Jen hated her job.
The teenager stood behind the cash register, sneakily messing with her phone while doing her best to steal glances at the shopping floor and doing her best to ignore the chorus of fluffy cries. Working at a Fluff-Mart, to her, had to be one of the worst jobs out there. Sure, it paid well, had decent hours, and wasn’t too demanding but…hearing the cries, pleading, and demands of fluffies tended to get on one’s nerves. They always begged for a “nyu daddy” and some demanded “sketti” around the clock. For the most part, management was smart enough to house them separately: foals were kept in their own area, as were stallions and mares. The last thing management wanted was a stallion breaking into the mare enclosure and breeding nonstop, because that was more foals to get processed and, if they were shit colors, more foals to chuck into the incinerator.
…Jen didn’t even know why they had one…even though she hated fluffies, that shit felt inhumane.
“Hey, look alive,” Her coworker, Sam, caught her attention. “It’s almost two.”
“…that’s important?” Jen stopped fiddling with her phone.
Sam raised a brow. “Oh, right, you’re new. That’s when Doug comes around for his pickup. You’ll…you’ll know him when you see him.”
The jingle of the door’s bells caught her attention. Jen turned and watched a tall, dark-skinned man enter the store. The sight of him left her slightly intimidated; big, broad, and muscular, the man was built like a linebacker and looked fit to be a bouncer. His hair was neatly braided into cornrows and his eyes covered with a set of aviators. His outfit was fairly casual: a black tee-shirt and jeans with a pair of work boots and gloves. Overall, he looked like the sort of guy who could just pick a man up with one hand and fling him like a child’s toy…yet he was in a Fluff-Mart. Picking up…well stuff for bio-toys.
All the same, the big man approached the counter. Sam gingerly pushed Jen out the way and took her place at the register just as Doug reached it. “Yo, Sam, y’all got my shipment?” His voice was baritone and deep, something Jen wasn’t expecting.
“It’s in the back. I’ll grab it for you in a minute.”
“Thanks. Really wish y’all did delivery, but I’ll take what I can get.” He chuckled. “I’m just glad there’s a Fluff-Mart not too far from home.” He turned his head towards the pens, lips curling into a scowl. “Take your time with the stuff, Sam. I’m gonna browse for a bit, see about adding someone to the Happy Farm, ‘kay?” With that, he sauntered off, leaving Jen with more questions than answers.
“…um…Happy Farm…?” Jen whispered to Sam. “That sounds like a mill.”
“Surprisingly, it’s not.” Sam entered some stuff into the computer, talking as she worked. “You want the short version or the long one?”
“Doug runs a business where he sells fluffies found from…pretty much everywhere, but trains them to not want the shit that turns people off them. Y’know, stuff like demanding sketti, being helpful around the house, and mares wanting babies.”
“Bullshit. How do you train that shit outta a fluffy?” Jen wasn’t adept with her fluffy knowledge, but even she knew that shit was basically second nature for fluffies; instinct, even! And those damn things barely had instinct!
“Dunno, he never told me. Management likes him ‘cause he buys the unwanted fluffies; bad colors, misbehaved, and other things. Honestly, I colored him for an abuser when he first came in, but when he doted on a foal he was buying…well I assumed wrong.” Sam finished up and left to grab Doug’s stuff. Jen watched said big man returned to the counter, holding two foals. One was gently cradled in his hand and was a puke green color, and the other was a baby blue color and was clutched in his other one.
“Wet bestes’ babbeh go! huwties!” It screeched.
“Can you ring these two up, also?” He asked. “Found the lil’ green one being bullied by this one. Seems like a smarty, so I’ll just be taking him off your hands, ‘kay?” Jen nodded and rang him up as quick as she could. Least this meant less foals that’d be sent to the incinerator.
Sam returned with a cardboard box filled with various goods. At a glance, Jen saw a few bags of kibble, some tins of sketti, and even a few treats. “Here you are—oh, you picked up some more from the unwanted pen?”
“Mhm. These two were having a scuffle, so I’ll be taking them.”
“Alright, but the blue one there’s been a hassle before. Might grow into a smarty. Just…making sure you know.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I know.” Both foals were loaded into a cardboard carrier, and Doug was on his way, giving a wave to both ladies as he left. “I’ll be by next week! Oh, and if you get some new kibble in stock, lemme know!” And with that, he was out the door.
“Hmm.” Jen pondered what Sam said about his business. At first, she didn’t think too much on it, but now…well she was legitimately curious on how he trained fluffies out of the worst parts about them. Through proper training? Through abuse? She didn’t know, but…a trained fluffy didn’t sound so bad.
