The Library, Part One
A hot wind blew across the bright, shadeless plains, the sawgrass and dry prickle-bushes bending in sheafs and waves, and casting ripples on the slow, meandering river that cut a blue-green
course through the land. A railway bridge, old and iron, stood slowly rusting over the river,
the long, shining steel rails stretching off to the horizons, through the plains in one
direction, and through a small, but well kept switch-yard in the other, splitting into lines
that curved off behind the gentle hills beyond.
An old, wooden bridge, long in disuse, stood further up the flow of the river. Here is where
the fluffies congregated, runaways from Hartstown a few miles away, or escaping from
farms. Some were dumped by truckers, others by families on the way past, tired of suffering
from the inanity of the little animals. The predators in the fields, and the cold, cold nights
were equally as threatening. Shelter had been built by the kind hands of some itinierant humans
who camped out with them sometimes, until they could catch a freighter and ride the rails on to
their next destination.
Not all humans were nice, but the fluffies didn’t have a choice. Sawgrass never filled even the
tiniest of bellies for long, and more than a few litters of chirpies had been given to the
river to take away, their mothers sobbing, and their fathers blaming themselves for not finding
more to eat. The handouts from the hobos, or the occasional kind yard worker, were rationed to
the mothers first, and then the guards.
The pallet-wood was old, but dry, and when it rained the soft drumming helped the few dozen
fluffies sleep a little more sound. When the howling of the wolves came, they all felt warm
together, hidden at the back behind a wall of old tires and rail ties.
Darkness, however, was not something they could defend against. The night-tuffies would stand
just inside the openings, watching out into the night. On the nights of a new moon they
couldn’t see beyond their noses, but for the lights in the rail-yard, and the warm flickering
glow of a cook-fire from the 'bo camp under the steel bridge.
Misty, one of the night-toughies, was watching out the down-river side, a ragged towel pulled
around himself as he sat in the cold, the faintest wisps of breath visible. He watched the
humans over at the yard work, moving the big metal boxes forward and back, until one of the big
pull-machines was ready to take them all away again. The human camp was empty tonight, the
looker-fluffs had been there and all but one had come back.
Gizmo was the one that had not returned, and the Smarty was fine with this. Gizmo often went
out to the yard on his own, and was well skilled at sneaking around the human places. He came
back with news or a plastic bag of scavenged nummies more often than not, and more than once
had found a new fluffy wandering around. This strange luck and his knowledge of human things
was one of the few reasons that Gizmo was allowed his oddities.
Misty chuffed quietly, stamping his forehooves on the cold ground. The little pegasus was
strange, even by fluffy standards, and this puzzled Misty. He didn’t understand why Gizmo
seemed to forget what he was doing and wander off to stare at the yard, or how he could watch
the night-sky-ball until the warmlight came back. Other fluffs would mutter about how he would
dig channels in the silt and watch the water flow, or how the nummie-finders had come back
empty but Gizmo had dug and dug and dug until he was caked in dirt, but it had taken all the
finders to drag home the skinny, nutritious carrots and onions he had found wild.
Nofluff understood how afterwards Gizmo could wade belly deep in the river and clean the dirt
off again. If a fluffy was brave enough they might try going out in the rain, but the river was
cold, and wet, and water was bad for fluffies, especially in such a big water place.
The Smarty tolerated it though, and let Gizmo be himself. Misty nudged the blanket off himself,
shuddering in the cold, and hurriedly trotted out and around a cove in the hillside to the
poopie-place, backing over the ledge and relieving himself. Once upon a time this would wake
whichever unfortunate fluffies had been made to live there, but the old smarty, Benny, had been
such a bad Smarty he got pushed in by Ruby.
Gizmo quickly dragged his rear in some grass and trotted back to his post. Then he slowed. Ruby
was there. He whinnied quietly to himself, his stomach developing a pit as he walked back to
where he was to keep watch.
