I don’t understand why other people don’t understand to stop texting me. I got a text from my little brother after I specifically told him I was off the texting plan. Oh sure, he’d play dumb and say he forgot, but he did that all the time. He forgot everything. And there went my phone – beeping on the kitchen table, blinking and vibrating and going crazy with at least FIVE text messages. Well, ok, not five. Three. But those were three text messages that I had to pay for. Whatever. What did Kevin want, anyway? Only one way to find out. So, I picked up my phone and reluctantly pressed the button to retrieve his texts.
u goin 2 shibas 2nite
Shibas was a club downtown, and typically on Fridays my brother and I’d meet there for drinks and dancing. He was always looking to pick up chicks and I was always looking for an excuse to get out of the house and move a little. And maybe to meet a guy, but yeah, like that ever happened. So I picked up the phone and texted him back, seeing dollar signs as I did so, but either way, I replied.
yeah ill go. dont text me anymore just call ok? i dont have texts anymore. im payin for this shit
My coffee was done, so I set down the phone and grabbed a mug from the cabinet. Pulling the glass pot away from the coffee maker, I breathed in the aroma of a fresh brew. I poured myself a cup, took a quick sip, and placed the pot back where it belonged. It was strong and that was how I liked my coffee. Strong. Though I also liked hazelnut cream and a bit of sugar, so I multitasked, pulling the sugar down from a neighboring spice rack with one hand, and opening the fridge to get the creamer with the other. Then my phone went off again. Another text. It had to be Kevin, completely ignoring what I JUST said in my previous text to him. I set down the sugar and creamer on the counter next to my coffee and walked over to the table. I picked up my phone, rolling my eyes. Sure enough – yeah it was him. I had to pause a moment and think: why the hell didn’t I just call Kevin back? Why did I have to check his reply?
o ok sorry ill stop w the text. ill call u 2nite
He texted me back to tell me he wasn’t going to text me anymore. Nice. That was my little brother for you. Shaking my head, I returned to my coffee. I mixed in the sugar and creamer until it was just right. Then I raised the drink to my lips, contentedly sipping at it like a nursing child. Coffee was my vice, but not anymore. I couldn’t help it then, I was addicted. But I can’t drink it now. Not since that day…
I sat down at the kitchen table, flipping open my laptop to read the news. Yeah. The news on a laptop – in digital format. I couldn’t help but think I should’ve been reading an actual newspaper, keeping those printing press people in business. Keeping them in a job. Christ I was lazy. But either way, that was my morning routine. How very modern of me; my coffee and my computer.
So many of the headlines were junk, even in the regular news. Politicians mudslinging one another on this or that. Psychology experts telling people that if they don’t hug their children more often it will stunt their growth. And a slew of internet ads trying to sell me on 1 dollar car insurance. It was at that moment my eye caught a headline that I’ll never forget.
GIANT SNAKE FOUND IN VENTILATION SYSTEM OF CORPORATE OFFICE.
Really? A giant snake, huh? Was that for real? It wasn’t that a giant snake was anything to write home about. There are plenty of giant snakes in this world. Plenty of anacondas, Burmese pythons, and other large, legless reptiles. But the way those people worded everything – it read almost like a National Enquirer sort of headline. They didn’t even name the species of the snake right away, playing the creature off as more of a monster than an animal. But if you read through the article, which I shamefully did, they did, eventually, admit that it was a “very large” boa constrictor. I smiled and gave an abrupt snort of disapproval. Sorry but that wasn’t news. How many times have escaped boa constrictors made headlines over the years? Plenty, I’d say. Enough times to put a cap on any further boa constrictor stories. But those people must have been hurting for news. And speaking of hurting, the ridiculousness of the whole thing made my head hurt, so I slammed my laptop shut, sipping my coffee in a fit of humiliation for even entertaining the idea of reading “news” that wasn’t newsworthy.
With a sigh, I stood from the kitchen table, coffee in hand, and stretched as carefully as possible so as to not spill it. Then I walked over to the bay window, adjacent to my kitchen table, knowing it was time to face the sunlight.
