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Stories by Laura Lagana
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure - Chapter 14

A bolt of lightning flashed across the sky followed by a boom of thunder, sending a startled Hamish from his bed. He shook off the fright and pulled back the curtains from the window. Angry black clouds rolled in from the ocean, turning the night sky even pitch black. Shards of lightning rolled through the clouds of the upper hemisphere. A twinge of unease ran down Hamish’s spine. He couldn’t explain why, but he knew something was wrong, now he just needed to find out what bothered him. A moment later, he tiptoed down the hallway, passing Grams and Captain Malcolm’s rooms, finding nothing out of the ordinary.

The television flickered at the end of the hall, so Hamish crept across the carpet to investigate. He tiptoed into the living room, trying not to make noise incase Grams slept in the recliner. Nothing seemed a miss, so he scanned the room, looking for the remote control to turn off the television, when his gaze fell upon the stark white piece of paper positioned in the middle of the recliner. Curios, he tiptoed over to the chair, but the hair on his neck stood on end as he drew closer. Reaching out with his ghostly white hand, he gently held the note. He scanned the paper several times before the words sank in.

“They took her.” The note fell to the floor from his shaking fingers. “I can’t believe these stinking leprechauns took my Grams.” Hamish ran down the hall toward Captain Malcolm’s room. “Captain Malcolm! Finnegan!” He yanked open the door. Finnegan appeared in a shower of gold dust, a moment before Captain Malcolm leapt from the bed with his sword at the ready.

“What!” Captain Malcolm jerked awake.

“She’s gone,” cried Hamish.

“Now laddie, Grams was old and sick. She said she didn’t have long to live anyway. It was the wasting disease that she had,” said Captain Malcolm.

“She’s not dead you idiot, the leprechauns have her,” cried Hamish.

“Don’t be calling me an idiot if you know what’s best for you.” Captain Malcolm lunged toward Hamish.

“She’s sick?” Hamish’s face grew even paler in the dark room.

Captain Malcolm stuttered. “I’m sure she’s fine. You just woke me from a deep sleep, that’s all. Let’s go rescue her.”

“You’re lying.” Hamish poked Captain Malcolm in the chest. “I heard you say that she was dying.”

Finnegan grabbed Hamish’s arm to yank him away from Captain Malcolm’s reach. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this Hamish, but Captain Malcolm was trying to spare you further pain; all though he lacks finesse in that area.”

Hamish slid into the chair dazed by the unexpected news. “Why didn’t she tell me?”

Finnegan patted Hamish’s. “She wanted to enjoy her visit with you. If you knew she was dying, would you have taken her shopping, or out to eat, or to the jail for that matter?”

Hamish shook his head. “I’d have wrapped her in blankets and made her rest in bed.”

Finnegan’s piercing gaze met Hamish’s brooding one. “And that’s why she didn’t tell you. She wants to die with fond memories, not with memories of spending her last days in a sick-bed.”

“I see what you mean.” Hamish grumbled under his breath as anger washed over him. “I’ll not have her spend the last moments of her life as a hostage to idiotic leprechaun.” A low guttural growl erupted from deep within Hamish’s throat. “Let’s go get Grams.”

A flash of lightning split the sky, revealing Captain Malcolm’s unholy grin. “Aye, let’s do that.” He shoved the sword into the scabbard attached to his belt. “I’m off to hunt leprechauns. Anyone care to join me?”

Hamish snorted. “For once, you and I are in agreement.”

Captain Malcolm led Hamish toward the front door, but Finnegan stood in the way and said, “Aren’t you forgetting something?” An arched brow was Captain Malcolm’s only response. Finnegan glared at the pirate. “My treasure?”

“What about it?”

“It’s the only bargaining tool that we have to get Grams back,” said Finnegan.

“You’re just saying that because you want your treasure returned to your greedy little hands,” said Captain Malcolm.

With his hands held behind his back, Finnegan paced back and forth. “I won’t lie to you; I do want it, but if I have to give up my beloved treasure to save her life,” he choked on the next words, “I will.”

