Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hobbit Heartache: Chapter Six

Enticing, huh?
Well, this is embarrassing.

It's been roughly a month and a half since my last installment of Hobbit Heartache, the Sweet Valley High/Lord of the Rings erotic fanfiction novel was posted. 47 days have passed. The last time I wrote, it was a different year. That's pretty bad.

And I'm sorry. I really am. If you could see me right now, this is how I look:

Only even sadder. And human. And dressed in a stunning vintage dress and perfect eye makeup. Certainly not wearing sweatpants covered with cat hair.

Anyways, I do apologize for the wait. It won't happen again, at least not until my night job picks up again.

To atone, I give to you an actual recap this time. You deserve it.

The Sweet Valley High gang are somewhat psyched to spend their Spring Break in Middle-earth; however, things quickly go awry when their tour bus explodes and they become lost and stranded in the forest. Meanwhile, Bilbo Baggins, Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin have set out on their journey to destroy a mysterious and powerful ring. Frodo is feeling a bit down these days, not realizing that he's secretly in love with Bilbo, while Merry's heart and loins burn fervently for the distant Frodo.

(Here's where I throw in my gentle reminder that I know nothing of the LOTR and this is my complete imagining of their world. Don't hate.)

When we last visited, the SVH gang had just crossed paths with the hobbits for the first time. Jessica developed an instant attraction to the clueless Frodo, while Elizabeth is harboring some deep and intense feelings for Gandalf. The two groups agree to merge and continue forth on the adventure of a lifetime. Will Jessica's aquamarine eyes be enough to entice Frodo away from his secret love? Will Elizabeth's feelings for Gandalf be reciprocated? Will the Sweet Valley gang be able to survive the dangerous forests of Middle-earth, despite having no common sense or logic?  


Liz is all like "MUST READ MORE!"

(If that recap's not doing it for you, ain't nothing like the real thang: Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

Now that you're all caught up, I'm going to throw a bit of a curveball your way. Chapter six (6) introduces a new character, never before seen in the SVH or LOTR worlds. Sweet Valley High fans may find her familiar, and that is because she is following in the grand SVH tradition of the evil doppelganger.

You might think I'm kidding here, but I'm not. The evil doppelganger was a very real and extremely terrifying plot used multiple times in SVH history. Each time was more believable than the last.

This new doppelganger has a lot of work to do before she joins the SVH Evil Doppelganger Hall of Fame, and don't she know it.

Now, come, gather 'round, ignore your work for the next ten (10) minutes and learn a bit about our newest character: Largo. She's a little insane, a little blood-thirsty, but ultimately, very lovable.

Chapter Six: Hark! A Lurker Approaches. Largo Appears.

Unbeknownst to the group trekking ahead, a lone female followed close behind. Largo watched the rag-tag hikers and listened to their songs, each out-of-tune note curdling her ears more and more. 

Oh good, they’re singing about nature again, she thought, the sarcasm twisting her moderately attractive face into a grimace. They never stop, she silently raged. They fill the air with poison.

Largo used to sing. And she remembered laughing once. But that was a very long time ago, a time that had gone hazy in Largo’s mind. It was time full of love and warmth that she once shared with her parents while growing up in Florida. As a young girl and only child in her close-knit family, she adored her parents and her tabby cat, Alberta.

Largo would spend afternoons lazing in the soft green grass of her backyard, bathing in the warm sunshine and staring at the fluffy clouds. Then her mother would ring the dinner bell, calling Largo and Alberta inside for a warm, delicious meal. Largo would run to join her parents and sit at the cherry oak table and listen to stories about their day. Largo’s parents were both scientists and always had fascinating tales to share. Largo would listen, held captive by her parents’ voices, until her mocha-brown eyes would begin to slowly close. Feeling too tired to move, Largo would be carried off to her canopy bed by her loving father. Largo’s life was perfect. 

That is, until she started first grade.

