Madame looked across the green-black grass, past the silvery tree trunks, and into the living shadows curving through the forest. The thick, damp scent of wet earth permeated the still air. Tiny crystalline drops perched atop the drooping blades of grass. The rain had fallen not two hours before. Overhead a gray sheen of low clouds blocked the paper-thin slice of moon and descended into the drenching, phantasmal mist lapping gently against the furthest edges of the forest before trailing down the slope to Madame's feet.

"Oi, so this is it?" the young man by Madame's side demanded with strained bravado. Madame nodded with a look of shallow musing.

"Where is it?" the petite woman holding the man's hand asked anxiously. Madame looked her over with opal-gray eyes set honestly in a smooth, yet aged face.

"It will come," Madame said without inflection. The young man passed an agitated hand through his sandy brown hair. The petite woman, a year or so older than the man in appearance, rubbed her night-chilled arms and shifted from foot to toot.

"Kinda cold, isn't it?" she murmured softly. The man, in an act of flirtatious gallantry, took off his down jacket and handed it to her. She smiled with exquisite gratitude and donned the jacket. Madame watched the quivering forest intently.

The mist became a thin, damp pool about their ankles. It rolled across the grass and tremulous waves, pausing to puddle in each dip of the ground, and then continued past them into the waiting darkness behind. A soft breath of wind pushed the clouds away from the moon and everything turned to silver glitter.

Then something as pale as snow, tinted blue by the living shadows, moved between the glistering trees just past the reach of the silvery light. It crossed the barrier between dark forest and silver meadow with dainty, mincing steps. Muscles moved smoothly beneath a skin of the softest white velvet. A mane and tail of glittering diamonds caught the winter moonlight and refracted it into the infinite. However, despite the beauty of the rest, the delicate, gleaming spiral of ivory rising from the creature's perfect brow took the observers' breath away.

"A unicorn…" the woman breathed as she shielded her eyes from the coruscating image before her. She placed a trembling hand over her heart and choked back tears of utter bliss.

"My God…" The young man had turned a sickly white and seemed on the edge of fainting. Madame began chanting in a low, lyrical voice. The words passed the pale pink of lips and hung like strings of honey in the chilling air. The graceful equine watched them with too-intelligent gray eyes. Slowly, gracefully it ghosted down the slope, silver hooves bending not a single blade of grass. It stopped ten feet away and watched them.

Suddenly the woman uttered a cry of sorrow and intense, irresistible longing. The breaking desire of acquisition thrummed through her breathy voice. She staggered, as if drugged upon pure religious ecstasy. Her jacket encased arms rose in a gesture of supplication and possession as she approached the patiently awaiting creature. It watched her and never twitched a muscle.

"Please come back here," Madame said between pauses of the thick chant. The man, less affected than his partner, glanced between their guide and the elegant, pure equine before them.

"It's beautiful." With a look of helpless rapture, the woman threw her arms about the unicorn and pressed her delicate face against its exquisitely curved neck. Madame watched her without expression, though something that could be excused as pity flittered through opal-gray eyes.

"Marion, please listen to Madame. Come back her," the man hissed stepping forward to retrieve the woman.

"Maid Marion," Madame murmured to the tension filled air.

"Come here. It's beautiful. It's—" The unicorn slipped from the woman's grasp and took to dancing steps backwards. The air filled with the sound of a thousand golden bells.


The petite woman stared at the elegant spiral horn imbedded in her flat stomach. The horn flushed pale pink then heart's blood red. She stared at the magnificent animal before her and cried in ecstasy as it robbed her of vitality. The man lunged forward to rescue the helpless woman, but Madame rested one implacable hand on his arm. He turned desperate brown eyes upon his dying companion as he struggled against Madame's grip.

"You cannot help her."

"Why? Why?" Madame looked deep into his eyes and he shuddered away. For a moment he found himself staring into an endless abyss of luminous gray.

"I did not think her a virgin." The young man sobbed brokenly.

"I thought unicorns liked virgins."

"They do."


