The room was as she had left it, the computer still on and the words she had written a lifetime ago still blinking. The portal she had walked through vanished behind her – she was home in her quiet apartment. Home.
“Oyoy?” came a muffled sound from her backpack.
“BreadLegs! You're supposed to stay in Middle-earth!” Lina exclaimed, opening the backpack.
“All right, all right… If my landlord sees you, we're both doomed, though, so you better behave.”
BreadLegs and RollFeet both jumped onto the bed, making themselves comfortable. Lina merely shook her head and returned her attention to the computer screen. Strange to have endured three semesters at OFUM to get a licence she now would never use. After all, what tales did she have to tell that could possibly do such a place justice?
She looked at the screen again. Very slowly, a smile spread over her face.
Like all stories, it took time to write down. At times, she thought she would never finish – but one night, all there was left to type was 'The end'. And she found she didn't want to.
“Miss Cam!” Lina exclaimed, looking around the half-lit room.
“Though you've got some grammar issues and your spell checker must have hiccupped.”
“Toey stopped by.”
“Ah,” Miss Cam commented, stepping out of the shadows. “Have you packed?”
“Have I what?”
“Packed. You're my new paperwork slave.”
“Since Gimli woke me up the fifteenth morning in a row with his bloody nagging. I wasn't going to bring you in before the new semester, but I cannot take anymore. Honestly, you'd think I'd let you run around the staff section freely if I didn't plan to hire you? Or let you boink a teacher if I didn't already have you on my staff list?” Miss Cam sniggered. “You know how fangirls think having been one, you have shown you can be devious and you've survived Ent-tossing, wall-crushing, falling from a dragon… Most impressive.”
“I… um… Right,” Lina muttered, as confusion began to give way to joy. Gimli! Sweeping up BreadLegs and RollFeet, she hurriedly packed a bag.
“Yeah, I…” Pausing, Lina looked at the computer screen where her tale of OFUM was finished but for two little words. Bending forward, she typed them with a strange sense of joy and sadness at once.
One tale ends, another begins.
“I'm ready,” she said.
“Good. I hope you brought something fireproof. Sauron's stuffed animal went missing and he's tracking it down by burning down all the places it could be hidden.”
And as the portal opened, two words blinked slowly on the computer screen.
I owe lots of thank you.
Thank you to Thundera Tiger, Dwimordene, Shadow, Jean, the Philosopher at Large, Meir Brin and the heaps of others who have offered suggestions, alerted me to mini-Balrogs, reviewed, criticised, corrected or nagged me about this story. A special thanks to all who enrolled and were very good sports about it. Also thanks to Jay and Acacia, who are brave and fun and supplied me with heaps of material.
And finally – to Tolkien. Because his world is a wonderful place.
And oh yes, the list of minis will be up at http://www.misssandman.com/LOTR/ofum.html . If you'd like to adopt one, e-mail me. First come, first serve.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.