Kerry’s-Story author:differential_Sloth close_call foreshadowing forest_fluffies forest_life mummah's_sorrow questionable sad-fluffy sadbox tragedy

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Kerry’s Story; Part Twenty Seven

By differential_Sloth


####

‘Keep pushin!’

‘Jus, bit mowe!!’

‘Hnnnngh!!!’

‘How wong tiww safe pwace?’

It feels like you and the others have dragged and pushed this strange thing through the forest for more than four brighttimes! It was great when the others turned up to help, but after another few turns pushing and pulling, you felt just as bad as before. No matter how long you take between turns, the hurties and sleepies from the last don’t go away; even worse, they’re bigger each time a turn ends! You won’t be able to move at all soon!!

‘Push mowe!!’ The Bestest toughie yells.

‘Fwuffy twyin!’

‘Twee nu can push hawdah!!!’

If anyone cared about the no talking rule before, they don’t now; the fluffies pushing the thing yell at each other to keep pushing and push harder, and the ones resting breath loudly and complain about their hurties. The ones pulling on the thing are the quietest, only because they’re nummie places are busy.

‘*Haff haff* How *haff* much wong-*haff*-gah?’ Daddeh’s orange friend asks.

‘Id nu am wong way nao, ‘*haff* F-Fwuffy knu dat t-twee.’

You hope he’s right, it’s won’t be long before you’ve got to push or pull again! Your leggies want to give up just thinking about it!!

‘Wook!’

That voice, it came from up ahead!

‘Dah nummie findahs am back!’

‘Quick, hewp dem get nummies back tu safe pwace!’

Not long after, a bunch more fluffies from the herd arrive and take the place of fluffies too sleepy to move the big thing anymore. With so many new fluffies, the thing moves faster and faster. It won’t be long until it’s back at the safe place, but you’re just happy you don’t have to push or pull anymore! For the rest of the trip back to the safe place, you walk next to Daddeh. Even though you’ve got lots of hurties and sleepies, you can’t help but talk.

‘Daddeh, am dis gun be gud ting?’ You ask him in little wordies.

‘Daddeh tink so,’ he says back. ‘Daddeh teww Smawty dat Wunnie hewp find id.’

You didn’t do as much as Daddeh, but the Smarty doesn’t need to know! This is so exciting; once the Smarty sees this thing and the nummies inside, you’ll be able to have babbies with Sky for sure! Daddeh and Mummah will probably get to have more babbies too; it’ll be so fun to have more brothers and sissies! You can’t wait!!

‘Dewe! Dat am safe pwace!’ Someone yells. Everyone moving the big nummie thing goes harder, and some of the resting fluffies jump back in to help push the last little bit. Not long after, the big group and the big nummie thing comes through the trees and into the safe place. Fluffies rush up from all over to see what you’ve found.

‘Wat am dis?’

‘Nummies? Dis smeww wike nummies!’

‘Whewe fwuffies find dis?’

What looks like most of the herd crowds around and ask questions. Meanwhile, you try to find your friends in the crowd; Mummah’s not here, but she’s probably still with Flower. She’s probably had her babbies by now, you were out in the forest for a long time. That’s ok, you can tell them about this later, who you see Flower's babbies.

‘Wunnie!’ You turn just in time for Sky to give you a really big hug. ‘Wat Wunnie find!?’

‘Nummies!!’ You tell her. ‘Nu knu wat day am, bud day smeww gud!’

Sky rushes over to the thing and sniffs it; her see places go wide, and she looks back with a huge smile on her face. She runs back and hugs you again; ‘Wunnie am bestest speciaw fwend!!’ Sky says. ‘Smawty am gun wet Sky an Wunnie hav babbehs nao!!’

‘Dat am wight, Speciaw fwend!!’ You hug her back. You’re so happy, happier than you’ve ever been! Now, you just need the Smarty to show up and see what you’ve done!

‘Smawty? Smawty!’ The Bestest toughie looks around the crowd. You look too, but cant find the Smarty either. That’s, odd. He’s always shows up when big things happen; he shows up when anything happens. ‘Hey!’ The Bestest toughie calls to one of the Next bestest toughies, Leaf you think, who trots over. ‘Whewe am Smawty? He nee see dis.’

Leaf looks around, then leans close to the Bestest toughie and talks right into his hear place. As he does, the Bestest toughie's face changes. It doesn’t change much, but there’s something there. He glances at you and Daddeh quickly, then looks at Leaf, nods and follows him somewhere. It’s strange, but, maybe the Smarty's just busy with Flower; his wingie baby is her special friend after all. You forget about it, and talk to your friends; Daddeh does the same, and so does everyone else. This is the biggest thing that’s happened to the herd in a long time!

‘Move! Move dummeh! Wet dah Smawty see!!’

Finally! The herd parts and lets the Smarty and Bestest toughie through. The two of them walk up to the thing and the Smarty looks at it really close; like, really, really close. He sniffs it too, but for much longer than anyone else has. Odd, but he probably wants to be absolutely sure these are good nummies. After a while, the Smarty looks up.

‘Who… *Cough* W-who find dis?’

‘Fwuffy an Wunnie find id!!’ Daddeh yells. ‘Was Fwuffy an Wunnie!’

‘Dat am wight!’ Daddeh’s green friend adds, looking at you sneakies. ‘Fwend an Wunnie find dem, Smawty.’

The Smarty looks at you, then at Daddeh; you swear there’s something up with the look on his face, but he talks before you can really think about it. ‘Who, hewp bwing id back?’ Lots of fluffies yell and call out until the Bestest toughie yells for them to shut up. ‘Otay, otay…’ The Smarty looks back at the bag, and then at the other fluffies; what’s he doing? Maybe he’s trying to figure out how many fluffies get to have babbies. You can’t even begin to figure out how to decide, but so long as you-

‘Hewd, hewd wisten tu Smawty!!’ Everyone shuts up. ‘Smawty say, dese am gud nummies!! Smawty wan, *cough* wan oda fwuffies tu go an find odas befowe oda hewds du! Nao!!’ Fluffies rush to get organised into groups. You watch as they do, and hope no one asks you to go out again! As the herd organises to get the rest of the nummie things, the Smarty talks to the Bestest toughie. You wish he’d just come over and tell you you’re allowed to have babbies with Sky already! But, you suppose whatever they’re talking about is imorta-

‘W-wunnie…’

Finally, you were wondering when he’d show up; you turn around and look at Big…

‘B-bwudda?’ Ever since you’ve opened your see places, you’ve seen Big Red with lots of different looks on his face; happy, when he became a toughie; angry, when the two of you fought over something; even more happy, when Snow agreed to be his special friend. You never seen him like this, though; you’ve never seen any fluffy look as sad as Big Red does right now. When you see his face, and how wet the fluff under his see places is, one of the worst feelings ever rolls wraps around your tummy.

Something terrible has happened.

‘Big Wed? Wat am wong? Wat happen?’

His nummie place moves, but no wordies come out. He stops and tries again, ‘Id… I-id am… *sob*’ but he can’t get anything out. More sad water comes out of his see places.

‘Wat am wong?’ You ask again. Scardies fill your body. ‘Big Wed, wat happen?! Wai am Bwudda-’

‘Wunnie,’ Shivers run up your back; slowly, you turn and face the Smarty. Before you can talk, he says ‘Fowwow Smawty.’ It’s then you see Daddeh a little bit behind the Smarty; he looks worried, no, scared! What’s going on? Could it… No, please, don’t let this have to do with-

‘Dis way,’ The Smarty walks past you and Big Red; Daddeh follows, and even though your tummy feels like it’s full of rocks, so do you.

