My older brother learned the hard way that there's a slight chance the Easter Bunny does not exist.
He, along with several hundred children, waited eagerly one Easter for the famous rabbit to parachute out of a helicopter and land in a field, thus signaling the start of what could have been a massive egg hunt. The brightly-colored eggs, the candy, the sport and, of course, the glory that comes with being the biggest egg-getter were on every child’s mind that fateful morning. They could see the helicopter circling above and flashes of white fur as the giant leporid occasionally poked his head out of the chassis to wiggle his ears. Each sighting elicited squeals of delight.
Alas, when Mr. Bunny leaned out of the chopper to give one last cheery wave of his paw to his glassy-eyed admirers before hoppity-hopping into midair, the headpiece of his costume fell off. The throng of children bedecked with Easter baskets and itching for candy silently tracked the Easter Bunny's dismembered head’s path to the ground as if it were some strange, furry alien spacecraft. It landed with a soft “thunk” among their ranks.
A moment of absolute quiet passed as preadolescent minds scrambled to process what just happened. Parents, much quicker on the uptake, felt cold sweat sprout along their spine as they fathomed tantrums to come. And, as if with a collective, fevered mind, hundreds of kids began wailing, thrashing about and sprinting away from the rabbit's head's cold, lifeless stare in whatever direction they happened to be facing when the spectacle touched earth. Their caretakers desperately tried to catch them, comfort them. Someone picked up the Easter Bunny's head and tried to conceal it. This, however, only caused renewed screams of terror.
When the 90 percent-complete Easter Bunny landed, grotesque-looking with his man face and rabbit body, he quickly detached his chute, slipped his head back on and began frantically prancing and dancing as if nothing out-of-sorts had happened. Parents restraining out-of-control children stared, their mouths agape.
Only a small handful of children, mainly the younger ones, were duped into forgetting the horrific scene they'd just witnessed. "Easter Bunny magic!" they were told, "a trick!" “Animorphs!” They cautiously hunted for eggs, frequently pausing to look over their shoulders at the Easter Bunny, minds churning.
Unfortunately, my brother was never saved. The doubt planted in his mind on that Easter grew too great, too fast for him to ignore. The holiday would never be the same for him and he would have to spend the rest of his childhood hunting for eggs and devouring candy with the knowledge that the Easter Bunny might not be real.
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