The sun barely peeked through the hedges at the edge of my garden boundary as I settled for my morning coffee. It was a hot day, and looking to get even hotter. My garden was a pride of mine, not for any egotistical reason, but because of the effort it had taken to get to the place where I had a pleasant place to spend my mornings.
A small patio extended from my conservatory, a collection of slightly dulled stone slabs upon which I’d set both my outdoor seating set and a small, covered swing seat, upon which my beloved cat, Lola, was lounging.
Lola was a sleek, soft animal, with a fur texture that felt more like a soft toy than an actual cat. She was a calm, lazy animal, her day mainly consisting of lounging in the sun and occasionally eating when she felt up to moving. Not that I particularly minded, of course, I liked spending time with her when she was in a mood to be around me, usually in the evenings, and was content to let her enjoy herself for the rest of her time.
As I glanced at her, she stretched, a long, slow motion that made it clear that she was waking up, and hopped down from the cushioned seat, wandering off towards the rose garden. I’d been very proud when I’d managed to keep my first rose bush alive, and since then, the garden had grown rapidly. It’d been a lot of work to get it to the state it was in, but it had all been worth it to see so many lovely things growing.
Next to the rose garden was my shed. It was fairly large, holding all of the gardening tools that were too big for the small greenhouse that I kept next to the house, as well as my old bikes and a load of tools that I’d brought for hobbies that hadn’t stuck. Below the shed was the hedgehog run, a project that my nice elderly neighbour had convinced me to take up, and one that wasn’t too much of a bother now it was sorted. The idea had been to leave a space along the back gardens where hedgehogs and other small animals could pass along, instead of having to travel across the back road which was much less safe for the poor little critters.
Finishing my coffee, I lifted my newspaper from the table, and lost myself in reading for a few hours. The news was rarely all that interesting for me, but with it being such a nice day, it was enjoyable to block out the world and read something, even if I wasn’t exactly interested in what I was reading.
About two hours into my reading, I felt an urgent nudging at my leg. Placing my newspaper aside, I saw that Lola was at my feet, and locking eyes with me, quietly miaowed at me. Hearing her miaow was rare, she was usually a very quiet cat. she was turning and looked towards the shed. I followed her gaze, and now that I was listening, I could just barely hear something coming from that direction. I rose, Lola wandering at my heels, and took at look at the side of the shed. Below, I could hear a sound that my mornings had been plagued with ever since my neighbours had got their kid what I considered to be the worst excuse for a pet possible.
“pwease nu be meanie, annabeww nee’ escape!”
Oh god. The neighbour’s idiot fluffy was forcing itself through the hedgehog run. I wasn’t quite sure how to react – this was someone else’s pet, after all. But then again, it was the most annoying thing in the known universe, and I wasn’t exactly inclined to go through the effort of helping it. No, they’d see it soon enough and deal with it. Not my circus, not my monkey.
“huu huu, meanie fencie stop givin’ annabeww huggies, nee’ get 'way!”
Yeah, I can just leave it be. It’s not like it’s my job to deal with this… thing. I don’t need to deal with this. I turned around, marched back to the chairs, and opened my paper with a flourish.
It took all of five minutes for the whining to get to me. It was getting to Lola, too. She paced back and forwards in front of the shed, her tail flicking with annoyance as the creature trapped beneath babbled itself hoarse. As I moved to go and at least lift the shed, hoping that I could scare it away easily, I saw motion. A small, bright pink ‘hoof’, reaching around to the edge of the little tunnel and scraping around, a large, admittedly adorable head in the shadows not far behind. I’d give the thing points for actually making it that far were it not so clearly doing a terrible job of it, it was sobbing from the pain of forcing itself through a hole it was far too large for, it’s fluff was covered in the dirt that it’d pulled up while thrashing about under there. That irked me more than it’s sobbing, as I knew that it has probably managed to get through by kicking up a pit of dirt that I’d have to sort out so the animals that actually deserved to make it through could use it.
“Hewwo? nice mistew hewp annabeww? nee’ escape fwom meanie daddeh!”
The thing had seen me. That was annoying. I didn’t quite know what to say – I’d never been good with actual kids, let alone these asinine simulations of them. I sighed deeply, and crouched down.
“Why have you stuffed yourself into my hedgehog run?”
“annabeww nu undewstand… annabeww nee’ tu escape fwom meanie daddeh su cwawwed intu dis howe.”
Huh. I sighed once more, it was clear that this thing wasn’t going to shut up until I either got it out or shoved it back.
“What’d your… ‘daddeh’ do, annabell?”
“daddeh saeh annabeww nu awwowed babbbehs! bu annabeww knu dat babbeh awe bestest thin’ in da wowwd! su annabeww gon gu get babbehs tu shu daddeh hu good dey awe!”
