"She's not joining us?" asked Mason.
"Nope. Must have better things to do. Things like gettin' our breakkies ready and stuff, I suspect."
"Probably in there eating chocolate Easter eggs, is more like it," Mason said under her breath. Oh well, it's her loss."
"That's right!" exclaimed Anderson. "I heard that this year, the Easter Bunny is finally hiding nip eggs. Best kind of Easter eggs, EVER."
"I heard the very same thing," stated Seville.
"Me two!" piped up Rushton.
Mason looked at her marmalade brothers. "Where did you all hear about these nip eggs?"
"Posters," the three boys replied in unison.
"There were posters?" asked Mason. "Really? Where were the posters?"
"Oh, here and there," answered Andy. "Out on the deck."
"And stapled onto the big oak tree at the end of the driveway," added Rushton.
"And on the chairs on the veranda," chimed in Seville.
"Hehehe..." chuckled Andy. "Yeah, I sat on one on a chair. Messed it all up."
"I thought it was lookin' a little crumpled," muttered Seville. "But crumpled or not, that poster clearly stated that this year, the Easter Bunny would be bringin' nip eggs to the Easter Egg Hunt bein' held in our backyard. Come on, we had best hurry up. We don't wanna miss out on those nippy eggs," and Seville led the way into the backyard, at a trot.
Rounding the corner, the four cats gasped with delight. Before them, lay a beautiful array of various pastel-coloured eggs, dotted here and there, amongst the grass.
"Strange how there's no one else here yet," Mason murmured.
"You say strange", began Seville, "I say fortuitous. "Come on, let's get those nip eggs before any neighbourhood cats arrive. Meet you all back here in say, fifteen minutes? MOUSES!"
The four cats nodded in agreement before heading off in various directions, sniffing each egg they passed, looking for the ones filled with nip. It wasn't long before Anderson came running, yelling out to his fur-sibs. "Mason! Rushy! Sivvers! COME QUICK! YOU'VE GOT TO SEE THIS."
The others quickly gathered around their brother. "What's up?" asked Seville. "You find any nip eggs yet? EB - that's what I call the Easter Bunny these days - must have hidden the nip ones really, really well. So far I've come up with nothin'."
"I found something better than a nip egg," Andy panted, out of breath from running.
"There's no such thing," Seville stated. "I think you'll find there's nothin' better than a nip egg. Well, not egg wise, anyway. There are nip mice, and nip hearts, and nip..."
Ignoring Seville's listing of all toys containing nip, Andy turned on his tail, and ran off in the direction of some trees at the back of the yard. "This way!" he cried. "COME ON!" The others followed. Once beyond the trees, they stopped in their tracks, staring at an object ahead.
"Oh my mouses," Seville whispered. "What kinda chicken can lay an egg like that?"
"A really BIG chicken," Rushy answered. "How the heck did the Easter Bunny fit that into his basket?"
"I can't budge it," Andy panted. "I tried. It's way too heavy for one cat to roll, but if all four of us work together..."
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU LOT?" Mason cried.
"Oh yeah. Forgot. Mason's right," and Seville approached the egg. "We only want to bring it home if it's a nip egg, Andy. Did it pass the sniff test? Did you check?"
"THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!" yelled Mason.
"You think we should bring the non-nippy eggs home, too?" Seville asked his sister.
Mason clenched her paws. "What I mean," she began through gritted teeth, "is that there isn't a chicken alive that can lay an egg that size. Can't you all see that it must weigh like a... a tonne?"
"AT LEAST!" Rushy nodded, excitedly. "That egg must contain more nip that we cats have ever before seen in one place. It's like the motherload of nippiness."
"Boys," Mason muttered under her breath. "Look you three, that's not a chicken egg. And I HIGHLY DOUBT it was left here by the Easter Bunny. And even if your pal, EB," and she looked pointedly at Seville, "could fit that egg into his basket, there's no way he'd be able to carry it, much less hop around, trying to hide the darn thing."
Seville sat back on his haunches. "Hmmm... I see your point. But if EB didn't leave it here, who did?"
"It could have been aliens," Anderson suggested. Rushton vigorously nodded in agreement.
Mason rolled her eyes. "Not everything weird is down to aliens, Andy. You've been watching too much Channel 17." Again, Rushton nodded, vigorously, in agreement. "And Rushton, you don't have to agree to everything everyone else says," Mason added.
