July 2009 Story Contest

Timothy by Nutmeg457 & Hopscotch age 14
Heres my story, sorry that its so long! I'm working on 12 other stories right now & I love it! Hope to enter more soon! Love the game!

It is 2 million years from now. The world is dark & plain. No one remembers happiness, because there is none around them. There is no music, only still darkness & dread. There is no life to live. The sun hasn’t shined in years; only gray clouds are seen rolling with thunder & lightning, yet never rain. The few people there are in the world are separated in tiny shack towns. Their clothes are torn & tattered, their faces tired, weary, & covered in dust. Streaks where there was no dust shadowed their faces, the streaks were from tears. The peoples hope had died away years ago, & the colors of the world went with it.
But there is still hope, a tiny glimmer no bigger than a hair from a horse’s mane. And it was exactly that. Our story begins with a little boy named Timothy. He never talked, but he used his face to communicate with others. He had many faces, but not a happy one. He looked at the world differently than others, much differently. Though he didn’t see colors or hear music like everyone else, he didn’t cry. He had never shed a tear, never sniffed back a cry & never wailed in pain. This shocked the others because he saw the world without pain. When insults were hurled at him he didn’t even blink an eye. When he had to bear the pain of carrying firewood back to his family he felt the burn but he sunk himself into thought to flush the pain away. Little did the people know that he did cry, more than anyone else they knew. He just didn’t let them see it. Timothy thought that if he showed the others that even a little boy could be strong, so could they.  When the people saw the tiny child carrying a mound of sticks up a rocky mountain path, with stones finding their way to his bare feet & sticks scratching anywhere & everywhere they could, they tried to hold their heads up higher & go on without complaining. For Timothy, this was the greatest sight he could see, but it was also a heavy burden.
           Every night he would cry silently, smothering his tears with his hands. When the first light that could be seen shone through the clouds he would step outside & scoop as much dirt as he could into his tiny little hands, & throw it into his face to cover the wet streaks from his tears. Then he would lock his heart & pain away until the next night. Timothy didn’t hate life, he loved it. He loved the way his heart beat & the way you could feel your lungs expand & your blood pulse after a long run. He loved it all, but wished it could be better.
           One day it did get better. Timothy had just entered the house (if you really wanted to call it that, it was more like a run down shed, the same as everyone else’s) after covering his face with dust. “Timothy, will you please go down & collect some wood for our fire pit. Winter is coming & it will bring a cold wind.” His mother said. She stared at the boy for a moment & he returned her stare with a wide eyed gaze of sympathy. His mother had to wake up early before dawn, right as the stars began to fade out of the night sky. She would sweep as much dirt as possible out of the house & then make the hike to the food supply. It was located in a hollow tree in the middle of a leafless forest. It contained few nuts & berries that would be taken out & put into a pouch, then the tree would have to be refilled for tomorrow. If she was lucky, Timothy’s mother would find a root or two that wasn’t shriveled up from death. And on very rare occasions she would find spice bark. It tasted sweet & bitter at the same time, almost like cinnamon, but with a tart taste added in. It could be shredded into strips & boiled for a warm drink, or could be eaten whole. It was a tasty treat & many people wanted it, so whenever it was found, it was stored into a hollow branch low on the tree. It had a hole big enough to fit your hand in & you could slide the spice bark into & take it back out with ease. No one looked for spice bark in the branches since it was a root, & roots were underground, so the spice bark was safe from harm.

On this particular day, Timothy’s mother decided that spice root would be a wonderful surprise for Timothy & Penny. Penny was Timothy’s older sister, & helped her mother clean & cook. Whenever she could, she would go out into the woods, climb a tree & stare into the sky dreaming. This morning she was found by her mother sleeping in a high tree branch, her hair streaming in the morning wind. She was gently woken & brought back to the house & laid down on a straw mattress where she was still sleeping. The small family had found out that their father had died. By word of mouth they heard the story of how he had slipped on a rock while climbing a cliff & had fallen to the jagged rocks below. Their father had been one of the few hopefuls that had thought that there was still happiness & color somewhere in the world. He had ventured out with a small group of other hopeful people & hadn’t been heard from since. The family had taken his death hard, especially Penny who had been closest to him.
As Timothy walked through the woods gathering twigs & branches, he tried to recall memories of his father. All he could do was bring back a blurry image of a kind man smiling widely at him & cradling his tiny hand in his own rough large one. His mother said that he was a pure gentleman, strong & wise but not gruff. He was one of the few people that would still smile without burden. He had helped many people look at the world with a better view before he had left & many missed him. This morning Timothy had watched his mother as she quietly slipped out of the house. He had followed her & had seen her slip a few pieces of spice bark into her apron pocket. Before she had a chance to see him, he silently tip-toed away.
A sharp sting brought Timothy back from his thoughts. He looked down on the ground & lifted up his right foot to find a tiny jagged stone. He stooped to pick it up & something caught his eye. There, waving from a branch in a long forgotten tree was a long silver thread. Dropping the wood & the stone, Timothy walked over to the tree. He delicately untwined the thread from the tree for fear that such a pretty thing would break. He had never seen something so clean & so white. He stroked it with his forefinger & was shocked to find that it was unmentionably soft. It didn’t feel like thread, more like a hair from someone’s head, only stronger, thicker, & more beautiful. He wrapped it around his arm gently & tied the end in a knot to make it a bracelet. He was surprised to find that it was unbreakably strong when it didn’t snap apart. He tugged both ends of it, testing its strength & cried out when it didn’t. Instead it made a noise, like the sound of a single wind chime being blown in the wind. Of course, music like noise hadn’t been heard in years & Timothy was shocked to hear something so beautiful. Again & again he tugged on the thread listening for its song. He did this over & over again until he heard his mother calling him home. He quickly grabbed the sack of branches & ran up the hill.
