My challenge Inkling. Beware; it's not pretty at all...
Sam trudged ever onward, his head slightly
but his eyes on Mr. Frodo. His hands fidgeted with the end of Bill the
rope, picking at the well-twisted cord and unable to get it to fray, no
how his fingers worried it. His thoughts began to wander, lighting
on Mr. Frodo and his courage but darkly on Strider – no, Aragorn, now –
Boromir. Strider... No, Aragorn, it was, foolish Samwise! – seemed to
so highly regarded by the Elves, but he took such an interest in Mr.
Hadn’t he been the first to volunteer his sword at that Council? Why
a great Man want to do something like that? And that Boromir, he was ju-
Sam jerked to a halt, held back by the great, unmoving weight on the other end of the rope in his hand.
“Here, now, Bill my boy,” he began, turning, but he was interrupted by a lugubrious voice coming from Bill’s mouth.
“Thanks for noticing me,” the pony sighed, “but I really can’t go any further. You see, I’ve lost my tail.” Here the pony – no longer a comforting brown but an odd purplish-gray and no longer even a pony but a donkey of some sort! – turned his head to gaze mournfully at his rump. Sam’s jaw dropped. Had Gandalf been practicing his magic? Had he turned the faithful Bill into something entirely... unnatural?!?
“Bill?” Sam whispered, looking around himself wildly to see if any of the rest of the Company had noticed this sudden and distinctly unnatural – surely this must be Gandalf’s idea of a joke – change.
The pony… er, donkey… sighed. “I guess you can call me Bill. That’s not my name, but I don’t expect people to bother to get my name right. At least you’ve noticed me. And perhaps you’ve noticed that my tail” – the creature maneuvered his rump in Sam’s direction – “is missing? Do you think it might have gotten stuck in a bush somewhere? My tail seems to like swinging in bushes, for some reason.”
Sam breathed heavily for a moment. “Your tail? In a bush? But we’re halfway up the mountain; there’s no bushes here!”
“That’s just my luck,” sighed the donkey. “Well, I can sit and wait right here for it to come back. Somehow my tail always manages to find its way home, if I just sit and wait long enough.”
“But we can’t wait! Mr. Frodo is –“ began Sam, flustered, but he was cut off by a shout from behind.
“Warg! We’re under attack!!!” cried Strider. No, Aragorn. A huge shape appeared on the horizon and then became a fast-moving and quickly growing apparition of terror.
“Hide!” piped Pippin in his high, clear voice.
“Mr. Frodo?!?” Sam was frantic, tugging on Bill’s (or whoever’s; did it matter?) rope in an effort to get the beast to move. “Bill, there’s a good lad, come with me!” Sam moaned in frustration, digging in his heels.
But the whatever-wasn’t-Bill was looking at the Warg, a huge gray feline crouching nearby with something… small, purplish-gray, tufted at one end, with a pink ribbon at the other?!? dangling from its mouth. Wait, thought Sam in a confused flurry. Wargs are wolves, and this is a giant cat? With a tufty, pink-beribboned thing in its mouth? What’s going on here?
“My tail!” exulted not-Bill. “It’s brought my tail!”
Sam dropped the rope and began to run for Mr. Frodo, catching the eye of the Warg-cat, which immediately dropped not-Bill’s tail and gathered its haunches for a leap.
I stepped forward and rescued my son’s beanbag Eeyore’s tail, scolding him gently. “William, you know that the kitty can get hurt if he eats Eeyore’s tail. I’m going to have to sew it to Eeyore’s rump if you keep teasing the cat with it.”
“But Mom!” he protested, all innocence.
“William, please rescue your Samwise. The cat is shredding his cloak, and Sam still has a long journey ahead of him. He needs his cloak to stay warm on his journey to Mordor with Mr. Frodo.”
William grinned, defiant. “They’re not going to Mordor. They’re going to capture the PowerPuff Girls from Emily’s room and throw them in the Crack of Doom.”
“Whatever, William. Just rescue Sam. I think the cat’s going to gnaw off his furry foot...”
But the cat, too quick for both of us, dragged Samwise off to some dark, secret lair.
“A quest! A rescue! Come on, Strider and Eeyore!” whooped William, grabbing the two figures named and charging after the Sam-bearing cat.
My son William. What an imagination! He certainly doesn’t get it from me!