Yellow Smarty’s day had begun with bad luck and an unpleasant choice. It ended that way too.
As Smarty he knew he was the most important of all the Fluffies, and their jobs were to obey him. But since there was only one of him he had to spend his time wisely, and he never quite had enough. Smarty couldn’t remember the last time he’d played, or babbled about something that didn’t matter (at least that he didn’t think mattered). Every Fluffy in the herd had to be inspected, constantly evaluated for their purpose and role and how they were spending the time serving his needs. Currently what he needed was more Toughies in case a herd tried to absorb his own, and although after confiding in an orange and yellow Mare that he had grown up with she seemingly transformed into one overnight, he was still left with only two and an invalid. He needed more Scouts as well, a role that more Mares had willingly stepped into the role of.
He knew he needed more babies, but that would stretch their stockpile of chestnuts and preserved food low. The man who threw (expired, intended for the dumpster behind the 7/12) food to Fluffies that sang along with his guitar playing him wouldn’t be happy to learn that the Fluffies who knew the lyrics to his favorite songs were mulch in another human’s yard and the blue Mare who knew “Face Tu Face” by “Soosie an Banshee” was going to be busy very soon when the babies Smarty had elected to give her came.
Most Smarties would just absorb a herd or send Scouts to the areas near human habitation to recruit runaways that simply wanted sexual experiences and children. But that takes Toughies and Scouts, leaving Smarty back at square one.
These issues were the pathway markers as he went circles in his mind in the early morning. Which meant he was awake to feel his sleeping companion shit the nest, leaving Smarty laying in a pool of liquid feces. Normally the other Fluffy lucky enough to bunk with someone as important as a Smarty would have known to get up, or hang their tail over the edge of the nest. But red Toughie had been caught by the humans, his eyes removed and his back legs crushed into twitching masses no longer resembling legs that sickened Smarty to look at. As if that wasn’t enough his good feel lumps had been pulled out, leaving two gaping holes that had scabbed over weren’t closed; normally such a Fluffy would have just given up and stopped moving, going into the dark forever sad place until he died. But the human had put him in the forest with an order to show the Ferals what was done, and the first Fluffy after Smarty and the yellow Scout to find him was his red Mummah. She had hugged him until he stopped crying, then drug him back to the Mummah den inside the old boxes that had been pushed together into a makeshift village. She’d resumed care for him like she had when he was young, and asked Smarty to not put more babies in her; he had obliged of course. He disliked babies and loved Mummahs.
Smarty had chosen to spend the night with them, inserting himself between the two and hugging the Toughie (although careful to nuzzle into Toughie’s neck, more to avoid waking up to the eyeless sockets than to assert dominance). Smarty now regretted his decision, and wished he’d bunked with not-Poopie brown Scout Mare instead; she wanted babies after all, and Smarty’s lumps had been aching since the four and two days since giving the blue Mare her babies. He wrinkled his face and puffed out his cheeks but said nothing. They would wake soon, and he would have made his choice by then.
He had been shamed. Smarties live or die by the respect of Toughies and the lack of any other Smarties to challenge them. The Mare Toughie wasn’t a threat since she was so small, and his other Toughie was so vain about his luxurious opalescent coat that he’d buckle as soon as a mouthful was ripped out. But some Fluffies have long memories, and few have a filter; a future challenge might remind the Mares of the time he’d emerged from a den covered in a cripple’s shit. The smart thing, the Smartiest thing, was to show strength. Crush the worthless not-even-a-Fluffy-anymore invalid, do it slow after dragging him by his ears into the makeshift village square, then violate the mother to prove virility.
The thought of that made him sick. Red Toughie was his friend, they’d fought off the bushy-tailed monsters together many times as Toughies for the old Smarty named Bear. Damaged as he was, devastated as he was, grotesque to look at as he was, red Toughie remained the same in his brighter moments; he spoke in support of Smarty’s decisions, had begun adding a (very slightly) baritone to the Mummah Songs in order to help, which the Chirpies seemed to like. He could recall all the old Toughies that were now gone and reminisced with Smarty about their adventures which now seemed so fanciful that no Foal would believe them. He made his mother happy still, and as one of the oldest Mares she was important in the female hierarchy. Plus, more practically, red had inherited his father’s tough hooves rather than the marshmallowy ones most Fluffies have. When in full health he had been the most threatening, but even now he was still able to leverage his weight and built-in weapons to quickly crush nut shells without risking leaving them for metal box monsters to crush or breaking the teeth of lower class Fluffies. He would never pass on that trait now, making him invaluable since part-monster Fluffies are in high demand among clever Smarties and killed quickly by dumb ones.
