The ground was seconds away and I braced for impact. Whatever happened next would not be pretty, of this I was sure of. Throwing my hands over my eyes I waited to hear the inevitable bone snapping sounds echoing throughout my body. Instead, I felt my feet hit the ground without pain, surprising me enough to cause me to tumble forward, and then completely down a grassy embankment. Fifteen minutes later I came to a halt flat on my back at the bottom of a dank grassy ravine. Somehow, someway, lady luck had reached out and saved me from certain demise. Or maybe it had everything to do with the window being on the first floor. Regardless, I was alive, filthy and in need of a plan.
The ground was silent, dark and gave off a feeling of majesty. Sweeping my eyes back and forth, I tried to ascertain where exactly I was. Of course this was a problem due to my arrival in Denmark less than a week ago. How could I expect to know where I was, or what to do if I didn’t even know my ABCs yet?
A barrage of tears made its way down from eyes and I sat down on a dingy log. I’m alone in the middle of nowhere and my options are either heading back and somehow going inside an elderly nurse’s vagina or staying out here and probably getting eaten by a monster. As I sat there pondering, a blue jay came flying down and landed beside me. Believing it to be a harbinger of hope, I slowly brought my head down and tried to lock eyes with it. This was most definitely a talking blue jay, of this I was certain. Not wanting to startle it, I asked it in a low, breathy voice what was its name? I expected a response in the manner of a cheery little voice, perhaps with a nice cartoon squeak attached for effect. Instead I received this, said in a foul, cigar chomping gruff,
“Why the hell are you talking to birds?”
My body lurched back in fright and the bird took off without warning. I turned around and locked eyes with a man who had to be at least three thousand years old. His skin looked as black as tar, yet he had the most crisp, distinct blue eyes I had ever come across. His hair was matted and wild, probably due to the environment around him and his beard was filthy, containing fragments of God knew what all the way down to his bellybutton. He was as tall as a polar bear, and as skinny as a birch tree.
He was also naked.
His mouth opened up and I could see a few survivors of yellow teeth in his war against Gingivitis. Once again he repeated his question,
“Why the hell are you talking to birds?”
I responded with obvious fright in my voice, how I was lost and was just looking for help. Perhaps he felt pity for me, or maybe he was eying me like a pork chop. In any event he stuck a bony finger out and pointed over my left shoulder.
“Do you see that sign over there?”
I explained to him that I was six and never really learned to read in English, forget about Denmarkese.
“Alright then I’ll tell you what it says. You are in the middle of the Skove med Tilio-Acerion på skråninger, urer og i kløfter or for those of you who speak English, The Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines.
Suddenly an odd thought popped in my head. This man is speaking to me in English! But before I could voice my premise, he continued to speak.
“You have come at a bad time. There is a war coming between those with and those without. My armies are located half a click west of the eastern dawn. Come this time tomorrow, we will launch our brigades deep into the heart of Denmark and take back what was once ours!”
Confusion was now the drink of choice inside my head and my brain was getting drunk off its pungent aroma. Wisely, I held off voicing any questions and just let the man continue to speak.
“They thought they had banished us into the night, and they were right. Three hundred twenty seven years ago tomorrow, my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great Great Uncle Bvioal Un Wolaheoah was a peaceful man living in peaceful times. His brother, the King Ualeu Bun Wolaheoah was nearing his time of departure, and he would be leaving behind no children of his own. His wife, Brenda Walsh had problems with her great baby chamber and no offspring could cross the fine line between belly and life. Therefore my my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great Great Uncle Bvioal Un Wolaheoah would be given the crown. The night before the King died, his trusted advisor, Fred came into Great Uncle Bvioal’s chamber with his favorite drink, a grape Gatorade. He told him to drink it fast, for it was custom and a man who would soon be king would never want to break custom. My Great Uncle, obedient, if not naive, followed Fred’s instructions and chugged his grape Gatorade. Three minutes later, my Great Uncle fell into a deep sleep. Fred and some helpers rolled him up with blankets and brought him out here, into these woods. There they dug a mighty hole and buried my Great Uncle. The next day, the King died, and without any children, or my Great Uncle to assume the crown, Fred rose to power.”
I sat there and marveled at the story, but apparently it wasn’t finished yet.
“But did my Great Uncle die that night? No he certainly did not. Instead, he was awoken four months later by the mighty owl Nyaldka, who told him all that had happened. In those four months, my Great Uncle had grown a mighty beard. Nyaldka told him that his people would one day assume the throne and they would need every inch of their mighty beard to do so.”
An ominous feeling came over me. I asked, trying to project as much courage as possible whether the man I was speaking to was indeed Uncle Bvioal Un Wolaheoah? Before I finished the last syllable on Wolaheoah, the man let out a booming laugh, holding his sides as tears rained down his dirt incrusted face.
“That is ridiculous. Here I am telling a credible story and you believe I am over three hundred years old? Of course not.”
My brow furrowed. I did not like being mocked, and there was clear mockage going on right now. But I let the man continue.
“You remember I said my Great Uncle was obedient, if not naïve? Well, to be a truly great King you couldn’t possess either of those qualities. What he did need was a wife, sons, an army and a bath after spending four months buried in the middle of these woods. To accomplish his first need, he grabbed the mighty owl Nyaldka and laid him down by the fire. Four months later he had his son, who, when the time was right, found his own owl to lay down by the fire to produce his own son. And so on, and so on, and so on.”
I was thinking what you are thinking right now. But he once again answered my question before I could give it voice.
“Yes, I am part man and part owl. And with your help, tomorrow I will restore the honor of my family. My army will plunge into their safe homes and we will take what is rightfully ours! I will kill the King and Queen and became the King of Denmark!
I stood up now, almost defiant. I was only six years old, how could I help him? And why would I want to kill anyone?
“We have cable down here so I know who you are. You are betrothed to the Princess. Your value is higher than you know. Therefore you will help me, and I will then help you. Tomorrow we right what has been wrong for too long!”
With a fury, the dirty owl man stood up and whooted, long and hard.