Is Jessie crazy or is she truly seeing the unimaginable in Gethdale?
I walk along a trail, seeking a place suitable to relax into my yoga routine, stunned by the beauty around me. Gethdale is a remarkable town. Semi-new to the area, I have yet to see nearly half of what it has to offer. I stand on a flat region surrounding me with crystalline, colorful stones. I look out and see a field covered with tall grass and wildflowers. There is a small river to the North. It's a gorgeous day, the sky clear and the temperature warm against my skin. I take a deep breath, allowing air to fill my lungs and slowly exhale, releasing any tension with the breath. This is the spot, I decide. I place my yoga mat on the ground to start meditating. Inhale, two, three, four, hold. Exhale, two, three, four. Instantaneously, I can feel my body submitting to the meditative state, which is pure relaxation. Inhale, two, three... The high pitched ringing of my cell phone disrupts any peace felt, causing even the birds to fly away chirping.
"Hello," I answer, annoyed for not turning off my phone.
"Hazel, what are you doing?" questions Jessie.
"I was just finishing up yoga down the road," I lie.
"I need to meet with you. It’s important," Jessie explains.
"Are you okay?" I ask.
"Just lemme know when you're home, alright?"
"Alright," I promise.
I stare out at the landscape, the view suddenly less peaceful and let out a sigh. "I'll be back," I say and head home, overcome with disappointment. The walk back is refreshing, even though I left the serenity behind. When I reach my cottage, Jessie is waiting at my front door, her face pale, as if she's seen something horrific. She jumps up, clearly nervous, and starts fiddling with her bracelet.
"What's going on?" I ask, suddenly nervous.
"I saw something and I don't know who to talk to," confesses Jessie.
"Me, I'm your best friend."
"I was walking through the woods and kept hearing something but it was so light and faint, I assumed it was a small animal. I didn't see anything at first." Jessie is rambling at this point, speaking quickly, her words beginning to jumble together, "but then I fell over a branch because I was nervous and moving too fast and that's when I saw it..."
"Who? Who'd you see?" I pry, assuming the worst.
"I saw a unicorn."
My hand instinctively goes to my chest. I lean over, in hysterics, laughing so hard, it comes out silently. "Girl, oh my God, thank you I needed that."
"Hazel, I'm serious," stresses Jessie.
I continue to laugh until I notice that my friend is serious, growing annoyed at me. "You can't possibly be mad. You probably saw a horse. I've seen them in the woods. The first time it caught me off guard."
"Horses don't have pink manes."
"Have you been experimenting with LSD?" I joke.
"Obviously I went to the wrong person," she's already walking down my front walkway towards the dirt road.
"Come on. I'm not trying to fight. You're the only person I fuck with out here. I'm not trying to mess with you."
Jessie turns around, stops to look me in the eyes and say, "You don't believe me."
I let out an exaggerated sigh, "I believe that you think you saw a unicorn, sure. Maybe, one of the locals dyed their horse's mane pink. Halloween's not THAT far off."
"That wouldn't explain the horn," Jessie snaps.
"They sell everything at Halloween stores, nowadays." I roll my eyes.
"I have to go," she says, already halfway to her car, feet stomping.
"Don't break the pavers," I tease.
The hot shower water feels incredible against my skin. I stand under the water, reminiscing, searching for answers in my life. Ever since I moved to Gethdale, I've felt lost. I search for happiness yet can't seem to genuinely find it. I should be happy, living in my comfortable cottage, in a gorgeous town. Yet, a major part of me is missing. I moved here after both my parents were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. I couldn't face staying in Bridgemont anymore, waking up in my childhood room, eating dinner alone. I didn't want to run into people at the store, who looked at me with pity in their eyes. Once I realized as an only child, I was the sole recipient of the will; I put our home on the market. I'd never heard of Gethdale. I found it playing darts on a map, searching for my destination. I googled the location and the results were magnificent. The next morning, I was discussing options with a realtor. I hear the phone ringing incessantly but ignore it. The smell of pomegranate fills the shower as I wash my strawberry blonde curls that fall to the center of my back. I take pride in my health, which reflects in my hair and flawless skin.
I hear a noise coming from downstairs. I turn off the water, wrap a burgundy towel around myself and search for a weapon. I grab hairspray, my only option, wishing I had a lighter to go with it.
"Hazel!" I roll my eyes at the familiar voice and put away the hairspray.
"I'm in the shower, Jessie," I call through the door.
"Get out! The unicorn's outside." Jessie opens the bathroom door, inviting herself in.
"Not this again!"
"Hurry!" she yells.
"When I go outside and nothing's there, you'll stop?
"Yes," promises Jessie.
I hurry to my room, making a show of getting ready. I grab black denim pants and a fuchsia V-neck shirt from my closet. As I get dressed, Jessie grabs my matching Jordan's.
