A few years ago I participated in a collaborative story project with Stephanie of Our Write Side. The premise was a merging of characters from various stories, brought together by a Time/World Traveling Mad Hatter. Our collaboration brought Gollum from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings/Hobbit books into the world of Peter Pan. Today I am resharing that initial entry into the story, and sometime this summer we plan to continue to tale and see where the rest of it takes us. Be sure to check out the original post at Our Write Side (and the rest of the great site!) and, most importantly, enjoy this piece of a tale.
“Nasty Bagginses!” he cried out as he paddled across the dark, murky water. He almost had a delicious dinner, the game of riddles had been his, and then the sneaky Hobbit cheated with a riddle that wasn’t a riddle. Now he was left with no dinner and, worst of all, he had lost his birthday present.
His precious was gone!
Gollum let out a piteous wail that echoed sharply throughout the cavern, the reverberations creating ripples in the water. His pale yellow eyes shone like headlamps in the pitch black, perfectly adapted to the dark after years of dwelling beneath the mountain. It was time to pack up his belongings and recover his precious. The sneaky Bagginses will not get far, not with goblins and wargs on his trail. And then, when they are done impaling and roasting his body, Gollum will slink in unnoticed and recover his precious.
He paused short of the shore, sniffing the air. A new smell was here, at his home. Were they looking for his precious? Two nasty, rotten thieveses in one day! Well, this one was too late for thieving, but not too late to become dinner. Gollum slipped upon the shore, the familiar padding of and beneath his hands and feet granting him a silent approach. He stayed low to the ground, creeping up behind the tall figure that was rummaging through an old hat.
He would not find the precious in there, oh no he wouldn’t! Keep on looking down, precious! thought the frail creature as it inched closer. He raised up behind him, clammy hands reaching to encircle his neck, when the man spun around and smiled at him
“You’re late!” he said, placing the hat back on his head. “And now we’ve missed the time for tea!”
Gollum hesitated, choosing his words carefully. He didn’t want to be tricked out of dinner again, and this one sounded an awful lot like he would be fond of tricking poor, helpless Smeagol into riddles like that nasty Bagginses. “Tea? What is tea, we wonders.”
“Why, tea is what you have at tea time,” Hatta said as he stared at a pocketwatch, “and a tea time without tea would just be Time, and he is dead. So, clearly, you can’t have tea time without a cup of tea. Have you had tea today?”
Gollum recoiled slightly, backing away a few steps from this stranger. He speaks in riddles to confuses us. Such a sneaky Bagginses if ever I saw one. Must protect the precious. Kill them alllllllll! “No tea today,” he said with a sharp-toothed smile. He made a shrill sound that was meant to be a sort of nervous laugh, “Does the thieveses has tea, we wonder? Will he gives it to us, precious?”
Hatta removed his hat with a sweeping flourish and pulled a chipped cup and saucer from its depths. Gollum moved forward, the aroma of spices drawing him in without regard. He reached for the cup, his long, webbed fingers grasping greedily. All of a sudden Hatta was gone, his cave and lake were gone, and the blinding light of an orange orb burned his eyes.
“Stop it,” Gollum shrieked as he swiped in vain at the sun, “It hurtses my eyes! It hurtses! Nasty, sneaky, tricksy tea thieveses. It tricked us to steal our birthday present, it did! Gollum, gollum!”
“Where is its, precious?” Gollum said as he cowered. All around him, his big eyes saw water, and great forest green rocks instead of grey ones. Gold edged the azure water rather than the ash he was accustomed to. Emerald mountains blocked his view. He trembled and tripped, splashing into the water. Far in the near distance, a massive ship rose. It was dark and brooding just like his cave. “The precious! Its stoles it.”
Gollum padded gently in the water. He shivered. “It’s colds, precious. So cold! Gollum, gollum!”
