A new year means a new cycle of themes. When we started our quarterly existence a little over four years ago we had a cycle of mythical creatures and it's about time we had another, so the first theme in this new cycle is... Unicorns.
But we're not looking for your ordinary, wondrous, pure unicorns, oh no, we want something different, something new and unusual, some surprising shift away from expectations.
It could be a protester on an alternate earth campaigning against the Pamplona unicorn run. Or maybe the thick protein soup drains from a genesis tube to reveal a gleaming horn, an equine head, then dark ragged scales, and the rotten stench of corruption. Perhaps a nineteenth century naturalist argues against the existence of unicorns, declaring fakery, fraud and clever taxidermy, then goes home and awaits his wife, galloping across a mist-wreathed field, the setting sun catching on her horn as she approaches and shifts to the human form she spends her nights with him in. Or the hunt that follows a solitary creature through forest, dale and meadow, till it leads them to a glade where weapons turn to ash and they find themselves encircled by unicorns, heads down, horns wicked in the failing light. As a shaman begins his exorcism his horse whinnies and shakes its head, it steps nervously, then a single dark horn thrusts up from beneath the skin of its forehead and its eyes burn away till there is nothing but dark smoke in the sockets, malevolently regarding the shaman.
There must be something recognisably unicorn in the story, but other than that, go wild. We principally publish science fiction, fantasy and horror, with a little surreal and crime fiction, but ultimately great writing and fresh ideas will catch our attention and we'll publish anything that makes us stop and go, "Wow."
The story must be 100 words exactly, with a one word title, and the title cannot be unicorn or any variation thereof. For full submissions guidelines click here.
Imagine. Create. Have fun!