A Ponygirl of Freehold
- written by Xaltatun of Acheron,
with an illustration by Matt.
How did I get here? I mused. Trust a computer to ask that kind of a question. It should be kind of obvious. Really. The stable lad put me into this stall, and here I am, munching on my ration and talking to a computer through this VR helmet. But then, I suppose the computer didn't mean anything quite that obvious.
Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop. Seemed like good advice when Alice heard it. Probably still good advice, although this isnít quite the wonderland that the logical reverend had in mind. But what's a good start? Four elephants standing on a turtle? No, too far back.
I suppose that a good point would be when my partner and I killed two people while we were robbing a bank. One was a bank guard; the other one was a cop. Not good. I expected that the cops would be after me like flies after a garbage truck, even though they got my partner on the way out. They really don't like it when one of them gets killed. Silly assess, if they didn't want to be shot, they shouldn't be cops. Itís really obvious, isn't it?
Anyway, I figured I had better get as far away as possible. Preferably someplace they couldn't come after me. This seemed to be easier than it sounds. During the chaos at the beginning of the 21st century, some people had glommed onto an island and called it Freehold. About all I knew about it was that they weren't very cooperative with the rest of the world's cops, which suited me just fine right about then.
If I'd been paying any attention to what they were really like, I'd have stopped by a hardware store, bought some rope, and given it to the district attorney. Like, make it quick, please. However, I didn't, so I'm here to tell this tale.
How to get away was a snap. Identity fraud is one of my other sidelines. I usually had a few spare credit cards and other ids cached away. Switch identities, buy a ticket to Freehold, and exit stage left, laughing. So, if I was so good at this, why was I robbing a bank in the first place? Well, you know boyfriends. You kind of fall into their hobbies. It cements the relationship. Besides, itís got a lot more excitement than quietly living on someone else's credit card.
Anyway, airport, airplane, airport. Essentially the same anywhere in the world. The faked passport got me through customs. Trying to get back into the US with that passport would be real difficult, but this wasn't the US. Don't get back on the plane, find the boat to Freehold. The island doesn't run to an airport. Either one of their peculiarities, or they just don't have enough traffic to justify it. Or maybe they don't want anybody overhead that could drop a bomb on them. Prudent. So far, the computer hasn't let me get to that kind of information. Anyway, you can't buy a ticket there directly.
The boat was kind of a trip. I'd never been on a real ocean going boat before. Well, this wasn't the Queen Phillip, but it was certainly bigger than a ferry. Just watch the scenery. Dolphins and sharks. The dolphins in the water, the sharks were on board, plotting what they could get out of the local yokels when they got there. I'm not certain which was more amusing. Everyone underestimates Freehold. It seems to be their national policy. I certainly did.
Chapter 2. I meet Freehold. Freehold is not impressed.
We arrive at the port. We get off, and troop into the building marked "Customs". Simple, upfront. There's a sign pointing to the right saying "Visitors", and one to the left saying "Immigrants". Well, I certainly wasn't planning on leaving any time soon, so pick up my baggage, and on into the Immigrants corridor.
The clerk at the front of the line was a very polite young man. Yummy, too. Polite like the door to a bank vault. "May I see your identification, please?" I hand it over, and he shoves it into his machine. Looks at the readout.
"Well, I see you got here quickly. There's already an arrest warrant and extradition request out on you. Not a problem, really. I expect you know we donít do extradition. Go into the room marked 'Orientation'. They'll show you a film when everyone's assembled. There will be a quiz at the end. Here's your new id. Welcome to Freehold."
I staggered toward orientation in a deep daze. How had they made me so quickly? Or did he just say that to all the pretty girls? Whatever. Inside, and collapse into one of the chairs, deeply bewildered.
The film was borrrrring... All about how Freehold operated, stuff that it would embarrass a politician to spout in the middle of a campaign. I napped through it.
