It took another seven full days before the shed was emptied.
Every now and then one of the trapped fluffy ponies would decide it wanted out, even if it meant losing it’s legs, at which point the man would extract the brave fluffy from the herd and repeat the process he had gone through with the leader. The legs removed, the stumps cauterised, and then the legless fluffy dumped in the middle of the road.
At one point, the man even had two decided to leave together, a mare and her special-friend. He had enjoyed dumping those two in the road together. He made sure they were facing each other, so they had to look at each other’s helpless, tear-soaked, terrified faces until they finally died.
And so, slowly the feral herd whittled down. Sometimes they got sick from the grimy, cold conditions of the shed and died, either from the illness itself or just a particularly violent sneeze breaking their neck. Other times they weren’t willing to trade for food, and slowly starved to death. Others wanted to leave, and found themselves dumped on the road.
Most interesting of all though, quite a few seemed to die of various unexplained injuries. Every now and then, the man would open the shed door and find a dead fluffy on the ground, the herd suspiciously ignoring and avoiding the corpse. Upon looking it over, the man would find several bruises peppering the fluffy’s corpse, all the same shape and size as a fluffy pony’s hoof.
And interestingly, it was always the ones that had refused to sacrifice something for the herd.
The bestest foal had, against all odds, survived rather well in the jar.
Well, at first.
It kept drinking it’s mother’s milk through the air-hole, which fed it enough to shit and piss inside the jar. Most of it was just liquid and spilled out any time the jar tipped over, but over time the foal began requiring more solid food, and began requiring mama to push lumps of spaghetti in through the air-hole for it to chew on.
Then it started speaking.
“MUMMAH!” It would snap from inside it’s jar, it’s cheeks puffed out in anger. “BABBEH WAN OWT! OWT OWT OWT!!!”
“Mummah sowwy babbeh…” Mama would reply, with tears in her eyes as her dull hooves fumbled with the lid for the umpteenth time, failing to budge it even slightly. “Nu can get owt… am sowwy…”
“HMPH! DUMMEH MUMMAH! BESTEST BABBEH WAN’ OWT! BESTEST BABBEH WAN’ PWAY! BESTEST BABBEH WAN’ NUMMIES! AN TOYSIES AN HUGGIES AN SPESHUL-FWIEND AND-”
“Babbeh, nu! Too widdwe fow speshul-fwiend!” Mama cooed, gently stroking the jar’s hard glass surface.
“NU CAWE! BESTEST BABBEH WAN’! WAN’ WAN’ WAN’ WAN’ WAN’…”
And so on and so forth.
But before too long, the bestest baby met it’s end.
As time went on, it’s turds filled more and more of the jar, while the baby also attempted to grow larger. The jar hadn’t exactly been huge to begin with, and soon the baby’s face was forced up against the lid, it’s mouth only just barely able to fit around the air-hole as it gasped for enough air to fill it’s lungs, which were being slowly crushed more and more with every new turd that was forced out of it’s body.
The man had picked up several cans of cheap spaghetti for the herd, and to save on money, had gone for whatever was cheapest, resulted in an assortment of options. One night he gave them spaghetti with meatballs, and mama had apparently decided her bestest turd was deserving of a meatball all to itself.
And so the man opened the shed the next morning and found the jar sitting motionless next to a grieving mare. The cyan foal was still inside, with more than half of the jar filled with compacted turds, and all with a huge, greasy meatball jammed into the air-hole, completely blocking the passage.
The foal had suffocated, left gasping among the fumes of it’s own rancid turds, it’s eyes bugging out of it’s fat, deformed, grown-wrong face, all while it’s mother had watched, crying profusely, unable to do anything to help but watch in sorrow.
The man had hurled the jar into the trash and never thought about it again.
Finally, there was only one fluffy left in the shed. The others either died of illness, starvation, wanting to go free, or mysterious injuries that seemed to randomly afflict various fluffies.
Either way, the man didn’t care.
“Pwease mistah…” The lone fluffy pleaded. “Fwuffeh wan owt… wan gu… pwease wet gu… nebah come back, pwomise…”
“No.” The man said.
“Twade? Wan twade fow owt?”
“No.” The man said again, leaning over the lower half of the shed door to look the fluffy right in the eye.
“I don’t want to trade anymore. Because you have absolutely nothing that I want. You’re just a fucking fluffy pony. I only kept you here because it made me laugh. Because I wanted to see how far you were all willing to go. For food, for freedom, for anything. All you worthless creatures ever do is take and take and take. You help yourselves to anything you find, and you never once do anything to earn it. So I decided I’d make you work for it, that if you wanted something from me, you’d have to offer something else in return. The only problem is, you worthless creatures have nothing that I want.”
“Buh… buh mistah ask fow babbehs, and weggies, an-”
“Yeah, I did, but I didn’t want them. Do you know what I wanted? I wanted to see you all suffer. I wanted to watch you cry and bicker and shout and fight. I wanted you to know your fucking place in the world, you worthless mistake of science. You’re not an animal, you’re not a bleoved pet, you’re not even a favourite toy. You’re absolutely nothing, and the only time you made me happy was when you were miserable.”
The man closed the shed door one last time. Left alone, cold, and hungry in the dark, the last surviving fluffy let out a single whimpering statement.
Two weeks later…
The man had just gotten home from another shift. The day hadn’t been bad, but he’d fucked something up. He’d been buying reduced-to-clear cans of spaghetti for weeks to feed his fluffy pony herd, only to forget that the last survivor had already starved to death in the shed a few days after he last saw them. So now he was left with an entire paper bag full of cans of spaghetti and nothing to do with it… except maybe eat it, but even then, it was the cheap cheap stuff, the type that’s more plastic than food.
The man was wondering what he should do with the bag of cans, trudging his way down the street, when he heard a tiny peeping voice from behind him.
“Hewwo! Am Flowah! Nyu daddeh?”
The man turned, a grim expression on his face, and sure enough he found himself looking directly at a fluffy pony with a garish tulip-pink coat. He was about ready to turn and walk away, when he thought of something.
“What was that? Your name is Flower?” He asked.
“Yus! Am Flowah! Daddeh nu wet Flowah be mummah, so Flowah wun away, an-”
“Yeah, yeah, alright, shut up.” The man said, a vein starting to throb in his temple. “Are you all alone, Flower? Or do you have some friends?”
“Ooh, yus! Flowah hab whowe hewd fuww ob fwiends!” She said proudly.
“Is that so?” The man asked, with a smile. “Well, that might just work out perfectly then.”
“NYU DADDEH BWING HEWD TOO?!”
“That’s right, Flower, but there’s something else I need to ask you first.” He said. Flower plopped down on her rear and tilted her head, smiling dimly at him.
“Do you know what a ‘trade’ is?”