This story is meant as a curtsey to J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpieces and Peter Jackson's equally brilliant adaptations. I don't own Middle-earth, nor do I make money with this story, it is for entertainment purposes only.

-x-x-x-x-

Darkness. Pain. The taste of blood in her mouth. The echo of the screams still in her ears, though they have long been silenced.

The little girl leans against a tree to catch her breath. She has been running for what seems an eternity, she has lost all sense of time and direction. She starts to feel the pain in her lungs and her legs. Her hands clasp the wooden handle of her father's knife. She knows she will not be able to defend herself if they come back, but she needs something to hold on to, something to let her know that this is real, not just a nightmare, as much as she wishes it was. Her mind has stopped working long ago, but an instinct deep inside her keeps her moving.

Spiders. Dozens of them. Huge black bodies, long bristled legs, fangs as sharp as razors – and eyes, far too many pale, vicious eyes.

A new wave of terror overflows her body. She starts running again, but she trips over a root and finds herself on the leaf-covered ground, shaking and unable to get back up. She takes a deep breath. The familiar smell of earth and moss provides a strange comfort. The mindless panic slowly fades, giving way to an all-embracing emptiness, and the girl's senses sink into warm, soft, merciful blackness.

-x-x-x-x-

"She's hurt. Hilion, look! Is that a spider bite?"

"Call the captain!"

"Let's go, and watch out for the rest of the beasts!"

The girl can hear voices but she is unable to open her eyes. Someone picks her up. Her face rests against the smooth leather of the man's armour. She feels blood running down her cheek. A moment later, the world goes dark again.