“Mummah wuv babbehs”
“Babbehs wuv mummah”
“Dwink wots of miwkies”
“Gwow big an’ stwong”
Singing joyfully to her foal as they nursed, the mare took two of her babies that had already eaten to their fill and helped the next pair latch, letting the peeping, bloated fluffs lie safely next to her as she continued to nurse. Still comforting her offspring with her mummah song, the off pink mother glanced around their nest, making doubly sure that they were safe. It wasn’t that long ago that the mare had been struggling just to survive, constantly moving her foals from makeshift nest to makeshift nest. But then they’d found their new home, an abandoned playground. Taking refuge in a series of brightly colored plastic tubes, the mare had gathered as much debris as possible to insulate her new nest, ensuring warmth as well as sustenance for her and her offspring. It was a great deal of effort, and was taxing on the mother, but in the end, they had a home.
Time passed and life was good for the mare and her foals. Nearby garbage cans provided plenty of nourishment, even if it was far from delicious, and a small drinking fountain in the playground itself insured that there was water as well. And thanks to the maze of colorful tubes that they slept within, the mother felt safe, knowing that if danger came, she would have several options for escape. But not all was perfect with their new life, as on occasion, she would see a strange man walking about, seemingly upset by the bits and pieces of scrap that she occasionally dropped. He carried a long broom as he went, cursing under his breath, a tool that scared the wits out of the mare as she had been chased and struck by one many a time when she was younger, ages ago when she thought it wise to beg strangers for a place to live. Still as long as she was quiet and she kept the peeps and chirps of her babies muffled within her fluff, it seemed that the scary man was none the wiser that they were there.
One day as the mare was slumbering early into the morning, there was a sudden cacophony of noise, as the foals were shaken from their slumber and began to voice their distress.
“tu wowd! *chirp…*chirp…”
“wakies mu’mah!!! *chirp…*chirp…pwe’ wakies…”
Slowly coming to, the mare rose with a start as she too could now hear the nearby sounds. She knew the sound all to well: cars, countless cars nearby that were coming to a halt as their tumultuous engines screamed and roared. It unnerved her to hear so many of them in one place, the mare rightly fearing what had claimed the life of so many of her kind. On edge, she stood with her legs poised and ready to scoop up her babies and run at a moments notice, only for the clamor outside to slowly die down.
“It am otay babbehs…*shhh…Nu be su wowd…Stay neaw mummah…”
Her apprehensions were slowly calming, as the cars were finally silent but the brief quiet was quickly replaced with the sound of a plethora of voices and excited screams at once. Part of the mother grew excited as she heard the humans, her mind telling her that she should go and greet them. But her experiences with their kind had taught her a bitter lesson, her smile quickly fading as she heard the voices growing nearer. Grabbing her foals one by one, the anxious fluffs peeping and chirping as she tried her best to calm them.
“Babbehs howd on tite tu mummah nao…Nee’ tu weeb nestie an’ nu wan babbehs tu faww…”
Her foals clinging to the back of her fluff, the mare ran as fast as her short legs would allow, tiny chirps marking each gallop as she made her way through the plastic tubes. Reaching one of the exits, the mother had to come to a screeching halt as she heard angry voices just outside.
“…It’s full of garbage! What the hell?!”
“God, it reeks! Smells like piss and shit!”
“…Look!!! There’s a fluffy in there!”
She only saw their legs as she skidded and turned around, fleeing back into the tunnel maze as she heard the children calling after her. Despite the small voice in her mind telling her that the children were her friend and should be trusted, the mare knew that tone in their voice and wouldn’t risk her children.
“*chirp…*chirp…ba’beh scawed! *chirp…*chirp…wan down!”
Hearing her baby scream out caused the mare to turn her head, albeit a moment too late. Her blue foal, a brave little pegasus with fluff just like her special friend, had fallen off. Tumbling into a pile of nested debris, the colt began to wiggle and shriek, the plummet clearly injuring him.
“*screeeeeee!!! *chirp…*chirp…mu’mah hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…ba’beh huwt!!!”
“Babbeh?! Mummah comin’ babbeh!!!”
Dashing backwards, the mare tried her best to hurry to where her poor foal had fallen, eager to rescue him and escape this nightmare. But before she could reach him, one of the children leaned into the plastic tube and grabbed the blue colt, the foal shrieking as it dangled in the boy’s hand.
“nuuuuuuu!!! *chirp…*chirp…ba’ upsies!!! ba’ upsies!!!”
Gasping as she saw her wingie baby flail in the child’s hand, the mare stopped dead in her tracks, desperate to save her foal, but frightened to follow as the boy backed out again, his friends ecstatic to see that he had caught one of the fluffies.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…Gib mummah wingie babbeh back!!!”
