Mom, Dad’s a Unicorn Now
By: David Serra
“Don’t go Mom,” begged Arlene, “Can’t you cancel it?”
Our 10-year-old daughter clung to Heather’s arm while she was trying to pack. Heather knelt to Arlene and stroked her shoulder reassuringly. I stood in the doorway, not knowing where to look. My gaze darted back and forth from the suitcase to the window.
“It’s okay, honey. It’s only for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back before you know it.”
“What about school?” Arlene asked.
“Dad will take care of everything, plus your Aunt Muriel will also be over for a couple of weeks.”
Arlene’s head drooped.
I heard soft footsteps approach behind me. Lily, our 7-year-old daughter, sleepily came up to the doorway holding her stuffed unicorn toy.
“Lily, go back to bed,” I gently said.
“Did Mom leave yet?” She asked.
“No, not yet, come on back to bed. You too, Arlene, it’s late.”
Arlene rushed out into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I sighed and ushered Lily back into her bedroom, Heather followed us. After she tucked Lily into bed and kissed her forehead we both headed back to our room. Heather continued packing as she spoke.
“It’ll go by fast, Gerald. You can handle things while I’m away, right?”
“I’ve got it all under control. You have a safe trip and call me when you get there, okay?”
“Will do and don’t worry. Muriel will be here after I leave. She’ll help you out.”
“Yeah, I know. If anything goes wrong I’ll give you a call.”
“Great, now help me go over my checklist.”
I wanted to believe that everything was under control; little did I know I was dead wrong.
The next day, I helped Heather with her suitcases when the taxicab arrived. Lily and Arlene stared vacantly at us from the front porch. I couldn’t help but feel a tad worried. Heather caught the expression on my face.
“It’s only a business trip.” She said.
“I’ll let you know when the plane lands.”
“Great, see you in a couple of weeks.”
We embraced, she slipped into the taxicab, and it took off down the road. I looked back at the front porch. Both our daughters were inside. I felt a lump of unease in my stomach but tried to ignore it.
Later that afternoon, I had to drag Arlene and Lily to the grocery store. We were in the process of picking up supplies when someone asked, “Sir?”
I turned to a woman, who looked liked she was in her 70s, at a table holding out a small plastic cup of clear purple liquid.
“Try one?” she asked.
“What is it?”
“A new type of fruit juice that’s hot in supermarkets.”
My sight went back and forth from her to the cup. Gingerly I took it and downed the juice. Strangely there was no flavor or scent to it, it was like drinking water.
“Well?” asked the woman.
“It doesn’t seem to have much of a flavor.”
“That’s the beauty of it.”
She took the cup away from me and started to pack up her supplies in a hurry. Lily, Arlene, and I stared at her as she gathered her supplies and headed for the exit.
When we arrived back home, Arlene and Lily helped me unpack the groceries. We were going through and putting away supplies when I felt dizzy. I shook my head and instinctively headed for the stairs.
“Are you okay, Dad?” I heard Arlene ask.
“Fine, give me a minute.”
I stumbled up the stairs and went into my bedroom, shutting the door behind me. I gripped my chest as an uncomfortable feeling swept throughout my body. I tried to get into bed when I collapsed on the floor, thrashing and groaning as an unutterable pain took over me. I could feel myself stretch, change, and reshape. I brought my hands to my face. They cracked and reformed into cloven hooves. I could feel a similar thing happen to my feet, with my limbs lengthening and becoming equine. All of my clothes tore off from my redeveloping body. My neck grew longer with my face protruding out into a muzzle. My ears grew long and pointy, shifting to the top of my head. I could feel my tailbone sprout and redevelop into a long tail that ended in a tuff of light-gray fur. My hair fell out and was replaced with a white coat, with a long light-gray mane that started from the top of my head to the back of my neck. I felt a splitting headache coming on as a long pointed horn grew out from my forehead. The last finishing touches completed my new body as exhaustion took over me. I rested on the floor and fell into a deep sleep. I faintly heard someone knocking at the door before I heard the sound of footsteps leaving. I drifted off into my dreams.
Morning came sooner than I expected. I slowly opened my eyes and sleepily lifted my head off the floor. Looking around I gazed at my torn-up clothes and then at my new body. I tried to remain as calm as I could, only to feel panic building up inside of me. I strained up and staggered on my newly-formed legs towards the dresser mirror. I was astonished by what I saw. I was a fine-bodied unicorn stallion, sleek and muscular with a smooth white coat and a flourishing light-gray mane. As I stared at my new equine-like face in the mirror, I noticed the long and pointy horn that protruded from my forehead. My long tail, which to me bizarrely resembled a cross between a lion’s and a giraffe’s, swished behind me as I took myself in from all angles. I realized that my eyes looked the same, except they were slightly bigger and glossy. I could’ve stood there for hours staring at my reflection if the phone hadn’t rung at that moment.
I jolted at the sound and stared at the phone on the nightstand by the bed. The voice of Heather came over the answering machine.
“Hey guys, how’s it going? I made it here safe and sound. Gerald, I hope you help the girls do their homework. See you all in two weeks and remember to have fun. Love you all! Bye!”
I staggered towards the bedroom door when there was a knock on it.
“Daddy, are you okay?” I heard Lily ask on the other side.
Panic built up inside me again. I knew there was no beating around the bush. I cleared my throat and said, “Open the door, Lily.”
The door swung open and nearly hit me in the muzzle. I stumbled back and bumped into my bed. Regaining my balance, I turned to face Lily. She was staring at me intently, wide-eyed, and mouth agape. I flashed a sheepish grin.
“Hi… Lily,” I managed to say.
Lily jolted back when I said that. She hurried down the hall into Arlene’s room. I could hear them from where I was standing.
“Lily! What are you doing in here?” Arlene groggily said.
“There’s a unicorn in our house.”
“Lily now’s not the time.”
I heard their footsteps approach me from the hallway. My heart rate went into overdrive. Both of my daughters entered the room. When Arlene saw me she let out a loud gasp.