The first day of school was the day that Largo’s life changed forever. It was the day that she realized that she wasn’t like all the other kids, even though her parents had always told her that she was perfect. It was the day that Largo learned that even well-educated scientists who specialize in the formation of glaciers can be wrong. It was the day that Largo learned that school can teach a person how to read and also how to cry. It was the day that Largo learned how rage can overtake a person, can fill their mouths with bile and make their hearts spread venom throughout their bodies until it paralyzes them with anger and the need for sweet retribution. It was, in short, a big day.

“Lazy eye Largo, Lazy Eye Largo!” the school children taunted her with. 

Largo couldn’t help that her left eye slowly gravitated towards her nose. She could feel when it started drifting, could feel that slight pressure building in her eye, and she would instantly start to sweat. They wouldn’t stop chanting their cruel song until Largo cried tears out of her right eye. The tears from the left eye would soon follow, slightly delayed by their incorrect positioning.

The teasing was so relentless that it began to change Largo. She took up the habit of wearing a blindfold when at home so her lazy eye couldn’t be seen. She refused to say the word “I” and spoke only in third person. All mirrors in Largo’s room were smashed and then covered with black construction paper for good measure. Largo began prowling the house at night and broke several valuables due to her blindfold, including her mother’s antique "Remains of the Day" lunchbox. She spoke only to Alberta, the one creature she felt no judgment from.

Largo’s parents noticed these changes in their six year old and were alarmed. Their valuables were being destroyed at a shocking rate and soon there would be no more. Largo’s outfits had also taken an appalling turn, as her perpetual blindfold greatly restricted the act of color coordinating. They knew something drastic needed to be done to save their amblyopia-ridden daughter. So when they were both offered the opportunity to move to Antarctica and work in a remote, state of the art laboratory to study the movements of glaciers, they jumped at the chance. Having both been unemployed for the last four years, they had recently come to terms with the fact that Florida was not the ideal place for glaciologists.

Antarctica proved to be the perfect place for Largo and her family. The nearest sign of human life was hundreds of miles away and Largo could be homeschooled in peace. She adored the snow and spent her days roaming outside, building snowmen and laughing at the penguins that waddled about near the lab.
Her lazy eye disappeared within weeks of moving, which helped to restore her shattered self-esteem. Her parents appreciated the privacy that the remote location offered and found that their productivity greatly increased around the presence of actual glaciers.

Alberta suffered the only misfortune during their first year in the cold when she tragically lost half of her tail to frostbite. After burying the misshapen tail, Largo’s father fashioned a protective feline snowsuit for Alberta to wear outside. After that, everything was perfect for Largo once again.

The years went by and Largo soon celebrated her thirteenth birthday in Antarctica. She anxiously waited for her parents to return from their day expedition to determine if glaciers were edible so they could celebrate with a double-decker Mississippi Mud cake like they did for all of her birthdays. When seven o’clock hit, Largo took the cake out from the lab refrigerator and set it on the stainless steel table. When eight o’clock came around, she took a few bites of the melted cake and wondered where her parents were. By nine o’clock, she feared something awful had occurred.

Largo donned her protective human snowsuit and placed Alberta in her feline one. They trekked into the Antarctic tundra, struggling to see in the pitch black darkness. Largo called out for her mother and father and tried to fight the sinking feeling she had in her stomach. After an hour of searching, Largo’s foot slipped on something wet. She lost her footing and fell face-first into a puddle of warm liquid. As soon as the metallic salty tang hit her tongue she knew it was fresh blood, type O negative.

Largo screamed and retched onto the sullied snow, unwilling to look closer. It was only the sound of Alberta happily licking from the huge lake of blood that forced Largo to confront the petrifying sight. 

She took a step forward and knelt down, coming face to face with a sight that most thirteen year old children should never have to see—both parents’ dead bodies viciously torn apart and mutilated by murderous polar bears.

She had never seen such carnage before, not even when the penguins had their annual feast of carp and squid. Her mother’s legs had been ripped from her body and her protective human snowsuit was tattered and soaked with blood, most likely rendering it useless for future wear. Her father’s abdominal cavity had been torn open and his intestines were now decorating the snow, the bright red blood splatters looking like confetti at a very sad birthday party. 

