Here Comes Peter Cottontail
“Here comes Peter Cottontail…”
The man’s gloved finger presses the button again, pausing his song to listen.
He steps back, his body coming into frame. A black hoodie and black gloves may seem like one of the more ominous things someone could wear at this hour, especially when standing outside a stranger's home, but for him, it was just the beginning. As he pulls away, it is revealed that his left hand holds a crimson-stained hammer; on his head, a white rabbit mask, speckled with spots of blood.
Turning to the driveway, his gaze seems to be locked on the dark blue Mazda parked there. Glancing to the road briefly, he shifts his focus back on the house, pressing the doorbell once more.
Another long moment of waiting, his ear leaning into the door. Finally, he turns, this time walking back down the sidewalk - towards the road - and the next home on the block.
“…hopping down the bunny trail…”
Ted takes another drag from the small, handheld vaporizer before setting it on the oak desk beside him. He slips his fingers beneath the horn-rimmed glasses to rub at the corner of his eyes. Readjusting the frames, he looks up to the blinking, digital clock nestled in the corner of his small home office.
A little before midnight.
“Too late to order a pizza,” he sighs.
Pushing himself to his feet, he begins to make his way towards the staircase. Shivering, Ted pulls the long grey robe, a gift from his sister, close to his chest.
“Grey is great for you,” she had said, laughing the way she did when she really thought she said something great- usually he found it was less so. That time though, it had been true: grey really was great for a man like Ted.
He tiptoes along the rug that runs down the winding set of stairs. For him, it is opulent, but his wife loves it for the same reasons that he did not.
“Opposites attract,” he grumbles, louder than he would have dared had she been home.
She was visiting her sister with their daughters. He had wanted to go, or at least so he had said before sending a Slack to his supervisor volunteering to run the refresh for the servers. He starts to smile to himself, remembering his boss' reaction at the request, when a knock at the door causes him to pause.
His eyes dart from the baseball bat tucked beside the front door to the grandfather clock, nestled in the foyer.
12 AM - midnight.
Ted cautiously calls out, after what feels like an eternity has passed since the final gong from the grandfather clock. He has retreated up the staircase, suddenly thankful for the way it winds, twisting just out of sight of the large window beside the door. He can hear someone trying the handle. His wife?
“Stacey?” he calls out. The handle stops shaking. Ted can hear his own breath, suddenly heavy and labored. He struggles to get it under control.
Silence - often mistaken for safety - sets in. He leans forward to peer around the corner only to jump back when the banging returns.
“Stacey?” Ted tries again, this time daring to lean just far enough forward to catch a glance at the window beside the door and a giant rabbit looking his way. He shoves himself back out of sight, his breath once again becoming deep.
One knock, this one more forceful then it is silent once more. Ted leans forward, peeking towards window - empty. He looks to the bat. An instinct kicks in, he makes a decision, his feet tumbling down the stairs. He rushes towards the door, his hand landing on the slugger just at the glass beside the door shatters. A hand sticks through - he holds the bat in the air - his breath now loud - almost overwhelming.
Ted watches as the hand finds the deadbolt. He listens as it clicks free. His hands clutch the bat to his chest as he staggers away from the door, the bat still pulled back.
"It's easier than a gun," he had showed his wife, swinging it at an imaginary intruder, "Aim and fire."
A rabbit masked man steps into the foyer. He turns his back, casually shutting the door. The mask shifts towards the mess along the floor before looking over to Ted. Something about the movement - the fluidity, the power - causes him to jolt backwards. The bat clatters to a rest between them - Ted throws his hands up in surrender.
“Please, take whatever you want! I haven’t seen your face - I won't say anything!”
The masked man’s head tilts, almost quizzically. Ted can feel himself tense up as the intruders free hand slowly lifts, raising the rabbit mask from his head. Beneath, is a man with multiple lines of modification running up along his face, giving him an almost demonic appearance. Ted tries to close his eyes, but he can’t help but look
“What do you want?!” he manages to ask. The rabbit doesn’t look around; his focus remains on Ted, whose eyes wide upon noticing the blood stained hammer, realization slowly setting in. He stammers now as he speaks. “Why me?”
The scars that make up the corner of the intruder's lips slowly raise. His pitch black eyes watch Ted's reaction turn from interest to outright horror: “Why not you?”
Teds eyes widen as the man once again pulls the rabbit mask over his face. He turns to run - they all do - as the Cottontail Killer flips the hammer in his hand. The masked man watches the man scramble up to the first landing, his foot catching on the runner, before falling to his hands and knees.
Stepping over the baseball bat, the intruder slowly begins making his way up the spiral staircase, singing once more.
“Here comes Peter Cottontail…”