On the way past, you glance at Big Red; he stares at the ground, sad water dripping from his see places. As you go by, Tree and the Bestest toughie walk up to Big Red; Tree gives him a hug, and then ‘*Sob* Uuuuuuhuhuhuhuuuu!! Wahhhhhuhuhuhuhuuu!!!’ The sound of your brother, the strongest, bravest fluffy you know, makes it feel like the cold times are inside you; you’ve seen Big Red sad, but you’ve never seen him cry! Not like-

‘Fwowah!’ You look just in time to see Daddeh gallop towards Flower’s den. You follow right behind; none of your hurties from earlier seem to be around now, all you can think about is following Daddeh. As you run, time gets longer and your thinkie place buzzes. The cold feelings turn into hot, prickly hurties and your nummie place goes dry. The more you run, the more scared and mad you get; was the safe place always this big? Why is it taking so long to get to Flower's den!? It’s always been right, THERE!!

You turn and charge for the tunnel, right behind Daddeh; you go as fast as you leggies will work, but you seem to move even slower!! You want to scream, but just as it seems like you’ll never get there, you have to skid on your hoofies not to run into Daddeh. He’s come to a complete stop outside Flower’s den, standing as still as a rock. Before you can ask what he’s doing, you hear it.

‘Speciaw fwend, pwease!! Pwease be wakies huhuhuuu!!’

‘Uuhuhuuhuuuu *sob* Fwowwwahhh-huhuhuhu!!!!’

The sounds make you feel, empty. The strange buzzing feel in your thinkie place gets worse; it’s like, like you’re… You don’t the wordies to-

‘Nu…’ Daddeh’s so quiet, you almost don’t hear him. Slowly, he walks into the den. There’s almost nothing you don’t want to do more than follow him inside, but you’re not really in control. Without thinking, you follow Daddeh down the tunnel, into Flower’s den.

‘Pwease speciaw fwend!!’ Flower's special friend hugs her harder than you’ve seen anyone hug anything. ‘Wai huggies nu wowk!?! Pwease!!!’

‘Uhhhhhhuhuhuhuuuu *sob* W-waaiiiiuhuhuhu!! Fwowah!!!’

Mummah, you’ve never seen her like this; you didn’t think a fluffy could be as sad as-

‘Waaahhuuuhuhuhuhuhuh!!!’

You try to move forward to do, something, anything! But, your leggies won’t listen. Neither do your see places; all you do is stare at Flower. Her face almost looks, funny. Her nummie place is open a bit, and her tongue hangs out. Her see places are open, but they’re not looking at anything. It… She looks, wrong…

‘Id happen when hew wast babbeh cum oud,’ the Smarty says. You know he’s behind you, but he sounds far away; everything does. ‘She go sweepies, an…’

‘F-Fwowah…’ Daddeh says. At that, Mummah looks up; she stares at Daddeh for a moment, like she can’t tell if he’s there or not. Then, she rushes forward and grabs hold.

‘Uhhhuhuhuhuhuuh!! *Sob* Huuhuhuuuuu!!!’

You think Daddeh says something to her, but it’s hard to tell. Your hear places seem to work less and less the longer you stand still. Suddenly you walk forward, though it doesn't feel like you’re the one doing it. Slowly, you get closer to Flower; you want to turn around and run instead, even better to wake up!! But, you just keep walking forward. Finally, you’re right in front of her. This… It can’t be real, it just can’t be! Flower, your Sissie, she can’t be forever sleepies!! Not now, and not after her babbies have come out. It, it’s not right…

‘*Sob*’ You see some sad water land on her fluff, then more and more. ‘*Sob* N-nu… S-sissie pwease… *Sob*’ You fall forward and land on top of Flower, hugging her at the same time. ‘Nuuhuhuhuu! Pwease nu be fowewa sweepies!! Pwease Sissie!!!’ You don’t want to believe it, you don’t want it to be real, but once you hug Flower you can’t pretend it isn’t. You can’t feel her heart, you can’t hear her breathe, and she feels, cold.

She’s gone.

####

The first time you felt the worst kind of saddies was when Mummah was taken by a monster. You’ll always remember those screams, no matter how much you try to forget them. Worse though was what you found afterwards, the boo-boo juice and fluff all over the ground.

The next time was when your Sissie went forever sleepies. Like Mummah’s screams, you’ll never forget the brighttime she went out with her friends to look for nummies. They came back, but your Sissie didn’t. Her friends told you how she found some mushrooms, and ate a few them before anyone could stop her. They didn’t say much about what happened next, but you could tell by the look on their faces it was horrible.

Then, not all that long ago, the humans found the safe place. The screams, the noise of the humans’ forever sorry sticks, the smell of scardie poopies, boo-boo juice and forever sleepies. The herd had a lot of little babbies and soon mummahs at the time; a lot of the little babbies were saved, you even carried some away. But, the soon mummahs…

None of them could move well, and the fluffies who tried to help got forever sleepies, or were taken by the humans along with the soon mummahs. You’d just gotten some little babies on your back and got ready to run into the forest, when you saw your brother make a run for his den. You screamed for him to stop, but he ran on. He either didn’t hear you or didn’t listen, not that it matters. One of the humans saw him, and raised their forever sorry stick; there was the loud bang and your brother dropped, just like that.

One thing you’ve hopped for, is to never feel those kinds of saddies ever again. And yet, here you are.

‘Huuuhuhuhuhu, Babbeh huhuhuuu!!’

Flower is forever sleepies on the brighttime her babbies came, the time that’s meant to be one of the happiest ever! There’s only one way it could be worse, but you can’t even think about that now. All you want is to lie down and cry. But you can’t; as big as your saddies are, Kerry’s are much worse. She can’t even talk, and from what you’ve learnt she hasn’t stopped crying since, since…

‘Wahhhhhuhuhuhuuu!!’

You hold her tight as she cries; her sad water, so much you don’t know where it’s coming from, makes your fluff wet. Over by Flower, Runny and the Smarty's baby cry over her. You want to go over too and hug Flower, your Baby. You want to so much, it’s like something’s pulling you over. But, you can’t leave Kerry alone; she needs you, and you need her. It feels like your insides have gone completely cold and empty; you’re scared it you let go of Kerry, you’ll fall down and never get up again.

‘*Cough*’ Somehow, you manage to turn your head and look at the Smarty. ‘*Sigh* Smawty am sowwies,’ his wordies are small, and his hear places hidden. ‘Nu can weave… Fwowah nu can stay hewe. Am sowwies.’

It makes your heart want to go forever sleepies; the last thing you want is for Flower to be taken away, but you can’t stop it; they have to. You try to say you understand, but nod instead when your nummie place doesn't work. The Smarty nods back and he turns, probably to get some toughies. You try to let go of Kerry and go hug Flower one last time, but Kerry won’t let go.

‘Speciaw f-fwend, pwease,’ you try. ‘F-fwuffy nee giv, *sob* n-nee giv…’

You hear hoofsteps; you turn and see a couple of toughies. ‘Tuffies am sowwies,’ on of them says. ‘Pwomise be cawefuw.’ They walk over to Flower, and ask Runny and her Special friend to move so they can-

‘W-wha?’ You feel Kerry turn her head; before you can react, ‘NUUU!!!’ Kerry jumps at the toughies. ‘NUU!! NU TAKE BABBEH!!!’ She does her best to push the toughies away from Flower, and even hits them a couple of times.

‘Speciaw Fwend nu!!’ You jump over and push Kerry away from the toughies, but she breaks away and hits one of the toughies again.

‘Mummah!!’ Runny jumps in and helps you keep Kerry from trying to fight the toughies.

‘Quick!’ They grab hold of Flower and start to drag her out of the den; you can barely watch.

‘NUUUUU!! NUUUHUHUU!!’ Kerry cries and does everything she can to get away. ‘NU TAKE BABBEH!! NU TAKE FWOWAH WAY!!!’

