Chapter 13 Turner’s Fate
The prognosis wasn’t good. Turner had been damaged badly. They’d have to put him in a full body cast. They could do surgery and save him, but by the time he healed enough, he would grow and his legs wouldn’t be able to support his weight from them being inactive. He’d essentially be a pillow fluff with legs. Erin had tried to look into this, but came across a rather horrifying corner of the internet called ‘A Pillow Fluff is a Happy Fluff’. She’d had to shut that down after a few pages to vomit. Then cry. People who intentionally amputated a fluffy under the sick impression that being sedentary was better for them. Erin could tell all the fluffs were heavily photoshopped around their faces, but nothing could disguise the sadness in their eyes. And the photoshop team occasionally missed a spot of tears.
Further research after she calmed down showed that while some disabled fluffies could be happier, they were never truly happy again. It made Erin think. Would it be better to euthanize Turner? It would cost so much for a poorer quality of life. She could buy him all the mobility stuff in the world, but it wouldn’t make the little fluff happy. On top of that, other fluffies would likely bully him. Not his family or Verdant…but others would. It was a hard, emotional decision, but Erin knew what she had to do. She wanted herself and the rest of the fluffy family there to say goodbye.
She drove out there, having told the fluffies. She let them get all their tears out. “We’ll try to give Turner a happy send off, okay?” Though Erin didn’t know how she kept her eyes dry as well. She wanted to cry as much as the rest of them. She had to remain strong for them. She felt like the parent.
In the room, the atmosphere was bleak. Turner’s legs were being hugged. Erin carefully pet his head as she talked to the doctor. “Given how much pain he’s in, and how he’d have to be pillowed…please put him down painlessly.” She told the doctor, tears in her eyes.
The doctor nodded in understanding. “Yes. We’ll do that right away.” He told the girl, his voice full of sympathy. It took only a few minutes for the doctor to be back with the needle.
Erin was stroking Turner. “Hey, buddy.” She said.
Turner looked up at Erin. He wasn’t stupid. He was in so much pain, and everyone was sad around him. “Am Tuwnew…goin foweva sweepies?” He wheezed.
Erin nodded. “Yes.” She said. “I’m so sorry, Turner.”
“Was Tuwnew…gud fwuffy?”
“One of the best. A true smarty friend.” Erin felt sad and angry. Turner was so young. Forever sleeps should be the last things on his mind. He shouldn’t be thinking about his own death. “You’ll just feel a little owies…but then you can sleep and go to skettieland.”
“Nu wan bwudda tu gu!” Flare sobbed. Fruit and Barry also started sobbing, holding Turner’s head or front legs. “Wai bwudda tu foweva sweepies!? Meanie baww huwt bwudda!”
Erin let the fluffies cry themselves up, and say their goodbyes. Verdant even gave Turner a lick on the forehead. After that, they were ready. Erin could barely see the needle go in through her tears. Her voice was shaky, but she softly sang Turner a lullaby.
“Hush, little baby don’t say a word
Momma’s gonna buy you a mocking bird
And if that mocking bird don’t sing
Momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring is brass
Momma’s gonna buy you a looking glass
And if that looking glass gets broke
Momma’s gonna buy you a billy goat
And if that billy goat don’t pull
Momma’s gonna buy you a cart and bull…”
She couldn’t go on as Turner’s breathing finally slowed and stopped. Erin broke down crying, falling to her knees. Her eyes were level with the table and the rest of the fluffies were sobbing all over again with her. “He’s in skettiland now, guys. He’s not in pain anymore.” It was little consolation, but it was all they had.
The ride home was mostly in silence, a few sniffles and ‘huuhuus’ from the fluffies. Erin did not make the noise, but she cried a plenty. She almost couldn’t take it when she got home, and the dogs were sniffing, able to tell one pet was missing. They looked at her with those big brown eyes, silently asking ‘where’s Turner?’ Erin couldn’t even explain death to the dogs. All she could say to them was “Turner went bye-bye.” Going bye-bye to the dogs meant they left. It was all they’d understand. As if the universe conspired to break her heart further, the dogs still looked all around for Turner until they were satisfied he wasn’t hidden anywhere.
The next few days passed in a blur. Erin managed to call Chris about what happened. She just managed to get the bare bones, and tell him to pass it on. She couldn’t bear any more talking. She took care of her animals, trying not to break down in from to them. They knew she was sad, but she assured them that she would be happy in time. She just needed to heal. The fluffies did better than she did. They were young, and easily distracted. They had toys to entertain them. They cried occasionally when they missed him, but they were then playing and laughing again.
By the fifth day, Erin knew what had to be done. She’d grieved enough…now she wanted vengeance. Not only to avenge Turner, but for every other fluffy that bastard injured or killed. Erin was sure he hadn’t been idle while she was grieving for Turner. She’d had visits from friends, and other fluffy enthusiasts she’d befriended. All with their sympathies, some bringing food. They understood the pain Erin was going through. It wasn’t just a fluffy lost, but a foal. A spunky one full of life at that. One she personally rehabilitated. It was hard to lose any fluffy. She told them every detail. Of the man she’d tracked and what she caught him doing. The still healing black eye he ought to have. What he looked like without it. She wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
When she was finally ready to move around without crying, Erin went out again at night. But this time, it wasn’t just her. Anyone else that could get out at night. They were going to be patrolling. They were going to catch the guy this time. They may not be able to get him for animal abuse…but they could get him for destruction of property. Maybe even gross negligence with that slingshot. Erin had filed a police report, and they agreed if it had hit her or anyone else, it could do a good amount of damage. It could have even blinded someone if it hit them. The guy was a bit of a danger. The police couldn’t ignore a guy causing damage in people’s yards. The owner of the house had reported the canned spaghetti with broken glass. That was a further danger to any dog walkers.
Everything was in place. All that was left to do was execute the plan.
Erin was sleepy as she staked out, but kept pinching her thigh to stay alert. She’d have bruises tomorrow, but it was worth it. The worst part was commencing. The waiting. A friend had bought a budding smarty from the last chance bin. He was pretty, a red unicorn with a blue and white mane. He could even make the horn glow a few seconds. They hoped to rehabilitate it like Erin did, seeing if it was repeatable. If it wasn’t…well, they tried. The important part was this fluffy was the perfect bait. He’d walked around, showing it off, letting him yell and strain at the end of his harness, calling himself ‘bestest babbeh’. It was sure to get that sicko’s blood boiling. He had a major problem with assertive fluffies, so a full on bestest babbeh was going to catch his attention for sure. The owner even had an outside habitat he kept ferals in. He let the foal stay there, giving him his own housie and his own land. It got the little one to cooperate with sleeping outside where he’d normally pitch a fit.
While the little foal oohed and aahed over his new digs, and settled in the heated shelter for bed, the four staking out including Erin were now on the alert. Erin ignored the aggravation of the branch poking into her back from her spot in the bushes, keeping her hat low over her face and her scarf up. The last thing she needed was her pale skin shining like a beacon to alert someone she was nearby. Plus it would be embarrassing to explain to a bystander why she’s crouching in the bushes.
There he was. Erin tensed, ready to strike.