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The Haunting of Bag End by WendWriter


Author: WendWriter

Title: The Haunting of Bag End

Rating: PG 13

Theme: "Send It In a Letter "

Elements: An Anonymous Letter

Author's Notes: For years, Bilbo was plagued by the Sackville-Bagginses, who wanted to get Bag End, his home, off him.

Summary: A flurry of anonymous letters prompts Bilbo to discover who sent them – and put a stop to it.

Word Count: 1282

 

 

 

The Haunting of Bag End

 

 

The greyness of an overcast day led Bilbo to light his lantern much earlier than he would usually have done; the cosy glow of the fire that blazed cheerfully in his parlour hearth was not bright enough to permit him to read the mysterious missive that had been left on his doorstep.

 

For the third time that week, a sharp rap on his front door at twilight had roused him from his afternoon smoke (which always followed his afternoon tea and scones), but when he opened the door, no one was there.

 

The first time this had happened, he had only noticed the cheap paper scroll when he stepped on it as he scanned the lanes to see who could have come.

 

Annoyed that the bearer of the letter had simply vanished into thin air, Bilbo snatched it up and brought it inside. He went into the kitchen, broke the seal and opened it out.

 

To Bilbo Baggins of Bagg End

 

From a Friend

 

Mr. Baggins be you warned, that a Ghost will come to hornt you at Bagg End.

 

Leeve at wonce! Then you will be Safe.

 

 

This was scrawled in grey ink on grubby paper, which had evidently been torn from a larger sheet.

 

With a snort of amusement, Bilbo took the letter into the parlour and tossed it into the fire. Those foolish Sackville-Bagginses! Did they really believe he would fall for such a trick? Honestly! He knew Otho's writing was spidery with elongated letters; this could not be his work, but Lotho? Possibly. That boy was sullen, a bit of a bully and none too bright. Bilbo would have bet Bag End it was he who had sent the letter, but whether the lad had delivered it himself was uncertain.

 

It occurred to him to ask Hamfast Gamgee, his gardener, if anyone of note was staying at the Green Dragon. Then he went back to smoking his pipe.

 

The following day, Mr. Gamgee had come to rake the leaves from his lawn, but Bilbo completely forgot about the letter and ended up having a merry chat with the old fellow instead.

 

That evening, the knock had come again, and Bilbo found himself chasing the letter halfway down the path as a stiff breeze blew it away. Reminded of the previous night, he opened it, saw the same message there, took it inside and burned it.

 

Today, he had spoken to Mr. Gamgee, who told him that the S-B's and their son were indeed staying at the Green Dragon.

 

“A right little ruffian he's turnin' out to be, beggin' your pardon,” said Mr. Gamgee. “Orderin' folk about and findin' fault with everything. It's a wonder they can get anyone to work for them at all. They're nothing like you, Mr. Bilbo.”

 

“Really?” asked Bilbo. “What else has he been up to?”

 

“He only went and tore a few pages out of the guest book when he thought no one'd notice,” said Mr. Gamgee. “They caught him red-handed, but Missus S-B gave them three silver pennies, so they let it go.”

 

Bilbo huffed with frustration.

 

“Mr. Bilbo?” asked Mr. Gamgee, his honest old face creased with concern.

 

“I've been getting funny letters,” Bilbo replied in irritated tones.

 

“Beggin' your pardon, but what sort of letters? I'm only askin' in case it's something I can help you with.”

 

Bilbo sighed. “Some badly-written bilge about a ghost coming to haunt Bag End. If I hadn't burned the confounded letters, I would have been able to confront the S-B's and embarrass them into putting a stop to this; but with no evidence, what can I do?”

 

A wide grin spread across Hamfast Gamgee's face. “If the ghost comes, we can haunt him!” he declared.

 

Bilbo turned to his friend with a matching expression. “Hamfast Gamgee,” he said, “you're the finest Hobbit in the Shire!”

 

The gardener had gone home shortly afterwards, and nothing had transpired that evening, though Bilbo stood tensely waiting by the door, ready to fling it wide open and catch young Lotho in the act.

 

Today, however, the now-familiar rap had sounded, and he had waited till his pipe was spent before he trotted to his door, opened it, and found the letter. This time, it read,

 

To Bilbo Baggins, Impostor

 

From the Ghost

 

Leeve now or you will regrett not heeding my Warning!

 

“Honestly!” Bilbo said aloud, and put the letter to one side.

 

Since the S-B's were still at the Dragon, he could bring this letter to the inn and match it with the torn remains of the missing pages in the guest book. In fact, he would do so after dinner.

