About the Story
I had this idea for a story. A story about a unicorn. A Western about a unicorn and a unicorn rider, with virginity and all that but set in the modern world. But I know nothing about horses, so I approached my friend and critique partner Sara A. Mueller, who has been riding and showing horses since she was eight, for advice. We brainstormed the story together late one night at a party at OryCon, and that was so much fun we sat together over a couple of writing sessions and co-wrote the whole thing. She’s the one who’s responsible for Misty’s mom, and the pink Wranglers, and “a barracuda in a double-A bra.”
Sailing in slow motion above the sand of the arena floor, Misty thought “This is going to hurt.”
Just a moment ago she’d been in the saddle, nudging Vulcan through a shoulder-in, concentrating on moving the unicorn’s right back hoof toward his left shoulder, getting him used to working in this building. It was new, still smelled of paint, and was making all the animals edgy.
And then some moron in the stands had lit up a goddamn cigarette.
Misty’s spur caught on the saddle as Vulcan whirled out from under her, alabaster coat and flaxen mane blurring past her eyes. She couldn’t get her hip under her and hit the ground on her left knee. It did hurt — it hurt like a sumbitch. She gasped from the pain, pulling in a breath full of shavings and manure dust as she rolled away from Vulcan’s sharp cloven hooves. The last thing she needed was an enraged four-hundred-pound unicorn stepping on her head.
Somewhere on the stands, she could hear her groom Caroline shouting. There was shouting all around, and the metal voice from the announcer’s booth called out “Loose unicorn, Harry, close the gate!” No one wanted a Persian stud running loose on the fairgrounds.
Misty kept one arm wrapped around her throbbing knee and the other over her head, but she could still see Vulcan rearing and pounding the rail with his iridescent hooves, making the hollow steel ring and tipping his head sideways to lunge through the rails with the double-edged spiral of his horn. His scream of rage echoed in the high hollow ceiling as he struggled to reach the offending smoker. Caroline pushed the stupid addict toward the exit, bellowing “Whoa, Vulcan! God-dammit, whoa!”
And the stupid beast whoa’d. He dropped right to his feet and gave a self-satisfied snort, pleased and proud that he’d defended his rider from the vicious cigarette. Misty rocked, holding her knee. Damn idiot animal. Caroline vaulted over the rail, dropped the six feet to the arena floor, and caught Vulcan’s reins. Crisis controlled.