They said it was a legend, but Tauria knew it was real. She saw it once in the forbidden grove. She desperately wanted to tell everyone about it but then she’d have to admit she’d gone to the forbidden grove.
It was beautiful, with a long mane that shone white and it was much smaller than she’d imagined. The perfection of the creature almost made her enter the clearing where she found it but fear kept her in the tree line. For all she knew it was dangerous. In the animal world beauty sometimes indicated menace.
So she watched as it frolicked and seemed to play while it clearly enjoyed the sunlight. She stayed until the wind shifted. The mythical entity must have caught her scent because its head came up suddenly and there was fear in its eyes. Tauria was surprised to also see intelligence when it caught sight of her.
Not waiting to find out if it would hurt her she turned and fled.
That night as she lay down to sleep she felt an unexpected longing. She had to go back. Logic told her the madness had come upon her. Though it was only whispered about, many women in her village had been brought low by it. Now she understood why the grove was forbidden. Still, her heart told her she would return even if only for a glimpse.
It took a week for her to work up the courage. She knew she might not survive the attempt but she was determined.
She snuck off during the noon meal, running as fast as she could. As she reached the grove she slowed and walked as silently as she could through the trees until she reached the clearing. It was empty so she waited.
Within a few minutes she saw movement across the grassy area. Slowly the creature stepped out of the trees. Tauria’s breath caught as she realized it was looking directly at her. Of their own volition her feet carried her forward. Not even her terror stopped her until she reached the beast.
She crouched down, hardly knowing what she was doing, and spoke gently to it.
“Are you a child?”
It laughed. “Of course I am.”
“What is your name?”
“Do you live here in the grove?”
“Not anymore.” It replied and reached out to her.
Tauria allowed the girl to climb on her back, careful not to let it near her single horn, and took her home. As she passed the other females of her village she saw the sympathy and concern in their eyes but didn’t care. She vowed to herself to make sure everyone learned where children came from so they could get their own if they wanted one.
Well, I was supposed to be working on world building but I wrote this story instead. I’m not mad at myself for this distraction!
The inspiration came from Chuck Wendig. His flash fiction challenge today was to use a quote from a list of the random things his kid says. I picked:
“They said it was a legend, but I know it’s real.”
I didn’t know when I started writing the story it was from the perspective of a unicorn. Honestly I didn’t do a lot of thinking, I just started typing and went with whatever my muse came up with. I was down to the last paragraph when it hit me and as I read back through I realized I’d subconsciously been writing it that way all along. Brains are cool! It’s amazing how you can surprise yourself as you make stuff up.
As with all the flash fiction I post this is a rough draft and any opinions are welcome.