gate with stars streaking overhead

Originally published by the MockingOwl Roost in the Exploration issue, page 6, January 2022.

The road that winds past my mother’s house holds a secret. A deep, dark government secret, we were all sure of it. The dirt drive, the signs reading ‘no entry,’ the roadblocks, the security system all went up in a single night. We’d driven past that part of the countryside so many times before, and the road had never before existed. I have photographic evidence from the time I spotted a fox in the very spot where the road now exists, blockaded by strange, impending machines.

Curiosity has always been a trait attributed to my ridiculous soul. I love the romance of a good mystery, but I also love the investigation part of finding answers to things I probably shouldn’t know about. I considered becoming an investigative journalist for that reason, but then realized I’d be turning my favorite hobby into a living wage and that made it markedly less intriguing.

This particular night, some four years after I’d moved away from the region but was home visiting Mom for the week, I noticed something else had changed. One of the barriers was broken. The electric fence was knocked down in one section.

I knew that I shouldn’t do it. It was illegal and could probably land me in Guantanamo for treason or something. But in this stupid moment of my life, probably the stupidest of all, I couldn’t resist the intrigue. I wasn’t exactly what you’d called trained in combat of any kind, nor in sneaky ninja skills, but I’d been wondering for so long now – nearly ten years – and I had to know. Everything was dark in the whole place. It seemed the security system was off.

I hurried back to Mom’s and got myself ready. “I’ll be heading out early in the morning, Mom,” I told her. I wasn’t sure if I’d be coming back. This nefarious operation might be my last attempt at anything. And I couldn’t believe I was actually, legitimately planning to do this. But the curiosity wasn’t all that was gnawing at my soul. It was also this deep knowledge that something was terribly, horribly wrong. But who could I report anything to? Especially if I didn’t know what was wrong?

I’d had some handgun training – thanks to my NRA-happy brother – and I knew where Dad’s old service pistol was. I slipped it into my bag, tucked myself into bed with my “sneaking” clothes on, and turned out the lights. I hoped I’d see Mom again the next morning after my little adventure, but, who knew?

I barely slept for excitement. Around 3 o’clock, I decided to stop fighting. It wasn’t worth the struggle and I wasn’t helping myself. I quietly rose and slipped into the kitchen. I grabbed several granola bars from the pantry, downed a glass of orange juice and a mug of coffee along with the coffee cake Mom had made the night before. Then, I tiptoed through the living room and out the front door.

It was, of course, still pitch black out. The stars twinkled overhead in the opening between the treetops and the moon was just a tiny sliver of pale gold already sinking in the west. Ugh. One of those mornings.

As I drove the two miles to the mysterious road, I contemplated my plan. This is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done, Allie. But I didn’t try talking myself out of it. I should have attempted some sense of reason on myself, but this curiosity had me by the throat.

About a half mile away, there was a clearing by the road where I could safely park and walk a mostly clear line on the edge of the road toward the gap in the security wall. It was still dark, though, and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I also didn’t want to get hit by some random driver who didn’t bother to keep to his side of the road. I slipped on some reflective bracelets on my wrist – I used them for running – and tried to give myself the mental note to take them off once I got inside.

When I got to the entry, everything was still dark, open, and abandoned, like something really big had happened and I was walking into a giant mess on the other side. I wasn’t sure if I’d find dismembered bodies torn to shreds by some dinosaur carnival created by some trillionaire for his amusement, or if I’d just find a completely abandoned facility, stripped of its useful parts and left to rot like so much of the rest of the industrial complexes in the region.

I threw a stick at the electric fence to ensure it was truly no longer electrified. Once when I worked at a horse farm, I leaned on the wrong fence at the wrong moment. I was not about to repeat that, especially since here the intent was likely to do a lot more than startle you away from touching the wired gates.

Since no electricity screamed back in a horrifying arc, I tiptoed through the gap in the fence, gingerly eking past the broken prongs. Nothing snagged, so I continued, breathing slightly easier.

I’d driven past the place for practically my whole life but I’d never set foot on this land before. And until the developments in the past 10 years, I hadn’t cared to. But throw up an electric fence, have posted guards and bizarre signs, and you’ve got my attention.

My mother and best friend both tried to convince me it was nothing. A crazy conspiracy theorist friend told me it had to be a Blackwater operation. My boyfriend’s brother, who had been a part of Blackwater at some point, told me that was unlikely. All I knew was that this gate was there. It was calling out to me. And now, I was inside.

