Morning came and Buck and Ted woke up at roughly 7am, as the sunlight peered through the branches above their heads. They hadn’t slept well, not after what they’d seen the night before, but the ordeal had at least worn them out enough that they’d been able to drop off eventually.
Although as soon as they awoke, they knew what the day had in store for them.
They got up, drank some water, ate some food, and then returned to their position at the bank. It was day three of their camping trip, and it would be the final one, they both knew it.
They peered through the binoculars and watched the herd. They were still sleeping in the fluff-pile, all except for the mama from the night before, who had cuddled up with the remainders of her foal’s corpses, and had fallen asleep by herself.
“How’re we gonna do it, Buck?” Ted asked, his eyes fixed on the brilliant red of the Smarty’s fluff, buried at the centre of the fluff-pile.
“You stay here with the BB rifle.” Buck said. “There’s plenty of ammo in my backpack for it, don’t worry about that. You keep an eye on the herd. I’ll head over to the other side. and spook them. They’ll wake up and start running all over. A few will get into the snares no doubt, and any others will try running in the other direction… which’ll lead them right towards you. They’ll be too scared to go into the water, so shoot 'em as you see 'em. I’ll take the butterfly net. I’ll use it to grab a few like the Smarty and any others that catch my eye. I promise, I’ll leave the Smarty for you.”
With the plan established, Buck returned to the bags and grabbed what they needed. The rifle and pellets for Ted, the butterfly net for himself, their flashlights and their pocket-knives, just in case.
“Don’t do anything until they wake up. The element of surprise will be on our side.” Buck said, handing the rifle, pellets, knife and flash-light to Ted, while keeping the net and his own knife and light to himself.
“Got it, Buck.” His younger brother said. Ted raised the rifle, pressing the butt against his shoulder, and peered down the iron-sights. The gun only fired metal pellets but he still felt like he was holding an utterly powerful, truly lethal weapon.
Buck crept down the slope and crossed the river again, ducking down to clamber through the gap in the foliage and entering the clearing.
The smell was awful. The stink of the already-rotting foal corpses mixed with the rancid stink of the ‘poopie-place’, which was only a shallow hole that had already been filled to overflowing by the volume of turds and urine that the volume of fluffies were producing every day.
Buck surveyed the herd for a moment, doing a few checks. He was right, there was a total of fifteen fluffies, not counting the mama sleeping on her own, which made sixteen. The Smarty was in the centre of the fluff-pile and seemed quite content, while the others on the outside were shivering in the frigid early morning air.
Buck ran his eyes over them, trying to think of how best to start a panic… then he got it.
One of the fluffies tucked into the fluff-pile’s outside was a foal that had evidently been late in going to bed. It was shivering violently and every breath was a wheeze… it seemed ill.
Buck decided to put it out of his misery.
He carefully placed his foot on the foal’s rear (which stuck directly out of the fluff-pile), gently resting the thick sole of his new boot on it’s butt. He glanced back at Ted, who he could see through the gap. Ted gave him a thumbs-up, and took aim with the rifle. Buck nodded back, and turned to look at the foal again.
Then he pressed down on it.
At first it was gentle, but the pressure alone was enough to make the foal stir. It mumbled and muttered something, but then Buck increased the pressure, pushing his foot down harder, crushing the foal’s tiny legs against the hard ground of the forest.
“Eep! Owies! Bestest babbeh hab owies! Mummah, hewp babbeh!” It chirped and squeaked.
“Snrrk… shaddup dummeh babbeh…” Smarty snorted before going back to sleep.
"Owies! Owies OWIES OWIES!!!" The baby squealed as Buck’s foot pressed harder and harder on it’s rear, feeling it’s body clicking under his foot as the tiny fragile bones splintered and cracked.
“Mrrhm… babbeh… pwease nu mowe loudies… mummah wan sweepy…” One of the other fluffies (it’s mother, evidently) muttered, before also returning to sleep.
Buck was disappointed. This wasn’t going anywhere.
So he lifted his foot from the foal’s rear, then brought it stomping back down again.
The foal’s entire back half was crushed under his boot with an almighty ‘SPLAT’. The foal let out an ear-splitting shriek, and at long last, the herd were awake.
"SCREEEEEEEEE!!! OWIE! OWIE OWIE OWIE! MUMMAH, HEWP! HEWP HEWP HEWP!!!" The foal babbled wildly, it’s eyes bulging out of it’s head as it frantically scrabbled around to escape from the horrible pain of it’s flattened rear half.
The herd, startled awake by the sudden shrieking of the foal, wriggled themselves free of the fluff-pile to work out what was going on. A ‘bestest’ foal was screaming and crying, okay that was nothing new, but what was causing it?!
