Short Story: The Girl in The Bunny Costume

The Girl in The Bunny Costume
Copyright © June 2014
Dennis Celano

Sasha hopped up in down in her white fuzzy bunny costume, with the bright blue and yellow checkered pants, and waved her bunny paws to all the wide eyed children gazing at the imaginary kingdom before them. Even though Sasha was just an assistant bunny, she thoroughly enjoyed every minute working at the Easter Castle. Her main job was to greet the children, wave her bunny paws in funny circles, and pose for pictures with the over rambunctious children who liked to pull on her long floppy ears. She would then take them by the hand over to where the real Easter Bunny sat and place them on a small chair next to the Easter Bunny’s throne. After the Easter Bunny spoke a few kind words, and gave the children a small basket of goodies, consisting of jelly beans, animal crackers, and chocolate eggs, Sasha would lead them to the exit, pat them on the head, and wave goodbye as they went on their merry way.

    If the children only knew what a hideous creature lied behind the bunny costume, they would probably scream with horror and run away, never to enjoy the Easter bunny ever again. For you see, Sasha was a victim of a terrible automobile accident.

    Up until the age of fourteen Sasha was a beautiful young girl. She once had long shiny chestnut hair, a perfect complexion, and large brown eyes with naturally long dark eye lashes. She mesmerized anyone who set eyes on her. All of her peers and all of the grownups use to tell her how beautiful she was, stunning in fact, and all expected her to grow up to be model some day.

    The accident occurred one dark stormy night after Sasha’s older brother had picked her up from the middle school graduation dance. On the way home, he had turned a sharp corner and was driving ten miles over the speed limit when the car skidded off the road and hit a large oak tree head on. All Sasha could remember was the car smashing into the tree, and the twisted metal hood pushing into the windshield. The metal shattered the glass and punctured the air bag, and everything hit her face all at once. Flames shot up over the hood and she blacked out.

    When she awoke again, she found herself in the hospital. Bandages covered her entire face and she was in excruciating pain. For two weeks she drifted in and out of consciousness, and waited for the pain to subside, and it took another week before they unwrapped the bandages so she could catch a glimpse of herself. Most of the hair on one side of her head was missing, and her long eyelashes and eyebrows had been singed off by the fire. Her nose had been broken and leaned to one side, and she had a twelve inch scar running down the right side of her cheek which ended up on the opposite side of her chin.

    Eleven months passed, while she underwent three plastic surgeries, but she still couldn’t recognize the person she saw in the mirror. Despite all the Doctor’s best efforts, they held out little hope they could make her look beautiful again.

Sasha was determined not to let it get her down. Even though she knew the Shopping Mall had hired her because they felt sorry for her, the bunny costume made her feel almost normal, and the children were always smiling and happy to see her.

    On the last day before Easter, while she was greeting the children, she noticed a young man, in his mid teens, waiting in line. He had wavy black hair, a strong build, and a self assured smile. It was Micah, a freshman boy from her high school, who all the girls had a crush on. He was bringing his little sister to see the Easter bunny. Sasha couldn’t believe how cute he was, standing there holding his little sisters hand, gazing confidently into her worried eyes, protecting her with his big brother, deep blue eyes. Sasha was immediately attracted to him.

    What hope do I have to get to know him? Sasha thought. He was a star wrestler at her high school, who possessed all the charm and appeal that any girl could want, and she was a disfigured teenage girl hiding behind a silly bunny costume.

    As soon as it was Micah’s little sister turn, Sasha waved her bunny paws, kneeled down, and opened her arms wide. The little girl ran up to Sasha and gave her a warm bear hug. When Sasha looked back up again, she noticed Micah standing directly in front of her, his eyes staring directly into the mesh eye holes of her costume.

