“Authorities seek seven animals that escaped from the Phoenix Zoo after animal-rights activists used torches to break down exhibit fences early this morning. The missing animals include four zebras, a giraffe, a wallaby, and Uni, the zoo’s famous one-horned oryx.”
Nurse Edie turned off the TV, leaving the soft hum of the fluorescent lights to fill the silence. Lily, Edie’s six-year-old patient, fidgeted in the hospital bed. Lily’s left leg had been amputated to remove its bone cancer, and Lily fought against her confinement and dependence on others. Edie hadn’t known Lily before the surgery, but could imagine the study in motion the girl must have been.
“Want a ride?”
Edie lifted the small girl into the wheelchair and pushed her down the green-tiled hall to the lounge, parking the the chair at the window.
“Look! A unicorn!” Lily pointed at the shadows under the ficus trees. Edie could just make out a large deer-like shape, crowned by a spear that pointed to the sky.
“Oh, it’s the oryx from the zoo.” She patted Lily’s shoulder.
“No, I wished to see a unicorn! It’s here!”
The graceful creature, its left horn broken at the base, turned toward Lily. Edie looked past the oryx and noticed an man in uniform peeking over a bush, holding a gun.
“Time to go.” She spun Lily’s chair before the girl could see the tranquilizer hit, felling the unicorn like common game.
copyright © 2014
Anna Zumbro lives in Washington, DC and writes short literary and speculative fiction. Read more at annazumbro.com