Tag: unicorn

Flashback Friday: A Terrible Headache

This story was originally posted on June 17, 2017. I had been having a lot of bad headaches, but there wasn’t an obvious cause. Could there be any good causes for a terrible headache?

It hadn’t taken long to change out of the little cloth gown and leave it in a pile on the crinkled paper covering the exam table. Now, Marcie waited in the exam room, staring at the posters on the wall.   The picture of the inside of the eye was a little creepy. She turned and read through the poster on the importance of sunscreen.

Marcie pulled out her purse and started flipping through her receipts.   It’s too bad that phones couldn’t be used inside the building. If she could turn on her phone, then she could look at Facebook or check her email. She shoved the receipts back inside her purse and shoved her thumbs into the center of her forehead.

She’d had this headache for weeks now, and it was only getting worse.   Aspirin wasn’t taking the pain away anymore. She couldn’t focus for very long, couldn’t really think. However, she was afraid to go to the doctor and hear the results. Her Google searches seemed to prove that these weren’t migraines. Something was very wrong.

The doctor had confirmed her worries when he sent her right away for further testing. It had all happened so fast. That was the part that made her worried the most. Surely, she wouldn’t need to be tested so quickly if it wasn’t something terrible.

She looked up when someone knocked on the door. “Come in,” she said.

The doctor opened the door, carrying a folder. He smiled and sat down. “I’ve had a chance to look at your results. I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?”

Marcie took a deep breath. Should she ask for the bad news and get it over with? No, then she’d not be able to appreciate the good news. “Good news first.”

“It’s not a brain tumor or an aneurysm. In fact, it’s not really anything abnormal at all,” the doctor said.

“But I already had my eyes checked. It wasn’t that,” Marcie said. What else could it be?

“No, I imagine you have great eyesight, right?” the doctor asked.

“I’ve never had any problems with my eyes.” Marcie glanced at the eye poster and looked away quickly. “My eyesight is better than normal.”

“Do people tell you that you have a soothing voice?” the doctor asked.

“I was the narrator in all our school plays,” Marcie said.

“And is the pink stripe in your hair natural?”

“How did you know?” Marcie asked. “What does it mean? Doctor, what is the bad news?”

“Well, I don’t know if I’d really call it bad news. It depends on how you look at it.” the doctor tapped the folder on his knee.

Marcie frowned. “Just tell me.”

“Well, it turns out that you are transforming into a unicorn,” the doctor said.


The doctor opened the folder and pulled out some black and white images.   He clipped them to the wall and pointed with his pencil. “If you look here, at the middle of your forehead, you can see the horn bud developing.   I’d say that you have another three weeks until it surfaces. At that point, the transformation will be much more rapid. Do you have any trouble digesting meat?”

“I’m a vegetarian,” Marcie said. “I have no idea. Doctor, unicorns aren’t real. Even if they were, people wouldn’t change into them.”

“Of course they would. It happens all the time.   It’s just that when it happens, their records are erased and everyone forgets about them.” the doctor tapped his pencil on the lumpy bright spot on the image.

“Then how do you know about them? It just doesn’t make any sense,” Marcie said.

“Doctors are allowed to know, in order to help their patients. We swear an oath only to reveal the information to unicorns. I am never able to remember specific patients afterwards though,” he said.

“What will happen with my apartment? My job? My family?”   Marcie asked.

“I don’t know. The unicorns take care of all that. At least, that’s what I think happens.”

“So what do I do?” Marcie asked.

“I really don’t know,” the doctor said. “But here, take this with you.” He handed her the file folder. “We most likely won’t remember you tomorrow, so it won’t do us any good.”

“But my headaches…”

“I can’t write prescriptions for a patient that won’t be in my system tomorrow,” the doctor said. “Ask the unicorns.” He stood up.

“You’re leaving?”

The doctor held out a hand and Marcie took it. He shook her hand gently. “It was nice to meet you. Good luck,” he said. And then he left.

Marcie picked up her purse and her folder. That wasn’t how she’d expected this to go at all. She juggled everything into one hand so that she could push a thumb into to the center of her forehead. Her head hurt.

Lost in Translation

It was time for the once-a-century meeting between the ruling unicorn and the ruling pegasus. The royal groves were in chaos as everyone prepared for the rare event. Hooves were polished, coats were brushed, and every care was taken to look glossy and shiny and magical and sparkly.