“Curse me and splash me!” Gollum cried before he deftly paddled toward the ship ahead, leaving no ripples in his wake as he crossed the water. Years living under the mountain had allowed him to hone his movements in the lake, a vital skill to catch goblins and other beasties unaware. Today it served him well in this new place, allowing him to reach the ship without detection. He pulled himself up the smooth side, his webbed hands grasping handholds where no man could climb. He peeked up over the glossy railing, watching the spectacle of a battle unfold before his eyes.
A tall man, dressed flamboyantly in red, crossed swords with a young boy decked in green garb. Gollum did not think it so odd to see a smaller man fighting, as the thieving Bagginses was of small stature, but there was something unusual about the boy. He parried thrust after thrust with a small dagger, calling his foe names as he flew in circles around him.
“How does it fly, we wonders, precious?” Gollum said to himself. “A most sneaky trickses,” he answered to himself in a different voice. “Could it have the precious?”
The hand of the man in red glittered in the sunlight as he sidestepped a thrust. Gollum’s attention was immediately drawn to the shiny object, pondering whether he had the precious. A small gold object gleamed in his ear, the color and shape matching his memory of the precious. Gollum slid along the deck of the ship, avoiding detection from the distracted crew as he drew near Captain James Hook. Gollum leapt onto his back, hands clutching the gold earring while his feet encircled Hook’s throat.
“You must gives it to us!” Gollum shrieked as he tugged on the earring. Peter Pan stopped in mid-flight and began to laugh, mocking Hook further as his opponent stumbled around the deck. The silver hook bit deep into his flesh, causing Gollum to relinquish his hold and recoil from the man. He crouched low to the deck on all fours, with his injured leg elevated slightly, and hissed at Hook.
“What manner of trickery and deceit is this?” Hook demanded as he spun toward Pan. “Have you stooped so far as to summon demon creatures of the night?”
“I was wondering the same thing, you codfish!” Pan said as he hovered higher into the air. The two men continued to argue, but Gollum’s attention was elsewhere. The golden glow around Tinkerbell had his interest.
“What is it, precious? Gollum, gollum,” he said, moving forward while the others were distracted. “Does it have the precious, we wonders?”
“Tink!” Pan cried out as Gollum pounced at her, gnashing sharp teeth and swiping with his hands in a vain effort to catch the fairy. He chased her across the deck, weaving between barrels and pirates, always managing to evade their warding blows. With a mighty leap, Gollum snagged Tinkerbell, sliding along the deck with his new prize. A heavy blow fell upon his head before he could inspect his treasure, rendering the creature unconscious.
“Nasty tricksies! Yes, nasty tricksies its plays on precious! Gollum, gollum!’ Gollum moved fluidly to the bars that held him captive. “It trickses us! It trickses us, precious!” He saw a man standing just beyond the bars. “What is it, precious?”
“I am a pirate. You are aboard the Jolly Roger.”
“Nasty pirateses. What is it? I know goblinses, and Bagginses, and tea thieveses, what is it, precious? Is it an Elfs? It is meaty like an Elfs and a Bagginses. Better than old bones, precious!”
“Who are you talking to?” the pirate said. Bushy black hair framed his lips and gold hung from his ear. Gollum smacked his arms on the floor.
Its has the precious, it does! he thought.
“We wasn’t talking to you! No, not you, precious!” Gollum leaped from bar to floor and back again. “No sooner spoken than broken. Yes, precious. Its trickses! Imprison Smeagol so its can keeps the precious!” Gollum’s eyes grew big and his mouth wide. “Does it like to play games? Does it? Does it?”
The man laughed. “Sure, I’ll play with you.”
Gollum smiled wider, baring all nine of his teeth. “If Gollum wins, you set Gollum free? You give Gollum the precious?”
The man laughed again. “Sure. What do I get if I win?”
The smile left Gollum’s face. “We doesn’t eats you, precious, and you still gives us the precious.” Gollum licked his lips. “What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps? Tell me, precious. Tell me if you can.”
“I don’t know,” The man responded. “But I’m not setting you free!”
Gollum reached through the bars and grabbed him snatching the earring from his ear. “We gots it! We gots the precious!”
To be continued…