Hi and thank you for clicking on The Skipper.

Some Things To Note Before You Begin:

This fanfiction was inspired by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it incorporates the Lord of the Rings timeline as well as The Hobbit timeline. I have seen the movies, read the books, and researched everything I did not know on Tolkien websites (mainly Tolkien Gateway and Lord of the Rings wiki). I have tried to remain as true to the canon events as possible, mixing both movie and books as I see fit. (Though, as I have recently learned, they do have coffee in Middle Earth.)

This story is actually two books in one. "Part One: Anachronism" is the first 79 chapters. "Part Two: Anamnesis " begins on chapter 81 and is ongoing. I categorize this story as a humor and tragedy. I'll leave it to you to figure out why. There is romance, but I believe in one-hundred chapters of character development before we get to any of the actual romance.

Rather than be Earth in the past, Middle Earth is a different world. As much as I love Tolkien, his works do not exist in Ana's Earth. Neither do the movies. Having a canon book to read would just make this story even more complicated than it already is.

Yes, I know that they do not speak English in Middle Earth, please don't leave reviews telling me this. When I first started writing this story, I thought about putting in Westron, but then I would've had to deal with writing Westron in English, but also writing English in English. Which gets confusing. So, to solve the problem, I just decided to have the Common Tongue be English. No, I know it's not canon, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the sake of the story. Sindarin, Khuzdul, the black speech, and other Middle Earth languages are still present, though I use them sparingly. Almost all Khuzdul used is neo-Khuzdul according to the Dwarrow Scholar, since Tolkien did not create a complete Khuzdul language like he did for the elvish languages.

I appreciate all reviews. Ask me questions, tell me about incongruencies, inform me of typos, guess what's going to happen next, complain about my portrayal of the characters - I love all reviews. You can review every chapter (much appreciated), you can review the last chapter, you can review only the exciting chapters, but please review!

Once again, thank you for clicking on my story and I hope you enjoy it.


PART ONE: ANACHRONISM


Chapter I: A Perfectly Good Explanation

There is a perfectly good explanation, I swear. There is a reason I'm writing this—all of this—to you. And I'm trying to decide where to begin. I Skip. Yeah, that's a good place to start. I'm not from this world; I'm from another place and time. I've just, you know, been Skipping back and forth between the two ever since I was six-years-old.

Now this is important! I know you think you've heard all of this before, but you need to remember. Embedded in these words is my promise to you: a promise you must never forget for this will shape the fortunes of all.

Understand? I hope so.

The first time I Skipped was when I was six. That was the day I slapped Marie because she called me a liar. We'd been racing back and forth across the schoolyard with two teachers watching and judging who would be the winner and who would be the loser. Marie was naturally faster than me, and she won every single time. I got sick and tired of losing, so during the fifth race, I pushed Marie and sprinted past her. She went to the teachers, crying and saying I cheated. So I slapped her. (Yes, I was a terrible six-year-old. Don't judge me.)

The teachers sent me to the main office where the principal tried to convince me that pushing and slapping people was wrong. I told him I didn't think it was cheating; I was using my abilities to beat Marie. I couldn't help it that she fell over with just that little push.

The principal didn't see it that way. He called my mom and dad, and they both came to school to pick me up. They weren't happy. The car ride home was spent with the two of them scolding me—What was I thinking? How could I do that? Did I apologize to the poor girl? I better apologize the next day! How could I do such a thing? Did they not raise me right?

I sat in the car and listened to their lecture the entire ride home. Then, the moment the car came to a full stop in the garage, I threw open the door, stormed up to my room, and fell on to the bed, crying.

Right then, I hated my life. I hated everything: the principal, the teachers, Marie, my parents, I hated them all. I just wanted to get away. To run away. To leave it all behind and never come back.

So I Skipped. (Yeah, that seemed pretty random to me, too.)

One moment, I was sobbing in my bed. The next, I was lying on a cold stone floor.

I sat up and looked around. I was no longer in my bedroom. I was not in any place I recognized. It was a hallway, a beautifully carved, stone hallway, lit only by candles that lined the walls. Engraved arches swooped overhead, lacing together to form the ceiling. The stone floor echoed with the sound of footsteps and raised voices. Tucked away in a corner, I watched the scene before me.

