it could still be his…

The phantom pain, his missing finger, faded to the background as he clung to the ledge.  The flares of heat washed over him as the lava boiled below, but even that he barely noticed.  He knew he was closer to death than he had been at any point on the quest, and he didn’t care.  Frodo had long ago accepted that his fate was tied to the ring.

The fingers from his good hand slipped as his weight and fatigue worked to free him from his life and pain.  The bed of flames waited to receive him.  They had already welcomed his ring brother, Smeagol.  Gollum’s fate had also been tied to the ring, while the creature may have been too far gone to realize it, Frodo knew.  Gandalf had known it too.

Unable to control himself, Frodo peered into the swirling mass of yellow and orange death and easily spotted the ring.  It called to him still.  He desperately wanted to answer that call, but he could hear Sam, faintly, calling for him, telling him to hold on.  His friend’s voice, his faithful friend, Sam The Brave, was too far away though.  It wasn’t powerful enough to lend any strength to Frodo’s tired mind and body.  His blood shot eyes, strained from the heat, the miles, the grief, watched the ring float on the surface of the lava.

It could still be his…

Sam’s voice was more urgent, more forceful, demanding attention, and Frodo could no longer ignore it.  He swung his eyes away from the ring and saw his companion reaching out for him.  Knowing it wouldn’t work he reached back with his broken hand.  There was no hope, though.  Death was his only option.

But, somehow, Sam hauled him from the edge, even as the ring slipped below the surface, destroyed, even as it had been created, in the fires of Mt. Doom.  Relief flooded through Frodo.  Relief and a great sadness.  How had he managed to escape his fate, to break the pull of the ring when Gollum hadn’t?  When Smeagol hadn’t?

He looked to Sam and knew the answer.  Where Smeagol had been cast out and forced to wander alone, cursed, Frodo had never lost the love and support of his friends.  He was sorry he hadn’t done more to befriend the creature.  As much as he had done, it hadn’t been enough.  If he had been nicer, if he had tried to understand more, if he had treated Gollum as an equal, perhaps Smeagol would have survived, in the end, too.

Tears coursed down the hobbits dirty cheeks.  The sweltering heat caused them to evaporate before they’d even reached the cave floor.  His grief could not disappear to easily.  It would stay with him for the rest of his days.

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So, yesterday, when I posted my slightly different perspective of the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Trent asked if I could write in a “little bit of sorrow for the poor chap?”

I said I could.

How’d I do?  And, what do you think?  Does Gollum deserve a bit of sorrow, or did he get what he deserved?

a different ending, almost

He slipped the ring over his finger, and watched in delight as it reshaped to fit perfectly, as though it had been made for him.  Then the surge of power coursed through his body, tingling along his spine, radiating spasms in his muscles, and he laughed in triumph.  It was delicious in rich malevolence.

To the gathered few, watching in horror, his laugh sounded hoarse and forced.  It was the laugh that escapes a body in so much pain that nothing else can break free of the clenched jaws and restricted throat.  It was miserable, tortured, and terrifying.  They scrambled over the loose rocks of the mountain side to find a safe place to hide from his wrath.

Gollum’s eyes burned with the fires of power and hatred.  For too long had he sought his precious and been forced to play the fool.  For too long had he been separated from his love, and now that it was back in his control, and he felt the full weight of its potential again, he wanted to exact sweet revenge on all who had ever sought to take it from him.

First he would dispose of those miserable hobbits.  Then he would tear apart the two towers and bury Sauron under the lava of Mordor.  If the humans dared to seek him out afterwards he would deal with them too.  They would fall easily under his might.

Stroking the ring lovingly, absently, his fierce gaze easily picked out his enemies as they scurried among the tortured landscape.  His smile showed his remaining razor sharp teeth and he purred, “My precious, we shall kill them all, so we shall.  Yes.  Yes.”

But, then he shook his head, and looked from the ring to Mount Doom, to Sauron’s tower, the eye, wreathed in flame, distracted by some commotion beyond the black gate.  “The ring is mine,” he said with true happiness, an emotion he had felt in ages.  “The kingdom is mine.”

Gollum smiled to the heavens and danced around gleefully.

And then one of the filthy hobbits tackled him and his happiness was once again replaced by rage.

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This bit of silliness was brought to you by this week’s Inspiration Monday writing challenge and, well, when you see the prompts you’ll see why I had to go with a Lord of the Rings shout out:

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The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.

OR

No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:

EXTINCTION
THE KINGDOM IS MINE
EPILOGUE
MELTING MOON
TALK TO STRANGERS

Plus, how could I not use a prompt that had kingdom as part of it?

But, how about you?  Does one of these word jump out to you?  Why don’t you write up a bit of flash fiction and link it to the Be Kind Rewrite site?  You know you want to!

stop on by for a visit, you know you want to

TMK Meme

While life around the kingdom is slowly returning to some semblance of normal, whatever that means, we do find ourselves still pressed for time at the moment.  And by “ourselves” I mean me, the Jester.  And by “pressed for time” I mean that the days and the nights have melded together into something I can’t quite recognize and when I find myself in front of the computer the glaring light the monitor produces hurts my eyes…

So…  If you want to swing by the kingdom feel free to send me your ideas at djmatticus@yahoo.com, or ask for prompts, or just take over the whole thing for a bit… the throne is getting a bit dusty at the moment anyway.  We would certainly appreciate the company/help.

And a huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who has already guest posted here in the last several weeks.  You are all epically amazingly awesomely fantastic.