(For future reference I do not have anything against role players or cosplayers. I am actually one myself.)
The wind blew its gentle breath along the tops of the ancient trees of the forest the group known far and wide as the fellowship of the ring took partial rest in. Well the fellowship of the ring plus one. Me, a girl from Brooklyn that really had no place being in this weird fantasy world.
Okay. Okay I can see that I have already lost ya. Starting over. Name's Carla, actually its Persephone Carla Petrillo. Hey you try living a tough girl life in Brooklyn with a first name like that. It's actually one of the reasons I get into fights so often, the other is from defending my kid siblings. Anyone I am your run of the mill American Hispanic, Greek, Italian girl. Living in Brooklyn with her grandmama, stepfather, mother and six siblings, now five siblings. Big family, huh? Try living in a house like that for a day. Getting the bathroom is nearly impossible. Especially when the Snooki and Prima Donna get ahold of it. Not all bad living in the family, but not exactly a picnic.
Anyway I know I'm going to have to do this sooner or later, but I guess I better do it now. To clarify who is who out of my siblings. The first born is my step brother Ty; he is a super smartie who got a scholarship all the way to Oxford. I don't see him much, but he does call often enough. The second sibling is my step sister Jennifer, turned Gina a.k.a Snooki. She goes around with this I am so cool and more popular attitude of hers that she and I can't go two nano seconds without a smack down. The third is Debra my other step sister. The Prima Donna. She isn't as bad as Snooki, but she has too much of a high class attitude for a middle class family. Always the polite one, with her nose in the air. Wouldn't surprise me if she manages to get out of here. The rest of us don't have much of a chance. Both Snooki and Prima Donna are second years in the same college, but if things go as planned Prima Donna will be studying at Harvard for the next two years. With that I introduce you to Ricky Hermes my fourth sibling. He is the con man of the group. Able to get you anything from designer handbags to electronics or can find out any information you want. From which celebrity is staying where to who was found in a cheap motel. He had a pretty good business going till the Popo got him. Spent six months in Juvie, released early for good behavior. These days he's trying to bring back his business without sending red flags. He out of my older sibs is the only one I have a real good relationship with. We watch each other's backs, he watches mine more though. Thinkin I need more protection now that I am officially 18. I can handle my own. Now for the last two siblings and the ones who started this whole adventure or should I say heart attack. My half baby bro and sis, Eric and Janie. Five year old twins that I look out for like a Mama Bear with cubs. Since my older sibs are busy with the own lives or looking out for themselves. I got the task of taking care of them. Not that it's a burden or anything. It really isn't. It is just a strain sometimes especially on my rep. Having to shuffle them from school, to park, to whatever fantasy themed thing they want to go to. I use to be known as the Brooklyn Tiger. Famous for beating the crap outta who ever crossed me. Oh yeah I was the man! Now though it's like I'm faded. Like I lost my spunk. Which I haven't I can still out lick any guy in my hood. Just all this fantasy garbage has people calling me The Gentle Lady Persephone. Can you believe that? Me! A Lady! Bah! Like anyone could believe I was a lady. I don't go around drinking tea with my pinkie way out there, with my nose in the air like something smells really bad. Where do people come up with this crap?
Anyway day in and day out I care for my baby sibs and put up with their obsession for fantasy. Till one night when I was getting Eric and Janie ready for bed. It was gonna be one of those rare nights where I had the house to myself. Mom and Dad had date night. Grandmama went down to jersey to be with a sick friend. Snooki and Prima Donna had dates and Ricky was hanging with the boys at the rec playing ball. Kinda wanted to go too, but someone has to look out for the little guys. Janie was already in her Wendy style nightgown. Eric needed help with putting on his Harry Potter night shirt. When he asked me.
"Ya, what is it little man?"
"Are you a princess?" I chuckled at his serious face. The idea was ludicrously funny. Hey I can know big words too. "It's not funny. Now answer me are you or aren't you?"
"Why would you think I was a princess?"
"Because you do the most housework out of the whole family, you have a step mother and two almost evil step sisters and you have a tiara."
"Yeah from when I was forced into ballet class years ago. Little man. I can say with upmost certainty that I am no princess."
"That's an understatement." Came the oh so lovely voice of Snooki. The long lost wookie. "Don't you have a date?"
"Yes, unlike some I could mention."
"Shut it Snooki reject!"