A tuft of white polar bear fur was still clenched in her mother’s frozen hand. Largo clutched her mother’s hand to her heart and cried out in fright as three fingers fell off onto the snow. Largo threw back her head and howled to the night sky, a howl filled with anguish and rage. Alberta meowed.

Largo spent the rest of the evening sitting next to her parents’ partially eaten corpses. The rising sun cast pink and golden rays onto the snow, allowing Largo to fully see the desecration that had taken place. She began to weep, her lean body shaking with grief. It took Largo a moment to realize that the tears from her left eye were slightly delayed. Her lazy eye had returned.

The trek home was a long one, as Alberta’s protective feline snowsuit had developed a hole and Largo had to carry her the entire way. Once home, Largo sat down in front of her forgotten birthday cake, methodically eating the entire melted cake slice by slice. Once finished, she licked the platter clean and sang herself “Happy Birthday,” her warbly falsetto voice echoing in the empty lab. She sang it again and again, until her voice gave out and her diaphragm was raw from vibrato. Exhausted, Largo curled up under the lab table and fell asleep.

In her dreams, she saw her parents in the snowy distance, sitting hunched over with two polar bears. All were wearing protective human snowsuits. The air was eerily quiet as Largo approached, her parents grinning as she came closer. Largo had almost reached them when she realized that something was horribly wrong. Her parents and the bears were hunched over a bloodied birthday cake filled with carp, gore smeared all over their faces. Their teeth were stained red with blood and plasma as they grinned manically at Largo. As if led by an invisible conductor, the group suddenly began to sing. Instead of the “Happy Birthday” which Largo expected, they chanted “Lazy eye Largo, Lazy Eye Largo.” The sound of her own screams woke her.

The pain felt duller with each passing day. Largo developed an obsession with her late father’s golden fishing hook, used when he caught salmon or gutted seals for their dinners. It was his favorite weapon and he used to polish it daily while chatting with his daughter. 

Why didn’t you use it to kill those polar bears, Father? Largo wondered. Why didn’t you gouge out their coal-black eyes? Why didn’t you think of me and sever a paw? Now I’m so very alone and have to run the lab by myself.

The isolation and responsibility of running a glaciology lab by herself slowly drove Largo mad. Over the next three years, she ran pointless experiments and meticulously recorded the results, determined to make her dead parents proud. She measured empty beakers and weighed Alberta four times a day. She began to write a children’s book about two hungry polar bears named Curdy and Curdica whose appetites could only be satisfied by devouring young boys and girls.

Largo’s coffee colored hair grew long and wild and her hygiene suffered immensely. She went for weeks without speaking aloud, giving her voice a strange timbre whenever she eventually did. Largo became prone to fits of silent rage and would scream in her head at Alberta for hours on end, her face contorted with anger. Night terrors and taunts of “Lazy Eye Largo” haunted her dreams each night. She craved sunshine but did not dare to leave the lab. She had responsibilities and could trust no one but Alberta. At times, she worried of sabotage.

It was this yearning for the warmth of the sun that led Largo to look up pictures of California. She stumbled across a newspaper article online from a quaint town called Sweet Valley. Largo was instantly charmed by this magical town, a place where the residents had golden skin and the streets were lined with flowers and swimming pools. Her extensive lab experiments became neglected as Largo grew more and more fascinated by Sweet Valley and its inhabitants. Alberta was reduced to twice daily weigh-ins. The empty beakers remained empty but now gathered dust. Curdy and Curdica were forgotten.

Largo scoured the internet for every article she could find about Sweet Valley. She encountered an unusual amount of articles focusing on a pair of blonde twins and their mediocre accomplishments.

Look at those self-satisfied smiles, Largo thought with disgust. I wonder who they’re boning on the newspaper staff to get so much attention. 

She remembered how her mother used to debone a Northern Pike fish in under a minute and she sighed with loneliness. She felt a strange connection with the town of Sweet Valley, felt like it was important but she couldn’t understand why.

Keep looking, she told herself. It will soon make sense.

And she was right. 

