The Ongoing Adventures of Hamish
HAMISH HIGHLANDER – A MICRO ADVENTURER – LITERALLY
For those of you who are new to The Adventures of Hamish, or want to refresh your memory about his adventures so far, may I suggest you (re)visit the first part of his story by following this link:
otherwise sit down, read on, and enjoy his ongoing adventures.
The last we had seen of Hamish was when he flung himself into the sea and disappeared into the surf on the island of Eigg on the west coast of Scotland.
We thought he’d drowned and Niki cried all night. We held a vigil on the beach for him the next morning, where he’d mootalked with the mootalkers, but alas there was not a sign except for a small tuft of orange furry fluff that we found floating in the surf.
We thought we’d lost him forever… we were devastated, but he’d lived a more adventurous life than many and we were very proud of little h.
We should have known though, because out of the blue he turned up a day later, bedraggled and wet, outside our accommodation. There was much happiness and joyous celebrations. ‘What happened Hamish, where have you been?.. all he could say was ‘Lots of caves!’
The Adventures Begin
We packed, and traveled for days and days, taking boat trips, car trips, plane journeys… until we reached where he needed to be… and just after we’d arrived in Florida he informed us we hadn’t made it in time!
‘Made it in time for what, Hamish?’, I asked. But as usual he wouldn’t say. ‘Really, I think after all this effort recently I deserve some kind of explanation!’ ‘Honestly, I’d love to tell you but it’s for your own good. Should they capture you, you will have plausible deniability on your side.’
As I almost choked on my words he went on to tell me that the swim to Rum and back had been good practice but there was still a lot to do as there might yet be another opportunity.
So every day since we got here it’s been constant triple A drills all day long (that’s Anti Alligator Ambush drills to you and me, a variation on the ‘sticking the heid in’ attack), and every night it’s down to the swamp, where he slips into the water and spends about an hour practicing holding his breath for as long as possible under water, before he swims off into the darkness.
Then I return in the morning to pick him up and so far he has been there each time when I return, but he tells me there are some big ol’ gators out there!
Triple A’s – Anti Alligator Ambush drills
Dark O’Clock and I’m enjoying a nice dream when I feel something nudging me awake… ‘Hamish, it’s 4am what on earth are you waking me up for!’
‘We’re good to go, the mission is on, we need to get out there before it gets light… c’mon, get up, get up!’ So up I get, and off to the coast we go.
When we arrive, Hamish jumps out, looks around, and promptly jumps straight on into a big puddle of mud and starts rolling about in it. A few minutes later he appears all cammed up! ‘Hamish, what are you up to now, why do you need to be all cammed up like this?’ I asked. ‘What do you mean by all cammed up?’ he replied… ‘All that mud you’ve got all over yourself for camouflage, that’s what I mean.’ ‘That’s not for camouflage, I was just feeling a bit itchy, us cows like to have a good roll in the mud every now and again…. anyway, where were we. Oh yeah, the mission, listen man, thanks for the lift and all (Hamish has started speaking Americanish since we’ve been here) now listen up, I may be gone some time on this one, so don’t wait around. I’ll get back in touch if all goes well.’
And with that he turned and jumped into the dark swamp, and called out one last time ‘It’s gonna be a blast man!‘ as he swam off into the darkness.
So I’ve no idea when we’ll be seeing him again.
Take care out there Hamish, wherever you are.
So off we went to the beach… sat and watched the scenery… enjoyed the sunshine for a while… had a little swim… but we couldn’t stop wondering if he was ok. There was nothing we could do, we didn’t know where he was or what he was up to, all we knew was that I’d dropped him off across from the Cape early o’clock that morning and he’d disappeared into the night.
Then I’m looking down the beach when I see a bright light suddenly ignite and slowly rise into the sky, then the roar hit us… like a combination of thunder and earthquake…
No Way! NO WAY! but I knew it was true, his last words were ‘It’s gonna be a blast‘…
Go Hamish goooo!