"Make me you like cross dresser!" I was this close to punching her, if Prima Donna hadn't intervened. "Stop it you two. Gina your date's waiting for you."
"Oh! I'm not ready yet!"
"Then why are you bothering Carla?" Snooki didn't answer. She was too busy piling on the clown make up and running to her date. "You sure you are going to be alright watching them by yourself tonight?"
"Like I don't every night."
"You sure you wouldn't rather be at that Kelsey girl's party? All your friends were going."
"Oh god. Persephone I am so sorry. If I knew I would never have brought it up."
"S'alright. No biggie." (Honk) "You might want to get going your date's waiting." (Honk)
"You sure?" (Honk)
"Sure. Now go on. Before Ms. Haberstien calls the cops on him again." Prima Donna hugs me quickly before going off to her date's waiting mustang. That left me officially alone with the kids. "Time for bed kiddos." I pick up Eric and set him in his bed. Tucking him in with his toy fox, Barney. Then I went over to Janie to tuck her in with her matching fox, named Leia.
"Will you read to us tonight?" Janie asked with her large doe eyes. It was late already, but was I one to ever really care that much. "What story?"
Eric jumped out of his bed and raced to his little bookshelf. Shuffling along trying to decide between endless stories. "This one Janie?" Eric held an old box in the air.
"That's the one." Eric jumped and landed right next to my side book firm in hand. "Read this one!"
Thrusting a green book that had coffee colored pages. It was an old copy I bet they got from the library book sale. In fancy gold scripture that decorated in the cover with leaves and vines and had the title of Lord of the Rings.
"You guys want me to read ya the whole book?" Eagar heads nodded in response. "You two really know how to lengthen your curfew. I'll read at least one chapter."
"Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party. 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…."
"Wait you we have to say the words. Before you can go on." Janie clasped her tiny hand over mine. "Words? What words? Oh you better not mean those words that the boys say. Cause you know you are not supposed to use those words."
"No, Persephone. Magic words."
"What magic words?" Eric and Janie looked at each other and started to chant.
"With these words we hold dear.."
"When night is day…" Replied Eric
"And day is night." Continued Janie.
"When words are not so clear. We who strive for the truth will always find a path. Through darkness and strife. When roads lead to confusion. We will find a way… Now you have to say a line Persephone."
"What line?" Janie leans over and whispers in my ear. I humor them.
"For light is brightest in the dark." The two get all excited like there was going to be thunder and lightning any minute. Two minutes go by and nothing happened. "Okay you two. Let's get settled and I'll read a bit more." Eric climbs into bed as I tuck him in once more. Then moved on to tuck Janie in. Both looked very disappointed that their words didn't do something magical. I knew they wouldn't, but it wasn't a comfort to know that they failed Janie and Eric. "Come on we have quite a bit left to read before bed. Now let's…get..it on? Janie where's the book?"
"I don't know."
"Eric did you take the book?"
"No. It was on Janie's bed."
"It isn't now. Maybe it fell on the floor?" I got down to the floor and looked under both beds it wasn't there.
"Well it couldn't have walked off on its own."
"You don't know if it can or not." Eric stated in protest. I get up and decide to check the other rooms. You never know, plus I had to make sure no one was trying to sneak in. I look in Ricky and Ty's room first, nothing. Then Snooki and Prima Donna's room. Once more nothing. Except something that Mom and Dad won't be happy about when they get home. Snooki gonna get it. Searched the rent's room, the kitchen Grandmama and my room and couldn't find the book. I head back to the twin's room and surprise the book was on Janie's tea table.
"I found it guys. Was on your…tea table?" The book's fancy gold scripture was gone. Weird? I knew it had that on there and now it's gone. Maybe I was just tired.
"Okay. Here we go. The continuation of Lord of the Rings." I look at my sister trying to get a smile on her face before I go on. I manage to coax a small one out. I turn back the book ready to read to the very end if I had too. Man I wish that had been the case. The minute I opened that book it started glowing. Not a tiny little light. Full out Nuke bright white light. Reflexes kicked in and I shut that thing up. Grabbing Janie and then moving to Eric. No way in hell am I letting a book hurt them.
"The magic words worked!" Eric shouted happily.
"Yeah that's great and all, but you know how to reverse it right?"
"No? What do you mean no?"
"The old man didn't say there was another spell."
"What old man are you talking about?"
