Authors: Sean Cullen
HAMISH X GOES TO PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
's many stage and screen credits include CBC's
SeÃ¡n Cullen Show
and the special
SeÃ¡n Cullen's Home for Christmas, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,
the Showcase series
Slings and Arrows,
and the Toronto stage production of
. He is the winner of three Gemini Awards.
Also by SeÃ¡n Cullen
Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates
Hamish X and the Hollow Mountain
Published by the Penguin Group
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First published in a Puffin Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2008
Published in this edition, 2009
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)
Copyright Â© SeÃ¡n Cullen, 2008
Illustrations copyright Â© Johann Wessels, 2008
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Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Manufactured in Canada.
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION
Cullen, SeÃ¡n, 1965-Hamish X goes to Providence, Rhode Island / SeÃ¡n Cullen. â Pbk. ed.
PS8605.U4255H352 2009Â Â Â Â Â Â Â jC813'.6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â C2009-902360-1
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At last! The final book in the trilogy of Hamish X. We've fought Cheese Pirates. We've battled Grey Agents and their evil machines. We've met kings and raccoons, friends and foes. Now, we arrive at Book III. It's time for the chickens to come home to roost.
I hope you've been paying attention to the developments in the books. I've taken great pains to lay everything out as simply and clearly as I can. Not too simply and clearly, of course. I wouldn't want to insult your intelligence by assuming you were incapable of understanding more complex plot points and challenging words. If you are still reading by this, the third book, I assume you appreciate my efforts and I haven't lost you. If I have lost you, why are you still reading? Are you trapped in an airport or on a bus or in some other equally dull place and forced to read things you don't really understand just to pass the time? If so, put this book down and find another diversion: thumb-wrestling,
nose-picking, nail-chewing, or some other less taxing way to occupy your tiny, bewildered mind.
We're coming to the most important part of the story now: the end! When I first entered the ANCC,
we were told that the end is the most important part of any story. Really, it's quite obvious. Why even bother telling a story if you aren't going to end it? What's the point? If stories ended in the middle and never seemed to have any real conclusion, they would be very unsatisfying. Why, they'd be just like our daily lives that go on and on without any really well-defined stops. That's one of the reasons people like reading stories: they get to see the beginning, middle, and end. Nice and neat. I try to do that with my own life. I get up in the morning and right before I eat breakfast I say, “Once upon a time, the narrator ate his breakfast.” When I go to sleep I say, “The End!” Very loudly. My neighbours think I am slightly mad, but I find it gives me a certain amount of personal satisfaction and closure.
My editors wanted me to recap the action from the first two books so that readers are up to speed with the story. I really can't be bothered. I find it tedious to repeat myself, so I won't. If you can't remember the first two books, read them again right now. I'll wait . . .
Done? Fine. And for those of you who are just picking up this third book without bothering to read the first two, I must say I think you are extremely lazy, cutting to the end
like that. You don't deserve to have a summary of the first two books at your disposal. All the other readers took the time to read those books and so should you. Shame on you! Shame! Big disgusting buckets of steaming, sticky shame.
Oh, my. I'm becoming a little cranky and short-tempered. Please forgive me. The strain of telling this very complex story is starting to wear me down. Who knew this tale would have so many amazing escapes, daring adventures, and powerful smells?
Have no fear, dear readers! I will tough it out to the end. There is nothing that will keep me from reaching the final chapter. Narrators have a sacred duty to complete their stories. I take that duty seriously. Not finishing a story once started can carry stiff penalties enforced by the Universal Narrators' Guild.
Without further nonsense, let's get to our story. Turn the page and join me as we begin the first chapter of the last book in the tale of Hamish X and his friends, Mimi and Parveen.
ON WATER, BELOW WATER, AND UNDERGROUND
Mimi stood on the edge of the stone platform. All the children were silent, awed by the sight they beheld: a subterranean vault with black water stretching out beyond the reach of their battery-powered torches. The soft slap of the underground lake was the only sound â¦ besides the sniffling and crying of a few of the youngest refugees from the destruction of the Hollow Mountain. Even these snufflings were subdued by normal standards.
Cara stood at Mimi's side, her eyes desolate and red from crying. Mimi was glad the girl had finally gotten a hold of herself. Cara had wept incessantly and inconsolably for the entire long fall in the escape pod. She had no idea what had happened to her brother, Aidan. She knew only that he had stayed behind when the escape hatch closed to face the invading army of Grey Agents with King Liam. Mimi had understood the pain Cara was experiencing. Parveen was nowhere among the escapees.
Mimi was tempted to have a good cry of her own, but she had to hold it together for the sake of the frightened children around her. She had to lead by example: Hamish X had taught her that.
Mimi thought back to how they had arrived on the shore of this dark sea.
Aidan had slammed the hatch shut, automatically launching the pod on its journey down the escape shaft. What followed was a hair-raising fall accompanied by the screams of the occupants as the contents of their stomachs threatened to paint the inside of the pod. The blackness made the fall worse. Mimi couldn't orient herself. Her terrified mind tried to focus on something to make the fear go away, but there was only darkness.
After what seemed like an age, the pod took a sloping turn, pressing the inhabitants against the restraint straps. The pod picked up speed and began a slaloming
series of S turns, throwing the passengers back and forth.
“Oh,” squeaked Mrs. Francis. “Why can't they flick on the lights?”
As if in response to her question, a light went on overhead, shining a yellow glow down on the pale faces of the passengers. Mrs. Francis and Mr. Kipling were holding hands. Cara's cheeks were slick with tears. Two other
young children Mimi didn't know looked decidedly green about the gills.