MOON LETTERS : CREATIVE WRITING
Last Night I Dreamed of Bag End Again - by Baranduin
Last Night I Dreamed Again of Bag End
Last night I dreamed again of Bag End. I stood at the front door and watched as it swung open, creaking on its brass hinges. Stepping over the threshhold and into the hall, I walked through the familiar rooms, lingering here and there, breathing in its scent of wood smoke and pipeweed. I am always happy while I dream of Bag End.
"Mr. Frodo. Frodo. Wake up. We've got to be going. Gollum says it's not safe to stay near the crossroads any longer, and I agree with him for once. We're too close to Minas Morgul."
Sam shakes me awake, pulling me from my dream.
"All right, Sam, I'm awake."
I sigh as the dream fades. That was the worst part--waking to find that my dreams have turned to ashes.
When I set out from Hobbiton, I had thought that knowing it was still there would help me go on--that my memories would give me strength. They did at first, but every step closer to Mordor turns that strength to weakness. I cannot afford those dreams any more. When I wake after a dream of Bag End, my memories taunt me with what I cannot have. They pull at my heart so. The cost is too high.
It's not just the dreams. We have so much time to talk as we walk, Sam and I. He's not like me. His memories are still clear and untainted. He loves to talk of anything and everything about the Shire. When he tells me in great detail his smallest memory, he doesn't realize that it hurts me, and I can't bear to tell him to stop. How much he has given up to come with me on this hopeless journey. He is my dearest friend, and I can't take away the comfort he finds in his memories.
At this point I'd rather listen to Gollum. Worse, I look at him, and I begin to see myself.
"Mr. Frodo, do you remember the mushrooms we had at Farmer Maggot's?"
"Ah, what I'd give for a taste of those right now, all fried up with a bit of crispy bacon for extra flavor. Although I must say, if I had my choice, I could go most of all for a nice 'tater roasted in the camp fire like we had on the way to Crickhollow. What would you like to eat most?"
"I don't know, Sam. I'm not really hungry."
"Not hungry? With you wasting away more every day!"
I smile. "All right then, the mushrooms, please."
"Coming right up, Mr. Frodo. Hey, you, Gollum, would you like some mushrooms too?"
"Ach, ssss, what are 'shrooms? Are they crunchable? Are they munchable? Are they nice juicy fissshh?"
"Oh, you're hopeless. Never mind."
It's night again. The moon is high and casts a sickly light into the crevice of rock in which we huddle. I look out over the shoulder of the Ephel Duath back over Ithilien. I never thought that I would hurry toward Mordor, but I am. Anything to escape the pull of Minas Morgul.
He felt me--I know he did, the lord of the Nazgul. He looked straight at me, and my shoulder felt again the stab of the Morgul knife.
My head is in Sams lap so he can keep track of me while he sleeps. I don't know where Gollum has gone, but I do know he'll be back; the Ring draws him back every time.
I'm so tired. My shoulder aches and has gone cold again for the first time since Elrond cured me in Rivendell. He did cure me, didn't he? Gandalf said so.
The Ring is heavy now. My neck trembles from the weight of it. The chain presses into my flesh. I rub my hand against my neck and feel the roughness where the chain has chafed my skin raw.
I must sleep. Sam has his hand on my head, so I feel safe--as safe as I can feel in this evil place. I need to sleep, or I won't have the strength to get up again. But I'm frightened. I've never been frightened of my sleep before. It's been my refuge, but no longer. I slip my hand into my shirt, and my fingers touch the cool crystal of Galadriels phial. Please. Let me sleep but not dream.
I stand, hesitating, at the opening door again. A sound from the kitchen draws me in to it as I step over the threshold. In the kitchen, Bilbo potters about, humming a snatch of a song:
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
beneath the roof there is a bed . . .
He opens the oven and smiles as he removes a tart. I breathe in the scent of apples.
He must not have heard me. I move closer and touch his shoulder but no response. He does not see me. I am invisible although I wear no ring.
"Bilbo! Bilbo! It's me, Frodo. I've come back."
"Time to get up, Mr. Frodo. We've stayed here too long. I don't know where that dratted Gollum is, but we can't wait for him. Anyway, the path is clear. He can catch up to us."
Sam gently strokes my face, takes my shoulder and shakes it lightly. I lie still for a moment longer, biting back the tears I do not want him to see. This time the waking is different. That was no happy dream I dreaded to leave.
I stand up, holding onto the rock to steady my weak legs. Sam peers at me, his brow creased, and reaches out a hand to steady me.
"It's all right, Sam. I'm ready. Let's go."
I don't want to dream any more.
I don't want to remember any more.
"Do you remember that bit of rabbit, Mr. Frodo?" he said. "And our place under the warm bank in Captain Faramir's country, the day I saw an oliphaunt?"
"No, I am afraid not, Sam," said Frodo. "At least, I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades." (The Return of the King, p. 214-215)