People crowded the hall. Wait, not people, I realized; they were too short to be people. They were short and stout with long, braided beards, intricate armor across their chests, and sharp weapons strapped to their sides. The little men—they were actually dwarves, but I didn't know they were called dwarves back then—sprinted down the long, arching hallway, shouting things in a strange language.

One fat dwarf with a black beard stopped and grabbed me by the wrist. He shouted something in a gravelly voice, but I couldn't understand it. Upon closer inspection, I realized that "he" was actually a "she", and I was looking at a short, stout, bearded woman—not something you normally see in Ohio. She tugged on my arm, but I refused to budge. My parents had always told me never to go anywhere with strangers. Eventually giving up on me, the dwarf shook her head and left.

I was so frightened I forgot to cry.

What was going on? Why was everyone running? What were they afraid of? Why was I even here? My house? My bedroom? Where had they gone? Where was Mom? Where was Dad? I didn't know.

My heart was racing. I curled into a ball, sitting on the floor beside a thick stone pillar. No one noticed me. They were all too wrapped up in their own problems to notice a little human girl. I can't say I blame them.

The crowds began to thin out. Most of the dwarves were gone. A few more came sprinting down the hallway—these ones dressed in full battle armor—with their swords and axes raised. Some of them were nursing bloody wounds and severe burns.

It was then that the fear, the panic, the unknown, all got to me. I buried my face in my hands and started to bawl. Snot was streaming down my face. I could taste salty tears on my lips. A deep hacking sound rose in my throat and I coughed.

"Gos! Gos! Sebar!" a deep voice boomed from above.

I lifted my head and stared up at a dwarf in front of me. He was a little taller than the other dwarves and had long, scraggly black hair and beard. He wore the same battle armor as the others, but there was a superior air about him that the others hadn't possessed. His sword was grasped in his right hand, and his left hand was curled into a fist. Long, red burns covering his fingers and wrist.

He said something again in the same foreign language as the other dwarves.

"What'd you say?" I sniffled. The tears would not stop running down my face. My eyes were puffy and my face grimy. I was covered in snot and my hair was a mess. I must have looked ugly. (Don't you dare agree!)

For the first time, the dwarf saw me properly. His eyes widened as he took in my blue jeans and pink t-shirt.

"Who are you?" he asked, this time in my own language.

I wiped my nose with the back of my hand. "I'm Ana."

He hesitated and then gave his own name. "Thorin."

The tears stopped, and I giggled a little. "That's a funny name."

Then, there was great, deep howl from somewhere down the hall. With a squeak of terror, I shrunk further back into the shadows. Thorin, however, scooped me up with his injured, left arm and started sprinting down the hallway.

I screamed and flung my arms around his neck. "Put me down! Put me down!"

"Only if you wish to be devoured by Smaug!"

"Smaug?"

And then the dragon appeared at the end of the hall. Its massive body barely managed to fit through the twenty-foot hall. Sharp, blood-stained teeth, bright red scales, hungry yellow eyes—it was a dragon. A real, fire-breathing dragon. And its gaze was fixed on Thorin and me.

I started clawing at Thorin's armored back. "Dragon! Dragon! Dragon!"

My shrieks ripped through my throat. I wept, clinging to Thorin. He sprinted down the hall as fast as his short legs could carry him, but I squirmed so much that Thorin dropped me. I landed with a heavy crack on the stone floor.

"Ana!" Thorin shouted, reeling around in an attempt to reach me.

Smaug opened his jaws and let loose a jet of fire. Scalding, burning, red, heat tore through the hallway. Flames ate at the walls as they drew closer to me.

Skip.

I screamed and thrashed on my bed. The covers wrapped around me, and with a thud, I crashed to the floor on top of one of my Barbie Dolls. (They're these type of plastic, perfect females that— Oh, never mind. You just need to know that they hurt to land on.) I sat upright and looked about the room wildly. There was no dragon in sight. No Thorin either.

"Ana?"

The door flew open. Mom stood just outside my room, having heard my screams. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that I was unharmed.

"You're all right," she said.

But I was not all right. Tears welled in my eyes and I sobbed miserably. Little six-year-old me could not process what had just happened.

I cried continuously that night. I tried to explain to my mom what had happened. It wasn't just a dream. It'd been real. I'd really gone to that place. I'd really seen those little men. I'd really seen a dragon. Thorin had been real. My mother and father would not believe me. A nightmare, they'd said, and nothing more. And, for a while, I believed them.

