Elicia M. Seawell
The sun set in shades of orange and purple over the horizon and leaves fell into piles in the yards of the townspeople. Parents chased behind children up and down the streets as Trick-Or-Treating began. Kids dressed in pirate costumes, vampires and other scary creatures, ran up and down steps, ringing doorbells and waited for candy handouts.
One by one, as their bags filled, the children scurried down the street to the next house and everything seemed normal - a typical Halloween night. However, something lurked in the brush watching the children and waiting for the dark to come.
The creature’s matted black fur blended in with the darkness. No one paid attention to the threat that watched through its green and red eyes. He knew what he wanted and patience was never something he was accustomed to. He pulled one of his long ears down to clean it, pulling it between his front paws and licking. His sharp teeth didn’t fit his small mouth and stuck out far beyond his bottom jaw. A child screamed in the background but it didn’t faze the animal.
As the streets began to clear, the rabbit decided it was time to move towards its prey. He already knew the destination and the victim. His goal was very clear - infect the children. The small humans would be the carrier according to the plan. Earth was the new breeding ground for these aliens and no one would ever know the destruction these small creatures could create until it was too late.
He hopped across the yard to the open window that awaited him. He watched for two nights to study the patterns of this small child. He went to bed at nine sharp every night and lifted the window just before he crawled into bed. The rabbit knew that he would be asleep by now and as he hopped through the window, he came into contact with the first carrier of the AVB disease.
Carefully, the rabbit nestled into the covers and tried his hardest to not disturb the boy. He had to find an artery. This was the only way the disease could move through the system. In less than forty-eight hours, the child would be just like the rabbit - ravenous, hungry and wanting blood. Not to mention the little one would become furry.
The alien rabbit licked a spot on the boy’s leg, numbing it with its venom. He would never even know the rabbit was about to clamp down. The rabbit waited for a moment, waiting for the venom to numb the spot completely and as the time approached, the rabbit bit down filling the arteries of the boy with the AVB disease.
Good with Blood
”Cute, aren’t they?
Chelsea Sutton looked up when she heard the smooth, deep voice at her elbow and found herself looking into eyes that reminded her of the moon on a dark autumn night.
“If you kept it in a cage it would probably be fine. I’m about to pick one out for myself. I’m thinking of that grey one in the corner.” The man pointed toward a silvery bunny huddled next to a white one.
“You can’t. That’s the one I was thinking about getting,” Chelsea said, giving him a small smile.
“I’ll tell you what: I’ll let you take him, or her, if I can get visiting rights.”
Chelsea’s smile grew broader. She’d never been hit on in a pet store before and it had been ages since she’d been hit on by anyone as handsome as the man standing next to her. “I might be able to discuss legal ramifications over a latte,” she suggested.
Fifteen minutes later, Chelsea sat across from the dark haired man who had told her that his name was Tyler Williams, her newly purchased bunny huddled on her lap beneath her protective hand. “She’s trembling,” she told Tyler.
“I’m sure she’s scared out of her mind. Rabbits can be high strung creatures.” Tyler stirred three packets of sugar in his coffee before catching Chelsea’s surprised stared. “Energy food,” he explained. “I never seem to have any energy these days.”
He was pale but he wore his pallor well. He wore everything well, from the grey cashmere sweater he had on to the perfectly worn jeans. Chelsea patted the bunny warmly. I owe you, bunny rabbit. I never would have met such a cute guy if I hadn’t spotted you in the window.
“Let me see that.” Tyler took her hand and squeezed her finger tightly. “If you can get the blood to flow quickly maybe you won’t get an infection. You should go wash that bite right now.”
Reluctantly pulling her hand out of Tyler’s grip, Chelsea put the rabbit back into the small box the pet store had given her and got to her feet. The bite wasn’t big but it seemed to have gone deeply into her finger and she suddenly felt light headed and more than a little strange. “I’ve never been very good with blood,” she said. Chelsea noticed that Tyler’s hand was smeared with blood from her cut. “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll bring you a wet paper towel from the bathroom.”
Tyler’s gaze met her eyes and held them with a magnetism that almost knocked her off her feet. “Don’t worry,” he assured her. “Blood doesn’t bother me at all.”
Don't Call Me Bunny
“Hey, wake up!”
The sound of a deep gravelly voice coming from the foot of my bed woke me instantly. My body completely froze in fear.
“I know you’re awake. I don’t have all night.”
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to see what fate had brought my way. I’ve always had a fear of being killed by intruders. People always told me I was being paranoid but maybe not so much huh? The idea of telling them all I told you so gave me a just the slightest consolation if I didn’t actually die tonight.