“Are you a guy or a girl?” He asked.
“I’m a girl. Why do you ask?”
“Because I didn’t want some strange pervert guy hugging my little sister.”
“Well, I’m a girl.”
“Have you worked here long?”
“I’m only working here until Easter, then I have to return to school.
“That’s cool. Where do you go to school?”
Sasha wasn’t sure how to respond. If he happened to find out who she was she would be totally humiliated.
“I started at Thurston High School this year.”
“What’s your name?”
“Well uh, what’s your name?“
“I’m not allowed to give my name out while I’m working.”
Micah smiled. “If you think I’m going to make fun of your bunny costume at school, you don’t need to worry. Your secret is safe with me.”
As Micah’s little sister dragged her over to see the Easter Bunny, Sasha turned back to Micah.
“Sorry, I have to get back to work.”

    Sasha finished working the long Easter weekend and returned to school on Monday. Ever since the accident it was her normal routine to where a baseball cap, and cover her face with sunglasses and a scarf while her hair was still growing back in. Sasha knew her scarred face made her friends feel nervous because they were spending less and less time with her at high school. Still, Sasha felt grateful they had visited her in the hospital, and at least, her best friend Toni was still being nice to her.

 As Sasha and Toni walked down the hallway, they spotted Micah coming from the opposite direction.
“Here comes Micah?” Toni said with a dreamy glow in her eyes.
“Just ignore him.” Sasha said.
“I just want to say hi. You can keep going if you want.”
Sasha felt nauseated. She was heading straight toward Micah and wasn’t sure what to do.
“Hey, Micah, how’s it going?” Toni asked, as she shot him a flirtatious smile.
Micah immediately stopped and stared directly at Sasha.
“It’s going.”
“What time is the wrestling meet?” Toni asked.
Micah ignored her and kept staring at Sasha.
“What’s up with the sunglasses and scarf?”
Tessa felt like running, but instead, she looked down briefly and backed away a step.
“I was in an accident. I don’t want to freak anyone out.”
After hearing Sasha’s voice, Micah thought for a moment.
“Hey, that’s cool. Aren’t you the girl I talked to at the Mall? The one in the bunny costume?”
“I’m sorry if I’m not what you expected.”
“What’s your name?”
Micah chewed on the inside of his bottom lip and looked Sasha up and down before answering.
If you girls want to come to the meet tonight its starts at seven.”
“I’ll be there.” Toni said eagerly.
Micah sauntered down the hallway for a couples steps, but at the last second he turned and winked at Sasha. His smile made her heart skip a beat.

    The wrestling meet started promptly at 7:00pm. It was the first wrestling meet of the season, and despite Sasha’s inner voice telling her not to go, she knew she had to. She wanted desperately to get back into the flow of life, and even if she misread Micah’s advances she knew she would be no worse off for it. Beside’s, Toni was with her, so Sasha felt more at ease.

    When the announcer introduced the Thurston Eagles Wrestling team, the coach led by twelve boys in warm-up suits, scampered out onto the mat. Sasha and the crowd applauded loudly as the boys began doing their warm-up exercises. Micah was the star of the Eagle’s Wrestling Team at the hundred and thirty-eight pound weight class, and Sasha heard someone murmuring in the crowd. “He’s really good.”

    Sasha sat on the edge of her seat. The wrestling meet was much more exciting then she had expected. After the first four matches, the score was tied. The Eagle wrestlers had lost two matches on pins, but won two others on points. Now it was Micah’s match. Tessa could hear the crowd cheer as Micah began to pull off his warm-up gear, but it was followed quickly by a loud gasp.

    Micah’s legs were badly deformed. One of his calfs was half missing, and several ugly scars ran up and down his other leg. It looked as if his legs had went through a meat grinder. Tessa heard someone whisper. “During summer break he fell off a tractor and was run over.”

    Micah ignored the crowd, and proceeded to pin his opponent within thirty seconds. Sasha stood and cheered as Micah waved to the crowd and took his seat. The Eagle’s went on to win the meet seven matches to five.

    When the match was over, Micah saw Sasha leaving the stands and walked over to talk with her.

“Hey Sasha, did you enjoy the meet?”
Sasha smiled widely. “You were great!”
“Great enough for you to go out with me to the show on Friday?”
Sasha no longer felt afraid. She removed her scarf and sunglasses and lifted the brim of her hat.
“Are you sure you still want to go out with me?”
“Ah, that’s nothing. You look beautiful.”

    Sasha, for the first time since the accident, felt normal.