Behind the gate, everything was just as pitch black as it had been before passing through the barbed wire. I’m not sure if I thought there would be some magical light that followed me around or something, but grudgingly, I turned on my pin light flashlight.

The trees were thick as ever, the hill unpaved and uncleared. I had to weave through the pines, oaks, and maples, like an utterly confusing labyrinth. I mean, it was the woods in North Florida, so it would have to end somewhere. But at that time of the morning, I could wind up circling until daybreak and get caught in the middle of a secret experimentation range of some kind.

I looked down at the compass on the toe of my hiking boot. Thank you, Soren! At the time my boyfriend had purchased the boots for me, I’d kind of laughed at having the compass in the toe. I was sure I’d smash it to bits and destroy its usefulness within a week of my usual hiking escapades. But here it was three years later, and the compass was still in top shape. The boots needed replaced, but the compass was golden.

As I crested the dense hill, I heard other-worldly, mournful cries from some kind of creature I couldn’t identify. You’re in for it now! Turn back, turn back you fool! I pressed forward.

The sky was now starting to lighten. I had maybe 20 minutes before I’d be on full display. Looking down at the clearing on the other side, I could see something moving. Something large – and hairy – moving on four legs. I couldn’t make out the shape of it. Was it a deer that had been experimented on and grown an unusually thick coat? Was it a feathery dinosaur? Was it some unknown sci-fi creature that would now smell me and want to snack on my bones?

The creature stopped moving and seemed to aim its gaze at me. I froze, staring back.

We stood like this, gazes locked without being able to see into each other’s eyes, for probably five minutes. Finally, I moved. I had to. The light was rapidly lifting darkness from the world and I was in the most vulnerable spot I could have found had I tried.

The creature ducked away into one of the buildings. I hesitated, breathing in ragged breaths. This was all too exciting. And weird. What the heck am I doing here? Who do I think I am? I’m not even a journalist or a detective or… anything. I’m a professional hiking guide. Who the heck do I think I am investigating this place?

My survival skillset was better than the average American’s, admittedly, but I had no business being here.

The same creature, I was pretty sure, and two others poked their heads out of the building to stare up at me. Great. They’re conversing together, deciding what to do with me. Are they incredibly intelligent deer who’ve gained telepathy or–

A peculiar, almost ethereal whinny broke out. I looked down at the creatures. They’re horses? But they’re… huge. Way too big to be…

A silvery, long-maned, long-tailed creature stepped out into the open. The other three creatures remained inside, looking out. The creature seemed to shimmer as it walked. And I wouldn’t say rainbows sprang from its hooves like you’d see in cartoons or something, but there was an almost prismatic aura around the creature’s hooves as it took delicate, graceful steps toward the bottom of the hill.

The creature turned its head as the first direct beam of sunlight struck ground. Something on its head caught the light and scattered the beam into shards of orange and green and blue and red.


I began descending the hill. This is impossible. They can’t be… unicorns. Can they? I mean, I was thinking dinosaurs drawn from the DNA of fossils or something. But… unicorns? Where would they even get that DNA?

The unicorn at the base of the hill tossed its mane and whinnied again. “Are you warning me away or welcoming me?” I asked aloud, uncertain of the differences between a unicorn’s behavior and that of a horse. I mean, it’s not like I’ve met a unicorn before.

We stared back at each other as I continued making my way down the hill. I’m committed for sure. And probably going to be committed if I’m not arrested! Unicorns! Unicorns? I must be hallucinating… Well, except for this place… It’s… here. I’m here.

I pinched myself and bit into my upper lip. Yep. I’m definitely awake.

I glanced over at the stables and saw more unicorn heads poking out the door at this point. I guess they’re as curious as I am.

I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, forcing myself to walk closer. The shimmering unicorn, their apparent leader, whinnied as I approached. She tossed her head, stamped her feet – all the things horses do when they’re warning you off.

I attempted to slow the racing pulse that must have been visible in my neck.

They could be nice and delightful and wonderful, magical friends. Or they could be horrible monsters like all the fairy tales of Grimm might suggest.

The shimmering unicorn stamped her hooves again, then backed toward the stable. Her rippling mane glinted in the sunlight, as if infused with diamond glitter. Her sparkling blueish-gray body almost looked as if she were made of silver sequins.

“I won’t hurt you,” I whispered, trembling hand extended.

The unicorn whinnied again, almost conversationally now.