Not that it really mattered what he chose. There hadn’t been enough time to wash off in the trickle of a stream when the screaming started. Smarty instinctively felt the urge to run while screaming for the survivors to follow and protect. Toughie instincts told him to run and face the danger for others to escape. He decided to split the difference, to rally survivors to fight, though this too was a futile gesture since any Fluffy capable of running was already gone. Several dogs had come upon the village, the two Toughies having been dispatched immediately. Smarty saw Toughie Mare’s last moments as she flailed her front hooves against the dog’s snout while he frantically dug into and swallowed her entrails (though it any just have been the ragdolling of her corpse).
Not-Poopie Scout Mare ran past him as a dog gave chase, getting a Smarty shit blast in the face causing it to shriek and rear back. Unused to assaults that were not telegraphed with threats beforehand, the dogs each stopped and stared. Smarty screeched at the top of his lungs at them, sending the shit-faced dog back into the woods with its tail between his legs. Smarty puffed out his cheeks and bounced stiffly between front and back hooves, giving a stomping to the ground that was audible. Though a human would have laughed the dogs recognized the stance and behavior; skunks, badgers. Things not to mess with, but the younger dog circled around regardless and the other took the cue to advance. Had the dogs been old and smart enough to remember Bear they would have…not been afraid in the slightest because the act was pure suicidal bluster, but in nature any act that works may as well be a real defense. These dogs were feral from birth, spawn of escaped white trash-owned guardians of a wheelless bus, but a lifetime of easy Fluffy meat had made them as dumb as their prey. As long as they were fast they had squirming fat milk-filled females with protein-rich meatballs inside, muscular males who had to speak at length before even attempting counterattack, even a hand-fed glittering young female in the prime of life straight off her zircon-studded leash once.
Smarty stomped at one dog until he felt the hot breath of the other on his tail and turned around to stomp at him. The dog that was now behind Smarty attempted to flip him with a paw, only for Smarty to twist so fast and screech that the dog shrank back. He kept stomping at that dog until a scree of pain met his ears. Smarty twisted around to see one of the dogs had picked up red Toughie, who was screaming at the sudden pain of teeth closing on his front paws. The dog flipped Toughie in the air as Smarty dashed forwards, then it took off running. He spun again to face the dog behind him, who scrambled to pick up a discarded baby which scree’ed before it was cut off. Then that dog was gone too. Smarty was left standing alone in the center of the former Fluffy village square, now merely a torn up battlefield surrounded by upturned wood and plastic boxes. His heart was racing so fast he was almost vibrating with tension, but all threats and stakes were gone. The strength quickly left him and he simply stood there for a while. Paw marks and gashes cut by hooves finding purchase in the ground had mixed dust with bodily fluids, creating small craters of tainted mud. As the heat of exertion continued to give way to a terrifying coldness his bladder failed him, and the sound of his heart pounding in his ears gave way to the pattering of his urine stream hitting the soil. He became aware he still had his cheeks puffed out and hooves in a stomping pose which bore no resemblance to the inner self, once more a helpless weanling surveying absolute destruction that was so familiar; this time he was the Smarty though. He stood up straight and let his facial muscles go limp before slowly picking his way through the remains. In red Toughie’s box he saw Toughie’s Mummah, blood having streamed out her orifices after the dog’s foot and kickoff to go running had mashed her ribcage and organs. Eyes locked in the same direction the dog had taken her boy, seeing the fate she always feared for him manifested, dying as tears ran down her face while Smarty was too busy pissing himself.
Two more dead Mares lay among the ruins. Blue and yellow was pregnant, a belly full of underdeveloped young. Smarty felt like there was something he should do but he had no clue what so he continued on. Another Mare, pink and yellow, had been trying to flee when a dog had grabbed her by the head and flung her; her neck had snapped. A Colt, blue green and his white green Mummah had attempted to either protect or find refuge in the chestnut box. The Mare had died from fear overtaxing her heart based on her bulging eyes, the Colt suffocated beneath her when she collapsed.
Eight babies were crushed. Five by hooves, three by paws. Eleven more dead by dog teeth grabbing their mothers. Seven more where he couldn’t identify the cause of death.