Next time he came, she needed to see if he had a number or something. Could be something nice to give her boyfriend.
Douglas tuned out the sounds of the foals as he walked. They were asking an assortment of questions on where they were and, more annoyingly, crying about being trapped in a dark box. He learned a long time ago to tune that shit out. Less of a headache. The late afternoon sun bore down on him as he approached the large, red barn that was a little way away from his house and surrounding said barn was the wooden fence he hired his cousin to build. It was a lot like the fences used for keeping cattle in, but lower, namely because fluffies could barely jump, and it did deter wildlife.
Then again, in his entire year of running the business, he never saw one coyote like he feared. Did see a hawk though. So, that was cool.
All the same, he stepped over the fence and into the barn. A chorus of hellos assailed his ears as the barn’s occupants greeted him; fifteen fluffies, all scattered about. They were a mix of things: stallions, colts, mares and fillies. No foals were in the barn, though. They went in the house until they were either sold or old enough to go to the barn.
“Well, seems y’all learned from last time.” Douglas mused as he set the box of goods in the corner. There were no piles of shit scattered about, which meant they learned well from the last demonstration on what happened to bad fluffies. Probably meant the litterboxes out back were full, but that was fine. “Good. Ruddy, anything to report?”
One of the stallions, a dull red one with a bright green mane, waddled up to him. “Nu bad fwuffies, mistah dougwas!” He exclaimed. “Buh owibe was wantin’ babbehs.”
Douglas rolled his eyes. “I guess it’s time for a demonstration after all. Get everyone and tell them to go to the Pit.” Ruddy visibly cringed at the mention of the Pit, but all the same waddled away to do as told. Douglas tucked the carrier under his arm and jogged back to his house, entering quickly and moving to the saferoom.
It was, for the most part, basic. Rudimentary. It was large and had a lot of decorative paintings on the wall. The floor was soft carpet and toys were scattered about. At least eight foals of various colors waddled about, playing with the toys or, as he expected, feeding from the milkbag strapped to the wall. The sight of her made Douglas sigh a bit. She had good colors too; burgundy with a scarlet mane, but…well she decided to misbehave, and an example needed to be made.
Thankfully, after they all watched the process, there weren’t any more incidents.
The carrier was popped open. Douglas reached in and gently pulled the green foal out, setting him down on the carpet. “Wet bestes’ babbeh out! dawk scawy!” The other one cried, and when he felt him clamp onto his finger, Douglas delivered a swift flick with his thumb, turning the foal’s panicked cries into whimpers of pain.
“Got another one for you, Mary.” He called to the nurse fluffy who, at the moment, was instructing two foals on how to play huggy tag. “Make sure he knows the rules, and if there’s any issues, you know where the time out pen is.”
“Otay!” Mary called. Douglas felt a bit bad he couldn’t use Mary for profit; her colors were good, with white fur and a gray mane, but she was spayed; something all nurse fluffs had to get as they were supposed to be training babies on how to behave. Wouldn’t be very smart for them to turn into bitch mares, now would it?
With the foal delivered, Douglas tucked the cardboard carrier under his arm and headed down the hall to the garage. He parted the door and heard the gentle tick of claws against the floor as a forked tongue poked at his boots, earning an amused snort from the big man.
“Happy to see me, Gabriella?” Douglas stooped down and rubbed at the Asian Water Monitor’s head, earning another snort when she flicked her tongue at his wrist. She wasn’t that old but was already an absolute unit of a lizard. Made sense with the diet he fed her. The garage was, in a sense, her saferoom: it had a kiddie pool for her to swim in, a basking spot for her to rest at, and even a few “toys” he left about for her to fiddle with if she got bored. He was glad his cousin decided to gift her to him when she was little; she was the best friend he could ask for, and she was pretty easy to appease, too. Then again, he did name her after a lizard from an old kid’s show…so that sorta made sense.
Speaking of, Gabby flicked her tongue at the carrier, growing more alert by the second. “Patience, girl,” He cooed. Douglas stooped down and, gingerly, picked the big lizard up, letting her rest against his shoulder like one would carry a child. She was used to being picked up in such a way; he made sure to get her used to it when she was a baby, and now she almost preferred it. With his pet in tow, Douglas adjusted his grip on the carrier and left the house, heading back for the barn, or rather to its side.
The herd was already waiting, gathered around the Pit. Said Pit was, really, just a hole in the ground, one he dug out a long time ago and smoothed over with concrete. It was, sadly, stained with a myriad of things, such as blood, bile, and fecal matter. He always forgot to clean it after a demonstration, but…oh well.
