4. Big Stick Go Boom Boom
When they saw him, Billy was holding two of those wood-and-metal weapons - guns. Frodo took a step back. What was going on here? Huck just smiled at Billy, apparently not noticing Frodo's discomfort. Seeing Huck's unworried response, Frodo tried to appear calm, but his wary gaze never left the guns.
"George, Fred, I've got a present for you," Billy told them, holding out the weapons, "for being my new friends."
Huck snatched the gun, smiling at it like a monkey. "This is great! Thanks, Billy," he said as he looked it over.
Frodo hesitated. When Billy started giving him a strange look, Frodo tentatively reached out and took the gun. It was lighter than he'd expected. He didn't quite know how to hold it, so he settled with just wrapping his hand around the wooden end as he saw Huck doing. He inspected it with a strange curiosity and suddenly he was hit with a question. "How does it work?"
Billy gave him a look of surprise and asked, "You ain't never used a gun before?" Frodo shook his head. "Well, then," Billy said, "let's go shootin'."
The boy led them out to a section of a field near the house that seemed to be used for this kind of shooting. There was a fence on one side and several different sorts of targets set up a few dozen yards across from them. Billy set his gun down on the fence, then reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small sack and some small, metal balls. There was a sort of metal rod already leaning against the fence, which he picked up.
"Now first, Fred," Billy explained, "you take this and pack the gunpowder into the barrel."
"The gun-" Frodo began to question, but seeing the looks the other two started to get, he quickly decided it was best if he pretended like he already knew what that was, "The gunpowder, right. Obviously." He watched as Billy poured some black powder from the small sack into the 'barrel,' then poked the metal rod in after it.
"Now, you best be sure you don't pack too hard," Billy continued, "or you might set it off and blast ya'self in the face." Frodo watched with a bit more trepidation as Billy dropped one of the balls in and packed it in, as well.
"There," Billy said proudly, holding the gun out for Frodo to see, "Now it's all ready to shoot. Watch me first." He took a stance that reminded Frodo very much of seeing Legolas and the others with their bows, only instead of sighting it down the arrow, he sighted it down the length of the gun. The finger position on the right hand was even very similar. With his left hand, he just held it up, much like a bow is held, in a way. For a moment, Frodo felt that this may not be such a strange thing, after all. Perhaps it was just like some kind of automated bow and arrow. He was almost beginning to feel a bit more comfortable with it. Almost.
Frodo jumped back in shock as an unbelievably loud noise issued from the gun. Smoke curled from the end of the barrel, which now pointed several degrees higher, since the force of the blast had knocked it clear out of Billy's guide hand. Frodo's eyes were like two blue moons, looking from Billy, to the gun, then back to Billy's wide grin.
"Woo-ee, Billy!" Huck yelled, "That's some fine shot! Pert near a bull's- eye."
They hadn't seemed to notice Frodo's terrified expression as they laughed and ran up to the target. Frodo just stood, stunned, watching as they pointed to the large hole in the plank of wood.
"Your turn, Fred!" Billy called out as they ran back.
Frodo tried to compose himself. "No! Thank you. I'd...better process all that information before trying it myself. Perhaps if we do something else and come back to it, I'll be better prepared."
Billy looked at him oddly, "All right, then. If you're sure. George, you wanna try?"
Sensing Frodo's discomfort, Huck graciously declined the offer. "Actually, I was kinda hopin' we'd go back to the river, see if any of my belongins washed ashore."
"Sure thing, George," Billy said as he pocketed the gunpowder sack, "But there is one thing I gotta do on our way there."
As they walked off the target range, Huck fell into step with Frodo, a few paces behind Billy. "So, this place you're from," he whispered, "No guns there, I'm guessin'?"
Frodo, eyes still wide, shook his head. "No guns."
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.