This story was written just one year after my father passed away; I was seventeen years old. At the insistence of my English teacher, Mrs. Jackson, I entered the story in a creative writing contest for high school students: the Southwest High School Creative Writing Awards. At the time, I was the first student from my High School to achieve publication, although students had been submitting stories for 29 years. I am very proud of this, and I share it with you now.
At the Rainbow’s End
“There’s no sight, child, more beautiful on this earth, than watching a unicorn dance at the rainbow’s end.”
That’s what my old grandpa always used to say. I believed him, too, always believed him. He used to forever tell me the story of how he saw a unicorn dance in a rainbow’s light, and I would always listen with wide eyes and wondering ears. Now my gramps is dead and buried, and so are his memories and stories. Some of the stories I knew; most I didn’t. But my favorite was always about the dancing unicorn at the rainbow’s end.
The little ten-year old boy ran crying out of the old cabin and into the old, dusty woods. His dull brown hair, uncut and shaggy, blew about his face, and his pants were dirty and ripped. His small little nose was red and freckled, and his watery blue eyes were streaming with tears. His bare feet were dusty and dirty and kicked little puffs of dust up as he ran. The little boy didn’t know where he was going; he just followed the rutted road deep into the forest.
At last the little boy stopped, tired and breathless, by a small, crystal stream. He sat down on a rock and slowly took his hands from his pocket. There, cupped in his palms, was a little white mouse. Its eyes were open, but they stared, lifeless. Carefully, sniffling, the tears running down his face, the boy placed the creature on the ground. Then he dug a hole in the bare earth next to the rock and placed his precious mouse in it. Then, while he cried uncontrollably, he covered up the inert body and placed a little stone at its head. Painstakingly scratched in it were the words “Harry, beloved”. Gently the boy spoke, his voice broken with sobs.
“God bless you, little Harry.” Then he put his head in his hands and cried and cried, unaware of the dark blue storm clouds, the thunder, the lightning, or the cool, moisture-filled wind. All he knew was sorrow.
The rain started, heavy and torrent-filled. Anger seemed to drive the hard, little drops, for they struck with the stinging of whips. The little boy crouched down, watching Harry’s grave to make sure it didn’t wash away. And it didn’t. Despite the wild, crazy lashing of the rain, the little mound of damp earth remained sheltered by the rock and the boy. On and on the rain fell, the little child getting colder and wetter. And still he sat, watchful.
At last it ended. Suddenly, like a plug had been put in place, the rain slowed. The clouds broke in a blaze of light while the rain drizzled and the sun appeared in golden glory. Late afternoon, but the sun had never been brighter. The fresh drops of rain on the grasses and trees sparkled like diamonds. The little boy looked around wonderingly, thinking Harry had the best place in the world. And that’s when the rainbow appeared.
Oh it was beautiful. Its colors misty but shining too. Through it, the boy could see trees and bushes on the other side, dimly. The end of the rainbow was right next to the little boy, it seemed-maybe five feet away. And at its end in a shining light was a unicorn, pure white. Its mane was like a silken banner spun of pure silver light. Its tail flew around it like a silken cloak, beautiful and soft. Its body seemed to shine as if made of the light, its hooves made of gold. Its ears were small and fine and face forward. Its head was small, intelligent, its eyes large and bottomless. Its nostrils flared. The unicorn was like an angel, beauty and light, and so elusive.
The boy smiled, awed, and when he smiled the unicorn began to dance, its hooves lifted in graceful, precise movements. Muscles rippled like velvet; the neck gracefully arched. Slowly in the west the sun was sinking, the rain stopping, the rainbow fading. The unicorn, in a last, final movement, reared and leaped and hung suspended for an eternity in graceful flight. Then it was gone.
The boy, his heart and soul shining with the memory of what he had just seen, turned to the grave and placed a flower, soft and new, on it. Then he ran home as fast as he could, singing and dancing.
Every time he told the story, my grandpa would shine like that. I hope that unicorn came and carried him to the rainbow, where they could dance forever and bring hope to others. I hope someday I will see the unicorn dance.