I tilted my head, taking in the way the lights hit her majestic, gleaming coat. With each tense movement, the muscled strength beneath rippled, causing waves of glittering bursts in a nearly prismatic shot of light.

Is she trying to blind me?

If mesmerization was her intent, she succeeded. I realized several moments later that I had been standing transfixed.

“Are you trying to hypnotize me?”

It was kind of a stupid thing to ask an animal I was pretty sure couldn’t speak English, but I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly just then.

She stopped, looked at me intently, then visibly relaxed. Maybe she could sense I had nothing by curiosity and good intentions. Or maybe there was something else. I couldn’t be sure.

“Don’t get any closer.”

Something else, then.

I carefully turned on tiptoe, leaving a weird imprint in the mud as I did so. Something about that moment seared that image into my brain. Perhaps it was because of the harsh contrast between the sandy mud print and the brilliant glistening creature not ten feet away. Either way, I can still clearly see that weird, almost angel-shaped smoosh in the mud that morning any time I close my eyes.

I raised my eyes from the ground to the man, dressed in khaki shorts and a muted blue button-down, standing ten feet the other side of me. I slowly raised my hands, certain he must have some kind of deadly weapon trained on me. I didn’t see one, but where there were unicorns, there could be anything – even invisible guns.

“Step away slowly, Miss,” the man said.

“But I…”

“They’re incredibly dangerous.”

I sighed, shrinking down into the form of a disappointed child. Drooping shoulders and furrowing brow, I turned back to cast a glance over my side. The opulent creature was rippling her muscles again, slower than before. She seemed oddly calmer now that this warning man had arrived.

“They’re unicorns. Right?”

The man nodded and gazed at the creature behind me. “That doesn’t make them magical or friendly, though.”

“What happened here?” I asked.

The man glanced at me.

He looks familiar. Eh. Probably went to school or church together at some point. This isn’t exactly a big town.


“By the military?” I asked.

The man looked me over for a second. “Well, not exactly…”

“Please tell me this isn’t some insane Blackwater type op.”

The man tilted his head to one side and almost laughed. “Blackwater? Who… ? You’re not one of those conspiracy nuts are you?”

I laughed now.

“No. I have a few… acquaintances who are. But I’m definitely not. I know I’m stupid being in here on my own, but I wouldn’t be that stupid.”

The man laughed now, too.

The unicorn stamped her hooves. She didn’t seem dangerous at all now. She was practically prancing as she wiggled her tail and let out a musical whinny. The other unicorns in the stable responded in kind, then rushed from the door.

Again transfixed, I found myself suddenly surrounded by the colorful creatures. Each had a different pastel shade to her coat – pinkish, lavender, mauve, baby blue, mint green, aqua, pale lemon, each reflecting the sun in their coats of apparent tiny diamonds. 

The lemony yellow one nudged me with his nose. The lavender girl licked my hand. Mauve nickered at me and bumped my side with her head, oh, so gently.

“Dangerous?” I asked.

The man hesitated. “I’ve never seen them act this way before.”

In the middle of the herd, it felt rather like being caught up in a winter storm from the north. The energy emitting from their happy spirits flowed into my own, evoking not merely giddiness at this remarkable moment but a sense of audacious expectancy and complete calm.

A bizarre thought struck. Have I been called here all along? Is that why these ten years I’ve been drawn to this spot, this oddly normal yet completely out-of-place site which no one else seems to care about?

“Who are you?” the man asked as he watched the mint green unicorn lick my face.

“I’m not going to tell you my name!”

“I don’t care about that. Who are you?”

I stared back at him, trying to comprehend his question in the flurry of wonder swirling around us. “Nobody.”

“You’re clearly somebody.”

“I thought you were. They calmed down when you arrived.”

“No. They calmed down when you arrived.”

“But they were hiding from me. And that one… The silver one, she…”

“There’s no silver unicorn,” he said.

“Yes, there is. She’s right here.” I pointed at the unicorn that had been cautious but out front leading the investigation into me.

The man’s jaw dropped. “You’re saying there was a unicorn standing in front of the stable when I arrived?”

“Yes,” I laughed. “She’s the one who started all of this.”

The man shook his head. “We didn’t make any silver unicorns. She didn’t want silver.” He stopped himself, looked slightly shocked over revealing anything – little as it told me – and sighed. “She said any color but silver.”

“She?” I had to ask.

The man looked around uncomfortably, seemingly for spies. Or cameras.

“I can’t say.”

“Classified?” I suggested.

He shrugged.

