Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: OCs, Easter Bunny
Challenge/Prompt: My own monthly Christian story challenge and my official Easter fic (late, I know) and fffc: Little Special: Focus/Against the Clock (Yes, this really did help me to get my focus back -- now if I can just get it back again in the morning!)
Warning(s): Christian Content
Word Count: 2,922
Date Written: 14 April 2018
Disclaimer: This one's all mine, folks!
The mother cat threw her head back and laughed at the expression on her youngest kitten’s face. She had only been born a few minutes behind the others, but her mother never forgot that she was the youngest. She often claimed it was because when she thought she had been done bringing kittens into this great, big world, the Maker had had one last surprise blessing for her. She constantly doted on her youngest, washing her ears again whenever she had first bathed her and then the rest of her siblings, making sure she got every drop of cream she desired, and constantly keeping her at her side. The humans had created a strange nickname for her, but somehow it had stuck.
“Foo Foo!” the mother thrilled. “Whatever on Earth are you thinking about now?”
Foo Foo rolled a plastic egg around in her grey paws. Her tail swished. “I was just thinking, Mama, you said that these eggs are delivered by a giant rabbit?”
“That’s what the humans say,” her mother replied cautiously. “Every year, they bring out eggs with yummy things in them and this special grass and eggs for themselves too, and every year, I hear them say the Easter Bunny was here.” She shook her head. “He must be a very busy bunny if he delivers eggs all across the world like he says he does.”
“The world is a big place, isn’t it, Momma?”
“Why, yes, it is, my kitten.” Foo Foo’s mother, disturbed by the thought of where this conversation was going, sat down and looked seriously at her kitten. “Why do you ask?”
“I was just thinking.” The kitten’s white-tipped tail swished again.
“About . . . ?” her mother prodded when her kitten failed to continue her thought.
Foo Foo had been rolling the egg around in her paws again, but now, at last, she looked back up at her mother. Completely serious, she remarked, “I don’t think I want to eat a bunny again.”
“Foo Foo! Why would you say a thing like that?!”
“Well, I know Daddy works hard to bring us the extra snacks, and I know it’s important we eat right so we can grow big and strong like you and Daddy, but I really, really don’t think I want to eat a bunny ever again.”
“Mommy, think about it.” Foo Foo’s face fell into a pout. Never had her mother seen another kitten who could so excellently master the expression that the human children wore just before they started caterwauling. She had seen this effect work many times on the human parents, who would give their children nearly anything to hush their big, fake tears and replace that miserable expression with a genuine smile again. She tried to brace herself for the worst but was still caught off guard as her kitten explained, “If bunnies are so nice that they bring everybody this special eggs every year, why would I want to eat one?”
Her mother stared. She finally blinked after several long minutes had crawled by, but even then, she still did not have an answer for this unexpected question. “Because . . . “ Her tail swished. She licked a paw uncertainly, buying herself time. “Because . . . ,” she said again at length, but words still failed her. Finally, in exasperation, she proclaimed, “Because it’s what cats do! We eat the vermin! We eat the mice and the rats and the bunnies! That’s why humans keep us around!”
“No, it’s not!” Foo Foo laughed. Her mother’s mouth snapped shut, and she looked rather indignant as her kitten laughed at her! “Haven’t you ever noticed the humans when Daddy brings a bunny home? They don’t mind us eating the mice and rats, but if we eat a bird, or a squirrel, or especially a young bunny, they always get upset! Remember that time Daddy thought the bunny was dead and he brought it home and then it started trying to move away? I do! The humans chased him and the rest of us around with that wood stick they call a broom!” Her nose crinkled. “That thing hurts, too!” she exclaimed.
Her mother opened her mouth to protest but then shut it as words once more failed her. She opened her mouth again but shut it again without saying another word. Three times, she tried to speak, and three times, words failed her in response to her daughter’s observations. Her long, puffy tail swished with agitation. For the first time in her life, she was truly flabbergasted!
“So why,” Foo Foo asked point blank, “should we eat a bunny when they’re such nice animals and the humans don’t want us doing it anyway?”
The new voice sounded unexpectedly into their conversation. At the same time, the mother cat caught a whiff of a scent that made her claws unsheathe, her stomach rumble, and a natural growl begin way back in her throat. She swung hungry, green eyes onto the chocolate bunny who appeared behind her, walking on his hind legs and carrying a large, wicker basket on his back.
“We’re family,” the bunny said, hopping closer to them both as though oblivious to the danger he was now in. “We shouldn’t be eating each other.”
“Your kind,” the mother growled low, her tail whipping through the Spring air, “doesn’t eat our kind. We eat yours.”
“Momma!” her kitten protested. She darted in between her mother and the bunny. “I’m sorry, sir.” She shot her mother a glare over her furry shoulder. “I’m afraid my mother doesn’t quite know how to act around other species.”
