The Brutes

The one thing Nightmare didn’t anticipate was how loud the horses would be. She was at the lead, riding her blue unicorn and there must have been fifty horses behind her. The hooves hitting shale was deafening. Usually her pointed fairy ears were able to block things out, especially when it involved humans. This time it was hard- maybe because of their sheer number. In addition to the hooves and the horse grunts she was forced to hear the humans’ banal conversations about beer and roadhouse strippers. Even the sound of someone in the back of the troop scratching their neck or rolling a cigarette was annoying. She’d hear the fingernails grating against the sunburnt skin or the tobacco sprinkling on the paper and then the tongue sealing it closed. Humans were always smoking and chewing tobacco and drinking beer and all of these sounds were repulsive to her. She focused instead on the music of unicorn’s breathing- it was like distant sleigh bells and with every exhalation tiny twinkling stars blew out of the unicorn’s nostrils. She honed in on the sleigh bell melody and watched the sparkles and felt much better.

As the moon rose they reached the Great River. The wind picked up, carrying a smattering of snowflakes. This is where the ambush happened. They came from all sides, dropping down from the trees and springing up from the earth, tearing the humans’ necks open or ripping their hearts straight through their boney chests. These were bad fairies. Their mouths were overfilled with sharp black fangs and they had three horns sticking straight out of their foreheads. Nightmare grabbed a human baby from the arms of its fallen mother and took off into the sky just as one of the bad fairies ripped her unicorn’s flank. It shrieked and bled purple stars as they rose above the water. Another bad fairy landed on her back and bit one of her ears. She stabbed it with a twin-bladed magical dagger and it fell screaming down into the river.

Resting with the unicorn on a snowy cloud above, she rocked the crying human baby in her arms. She could only watch the rest being torn to pieces below. Those are your people, she told the baby. They are ugly, ornery, brutes that smell rancid but they don’t deserve to die like that. The baby became still and stared down at the carnage, moonlight shining in its brown eyes. Someday you will avenge them.




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