By now, you’re probably sick with worry about our hero. What happened to him, where is he, and how is Monty treating him? So, we’ll jump away from Ben while he nervously grills goat to appease the witch and wander the world through the eyes of a cockatrice.
The darkness receded. Scratchy leather removed from its eyes. The cockatrice blinked against the dazzling sunlight. It warbled. It stretched its wings. Cold metal bars blocked their unfurling.
“We’ll have none of that.” Monty leaned forward and squinted at the cockatrice. “Where’d you go, eh?” He laughed. “Nothing outside but cold and rain.”
The cockatrice rubbed its snout against the newspapers of its cage.
The light moved closer. Its heat warmed the scales of the cockatrice’s back.
Monty’s face spun around the cage. “A fine specimen.” He tapped his lip with a finger. “You’ll fetch a tower-full of gold.” The old man grinned.
The cockatrice glared at Monty. Nothing happened. The cockatrice began to wonder if it was somehow lacking, then it remembered Monty’s contacts. The cockatrice hissed at the old man.
“I’m glad you still got some fight.” He laughed. It turned into a wet, hacking cough. He spat onto the floor. “Damn damp.”
The cockatrice tilted its head and studied Monty.
Monty grimaced. “I’ll see you in the morning.” He strode away, taking the sunlight with him. Wavy shadows flickered and danced against the bare wooden walls.
The cockatrice ignored the disappearance of light and gnawed the metal bars. Its beak clacked and clanged as it bit.
Deep into the dark of night, the cockatrice drooped. Its neck tired, its head heavy, and its legs stiff. No visible marks marred the metal bar.
The cockatrice closed its eyes as exhaustion washed over it.
A dull creak broke the silence.
The cockatrice opened one eye. It tilted its head to study the room. Nothing moved in the darkness.
The creak sounded again, nearby.
The cockatrice jerked upright, its head swiveling to gaze at the entire room.
The sound of a bar snapping free and clattering against the floor of the cage echoed through the room. Still no marks scratched the surface of the gnawed bar.
The cockatrice sniffed the metal bar. It stared at the connecting places. It tilted its head to the left and wondered what sort of enchantments a wizard might place on a cage. Certainly, an illusion of it remaining whole was plausible…wasn’t it?
The cockatrice poked its nose toward the bar. It passed through the opening! The cockatrice wriggled free from its cage.
So, what do you think will happen? What do you want to happen? Was it too short? Too long? Too unfunny?
Yep, that’s right. I’m soliciting comments and suggestions. I may even use them. No matter how wacky, zany, nerdy, or weird. No matter how serious, fanciful, or sci-fi. It’s a choose your own adventure. You choose what happens next.