It gives you the worst heart hurties, but you hold Kerry down with everything you have, even if it means you won’t get the chance to hug Flower for the last time; even if they’re gentle, you can’t bare the thought of Kerry getting hurt trying to fight the toughies.

‘NUUUUHUHUHUU!!! FWOWWAHHH!!!!’

Kerry’s screams and cries somehow make your heart hurties even worse; you hate yourself for holding her down, but you have too. She can’t do anything for Flower now, no one can. It doesn’t take long for the toughies to get Flower out of the den, but Kerry doesn’t stop trying to get away for a very long time.

#

Kerry kept crying after the toughies took Flower away, after you, Runny and some others help get her back to the den, and well into the darktime. You stay with her the whole time and give her the biggest huggies you possibly can. Even if it doesn’t seem to help this time, it’s the only thing you can do right now.

You look around the den; it’s dark, really dark, but the scardies you usually have are gone. The saddies and heart hurties don’t leave any room. Kerry lies curled in a tight ball next to you. She’s finally asleep, but you doubt her sleepie pictures are good. If you listen close, you can hear her cry. It makes you want to cry too, but you’re all out of sad water. At least, for now. Much as you want to stay with your Special friend, part of you needs to get out of the den and… And you don’t know what.

Careful not to wake Kerry, you get out of the nestie and leave the den; it’s dark out, nearly so dark you can’t see. But, you don’t really care; all you want right now it to move, to do something, anything. You start to walk, slowly, and not to anywhere in particular. As you go, a couple of toughies ask who’s there. When you don’t answer they rush over, but stop once they figure out who you are.

‘Oh, Tuffies am sowwies,’

The whole herd found out what happened once Flower was dragged out of the den. Part of you wonders how so much of the herd didn’t know what happened for so long, but what does that matter? Right now, it doesn't feel like anything matters…

‘Fwuffy?’

You almost can’t see him in the dark, but you know the voice well enough; you turn and look at the Smarty, or at least, where you think he is. For a moment, neither of you talk. Then, the Smarty takes a few steps forward, and hugs you. It’s only a small hug, but it’s enough to make you cry again. He stands there and lets you cry for a little while, then steps back.

‘*Sob* S-sowwies, Smawty.’

‘Fwuffy nu nee say sowwies,’ he says, ‘Smawty undewstan.’ Then, ‘Dis way.’ You’re still to sad to talk properly, so you just follow. You’re not sure where he’s taking you, everything looks exactly the same in the darktime. Not long after though, he stops in front of a den. ‘Am Aww mummah wakies?’

A few moment later, she comes out of the den. ‘Yes, Smawty?’

‘Take dis Fwuffy to see Fwowah’s babbehs,’

The last two wordies make your chest go tight; babbies, Flower's babbies! You were so caught up in, everything, you didn’t think about-

‘Fwuffy?’ You snap out of it, and look at All mummah. ‘Dis way.’ She turns, and you follow her into her den. It’s even darker in here than outside, but it doesn't take long for your see places to get used to it. ‘Nu be woud,’ All mummah says in little wordies, ‘day am sweepies.’ She leads you down the tunnel, into her den. To one side, away from the nestie, you see All mummah’s special friend; he’s either asleep, or pretending to be. In the nestie itself…

‘Ba… Babbehs…’ You can’t the colours properly because of the dark, but there’s no mistaking it; they’re babbies, Flower's babbies. You look at All mummah, who nods, and lean in closer. They lie in the middle of the nestie in a fluff pile, hugging one another. For a while, you stand still an look at them. ‘*Sniff,*’ Flower should be here with her babbies. She waited for so long to see them, and did everything she could to be a good mummah for them! It’s not fair!! It’s not fair, none of it is…

‘Day am aww otay,’ All mummah says quietly. ‘Aww Mummah an Snu giv dem miwkies, an, an…’ She stops. ‘Am sowwies, Aww mummah twy keep Fwowah wakies…’

You nod; All mummah would have done everything she could, no fluffy in the herd knows more about soon mummahs and biggest poopies than she does. If All mummah couldn’t stop Flower from, from… ‘Fwuffy nee go nao…’ You turn and walk out of the den, careful not to wake Flower’s babbies. Outside, the Smarty's still waiting.

‘Aww mummah am gun wook aftah babbehs fow wittwe time,’ he says. ‘She, an Snu an Speciaw fwend can giv dem miwkies if Kewwy nu can, ow nu wan. Day be otay.’

‘Tank yu nice Smawty,’ you manage. ‘Wat boud, *sob* wat boud dewe daddeh?’

‘*Sigh*’ The Smarty looks down. ‘He am tuu saddies nao.’ Who isn’t? ‘Bud Smawty make suwe he take of dem. Smawty pwomise.’

‘Tank yu,’ you say. ‘Fwuffy nee go back tu den nao.’

The Smarty nods, and you turn to start the walk back to your den. Fortunately, Kerry’s still asleep when you get there. Carefully, you get back in the nestie and curl up next to her.

####

Nothing feels like, anything. Nummies don’t taste like anything. You can’t feel anything when you walk, eat, drink, or do anything.

At first, it felt like you weren’t part of yourself anymore. But, as a few brighttimes when by and you started to feel like you again, all you wanted was to feel nothing again. The saddies are like nothing you though possible. It feels like all the cold sharp hurties in the world live in your chest now. Not a moment goes by you don’t want to lie down and cry.

What happened? What did you do!? Everything was fine; Flower was fine!! She did everything All mummah and the other mares said to, and so did you!! You did everything to help Flower, and she’s gone, like your, your…

‘*Sob*’

It’s been so long since you’ve thought about your other babbies; the brown one who was forever sleepies when she came out, and the green one who got horrible hurties, and then forever sleepies when he drank milkies! Milkies... Oh no, was there something wrong with your milkies all along? What if something was wrong with Flower all along, something you did!? Does that means something will happen to Big Red and Runny!?

Please, please no!!! You can’t lose them too! Not now, not ever!! You’ve got to figure out what happened, you have to!! You can’t let anything bad happen to any more of your babbies! You can’t turn into a horrible bad mummah! You-

‘Kewwy?’

What?

‘Kewwy!’

You open and close your see places, then look around. It takes a while to remember where you are, and what you’re doing. That’s the other thing; you’re thinkie place will suddenly run wild, and you stand in place for a long-

‘Kewwy!!’

You shake your head and look at All mummah; she has a worried look on her face. ‘W-wat?’

‘Kewwy been neaw wong wawa fow wong time.’

Now that she mentions it, you start to hear the water go past again. You must have come here for a drink, then started to think about…

‘Fwend, pwease,’ All mummah says. ‘Cum way fwom wawa. Kewwy am makin oda fwuffies scawdies.’ Not far behind her, you see a couple of fluffies; they look scared, like All mummah said. You nod, and let her lead you away from the long water. She takes you through the safe place back to your den. ‘Hewe,’ All mummah makes you get in the nestie and lie down. ‘Fwend jus… Jus nee, be in nestie…’ From the sound of her wordies, you can tell she doesn't know how to help, not really. When you don’t say anything back, All mummah says ‘Uh, Aww Mummah cum back soon.’ She turns to go and makes it to the tunnel, when

‘W-wai...’ You didn’t mean to speak, the wordies came out on their own.

‘Huh?’ All mummah turns back. ‘Wat am-’

‘Wai… W-wai am Fwowah fowewa sweepies? W-wai?’ Your see places get wet again. ‘Fwowah du ewyting wight; Kewwy du ewyting wight! *Sob* K-kewwy am b-bad mummahhuhuhuhu!!’ All mummah runs over and hugs you tight, but doesn't say anything until you stop crying.

