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The Shelter

Title: The Shelter
Characters: Legolas, Gimli
Rating: R
Warning: Character death
Genre: Horror




AN: Written for Halloween 2004

**********************************************************


The storm seemed to come out of nowhere, dropping a torrent of rain as lightning flashed and thunder rolled across the midnight sky. Legolas and Gimli pulled their cloaks tightly about them and ran along for nearly a mile before Gimli slowed and pointed to a small cave set into a nearby hill. Legolas shook his head and called for them to continue, but it was already too late, the stubborn Dwarf had gone underground. With a sigh Legolas followed him in, hunching his tall frame to fit through the small cleft in the hill. The air within was stale and close, making Legolas shiver from the claustrophobic feeling Gimli's temporary shelters always gave him.

The Dwarf, though, was in his element and he went about happily removing his cloak and laying it nearby to dry. He shook his hairy head like a dog, sending water flying everywhere, then grinned at his Elven friend.

"Lucky we found this place, eh?" he said, enjoying the Elf's obvious discomfort almost as much as he enjoyed getting out of the storm.

"Extremely," Legolas countered dryly, shaking out his own cloak and squeezing water from his wet braids.

Once they had settled in, Legolas took stock of the tiny space, sitting with his knees pulled up under his chin. Gimli sat opposite him with his legs crossed. The only illumination was from the frequent lightning flashes outside.

"Are you sure this place is safe," he asked, as a small shower of dust fell from above.

"Safe as can be," Gimli replied nonchalantly as another flash of lightning provided them with a bit of light, "safer than drowning in that storm anyway."

"You would not have to worry about drowning in puddles if you were but a bit taller." Legolas smiled gently.

Gimli laughed. "And you would find shelter much easier to come by if you were but a bit shorter."

Legolas chuckled and shook his head. "Will I ever win my point in one of these conversations?"

A clap of thunder drowned out the Dwarf's reply but Legolas already knew the answer.

They sat in the companionable dark, talking of this and that while the storm raged ever more fiercely outside. Finally, Legolas could see Gimli was on the verge of falling asleep and so began to hum a little tune.

The Dwarf fought sleep for a while, but the sound of the rain outside, the peaceful darkness, and the smell of earth lulled him like a babe in a cradle. Feeling safe and comfortable, he pulled his dry Elven cloak about his shoulders and leaned back against the wall.

"Just a few moments shut-eye," he murmured, his eyes slipping closed at the sound of the Elf's soothing voice.

"Of course," Legolas replied softly. "I will rest as well. We will not be able to leave until morning anyway it seems."

Moria - the beautiful underground city of his ancestors, home of his cousin Balin - had become a tomb. Everywhere he looked were bodies of the dead, killed fighting the Orcs and Trolls that had overrun them, their bodies twisted, limbs hacked or ripped away, arrows protruding from their rotted torsos and eyes. As he watched in horror, the bodies began to move. Jerking and lurching like puppets on moldy strings, they rose from their places, taking up their fallen weapons as they came for him. He cried out in terror and stumbled backward. Turning to run, he felt bony hands clutch at him from behind, smelled the foul stench of the sightless husks that pulled at his clothes and beard...

With a cry of terror, he sat bolt upright just as another peal of thunder echoed through the cave. Realizing he had only been dreaming, he sighed in relief and looked to Legolas. Gimli saw him sitting as before, but a flash of lightning revealed he was now hunched over, his head fallen between his knees.

The cave went dark again and Gimli, waited for his eyes to adjust, calling out softly, "Legolas, are you all right?"

He watched the silhouette of his friend as his head slowly came up. Then a flash of lightning lit Legolas’s face starkly. His blond hair was completely white, his blue eyes sharp and cold, deeply set with dark circles beneath, his lips blood red over white teeth which were bared in a snarl.

The cave went dark again and Gimli leapt to his feet, reaching for his axe even as Legolas lunged for him. With a cry of terror Gimli scrambled out of his way, barely escaping the strong hands that caught at his beard. Though he was forced to leave his axe behind, he managed to make it to his feet and through the cave's entrance, Legolas’s long, claw-like fingers tearing off his cloak.

The Elf was quicker, but he was more maneuverable and he dashed through the cleft in the hill and ran out into the driving rain. Behind him, he heard Legolas roar in frustrated anger, momentarily stymied by the narrow opening.

Instantly drenched, Gimli ran through the thick mud, his feet squelching along with painful slowness, the rain running into his eyes, blurring the landscape around him. He looked back and saw the twisted, murderous look on his friend's face as he came behind, closing the distance rapidly. There was an outcrop of rock ahead and Gimli made for that, hoping to find a place to hide where the Elf could not follow.

Just as he made it to the rocky refuge, his hair was seized and he was pulled back. Desperately he stomped down on the Elf's foot but the move bought him but a second before Legolas grabbed him again, lifting him and throwing him on his back against the stony protrusion on the hillside.

Gimli cried out in pain as his back struck a sharp edge of the rock. He looked up to see the Legolas looming above him, his normally placid face unrecognizable, his long, ivory-handled knife in his hand. The weapon came down, hilt first, upon Gimli's temple and he felt the world spin around him. There was pressure upon his chest as Legolas held him upright with one hand. Gimli struggled weakly, watching in helpless terror as the thing that had once been Legolas raised the knife to strike.

Demonic eyes drilled into his, suffused with an unnatural glow, the rain and lightning sharpening features Gimli had heretofore known to hold wisdom, merriment, and a quiet calmness. He cringed from the expected blow, blinking the rain from his eyes and he saw the Elf hesitate, saw the upraised knife shake in his warrior-steady hand. The alien look left his eyes for a moment, replaced by one of fear and sorrow. Then anger swept across his pale face and the knife rose higher, higher...

Gimli looked dazedly at the cold determination in the Elf's gaze, trying to squirm from beneath the iron grasp that held him pinned to the hillside as the fatal blade plunged downward, swinging suddenly inward and ripping into the Legolas’s own body. Stunned, Gimli slid to the ground on his knees as Legolas staggered backward and fell, the knife protruding from his belly to the hilt. Crawling forward, Gimli cradled Legolas' head and looked into his fading eyes.

"The cave... an evil... there was no other way," he gasped.

Gimli nodded. "I understand, Legolas," he said softly. His eyes beneath his bushy brows sparkled with tears that swam briefly and then crystallized into a malevolent gleam. "But you didn't think it would die with you, did you now?"

Grasping the handle of the knife, he twisted it sharply before drawing it out, ripping a last gurgling scream from the dying Legolas. A flash of lightning exploded across the sky, revealing an instant of sorrow upon Gimli's face, which disappeared with the following darkness.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
bloominbabylon
Aug. 21st, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
jebus...not sleeping tonight...that's for sure.

thanks for the shivers
ignoblebard
Aug. 21st, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
Better watch something funny before going to bed, eh? *grin* I love your icon, btw.
bloominbabylon
Aug. 21st, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
Better yet..I read your A Texas Gay Boy in King Thranduil's Court

Thanks...I've become quite the BanaBloom fan...and addicted to making icons...its like crack :-)
ignoblebard
Aug. 21st, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, that story kind of takes the edge off this one, doesn't it? *grin* You're very good at the icons. Beautifully done.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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