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new U.S. military satellite launched into orbit Saturday on a mission to enhance the country’s missile defense and detection capabilities.
The satellite blasted off atop an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from a seaside pad here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2:10 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT). The mission had been delayed by one day due to bad weather but the only anomaly this time was an unexplained, but very small, difference in the payload weight which was not enough to affect the launch.
After leaving Florida, believe it or not, we ended up in Menorca, and the reason was that a few days after he lifted off I found this message flashing on my computer.
So all going well we’ll soon be reunited with the little furry one :o)
So we waited and bathed and sunbathed, wondering if he would show, the message with the coordinates had seemed clear enough… and then on the 7th day as the sun burned from a clear blue sky… we were woken from our slumber by an almighty sonic mooom (like a sonic boom, but with a hint of moo!).
We looked skywards to see a great fireball plummeting towards earth. ‘Guess he’s back then!’, ’Guess so’, replied Niki.
The fireball fell well out to sea and seeing as there was nothing we could really do, we went back to sunbathing and waiting.
A few hours later as the sun was beginning to set we were woken again by the sound of Hamish’s voice, ‘Wow, what a trip, what a ride.’ We looked up to see a rather soggy shaggy Hamish coming ashore. ‘So where have you been then?’ we asked… ‘Well have you any idea what’s on the other side of the moooon?’ … excitedly we replied ’No, do tell’, and Hamish with his cheeky little cow grin said ‘Can you keep a secret?’ and winked, and we groaned…’oh no, not again.’
Then he trotted off down the beach.. ‘Where are you off to now?’ we shouted after him, ‘C’mon’ he shouted back… ‘We need to hide, the ghost ships will be here soon, there’s going to be a battle tonight!’.
We followed him to a hiding place in between some rocks where we were concealed by the pine trees and once we’d all squeezed in we asked little h, ‘What do you mean about ghost ships and a battle?’
And so he told us the story of the good ship ‘Lady Morag’, and the bad ship ‘Phantom of the Sea’, and how every fifty years they would re-appear on the night of the half blood moon to continue a battle started hundreds of years ago. He told us how the Lady M came each time to defend the island from the Phantom. The ghostly crew of the Phantom of the Sea have a key he told us, a key to a secret place on the island, protected for generations, they must not be allowed to get a foothold ashore.’
‘The Lady M has successful defended the island for centuries but tonight we are going to help her, we are going to sneak aboard the Phantom at the height of the battle and steal the key!’
Niki and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, then Niki whispered in my ear… ‘Humour him!’, then she said ‘He’ll go with you, I’d better stay here to guard everything, just in case,’and she winked at me. Hamish replied ‘Good idea, ok, we just need to wait now, Scott you take first watch’ and with that he laid himself down and promptly went to sleep.
As Hamish snored, Niki asked me ‘Have you ever seen or heard of a half blood moon?’, ‘No, never, you?’…’Me, neither… it’s going to be a long night I think!’
Still it was nice to have him back.
Hamish and the Ghost Ships
As Niki dozed, I watched the last embers of the dying sun fade into the blackness of night and I wondered how long we’d have to play this out with Hamish, and then in the east I thought I caught a glimpse of something. I couldn’t be sure but there seemed to be a glow, a reddish glow, and I watched as it slowly appeared over the cliffs on the far side of the cove… a glowing blood colored half moooon! Spooky!
‘Hamish, Hamish, wake up!’ and I pointed out the glowing half orb to him. He was so excited and did his little circle running thing and then grabbed hold of my leg with his mouth and started tugging me towards the beach. I didn’t even have a chance to wake Niki.
‘Be very quiet’ he whispered as we reached the beach, ‘very very quiet, they’ll be here soon and any sound will carry far across the water.’ And so we sat again and watched and waited, and by now I wasn’t so sure we were just humouring him.
There was not a breath of wind as we gazed out to sea, it was really spooky, I’d never seen anything like it, there was not a sound, not a single bird, animal or insect noise could be heard, and the sea was so calm that there wasn’t even a wave to lap against the shore. It felt breathless and the cove and the pine covered hills around where bathed in the strangest blood red moonlight.