 

A hard knock on the door roused him, and he got up to answer it. Only one? He stood on the threshold of the parlour doorway and waited for the next. He was about to return to his armchair when another knock came.

 

Absently, he patted his waistcoat pocket where his Ring was kept. The sheer effrontery of the idea that occurred to him at that point made him grin from ear to ear. Oh, the fun he would have – and the little brat thoroughly deserved it!

 

Bilbo slipped the Ring on and crept quietly up to the door. After a while, a third knock came and he flung the door open with such force, it banged on the wall.

 

There before him stood a shrieking apparition clad in grey rags, the rotting teeth in its greenish pale face exposed. It raised its arms, but when Bilbo screamed in fright, it turned and fled.

 

For a moment, Bilbo stood panting, then realised that this must be Lotho dressed up. His heart beat like a blacksmith's hammer, and he hesitated.

 

“Gotcha!” cried a familiar voice as a dark figure leapt upon the fleeing one.

 

The Ring! Bilbo pulled it off and put it back in his pocket, then put the door on the latch and went to investigate. The weight he had put back on after his return from his adventures slowed him as he ran, but a few minutes later, he arrived at the stile, where Hamfast Gamgee had Lotho Sackville-Baggins by the earlobe.

 

“I've got 'im, Mr. Bilbo,” said Mr. Gamgee. “Caught red-handed, you are!”

 

The gardener had pulled down the hood of the old cloak Lotho was wearing, and Bilbo could see that Lothos' greasy curly mop of hair had traces of the thick creamy substance that was smeared all over his face.

 

“Oh, this is excellent!” crowed Bilbo. “Come, Mr. Gamgee, you have done me a great service, and deserve a nice flagon of ale. Let me lock my door, then we shall go together to the Green Dragon.”

 

“Lemme go!” shouted Lotho.

 

“At the Dragon,” answered Mr. Gamgee with an anticipatory grin.

 

Bilbo grinned and hurried home, the sounds of Lotho's protests like music to his ears. A few minutes later, he accompanied Mr. Gamgee and his charge to the Green Dragon to confront Lobelia and Otho with their son's misdeeds. He patted his coat pocket; the anonymous letter was in there, ready to wave at that insufferable woman. He would show everyone who the impostor was, and that would be the end of it.

 

A laugh from Mr. Gamgee broke into his thoughts. “Heh! I don't know how you did it, Mr. Bilbo, but there was a haunting of Bag End, all right! But who haunted who? That'll be a tale worth the telling for many a year!”

 

 

The End


Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
It's delightful to see Bilbo and Hamfast as conspirators in mischief! And I can well imagine Bilbo using the Ring in such a situation.

Edited at 2010-02-16 01:14 am (UTC)
wendwriter
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm very glad you like it. :D
addie71
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
*giggles* That was delightful!
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
Thanks! I love stories of pranks and japes, I'm just not great at writing them, as a rule. I'm glad I pulled it off this time. :D
lindahoyland
Feb. 16th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
Most enjoyable!
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
Thanks, Linda. I wanted to give the angst a rest for a bit, and this came out. :D
blslarner
Feb. 16th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
I love it when the mischief-makers are caught in their own tricks! Heh! Ah, dear Lotho--such a bad job of it he's made!

Nicely done!
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks, Larner.

My vision of Lotho is of a stupid, brutish fellow not unlike Harry Potter's Dudley Dursley. I make him the butt of my Hobbit jokes because I can't stand bullies.
someplacetobe
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
I can't remember the last time I snickered that hard.
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad you found it funny. :D
someplacetobe
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
I just re-read it and I still find it funny! I read it to someone else as well and they burst out snickering as well!
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
That's what I like to hear. :D Thanks again. :D
someplacetobe
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
You're very welcome!
telstar_gold
Feb. 16th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
But who haunted who?
LOL! Great to see Lotho get his comeuppance!
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! Lotho as a character is very annoying, and I love to write stories in which the bad guys get a smackin'. :D
(Deleted comment)
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Thanks. That's Bilbo all over! He loves a laugh and a joke, and putting Lotho in his place just came naturally. :D
antane
Feb. 17th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
That will show that Lotho! Bilbo really could haunt him if he wanted to, being invisible and moving things about and then it would get around that there really was a ghost! Oh, that would make a wonderful Halloween story! What say you? :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
wendwriter
Feb. 17th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Great idea! Please remind me nearer the time, and I'll write it and credit you with inspiring me. :D
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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