It was a night like many others. It involved me and an old book of fairytales I wanted to be alone with. The book wanted to be with me too; its leather-clad spine fit perfectly in my hand. I curled with it on the sofa and soon forgot everything else in the world.
After a couple of hours, I looked up and out of the balcony. I only wanted to give my eyes some rest and to get a glimpse of the night outside. The moon looked back at me and I smiled. It was actually a streetlamp, but I liked to think of it as a full moon.
And then I saw him: a midnight-black rooster, with blood-red comb and wattles, and eyes fixed on me. He was standing still in the middle of my balcony, with something of the dandy in his stance. He obviously has a way with hens, I thought. Indeed, the more I looked at him, the more I knew that, had I been a hen, I would love to have him jump on me and peck on my neck. Our chicks would be midnight-black, with blood-red comb and wattles. But I would like them to have my eyes. I have incredible eyes.
Still, I had to wonder what a rooster was doing in the center of the city and of my balcony, where no crops grow and coops don’t come for free. Then it dawned on me that when there is no natural explanation, there must be a supernatural one. This was Mistulet, the evil rooster from the book! He was real and had come to bargain with me!
I started thinking how to play this out. I knew Mistulet could grant me a wish, on the condition that, the next time he visited me, I would be able to greet him by his name. If I failed, he would eat my heart out.
Fair enough, I thought. I’ll accept the bargain. But I’ll be provident. I’ll write his name on a large piece of paper, the larger the better, and pin it on my notice board. I won’t have it as bad as stupid Mariette. Besides, I already know his name.
Feeling confident that I could outsmart an evil spirit, I started to think what to ask for. At the same time, I was surprised by his ability to remain absolutely still for such a long time. And then I saw that his beak was hanging open; his eyes were staring somewhere beyond me, with a lack of luster that could only signify a lack of intelligence.
‘A prince!’ I exclaimed. ‘An enchanted prince! Who says a prince always comes as a frog? If I kiss him, he will turn human. He will marry me, and life will be all wine, roses and golf, and Olga from work will be so jealous!’
Only a balcony door stood between me and my excellent fortune. I rushed to open it. But, alas! When I did, all I found waiting for me was my black watering pot with its red spout. With spirits low, I took a vow: to see my oculist and check my astigmatism. Incredible eyes can be tricky you know.
© Basilike Pappa, 2018