The Popular Crowd - Chapter 1
This is my first story, so be gracious. Enjoy!
When we turn away from the darkness of our past to take comfort in our peaceful lives, we sometimes forget how dearly that peace was bought. But there is much worth remembering in the darkness. At least that's what the popular crowd learned when they went on their long journey together. The journey that would change their lives for ever.
You, dear reader, are most likely wondering who the popular crowd are. Well, they are just like any other popular crowd. Just a few good looking people who think they own the world. Here are there names and descriptions:
Laura: Beautiful, Prom Queen, Cheerleader, jerk, blond, and of course stupid.
Zack: HOT!!, Prom King, male model, wimp, blond, and also stupid.
Danny: Strong, Jock, bully, HUGE jerk, brunette, and, you guessed it, stupid.
But despite the fact that this tale is indeed named after these three idiots, it actually about someone else.
Ruby: Sweet, innocent, smart, funny, kinda shy, brunette, bookish daydreamer, quick to laugh, quick to get angry, and a geek.
But why was Ruby a geek? She loved books, but so do many people. She certainly wasn't ugly. In fact their were many who thought she was quite fair to look upon. She dressed well enough, there was no doubt there.
I think the reason Ruby was unpopular was because no one, save only her adopted little brother (whom we shall meet later), understood her. Anyone who had ever seen her, heard her voice, shook her hand, or had any contact with her what so ever, knew something about her. They knew this: she didn't belong in this world. Never had and never would.
And what was scarier, she knew it too. Like Mona Lisa she smiled because she knew something they did not. So they teased her, laughed at her, to hide how mystified they all were by her. She frightened them.
And on this day, September 26 2004, the popular crowd would finally learn the truth about Ruby.
The day began as it always did: The students came into class tiredly and lazily. Some sat on their desks and gossiped, while Ruby quietly sat down , put on her glasses, and began reading. But for some reason she couldn't concentrate on her book. She seemed impatient about something. While the teacher spoke Ruby took off her glasses and wiped the sweat off her fore head. She kept starring at the clock wanting desperately for class to be over.
Finally she couldn't take it any longer. She stood up right there in front of the entire class, looked at her teacher and spoke.
Ruby: I'm sorry Miss Nelson, but I'm afraid I have to leave.
Ruby took one last look at her classmates and quickly ran out of the class before anyone could say anything.
Miss Nelson: Would someone please go see what that was all about?
Zack: I Will!
Zack really just wanted an excuse to leave the class room and make fun of Ruby at the same time. But Laura followed because she had a crush on him, and Danny followed because he had a crush on her. But when they got into the hall, not a trace of Ruby could be seen.
Danny: Where is that "Lord of the Dorks"?
Zack: Maybe she is in that closet over there reading "The Return of the Rings" or something.
Laura: I thought it was called "The Fellowship of the Two Kings". Either way, I've never noticed that closet before. Weird!
Danny: Yeah, me neither. Really weird. But she could be in their so, lets see.
As cheap and corny as it seems (and indeed it does) the three teenagers never were able to describe properly what happened when the stepped through the door. A great light surrounded them and they felt as though they were being taken apart and put back together again. They tried to cry out but for the moment that seemed impossible.
When it seemed to be over, they found that the door was gone, the school was gone, and worst of all, THEIR SHOES WERE GONE!!! and had been replaced by big hairy feet.
Laura: EEEEWW!!! What happened to my feet? And why the heck am I in a dress?? Oh my gosh!!! I look like sleeping beauty!!!!
Danny: But where are we? I don't see any buildings or anything. Nothing but trees and grass and crap like that. And why are we dressed like this. What happened?
Zack: Hey look! We found Ruby at least.
Yes indeed, it was Ruby. She was running far ahead of them, unaware that she was being followed by her three least favorite class mates.
Ruby: Good-bye America!!! I'm free!!!
Ruby also looked different. Her brown hair was now curly, her ears were pointed, and her feet were also big and hairy. She was wearing a blue dress made of the finest material that could be bought in the Shire and jewelry that had once belonged to Mistress Belladonna Took herself.
She got to a little cottage, ran up to the door and knocked. The teens hid behind a tree nearby listening.
Ruby: Hey! Are you lads up yet or do I have to break in?
A moment later the door was answered by yet another curly haired, big footed person.
Frodo: Ruby, where have you been? We've been waiting for you. What took you so long?
Ruby: Hey, I had to humiliate myself to get out of class as early as I did. But nothing I do is ever good enough, is it Fro?
Frodo: Oh Ru, calm down. Its not a problem, but we do have to go now.
Frodo handed Ruby her pack and her cloak.
Ruby: Now? What about breakfast?
Frodo: Didn't you have breakfast in America?
Ruby: Well ,yes. But all I had was a poptart. I'm going to starve.
Frodo: Sorry, but we're leaving later than I wanted to all ready.
Ruby: Dang it! Where's my sword? I paid to much for that thing on ebay to just leave it.
Pippin: Its right here Ru. I've got it.
Ruby: Thanks Pip.
Ruby fastened her sword on her belt around her waist and threw on her red cloak and her brown pack
Merry: I still don't see why you need it for Ruby.
Ruby: Trust me lads. I'm going to need it. Are we all set?
Sam: Everything is packed and ready.
Ruby: Wonderful. Then let us be off. And Frodo, I didn't get a proper greeting from you today.
Frodo: Oh no!
Ruby grabbed Frodo by the shirt and kissed him. She let go and Frodo blushed all the way to the tips of his ears.
Ruby: There more where that came from Frody. Now lets get going!
The teens were so suprised they knew not what to say.
Zack: Wow!! Who knew the Princess of dorks would be such a good kisser. Did you see the look on that guys face?
