Though Blake had adopted Boris as a spur of the moment decision, the truth was that he had intended to take in fluffies for a long time. He’d bought all sorts of supplies in preparation for them a few days prior to encountering the first herd.
It’d been a week since his first game with Boris. The fluffy was currently meandering around the living room letting out the occasional sad “huu huu.” This was because the creature was down a leg.
Blake hadn’t actually taken one yet, but he had tied a band around it pinning it to the body, and slipped a cover over it. Blake had blindfolded the fluffy to keep it from seeing what he’d actually done. As far as Boris knew the leg was actually gone. Good thing too, if Boris had figured out the trick Blake would have been forced to actually take the leg.
That would have been a shame, seeing as how this had just been an experiment. He wanted to see how unfair he could make the stakes and if he could get away with the punishment in the first place.
The stakes had been simple. Guess right, get a fork full of spaghetti. Find the rock, lose a leg. Boris hadn’t seemed to give any consideration to the potential loss at all. He’d won for 3 straight rounds before the loss came.
Blake had expected Boris to flee but he’d only laid on the floor and covered his face. Well, that and he crapped himself the moment Blake revealed the stone. Good thing they’d been on the kitchen floor. Blake could have used the opportunity to beat him for crapping in the wrong place but he’d assured the fluffy that given the circumstances it was fine.
After the procedure the fluffy had sobbed uncontrollably for a long time. It was now moving into a begrudging acceptance.
Blake would have to remove the band soon, if he kept it too long it might damage the leg. Still, it was good to know he could use this trick in the future. He turned his chair to Boris.
“Hey Boris, wanna play a game?” The fluffy looked up at him wagging its tail.
Boris reacted this way every time Blake asked him. He’d done it for every meal. Mornings were kibble and carrots, but Boris needed to win the cups game to get it. If he picked the rock he got cold water, but he’d only lost once this week. He’d even taken the water like a champ, demanding another round immediately after. Sure enough, the look of pride on his face after the victory was far greater than the games that had gone smoothly.
Night time was for spaghetti, regular kibble, or nothing. Blake used 5 cups for this and went all out. Boris had won twice, and only pulled the rock once. When that happened, the fluffy hadn’t begged or demanded food despite obviously being hungry.
Blake even heated up some spaghetti after a while and despite visible discomfort the fluffy opted to distract itself with some blocks rather than ask for it. It was almost as if it was complacent.
“Daddeh, can Bawis pway foh weggie?” Blake was snapped out of his thoughts and looked down at Boris.
“Are you sure? If you lose I might take another leggie.”
The creature paced nervously but continued. “Can… can Bawis pway wid sumtin ewse?”
“Hmmmm, what will you let me do to you if I win?”
“Cawd wawa?” He’d half expected it to pick something harmless to try and trick him. Again this Fluffy was awfully honest.
“No, has to be worse.”
The fluffy pondered nervously. “Daddeh am hab… sowwy stick?”
Blake was aware that these things came pre-programmed with language and certain words, but it was creepy that it found something so specific. “Why in fact…” He reached up to the counter above them. “I do.” He brandished the implement with a twisted smirk on his face.
“Daddeh gib fwuffie sowwy stick foh wock?”
Blake was impressed by the creature’s resolve and opted to test it. He wanted to show him what he was in for if he failed. Blake lifted the stick and held out his own arm. He brought it down hard with a loud slap. He winced and the skin immediately reddened.
“Daddeh nu hawt Daddeh!” It yelled.
“Bawis nu wan bad hawties fo dadeh. Boris walked toward Blake and attempted to hug his leg seeming forget he was down a one of his own. He fell flat on his face. “Huu huu wan hug dadeh…”
Blake sighed and bent down to pet the creature. He scratched Boris behind the ears having discovered the fluffy quite liked the sensation.
“Don’t worry about it Boris, Dadeh’s stwong.” Blake guided Boris back to the front of the cups.
It was so strange to watch. This feral clearly had a smarty streak, knew that Blake had taken his leg, and was still showing genuine affection when Blake injured himself even when Blake was potentially about to hurt him. Were these types of games some kind of cheat code for fluffies? Still, programmed or whatever it was an admirable quality.
“What’s that!” Blake shouted, pointing to the window. The fluffy craned its head and turned away from the cups. Blake removed the rock from the cup it was under.
“Dat am… outside pwace?” Boris said obviously confused before looking back.
“So it is.” Blake flipped up the cup with the carrot before shuffling the cups again. He settled for medium speed trusting Boris to follow it. Boris followed the correct cup and when Blake stopped Boris attempted to kick over the cup instead of pointing. He fell over in the attempt but did manage to reveal the carrot.
Seemed Boris was worse at remembering a missing leg than he was remembering simple rules. Fluffy priorities were a shitshow.
“Well done.” Blake lifted Boris and flipped him on his back.
“Bad upsies!” Boris kicked his three legs trying to right himself.
“Stop kicking and close your eyes. If you do I’ll put your leg back, if you open them before I say your leg will run away.”
“Nu wan dat. Otay daddeh!” Boris shut his eyes tight and his free legs kicked excitedly. Blake sighed halting his pet’s feet. Blake slid the sleeve off and removed the band. There was an indent in the fur but he didn’t see any bruising. He expected it to hurt for awhile but he doubted there would be anything longterm from it.
“Okay Boris, you can open them.”
The fluffy opened his eyes and blinked a few times, he stared at the newly revealed leg. “Weggie! Bawis miss ou so much!” He tried to flip himself back over. Blake counted 3 attempts before he succeeded in righting himself. When he attempted to put weight on the leg he flinched and pulled it back. “Owie, why weggie hawt Bowis.” He placed it down again gently but winced again.
“Weggie forgot how to walk buddy, just give it a few minutes.” Blake offered.
Boris looked unsure but nodded. Blake grabbed Boris’s blocks and set them in front of him. “If you can stack the blocks really high, it’ll stop hurting.” After a moment Boris began stacking blocks, making it to about 4 before the pile tipped over. At the very least he was distracted.
Blake stood up and moved to the stove. He had a lot of work to do.
It was 6 in the morning several days later. Boris slept peacefully in the safe room.
Blake was awake and warming up another bowl of pasta and sauce. This batch like the last 4 wasn’t for Boris. He was leaving it near his yard in hopes that a herd would wander near. So far he’d only managed to get a few wolves. He’d picked off most of them with his 22. He was lucky no bears had shown up, but they tended to live further up the hill than his property.
Boris usually woke up at 11 or noon. This had been his morning ritual. Set up bait for a herd, tend to his freelance job, wake up Boris, play the cups game for food, and spend the day on various tasks.
Blake had switched the punishment for the cups game to a light tickle on the nose with a feather duster. The fluffy found it incredibly unpleasant but it wouldn’t do much harm otherwise. Blake did this mostly because he’d made the game way harder. 5 cups in the morning, and 4 of them had rocks.
What little skill Boris showed diminished as he failed. He would get into a rut and start guessing randomly. The first few days were the worst. Boris had done little more than shout and carry on when he lost but he continued regardless of how many times it took. His celebrations were as pronounced as his failures. He would dance and jump around so much that sometimes he’d even neglect to collect his prize.
Yesterday, he’d managed to keep his eye on the right cup until the very end. Blake had been under the impression that fluffy’s couldn’t learn, yet slowly Boris improved. It was fun to watch, the only trouble he’d had was a few nights prior.
Blake had been pre-occupied with the final touches of his project outside and decided to just leave a bowl of kibble and carrots for Boris. He’d returned to see the bowl overturned and that Boris was puffing his cheeks at him.
“Wewe Dummeh Daddeh go!? Bawis no eat dummeh nummies, wan bestest sketti!”
“Boris, you’ve eaten this many times before. You like this stuff.”
“Nu caw, wan gud nummies!”
Without a word Blake grabbed the sorry stick that he kept in the kitchen. He had one in every room now just so he wouldn’t miss a moment to discipline his pet if the need arose.
*thwack” “Skreeeeee!” Boris attempted to flee and Blake grabbed his head pinning him to the ground.
“If you make “Bad poopies” I’m taking your special lumps.”
“Nu hawt Bawis, Bawis am- skreeeee!” Blake swatted his back a few more times before releasing him.
“Eat your food.”
“Huu huu, why dummeh daddeh be so mean tu Bawis?”
Blake lifted him by his tail and swatted him on his testicles. “SKREEEEEE!” He dropped the tail and Boris curled up on the ground.
“Call me “dummeh daddeh” again I’ll hit em so hard they’ll imbed themselves in your stomach. Eat your damn food.”
“Huu huu, nu hawt Bawis…”
Blake chuckled. He hadn’t noticed before, but the fluffy pronounced the name like it was saying “ball-less.” Seemed like a cruel joke and he was pretty sure he’d never unhear it.
Good lord, had that been its actual name? The fluffy had been named by its mother who got it from her special friend and might have never heard his name pronounced by a human. Had he accidentally changed it? Why was this Fluffy’s backstory so goddamn elaborate.
Boris eventually got up and begrudgingly ate the food. Several times Blake had caught him muttering about “bad nummies.” Odd that only then the creature had exhibited the same smarty behavior he’d seen so many times online. Even strong retaliation hadn’t stopped it. Did he default because Blake hadn’t played with him?
