The bell hung up above the shop door sounded its delightsome chime. He was a thin young man with that kind of black-black hair you only get by dying it that way. Not even the slightest hint of a kiss of sunlight shone on his hair, nor his Dracula-white skin. His bookish thick-rimmed glasses and two-sizes-too-big hoodie belied his personality.
His name was Martin.
‘So,’ he thought to himself, ‘this is a fluffy store. Looks like a PetSmart threw up on a Toys ‘R’ Us.’ His first impression was bolstered as he made his way past several big chest-height bins with low glass walls. Those clean, transparent walls kept contained a multitude of weanling foals.
He briefly checked them out with a passing glance. He saw some foals clumsily chasing a cheap little rubber ball through the hamster bedding that made up their enclosure’s floor. In a far corner he noticed a chocolate-brown foal and a foal the dull green colour of canned peas. Those ones looked almost like real animals you’d see in the wild. They were being picked on by an advancing pair of bigger, brightly-coloured foals. He could hear tiny voices yammering something about ‘poopie fwuffies,’ and, ‘biggest huwties,’ but Martin paid them no mind and moved on.
Martin had heard that fluffies were bigots who bullied dull-coloured members of their own unnatural race. He’d heard that they were shallow and played favourites. Real animals certainly don’t do that. Well, not generally.
No matter. He wasn’t really here for just the small fry offered in the front. There were much better options for his simple intentions, held in the less bustling back area of the store. Shelves of colourful and childish products that could be for kids, or pets, or maybe both, lined the aisles on each side. Bright and eye-catching leashes and harnesses of varying lengths, soft plush beds in several sizes, and empty litterboxes waiting to be purchased and used by an excited new fluffy and owner.
“Sir,” the unassuming teen called out to the older employee who was stocking the fluffy shampoos. “Could you please reach the top shelf when you get the chance, and just bring down the most affordable one for me? Thanks, I really do appreciate it.” He gave the worker a small wave of acknowledgement and a smile and then turned back to his main goal.
There they were, there at the end of the tall aisles: The pregnant mares.
Martin scanned the two pens to see the available options. Slim pickings, but superficial things like quality if colours, or extras like horns or wings, meant nothing to him.
He pointed one long finger in the direction of a royal-blue pegasus mare with a long, wavey cream-coloured mane and tail. She had big, bright maroon-coloured eyes.
“You, blue fluffy. You got a name?”
The heavily pregnant mare jolted to attention. She turned her head to face him. She gestured with one stubby foreleg toward herself. The soon-mummah got a nod in return.
“Umm… Stowe peep-ah jus caww Fwuffy, ‘Bwue Numba 2.’ Dey say dat nuu am Soon-Mummah’s namesie, doe. Su Fwuffy nu hab namesie yet. But dat’s otay, cause Fwuffy gonna get weaw namesie afta get nyu homesie wiff bestest soon-babbehs!”
He had never actually spoken directly with a fluffy before that moment. The things creeped him out, truthfully. And the fact the adult fluffy’s voice sounded identical to a little schoolgirl made him tremble, remembering it was a fucking toy. This thing was a toy, right? Martin wasn’t a kid anymore but it reminded him in the worst ways of some possessed doll from a horror movie and made him shudder a bit. Yet the fact this bloated thing sounded believably enough like a human being was actually… kind of better for his intentions with it.
The sign on the side of the pen she sat in explained that this was a pen for mares who were about to give birth, or who recently had. The other two mares in the pen, also heavily pregnant, were fast asleep in the other faraway corner.
“So I guess you’re about to have your babies?”
“Yah! Fwuffy wiww hab babbehs soon and babbehs wiww wun, and pway, and mummah wiww gib huggies and wub and miwkies!” She waved her front legs above her head in excitement.
Ignoring her emotional blabbering, Martin turned and walked back toward the front end and when he got to the counter he explained that he wanted to purchase the blue-and-cream mare from the maternity pen. With a shrug, the employee called through the speaker for an associate to pack up Blue #2 and bring her to the checkout area.
