I never saw a unicorn before, but facing the business end of its horn, it’s funny what went through my head. All I could think about was how it didn’t look like a horse. When the bike lost traction and went down, my first glance of the thing had me thinking it was a goat. A short, curved horn rather than a proud alicorn. Add to that the cloven hooves rather than equine and a bearded face, at a distance it probably wouldn’t warrant a passing glance.
Up close, it was decidedly longer legged than any goat I’d ever seen and the body shape was more like that of a deer. These are the things I noticed as it pawed the ground, call me observant. Aggressively lowering it’s head, it made a few motions that brought images of a curved horn impaling me. I scrambled back in a crab-walk with the creature keeping step. When my fingers chanced across a thick stick, I did what came naturally. That is to say, I swung it full force to try scaring it back.
The solid connection of bone and flesh with wood was unexpected. Even more so was the fact that the unicorn went down from the blow. So much for the theory that blows to the head don’t hurt horned animals. Scrambling to my feet, The dark welt forming on the creatures face was ugly and the eyelids weren’t entirely closed over the skyward bulging eye.
Timidly, I extended the stick to poke at it. There didn’t seem to be any rise and fall to it’s chest. Dead or just shock.
“Oh god,” I couldn’t help but vocalize the bizarre thought, “Did I just kill a unicorn?”
“Rin!” A shrill voice rang in the woods behind me. I started to turn, but was shoved aside before I could. Swirls of green silk clouded the view for a moment before settling around the woman wearing them. She was kneeling with her back to me as though I didn’t exist, cradling the unicorn’s head.
“Uh, sorry.” That’s right, I am clearly skillful in words. “It kept coming at me and I didn’t know what to do.”
“You ass.” Her head turned, showing both a tear-streaked cheek and a slightly pointed ear. I chose to ignore the later, having too much to process today already. “He’s just a playful yearling.”
“Oh.” See, what did I tell you about how good I am with words. “Sorry I killed your, um, unicorn.” I dusted myself off, trying to decide if I should get my bike and go or play along with the concussive delusion I was clearly suffering from.
“He’s not dead, no thanks to you. He fainted from pain. Don’t you know anything about uni’s?”
“I barely pay attention in World History, let alone taking time to study mythology.”
“Mythology? So now he doesn’t even exist to you. How can anyone be this self absorbed?” The unicorn twitched behind her, eyes starting to roll.
“Well it’s not like I knew they were real.”
She just eyed me like I might be insane as she wiped away the trails left by her tears a few moments before. As the unicorn got to its feet, she made a clicking sound and started to move away into the forest quickly. With the unicorn following her, she regularly glanced back at me.
I lifted my bike, looking down at the trail tires, then back to where the woman was now almost out of sight off the side of the trail. Tough choice. Go home and sleep it off like a strange dream or follow madness into the countryside. Still, I never saw a unicorn before. Turning the bike, I thought to myself, ‘When would I ever have another chance?’