Ruby was an alicorn. She was huge at that, a deep red with an ivory mane. Some stallions would
call her pretty, if it wasn’t for the scars on her flanks and face. She had been a fighting
fluff, some said. Others said she got them outrunning barkie-monsters. Either way, she ran the
toughies. The smarty was in charge, sure, but she picked the smarty.
“H-hewwo Wuby.” Misty said, getting back in position and pulling the blanket up
again. “C-cowdies. White-times comin, mebbeh.”
Ruby turned her gaze from Misty and looked out at the yard. “Nu, dis not white-times. Dat not
fow many bwite-times. Dis somefin ewse.” She sat down, still a head taller than Misty, not
including her horn. “Gizmo nu bak yet.”
Misty shook his head. “Been since wast bwite-time. Gizmo been dewe wongew befowe. Be
fine-fine.” He shuffled in place, glancing over at Ruby. “Yu nu sweepin?”
She shook her head, staying silent, staring at the yard. Misty decided not to press the
conversation, and turned back to keeping watch.
Students filed in at 7 AM to a modest sized lecture hall. The plum stadium seating smelled of
old dust and chalk, and the wooden baffles on the walls screamed out to go back to the 1970s
for a peaceful death. The air was a dull hum of groaning and muttered complaints, punctuated by
the thump and flutter of textbooks.
A man, completely ordinary except for the shockingly white hair, walked in and set a worn
backpack down on the table in front of the chalkboards. Walking around to the front, he leaned
against the desk and waited for the noise to quiet down.
“Well. Good morning, welcome to History of Science, I’m your TA for the semester, Roland
Saint-Germaine, and I am just as irritated as you that they put this class this early.” He
said, pausing to watch a straggler enter. “Welcome, welcome.”
“So you all are at least juniors so we’re going to assume you know how to read a syllabus, but
let me give you a quick overview of how to survive a history class if this is your only one. I
know a few of you are here for electives for the chemistry and physics departments so there is
a difference in methodology.”
He turned, and opened the drawer of the desk, pulling out a dry-erase marker. He looked back
and forth from the marker to the chalkboard, then at the class. “Figures, doesn’t it.”
The class chuckled, and after a dig, Roland pulled out a nub of chalk. Writing on the board, he
continued. “First, MLA style is king. Learn it, love it, snort it like cocaine. I know some of
you might be here from psych and use APA but nope.”
“Second,” He said, writing further. “Your class time is not your studying. This is a reading
heavy class and most of the information you need is in the assigned reading.”
A knock on the side door and Doctor Barnes, a wizened, wheezing old salt leaned in. “Mister
Saint-Germaine, your presence is required in the Dean’s office. I will take over for now.”
Roland paused, sighing. His first class session and an interruption. He mulled over how bad of
a sign this was while slipping on his bag and heading out. He had a brief moment of pity on the
students, Barnes was about as enjoyable a lecturer as a vacuum cleaner is musical. He glanced
back, closing the door as Barnes began to write and stammer profusely about the syllabus.
Then the door shut, and silence prevailed.
Gizmo trotted along the bridge, balancing on the line with a trash-bag full of alfalfa and
timothy hay liberated from a toppled crate originally bound for a semi parked in the tiny depot
on the other side of the yard. Keeping the front half of the bag balanced on his back, he
lightly stepped off the rail, and worked his way down the incline and along the old, worn path
to the den-under-the-bridge.
Ruby was there, and she turned back inside. Gizmo sighed, knowing the Smarty would be along. He
unslung the bag near the entrance, as it was too packed to fit in, and lazily wandered around
to relieve himself in the poopie-place.
When he returned, the yellow, shouty unicorn was there. The Smarty. Bernard. Ruby was hanging
back, watching from the shadows.
“Hewwo Bewnawd!” Gizmo said, smiling broadly. “Found wots best nummies!”
“GIZMO! WHEWE YU BEEN!”
