Channelled from my dark muse Ino. All I could think of for this flash fiction prompt was boring tales about cooking disasters. Ino wrote this:
I love crispy roast potatoes straight from the oven. Usually I put them with roast beef and greens, ladling copious amounts onto the dinner plate. One day I was just sitting down to eat my roast potatoes when a bird flew up to the window. It tapped on the window with its little beak and held up a message scroll in its claw.
I opened the window and took the message, and as I read it the bird came in and began to peck at one of my roast potatoes. “Don’t eat my dinner!” I snapped, “or you will end up as part of it!”
The bird pecked the potato again, and I noticed the message read,” whatever you do, do not harm or eat this bird.” They must have known who I was, to write that. But why send a message that is only about the messenger? You expect one line about the messenger, and that to be followed by the message itself.
I threw the message onto the table, grabbed the bird and put it in a canary cage. (It wasn’t a canary.) Then I ate the rest of my dinner. I threw a tangled knot of worms into the cage for the bird to eat and put in a pot of water. It gave a mournful twitter. I resolved to let it go the next day but did not tell it so.
Later I went to bed. During the night I heard the bird singing, and I reflected that usually only nightingales sing at night. In the morning it had turned into a large mermaid and was sitting in my bath with the cold tap running. The cage was in pieces on the floor, having split when the bird grew.
“What’s the matter with you now?” I asked irritably, turning off the tap to prevent flooding over the bathroom floor.
“You didn’t say you were letting me go,” she replied, “so I escaped.”
“I was going to open the cage this morning and put you out of the window,” I answered. “What’s the idea of the message, and being a bird in the first place?”
“You’ll have to ask the person who wrote it,” she said. “The person who has got this entire house in a box. Look- here comes their hand through the window, helping itself to potatoes from the vegetable rack. We’ll be roasting them.”