"You're absolutely right, Mason," Rushy agreed.
"For crying out loud," and Mason looked from one brother to the next. "Do any of you have any ideas about this egg that don't involve aliens?"
"Oh boy..." and Seville let out a long whistle. "If it's not aliens to blame, it can only be one thing, and that one thing would be..."
"WEASELS," the other three cats yelled in unison.
"Yup, what we've got here is one enormously large weasel egg," Seville stated.
"Weasels lay eggs?" Andy asked, incredulously.
"That's not what Seville meant," Mason scolded. "It isn't, right?" and she glanced toward Seville.
"Don't be silly, sis," Seville scowled. "I meant, that dastardly ol' Weasel Syndicate must be behind leavin' this egg, here. For all we know, maybe the Syndicate is behind this whole Easter egg hunt. It is super weird that no one else has shown up yet. A legitimate Easter Egg Hunt with nip eggs would attract more than a few neighbourhood cats, for sure."
"So you think that all those posters you boys saw, were put up by the Weasel Syndicate," Mason surmised.
"Yup, looks like it," Seville nodded. "Bet they put 'em up to trick us cats into coming to the hunt. And I bet that trickery has somethin' to do with this here egg, too." Seville walked around the egg, examining it carefully. "Must have used a backhoe to get it in here," he theorised.
"Well we can't just leave it sitting there," Mason stated, turning to face her brothers, her back now to the egg. "Can you imagine how much this egg will stink in a few days? It'll stink up the entire backyard. It'll stink up the whole neighbourhood. It'll..."
"Uh, Mason..." Rushton interrupted.
"What, you don't think this gigantic egg will cause a gigantic stink when it starts to rot?" asked Mason.
"Um, Mason..." and Andy, too, interrupted his sister.
"What is it with you boys?" asked Mason. She looked at Seville. "And I suppose you don't think this egg will start to stink if we leave it here, either?"
Seville pressed his lips together, and thrust his jaw to one side. "Actually, I think we might be more worried about..."
"What? WHAT? What on Earth could possibly be more worrisome right now, than the gigantic stink caused by a gigantic egg rotting in our backyard?" and Mason threw her paws up in the air, with frustration.
"I don't know," and Seville made a face. "Maybe a gigantic somethin' or other hatching from a gigantic egg in our backyard?"
Mason's eyes grew wide and very slowly, she turned to face the egg.
A large crack had formed down one side. Every now and then, a razor sharp beak could be seen, pecking at the crack, from the inside. And with each peck, the crack grew bigger.
"RUN!" all four cats yelled in unison.
Halfway across the backyard, Seville cried out, "WAIT!" and everyone skidded to a stop. "We have to go back. I don't know what's hatchin' out of that egg, but whatever it is, I'm thinkin' it's gonna be way more trouble once it's out of its egg, and walkin' about."
"Seville is right," Mason sighed. "We can't let whatever that thing is, loose in the neighbourhood."
"Well I don't think we can put it on a harness," stated Rushton. "I don't think a cat's harness will fit it."
"I have an idea," Seville said. "Wait here. I'll be right back," and he ran toward the house. Moments later, he returned with a bag full of whisks, eggbeaters, and other time travelling teleportation paraphernalia, in tow.
"You're going make an omelet?" Andy asked, scratching behind an ear. "Where are you going a find a big enough bowl?"
"Wha?" Seville began. Shaking his head, he reached into the bag and drew out an instrument. "This here used to be a light meter for the peep's flashy box but I uh, BORROWED it a while back, and turned it into a time meter."
"Like an egg timer?" Andy asked. "Like the kind the peep uses when cooking eggs?"
Again, Seville shook his head. "Sometimes I really wonder 'bout my fursibs," he muttered under his breath. "This here time meter will tell us to what time period that ol' egg belongs. Mason got me to thinkin' when she said there wasn't a chicken alive that could lay an egg that size. Maybe not a chicken, and maybe not alive, but maybe..."
"Aliens. I knew it!" and Rushton stomped a paw.
"No. No, not aliens. Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy. What is it with you and your aliens? I have a FAR MORE PLAUSIBLE explanation. Somethin' that actually makes sense. I'm thinkin' it's a dinosaur egg."
Mason, Rushton, and Anderson fell silent, thinking over Seville's theory. "But how would the Syndicate get hold of a dinosaur egg?" Mason queried. "You didn't give them access to your eggbeater-whisk time travelling teleportation device, did you?"