With a sigh, Gizmo wandered in to the den. “Gettin nummies, jus tol’ you. Siwwy Bewnawd. Yu
Bernard huffed and snorted and turned to the nummie-finders clustered inside. “GET NUMMIES TU
HOWE!” He screeched, then stomped off, snorting and frustrated. He didn’t like fluffies doing
things he hadn’t told them, but Gizmo did so much.
“Yu gun get a hoofsie in yu nosie, Gizmo.” Ruby said, watching him pass. “Keep makin da Smawty
“Smawty be angwy anyway.” Gizmo said, heading for his little pocket in the den. “Sides, gun hab
mowe wowwy bout. Wistened in on da hoomins an da hoomin smawties nu wike da 'bos. Dey be meanie to da 'bos, dey twy be meanie to fwuffies.”
Ruby trotted over and blocked Gizmo’s way, staring down at him. “Wat Gizmo say?”
Gizmo blinked and sat down. “Weww, da 'bos wide da boxies, an da hoomin smawties nu wike
dat. So dey wanna make da 'bos go way, an if dey do dat, dey might twy make fwuffies go way
After a moment, Ruby blinked and ran off to find Bernard. Gizmo stood up and curled up in his
pocket, getting warm in the little cloth and reed nest he had laid for himself, just like one
of the hobos had taught him.
He fell asleep listening to the soon-mummahs eating happily, and the new-mummahs happily
nursing their young. His name was heard, in snatches, and in warm tones. Gizmo fell asleep glad
he could make the mummahs happy, at least.
“Sit down, please, Roland.”
The Dean was a severe, compact woman. Her office walls were littered with academic
certificates, diplomas, and photos of her military days. A pair of olympic medals, bronze and
silver, hung under a target pistol in a glass case.
Roland sat down, and raised an eyebrow as the Dean pulled out a bottle of bourbon and poured a
glass, sliding it over.
“Doctor Franks, uh, is this…”
“Son, do me a favor and shut up, this is hard for both of us.” She said, pulling out a pool cue
and bashing down a fire alarm sensor with it. She set it aside, opened a window, and lit a
cigarette. “Wish they’d stop replacing that thing, I’m just going to keep fucking breaking
After taking a sip and exercising some self-control not to have too strong a reaction, Roland
leaned in. “This isn’t about my thesis, is it?”
She waved him off, sighing. “No, no. This… Christ I hate doing this but we’re going to hafta
take you out of teaching for the semester. You’re going to need it.”
Roland paused with the glass halfway up. He slowly lowered it again, watching the Dean.
After a drag on the cigarette, she sighed out a cloud. “I’m sorry kid but Francis passed.”
There was a long, heavy moment in the air. Roland drained the bourbon and sat the glass down,
sinking back in the armchair, rubbing his eyes. “Thought he was in remission.”
“He was.” The Dean said, chaining another cigarette. “Drunk driver hit a Smartcar and it
bounced into the old goat’s motorcycle. Knocked him over the guard rail and down a ravine.”
Roland was silent, thinking. Great-uncle Francis was eccentric, and even in his 90s refused to
give up his beloved Indian motorcycle.
“Only reason I know is the lawyers reached out to me to find you.” She said, sliding over a
sealed letter. “We’re both named in the will, apparently.”
Roland picked it up, turning the letter over in his hands, slow and methodical.
Then he tore the edge open, and began to read.
Railyard Roger looked around, then down at the diminutive blue fluffy standing nearby.
“Hey, Gizmo. You remember me?”
Gizmo nodded and walked over to the firelight, sitting down. “Gizmo memba Wodgew, an… yu
Tewwy,” he said, pointing at another hobo, “an dunno yu. Fwiend?”
Terry elbowed the newest addition. “Mike, be nice. Gizmo’s one of the locals.”
Mike nodded, and waved at Gizmo, confused. “Fluffies out here?”
Roger shrugged. “Where there’s people, there’s fluffs.” He turned back to Gizmo. “How’s things
Gizmo wiggled and thought. “Weww, da meanie smawty went fowebba sweepies in da poopie-pwace, an da nyu smawty hab shouties but he not twyin be meanie. Da yawd-hoomins tawkin bowt gibbin da 'bos huwties an makin yu aww weave. Meanies. An Gizmo been twyinna figuwe out da funny pictuwes on da boxes da metaw-mustaws puww.”