Captain Malcolm lowered his voice out of earshot of Hamish. “She’s dying and for all we know, she’s already passed on to the next life. If I ever find the treasure we can use it ourselves.”

“You rotten pirate. I heard that!” Anger flashed from Hamish’s gaze as he stalked Captain Malcolm.

The pirate held both hands in front of him. “Now laddie, don’t do what you’re thinking. You’ll only hurt yourself.” He backed up a few steps, out onto the porch.

Hamish approached one step at a time. “She defended you against Finnegan and convinced my parents to let you stay here, even though you drove them from their own house…and yet, she still gave you her support. This is how you repay her?”

Marvin squawked from the cage within his room. “Bad pirate. Bad pirate.”

“See? Even the parrot agrees,” said Hamish, frantically waving his hand at the doorway.

Finnegan tripped Captain Malcolm. “The lad is right you know. You’ve only thought of yourself. Now it’s time to think of someone else for a change.”

Captain Malcolm tumbled down the front stairs and landed next to the rock that Grams had shipped over from Scotland. He lay sprawled on the ground next to the rose bush with a look of disbelief on his face. A moment later he leapt to his feet.

Finnegan stepped in front of Hamish. “You’ll not harm the lad.”

“What?” Captain Malcolm shoved Finnegan aside and knelt next to the stone. His fingers gently caressed the cold rock as his voice grew low and raspy. “There you are,” he whispered.

“What are you going on about,” said Finnegan.

“I remember this rock. Once you escaped from me all those years ago, I was angry, so I stole this rock to remind me of the best whiskey I ever tasted.”

Finnegan’s eyes began to tear. “You think I have the best whiskey?”

Hamish nudged Finnegan. “Can we focus? If we don’t have the treasure, how are we going to free Grams?” He turned toward Captain Malcolm. “Are you sure you’re not lying about not stealing the treasure?”

Captain Malcolm arched his brows. “Aye, I’m quite sure.”        Finnegan hugged the rock and wiped the tears from his eyes.

“We definitely don’t have time for this,” said Hamish, tugging on the leprechaun’s coat.

“You don’t understand,” said Finnegan, hugging the rock tighter to his chest. “This is where I hid my treasure.”

“Where?” Hamish paused when it dawned on him what Finnegan was saying. “Are you saying that the treasure is inside the rock?”

Finnegan leapt to his feet, pointing his finger at Captain Malcolm. “You lied! You did have my treasure this whole time.”

Captain Malcolm sauntered over to the leprechaun and flicked the tip of Finnegan’s nose. “Aye, I had the rock. Hid is somewhere on my property too, not sure where, but I did not lie, because I didn’t know the treasure was inside.”

“You mean to tell me,” shouted Finnegan as he stomped his foot, “that you had the treasure this whole time, but never knew it was inside the rock? I just thought you were lying to me.”

A sheepish grin appeared in the corner of Captain Malcolm’s mouth. “I was drunk at the time. I didn’t remember anything once we returned to the ship.”

Captain Malcolm shoved Finnegan in front of the rock. “Work your magic.”

Finnegan caught himself before stumbling to the ground. “Okay,” he said, before he shoved Hamish out of the way. “Stand by the tree over there. I need room.”

“For what?” Hamish poked his head out from behind the tree trunk, careful to keep his body shielded for whatever Finnegan planned to do.

“For this.” The leprechaun wiggled his fingers ten times, shook each foot three times, and wiggled his rear end, seven times. Leprechaun dust fell from his fingertips, scattering around the rock.

A hoot of laughter sounded from next to Hamish, making him turn to glance at Captain Malcolm.

“That’s the secret to opening the rock?” Captain Malcolm laughed so hard that tears fell from his eyes before he started to choke from the lack of air.

Hamish pounded the pirate on the back. “Are you all right?”

“Aye, I’m fine.” Captain Malcolm wiped the moisture from his eyes. “I’ve waited for so long to find out where my beautiful treasure was, and it’s been near me all this time.”