He wasn't kidding about the quiz at the end. When the film ended, they herded us into another room with testing computers in little cubicles. Feed my id into the slot, and discover that the test was, indeed, a TEST. They went into that film frontwards, backwards, inside out and outside in. Also sideways, top down and bottom up. Most of the questions baffled me. Totally.
The test ended. I was beginning to think that maybe I really needed a dictionary to discover how to spell clue. I didn't have one. Either the dictionary, or a clue.
This cute chick came in, flanked by a pair of walking mountains. They should have made the floor shake, but they glided in, light as a feather. Either one could have picked me up and twisted me into a pretzel to look busy and avoid fidgeting. Did I say that they were hunks? What would it be like to be their practice pretzel? Hummmmm...
She started calling names. People came up to her desk, and they were told what door to go out.
Pretty quickly she called my name. My real name, not the one on my documents. Since she was looking straight at me, I couldn't very well fudge. Especially since the clerk outside had clearly known about me as well.
Well, the lady or the tiger. But it wasn't my choice. Through the door, carrying my bags.
Chapter 3. Captured.
They jumped me. That's all I can say. No excuses. They had it very well choreographed, but still, they caught me off guard. Not that it would have made any difference in the long run. Or the short run, either. Not that I had any chance at all. Neither a long nor a short run.
I walked through that door. It closed. I'd be making things up if I said that it closed with a sound like a coffin lid, but that would be appropriate. As if I knew what kind of a sound a coffin lid made closing.
They grabbed my arms and twisted them behind me. Perforce, I dropped my bags. They missed. These guys had lots of practice. They applied some kind of cuff and chain affair that locked my arms behind me like they were welded. It felt like cuffs above the elbows, and cuffs below the elbows, and cuffs on the wrists. My arms werenít moving.
Kick, bite and scream. All that got me was spilled onto the floor. I'd always claimed I could beat any man alive with one arm tied behind my back. With both arms tied behind my back, however. I swear I could hear them chuckle as I fell on my ass.
Beefcake one grabbed me by the shirt collar and tried to pull me to my feet. The shirt came off instead. So he grabbed my bra and pulled. That was made of sturdier stuff, and I came up with it.
Beefcake two dealt with the noise very simply. Since I had my mouth open, he popped a ball gag into it, and buckled it behind me. Trying to twist my head around to keep him from tying it off did exactly nothing except give me a crick in the neck.
Beefcake one ripped the rest of my cloths off my poor, suffering body. Literally. He slid one hand into the front of my jeans and panties, and the other into the back, and pulled down. Beefcake two pulled me up. Exit one pair of designer slacks, with panties, pantyhose, shoes and other accessories. My reaction, of course, was to cover myself with my hands. Which rather forcefully reminded me that I didn't have hands any more. At least, not in any functional sense.
Then they wrapped a posture collar around my neck and put me on my feet. Beefcake one looked at me and said one word. "Behave?" His Indie impression left a lot to be desired. No hat. But the whip he was playing with made up for it. I behaved. There really wasn't much else to do. My choices seemed to be standing there glaring over my ball gag, falling on my ass trying to kick something, or running around the room giving him an opportunity to practice whip work on my delicate (or at least, my one and only) body.
I stood there and glared. If looks could kill, mine would have had to be licensed as a deadly weapon.
Beefcake two produced a leash, and clipped it to a ring or something at the front of my posture collar. That was the first I knew that I now sported attachment points. But then, I really hadn't been studying the damn thing when they put it on me. He said "Come," and walked toward the other door. I came.
He led me into the next room, and tied the end of the leash to a ring in the wall. The ring was very cleverly placed just high enough that I couldn't reach it with my teeth. If I had teeth that I could use. If I didn't have this ball gag in my mouth. If I had a half hour to gnaw through the leather without anybody noticing. If I had anywhere to go after I escaped from this crew of madmen.
There were two other women and one man in the room. Both of the women were bareassed naked, except for the restraints holding their arms behind their backs and the posture collars leashed to the wall. There the similarity ended. One was struggling with her arm restraints, and making furious sounds behind her ball gag. The other was standing relaxed, and was chatting with the guard.