Outside, I follow behind, pretending to look, humoring her. Naturally, there's no unicorn. Jessie starts crying, mascara running down her face. I've heard stories of schizophrenia but never witnessed it before. I wonder if that's what's happening. I can find a doctor who will prescribe the proper medication to help the hallucinations. That's something I can do, but this- running around searching for mythical creatures, isn't for me. I allow her to gather her composure and collect her thoughts before springing my idea on her. Once she's finished crying, I say, "I know who can help."
"You do?" a glimmer of hope shows across her face.
"Yes.. there's a man in town who specializes in this type of thing," I omit most of the truth.
"Oh my god, thank you!"
We hop in my aspen white Nissan Sentra and drive across town, while I consider how I'm going to explain that I lied. Jessie watches out the window, as the scenery flies by, a smile on her face. I wonder what she's thinking or seeing. Do I see the same view as her or does she see more? We pull up to a burgundy brick building surrounded by cherry blossom trees. There's a gazebo with tulips around it, and a beautiful pathway to a nearby pond. I walk to the gazebo and look out at the water, watching a team of ducks swim. There's a serene, peaceful atmosphere anywhere you go in Gethdale. I found a magnificent town to escape to. I imagine this is what towns in fairytales look like. Although, this is not a fairytale and there's are no unicorns. The thought of unicorns snaps me back into reality and I say, "Alight, Ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," beams Jessie, as we walk towards the building. Inside, is a Hispanic receptionist, who smiles warmly at us from behind her desk. Jessie's looking around, still unaware of our true purpose here.
"How could I help you?" asks the woman.
"Hi, we don't have an appointment, I hope that's okay, my friend would like to speak to Mr. Ravinshi," I explain, purposely avoiding to mention his title as a doctor.
"No problem, I'll just need you to fill out paperwork."
"Sure," I say, nervously, taking the clipboard to my seat.
"Don't worry, I got this part," I roll my eyes for effect, "I love questionnaires."
Before she can respond, Dr. Ravinshi opens the door, "How can I help you, ladies?"
Jessie looks at me, so I ask, "You want me to come?"
She nods her head so we follow the doctor together. In his office, we sit at a large mahogany desk, scattered with papers. The doctor eyes us curiously then asks, "What can I do for you?"
I look at Jessie and insist, "Tell him what you've been seeing."
Jessie takes a deep breath and then fills him in, "I've been seeing a pink fluffy unicorn."
Dr. Ravinshi writes quickly in his notebook, nodding his head, urging her to continue.
"I saw it for the first time a couple weeks ago. I couldn't believe my own eyes. It was beautiful," another deep breath before continuing, "Then, it started coming around more and more. Only when I'm alone. I don't know what it wants. I tried to get close, I called for her.. or him.. but it ran away."
If Dr. Ravinshi is concerned, it doesn't show. "Have you been hearing any voices?"
"No, they don't talk."
"Are you currently taking any medications?"
Shock registers Jessie's face as she realizes where I've taken her. "You tricked me!," she yells to me, then asks the doctor, "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Doctor Ravinshi, you can call me Doctor R. if that's easier for you."
"No, no, no, no, no, no," her voice is gradually raising while shaking her head violently, not exactly helping her case.
"I'm going to have to ask you to calm down," Dr. Ravinshi warns.
"You lied to me, you fucking lied!" Jessie's screaming at me, pacing the room.
"I didn't lie. I told you I would bring you to someone who could help." I calmly explain, "Dr. R. can help you. As your friend, I need to tell you this isn't normal,"
Jessie charges at me, her hands wrap around my neck, choking me with all her might. I get knocked to the ground, my head banging against a chair on the way down. Dr. Ravinshi must have called for help, because within a minute, nurses are everywhere, pulling her off of me. One of the nurses injects her with a needle and soon she is calm, no longer fighting. Two nurses help her out of the room.
A nurse notices I'm in shock. "We gave her a mix of Haldol and Ativan to calm her down. Your friend will be okay. Are you okay?"
"This was a mistake. I shouldn't have brought her here."
"You did the right thing. She'll stay the night for observation until we're certain she's not going to hurt herself or others. Once she's stable, she can go home," Dr. Ravinshi explains.
On the ride home, I feel guilty and ashamed for what I've done to my only friend. I wish I could take it back, bring her home with me but I can't. I don't know what I expected from the visit but it wasn't this. I drive to a remote part of town to take a walk. Maybe, I'll find a yoga spot. I notice a trail that's overgrown, barely visible to the eye and walk down it. I wonder if Jessie will forgive me once she's stable on medication. I come to a fork in the trail and veer right towards a grassy field. I sit against a Red Maple Tree, and close my eyes, allowing the sun to beat against my skin. When I open my eyes, there's no doubt in my mind, a pink fluffy unicorn's standing before me. Its magnificent mane and tail are pink with a moonlight silver coat. This exquisite creature is taller than the average horse. Protruding from the forehead of the breathtaking animal, is a spiral horn, reflecting the rays of the sun. I stand to get closer but the unicorn disappears into the woods.
Short Story Written for The Pink Fluffy Unicorn Contest
2,000 words exactly!!!
A special thanks to QPdoll for taking part in this story.