4. Wild Beasts
"You must clear my name!"
"Surely if you consider it rationally-"
"Have you not just a leetle decency?"
"Shurrup!" On and off had Scaldo tried since they left the cow pastures. Now, forever later as far as he knew, they had entered an unsettled wooded area. With the Dwarf still refusing to speak.
"Umm, at least tell me where we are going," he said more meekly.
The Dwarf gave him a look from under his hood that said simply shurrup.
Scaldo gave up, too exhausted to care anymore. He looked back on his life, and all it seemed to be was walking. And hunger. He decided he would die in the silence of a martyr; however, he still felt like sitting down and sobbing.
"I will go no further," he announced and collapsed in the undergrowth, which turned out to be stinging nettle.
"Wha' ever. I'm goin' to find some eats," said the Dwarf as he stomped off.
"Eats?" Scaldo asked eagerly, scratching. The Dwarf had already disappeared into the trees. Suddenly, the round hobbit felt very much alone. The little forest began to look unfriendly in the dimming sunlight. Shadows took strange forms and Scaldo could swear they were moving, shifting behind a trunk just as he tried to get a good look, and coming back out to spy on him when he looked away.
He rolled out of the nettles to the base of a tree. That felt safer. As exhausted as he was, he could not relax. He began imagining food, which grew fangs and ate him in turn.
gurgrowl Scaldo sat up, his eyes wide. What was that sound? Slowly, he scanned the dusky trees. "D-Dwarf?" he squeaked. No one answered. Just the wind, he told himself with the age-old excuse. He lay back against the tree, but no rest would come now. As a chubby-faced lad he had listened to stories of wild beasts that lay in wait after dark for stupid hobbits to walk by and eat them feet first.
gurrrrgrowl Scaldo leapt out of his fat skin. Then he stood motionless. Perhaps, he thought, if I am still enough, I will not be noticed. Remembering then his adventure in the cow pasture, he doubted even the densest wild beast could pass up his stench. He wanted to cry. Quickly he searched for a thick stick and brandished it like a club.
gurrglegrowl It came louder than before. Scaldo was quivering before he could help it. gurrrgrowwwl! He backed up against the tree. gurrglegrowwwl! He closed his eyes and prayed to anyone that may have been listening. crack! Snapped a twig. wham! Went Scaldo's stick.
"OOCH!" Wild beasts did not make that sound, Scaldo was sure. He opened his eyes. A very, very annoyed dwarf stood there with a dented hood.
"What did yeh do that for, yeh idjit?"
The Dwarf snatched his stick and raised it. Scaldo cringed back. The Dwarf brought it down on his knee; it snapped and he threw the two pieces away.
Gurglegrowl pop! Scaldo realized with giddy relief the noises came from his stomach. Strange and unnatural, hunger was. His relief gave him vigor to say the one question he was dying to ask. "Where's food?"
Patting his hood back into shape, the Dwarf ignored him. When the Dwarf was done, Scaldo asked again.
"What do I look like? Yer butler? Get yer own!"
All strength and hope had finally come to an end for that long day. The poor plump hobbit sagged miserably to the earth. Darkness swept in and gave him merciful respite from his starved tummy.
A fox passing through the woods stopped and sniffed. "A hobbit!" he thought. "Or I think that's a hobbit; and a dwarf. Sleeping outdoors at night! What is this world coming to?" He never did find out.
Next morning, Scaldo's growling stomach woke him to the smell of roasting meat.
"'Bout time, Lazy-gut. 'Ere!" The Dwarf tossed him a scrap of meat, which Scaldo gulped down faster than Túrin gained names. With food, hope seemed to restore itself. Then he was hit with the strangeness of this sudden generosity.
Scaldo opened his mouth to speak - when something whistled past his face. He turned his head to watch it sink into the ground at his feet. A dark knife.
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.