This was so weird that it stopped me cold. I took a deep breath, and the fury left, leaving me flatfooted. I would have been standing there with my mouth open, but then, my mouth was being propped open by the ball gag. Well, you know what I mean.
He looked at me and said: "Will you behave if I take the gag off?" Well, my mother didn't raise a total fool. It was obvious that screaming, yelling and cursing werenít going to get me anywhere. Not only that, but they had a very efficient method of not being bothered by it. I'd rather be able to talk any day.
I nodded. The posture collar made it difficult, but he got the point. He took it off, and I worked my jaw to relieve the pain. The other girl was still struggling. Idiot.
We chatted for just long enough for me to learn that the first girl was actually excited being here, in a room with madmen, with her arms bound behind her back. She had this fantasy about becoming something called a "ponygirl", and she would now have her chance. Before she could tell me much more, the door opened, and beefcake two brought in another girl and leashed her to a ring in the wall.
She was apparently the last girl to be processed in this batch. The guard took a tangle of leather straps from a hook on the wall, and walked over to the first girl. He put it over her head, and began buckling straps. Finally, he had them tightened to his satisfaction. It was a very efficient bridle.
There was a main strap that came from the top of her nose, between the eyes, all the way over her head and back down to the posture collar, where it was buckled. Another strap ran around her head just above the eyes. This attached to the first strap. The first strap branched around her nose, and came down to the sides of her mouth, where it was attached to a pair of rings, one on each side. The two rings were attached by a strap that ran under her chin, a second strap that ran around the back of her head, and a third strap that ran up to the brow strap.
What startled me was that on her, it looked good. Somehow, it fit. Like she was born to wear a bridle.
He took another set of straps off the wall, and came toward me. "Going to give me any trouble, girl?" I said "No, sir". The sir just slipped out. It seemed somehow appropriate. He smiled.
A couple of minutes, and he had my head encased in a bridle. I had this urge to look in a mirror to see if I looked as good as the first girl.
Another bridle, and he walked up to the third woman, the one that was still struggling. Some people just don't get the point very easily. He said, "Behave yourself". "Mmmmph". She glared at him. Somehow, that didn't sound like a thank you.
THWAK!!! That belt sure sounded like the crack of doom as it hit her ass. She straightened up with a very surprised look on her face. Or at least as surprised a look as you can get with a big, red ball gag in the mouth. Then he started crooning to her, and caressed her a bit. She calmed down, and leaned into his hands.
He took the ball gag out of her mouth. A couple more minutes, and she was bridled. The fourth woman went quickly. She seemed to be fascinated by the red streak on the third woman's ass, where she had been whipped.
Now that we were all bridled, he took some more leather from the wall, and came up to the first woman. He snapped blinders to the sides and top of her bridle. Then he took out a metal bit, and attached it to the rings in her bridle at the sides of her mouth. The bit had a little handle coming down on each side. He attached a set of reins to these handles, and then looped them to one of the ubiquitous rings on the wall. Finally, he removed the leash.
My turn next. When he came up with the bit, I obediently opened my mouth to receive it. It tasted like, well, metal. The blinders were very effective. I couldn't see any way except forward and down. My reins were tied to the back of the first girl's collar.
He did the other two up the same way, not that I could tell by looking. It startled me when he attached a set of reins to the back of my collar, and I fidgeted.
"Easy, girl, easy" he said softly, and caressed my face with his hand. I calmed down.
Chapter 4. Walking in a coffle.
Finally, he opened the door, took the lead girls reins, and walked out. There was a two-wheeled cart with a girl standing harnessed between the poles. He tied the lead girl's reins to the cart, got in, and said "giddyap". The ponygirl giddyapped.
