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Beware the Easter Moon

Posted by on April 13, 2012

New fiction!  This is another book that’s going up on Kindle Direct Select, which means I’m leaving it up there exclusively for three months (until July 9).  I’ll announce when it’s available on other sites, but for now it’s at Amazon.com.

If you buy an Amazon copy but need an additional file format, contact me at publisher [at] wonderlandpress [dot] com.

Inspired by a discussion with one of Ray’s school crossing guards about the madness that was Easter on her grandparents’ farm–including finding last year’s Easter eggs.  And from Britney’s mention that they put out 500 eggs for their day-care Easter party.  500!  Which only worked out to five eggs per kid.  The joke at the beginning…well, that’s from Lee, which should surprise nobody who knows him.

Beware the Easter Moon

by De Kenyon

Colin’s tired of Grandpa stealing kids’ chocolate Easter eggs.  So he hatches a plan to make his Granpa eat one of last year’s Easter eggs.  One of the regular kind.  That stinks when it gets rotten.

It was a terrible plan.  But it was also a great plan.

He just shouldn’t have gone outside at the farm to get the egg on the night of the full moon before Easter.

Colin sneaked out of his grandpa’s big old creepy white house with the tree branches that scratched the windows and the heaters that went hunk hunk hunk all night long while his pile of cousins slept, drooling and farting and snoring.

Grandpa didn’t lock his doors, because he lived a long ways away from anybody else, but his shotgun was on a shelf in the closet, too high to reach unless Colin dragged one of the big silver and green chairs out of the sunroom and into the entryway and stood on it to see. Grandpa always said it was for coyotes.

But all Colin wanted to do was get his egg.

He grabbed his coat off a wire hanger in the closet and stepped into Grandpa’s boots, because Grandpa’s boots were always muddy, no matter what Grandma said, and nobody would notice in the morning if they weren’t clean.

He slowly turned the handle and slowly pulled on the door, but it wouldn’t open and he jerked on it hard and then it almost hit the wall.

But he caught it.

Then he slowly opened the creaking screen door and slowly shut both doors behind him.

The stoop looked white at first because the moon was so bright. But his eyes adjusted, and he tiptoed with the big dried-mud boots down the hard old steps as quietly as he could. The sharp steps had already cut his cousin Maria right across her eyebrow.

A gate creaked and slammed against the post. The trees scratched the windows. The ground was white from the storm and the moon, and the threes only cast thin shadows on the ground.

He liked Grandpa’s farm better when the leaves were out in the summer and the wind whispered through them like the running of a river. But now it was so quiet he could hear the coyotes out in the pastures. And it was cold enough to bite his ears and get up his nose and smell like nothing and make his nose drip.

But he wouldn’t be out here long.

He went out the gate, and it creaked when he opened it, but it always creaked and slammed all night in the breeze anyway. One ear was already colder than the other, and he wished he’d brought a hat.

He went down the muddy path to the chicken coop, where the chickens were all sleeping inside the dark building. The coyote howled again, and Colin started running as fast as Grandpa’s boots would let him.

The egg was behind the chicken coop.

It wasn’t a regular chicken egg. It was a last-year Easter egg.

He crunched through the snow, not caring about the loud sound so much as wanting to get back in the house as fast as he could. But his feet sank in and the hard snow tried to take Grandpa’s boots off, so he had to bend over and pull Grandpa’s boots out of the snow with his bare hands and his foot still in it.

The coyote sounded a lot closer now.

Colin looked into the cow pasture, which had a tall, square-wire fence all along the edge so the cows didn’t get out. The snow was deeper on this side, with long strings of dead grass all the way through it. On the other side it was empty and white and went up a long hill with two brown streaks of road for Grandpa’s tractor tires as he took hay out to the cows in a hay trailer and Colin and all the cousins would throw it out to the cows, who would eat it from between the bars of the trailer while they were still moving.

He didn’t see anything on the hill, so he went around the corner of the chicken coop and stomped a hole in the top of the snow.

Carefully, he dug down through the snow to the ground.

Please be there, please be there.

His hand scraped the top of something harder than snow and he saw it: the egg.

It was shimmery white in the moonlight, but he knew it was really light green.

His hands were so cold they felt hot, but his fingers slid around the ice-hard egg and grabbed it like they would never let go.

The coyote howled again, aaaaaaaaaaaahooooooooooo, ah ah aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahoooooooo, and it was so close that he put his empty hand up in a karate chop to defend himself, just in case.

On top of the hill was a shadow of something black.

Colin bit the front of his coat and backed up from the chicken coop. Inside he could hear the chickens clucking to themselves in their sleep.

Please eat the chickens instead.

Step by step he backed away from the chicken coop, Grandpa’s boots almost sliding off with ever step, until he reached the path back to the house.

Then he turned around and ran back to the gate as fast as he could. He jerked it open and it slammed behind him with a double bang.

Then he turned around and looked on the hill in the cow pasture. Nothing. Maybe nothing.

But.

Two dark shadows moved, next to the chicken coop, then ran across the path to one of the sheds where Grandpa kept the tractors.

Colin checked the egg. Still had it.

He ran back to the steps and almost ran up them, but these were mean steps that liked to cut up kids.

So he climbed the steps slowly.

And then, without looking behind him, he slowly opened the screen door.

He tried to open the inside door slowly, too, but it was stuck again, and he had to hit it with his shoulder and it almost hit the wall.

But he caught it again.

He slowly let the screen door close behind him.

And then, and only then, did he let himself turn around.

Shadows moved through Grandpa’s yard.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

Six.

Colin bit his lip and stepped out of Grandpa’s boots so they were in exactly the same spot as before.

Then he wiped the snow off the egg onto his pajama pants and put the egg inside the toe of his own shiny black dress shoe to hide it. It wasn’t even cracked, even from being out in the snow and everything for a whole year.

He hung up his coat.

Then he shivered. He shivered all the way upstairs to the room where his cousins were still sleeping and drooling and farting and snoring. He climbed back under the corner of the blanket that his brother Douglas had left him and pulled and pulled on it until he had enough to sleep under. And he shivered some more while the coyotes howled.

First one.

And then another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

And another.

Until six different coyotes howled under the full moon the Friday before Easter and he didn’t think he was ever going to sleep again.

 

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