Summary: She did not wish for it, but she got it. A girl is stuck in the book... literally. Quite, quite literally. Parody.
A/N: When 20 out of the 25 summaries you read on the "Just In" section are girls-falling-into-ME stories, something like this is going to pop up.
Disclaimer: OCs are mine, passages, places, and other characters belong to Tolkien and his estate.
Warning: Rating for strong language. She's an American teenager, after all.
Once upon a time there was a girl. It really does not matter what her name is, but for the sake of the story, let's call her Sally. Said Sally was your typical teenage girl who was more interested in boys and clothes than, well, anything else. She was an ordinary, run-of-the-mill teen with no particularly interesting back-story or secrets.
She did, however, not have the best luck when it came to experiencing downright odd situations, despite her relatively uninspiring personality.
On one unimportant day of an unimportant year, Sally was in the library, searching for a book by Mark Twain for her English class. She, not being the brightest bulb on the tree, and not one to frequent libraries, was going relatively slow as she read the call numbers out loud off of the books.
"Tis... Tix... Tel... Tel? Uhm, oh, that's not after 'i'... oh, Toa... Tob... Toh... Tol..."
As she reached one of the books under "Tol", her finger, which was brushing the edges of all the books, suddenly became stuck as if it had just landed in super glue. She tried pulling her hand away, and the book simply came with her finger. While not all that bright, Sally did realize that a large book hanging by one finger would be relatively painful, so she quickly caught the book with her unstuck hand.
She glanced at her stuck finger in confusion, and then glanced at the title. The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. She frowned. Some guy made books out of the movies that came out a few years ago? Weird.
Yes, beyond the latest news about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, she did not know all that much.
Sally tried to pull her finger again from the spine, but it was still stuck there.
"Shit," she muttered in exasperation. "This sucks."
Not wanting to ask someone to help her at the chance of looking like a complete dork, she opted to stand there for a while, this heavy, thousand page book in her hands. Thankfully it was near closing time and the library was pretty empty other than a few old people reading books about boring stuff. There was no chance of anyone important coming in and seeing her in this place, with a book stuck to her finger.
After standing idly around for a few minutes with her situation not improving, her boredom finally got the best of her. Since her friends weren't exactly going to be going to the library anytime soon, she didn't have to worry about them seeing her here. With that comforting thought, she decided to open this book stuck to her and see what it was about.
She flipped open to the first page, skipping over the title page, copyrights, and long forward notes to come to the prologue.
'I: Concerning Hobbits' it read.
Sally vaguely remembered that a hobbit was some sort of short person. Every now and then saw someone short be called a hobbit.
She read the first couple of lines before she became bored. This stuff was completely pointless. She was sure that the movies explained everything- this guy didn't have to babble forever about them.
She skipped over the next twenty or so pages, glanced at the map in disinterest, and flipped to the first chapter.
It was then that weird things started happening.
She now could not move either hand from under the book. She tried to fling it off of her hands, but the book was permanently stuck to them. As she waved her hands up and down, the pages of the heavy book somehow connected to her forehead. And there it stayed.
"This is fucking great," she muttered, not caring if anyone heard her. "This stupid book is stuck to my face. Great."
When her face started being sucked into the pages, her annoyance turned into slight worry. She attempted to justify what was happening to her based on previous experiences.
"Joey just probably gave me something again... it is a Friday night, and I'd usually be with him and the others... and last time he slipped me something, I saw weird colors and stuff... though I've never heard of something like this before... but I bet I'll wake up from it soon." With that somewhat comforting thought, she closed her eyes and tried to relax and simply wait out this drugged state. The said wait ended up with her falling asleep, book still stuck to her hands and face. No, it wasn't very comfortable at all, but there she stayed, unaware of the world.
When Sally woke up, she was happy to find that there was no book stuck to her anymore. She was not happy to see that she had absolutely no idea where she was. As it was, her surroundings were covered in darkness... except, for oddly, the floor.