Terry leaned over. “Wait, the bulls are going to raid?”
Gizmo nodded. “Fink so, in few bwite-times, mebbeh soonew.”
Mike swore under his breath, making Gizmo flinch.
“Sorry about Mike, Gizmo, he didn’t mean it.” Roger said, giving Mike a very clear look. Mike
shrugged and went back to his tin of beans.
Terry glowered, staring out at the yard. “We’ll need to hitch tonight then, to be safe. I was
hoping for good sleep but I guess not.”
“We can catch some of the buckets out of the APX depot in four hours, they stop here for a crew
change.” Mike said, muttering to himself mostly.
The other two nodded. Roger turned back to the pegasus. “So, what was the pictures stuff?”
Gizmo opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again, thinking. “Dey… uh… hewe.”
He got up and crudely drew a few capitalized letters. “Dese pictuwes.”
Roger nodded sagely. “You always were a curious fluffy. Those aren’t pictures, they’re
Looking up, Gizmo cocked his head, confused. Roger continued, “So, when we talk, we make words
“So, humans figured out how to make words into pictures.” Roger said, leaning down and writing
his name. “There’s specific ones of these pictures, and they’re letters. You can combine
letters to make words. So this is ‘r’, and it goes ‘ruh’. That’s ‘o’, ‘g’ goes ‘guh’, and ‘e’
and ‘r’. That’s ‘Roger’, my name. Humans write words for other humans to read. The words on the
boxes tell you who owns what’s inside, or what the box is named.”
Gizmo thought, staring at the words in the silt. “An da yawd hoomins hab ‘witing’ on dey fwat
Terry nodded. “Clipboards. I used to work in a yard, those boards hold paper covered in
writing. Telling them things like when trains come in, when they go out, what’s in each one.”
Mike grinned. “Bet you’d like a library, wouldn’t you Gizmo?”
Roger chuckled. “He probably would at that.”
Gizmo turned, going between Mike and Roger. “Wut a wibwawy?”
Mike rinsed his can out and drank river-water. “A library is a big building where humans store
books to read. Books are full of knowing.”
After a moment, Mike noticed the fluffy was staring at him. “I mean… humans learn things and
write them down so that humans later on can learn them too. Libraries are full of books of
knowledge, and make-believe stories too, and… stuff…”
Gizmo stared into the small campfire, lost in thought. He had questions that nofluff could
answer. Why the sky-balls were not bright the same way, why water moved the way it did. Why
birds could fly but he couldn’t.
He got up. “Bettaw get back to den ow smawty yeww again. Nighty night!”
Gizmo turned and waddled back towards the den, the cogs turning in his mind.
The small chapel at the Universal Unitarian church was quiet, only eight people in the
space. Doctor Franks glanced around as she chewed her nicotine gum. Roland was seated furthest
back, in a slightly frayed suit a bit too big for him, betraying the weight loss from long
hours working on a dissertation.
The front was a cluster of faces she barely knew, but recognized, if not by name. The florid
gentleman was the brother, then a shrill, pinched shrew of a woman, that’s the bitch he
married back in '20. Practically had to beat Francis to make him get a pre-nup but he thanked
the Dean later.
Then came a brick-headed 40-something in jeans and a polo. Doctor Franks hadn’t seen him since
he was fifteen, burning ants with a magnifying glass at a family reunion. Daniel. That one
The remaining three were lumped together as ‘the grandchildren’. One was plastered to a
phone. The other two were bored.
A side door opened and what could only be described as a lawyer strode in, placing his
briefcase on a desk and opening it. The muffled conversation immediately stopped.
