It started suddenly.
She was looking out the window while her father drove them down the coast, when off in the distance she saw one.
They'd made this trip dozens of times, but this was a first. She blinked. Rubbed her eyes. Still out there, a dragon-shaped darkness against the night.
But then they were everywhere.
Pegasus shadows sailing over the barn.
Pixies in the crisper.
Elves swimming in the river.
Gnomes merrily working in her windowsill garden.
And of course, still more dragon-shaped darknesses outside her window at night.
She learned not to mention what she could see. Too dangerous; no one believed.
Then came the Unicorn. Its regal mane flowing over its slender neck, so white she could barely stand to gaze upon it. She dropped her basket, forgotten apples scattering. It pranced, danced, gracefully slid right up to her, lowered its head to her. She reached up, trembling fingers sliding through.
"Oh." Her face fell, tears brimming. "Oh, you're an illusion. I thought..."
The unicorn whinnied. "No," its voice like windchimes, music box notes ringing. "You're the illusion."