The schools of interpreters sent their most senior leaders for the meeting. The pegasus interpreter arrived early to the royal grove. This time it was the unicorns’ turn to host, and he would be traveling with the royal party.

A young scribe led the elderly interpreter into the mossy waiting area. A gentle stream burbled nearby, and the interpreter ambled over to drink a few swallows of the crystal clear water. The scribe waited nearby, looking nervous.

The interpreter shook the water from his chin and turned to look at the scribe. “Are you nervous about meeting the unicorns?”

“I’ve never seen one before. Is it true that they have long horns poking out of their heads?”

The interpreter nodded. “Yes, but just one, right in the middle of their forehead.”

“Really?” The scribe stomped his foreleg in shock. “And they speak a different language? Why don’t they speak horse, like we do?”

The interpreter whickered. “They are mysterious and secretive. They developed their own language long, long, ago, and we’ve needed interpreters ever since.”


In the unicorn grove, the smallest princess was watching her mother twine flowers around her pearlescent horn. “The red ones look better,” she said.

“The red ones aren’t in bloom,” the queen said. “So pink it is.”

“Pink is boring.”

The queen nudged her child with her nose and the little princess giggled. “So are long meetings.”

“But we’ll get to see pegasuses.”

“Pegasi,” the queen corrected.

“Pegasi. Do they really have wings and fly?”

“They do.” The queen checked her reflection in the still surface of the pond. She nodded.

“But why do we need an interpreter? Don’t they speak horse like us?”

The queen whickered. “They are mysterious and secretive. They developed their own language long, long, ago, and we’ve needed interpreters ever since.”


Finally, the royal pegusus party arrived at the royal unicorn grove. The pegasus king looked around at the silvery birch trees. “This place is a dump,” he neighed.

The elderly unicorn interpreter stepped forward. “He said that he’s grateful for the hospitality.”

“You stink like garlic. I wish you’d stay away,” the unicorn king replied.

The pegasus interpreter turned to his king. “He is delighted to meet you.”

The scribes furiously copied down the official translations, as each group offered increasingly outrageous insults that were interpreted as increasingly effusive compliments. The unicorn king led the group on a tour of his grove, and somehow the smallest princess ended up trotting next to the young pegasus scribe.

“Hello. I guess you don’t understand me,” the princess said sadly.

“I think I do,” the scribe replied, looking confused. “I’m probably wrong, though. Nothing seems to mean what I think it means.”

“Everyone sounded mean, but was really being nice. It didn’t make any sense.” The princess flicked her tail in frustration.

“I thought the same thing. I wish you could speak horse. It would make things a lot easier.” The young scribe shook his mane.

The princess stopped. “But we do speak horse. All unicorns do. It’s pegasi that don’t.”

“Yes we do,” the scribe retorted. “We always have. It’s unicorns that developed their own mysterious language.”

The princess looked at the scribe. “But if we both speak horse, what was everyone else speaking?”

“Grown ups are so confusing.” The scribe snorted and the princess whickered.

“Can you play hopscotch? Flying is cheating.”

The scribe stomped his foreleg. “Of course I can. Who doesn’t play hopscotch?”

The princess and the scribe cantered off to play, leaving the grown ups to their strange game of insults and compliments. Maybe it would make sense when they were older. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Time would tell.

The Ugly Unicorn

Once upon a time, high up near the top of a tall mountain, there lived a herd of mountain goats. Most of the herd, the nannies and the billies, liked to hop from cliff to boulder to peak across wide crevasses and over sharp rocks and deep streams. Even the tiniest kids seemed fearless in the face of danger.

However, one of the kids was not as fearless as the rest of the herd. Tim, one of the smaller kids in the herd, was terrified of the dizzying heights and perilous jumps. He was so scared, that after he leaped, he’d shut his eyes tightly until he felt solid ground beneath his hooves again.

This is why he didn’t see the mysterious portal open up in the air in front of him mid-jump. And so he was completely taken by surprise when he landed on soft meadow grass instead of solid stone. He opened his eyes and looked around in shock.

There were no mountains anywhere. Instead, all he could see was grass and flowers and rainbows. He was far away from home and had no idea how he came here. Tim did what any frightened kid does when lost. He began to bleat, loudly and sadly for his herd.

But, no nannies or billies came running at his cries of distress. Instead, a herd of tall, graceful animals came thundering towards him. Tim stopped crying and tried to hide in the green grass. However, his snow white coat, which hid him well at the tops of mountains, made him easy to spot in a meadow.