Three survivors. Eyes closed, but crawling and well-fed. Two not-Poopies in brown and green, and a not-Poopie not-monster pointy wingie colored the same. He set them in front of him then sat down, his back legs forming a wall protecting them from the outside world. They began crawling towards him and he blocked them from reaching him with a front hoof, not wanting them to mistake his Nu-nu stick for a teat. One began to cry and the other two joined in. Smarty let them, listening to the sound, feeling almost soothed by it. One final song for the herd.
When his heart felt less heavy he looked at the sky. The sun was at early ear position, the attack having come in the purple and orange sky time. He noted that it took him longer to survey the ruins than fight the actual battle and wondered if the other times had been like that too.
The wail of the babies in front of him had tapered off, now more a rapid strangled exhale than a long sobbing breath out.
Smarty never liked babies. To him they always meant death. Life was seemingly about making some to replace you, and having them meant accepting it was eventual rather than struggling against it. Babies came from bad Special Hugs. Babies gave away hiding places. They immobilized Mares. Their deaths were constant and could break the will to live of healthy and useful Fluffies. They were fought over and abandoned in equal measure. They were a resource that took patience, and investment. Fluffies would desert human and herd for them. Stallions perished gathering food for them. Mares followed behind.
Managing milking, settling disputes, assigning them roles and training by the veterans. Inspections.
Smarty hovered a hoof over the three.
Oh, he hated babies. But on the other hand, they were all that was left of his herd. He cocked his head and furrowed his brows as the not-monster and one of the not-Poopies managed to find each other and hugged while the remaining not-Poopie gave a squeak that passed for a Chirpie groan then relieved herself before rolling on her back (saturating her small tail in urine) and cooing. Not-monster baby made sick water out his mouth on his hug partner, who didn’t seem to notice due to being busy making a partial dancing motion to bring in his friend closer.
The right thing to do would be to crush their heads one by one. Fast enough they had no chance to make a sound. They’d be forever how they were now. After all, he had no means of producing milk and he’d be better off starting a fresh herd than tracking down one of the Mares. Plus, these were rejects; only his strict policies of assigning unwanted Foals to sterile ex-domestics or Fillies that thought they could be a mother before they could make their own had kept these undesirables safe, and only by bringing back Bear’s policy that the mother’s favorite child “make Babbeh not awonewies in sweepies” had they stayed both fed and uncrushed. Smarty had no such leverage now, even if he found their real mothers. He could tear off a Mummah’s arms and legs, kick out her teeth, and pluck out her eyes with his tongue and lips, and she’d still find a way to destroy them. He’d take a Mummah over her spawn any day.
Smarty realized he’d never really interacted with a baby outside of inspecting them before.
He rested a hoof on the sole female’s soft bulbous belly. She let out a warbling exhalation of happiness at being touched and grasped her tiny hooves around his. A bit more pressure applied caused her to pause in confusion and let out a neutral coo. Smarty’s face wrinkled into an expression of distaste. She gasped and began to kick her back legs, then let out a series of wet gasps and accompanying drool bubbles which popped and sent droplets on Smarty’s face. No scream though because she wasn’t in pain yet, he noted.
The pressure on her belly stayed steady so she began trying to roll onto her back again but only managed to create a small valley in the dirt where he was pushing her down which her mix of urine and liquid shit ran into, which turned into a fetid bath to as the pressure squeezed more out. A confused exhale came with a slightly rising vocalization as her confusion mounted. Short and high pitched grunts came as she tried to scoot herself, to her mounting frustration. He lifted his hoof and as she tried next to roll he gave her a contemptuous flick that sent her rolling into his back leg. She wriggled rapidly and sent out several noises of exertion before letting out a frightened peep for her mother. Smarty watched as her peeps increased in tone before she began letting out a huuhuu, swallowed, then began short wails. She had stopped moving in order to focus on crying, while the other two had been startled into breaking apart and rolled away from each other before panicking and trying to find each other again. Smarty flicked the not-Poopie towards not-monster and succeeded in putting his face into his posterior. Now he had two crying babies, followed seconds later by the compete set.
