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A Not Quite Fairy Tale
by julie hudson
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Author Note: If we are not careful with our young girls, with teenage pregnancy at an all time high, this may soon turn out to be not too far from the truth.

Frederick finally woke, after centuries of hibernation. He yawned and opened his eyes, blinking them several times, until the darkness of the cave faded, and his vision cleared. The unicorn stood on wobbly legs like a newborn colt standing for the first time. He shook the leaves and debris from his coat, which was still, after all this time, a shimmering white. Tossing his equally white mane, so that its long, wavy tresses would fall into place; he gingerly stepped out of the cave that had been his home since he was that young colt.

A great thirst attacked his throat, and he made his way to the stream. Looking towards the valley below, as he had done countless times before, he was taken by surprise at the strange village that now inhabited it.

'First things first,' he reminded himself, and slaked his thirst at the stream.

Gagging at the strange taste, he almost spat it out. It had an acrid taste going down, and an unpleasant aftertaste that he longed to get rid of. He went in search of a green pasture, thinking that its cool grass would cleanse his mouth. Finding green grass not far from the stream, he eagerly munched on its roots.

'It tastes like an alchemist's pouch," he exclaimed, as he actually spat the grass out in disgust.

With a rumbling stomach, he finally gave into the craving that had awakened him from such a fine deep sleep. He needed to find a young maiden, show himself to her, and if she was worthy, allow her to ride on his broad back.

This need was a deeply ingrained in all unicorns, male or female. No one had ever been able to explain why this desire was so strong, or why its need to be fulfilled was almost like the need to mate. Although humans viewed this as a great honor for the maiden, and it was, they had no idea of the effect this desire had upon his kind.

Like a beacon, young maidens throw off a light that a unicorn can track for miles. As they come closer, Frederick would be able to catch their scent. His vision, which was one of his magical traits, saw a beacon in the village, and the sweet aroma of a young maiden touched his nose. He hurried his steps.

Frederick made his way towards the village of dwellings that looked like boxes. Almost immediately, he found his hooves clomping on a strange black, hard road. It hurt his feet, and felt as unpleasant as the grass and water tasted.

A sudden screeching sound, like a startled honk of geese, roared up behind him and he stepped off the black hard road onto a gray hard walking lane. A metal coach, drawn by horses, invisible to even his magical vision, sped by, leaving a hot smoky breeze in its wake.

A child, perhaps no older than five, yelled out in delight, breaking through his panic. Although unseen by elders, children, still untainted by the adult world, often saw his kind, as well as other magical beings.

"Look, mama, a horsy with a cow horn!" she exclaimed, reaching out to touch his golden spiraled horn.

'Cow horn, indeed,' Frederick huffed, but bent his long, graceful neck down all the same towards her eager hand.

"Sara! You know there's no such thing as a unicorn. Quit your lyin," the mother scolded, slapping her child's chubby hand away from the nonexistent unicorn.

Astonished, Frederick stepped back, his heart breaking at the sound of the child's cries of pain.

He watched as the woman pulled out a device and stuck it to her ear. He caught phrases such as "imaginary playmate again", and "have to call Dr. Collins". He didn't understand these terms and hurried off to follow the scent of the promised maiden.

A young girl, with long, shapely, uncovered legs, caught his eye. She wore what appeared to be underwear and a chemise, out in public! A stale and used scent assaulted his nostrils, and even though she was the right age, this one was no maiden. And no wonder she had lost her maidenhood, dressed as she was.

Farther east, just outside the village was the owner of the bright light. He broke into a canter but was stopped short when he saw her with his unique vision. The girl was young, too young, no older than ten. She was in the dwelling, putting plates out on a table with a practiced hand. An older man came up from behind her. Frederick didn't like the way he watched her when he she wasn't looking. The sinister raw look of the man sent Frederick a warning in his heart. The man stood there for a moment, then pulled her to a place of sitting. He held her close, very close. Frederick used the Voice on her anyway, but she didn't respond to him. How was it that she didn't hear it? All maidens could hear the Voice.

'Unless...no, it couldn't be! Did this world taint their young with adult woes at such an early age?' Frederick asked himself, but dared not answer. He left the village to continue his search. The need growing stronger in him as the days passed by.

Over the next few years, Frederick searched near and far for a maiden, despairing of ever finding her. He saw many things that brought much sadness to his heart, but no maiden. That prize continued to elude him.

In nearly every village he went to, there were no young maidens. The world as he knew it had changed. This he expected, since many years had passed since he roamed the earth. But, he thought that human nature shouldn't change as drastically as it did. Everywhere, he saw young girls who were children themselves carrying babies. They should have been maidens still, dreaming of unicorns, fairies and Prince Charmings.

With a heavy heart and wearied spirit, Frederick eventually made it back to his cave. He lay back down.

'I'll just sleep awhile longer, then when I wake up perhaps....' But he let that thought fade away, along with hope.

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Honey Stone 07 Sep 2005
I loved the story and your wording.


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