"I've triumphed!" Count Olaf reiterated, a word which here means "announced for the umpteenth time." He stood proudly at the front of the boat, leaning against a carving of an octopus attacking a man in a diving suit that served as the boat's figurehead. "You orphans thought you could escape me, but at last you're in my clutches!"
"Yes, Olaf," Violet agreed wearily. The eldest Baudelaire did not bother to point out that as they were all alone in the middle of the ocean, it was just as accurate to say that Olaf was in the Baudelaires' clutches as it was to say they were in his. Sighing, she gazed up at the tall mast of the boat, where a tattered sail drooped limply in the still air. For some time, Violet had been trying to invent a way for the boat to move even when there wasn't any wind, but the only mechanical materials on board were a pair of enormous spatulas from the Hotel Denouement's rooftop sunbathing salon. The children had been using these spatulas as oars, but rowing a boat is very hard work, particularly if one's traveling companions are too busy bragging to help out, and Violet was trying to think of a way they might move the boat faster.
"I've burned down the Hotel Denouement," Olaf cried, gesturing dramatically, "and destroyed V.F.D. once and for all!"
The foregoing is excerpted from A Series of Unfortunate Events #13: The End by Lemony Snicket, and Brett Helquist. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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