            That night at dinner, his mother surprised Timothy & Penny (mostly Penny since Timothy had seen her go & get the treats) with a piece of spice bark. She also handed them a mug filled with a steaming drink. She had boiled another piece of the bark in hopes that it would cheer the children up. They all ate in silence & sipped the spice bark tea thoughtfully.  Timothy quietly fiddled with the white thread in silence. He stroked it & wrapped it around his finger until he accidentally tugged it. The sudden music that filled the air startled Penny & her mother who cried out in shock. When the noise faded away it left the room in silence. “What was that?!” Penny asked her eyes wide. After the silence had returned, the two girls realized how pretty the sound was. Timothy held up his wrist which had the strand wrapped around it. His mother slowly stood up & cautiously went towards the outstretched hand. She put a finger on the strand & pulled it back in shock. Then, the urge to stroke the wonderful thing overtook her & with only a moment of hesitation she laid her finger on it, using sweeping strokes back & forth over the thread. Tears streamed down her face & she slowly pulled her hand away & looked up. “This is what your father went out for.” She said with a shuddering breath. “He was convinced that some creature hidden from our world was keeping us alive & had once given us our happiness. When that creature left, so did the color, joy, & music.” Her face was twisted with pain & agony, yet also was filled with awe & joy. “How could a journey for something so happy, be so painful?” She said bursting into tears. Timothy looked at Penny who was hiding her face with her hands. She suddenly ran into another room & silence once again filled the air. Timothy urged his mother to sit down & got her to take a sip of the spice tea. As quickly as she left, Penny came back. Her hand was clamped into a fist & she held it out still clamped to Timothy. “From Daddy…” She said straightforward. Timothy held out his hand fearlessly. The fist was released & into Timothy’s hand fell a tiny pearl sized object. “He gave it to me before he left.” Penny said without emotion as Timothy observed the tiny ball. It looked like it had been chipped off of something earlier since the bottom of it wasn’t round, yet it wasn’t jagged & pointy either.

            “Penny,” their mother started but she stopped abruptly. Penny then handed Timothy a journal. It was simple with a leather cover & a tiny ribbon was used as a bookmark. The pages were yellow & worn but the writing & sketches inside were written in deep black ink & were completely readable. Timothy flipped through the pages, skimming over facts, entries, & drawings of creatures never imagined. “Daddy told me that his Daddy’s Grandfather passed this down to him. He said that everything in it was true. Without warning Timothy walked into his room & lay down. It had grown dark & the thunder & lightning continued without rain. Timothy couldn’t sleep. His mind kept flashing back to the forest with the hanging thread. How had it gotten there? And what about the book. If everything was true like his father had said, someone would have had to of actually seen those things, and what was the little tip of pearl like stuff? How had he found it? And what was it? Questions swam about his mind. Then, with dignity & reason Timothy stood. He grabbed a sack that they used to gather wood & food & started to put things into it. He grabbed the leather bound book, clothes, a pen & ink, & anything else he thought he would need. Then at the last moment he used the flashes of lightning from the sky as a light while he wrote a letter explaining where he was going & why to his mother & sister. In his hand he held the tiny pearl object & the thread was still on his wrist. He thought fast, & decided to tie the pearl like object onto the strand of hair. To his surprise, it started to glow an iridescent blue light. He used this as a lamp to guide his way through the house. From the kitchen he grabbed a tiny pot, a spoon, knife, & fork, & a metal cup. He stuck these in his bag & left the note to his family on the table.

Dear Penny & Mother,
I know that I am just a little child compared to my father, but I believe in what he has said. The strand of white hair & the nub of pearl, or whatever it is has convinced me to go out in search of happiness. Please don’t worry for I will be extra careful & will try to communicate with you as much as possible. Even though you have never heard me say this, or anything else for that matter, I love you both & wish you the best. I hope to help bring back color & happiness because I do know that it exists. I have something my father never had, & pray that it will lead me in the right direction. Thank you for the final meal before I went away, it was delicious. By the way, I am planning to grab a few things from the storage tree on my way out. Hopefully what I will bring back will cover for it. I am also bringing some spice bark too. Wishing you all the best,

p.s. please don’t come after me, I will be fine.
And with this he left the house for good. The only sign of him missing was his unmade bed without the blanket or pillow, and the note.
The next morning was a sorrowful time for Penny & her mother. They discovered the note only hours after Timothy had left. And sure enough they found that the storage tree was a bit empty & a few things were missing from the house, including the silverware, cup, & pot & also Timothy’s pillow, blanket, and clothes.
Timothy did what he said he would & hiked a few miles from the storage tree. Here he found a shelter like bush with no leaves, but its branches made an arch that sheltered him from wind. That night he slept heavily, knowing he needed the strength for his journey. He hung his lantern (that is what he called the strand of thread & the pearl like object now) on a small branch beside him & used it as a light. It was comforting to him, like a baby being cradled in its mother’s arms. In the morning he ate little nuts & nibbled on a piece of spice bark. Then he opened the leather book & turned to the very first page. It read:
Everything is true at heart & filled with magic. And this is the proof.
Confused, Timothy turned to the next page. It was a map. Very small, but indeed a map. Timothy noticed that it showed the village & the forest where he was the bottom left corner. There was a trail of black ink that went through the forest & led to another corner of the page. It ended there, but had many marks & notes around the map. Someone must have explored the entire area, mapped it out, & found a certain place & marked out how to get from here to there, thought Timothy.  One mark in particular caught his eye. In rich, dark letters it read:

That was it. March. Surrounding it was drawings of tiny trees & rocks. They were also drawn on the rest of the map & even a few smaller versions of the sketches he had seen farther in the book were also on the map. Timothy studied it for a few moments then went on. He read an entry with a date that was almost 20 years ago. It explained the journey from the town to the first mark point on the map. As he flipped through the pages, Timothy saw a pattern. Each entry in the journal started off with the same thing & then were filled in according to the area.
