With no wizard’s light to guide us, we ran through the darkness. Occasionally a great leap of fire was reflected on the dark stone, casting an evil red glare across our party, but mostly we moved through a black so deep it seemed a physical force. On we went, stubbing toes and scuffing hands as we ran in pitch black.
“I see light,” the sharp eyed elf yelled. “Daylight!”
We ran faster, though us mere mortals could see naught. I bumped into a man, a common occurrence in this mad dash. But then something amazing happened. I could make out his form. In a few more steps, I too could see the cool blue daylight. We might make it!
There were guards at the entrance, but they were expecting an attack from the outside, not one from within. We swept them away without an injury on our part and pushed out into the open.
Never have I felt so alive as when I breathed in the fresh air! We were out of the mines at last.
But we weren’t safe. We continued to run, run as far from the open well of the mine’s entrance as our legs would carry us.
At last, not able to take another step, we crashed on the shores of a small lake. Dipping into the refreshing waters, we bound our wounds and prepared to move father away before nightfall.
Although this moment’s rest should have seemed a happy moment, it was not. There was a darkness on all of our hearts. How could we go on without him? Was all lost? What were we to do?
But we knew we must go on, and so after a break that was too short, we left the quiet lake and pushed towards the forest below.
Pausing at a small rise, I looked back across the lake at the towering mountains. Dark clouds had moved in, painting the mountains in hues of grey and black. A sudden break let a ray of sun splash across the hills, causing them to burn gold. For a minute my heart rose out of the dark crevasse, were it had been since that fateful bridge, and sang at the beautiful sight. We had hope yet! But then the clouds gathered and the vision was gone.
I turned to follow the others, when…
Someone called me, perhaps one of the other hobbits.
“Sam, are you ok?”
I looked up and nodded at the figure standing over me.
“Yeah, Mom, fine,” I said.
“Are you sure?” she asked. I nodded. “You’ve been sitting here just staring at the lake and mountains for ten or fifteen minutes now. Daydreaming?”
“Yeah, just thinking about the book I’m reading.”
She smiled. “Perhaps those are the Misty Mountains, right? Come on, let’s go. It’ll be dark soon. Dad’s waiting.”
I stood up and walked towards the car. Before I got in, I paused and looked back at the mountains. Another stray beam of light came out, sparking a golden fire across the landscape. A dragon! The dragon followed us home, burning every village we passed.
At least it did in my head.
— — —
Yes, you had to have read The Lord of the Rings to get this ;)