Martin watched the prices for the items he’d chosen appear one after the other. He chuckled at the fact the pregnant chimera he’d just bought was actually the cheaper of the two, at only $10. Worth less than the cheapest plastic shit receptacle money could buy.
The ride home was a fucking nightmare. The snow was coming down again steadily and he’d had to drive slow as hell all the way home. The thing in the box on the backseat had just screamed and complained about the dark and the bumps and the sound of the car for almost the entire trip straight. Martin was glad in that moment that his neglectful-ass parents wouldn’t be back for almost two weeks. He’d have all the time he needed with his new charge and her brood.
“Shut the fuck up! We’re almost home.”
“Huu huu huu, Soon-Mummah nuu wike meanie bad wowds. Bad wowds make Fwuffy saddies, an’ gib Mummah’s tummy babbehs heawt-huwties…”
“I wouldn’t curse at you if you stopped being so annoying. So, uh… I guess I need to name you or whatever. You’re Cheesecake now.”
“Cheesecake? Yay! Cheesecake wuv nyu namesie, Daddeh! Tank yuu, tank yuu, tank yuu!” Her voice came muffled from the confines of her disposable carrier.
“God. So stupid a toy needs a name. What am I, five?” He mumbled to himself.
Cheesecake shrieked as he turned the car too sharply into the driveway, causing the back half of the the vehicle to slide on the shimmering and powdery surface below. He felt the back of the car collide with something before he corrected, and knew immediately that he’d toppled the mailbox.
“Fucking GREAT!!” His snarling tone and the BEEP! of him punching the horn startled cheesecake, who huu-huued quietly in her dark boxy prison.
“Daddeh, how wong tiww nuu mowe sowwy box?” Sorry box? What the fuck was a, ‘sorry box?’ Martin shrugged and just assumed it was something he’d read about in the manual the cashier included with his purchase. He grabbed the box and still found it surprising how heavy it actually was with the foal-laden mare inside. The mare’s entire world was nothing but darkness with the smallest slivers of light that trickled in through the two tiny airholes above her head. She couldn’t move at all in the box with her bloated, pregnant belly.
Cheesecake could feel the box being picked up and heard the car door slam. This was followed by the familiar sensation of being carried somewhere. She could tell that her daddy had entered a human housie, and was now walking with her sorry box across a hard surface. She heard a door open and close. The loud sound of clip-clomping feet and the bubbly feeling in her guts from the human quickly descending the stairs made her squirm and huu with trepidation. Dark is bad for fluffies! She couldn’t move! Where was Daddy taking her?
Her new daddy placed the sorry box down in the middle of the room and then he finally opened the cardboard prison that contained her. She raised her head as far as she could above the edge of the carrier but couldn’t move her pregnant body too much.
The room had grey, hard walls and floors that looked smooth. A pool table with a dusty stained glass lamp hanging over it sat in one corner. In a small abutment to the larger room was a television and fold-out couch. Near them were tall units with shelves of meticulously-acquired video games and collectibles.
On the opposite side were plastic milk crates, piled high in stacks and filled with outgrown childhood toys. There was also a nearby wooden door that had a sign on it that Cheesecake couldn’t read. A human would know it said, “Powder Room.” The rest of the space was mostly unused or occupied by old tarped-over furniture.
Martin placed the litterbox under the pool table and and filled it from a half-used bag of old cat litter that he’d grabbed from the closet in the restroom.
“Dis am Cheesecake’s nyu homesie, Daddeh?” The fluffy smiled up at him gleefully.
"Yup. It’s my room. And since this is my room, there are gonna be rules.
One: If you crap, you’d better do it in the litterbox. If I see crap on my floor I’ll kill you.
Two: Do NOT go upstairs. If I take you upstairs it’s one thing, but otherwise it’s off-limits!
