The rain lashed the windshield of the minivan relentlessly, battling with the windshield wipers. Though it was day, the dreary gray light made it seem more like dusk. The driver peered through the down pore, looking for an exit from the freeway. None of this, however, bothered the younger occupants of the car. Twelve-year-old Grace fiddled with her golden braid, light blue eyes deeply immersed in "Many Meetings" the first chapter of the second book of the Fellowship of the Ring. Christopher, the seven-year-old, brushed his black bangs out of his brown eyes as he tried to beat the iPad game Flow, studiously ignoring the endless chatter in the back.
"Did you see Dwalin's face when Legolas stepped on his head? Priceless!" fourteen-year-old Maggie enthused to best-friend-and-practically-twin-sister Sarah.
"Yeah! And the Dragon! Smaug was just...just...WOW." Sarah agreed.
As you might guess from the topic of conversation, Grace, Maggie, and Sarah had just come from watching the Desolation of Smaug. Mrs. Rivers, Maggie and Christopher's mother, had picked them up to go to a sleepover at Maggie's. Hence the Christopher.
"Ya know, I think they could have left out the-" but Sarah never got to say what they should have left out, for just at that moment there was a lurch as Mrs. Rivers lost control of the car. It skidded across the road, then flipped over the side.
Grace slowly came to, and thought that she hadn't. She was lying on a luxuriously soft mattress, under an eiderdown blanket, nothing like the thin mattresses and scratchy blankets of Childrens' Mercy. As she cautiously opened her eyes, she saw she was in a light-filled chamber, with birds singing outside the window. There was the creak of a door being opened behind her, than quiet footsteps came across the room.
"You're awake?" came a voice, even as Grace turned to see the newcomer.
"Where am I?" Grace asked. She felt like she should be afraid, but she wasn't. It was just something in the air.
"Imladris," the strange woman said, "or as the mortal's name it, Rivendell. I am Miril, and I have been tending to you since they brought you in last night."
The last sentence was lost on poor Grace as she gasped-
"Rivendell! Like the Lord of the Rings Rivendell?"
Miril's face took on a look of confusion. "What is "Lord of the Rings"?" she asked.
"It's a boo- oh, never mind," began Grace. "Could I please speak to the Lord Elrond? And...what year is it?"
"You may," Miril replied. "Indeed, I was bidden to escort you to him when you awoke. As for your second question, it is the year 3018 of the Third Age."
'And that would make no sense to anyone except Mags or Sarah. Darn.' Grace thought.
"Come now," continued Miril, oblivious to the thoughts going through Grace's head. "Let's get you dressed. I assume that you don't want to be wandering the corridors of Imladris wearing naught but a night dress!"
"No," agreed Grace as she got up. Miril helped her into a sky-blue dress with angle sleeves. It was fitted to the waist before it flowed out like a waterfall. Then she took her hand and led her through the maze that was Rivendell.
Maggie opened her eyes. She was in a wheat field with the Sun shining over head. Wait what?! She was supposed to be in a car. Coming back from the Desolation of Smaug premier. NOT in a vaguely familiar wheat field. Wait a moment, Mom had lost control of the car. They had flipped over the side and then, then, she couldn't remember. Oh well. It's not like it matters. Was this Heaven? She looked down at herself. She was still wearing the same blue jeans and three quarter sleeve shirt that she was wearing before the crash. No white nightgown in sight. As she was trying to figure out why, exactly, the wheat field looked familiar, two figures bumped into her. Hard. With vegetables in their arms.
"Hallo there," said one. Was that-?
"Who are you?" said the other. It couldn't be-?
"Maggie Rivers, who are you?"
"I'm Merry Brandybuck," said the second. "And this is my cousin Pippin Took."
"Could you give us a hand?" asked Pippin. "We need to get away before Farmer Maggot catches us, like he did last time."
"Of course," Maggie exclaimed, though inside she was doing the happy dance. 'I'm in Middle-earth! I'm getting into Farmer Maggot's crop with MERRY and PIPPIN! But I thought the Hobbits would be smaller. It doesn't matter! I'm in Middle-earth!'
After about a minute of running, they burst out onto a small path, bowling over two more Hobbits as they did so. Pippin had landed atop Frodo, Merry Sam, while Maggie had tripped over the fallen vegetables.
When he spoke, Pippin sounded surprised. "Frodo! Merry, Maggie, it's Frodo Baggins. He's my first cousin once removed on his mother's side," he added for Maggie's benefit.
"Hello Frodo, I'm Maggie Rivers," Maggie introduced.
"What are you doing? What is the meaning of this?" Frodo asked as he watched Merry, Pippin, and Maggie gather up the dropped food. Merry shoved some cabbages into Sam's arms.
"You've been into Farmer Maggot's crop!" said Hobbit exclaimed. "Are you mad?
At that moment Maggie heard a Hobbit shouting and dogs barking.