The only response to her meek demand was horrible laughter, followed by the horrifying sound of her foal screaming.
“*screeeeeee!!! *chirp…*chirp…mu’mah hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…mun’stas hab ba’beh!!!”
Unable to see her foal anymore, the mother sobbed as she heard him cry out for her. Glancing around anxiously and unsure what to do, she whimpered as she wrestled with her need to save her foal versus the need to protect the rest. Even as the colt chirped and peeped out of sight, occasionally begging for help and protesting whatever punishments the children were inflicting upon him, the mare began to slowly make her way forward.
“P’wease…wet babbeh gu…*huuu…huuu…huuu…Am gud babbeh an’ wuvs mummah su manies…am fow huggies an’ wuv…nu huwties…”
There was a brief silence, where the mare truly believed that the children might spare the baby pegasus, her tail slightly wagging as she made her way closer to the tube’s entrance.
“*screeeeeee!!! wingie huw’tes!!! wingie huw’tes!!! *chirp…*chirp…”
Hearing the pegasus scream in pain, the mare was met with the awful laughter of the children as she saw her colt’s severed wing callously thrown in front of her.
“Come out here fluffy! Or else I tear off more…”
“NUUUUUUU!!! BABBEH’S WINGIE!!! MUMMAH COME OW’T!!! MUMMAH COME OW’T!!!”
Crying as her eyes lingered on the disembodied wing, the mare made her way out, hunkered low to the ground, her other foals now peeping in distress in her backfluff as she left the safety of their nest. Peering upward, she could see that there were three kids, with the tallest one holding her colt by his scruff, flailing and peeping as blood trickled down his freshly torn stump.
“N…nu huwties babbeh nu mowe…”
“It am otay babbeh…mummah am hewe nao…”
The boy sneered at the mare as he gripped his hand around the colt, the blue foal’s terrified chirps now muffled. Hysterical at the sight of her wingie baby being slowly crushed, the mare ran to the child’s leg, tugging helplessly on his leg as she wept.
“P’WEASE!!! NU HUWTIES BABBEH!!! GIB TU MUMMAH!!! BABBEH NEE’ MUMMAH!!!..*SCREEEEEEE!!!”
She screamed as the boy kicked her in the chest, sending her tumbling to the ground, her foals screeching and peeping in a panic. Falling free of her fluff mid fall, they were hurt and frightened, the cold asphalt an assault on their delicate nubs.
“hewp!!! *chirp…*chirp…ba’beh hab ow’ees”
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…wegg’ees!!! *chirp…*chirp…wai wegg’ees nu wowk?!”
“*chirp… … …*chirp… … …”
While the mare gripped her battered chest on the ground, the boy and his cohorts walked to the peeping foals, gathering them up one by one even as their mother watched, crying as she struggled to reach a hoof out towards them. “Dumb bitch should have just ran…”
“Oh sick dude! I think this one busted it’s head…”
“So what are we gonna do with em’ ?”
As the boy was about to answer, a loud bell sounded, as many of the children playing nearby began to whine and make their way inside to class. “Damn…Can’t take them with us…Oh! I know!” Handing the quivering green pegasus to one of the other boys, their leader stormed off for a moment, returning shortly with a lunchbox, dumping it’s contents on the ground. “Put em’ in here…” The foals struggled as best they could, their tiny nubs clinging to the boys’ hands as they were placed in the metal tin one by one before they were silenced as the lid closed. “There…now we can come get them after class.” As the boys searched for a place to stash the captured foals, the mare began to stand up slowly, breathing heavily as she stared towards the lunchpail.
“Doesn’t know when to quit, does she?” Taking a running start, the boy kicked the mare in the jaw, a sickening crack echoing as she shrieked and fell back to the ground, her eyes fluttering as she slowly blacked out. “So where do we put it?”
Her entire body aching, the mare slowly came to, stirred by the the feeling of cold rainfall soaking her fluff. Struggling to stand upright, her legs wobbling, the mother shook her head slightly as for a moment, she had nearly forgotten where she was, the beating from before having taken it’s toll. Her eyes lolling about slightly, they suddenly opened wide as the sobering memories came back to her.
Even as the storm grew worse, the mare began to run about the playground, her eyes darting about in a blind panic, hoping to find the mean box that the kids had put her foals in. From the fountain to the swings, the see-saw and the wooden fort, there was no sign of them. Sobbing to herself, the mare almost lost all hope until her gaze drifted to the jungle gym. There sitting on the very top was the tin. Smiling as she forced her battered body to run, it wasn’t until she got closer that she saw just how high up her children truly were, the dome of metal bars looming over her. Whimpering frantically, the mare began to look around, desperate enough to even risk the attention of humans if they might be able to save her babies.
