A Late Night/Early Morning quest for "The Book"

by Taliea

One of my first nights as a club member, I stayed up really late reading through every ones posts, and reading stuff from lordoftherings.net. Finally I mustered up the willpower to drag myself away from the boards, (it took every ounce of control I possessed), and was thinking of going to bed, when I decided to continue reading FOTR for a while instead. Now I'd read the LOTR trilogy quite a few times, but I never grow tired of it, so, I made the decision to cautiously slip downstairs, (so as not to wake my parents whose bedroom was at the foot of the stairs) and grab the book.

Now you should know that it was 3 a.m., and I was up well past my bedtime, so having my parents wake up to find me trudging around downstairs would most certainly mean punishment, and maybe the most cruel of all: not being allowed to go see FOTR at our local theatre that weekend! *This is the part where everyone should gasp*. I tiptoed from the stairs across the tile kitchen to the living room, where I thought I had left my book, and stumbling in the dark found the light switch. The light revealed the cat toy I had stumbled on, among other things, but my treasured FOTR book was no where to be seen. The next likely place was the kitchen, but a thorough search there proved just as fruitless....ok maybe not fruitless, we did have some bananas in the kitchen, but I wasn't in the mood for a late night...uh, early morning snack with so much at stake. (How could I leave my poor, defenseless, LOTR book all alone over night?) On my way back up the stairs I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard some noise coming from behind me in the bathroom, but I sighed in relief when I saw it was only Reggie, my tabby cat, drinking out of the toilet. (Arn't dogs suppose to be the ones who do that? Bleh.) I finished my ascent up the stairs.

I sat and mulled up in my room on whether it was worth searching more of the house for The Book or if I should just go to bed. Then a thought struck me. I remembered my brother taking it off to read it; and woe is me that I, unlike Frodo, had no friends to journey with me to the most dangerous place imaginable in my neighborhood, the place where my Book surely lay. Yes, you guessed it. My Brother's Bedroom...

Still sitting upon my bed, a shudder ran down my spine thinking about all the evil things that lay within the borders of my Brother's Bedroom. Horrid creatures, such as the bowl of uneaten macaroni and cheese that had, so the old tales said, began to have a mind of its own after being left, unnoticed, under the bed for 8 and 1/2 years. And one could not forget the foul smell that hung about that room, the sickening combination of cheap incense, dirty socks, and sweaty gym shorts. It was said that anyone who entered that forsaken land could easily become lost among the years of old toys, unfinished homework, and dirty clothes, and never find their way out again. I had never been foolish enough to attempt that journey before, and now only the thought of rescuing The Book would drive me to such extreme measures. It was a perilous enough quest at high noon, at 3:30 in the morning, it was downright deadly.

I slowly got up from the bed, my mind made up. I would have to go alone of course, it would have been inhumane to ask my cat to come with me, although I'm sure he would have if I had. I looked about my room for things I should bring with me. First I grabbed my backpack and put a bag of Fritos, and a piece of rope in it, (you never know when you'll need rope). Then I grabbed my trusty FOTR CD, my picture of Elijah Wood (stained by much drooling), and slipped my fuzzy cat slippers on my bare feet, and left my room.

The journey was a lot shorter than I thought it would be. Indeed it only took me about 10 steps from my room to reach my Brother's Bedroom. I halted outside the door and started eating my Fritos, while trying to figure out the password for the door. I looked upon the wood and found no markings at all, not even a hint at what the password may be. After pondering the problem for a time I realized that it was so much simpler than I had first believed it. There was a knob on the door, and I bet I had only to turn it to get in. What a clever idea! And all this time I had thought there was a secret word! I cautiously put my hand up to the knob, and tried to keep myself from shaking with dread. At last I closed my hand around the knob of metal and turned...and sure enough the door opened.

A chill came over me, cold air was seeping out of his room and into the hallway. It didn't take me long to see why, my brother had closed all of the heat vents in the room. I held my breath and took that final step that put me the farthest I'd ever been into his room. I opened my eyes...but I may as well have had them closed still. A thick mist of incense lay around me and visibility was severely limited. I quickly made use of the rope by tying one end to the doorknob and hanging onto the other end, so I could find my way back out once I had found The Book. I inched along the rope, taking small steps so as not to trip over one of the many heaps of junk that littered the land. After what seemed like hours, (but what was only really about half a minute), I came upon the most feared sight of all. My Brother's Bed. The closer I got to it the stronger I could smell the musty scent of a place long denied fresh air. If The Book was going to be anywhere, it was going to be hidden Under the Bed, and with my luck guarded by the Macaroni Monster.

The closer I got to the bed, the quieter I had to be for my brother was sleeping, and any small noise might wake him and he would discover my plan. It was probably as well that I forgot the Discman to play my FOTR soundtrack in, although I hadn't meant to forget it. By the time I made it to The Bed I was shaking with fear, and I could almost see creatures out in the dark, peering at me with glowing eyes. I stepped in some old sticky gum and was glad I had brought my cat slippers.

Finally I was at the edge of the bed, and I had to bend low and crawl in a ways to see if The Book was under there, big mistake. I didn't even have time to react, I had kneeled down without looking and now the Macaroni Monster had me stuck to the ground in its gooey cheese. I grabbed my CD out of my backpack and used it to try to slash away the sticky cheese but to no avail, I was as good as a goner, under the bed as I was, my Brother would never find me. I took my worn picture of Elijah out of my pocket and seeing it gave me hope. It was then that I heard light footfalls behind me and turned my head to the side. It was Reggie! He had followed me into the abyss after all, how he managed to find the way I will never know. He came around to my face and sniffed the macaroni and cheese, and began to eat it. I begged him not to but he seemed not to understand me, that macaroni and cheese was countless years old and who knew what it would do to his system. He gnawed through my cheesy bonds and I was free. I saw The Book then, like a beacon it was in that darkness and I snatched it up quickly, not believing it could be real. I let out a little surprised laugh then I looked over at my cat and my smile faded. The cheese must have been contaminated, he looked very sick and I was afraid for him. I picked him up in my arms and ran for the exit along the rope.

I had done it. I had gotten The Book, and without waking anyone up either. I was safe from the terror of my Brother's Bedroom, but my cat was very sick, and I didn't know if I had the ability to heal him. I sat outside of the door, tears spilling down my face. I had met some very good animals in my life, but none meant more to me than my cat Reggie. He looked up at me with unfocused eyes and I continued to weep for a time in the hallway.

Now I was in a bind. Waking up my parents at 3 in the morning to tell them that I had accidentally poisoned the cat would certainly be grounds for keeping from seeing FOTR tomorrow, but better that then having my cat die on me. I got up to my feet and started heading for the stairs again when I heard Reggie make a sound. I'd heard that sound many times before from my father, but never from a cat. A long, strong smelling rumble issued from his behind, he was passing gas. After he was done, he sat up and yawned, and then walked past me down the stairs to his food and water bowls, in seemingly good health. I had gotten lucky yet again.

I smiled and went back to my room, book in tow. The quest was over, and I was victorious. I started reading once I had gotten back in bed, but didn't get far before a dreamless sleep overwhelmed me. My mother found me the next...later in the morning with my reading light still on, and my book with me on the bed.