“Look out! They're coming!” Annebelle charged down the hall, tumbled into the bedroom, and stuffed herself under the bed.
“Who what?” The mattress shifted and Etana's leopard spotted face appeared. “Who's coming?”
“Orcs! Kidnappers! Murderers!”
Etana blinked. “I don't hear anything.”
Annebelle silenced for a moment, brushing a wavy lock of hair out of her face. “I was sure I heard them...”
“There's not even such a thing as an orc.” Etana chuckled, grey cat eyes sparkling. She slipped off the bed, morphing into a leopard. “Come on out.”
Annebelle crawled from boxes she had nestled between and stood, brushing dust bunnies from her sweater.
She glanced up, and froze. There, standing in the doorway, crouched an orc. It looked just how she had imagined it would look: Bowed legs, muddy skin, fangs, and big eyes. It grinned at her.
Annebelle gaped. How had an orc gotten here?! As far as she knew, her author hadn't created any orc characters. And since Tolkien was dead, how could his characters be roaming around?
She crashed across the room and heaved the window up.
“Annebelle! What's wrong?!” Etana morphed back to human form and grabbed her shoulder.
“Don't you see it?!” Annebelle pointed. “The orc!”
Etana looked at the doorway and shook her head. “I don't see anything.”
The orc took a step forward, eyes fixed on Annebelle. She decided not to waste anymore time, the orc was obviously not interested in Etana.
She leaped out the window. Her foot caught on the windowsill and she landed face first on the ground four feet below. Spitting flowerbed wood chips and dirt, she scrambled to her feet and charged for the woods, hoping she wouldn't get in trouble for the crushed plants she left behind.
She chanced a quick look over her shoulder to see if the orc followed. It didn't.
Just as she turned her head forward again, she smashed into someone.
“Hey!” she gasped, air driven from her lungs from the collision.
“Where are you going, child?”
Annebelle stepped backwards, head spinning. A woman rose before her, tall, beautiful, and regal. An icicle-like crown rose from her head.
Annebelle didn't have to think twice to know who this was. She could have fainted.
“Would you like some Turkish delight?” the Witch asked.
“No!” Annebelle spun around, only to crash into someone else, this one more heavily built. He had a fierce expression and a noose around his neck.
“B... B.. Bill Sikes?!” Annebelle squeaked. She stared at the house. “Etana!” she shrieked. “Help!”
“Are you well, fair maiden?”
Annebelle whirled to face the new voice. Her jaw dropped. A golden haired, pointy eared personage stood before her, bow slung over his shoulder, and a long slender knife at his side.
Prince Legolas Greenleaf.
Annebelle's legs grew weak. Her vision blurred. A hand rested on her shoulder, steadying her. “Lady?”
Annebelle's sight cleared and she stared at the elf before her. She tried to reply, but her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth, so she simply nodded.
“I believe you should sit down.”
Again she nodded, turning and wobbling to the front step. She noticed two forms on the porch. She squinted, hoping they weren't more villains,.
She let out a sigh of relief. It was Etana and Thea. Thea put her head to the side. “Etana says you're acting strange.” She stepped off the porch, burgundy skirt jingling as she made her way over to Annebelle.
“You really can't see them?” she asked weakly.
“See who?” Thea put an arm around Annebelle and led her to the house. Etana opened the door.
“The White Witch! And Bill Sikes! And Legolas!” she gasped and glanced behind her, wondering if he was still there. She didn't see him.
“I think you need to lay down.” Thea helped her inside and to the living room, where she lowered her onto the couch. Pillows, blankets, and books lay scattered over and around it.
Etana raised an eyebrow. “What... Is this mess?”
Annebelle let herself fall back on the pillows, pushing books out of the way. “I was reading...”
Thea paused, then burst out laughing. “I think I know your problem.” She grinned. “You have a serious case of too much of a good thing.”
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