However, a few months later—in the middle of my friend Wesley's seventh birthday party—I Skipped back to Middle Earth and found myself in the bed of an inn. My trip lasted about half a day before I appeared back at Wesley's house. His parents had been searching everywhere for me. They'd even called the cops. I remember a week later overhearing my mom arguing with his dad in the carpool line. His parents didn't want me to come around again after the birthday incident; they thought I was a troublesome child who liked to hide for attention.

I Skipped at least twenty times over the next five years, ending up in a different place and a different time with each Skip. I Skipped to a nest of giant spiders (resulting in my intense arachnophobia), I Skipped to Tuckborough (those Tooks sure know how to treat a guest), I Skipped to the Northern Waste (and was chased by white wolves), I Skipped to the White Mountains (where I stayed for five days and nearly starved), and I Skipped to the Coldfells (and was nearly eaten by goblins).

While I got some very interesting stories out of these Skips, none of them were monumental in the grand scheme of things. So, I'll move along to when I was twelve and got hit by a truck.

Well, that's an overstatement. I didn't actually get hit by the truck. I forget if you've ever seen one, but they're these huge, motor vehicles... Never mind. All you need to know is that if I got hit by a one, it was very likely that I would die. Anyways, I was crossing the street—going to meet some friends for shopping—and I wasn't looking where I was going. The horn honked. I turned. I saw the truck. The driver screamed. I screamed. And then I Skipped.

Some part of me wishes it had hit me. Anything would have been better than what I saw that day.

I Skipped to fields of dying, blood-stained grass. I was standing in the middle of a plain amongst thousands of bodies, the blood and remains of horses and men and great beasts I couldn't even name. The smell of death washed over me. I covered my mouth with my hand and backed away from the split-open head of a soldier. In the distance, I could see the foul ruins of the White City. A thick smoke cloud rose into the gray sky as fire burned around the rubble. Thousands of orcs resided in Minas Tirith; their celebration could be heard across the plains.

I wept, though at the time I didn't know what such destruction meant. I only knew that dark things had come to pass, and the red fires over the mountain tops spoke of doom to the world in which I stood.

And then, a foul voice said, "Gimbuz-izg gajal ni!"

I twisted around. My heart racing.

I had seen goblins before but not orcs. It was my first time seeing the gray faces with bloodshot eyes and sweaty, rancid flesh. Just the sight of them, surrounded by the bodies of Gondor's soldiers, was enough to make my stomach heave.

Four orcs stood together, leering at me. They murmured something amongst themselves in their foul tongue. Their yellow teeth clacked together and their pale eyes flickered towards me and away. There was a terrible hunger about them. I could feel their need for death swarming about me like a disease.

One orc drew his bloodstained blade and said, "Kul-izg throquurz."

He swung the sword, aiming for my throat.

I shrieked and flung my hands above my head. (Very heroic, I know.)

The Skip took control and I found myself sitting on the sidewalk next to the parked truck. My parents, my friends, the truck driver, and the police were all trying to figure out where I'd gone, and I'd come up with some lie about going shopping for the last twenty minutes. My parents had just been relieved that no harm had come to me. What they didn't know was that the image of the burning city, the foul orcs, and the field of corpses was forever embedded in my mind.

Though I did not know it then, I had witnessed the destruction of Middle Earth. Gondor had fallen. The White City was no more. Elves, men, dwarves—they had all passed from the land and the Age of the Orc had begun. This was Middle Earth's future.

I Skipped multiple times over the next four years. I Skipped to the Ettenmoors (where trolls tried to eat me for dinner), I Skipped to Bree (where the villagers warned me that women wearing pants were bad omens), I Skipped to the swamps of Nindalf (and came close to drowning several times), I Skipped to the Druadan Forest (the Wild Men of the Woods are fantastic cooks—don't let anyone tell you otherwise), and I Skipped to Snowbourne (and was arrested by a not-very-happy Third Marshal of the Riddermark).

I was seventeen, a senior in high school, when I saw elves for the first time. I was sitting at my bedroom desk, working on a particularly difficult math problem for Calculus and—Skip.

I opened my eyes to see a stranger's face incredibly close to mine. I screamed. (A natural reaction when waking up face to face with an elf.)

