THE SAT-NAV OF DOOM • by Nyki Blatchley

Pulling the brightly painted Land Rover to a halt, Faroon the Fearless turned to his trusty sidekick. “Check the Sat-Nav again, Bob.”

With a sigh, Bob the Vaguely Amusing examined the mechanism. It had been especially enchanted by the good wizard Percy the Pink to lead the dauntless questers to their goal. Faroon had been a little dubious about this, remembering Percy’s last scheme. No-one had ever discovered the exact details, except that it had involved taking out fire insurance on trees. Although he’d been a thousand miles away at the time of the Great Disaster of the Tree-Dudes, there had been rumours.

Still, a good wizard was a good wizard, and the Sat-Nav of Doom was far too noble a gift to refuse. Besides, it kept Bob occupied, instead of cracking awful jokes.

“Yes, boss, we’re right on course for the Mountain of Destiny. According to this, we’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Aaahh.” Faroon let out a sigh of relief and triumph. “Our quest is almost achieved. For half a year have we journeyed on our mission to save the world from the evil tyrant, Tyrant the Evil, and we are here in the nick of time. Already his unstoppable armies of destruction are marching on the last bastions of the Blessed Realms, the Good Kingdoms and the Rather Nice Republics. We were nearly too late.”

“We’d have been in plenty of time,” Bob pointed out, “if you’d taken my advice. Let’s face it, we spent most of that half a year either trying to get onto the bypass or trying to get off it again.”

“No matter. In ten minutes, we shall reach the Mountain of Destiny, the heart of the evil realm of Nasty. At its summit lies a hidden chamber, wherein resides the secret of Tyrant the Evil’s power: the Mirror of Many Reflections. All I need do is to smash the Mirror, and the Great Enemy’s power will be gone for all time. Onward!”

The Land Rover, which bore the name Faroon had given it – the Carriage of Victory — stencilled all over in garish colours, rolled forward on the last leg of its journey.

“Boss,” asked Bob after a moment, “when you smash the Mirror of Many Reflections… What will be your fate? Must you sacrifice yourself for the world’s sake?”

“Sod, no,” exclaimed Faroon. “Why would I want to do that? It’s a mirror, for heaven’s sake — how hard can it be to smash? I’m going home and having a party to celebrate. I might even have strippers.”

After the two intrepid adventurers had driven in silence for ten minutes, the Sat-Nav of Doom calmly informed them, “You have now reached your final destination.”

“We’re here,” Bob announced, with suitable dramatic effect in his voice.

Stopping the Carriage of Victory, Faroon looked around. “We’re… where, exactly?”

“The Mountain of Destiny,” said Bob happily, still fiddling with the machine.

Faroon sat motionless, except that his head turned from side to side, taking in the flat, featureless plain that spread in all directions, as far as he could see.

“And where exactly is this mountain?” he asked ominously.

Bob looked up and surveyed the landscape. “Bugger,” he said. “This thing must be on the blink.”

“You have now reached your final destination,” said the Sat-Nav, unperturbed.

Leaning over the seat, Bob rummaged until he pulled out a battered and torn road atlas, which he studied for a while. “Ah,” he said last.

“Ah what?”

“Actually… as far as I can see, this isn’t the evil realm of Nasty.  It’s the nasty realm of Evil.  The Sat-Nav must have confused them. That’s understandable, although they’re really completely different. The ruler here, for instance, doesn’t seek to conquer the world. He simply likes taking candy away from children. Not pleasant, but…”

“And how long is it going to take us to get to the Mountain of Destiny?”

“Well, it’s…” Bob did a quick calculation with two fingers and the scale of the map. “Unless we take the motorway, about a week.”

“And if we take the motorway?”

“Two weeks.”

“So,” said Faroon slowly, “basically, we’re screwed. And so is the world. Tyrant the Evil will have completed his campaign of conquest and utter subjugation long before we can destroy the Mirror of Many Reflections and thwart his dastardly plans.”

“Looks that way,” agreed Bob. “Still, look on the bright side.”

Faroon glanced out of the side window of the Land Rover where a blood-red setting sun lit up the glass. Looking on the bright side didn’t make him feel any better.

“You have now reached…”

“Oh, go to hell,” he yelled at the machine.

There was silence for ten heartbeats.

“Take the next turning on the left,” said the Sat-Nav of Doom, “and proceed in a downwards direction.”

Nyki Blatchley has been writing since he was four. He had a novel published last year by StoneGarden, as well as having had a couple of dozen short stories and numerous poems published. He’s also performed his poetry in many venues around London and elsewhere, often with his own musical backing, the Invisible Band. Among all this, he found time to graduate from Keele University in English and Greek Studies. He’s worked in various jobs, from bookseller to artist’s model, though much of his career has been in social care. He lives just outside London.

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