(I actually wrote this story last year, when the full moon indeed came out the night before Easter Sunday, but I felt I should put it on this blog.)
I sometimes think Santa Claus should just bloody well count his blessings. He delivers presents to every kid in the world, sure, but he just plops the presents in one spot. One place where everyone can find them. He doesn’t have to hide them about the place and leave riddles like some Batman villain. And at least he has some variety in what he delivers.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of me. The Easter Bunny, Peter Cottontail, etc. The one who delivers the chocolate eggs to your children and leaves clues about where to find them. You let me into your house, and I mean, you really let me into your house. I spend most of the year analysing the places I come to visit every Holy Saturday, thinking of the best spots to hide the eggs. Where the kids would never think of looking. What would make for the nicest-sounding rhyming riddles. I do cheat from time to time, though. I always like to hide eggs near a computer while leaving a riddle about “the home of Qwerty”. Won’t believe how many kids I’ve stumped with that one. I know your house probably better than you know it.
I may have several bunnies and chickens and squirrels working for me, crafting the eggs I give, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to do over the year. Not only do I plan my hunts, not only do I write my riddles, I exercise excessively from Easter Monday to Good Friday to make sure I’m in tip-top shape for the big night, to make sure I can leave your eggs in your house as quickly as possible. I run and jump and sprint and leap until my bones ache, but it’s all worth it. It’s worth it for the smiles, it’s worth it to honour Christ’s resurrection, and of course, it’s worth it to burn off all that chocolate.
In fact, this story begins with one of my runs. It was about a month until Easter, I was feeling a bit more active than usual despite it being nighttime, so I thought, why not have a run in the woods? If it was too dark, well, I had a torch app on my Android. Hey, gotta get with the times. One time I tried doing my work with a baseball cap and sunglasses while on a skateboard. Thankfully, that didn’t last longer than a year.
Anyway, I got into my gear, took the aforementioned Android with me, and had a good run about the woods, weaving between the trees, jumping over rocks and logs, and remembering the many chases of my life. Hunters,predators, paparazzi, they’ve all ran after me and I’ve escaped them all.
This night, however, was different.
I had my headphones in, so I heard very little of the forest’s wildlife, yet I could always sense if someone or something was nearby. I could especially sense a wolf coming through, no matter how loud the music I was listening to. This wolf, this gigantic silver-haired beast with gleaming yellow eyes, seemed to just suddenly pop into existence. In seconds, it pinned me onto the ground, with its hot saliva dripping on my face. I cringed from its halitosis.
Next thing I knew, I was in my own bed, Dr. Henley the plump chicken doctor looking over me. As soon as I saw her, I sat upright, gibbering wildly…arms still here, legs still here. Good.
‘Whatever attacked you last night didn’t do any major damage,’ said Henley, and after she said that, I took a look at my arm and saw a bandage on it, hiding the dark red staining my beautiful pink fur.
For an entire month, I forgot the entire incident, and spent my time exercising, devising the last few riddles and generally preparing for Easter. Holy Saturday night meant hopping all over the globe, entering houses, making sure no-one saw me and tasks that made me weary, but throughout the month, I told myself it would be worth it. I cleansed my body of all doubt and dread, listening to only the most energetic songs on my runs, eating chocolate and jellies, and even having a drunken night out once or twice.
Holy Saturday came quickly, and I found myself looking out of the window, watching the sun descend. As soon as night fell, alarms all around the building would sound, and I would take my magic basket and be on my way. I would be out of that door as soon as my realm was bathed in the light of the Paschal Full Moon.
Night fell. I screamed.
My basket fell to the floor, as I collapsed to my knees. My veins were filled with venom, with every muscle in my body pounding against my skin. My heart not only slammed itself against my chest, it shrunk. I held my chest as if that would lessen the pain, only to see my claws grow longer. As soon as I saw it, I cringed as my jaw stretched, and my teeth grew longer and sharper. With one final scream, my transformation was complete.
I still felt stings after the process was over, but at least the pain had somewhat lessened. My once fat and fluffy paws now bore long fingers and big black claws. I still had my long ears, I still had my pink fur, but now my jaw had extended, now bearing long jagged teeth.
The bunnies and chickens who seconds earlier had been cheering for my depature now stood in shock, trembling as they beheld the beast their master had become. I thought that werewolves – because that’s what I was – were supposed to lose all sentience when they became a wolf, and yet I still found myself thinking and seeing when that transformation was complete. Yet when I looked at my co-workers, the word “meat” flashed in my mind.
Then another thought came into my head. I knew the children. I knew where they lived, the exact layout of their houses. If chicken meat was tasty, then human meat must be delectable. My legs forced me to go outside, only to feel something tug at my leg.
I stared at that plump little chicken grabbing me and imagined her head sliced clean off her neck, her body roasted and covered in gravy. My brain begged my body to remain still, but I chased her, slashing at her with my new claws. Still I attempted to stop myself, but my brain couldn’t help but imagine her succulent skin, still my mouth stung from hunger.
‘Stop!’ Another of my bunnies – a plump, fat, little bunny – leapt in front of me, his arm held out as if he were a policeman holding traffic. My mind attempted to tell me to heed this warning, but that was drowned out by images of the bunny served on a platter, an apple in his mouth.
Though he shook his fist at me, though he tried stepping on my foot, I still leapt at him, still pinned him down onto the ground like the wolf who cursed me in the first place. That wolf passed down his curse onto me, but the wolf I had become just wanted this little bunny dead. At least that was something both I and wolf-I could agree on – we didn’t want anyone else to have this curse.
The little bunny – the tubby little bunny – then let loose a scream, and I let him free from my grip, holding my ears. I had pretty good hearing in my usual form, but being a werewolf amplified it all the more. As soon as he ran away, however, I chased again. I didn’t even bother fighting it. My stomach pounded and my throat ached, I needed meat, I needed blood.
Another chicken flew up right in front of me, holding a Crème Egg. Just as I was about to bite him, he threw the Crème Egg down my throat.
My hunger remained, but it was a hunger for something else.
The last thing I remember was taking my whole bloody basket and gouging down on its contents. I awoke on Easter Sunday to find that I was back to my old self, but the eggs had gone undelivered.
People were angry that they didn’t get their treats, and I bloody well couldn’t tell them it was because I was now a werewolf, so I told them I would deliver twice as many eggs the next year, when the full moon wouldn’t be on Holy Saturday. Better late than never, and I’d have rather have kids miss out on their chocolate for one year if it meant not reducing them to bloody carcasses.
So over that next year, production not only doubled, it tripled and then quadrupled. I had found some people who said they would try and find a cure for my condition, but until then, my helpers needed to make tonnes of chocolate ready for the next full moon, lest I tear apart the dear little Easter bunnies and chickens.
Bet Santa doesn’t have to deal with things like this.