Chapter 3:

It's a Water Gun, Really.


“Hey, Lucky? Are you alright?”

Lucky folds her ears over her eyes and ignores it. She’s not tired, not really, but upon discovering the sleep mode function when scratching herself behind her ear, she can’t help but take advantage. Lucky doesn’t remember her humanity—if she ever possessed such a thing to begin with—but “sleeping” is something that makes her feel like more than a machine. She can turn on, and turn off, and she gets to decide when to face reality.

“Luuuuuccckyyy! Wake up! Hey!”

Except, of course, when Panic Button won't let her.

Lucky rolls on her side so that she’s facing away from him, determined not to be disturbed.

“I think she’s depressed,” Viper says. His voice has gotten deeper since Lester changed his gender settings. It still feels strange listening to that voice come from his mouth.

They all sound different though, even Lucky herself. It seems that while they lack autonomy when it comes to certain functions, voice settings were something entirely in their control. It came as a bit of shock to discover that there were thousands of different voices to choose from, but it was a small piece of entertainment in their otherwise very boring circumstances.

After trying out a gaggle of voices, they all eventually settled on one they liked the best. Lucky thinks that Viper’s deep cherry wine voice suits him, even if it will take some getting used to.

What he says with that voice, though? She needs to set him straight.

“I’m not depressed. I’m sleeping.”

“You’re sleeping at least 16 hours a day,” Bliss says, her voice soft and light.

“I’m a dog, isn’t that normal?”

“If you were a dog, maybe.”

Lucky feels something damp and fabric thrown at her head. She smells the familiar scent of rotted goat cheese, and she springs to her feet immediately. “Ugh! I’m up, I’m up, so get this nasty thing off me!”

Viper, her savior, uses his tail to swipe the damp rag off of her eyes. Panic Button cackles as Lucky glares up at him. “This better not be what I think it is.”

“No, it better be what you think it is! I could have thrown a knife at you, so be grateful you got off with just Lester’s dirty sweat rag.”

“You had a knife and you didn’t throw it?”

Panic Button poses like The Thinker, as if he’s having a philosophical debate about whether throwing the knife or the rag would be better. “They don’t exactly have backup bodies for us, you know. Our lives aren’t worth that kind of money. If I blew out your eye, Lester would throw you in the slaughterhouse without a second thought!”

“I’m not talking about throwing it at me. I meant why didn’t you throw it at that cheese wart!”

Viper chokes and sputters on a laugh. “L-Lester! A cheese wart!”

“Hey, you might be ready to go one-on-one with him, but that’s not my style, okay?”

Bliss rolls her eyes. “You just can’t do anything by yourself.”

“Says the one without any hands! If anything happened I’d have to be the one to save you.”

As Lucky listens to their conversation she looks down at the rag with nothing but untempered disgust. It has to go. Lucky remembers that her vision turned red the day she shattered the mirror and tries to muster up the same energy. She recalls how overwhelmed she was by emotion, the way that her eyes were so focused on one spot, and—


The rag catches on fire.

“Shoot!” Lucky quickly tries to the tap out the fire with her paw, but the flame is already too strong to be put out by her paw alone. Just when she’s about to ask for some kind of help, she hears Bliss whinny.

Bliss stamps her hooves and kicks her hind legs into the steel plates that make up her stable, making the makeshift structure tremble uncertainly. “Let me out of here! I’ve gotta save her!”

“Bliss, it’s fine! Viper has a water gun in his—”

“No, he won’t make it in time! It takes him too long to charge it up. If I don’t do something, she’ll die!”

Lucky looks at the fire and thinks that she really doesn’t think she’ll die from something like this, but Bliss isn’t convinced no matter what kind of logic Panic Button attempts to throw at her. She just continues to thrash more and more and cry out louder and louder.

“Shh! Be quiet, would you? Lester will hear!” Panic Button tries again. It doesn’t work, and by the way he stares at her as she spirals into a full-blown panic and reaches out as if he wishes he could touch her, Lucky can tell he’s not sure what to do. Lucky doesn’t know how long they’ve been trapped here together, but even if they bicker all the time, they obviously care for each other.

 Yet all Panic Button can do is watch as the metal tears into her coating, leaving rips that reveal refined machinery underneath. Lucky looks at Viper, feeling her own anxiety begin to get the best of her. “Are you done charging? If you don’t hurry, she’ll destroy her body!”

“I’m done. Step out of the way!”

Lucky curls up in the side of her cage and watches as Viper lifts his leg and…pees on the fire?

“That’s disgusting!” Lucky yelps, her ears covering her nose as she squeezes her eyes closed.

“I’m not peeing! They just installed a water gun on my underbelly and it’s easier to aim this way! I promise it’s not pee.”

Lucky almost argues with him, but once the last ember is snuffed out she decides to let it go, even if she’s officially dubbed his water gun the “Pee Extinguisher.” She scampers to the edge of her cage. “Bliss. Bliss! Can you hear me? I’m okay now, see? Viper put the fire out.”

“Hey, did you hear her Bliss?” Panic Button asks.

“Everything is going to be alright. And if there’s ever a fire in the future, I’ll take care of it. You don’t have to be afraid,” Viper adds.

Lucky’s heart sinks when their words fall on deaf ears. She’s clearly not listening, or maybe she no longer can. The look in her eyes is practically feral, and she wonders if Bliss is even conscious anymore. Bliss delivers one final kick to the stable and it all comes crashing down.

Panic Button look at the door in dismay and sure enough, Lester comes stumbling through it shortly after. “What in the world is going on here?”

Bliss swings her head in his direction and stampedes toward him. Lester fumbles with his back pocket and manages to pull out a small remote with her nose just a mere centimeter from his face. "Stop!" He presses his thumbprint into the remote and all of a sudden, her limbs stop moving, and all she can do is stare at him as tries to catch his breath.

“I-I’ve got no use for a mare that’s snapped.” He grabs her by the mane and begins to pull her through the door. She follows this time without being able to resist, though her eyes clearly show how much she wants to. “To the slaughterhouse we go.”

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy