The Maiden

"There."

Sythe looked, but her eyes weren't as good as Runk's. "I still don't see anything."

"He'll move, and then you'll—"

And then she had it, in the mist of distance: the figure of a horse, all-white, nosing at the forest floor for something to eat. "I see it. So?"

"Keep watching."

"What do you need me for? You've caught wild horses before. That's how you got Challa."

"It won't let me get near. Keep watching."

The distant animal seemed to hear their furtive whispers, and raised its head to consider them. There was a horn in the center of its forehead, as long as a broadsword and the color of ivory. "What?"

"Now do you understand? Take this," he handed her a rope tied into a loop at one end, "and walk over there. Once you're close enough, you know what to do. It should lie down with its head in your lap and go to sleep. If you haven't been lying to mother."

"About—" She blushed. "I haven't lied."

"Then go."

"What happens if I catch it?"

"Then mother won't have to worry about your dowry anymore," he chuckled, "because we'll be rich. Now, go on."

Sythe took a deep breath, and then moved with as much grace as she could manage across the forest floor, eyes fixed on the creature, heart pounding in her chest. When she could hear the air moving through its nostrils, she lowered herself to sit cross-legged on the mossy ground.

Some ways behind, Runk was trying to get her attention. "Psst!" He was clutching the front of his shirt, gesturing as if to pull it open.

She blushed again, and whispered, "You're crazy."

He glowered at her.

When she turned back, the unicorn had stepped within a few feet, towered over her with head turned to fix her with one questioning eye.

Sythe sighed in resignation, and then hissed over her shoulder: "Don't look!"

She fumbled with nervous fingers at the ties of her blouse.

17 comments:

  1. Now you have piqued my interest-will have to go read up on Unicorns:-)Don't know if this is a continuation (I was away for the last 3 months)but I do hope you are going to carry this story forward-would love to read more!

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    1. I don't generally serialize things: I tend to think that defeats the purpose of flash fiction, which is to tell a self-contained story in a limited wordcount. I might return to characters or settings repeatedly, to tell individual stories, but I don't string stories out across multiple 'installments'. :-)

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  2. I'm not schooled in the ways of catching unicorns, but it's interesting that unbuttoning her shirt was part of it. (It's be a little creepy to have the horse-like creature watching!) I'd love to find out if she does capture him!

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    1. I was surprised by that as well, but apparently it's part of the legend.

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    1. I'm so thoroughly debauched it'd probably just run me through and then go on about its day. :-)

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  4. Ooh, now that's interesting - if a little naughty :)

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    1. My interpretation of the myth is that the baring of the breasts is done innocently, as a gesture of... I dunno, supplication? Or maybe it's a'breast' = heart sort of thing.

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  5. I like the characters' interactions with each other, but I can't believe you left it at a cliffhanger!

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    1. Oh, after that it's all just care and feeding. ;-)

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  6. I really like this. I prefer subtle fantasy to all-out sci-fi. Well done!

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  7. Oh wow! Unicorns. How interesting. Thank you for taking us to this fantastical place. Don't forget to come back to Trifecta to vote for your top three.

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