I have absolutely no idea what in the name of all that is holy this thing is talking about. Getting nowhere with the incessant babbling, I rose, moving back towards the house. As I did, the creature called after me,
“nu weave annabeww nice mistew! howe huggies huwt! pwease hewp!”
I sighed once more, blocking it out. Why anyone would want a pet that could barely communicate, I had no idea. Wandering inside, I briefly looking through my contacts, calling the neighbour. It was a brief conversation. Of course, he explained, he’d be there as soon as he could. He was just on a business call, and his wife was so very busy at the store.
I shrugged it off. Not my pet. They can come get it whenever they want. Having put off work for far too long, I headed upstairs to my office, surprised to see that Lola hadn’t joined me.
Lola was, for all intents and purposes, a very relaxed cat. She rarely paid attention to bird, or mice, or even other cats. She just watched. And so, sitting, her tail flicking back and forth, she watched as the mess of dirty pink fluff whined about it’s situation. It was yet to notice her, something which was not uncommon – Lola was, after all, a predator. It helped that the prey that she was watching didn’t appear all that bright. She stared at the creature, the grotesque gaping maw, the bulging eyes, the heavy, dangling ears. If her expression could be interpreted as anything, it would probably be disgust.
After a few minutes of watching, the wash of pink thought to look slightly up, noticing her on her flowerbed perch. The look on it’s face, the moment it saw her there… abject terror.
“SCREEEE! Munstah! pwease nu eat annabeww munstah, nu am fu eatin’!”
The yelling disturbed Lola. She wasn’t tolerant of noises that disturbed her peace at the best of times, and with this eyesore in her garden, the noise… and the smell, was getting to actually annoy her.
“Nu wan’ make scarie-poopies! Nu am bad!”
If Lola could sigh, she would’ve done. With all the grace of an unimpressed cat, she dropped down from her perch, landing neatly in front of the creature. She raised a single paw, claws retracted, and batted the pathetic creature on the nose.
The creature screamed like she’d just torn it’s leg off.
“Pwease nu! Annabeww nu wan huwties!”
Lola seemed… interested. She raised her paw once more and did it again.
“SCREEEEE! Munstah! Meanie Munstah!”
Lola batted the creature a handful more times, before growing bored. The sun was high in the sky, it was getting too hot for her out here, and besides, there’s probably food inside. Having had her fun, she slinked off.
It was a few hours later when the neighbours actually showed up at my door.
“Where is she?”, he asked, with all the urgency of someone who’d taken hours to walk the fifteen feet from his door to mine.
“Still in the garden, I’d presume.” I shrugged, gesturing him in.
“You didn’t get her out?” his offence at that was surprising, given that he’d not exactly rushed to do so himself.
“No, I figured that either you’d be here to get her as soon as possible, or you’d get it from the other side.” Again, I shrugged. If the thing was suffering, maybe it’d shut up a little while I’m trying to relax.
Stepping into the garden, we both saw a gruesome sight. The fluffy appeared to be on the verge of life, sick dripping from it’s mouth, covering cracked lips that had dried up in the hot sun, it’s eyes red raw from sobbing. It looked up at my neighbour slowly, as if even that motion took herculean effort.
“daddeh… fluffy be good, pwease no more huggies…”
Every word was a labour, this creature barely hanging on to the last thread of life.
“Oh, you pathetic creature.” I was more than a little shocked at my neighbour’s response.
“You tried to run away? Again?”
He sighed, flicking the creature on it’s snout, which was already looking raw.
“Honestly, you’re not even worth the effort.”
“My kids demanded this stupid thing. I honestly expected it to kill itself far sooner than this.”
I shrugged in response, not really knowing enough about fluffies to give him any consolation. Instead, I set to work lifting the shed so he could pull Annabell out. It was clear that the fluffy was barely alive as it is, and every second we took she drew closer to taking her final breath. As we finally pulled up the old drainage half-pipe I’d used for the tunnel, the true damage that the fluffy had done to itself was revealed. It’s sides were scratched and torn from forcing itself through the loosely cut hole my neighbour had made in the fence, it’s back legs barely worked, twitching slightly, but had clearly been crushed under the weight of the fluffy. It’s hooves were as worn as the rest of it.
The moment the pipe was lifted, the fluffy attempted to stand up and walk, but immediately collapsed to the ground, unable to support it’s own weight.
“Well, at least she won’t try that again.”
My neighbour picked up what was left of it, still wondering aloud how he was gonna explain it to his kids, though clearly more relieved that the thing was going to die and he’d be rid of it than anything else.
This is my first attempt at anything fluffy related. Sorry if things aren’t quite perfect, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless!