Syrup huddled along the side of the saferoom, as far from the little pen as she could manage. The munstah-babbeh was in the pen, she could see it. And even if daddeh assured her that it couldn’t see her, she was still scared. What if it escaped? Right now she was big enough that it wouldn’t be able to give her forever-sleepies, but when it got bigger…
The alicorn awoke, in darkness as always. Eyes still closed, she wasn’t able to ascertain the details of her environment, but there was definitely something wrong. She couldn’t feel or hear her family, and the only fluffy she could smell was a stranger. However, in spite of this she knew she had to focus on something more important for now. Miwkies, she thought. She could smell them.
Crawling towards the smell, she found the source. It was cold and hard, but right now the lack of comfort was ignored as she drank, until her tummeh finally stopped aching. It wasn’t as good as her new mummah’s milkies, but it was enough for now. Now all she had to do was stay where she was until her family found her.
“Peep! Chirp!” she called, trying to get her mummah’s attention, but there was no reply. Alone and frightened, she began to crawl along, but no matter what way she went she hit a wall. She was trapped.
Beginning to panic, she peeped loudly and began to flail around. Why wasn’t her family here? Why was she all alone? Did they not love her anymore? Was she a bad babbeh?
Syrup winced each time she heard the babbeh chirp. She new it was a munstah, but it sounded just like a sad babbeh. She wanted to help, wanted to open the door to the pen, but she was too scared. Daddeh said she wasn’t allowed to hurt the munstah, so keeping it trapped was the only way to be safe. But it still hurt to hear the sad cheeps.
The alicorn spent forever, so many forevers alone. Eventually, she opened her eyes, and saw that she was trapped in a small brightly-lit space, with a mirror (although she didn’t have a word to describe it) for each wall. There was a bottle, which she’d been getting the milkies from, and the one comfort she’d had she now realized was a stuffy-friend.
It should have been a happy time, but it only hurt her. Instead of overjoyed words from her mummah and daddeh, she heard silence. Instead of huggies and love, she was alone. And so, a milestone in her development came and passed with nothing but misery.
Peeping sadly, she hugged her stuffy-friend. The only thing that made her confinement bearable. Babbeh wub stuffy-fwiend.
Syrup had gotten mostly accustomed to the presence of the munstah-babbeh. She still avoided the pen, but no longer spent her time as far away as possible. Sometimes she’d even play, but always very quietly. She didn’t want it to hear her.
She’d almost shrieked in terror when she saw the munstah’s eyes were open. What would she do when it saw her? What if it could escape the pen now? What if it nummed her while she slept? Maybe…maybe it’d be best to give it forever-sleepies now, regardless of what daddeh said.
However, she calmed when she realized that, despite looking directly at her, the munstah clearly couldn’t see her. Instead it just wandered around its pen for a while, before returning to its nest and hugging its stuffy-friend, still cheeping and crying. Syrup relaxed a little, but was still on edge.
What was worse was how, in spite of every instinct crying out that the munstah was dangerous, she still felt sad for it. She wanted to give it huggies, let it know it wasn’t alone, but she couldn’t. She was too scared. The idea of there being a munstah in her saferoom was too much to bear. It had to be kept in the pen.
Rob could tell Syrup was getting close to cracking. It was becoming clear that she wouldn’t be able to stand by for much longer. It just wasn’t in her nature. Much like she’d helped Block…Cherry, she would eventually succumb and ignore her own safety to help. Which was just what he needed. Just a little push was all she needed.
“Miwkies…” the alicorn murmured as she awoke, startling herself. She was a talkie-babbeh now! Mummah would be so…no, mummah wasn’t here. Nobody would be happy to hear her talk. Nobody cared about her, nobody loved her.
“Miwkies! Wan miwk-! NU! NU WAN MOWE MIWKIES! WAN FAMIWY! NU WAN BE AWONE! WAN HUGGIES! WAN WUB!” she wailed, finally able to voice the pain she’d been enduring. But there was no reply. There was never a reply.
Sobbing, she drank, barely tasting the milk, and crawled back to her stuffy-friend. Her only friend in this lonely place.
Late that night, Rob made his move. He gently opened the top of the pen, and, careful not to disturb the foal, set up the next phase of his plan.
Syrup woke up early the next morning to a wail of despair. The munstah was running around its pen, crying and pleading, searching for something. But it had to know there was nowhere whatever it was looking for could be hidden, not in the small, bare pen.
“Pwease, stuffy-fwiend! Pwease nu gu! Pwease come baek! 'ou am onwy ting babbeh hab weft!” the munstah…the babbeh continued to plead, searching as her breathing became heavier. Eventually she collapsed, gasping for breath, but still speaking softly. “Pwease. Babbeh nu wan be awone nu mowe. Jus’ wan wub. Pwease. Jus’ wub.”
Syrup couldn’t take it anymore. She dashed over to the pen, and pushed her way in through the one-way door. It would leave her trapped in there, but that wasn’t important right now. Right now there was a babbeh that desperately needed her help.
She embraced the foal, and although the little creature was clearly startled and frightened, she returned the embrace. Her little body, rigid with despair and anguish, slowly relaxed. Syrup murmured a mummah song, trying to help as much as she could. But the tormented little foal only chirped in response, too overwhelmed to even speak.
Rob walked into the saferoom to see Syrup in the pen, gently rocking the sleeping alicorn and singing softly. It looked as if she’d learned her lesson, but it wouldn’t hurt to be sure.
“Syrup, I thought you didn’t want to be near the munstah-babbeh? Isn’t that why you wanted her kept away from you? Even though her whole family went forever-sleepies and she was all alone?”
Syrup’s mummah-song was interrupted by a sob. “Sywup am sowwy. Nu mean tu be su bad. Wewe onwy scawed.”
“Is the munstah-babbeh that scary?”
“Sywup weawize…babbeh nu am munstah. Sywup am munstah fow wettin’ babbeh hab wowstest heawt-owwies an’ saddies fow su wong. Sywup am sowwy. Pwease, nu haet Sywup.”
“I don’t hate you.”
“Swyup nyo. Bu’ mebbe daddeh shud haet Sywup. Sywup am wowstest nuwse-mawe ebah.” she sobbed.
Rob was going to speak, going to try to make sure this didn’t get out of hand. He couldn’t have her drowning in self-loathing. He just needed her to understand that sometimes, what her instincts told her was wrong. But he didn’t end up saying anything, because as soon as he opened his mouth, they both heard something. Something that would soothe Syrup more than anything he could say.
“Cheep! Babbeh wub nyu mummah!”