Three: What I say, goes."
Martin held up three fingers to her, raising and pointing to each slowly as he listed out the rules. “You got that?” The blue fluffy nodded vigorously. “Good,” he spat.
Cheesecake watched her daddy walk over to a big, tall white basket that sat by the couch and reach into it. He pulled out a fistful of dirty clothes and tossed them onto the concrete floor by the pool table. Daddy pointed to it.
“That’s your bed. You sleep there. I don’t want you smelling up my bed.” He grabbed her round, nearly-immobilized body and placed her carefully down onto the stinky, sweaty pile. It was close enough to her litter box that she could make good poopies on her own, should the need have arisen. Cheesecake decided not to complain. She was just happy to have a homesie.
“Daddeh, can Soon-Mummah an’ tummy-babbehs hab sketti, nao?”
The idea of feeding this thing hadn’t even occurred to him. The fact it’d have to shit came to his mind, but somehow not the step that came before. “Spaghetti? Is that what you things eat?”
“Sketti am bestest nummies! Bestest nummies fow bestest babbehs!”
The toy was slightly less creepy to him, and significantly ever more irritating, with each time it spoke.
“Sounds easy enough. You uhh… Stay. I’ll go get you some spaghetti. I guess.” The high school drop-out lacked most life skills, but at least knew how to cook. Martin wasn’t about to waste his time even boiling water to make pasta for some toy, however. He climbed up the stairs and went through the basement door into the rustically-decorated kitchen.
Martin grabbed a plastic bowl from the cabinet, scraped the contents from a tin of plain Spaghetti-O’s into it with a fork, and microwaved that shit for two minutes. He brought the Dollar-Store entree back down and placed it on the floor by his fluffy. She squirmed clumsily until she could thrust her whole face into the bowl and then did so with gusto. The slurping and gulping sickened Martin, who watched with disgust. It was like watching a hairy toddler eating face-first, all the mess included. But then she also licked the flecks of sauce that had splattered onto the nearby floor. Good. But still off-putting as fuck.
“Damn. Okay, well that was easy.” He had a habit of thinking outloud to himself.
“Tank yuu, Daddeh! Cheesecake an’ tummy-babbehs wub sketties! Tummy huwties am aww gone nao. Do Daddeh wan’ to pway wiff Soon-Mummah?”
“Eh, not really. I’m uhh… tired. I’m gonna watch TV. Watch it or don’t. I don’t care.”
Martin took off his hoodie and tossed it into the hamper. He turned on the TV to some crime procedural repeat and then laid down on his couch-bed and relaxed.
Martin sat straight up and looked around the room, seeing it illuminated only by an early-morning infomercial on TV. Damn. He’d fallen asleep. The clock on the cable box said it was 4:37 AM.
“Biggest Poopies!! Owies! Hewp Cheesecake!”
Oh yeah, the fluffy!
Martin snatched the owner’s manual off the scuffed-up coffee table by his bed and flipped to the table of contents. “Biggest poopies, biggest poopies,” he muttered as he ran his finger down the page. “Ah, here we go. Hm. Says here in the book that you’re actually just having your babies. Nice! Quicker than expected.”
He squatted down by her side and watched her writhe. He watched her eyes clench as she strained, and he watched them well up with tears. Martin smiled as he saw her teeth clench together in pain.
“You have to push, you idiot. Already pretty bad at this mom thing, huh?”
Cheesecake’s tear-filled eyes snapped open and she cried out. “Nuu! Cheesecake am gud mummah! Wub babbehs!” She pushed and laboured for almost an hour, determined to show her daddy and her babies that she really was the best mom. Martin wasn’t sure if that was a long time for a fluffy to be in labour, but the idea a toy had even given birth to other toys right in front of him was all a bit surreal to him anyway.
