Rupert stood by the closed door, his heart aching as he listened to his Fluffy Cornflower weeping in her safe-room.
“Huu, Cownfwowa jus wan be mummah, wan babbehs tu gib wub an huggies. Wai Cownfwowa neba be mummah?”
It had been a little over a day since they got the news, Rupert had agreed to let Cornflower have babies after she diligently proved she could be kind and patient. He set up a meeting with a local breeder and one of his prized studs, hoping that everything would run smoothly.
Only for the breeder to inform him that the little nick in Cornflower’s ear wasn’t a birth defect or a childhood accident. It was a mark given to spayed mares.
Rupert felt like he’s been smacked with the front end of a truck. Nothing in Cornflower’s paperwork suggested she was spayed, no-one mentioned it to him during the sales process a couple years back. At no point was her inability to have young ever part of the conversation, Rupert had no idea and now he had to break the news to Cornflower who was shaking with excitement in the other room.
The breeder at least refunded most of Rupert’s down-payment, not that it helped the emotional turmoil.
A full day later and Cornflower hadn’t stopped crying, she hadn’t left her safe-room, hell she hadn’t left her bed except to lazily put some kibble in her mouth and occasionally pee. Rupert hadn’t heard her say ‘wan-die’ yet, but he knew she was circling.
Slowly, he opened the door, Cornflower was curled up in a ball, her favourite blanket over her head to cover herself in complete darkness. She kept sobbing even as Rupert sat down beside her and stroked her back.
“Hey, I’m just going to the shops for a little bit. You want me to get you anything?”
“Huu, nu daddeh… fank yu.”
“You sure? I could get you those little treats you like. Or that special spaghetti sauce with the little pieces of garlic.”
“Huu, sketti nu hewp wowstesh heawt huwties… bu du wan sketti pwease.”
“Of course Corn, anything you want.”
He gave her one final scratch before leaving her. He didn’t want to but some sympathy spaghetti might go a long way towards helping her, at least starting her on the road to recovery. Of course the whole walk down his mind was focussed on long-term recovery, Cornflower wanted to be a mother, she needed to be a mother, and that was taken away from her before she even had the chance to understand what she’d lost.
Of course Rupert also blamed himself, had he misheard the sales clerk, did he miss something in the paperwork, should he gotten her checked by the vet beforehand? So many what-ifs in his head, none of them changed the reality he was in.
His beloved pet was depressed, and there was little he could do to save her.
As he pulled his coat in tighter to brace himself against the growing winds of winter, Rupert found himself so lost in thought that he didn’t see the Fluffy in front of him until he almost kicked it in the face.
“Oh shit, sorry I didn’t…”
Rupert let out a tired sigh at the depressive sight in front of him, a lone mare was frozen to the ground, her front half almost merged with the icy puddle that had claimed her, her peach face contorted into a final scream of horror before succumbing to the bitter cold.
Around her, three foals, all of them scattered and still, their tiny bodies unable to cope without their mother’s warmth. Rupert knew he couldn’t save them, he was far too late for that, but maybe he could give them some comfort in death.
Gathering up the bodies of the young, Rupert began placing them onto their mother’s back, first a red colt, then a brown filly, then finally an orange colt placed onto…
Rupert’s eyes went wide. The orange colt moved, more than that he coughed, it was tiny and weak and painful, but it was a cough. He was alive.
Thinking quickly, Rupert tore off his scarf and bundled the tiny colt as best he could, giving him enough space to still be able to breathe whilst staying warm.
“It’s ok little guy, we’ll look after you.”
Comforting the foal as he ran back home, Rupert briefly wondered if this was the right thing to do, taking in a feral foal with no knowledge of his condition, his genealogy, his temperament.
But then he remembered the stories that his father Herman told him of the feral Fluffies he had taken in over the years on his farm, and Rupert Mongola made the decision there and then, that he was going to save this foal.
This is just a little hugbox story I wanted to write up to formally introduce the final member of the Mongola Family, since everyone else is mentally unstable I figured it be nice to have Herman’s son be a little more like his father than the rest of the family.