‘Pwease fwend, Kewwy nu am bad mummah!’ she says. ‘Dis nu am Kewwy’s fauwt, id jus…’ She pauses. ‘Id, id happen, sumtimes…’

‘W-wat?’

‘Sumtimes, soon mummahs go fowewa sweepies when dewe babbehs cum oud,’ All mummah says.

‘Wai?’ Why didn’t anyone tell you that could happen!?

‘…Nu knu.’ All mummah says, quietly. ‘Nu knu wai id happen. *Sob*’ She hugs you a little tighter, then says. ‘Id… Id happen tu Mummah huhuhuhu.’ For a while, the two of you hug each other and cry.

####

‘Speciaw fwend,’

She turns away from what she’s doing and walks over; ‘Yes?’

‘Am wingie babbeh oud of nestie?’

She gets a sad look on her face and shakes her head.

‘*Sigh,*’ Fantastic. He’s barely moved from the nestie since Flower went forever sleepies, about two and three brighttimes ago now. Of course, you feel sad about what happened; you’ve had to go to your quiet places a couple of times. But, as mean as it sounds, he needs to stop lying about and being sad. You don’t get to; the smarty doesn’t get to lie around feeling sad. If he wants to be the next one, he needs to learn that.

As sad as your Wingie baby is, he needs to get up and start doing things again. And, start to take care of his babbies. Right now, Little and Snow have been taking care of them, along with All mummah, your special friend and a few others. Your Wingie baby needs to start taking care of them; they’re his, after all. Time to go have a word with him.

You turn and leave for your den. ‘Wait!’ Your special friend calls. You stop, and look back. ‘Pwease… Pwease nu be meanie tu Babbeh.’ You nod, then keep walking. You’ll try, but you can’t make any promises; maybe she knows that. It’s not long until you get close to the den. On the walk up to the tunnel, you think about what you’ll say to your Wingie baby. Then, just before you get to the tunnel,

‘Smawty,’

You stop, turn, and walk over to the Bestest toughie; even if getting interrupted makes you mad, he wouldn’t unless it was important. ‘Wat?’

‘Wookie fwuffies see sumtin,’ the Bestest toughie says. ‘Day am neaw quiet pwace.’

‘*Sigh* Otay.’ You start to walk, but stop once you notice the bestest toughie isn’t. ‘Wat Bestest tuffy doin?’

It takes a moment for him to answer; ‘If, Smawty nu wan-’

‘Nu!’ You say a bit tuu loud. ‘Nu, Smawty du dis nao.’

‘Otay,’ The Bestest toughie turns and follows you to the quiet place where the lookie fluffies are. Once everyone’s settled, and a few wandering fluffies are told to go away, the lookie fluffies start to talk.

‘Wookie fwuffies find fowewa sweepies fwuffies, wotsa dem,’ the brown one says. ‘Id wook wike dewe was big fight. Day nu wewe fwom hewd,’ he adds, but you already figured as much; no one’s gone missing.

‘Wookie fwuffies awso find pwace whewe wotsa fwuffies go,’ another one says. ‘Tink hewd was movin tu new pwace.’

For a while, you think about what you’ve been told; put together, they make what’s happened with Flower seem much smaller. Fights between fluffies in the forest don’t just happen, neither does a herd moving. ‘Whewe wookie fwuffies find dese tings?’ You say.

‘Was wong way fwom safe pwace, Smawty,’ the brown fluffy says.

‘Wat bound oda ting?’ You ask the other.

‘Was wong way tuu, Smawty,’ he tells you. ‘Nu was cwose.’

For another few moments, you think. Your thinkie place works hard to focus only on what the lookie fluffies told you, and everything else you’ve learnt about what’s going on in the forest right now. While you do, everyone else sits where they are, and waits for you to speak again. ‘Wookie fwuffies can go nao. Nu tawkies boud dis.’ You say after a while.

‘Yes Smawty!’ They say, then leave. Now, it’s just you and the Bestest toughie; You look at him, and ask,

‘Wat Bestest tuffy tink?’

‘Id am dah bad fwuffies,’ he says at once. ‘Day wewe in dat fight, an day move ow make oda hewd wun way fwom safe pwace.’ His see places narrow. ‘Bestest tuffy say hewd nee find dem, an make dem go way.’

It takes a while for you to answer; ‘Nu,’ you tell him. ‘Hewd nu du dat.’

‘Wai?’

‘Cause, hewd nee find bad fwuffies tu du dat,’ you tell him. ‘If wookie fwuffies go wookin fow dem and dewe safe pwace, maybe bad fwuffies find dem fiwst,’ you say. ‘Maybe day make dem say whewe safe pwace am, den day come hewe.’

‘Still tink nee du id,’ the Bestest toughie says. ‘Bad fwuffies am gun twy wook fow safe pwace. Day fowwow nummie findahs ow wookie fwuffies back.’

He’s right, that’s something the bad fluffies could do, something they might do. But, going out to find them? You’ve sent toughies out to find small groups of bad fluffies before, but never a whole herd; ever. It’s not that they'd be hard to find, if anything it’s be much easier! But, what would you do? Have the lookie fluffies find the safe place, then send the toughies in? You know how hard it is to sneak up on a safe place. Even worse, they could follow the lookie fluffies back, wait for the toughie to leave, then attack! No, it’s too dangerous.

‘Hewd nu am gun find bad fwuffies,’ you say.

‘Bestest tuffy nu tink dat am gud idea, Smawty.’

‘Smawty knu, bud,’ you narrow your see places, ‘yu nu am smawty.’ He’s your friend, the best in whole world. But, this is you herd, and he needs to remember that.

The Bestest toughie looks at you for a while, but his face doesn’t change. ‘Bestest tuffy undewstan, Smawty.’ With that, he leaves. You watch him go, and try to figure out what he’s thinking and how he feels, really feels. But, it’s useless; unlike most fluffies, you can’t tell what’s going on with the Bestest toughie by looking. With him gone, you sit alone in the quiet place and think about what the lookie fluffies have seen. Not for long though. It doesn’t change much; there are bad fluffies out there, and you have to make sure they don’t find the safe place.

Now that things are sorted, for now at least, it’s time to do what you meant to in the first place. You walk back to your den, this time no one stops you. Inside, on the nestie, your Wingie baby lies curled in a ball. ‘*Sniff* huuu…’ The fluff under his see places is wet, and dirty from all the stuff that’s stuck to it. He looks a bit thinner too; he hasn’t been eating much. ‘Huuuhuu, Fwowah…’ Seeing him like this hurts your heart, but you can’t let things go on like this.
‘Babbeh,’

He stops crying, and slowly looks up; his face looks like an old fluffy's and seems to have all the saddies in the herd on it. ‘*Sniff* W-wat?’

‘Babbeh, yu nee get oud of nestie.’

He looks at you for a bit; ‘Fow wat?’

‘Babbeh,’ you say a bit harder, ‘yu nu can stay in nestie aww bwighttime nu mowe. Yu nee du tings gain!’

‘Wike wat?’

‘Get nummies, get wawa,’ you tell him. ‘Ow, go wook aftah yuw babbehs!’ Your Wingie baby’s face twitches a little, then he puts his head back down; not while you’re here he won’t! You step forward and poke him in the side of the head.

‘Eee!’

‘Nu wook way when Daddeh am tawkies! Bad Babbeh!’

‘F-fwuffy nu am babbeh!’

‘Babbeh bein wike babbeh,’ You tell him, ‘wike bad babbeh!!’ He doesn’t talk back, so you go on. ‘Yu bein bad daddeh tuu! Wittwe an Snu am wookin aftah dem!’ You walk around the other side of the nestie. ‘Yu wan dem tink yuw Bwudda am dew daddeh when day open see pwaces?!’ Still nothing except some mad and sad looks. Well, there’s a reason you didn’t promise not to be mean.