In front of him lay the formerly-pregnant Cheesecake and her five tennisball-sized chirping foals. All in all, the litter included a white unicorn, a white pegasus, a blue earthie, a red pegasus, and a brown unicorn. He could worry about starting on his fun in the morning. There would be time. The fluffies weren’t going anywhere and he had the house all to himself.
“Okay. Well, you’re all set now so I’m going back to sleep. Don’t wake me up.”
“Yus, Daddeh. Tank yuu fow be wiff Mummah when babbehs come. Mummah wub Daddeh bewwy much…” She snuggled her babies up toward her fleshy teets and curled herself around the brood protectively. Two by two the infant fluffies took their first eager drinks of mother’s life-giving milkies.
“Yeah, whatever. Night.”
“Gud sweepies, Daddeh.” She lowered her head onto the soiled garments and closed her eyes to relax. “Gud sweepies, babbehs.” The brown unicorn eventually had the final drink and when he finally let go, she moved him to sleep with all of her babies in a mound beside her and laid her head down. Martin and his fluffy had each drifted off easily despite the tiny peeps and chirps breaking up the silence.
Cheesecake’s first whole day of life as a mother started much happier for her than many days before it.
The sounds of the nearby television and the hungry, eager peeping of her children roused her from her dreams. She opened her mouth to yawn and stretched her front leggies out in front of her with a small wiggle. The babies, hearing and feeling their mother waking up, began peeping furiously for her wonderful milkies.
Cheesecake plucked up the two fresh white babies and placed them tenderly up against her milkie-places. They each latched onto one nipple and began kneading at her skin with their tiny velvet-covered hoofsies. Cheesecake grinned and could almost feel her heart start to glow. It was like getting so many tiny huggies from her cute little babies!
The sound of the foals crying to Mummah for milk and love was loud enough to wake Martin. He rubbed his face and groaned loudly. Then he heard that childlike voice he was now getting used to.
“Mummah wub babbehs, babbehs wub Mummah~
Dwink wots ob miwkies, gwow up big an’ stwong~”
Martin frowned. “You aren’t a very good singer, Cheesecake.”
“Gud bwight time, Daddeh! Cheesecake am gibbin aww widdew babbehs miwkies.” Cheesecake either ignored his negative remark or she was so distracted by her new children that she didn’t care.
“Whatever. I’m gonna go get you some food. Spaghetti again, I guess?”
“Tank yuu, Daddeh! Yes, pa-wease! Cheesecake nee’ bestest nummies to make bestest miwkies, su babbehs can gwow up an be big, stwong fwuffies watew!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.” He waved his hand in her direction dismissively. He had to laugh a bit to himself at her comment about her babies growing up into big fluffies later. She had no idea what the future held. Up the basement stairs he went.
Martin emerged from the basement into the small kitchen and could see that the snow was falling down in big wet chunks. A heavy blanket of white snow covered the backyard, and he could see cardinals darting about the bare branches by the window. Their energetic chirps were refreshing.
In the same routine as the night before, he quickly prepared a bowl of microwavable pasta product for Cheesecake. He used the same exact bowl, neglecting to wash it. Martin silently reminded himself to remember to clear all the dirty dishes from the sink before his parents got back.
The canned lasagna that filled the bowl was as good as any other ‘sketties,’ to Cheesecake and she greedily wolfed it down. Again, she licked up any remnants that landed on the nearby surfaces. Gross.
“Okay, Cheesecake. I think it’s time we name your babies.”
“Siwwy Daddeh,” said Cheesecake. “Babbehs am suu widdew. Nuu eben knu anyting about Cheesecake’s babbehs yet! Nee time fo see how babbehs act, an what babbehs wike to do!”
Martin didn’t like her protestation, and grumbled in his throat before flicking her on her nose like he’d seen discussed in the manual. The fluffy yelped in shock and pain.
“Listen, moron. What was rule three?”
