Rocky Prompts, Tennessee - 8. PT #38: Eggsplosion!
It's Easter morning and you wake up to find colorful eggs hidden throughout your house. The problem is, you don't have any children and live alone. Who left the eggs and why?
A piercing laugh woke me. I reminded myself to change my ringtone. Bo Burnham’s Welcome to the Internet was funny, but damn if that maniacal cackle wasn’t frightening. Grabbing my phone, I saw it was barely past six in the morning. “Jesus,” I mumbled.
The number wasn’t displayed either, but the caller ID showed The Bun. I knew I didn’t have anyone saved in my contact list under that. Must’ve been one of Karissa’s antics. Dumped her ass after she changed every number in my phone to some cutesy-wootsy nickname with emojis and shit. Still, the number was saved. It could’ve been someone important.
A deep, suave voice chuckled. “Good morning, my little kit.”
Rubbing my eye, I processed the line. Kit? What the hell’s a kit? “Sorry, wrong number.”
“I think not, Mr. Miller.”
The chilling voice sounded like an evil anime character. I rose and slowly swung my legs over the side of the bed. “Who are you? How do you know my name?”
The man’s snicker was nauseating. “That doesn’t matter. I heard you haven’t been very nice lately, and so close to my special day!”
“Yes… Distancing yourself from friends and loved ones. You even told them you had to work today. Good thing I checked your work schedule, because you are one… little… liar!”
The tone went from playful to menacing. I shook from the speaker’s snarl. “I-I didn’t want to deal with anyone.”
“So it’s true. You aren’t being nice! So, it’s time for me to teach you a lesson.”
Feeling threatened, I grabbed my mother’s old revolver from the nightstand. “Where are you? Are you in my house?”
“No… But I was.”
I was sick. This guy had been in my house. Keeping the phone between my cheek and shoulder, I pointed the gun across the dark room. “W-was?”
As I turned on the light, the caller’s mood brightened. “Yes, yes I was! A bit barren, if I’m being honest. It seems your girlfriend's left a lot of her stuff lying around though.”
Opening the bedroom door, I aimed down the hall, finding nothing but shadows. Traipsing, I seethed, “I’m gonna put a bullet in your skull.”
“Ah, if you can catch me. But I’d be more worried about my eggs.”
I couldn’t tell if the guy was being serious. “What are… What?”
The voice was suddenly serious and cold. “I left seven eggs in your home, one for each room. You have one hour to find them. They’re touch-sensitive, so once you locate them all, they’ll deactivate. Leave one unfound before sunrise, and they’ll eggsplode! Let’s set some rules for this game, okay? No one comes in or leaves, and no one gets hurt. Well, that's if you find all my eggs."
I hustled through my home, turning every lightswitch on along the way. “Or what? You’ll det…” There was no point in finishing the sentence. He’d detonate the bombs. He could tell when the bombs were deactivated. What would stop him from blowing my house to kingdom come?
“The cogs fell into place, didn’t they? Tick-tock, Anthony. Tick-tock.””
My heart plummeted. For some reason, I believed the madman. He sounded so real! “Who… Who are you?”
After another psychotic laugh, the bomber whispered, “I’m the Easter bunny, bitch.”
Two beeps. He was gone. So was my sanity. I immediately dialed 911, and the operator reassured me the police were on the way. While on hold, I asked my Google Home what time sunrise was.
Half an hour. I had half an hour to either get out or find the eggs. Returning to my room, I instantly spotted one, and I couldn’t breathe. It sat perfectly still on the flat topper of my lamp. It was painted purple with yellow squiggly lines, but the red LED light on the side confirmed my fears. The so-called bunny was telling the truth.
There was a damned bomb on my nightstand! Holy shit! Common sense thrown out of the building, I walked up to it and pinched it. The red light turned green. “Motherfu—”
Bo Burnham’s cackle blared again, scaring me. It was The Bun again. I slid my finger across the screen and pressed the speaker button. “You son-of-a-bitch.”
