The waves were coming in under the thick, swirling sky, growing as slowly as trees as they bulged across the sea. They crouched as they neared the shore, arching their backs higher and higher, and then sprang up the beach as furiously as trapped animals bounding at a wall and falling back with a sobbing snarl to leap again and again, claws caked and breaking, while the ugly birds yelled mournfully. The waves were gray and green as pigeons until they broke, and then they were the color of the hair that blew across her eyes.
"There," a strange, high voice said close to her. "There they are." King Haggard was grinning at her and pointing down to the white water. "There they are," he said, laughing like a frightened child, "there they are. Say that they are not your people, say that you did not come here searching for them. Say now that you have stayed all winter in my castle for love."
The unicorn was weary of human beings. Watching her companions as they slept, seeing the shadows of their dreams scurry over their faces, she would feel herself bending under the heaviness of knowing their names. Then she would run until morning to ease the ache; swifter than rain, swift as loss, racing to catch up with the time when she had known nothing at all but the sweetness of being herself.
"The others have gone," she said. "They are scattered to the woods they came from, no two together, and men will not catch sight of them much more easily than if they were still in the sea. I will go back to my forest too, but I do not know if I will live contentedly there, or anywhere. I have been mortal, and some part of me is mortal yet. I am full of tears and hunger and the fear of death, though I cannot weep, and I want nothing, and I cannot die. I am not like the others now, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but I do. I regret."
"I suppose I was young when I first saw them," King Haggard said. "Now I must be old- at least I have picked many more things up than I had then, and put them all down again. But I always knew that nothing was worth the investment of my heart, because nothing lasts, and I was right, and so I was always old. Yet each time I see my unicorns, it is like that morning in the woods, and I am truly young in spite of myself, and anything can happen in a world that holds such beauty."
I know you. I almost knew you as soon as I saw you on the road, coming to my door with your cook and your clown. Since then, there is no movement of yours that had not betrayed you. A pace, a glance, a turn of the head, the flash of your throat as you breathe, even your way of standing perfectly still-- they were all my spies.
But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. 'Where have you been?' Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn's old dark eyes that looked down.
'I am here now,' she said at last.
Molly laughed with her lips flat. 'And what good is it to me that you're here now? Where were you twenty years ago, ten years ago? How dare you, how dare you come to me now, when I am this?' With a flap of her hand she summed herself up: barren face, desert eyes, and yellowing heart. 'I wish you had never come, why do you come now?' The tears began to slide down the sides of her nose.
The prince said, 'Who is she Molly? What kind of woman is it who believes -- who knows, for I saw her face -- that she can cure wounds with a touch, and who weeps without tears?' Molly went on about her work, still humming to herself. 'Any woman can weep without tears,' she answered over her shoulder, 'and most can heal with her hands. It depends on the wound. She is a woman, Your Highness, and that's riddle enough.'
Prince Lir stood between her body and the Bull, weaponless, but with his hands up as though they still held a sword and shield. Once more in that endless night, the prince said, 'No.'
He looked very foolish, and he was about to be trampled flat. The Red Bull could not see him, and would kill him without ever knowing that he had been in the way. Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him, and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold: it spilled through his skin, sprang from his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold, too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, 'I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.'
My name is Gabrielle and I am twenty-eight years old. I began to self-injure at age fifteen -- so nearly thirteen years minus a two year period. This website is one about self-injury (self-harm), made to let self-injurers know that they are not alone and to help their friends and family learn more about self-injury and how it affects their loved one.