Tales of Scream Street: Your Bunny or Your Life
The young banshee was cuddling a small, black rabbit in her garden when the ghost materialized behind her. Raising a shimmering pistol, he commanded, “Your bunny or your life!”
Favel spun round to face the phantom. “EXCUSE ME?” she screeched.
The figure winced and pulled away the handkerchief that covered his ghostly face. “Not so loud!”
“Sorry!” said Favel, switching to the voice she used when communicating with people other than banshees. “Is this better?”
“Much!” the ghost confirmed. “Now, give me the rabbit!”
The ghost tightened his finger around the trigger. “Surely you know who I am…” he declared.
Favel shook her head apologetically. “No. Should I?”
“I’m the greatest highwayman who ever lived!” cried the spirit. “The scourge of every traveller in the land … Stan Dandy-Liver!”
“Never heard of you,” admitted the banshee. “Sorry.”
The confidence drained from the highwayman’s features and he slumped into a plastic garden chair. “Don’t be,” he groaned. “My days of tyranny are long over. One day you’re stealing bags of gold and wooing young heiresses – the next, you’re nothing but a long-forgotten ghost.”
“I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that.”
“It’s worse,” Stan grumbled. “G.H.O.U.L. are moving me to Scream Street next week! You’d think a place with ‘Street’ in the name would have a fair amount of passing traffic, but no, not so much as a ragman’s horse and cart there, by all accounts!” The highwayman let out a long sigh. “I can’t remember the last time I held up a stagecoach.”
“We could do it now if you like,” suggested Favel.
Stan sat up. “What? You’ve got a stagecoach?”
“No,” replied the banshee. “But we can pretend…”
“Yeah,” grinned Favel, jumping to her feet and starting to rearrange the garden furniture. “We’ll put these two chairs together as the coach and I’ll pretend to be a wealthy merchant on my way back from the palace.”
Stan didn’t look convinced. “Stagecoaches are pulled by horses,” he said. “Powerful, intelligent beasts.”
Favel thought for a second, then grabbed the docile black rabbit and placed it in front of the two chairs, where it began to nibble contentedly on the grass. “There!”
“I don’t think that’s going to—”
“Look – do you want to hold up this stagecoach, or not?” Favel enquired.
Stan shuffled his feet nervously. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, I do.”
Favel beamed. “Right, now you go and hide behind that tree – and jump out whenever you’re ready.”
Obediently, Stan pulled his handkerchief back up over his face and went to hide.
Favel sat down in one of the chairs and clutched at imaginary reins. “Dear me,” she announced dramatically. “What a hard day at the palace! And now I have to carry all this gold back home through the dark and dangerous forest.”
Stan Dandy-Liver leapt out in front of the makeshift stagecoach and levelled his pistol. “Your money or your life!”
“Oh no!” squealed Favel, clearly enjoying herself. “A dashing highwayman! Whatever shall I do?”
“You’ll give me all your gold and jewels, that’s what,” growled Stan.
“You monster!” cried Favel, jumping up and rooting through the pockets of her skirt. She produced three pennies, a button and a safety pin. “Now, pray take my worldly possessions and leave me with my life.”
Stan looked at the proceeds of his robbery and blinked. “That’s it?”
“That’s all your worldly possessions?”
“That’s all I’ve got on me at the moment, yes…”
Stan scratched his nose with the end of his pistol. “So, no actual gold, then?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“It’s just not the same,” sighed the disappointed highwayman.
“I could go indoors and get my piggy bank, if that will help,” Favel offered. “I think I’ve still got last week’s pocket money in there.”
Stan’s face darkened. “No,” he snarled. “I’ve had enough. That’s why I want the bunny.”
“Because I’m fed up with being a ghost!” exclaimed Stan. “I scare myself every time I look in the mirror! I can’t sleep because I float through my bed at night! And you don’t want to know what happens when I get a cold – ectoplasm everywhere!”
“So how will the rabbit help?”
Stan took a deep breath. “I’m going to do the only thing a ghost can … possess that bunny and spend the rest of my days running around on the grass, twitching my nose and nibbling carrots.”
Favel looked horrified. “No, I don’t think you should do that. You see…”
Stan raised his pistol and tried to make himself look threatening. “Give me the rabbit, or I’ll shoot!”
“You don’t understand. You can’t…”
“Your bunny or your life!”
Favel sighed. “OK, if you insist.” She reached down, picked up the rabbit and handed it over. “But I did try to warn you…”
Stan grabbed the bunny, trying not to let the banshee see how much his fingers were trembling, and placed it carefully at his feet. “Goodbye, haunting – hello, hopping!” Then there was a flash and the ghostly highwayman was gone.
Favel bent to address the bunny. “Did it work?” she asked. “How do you feel?”
Stan couldn’t reply, of course – but he wiggled his whiskers in joy. He felt wonderful. All the stress had been lifted from his shoulders. The grass that tickled his nose smelt delicious, and he could hear a chorus of melodious cries from all corners of the garden. Oh yes! This was going to be good!
Favel gave a shrug. If this was what he wanted… Then she scooped up the rabbit, leant over the fence and popped it into a large dish marked “Cruncher”, alongside a guinea pig and two hamsters.
“Dinner!” she called, then skipped back into the house.
Stan the rabbit felt a blast of hot breath from above and looked up to see the gaping mouth of a young dragon descending towards him, teeth glinting in the sunlight.
Oh, poo… he thought.