The microwave shook Blake out of his memory. He removed the bowl carrying it out to his lawn inside the fence he’d completed. From his patio he could see over the fence for a good distance. He’d also built a window near the one-way entrance he’d set up. He stepped out into the yard and left the pasta in the center of it.
Perhaps this really was a waste of time. He considered seeking another herd out and luring them in, but he wanted them to do it themselves. Not for any reason, he was sure that he could sufficiently trick them into believing it was their own idea from the start but it just seemed more… sporting that way.
Returning to his house and sat down at his computer once again. He’d set up cameras and the feed from them played on his second screen.
Blake wanted a herd more than anything. Along with endless entertainment, it would provide him all sorts of opportunities to come up with fun consequences. He didn’t consider himself an abuser but he could definitely see the streak developing in himself. Besides, the games he came up with wouldn’t be any fun without said consequences. He loved sharing victories with Boris, but he found himself taking a different yet equal type of delight in the failures.
Blake spun in his chair. This was getting tedious and since he was between projects he found himself with more time than he knew what to do with. He considered booting up a game when he turned back to the monitor.
Movement. Lots of it walking in from the left side of his fence. Fluffies kept walking into view. 5, 10, 15, and finally 20. They were sniffing the fence looking for a way in. At the front was a light blue unicorn with a beautiful white mane, a trait it shared with Boris.
Blake watched with anticipation as the Smarty worked its way to the door. The door was a flap that opened inward. It was fairly light but built with a wireframe that wouldn’t break under a fluffy’s hooves. It would allow them in but it wouldn’t open the other direction. from the inside it sat in a frame so pulling it was practically impossible.
The smarty pushed the door but refused to go through. It looked like it was about to leave but another fluffy who had worked its way to the window spoke up. Blake didn’t get sound from these cameras but he assumed it was shouting about the spaghetti he’d left inside. The smarty ducked through the door. Not long after, the rest followed. A tidal wave of technicolor that ended on brown and dark green.
Blake moved to his window to get a better look at the herd. The smarty was chowing down on the spaghetti. No one else was partaking. Good, this smarty was probably a total asshole.
The smarty was flanked by some bigger fluffies. Yellow maned red pegasus and two earthies, a grey maned black, and red maned orange respectively. They eyed the pasta hungrily.
Blake got up and grabbed the rubber bottoms he’d prepared. He also grabbed the pair of gloves he kept next to them.
He grabbed the supplies for the cup game and walked out to greet them.
“Hoomin!” The black toughie shouted.
“Sup.” Blake said casually. The smarty looked up at him from the bowl.
“Dummeh Hoomin, dis smawtie wand nao!” There was venom in the statement, the creature seemed very spiteful.
Blake smiled at that. “Play for it?” The fluffy looked at him confused.
“Smawtie am pway wew smawtie wan!” Seemed he misunderstood.
Blake closed the door behind him, set the supplies on the table and stepped forward. Several fluffies backed away but the smarty and his toughies stood their ground puffing out their cheeks and stomping their hooves.
“Gu ‘way!” Blake reached down stealing the bowl from the creature.
“Dummeh hoomin, smawtie gib wowstest sowwy poopies and hoovsies.” Sure enough the creatures lightly bucked his legs. After a moment they realized how pointless it was and turned to crap on him.
Shit sprayed all over his rubber pants. Days of cleaning Boris’s litter box had allowed Blake to adjust to the rancid smell. He was unfazed… mostly. He wasn’t even mad at the fluffies.
He walked over to the hose and turned it on spraying the shit off his pants. He turned again to regard them.
“Want this?” he said, still holding the food.
“Gib tu smawtie nao!” it yelled strutting over and bucking him again. The toughies followed and the kicking resumed. He pointed the hose at them and fired a few spurts. They would jump back after a hit, but resume shortly after.
He decided to wait them out. After a few more minutes all of them were panting and the kicking ceased. He tried again.
“Want this?” He lowered it to the smarty taunting him.
“Gib… smawtie wan…”
“great, then let’s play for it.”
“Wuh…. wuh hoomin mean?”
“Y’all like games right? So instead of just giving you the food, we play a game for it.”
“Ou twick smawtie?”
“Of course not, I’m just giving you a chance to show your herd how smart you are.”
The smarty brought his hoof to his chin and pondered for what felt like several seconds. “Otay hoomin. Smawtie wiw pway siwwy hoomin game.”
“Excellent. Now then, let’s move this to the patio.” He walked toward the concrete. The fluffy followed.
(May revisit some of the gaps in here from Boris’s perspective later, this felt a little rushed but I’m setting up for the stuff I really wanna get to.
Comments are appreciated as they give me an idea of where I should focus more or less time.)