And then she appeared, just like you’d imagine a ghost ship would, and we watched awestruck as the Lady Morag glided silently into the cove. Not a light showing, not a sound being made. Very Spooky!
‘C’mon, we need to get out there’ and with that Hamish slowly waded into the water and began to cow paddle out towards the Lady M.
I followed and whispered to him ‘What are we doing?’ He replied ‘Once the battle starts we’ll move in close and when the moment is right I’ll board the Phantom of the Sea and steal the key!….If I don’t return then you must succeed where I failed!’. I gulped but Hamish reassured me my services wouldn’t be required… ‘Don’t worry’ he said ‘I’m not going to fail!’
So we swam silently onwards out into the cove where the Lady M sat bathed in the blood colored moonlight, with the only sound being the ghostly toll of her ships bell in the distance.
Hamish and the Battle of Half Blood Moon
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The battle had been raging for 30 minutes or more, with the two ships circling each other, each taking damage but continuing to return fire. Each time the Phantom tried to break into the cove to reach the beach the Lady M would parry and block the way, firing all her guns in defence of the island, and forcing the Phantom back.
Under cover of the roar of the guns we swam in quickly towards the battle. The cannon fire was deafening, with each shot looking like a dragon spitting out fiery death. Then Hamish told me ‘It’s time… they’re so busy with each other they’ll not notice a small furry cow, wish me luck’ and with that he dived down and I watched a small trail of bubbles head off in the direction of the Phantom. I guess all those triple A drills he practiced in the swamps of Florida were going to help him once again here.
At that moment, I have to admit It felt somewhat surreal, as I waited there alone, treading water in the middle of the sea, bathed in blood red moonlight, watching two ghost ships engaged in battle with the sounds of their cannon reverberating around the cove… it wasn’t exactly how I’d thought my day would turn out!
A short time later I heard the shouts… ‘Stop him, stop him, he’s got the key’, and as I looked up I could see the ghost pirates of the Phantom turning and shooting their pistols at something on board the ship. It was like a wave of shouts and shots moving along the ship and then I saw him reach the gangplank and run out, and with an almighty bound he bounced right onto the end of the plank and rose way up into the air and carried out a triple somersault with spin before diving into the sea. The ghost pirates were momentarily stunned by this display of rotating orange furriness but as he splashed down for the second time that day he was surrounded by the splashes of musket balls hitting the water as they regained their senses and tried to home in their fire on Hamish as he made his escape.
I gulped again… but was secretly glad I wasn’t going to have to try to succeed where he had failed. And then up he popped with a key in his mouth and with a nod towards the beach, off we swam.
As we reached the beach we looked back, there was no sign of the Lady M or the Phantom of the Sea and the moon had returned to it’s normal white glow. We were exhausted and walked slowly back to our hide amongst the rocks where I woke Niki and told her what had happened. She looked at me and said ‘Yea, yea, very clever…. very funny, enough of your games, we’ve humoured him enough for one night, it’s time to go home to bed.’
Hamish just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders :o)
(ps: apologies for the quality of the photo but it was getting quite hairy at that point!)
Hamish and the Stone that wears a Hat
Hamish had a very fitful sleep following the battle. We heard little mooo’s escaping from his lips every so often and then almost like a hiccup he would flinch and do a little somersault. Sleep somersaulting, how cute! I guess it would be like sleep walking for us mere mortals. He must have been reliving some of the excitement of the battle and his valiant recovery of the key and subsequent escape!
When he finally awoke, we asked him what he wanted to do that day; would he like to do some sunbathing, relax on the beach, maybe go for a nice walk, or perhaps head out for a swim? Never one to rest, he told us ‘‘We don’t have time for things like that… have you forgotten already… I’m on a mission!’