“Unless you’re working for the government on some bizarro ‘reinvent the mythical beast’ program, there’s nothing classified about it. Just secret.”

I had him there.

“Classified,” he repeated.

Or not.

He wasn’t dressed in military garb and didn’t bear himself like trained militia. He seemed more like the average, ordinary science nerd who’d been caught doing something a little questionable in the eyes of polite society.

“Fine. Let’s get back to this silver unicorn. She’s right here, swirling around us with the rest of them. You really mean to tell me you can’t see her?”

The man looked among the circling herd nervously. “We made every color on the palette except silver. No gray, no silver.”

“Maybe I see her as more silver and you see her as more blue,” I suggested.

“There’s only one blue unicorn,” he said. “You just see one, right?”

I sighed. “I see a blue unicorn and this silver one.”


What reason did he have to lie? I had already discovered their insane bioengineering scheme. Why lie about having a silver unicorn? It’s not like that would somehow make me seem more or less crazy to someone else.

“It can’t be impossible. She’s right here.”

The silver unicorn stopped abruptly, right in front of me. She nuzzled my arm with her nose, which seemed to stop the others in their tracks. The air fell still and quiet as the herd looked to their silvery mistress.

“What did you do?” he asked agape.

“Nothing. I thought you did something!”

We stared at each other for several moments before the silver unicorn nudged my hand with her nose.

“What was that?” The man looked almost out-of-his-mind surprised.

“The silver unicorn.” He really can’t see her? What the heck?

The unicorn repeated the action. I looked into her eyes, wondering what she might be trying to communicate. Do you speak human? Do you have telepathy? Can you communicate with me through something other than hand nudges and whinnies?

The unicorn kept gazing at me, intent on something.

“Do you want me to follow you?” I finally asked.

The silvery mane flipped out suddenly as she turned on her hooves as nimbly as a ballerina on pointe.

“All right. I’ll follow you.” I turned back to the man. “You coming?”

He stared at me for a long moment, but saw I wasn’t going to wait for him to decide.

“All right. I guess. Why not? What have we got to lose?”

“That’s the spirit, buddy!”

I followed the argent beauty. The man followed me, past the stable, to the head of a path I would never have imagined was there. “We can’t go there.”

I looked at the man. “She’s leading, so I’m going. You can come or not.”

“But…” the man hesitated. “She commanded we never go down that path. Ever.”

“Commanded? What are you? A slave? I don’t see military gear, so I’m pretty sure any commands are rubbish. Let’s go.”

He looked over his shoulder back at the stable area, now a good half mile off. He heaved a sigh bigger than I expected he’d manage and waved his hands forward. “Lead the way.”

Into the woods we strode, along the mysterious forbidden path. The unicorn seemed eager to run, but she held back for us, somehow recognizing that our feeble two-legged pace could never keep up with her four-legged gallop.

She nickered and whinnied multiple times along the way, eager for something. The man behind apparently couldn’t hear her or see her and just kept in line with my steps a few yards behind.

Where could she be taking us? A deep, dark encampment in the woods where we’ll be sacrificed to the mystical unicorn gods from whom this silver unicorn sprang?

The unicorn abruptly stopped before a cluster of trees gathered and arched in a door-like pattern. Nickering, she beckoned with her shining head. I should have hesitated. This door to another world was beyond the ken of my imagination.

But I was so darn curious. Even if I get eaten by rabid, man-eating unicorns, I think, somehow, this will be worth it…

She stepped through the opening into undulating prismatic light. I inhaled deeply and stepped through after, uncertain if I would be able to breathe on the other side.

As I stepped through this ingress, the air was pulled from my lungs for just a moment. Then, the clearest, sweetest breath I’d ever taken inflated my feeble lungs like a newborn drawing its first gulp of air. I breathed in again, deeper this time.

The man stood on the other side, watching to see what happened.

“I didn’t die!” I called back.

He couldn’t seem to hear me. The gateway closed, him still watching from the plane on earth from which I came.

The unicorn pranced along ahead at a pace a little faster than I wanted to go, but not so fast I couldn’t keep up. We hurried through the ebbing lights in blue, purple, and green, and found ourselves shortly on the other side of the portal.

The next thing I knew, a world of ice crystals, snow, and near whiteout conditions came into focus around me. Yet nothing was cold – all was comfortably cool and delightfully iridescent.

“Where are we?” I asked, as if the creature could speak her answer back.

The unicorn stamped her hooves twice, whinnied so that I thought she might be laughing, and carefully stepped off the path in the direction of a misty clearing.