“Right, folks, my condolences for your loss. The Last Will and Testament has been recovered
from Mr. Eaton’s safety-deposit box and verified with the notary and witnesses. I’m Chase
Knight, I’ve been retained by Mr. Eaton’s charitable foundation to read the will and make sure
it is followed, as he stated before his passing. If there’s no other business let’s proceed
with the reading.”
The will was unfolded, on a cream laid paper.
“I, Francis Euclid Eaton, being of sound mind and body, hereby declare the following to be my
last will and testament. In the event of my death, I name Major Elizabeth Franks, PhD to be my
executor, being the only person I can trust in these matters to be impartial. As thanks, I
bequeath to Major Franks my 1977 Trans-Am Special.”
Doctor Franks blinked in surprise, then grinned softly before returning to her normal stony
“To my dear brother Edmund, who despite the strain of years and our own opinions has stood
resolutely by my side, I leave the bay property in California, along with the contents as they
currently stand, including the buildings, garden, pier, waters, and the sailboat Fantasia, with
the sole exception of any printed documents contained in the property. These are to be returned
to my estate.”
The red-faced man, Edmund, nodded quietly, smiling to himself.
“To my step-son Daniel, and my wife Clarissa, and my three grandchildren. I leave nothing,
as you have been little more than parasites and irritants, with particular note of the
gold-digging antics of my wife. Given the nearly half a million dollars you have siphoned off
me, to pay for your lifestyle of whoring, we are even. Your son is a violent bastard and his
children are vapid, soulless troglodytes.”
Mouths hung open, except for the Dean. She just tried to hide another grin.
“The entirety of my state as it remains, I leave to my grand-nephew Roland Saint-Germaine, with
the request that he continue my work at my estate and keep it in good order, and within the
Clarissa was the first to stand, screeching, “THIS IS BULLSHIT! This is going to court, fuck
that skinny faggot.”
Doctor Franks stood up slowly, setting her jaw. “You take this to court and all you’ll do is
waste your money. The prenup covers this.”
After a beat, Clarissa turned, staring at the diminutive woman. “How do you know about that?”
“It was my idea.” The Dean said.
Daniel stood up and turned, jaw set. “Oh you little bitch.”
He took two steps and cocked back an open-hand slap.
In a blur he went from standing to face-down on the ground, a bloody splatter on the back of a
pew. He rolled on his side, holding his crushed nose and making grunting, wheezing noises
through gritted teeth.
The Dean looked around. “Any other complaints?”
On a sunny, bright stretch of coast was an old style brick and slate house, with a polished
wooden deck, and a copious boathouse. The old-growth trees swayed overhead lightly, the light
sparkling down onto the brick drive.
A moving company truck pulled in the semi-circle drive and parked, a heavy gentleman getting
out of the cab and looking around, whistling in appreciation.
“Should see the back.” A voice said. “Even better.”
He came around the cab to see a grey-haired woman sitting on the deck. He stomped up and
extended his hand. “Harry Standish.”
The woman shook, replying “Liz Franks.”
He glanced down and paused as she returned to cleaning a field-stripped 1911, laid out neatly
on a cloth.
“Something the matter?” She asked, not looking up.
“Sorry. Just haven’t seen a 1911 since they phased them out for the new models.”
“Lemme guess, Marines?”
He nodded, relaxing slowly. “Yes, back in the late days in Peru.”
“Shit I remember that mess. Rangers, we had to bushwhack for you jarheads.” She shook her head,
standing up and wiping gun oil off her hands. “Got my first purple heart doing that.”
“So, we moving you out ma’am?”
She lit a cigarette. “No, executing a will. This place is going to one person, books and
printed stuff go to another.”
Harry turned and glanced back at the truck. “Must’ve been a mixup then, they said to bring the
Turning a key in the lock, Franks opened the front door. “No, no mixup.”
Harry leaned in. The dusty sunlight was pooling on row after row of mixed book-cases filling
the entry hall. If a wall was there, it had books on it.
“Jee-zus. Is the whole house like this?” He asked.