"The one that looks like Dumbledore." He was talking about that magic convention the two talked me into taking them. They talked to this old man who was really a shoo in for whatever old wizard he was portraying. He was also very patient with the twin's questions. He answered them like he was a really a wizard. He really could role play. Wasn't too bad of a guy. Not a totally whack-a-doodle like the other geeks in costume. He talked with us awhile. I didn't always participate; I remember zoning out at one point that must have been when he said those words. I don't think that old man really had any intention of this happening. I mean this has to be a joke; magic is just something in stories, not outside of them. The book's glow brightens and falls like a heartbeat. Scaring me more than it did earlier. It's as if the book is trying to come to life. What was I supposed to do with a possible possessed book? It's not like I could call up a preacher. Since I didn't know any to call. So that left just one option. I took a quick gulp and gathered the strength from living in New York. One step at a time I made my way towards the book. I picked it up off the bed. Nearly dropping it in the process from butter fingered hands. The book's breathing had stopped and now was just a nightlight glow. I place it on the tea table.
"Now you two at any sign of trouble, both of you leave the room immediately and head for Ms. Haberstien's, alright?" Both nod their heads and clasp each other's hands and their stuffed foxes. With a deep breath I open the book. Nothing happened again. Still I felt uneasy about the whole situation.
"I guess it was a fluke or some sort of prank. I bet you Ricky is behind this." The two didn't look like they agreed. They seemed more frightened than earlier. "It's over."
That's when the world decided to laugh. The light came back stronger than before. Nearly blinding me on the spot. I yell out to Janie and Eric to run. Expecting to hear the door slam I find that instead screams find me. I open my eyes and see the twins being pulled towards the book. I grab Janie's arm and hook on to the bedpost. Hoping that I could pull them far enough away from the book to go over and close it myself. But the pressure of the wind pulling us towards the book. I pulled and used my weight against the bedpost, but to no luck. One large gust came and tripped me over the post. All of us fell into the book. We became lost in this white sky. We moved closer towards each other hoping that where ever we landed we were at least together. The wind was whipping us back and forth. Fear was coursing through me. The winds were whipping us back and forth trying to shred us apart. My muscles ached and pained to keep up the hold on my siblings, but I stuck through. The white light vanished and land was finally visible. It wasn't New York skyline that I was hoping for. A vast forest was sprayed out and we were falling right for it. With the possibility of falling to our deaths wasn't enough for the universe to be cruel, but they had to throw in something else. A ridiculously huge hawk!
"KAAAAHHH!" It shrieked out. I look around everywhere finally spotting it above our heads and aiming right at us. With nowhere to go or even an idea on how to evade the attack, it came barreling down at us. It sliced us apart and took off with the twins.
The last thing I could see before leaves was the sight of their faces. The look of fear and sadness. Something that I thought would be the last thing I ever see. As the world became black.
"Pippin what are you doin?" said a disembodied Scottish voice.
"Tryin ta wake the young lass."
"Ya know Bilbo told us not ta botha her. Said she needed rest." Whoever this guy is he is right. I need sleep or at least some pain killers.
"I'm not botherin her; just trying ta see if she may be hungry is all. After all it is past second breakfast. And she has been asleep since yesterday."
"That is a good point the girl must be famished." More like in pain due to both of flapping your mouths while some people are trying to sleep! Wait a minute who's talking?
"Oh look she's awake." Yeah awake and not born a sucker. I leapt up to my feet even though it made me nearly fall over from dizziness at hitting my head on the ceiling. Still I pretended like it didn't affect me. Though it hurt like hell.
"And apparently more awake then we thought. Are ya hungry, young lass?" Silence greets him, with slinted eyes and a you better stay far away from me vibe was thrown out there. If the two could sense danger they better listen to it.
"I think we should get Bilbo and Frodo, Pippin." Whispered to the other guy. Who looked nearly identical to the other. Give or take a few inches off the other's height. But both were short. Shorter than me.
"I think we better do so now. Please wait here." Both left the room in quick steps leaving me alone in a strange and low ceiling cottage or hut of some kind. But not for long I could already hear them coming back. This time with others. Possible reinforcements, maybe the local cops. Two small guys like them enter one was way older than the other. All these guys had curly hair that went from a golden brown to dark brown. They also weren't wearing shoes. But that could be cause we were inside a house and no one wanted dirt to be dragged in.
