The report came in from the NYC team midmorning. Someone had put up a missing unicorn flyer, and it had gone viral. His friend, dream guide–and let’s face it, his keeper–told him about it over breakfast.
“It’s struck a chord,” Beth said, pouring herself a cup of tea.
Merlin ate a mushroom and red pepper omelet with gusto. Even after all these centuries of life, he still appreciated well-prepared food. “So?”
“What would happen if we created a unicorn and set her loose in Central Park?”
Merlin laughed. “Chaos. It would be the Second Coming, the apocalypse, and End Times all at once.”
“The world is a depressing place. Why not give people something wonderful to talk about?”
“Not a good idea. The first thing they’d do is fight over who owns it. Then they’d attribute its presence to some non-existent deity, after which they’d take blood and body samples to determine how it got its horn. The poor beast would be paraded throughout the world, and when it wasn’t on show, locked up somewhere ‘for her safety.'” He sipped orange juice. “I would not see her suffer so.”
“But you could dream the unicorn as a symbol of hope. Everyone who saw her would work toward creating a brighter future.”
Over the centuries, he’d dreamed wonderful things into existence: dolphins, Mt. Everest, diamonds, vacations, running shoes, rainbows… the list was endless. Yet everything they’d come up with to make humans happier had been used and abused and eventually broken. It made him sad. The species was defective. They seemed incapable of making positive decisions, even when faced with dire circumstances.
He pushed the plate away. “I don’t want to dream anymore. I don’t like the way my gifts are treated. No unicorn.” He stood. “I will never give them a unicorn.” He gave her a stern look. “Promise me you will never let me dream of one.”
After a long, tense moment, she finally nodded. “No unicorns.”
“I mean it. If you make me dream one into existence, I will immediately undream it. Do you understand?” He rarely took such a strong position, but he felt it was necessary in this case.
Scowling, she buttered a piece of toast. “I get it. No unicorn ever.” She bit and chewed and swallowed. “What should we give them instead? They are suffering greatly these days.”
“It’s their own fault,” he grumbled.
“Yes, yes,” she said impatiently. “We’ve discussed this a million times, but I really think they need something joyous in their lives.”
He’d given and given and given until he was nothing more than a dried up husk and still humans did not learn or grow or progress. Frowning, he marched from the room and out into the garden.
I’m done. You get nothing more from me. Tonight, I dream my death, and happy I will be to return to the stars.
Dear people of Planet Earth: you are on your own.
Word count: 494
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