Mr. Wendig put up another flash fiction challenge on his site. All he said was to “make it about unicorns.” This is the result of such an open-ended prompt. I’d apologize but I wouldn’t mean it.
“Because it’s rude to eat someone’s unicorn, that’s why.”
Gerry either hadn’t gotten the memo, or his give-a-shit button about unicorn etiquette was broken. He cut himself another piece of steak, popping the purplish meat between his lips and chewing. Food, rapturous food, his dish made all the more delicious thanks to the knowledge that he was not only eating a mythical creature teetering precariously on the brink of extinction, but that he was eating Princess Bitch Face’s mythical creature teetering precariously on the brink of extinction. If the princess hadn’t been such a pain in Gerry’s giant green ass, Sparkles would still be off shitting fairy dust and eating the castle posies.
But no, Princess Bitch Face went and sent hunters out to chase his family members from their huts because bridge trolls were “a hazard” and “they ate babies.” She clearly knew nothing about bridge troll culture. They only ate ugly babies, and really, who cared about ugly babies? They were all pointed and squash-like and smelled like urine and spoiled milk. Without the benefit of cuteness, they were squalling, squirming crap factories. Nobody liked them. The trolls were providing a public service.
Gerry savored another bite, his eyes catching those of his brother. “You should try some. It’s good, ” he said. “Mean, it’s not virgin flesh, but it’s good.”
“When Mom finds out . . . ”
“She’ll want the marrow. Femur?” He offered a bloodied white horse leg to his twin, the non-hoofed end exploding with sinew-and-meat-chunk confetti.
“No! The princess is going to be absolutely furious, you realize.”
“Yep. Hey, I wonder, do you think I’ll crap pink after eating this? I mean, Sparkles was pink. One time I ate some faerie out in western Ever After and I peed blue for a week. Kinda like when you eat asparagus and everything stinks funny, you know?”
Malachai snorted and shook his head, stomping his way outside. “I’m going outside now. You just finish . . . doing whatever you’re doing.”
Gerry shrugged and continued his meal, eating a good third of the horse flesh before calling it quits. He wasn’t much of a butcher — not in the professional cutting of meat sort of way, anyway — so he hacked at the carcass until he’d made an enormous mess. The table was stained, the floor was stained, viscera and inedible gore thrown into a barrel as refuse. When he was done, he had a bowl full of steaks, a severed horse head with a horn, and a sparkly pink tail. He foisted the head up and made his way to the front window of his cottage, positioning the unicorn so it pointed out in Malachai’s general direction. He swayed it back and forth like the horse was still prancing, lifting his voice as many octaves as it could go.
“My name is Sparkles, and I’m a saaaaad dead unicorn. Do you know what’s sadder than a dead unicorn? NOOOOOTHING!”
“Cut the shit, Gerry. And for gods’ sake bury that thing. They already drowned Aunt Gerty under her own bridge last week. For this they’ll feed your testicles to a flock of angry beavers.”
Gerry gripped the pony head under his arm and made his way outside, snapping the horn off of the forehead without much ado. He used the pointed tip to pick the meat out of his front teeth. “You realize it’s inevitable, right? It’s not going to stop at Gerty.” Malachai grunted and turned away, clearly not wanting to think about that, but Gerry pressed the issue. “Mom had to up and move to Upon A Time ’cause the hunters got too close. Do you know the conditions of those swamps? There’s sunflowers. And butterflies. Fluffy fuckin’ bunnies that sing happy songs and shit. She shouldn’t have to retire to that. She should be under the stinkiest bridge in Ever After, eating travelers and punching billy goats in the nards.”
“I know, but we all have it rough right now. Losing us because you’re an idiot won’t make her any happier.”
As much as Gerry didn’t like admitting it, Malachai had a point. He peered down at the milky eyes of the unicorn, trying to figure out how to fix this. The answer, of course, was he couldn’t. Sparkles was already digesting, and returning the leftover parts would likely be considered another act of troll aggression. Maybe he could substitute the fat white middle part with a painted box, write UNEEKORN across the side in big red letters.
“So what do we do?” He asked, tossing the head to the ground and tromping into the hut. He dragged the waste bucket outside, the four unicorn legs pointing at odd angles and looking a lot like toothpicks sticking out of cocktail weenies.
“Bury the body and keep quiet.” Gerry must have looked a lot shiftier than he intended, because Malachai leaned forward to peer at him, nostrils flaring. “What did you do?”
“Uhh. Well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure they’ll figure it out. That it was me, I mean.”
“Left ’em a note.” Gerry shifted his weight from one foot to the other, his fingers streaking through his greasy black Mohawk. “Second thought, maybe we should go visit Mom. I heard Upon A Time’s got some really ugly babies out that way. Like, really ugly. We’re talking ‘tie the pork chop around the dog’s neck to get it to play with them’ kinda ugly.”
Malachai skimmed his palm down his face with a groan. “I don’t want to know. I really don’t. I hope this is worth moving to Shitsville, Gerry. I really do.”
Gerry burped a little unicorn, failing at hiding his grin. He wouldn’t say so out loud, but if he’d had to do it all over again he would have, Upon A Time or not. Princess Bitch Face got exactly what was coming to her.
And Sparkles had been delicious.