“Bill? Hoy, Bill?”
Sam stamped his feet and shivered as he wandered through the stables looking for Bill the Pony. “Where did that pony get to? Probably looking for more hay.”
A soft whicker came from the far end of the stable. “Bill!” Sam cried and turned to rush to his pony.
“Ooof!” as the rake he stepped on levered up to bonk him on the forehead right between the eyes. “Oh, Mr. Frodo, I’m sorry …” he murmured as darkness took him and he slid to the floor, clearly in a light temporary coma.
*Back in Illinois*
Merlin and Helo paced and mewled fretfully. Their fooder, Claudia603, was huddled on the couch, her face swollen. She moaned.
“What’ll we do, Helo”? Merlin said.
Captain “Take Charge” Agathon jumped up on the couch and reached out a gentle paw to stroke Claudia603’s cheek.
“Ouch!” Claudia603 yelped and rolled back and forward, moaning and clutching her stomach.
Helo jumped back and said, “She’s burning up!”
Merlin cried, “What’ll we do?”
“I don’t know,” Helo said. “She needs help!”
“Help! Help! Help!” Merlin spun around three times.
“Help! Help! Help!” Helo spun around three times in the other direction.
A loud bang and a crash! The room filled with green fog! Everyone coughed, including Merlin, Helo and Claudia603, who followed that up with another moan, this one even more pathetic than the last, still clutching her stomach (for no known reason).
When the fog cleared, Claudia603 was lying in a large, soft bed, Helo and Merlin curled against her, purring. She cradled her swollen cheek in her palm and opened her eyes. There were strange carvings on the beams of the ceiling. She heard the sound of falling water in the distance.
“Where am I?” she said. “This place looks familiar.”
“Welcome to Rivendell, Claudia603,” a deep, resonant voice said.
Claudia603 sat up in bed. Why was she wearing a long flowy white nightgown of the softest, drapiest, most delicate fabric imaginable? Definitely not from her wardrobe.
The man who had greeted her was seated at her bedside. He had pointy ears and awesome mermaid braids.
Claudia603 whispered, “Elrond? Seriously?”
“Yes, my dear. I am always serious. I don’t learn to smile until The Hobbit movies.”
“In the other bed, just napping until you wake up.”
Claudia603 sank back against the pillows and closed her eyes. Then she peeled open one eye to give Elrond a dubious look. “Is that Enya I hear?”
She felt the mattress give and a stinky, smelling stench of pipeweed surrounded her. She coughed and the kitties sneezed in unison.
A rumbly voice said, “Rest quietly, my dear. I know you are hurt but even now, Aragorn hurries to return with kingsfoil to ease your pain.”
“Cool. But where’s Frodo?”
“Here I am, my dear. I was just napping until you woke. Might I join you?”
She looked over as the hobbit padded softly over to the bed. He gave her “the smile” and she melted, scooting over to let the furry-footed one join her while the displaced purry furries sulked to the end of the bed, though to be honest, one look at those blue eyes drew them back to the head of the bed. Soon all four of them were snuggled tight together, eyes closed, waiting.
The doors burst open, Aragorn bent forward as he shoved each half of the door out of his way, the athelas clutched in one hand, his broken sword in the other.
“Gandalf! Does she yet live?”
Claudia603 rolled her head on the pillow, her eyes resolutely shut, muttering, “Don’t wake me, don’t wake me, don’t wake me.”
Aragorn rushed to the bed, only to stop suddenly, pulling back in shock and asking the room at large, “So, does Sam know that Frodo is in bed with Claudia603?”
To which Frodo asked, looking around, “Hey, where is Sam anyway?”
Meanwhile, back at stables, Bill the Pony softly blew horse breath into Sam’s clammy face. Then he nickered softly, faithfully standing guard, because he would never abandon Sam just as he knew that Sam would never abandon him, alone in some strange scary place, left to find his way home, all alone.
The fresh smell of steeped athelas filled the room. Claudia603 breathed it in and said, “Wow, this really is good stuff.”
Frodo gave a knowing chuckle, “I know, right?”
Soon the pain in her jaw lessened and as sleep overtook her, she felt the longed-for touch of Aragorn’s hand upon her brow.
“Sleep easy, Claudia603, and while you slumber Lord Elrond will heal your genetically-acquired dental issues.”
At the outer regions of wakeful consciousness she heard a whiskey-soft voice, demanding, “What magic is this?” and the last thought she had was “Boromir?!! Cool!”
Claudia603 woke up in her bedroom. With a sense of wonder, she lifted her hand to her jaw. There was no pain and as she rubbed her face, she knew with a certainty she did not understand that she could eat ice cream and drink hot coffee any time she wanted. As she marveled about this wonderful new dental state, she saw that the sleeve of her flowy white nightgown was of the softest, drapiest, most delicate fabric imaginable. “Definitely not from my wardrobe!” she thought and went back to sleep, smiling, Merlin and Helo snoozing blissfully at her side.
Meanwhile, back in Rivendell …
“Seriously, does anyone know where Sam is?” Aragorn asked. “If he knew that Frodo was sharing the bed with Claudia603, he’d kill her.”
“Well,” Gandalf drawled, unconcerned, “then it is a very good thing that we returned her, healed and rested, to her home, along with her kitties. And it is fortunate for her that those kitties of hers knew how to summon us and bring her to us in her hour of dental need. Yes, most fortunate. Come, now, Aragorn, let us go see where Sam has gotten off to. I sense he needs our help.”