The end of a little story in my Witch of Atlas world. Part 1 posted here.

Pretty can be dangerous. Image from WikiCommons by Domenico Zampieri.

Pretty can be dangerous.
Image from WikiCommons by Domenico Zampieri.

*    *    *    *

The unicorn took another step, and paused, pure white coat gleaming in a shaft of light, sun catching on its gold hooves and horn.

Just a few more steps, and Randall would be able to stretch out his hand and touch that silky hide. And then he’d have a story to tell, about how he’d met a unicorn on an empty, one-lane road.

Suddenly, something roared out of the woods opposite the unicorn, a blue ATV with a man hunched over the handles.

“Holy–” Randall swore.

The man on the ATV braked in front of Randall. “That’s not a unicorn, you moron!” He yelled. “Get on!”


The unicorn snarled, something in its jaw shifting in a noticeably wrong fashion as it bared its teeth. And not square, grass-eating grazers, but sharp fangs meant for tearing flesh.

Randall swore again, and scrambled on the ATV behind the man. “What is that?”

“A nex!” The man drove away slowly, keeping an eye on the growling creature. “They like to ambush prey, we might be all right…”

The animal snarled and lunged at them.

The man yelped, revving the engine. The ATV bumped over grass and dirt–Randall had wandered farther from the road than he realized–the thud of hoof beats behind them. Then the wheels caught the edge of the road with a final lurch, before the ride sped up and smoothed out on the asphalt.

Looking over his shoulder, Randall saw the not-unicorn gaining on them, horn pointed at his back. A few minutes ago, the horn had been a graceful, gleaming spiral. Now it menaced, a bone spear with a sharp tip.

For a heart-wrenching moment, Randall thought that spear was going to draw his blood, but then he noticed the creature was slowly falling behind. The nex halted on the road, growling after them, and then pivoted and disappeared into the trees to wait for its next victim.

A few minutes later, the man pulled over. “What were you thinking?”

“It was… pretty,” Randall’s shoulders slumped as the rush of adrenaline faded.

“A tiger’s pretty, too, that doesn’t mean you should try to pet it.” The man started the ATV again, turning it to drop Randall back at his car. “Be careful, or next time you could be lunch.”

Randall had nothing to say to that.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

One response »

  1. helenmidgley says:

    That was a great story, I was really drawn in. 🙂

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