She swallowed back the bile that was making its bid for freedom and took several cleansing breathes.
That couldn’t be a rabbit’s tail, it just couldn’t. Maybe it was the head of a paint brush, or a cotton ball used to remove blood red nail polish—a color, not on her personal palette. Pillow feathers? The head of a Barbie doll? Yarn? Poodle fur? Snow—yeah right, only if it was the non-melting kind.
Despite the many possibilities she gave her eyes and brain for the sight before her, she knew it couldn’t be anything other than the bloody stump of a bunny tail and the too small to be real, footprints.
“Omigod, who would do something like this?” Meghan dropped into the wooden chair and rolled back into the chalkboard, fighting to beat the challenge her stomach continued to throw her way. What the hell would she do with it? Did one just sweep it into the garbage? Or call the cops?
No, no cops. Cami Ann Wilk, her college roommate, had warned her before she’d signed on to teach in Talbot Peak’s only elementary school, that the town was a little different and some of the children could be a bit rambunctious. Did that unruly behavior include leaving the bloody remains of a delicate woodland creature on her desk?
Meghan stood, keeping a fair distance from the desk and made her way over to the trash. She would grab the can, a few —hundred— paper towels as well the bottle of disinfectant she kept on the shelf above and take care of the mess. All without vomiting up her world-class, tuna salad sandwich—she hoped.
She would then gather up her lesson plans and go home where she could shower for at least the next few hours. She wasn’t normally such a pansy when it came to yucky stuff, but there was just something twisted about one of her sweet students leaving a bloody, bunny tail on her desk. It was almost as if she were teaching a bunch of animals and this was their way of honoring her.
“Ewww.” Not a picture she wanted plastered inside her head.
Back at her desk, Meghan was surprised to see the most beautifully colored butterfly flitting around the gruesome tail. Hopefully, it was mourning the loss of another of nature’s treasures and not slurping up the animal’s blood.
“Sorry, little winged wonder, but I have to remove your friend from my desk.” She removed several of the quicker-picker- upper sheets and prayed the hype was true and she would not get any of the animal blood on her hands. Still the butterfly hovered above the mess; its wings seemed to beat faster and harder than before. “Tell ya what, I promise to say some very nice words about your friend, before I toss him down the incinerator shoot.”
A closer look at the butterfly convinced her that she really needed to get home. No longer did it look like a caterpillar with wings, now, she could see the creature who left the teeny, tiny foot prints she had been trying hard to ignore. Its wings were getting smaller, legs were getting longer and his chest was getting, oh so much, wider.
“What the…,” She gasped, backing away from the scene playing out in front of her. Butterfly to man, reality blurred and Meghan was sure she would pass out in the next few seconds. When she awoke, they would send her to the loony bin, but that was okay, as long as the midnight-haired, violet-eyed, tall, tall drink of water would come to visit her.
“Meghan Keely, keeper of hope, please do not wipe away our Mother’s token. You will need it to make the change to your new life.”
Blackness edged away her sight, but it didn’t matter. Her last thoughts were clear. Oh goodie, he has a deep voice, too. When she decided to lose her mind…at least she did it right.