Story Outline

  • I come into the mall early in the morning. I think about places that are full of people, and how much I love them when they are empty. It reminds me of being in the woods. Every place has their secrets, but they whisper them. You have to listen very closely.

  • I see a unicorn. It doesn’t look anything like a horse. It is far too elegant and beautiful and sad. It has some kind of mark on its flank. I walk up to it, but it stays out of the way. I let it go. I don’t push it.

  • I break into the Best Buy, and disable the security system. The guys can take care of the rest.

  • That evening, I opened an expensive bottle of wine. I like to sip it, with my eyes closed, and just drift, let my eyes play out what they will. This night, they were all unicorn. I had never seen something so beautiful.

  • I go back to the mall the next morning. I look for the unicorn. At first, I don’t see it. Then, just as I am leaving, it is there. I realize I can’t see it if I am looking for it. It walks up to me, very nearly.

  • That night I go gambling, or something. Poker is my game, and I play to lose. I play for the thrill of it. If I ever start to respect money, I will become a terrible person.

  • I go back the next morning, to see the unicorn. But I don’t look, this time. I just wander around, and try to hear the secrets. Eventually, I lie down. I fall asleep. I have a dream of a blue monster, coming up to get me. The unicorn comes by, and drives them away, by weaving a shroud over me. I wake up with a moment of panic, realizing I fell asleep in the mall after I broke in. There are people all around me. But they don’t notice me. I know it was the unicorn. It protected me.

  • The next morning I am back again. The unicorn is waiting for me. It beckons me, and I follow. It leads me down to one of the stores. It is a nicknack shop. It is dark, but I can see something inside, glowing.

  • I come back that afternoon, and I see a white crystal, in the shape of the mark on the unicorn’s flank. I ask how much that is, and the shopkeeper smiles and suddenly looks horrible, and says it is not for sale. That is part of her personal collection. I realize what I have to do.

  • The next morning, I got to the shop. The unicorn is looking inside, with longing. I pick the padlock, and reach to open the door. My fingers start to blacken, and one of them flakes into ash. I realize there is more protection here than just a lock. The unicorn comes over to me. I stroke its main of silk and feathers.

  • I recall a job I once did, and how you did strange things, in this profession. You take whatever job you can get. I remember I was with a crew once outside Pasadena, and we had a job robbing this park ranger who was supposed to have unusual protections. We brought this crazy old hippie, and he lit some candles or something, and it was no problem. It just so happens he is in town. I know what I have to do.

  • The next day I show up at the mall again, with a bag full of supplies. I start to set up, with incense and candles and the like. The unicorn is there, but she keeps her distance. Finally I get in, and it is fine. I reach up to get the crystal, and the owner says, “so that is how it is to be, then?” I say that it is. She has no right to this. She says that it couldn’t last forever, she supposes. There is nothing she can do to stop me. I go out, and I give the crystal to the unicorn. She licks it, like a salt lick, maybe. She licks my fingers, and they are healed. She stands in a bunch of sunbeams and she is gone.

  • I think about it, and how I won’t forget, but I have to go get some sleep. I have a job in the afternoon.

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