“Huu-huuu… Ebewyting Daddeh says, am what is…”
“Yes. Now I’m naming these. They’re mine, just like you are mine. You can just shut up and listen.” He carefully grabbed each fragile baby fluffy one by one and lined up the floppy, doughy little creatures in front of their anxious parent.
“Huu… Why Daddeh am bein’ suu meanie…?” The mother fluffy murmured to herself, but didn’t outwardly object to her owner’s words or actions again. She watched nervously as he handled her newborn young with his spidery hands.
“Okay. This one,” he said and pointed to the white unicorn fluffy, “is ‘Idiot.’”
Idiot peeped impotently, something in his base programming telling him that the human was mistreating him. Idiot’s mother frowned and tried her best to obey Rule 3.
Next her owner pointed down at her precious little wingie white baby.
“This one is ‘Retard’.”
Down the line, he named the red one, the blue one, and then finally the brown baby.
“This one is ‘Fuckface.’ This one can be ‘Dumbass.’ And this last one is… Failure. There. Now they all have names that perfectly suit them! Aww~!” Martin feigned a wholesome smile and gently stroked Dumbass. He felt how thin and soft the baby’s pristine velvet-coated skin was as it moved with the gentle pressure from his fingertips.
“B-buh… Daddeh, nuu!” Cheesecake knew better than to disobey Daddeh. What Daddeh said, was. His word was gospel. But she was torn so terribly between being a good fluffy, and being a good Mummah.
“No?” Martin looked at her with pretend surprise. “Cheesecake, did you just tell Daddy, 'No?”
“Nuu! Dose namesies am bad namesies… Namesies Daddeh gib tu Mummah’s widdew babbehs am aww meanie wowds!”
“So you don’t like the names I gave your babies? Is that it? I don’t get to name my own toys?”
Cheesecake was a bit befuddled when he called her children, ‘toys.’ “Babbehs am babbehs… Am nuu toysies, am fwuffies! Juss wike Cheesecake!”
“I’m not gonna let some fucking Frankenstein animal doll talk at me. You’d better stop being a bitch right now, or you’ll see who’s in charge here!”
“Daddeh gib Cheesecake babbehs meanie namesies. Am be mean to fwuffies fiwst… Huu-Huu, nuu faiw…”
The babies had managed to squirm their fat little bodies together into a small fluffpile. They hugged each other instinctively and peeped their displeasure at the aggressive voices and no-no words that broke up the blackness of their simple world.
“You know what, Cheesecake? Fine. Pick one.”
Cheesecake looked up at Martin and pinned her ears back. She was confused, and frustrated, and still put off by her mean daddy’s choice of baby names.
“One… Pick one wha, Daddeh? Hab tweats fow Mummah?” She wagged her tail just a bit and her expression perked up.
“No, you moron. A baby. I want you to pick one of your babies. Now.”
“Fow wha, Daddeh? Babbehs stiww tuu widdew fow hab big tweaties.”
“Not for a treat. For, er… a fun game!”
“Umm… Otay, uhh…” She looked down at her brood. They were just born that morning, so had very little in the way of personalities. She couldn’t think of a better foal to choose than the one she just felt was the prettiest. “Dis babbeh,” she said and pointed a hoof at her white wingie colt.
“Dis one, Daddeh.” Cheesecake pointed with obvious intent at the snow-white pegasus.
“Sorry, you’ll have to tell me which one by name. I can’t tell which one you mean.”
“Huu… Wee-tawd… Mummah pick wee-tawd.”
Retard, as if understanding that his own beloved mother was calling him such an awful thing, peeped pathetically in protest. His programming told him from birth that certain words were bad, and mean. Those weren’t supposed to be Mummah’s words to a little babbeh like him!
Martin scooped Retard gently into his open hand, per the technique.
“Buh Daddeh,” interjected Cheesecake. “Wee-tawd am tuu widdew fow pway wiff Daddeh. What gamesie am Daddeh pwayin’ wiff Mummah’s widdew babbeh?” She had a fair amount of caution and skepticism in her, for a fluffy. But Martin didn’t have the experience with those stinking pig-horses to know the difference.