"Gave... Rented out for a moderate fee... Whatever," and Seville sheepishly pawed at the ground. "But let's deal with the issue at paw, shall we? We need to use this time meter to identify the time period that that there, whatever-it-is, is from. And then we need to send it back to its own time, and we need to do so, pronto. MOUSES!"
Walking on the tips of their paws, the four cats snuck back to where the giant bird-like dinosaur hatchling was pecking around the ground, looking for whatever giant bird-like dinosaur hatchlings peck at. "It's already out of its shell," Seville whispered. "I'm goin' in. If I don't make it out alive, I'm leavin' all my nip mice to you three, okay?"
"SCORE!" Andy yelled. "Sivvers has the best stash of nip mice, ever," he grinned.
The hatchling turned its head toward the cats at the sound of Anderson's cry.
"Shhh..." Seville hissed. "Ixnay on the loud chatter."
With the time meter in one paw, Seville crept toward the hatchling. The dial on the meter immediately swung over to the far left, identifying the time period to which the dinosaur belonged. Seville took note of the date and scurried back to the other cats.
"The darned thing is like five hundred million years old. MOUSES!"
"Really?" and Rushy raised one eyebrow. "He looks really good for his age. I thought he was a baby."
"He IS a baby," Seville scowled. "But he's a baby that belongs in a time period 'bout five hundred million years ago. "We need to work fast before he becomes even more mobile. Come on. I have a plan. Pass me those eggbeaters, Rushy."
Working together, the four cats strung together the eggbeaters from Seville's bag, forming a chain. They then placed the chain on the ground, encircling the hatchling, leaving one end of the circle open. "Mason," Seville instructed, "take a half dozen of the largest of those there whisks in the bag, and use 'em to open up a time vortex. The bigger the vortex, the better, but make sure it opens right where the ends of the eggbeater chain don't meet. I'll start calibratin' the vortex, using the time meter. Andy, I need you to run back to the house. There's a box of Ancient Grains cereal in the cupboard. We'll use that to lure the hatchling toward the time vortex."
"Ancient grains," Anderson murmured. "Ancient grains. Uh, what does a box of ancient grains look like?"
"Just... Just... Just look for the oldest box of cereal in the house," Seville told him. "And whatever you do, don't mention anything about dinosaurs hatching out of Easter eggs in the backyard, to the peep."
"Got it," and Andy ran toward the house.
"What should I do?" Rushton asked.
"You start revvin' up those eggbeaters. But make sure you stay on the outside of the eggbeater-chain circle. We don't need you teleportin' anywhere along with that hatchling."
By the time Anderson returned, Mason had the time vortex fully functional, and Seville had calibrated it to the correct time period. Seville grabbed the cereal box from Andy's paw and started tossing cereal, by the paw full, onto the ground between the hatchling and the vortex, being very careful to stay on the outside of the circle, himself. "Here chicky-chicky, here chicky-chicky," he cooed.
"It's working," Mason whispered, and the four cats watched as the hatchling pecked at the ground, following the trail of cereal, heading straight for the time vortex. Within minutes, he - or she - had made it through the vortex, disappearing into Earth's distant past.
"Whew," Seville sighed with relief. "That was a close call, for sure. Let's just keep this one to ourselves and not mention anythin' to the peep, okay?"
"But what about the nip eggs?" Andy asked, disappointment clearly evident in his voice. "None of us found any at all. Not a single one."
Seville put a paw around his brother's shoulder. "I don't think there ever were any nip eggs, bro. It was all a ruse set up by those darned weasels. Bet they thought we'd come across their dinosaur egg and get pecked to death by that... whatever it was."
"Death by peckin'," Rushton murmured. "Not good at all."
"Come on boys," Mason said, encouragingly. "Maybe there aren't any nip eggs out here, but there are nip toys in the house, and Peep #1 likely has our breakfasts ready. Let's head on inside and see if we can convince her to give us extra treats. I bet she will, as it's Easter morning."
"Sounds like a plan," agreed Seville. "Come on everybody. Let's go wish the peeps a Happy Easter, and then score some extra treats. Not necessarily in that order, of course. MOUSES!"
And with that, the four cats headed back to the house, humming along to Easter songs about rabbits hopping down bunny trails.
HAPPY EASTER EVERY BUNNY!
I mean, body. Everybody.