Perforce, I had to follow. This was harder than it sounded. A lot harder. You wouldn't think that just following someone would be that difficult. The trouble was, I had to pay attention every moment. And to both the girl in front of me, and to the ground I was walking on. If I let my mind wander, I would stumble, or bump into her, or find my leash pulled as I fell behind. And, of course, my collar would be sometimes yanked as the girl behind me stumbled. Needless to say, we fell a few times.
Some part of my mind eventually decided that paying attention to the girl and the ground in front of me was good, and that letting my mind wander was bad, and that we just had to put up with the girl behind me stumbling, and adapt as best we could. Then it got easier.
We sped up, slowed down, and stopped several times. Each time we changed our pace threw the entire coffle into confusion. Eventually, as I let myself get into the flow of what the girl in front of me did, I found myself changing pace with her. The feel of the sun and the wind on my skin, and the movement of my body, came together into a feeling of total peace in movement. The world felt just right, as I was part of it, and it was part of me - if that makes any sense at all. The klutz behind me never got it, and kept spoiling the mood by bumping into me when the pace suddenly changed. Then we'd move off again, and the feeling of peace would come back.
Eventually, we turned off the road and stopped. There seemed to be a lot of activity around, but it didn't seem very important. I just stood there, and let the noise wash over me, the same as the sun and the wind.
Someone walked up behind me, and I started. He said "Easy girl", as he removed the next girl's reins from my collar. I relaxed again. This was even better, having that klutz removed.
Chapter 5. I become a pony
Some time passed. The sun moved a bit in the sky. Someone came up to me from the front and unhooked my reins from the girl's collar in front of me. He gave a tug, and walked off. I followed. He led me to a long, low trough filled with running water, and looped my reins through a ring set in the trough. He said, "You must be thirsty, drink up, girl". I stood there. He came back to me, and put his hands on my back and belly, and bent me over so that my face was in the trough. I started lapping the water. Then I pushed my face in and started slurping it. He laughed, but I didn't care. Damn, but that water tasted good. It felt good on my face, too.
He took my reins, and led me into a place with a smell of old, musty leather. He led me to a long leather covered bench. The bench had odd looking cutouts on the side. I was pushed over onto the bench, face down. My breasts fit into the cutouts, just as if it had been planned that way. My face was in another hole in the bench. I felt him buckle a strap around my waist, and then another one around my shoulders. I just lay there. Suddenly, the bench rose in the air. My feet were no longer on the ground.
Someone grabbed a foot, and I felt fingers pressing here and there, and long flat things being pressed into my flesh and then removed. In the middle of this, there was a tingling at the base of my spine, and then numbness spread. At the same time, someone else was working on my hair. I could feel them trimming the sides along my ears, removing side hair. Then the area behind my left ear tingled and went numb. The confusion only increased when someone else began working on my right hand.
I felt my left foot being placed in a boot, and the boot laced up. The boot seemed to have impossibly high heels. At least, my foot was being stretched out as if I was wearing six or seven inch heels. I wondered how I would ever walk in them. My right leg was put into a similar boot.
My hands were encased in some kind of weird glove. It fit like nothing I had ever felt before. I had no idea what it was supposed to do, except that I could no longer even wiggle my fingers. There were immovably frozen in place.
My left ear felt like something was inside it. My tailbone was beginning to itch. And I needed to piss real bad. Suddenly, all of the activity stopped for a moment, and then the table dropped away from under me. I came down on my hands and feet - except that I didn't. Somehow, the boots on my feet, and the whatever on my hands, made contact with the ground and supported me. I got my first good look at what they had done to my hands. They were HOOFS! I had a set of front feet, rather than hands.
A hand grabbed my bridle, and urged me forward, crooning something like "come on Auburn Flame, just relax and move out." I let my body flow into it, and found I could walk on all fours. As long as I didn't think about it, I just put a front hoof forward, moved my body, and the hind legs followed. This was a total shock. I didn't know that people could walk on all fours.
