First 500 Words - Harper & the Unicorn

Harper & the Unicorn released on October 5, 2018. It is set in the pixie dust world setting, and comes before the short story Harper’s Choice, which features the same character.
What’s it About?

When Harper goes after a lone unicorn without back-up she’s breaking every rule, and none. The only questions are: will her partner get to her before things go totally to pieces, and exactly how much havoc can one lone unicorn and a P.O.S. officer create before back-up arrives?
Here are the first 500 words of that story:

Harper & the Unicorn

First 500 Words

Today, I sat in the old gum tree, looking at the ground below. A footpath left a concrete barrier between the edge of the road and the sparse, dry grass beneath me. I’d been sitting there for almost an hour when I finally saw what I’d been waiting for—a unicorn, trotting happily down the middle of the road, its hooves tap, tap, tapping on the dotted centre line.
There you are, I thought, but I did not say it out loud.
Unicorns had very good hearing, and I was already walking the very sharp and slicey edge of a very precarious problem. I watched, and I waited, and I prayed the wind wouldn’t shift. Unicorns also had a very good sense of smell. Pretty soon it was going to…
It came to a prancing halt, still in the middle of the road, tilting its head this way and that, until I was sure it had scented me. As I watched, it raised its head and snuffed the air, and then it looked up—and then back down—the road, and took a sideways bound off the street and into the shadows of a nearby walking track overhung by pine-like she-oaks.
What the hey?
It stayed on the tarmac making up the combined bike and pedestrian path, trotting swiftly until it reached the first bend, and then it took another sidewards bound, that landed it four metres off the path, looking back towards the road. I watched the tilt of its head, glad I was screened by a fine film of she-oak needles as well as gum leaves.
Whatever it was up to, it was being Hella cautious about it.
I stayed up in the tree, following the ghost-white shimmer of its fur as it doubled back towards the bridge. That was curious—as far as I knew the portal to the Other Realms only worked one way, and that was the side of the bridge I was on. The side under the she-oaks… well, I hadn’t thought to try coming through that way.
When I couldn’t’ see the unicorn’s ghostly outline, anymore, I scanned the area for anyone else who might be watching, and then slid over the edge of the branch, letting myself dangle by my fingertips, before dropping to the ground. Straightening up, I dusted myself off, and looked around, again. Still no-one—not even the guy across the road, and he seemed to see everything.
Well, if he wasn’t out watching the unicorn, then he wouldn’t be out watching me, either, now, would he?
I walked across the road and down the path under the she-oaks. It wasn’t hard to find the unicorn’s trail. Like big horses, those things weighed close to half a tonne. It was a bit hard to hide the divots it had left behind when landing. The only thing it had managed to do was stop anyone from finding its back trail.
And why, I wondered, would it want to do that?
The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. Unicorns usually travelled in threes or fours, and they almost always travelled with a pixie or ten. This one had been completely alone, and was acting like it would like to stay that way. Time to find out why, before it went and got itself into more trouble than even a unicorn could handle.
Would you like to read more?
Harper & the Unicorn features Harper in a story that takes place before the events in Harper’s Choice and is available direct from Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, DriveThruFiction, and multiple stores via Books2Read, as well as via Smashwords and Draft2Digital distribution.