I grabbed the cord and pulled up the venetian blinds and that was when everything got thrown out of whack – which I admit is an understatement. As soon as the blinds went up and my eyes adjusted to the view of my backyard, I jumped and screamed, spilling coffee down the front of my pajama pants.
There was… a horse in my backyard!
“What the fuck?!” I yelled.
But I didn’t get a good look at it right away. Within seconds I was on my knees with a paper towel, sopping up coffee from the linoleum. My pants were stained and there was no way I was going to let coffee set in. (They were nice pj’s, after all.) So all the while I’m stripping off my pants, rushing them to the washing machine, I thought, “What the hell was a horse doing out there? Did I just see that? No way. There’s no way.”
I put on a fresh pair of jeans – it was time to get out of my pajamas anyway. Then I returned to the kitchen to inspect the backyard again. Sure enough, there it was. A horse. A white horse, to be exact. But there was something peculiar about it. The sun was rather bright in the morning and always came in strong on that side of the house, so I squinted to get a better look.
“Is that a… horn on its head?”
It was. There was a horn on the thing’s head. A unicorn horn. My mind raced, trying to figure out the logistics of what was happening in my backyard. There was a white horse with a horn stuck to its head, grazing through my bushes, flicking its tail back and forth.
“This has got to be a prank,” I said.
With every shred of disregard for my phone bill, I snatched my cell from the kitchen table and immediately texted Kevin.
- you are never going to believe whats in my backyard.
- i thought u werent texting??
- shut up. nevermind that. theres a horse in my backyard.
- im serious. its in my backyard and thats not all. its white and has a horn on its head.
- k now i know ur fukin w me
As if it were second nature, I raised my cell phone to the glass window and clicked the “camera” button. When the viewscreen popped up, I positioned it over a clear shot of the horse and pressed the button again. The phone made a faux snapshot sound, storing the image file to its sim card. With haste, I attached it to a text message and sent it to Kevin. The whole ordeal took me less than a minute and I was sweating as if I had just performed microsurgery. I watched the little icon on my phone twirl around, indicating that the image was transmitting to a giant satellite in space, then bouncing off from that and nose-diving straight to my brother’s phone.
My phone beeped and vibrated again. I eagerly opened his message.
- WUT THE FUK
- i told you.
- is it a unicorn? lol wut the fuk
- i think its someones idea of a stupid joke. what do i do?
- lol dont do a thing im COMIN over!
While Kevin was on his way, I decided to walk out onto the deck, overlooking the backyard. There was a door attached to my garage that led out that way. As I shut the door behind me, I realized how quiet I was trying to be. I didn’t want to startle the animal – but I wanted to get a better look at it.
If it was indeed a prank, whoever put this together was a genius. This horse really looked the part. It was actually very beautiful. Its coat was pure white – not a drop of filth or bugs or blemishes along its skin. The mane was as equally as pristine, and it radiated in the sunlight as if it glowed. The horn was tall and pointed, maybe almost a foot high. It was the color of bone, with a hint of detail along the length of it – there appeared to be grooves or etchings. I couldn’t tell from that far away. The animal sputtered softly and paced along my bushes, nibbling on flowers. I was a bit annoyed by that, but hesitant to yell at it. I had no idea what someone went through to put it there in my garden, not to mention how they managed to get that horn on its head. I didn’t see any straps. My brain toyed with the idea of superglue, and then I was depressed over the realization of how cruel people could be toward animals.
Then something strange happened. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. As I said, I noticed the creature grazing about my garden, nibbling on plants and pretty much destroying every flower I put there. Then I noticed it sank its head deeper into my azalea bush, digging around down there as if it found something. And it was in that moment I could have sworn I heard a squeak, but before my ears could process the sound, the beast lifted its head, chomping on something loud and… crunchy.
It was a rabbit.
“What… the… fuck…”
It chewed and munched on the poor thing until blood, bones, and fur hung from its mouth. The rabbit’s blood stained the white lips of its attacker, making the resplendent equine appear slightly whorish. Less amused – and wholly more disturbed – I backed away through the door, returning to the garage. Admittedly freaked out, I closed and locked the door behind me and ventured back into my home.