“I know how to act around bunnies! It’s you, young lady, who don’t know what you should be doing with them!”
“Look at his basket, Momma!” Foo Foo pointed out. “All those eggs he’s carrying! He’s got to be the Easter Bunny! Do you really want to repay the kindness he’s shown us by giving us treats every Spring by eating him?!”
“Sure, I do,” her mother answered, lowering her body into a pouncing position. “It’s what cats do!”
“Well, maybe it’s not what we should do! Maybe it’s time to do something else! It’s Spring! Maybe the weather’s not the only thing that should change!”
Her mother gaped open-mouthed at her, but as long as her daughter stayed between her and the bunny, she couldn’t exactly pounce on the creature! “Of all things,” she muttered, “wanting to be friends with food!” It was sadly, finally obvious to her that her youngest kitten was also her most challenged kitten. The rest of her litter had evidently gotten all the intelligence she had to give them for never in her life had she heard a kitten be so dumb! She still loved her kitten, though, and she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. “Move out of the way, Foo Foo,” she commanded, her entire back end now swaying from side to side as she reined in her natural impulse to pounce, “so I can have that bunny!”
“No, Mother!” Foo Foo wailed. “It’s time for a change!” She raised her tail right up into her mother’s face as she turned her back on her and focused her attention on the Easter Bunny instead. “Thank you, Mister Bunny,” she spoke to him as his pink nose and long whiskers twitched. “Even if the other kitties aren’t smart or caring enough to say ‘thank you’, I want to say thank you for all of us to you!”
“You’re quite welcome, Foo Foo. Thank you for not wanting to eat me!”
“It still doesn’t make sense to me,” she admitted, her face scrunching with disgust, “why all the other kitties want to eat your kind. Mice and rats are more than enough to sustain us, and grass is delicious, especially this grass!” She swatted at a wad of catnip underneath her paw.
The bunny chuckled. “As you grow older, Foo Foo,” he told her, “you’ll come to realize that that is very special grass indeed, and it’s not just for eating.”
“It’s not?” Foo Foo asked, her green eyes widening. “Then . . . “ She shook her head in puzzlement. “What on Earth is it for?”
“It’s . . . for . . . “ The bunny scratched an ear as he thought. Then his big, left foot thumped the ground. “It’s for playing games!” he exclaimed.
“Cool!” Foo Foo grinned. “Mister Bunny, will you play with me?”
“I’m afraid I can’t, Foo Foo, not today. I’m a very busy bunny and still have very many more burrows to attend and lots more eggs to pass out.”
“Can I help you pass them out?”
“I’m afraid your mother wouldn’t like that,” the bunny commented honestly, casting a wary eye on where her mother was still crouched low on the ground, just waiting for her disobedient daughter to move out of the way and give her a chance to pounce.
“You’re right,” she hissed, her tail whose fur now looked more like tiny spikes striking the air, “I wouldn’t!”
The bunny licked a paw, then began stroking an ear with his wet paw. It was something he did when he was nervous to try to help himself calm down. “It’s okay,” he said. “I understand. But I was so touched that somebody actually wanted to say ‘thank you’, I had to come see her.”
“How did you know, Mister Bunny?”
“Know what, Foo Foo?”
“Know my name!” she exclaimed in surprise. “And know that I wanted to say ‘thank you’!”
“There are certain beings,” the bunny explained to her in a kind, gentle voice, “who have been given magical abilities to help bring joy to the world. I am one of those. Spring is my time of the year, and I know any time someone needs some special cheering as the season turns and any time anyone speaks my name. You might remember receiving wrapped gifts back in Winter?”
Foo Foo nodded. Her rear end wriggled with excitement as her tail stood straight out. “Yes! Yes!” she cried eagerly. “Santa Paws!”
“He’s another of our kind.”
“Who gave you the a-abl-able-abili-abilities?” she asked, trying out the word that was new to her.
“A very special being,” the bunny confided in her, “who is the most powerful and loving of all and who gives us all the greatest gift there is.”
“His name is Jesus.”
“I’ve heard the humans say that name before! Who is He?”
“He is a friend to all animals but is rarely seen these days. He did walk the Earth once in the open. When He did, He appeared as a human, but He’s much, much more than any human. He is the Son of God.”
“Who?” Foo Foo’s pink nose crinkled with confusion.
“I believe you call him the Maker,” the bunny told her, now washing his other ear. “He is the One who makes everything. He makes the sun above us, and the sky too, and the grass beneath our feet. He makes that special grass you like so much, and He made you and me. That’s why we’re family. We’re all His children.”
“Most animals are born naturally good,” the bunny went on to explain, “but not all of us. Some animals, like some humans, are very, very bad.”