You lean closer and stare into his see places. ‘Wat Fwowah tink if she see yu?’ That gets his attention; he goes stiff, and his see places open a little wider. ‘She weawn ewyting boud bein gud mummah. Wat Babbeh tink Fwowah say if she knu Babbeh nu am-’

‘Nu tawkies boud Speciaw fwend!!’ Your Wingie baby stands up, face to face with you.

‘Wai?’

The look on his face gets madder, but has trouble talking; ‘Cause… C-cause…’ You stare into his see places for a while, then shake your head. ‘Wat?’

‘Wai shud Babbeh stiww be nex smawty?’

‘Wha?’

‘Wai shud Babbeh stiww be nex smawty,’ You say again. ‘ if Babbeh nu can get oud of nestie an wook aftah babbehs?!’

‘Cause stiww hav saddies!!’ He yells. ‘Hav saddies an heaw-’

‘Yu tink Daddeh nu hav saddies tuu?’ you say back. ‘Nu hav heawt huwties!?’ You stare him down. ‘Daddeh hav saddies an heawt huwties boud wat happen; hav dem boud wotsa tings! Stiww hav be smawty!! If Babbeh nu can wook aftah babbehs, how can wook aftah hewd?!’

your Wingie baby clenches his teethies, and the look on his face gets madder. At the same time, sad water comes out of his see places again. You take a small step back so you’re ready for, anything. You don’t know if he’ll try to hit you, and you really hope he won’t; that’s the last thing anyone needs. Then, ‘Daddeh nu undewstan!!!’ He screams, and runs out of the den. You try to go after him, but just after you get outside, your Special friend and Snow stop you.

‘Speciaw fwend nu!’ She says.

‘Pwease Daddeh, nu huwt Bwudda!’

Somehow, they make your maddies go away enough to not chase after your Wingie baby. You’re not happy with him, far from it; in fact, right now you want to give him a few sorry hoofies. But, at least he’s out of the den now. It’s a start.

####

‘Am babbeh weady?’

‘Nu Daddeh,’ he says. ‘Nee go tu poopie pwace fiwst.’

‘Otay. Daddeh go get Big Wed. Wait at dah two wittwe bushies.’

‘Yes Daddeh,.’ Your baby leaves for the poopie place, and you head for Big Red’s den. On the way, you see the Smarty's Wingie baby; he’s walking slow with his head down, but he’s outside at least. Hopefully, he’ll start taking care of his babbies properly; you heard they’ll open their see places soon.

Outside their den, you find Big Red and Snow. It looks like they’ve just had first brighttime nummies. Snow hugs Big Red, who still looks really sad about what happened. Well sad or not, it’s time for him to get back to work. ‘Big Wed,’

He looks up; ‘Yes, Bestest tuffy?’

‘Tuffies am goin intu fowest dis bwighttime,’ you tell him.

‘Du Big Wed hav tuu?’

‘Am weggie bettah?’

‘Yes...’

‘Den Big Wed nee cum tu fowest with Bestest tuffy an Babbeh.’ You tell him. ‘Bestest tuffy kn Big Wed am saddies. Bestest tuffy undewstan, bud nee Big Wed back.’

He looks at you for a while, then sighs and gets up. ‘Otay.’

Snow gets up too and hugs him goodbye. ‘Pwease be cawefuw Speciaw fwend.’ She finishes the hug, and walks off.

‘Du Big Wed nee du anyting befowe go tu fowest?’

‘Nu, Big Wed am otay.’

‘Gud. Dis way.’ You lead him to the two little bushies near the edge of the safe place, but your Baby isn’t there yet. So, you sit and wait for him to get there; neither of you talk. You don’t mind the quiet, but, it might be a good idea to talk, for Big Red’s sake. ‘Am Big Wed otay?’

‘...Nu.’

Ok, dummy thing to say. ‘Wai Big Wed nu wan go tu fowest?’

He looks at you for a moment, like he’s surprised you asked. ‘Was gun hewp Snu wook aftah babbehs.’

‘Otay.’

After a few moments, Big Red goes on. ‘Was gun stay in den fow wittwe time, den take dem tu Mummah an Daddeh’s den. Mummah nu see dem yet, she am…’Big Red stops, but he doesn't’ have to go on; you’ve seen his Mummah around a few times since Flower went forever sleepies. She looks, well, like a lot of Mummahs who’ve lost babbies, only worse. Sometimes you forget she was a housie fluffy, and not used to, these things.

‘Dat am, gud.’ You say.

Big Red nods, but doesn't say more. It takes a little longer for your Baby to show up. ‘Whewe tuffies gun go?’ he asks when he gets there.

‘Wittwe way intu fowest,’ you tell him.

‘Wai?’

‘Make suwe bad fwuffies an munstahs nu cum tu safe pwace.’ Without waiting for either of them to say more, you turn and lead them into the forest. For the a little while, you keep an eye on Big Red to make sure he can actually do this, or if he needs to stay at the safe place for a bit longer. He doesn’t look so bright at first; but, soon enough he acts like himself. He walks without making much noise, and looks around the forest as he goes. Good.

The three of you walk into the forest for a while, then turn one way to walk around the safe place. You spread out, and keep watch all around. All the other things leave your thinkie place; the only thing you focus on is the sounds and sights of the forest, looking for the ones that don’t belong, the ones bad fluffies and monsters make. Before next brighttime nummies, you walk through the forest around the safe place about three and two times. Then, you head back.

At the safe place, Big Red leaves to check up on Snow and his Sissie’s babbies, and most importantly his Mummah. Just after next brighttime nummies are over, you meet up with him by the small bushies again. You’re about to head into the forest, when Leaf comes over. ‘Dah Smawty wan one of yu tu go wif does nummie findahs,’ he points to the group assembled not far away. You see Runny with them.

‘Wai?’

‘Wookie fwuffies find noda one of does big nummie tings,’ he says. ‘Smawty wan id hewe.’

So looking for the rest of those nummie things is fine, but going to find the bad fluffies is a bad idea?

‘Big Wed go,’ he looks at you. ‘Am, dat otay?’ You think for a moment, then nod. Tank yu Bestest tuffy,’ Big Red walks over to the nummie finders, and joins up with his brother.

‘Dis way Babbeh,’ With that, you head back into the forest like you planned; this time you go a little deeper in, but don’t run into the nummie finders as they leave. You don’t hear them either, which is good. A little way into your new walk,

‘Daddeh?’

You look at your Baby. ‘Wat?’

‘Can, Twee ask Daddeh sumtin?’

‘…Otay.’

‘Wast, wast bwighttime, when Daddeh cum back fwom Smawty, Daddeh wook maddies. Am, uh…’ He trails off. You’re a little impressed, not many fluffies can tell what your feeling.

‘Daddeh an Smawty an stiww fwends,’ you tell him. ‘Daddeh am stiww Bestest tuffy.’

‘Den… Bud, wai Daddeh maddies?’

You think of how explain, and if you even should. It wouldn’t be good for the herd to think you and the Smarty don’t like each other anymore. That wouldn’t end well…

‘Uh, Daddeh nu nee teww Twee,’ you look back; his hear places are part way hidden, and he’s looking away. ‘Nu mean make Daddeh mowe maddies...’

‘Nu Babbeh, yu nu make Daddeh mowe maddies,’ you tell him. After some thinking, you finally figure out how to explain. ‘Babbeh nu can say dis tu anyone, eben Big Wed; undewstan?’

‘Yes, Daddeh,’

‘Gud,’ you take a breath. ‘Am maddies cause Smawty nu wan find dah bad fwuffies.’

