Well, that’s what my parents claim, anyway. That’s how most of the crude, crayon portraits depicted of this creature that I called “the moon-bunny.” According to them, I started asking to sleep with them because a “scary bunny who came out of the sky and into my window.” After obliging me with an inspection (looking underneath my bed and out of my window), my mother dubbed my room monster-free and said that it was “probably just a friendly alien” and nothing to worry about. That’s right, folks: an adult told me that aliens were nothing to worry about, an assumption that would later be shattered by science fiction and horror films. Getting tired of accommodating my paranoia, my parents encouraged me to befriend the moon-bunny and even told me that it might show me its space ship if we became close enough. Soon thereafter, the moon-bunny shapeshifted from unwanted extraterrestrial presence to space bff in seconds flat. My parents often heard me “talking” to the moon-bunny at night, but didn’t want to disrupt my creative flow, as I was drawing and developing the talent that would come to color my future.
Like a little stereotypical 3 year-old, I would ramble on about my nightly hang-out sessions with the moon-bunny. I claimed that I was right about the moon-bunny coming from the sky because “I saw her fly into my room.” (The moon-bunny must have revealed its gender identity at some point.) Thinking that I had just forged my first imaginary friendship, my parents told me to invite the moon-bunny to dinner, mostly just for kicks and to see what my imagination could do, probably to photograph or record it like they did for a living. The next morning, I reported directly to the table as my robe-clad parents drank coffee and read the newspaper.
“The moon-bunny can’t come to dinner because she doesn’t eat people food,” I announced as I went on to describe my moon-bunny interactions, which mostly consisted of nursery rhyme recitations and drawing. It was all good and sweet until I casually mentioned the moon-bunny’s “son who died inside of her tummy.” I hadn’t been exposed to any pregnant women, nor did we know anyone who miscarried, so it really caught my parents off-guard. Surely, Sesame Street didn’t do a special episode about pregnancy. Figuring that my colorful imagination was the culprit behind all of it, they didn't think much of it. I was bright enough to know that a baby comes from a mother’s “tummy” and the moon-bunny’s dead son probably thickening the moon-bunny’s plot.
Fast forward to my fifth year of life. I was still moon-bunnying, but then came the drawings of what appears to be the moon-bunny with an inside view of her womb, except inside of it was a visibly dead fetus, x-marks for eyes and all. I’d draw myself next to the tall, slender figure hunching over my diminutive frame. One of the hallmarks of my drawings has always been my usage of colors in a fashion that others described as “psychedelic.” Well, my drawings retained their warped and distorted currents, but I began to dabble with darker shades. My royal blue crayon steadily shrank from being pressed against rough construction paper as I colored the nightscape behind the moon-bunny and myself. I would use midnight purple instead of lavender, or silver instead of the sparkly white marker that I was especially fond of. My parents noticed the change and began remarking on it, although it was more out of curiosity. Because my young self claimed that “the moon-bunny likes it better that way.” If the moon-bunny hadn't liked it that way,I would have never treaded on over to the shades that would come to characterize my work. But what disturbed them more than anything were my casual remarks that the moon-bunny was my real mother. They tried recommending different things for me to draw, but my focus never wavered from the moon-bunny, mostly posed alongside myself. After a while, I began drawing myself with teal skin and I gotta say, they're extremely interesting.
When I first started the moon-bunny portraits, I draw us surrounded by flowers, toadstools, and tea parties. My parents claim that shortly after the stillborn fiasco, my “teacher” or whatever you call daycare providers began calling our house. He expressed concern over how I began drawing my imaginary friend and I surrounded by what appeared red puddles and severed heads strewn about the ground around us. Already an industrious artist, I would draw copies and copies of any mental picture that I fixated on, so the teacher definitely had enough evidence to call my parents and ask if someone in our family had recently passed away. Of course, no one did. Besides, I told her myself that my drawings contained blood and skulls myself.
The next time I mentioned the moon-bunny’s lost child, my parents told me that if I didn’t stop talking about that with them or the moon-bunny, then they would make the moon-bunny leave. So I shut up and continued drawing like I used to. The portfolio of my childhood, a binder filled with protective sleeves, contains dozens upon dozens of moon-bunny depictions, all of them featuring the moon-bunny in its consistent form. But, like I said, no first-person memories.