“Daddy told me about some of those,” Foo Foo said, her tiny, cute face scrunching as she remembered, “back when we went to the city to see the man in the white coat. He did something funny to us all, but I felt better the next day. But when we were there in the city, Daddy said to make sure we stuck close to him, because he didn’t want us to be taken away by any of the other humans. The man in the white coat, he told us, was a good man like our humans are good humans, but there are very bad humans. He was hurt by humans once. There are humans who -- who kill us for fun and -- “
“Your father really needs to watch what he’s saying!” her mother spat suddenly from behind her. “I’ll have to have a talk with him when he gets home today!”
“Oh, please try not to be angry with Foo Foo, missus, or her daddy. Tom spoke out of concern for all of you, and especially your babies. You wouldn’t want any of those bad humans getting their paws on your babies!”
“Well, . . . no, . . . no, of course not,” the mother spoke slowly in surprise. She hated to admit it, but the bunny made a lot of sense!
“And Foo Foo’s only following her heart. This world would be a much better place if we all followed our heart.”
“My heart tells me to eat you.”
“Does it?” The bunny thumped a foot against the soft, green grass. “I find that hard to believe. Are you sure it’s your heart and not your stomach? Or even your brain?”
“Well, I . . . I . . . I never!”
“Maybe you should, Mom.”
“Now, Foo Foo, that’s no way to talk to your momma,” the bunny chastised the kitten. “You may not always agree, and there may be times when she’s wrong, but she’s still your momma.”
“Yes, sir.” Foo Foo lowered her head in shame. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” she apologized, her tail curling between her hind legs.
Now was her chance! her mother realized. With Foo Foo’s head lowered, she could easily leap over her kitten and right onto the bunny! Yet something stayed her paws. The bunny had shown them nothing but kindness, and he had even backed her up though knowing she wanted to eat him. Why, he hadn’t even been upset when she’d said she wanted to eat him!
“I really must be on my way,” the chocolate bunny spoke, himself sounding apologetic, “but, Foo Foo -- “
“Yes, sir?” the kitten asked, lifting her head and looking at him through big, green eyes.
“Always follow your heart, kitten,” the bunny told her, “please. The world would be a much better place if we all followed our hearts and didn’t listen to . . . other voices. Following our hearts is what God and His Son both want us to do, and if we do right, if we’re nice to others and don’t hurt -- or eat -- others when we don’t have to, They’ve made a very special home for us when we leave this world.”
The kitten gaped. “You mean we’re going to leave this world?!” she asked, more than a bit alarmed.
“Why, yes, of course, my dear. Don’t you remember your great great grandmawmaw and how she fell in that very deep sleep and your parents told you you had to leave her alone and let her sleep?”
“You’ve never seen her again, did you?”
“No.” Foo Foo pouted and shook her little head. “No, I haven’t!”
“You will one day,” the bunny told her. “You see, when she fell into that big sleep, she was actually leaving this world while her body stayed behind. She was moving on to the next world and going to her home that God and Jesus made for her. She’s there waiting for you, and when you leave this world, you will see her again.”
The kitten sat open-mouthed.
“This really is all a bit much for her, don’t you think?” her mother asked. Even she was barely able to grasp the concepts of which the bunny was speaking. There was no way her kitten could understand them!
“No,” the bunny spoke thoughtfully after a moment, gazing into Foo Foo’s wide eyes, “I really don’t think it is, ma’am.” He scratched an ear, then began to rapidly hop in a circle. Foo Foo’s mother dug her claws into the ground to keep from following her instincts and jumping the moving food. “But I really must be going! Remember, Foo Foo,” he said, looking again at the awed kitten, “Santa and I may give gifts, but Jesus and God give the best gifts of all! Jesus is actually making our homes, and God gave Him to us so that we can go to the homes He’s making for us! Be good, so you can go home when your time comes! I’ll see you there -- and I’ll see you next year, right here!”
With that, the bunny disappeared. Foo Foo’s mother, her claws still hooked in the ground, fell face first into the grass. She blinked as she realized it was the special grass into which she’d fallen. Maybe all of what she had just seen and heard had been caused by the catnip? Yet, looking over at her daughter, she realized that all that had happened couldn’t simply have been her imagination for Foo Foo had seen and heard it all too! “Foo Foo?” she asked after several, long minutes had passed again with her wide-eyed daughter sitting as still as a statue and herself laying there with her nose and mouth buried in catnip. “Foo Foo? Darling?”
Foo Foo blinked rapidly. Finally, she turned her gaze to look at her mother. “Wow! See Mom? I told you we shouldn’t be eating bunnies! I’m never eating a bunny again!” She turned in a circle, then took off, running with glee, across the yard.
Her stunned mother could only watch helplessly. After awhile, she smelled her mate and heard his meow as he approached home. She had to talk to him, she realized. They were going to have to make some changes to dinner tonight for, as it turned out, they really shouldn’t be eating bunnies after all!