Madame pushed the young man back and finished the intonation. A gossamer web of silver lines encased them for a moment before vanishing. The man found himself rooted to the spot, almost literally. It was as if his black and white sports shoes had grown thick tendrils into the soft ground beneath him. He couldn't reach the woman.

"Hail, unicorn." Pale mist swirled about as Madame approached the deadly creature. Carelessly it tossed the woman aside and turned to face Madame. It lowered its head, horn slowly paling to its normal lustrous white.

"Hail, seraphim." Its dulcet voice reverberated through the chill air and caressed the ears of all.

Gracefully four pairs of iridescent, feathered wings manifested from Madame's back. The angel turned to stare at the sobbing man behind. He stared between the two without understanding. Only the truly immortal could see an angel's wings. Madame turned back to the unicorn.

"What are you doing here?"

"Hunting, fair angel." It cocked its head towards the woman on the ground. Thick blood, black in the wan moonlight, seeped up through the thick padding of the down jacket. An almost imperceptible rising and falling of the jacket indicated her tenuous hold on life.

"This is no place for you. This world is for the mortals now." Madame revealed a long sword of singing crystal.

"La, not so. Since the flood the world became anyone's playground, especially His," the unicorn said laconically. "Besides, you can do nothing for this bit of mortal flesh. She will die whether or not I drain the last drop of blood from her frail body." The angel nodded curtly and looked no more upon the faltering woman.

Before Jehovah sent down the Great Deluge, unicorns were truly His creatures. They were the very essence of purity and innocence. Then He turned His back upon them for they had believed in His continued favor and made no attempt to follow His commands. The waters rose and the unicorns found themselves alone upon swiftly submerging rocks. Crying out in despair they entreated they Lord to save them, but He listened not. Then they cried out for any answer and received one.

With open arms Lucifer took them into His dark embrace, and forever were the unicorns damned. In death they would have had a chance to regain Heaven, but they lusted after life and were forsaken. God denied them death and Satan instilled a burning mission into their damned spirits. Forever would they prey upon those insolent enough to deny their new Lord's debauchery.

Once their pure horns salved all hurts, healed all wounds, now the wounds it inflicted would never close. The woman would bleed to death.

"This wood will no longer be a home to you. I shall destroy this fleshy body." Madame brought the sword up, opal-gray eyes cold. The unicorn laughed melodically and danced away from the angel.

"And would you allow my unchained spirit to roam free? To perhaps even inhabit this dying woman? Would your Lord forgive you for giving rise to a vampyre?" it demanded gaily. Madame smiled coldly. "And if you didn't destroy this body, then I would surely destroy yours. We are at a stalemate, sweet seraphim."

"And what would you suggest?" Madame asked quietly.

"A truce. I shall depart from this exquisite wood and never bother anyone here again." Daintily it lowered its head as if to bow. "You may hunt the vampires in peace. La, I did not expect a seraphim to live in this territory. I shall be wiser next time."

"And I did not expect a unicorn."

"So you were hunting vampires. I am sorry to disappoint you."

"I curse you and your kind for creating those abominations."

"That has already been done, fair one. Your kind learned not to destroy our bodies, but too late. We spread our demonic disease into your Lord's precious human spawn. And now you must hunt them. This murdering of Jehovah's once-prized-now-damned children brings Lucifer much delight. Do continue for you will never staunch this red flow." With a breathy, tinkling laugh the unicorn trotted through the mist and back through the silvery tree trunks. Into the darkness it evanesced, and the dark clouds consumed the sliver-moon.

Madame tucked the sword away, wings fading into faint trails of glitter and then nothing. Three guttural yet melodic words passed the angel's pale lips and slipped through the air. With a soft sigh refulgent, pearly flames consumed the dying woman, who screamed joyfully in their heated embrace.

Madame paused before the young man and rested one pale hand on his trembling shoulders. He found himself free of those invisible bonds. With mute tears he rushed to the unblemished spot where the divine flames had consumed the petite woman. He found nothing, no evidence of her existence or her violent passage. He turned to demand answers from Madame only to find himself alone.


Madame walked through the thickening mist and away from his soulful cries of loss. From the angel's shoulders four pairs of ethereal wings glimmered briefly.