Again it’s time for a blog hop with #free #stories. There’s so much been going on in my life (my father was run over by a car, my husband totaled our car, visits from the kids, Easter, a nasty head-cold twice) that I didn’t write anything at all for the longest time. I’m all the more thankful for the challenge because it forces me to get back into my writing routine. This time I wrote a really silly story (my editor said it needs to be an animated cartoon) and very much hope you’ll like it.
Remember to visit the other participants to read their stories, and please leave comments. There’s nothing more rewarding that hearing from you. It means the world to us.
The Big Bad Wolf and the Easter Hare
The minute I saw her silhouette through the milk-glass-window in my office door, I knew she spelled trouble. Trouble for me. Those long, sinuous curves of her ears made me want to chase her, and not just for a night.
I managed to shove my bourbon glass and the bottle into the cabinet under my massive oak desk before she finished knocking.
“Come in.” I held my breath as I watched her enter.
“Are you B.B. Wolve?”
“The one and only.”
She sank into the black leather chair, a beam of light playing on her lovely white fur. I found it hard to speak, so I didn’t.
“The Easter Bunny vanished. If you find him, I’ll pay you three more.” She bent forward and placed three golden eggs on the table—more than I’d make in whole year in my business. I told you she’d be trouble. But with that kind of payment I was ready to face anything the world could throw at me.
“When? And where was he last seen?” Of course I still had a few questions, but the next one was to satisfy my own curiosity. “Are you related?”
“The Color Hens were the last to see him. They said he picked up the eggs for the Americas but didn’t show up for the Northern Europe load.” She crossed her looooong, slim legs, and I found it hard to concentrate on her voice, regardless of how sexy it sounded. “I’ve organized a couple of rabbits to take over his route, but they are only a temporary solution. We need him. Especially in Germany people insist on an Easter Hare, an Osterhase.”
Speaking past the lump in my throat without giving away how much she’d got me off balance was hard, so I kept it short. “Deal!”
The Color Hens weren’t very happy to see me, but they gave me a hint to follow. “After the last Easter, he let himself go,” their leader said. “Insisted that next to no one was interested in an Easter Hare any more and that it’d be much better to leave Easter to the bunnies. Stayed in bed most of the time. We sent him to the White Lady for counseling and it worked like a charm. He was full of energy when the time came this year.”
I knew it would be no use to talk to the White Lady. She never answered questions, claiming customer confidentiality. I’d need to have a letter from the king to make her divulge information. But the sweet little bunny in her front office was a different matter altogether. She’d helped me out more than once. So I called her.
“Oh, it’s you.” She sounded sheepish. “Sorry to say, but I’m no longer interested in our hunts. I got engaged just before Easter.” If she were a cat, I swear she’d have been purring.
“Caliwandalous.” I forced myself to smile. She deserved to be happy. “Could you give me a hint or two about where I could find the Easter Hare? Please, Sally.”
A long silence.
Then, “Have you talked to the pigs?” and a click that ended the call. Wow. That was weird. But all in all, talking to the pigs was a good idea. If they didn’t know where the hare was, no one would.
“Hi hon, come for some huffin’ ‘n puffin’?” Mother Sow grunted as she closed the gate to their part of the city behind me. Wriggling her rear, she led me along the trampled earth path to the Arena, an auditorium for the daring and the lewd. “Long time no see, B.B.”
I shuddered at the mountain of flesh in front of me. How could she have become even fatter? Still, my voice didn’t shake. “Nope, I just came to talk to Junior.”
“He’d be in his house.” She pointed to a poorly-built brick house at the end of the path, overlooking the Arena, and a few heartbeats later the door closed behind me. The single room smelled of pig—what else—and had food piled up in one corner, straw in another.
“Ah, Big Bad!” Junior rolled off the straw and walked toward me with outstretched arms. “What can I do for you this time? I’ve got some really nice bunnies for a sensual hunt, and a little mouse in a teapot for blowing exercises.”