“Yup. Look, here’s how this is going to work. I’m going to go through ahead of you and anything
that’s delicate and shit, I’ll handle. You box and load the rest.” She said, walking in
slowly. “We’ll probably have a few odd things like framed documents here and there but mostly
it’s going to be books.”
“I’ll call my kids, this is going to take a while.”
nine hours later
Harry pulled out of the drive, exhausted after loading a full semi with books, and then a box
truck on top of that. The full one was already handed off to the driver, bound for the
midwest. Harry drew the short straw on the current truck, and pulled into a rest stop for the
It was late, the full moon overhead, bright and eerie. Gizmo quietly padded through the den,
carefully stepping past open coves where fluffies slept peacefully, stomachs full, and out to
the water-place. He bent down, lapping at the cool, clean river water when a crunching sound
made him jump and creep into the brush. He flattened himself down on his belly and listened,
hearing a fluffy voice, muttering.
Peering through the grass, Gizmo saw Bernard stomping his way out, heading for the rail
bridge. After a minute, Misty followed, carefully keeping a distance. Gizmo stayed in the
brush, creeping along behind, until he could jump on Misty and shove a hoof in his mouth.
Misty tried to screech but Gizmo booped him lightly. Misty calmed down and spat out Gizmo’s
hoof. “Gizmo, wat doin?”
“Same as yu dummeh, fowwowin Bewnawd.”
They looked at each other, then after Bernard. Getting up, they crept along, following the
Over the bridge and to one of the buildings, and they watched as Bernard sat down and began to
knock against a lamp-post. The door of the office opened up and the yard foreman stepped out
and crouched by Bernard.
“Well. If it isn’t the local Smarty. You think about my counter-offer?”
Bernard nodded. “Smawty teww Hoomin-Smawty whewe 'bos awe an whewe hewd is, fow sketty, one enfie mawe, an hooman daddeh.”
“Well, that’s awfully swell. Which one do you want for your special friend, then?”
“Wuby. Fink is tuffie, but mawes no be tuffies, dey fow enfies. Wan hew weggies taken way tuu.”
The foreman rubbed his chin, thinking. “That’s kinda sick, man. Well, where are the 'bos?”
“Dey undew metaw bwidge. Hab bwackie-no-fwuffs tu hidey bwite-buwnie fings.”
“And where is your herd? So we can get your enfie mare.”
“Dey undew da odder bwidge.”
“Oh good.” The foreman said. “Here, follow me.”
He walked back out onto the bridge, Misty and Gizmo hiding in the tall grasses, barely a foot
from where Bernard and the foreman passed.
“Which end?” The foreman asked.
Bernard wobbled up to the foreman and pointed. “Dewe.”
“Thank you.” The foreman said, and nudged Bernard off the bridge with his foot.
There was a distant splash, and squealy, panicked shouting, before the current pulled Bernard
under and took him away.
Gizmo began to stand up before a heavy weight landed on his back, hooves covering his and
Misty’s mouths. Ruby was laying between them, keeping them down. She glared at Gizmo and shook her head.
They watched as the foreman picked up a can of gasoline and a road flare, and walked over to
the old wooden bridge. A few shifts of the wood and the entrances were blocked off.
In a few minutes the whole bridge was alight, the screaming of burning fluffies carried away
on the breeze.
Ruby stood up, and lightly smacked Gizmo. “Yu. How we get nummies.”
Gizmo stood, and stared at the burning den. She gave him a light kick and he jumped, and
turned, getting low. “Fowwow. Stay down.”
The trio crept across the yard and around to an old wooden outbuilding, slipping in a break in
the boards. Inside was a simple nesting area and some pockets of hay.
“Gizmo sweep hewe when watchin da hoomins. Dey nu can get in wifout bweakin fings.” Gizmo said,
pulling a pocket of good grass out for Misty and Ruby. “Hab nummies. Nee’ weave hewe.”
Misty looked around. “But, whewe go? Nu fast, an nee nummies an fings, an da wand suu big, nu
can wun pwaces.”