Mark point #…                                                            Date…

Days to get there from last mark point…
Name of places passed through…
Dangers in & along the way…
Creatures seen…
It went on & on like this until the very end of the journal. Each one also had comments made by the writer & sketches filled the pages. The sketches were anything from creatures, to objects, to people, to land. Sudden thunder brought Timothy back to reality. He went back to the page with the map. A flash of white caught his eye, & it wasn’t lightning. For a moment he sat there, searching the page. Then he flipped through the pages quickly. He stopped at one at the very end of the journal. It was bookmarked not with the ribbon, but with a strand of thread, just like the one Timothy had found on the tree branch. He delicately picked it up & stroked it. It felt the same as the other one. He tugged it & expected it to make the same wonderful music as his did. But instead it made the chiming of a single church bell. Strong & deep, it echoed through his mind. He entwined it with his strand & the pearl object suddenly glowed brighter. Not a deep blue, but a light sky blue. Without a word, Timothy looked down to read the marked page.
My Dear Friend,
You have seen so many things that others never will, & you have seen & felt things that haven’t been seen or felt in years. You are blessed. You have been a great hears & have touched the souls of the unicorns forever. I wish you well on your journey home & grant that you have a safe trip back. I, and others, trust that you will stay on our side & not let us come to harm. We do want to be known, but known as gentle, free spirited creatures, not deathly evil ones. May you stay by our sides & fight for us & not against us for all eternity. And if you keep this promise, I promise you that you will see us again.

Timothy read the letter over & over again. This was the last page of the journal, the last writing. He put his hand on the letter & was shocked. Somehow the ink from the letter was glowing. He looked down & saw that the hand he had on the journal was the one that he had the strands of thread & the tip of pearl wrapped around. He removed his hand & the glowing ink went black again. Yet the strands of thread & pearl still glowed. He took a deep breath & marched on fearlessly, using the map as a guide. He went through deep, dark forests, & climbed rocky cliffs & mountains. His feet were sore & bloody with oozing blisters sore to the touch. He finally stopped to rest on a ledge of a cliff. He quickly fell asleep with exhaustion. In his dream he saw a group of travelers, hiking up this very mountain. They were on the ledge he was right this very moment. Suddenly one tripped & lost his balance. His fall was quick. He toppled over the ledge yelling. The others stopped & cried out. Then came a sickening thud & all went still. Timothy cried out, but it hurt his throat. He hadn’t talked for years. In bursting sobs his words came, but the only sound that would come out was the word “Daddy”. With a shock Timothy woke up. Thunder rolled through the skies & lighting crackled. He realized that he was shivering & crying. He touched his face & found that the wetness wasn’t tears, but a cold sweat. Throwing his blanket off of him he looked over the ledge. Below him were jagged rocks, one slip & you would surely die. This is where his father had died. This was his deathbed. Tears streamed down Timothy’s face & for a moment he could only cry. Then with gasping breaths he groaned. It hurt his throat as if it was filled with burning sores like the ones on his feet. Then the groan turned into slurred words. Though his throat was filled with fire, Timothy once again ignored the pain. In agony he finally spoke. And just like in his dream, all he could say was “Daddy”. He cried it out again & again, sobbing. Then he ripped the thread & tip of pearl off of his wrist causing the two threads to begin to sing their songs of music. It was a grievous sound, sat & heartbreaking. The entwined threads began to glow as they sung, brighter & brighter through the darkness. Timothy cried out, letting his tears fall swiftly to the ground. He felt like he had lost everything. He had never even known his father, & was mad at himself for not being able to remember. Penny was lucky. She had known him all her life up until the day he had left. They had something special, a connection that Timothy had never had. And now he never would thanks to the quest for happiness. He searched for a pointed rock & when he found one he hung the threads & pearl on it. Then he got up, carried his things away & left that place forever. He walked away with tears streaming, he looked back to see the thread & pearl still glowing, brighter than ever, then he slipped.
When Timothy woke up he groaned, pleased to find that his throat didn’t hurt as much when he spoke or made noises. He tried to sit up & found that his head throbbed. He sat still with his eyes closed for a moment. Then when he thought he was ready, slowly looked around. He was on a small island like area; it was really a piece of round land next to a large lake that stuck out from the rest. The ground was covered in sweet smelling grass, as green ever. A single tree, a weeping willow to be exact, spread out long branches & leaves that made a curtain covering the view of the lake. Timothy blinked his eyes several times. He was seeing colors. He had never seen colors before. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, all of them! The sky was a clear blue with a few white puffy clouds. No thunder, no lightning, just clear skies. A rustle behind him made Timothy spin around fast. A sharp pain stung inside his head from turning around so quickly, followed by dizziness. He closed his eyes as his head swam. When he slowly opened them again, for it had become a routine, his eyes grew wide with wonder & awe. In front of him stood the most glorious creature he had ever seen. It was a unicorn.
