Came across this little fella at the Zombie Research Society's blog and decided he needed a story. The image was found at Deviant Art, courtesy of the fabulous Ruben Martinez.
Now, for the first submission to "The Midnight Society," I call this story...
Zombunny: An Easter Tale
On a misty gray Sunday morning, a young rabbit lost his life beneath the tires of a wayward automobile. An unfortunate occurrence, though not an uncommon way to go as far as woodland creatures are concerned. However, this particular bunny was anything but common. For one thing, at the moment he was struck, the poor creature happened to be carrying a basket full of painted eggs and sugary treats. For another, after his carcass had sat rotting in the sun for three days, he woke up, peeled himself off the asphalt and hopped to safety.
Unable to recall anything after the moment of impact, the bunny was surprised to find himself rather flat across the midsection. Apart from the treadmarks imprinted into the fur on his belly and a slight imbalance in his hopping due to a pinched spine, he seemed no worse for wear. Sure, his vision was a little skewed due to his right eye having been forced out of its socket, left to dangle by a short nerve, and yes, there was a bit of blood leaking from his ears and mouth. But his nose could still twitch and his tail was still cottony soft and his feet still carried him forward in proper, if ungainly, leaps and bounds. The bunny could still get his job done.
Bending down, which was much easier now that his crushed spine gave little resistance to gravity, he began gathering the treats that had spilled out of his basket. The patched grass had managed to hold onto the foil wrapped chocolates and rainbow-colored jellybeans. The eggs, however, did not fare as well. The meticulously decorated shells were shattered all over the roadside, their hardboiled insides reeking of sulfur in the sun. Undeterred, the bunny raised his eyes to the horizon and found a farmhouse waiting for him just across a field, the last delivery on his list.
As the afternoon sun beat down upon him, the bunny began to notice his growing hunger. He stopped on the edge of the wheat field to nibble at a stand of clover. Normally one of his favorites, the bunny spit the chewed up wads of flowers and stems back onto the ground. Gone was the sweet freshness of the clover. He tasted only dry, bitter earth. Unsure of what had happened to make his tastes change so suddenly, the bunny continued his journey into the wheat field.
A frantic buzzing began to grow around the bunny. Swarming flies started taking little bites of his ears, causing them to twitch with irritation. This struck the bunny as odd because not only was he immaculately clean when venturing out on deliveries, but he was normally invisible to the pests and predators of nature. Perhaps his magic was wearing off?
His suspicions were confirmed as a pair of crows began circling above him. Now about halfway across the field, the bunny began to panic. Surely he could complete his delivery and get back to his magical burrow in time to rest until the next season. He hopped a little faster, which sent his loose eye bobbing and made it harder for him to stay upright. The crows swooped down upon him, taking little chunks of bunny fur and hide with them as they descended again and again. His ears soon became tattered and droopy. His back bore gaping wounds and his dangling eye was tugged even further out of his skull. Mustering his strength, the bunny aimed two proper swings of his basket, connecting with the crows and convincing them they’d had enough.
The edge of the field gave way to a green grass lawn. Though now on the brink of starvation, the juicy blades only served to repulse him. Instead of feeding, he moved on with his quest. Just before the house, there resided a small chicken coop. The bunny made his way up the little wooden ramp to replenish his basket of treats. The assault on the crows had dislodged more of his goodies, but he felt there were still enough for this last house. All he really needed were some eggs.
As soon as he entered the henhouse, the chickens began clucking up an awful racket. Feathers flew around him as he groped for eggs, dumping a few pawfuls into his basket. He set the basket on the floor and raised his paws over them, as is the custom with magical shell decoration. Rather than the intricate displays of white and yellow daisies against green grass and blue skies that normally appeared, the eggs swelled a bit in size and developed black and brown mottled splotches. With no time to waste and the chickens not quieting down, the bunny decided to make his way to the house as quickly as possible.
No sooner had he flopped out of the henhouse than a fox had grabbed his foot and began shaking him violently. It was all the bunny could do to keep his top half from snapping off while holding onto his recently procured eggs. Blood from his leaking ears and injured foot sprayed onto the basket during the struggle. As the fox began dragging him off to its den, the bunny sacrificed one of the eggs and smashed it against the beast’s snout. A powerful stench of sulfur and rot filled the air. The fox left the bunny alone and ran off to try and rid himself of the stink. The bunny, for some reason, found the aroma rather pleasant. Now, with one less egg and one very unlucky rabbit’s foot, the bunny made his way into the last house on his list.
There was no one in sight, a fact that the bunny was thankful for. If the animals could all see him, there was a possibility that the humans could too. That would never do. He dragged himself into the family room where a days-old plate of carrots was left out for him. The smell made his nose twitch in an unpleasant manner and he wondered where he could get something good to eat, something juicier.
He was busy arranging his basket of rotted, blood-spattered eggs in his disheveled basket when a shriek startled him from behind.
“Bunny!” a little girl cried out. Though the girl could see him, she obviously didn’t take in the poor state of him: a dangling eye, crow-shredded ears, a bleeding back and mouth, a smashed-in midsection and one foot that dragged behind him at an awkward angle. The bunny was breathing heavily, hoping to finish his delivery and wander off to die in his warren just for the sake of rest.
But the little girl would have none of it. She ran to him and scooped his dingy body up into her arms. Though she wrinkled her nose at the stench of death and decay coming off of him, she would not loosen her grip.
“Sweetheart, what’s that you’ve got there?” a woman’s voice rang out. The little girl held the poor creature out to show her mother.
“Bunny!” she shrieked again. The mother let out a shriek of her own and called for her husband. The little girl hugged the bunny tight to her once more.
“What’s the matter?” came a man’s voice. He stopped short in the family room. Before anyone could answer him, the sound of something cracking distracted them. He knelt down by the basket to see the rotten, bloody eggs wiggling back and forth. A small hole appeared in the shells, first one, then the rest. The husband picked up one of the eggs and its shell cracked in half. A bloody lump of wings and feathers fell out of the shell and into the palm of his hand. The blind-eyed creature peeped once and all the other eggs hatched upon its command. The limp army of undead chicks swarmed over the edge of the basket and began pecking at the man’s hand, growing stronger with every drop of blood they consumed.
The man began to shake the creatures off his hand, but they kept attacking him, nibbling larger and larger chunks of his flesh and blood down into their gullets. As the man’s wife hurried over to help him, they both forgot about their daughter and the very hungry bunny she was holding.
“You’re going to be my bunny forever!” she cried out, squeezing the bunny against her shoulder until he could barely breathe. Out of exhaustion, irritation and most of all hunger, the bunny reacted by jamming his very sharp teeth into the little girl’s skull. As she screamed and tried to dislodge the feral creature, the bunny felt his strength returning. There was something about the soft, juicy flesh at the end of his teeth, something rejuvenating. The invigorating flavor fired his senses and drove him into a frenzy. He began to work his teeth in deeper, to crack the little girl’s skull open like a hard-boiled egg.
The husband and wife continued to scream as the undead chicks pecked at them relentlessly. The bunny could think only of satisfying his own hunger. Before long, all the chaos around him was lost in the sweet, gray goodness of a little girl’s brains.
From now on, the kids could keep their goddamned carrots.