As we entered the clearing in this strange, misty, snowy place, I saw dozens of other unicorns gathered around, facing each other at the center.

If unicorns are truly evil, I’m done for.

The silver unicorn I had followed tossed her mane, inviting me to join her.

Well, I might as well. I’m here. I… I’m here. Wherever here is.

I stepped into the clearing and looked around at all the unicorns in an array of metallic shades. Some unicorns shone like glorious beams of light from the heavens above, others merely glinted with earthen, dark gemstone shades as if glanced over by a dull cloud.

The unicorn I followed whinnied at the herd. They looked up from whatever it was they were doing – perhaps some mysterious gathering of ancient rites – and gazed in our direction.

The horse-like creatures alerted at my strange presence. The young ones whinnied like laughter. Elder unicorns huffed and scoffed, turning their backs away and then glancing over their shoulders.

The silver unicorn nudged me forward with her nose, gently. I found myself in the middle of the herd’s gathering place. This could be it, you weirdo. I looked around at the creatures and smiled. But what a way to go if it is! With real, live unicorns in some… other dimension, I guess.

The two dozen or so unicorns took turns approaching me apprehensively, yet curious. I stood as still as I could, never raising a hand or finger, except when I had to sneeze. The movement startled the young ones and made the older ones balk. But I was sure the sneeze itself would have done more damage.

An older male seemed keen on me and approached more quickly than I was comfortable with. But before I could shield myself, his nose was pressed against my shoulders, inhaling a colossal whiff. He sneezed and nickered, then backed away casually.

Apparently, I passed whatever test they had for me. The silver unicorn tossed her mane and whinnied, pawed at the ground for a moment drawing their attention again, and then turned to stare at me.

“I’m sorry. I wish I knew what you wanted.”

The herd took a step back.

“Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t speak,” I whispered.

The silver unicorn nuzzled me with her nose again. I reached out hesitantly, hoping to pat the sparkling coat. It should have felt like sequins or sharp little diamond nubs, but it was smooth as silk and soft as rabbit’s fur.

The youngest looking unicorn – fluffy as a baby penguin – sauntered over to me, whinnying lightly. She leaned into me, nuzzling my side with her nose like she’d seen the silver unicorn do. I reached out, feeling the hush fall over the otherwise shimmering creatures. I touched her coat. Somehow, it was even softer than the silver unicorn’s and four times fluffier. Like petting a cloud.

All but a few of the crotchetier-looking unicorns came and asked for a pat. It felt like I was making some kind of other-worldly connection. And, I suppose I was.

As each creature nuzzled in for comfort, I felt slight tingles run through my body. I guess they’re magical or something? I… I don’t know what to do with all of this! I believe in science. I believe in miracles, too. I believe… in unicorns, I guess!

A clearly elderly unicorn suddenly stamped his feet three precise times. The other unicorns froze and then looked at him. Almost… repentant?

It felt a bit like the elder unicorn’s face, aged and wizened slightly, turned deep amber and red with annoyance as it scolded the younger. I suppose there may be some kind of tribal or family structure?

The silver unicorn nuzzled me again. I looked into her eyes, mesmerized once more. Without realizing it, I began following her back down the path, away from this mystical gathering place. Then, before I knew it, we were at the portal entrance.

She nudged me in. I went. Mournful eyes accompanied a disappointed sigh. The portal closed.

I was alone in the wormhole. I wasn’t sure if walking was necessary but I had walked previously, so I moved forward. The wormhole shifted. Apparently, walking was necessary. I thought it would be a rushing portal like in Stargate. Oh, well.

For the briefest of moments, I contemplated what it would be like to stay in there forever. But then I realized I wouldn’t have any food or water and forever probably wouldn’t last that long. I kept walking.

The colors warped and shifted, pulling in around me. And then, I was back. On the other side. On the boring, human side on earth.

Something cracked behind me. I spun on my heels, hoping. But nothing was there. Just trees and underbrush.

I sighed and started walking back toward the stables again.

As I came upon the clearing, several of the bio-engineered unicorns were casually milling about, munching on grass, rolling in the dirt – acting like horses.

“We used narwhal DNA and mixed it with horse DNA.”

I spun to see the man standing just to the left of the stable.

“How long did you wait for me? How long was I gone?” I asked.

“About three hours,” he looked at his watch. “Did you hear me?”

I nodded, contemplating. Did I dare tell this nonbeliever? Would he make things worse? Or better? Would I ever find the portal and wormhole to the unicorn universe again? Would these man-made facsimiles remotely compare?