"Now lassie there is no need to have that crossed look upon your face."
"I tell you it's because she missed second breakfast. Anyone would be cross from hunger."
"Shut it Pippin. You are making things worse."
"You shut it Merry!"
"Would both of you shut it!"
"Why don't you Frodo?"
"I'm not the one causing the problem."
"Then what would you be callin this then?"
"Boys now stop this gibber gabber! This isn't about you. We have a young lassie here whom needs our help and we as fair hobbits must help one in need. And where'd she go?" The quad didn't notice that I snuck out the back window. I had no time for the shenanigans of whoever the hell those guys were. I had to find Eric and Janie.
"I found her!" They are defiantly quicker than I thought before. It was the guy I think they called Frodo. "You shouldn't go wondering off in your state miss."
"Yay a. Thanks for ya concern and all you have done. But I gotta get outta here. I need to find my family."
"Oh do they live in the shire? We can help you find them if you want."
"Look I don't need help. I can take care of my self-self. Whoa." Worst time to be feeling a head rush coming on. No mistook that one. I'm gonna faint.
"Pippin! Merry! I need yer help!"
"We're a comin Frodo." The three of them settle me down on the ground at least so that I wouldn't fall on any of them and could get my vision straight. The world keeps spinning for a while and my head is pounding like a street performer's drum.
"Bilbo where is this girl you said you found? Or did you have too much ale?" said a gruff voice from somewhere. I still couldn't see that well I just saw some grayish blob.
"Oh. I didn't expect to see you for a bit of time Carla."
"How do you know my name?" It was at that point my vision was less vertigo and more focused. The bad part about that was the person I was focusing on. The guy who was responsible for the whole episode.
"What the hell is going on?" A collective gasp came from the group.
"There is no call for that kinda language lassie!" Came the reply of the short elder.
"Right now I do not have time for what is called or not called for. I have questions that need answers and two little siblings lost out there in some godforsaken forest where they could be…be…" I couldn't finish that sentence. I didn't want to even think it was a possibility. The smaller males were both shocked by the outburst, but were curious about what was going on.
"I understand your sense of urgency. Carla, but you need to relax and refrain from using foul language during your stay here."
"Can't promise much. I'm from Brooklyn."
"Yes, I know." He grabs my arm lightly helping me up on my feet. "Now let us go back into the cottage and answer your questions with something to eat?"
My stomach chose that moment to respond with a growl that envied the subway system. I was hungry. But I don't think these guys have a pizza parlor anywhere near here. Shame I could really have gone for the Italian works or just plain pepperoni. But with my luck right now I couldn't have that. I could eat anything at that point, but fish. I really really hope they don't serve fish.
We all head into the cottage into the room I had been resting in. It was some kind of study as well. Papers and books were scattered all around and a roaring fireplace was going. It was a pretty cozy picture like one of those travel magazine's you see in the beauty parlor. We sit in available chairs and the elder and Frodo go into the kitchen. Ten minutes later they came out with tea and chicken. I wait for the others to get theirs and then eat slowly. I still didn't trust these guys completely, not that I really trusted anybody, but I was defiantly more cautious with these strange dudes.
"Now could someone please explain how I even got here?"
"Well you landed in the woods not far from Bilbo's home and we figured you should…"
"Hey I can guess that much. But what I meant is, what's a girl from Brooklyn doing in this is!"
"Brooklyn? Where is Brooklyn is past the mountains?"
"No. Brooklyn is a place far from our own realm and part of another earth entirely. I have been there and back and have found it and its sister states both fascinating and utterly confusing. How do you people live like that?" Gandalf asked with this seriously expression.
"We're a tough to acquire taste." I said like it was nothing. Really you gotta be tough to live in the hoods.
"I suppose so. Now on to why you are here. I assume that you have recited the incantation?"
"You presume to be correct on the reciting of the incantation, but I only said like one line. My baby sibs said the rest and I want to know is what possess someone to tell two five year olds spells that send them to other worlds?"
"Why did you say presume?" asked the Pippin dude.
"Can someone answer my question first?"
"Not till ya answer mine first."
"Hey I asked a question first."
"And then I had one. Now answer or we could be doing this all day." Normally I would have started leering over the guy daring him to go on with trying to cross me, but I had more pressing matters to deal with.
