Mountains surround you as the cruise ship lowers into a canyon close to large castle. You have no idead where you are but one thing you do know for certain. You are no longer a cartoon nor are you flying with dragons. What an adventure you had yesterday. Not just one stop but two. Your cartoon self had disappeared to reveal your natural form just as the ship had mysteriously gone back in time to medieval Scotland. It was fun!
You wonder where you are today. What time and place did you find yourself in? Tasha and Dalton wouldn't give anyone information as to where the ship had travelled to last night. Come to think of it they were looking a bit worried. You had asked them about it this morning at breakfast but all Dalton could tell you was that he and Tasha were having a lover's quarrel that had begun yesterday. You tossed your concerns aside. They would make it up somehow. You were certain of that.
Hello, I’m Edward, king of Struglend. Wait, hang on…
“Fred, didn’t there use to be a wall here?”
“Uh… no idea, sorry.”
“Strange, I distinctly remember there being four walls here…”
Well, never mind about that. That fellow there who’s holding the sledgehammer behind his back is Fred, my trusty herald. He’s been a huge support since I’ve unexpectedly become king of Struglend. But I understand you’re here to be shown around my land. Well then…Plonk.
Sorry, I just had to do that. As you can see by my appearance, I am a jackdaw. As you can see by the skilful way in which I threw that small pebble onto the king’s head, I am a jackdaw with excellent aiming. My name is Horatio Boniface the Third, and I am going to show you some of the more interesting places in this world, because Struglend definitely isn’t one of them. I wouldn’t want to be found dead there, and I bet even dead people wouldn’t want to be found dead there. Or alive, for that matter. And before you ask, yes, that happens occasionally.
But let me take you to one of those interesting places I mentioned: the Isle of Mandolin. As you can see from up here, it is shaped like a clarinet, hence the name.
If we just swoop down like this, we come across one of the most remarkable sites of the island. That rundown building there is the asylum. Some say it’s haunted by the ghost of a doctor who went mad, but I’m not sure. It’s probably superstition, the people here are like that.
If we continue on, we arrive at New Mapstain, the island’s biggest town. It’s not much to look at, and actually, it isn’t much, so we’ll skip it and continue to that portico there, which is a portal to the world where it’s really at… the land of the gods. What… what happened? Ow… my head. Anyway, as I was saying, this is Struglend, undoubtedly the most beautiful country in the world. Or perhaps it’s not, but at least it has some interesting locales, like Death’s castle. A really nice fellow, that, Death. I think you’ll like him too.
If you’re more interested in religion though, you’ll need to visit Father Camilo’s chapel. And if after that you have an irresistible urge to flee the country, although I couldn’t imagine why, you can take a boat out of the harbour across the Sea of Ice, to end up on the Isle of Mandolin.
But I can’t see myself ever leaving my kingdom. Well, unless it was invaded by an evil knight in black armour or something, but what are the odds of something silly like that happening?
Who is Jan Jacob Mekes?
Jan Jacob Mekes was born in 1982 in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. He spent most of his life so far thinking writing wasn't really a career, but after going to university to study history, he found out that writing is the one thing he loves doing most, and he's pretty good at it too. He just loves sharing the stories that pop up into his head, seemingly out of nowhere, especially the ones that are funny.
Jan will be giving away three copies of his book in a contest. Just leave him a comment below to be entered. The winner will be announced on December 15, 2012.