“What do you mean, your treasure? Without me you’d have never been able to open the rock,” said Finnegan.

“Without me, you’d have never found the rock,” said Captain Malcolm. “So, it’s still mine.”

While Finnegan and Captain Malcolm argued, Hamish ran into the house, pulled a backpack from the closet and scooped the treasure inside. He flinched, when Captain Malcolm stopped him as he headed toward the car.

“What are you going?” Captain Malcolm glared at Hamish.

“I’m off to save Grams while you two spend the rest of the night arguing about the gold.”

“Leave the treasure,” said Captain Malcolm.

Hamish squared his shoulder, securing the strap over his right shoulder. “No.” He stared Captain Malcolm in the eye for several seconds before breaking eye contact. “I don’t have time for your non-sense. Let’s be off.”

Finnegan tugged on Hamish’s pant leg. “I admire your courage, and I don’t mean to be negative, but how are we getting there?”

Hamish reached into his pants pocket and tossed the set of car keys at Captain Malcolm. “You’re driving.”

“Me?” Captain Malcolm’s gaze grew round.

“Aye now quit your whining and get behind the wheel,” said Hamish.

Captain Malcolm stared at the keys resting in the palm of his hand. “Why would I do that?”

“Because I’m too young and Finnegan’s too short. I hate to say it, but you get to save the day,” said Hamish.

Captain Malcolm grumbled as he slid behind the wheel. “Now what do I do?”

Hamish reached over and shoved the car key into the ignition. “Turn the key to start the engine.” Hamish then glanced over his shoulder at Finnegan. “Are you buckled in?’

Finnegan hurried to do as Hamish asked. “Are you sure this is the wisest course of action?”

Hamish wrinkled his brows. “About what?”

“Letting a pirate drive your mum’s car,” said Finnegan.

“I don’t see any other choice.” Hamish shrugged his shoulders before pointing at a switch on the console. “Turn on the lights,” he said to Captain Malcolm.

“There are lights on this thing? That would come in handy on my ship.” He fiddled with the switch, flooding the driveway with light.

“Are you ready?” Hamish didn’t wait for Captain Malcolm to answer before shoving the gears into reverse. Captain Malcolm pressed the gas and brake pedal at the same time, making the car lurch forward.

“This is not going to end well,” said Finnegan as he covered his eyes with his hands.

“You’re not helping,” said Hamish through clenched teeth, before the pirate backed the car over his mom’s prized flowerbed. He closed his eyes for a moment and muttered, “She’s going to be so mad.”

“Who?” Captain Malcolm asked while glancing over his shoulder for anymore objects in the his path.

“Here, just drive to where I tell you and don’t worry about anything else. I’ll just pretend I don’t know what she’s talking about when she starts in with the yelling,” said Hamish.

Captain Malcolm snorted as he drove down the dark street. After several close calls with other vehicles on the road, the pirate pulled into the parking lot across from a pub named The Crafty Leprechaun. Hamish smirked at the irony.

“How quaint,” said Captain Malcolm, “an Irish pub. I do believe I will feel right at home here. When this is over, I plan to have a bottle of the finest whiskey that leprechaun treasure can buy.”

Finnegan poked Captain Malcolm’s shoulder. “It was your love of whiskey that started all this mess in the first place.”

Hamish whispered out of earshot of Captain Malcolm as he opened the car door. “So I’ve heard.”

The streets along the wharf were wet from the rainstorm that rolled out to sea. A full moon hung low in the night sky, providing the only light on the darkened streets. Captain Malcolm grabbed the bag from Hamish. “Hey!”

“Shush,” said Captain Malcolm as he clapped his hand over Hamish’s mouth. “Are you trying to give away our presence? Believe me when I say that they will be keeping a lookout for us, so I suggest you keep your mouth shut.” He led them into a darkened alley next to the pub.

