by Eric J. Krause
Bonzo Bunny looked out into the grassy field. He'd left the colorful eggs everywhere for the children to find, and anticipation ate at him as he waited to watch them discover their prizes. They'd love the sweet contents.
Heading off the Easter Bunny had been the easy part. A few jabs with a ceremonial dagger saw to it that the holiday belonged to Bonzo. Oh, the Easter Bunny would be back, and there'd be hell to pay, but he couldn't worry about that now. The hard part was weaving his black magic into the holiday's joy, not only to get the eggs into the countless yards, but to swap out the contents.
In the end, his magic hadn't been strong enough. He got the plastic, candy-filled eggs to their various destinations with no problem, but he had just enough magic left to make the swap in one yard. Fine. This year was nothing more than a test anyway. Plus he'd get to see his handiwork firsthand.
The children, dressed in their Easter Sunday best, dashed out into the yard, each clutching a woven basket. Squeals of delight filled the air as they dashed about, collecting their prizes. The parents stood on the porch, enjoying the spectacle.
Bonzo rubbed his front paws together. It wouldn't be long now. Mom and Dad didn't look the type to deny the kids a little dip into their treats on a special occasion.
When each egg was found, the children sat in a circle. The oldest child's basket, of course, held the most, while the youngest's had the least. Without prompting, the children evened up everyone's haul.
Delectable. He'd made the right choice in harvesting this lot.
The kids busted open their eggs and dumped the contents into their basket. "Jilly beans!" the youngest yelled as they all examined their various treats.
Then the time came. Bonzo almost leaned out of the bushes to watch. How long would it take? Ten seconds? A minute? Surely no longer than that.
The youngest would be first. She grabbed a pink jelly bean and jammed it towards her mouth. Bonzo had to fight to contain his laughter.
She stopped. The candy bean hung mere inches from the girl's open lips. And it wasn't just the little one who froze. Each child sat as still as a statue, an impossible feat amongst all the excitement. Even Mom and Dad had joined the still parade.
Bonzo jumped out of the bushes. "What's going on?" he croaked in his gravely, evil-eaten voice. Before he could scan the entire surroundings, an unmistakable "Ho-ho-ho" burst out behind him.
Bonzo turned and saw it was indeed Jolly Ol' St. Nick. Even though it was a warm spring morning, he was decked out in his iconic red with white trim suit and coal-black boots. And if that wasn't bad enough, standing next to Santa, with rusty red bloodstains on his fur, was Ol' Cottontail himself, the Easter Bunny.
The befouling of the treats in this yard had used up the last of his magic. It'd be hours before he could attempt even the simplest cantrip. So in fight or flight, there was no question. He didn't know how the Easter Bunny had recovered so quickly, but hopefully his magic hadn't yet returned. And holiday magic or not, the fat man was too slow to put up a chase. Bonzo would have gotten away, too, if it weren't for those pesky reindeer.
The one with the light up nose--Randy, or Ralphonzo, or whatever--led the charge. It dove, forcing him to duck, giving the others time enough to trample him. He screamed and fell to the grass, his left bent at an impossible angle. Bonzo could do nothing but watch Santa and the Easter Bunny approach.
He tried to scurry away, but with his leg busted and the rest of him battered and bruised, he didn't get very far. Santa jerked him up, which brought out a howl of pain. Bonzo reached for his dagger, but a quick jab to his injured leg by the Easter Bunny forced him to drop it.
As he writhed in pain under Santa's firm grip, Bonzo waited for the lecture about how it was wrong to mess with holidays. It never came. Instead, the Easter Bunny picked up the fallen dagger and Santa flashed an evil grin.