It was oppressive, like the heat from a fire
the closeness of a dark, long sealed tomb, the air still and rotting.
Like.........the memory tickled at the edge of his mind. Struggling
against a weight that defied reason he lifted his hand to his chest,
reaching toward the pain. Fevered hand touched cool metal then closed
upon it, a temporary comfort. Then the whispers began hushed and
insidious, cruel and taunting, searching seeking him even here...where
was here? There was little recall only the searing memory of the fear,
then anger and reaction then stupidity and utter darkness with the face
of a long dead King, glowing bright and sickly in the surrounding
It had been a terrifying moment but that moment had ended, yes with pain and humiliation but it ended at least he thought it had...the pain hadn't ended perhaps it never would.
He awoke suddenly gasping, and holding his shoulder. Night shirt saturated breathing a tortuous agony...and Sam's voice trying yet again to comfort him, to bring him back from the unreality that lurked in his own mind. Pain lingered on not only in his body but in his mind and soul. So dark were his thoughts of late there were tentacles of dark horror entwined in every moment of rest...or restlessness it had been long weeks since he'd had a decent rest. Even here back in his proper feather bolstered bed he could find no peace. And finally in that moment Frodo knew he never would again be free of it. For Sam and Merry and Pip the Quest had ended, their cheerful hobbit personalities bouncing back and overcoming the memories of tortures and hardships.
For him it was too much to bear he would never be completely free of it not in Middle Earth. "I'm alright Sam, it was only a dream." he lied again, Sam knew he could tell, but he could not speak of it, Sam could not know how much darkness there really was, "just a dream", he whispered and closed his eyes against the lingering malice in his soul.
He prayed and hoped and lied and hid....They would never know, never understand the darkest place left in Middle Earth was inside of him. He smiled at Sam and took the cup of proffered tea sipping. Yes it was dark, very dark and only Frodo would ever know.