‘Ok, so what would you like to do on your mission today?’ we asked and he replied ‘I need to go to the forgotten citadel.’ ‘And where is that?’ I continued, to which he sighed and said, ‘Aren’t you paying attention… forgotten citadel!… that means nobody knows where it is!’. ‘Well how on earth are we going to get there?’ we asked. ‘We need to find the stone that wears the hat and it will tell us where to go next.’
He continued by saying ‘Remember I told you about the little highlander who was shipwrecked and left a map that my clan has protected for centuries…’, we replied that we did, and then from his sporran he produced a small folded piece of parchment. ‘This is the map, and here is part of the inscription on the back…’. We felt deeply honoured to be shown the map and as he turned it over we read the inscription….
In the forgotten citadel, lies the bath of the Queen,
In a hidden chamber to which The Phantom of the Sea holds the key.
Only the bravest will find the way,
Only the enlightened will reveal that which lies beneath.
The Stone that wears a Hat will guide you.
Beware the vipers!
‘So do you know where the stone that wears a hat is?’ we asked. Hamish had no idea but he guessed that as the clue had been written down aeons ago, that we should start our search among the many megalithic sites that abound on the island.
So we set off and no sooner had we started out search when suddenly we came across it. This had to be a lucky omen.
Hamish told us to stay back as approached and cow-ered in front of the Stone. Suddenly the ‘Hat’ began to spin. We watched as it got faster and faster, and the dust began to lift, followed by small stones that gathered into a spiralling whirlwind that surrounded the Stone and Hamish. The noise became deafening with stones and dust and branches spiralling round and round like a small hurricane. We retreated out of danger and waited. Then suddenly it was over, the noise stopped and the debris cloud fell to the earth and Hamish came scampering back to us.
He told us that the ancient stone had divulged it’s part of the secret and that we needed to go to the broken road to infinity… and if we successfully cross the road it will lead to the spiral stair of darknesssss, into which we must descend… and if we survive the descent, we will find ourselves in the star chamber and the stars will point the way.
Conscious of the sun rising in the sky and the deadline foretold, we headed off searching again, as Niki whispered to me ‘What does he mean by ‘We’?’
Hamish and the Broken Road to Infinity
When we found it, the road did indeed look broken and it did seem to go on for a very long long way. Without thinking Niki and I started to walk onto it but Hamish shouted a warning and told us to stand very still. ‘The road is a trap,’ he told us ‘If you step on the wrong slab it will collapse and you will fall into a death pit of spikes!… oh, and by the way, the Stone also told me that no one has ever succeeded in crossing this road… so we need to be very careful!’’
I gulped and look at Niki who was just about to step onto the next slab. I grabbed her and held her steady until she found her balance, saving her from almost certain death! What a hero!
‘What do we do now?’ we asked.
‘The Stone told me how to cross the road, tread carefully it said, there are trap stones for the unwary, you must dance the warriors dance… and the way will be revealed.’ So, before you ask.. ‘What does that mean?’ As luck would have it the warriors dance is an ancient Scottish dance known as the highland fling, it is danced entirely on the spot. It was yet another part of my long and arduous training in the glens.’
So Hamish started to dance, and we watched mesmerised as he whirled and jumped and each time as he came down to land the vibrations would cause the trap slabs to fall away. Every time he flung himself in the air and came down the vibrations would cause more and more of the trap stones to fall away. Like a stone dropped into a pond we watched the effect ripple out along the road. Hamish danced like a whirling dervish, faster and faster, flinging himself higher and higher, and each time he landed we watched the ripple of falling stones expand further outwards. Finally, he collapsed exhausted on his stone and as we looked out along the road, all that remained was a single track of stones leading off into the distance. Looking down we could see the death spikes surrounded by numerous bones waiting for us should we lose our balance.
Hamish lead the way, jumping from one safe slab to the next and soon we became the first creatures ever to have successfully crossed the broken road to infinity… and then we breathed once again.
Before us lay a high wall blocking our way with a lone doorway ahead of us. Above the doorway was some kind of ancient script which Hamish, with his command of ancient languages read out to us ‘This way to the darknessss!’
