Usually maps are meant to be helpful. Sometimes we resist thinking they’re necessary, but still appreciate the assistance when we’re ready. We search them out when planning a trip, or when we get lost, either literally on the road or emotionally needing counsel. Roadmaps give clarity.
Occasionally we have experienced asking directions and becoming even more confused due to a rapid fire answer or an explanation so complicated we can’t track; however, how often have we ever had someone deliberately falsify the right path, or threaten bodily harm if we continue?
In The Land of Darkness, by C.S. Lakin, Callen’s only map for his quest to find the bridge is verbal prompts that are more confusing than logical. He is seeking a bridge from the past that is also to be his future and they’re both in the same place, although nowhere to be found. Yet despite all the barriers he finally arrives at the edge of possibility in a small town almost as forsaken as his search. Rumble. He and Jadiel are received with kindness until Callen states his destination and the room becomes hushed.
“The barkeep stopped pouring ale and glared at Callen. ‘Surely you’re not taking a child into the Valley Perilous? Man, have you lost your beans?’
Jadiel turned her head and caught the wide-eyed expressions on the faces around her—disapproving, incredulous glares that made her shiver. ……….
‘Here in Rumble, anyone venturing onto the plain is our business’. …… The man set down a tall glass of ale before Callen. His voice softened, but his eyes remained full of judgment. ‘Because the foolish likes of you go stirring up the dead, making the ground shake and the animals spook.’”
One man spits at Callen as they leave town and he worries his search will put Jadiel in more danger. However, he must continue to follow this map, this journey, to find an answer.
Put your character in a situation where he knows he is within a few block radius of his destination, but is missing the last few directions. Whoever he asks for directions either ignores him or becomes angry. How does he react? And what does he do to cope?