4. Chapter 4
It was early yet when a loud banging came on the door. Rin startled awake under the table, a rat skittered across the floor in panic. The banging continued on the door. It made the door rattle in its frame. They were banging on the doors, like before. Like that day. Banging, banging banging. They would break the glass next and come in and it would happen again. She needed to hide, safe and quiet and small, until they left. Rin darted into the best place she could find even as Jeb tumbled from his bed.
"Open this door, in the name of the King!" a muffled voice shouted. He sounded very angry to Rin and so she huddled down even lower.
Jeb stomped to the door and yanked it open with a snarl, "Ent no King 'ere!"
Through a gap in the piles she hid behind, Rin peered at the door. A man stood on the other side. She could see his big boots and the end of a sword. A monster. One of those monsters. Terror clenched her every muscle and her mouth opened in a silent, long scream heard only in her head. It was happening again!
The monster asked questions but Jeb filled the doorway with his bulk. Rin knew it would not be enough. Nothing could hold the monsters back. Not even Da or Ma. They would break the windows soon. It was happening again. Rin squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her head to the rough floorboards. Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop! Make it stop! Make itstopmakeitstopmakeitstopstopstopstop…
"You are certain," the man of Gondor pressed, ill liking the way the brute's eyes shifted about.
"Reckon I know wot's on me farm better than you," the brute scoffed.
The man from Gondor looked at his companion, who held a dog. The man shook his head. No scent of the children here.
"What, then of a girl, on her own….pale hair like….moonlight I suppose. Eyes blue and grey both. Only five or six, she'd be."
"Like I said afore, ent no vagabonds on me farm!"
"Aye…as you said…if you see them, the boy and girl, or the girl, send word down to the village. Worth your time and then some, particularly for the girl."
At the mention of profit, something truly horrid gleamed in the man's eyes a moment. It was gone in an instant and he was back to staring flatly. With nothing further to discuss then, the two men of Gondor and their dog withdrew. At the sound of their departure, Sara emerged.
"They want money for 'er…maybe….maybe more than wot we might-"
Jeb whirled about, fist raised to knock Sara hard back into the table.
"I 'eard wot they said, woman," he roared and she had the sense to keep her eyes lowered.
"Best find the brat," he growled and this made Sara flinch.
"She ent here! Do yer SEE HER! FIND HER! OR I'LL TAKE WHAT YER COST ME FROM YER HIDE!"
"But I locked-" Sara pleaded and Rin felt a warm puddle form around her knees when Jeb roared even louder than before. Makeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstop….
When Sara remained silent, eyes lowered, for long enough, Jeb turned back to peer out the door.
"Find her, or I'll find you," he snarled and with that was gone, door slamming after him, as he set out to make sure those snooping King's men were off his property proper.
For a while, Sara wept but this was not the first of Jeb's storms that she weathered and she soon calmed. Sara sat at the table, dabbing at her bleeding nose and thought. She had locked every window and door. Unless the girl had climbed the chimney, she had to be in here somewhere. She just had to look. That was all. Just look. Soon enough, once she had pawed through enough, she found the child. She was a ball in a corner, hiding behind the worst of the mess. Sara picked the child up and noticed, as she did, a pungent odour.
"Wot did you DO?" Sara's voice rose swiftly to a savage shriek and she began she shaking the girl like a doll, "ARE YER AN ANIMAL?"
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.