The stranger stepped away. I thought he was a man until I saw his pointy ears, and then I remembered that elves existed in this world. There was a second elf standing beside him. The two had similar faces (I figured they were brothers) with dark eyes, oval faces, and sharp features. At first, I thought they were a figment of my imagination, two good-looking near-identical elves, but then they exchanged some quick conversation and I realized that they were very much real.

"Man le?" asked Elrohir. (They told me their names later, but, to save confusion, I'll tell you now.)

I shuffled backwards and looked about wildly. I was in a forest, surrounded by tall, golden trees. Moss covered the tree roots, while fallen leaves littered the ground. The two elves stared at me in wonder.

"Who are you?" I asked.

Elrohir switched to the Common Tongue. "The intruder should answer first."

"I'm Ana." I slowly got to my feet and tried to brush the brown leaves off my jeans. "I'm not from this place."

"Clearly," said Elladan with a hint of amusement. "No mortal inhabits this wood."

The two brothers exchanged something in Sindarin again. Elrohir kept glancing around the forest until finally, he turned to me and said, "You are alone."

I nodded. I'd never Skipped with anyone else before.

The brothers started talking in Sindarin again, making me feel a little left out. Elladan's expression had shifted from amusement to curiosity, while Elrohir still seemed suspicious of me. They spoke a little longer, and then, Elrohir asked in the Common Tongue, "How have you entered here?"

"I don't know. It's not like I meant to come here," I said. "I just sort of get dumped where I get dumped."

Elladan blinked. He tilted his head to the side and stared at me. "Of what do you speak?"

Elrohir said something in Sindarin, and Elladan snapped something back. I was beginning to get impatient, listening to them talk about me in a language I couldn't understand.

"No," said Elladan, switching once again to the Common Tongue. "I think she is telling the truth."

I sighed. "Look this happens from time to time. I'm in my house doing whatever and then—bam—I'm in this other place. One time I was chased by a dragon and another time I was chased by trolls. Then—bam—I'm home. It's not a big deal. Be on your merry way. I'm just passing through."

Elrohir stared. "She makes no sense."

"Maybe it is the language," said Elladan. "I thought I spoke the Common Tongue well, but perhaps I am mistaken."

"I don't know what more to tell you!" I took a step forward, as if explaining more vehemently would make them understand. However, I had Skipped without shoes, so when my bare foot landed on a tree root, it hurt like hell. "Ow!" The brothers were looking at me doubtfully, and I realized I was doing a very poor job of explaining myself. Putting my foot tentatively back down on the ground, I said, "I come from a different world. I don't know why. It just happens. I Skip!"

"You Skip?" said Elladan thoughtfully. "Senturiel?"

"Say what?" I looked, open-mouthed, from one elf to the other.

The brothers spoke in Sindarin again, though they seemed to be agreeing on something now rather than arguing. Then, Elrohir switched to the Common Tongue to say, "Do not be deceived, Elladan. She could be a spy."

"I'm not." I squinted at them. They might have been laughing at me but I couldn't tell. They had incredible poker faces.

"She talks in an odd way," observed Elladan. "The likes of which I have not heard in Middle Earth."

"You are not so all-knowing that you have heard every tongue," said Elrohir.

"You're the ones who talk weird!" I snapped. "And don't worry. I'll be going back any minute now…"

I waited.

"These things come and go as they please," I said, crossly.

Elladan laughed. "I like her. She is amusing."

Elrohir's mouth twitched into a smile. "You find the oddest things to be amusing."

"Ana?" Elladan took a step towards me. "You say you are not from this world, then from where do you hail?"

"Ohio. It's a state in the USA."

"I have never heard of such a place," said Elladan.

"That is because she utters falsehoods," said Elrohir. "She could still be a spy."

I glowered up at Elrohir.

"Ui!" Elladan smothered a laugh before he turned to me with a smile. (He was such a pretty boy and he knew it.) "You are in Lothlórien, Ana. The forest of our people and the heart of elvendom in Middle Earth. No one has passed the borders of this forest unseen before you."

"That's because I didn't pass the borders," I said. "I was dropped here. When I Skipped worlds."

Elladan turned to his brother and said again, "Senturiel."

"La." Elrohir snapped something back in elvish, but Elladan ignored him.

Instead, he grinned at me and said, "I am Elladan, son of Elrond and Celebrian, and this is my brother, Elrohir. Welcome to Lórien, Ana of Ohio. We should treat guests better, should we not, Elrohir?" Elladan shot a smile at his brother before turning back to me. "Would you like to meet the Lady Galadriel, Ana?"

