Did that get your attention?  Good.

So, life sucks. I’ve been dealing with some craziness in my personal life as of late.  I won’t bore you, as it’s personal, and none of your business 🙂

However, all the spare emotion that has been swirling around me lately, as tripped a trigger and made me write just a bit.  When I was thinking about life and things, this short story came to mind.

What does this have to do with a fantasy writer hating unicorns, you might ask?

Nothing really.  I love fantasy, but hate unicorns.  Never really saw the draw to them, as there are so many other mythical creature out there to like. But, this story has unicorns in it.  Not sure why. Read it if you like.  Or don’t.  I’m not pushy.

Hope

(Alternate title: I Hate Unicorns…)

The last tendrils of mist clung tenaciously to the ground as the sun crested over the mountains to the east.  Standing in the middle of the clearing were two of the most beautiful creatures ever to walk the earth. Coming from the north was a unicorn of purest white.  The yard long horn that grew twisted from its head was solid gold, glinting in the sun so brightly that no one could look directly at it.  It’s hooves, also golden, were capped by tufts of fur that fluttered like gossamer wings in the cool morning breeze.  But, most enchanting, was the mane that cascaded down the unicorn’s neck.  Depending on which angle you looked at it, different iridescent colors could be seen, swirling within the fibers, accentuated by the movement of the majestic creature.

Equally beautiful in its appearance, but for other reasons, was a unicorn from the south, though this creature instilled you with fear and despair instead of happiness and peace.  Black as night, it stood as tall as its counterpart across the glade, but nothing else was similar.  Where the creature of light had golden hooves, this creature’s hooves were made of the blackest obsidian capped by stray wisps of fur, looking much like charred webbing.  The mane of this creature, though awesome in appearance, reflected all the stars of the night’s sky, but offered no comfort when beheld.  But, most frightening of all, was the horn.  Fully four feet in length, not a trace of gold could be seen; nor any color for that matter.  If one were to look closely at this horn, it would be as if looking into the great void of death itself.

Fox and faun stood next to imp and elf. Hiding amongst the foliage and lingering shadows, the denizens of the forest watched as destiny was fulfilled.  For they all knew, without doubt, there was nowhere to hide from the outcome of this inevitable event.  Dark had always been envious of light. Time had not changed this throughout the millennia since the last such encounter.  And though one could not survive without the other, only one could dominate the earth.

The black and the white began to circle the perimeter of the clearing, each trying to gauge the other’s resolve. With a feint towards the center, the black snorted towards its enemy; billows of steam issuing forth from its nostrils.  But the white was patient and would not fall for such bait.

After a complete circle of the glade, the impatience of the black won out. Rearing on its hind legs, the beast let out a blood-curdling equine scream and charged at the white.  Clumps of dirt were thrown into the air, as those obsidian hooves tore into the earth.  The white, no longer able to resist, followed suit, and made for the black.  When the beautiful creatures met in the middle, their horns crashed together, sending sparks into the surrounding wood.  Where sparks of the black hit, the foliage withered and died on the spot; where the white sparks landed, everything bloomed.

Following the horns, their bodies slammed into one another.  Teeth bit, hooves smashed; the battle was fully engaged.  Neither would give ground. The black lunged, trying to pierce the side of its opponent, while the white jumped and kicked.  Within minutes, both combatants sported numerous cuts; blood flowed freely on both sides of the battle.

Taking a step back, the black began to circle the white.  Tipping its head down, it dragged its horn in the ground, creating a circle of lifelessness.  Before it could be trapped inside the circle, the white charged.  Springing the trap, the black swung its head around while dropping its body to the ground.  Instead of attacking the side of the black, the white found itself impaled upon the black’s horn.  Bright red blood fountained from the wound, as air escaped the punctured lung of the white.  A dying gasp was all the white was capable of as the black stood up; its powerful muscles easily lifting its opponent off the ground.  With a contemptuous flip, the black unicorn sent the now lifeless body of the white to the ground.

The earth shook as the body hit, sending shockwaves across the land.  Blood flowed freely from the wounds of the white, soaking into the earth below.  As it did, all color drained from the earth.  Like water across a pane of glass, the blue left the sky.  Rainbows dripped, while leaves emptied themselves of all color.  Once the blood had completely left the body, nothing was left to color the landscape but grays, blacks and a dirty off-white.

The black stood over the white, triumphant.  The Dark Ages had returned. Contemptuously, the black beast walked over the carcass of the white, adding insult as it passed.  The creatures within the forest wept as the new ruler passed them by.  With a snort, the black unicorn tossed its head back in a mock salute to its dead foe, then walked off to rule its darkened land.

But all was not lost.  For it only takes a spark to give light in the darkness.  An elf pointed.  A hare looked.  Soon, all the creatures that had watched the devastating battle surrounded the dead unicorn.  Though its lifeless body no longer held a spirit, the golden horn gave off an untainted glow.  For it held hope.  And that’s really all that is needed in the darkest of times. Hope.

For the one or two of you that actually read through this, I hope you enjoyed it.  It was very therapeutic to write.  Thanks for reading.

I still hate unicorns.

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