‘Huh?’ Tree looks at you surprised, and a little mad. ‘Bud, wai? Wai nu wan huwt ad fwuffies?’

‘Smawty wan huwt bad fwuffies,’ you tell him, ‘bud nu tink am gud idea tu wook fow dem.’

‘Bud dat am dum… Nu am gud!’ He says. ‘Wat if bad fwuffies cum tu safe pwace? Ow, ow giv nummie findahs fowewa sweepies? Shud find bad fwuffies an make dem go way!’

You smile a little; he’s smart. ‘Daddeh knu, Babbeh, bud Smawty say nu go wook fow bad fwuffies. So, dat am wat Daddeh an Babbeh du.’

‘Bud wai? Daddeh am Bestest Tuffy!’

‘Yes, bud Daddeh nee du wat Smawty say,’ you tell him, smile gone. ‘Hewd onwy hav one Smawty.’ You pause for a moment. ‘He am gud smawty, Babbeh. An, maybe Daddeh am wong. Maybe wookin fow bad fwuffies am dummeh ting.’

Your baby goes quiet for a while. ‘*Sigh* Den wat du?’

‘Keep hewd safe, Babbeh,’ you tell him. ‘Am wat tuffies du.’

####

Dragging the last nummie thing back tot the safe place was hard work, but at least it gave you something else to focus on for a while. By the time you get back, the sky-ball is ready to go sleepies. A bunch of other fluffies, mostly toughies and a few other nummie finders, come over to drag the nummie thing back to the new place that’s been made for it and the others. You and Runny, like the others, are too tired to help so you head for the nummie dens.

‘Shud fwuffies get Mummah an Daddeh?’ Because of where you came out of the forest, the old den will be on the way.

‘Tink Mummah stiww am tuu saddies,’ Runny says.

‘Dat am wai shud,’ you tell him. ‘She am wike Smawty’s babbeh; jus stay in den, an nu du anyting.’

‘*Sigh* Otay, Wunnie an Bwudda twy.’ The two of you keep walking to the old den. On the way, Sky comes over and hugs Runny.

‘Hewwo Speciaw fwend. Hewwo Big Wed,’ she says. ‘Am yu goin tu nummie dens?’

‘Uh-huh,’ you tell her, ‘Am gun get Mummah an Daddeh tuu.’

‘Dat soun wike fun. Can Sky cum tuu?’

You nod, and the three of you keep walking to the old den; it makes you feel a little better, and maybe you’ll feel even better if everyone has darktime nummies together. Mummah, Daddeh, Runny and Sky, you and Snow. Just thinking about it makes some of the saddies and heart hurties from the past few brighttimes go away.

Then, you hear the crying. When you first hear it, you’re still far enough away to pretend it’s not coming from the old den. But, when you get closer you realise it can’t be coming from anywhere else. ‘Quick,’ Runny trots toward the den, and you follow; it’s not scary to hear crying from the den, but you still need to see what’s wrong. When you get closer though, you get a little scared; Mummah’s crying sounds different, not as worse as when Flower, went, but still bad. You trot inside the with Runny, and find Mummah in the nestie.

‘Huuhuhuhu *sob* uuuuhuhuuuu!!!’

Daddeh curled over her, giving her huggies. You and Runny rush over. ‘Wat am wong? Daddeh, wat am wong wif Mummah?’ Daddeh doesn’t talk, his see places are full of sad water too. Slowly, he raises a hoofie and points at the other side of the den; you turn, and see Snow huddled against the wall. A bolt of scardies go through you, and you dash over. ‘Speciaw fwend! Wat happ-’

‘Peeeep!!’

‘Huhuu! Peeep!!’

‘Peep peep. S-scawies!!’

The noise makes you freeze. Snow looks up, and turns her body; huddled up close are Flower's babbies. All of them are scared, and a few of them have done scardie pee-pees in Snow’s fluff. One of them, a pointy baby with grey fluff, looks up at you; looks at you, with his see places. They go wider, then he buries himself in Snow’s fluff. ‘Peeeep! Scawies!! Peep peeep! M-mummah!!’

‘Waaaahhhhuhuhuhu!!!’

Your heart sinks into your tummy when you figure out what’s happened; not long after happens, you get mad. Flower’s Special friend just missed one of his babbies, one of their babbies opening their see places!! Flower wouldn't have missed that for anything, not all the berries in the forest! No, the world!! Sure, Daddeh missed it with you three, but only because he didn’t know where Mummah was, and he’s worked hard to make up for it since then!! Flower’s Special friend, he’s just sat in his family’s den and cried. He might be sad, but he needs to start taking care of his babbies now!!

‘Huhuhu!’ Flower's pointy baby snaps you out of it with another cry. ‘Huuhuhu, peep! W-wan Mummah!’

That. Does. It.

‘Speciaw fwend,’ Snow looks up at you, ‘take Sissie’s babbehs tu den.’ You turn, and walk for the tunnel.

‘Huh? W-wat Speciaw fwend gun du? Speciaw fwend? Big Wed!’

You don’t answer, or even look back. Part of your worries about it she follows, but you tell it to shut up; she’ll be too preoccupied with Flower’s babbies, but you don’t really care if she follows. This has to be done. You walk through the safe place like your on your way to hurt bad fluffies. You’re not sure where Flower’s special friend is, but the Smarty's den is a good place to start.

When you get close, you see his brother, Little, out front.

‘H-hewwo Big Wed,’ he says. ‘Wat am-’

‘Whewe am bwudda?’

‘Huh?’

‘Whewe am bwudda? Whewe am he?’ You say again, louder.

‘W-wai Big Wed wan knu?’ Little looks scared, but you couldn’t care less.

‘Big Wed wan knu, cause he nee wook aftah his babbehs nao! Am he in den?’

‘N-nu. He… H-he nu am hewe!’

‘Den whewe am-’

‘Big Wed,’

You turn, and see the Smarty. But, you don’t feel scardies at all. ‘Big Wed twyin find Fwowah’s speciaw fwend! Am gun teww him he nee take cawe of dewe babbehs!!’ It feels like you’ve made a big mistake saying that, and in the way you did. But instead, the Smarty nods.

‘He am at dah wong wawa,’ he says.

‘Tank yu, Smawty.’ With that settled, you walk from his den to the long water and find the Smarty's wingie baby there. He’s not crying, but looks like he has been; not that you care. ‘Get up.’

The Smarty's wingie baby looks up. ‘W-wat Big Wed-’

‘Get up, nao.’ You say again.

‘Wai?’

You’re not ready for all the maddies such a small question gives you. ‘Cause yu nee stahp bein saddies an wook aftah babbehs!’

A few different looks go over his face. ‘Am… A-am gun du-’

‘Day open dewe see pwaces!!’ You cut him off.

That makes his see places go wider. ‘W-wha?’

Day open see pwaces, an yu miss id, dummeh!! Yu miss babbeh open see pwaces!! Sissie nu miss dat fow anyting!!!’

‘Nu tawkies tu Fwuffy wike dat!!’

‘Wai!?!’ You yell back. ‘Yu am bein wazy dummeh dat nu wook aftah babbehs!!’

‘Fwuffy say was gun tu!!! Am stiww saddies-’

‘YU TINK BIG WED NU AM SADDIES!!?!!’ You scream in his face. ‘YU NU TINK BIG WED NU WUB SISSIE!?! BIG WED TWY KEEP SISSIE SAFE SINCE WAS WITTWE BABBEH!!!! DU ANYTING TU KEEP SISSIE SAFE!!! YU NU EBEN WAN WOOK AFTAH HEW BABBEHS!!!’