The unicorn looked at him with curious eyes, yet it held its head gloriously & proudly. It bent its regal neck lower to look at the boy causing its mane to dip & wave as if it were being blown by the wind. Timothy felt his body tingle, & then suddenly, something dipped their mind into his soul the way someone would dip their foot into a pool of water, then finally submerge themselves entirely. He blinked a couple of times until his mind accepted the guest. He looked back up at the unicorn & nodded with respect. Who are you? The creature asked. Timothy was surprised. It was the unicorn that had dipped its own thoughts into his mind. He could hear everything it said, well, thought really.  Timothy thought for a moment to himself. Then he tried to talk back. “I-I a… am,” Do not speak thought the unicorn but submerge yourself into my mind as I did to you. Again Timothy thought & then tried again. I am Timothy, who are you? Timothy was overjoyed at finding a way to speak without having to talk. It felt so… free. As if you were swimming in a clear pool without having to come up for air. Almost like swimming through air with the joy of your hair waving through the water & the feeling of the cool water brushing against your face. Very good for your first try. I am River. Timothy stared at the unicorn in awe. How did I get here? He asked. This time the River answered his question with a picture in his mind. Timothy saw himself falling from Rivers point of view. Then there was a flash of light, a portal really, & River following in after him. Then he saw an image of himself being healed by River underneath the willow tree. At last the image ended. Your feet were pretty bad, but I healed them up. River said. Timothy could sense proudness in Rivers voice. To be sure, Timothy checked his feet. There were no scratches to be seen. Nice job. Timothy said promptly. He again looked around him. Where exactly am I? He asked. You are in March, land of the unicorns. Timothy blinked a couple times, uncertain whether he was dreaming or not. Isn’t March a month of the year, not a place? The unicorn tossed his mane & chuckled. His laugh sounded like the tinkling of little belles. You are wise for your age. That may help you in your future. Timothy stared hard at the unicorn; he reached out a hand to point at the regal animal’s horn. I have something like that. River stretched out his neck towards the boy, suddenly very cautious. Show me. He said. The boy reached into his pocket searching for his trinket. Then he cried out. It’s gone! River tossed his head, his eyes rolling. Don’t yell like that! It pierces my thoughts with pain! The unicorn wheeled away for a moment, looking into the water. Timothy stopped searching long enough to look at the unicorn, which had his back to him. Don’t send to me; let me have time to clear my head. The unicorn dipped his muzzle into the clear water & drank. When River turned around, he saw the boys face, he looked painstakingly at the pool of water, & didn’t notice the unicorn looking at him. Water? River asked, motioning his head to the lake. Timothy quickly stood up & walked over to the water. He fell to his knees & drank sip after sip of the sweet water. When he was done, he sat up & blinked, and then he fell into unconsciousness. When Timothy awoke he looked around him. River? He thought, but no answer was returned. He crawled over to the pool too exhausted to walk. He took another long sip & looked at his reflection. He saw a scraggly little boy, wearing dirty gray scraps for clothing. His hair was tangled & matted, & dark circles hung low underneath his eyes. Timothy sat there, staring, & then out of the blue he stripped off his travel clothes & dipped himself into the lake. Timothy first closed his eyes as he dunked into the water over & over. Then he realized that the lake was so clear, he could leave them open. When he had completely soaked himself, he worked on untangling his hair. After minutes of groaning & pulling, his hair was loose & hung down into his face, dripping with water. Looking down as the water dribbled off of his face, Timothy realized he could see every smooth gray stone on the bottom of the pool. A quick movement caught his eye & he turned around. A tiny orange fish was darting around the water, zipping & splashing. The boy eyed the fish & then dived after it. The fish flew through the water like a bird flies through the sky. Timothy swam the entire length of the pool, & was amazed at what he saw. Dozens of fish were found in a corner of the pond near colorful lily pads, & a giant hollow log was found in the middle. After examining the log, Timothy swam closer. He looked inside the log suddenly darted through. He could swim through the entire thing with one kick of his legs. He did this several times & then decided to explore the log more thoroughly. It wasn’t like he was going to be late for anything. The slowly swam through the log, feeling its texture. A sudden flash caught his eye & he turned his eye to see what it was. A tiny gold coin sat in one of the cracks on the log. Timothy grasped it & quickly swam out of the log & sat on the shore, his feet dangling into the pool with little fish nibbling at his toes. As the boy giggled, he looked at each side of the coin. On one side was a design like no other. It involved twists & turns & spirals. He rubbed his finger over the coin again & again, feeling the smooth & rough edges. The coin shined in the light & there wasn’t a flaw or a scratch on it. Suddenly the boy yelled out as a cold object rested on his shoulder. Don’t do that! River cried as he removed his horn from the boy’s shoulder. Oh, it’s just you. Timothy panted. He opened his palm & made sure that he hadn’t dropped the coin into the lake when he was startled. He realized his fear had come true as he saw the coin floating down deeper into the lake. “No!” he cried aloud & dived into the pool. He swam to the bottom as fast as he could, his eyes focused on nothing but the coin. His lungs screamed for air but he continued down deeper. The coin landed flat on the log & Timothy reached for it. Once he had grasped it he kicked to the top of the pool, gasping for air as he breached. Couldn’t wait for another swim? River asked jokingly, but his smile faded as he saw the boy put to coin onto the grass as he climbed out of the water. Where did you get that? River asked searchingly. This? I just got it from the pool, why? Timothy asked holding out the coin. Be very careful with that! That’s one of the 5! River sniffed the coin & snorted. If that is lost again, our world will die with the same fate as yours. No color, no life, nothing. Timothy looked down at the coin, still confused by the unicorn’s words. Come, I will show you. River said & walked away. Timothy ran to catch up with him, until he grew tired & dizzy. River stopped & told the boy to rest. Then he went away for a moment & brought back a piece of bark. Here eat this, it is called spice bark. You may chew on it, it will give you strength. Unicorns find its taste delightful, better than ferre berries. Sometimes we boil it in water & drink it. It is very reviving. Timothy smiled as he nibbled on the bark. We have this at home when we can find it, only I have never heard of ferre berries. What are they? The unicorn looked at him in shock. Your world is worse than I thought. He started to walk again & Timothy followed, enjoying the taste of the sweet bark. A while later they entered a forest. The light shining through the trees seemed to glow the colors of a sunset. As they grew deeper into the forest, Timothy heard silent hoof beats & saw flashes of white. There are more of you, aren’t there? Timothy thought. River kept walking, but answered after a moment of thought. Yes, not so many as there used to be, but we are no longer in danger as we were 2,000 years ago. Timothy paused as he saw a flash of silver through the branches of a nearby tree. You said that my gold coin is the reason why our world is dying, I thought unicorns gave hope. First off, the gold coin is not yours, River explained. Second off, the gold coin has a name, & third off yes, we do give hope, if we can reach you. Timothy stopped. “If?” he said aloud. River gave him a look of annoyance. Sorry. Timothy thought sheepishly. If? How can you not reach us? And what m- the gold coin called anyways? Before River could answer, a magnificent unicorn stepped out from the trees. Its mane & tail swayed in the wind & were the colors of a sunrise. The horn on its head was a dim gold & shined with animosity. Even its hooves seemed to be perfect. Just looking at the magnificent creature made Timothy gasp. He’s beautiful. Timothy thought. It’s a her, & she is a forest unicorn. And be careful, when you send to me- Before River could finish his sentence the forest unicorn interrupted. Any other unicorn can hear what you are sending too. River glowered at Timothy, who gave him a sheepish look in response. Oops? The forest unicorn chuckled. I am Evelyn, a forest unicorn as you already know. I am one of the 5 leaders of our herd. As she talked she circled the boy & unicorn. Timothy was locked in her gaze, following her every move. River on the other hand, was staring at the ground. Suddenly, Timothy gasped. He noticed that the forest unicorn was round & heavy. Evelyn noticed the boys gaze & chuckled again. Have you never seen a mare in foal? I am no different. River groaned under his breath, obviously upset with Timothy. How can you be so daft? He lectured Timothy. Peace, friend. Evelyn interrupted him again. You know as well as I do that their world has not seen happiness in ages. Let him wander in joy & happiness for the time being. Timothy listened as the two unicorns sent to one another. Questions swam through his mind. How many types of unicorns were there? What type was River? What was so special about the gold coin & what was it called? The two unicorns stopped sending & stared at the boy. When he felt their eyes upon him, his face turned red with embarrassment. Sorry, I guess you were right, I never have seen happiness, & I guess it’s overtaken me. His eyes lowered to look at the ground. I can sense your confusion, and can see in your eyes that you have many questions. I will try my best to answer them if you like. Timothy looked up quickly. Was it really that obvious? This will be good. River said sarcastically. He shifted his weight onto one hoof like most horses do, & sighed. Timothy chose one of the questions that had been embedded into his mind like a burr in a horse’s mane. How many herds of unicorns are there? River looked at Evelyn. You can answer that. He said plainly. I will try my best. Evelyn replied. She looked at River for a moment, then her eyes met Timothy. There are 5 herds of us, all living in different places. Each group adapts to their environment, but we all have the same talents, we just use them in different ways. A herd of unicorns is called a glory. Timothy sat on the ground, his mind soaking in all the information he was being told. Like a pride of lions or a gaggle of geese? He asked. Evelyn smiled. Exactly. The 5 glories are the forest unicorns, the river unicorns, the grass unicorns, the stone unicorns, & the wandering unicorns.  Each group has a leader, & that leader chooses 4 others to be his or her council. I am one of the 5 for the forest unicorns. We decide what is best for our glory & are the ones to meet with the other glories the councils are closer to each other than any other unicorn. We are like family. Evelyn paused to look at River who had lowered himself to the ground & had his head lying on a patch of forest grass. He is a fast learner, you are lucky to have found him brother. Timothy stopped thinking when her heard her send. Brother? What did she mean? Before he could ask, Evelyn continued on. All the glories come together once a year for a gathering, but once a month each glories council meet to discuss problems & such. Why are each glory named differently? Timothy asked. His eyes had grown wide, but his head swam with fewer questions as each was answered. We are all named after the places we live in. Forest Unicorns because we live in the forest, Stone Unicorns live in the mountains, grass unicorns live in the fields & grassy plains. Nomads, nomads are different. Their group wanders from place to place, but always keeps in contact with all the glories. They adapt quickly to each new place they settle, but they always look the same. With this thought, Evelyn sent an image of each unicorn glory & their home. Each one was beautiful & unique. Timothy could understand how the nomads moved from place to place, they were all so beautiful, how can you choose to live in just one? Are you all enemies? He asked. A sudden neigh erupted through the forest, followed by several snorts sounding like laughs rung in Timothy’s ears. It was beautiful & painful at the same time. Evelyn turned sharply to look at River, who was rolling on the ground. This boy is more amusing than a newborn foal! River snorted. What’d I do? Timothy looked at Evelyn. The laughter suddenly stopped when Evelyn kicked River with her back leg. Her hoof hit his front right leg & sent a sharp pain through Rivers side. Ow! He yelled & groaned in pain. You deserve it. Evelyn snorted. River sighed as the leg went from white to a dark purple. You bruised me! He cried out. After a moment more of grumbling, River bent his head to his knees & his horn touched his wound. Timothy watched in awe as the wound turned a lighter shade of purple & shrunk down to the size of a leaf. Now look at what you did! River complained. I can’t heal it all the