Flash Fiction Challenge #18: That’s Right, I Said *Unicorn*

Flash Fiction, the lothgoliar, writing
So, our flash fiction challenge this week at Terrible Minds was to write about the unicorn, but in different ways than it usually is. When I hear ‘usual’ or ‘common’, I think of Harry Potter and using the unicorn blood, or I don’t know… there are a lot of movies like that. This is actually an extension of The Lothgoliar that I decided to write, based on just a small bit of the story that one of the main characters, Gemini, happened to mention. So, please enjoy.
newlothgoliartitle
Equis Cornius
Its grunting and breathing grew more rapid in its retreat. It shook its head this way and that, warning off its attacker. Saliva foamed at its lips.
Gemini held out his hand and clicked his tongue, creeping slowly forwards in an effort not to scare the creature. It—he glanced down—she was panicking. If she managed to escape, the whole month’s work of tracking her would have been wasted.
He supposed he was an unusual sight as well. He was not the typical human that this creature would be used to stumbling across or watching from afar.
He clicked his tongue again.
“Come,” he whispered. “I won’t harm you.”
They all told him he was insane to pursue this animal. But after the humans shot arrow after arrow at her, one piercing her hindquarters and lodging there, it seemed a reasonable thing to do to help her.
The animal whinnied and threw its front legs in the air, hoofs smacking only empty space in her threat.
“I’m here to help,” Gemini whispered. “Please…” He took another step forwards.
The horse huffed and looked desperately this way and that. Gemini had cornered her into a narrow depression in the rock face of the cliff. If she wanted to escape, she would have to muster up the courage to charge past him. He had a feeling this action was not too far off. What he was doing was dangerous. He knew this, but despite his relative youth, he was too old to take orders from anyone.
Her hindquarters skimmed the rock behind her, and the arrow that her flash had healed around caught. She whinnied again and jumped away, bucking at the wall in response to the pain.
Clicking his tongue again, he stepped forwards, beckoning with his hand once more, and said, “You’re injured. Please, let me help.”
But the unique horse only grew more agitated. Gemini wondered if she knew how few of her remained in Europe. Perhaps the knowledge of their reduced numbers and the need to keep their species from extinction had been somehow bred into these past few generations. Gemini had never encountered one so skittish. But it was in obvious pain, which would account for some of the panic.
Now, the creature spotted something over Gemini’s shoulder and he knew this was the moment she would try to flee. Before he could prepare to take flight, she charged at him.
Her eyes were so wide with fear that he could see the whites of them as she neared, and froth flew from her mouth as she swung her head left and right.
And the animal—the equis cornius, as his kind referred to them, translating from Lentar into horned horse—found its target. In that instant, Gemini watched as the dulled end of the horn, no longer as sharp as that of a teenager’s fresh growth, penetrated the right side of his ribcage.
He fell to the ground at the impact and the horse continued to run, so the horn did less damage than Gemini had expected to have to contend with. Her back right hoof landed on his abdomen. Gemini rolled onto his front, his left wing cramping from having landed hard on a sharp rock. He jumped to his feet, saw the blood leaking from the wound in his chest, and ignored it. It would be a story to tell.
It was difficult to take flight in the woods because of low hanging branches and brush, so he ran. He and the horse were a smart match. He expected that she was hindered by the pain in her upper left thigh, where the arrow still moved with her, but he was glad for this. He was closing in on her.
The wound in his chest ached slightly. If the attack had gone any differently, she may have punctured his lung, and if he could not get help soon enough, his existence would cease. That was unacceptable.
He jumped over a log and realized that they were coming to a shallow river. The horse jumped into the bed, turned left, and galloped along the bank, splashing through the water. Gemini took this as his opportunity. He lifted from the ground and flew high enough that she should not hear him at all. It was the ever pursuing footsteps and crackling that was causing her to continue her flight. 
She began to slow down. Gemini soared closer, almost hovering over her. Now she was at a slow walk. She snapped her head back and tried to bite at the arrow without success. When she turned her attention to the riverbed for a drink of water, Gemini descended upon her and landed on her back. He wrapped his legs around her barrel and held tightly. The horse bucked and whinnied, and then sprinted in a blind panic.
Gemini held her mane with his right hand and leaned backwards towards the arrow with his left. He grasped the thin wooden shaft it as the animal jerked beneath him and wriggled it back and forth.
Now the horse snapped back at him. Her teeth were mere inches from his face and he held it as far back as he could. When he believed the arrow had loosened from the muscle, he yanked. Skin and blood came with the arrow head, but at least the head came with the shaft. He threw it to the ground as the horse continued to snap at him, and using his calf muscles, pushed himself off her and into the air.
He descended carefully to his feet, now standing the shallow river. He watched as the equis cornius, nicknamed the unicorn by the stupid, uneducated humans, continued down the river, a red patch of blood staining her gray fur. Her white mane trailed behind her.
Gemini watched the creature, as rare as his own kind, with a satisfied smile until she rounded a bend. Then he set off home with his own wounds to tend to and proof that he had done what they all said he could not do.
© Lindsay Mawson, 2011
Extension of The Lothgoliar © Lindsay Mawson, 2010
Find out ways to purchase The Lothgoliar at www.lmawson.com/lothgoliar

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