“Oh, no, no. Don’t you worry, my dear. Daddy’s not gonna play this game with your baby. You are!” He smiled. Cheesecake smiled back.
“Otay, Daddeh! Dat sound wike wotsa fun! Mumma wub pwayin’ wiff babbehs. Mummah am bestest mummah! Mummah knu how to be suu gentew and nice wiff pwetty babbeh~”
Martin scooped up Cheesecake, leaving her other babies tucked into the pile of his soiled clothing that was the fluffies’ bed. He placed Retard onto her belly fluff where the newborn snuggled up cutely into Cheesecake’s ample tufts of luxurious blue softness.
Up the stairs and into the kitchen the trio went. Martin cradled Cheesecake to his chest in one arm and Cheesecake in turn cradled Retard. The doting new mother brought her tiny wingie foal up to her muzzle and kissed him gently between his tiny ears. The smaller of the two toys fluttered his wings rapidly in response, showing love to his mummah.
Seeing this animal-looking toy use its lips to kiss its young like a human really sicked Martin out.
‘Goddamn these things are still creepy,’ He thought.
Matin placed the fluffies down onto the kitchen floor. The main level of the home was chilly and sitting by the back door made Cheesecake feel even chillier. She hugged her baby close and took in his scent.
“It am otay, widdew babbeh. Mummah am hewe. Mummah wiww keep yu wawm an’ gib you huggies.” Retard peeped peacefully against her bossom. He couldn’t see with his newborn eyes still shut, but he knew his mother by scent and he knew her beautiful and gentle voice. He knew the familiar, comforting sound of her heartbeat. He knew her warmth.
Martin came up beside Cheesecake and the tiny fluffy child she held tightly to her chest. He crouched down and lifted the tips of each of her ears to place a foam earplug inside of it.
“Wha Daddeh doin’ to Cheesecake heaw-pwaces?”
He left one earplug out so he could explain.
“These are called ‘earplugs.’ They’re part of a game I like to call, ‘Where’s the baby?’”
“Gamesie hab funny-sounding namesie… ‘Whewe da babbeh?’ Is dis gamesie sowt of wike hide-and-go-peepies? Cheesecake wuv hide-and-go-peepies! Cheesecake am best at dat gamesie!”
“You could say it’s sort of like that, yeah,” Martin held back a mischievous chuckle as he placed the other earplug into her remaining ear. Her world was now almost completely silent. She could only make out certain sounds, and Retard’s frantic peeping when Martin pulled him from her grasp wasn’t one of them. She could tell he was chirping, but not the terror in his tiny voice. Retard was so cold without his mummah’s warm fluff! Where was Mummah?
“Daddeh, how fwuffies pway ‘Whewe da babbeh?’” She could hear her own voice, but it sounded dummeh and like it was coming from inside her own head. “Babbeh wiww get tuu cowdies if Mummah can’t gib huggies…”
Her human daddy, with little Retard cupped in one hand, pulled the back door open with the other. The cold breeze blew into the kitchen and sent Retard into a peeping frenzy. The panic in the infant fluffy’s cries felt so satisfying to Martin. Powerful. He held this newborn creature’s very existence in his teenaged grasp. So, this was what it was like!
Outside the open door, big wet snowflakes kept falling rapidly down to the ground and piling the already-high dunes of snow even higher. The world outside was so cold, and so white.
The fact that she couldn’t hear her white wingie babbeh peeping at all kept Cheesecake on edge. She couldn’t hear him, but he looked… scared. Was this part of the game?
“So. You wanna know how you play?” Martin looked down at Cheesecake, who stared back up at the human and the precious baby in his hand. Cheesecake’s daddy held Retard up, readied his arm, and yelled, “You play like THIS!”
And then Martin pitched Retard as far as he could, out the door and into the snow.