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On her way from church, the white unicorn ran into a perfect fox. She nearly missed him, though he did split the snow like lightning, like a sword that finally flashed sharp enough to touch her out of reverie.

Red Alert by Pat and Celia Soper
"Red Alert"
by Pat and Celia Soper

"You look very glum for being so white," said the fox.
"Do you believe in Jesus? " asked the unicorn.
"No," said the fox. "That's not my job. Do you?"
"No," said the unicorn.

'Well, you're only a unicorn, so it probably doesn't matter,' said the fox, curling his tail around his hind legs in a gesture of perplexity. Yes, he was beautiful.

"I mean, I do believe in him," the unicorn said. "But I'm not sure about this saving us from our sins business by dying for us. "
"Do you ever sin? " asked the fox.
"I don't know," said the unicorn. "I just always do what a unicorn does."
"Then, no worries, in all likelihood you don't," said the fox, pointing his perfect nose.
"But I'm not nearly as splendid as those spectacular human beings. If they need somebody to die for them to save them from their sins, then where do I stand?"

The fox looked at the green grass at their feet. "I don't think they do need someone to die for them, really," he finally said. "They merely think it makes them more important in the scheme of things to need divinity to die for them."

"They must be very humble, then," said the unicorn. She couldn't keep admiration out of her velvet voice. "To be so beautiful and yet to think they are so imperfect that they must be saved. And all the while, they bravely keep on yearning for and striving for perfection."

"You could see it that way," said the fox, pensively swinging his perfect tail from side to side. "Or you might say that they are very arrogant. They might just be a grandiose bunch of fascinating creatures that, incidentally, barely has time for roses, much less simple, extraordinary blades of grass. Nothing is good enough for them, not even they themselves. So they go crying and call this fabulous life a valley of tears. I mean, look, every molecule is a gem, a triumph. But forgive me, friend, I must be off to feed my kits."

Once more he zigzagged, perfectly red, through the glittering snow in all his glory.

What if he was right, thought the stunned unicorn. What if those splendid humans were merely absurdly grandiose? No rose was ever created imperfect, no fox, and probably not even a unicorn. Did they just need to be so superior, so special, that they didn't even notice it when they dishonored the beauty of life to elevate themselves? How sad for them to have to be so arrogant to be alive and yet claim imperfection, she thought, blinking into the perfect rays of the sun.

Bio: Beate grew up in Germany, lives in Denver, Colorado, and has published short fiction and poetry. She is currently working on a pro peace novel entitled Parcival, which addresses the experience of women during war. Please visit her website at

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