September Story Contest

The Last Unicorn:      Chapter Three - A Journey and a Secret  
by thesoapgirl3 & Golden Dreamer   age 14

Editor's note click on the links to read part one and part two of this ongoing story.

     “Now child,”  Spoke the great beast,  “We must return. They will be wondering where you are by now.”

     “But we’ve only been gone about half an hour.”  Said Selena, glancing at her watch.

     “Time travels differently between the dimensions. At your place, and by your time measurements, we have been gone nearly two hours. Do you understand now?”

     “I understand. But I have another question.”

     “Yes, child?”

     “What happens if a unicorn dies of a natural cause?”   

     “Oh, yes, I  can see how that would puzzle you. When a unicorn dies, immediately a unicorn is born. I was born upon the death of my great, great grandmother.”

     “Oh.”  It was all she could say.

     Selena and Shinagah made their way slowly back to the stable, and it took much convincing for Shinagah to let Selena ride her back to the stable, at least part of the way nearest the barn.  
     “But Shinagah,” she pleaded, “If they see me walking you back to the barn, they’ll think you pulled up lame, or that something else bad happened, and we’ll get a bunch of questions. And what am I supposed to say?  Oh, I’m not riding Shinagah because she’s a unicorn, and she told me that unicorns don’t typically carry humans on their backs? I don’t think so. This is the biggest secret of our lives, maybe even in all of history. We can’t go around doing anything fishy.”

     “Fishy? What do you mean by ‘fishy’?”

     “It’s like... suspicious. Strange. That sort of thing.”

     “I fear it will take me a very long time to comprehend the way you humans speak.” she answered.
     At the barn, Selena untacked Shinagah.  

     “Now Shin,” she began, “There can’t be any talking. Horses don’t talk, so you can’t say anything. You got it?”

     “Do I have what?” Shinagah whispered. Selena rolled her eyes.

     “I mean, do you understand?”  

     “Yes. I shan’t speak.”

     “Good.” She replieed. “Because this is the biggest secret we’ll ever have to keep, maybe even the biggest secret anyone’s ever had to keep.”

     “Before you leave, I have a complaint.” Shinagah said quietly.

     “What’s wrong?” Selena asked, starting to get annoyed.

     “Why am I standing in a box? I don’t want to stand here all day.”

     “It’s not a box, it’s a stall. And you are going to have to be here for a certain amount of time every day, and at night.”

     “But I would prefer sleeping under light of the stars, I can’t see the sky here. And I would also appreciate it if next time we went out together, you wouldn’t strap that leather thing to my back, or put that metal, irksome, object into my mouth. They are very bothersome.”

     “That leather thing is called a saddle, and I can ride you bareback so you don’t have to wear it. But the metal thing in your mouth is called a bit, and you need to wear either a bridle or a halter when we go out.”

     “Well, I do not understand that need.” she said.
     “Well,” said Selena, “I guess I could try playing with the bridle so you’re still wearing it, but without the bit.”
     “I suppose that would be tolerable.” Shinagah answered. “But I still do not want to stand in this box all day.”

     “I can put you into the pasture for as long as possible every day, but at night, all the horses sleep inside. You’ll have to sleep here.”

    Shinagah sighed. “Very well.”

     “I’ll be back later, I’m going to get myself some lunch, it’s getting late.”
Selena said, placing a flake of hay into Shinagah’s feeder.  Shinagah put her head down and began eating.  

     “I must say that humans mustn’t be all daft, this is good food.”  She commented.

     “The queen couldn’t have said it better herself.” Selena said grudgingly.  “I’m glad you approve.”

                            *  *  *

     The next day, Selena walked into the barn early, with the newly adjusted bridle in hand.

     “Hi Shin,”  She said cheerily, “How goes it?”   There was no response.
“Shin?”    Shinagah’s eyes were closed.   Oh my gosh!!  Thought Selena, She stayed in this dimension too long and now she’s dead!!!   She saw Shinagah heave a big sigh.   Oh thank goodness. She’s asleep.  At that very moment, Shinagah looked so ordinary that Selena began to doubt weather or not this whole unicorn business hadn’t been a dream.

     “Huh? Oh it’s you Selena Ann Parks.”  Shinagah shook her head and yawned, batting the sleep from her walnut - colored eyes.

     Nope. Not a dream. Thought Selena.  “Hush, there’s people in the stable you know!”  She said quietly.   “And you don’t have to call me by my full name, ‘Selena’ will do.”

     “Very well. I’m rather hungry. Would you bring me some more of that lovely dried grass?”   

     “Yeah sure. Just keep it down.”  Selena turned and came face to face with Lulu.  “Lulu!” She cried,  Oh no she just heard everything!  “How goes it?”

     “Uh... Fine.” she answered,  “You were having a very... vivid conversation with Shinagah just now.”

     “Um, yes. I was just arguing, uh, saying hello to my uni- horse.”   Smooth.

     “Yes, well, I’m meeting Anna and Pam here, so I’ll see you later.”

     “Yeah, later.”  Lulu walked off, leaving Selena alone with her near miss.  Shinagah nudged her with her nose.  “I’m going, I’m going!”

     Selena fed Shinagah and put her into the pasture, making herself comfortable on the fence.

     “So,” Shinagah began, “We need to talk strategy. How exactly are we going to get out of the barn for seven days, accomplish our mission, and get you back safe and sound without anyone noticing?”

     “That’s our biggest problem, you see... wait did you say seven days?!

     “Yes, that is how long is will take to get to the portal and back.”

     “Wait, now there’s a portal?!”

     “Yes. It is the portal to the third dimension, it will take me directly to my herd, and I need you to open it. You see, in order to be opened, there must be two beings. One of magical blood, that’s me, and one of mortal blood, that’s you. Without you, I cannot get back. We must begin out journey as soon as possible.”

Author's note:   There's a portal? Seven days? A journey? This is getting exciting!  What will Shinagah and Selena find on their journey to the portal? What will happen there? Find out next month…