All is dark. Claustrophobic. All but the unicorn.
Though caught in stone, the unicorn positively radiates — light and motion pulse through and over its rearing form. Its front legs churn the darkness, and its forelock, mane, and tail are caught and curled and tumbled by unseen currents. The tip of its scrolled horn reaches 10 feet high, and its dark eyes shine. Here and there, its paint is worn, burnished by the touch of admirers long forgotten. It is a magnificent creation, so extraordinarily lifelike, it must surely spring from the massive plinth on which it is mounted.
Few remember the unicorn. Fewer still see it — down here, so far below — and those lost souls that do, no longer bear witness. They have forgotten the unicorn’s splendor, have become immune to its beauty and magic. Clothed in their own tattered shadows, they shuffle past with the brims of their hats pulled down to shield against the unicorn’s light.
Work quickly. Wedge the pry bar beneath the broken stone floor and the plinth’s heavy base. Curl, bodily, over and grip the metal lever. Tight-fisted, teeth grit, sweating — lean fully against the bar’s length. Hear the gritty scrape and separation of stone and metal. Feel the dull-eyed gazes of shuffling passersby slew ‘round.
The statue shifts.
In full-bodied, sweat-inducing, gut-wrenching, necessary effort — heave.
Break the statue free.
Restore the magic.
Release the unicorn.
— C.Birde, 6/18