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* * * * * Final installment, Oct. 31, 2012 * * * * *
The November air of the pine forest was brisk and dry. Valeria tread across the brown blanket of needles silently, deliberately, searching the forest floor for signs. There had been intermittent sightings in the area for months now. And she had narrowed the overlapping territories to one particular pine stand.
Valeria scanned the ground carefully for hoof prints, and the trees for tell-tale signs of shredded bark, as the creature was said to rub its horn against trees as bucks did their antlers. She'd been out for hours, and darkness was descending, and she had seen nothing. They had told her it would be elusive, that it had ways of being unseen, but Valeria thought perhaps her desire was so great as to draw it out. But now her back was tired and her stomach empty, and as she pulled her rucksack off, she crouched down to retrieve her water flask and a small loaf of bread. It was then that from behind her, she heard a snort of a large animal.
Her eyes widened and she froze. Another snort, this one softer, and the muffled stamp of a hoof. She turned, as slowly as her body would allow, and her eyes met those of a great white horse. With a single horn from its forehead. It shook its head at her and whinnied softly.
"I am seen when I am seen," she heard in her mind. Her arm began to move to reach out to it, but the beast turned and galloped away in an instant, and Valeria watched it go as far as her eyes could follow it, as she knew she would never in her life see such a thing again.
The "Valeria" cabinet of curiosities is housed in a vintage wooden shelf measuring 16 1/2" x 16 1/2" x 4" and contains the following items:
• seven vintage vials containing blue parakeet feathers, mink leg bones, snail shells, crinoid fossils, peridot chips, emerald green beetle wings, mink vertebrae
• white coral
• Coturnix quail egg
• green slag rock
• raccoon skull
• dried tree mushroom
• vintage vial with fox claw
• conch shell
• distillation flask with mink rib bones
• clear quartz
• partial squirrel spine
• vial with tumbled aventurine
• deer vertebrae
• mink skull
• green polished agate slice
• button quail egg
• two test tubes with vermatidae shells and coyote toe bone
• vial with two butterfly wings
• vintage amber bottle with white parrot feather
• vintage amber bottle with duck feather
• Erlenmeyer flask with mink vertebrae and chicken feather
NOTE: Feather & Moss loves wildlife, and we know you do, too! Therefore, we source ALL materials lawfully and in accordance with United States regulations, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 -- protected species are NEVER used in our collections.