'Are we there yet?' The voice of the hook-handed man broke a long silence.
'I told you not to ask me that anymore,' replied Olaf with a snarl. 'We'll
get there when we get there, and that is that.'
'Could we possibly make a short stop?' asked one of the white-faced women. 'I
noticed a sign for a rest station in a few miles.'
'We don't have time to stop anywhere,' Olaf said sharply. 'If you needed to
use the bathroom, you should have gone before we left.'
'But the hospital was on fire,' the woman whined.
'Yes, let's stop,' said the bald man.
'We haven't had anything to eat since lunch, and my stomach is grumbling.'
'We can't stop,' Esmé said. 'There are no restaurants out here in the
hinterlands that are in.'
Violet, who was the eldest of the Baudelaires, stretched to place her hand on
Klaus's stiff shoulder, and held her baby sister, Sunny, even tighter, as if to
communicate with her siblings without speaking. Esmé Squalor was constantly
talking about whether or not things were in -- a word she liked to use for
'stylish' -- but the children were more interested in overhearing where the car
was taking them. The hinterlands were a vast and empty place very far from the
very outskirts of the city, without even a small village for hundreds of miles.
Long ago the Baudelaire parents had promised they would bring their children
there someday to see the famous hinterlands sunsets. Klaus, who was a voracious
reader, had read descriptions of the sunsets that had made the whole family
eager to go, and Violet, who had a real talent for inventing things, had even
begun building a solar oven so the family could enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches
as they watched the dark blue light spread eerily over the hinterlands cacti
while the sun slowly sank behind the distant and frosty Mortmain Mountains.
Never did the three siblings imagine that they would visit the hinterlands by
themselves, stuffed in the trunk of a car of a villain.
'Boss, are you sure it's safe to be way out here?' asked the hook-handed man.
'If the police come looking for us, there'll be no place to hide.'
'We could always disguise ourselves again,' the bald man said. 'Everything we
need is in the trunk of the car.
'We don't need to hide,' Olaf replied, 'and we don't need to disguise
ourselves, either. Thanks to that silly reporter at The Daily Punctilio, the
whole world thinks I'm dead, remember?'
'You're dead,' Esmé said with a nasty chuckle, 'and the three Baudelaire
brats are murderers. We don't need to hide -- we need to celebrate!'
'We can't celebrate yet,' Olaf said.
'There are two last things we need to do. First, we need to destroy the last
piece of evidence that could send us to jail.'
'The Snicket file,' Esmé said, and the Baudelaires shuddered in the trunk.
The three children had found one page of the Snicket file, which was now safe in
Klaus's pocket. It was difficult to tell from only one page, but the Snicket
file seemed to contain information about a survivor of a fire, and the
Baudelaires were eager to find the remaining pages before Olaf did.
'Yes, of course,' the hook-handed man said. 'We have to find the Snicket
file. But what's the second thing?'
'We have to find the Baudelaires, you idiot,' Olaf snarled. 'If we don't find
them, then we can't steal their fortune, and all of my schemes will be a waste.'
'I haven't found your schemes to be a waste,' said one of the white-faced
women. 'I've enjoyed them very much, even if we haven't gotten the fortune.'
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...