She glanced down at the floor, and was deeply disturbed to find printed words glaring back at her. At the top of the floor she could read "Chapter I: A Long Expected Party".
"Well, fuck," she muttered. "I slept. I should be better now. This isn't good. I'm so killing Joey once I'm out of this."
She looked around herself again, as if expecting the scenery to have changed. It hadn't. Letting out a loud, exaggerated sigh, she started walking to her left and tried to get off of the large piece of text she was on and find her way out of there. To her irritation, she found that as she walked, the text moved with her. In other words, she was going absolutely nowhere.
"Great. This is great," Sally said out loud. She looked up; complete darkness. Looking all around her, absolute nothingness. Indeed, the only thing she could see was right below her, which was a glaring white floor covered in text.
Sally sighed again, sat down, and started reading the text under the header. If there was absolutely nothing else to do here, and no way to get out of here, she figured she might as well. In a rare moment of thinking, she believed that, maybe, there would be some information as to how to get out in the text, since walking did not really help. With that last thought, she began, not noticing the fact that, while the text was on the floor below her, she could read it perfectly as if it were straight in front of her.
'When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.'
She frowned. She was pretty sure that eleventy-first was not a real number. Taking that small fact into account, Sally continued.
'Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar-'
Suddenly, the text that was under her abruptly turned into green, prickly, and very real grass. She screamed and fell backwards, shouting another explicative at the sudden shift in scenery. Blinking, she realized she was looking up at a bright, cloudless blue sky. Taking in a deep breath, Sally pulled herself up, unconsciously brushing herself off as she looked around her. Now while she was no artist or particularly fond of nature, some part of her brain seemed to register that she stood in an untainted paradise.
Rolling hills of deep green surrounded her, covered in long, lush grasses, many wildflowers, and tall, towering trees, all left to grow to their own accord- for the most part, that is. Around the hills were well-kept paths, and off shooting from these paths were smaller paths that lead to round doors that were actually in the hills. Odd, or so Sally thought.
As she started walking towards one of these curious doors, her foot kicked something lying in the grass. Glancing down, she saw the book that started all of this- The Lord of the Rings. Frowning, she picked it up and flipped back to the page that she was on. To her amazement, the text had completely disappeared after the last line she had read. Flipping through the rest of the book, Sally found that all of the pages had no text.
However, as she went back to the very last line she read, the text started filling in, as if it were being typed at a rather fast rate. Compelled, she sat back down and read on.
'Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpected return...'
She continued reading as the page started to fill itself out. Once at the bottom, she flipped over the page, and found the text continuing. Sally continued reading until the middle of the page, where she found the first bit of dialogue. As she started to read the dialogue, the voices came to life around her.
Startled, she looked up and found that she was not in a lush green land anymore, but in a room crowded with small people. The girl quickly stood up and backed up against the wall, watching the small people with wide eyes. They looked so weird, with their abnormal height and big, hairy feet! Oddly enough, they did not seem to notice her, even though she was at least two feet taller than most of them. All of these midgets- or hobbits, the small part of her brain that actually functioned told her- seemed to be minding their own business, eating, drinking, and laughing around various tables and corners.
Sally turned her attention to a table just a few feet away, where she had heard the voice repeating what was said in the book. It seemed, however, that they were not talking anymore, or that she simply could not hear them. She frowned and continued to read the dialogue. As her eyes hit the page again, the voices suddenly spoke up again. When she looked up and stopped reading, it stopped. Quickly catching on to how this worked, she somehow managed to alternate between reading the text and watching the scene before her. It wasn't as difficult as one may imagine- she was experienced at multi-tasking between her phone, five different IM conversations, putting on make-up, and doing some homework all at the same time, which she did often enough.
The dialogue at the table continued, and even though she could hear it very well, she moved closer to see the speakers clearly. No one in the inn seemed to notice her, which was quite fine with her; she really had no idea how she would have explained what she was doing there without sounding completely crazy.