He hated them so much. He wanted them to die. It wasn’t fair that so many good Fluffies, like red Toughie, had died. That their home was strewn about and would belong to another Smarty who didn’t deserve it like he did. That good Fluffies like brown Scout Mare were gone and he’d probably never know what happened to them. But these three survived. They didn’t deserve it. He was Smarty, and they didn’t even have a mother to speak up for them, he didn’t need a reason. He wanted to make them scream, make them hurt. Stupid babies. Ugly babies. Monster babies, all three. Smarty picked each one up in his hooves and dropped them roughly into a Fluffpile while his inner voice argued for their execution. The trio felt around, confused, and the not-monster shit on his own back legs as he crawled onto the back of what was either his cousin or sister. He was comforted by touching another Fluffy but she panicked at the unknown weight on her back like it was the jaws of something terrible. But when she bopped her brother or cousin on the face she realized she was among Fluffies. For his part he scooted in close and nuzzled her face for comfort and protection, not knowing it was her who struck him. Within seconds the three sobbing worms were panting in sync from their crying, then breathing heavily into each other, then sleeping soundly like they had navigated into the positions themselves.
Smarty wondered if this was what Mummahs do all day. Of course there was one thing he couldn’t provide them. He got back up onto all fours and began sniffing the ground and following hoof tracks. Finally he figured out four possible routes. At the end of each he would probably find a dead Mare, or blood and fluff anyway. He didn’t have time to explore them all before the trail scents would fade. Older Orange Mare and sister of dead Mare Toughie, had a full stillborn litter so no milk competition, but she was very judgmental about Fluffies and their quality. Yellow Mare, a niece of his, dumb and clumsy and unlikely to keep any alive by herself and most likely to be dead. Brown Scout, he wasn’t sure how long these babies could go without milk or when a Mare began producing, but he could make her a Mummah like she wanted and they could have a family together. His aching lumps wanted that very, very badly.
The final trail was his Special Friend. Putting babies in her has been a one-time thing, but her blue companion was desperate for babies and Special Friend had milk.
Smarty walked back to the babies and roughly hoisted each onto his back like a Mummah would. It felt awkward, and as he followed the trail of shed fluff and urine he dropped each of them several times. Their screams were of pain and fear, no longer abated by contact as they flailed and beat each other while piss and shit ran down Smarty’s back. He hated them more than he’d ever hated a non-Smarty Fluffy, but he’d decided what he wanted and even his own pride and comfort were secondary to what he demanded of the world now. He was Smarty and he got what he wanted, no matter what lives were the cost. They all deserved to die anyway, so if they perished for his decision it was fine by him. He’d of course die first, but he was Smarty and he deserved to be first in all things after all. Maybe if there was a place after Forever-Sleepies they’d be grateful for his attempt to save them and he could start a herd with them.
The sun was at top of head position when he reached the end of the trail. It was a human yard, a placed he’d learned to fear so well, and the smell of blue Mare’s blood and green Mare’s feces told him the story. He stood there a while looking at the forest while the babies on his back scrambled around and made urgent hiccuping noises. He had to crush their heads now, there was no hope and they were only hindering his own survival. Still, they deserved at least one more rest together (because he decided so, its what he wanted which meant it was correct) and Smarty was so very tired. But in the near silence of the gentle breeze he heard sounds of a Fluffy in distress. A moment later came a screech, from inside the human house. He hesitated as fear and panic overtook him and his mind became a hurricane of thoughts against a background of learned terror. She was no doubt dying, the babies had to be spared suffering, he wanted to live, this is the worst day, hate today, hate humans, hate babies, hate dogs most of all, live, fight, run, fight, cull, fight, run, hate, fight, run, run, fight, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, RUN, RUN, RUN!
But he didn’t run. He was Smarty, he’d decided to bring the stupid babies to Special Friend and put them among his own sons and daughters. Corpses together then. Trembling he took a step forward. He clenched his sphincter, feeling he had some metaphorical ammo sloshing in his can which gave him a bit of comfort. One foot forward, then all four, a sprint, then a gallop as he hit the door with his forehead and sent it swinging open. He slowed down by trotting in a circle to spend the inertia which gave the quick layout of the room. A human sat on the closest end of a long chair with his head having suddenly turned to the door and Smarty.
He locked eyes with the human and ignored his tattered nerves, contorting his face into a mask portraying all the rage and disgust he’d felt during the morning all at once. “WHERE AM SMAWTY’S SPESHUL FWIEND?!”
The human on the couch smiled and said “Dude, this day just keeps getting better and better.”