Then the next shock hit. He had called me Auburn Flame. That wasn't my name! It was a ponyís name. But it was real pretty, and matched my mane of bright reddish brown hair. Also my rather impetuous personality. He led me out of the leather room up a bit of a path, crooning my new name to me so that I got used to it. We came to a gate. He opened the gate and led me inside. Then he took off the bridle, and gave me the first real instructions anybody had done here.
"Auburn Flame, you are going to be turned loose in this meadow for a while. You can walk around, run, talk to the other ponies, lie down, sleep, whatever you like. Come when someone calls your name. Don't try to go up on your hind legs; you will be severely punished if you do. You will learn what you need to do when you need to know it. Don't try to leave the meadow unless someone has bridled you and is leading you out. Have fun." He gave me a little shove up the hill, left the meadow and closed the gate behind himself.
I craned my head up to look around. I was in an open field, with a fence around the part I could see. There was a little hill, and what sounded like a brook in the distance. I could see several other ponies standing or lying on the ground. They were all wearing hooves, and the ones standing were on all four legs. No one was standing up erect. So much for evolution.
I trotted over to the nearest group. One filly with a gorgeous mane of chestnut hair, and a matching chestnut tail, said, "Hi, you look new here. I'm Scarlet Dawn, what are you called?"
"They're calling me Auburn Flame. What is going on here? I'm totally confused. You're the first person I've talked to thatís made sense - and thatís just Hello, hi there".
"Just call me Dawn. You really are new. Tell me a bit about how you got here, and I'll see if I can fill in some details. I'm going to call you Auburn, is that all right?"
"Sure. I just came in on the boat this morning from the States. I went through something called Immigration, and then I find myself packed off here. Before we talk, I really have to go real bad, where is there somewhere I can go."
Dawn laughed. "Go anywhere you want. Just be considerate of the rest of us, and do it downwind. One of the advantages of being livestock - nobody expects us to have bladder control. It's fun to get back at some of the more obnoxious grooms by pissing on them, and then having a bland look on your face. Don't worry about your tail, it's programmed to get out of the way."
"Over this way is convenient". Dawn trotted toward one corner of the field, where the brook ran out under the fence. She turned around, flipped her tail over her back, and let loose. It was such a natural movement, that I left my mouth hanging open.
I turned around, and thought about it. Eventually, my bladder decided that it had had enough, and let go of its own accord. I felt something like a mop of hair on my back. That must be my tail, I thought. God, it felt good to relieve myself, even though I felt so embarrassed that I could just melt into the ground and ooze away. Dawn didn't help any by standing there giggling at me.
Then my bowels cooperated (or failed to cooperate) by letting loose. Embarrassment squared. At least I was now shipshape down below, or should I say behind? It was hardly below any more. Once everything seemed to be settled, I walked forward a couple of paces, and looked behind me. Yup, a pile of shit.
Dawn said: "don't worry about it. They imported some kind of beetle that takes care of cleaning up the mess. Otherwise, we'd be hip deep in our own shit. Not that we aren't anyway, but metaphors are usually more comfortable than reality. Ignoring the metaphors is easier than ignoring the blowflies."
As we moved back up the hill, I asked "But what is going on around here. This is just totally beyond weird".
"Well, yes. Remember, the reason you came to Freehold was probably to get away from somewhere else. Freehold maintains its independence by being different. They aren't just being perverse by having several hundred ponies in the human livestock program. When you are trained, you'll probably be doing taxi duty. One thing you won't find on this oddball island is cars. Or trucks. Or vans. We're it for transportation."
"The rule in immigration is that if you look like you can be self supporting with less than three weeks of orientation, you can go for it. Otherwise, you wind up as a field hand or a pony. One of the things that they don't advertise is that you can't bring money in and just live off of it. If you immigrate, you have to do things their way, which means either you support yourself, or you find yourself wearing hoofs and a tail."