Largo discovered an article written about a wealthy computer magnate named George Fowler. He had just brokered the sale of a groundbreaking computer program and sold it for millions, making him even wealthier. Several pictures accompanied the article, including one of Mr. Fowler’s home, a sprawling mansion called Fowler Crest. Largo looked at the beautiful estate, the lush grounds bathed in sunlight. She longed to live there, to lie on the manicured grass with Alberta and to be able to swim in the Olympic-sized pool.

There would be so much space to store my beakers, she thought wistfully.

Largo poured over the pictures and froze as she came to the final one, a photo of Mr. Fowler and his sixteen year old daughter, Lila. Largo gasped and gripped Alberta, accidentally pulling on her misshapen stump of a tail.

She’s so beautiful, marveled Largo, staring at Lila’s picture. 

Lila was standing next to her father, a tasteful smile on her aristocratic face. Her coffee colored long hair was shiny and smooth and her porcelain skin was flawless. She was the picture of sophistication in her white linen slacks and mauve boat neck raw silk blouse. Freshwater pearls graced her delicate wrists and neck. Lila looked slightly bored, like she was used to people taking her picture and fawning over her.

“Lila,” Largo croaked aloud, enjoying the silky feel of the name in her throat. That’s almost like my name. And our hair is almost the exact same color, too, even though mine is two feet longer.

Largo touched the computer screen with her fingers, softly stroking the photo. What a life Lila must have, she thought with awe. I bet Mr. Fowler would never be partially devoured by a polar bear. I wish I had that life. I deserve that life after all of my hard work here in the lab.

The fleeting thought suddenly reverberated in Largo’s broken mind. I CAN have that life, she realized with glee. I could be Lila! 

A plan was instantly formed as Largo now understood her purpose. She would transform herself so she looked exactly like Lila Fowler. Seeing as they both were female with brown hair and brown eyes, Largo had no doubt that this was attainable. She grabbed her golden fishing hook and used it to chop off her ragged, witch-like hair until it was the same length as Lila’s. This task took over an hour due to a fishing hook’s inadequacy at cutting hair. 

Largo laughed wildly the entire time, a raspy cackle that frightened Alberta.

Over the next few months, Largo researched every aspect of Lila’s life. She learned about her friends, her age and her hatred of the poor. She mastered the slow and graceful gait that she imagined Lila would have. She held empty beakers like they were crystal champagne flutes and cawed her way through lengthy toasts at imaginary parties. Largo practiced speaking in an elegant manner but couldn’t seem to shake her gruff voice.

Oh well, no big deal, she figured. 

When Largo discovered that Lila was soon embarking on a school trip to Middle-earth for Spring Break, she knew this was her big chance. She blew up her lab with dynamite and boarded the same flight to Middle-earth, Alberta hidden in her carry-on bag.

Largo stared at the Sweet Valley students on the plane and almost wept with joy when she glimpsed Lila for the first time in person. The gleam of her cappuccino hair, the slight sneer painted onto her red lips, the Italian suede heels that were so very different from the black rubber triple thermal insulated waterproof snow boots that Largo was wearing. 

How dare they put her in coach with these fools? she wondered with fury. Lila belongs in first class.

She followed the students closely behind once they landed in Middle-earth, and watched with amusement as their rickety tour bus exploded, delighting in the chaos. Largo hadn’t anticipated the Sweet Valley gang to converge with an unfortunate-looking group of hair covered men-children, but she was confident that her plan would succeed.

Largo now clutched the golden fishing hook tightly in her palm as she watched the strange group begin another song, this time a musical round about seedlings. She relished the sudden sting of pain as the hook cut through her skin and she could feel the familiar warm trickle of blood.

“Lila Fowler,” gurgled Largo from her concealed foxhole, “you are mine.”

Does Largo have what it takes to join the ranks of Sweet Valley's famed evil doppelgangers? Will Elizabeth's keen journalistic instincts be able to swiftly sniff out an impostor? Will Largo's extreme fear of polar bears hinder her journey in Middle-earth? And will a case of mistaken identity lead Gandalf to find love in all the wrong places?