‘SHUD UP!!!’ The Smarty's baby screams, then jumps at you! He slams a hoofie into your nose, which makes you pull back. Then, he hits you again. ‘SHUD UP!!! SHUD UP!!! DUMMEH NU CAN TAWKIES TU FWUFFY WIKE DAT!!!’ More sorry hoofies land; you should fight back, your angry enough to fight back!! But, he’s the Smarty's baby! What would he think if-

‘Big Wed,’ The Smarty!! ‘Fight!’ Well, if he says so.

‘WAHHH!!!’ The Smarty's baby jumps at you again, but too high; you get down low, then jump headfirst into his chest. ‘OOOOFF!!’ He flies backward and lands on his side. ‘*Gasp, gasp!*’ He does a funny breathing thing, but scrabbles at the ground to get up at the same time. Still mad, you walk up over to give him more sorry hoofies,

‘Stahp!’

but the Smarty's voice stops you cold. You freeze in place, and let him walk past. The Smarty walks up to his wingie baby and stands over him. ‘*Cough, Gasp* W-wai… Wai Daddeh wet Big Wed giv hu-*cough*-wties?’

‘Cause Big Wed am wight; yu am bein dummeh, wazy dummeh.’ A hurt look flashes over his face. ‘Daddeh say yu nee take cawe of babbehs two bwighttimes go; stiww nu du id.’ He leans down. ‘Wai shud babbeh be nex Smawty?’

‘*Cough* D-dadh-’

‘Wai shud Smawty nu ask Big Wed be nex Smawty?’ A jolt goes through your body, but before you can react, ‘He hav saddies wike babbeh did, bud stiww be tuffy an wook aftah Fwowah's babbehs.’

‘H-he nu can be Smaw-*gasp*-ty!’ The Smarty’s wingie baby says.

‘Wai? Babbeh nu makin Smawty tink can be nex Smawty nu mowe.’

A lot of hurties pass over his face. ‘N-nu, Daddeh, pwease...’

The Smarty shakes his head, turns and walks away. His baby watches him go, then looks at you. ‘H-hachew! HACHEW!!!!’ He gets up, gallops over the long water and into the forest.

‘Hey!’ You call, and start to go after him. ‘Nu go in fowest!!’

‘Big Wed,’ the Smarty says, ‘wet Babbeh go.’

For a moment you’re stunned. ‘A… Am Smawty-’

‘If he nu am dummeh,’ the Smarty says quietly, ‘he come back.’

‘Wat if… Wat if he nu cum back?’

The Smarty looks away. ‘Den, he nu cum back.’ With that, he walks away. You look over your shoulder at the spot where the Smarty's baby ran into the forest. A lot of you wants to run off after him; even if you’re mad at him, Flower's babbies can’t lose their mummah and their daddeh! But, you’re not that great at looking for fluffies, especially if they don’t want to be found.

‘*Sigh* Dummeh… You hang your head and walk away. Where too, you’re not sure.

####

You run until the hurties in your leggies and chest are worse than your heart hurties; because of how big those are, it takes a really long time. When you finally have to stop, you’re so deep in the forest you’re not even sure where you are. But, you just don’t care right now. They don’t understand, none of them understand!! Right now, you’re supposed to be with Flower taking care of your babbies together!! Why is she gone!?! What happened!!?

Why does the forest have to be so mean!?! Why did it take Flower from you?! Why can’t Daddeh and Big Red understand how big your saddies are!? Flower might have been his sissie, but he doesn't understand what it’s like to look forward to something for more brighttimes than there are numbers, and then see it all go wrong!!

And Daddeh, Daddeh’s just being his usual self; the big smarty, who doesn’t get sad or scared over anything, even his baby’s saddies! Does he even care at all what’s happened to you? The more you think, the more mad you get at him; especially what he said about Big Red, how he could be a better next smarty than you! You!! ‘Hnnn...’ You’ve always been a little jealous of Big Red because of how big and strong he is, much more than you are, or could ever be.

Has Daddeh always wanted Big Red, or a fluffy like him to be the next Smarty? Has he waited for the right moment where you did something that showed him you’re not good enough? But, if that were true, why’d he spend so much time teaching you about being the smarty?

‘*Sigh,* Huuu’

Nothing makes sense anymore, or seems to mean anything. Not without Flower. ‘*Sob*’ You stumble along until everything finally becomes too much. With the darktime closing in, you pick a bushie, crawl under it and curl up. The only good thing about what’s just happened is that it makes you go to sleep really quick.

#

Birdies wake you up with their songs, but you don’t move from where you are; what’s the point of getting up? Flower is still forever sleepies, and your hurties from running so far and so fast are really big. So, you lie under the bushie for a long time. What finally gets you up is the need to do pee-pees and poopies. You drag yourself out from the bushie, and find a spot. With that taken care of, you start walking; not to anywhere, just to do it.

You pass by trees, rocks and bushies of different sizes, and a long water where you get a drink. This part of the forest looks a little familiar, but you hardly notice; in fact, most of the time you stare at the ground. The maddies from last brighttime are gone now; all that’s left are saddies. They’re not like the saddies you’ve had for the last few brighttimes though; instead of making you want to cry, they sit in your tummy like a rock.

A couple of times while you walk, you think about going back fro the safe place. It’s the smart thing to do; Mummah will be so scared, so will Snow and Little. They’ll all ask Daddeh to send the lookie fluffies out to find you, and maybe some of the toughies too. But, will he? Will he send them into the forest just for you, when he sounded so mad and disappointed at you last darktime? No, he’ll probably leave you out here; why would he risk the lookie fluffies and toughies to look for you, if he doesn't think you can be the next smarty anymore?

‘*Sigh…*’ Maybe, maybe Daddeh’s right. Maybe you were wrong when you told him you could be the Smarty. Look at you; wandering the forest alone after running away from the safe place, and your babbies. Babbies… They’re right, you’ve been a terrible daddeh so far. You haven't even started to be one! You couldn’t even look at them after, after Flower went…

‘Huu, am so sowwies, Speciaw fwend.’

She’d hate you if she could see you now. All the time you talked about taking care of your babbies, it means nothing now. Flower would kick you in the special lumps if she knew this is what you’d do. Maybe you shouldn’t go back. Your babbies deserve a better daddeh than you. The herd deserves a better Smarty. You should just keep walking until, until…

‘*Sigh…*’

*Snap*

For some reason, your hear places pick up on the sound, probably because they’re bored. Out of habit, you stop to figure out where it came from. It was small, but it came from somewhere behind… Oh, who cares? There’s plenty of-

*Snap*

Again, your hear places pick up the noise; It came from behind you, but it sounded

*Crunch*

closer…

Your thinkie places pushes some saddies out so it can work better. If that sound came from behind you, and it’s louder than the first two, that means something is-

‘*Gulp*’ Like water washing dirt off something, a wave of scardies push all the saddies out; you’re being followed. Carefully, you walk forward to the next tree and hide behind it. With all the scardies, it’s hard to stay calm and think. ‘Otay…’ Just remember what all the lookie fluffies said; you use your hear places harder than you ever have before, so hard it almost hurts.

*Snap. Crunch.*

Something’s following you through the forest, and it’s coming this way. But, what? The first thing your thinkie places says is “Kitty monster,” but that can’t be it; you’d never hear one of those coming! Barkie monsters, from what you’ve been told, always run when they’ve found fluffies; that’s not happening. That leaves humans, some other kind of monster, or,

‘Huwwy dummehs,’

Fluffies…

‘Whewe dah dummeh go?’

They sound far away, but if you can hear them, they can-

‘Dis way.’

Closer. Who are they? Could they be from the herd? No, you don’t recognise the voices. From another herd? Maybe, but they wouldn't follow a fluffy they didn’t know. Unless…

‘How fwuffies knu dummeh am fwom hewd?’

‘Fwuffies find oud when find him.’

