DISCLAIMER: Middle-earth and all of its occupants belong to J. R. R. Tolkien.

            *author's note:  I could slap myself for evening thinking of posting a story so . . . well, blah!  It's not that good, and it was really just for my entertainment but I thought 'hey, who knows, might as well!  If there are others out there who might enjoy this then they can have at it.'  If you actually read this, would you mind reviewing for me?  Thanks!


"She is dying, Frodo . . ."

            "What do you want me to do?"

            "Find her . . . save her . . ."

            "What's your name, kid?" the taller of the two demanded, in a not at all polite manner.

            Frodo fairly glanced at them and continued on his way.

            The shorter one--who was a good head and a half taller than Frodo--glared down at him.  "You new here?"

            Frodo stopped, checked his anger and looked up into the child's eyes.  "Yes," he said shortly.

            "Hey," the taller one laughed.  "What kinda accent is that?"

            "Accent?" Frodo looked from the tall to the short (at least by human standards) and wondered what the human meant.  He wasn't familiar with the word.

            "Where do you come from?" the tall one wanted to know.

            "Shouldn't you boys be in class?"

            The voice caught the two humans by surprise and they both whirled.  Behind them stood a fairly large human man.  He reminded Frodo of a troll, though quite a bit smaller.  The built and all was the same.

            "Get to class," the man demanded and the two boys scurried off.  Frodo watched them go and then turned to follow the path that he saw led to another building.  Maybe she would be there.

            "Skipping class again, Apryl?" the man behind him chuckled and Frodo glanced over his shoulder.  He saw a human girl step from the building nearest him.  Frodo noticed she wore a lot of dark--blue, black, and gray.

            She waved a slip of paper before the troll-like human.  "Got a note, Cost," she grinned.

            He gave her a "sure, whatever you say" look and she just rolled her eyes.  The two fell into step behind Frodo.

            "How's your song coming along?" the man wanted to know.

             "Great," but she didn't sound as if she meant it.  By the child's tone, Frodo could just imagine the scowl on her features.

            "That doesn't sound to reassuring," the man said with a frown.  Frodo had to agree.

            The girl sighed.  "I've got most the signs down," she said slowly as if recalling just what the problem was.  "It's the smoothness, I guess.  They don't flow with the music very well.  I don't think I'm that coordinated."

            "It just takes practice."

            The girl snorted.

            Frodo opened a door to the building.  Over the door he had noticed a sign, "Temple Tributary Elementary".  What a mouthful, he thought, not understanding a single word.  He pulled the door with a grunt, for it was hard to budge, and he entered in.  Three halls presented themselves: one to his left, right, and straight ahead.

            "See ya, Mr. Cost."

            Frodo turned to the left and waited for both humans to pass him--praying that neither turned in his direction.  Frodo breathed a sigh as the man went straight and the human girl turned right.

            "See you sixth."

            As the man passed out of sight, Frodo watched the girl make her way down the hall.

            "How will I know her, Gandalf?"

            The girl hesitated in her walk and glanced over her shoulder.  Frodo looked away at the last and stared down at his feet.  He couldn't tell if she had seen him staring at her--and neither did he note that the girl glanced, too, at his feet and noted a few other things without saying a word.  She continued onward.  Within several steps, she turned and opened a side door and entered in.

            "She is a contradiction, Frodo.  Whatever is seen on the outside is quite the opposite from the inside.  She hides her heart, for it is different."

            Frodo shook his head.  Gandalf had said she was different, but he hadn't said how.

            "You must look deeper . . . use the Ring if you must--but only if you must!"

             Frodo walked to the door where she had disappeared within--the shoes upon his feet clacking loudly upon the tiled floor.  His hobbit ears cringed.  The leather was uncomfortable; it cramped his toes.  He saw a window embedded within the door but it was too high.  He growled.  Curse humans and their forsaken height!


            The elder teacher nodded affirmation as she handed him the pink slip.  Without a glance to the rest of the class, she seated herself at the long table that six of the thirty some odd computers in her Computer Tech. class occupied.  Automatically lowering the chair, she typed in her password and logged on to the standard Microsoft program.  She barely registered the teachers droning voice as she opened a file dated "Nov 5" and scrolled down several pages to where her new story had begun.

            Computer Tech. was a required course for all freshmen but, unfortunately, Apryl had been attending a private school at the time and no such opportunity had presented itself.  When she had started attending Fredtree High during her sophomore year, she hadn't known of any such requirement.  So it wasn't until her junior year that she accepted the class and took it with thirty other some odd freshmen.

            It was an easy course and one that soon bored her to tears.  It wasn't long however, before she found she could finish her assignments in plenty of time to spare and then she could (with skipping the practice lessons) open her own file and write to her hearts content.  Much of her writing time was taken up with about fanciful characters and the like.

            But her fingers remained frozen upon the keyboard and a small figure invaded her thoughts.  The boy had looked an awful lot like . . . he was the perfect height an--even his feet . . .

            She had often walked the halls of school and picked out certain characters that were of the right stature and height and she'd fancy they were someone . . . well, from a different world.  But something was always not right, or some such, and she would have to admit that it was nothing but her over-active imagination trying to bring alive something that could never be.

            "Are we not doing our work for a reason?" a voice behind her asked very loudly and deliberately.  She jumped and instantly the image and thoughts vanished.  She turned to see her instructor glowering behind her and near half the class watching her.

            She mumbled something incoherent and, hunching her shoulders, began to type.  Shaking his head, the man walked away.

