You were walking in the park one evening, in an area where few people walked because the streetlights were broken. Only to hear sad, pathetic chirping coming from under a garbage can. It was faint and weak, almost drowned out entirely by evening traffic. Feral fluffies wouldn’t be out this late, and if they were, they’d be someplace where it wasn’t dark as sin.
You stuck your nose where it didn’t belong, under the garbage can, and found a lone fluffy foal, no more than five days old. But when you got in there with your phone flashlight for a better look, you realized it was way too big to be a chirpy. It could’ve easily been ten days or more. It lifted its head and turned its blind eyes toward the light; they were still sealed, seams crusted over with gunk and tears, and you finally noticed the pool of loose skin it was lying in. You could see every bump and curve of its spine, but its body splayed out to be wider than your hand. Its little nostrils were caked over with dry blood.
The foal squealed when you touched it, tiny voice hoarse from hours upon hours of fruitless crying, and a geyser of concentrated shit sprayed out of its back end.
“Hey little guy, Shhhhh I’m not gonna hurt you,” You cooed and stroked its head, but it just kept screaming. It didn’t even stop to breathe until you wiped its bottom clean with a scrap of newspaper. It peeped, and the stimulation made it void itself again.
You managed to get the foal in your hand with minimal shit and no broken bones. It trembled, squeaking every so often like it couldn’t help itself. It pressed its body against your warm skin, mouthing at the mounds and calluses on your fingers, trying to find a teat. It didn’t get any milk, but it calmed down significantly. Its flabby skin felt weird and gross squeezed between your fingers.
You cupped it in both hands, held it slightly away from your shirt, and took it home.
Recently, grocers started selling fluffy milk by the gallon, a far cheaper alternative to cow’s milk, and with a (debatably) lesser environmental impact. You’d still rather drink cockroach milk, but nobody’s decided to mass produce it yet. You filled a small custard cup for the foal and a mug for yourself.
It couldn’t smell the heated milk through its scabbed-over nostrils, but it felt the warmth and wriggled closer, wrapping its body around the little dish. You tried to grab its head, to move it to where it could drink, but it squeaked like a dying dog toy when you pulled. You tried another approach, dipping your finger in the milk and touching it to the foal’s lips. It immediately latched onto your finger, and the feeling of its cottony, toothless mouth made you grimace. When it realized it hadn’t actually found a nipple, it licked every millimeter of skin clean.
You pinched its loose neck skin and the foal peeped in alarm. It didn’t have the strength to resist as you lowered its chin into the milk.
“Come on little guy, drink…”
Once it realized its face was in a bowl of the very thing it had been crying out for, its entire body fell limp and it drank. It drank, and drank, and drank. It kept thrusting its head forward like it was trying to drown itself, so you had to carefully hold its nostrils above the waterline the whole time. But then you had to pull it away, for its own good. It was going to overload its parched system. The foal made a long, high-pitched cry and flailed its little legs, so you stuck your finger in its mouth again. Ah, silence.
Then the foal’s whole body jerked. You removed your finger and it did it again. And again. It was the tiniest case of hiccups you’d ever seen.
As soon as you replaced your finger however, it vomited up all the milk it just drank and started crying.
You let the foal drink again, but lifted it out of the dish a little sooner this time. It still cried and flailed, but you placed it in a cardboard box with a blanket and a hot water bottle. It chirped at you, refusing to lay down, panicking about losing both its milk source and your touch, evidently not noticing the big, warm mound of blankets on the other side of the box. So you just brought the whole thing over to the couch and let the foal cuddle your hand. You set a timer for two hours.
Your little friend eventually fell asleep, and you enjoyed your hot fluffy-milk tea as you did some more in-depth research on Sensitive Baby Syndrome.
There wasn’t much information available, and what little there was was not helpful. It was all different methods of culling or torturing the defective units. SBS foals had become highly sought-after by abusers for reasons you… understood. They were incredibly needy, untrainable, and couldn’t communicate at all. Plus, they were hard to find, as they tended to die very soon after their siblings were weaned. And that was only if they hadn’t been outright abandoned first.
You continued your regular schedule of spaced-out, carefully-measured feedings. The foal never stopped drinking by itself, so you had to be careful it didn’t make itself sick. You weighed it on your fancy little tea scale each time.
It always started chirping loudly at you before it pissed or shat itself. It was annoying, but you’d rather take it out of the enclosure and wipe its genitals with a tissue than have to replace its bedding every half hour. It reminded you of fostering kittens, only worse.
It opened its eyes after a couple days, but it was slow to react to visual stimuli. It didn’t chirp or open its mouth when you walked by like a normal foal, but the second it saw the white ramekin it would start peeping.
“Heh. I’m starting to think you like your milk dish more than you like me, huh little guy?” You reached down to stroke its chubby cheek and the foal cooed, pushing its whole head into the curve of your hand so you’d pinch its scruff like you always did when you fed it.
It cried at the slightest noise and whenever you were out of its line of sight. So you gave it a wad of socks to cuddle. It took to them well enough, and you got a much-needed break.
It still only chirped and peeped, and voiced its squeaky distress when you started making it walk for its milk, or crawl for its sock ball, or drag itself over to the hot water bottle.
