Welcome one and all to the Last Door on the Left – a travel agency for the adventurous soul. Have you always wanted to see the world beyond the wardrobe? Longed to wait for the train at 9 ¾? Pined for tickets to hear Plava Laguna sing at Phloston Paradise? Look no further.
Hello, my fellow wanderers! And welcome back to the Last Door on the Left; the inter-dimensional travel agency not for the faint of heart.
“Don’t tell me the truth hurts, little girl, because it hurts like hell.” And the truth is that this week, ladies and gents, the Last Door on the Left leads to the Labyrinth!
This is definitely an adventure of the road less travelled variety, so keep an eye out on your way in, as the front door is often infested with fairies. They look awfully pretty at first, but they’ll fool you! They bite, given half a chance. And if you see a Goblin as you enter, say hello. Having the right connections in the Labyrinth is always a good idea.
(Savvy traveler side note: asking the right questions is KEY in the Labyrinth. Be wise, friends)
Once you get into the Labyrinth, remember: you can’t take anything for granted. Nothing is what it seems; including the local wildlife. If you’re feeling peckish after starting your stroll toward the centre, feel free to stop for a cuppa with one of the locals, they’re very friendly.
Stopping to ask for directions can prove problematic, but as long as you keep your wits about you, I’m sure you will prevail! (Though maybe if you’re offered the choice between up and down, try up. For the foreign language aficionados among us: oubliette is from the French and refers to “a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling”.)
Packing Pro-Tip #1: a few shiny baubles from your local costume jewelry store wouldn’t go amiss. They’re great for trading for favours with the magpie-esque Goblins! And really, who doesn’t like something shiny?
Now, there are one or two things to avoid, if possible. Fieries have a rousing game of Lose Your Body Part that can be a bit intimidating for newcomers, and the Bog of Eternal Stench takes some getting used to, so tread carefully.
Always remember to be kind in the Labyrinth! Acts of friendship will come back to reward you when you least expect it, and a good friend – be it Ludo, Hoggle, Sir Didymus, or even the rocks under your feet – is a wonderful thing to have.
Packing Pro-Tip #2: a picnic lunch is a good idea. Bringing your own food into the Labyrinth prevents the whole issue of deciding whether or not to trust the food you find within.
Packing Pro-Tip #3: Expect the unexpected and pack accordingly. The occasional impromptu formal masquerade has been known to occur, and you’d hate to be under-dressed.
Of all the things you’re likely to find in your travels through the Labyrinth, a life lesson or two is bound to be among them. (Kindness pays? Check. Stuff is just stuff, it’s the people who matter? Double check.) And you might find some of these lessons in the Goblin City at its centre. Oh sure, there is also likely to be some armed conflict from a fascinating variety of Goblin phenotypes (up to and including my personal favourite: the Goblin Cannon Ball), but stay low, keep moving, and make your way steadily to the castle; it’s worth the trip.
If you can make it past the mechanized giant guarding the first entrance into the castle proper (and I have every faith in you, I really do) there’s a wonderfully Escher-esque room just waiting to be explored! And haven’t you always wanted to defy the laws of gravity? For all of the fitness fad followers, those stairs will be great for your step count!
At the end of the day, after all you’ve seen, and all you’ve endured, “through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered”, even… all will be well if you can remember your next line:
“You have no power over me.”