Dear Reader, please join me on a journey to land far away in a distant time long forgotten. A time when dragons soared and unicorns played beneath the glow of a golden sun.
"Who are you?", you ask. Let me to reply in kind, "Is it important?" What if I told you I was a pink frog hanging upside down from a tree or a green leopard who might devour you at any moment? It would not change the story, would not change the song. Could you answer the same question that you ask? "Who are you?" Hmmm, you do not answer. Well, some of you spoke your name to me. But I did not ask what do others call you! Or does your whole existence depend on how others identify you? I asked "Who are you?" Do not tell me you are human or dragon or Queen. That is only what you are, again just another kind of name. "Who are you?" Not so sure anymore, are you?
I am not here to search your soul, to teach you who you are. That you must do by yourself. Very few have ever succeeded, if any ever have. You look confused, you thought I would tell you about a unicorn. That is what the top of the page says right? A story like the ones before. Only this time the unicorn is called Ulares. That is right, dear Reader, this is but writing on a page. Just 0's and 1's inside some computer machine displaying pretty pictures on a screen. Had you forgotten that in your travels? Lost yourself in this glowing box, the whirling sound of a hard drive, the click of a mouse as you scroll the screen? Did you dare for a moment think that any of this was real, did you let yourself be tricked by any of it? Shame on you. But then, how could I know your reply, how can I shame you for what I do not know. I can not hear you through the silence of telephone lines and modem cables.
Are you sure?
Of course you are. My connection to you is through bits and bytes, tiny voltages of electricity, electrons shooting along a wire halfway around the world. I could be anywhere, and so could you. One computer speaks to another, passes the message along to the next till finally these words are downloaded through your browser for your eyes to see.
By now you are wondering, what about the unicorn. Here's his egg you see:
They are all the same, the previous six. Swirls of purple and blue all contained in something called a gif. A mere graphics file. You did not seriously think there was a unicorn inside? How can there be anything "inside" something created by electrons fired by a gun from the back of your monitor against a piece of glass coated with phosphorescent pinpoints of three basic colours? You cannot touch it, you cannot smell it, you certainly cannot taste it (and no I do not advise you to lick your screen just to be sure. Besides, perhaps the egg would object, how would you like a giant tongue heading in your direction, just to see if you exist. But I digress......)
You must be thinking that this is really weird. I am supposed to be here telling you about this unicorn named Ulares and trying to convince you to the best of my abilities that he exists. Maybe you have not even read this far, either having been bored from reading all the other stories. Or this one was just a little too strange. I mean, you did not need me to tell you that none of this is real. You knew this only too well, unfortunately. The moment you disconnect from the internet, these worlds disappear and you are left wherever you were when you started. I am in my room. Where are you? Does it matter? For a moment you were here with me, dear Reader. Bet you did not think of it that way.
So here you are reading about monitors and bits and little electrons that no one is absolutely sure of existing, and no one has any idea what they really are. You could have gone elsewhere to read about unicorns, that is why you were here in the first place, right? You did not come to read my perhaps cynical, perhaps pessimistic views of people who spend hours staring at a machine, pretending they are someone else, somewhere else. Talking to unicorns and visiting imaginary Islands such as this one. But then, if I think this way, what exactly am I doing here? Well, since you wanted to see him, here is the hatchling.
Cute is he not? Even I cannot deny it. Sweet little baby Ulares. What tiny little horns and hooves he has. Do you not wish that he were real, that you could walk through the woods one day and stumble across a unicorn foal? I speak even to those who do not believe in unicorns (beware, I have not said what I believe), even if you do not believe, would you still not like to find a baby unicorn. Its coat would glow in the morning light as it lay in the dew covered grass. Yes, dear Reader, I think even the most skeptical would not mind seeing a unicorn. That once in everyone's life, just for a moment, there was that desire,forget what you believe is real. Birds are just cells and bones and muscles, but that does not mean that we do not feel awe at the sight of a great eagle soaring effortlessly on the warm updrafts of the desert. Forget the mechanics and air pressure and physics and all those things that explain how birds can fly. They just can. It is magic. Everyone knows this, deep down, somewhere............
Do not laugh. You know it is true. Who are you? Is it but a dream within a dream? Where is the border between the two, who draws the line? You? Maybe me...... But that depends on who I am, and I told you it is not important. I could be a dragon the size of a small planet, soaring through space. I could manipulate the magnetic fields on a computer disk with my mind to create this story. I mean, that is all it is after all, is it not?
"Stop it!" you say. "This is nonsense," you cry. Though you know I am right. This place you are 'visiting' does not exist now does it? No plane could take you here (see, even we have the magic of the birds - perhaps that is why they have lost theirs), even if you became some digital creation, could you really walk along the beach near the sea of this Island.