way, you damaged the muscle. How can I appear in front of the councils with a limp & a bruised leg? Council? Timothy thought to himself. His mind went back to Evelyn’s words when she called him brother. As I was saying, Evelyn continued. No we are not enemies, we are just too big to have us all in one glory, so we let our hearts decide which one we should be in. As I said before, we are all the same, we just adapt differently. We can come & go from glory to glory & live there as long as we like. We open our hearts to all unicorns & do not hate if one chooses to leave us for another glory, for we are all one glory in heart. We are not claimed by a glory at birth, instead, we choose which glory we want to be with & are never permanently with a glory. It is true. Said River, who was tending to his wound. My mother was born into the Grass Glory, but chose to be with the River glory. The only thing is, if you want to be in council, you can’t change around that often. Just visit or vacation with other glories really. He stopped sending to lick his wound & let out a moan. You have good aim, but a short temper. He said snidely. Evelyn just snorted. Then don’t make me mad. The look on Rivers face made Timothy laugh out loud. Both unicorns’ heads went up & they cocked their ears. River, do you hear his laugh? Evelyn said urgently. Yes, yes I do. Do you think…? River responded. Both unicorns were looking at the boy curiously. Timothy, show her the coin. River said suddenly. Wiping the tears from his eyes, Timothy reached into his pocket & felt for his coin. When he brought the coin up, his leather journal fell to the ground. Both unicorns gasped. He has one of the five. He has Eldora’s coin! Timothy bent to pick up the book. Eldora? In the leather journal Eldora had written on the last page. Eldora wrote in this journal for my grandfather, I think. He opened to the last page & showed it to the unicorns who read it silently. It is answered. He is the one brother. River nodded. Wait, wait, wait. Timothy closed the journal. What one? And why were you calling River brother again? What’s going on? River & Eldora looked at each other. River stepped forward & lowered his head so he could look into the boys’ eyes. I, he began, I am the son of the River Unicorns king, I am also part of a council, only I am part of the River Unicorns council, & I am Evelyn’s brother. Timothy staggered backwards from confusion. Wait, what? He thought, rubbing his head. I need to lie down. He pulled a piece of spice bark from his pocket and nibbled on it. The two unicorns lay down next to him, waiting, When Timothy said he felt better, they began again. When I said that the unicorns can move from glory to glory, & didn’t have to stay with one forever, that we could choose, I forgot to mention that River & I did the same thing. We were yearlings, & were exploring each glories environment. Our councils noticed how well we kept peace between unruly colts & decided to put us on council, and to keep the peace of the glories & to keep us all connected, we were arranged to be together. Timothy blinked. Go on, he said, nibbling on the spice bark. He offered a piece to River who seemed flustered. River took it thankfully & ate it in only a few bites. So you both chose to stay with your birth glory, & were both put on that glory’s council? Timothy didn’t want to loose any of the information he was hearing again. Correct again. And you, River pointed to Timothy with his horn. You have found Eldora’s coin & have become a great hero. But I haven’t done anything! Timothy exclaimed. Not yet you haven’t, but without you, this wouldn’t even be possible. Evelyn nudged him with her nose. We had best get going now. She stood up gracefully & began to walk deeper into the forest. Timothy sat up surprised. Wait! Who’s Eldora? River walked past the confused boy & looked at him. Eldora is the queen of the forest glory, & she is also Evelyn’s mother. River left Timothy staring after him as he walked away. The confused boy snapped into reality, & raced after them.

Kneel before Eldora, queen of Forest Glory. A guard unicorn called out as the two unicorns & the one little by kneeled to the forest ground. Silent, steady hoof beats could be heard walking towards them. As suddenly as they started, they stopped & a voice sent out to them. Hail River, prince of River Glory, betrothed of my daughter Evelyn, princess of Forest Glory. The odd group looked up at the unicorn standing before them. She was an exact replica of Evelyn only wiser looking, with a horn that was more golden & glowed brighter for, as a unicorn ages, whether their horn is gold or silver, it becomes more colored too. Mother, Evelyn stood & touched noses with Eldora. River stood back a few steps & looked at the boy. This is him. He said respectfully. Timothy stifled a giggle as he saw River try to cover his bruised foot by standing funny & crossing his legs trying to look regal. River glowered at him & then looked away as Eldora walked forward. She circled the boy & chatted with Evelyn as she examined him. Mother, this is Timothy, he has found your coin & holds your note you wrote to his grandfather. He says his father died on the trip here before him & it was passed down to him. It was true, on the way to Eldora’s they had changed the subject to Timothy’s journey. She knew as much as River did & that was all Timothy knew. I see, I see. Eldora said. She stopped in front of the boy & looked into his eyes. You were right. Even without hearing him laugh I can tell he is his father’s son. You knew my father? Piped Timothy. Ignoring a warning glance from River, he looked hopefully at Eldora. Your grandfather brought him here when he was a young boy, around your age. I have always assumed that your father would come back, even after your grandfather died. What I didn’t assume was that he would have a family first, then try to make the journey back. It pains me to hear of his death, he had such a bright future compared to the dull world he lived in. If only he had found the coin… And with that Eldora gazed into the sky. Timothy reached into his pocket remembering the coin. He held it out as a flash of sunlight hit it. Colored light danced about the trees & their leaves. The flashes of light brought Eldora back to reality. You are a wise unicorn River, & I hope you treat my daughter well. River bowed to Eldora. Although I didn’t choose my love with my heart, you picked the right unicorn for me. He said respectfully. Evelyn chuckled quietly & continued to look at the coin. The sun was starting to set & the colors bouncing off the coin were getting brighter. It is almost time. Eldora said. Time for what? Timothy asked, his eyes sparkled as he caught on to the other unicorn’s excitement. Time for the gathering of the glory’s & time for hope to be restored.