Raindrops clung to the spider webs that hung from the stone buildings. The pungent smell of rotted garbage made Hamish gag. “Can we…hurry it up? The…smell is blinding me.” Hamish wiped his eyes with his shirt sleeve.

“What smell?” Captain Malcolm flattened himself against a building wall as he glanced up and down the street.

“Oh, right, I forgot,” said Hamish, “you’ve lived with your stench for so long that you’ve lost all sense of smell.”

“That’s the smell of a pirate.”                                       

Hamish choked out, “It’s the smell of rotten garbage is what it is, but if you want to lie to yourself about your bathing habits, feel free to do so.”

“I will,” said Captain Malcolm. “Now be quiet. I have a plan.”

Hamish waited in silence to hear this grand plan and arched a brow at Finnegan, who shrugged his shoulders. Captain Malcolm rifled through the trashcans along the back wall, pulling out scraps of meat, rotted eggs, spoiled milk and rancid butter.

“What’s all this for?” Hamish stared in disbelief at the pile of garbage at his feet.

“I’m going to put this on you. It will make you smell so bad, the leprechauns will leave you alone,” said Captain Malcolm.

“There’s no way you’re putting maggot infested meat anywhere on my body.”

Captain Malcolm paused. “You’re not giving me a lot of choices.” He glanced around the alley and spied a bucket of grease next to the back doorway. A moment later, he held the bucket over Hamish’s head. “Strip down to your undergarments.”

Hamish jumped aside. “I’m not removing my clothes.”

Captain Malcolm dumped the grease on Hamish. “Okay then. No one will be able to catch you because you’re too slippery.”

“Yuck!” Hamish held out his arms as grease dripped from his sleeves, onto the ground.

“And you smell like those lovely potatoes that McDonald’s cooks,” said Captain Malcolm.

“You mean french fries?” Hamish wiped the oil off his face. “Oh, and the French people created them.”

“Never speak such blasphemy again. Only a Scotsman could have invented that and if you continue with your lies, I’ll be forced to remove your tongue,” said Captain Malcolm. Hamish snorted as the pirate continued. “You can walk right in, free your Grams. And none of the leprechauns will be able to grab you.”

Hamish shuddered. “This is disgusting.”

“Quit your whining. Finnegan and I will sneak in and help you out,” said Captain Malcolm.

“I’m taking the gold.” Hamish reached for the bag, only to have his hand slapped away by the pirate.

“It’ll be safer with me. I’m stronger and I carry a sword,” said Captain Malcolm.

Hamish looked pointedly at Finnegan. “If he tries to escape with the treasure, you have my permission to turn him back into a stone statue.”

Finnegan winked. “You had doubts that I would do that?”

Hamish shrugged. “He’s crafty. If I’ve learned one thing since meeting him, never trust a pirate.”

“Never do,” answered Finnegan. “Now go get Grams and we’ll sneak in another way. Try to head toward the back door and we’ll fight them off while you escape.”

Hamish released a pent up breath. “If you think it’ll work.”

Captain Malcolm stiffened his spine. “Of course it will work, or else any leprechaun who stands in my way will suffer my wrath.”

“Here goes,” said Hamish. “Wish me luck.”

“Luck!” They both called out to Hamish’s retreating back.

“Aye,” Hamish whispered, “you’re not the ones walking into danger.” He crept toward one of the windows in the storefront and peered through the glass. A layer of soot blocked his view. Using the edge of his sleeve; he wiped away the dirt. A squeaky voice coming from behind, made Hamish’s blood run cold.

“You wouldn’t happen to be sneaking in now would you?” The leprechaun grabbed Hamish’s pant leg, but pulled away when he touched the slimy jeans. “Och, what is this?” Alpin sniffed his hands, tasted the oil and hesitated before licking his fingers clean. “Do you know Grams?” At Hamish’s nod, Alpin tugged on the boy’s sleeve. “You better come with me. She needs you. Hurry, we don’t have much time.”

Hamish, surprised by the turn of events, stumbled after the leprechaun into the pub.

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