'What Ifs' and' If Onlys' - Chapter One: Crimson Past, Blackened Future

A/n: Yeah, for some reason none of these characters belong to me. It just never seems to change, no matter how hard I try Oh, and this is partly based on my limited knowledge and enormous love of the play "The Diviners". Go Nick, you're going to smoke `em at SETC...yeehaw! Ah yes, and the usual "Please and Review" crap...just can't leave that out, now can we?

"Don't you see? The past has changed."

A small, dark figure stood silhouetted by the setting sun. He hung his head and sighed. His voice was rich and deep, thick with emotion. He continued, muffled slightly by the angle of his drooping cranium.

"He's gone. He's never coming back. They are all gone now. It wasn't supposed to be this way...why..."

The baritone cracked and the curly head of hair was lifted again. Finally, a faint light shone across his grieving features. Tears etched rivers, blurry eyes blinked rapidly, and a red nose began to run. His eyes were jade gems of pain as he stared vacantly; he was trapped in the haunting `what ifs' and `if onlys'. He sniffed and ran a large, gnarled hand across his grubby face.

"'Run as fast as your feet can take you...and then even faster,' they told me. I tried! Oh!" he dropped his chin to his chest again in grief. "I tried so hard! But...but it was not enough. `Find his father, would you, you daft boy.' I couldn't find him, Gaffer. I'm so sorry, but I couldn't. He was already gone. His son has gone to join him. I was too late again."

The red sun had now dipped halfway behind the glittering water in front of which the boy stood. The scarlet glow illuminated his already flushed face, which was turned the ground. He spoke now to the dirt and stones with urgency.

"'Baggins?' I asked. `Mister Baggins?' My friends had a name for the old fellow: `Mad Bags' if I remember. He was a pleasant gentleman. Indeed...how come the worstest of tragedies come to the nicesest people?"

The boy was almost angry now, the red smolder of the sun glinted in his eyes.

"It isn't fair! It's never fair!" he yelled to the sky. After his outburst came another fit of sobs. His body wracked and his trembling knees at last gave way. Falling to the ground, he clenched his fists in vain. He lay there, crumpled, on the scattered clumps of dirt and dying grass until he decided he was too tired to weep any longer. With a shaky sigh he continued.

"'Mister Baggins, it's your...your...he's gone, Mister Baggins.' I don't think that it ever really mattered that I even opened my mouth-he already knew...heh," he laughed weakly. "Maybe the old fellow's not quite ordinary after all."

Grimacing at his own joke, he lifted his eyes to the still, cold waters. Horrified, he realized that the docile waters were glowering scarlet. The blood red of the lake mesmerized and taunted the anguished boy. He whispered quietly to the deathly still waters and waited for their response. It came like a knife; chilling and sharp, cutting to the marrow of his heart. His voice trembled and he clenched his calloused fists all the tighter.

"Don't you see? He's not coming back. The past has changed. I was too late."

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