One morning, I went downstairs to meet my parents at their usual places at the table and said that the moon-bunny ripped its skin and had to find a new one so that it could keep talking to me. And that was the end of moon-bunny. It was a running joke in my family that would pop up now and then, mostly in the form of jokes about me being an alien.
That’s why my 8 year-old spine shivered when, while drawing on my notepad in a public park, I heard a shrill voice call my name. I looked up from the paper and saw an lanky woman in her fifties with short red hair, downward-pursed lips (kind of like a fish-gullet), and heavily powdered skin that outlined the micro-gorges of very same wrinkles that she tried to hide. I was shy towards unfamiliar adults, but I enmeshed with the chaotic stillness in the air that paralyzed my breath and ultimately suspended my senses.
“I’m the moon-bunny. Remember me?” she said, her breathy voice trembling on a warm Spring day. As someone who did a lot of foreign exchange and backpacked through Europe later on in life, I’ve never heard anything like her accent. Her singsong accent whistled each “s”, clicked and clacked her consonants, swallowed vowels in odd places, and intonated multisyllabic words in a way that made them sound like they were being hastily squeezed out of an esophageal tube connected to her mouth. Her voice flowed out like molasses.
I remember that I dropped my pen out of my hand like my jaw as it hung in awe. I nodded, thinking that this lady was a family friend and my parents were playing a trick on me. After all, my house was right next to the park and all I was doing differently was sitting on the other side of our fenced-in property.
“Do you remember talking to me?” she persisted gently in her thick and strangely musical accent. “I used to come visit you in your window.”
“Are you actually an alien?”
“Yes. I wasn’t a citizen, so I got snatched up by the police. That’s why I stopped visiting you.”
“Wait,” I said, “Didn’t you stop visiting because you ripped your skin or something?”
Her hands tremored like her voice as she held the stockings above her head, impersonating the bunny-esque appearance she undertook in the shadows. Her rounded eyes grew glossy.
“Yes, I used to wear stockings on my head so that you couldn’t recognize my face.”
My attention turned to her ever-fiddling hands. She was nervously crumpling a pair of sheer-white stockings with fishnet patterns and what appeared to be rust-colored splatters that I wouldn't I wouldn't consciously notice until much later. My eyes bulged out of my skull( only a quarter of the size of her eyes). I guess at that even at such a young age, I instinctively knew that something was incredibly wrong with not wanting someone to recognize your face. Not one to pass up friendship with an alien, I agreed to meet her by my window at a time that she specified “because [my] parents won’t be up.”
Sure enough, she came to my window and I let her in. She hugged me tightly and kissed my head like one of my aunts would when they’d come to visit, emitting a barely-audible squalish wine as her constantly-quaking body held me close. Needless to say, I was weirded out, but couldn’t put my finger on exactly why it was unsettling. After some seconds/eternities had passed, I asked what her real name was, and she told me that it was Mary, but I should continue calling her Moon-Bunny. She profusely apologized in her slightly-broken-but-understandable-and-fluent English about “leaving” me, gripping my knuckles and boring her bewildered pupils into me as though I were mourning her absence all of this time. Something about her icy, blue gaze chilled my spine with wonder.
Moon-Bunny came to the United States to serve as a nanny for a wealthy family. According to her, the authorities were out to get her for trying to help a little boy escape his parents. She told me that he had parents whom she described as being like "the evil step-mother from Cinderella.” She figured that “if [she] rescued him by the time he turned four years old, then he might not remember the horrible things that they put him through.” One of my best friends had recently been taken away by child services, so that story made hero in my eyes; if only someone had rescued my friend before he was covered in bruises and puking up blood. Perhaps Moon-Bunny was the friendly alien that my parents made her out to be all along and I was too stupid to remember? Still, I knew better than to tell them. Her perma-shocked eyes blinked not once as she asked me what I thought of my parents.
I began meeting with Moon-Bunny several times a month. On more than one occasion, I convinced her to hide in our shed so that she wouldn’t have to go back out in the rain. (“My parents never use it,” I whispered, “so someone should.”) The next day, she told me that she got the best sleep in years. When I asked her where she and her son were from, she told me that she didn’t have a home. Eventually, I asked her where she and her son were from, to which she replied matter-of-factly that she didn’t have a home, although I do remember her stare drifting off into the recesses of foggy realization that just screams, “How did I get here?!”
I felt awesome having a super-cool, super-adult, super-secret friendship. She’d ask about my day and how things were going. I recall talking about the things that I was drawing or the boys whom I had yet to realize that I had crushes on. She always cooed about how happy she was that I was so accepting of her and how I was like family to her.
