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The Footsteps. A Tolkien Horror Story

A horrible horror story about the birth of J.R.R. Tolkien, and strange footsteps in the night...


It is common knowledge that Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892.

But only few people know that, in the late autumn of the year 1891, his mother Mabel Tolkien was abducted and held hostage by communist rebels. Brought to a makeshift camp deep in the bush of Transvaal, and heavily pregnant with J.R.R., Mabel could not do anything to resist or attempt escape without risking harm to the baby. The only account of this story comes from the young communist nurse who cared for Mabel during these days. She later repented and became a nun, and only entrusted this story to a priest on her deathbed in 1947.

During her captivity, a communist officer interrogated Mabel Tolkien every day, trying to obtain information about British army movements. To wear down her resistance, this evil officer recited bad literature with a very loud voice to her womb, torturing the unborn child along with the mother. For several days, he shouted page after page of cringeworthy prose at them. He started with David Eddings, and as Mabel showed no sign of breaking down, he moved to Philip Pullman's and J.K. Rowling's worst works. With every page, J.R.R. would kick more violently inside Mabel's womb, expressing his disgust, but his mother was resolved to keep the secrets she had been entrusted with.

Finally, the officer pulled his last trick, and in a gruelling torture session he read half of the fifth volume of Frank Herbert's 'Dune' series to the mother and her child. During this day, J.R.R. at first kicked a lot, but then grew oddly quiet. At the end, the officer went to sleep, confident that another day - and the rest of the book - would finish his prisoner off.

As the nurse recalled, there were heavy thunderstorms this night. She had the night watch, and at eleven o'clock, she went to see Mabel, who was handcuffed to her bed in a shabby barrack. She found the prisoner moaning as if she were in labour; but it was several months early. The nurse, who despite her violent ideology had a kind heart, worried greatly. But when she asked Mabel if she needed anything, the proud prisoner refused to talk to her.

At half past eleven, the thunderstorms were getting worse. Again the nurse went out to see Mabel, and found that she was panting and sweating like at the instant before childbirth. Yet Mabel, between two moans, told her in no uncertain words to get away.

Midnight came, and once again the worried nurse decided to check on the prisoner. As she snuck to the door and peered through, lightning flashed, and a loud thunder shook the barrack walls. Mabel was lying on the bed pale and immobile, and lo! it seemed to the nurse that she was not pregnant at all. Her womb was perfectly flat, with no indication of a child therein. A great fear overcame the nurse, and she retreated hastily. As she hurried back through the barrack's corridor, she thought that she heard the pitter-patter of little naked feet in the darkness, but when she looked, nobody was there. At about two o'clock, the nurse raised all her courage and went to look again. Mabel was asleep, and pregnant again as she should be, so the nurse decided it had all just been her imagination.

The next morning, the officer who had tortured Mabel was found in his bed upstairs in the barrack - dead. His throat had been cut open, and the offending larynx, which had boomed such evil words for days, had been cut out. Most worrisome, there was a trail of tiny little footsteps, more delicate than even those of the smallest newborn, leading up to his bed and then back downstairs. The inexplicable demise of their officer frightened the communists greatly, and they released Mabel the same day.

There is little else to say about these events, and the nurse knew no more. However, when J.R.R. Tolkien was born several months later, the midwife reported a strange thing. She swore to God that, when she cut the umbilical cord, it looked like it had already been ruptured once, and then patched again by very delicate little fingers with tissue that looked precisely like the remnants of a human larynx. However, the midwife was known to drink a glass too much on occasion, and her report was dismissed as nonsense.

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