Hello, Nature-Led Friends!
I wrote this short story awhile back and submitted to the King County Library: Terrifying Tales Contest https://kcls.org/terrifyingtales/
While I didn’t win, I’m grateful for the opportunity to dust something off and give it a go. It’s hard for me to submit my stories. They’re never quite perfect in the mind of the writer. I happen to know the woman that won this year’s contest. I haven’t seen her since before the pandemic, but it makes me very happy to know she’s out their writing her own stories! You can read her story and all the other winners and honorable mentions for free at the link above.
The Evil Rooster
By Melanie Reynolds
Somewhere in Colombia…
A man walked into the mountain village cantina very content with himself. He sat down and ordered a drink while watching everyone else around him. Raúl was not a good person. When he saw the happy man at the end of the bar, he believed there must be something worth stealing from him. Raúl offered the happy stranger another drink and then another. The happy stranger was grateful but reluctant.
“If I have another drink, I will not be able to stand!” the stranger said laughing.
“Don’t worry about it.” Raúl said. “Tell me your secret of why you’re so happy and I’ll pay for your bed here tonight.”
“Oh, you are too kind, my friend!” the happy stranger said. “I have no secrets, only the joy of telling stories, but you know, on the path to this village I did see the most beautiful rooster!”
“It was proud and handsome, as a rooster should be. You know, this area is famous for its chicken and eggs.” The man continued. “Even though the sun was fading, the feathers shimmered with an iridescent glow of red, green, and gold. Beautiful! Just beautiful!”
“Wow!” Raúl exclaimed. “Such a healthy bird would make a nice meal or fetch a good price. What did you do with the rooster?” Raúl asked.
“I didn’t do anything with it.” The stranger said raising his hands up in the air. “I simply admired it on the side of the path then came here.”
“It’s still out there?” Raúl asked. “I must go at once and see this beautiful bird for myself!”
Raúl paid for the stranger’s room upstairs and set off to find the rooster.
The moon was bright and Raúl could clearly see the path along the steep ravine by it’s light. On the other side of the path was a thick forest. Raúl went only a little further when the rooster stepped out from behind a giant fern.
It pecked at the pebbles in the path occasionally eyeing Raúl. Raúl slowed down and crouched a bit with a potato sack in one hand.
“Oh my, you are a beautiful bird, aren’t you?” Raúl said to the rooster.
The rooster clucked a bit as if in agreement. The rooster was just as the happy stranger had said with brilliant iridescent feathers that glowed red, green, and gold.
Raúl held the potato sack open with both hands now, but because he was so close, the rooster started to strut away. Raúl decide to leap for the bird to make up the distance, but the rooster evaded him with a short flight farther up the path then cocked its head and eyed Raúl again, this time with a disapproving gleam in its eye that made Raúl angry.
“You think you’re so smart?” Raúl asked the rooster his eyes becoming dangerously greedy. He repositioned the bag and continued to close the distance between them.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” the Rooster said.
Raúl’s straightened up and his eyes got bigger. “Wow!” he said. “A talking rooster! This will surely be worth more than anything I could ever dream of!”
Raúl pounced at the rooster again, but this time it took off into the thick underbrush of the forest. Raúl chased after it, following flashes of iridescent feathers, always shimmering just out of his reach.
Raúl took one last big leap in an effort to catch the rooster and found himself with no ground beneath him. He fell to the rocks at the bottom of the ravine.
The next morning the rooster crowed his morning song. Some men from the village came to collect Raúl’s body from the rocks that were stained with centuries of blood. They carted the body back to the village and put it in a meat grinder to make chicken feed for the plump beautiful hens.
The happy stranger had a lovely breakfast of arepas with eggs and went on his way.
This is an original story inspired by an old Colombian folklore about an “evil chicken”. If the evil chicken is met on a path or road and does a shrill clucking that sounds both chicken and human, then the person should be warned of misfortune or death if they don’t say a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel and/or turn back from the path. I would like to acknowledge gratitude to my friend Patricia Lezama for sharing her culture with me through our shared love of stories and assistance in translation during research as needed. Thank you, my friend! May I never lead you down a path of ruin.
Reminder: Don’t forget to email me your Mushroom/Fungus pictures due on November 30th! (See previous post for details)