Short story–Unicorns in the Fall

Unicorns in Fall

In the spring, the fillies are all over the place, causing traffic jams and accidents. You see the remains, the bloody horns all that’s left of them, scattered on the side of the roads, between the red plastic cups from the college student’s drunken brawls, the plastic bags from the grocery store, and discarded cigarette butts the dragons leave laying around. It’s easy to catch them in spring, when they’re cavorting, all knobby knees and flowing manes. You have to push them out of your way to get to work on time, cringing with each one that hits your bumper, flies over the windshield, hits the ground behind you, and promptly disappears in a flash of blood and glitter.

By summer, the survivors are more cautious. You have to really look for them, slide between the worlds carefully, between the oak and the rowen. They’ve learned we’re dangerous, by then, and most of them have the scars to prove it. They’re wary then, no longer fooled by any idiot in a dress who promises them love and sugar and rainbows, as if any of those things matter after what they’ve seen. Sometimes one will snap and go on a rampage, when the weather’s hot enough to fry griffin eggs on the street. That always makes the news, and the scientists that brought them to life in the first place claim they screened for any violent ones, and they don’t know how such genes got into the wild stock. They usually blame the environmentalists and hippies that insist the magical should be allowed to roam free. Because wanting something makes it true, they have to want the opposite just to keep things in balance.

But fall… In the fall, you never see unicorns. That’s one thing you know before you ever go to school. You can’t catch unicorns in the fall. It’s like for those cooler, calmer months, when the nights are long and the days begin to weaken, all the unicorns have died. Even the few in captivity still go into their between spaces, and the keepers rope off the exhibit with their “closed for maintenance” signs. I think they know as well as anyone, you never see them in the fall. You can’t. They’re metamorphosing. Every year, we wait for the leaves to finish falling, so the snows can start.

And when the snows start, that’s when they’re truly in their element. Majestic, then, with the sparkle of true Power around them. Those who make it to create the next generation are the ones chosen by whatever gods unicorns have, all the magic of their fallen brethren coalesced into the handful that remain. They spin their dreams, and lay down in them, and in the spring, new fillies emerge. New hopes, to be shattered all over.




This was actually written a couple years ago, but for some reason hadn’t made it from my journal onto here. Going through the journal now to see what else I’ve missed.  I love the world building sense on this. I haven’t done anything else with it, for lack of characters who fit into this world. Maybe eventually some will peek their noses out.



  1. March 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Wow. That was twisted, but well written. I laughed out loud. 😀

    • Leigh Caroline said,

      March 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      *grins* Thanks!

  2. March 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    That was very, um, politically magical? Magically political! LOL well, either way I really liked the flow, the voice, you know?!

    • Leigh Caroline said,

      March 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      *laughs* Actually, nothing to do with politics… Though ooh, I can see how you’d get that!
      This is one reason I love sharing writing. People see all sorts of things in it, based on their own milieus.
      More inspired by the butterfly migration that passes through South Texas every spring, and reading too many of the Merry Fates stories in a row!

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