Looking around my still dark room to locate the voice it was hard to make it anything out but there appeared to be someone in a bunny costume sitting in the chair near my window. The smell of pot hit my nose just as he lifted a blunt to his lips and inhaled. The intake lit up his face and I realized quickly that this wasn’t a costume but a very large bunny.
“Are you a bunny?” I sat there in shock not believing what I saw and wondered if I had already been drugged in my sleep.
“I’m a rabbit. I don’t like the term bunny.” He took another puff and gestured to offer the joint to me.
I shook my head no and tried to get a grasp on the situation. My head felt clear but this couldn’t possibly be real.
“Why are you sitting in my room? Who are you?”
“My name is Frank and I’ve got a bit of an issue. I’m not from around here.” Frank leaned forward in his seat and rested his arms on his legs as he watched my reaction.
“Why are you here though?”
“My ride crapped out as I was passing over.”
“Passing over where?”
I laid back in my bed and closed my eyes telling myself that there wasn’t a big rabbit sitting in my room smoking pot.
“Oh no, you’re not going to get all dramatic on me now are you? I swear you chicks are all the same. “
“You are a large alien bunny sitting in my room. I think that dramatics are perfectly acceptable under the current conditions.”
“Fine, flip out. How long is this going to take? Ball park estimate. An hour? Two?” He stood and walked toward my bedroom door.
“Are you leaving?” I asked with unconcealed hope in my voice.
“No, just going to watch some TV. I can’t leave. You’re the only one that can get me out of this hell hole.”
I watched his furry brown back as he walked out of the room. I laid there for all of two minutes before I heard a screeching sound coming from my backyard. Jumping up I ran to the open window and saw Frank sucking a raccoon dry.
He looked up at me and smiled a weird rabbit smile. “Pot makes me hungry.”
“Kay!” Emma shouted, “I need your order pad and pen, hurry!”
“What on earth for?” she muttered.
The desperation in Emma’s voice manifested in her face and Kay tossed the tablet and pen to her. She leapt out of the booth and caught the tablet, nearly missing the pen. Barrel rolling along the floor, she scribbled furiously as she landed behind the counter next to Kay.
Jumping up, Emma ripped off the top sheet from the order pad, crumpled it into a ball and blew on it sending it flying through the air. It soared through the room, slowly changing shape and form. It illuminated as it transformed from mere paper into a finely crafted two handed long sword; tumbling tip over hilt making its way back to her.
The sword planted its handle firmly against Emma's open palm and her fingers clamped shut around it. Her left hand drew up to the bottom of the pommel and she swung the large steel blade up around her head, twisting her arms so that the blade nearly rested on her right shoulder, tip pointed firmly between the eyes of the stranger glaring back at her.
Drawing in a gasp of air, the creature darted backward distancing himself from the cold hard steel.
“You can't hide, nor can you run forever.” he said gruffly.
Thrusting out his paw, her body rose from the floor. Fighting through the excruciating pain, she clung to the sword ready to strike.
Every moment he held her, her power drained along with her very existence. With the last ounce of energy she possessed, she plunged the sword into the stranger’s throat. Choking, he dropped to the floor and in a shimmer his body disappeared.
Emma swallowed hard as she slid back down the side of the counter to the floor, like a melting scoop of ice cream. The sword felt heavy, laden with the liquid fear that surfaced from Emma's hand. No longer able to hold its burden she released the handle, causing it to roll off along the floor.
“What the hell was that?” Kay yelled as she scrambled over to Emma.
“That is Kadin.” she choked out.
“You mean, was Kadin.” Kay answered.
“No, is Kadin. That didn’t kill him; it’ll merely slow him down.” Emma said, struggling to catch her breath.
“Who or what is Kadin?” Kay demanded.
“Well... he's Evil.” Emma murmured.
“That’s pretty obvious, along with psychotic.” she stated.
“No, I mean he is Evil, he’s the leader of the Alien Vampire Bunnies.” she said, sucking in a big breath of air.
“How do you know this?” she demanded.
“Because I wrote him that way.” Emma said, rolling her head to look Kay straight in the eyes.
Paradise is Feral
Talian and Rhea transported from the Planetary Runner to Kaurai. When Talian materialized onto a rocky outcrop, the scents on the planet embraced her. Musky living soil. Decaying jungle undergrowth. Cloyingly sweet carnivorous flowers. Combined they made her dizzy, drugging her.
Talian began to feel whole.
She owed Rhea a debt for making her come here. That made them even.
Rhea shouldered her pack then led them into the jungle proper, theoretically toward their approved campsite. Watching her decide what non-existent path to take was entertaining.
Rhea was out to prove something; whether to herself, her mother, or humankind, Talian didn’t know. Talian feared Rhea would just prove her mother right: that only a fool hiked a reclaimed paradise planet. Rhea heard the word: “paradise.” Talian heard: “reclaimed,” then bothered to wonder: ”reclaimed by what.”
