Anastasiya and the Unicorn
Anastasiya lived in a place where the hills rolled and were, from time to time, covered in flowers. Royal purple, pale mauve, and vibrant pink, Anastasiya would wade through them as she roamed the hills looking for a thing her grandmother told her lived amidst the shrubs and stunted trees: a unicorn.
Long ago, her grandmother had told her once, unicorns lived in great herds among the rolling hills because it held the purest water. The creatures could travel over even the soggiest, most sunken ground because of their magic, which made them light of hoof and drawn to pure hearts. But it had been a long time since anyone had seen a unicorn, let alone a herd, her grandmother had said, for it wasn't often that people had the disposition.
Anastasiya didn't know what her grandmother meant by 'disposition,' but she was determined that she would find a unicorn. And so, she searched, high and low, as often as she could. But try as she might, she could never find one. Not even a hint.
As time went on, the world around Anastasiya grew darker. Her mother hung her head more. People in the shops looked bleaker. Anastasiya noticed these things, and they troubled her greatly. She even thought that the sky's normal silvery sheen faded more often to a dull gray tinged with blue-black lines of storm. The more she noticed, the sadder she grew, until weeks had passed and she had not gone searching for unicorns once.
When the weeks had turned to a year, Anastasiya felt a pain in her chest. Everything around her seemed so very sad, and the heart within her ached badly. It was as though she could feel all the pain in the world. Suddenly, she burst out of her home and out into the rolling hills until she found the lowest valley and sat down. She rested her chin on her chest and closed her eyes against all the confusing pain.
That was when Anastasiya felt a nuzzle against her shoulder.
She opened her eyes, and smiled.
The pain was still there, right in her chest, and the knowledge of the sad world remained in her mind. But there was an incredible joy mixed in, filled with enough wonder to last a life time. For she was looking into the eyes of a unicorn.