Moon-Bunny was a little “touched” if you know what I mean. She confided in me that she carried around those stockings because she wore them on the best date of her life: the night that she conceived her son.
“Remember my son?”
“The dead one?”
Oh, what a way with words I had. Nevertheless, her grayish blue eyes lit up as her pupils dilated until the blackness consumed almost all of her irises, leaving only the sliver-like antumbra encircling her pupil in its aftermath.
I confirmed that I remembered, but only through the pictures that I drew of us. That’s when she told me that she had seen me in a stroller while my mom was at the supermarket and knew that I was the reincarnation of her unborn son. According to her, I looked just like his father. Not fully comprehending the outlandishness of my situation, I accepted her mystical relation to me as fact and the subtle grandeur that swept over me because here I was, not even in secondary school, leading a double - no, triple! - life and remaining composed throughout the entire thing. It was the secrecy that got me, the thrill of knowing something that no one else knows; a thrill so great that it persuades you to monopolize a secret and hoard lesser-known truths from plain sight.
The visitations continued until I was 10, just in time for whole stranger-danger shebang that would awaken me to the eeriness of my friendship with Moon-Bunny; it wasn’t hard to understand that super-cool, super-adult, super-secret friendships at my age usually had ulterior motives, even those who claimed that they were there to take care of you. I didn’t tell them about the real Moon-Bunny since she vanished.
I was from college with a degree in the field that I was the most passionate about, as reflected by the quarter-full canvas in my room. Since I had just broke it off with this dude I was seeing (Ed), it was already hard to concentrate. His incessant texts and calls didn’t help the situation. So, being that it was a Friday and I had Saturday off, I decided to go to artsy bar downtown with my friends. I set foot in the place, totally surrounded by other students, when I - TA-DA! - lock eyes with him. I saw his eyes dart up from his beret (I learned my lesson, ok?!) while drinking something on-the-rocks and trying to hold my gaze captive. If only he had made the effort to be where I was while we were actually going out. Must be tough to always want the things that you can’t have, especially when you’re a cinema student whose “avant-garde” creations always receive terrible feedback from your professors and peers. He had this inflated idea of his talents and, consequently, his persona were too “advanced” for all of his critics to understand. How dare I shut him down and stomp on the single rose that he left on my car, especially when I knew that he was well within eye-shot. In case you were wondering, I’m allergic to roses, so it was just more evidence of the NOPE that I felt.
During the last weeks of class, I would see Ed sulking, although he tried to pull it off as the pensive, aloof demeanor that he was always failing at pulling off. I figured that he probably didn’t have much else besides cinema and plain-looking women to distract him. My friends and I almost bursted our lungs open when we laughed at his pathetic attempts to make me jealous by going really far out of his way to conspicuously flirt with them in front of me. Well, at first, it was funny. Then I pitied him for a second, knowing that he’d be spending at least the next few weekends alone until he managed to scrape up another date with a girl as stupid as myself.
Then - all the sudden - radio silence. I didn’t bother to respond to most of Ed's nonsense, knowing that any response would only encourage him. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I didn’t get gratification from it. But, if there’s one thing that I remember, it was that shady resentment that infested his deep brown eyes when he realized that things wouldn’t go his way, as though he didn’t realize why the world failed to see how superior he was. When I met his ex-girlfriend from a neighboring school at an informal graduation party a few weeks later, she warned me about his tendency to “persist” in the face of refusal. While it was funny to watch him do this with prospective employers (while balling my eyes out over feeling not-good-enough due to his openly comparing me to other girls, mostly those whom he had no chance in Hell or Heaven with), I didn’t want to be the subject of his “persistence” like his ex was. (I should also mentioned that she had just moved in with her steady boyfriend and, judging by her dead-seriousness, didn’t seem like she was joking.)
So, with all of this background in mind, I’m sure you can understand why I grew suspicious when I began hearing leaves rustling outside of my window. It shocked me that someone as egocentric as him would invest so much effort in another person almost strictly because they didn’t want him anymore. But his self-absorption didn’t stop him from pursuing his ex to the point where she had to threaten him with a restraining order. When I came home to find my canvas in a slightly different position than the one in which I had left it, I grew worried, even more so when I noticed previously unopened drawers cracked ever-so-slightly and my records out of order. I e-mailed him and told him to cut the shit or else I’d do what his ex threatened to do to him. He said that it wasn’t him, but I had little reason to trust him, given his poor track-record of lying, sending lewd messages to his ex-girlfriend’s friend, and stalking the heck out of her (by hacking her stuff, I might add) when she broke up with him.
