This Darkest Hour

by Vik

So this is it – home. I am home again or am I? Everyone is cleaning up the mess left by Saruman and his ruffians and soon the Shire will be restored to it’s former beauty. So why does it feel so strange? Why do I feel so empty? I didn’t expect it to be that way. But then I didn’t expect to return anyway.

Frodo was sitting in his study at Bag End, quill in one hand and the Red Book open before him. Yet he wasn’t writing. He was looking out of the window but he wasn’t really seeing anything.

What was wrong with him? Sam and Rosie did everything to make life the most comfortable for him and he enjoyed their company immensely. It felt so good to be loved just for what he was. Yet even their love couldn’t fill the hole that was in his heart. And though his physical wounds had been taken care of by such skilled healers as Lord Elrond and Aragorn they still caused him great pain from time to time. He sighed and shifted uneasily in his chair.
Darkness and pain where there once was light and joy. The memories of Weathertop and Shelob haunted him in his nightmares but far worse than that was his memory of what hat happened at Sammath Naur. How can you escape from yourself?

When they had left Rivendell ( it seemed a lifetime ago now) he had been surrounded by friends, he had felt save in their company and with Gandalf at their side all problems were so far away. But things took a different turn than anyone did expect and his own road had grown darker and his burden heavier with each step closer to Mordor.

As much as he tried he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. Absentmindedly he clutched the white gem given to him by the Lady Arwen. There was no escape.
The simple tasks of daily life in the Shire would distract him for a while but in the night the dreams would come. Again and again he relived his journey, Cirith Ungol, Shelob, the last miles through Mordor. And his failure. Again his mind has brought him back to this time and place! This was what he feared more than the returning pain of his wounds. He hadn’t destroyed the ring – on the contrary he had claimed it! The shame….he could still see the horror in Sam’s eyes at that moment. After all that they’ve been through! But how could he explain to anyone what the ring had done to him? He didn’t understand all of it himself. Just that there was no way back.

He realized that he was staring at a blank side of the book. The ink on the quill had been dried a while ago. How long had he been sitting here, caught in his past? He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Well, just sitting here won’t get the job done and with that he carefully started to write…