The herd of large, scary creatures circled around him. Tim whimpered. The creatures had long legs and mostly short fur and strange eyes and only one horn. They weren’t his herd at all.

And then, one of them made a soft sound and leaned closer. Tim froze. The creature nuzzled against him and crooned a friendly sort of lullaby. Tim relaxed. Maybe they weren’t going to eat him after all.

Years passed, and Tim began to believe that he’d always been a unicorn. He had vague memories of someplace else far away, but it all seemed more like a dream than anything else. Perhaps it was a story he told himself when he was younger to explain the differences between him and his herd.

Tim was indeed very different from his herd. He grew his mane all over, so that he was definitely the hairiest unicorn of the herd. He had short legs, oddly-shaped hooves, and eyes that all the other foals said were creepy. And most noticeable of all, he had two horns rather than one.

One would think that meant that he had twice as much magic as any other unicorn. If life was fair, then that would be true. Unfortunately, Tim couldn’t do any magic at all. He couldn’t summon a rainbow bridge or make flowers bloom or even heal the tiniest scratch. It was terribly unfair.

His mother, who liked to talk about finding him in a meadow looking as cute as can be, told him that he’d grow into his looks. “It’s just an awkward phase, you’ll see.”

“Do you think if I knocked off one of the horns, I’d be able to do magic?”

His mother groomed his coat with a flick of her horn. “Darling, don’t be silly. You’d just look off-balanced. If you need to do magic, the magic will come. Until then, don’t worry. You’ll just make yourself sick.”

“Could you call me Argyros instead of Tim? Tim isn’t a real unicorn name.”

“Tim is a lovely name. Why change it? Did you know that you named yourself? When I found you in that lovely meadow, the first thing you said was…”

“Yes, yes, I know. I said, ‘Tim scared.’”

“That’s right. And I said, ‘Who is Tim?’”

“And I said, ‘me Tim.’” Tim scuffed his strange hoofs in the dirt. “Mom, I just don’t fit in. I look different from everybody else in the herd. I’m an ugly unicorn.”

His mom neighed and conjured a storm of flowers that wove themselves into his furry coat. “You are beautiful on the inside and lovely on the outside too, dear. If anyone is whickering at you, they’re probably just jealous.”

But Tim was not convinced of his loveliness. Not when he could see how different he looked. And then one day, when he was hopping around the meadow, a portal opened up. Through it, he could see a tall, snowy mountain. A herd of creatures just like him were leaping across the rocks.

Tim blinked. There were creatures just like him? And look at how brave they were! How could they leap so casually from rock to rock at such great heights?

Obviously, two-horned unicorns were brave and strong instead of magical. Tim leaned in closer. There was a rock just on the other side of the portal. He could leap through now and join the other unicorns that looked more like him.

It would mean leaving his mother behind, of course. And learning to leap around like that would be pretty difficult. He’d probably not fit in with the others until he figured it out.

Tim leaned even further into the portal and looked down. Oh my. That did not look at all safe. What could he do? He didn’t want to be alone, and he didn’t want to live on a tall scary mountain.

He couldn’t figure out what to do. He sat down on his rump and began to bleat loudly, just as he had once so long ago. As he cried, two herds rushed towards him. Soon, he was surrounded. One-horned unicorns on one side of the meadow, and two-horned unicorns on the other side.

The portal vanished. The new herd looked around the meadow in confusion. “What is going on?” someone asked. After a lot of everyone neighing and maaing at once, everyone turned and looked at Tim.

“There was a portal, and I couldn’t decide whether or not to go through it, and now it’s gone. I’m sorry the two-horned unicorns are stuck here now. But there’s lots of grass here to eat,” Tim said, feeling very nervous. “Maybe all of the unicorns could live together.”

The two herds looked at each other for a few minutes.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Tim’s mom said. “I’d be happy to give you a tour of the meadows. I’m so glad you came. Our world needs more two-horned unicorns. I think they’re marvelous.”

And the new herd settled in well, after the one-horned unicorns conjured some nice boulders to help them feel at home. With so many other two-horned unicorns around, Tim didn’t feel ugly any more. He finally fit in. As long as he didn’t try jumping on the boulders, of course.

And one day, when the portal appeared again, no one wanted to go back through it. They ignored it and continued jumping around the meadow, chasing butterflies and eating flowers with their friends.