flash fiction



This was my response to a flash fiction challenge on unicorns proposed by Chuck Wendig at http://terrible minds.com, back in July 2011. I’m reposting it here.

Gerald polished his pearly horn on his flank and then checked his reflection in the lake.

“Looking good!” neighed Simon. “They won’t be able to resist you.”

Gerald straightened his neck. Was the horn really big enough? Sure, it gleamed in the moonlight and all that, but he’d feel a lot more confident if it was just a little bigger. He knew Simon was admiring, but he hardly counted. Simon was still practically a foal. He wouldn’t get his initiation night for years.

The other stallions were watching from the nearby trees. Magnificent, every one of them; with noble necks and shiny hooves and glowing white coats. And big horns.

Gerald grimaced a goodbye to Simon and trotted towards the other males. They spun in perfect unison and led him away through the forest. Like the ghosts of horses, they flowed through the warm night with an elegance no other creature had ever attained. They cantered through burbling streams, wove between ancient trees, and galloped across moonlit glades until at last they reached the edge of the forest. A human town lay across the fields, lit by the huge bonfire that marked the midsummer festival.

“The festivities are well underway,” said James, the eldest. “They will all be drunk by now, relaxed and lusty. Go, find your virgin.”

Gerald nodded to them, and started to make his way around the edge of the field, staying in the shadows. He was looking forward to his initiation, but he still wasn’t sure his horn was big enough.

 Natalie Maddalena


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