Paradise was feral.
Talian’s nose started bleeding, and she grinned. She’d stuck a super-absorbent handkerchief in a pocket, just in case.
But Rhea glanced back, and Talian couldn’t hide the cloth.
“Nosebleed.” With her nose pinched, Talian’s voice sounded whiny even to her.
Rhea grabbed the bioscanner at her waist and examined Talian, frowning at the screen.
“The blood vessels in your nose have dilated to the point of bursting, all along your sinus cavity. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
You’ve never met anyone like me.
“It must be an allergy.” Rhea shrugged off her pack. “I packed a couple histamine-suppressors.”
“I expected it,” Talian interrupted. “It’ll stop within an hour.”
“If you’d warned me, I could have.”
“It’s not an allergy. If I pass out from blood loss, nag. Until then, we move. At this rate we won’t make tonight’s camp until tomorrow.”
“Give me that cloth, I want to check.”
“Leave off, Rhea. Or I’ll lead.”
“You’re such a…”
“…riddle,” Rhea finished, aiming the bioscanner at Talian’s face again.
Talian grabbed it and stomped into the lead, hand still pressed to her nose to avoid leaving a blood trail.
Rhea caught up before she’d gone two hundred meters, at the same time that a loud crackling in the underbrush stopped Talian. Rhea tried to shove past.
Rhea actually listened.
“What the hell is that?”
“You want a riddle? What weighs 30.1 kilos, is covered in brown fur, has two floppy ears, a fluffy round tail, meter-long fangs, ambulates by hopping, and is venomous?”
“An alien vampire bunny.” Rhea held out her hand.
Talian returned the scanner. She didn’t need it to interpret the rustling underbrush around them. Whatever an alien vampire bunny was, it traveled in packs. “Eight or nine more.” The rocky outcrop was too far for a reasonable retreat.
The leader leapt forward, covering a meter in one hop. When it landed, it started to purr.
“It’s foaming at the mouth.”
“Right. What now, bodyguard?” Rhea asked.
Talian felt her eyes start to glow. “Dinner.”
The Reincarnation of Phillip Black
Okay, he’d done some bad things when he was alive. Yes. But, damn it, an alien vampire bunny? That
This must be hell.
Phillip Black landed on the ledge of Sarah’s window with a thud, letting the neon beam of his eyes light up the area where she was sleeping. His heart lifted in his throat and then the emotional scab that continuously formed over the reality of his death was ripped off. He felt breathless for a moment.
He’d never hold her, never run his hand down her long, thin arms and watch the smile curl on her lips again.
As he thought about it, Sarah smiled in her sleep. Was she thinking of him? Missing his touch as badly as his skin crawled for hers?
Then her bedroom door cracked, flooding white light in a pie-shaped sliver of space. Phillip’s ears perked as he watched the dark shadow move toward the woman he was set to marry before the “accident.”
The shadowed figure stood over the still smiling Sarah, watching her for a long, excruciating second. Then he took a step closer.
Phillip’s blood heated to a boil as the intruder’s face caught the light.
Edward Lassetter. His business partner. His best friend. But why was...?
Edward pulled a rope from his pocket. The look on his face was unmistakable; it told Phillip exactly what would happen next. Murder.
With a forceful kick of his hind leg, Phillip shattered the window pane and targeted his body at Edward’s face.
Sarah awoke with a scream.
Edward’s hands fought to pry him off, but Phillip’s strength was like an angry grizzly’s. Every bloodkill since his death had only made him stronger. Until tonight, he’d only killed wildlife. He’d never killed a human. Until now.
His teeth sunk into his best friend’s neck until Edward’s resistance slowed. Then his body dropped to the floor.
Sarah screamed louder.The shrill sound stung as it entered Phillip’s too sensitive ears. He met her wide-with-fear eyes. For a moment, something animalistic inside of him wondered what she would taste like. Smooth. Rich. Like the heaven his death, and rebirth, had denied him.
“I’m sorry. Don’t be afraid,” he said. His words came out as a squeal, sharper than any noise he’d ever heard, including Sarah’s ongoing screams.
Phillip looked at his friend's limp corpse as he leapt across the room to the window sill. He instinctively knew Edward was the reason he was dead. And that Sarah was next on the hit list. It hadn’t ended with Eddy. Edward was a good friend, but a better lover of money. Someone had paid him. That was the only explanation. And whoever wanted them dead, would keep sending their henchmen until Sarah was eliminated, just like he was.
“I won’t let that happen, Sarah,” Phillip whispered as he disappeared into the cold December night. “I promise you.”
And the winner is...