We – The Unicorns … Bring their magic, to the Magic City
Story and Photographs by Meg McKinney
Until now, we’ve only seen our visiting unicorns in daylight. But they go out at night, seeking adventures, and make discoveries in our world.
One recent evening, Twinkle, with her brilliant pink coloring glowing brightly, encouraged the herd to visit downtown Birmingham, Alabama, a.k.a. the Magic City.
“Let’s go! We must make the most of our time here. There’s so much to see. Maybe we’ll make new friends,” Twinkle said, breathlessly, while shaking her product-enhanced mane and tail.
Mystic took the lead, naturally, directing the group towards the city’s lights, avoiding traffic jams, and gawkers, altogether.
With their unearthly powers, they transformed Morris Avenue’s red brick, cobblestone pavement, into a purple carpet, as their hooves touched down. The buildings – former livery stables and boarding houses – faded into the shadows.
While the unicorns’ colors and glittery speckles were enhanced by the street lights, they didn’t pay attention to the street’s transformation. Unicorns are used to magic.
Seeing a sliver of a rainbow in the east, as the sun was setting in the west, as a good omen, they cantered to the Alabama Theater, on Third Avenue North. Theater lights were blazing.
“Oh, they’re showing films tonight!” Twinkle said, and trotted in place, hoping to attract a Hollywood talent agent. Starlight and Mystic stayed close to her, not wanting to attract agents of any kind.
To Twinkle’s disappointment, no agent materialized.
Melody, herd coordinator for all things practical, sniffed the air, and detected freshly popped popcorn. She spied food trucks down the street from the theater.
“Nothing here for us to eat,” she sighed, “only provisions for people. And, Birmingham doesn’t have water troughs for horses, any more.”
The dark purple unicorn mare thought longingly of their guest stables, where the herd’s daily menu consisted of delicious oats drizzled with pomegranate molasses, first-cut alfalfa hay, and fresh spring water.
Not having been to an historic theater before, the unicorns walked inside the Alabama Theater’s lobby, and looked around. Theater-goers were intently networking among themselves, so the unicorns went unnoticed.
A few notes from the Mighty Wurlitzer organ reached the lobby. The unicorns had to see what created this music, and they went inside the theater itself.
The grandeur of the theater left them speechless. It was beyond anything they’d seen before.
They returned outside, and toured more of Birmingham.
Mystic sensed brighter colors for the herd to enjoy, and followed traffic to the 18th Street tunnel. The changing LED light display entranced the unicorns, as traffic streaked past them.
Starlight, head of the unicorns’ security detail, with her no-nonsense blue coloring, thought they should stay there until dawn. The unicorns coloring matched the tunnel’s light show. She felt secure.
But, after several cycles of the light show, Melody, Mystic, and Twinkle wanted to see more of the Magic City.
They trotted for a few blocks, and saw very tall buildings.
“These are called skyscrapers,” Mystic announced, as they looked to the sky.
Melody asked, “I wonder what skyscrapers are for? I don’t see any paddocks, and the windows look too small let in sunlight.”
Mystic was hoping to see the tunnel lights one more time, but the other unicorns decided it was time to return to their guest stables. They were thinking of a late night buffet with oats and hay.
The big surprise, to us mortals, is that no one noticed the unicorns, or, at least, reported seeing them, in our midst.
Unicorns have their own magic, for travelling in the Magic City.
Photographing toy unicorn models is a welcome challenge presented by “Virtual Brush Box,” during the pandemic of 2020.
For this edition, I photographed them in my kitchen, with a back light, projected through a soft-light reflector. My camera is resting on household items, to get closer focus on the unicorns. I photo-shopped the unicorns into my own Birmingham photographs.
The opportunity to create a fictional story — a complete diversion from photojournalism and corporate photography –- is new territory.
Follow “We – The Unicorns…” as they let me know when, and where, they roam.
Unicorn Stablemates created by Breyer Animal Creations.