Here, take a look at an older Ulares. Here he is a youth. Quite a dreamer it seems. Just like you
Or have my words crushed your dreams beneath the burden of painful, boring reality. The science of the world that gnaws away at wonder and imagination. Perhaps we know too much. Think back to when we first discovered the unicorn so long ago. A creature of infinite beauty, grace and wisdom. But see how they are wise and not knowledgeable. Then they would know science if they had knowledge. They would know that they could not exist. No records, no proof. Is there anywhere left on this planet that we have not explored? Not much, I think. When was the last time some new creature was found, and I do not speak of some rare mutation, some offshoot of a creature that we have long studied. So where are the unicorns? Are they dead? Then does it matter if they ever existed, they are not here now. So who cares? Everyone does I think. All those who nodded when I asked if you would wish to see a unicorn foal, if only from a distance, if only for a moment. Yes, dear Reader, I am speaking of you.
I have not succeeded, have I? You still stand proud (or sit, or whatever you do to use that box of microchips and integrated circuits) and shout "I believe in unicorns." Or some of you just whisper it, because you do not want the person sitting next to you to think you are crazy. But if you believe that they exist and he does not, which one is crazy. Maybe him and you do not want to share the secret knowledge with the unworthy. Of course, who is it that decides who has worth and who does not. Why should a rat be abhorred while a unicorn cherished? Dear Reader, do not expect an answer from me, for I do not know.
I think therefore I am.
Is that enough? Can science ever explain how we are alive? What makes us more alive that a rock, or than that computer you *use*? Are we sure that they are not alive? Instead of blood, electrons flow through its veins, it feeds on the power that comes from those three little holes in your wall, it releases its wastes in the form of heat (yes, that is what that fan is for - without it you fry your motherboard). What were the other points on that list of things that makes something alive, movement, reproduction, respiration. You learnt all this in high school, remember? Or you will learn it. So what makes us more alive than a rock or a droplet of water? Magic maybe. Hopefully we will never know, for once we do, I do not think the unicorn could follow us much farther. Then again, perhaps they are waiting for us to join them.
I think you need another picture. Here - Ulares the troublesome teen.
Are you still there? Or have I lost you? I must be coming to the end of my ramblings, there is only one picture left.
Alright, so should I make a point? Hee hee. What made you think I had one? I could write this and never have anyone read it. This is the seventh unicorn story. Maybe you just wanted to see the pictures in the first place, the words scrolled by, maybe you caught a disjointed one or two, but it would take too long to read. I know, I do this too. Time keeps moving, you do not have forever. And for this I forgive you. But I forgive little else. If I have convinced you that unicorns do not exist anywhere, then you let me lead you astray. Or if you had believed this before, I cannot forgive what you have stolen from yourself. "Who are you?" Maybe that is why you do not know. Did we know it once, when we were newborn children, remembering this silently until the power of speech wiped out all this? How often do you talk and say nothing? And so there is nothing. At least not till you find a unicorn of your own.
Dear Reader, please understand. I am not here to tell you there is no sky over your head, no chair beneath you, no air for you to breath. How often have you woken from a dream only to think it had not ended? Can we dream that we are waking from a dream? Why not? In the dream you do not forget what just happened before, it is only when you wake that it fades. So what if this is one long dream from which we have not woken, will not wake till a unicorn's sweet breath blows across our face? And then we will wake to a different sky, to air scented in a different way from the one we knew. And this nightmare we now know will fade like the dream you had last night.
So when we die, do we go to the land of the unicorns? Your dream ends when you wake, that is all. You may remember only a moment of it, perhaps a little more if you are lucky. Do not tell me that this world makes any more sense than a surrealistic dream. No more comprehensible than those little unknown charges of electricity that travel the speed of light from one flashing modem to the next.
I told you this Island does not exist. I was telling you the truth. Not here anyway. But dear Reader, if only for a moment did you forget that, that you wished you could run along *that* beach and have *those* waves wash across your toes, maybe your body, lying in a place a universe away, had awakened for the slightest heartbeat, only for slumber to bind you back to this odd dream of yours.
So you have survived this journey of strange babblings and nonsense. See how he looks at you as you leave? Ulares the unicorn. Where is he going? How long has he been there, watching you? Who is this crazy person telling you this story? Are you absolutely certain that it is not Ulares? Where else could a name like this been created if there was not, somewhere buried deep in that mysterious mind of ours, some knowledge of our waking selves. What if the unicorns can not be found even in the most secluded glade of the present? What if no time machine could bring us to when they once were? What if we do not see them, because when was the last time we looked at ourselves. "Who are you?", dear Reader, "What have you been hiding from me?" (Or what if I've been watching too much Babylon 5 lately!)
Parents: Angus x Sunstorm
June 20, 1999
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