When Boromir awoke, it was with a tumultuous pain in his chest. He felt it’s searing sting long before opening his eyes, and upon doing so, came to the realization that his hands were tightly bound to the sides of his bed. His eyes flew wildly around the room, and its foreignness frightened him. The walls were painted grey blue, and the ceiling white. A strange mirror and dresser of foreign craftsmanship stood against the wall. He could just make out a glimpse of his reflection, and he gasped at the sight of himself. Bloody and bandaged, pale and drawn was his body and face. Pulling his arms violently to free them, he had little success. Wondering what evil was at work to ensnare him thus, he shouted out in defiance, for no coward was he! “Why do you bind my hands, and then hide?! You have every right to fear me! My will is ironclad, and will not yield to threats or torture! Face me, you cur, for you face a fearless man of Gondor!”
Morgan had been standing in the hall at the time of his outburst, a cup of warm soup in hand, and jumped at the sound of his thunderous voice. It was filled with venom and fury, and she shook at the thought of confronting such a man, crazy as he was. Where in the hell was Gondor?
She had tried the phones all night and morning, but the storm being as brutal as it was, she was not surprised that the phones were still out of order. The roads were not yet cleared, as it was still snowing, but not as hard as the previous day. As she was not scheduled to work for another three days, no one would miss her. She was sadly stuck with a lunatic.
The stranger, meanwhile, had been frantically jerking at his confines, and groaned in pain. Morgan was creeping up, just to catch a glimpse, when the floorboard creaked neath her foot, giving her away.
Boromir was quick to hear it, and shouted, “I know you are there, Traitor! Tell me, why do you flee? You have a right to fear me, for when I am free, and will slit your savage throat!!!”
Morgan could not help but tremble. She sure knows how to find madmen, if her last boyfriend was any example. Rid of one, only to be replaced with another, more crazy one. “Why me?” she wondered.
“The knots are tight...” she told herself reassuringly. The sailing knots her father had long ago taught her proved useful time and time again, this being a great example. She knew they weren’t going to come loose any time soon. Believing in her abilities, she bravely peered around the doorframe, peeking into the guest bedroom.
The stranger lay on the bed, blankets askew, but hands still tightly fastened. He panted as he lay, adrenaline pumping through his veins. He sensed her presence, and turned quickly. Panicked, Morgan popped back quickly for protection.
“Wait! Come back! Please...” he begged. His voice seemed softer now and less murderous. Gathering her strength once more, she peeked her head inside the room, showing her face to the stranger in her bed.
He seemed shocked to see her, and for a moment, he couldn’t speak. “Who are you?” he asked at last, his brow wrinkled in confusion.
“Morgan,” she replied in a half whisper. “Who are you?”
“Boromir son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor,” he replied, a note of pride in his voice.
“Great,” thought Morgan in her head. “Freaking crackpot. He’s going to kill me - I know it.” She decided instead to say, “Cool! Uh, where is Gondor, by the way?”
Boromir gazed at her incredulously. “As a woman of the westfold, I would have thought you knew of Gondor. But Lady Morgan, tell me, why do you bind my hands, for I am no enemy of yours, and would not harm you.”
“Well, B...” Morgan stopped short. What was the fruitcake’s name again?
“Boromir.” he intuitively said.
“Yeah - Boromir. Well, Boromir, not two minutes ago you were threatening to slit my...what was the word you used? Savage throat?”
“You cannot live so concealed as to be unwise of such dark times as these. I find myself in unfamiliar territory. Pray, where am I, exactly?”
“About 40 minutes outside of Portland.”
“Portland?” he repeated, blinking.
“Yeah, Portland...Maine. Never heard of it?”
“Nay, I have not.” Boromir closed his eyes tightly; how his head ached. “Pray, can you fetch your husband to me. I require a man’s council.”
Ooh, that bothered Morgan beyond belief! However, it also emboldened her, and she stepped defiantly into the guest bedroom, lukewarm soup still in hand. “I’m not married, not that it’s any of your business.”
“Well, your father will then suffice,” Boromir offered, witless to the offence that he was causing.
