“Gubbins… gubbins, Precious.” Gollum snarled to himself as he rifled through a discarded pack. There was nothing for him to eat in there; some old tacky bread, foul-smelling fruits, all of it nasty and unappealing. The twisted Hobbit crept along on all fours towards another fallen corpse, rifling through his pack with tenacity. “Of course men with spears have somethings on them, Precious. Nothing good. Nothing good for Smeagol… -olllum! Ghollum…" He tore at a piece of rotten meat and chewed it vigorously, drool seeping from his bottom lip as he scoured the area. He had been hunting the Ring for so long, his connection to it so powerful that it had warped his poor, fragile mind. He had seen the two Hobbits cross the river and climb the mountains, passing by the trees of pale bark and coastlines of crystal blue. “Not long now, My Love.” Gollum assured himself. “Not long now until we can has the Precious again.” The creature jumped for joy, clicking his dirty bare feet together as he scampered about the field, leaping over dead men and horses alike. Foul goblins and filthy orcs littered the ground as well, their smell carrying like a rancid perfume added a bit too liberally. “Tricksy, lying Bagginses stole it from us. Stole the Precious and makes Smeagol CRRRRRRYYY!” The withered creature howled aloud, quickly remembering itself as it scurried faster through the open plains towards a safe area riddled with holes and places to hide. Gollum clutched his knees to his chest, picking at the roots of a tree as he nestled into an old fox burrow. He had been traveling nonstop, not wanting to lose the trail of the fat Hobbit and the one who held the Precious. Kept it from him, the other Hobbit did. An enemy to Gollum, he was. “Remember, My Love. Remember when the first Bagginses came to us?” “Yes, yes. We remembers…” “Tricked us they did. Ollum… ollum… Lies through their teefs at us…” “Yeeessss….” Gollum sobbed. “... We rememberses…. ‘What’s in it’s pocketses?’ it said… The game the Baggins cheated at! The pocketses had the PRECIOUS!” He snarled and tugged at the root, causing the dirt ceiling above him to cascade over his already dirty shoulders. The once-Hobbit gnashed his teeth in frustration and swatted at the dirt as it fell, kicking his legs in frustration. “Yes… soon we will haves it back. The Precious will belong to us again.” “Yes… all to us.” Gollum sniveled, remembering that fateful day as it played out in his mind. He could remember the cool air of his cave, far from the sight of the nasty goblins as he lived out his days in relative peace. All he needed was the Precious… it made him so happy. So fulfilled. No day without it had ever been the same. Since losing it, he felt knots form in his stomach. He would cry himself to sleep until his bulbous eyes were redder than the setting sun. His whole body would be wracked with horrible tremors and spasms, as if it were the only thing keeping him alive… … and it had been. Nestling up in the mediocre comfort of the burrow, Gollum found the ability to rest for a short time. “Just a few blinks of sleep, Precious. A few blinks and the two Hobbitses won’t go far… they rest more than Smeagol does.” “We will catch them… strangle them… makes them paaaaaay…” He mumbled in his sleep, feeling roused by a sudden kick. His eyes bolted wide and he could see the snarling form of an orc grasping at his ankles. “Look what we ‘ave ‘ere! Fresh meat!” The orc growled, Gollum already kicking and screaming. He had no idea that his voice carried to a nearby patrol. The orc drew his blade and held it to the sniveling creature’s throat. “Quiet! Awfully skinny… not much meat on you…” “NOOOO! LET US GO!” Gollum kicked and squealed, another pair of orcs grasping at his ankles and wrists. “Wot ‘ave you got there? A skinny man-child?” “Wandered away from it’s Momma…” “NOOOOOOO! LETS US GOOOOO, PRECIOUS!” Gollum snarled, his foot colliding with the first orc’s nose; the brunt of the kick enough to break it. “NNNH! Damned beast kicked me! Broke my nose, he did!” The other orcs drew their swords as Gollum wriggled like a worm on a fishing line. “NOT GOING BACK! NOT GOING BACK TO SARUMAN!” He begged and pleaded, tears streaming down his dirty face as he spat and coughed his own name in fear. “Cut his legs off so that slimy worm can’t kick his way out anymore!” The orcs holding his arms split themselves up; one grasping his ankles and the other tugging at his wrists. They held him out like a prisoner on the rack and the broken-nose orc raised his blade upward. “Let’s see how fast a legless worm can crawl!” He snarled, about to bring his blade down. “YYYYYYAAAA---UURRRK!” An arrow slid through the orc’s throat! Sending him falling to the ground, Gollum screaming in panic as he struggled to get free. It didn’t take much as the other two orcs armed themselves and ducked behind the nearby trees. “Ready men? Fire!” A noble voice called out, arrows sailing down towards the hidden orcs. THUNK THA-TUNK G-THUNKTHUK Gollum scurried past the dead orc and down the hill, going as far and as fast as his four limbs would carry him. His mind shot back to the day when he had been tortured for information regarding the One Ring… his Precious. Orcs had done terrible things to him; slicing his flesh, burning him, scarring him… all of it sent the pitiful creature into a near-stupor but nothing resonated with the creature like the loss of his Precious… ‘It would keep us safe… safe from filthy orcses… safe from men…’ He concluded to himself, not looking back over his shoulder. The sounds of battle echoed over the hillside as he scrambled into the nearby stream, slipping upon some wet rocks and splashing frivolously in the tame current. “KFF KAAAAFF KAAAF! AAAAGH!” Gollum twitched and lumbered out of the water on all fours, coughing and snarling to himself. Such hardship to face just to retrieve that which was rightfully his. “Found it, we did… our present to us.” He huffed, staring into the water as a fish swam by. The odd pitiable mongrel dove in after it; the baser needs of food taking precedence over his current predicament. He fumbled around and snatched it up, slapping its body against the rocks again and again and again… … and again… Once it stopped moving, Smeagol bit into the juicy bits of the fish’s head and tore it soundly with his rotten, gnarled teeth. “Mmmmmm… fishes for us, fishes for me… bubbly eyes and slippery scales… not big as a minnow or small as a whale~” He began to sing, happily hunkering down on the bank as he feasted upon his much more enticing meal. “Mister Frodo!” A voice called out, causing Smeagol to pause in his own revelry once more. “Wait for me, Mister Frodo!” Gollum’s grin was almost ear to ear. “The fat hobbit is so stupid… so loud.. Will draw the orcses to him…” “Will draw US to him, My Love. We has found them AND our Precious…” Night was getting close and Gollum knew that soon the thick throat of the fat one would be crushed under his spindly fingers and the weaker one... the weaker one... … Gollum tore at the throat of the fish and let the blood seep down his chin.