Hamish ran through the doorway shouting ‘C’mon the sun is still rising, we must hurry’
Ever the gentleman, I smiled at Niki and said ‘After you darling, ladies first’
The Highland Fling is one of the oldest of the Highland dances that originated in the Gaelic Highlands of Scotland. Returning from a victorious battle, male warriors would perform the dance in celebration of their success. It was performed on a small round shield, called a targe. Most targes had a sharp spike of steel projecting from the center, so the dancers learned to move with skill and dexterity to avoid injuring themselves.
Hamish and the Spiral Stair of Darknessss
Beyond the doorway we found a solitary room, which was completely empty. However as we moved further into the room and the light from the doorway was able to spill in, it revealed a hole on the far side of the room. We walked over and there as it was foretold, was the Spiral Stair of Darknessss.
Hamish stood in the centre of the spiral and looked down into the darknessss, but only for a moment, fearless as ever he said ‘Let’s go, no point in humming and hawing, the sun will soon be at it’s zenith.’
‘Perhaps you would like to do this part yourself?’ Niki suggested, ‘We might get in your way!’. ‘Rubbish, you’ve come this far with me, your bravery is undeniable, you have won the right to continue to accompany me on my quest.’
How could we refuse!
Hamish led the way… and chivalrous as ever I once again let Niki go first… besides I needed to be able to protect us from the rear :o)
Then disaster struck, whether it was due to too many pies we will never know, but as I stepped onto the first step leading down into the darknessss, the step gave way followed by the next one and then the next one and like a cascade I watched them all collapsing ahead of me to form a chute. I shouted a warning as I started to slide and as I spiralled down into the darknessss I could hear the screams of Niki ahead of me. Hamish however seemed to be having fun as I heard faint ‘mooo hooo’s’ coming from the darknessss below.
Down and down we spiralled, helter skeltering for what seemed like an age and then a light, and suddenly we were all in a pile together on a dusty stone floor.
We looked up in awe as Hamish whispered ‘Welcome to the Star Chamber’.
Hamish and the Star Chamber
As we lay in a heap on the floor, we heard a rumbling behind us and turning round we saw the chuteway closing up to form a solid wall! To each side of where the chute had been were four arched doorways, and each of those eight doorways had a shimmering veil of darknessss encrusted with twinkling starlike points of light as a door. Scary!
As I turned and looked back into the chamber, on the opposite wall was a series of alcoves each with tiny beams of light shining out.
‘Quick’ shouted Hamish, ‘Lie down…’, we all lay down…. ‘Turn onto your back.’ And as the three of us lay there looking up at the roof of the chamber we saw that the beams of light formed stars where they hit the roof.
Niki began to giggle and as I looked over, she nodded towards Hamish… I must admit he looked rather funny as he lay on his back with his four little hoofs pointing up to the roof, and I began to laugh too. ‘What are you two laughing at?’ asked Hamish. ‘Nothing’ we replied in unison.
Hamish continued ‘Maybe I should have mentioned this before…. but the next part of the puzzle that the Stone that wears a Hat told me was this…. once you reach the Star Chamber, you have reached the point of no return, the way back will be gone and your only way is onwards! You will find eight doorways, through seven of those doorways lies eternal darknessss and your souls will forever walk the dark corridors of the hidden citadel, never to see the light again! But if you let the stars show you the way and you choose wisely you will find yourself in the Tunnel of Endless Endlessness… follow the tunnel until you can stand on the moon and the shadow man will show you the way. ‘
That wiped the smiles off our faces!
Hamish started pointing his tail at each of the doorways in turn while saying ‘Eeny, meeny, miny, moo….’
Niki passed out at this point! …. I angrily told Hamish ‘Stop it, look what you’ve done… for goodness sake!’ I rolled over to Niki and poured some water over her face to revive her.’ She was not amused… ‘Hamish!… how are we going to get out of here?’ she sobbed.
