Keeper of the Unicorn:
A Dark Fantasy Short Story
Unicorns aren’t real. Everyone knows that.
Mike doesn’t believe in them either. Why should he? Then, one day, a mysterious woman appears, riding on the back of a cat and declaring she’s the Keeper of the Unicorns.
As if that wasn’t looney enough, the cranky lady instructs Mike to tell her story to the world. Baffled, the young man refuses. He’s not crazy, after all – or is he?
Suddenly finding himself stuck in the worst nightmare imaginable, Mike is left wondering whether he’s even awake.
The monstrous cockroach crawling toward him sure looks real enough, but any rational person knows that’s impossible… right?
How will he get out of this mess?
From Sahara Foley
Mike glanced at his watch; three after one in the afternoon. Tammy, his girlfriend of four years, was still at work and the time seemed to be dragging.
As a construction worker, the long, cold, Nebraska winters found Mike reading, cooking, or doing anything to keep from going stir crazy. So far, this winter had been a long and harsh one in Omaha.
After cracking another beer, he went back to studying recipes. The thought of baked chicken made his mouth water, so he was trying to find a recipe he wouldn’t botch-up too much. If he had step-by-step directions, there was a fifty-fifty chance the meal would be edible.
“Let’s see, two cups of chopped broccoli and two cups of milk. Uh, and, butter,” Mike mumbled to himself. He was sitting at a kitchen table strewn with cooking books and utensils.
Distracted by sounds of dripping water echoing between the houses, he looked up and ran a hand through his short brown hair. He was finding it difficult to concentrate today. It was the 18th of February and the first decent day all winter. Between the bright sunshine and warm fitful breeze, the six inches of old, accumulated snow was melting, and icicles slowly grew from gutters in long, lumpy lines.
The promise of spring egging him on, Mike decided to open the window over the kitchen table. Since they lived in a basement apartment, the screenless windows were only nineteen inches high, and twenty-six inches wide. They set high on the walls, near the ceiling, and hinged on the topside. Using a butter knife, he propped the window open and sat back at his recipes. He smiled with contentment as he breathed in a whiff of fresh, crisp air.
Mike sipped his beer and shivered as the late winter breeze flowed into the small kitchen. Not wanting to shut the window, he compromised by shrugging into a jacket. Like most buildings shut up for five months or more, the small basement apartment cried out to be refreshed. He took a deep breath. He didn’t notice before how stuffy and stale the place smelled.
Inwardly shaking himself, Mike set himself to the task at hand. He turned over a bagged, whole chicken lying on the table. It was thawed, ready to be cooked, and he was calculating the time needed to bake it, when he heard a scraping sound.
He glanced up to see a black cat sitting in the open window. There wasn’t anything unusual about the animal being there, as they roamed all over the neighborhood. What was unusual, was its size. It was twice the size of an ordinary feline
The cat regarded him with large, yellow eyes. Up between its ears, a floppy, black hat could vaguely be seen. The hat sat atop a mass of scraggly, white hair with two bright, green eyes, and a small mouth below., The unusual companions stared down at him.
“This is such an interesting story. It is both entertaining and disturbing. As someone with OCD and having gone through cognitive behavioral therapy, the aspects about texture really resonate with me on an odd level. LOL
What I like is how this story is so out-of-the-box. Nothing about it is what I expected. Without giving anything away, I thought the coming apart while identifying where one’s awareness was was brilliant.
What I didn’t like plays into my OCD, once again – the trash and cockroach. Hmmm…
I do recommend this. It is a unique short story for fantasy readers. It would be a fun way to pass the time during a commute, waiting for an appointment, or just while enjoying your favorite beverage!”