“How queer,” Roger mumbled. He traced a finger around the non-fractal shoreline of some “Pinovya” object marring his nineteenth century atlas. “That ad promised an untarnished 1868 atlas. My gracious, if this is untarnished...” Roger scowled. “Where is that paper?”
The room was a maze of artifacts. A supposed replica of the Holy Grail lay sideways on a hand-carved French table. Dusty tomes spread across nearly every surface. Roger stumbled around, eyes darting. There.
Roger swiped his phone from a pocket of his corduroy blazer and dialed the number. After three rings, a gruff voice emerged. “Hello.”
“Hi, this is Roger Derry. I bought the atlas you advertised in the Post and find some inaccuracies in your description.”
“And by that you mean what, my boy?”
“It had an eighth continent marked in. It’s clearly been tarnished, despite your promises of the converse.”
“That’s no mistake. Pinovya is quite real.”
“A whole continent that no one’s heard of? That’s absurd.” Roger pulled his laptop from an Ottoman foot-rest and punched the word into Google. Two results.
“I’m sorry, my boy. America’s Got Talent is coming on. Trust me, that atlas is as original as my right hip.” He added in a mumble, “although I can’t speak for the left one.”
Roger dropped the phone beside him on his oddly ordinary loveseat. Two results on Google? Is it possible...?
The first link opened up a dark home page. The heading read: The Real Myth-Land of Pinovya. Roger scrolled down, a bead of sweat dampening his mouse. A few grainy, captioned photographs displayed a lush jungle. The animals were like nothing Roger had ever seen before. A few had two sets of wings, despite their feathered bodies. One lay snug against a tree, its mane entangled around a horn. Its hooves were cloven.
Roger shook his head as he went backward to click the other link. This time, a blog popped up on the screen. On the right sidebar an old man was pictured. Roger’s hometown blazed below it.
The latest post was titled “My Last”. Roger gulped hard. The words seemed to dance around in his head. “They’ve never believed me.” “I’ve seen it.” “A square island smack-dab in the middle of the Pacific.” “I don’t know if I’d believe myself if I didn’t know.” “And yet it’s true.”
The last six sentences made Roger’s heart drop. He read aloud, “It pains me to have to pass along with my secret. I sold the atlas. That’s the best I could do. It’s beautiful. The most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Such a pity.”
Roger closed his laptop. “Could it be…?” he murmured.