With the fluff-pile disentangled, the herd’s eyes looked to the foal… then to the blood-soaked boot on it’s rear, and then up the boot to the leg to the chest to the head of the person who was standing on the foal.
Buck looked down at the herd, and smirked.
“Howdy.” He said.
The herd exploded into blind panic.
“EEP! BABBEH HUWTIES!”
The herd dashed off in various directions, but the traps prevented them from running very far. One by one, several of the fluffies blundered into the bushes and foliage around their spot, only to immediately let out an ‘EEP!’ as they were plucked from the ground and suspended in the air, a length of string tied tightly around at least one of their legs (most had somehow managed to put two hooves into the trap at once).
As the herd ran and screamed and panicked, Buck withdrew the flash-light and rapidly clicked it on and off, flickering the light at the fluffies. The sudden brightness burned into their eyes, blinding and dazzling them for a moment, just long enough to disorient and confuse them. When the light went off, their eyes recovered… only for it to click on again, blinding them all over again. The blinded fluffies ran back and forth, stumbling and staggering and tripping over their own hooves, compeletly losing all senses of direction and balance as the flickering light confused them into submission.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, Ted had seized his opportunity.
As the herd had begun to panic, some had ran for the traps, but others had already ran for the river. They immediately changed their mind after seeing the water, but knew they couldn’t go back… and so, faced with a difficult choice, they simply froze, unable to think.
Which is when Ted’s opportunity presented itself.
He took aim and squeezed the trigger. The BB gun sounded more like a ‘CLICK’ than a ‘BLAM’, but it didn’t matter, at that moment it felt just the same. The rifle kicked slightly against Ted’s shoulder, and a single metal pellet fired out from the barrel, burying itself in a frozen fluffy pony’s eye.
“SCREEE! SEESY-PWACE HUWTIES! OWIE! HEWP! HEWP!” The fluffy shrieked and babbled as it fumbled around on the edge of the river, blood gushing out of it’s exploded eye. The fluffy lost it’s footing and tumbled over, landing with a splash in the river.
Ted took aim again and fired again, this time hitting another fluffy in the leg. On a human, a BB pellet would sting at worst, penetrate the skin at best. But fluffy pony biology was so fragile, the pellet actually tore through the fluffy’s leg entirely, passing through one before burying itself in another.
“WEGGY HUWTIES! HEWP! OWIES!” The other fluffy screamed, before it too tumbled and fell into the river, drowning quickly in the gently flowing water.
Back at the herd’s camp, Buck was having the time of his life.
The fluffies had been scared away from trying to escape thanks to the traps, but were now left with an impossible situation. The monster was already there, and had killed a foal, what could they do against it?!
Then, Smarty stepped up.
“DUMMEH HEWD!” He snapped. “FIGHTY MUNSTAH! GIB OWIES!”
The herd looked at the ‘munstah’ which, despite only being a ten year old boy, still towered over them all.
“Fuckin’ try it.” Buck said, readying the butterfly net. With one fast swipe, he scooped up the Smarty in it.
“EEP! DUMMEH HEWD! HEWP SMAWTY! SABE SMAWTY!”
“Munstah take Smawty!” One of the fluffies squeaked, before attempting to tackle Buck’s leg. This did nothing to Buck, and only succeeded in mildly stunning the fluffy.
“Nice try.” Buck said, before raising his foot and stomping on the fluffy. Being that this fluffy was an adult, he wasn’t able to completely crush it, but he did at least manage to snap several of it’s bones with a single step.
“SPESHUL-FWIEND!” One of the pregnant mamas screamed as she saw her partner’s head collapse under Buck’s boot. She attempted to waddle towards him, a process made more difficult by her bulky pregnant body, and not helped at all by the teeming mass of other fluffies running to and fro around the camp.
“NU HEWP DUMMEH FWIEND, STOOPID MAWE!” Smarty yelled from inside the net, slung over Buck’s shoulder. “HEWP SMAWTY!!!”
“Shut up.” Buck muttered, before giving the special-friend a kick. The pregnant mare waddled over to him, only for Buck to then swing his foot back and bring it fowards again, kicking the mare directly in her face with the heavy tip of his boot.
The mare lifted through the air, even turning slightly as she flew, before crashing to the ground in a heap several feet away, on the other side of the camp.
“OWIES! HEWP MUMMAH! HE- EEEE! BABBEHS COMIN’!” She squealed. Suddenly, several tiny blood-soaked blobs burst out from her rear, along with a shower of watery blood from her ruptured organs.
