"No good thief!"
Ena was running so fast she didn't feel her feet hit the asphalt as she jumped off the baker's porch. It was like she was flying, she was going so fast. She'd stolen from the bakery before, it was always too easy, and this time the owner was ready. He'd set up a watch with his workers and they'd caught her—well, almost. They saw her, they didn't catch her. No matter, she got what she wanted.
Now, Ena didn't like to steal. She simply didn't have much a choice. Living on the streets left few choices. Bela, the owner, was sick of Ena's games. He didn't care that she was a homeless sixteen year old girl. All that mattered was that she had stolen form him multiple times and he was tired of it. But Ena wasn't called Ena for nothing. She lived by the meaning of her name; passionate and fiery. She didn't give up without a fight. Not ever.
Ena would be back to his bakery, she always was. Some of the workers there liked her and/ or had sympathy for her enough to give her a treat for free—without their boss's knowledge of course.
Ena slowed to a walk and strode calmly down the street munching on her cannoli, probably the last thing she'd eat that day and it was only three o clock. Time to go home, wherever it was going to be that day. Perhaps underneath the bridge? She hadn't been there in a while; the cops shouldn't look for her. Yes, she would sleep under the bridge that night. Just as soon as she stopped by the nearest convenience store to pick up breakfast for tomorrow.
5 hrs. Later
Ena pulled a blanket out of her oversized backpack and wrapped it around her shoulders, over her short, black almost-trench coat. It was getting chilly—not as bad as other nights but still cold. At least the blanket would keep her warm this time. Just as she sat down, a white ghost streaked by in a blur.
Ena smiled happily; not a ghost, a cat. Aster, she called him. It means "star" a perfect match for his pure white fur.
As if he understood her words, he curled into her lap when she lay down to sleep.
The next morning was cold and wet from dew and Ena was quick to stuff the blanket back in her bag before setting off, Aster at her side. A half hour later had her wandering down the street underneath a warm, sun-filled sky, eating an egg sandwich she'd…uh, acquired at the convenience store the previous night. On this street, there was a family having a garage sale. Ena wandered aimlessly between tables and boxes looking for anything she would be interested in buying had she had any money. As fate would have it, they did. A beautiful wooden guitar leaned against a table, a price sticker on its front. Only thirty dollars. Not much, had Ena been able to pay she would've done so without a second guess. She loved guitar, been playing since she was seven. That was before the accident that cost her father his life. Before her life fell apart.
Ena stroked the shining wood with her fingertips. It really was a beautiful guitar. She had half a mind just to take it…Why not? She deserves this guitar as much as anyone if not more. Why not take this guitar, just sitting there, waiting, wanting to be taken home?
Ena glanced up from where she stood to the people around her. No one was paying her any attention. She could just put the guitar strap around her shoulder and walk away. She scanned the tables around her and picked up a pad of paper and a pencil.
IOU thirty dollars. She wrote.
Again glancing up to make sure she was clear; she swung the strap over her shoulder, across her chest and walked away.
Ena was running. Again. She'd been sitting on the sidewalk curb when she heard the police sirens. Without thinking, she'd picked up Aster, placing him in her bag, stood up and ran. She just knew they were looking for her. Someone had seen her take the guitar and called the police and they had found her.
Up ahead she saw trees and she ran through them, immediately throwing herself into shadow. She ran and kept running until she found a small abandoned shed and crawled underneath. The police would never find her there.
After a half hour of hiding, Ena climbed out from under the shed-it was very dusty under there. There'd been a short time she'd gotten so dizzy, she couldn't tell up from down, but that had settled down after just a few moments.
The second she was standing, she knew something was wrong. For starters it was night time and it'd only been eleven in the morning when she ran from the sirens. Second, she saw lights up ahead as though there was a…village or something close by and that didn't make any sense. Third, she was feeling very disoriented and dizzy as though she'd been spinning in circles for an hour. This disorienting feeling caused her memory to fog up and blur like she'd been drinking. The only clear thought she had was that she needed to find a place to eat and perhaps rest if she could. She'd already been walking for about five minutes before she even realized her feet were moving toward the lights she saw. She was already entering a bar under a sign which read The Prancing Pony. Ena knew she should recognize the name but her foggy mind wouldn't allow her to remember.