The sky was a deep blue, & stars twinkled through the night sky. Timothy, Eldora, River, & Evelyn looked down from the hill to see a mass of white unicorns grazing & sending happily. You could see no difference between the 5 glories; the only difference at all was the color of their horns. Some had silver, others gold & each were a different shade. Some deep & rich, others light & barely seen. It all depended on age. Four unicorns stood above the rest, & each had 4 other unicorns behind them. We must go down now. Eldora said & started quietly down the hill. Timothy, quickly climb onto my back & hold onto my mane. River whispered. Timothy stared with wide eyes at the unicorn. You’re going to let me ride you? He asked.  Yes, was the reply. River bent to the ground as the boy slipped onto his back. Sitting atop a unicorn is an experience like no other. Timothy wrapped his hands into the silky white mane & they were off. Eldora cantered down first, with River on one side & Evelyn on the other, followed by the 3 other council members. River was allowed to stay with them only because he wished to stay with Timothy & Evelyn. When Eldora stopped & her council grouped behind her, River bent to the ground & let Timothy dismount. Then he trotted off to join the River glory & stand beside his father.
Timothy noticed a red haired girl standing next to one of the other glories. She had her hand on another unicorn’s side. She smiled at him, “Your first time here?” she asked. All Timothy could do was nod. “I saw you ride down on Rivers back. It’s amazing isn’t it?” This time Timothy answered back. “Yes, it was. I’m Timothy by the way.” The girl smiled. “Cara.” She replied. She looked like she was several years older than Timothy & she acted like she had been here all her life. Suddenly, a small monkey like animal jumped onto her shoulder. “Squijimm!” she exclaimed & then fed the small creature a berry. Timothy looked confusingly at the creature on her shoulder that was greedily nibbling away at the berry. She saw his stare & laughed. “You thought there were only unicorns in March, didn’t you?” Timothy nodded, his eyes still on the monkey like creature. “You should see where the nomads are living right now. There are many more creatures there. Right Lightfoot?” The unicorn next to her stamped his foot & nodded. For a moment silence filled the air, & no creature moved. Then as if on cue, a single shooting star flew through the air. When it disappeared, Eldora stepped forward. Today we come here like we do every year. To celebrate & visit. We are all one glory at heart, & this is how we remember that. But tonight we also remember a sad day. The day one piece of 5 was lost. The pieces of 5 are not talked of much, but one was lost during a human raid almost 100 years ago. Many unicorns lowered their heads in agony & a few whinnied, throwing their heads towards the sky as if remembering a loved one lost. Eldora continued. But all hope is not lost. Today, we can celebrate, because today, we can thank this human, for he has found the missing piece of 5. Whinnies & cheers echoed through the valley & the stars seemed to shine brighter. Many unicorns reared up & pawed their air. Eldora closed her eyes & her horn suddenly started to glow. Each glory leader did the same & then suddenly, they stopped. Another shooting star flew through the sky, but as it did, 5 specks of light fell from it. The light turned into 4 coins, all identically perfect, with no scratches or flaws. Each coin fell into a tiny pool at the edge of a waterfall. Timothy, you are about to change history for human & unicorns forever. If you put the coin into the water, it will bring hope & color back into your world. It will give you happiness & light & beauty as you have never seen it before. Humans & Unicorns used to live in the same world, until they chose to hunt us down. Then we created our own world, & March is only a piece of that world. We can never live on earth again, but we can give earth our hope & beauty. Timothy quickly removed the coin from his pocket & walked towards the pool. Timothy, wait. River cried out. Tell him the rest. Tell him what the sacrifice is, tell him everything. Timothy looked back at River. The unicorn’s eyes were sorrowful. Timothy dropped the coin onto the ground. Timothy, River went on, you won’t be able to come back. Timothy’s eyes filled with tears. Not come back to March? How could he choose between living happily in March while everyone else was living in agony & sadness, or living happily with his family knowing he could only remember & never go back. But, but my father tried to come back. Evelyn looked at Timothy & rest her head on his shoulder. Your father didn’t make it though, & even if he did, he wouldn’t have been able to open the portal. Timothy’s eyes welled up with tears.  No, no. I will come back, I- I’ll camp out in front of the portal entrance until it opens again, & then I’ll see you again, & everything will be right again. He wrapped his arms around Evelyn’s neck hugging her tighter. I know it will be hard, but it’s your decision. We love you & you will be welcome to stay here, but it’s your choice, not ours. Timothy sniffed. What would you do? He asked. I-I don’t know. She replied they sat there for a moment, hugging & crying. Until Timothy had made his decision. I know what to do now. He said & backed away. He picked the coin up off the ground & looked at it. Wiping the dirt away with his thumb, he saw the design on the back. He looked at it for a moment & then dropped it into the pool. It floated down until it reached the bottom, landing perfectly in line with the other four. A sudden gush of water came down from the water fall & sent up a mist that blinded Timothy. When it was gone, everything was still. It is done. Then she slowly walked away. We may now celebrate & rejoin with one another. Timothy looked up to the sky, listening to the unicorns whinnying to one another in recognition. He heard hoof beats behind him & looked up. It was River. I thought you said I wouldn’t be able to come back. He sniffed. You said I would have to leave forever. River looked into the boy’s face, his eyes filled with pain & sadness. You have been given one night with us. Remember it well. Timothy embraced the unicorn & entwined his fingers into his silvery mane. I love you River. He said, tears rolling down his cheeks. I love you too boy. River said. Then they walked down to the valley together. Timothy met many unicorns & several people. He feasted on ferre berries (he finally figured out that they were the same berries that used to grow on earth until the coin was stolen & hope on earth was lost.) spice bark & laughed all night. Suddenly he realized that Evelyn wasn’t here. He looked at River who motioned to the forest above them. Timothy said no more about