The conversation continued for a couple more pages, and while she would not admit this to anybody, she was a little bit interested. After all, this hobbit they were talking about- Bilbo- was rich, and, well, rich people tended to be interesting. At least, that is how she justified it to herself.
After the conversation ended, the scene faded into another. This time Sally did not fall over, but she was still unnerved by it. When it happened the third time, she barely noticed it, and soon enough she was passing through different scenes without batting an eyelash.
When Bilbo's party finally came, she put the book down for a moment as she watched the celebration in front of her. She had been to many parties throughout her life, but had to admit that none of them compared to this. She watched in amazement as fireworks went up and created different images in the sky, and could not believe the amount of food there was available for all of the hobbits. Starting to feel hungry herself, she went to the table and tried to grab a roll. To Sally's delight, it was real and she could eat it.
Roll in hand, she flipped back to where she was and went back to reading. When she came to Bilbo's speech, she was barely reading, too busy watching the animated hobbit give out his well-prepared address. When he finally disappeared, the teenager fell back in her chair, completely shocked with the rest of the audience. Sally had barely picked herself up when she started reading again, compelled to find out where in the world he had gone.
Now, I won't go on much more about her reactions to every scene within the book. They are, as one can say, predictable to a first-time reader. The only difference in between a first-time reader and Sally, though, would be that, no matter how much you may imagine some scenes, the reality of living them out was much more powerful. Her first encounter with a Black Rider left her freezing cold, fearful, and ultimately hopeless. She tried to continue onward with the book as fast as possible, but to her, it would never be fast enough.
As she read on further, she soon lost track of the time and forgot about the rest of the world. If one were to ask her, she would honestly say that, at least at the moment, she didn't care. She did not like reading whatsoever. She was not a large fan of fantasy. However, living out the story was unlike any movie she had ever watched, and much more meaningful and compelling to her. Frankly, Sally simply had to read on and find out what happened to the characters.
While the Black Rider had scared her, the Barrow-wights simply had her cowering in fear. She was not a large fan of horror films, and what she saw before her was more real than any horror film could hope to be. While the Wights paid her no heed whatsoever, she found herself cowering and crying in terror. She skimmed as fast as possible, and nearly shouted in joy when Tom Bombadil came to rescue the hobbits. She still would not admit it to herself, but she knew that she was actually starting to care for these strange characters.
When she came to Bree, she followed the hobbits up to the inn- the Prancing Pony, she remembered one of them saying a few minutes ago. The girl slightly fell behind, looking up at the ancient-looking town with wide eyes. She had never been to an old village before, so she truly had not known what to expect. She did find that the place was rather filthy, and quickly caught up with the characters of the story, hoping that this inn didn't smell as bad.
It was stuffy, but Sally found that it wasn't nearly as bad as the roads. She half-read, half-watched the conversation between the hobbits and the innkeeper with amusement, and followed them down the hall to their rooms. However, instead of following them inside, the girl closed the book and decided to explore the place a bit. She wandered the halls around the rooms, but saw no one. She decided to instead go into the large common-room and see the people there.
While she thought she had read "dwarves" in the book, she was not really expecting them. She stared at the folk, who weren't as weird as hobbits, but still looked, well, different. She was assuming they'd look a bit like Snow White's dwarves, but instead of being fat, pudgy, and somewhat cute, they were a little bit taller than hobbits, broad, and looked as if they could tear her to pieces.
It wasn't a comforting thought. Shuddering, she glanced at the rest of people. She saw that there were more hobbits, and many men, as well. She wandered from table to table, listening in to their conversations but not understanding most of it, many of them discussing business or personal things. She did hear from some men, though, that there was a lot of trouble happening "down South", though she was not quite sure what that meant. A small part of her mind- the thinking part, the part had burst into play many times that night- wondered if the trouble was at all related to things happening in the book.
