7: The cult

“Ye want to what, lassie?” Hennessy wasn’t often surprised. The stoic in him wore a defensive mask against the rank stupidity of most human foibles, but Rebecca Banks’ statement threw even him a curve ball.

The red maned uber-editor smiled. “I want to ride the unicorn naked through the streets of London to Buckingham Palace,” she repeated. Her cold eyes smirked mirthlessly. She meant it.

“What are you going to do when you get there?” said Hennessy. “Dismount and have a wank?”

The smirk never flickered, the steel composure didn’t blink. “I’m going to be the new Queen of England,” she said.

Well, she was paying, she could do what she wanted with the damn beast, as bonkers insane, pointless and delusional as that may be. The Scot was just there for the money, not to wipe anyone’s arse. That was what kept him going, on the warm days and the cold. Money for his niece’s trust fund, so wee Briony could have the life she deserved, not prostrate herself on the whims and vices of the rich as her uncle demeaned himself to.

So that was why he shouldered the rifle over his shoulder when he parked up on the moor border and patted his pocket flask against the chill of the fog shrouded wasteland. A white picket fence lined the border, each stump a spectral ghost, clad in white cloak and holding a silver horn. The cult had spring up fast. They gathered in their hundreds on Dartmoor, anxious for the unicorn to reappear.

Kay Bailey’s gory buggering and the ensuing massacre had been met with a potent mixture of shock, awe and delight. Newscorp had been quick to capitalise on the interest, and stoked the fires of delusional Britain. Silver horns, white hoods and equine themed T-shirts were given away free, and the needy never refused. Within a week a new religion was born, media generated and desperation fuelled.

People were so easily led. A mythical creature appears and instantly it was both a figure of revulsion, fear and, for some, worship. Within the week there were reports of stabbings by  fanatical horn followers against any naysayers who doubted the veracity of this latest instant god. Where there was yin then yang would surely follow. Bloody people, mused Hennessy. Just when you thought they couldn’t get more stupid, another lemming run looms.

He approached the nearest watcher in the mist, and the gimp turned and held out his silver horn with both hands in front of him. “Stop, none may past this hallowed ground.”

Hennessy walked straight up to him. “Ye point that at me again, I’ll shove it so far up yer arse it’ll hit that pea brain above yer trap.”

The gimp quivered against the Scot’s violent stare, and backed off a little, lowering the silver horn. Hennessy grunted, and walked into the fog. It was thick enough to envelop him within seconds, and the white clad border fence disappeared behind him as he strode briskly into the Dartmoor murk.

People. People were shit. They made his blood boil just thinking of the rank stupidity and wasted energy these morons spent on their days of devotion. They could save lives, help each other, enrich the planet. Instead they foisted their efforts on pathetic self delusion for egotistical satisfaction, or worship the latest false idol their minute attention spans could focus on. He hated people.

Rage powered him forward, and it was that intensity he gambled on besting the army and police teams that had been scouring the plains, finding nothing except their own tails. The mist had thickened supernaturally over the days, further heightening the white horse’s mystical allure, reducing the possibility of establishment surveillance on the wild patch of England.

Then he saw what had eluded the other hunters. The mist seemed to swirl and clear a little around it. The white horse stood still in front of him, waiting for him, watching him approach. It truly was a beauty. Proud, muscular, ivory pelt, glowing silver pelmet.

“So you are real after all,” grunted Hennessy. This was no moment of achievement though, the surge he felt was not elation but a wave of hate washing over him. The horse hated people as much as Hennessy did. He could feel it’s anger for the ridiculous, species destroying, planet plundering human race riding on the mist between them. He could feel it’s thoughts. Man and unicorn stood and stared at each other, kindred spirits in their disdain for the world.

“Ye not going to harm me are you my beauty?” said Hennessy, as he walked forward softly. He knew the danger inherent in the beast, yet he felt no fear, some irrational belief guided him that this animal was not going to hurt him.

It needed him. It wanted to be found by him. It wanted to be taken off the moor by him. Somehow it knew. He reached his hand out, tempted to pat the beautiful animal’s mane, then withdrew, sensing a step too far.

“Ye best follow me beauty,” said Hennessy. “There’s a horse box with your name on it.”

He could swear he heard the growl ‘take me to your leader’ echo through his head.

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