"My parents taught me never to assume anything, because it makes an ass outa u and me. There's your answer out of the honor of a deal where's mine?" Pippin was taken aback by my retort at first, but then he started to smile. Cuing that he got the hidden joke.
"To answer your question, furthermore to clarify I was not possessed. Your sister and brother to me showed signs of possible containing some ability of magic. I gave them a spell to practice with. A spell that would have shown them a mirror world of this one. I never dreamed that they would be able to transport themselves here."
"Well newsflash they have and now you are going to help me find them or else."
"Or else what?" I get up right in his face not afraid of anything he could try on me.
"You don't want to know what I could do to someone who crosses me, but the worst that I would know affect you is knowing that whatever harm manages to come their way will be because of you. I know that you don't want that." I stare into his eyes and I can see that he is studying me like I was him.
"Are you up for a journey through a world that you have never known? Where danger could be around every corner and rough times to come?"
"Please you make it sound like every day getting to school. If I have to climb a mountain with the upmost certainty of death I would to get Eric and Janie back safe and sound then I will without regret."
"Then we shall be off in the next day or two."
"Whoa next day or two? We need to be going now."
"Going off on a journey ill prepared will result in it ending before it can begin and you still need to rest." He didn't leave room for argument as he began talking with the other guys. Dropping me from the conversation, not that it was a big deal to me. I was more concerned with finding the twins then what they were doing. I was hoping that they were alright and not in any sort of trouble. There was no way I could stay in this place and rest for a day or two. I had to get out there and at least do something.
"Carla. Carla. Carla!"
"Huh?" Gandalf had apparently been trying to get my attention.
"Why don't the boys show you around the shire?"
"You sure I won't scare off anybody?" I knew when people were afraid of me and Merry and Pippin were scared of me. I was pretty imposing compared to them. These little dudes with quaint country clothes versus me in my graphic tee fishnet shirt, dark makeup and nail polish and my dark cerulean hair streak.
"The woods then, perhaps a clue could be found?"
"Are you trying to get rid of me Gandalf?" I asked with fake hurt.
"No, I can tell already you are going stir crazy in here and I figure best let you go outside for a while rather than having to stop you from sneaking out of the window at night. Now do wish to go outside?" The guy knew what I would try already. Go figure, normally takes someone at least three tries to figure out how I will sneak out, but I did already try to sneak out once today.
"Sure." Merry, Pippin and Frodo lead me out the door. This time I made sure not to hit my head on the ridiculously low ceiling. No talks, well to me no talks to. As we walk down a dirt road into the woods.
"Where are ya from Carla?"
"Born and raised in the USA. In a great place known as Brooklyn."
"U.s.a? Brooklyn? My you come from a weird soundin homeland." Merry remarked.
"What's it like?" Frodo asked. He actually looks at me when he asks.
"Well it's big and loud for one."
"From cars, trains, other motor vehicles, people in general."
"What is a motor vehicle?" piped up Merry.
"Or a car for that matter?" finished Pippin.
"You won't believe me when I tell you. A car is a motor vehicle or at least a type of motor vehicle. It moves people from place to place."
"Oh it's some kind of carriage then. What kind a horses do you use to pull it?"
"We don't use any kind of horses. It can move on its own."
"Wha? With magic?"
"No, gasoline. Actually newer cars use electricity as way to make it better for the environment."
"Maybe we should move on to something else."
"Yes, what do you do in your village?"
"Brooklyn isn't a village. It's a burro and no not a donkey. A burro is slang for neighborhood. Brooklyn is a neighborhood in one of the greatest cities in the world. New York City."
"New York City sounds nice."
"Not to brag, but yeah it's a cool spot to be. You can go to see plays, musicals are especially big there, or walk through Central Park, visit Rockefeller Center, grab a pizza, eat a hot dog…"
"You eat dogs?"
"No, it's just a name for the dish. It's just a sausage made from pigs, cows or if your health conscious turkey."
"Oh. That's good for a minute I really thought you ate dogs."
"No we don't. But the city can be a dog eat dog world."
"How does that work?"
"It means you have to be tough and resilient to survive living in the city otherwise it will chew you up and spit you back home to ya mama. Figuratively speaking of course." I walk on ahead of them as they ponder my words. Not that I really cared, I was more interested in scouting out for any clue of the twins being closer than I thought. No such luck so far. Just dirt, rocks and trees and something, actually clarify that someone watching in the shadows. Somewhere.