She couldn't follow what her tongue had said when the gateman asked her business. Whatever it was, he had let het in.
By now her mind was clearing up and she could tell she was in some kind of bar, a big one. Maybe she could get a meal and a place to stay.
I knew I should've known where I was but it was like something didn't want me to remember. The possibility that it was me that didn't want to remember came into my mind but I quickly disregarded that thought. Living on the streets, I always wanted to know where I was, should I want to come back or tell others to avoid it.
"Good evening, sir." I addressed the man behind the bar.
"Good evening, young girl." The mad said. "Lost, are we?"
"No, sir. I just wondered where I might be able to sleep."
"There are rooms upstairs if you can pay."
"Alright, thank you." I turned away. If I wanted to be able to eat and sleep, I'd have to get money. I didn't like to steal but when living on the streets, sometimes you gotta rely on what you're good at. The first five minutes went smoothly but each pouch—yes, pouch—I'd lifted only had a few gold coins—yes, gold coins—in them. I still couldn't figure out where I was so I had no idea how much I'd have to pay to eat. Hopefully just a few more coins would do it.
There was a man wandering, searchingly about the room. He seemed distracted. I labeled him easy prey. Another lesson to remember when living on the streets is learn to size up your target, but never under any circumstances should you underestimate them. You just might well get yourself in trouble.
This is where I misjudged my target. Distracted is good, less chance he'll notice you. Somewhat ratty could either mean he's tired and slow, another good thing should you be looking to steal, or it could mean he's homeless too and you only want to steal from a fellow street person when you're really, truly desperate. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like to steal but these are things you should now should you find yourself in the position that you really need money. Sadly, this man wasn't as slow as he looked though no doubt he wanted to look as out of the way as possible. He wanted to be left alone but I was hungry.
I snuck up to him, sticking the entire time to the shadows and staying low. So far so good, he didn't even glance in my direction. I'd had my fingers around the pouch at his hip when he saw me. He looked down, I looked up, our eyes met and I bolted. Or rather, I tried. I'd snatched the pouch off his belt and ran, dodging between bodies but I only made it a couple of yards when he caught me. I hand clamped firmly around my wrist and pulled me back with such force I thought my arm would pop out of its socket. Thank God it didn't. That would have been very bad, not to mention painful.
"I'll teach you to try and steal from a Ranger, boy." A voice whispered from deep with the hood.
He thinks I'm a boy?
He dragged my across the room, up some stairs, through a door and onto a wooden floor. I landed with a solid thump, grunting on the impact. I rolled over onto my butt and stood up in the same movement. Without so much as pausing, I reached into my back pocket and pulled out a knife. I flipped it open and crouched holding out both hands, one to stab, one to block.
"You don't want to do that, laddy." A gruff voice behind me said.
Why does everyone think I'm a boy?
That's when I remembered I'd been wearing a binder all day and wore guy skinny jeans to avoid unwanted attention. And the fact that my hood was up, hiding my features certainly helped in that regard. The question was, did I want the people in this room to think I was a boy too?
And that's about the time I realized I wasn't alone in with the man I had tried to steal from. There was someone else with him. But I couldn't turn around to see who it was, that would put my guard down. The man before me grinned and a sense of familiarity filled my mind, even though I was certain I'd never spoken to him in my life. He took a step forward, making a move for my knife hand and I deflected it. I spun around aiming a kick at his chest and he blocked it with his arm. During that split second my back was turned from him, I'd noticed once again that there were more people in the room. Three men, one short with a beard—he looked like a dwarf—, one tall with a very short beard, really more whiskers than anything, and someone else with his hood up. I was alone in a room with four other men…Needless to say; I wasn't exactly comfortable in this situation. Yeah, being homeless and all, I'd lived with men before but always with at least one woman nearby. And I always knew the men I shared a home with. Most of them were friends of my dad.
The man aimed a fist at my head and I blocked it.