Hamish replied ‘Ah well, we must let the stars show us the way… and as luck would have it, yet another part of my long and arduous training involved lying out in the heather in the glens looking at the stars and learning to navigate by them… so if you’ll lie back down again I show you how to navigate by the stars.’
We lay back down and Hamish began to point out patterns in the stars sparkling across the roof of the chamber, until … ‘and that one there is the ‘Great Cow’ and there near it’s tail, you can see a misty cluster of diffuse light which is actually a stellar nursery, where new stars are being formed amongst the stellar gases, that’s known as the ‘Great Cow Pat’, anyway I digress… it’s at the other end that our future lies… there you can see it’s two horns pointing towards the first and third archways on the left…. the third archway is our doorway to the Tunnel of Endless Endlessness. Easy!’
Hamish smiled and looked at us, and Niki asked him ‘Why the third archway and not the first?’ ‘Because you always follow the right hand horn’. ‘Ah’ said Niki, breathing a small sigh of relief.
‘Or is it the left one’ Hamish then piped up. ‘What do you mean is it the left?’ ‘Well I’m always getting the two mixed up….. never could remember which one it was that you followed but it’s definitely one of the horns that you follow…..Who’d like to go first?’
Niki wasn’t happy and sternly told him… ‘You’ll be going first!’
‘Ok… if you wish’, and we watched as Hamish walked up to the third archway, where he paused for a second and looked round at us… he was doing his saucer eye thing again, and despite his apparent bravery, he also looked a little terrified….’It’s been nice knowing you’ he said and then he stepped into the veil and disappeared… and then we heard the most horrendous ‘mooowwlllll’ of terror and then there was silence. Niki fell to her knees and just as she was about to burst into tears, Hamish popped his head back through the veil and said ‘kidding!’
His smug little grin didn’t last long as he saw the look on Niki’s face and promptly withdrew behind the veil again. ‘That little ….’ but the rest was lost to me as Niki grabbed my hand and dragged me through the veil after Hamish.
And there in front of us stood Hamish, and beyond, disappearing off into infinity, lay the Tunnel of Endless Endlessness.
Hamish and the Tunnel of Endless Endlessness
We gazed at the tunnel for what seemed like an eternity, it just went on and on and on and on….. no end in sight.
Eventually I asked Hamish what he was going to do next to which he replied ‘Go for a nice long stroll by the looks of it!’.
‘But if this tunnel is endless, then how are we ever going to reach the end’ I asked.
‘Remember that the Stone that wears a Hat told me that we must follow the tunnel until we can stand on the moon and then the shadow man will show us the way. So I guess we must continue on and all will be revealed. Although it’s going to be a long walk if this goes all the way to the moon!. And anyway, remember, there is no way back now, so we have no choice, we must go on.’
‘What that noise!?’ asked Niki.
Out of the side of my eye I caught Hamish shaking his head at me while saying ‘I can’t hear any noise, can you hear anything Scott?’…. I answered no, but I could indeed hear distant slithering hissing noises coming from further down the tunnel, however I didn’t want to alarm Niki.
‘Surely you can hear that noise, it’s like a slithering hissing noise’ Niki repeated, ‘I can’t hear anything darling, you know that my hearing isn’t as good as it used to be!’ and Hamish piped in by telling us he also had a problem with his hearing, what with all that fur and all.. ‘Are you sure you heard something?’ he asked Niki.
‘Definitely, there is something down that tunnel, and I don’t like the sound of it.’
Hamish stepped forward and said, ‘Ok, you two stay well back and I’ll take point and see what I can see. I think this calls for a variation of the grasshopper technique! I was taught this in my training, where I would jump between patches of bracken on the hills of the glen to conceal my presence.’ Hamish started to move off down the tunnel then started making little jumps between patches of sand. ‘What’s he doing?’ asked Niki. I explained that he was being very very clever, ‘Look he’s almost the same colour as those patches of sand he’s jumping onto, he’s using it as camouflage, and jumping between them so that he can’t be seen so easily.’