As she didn't really feel like reading that much for a moment, and was feeling rather hungry again, she quickly snatched a loaf of bread and some cheese from the counter when no one was looking. She wandered to a table in a corner and, prize in hand, ate her snack- a snack that was surprisingly good, the girl was pleased to discover.
As her eyes wandered around the room, she saw someone she hadn't seen before. A couple of tables down from her own, in a corner even darker than hers, Sally saw a tall man smoking a pipe. His cloak was around him and a hood covered his face. With the comforting knowledge that no one in the inn could see her, she got up and walked over to him to get a better look. Even as close as she was, she really could not see his eyes; she could, however, see the long sheath of a sword hanging from his belt. Eyes widening, she backed away and went straight back to her table. He reminded her of the Black Rider, even if he felt more human. He was still creepy, though.
Sally sat back down and opened the book. With her snack still in her hand, she continued to read.
She read quickly through the hobbits' chatter, and soon enough they came into the common-room. She watched the introductions from her table, but they did not interest her that much so she continued on. The teenager ignored the prattle around her as she finally got to the part where Frodo noticed the same creepy man she had approached earlier. She listened to Butterbur's description of him, and his name.
"Strider? What sort of stupid name is that?" she asked herself. "Why would you give someone a name like that?" Rolling her eyes, she continued. As Frodo approached the table that Strider was at, she immediately stood up as well, and went to them. She remembered that big sword that he had, and, well, she had come to like Frodo and wanted to make sure he didn't get himself killed or something. She knew that she couldn't actually interact with the characters (after some experimenting in Tom Bombadil's house- I'll leave you to your imagination), but any logical thinking was pushed away by the protectiveness she felt for this very real storybook character.
The girl watched as this Strider threw his hood back, and stared. He looked... well, she couldn't describe it. Both young and old at the same time. But his eyes scared her, if she were to ever admit it to herself. She was glad they weren't directed at her; they seemed to pierce through Frodo's head.
Still standing, she continued to read through their conversation, not understanding all of Strider's dialogue but making sense of most of it. When Frodo suddenly went up on the table and started to dance, Sally wondered if he was completely and utterly drunk. She was pretty sure he wasn't, but he looked pretty stupid up there. She watched more than read as he sang and danced, but groaned as he started it again. It was a ridiculously long poem, and she really didn't need to hear it a second time!
Her annoyance soon turned into horror as Frodo disappeared into mid-air. At this point of the story she understood that that was a Bad Thing to do.
"Idiot!" she yelled at him, forgetting for a moment that he could not hear her. "Fucking idiot!" She suddenly glanced at Strider, and was both relieved- and disturbed- to find that he had not reacted at all to Frodo's disappearance. Needing to know what happened, she continued to read.
She became even more disturbed as Strider seemed to know Frodo's real name and guess about the Ring. She quickly skimmed the rest of the chapter, but was not happy to see that Strider would be meeting the hobbits later that night. She quickly flipped to the next page, reading and following the hobbits to their room at the same time. The girl screamed in horror when, once a fire was made, Strider was right beside her.
"Damn it!" she yelled at the unmoving man. "You scared me. Asshole." She then glowered at the hobbits, who had barely blinked when they saw him appear out of the shadows. Figured.
She barely kept her eyes on the text as the conversation flowed between Strider and Frodo. She had unconsciously slipped behind the hobbits, growing more suspicious- and, while she would never admit it, fearful- of this strange Strider. The fact that he had been spying on them was nothing good in her books. She continued to listen, and was surprised to see fear on his face when he talked about the Black Riders at one point. He didn't look like one to be afraid of many things.
When he was going to explain more, the innkeeper came in. Instead of staying in the chair, he went into a dark corner. Why none of the hobbits told Butterbur he was there confused her, but she did not shout and instead read on, intrigued by everything that was happening in the chapter.