            "Asshole," she heard hissed and looked down several seats.  A boy was glaring after the man.  He turned and smiled at her sympathetically and she smiled back.

            "Today's lesson," began the man, "starts on page 268 and ends on page 291 . . ."

            Apryl sighed and flipped the pages of her lesson book.

            The pain in her thigh was worse today and it was a terrible effort not to limp.  She wasn't sure where the pain had come from, for she didn't recall ever wounding it, but--then again--her body had the annoying habit of hurting for no other reason than to, well, annoy her.

            It had always been that way, though--when she thought about it (which she often didn't for it was pointless to dwell on)--she realized the pain seemed to be worsening.

            The crowd was thick and the stench strong.  He couldn't decide if the smell was appetizing or nauseating.  The food was an odd assortment--the strangest to him being the yellow liquid that they poured all over a mixture of meat (he wasn't exactly sure if it was meat) and vegetables.  It seemed to be the prize meal, but Frodo hurriedly decided against it when one young kid tripped and the food fell against the floor with a very un-appetizing splatter.  His Uncle Bilbo had cooked better.

            He meandered around; his large eyes ever open.  He had walked the entire grounds near on four times and--though he had picked out many an odd character--none seemed to "differ" much from the rest.

            Had he not been so bent upon finding the girl, Frodo suspected he would have been truly fascinated by the humans.  When first he had searched the school, he had the odd feeling something was missing and it took him the second round to finally figure out what that was--there was nought but humans.  Not one dwarf or hobbit or elf or orc; just humans

            How terribly odd, he mused.

            But the humans in themselves were fascinating--if not a bit disgusting.  They had the most varying shades of hair color: from white as snow to the green of new grown leaves.  Some even had purple and one child's hair was the very pattern of the rainbow!  Streaked blue and green and red and yellow!  He even pondered for a time if that lass, in particular, was what Gandalf had meant by "different".  The notion was discarded however as their "disgusting" nature fully came into development before his eyes--or ears, as it would turn out.

            Their language was full of insults left and right--half of which he didn't even understand.  The males cursed the females--and the females curse right back.  Frodo was both saddened and sickened, though anger flowed, too, through his veins.

            Apryl made her way to the line and on the way, came across her small friend, Amy.  "Hey," Apryl smiled.

            "How's the nose?" she asked and Apryl blushed.

            "Fine.  I got out in little over an hour ago.  Right after first period."

            Amy's eyes widened so that the green shone in the light.  "An hour?  Ohhh!  Nose bleeds aren't suppose to last that long, are they?"

            Apryl merely shrugged.

            "You know," she said, "you should probably get that checked out.  What, that was the second one this week?"

            "More or less.  I've always had them," she said simply.

            "Mores the reason!"     

            "What are you getting?" Apryl asked, suddenly, looking over at the stacked sub-sandwiches.

            Amy turned and observed them.  "Turkey," she said, and the earlier conversation was dropped.

            His stomach growled and he knew that he had to eat something.  He hadn't eaten since . . . well, before and he was awfully hungry.  He searched around for a bit and finally decided on the line that would get him the least odd of the human's food.  He stepped in the line for the sandwiches and waited impatiently for the line to move toward the little red counter.

            Finally, he stepped forward--and his cheeks burst into flame.  The counter came up to the shoulders of most the humans--it past him up by a head!  He heard some snickering behind him and a jeering "Need a boost, buddy?"

            The lady behind the counter looked as if she were trying not to laugh but she bent over the counter anyhow and handed him a small box that had a curling string running from its back.

            "Type your number in," she said with a twinkle in her eye.

            Type my number?  What's that mean?  Frodo looked at the box in great confusion, saw that there were numbers painted on it.  My years, perhaps?  Frodo touched a small button with the number "5" scrawled on it and then he pressed the one with a "0".  Then he looked up expectantly at the lady.

            And she looked expectantly at him.

            "Well," she said finally.  "You gonna hit enter?"

            "Hurry up!" came an irritated shout.

            Frodo looked down at the box again until he located a larger button with the word "enter" upon it.  He pressed it.

            The lady sighed.  "Kid, you gotta have four digits."

            Frodo heard snickering from behind him and he felt his cheeks burn bright.

            "Excuse me," an almost hesitant voice broke in.  Frodo looked over to see a young girl--the same girl he had spied earlier, in fact.  What was her name?

            "I'll charge it off my account," she offered and the lunch lady merely shrugged.  Frodo let her take the small box from his grip and she punched in four of the numbers.

            "What do you want?" she turned to him.

            He couldn't see over the counter to tell what there was, but the girl seemed to realize this as soon as she asked her question.

            "The ham and turkey is good," she offered quietly and he nodded without a word--his face was still red and he could feel annoyed eyes upon his back.

            I miss home.

            "Turkey and ham on white," she told the lady and was handed a wrapped sandwich.  She, in turn, handed it to Frodo.

            "T-thanks," he stammered, feeling like a fool.

            "Come on," she said and turned from the crowded counter to an unoccupied corner.  "You're new," she looked him over and he saw her eyes were gray. 

            Frodo nodded and his curls bounced.  A smile tugged at her lips.

            "Would you like to sit with me and my friends?" she asked.

            He nodded, "I'd be honored."

            Her eyes widened slightly, but then she smiled.  "Follow me," and she turned and wound her way through the crowd of laughing and cursing human children.

            If your curious about Apryl's conversation with her teacher—she takes ASL (American Sign Language).  Thanks for your time!  Would you review—criticize as much as you want!^^