But it didn’t work for long and we watched in horror as a long sneaky slithering snakey snake lashed out and grabbed Hamish in his jaws and instantly wrapped itself in a ball around him. We thought this was the end of Hamish but then we saw the ball of snake and fur begin to pulse up and down, lifting higher and higher, then the ball began to spin and as it did the snake began to unwind, and we realised Hamish was using his fabulous highland fling again…. this time to literally fling the snake off him. As Hamish spun up to top fling speed the snake completely unfurled, and was flung hard against the tunnel wall, were it hit with a great hissing thump before falling to the ground motionless.
‘Ha ha’ shouted Hamish, ‘they can’t penetrate my highland fur..’ and he turned and shouted down the tunnel ‘Anyone else for a dance?’
And so we followed and Hamish danced, with each dance leaving another slithering sneaky snakey snake motionless in his tracks.
We continued on, travelling deeper and deeper into the tunnel. Finally there were no more snakes and Hamish asked what time it was. I looked at my watch… ‘1230 hours, why?’
‘We need to be quick, time is running out, remember that we must be in position when the sun reaches it’s zenith.’
So we began to run, and we ran and ran and ran until we were all puffed out and couldn’t run anymore and then ahead we saw a pool of light, and beyond the pool of light we saw another junction with numerous paths leading off. ‘Which way now?’ I asked, Hamish shrugged saying he didn’t know, that he’d hoped the shadow man would be around to show us the way.’
Then Niki squealed and started jumping up and down, saying ‘I know, I know…. I know how to summon the shadow man….’
Hamish and the Shadow Man
‘I know how to summon the shadow man, Hamish… you need to stand on the moon… then the shadow man will appear!’ squealed Niki.
‘There’s a slight technical hitch with that plan though…. in case you hadn’t noticed I’ve just come back from the moon and we’re many metres underground on this here planet Earth….. so it’s not going to happen again in time for midday!’
‘No, you don’t understand… look!…. the pool of light, what does it look like…..it’s the moon that was foretold….. you need to stand in the pool of light and the shadow man will appear.’
‘What if it’s a trap and something horrible happens when I stand in the light…?’
‘Like what?’ we asked…..’I don’t know, like something really horrible, like a zillion bats suddenly appearing out of the dark and grab me and fly away with me, never to be seen again! I don’t like bats!’
Well then, we shall carry on without you, after all, there is no going back you said’
‘Good point, ok, here goes.’ Hamish walked into the pool of light and stopped. We all held our breath for a moment but nothing happened. Hamish turned to look at us… ‘Good idea Niki, but….’ and then a shard of light struck the wall behind him and began to spread across the wall, like a door opening, and then the shadow man appeared.’ Niki and I must have looked awestruck and we stood there speechless, as Hamish asked ‘What’s wrong, why are you looking like that?’…’He’s behind you!’ Niki whispered with a degree of terror in her voice. ‘Ha, ha, very funny, good try but not falling for it… you’re just trying to get me back for my Star Chamber prank.’ Niki replied ‘No, really, he’s behind you!’
Hamish looked at me and could see the look of fear on my face and realised Niki wasn’t joking and his hair gradually stood on end. Hamish turned slowly and gulped as he looked upon the shadow man, and as he did so, the shadow man raised his arm and pointed towards one of the junction exits, and then as soon as he had appeared he disappeared!
‘Holy cow, that was scary for moooment!’ said Niki… I looked at her with a quizzical look on my face. ‘What?’ she said. ‘Nothing,’ I replied, but I couldn’t help wondering if she was catching something.
Down the passageway we went until we found our way ahead barred by a solid wooden door. ‘Ah ha’ said Hamish, ‘Time for the phantom’s key!, Scott give me the key!’…. my jaw dropped, ‘what do you mean, I don’t have the key!’ Niki and Hamish looked at me accusingly, and Niki said ‘Please tell me you have the key, need I remind you there is no way back and if you’ve forgotten the key, there is no way on and we are all going to die in here!’… ‘I don’t have it, I’ve never had it’ I pleaded ‘Honest!’.