"Good." He said approvingly. No doubt a distraction from the presence I felt behind me. Did I mention my dad's friends were in the army? They taught me some things. I ducked out from underneath his open arms and stepped away but the second I was clear something hit the backs of my legs, knocking them out from under me and I was once again on the floor, flat on my back.
"Never mess with a Ranger." A voice, the same gruff voice as earlier said. "I believe he warned you before, did he not?"
I coughed trying to get air into my shocked lungs. I'd had the wind knocked out of me and boy did it hurt. None of the men came near me while I struggled to take slow breaths through my nose and I couldn't have been more grateful. Once I could finally breathe again, I sat up slowly and looked at the strangers who seemed intent on keeping me captive. That's about the time I realized where I was.
"Wait a second." I muttered to myself. And then a little louder, so they could just hear me, "The Prancing Pony, a Ranger and three friends…a dwarf…Ah, s**t, I'm in Middle Earth aren't I?"
"Aye, where else would you be?" the dwarf, Gimli, I recalled, seemed to like to talk a lot.
"Then where?" Borimir asked.
Before I could answer, Aragorn pulled me to my feet and pulled my backpack off my shoulders, tossing it across the room along with my guitar. I'd have to check and make sure it wasn't broken.
"What the—" I said when he dragged me to the wall and slapped handcuffs around my right wrist and the other cuff to a hook in the wall. Not like Captain Hook's hook, but a full circle, closed hook. No way of getting out.
"Hey!" I exclaimed pulling at the chain. "Dude, what the hell?"
"Well we can't risk you escaping." He relied calmly.
"Escaping? What am I a prisoner now?"
"'Essentially.'" I repeated sardonically under my breath.
"Never mess with a ranger." Gimli repeated.
"Can it, shorty." I snapped. He bristled.
"I'll have you know I'm tall for a dwarf."
"Short according to human standards." I retorted. He seemed about to reply when Legolas—or at least I assumed it was Legolas, as he was the only one in the fellowship I had yet to meet, but I couldn't be sure with his face hidden by that hood. I sounded like him that's for sure—interrupted.
"Perhaps you should save your sharp tongue for another time." He said calmly. "Sharp tongue"? I hadn't even gotten started! And I was about to say so but I think Aragorn saw me because he cut me off before I could begin.
"Easy, boy." He said.
Oh my God, I'm not a boy! I don't even sound like one! Do I?
"Why don't you let me see the face of the one who tried to steal from me?" he continued. "I'd like to get to know you since we're going to be spending an awfully long time together."
"Uh…" It wasn't the fact that any second they would know I was a girl that bothered me, but the fact that I didn't exactly know what he meant by the, 'we're going to be spending an awfully long time together'. "What do you mean by spending time with you?" He wasn't the kind of guy who would…er, hurt someone for trying to steal from them…was he? I never got that impression at all. Not in the least.
"You're coming with us, of course." He said.
"I don't appreciate being stolen from."
"Oh, come on, I just wanted to eat. I don't even know where I am."
"Not the best defense, you just said you were in Middle Earth in the Prancing Pony." Borimir said.
Yeah, but Aragorn was supposed to be the only one here!
"But I don't know how I got here." i said instead. And that's when another thought occurred to me. It really doesn't have anything to do with what we were talking about, but…"Why do have hand cuffs in your bag? Do always have a spare pair of chains to hold people down with you?"
"No need to be nasty, boy."
Again with the 'boy'.
"Let me see your face."
Apparently he didn't appreciate my hesitation because when I made no move to pull down my hood, Borimir huffed and strode forward.
"We haven't got time for this." He said just before pulling down my hood, revealing my very feminine features and long silky, brown hair.
"You're a…girl." He stuttered.
"Yeah, glad you noticed."
"Well my lady, you will be accompanying us on our journey to Rivendell. Perhaps the elves will be able to teach you some courtesy." Aragorn walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
"I'm still wondering about the handcuffs!" I yelled at his retreating footsteps.
"Never mess with a ranger." Gimli repeated for the third time.
I could've killed him.