Ted took aim again and shot another fluffy, this time hitting it in the side. The pellet buried itself in the fluffy’s body, but didn’t travel far enough to emerge from the other side. What it did do, however, was tear through multiple organs inside the fluffy, including it’s lungs, stomach and heart, which all began to fill with blood as the fluffy fell to the ground, gasping for breath as it drowned in it’s own bodily fluids.
Ted turned the gun and fired at another, this time deeper in the camp. The pellet hit the left side of fluffy’s head and burst it’s skull open, actually exploding the right half of the fluffy’s head completely as the pellet exited it’s body.
“Fuckin’ A!” Buck shouted as he watched the fluffy’s head erupt like a volcano of blood and bone-fragments.
“I fuckin’ got 'em Buck!” Ted shouted, swearing for the first time in his life, but not noticing. He was too happy at the shot he’d made.
“Yeah you fuckin’ did, lil’ brother! Attaboy!”
He turned and delivered another kick to another fluffy, launching it through the air until it landed amidst the branches of a particularly thorny bush.
“OWIES! SPIKEY OWIES! HEWP FWUFFEH!” It squealed as the thorns dug deep into the fluffy’s paper-thin skin.
“SHADDUP! HEWP SMAWTY! DUMMEH HEWD!” Smarty yelled from the net.
“God, shut the fuck up already.” Buck said, lifting the net off of his shoulder and resting the handle between two tree-branches, trapping it and leaving the Smarty suspended high above the bloody carnage that had become the herd’s ‘safe-place’.
Ted took another shot, this time hitting a male directly in his genitals. The pellet tore through his balls and dick before burying itself inside his body. Ted turned and caught a stray, lost, left-behind foal in the side, the force of the pellet actually causing the foal to explode. Ted aimed again and fired again, catching a pegasus on one of it’s wings, shredding the wing like paper.
This was the most fun he’d ever had in his life.
“Hey Ted!” Buck suddenly called. “That’s most of 'em gone, get over here and help me mop 'em up!”
“On it!” Ted shouted, dropping the gun and vaulting over the bank into the river. He picked his way past the pellet-filled fluffy corpses and clambered through the gap, joining his brother in the camp.
“How many’s left?”
“'Bout three adults, I reckon, and a shit-load’a foals.” Buck said, stomping on one of the hamster-sized blobs of technicolor fur. Ted followed suit, turning and driving a foot into a pregnant mare’s stomach. She suddenly vomited (which, incidentally, landed on another fluffy), and keeled over as she complained about her ‘babbeh huwties’. Ted looked away just as she too began to miscarry her cargo of foals.
Buck swung his flash-light like a club, cracking the heavy front-end against a fluffy’s head. The impact shattered the fluffy’s skull and floored it immediately, alive but concussed into oblivion. Buck swung again, and this time the blow was fatal.
“Alright,” Buck said at last. “That’s the last of 'em. Now it’s just the ones in the traps.”
“DUMMEHS FOWGET SMAWTY!” Smarty yelled, thrashing around in the net. They weren’t sure if he was upset at being ignored in a general sense, or if he honestly felt left out by not being killed, but either way, they ignored him.
“What’re we gonna do with the trapped ones?” Ted asked.
“Honestly? I think we should just leave 'em.” Buck said. “All the dead ones’ll make good eating for birds and mice, but the live ones’ll be better for bigger stuff, like coyotes.”
Ted took a look at the trapped fluffies. The strings were digging in tight against each of the fluffy’s limbs. Most were strung up by their front legs, a few by their back legs… one had even gotten snared by it’s front left hoof and it’s neck, and was panicking itself into exhaustion as it felt itself being strangled without actually losing any air.
Ted didn’t know much about biology, but he remembered something Ma had told him after she caught him playing with an elastic band a few years ago. He was bored, so he’d wrapped it round his arm and was lightly twanging it against his skin, only for his mother to hear the sound and tell him off for doing it. She explained that if he left the elastic band on for too long, his arm would rot off and die. The thought had been scary enough to make sure Ted never tried it again.
The lesson briefly came to mind as he saw the fluffy pony’s limbs, all tightly constricted by the strings of the traps… and he wondered how many of them would lose their limbs before they were eaten.
“Hey, Ted!” Buck called suddenly. Ted turned, and saw Buck holding the net with the bright red Smarty still thrashing around inside it. “Here’s your prize, lil’ brother!”
Ted walked up and took the net from him, looking down at the Smarty wildly flailing around inside.
“What’re you gonna do to him?” Buck asked. Ted had been thinking about it ever since he’d asked to be the one to kill him, and he’d decided.
“Buck, can you show me how to skin a fluffy alive?” He asked.
Buck smirked, and pulled out his pocket-knife.