“One for seven. Good job finding the one on the lamp.”
“You were… You were standing by my bed.”
“Yes, and you were sleeping like an angel. Too bad you aren’t one, you little sinner.”
The Bun gasped. “Language! How could a mother raise such a misbehaved child? And before you answer that one, Mommy Miller’s a saint, so don’t worry your little head about her. It’s just you I’m after. You’ll be one of my best examples.” Met with another finished call, I pocketed my phone and tried to control my bile.
Rushing to the front door, I made sure it was locked. I didn't need the cops busting in and breaking the new rules. With the living room illuminated, I initiated my search. Remembering the typical guidelines for an Easter egg hunt, the egg had to be plainly visible. No hiding under brush piles, or couch cushions in my case.
I pointed. “There!” In between the legs of my grandmother’s coat rack laid a baby-blue egg with orange triangles and squares. I grabbed it and set both eggs on the coffee table. Five more to go! Kitchen, bathroom, office, laundry room, and attic.
Finding the one in the bathroom was easy. The idiot had it next to the door-stopper, thinking I wouldn’t see its yellow paint. I almost deemed the laundry room’s bomb illegal, as it was in the dryer. By the time I found the kitchen’s resting in the sink drain, someone was pounding on the front door. I opened it, but kept the chain-latch in. After showing the eggs’ green light, the officers reluctantly trusted my story. Realizing I had about ten minutes to find two more eggs, I suggested having them evacuate my neighbors.
I swallowed. I was playing with fire, but for what reason? The remaining bombs were above my bedroom and in my office, both on one side of the house. Were these eggs powerful? Could they level my house? Could I escape without dying?
“I… Keep going,” I muttered to myself. "Worse scenario, I bolt for it at the two minute mark and test my luck. Okay Google! Set a timer for five minutes!"
Hearing the automated response, I made a frantic decision to find the office's next. If there was to be one remaining, the attic would be the best option. There's too many nooks and crannies to search.
Not that the office was better. Every wall was taken by either a bookshelf or filing cabinet, and boxes filled with who knows what were stacked across the room. Why couldn't Karissa come get her crap? Damn it! After a loud grunt, I examined the shelves.
A minute passed and I was sweating bullets. The egg was nowhere in sight. Desperate, I turned to my gaming desk. Chair? Nope. Keyboard? Nope. Mouse? No—
I did a double-take. There it was! Perfectly balanced, the mouse sat on a pink and yellow egg. I did it. I found the sixth one! Grabbing it, I hollered, "Okay Google! Time left on the timer?"
"You have three minutes left on the timer."
That meant I have four or five until sunrise. Going to the front door, I saw there were several officers surrounding my house. Yelling for them, a few jogged closer. "I got six out of seven. There's one in the attic, but I don't think I can find it in time."
"That's fine, sir. We got the neighbors out and they're all accounted for. Do you remember what the guy said about the bombs?"
"Y-yeah, if I find them all they'll deactivate." Recalling the initial threat, I froze. "No," I whispered. The Bun words rang clear in my head. "If I find them all, they'll deactivate."
I turned to the six on the coffee table, all adorned with green lights. Losing my breath, I raked my hair. "I just activated them. I fucking activated them!"
The officer held out his hand, mumbled something into his walkie, and calmly said, "Can you move them to a corner of the house? A far corner."
I nodded and scooped them into my arms. Halfway across the house, I slowed my pace. It would’ve sucked to have found these damned things just to have them blow up now. Where to stick ‘em though? Looking at the kitchen, I bit my cheek, set the eggs on the counter, then put them in the oven. Hopefully a big, steel box would stop the explosion, or at least hinder its performance.
Meeting with the officer once more, I watched as he coordinated with the other uniformed people. The red and blue strobe lights lit the streets. A few of the neighbors across the street were huddled together. Did the cops tell them what was going on? Who cares? I never bothered to meet them anyway. Maybe if I get out of this nightmare, I might.
