Chapter 7 - Lost in Middle-Earth

"All right, let's get out of here." Dominic said. "We don't want another
encounter with Tall, Dark, and Ugly." He trotted along on the gay little pony. The
three others hobbits walked warily behind. They walked on a well-founded
path, complete with stones leading up to the wooden dock. Dom unhitched a
small raft and set it into the the Brandywine. The water murmured as they
passed, and slowly but surely they crossed. Just as Billy and Dom began tying
up their craft, Sean let out a small moan.
"Oh, but who would be on the other shore?" He cried. The others turned. Their
'friend' swathed in black stood as if patiently waiting on the other side. Alerted
that the horse of the Black Rider might swim his master to the other side, the
hobbits ran on. Dom kicked his horse's sides and rode into the darkness after
being assured by Elijah and Billy that they could find their way.
The distressed wanderers finally reached the cozy, out-of-the-way hole at
Crickhollow. Dominic sat on the horse waiting for them. "Ah, here they are."
Fatty opened the door and golden light cut the mystic night air in two. The
actors must have really adored this part of the book, because without a single
breath after stepping in the doorway, Sean declared, "Where are our baths?"
"Right that way, El Capitan." Dominic muttered. The smelly travelers rushed
down the hall and right into the warmth of a wonderful bath.
"Even my room back Bag End wasn't this nice!" Elijah exclaimed. Then the
friends broke out into song. "Oh, one hundred bottles of ale on the wall, one
hundred bottles of ale!" They bellowed. Fatty listened attentively.
"Meriadoc, I don't believe I've ever 'eard that un afore." He said. "Is it one of
Master Bilbo's?" He questioned.
"Oh, if so, it's not his best." Dom chuckled. Elijah's voice laughed above the rest
as Billy shot up a spray of bath water. It sopped out onto the floor just as
Dominic came to ask about drink choices. "William Boyd!" He muttered.
"What did you do to my clean floor?"
"What did you do to my clean floor?" Billy imitated from inside. "You sound like
me old mum."
Elijah came out chuckling as he dried his hair. "Ah, nothing like a good hobbit
bath. It's even nicer than any conditioner there'd ever be at home."
"Come. Let's eat." Dom said. Elijah pushed against the hobbit instincts.
"Maybe just a cup of brew, but not any food."
"Oh, I see, Lij is trying to keep his figure. Going to be like Ah-nauld." He
imitated the body-builder and flexed his muscles.
Fatty entered the hallway. "Who's Ah-nauld?" He asked puzzled.
"You live behind the times, my friend." Dom said.
Elijah sipped on a cup of tea. Dominic kept looking like he wanted to say
something, but the presence of Fredegar told his conscious not to. "Oh, spit it
Merry." Elijah said at last.
"Oh, all right, but first things first." Dom said. "Fatty, get out." Fredegar
obediently left the room. "Okay. We're all coming with you."
"Yeah. I know." Elijah said.
"And we're gonna go through thick and thin together."
"Dom! I know. This isn't the book. I'm not all the way Frodo, so I'm not going
to object your pleas. You're coming with me."
"Oh, all right." He said and blew a smoke ring.
"Coming where?" Piped up the Bolger from behind a door.
"Ugh, you can't trust anyhobbit these days, can you?" Sean sighed. "Forget it,
Fatty."
"So, when are we leavin'?" Billy asked, changing the subject.
"Tomorrow morning." Elijah said. "I'm only waiting that long because I'm
worried for Sir- uh, Gandalf. He was supposed to meet us."
"He's not going to." Billy said.
"You're right, it was just an excuse. But don't you want to sleep on a bed for
just one night?" Elijah tempted. Billy yawned.
"All right."
"And tomorrow we hit the Old Forest. I mean, it sounds scary in the book, but
how bad can it be?" Elijah laughed. They all went back to the bedrooms and
spent a night of restless sleep.