Witch-Girl / Tempest Eyes – An Easter Story
“All things have names,” she says, “it is the nature of things.”
Back in the warehouse, Stacey stands before another kidnapped cultist.
She says: “Okay! Cultist number two! This time without the circle!”
Where does her confidence come from? Ramiel wonders, even as he knows that she has, over the three intervening days, been standing in the hall, her eyes closed, waving her wand for hours at a time. The butterfly-knife is heavier than she is used to, she had explained, but she’s learning to compensate.
Lee stands behind Stacey, scythe at the ready, while he himself stands behind the bound cultist. She raises her butterfly-wand, nods to him. He yanks up the t-shirt. The anticipation of a repeat of their last encounter is making him incredibly tense.
Then the Yellow Sign floats in front of the cultist, collapses in on itself.
And is gone.
The head of the cultist drops.
It feels anti-climatic. No unholy screeching, no floating body to hit.
Stacey claps delightfully. “Oh my god, it worked!” She quickly looks away. “Er– I mean… All going according to plan.”
He walks towards her, pats her on the head. “Good job.”
“I think the circle worked against me. The area inside a circle is… different. It makes it easier for the connection between worlds to form. A signal booster.”
Lee is examining the bound man. “He appears human. Alive, unconscious. Help me move him.”
Together, they carry the chair and the man bound to it to the side of Lee’s Ferrari. There is a cardboard box there. It contains rabbits.
Stacey picks one up. “Hello, little bunny.”
They walk back to the centre of the warehouse, where she puts it on the floor. He stands with the rabbit as she walks to her purse upon the stacked pallets. Lee has already seated herself.
She returns to the rabbit, which looks up at her with red, quizzical, eyes. The fingers of her right hand is smeared red with lipstick, and she scrawls the Yellow Sign upon the rabbit’s flank. Or, rather, not the Yellow Sign; for it does not shimmer, and its lines, while smudged, are clear. “Move him about ten feet away.”
He positions the rabbit, takes position behind and to her left. She raises her butterfly-wand, points it, moves its tip around in a small dance. She’s not sure if she can draw the Yellow Sign on something without a true soul, but she doesn’t want to try it on people.
There seems to be a slight shimmer on the rabbit’s flank. He can’t be sure, rabbits are rather small. Its dance complete, she lowers her wand. They peer across the ten feet of distance.
Finally, he says: “Is it done?”
“I don’t know.”
The rabbit lifts its head, as if sniffing the air. It turns towards him and he meets its red eyes and the rabbit charges.
Stacey: “Don’t squish Bunbun!”
“Bunbun?” He runs away in the direction of Lee’s car and the bound, unconscious, ex-cultist.
A quick glance behind him tells him that Bunbun is catching up. Stacey, now far behind them, has her butterfly-wand raised. Lee stands next to her, a dark silhouette with a very tall scythe.
Stacey: “He’s going too fast! Slow him down!”
He does not say: Why do you think it’s a “he”? He says: “How?”
He runs in a wide arc to turn back towards her.
There is a loud, piercing scream. A glance behind him: Bunbun is on the lap of the cultist.
He stops running. “Bunbun is… Eating him?” From the bound man, a spurt of blood obligingly, and rather gorily, supports this interpretation of the facts.
He turns to Stacey. She is running forwards, Lee a step behind her.
He is about to run towards the unfortunate ex-cultist (and possibly ex-human) when Bunbun, mouth covered in red, flicks its head in his direction, droplets of blood slowly arcing through the air. He mentally adds: Dum dum DUM!
Time slows down as the rabbit sails through the air in an elegant arc. It lands on the ground and does a swerve worthy of being called a “drift”, mayhaps one named after a major Asian capital.
Then time flows back as it races towards him.
Stacey: “What is your fucking problem?”
She’s standing with her wand raised. She must have missed with her spell. But she’s safe. He knows this because Bunbun is coming his way, a splotch of red with bunny ears, bounding towards him with an alacrity that is both surprising and slightly terrifying.