She watched as the overweight man handed the letter to Frodo, and was pleased to note that he was also startled by Strider's appearance. The girl noted the atmosphere in the room seemed to get darker at the mention of this Mordor. When Butterbur left, she read the letter from the book. Immediately she became relieved when Gandalf said that Strider- despite all of their thoughts- was actually trustworthy. She read the poem in the letter, but did not pay much attention to it otherwise.
Her relief seemed premature, however, when Strider spoke of taking the Ring, and put a hand on the hilt of his sword. Acting purely on instinct and forgetting the lesson she learned at Bombadil's house, she charged at him- and immediately fell through him. She cursed as she landed hard on the floor- while she may not be able to touch the characters, the floor was very much real. The teenager picked herself up, rubbing her arms and the bruises now there.
When the scene did not move from where it was, Sally hesitantly picked up the book, flipped back to the page she was on, and read on. She breathed a sigh of relief as he went back to normal and revealed the name in the letter to be his- Aragorn. Odd name, but not nearly as weird as Strider.
After the scare, she flopped onto one of the hobbits' beds- too small for her, but at the moment, she didn't really care.
She would never admit this to anyone, but as the story had gone on, she had started caring about the characters and what happened to them. Sally could not really explain why- after all, they were fictional- but the fact that she could see them helped, maybe. But it was still much more poignant than any movie she had ever seen. She was, frankly put, emotionally exhausted.
Sally put the book down and glanced at the four hobbits and the strange man. They would stay like that until she continued to read, so she figured she might as well take a small break and sleep for a while. She was, after all, so very tired. She didn't know why emotional exhaustion led to physical exhaustion, but tired she was. Soon enough Sally found herself slumped in the small hobbit bed, dead asleep.
A small shaking woke her up, and she blearily blinked a few times. In front of her was a stern-looking woman.
"Wake up. The library is about to close," the woman said. Sally blinked a couple of times before the statement processed through her brain.
"Library?" she asked.
"Yes, library," the librarian said, annoyance written in her voice. "And you can't just fall asleep in the library and stay here, you know."
"Sorry," she muttered. "I was..." She blinked again, and glanced down at her lap. Laying there was The Lord of the Rings.
The librarian followed her glance. "You can take that home, you know," she said. "Come on, I'll check it out for you." Without looking back at her, the librarian walked away, obviously expecting her to follow.
Sally picked herself up the ground. She quickly found the Twain book she had originally come for, and hesitated at the other book. Quickly making up her mind, she took both books back to the checkout counter with her.
"It's a good book," the librarian said as she processed The Lord of the Rings. "First time reading it?"
"Yea," Sally replied. "I'm... not much of a reader."
"Doesn't matter," the librarian shrugged. "Reader or not, it's a good book." Sally merely nodded, thanked the librarian, and left the building.
As she approached her car, her cell phone lightly vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at the number, rolled her eyes, and picked up the phone. "Hey, Joey."
"Hey!" a male voice on the other side replied. "I've called you like, a hundred times; where were you?"
"Sorry, I was asleep." She conveniently left 'at the library' out of sentence.
"Already? Well, get up! There's a party at Caitlyn's; her parents aren't gonna be back until tomorrow afternoon! Wanna come?"
"Uhh..." Sally opened her car door and put the two books on the passenger's seat. She glanced at the fat book lying on the top. "I would love to, but I'm busy..."
"Well, your loss." Sally heard screaming in the background, and Joey quickly finished off the phone call. "Everyone else is waiting for me, so I'll see you later."
"Bye." She hung up her phone and started the car's engine. What she had done finally hit her brain. Did she actually not go to a party to read a book?
She glanced once more at the large book, and smiled to herself. She supposed it was, in the end, a valid reason.
After all, it was a good book.
Moral of the story: Read. The. Book. Seriously, it is a good book. You won't regret it. And after you read it, feel free to write all the girls-into-Middle-earth stories you want. Just... read the book.
Oh, yes. And Merry Christmas, too. Hope yours is a good one.