I blinked. "Is it…dangerous?"

Elladan shook his head. "Not if you are with us."

"Okay."

But I never met Lady Galadriel. At least, not during that Skip. The moment Elrohir and Elladan started in the direction of Caras Galadhon, the central city of Lórien, I Skipped.

When I opened my eyes, I was in my bedroom again. My math homework sat on the desk in front of me. I looked around, but there was no sign of Elrohir or Elladan, only my unmade bed and my messy room. I turned back to my homework, took a deep breath, and returned to solving the math problem like nothing had happened.

To be honest, I think all the Skipping messed up my personality. I would watch movies and the main characters were always surprised and terrified when unexpected things happen. Heck, even my friends would jump during horror movies. But, to me, the unexpected was normal: I would just continue eating popcorn and think that the ghosts had nothing on orcs.

By the time I turned twenty-one, I began to recognize that I was desensitized to the world around me. One moment I'd be in class taking notes, and the next I'd be fleeing from mountain trolls. I'd even reached the point where I could laugh about my misfortunes which, I'll tell you, is not healthy. But sometimes you have to laugh because the only other option is to break.

All personal reflections aside, I Skipped from world to world for the next few years, fleeing goblins, partying with hobbits, and avoiding the Third Marshall of the Riddermark. My friends and family in Ohio decided my disappearances were due to my wanderlust, accepted them without too many questions, and only occasionally complained about my thoughtlessness. Despite the Skipping, I had managed to create for myself an almost-normal life with three years of college under my belt, a part-time minimum-wage job, and a decent city apartment. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary (for me) happened until my twenty-first birthday. My two best friends from college—Bonnie and Nick, you remember them?—came over to celebrate, and well, it went something like this:

I jumped onto the couch of my apartment living room and settled into the seat between Nick and Bonnie.

"All right!" I cried. "Movie time! Where's the remote?"

"I don't know," said Nick (brown hair, brown eyes, tall like a string bean). "I thought you had it."

"No." I started checking behind the couch cushions "You had it—don't you dare be hiding it from me."

"You're sitting on it, dimwit," said Bonnie (red hair, freckles, likes to get into fights) as she pulled the remote out from underneath me.

"Right." I took the remote from her and pressed play. The screen turned black and then the Royal Albert Hall appeared with the Lot 666 Chandelier dangling over the audience.

"I hate this movie," said Bonnie. "I don't understand why the guys like the main girl."

"Shush," I said. "I'm the birthday girl. I get to decide."

"There are a million funner things to do on your twenty-first birthday," said Nick.

"Yeah," said Bonnie. "Why aren't we in a bar getting drunk off our asses?"

"You people are no fun," I said, pouting. "The choice between watching the 25th Anniversary Phantom of the Opera, featuring the fantastic Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser, and going to a bar and getting wasted—"

"I'd choose getting wasted any day of the week," said Bonnie.

"Hear, hear!" Nick high-fived Bonnie behind my head.

"You people suck." I folded my arms over my chest. "See if I ever invite you to my birthday party again."

"I think we should tie her up and take the remote," said Nick.

Bonnie grinned wickedly. "I'm totally up for that."

"Hey!" I threw my hands in front of my face. "What do you think you're doing?"

The two attacked. Nick started tickling my sides, and I let out a shriek of laughter. Bonnie lunged for the remote, but I held a firm grip on it with my left hand while trying to fend Nick off with my right. The three of us fell to the floor in a heap.

"No!" I cried, swatting Nick away. "No! It's my birthday, we're watching my movie, not going to a bar!"

"But the majority says bar!" said Bonnie.

"I'm the birthday girl!"

I whacked Nick and Bonnie on top of their heads, each in turn. Laughing, they pushed me over and sat on top of me.

"Hand over the remote," said Bonnie.

"I'll tickle-attack you again," added Nick.

"Never!" I cried, clutching the remote close to my chest. "I'll never give in to you evildoers!"

"Come on," said Bonnie. "You're no fun."

I scowled. "I have work tomorrow."

"Boo-hoo, they'll understand if you're hungover."

"They're already mad at me for missing a shift last week."

"Well, that's what you get for being so flighty," said Nick as Bonnie reached for the remote.

