Today is Tolkien’s birthday. To celebrate here is another part of my Middle Earth Hardboiled Fanfiction ‘One Ring To Find Them‘ (by request but sadly not from Tolkien)
One Ring to Find Them II
He talked. After a fashion.
His mind was an altered landscape. All dread pits and inhabited ruins. A strange reconstituted thing. Broken down and remade. A new thing for the new world.
It wasn’t just in the delirious unfocus of his eyes. He spoke five languages at once. Two I understood and only one of those legally.
I tried to pull what sense I could from his fractured, mutant speech while I scrawled notes on the back of a take-away menu.
I could tell it was a story he had told before. If his fresh scars were anything to go by I’d say it had been under duress. Whatever he was he’d been having a bad time.
Claimed a man named Baggins had taken the wench. A man with a bad (tricksy?) Habbit? (Possibly the dame is a daughter?). The Baggins man had a gang of dwarves, elf friends and some kind of bearded manservant. They were taking her “up the mountain”. His words. She must have been one loose girl. It was no story for children.
When he finished he was hunched forwards, scraping at my desk with broken nails. His breath followed a twitching, hiccoughing rhythm. He looked like he might tell the whole story again if I made one wrong move.
I pulled a flask and two glasses from the desk drawer. The glasses weren’t clean but neither was I. The burning, brackish draught was antiseptic enough anyway. I poured out two hits and slid one to the guest.
‘Drink,’ I said, ‘it’ll put hair on your soul.’
I threw mine back. Pure stimulant-anaesthetic chemical delight. Sears and soothes the insides. He ignored his glass.
‘I’ll find your precious,’ I said, ‘and this Bilbo and his love-gang too. But she might not be the person you knew. She might be changed. A, man? like you understands I think.’
He, it, whatever it was, took the glass and swallowed the liquid. Pulled a face like a newborn corpse.
‘Brings it to me,’ he said, ‘my precious.’
‘Stop by next week,’ I told him, ‘bring money.’ I searched my desk for another Toby. Only one left in the pack. ‘Money and cigarettes.’
He slinked out the way he came. It’s that or the window.
I put on my hat and jacket. Stuffed the old take-away menu in my pocket. I left through the door too. There was a copy of The Great Eye resting on the floor just outside the office. The headline read: Mordor Allied With Isengard. Mordor Has Always Been Allied With Isengard.
The Eye was a great paper. Broke down the old facts to make new news. That was the spirit of the age. The new Life. We were all rewriting ourselves here. That’s what Mordor is all about.
I walked out of the building into the smog. First things first. I needed to find out where that stranger came by his scars. Whoever gave him those probably had a better handle on his story than he did.