“My father is dead, and I live alone,” she said haughtily, and daringly stepped closer, and sat upon the bed, preparing to force-feed him, if only to shut him up.
“You live alone?!” he cried incredulously. “A woman of your age and virtue? Who is to take care of you if you have no man to...”
Boromir was cut short by Morgan shoving a spoonful of chicken broth into his opened mouth. “Come on! What is this, 1956?! Whatever... Now, look! This is how it’s going to be. Your injuries are bad. I don’t think they passed through your rib cage and into any organs, or else you’d be dead by now. I did my best suturing you back up, but if you excite yourself, you’re just going to open yourself up again. You need to rest, and you’re certainly not going to the hospital until the roads clear, so until then, you’ll just have to rest up in bed. I’m sorry it’s so cold, I’ll just try to keep you bundled up, but I don’t trust you, so you can’t come out by the fire, and that’s that.” With that, she fed him the last of the soup, and began to straighten his blankets, tucking in the warmth.
“Far from my not appreciating your care, I do. You are most generous, but could you not just release me bindings? I swear I would never harm you.”
“Your assurances are touching, but I really don’t want to be raped and murdered, thank you. After all, I found you half-dead in the woods, shot up with arrows, how weird is that, and you’re obviously batty. Let you out? Um...no.”
Boromir’s face was astounded. His mouth gaped open, and then closed sharply. “I know not what you mean by “batty”, but for you to think that a man of honour, a man of Gondor, a son of the Steward of Gondor would violate a helpless woman, I am appalled!”
“Helpless? I’ll have you know that I have a Tazer, thank you! And anyway, it’s not good for you to get all worked up about this right now; you need to sleep. I’ll check on you in a few hours, and hopefully by then, the phones will be back up, alright?”
Boromir sensed both her determination and distrust, and so relented, knowing a further fight would prove useless. Morgan drew the curtains close, blocking out much of the light of day. Boromir’s head felt suddenly heavy and drowsy, and he yielded to her will and slept.
Hours passed, and Boromir’s dreams fretted and confused him. He was in the forest, and battle ensued. The hobbits were in danger, and he defeated foe after filthy foe, but suddenly, his chest ached. An arrow had struck its target. He woke up in a sweat, mind confused and dizzy with dreams. A great weight was on his chest, and it ached. He opened his eyes to see another pair of eyes staring back into his. They were small and yellow. A large brown and black cat sat there, eyeing this newcomer with mistrust. It leaned in sniffing his face; it’s cold nose brushed his weathered skin.
“Oh, pray go and leave me,” Boromir begged the cat, his wounds now screaming out for reprieve.
Morgan heard her patient’s voice, and so came to investigate. “Penny!” she exclaimed upon seeing her cat. Sensing herself in trouble, Penny sprang from her perch, agilely landing on the floor, and quickly making her escape. Boromir cringed as his throbbing chest was used as a springboard, and gritted his teeth in pain.
“Bad cat...” Morgan said, pulling back Boromir’s bandages. “She was probably just itching for an introduction.”
“Why is that creature not in the barn? You do not seem so overcome with pests to warrant a feline. Are you so frightened by mice to sanction that beast?”
“There it is again,” Morgan thought to herself. “That same dictatorial misogynistic tone. I pity the woman who falls in love with him...” Morgan smiled, grabbing the last bandage, and ripping it off more sadistically than normal. A few chest hairs went with the bandage, and Boromir yelped in pain. Morgan could not help but laugh at the irony. Boromir was a tall man, strong and built. His toned muscles left nothing to be desired, and yet he screeched when a few tiny, little hairs got tugged.
Her humour did not go unnoticed. “Have I said something to amuse you?” he said in dark defiance.
“No,” Morgan replied, uncurling her lip. “Penny and Moglie aren’t here for my protection or to get rid of mice. Their my pets, my companions, my little babies.”
“A woman’s sentimentality. Beasts are made to work, or they die. That is their place in this world.”
Morgan’s mouth gaped open in uproar. It took all her conviction to gather her strength, pinch her lips together, and silently declare him to be an ignorant, chauvinistic, lunatic from la-la land. What the hell did he know?
