The door shut and the creaking of the windmill was alone. Barris stretched out his stocky frame and yawned, placing his elbows atop the railing. He rubbed his eyes and thought about how he would explain the story, especially without being called a kook. There was no right way of telling it, no obvious beginning or definite end. What Farjadis told him fell somewhere in between the two. He looked down the twisted dirt paths connecting each home to the gardens, a few hobbits could be seen sweeping their porch fronts and feeding birds stale bread. The gardens were rustling in the wind only slightly, leaves and fruits both gracefully waiting to be picked or trimmed. The town was the same as it was eight years ago, Barris thought. The same birdsongs and the same early morning dew, the same ‘lovely’ gardens. As if this place would never change no matter the world around it, but Barris knew such thinking was merely ignorance.
Things would change, as they already have for Barris. The weight of that knowledge suddenly seemed too heavy, but the fear gave him an odd sense of courage in the face of a dangerous mission. Everything Farjadis told him couldn’t be taken lightly, the old hobbit was too wise to talk delusions. Whatever the change would be, Barris could only do what he must. The old carpenter took the last sip of coffee from his mug and looked down at his caravan. Tan cloth upholstered its rounded wooden frame, still wet from the storm. The brown cloaked hobbit strolled down off the porch and made his way to the damp caravan and lifted the back cloth open. The books inside were still dry, which was a surprise considering the storm he’d been through. Hundreds of them were piled halfway to the ceiling, some in wooden milk crates and others loosely stacked. He shook his head at the massive hoard and the strong musty smell of paper wafting from within.
“Marie!” He called out playfully before taking a small stack into his arms.
In seconds Marigold wrenched the door open and skipped down the stairs.
“Yes Uncle?” She responded.
“How old are you now? Twelve?”
“Thirteen!” She answered gleefully.
“Ah well, has your mother taught you reading?”
Marigold quickly nodded and clasped her hands.
“I will let you read one of my books before I return home.” Barris smiled and waved one book from atop of the stack in his hands. Marie rose to her tippy toes and became antsy.
“But, you have to help me carry them to my room. Think you can do it?”
“Easy as pie Uncle Barris, but… Can I choose any book?” The young hobbit said with wide blue eyes.
“I’m not so sure you would understand some of them.”
“Uh huh! Im smarter than you think Uncle.” She said, stomping her foot to the ground.
“We’ll see.” Barris replied and handed the books to her, she grabbed them and hurried through the open door.
“Careful now, those aren’t just any books” He cautioned as he lifted a large crate into his hands and followed behind.