By Diana E Backhouse

That damned sat-nav!

If it hadn’t been for BONGO – yes, you heard right:–B.O.N.G.O.–British On-road

NaviGational Objective. Well, if it hadn’t been for that blasted sat-nav, I wouldn’t be

about to go into court and it wouldn’t be appearing as the prime exhibit.

Sorry, I’m jumping ahead a bit. I better start at the beginning.

I had just got my 1965 Mk III Austin Healey back on the road after a lengthy and very

expensive restoration when, on the Monday morning, the postman arrived with an

unexpected parcel. I didn’t know who or where it came from, and I still don’t know to

this day. Anyway, the parcel was clearly addressed to me and I’ve never been one to

turn down a freebie.

On opening it, I found a flashy satellite-navigation box with the letters B.O.N.G.O.

emblazoned in gold all over it. I’d never heard of the make before, but the enclosed

leaflet informed me what the letters stood for and gave instructions, albeit in Pidgin

English, as to how to set it up. I decided to give it a go. Now I wish I’d stuck to the

1965 ordinance-survey map that I’d picked up at a car-boot sale. That, at least, was

contemporary with my Pride and Joy.

From the off, BONGO led me a right old dance. The blooming thing took me along

ridiculously narrow roads and through deep fords, which played havoc with the

newly-restored braking-system. Once, it actually took me along a farm track, where I

got stuck in a muddy yard. I had to be pulled out by tractor and returned to the main

road, which left me fifty quid out of pocket. Well, I suppose that farmers have been

encouraged to diversify, haven’t they?

On the day in question, I set off to meet my fiancée at the airport. She was returning

from a three-week business trip in Europe, and I looked forward to showing off my

newly-restored roadster. I’d never been to this particular airport before so decided to

put my trust totally in BONGO. I should have known better from my previous jaunts.

What an utter fool I was, for that dratted object was to lead me well and truly up the

garden path. Yes, literally, up a very long garden path into the depths of the forest and

into the worst day of my thirty-two-year-long life.

I set off in high spirits in the bright sunshine which glinted on the highly-polished

chrome of my beautiful sports-car. She purred along the dual-carriageway, the

exhilaration of the wind blowing through my hair and the thought of seeing Isabelle

again, after three weeks separation, sent shivers of pleasure down my spine. But the

pleasure was to be short-lived.

Following BONGO’s instructions, I turned off the main road onto narrower and more

winding roads until, at last the sat-nav’s directions took me through a large and rather

impressive gateway and up what appeared to be an endless drive. I could have kicked

myself for not taking the map as back-up for I was now solely at the mercy of

technology and totally lost.

The drive passed through parkland then through an avenue of trees, passing what

appeared to be long-overgrown gardens. I veered round what I presumed to be a

walled garden into a wooded area, the narrow roadway flanked by rhododendrons in

full bloom. The trees became denser, cutting out all daylight, and then the road

petered out.

I stopped the car to put up the hood as it turned chilly and, as I did so, I thought I

could see a glimmer of light somewhere ahead. Like a moth attracted to lamp-light, I

was drawn towards this small beam. I also had the distinct impression that I could

smell smoke, maybe from the chimney of a house. I stepped a short way into the trees,

hoping to get sight of a dwelling and then, perhaps, I would see someone who could

give me directions. As soon as I set foot in that forest, my nightmare began.

Briars caught at my clothing. I stumbled amongst the thick layer of rotting leaves and

I soon lost all sense of direction. The trees were so dense that, for quite a while, I lost

sight of that glimmer of light although I could still smell smoke. From time to time I

caught glimpses of creatures’ eyes on the ground and in the trees. I had no idea

whether the animals posed a danger or whether they were as frightened as me. I

became increasingly scared, but this feeling of horror was nothing to what I felt on

surveying the macabre scene that was to greet me as I finally reached the house.

The smoke was not from the chimneys of a home but from the smouldering heap

where a house had once stood. The occupants had not died in the fire that had

obviously been started to hide the evidence of the wholesale slaughter which had

taken place. I cannot begin to describe what I saw although I’m sure, once in the

court-room, every sickening detail will have to be recalled. After I had brought up a

weeks-worth of meals and what felt like half my guts, I shook myself into some sort

of action. I decided that I had to go for help, although the victims of this dastardly

crime were way beyond any help that I, or anyone else, could give.

I had no idea in which direction my car was parked and I’d foolishly left my mobile in

it. I started running but found this impossible in the dense undergrowth, so I ended up

walking, or at least stumbling, through the forest for what seemed like days, finally

blundering straight into the police. I was hand-cuffed and pushed into the police van

next to a very unsavoury character.

As if the events of the last few hours had not been enough, I was now driven off and

thrown, rather unceremoniously, into a police cell. After what appeared to be hours,

most of which I spent in a bewildered daze, I was eventually set free and allowed to

sink into the welcoming arms of Isabelle. She had made her own way home and had

somehow, I didn’t know how, found out what had happened to me. I was so relieved

to be reunited with her, although I was soon to learn that the other love of my life was

beyond reach and totally beyond redemption.

Apparently the three evil men who had robbed and murdered the inhabitants of the

forest home, had fled. One of them had fallen by the wayside – the nasty-looking

character that had shared my transport to the police station. The other two had

found my car, in which they had made their escape, but they hadn’t bargained for

BONGO! That dastardly sat-nav had guided them to the coast and straight over the

cliffs. Their bodies had been recovered along with a substantial quantity of valuables.

Unfortunately, the divers had been unable to recover my car but BONGO had been

returned to dry land and was now, along with me, facing our fifteen minutes of fame

as the chief witness for the prosecution and Exhibit A.

There are two things which I am going to do as soon as this is over. I am going to

marry my beautiful fiancée, Isabelle, but before that I am going to sell a certain

satellite navigation instrument on e-bay.

Diana can often be found prowling the corridors of the 6S website.

About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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10 Responses to Bongo

  1. Nikon says:

    Great story. I loved it!

  2. Leslie Wilkie says:

    Well done Diana, it is good to see that you’ve kept up the writing.
    Les Wilkie

    • Diana E Backhouse says:

      Hello and thank you, Les. It’s good to hear from someone who was there when I originally wrote this. Good luck with your latest novel.

  3. stephen torelli says:

    What an intense and interesting tale. And I’m convinced, I am not investing in any navagational devices.

    • Diana E Backhouse says:

      Thank you for your comment, Stephen. I am the navigational device in our car. I don’t often lead my husband astray!

  4. Joe says:

    Inventive and well-done!

Comments are closed.