Hot prickles run down your back. Are these, the bad fluffies Daddeh’s been worried about?

‘Hoofies am goin dis way!’

Whoever they are, you’re not staying to find out! You move away from the tree, careful not to go too far either way, or make too much noise. You move for a few moments, and think about hiding again to check, when,

‘Fwuffy tink heaw sumtin dat way!’ Uh-oh. ‘Dis way!’

Your heart beats faster; they’re on your trail, and not far behind!! It won’t take long for them to catch up! There’s no other choice, you have to make a run for it! It’ll be noisy and they’ll figure out where you are, but you’re a wingie fluffy, the fastest of all fluffies! ‘Fwuffy can du dis,’ you whisper, then launch into a gallop.

‘Dummeh am wunnin!!’

‘Get him!’ Another bad fluffy yells, and you make out the sound of galloping hoofies behind you; now it’s started! You run as fast as your leggies will go; you duck past bushies, jump over small rocks and forever sleepies trees. Up ahead, you see a much bigger patch of bushies, too big to go through! You dash the long way around, but as you do

‘Fwuffy see sumtin!! Fastah!!’

They’ve seen you! Faster, must go faster!! You put everything you have into running; your hoofies beat the ground hard, and you move faster than you ever have in your life!! But, you can still hear the bad fluffies. Time for a trick one of the lookie fluffies taught you it. You turn almost all the way around, and run back past the other side of the big bushie patch into a thicker patch of forest. For a moment, it looks like the trick worked,

‘He go dat way nao!!’

but it doesn’t last. They’re further behind, but still after you! This is bad, really bad!! You haven’t run for that long, and already you can feel hurties in your leggies and chest; you didn’t give the last ones a chance to fix all the way. The scardies help you ignore them, but for how long? If you slow down, the bad fluffies will get you for sure!! What else is there? Run back to the safe place? You’re not sure where it is, and you’d be leading bad fluffies to the safe pace!! What if one escaped back to their herd!?

Your head pounds along with your heart; you need a way out of this, there has to be one!! You try to remember all the things the lookie fluffies and toughies taught you, but your thinkie place almost won’t work under the strain!

‘Whewe he go?’

Was dis way dummeh!!

‘Nu, fwuffy heaw him go dis way!!’

Wait, they’re not sure where you are! The moment you figure that out, you remember another trick a lookie fluffy taught you. Fast as you can, you dash around in a few different directions, then start to look for a place to hide. This needs to be quick, really quick; your leggies can’t take much more!! But, it seems the forest has finally decided to give you a break; just up ahead, you notice a space by some bushies and a forever sleepies tree you can fit in. With not much left, you make a run for the spot and force yourself inside as far as you possibly can!! If they see you in here…

‘Dis way, dummehs!!’

‘Nu, he go-’

‘Fwuffy say dummeh go dis way!!!’

They’re still close by, but you can’t tell where exactly. ‘*Haff, haff, haff…*’ You force yourself to breath slowly and quietly; there’ll be no running for a while, and you can’t afford to be found before then. Outside you hear hoofies, getting closer. ‘Ulp*’ You’ve done everything you possibly could to escape; all that’s left is to hope.

‘Fwuffy nu see him, dummeh!’ One of the bad fluffies yells.

‘He go dis way, Fwuffy knu id!!’

‘Bud he nu hewe!!’ The first one screams. ‘Yu wose him, dummeh!!’

‘Yu waned go oda way! Yu am biggah dummeh!!’

‘Shud up!!’ A third, much scarier sounding fluffy yells. ‘Dat dummeh an gone nao, cause yu dummehs wose him!’

‘Nu was Fwuffy’s-’ The first one tries, but the thrid cuts him off.

‘Fwuffy say shud UP!!’ Everything goes quiet for a moment. ‘Fwuffies go find oda dummehs; Munstah say nee find oda safe pwace soon. Dummehs knu wat he du if Fwuffies nu find one.’

Things go quiet again, this time for much longer. ‘Dis way,’ the first fluffy says. ‘Tink fwuffies find sumtin dis way.’

You hear the fluffies walk off through the forest, and try to count the hoofies to make sure all of them go. Soon enough the sounds disappear, but you stay put. Part of it’s the hurties in your leggies and chest; no way you’re going anywhere until they’re fixed. But, there’s also the problem of you don’t know those fluffies are all the way gone yet.

One could be waiting around for you to come out, or they could sneak back and catch you; there’s no way to know! But, that’s probably not what’s going on here; they sounded desperate to find you, so if they thought you were in here or close by, they wouldn’t have given up so easily. For now, at least, you’re probably safe. Best to stay here until you can walk and run properly again.

Waiting for the hurties to go away gives you lots of time to think, and you realise some important stuff; the first is how lucky you were just then! You’ve known about the bad fluffies for a while, and heard about the things they do to fluffies they’ve caught. Now, you were nearly caught by them!! That thought makes shivers run up your back; they’d have done the same things to you they did to those other poor fluffies, and then what? Could you have gone through that and not told them where the safe place is?

And even if you didn’t tell them, they’d still give your forever sleepies when they were done. That thought sends spiky shivers through you tummy, and then, something else occurs to you. If that happened, your babbies wouldn't have a daddeh anymore. Wouldn’t have a daddeh, as if having to grow up without their mummah is bad enough! When you think about it that way, something changes; since the scardies and the hurties from the chase have kept your saddies away, you finally understand what you’ve done, and what a dummy you’ve been.

No, calling you a dummy would be mean to dummies! Daddeh and Big Red were right when they got mad at you. Flower would hate you if she could see you now. She was sure you’d be the best daddeh ever for your babbies, and so far you’ve let her down. But, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

‘Fwuffy pwomise, Speciaw fwend. Pwomise be bestest daddeh fow babbehs.’ Where ever Flower is, you hope she hears you. But, you can worry about that later. Right now, it’s time to go back to the safe place. Well, when your hurties are gone. But as soon as they are, you’re going back; to be the daddeh your babbies need, and apologise to everyone you’ve let down, especially Daddeh.

Whatever needs to be done to make things right, you’re ready.

Comments

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Fluffus: Nice work! I really love this series.

Good to see pieces aligning more and more : )
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Anonymous1: So these bad fluffies are led by "munstah", I wonder if this is a human?

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BurnFree: @Anonymous: More likely an alicorn.
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Nuuu: @BurnFree: Oh, that would be so sweet. A real munstah instead of the usual perfect-fluffy *barfs*
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Researcher_7201: Wonder if the munstah is the same humans who were out hunting fluffies earlier
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Fluffus: @Researcher_7201: That’s what I assumed, but I’d be equally happy with an alicorn, a terribly malformed and psychotic earthie, or just a very mean, but well trained and insidious, parrot.
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Anonymous2: Time for some homeless dudes to be farming fluffies for meat...
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Anonymous3: Great stuff, as always.

Can someone tell me what the big nummie thing the fluffies found is? I can't figure out the Fluffy interpretation.
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Stealthderp: Nice.
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Anonymous4: I think the "nummies" are a big bag of oats or something. They usually come in large burlap sacks.

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differential_Sloth: @Anonymous: They're some of the feed bags that fell off Blake's truck when it crashed in the last episode.
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Anonymous5(3): @differential_Sloth: *slaps forehead* god I'm dumb.
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Anonymous6: Pretty dang sad about Flower. She was so anxious and worried through so much of her life and in the end she dies before she gets to be a mother like she wanted to be.
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Fluffy_Angst: I have really enjoyed this series so far. Interesting to see what happens to Wingie. So sad about Flower though.

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differential_Sloth: @Anonymous: That's life; just likes to shit on you.
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Anonymous7: Smarty was pretty dumb letting his kid escape to the forest. If they caught him they'd find where the safe place was too.