Stories by Cara J. Loup

Last Steps

The clouds change from brown to black as the day fails. Within a breath and another, Frodo is asleep on the hard ground. Sam sits down close beside him, turned away just a bit. He can't look at Frodo now, when sleep bares all the horrible marks of his struggle. And if Sam lies down, he might not get up again, because his bones know it's useless. What does it matter if they fall asleep now, and give in to the weariness tearing them fast into naught? They'll never climb that mountain anyway. Sam wraps his arms about his knees. He can't trust the feeling in his bones here.

Hope Unquenchable

Behind the trees, the river was a pale ribbon, half-guessed and barely heard. Though Merry and Pippin had left to find their beds a while ago, Frodo had taken only a few steps in that direction. Perhaps he wanted to listen to the water or the wind in the boughs that lined a greater emptiness with their distant stirrings. He felt as if all tiredness had gone out of him, and his mind shivered on the brink of a dream.