The Easter Bunny Must Die, Part 17

frightened easter bunny holding eggIf you want to start at the beginning, you can find the novel here.

I charged out the door. Details flashed at me like strobe lights: Biggles lying at the foot of the couch, white fur like crumpled tissue, blood along one edge; the Fairy hound only a few steps away, its eyes as big as saucers, its teeth the same ivory as the wall paper behind it, its fetid breath steaming towards me; the scattering of room service dishes on the floor; the crazy angle of the door, hanging sideways in the frame; the TV tuned to pink static.

The hound’s nostrils flared as it scented me, its head jerked up and sideways as it sniffed, trying to locate me. Its fur was mottled black and brown, its eyes and nostrils and panting tongue all the same crimson.

I stepped sideways towards the window.

If there was anytime for supernatural powers to kick in, this was it. What had they given me?

From Santa, the power to make much of little, and to travel quickly.

From the Fairy, the power to trade one thing for another, and to enter any room.

From the Bunny, the power to bring out the life that is there, and to hide and be hidden. Since I was already invisible, big whoop there.

I didn’t really see where any of those were going to come in handy at the moment.

The dog took a step forward, ruby nostrils quivering. Its eyes rolled, searching.

The standing lamp was sturdy brass, holding several branches. I grabbed it and stepped sideways again. The dog lunged at the nearest lampshade and I swung to hit it even as it did so, resulting in an ineffectual blow that just frustrated us both. The dog tore the lampshade off, rended it in three savage bites, let the scraps fall on the floor, even as I backed up towards Biggles.

The growl sent shivers down my spine. It was an atavistic sound, the sort of noise that would have sent my ancestors to the trees and caves, hiding from this fearsome shadow in the night. It made the hairs on every single part of my body bristle as though about to jump ship out of sheer terror. That was one of the powers of Fairy hounds, and somehow, knowing that it was the result of magic made it a little easier to bear.

That growl kept crawling out of its throat, its half opened mouth as it stalked forward. I adjusted the lamp in my hands, preparing.

It leapt.

This time I got some power into the swing. The lamp’s base smashed into the side of the hound’s head, staggering it and knocking it sideways to the ground. It landed beside Biggles, who stirred, a groggy and uncertain moment.

“Get out of the way, Biggles,” I shouted.

He and the hound sat up at the same time, but Biggles was faster. His own teeth flashed, landing at the dog’s throat. The dog let out something between a whine and a yelp, backing away, but it couldn’t escape the gnawing burden at its throat. It cried out and staggered, stepped back, forward, as though confused. Its head tilted up, showing Biggles still working as it sank to the carpet in a pool of blood.

Biggles let go. Blood shows to great effect on white fur, I noted, and felt a little queasy.

“Jesus, Biggles,” I said. “What are you, some kind of vorpal bunny?”

“I can defend myself all right,” he said in a sullen tone. “It surprised me earlier, knocked me out before I could react.” He looked around. “Where are you? How are you doing that?”

I untangled the scarf from around my neck.

“Invisibility cloak,” he said. “Niiiice, very old school. Which one of them gave you that?”

“None of them, actually,” I said. I stooped to examine the dog for any clue. Amid the mangled flesh were the scraps of a gilded leather collar. I extracted it gingerly, looking at the rug. “We’re going to need to call housekeeping.”

A tiny golden plate was affixed to the collar. “Shit.”

“What is it?” Biggles stood beside me. I tilted the plate so he could see the device there.

“Oh, that’s not good,” he said. “That’s not good at all.

Light flickered on the engraved rose and crown.

The emblem of the Royal House of Fairy.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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