“Scawy wizawd munsta…” A stallion whimpered. The herd all saw Gabriella and were rightfully intimidated. The lizard paid them no mind, especially when Douglas set her down and she rested lazily at the Pit’s edge. He made sure it was tall enough for her to easily crawl out when she saw fit, and for her quarry to be unable to.
“Olive.” He spoke. The mare in question trudged forward, looking absolutely petrified at the sight of the monitor lizard. She kept trying to avert her gaze but, every time, ended up looking back at the big lizard and being petrified all over again. “What did I tell you about foals?”
“T-t-that fwuffies hab babbehs wen mistah dougwas say so’…” She whimpered.
“Buh…huhu…” She was already sobbing. Oh joy. “Babbehs am dah bestes’ fing in dah wowwd! why nu can owibe hab dem! ‘ou dummeh daddeh fo’ nu wettin’ owiba hab babbehs!” She went into a fear induced tantrum. He expected that.
Douglas grinned. “Welp, alright, you can have babies.” Her fear evaporated in an instant. He snapped his fingers to get her attention back. “But, when they’re born, they get to end up just like this lil’ foal here.”
And, curtly, he dumped the baby blue foal into the Pit. He hit the ground with a thud and screeched in pain, crying for hugs and demanding Douglas provided them. Gabby’s head shot up, and in seconds the monitor sped towards him. The herd cried in terror, especially as the monitor’s jaws enclosed on the pained, frightened smarty foal.
“Munsta—SCREEEEEEEEE!!!” The foal screeched bloody murder as the lizard enclosed her jaws around him, crushing his torso. She thrashed him against the ground, doing so again and again, all the while he screamed for help and the herd watched on in terror. He could almost hear the snap of bones and the pulverizing of organs from each impact. It released a spurt of shit that fell to the floor, but none got on his monitor. He made a note to drain them before sending them to the Pit for next time. Gabby took every visit to the Pit seriously, and always made sure to kill the foal completely before eating it…often while it was in pieces, but some were unfortunate enough to be fed on while they were still alive. He saw it happen.
“If any of you try to help, I’ll throw you into the woods.” Douglas threatened. He caught the side of a mare inching forward, ready to dive into the Pit to defend the foal. Always happened. Some just couldn’t help but to try and help the screaming foal; to heed their maternal instincts and protect the baby. Those ones didn’t last. The display wasn’t for his enjoyment; truth be told, Douglas didn’t like feeding foals to Gabriella, or making the herd watch, but he did it anyways.
Why? Because it created fear. Fear was what made any fluffy listen. Fear was what made them stop demanding and begging for things that were never theirs to begin with. Fear was what kept them obedient. Their foals, the ones who he let have them of course, were trained in a different manner, with Mary teaching them how to be good babies. They never cried for sketti because they never even knew what it was, and Mary, bless her, was obedient enough never to talk about or even ask for it herself. But, considering he sourced much of the herd from ferals he found around the city an hour away or from the local Fluff-Mart, they needed to be broken before they could be made to listen. Made to be taught. Then he could sell them.
Gabby slammed the foal into the ground over and over, persisting in her relentless assault. The splatter of blood grew each time she slammed the foal into the concrete floor, earning shrieks of pain from it that only served to further traumatize the herd. He felt bad they all had to witness it, and not just Olive, but this discouraged others from being bad too. Stopped problems before they started. Meant less foals would have to go into the Pit.
A sickening crunch filled his ears. The foal landed on the ground, legs going one way and torso going the other. With how it flailed and struggled, Douglas could tell it’s upper and lower body were basically severed, held together only by its skin. Gabby charged again and enclosed her maw over the foal’s head.
“Uck…wan die…wan di—” Its wish was granted with a messy bite, and the monitor started to eat her kill, leaving the severed lower half to fall to the ground with a splatter. By now, several mares were openly crying at the death of the foal they never knew, while the stallions watched on in horror, yet none looked away.
“So, Olive,” Douglas pointed at the remains of the smarty foal. “Still want babies?”
“Nu…nu wan…nu wan…” She whimpered, on the verge of breaking into sobs.
“Good. Until then, Ruddy, get everyone back inside. Dinner’s in ten.” And, with that, Douglas sat down and waited for Gabby to finish her meal. He did make a note to take her back to the vet; said vet said it was safe for her to eat fluffies, yes, but she was due for a check-up. She could lose some pounds.
For now, best to wait. As said, he took no pleasure in letting Gabby tear apart foals. But, in the end, it was just business.