her. At least I’ll be able to remember March by the spice bark & ferre berries. Timothy thought. It was true. Earth would look similar to March, only it wouldn’t contain the wonderful creatures the unicorn world did. And I will be able to remember you boy. River said smiling. Timothy smiled back, & then realized that River wasn’t smiling at him, but at something above him. He turned & saw that the sun was beginning to rise & that the night sky had turned to yellow, pink, purple, & gold clouds. That’s when he saw what River was smiling at, & so did the entire glory of unicorns. Standing on the edge of a hill stood Evelyn, & next to her stood a wobbly foal, as white as silk with a horn the lightest shade of gold. Timothy gasped as the two unicorns cantered down to join the glory. The rising sun made them seem to glow. Their hoof beats in unison; they suddenly stopped in front of River & Timothy. Whinnies & neighs of greeting echoed through the valley & the young unicorn whinnied in reply. The sound made Timothy laugh out loud. Eldora trotted over with River’s father by her side. So this is my daughter’s child. Eldora said, her voice shaking. Evelyn looked at the foal & nuzzled it, then looked at Timothy. He is not my only child. The boy will always be mine in my heart. Timothy walked slowly over to the foal, his hand stretched out. The foal sniffed him & squealed in delight, rubbing his head against the boys arm. Timothy smiled. Does he send yet? He asked, still petting the foal. Not yet, but his time will come soon. Evelyn replied. Then she looked towards River who was gazing at the mother & foal. She nudged the foal over to River. The foal looked up at his father with bright eyes. River touched noses with the foal & looked up at Evelyn. His name? He asked. Without hesitation, Evelyn took a deep breath.. His name is Galeno, little bright one. He reminds me of someone. She said looking at Timothy. Thank you. Timothy said, bowing his head. I will never be able to forget you no, like I could before! River said, trying to laugh to hide his choking sobs. Timothy looked at the little foal, who had his tail flicking back & forth in happiness. A sudden sending made him jump. I am sad to say that it is time for you to leave. It was Eldora speaking. He bowed to her. But she shook her head no. Please, your grandfather was very close to me, as Lightfoot is to Cara, & as your father was to Elvron, River’s father. You share the same bond with River & you have become close enough to a unicorn to be considered her family. You are honored. I will greatly miss you. A tap on his shoulder made Timothy look up. It was River. May I escort you back to your home? He asked kneeling down so Timothy could mount. I’m leaving my home right now, He said sniffling. No, River replied, standing up after Timothy Not at all. Eldora wrote to my grandfather in his journal. She wrote that if he stands for the unicorns for the rest of his life, she said he will see them again. Timothy said, wrapping his fingers into River’s silky mane for the last time. What she said was true. If you do the same, you will see us again. I don’t know how or when, but you will. River slowly started to walk away. As they passed each unicorn he stroked them or said goodbye. When he had said his last farewell they whole glory started to canter. Timothy felt like he was flying. The sound of pounding hooves & the flash of white coats surrounded him. River broke out from the glory & galloped ahead. Timothy laughed out loud. He felt like he was soaring through the sky! Life was good & it couldn’t get better! He looked back to see Evelyn & Galeno on top of the hill. Evelyn suddenly reared up & pawed the air, whinnying so loud that it echoed to the skies. Goodbye Unicorns. Timothy thought. He rested his head on River’s neck & closed his eyes. The smooth & swift motion of River’s galloping rocked Timothy into a deep sleep.

When Timothy woke up, he was in a forest on a dirt path, River was standing beside him protectively. Birds were singing & the grass was cool & green beneath his feet. Am I still in March? Timothy asked, looking up at River. No, you are home now. Thought River. Home for good. I can’t go from place to place like the unicorns can Timothy sighed, holding back tears. River lowered his head to look straight into Timothy’s eyes. Listen to me Timothy, you will never forget us, or March, as we will never forget you. You will go home to your family & tell them everything you saw. When you grow up you will tell it to your herd & kin. You will always remember March & we will always remember you. And with this thought, River touched Timothy on the shoulder with his horn, which had started to glow brightly like a star. You will live happily, you have music, happiness, color, everything! River said. The horn stopped glowing & River paused, looking into the boys eyes. Everything except you. Timothy said. The boy hugged River tightly, & wrapped his fingers into the silky mane for the last time. When he released his hands, a single strand of mane came off. Keep it. River thought. It will remind you of everything  & will never break. Timothy wrapped the strand around his wrist & tied it tight. He tugged it to make sure it wouldn’t break & managed a weak smile when it made the same belle like noise as the others had done. But those were lost now. Besides, this one was from his true friend, his unicorn. You will be mine forever! He said looking at River. Tears were streaming down his face & were landing on the ground below him. Looking at River he realized that he saw a pain & sadness in the unicorn’s eyes that he had never seen before. It hurt him so much, but he couldn’t look away. They just stood there for a moment silently, then a twig snapped. Timothy heard his mother & his sister calling out his name. “Timothy? Timothy, is that you?” River looked at the boy. We must part now. Timothy put his hand on the unicorn’s nose. Please stay here with me, or- or take me with you! Timothy pleaded. We both have families to go to now & we both have a job to do. So lets be brave & try to leave happily. Timothy nodded & stepped back. He could hear his mother & his sister getting closer now. When he turned back he saw River galloping away. He stopped on the top of the hill & looked back. Goodbye River. Timothy sent to the unicorn for the last time. Goodbye boy. River reared up into the air & sent out a whinny that echoed through the sky. Then he galloped away until he had disappeared. Timothy started to walk down the path & saw his mother & sister. “Timmy? Timmy!” His mother cried out & ran to him. Timothy wiped the tears from his eyes & held his head high. His mother smothered him with hugs crying. Behind him he could hear his sister cry happily, “Look Timmy, there are colors!”

Galeno- Little bright one
Eldora- Golden