The challenge is here. This is not the story I thought I was writing; I thought I was writing about an eating disorder.
Gerard was taking a shortcut home from school when the unicorn found him. When he saw it off in the distance, he thought it was a white rock, and threw a stone at it. He missed, and the white thing kept moving towards him. He thought then that it was an awfully clean albino deer.
As the creature got closer, Gerard could see it was mighty small for a deer. Instead of antlers it had a horn. Its tail was long and skinny, with a brush on the end.
Gerard picked up another stone and bounced it in his hand, but the unicorn looked at him with its outsized black eyes.
"Go away," he said, and raised his arm.
It blinked at him, eyelashes as long as fingers.
"No, get," Gerard said.
It lowered its horn as if to run him through, or maybe pay homage.
Gerard threw the rock, and the little unicorn, not even billy goat size, jumped in the air like a startled cartoon cat.
"Fine, stay there, then," Gerard said. "I'm going home."
He could hear the little thing following him, trying to match him step for step, breaking branches and crushing leaves.
Gerard went in the house and slammed the door, leaving the unicorn on the porch.
It was quiet out there until his little sister got home.
"Look what I found outside," Missy said. "It was sitting on one of the chairs on the porch, curled up, its tail on its nose. It's so cute."
The unicorn didn't not like her, it just liked Gerard better. It walked over to Gerard and nuzzled his thigh.
"Fuck off," Gerard said. So much for the family believing in his manly exploits.
"He's so cute," Missy said.
"I think it's a girl," said Gerard.
Missy looked under it. "Oh, I see."
She tried to feed it under the table during dinner, but it wasn't interested in human food.
"It's a magical creature," his mother said. "Maybe it doesn't need to eat."
It stayed away from her and slept at the foot of Gerard's bed.
He tried to lock it in the house in the morning, but someone else must have let it out. When he was going into Biology class, it caught up.
"No pets," said the teacher. "But I guess since it's a unicorn, we can make an exception."
"It's so cute," the girls said, thought the unicorn stuck close to Gerard. "But why is it so interested in you?"
"It's not," said Gerard. The unicorn had taken up a position close to his leg, away from most everyone.
"Is this your new pet?" One of the girls crouched down to scratch its beard.
"It's just following me," Gerard said.
The unicorn tried to bite the girl's hand and shied away.
"You know what we can do?" said the boy it didn't like. "Use it as a virgin detector."
So they paraded the unicorn around, and people it shied away from, those were the whores and the cool guys, and the ones it liked, those were the nice girls and the losers.
"I'm not sure it's accurate," said Gerard. No matter what nice girls and losers the unicorn let pat its horn or tail, it stayed by him the most.
"Yeah, really," said one of the cool guys. "What's special about you? Why does it like you the best? I thought unicorns liked girls."
"I thought unicorns were the size of a horse," said a whore. "Why save yourself for that? Only a two-year-old could ride it."
"Maybe Gerard is a hermaphrodite," said one of the cool guys.
Gerard spent the rest of the day using the unicorn to protect himself when he went to the washroom, in case the cool guys tried to do a physical examination.
The unicorn had to go.
He didn't go straight home. He hopped on a bus as the door was closing.
When he looked out the back window, the unicorn ran full-out behind them. Even on the highway, it didn't lose ground.
He got off the bus by a lake, got on a boat and rode across. When he reached the other side, the unicorn had run around the lake and was there to meet him.
Gerard got on a train and rode all night. But the train stopped in the morning and the unicorn was waiting at the station.
The station was by the ocean. There was no way the unicorn could run around that. Gerard found a container ship that could carry him across.
As they left the harbor, the unicorn jumped in the water and swam. It was keeping up.
"You going to just let it do that?" one of the mates said.
"Yes," Gerard said.
"Seems kind of cruel." Eventually they fished the unicorn out of the water.
It was afraid of all the sailors, of course. It followed Gerard around on deck as he paced about, wondering why he was here, now he hadn't managed to lose the unicorn.
Days later, the ship landed in Italy. Gerard got off the boat, the unicorn at his heels.
Standing on the dock was the most beautiful girl. She saw the unicorn and ran over.
"At last," Gerard thought, "This stupid beast will do me some good."
The girl had no eyes for him, but she sure liked the unicorn. "What an adorable creature," she said.
"It sure is," Gerard lied. "Loyal, too. And fierce. Would you like to grab a coffee, and I can tell you all about it?"
"I would love to," the girl said in her ridiculously charming accent, tossing her long, wavy red hair. "But I am here to meet my brother."
"Of course," Gerard said. But he hung around. How could such a girl, and a virgin too, resist the lure of the unicorn?
Eventually her brother came off the boat. The girl shrugged at Gerard and followed him away.
The unicorn followed her.