“Mr. Miller! When you’re ready, open the door completely, then dive away from where you put the bombs. Got it?”
I swallowed, despite my mouth being dry. “G-got it.” The instructions forced me to assess my next move. My heart was beating a mile a minute.
A knock came from the door, breaking my concentration. The same man had a weak smile. It was the first time I paid close attention to him. “Take a deep breath. Just unlock the door, leave it cracked, yank it open, and run like hell. The second you hear something, drop down and cover your head, okay?” The voice was rugged yet sincere. His light-brown eyes shone from the living room light.
I merely nodded as he walked away. When he turned to face me, he squatted ever so slightly.
It was my turn to act again. This time I had support. Licking my lips, I tried to prepare myself. Emotions flew inside my head like a flock of crazed birds. Tears threatened to fall.
The Google Home beeped on repeat. The timer was up. I had less than two minutes, if I was lucky. Glancing at the officer, I took his advice, breathed in deeply, then grabbed the door handle. I ran, nearly losing my footing on the stoop.
I saw movement in the corner of my eye. It was the uniformed man.
He grabbed me.
We hit the ground.
I heard an explosion, then glass shattering immediately after. Something was on top of me as I tried to get up. “Stay down.”
“Like hell. My house!” Rolling over, I managed to catch a peek. Fire flew high from the living room window, and judging from debris on the right side, one of the kitchen walls was knocked out by the blast. A corner of the roof was lower and set ablaze. I wanted to cry. My new home’s future was uncertain.
Pulled to a sitting position, the officer injected himself into my vision and asked if I was hurt. Other than being sore from landing on the grass, I was fine. He lifted me up, but told me to sit back down and pointed out the large shard of glass sticking out of my calf. I should’ve told him about my fear of blood before I passed out.
A year had passed. Thankfully, the mad Easter bunny-related bombing was covered by my insurance. I couldn’t imagine living in the same house and not see eggs behind door-stoppers and on top of lamps, so I had the building stripped and the floorplan changed entirely. The exterior was somewhat familiar, but the interior was unrecognizable. I could live with being in debt up to my belly button if it meant keeping my sanity intact.
Unfortunately, there was no progress on the investigation. The fancy bomb-tech people grabbed whatever scraps they could of the eggs, but there wasn’t much to go on. Then they tried tracing the number that called my phone. No luck there either. Apparently, the police department went as far as checking the FBI database. The Bun didn’t exist. The second I was told that made me lose faith in every officer.
Well, almost. Looking back now, I’d say it looks, smells, and sounds like a Hallmark movie moment. After eight months, countless dates, and several therapy sessions together, the officer from that night, Andy, proposed to me. Turns out, he was scared shitless more than I was. While I was running around collecting explosives, he was dealing with the neighbors.
I regret thinking about getting to know them. I couldn’t imagine convincing Miss Lena May to leave her home. That old lady has worse paranoia than I do! Ever since I moved into the new house, that woman had her husband’s army helmet on when she sat on her porch. Andy told me she was screeching and hollering worse than one of those motion-sensor Halloween decorations that get you in the malls.
But I had my fiance’s hand in mine. Our therapist recommended sitting outside and watching the neighbors today. There were times I wanted to break down and go inside. Andy kept me calm. It was Easter again, but it was past sunrise, the families were on their front lawns, and their little ones were finding the plastic eggs everywhere. After an hour, I accepted the festivities.
At least, until the Richardson’s came outside. The kids were squealing, Mrs. Richardson was taking too many pictures, and Mr. Richardson came out with someone else wearing a rabbit suit. The head was huge, and the person inside was clearly playing the role better than a college mascot on a football field. Hopping around, making silly hand-movements to the brats, and just acting goofy.
My grip never left the arm rest. I held it so tight, my fingernails were white from the pressure. Andy did his best, but my stare would not stray away from the bunny. It could’ve been the uncle behind the mask, but I didn’t care.
That gray and white suit tried to kill me.
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