"One more thing. Freehold has a fixation on anybody being able to better themselves at any time. Job transfers are by examination, and everybody, regardless of station, is allowed to study for the examinations. Once you are settled into taxi duty, ask your trainer or groom about it. Until then, they won't answer, and they won't tell you themselves. Usually. Beyond that, I really can't tell you about anything else. Either I don't know, or your trainer would have my hide for interfering with her carefully thought out training schedule."
Just then, an earsplitting whistle screeched out. "Scarlet Dawn, get that tail of yours down here, now."
"Oops, got to go. Duty calls. Talk to you later". She turned, and trotted toward the gate. There was someone sitting on the fence with a knot of rope in his hand. Dawn trotted up to him, and nuzzled him. He patted her on the head, and held out something in his hand. She licked it up. He took the rope, and bridled her with it. Then he opened the gate, and they went out to wherever they were going.
This was the first time I had really had to study one of the people that ran this madhouse. This one was fairly normal for people, about 5'8 or so. What was strange about him was that he was wearing a dress. Well, call it an ambitious tunic. It came to mid thigh, and was gathered at the waist. He was also wearing pony hooves, which struck me as really odd. Why would someone who wasn't a pony be wearing hooves? He obviously had full use of his hands, though, and he was clearly in a position of authority, at least over us.
As I was ruminating over this, another one came up the path. This one was clearly female, even though she was dressed the same as the first one. She vaulted the fence, whistled, and called "Auburn Flame, get your ass over here. Time to be working".
My call. I could make them chase me down, but I had a hunch this would be real stupid. Besides, Dawn hadn't seemed to be in any distress other than the out of bounds situation. I trotted over to the fence. She held out a little candy in her hand, and I greedily licked it up and swallowed. When she held the bridle out, I shoved my head into it like a good little girl, well, like a good little pony, anyway. Nobody had ever called me a good little girl and meant it.
She tied it on, lead me through the gate, and then up the path. I had this feeling that I was about to meet my destiny.
Chapter 6. Training
My destiny was about 5'10 in her pony hooves. She was dressed in a power dress. As opposed to cloth, it was black leather. She had a whip at her belt, and I was to learn that she was quite expert at using it on recalcitrant or slow ponies. Other than that, she was an enigma. She apparently made no effort to get to know me, and didn't reveal anything of herself, either. On the other hand, by the time we were a few days into the training regimen, she knew everything important there was to know about Auburn Flame.
She acted. I reacted. Somehow, my reactions were exactly what she wanted to train into me. She started that first evening by introducing me to the stables. She traced the paths in from the meadow, through the milking machines, into the stable proper, and into the stall that I was assigned. Then back out through the shower, then the milking machines, and out to the meadow. Back and forth, until the actions were second nature. No explanation, just calm shaping of behavior.
I should explain the milking machine. All of the female livestock was treated so that we were lactating full time. We were milked three times a day. Once on leaving the stables in the morning, once on returning at night, and once in the middle of the day. I still don't know why they do this. I've asked the computer, and all it will tell me is that the information is in a class I haven't gotten to, and may never get to (its got lots of prerequisites, many of which are "satisfactory life experience"). What I remember from my former life is that it keeps us from getting pregnant. In fact, I haven't had a period since I've been here. But I'm certain that that's not all of it. The computer blandly agrees with both halves.
Anyway, the milking machine is adapted to four-footed livestock. You go into a kind of chute, or corridor, that is narrow enough that you can't move from side to side. Then you plant your hooves at the designated points on the floor. The attendant swings a pole with two vacuum suction cups over, and attaches them to your breasts with a strap that goes over your back and buckles there. Itís the closest thing I've seen to a bra since I've been here. Then the vacuum is turned on, the sucking begins, and the milk flows out of you into the tubes.
Where it goes from there, I don't know, although I presume that it's used in some way. Freehold doesn't seem to do anything wastefully. It would be quite a hoot if human mare's milk was the standard drink on the island, although the quantities don't seem to work out, by a couple of orders of magnitude.
Continued in A Ponygirl of Freehold - Part 2
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