Boromir watched attentively as she redressed his wounds, her mood more somber than before. “It hurt you what I said. Why?” he asked her.
“What do you care?” was her quick reply. “For someone so opinionated, that you’re the only one who’s right, and everyone else is wrong, what do you care?”
“Is that it? I bruised your ego? Well, for that I am repentant, but I speak only of what I was raised to believe, and you cannot reproach me that.”
Morgan turned to look at his face for the first time since entering the room. It was wet with sweat, and his face was pale and ghostly white. Ignoring both his remarks and her feelings toward him, she placed her cool hand on his fevered brow. It was scalding to the touch. She reached for her thermometer and ordered, “Open wide and lift your tongue.”
“But what is that? It is your wish to now torture me, because I have angered you?” Boromir queried, staring at the object with mistrust.
“It’s just a thermometer. It won’t hurt you; open up.” Boromir did was he was asked, but with trepidation. “What are...” Boromir began awkwardly, but was cut short.
“Shh! Don’t speak. Give it a minute.” Morgan’s hand reached down to Boromir’s wrist. The rope was tight and close to the skin. She wriggled it slightly loose, so as to feel his pulse; his heart beat soundly.
A silent minute passed, and finally Morgan extracted the thermometer, and Boromir heaved a sigh of relief, but not for long.
“Just what I thought,” Morgan said. “You’ve got a fever.”
“Impossible,” Boromir replied confidently. “I am too cold to have a fever.”
“Are you cold?” She slipped her hand neath the blankets only to feel the warmth of the bed. “You’ve got a fever, alright. Hold on, I’ll be back in a minute.” Morgan returned with a fluffy down duvet, draped it over the bed, and pulled it close to his chin. All that could be seen under the mound of white was his pale face peeking out. She disappeared again, and returned this time with two steaming jars of hot water.
“What are those for?” Boromir said weekly.
“These’ll keep you really warm,” Morgan replied, screwing the lids on each jar, and wrapping a towel around them. She placed one at his feet, and another at his side. “How’s that?”
“Better, I thank you,” he said. Closing his eyes, he let his mind drift and sleep take him.
Morgan stayed by his side, wiping his brow with icy until the fever had dislocated. Finding it had then moved to his feet, she shifted positions to the foot of the bed, and washed his scalding feet with cold water.
Boromir slept, but was not restful. He could not be settled, and at times cried out in the dead of the night, startling Morgan.
After the long nights labour, Morgan had made some tea and toast, and sat down to watch the sunrise. It cast its warm orange glow over the sweeping hills, and began to climb. The snow had finally stopped, and the power had at last been restored. Having just taken a bite of her buttery toast, Morgan jumped at Boromir’s blood-curdling yell. Running to his room, she observed him in bed, face contorted in a violent dream. She shook him, “Boromir, wake up!”
“FRODO!” he cried, eyes opening in terror, tears streaming down the sides of his face.
“Boromir! You’re alright. You’re here. You were only dreaming.”
Breathing deeply, Boromir’s eyes focused onto Morgan, and his heart began to settle. His conscience could not easily forget his behaviour toward Frodo, but he could not bear to think of it. “Have I been ill this night?”
“You had a fever, but it broke a couple of hours ago. You haven’t been sleeping too well, though; lots of nightmares. How do you feel?”
“As though I have just fought a great battle.”
“Well, you kinda did. Your temperature last night was over 102.” Just then, a low rumble was heard from outside. It grew louder, and suddenly Morgan smiled, knowingly. “Snowplow!” she declared, and went to see her street being unearthed from the feet of snow.
Boromir longed to move, and tugged yet again on his restraints. For the first time, he noticed something different. His right handcuff felt looser than before. With a gained enthusiasm, he slowly wriggled his wrist, and all at once, his wrist was free! Reaching over to release his other confine, his shoulder and arm screamed out in pain for having been still so long. He let no sound pass his lips, and tugged on the rope, at last freeing himself completely. He would be imprisoned no longer!
Author's Note: "Hello?????" Lizbit called out in the black, internet abyss. "Anyone there??? Hello???"