Jack T Canis
Content warning - Strong language.
‘It should be noted that I have a bias and many would probably describe me as a classicist. That said I’m pleased by seeing unicorns coming back into the social consciousness. Mythological creatures of any kind should not be forgotten as they are part of our heritage, be that philosophical, theological or just purely social. So, when I see a unicorn this is what I mean,’
Prof Edwin paused in his lecture to put up a slide of a majestic white horse, with finely defined contours and features; long flowing mane and tail; and, protruding from the centre of its forehead, a coiled golden hued horn, not dissimilar in shape and size from that of a narwhale’s.
‘So, it saddens me when I see that social consciousness seems to have imbued the majestic myth with this fucking abomination.’ He punctuated the next image in his lecture by pulling up a paper copy of a picture of a pink, multihued unicorn with fluffy mane and rainbow tail, which he pinned to his white board with an emphatic thump, nailing it in place with a dark ichor stained hunting knife.
The auditorium, half-filled as all his lectures were, with bored, barely conscious students, was suddenly brought to life by the hammering of the picture to the board. The hush was immediately followed by several savvier members of the student population rummaging in bags and jackets hunting for personal alarms, pepper spray or phones. Miranda Blethins, who always sat in the back row of the auditorium for one of Prof Edwin’s lectures was among those rummaging for an alarm, as she did so she turned to her neighbour and whispered out of the side of her mouth,
‘It’s always the quiet ones!’
Edwin continued, ‘Google, when asked to show images of unicorns, spews forth this rancid simulacrum of our epic creature, even going so far as to conjure pictures of unicorns with wings. And not just any wings, great big fluffy angel wings,’ to demonstrate he flourished from behind his desk a pair of wings. Great white feathered creations that would comfortably fit upon a person’s back. Miranda noted with a sinking heart that the wings had bloodied stumps on them, suggesting that they had indeed been on someone’s back until very recently. Until Prof Edwin had presumably hacksawed them off, quite probably with the hacksaw he was now brandishing in his right hand as he held the offensive wings aloft; sticky ichor oozed from the open wounds and formed an icicle like drip that eventually plummeted to the floor with a dull splot.
‘But, as we all know unicorns do not have wings, that would be Pegasus. And don’t get me started on Pegasus. Pegasus was a stand-alone creature of mythology, much like the Leviathan, or indeed, the fucking Kraken!’
He paused his maniacal rant to cast a gaze around his auditorium. For once, it seemed everyone was paying attention to what he was saying; he had a captive audience. It was just that he had no idea where he was going with this. It had started early this morning, when he had been adding to his research for the day’s topic and he had been inclined to look up unicorns; he wished he hadn’t because it had annoyed him. It had annoyed him even more when the angel appeared in his study. He wasn’t quite certain how he had managed to summon an angel. He had merely read aloud an interesting anomalous Sumerian script he had found hidden in one of Google’s algorithms and there it was. Bold as brass stood in his compact and bijou study. How dare it! It annoyed him – again. The angel was annoyed too, because as a mere mortal and not on a specific errand for God, Edwin should not have been able to summon the angel. They both became agitated and their annoyances increased. It was, therefore, probably not a good time for the demon to appear.
‘What the bloody hell…?’ the demon started to say when Edwin, now streaming well past annoyance and into outright fury, because the demon’s wing tip had caught the corner of his late wife’s urn and knocked it to the ground. It broke. As did Edwin’s grip on sanity.
‘Pegasus doesn’t have fucking wings!’ he yelled at the demon, who took a step back.
‘Unicorns don’t have fucking rainbows in their manes!’ Edwin advanced on the demon from behind his desk, the demon took another involuntary step back, but found his progress barred by the door to the study.
‘And demons don’t have fucking white feathered angel wings! Angels do!’ he signified this by pointing at the Angel, who seemed to be insufferably smug, with the hacksaw he held in his right hand.
Quite where the hacksaw had come from is anyone’s guess, but it appeared in Edwin’s hand almost at the same instant that the angel vacated itself from his study. Had anyone been passing Edwin’s house at this early hour of the morning they would have heard an ensemble of noises not akin to the pits of hell, with Edwin’s voice rising over them chanting,
‘Pegasus doesn’t have wings! Unicorns don’t have rainbows & demons don’t have fucking angel wings! Do I make myself perfectly clear?’
Jack T Canis lives in South Wales, UK with his wife and three children. He started his professional career as an archaeologist, but through the years has also been a self-employed armourer; an administrator for the NHS and in recent years a qualified person-centred counsellor specialising in bereavement and loss, now retired. Currently he is a full-time carer for his youngest child who has additional physical needs and is a part time writer working on the publication of his first novel. He is published in Potato Soup Journal (x2), Blood Moon Rising, Datura, Teleport magazine, Purple Wall magazine (honourable mention & co-champion), Cranked Anvil longlisted, Sledgehammer Literary magazine, an anthology by Purple Wall Magazine due out late 2021 & in two anthologies published by Monnath Books, UK. He is also an in-house author for ASP publishing.