“HEWP!!! SUM’WAN HEWP MUMMAH!!! SAB BABBEHS!!! P’WEASE!!!”
She screamed until her throat gave out, running around the grated dome, her only answer the worsening storm. As the torrent fell around her, her eyes skyward on the lunchbox, remembering the horrible things the children had done to her and her foals, it dawned on her: no one was coming to save them for her.
“…Mummah’s comin’, babbehs…”
Taking a deep breath, the mare ambled over to the lowest bars, forcing her hooves awkwardly above her head as she struggled to get a grip. It took several tries, with the mare falling backwards a few times before she finally pulled herself up, her back hooves now standing on the bottom bar as she carefully stood up and reached for the next bar. With the water from the rain cascading off the metal rods, it was slippery and with her stumpy legs, the task was made all the harder. But slowly, steadily, she grasped the second bar and pulled, all her aches from before screaming as she made her way further up. Distracted from taking a breath, she screamed abruptly as her bottom hooves nearly lost balance, catching her self at the last second.
“…Nu faww…P’wease nu faww…”
After the third and then the fourth metal rod, the mare noticed that it was growing far easier to amble up the jungle gym, the curve of the dome far simpler than a pure vertical climb. Soon, the mare could see the top, the prison holding her babies tantalizing close. As she stood on all four hooves for the first time since her climb had began, she tried to walk over the bars, only to slip as the metal rod caught her in the chest, knocking the wind out of her. Everything went white as she slid, barely coming to as she dangled helplessly from the top of the jungle gym.
Kicking her hooves, the mare struggled frantically as she nearly fell, her eyes wide as she saw the asphalt below, knowing that if she slipped, it was over for her. Grunting from the effort, her chest screaming for her to stop, the mare pulled herself back onto the top of the metal rod, pushing forward and collapsing as she made it to the top. Struggling as she took ragged, sharp breaths, her eyes fell to the tin. Hearing the muffled peeps within, the mare’s grimace slowly became a smile.
“Nu wowwy babbehs…Mummah hewe nao…”
She was tempted to open the tin and free them, but with the rain and the climb down, it would be safer for them to remain within, at least for now. Taking a few more moments to gather her strength. Her legs shaking slightly as she rose, the mother took the pail’s handle in her mouth, hefting it upward and began the journey back down. The memory of nearly falling fresh in her mind, the mare was exceptionally careful as she balanced along the bars, making her way to the drop-off. Peering down to the first rod below her, it dawned on the mother that is would be far harder to climb down than it was to climb up, with each section requiring a short but potentially lethal leap of faith.
“Su faw down…Nu wike…”
Hesitating for a moment, the mare was almost content to simply wait at the top of the dome. But with the weather worsening, and the children from before saying that they’d return, she knew that her only option to save her children and herself was to make it back to the ground.
“Otay babbehs…hewe mummah gu…”
The first jump was scary but went without incident, the mare hopping down and quickly balancing on the bar with her hooves. Slowly, carefully, she made the leap from rod to lower rod, until she was halfway down. Happy that she and her babies would soon be safe, the mare prepared for her next jump, but as she tensed her legs and leapt, a bolt of lightning flashed through the sky, startling her mid-jump.
She struck the bar hard with her chest, a sickening crack echoing in her ears as the blow concaved her chest. Her hooves struggled to hold her aloft as she bit down firmly on the lunchbox’s handle, blood tricking down her mouth. Trying to pull herself up, the mare nearly screamed, her vision blurring as her broken ribcage cracked with every movement. Tears falling down her face, the mare simply closed her eyes letting herself fall backwards as she grimaced, forcing her limbs to cradle the lunchpail against her chest.
“…Mummah wuv babbehs…”
With the final bell finally ringing, the students began to leave the school in droves. Running through the playground, the children who had beaten the mare made their way towards the jungle gym, excited to torment her foals further. As the grew close enough to see it, they saw the mother splayed across the concrete, the lunchbox in her hooves. “What the hell? How did she…” Approaching slowly as they took in the bizarre scene, the boys were stunned to see that the mare had somehow managed to retrieve her babies, even if she didn’t survive it. More surprising was the muffled peeps coming from the tin. Her foals had somehow lived. “Well I suppose it doesn’t matter. We still get your babies in the end…”
“Hey!!! What are you kids doin’ over there?!”
Peering over towards the angry voice, the children saw one of their teachers quickly making their way towards them. Running off before he could catch them, the teacher cursed quietly under his breath before looking down towards the expired mare. “Poor thing…Wonder if those kids were responsible for this…” As he muttered to himself, he heard the muffled peeps coming from the lunchbox, opening it to reveal the frightened foals within. Taken aback by the sudden noise and how upset the tiny fluffs were, he pulled his coat up to block them from the rain. “Shh, it’s okay…let’s get you somewhere safe…”