You also started moving it over to the litterbox when it peeped at you, and (lovingly) forcing it to walk back to its nest by itself. It used to cry when you placed it in the box, and try to crawl out as soon as its hooves touched down. Eventually, you figured out that it didn’t like the texture of the sand, so you replaced it with newspaper and the behavior stopped. Crisis averted.
It still fell down and it still cried when it didn’t want to walk, but you petted its head and warmed it with your hands, and the reassurance seemed to give it strength. At the very least, you found that if you gave it your hand to hold and pulled it ever-so-slightly away, the foal would follow, drawn by the warmth and comfort, all the way to where it needed to go.
With you managing its food intake and exercise, your little Sensitive foal was able to maintain a healthy weight. It was soft and weak, but it was no longer the flabby sack of skin it once was. It was still a bit small, but it nearly starved into liver failure as a weanling. Your fluffy vet said stunted growth was to be expected.
Your little Sensitive Baby was all grown up, and you actually liked it a lot more than you liked regular fluffies. Yours didn’t talk or beg, demand this or that, or try to escape the house. It just wanted to be near you constantly and couldn’t eat solid food.
It still cried when it couldn’t find you, so you got a little baby-carrier that you could swaddle it in. It followed your schedule at whatever pace you set, and watched whatever you did like it was TV. Even boring stuff like sitting through meetings or answering emails. Or it’d be lost in its own little world, snuggled into the warmth of your chest.
Getting it fixed was a big, traumatic ordeal, but it never cried for its lumps. It didn’t even seem to notice they were gone, just bothered by the pain of the incision and the cone around its neck.
It still cried at loud noises, but then you stuffed some cotton buds in its ears and left them there. It cried a lot less after that. You also made something you called a “Happy Hat,” basically a little white balaclava without the eyeholes. It blocked out visual overload, and the white color kept your fluffy from being afraid of the dark. Meltdowns were surprisingly easy to deal with when you could stop them before they started.
You also kept a separate jug of fluffy milk in your fridge, filled halfway with kibble that turned into a nutritious, mushy slurry that your full-grown SBS fluffy slurped up like sketties.
Speaking of sketti, every so often, when you were making pasta and your fluffy smelled it and knew it just had to have some, you gave it a little dish of sauce. It could do with a few ripe tomatoes and some garlic. Kept the fleas away. But its little celebratory Sketti Dance really took the cake. It swung its legs side-to-side and cheeped, “Keh-ee! chrrrp!” in its off-key baby voice. Triggered your Cuteness Aggression something fierce.
It had its own little language that you’d managed to somewhat decipher over the past few months.
When paired with frantic leg-wiggling, “Peep! Puh-puh! Peep peep!” meant it needed the potty.
Its white ramekin became a white cereal bowl that received its own special name, “Nuh-muh! Peep!” and was always accompanied by happy prancing and a full-body tail wag.
Often, your fluffy seemed only vaguely aware of your presence, preoccupied with whatever went on in its little fluffy brain. But when it did notice you, it would throw up its front legs and squeak, “Chirp Uh-bee!”
And in the quiet moments, when your fluffy was at its happiest, it would chirp, “Buh! Buh Duh-buh! coo,” And headbutt whatever part of you was closest.
You’re still not sure what lesson you’re supposed to take from this, but sometimes all it takes is a little love.
SBS fluffy language cipher
“Keh-ee!” = sketti
“Buh!” = wuv
“Duh-buh!” = daddeh
“Puh-puh!” = poopie, peepee, or potty
“Uh-bee!” = huggie, or upsie
“Nuh-muh!” = nummie
I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sensitive-babbeh-discourse, so i wanted to see if i could give an SBS foal a happy ending where it got to grow up to be healthy and loved. this is absolutely tooth-rotting. i gave myself Super Diabetes writing this
gotta have a palette-cleanser so all the other SBS foals can see what they’re missing out on & cry about it lol
my obsession with Happy Endings (all kinds) makes me feel like the edgier, hornier version of Boop haha
((im on new non-stimulant ADHD meds and i slept like 5 hours last night, am i going to die? cast your vote below))
look Ma, im using a spoiler thing for its intended purpose
autistic rant with spoilers for Willy's Wonderland
i caught the end half of it and i fucking LOVED it. Reminded me of what made the first Five Nights at Freddy’s so good before the franchise got too big for its britches
ALSO GIVE ME THE PUPPETS AND ACTORS IN SUITS YESSSSSSSS
Lampshading for a bit, Nic Cage’s character really came off as nonverbal autistic to me, like he definitely has rituals at least with the watch & the soda & the pinball machine. Also how he’s just so fucking unphased by all of the bullshit happening & just goes back to scrubbing the oven bc that’s the job he agreed to. even when there are MURDEROUS POSSESSED ANIMATRONICS and a bunch of teenagers TRYING TO BURN THE PLACE DOWN and the ppl who hired him were clearly NOT expecting him to survive the night, he just goes right on doing his stupid job
even if he’s just meant to be the Stoic Silent Badass archetype, it makes me giddy to see a badass horror protagonist with autistic traits. i just think he’s neat :3c