“Hi mum… yeah… yeah, I’m just on my way to work… Yes, I’m coming for tea on Saturday…. No, I’m fine, I’m just -” I sigh, “I just have a weird feeling about today… No it’s not something I ate. It just feels like somethings going to… happen… Okay… okay. Alright, mum, I gotta go, tunnel!”
The connection cuts off abruptly. As it always does when my mother always calls me in the morning and always asks if I’m on my way to work. One of these days I’ll tell her I’m on a plane to China, really throw her off her guard.
I set my head against the hard seat and let the rattle of the train lull me into a trance. On autopilot now, I sense more than see that I’m at my stop. I step off the carriage, nodding at a couple more zombie-like commuters who also get this train every day, of every week, of every month. We have some strange, silent truce not to burden each other with small talk.Before I know it I’m down the stairs, turned left and striding along the street in the vague direction of my workplace. I realise at some point that I’ve crossed a main road and I scare myself because, knowing me, I didn’t use the crossing and that road is really busy. I could have got myself killed.
Habit twists my head to appreciate the only bit of green on my grey, urban commute. I squint a little in the morning sun and smile at the unicorn standing in the small, pitiful excuse for a park before turning back to the road and –
I slowly step backwards and turn to look again at the small stretch of grass.
It’s still there.
It’s looking at me.
Oh Jesus Christ it’s talking to me.
I quickly turn back and walk away, resolving to drink a lot of water when I get to the office and Google what vivid hallucinations might be a symptom of.
“Hey, I’m talking to you!”
Oh God it’s following me.
I whirl and face the pure-white, glittering creature.
“Don’t call me lady. And also, you’re not real and I’m not talking to you.”
“Aw that hurts. You can see me, I am real. Hey, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
The unicorn blinks and wriggles his eyebrows at me. Do unicorns usually have eyebrows?
“Come on,” he said, “Not even a smile? Straight from the horse’s mouth. Cos I’m like… come on.”
I’m hallucinating a unicorn and it’s making dad jokes. I really hope I’ve somehow contracted some horrible tropical disease.
I turn and fast-walk away.
“Hey! Hey, girl. Stay and talk to me a minute. I’m real horny.”
I whirl again and stare angrily at the unicorn, who has the biggest, cheesiest grin on his long face.
“Y’know… ‘cos of my horn and… y’know.”
“I get it.”
Oh no, people are staring. Never answer the voices in your head. Never. Especially when those voices are a unicorn hitting on you.
“Aw don’t leave now baby!” the unicorn calls after me, “there’s something even bigger in store for you! ‘Cos y’know, I have a big – ”
But he’s too far away for me to hear the end of his crude joke. I’m sprinting now, anxious, afraid; what’s happening to me?
I’m still running when a boom knocks me onto my back.
I stumble to my feet, gaping at the sky in horror.
A gigantic rip has appeared, black sky dotted with twinkling stars visible beyond. And… something is spilling out of it. From here it looks like thousands of giant bugs.
I feel my throat close and my tongue go dry. I turn but the unicorn is gone. So is everyone. The street is deserted.
I fumble in my pocket for my phone and manage to pull up my mum’s contact. My hands are shaking so much I have to put it on speaker.
The dial tone seems to ring out forever.
“Mum. Something’s happened.”
Flash Fiction Challenge Day Two: “An Unexpected Event”.