In this excerpt from my upcoming novel, The Beanstalk and Beyond, the Ogress has imprisoned Jack in the giant chicken coop, where he discovers that he is not the only non-chicken trapped within.
When I have told this story in the past, I typically described the bird as a hen or a goose. Truth is far stranger; I have not seen anything like this bird before or since. In the moonlight, it seemed about the size of a good goose, but parts of its head had scales instead of feathers. Its eyes glowed amber, like a dragon’s, if you’ve ever had the misfortune to stare into such a gaze, and its beak had teeth.
“We must escape tonight, before sunlight,” that beak announced.
“Wha-aaw!” I jumped, for I was yet unaccustomed to animals starting conversations with me.“You talk.”
“Of course I talk; I’m a cockatrice. And I am relieved that you speak some words as well. You’re a human, right? Funny, I’d always imagined your kind larger and hairier. No matter. We must escape tonight.”