It had only been 4 hours. Warmy had never felt true hunger before. None of them had, really.
They’d spent the first hour trying to enter the cage, then the next hour trying to fight the cage open, and then an hour begging the cage to open. Now, they just sat and stared, their energy used up, their stomachs contorting in pain.
Fluffies generally must eat at least 5 times a day. The ones in this pen hadn’t eaten at all that day, and were quickly famishing, exacerbated by the scent of the sketti just out of reach in the cage.
Two of the fluffies, a lanky blue pegasus and an orange earthie, had already eaten from the trough. They sat alone corner now, silent. Everyone else’s eyes were glued to the sketti in the cage, their mouths watering.
Only bad fluffies ate the poopies, but Warmy knew she was a good fluffy. She was the best, smartest, prettiest fluffy ever! Even if her tummy disagreed. Maybe her tummy was just bad.
They could hear other fluffies in the training floor, way over in their pens. They were laughing and playing. Their humans were laughing and playing along with them. All the while, here in the ‘Special Training’ pen, there was but a quiet want.
The human was sitting in a chair not too far from the pen, scrolling through her phone. She looked up from time to time to remind everyone that only good fluffies could reach the sketti.
Eventually though, there was a chain reaction. A green unicorn got up and went straight to the trough without pause, and everyone else but Warmy followed suit over the next minute or two. They all stood next to each other at the trough. They didn’t say a word, and stared at the “poopies” until they finally, one by one, reached their heads down and began to slowly eat.
Warmy watched with disgust… but also envy. She was hungry, and the smell of the sketti only intensified that. Seeing others eating made things even worse.
Only bad fluffies ate the poopies, and she was a good fluffy.
But she was so hungry. But only bad fluffies at the poopies.
But she was so hungry.
The human watched with a smile beneath her mask as Warmy finally relented. Sketti was a powerful incentive for making fluffies act. A little hunger sprinkled on top and you really could get them to do just about anything; fluffy appetites were voracious, and if they were young and used to being fed whenever they wanted, then all the better.
Warmy slinked up to the trough. She was a good fluffy, but it was her bad tummy making her do this, she silently reassured herself. It didn’t help.
She sniffed at the “poopies”, and her nose stung lightly as a result. She almost retched. The others had finished their share, and only watched- as did the human, who now hovered over Warmy.
“Remember, only bad fluffies eat the poopies!”
Warmy teared up slightly as she lowered her head and took a bite. Maybe… maybe she was a bad fluffy?
The “poopies” were cold and chewy and quite bitter. It didn’t taste anywhere near as bad as it smelled, but as she tried to chew the taste was simply too much- afterall, Warmy was used to milk and sketti-kibble. She quickly swallowed large chunks instead, and got only a few mouthfuls before she’d had enough.
Eating feces was seen by all fluffies as a kind of symbolic indication that one was not just of lesser status than others, but had in fact become less than fluffy. A “bad fluffy”. A lesser being.
It was an unexpected result of their social hierarchy and their poor understanding of food and digestion.
Fluffies with bright complementary colors that appealed to children were at the top of fluffy “society” as they were likely to be chosen by humans for adoption, while dark or drab colored fluffies were less likely to be chosen and so were usually at the bottom of their social group.
When it came to digestion, fluffies did indeed understand that food (‘nummies’) eventually became poopies after it was eaten, but they understood it as the ‘nummies’ becoming ‘bad nummies’.
Thus, fluffies were left with the logic that since poopies are just bad nummies, and bad fluffies eat bad nummies, then if any fluffy ate poopies they were now a bad fluffy.
This was the line of logic that ran through Warmy’s head. Flashes of Uglyface eating Cupcake’s waste came to her, too. Her entire month and a half of life had been spent believing she was a good fluffy.
A smart fluffy.
Yet, she had eaten poopies. Only bad fluffies like Uglyface ate poopies.
“Huuuuu… Wowstes’ head huwties, gu ‘way. Stahp huwtin’ Wawmy…” she whined to herself. Not being able to understand something was truly the bane of a smarty’s existence.
“Nu make sad noisies, pweddy mawe. Buubuu gif huggies tu pweddy fo’ huwties,” Booboo said with a dumb smile, his fore hooves stretched out to the side for a hug.
Warmy didn’t feel pretty. Or smart. She could still taste the poopies in her mouth. She felt tired, she missed her mummah.
She really missed mummah.
“Well that settles it,” the human began after letting the group wallow in their predicament, “you’re all bad fluffies,” she reached into the pen and removed the caged sketti, “any of you still think you’re not?” they all held their heads down, “good- you’ve all started to learn. If you keep learning, maybe you can be good fluffies one day!”
That was a lie. These fluffies were condemned completely- but a little hope helped them accept their training as accessories. indeed, they looked up at her with a little glimmer of such hope in their eyes.
Except for Warmy.
Her mind had focused on an image of Cupcake’s fat, smiling face- a memory, of when Warmy did her biggest smarty dance ever… mummah was so happy, so proud. Warmy was given extra milk and hugs that day- more, even, than Blueberry had gotten. This flash of remembrance gifted Warmy a small burst of confidence, and she regained (for a moment) her cunning.
She needed to escape. She needed to find mummah.