But things kept changing every time I’d come back after an extended period of time. I knew my house like the back of my hand, so I knew that I was locking everything up tight. I was annoyed and irritated when I first disclosed the situation to my parents, but that happened over two months ago; now, we were scared. I was positive that I had seen the silhouette of a human head in the window. But the few times I told him to cut the shit, he said that he didn’t do anything. Eager to get some evidence, we installed a camera outside of my window.
A few days later, my parents had a flight scheduled, so I house-sat with a guy-friend. A cacophony of thudding metal and screams jostled me around ten at night as my friend remained in a deep sleep. When I rushed to the window, I saw nothing, but heard footsteps quickly veer to the other side of my house. Before I could catch a glimpse through one of the opposite side’s windows, I heard the sound of an engine running for dear life as car tires screeching away.I figured that I had solid evidence, but nothing that I intended to bring to law enforcement. I just wanted him to stop.
The next day (Saturday), I went to my favorite coffee shop to finish up some studying and saw that Ed had black-and-blue eyes that were swelling to a close as he struggled to suck iced coffee up through the straw perched that he delicately his purpled, triple-sized lips. I grew frightened when he slowly limped his way over to me. I winced as I watched him struggle to form muffled, unintelligible sentences with his inflamed mouth and bloated cheeks. He sounded as though he was choking on his own mouth. I could only recognize him by the beret and the back button-up shirt that he wore three times a week.
“I hlard him dwlive to yourl hou- aaahhh!” Ed whined as a little blood down the corner of his mouth. I stood agape in horror as I heard the distant clicks of dangling teeth in the back of his mouth. Not knowing what else to do, I handed this stalker a pen and paper so that he could say something. (Clever, huh?) He wrote the following:
“My friend told me a few days ago that he wanted his Tim Burton box set back for a movie night with the Cinema Club. I forgot that I had left it at your house. I didn’t want to creep you out more, so I messaged you for 3 days to let you know that I couldn’t come earlier than 9. I just wanted my stuff back.”
I teared up as I managed to tell him that I had no part in that crime’s infiltration and that I had proof. (It didn't help that his parents were loaded.) I whipped out a camera that, weirdly enough, he taught me how to use. Right after I said that, his friend approached me from behind and asked why I had to be such a bitch. That guy claimed that he was the one who drove him there and thank God for that, because there would have been no way that Ed would’ve been able to drive to the emergency room after he narrowly escaped the attack that I had allegedly planned.
“I put a camera out that night,” I said. Without further delay, I pressed play, not bothering to fast forwarded the tape until around an hour and a half in and found a saw a figure standing outside of my window over an hour before the footage of his beating came up. He thought that I was the person standing outside of my window when he audibly murmured on tape, “Hello?”
The figure that popped up and dragged him into my back yard to beat him with our rusty garden instruments was tall and willowy with two pieces of fabric dangling from its head. I automatically recognized the figure and nearly choked on vomit as I told them fragments of the story. After the bizarre coffee shop show-and-tell, we took a field trip to the police to make a report. This time, they put a camera there as my parents took turns watch-dogging our house with a bat, ready to attack at the slightest sign of intrusion. Even the familiar creaks of our old, little house made us jump.
Finally, we scored: my dad successfully batted the consciousness out of the intruder in one fell swoop.
You guessed it; Moon-Bunny had blasted back from the past. After extensive investigation, we found out that she had been living in our shed for at least three months and (stupidly) left a water-withered journal for police to investigate. The notebook contained ramblings about the stars, about her “motherly duties” of watching over me, accompanied by drawings of what she envisioned to be my bloodied, lifeless body with drawings of my non-specific, intestinal-looking organs splayed all over the place. Right next to it would be these stick-figure drawings of us holding hands underneath the stars.
Moon-Bunny had been telling me the truth: she was an alien fugitive wanted for attempting to abduct several children, possibly with the intention of committing Hague abductions. My parents flipped out when I told them, and understandably so; what kind of person just forgets to tell their parents about the alien-rabbit hybrid breaking into her room at night for years on end? I wonder what made me so special yet so different aside from my ability to forget that it could have been her in the first place.
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