By: Katherine Vu, staff writer
“You Easter hater!” Max, my little brother, screamed as he ran into my room.
I zipped my backpack closed and set it down on a chair. “What?”
“What’s wrong with you?!” he continued,”Mom said you’re not gonna participate in the Easter egg hunt this year?!”
“Oh, that,” I shrugged indifferently, “Yeah. I don’t really wanna.”
“But WHY?” he looked at me earnestly.
“Um, for one thing, it’s not a big deal. I’m getting too old for for all this kiddie stuff,” I said decisively, and glanced at him before slinging my bag over my shoulder.
“Jeez,” Max mumbled,”What’s wrong with you Cassie? First no trick-or-treating, then no pumpkin carving, then no Christmas caroling, and finally, no Easter egg hunting?!”
“Hey, I went Christmas caroling!” I protested as I pushed past him and left my room, walking down the stairs.
“Only for, like, a minute,” Max said under his breath.
I glanced at the clock above the fireplace in the living room. “Oh great. Thanks a lot Max. Now I’m late.”
“Bye!” I yelled. I darted to the door, threw it open, and took off down the street. When I got to the bus stop, Kelsey was already there.
“You’re late!” my best friend called as I stumbled up to her. I took a seat on the bench and panted, trying to catch my breath.
“Sorry,” I finally said.
“My little brother was freaking out ‘cause I didn’t wanna go Easter egg hunting this year. It’s stupid,” I sighed and looked at her.
“Yeah, whatever. I mean, isn’t Easter egg hunting for, like, little kids?” She asked, twirling her hair. She only did that when she was nervous. “Oh look, the school bus is here!”
I looked in the direction she was pointing in. “That is not a school bus.” And it wasn’t. At least to me. It was white, and painted with bright easter eggs, rainbow colored bunnies, little yellow baby chicks, and dozens of children frolicking through meadows with baskets full of candy. It was horrible.
“Well, c’mon! We have to go,” Kelsey stood up, oblivious to the Easter-friendly bus.
“I am not going to get on that Easter kiddy bus. It might barf up rainbows or something!” I said, appalled.
“Maybe the bus driver really likes Easter,” she shrugged. “Not everyone hates it. And anyways, you don’t wanna walk to school right?”
“No,” I sighed. The bus stopped in front of us, and the doors opened with a hiss. The driver hopped out. He was a small man who appeared to be wearing a sky blue bunny suit.
“Welcome to Easter Bunny Wheels, the bus company that will leave you hopping with joy,” he looked us over and frowned. “Kelsey, good to see you again. And you-you’re a first-timer, right?” he asked me, speaking surprising well for someone with super big bucked teeth. “Newbies get a free first ride. Now get in before I leave.” The bunny man climbed up the stairs and took his seat behind the wheel. Kelsey started up the stairs.
“Wait!” I grabbed her arm. “Doesn’t any of this seem bizarre to you? And the guy knows you. Have you been here before?”
She sighed. “Just wait, Cass. I don’t have all the answers. But you’ll figure them out soon.” Um, okay. This was getting weirder by the minute. But I did need a ride to school. And Kelsey had never steered me wrong. I shrugged and climbed up after her. After I took my seat, the doors hissed closed and the blue bunny man began talking.
“Okay everyone,” he said unenthusiastically, like he’d said this a million times before,”Buckle up and don’t get up until we reach our destination. Easter Bunny Wheels Bus Company thanks you for picking our bus company. Oh yeah, and does anyone have any questions?”
I raised my hand.
“Uh, what exactly is our destination? I need to get to school or I’m gonna be late.”
The bus driver snickered. “Oh you won’t be late, don’t worry.”
I wondered what that meant, but before I could ask any more questions he sat down in his seat. Kelsey and I buckled our seatbelts, and we were off. You might think I was insane for going along with everything that was happening. And you’re absolutely right.
The bus driver dumped us all off at a big building with the letters E-M-C printed on the front.
“What the heck is this place?” I asked Kelsey. All around us were more people in different colored bunny suits, pushing carts and carrying baskets, hurrying in and out of the building.
“Welcome to the Easter Making Center,” she gestured to the building, “Where Easter is made.”
My jaw dropped. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. This must be a really weird dream. I’m gonna wake up any moment now. But I’m just curious, how do you know about this place? Have you been here before?” I looked at her expectantly.
Kelsey waved at a pair girls in powder pink bunny suits before turning to me. “Uh, yeah. I work here, actually. I was referred here two years ago, and I really liked it, so I’m still in the business.”
“Wait, what? Referred? Business? I’m lost.” I sighed in exasperation.
She smiled and pulled my arm. “I’ll explain everything later. C’mon Cassie, let’s go inside. I’ll give you a tour.”
She led me inside the building and began to give me a tour of the center. “Easter,” she began, “doesn’t just happen. We have to prepare all the baskets of candies and make sure the bunny people are well rested and all that.” Kelsey pointed at an apartment-like structure, with big dirt rooms on each level. I could see through the small glass windows. Each room had one man, woman, girl, or boy sleeping peacefully on the floor. One guy was surrounded by half eaten carrots. “Those are the burrows,” Kelsey grinned.
“Yeah, um, this is nice and all, but what am I doing here? How do you get referred to a place like this?” I was still confused.
“Well, people get referred to the center for different reasons. Yours, I’m guessing, is DC. Dream Crushing,” she frowned at me.
