took a foal on their back. Together they would prove they were good parents, and all their babies would come back to them! Under their unflinching leadership the tower of rocks and pebbles that they had made the peasants build for the Princess was taller than ever, and today they would announce that they were to begin construction on another! This they felt is what they were made for, and they couldn’t imagine a better position from which to raise a family.
A baleful gale of chill wind awakens the peasant fluffy Bubble in a most brutal fashion, knocking loose what little support his nested hollow had and sending the feeble construction crashing down on him. His day begins with all that he owned toppling down on him, and his sensitive eyes stinging with tears in the morning cold. He didn’t even have time to properly grieve for his lot in life before being accosted by one of his supposed betters.
“Dummy peas-ant fwuffy! Gu get nummies fow Bwuie an’ ova knight-fwuffies. Den gu to knight-housie an’ fix bwoken wawws su nu cowd nu moaw.”
Bubble tried to explain his situation to the knight.
“Bubbaw n-n-nee’ fix housie, Bubbaw su cowd wifout fwuffpiaw…”
Predictably, Bluie didn’t care.
“Yu get nummies NAO oaw Bwuie gon’ frow yu in big twee pwace!”
Hiccupping and crying, Bubble ran as fast as he could to where the berry nummies were kept and started putting them onto a large leaf to be used like a supply sled. One by one he took the big berries and tasty edible flowers onto the platter, tasting every little morsel as it passed from pile to plate. Surely they wouldn’t notice if he ate just one berry…
Bubble looked to the guard-fluffy lying in an overturned pail watching him.
“Pwease can Bubbaw pwease haf’ jus’ one gud nummie? Pwease?”
The guard fluffy continued his angry glare, eyes never leaving the preserves he protected.
“Nu. You pesand, and pesands nu haf’ gud nummies. Bwocko gif hewties tu Bubbaw if Bubbaw num bewwie nummies. Yu num gwassies.”
The crestfallen fluffy expressed his hurt in the only way he could as he dragged away the nicest food he had ever seen to the meanest fluffies he had ever known, as he tugged the payload upon it’s green chariot across the lawn, tears flowed freely, inundating his face and trickling down his cheeks, teeth, and finally the stem the leaf where they became indistinguishable from the dew. All of it he had tasted, none of it he would eat, and his misery even accentuated the dish with its saline succor.
“Tank yu foaw get nummies Bubbaw.” Spoke a sweet voice, a greeting he was not expecting “Yu gu nao, Tuwip take nummies fwom heaw.”
Bubble turned around to see Tulip, the toughies turned enforcers a bit behind her.
“Yu du gud Bubbaw.” She said, flashing her warm, disarming smile at him, “Tuwip wiww haf’ ova peasant fix toughie-nestie. Oaw knight-nestie. Oaw whatevew.”
She chuckled, and Bubble felt his spirit lighten a little. As she inspected the food and started picking at the best parts before dragging it to the toughies she remarked to Bubble,“Bettaw gu ‘way afore ova fwuffies gif’ yu wowk tu du.”
He hesitated only briefly before making a break for the ruined hole he had made to sleep in. He was stressed, exhausted, and without companionship. Looking out to the yard he saw many other peasant fluffies subjected the same experience he was. Toil, hunger, and more toil. At least the grassie nummies were still abundant.
Hopefully the pebble-tower that the Princess commanded be built was tall again enough that it would be safe to sleep in a fluffpile with his friends again. He didn’t want to imagine what would happen if it were knocked over again.
Tomorrow would be better. He just had to keep working hard, and everything would be fine.
“Hay yu, dummeh-peasan’ fwuffy! Get tu wowk ow get huwties!”
The grim haze of night had surely broken, and the blisteringly keen arctic air was beginning to warm if only slightly from the nerve-slicing cold of the night. Did it matter what time it was? Did it matter how cold it was? All Greeny could feel was pain. The cold night exposed to the sympathetic moon tried to drive his body to numbness but he never quite got there. gravity dug its unseen nails into his body and attempted to pull him from his bindings.
But he would never be free. Forced into an upright position by a rebar stake dug deep into the ground, and soldered into his shattered, exposed, cauterized spine, he would stand until either exposure or some other malice claimed him. Another rebar was welded horizontal to the first at shoulder level, driven between the bones of his forearms to keep his arms outstretched up like a repentant scarecrow. That was vaguely, his job.
Typically, when another fluffy noticed his moans of pain and misinterpreted his crude crucifixion as a plea to be hugged, he performed his only remaining function to the herd. He wailed in agony. Every compression, even from the most pathetic fluffy, pressed into him with brutal savagery. His only way to stop the pain was to struggle to lucidity long enough to tell them why he was in his sorry state.
At first, he simply begged not to be hugged, but a fluffy screaming “hug” in almost any context was sure to only draw in more concerned assistance. No, his job was to tell the fluffies what he had done. His job was to make them hate him. Only then would they leave him alone, or at least leave after hurting him.
When he did find the strength to open his sallow eyes, he was greeted by the sight of his former family leering with hate from their lonely nest dug into one of the garden dividers. As punishment for loving such a disgusting infanticidal murderer, they had been ordered to remain separated from the fluffpile and located near him for so long as the Princess decreed necessary. The Princess even said that they were to do no work, only to stay in their satellite nest under the eyes of the monster they once loved.
Of course he wanted to die, he wished that he could, but even vocalizing that had become too painful, especially when his not-special-friend got up to beat him when he started to whimper too loudly. “Bad munstah-fwuffy nu tawkies! Babbehs twying tu haf’ sweepies!” She would say. His family seemed to have come to hate him most of all. His once special friend rejected him for his vile actions, and for what it had done to their standing in the herd.
His two colts cried out in anger and frustration that they “Onwy wuv mummah, and nu wan bad munstah-daddeh.” They even taught their little baby sister, who had just now become a tawkie-babbeh to say “Hachew daddeh! Nu wuv!”
What wonderful first words for a Greeny to hear his little filly say.
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