The common idea is that rabbits hop. They can and they do, but this does not mean that hopping is their exclusive mode of mobility. Rabbits can run, and they run with the same arc of leg-body-leg that one associates with the silhouette of a running cheetah.
A glance back: Stacey has moved to the centre of the warehouse. Lee is checking on the wounded man. Bunbun is closing in. Rabbits shouldn’t be this fast!
He shouts: “Can I just kill it?!”
“Don’t kill Bunbun!”
“Stop calling him ‘Bunbun’!”
“What do you want me to call him?!”
“I don’t know! Call him Godless Bunny Rabbit of Doom!”
She lowers the hands that were cupping her mouth. “That’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?”
“He’s certainly not ‘Bunbun’! Look at him!”
He feels very concious of the fact that he is not designed to run. This seems particularly obvious given the swooping grace of his pursuer. Whatever advantage, if any, conferred by his goat-legs is more than countered by his bat-wings. Even though folded, they cause drag. He would take to the air, but he has to remain the target and there’s the minimum speed for flight doesn’t allow that.
A glance: Godless Bunny Rabbit of Doom is catching up. It is a bit of a mouthful, he has to admit.
Stacey: “I need some chocolate.”
“This is not the time for snacking!”
“It’s poisonous to rabbits!”
“There’s some in your purse!”
“Bring Bunbun this way!”
He runs towards her. This requires a U-turn, which brings his path closer to Doombunny. He looks on as Doombunny leaps, with, in its red eyes, what must certainly be malicious intent.
The murderous missile misses his leg by inches.
Stacey bends forwards to toss something onto the floor. He runs over it. The promised chocolate.
He adjusts his course so that he wouldn’t lead Doombunny to Stacey.
A quick glance: Doombunny has stopped at the chocolate.
He stops. Doombunny swallows the chocolate whole. It worked.
Or not. Doombunny comes at him again.
He turns to Stacey long enough to say: “He stopped! Why didn’t you–?” before he takes off again.
“It’s too small! I can’t target what I can’t see!”
“Kill it! Kill it with chocolate!”
“I don’t have any more chocolate! You kill it!”
And there it is.
He stops. He turns. Doombunny leaps. He pounds his fist down onto the mess of bloody fur. Doombunny crashes to the floor. He lifts his hoof. He aims. He stomps. There is a crunch. The satisfaction he gains from that crunch is surprising. He twists his hoof. Oh yes.
Stacey runs up. “You killed Bunbun! How could you?!”
“Excuse me? You told me to!”
“I–” Her incredulous anger fades into a sort of sadness as she looks at the mess of blood and white fur. “Aw.” She pouts. She sniffs.
He feels a little self-concious as he lifts his hoof off the mess that was Bunbun. Pieces of rabbit, without regard for his social situation, cling to his hoof before falling to the floor. It makes that wet sound that meat makes.
He does not say: You poisoned him.
He looks around. Lee, her car, and the ex-cultist are gone, the warehouse doors closed. He hadn’t even noticed them leaving. “What now?”
“I guess we try again.” Her sadness is almost profound.
He bends down, picks up the remnants of Doombunny by a long, bloody, ear. The ear detaches, and a mess of mangled fur falls to the floor.
“Aww,” Stacey whines. She looks like she’s about to cry.
“Did you bond with the rabbit?!”
“Well, no, I guess. But–” Her hand flails weakly at ex-Bunbun. There are bits of bone sticking out through the red-white fur.
He shrugs. “Do you want to keep a foot? It’s supposed to be lucky.”
“Yeah, it wasn’t that lucky for the rabbit. He doesn’t look lucky at all. He looks very dead.”
“Please stop it.”
“We should have gone with a sloth.”
“Yeah, well. Like you said, it’s not like sloths grow on trees.” She signs, turns away. “Throw him away. Somewhere outside. I’ll need some string to bind the legs of Bunbun Too.”
“There’s string in your purse.” He walks away.
“You know,” she says, her voice musing, “we could make a lot of money dog fighting.”
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||Something witty this way comes…|
1411 words / 1969