Excerpts

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

She could see in the library from the stairs and realized she was looking directly at Mirabelle’s portrait. It wasn’t her imagination. Mirabelle was watching her.

She stopped suddenly, her legs unable to continue up the stairs. Her hand tightened around the banister as she tried to steady herself. She wanted to turn away, but Mirabelle’s eyes silently held her gaze with an insistence impossible to ignore.

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins © 2012

Lisa took some time to collect her thoughts. Rain was pelting against the windows. Sometimes, the sound of rain is comforting; sometimes, when everyone is safe indoors. But, not tonight. Tonight, the rain sounded like it was trying to get inside, as if it were lonely. She wondered how many times Mirabelle had felt lonely.

How many times had she walked to the cliff, to her unicorn tree, hoping to see the first sign of a ship? How many hours had she stood there, staring at the horizon, wondering if today would be the day? How many days did she do this until, at last, her captain came home?

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins © 2012

She enjoyed the early morning ride to the manor. She saw a side of this community that she didn’t normally see. It had an energy and stillness about it at the same time. The shopkeepers swept their sidewalks; some had assistants cleaning the windows while others personally wiped away every smudge, and then did it two and three more times for good measure. When her mother drove past the pier, Lisa rolled her window down. The smell of fresh fish hung in the air on this crisp morning. The few lingering fishmongers, who had not yet gone home from the night’s work, sat on the pier relaxing after bringing in a good catch. Seagulls perched on pylons to wait for the chance to make their own catch of the day.

The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins © 2012

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