It was a wet and windy night. The wind was howling around the house, causing the tall trees nearby to creek and dance, threatening to fall at any moment. The rain was pounding down outside, drilling against the roof, splashing on the sidewalk, and threatening to overflow from the small rivers that were rushing down the road. They were on the high ground, but it was starting to seem not high enough.
A group of bunnies were curled up, flopped out, or nomming their way through the night, in Mr Mick's warren. His Momma had finally gone to bed and it was time for the annual spooky story swap. He didn't know if the annual bunny party was going on or not, the silly storm had caused so much trouble already, but who would stop them from having a scary night in a storm? Why, that would just be counterproductive!
"Okay, it's my turn!" Maddy said, going to stand behind the electric "candle", so he shadow flickered over the gathered warren of buns. "It was a dark and stormy night, or so I was told.." she started off, voice low as the rabbits gathered wiggled and twitched in eagerness for a tall tale.
"Every Halloween, the kits were warned not to go out alone at night. There was a fox who hunted the hen houses, often starving because the farmers were smarter than him. This fox, once a year, would hunt rabbits. He would dress up in a costume and he would pretend to be giving out candy, but really, he was just getting scents and making notes of houses he would visit later in the night, when little kits and their parents were asleep!" Maddy wiggled her ears, causing shadows to dance across the walls.
"One year, the parents got together, all the bunnies, the mice, all the lagomorphs and rodents and even a grey parrot! They went door to door and found the fox by the tail that flicked out from under his sheet. They grabbed the fox and they tied him up and they buried him under the big oak tree in the yard and stood guard until they knew he was good and dead. They felt bad to have killed, but they felt better for their children, knowing that their kits would be safe that night and next year."
Maddy leaned closer to the flickering, battery powered, candle. "The next year came around, and several kits came scrambling home to their parents, squibbling about how a fox had tried to get them. But not a normal fox, no, this was a zombie fox, a fox whose flesh was falling from him, who had worms in his snout and dirt in his fur. And this fox haunted the town for two days before Halloween and two days after. Every year the parents tried to capture and destroy the fox, but he would come back anyway. They burned him, they buried him, they threw him to the sea. But each night, two days before Halloween, and two days after, he would haunt the town and hunt the kits."
She lowered her voice a little, "They learned the sounds of the fox's approach, learned when it was time to run. The trees would warn first, they would tap and scratch at the windows, letting the people in the houses it wasn't safe to go out. Then the wind would sing of the danger, saying stay in, stay near the fire. Stay in the light where the fox can't come. And then there would be the slush-slush sound of the zombie fox dragging his feet along as he went from door to door, looking for one left unlocked. And then on Halloween, he would hide under someone's steps, and grab the kits as they trick or treated."
She looked one way, and then other, "And tonight is the first night.. Two nights before Halloween." She warned.
She was silent and the bunnies could suddenly hear the trees scritching at the windows, the winds howling around the house and then, the worst sound of all.. a slush-slush of a puddle of water being displaced outside.. just like a zombie fox!