"No!" I cried.

Skip.

I opened my eyes to gold. Mountains and mountains of gold. Gold coins, gold cups, gold jewelry, gold armor, gold dishes, gold tools, gold walls, gold ceilings. I stood on a stone pathway (the only place where you could see the floor in the hall) amongst piles of gold. Pieces of silver and bronze were there as well along with brightly colored gemstones, some as big as my fist. I gasped as I took in the sight. Why couldn't I Skip to places like this all the time? I had been to inns, forests, cities, villages, towns, lakes, mountains—but none of it could compare to the vast splendor that lay before me.

I wanted it.

I then realized that I was still holding the remote. I was wearing leggings and a sweater, which meant no pockets and that if I had to run for my life, I'd be carrying it with me. After weighing my options, I decided to part with the remote. Carefully, so as to not wake anything, I placed it on the ground, planning to come back for it later, and then I started exploring. I wandered along the pathway, just taking in the sight. Could anyone ever want for more with all this gold?

I glanced around nervously. There was no one else around. Was the gold unguarded? That was hard to believe. If I were that rich, I would never leave my gold by itself. I'd probably build myself a throne of gold and just sit there, staring at my hoard and admiring its beauty. I wanted it. I wanted all of it.

And there wasn't a soul around to stop me.

I glanced at the pile of gold closest to me. There was a goblet-like thing just sitting there. Pure gold with intricate engravings on the side and green gems embedded in its the base. It was a pretty little thing. It would be a shame to leave it just lying there.

I reached out a hesitant hand and carefully lifted the goblet from its resting place.

Big mistake.

There came a rumbling sound—almost a yawn—from deep within the mountains of gold. I leapt back, dropping the goblet immediately. It landed on the stone floor with a heavy clang. The sound rung through the hall.

Then, slowly at first, the mountains of gold began to move.

An avalanche of coins, plates, and gemstones came pouring down onto the pathway as the mountain grew taller and taller. I shrieked and sprinted down the path, away from the rain of gold covering the floor.

I gawked, unable to comprehend what was happening before my eyes. The riches fell away from the mountain, revealing a red beast beneath the layers of gold. No. Not just any beast. A dragon. Smaug. And he was a lot bigger than I remembered.

I stared. And stared. And stared.

The yellow eyes blinked, and the head of the beast turned to me. I could see all of its sulfur-colored teeth, sticking out jaggedly from its massive jaws.

I stared.

Then I screamed.

Then I ran. Like all hell was after me.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!"

Yeah. It sounded a little something like that.

I sprinted down the pathway, through the mountains of gold, towards the stone doorway that I hoped was the exit. As I sprinted towards it, the deep growl of Smaug sounded behind me.

I just made it through the doorway when Smaug unleashed a blast of flame.

"Dragon!" I screamed, sprinting down the corridor. "Why is it always a dragon?"

Another roar. And another burst of flames whipped after me.

I screamed. "Skip me back! Skip me back! Skip me back!"

Back I went.

The flames were gone. The dragon was gone. The beautiful gold was gone. I was sitting alone in my apartment. The movie was still playing. The couch was a mess. The remote was in Middle Earth. And Nick and Bonnie were nowhere to be seen.

At first, I thought Nick and Bonnie had gone home, puzzled by my sudden disappearance. I called both of them, but neither answered. I went to their apartments, but there was no answer at Nick's and Bonnie's roommate hadn't seen her in two days. Slowly, after five days of desperately looking for my friends, it dawned on me that I must have brought them to Middle Earth with me.

I could tell you about the days spent in misery—where I couldn't stop wondering what had happened to my friends, where I couldn't sleep because I was plagued by nightmares—but those details aren't important. All you need to know is that such a thing had never happened before; I'd never Skipped anyone with me to Middle Earth. And then I'd lost them. They could've been burnt to crisps by Smaug or ended up somewhere else entirely. Hopefully not with orcs or goblins or trolls or any other evil thing. All I knew was that they were no longer in my world—which meant they were in Middle Earth.

So, being the good and kind friend that I am, I decided to look for them. Of course, I had no control over my Skips. They came and went as they pleased. But after some long, serious thinking, I realized that the Skips always came whenever I was absolutely terrified and about to die.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. And, yes, I really did it.

I jumped off a six-story building.

Thank God it worked or I would be splattered across the sidewalk right now.