1. O, Daddy, Where Art Thou?
The loud blasts hurt my ears, as it seems to hurt theirs also, for they scramble from the room and put the hard, gray coverings on their heads. They also put the gray coverings on their legs and chests, though I do not understand why. I saw Daddy do this once, when he was still here. He looked good, but it made me laugh. I thought he was trying to look more like me when he put the gray things on, though now I do not believe that was why. He had taken up a great, shiny stick, as many of the others do now.
I wish he were here.
Another blast and I leap up and scramble across the slippery floor. I find solace in a tallcave on the opposite side of the space from the openwalls. I’m curious to see what goes on outside, but my fear freezes my legs. I crouch down in a warm, soft cloth in the back of the closet. It reminds me of him again. When he held me, it was so strong and warm. I felt so secure. How I miss that. If I close my eyes, I can almost pretend he’s holding me again, though I have seen the round greatnightlight eight times since I last saw him.
I can see his face as for the first time. He seemed almost more confused than I was then. The soft lady handed me to him; her naked face pulled back and she bared her teeth. There were others around him, other faces with the same appearance. I came to know later that this was not how they are when angry, as I remembered my siblings and mother acting when I was very young, but when they were happy. One of the other men shook and made a sound like the pigs from my birthplace when they ate. This also, it turned out, was a sign of joy. Yet before I really knew this, I could feel it. When Daddy turned me in his arms and looked at me with those eyes the color of a tree, his face changed and he made the same expression as the others. I could feel his chest and arms shake when he made a strange sound – like the other man’s, only gentler. It was deep and rumbling, and reminded me of my mothers comforting purrs. And I knew I was safe.
The noise has finally stopped. I don’t know how long it’s been, but now the barking of the men has quieted and the ground no longer shakes. Rousing myself from my comfort, I go to the crack in the wall. But what’s this? It’s sealed. Suddenly the dark worries me. My breathing quickens, my heart speeds up. I’m attune to everything around me. What was that?! Is someone else in here with me? I can’t take it any longer. I claw at the wall, screaming at it to open up and let me out. I don’t know how long I do this, but finally it relents. The crack opens wide and someone reaches in. It’s one of the men I see around this place a lot. He takes some great cloth thing from somewhere above me and I dart through the crack before it can shut again. The man rushes out.
Everyone is gone. With slow, careful steps, I make my way to the openwall. The widegrass beyond the homes is covered with people. What’s going on? Could it be...? My heart dares not believe it. Yet, I can’t help it. The sound bursts from my throat. ‘Daddy! Daddy’s come home!’ I would have jumped from the openwall, and probably died, if the boy who had cared for me since he had gone had not run in and taken me in his too-small arms. I nearly leapt from them as he ran with me down through the empty homes to the widegrass.
The closer we get, the more we can see. Most of the plain people are there, crowded around others who I can tell are of my Daddy’s kind. Wait, I know that one! I’ve seen him very often with Daddy, when they would go off together. He looks more like Daddy than any of the other men and by the way they acted together, I had guessed that they, too, were family. He is there, standing by a yellow-haired woman who seems important, yet is clearly hurting from something. Three others are also near. Two different sorts of dark-hairs and another yellow-hair, but I can’t tell if they are men or women. It doesn’t matter. There are many other men there, dark-haired ones who lack the noble, clean look of the man I search for. Oh, where is he? With all these people, surely he is among them! The boy stops far off from the people I watch. I scramble, trying to free myself from his grasp, but he grips too hard. I cry out, ‘Daddy?! Where are you?’ A small, cold hand clamps my mouth shut. I strive in vain to get to the ground, to find my Daddy. It is only when the boy turns to carry me back that I still. I don’t move for several moments, and he’s convinced that I’ll behave. He turns back to the ones everyone is watching, and I force myself to watch quietly, hoping that Daddy will show himself soon.
He never does.
Many lighttimes later, I notice that the old man is gone. One of the strange, dark-haired men is on the central seat, with others around. The one like Daddy is there, with the woman. There are also several small people that I can only guess are the young, though I’ve never seen so many here for so long, and never before were they dressed in the dark skin with the mark that reminded me of a tree. And one is very furry.
I gaze out the openwall, looking out across the dirty widegrass, and I have to wonder, is he ever coming back? Perhaps it is because of me he has not yet returned. Perhaps he never loved me. Perhaps he wanted to get away from me, or simply doesn’t care.
No. This can’t be. I know him. His heart is true. He would not have feigned affection if he did not feel it. So I will wait. He is my Daddy. He will come back to me.
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.