issue 6

For Sale: One Unicorn Saddle, Mostly Disenchanted, by Aimee Picchi

Listing: One unicorn saddle, made of purple vegan leather and embossed with pink rhinestones spelling “Emma”

Condition: Preowned — most enchantments have faded

Price: $200 or best offer

Contact: emma4ever@maplemiddleschool.edu

Update:

Sorry it’s taken me a while to answer questions about my listing — my middle school limits website access during school ☹ I have a few minutes during computer lab to get back to you with some answers, so here goes!

What happened to your unicorn?

Her name is Sapphire, and she is pure white with blue eyes and an opalescent horn <3. She taught me to wield a sword by parrying with her horn, and to believe in myself. She also loves nibbling on cherries and riding into other realms needing a hero.

But then my parents sent me to summer camp (if I see another lanyard, I’ll seriously puke). When I came back, they told me Sapphire had run away ….

Since she’s an immortal being, I know she’s okay. But I wonder, wherever she is now, if she is as lonely as me.

Don’t you think she’ll come back?

It’s been three months.

My parents said it’s for the best because I’ll start high school next year and need to grow up. They said it was time to stop traveling to other worlds and battling evil wizards, and focus on my studies. Unicorns and magic are for kids, they told me.

I’m starting to think they’re right. I’ve got to move on, and so I’m selling my saddle.

What kind of enchantments does the saddle have?

I’m sure you know because every unicorn is different, the enchantments are unique to each saddle. Like my friend Lucy’s unicorn travels through time, so her saddle is enchanted to not crack or age when they ride through a time vortex.

My unicorn can tap the air with her front left foot and summon a portal to another realm, so  my saddle is enchanted to allow me to pass through with her, since otherwise only magical creatures can go through portals. Without the enchantment, I would have been blocked from going through.

How much enchantment is left?

Right now, just a trace. But don’t worry, the magic will return — putting an enchanted saddle on the back of a unicorn recharges its magic. I guess it would help if your unicorn’s talent is also to travel through portals, though?

Second update:

I got a lot more questions after my last update, so here goes!

Why did your unicorn run away?

I don’t know. I told her I would be away at camp for two weeks but that I’d return. And yeah, it was summer camp!!!!! I had my first kiss, okay?! It was nothing great, but it crossed my mind that maybe Sapphire left me because of that. But my friend Lucy told me that whole “virginal girl with unicorn” thing is a paradigm of the patriarchy. She says there are plenty of older girls in high school with lots going on in the romance department PLUS they still have their unicorns.

I guess Sapphire wanted to be free? Or maybe she wanted someone who didn’t have to go to camp because of their stupid parents?

I stare out my bedroom window every day, hoping to get a glimpse of Sapphire slipping through a portal into our yard.

Do you think Sapphire *really* ran away?

Oh wow. This question really got to me. I mean, I don’t believe my parents would have done something bad to her, like put an anti-unicorn curse on our house — although that did cross my mind. But since Sapphire is immune to intimidation, there’s no way that my parents could scare her off.

But I’ve started to think a lot more about why Sapphire might have run away. I had believed it was because I went to camp. But she knew camp was only for two weeks. And we had just deposed a dark wizard in the Realm of Elinour who had cast the land into shadow!! Elinour’s cherry trees were bearing fruit again (yum), and we planned to return there to rout out the remaining trolls who had been the wizard’s minions. And eat cherries!! Sapphire and I had plenty of work to do.

My parents love me, I know they do …. but maybe they did something they thought would help me, but was actually hurtful, you know? They couldn’t possibly have scared her off, but maybe they told her something that made her leave.

FWIW, I’m texting Lucy and Diamond, her unicorn, right now — they’re going to go back in time and watch what happened that day after my parents dropped me off at camp.

Third update:

Lucy told me she hid behind the azalea bush in my backyard and overheard my parents telling Sapphire I was “over” unicorns and didn’t want to be her rider anymore!!!! She said Sapphire took it stoically, but blue-crystal tears dropped from her eyes as she tapped the air with her left front leg, opened a portal, and disappeared.

I am so mad at my parents. I’m never going to forgive them.

No matter what my parents think, I am soooo not too old for unicorns. And I’ll never be too old for them!!

I can’t find Sapphire, even if I knew which realm she went to, because only she can open portals. So here’s my plan: I’m going to double-up with Lucy on Diamond and travel back to that morning three months ago to warn Sapphire not to listen to my parents. I’ll tell her to pretend to believe them and disappear into the portal (Lucy says we can’t disrupt the timeline.)

And three months from that point when we traveled back in time — any minute now! — a portal will open in my backyard and Sapphire will step through.

**Delisted**

One unicorn saddle, made of purple vegan leather and embossed with pink rhinestones spelling “Emma.”


Aimee Picchi is a journalist by day and science fiction and fantasy writer by night. In 2021, she was a finalist for the Nebula Awards in short fiction. She lives in Burlington, Vermont with her family. You can find her online at aimeepicchi.com or on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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