Ruby was peering out at the few semi trucks parked in the depot, and the lone greasy-spoon
diner that operated. “We get in dose.”
Gizmo joined her. “Dat tuff. Onny way in is da big doow in da back, an onwy open when in da
She turned, staring at Gizmo. “Wuby no goin back tu bad hoomins. Da 'bos nicie, but need
Misty finished his portion and flopped down, sighing. “Yu tu nee sweepies. Den finkie-pwace
Ruby turned away from the opening and found a patch, curling up to sleep.
Gizmo continued staring out the gap, thinking.
Halfway through the day’s drive, Harry answered a call.
“Dad, it’s Clint.”
Harry grinned. “What ya need son?”
“Charlie says he might have left his lucky lighter in the back of your truck.”
Harry sighed. “Yeah ok I’ll check when I stop for grub.”
After a hundred miles or so, Harry slowed, watching a large group of emergency responders
putting out a grasslands fire. He pulled in to the lot of MaBel’s Grub, getting out and
groaning as his body reacted to the change in position.
He sniffed the air. Something was funky. Harry followed his nose around and opened the rear
door, backing away and retching, for opening the door released the stank. After taking a
minute to collect himself, he pulled down the loading ramp and went in, covering his nose with
On the floor was a lunch container, with a half-eaten seafood salad inside, and a gold
A few minutes and a trip to the dumpster with the stinkbox, and Harry wandered in to the diner,
sat down, and ordered himself a reuben.
Ruby woke with a snarl, going from prone to a fighting stance in a flash. Misty was there,
jumping back after furiously poking the alicorn.
“Wuby, wook!” He said, and trundled over to Gizmo, pawing at him insistently. “Gizmo! Dewe a
They all went to the opening in the wood, looking out to an open truck, with a ramp down. Even
from this far away they could smell the stink.
“Why dey weave it open?” Ruby asked, suspicious.
“Mebbeh get wid of de no-smeww pwetties.” Gizmo said, turning and loading a grocery bag with
stored hay and salad leavings from the diner.
Misty watched Gizmo. “What doin?”
“Need nummies in dewe.”
Misty whinnied. “But hoomins, dey meanie.”
Gizmo shrugged. “Nu, not aww hoomins. ‘Sides, we nee’ gu wai. Dat twuck goin wai.”
Ruby and Gizmo looked at each other, then parted to let Gizmo pass, following soon behind. They
crept along, bellies tickling the dirt, until Gizmo ran at his top speed, up the ramp and into
the gloom of the truck. The other two were shortly with him.
It was a gloomy, dim place, boxes filling half of it, held in place by a metal ratcheting
frame. Gizmo searched around, but the only good hiding spots were behind the arch of the
wheel-wells, or just inside the door.
Misty immediately waddled over to where unbuilt boxes were stacked, nudging and trying to shift
them. Ruby helped, moving enough of the stack two fluffies could lay down behind and be well
hidden. Gizmo sat down behind a wheel-well, trying to pack himself into the little blunt
This type of waiting was one that the wild fluff had been used to for a long time. To be
silent, still, and hide from predators as they searched was something that did not engender
multiple mistakes. The tension kept the warm, stale air from lulling the fluffs to sleep.
After a few forevers, there was a stomping sound, the big door came down, and the fluffies
could sigh in relief.
Misty let out a quiet, trumpety nervous fart and sat down, looking up at the light streaming in
the rows of vent holes. “Weast it nu dawkies wike nu-bwite time.”
Gizmo unpacked the food, tucking it in the corner where he was hiding, and put the bag near the
door. “Make poopies in the baggie. Dis not ouw wand and messies be weawwy nu-good.”
Ruby sat down, looking at the bag, and nodded slowly. “And fow pee-pees?”
There was general silence, for a moment.
Gizmo sighed. “Ah fwuff.”
The trio all jumped when the engine turned over and caught, laying down in a fluffpile as the
box swayed and shifted, accelerating on the highway and taking them away to the horizon.