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Written for the LOTR Community "Family Reunion" fixed-length ficlet challenge. 313 words.
The Return to the Light of Day
“What a manner in which to know a family reunion!” muttered Griffo Boffin as he stood, peering over the shoulder of his wife’s cousin into the makeshift cell they’d just pried opened. “Is that Lobelia?”
It was. She stood shakily, clutching at that umbrella of hers while leaning on it, staring out at those crowded about the beams and boards that had been so laboriously removed from the front of the place in which she’d been imprisoned. Her hair hung in disarray about her face and straggled over her shoulders. It was hard to say where the dirt left off and the bruises began on the side of her face and arms.
“Who’s that?” she demanded, then whispered, “Frodo Baggins—is that you?”
Frodo’s face appeared even paler than usual. “The Valar forbid!” he whispered only just loudly enough for Griffo to hear. “First Will Whitfoot, then Freddy, and now Lobelia! What have they done to you?”
Shock gave way almost immediately to compassion as he stepped forward to grasp her wrist and gently drew her forth. “Come, child,” he said softly. “Return to the light of day once more.”
Child?! How could he speak to her so? Why, she’d once hoped to marry Bilbo, or so it was said!
But her mouth trembled just as it must have done when she was but a little lass as she stepped uncertainly out of her confinement, finding herself responding to Frodo’s lead as would a small child newly rescued from a dark cupboard with a latch unreachable from inside. She trusts him! Griffo realized. She realizes he will bring her out.
She paused but once, looking up from where she clutched desperately at Frodo’s arm to search his face. “Lotho?” she asked.
He shook his head, and she nodded in acceptance of the fact her son would not be there to greet her.
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