I needed a break from the unnerving sight that I just saw. I took a moment to re-open my laptop and search the internet for information I never would’ve thought I’d ever need to investigate.
“do unicorns eat rabbits?”
Search results included:
What Do Unicorns Eat…?
Do Unicorns Eat Their Young…?
Do Unicorns Eat People…?
What Animals Eat Rabbits…?
What Do Rabbits Eat?
“You’ve gotta be shitting me.” Frustrated by information overload, I closed my laptop. Besides, unicorns weren’t real, I thought. Why was I investigating the dietary habits of unicorns? What the hell?
Suddenly, my front door buzzed. Kevin. I stood and raced to the door, happy he also had the day off to pretty much drop everything and come see this crap for himself. I opened the door and there he stood, smiling wide and holding a bag of Doritos.
“Picked this up at the gas station on my way. Want some?”
“No,” I said.
“Ok. Suit yourself.” He shoveled a handful into his mouth, wiping the cheese powder across the upper leg of his jeans. “Did you clean up around here? Oh hey also, what about Shibas tonight? I know you’re going, but do you want to ride together or…?
“Kevin!” I yelled.
“What?” A piece of a Dorito chip fell out of his mouth. “Oops…”
“There’s a giant, fucking… WEIRD animal in my backyard.” I paused. “That was why you came over, yeah?”
He laughed. “Ah yeah, I know. Lemme see this thing.”
He walked through the foyer and den, making his way to the kitchen. Kevin neared the bay window and shook his head. “Wow. Just wow! No way. I hate to sound cliché, but you do not see that every day!”
“So what do I do? Call animal control?”
“Probably,” he said.
“I’ll go look it up,” I sighed.
I reached for my laptop and Kevin walked over and put his hand over the lid. “Wait,” he said. “I wanna go out there.”
“Are you sure about that?” I asked.
“It’s just a horse.”
“I have to tell you something, I saw something. It, it was… not right. Actually it was weird.”
“Weird? What happened now? Did the Easter bunny show up too?”
“Shut up. No. That… thing in the yard… it ate a rabbit.” I grimaced when I rolled over the phrase ate a rabbit. Not that I was against eating rabbit meat, per say, but the idea of a horse doing it was… illogical. For some reason, that blew my mind to the point of disgust.
“Pff. Horses don’t do that.” Kevin laughed and walked over to the basement door. He knew it led down to an exit through the backyard.
“Well, that one did. I’m not kidding around.”
“Look,” I said, “I’m not going out there. That’s a big, strange animal in any case. Totally not comfortable with that.”
“Well you know what they say, right?”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Don’t pet stray… uh horses.”
I crossed my arms.
“I’ll only be a moment,” he said. Then Kevin disappeared into the basement. From the kitchen above, I heard him lift up the stick from the track of the sliding glass door below, letting it fall to the concrete floor with a loud crack. Then I heard the familiar sound of a door sliding along the track, stopping midway, then slamming back into the jamb of its frame. The kitchen shook a bit.
“Kevin is seriously going to break my door one of these days…” I muttered.
I approached the window and scanned the backyard. The back of my brother’s head came into view as he moved along the stone pathway, leading closer to the garden. The… unicorn… stood still, eyeballing Kevin as he inched closer. At one point he looked back up at me from below, giving me a thumbs up. I shook my head and smirked.
Kevin moved closer to the creature, and at that point I checked the animal for all the typical signs of equine aggression; stamping hooves, angry head-bobbing – it did none of that. I wasn’t a horse expert or anything, but the thing seemed rather calm. What caught my eye, however, wasn’t the unicorn’s behavior, but rather my brother’s. Suddenly this look came over him. His eyes fixated on the animal, almost trance-like. If I didn’t know Kevin any better, I would have thought he was stoned. That might have explained the Doritos – but he didn’t seem high when he walked through the door. As I watched him a glaze moved across his eyes. It was subtle, but obvious. It was like he stepped into a dream – a really fucked up dream with a giant unicorn that had a bloodstained mouth. He even smiled at it, albeit dopily. The unicorn stood motionless, unfazed by Kevin’s approach. Then he reached out a hand to touch its horn…
At that moment, the creature reared its head back, lifting two front hooves from the ground. Kevin didn’t move, and the animal came crashing down on top of him. I screamed, unsure of what to do or who to call. 911? Animal control? The Monster Squad? What was I supposed to do?