I do love horses. And narwhals…

I smiled at him. “Whose insane idea was that?”

“Mine,” he smiled. “I really shouldn’t tell you any of this. All hush-hush. I should call the authorities and have you arrested for trespassing.”

“But you won’t because I traveled through a wormhole to another dimension where unicorns live. Real unicorns.”

The man stared at me. “Real unicorns?”

“Non-bioengineered ones,” I said. “In another dimension. I… think.”

I was hardly a scientist, even if I was a bit of a sci-fi nut. I couldn’t say for sure what I had seen or where I had been. I just knew what it felt like.

My phone rang. I looked down and saw that it still miraculously had 45-percent battery remaining, so I answered it. “Hello?”

“Are you okay?” Soren’s kind voice reverberated over the line.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“You’re not sitting in a jail cell? I don’t need to fly down there and bail you out?”

I laughed and glanced over at the man beside me. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

“So, uh… What was it?”

I glanced at the man again, then cast an eye toward the stable where the unicorns were mindlessly wandering around, looking for grass to eat or oats to snack on.

“I’ll tell you about it in a little while. Right now, I think I’d better go.”

The man was waiting patiently for me to finish my call.

“What are you going to tell… her?” I asked.

The man shrugged. “There’s nothing to tell.”

I eyed him suspiciously. “Nothing?” I thought a second then nodded. “Yeah. I guess not. The power went out, damage occurred to the front fence. You repaired. Uh, you repaired it, right?”

“I was waiting for a certain, uh… well, let’s say fox to leave the grounds safely before I get that section repaired. Don’t want the little red-headed thing to get singed.”

I paused a second, then nodded, fingering my red braid. “Good idea. I’m sure that little fox appreciates it.”

“And I’m sure the fox will never return, right?”

“Uh, yeah. I’m sure that fox has at least somewhat cured her curiosity…”

“Good. Best of luck to you then. The power should be going up again in 10 minutes.”

I looked back over at the stables where the unicorns were milling around, then back at the man.

I struck out for the hill and climbed easily for a minute or two, then looked back down. The man was standing, watching me. Darn it. Can’t sneak any photos…

I climbed higher and crested the ridge. I tried to subtly snap a shot, but my phone definitely wasn’t going to allow for subtlety. By the time I could get a shot that wasn’t so blatant, I couldn’t see the unicorns. For a second, I thought about slinking down again for a picture, but then I looked at my watch and saw I had four minutes to make it back through the fence. It was still tempting. But, logic, in this case, won out, and I bolted for the fence a quarter mile away through the thick trees.

I barely slid through before I heard the fence spring to life and saw some sparks fly off. Good thing I didn’t wait.

Disappointed, I headed down the road again, now in broad daylight, and found my car. All those unicorns and not a photo to prove it. Man. And I could have taken one while I was in the other dimension… or whatever the heck that place was!

Driving back to Mom’s, I could have beaten myself silly for not thinking to do just that. But I gave myself some grace eventually. At least I was living in the moment. Soren always worries I’m thinking of other things too often and not relishing life as I live it. Well! He’ll enjoy this story, even if he won’t believe it. Although, I’m pretty sure he will. He won’t know what to make of it, but neither do I.

I called Soren as I neared Mom’s house.

“You okay, hon?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m okay. I made it out fine. No police involvement or anything.”

“How’d you swing that?” he laughed.

“Oh, you know me. Ridiculous charm and all that.”

“No, really,” he teased.

“Well, I’m not sure you’ll believe me,” I said.

“I believe you always,” he promised.

I related the whole thing, now parked at Mom’s, waiting to go in.

“Were they just… curious? About you? About humans, maybe?” Soren asked.

I looked in the rearview mirror at my face. “You mean… Like, the silver unicorn brought me to her dimension to prove to them that humans exist?”

Soren laughed, “Yeah. I mean… it kind of sounds like something you’d do if you were a horse or a bear or a beaver.”

“Like humans are a myth or something.”

I sat thinking about it. Maybe he was right.

“What else could that mean?”

I couldn’t be sure, of course, not speaking unicorn and all, but I’m pretty certain that’s what happened that day. The silver unicorn was as surprised to discover that humans exist as we were to discover there are real life, non-bioengineered unicorns on another plane.

I’m also confident that I’ll meet the silver unicorn again. Probably not on a mysterious unicorn farm in the woods of North Florida, but somewhere.