"He's coming! Run!" she yelled, taking off as she did so. She was quickly followed by Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and finally Sam.
"I don't know why he's so upset," panted Pippin. "It's only a couple of carrots!"
"And the cabbages!" Maggie called over her shoulders.
:And those three bags of potato's we lifted last week. And then the mushrooms the week before," Merry added.
"Yes Merry! But my point is, he's clearly over-reacting!"
The fields gave way to woods, bu that made no difference to the angry farmer. They were so busy running away, that they didn't notice they were approaching the drop-down into the road. Maggie slammed to a stop, with Frodo, Merry, and Pippin freezing behind her. Sam didn't notice and ran into them from behind. Down they tumbled, landing on the road in a big pile. It looked like a game of twister where the person on the top had fallen over, taking the rest of the players with him. When they finally untangled themselves, Merry, Pippin, and Sam rushed over to the near-by mushroom patch. Frodo stood up, staring down the road, while Maggie just sat by where she fell, moaning and complaining.
"I think I've broken something, and not just a carrot like Merry. I'm going to be bruised for a week. Why didn't I remember this? I'm-"
Frodo's voice broke through her moanings.
"Get off the road! Quick!"
"Right, Nazgul. Run!" she echoed him.
They jumped over the side of the road, and hid among the roots of a great tree. The oddest feeling washed over Maggie. She felt so cold, and so afraid, like she'd never be happy again.
'I don't like Nazgul' she decided. She went absolutely still, frozen. If she moved and they were found, the quest of the Ring would be over before it even got started, and she and her friends would be trapped in a world without hope. Speaking of her friends, where were they? Completely different topic, why wasn't Merry (or was it Pippin) throwing the bag? While the Nazgul was sniffing for them, time seemed to slow down, it had felt like ten minuets while in reality it had been only one. There came a crash.
The Nazgul whirled around at the sound of the bag falling on the leaves. While it was distracted. The five of them rushed out and down the hill.
"What WAS that?" Merry panted.
'A Nazgul' was on the tip of Maggie's tongue, but she bit it back. I just wouldn't make sense for a strange girl to know what those things were. That'd be a sure-fire way to draw suspicion upon herself.
The car tumbled over the side of the road, bumping down the slope into the ravine. As it fell, Grace, Sarah, and Maggie hit their heads, but Christopher's head pillow kept him from being knocked out. So he saw It happen. The front door fell open, and Mom fell out, but the car kept going. Just before it reached the bottom, a golden glow seemed to come out of nowhere, enveloping the children in warmth. When it faded, Christopher found that he was no longer in the car, but in a wood. A soft light was about him, and the leaves of the trees were the greenest green he had ever seen. (rhyme unintentional) He had little time to admire though, and to figure out here he was. There was an arrow at his head. A tall figure stepped forward.
"Who are you?" he asked. Christopher starred at him blankly. First the car was wrecked, then he found himself in a strange wood, and arrow was set to his head, and now the man with pointy ears was speaking gibberish. It was not a good day.
"Do you speak English, sir?" he said, a little annoyed. But it was not wise to anger the person who could kill you at a moment's notice.
The tall person answered him.
"You speak Westron," he observed. "Few in these lands do. But you are of the race of Men. Who are you, and how came you here?"
"Err... I'm Christopher Rivers. Mom crashed the car, there was a light, then I was here. Where is 'here', anyway?"
"You are in the Golden Wood, the realm of the Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel. What is this 'car' you speak of?"
"Umm... A car?" Christopher's tone made it obvious that he thought the stranger was daft. "It's a motorized vertical with lots of horse power, capable of great speeds, but easy to crash on wet nights." The only answer that he got was a mystified look.
"Come, we shall take you to the Lord and Lady." The bow was withdrawn, and Christopher was quickly surrounded by multiple pointy-eared people and marched through the green wood.
Sarah woke up in the most awkward of positions. Her face was smushed against someone's back. As she lifted her head, she could see that whoever was carrying her was walking up a flight of old, worn steps. There was a creak, then she felt her self being lifted up. Instantly she shut her eyes, going limp and pretending to be asleep. She was lying on a bed.
"I know you are awake," came a male voice, somehow familiar. She stiffened and opened her eyes. Then she blinked. Then blinked again.
"You role-playing guys take your game way too seriously. I thought you were actually Aragorn for a moment there. Could I borrow your cell? I need to call my Mom."
'Aragorn' grabbed her shoulders. "Who are you? How do you know my name?"
Sarah scrambled to a sitting position and backed against the wall.
"Whoa! No need to get so upset. You're Aragorn. I got that. I'm Sarah Hodgson. I know your name because there's only a whole book series about you, and three movies."
"Books? There are no books about me. And what are 'moov-ies'?" If anything, 'Aragorn' was more on his guard. At that moment, Nob walked in, carrying an arm-load of towls. Sarah's eyes rolled back in her head.
"Oh great, I'm in Middle-earth," was all she was able to get out before collapsing in a dead faint.