“What, just because I didn’t want to go Easter egg hunting this year, I’m Max’s dream crusher?”
“Hmm…yeah. Exactly,” Kelsey nodded. “Now, we have to figure out your size…”
I still didn’t understand everything that was happening, but I was curious about this. “My size? For what? New clothes?”
“Yup! You have to get fitted for your bunny suit!” she grinned mischievously.
“What?!” I gasped, “I have to dress up like those bunny people?!”
Kelsey ignored me. “I think lavender will go nicely with your skin tone. Of course blue or green could work as well…”
After that, everything was a blur. The next thing I knew, I was in a light purple velvet bunny suit. Granted, it was perfectly fitted except for one of my bunny ears, which was a little floppy, but I hated it. After Kelsey had seen me, she had to leave the room because she couldn’t stop laughing. She fell on the floor and someone had to roll her out of the room, still chuckling and gasping for air. After she got under control, she explained to me my job.
“Since you obviously don’t want to work here, you’re on…penance. Work as an Easter bunny for a day and you’ll be snapped back to when we were waiting at the bus stop. I won’t be there, of course, ‘cause I have to keep on preparing for Easter, but you’ll be fine.” She paused and looked down at her pink clipboard, which she’d picked up after she’d left the room earlier. “Any questions?” she asked.
“Um, yeah. What do I have to do as an ‘Easter bunny’?” I asked.
“Easy. Pop out of a golden Easter egg and grant a kid a wish. Then make sure they regret it and learn a lesson about life or something,” she shrugged.
“Uh huh…how many kids do I have to grant wishes to?”
“Just one,” Kelsey smiled, “That should be enough.”
I sighed with relief. “Okay, sure. So who’s my kid?”
She checked her clipboard again. “Um…Alice Krendel.”
“How do I get into an Easter egg?”
“Take the elevators,” Kelsey gestured to some shiny gold Easter egg shaped elevators shooting upward out of the center. “Good luck!” She disappeared in a poof of sparkly pink dust.
I coughed. “Really? Was that needed?” Sighing, I made my way through the crowd of bunny people and stepped into an elevator.
“Location please,” A woman’s calm robotic voice said.
“Uh, Alice Krendel’s golden Easter egg,” I said uncertainly.
The elevator shot up and passed through the center’s roof without a bump. The egg went through a flash of bright, white light and the next thing I knew, I popped out of the egg, right in front of the girl who must of been Alice.
“What are you d-d-doing here? What are you?” she stuttered.
Some flash cards popped in my hand. They were written in Kelsey’s big loopy writing. I cleared my throat. “I’m your genie, but as an Easter bunny. You have three wishes, use it wisely.”
“But what if I need it at a certain time?”
“Here, wear this.” I gave her a necklace with a turquoise pendant in the middle. The flash cards had told me what it did. She started to touch it but I screamed. “STOP!” I yelled.
“Why?” She froze.
“Once, you touch the stone, you HAVE to make a wish.” I sighed. Kelsey was right. One kid was MORE than enough.
I nodded. Alice put on the necklace and I disappeared. I hadn’t meant to, actually. I guess it was an automatic thing. I popped back into the easter egg, and spotted a golden bench. I sat down and wondered aloud, “Um, what do I do now?”
“Sit here and relax. You will automatically pop back out when your person needs you,” the kind automated woman’s voice told me.
“Oh. Okay,” I smiled. Maybe this wasn’t SO bad. I was enjoying a red velvet cheesecake and my favorite triple chocolate milkshake from Jimmy Missile’s while watching TV on a 50 inch flat screen when Alice flashed me out of my golden paradise.
“Wha-?” I stumbled out. Alice didn’t even say hi.
“Can I make unlimited wishes?” She demanded.
“Yeah…” I said, because no one had never told me otherwise.
“Ok then. I wish I got unlimited wishes,” she smirked.
I snapped my fingers. It seemed like something I should do. “Done.” I jumped back into my egg, eager to get back of my food and TV. There was other stuff I was eager to try.
Alice kept wishing, but luckily I didn’t have to come out of the Easter egg, since she didn’t need to talk to me directly. I just heard her over the intercom installed into the egg, snapped my fingers, and made her wishes come true. Finally, she wished that she could go back to her family’s Easter egg hunt and not find the golden egg. She must have learned her life lesson. I snapped my fingers, granted her wish, and suddenly I was back at the bus stop, without Kelsey this time. I sighed with sadness. It had all ended too soon. I missed the the food and the big TV! I even missed the bunny suit and the grumpy bus driver. Just a little. Now I realized why everyone liked Easter so much. Hmmm…Kelsey had said that no time would’ve passed huh? Maybe there was still time.
I took off and sprinted all the way back to my house where Max was walking down the driveway, looking forlorn.
“Max!” I called to him as I ran to the house. His expression soured when he saw me.
“What do you want?” he frowned.
“About the Easter egg hu-”
“I know, I know. You’re not going.”
“No, I wanted to say that I was wrong about Easter. I actually like it now and I wanna do the Easter egg hunt this year,” I hesitated, smiling.
“You’re gonna do it this year?! Really?! Yes, this is the best!” Max grinned and jumped up and down. Before he could do anything else I stopped him.
“Wait! Max. I just wanted to say that you’re a great little brother and I’m…totally gonna beat you in the easter egg hunt this year!” I laughed and took off running back to the bus stop.
“Hey!” Max yelled, but he was laughing too. It was at that moment that I realized I couldn’t hate Easter ever again.