Laura: Did you see his eyes? I want to kiss him too.
Laura: I was only kidding , Baby. (cough, cough).
Danny: Well, what should we do now?
Zack: Ooh! I know! lets follow them and listed to their conversations so that we can make fun of her later.
Danny: That's not a bad idea. All right, we'll follow from a distance so they don't see us but we can see them and hear all the stupid stuff they'll say. Come on.
Ruby, Frodo, Freddy, Merry, and Pippin went to fetch their ponies and slowly started off toward the Old Forest. They were fortunately going slow enough that the Teens could keep up without making to much noise while they listened to Ruby talk to her friends.
Ruby: I left for good today boys.
Frodo: We've heard that before.
Ruby: No, I'm serious. I'm not going back to America ever again.
Frodo: Well, I'm glad. It seems like every time you come back from America you've been hurt by someone.
Ruby: That's never happening again. I've had it with those humans and their lack of morals.
Pippin: What about T.J. your little brother?
Sam: Wont you miss him?
Ruby: Of course I will. I love him very much. But this is for the best.
Laura: I'm confused.
Zack: Yeah. Why would she miss her little brother?
Danny: That's not what she meant, genius.
Laura: I meant what does she mean about never going back to America? If we're not in America, where are we?
After riding about an hour, slowly and without talking, they saw the Hedge looming suddenly ahead. It was tall and netted over with silver cobwebs.
Ruby: What do they got in there? King Kong?
Freddy: How are you going to get through this?
Merry: Follow me, and you will see.
Merry showed them to the entrance. It was not the first time Ruby had seen it but a chill still ran down her spine. The Teens were having similar emotions.
Laura: Danny, Lets not go any further. That place looks too dangerous. Lets tell Ruby we're here and she can tell us how to get back. Its not worth dying.
Danny: Shut up Laura. I'm doing this. Now come on.
Freddy: Good bye Frodo! I wish you were not going into the Forest. I only hope you will not need rescuing before the day is out. But good luck to you, today and everyday!
Frodo: If there are no worse things ahead than the Old Forest, I shall be lucky.
Zack: Danny, maybe we should..... I mean, this whole thing sounds pretty strange.
Danny: No! That geek has been keeping a secret as long as I've known her and now we have a chance to find out what it is. Imagine how much fun it will be to tell the class about all this. Lets go!
Frodo: Tell Gandalf to hurry along the east road. We shall soon be back on it and going as fast as we can.
Ruby: So, good bye Freddy. We'll be meeting Elves and kings and having all the fun while you wait here for trouble. Poor old Freddy!
And so they went down the tunnel with the teens still following them.
Pippin: Are the stories about it true?
Ruby: No Pippin. Its not that bad. Well, I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here but the trees are actually quite lovely. I've been in here before, you all know the story.
Sam: Tell it again, will you Miss Ruby?
Ruby: I dont see why not. Many, many years ago, a hobbit by the name of Mungo Brockhouse wondered into these woods. He was curious about the outside world, much like us. He decided to pass through the Old Forest. He was unaware of how confusing and dangerous and treacherous these wood are. He soon realized that he was trapped. He didn't know how to get out. He had lost all sense of time and direction. It seemed to be the end for him. But then he heard a beautiful song coming from above him. He looked up and he saw her.
Laura: Saw who????
Everyone was so scared by the sudden outburst that they all screamed. The five hobbits turned around to see who had spoken. When Ruby saw them she screamed a second time and fainted to the ground.
Sam: Oh no!
Merry: Not again.
Frodo: Ruby, not now, wake up.
Pippin: Who are you three, and what do you want of us?
Danny: Um......we're friends of Ruby's from school.
Frodo: That's impossible. She told us she doesn't have any friends at her school who are boys. She only has one friend at
that terrible place, and that's a lass named Becca.
Pippin: And that's sort of strange, because at her church, she has more friends than she can count. She has Lori and Caitie and Marie and Jewels and Kara and Kiki and......
Merry: Yes, thank you Pippin.
Frodo: So we know your not really friends of my Ruby. So who are you?
Zack: Well, how do you know that she isn't Becca?
Merry: Because Becca is a brunette and she is obviously a blond. So I ask you again, who are you?
Frodo: I can guess already who they are.
Laura: You...you can?
Frodo: Yes, There are only three people from her school who would be cruel enough to follow her here, to her home, and torment her. Danny Hoffson, Laura Short, and Zack Greece.
Pippin: No, Not Them!!! Tell him your not those terrible teenagers Ruby has told us of, Tell him!!
Danny: I'm afraid we are. She's told you about us, then?
Sam: She certainly has.
The teens couldn't help but notice the anger in the hobbits eyes. Yep, they knew who they were all right. Just then Ruby came back to her senses.
Ruby: What in the name of Varda are you three doing here?
Danny: Hey, listen! We don't know how we got here either, you dumb brunette.
Frodo: How dare you speak to her that way!
Merry: Ruby, lend me your sword!
Ruby: Calm down lads. If they stay in Middle Earth any longer their punishment shall come.
Laura: But that's just it. We don't know how to get back.
Ruby: I'm afraid I cant help you. The Portholes or wormholes or whatever you want to call them don't always open when I want them too. Just please stay out of my way till you find a way back home. I have my family to look after. Come on lads.
Laura: But how does that story you were telling end? Just out of curiosity.
Ruby: I don't know. It isn't over yet. In fact a new chapter just started so you'll have to wait and see. But what am supposed to do with you?........ All right, I guess the valar wouldn't have sent you here unless they had a purpose so, I hate to say this but, feel free to follow us, if you want. But like I said, stay out of my way.
The teens followed Ruby from behind still trying to figure out the meaning of all that she had said. Fortunately, they were going to have plenty of time to do so.