We looked back at Hamish who had the little smug smirk on his face again, and he started sniggering…’Let me see what I’ve got in my sporran…, ah there it is, must have forgotten I put it in there!’
I was not amused! Anyway we tried the key in the door, and it turned, and as the door opened, there it was…. the hidden chamber!
Hamish and the Bath of the Queen
Hamish led the way into the hidden chamber, and what a sight lay spread out before us. The darkness was split by a shard of golden light that entered from high in the ceiling of the large vaulted chamber. As our eyes grew accustomed to the darknessss we could see a large pool of water surrounded by a shelved area. We walked all the way round but other than the pool and the terrace the chamber was completely empty.
‘What now?’ we asked Hamish.
‘Remember the clue’ he said, ‘…In the forgotten citadel, lies the bath of the queen, in a hidden chamber to which the Phantom of the Sea holds the key. Only the bravest will find the way, Only the enlightened will reveal that which lies beneath. On the day following the night of the half blood moon, as the sun reaches its zenith, it will show you where to go.’
‘What time is it?’ Hamish asked… We told him and he explained it was obvious, the beam of light from the sun is going to show us where to go when it reaches its zenith, which is in roughly half an hour. So let’s all sit and wait.
So we sat and watched as the shard of sunlight moved across the surface of the pool and as the moment got closer and closer the realisation began to dawn on us all, and we all turned and looked at each other, eyes wide open and wondering.
The shard of light pointed straight down… down into the into the depths of the dark brooding pool. What lay below!
‘Any volunteers?’ Niki asked slightly nervously.
Although I’m a strong swimmer I was glad that Hamish immediately stepped forward saying that it was his duty and he would go. ‘This should be nae bother’ he stated, ‘I’ve trained many times for such a challenge… my shaggy coat acts like one of your human wetsuits to insulate me from the wet and cold, while at the same time it acts like an aqualung to hold air that I can suck on while underwater. I can stay under for quite some time. Watch!’ And with that he ran towards the pool and bringing back memories of his earlier escape from the Phantom of the Sea, he jumped into the air, did a double somersault before diving horns first into the deep.
Niki grabbed my hand and we watched, holding our breath…. until we could hold it no longer and we gasped for air. Hamish could obviously hold his breath for longer and all we could see was a little trail of bubbles gently breaking the surface of the pool. Then we heard the rumbling and the surface of the water began to ripple and swirl.
‘There he is’ shouted Niki and across the pool we saw Hamish emerge and climb back out onto the ledge. After shaking himself dry he ran back round to us. ‘I found the plug and removed it, it should drain now… let’s see what’s revealed.’ And so we waited, watching as the water drained away, firstly revealing a line of hieroglyphs around the walls of the pool, and then as it continued to drain, it appeared – the bath of the queen, which had lain hidden beneath for all time.
Niki clapped and cheered… ‘Oh Hamish, you’ve done it again!’ ‘Now what?’ I asked. ‘The hieroglyphs will tell us’, answered Hamish, ‘But we must be quick, look they are starting to dry out and disappear already.’ We all jumped down onto the floor of the pool and Hamish began to decipher the hieroglyphs…
‘Follow the water, let it show you the way.
A secret awaits, for he who eats hay.
But don’t delay, lest it fade away.’
We turned and looked into the bath of the queen and watch the last of the water drain away to reveal a Hamish sized archway leading into a small tunnel.
Hamish turned to us and said ‘I must leave you now my faithful companions and follow the water. Perhaps one day I shall return. Until then, Adios, and with that he slid down the side of the bath and shot straight into the tunnel and he was gone!
Niki burst into tears again…. ‘Will we ever see him again!?’
‘I don’t know, I hope so’ I replied, ‘he is a brave little soul, and we must treasure the time we’ve had with him and wish him well on his quest…. farewell little H.’