I shook my head. I’d told him three years ago when I’d opened my agency that I was no longer interested in such activities. “I just want to know where the Easter Hare is.”
“Never seen him. Isn’t he still on duty?” He smiled as innocently as a piglet, and I was ready to leave again—when my gaze fell on the food.
“Oh, haven’t you?” I pointed to a colorful egg half hidden in the tower of food. “How about you tell me where he is, and I’ll not tell anyone he’s been here? After all, he’s quite a prominent figure at this time of year with lots of journalists clamoring for an interview.” I left the threat hanging, satisfied that Junior paled to a slightly dirty pink.
“He went to the Big Forest.”
“Why?” I held up my hand. “No, better tell me what you said to make him go there.”
“He wanted to know where Orion set up his bear traps.”
My jaw dropped and it took me a while to recover from the shock. “He’s that suicidal?”
Junior shrugged, but I no longer cared. I nearly ripped the door off its hinges and started running. Time was of essence.
It was already getting dark in the Big Forest. Thankfully my nose was still as good as it’s always been. Keeping it close to the ground allowed me to easily follow the hare’s scent, and soon I caught him staring at a piece of the path. Half hidden under twigs, I could make out a big metal oval with teeth and a central metal disk—the trigger.
“Don’t!” I gasped for air. “Don’t kill yourself.” I’d love to grab him and pull him away, but I’m so winded and he so ready to throw himself onto the trigger, I’m worried I’ll kill him accidentally.
His gaze fell on me. “It’s egg shaped,” he whispered. “Why does it have to be egg shaped of all things?”
“No clue.” I fell onto the grass, breathing hard. “What about Sally?” It was a long shot, but I was quite sure he was her fiancee.
“She’ll find someone else.” He looked at me with despair in his eyes. “Can’t you just eat me?”
“Not my cuppa any more.” I sat up again. I’d fought with wild boars, bears, elk, and even a wolverine. But his black cloud was worse than anything I’d ever encountered. I inched closer whenever he wasn’t looking at me. “An extremely beautiful white doe asked me to find you, and I’m loath to disappoint.”
“My sis Ruby. She’s such a bully.” He sighed and turned back to the trap. “For all I care, she can run my business, but no. The Easter Hare has to be male. And he can’t be a bunny. What a ridiculous notion.”
He was quite good at imitating the white doe’s voice.
“That’s still no reason to throw away your life like this.”
He harrumphed and jumped.
I grabbed his shoulders and jerked him back, twisting around to get him as far away from the trap as possible.
SNAP—the trap’s jaws closed and pain shot through my rear end.
I howled in pain but didn’t let go, no matter how much the hare struggleds.
“There they are.”
A full medic team surrounded us, but I recognized Ruby’s voice. She must have followed me the whole time and I hadn’t even noticed. What a woman! I glanced at her while the paramedics tried to free my tail from the trap. She’d even brought Sally.
“Come home, honey.” Sally’s voice was low and meant only for the hare. “The Lady says she can help you if you let her.”
“I hate my life.” The hare sounded no better. “And Ruby insists on keeping up traditions.”
“I’m sorry.” Ruby’s voice wobbled. “I didn’t think it was this serious. We’ll find a way to change how things are handled. I promise.”
I cleared my throat. “And I’ll help. If I can learn to live with half a tail, surely the Germans will get used to an Easter Bunny. It’s not as if most still know the difference between a rabbit and a hare anyway.”
Everybody laughed at that, and the tiniest of smiles made the hare’s lips twitch. I was sure that with the available help and a few changes in management, he’d recover.
Smiling most beguiling, I turned to his sister. “Would you agree to a date with the owner of six golden eggs?”
Visit the others:
Royal Assassin by Vanessa Finaughty
Earthquake Aftermath by Bill Bush
The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key
Cursed by Barbara Lund
A Different Kind of Raise by Amy Keeley
Night At The Museum by Vanessa Wells
Flowers For Angela by Curtis Phills
Ninea by Chris Makowski
Archive by Gina Fabio