1. Through the Fog
The boat was only a few dozen feet from the shore when a great fog suddenly and swiftly rolled in. This seemed very strange. He didn't know this part of Middle Earth well, or at all, but he knew a thing or two about fog, and this didn't seem right.
"Hurry, Sam," he told the hobbit behind him, "We must reach the shore while we can still see it."
Quickening their pace, they did make it, but just barely. Frodo hopped out of the boat and took a glance around to make sure they were alone before turning back to help Sam drag the boat ashore. He saw no one else. Not even Sam. He took a step toward the river, expecting that maybe he stepped too far into the fog. He heard a splash and felt his foot sink beneath a couple inches of water. Wait...where had the boat gone?
"Sam?" he called softly. No reply. He looked around, but saw no hint of his friend or the craft. Now feeling completely lost, he ran back and forth along the shore, calling Sam's name. He got no response.
Since he couldn't see where he was going, and given the fact that he was running quite fast through the trees and grass that lined the shore, it was not really surprising that he should run into someone. He hoped it was Sam, but when he stood up and looked at the person, he stopped.
It was not his friend. Oddly enough, it looked to be...him. And yet, not him. He was staring into the eyes of...well, into his own eyes it would seem. At first glance it may look as if the two were identical, but the stranger had sort of shaggy, straight brown hair, as opposed to Frodo's curly black locks. Their clothes were quite different, as well. The stranger was quite thoroughly soaked, obviously just come out of the water. His face looked like a younger version of Frodo, yet he was the same height. As if he was a boy of the man-race, rather than an adult hobbit. Something about this whole situation seemed inexplicably familiar to Frodo.
This assessment, of course, took but mere seconds. The boy looked at him strangely, then said, quite loudly, "Who are you?" He had a strange accent that Frodo could not place. He'd never heard anything like it before. Then, the stranger seemed to remember something and before Frodo could try to answer his question, he turned and called out to the river, "Jim! Jim!" There was no answer to his cry, but Frodo could see through the lessening fog some kind of raft. If they'd looked longer, they would have seen a man come swimming in.
Frodo tried to get the boy's obviously short attention. "Wait. Hello? Who are you?"
The boy turned to him, looking a little indignant. "I asked you first."
"My name's Frodo," said the hobbit.
The boy stuck out his hand, "Will."
Frodo looked at the hand, a little unsure of what to do. Experimentally, he took it in his own hand and was suddenly shaken furiously.
The boy did his best to smile. "Pleased to meet you."
Frodo was about to ask the obvious question (or one of them, anyway), when they were interrupted by the sound of dogs barking. They looked behind them, up a small hill and froze. There were at least a dozen men with some kind of weapon Frodo didn't recognize standing there. He hoped they might be this boy's family, but the look of terror on Will's face quashed that hope.
"Make a move and I'll blast you in half!" one of the men shouted. Frodo thought this was definitely not a good sign.
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.