Kevin stumbled back to his feet, but briefly. The unicorn craned its neck and tore through his stomach with its horn, gutting him open. Blood came spilling out across my stone pathway, staining the green turf with a disturbing crimson hue. Then it trampled over him once again, stamping across his chest and face, repeatedly until Kevin stopped moving.
“Shit! Shit!” I picked up my phone and dialed 911.
The creature bent down and began to nibble at Kevin’s clothing, tracing its lips to the bloody gap along his gut. I saw what it was doing. I saw its large, white teeth… gnawing and tearing at Kevin’s skin. It was eating my brother.
“911 – what’s your emergency?”
“Help! Please come to address 4434 Wellington Circle! My brother is being attacked in the backyard!”
“Yes ma’am, we’ll send someone immediately. Can you describe the perpetrator?”
“It’s a… an animal.”
“An animal attack ma’am?”
“Can you describe the animal?”
“Just… just please get here fast! Hurry!” I hung up on the dispatcher. There was no feasible way I could explain to her what was happening.
Flattening my palms, I violently banged on the window, trying to startle the creature, hoping it would back off from Kevin. It didn’t pay any attention to me, and Kevin was no longer moving. It felt like I banged on the window until it was about to break, until flashing lights pulled up alongside the front of my house and the police arrived at my door.
I ran to the door, frantic and panicking, swinging it open and madly rushing the two officers to the basement.
“He’s out there! This leads to the backyard!” I yelled and stammered, unable to explain what the hell was happening in the yard – instead I just told them, “It’s EATING him! Hurry!”
Cops aren’t exactly robots, they are humans beings just like anyone else. And just like anyone else, I learned that it’s actually not impossible to freak them out. Between the illustrious performance I put on and the macabre, cryptic shit that came out of my mouth – those two police officers wanted to be anywhere but my house. And bless their hearts, they tried to remain stoic, but as soon as they stepped into the backyard, the terrifying sight before them caused the two to immediately draw their weapons.
“Stay inside,” one of them said, slamming the glass door shut. My house shook again and, briefly, I agonized over the repeated slamming of doors.
As I monitored the cops from behind the door, they both didn’t hesitate to pull their triggers, simultaneously I think. And I saw the looks of confusion and horror sweep across their faces as they knowingly fired on a unicorn-horse in the midst of devouring a bleeding, grown man. What made matters worse was that as soon as the bullets struck the animal, it reared back the same way it did with Kevin, and charged on the two police officers. Goring one, and back-kicking the other, the beast trampled and mutilated the two of them in under a minute. I saw no bullet wounds on the creature – it was as if they bounced right off. And at that moment, the thing must have gotten tired of all the commotion because it leapt over my fence and raced off into the dense woods behind my yard.
As time passed, more officers arrived on the scene, as well as an ambulance to take away the bodies. I was shocked and traumatized by everything – but of course mostly by my brother’s death. And after the shock wore off, utter bewilderment had set in. How was I to explain this decades down the road?
Q: “How did your brother pass away?”
A: “Hell if I know. How gullible are you?”
And the truth is, I still don’t talk about it much. When people ask, I’ve concocted many ways to skirt the issue. The only time I ever talked about it was when someone emailed me early one evening – they worked for the post, the very un-newsworthy newspaper I scoffed at each and every morning. Rumors from police must have made their way across town, and finally a journalist came sniffing around, curious as to what my end of the story held. I told them everything. Everything that I just told you here. Everything from the text messaging, to the glowing mane and bone-white horn, to the rabbit, to three dead bodies in my yard – and more.
And even though every shred of it was true – the journalist never emailed me back and the story never made headlines.